6358 EDGEMERE BLVD. EL PASO, TEXAS 79925 915-562-8525
1779 N. ZARAGOZA ST., SUITE A EL PASO, TEXAS 79936 915-855-6466
HAPPY SAINT NICHOLAS DAY! (MERRY CHRISTMAS, TOO) REMEMBERING MY FAMILY’S DUTCH HOLIDAY TRADITIONS
If you were born and raised in America, you probably grew up thinking Santa lives in the North Pole, drives a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer, and delivers presents by squeezing himself down the chimney. I’m not going to say you’re wrong , but in the Netherlands where I’m from, we were raised with a different Christmas legend: the legend of Sinterklaas. At first glance, Sinterklaas looks a bit like Santa — they’re both old men with flowing white beards, red coats, and sacks of presents — but that’s where the similarities end! Sinterklaas is actually based on Saint Nicholas of Myra, a Christian bishop born in A.D. 280 in what is now Turkey, and Dutch children are well aware of the connection. Saint Nicholas was well-known in his lifetime for his generosity, and stories abound about all the gifts and assistance he gave the poor. They spread across Europe, and soon he was beloved in the Netherlands, too. Saint Nicholas died on Dec. 6, A.D. 343 and over the centuries that followed, the people of the Netherlands made it an annual tradition to celebrate his death with a feast and other festivities — a ritual we still uphold today. The holiday is called Saint Nicholas Day, and it’s distinct from Christmas, when we celebrate the
birth of Jesus Christ. As a kid, I always thought that made good sense because it meant Jesus didn’t have to share his birthday with Sinterklaas! No one enjoys it when their birthday falls on a holiday. Instead of visiting Sinterklaas at the mall, Dutch children watch him arrive by boat at the harbor. Legend has it Sinterklaas is visiting from Spain, and he always appears on a white horse flanked by Moorish helpers and wearing an elaborate bishop’s miter. On Sinterklaas Day when I was a kid, my family celebrated in the traditional way. My mother, father, brother, sister, and I got each other a trio of gifts, including an inexpensive serious gift, a funny gag gift, and a thoughtful handwritten poem. Writing the poem was my favorite part of the holiday because poking fun at each other was fair game. Anything that had happened that year could be added to the poem, so if you did something stupid in May, it could come back to haunt you for Sinterklaas! Even better, because all of the gifts and poems were delivered in a sack at the front door by “Sinterklaas,” you never knew who had written which poem. Unlike in the U.S., where opening presents is often over by breakfast, opening our gifts one by one, reading the poems out loud, and sharing the
traditional pepernoten, speculaas, and taai taai cookies would take hours, and often a whole evening! Living in America, what I miss most about that tradition is the time, care, and thought that went into the presents, particularly in creating the poems. Sometimes it would take me weeks to write the perfect rhyme for my brother or sister, and reading them always meant a lot more than any store- bought gift would. Even though I can’t quite recreate the holidays of my youth, I still try to bring that same care to my gift-giving as an adult and business owner. In particular, my staff and I try to let the doctors who refer patients to us know we care by sending something other than the traditional gift basket of fancy fruit and cheese (which was often one of 50 gift baskets, few of which were eaten). For more than 10 years now, we’ve instead sent a bottle of wine and receipt of a donation in their name to the free clinic where they worked in medical school. I hope that assuages their worries if they don’t have time to volunteer over the holidays and means more than a few bites of expensive food! We’d love to show you how much we care, too — and not just on the holidays. Any time you book an appointment with us, we’ll pay attention to the details that matter. To see for yourself, call our office at 915-562-8525 today!
For the last five years, each holiday season Spine & Rehab Specialists has donated funds, food, coats, and blankets to the Sisters of the Queen of Peace Convent in El Paso. Our donations help feed, clothe, and shelter the homeless, and we’d love for you to join us in spreading the holiday cheer! If you’re able, please bring your contributions to the convent at 3119 Pera Avenue, or contact one of our clinics about the possibility of coordinating a joint donation. We appreciate your generosity of spirit and wish you all a Merry Christmas!
