If you haven’t checked out Scarleteen, you really must. It’s been around since 1998 and provides sexual health information and resources for teens and young adults. A few of the things on the site now-a recent poll that asks about how much porn influences sexuality, an article about sexual orientation, and you can text Scarleteen a question. Let me know what you think about this site. Better yet, tell them!
Fast forward to the fall—you’re new at college. It’s Friday night and you head out to a party with some new friends. There’s alcohol at the party. Do you have a drink? There are no parents around to worry about. Why not? Of course you shouldn’t drink! You’re in a new place, with people you don’t really know—why would you even think about drinking. Have fun, but stay safe by staying alert.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
I sometimes meet young people who don’t have a family they can depend on, or they have to deal with a family that doesn’t treat them nicely. In these situations it may feel like there is little a teen can do about what is going on. But there are ways to deal with this. Now, I’m not talking about abuse—if this is what you are dealing with, you need to go to an adult you trust and ask for their help. Otherwise, you may not be able to change how the other person acts, but you can get help finding positive ways to deal with them. Counseling is great for helping us with our reactions. Counseling can also help with realizing that you are a good person and often the issue is not you, it’s the other person.
When last did you have a great eating day? Today was one of those days for me. I didn’t wait so long to eat that I felt I was starving and ate fruits and/or vegetables at every meal. I ate no junk food! and cooked dinner. I plan to keep this going by having another good eating day tomorrow, because just like a bad day doesn’t have to mean a bad week-a good day can mean a good week and maybe even a good month of healthy eating. On to tomorrow!
I was talking with some young people last week who did not believe that marijuana was addictive. It is addictive, sorry. I meet many young people who become addicted to marijuana and will do anything to get it. If you don’t believe marijuana can be a problem, listen to this story from the radio station WNYC about how marijuana hurt one young man and his family , http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2013/may/10/marijuana-medicine-cabinet-boy-who-couldnt-stop/.
It was a bit cold (it’s Minnesota-what can you expect) this evening, but still it was great to be out at a high school track meet. I enjoy watching all of the participants, but I especially like the athletes who try hard until the end. There was one young lady who was in the last place of a long distance race until the final quarter lap when she then sprinted forward and passed two other runners. She didn’t come close to winning, but she didn’t come in last either!
It is sad, but everyone is treated unfairly at one time or another. But like Ann Landers, a long time advice columnist said, “hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.” So, even though it’s hard, try to live without resentment. You may not be able to forgive people who are mean to you, but try not to hold onto your anger. Let go of your anger and resentment, and free yourself from their unhappiness.
I found this site about health for Native youth, www.iknowmine.org. I’m going to explore it more and will post more from the site. Here’s a great condom demonstration video I found there. One really cannot see too many condom demo videos don’t you think?
“Sleep is the best meditation.”
I just read an article on The Atlantic online that explains why once we start eating potato chips we are unable to stop even when we know we should. Are potato chips just smarter than we are? Well sort of. The article explains how potato chips, with their fat, salt, and sugar are crafted so that we can and must eat a lot of them. We eat more than we should even when common sense tells us not to. It is probably best to leave potato chips alone then. But if you want to eat some, buy the smallest package you can. This way you can limit how much you eat without worrying about outsmarting the potato chip.
I just read that women who first give birth as a teen are much more likely to be obese compared to women who wait until they are over 20. Having a teen pregnancy is tough for a lot of reasons, financial, socially, etc., and now this? Come on people, you’ve got to use birth control.
If you are a young person in Minneapolis who wants to be active and try all types of games here’s a great resource, Sporty Saturdays. It’s free and at Stewart Park every Saturday from 2-3. Here’s the link to the flyer in English and Spanish, http://www.hcmc.org/pediatrics/takingstepstogether/documents/sportySaturdays.pdf.
I was reading today about how gonorrhea is becoming resistant to antibiotics. We can still treat it now, but it will be harder to do in the future. What should you do? Well, make sure you get tested if you have any unprotected sex of any kind. But please, do everything you can to always use protection.
Here’s a graphic on gonorrhea from Teenwise Minnesota. Geez, 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea each year! If this doesn’t get you to use a condom, nothing will.
Someone sent me a CDC report about how binge drinking is common among women and girls. Did you know that 1 in 8 women and 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink, that is drink more than 4 drinks on one occasion? No matter how you look at this, these numbers are too high. No one, especially teens, should probably binge drink. But, let’s be honest-you might binge drink (and maybe you need professional help for this), but what you shouldn’t do is get drunk without a friend around to make sure you remain safe. The same way you should have a designated driver, you need to designate a friend who doesn’t get drunk that night and makes sure you don’t go off on your own or with “someone” if you get drunk. Let’s call this person the “I’m here to make sure you don’t end up raped or dead” friend.
