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Overcome the obstacles and keep walking!

9 Jan

Nico, tango and I taking a rest after walking!

It’s true, it’s wintertime and it’s cold outside. If you are like me, the cold weather is not going to stop you from taking a walk outside. I understand that It’s much easier to sit inside on a frigid, blustery day and read a book, under a blanket while sipping a mug of tea but this can make it difficult for us to find that motivation we had, not too long ago on January 1st to exercise and get fit. The cold weather is only one of the many barriers that exists when trying to implement a physical activity routine, especially one focused on walking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists obstacles such as sidewalk conditions, crosswalks, lack of daylight in the winter, and safety from traffic and crime. But when we really think about it, we know that exercise is a necessary part of our daily routine. So if you won’t go outside for a walk because of one of these reasons, how you can get in 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of physical activity without being in fear of freezing our feet off? Mall walking! While this isn’t a new idea, or even a very creative one, the mall is extremely underutilized for those who wish to exercise. Shopping malls can offer some of the best perks, such as:

  1. Temperature-controlled building
  2. Easy to access bathrooms
  3. Free water fountains
  4. Flat and level walking route
  5. Well-lit and safe environment with a security presence
  6. Benches to rest
  7. No membership required, so family and friends can walk with you

Call a friend and go to the mall to walk. Research studies further suggest that when individuals exercise with a friend who is also motivated, they are more likely to exercise longer, harder and enjoy it more. The American Heart Association states that walking 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers.

Is walking in the mall challenging? Use the talk test. The talk test will determine if you are exercising at a moderate or vigorous level of activity. If you’re walking at a moderate pace, you should be able to talk, but not sing. Vigorous activity occurs when you are not able to say more than a few words without having to stop. If you walk into the vigorous zone, slow down or take a quick break to lower your heartrate to a moderate level.

Most malls open their front doors at least an hour early for mall walkers to have free reign. This is probably the easiest time to get your steps in, since you will not have to maneuver around crowds coming in and out of stores. It’s up to you if you want to tackle walking the stairs for a workout bonus.

So step into the land of department stores with your pair of walking shoes and have fun this winter! For more information on increasing your level of physical activity and walking, see the tips on UGA Extension website at

Kristen Sumpter, UGA Extension Agent wrote the “Mall walking” article, I expanded on it and used it for this week’s blog.



Pokémon Go! Safely

14 Aug


During the past several weeks, a new technology craze has invaded our towns and cities. People are wandering around aimlessly looking at their phones, it’s Pokémon Go. One of our avid collaborators, Ms. Keishon Thomas, the Macon-Bibb County Extension agent has come to our rescue to help us understand this new trend, and at the same time alert our readers about the importance of getting involve with the game, but in a safe way. Let’s review what Thomas says and get active!

The game’s developers, Niantic Laboratories, stated the intent was “to get players out and explore the world around them, explore their neighborhoods in a different way and get exercise”.  In this case, your phone shows the animated Pokémon and other characters in real time in your real environment.

The object of the game is to catch “Pokémons”, small animated characters that come in a variety of shapes and colors.  Players ‘hunt’ Pokémon by walking in their real environment armed with “Pokéballs”. Players are directed to landmarks called “Pokéstops”, where they re-up on Pokéballs and other tools to catch Pokémon characters. The Pokéstops are everywhere; parks, churches, government buildings and even at your neighbor’s yard. Because catching those little characters is distracting, players sometime put themselves into dangerous situations as a result of being unaware of their surroundings.

Be alert at all times. There have been reports of people walking into trees, traffic and even falling while playing.pokemon

Never go illegal to capture Pokémon. No trespassing or jaywalking. “Pokemons” can appear anywhere. Be safe and use common sense.

The animated characters appear on your phone in a real environment, they can appear in your car and they move to avoid capture. Driving requires your full attention and hunting Pokémon while driving is a no-no.   Arrive alive!!!

Download the right app from a trusted source such as the Apple Store or Google Play. There have been reports of apps that have malware that could harm your device.

Children should never play alone. They get distracted easily.  It’s rewarding to play along with your child and capture characters while exercising.

Monitor your data usage. The game utilizes GPS and therefore eats data for lunch and dinner.  It won’t be so fun when you receive your phone bill.

Players should also be mindful of in-app purchases. While the game app is free, there are in-app purchases within the game and they have a cost.  My children have been told not to purchase anything online unless they have permission for the purchase. The same goes for the Pokémon Go game.

