The Hearty Soul https://theheartysoul.com Connect with your Spirit & live the life destined for you Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:21:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 Nonprofit Organization Built Homeless Veterans Village of Tiny Homes Instead Of Leaving Them Homeless https://theheartysoul.com/homeless-veterans-village-tiny-homes/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:21:48 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111582 In a country that appears to take so much pride in their war veterans, a shocking number of those men and women find themselves homeless when their service is done. This non-profit organization has built a village of tiny homes for homeless veterans to help them get back on their feet. Tiny Homes for the...

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In a country that appears to take so much pride in their war veterans, a shocking number of those men and women find themselves homeless when their service is done. This non-profit organization has built a village of tiny homes for homeless veterans to help them get back on their feet.

Tiny Homes for the Homeless Veterans

According to the Department of Housing and Human Development, there are more than 37,000 homeless American veterans in the country (1). The Veteran’s Community Project (VCP) in Kansas City, Missouri has set out to ensure that “homeless veteran” becomes a thing of the past. (1)

The VCP has built a village of tiny homes for the homeless veterans in their community. These homes are transitional homes paired with a community center to help these war heroes get back on their feet again. (1)

“I think veteran homelessness has always been viewed as a federal issue or a VA [Department of Veterans Affairs] issue, that it’s not something a local community can take on and address,” said Byran Meyer, CEO and co-founder of the VCP. “These veterans are sleeping in city parks and streets. They’re our neighbors and brothers and sisters of our community. We can do something without waiting for somebody else to come in and fix this.” (1)

Meyer is a US Marine veteran and was deployed twice in Iraq. He co-founded the VCP in 2016 with fellow veterans Mark Solomon, Brandon Mixon, and Vincent Morales. (1)

Protecting Those Who Protected the Country

The four men went out into their community and spoke with the homeless veterans in Kansas City to find their reasons for living on the street instead of at a shelter or other transitional living facility. (1) They found that many veterans felt these places were lacking in (1):

  • Privacy
  • A sense of security
  • The ability to rebuild at their own pace

From there they set out to build a village of transitional homes that provided these men and women with everything they felt their other options lacked. (1)

The First VCP Village

Completed in 2019, the first VCP village in KC is five acres of land with 49 tiny homes on it. The homes range in size from 240 to 320 square feet and somewhat resemble the military barracks the veterans are used to living in. VCP purchased that land for just $500. (1)

“There’s this huge sense of belonging because you have a population of people that all have a shared experience in terms of military service, and it gives them this instantaneous bond,” Meyer said. “You see them really develop and make friendships and hang out with each other.” (1)

Included in the village is a 5,000 square foot community center to help each veteran get back on their feet. (1) Services include (1):

  • Mentoring
  • Case management
  • Counseling
  • Medical facility
  • Dental facility
  • Veterinary clinic
  • Training and commercial kitchen

The VCP also has an outreach center that provides walk-in support for other local veterans. (1)

Since the village opened, they have helped veterans young and old – from 24 years old to 84 years old. Currently, the typical length of stay is less than one year, at around 275 days. (1)

Read: Finland Ends Homelessness and Provides Shelter For All in Need.

Funded By Donations

Donations form 100% of the VCP’s funding. Without local community partnerships and the help of volunteers, they would not be able to function. (1)

“We have more volunteers sometimes than I even know how to keep engaged, because everybody wants to help,” Meyer said. “The volunteer labor isn’t just about cutting costs. It’s also about the community feeling like they own the projects too.” (1)

Seeing how successful the KC village has been, hundreds of cities across America have contacted VCP who want to build a village in their community. They are expanding and are building their next village in Longmont, Colorodo. (1) From there they plan to build villages in (1):

  • Cincinnati, St. Louis
  • Orlando, Florida

Meyer makes it clear that they are not coming in to compete with the VA or anyone else. They want to establish relationships with the VA in each city and fill in the gaps so that veterans are getting the help that they need. (1)

A Success Story

Veteran Kyle Prellberg, a former military sniper, suffered a severe leg injury when a rocket-propelled grenade hit his truck while on duty in Afghanistan. Since then, he has dealt with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. (1)

Couch surfing since he was relieved from duty, he received the purple heart award in 2019. It was at a dinner with other wounded veterans where Prellberg heard about the VCP. (1)

Since moving to the VCP community, he has become a leader there, helping other veterans when they first move in. Kyle says that simply having a space to call his own was a huge boost. (1)

“I went from a place where I was couch surfing,” he said. “And to have a place that’s your own is just enormously helpful.” (1)

How You Can Help

If you don’t have a VCP village to volunteer in, you can donate to the organization. Check out the “Get Involved” section on their website for more ways that you can help this organization succeed.

Keep Reading: First Tiny Home Community for the Homeless Opens In San Jose, California

https://www.foxnews.com/us/tiny-houses-kansas-city-give-veterans-place-to-call-home

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10 Stretches to Relax Your Spine After a Hard Day https://theheartysoul.com/stretches-to-relax-spine/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:18:56 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111558 Back problems are one of the most common pains that people experience around the world. Especially with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, our bodies become stiff, tight, and gradually over time, immobile. These are nine of the best back & spine stretches to help relieve lower back tightness and improve your overall mobility. Signs Your Lower...

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Back problems are one of the most common pains that people experience around the world. Especially with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, our bodies become stiff, tight, and gradually over time, immobile. These are nine of the best back & spine stretches to help relieve lower back tightness and improve your overall mobility.

Signs Your Lower Back is Tight

Just because your lower back isn’t in pain, doesn’t mean that it isn’t tight. Over time, I tight back can worsen, however, and will eventually cause you pain and restrict your ability to participate in activities. After a while, even everyday movements like picking something up off of the floor can become difficult. (1)

TIghtness in the lower back can feel like a variety of things (1):

  • Restriction
  • Discomfort
  • Pain
  • Spasms
  • Cramping
  • Stiffness/tense
  • A constant, dull ache

Often this is accompanied by tightness in your pelvis, hips, and legs. If your back is feeling this way after a workout, it could very likely be from the workout. Workout-related tightness and soreness can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days to subside. (1) 

If you are experiencing sharp pains post-workout, however, this could be a sign that you have done something to your back and you should go see your doctor or physical therapist. (1)

Nine Back & Spine Stretches for a Tight Back

Frequent exercise, such as walking, swimming, and yoga, is one of the best things you can do for your back and your whole body. Our bodies were meant to move, so the more often you do so, the better off you will be. (1)

Of course with many of us working jobs that require us to sit all day long. Combine that with time spent sitting in transit, sitting for meals, and sitting for leisure time, that’s a lot of hours spent seated in a chair. It takes more than one hour of exercise each day to correct for that. (1)

These are nine back & spine stretches that you can do anytime, anywhere to help improve the mobility of your lower back. (1)

1. Hip Circles

This is a nice, easy warm-up stretch that gently gets that area moving. It will help you to loosen up both your lower back and your hip muscles as well as engage your abdominal and glute muscles. (1)

How-to:

  1. Stand tall with your hands on your hips and your feet just a bit wider than your hips.
  2. Gently move your hips from side to side.
  3. Slowly start moving your hips in a circle in one direction.
  4. Do several rotations that direction before switching and repeating going the opposite.

2. Cat-Cow

This common yoga pose is excellent both for warming up, stretching your spine, and loosening the tight muscles around it. (1)

How-to:

  1. Come down to the floor on all-fours, with your hands stacked beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Your weight should be distributed evenly between all four points.
  2. Take a slow breath in as you drop your belly towards the floor and your head and bum towards the ceiling.
  3. Exhale slowly as you reverse the position, dropping your head down and arching your back upwards, keeping your shoulders away from your ears.
  4. Continue for several repetitions, keeping your movement in time with your breathing.

