Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ready for Football --- Tailgating or at home with friends

 Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip

This party-ready chicken wing recipe will not disappoint, especially if you make and serve the blue cheese dip on the side.
Serves 10

4         ounces crumbled blue cheese
3/4      cup mayonnaise
1/4      cup sour cream
1         tablespoon red wine vinegar
1         tablespoon lemon juice
1/4      teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1/4        cup ketchup
1/4        cup hot sauce (such as Frank's RedHot)
1/3        cup red wine vinegar
1           tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1           tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1           teaspoon onion powder
1           teaspoon garlic powder
1           tablespoon sugar
4           tablespoons unsalted butter
3           pounds chicken wings, tips removed, wings separated at joints
Heart Healthy
1. Make dip: In a bowl, combine blue cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic powder, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

2. Make wings: Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a large cooling rack on top of sheet and mist with cooking spray.

3. In a small pan, combine ketchup, hot sauce, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, sugar and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring, until well combined and smooth. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

4. Pour 1/4 cup of sauce into a small bowl; cover and set aside. In a large bowl, toss wings with 1/2 cup sauce until coated. Place wings on rack. Roast for 10 minutes, then brush with more sauce. Roast 10 minutes longer; brush with more sauce. Turn wings over, brush with sauce and roast 10 minutes. Brush with more sauce and roast for a final 10 minutes.

5. Remove wings to a large bowl and toss with reserved sauce. Serve with blue cheese dip on the side.
Heart Healthy

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Maxy sez : 4 Ways Diabetes Support Groups Can Change Your Life

 By Athena Philis-Tsimikas, M.D.
When you’re living with type 2 diabetes, you know how important it is to check your blood sugar, eat the right foods, and stay active. But being aware of these actions and actually doing them consistently can be two very different things.

This is where a diabetes support group can go a long way toward successfully managing your diabetes. Connecting with other people who have diabetes can help you stay motivated to take care of yourself by offering both practical and personal support. According to a study published in the January 2012 issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, people with type 2 diabetes who attend support groups are more successful at maintaining — or even improving — their health.

Here are just a few of the benefits diabetes support groups offer:

1. Community Means You’re Never Alone
It’s common for people living with diabetes to feel isolated, especially if you’ve been recently diagnosed or don’t have any family or friends with the disease. A diabetes support group can help you realize you’re far from alone. You’ll meet an entire group of people who understand what you’re going through and are happy to offer guidance and encouragement.

2. Practical Advice Makes Managing Blood Sugar Easier
Support groups can provide a wealth of information and ideas on ways to make managing diabetes easier, such as diabetes-friendly recipes the whole family can enjoy, tips for eating right at holiday parties and work events, and local resources for people with diabetes. Plus, you may meet new friends to exercise and do other activities with.

3. Personal Connection Is What Makes Diabetes Support Groups So Effective
When you’re living with diabetes, taking care of yourself is a priority. If you are caring for a family, have a demanding job, or have other responsibilities, you may feel overwhelmed at times — and caring for yourself may fall by the wayside. Support group members often have the same challenges and can help you through the tough times and keep you on track.

4. Guest Speakers and Special Events Connect You to New Research, Therapies, and Community
Some diabetes support groups feature guest speakers such as physicians, researchers, and other experts who talk about the latest findings in diabetes management or share their perspectives. Additionally, groups may have special events such as potlucks, group walks, or fundraisers.

Most larger cities offer in-person support groups that meet regularly and are led by a facilitator, but there also are a number of online groups available 24/7 for people who live in smaller towns or who may not have the time or transportation to attend in person. Your physician or diabetes care manager may be able to recommend a group; the links below may also be helpful. It’s a good idea to check out several groups if possible to find the right one for you.

Find a diabetes support group near you via the Defeat Diabetes Foundation.
For a list of national online support groups, visit the American Diabetes Association.

Watercolor: Diana Ong

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicken Cacciatore -------slow cooker

The Italian word "cacciatore" translates to "hunter" in English, referring to a dish prepared with tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions–"hunter-style."
8        bone-in chicken thighs (2 1/4 pounds), skinned
8        bone-in chicken drumsticks (1 3/4 pounds), skinned
1/2    teaspoon salt, divided
1/2    teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1         tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray
1        (8-ounce) package mushrooms, quartered
2        tablespoons minced garlic
1        large onion, sliced
1        green bell pepper, vertically sliced
1        red bell pepper, vertically sliced
1/2    cup dry white wine
1.5    ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup)
2       tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2       tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1       (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped
4        cups hot cooked fettuccine
Chopped fresh thyme (optional)

1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Place chicken in a 5-quart electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken. Place mushrooms on top of chicken.

2. Add garlic, onion, and bell peppers to pan; sprinkle vegetables with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring often. Add wine, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Cook 1 minute. Stir in flour. Stir in oregano, thyme, and tomatoes.

3. Pour tomato mixture over mushrooms in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 hours or until chicken is very tender. Serve over fettuccine. Sprinkle with additional thyme, if desired.

Heart Healthy

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Food for Thought :Anger, Heavy Exertion: Fast Track to a Heart Attack?

By Amy Norton , HealthDay News 
But researchers suggest that artery-clogging plaque has to be present to increase risk.

Intense anger or heavy physical exertion may be triggers for a first heart attack in some people, new research suggests.

In the study of more than 12,000 people, both intense activity and intense emotions each seemed to double the odds of suffering a heart attack in the next hour. That risk rose about threefold when people were upset and exerted themselves at the same time.

The study is far from the first to suggest -- and it does not prove -- that bouts of anger or physical exertion can trigger a heart attack.

But, it's larger than past studies, and more diverse -- covering first-time heart attack patients in 52 countries, said Barry Jacobs, a spokesman for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the research.

