Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Man, His Dog And Kindhearted People: Donations pour in for John Unger and his arthritic dog Schoep



The story of John Unger and his arthritic dog Schoep brought tears to my eyes the first time I read about it. I'm sure you all remember photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson's now famous photo of Unger lovingly holding his floating 19-year-old dog Schoep in Lake Superior after it went viral back in August. This act of loving kindness by an owner who obviously will do anything to relieve his beloved dog's pain is heartwarming in a world that can be hard and cruel.

But not only is the love for his dog to be commended, but the outpouring of love from total strangers has been overwhelming, and reaffirms one's faith in humanity.
Ever since that photo was posted on the internet, Unger has a newfound celebrity status. Mail from all over the world fills his Bayfield home. The letters and gifts come from complete strangers, but in every package, he finds an instant connection because all that mail is from someone who cares about Schoep.

"It's amazing. Because we've opened up our lives, people are opening up theirs to us," said Unger.

All write about the photo that captures the commitment of an owner trying to relieve the pain of his aging pet. The water helps relieved the pressure on the dog's arthritic joints.

And the wonderful news is that Schoep seems to be getting better.

"He has a much better life. He is not in pain as much, and he's enjoying himself again," Unger said.

One of the many gifts he received was from a woman in California who shipped a Tempur-pedic bed for Schoep, which has been a Godsend.

"He's sleeping through the night, which is huge. He would get up at least four times a night," Unger said.

Unger has received other gifts including supplements and donations to Bay Area Animal Hospital, the vet who takes care of Schoep.

"One person donated three times over three days. She just kept calling, wanting to give more," said Pam Lightner, a receptionist at Bay Area Animal Hospital.

Nearly every day, for the last several weeks, the vet clinic receives correspondence from all over the world from those who aren't ready for an 18-year partnership to end.

"Without treatment it was time to say goodbye to Schoep," said Erik Haukaas, Schoep's veterinarian.

More than $10,000 has been donated. The money pays for a weekly laser therapy to stimulate old cells in Schoep's body. The cells then reproduce faster, reducing swelling and pain.

"This is the best response I've ever seen with these treatments," said Haukaas.

The treatments have made Schoep's life much more bearable, and he can now walk better than he has in a long while. But Unger still takes his doggy to Lake Superior for their special floating time together, and watching the video below brought tears to my eyes once more.

Unger believes the photo gave Schoep a longer lease on life.

"Had this not happened, he probably wouldn't be here anymore."

Once Schoep passes on, whatever money is left will go towards establishing a Schoep legacy foundation to help other sick dogs in need.


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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is That Arsenic In My Rice- New studies find high levels in rice products

I love rice- it's easily digested, one of the least allergenic foods that exist, and just plain yummy. I love the chewy, nutty flavor of brown rice, the aromatic taste of basmati, and there's nothing like a good, creamy rice pudding. And since some think that too much soy is not good for you, I have taken to using rice milk with my cereal. Now all that might change since we are now being told that rice has arsenic levels that, in some cases, exceeds what the FDA claims is okay for a quart of water. That's not good, since arsenic is a poison that in large quantities can kill (think that old dandy play "Arsenic and Old Lace"). It can also cause cancer, skin and nervous system problems, along with stomach troubles (including nausea, vomiting, pain, diarrhea), diabetes, anemia, high blood pressure, blood vessel damage among other things.

Oddly enough it occurs naturally in our soil, and although the FDA has standards for the amount of arsenic allowed in water, it does not set limits for food.

We are privy to this information after studies were conducted by Consumer Reports, the FDA and the state attorney for Illinois, Lisa Madigan.  All the studies found high levels in all the foods that were tested from children's rice cereal products to brown rice syrup to, yes, my rice milk.

Although some are saying we shouldn't worry yet about the amounts we eat (that's mostly the rice industry and the FDA) others are saying we need to limit the amounts we eat.  Lisa Madigan said:

“First and foremost, I want to warn parents that every rice cereal product we tested contained arsenic. These results are shocking because rice cereal is often a baby’s first solid food. “Parents and caregivers should moderate the amount of rice products they feed their children.”

And if you think buying organic will make a difference, think again.  Arsenic was found in both organic and non-organic products.

Consumer Reports has this advice about eating rice:

Test your water. If your home is not on a public water system, have your water tested for arsenic and lead.
Change the way you cook rice. Boiling rice with more water than you need and draining it afterward removes about 30% of the inorganic arsenic. Try using a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 6 cups of water.
Eat a varied diet. Some vegetables accumulate arsenic when grown in contaminated soil. To help, clean vegetables thoroughly, especially potato skins.Eat other grains. Wheat and oats have lower levels of arsenic than rice. For those who need to eat gluten-free, quinoa, millet, and amaranth may be better options.

