Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not

This article, “Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy- What’s Not” is the first in a three part series. One out of every five adults in North America live with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. After the age of 65, this number increases significantly to one out of every two adults. Since it often goes undetected, hypertension is commonly referred to as the silent killer.

blood pressure, healthy heart, heart disease, heart beat, pulse
Your Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not
Blood Pressure

Two numbers convey a person’s blood pressure:

  • the systolic (higher number) blood pressure and
  • diastolic (lower number) blood pressure.

The systolic blood pressure denote the arterial pressure as the heart muscle contracts and then pumps blood through the arteries. Optimally, it should be at 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or less. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure within the artery when the heart is in a relaxed state. It should optimally be at or less than 80 mm Hg. The elevation in both of these numbers are strong

blood pressure, healthy heart, heart disease, heart beat, pulse, systolic, diastolic
Blood Pressure Systolic/Diastolic

indicators of disease. (1) (2)

 

Hypertension

By definition, hypertension is when the systolic blood pressure exceeds 139 mm Hg or the diastolic blood pressure exceeds 89 mm Hg for extended periods.

Primary or essential hypertension has no clearly defined cause and occurs in 95% of the cases. Secondary hypertension occurs in the remaining 5% of the cases and

blood pressure, healthy heart, heart disease, heart beat, pulse, systolic, diastolic, high blood pressure, silent killer, hypertension
Blood Pressure: What’s Healthy – What’s Not Hypertension: The Silent Killer

is often caused by sleep apnea (sleep-disordered breathing) and kidney disease. (1) (2)
Typically there are no symptoms of hypertension. To assure it does not go undetected, it is important to check it on a regular basis.

Importance of Controlling Blood Pressure

It is essential to control blood pressure to primarily prevent strokes and related diminished brain function, cardiovascular disease, poor circulation of blood in the legs, vision problems, and sudden death. People with hypertension are much more likely to suffer from these disorders than those with normal blood pressure levels. Additionally, smoking and elevated lipoproteins also significantly increases the risk for these diseases. Early diagnosis of hypertension is important. If the condition continues unchecked over a long period of time, typically it resists therapy and with time will advance to a more serious stage. (4)

blood pressure, healthy heart, heart disease, heart beat, pulse, systolic, diastolic, high blood pressure, silent killer, hypertension
Your Health Matters – Avoid the Silent Killer
Control Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a disorder that cannot be overlooked. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and decrease your risk of these life-threatening diseases, there are a number of preventive measures that can be taken. As the next two articles in the series will show, lifestyle changes and critical minerals are important to the function and maintenance of the heart and circulatory system.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandSymptomsRisks/Why-High-Blood-Pressure-is-a-Silent-Killer_UCM_002053_Article.jsp
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/atrisk

Gluten Free – Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

dining, Highlands, North Carolina, Recipe
Dining Delight

Whether you have a gluten sensitivity or not, this recipe is a gluten free keeper — Turkey and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash. A good friend of mine shared this tasty, low fat, nutrient rich meal that’s sure to leave you feeling satisfied.

acorn squash, recipe, gluten free, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash – Delicious Stuffed

This recipe serves 8 so feel free to double it or cut it in half.

Ingredients:
  • 4 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 8 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher or fine sea salt, to taste (I typically cook without the added salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 medium sweet apples, such as Pink Lady or Gala, peeled, cored, and
    Gluten Free, Recipe, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
    Apples for Your Gluten Free Recipe – Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

    diced

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the squash halves cut sides up on the baking sheets. Brush with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45-55 minutes, until tender when pierced with fork (and when top edges are nicely browned).

mushrooms, recipe, Turkey & Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Mushrooms

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the turkey. Cook, breaking up with wooden utensil, until cooked through and no longer pink. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add apples, onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Add garlic and poultry seasoning and stir 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with turkey. Stir to combine, then taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in almond flour and egg whites.

When squash halves finish roasting, pile stuffing evenly into the halves. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Squash is a nutrient rich food we should all indulge in when we can. Do you have a good squash recipe to share? How about a gluten free one? Check out my Sweet & Sour Chicken — another gluten free keeper.

