Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Protein Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Muffins

To stay focused on maintaining lean muscle, my diet can sometimes be kind of boring.  I typically eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks at a time before changing it up.  My typical breakfast would be oatmeal, protein pancakes, or maybe toast and peanut butter and ALWAYS with coffee.

I changed up my bowl of oatmeal (with cinnamon, raisins, and sliced almonds) in favor of an oatmeal muffin.  This is especially good for grabbing on the go on busy mornings.  I found a recipe on Sugar Free Mom that is really good.  You may have seen this image of hers floating around on Pinterest

After following her recipe, I tweaked it the second time, halving it (which still yielded 12 muffins) and adding protein powder and MILA (chia seeds- which I'll tell you more about this week).  I also made mine with dark chocolate chips and walnuts this time.

The chocolate bits are my favorite.

And I definitely recommend adding the walnuts- they add a great crunch.

Ingredients (Yields 12 muffins)
*Adapted from Sugar Free Mom 

  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups, Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 MILA (chia seeds) *optional
  • 1/4 cup chocolate protein powder 
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
I combined the banana and wet ingredients into a large mixing bowl and the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, stirring both well.  Then I combined the two and using an ice cream scoop, scooped the mix into the muffin pan.  Spray your muffin pan with cooking spray first!

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes.  I eat two in the morning for breakfast. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Protective Style Lookbook || Glam Updo on Stretched Hair

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Mz_tammy

Difficulty level: 3/5

Skin Care || Eliminating Under Eye Bags

Do you have annoying bags under your eyes?  Well, depending on the cause of the bags, there may be a fix.  Here is a snippet of a few of these causes and fixes:

"Switch your sleep position. Your sleep position may be contributing to under-eye bags. Thanks to gravity, sleeping on your side or stomach can encourage fluids to collect under your eyes. If you're a side sleeper, you may notice a heavier bag on the side you sleep on. [Dermatologist Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center] advises her patients who wake up with puffy eyes to sleep on their back and add an extra pillow under their head. 
Other everyday habits, including rubbing your eyes frequently, going to bed with makeup on, and excessive drinking, can contribute to under-eye bags, too. "Sleeping in eye makeup can irritate your eyes, causing fluids to pool," Goldburt says. Heavy alcohol drinking causes dehydration. That weakens the delicate skin around the eyes, making it more likely to sink into a pouch.
Eye bags are very common, and are usually not related to your health. But if your bags appear suddenly and you're not suffering from allergies, a sinus infection, or a cold -- and they don't ease up when you try the lifestyle steps mentioned above -- it's a good idea to see your doctor. Some thyroid or kidney problems can cause under-eye fluid retention, notes New York dermatologist Craig Austin, MD."

For the remainder of the article, check out WEBMD.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Favorite All Natural Peanut Butter

All my life I was a JIF peanut butter girl.  I bought the low-fat kind and ate it by the jarful.  I love peanut butter on almost everything- apples, celery, PB&J, chocolate, even on my pancakes.

A couple years ago, in an effort to eat less processed food, I switched to all natural peanut butter.  I've tried all kinds of brands and even almond butter and keep coming back to my all-time favorite, Laura Scudders, because it tastes so good.  You do have to stir it some, but oil separation is normal in all-natural peanut butter.  I'm currently loving the nutty one, but they also make it in smooth.  I can find it at my local grocery store.

So good on protein pancakes!  I recently tweaked that recipe- I now add a little milk to the batter too- it makes them less dense.  

Are you eating all-natural peanut butter?  What brand do you like?


Culture Secretary on 'culture's economic impact'
A slight  s h i v e r  this week for me, on hearing our dear Culture Secretary pronounce on the arts during her first big speech. Maria Miller delivered her missive at the British Museum in London on Thursday, claiming that British culture was "perhaps the most powerful and compelling product we have available to us", especially after the success of last year's Olympics and Paralympics. Product eh? She went on to say: "When times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture's economic impact." Commenting that: “British culture and creativity are now more in demand than ever before... The world clearly thinks this is a commodity worth buying into." Ms Miller could almost be talking about the Arts and Health agenda with economic impact and a bright-shiny-product being the presumed desired outcome, influencing the NHS and saving hard cash. I know there are plenty out there attempting to reduce the arts to the bland mainstream through ultra-orthodox clinical measurements - and who will lap this up. 

