Brennan’s Story: How the Bold Goals Coalition and United Way of Central Alabama aids progress in education, health and financial independence for many in the community

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Brennan (right) with an intervention math teacher who was hired through Bold Goals Coalition. Photo via United Way

Did you know that by fifth grade, summer learning loss can cause some students to fall up to three years behind in school? In addition, it is estimated that by the year 2020, over 60% of the jobs in Alabama will require some form of post-secondary education. These numbers can seem scary at first glance, but learning about how United Way of Central Alabama’s Bold Goals Coalition program can help.

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Help your child navigate social media and mental health at Children’s of Alabama on Friday, October 5

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There’s a lot to learn about being online. Photo via Bham Now

We need to better understand how to help our kids navigate the digital world while helping them grow into happy, healthy and confident individuals. While that might seem like a tall order, Children’s of Alabama has just the seminar for you on October 5. Register here.

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Flu situation in the state, particularly Birmingham area is serious

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Flu season is upon us. Via- www.netdoctor.com.

Wednesday evening the Jefferson County Health department and doctors from UAB held a press conference to explain and warn the public that the entire country, and particularly our area is in the middle of a major seasonal flu situation.

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Birmingham, get in shape in 2018 at these fitness hotspots

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UAB Goldengirls at The Bar Method. Photo via Facebook.

After indulging in all those tasty treats this holiday season, you may be looking for a way to shed those extra pounds. With 2018 just days away, the New Year is the perfect time to start your journey to feeling, looking and being healthier and more fit. Birmingham has just what you need! Continue reading “Birmingham, get in shape in 2018 at these fitness hotspots”

Birmingham among those launching lawsuit against opioid crisis

opioid crisis
Remember that one South Park episode? – via FBI and wsfa.com

The City of Birmingham has joined almost 200 other municipalities in a series of lawsuits against several pharmaceutical distributors.  The reason?  These cities think that the distributors failed to take basic steps in preventing straw purchases of highly-addictive opioids, making the well-known opioid crisis worse.

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As World AIDS Day approaches, Birmingham prepares to remember and continues to support

world aids day birmingham alabama
via worldaidsday.org

AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was.  In fact, with careful management, people living with AIDS can live almost entirely normal lives.  With World AIDS Day (which promotes awareness, not AIDS) approaching, what are Birminghamians doing? Continue reading “As World AIDS Day approaches, Birmingham prepares to remember and continues to support”

Best places to get a healthy smoothie in Birmingham

Image may include: healthy smoothie from Sprout & Pour, Birmingham
Photo via Sprout & Pour’s Instagram page, @sproutandpour

When you’re on the go, there’s nothing better than a fresh smoothie to get you through the day. Sometimes it can be hard to find a smoothie that isn’t full of sugar. However, here’s three Birmingham smoothie joints that offer delicious and healthy options.

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Check out the technology behind UAB Medicine’s new $6.8M clinical laboratory

Ever wonder what happens to that vial of blood that is taken at your doctor’s office?   UAB employees were once analyzing up to 5,000 vials of blood each night of the week.  But, the testing process has just gotten a huge technology infusion from UAB.

UAB Medicine recently welcomed their new automated hospital laboratory.

A robot arm lifts tubes to another rack. Photo courtesy of UAB.

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Here’s to taking care of yourself from the inside out

Forget about the holidays, at times we all get stressed, worn out, depressed, anxious, under the weather or whatever you want to call the things that are affecting your mental health. Even celebrities deal with it. We’re all human, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling blue.

It’s never a bad idea to be informed on your local mental health resources—whether for yourself or for others. Young, old or in-between, taking care of ourselves allows us to take care of others.

growing-inward-mental-health-graphic

When extra responsibilities and commitments are caroling at your door, the combination can leave you troubled.

Maybe it’s something different altogether, like debilitating PTSD, crippling depression or stressful anxiety that’s affecting you. It doesn’t matter one bit. Just know that help is there, waiting for all of us.

Reaching out is a courageous step! Here’s a list of local mental health resources for Birmingham, just in time for the holidays.

Photo courtesy of National Institute of Mental Health
Photo courtesy of National Institute of Mental Health

For general information, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers simple definitions of mental health topics and research. The topics are even divided by audience, so that you can learn about conditions for a particular population.

