HONORING TOLKIEN MY UNEXPECTED JOURNEY INTO SCI-FI AND FANTASY READING
When I found out that March 25 is Tolkien Reading Day, I knew just what to write about this month.
I became hooked on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fascinating stories when I first saw “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” after it premiered in 2001. The fascinating journey into an unknown world blew me away, and I knew I had to learn more about this story. I picked up the books and read them right after seeing the first movie. This was a bit of a deviation from my standard mystery and crime novels, but I found the more I read “The Lord of the Rings” series, the more I enjoyed sci-fi and fantasy. It’s opened up an entire genre for me when it comes to reading. To this day, I’m still amazed by Tolkien’s ability to create a whole other world. He just came up with all these languages and invented entire cultures. Imagine what kind of mind he must have had. His ability certainly made for compelling stories both in the books he wrote and the movies. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the relationship between Sam and Frodo. Frodo is not your typical main character. He’s not a strong warrior with godlike strength. He’s not particularly outstanding or fascinating; he’s an unassuming character who becomes a hero. He diligently follows through with the mission and teaches audiences a powerful lesson. People don’t have to possess super strength, athleticism, beauty, or even overwhelming intelligence to make an impact. Sometimes your average Joes are pretty spectacular, too. Sam provides another impactful lesson. He sacrifices his comfortable life in the Shire (his village) and dedicates himself to Frodo so the mission can succeed. He epitomizes what it means to be a good friend and live unselfishly. While you don’t necessarily have to give your life to be a true friend, Sam shows us what it means to have a strong devotion to someone.
Of course, like any book turned movie, I think the books are better than the films, but on their own, the movies are a great adventure. My boys and I enjoy watching them and “The Hobbit” movies when we can. Although, they have all come to agree that most stories are better told in book form. Reading was always a big part of our kids’ lives when they were younger. We were mindful to encourage them to read, regardless of what they chose. Our house is a big “Harry Potter” and “Percy Jackson” house. My boys loved the “Harry Potter” movies, and after we encouraged them to read the books, they were even more interested in the stories. As they grow, I’m sure they will find more genres and series they are passionate about. If they can find a series that takes them on a journey like the one I had while reading Tolkien’s books, I know they will be hooked. Of course, little can compare to the unexpected journey you take inside Tolkien’s world. –Mark Nowlin • 1 (714) 557-2100
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WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT POISON IVY? LEAVES OF 3, LEAVE THEM BE
YOU CANNOT BECOME IMMUNE TO POISON IVY.
Meditation has different meanings for different people. Traditionally, the act of focusing one’s mind has been used in religious and spiritual practices around the globe. More recently, it’s become a popular method of relaxation. Now, new research shows that this ancient practice may have yet another benefit: pain management. In 2008, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey found that over 100 million adults in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis and debilitating injuries. Because of this, care providers have become focused on finding ways to help patients manage these persistent aches. The sensation of pain is caused by a complex interaction of biological and The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and the great outdoors are calling your name. It’s time to start planning your summer adventures! Just remember to watch out for the enemy of all outdoor enthusiasts: poison ivy. Found in every state except Hawaii and Alaska, poison ivy — or more accurately, the rash- causing urushiol oil on its leaves — can quickly ruin a trip. Before you head out on your next outdoor adventure, make sure you get your facts straight. Many people believe the poison ivy rash can spread if the blisters pop, but the only thing that can cause the rash is urushiol oil. This is why it’s so important to clean your skin and wash your clothes as soon as possible. Urushiol oil can spread onto objects like doors or chairs, and you don’t have to touch poison ivy to have a reaction to urushiol oil. THE POISON IVY RASH IS NOT CONTAGIOUS.
cognitive factors, leading scientists to study how mental exercises like meditation can aid in pain relief. Anecdotal evidence regarding meditation’s ability to reduce pain has existed for as long as the practice itself. However, modern technology has given researchers the means to accurately measure the effectiveness of this age- old tradition. The Department of Health and Human Services has cited MRI brain scans as proof that meditation can lead to moderate pain reduction. These scans revealed that the same areas of the brain stimulated by painkillers are activated when the mind is in a meditative state. This supports the accounts of those who have reported better functionality after meditative sessions. Urushiol oil triggers an allergic reaction in 85% of people, leading to the ensuing rash. Some people believe regular exposure to poison ivy can help develop an immunity to urushiol oil, but this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s just the opposite. About 15% of the population isn’t allergic to poison ivy, but the allergy can develop over time. The more you’re exposed to poison ivy, the worse your outbreak can become. IF YOU TOUCH POISON IVY, DO NOT POUR URINE ON YOUR SKIN TO PREVENT THE RASH. Urine, vinegar, dirt, bleach, and even gasoline are common “treatments” for preventing or curing a poison ivy rash. None of these are effective, and some can really hurt you. If you’ve been exposed to poison ivy, your best course of action is to wash your skin with soap and water. Cleaning off
the urushiol oil within 20 minutes of exposure can greatly decrease your odds of developing a rash. When all is said and done, the best way to treat poison ivy is to avoid it altogether. The next time you’re exploring the great outdoors, just remember: Leaves of three, leave them be.
