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First Presbyterian Church of Michigan City
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Welcome, Worship, Celebrate, Serve!



Seasonal allergies: Nip them in the bud

Relieve seasonal allergies with these tried-and-true techniques. By Mayo Clinic Staff


Spring means flower buds and blooming trees — and if you're one of the millions of people who have seasonal allergies, it also means sneezing, congestion, runny nose and other bothersome symptoms. Seasonal allergies — also called hay fever and allergic rhinitis — can make you miserable. But before you settle for plastic flowers and artificial turf, try these simple strategies to keep seasonal allergies under control.

Reduce your exposure to allergy triggers
To reduce your exposure to the things that trigger your allergy signs and symptoms (allergens):
* Stay indoors on dry, windy days — the best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
* Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
* Remove clothes you've worn outside; you may also want to shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
* Don't hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
* Wear a dust mask if you do outside chores.
Take extra steps when pollen counts are high
Seasonal allergy signs and symptoms can flare up when there's a lot of pollen in the air. These steps can help you reduce your exposure:
* Check your local TV or radio station, your local newspaper, or the Internet for pollen forecasts and current pollen levels.
* If high pollen counts are forecasted, start taking allergy medications before your symptoms start.
* Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
* Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
Keep indoor air clean
There's no miracle product that can eliminate all allergens from the air in your home, but these suggestions may help:
* Use the air conditioning in your house and car.
* If you have forced air heating or air conditioning in your house, use high-efficiency filters and follow regular maintenance schedules.
* Keep indoor air dry with a dehumidifier.
* Use a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your bedroom.
* Clean floors often with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter.
Try an over-the-counter remedy
Several types of nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms. They include:
* Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy, others) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy). Older antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), are also effective, but they can make you drowsy.
* Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for short-term relief. Long-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
* Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn't have serious side effects, though it's most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
* Combination medications. A number of allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include the oral medication Drixoral, which combines the antihistamine dexbrompheniramine maleate with the decongestant pseudoephedrine sulfate, and the nasal spray Claritin-D, which combines the antihistamine loratadine with pseudoephedrine sulfate.
Rinse your sinuses
Rinsing your nasal passages with distilled, sterile saline solution (nasal irrigation) is a quick, inexpensive and very effective way to relieve nasal congestion. Rinsing directly flushes out mucus and allergens from your nose. Look for a squeeze bottle or a neti pot — a small container with a spout designed for nasal rinsing — at your pharmacy or health food store. Use water that's distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller to make up the saline irrigation solution. Also be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry.
Interested in alternative treatments? Consider these
A number of natural remedies have been used to treat hay fever symptoms. Treatments that may help include extracts of the shrub butterbur and spirulina (a type of dried algae). A number of other natural remedies are used to treat allergies, but the benefits aren't clear and some may not be safe — so talk to your doctor before trying one.
When home remedies aren't enough, see your doctor
For many people, avoiding allergens and taking over-the-counter medications is enough to ease symptoms. But if your seasonal allergies are still bothersome, don't give up. A number of other treatments are available.
If you have bad seasonal allergies, your doctor may recommend that you have skin tests or blood tests to find out exactly what allergens trigger your symptoms. Testing can help determine what steps you need to take to avoid your specific triggers and identify which treatments are likely to work best for you.
For some people, allergy shots (allergen immunotherapy) can be a good option. Also known as desensitization, this treatment involves regular injections containing tiny amounts of the substances that cause your allergies. Over time, these injections reduce the immune system reaction that causes symptoms.






Tips to keep your bones healthy


By Mayo Clinic Staff


Bones play many roles in the body — providing structure, protecting organs, anchoring muscles and storing calcium. While it's particularly important to take steps to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescence, you can take steps during adulthood to protect bone health, too.
Why is bone health important?
Your bones are continuously changing — new bone is made and old bone is broken down. When you're young, your body makes new bone faster than it breaks down old bone, and your bone mass increases. Most people reach their peak bone mass around age 30. After that, bone remodeling continues, but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain.
How likely you are to develop osteoporosis — a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle — depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach age 30 and how rapidly you lose it after that. The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.
What affects bone health?
· The amount of calcium in your diet. A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures.
· Physical activity. People who are physically inactive have a higher risk of osteoporosis than do their more-active counterparts.
· Tobacco and alcohol use. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones. Similarly, regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body's ability to absorb calcium.
· Gender, size and age. You're at greater risk of osteoporosis if you're a woman, because women have less bone tissue than do men. You're also at risk if you're extremely thin (with a body mass index of 19 or less) or have a small body frame because you may have less bone mass to draw from as you age. Also your bones become thinner and weaker as you age.
· Race and family history. You're at greatest risk of osteoporosis if you're white or of Asian descent. In addition, having a parent or sibling who has osteoporosis puts you at greater risk — especially if you also have a family history of fractures.
· Hormone levels. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. In women, bone loss increases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. Prolonged absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels can cause a loss of bone mass.
· Eating disorders and other conditions. People who have anorexia or bulimia are at risk of bone loss. In addition, stomach surgery (gastrectomy), weight-loss surgery and conditions such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease and Cushing's disease can affect your body's ability to absorb calcium.
· Certain medications. Long-term use of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, cortisone, prednisolone and dexamethasone, are damaging to bone. Other drugs that may increase the risk of osteoporosis include aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, methotrexate, some anti-seizure medications and proton pump inhibitors.

What can I do to keep my bones healthy?

· Include plenty of calcium in your diet. For adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day. The recommendation increases to 1,200 mg a day for women after age 50 and for men after age 70. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, kale, canned salmon with bones, sardines and soy products, such as tofu.

· Pay attention to vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. For adults ages 19 to 70, 600 IUs of vitamin D a day is recommended; and increases to 800 IUs a day for adults 71 and older. Good sources of vitamin D include tuna and sardines, egg yolks and fortified milk. Sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D.

· Include physical activity in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and climbing stairs, help build strong bones and slow bone loss.

· Avoid substance abuse. Don't smoke and avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.


