Sugar, ahh, Honey, Honey

Have you seen the movie Fed Up yet? After watching it last year, I started paying attention to how much added sugars were in the foods that I eat. Last month, I tracked the amount of added and artificial sugar* I consumed during an average workweek (Monday – Friday) and counted the added sugar in things like:

  • Jams
  • Peanut/almond butter
  • Fage yogurt
  • Breads/grains/cereal/granola
  • Canned beans
  • Non-dairy creamer
  • Sweets

Here is a picture of my weekly sugar intake:

Snack-size baggies with teaspoons of the amount of added sugar eaten each day.

Every 4 grams of sugar on a nutrition label is equal to 1 teaspoon of refined white sugar. After 5 days of tracking, I was averaging about 9 teaspoons of sugar each day**. Not horrible, but also not the recommended amount.

How much sugar is recommended? The World Health Organization (WHO) says adults should consume on average no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day. The American Heart Association recommends 6 – 9 teaspoons a day.

How much sugar do most people consume? Sources vary; one states: “In 2012, Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days, or 130 pounds each year.” (That’s about 38 teaspoons per day.) Another states: Americans eat about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day according to a report from the 2005–10 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database. 

Actually seeing the sugar in those baggies made things more tangible and made me want to take action. That’s what prompted me to finally do the 10 Day Sugar Free Challenge. I looked at a few different blogs for inspiration and recipes to follow. I liked the info I found here. We (the hubby and I) are doing what I’m calling a “Modified Plan A” version of the rules. I’ll be posting pictures of what we ate and links to the recipes we tried soon!

 

 

* According to Fed Up, our bodies’ process all sugars the same, including lactose. I love milk, and I personally don’t think lactose is that bad for me, so I chose to exclude it from this count. 

** Because I was tracking my intake, I was hyper-conscious about how much sugar I was consuming, so I may have erred on the side of lower-than-normal-intake that week. But, it still provided a good insight on how much hidden sugar I was eating on any given day!

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Quality Check: One, Two… What is this?

I’m pretty good at finding grammatical errors.

Grammar Nazi imageI’m not, like, a TOTAL Grammar Nazi. I don’t get hung up on syntax, semantics, fragmented sentences, fused sentences, dangling modifiers, or (most) comma errors. But spelling errors, incorrect capitalization/failure to capitalize, omitted words, or wrong words (e.g., affect vs. effect) – those really irk me.

Lately, the irk-me types of errors have been popping up almost daily. From packaging labels*, to NASA’s website, to the neighborhood newspaper, they are virtually everywhere! Is it that people no longer give a shit about good grammar? Maybe. I think it’s more likely that people rarely have a second set of eyes to look at their content before posting/publishing it**.

I’m starting this list as a way to keep track of the mistakes I find for my own piece of mind. I’ll also note whether or not I contacted the author of the mistake, and if so, whether or not they responded. All of these were verified as of their post date.

LIST OF ERRORS:

  1. Misspelling (“for”): http://www.brit.co/diy-wall-art/
    • (Number 43) Shoebox Wall Art: Don’t recycle those shoeboxes just yet! They can be transformed into colorful floating shelves with just a few coats of paint. (Plus, click through fro two more ideas.) 
  2. Multiple errors (capitalization, verb use, missing period between sentences, comma & verb use): http://www.brit.co/alphabet-art/
    • (Number 8) THat’s all;
    • (Number 10) Admittedly, we was on the fence about including this one. 
    • (Number 11) We came across this slice of beauty when we were searching the web for foodie prints  The rainbow cake seriously rules.
    • (Number 12) Gobble gobble, got eat up those green ABC’s!
  3. Missing word (possibly “to help ensure”): http://karlkapp.com/competition-cooperation-in-gamification/
    • Prizes for winners should be of little importance or even symbolic help ensure that the student efforts are intrinsic and not driven by the expected outcome (Cantador & Conde, 2010)
  4. Missing word (“learner to think”): http://www.gc-solutions.net/blog/using-storytelling-in-e-learning-an-e-learning-strategy/
    • They can also encourage the learner think about the described situation or scenario and derive their own endings.
  5. Missing word (“Not only does this”): http://www.gc-solutions.net/blog/using-storytelling-in-e-learning-an-e-learning-strategy/
    • Not only this successfully engages the learner more, it also helps to gauge how much learning has been derived from the story. 
  6. Missing word (“in order to create”)*: http://www.sketchpoststudio.com (page 5 of their downloadable booklet)
    • TY PO San Francisco brought together | a slate of international speakers | from across disciplines to discuss how | the design community can embrace | contrast in order create innovative | practices into the next decade.
    • *Contacted & response received Jan 2014; document still contains error
  7. Misuse (“awaiting discovery”)*: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/profile.cfm?Object=Beyond
    • 6th Need to Know: More than 1,700 extrasolar planets (or exoplanets) planets have been confirmed. There are thousands of potential exoplanets await discovery
    • *Contacted March 2015; no response yet
  8. Repeat word (“I was I was there”)*: http://www.cassiemcdaniel.com/blog/your-patient-is-my-father/
    • I don’t know how many different people I was when I was I was there!
    • *Contacted & response received Feb 2015; error was fixed
  9. Misspelling (“Colorado”)*: http://www.northdenvertribune.com/ (Printed version; header on page 3 of Mar 19 – Apr 1 issue)
    • North Denver Tribune typo
    • *Contacted & response received March 2015
  10. Incorrect word use (“as” instead of “at): http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/03/26/395345147/whats-up-with-parents-who-dont-vaccinate-their-children?sc=17?f=1001&utm_source=iosnewsapp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=app (3rd paragraph)
    • A new study of more than 20,000 people in five countries looks as why people aren’t confident in vaccines.
  11. Multiple errors (bullet list error, misspelling): http://www.hivestrategies.com/2011/02/rules-fo-a-hipaa-compliant-social-media-polic/
    • In “Limit liability by establishing clear policies and procedures” section: Involve leaders, evangelists and frontline staff in the development of these policies and procedures. These policies should: explain appropriate use of social media platforms
      • explain appropriate use of social media platforms
      • clearly define how information posted there will be use
    • In “Regularly monitor your social media platforms” section, 6th paragraph: David Harlow adds an additional cautiion, however.

