Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hypertension, 6 Changes You Should Make Now!

The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.

A blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have pre-hypertension. This means that you don’t have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future unless you adopt healthy lifestyle changes.

If you have hypertension or pre-hypertension adopting the following six-lifestyle changes will help you to manage your blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

          Maintain a healthy weight
• Check with your health care provider to see if you need to lose weight.
• If you do, lose weight slowly using a healthy eating plan and engaging in physical activity.

          Be physically active
• Engage in physical activity for a total of 30 minutes on most days of the week.
• Combine everyday chores with moderate-level sporting activities, such as walking, to achieve your physical activity goals.

          Follow a healthy eating plan
• Set up a healthy eating plan with foods low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods.
• Write down everything that you eat and drink in a food diary. Note areas that are successful or need improvement.
• If you are trying to lose weight, choose an eating plan that is lower in calories.

          Reduce sodium in your diet
• Choose foods that are low in salt and other forms of sodium.
• Use spices, garlic, and onions to add flavor to your meals without adding more sodium.

          Drink alcohol only in moderation
• In addition to raising blood pressure, too much alcohol can add unneeded calories to your diet.
• If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount—one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.

          Take prescribed drugs as directed
• If you need drugs to help lower your blood pressure, you still must follow the lifestyle changes mentioned above.
• Use notes and other reminders to help you remember to take your drugs. Ask your family to help you with reminder phone calls and messages.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Are You That Guy?

Nobody wants to be That Guy, the one who after one too many drinks, loses control of self or situation with humiliating or embarrassing results.  To prevent excessive drinking as we move into spring, or during “101 Critical days of Summer,” and beyond Our Banana Moments is participating in a military service-wide initiative called That Guy to help reduce excessive drinking among young enlisted personnel.  Even though this program is designed to target young enlisted military personnel, we are hoping to raise awareness outside of the military to high school and college aged students.  In any setting, being That Guy is not cool.
The 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors revealed a rising rate of “binge” drinking among junior enlisted personnel in all Services. Additionally, the data in the survey indicated the problem was particularly evident among young enlisted males between the ages of 18 and 24. This trend toward heavy, or binge drinking, has the potential of adversely affecting the health and welfare of service members and their families and the combat readiness of the military as well. In response, in 2005, the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) retained Fleishman-Hillard International Communications (FH) to create a multi-year, integrated communications campaign with goals to: 1) help reduce alcohol abuse among active duty military, and 2) raise awareness of the negative effects of excessive drinking among enlisted personnel ages 18 through 24. That Guy is designed to respond to this problem through an innovative multimedia campaign that focuses on enlisted personnel, E1-E4, age 18 to 24. The theme, “Don’t be That Guy,” aims to increase social disapproval of excessive drinking by highlighting the resulting embarrassment and negative consequences that most resonate with young adults in general, and specifically with those serving in the military. The campaign has been tested at multiple installations since the launch of the campaign in 2006. Feedback from testing has been used to shape a campaign strategy and components that will be most effective. Moreover, it is working!

Results from the 2008 DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors show a decline in binge drinking among the target audience. This represents a statistically significant drop in binge drinking from the 2005 level. In 2005, 51 percent of the target audience admitted to binge drinking, and by 2008, that figure dropped to 46 percent. There was a statistically significant decline of 11 percent at installations* that had implemented the That Guy campaign over those that had not. (*Marines not included in this total because the control sample among Marines is too small to use for comparison with the treated sample (n=3).) (

Get 3 Scoops and Honor America's Firefighters

Join us for 31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin-Robbins® and help us honor America's firefighters. Baskin-Robbins is donating $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation™ (NFFF).
Participating stores will reduce prices of ice cream scoops to 31 cents*. At some locations, you may also have an opportunity to make a donation to your local fire charities.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Go the F@#k to Sleep!

Go the F@#k to sleep is a hilarious new book by novelist and dad Adam Mansbach that has hit Amazon’s top 300 before hitting the shelves.  Go the F@#k to sleep is a book for the weary parents tired of reading Goodnight Moon for the nth time in one night.  It is meant to provide comic relief to the nightly torture of getting kids to go to sleep.   Across the country and across the world in every little boy or girl's bedroom this scene has taken place; please read one more story, I am thirsty, I have to pee, or anything else the crafty little ones can think of  to prolong going the f@#k to sleep. An excerpt reads:

 “The cats nestle close to their kittens.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the f@#k to sleep.”