"This confirms that blowing your top is not good -- for other people, or for you," Jacobs said.

Do the findings mean that everyone who gets angry will see a similar spike in their heart attack risk?

"Common sense says no," said Jacobs, director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa.

He pointed to the underlying biology of it all: Intense emotions or activity can drive up blood pressure and heart rate, and cause blood vessels to constrict. That, in turn, may cause any artery-clogging "plaques" to rupture and cut off blood flow to the heart -- prompting a heart attack.

But a person would have to harbor those plaques in the first place, Jacobs said.

In the study, researchers asked the heart attack patients whether they had been angry or emotionally upset in the hour before their heart attack, or during the same hour the day before. They also asked about heavy physical exertion.

The study did not dig for details -- such as the type of physical activity, or whether a person had an angry outburst or silently simmered.

"What we felt was important was to ask the same person about two different time periods," said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Smyth, of the Population Health Research Center at McMaster University, in Canada.

On average, his team found, people were over two times more likely to suffer a heart attack in the hour after a bout of intense emotions or activity, versus the same hour a day before.

In all, almost 14 percent of study participants said they'd exerted themselves in the hour before their heart attack symptoms arose. A similar number said they'd been angry or upset.

Smyth said his team did look at other factors that affect heart attack risk -- but none of them changed the risks linked to exertion and intense emotions. Physical exertion, for example, raised people's heart attack risk whether they were normally sedentary or regularly exercised.

Still, the researchers said, people face "external triggers" like anger and exertion every day, without succumbing to a heart attack. So, it's likely that those triggers come into play only when a person has artery-clogging plaques that are particularly vulnerable to rupturing.

The findings on heavy exertion do not negate the importance of regular exercise, Smyth said. It's well known, he noted, that exercise has many long-term health benefits -- including a reduced risk of heart disease.

But Smyth did advise avoiding "extremes" -- physical and emotional.

"I do appreciate the difficulty in doing this," he said. "There are times when exposure to extremes of either is unavoidable."

However, people with risk factors for heart attack can limit heavy exertion when possible, and "employ strategies" to avoid extreme emotions, according to Smyth.

Jacobs agreed. He said he does not advocate "burying your emotions." But, he added, "people can learn more appropriate ways of dealing with their emotions."

Jacobs pointed to meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises, and anger and stress management programs as sources of help. He suggested people talk to their doctor about resources in their community, or go online to learn simple techniques, such as breathing practices.

A proud grand-poppa               G.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Quarters ---- slow cooker

The key to this dish is to brown the chicken before it goes into the slow cooker, yielding major depth of flavor and picture-perfect presentation.

3       carrots or celery ribs
5       pounds chicken leg quarters
2       tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2       teaspoons pimentón (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)
2-1/2      teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1-1/4      teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
12       garlic cloves, sliced
3        tablespoons olive oil
1/2    cup chicken broth
2       pounds fingerling Yukon gold potatoes, halved
1       teaspoon olive oil
Garnish: fresh rosemary

1. Place carrots in a single layer in a 5-qt. slow cooker.

2. Remove skin from chicken, and trim fat. Stir together rosemary, pimentón, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Rub mixture over chicken.

3. Sauté garlic in 3 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon; reserve oil in skillet. Cook half of chicken in reserved oil in skillet 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown. Transfer to slow cooker, reserving drippings in skillet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Add broth and garlic to reserved drippings in skillet, and cook 1 minute, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; pour over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 hours.

5. Toss potatoes with 1 tsp. oil and remaining 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; add to slow cooker. Cover and cook 2 more hours.

6. Transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving platter, and pour juices from slow cooker through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; skim fat from juices. Serve immediately with chicken and potatoes or rice if you prefer.
The Art of Browning meats and poultry before simmering in the slow cooker yields major depth of flavor plus a picture-perfect presentation, so don't be tempted to skip it. First, pat the meat dry with paper towels before seasoning. Set a heavy stainless-steel or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet (not nonstick) over medium to medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot enough for the oil to shimmer--the meat should hiss and sizzle as soon as it hits the pan. Be sure not to crowd the pan; doing so drops the temp, causing the meat to steam rather than form a crisp crust. Don't turn the meat until the bottom is well-browned.
Heart healthy

Monday, January 23, 2017

Food for Thought :How to Stay Sexually Healthy as You Age

Just because you're getting older doesn't mean your sex life should suffer.
By Krisha McCoy
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass, III, MD, MPH

Don't Miss This
5 Signs Your Relationship Is Over
5 Signs Your Relationship Is Over
6 Things You Need to Know About Lubricants
6 Things You Need to Know About Lubricants

Changes in the body due to aging may make sex less enjoyable or lead to difficulties with sexual arousal.

Communicating with your partner, being willing to try new things, and taking care of your overall health can help you maintain an active sex life as you get older.  

A healthy sex life is an essential part of overall good health, and it’s a myth that sex has to suffer as you get older. If you give sex the attention it deserves, you can maintain a healthy and active sex life no matter what birthday you just celebrated.

Age-Related Changes in Sexual Health

As we age, changes in our bodies may affect our sex lives. This can lead to problems such as less enjoyment during sex or difficulty becoming sexually aroused.

In women, hormonal changes after menopause or a hysterectomy can cause the vagina to become shorter, narrower, and less lubricated. These vaginal changes can make sex  somewhat uncomfortable and less pleasurable. In addition, the psychological effects of aging may make sex less enjoyable for some women.

In men, aging is associated with an increased risk of becoming impotent, or being unable to have or keep an erection. Some men find that when they get older, erections can be less firm or smaller than they used to be, and that they produce less ejaculate during an orgasm or lose an erection faster after orgasm.