In the Birmingham-metro area there are a number of community-based resources for counseling, psychology and emergency mental health services for those with our without insurance. If you do have insurance, reach out to your primary healthcare provider for a referral or give the psychiatry department at UAB a call for direction.

  1. For local counseling on a sliding scale that’s geared towards women and children, try Oasis. They offer “individual, couples, group, and family counseling, as well as art therapy and play therapy. Fees are determined on the basis of a sliding fee scale.”
  2. The UAB Community Counseling Clinic “offers affordable counseling services to the residents of Jefferson County through its Community Counseling Clinic.”

    Photo courtesy of Veterans' Administration
    Photo courtesy of Veterans’ Administration
  3. For Birmingham veterans suffering from PTSD, the Birmingham VA Medical Center is a good place to start, and they even offer a suicide hotline. Their contact information and hotline number can be found here.
  4.  For healthcare services for the homeless (including mental health), Alabama Regional Healthcare Services (ARMS) “provides comprehensive urgent, acute, and primary health care services with linkages to community providers when needed.”
  5. The Jefferson County Department of Health also offers a variety of health services for individuals without insurance. Information about specific services and health department offices can be found here.

 

Try a fun day trip to one of Alabama’s orchards

“Johnny Apple Seed” is my favorite blessing, even though it’s a simple child’s song. Above is composer and songwriter Michele Brourman giving it a mature upgrade, but I still love to hear kids sing it before sharing a meal.

alabama-apples

The short and sweet tune reminds me of attending Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Alabama, where we would sing “Johnny Appleseed” before every meal.

There is a spiritual connection between food and nature, and I can thank the Methodist church for opening my eyes (and stomach) to the sweet message found its lyrics. I feel this same connection when visiting our state’s farmers and witnessing the fruits of their labor. One of my favorite ways to rekindle this connection is with a trip to purchase apples from an Alabama apple farm!

The state has handful of apple orchards, some where you can even pick your own apples. While the picking season ends at the end of October, the orchards below continue to sell the fruits of their labor until they run out.

Photo courtesy of Crow Mountain Orchard
Photo courtesy of Crow Mountain Orchard

Crow Mountain Orchard
6236 County Road 39 Fackler, AL 35746
256-437-9254
Crow Mountain Orchard, while not open for tours, boasts over 20 varieties of apples that they sell to the public. From Ginger Golds to Pippins, along with more common ones like Gala and Golden Delicious, Crow Mountain apples can also be purchased at seven different farmer’s markets.

Photo courtesy of Scott's Orchard
Photo courtesy of Scott’s Orchard

Scott’s Orchard
2163 Scott Road, Hazel Green, AL 35750
(256) 828-4563
Scott’s Orchard is the largest apple orchard in Tennessee, but they are technically located in Alabama. Confused? Don’t be! The 150-acre farm stretches across the state line. They serve apples, peaches, cider, apple and peach cider slushies, vegetables, honey and molasses.

Steele’s Orchard
1695 Co Rd 1141, Cullman, AL 35057
Phone: (256) 734-5249

Steele’s Orchard is located in Cullman, and they give tours of the orchards (unlike most) in addition to selling apples and apple goods on site. Steele’s Orchard has a gift shop and bakery that’s open through December, selling everything from southern fried pies to apple-wood chips for barbecuing.

Now, what to do with all those apples after your day trip? My personal favorite is this healthy breakfast muffin, made with candied ginger and whole-wheat flour. You can also find this recipe on the Bham Now Facebook page.

apple-ginger-muffin-recipe-2
Apple Ginger Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. chopped candied ginger (available at asian markets)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. small-diced apples
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 eggTopping:
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. candied ginger, chopped finely

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking soda and salt; blend well.In medium bowl, combine apples, oil, and egg; blend well and Add to Your dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. don’t over mix! Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Twins Live Longer than the Rest of Us

A new study shows that twins live longer than other people.

“There is benefit to having someone who is socially close to you who is looking out for you. They may provide material or emotional support that lead to better longevity outcomes,”

-David Sharrow, Researcher at the University of Washington.

These benefits could go beyond twins if “we […] choose to invest in social bonds as a way to promote health and longevity,” Sharrow said.