Weekly Features

Plant Now for a Bigger Fall Harvest

By Melinda Myers

Keep the fresh produce coming throughout fall with some mid-summer plantings. Look for vacant spaces left in the vegetable garden after harvesting lettuce, spinach and other early maturing crops. Expand your search to other spaces in flowerbeds, mixed borders and containers.

Sow seeds of beans, cucumbers, carrots, beets and other short season vegetables. Simply count the number of days from planting to the average first fall frost in your area. You’ll find frost dates for your location on the internet, extension publications and other gardening resources. Next check the back of the seed packet for the number of days needed from planting until harvest. As long as you have enough time for the seeds to sprout, grow and produce before the first frost, they can be added to the garden.

Some plants like collards, kale and broccoli tolerate, and even taste better, after a light freeze. This makes them great choices for a fall-harvested garden. Some garden centers sell transplants of these and other vegetables suitable for summer planting. Check the plant tags for the number of days needed for transplants to grow and start producing.

Extend the harvest season by providing frost protection in the fall. Cold frames and cloches (mini greenhouses for individual plants) create a frost-free environment for the plants. Vent them on warm sunny days and close the lids when frost is in the forecast.

Or try floating row cover fabrics designed to let air, light and water through to the plants while protecting them from frost. Loosely cover the plants with the fabric and anchor the edges with stones, boards or landscape pins. Just lift to harvest, recover and leave in place until the harvest is complete or temperatures drop below what the row cover and plants can handle.

Wait for the soil to cool before planting lettuce, spinach, and other vegetable seeds that require cooler temperatures to germinate. Increase germination by planting the seeds as directed, water them in, and cover the row with a wooden lath to keep the soil cooler. Remove the lath as soon as the seeds sprout. Or start the plants indoors and move them into the garden as transplants. Then help keep the soil cool throughout the remainder of summer by mulching with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch.

Increase the health and productivity of your second planting by preparing the soil before planting seeds and transplants. Mix an inch of quality compost like Hsu Leaf Compost (hsugrowingsupply.com) or Bovine Basics into the top six inches of soil. You’ll improve drainage in heavy soil, increase water retention in fast draining sandy soils and add micronutrients that feed the soil-building microorganisms.

Once your seeds and transplants are in the ground, be sure to water properly. Keep the seedbed and roots of transplants moist the first few weeks. Gradually reduce watering frequency as seedlings sprout and grow and transplants become established. Most plants need about an inch of water each week. Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. Adjust your watering schedule based upon your weekly rainfall, soil type and air temperatures.

Keep weeding and tending your garden throughout the remainder of the growing season. You’ll keep your plants healthy and reduce weed and pest problems this year and next.

Take full advantage of your garden by continually harvesting vegetables when they are ripe. You’ll have a bigger harvest of great-tasting, nutrition-packed vegetables to enjoy throughout the fall.

Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Hsu Growing Supply for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers.com.

6 Tips to Help You Grill Safely This Summer


Every summer, Americans fire up their grills in the hopes of enjoying delicious food and fun in the sun. Still, each year, grills start nearly 9,000 house fires or result in injury. In 2014, grilling injuries caused 16,600 Americans to visit the emergency room. These house fires and personal injuries are preventable with safe grilling practices:

Learn Proper Grill Procedures. Charcoal grills and propane (gas) grills each require their own safety checks and procedures. For charcoal grills, familiarize yourself with proper lighter fluid and coal practices. For gas grills, learn how to check for gas line leaks.

Check the Grill Location. Make sure your grill is placed in a well-ventilated area far from areas trafficked by children or pets. The grill should also be far from areas where outdoor games are played. Look for deck railings, tree branches or plants that are too near the grill. These seemingly innocent objects pose major fire risks.

Wear Proper Clothing. Loose clothing can easily catch on fire. Breathable fabrics that cover the arms and legs do the most to protect skin from burns. Closed shoes will offer some protection should coals or embers drop from the grill onto your feet. Remember that grill temperatures can range from 325 to 600 degrees, temperatures that can cause serious burns.