Enlist your doctor's help

If you're concerned about your bone health or your risk factors for osteoporosis, consult your doctor. He or she may recommend a bone density test. The results will help your doctor gauge your bone density and determine your rate of bone loss. By evaluating this information and your risk factors, your doctor can assess whether you might be a candidate for medication to help slow bone loss.


Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health


Physical activity doesn't need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. For example, regular brisk walking can help you:


¨ Maintain a healthy weight

¨ Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes

¨ Strengthen your bones

¨ Lift your mood

¨ Improve your balance and coordination

The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.


Consider your technique


Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Ideally, here's how you'll look when you're walking:


¨ Your head is up. You're looking forward, not at the ground.

¨ Your neck, shoulders and back are relaxed, not stiffly upright.

¨ You're swinging your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows. A little pumping with your arms is OK.

¨ Your stomach muscles are slightly tightened and your back is straight, not arched forward or backward.

¨ You're walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.


Plan your routine


¨ Get the right gear. Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. If you walk outdoors when it's dark, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility.

¨ Choose your course carefully. If you'll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf.

¨ Warm up. Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.

¨ Cool down. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down.

¨ Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you'd rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first.


Set realistic goals


For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.


As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can't set aside that much time, try two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.


Remember, though, it's OK to start slowly — especially if you haven't been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.


Track your progress



Keeping a record of the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you'll feel when you see how many miles you've walked each week, month or year. Record these numbers in a walking journal or log them in a spreadsheet or a physical activity app.


Stay motivated


¨ Set yourself up for success. Start with a simple goal, such as, "I'll take a 10-minute walk during my lunch break." When your 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal, such as, "I'll walk for 20 minutes after work." Soon you could be reaching for goals that once seemed impossible.


¨ Make walking enjoyable. If you don't enjoy solitary walks, ask a friend or neighbor to join you. If you're invigorated by groups, join a health club.


¨ Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you're walking alone, be sure to tell someone which route you're taking.


¨ Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don't give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine — and then get back on track.

Once you take that first step, you're on the way to an important destination — better health.

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Cholesterol

Lifestyle changes can help reduce cholesterol, keep you off cholesterol-lowering medications or enhance the effect of your medications. Here are five lifestyle changes to get you started.

High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. You can reduce cholesterol with medications, but if you'd rather make lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol, you can try these five healthy lifestyle changes. If you're already taking medications, these changes can also improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.

1. Lose weight

Carrying some extra pounds — even just a few — contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help significantly reduce cholesterol levels.

Start by taking an honest, thorough look at your eating habits and daily routine. Consider your challenges to weight loss and ways to overcome them.

If you eat when you're bored or frustrated, take a walk instead. If you pick up fast food for lunch every day, pack something healthier from home. If you're sitting in front of the television, try munching on carrot sticks instead of potato chips as you watch..

Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Take stock of what you currently eat and your physical activity level and slowly work in changes.

2. Eat heart-healthy foods

Even if you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt, making a few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health.

* Choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. As a general rule, you should get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. Instead, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats — found in olive, peanut and canola oils — for a healthier option.

* Eliminate trans fats. Trans fat can be found in fried foods and many commercial baked products, such as cookies, crackers and snack cakes. But don't rely on packages that are labeled "trans fat-free." In the United States, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, it can be labeled "trans fat-free." Even though those amounts seem small, they can add up quickly if you eat a lot of foods that have a small amount of trans fat in them. Instead, read the ingredients list. You can tell if a food has trans fat in it if it contains partially hydrogenated oil.

* Limit the cholesterol in your food. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day — less than 200 mg if you have heart disease or diabetes. The most concentrated sources of cholesterol include organ meats, egg yolks and whole milk products. Use lean cuts of meat, egg substitutes and skim milk instead.

* Select whole grains. Various nutrients found in whole grains promote heart health. Choose whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour and brown rice.

* Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Snack on seasonal fruits. Experiment with veggie-based casseroles, soups and stir-fries. If you prefer dried fruit to fresh fruit, limit yourself to no more than a handful (about an ounce or two). Dried fruit tends to have more calories than does fresh fruit.

* Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Some types of fish — such as salmon, mackerel and herring — are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, almonds and ground flaxseeds.


3. Exercise Most Days of the Week


Whether you're overweight or not, exercise can reduce cholesterol. Better yet, moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. With your doctor's OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Remember that adding physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make.


¨ Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour

¨ Riding your bike to work

¨ Swimming laps

¨ Playing a favorite sport

To stay motivated, find an exercise buddy or join an exercise group. And remember, any activity is helpful. Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few sit-ups while watching television can make a difference.

4. Quit smoking

If you smoke, stop. Quitting may improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don't end there. Just 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure decreases. Within 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack decreases. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.

5. Drink alcohol only in moderation

Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits aren't strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn't already drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

If lifestyle changes aren't enough ...

Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower cholesterol levels. Make sure the changes you choose to make are ones that you can continue, and don't be disappointed if you don't see results immediately. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue your lifestyle changes.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Diabetes Prevention: 5 Tips for Taking Control

When it comes to type 2 diabetes — the most common type of diabetes — prevention is a big deal. It's especially important to make diabetes prevention a priority if you're at increased risk of diabetes, for example, if you're overweight or have a family history of the disease.


Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthy, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds — and it's never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage. Consider the latest diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.


Tip 1: Get more physical activity

There are many benefits to regular physical activity. Exercise can help you:

¨ Lose weight

¨ Lower your blood sugar

¨ Boost your sensitivity to insulin — which helps keep your blood sugar within a normal range


Research shows that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can help control diabetes, but the greater benefit comes from a fitness program that includes both.


Tip 2: Get plenty of fiber

It's rough, it's tough — and it may help you:

¨ Reduce your risk of diabetes by improving your blood sugar control

¨ Lower your risk of heart disease

¨ Promote weight loss by helping you feel full

Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds.


Tip 3: Go for whole grains

Although it's not clear why, whole grains may reduce your risk of diabetes and help maintain blood sugar levels. Try to make at least half your grains whole grains. Many foods made from whole grains come ready to eat, including various breads, pasta products and many cereals. Look for the word "whole" on the package and among the first few items in the ingredient list.