3. Pelvic Tilts

This exercise engages your glutes and strengthens your lower back. It also helps to increase your mobility in those areas. (1)

How-to:

  1. Come down on your back with your knees bent and heels underneath your knees. Extend your arms out to your sides.
  2. Squeeze your lower core muscles to push your lower back into the floor.
  3. Continue squeezing for 5 seconds
  4. Repeat 3 or 4 times, gradually adding one repetition each time until you can do 10.

Read: 7 Simple Exercises to Restore a Weak Pelvic Floor

4. Knee to Chest Stretch

This will help to stretch out your lower back as well as tight glutes. (1)

How-to:

  1. Lie on your back with both legs extended.
  2. Pull one knee into your chest with your hands around your shin, not your knee.
  3. Hold this for five seconds, then release your leg slowly back down.
  4. Repeat four or five times on each side.
  5. Pull both knees into our chest and hold for 30 seconds, holding again at your shins.

5. Reclining Single-Leg Stretch

Lower back tightness can often be either caused by or exacerbated by tight hamstrings. This stretch releases both the lower back and regains length in the hamstrings. (1)

How-to:

  1. Lie on your back with both legs extended. 
  2. Lift up one leg as straight as you can while still maintaining a slight bend in the knee. If you prefer you can bend your opposite knee and push that heel into the ground for support.
  3. Using either your hands, a towel, or a band, hold your leg behind your thigh just below the knee (not behind the knee). 
  4. Hold this for 20 to 30 seconds on each leg, repeating two or three times per side.

6. Windshield Wipers

This movement stretches out the sides of your glutes and relieves tension in your lower back. (1)

How-to:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms extended out from your body. Bend and lift your knees in the air so that they are stacked above your hips.
  2. Breathe out slowly as you gently drop your knees to the right and turn your head to look left.
  3. Inhale to come back to the center before you exhale again and drop your knees down to the left, again turning your head in the opposite direction.
  4. Repeat for one minute or for 5 to 10 repetitions per side.

7. Legs On the Wall Stretch

This is another excellent hamstring stretch that also allows you to relax your other muscles while moving through it. (1)

How-to:

  1. Come to a seated position with one side of your body against the wall.
  2. Lie down on your back and gently swing your legs up along the wall. You may need to adjust your bum to be closer or further away from the wall, depending on your flexibility. You also may want something soft underneath your hips.
  3. With your arms in whatever position is comfortable, relax your lower back and allow the wall to stretch out your hamstrings. You may wish to gently bend and straighten your knees to work your way into the stretch.
  4. Stay here for one or two minutes, breathing calmly throughout.

Read: 10 Core Exercises That Are Important for Every Woman

8. Child’s Pose

Used often in yoga as a resting position, this pose is fantastic for releasing the lower back and relaxing the body. (1)

How-to:

  1. Start in the tabletop position, then sit back on your heels with your knees pointed slightly apart. 
  2. Fold forward at the waist and place your forehead on the floor. You can stretch your arms out in front of you, actively pressing your hands into the floor like you are pushing back on your body, or you can extend your arms out behind you for a more relaxed pose.
  3. Allow your body to completely relax, allowing all the tension to release. 
  4. Hold for one or two minutes.

9. Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

This is the ultimate relaxation pose to finish off your stretching sequence. The goal of this position is to completely relax every muscle in your body. (1)

How-to:

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended outward and your arms alongside your body. Your palms can either be facing up toward the sky or down onto the floor.
  2. Place your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  3. Breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your body to relax: Toes, feet, legs, hips, back, chest, arms, hands, neck, and face.
  4. Hold this for 10 to 20 minutes or for however long you are comfortable.
  5. When you are ready to come out of the position, start by slowly wiggling your fingers and toes. Introduce small movement to each part of the body. When you are ready, fold your knees up towards your chest and roll onto your right or left side. From there, use your hands to bring yourself back up into the seated position. Slowly stand up again from there.

10. Bonus: Seated Lower Back Twist

This is the perfect stretch you can do at any point during the day while sitting at your desk.

How-to:

  1. Sitting upright in your chair, exhale and gently twist your torso to one side, grabbing hold of the back of the chair for assistance.
  2. Continue breathing, attempting to gently twist a bit further with each exhale.
  3. Hold for five breaths then return to center.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons why you may be experiencing lower back pain and tightness. If stretching and mobility exercises don’t help, go see your doctor or physical therapist. They will be able to help you determine whether or not there is a deeper issue going on causing your problems.

Keep Reading: 7 Exercises to Help Prevent Spider and Varicose Veins

https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-pain-relief#causes

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Boy, 3, with terminal brain cancer enjoys ‘best Xmas ever’ three months early https://theheartysoul.com/boy-with-terminal-brain-cancer-enjoys-best-xmas-ever/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:16:18 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111417 Terminal brain cancer is devastating news at any age, but especially when it’s a child. At just three years old, Ellis Price’s diagnosis meant that he will not make it to this Christmas. Not wanting him to miss out, his parents gave him the one thing he wanted most three months early: The best Christmas...

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Terminal brain cancer is devastating news at any age, but especially when it’s a child. At just three years old, Ellis Price’s diagnosis meant that he will not make it to this Christmas. Not wanting him to miss out, his parents gave him the one thing he wanted most three months early: The best Christmas Ever.

A Terrible Diagnosis

Last Year in September 2019, little Ellis Price was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He had two major operations while simultaneously going through chemotherapy. (2)

Ellis was able to return home after each procedure, however, complications from one treatment left him paralyzed. His parents According to his parents Laura and Ashley, Ellis is a true fighter and never let this get him down. (2)

“He wanted to be independent. He got himself up and down – he would never give up.” Laura said. “To see him struggle through what he has been through – all whilst remaining positive – it is inspiring to all of us.” (2)

Unfortunately, his condition continued to deteriorate, and in July the the family was told that no further treatment could save their son. (2)

They moved up his birthday, with a hospital bedside birthday party. Knowing that he may not make it to Christmas, his parents also decided to throw him the most amazing Christmas party that they could three months early. (1)

The Best Christmas Ever

The party included elves, ponies dressed as reindeer, a snow machine to cover the area in fake snow, and of course a visit from Santa. (1)

They ate a full Christmas dinner and watched holiday movies in a tent in the garden. (1)

“This is Ellis’ last Christmas so we’ve rolled a lifetime of celebrations into one.” said Laura. (1)

Messages from Across the Country

While in treatment, Ellis made friends with another little boy who suffered from the same condition, Reuben Robb. Reuben’s mother Elizabeth posted on Facebook asking for people to send Ellis Christmas cards. (2) The post reads:

“This beautiful lady (Laura Pearman) and her beautiful precious boy are spending their last days together as Ellis’s condition has become much worse and he has very little time left.

“You are all aware how we first hand know the pain this amazing lady had to endure. Laura Pearman has decided to have Christmas Day for Ellis next week as it will be her last. She has very kindly asked if anyone would like to send him a Christmas card to fill a wall or small gift this would be absolutely wonderful. Please if you can help we are so very thankful. Ellis also has two older sister’s and think it’s very important to involve her in his memory. Thank you in advance. On his special Christmas day, Ellis received letters from people all over the UK wishing him a happy Christmas.” (2)

The response was incredible, and Ellis even received video messages from some of the players from Leeds United, his favorite soccer team. (2)

“So many people have come forward. It shows how good people can really be.” said Ashley. (1)

His parents are very happy that they were able to give Ellis the best early Christmas that they possibly could have, and are thankful for the support and love they’ve been shown by complete strangers.