Dark Chocolate & Love’s Heart Healthy Month

The month of February is not only the month for love, but it’s American Heart Month. With Valentine’s Day smack in the middle and thoughts of cards, flowers, and chocolate, it’s also a time to focus on steps we can take to ensure a healthy heart… and mind. Exercise, food choices, and modifying unhealthy habits are among the areas of our lives where we need to concentrate. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this article will address a particular food at the forefront of this day for sweethearts — dark chocolate.

Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, Heart Health, Dark Chocolate, healthy lifestyle, February, love, candy, flowers, cards
February – The Month for Love
Food of the Gods
Valentine's Day, American Heart Month, Heart Health,Dark Chocolate, healthy lifestyle, February, love, candy, flowers, cards
Dark Chocolate – Good for Your Heart and Mind

The botanical name for chocolate is Theobroma cacao, which means “food of the gods.” Not only is it delicious, but dark chocolate is good for your heart and mind when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Notice, it’s the dark chocolate not the milk chocolate that may benefit you. Let’s check out why… .

What Makes Dark Chocolate Special?
Valentine's Day, American Heart Month, Dark Chocolate, healthy lifestyle, phytochemicals, flavonoidsFebruary, love, candy, flowers, cards
Cocoa Beans – Rich in Phytochemicals

Dark chocolate comes from the cacao bean which is rich in a type of phytochemical called flavonoids. Although milk chocolate contains some, it does not contain enough to make a difference — the darker the better.

Potential Health Benefits

According to current research, when dark chocolate is incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, it

  • can enhance heart health,
  • improve blood pressure,
  • decrease the “bad” LDL cholesterol, and
  • cause an increase in blood flow to the brain.

There are also studies that point to another benefit — it may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels thereby reducing the risk of an ever growing problem — diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease with the risk even higher for women.

A NOTE OF CAUTION…
Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, Heart Health, Dark Chocolate, healthy lifestyle, February, love, candy, flowers, cards
Dark Chocolate – the Darker the Better

In order to enjoy the health benefits of dark chocolate, a healthy lifestyle is important. Here are few tips to keep in mind:

  • Balance your calorie consumption — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 100-gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories whereas that much raw apple contains only 52 calories.
  • Avoid the dark chocolate that is higher in sugar and fat — in other words, avoid the chocolate coated bonbons that contain all the cream, marshmallow, and other unhealthy centers.
  • When you enjoy a little dark chocolate, eliminate another sweet from your diet, not another nutrient rich food.
  • If you have a choice between U.S. made dark chocolate or European, choose the European — they tend to be richer in the cocoa flavanols.

REMEMBER THE DARKER THE CHOCOLATE THE BETTER

What’s your favorite Valentine treat?

Loveland Remailing Program
Loveland Remailing Program – Miss Loveland Valentine

Sources:

The Journal of the American Medical Association, July 6, 2005; vol 294: pp 97-104.

American Heart Association: “High Blood Pressure.”

American Heart Association: What’s So Super About Superfoods? http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Whats-so-super-about-superfoods_UCM_457937_Article.jsp#.WJN4tRCcHq0
Updated:Dec 12,2016

News release, American Heart Association. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/consuming-flavanol-rich-cocoa-237327 Consuming flavanol-rich cocoa may enhance brain function
August 13, 2012 Categories: Heart News

American Society of Hypertension Nineteenth Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition, New York, May 18-22, 2004.

Taubert, D. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Aug. 27, 2003; vol 290: pp 1029-1030.

Grassi, D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2005; vol 81: pp 611-614.

Taubert, D. The Journal of the American Medical Association, July 4, 2007; vol 298: pp 49-60.

Military Service Dogs: Silent Heroes

Military service dogs provide an important contribution to our armed forces and the protection of our country. They are our silent heroes. In my earlier article, As Veteran’s Day Approaches – A Look at Military Service Dogs, we reviewed their service historically and touched on one of their modern day duties – sentry. This article further explores the invaluable contributions of our military service dogs.

Messenger

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Military Service Dog Messenger

Messenger dogs must travel in silence and use the terrain’s natural cover to go from one handler to another. Although loyalty is an important quality in all military working dogs, messenger dogs require more. When a dog works with two handlers, loyalty becomes an even more important quality.