Tip 4: Lose extra weight

If you're overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every pound you lose can improve your health, and you may be surprised by how much. Participants in one large study who lost a modest amount of weight — around 7 percent of initial body weight — and exercised regularly reduced the risk of developing diabetes by almost 60 percent.


Tip 5: Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices

Low-carb diets, the glycemic index diet or other fad diets may help you lose weight at first, but their effectiveness at preventing diabetes isn't known nor are their long-term effects. And by excluding or strictly limiting a particular food group, you may be giving up essential nutrients. Instead, think variety and portion control as part of an overall healthy-eating plan.


When to see your doctor

If you're older than age 45 and your weight is normal, ask your doctor if diabetes testing is appropriate for you. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood glucose screening if:

¨ You're age 45 or older and overweight

¨ You're younger than age 45 and overweight with one or more additional risk factors for type 2 diabetes — such as a sedentary lifestyle or a family history of diabetes

Share your concerns about diabetes prevention with your doctor. He or she will applaud your efforts to keep diabetes at bay, and perhaps offer additional suggestions based on your medical history or other factors.


-Mayo Clinic


Ask for Prayer
"I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” NIV Romans 15:30
Sometimes, we find ourselves in a situation where we would like to reach out for others to pray for us or our loved ones, just as Paul did. The Prayer Chain consists of members that are sincerely willing to pray for you. Your prayer requests will be handled with great discretion and will NOT be published in the Church Bulletin. Your requests can be added to the Prayer Chain by contacting the Prayer Chain Coordinator, Anne Rain (contact information available in Church Directory, Newsletter, and through the Office).
Coming to Our Senses - March - The Smell Test
There’s good news about your nose. Who knew? Did you know that there is a Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago??? This 25 year old company sees patients and also conducts research for pharmaceutical and consumer product industries.
“They say, the nose is a hard working organ, with powers much greater than people realize. A keen sense of smell offers more flavors, more safety, even more happiness.”
Our sense of smell can also invoke wonderful memories from the past. I remember the street my grandmother lived on. There was a candy store, a bakery, a leather goods store, a cigar store, and a fish market. Then of course, there was Granma’s house with delightful things she was cooking or baking. It was olfactory overload.
Unfortunately, our olfactory powers degrade over time, beginning as early as age 30. By age 80 about two thirds of all people will suffer reduced capacity. Upper respiratory infections, pollution, head trauma and diseases like diabetes can compromise the sense of smell.
The good news is that there are simple at – home exercises that can help keep the sense of smell in shape. One recommended “sniff therapy” is to take 3 or 4 different types of pleasant scents like shampoo, fruit, cooking spices, or coffee and sniff them 4 to 6 times a day to help retrain the brain to discern differences in scent and spark receptors in the nose.     Smelling your food before you eat it may warm up the digestion process helping us metabolize our food more efficiently.
The sense of taste is directly affected by the sense of smell. We’ve all experienced that loss of flavoring in our food during a bad head cold. We might still detect the sensations of salty, sour, sweet or bitter indicated though our taste buds located in different areas of the tongue but without real discernment. Again age will also diminish our sense of taste.
Oh well, delight thy taste buds while thee may. Don’t give up anything really savory for Lent. 
There, we got 2 senses in one, smell and taste. And I got to take a sweet walk down memory lane to Grandma’s house.      
Please cherish these senses as gifts from God and be grateful. Nothing gives as much flavor to our lives as God’s love.
“How sweet are your words to my taste.
Sweeter than honey to my mouth”.  
Psalm 119:103
Coming to Our Senses - February
Whether or not old Phil The Ground Hog saw his shadow, we are in for 6 more weeks of winter. Personally I like to have a sunny day in February, just remember to shade your eyes with a brimmed hat and/or sunglasses that block 100% of UV radiation.
Our “EYESIGHT” is one of those precious senses that we need to enjoy, respect and protect. So much of the eye discomfort we suffer from every day can be treated naturally at home.
 EAT A HEALTHY DIET high in vitamins, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. If you are not a fish lover, take a fish oil supplement. 
TAKE A BREAK FROM the computer and TV. The average American spends up to 7 hours a day viewing digital images. We blink at only about one-third of the normal rate. This causes eye dryness and an increase in muscle tension. Prolonged sitting also reduces respiration and oxygen saturation in eye tissue. BLINK your eyes more often, BREATHE deeply every minute or two and take a BREAK every 20 minutes. Look away from the TV or computer screen and focus on various objects at varying distances for 20 seconds while standing. This gets your eyes moving more fluidly.   
 It is pretty hard to avoid all ENVIRONMENTAL IRRITANTS, wind, pollens, dust and smoke but you can EASE THE DISCOMFORT by applying a warm moist wash cloth to the eyes. Keep it in place until it cools. Try moistening the cloth with green or black tea to shrink swollen tissues and reduce inflammation. Heat and moisture increase circulation and the flow of nutrients to the eye. Make sure your hands are clean before touching your eyes.
Everywhere we look there is beauty and evidence of the God that made it. It’s like finding little Valentines all over the place just for us.
Why not treat YOURSELF to a VALENTINE this month? Buy one or make one and actually mail it to yourself. You are a special person, one of God’s beautiful ideas.
Coming to Our Senses
During the Christmas holidays we all over spent, over ate, and got over stressed — but for 2014 I am going to help us come to our senses!
We are most wonderfully made by God. He created our bodies with 5 marvelous senses: 
Touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. He put in our world beautiful and enjoyable ways to stimulate those senses. The Christmas season is one of the greatest opportunities to experience these gifts. You can almost suffer from sensory overload.
Let’s start with “Touch” 
From the moment of birth to the end of our days on this earth, humans crave this basic need. We actually could not survive without it. Touch is a simple term for a very complex and diverse sensory system involving receptors and processing centers. The receptors include the skin, skeletal muscles, bones and joints, internal organs and the cardiovascular system. Touch is a crucial means of receiving information such as temperature, body position and pain. Touch is the most primitive of all the senses and the only one that involves the whole body. It effects us physiologically, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually. A simple hug can lower blood pressure and create a sense of well being.
Wow, we just know that all that holiday hugging and kissing and handshaking made us feel welcome and connected. We enjoyed the cold snow, the hot oven, the prickly tree branches and a nice soft bed at the end of the day. 
