Friday, August 22, 2008

Bike Commute Challenge 2008

It's back! Register now for the 2008 Bike Commute Challenge. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, which promotes bicycling in Oregon and SW Washington, organizes this challenge and has extensive resources on their site for anyone interested in biking, whether you're a commuter or just a weekend rider.

The challenge begins September 1st, so organize your co-workers, form a team, and sign up today! Why should I join, you ask? Well, check out their benefits page and learn how biking to work is not only good for you, but good for your employer!

Commuter workshops are available for new riders, and they're free! Topics covered include (as listed on their site):
* Safe and legal riding
* What you need to know about lights and rain gear
* Carrying stuff - including clothes, groceries and kids
* What to do about your hair
* Route planning and maps

Don't live in the OR/SW WA area? Your workplace can still register and use the BCC website, but will not be included in the final rankings or in the awards at the end of the month.

And as a side note, my alma mater and current employer, The National College of Natural Medicine, has won the bike challenge for the past two years. Way to go, NCNM!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Keep cool!

A few more tips on how to stay cool, especially if you don't have air conditioning. I lived in New York City and Richmond, Virginia for years without air conditioning, mostly because I lived in old apartments with faulty wiring. Air conditioning + other electric appliance = blown fuse. I found several ways to stay cool on those hot, sticky, east coast summer days (and nights).

• Close windows, curtains, and shades during the day. Keep the hot sun out and the cool air in.
• When it cools off at night, open windows and position several fans to blow cool air in and hot air out. Cross ventilation is key. Ceiling and window fans work great to get air moving!
• My mom taught me a trick she learned when she was young: run cold water over your wrists. You can place a cool cloth on the back of your neck, too.
• Hang out in the basement (or any lower level room), because heat rises. I'm blogging from there right now. Usually it's way too cold down here in the rec room, but tonight I have a feeling it's gonna feel nice.
• Stay away from the beer! An icy cold alcoholic beverage might sound good right about now, but it alcohol is dehydrating.
• Use a spray bottle with water to mist yourself in front of a fan. Or use a spray bottle with a battery operated fan attached. It acts much like perspiration, cooling you off as the water evaporates from your skin.
• Public air conditioning...go to the mall. Or the public library, the movies, or a museum. Learn something new while you escape the heat.
• While it may be tempting to run through your sprinkler in your front yard, there are public water sources you can take advantage of without contributing to water waste. Check around your area for community center pools and recreation centers. In Portland, here are also public fountains that allow waders, just be sure to follow a few simple safety rules.

A few more cool things I stumbled upon this evening:
The Better Ice Cream Scoop
Watermelon salsa!

Finally, a reminder to bring your pets indoors and make sure they have plenty of water to drink. Check your local pet store for a cooling pad for your pet's bed or crate. There are a number of different brands, just use the Google to find a pet store near you. One company advertises their pad works for cooling off people as well! Here are some more hints from Martha Stewart's website to keeping your pets safe in a heat wave.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holistica Naturopathic: the graph

Okay, this site truly is the coolness. Above is the visual interpretation of my humble little blog. Try it yourself with your favorite website.

I need to log off now or I will never go to work.

Hot and coolness

It's going to be another hot day here in the Pacific NW...over 100°! Stay cool wherever you are by staying indoors and keeping yourself hydrated. I've requested (and dispensed) advice on ways to increase water intake for those of us who tend not to drink as much as we should. Not to repeat myself (as I did in yesterday's post about healthy houseplants...I originally posted that link last year!), I will now include other ways of staying hydrated...eating!

Eat your water! Foods that contain high water content include fruits and veggies, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini and greens like lettuce, spinach, and celery. Make a refreshing fruit soup or a delicious cold veggie soup, like gazpacho (see picture...I made that!) or chilled pea, for lunch or dinner. Serve it with a mixed green salad and add some protein like nuts, fish, or chicken.

Pretty cool, right? Here are some more cool things I found on the 'net (courtesy of Weiden+Kennedy):

The Girl Effect

Wordle! Make word cloud art.

Websites as graphs? Not sure of it's purpose, but just some more things to look at as you cool off indoors.

For more strange, behind the scenes insight into the world of advertising, check out the W+K Portland blog.

Surfin' the 'net

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network offers information for those who are diagnosed with just allergies. Not the same as food sensitivities or intolerances, an allergic reaction produces almost immediate symptoms such as a rash, difficulty breathing, swelling of throat or tongue, even death. The FAAN even allows readers to sign up for alerts that inform of any possible allergen contamination of food, such as undeclared soy found in certain chicken products.

Healthy Houseplants I have terrible luck with growing houseplants, but perhaps I should give it another go. Every once in a while I come across articles that extol the virtues of houseplants, how they clean the air of common indoor toxins such as toluene and formaldehyde. The Green Guide (one of my favorite websites brought to you by one of the greatest magazines ever) ran an article last year that discusses just this topic.

Discovery Channel's Planet Green has a guide to green cleaning. I haven't had a chance to see if we get Planet Green on our tv, but even if it's not part of our (very basic) cable plan, the website provides some great information on green living, including travel!

Friday, August 8, 2008


Taking a few minutes a day to breathe helps to relax and reduce stress, but telling someone they need to find time to relax can sometimes create more stress! I have been looking for free, online resources for patients to use to help them relax during the work day. Finally, I've found what I've been looking for!

The Mayo Clinic offers some good advice on various relaxation techniques, including this short video that demonstrates how to meditate on a candle flame.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the news...

Butter is better? And so is meat? Just because it says organic, doesn't mean it's healthy? Check out the top 10 things you may not know about your diet.

That Stinks! Artificially fragranced products may contain toxic chemicals that can cause allergic reactions in some people. A study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review looked at products including laundry detergent, air freshener, and dryer sheets and discovered they all emit at least one toxic chemical. Find alternatives to freshening your room and your laundry.

Music as Medicine And finally, in an eight year study conducted by scientists at two British universities, experts have found rock drummers have the physical stamina of 'top athletes.' Blondie drummer Clem Burke took part in this research and has an organization dedicated to developing outreach programs targeted at 'overweight and disengaged' youth.