I think its widely understood that the arts are going to take a larger than expected hit in the budget and Ms Miller did nothing to reassure the cultural sector (of which you are a part, if you are reading this blog). BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz comments more generally on the speech -

“The arts budget will be cut come the next spending review; the Culture Secretary will not be pleading for special treatment. The sector as a whole has not made its case regarding the economic benefits it delivers to the country convincingly enough to the Treasury. Nor has the DCMS. She talked enthusiastically about the success of the arts sector in helping drive the economy forward by supporting - and being part of - the creative industries, and by providing a valuable magnet for tourism. I spoke to some attendees who wondered why, if she truly believed this to be the case, would she not argue for increased, not decreased investment in the sector in order to fully realise its potential?”

Whilst I understand that artists and small arts organisations working in arts and health may not have direct access to funding streams like the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it should still be noted that the focus of some of their work isn’t bound by rigid reductionist approaches. In particular, their recent call for research around the cultural value of the arts has never felt more important, or welcome.

Its two-year Cultural Value Project, will attempt to make a major contribution to how we think about the value of arts and culture to individuals and to society. Recent years have seen many attempts to capture that value in straightforward ways, not least in order to make the case to governments for public funding, but none have commanded widespread confidence. The AHRC decided that something more ambitious was needed and its priority lies in developing a much better understanding of arts and culture across the diverse ways that it is organised and experienced. You can read more about this by clicking on the very hand roll of cultural value above! 

Of Miller's speech, Shadow Culture Secretary, Harriet Harman said she supported attempts to persuade the Chancellor of the economic value of the arts and creative industries. "But she needs to persuade her education secretary as well, that for the sake of all children and the future of arts and creativity in this country, arts must be at the heart of the curriculum," she added, "and she needs to promote the fact that arts and creativity is about much more than the economy: they're about a sense of identity, of community and the potential of each and every individual."

To read more about this speech, click on the photograph above of the character Susan Wright, (a local busybody and misanthrope in the TV drama Broadchurch) played by the excellent Pauline Quirke.

So absolutely no mention whatsoever from me, that the rich legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics isn’t quite yet clear. And no mention from me doubly whatsoever on the expenses scandal that Ms Miller was embroiled in recently, or the £90,000 second home expenses she claimed for the house in which her parents lived. You can click on her face (just above) to find out more.

A Bird in a Gilded Cage

A Bird in a Gilded Cage is a song composed by Arthur J. Lamb (lyrics) and Harry Von Tilzer and was one of the most popular songs of 1900. This is a 1904 recording sung by Harry Anthony. I have written a new piece of work for the public arts think tank, ixia which explores some ideas around how we live and die post Francis Report. This is the first part of a two-part teaser for the paper. A Bird in a Gilded Cage will be published in May 2013. 

On Neuroscience and Strictly Bipolar
An interesting article on fiction and neuroscience in the Guardian this weekend from Charles Fernyhough, but in his quest for novels that explore neuroscience, isn’t the danger that the art form will just be a vehicle for teaching and not a work in its own right. Ian McEwan’s post 9/11 work of fiction, Saturday, comes under scrutiny, but is much more than a useful investigation of its central characters role as a neurosurgeon and offers us insights into power and powerlessness, fleeting happiness and perhaps, political apathy. A really interesting piece of writing. (to read, click on the centillion neurones and synapses acting with free-will, but with a common purpose, yet unheard by those in power - below)

In the same rag this weekend comes a taster from Darian Leader of his new book, Strictly Bipolar which extends contemporary thinking on public understanding of what it is to be bipolar, from the medical journal to the celebrity testimonies stacked up on high street bookshelves. Leader’s article is crammed with interesting detail including the quantitative factors that enable you to qualify for your diagnosis, which he eloquently argues, miss the point. He discusses the first hand accounts of people affected by both mania and depression and with a diagnosis that once applied to less than 1% of the population having risen to around 25% of Americans and 5% of people in the UK, he suggests that we are ignoring individual biographies.

Commenting: “Medical staff with little time on their hands to explore the exact circumstances of the manic episode or the depression may opt for a purely pharmaceutical response” […] “We live in an age that pays lip service to history, yet which continually undermines the ties we have to the past. The narrative of human lives is more or less absent in healthcare economies, where symptoms are seen as problems to be treated locally, rather than as signs that something is wrong at a more fundamental level.”

Interesting and deeply engaging work. Click on the sublime Spike Milligan for more info.