For more information on the subject, and to find out which are the worst offenders read this Consumer Reports article. Some of the worst:

“Among all tested rice, the highest levels of inorganic arsenic per serving were found in some samples of Martin Long Grain Brown rice, followed by Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown, and Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown"

I actually eat cereal every other day, so I think I will also buy some soy milk and alternate using that with the rice milk.

I'm not a happy camper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How You See Yourself Versus How Others See You



We are always so worried about what others think of us, how they see us, how they feel about us when the only thing that really matters is:

A. how we see ourselves

and more importantly,

B. how our Creator sees us.

Who cares what others think? There will always be people in your life who will stifle your growth by telling you that something can not be accomplished- that you aren't pretty/handsome enough, talented enough, smart enough, or strong enough- but as long as you believe you are, that you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.

First you have to cultivate those feelings of self worth, and know that with faith anything is possible, regardless of outer circumstances.  I remember a woman I used to work with, a long time ago, had just visited Hawaii and decided she wanted to move there. She was told that it was almost impossible to get work in Honolulu, but this woman refused to listen to the naysayers and popped off a bunch of resumes. She received at least 4 or 5 job offers and  moved to Hawaii.  She had so much faith in herself and her abilities her dream came true.

The place to start is by learning to love yourself. Look in a mirror and forgive yourself for all your faults. Then, as hard as it might be, write down all the positive things about yourself. Every little thing matters. Focus on the good things. Daily. Affirmations are great, as are meditations like the one below.

Some good affirmations to use:

I love and accept myself as I am
I love and respect myself
I accept myself completely
I am loved and lovable
I am a wonderful person
I am strong and capable
I am loving and kind
I can accomplish anything I set my mind to
I can accomplish anything through God's love

There are endless amounts of affirmations you can use, but remember to always state them in the affirmative, and as if they are already true.

Be the best person that you can be, and everything else will fall into place.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Successful Versus Unsuccessful People- chart


I found this chart which identifies what the difference is between successful and unsuccessful people on Facebook and thought it was worth posting.

They're great things to aspire to, even if you manage only a few.  And though it might make the difference between whether you are successful or not, it will definitely make you a better person.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bananas Just As Helpful As Sugary Sports Drinks

Although I still have yet to try it, some people claim that bananas are a great alternative to chemical teeth whiteners. Apparently the inner part of the banana peel rubbed on your teeth can make your teeth whiter.

Now some researchers at Appalachian State University have discovered that bananas are actually as helpful as carbohydrate type sports drinks like Gatorade, without all that sugar, and other additives. It's certainly a better choice than grabbing a bottle of unnaturally blue colored, sugary liquid. Dr. David C. Nieman of  the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus at Appalachian State in Kannapolis said:

"We wanted to see which was more beneficial when consumed during intense cycling -- bananas or a carbohydrate sports drink.  We found that not only was performance the same whether bananas or sports drinks were consumed, there were several advantages to consuming bananas."

Trained cyclists were the guinea pigs for the study, one group was given a carbohydrate drink the other  some banana:

For the study, trained cyclists consumed either a cup of carbohydrate drink or half a banana every 15 minutes during a 75-kilometer simulated road race lasting 2.5 to 3 hours. Blood samples taken from the cyclists before and after the exercise were analyzed at the NCRC Metabolomics Laboratory for more than 100 metabolites -- molecules associated with metabolism.
Unlike the sports drink, the bananas provided a much healthier alternative, and a few additional benefits that the drinks did not.


The bananas provided the cyclists with antioxidants not found in sports drinks as well as a greater nutritional boost, including fiber, potassium and Vitamin B6, the study showed. In addition, bananas have a healthier blend of sugars than sports drinks.
"Bananas come prepackaged with fiber, nutrients and antioxidants," said Nieman, adding the research translates to any exercise.
"The mode of exercise is not the issue. I think there are a lot of athletes who don't like the thought of drinking carbohydrate sports drinks, which are essentially flavored sugar water," he said. "This type of research shows that you can have healthier carbohydrate sources before and after exercise that will support athletic performance just as well as a sports drink," Nieman said.

I know which I would choose, if I was heavily into sports, which I'm not.

It should be noted that the study was funded by Dole, but even so, why wouldn't you choose a healthy banana over Gatorade?

Source: Science Daily