Tuesday, August 15, 2017

B12, vital for Health

We invite everyone to come to our next extra-delicious Pathfinder Produce market, this Thursday at the Pathfinder Village Commons, Edmeston, from 1 to 5 p.m. Our seasonal harvest is underway, which means that there are even more fresh treats for you to choose from.

We're nearing the end of our 20th annual Summer Concert Series … there’s only two more Saturday night performances left for the year! Last weekend's concert by Stone Soup was great; some of the members of that band will revisit us this coming weekend at the Pavilion (fingers crossed on the weather) as their alter-ego, rock band, Monkey and the Crowbar.  The Summer Concert Series is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Arts Council’s Decentralization Grants Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

***

It's been a bit since I blogged on a specific vitamin, and I've heard snatches of stories on the radio about B12 deficiencies, especially among people of, ahem, a certain age. According to Wikipedia, which offers a detailed entry on this essential vitamin, Vitamin B12 is:

“… is a water-soluble vitamin that has a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system via the synthesis of myelin, and the formation of red blood cells. It is one of eight B vitamins.  It is involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, especially affecting DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.  No fungi, plants, or animals (including humans) are capable of producing vitamin B12.”

So we need it to function well, and we need to ingest it with our food, as we can't make it. A key element in the compound is cobalt. Cobalt is a mineral found in the earth that has been used historically to create that lovely blue smalt glass, or deep blue pigments for paint.

According to Good Housekeeping, B12 is found naturally in meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, and is added to processed foods like fortified cereals.   So what happens if we don’t get enough B12 through our diets?  Prevention Magazine says that 4 of 100 women ages to 40 to 59 are deficient in B12, and the deficiency can be affected by not eating a strict vegetarian/vegan diet, and certain prescriptions.  If you suspect you are low in B12, talk to your doctor about your concerns.  Doctors may prescribe vitamin pills or shots if your levels are off.

Some symptoms of B12 deficiency may include: 
  • Fatigue and weak muscles, despite sleeping at night: This is because your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells (anemia), and therefore can’t transport sufficient oxygen to your cells.
  •  You experience numbness or “pins and needles:” Prevention indicates that low oxygen levels can lead to nerve damage.
  • Brain fog & Forgetfulness:  If you struggle with finding items or remembering names, a B12 deficiency might be affecting how your brain functions.  If medically diagnosed and treated, many patients report improvement.
  • Dizziness and balance issues:  According to Prevention, one Turkish study compared patients complaining of dizziness with a healthy sample.  They found that the patients had 40% less B12 than the comparison group.
  • Pale or yellow-tinged skin:  Red blood cells rely on B12 to remain healthy; if they breakdown due to a deficiency, it may cause jaundice.
  •  A tongue issues:  A severe B12 deficiency can kill off your tongue’s papillae and taste buds, resulting in a loss of taste, even with favorite foods.  This can then result in weight loss, due to the lack of pleasure in eating.
  • Moodiness, worries or paranoia:  Doctors suspect that B12 affects the synthesis of compounds like serotonin and dopamine, which affect emotions, depression, and anxiety levels.
  • Eye problems:  In severe cases, a lack of B12 can affect your optic nerve and blood flow to your retina, which can cause vision blurriness, light sensitivity, or vision loss.


Another good article on B12 deficiency is found at the Harvard Medical School website.

Until next time, eat well and be well,


Lori

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thoughts on Dental Health

We invite everyone to the next scrumptious Pathfinder Produce at the Village Commons, Edmeston, on Thursday, August 10, from 1 to 5 p.m.. We're serving up some of the freshest, most-flavorful veggies through the efforts of our Adult Day Services members, who put such loving care into our Pathfinder Hoop House produce.

This coming Saturday, we invite everyone to enjoy the continuing 20th annual Summer Concert Series at the Pathfinder Pavilion at 7 p.m.  Our next concert on August 12 features a satisfying serving of great songs by the band Stone Soup.  The Summer Concert Series is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Arts Council’s Decentralization Grants Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

***

I've noticed in my Facebook feeds that one of our regional health insurers, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, has been recommending people improve their dental health by adding regular flossing to their gym workouts.  The part that really grabbed my attention was that they cite that a large majority of people don't take this one easy step in support of their overall health.

