Oregon Healthy Living | September 2020

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SEPTEMBER 2020 | VOL. 13 — ISSUE 9



Get a new perspective on local lakes and waterways

Sugar substitutes

Sample nature’s sweet alternatives

Metabolism and menopause

What’s behind belly fat

Piggy pals

Is a guinea pig for you?




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on the COVER from the

JoshuaBlu Gutierrez is a commercial river guide with Morrison’s Wilderness Adventures of Merlin.Growing up in Cave Junction, Gutierrez took up rafting on the Illinois River as a teen. “I have been multiday rafting and IKing (inflatable kayaking) for over 20 years,” he says. “Currently, I’m paddling a pack raft. It is an 8-pound boat! I love this little boat! It rolls up to the size of a small sleeping bag and is easy to inflate and have fun anywhere!”

EDITOR One of our family’s favorite stories is our adventure rafting from Shady Cove with friends. Three of eight people fell out of the raft during the trip! It’s only a funny story because nobody ultimately got hurt. Accidents happen, so know your water safety and wear your life jackets when spending time on the water. Also, our family has just agreed to re-home a hamster for a family that changed their minds. Pet ownership takes responsibility, even for the little critters, so be sure to research care needs before making the decision. Our new addition is named Ginger. Enjoy fall!

Photography by Nick Soden. crose@rosebudmedia.com




Belly Fat Bummer:


Waterways Workout:

vol. 13 – issue 9



Metabolism at midlife Social distance on the water



Kinesiology Tape:


Guinea Pigs:

Support for sore bodies Pointers for pet parents



Variations on a Classic:

Advanced pushups

EDITOR — Cheryl P. Rose


CEO & PUBLISHER — Steven Saslow

Aaron Cooper Tessa DeLine Sarah Lemon Cheryl P. Rose Rebecca Scott Cindy Quick Wilson

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Paul Bunch, Amy Tse CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Denise Baratta, Tessa DeLine, Nick Soden




Versatile Veggie:

Creative cooking with zucchini



Sweet Stuff:

Alternatives to cane sugar

oregonhealthyliving.com oregonhealthyliving @oregonhealthyliving

Oregon Healthy Living Magazine is published by the Rosebud Media Advertising Department 111 N. Fir St., Medford, OR 97501 | General information: 541.776.4422 | Submissions and feedback: crose@rosebudmedia.com


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HEALTHY Sherm’s Food 4 Less carries an amazing selection of squash! Conventional Squash

Turban, Kuri, Blue Hubbard,

Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti,

Golden Hubbard (Local or

Delicata, Summer Squash,

Northwest when available)

Zucchini, Yellow Squash, 8-Ball Zucchini, Banana Squash, Mexican Squash, Kabocha, Pie Pumpkins, Pumpkin, Gold Nugget, Carnival, Baby Blue, Sweet

International Squash Chayote, Prickly Chayote, Opo, Patola, Moqua (Not Local)

Organic Squash

Meat, Amber Cup, Buttercup,

Butternut, Spaghetti, Acorn,

Sweet Dumpling, White Swan,

Kabocha, Delicata, Zucchini,

Golden Acorn, Stripetti,

Yellow (Local when available)

Will Produce Manager

Greg Organic Produce Buyer

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INGREDIENTS: 5/8 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup precooked microwavable brown rice (such 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice) black pepper 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries 1 (1 1/2-lb.) acorn squash 1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

Ice cubes (about 2 cups) 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts Toasted sage and thyme leaves (optional)

DIRECTIONS: Knead the rice pouch to separate the grains. Combine rice, cranberries, green onions, oil, chopped sage, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl, tossing well. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds and membranes. Divide rice mixture evenly between squash halves. Tightly twist a sheet of aluminum foil into 2 (6-inch) rings. Place foil rings side by side in bottom of slow cooker. Place each squash half, cut side up, on 1 foil ring. Place ice cubes on bottom of slow cooker around foil rings. Cover, and cook on low until squash is very tender, about 7 hours and 30 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons hazelnuts on each squash half before serving. Garnish with sage and thyme leaves, if desired. MF-00128454

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Menobelly and

Metabolism Hormone changes and weight gain during menopause STORY BY CHERYL P. ROSE


he day you can’t button your favorite pants is a sad wake-up call. It seems like you are eating and doing the same things as usual, but your waistline keeps growing. Middle life brings a double whammy of hormonal changes and slower metabolism that can lead to packing on the pounds, especially belly fat. Are you stuck rather than (meno) paused with this new body shape?

