National Healthcare Decision Day is April 16th

National Healthcare Decision Day is April 16th

 

National Healthcare Decision Day logo

The goal of National Healthcare Decision Day is to inspire Americans to communicate their end-of-life wishes about healthcare with their families and healthcare providers.

Although making healthcare decisions is often a difficult process, making decisions for others is even more complicated.

According to the 2018 Conversation Project national survey, Americans are becoming more comfortable talking to their loved ones about their end of life wishes. Over half (53%) of Americans say they would feel relieved if a loved one started “the Conversation.”

multi family member photo

Start the family “conversation”
Photo Source: Laurie Osgood

Once you have initiated the conversation, experts recommend creating an advance care directive. Advance care directives are legal documents that are used to secure your decisions about end-of-life care, to avoid confusion and uncertainty later on.  These legal documents can include a living will, health care proxy, health care power of attorney or instruction directive. Having an advance care directive in place will help make sure that your wishes about your health care are fulfilled, even if you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.

Don’t wait for “the right time” to talk with your family, everyone should plan for their future, before a crisis arises.

There are many tools and online resources that can help you and your family begin this important conversation.

To learn more about National Healthcare Decision Day and advance care directives. Visit NHDD.org.  

 

Team Sports Can Yield Life-long Friendships for Youth and Their Parents

Team Sports Can Yield Life-long Friendships for Youth and Their Parents

Friendships are an important part of life, and friendships can have a tremendous impact on our personal well-being and overall mental and physical health.  Social isolation can lead to depression and loneliness. The relationships that we build with our family and friends can affect the quality of the friendships that we develop over our lifetimes. Some people thrive socially and develop deep, meaningful connections with others, while others only maintain distant friendships. However, it is important for us to help our children learn to develop these important social skills. Researchers have long documented links between the quality of relationships between family members and their relationships with their peers. Participation in team sports can have lasting benefits, including responsible social behaviors, good sportsmanship, strong leadership skills, academic success, and self-confidence.

a group of soccer moms

Parents can form lasting friendships while supporting their kids in youth sports. (Photo source: Laurie Osgood, UF/IFAS Extension)

When It Comes to Youth Sports, Parents Don’t Always Behave Themselves.

As team sports become more competitive, there is increased attention placed on the negative aspects of team sports, mainly parental expectations and behavior. Having spent a large part of my life sitting in the stands watching my children play team sports,  I have developed deep, long-lasting friendships with the parents of my children’s friends. These friendships are often maintained between parents long after our children put away their soccer cleats. Of course, overbearing parents can take the fun out of sports for our children. Many children drop out of team sports because they are no longer having fun and participation becomes too stressful.

What Can Parents Do to Help Their Kids Develop Positive, Warm Friendships?

  • Continue to nurture and support the friendships that you have established throughout your lifetime.
  • Be a good sports parent by showing support to your child.
  • Model good friendship skills. This will help youth understand social competence.
  • Be happy and have fun at your child’s competitions.
  • Minimize pressure & don’t coach your child from the sidelines.
  • Nurture the youth’s ambitions, but don’t let them get too wrapped up in the competitiveness.
  • Be respectful of your child’s teammates, coach, opponents, and the game’s rules and traditions.

It is our job as parents to teach our children social skills to help them grow as individuals, not just athletes. As parents it is our job to nurture their emotional and physical development. Even as adults we must continue to stay connected with our friends and families.  As we grow older, good friendships can prevent loneliness, improve our health, boost our well-being, and even add years to our lives.

Don’t Let Rice or Pasta Ruin Your Day!

Don’t Let Rice or Pasta Ruin Your Day!

Photo credit: UF/IFAS NW District

Rice and pasta are a staple of most family meals. But did you know these simple grains can lead to a foodborne illness? Uncooked rice and pasta can contain spores of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause foodborne illness. These spores can survive even when rice or pasta is cooked. If the rice or pasta is left standing at room temperature, like in a pot on the stove, these spores can grow into bacteria. These bacteria will then multiply and produce toxins (poisons) that can cause foodborne illness. Bacillus cereus, sometimes called B. cereus, can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

Preventing Contamination by B. Cereus
Because B. cereus endospores are heat resistant, they are likely to survive cooking at temperatures that would destroy other foodborne pathogens. Bacillus cereus spores can grow when exposed to heat or improper handling.

Recommendations for Proper Handling of Rice and Pasta:

  • Cook rice and pasta at 135ºF or above and maintain at that temperature outside of the refrigerator.
    Serve rice or pasta as soon as it is cooked.
  • Cool in the refrigerator at 41ºF or below within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Store rice or pasta in the fridge using a shallow container or resealable bags.
  • Cooked rice or pasta can be stored in airtight containers in the fridge for 3 – 5 days.
  • Do not reheat rice or pasta more than once.

During the holidays, celebrations usually center around family and good food, and, therefore, our refrigerators easily can become full. We tend to leave rice or pasta out on the stove when there isn’t any room in the fridge. This is where the problem occurs. By following proper food handling techniques, you can ensure that everyone enjoys the holidays and the fabulous foods that are part of the festivities.

To learn more about Bacillus cereus or other foodborne illnesses, contact your UF/IFAS County Extension Office.