Health problems are more common in old age, and certain age-related conditions can also affect sexual satisfaction in both men and women, including:
Heart disease
Chronic pain
Maintaining a Satisfying Sex Life

While you cannot stop the aging process, there are plenty of ways to preserve your sexual health as you get older:

Pay attention to your overall health.Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and managing the stress in your life can help to keep your sex life active and satisfying.

Communicate with your partner. Your relationship with your partner is an important part of your sexual health. Talk to your partner about his or her sexual desires and discuss any sexual changes you are experiencing. Be a good listener if your partner has sexual concerns.

Try something new. Exploring sex without intercourse, trying new sexual positions, having sex at different times of the day, and focusing more on foreplay can make your sex life more exciting and satisfying.

Be open to meeting new people. Be open to meeting someone who is also single. You can meet new people by getting involved in new social activities, taking advantage of events at your local community center, or signing up for adult education classes at a nearby college or university.

Solving Sexual Health Issues
If you have a sexual problem you are concerned about, talk with your doctor. In some cases, treating an underlying health problem or adjusting a medication, such as blood pressure or diabetes drugs, antihistamines, or antidepressants can help with sexual problems such as impotence.

When a health problem or medication is not the problem, there are simple ways to treat many of the common sexual issues people experience as they age. For example, women who have poor vaginal lubrication can often find satisfaction using lubricants or vaginal estrogen supplements. Impotence in men can frequently be managed or reversed with medications, hormone replacement therapy, penile implants, surgery, or sexual counseling.

The bottom line: Don’t assume that your sexual self disappears as you age. You can remain sexually active for years to come.

A proud grand-poppa           G.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Comfort food pizza casserole

A very simple recipe for happy smiles and warm tummies on a cold winter's day.


Serves 6

1 lb lean ground round ( I sautéed onions and mushrooms to add to meat mix)
Salt to taste
1 can (15 oz) chunky Italian style tomatoes,
1 can (10 oz) refrigerated pizza dough,
6 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Broken bits of cooked bacon to top cheese ... optional
1 cooking spray,


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Cook  salted meat in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just browned, stirring until it crumbles. Don't over-cook. Drain, if necessary, and return to skillet. ( Add cooked onions and mushrooms at this point) Add tomatoes and cook until heated through. A little pinch of oregano or basil at this point might add some zip but is not necessary.
While meat cooks, coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Unroll pizza crust dough and press into bottom and halfway up sides of the baking dish. Fill the pizza crust with meat mixture.
Bake uncovered for 12 minutes. Top with cheese and bake another 5 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese melts. Top with cooked bacon.
Cool 5 minutes before serving.

It's a quick dish you can make in less than an hour but looks so golden delicious, you feel like a gourmet chef. Feel free to add other toppings.

Maxy sez :Managing Diabetes With a Cold or Flu

Got the sniffles? Here's what you need to know when managing diabetes and fighting off a cold or the flu.

By Madeline R. Vann, MPH

Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
The cold and flu season is on its way. And while sick days bring everyone down, people with type 2 diabetes have some special considerations when they're under the weather.

In addition to choosing the right cold medications and checking in with your doctor about possible dosage changes, good diabetes care means being prepared for the days when you would rather not drag yourself out of bed for a glucose check or a snack.

Pick the Right Cold Medicine

“A lot of [cold and flu] medications, particularly cough syrup, are high in glucose,” says internist Danny Sam, MD, the program director of the residency program at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif. His practice specializes in adult diabetes.

If you have diabetes, your best bet is a medicine that is clearly labeled sugar-free. Almost every major pharmacy has a store brand of sugar-free cold or cough medicine, says Dr. Sam. If you have questions, ask your pharmacist for help.

Check Blood Sugar Often

“Diabetes is not as well controlled when you are sick,” observes Sam. This is because when your body fights infection, it releases a chemical cascade that can alter your body’s glucose and insulin response. As a result, you may need to check your blood sugar more often than you usually do. People with type 2 diabetes may need to check their blood sugar four times a day, and should check their urine for ketones anytime their blood sugar level is higher than 300 mg/dL.

Other medications you may need to take when you are sick can affect your blood sugar levels:

Aspirin may lower blood sugar levels
Certain antibiotics may decrease blood sugar levels in those taking some oral diabetes medications
Decongestants may raise blood sugar levels

Adjust Your Plan 
“You have to monitor your blood sugar more frequently and you may have to adjust your meds,” Sam says. Some people may find their blood sugar spiking more frequently, while other people, especially those plagued by stomach flu or diarrhea, may be facing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Either way, you need to know how to respond to these unusual dips and spikes in blood sugar.

“Touch base with your doctor to get instructions on how to adjust medications,” says Sam. This is especially important if your blood sugar readings stay higher than 240 mg/dL for more than 24 hours.

Alternatively, before cold and flu season sets in, you can talk to your diabetes care team about how to make medication dose decisions if you should get sick. Find out what the acceptable range of blood sugar change is — and exactly when you should call your doctor. Write these instructions down in a notebook so that you can easily refer to them when you do get sick.

But there are some things you shouldn’t change: Unless your diabetes care team or doctor has instructed otherwise based on your blood sugar levels, keep taking your diabetes medications as prescribed.
Feeling Better Without Meds

Remember, as miserable as you feel right now, colds and the flu do not last forever. If you want to feel better, take care of yourself. That means:

Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids. Small sips can help you stay hydrated even if you are vomiting frequently.
Snack. You may not feel like it, but you should eat regularly. Snack on fluids like soup or milk, or small portions of easy-to-digest foods like applesauce, crackers, and vanilla wafers.
It’s also a good idea to keep written track of the medications you take, both for diabetes and cough and cold symptoms, as well as the results of your blood sugar tests and other details of your illness.

