Climate change seems to be increasing lake effect snow

In future decades the winter season is expected to start later and be shorter with more lake effect snow later in the season. In the meantime we seem to be having more lake effect snow earlier in the season. Lake effect snow occurs when cold air passes over a warmer body of water such as the Great Lakes of the midwest region. Read more: https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2017-11-27-climate-change-global-warming-lake-effect-snow-winter-weather

Tis the season for snow tires and driving more slowly. Slick roads makes it take longer for your own and other cars to stop and trying to stop to abruptly can increase the risk of skidding or swerving into other lanes of traffic or off the road. Staying home can be a good idea even if you are familiar with driving safely in snow conditions – others on the road may not be used to the difference. If weather conditions are severe in larger urban areas where roads tend to be congested and travel fast then it would be helpful for businesses to close early or start late and allow workers to avoid more dangerous driving. Fewer drivers on the road is safer when roads are slick and/or visibility is poor.

Having windshield wiper fluid and an interior defroster that functions well is important for visibility when snow is icy or sleet like. Turning on your headlights even during the daytime is helpful during snow or foggy or other poor visibility weather conditions in order to help other drivers see your vehicle. If you are traveling significantly slower than typically posted speed limits it may also be helpful to turn on your Hazard light which makes both turn signals flash on and off and increases visibility of your vehicle.

Driving slower is the easiest way to help maintain control of your vehicle during slick conditions which can include heavy rainfall. Driving 55 instead of 70 is sensible with any snow conditions, add ice or heavy rainfall and driving 35 may be safer. If that is still feeling like the car is ice skating then pulling over and waiting out the weather may be safest. Hydroplaning of the tires can occur when there is a lot of water on the road and it makes the tires lose contact with the road and the road surface will act like a slick ice surface. Pulling over and stopping is safest during very heavy rainfall or when the roads are too icy. Snow itself can give some traction to the tires but if there is blowing snow or heavy snowfall then pulling over is also wisest as it can be difficult to see where the lanes are or even where the side of the road is located. Pulling over is more fun then spending time in a ditch or in a hospital. /Disclosure – I have driven in a lot of bad weather and slid off the road a couple times, pulling over and waiting is more fun./

Some simple driving tips for snow and ice conditions are available here:  https://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/driving-on-snow-and-ice-10-safety-tips.html

Some other tips in case you have to pull over in bad weather are included in a recent post: http://transcendingsquare.com/2017/12/03/traveling-shows-the-beauty-of-our-land-and-people/

Additional emergency equipment that can be helpful where snowfall is frequent is to keep a small garden shovel and bag of cat litter in the trunk of your car. They can be very helpful for getting the vehicle unstuck from minor snow bank or snowy parking lot type issues, the shovel helps you dig out around the tires and the cat litter adds traction to the slick areas under the tires. Over spinning your tires tends to create icy areas under them and make it more difficult to gain traction. A driving companion or passerby can be helpful to be able to push the car out of the snowbank.

The supermoon was a bright companion on a recent journey, helpful for lighting the road:

 

The Supermoon, 12/1/2017. space.com
The Supermoon, 12/2/2017.

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Breast milk is best for baby – and for the workplace, healthy infants > fewer sick days