We’ll talk more later about the other 4 senses and how to appreciate and protect them.  
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father Of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.    
James 1:17                        
Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men
The spirit of the season fills our hearts and homes. We are bursting with glad tidings of great Joy. We sing about it, send beautiful cards to proclaim it, wrap it in pretty packages, hang it on our doors and serve it in delectable food and drink. At this time of year, we have no trouble giving and sharing. Can we hold on to that spirit all year? Will we include strangers as well as loved ones? I hope so.
In a recent article written for Good Housekeeping Magazine, Rachael Moeller Gordon quotes a variety of experts who have studied how our outlook and beliefs affect our health.
Altruism and Optimism and feeling positive about our fellow humans can produce measurable improvements in physical health, including a reduction in heart attack risk and even a longer life. In the spirit of the season, it starts with charity.
For you Cynics, Grinches, Scrooges and Debbie Downers, there is hope for you!
You can control 40% of your outlook and teach yourself to be an optimist. You can kick up those fuzzy, feel good hormones and health protecting genes, allowing you to create a life of purpose and meaning.
Thanks to Kim Huffman, a really good hearted member of this church, for suggesting this source of information. I also want to share this quote I found somewhere and keep on my desk.   
 “Affirming Your Life”
Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction.
Kick the habit. Talk about your Joy.
Knowing that what we focus on, we get more of,
                 today I will count my blessings.                        
Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year!
Food Safety
It’s November already, I promised you a tofu turkey recipe as a healthy alternative for your Thanksgiving dinner. Well, I have good news to report. Most of your traditional holiday meal already includes a nice selection of nutritious ingredients…...
…...Sweet Potatoes, cranberries, cinnamon, nuts, pomegranate, pumpkin and a wide variety of vegetables especially Brussel sprouts.
An equally important consideration during the holiday meal preparation is the safe handling of raw foods.
Here are a few tips on reducing your exposure to food bourne pathogens.
If you are helping the environment with reusable grocery bags, remember to wash them with hot soapy water by hand or in a machine. Remember to wash your hands after using these bags.
Refrigerate or freeze perishables as soon as you get home. Store raw food in leak-proof containers below produce and ready to eat food. Wash your hands.
Disinfect your counter tops. Avoid putting anything on them that might transfer germs, including purses and backpacks. Mop up spills from raw food with paper towels. Wash your hands.
Sinks and faucet handles are among the more heavily contaminated areas of the kitchen. Use cleaning products meant for kitchen surfaces fortified with bleach. Put sponges in the dishwasher or washing machine every few days.    Wash dishtowels in hot water. Wash your hands.
Designate separate cutting boards for raw meat, seafood and poultry and others for vegetables fruit and salad greens. Wash cutting boards after each use in hot soapy water and sanitize often with a mixture of one tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach in a gallon of water, then rinse with clean water. Dry with paper towel.... AND yes, WASH YOUR HANDS.
Be safe, be healthy and most important, Be Thankful. !
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Lessen Your Risk Of Diabetes
Don’t you just love all those health magazine articles that start with “Studies show.....” .or “ Experts say....”
Well here are a few tips that might just help you lower blood sugar levels and lessen your risk of diabetes.
“Studies show” that more than one in three of us has either full blown type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (higher than normal glucose levels signaling a greater risk of diabetes).
“Experts recommend” .....
Avoid fake sugars, They confuse the pancreas causing it to pump out 20% more insulin than it should . Blood sugar plunges and cravings flare.
400 mg of green coffee bean extract. You hear so much about this extract for weight loss. These beans are also packed with chlorogenic acids that nourish the pancreas, keeping its insulin output under control. (contains caffeine)
One cup a day of carrots. Beta carotene, found in carrots, apricots sweet potatoes and butternut squash, after being absorbed by the pancreas switches off the genes that make some of us more prone to blood sugar troubles.
24 ounces of rose hip tea. This nutrient rich, fruity flavored brew nourishes the liver, helping it keep blood fats balanced.
The good fats to keep in your daily diet are ½ an avocado or 1/4 cup of nuts.
One cup of beta-glucan-rich foods daily. Found in oats, oat bran, barley and mushrooms, this soluble fiber slows and steadies carbohydrate absorption in the intestines.
Now this is my favorite blood sugar lowering suggestion.
Chill Out.
You must take 30 minutes everyday to relax and get away from your troubles. You can reduce your risk of diabetes by 31% even if you don’t make any other change in your diet or lifestyle. Chronic stress damages the pancreas.
Stay healthy!
See you in November with my Tofu Turkey recipe.
  Get Your Shots!
Want to stay healthy? Take a shot.
Parents are very good about safeguarding their children against illness and injury, but most adults don’t take the same precautions to protect themselves. Take vaccines for example.
If you were born in the last 50 years, you probably don’t worry about polio, measles, or whooping cough. At one time these diseases were widespread causing serious illness and even death.
These illnesses are no longer common but that is no reason to think that the vaccines are not needed. Each year 60,000 adults die from flu, tetanus and pneumonia.
Overtime your protection from disease either through your natural immune system or through vaccine can fade, exposing you to illness that is more severe for adults than for children.
There may be new vaccines that were not available when you were younger or maybe you never got at all. The good news is that it is not too late to catch up and not just to protect yourself and your family, but you could stop the spread of illness worldwide.
To get a schedule for adult vaccines and answers to frequently asked questions you can visit the CDC website cdc.gov/vaccines or call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
Take a shot, it can’t hurt (well, maybe a little).
Guideposts -- Caring for the Caregiver 
Libby Hansel’s sister, Mary Lou Carney, wrote about Libby in A Guideposts Publication August/September 2013. Following is excerpts from the publication.
"I sat with my sister in the hospital chapel, absorbing the doctor’s news. Her son’s legs were paralyzed, after multiple surgeries for an aortic dissection and a blood clot. At 34, Lew would live life from a wheelchair. “I’m sorry,” I said, sliding my arm around Libby. I felt so helpless. How much more can she take?
Already she cared for her husband, Denny, who suffers from a degenerative muscle disease along with a host of other ailments. She helped him go to the bathroom, eat, sit up in bed. It was a stressful, tedious responsibility, one my sister did with incredible love. Day after day.