“I am a true believer that a healthy weight is achievable at any age,” says Dr. Laura Robin of Rosa Transformational Health in Medford. “We need to find the missing pieces for the individual to make it possible. You don’t have to accept that weight gain after 50 is unavoidable.”

The big three hormones When women’s ovaries decide to hang up the “out of the baby business” shingle, they stop producing estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Often, this process causes surges and dips in hormone levels throughout perimenopause and may last years for some women. Imbalanced and reduced hormones can cause side effects


that create new problems, triggering weight gain as a side effect. “With the hormonal changes, there is a shift to abdominal fat,” says Dr. Ajana Miki, a naturopathic doctor at Ashland Natural Medicine, who explains that fat cells can produce small amounts of estrogen and may be the body’s way of prolonging hormone production. Low progesterone can also cause sleep disturbance, another contributor to weight gain. Miki explains that sleep disturbance alters other hormones, including ghrelin and leptin, that affect the body’s sense of hunger. “When we don’t sleep well, we have less control over our hunger,” she says. continued on page 5

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| AUGUST 2020

HEALTH Spurts and spikes of estrogen throughout menopause also throw off the hormonal ratios, contributing to increased weight in buttocks, hips and thighs. Robin describes testosterone as “the get off the couch hormone.” “In both men and women, testosterone influences the ratio of muscle to fat and the ability to form and grow muscles,” she says. “The more muscle we have, the better our metabolism. Getting all these hormones into balance can help with weight maintenance.”

Muscle loss and metabolism As the level of testosterone declines in menopause, women don’t have the same ability to build muscle and often are less motivated to exercise, Miki says. “When we don’t build muscle mass as easily, our metabolism shifts.” Robin explains that muscle uses more calories than fat does. “If we are losing muscle and gaining fat, our metabolic rate is going to be down, making it harder to control weight,” she says. Miki suggests women concentrate on building butt and thigh muscles, because these are the largest muscles in the body. “Exercises like squats and jumps are great for this,” she says. Strength training will help offset muscle loss, but diet matters too. “The other piece is decreasing our carbohydrate intake,” Miki says. “As we age, we don’t process sugar as well. Carbs breakdown into sugars during digestion. Our insulin levels



Menopausal Hormonal Belly

start shifting, and we become more insulin resistant. Our metabolism slows down, and we can’t burn carbs as efficiently as we could when we were younger.”

Stress and cortisol Stress is a strong influence on weight gain. “At midlife, there are a lot of things changing in the body and in the life of a person,” Miki says. Cortisol, produced by the adrenal glands, is the hormone that responds to and increases with stress. Yo-yoing hormones during menopause can affect reactions to stress and cortisol production. Sleep disturbance also affects cortisol. This hormone triggers the production of glucose, Robin explains, so elevated cortisol over long periods can lead to increased blood sugar levels and weight gain. To get cortisol levels in balance, it’s important to introduce some stress relievers into your daily routines, Miki recommends. “There are all kinds of little hacks to work with the nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve,” she says. “Singing in the shower, deep breathing, mindfulness and meditation practices – it’s amazing how 10 minutes twice a day of sitting in silence and not focusing on what your mind is doing makes a huge difference continued on page 6

OTHER INFLUENCES ON MIDLIFE WEIGHT GAIN Weight gain at midlife can have multiple factors in addition to female hormones, Dr. Laura Robin of Rosa Transformational Health and Dr. Ajana Miki of Ashland Natural Medicine emphasize. Here are some signs it’s time to check in with your provider: • Any unexplained significant weight gain. • Constipation, dry skin, low energy, feeling cold and weight gain may be a sign your thyroid gland isn’t functioning well. The thyroid’s hormones have a strong influence on metabolism.