A pair of substantial mammary glands have the advantage over
the two hemispheres of the most learned professor’s brain
in the art of compounding a nutritive fluid for infants.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes (todo.7) (Substantial isn’t necessary, small but fully mature breasts can make plenty of milk for baby too. – Enough food in well balanced amount for mom is still essential however.)
Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act,
but it is also an art that is learned day by day.
It is almost always simply a matter of practical knowledge
and not a question of good luck.
– La Leche League (todo.7) (Moms and babies both can use a little guidance from someone who has experience with the mechanics of positioning and suckling – like riding a bicycle mom has experience with the second and later children but even then the babies still may have difficulty and some guidance may be helpful even for an experienced mom. La Leche League is a volunteer group dedicated to helping promote and help successful breastfeeding relationships between mothers and their infants.)
When we trust the makers of baby formula
more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies,
we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women.
It is an act of female power,
and I think of it as feminism in its purest form.
– Christine Northrup (todo.7) (Infant formula is a blessing for those who are unable to make sufficient breast milk or for babies who don’t tolerate it well or need other specialized nutrition support but there are immune and autoimmune factors that help the infant that only mom herself can make. Human milk also has factors that support a healthy intestinal microbiome (good guy bacteria) and phospholipids which can help promote a healthy appetite and positive growth rate in the infant. While chocolate has a tiny amount of caffeine, its source cocoa beans also have a good supply of phospholipids, choose a lower sugar, lower fat dark chocolate or use Baker’s chocolate and make your own chocolate treats to maximize the phospholipid and other antioxidant content. Pomegranate seeds also contain a good supply of phospholipids, cardamom spice, and dark green leafy vegetables and herbs such as oregano, basil, and rosemary are also good sources. Phospholipids are found in membranes and are more plentiful in nuts, seeds and other leafy vegetables. Pumpkin seeds are a good source. (todo.8 , 9, 10)
Pumpkin seed kernel oil is being investigated as a medical treatment and was found to be more effective for wound healing in an animal study than the standard wound care ointment or no treatment control groups. (todo.11)
To do – write this up in more detail for the effectivecare.info website, initially intended for the gender discrimination section 11 of the policy part but additional information on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds could go in a health section, to be added – to explain the (todo.footnotes). The reference list below includes notes to expand on at a later time.
In the meantime – pumpkin seed kernels are the inner green part that have been shelled. Their texture is similar to sunflower seed kernels but their oil content has a more health promoting nutrient balance than the oil content of sunflower seed kernels. Ideally shop for raw pumpkin seed kernels that are not salted. Salted, roasted pumpkin seeds may also be labeled Pepitos and the salt content may be excessive if eaten in much quantity. An 1/8th to 1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seed kernels, 2 to 4 Tablespoons might be a reasonable serving size of the unsalted type or lightly salted and roasted types. Roasting the seeds increases the phospholipid content but also increases some more negative oxidation chemicals which would decrease some of the benefits of the oil. (todo.12) For freshness of the roasted snack, the raw pumpkin seed kernels can be lightly pan roasted for a few minutes with a dash of oil until they puff a little. Toss with a sprinkle of salt and let cool on a paper towel to absorb extra oil. Store any extra in an airtight container to retain crispiness and prevent further oxidation.
(Oxidation of seeds or nuts: spoilage of the oils due to contact with oxygen from the air. Storing all unts and seeds in airtight containers in a cool or even freezing temeperature extends their safe eating shelf life. Rancid oil has a recognizable odor and bad taste and nuts and seeds should be discarded rather than eaten if they have gotten too old and turned rancid as the oxidized oils can be unhealthy, especially if eaten in a larger quantitiy. One or two wouldn’t be a problem but once the off-taste is noticed throw away the remainder of the package or possibly you might be able to return it to the store if it was a recent purchase. (todo.13))
I discuss pumpkin seed kernels as a prenatal healthy food that might help prevent high blood pressure problems on the home page of the website effectivecare.info. It is still a work in progress, un-peer reviewed and draft version in some sections but potentially life saving information is something that I feel deserves to be shared, even if in draft version. The more life threatening type prenatal complication that can include high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia is also discussed in more detail on that website, Preeclampsia and TRP Channels, based on information that has helped former prenatal clients I’ve helped and with more recent information and ,medical hypothesis research posted online by others.
/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
  1. Liz Ryan, Ten Things Never, Ever to Wear to Work, a Q/A article which also discusses the value in more flexible policies based on regular conversations during office hours rather than punitive, gotcha breaking the policy reprimands that go into an employee record. forbes.com Oct. 30, 2017 https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/10/30/ten-things-never-ever-to-wear-to-work/?nowelcome=1#938e2af4d9bf (todo.1)
  2. What does feminism have to do with breastfeeding? Breastfeeding Medicine, 6/12/2010 https://bfmed.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/what-does-feminism-have-to-do-with-breastfeeding/ (todo.2), Discusses the value of breastfeeding and the issue of class and choice. Women have to be able to afford to have the time off work to be able to breastfeed for the recommended six months, best for baby. If work place policies were more supportive of all women being able to breastfeed, or pump at work, then there wouldn’t be a class issue rich can afford and poor can’t, or seemingly antifeminist, Stay at Home Mom versus Working Mom.
  3. Kara Stiles, The Unsettling Truth about Women and Retirement, forbes.com, Dec. 7, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/karastiles/2017/12/07/the-unsettling-truth-about-women-and-retirement/#2b0070991b63 (todo.3) discusses the grim reality of caregivers being primarily women and that the choice or need to be a stay at home mom also means less accrual of Social Security weeks of work over the career lifetime and less accrual of retirement plan savings. Also mentions the difference in life expectancy between men and women and that women living longer are also having more medical expenses to pay on average, over the longer average lifespan.
  4. Brooke Hauser, I Shared a ‘Real’ Parenting Photo on Social Media—And the Response I Got Shocked Me, health.com, July 5, 2017,  http://www.health.com/family/real-parenting-photo-gloria-steinem (todo.4) Real life story of a working mom who breastfeeds and has two children preschool age or younger. also touches on the increased number of roles women have in our social media and progressive, protest era with a cameo of Gloria Steinem and hat-tip to her role in opening the door to working women who are also mothers.