Resources:
UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS), Preventing Foodborne Illness: Bacillus cereus

The Number of Food Poisoning Cases Caused by Bacillus cereus is on the Rise. (2015, April 1). Infection Control Today. Retrieved from https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/food-safety/number-food-poisoning-cases-caused-bacillus-cereus-rise

 

Meatless Burger Alternatives

Meatless Burger Alternatives

Meatless Burger Alternatives

Frozen burger display - with and without meat

 

If you have been watching television lately, you may have seen commercials for meatless burgers that are making a splash. Many restaurants including Burger King and Red Robin are now offering this alternative meat source on their menus. https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper, https://www.redrobin.com/burgers/impossible-burger.html,
Beyond Beef™ and Impossible Burgers™ are two of the meat alternatives created by The Beyond Meat ™ https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/ and The Impossible Foods https://impossiblefoods.com/ companies. The Beyond Burger™ and Impossible Burger™ are similar in ingredients, color and texture, and they actually taste like…meat!Restaurant menu with meatless burger circled in red and fries and burger at bottom

According to Emily Gelsomin, in the August 19th edition of Harvard Health Publishing, “Plant-based burgers are not a novel concept. But new products designed to taste like meat are now being marketed to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike”. Gelsomin suggests that meatless burgers are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

But What Are They?
Keep in mind that meatless burgers are created in a lab, not in a pasture. Meatless burgers look, sizzle, and even “bleed” like a regular hamburger. But they contain no animal protein and are a completely plant-based patty. This plant-based protein is a blend of potato and soy proteins. Meatless burger alternatives get their red color and “bleeding” effect from beet juice. Meatless burgers sizzle while being cooked because of sunflower and coconut oils, the meatless burger’s fat sources. To hold everything together, meatless burgers contain methylcellulose, a bulk-forming fiber source.

Are Meatless Burgers Safe?
Yes, meatless burgers are safe to eat, unless you are allergic to soy, coconut or sunflower.

The Good News:
Meatless burgers contain less sodium, cholesterol and fat than traditional beef or ground turkey patties do. Meatless burgers contain 2-3 grams of fiber per serving, whereas traditional hamburger patties contain no fiber.

The Bad News:
Just because they are a plant-based alternative to meat, doesn’t mean that they are healthier for you. The calories found in a meatless burger are similar to a traditional beef patty and meatless burgers are heavily processed and high in saturated fat.

How Do These Meatless Burger Alternatives Compare Nutritionally to Ground Beef and Ground Turkey Patties?

Nutritional value chart of meatless vs regular meat burgers

 

 

 

Source: Harvard Health Blog. Impossible and Beyond: How healthy are these meatless burgers? August 15, 2019.

The Bottom Line:
Meatless burgers such as The Impossible Burger™ and Beyond Burger™ are unique alternatives, although nutritionally not that different from a traditional hamburger patty. However, due to its popularity, companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have struggled to keep up with the demand.

Contact your local Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent to learn more about meatless alternatives.

Sources

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/impossible-and-beyond-how-healthy-are-these-meatless-burgers-2019081517448

Shopping for Health, Vegetarian Diets https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FS/FS16700.pdf

Men and Women Handle Stress Differently

Men and Women Handle Stress Differently

What is Stress Anyway?

The traffic is awful, a report is due, the laundry is piling up, and the kids are fighting. Life is full of stress! According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is how the brain and body respond to any physical, mental, and/or emotional demand. Not all stress is bad. For example, stress can help motivate us to get things done. When faced with a threat or stressful event, our bodies produce hormones such as epinephrine, which can cause a temporary rise in our heart rate and blood pressure. Chronic, un-managed stress can cause long-term symptoms including headaches, high blood pressure and even problems sleeping.

Identify the Sources of Stress in Your Life

Feeling stressed is normal, but some people cope with stress better than others. Our thoughts, lifestyle and emotions can affect how much stress we endure. We must identify the causes of our stress before we can begin to manage them. Although the causes of stress are similar for both men and women, it is how we recognize and manage our stress that makes us different.

Common Causes of Stress:
• Work or unemployment
• Money, finances
• Drug or alcohol abuse
• Family breakdown
• Health issues
• Major life changes

What are the Symptoms of Stress?

Our bodies automatically respond to stressors in our lives. However, constant and uncontrolled stress can lead to serious physical and mental consequences. No matter how stressful your life seems, we must recognize the warning signs of stress and take action.

Watch out for the following warning signs:
• Feeling tired, not sleeping properly
• Loss of concentration and an inability to complete projects
• Irritability, low self-esteem or mood swings
• Feeling tense or anxious
• Feeling unmotivated
• Withdrawing from family and friends
• Excessive drinking and/or drug use
• Physical signs such as headaches, chest pains, high blood pressure, digestive problems or aches and pains

Men and Woman Handle Stress Differently

How stress affects you may depend upon your gender. Men and women recognize and react to stress in different ways, both mentally and physically.
When feeling stressed, women reach out to friends and family. They seek support to lower their stress and find a solution to their challenges. By talking about their emotions, women are able to process their feelings and share the pressure of their situation.
When men experience stressful situations, they are likely to hide their feelings or change the subject to escape a stressful situation. Men find it hard to talk about their feelings or ask for help when faced with pressures from their job, family issues or money worries. Men prefer to play sports or listen to music to manage stress.

Stress Reduction Strategies for Men and Women

Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress can be bad for our health. Stress management means taking control of your thoughts, emotions, and lifestyle. Making simple changes in your life such as maintaining a network of close friends, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep can help reduce your overall stress.

Resources:

The American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2010/gender-stress
The National Institute of Mental Health:  https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
The Electronic Data Information Source of UF/IFAS Extension. EDIS: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY51700.pdf

To learn more about how to cope with stress, contact Laurie Osgood, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Gadsden County (850) 875-7255 or Osgoodlb@ufl.edu