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Columns

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Q. I have had some nasty allergies all of my 72 years. Usually, my head gets clogged up. Recently, my ears became involved and I experienced vertigo for the first time. Is this common?

We have to define terms first. Vertigo is the feeling that either you or your surroundings are spinning. It is more than being just lightheaded or dizzy, because you are subjected to the illusion of movement.

If you feel your body is moving, you have subjective vertigo. When you sense that your surroundings are moving, you have objective vertigo.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Tomato Salad is best when made with fresh ingredients, including local tomatoes. It's the taste of summer in a dish.

Here's another dish that can really only be enjoyed during the summer, and only with fresh tomatoes.

It's so good, however, it's worth waiting for.

Growing up in New Jersey, we always had fresh tomatoes from the garden. And when my son was small, we would have them all over the yard as well.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Q. Is there anything I can do about all these wrinkles?

The common causes of wrinkles include genetic influences, normal aging, sun exposure and smoking.

People who smoke tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers of the same age, complexion, and history of sun exposure. Cigarette smoking causes biochemical changes in our bodies that accelerate aging.

Here's some advice from the American Academy of Dermatology about reducing the signs of aging:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Slice zucchini and onion thinly, then sauté in 2 tablespoons of oil.

By now, I bet anyone with a garden has zucchini coming out of their ears or at least close to it.

There are lots of recipes for that bumper crop, but this one is my absolute favorite. It's a dish my mother used to make, and I have made for years.

Sautéing caramelizes the zucchini and the onion, giving it a certain sweetness, which is enhanced by a pinch of salt and a little bit of heat from the pepper. This dish is a pleasing combo for all your taste buds.

It can be served as both a side dish or a main dish.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Q. Does aging affect the functioning of your thyroid?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the middle of the lower neck. It produces hormones that control metabolism, which are the chemical processes cells in the body perform to keep us alive.

It should come as no surprise that the thyroid gland often peters out as we get older. The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test checks to see if your thyroid is producing the right amount of hormone for your system.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When one thinks of comfort foods, we often think of something loaded with fat or sugar, or both. Here's proof that's just not so.

Green Bean Salad has been a summer favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Other than a splash of olive oil -- which is a heart healthy oil -- it's pretty low calorie. A cup of fresh green beans is just 34 calories, and the calories in the other ingredients, lemon juice, garlic and salt, are negligible.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Q. I'm having a devil of time controlling my bladder. Any suggestions?

About 10 percent of men and women over the age of 65 have trouble with bladder control, also know officially as urinary incontinence. Women suffer from this more than men.

During urination, muscles in the bladder contract, forcing urine into the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body. At the same time, muscles surrounding the urethra relax and let the urine pass. If the bladder muscles contract or the muscles surrounding the urethra relax without warning, the result is incontinence.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS For the best pesto, always use the freshest ingredients.

In addition to an abundance of fresh, affordable produce, summer also brings lots of heat and humidity. There's a variety of flavorful options for dinner, but who wants to stand over a hot stove to prepare them? Not me, that's for sure!

This Chicken Pasta Salad with Pesto is a longtime summer favorite in my house. The chicken can be baked in the morning, during the cooler part of the day; and if you don't feel like turning on the oven, it can also be poached.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Q. I've never been a smoker and I just don't get why people do it. What's the attraction?

Only a non-smoker could ask that question. Every smoker, chewer and sniffer knows how wonderful tobacco can be. I know it's probably not politically correct to say anything nice about tobacco, but it's the truth.

All tobacco products contain nicotine, which is an addictive drug. According to the American Heart Association, the "nicotine addiction has historically been one of the hardest addictions to break." Nicotine is up there with heroin and cocaine.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Cover photo courtesy of TIME For Kids

There's no better way to have fun in the kitchen then to spice up your recipes with a couple of kids -- especially grandkids.

That's exactly what I did when I was sent a copy of Kids in the Kitchen Cookbook, a TIME For Kids book. I called my daughter and asked to borrow my grandchildren for the weekend.