Never Leave a Lit Grill Unattended. You wouldn’t leave an open flame on your kitchen stove to go toss a football. The grill is no different.

Keep Flammable Materials Away. Oven mitts, dish towels and aprons can catch fire if they are too close to grilling surfaces.

Grill to the Proper Temperature. Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure you’re cooking meats to the proper temperatures. Don’t cross-contaminate raw meats with other foods. For example, don’t put the ears of corn on the same, unwashed plate you used to carry the raw meat to the grill. Always marinate meats in the refrigerator and not on the counter. Summer is the perfect time to make healthy changes to your diet. Check out healthy grilling recipes from Operation Live Well’s Grill and Chill cookbook.

Although grilling comes with risks, it can be a safe, fun summer activity. Next time you grill, take steps to protect yourself and your family.

5 Incredible Beaches along the North Coast of the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route

San Luis Obispo County, CA – Summer is time to beat the heat, crowds and traffic and head to the pristine beaches along the North Coast of the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route, (H1DR). Each beach community including Ragged Point, San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos and Los Osos/Baywood Park, has its own charm, natural wonders, vibrant culture, and unspoiled and uncrowded beaches, perfect for those seeking adventure and renewal. Our stretch of Highway 1 is open for business and wide open to roam! Discover your perfect beach this summer on the North Coast of the Highway 1 Discovery Route:

Ragged Point

Ragged Point Beach is so remote a breathtaking hike is needed to reach this black sandy beach. Known as the gateway to Big Sur, Ragged Point has the some look and feel only Ragged Point is open for business! The trail passes through a tunnel of trees then crosses a clearing before getting to the bluff near Ragged Point. The black sand beach is warm on a sunny day, and often only the shorebirds witness your arrival. Be sure to check the tide height, wave activity, and put on sunscreen before you hit the trail. The Ragged Point Inn has lodging and a restaurant about 1.8 miles north of the Ragged Point Beach Trailhead.

San Simeon

San Simeon Cove is part of the W.R. Hearst State Beach and is a popular spot for picnics, kayaking and fishing and offers BBQ pits and picnic tables located near an 850-foot pier. A hiking trail out to San Simeon Point offers an enchanted walk along a path on the bluffs above the beach. Lacy moss dangles from the eucalyptus, pines, cedars, and cypress that flank the trail. The point at the end of the half mile peninsula trail offers a backward look toward the sparkling cove with breathtaking views of rock formations carved by the sea. The San Simeon cove has lots of active marine life to discover!


Located within minutes of Hearst Castle, Big Sur and Paso Robles Wine Country, Cambria is best known for its picturesque windswept coastline. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy beach-front hiking, surfing, fishing and searching for sparkly Moonstones along Moonstone Beach. This stunning white sand beach boasts awe-inspiring central coast views that run north and south for miles and offers a plethora of lodging opportunities. There’s a wooden boardwalk that runs along the cliffs for nice sunset walks or morning jogs. There’s plenty to do in town after your beach adventure at both the East and West Village including dining, wine tasting and shopping.


Cayucos State Beach is a three mile stretch of beach that starts in downtown Cayucos and runs south along an uncrowded sandy shoreline to the county’s most popular dog beach. Lined by hotels and vacation rentals, this wide flat beach is perfect for a day in the sun, kayaking, volleyball or a jog along the waves. You can even walk from the Cayucos beach all the way to the popular Morro Rock or get lost exploring the many great tide pools. The Cayucos Pier is a newly refurbished historic wooden fishing pier in downtown Cayucos offering excellent views of Estero Bay, the rolling hills, an occasional whale or dolphin and Morro Rock. Downtown Cayucos is filled with restaurants, antique shops and historic old western buildings and offers an annual list of popular events throughout the year.