Monitor the weather and stay hydrated. It’s hot outside and pop-up storms can hamper hunting.  Avoid complications from heat; carry water with you, take breaks in shaded areas, and wear sunscreen.

Lastly, Pokémon Go is a great way to connect generations, get active and have fun while doing so.     Good luck and catch‘em all!!!

And where is my watermelon?

30 Jun



This is probably the question that we hear the most, when we visit the 11 places that are scheduled on the itinerary of our mobile farmers market: FRESH on DEK! During the past 4 weeks of June, the DeKalb County Extension’s staff has served about 1,000 customers who have come to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, interested in eating them with their families while improving their lifestyles. But, almost every market day, we all smile when we hear the question: Do you have any watermelons today? I think it’s the most popular crop, but unfortunately our mobile market unit that brings fruits and vegetables to food desert or low access areas in our county, cannot store, load and distribute this usually heavy and large vegetable during our weekly stops. There are several publications from the University of Georgia on watermelons, and we can learn a lot about the requirements for transportation, storage, temperature and this delicious crop. Please visit, for more information.

I would like to share with you some interesting facts about this crop, which will be one of the most consumed during the 4th of July weekend holiday. Watermelon is a vegetable, if we consider the way it is planted, grown and harvested. It is used as a fruit because of its sweetness and versatility when it comes to eat it. While we have fun eating a good piece of watermelon we can also think about their health benefits. There are over 100 different varieties of this plant belonging to the family of squash and cucumbers, but they all varieties have very low calories. It is quite remarkable the amount of lycopene, (“lycopene” by name) on them, only surpassed by tomatoes. Lycopene is considered a crucial nutrient in the fight against cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Other important nutrients that can be found in watermelons include vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium.

Other key facts about watermelons include their importance as part of Georgia’s agriculture and even having the city of Cordele, known and recognized as the Watermelon Capital within our state.  Although our mobile market cannot offer a good supply of watermelons, we hope that during this summer time you can enjoy the delicious taste in drinks, salads, frozen snacks, favorite recipes or just fresh. There are many ways to consume and use the whole watermelon, just remember to wash it before eating it and storing it at 32 degrees to prevent souring. Have a refreshing summer accompanied by a good piece of watermelon!sandia 1

Here is a link for a very refreshing recipe!

Eggs, my favorite dense nutritious food!

4 Mar

Three or four times a week we eat eggs at home, I love them for breakfast in a bagel with tomatoes, spinach and cheese, or in flat bread with vegetables. Sometimes we eat eggs for lunch or dinner in a frittata with kale and red potatoes like in the recipe at the end of this article.

What we eat, how much we eat and how the food is prepared determines our health and the development of many diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. One major contributing factor to heart disease is high blood cholesterol. Doctors agree that a diet low in saturated fats, trans-fats, and cholesterol help prevent high blood cholesterol.

Cholesterol is found only in foods from animals, such as meat, fish, poultry, egg yolks, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole milk. Saturated fats are also found in foods from animals, especially meat, lard, poultry fat, butter, cheeses and other whole-milk products. Trans-fats are used in commercial baking goods and stick margarines made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.


GardenFrittata[1]Over the years, there has been a lot of confusion about eggs and our health. Eggs are high in protein, B vitamins, iron and other nutrients. Egg yolks are very high in cholesterol. But, even foods with no cholesterol can increase our blood cholesterol. This is because some types of fats increase blood cholesterol – these fats are called “saturated fats” and “trans-fats” or “trans-fatty acids.” In fact, saturated and trans-fats in foods may increase blood cholesterol as much or more than just eating cholesterol.

The American Heart Association still recommends that people limit their dietary cholesterol to 300 mg. One large egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, which is about 71% of the daily-recommended limit. For example, if you ate one scrambled egg for breakfast, drank 2 cups of coffee with a tablespoon each of half-and-half, then for lunch ate a turkey sandwich, made of 4 oz of lean turkey meat and one tablespoon of regular mayonnaise, and for dinner, had a 6 oz serving of broiled pork chops, you would have consumed over 400 mg of cholesterol that day. This is over the recommended 300 mg limit. This doesn’t include any pie or snacks!