Illness Prevention Strategies

We’d all like to avoid getting a cold or the flu. If you have type 2 diabetes, your best bet for avoiding sickness   is to keep your disease under control. “Control blood sugar when well,” advises Sam.

Out-of-control blood sugar makes it harder for your body to fight off infections, including those that lead to colds and the flu. If you can keep your blood sugar under control during your healthy days, you will have fewer sick days and, when you do get sick, your body will be able to bounce back faster.

It’s also a good idea to get your annual flu shot and other vaccinations that are recommended for your age range.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Delicious Crock Pot Chicken with only 4 ingredients

Say goodbye to bland grilled chicken and boring chicken roast. Instead, up your dinner game with this easy and tropical crock pot Hawaiian chicken dish. The refreshing recipe only calls for 3 ingredients + the chicken , so it's a perfect weeknight staple! Made with sweet pineapple and barbecue sauce, your family will love it.

Crock pot
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16 oz bottle of barbecue sauce
1 8 oz can of crushed pineapple
Chopped scallions

Heat up crock pot.
Place chicken in crock pot.
Pour in barbecue sauce.
Drain pineapple.
Add in pineapple.
Pour in scallions.
Cook low for 6 hours.
Dig in!
You can also use the other white meat ----PORK---
Heart healthy

Food for Thought : 7 Things Women Need for a Happy and Healthy Sex Life

 Create more heat between the sheets with these surprising tips.
The benefits of sex extend beyond the bedroom. In fact, a roll in the hay can improve your heart health, boost your immunity, and more. Plus, regular romps with your partner create an intimate connection that’s crucial for a healthy relationship.

But if you’re not always in the mood to hit the sheets, you’re not alone. Many women have fluctuating sex drives, which may be a result of larger issues, says Ian Kerner, PhD, a psychotherapist and sex therapist in New York City. "In some ways, sexual desire is a barometer of your overall health," he explains. "If someone comes in with a low libido, it can often be an indication that something else is going on emotionally or physically.”

So how can you break through these bedroom barriers and create more heat between the sheets? Read on to find out what women really need to feel happy and healthy in their sex lives.

1. An Honest Sexual Health Talk With a Partner

No one likes the uncomfortable, "When was the last time you were tested?" talk, or a discussion about previous partners or birth control. But women are happiest in bed when they feel safe, so don’t be afraid to ask about your partner’s sexual history. You can even put a positive spin on the discussion, says Dr. Kerner. You might say something like, "I find you really sexy, and I'm interested in a relationship with you. But for me to fully enjoy myself, I want to talk about about our sexual histories and get on the same page about safety." If your partner isn’t open to the discussion, he or she may not be the right person for you.

2. The Right Products to Make It Comfortable

While it's widely known that women of a certain age tend to experience vaginal dryness, the truth is that even younger women can struggle with it. To make things more comfortable, try using a lubricant; just be choosy about the kind you purchase  since there are key differences among them. Kerner, who recommends the natural, water-based lubricant Sliquid, also stresses the importance of foreplay so you can lubricate naturally. "You could be aroused physically but not mentally, or vice versa, so you may just need to give yourself more time to warm up," he explains.

3. The Ability to Ask for What You Want in Bed

It can be intimidating to share sexual desires with a significant other. “If you feel uncomfortable, frame what you want in the form of a fantasy," suggests Kerner. For example, you could tell your partner you had a daydream about how you two used to make out like teenagers. "Try to use arousing, stimulating language,” he says. “Doing so will help lead you to the kind of sex you'd like to have."

4. A Workout Routine That Strengthens Sex Muscles

Kegel exercises can work wonders to strengthen the pelvic area, making for better and more intense sex and orgasms. When boosted, the kegel muscles, which wrap around the vagina and anus in the shape of a figure eight, help strengthen your pelvic floor, which supports all your pelvic organs. Doing the exercises properly can deliver results such as heightened arousal during sex, better blood circulation, and even the ability to produce more lubrication. Learn how to master kegels using this guide.  

5. Trust and Emotional Security

It's hard to have a carefree romp if you feel disconnected from your significant other or worried about your partner's fidelity. If you think your partner may be having an affair, it’s important to address it. To start the conversation in a non-confrontational way, Kerner suggests saying something like, "I feel like we haven't been connected lately, and you're always on your phone or texting. It just makes me feel a little unsafe in the relationship.” Then explain that you want your relationship and sex life to be a priority because you value them.

6. Confidence

Both new and long-term relationships can suffer if a woman doesn't feel good about  her body going into a sexual encounter. While it's easier said than done, try not to worry about stretch marks or a few extra pounds, and focus on staying in the moment. "You want to be in a relaxed place where your brain really deactivates, so you can experience full arousal and orgasm," says Kerner. Consider changing the lighting if it’s not flattering, or finding lingerie that makes you feel sexy.

7. The Right Diet for a Healthier Body and Increased Sex Drive

Studies show that loading your plate with certain foods can help you feel sexier. Research from Texas A&M University in College Station shows that phytonutrients found in watermelon can relax blood vessels, which may in turn boost your libido. The same effect can be seen from foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges and carrots. Research shows that the vitamin increases circulation, which may help improve sex drive in women. 

A proud grand-poppa     G .

Monday, January 16, 2017

Food for Thought : What Your Pee Is Telling You

By Everyday Health Guest Columnist

By Troy Sukkarieh, MD, Special to Everyday Health
Troy Sukkarieh, MD is a board-certified urologic surgeon with fellowship training in robotics and advanced laparoscopic surgery. He is on staff at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey, where he also maintains a private practice.