Patrol/Scout

Dogs with patrol/scout duty must not only have the skills required for sentry dogs (warn, work in the dark, accompany a guard, and guarding), but in order to detect ambushes, snipers, and enemies within the area, they must work in silence. Only the brightest with a quiet demeanor can handle this duty.

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Patrol/Scout Military Service Dog

Patrol/scout dogs can detect  enemy presence long before humans become aware of them – up to 1,000 yards. This dog alerts to the enemy in the following ways:

 

 

  • It stiffens its body,
  • pricks its hears,
  • raises its hackles, and
  • holds its tail rigid.

The presence of these service dogs not only boosts morale, but significantly decreases the risks associated with ambush.

Mine

Mine detection dogs also referred to as the “M-Dog” locate booby traps, trip wires, nonmetallic and metallic mines.

Tunnel

This duty was a specialty required in Vietnam. The Vietnam Cong tunnel dwellers caused the death of many of our military. They were difficult to locate until tunnel dogs were trained to find and explore these tunnels.

Casualty

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Silent Heroes – Military Service Dogs

Just as search and rescue dogs are trained, so are casualty dogs to search for casualties and report those in obscure places. Time is of the essence in cases of hemorrhage or severe shock and every minute counts in a life or death situation.

Explosives Detection

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dog
Our Silent Heroes

Explosives detection dogs detect and alert to the chemical scent used in explosives. Their highly acute sense of smell makes them ideal for locating explosives regardless of how they are packaged. In our fight against the War on Terrorism, it is critical to locate explosives hidden in a vehicle, on an individual, or on the roadside and there is no other member more qualified to assist than this service dog.

Military service dogs serve our military, our veterans, and our country well. While these first two articles explore the duties they provide, the next will look at the preferred breeds for these duties. If you have had first hand experience with one of these amazing dogs, please share… .

Military Service Dog, Messenger, Sentry, Scout, Patrol, Explosive Detection, Casualty, Military Working Dogs
Military Service Dogs: Silent Heroes
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

References:
Newton, Tom. “K-9 History: The Dogs of War!” Hahn’s 50th AP K-9.
http://www.uswardogs.org/war-dog-history/types-war-dogs/, US War Dog Association | National Headquarters, Types of War Dogs

What About That New Year’s Resolution?

What about that New Year’s resolution? Did you make yours? If you did, how long is your list? My New Year’s resolutions started in middle school and continued for more years than I’d like to count. They included what most people placed on their list, although they varied based on the time of my life:

  • avoiding chocolate,
  • exercising,
  • losing weight (especially after having babies),
  • meeting new people (I was very shy — notice the past tense),
  • providing additional community service hours…. .

Although my resolutions were made with good intentions and were always meritorious, there was an undeniable common thread — I inevitably broke them. The question was how long did I maintain before I failed?

New Year’s Resolutions: Overcoming Failure
New Year's Resolution, goals, succeed, plans
What About That New Year’s Resolution?

With failure came disappointment, frustration, and a sense of loss. My motivation went out the window, after all, I already failed. I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a number of years ago, however, I never threw the baby out with the bath water. My thinking, focus, and approach changed.

New Year’s Goals:

I no longer make New Year’s resolutions, I make New Year’s goals. According to the dictionary, a goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” I create goals and strive to achieve them. It’s okay to get off track, I can always get myself back on without a sense of failure. It’s a healthier, positive outlook that keeps me on track.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

My article, On the Road to Healthy Living: Foolproof Your Plan! provides the road map to successfully meet your New Year’s goals. Encouraged by the success of my debut novel, Hidden Bloodlines, my goals for 2017 include getting the second in the J.C. Classified series ready for my publisher. The Relic’s Reach is currently a work in progress and I am excited about the headway I’ve made. My other goals include remaining physically fit, increasing my physical performance, staying within the low range of my ideal body weight in anticipation of the planning and celebration that goes into the next goal — my daughter’s wedding!

engagement, wedding, couple, congratulations
Wedding Eminent!

There is no doubt that 2017 will be a big year! Accordingly, I plan to post twice monthly.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, and productive 2017! God bless!