Los Osos/Baywood Park

Los Osos is home to Montaña de Oro State Park filled with secluded sandy beaches and ocean side bluffs perfect for hiking along the Pacific Coast. The park’s best-known beach is Spooner’s Cove, perfect for exploring and picnicking with family and friends; dogs are welcomed when on leash. This beautiful cove has a pebbly beach, tide pools, caves, and unique rock formations to climb around on, especially at lower tides. Naturalists and backpackers enjoy the solitude and freedom found along the park’s many trails. The park’s name means “Mountain of Gold,” named after the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. You can also launch your paddle board or kayak to explore the Back Bay in Baywood. This is also an excellent spot for bird watching. Some of the most beautiful rocky beach vistas can be found here and along the whole H1DR.

The Whale Trail

You’ll find a place on land to marvel at the Pacific Ocean’s amazing marine life from the shore at many H1DR beaches thanks to the new Whale Trail sites. The Whale Trail is series of sites where the public may view orcas, other cetaceans and marine mammals from shore. Today, there are more than 90 Whale Trail locations along the west coast, including the six new locations along the H1DR: the Avila Beach Pier, Cambria, Cayucos, San Simeon, Oceano and at Montaña de Oro State Park in Baywood-Los Osos. The 6 sites in Coastal San Luis Obispo County represents the largest cluster of sites on the Pacific Coast as it spans from California to British Columbia, and plans to extend from Baja California to Alaska by 2018. Check out this video!

About the California Highway 1 Discovery Route

The Best of Highway 1

Breathtaking natural beauty, preeminent wine regions, monthly events, amazing outdoor adventures and delicious restaurants boasting culinary excellence dot the California Highway 1 Discovery Route along Coastal San Luis Obispo County. With 10 amazing destinations featuring over 800 extraordinary accommodations, including hotels, motels, B&Bs and vacation rentals with unique specials and packages, the California Highway 1 Discovery Route offers the best of Highway 1, and a fantastic vacation anytime of the year. The iconic 101 mile road trip through prime Pacific coastline is conveniently located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and offers diverse artisan towns, charismatic seaside villages, scenic rural road trips rich in character and history and two world-class wine regions. Leaders in Stewardship Travel, the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route offers 70 brief, award-winning experiences that enhance visitor’s immersion in the natural and cultural heritage of California’s central coast.

Highway 1 Road Alerts

If you’re heading to the Central Coast, be sure to be mindful of the stretch of Highway 1, located 21 miles north of Cambria. Caltrans is busy with a major construction project to make traveling along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway a safer journey. Cambria is easily accessible from Highway 101 and Highway 46. Please note that Highway 1 is still open from Morro Bay to Ragged Point. For those traveling past Ragged Point, check out these Sights to See Along the Detour.

Find enriching multi-day tours and discover a plethora of fun and relaxing itinerary ideas in these 10 CA Highway 1 Discovery Route destinations: Ragged Point & San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, and Los Osos/Baywood Park, to Avila Beach & Valley, Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande Valley, Oceano and Nipomo. Every February, the towns along the California Highway 1 Discovery Route celebrate Coastal Discovery & Stewardship, offering unique lodging packages, coastal activities, events and entertainment. For the latest news on the region join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route, visit www.Highway1DiscoveryRoute.com or contact Chief Administrative Officer Cheryl Cuming at 805-547-CBID (2243), admin@SLOcountyBID.com.

11 Spectacular Roads for Riding Your Bike

Nicolas Brulliard Jun 29, 2017

National Parks Conservation Association

From leisurely rides to challenging climbs, national parks offer riding opportunities for cyclists of all abilities. Check out top recommendations and advice from NPCA enthusiasts on where to go and what to see.

The vast majority of national park roads were built for automobiles, and cars are a great way to discover the parks’ scenery, especially for those with limited time or mobility. But even at low speeds, drivers can fail to fully appreciate the landscapes they’re traversing — not to mention the scent of sun-heated pine needles, the chorus of frogs in a nearby pond or the frantic flight of a lizard on the road’s shoulder.

By hopping on a bike, adventurous travelers can experience all this and much more.

Leave Your Car Behind: 9 Parks to Explore by Foot, Bicycle, and Boat

If you want to spend time off the beaten path, try getting away from the asphalt—literally. These 9 national park sites offer slower, quieter, human-paced alternatives to engine-powered excursions.