Wednesday 15th May 2013 15:00 – 17:30
Recovery is the new orthodoxy in the field of substance misuse in the UK and for the first time it is an explicit goal of treatment. Recovery is contested both as a concept and as a policy objective and the UK evidence base is currently limited. This seminar presents initial interpretations from a Wellcome Trust funded project called ADDICT. Developed by Portraits of Recovery, a socially engaged visual arts charity based in Manchester, ADDICT is an interdisciplinary research project exploring processes of recovery. It is delivered as a collaboration between artists, social and biomedical scientists, treatment agencies and people in recovery. The project uses socially engaged arts both as a form of engagement as well as a mode of inquiry into recovery. 

In the project International Lens Based Artist Melanie Manchot is working collaboratively with people at differing stages of recovery in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford over a six month period. Portraiture as dialogue is the main conceptual premise. The arts practice is accompanied by a series of interdisciplinary discussions and two visual imaging matrices. These are used as different devices for understanding what emerges through the practice as well as exploring the subject recovery.

Prior to the seminar will be convening a Visual Matrix which will give attendees a direct experience of one of the methods being used in the project. The Visual Matrix is simply a form of discussion, where participants can share images, feelings, thoughts and dreams without the need to explain, describe, justify or argue ideas and points of view. Please contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

Visual Matrix 3:00-4:00pm  Harrington Building 338
Seminar 4:00-5.30pm Harrington Building 337
Both are free and open to all. Refreshments provided.    
To confirm a place please email: socialwork@uclan.ac.uk

Clore Social Leadership Programme (UK)
The Clore Duffield Foundation has announced that its 2014 Social Leadership Programme will open for applications on the 29th April 2013.  During 2014, the Foundation will be offering 20 Fellowships to exceptional individuals who have the potential to take on a significant leadership role in the wider social sector.  A number of these will be Specialist Fellowships, which are funded by particular organisations to target specific groups or address particular needs. In the past, bursaries of up to £20,000 have been available to help train and develop a new generation of leaders for the third sector in the UK. The Fellowship can be undertaken intensively over 12 months (the full-time option), or part-time, over a period of up to 24 months.
The closing date for applications will be the 10th June 2013. Read more at: http://www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk/news.aspx?id=51 

Wellcome Trust Small Arts Awards 
The Wellcome Trust has announced that the next application deadline under its Small Arts Awards is the 28th June 2013. The Small Arts Awards provides grants of up to £30,000 to projects that engage the public with biomedical science through the arts. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funding-schemes/Arts-Awards/index.htm 

Grants to Help New, Innovative Visual Arts Projects 
The Elephant Trust has announced that the next deadline for applications is the 10th June 2013. The Trust offers grants to artists and for new, innovative visual arts projects based in the UK. The Trust's aim is to make it possible for artists and those presenting their work to undertake and complete projects when confronted by lack of funds. The Trust supports projects that develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the fine arts. Priority is now being given to artists and small organisations and galleries who should submit well argued, imaginative proposals for making or producing new work or exhibitions. Arts Festivals are not supported. The Trust normally awards grants of up to £2,000, but larger grants may be considered. Read more at: http://www.elephanttrust.org.uk/docs/theapplication.html 

European Integration Fund 
The UK Border Agency has announced that it is now accepting applications for funding under the European Integration Fund (EIF).  A total of £31 million is available to support innovative projects that support the integration of third-country nationals of different social, cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds within the UK. The EIF is aimed at projects assisting third-country nationals who have a potential route to legal settlement in the UK, to fulfil conditions of residence and integrate into British society.  Applications will be accepted from NGOs, charities, academic institutions, central and local government, intergovernmental organisations, limited companies and any partnership made up of these organisations.  The minimum EIF grant that can be applied for is £200,000 per project; there is no maximum amount that must be applied for. Projects can last a maximum of twenty-four months depending on the start date. The fund will run until February 2014 and the next losing date for applications is the 10th June 2013. Read more at: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/76-eif 

Collective Encounters: Youth Theatre Director
Collective Encounters is a north Liverpool based theatre company specialising in using theatre as a tool for social change. Our youth theatre programme is now in its eighth year and we are seeking to employ a Youth Theatre Director to lead on all aspects of delivery. Our youth theatre programme involves a regular youth theatre as well as significant outreach provision in settings used by marginalised and hard to reach young people. The new Youth Theatre Director will have at least two years experience of working within a theatre for social change context, ideally with young people.

The contract is offered on a 4 day a week basis and the salary is £20, 160. This salary is subject to tax and national insurance contributions. The contract is offered on a 2 year fixed term basis.