I liked helping out in crises, and usually knew what to do. But this was different. Overwhelming. How could I ease her burden? I lived 250 miles away; I couldn’t take over my brother-in-law’s care. And I couldn’t give her back the two men she loved most in the world, whole and healed. Please, God, I prayed, show me what to do. Help me so I can help Libby. “You’d better get going,” Libby said. “You’ve got a long drive.”
In the lobby we hugged. “Do you remember where you parked?” Libby asked, a small smile breaking through the sadness. “Somewhere in that huge parking garage,” I said. Then I remembered something I’d overheard: A nurse telling a couple that there wasn’t much difference in the price of a monthly parking pass and the cost of a few days. “When I leave, I’ll buy a monthly pass,” I said. “You can share it, so no one will have to worry about parking fees.” it was a small thing, but it felt good knowing I was helping meet a need. In the months that followed I discovered other ways that I and others could minister to my sister. If you know a caregiver, consider these ways to help:
1. Take them food.
2. Give the caregiver a gas card or prepaid credit card.
3. Don’t ask; just do.
4. Take on yard or repair work.
5. Give the gift of laughter.
6. Pray."
If interested, a copy of the Guideposts is in the church office for you to read.
Eat and Enjoy Good Vegetables 
"and that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his
labor.   It is the gift of God."
             Ecclesiastics 3:13
A trip to our local farmers’ market will confirm that we are truly blessed by God’s bountiful presence.
It’s easy to eat nutritiously during this season of plenty. Fruits and vegetables should make up one third of what we consume daily.
That’s at least 5 servings a day.
We are constantly being warned that most illnesses are caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. But we are also constantly tempted by fast food, sweets and salty snacks.
How can we give up all those lame excuses for not following our “5-a-day” healthy eating plan?   “It’s too expensive, I don’t have the time, It’s boring, That’s food for rabbits, I’ll just take a vitamin pill”.
You have to adjust your thinking and your shopping habits. Variety is the key to keeping your diet healthy and your taste buds tantalized.
Think color! The various colors of fruits and vegetables represent differing unique essential nutrients.
As far as relying on supplements, the naturally balanced proportion of fiber, minerals and vitamins and antioxidants found in the “edible delights” cannot be surpassed by artificial means. 
Whether you choose fresh, frozen, canned, raw, cooked, juiced, smoothed, pureed or dried, they all count in your 5-a-day plan.
Now you can expect to have more energy, be more intelligent and look more attractive.
Move over Bugs, and pass me a carrot!
Prepare for Hot Weather
Living in the Midwest we can experience a variety of temperature changes.
Last week I had the heat and the air conditioning on in the same day. We can be sure of hot weather coming soon and staying for awhile.    It can take as much as 2 weeks for our system to adjust to warmer weather.   In the case of a “heat wave”, sudden exposure to high temperatures and humidity, or increased physical activity can put your body at risk for heatstroke, a very serious and potentially fatal condition.
Those at greatest risk are the very young and folks over 65. It has to do with the strength of your central nervous system. In the young, the system is not fully developed and with older adults the system is deteriorating.
These two groups also have trouble remaining well hydrated.
Other health conditions such as heart and lung disease, obesity and certain medications, can also cause increased risk.
The first signs to appear may be those of heat exhaustion. They include:
headache, dizziness, nausea, clammy skin or muscle cramps.
Often you can treat these symptoms yourself by sipping cool water or a sports drink containing electrolytes, (NO ALCOHOLIC beverages). Get into air conditioning or take a cool shower. More serious or persistent symptoms such as rapid breathing, racing heart rate, confusion or vomiting could be signs of heatstroke and will require immediate medical attention.
Remember! NEVER leave children or anyone else in a parked car.
Let’s hope for an easy breezy summer.
And don’t forget to hydrate your soul and spirit through Christ who is the Living Water.
Enjoy the Summer
"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven."    Ecclesiastes 3:1
The pleasures and perils of Summer are many.
It’s like the glass half empty or half full. It depends on your point of view. I suspect most of us are a little of both mind sets.
Finally we can open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in. I want to shed my winter jacket and feel the sun on my skin. What a joy to gather outdoors with friends and family for parties and barbeques. Let me dig in the rich soil adding bright bold color to my garden and patio. The farmer’s markets are bursting with wonderful organic produce. What could be the down side to Summer?
Well, says my negative side, what about dust and pollens and sunburn and bug bites, burned brats, endless chores like washing windows and pulling weeds. Then there’s all those tourists fighting for the blueberry pies. What if it rains? What if it doesn’t rain?
I think God worked very hard to create Summer as a joy and a challenge for us. As with most other challenges in life, with education, preparation and moderation, you will have a glorious season. Just as God wanted.
Take care of yourselves and each other. Just as God wanted.
A Friend in Need
I was sick yesterday.
Nothing serious, just dizziness and chills and I didn’t want to be too far from the bathroom. As I lay in bed thinking about a cold glass of orange juice, it struck me that the juice was only a phone call away. I have a number of caring friends who would be only too glad to bring me the juice or anything else that would help me feel better. I am truly blessed with great friends. But am I a good friend? Are you a good friend?
If a friend told you not to visit her in the hospital because “she would look awful”, would you go anyway and see her eyes fill with grateful tears? Are you the friend that would call a recovering cancer patient everyday just to tell them a joke? Would you sit in the home of an elderly neighbor while their caregiver went to the store, took a shower or took a nap? Would you help a new mom with a little light housework or a hot meal? Could you give a friend a ride to a doctor’s appointment?
Lucky for us, our church has a newly formed “Care Team” that can guide and direct you into being that person. It’s easy to say to a sick or grieving friend that, “God is always with you. He will see you through your darkest hour.” This is true and let’s hope that sometimes when God shows up to comfort someone, he brings a bowl of Jello and looks a lot like a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men."
1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Laughter Therapy is No Joke
It is a medically proven fact that laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing relieves physical stress and tension, relaxes your muscles, massages the diaphragm, thorax, abdomen, heart, lungs and liver. When we laugh the body immediately starts to release endorphins , the body’s natural “feel good” chemical that calms us down, lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.  
It’s no wonder that Laughter Therapy is becoming a popular treatment in hospitals. Even the Pentagon is training “laugh leaders” to   help military families deal with stress. Laughter brings groups together in a positive, fun way, resolving conflicts and energizing everyone while establishing strong connections.