• Gut health can also be important in maintaining weight. Signs of an unhappy gut include stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn and food intolerances.

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HEALTH continued from page 5

for the nervous system. Lying down for five or 10 minutes during the day, even if not sleeping, signals the adrenal glands to take a break.”

Bioidentical hormone replacement Only recently in human history have women lived decades post-menopause, Robin points out, which means many years without estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to support the body. “So many studies provide evidence that estrogen can be protective for the heart, brain, eyes and bones,” she says. “We also become frail because of lost muscle mass.” In 2002, a large study on synthetic hormone replacement therapy found a link to a significantly higher risk of breast cancer. Since then, bioidentical hormones have become available, rather than the artificial or animal hormones used in the past. “These are exactly the same as the hormones our bodies make,” Robin says.

Miki said many patients find a lot of benefit with bioidentical hormone replacement. “If someone has a strong family history with dementia or osteoporosis, for example, I might encourage some bioidentical hormone therapy.”

Seeking information for midlife changes Both providers recommend getting a physical and blood work if it’s been more than a year since your last wellness check. Tests should include level checks for female hormones, thyroid and fasting insulin. Robin notes that not all medical providers have the same philosophy in testing or treating menopausal hormones. Different providers have different approaches, so it may be worth having a conversation at your wellness exam about how your provider views going through menopause gracefully. ■

STARTER METABOLISM BOOST FOR MIDLIFE Intermittent fasting: Giving the digestion system a break helps the body regulate blood sugar. There are several strategies for intermittent fasting. Miki suggests starting with 12 hours between eating and striving for 16 hours apart each day. Begin the day with exercise: Find a short (7-15 minutes), high-intensity fitness app that works all the muscle groups to get the body’s metabolism up and running. For women, look for exercises that emphasize glute and thigh muscles. If you are a beginner, you should consult with your provider to get the OK that this is right for you. Sit and breathe: Schedule 10 minutes a day to listen to calming music or the sounds around you. Strive for two sessions a day as you progress. Whenever you feel tense during the day, stop and take three breaths into the belly. (If you have an atypical level of stress and emotional disturbance, consider consulting a therapist to help.) Schedule more sleep: Set wake-up and bedtime limits to ensure you get seven hours of sleep. Reduce or cease the main calorie offenders: White sugar alcohol and excess carbohydrates top the list when it comes to empty calories. Shift your choices to healthy proteins, fats and fiber. Start with a three-week sugar or grain fast and see how you feel before adding back in moderate amounts.


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Taketo the


River For some paddling fun STORY BY AARON COOPER


f the coronavirus pandemic has kept you trapped inside your home more than normal this year, you’re not to blame for feeling the need to escape and cool off. But how can you best satisfy those needs? Head for the water.

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JoshuaBlu Gutierrez of Merlin paddles on Lake Selmac near Selma. Photo by Nick Soden. Here in Southern Oregon, there’s a bounty of opportunities to please rafters, kayakers, canoers and paddle boarders of every skill level and pursuit. And, they can help you remain (mostly) socially distant. If you’re new to paddling, we’re sharing good advice from two local experts to help you get started.

Getting equipped Emil “Butch” Merusi’s mother taught him to row a boat, and his father, an avid fisherman, taught him to paddle a canoe. So, it’s no surprise that Merusi, who lives in Gold Hill, made his career on the water, where he also spends most of his free time. He’s been a whitewater canoe instructor and professional raft guide, working both one-day and multiday rafting trips. “Go to a reputable outfitter and rent an inflatable kayak,” says Merusi. “Check to make sure they’ve been around for many years, have a reputation for renting good equipment, and reliable guides.” If you want to buy, “You should be able to continued on page 10 after sidebar


Butch Merusi of Gold Hill tackling rapids at Nugget Falls on the Rogue River. Photo by Jeff Wishard.

