Health, Mind & Body

Try Natural Standard

Natural Standard logo

A lot of “natural” or complementary medicines and practices sound more appealing to patients than drugs with fancy chemical names.  But the question is—do they do any good? Do they, perhaps, rather do harm? Even seemingly harmless ingredients (grapefruit juice, green coffee extract) can have dangerous effects when combined with other necessary medications or complicating conditions. And then there’s the placebo effect, the often-studied quandary that any medicine or technique, if the patient is told it will be effective, will be for a certain percentage of the time.

The database Natural Standard (available to CRRL cardholders at www.librarypoint.org/research) takes on this dilemma and provides additional helpful information besides. According to its site’s statement, Natural Standard is impartial—not supported by any interest group, professional organization or product manufacturer. 

Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Grant

Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation Grant

The library has new books on breast cancer, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation.  The VBCF, founded in 1991, is a nonprofit organization “committed to the eradication of breast cancer through education and advocacy.”  For more information, visit their website at www.vbcf.org, or call 800-345-VBCF.

Check out a few of our new titles:

Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook by Betty Crocker
Over 130 recipes designed specifically for the cancer patient.  Also includes “uplifting quotes, anecdotes, and practical tips from cancer survivors.”  (catalog summary)

Breast Cancer:  What You Need to Know--Now
A concise but comprehensive guide from the American Cancer Society.

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon

French Kids Eat Everything

All it takes is one picky toddler to make parents pull their hair out at the dinner table. If there is one topic that worries us the most, it’s our children’s health and what they’re eating (or not!). As a result, there are countless books on the market touting the best way to get your kids to eat more foods. From The Sneaky Chef, which advocates putting veggie purees in brownies, to 201 Healthy Smoothies and Juices for Kids, to What Chefs Feed Their Kids where chefs share their gourmet secrets, there are more than 60 titles to choose from just in our library system. Parents who are at a loss as to how to get their littlest ones (and often, their big ones!) interested in a plate of carrots can easily become overwhelmed with the advice. With the additional goals of trying to feed families with increasingly less time and high grocery bills, it’s enough to make many of us revert to pasta every night of the week.

The newest addition to the collection, however, might just change not only how you feed your kids, but also yourself. French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon is the story of one Canadian mother who moved her young family back to her husband’s native Brittany, on the coast of France. As you can surmise by the title, she discovered why French kids associate chocolate cake with pleasure, not guilt, and why they have astonishing lower rates of childhood obesity (20% in America, just 3% in France (p. 140)). She discovered why nearly half of French children eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day, while barely ten percent of their American counterparts struggle to eat the same amount (p. 117). Even their daycare menus resemble gourmet menus. One day’s lunch at her daughter’s preschool was listed as: beet salad bolognaise, roast turkey with fine flageolet beans, goat cheese buchette, and organic pear compote (p. 36). “By the time they are two years old,” Le Billon discovered, “most French kids have tried (and eaten) more foods than many American adults” (p. 120).

SENIORNAVIGATOR E-QUICKTIP: Long-Distance Caregiving

SENIORNAVIGATOR E-QUICKTIP: Long-Distance Caregiving

Do any of these situations sound familiar to you?

-The phone rings at 10 p.m. notifying you that your father has fallen and rushed to the hospital with a probable broken hip.

-You call your mother several times one afternoon and evening without any answer.

-Your aunt’s neighbor calls you to tell you that the papers are piling up on the front doorstep over the past week and she is not answering the door.

Whether you live an hour away or across the country, long-distance caregiving can be a challenge for many families.

Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff

Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff

“I’ll be happy when…I win the lottery. Snag my dream job. Lose that last ten pounds.” Does that sound familiar? Marci Shimoff in Happy for No Reason points out the flaws in this type of thinking and presents practical advice for living a life of happiness, regardless of your circumstances.  Shimoff herself thought she had achieved the American Dream as a successful, published author married to a loving husband and living in a beautiful home. But she, too, felt something was missing from her life. Through her research and her interviews of the “Happy 100,” Shimoff discovers that happiness is derived from within and offers the following seven steps to creating your own happiness:

1. Take Ownership of Your Happiness
2. Don’t Believe Everything You Think
3. Let Love Lead
4. Make Your Cells Happy
5. Plug Yourself Into Spirit
6. Live a Life Inspired by Purpose
7. Cultivate Nourishing Relationships

So, why should you read this book now that I’ve given away Shimoff’s seven steps? Because although these steps are the basics of Shimoff’s plan, her explanations and advice are well worth reading, to the point where I wanted to dog-ear the book’s pages (as it was a library book, I did not).  Even the new-age concept of the Law of Attraction had me thinking “what if it is true?” and “what do I have to lose?”