Our brain can’t tell the difference between real or forced laughter. Even if you have to intentionally make ha ha ha sounds, gradually increasing the intensity, you are creating the same healing benefits that a great belly laugh delivers. But why fake it when there are so many amusing things happening in our daily lives.
My personal favorite laugh inducer is the Victor Borge DVD I bought several years ago. My “baby boomer” friends will be familiar with the name. If you have never seen the gut busting routines of the “Great Danish” pianist you owe yourself a treat. I know every gag but I still start laughing before he even begins. 
Maybe you get a chuckle out of the latest crazy antics in a You Tube video. 
 Whatever or whoever you choose as an inspiration, find your funny and start the healing. No kidding. It works.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones”.   Proverbs 17:22
A Bedtime Story
How would you like to be a bear and hibernate all winter? That sounds wonderful to some of us who can barely get 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night and wake up feeling more tired than when we went to bed.
If you suffer from occasional or chronic insomnia that is not linked to some more serious condition like sleep apnea, persistent pain or digestive problems that need to be treated by a doctor, here are a few tips that may help.
Remember when your mother would say, “It’s time to get ready for bed.” You always wanted more of the day. One more TV show, one more story, one more drink of water.
Now that you are an adult I suspect you are still rebelling against the concept of the day being over. I call it, the “Just One More Syndrome”. One more chore, one more email, one more cookie. We need to make getting ready for bed the best part of the day.
Think of it as a matter of respect.
1. Respect for the space we sleep in. Make it a haven of luxury, peace and rest. The unpaid bills on the dresser, laundry to fold, and electronic gizmos can find a home somewhere else. Invest a little money in a good bed and bedding. It will pay off in the long run.   Keep the room cool and dark.
2. Respect for our bodies. Be prepared to change some bad habits. Get educated about how a proper diet aids in the kind of sleep that refreshes, renews, and repairs our remarkable bodies. Start your bedtime routine early (teeth brushing, shower, etc.) so you don’t wake yourself back up just when you are relaxed and ready for sleep.
3. Respect for God. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
He’s got you covered. Count your blessings. Let go. Give it a rest.
Jesus said “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”.
The rest Jesus offers is a quiet strength and companionship that helps you continue moving forward without burning out physically, mentally or emotionally.
Sweet Dreams!
Listening to Body Wisdom
The Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove California offers this lesson about the body-mind- spirit connection.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience. When we suffer a spiritual imbalance, say for instance, we claim that we are too busy for daily prayer or meditation, that imbalance will now drop to a mental issue. We may chastise ourselves for our lack of discipline but still not heed the signals that our body is giving until it becomes a real physical condition making us pay attention. When you are consciously aware that the body signals a spiritual imbalance, you may be able to make the connection.
The left side of the body represents the female and spiritual aspect of taking in God energy while the right side represents the masculine and how we direct our energy in the world.
So the case history of a woman who suffered from symptoms of a “plugged-up “ left ear, became aware that she was not listening to the spiritual messages being given to her.
A cough, sore throat, and laryngitis forced one man to face the consequences of not speaking up and blocking a truth that needed to be heard.
In her book, “You Can Heal Your Life”, author and spiritual sage Louise Hay suggests that just about every medical issue has a corresponding thought process that caused or contributed to that particular health opportunity.
 Affirmations, meditations and prayer are powerful spiritual tools for quieting and redirecting the mind to focus on balance, positive new behaviors and optimum health.
It’s on the Rise Among Younger People
An unexpected trend: Over the last several years, there has been an increase in strokes among adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s. What’s most alarming about this development is that doctors don’t expect to see strokes in these relatively young patients, so the diagnosis sometimes gets overlooked.
What to do: All adults should always have their blood pressure taken during routine doctor visits (at least once every two years if your blood pressure is normal...and at least annually if you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension or prehypertension). You can reduce both blood pressure and the risk for stroke by maintaining a healthy body weight...eating a healthful diet...getting regular exercise...and taking medication if your blood pressure remains elevated despite lifestyle changes.
Surprising Red Flags for Stroke:  Stroke symptoms aren’t always dramatic. If you’ve had a minor stroke or a transient ischemic attach (a brief interruption of blood flow known as a “ministroke”), the symptoms might be fleeting and easy to miss. What’s more, in rare cases, symptoms may occur that you may not think of in relation to a stroke. For example, you may initially feel disoriented or experience nausea, general weakness, face or limb pain, chest pain or palpitations-all of which typically come on suddenly. Depending on the part of the brain that’s affected, you may not be aware o your symptoms and must rely on someone else to call for help. Don’t take chances. Get to an emergency room if you have these and/or the classic symptoms below—FAST (Face, Arm, Speech and Time) is a helpful guide.
* Face: The most common stroke symptom is weakness on one side of the body, including on one side of the face. You may have difficulty smiling normally.
* Arm: One-sided weakness often affects one of the arms. Hold both arms out to your sides. You could be having a stroke if one of your arms drops down.
* Speech: Your words could sound slurred, or you might be unable to say a simple sentence correctly.
* Time: In the past, the “Window” to receive clot-dissolving medication was considered to be three hours. New research indicated that stroke patients can benefit if they get treated within 4.5 hours after having the first symptom.    
1. Oh, by gosh, by golly. Don’t let your pets eat the mistletoe and holly! Those plants, as well as some lilies (for cats), can cause vomiting diarrhea, and even kidney failure in animals. If your pet has snacked on holiday herbage, call ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435
2. Pack extra meds for travel. And if you’re going by plane, put them in your carry-on rather than in your checked suitcase because luggage delays might occur and baggage compartments are rarely temperature-controlled. Also bring copies of your prescriptions and a doctor’s note for any controlled substances or injectable drugs. If you’re unsure about what you’re allowed to bring on a plane, call the Transportation Security Administration at 866-289-9673.
3. Have yourself a merry veggie medley.   In a study published recently in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, participants ate a larger quantity of vegetables overall when they were served three different types of veggies at a meal rather than a single vegetable.
How can you know which toothbrush features are hype and which can really help keep your smile healthy? Straight from the dental experts’ mouths, here’s what you need.