– Harry Koster • 1 915-562-8525
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HOLIDAY CUISINE AROUND THE GLOBE
WHAT DO OTHER COUNTRIES EAT TO CELEBRATE THE SEASON?
JAPAN: FRIED CHICKEN Thanks to a clever 1970s marketing campaign, the dish of choice for Christmas in Japan is fried chicken — specifically, KFC. Unlike in America, holiday orders in the country come with chocolate cake, roasted chicken with stuffing, and even bottles of Christmas wine emblazoned with Colonel Sanders’ face. SWEDEN: SAFFRON BUNS According to Delish, Swedish tradition “dictates that the eldest daughter dress in a white gown tied with a red sash and a crown of lit candles, then wake her parents with hot coffee and a tray of saffron buns.” Swedes also feast on a casserole called Jansson’s Temptation made with potatoes, onions, anchovies, and cream.
Maybe you love the majesty of a winter’s morning, or maybe you just hate the treadmill. Whatever your reason is for wanting to run or jog outside in the dead of winter, remember to take the proper precautions before stepping out. Runners face challenges during the winter that they don’t face any other time of year. If you want to experience the winter safely, there are a few things to keep in mind. WARM UP INSIDE FIRST. If you’re planning on braving the snow and frigid temperatures, try to spend 10–15 minutes warming up before you walk out your front door. Cold weather naturally tightens muscles and joints, so stretching your limbs in a heated environment is a good way to ensure maximum comfort and minimum risk of injury when you’re running in the cold. Celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa vary from country to country, but there is one thing that unites holiday parties around the world: food. While some American traditions overlap with those of other countries — Peru, for example, shares our love of hot chocolate; England and Canada raise glasses of eggnog; and Italy digs into a version of fruitcake called panettone — there are plenty of dishes beloved all over the world that never make it to the American table. Below, we’ve rounded up a few you might consider exploring this season. COSTA RICA: TAMALES Christmas in Costa Rica wouldn’t be complete without tamales, a savory treat made by stuffing corn dough, meat, garlic, onions, potatoes, and raisins into corn husks or banana leaves. The process of filling and
steaming the tamales can take days, and every family makes their own signature filling.
ETHIOPIA: YEBEG WOT Ethiopians start preparing their
WEAR SHOES WITH TRACTION. If your favorite running path is covered with snow and ice, you should consider finding a different route. But, if you can’t resist going down your beaten path, then you need to make sure your shoes are up to the challenge. If your running shoes have worn soles, then you’ll need to get a new pair with soles that will grip the ground better before stepping out on the ice. Regardless of how amazing your shoes are, remain vigilant about where you’re stepping. DRESS DOWN A LAYER. Yes, it is cold outside, but your body will naturally warm up as you run, just like it would with any other physical activity. Think of what you would normally wear to stay comfortable in the cold, and then wear one less layer when you’re running. Of course, you Christmas meals as early as October, when they buy the still-live lambs that will eventually go into their savory, spicy lamb stew on the holiday. As with many of the country’s dishes, yebeg wot is scooped up and eaten with injera (teff flatbread). ISRAEL: LATKES Latkes have been synonymous with Hanukkah for more than 900 years, and no Israeli Christmas would be complete without the little potato pancakes cooked symbolically in oil. Despite their long history, though, latkes now vie with sufganiyot — a kind of jelly-filled donut — for a place on the holiday table.
RUNNING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND TIPS FOR RUNNING AND JOGGING IN COLD WEATHER
should keep other weather elements in mind as well, such as wind, rain, and snow, when you’re picking out your running clothes. Finally, if a day is particularly cold, snowy, or windy, don’t force yourself outside for the sake of your health. Sometimes, a good bowl of soup and a roaring fire can be just as physically satisfying as a run outside.
