Tuesday, October 30

What to do with all of that Halloween candy?

by Katherine Matutes

I’m often asked if I let my kids eat their Halloween loot, and I am usually greeted with raised eyebrows when I say “yes”.  However, I do have some rules.

Safety First:  Of course, safety is the most important issue. We only visit the houses of people we know, and I always inspect every price of candy before they may eat anything. 

Moderate Indulgence: They may only have five pieces on Halloween night – which is pretty lenient in my house. The rest is put up out of sight, so they’re not constantly tempted to get another piece. On the days following Halloween they are permitted to have one piece a day but not every day.

Shared Decisions: When they ask for a piece of candy a week or so later, I ask them to decide if they feel they’ve had a piece of candy for several days in a row. If they say “yes”, I follow up with the suggestion that perhaps they should make a healthier choice and have a piece of fruit for a snack instead. They may still chose the piece of candy, but they often decide to go for fruit, which usually satisfies their craving for something sweet.

These guidelines are helpful for several reasons. 

  • Allowing them to be indulgent on Halloween teaches them that it’s ok to be a little indulgent sometimes. Limiting the number of pieces to 5 on the first day reminds them that indulgences should be kept moderate. 
  • Storing the candy out of sight helps avoid the temptation to eat a piece just because they see it, again bearing moderation in mind. I don’t forbid them from eating Halloween candy because that kind of restriction typically backfires, leading to hiding or binging behaviors that set the stage for eating disorders. A mom recently told me that she knew she had over done the junk food restriction when her son was found at a party hiding behind a chair with an empty Doritos bag that he had single-handedly devoured.
  • Asking them to evaluate if they’ve had a lot of candy recently is empowering them to be involved in the decision making process. I’m not just telling them what the rules are. I’m teaching them how to pay attention to their own behavior and make the right choice, which is something they will have to do when I am not around to guide them.

There also is the possibility that your family won’t distribute all the candy it purchased for trick-or-treaters. Excess candy can add to temptation in your house if it’s left to sit around. This year, you might consider sharing your leftover candy with our brave military personnel overseas through the website www.operationgratitude.com.

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, October 25

Negotiating tragedy with Kenneth Feinberg

The opportunities are rare to hear a first-hand account from a public servant who has helped oversee the responses to some of our nation’s greatest tragedies and disasters, including the 9/11 terror attacks and the BP oil spill two years ago.

But that opportunity will be a reality for attendees of the JCC’s 14th Annual Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts when they spend an evening with Kenneth Feinberg, one of the nation’s leading experts in mediation and dispute resolution.

In the last decade, Feinberg has risen to prominence for serving as the lead administrator of the funds created to support the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks, the fatal stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair in 2011 and the BP oil spill among others. 

In 2009, the Secretary of the Treasury appointed Feinberg the Special Master for TARP Executive Compensation, putting him in the position to determine the annual compensation packages for senior corporate officials at companies that received the most taxpayer financial assistance in the wake of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

Feinberg is arguably the nation’s foremost expert on dispute resolution strategy and related compensation, and his talk at the Ann Katz Festival on October 29 at 5 p.m. will be a rare chance to hear the psychology, calculations and objectivity that came into play with each of his heart-wrenching assignments to fairly distribute compensatory funds to victims.

A complete list of other presenters and events at this year’s Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts is available online.

Tuesday, October 23

Add Some D if You're Over 50

by Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin, because humans have the ability to make vitamin D when sunlight shines on the skin. Vitamin D is important for nerve function, hormone synthesis, muscle contraction and it is imperative for the maintenance of strong bones.

Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that many Americans don’t get enough sunlight to produce adequate Vitamin D for optimum health and as we age we become less efficient at turning sunlight into Vitamin D. 

Additionally, aging is often accompanied with an increase in intolerance to lactose, the sugars found in milk and diary. To avoid the uncomfortable side effects of lactose intolerance many individuals over 50 decrease their consumption of milk and dairy, which are excellent sources of Vitamin D.

Side effects of low vitamin D status can be depression, decreased cognitive function, weakened bones and an increased risk of falling. Because Vitamin D is important for muscle contraction and bone health, sub-optimal vitamin D levels can lead to more falls and poorer recovery from a fall. Accidental falls are a leading cause of disability and death among seniors so preventing falls and reducing risk factors for falls is very important.

So how can we get more Vitamin D? Great dietary sources of Vitamin D are milk, dairy products, and oily fishes such as salmon or tuna. Vitamin D supplements are an inexpensive and easy way to increase your intake. According to the Institute of Medicine, 600- 800 IU of Vitamin D per day is adequate for the senior population. 

A simple blood test performed at the doctor’s office can reveal your Vitamin D status, telling you whether you need to take in more each day through supplements or your dietary decisions. A discussion about the use of supplements with one’s physician and pharmacist is always recommended. 

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, October 18

The eyes have it: Improve your sports game in 30 seconds

by Bob Putt

Like many athletes, golfers often reach a plateau and struggle to further improve. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because a perfect game is just a matter of having perfect aim.

The aiming technique that I’ll share with you here can make such a huge difference in your life (not just in sports, but in everything you do). It all has to do with your dominant eye.

Let me explain.

One of our eyes is more dominant than the other, and when closing the non-dominate eye to aim, one can really zoom in on the target properly.

When I was getting fitted for a putter in Florida years ago, my exact aim was determined by a laser, and it was at least 10 inches to the left of the target.

What was happening with my eyesight? When looking at any object and closing one eye or the other, objects will move quite a bit to one side or the other of the object you are looking at while one eye is closed.

For an example, look at a corner of a picture or some other stationary object. Now close one eye and then the other. Unless your eyes are perfect, the object will move a great deal to one side or the other. The eye that moves the object the most is your non-dominate eye.

When firing a rifle, most everyone closes the non-dominate eye to aim. That really helps to focus, and your aim will be very true this way. On the flip side, allowing your non-dominate eye to be a part of aiming will generally make you be anywhere from two to eight inches off the mark of your desired target.

Determine your dominate eye and close your non-dominate eye when looking at any object, no matter the distance. Now watch as you sink more free throws or golf putts, strike the tennis ball more accurately and generally aim with more clarity.

Guest Blogger Bob Putt was the first PGA Master Professional in Texas, named in 1988, and is the author of All You Gotta Do Is Aim.