  5. Caroline Bologna “If Men Breastfed” Video: Shows a Very Different Experience for Working Dads; Women deserve better, HuffingtonPost.com, 12/6/2016 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/video-imagines-what-life-would-be-like-if-men-could-breastfeed_us_5845d89de4b02f60b0246f7b (todo.5) a hat-tip to Gloria Steinem’s 1978 essay “If Men Could Menstruate,” in an ad for a breast pump company’s introduction of a breast pump, advertised to be an improvement on the currently available models (which are fairly bad, imo, unless you have money for a better electric model or high quality handpump, hand expressing actually works well or better for some women – warning the five minute model in the humorous video would be impossible if not dangerous or dangerous if not impossible.)
  6. Medela, How to Manually Express Breastmilk, the Marmet Techniquehttps://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/tips-and-solutions/130/how-to-manually-express-breastmilk—the-marmet-technique (todo.6) How to tips, and safety, avoid these motions guidance, with illustrations. Medela is a long established lactation supply company with high quality electric and hand breast pumps and educational materials for women.
  7. Cherie, Natural Mama, NZ, My favorite breastfeeding and feminist quoteshttp://naturalmamanz.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-favourite-breastfeeding-and-feminist.html (todo.7)
  8. Zh.Y. Petkova and G.A. Antova, Changes in the composition of pumpkin seeds, (Cucurbita moschata) during development and maturation, Grasas Aceites 66 (1): e058   http://grasasyaceites.revistas.csic.es/index.php/grasasyaceites/article/viewArticle/1523/1657 (todo.8) Most phospholipid content was present in the seeds 30 days after flowering, and the amount diminished at 60 and 90 days. Other nutrient content also tended to diminish in amounts except for an increase in starch and fiber content.
  9. Bhalchandra P Vibhute, Dhiraj R Bhide, Vijay Y Karadbhajne, Anand S Kulkarni and RR Khotpa, Fatty Acid Profile of Pumpkin and Bael Seed Lipids of Central India Region, Research & ReviewsISSN: 2320-0189 RRJBS | Volume 2 | Issue 2 | April – June, 2013  http://www.rroij.com/open-access/fatty-acid-profile-of-pumpkin-and-bael-seed-lipids-of-central-india-region-1-3.pdf (todo.9)
  10. Tri Joko Raharjo* Laily Nurliana, and Sabirin Mastjeh, Phospholipids from Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata (Duch.) Poir) Seed Kernel Oil and Their Fatty Acid Composition, Indo. J. Chem., 2011, 11 (1), 48 – 52 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.917.3544&rep=rep1&type=pdf (todo.10) this is a longer article which goes into more detail about types of phospholipids and mentions a few health benefits. The research team found 1.03% dry weight phospholipid content in pumpkin seeds including three types: “a) phosphatidylcholine (PC); b) phosphatidylserin (PS); c) phosphatidylethanolamine (PE).”
  11. Sana Bardaa, Nihed Ben Halima, Fatma Aloui, Riadh Ben Mansour, Hazem Jabeur, Mohamed Bouaziz, and Zouheir Sahnoun,

    Oil from pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) seeds: evaluation of its functional properties on wound healing in rats, Lipids Health Dis. 2016; 15: 73. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4827242/ (todo.11)

Traveling shows the beauty of our land and people

Morning light shines bright.

Brilliant light shines across the land and ideas can also be shared. Traveling has shown that many caring people share time and energy to build a healthy and strong nation. We do have needs for shelter and food as many are left with insecurity. Dedicated groups and volunteers are working hard to help.  Awareness of need may also be necessary before those in positions of power shift policies to be more supportive of those who are living without houses or apartments or with too little food.

For those who are houseless but who do have a car a simple solution for slightly more comfortable sleeping is a platform in the backseat.

My backseat made into a sleep platform, it is important to keep everything below the level of the backseat head rests for best visiability of the road behind you.