Balance eating an egg by replacing meat at the next meal with a vegetarian dish. It’s okay to eat an egg occasionally, make your food choices considering their milligrams of cholesterol to keep your daily cholesterol intake below 300 mg. Limiting yourself to 3 to 4 eggs per week makes it easier to keep dietary cholesterol below 300 mg each day. Egg whites and cholesterol-free egg substitutes do not contain any cholesterol. Try using two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute in place of one whole egg in cooking and baking.

One exception: If your blood cholesterol is already high (over 240 mg/dL), or if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, your daily limit should be 200 mg. One large egg would exceed this limit; instead, consider eating small eggs, which contain less cholesterol (157 mg).

Eggs in the Garden

Cook time: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

4 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 medium unpeeled red potatoes

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups fresh kale

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)


  1. Beat eggs, pepper, and salt in large bowl, set aside.
  2. Microwave potatoes until slightly soft, but not completely cooked, then cube. (Alternate method without microwave: cube potatoes and boil 5 minutes until slightly soft, drain)
  3. Mix chopped onion, red bell pepper, kale, and potatoes together.
  4. Heat oil in a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Cook vegetables for 5-8 minutes; add to eggs and mix well.
  5. Pour egg-vegetable mixture back into the same skillet. Cook over low to medium heat until eggs are almost set, about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Cover and let sit until eggs are completely set, about 5 minutes. Egg dishes should be cooked to 160ºF.




Gobble, Gobble, turkey day is right around the corner!

19 Nov

OK, you get home with the turkey and still have to figure out how long it will take for this huge, (seems like 400 pound) bird to thaw so you can have the perfect dinner. Here is the information you will want to save so years to come, the perfect turkey will be placed on the table. The key also is to buy your turkey ahead of time so you have enough time to thaw it.  celebration-315079__180

Safety ways to thaw turkey

The USDA recommends three ways to defrost turkeys; in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost a turkey on the counter!!!

Refrigerator thawing

For every 5 pounds of turkey allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time in a refrigerator set at 40F. After thawing, keep turkey refrigerated for only 1-2 days. Use the following chart:

 Size of turkey                           Thawing time in the refrigerator

8 to 12 pounds                                     1 to 2 days

12 to 16 pounds                                   2 to 3 days

16 to 20 pounds                                  3 to 4 days

20 to 24 pounds                                  4 to 5 days

Cold water thawing

If you forget to thaw the turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing, don’t panic. You can submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water in its airtight packaging (follow manufacturer’s directions) or in a leak-proof bag. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Change the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. The following times are suggested for thawing in water:

 Size of turkey                         Hours to defrost

8 to 12 pounds                              4 to 6 hours

12 to 16 pounds                            6 to 8 hours

16 to 20 pounds                           8 to 10 hours

20 to 24 pounds                           10 to 12 hours

Turkeys thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately.

Microwave thawing

Read and follow the oven manufacturer’s instructions. Check the instructions for the size turkey that will fit in your oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing. Turkey thawed by this method should be cooked immediately.

For more information about thawing, cooking, and storing your turkey leftovers please visit

or contact your local extension office for more information.

Happy and safe Thanksgiving!!


¡Las increíbles CEBOLLAS!

19 May

Cocino casi todos los días en casa, y cuando lo hago uso cebollas como ingrediente principal en mis recetas. Además del gran sabor que este vegetal le da a mis comidas, también proporciona nutrientes increíbles. Quiero compartir con ustedes la información que hallé sobre el valor nutricional de la cebolla. Sé que después de que lea esta información, usted cocinará más con cebollas:

La cebolla es una de las fuentes más importantes de antioxidantes en la dieta humana de acuerdo a los reportes del profesor adjunto Rui Hai Lui de la Universidad de Cornell. Estos antioxidantes le otorgan a la cebolla su sabor dulce y su aroma distinguido. Al consumir cebolla su cuerpo obtiene fibra soluble y flavonoides, que son compuestos de antioxidantes que combaten los radicales libres. Estos flavonoides actúan como anticoagulante, disminuyen la inflamación y combaten el cáncer. fotolia_14367447_XS[1]

El tipo Western Yellow contiene 11 veces más antioxidantes que el tipo Western White y otorga la protección más fuerte contra la producción de células cancerosas en el hígado. Las cebollas e Western Whites contienen la menor cantidad de antioxidantes entre las diferentes variedades de cebollas y ofrecen la menor cantidad de protección contra las células cancerosas. Las cebollas Shallots, Western Yellow, Northern Red and las cebollas amarillas amargas colaboran en la inhibición del crecimiento de células cancerosas, lo que puede ayudar en la protección contra el desarrollo de cáncer de colon y de hígado.