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FITNESS OTHER WATERCRAFT: CANOEING AND PADDLE BOARDING Canoeing is very different from rafting and kayaking. “It’s a whole different discipline, because they tend to capsize,” says Butch Merusi of Gold Hill, who has more than 60 years of whitewater experience. “Canoes are very fast and maneuverable, and you can take them to many different places where rafts can’t go.” With his canoeing partner, a border collie, Merusi loves to take his canoes to find little channels, eddies (quiet places on the water behind an obstacle where fish can stop and rest) and islands. Stand-up paddle boarding is ideal for big, flat stretches of river, but they’re not designed for use on any water that’s not either still or moving very slowly.

OREGON WATERWAY ACCESS PERMIT NOW REQUIRED Beginning August 1, use of most non-motorized watercraft in Oregon requires a new Oregon Waterway Access permit. The permit replaced the old Aquatic Invasive Species permit on January 1, but enforcement only started in August. The new permit applies to any craft 10 feet or longer -- which means most canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, non-motorized fishing vessels and small sailboats -- and will cost a bit more than the old one: $5 for one week, $17 per year or $30 for two years. The permits are widely available online and at retail locations. Check myodfw.com for the full list of licensed vendors.

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FITNESS continued from page 8

get a good beginner inflatable, paddles and personal flotation device for under $200,” he says. JoshuaBlu Gutierrez is a commercial river guide with Morrison’s Wilderness Adventures of Merlin. Growing up in Cave Junction, Gutierrez took up rafting on the Illinois River as a teen. “My first raft was a Sevylor Tahiti–the kind almost everybody used,” he says. “They’re easy to inflate and very portable, which works when you don’t have a truck.” Gutierrez also recommends considering a pack raft, which is a small, portable, single-person inflatable designed for backpackers.

First forays and safety Gutierrez recommends starting out on the flat surface of a lake. “It’s important to figure out how to maintain your balance and learn the basics of paddling. Flat water is best for that.” When teaching new paddlers, Gutierrez says he focuses on the basics, such as proper forward stroke technique, gripping the paddle and self-rescue. “The ability to get back into a boat or raft after being tossed out opens up all the possibilities,” he says. “When going hard, eventually you’ll get knocked from your craft, so knowing how to get back in is crucial.” Gutierrez lets some newbies swim through certain sections of the Rogue River. “Some sections are good for growing and learning, where they can get tossed out of their boat and actually swim through the rapids. It helps them learn to get comfortable in the water.” The key, he says, is to avoid panicking. “It can cause you to stop paddling, making the boat more susceptible to tipping over with the next wave or hole. It’s all about getting comfortable, learning to recognize a situation, and knowing what to do to get out of it.” Merusi adds that skill and common sense are required to play on the water. He often sees people lacking proper technique shooting rapids and getting ‘flushed-out’ downstream. “They may look like they’re having a good time, but they’re just barely hanging on, and that’s not safe.” Gutierrez adds, “Never go on a moving body of water if you’re brand-new to rafting, and never go

River guide JoshuaBlu Gutierrez demonstrates self-rescue techniques. Photo by Nick Soden

continued on page 11


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FITNESS out by yourself. Always go out with a friend.”

