THE STRAIGHT UP
The Reason for the Season Why Fall Is the Best Time of Year
When I was a kid, I was convinced that the state fair was what made fall start each year. I have no idea where I got this idea. It was probably due to the fact that it never got cooler until the fair came to town. In my mind, the fair had to be making the weather get cooler. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized it was the other way around. In South Carolina, the fall doesn’t start until October, so at some point, someone decided to schedule the fair for those weeks instead of during the hot summer months. I think I came up with this crazy mythology about the fair causing the seasons to change because fall is my favorite season. I really look forward to that first morning when you step outside and there’s a fresh, crisp feeling in the air. It’s the kind of hopeful feeling that makes you think anything is possible that day. There’s a slight chill, and after months of 81-degree mornings, I’m glad to reach for my jacket. “I REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THAT FIRST MORNING WHEN YOU STEP OUTSIDE AND THERE’S A FRESH, CRISP FEELING IN THE AIR.”
Fall is a wonderful time of year. The colors are rich and beautiful as the leaves change, and the sun goes down at a reasonable hour. I like to go to bed early, and that’s hard to do when the sun is up until 10 p.m. When the sun sets at 7 p.m., it feels like the world giving me permission to do what I wanted to do anyway: go to bed.
It’s also time for the harvest. When my grandmother was still alive, she went all-in on harvesting fresh produce. She’d make dozens of different jams, can mountains of food, and store it all in her freezer. I swear, the end times could have come and as long as you had a generator for the freezer, you could have lived for a year off of what she prepared in the fall. The fall is a pretty good time for a metaphorical harvest, too. In the spring, when we’re surrounded by new life and new beginnings, it inspires us to make new plans for our life. What did you have planned? How did it play out?What are you harvesting now? When the temperature drops and the days get shorter, a lot of people start to dread the oncoming winter. They skip right over the beauty of fall! The fall equinox was on Sept. 23 this year; it’s a day when the sun is over the equator, so day and night are equal length.
It’s an amazing transition from summer into winter. With all of our 21st-century conveniences, we’ve become disconnected from nature and can miss this subtle shift. But this shift is what makes fall so great. As the color changes, the food becomes plentiful, and the days get darker, it’s not hard to see why ancient cultures would create elaborate legends about the season, or why a kid would decide the state fair brought fall along with it.
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
DECORATE YOUR HOUSE WITH YOUR OWN CREATIONS!
Thanksgiving Crafts Thanksgiving is only a month away, and your possibilities for holiday-themed crafts are endless with just a few supplies like paper, scissors, markers, and string.You can make turkey placemats, tissue paper trees, pumpkin garlands, paper pumpkins, or leaf mobiles to hang from the ceiling. Compile a list of ideas and have your kids pick out which craft they want to do first, then get to work together to create as many decorations as you want to display for Turkey Day. With these engaging craft ideas, the whole family will be eager to make their own decorations and show them off for months to come!
which means it’s time to
unbroken leaves, then head back inside and get creative!You can pull out the construction paper and paint trees, using handprints and “arm prints” as the trunks and branches. Paint the leaves you found to spruce up your trees or use them as decorations on their own.You can also use them for leaf printing or leaf pressing. Fun Finger Food When you’ve got multiple friends and family members coming over and you need snacks, edible decorations are the way to go.You can get a little creative and make elaborate treats, or you can opt for delicious and easy-to-make finger foods with your kids. A good starting treat for your family is a batch of pumpkin Rice KrispieTreats. Add orange food coloring to the mix and get your kids to shape the treats like pumpkins before using a few pretzel sticks to make sturdy stems.
bring out the
fall decor! To make this season especially memorable for your family, create your own decorations with these fun ideas below. Pine Cone Painting Go on a family walk through the park to pick up a few fallen pine cones or take a quick trip to the store to buy a bag. Once everyone has their own hand-picked pine cone, grab a paintbrush and a few colors and have at it! For extra flair, add some fixings like glitter, beads, sequins, string, and more.
Leaf Painting Take a trip outside with the
kids to pick out some large,
FROM THE OFFICE OF BUSTER
Why Your Dog Loves Your Retainer
get the case open, and start munching. It’s important to keep your retainer somewhere safe, like inside a drawer. Even though I know retainers are important, if I found my mom’s retainer sitting out, I’m not sure I could resist! That’s right, even Dr. Pitner wears a retainer. My mom wore braces as a kid and still uses a retainer today to keep her teeth straight and pretty. Teeth shift around naturally. Orthodontists like my mom harness the power of human biology with braces or Invisalign aligners to move teeth into place. However, once the braces or aligners come out, biology is still going to
make your teeth shift around. That’s why even people
This month, I want to talk about retainers. Now, I’ve never had a retainer, but my puppy friends say they’re delicious . If that’s true, it’s no wonder we have patients coming in all the time because their dog has chewed up their old retainer. The reason your dog loves your retainer so much is because it smells like you. If you want your dog to play with a new toy, it helps to spit on it a little. It’ll smell like you, so we’ll know it’s safe. Now imagine how your retainer must smell after being in your mouth! We dogs have incredible noses. If we smell a tasty retainer in its case sitting on a bedside table, it’s not hard for us to knock it down,
who had braces as a kid sometimes need to fix their teeth again as an adult.