Fortunately, the National Park System is full of spectacular biking opportunities, from flat, meandering rides suitable for beginners to climbs that would challenge a Tour de France pro. What’s more, the National Park Service occasionally closes some of these roads to car traffic, offering riders a safer and more pleasant experience.

Parks popular with car visitors are not necessarily no-go areas for bikers. You might just have to pick a season or time of day with less traffic. Megan Cantrell, a former social media manager for NPCA who rode her bike in several Southwest parks, said her (very) early morning ride into Arches National Park allowed her to take in the park’s stunning sandstone formations before the masses of cars showed up.

When sharing the road, cyclists should observe a number of safety precautions, including riding single file, wearing bright clothing and using bright lights both on the front and back of their bikes. Some roads don’t have much of a shoulder, so riders should be prepared to share the road with other vehicles. They should also be alert to wildlife darting across the pavement.

Weather conditions require their own set of safety measures. Mark Wenzler, NPCA’s senior vice president of conservation programs, took part last year in a week-long ride through Death Valley National Park organized by Climate Ride, a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability and supports environmental causes. He recommends bringing an electrolyte mix and more water than you think you’ll need to avoid dehydration — and plenty of sunscreen.

Now that we’ve taken care of the basics, let’s get to a few staff favorite parks for biking — although many other amazing rides (Crater Lake’s Rim Drive, anyone?) would have amply deserved to make the list.

1. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, Florida

Ever encountered an alligator while riding your bike? How about coming face to face with one at night? This is the one-of-a-kind experience offered by the Shark Valley Scenic Loop, a 15-mile course in the northern part of Everglades National Park that is especially popular on a full moon. Set out at dusk through the sawgrass of the Shark River Slough, and you might spot anhingas, herons, turtles and, yes, alligators along the way. “My first journey included me scaring an alligator that opened his jaw wide to a gaping pink cavern of a throat that glistened in the moonlight!” said John Adornato, the senior regional director of NPCA’s Sun Coast office. “Thankfully I didn’t fall off my bike from the shock and reflection!” Contact the Shark Valley Visitor Center for the timing of ranger-led rides.

2. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana

Getting antsy when you watch the Tour de France pros scale up alpine passes? The park system has just what you need. Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road provides breathtaking views of mountain lakes, sharp peaks and — for now at least — glaciers. From the Apgar Visitor Center in the west, the road climbs 32 miles toward Logan Pass, which at 6,646 feet is the road’s highest point. In summer, look for wildflowers, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. From there, it’s 18 miles down toward the park’s east entrance. During the summer, portions of the road are closed to cyclists between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., but in early spring, the road is open to bikers before cars are allowed on it. Climate Ride also organizes a trip there every year. This ride, like the other Climate Ride events, is meant to be challenging yet doable for cyclists of a wide range of abilities, with different routes available to riders each day.

3. Hermit Road, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

A park that welcomes more than 5 million visitors (and their cars) every year may not seem like an obvious biking destination, but Kevin Dahl, NPCA’s senior program manager for Arizona, said the Grand Canyon’s South Rim “is a great place for bicycling.” Dahl singled out the 7-mile Hermit Road, which offers some of the best views of the Grand Canyon, as an ideal choice. On a quiet day, you can even hear the roar of the Colorado River from Pima Point, one of the main overlooks along the route. During the high season, riders only have to share the road with park-operated visitor shuttles and a few authorized vehicles. For the last 3 miles or so of Hermit Road, cyclists have the option to ride on a multi-use trail that is closer to the canyon’s edge. Just make sure to give plenty of leeway to hikers and visitors in wheelchairs. Also, the ride hovers around 7,000 feet in elevation, so be aware that exercise will feel more strenuous than at lower altitudes. Don’t have a bike with you? You can rent one from mid-March through October at Bright Angel Bicycles near the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

4. Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

It’s not hard to see why this is a favorite ride for several NPCA staffers. This easy-going 11-mile loop in the western part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park seemingly has it all: restored 18th- and 19th-century historic buildings, beautiful Appalachian scenery and abundant wildlife. NPCA’s managing editor of online communications Jennifer Errick said she saw wild turkeys and not one but two black bears on her ride there a few years ago. Casual cyclists can rent bikes at the nearby Cades Cove Campground Store, and the park closes the loop to cars before 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Errick said that riding still feels safe even after the cars trickle in because drivers tend to go slow — they want to enjoy the sights, too!

