Category Archives: Healthy lifestyles

Ask Well: The Downside of Smoothies – The New York Times

Do I absorb more sugar and calories when I drink fruits and vegetables in a smoothie as opposed to just eating them whole?

Source: Ask Well: The Downside of Smoothies – The New York Times

When I have a smoothie  I consider it  my meal. I add whey protein, peanut butter (if I use bananas) or spinach. I will not be hungry for a good 4 hours after. Roughly 250 calories it is all I need. No such thing as a downside in my book!

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Mel Bartholomew, an Engineer Who Popularized Square Foot Gardening, Dies at 84 – The New York Times

I just came across this in the NY Times this morning, and I wanted to share the article, as this is the book that help me plan my garden for decades, no matter what kind of space I had available. I have to admit that I never really accomplished the one-seed concept, the urge is always to put two or three…just in case, and then they all shoot up and I hate to pull the weaker one, But, the concept is brilliant, multi-use of a simple square foot of space.

For those of you who garden it is worth a look. (and look at my GardenSpot page while you are here, to see my garden progress this season)

Mr. Bartholomew’s innovation saved water and space by folding traditional rows of vegetables into a raised bed that could fit on porches, patios, decks or roofs.

Source: Mel Bartholomew, an Engineer Who Popularized Square Foot Gardening, Dies at 84 – The New York Times


Filed under gardening, Healthy lifestyles, Hiking, Nature in the Highpeaks, Reader Advisory

Marching into March

Back in the ADK. Funny how it draws us every two months, and it has been that way for the last 7 years. “Vacationing” traditionally a one to two week break that is taken two times a year, has never been possible for us.Instead a three day end of week/weekend works best by not cutting deeply into a work week and allows a physical break from daily routine. This is how we have been able to maintain high level stress and taxing decisions during norman work days.

March 4th Ampersand Mountain: -2 Degrees


We have never attempted to hike in below zero weather. It poses challenges greater than putting one foot ahead of the other and knowing what gear to switch out to. Keeping your nose, for instance is what is important, exposure to extreme cold will frost-bite skin in a short time, and is painless while it is happening but damage is life long afterwards. It was a long beautiful trek with a gradual inclineIMG_4934 that was wooded and slightly snow covered. It was a beautiful clear day and the crunching sound of the micro spikes was all that could be heard.

Ampersand mountain is in Saranac Lake, an area that we have yet to hike, so although it is the Adirondacks it was outside of Keene and Lake Placid area which we are familiar with. Driving 30 minutes to get to a peak added a bit of stress to the day, but we looked at it as expanding our comfort zone to add to our experiences. At the start of the final mile the trail took a sharp ascent, was icy, and far too challenging for us to attempt after two hours of hiking. We opted to turn back, and save this summit for later seasons when crampons are not needed. Total hours: 5


March 5th : Rocky Falls / Indian Pass Trail



This is one of our go-to hikes when we want a lower trek, no or minimal altitude. The reward at the end is a serene waterfall and a great comfy tree covered  rock that you can sip coffee, cider and snack on trail mix.

It was warmer (14 degrees!) windless and a bit cloudier but we were under dense woods for the entire hike, so it’s not as if we were going to summit and catch a grand valley view. It was a great day and a relaxing walk, just what was needed after the challenge of slick ice covered boulders.


March 6th: Rooster Comb Mountain 


One of our favorite things to do on a winter hike is to look for footprints of the wildlife. We are always amazed at the absence of animals when we are up in the mountains and we attribute it to the fact that they are way too shy to be seen. On the other hand… they may just be stalking us and waiting for us to weaken and then pounce! We made the mistake of watching a horror movie of a couple that were camping in the Canadian wild and were attacked by a bear. A cautionary tale that stays with us and is never too far from our thoughts when in the woods!

IMG_4955 Spotting moose prints was a pretty exciting event for us. I feel its the closest we will ever  get to “seeing a moose” but, we will be coming back, there is always a next time.

The hike was challenging. This is the second time we have done Rooster Comb, the first time was in October of 2010. It was criss-crossed with elaborate  bolder stairs and traverses that ascended pretty quickly to 2700. When we saw the ice covered stairs at a 45 degree angle, we opted  to call it, and once again come back later in ice free seasons. It would not be a wise choice to make one wrong slip and ruin the rest of the season to an injury. It was a beautiful crisp day, all along the way glimpses of the sky and mountains would remind us why we keep coming back.


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Filed under Adirondack Club, ADK, animal tracks, Healthy lifestyles, Hiking, Hiking the High Peaks, Nature in the Highpeaks, Wildlife

einst_7“Curiosity is more important than knowledge.”― Albert Einstein

A colleague and I were comparing observations we have noted over time working in the library. One of the most disturbing    things noticed was that the younger patrons, teens and young adults specifically, if seen in the library at all, seem to lack curiosity.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Think back to your own childhood, and reflect on the benchmarks, the moments of learning and discovery came out of play, and teaching moments either by a parent or teacher. Play, conversation, experimentation are all part of education. But presenting a fact, or simply memorizing is not what education is about, its much deeper and richer.  Education is fulfillment of a curiosity. Question+Research+Answer=Education.

Students will ask for assistance with projects, that is a positive thing, however after pulling resources with enthusiasm and inspired interest, the response is basically “all I need is one book”


Even launching into the speech about its OK to gather MORE than you actually need, hone down, organize and outline…”all I need is one book, this is great..yeah, thanks”  The wind really takes a long time to leave the sails though, as a librarian its just not that easy to let it go. Still, we read on and over some of material…because now OUR curiosity is peaked, we laugh to ourselves and shrug our shoulders.