I find young people straightforward about many things, especially related to science and technology. I can’t imagine a young person saying that they don’t believe that humans have caused and are causing problems for the environment. Of course the climate is changing, and young people know that we are the cause, so we need to be the solution. To see some of the faces of climate change—people (including many young people) sharing their perspectives on climate change—and what some are doing to save our planet, go to the Earth Day Network at www.earthday.org.
I have heard some young people complain about the new USDA school lunch requirements, but I don’t see anything wrong with them. We all should eat this way! Here, from the St. Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services, are the guidelines. Tell me what you think of them.
- Students are required to take a fruit or vegetable with every meal
- A weekly requirement for new vegetable subgroups served: dark green, red/orange, beans/peas, starchy, and “other” to ensure a variety of vitamins and minerals are available
- Weekly ranges for meat/meat alternates, grains, fruits, and vegetables, with daily minimums
- At least half of the grains offered must be whole grain, transitioning to all whole grain-rich products by July 1, 2014
- Zero trans fat in all items, and saturated fat limited to less than 10% of calories
- Calorie ranges with minimum and maximum levels for each age group at lunch
- Water will be available during all lunch periods at our “hydration stations”
I found this app, Figure Facts Teen Nutrition, which helps teens track what they eat, drink and how much they exercise. This app is only $0.99 and can be used on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. One of my most favorite parts of the app is that it can let a young person know whether they have had enough water everyday. Give this app a try and let me know what you think.
What do you think, if a parent talks to their teen about needing to lose weight, does it help or hurt? It hurts. Studies have shown that an overweight teen will actually gain weight if their parent discusses the teen’s need to lose weight with them. But what can a parent do to help? Parents can keep healthy foods at home, with as little junk food around as possible. They can encourage and help their teens to get involved in a regular schedule of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Most importantly, parents can practice what they preach. That is, they should eat healthy and exercise—this will help their teen more than anything else.
We have a vibrant Somali community in Minnesota. Ka Joog is an organization in Minnesota that provides activities for Somali youth in order to help them grow into successful adults. Ka Joog has a summer camp, provides educational help, has an arts programs and a women’s empowerment component. Here’s a video of the rap artist Deeq Abdi that I found on the Ka Joog site. There were other great videos I recommend you watch—you’ve got to see what Ka Joog is doing.
The Minneapolis Public Schools are like many school districts around the country in that they are serving much healthier foods this year. Click here to find a video about all of the nutritious foods, “True food”, being offered this year, http://bit.ly/YD0Ksv.
“Coffee Will Make You Black” is one of the best book titles I’ve read. This book by April Sinclair is as good as the title. But coffee won’t make you black, but caffeine is addictive. There are worse addictions of course, however if you get addicted to caffeine and then suddenly stop drinking caffeinated beverages, you will feel terrible. I don’t recommend that young people drink caffeinated beverages for this reason and because these drinks may affect the developing neurologic and cardiovascular (nerves and heart/blood pressure) systems of young people. Why do this to your body? Also, some people think they need to drink caffeinated beverages when they are tired. I have a better idea—take a nap.
A young person I know has been having some calf cramps during hard track practices. He wants to try increasing the amount of potassium he takes in everyday, but wants to do more than just eat bananas which are great sources of potassium, by the way. The site yum power from the Minnesota health plan Health Partners has a tool, my kitchen, that can help you find recipes for foods to meet all of your nutritional needs. I found a recipe for an Eggs Italiano breakfast that provides 525 mg or more of potassium. Just the thing for that young person I know.
The film critic, Roger Ebert died today. From The Atlantic on-line, here are some of his writings that appealed to me.
“For years during grade and high school I read secretly at my desk while following the class elsewhere in my mind.”
“In those [high school] years I read , often in class, always late at night. There was no pattern; one book led randomly to another.”
If you have ever struggled to get a young person to talk with you, I have a suggestion. Talk about yourself. I know this may seem strange, but I have found that I can often get a young person to listen and sometimes even comment if I tell a story about myself or discuss something interesting I have seen or experienced. I do make sure that I don’t talk too much and leave space for the young person to talk if they want. Usually the young person will start talking. Maybe it’s just to get me to be quiet—but that’s okay, my plan worked!
Many people have experienced what happens when they eat too much junk food. Do know you can drink too much junk also? Most sugared drinks are not good for you—drink too many of them and you’ll gain weight. Cut out sugared drinks and your weight will fall. Here’s more information about the connection between sugared drinks and weight gain from my hospital http://myhealthnewsletter.com/hcmc/healthematters/April2013/article1.html.
Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins is tomorrow and Roots for the Home Team will be back selling salads this season at Target Field. Here are the 2013 days:
June 1-2; 15-16; 29-30
August 3-4; 17-18
September 7-8; 14-15; 28-29
Here is a video about Roots for the Home Team. By the way, Go Twins!
I love when I meet young people who are such good friends they encourage each other to take care of their sexual health. It’s good to find a friend who will remind you that having sex must include contraception and condoms. A good friend might even come to clinic with you when you are due for your STD check. I call this positive peer pressure.