Further adventures When you’re ready to switch from lakes to rivers, Merusi recommends some of the best places to go. “On the Rogue, a stretch that I recommend highly is between Touvelle State Park to just above Gold Hill,” says Merusi. “Any place above Gold Hill is good, although the closer you get to the [William L. Jess] dam, the colder the water is.” He cautions that two Class IV rapids in Gold Hill—named Nugget and Powerhouse—require skill and experience to navigate safely. “On

anyone’s first trip on the Rogue, I urge them to scout those rapids,” he says. “As a guide, I would scout rapids two or three times before taking guests down.” Merusi, who says he loves the smell, sights and wildlife found on the water, offers one last bit of advice for those new to whitewater. “Try to find a local club,” he says, like Southern Oregon Kayakers (www.kayak.coosweb.com). “You’ll find others who started out the same way, and you can learn from them, borrow equipment and it makes life much easier. Through Facebook, “I can find people anywhere and get in on a trip almost any time.” ■

WATER GEAR Emil “Butch” Merusi of Gold Hill, a whitewater canoe instructor and professional raft guide, says to plan your gear for a day in your craft. He emphasizes the importance of sunscreen. “People don’t always realize that they’re getting hammered out there by the sun,” he says. He recommends the following supplies: • Sandals (not flip-flops) • Brimmed hat • Waterproof clothing bag • Long-sleeve shirt • Sunscreen • Drinking water • Simple first-aid kit • Snacks • Helmet for rafting anything that’s Class III or higher • Wet suit or dry suit, depending on weather

Photo by Nick Soden

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x e i l F ble and

Functional How KT tape works with the body to offer support and lessen pain STORY BY REBECCA SCOTT


f you have watched a volleyball game, bicycle race or other competitive sport, you’ve probably seen strips of tape covering athletes’ knees, backs and shoulders in an array of patterns. Those strips are KT tape — a brand of kinesiology tape — applied strategically to the body to reduce pain, improve performance and provide support. While these elastic strips may look unassuming, there is an expertise to knowing about their benefits and how to properly use them, according to local medical experts.


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NATURAL History and uses Dr. Kenzo Kase created kinesio tape in the late 1970s as an alternative to athletic tape, says Philip Whitmore, an orthopedic massage therapist and director of Siskiyou Massage in Ashland. “Instead of using stiff medical tape, Kase wanted something that mimicked the elasticity of human skin. So, he produced kinesio tape, which is made from a combination of cotton, spandex and adhesive. It gives support and offers function at the same time,” he explains. KT tape is used to treat pain and disabilities, including athletic injuries and other physical disorders, according to Jennifer Vaughn, a licensed massage therapist with Pro Spine & Sport in Central Point. “KT tape supports muscle injuries — everything from lower back pain to knee issues, shoulder injuries and more,” she says. When applied correctly, Vaughn explains KT tape lifts the skin from the tissues below it. “Everyone has

nerve receptors in their skin, as well as in the deep layers of the fascia, muscles and other connective tissues. When the tape is applied, it causes compression or decompression in these areas.” The list of reasons you might use KT tape is extensive, and some people would say you could use it for almost anything, according to Whitmore. “Generally, it’s used in five main systems of the body: skin and connective tissue, the circulatory system, lymphatic system, muscles and joints,” he adds. To specifically help with injuries, Vaughn says KT tape takes pressure off the body’s pain receptors and promotes blood flow, as well as supports muscles so they don’t overextend. “Additionally, KT tape has several preventative uses. Many athletes put tape on before endurance or strength training to help enhance overall performance and possibly prevent an injury,” she says.

WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT USE KINESIOLOGY TAPING While KT tape has several uses and benefits, Jennifer Vaughn and Philip Whitmore advise people to be aware of situations when you should not use it: • If you are on blood thinners or bruise easily • If you have kidney disease • On areas with sensitive skin, such as the armpits or behind the knees

continued on page 14

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continued from page 13

Creating support and function However, many people are unaware of how important it is that KT tape stretches, says Whitmore. “If you keep the tape stretched under 50% of its original length, it has a recoil effect and brings the tissue together. But if you stretch it past 50%, there’s no recoil and the tape stabilizes the area. A practitioner works with the stretch of the tape in order to help the patient achieve a specific goal,” he explains. Whitmore adds that the elasticity in KT tape can turn a muscle “on” or “off.” For example, he explains that if someone had surgery to repair an ACL, taping the quad with maximum tension brings muscle fibers together and causes a contraction to strengthen the muscles. “Alternatively, if a person is experiencing tightness in the calves, taping with limited tension can turn “off” the muscle so it continued on page 15