La inflamación en el cuerpo puede causar graves síntomas de asma, artritis, y enfermedades del corazón. De acuerdo a un estudio publicado en el 2010 en “Los Aspectos Moleculares de la Medicina,” el consumo regular de compuestos órgano sulfuros provenientes de las cebollas y del ajo, pueden prevenir el desarrollo de enfermedades del corazón.

Las cebollas actúan como anticoagulantes en la sangre, debido al contenido de tiosulfatos, agentes que proveen las cebollas con su olor amargo que causa ojos lagrimosos al estar en contacto con este vegetal. De igual manera, este componente de sulfuro previene que las plaquetas se unan operando como un anticoagulante natural. Cuando las plaquetas se agrupan en la sangre, el riesgo a un derrame cerebral o a un ataque al corazón aumenta de gran manera. Para obtener un máximo contenido de tiosulfatos, consuma la cebolla cruda, ya que al cocinarlas, la cantidad de este componente se disminuye. Si usted toma medicina anticoagulante, consulte con su doctor sobre el consume de cebollas y su medicina, ya que usted no quiere que su sangre se haga muy delgada.

De igual manera, las cebollas contienen una forma especial de fibra soluble llamada fructan (polímero de la fructosa). Al consumir fructan, esta fibra soluble se convierte en una sustancia parecida a un gel en el colon que se transforma en ácidos grasos. Estos ácidos grasos actúan como un laxante natural, estimulando el funcionamiento de los intestinos. Este polímero también promueve el crecimiento de bacteria buena en los intestinos, lo que puede ayudar a combatir infecciones en el colon.

¿Qué le parece? ¡Yo creo que las cebollas son increíbles!!


Preparing meals at home is the first step for a healthy lifestyle

11 Apr

Prepimages[4]aring and eating meals at home is an important step toward eating healthy. You can have easy, quick, and healthy meals at home. Just keep it simple with these four steps: Plan, shop, fix, and eat.


  • Keep a list of the things your family likes to eat. Set aside 30 minutes to plan for the next week.
  • Make a list of the main dish and the side dishes that you will serve for each day of the week. Select recipes that have few ingredients and that use quick cooking techniques.
  • Post the menu on the refrigerator.
  • Get input from your family members. Use your list of everyone’s favorite foods, including main dishes, salads, vegetables, fruits, and desserts.
  • Look in cookbooks, newspapers, Web sites, or magazines for quick main dish and side dish ideas. Add them to the list. File recipes in a file, box, or loose-leaf notebook.


  • Shop regularly, whether once a week or once a month. This saves time, gas, and money.
  • In-season fruits and vegetables are less expensive and taste better.
  • Visit local farmer’s markets or farm stands for lower prices and better quality.
  • Stick to the list. You are less likely to overspend and less likely to forget ingredients you may need for your week’s menus.
  • Don’t shop hungry. Eat a snack, or go shopping after eating a meal.
  • Get the kids involved by letting them choose a new fruit or vegetable that they’d like to try or an old favorite.

Fix salad-istock-TaylorLittle[1]

  • Stick to your plan.
  • Wash and prepare fruits and vegetables in advance.
  • Make extra of a main dish for another meal.
  • Add a favorite canned or frozen fruit or vegetable to any main meal.
  • Check your meal plan each evening, and take out frozen meats the night before. Place them in a dish in the refrigerator to thaw safely for the next day’s dinner.
  • Get the kids involved. Fixing meals can be fun for the whole family. Children are more likely to try new foods if they help get them to the table. Safety comes first. Encourage good hand-washing.


  • Eat together: Make eating together a family priority. Mealtime is a great opportunity for parents and kids to be together. Remember that kids often take more time to eat than adults do. Take your time through dinner, and enjoy the extra few minutes sitting at the table before cleaning up.
  • Turn off the TV: Turn off the television, radio, cell phone, and beeper so everyone can focus on the conversation without distraction. Let the answering machine pick up calls, or turn off the phone ringer to avoid dinner interruptions.
  • Share events of the day: Ask each person at the table to talk about a fun activity or something good that happened that day. It is a wonderful time to catch up on special school events or achievements of the kids in your family.
  • Make healthy choices: It is easier to make healthy choices when meals are prepared at home and families sit at the table together to share that meal. It is a good time to talk about and model healthy eating, portion sizes, and trying new foods.