 

*Okay, so I didn’t save a picture of the 2 packaging errors I found nor can I recall them exactly, but one was on a General Mills Fiber One or Nature Valley package (they responded by sending me some coupons), and one was on a medicine package (can’t remember which brand; I didn’t contact them and threw the packaging away).

**Much like I’m doing with this post. If you spot any errors, let me know in the Comments below!

Icons Help Win Website Award

Expanding Health Care Icons

Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage Icons

Remember the Iconathon event I talked about a while back? The final icon set, developed from the symbols created during the workshop, can be seen in the image above.

Many of the icons from this set were used in the new Health Care Policy and Financing website. I was part of the design team that re-designed the site to be more consumer-friendly, with a focus on the Coloradans who are trying to obtain and use health care coverage. Late last month, the website was presented with a Silver Leaf Award from Colorado Healthcare Communicators in the category of Website – Budget under $15,000. I am super excited about the award and honored to have been a part of the re-design process! Take a look at a snapshot of the new website’s homepage below:

Screen capture of  colorado.gov/hcpf homepage

Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage Icons used in the re-design of the colorado.gov/hcpf website

 

You can downloaded the icons for free from The Noun Project’s website at this link (note: the site doesn’t work well in Internet Explorer; use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead): http://thenounproject.com/HCPF/#.

How would YOU use these icons? How else can the health care industry develop better tools to communicate with the public? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

 
The views expressed in this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. I neither claim nor imply that I am speaking on the Department’s behalf.

DIY Dog Toy

Here’s a dog toy I put together today based on this post I found on Pinterest. Easy-peasy way to use up fabric scraps… and Worf loves it!

Image of scissors next to strips of denim and t-shirt material

Approx. 2-inch strips cut from old jeans and t-shirts

Image of denim and t-shirt strips braided together and tied at ends

DIY dog toy, all done

Image of puppy holding DIY dog toy made of denim and t-shirt strips

Puppy holding denim and t-shirt dog toy

 

Got any DIY dog toy ideas? How are you using old fabric scraps? Let me know in the comments below! :-)

Recipe Hack: Frozen Yogurt-Covered Fruit Kabobs

At our house, we’re trying to substitute guilty snacks with healthier options, so last night I tried a variation on the following recipe (found via Pinterest): http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/04/frozen-yogurt-covered-blueberry-kabobs.html#more-1852

 Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Frozen mixed berries (I used just the blueberries and attempted to use the raspberries and blackberries* but only managed to get 1 raspberry on there)
  • Fresh strawberries (about 10), washed and tops cut off
  • ½ of a fresh banana, sliced
  • 6 wooden skewers
  • Plain Noosa yogurt, mixed with a few drizzles of honey (you could really use any brand/flavor of yogurt)
Image of mixed fruit on wooden skewers, with yogurt
Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, 1 raspberry), placed on wooden skewers; honey-infused yogurt

Here are the steps to take:

