Wednesday, May 29

Avoid the Burn

By Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

Most folks don’t worry too much over the occasional sunburn, but receiving more than five sunburns in your life doubles your chances of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Coupled with the fact that more 42% of the population gets sunburned once a year, it’s easy to see why skin cancers diagnoses outnumber all other types of cancers combined.  

Develop your own sun-smart skin care routine:

Wear sunscreen every day. Treat applying sunscreen like your brushing your teeth—it’s just something you do before you leave the house, every day. Sunscreen ensures your skin is protected from UV rays during short outings, not just a day at the pool, and the UVA rays that penetrate glass.

Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes prior to going outside, and use sunscreen that has at least 15 SPF.

Know your sunscreen. As SPF ratings increase, protection increases only minimally. For example, sunscreen with 15 SPF will block 93% of UVB rays, while a 30 SPF sunscreen blocks 97%. (SPF rankings indicate only the percentage of UVB rays blocked. UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and plays a key role in the development of skin cancer. Most of us are exposed to large amounts of less intense of UVA rays, which are present during all daylight hours all year; protection requires such specific ingredients as
avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.)

Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours and shade highly exposed areas (nose, ears, cheeks and back of the neck) with hats or scarves when possible.

Minimize sun exposure during the peak sun hours of the day, 10 
4 p.m.

Protect sensitive skin with children’s sunscreens, which use less irritating ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Unlike chemical ingredients, these protect the skin without being absorbed.

Know that medications can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about this possible side effect.

What age group is at the highest risk of UV exposure? Take the sun blunders quiz to find out!

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, May 23

Best Seared Steak

by Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

The name says it all. This is the last steak recipe you will ever need. 

And even better, it is very simple to do.

This is my go-to meal when I am extra busy or when home cooked meals have started to get boring. 

My family is always thrilled to hear it’s on the dinner menu.

I know some of you can’t believe a nutritionist is eating steak. Yes, I do eat red meat. But I do so moderately and thoughtfully.

I choose grass-fed, pasture-raised beef for two reasons. Pasture-raised beef gets more exercise, is leaner and more likely to have experienced a more humane existence. Grass-fed beef is also higher in omega-3 fats, which are heart healthy, and lower in omega-6 fats, which can be pro-inflammatory. In sum, grass-fed beef will have a healthier fat profile than grain-fed beef.

Also, red meat is high in iron, zinc and the B-vitamins – all are important nutrients for growing children and for women, especially.

  1. Steaks
  2. 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil per steak, look for the words “first cold press” on the label
  3. Quality salt and pepper
  • Salt and pepper steak and allow it to rest at room temperature 30 minutes prior to cooking
  • Heat skillet – do NOT use a Teflon coated skillet (I prefer to use a cast iron one) to high temperature for several minutes 
  • Add oil when skillet is extremely hot (you should only be able to hold your hand above the pan for a few seconds if it is hot enough)
  • Add steak, it should sizzle wildly, now comes the hard part – don’t touch it! Let it develop nice crust on the outside. Reduce the temperature to medium-high for steaks that need to cook longer (medium- to medium-well)
  • Sear 2- 4 minutes per side (depending on thickness and desired doneness)
  • Remove steak from heat and place on wire rack
  • Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving
  • Enjoy with a glass of red wine – the acid in the wine will help boost iron absorption

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Thursday, May 16

A dance in the courtyard

by Sharon Hollis

In our courtyard at Washington Healthcare Center were bride and groom dressed in tux and wedding gown, complete with train and veil. 

I watched as the bride danced with her grandfather, our newest resident to the cottage. He raised her and has been the only father she has known.

Plans for him to walk his little girl down the aisle were pushed aside as his mind collapsed, causing him a hospitalization and admission to our Auguste’s Cottage Memory Care facility.

But, the bride was determined to include him in her big day. She brought the wedding to him, complete with flower girl.

For the brief moment I watched this bride dance with her grandfather, I realized just how blessed we are. She is creating memories, even as he forgets. We have provided a safe place for him to thrive and a courtyard for her dream of this dance to come true. 

Yet, we are the lucky ones, because they allowed us to be a part of this. As senior caregivers, we are gently reminded why we do what we do. We are reminded of our call and purpose to serve. We hold the key, allowing dreams to come true. 

I must also say that this granddaughter in her late twenties lives with Stage 4 Breast Cancer (in remission).  Her mother lives with a recent diagnosis of Leukemia. No one knows just how much time they all may have left together.

And in this midst of their grief of letting go and the angst of our daily pressures, there is a courtyard at Washington Healthcare Center. And in that courtyard, we saw magic.

Guest blogger Sharon Hollis is director of Marketing and Admissions at Washington Healthcare Center, 8201 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis. The community is operated by American Senior Communities, which has 23 other communities in the Indianapolis metro area.

Thursday, May 9

We turn to the garden once more in the spring

by Richard S. Kordesh

We invited friends over recently to celebrate the coming growing season. 

We encouraged people to bring their children and planned to get the kids engaged in seed planting in our garden.

It was a fun time, with adults discussing vegetables, composting, berry bushes, and the ins and outs of forming a cooperative. 

Everybody stepped up to the subject matter differently.  Some shared their experience with a church-based community garden.  Others discussed the challenges of growing vegetables on a shady, urban lot. 

But, not everyone approached the topics intellectually.  

Xavier dove right in with two little spades, turning over dirt in what will eventually serve as a bed for pole beans.  With gusto, he transferred soil to his face, his hair, and a nearby pot.

Sebastian in the garden above
Xavier appears in the banner photo
His older brother, Sebastian, took up the seeding challenge forthrightly.  

Thanks to him, we’ve now got alternating rows of beets and radishes in the ground.  We’ll invite him back to see the progressions from seedlings to full-sized plants to the harvest.  So, for this spring, this bed is Sebastian’s piece of work.

Gardening gets us all closer to the living world under our feet.  

The more we touch, the more we see - the plants, the twigs, the bugs, the molds, and animal tracks. The more we’re aware of this teeming, wriggling, micro-world on which we stride, the more we grasp how much we are part of it.

Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years. Visit Richard's website for more