It got me to wondering, “So, what is the state of dental health in America”? According to a 2014 survey, most Americans brush twice a day, but only 4-in-10 floss each day. The survey article also ferrets out other poor habits, like not brushing long enough (for at least 2-3 minutes), not brushing correctly, or cleaning at the wrong time.

Some web sources suggest that the plaque bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease are suspected in having a role in other inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and dementia. Last August, there was a brouhaha in the press, as the Associated Press called into question the American Dental Association’s research studies on flossing's effectiveness. In response, the ADA stated, “… while the average benefit (for flossing) is small and the quality of the evidence is very low (meaning the true average benefit could be higher or lower), given that periodontal disease is estimated to affect half of all Americans, even a small benefit may be helpful.”

But perhaps there's another way to look at the whole dental health picture, rather than the direct health consequences. There are many online articles that indicate poor dental health plagues families that can't afford regular dental visits.  One article from 2015 reveals the relationship between poor dental care for Greek children during that country's financial crisis, and other societal consequences, like subsequent poor eating habits.

The article says, “Doctors and scientists have long associated dental health with economic development, largely because good teeth are correlated with access to education. Pain from dental diseases keeps children in many developing countries from their studies, according to the World Health Organisation.”  Further, there are many other articles that indicate that if you have poor teeth, your job prospects may be limited, and if you are working, your dental health can affect job performance.

So it’s clear that dental health matters, and it’s important to take proactive steps to improve one's health, like better brushing techniques.  (I’d never heard of the Modified Bass method before, who knew??!)  This article from the Mayo Clinic offers some tips, including brushing techniques, advice on plaque removal, and mouth warning signs that shouldn't be ignored.  There are things like candy and sugary/acidic drinks that are to be avoided, as there are foods that are beneficial for teeth– calcium-rich foods, vitamin-packed crunchy veggies, etc.  There are some surprises in this article from the Carefree Dental website.

Finally, one may reconsider investing in better toothbrushes. Electric or ultrasonic toothbrushes are considered more effective and are have come down in price from several years ago.  And even manual toothbrushes have been given a redesign to do a better job, and are now available now at online outlets.

Until next time, keep smilin’!


Lori

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

It's Baaacckkk!!!!

We invite everyone to this week’s delicious Pathfinder Produce market, where we have the freshest produce, the most helpful staff, and some really great pricing.  Our market is set for the Pathfinder Village Commons, here in Edmeston, from 1 to 5 p.m.  We look forward to seeing you!

As you will see on our price list, many of our Pathfinder Hoop House grown products are now being sold at the market.  Our thanks go out to the Adult Day Services team, whose members tend our delicate plants and harvest our fruits and veggies with loving care.  They really do an outstanding job in adding even more fresh produce choices for our loyal customers to enjoy.  And the fruits and veggies … they are oh, so good! 

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel shares some thoughts on one of the joys of summer, sweet corn.   

***
Something my family looks forward to every year is the return of sweet corn. My husband and I grew up eating New Jersey sweet corn (the best in the world, as far as we’re concerned—sorry New York!). During our time living in Arizona, we really missed it. When we moved our family back to the east coast in the summer of 1996, one of the first things we sought out was sweet corn. We actually wound up eating it almost every day until the end of the season. 

We had a debate the other night about the best way to cook it. My husband prefers it boiled, but our daughter-in-law loves it grilled. I love it either way, and my grandkids don’t seem too choosy about it either.

I saw that local corn is in now, so I’ll give you some recipes for grilled corn-on-the-cob so you can try it for yourself. This blog post gives three ways to grill corn, with advantages and disadvantages to each. They also mention a quick microwave method that I just heard of from a friend last night which could be convenient for a single serving.

I feel like everyone has their own method of boiling corn-on-the-cob, from what you add to the water to how long to boil it for; I won’t jump into that debate except to mention that I recently heard of boiling corn in milk. That was a new one to me, and I think I may give it a try. Here’s that recipe.