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NATURAL continued from page 14

Philip Whitmore, an orthopedic massage therapist and director of Siskiyou Massage in Ashland, demonstrates applying tape to a patient. Photo provided by Siskiyou Massage.

doesn’t receive pain signals.” Kinesiology tape provides numerous benefits, Vaughn says. “KT tape can lessen pain, reduce swelling and bruising, support the lymphatic system, retrain muscles for postural support and support weak spots in the body,” she explains, noting KT tape is also water resistant and latex-free. However, Whitmore says KT tape isn’t supposed to replace the body functioning on its own. “You want the tape to help the body to function for two to three days. When the tape comes off, the goal is for the body to keep functioning correctly now that it has been properly supported with the tape. Whether one round is enough, or you need to get taped again, it should be removed for a few days in between applications so the skin can breathe.”

Providing support Whitmore and Vaughn agree you should have kinesiology tape initially applied by a professional. “A practitioner can show you how to place the tape correctly without causing harm to the body, muscles, skin or tissues,” says Vaughn. ■

“Everyone has nerve receptors in their skin, as well as in the deep layers of the fascia, muscles and other connective tissues. When tape is applied, it causes compression or decompression in these areas.”

Jennifer Vaughn Pro Spine & Sport, Central Point

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This Little Piggy With the proper care, guinea pigs can be an endearing home companion


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hile these cute little fur babies may seem ideal for a child’s first pet, guinea pig enthusiasts admit they may require more time and effort than youngsters are able to deliver. As with any pet, they are totally dependent on us for their welfare, so before falling in love with a pocket-sized pig, find out what it takes to be a good pet parent.


Sam’s Valley resident Dalton Grieve, 11, with his pet and 4-H project, Teddy the guinea pig. Photo by Denise Baratta.

Choosing a compatible companion “Guinea pigs have personalities just like we do,” says Sami Wyatt, who manages the small animal department at the Grange Co-op in Central Point. “Some are reserved and shy and prefer minimal interactions, while others are cuddly and social. They are happiest with a companion, preferably in same gendered pairs unless at least one of the pair has been altered.” Look for a guinea pig that is young and seems friendly with others, advises Dr. Glen Winters, a local veterinarian who treats a variety of exotic pets in his practice at Phoenix Animal Hospital

in Medford. “An adult guinea pig that has been in a caged environment too long might not be well socialized. One that isolates itself could be sick or unsocialized and may not make a great pet. You want one with a nice coat, bright eyes, no nasal or ocular discharge, and moves freely about its enclosure.” Expect to pay between $38 and $45 if you purchase your cavy at a pet store. At the Grange Co-op, Wyatt says, “We purchase from reputable local breeders. We also have many 4-H and FFA members who raise guinea pigs, and Jackson County Animal Shelter will continued on page 18

“Guinea pigs have personalities just like we do.”

Sami Wyatt Grange Co-op, Central Point

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PETS continued from page 17

occasionally have guinea pigs for adoption.”

Providing a happy habitat The minimum space for one or two cavies is 8 square feet, but Wyatt says bigger is always better. Cages should have a flat, solid bottom with no wire, which can harm their feet. Paper bedding works well for absorption and odor control and is healthier for their respiratory tracts than some wood shavings, which, if used, must be pet-safe. Never use cedar shavings of any kind, says Wyatt. Within the cage, guinea pigs also need one or two places to hide, because as prey animals, it can be stressful for them to be out in the open all the time. Pet parents must keep cages clean and dry every day, Wyatt says. Hydration is very important for cavies, she adds. “It’s always a great idea to offer a 24- to 36-ounce water bottle and a water dish, as some animals will drink up to 20% more water when offered both.” As a general guide for a healthy diet, Wyatt suggests 70% grass hay, 20% fortified pellets, 8% leafy greens and 2% treats. Grass hay,

which is important for digestive health and for keeping teeth at the proper length, should be available to guinea pigs at all times. And since guinea pigs cannot produce their own vitamin C, she advises feeding fresh vegetables and a guinea pig-specific vitamin C supplement in order to prevent scurvy. Winters recommends trying to mimic a guinea pig’s natural environment for length of natural daylight, humidity and temperature. “That is what their bodies were designed for,” he says.