If you want your teeth to stay straight, you have to wear your retainer every night
for the rest of your life. And unless you want
your retainer to become a really expensive chew toy, be sure to keep it somewhere your dog can’t reach. –Buster
Thinking With Your Gut The Amazing Connection Between Your Stomach and Your Brain
While it may seem strange to think about, the human stomach is truly a thing of wonder. Most humans only acknowledge its digestive processes, but the gut plays a much more influential role in our day-to-day lives than simply breaking down food for nutrient production; it is closely connected to our emotional states, as well. Think about it. Have you ever felt butterflies before a date, intestinal pain during moments of stress, or nausea before an important presentation? Have you ever told someone to “follow their gut” before making a big decision? These physical symptoms are not a coincidence; they are known in the scientific world as the gut-brain axis.
brain sends messages to all other organs in your body, so it’s not surprising it communicates with your stomach, too. What is
surprising, however, is that the connection goes both ways. Just as your brain can relay information to your gut about excitement and anxiety, your gut can have a direct impact on the way you feel. According to a recent study published by the National Library of Medicine, when a person’s microbiome — the diverse population of good and bad bacteria living in the GI tract — becomes significantly altered or imbalanced, psychological or neurological issues can arise. In response to these emerging findings, dietary approaches and probiotics are being explored to see how well they can modulate a person’s
microbiome and address symptoms. While research is still being conducted to determine the extent of the stomach’s influence over emotional and mental states, plenty of evidence proves the connection is real. Your stomach “talks” to you all the time, and, if you didn’t have enough reasons to pay attention to the food you eat, now you have one more thing to keep in mind. If you start thinking a bit more with your gut, your health will thank you for it!
Your gut is connected to the limbic system, the part of the brain that processes emotions. The
How to Assemble a Veggie Skeleton
Those who eat paleo may struggle to find a Halloween treat suitable to their diet. But no matter what your dietary restrictions are, everyone can enjoy some raw veggies with a healthy dip. Here are some tips for constructing your very own veggie skeleton — a spooky twist on a time-tested treat.
For the Head
Your favorite paleo-friendly dip makes a great canvas for a face. Pour it into a bowl and build features on top using different veggies.
For the Ribcage
Sliced cucumbers make for great vertebrae, and bell pepper slivers can be used to simulate ribs. Alternate between the two to give your skeleton some backbone.
For the Arms and Legs
Any long and straight vegetable will do the trick here. If you want to be anatomically accurate, consider using some spherical vegetables for joints.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and wacky with your veggie skeleton. The whole point, after all, is to have some fun and give people a reason to smile.
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
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5953 Wescott Rd. Columbia, SC 29212 803-781-5225 Monday–Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.drpitner.com
Are You Going to the Fair?
Fall Crafts for the Whole Family
Retainers: Your Dog’s Favorite Chew Toy
Learn About Your Gut-Brain Axis How to Assemble a Veggie Skeleton
Make Your Weekend More Fun Explore Columbia With Great Local Events SouthCarolina State Fair Where: SouthCarolina State Fairgrounds, Columbia When: Oct. 9–25 Admission: Admission varies by day Website: SCStateFair.org/ The SouthCarolina State Fair is celebrating its 150th birthday with themost memorable state fair in the nation. Enjoy your favorite fair treats and classic rides along with an expanded heritage village, free daily concerts, and thrilling circus performances.This year’s theme is “prize-winning memories” and guests of all ages are sure to make new fair memories they’ll cherish forever.
Animal Protection League Fundraiser Auction Where: FirefliesClub Lounge, Columbia When: Saturday,Oct. 26; 6–10 p.m. Admission: $60 Website: APLSC.orgal TheAnimal Protection League of SouthCarolina is hosting its biggest fundraising event of the year. Get your tickets now and join fellow pet lovers for food, drinks, and the opportunity to win excellent prizes in the live and silent auctions. Support the Midland’s oldest no-kill animal shelter and help animals throughout our community find loving, forever homes.
Stop-In Studios Where: TheColumbiaMuseumofArt, Columbia When: Saturday, Nov. 9; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phone: Free entry withmuseummembership or admission. Website: ColumbiaMuseum.org/events Get creative and let your inner artist go wild at TheColumbiaMuseumofArt’s Stop-In Studios. This month, artists of all ages are invited to get inspired by the works ofVanGogh and create beautiful outdoor landscapes. Leave your paints at home; the studio has everything you’ll need to create your next masterpiece.
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