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DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL? SHARE YOUR WISDOM IN A MEMOIR
The urge to leave behind a legacy is an inherent human instinct. Whether you accomplish this by raising children, building a successful company, or starting a charitable organization, the desire to share your wisdom should not go unfulfilled. If none of these options work for your lifestyle, writing a memoir may be a good option. A memoir not only tells your story but also passes on the wisdom you’ve gained from your many experiences and offers a unique perspective to inspire future generations. Writing can be a therapeutic exercise at a time when your life may be changing due to retirement or your kids growing up and leaving the house. And because personal reflection is a natural occurrence with age, writing a memoir can be the perfect way to spend your time. As you gain enough distance from life events to grow useful perspectives, the stage is set for self-discovery and transformation.
Even more so, your life experiences can give valuable insights to readers of all ages and circumstances. That’s why biographies and memoirs are such popular genres — reading about real people helps others understand the world and how they can live in it. To get started, pick a theme. Ask yourself these questions, “What message do I want to leave with my readers? What do I want them to feel
or understand by reading my words?” From there, select anecdotes that support your theme. Make sure they’re clear and cohesive. Then, write like you would a fictional novel or story. Show, don’t tell, and keep readers invested by having a narrative arc, whether it flows chronologically or jumps back and forth in time. Remember, this is not a time to air dirty laundry; it’s a time to reflect, grow, and share your experiences with the world.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER ‘STEAKS’ Inspired by Delish
TAKE A BREAK!
• Kosher salt • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1 cup balsamic vinegar • 1/4 cup brown sugar • Parsley leaves, for garnish
• 1 large head cauliflower • 2 cups Roma tomatoes • 1 red onion, quartered • 1/2 lb green beans, ends trimmed
3. Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan to medium-high, and whisk together vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low simmer, letting sauce reduce for 15 minutes. 4. Coat cauliflower in glaze and reserve extra for basting. 5. Roast for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. 6. Quarter cauliflower and serve with veggies.
1. Heat oven to 400 F. 2. Trim the leaves and stem from
cauliflower, but do not break down further. (It should sit like a dome.) In the center of a large baking dish, place the cauliflower and surround it with tomatoes, onion, and green beans, and season with salt and olive oil.
• 3 915-562-8525
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915-562-8525 | www.SpineRehab.net 6358 Edgemere Blvd. El Paso, Texas 79925
1. COVER TITLE 1. MEET SINTERKLAAS, THE DUTCH SANTA CLAUS INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2. HOLIDAY FOODS AROUND THE WORLD TIPS FOR RUNNING AND JOGGING IN COLD WEATHER 3. TELL YOUR STORY AND SHARE YOUR WISDOM ROASTED CAULIFLOWER 'STEAKS’ 4. BOOST YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THIS SEASON
FEELING SAD? WAYS TO FIGHT SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience every fall and winter. If you find yourself feeling blue as the days become shorter and darker, know there are things you can do to boost your mood until spring returns. GET SOME SUN Exposure to sunlight is also significantly beneficial for people suffering from SAD. Sunlight helps your body produce adequate amounts of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being
and happiness. Getting just a few minutes of sunlight a day through a walk or short jog can make all the difference. If you live in an area where the winters are bleak, cloudy, and dark, sunlight can be harder to come by. But technology has you covered: You can purchase “sun lamps,” which simulate sunlight without the damaging UV rays. Just set up a sun lamp in your workspace or living area and feel your mood lift. MAINTAIN YOUR ROUTINE Often, it can be difficult to stick with your daily routine during the cooler
INCREASE YOUR ACTIVITY Keeping your body active can increase your energy levels, help you sleep, reduce anxiety, and boost your self- esteem. Summit Medical Group states that a person who exercises for 30–60 minutes a day can manage or avoid SAD easier than a person who does not exercise regularly. When you participate in physical activity, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which have a morphine-like effect on your brain. If exercising outdoors is not ideal, consider swimming, walking, or dancing instead.
months. It may be harder to wake up on time in the morning to work out, or it may be too cold outside to go on your daily run. Luckily, you can find small ways to mitigate this. For example, invest in a sunrise alarm clock, which gently wakes you up with a simulated sunrise, or shop for high- quality thermal workout gear. If you continue to suffer from SAD and feel there’s no end in sight, it’s important to seek help from professionals. They can determine the best treatment options available for you.
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