  1. Let frozen fruit thaw on the counter for 10-or-so minutes*; prep the fresh fruit
  2. Spread a bunch of yogurt on a plate, drizzle generously with honey (if you’re using flavored yogurt, you can skip the honey), and mix together with a spoon
  3. Stab the fruit* with a skewer
  4. Roll the skewered fruit in the yogurt*
  5. Place the fruit kabobs in a mason jar or other container
  6. Stick ‘em in the freezer (they freeze rather quickly)
Image of fruit kabobs after being rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar
Skewered fruit, rolled in yogurt, then placed in a mason jar

*Lessons Learned:

  • I don’t know if it was the Noosa brand or what, but the yogurt seemed a little lumpy (even before adding the honey) and hard to spread without my fruit getting all squirrel-y so I used a spoon/my fingers to help completely cover the fruit.
  • The frozen rasp- and blackberries break apart when stabbed with the skewer; they’re probably cool if you wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones.
  • The frozen blueberries are stab-able, if the skewer is wiggled-in, rather than attempting to pierce it straight through. (Or, you could just wait for them to thaw/use fresh ones ^_^ )
  • I recommend slicing the strawberries before putting them on the skewer, to make them easier to eat when frozen.
Image of frozen fruit kabobs in a mason jar
Frozen fruit kabobs in mason jar

I ate a couple of these today – super yummy AND easy to make! I bet you could even do mini-versions on toothpicks, if you don’t have the freezer space for tall ones. I definitely think the blueberry and the banana are my faves.

 
What are some healthy alternatives that you’re trying? Share them in the comments below!

By Hand: Grocery Lists

In a recent post, I talked about my love of sketchnotes and visual note taking. I am like, OB-sessed with practicing my handwriting every chance I get. I found handwritten grocery lists to be a great way of exercising these skills, and have collected some that I’ve done in the past few months for you below.

For each list, I tried to practice a different visual element each time: using images in place of words; writing text in all-caps or all lower-case; cursive/scroll print; block letters; bullets; and frames/containers (frames and containers are shapes that surround a word/words in your notes). You can learn more about sketchnote practice in Sunni Brown’s super-helpful-webinar-series-on-visual note taking or in this post by Craighton Berman.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; text and icons practice.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery sketchnote; practicing all-caps, alignment, and bullet points.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote practice of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”; this one’s a little lazy :-)

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery sketchnote; practicing handwritten fonts and some icon doodles.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; text and icons practice.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; practicing text styles and containers (i.e., enclosing words in shapes to emphasis them).

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote practice of various “typefaces”.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote using (mostly) images/icons to capture the needed grocery items.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote study of various “typefaces”, plus an icon drawn by my hubby.

Sketchnote of grocery list items

Grocery list sketchnote; practicing containers (i.e., enclosing words in shapes to emphasis them).

Now that I’ve discovered the AnyList app, I’m no longer handwriting my grocery lists (if you’re a list-maker, you seriously need to check out that app!) but I definitely plan on continuing to practice sketchnotes :-)!

How do you practice your sketchnote skills? Let me know in the comments below!

I *heart* sketchnotes

I was first introduced to sketchnotes in 2012, at the ASTD Conference in Denver. Since then, I’ve completely delved into the world of visual thinking with fervor and I have to say: it’s f-ing awesome! I use every opportunity I can to practice my sketchnotes and today I want to share with you a couple I drew up the other day during Dan Roam’s presentation on vivid thinking.

Sketchnotes are notes that capture information through the use of both images AND text, similar to a comic book strip, except you arrange the content in a way that makes the most sense to you. When you look back at them, they serve as a better reminder of what happened than your typical text-only notes. The reason they’re so memorable is because our brain is geared to process images extremely well.

For this sketch note, I used a 5 x 7 Neuland sketchbook and a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point permanent marker.

SketchnoteSketchnote

I then scanned the drawings and colored them in using my new Wacom Intous tablet and Sketchbook Express.

Sketchnote edited with Wacom Intuos Sketchnote edited with Wacom Intuos

Do you ever sketchnote? What do you like about visual notes? Share your thoughts below!

Learn more about Sketchnotes here and more about why doodling matters here
 
 

Expanding Health Care Iconathon

Expanding Health Care Icons

Expanding Health Care Icons

This past July, I had the opportunity to participate in a super cool event called an Iconathon. Iconathons are design workshops hosted by The Noun Project and a sponsoring organization where a bunch of like-minded people get together to create icons (symbols) that represent a specific civil topic or theme. The theme for the Denver Iconathon was Expanding Health Care Access and Coverage.

During the event, participants developed symbols for 18 pre-selected referents. The final icon set can be seen in the image above, and can be downloaded for free from The Noun Project’s website at this link (please note that the site doesn’t work very well in Internet Explorer; use Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead): http://thenounproject.com/HCPF/#

Here’s a blog post about the event by The Noun Project: http://thenounproject.tumblr.com/post/61032491330/new-health-care-icons-added-to-public-domain

Do you have ideas for how to use these icons? How else can the health care industry develop better tools to communicate with the public? Share your ideas and thoughts below!