If you have a favorite way to prepare corn on the cob, let us know. We’re always willing to lend an ear!

Until next time, enjoy all the fresh produce and ways to share it with your loved ones!


Martha (and Lori)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Perfect Savory Summer Treat!

Hello everyone!  We invite all our friends and neighbors to come down to the next yummy Pathfinder Produce, set for the Village Commons on Thursday, July 27, from 1 to 5 p.m.  We’re just bursting with healthy, crunchy, fresh veggies and fruits!  Plus, our produce from our very own Pathfinder Hoop Houses is now being harvested by members of our Adult Day Services … it’s simply delicious!!

Our Summer Concert Series is still in full swing for another month … come down to the Pathfinder Pavilion this coming Saturday evening, July 29, at
7 p.m., to enjoy the sounds of hammered dulcimer virtuoso Dan Duggan, along with guitarist Peggy Lynn, who will present songs inspired by New York's North Country and other folk tunes. 

The Summer Concert Series is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Arts Council’s Decentralization Grants Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.  The series is also made possible with funds from private donors, Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match Program, and WGY’s Christmas Wish.

Below, my colleague Maura Iorio offers some thoughts on yummy grilled summer meals!

***

Summer is in full swing, and although it seems many days have been rainy and overcast this year, it only makes us appreciate the warm sunny days even more!

One of my favorite things about summer is using the grill to make quick and simple dinners. Although hamburgers and hotdogs may be the first things that come to mind when we think of BBQs and cookouts, grilled vegetables can add some much needed color and flavor to your meal!


Any fresh veggies, in my opinion, are great on the grill, but here are some recipes to get you started:

 Grilled Fajita Vegetable Skewers
Pair these with some grilled chicken or steak for the perfect Tex-Mex dinner!
Click here for the recipe!





Mediterranean Grilled Zucchini Boats
Summer is usually filled with an abundance of zucchini and yellow squash! Switch it up by grilling these Mediterranean-inspired zucchini boats—perfect as a side dish or on top of a light salad!   Click here for a step-by-step tutorial!



Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are my favorite vegetable to grill! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is packed with flavor and easy to make! Click here for the recipe and video tutorial. 



Whatever recipe you try, grilled vegetables are guaranteed to be a delicious (and nutritious) addition to your summer meals!

Until next time, enjoy all the summer flavors!

Maura (and Lori)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Black Caps and Bicycles

Greetings, everyone! Our summer is flying by here at Pathfinder Village, and we invite all our friends and neighbors to come down to Pathfinder Produce this week to get the best flavors of the season. We're open on Thursday at the Village Commons, from 1 to 5 p.m. Our friendly and courteous staff is looking forward to helping you with your fresh produce needs.

We want to say hello to our current week of Camp Pathfinder campers … this is a great program that has been happening for seven years here at the Village, and through it we meet some wonderful young adults from throughout the country. This is our third week of one-week camp, and we're having a great time welcoming back some of our veteran participants, as well as some new friends.

Also, our 20th annual Summer Concert Series is going strong! We invite everyone to come to the Pavilion this coming Saturday night as Pathfinder welcomes a new group, Crow Ridge, this year. The four-member band specializes in a unique repertoire of modern country, alternative country and Americana, and provides high-energy, danceable cover songs.  You can bring your lawn chair, kick back and enjoy the music!  

The Summer Concert Series is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Arts Council’s Decentralization Grants Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.  The Series is also made possible with funds from private donors, Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match Program and WGY’s Christmas Wish.

***

This weekend our family took advantage of the dryer weather to catch up on the mowing and trimming. As we were whacking weeds, I noticed we have some wild grapes growing through the hedgerows, and that the raspberries and black raspberries are nearly ready to pick. We don't have enough to collect, so we generally just grab a few here and there as tantalizing samples.

The black raspberry or black cap, aka rubus occidentalis, is different from the blackberry, also of the rubus genus, in several key ways. First, it is generally smaller, has some small hairs, and when one picks the black raspberry, the berry is hollow. The black raspberry is also not as tart as the blackberry.