           A concentrated bunch of bristles helps scrub away residue in tight crevices.
           Rows slanting in different directions let you clean on push and pull motions.
          These have a nontoxic dye to give you a heads-up when it’s time for a new brush.
           A bit of give helps the brush adjust better to the shape of your mouth.
           A comfy grip defeats fatigue, so you brush longer. Pick a stem wider than a pencil.
6.       SOFT BRISTLES—Hard bristles can irritate gums. 
           You want to stimulate, not abrade, them.
 Germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause colds, flu, food poisoning and other health problems. Taking these steps to stop the spread of germs in you home can help keep you and your family healthy.
What can I do to keep my hands clean?
Wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water or use a hand sanitizer gel. When washing with soap and water, rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces firmly for 20 seconds—about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Rinse your hands well under running water and dry them using a paper towel. Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. When using a hand sanitizer, apply it to the palm of one hand and rub your hands together. Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until they’re dry.
Help stop the spread of germs by coughing or sneezing into a tissue and throwing it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. Try not to use your hands because you can spread germs when you touch objects or other people. If you must sneeze into your hands, wash or sanitize them right away. Also wash or sanitize your hands after handling food, using the bathroom, changing diapers or tending to a sick person, and handling pets.
What can I do to keep my home clean?
     In your kitchen:
     * Clean your sink with hot soapy water after use; you can also sanitize your sink with a            solution of bleach and water (1tsp of bleach in 1 quart of water) or scrub with a bleach-     containing cleanser regularly.
     * Wipe off all countertops andtables with hot soapy water or a household disinfectant      before and after preparingfoods. Consider using paper towels; if you use cloth towels,      wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
     * Replace your kitchen sponge often.
     * Use different utensils for raw meat and vegetables or fruit.
     * Clean and sanitize cutting boards and throw them away if deep grooves      develop. Wooden boards can harbor bacteria and are harder to clean. Wash plastic cutting      boards in hot soapy water after each use or sanitize them in the dishwasher. Use one      cutting board for fresh produce and a different one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
     * Never put cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry (or their Juices),  seafood or eggs.
     * Refrigerate or freeze meat, eggs and other perishable foods as soon as you get      them home. Never let raw meat, poultry, eggs, cooked food, or cut fruits or vegetables sit at  room temperature for more than 2 hours before putting them in the refrigerator or freezer.
     * Never defrost food at room temperature-always marinate food in the refrigerator.
      * Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked to a safe temperature. Make sure      there are no cold spots in food when you’re heating it in a microwave oven.
     * Thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruits under running hot water, including those with      skins and rinds.
     * Use very hot water to rinse dishes after washing and allow them to air dry or dry them      with a paper towel.
   In your bathroom:
     * Wipe all surfaces with a disinfectant regularly.
     * After brushing your teeth, rinse your toothbrush with tap water and let it dry out      between uses.
     * Never share toothbrushes and replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
      * Replace towels regularly and wash them in hot water.
*       *       *       *       *
1. Act like an athlete. Before lifting anything heavy, take a cue from Little Leaguers and Olympians and do a simple warm-up. This is especially important first thing in the morning, when your ligaments and tendons are tight, or if you’ve been sitting all day. Do some basic upper body circles for a count of four.
2. Practice the two-point lift. Get as close as possible to the object you’re picking up, keeping your torso tall (don’t lean over). Use the strength of your legs and butt to complete the lift.
3. Reverse course. If you always put the car seat in from the same direction or carry groceries on the same arm, break the pattern. You need this counter-balance to prevent the muscles from becoming overstretched.
4. Don’t floor it. Put grocery bags or parcels on a counter, not at your feet. High is almost always better than low for lifting.
5. Take a break. If you’re hauling heavy things in the garden, divide your tasks to do a little at a time.
You’re not the only one lugging too much stuff around. A recent study found that more than 60% of school kids carry a bag that exceeds 10% of their body weight. Those with the heaviest bags had a 50% greater risk of back pain, with girls more likely to experience problems than boys.
While backpacks are generally a more comfortable way to carry things, they can easily be overloaded. Kids, because they are still growing and developing, are especially at risk of injuries, which range from temporary aches and pains to lifelong complications such as scoliosis. So follow the same rules for your kid’s bag as you do for your own: Limit its weight and size (or switch to a wheeled version). If you notice that your child has to lean forward while walking, the backpack is too heavy.
Your brain enjoys spices as much as your taste buds do. Herbs and spices like black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, parsley, ginger and vanilla are high in antioxidants, which may help build brainpower. Scientists are particularly intrigued by curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, common in Indian curries. It bonds to amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brains of people with the disease. Animal research shows curcumin reduces amyloid plaques and lowers inflammation levels. A study in humans also found those who ate curried foods frequently had higher scores on standard cognition tests.
You must remember this.
Mental activity is the best protection for memory decline late in life, according to two recent studies published online in the journal Neurology. One found that the last two to three years of life see the greatest decline. But according to the second study, keeping mentally fit with such activities as board games or reading may help preserve brain function and memory late in life. Checkers, anyone?
Don’t flop on fatty fish.
A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine got a lot of publicity for finding little evidence that omega-3 fatty acid supplements help prevent heart attacks or strokes in people with heart disease. But the analysis was criticized because it looked at small and short-term studies. We stand by our advice: Most people should aim for two weekly servings of low-mercury fatty fish, such as wild salmon or tilapia. People with heart disease should consider fish-oil pills.
Eat safe at the fair.
That corn dog may look delicious, but food served at street fairs, festivals, and barbecues brings a surge in cases of food poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To stay safe, check that vendors are following basics, like keeping surfaces clean, using separate cutting boards for raw meat and poultry, cooking food to the right temperature, and refrigerating perishables. For a full list, go to FoodSafety.gov.