April 16: 5th Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day

SeniorNavigator website

Have you and your loved ones made your healthcare end of life decisions yet?  Have you drafted an Advance Directive to communicate your end of life choices in writing? Monday, April 16th marks the Fifth Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day.  Consider setting aside some time in your busy schedule to learn more about end of life care options and possible medical decisions  that can arise during a health crisis.

To learn more about Advance Directives and other information about end of life decisions, please visit the  “Advance Directive” section of the SeniorNavigator website

You will find Virginia Advance Directive forms here to complete, as well as a link to the Commonwealth of Virginia's Advance Health Care Directive Registry, where you can securely store your medical power-of-attorney, do-not-resusitate orders, and other health care wishes. 

SeniorNavigator is the go-to website for Virginians who need information on services for our citizens of "a certain age!"  Caregiving, housing and long term care, transportation, and legal and financial information for the aging can be found at SeniorNavigator.org.

Cultivating Community: Web Resources

Cultivating Community: Web Resources

"Cultivating Community" is a community-wide program designed to share information in the Fredericksburg region about farm-to-table and sustainable food communities. These web sites support those goals by exploring how you can assess the sustainability of your community and your home, finding locally grown foods or growing your own, cooking, and sustainable gardening.

Community Sustainability Assessment: gen.ecovillage.org/activities/csa/English
A comprehensive checklist that anyone can complete to get a basic idea of how sustainable their community is. While it requires good knowledge of the life-styles, practices and features of the community, it does not require research, calculation and detailed quantification. This assessment takes about three hours for an individual to complete, or a series of sessions if done as a group experience by community members.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, seeks to determine through investigative journalism exactly what goes into deciding what we should eat. Pollan explains that as omnivores, humans have such a vast variety of foods that they are able to eat—plant, animal, and even fungi--that it creates a problem within the human mind. Other species such as the koala bear only have one choice for dinner, eucalyptus leaves; because humans have so many choices, deciding what to eat can take up a large part of humans' time. 
 
In order to investigate exactly how we have come to use the supermarkets and the industrial-style meal preparations today, Pollan looks at all of the ways in which people are able to feed themselves. He analyzes first the industrial-style food change, which starts with large farms in other parts of the country—or, in some cases, other parts of the world—and consists mostly of corn products, which leads to a meal served at your local McDonald's. Then he looks into the organic phenomena that we're seeing today, which stemmed out of early ideas about better ways to manufacture food that does not contain hormones and antibiotics that other industrial food chains add. Next, he looks at some alternative food production models, such as grass feed farms. The one that he examines most thoroughly is Polyface Farm, which is located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Lastly, Pollan looks at the most traditional way of food production—food foraging—with which he produces an entire meal using his own skills in Berkley, California.

Help from SeniorNavigator and the Library

Senior Navigator Logo

Senior citizens, their families, and caregivers looking for accurate healthcare information on the Internet will probably tell you it’s a mess.  There are a tangle of sites for the various federal, state, and local government healthcare agencies, not to mention sites for hospitals, private care facilities, medical information sites like WebMD, and a quagmire of others floating around out there.  Each site has its own navigation scheme and design that  will make even the savviest of the web-savvy shake a fist skyward in frustration when trying to figure them out.  SeniorNavigator.org seeks to make the information gathering experience for senior citizens easy and anxiety-free. At the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, we want to help you use this tool to find the best information and advice to make your lives easier. 

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D.

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I decided to read this book because I’ve always been interested in the Dalai Lama. I really thought The Art of Happiness would be more focused on understanding Buddhist principles; instead, it’s a peculiar mix of Eastern religion meets Western medicine.

Co-author Dr. Howard Cutler is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Phoenix, and the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist monk. It’s amusing to see two very different approaches to achieving happiness. The Dalai Lama’s approach to achieving happiness is more of a holistic, spiritual system that focuses on improving oneself using the power of the mind. Dr. Howard Cutler takes more of a back-seat approach in which he listens to the Dalai Lama’s suggestions and gives input about modern psychological approaches used in the United States.