There is no perfect urine. Your quality and quantity of your urine can change based on your health and lifestyle. However, it’s important to know what is normal for you. This way, you can relay any serious or bothersome changes to your doctor.

Urine has been a useful diagnostic tool since the beginning of medicine. The color, density, smell, and frequency of your urine can reveal useful information about your health. It can also tell if you are properly hydrated, taking medication or vitamins, or have an infection.

What Color Is the Right Color for Urine?

If you don’t see any color, you might be drinking too much water or coffee. Deeper shades of yellow and amber can indicate that you are dehydrated. The color of urine can range from completely clear to gold, and can include unusual colors like red and blue.

Here are some clues about what different urine colors may indicate:

1 .  Blue-green urine may be the result of certain medications such as laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, or vitamins. If you aren’t taking any of these meds, and you continue to see this color for more than a few days, call your doctor to discuss.
2 .  Bright yellow or orange urine can indicate you’ve consumed a lot of vitamin C, carrots, beets, or other foods in the orange family. Some medications can turn your urine this color as well.
3 .  Dark orange or brown urine is cause for concern. This may mean you have bile in your urine or a problem with your liver.
Pink or red urine can simply indicate you’ve eaten red-tinted food. On a more serious note, this can also be a sign of blood in your urine. Bloody urine may indicate internal injury, kidney issues, or cancer.
5 .  Cloudy urine has been found to suggest the presence of phosphates, which can be a precursor to kidney stones. Cloudiness can also indicate an infection. If cloudiness worsens and you experience burning or urgency, make sure to see a doctor.

You May Be Able to Smell a Health Issue

Most of the time, if you are healthy and well hydrated, your urine will not have a strong smell. But these odors may spell trouble:

1 .  Foul smell. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) can produce a foul smell. Symptoms of a UTI include burning during urination, fever, chills, and back pain. If you have a urinary infection, you will need to be prescribed an antibiotic.
2 .  Sweet smell.  Sweet-smelling urine may be a sign of diabetes or liver disease.
3 .  Musty smell. Certain metabolic disorders may cause musty-smelling urine as well.
4 .  Keep in mind that consuming certain foods and beverages — coffee and asparagus in particular — can give urine a stronger smell as well, which is completely normal.

You Have to Go NOW, or You Have to Go Often

Most people take bathroom breaks about six to eight times a day, depending on how much they drink. If you’re constantly feeling the urge to go (without drinking any extra fluids), the frequency of urination can indicate an overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, interstitial cystitis (painful urination without an infection), or diabetes.

Urgency means you need to go right away, have difficulty holding it in, and wake up several times during the night to use the bathroom. For men, urgency and frequency, could be symptoms of a bladder problem or, more commonly, an enlarged prostate — known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, through which urine leaves the body. As the gland grows bigger, it can press on the urethra and cause a variety of changes in urination.

Some men assume drinking less water will lessen urgency and frequency, but dehydration can cause urinary issues as well. BPH can also cause incomplete emptying of your bladder, so you still feel like you have to go again minutes later. This isn’t a medical condition to be ignored, and it typically won’t go away on its own.

Increased frequency and urgency in women may be a symptom of an infection, kidney stones, or a more serious condition.

The Importance of a Tried-and-True Urinalysis

You can learn a lot about what’s going on inside your body by looking at your urine. For example, blood in your urine can indicate a significant health issue, and it isn’t always visible to the human eye. You may need a urinalysis to find it. The same can be said for the volume of sugar in your urine, which could indicate an increased risk of diabetes.

Only a proper urinalysis, one taken at your doctor’s office or medical lab, can accurately diagnose potential medical issues like these.

We’re all tempted to roll our eyes when the doctor hands us a plastic cup, requesting a urine sample. But that sample can provide a number of important insights regarding your health. It’s one of the easiest — and most valuable — tests you can undergo every year, regardless of your age or medical history.

A proud grand-poppa                 G.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

mmMaxy sez :Diabetes-Friendly Meals the Whole Family Will Love

You can modify family favorites without sacrificing taste. The whole crew will benefit from healthier eating.

By Beth W. Orenstein | Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

When Mom or Dad is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you might think that cooking for the family is going to become a huge hassle because you’ll need to make two versions of every meal. Not so, said Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD, LDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The same smart ingredients used in dishes for a diabetes meal plan will benefit every family member, and no one has to be the wiser.

The two pillars of a diabetes meal plan are controlling carbs (foods that easily convert to sugar) and eating heart healthy, Dobbins said. “We all can benefit from controlling portions, and we’re all at risk for heart disease,” she pointed out. If your kids grow up eating healthy, they’ll develop good habits that can last them a lifetime.

These culinary adaptations will satisfy the needs of the family member with type 2 diabetes, and no one else will even notice that they’re eating lower-carb meals or feel they’re missing out:
Cook with oil, not butter. Solid animal fats, like butter and lard, are high in saturated fat. Use healthier vegetable fats like canola and olive oil, but use them sparingly. Fat is high in calories, so using less can help you keep your weight in check.

Bake and broil. Bake, broil, or grill lean proteins like chicken and fish rather than dredging them in flour or breadcrumbs and frying. You’ll also want to skip heavy toppings like cream sauces and gravies. Add flavor to proteins with zesty spice rubs instead; they’ll be just as tasty and a lot more diabetes-friendly and heart healthy, Dobbins said.

Eat more fish. The American Diabetes Association recommends eating seafood two to three times a week. Steamed, poached and microwaved fillets are especially diabetes-friendly because they don’t require extra fat for cooking. If your family loves pasta, try serving sautéed shrimp or scallops over a small serving of whole grain noodles with mixed vegetables.