For more information and an application pack please contact Anna Rymer on 0151 291 3887 or e mail info@collective-encounters.org.uk.

Deadline for applications 9thMay 2013. Interviews will be held 13thMay 2013. This post is financially support by Children in Need. Collective Encounters is an equal opportunities employer.

...and finally, a Brilliant and Blistering Blog
I’d like to recommend Mike White’s recent blog posting on the Centre for Medical Humanities in Durham. In this new piece of writing, he questions the sometimes superficial re-branding of organisations in the name of self-aggrandisement. Powerful and relevant work Mike. CLICK HERE


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Healthy Body || Get BIKINI ready by June!

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Do you keep staring at your favorite bikini every time you go out shopping?

Why not find a reason to buy it plus more new items for your new sexy body?

I am here today to share some tips that should help you get your body bikini ready for this summer!
  1. Ditch the soda and start drinking water! Studies have proven that individuals that drink more carbonated or sugary beverages will gain weight or have troubles losing the unwanted weight you currently have. Drinking water will help flush your system as well as keep your body properly hydrated. I would suggest starting with 2 Liters and start working your way up to about a gallon of water a day. YES I SAID A GALLON! 
  2. Ditch the fast food! Take a stand NOW to start cooking your meals and try not to “grab something that is easy”. Cooking your own meals allows you to see exactly what you are putting in your body. And, it also allows you the chance to plan your meals and possibly SAVE money! Try having 5 small meals a day. Start with breakfast and have a meal every 3 hours. Each meal should be around 400 calories. You should have a good source of protein (like chicken or fish and for breakfast things like egg whites or whole eggs), a nice serving of veggies, and one good carbohydrate source (like brown rice, whole grain bread, sweet potatoes). 
  3. WORK OUT!!! Yes get up and get active! You want to try to work out 5 days a week. Try NOT to take more than two days off in a row. You should spend 30-45 minutes of cardio and getting your heart rate up. And you also need a good strength training program. YES LADIES YOU NEED TO LIFT WEIGHTS! No you will not get big and bulky. Strength training will allow you to build your muscles and start to get more tone. 

  4. HAVE A PLAN! Ladies you should plan out your meals, workouts, trips to the store, and anything else! If you FAIL TO PLAN you PLAN TO FAIL. If you plan these things out you will be prepared and ready for your meals and workouts during the week. This will allow you the chance to not make excuses when you are running late or need to find food to eat. Keep a journal so you are able to keep track of what all is going on. You want to be able to visually keep track of what is going on. 

  5. Find and keep your own motivation. You have to find something that keeps you motivated. It can be images, quotes, bible verses, or anything! You have to keep things so that you can keep yourself motivated on the days you do not feel motivated. Sometimes you need someone to keep you motivated or someone to help hold you accountable for your actions. This can be a friend, co-worker, or family member.
These are all very important tools that you can use to help you get ready for the summer. There are no magic pills or crash diets that can help you. Try to eat fresh whole foods (stay away from processed foods) and drink plenty of water. You want to cut back on drinking alcohol and increase your activity levels. You do not have to belong to a gym to get a good workout. You can find many workouts online that you can do at home!

You have the tools to reach your goals! So why not start NOW so you can flaunt your confidence and new body this summer. This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness tips!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spinach & Fruit Smoothie

I thought for sure making a sweet fruit smoothie with some spinach thrown in would be a certain way to get my 3 year-old to eat some veggies.  No way.  One taste and he spit it right out all over my cowhide rug.  Thankfully, it wiped off just fine.

I used a big handful of spinach and about a cup of frozen fruit with 1/2 cup of water.  It tasted fine at that point, but a little bland.  Because it was intended for James, I sweetened it with one of his toddler yogurts and a tablespoon of honey.

It was yummy, but he didn't like it.  I drank it all and will make it again.  For myself.

In the future, I think I'd add protein powder or greek yogurt for added protein. 

Do you or your kids like spinach smoothies?  How do you make yours? 

* * * * * 

An Insider's Look at Comparative Effectiveness Research

Patrick Monaghan
JSPH Director of Communications

The Jefferson community was treated to true insider’s look at comparative effectiveness research last week when Robert W. Dubois, MD, PhD, visited campus to speak at the Jefferson School of Population Health Forum.

Dr. Dubois is the Chief Science Officer at the National Pharmaceutical Council, where he oversees NPC’s research on policy issues related to comparative effectiveness research, as well as how health outcomes are valued.