Keep Reading: A Daughter Wrote a Message of Hope in the Snow for Her Mother Who’s Battling Cancer

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Storm Francis Reveals an Ancient Underground Forest That Was Hidden for Thousands of Years https://theheartysoul.com/ancient-underground-forest/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:13:27 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111537 There are not many happy results from dangerous weather. However, this one is downright mesmerizing. As Storm Francis raged across the United Kingdom, the rain and winds revealed a petrified Welsh woodland area. A forest that has been hiding underwater for thousands of years. Its photos are like something out of a fairy tale.  Revealing...

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There are not many happy results from dangerous weather. However, this one is downright mesmerizing. As Storm Francis raged across the United Kingdom, the rain and winds revealed a petrified Welsh woodland area. A forest that has been hiding underwater for thousands of years. Its photos are like something out of a fairy tale. 

Revealing a Stunning Ancient Underwater Forest  

This underwater forest consists of oak, birch, pine, and alder trees. It’s believed to have stopped growing around 4,500 to 6,000 years ago as sea levels rose and suffocated the trees. Yet climate change helped the trees emerge from the sand and a high level of alkaline preserved the wood almost perfectly. The woodland stretches about two to three miles between the villages of Borth and Ynyslas. 

Dr. Hywel Griffiths photographed the forest and described the forest as “both exciting and worrying”.  He is part of a research project examining coastal environmental change. 

“It’s exciting because it’s additional evidence of these climate change processes that have been going on for so long,” he said. “But also worrying because we are seeing these landscape changes occur more often. It’s due to the impact and influence of the storms that feel like they are happening more.” [1] 

The stumps are growing in a three-foot-thick layer of dried peat. Researchers had tried to take samples of the dirt under the forest, the sand on it prevents the core drills from being effective.  

Historian Gerald Morgan commented, “It’s an addition to what we already know about the extraordinary number of petrified trees that have been found all along the coast of Wales. It’s exciting because we have found another one that hasn’t been recorded yet.”  

Read: Fulgurites: Magical Stones Formed When Lightning Hits the Ground

Other Times the Forest was Revealed 

The researchers found a sign of habitation near the forest: a walkway built from sticks. It could’ve sheilded passers-by from the rising sea levels.  

“The site around Borth is one where if there is a bad storm and it gets battered, you know there’s a good chance something will be uncovered,” says one of the people who helped discover the site, Deanna Groom, Maritime Officer of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. 

This isn’t the first time this mystical forest appeared. It’s a little like the myth of the giant sea turtle with an island on its back that appears mysteriously at random times in different places. Well, the forest doesn’t move but it had appeared in May 2014 and in 2019 after intense storms. 

“The remains of the forest’s tree stumps are well preserved, having been exposed by the storm moving vast quantities of stones, revealing the subsoil, peat, and tree stumps,” said Charles Green, a member of the Ceredigion Historical Society, after visiting the forest. “Could the land and myth extend as far south as Llanrhystud?” [2] 

The Legend of the Sunken Kingdom of Wales 

With all of its eerie whimsicality, it’s no wonder many people connect this forest to the mythical Sunken Kingdom of Wales, also known as Cantre’r Gwaelod or the Lowland Hundred. One expects to see a long-haired, barefooted sorceress walking among the trees with a glowing staff. 

Cantre’r Gwaelod was first mentioned in the Black Book of Carmarthen, one of the earliest surviving Welsh manuscripts written around 1250 A.D. According to legend, water flooded the kingdom when a maiden named Mererid allowed her well to overflow. In an alternate version, a lord called Gwyddno Garanhir ruled Cantre’r Gwaelod and protected a seawall called Sarn Badrig and multiple sluice gates. Two princes oversaw the gates, one of them a drunkard called Seithenyn. One night, he forgot to close the gates, causing the kingdom to flood. [3] 

Nowadays, San Badrig is the name of a reef created from the remnants of a glacial moraine.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence of physical habitation where Cantre’r Gwaelod was rumored to be, especially not one of a magical kingdom. Still, in the land where many folk tales originated, lack of evidence won’t stop the spreading of these legends.  

Keep Reading: The Beauty of Opalized Petrified Wood

[1] “Storm Francis uncovers more ‘sunken’ forest in Cardigan Bay.” Mari Grug. BBC. September 10, 2020 

[2] “New Section of Petrified Forest Uncovered on Wales Beach After Storm.” Theresa Machemer. Smithsonian Magazine. September 15, 2020 

[3] “British Storms Unbury an Ancient Welsh Forest.” Simon Worrall. National Geographic. February 26, 2014 

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These Close-Up Images Show Exactly What Different Types of Skin Cancer Look Like https://theheartysoul.com/different-types-of-skin-cancer/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:08:05 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111526 The moment we’ve all been waiting for us here- it’s summertime! Kids are streaming out of their classrooms to the tune of school bells chiming for the last time and everybody is making their way to the nearest coastline. But before you dive into the fun, be sure to ask yourself, “How’s my beach bod?” No, we’re...

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The moment we’ve all been waiting for us here- it’s summertime! Kids are streaming out of their classrooms to the tune of school bells chiming for the last time and everybody is making their way to the nearest coastline.

But before you dive into the fun, be sure to ask yourself, “How’s my beach bod?” No, we’re not talking about weight loss or the perfect bikini. The only beach-bod you need to worry about is whether you’re doing your best to protect your skin from those sizzling sunrays. Today is always the perfect day to get a refresher on your risk of skin cancer and how to spot it as early as possible.

What’s Your Risk of Skin Cancer?

Of course, sun exposure plays a major role in your risk level of skin cancer. Nonetheless, since skin cancer doesn’t exclusively develop on sun-exposed areas of your skin, it’s important to be aware of non-UV related causes as well.

Factors that raise your risk of skin cancer include: (1)

  • Having fair skin. (Note: to date, people of color with skin cancer are typically diagnosed in a more advanced stage of the disease. It is essential to be informed about skin cancer and alert to changes in your skin, regardless of its shade!)
  • Having skin that burns easily in the sun. If you have had one or more cases of blistering sunburns, your risk of skin cancer is elevated.
  • Unprotected sun exposure. Spending excessive time in the sun without protection from clothing, shade, or sunscreen, as well as tanning (whether it’s outdoors or in a tanning salon) considerably raises your risk of skin cancer.
  • Living in high-altitude or sunny climates.
  • Having moles.
  • Having precancerous skin lesions, known as actinic keratoses (more on this later!).
  • Having a family history of skin cancer.
  • Having a personal history of skin cancer.
  • Having a compromised immune system. People living with a chronic illness that weakens the immune system, or people who take immunosuppressant drugs have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Radiation exposure elevates your risk of skin cancer, especially basal cell carcinoma.
  • Exposure to toxins, such as arsenic, raises your risk of skin cancer.

Monthly Self Examinations

Make a habit of inspecting your skin from scalp to sole once every month. It might help to associate this self check-up with a specific date like the first of the month or the day you pay your phone bill, for example.

The Skin Cancer Foundation advises, “You may find it helpful to have a doctor do a full-body exam first, to assure you that any existing spots, freckles, or moles are normal or treat any that may not be. After the first few times, self-examination should take no more than 10 minutes – a small investment in what could be a life-saving procedure.” (2)

The American Academy of Dermatology offers a free downloadable Body Ole Map which you can use to help keep track of your skin health. On your first full examination, make a note of each freckle, mole, bump, and rough patch on the Body Map. Where is it located? How big is it? What is its color? Every time you perform a full self-examination, check to see if anything has changed with existing spots and make a note of any new spots that appear.