Any tips? Please share.

 

 

(C) 2017 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Thanksgiving — Turkey Dressing Through the Generations

Thanksgiving is upon us and it’s time for a very special side dish — my mother’s turkey dressing! I only treat myself to this guilty pleasure at Thanksgiving (and of course for leftovers) for very obvious reasons. However, among the many blessings I have to be thankful for, this is one I’d like to share for all to enjoy.

Recipe

Modifications to the original recipe were made to reduce the saturated fat and salt content while retaining its delicious flavor. This has always been my favorite…

Ingredients:
  • 1 package cubed seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 loaf bread (whole wheat or bran bread – “stale”).

    Thanksgiving, basket, autumn, bread, recipe
    Thanksgiving Basket
  • 1 container of chicken livers
  • 1 cooked turkey liver
  • Broth (boil the neck to make fresh broth, or use already prepared broth)
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning.
  • 4 cups chopped celery
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 6 large eggs (beaten slightly).
  • pepper
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Directions:
  • Sautee onions and celery in olive oil, cook until soft then set aside.
  • Sautee chicken livers and turkey liver, cook until soft then set aside.

Advance timeline:

  • 3 days before — onion and celery
  • 2 days before — cook liver, neck, innards in chicken broth, low salt.
  • Dice the liver and add to the onion mixture in refrigerator. Save flavored broth for stuffing.
recipe, turkey, dressing, Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Turkey — Dressing Through the Generations

Day of Meal:

  • Place bread in a large pan (Take 1/2 loaf of bread out a couple of days before and dry out.)
  • Wet bread with broth, add beaten eggs, butter/oil, liver, onions & celery. If done in advance, you will need to lightly heat mixture before adding to bread mixture (not too hot though or the eggs will cook).
  • If you stuff your turkey, do it just before baking and place it in a mesh stuffing bag. Bake according to the directions. Please note, it is critical to maintain proper internal safe cooking temperatures.

Certain foods or particular meals bring us “home” in tradition. This is one of mine… . What family recipe is one of yours that you would like to share?

Thanksgiving, recipe, turkey, dressing
Thanksgiving Day
                      Thankful for Every Blessing

 

As Veteran’s Day Approaches – A Look at Military Service Dogs

Veteran's Day, Military Service Dogs, Soldier
As Veteran’s Day Approaches — A Look at                    Military Service Dogs

As Veteran’s Day approaches, this article will give an overview of the important contributions made by military service dogs. Their keen sense of smell, hearing, and eyesight have made them particularly useful, not to mention their devotion and innate ability to be a team member and take commands.

Historically
Military Service Dogs, ancients, World War II, WWII, Belgian-Malinois
Military Service Dogs through the Centuries
Belgian-Malinois

Used by the ancients in warfare, dogs have served various purposes that have progressively changed throughout history. In the United States, they were first used during the Seminole Wars. Over the centuries, military service dogs took on various roles and duties. Although used in the past for a myriad of dangerous activities, such as drawing enemy fire or catching rats, modern day service dogs take on humane tasks that allows them to put their unique skills to their ultimate use.

Military Working Dogs

The Quartermaster Corps started to train dogs for the Army’s K-9 Corps in the early part of World War II. After accepting more than thirty breeds, they narrowed their list to the five most effective for

Veteran's Day, Military Service Dogs, German Shepherd
Military Service Dogs
German Shepherd

their purposes. These breeds include the Giant Schnauzers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Belgian Sheep dogs, and Farm Collies (short coat). Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are still trained as sled dogs for Arctic duty.

Modern Day Duties

Modern day military dogs are used in quite a few roles, including patrol or scout, sentry, mine, messenger, tunnel, explosives detection, and casualty.

Sentry Duty
  • Ten thousand, four hundred and twenty-five dogs were trained in WWII. Approximately 9,300 of these dogs were placed on sentry duty. Hundreds of military organizations including harbor defenses, coastal fortifications, ammunition dumps, arsenals, depots, industrial plants, and depots benefited from sentry dogs.
  • Sentry dogs work on a short leash and are taught to provide warnings
    Soldier, Military Service Dog, Veteran's Day
    Soldier and Military Service Dog

    through alerting, growling, or barking. They are particularly useful for dark conditions when an attack from the rear or from cover is likely. These dogs are trained to warn their handlers of the presence or approach of strange individuals. They are also used to guard airports, war plants, supply dumps, and other vital military installations. These dogs are incredibly valuable in any location where security must be maintained against intruders.

