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Category Archives: Communities Digital News

Valentine’s Day: The gift of love

(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

Billions of people worldwide open their hearts while engaging in a variety of Valentine’s Day expressions of love.

February 14th is the traditional day, dating back to the Middle Ages, in which people from all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day.

According to Wikipedia, it is thought that the first American mass-produced valentines were created and sold in the 1800’s by Massachusetts entrepreneur Esther Holland.

With her fondness for English valentines, replete with fine laces and floral designs, Holland sparked a revolution in the greeting card industry, setting new standards which led to an annual greeting card award given in her name.

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Tasty ways to get your probiotics

(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

Have you ever wondered what probiotics really are? Probiotics are “friendly” microorganisms which are similar to those naturally living in the human body. You can find them in many of the foods we love to eat, from yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, miso soup and even dark chocolate according to GlobalHealingCenter.com.

The trillions of friendly bacteria which exist in and on the human body are those bacteria our bodies depend on to help digest our food, produce some vitamins we depend on, maintain the health of our skin, inhibit the growth of bacterial pathogens, and numerous other tasks in the human microbiome. The word “probiotic” is derived from the Latin “pro,” meaning for, and “biota,” meaning life.

Probiotic literally means “for life.”

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Coping with the loss of a pet

image via Wikimedia/Rainbow Bridge Heaven/Maris Stella (assumed)

image via Wikimedia/Rainbow Bridge Heaven/Maris Stella (assumed)

You’re not just losing a pet when your furry and feathered friends pass away; you are losing a family member and the loss can be just as devastating.

Over 70 million pet dogs in the U.S. are a testament to the natural bond between humans and dogs.

According to a Japanese research team led by Takefumi Kikusui at Azab University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, dogs are the only animals that have a neurological connection to man.

It is believed that it is the result of thousands of years of co-evolutional human-dog-bonding.
Upon gazing into each other’s eyes, both human and dog produce the hormone oxytocin, which creates a feel-good response.

Very few humans could deny the pure joy experienced as their family dog barks for joy, wags its tail and generously supplies wet kisses upon their return home.

Dogs provide companionship, protection and unconditional love to those they consider their people.

Many dog owners believe that their canine is a member of their family and include him/her in their daily activities, outdoor adventures, special events, birthdays, holiday celebrations and family vacations.

Read more on Laurie’s article at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Maintaining a healthy weight could prevent Alzheimer’s

Image via pixabay/Gerault

Image via pixabay/Gerault

There is a surprising link between being overweight in mid-life and early development of Alzheimer’s disease.

As part of a 14-year study known as the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), researchers from the National Institute on Aging evaluated the body mass index (BMI) of 1,394 volunteers, utilizing an estimate of what it would have been for each person at the age of 50, regardless of their BMI at the beginning of the study.

Every two years, each participant underwent cognitive testing.

At the end of the study, researchers conveyed the following findings, published by the National Institutes of Health and online in the Sept. 1, 2015, edition of Molecular Psychiatry.

Read more on Laurie’s article at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Going gluten free doesn’t have to be boring

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(photo by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate)

If you are one of the millions of people affected by gluten intolerance there are alternatives that are not only tasty, but healthy that you can add to your diet. A trip to your local farmer’s market can provide inspiration for preparing gluten free meals.

Gluten intolerance is caused by consuming any product containing wheat, barley, rye or triticale.

Wheat additives also contain gluten and are commonly found in fresh and frozen foods, soups, breads, pastries, desserts, beverages, vitamins and medications.
There are two primary and more common forms of gluten intolerance–celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance.

Considered an autoimmune disease, celiac disease attacks the small intestines in response to the consumption of gluten.

Celiac disease is also considered the most common genetic disease affecting populations worldwide.