Related: How to Do a Home Breast Cancer Exam

What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

“The bottom line is if your skin starts forming a spot that doesn’t look like anything else and it’s not getting better, it’s growing, or it’s acting differently than your other moles, get it checked out,” says Saira J. George, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. (3)

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Unfortunately, basal cell carcinoma is easy to ignore because a lot of times people think the spot is a pimple or blemish that won’t heal,” Dr. George says. Characteristics of basal cell carcinoma include: (3)

  • Scar-like areas that appear flat, firm, and pale
  • Shiny bumps or spots
  • Reddish raised areas that can be itchy
  • Open wounds that don’t seem to be fully healing
  • Scabbed or oozing areas that bleed easily
  • A growing bump or lesion

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

These skin cancers can also grow as a flat patch or become larger and nodular, advises Anthony Rossi, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Their characteristics include: (3)

  • Rough or scaly areas
  • Raised bumps shaped somewhat like a donut
  • Open wounds that don’t seem to be fully healing
  • Wart-like growths
  • Skin that is itchy, scabby, painful, or bleeds easily

Melanoma

Refer to ABCDE to help recognize what could be signs of melanoma: (3)

  • Asymmetry: Healthy, benign moles tend to be symmetrical. Do you have skin lesions that have an unusual shape?
  • Border: Healthy, benign moles tend to have clearly defined borders. Do you have skin lesions with poorly defined or irregular edges?
  • Color: Healthy, benign moles tend to be a single color (or perhaps two). Do you have skin lesions that are multi-colored, have color that is unevenly distributed, or has no color at all?
  • Diameter: Do you have skin lesions larger than 6 mm across?
  • Evolving: Healthy, benign moles tend to maintain their shape and size. Do you notice any differences between each skin exam? Has a mole become painful to the touch? Has it become larger, irregularly shaped, or changed in color?

If you spot any areas that fit the ABCDE check, ask your medical care provider to check it out. People of color are especially susceptible to a type of melanoma called acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), which appears on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic Keratosis lesions typically form on UV exposed areas of your skin such as the face, ears, and arms. Their characteristics include: (3)

  • Dry, rough, or scaly areas
  • Flat, raised areas
  • Skin that is itchy or painful
  • Skin lesions that vary in color, such as pink, red, and brown

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma characteristics include: (3)

  • Discolored bump that may be shiny
  • Firm bump that grows, but it painless
  • Patches of broken skin that may bleed

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Read Next: 43-Year-Old Tennessee Woman Has Had 86 Skin Cancer Surgeries in the Past 20 Years

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Screen Your Vision With These 9 Visual Tricks: Can You Really See As Well As You Think? https://theheartysoul.com/visual-tricks/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 03:03:16 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111507 Optical illusions occur when your brain simply doesn’t believe your eyes, or perhaps it can’t decode the information coming from the optical nerve. In simpler terms, the eyes are using color, light, and patterns to fool the brain, leading it to make quick and unconscious inferences [1]. You could see two lines that look obviously unequal...

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Optical illusions occur when your brain simply doesn’t believe your eyes, or perhaps it can’t decode the information coming from the optical nerve. In simpler terms, the eyes are using color, light, and patterns to fool the brain, leading it to make quick and unconscious inferences [1]. You could see two lines that look obviously unequal in length, but upon closer inspection or measurement, you’d find theta they are both 5 cm in length.

Optical illusions serve tons of purposes. Some are just brainteasers for fun and brain development. Others may help to identify certain eye defects such as myopia, color blindness, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Medical conclusions obtained using these illusions must be confirmed by an ophthalmologist.

I personally love to try them out as unofficial IQ tests. Optical illusions are used to screen brain power and a person’s critical thinking ability. Images that create the illusion of movement in the eyes could be used in medical hypnotherapy (please do not hypnotize a person without their full consent) [2].

Below is an interesting test of 9 tricks specially designed to screen your vision and critical reasoning ability. Take time to play the game and receive your score and evaluation. You may then read up on the rest of the article for explanations on the correct answers.

1.

At first sight, line 2 appears to be longer. This is because the lines have been slightly angled to form the illusion of an infinite railroad. Of course, the gaps closer to the eye should be wider than the ones farther away. They seem to swallow line 1 up, while line two completely swallows its own gaps.

The brain has been immediately tricked to assume that line two is longer. This trick gauges your critical thinking ability. You must take notice of the inclination of the rails before you can conclude that the lines actually HAVE THE SAME LENGTH.

2.

They do not seem straight at first sight. You could develop a headache trying to decipher which line is straight and which one isn’t. The pink and gray boxes and positioned in a haphazard and disorderly manner between the lines, and since they dominate the picture fully, they’ll create the illusion of curved winding lines to accommodate their positions.

Look close at both edges of the picture and trace the lines from these points. There are all PERFECT STRAIGHT LINES.

3.

Trick 3 had nine boxes matrixed together and only one had a lighter shade than the others. A color-blind person may experience difficulty in identifying a different color. Eye conditions such as refractive errors and cataracts may cloud the eye and blur the colors, making a person unable to identify a different color. Check with an eye doctor if your eyes were too cloudy or blurry to notice the tinted one.

On the other hand, we could be wrong because we were too quick to scan the boxes and our brains missed the difference.

The FIRST ONE is different.

4.

Trick 4 has the same motivation as trick 3, only that the colors are lighter and it would be much harder to identify the different shade.

Counting from left to right, the SEVENTH ONE is different.

5.

It’s easy to let your eyes initially track the wrong pattern and discover a different number. The red, pink, and brown circles form an outline of the NUMBER TWO, but a color blind person wouldn’t be able to decipher this. The red circles would appear in a dull green shade.

This trick is perfect for diagnosing red-green color blindness. Technically termed color vision deficiency, this X-chromosome linked condition is much more common in males than females. 8% of men 0.5% of women of Northern European background have the common red-green color blindness.

6.

Trick 6 is similar to trick 5. The background colors are much lighter on this one, and it makes it easier to decipher the outline of the NUMBER 8.

7.

This one is actually pretty tricky. You’d have to squint very slightly to see the number engraved in the background. A person with a refractive error such as astigmatism may not be able to identify this. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped and is struck abnormally by light, resulting in blurry vision. Check with your doctor if you think you have this issue.

The number is 571.

8.

I had to look about five times before I discovered that there’s actually a DOG in the center of the picture and not just a fuzzy-haired stuffed animal. The dog looks so much like the toys that it’s hard to actually imagine it’s a real creature and not a stuffed animal.

9.

This one wants you to identify the shade of purple that is highlighted in the red crosshair. The first 4 shades are obviously not a match, but The last two shades are harder to decipher. It’s a tricky one as well, but try to block out all the other elements of the picture and compare each shade to the desired section. Which shade it the best match?

The Second last shade on the right is the match.

If you have ultra-laser vision, it means you answered them all correctly. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you experienced great difficulty with this test and you haven’t been diagnosed with an eye condition, we’re not doctors, but it may be a good idea to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Be sure to try the game when you are well-rested and not suffering from any headaches or migraines.

Have fun!