Military service dogs provide an amazing and necessary service to our country and those who have served our country — our veterans. The next article will focus on other duties military service dogs provide — patrol or scout, mine, messenger, casualty, tunnel, and explosives detection. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

References:
Newton, Tom. “K-9 History: The Dogs of War!”. Hahn’s 50th AP K-9.
“Dogs of War in European Conflict; Egyptians and Romans Employed Them in Early Warfare — Battle Dogs in 4000 B.C”. New York Times. February 21, 1915. p. S3.
http://www.uswardogs.org/war-dog-history/types-war-dogs/, US War Dog Association | National Headquarters, Types of War Dogs

It’s the Season for Special Dog Treats

dog treats, pumpkin, cinnamon, apple, dog, fall harvest
It’s the Season for Special Dog Treats

With the fall harvest among us, it’s the season for special dog treats. Some dogs are finicky eaters, while others will eat just about anything you call a “treat.” Bucky was the latter, while Shadow the former. Both of my dogs loved these treats so I thought I would share (my neighbors’ dogs loved them as well!).

 

Some dogs, like people are sensitive to certain foods. If this is the case with your dog, please use an alternate treat or make an ingredient substitution if necessary.

Cinnamon-Apple Dog Treats
Ingredients:
  • Natural Applesauce (or chopped apple) – 1 cup

    dog treats, fall harvest, dogs, treats, healthy
    Bentley — Time for a Special Treat
  • Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • Parsley – 1 tablespoon
  • Cold water – 1 cup
  • Vegetable Oil – 1/2 cup
  • Flour – 5 cups
  • Powdered milk – 1/2 cup
  • Eggs – 2 large
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
Combine all of the ingredients — add oil or water to the dough if needed.
  • Roll out the dough to the desired thickness and cut into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Bake 20 -25 minutes until browned.
PUMPKIN DOG TREAT RECIPE
Ingredients:

 

Pumpkins for a Delicious Special Dog Treat
Pumpkins for a Delicious Special Dog Treat
  • Mashed pure pumpkin (NOT the spiced pie filling) – one 15 oz. can
  • Cream of wheat (or rice cereal if wheat-sensitive), dry, uncooked –         3/4 cup
  • Dry powdered milk – 1/2 cup
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

    dog treats, healthy, organic, pumpkin
    It’s the Season for a Special Dog Treat
  • Mix all the ingredients together.
  • Drop small spoonfuls (about half of a tablespoon) onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  • If you’d like to make training rewards, bite-sized cookies for small dogs, or just little treats, you may want to use a pastry bag and squeeze out rosettes or a freezer bag with the tip cup out to squeeze out tasty bite-sized treats about the size of a dime.
  • These treats are also a great gift idea for the holidays, just make sure you include an ingredient list so the recipient can check for sensitivities.

ENJOY!
Do you have a special dog treat recipe to share?

A Healthier You with a Dog’s Magic Touch

dogs, unconditional love, healthier with a dog, "man's best friend"
A Healthier You with a Dog’s Magic Touch
                      Unconditional Love

A Healthier You with a Dog’s Magic Touch kicks off the start of a series focusing on the health benefits provided by “man’s best friend.” From the unconditional love they shower on their owners, to their use by the military to save countless lives, for therapy, in personal service, to detect cancer, as companions, or to provide protection detail, dogs provide that magic touch.