5. Cactus Forest Loop, Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Cactus Forest Loop is the kind of road that makes car visitors wish they had brought their bikes along. The smooth, moderately hilly 8-mile loop is a favorite among local cyclists, who can purchase an annual pass for themselves and three other adult riders for just $35. Located in the park’s Rincon Mountain District unit east of Tucson, it’s a one-way winding road, ensuring that cyclists won’t have to face oncoming traffic. The nearby Santa Catalina Mountains provide a great backdrop to the park’s majestic saguaro cacti, and cyclists on an early morning ride can encounter some of the park’s residents, including rattlesnakes, gila monsters and roadrunners. As with all desert parks, Saguaro is best visited outside of daytime summer hours. Note that the park does allow cyclists to ride at night, provided that they are equipped with headlights and rear reflectors.

6. Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

You can’t decide between the ocean and the mountains? Olympic National Park has both, and that means the road from sea level to alpine meadows is both spectacular and strenuous. Caeli Quinn, the co-founder and executive director of Climate Ride, described it as “an epic ride for serious riders.” Shane Farnor, NPCA’s online advocacy manager, said the 17-mile ascent is “not for the faint of heart” and is suitable for cyclists training for long, competitive rides. Leaving the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, riders will go on a steady, forested climb with views of the slopes of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca down below. At the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center (at 5,242 feet), valiant cyclists will find snacks, several hiking trails, a grand view of Mount Olympus and perhaps a few blacktail deer grazing.

7. Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park is a victim of its own success. So many people come to gasp at the park’s pink and orange sandstone cliffs that park officials close Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to car traffic from March to November, and shuttles ferry visitors along the main thoroughfare. Cyclists are not subject to these restrictions, and so they get to enjoy one of the park system’s most spectacular routes with only occasional shuttles passing them by (although riders must hop on a shuttle to go through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is dark and dangerous for cyclists). The ride is just over 6 miles long each way and leads to the Temple of Sinawava, a natural amphitheater carved in sandstone. The whole experience is “magical,” said Britte Kirsch, the regional coordinator of NPCA’s Southwest Office.

8. State Route 20, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Washington

Named after Col. Isaac Neff Ebey, one of the first white settlers to homestead there, this national park site located on Whidbey Island northwest of Seattle preserves the 19th-century rural landscape, with historic farms that are still in use today. The park’s suggested 43.6-mile tour (PDF) makes for a full day of riding with numerous stops, and you can just as easily pick a portion of the itinerary based on your time and interest. NPCA’s Farnor visited the park regularly when he lived in Seattle, and he said it’s “just a pleasant place to saunter along on a bike.” But Ebey’s Landing is not only about picturesque barns and pretty hedgerows. “This is a great place to see wildlife,” said Farnor, who’s spotted bald eagles, seals, sea lions and whales there. One note of caution: Roads are narrow, so beware of oncoming cars around tight curves. Also, many of the farms are still in private hands, so please look but don’t trespass!

9. Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Just a few miles south of Cleveland, Cuyahoga is a gem for cyclists of all levels. You can actually ride your bike from Cleveland into the park; once within park boundaries, the path meanders along the Cuyahoga River for an additional 20 miles. Along the way, you’ll ride through forests and beaver marshes and come upon many historic sites, including the mid-19th century Boston Store. If a 40-mile round trip sounds intimidating, know that a scenic railroad operates within the park, and you can flag a train at any of nine boarding stations along the towpath, and it will take you (and your bike) back to your starting point for a heavily discounted $3 (pedestrians pay $9). The path itself is hard-packed, so it is suitable for all types of bikes. You do have to share it with hikers, runners and occasional horse riders, though, so be sure to give a clear warning to other users before passing them on the left, and always yield to horses.