Black raspberries are similar too to red raspberries, but their stems tend to have more barbs. Black raspberries' taste is different from the red ones … here are some thoughts on black raspberries and some recipes from simple good and tasty

According to another website, the black raspberry buzz, black caps offer a lot of health benefits: “Black raspberries are one of the healthiest berries on the planet.  They are lower in sugar than most berries and also contain a lot of fiber (around 8 grams per cup). They contain large amounts of anthocyanins, and around three times the antioxidants found in blackberries.  They are also one of the most well-researched berries, especially in the area of cancer prevention.”

The World's Healthiest Foods website says that wild raspberries’ origins are obscure, and they appear in different forms on five continents.  Humans began cultivating raspberries in Europe at about the time of Christ.  Today, cultivated raspberries rank third in popularity for berries, and Russia, the U.S., Serbia, Poland, Chile and Mexico are among the top producers.

It’s funny how just picking a few black caps can bring about lots of fun memories. When I was about ten, we would go berry picking with my older cousins on their dairy farm in Columbus, near the Chobani plant (which was then owned by Breakstone and started off as the Phenix Cheese Company plant).  We'd never end up with tons of black caps, but our moms would have enough for a pie or two, and we’d just eat them by the handfuls too. They were well worth the bug bites and scratches from the brambles.

Another memory from those summers’ past is of riding around on some ancient single speed, coaster-braked, balloon-tired bikes my cousins owned.  They dated from the early ‘60s, were really heavy, and could withstand the bumps of country roads.  We just always had to make sure the tires were full of air, which of course meant removing the black caps to the tire stems and using my uncle’s handy compressor.  That smidgen of bike mechanics set me on the path to later attempt more-involved repairs through the years, including a couple of modest rebuilds.

Our knowledge of bike safety in those days was nil – no bike helmets, and we would do things that today would make me blanch if my kids did them – like riding down really steep hills onto major roads.  But ever since those days, I’ve loved casual bike riding for exercise and will be taking a few “upcycled beach cruisers” I’ve cobbled together on our summer vacation.  Thanks to my analytically minded son, we’ve finally figured out what was wrong with a “forever flat front tire” … a small staple, which you couldn’t see on the outside, had penetrated the tread and kept puncturing pin-holes into the tubes as they were pressurized.

Until next time, enjoy some berries, and keep cruisin’!

Lori

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Need is Constant ....

Ah … summertime.  There’s so much to do in just 24 hours a day!  Isn’t it good to know that Pathfinder Produce is here for you to help with your produce purchases?  Fresh fruits and veggies are always a big hit for summer meals, adding color, flavor and zest.

Our market in Morris is on hiatus for the summer, and our Edmeston market – only a short drive away – is open at the Pathfinder Village Commons on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m.  We look forward to seeing you this week!

***

In just a few short weeks, on Tuesday, August 1, Pathfinder Village will host its annual summer American Red Cross Blood Drive at the Pathfinder Gym.  We encourage everyone who is able to take part.  It’s never been easier to sign up for a local blood drive -- just click on this link to find a drive near you and go through the online sign-up process, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).  The Red Cross also has a new RapidPass online health history questionnaire which can reduce the time it takes to donate.

According to the NY-Pennsylvania regional office, the American Red Cross is facing a nationwide critical blood shortage and is issuing an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types.  Overall, the summer months are challenging for the Red Cross to receive enough blood donations, as regular donors delay giving while they go on vacation.

“It’s crucial that people donate now to meet the needs of patients every day and to be prepared for emergencies that require significant volumes of donated blood,” said Nick Gehrig, communications director, Red Cross Blood Services. “Every day, blood and platelet donors can help save lives, and right now these heroes are needed to give as soon as possible.”  Blood donations are needed for patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for cancer or sickle cell disease.

To donate blood, the American Red Cross has criteria it follows, to help ensure that donors have good experiences and to ensure that blood supplies are safe.  In general, you must be:

·      17 years old (some states allow 16 year-olds to give with parental consent),
·      weigh at least 110 lbs.
·      be in good general health and feeling well.  (If you have a chronic condition, you can still donate, as long as your condition is under control).