 
The views expressed on this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. I neither claim nor imply that I am speaking on the Department’s behalf.

I spy faces in various places!

{._.}

(>_<)

|*_*|

< ^_^ >

It doesn’t take much to create a face: two marks for eyes, one for a mouth; a nose isn’t even necessary most of the time! In The Blue Umbrella, a new short by Pixar, you’ll find adorable examples of personified everyday objects:

Example of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue UmbrellaExample of face from The Blue Umbrella

Long before The Blue Umbrella, I loved spotting “faces” in everyday, inanimate objects! Below is my own random collection of faces I’ve come across around town, at home, or in places I’ve visited:

closeup of doorknob that looks like a face

Doorknob with a rather large nose at the Castle Marne B&B.

lamppost "face"

This downtown Denver lamppost kinda looks like it has eyes!

pear with dimples for eyes and mouth

Whatchu lookin’ at?!

three windows on a bank building form the shape of an abstract "face"

“Face” formed by windows on a building in downtown Denver.

Denver water meter cover "face"

There’s something charming about this water meter cover… maybe it’s big, round eyes?

a "face" on the sidewalk made from shadow and chalk

Shadow + chalk line = cool face

sandwich with tomato eyes

Sandwiches look so cute right before you eat them.

Steampunk robot face public art in Downtown Denver

Okay, so this is an ACTUAL face, but it’s still cool & random nonetheless.

An abstract face formed by iron building architecture

An abstract face formed by building architecture

Do you think a nose is an essential element of facial composition? Where do you  see faces? Leave your comments below!

I like to pretend…

…I’m a food critique, mostly because I’m pretty particular about what I put in my mouth (ha).

The other day, my husband and I tried a new BBQ joint on South Broadway called Gary Lee’s Motor Club & Grub. Him being from Mississippi and me from Texas, we know some good ‘Q when we eat it, so we were pretty excited to try this new (to us) spot.

On first glance: pretty sweet place. The décor is sorta motorcycle hipster chic, with lots of wood, exposed beams and ductwork, and a really nice, spacious patio facing Broadway. We sat right on the edge of indoor/outdoor, where the garage doors open up to the patio.

The service: was good. Not great, but good. The waiter mentioned eating BBQ from a place up the street for lunch; not exactly something I would admit if I worked at a BBQ joint.

Closeup image of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeno

Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

Image of inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper

Inside of prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño popper (day after)

The appetizer: We had the prosciutto-wrapped smoked jalapeño poppers to start. They’re marketed as “house smoked jalapeños stuffed with cheese and wrapped with thinly sliced prosciutto”. Let me tell you something: that prosciutto was most definitely NOT “thinly” sliced. I love prosciutto; this was more like thick-cut bacon. It was very smoky, and very flavorful, but I wish the prosciutto had been sliced thinner so that I could have enjoyed the stuffed jalapeños more. Instead, the overwhelming flavor of smoky meat was too much for me and I only ate one popper.

Image of pulled Pork BBQ with Brussels Sprouts

I sort of forgot to take a picture BEFORE starting to eat :-)

The main course: There was no bread*. We split the pulled pork with the Memphis BBQ sauce and the caramelized Brussels sprouts. The plating of the meat was a little sloppy, but hey, it’s BBQ so it doesn’t have to be neat. The Brussels sprouts were tasty, but a little al dente (I prefer the sprouts at Steuben’s). The pulled pork was on the moist side, which is great, but only if you have something to soak it up with (and Brussels sprouts don’t really do a good job at that). I was displeased with their side selections: the only potato option they have is mashed (meh), and there were no corn OR corn bread* options (which are kind of BBQ-side-staples in my book).

The drinks: I had a spicy Bloody Mary and my hubby had a beer (Avery IPA). Both were tasty and left us satisfied.

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

Leftovers!

Image of leftover pulled pork turned into sandwich; with chips and baby tomatoes

The leftovers: were even better than the 1st go-round! I made myself a BBQ sammich with some sliced Muenster cheese, chopped onions, and mayo on a bolillo bread roll. Cue chips and baby ‘maters and I had myself one yummy lunch.

The verdict: I wish they had bread. I would go back to try the tacos (which the waiter raved about, but… really? You’re a BBQ place, not a taco place, come on now) or maybe a sandwich and definitely another side. Depending on that experience, I might even go back to try their brunch.

Score: 3 out of 5 (I’d go back)

 

*Okay, sure – if you order a sandwich, you will receive bread. However, the dinner plate options do not come with a bread accompaniment & while this is not an ABSOLUTE necessity, I like to have some cornbread, a dinner roll, or SOME-thing with my BBQ.