10. California Highway 190, Death Valley National Park, California

Wait, isn’t Death Valley the national park you want to visit in the comfort of a car with functioning A/C? It is, certainly in the summer, but with some planning, caution and adequate timing, Death Valley is a great place to ride a bike. NPCA’s Wenzler rode through it for a week last year on a trip organized by Climate Ride. Spring and fall tend to be the most suitable times of year to ride in the park, but be aware that temperatures can fluctuate wildly. To avoid needing to haul significant amounts of gear and water in the heat, consider camping in one place and going for day rides. Furnace Creek, which boasts a spring-fed swimming pool, is a great choice to set up camp. “That was very welcome after a long day of riding,” Wenzler said. While the bottom of the valley is pretty flat, there is “a lot of climbing in and out” on the valley’s edges, Wenzler said. He and the other riders climbed about 5,000 feet in one stretch from below sea level to Daylight Pass, and going down, cyclists can “pick up speed very quickly,” he said.

11. Tour Road, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

Visitors to Antietam National Battlefield need to summon their imagination to reconcile the peaceful farmland in front of them with the tragedy that took place there more than 150 years ago. The Confederates’ first major incursion into Union territory turned into the bloodiest single day in American military history, with a combined 23,000 casualties. Picturing that bloodbath today is a difficult task, to be sure, but it’s a little easier once you step out of your vehicle and take the time to appreciate the weight of history. The park includes an 8.5-mile self-guided driving tour, but visitors are encouraged to walk or bike the route if they can. The tour features 11 stops, so there are plenty of places to take a break. There is little shade along the route, so consider a morning or late afternoon ride and take plenty of water with you.

About the author

Nicolas Brulliard is a journalist and former geologist who joined NPCA in November 2015. He writes and edits online content for NPCA and serves as associate editor of National Parks magazine.

A good reason to lose weight

While at a recent gathering of friends I noticed a woman who looked familiar but I wasn’t sure if I recognized her. Her husband looked like the same guy but something remarkable was different about her.

Eventually I had an opportunity to chat with Linda and she told me of her amazing lifestyle changes. Within the past year she had lost over 100 pounds of body weight without surgery.

Linda explained a specific meal plan designed for her by a registered dietitian with strict adherence to a limited amount of calories and nutrients. Her exercise plan was just as important to physically losing the extra weight.

The most important key to Linda’s lifestyle change was an authentic and honest answer to why she wanted to lose weight. A sound diet and exercise plan are necessary, but not enough. The why, the mental part, is the key. Your body will follow your mind. Even the most perfect diet with more than enough exercise, without the mental part, will not be successful.

When people become obsessed with what or how much they could or should consume while on a diet, they set themselves up for failure. Self-torture with excessive exercise or food deprivation will only rebound. Believing in the why of a lifestyle change makes the difference.

Digging deep and getting personal is a powerful motivator to pass on dessert or exercise. Knowing the underlying reason for weight loss, the ‘why’ keeps the motivational fires blazing.

Linda is now in the maintenance phase of her lifestyle change. The strategies for weight loss are different from weight-loss maintenance. Consider nutrition and exercise as two people in a car. During weight loss, nutrition is driving and exercise is in the passenger seat. While maintaining, nutrition is still important but physical activity is driving.

Being physically activity is the best predictor of long-term success with weight control. At least one hour of exercise for six days a week is the goal.

Concentrate on what you can and are willing to do, not on what you cannot do. Replace all the reasons of why you can’t control eating or be more active with a list of what you can do. Believing that you can has far more power and motivation than putting energy into reasons why you can’t.

Ask for support. Tell the people around you that you are striving to eat better and exercise.

Take the first step, even if you do not know how to take the second one. Action conquers fear. Take the same step the next day, again and again until added steps become second nature.