This is a must read for all of the weary parents who love their little ones more than anything in the world but just wish that they would Go the F@#k to Sleep.  Look for it at a bookstore near you from Akashic Books, comes out on Oct. 11.

Monday, April 25, 2011

After the shots – 3 things you should know!

Let’s face it, moms don’t like watching their babies get shots and nurses are not wild about harpooning your little one.  Shots are unavoidable to keep your baby free from diseases that would cause more harm than the temporary sting of shots.   Caring for your baby after a shot pretty much just consists of making your baby comfortable.  If your baby is fussy, has a fever, or the injection site is red or swollen, there are three important aftercare steps you need to know.
1.       Fussy or Fever:
Check your baby’s temperature.  If you find that your baby has a fever, give her plenty to drink, give a sponge bath using lukewarm water, and dress her in light clothing.  Do not give your baby aspirin.  Give your baby fever or pain reducing medicine based on your healthcare provider’s instructions. Recheck your baby’s temperature after an hour and continue to give medication for the next 1-2 days as needed.
If your baby is fussy and has no fever, do not give aspirin for pain.  Follow the directions given for taking fever or pain reducing medications.  If your baby is fussy for more than 24 hours, please call your baby’s pediatrician or take your baby to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.
2.       Hot, Swollen, or Red Injection Site:

If your baby’s injection site is swollen, irritated, hot to the touch, and red, apply a clean, cool cloth for comfort.  If it appears that the injection site is increasing in size, redness or tenderness, call your pediatrician or take your baby to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.

3.       Baby Seems Sick:

If your baby seems sick, lethargic, refusing fluids, or you have reason to feel worried, please contact your baby’s pediatrician or take your baby to the nearest emergency department for evaluation.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Smoothies - Mango, Peach, & Banana

1 cup of chopped peaches (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
1 cup of plain yogurt (use Greek yogurt for added protein)
½ of a banana - A smoothie wouldn’t be a smoothie without bananas!
1 cup of ice
Sugar or your favorite sweetener
Blend all ingredients and sweeten to taste!

Killer Bunny?

Sugar a combination of glucose, sucrose, fructose, or high fructose corn syrup just might be poisonous and highly addictive according to a CNN report. If poisonous was not enough, sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin and is a major contributing factor to diabetes and the hardening of arteries. Just hearing this was enough to cause me to consider banishing little chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, and any other sweet Easter goody.

After some digging around, I uncovered New York Times article, “Is Sugar Toxic?” According to Robert Lustig, a specialist on pediatric hormone disorders and the leading expert in childhood obesity at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, sugar is a “toxin” or a “poison.” Make no mistake, Lustig means the white stuff (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup. Moreover, what does this mean? Well, if Lustig is correct, excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason for skyrocketing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some common cancers.

As for Easter goodies, I will indulge, in careful moderation, on chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, and Hersey’s Kisses.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Drive Thru Diet?

Drive thru? Really? At least this is what Christine and Taco Bell suggest in ads appearing on TV, in print and on Taco Bell’s website.  Drive thru dieting sounds bananas. Therefore, I did what any self-respecting banana would do and I checked out the claim.

Taco Bell has a “Drive Thru Diet” menu that features lighter items than those on their regular menu.  Taco Bell also has the following disclaimer. “Drive Thru Diet is not a weight loss program.”  Meanwhile, Christine is claiming, “I reduced my daily calorie and fat intake by 500 calories to 1250 calories a day, and, after two years, I ended up losing 54 pounds!”

The skinny on the Drive Thru Diet is that Taco Bell’s ad campaign is misleading.  The real fact is that Christine cut 500 calories from her diet.  Just about anyone who cuts 500 calories, a day will lose weight with or without eating at Taco Bell.  Making healthier food choices and adding exercise to your daily routine should be the focus of any weight loss plan.  

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FREE Starbucks Coffee

If you like coffee, Starbucks coffee, than you will not want to miss this… Starbucks is celebrating Earth Day (Friday, 22 April) by filling your reusable mugs with a cup of free coffee! That’s right, bring in your own reusable mugs on 22 April and Starbucks will give you a free cup of coffee! See ya there!