But you can actually do a lot before you come to your local blood drive to make sure you have a good experience:

·       Eat lots of iron rich foods before you give and cook in cast iron pans, to ensure that you have enough iron in your blood.  The Red Cross tests every donor for their hematocrit levels before they give.
·       Drink plenty of water!  Dehydrated donors can have a harder time donating, so be sure to keep your fluid intake at appropriate levels.
·       Make sure you eat a healthy meal before you donate, as having proper blood-sugar levels can make a difference as you recover from donating.
·       Be sure to schedule enough time to donate.  It isn’t a long process, but it generally takes at least 30 to 45 minutes.
·       Bring your donor card if you are already a donor.  New donors should bring a valid driver's license or two other forms of current ID.
·       Bring the names of medications you are taking.
·       Schedule a low-key day for after your donation, to give your body time to readjust. 

Thanks for considering donating!  Your donation of one pint of blood may help up to three individuals needing blood, and can bring great relief to their loved ones.

Until next time, consider giving the gift of life!

Lori


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Swim for your Life!

Hello!  Summer is in full swing here at Pathfinder Village, and our first campers at Camp Pathfinder are enjoying a full week of experiences at area attractions and here at the Village.  This Saturday night at 7 p.m., we’ll also be kicking off our 20th annual free Summer Concert Series at the Pavilion with one of our favorite bands, the Blues Maneuver.  Come on down to enjoy some great summer fun! 

With its harvest plenty offered at local veggie stands, summer means we’ll be changing our produce market operations as well.  Our Morris Market is on vacation for the summer.  Our Edmeston market will be open during its usual hours, on Thursdays, from 1 to 5 p.m.  We hope to see you tomorrow!

For this week’s blog, my colleague Martha Spiegel offers some thoughts on one of her favorite activities, swimming.

***

To have some planned time together and to get some exercise, my husband and I joined the Norwich YMCA a few weeks ago and are hitting the pool! We try to swim three times a week, and are really enjoying it.

We started out swimming for 30 minutes, and are increasing that time by 3 minutes every week, with a goal of 45 minutes. My once-textbook swimming strokes are not what they used to be, so right now I’m doing a combination of walking in the shallow end and modified strokes in the deep end until my muscles catch up with my muscle memory. In addition to getting my heart pumping and my body moving, I also find it relaxing and de-stressing.

Swimming is a great workout, and is easy on the joints since the water supports you all around and you feel buoyant. My dad, now in his 80s, swims every day for an hour and consequently has little arthritis pain.  The strength in his legs helped him bounce back very quickly from knee replacement surgery this past year. Even if you don’t feel comfortable in deep water, walking or running in waist-deep water is a great low-impact activity.

I have always felt at home in the water. Dad taught me to swim when I was very little, and I took swim lessons for several years. My children took lessons as well, and later both became life guards and joined the high school swim team. Now my grandkids are taking lessons through the Norwich Youth Bureau’s summer program. The oldest two didn’t love it their first year, but now with a couple of summers under their belts, they are much more confident. This year all of my son’s children are in lessons; even the one-year-old is enthusiastic and all smiles at her parent/child sessions.

Not everyone is as comfortable in the water, and some are even afraid of it. Even so, it’s important to learn at least some swimming basics to be safe around water. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 360,000 people globally died from drowning in 2015, and drowning is one of the top five causes of death for children through age 14. It’s never too late to learn to swim, either, and many aquatic facilities offer adult swim lessons. Many communities have public pools that residents can use for little or no cost, so see if there is one near you.

Even the best swimmers need to remember safety rules in and around the water. Never swim alone—use the Buddy System, and swim where there is a lifeguard whenever possible. Always wear a life jacket while boating. Never leave children unsupervised around water, even if they are strong swimmers. Wear water-resistant sunscreen and reapply often if you swim outside. There is a great list of safety tips here from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Until next time, cool off, have fun, and get fit!
Martha (and Lori)