Linda has changed her mind-set while working on a new self-identity. She has a new wardrobe; she has an exercise routine; and she has reinvented herself. Linda has connected weight loss to a larger life purpose, that is: being healthy and happier in her own skin.

Linda says that losing 100 pounds through discipline and determination is the best thing that she has ever done for herself. She is a richer person for it.

Bobbie Randall is a Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered, Licensed Dietitian. Contact her at bobbie.randall@aultman.com 330-684-4776

Glitches in the Glycemic Index

There are glitches in the Glycemic Index (GI). The theory is determined by the amount of carbohydrate in a meal and the type of carbohydrate and how the body uses it. This is how the glycemic conundrum begins.

Continued interest in the glycemic index has increased over the years. There are many claims regarding its effectiveness. There are many lists of low GI foods, yet to date there is no standardized definition of what constitutes a low GI diet.

The Glycemic Index assigns numbers to foods, allowing a person to choose foods that curb appetite, help shed excess weight, lower the risk of diabetes and improve heart health. In fact, these are the claims of popular diets that use the Glycemic Index.

The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrate-containing foods (on a scale from 0 to 100) based on their effects on blood sugar levels in the body. Eating highly processed foods, such as bread made from refined white flour, raises blood sugar higher and faster than does eating whole foods, such as whole-wheat bread or an apple. Foods, like white bread, that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar are given a higher number, while whole-wheat breads and apples have lower ratings. A rating of 55 or below is considered low, and 70 or above is considered high.

Advocates of the GI diet believe that the lower the GI number of a carbohydrate food, the better. This concepts primarily deals with the type of food, not the amount. Believing that there are no good foods nor are there any bad foods is in question with the Glycemic Index.

Using the Glycemic Index for meal planning can be a very complicated process. There is usually a wide variation in the GI measurement. A potato can be as low as 56 or as high as 100. In fact, a food’s GI score can change based on the food’s ripeness level.

The GI of a food can also change based on preparation techniques. Grinding and cooking can elevate the GI score of some foods, because they become quicker and easier to digest.

GI testing is done on individual foods, but we consume most foods in combinations. Fiber, protein, and fat will usually reduce the Glycemic Index of a meal. Newer versions of this concept concentrate on the total Glycemic Load of a meal but values still can be questionable.

The rate at which different people digest carbohydrates varies. The gastrointestinal health status of a person determines the rate of digestion. Each person’s glycemic response may vary throughout the day.

When certain high glycemic foods are eliminated from the diet, so are vital vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. Watermelon has a GI of 72 but it is high in potassium, vitamin A, and lycopene.

The Glycemic Index can still lead to overeating and weight gain. Peanuts have a GI of 14, but with about 400 calories in ½ cup, they won’t help shed pounds when eaten in excess.

Glycemic Index is an interesting tool for ranking carbohydrates. More research is necessary to make it a truly valid, reliable, and applicable teaching tool.

The best watermelon is not picked

Celebrate July, The Watermelon Month. The red, green with white outline of the eatable portion dotted with black seeds is a simple picture that evokes the lazy warm days of summer. It is not only fun to eat but refreshing since it is 92% water.

Some say that adding salt to watermelon makes it taste sweeter. There is so much water in watermelon that the subtle sweetness tastes diluted. Added salt creates a salty sweet contrast that allows the sweetness of the melon to stand out.

Salt also makes you salivate. Having more saliva in the mouth will make the melon seem even juicier than without salt. The trick is to only add a small pinch of salt and to evenly scatter it over the whole piece of melon. If too much salt is added, it will overpower the melon’s sweetness. Watermelon can also be paired with feta cheese for a similar salty-sweet effect for a tasty side dish or snack on a hot summer day.

A pinch of salt is equal to 1/16 teaspoon of sodium. Athletes depend upon sports drinks to replenish their water and sodium after exercise. 2 pinches of salt, 280 mg sodium, on watermelon has the same amount of sodium as a bottle of sports drink, 240 mg.