Lose the (beef) fat. If your family enjoys an occasional steak or roast, you don’t have to strike it from your grocery list completely. But for better health for everyone, choose leaner cuts of beef such as round, sirloin, and flank steak. Avoid cuts with white   white marbling, which is streaks of fat, and trim any visible fat from the cuts you do buy.

Need a burger fix? If you’re buying ground beef, look for labels that say it’s at least 90 percent lean. Better yet, substitute ground turkey to make tacos, meatballs, chili, and meatloaf into heart-smart meals.

Don’t be piggy. You can keep pork on the menu by choosing leaner Canadian bacon instead of fatty bacon and making boneless ham, pork tenderloin, boneless loin roast,  or center-cut loin chops instead of fatty ribs. “A lot of pork is very lean,” Dobbins said. You’ll still want to limit saltier cuts like Canadian bacon and ham to avoid eating too much sodium.

Substitute low-fat dairy. Using low-fat dairy in place of full-fat is an easy way to instantly trim major calories and saturated fat. When a recipe calls for whole milk, simply substitute 1 or 2 percent. Instead of full fat cheese, use a low-fat fat variety. You can use luxuriously thick non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt in many recipes that call for sour cream. If you’re worried about getting push back from tough critics at the dinner table, start by substituting just half of the dairy called for in a recipe with the low-fat version. If your family doesn’t notice (or gradually adjusts), you may eventually be able to substitute all of it.

Choose whole grains. Whole grains have been shown to help stabilize blood sugar, Dobbins said, and they have a nice, nutty flavor. Substitute brown rice for white rice in recipes and as a side dish. Opt for whole grain breads and pastas over those made from refined white flour. Another health perk: Whole grains are rich in fiber, which reduces risk for heart disease and helps fill you up so you eat less.

Sneak in more vegetables. Most vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, along with health-boosting vitamins. When following recipes, double the amount of non-starchy vegetables like peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli called for in soups and casseroles. Add sliced veggies to pasta sauce, and make the sauce tomato, not cream, based. When you pick up pizza for the gang, order it with  vegetables only, like broccoli and mushrooms, rather than fatty, salty meat toppings.

Up the bean count. Beans are a diabetes super food. They’re high in fiber and protein, so they fill you up and keep you fuller longer. You can add canned beans to salads, soups, and casseroles. Or, take a break from your favorite beef or turkey chili and try a vegetable bean version instead. Beans do have carbs – roughly 15 grams for 1/3 to 1/2 cup of beans, so make sure you include them if you count carbs.

Reduce sugar in recipes. Family members don’t have to give up their favorite sweets after mom or dad is diagnosed with diabetes. You can leave out a third of the sugar in most recipes without affecting taste or texture. The savings are substantial: in a recipe that originally calls for 2 cups of sugar, trimming 2/3 cup will slash more than 500 calories and well over 100 grams sugar. Pull back on the sweet stuff and exercise portion control, and everyone can enjoy a sampling and not feel deprived.

Serve smaller portions. Our portion sizes have grown dramaticallyServe smaller portions. Our portion sizes have grown dramatically over the years, so cutting back is a smart idea for everyone. Serve family favorites – just be sure everyone eats one serving, not two or three. No matter how healthy the food, if you eat too much, you’ll gain weight, Dobbins said.

A Meal Plan That Works for the Entire Family

“A diabetes diet is a healthy diet that everyone should be following,” Dobbins said. It’s not as restrictive as many people might think and, with some smart substitutions and portion control, you and your family can sit down together to great meals that are a far cry from bland, boring “health food.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Funny Owls ... For Man

Some people in Canada have owls as pets. I don't think you are allowed to in the USA. They are birds of prey and the very large ones can be dangerous. But the small ones like barn owls can be tamed and they are very cute. I wouldn't want one because you have to feed them live mice. I would end up keeping the mice as pets too. Enjoy

Chicken and Rice with Fresh Chorizo

2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4          links fresh chorizo or hot Italian sausage
4          whole chicken legs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2           garlic cloves, minced
1           medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1           red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2       teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4      cup dry white wine
1          28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
6          cups chicken stock
1-1/2   cups long-grain rice
1          cup frozen peas, thawed
3          scallions, coarsely chopped
2           tablespoons chopped cilantro
1          jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 . In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the chorizo, cover and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until richly browned and just cooked through, 10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper and add them to the casserole, skin side down. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the chorizo.

2 .  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the casserole. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. Add the turmeric and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the wine and boil over high heat until almost evaporated, 3 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the chorizo and chicken to the casserole along with any accumulated juices. Simmer over low heat until   the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

3 .  In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until coated with oil. Stir in 5 cups of the chicken cooking liquid into the rice. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the rice is just tender and has absorbed most of the cooking liquid, about 25 minutes. Stir in the peas, scallions, cilantro and jalapeño and warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

4 .  Cut each chorizo link into 3 pieces and return them to the casserole. Gently reheat the chicken and chorizo. Spoon the rice onto large plates and top with the chorizo pieces and chicken. Spoon some of the remaining cooking liquid on top and serve.
The jalapeño and chorizo in this dish give it a kick of heat; tannins in red wine will intensify that, so choose a wine that's low in tannin, like Pinot Noir.
Heart  healthy

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Back Yard

The rains came and melted all the snow and our stream flooded

See how fast the water is flowing. And it is quite deep. You can hear Brian calling Mika. If she fell in she would probably be washed away. In the summer  when the water was high and fast, after a storm, the children used to get on inner-tubes and ride the rapids .