Keep Reading: A scientific study claims that your age affects how you see this famous optical illusion

  1. Salaita, Meisha. How Optical Illusions Work. How Stuff Works. https://science.howstuffworks.com/optical-illusions.htm. Retrieved 11/06/19
  2. Schmidt et al. The Power of mind: Blocking visual perception by hypnosis. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05195-2. Retrieved 11/06/19
  3. Heiting, Gary. Refractive errors and refraction: How the eye sees. All about Vision. https://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/refraction.htm. Retrieved 11/06/19
  4. Bailey, Gretchyn. Color blindness: Causes, symptoms and how to adapt. All about Vision. https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/colordeficiency.htm. Retrieved 11/06/19
  5. Heiting, Gary. What is astigmatism? https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/astigmatism.htm. Retrieved 11/06/19

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‘Root Beer Lady’ Lived Alone in a Million-Acre Wilderness https://theheartysoul.com/root-beer-lady/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 02:15:55 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111412 Dubbed “The Loneliest Woman in America”, the Root Beer Lady was famous in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Though she lived alone, she was certainly not lonely. This is her incredible life story. The Root Beer Lady Dorothy Molter, known in the BWCAW as The Root Beer Lady, lived on the Isle of...

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Dubbed “The Loneliest Woman in America”, the Root Beer Lady was famous in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Though she lived alone, she was certainly not lonely. This is her incredible life story.

The Root Beer Lady

Dorothy Molter, known in the BWCAW as The Root Beer Lady, lived on the Isle of Pines in Knife Lake from 1934 to 1986. Her home was a 15-mile paddle from the nearest road and another 30 miles from the town of Ely in Minnesota. (1)

For most of that time, she ran a fishing camp at her cabin in the summers and lived in near-complete solitude in the winters. Her nick-name, The Root Beer Lady, however, came from the root beer she made using lakewater and served to the canoers that came by her place. (1)

Her Backstory

Molter first visited the Northwoods from her home in Chicago for the first time in 1930 while on a family fishing trip. She absolutely fell in love with the peace and tranquility of nature there. As the Great Depression took hold of the country, she struggled to find a nursing job in the city. (1)

She went back to the Isle of Pines and began working under Bill Berglund at his fishing camp. He was 30 years older than her, and he told her if she stayed to help him run the camp he would leave her the four-cabin resort. Berglund passed away in 1948, and so Molter took over the camp at the age of 41. (1)

Not Just a Fishing Camp Instructor

Molter quickly gained a wide-spread reputation as “The Nightingale of the Woods”. She was “the first responder of the wilderness” and took care of injured canoers and animals alike. (1) She did several patch-jobs, including removing fish hooks from various body parts and splinting broken bones.

Once she even kept a boy alive who had been struck by lightning until first responders arrived by plane. (1)

Despite all of these accolades, the most curious part about Molter for other people was her lifestyle: A single, unmarried woman living alone in the woods. (1) An unassuming woman, to live alone in the woods meant that she had to be able to do a number of tasks, including (1):

  • Chop wood
  • Haul lakewater
  • Harvest ice in the winter to be used in the summer

She was once quoted saying that she would only marry a man who could catch more fish, chop more wood, or portage heavier loads than she could. Needless to say, she never married. (1)

Read: The Woman Who Lives 200,000 Years in the Past

Preservation Efforts Threatened Her Way of Life

The United States Government began putting in measures to preserve the wilderness of the Northwoods and the BWCAW. In 1952, they stopped allowing floatplanes to the island that she lived on. (1)

Next, The Wilderness Act of 1964 stated that all buildings – businesses and residences – had to be removed from the area. The US Forest Service sent Molter numerous letters ordering her to vacate the premises, all of which she ignored. Though she was forced to close the fishing camp, she obtained special permission to stay on the island with the help of environmentalists, politicians, and the public. (1)

A New Era

Without floatplanes, she was no longer able to bring in the various bottled drinks that she used to have for the paddlers who came by. Ever an innovator, she began to make her own out of lakewater. (1)

She bought the flavoring syrup from the Ely A&W and the local Boy Scout Base. She then blended it with sugar and yeast for carbonation. Having nowhere to dispose of the hundreds of glass bottles she had collected over the years, she cleaned and used those bottles for her root beer. (1)

She didn’t do it all completely without help. Often friends and family members came to the island to help Molter brew the drink, and they even had “ice cutting parties” in the winter to help her fully stock the icebox for the following summer. Legally not allowed to operate an official business, she instead asked for a small donation from every person who had a bottle. (1)

The drink wasn’t always consistent in flavor, but the novelty of purchasing it from The Root Beer Lady was enough to attract paddlers to go through 12,000 bottles of it every summer. (1)

Read: 103-Year-Old Runner Nicknamed “Hurricane” Wins Yet Another Gold in 100-Meter Dash

The Dorothy Molter Museum

Despite requests from friends and family to come live in the city as she aged, she lived out the rest of her life on her island. She occasionally visited family in Chicago during the winter, but otherwise, she stayed where she was. (1)

She passed away at her cabin in 1986, a group who named themselves “Dorothy’s Angels” started the big project of moving her cabin home to Ely to make a museum in her honor. They completed the task over winter with the help of primarily the local boy scouts on dog sleds. (1)

Still operational, the Dorothy Molter Museum provides a taste of her life and former fishing camp for visitors, and of course of her sweet, bubbly root beer. (1)

Keep Reading: Hundreds of nuns trained in Kung Fu biked the Himalayas to oppose human trafficking

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/dorothy-molter-root-beer-lady

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A Single Opossum Can Kill 5,000 Ticks In One Season, Which Spread Lyme Disease https://theheartysoul.com/possum-can-kill-ticks/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 02:13:46 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111408 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately thirty thousand cases of Lyme disease are reported by state health departments every year. This number, however, does not reflect every case of Lyme disease in the US. More recent estimates believe that number may be closer to three hundred thousand [1]. Lyme disease...

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately thirty thousand cases of Lyme disease are reported by state health departments every year. This number, however, does not reflect every case of Lyme disease in the US. More recent estimates believe that number may be closer to three hundred thousand [1].

Lyme disease cases in the United States have tripled over the last twenty years. Today, it is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere. The reason for this is because tick populations have increased dramatically. In the last two decades, they have doubled their established range [2].

Of course, finding an effective treatment for Lyme Disease is of paramount importance. What is perhaps just as important is figuring out how we can prevent it in the first place. One way to do this, of course, is to control the tick population.

But how can we keep the number of ticks at a manageable level? There may be an unlikely hero in the battle against Lyme Disease: opossums. Not only do these humble animals help control tick populations, there are many other opossum benefits. While the exact degree they have on the spread of the disease has not been determined, it’s safe to say they’re (at the very least) lending a helping hand.

The Opossum- The Tick Slayer?

In March 2016, an image of an opossum began circulating on the internet with the following text:

“While many woodland creatures harbor ticks and spread Lyme disease, opossums kill 96.5% of ticks that land on them and a single opossum may be “hoovering up and killing” 4000 ticks every week and thereby protecting us from Lyme disease” [3].

But is this true? As this photo gained more traction, many people began to express skepticism. It seemed too good to be true that one animal could single-handedly save us from Lyme disease.

In 2014, the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies and NewsTimes published an article outlining the role opossums play in tick control. Researchers tested the following six species:

  • White-footed mice
  • Chipmunks
  • Squirrels
  • Opossums
  • Veeries
  • Catbirds

They then exposed each species to one hundred ticks. Of the six, they found that opossums were remarkably good at getting rid of ticks. Opossums groom themselves frequently and thoroughly. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it.

The team determined that in one season, a single opossum kills approximately five thousand ticks. So while the text in the photo got the numbers wrong, the idea that an opossum kills ticks is true [4].