Three plastic tote boxes, slightly taller than regular size totes, but with one narrower than the regular size, fit neatly across my backseat. Topping the storage bins with an 1/2 inch thick exercise mat and a camping mat made a slightly more comfortable cushion but I also needed to add a pillow on top of the narrow tote as it was slightly shorter than the two full size totes. A comforter on top of the exercise mats added a little more comfort and a warm, cold weather rated, sleeping bag allowed me to stay warm at night without needing the car to be running.

The larger size totebox and the green camp mat which is firm and the blue exercise mat which is softer. the edge of a pillow is in pink on top of the smaller totebox.
All the layers of the platform need to be able to tuck in securely at the edge in order to close the door. The camp and exercise mats are longer than the backseat and are curled up slightly on each side. Cutting them to fit the car would be an option and the extra pieces could be taped to the lid of the shorter totebox if desired. However leaving the mats alone leaves them available for use in a tent or on someone’s spare room floor. Buying one extra of the firmer camping mats and cutting that to fit the tops of the totes, one layer smaller to fit within the handle area and one larger layer to cover the entire surface would likely improve the comfort, Duct tape in classic gray or fashion colors could secure the layers to the totebox.

The sleep platform is not as comfortable as a bed but it is more comfortable than trying to lay on the backseat or sit in the front seat with the seat leaning as far back as it can go. The platform makes the top of the backseat a pillow and is level enough with the top of the front seats to stretch legs out and over them. It is not a solution for someone who is tall or large however as some flexibility is needed and the area is still compact. I’m about 5 feet 6 inches tall as a reference.

For someone living houseless – working and living out of their car it might be a solution to consider trying as the tote bins and exercise and camping mats were fairly inexpensive, less than ten dollars for the totes and around $15 for each of the roll up foam mats. The cold weather sleeping bag was around $30 and I wore a hat for additional warmth as the temperature did drop below freezing.

Areas where rapid employment occurred had problems with inadequate housing being available for all of the new employees and other areas are simply very expensive even with a reasonable paying job. Others may have lost employment that covered the expense of housing but still own a car. Innovation sometimes means looking at things in a new way. When I was young my family traveled with a larger vehicle that had a platform in the back and being shorter as a child I could stretch out on it and sleep during long car trips – seat belt laws at the time of my earlier youth didn’t require riders in the back of the vehicle to wear a seat-belt, only front seat riders. The platform I built out of tote bins can be used for storage and sleep when the car is stopped. It would not be legal at this time to ride without a seat-belt.

The area created by the platform would be unlikely to be large enough for two people but for a solo driver it could also be handy in case of emergency stops or for a brief nap on long journeys when a hotel is the planned destination. Drowsiness can be a danger especially with the busy and fast pace of the traffic that occurs in many areas. Adequate sleep is also important to support health and the immune system.

A few tips for staying awake and early warning signs for when it is time to pull over:

  1. Warning sign: Eyes starting to squint and droop more often and they may possibly be dry and itchy from the forced air of the car heater.
  2. Tip: Being overly warm can increase sleepiness, an additional tip to the previous list would be open the window for a blast of cold air if you’re in a cold area or turn up the air conditioner if you’re in a warm area.
  3. Tip: Pull over and take a brief nap, 15-20 minutes can help. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps#1
  4. Tip: Or pull over and switch drivers if that is possible.
  5. Tip: Get a snack that isn’t too sugary or overly rick with fat calories which can make too much work for the digestive system. Caffeine from coffee or other caffeinated beverages can help but are not enough to combat a real need for sleep. https://www.livescience.com/55101-caffeine-does-not-help-sleep-deprived-people.html Choosing a sugary snack may give an initial boost of energy but can wear off and leave you more sleepy. A protein rich snack such as a protein bar or trail mix with nuts or seeds may help with alertness for a longer time. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/myths-facts#1
  6. Tip: Get some exercise, pull over for a brief walk. Warning sign:  If the exercise worked for a while but then you notice yourself losing some physical coordination or are stiff and sore. You may notice yourself letting the car drift to close to the shoulder of the road and are hearing the rumble strips along the side more often.
  7. Warning Sign:  The snack worked for a while but then the eyes started to droop again and maybe blink shut a few times – pull over because a rollover accident would be horrifying for you and any other travelers in your car or on the roadway. I have fallen asleep at the wheel before and woke up to the sound of the rumble strips. I over corrected at the sound and ended up flipping the car instead of smoothly getting back in the lane – I walked away with only a few bruises but the car was basically totaled from necessary bodywork. I also learned that it is good to have luggage and loose items secured in zipped or covered bags as loose items will also whirl around in the rolling car – it felt like being in a blender maybe – not an experience to repeat.
  8. Tip: Know your own limits and have the strength and courage to speak up for yourself. I was driving in a convoy of sorts and the other driver wanted to press on. I tried the cold air method and the snack method and did recognize the droopy eyes and I should have just pulled over. This was in the days before cellphones existed but sorting out travel plans later would be better than falling asleep at the wheel.  Several books including this one helped me to improve my ability to recognize and speak up for my own needs: Butler G., and Hope T., Managing Your Mind: The Mental Fitness Guide, (Oxford University Press, 1995, Oxford or New York) [2007 edition, Amazon] It is written in sections, encyclopedia style, so a reader can choose from the Table of Contents the particular topics that sound most helpful to their own situation.