Food for Thought :Midlife Sex Myths That Sabotage Your Love Life

 By Sandra Gordon

Have Satisfying Sex at Any Age
When you hear the words “sex ed,” you probably think of teaching children about the birds and the bees. But women’s health experts say that there’s a lot that you can still learn about your sexual health, whether you’ve been part of a committed couple for decades, are single, divorced, or dating. Myths about things such as desire and orgasms can linger from your younger years, and new issues can crop up as you or your partner enter menopause or contend with other health concerns. One of the biggest misconceptions: Age will sour your sex life. “Many women in midlife say the quality of sex is better than ever because they know themselves and what pleases them, and they feel an intimacy and connection with their partner that’s unique to this stage of life,” says Barb DePree, MD, director of Women’s Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, in Holland, Michigan, and founder of middlesexmd.com. Beyond that, here are common sex myths that doctors hear all the time — and the truth about how to have a satisfying sex life at any age or stage.

Myth: Menopause Steals Your Sex Drive
During perimenopause and menopause, levels of the sex drive-boosting hormones estrogen and testosterone do decrease, so you probably won’t feel in the mood as often as you did in your twenties or thirties when a woman’s sexual desire is at its peak. But don’t expect your libido to take a complete nosedive either. In fact, since sex drive is partly psychological, the opposite may be true. “Some women find that their libido increases when the kids are out of the house and after menopause when they don’t have to worry about getting pregnant,” says Margorie Gass, MD, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. Sex drive is such a personal thing, and you have to go with your gut for what feels normal for you. If you’ve noticed a big dip lately, talk to your gynecologist about it, because a decrease in sex drive has been linked to a number of serious health problems, from depression to type 2 diabetes.

                               Myth: Men Always Want Sex

If he’s not that into sex lately, don’t assume that he’s just not into you. All men experience some degree of “male menopause” — a combination of aging, decreased circulation, and lower testosterone levels that can affect a man’s sexual desire, arousal, endurance, and emotional health, says Steven Lindheim, MD, professor of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to normal aging, something else could be affecting him physically or emotionally, such as stress, side effects of certain medications, and health concerns such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Suggest that he see a doctor to rule out medical and emotional issues. You might say something like, “Honey, you haven’t seen a doctor in a while. It’s definitely time for a check-up to make sure everything is okay.” Then, use touch or a glance to help him get your drift without bruising his ego. Also, as they get older, most men need more stimulation, either visual or tactile, to achieve an erection. Keep an open mind and consider expanding your usual repertoire to experiment with new positions, toys, lingerie, and more.

Myth: Sex After Menopause Hurts Too Much to Feel Good

As many as 50 percent of postmenopausal women experience vaginal atrophy, a condition in which tissue becomes thin and dry as a result of lower hormone levels, according to a 2010 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. It can make penetration so painful that you don’t want to have sex, but there's still a lot you can do to make intercourse appealing. “I’ve had patients come in complaining of a low sex drive when, in fact, the problem is vaginal atrophy and pain with intercourse,” says Alan Altman, MD, president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health, in Aspen, Colorado. Women who don’t have sex regularly are most susceptible to vaginal atrophy because sex boosts blood flow to the vagina to help maintain healthy tissue. Over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers or a prescription estrogen cream can rejuvenate the vagina to make sex feel good again. Moisturizers are applied a few times a week to alleviate dryness; however, most lubricants are for immediate use right before intercourse. Whatever you do, don’t “lube” with Vaseline or mineral oil, which actually dry out the vagina. If topical estrogen, a vaginal moisturizer, and lubricant don’t help, ask your doctor if oral hormone therapy is a good option for you.

Myth: I'm Not Capable of Having Orgasms

While about 25 percent of women frequently report issues having orgasms, fewer than 5 percent are actually physically unable to, according to Dr. DePree, so don’t be too quick to count yourself among them. Even if you’ve never been able to climax in the past, that doesn’t mean you can’t aim for the big “O” now. “Some couples have never really developed the art of foreplay, which is especially important to help women orgasm during sex,” says DePree. Or maybe the foreplay you enjoyed as newlyweds has fallen by the wayside over the years, as you’ve had to squeeze sex into your hectic schedules. But it’s never too late to tell your partner that you need to spend more time on foreplay (more kissing, more breast fondling, and more direct stimulation of the clitoris, which is the orgasm golden ticket for many women). If you’ve only recently begun to miss out on orgasms, decreasing levels of testosterone, which affects libido, fantasy, and orgasm, may be a factor. There’s no FDA-approved testosterone product for women just yet but some physicians, including DePree, prescribe low levels of testosterone off-label to their female patients for this reason.

Myth: Once You Use a Vibrator, You Can't Orgasm Without It

Using a vibrator can help you orgasm more easily, but it won’t keep you from responding during regular (vibrator-free) intercourse, says Carol Queen, PhD, the staff sexologist for Good Vibrations in San Francisco. So don’t be afraid to use one on your own or think that it’s only for friskier “cougars,” which is another common myth. In fact, more than 50 percent of American women (age 40 on average) use vibrators, according to a 2009 University of Indiana study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. If you think bringing one into the bedroom would intimidate your man, consider this: A separate University of Indiana study published in the same journal found that 45 percent of men have used one, too, especially with female partners. Not only can it spice up sex with your mate; if you’re between partners, a vibrator or self-stimulation can help you enjoy sexual pleasure and maintain a healthy vagina by maintaining circulation to the area. Fortunately with online shopping, vibrators are easier than ever to buy in the privacy of your own home.