These findings were consistent with another study from 2009. This study also found that opossums kill eighty to ninety percent of the ticks that attempt to feed on it. This study pointed out that a loss of biodiversity (ie- removing certain animals from an environment) can cause an increase in insects like ticks, which are vectors for human disease [5].

Three Other Opossum Benefits

Opossums do more than just kill ticks. It turns out America’s only marsupial is quite a helpful little creature:

1. They Take Care of Unwanted Pests

Opossums eat more than just ticks. They also frequently eat cockroaches, rats and mice. This is helpful to us, because those creatures can be carriers of disease [6].

2. They Help Keep Your Garden Healthy

Opossums also like to eat snails and slugs, which can damage your plants and garden. They will also often eat overripe fruits or berries that have fallen to the ground, which keeps your garden nice and clean [6].

3. They Reduce the Snake Population

Opossums are resistant to snake venom, and so they can eat them, too. In some areas, like in Illinois, opossums prey on southern and northern copperheads and the timber rattlesnake. This can help to control the snake population, making you less likely to have a run-in with one [6].

Opossums Aren’t Dangerous

The best part is, opossums don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of their naturally low body temperature, it is difficult for the rabies virus to replicate in an opossum’s body. This means that they are unlikely to get the disease and spread it to humans [6].

Laura Simon, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Humane Society says that people can be so hard on opossums. They are not particularly cute creatures, and they drool and hiss when they feel threatened. People see this and think the animal is rabid.

“I tell people `We can’t all be beautiful,’ “ she said [4].

So what can you do to protect opossums? First of all, if you see one playing dead on the road, try to drive around it. If you find a sick, injured, or orphaned opossum, contact your local wildlife organization. They can send people who are able to help the animal.

Humans often fear wildlife, believing that wild animals pose a threat to people. While this is sometimes the case, every animal plays a role in the ecosystem. It is important that we protect biodiversity in order to keep species in balance. Doing this will protect the environment, and protect us, too.

Keep Reading: Does the Peppermint Oil Trick Work for Removing Ticks?

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Guy Saved Elephants From Poachers, They Mourned His Death Outside His Home https://theheartysoul.com/lawrence-anthony-saved-elephants-from-poachers/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 02:11:19 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111422 Empathy is one of the more complex and integral emotions that humans experience. The question is, are animals capable of experiencing it too? The idea that animals are capable of experiencing a full range of human emotion is not new. Early scientists believed that it was possible. Charles Darwin even once wrote that there is...

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Empathy is one of the more complex and integral emotions that humans experience. The question is, are animals capable of experiencing it too?

The idea that animals are capable of experiencing a full range of human emotion is not new. Early scientists believed that it was possible. Charles Darwin even once wrote that there is no fundamental difference between man and the higher mammals in the mental facilities.

More recently, Dr. Mark Berkeff, professor and author of numerous essays about animal rights and conservation, said that scientists are constantly learning more and more about the cognitive abilities of animals [1].

Still, the science behind animal emotion is not fully understood. There is still a fair amount of debate regarding if, and to what extent, animals are capable of experiencing certain human-like emotions.

There are many remarkable stories out there that appear to demonstrate animals’ emotive abilities. One such story is that of Lawrence Anthony, the “elephant whisperer”. Although this story is a few years old, it is worth looking back on.

Read: Dolphins Bring “Gifts” From the Sea to the Shores Because They Miss Their Human Visitors

Lawrence Anthony

Lawrence Anthony was a conservationist and author. He lived in the South African KwaZulu, where he rescued and rehabilitated a group of wild South African elephants. He was known for his ability to communicate with and calm elephants who had been through trauma, hence the nickname, “The Elephant Whisperer”.

A local animal welfare organization was keeping this group of elephants on the reserve in order to protect them from poachers. The herd had experienced some trauma due to poaching already, and as such were very wary of humans. This caused them to act aggressively toward people, and they had become dangerous.

The organization asked Anthony for help. He decided that the only way he could save these animals was to live with them.

“To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them. But, most importantly, be with them day and night,” he said [2].

Sadly, Anthony passed away of a heart attack in 2012. The elephants hadn’t visited the compound where Anthony lived in over a year and a half, and were grazing miles away in different parts of the park.

Shortly after his death, however, the elephants arrived at his house. They had travelled over twelve hours to get there. The two herds stood vigil outside of Anthony’s home, in a similar way they mourn the passing of one of their own.

The animals remained there for two days, then left. Anthony’s family still do not know how the elephants knew that he had passed.

“In coming up there on that day of all days, we certainly believe that they had sensed it,” said his son, Dylan [2].

Read: Not so random acts: Science finds that being kind pays off

Empathy in Animals

There is a growing body of research that says animals can, in fact, feel empathy. Dr. James C. Harris at Johns Hopkins University says empathy is likely more prevalent in species that associate in social groups. He describes empathy as “an evolutionary mechanism to maintain social cohesion” [1].

What does that mean exactly? That animals who rely on groups for survival need to be more in-tune with how those around them are feeling.

In his book, Beyond Words: How Animals Think and Feel, award-winning environmental writer Carl Safina suggests that animals have emotions. He says they have thought processes and social connections that are important to them.

He argues that animals are much more similar to us than we think. Humans and animals both try to stay alive, get food and shelter, and raise some young for the next generation.

“Life is very vivid to animals. In many cases, they know who they are. They know who their friends are and who their rivals are… [and] have ambitions for higher status. They compete. Their lives follow the arc of a career like ours do,” he explained [3].

He also argues that the idea of consciousness, and whether animals experience it, is often debated because people don’t agree on a standard definition of what consciousness is. 

Mental Experience is Consciousness

Safina says that if you have a mental experience, you are conscious. The question then, is do other species actually have mental experiences? Or do they sense things without having any sensation of what they’re experiencing? He believes they do.

“If you watch mammals or even birds, you will see how they respond to the world. They play. They act frightened when there’s danger... relax when things are good. It seems illogical for us to think that animals might not be having a conscious mental experience of play, sleep, fear, or love.” [3]

Safina says that to those who observe them, it is obvious that animals are conscious and experience emotion. He believes we don’t need to necessarily understand their minds in order to do this.

As for empathy specifically, Safina says that for a long time we have regarded it as a strictly human trait. He cites examples of animals showing empathy to prove that this is wrong. One of these examples is of a pack of elephants who protected a blind woman who had gotten lost. Another is of a humpback whale who protected a seal from an orca.

“These things seem extraordinary and new to us because we have only recently documented these incidents. But they have probably been doing these kinds of things for millions of years,” he said [3].

Treat Animals With Care

So what’s the answer then? Do animals experience emotions, are they conscious? If you ask most pet-owners, they’ll say yes. People who work closely with animals will likely argue they do as well.

Some scientists, on the other hand, want more evidence. Safina says that there are those who’d rather think they don’t. If animals are conscious, it makes it harder for humans to do certain things to do them because they have the capacity to be unhappy and to suffer.

So while there may be a lack of hard scientific evidence that demonstrates animals’ ability to feel, there do seem to be many examples out there. Regardless, as living beings and inhabitants of this planet, they deserve to be treated with care and respect.

Keep Reading: Herd of ‘grieving’ ponies keep all-night roadside vigil after motorist kills one of the family

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“Glass Gem” Rainbow Corn Exists and Its Conception is Incredible https://theheartysoul.com/rainbow-corn/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 02:03:52 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111421 “Glass Gem” corn went viral in 2012 when a photo of the rainbow-colored kernels was posted on Facebook. Imagine the excitement of peeling the husk of a corn of the cob to find the purple, pink, blue, red, and yellow of a kaleidoscope. You may not find rainbow corn at a farmer’s stand by the side...