Fat books…bad, bad, fat books. God FORBID…you read beyond the little bit of information you need is found. Since when is a book judged by its length? If you are reading for facts, or to understand a concept, what difference does it make how long a book is? How is it that all curiosity is so squashed?

My only thought is that there are so many other things that are distracting their train of thought, the dance lessons, the softball games, the social networking windows opened tenfold on the computer screen. There is not enough time in their day to actually spend it on one topic. Multitasking is a way of life for them. Even the television programs that babysat them in their early years would flash dozens of images rapidly on the screen would teach them the art of scrolling and scanning. There isn’t any time to sit and think and reflect on a comment, or an image. No time to formulate questions, or wonder, or just to stop and “smell the roses”

What should a parent do? Do they even realize what they are doing when they make a comment like “take this book it’s thinner” Or do they even realize that they are not helping their children by doing their projects for them? I believe they have the best of intentions, but I really can’t say if its going to end the way they planned it.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. But I would suggest perhaps there should be a step taken back. A moment of hesitation.Quiet time. Have kids do puzzles,  Draw with a pencil. Watch a butterfly land on a flower. Garden with the kids. Make cookies and bread together. Teach them to see, to really see shadow, light, color. Compare and contrast the colors of the seasons. Play.

Sometimes doing things the old fashioned way may not be the fastest, but its a good way to see just how things are done, and hopefully children can stop long enough to watch and want to learn more, rather than learn “just enough”


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January 11, 2014 · 4:22 am

Soy: A Cautionary Tale


Before I go any further, let me say this is my opinion only, I do not promote any industry, nor am I condemning anyone, or anything. It’s just a blog, I am putting my thoughts out there for anyone to read or delete. So there, that’s my disclaimer.

Now what I want to point out to everyone is that this is a nation of extremes. If scientific data says “vitamin e is good for …whatever, not one week after it is mentioned on the news, labels are smacked on food product everywhere “CONTAINS VITAMIN E”  or “A GOOD SOURCE OF VITAMIN E” . Fast forward a year scientific data says “Uh-oh vitamin e is the cause of ….whatever.”

Well, yes,  uh-oh,  now what?

Lets take look at soy. The jury is still out, in my opinion, about soy. A few years back a woman I worked with mentioned in a casual conversation that she stayed clear of soy because there was a history of breast cancer in her family, and so this comment stuck in the back of my mind.  I started doing my research, consulting databases, journals, books, blogs, websites, reading everything I can get my hands on. My conclusion was:  if there is that much question about soy, it is best to stay clear of excess soy, especially as you approach Peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause.

The food industry has changed drastically starting in the 80’s. What has happened to the food we put on our tables and feed our children is the topic of many books and medical journals. I suggest if you have any specific questions go to your library’s online research databases and get up to the moment articles in peer reviewed  journals. Its the only way you can come to informed conclusions for yourself. Don’t let the media or anyone else tell you that something is a sure thing, because sooner or later another sure thing is going to prove it wrong.

I will leave you with this thought: my parents always said “eat everything in moderation” and that was what their parents told them. If it was good enough for them, it’s good advice for me.

Do your research, especially when it come to food trends. Talk to professionals, keep up with your annual physicals. Don’t follow news blindly. Libraries have research databases that you can access remotely from your own home, take advantage of your library’s ILL services, you can get information from practically anywhere in multiple formats. You only have one body, make sure you practice preventative maintenance.


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Dandelions: food for thought


Dandelions. Weed or Salad Green? The answer is: both.

At this time of year, growing up in Queens I would see people walking aside the Long Island Expressway pulling dandelion weeds, which I thought was very neighborly of them to do. There was an abundance of them along the highway and fortunately people would not walk their dogs on the other side of the highway fence. However, even at a young age I questioned their judgement, as I felt that carbon monoxide, that silent killer that we all grew up fearing, was the poison that these very plants were filtering. You may not inhale it, but was it possible that you could ingest it? Not sure, but I never wanted to test that out. To this day, even though they grow wild and unscathed by herbicide in my back yard, I hesitate to throw dandelion greens in the family lunch.

There are many such plants that scattered around backyards, and are there for the snacking. My reluctance to try many of them is the fact that I feel if it were good to eat, the bunnies and deer would have beat me to them.

A few good books we have at the Library that help you distinguish edible from not

Edible : an illustrated guide to the world’s food plants

The forager’s harvest : a guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants

The Foraging Gourmet: The complete guide to edible wild plants, mushrooms, fruits, and nuts


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  This is my son Jordy.


Yes, I know he is a different species, but, what the hey, no one asked ANY questions about Stuart Little.

But getting back to Jordy, he has taught me a lot. How you ask? Well first without going into all the unconditional love, devotion etc.  qualities that sons have, (daughters have that as well I may add) I learned a few  very practical healthy lifestyle things:

  • Stretch first thing in the morning
  • Drink water-lots of water all day long
  • Play whenever you get a chance.

It’s not really that I learned it from him, rather, made note of those very simple  habits that seem to be a very practical carry over to my life. Which brings me to the original topic: Yoga. I do like Yoga, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just not something I can completely devote my time to.

So, what I do instead is read books that use Yoga in a sort of Medicinal way. Two books that we have at the library are: Prescriptive Stretching and  Yoga Anatomy. The reason I like these books, rather than books about different styles of  Yoga is that they actually show you what muscle, or section of body that you are trying to stretch without having to chant OOHHmm. I think that chanting is the part I get stuck on.



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