Sawyer Grieve, 7, and her pet guinea pig, Ruby. Photo by Denise Baratta. Keeping cavies by other animals in the house. consistency of feces and urine, grindsafe and healthy The most common health issues, Winters states, are urinary bladder stones, respiratory disease, dental disease, scurvy and trauma caused by being stepped on, dropped or attacked

Be observant, Winters says, and watch for any changes from daily routine. “Not eating or drinking, hiding, not producing the same amount of feces and urine or a change in

ing teeth, which can mean stress or illness, and lethargy. Once an animal shows these signs, it has been sick longer than the owner believes and continued on page 19

Dalton and Sawyer Grieve are members of the Hop to it GEMS 4-H Club in Jackson County. Their mom, Kristy Grieve, is the local superintendent for the Jackson County cavy project. In this cavy project, participants breed and show their stock in 4-H shows. Photo by Denise Baratta.


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PETS should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.” Be aware that not all small animal vets will see “exotic” animals, especially in emergency situations. Cavies require periodic nail trims, since kept as pets, they are unable to wear them down naturally, says Winters. They also need their teeth checked because rodent teeth grow continuously and if not fed the correct diet, they can become overgrown and cause eating problems. “A guinea pig’s longevity is directly related to how well it is taken care of,” Winters says. “They can live as long as 7-10 years old on average, but because of inadequate care, often I see them sick and dying by 5 or 6 years of age.”

Mindful care of cavies As pets for youngsters, Wyatt feels guinea pigs are generally a safer option than a rabbit or other small animals. “The appropriate age depends on the maturity of the child and how involved the parents are in the care of the animal,” she says. In her view, 8 years old or older is a good age for guinea pig ownership. “The more a person can read and educate themselves on the care of guinea pigs, the better they will do,” advises Winters. “Guinea pigs do require some special care, and if met, they make great pets.” ■



The domestic guinea pig, or cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. They originated in the Andes in South America. European traders introduced cavies to Europe and North America back in the 16th century. It is believed that “guinea” comes from sailors selling them for a guinea, an old British gold coin, and “pig” comes from the squeaking noises they make, similar to baby piglets.


For generations, people used guinea pigs in folk medicine, religious ceremonies and as a food source. During the 17th century, guinea pigs were commonly used for biological experimentation, which may explain why we refer to the first one to try something new as a “guinea pig.”

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There are 13 recognized breeds in America, but locally, Wyatt says the most common are Abyssinians (Abby’s), American, Teddy and White-Crested. Learn more about these and other breeds through the American Cavy Breeders Association (acbaonline.com).


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Pump Up and Push Through

Pushup variations build upper body strength STORY BY CHERYL P. ROSE



hese variations kick up the challenge level over the classic pushup. Ben Taucher, the club manager of Anytime Fitness in Central Point, offers these suggestions and tips to try variations on this classic fitness exercise. Beginners should master the classic pushup form before moving on to these more advanced variations. Once you’re ready, aim for 10 of one of these pushup variations at once. People with more advanced skills should try to do 10 of each move.

Decline Pushup This more challenging variation builds strong chest muscles and emphasizes the shoulders. By raising your feet, you’ll be lifting 75% of your body weight. How to do it: Assume the classic pushup pose with your hands on the floor, but with your toes on a step or a box. Lower your chest to the floor and press back up.

FORM TIP: It’s especially easy on this one to let your hips sag downward, so focus on keeping your body straight.