Thermal blankets are available that are very compact if a full-size sleeping bag wasn’t desired. More detail on warmth and a link for an emergency kit is included a little later in this post.

I’ve been traveling the last couple of days and got a new Garmin GPS device for the trip. Seeing more of the country has been a goal for a while and seeing if there is interest in my research has also been a goal. Update, while I didn’t find any direct support of my research work I did find that interest in the topics I write about seems to exist – and I got a better idea of what people are interested in the larger world than I had been inhabiting. seeing the country is beautiful and a little nerve wracking but the technology of the new GPS device is better than an early model I had used in the past.

Overall the GPS device helped me drive across the country quicker than I expected the trip to take but I also put my habit of not sleeping much to work by driving part of the night in addition to the daytime hours. The roads are less busy and I am not used to the fast pace of crowded multi lane highways. My own miniature hotel was my back seat with the soft platform. It allows me to stretch my legs out to be able to be slightly more comfortably than the width of the car allows laying directly on the backseat. The platform might look silly but it’s fairly comfortable. Never fear hotels, your business is likely safe because it’s not that comfortable either. But pulling over when tired is important, sleepy drivers can be a danger to self and others. The strategy was particularly useful though when an ice storm caused a highway closure, there are far more semi trucks on the road than I would have guessed when you see them all lining up as they also arrive at the blocked section of highway and have to pull over somewhere along the side of the highway or Truck Stop parking area.

Truck Stops have some convenient features I discovered while waiting during the second stop. One section of highway was closed during the night due to the stormy weather and ice rink like road surface and another section was closed the next morning due to the number of accidents that required towing before that section of highway could be reopened. While waiting during the middle of the night stop I wrote out a few ideas for making luggage carrier/platform units that could be handy for a business or other frequent traveler in case they too were stuck somewhere or just needed to pull over for a short nap. The platform is more comfortable than sitting upright in the front seat but it isn’t really comfortable enough for a regular night’s sleep – so again don’t worry about your industry’s business hotels and motels – even if my luggage platform idea got produced it would be for the occasional use of a frequent traveler, similar in a way to the home on wheels that semi-trucks contain for their driver’s comfort and convenience.

With the sleeper platform I already have a hotel on wheels just like the semi truckers but with limited comfort and you have to keep the engine running for warmth in cold weather. Even with a blanket along temperatures can drop dangerously low if someone fell asleep for long, the cold weather sleeping bag allows you to stay warm in more extreme temperatures. Sleeping bags have temperature ratings on the label and I choose the warmest available – 0-30’F. It is a good idea to bring along a few emergency items in case you get stuck or stopped somewhere. Thermal metallic blankets are available that fold very small but retain heat well if needed in an emergency. rei.com/ultimate-survival-technologies-featherlite-survival-kit

It is also important to shovel snow away from your exhaust pipe if you are stuck in a large pile of snow. The car exhaust can back up and cause poisonous levels of carbon dioxide to build up in the car. That might send a passenger to sleep forever.

My GPS device has been very helpful for navigating the complex highway and city streets.

My car did suffer some damage while traveling but I was not harmed. I do need to get more car repair work done and am retracing my travels to check in with family for the holiday season and save on hotel costs while the car repair work is completed, I can’t sleep in the car if it is in a repair shop after all – at least that’s the plan, I’ll keep trusting my GPS device to guide the way.

A lookout point somewhere in the mountains of California or Nevada or Utah- there are a lot of beautiful mountains across the region and sleepy driving is particularly dangerous on the tight S-curves.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.