Man’s Best Friend

Studies confirm the fact that dogs are “man’s best friend.” Compared to other animals, research shows that dogs intimately have a greater understanding of specific areas of human nature. (2)

dogs, unconditional love, boy and dog, man's best friend, health benefits of dogs
A Healthier You with a Dog’s Magic Touch
A Boy and His Dog

There are many studies that show positive interactions between dogs and people can provide mutual benefits to both. Interactions such as talking, petting, playing and other pleasurable interactions create an increase in neurochemicals associated with positive feelings and bonding — oxytocin, dopamine, and β-endorphin (beta-endorphin). In essence, interacting with a dog, especially one you know, can have comparable psychophysiological markers similar to those of emotionally attached individuals who spend time together. (1)

Those Puppy Dog Eyes
puppy dog eyes, "man's best friend," health benefits of dog, dogs, comfort
Those Puppy Dog Eyes

Those puppy dog eyes just make your heart melt. But is that all? Studies also show that oxytocin, one of the neurochemicals noted above, promotes maternal bonding, altruism, and trust among people. In these studies, oxytocin levels in the mother and infant increased as they gazed into each others eyes. This has been referred to as the “feedback loop.” Researchers believe this loop is responsible for creating the bond between the infant and mother at a time when the baby is incapable of alternate forms of expression. (2)

puppy dog eyes, recue dog, health benefits, man's best friend
A Healthier You with a Dog’s Magic Touch
Rescue a dog and reap the benefits of puppy dog eyes.

In a 2015 study from Azabu University in Sagamihara, Japan,(3) animal behaviorists set out to determine whether a mechanism similar to the “feedback loop” might be the factor behind the affectionate relationship between owners and their dogs. Researchers analyzed urine samples and found the following:

  • When owners and dogs gazed at each other a lot, both owners and dogs experienced a significant rise in oxytocin — owners had a 300% rise while dogs had a 130% rise.
  • Owners and dogs who did not make this type of eye contact had no increase in oxytocin levels.

Enjoy those puppy dog eyes…. They provide health benefits for both you and your pooch! Do you have a story to share about your special “best friend?”

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

References:

(1) Hecht, J (2015, April 15). “Is the Gaze from Those Big Puppy Eyes the Look of Your Doggie’s Love?” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-gaze-from-those-big-puppy-eyes-the-look-of-your-doggie-s-love/

(2) McNamee, D. (2015, April 17). “‘Puppy dog eyes’ explained by science.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/292567.php.

(3) Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds, Takefumi Kikusui, et al., Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1261022, published online 16 April 2015.

The Stanley’s Infamous Room 217 and the Ghost of Mrs. Wilson

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Room 217, side view of Stanley Hotel
Stanley Hotel Outside Room 217, Estes Park, CO

The Stanley Hotel’s Room 217 is one of the most popular rooms in the hotel, after all, the ghost of Mrs. Wilson will keep your clothes nice and tidy. Four presidents and Stephen King were among the many prominent guests who stayed in that room. Although Stephen King did not pen The Shining there, his stay did inspire it.

Mrs. Wilson
Stanley Hotel, Room 217, Estes Park, Colorado
The Stanley Hotel Room 217

Who is Mrs. Wilson? She was the chief chambermaid in 1911. On the day the hotel opened for the season, the hydroelectric plant went down. By the way, this hotel was the first hotel to have electricity. Mrs. Wilson was lighting the gas lamps when she was almost killed. Acetylene was pumped into the rooms, and in

Room 217, Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Room 217 – Stanley Hotel Estes Park, CO

Room 217 there happened to be a gas leak. When Mrs. Wilson went into the bathroom, it blew out the front of the hotel. She was blown through the floor into the MacGregor Room and survived. Almost forty years to the day, she died of a heart attack in that room. According to the tour guide, Mrs. Wilson is a permanent visitor here who will fold and put away your clothes.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado, Room 217, Bear-Clawed Tub
The Stanley Hotel
Room 217 Bear-Clawed Tub

My husband and I had the opportunity to stay in that room. Except for the bear-clawed tub and the view, it struck me as an ordinary room with an extraordinary history. Shortly after arriving, we had a few visitors just wanting to see it and take photos. We took a few photos of our own. One visitor who was clearly absent was Mrs. Wilson. I had to fold my own clothes and keep them nice and tidy.

Hidden Bloodlines, romantic suspense, Colorado Rockies, Karen Van Den Heuvel
Hidden Bloodlines

You may find some similarities between Room 217 and the honeymoon suite described in my book, Hidden Bloodlines. Check out Chapter 2 of the book and let me know what you think!

 

(C) 2016 Karen  Van Den Heuvel Fischer