                                    Myth: Condoms Are for Teenagers
Grown-ups need protection, too. If you’re a single woman or are dating again after divorce, you should always keep some condoms in your purse and nightstand drawer, and insist that your partner wear one. Even if pregnancy is no longer a concern — and remember, you can still get pregnant as long as you get a period, even if it’s irregular — you need to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, which documented the condom use of nearly 6,000 people ages 14 to 94, adults over age 40 have the lowest rates of condom use. “It’s a generation who grew up before the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Michael Reece, PhD, director for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University in Bloomington, who helped conduct the study. “They associate condom use with preventing pregnancy, not protecting themselves against STDs." But the number of men and women over age 50 with HIV is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Condoms have come a long way since you were a teen, in terms of texture, shape, and lubricant (both inside and outside the condom). “Spend a little time on condom Web sites

A proud grand-poppa                  G.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Chicken Amaretto Superb

We like chicken and we have to include a lot of it in my husband's diet since he is a heart patient. So we have to find many and varied ways to serve it so we don't all get bored to death. This recipe is always a hit.


     1/4 cup flour
    1 teaspoon salt
     fresh ground pepper (you don't need too much)     
     2 teaspoons paprika
     2 teaspoons garlic powder
     6 chicken breasts ( skinless and boneless)
     3 -4 tablespoons oil (or as needed)
     3 tablespoons butter
     1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
     1⁄2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
     1⁄4 cup water
      2⁄3 cup Amaretto


  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.
  3. Roll/coat the chicken in the flour mixture.
  4. Saute chicken in oil until golden brown and transfer to a greased casserole dish.
  5. In the same skillet, increase the heat to med-high and melt butter.
  6. Add in Dijon mustard, orange juice concentrate, water and Amaretto; stir constantly until liquid is reduced.
  7. Pour the sauce over chicken.
  8. Bake covered for 35-40 minutes. Serves six
 Easy recipe to follow and a very tasty dish to serve your family. We like it  with  mashed potatoes and veggies or rice pilaf but pasta would compliment it also. Bask in the compliments.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Food for Thought :3 Ways to Uncover Hidden Heart Disease

You may be at risk for forms of silent heart disease, like atherosclerosis, without feeling obvious or expected symptoms. Find out how to protect yourself.

By Vanessa Caceres        Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

Not all forms of heart disease are obvious. You could have plaque in your arteries or an enlarged heart and not even know it; even heart attacks could be mistaken for bad indigestion. This lack of awareness puts those with so-called hidden heart disease, or heart disease that has no symptoms, at greater risk for serious health problems and death. It's important to be aware of the possibility of heart disease — even in young people. By learning about different kinds of hidden heart disease, you can help control your risk and protect yourself.

1. Hidden Heart Disease: Silent Heart Attack

Many people imagine a heart attack as someone clutching his chest and grimacing from the extreme pain, but that’s not always the case. “Some people may think it’s just awful indigestion,” said Tracy L. Stevens, MD, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City and a national physician spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “Or they may feel a pain between their shoulder blades and go to a chiropractor to get their back popped when they really felt a heart attack.”
Dr. Stevens believes that health care providers as a whole do not always identify “silent” heart attacks because they tend to focus only on asking about previous chest pain. “Patients don’t recognize the other symptoms from a heart attack,” she said. In particular, people with diabetes are less likely to feel heart attack symptoms, she added.

2. Hidden Heart Disease: Atherosclerosis Without Symptoms

It’s often not until someone dies of a heart problem and an autopsy is performed that physicians find severe coronary disease and artery blockages, said Hugh Calkins, MD, an electrophysiologist and professor of cardiology and medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and president-elect of the Heart Rhythm Society.

Although cardiologists say it’s hard to pinpoint the number of people at risk for a silent heart attack, a study published in the medical journal JAMA found that a large number of older people were not being treated for their increased heart attack risk even though they had related risk factors such as atherosclerosis, or plaque-thickened arteries.

Atherosclerosis isn't a condition that affects only seniors — younger people can develop 
these cholesterol-based deposits too. To assess your risk, try a simple test called the waist-to-hip ratio: If your waist measurement matches your hip measurement, this indicates an increased risk for atherosclerosis. Researchers have recognized this risk even in young people who appeared otherwise healthy.

A second measurement can also tip you off to heart disease risk, said Stevens. Measure your waist one inch above your belly button. To help lower your risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, and other heart disease risk factors, that measurement should be half or less of your height (in inches). So if you’re 5-foot-4, or 64 inches tall, your waist would optimally measure 32 inches or less.

Talk with your health care provider for help losing weight if you don’t pass these "tests."

3. Hidden Heart Disease: Undetected Weak Heart

Cardiomyopathy is a weakened heart muscle. Steven said it often doesn't cause symptoms until it's severe. Cardiomyopathy is frequently found by accident; for example, a patient with a bad respiratory infection may have a chest X-ray that happens to show an enlarged heart.

One cause of cardiomyopathy is uncontrolled high blood pressure. Other causes include diabetes and a family history, said Christine E. Lawless, MD, co-chair of the American College of Cardiology Sports and Exercise Cardiology council and director of cardiac athletic research at Bryan Heart Athlete Care at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A person with cardiomyopathy may not feel symptoms because the heart works harder to compensate for the problem, said Stevens. Undetected, cardiomyopathy may lead to cardiac arrest and even death.

Uncovering Silent Heart Disease

You can make some changes to lower your risk for hidden heart disease, but it requires having healthier habits. “Many people take better care of their car than their bodies,” said Dr. Calkins. The first step is to get regular checkups with a physician. By age 50, Calkins said, this should be an annual visit.

When you go for a checkup, have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked — high readings can put you at a higher risk for heart problems, Calkins added.

Also, consider getting heart-related screenings, such as echocardiography, an ultrasound of the heart, or a stress test, at health fairs in your area, said Dr. Lawless, adding that a number of patients she has treated were tipped off to heart disease this way. Though regular heart screenings starting at age 50 is the general rule, she suggested starting at age 40 if you have related risk factors.

A proud grand-poppa                G.