PRACTICE PAIN RELIEF THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
With the ongoing tragedy of the opioid crisis, there is a dire need for pain management strategies that are noninvasive and not habit-forming, such as physical therapy. Meditation is easily accessible and can be used in conjunction with other pain relief strategies. Whether you sign up for guided meditation sessions, download one of the many mindfulness apps on the market today, or simply make time to sit and clear your mind for 30 minutes, it’s easy to add meditation to your normal routine.
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FACT VS. FICTION: THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET AN EASY WAY TO EAT HEALTHIER FOR YOUR HEART
While the basis of the Mediterranean diet has been a staple in its titular region for centuries, it wasn’t until the 1960s that nutritionists popularized the concept in Western culture. Doctors noticed that Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy have less heart disease- related deaths than the U.S. and northern Europe. When they looked to regional eating habits for answers, they found a common plant-based diet rich in healthy fats, seafood, and bread. However, in modern years, misconceptions plague the popular diet, so let’s clear some up. FALSE. There are no defined portion sizes for the Mediterranean diet. Instead, it comes with a loose guideline: Eat a plant-based diet of mostly fruits and vegetables with a weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs. Dairy products are allowed in conservative amounts, but nutritionists discourage red MYTH NO. 1: IT’S RIGID.
MYTH NO. 3: NUTRITIONALLY, IT’S 30%–40% FAT.
meat intake whenever possible. To the delight of many Mediterranean dieters, a moderate amount of red wine is encouraged!
1. Heat oven to 400 F. 2. In a colander, toss eggplant, zucchini, and salt. Let sit for 30 minutes and pat dry. 3. In an ovenproof pot, heat 1/2 cup olive oil. Add half of eggplant mixture, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pot. 4. Tie thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine. 5. In the same pot, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and cook onion, pepper, garlic, and thyme for 8–10 minutes. 6. Add half the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. 7. Stir in original eggplant and zucchini mixture and top with remaining tomatoes. Do not stir. 8. Transfer pot to oven and bake mixture for 15–20 minutes. 9. Remove pot from oven and remove thyme bundle before serving. TRUE. But be careful about which type of fat. The Mediterranean diet relies heavily on olive oil instead of butter or lard for cooking. Saturated fats, trans fats, or hydrogenated fats like palm oil don’t contribute positively to your heart health, but a diet based on natural fats can improve your overall cholesterol levels. Fatty fish are also crucial for the Mediterranean diet and include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore, and lake trout. Thanks to omega-3 fatty acids, consumption of these fish improves your blood circulation and reduces inflammation in the body. If you’re concerned about your heart health, try out this plant-based diet with a focus on foods local to you for long- term health and delicious meals. Your body will thank you! RATATOUILLE DIRECTIONS Inspired by Bon Appétit
MYTH NO. 2: IT’S EXPENSIVE.
FALSE. You don’t have to eat only what’s native to the Mediterranean, so don’t swear off avocados just yet. Eat locally by choosing in-season fruits and vegetables that benefit your diet and your wallet. You’ll find that preparing meals centered on vegetables and whole grains is very affordable, especially when you get your grains from dry bulk bins. And while buying olives and cheese might be expensive, you can get away with buying small amounts. Try different brands of canned olives for affordable alternatives to bottled ones. Plus, some grocery stores place cheap cuts of their premium cheeses near the deli.
TAKE A BREAK!
• 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch- thick rounds • 2 tsp salt • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided • 5 sprigs thyme • 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick • 1 red bell pepper, chopped • 2 garlic cloves, sliced • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
• 3 (714) 557-2100
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1. THE SERIES THAT SPARKED MY INTEREST IN SCI-FI AND FANTASY INSIDE THIS ISSUE
2. POISON IVY MYTHS
MEDITATION AND PAIN RELIEF
3. HAVE YOU HEARD THESE MYTHS ABOUT THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET? RATATOUILLE 4. GET FIT WITH FIDO
WELLNESS AND WHISKERS 3 WAYS TO WORK OUT WITH YOUR PET Creating a healthy lifestyle is often easier with support, but if you’re
RACKING UP THE MILES A simple way to get moving with your pet is to go for a walk. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, then try running, biking, or hiking with your pet. Anything beyond a walk may require extra obedience training or equipment — like a specialty tool that prevents your pet from colliding with your bike — but after a few loops around the trail, your pet will be begging to go again. And how can you say no to that face? Plus, this idea isn’t just for dogs. You can find leashes and harnesses for cats, lizards, ferrets, and other pets that love to get fresh air. GOING FOR A SWIM If you have a dog that appears to be more fish than canine, swimming might be the workout for you! Swimming is a joint-friendly cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body. If you’re not one
for a dip in the pool, then kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great for your arms and core. Meanwhile, your pet can enjoy a relaxing ride or an exciting game of fetch. Just be sure to secure your pet with a life jacket before you and your four-legged friend splash away! KEEPING IT TRADITIONAL If you want a good full-body workout while entertaining your pet, then consider including them in traditional exercises. Entertain your pup with a game of fetch and drop down for a burpee every time it runs away. Balance your bird on your shoulder while you squat and lunge. Mentally and physically stimulate your cat by dragging a string around your body during Russian twists. With a little creativity and a few of your pet’s favorite things, both of you can work up a sweat.
struggling to find someone to join you on your path to wellness, then look to your furry friends instead. Read on for some ways to get active with your pet, and learn more about their wellness and health at PetMD.com.
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