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“Glass Gem” corn went viral in 2012 when a photo of the rainbow-colored kernels was posted on Facebook. Imagine the excitement of peeling the husk of a corn of the cob to find the purple, pink, blue, red, and yellow of a kaleidoscope. You may not find rainbow corn at a farmer’s stand by the side of the road, but you can grow them yourself. 

Creating Rainbow-Colored Corn from Cherokee Roots 

Carl Barnes, a farmer from Oklahoma, began planting ancient varieties of corn as his way of connecting to his Cherokee heritage. These ancestral types have been lost to Native Americans when they were relocated into the area that is now Oklahoma in the 1800s. As Barnes began mixing different varieties of corn, multicolored cobs began being produced. This led to an exchanging of ancient seeds and creating friendships with people all over the country. Then, he chose the seeds of the most colorful cobs for the next crop. 

Barnes displayed the Glass Gem corn at a native-plant gathering in the mid-1990s. One grower in particular, named Greg Schoen, was so excited about the new kind of corn Barnes gave him a few seeds. This marked the beginning of a close friendship. 

The First “Glass Gem” Corn

In the beginning, Schoen grew only small crops in New Mexico when he moved there in 1999. When he moved to Santa Fe in 2005, he planted more corn and crossed them with other varieties of more traditional corn. This mixing resulted in vibrant colors and patterns.  

Schoen recalled an account where Barnes explained that the rainbow seeds originated from “Pawnee miniature popcorns with an Osage red flour corn and also another Osage corn called ‘Greyhorse’.” Schoen named the patterns and colors titles like ‘circus colors’, ‘true rainbow’, ‘deep blue’. [1] 

“Glass Gems” was his name for the blue-green and pink-purple corn he had harvested in 2007. This was the original pattern that went viral in 2012. 

Read: Cucamelons is the Most Adorable Superfood You Can Grow in Your Own Garden

Distributing the Rainbow Corn to Everyone 

In 2019, Schoen shared his seeds with Bill McDorman, an owner of a seed company in Arizona called Seed Trust, who helped them become available for gardeners to grow them through a nonprofit Native Seeds. They are now available for purchase online. 

One planter, Carol Fritzinger, describes husking the corn to be like Christmas morning.  

“Oooh, this one’s a pink and purple variety,” she says to NPR, laughing as she peels back a husk to show the corn inside. “You just never know!” 

She wants to share this stunning piece of nature with as many people as she could. “I want everyone to grow it,” Fritzinger says. “So I give as much seed away as people will take.” [2] 

How to Grow Your Own Rainbow Corn 

You can buy a packet of Glass Gem seeds for just a few dollars to plant in your own backyard. The seeds are accompanied by information about seed saving and corn pollinations. [3] 

Each corn plant grows to about six feet tall on average, but it can rise up to nine feet. The ears are usually three to eight inches long. Like other kinds of corn, Glass Gem is best planted in the late spring when the soil is warm. Set the seeds in a sunny area and provide about an inch of water every week. The corn is ready for harvesting about 110 to 120 days after being planted.  

For good pollination, plant the seeds around 6 inches (15cm) apart in blocks of at least three rows, (not one long row) digging about 1 inch (2.54 cm) into the ground. 

Then bring out the camera! No rainbow corn is the same; each of them comes with their own pattern and color combinations. Every time you peel the husk, there’s a new surprise waiting underneath. Some are very rainbow-like, while others are mostly one shade of blue, red, or even almost white. [4] 

How to Eat and Enjoy Rainbow Corn

Keep in mind that this corn shouldn’t be eaten right off the cob like regular corn. Glass Gem corn has a tougher outer layer and can only be eaten by grinding it into cornmeal or popping into popcorn. (Unfortunately, the popcorn isn’t multi-colored.) For popcorn, harvest the corn when it’s brown and dry. Then remove the husks and dry the corn further after taking it inside until the kernels fall off the ear. 

If you’re especially interested in this corn for ornamental reasons, you can save the seeds of your favorite corn and replant those.  

No matter how you decide to enjoy the harvest, Glass Gem corn is beautiful enough to plant just for the sake of it.  

Keep Reading: Blue Java Banana: The Banana That Tastes ‘Just Like Vanilla Ice Cream’

References

[1] “This Rainbow Corn Actually Exists. Here’s How.” Dina Spector. Business Insider. June 28, 2016 

[2] “Glass Gem Corn: Poster Child For The Return To Heirloom Seeds.” Melissaa Sevigny. NPR. November 25, 2019 

[3] Purchase Glass Gem Corn Seeds.  Native Seeds Search

[4] “’Rainbow’ Corn Took the Internet by Storm, and Now You Can Plant it In Your Own Garden.” Andrea Beck. Better Homes & Gardens. Feb 6, 2020 

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How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Health https://theheartysoul.com/sleeping-position-affects-health/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 01:59:58 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111427 How do you prefer to fall asleep? On your back? On your side? Maybe you flop face-down onto your bed every night. Perhaps you like to curl up into a little ball, or spread out and take up the entire bed. Whatever your go-to position is, we know one thing for sure: sleep is important...

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How do you prefer to fall asleep? On your back? On your side? Maybe you flop face-down onto your bed every night. Perhaps you like to curl up into a little ball, or spread out and take up the entire bed.

Whatever your go-to position is, we know one thing for sure: sleep is important for our health. Without enough of it, our whole body suffers. What you may not realize, however, is that your sleeping position can actually affect your sleep quality.

So what is the best sleeping position? Continue reading to find out.

What is the Best Sleeping Position?

When considering which position you should sleep in, it is important to keep in mind that everyone is different. That means that everyone will have different sleep needs. If you have an injury, for example, some positions will be more or less comfortable. If you are pregnant, you may also have to change your position in order to fall asleep.

That be said, depending on the circumstance, there are certain positions that are better to help you get a good night’s sleep.

The Fetal Position

This is the most popular sleeping position, and is the choice for four out of ten people [1]. The good news is, it is a healthy way to sleep for the most part.

If you are pregnant, or you suffer from lower back pain, this may be the best position for you. This is because it allows your spine to rest in its natural alignment. It is also beneficial because it can reduce snoring.

When sleeping in the fetal position, it is important to keep your posture loose. If you don’t, you could limit your ability to breathe deeply while you sleep. Sleeping in a tight position could also leave you feeling sore in the morning. This is especially true if you suffer from joint pain or stiffness [2].

If you are pregnant and choose to sleep in the fetal position, you should stick to lying on your left side. This improves circulation to your growing baby, and can stop your uterus from pressing on your liver [1].

Sleeping on Your Side (The Log)

If you sleep on your side with both arms down, close to your body, you are sleeping in the “log” position. About fifteen percent of people prefer this position [1].

Sleeping on your side with your back mostly straight can help prevent sleep apnea. This, in turn, reduces snoring. It is also good for your spine and your neck, because it allows them to stay in proper alignment. 

Sleeping on your left side also appears to be better than on your right. One study showed that when participants rested on their left, they were better able to digest after a high-fat meal [2].

There are a couple downsides to this position. It can cause stiffness in your shoulders and jaw tightness on one side. Some research has indicated that this sleeping position can actually contribute to wrinkles.

If you choose this position, be sure to get yourself a good pillow. It should be large enough and firm enough to support your head to avoid neck and back pain. Putting a pillow between your legs will also help keep your hips aligned to prevent low back pain [2].