Put away that sewing needle! Next time you get a stubborn splinter, you can pull it out easily by doing the following:
Cut a small, postage-stamp-sized piece of fresh onion and place it on the padded part of an adhesive bandage. Then wrap it around the splintered skin. By morning, the onion will have drawn the splinter to the surface, making it easy to remove with a pair of tweezers.
We all know fiber is good for us. We know it keeps us regular, lowers cholesterol, may prevent colon cancer and helps us stay trim. Yet most of us don’t get anywhere near the 20 grams of fiver per day that doctors recommend.
One reason is that many high-fiber foods just don’t taste very good. But here’s good news: You can get all the fiber you need without eating any of that dry, tasteless stuff.
How? By eating avocados. One serving of avocado contains 12 grams of fiber-33% more than a cup of shredded wheat cereal!
And avocados aren’t the only tasty foods that are high in fiber. Some delicious high-fiber fruits include raspberries (8 grams)...blackberries (8 grams)...apples (3 grams)...and mangoes (4 grams).
As for vegetables and legumes, the best choices are acorn squash (6 grams)...black beans (8 grams)...artichokes (6 grams)...and sweet potatoes (5 grams).
So next time you’re at the supermarket, make sure you load up on these delicious high-fiber foods. Your body will thank you!
A sports drink won’t make you run faster or jump higher, it’ll merely replenish fluids and nutrients you lose while sweating. But there are beverages that really do have a training effect. Sip water as you work out (dehydration can slow you down), and try these other drinks for real results.—JC
How Much: 2 1/2 Cups
Best Time to Sip: Every day for a week leading up to (as well as the day of) any athletic event like a race.
Beverage Benefits: Endurance athletes who drank cherry juice before running a marathon felt less pain afterward than those who didn’t. Phytochemicals in the drink appear to ease inflammation.
How Much: 2 to 4 Cups
Best Time to Sip: Right after strength-training.
Beverage Benefits: The protein in the milk helps repair muscles you’ve exerted. The calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones and may help you lose more fat.
How Much: 3 to 4 Cups
Best Time to Sip: Daily, including right before a workout.
Beverage Benefits: The caffeine in green tea will help you work out longer. You’ll also shed more fat, thanks to compounds called catechins, which increase fat burn, especially during aerobic exercise.
How Much: Add 1/2 teaspoon Grated Ginger to 8 Ounces of Lemonade
Best Time to Sip: Daily
Beverage Benefits: Ginger, which contains anti-inflammatory compounds, has been found to ease postworkout muscle soreness by up to 25%.
Controlling Sodium
It might seem surprising that a simple banana could help you control the effect of sodium on your body, but it’s true:
Bananas are rich in potassium—the mineral that helps regulate sodium. The benefit:
A banana a day may help lower your blood pressure, prevent your arteries from clogging, reduce your risk of stroke and help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Yes, it is as simple as that. 
And there’s something you should know about Alka-Seltzer, salt and your blood pressure…...The ad says: “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” BUT… Alka-Seltzer Effervescent Tablets have a high sodium content and can increase your blood pressure. If you have tummy trouble, consider peppermint oil instead. It improves symptoms in three out of four people.
The Deacons are providing a variety of Care Notes that may help you or someone you know with guidance, support, and building a relationship with God to help you/them through tough times. The selection ranges from children to adults and covers topics such as prayer, illnesses, death, betrayal, rejection, and sorrow. The Care Notes are located outside the Edith Boyd Lounge. Please feel free to take one.
 Alzheimers and Dementia Information and Courses
Last spring members of the Deacons Committee attended several presentations given by the Alzheimer’s Association. The Deacons collected useful information which they want to share with members of the congregation. These resources can be found in folders in the church office behind the yellow Deacon folders and they are labeled “Alzheimer’s Education Series”. Please do not remove this information from the office, but feel free to photocopy anything that may be of use or contact the Alzheimer’s Association using the contact number given on their literature. If you have access to the internet the Alzheimer’s Association has the following websites that may be useful: 
                                National website: www.alz.org
                                Greater Indiana Chapter: www.alz.org/Indiana
In our August newsletter, we included a bookmark called “The Ten Absolutes” from Jo Huey’s book, Alzheimer’s Disease: Help and Hope, which gives some excellent suggestions on how to interact with someone experiencing significant memory loss.    
An Alzheimer’s support group meets at Rittenhouse Senior Living of Michigan City on the third Wednesday of every month at 2:00 P.M. which might also be helpful. 
Some of us have friends or family members who have some form of memory loss or we know of a caregiver who may need information or support.   Perhaps you can let them know about these resources that are available. 
Please help the Deacons with our mission of compassion and care by sharing this information.
Working together to show Christ’s love, Lois Miley, Deacon Moderator
Sometimes if a little bit is good, more is even better—especially when it comes to healthy habits and heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) has pinpointed seven habits that contribute to a healthy heart. Follow one or two and you are doing your heart some good. Do all seven, and you are doing your heart even better.
1) Manage blood pressure. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for heart  disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80.
2) Get active.  Getting moderate exercise 30 minutes a day helps reduce the risk for heart disease           because it helps lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, control blood sugar, and control body weight.
3) Control cholesterol. Too much “bad” cholesterol in the blood can clog arteries, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Get your cholesterol checked. If your total cholesterol is above 200 mg/dl, follow your doctor’s advice for lowering it.
4) Eat better. Vegetables, fruits, whole grain products, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products pack a powerful nutrient punch without a lot of calories. Include more of these foods and reduce your intake of highly processed and high-fat foods and salt.
5) Lose weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Visit www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi to find your body mass index (BMI). If it is 25 or higher, start losing excess pounds.
6) Reduce blood sugar. Adults with diabetes are more likely to have heart disease than those without it. Get your blood sugar level checked. If it is higher than 100 mg/dl, follow your doctor’s advice.
7) Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for heart disease, especially if you have other risk factors.
The AHA has an online tool called My Life Check. Visit www.mylifecheck.heart.org to see how you stack up against Life’s Simple 7 and get advice for improving your own heart health. Take care of you.
From the American Heart Association and your congregational nurse.