During his talk at Jefferson, “Applying Comparative Effectiveness Research and Evidence-Based Medicine to Everyday Decisions,” Dr. Dubois provided a simple definition for CER (“CER is what works, for whom, under what circumstances”); described the evidence needed to guide decisions; discussed concerns that evidence is not being used well, and outlined examples of policies impacting individual treatment, evolving payment environment, and use of real-world evidence.

“What I’m hoping is that I’ll open your eyes to some of these choices so that we collectively choose wisely,” Dr. Dubois said. “Once you’ve figured out what to do, you have to do it. None of this is going to work if we don’t make it embedded in how we make choices.”

CER, Dr. Dubois said, if you do it narrowly -- drug A vs. drug B, therapy A vs. therapy B, and looking at the cost of those interventions “you’re going to get it wrong more often than you’re going to get it right.” Policy implications, he noted, are extremely important in the CER world.

Following Dr. Dubois’s talk, members of the School of Population Health’s Grandon Society were invited to remain for a private question and answer session, which led to interesting discussions about bundled payments, rapid-cycle learning in healthcare systems, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute(PCORI).  Asked about the political reality of bundled payments, Dr. Dubois replied “I think it’s a reality; the American public is running with the concept,” pointing out that 10 percent of American patients are in accountable care organizations (ACOs), which reward doctors and hospitals for working together to improve quality and to control costs.

Asked about his “take” on bundled payment systems, Dr. Dubois offered, “A lot of this is religion, it’s belief. I, in my core, believe this is the right way to go.”

The audio portion of Dr. Dubois JSPH Forum presentation is available on Jefferson Digital Commons  by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baked Kale Chips

I jumped on the kale bandwagon and made kale chips as one of the sides to our dinner on Saturday night.  Somewhat to my surprise, I REALLY liked them- and so did everyone at my table.  I'll definitely be making them again because they are so quick and simple and full of vitamins K, A, and C as well as magnesium and fiber.

I bought one bunch of kale ($1.39 at my store) which made about 2 servings.  

I rinsed and dried the kale, then cut the stems off and tore the leafy part into 2-3 inch pieces.  Simply toss the kale with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil (next time I'll spray the olive oil) and salt and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.

I cooked it at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, tossing a couple times.  For even drier, crispier chips, cook at 300 for about 30 minutes.

The kale cooks way down and ended up like this.

It is delicious!  I'm hooked and wish I would've tried it sooner.  We were literally fighting over the kale chips. They taste kinda like roasted brussel sprouts, but the thin crunchy kale is even better.

Have you tried kale chips? If not, have I convinced you to?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hair Diary || Scissor Happy and More ...

It has been a while since I posted a chapter in the "Hair Diary".  Well, up until recently, I had been wearing small twists (see the "Twist Series") for about 4 weeks.  Prior to that, I had another set of twists.  Now I'm taking a break and alternating between braid-outs and braided updos on straightened hair for the next three weeks.

LEFT: What I would I call an example of what healthy, layered ends look like.
RIGHT: An example of a blunt cut.  Even when our hair is cut in such a manner, it will gradually grow out of the blunt cut (and similar to what we see in the LEFT photo).

These ladies have some of the longest hair in the world, but what do you think about their ends?   (I leave it up to you to decide.)

Oh, and what is this about being "scissor happy"?  Well, I cut (not trimmed) about 2+ inches off my hair.  The ends were not visibly damaged but they were thin to me, which naturally happens as our strands can longer and experience more wear.  Additionally, I have been desiring a short, blunt cut for some weeks now.  Thinking I'm just going through a phase, I decided to cut my hair somewhat blunt and a bit shorter rather than go all the way.  Now I'm officially MBL (mid-back length) again.  It was hard to stop cutting further so I had to really talk myself out it. :o)

And now for more hair pics:

Though split ends were minimal, I felt like the ends of my twists needed a good trim because they were thin.  I gave them one ... and some.  I cut 2+ inches total (maybe more, I don't know since I stopped measuring after a while).
(Twist shot from Aug. 2012.)  This gives an idea of the ends I have been holding onto for almost two years now (aside from a few dusting sessions). 
The final product.  (After a light flat-iron, braids, and another cut included in the 2+ inches.)  I had to talk myself out of cutting another couple of inches.

The final product.  (After a light flat-iron, braids, and another cut included in the 2+ inches.)  Tried to get a complete shot of the ends but after several attempts, I gave up for the day.  I'll try again in the near future.