Read: Sleeping Next To Someone Who Snores Could Be Damaging Your Health

Lying on Your Stomach (The Free Fall)

The freefall is when you sleep on your stomach, with your arms either under your pillow or on either side of your head. 

This position, unfortunately, is not a great choice. It can cause neck and low back pain, and you are more likely to toss and turn. This is because it will take longer for you to find a comfortable position on your stomach. Falling asleep in this way can also put excessive strain on your muscles and joints.

To improve this position, try sleeping with either a very thin pillow, or no pillow at all. This will help to take away some of the strain on your neck. Placing a pillow under your pelvis may also reduce the pressure on your lower back [2].

On Your Back (The Soldier)

This is when you lie flat on your back with your arms at your side. The problem with this position is that it can cause snoring. Snoring can disrupt your sleep and cause other cardiovascular health problems. It is not a great position for anyone who suffers with sleep apnea, and can also cause lower back pain [1].

If done right, however, this position can actually improve back pain. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when you sleep on your back gravity keeps you in proper alignment. As long as you have the right neck support, your spine can maintain its natural curve [3].

An extra pillow behind your knees may also help improve the position of your spine. The other upside to this position is that it can also prevent wrinkles caused by your pillow or by gravity. 

If you choose this position, be sure to use a supportive pillow, and consider getting a second one for behind your knees. If you struggle with snoring or sleep apnea, however, consider sleeping on your side instead.

The Starfish

In this position you’re also on your back, but your legs are spread apart and your arms are up beside your head. Like the soldier, this position can also contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. If you prefer this position, make sure you have a firm mattress to support your spine, and place a pillow under your knees to keep your spine in a better position [1].

Read: The science behind why your body jerks when you fall asleep

Is it Time to Make a Change?

Are you sleeping in the best possible position for you? If you are not having a restful sleep, or you’re waking up with aches and pains, perhaps it’s time to change things up. You may not need to change position, but simply add an extra pillow here or there to improve your comfort.

If you’re thinking about changing your position, remember to be patient. Switching away from something that you’re used to can take time, and you may even find initially you have more trouble falling asleep.

Of course, if you’re having difficulty sleeping, make sure that you’re addressing the other factors that could affect your sleep. Too much caffeine or not enough exercise can both reduce your sleep quality. Establishing a bedtime routine can also help you to relax before bed so you can sleep better [2].

Sleep is important, so if you’re not getting enough it’s important to address the reasons why. Of course, you may not be experiencing any issues with your current sleeping position. If that’s the case, then continue to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Keep Reading: Good Question: Are Masks Keeping Us From Getting Oxygen?

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Farmers Come Together to Harvest for a Neighbor who Suffered a Heart Attack https://theheartysoul.com/north-dakota-farmers-come-together/ Wed, 23 Sep 2020 01:57:52 +0000 https://theheartysoul.com/?p=111425 Farmers are icons of hard work. They have to be. They have to endure everything nature could throw at them. Infestations to droughts to storms to injuries to broken equipment, and every way possible way things could go wrong seem fixed on trying to cripple the harvest. Farmers are true survivors for living year-to-year to provide sustenance...

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Farmers are icons of hard work. They have to be. They have to endure everything nature could throw at them. Infestations to droughts to storms to injuries to broken equipment, and every way possible way things could go wrong seem fixed on trying to cripple the harvest. Farmers are true survivors for living year-to-year to provide sustenance for the rest of the world. 

However, one farmer was hit with a calamity that could have ruined his entire harvest: a heart attack. His fellow local farmers came to save the day. They harvested all of his hard-earned produce while he recovered in the hospital. 

Read: Why Independent Farming in America Is Close to Extinction

Farmers Come Together to Help a Friend in Need 

Lane Unhjem farmed durum wheat and canola near Crosby, North Dakota. Things were business as usual until his combine caught fire. As he struggled to put it out, he began experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack. 

He knew that his body was being plagued by something worse than the stress of fighting the fire, and he was rushed to the hospital. While his condition stabilized, his crops in Crosby waited to be harvested to no avail. 

Until the local farmers picked up on the problem. They banded together to pick up the loose ends of Unhjem’s work. One of the farmers involved, Don Anderson, shared the deed on Facebook

“Approximately 40 to 50 farmers, driving combines, pulling grain carts, driving semis and various other harvest related items, converged on the Unhjem farmstead and they will take care of harvest for Lane and his family today,” Anderson shared about a week ago. “I believe there was about a dozen combines involved.” [1] 

KFYR-TV reports that about 60 farmers, 15 semis11 combines, and six grain carts showed up to help. Together, they completed the harvest across 1,000 acres in just seven hours. They also hauled 714 bales in just under four hours. [2] 

Read: Want to double world food production? Return the land to small farmers.

Helping a Fellow Out

Jenna Binde, a family friend, was among the first of three people to organize a group to help out the family. However, as she explained, she didn’t need to do much rallying. Once the news began to spread, more and more people arrived to help. She didn’t even need to call anyone herself. 

“I talked to a couple of farmers, got their equipment, and then other people just started calling and we had equipment offered from all over the place in the county, and their workers to go with it,” she said. 

You reap what you sow! Thats the old saying that can apply to a lot of things in life. Well, today it has a two fold…

Posted by Don Anderson on Saturday, September 12, 2020

“Everybody knows the Unhjems, and they’re good people and good in the community, and just kind of the farming way of life too. You help your neighbor out when they need it, and don’t expect anything in return.” [3] 

There were volunteers for the volunteers; a secondary group cooked a large meal for everyone who helped with the farming. 

Binde said, “The volunteers that came that day did more than just volunteer their time. They all had their own fields to still harvest but they selflessly put that behind them and made the Unhjems a priority that day.” 

“It saved the family a lot of headache and frustration of trying to figure out how they would get their crops off without Lane or a combine,” she said. “It was a pretty remarkable day and I was so happy to be apart of it.” 

She added that the family was blown away by all the support.  

Read: How One Man Turned His Backyard Garden Into a Full-Fledged Community Farmers Market

Supporting the Unhjem Family  

Unhjem was flown to Minot where he remains in a stable condition. However, he has a long way before he fully recovers.  

“The Unhjems have a beautiful crop that will be safe in the bins today, and more importantly they have the comfort of knowing that they have a community of friends that are helping, praying and doing whatever they can to help them get through this tough time,” Anderson added in his post. 

“What a great sense of pride we can all have knowing that when we face something like this, we’re not alone.”  

“This is just what we do around here when someone in our community is in need of help,” said Binde. “What seems completely normal and natural to us here, unfortunately isn’t the case across the nation. I hope others read this story and forget about all the turmoil going on currently and just remember to lend a hand when needed and expect nothing in return. If we could all just do that, we’d be in a better place.” [4]  

We hope that Unhjem can rest now that all the work is done and focus on his recovery. Surviving a heart attack is not a simple experience. All the best to him and his family! Although you can’t join the harvest, you can support the family during this difficult time through their Go Fund Me

Read: Farmer has ‘life-changing’ moment in a bid to stop milk wastage during lockdown

[1] Don Anderson. Facebook

[2] “ND farmers finish neighbor’s harvest after heart attack.” Aleisa Tanner. KFYR-TV. September 14, 2020 

[3] “After a farmer suffered a heart attack, his neighbors banded together to harvest his crops.” Marika Gerken. CNN. September 19, 2020 

[4] “When a farmer suffered a heart attack, 60 neighbors showed up to help out on his farm.” Caitlin O’Kane. CBS News. September 21, 2020 

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