Potassium Iodide - 3 Things You Should Know

With the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, many have been wondering about our own preparedness in the event a disaster should happen closer to home. Some of Japan’s evacuees had to be scanned for radiation levels and administered potassium iodide. Japan’s measures to protect its citizens from the effects of radiation poison makes one ponder the idea of adding potassium iodide to home first aid kits. Before you rush out scouring pharmacy shelves for potassium iodide, a few things should be considered.

1. Potassium iodide blocks the accumulation of radioactive iodine in the thyroid. This helps prevent thyroid cancer but it does not protect the rest of your body from exposure nor will it protect you from other types of radiation.

2. In the event of a nuclear reactor disaster, stockpiles of potassium iodide would be administer; however, doses would be given to children first as their thyroids are still rapidly growing.

3. Iodized salt and tincture of iodine are NOT substitutes for potassium iodide. There is not enough iodine in salt and tincture of iodine is a topical solution that is not safe for consumption.

The FDA has approved three brands of potassium iodide for the public, Anbex, ThyroSafe, and Thyroshield. Anbex and ThyroSafe are available as tablets and Thyroshield is a solution. All three products are available online. As with any other drug, please consult your physician for further information concerning the risks and benefits to taking potassium iodide.

Anbex –
ThyroSafe –
ThyroShield –

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do Something: Child Abuse and Neglect

If someone you know is suffering from abuse or neglect, below are 13 places that can help….DO SOMETHING!

Who They Help: Child abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals
Phone: 800.4.A.CHILD (800-422-4453)
Stop It Now!
Who They help: Adults, parents, offenders, concerned individuals
Phone: 888-PREVENT (888-773-8368)
National Center for Victims of Crime
Who They Help: Families, communities, and individuals harmed by crime
Phone: 800-FYI-CALL (800-394-2255)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Who They Help: Children, parents, friends, offenders
Phone: 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Who They Help: Individuals, families, professionals
Phone: 800-950-NAMI (800-950-6264
Child Find of America
Who They Help: Parents reporting lost or abducted children
Phone: 800.I.AM.LOST (800.426.5678)
Child Find of America – Mediation
Who They Help: Parents (abduction, prevention, child custody issues)
Phone: 800.A.WAY.OUT (800.292.9688)
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Who They Help: Families and professionals (social services, law enforcement)
Phone: 800.THE.LOST (800.843.5678)
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Who They Help: Rape and incest victims, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
Phone: 800.656.HOPE, Ext.1 (800.656.4673, Ext.1)¬
National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center
Who They Help: Families, professionals, media, policymakers, concerned individuals
Phone: 800.784.6776
National Suicide Hopeline
Who They Help: Families, concerned individuals
Phone: 800.784.2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Who They Help: Families, concerned individuals
Phone: 800.273.8255
National Runaway Switchboard
Who They Help: Runaway and homeless youth, families
Phone: 800.RUNAWAY (800.786.2929)

For more information contact:

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Children’s Bureau/ACYF
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW Eighth Floor
Washington, DC 20024
703.385.7565 or 800.394.3366

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Child Abuse and Neglect

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and, Our Banana Moments is supporting efforts to raise awareness by devoting blog topics to child abuse and neglect throughout the month.  The numbers of infants, babies, and children affected by abuse and neglect is staggering.  In 2006, 905,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect.  Of the 905,000 victims, 1,530 children died due to child abuse or neglect.

What is Child Abuse or Neglect?
Each State has its own definition of child abuse or neglect.  Each State must define their definition based on minimum standards set by Federal Law.

At the very least, child abuse or neglect is defined as any act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or, an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

Types of Child Abuse or Neglect?

Physical Abuse: is the intentional (non-accidental) physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child.

Neglect: is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for the basic needs of a child.  A child’s basic needs may be food, shelter, medical, education and or emotional needs.

Sexual Abuse: is the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.

Emotional Abuse: is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance.

*If you are concerned that a child is being harmed by abuse or neglect, you can report your concerns to your local child welfare or law enforcement agency. For more information or assistance with reporting, please call Childhelp® at 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453).

Child Welfare Information Gateway. Available online at