Choose watermelon after exercise instead of a sports drink because the sugar is in a natural state, not added to sweeten the flavor of the sports drink. Watermelon contains lycopene, a phytonutritent, and citrulline which not only aids in muscle cell development but is also an antioxidant. In fact, 1 cup of watermelon has more lycopene than 1 cup of tomatoes.

It contains 20% of your vitamin C daily intake and 17% vitamin A and other valuable vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. There is not much fiber in watermelon but a lot more than in a sports drink.

Know what to look for when purchasing a watermelon. There are better ways to determine ripeness than thumping the melon. Although experts say that when thumped a ready to eat melon has more of a bass tone compared to a soprano sound of an unripe melon.

A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy. As it ripens, a watermelon’s water content will increase. Look for a melon with a smooth rind. The side that sat on the ground should be a creamy yellow in color. When the field side is creamy yellow, it’s ripe. If the field spot is white, or even nonexistent, it was picked too soon and will not be ripe.

Opposite the field spot the watermelon should not be shiny. A little indention or crater on the end instead of a stem depicts a sweeter watermelon. This is because it fell off the vine on its own, rather than being plucked off before it was fully ripened. If it has a stem, it was picked too early. If a watermelon was picked too soon it will never fully ripen.

Wash the watermelon before cutting. You do not know who harvested that melon or if they washed their hands after the restroom. Cutting into a melon transfers germs from the outside to the inside. Wash with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly before slicing.

What nobody admits about Type 2 Diabetes

New research reveals that 1 in 8 Americans deal with Type 2 Diabetes. That’s a lot of people. People react differently to this diagnosis.

Some people talk about it and others deny it. Those ignoring the fact that the inability to make or use insulin put themselves at great risk.

Just because Grandma or Uncle Joe died of diabetes complications does not mean that what goes around, comes around. When your relatives of long ago dealt with this disease, not much was known about effective treatment. The story is different now.

For those dealing with Type 2 Diabetes know that it is not a stress-free disease to deal with. First, it requires a lifestyle change and that is a huge challenge to many. If it were easy, then nobody would be talking about it.

The truth is that explaining what you’re going through as you live your daily life with diabetes can be difficult, if not impossible at times. Still, that shouldn’t get you down.

A reader reported that no matter how hard she tries to make all the right choices to maintain her health, diabetes wins anyway and gets the best of her, even on the best days. But not every day is bad, making the good days that much better.

Another client put it flatly, “We don’t look sick, but we are.” Each day that she puts her feet on the floor and a smile on her face is a gift to her. She knows that her body is frail and failing but her spirit is strong.

Dealing with diabetes is a call to take better care of your health. It is time to treat your body like a temple, not a tent. The earlier that self-management begins, the fewer unwanted complications.

Ask someone with diabetes retinopathy (blindness); nephropathy (kidney disease); or even diabetes related heart disease and many would say, “If I only knew then what I know now.” Ignoring the signs and symptoms of diabetes can affect future lifetime plans.

Managing diabetes is not only about following orders or writing down results or fulfilling requirements. The key to stable blood glucose levels is the emotional component.

Each step on the diabetes pathway feels difficult. Each step moves into the unknown of the diagnosis. There is the unknown knowledge; the unknown endurance; the unknown medical technology and the unknown strength waiting to expose itself.

With 1 in 8 people dealing with diabetes, many not even knowing or admitting that they have it, diabetes is a fact of life. It is a unique disease that can be controlled with meal planning, medications, exercise and stress control.

Grandma or Uncle Joe may not have had the advantage of modern medical technology. New research occurs daily bringing hope. Hope is encouraging. It is not easy to deal with a chronic disease but allowing knowledge and techniques to improve quality of life just feels good.

Bobbie Randall is a Certified Diabetes Educator, Registered, Licensed Dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville, OH. Contact her at bobbie.randall@aultman.com 330-684-4776

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Plant a second crop midsummer by sowing seeds of bean, cucumbers, carrots and other short season vegetables.
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/08/web1_AMEND-SOIL-SECOND-PLANTING-1.jpgPlant a second crop midsummer by sowing seeds of bean, cucumbers, carrots and other short season vegetables.

Staff Reports