Thursday, September 19

One Gift Left Behind

by Richard Kordesh

The potato harvest was in…or so I had thought.

Out from five burlap sacks had rolled several dozen red and white spuds, some small, some peculiarly shaped, and others bulky, but yet smoothly contoured. 

I spread the spilled dirt from the bags, now free of potatoes, over the base of our raised bed from which just a few days previously I had pulled this summer’s now spent cucumber plants. 

This refreshed loam will serve as the base for next spring’s vegetables.

All seemed settled, with the ground prepared for a rest.  

Then it rained…and rained.  

I went out to the garden the next morning and discovered that the torrent partially uncovered one white potato that I had missed while gathering the others. There under the morning sun, it revealed itself from under black soil and brown mulch that slid back over its rough skin like a grainy curtain.

Seeing it there struck a memory chord … not a reverberation from one occurrence, but a stirring invoked in various moments throughout my life when I was reminded that one can overlook small, vital things when absorbed in larger tasks. 

And sometimes, one gets an assist from another person or a natural force like a rainstorm that prompts one to take one look back to recognize a missed detail, spot an unfinished step, or discover a small gift that had been left unopened.

In a garden where my children had walked through many summers, such memories now echo among the sounds of autumn’s approach.

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

Monday, September 16

Sleep Your Way to Wellness

by JCC Association and Club One

You may be aware of how important sleep is to your health, but it’s not like exercise or nutrition. If you’re like most people in this technologically connected world, sleep is often not a priority.

Our perpetual state of sleep deprivation is cause for the prevalence of colds and flus due to suppressed immune systems that make us vulnerable to infection. 

Lack of sleep has also been linked to heart disease due to the inflammatory response in our cardiovascular system. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. The underlying cause of diabetes is the body’s resistance to insulin, which is resembled in a body lacking in sleep.

Obesity has also been linked to lack of sleep. The culprits appear to be the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin. Under deprived conditions, ghrelin (appetite accelerator) increases while leptin (appetite suppressant) decreases. The undesirable balance produces a heightened sense of hunger.

How do we get quality sleep with our perpetually busy schedules? Try these not-so-obvious tricks to transport our body into a slumber faster and longer:
Boost Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D plays a role in the production of Melatonin (hormone responsible for quality sleep). Increase Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight (limit exposure) and foods such as fish, fortified cereals, and mushrooms.
Tryptophan for Dinner
This sleep inducing hormone is found in dairy products, oats, bananas, turkey, almonds, and more. You can also promote tryptophan production by eating complex carbohydrates.
Minimize Eating Within Two Hours of Bedtime
While you’re trying to fall asleep, your body is trying to complete the digestive process. Digestion inhibits the production of growth hormones–important for deep sleep and body healing. If you eat just before bedtime, limit fat intake; it’s harder for the body to digest.
Source: WebMD
Note: The information presented here is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician before starting any exercise. We suggest that you discontinue exercise immediately if you feel you’re exercising beyond your current abilities.

Thursday, September 12

One sweet snack

JCC Indianapolis sells honey
click image to enlarge
by Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

Honey has been consumed for centuries by many cultures for it's natural sweetening properties and its reported health benefits.

Today, new scientific studies are beginning to confirm honey’s promise as health-providing ingredient.

Here are some of honey’s great impacts:
  • Honey is high in flavonoids, which provide anti-oxidant power to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
  • A reduction in reported numbers and severity of ulcers has been attributed to honey's powerful anti-bacterial properties. 
  • Honey's antibacterial power comes from its hydrogen peroxide content, which is produced by an enzyme that bee's posses. 
  • Studies show that honey applied to skin wounds aid in the reduction of infections and result in more rapid healing.
  • Honey has long been used to reduce sore throat discomfort and to ease coughing, which has recently been supported by studies showing honey to be as effective as dextromethorphan in suppressing nighttime coughs. 
  • Honey is a natural probiotic, because it boasts many gut friendly bacteria that can enhance the native gut flora responsible for good digestion. 
  • Locally sourced honey can be a homeopathic treatment for allergies, because local pollen will be contained in the final product and provide a mild form of immunotherapy.
This list may be just the beginning. So, enjoy honey's sweetness AND it's health-giving benefits!

More About Katherine Matutes, PhD

Tuesday, September 3

20/80 Rule says “Get Up and Get Out”

by Lev Rothenberg

The 20/80 Rule is well known in business, but it is equally important in life.

The rule says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your effort. Of course, that is on average, hence a rule and not a law.

A group fitness class at the JCC
What this tells us is that we should look at the 20 percent of our effort that yields us results. If we can concentrate on those areas, think how much more we could accomplish.

Now, let’s look at our “free” time.  Are we spending that time in a manner that yields us the finest results in the area of relaxation, health, mental stimulation, and creating meaningful memories?

A Nielsen study recently revealed that the average American spends 34 hours a week watching television. What if we switched just 1/3 of that to more creative, active activities?

But what are some alternate ways to spend that TV time? 

Gardening, working out, seeing great art, dancing, cycling, swimming, spending time with friends, taking classes, reading, going to stimulating programs are all great opportunities. Interestingly enough, you can find them all at the JCC.

In particular, consider our autumn ACE (Katz Adult Continuing Education) classes, which are just beginning. Among other things, you can learn how to play guitar, save a life, scribe calligraphy and become social media savvy.

If formal classes aren’t for you, our 15th Annual Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts is an education in and of itself. The event is coming soon on October 28.

So, respect the 20/80 Rule and better respect your personal time, including spending more of it with us here at the JCC.

More about Lev Rothenberg