Read more on Laurie’s article at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Hope is the sunshine of the soul

image by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate

image by Sutton Porter/courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate

Hope is the spark of the spirit that keeps us moving through difficult and trying times; the beacon of light when we are struggling to find our way out of the darkness. Adversity can be overwhelming and it is easy to get swept up in a feeling of hopelessness, but like the cherry blossom- a symbol of new birth, you endure the harshness of the cold and emerge anew. Hope does indeed spring eternal.

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind, based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large, according to Wikipedia.

For many, it is difficult to imagine being hopeful due to the extent of which the global community is plagued by hunger, homelessness, joblessness, economic instability, over-population, disease, violence, war and risks of extinction.

The ability for any community, state, country or the world at large to flourish and survive hinges upon the number of individuals who embrace hope and the inherent belief that their lives can be improved and made better.

Read more on Laurie’s article at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Resolutions and new beginnings: Promise of New Year’s

photo by Sutton Porter, courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate

photo by Sutton Porter, courtesy of Laurie Edwards-Tate

With the Christmas season slowly winding down, it is customary to look ahead towards the promise of a new year.

Basking in the peace, good-will and afterglow of holiday merriment, looking forward with optimism is anticipated by many.

There is something in the human spirit which is driven to believe in a better tomorrow.

Many Americans set new goals through the traditional practice of creating New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions first began with the ancient Babylonians.

The Babylonians would promise their gods that they would pay off their debts, and also return anything which they borrowed from another.

Over time this early tradition spread all over the world and morphed into a variety of practices and resolutions which were varied, depending upon the country, culture and belief systems.

Eventually making its way to the Western Hemisphere, Americans relish the opportunity to reflect upon the year which is coming to pass, while setting a new future course for self-improvement and hope for the future.

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Memories of Christmas in San Diego: A LifeCycles tradition

image via Sutton Porter

image via Sutton Porter

Growing up in San Diego, Christmas was always a wonderful experience.

Even though December is the coolest month of the year in San Diego, the average temperature is still in the upper 60s. Highs of 75 degrees or more are not uncommon during Christmas week.

The concept of a white Christmas is not entirely lost on those who live in warm climates. But in sunny San Diego, the experience of dashing through the snow is a completely foreign one.

While peering out of a large picture window on Christmas Eve, anxious for Santa’s arrival, I asked Dad the fearful question, “How can Santa Claus deliver all the gifts to children in San Diego in his reindeer-driven sleigh if there is no snow?”

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: A perfect Christmas side dish

image via unsplash/Keenan Loo

image via unsplash/Keenan Loo

It is time to begin planning Christmas dinner where the dining table is set with the warm welcome of candles and savory foods to share with family and friends. Often it is the side dishes that support the prime rib roast that truly makes your feast special.

Once the main course is served, traditional side dishes will follow in a complimentary style.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs are elegant, delicious and anything but boring! Low in calories (approximately 36 per cup (raw) they contain fiber, protein, and healthy doses of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and Vitamin B 6.

With only 25 minutes cook time, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter Breadcrumbs and a touch of fresh thyme add panache to this easy to make, and adaptable, side dish.

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News

Rules for Christmas gift giving, sanity for friends and family

image via Flickr/Javier Gutierrez Acedo

image via Flickr/Javier Gutierrez Acedo

Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year! It is a time for gathering with loved ones, enjoying get-togethers with friends, decorating the Christmas tree, stringing Christmas lights, baking Christmas treats, and giving and receiving Christmas gifts.

Retailers, and our economy, also love Christmas. It is one of the greatest times for shopper spending. Gallup reports that “Americans’ 2015 holiday spending intentions finds U.S. adults planning to spend $830 on Christmas gifts this year, on average.” According to the group that is up from the $720 recorded a year ago.

According to a recent survey by the American Research Group, Inc., it is estimated that Americans plan to spend an average of $929 for gifts, $47 above 2015 spending.

The research findings also point out that 36% of those surveyed will shop by catalogue, and a whopping 55% will shop by using the Internet, an all time survey high.

Read more on Laurie’s column at LifeCycles in the Communities Digital News