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Shoulder Pushup Most variations of pushups emphasize working the chest muscles. This version targets the shoulders, which as a unit, have eight muscles connecting three bones and protecting the shoulder joints. How to do it: Assume the classic pushup pose, but point your fingers toward each other, with your elbows out. Now, walk your feet forward a few steps until you are in a pike position, with your legs aimed at a 45° angle upward and your torso aimed at a 45° angle downward. Bend your elbows and lower your forehead to your hands, then push back up.

FORM TIP: Keep your waist bent, but your legs and your back straight.

continued on page 22

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FITNESS continued from page 21

One-Arm Pushup Using this variation engages a lot more muscles to help your stability than the classic two-arm version. It also ensures each of your arms is as strong as the other. Taucher says it’s also fun to have a moment of feeling like fictional prizefighter Rocky Balboa of movie fame. How to do it: Place one hand on the floor directly underneath the center of your chest, and the other hand behind your back. Widen your feet or knees as far apart as needed to maintain balance. Lower your chest to your hand and press back up again. Then repeat on your other side. ■

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FORM TIP: In order to reduce pressure on your wrist, slightly rotate your hand toward your opposite side as you lower your chest to the floor.

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5 ways to enjoy abundant zucchini and summer squash RECIPES AND PHOTOS BY TESSA DELINE


f you find it challenging to get those daily fruit and vegetable requirements met, experiment with sneaking in zucchini or summer squash to fortify a dish or put the gourd front and center. From salad to dessert, here are five ways you can integrate this low-cal vegetable into tasty summer dishes.

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GRILLED SUMMER SQUASH BOWL with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

This is a wonderful use of extra grilled summer squash. When packing for a healthy lunch, add the vinaigrette right before serving in order to prevent wilting of the lettuce.

D I R E C T I O N S In a large soup bowl, add summer squash, quinoa, farro, tomatoes, lettuce and fresh basil leaves on top of lettuce leaf. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

I N G R E D I E N T S 1 cup grilled summer squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces 1/2 cup cooked quinoa 1/2 cup cooked farro • Handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes • Fresh basil leaves 2 or 3 lettuce leaves (torn in desired sizes)Save one leaf for plating 2 tablespoons Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (recipe following) or to taste

T I P Make the quinoa and farro ahead of time in order to make assembling the bowls much quicker. The cooked quinoa and farro can also be frozen until you’re ready to use. Experiment with other grains, such as wheat berries, brown rice, amaranth or barley. Another time saver is using your favorite store-bought vinaigrette instead of the homemade lemon basil recipe.

S E R V I N G S 1

Lemon Basil Vinaigrette I N G R E D I E N T S 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced 2 tablespoons onion or shallots, finely minced 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste

D I R E C T I O N S Add all ingredients to screw-top pint jar. Shake well. Keep refrigerated.

S E R V I N G S 1/3 cup


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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD I N G R E D I E N T S 1 1/2 1 1/2 1/2 3/4 3/4 1/4 3/4 2 1/4 1/4 1 1

cups zucchini, shredded cup all-purpose flour cup extra dark cocoa cup granulated sugar teaspoon baking soda teaspoon baking powder teasppon salt cup dark chocolate chips eggs cup canola oil cup vanilla- or honey-flavored Greek yogurt teaspoon chocolate extract vanilla extract

S E R V I N G S 1 loaf

This easy-to-make, chocolatey quick bread is reminiscent of a cakelike brownie. Three different chocolate ingredients increase the level of chocolatey goodness. Adding Greek yogurt cuts calories, and dark chocolate is a heart-healthy ingredient. A great recipe to hide that overabundance of zucchini that so many backyard gardeners have.

D I R E C T I O N S Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the zucchini, eggs, oil, yogurt and chocolate extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spray a 4-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Add zucchini mixture and spread evenly in pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Remove from the oven. Let cool on a rack and then serve.

continued on page 26

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I N G R E D I E N T S 1 1/4 pound grated zucchini or summer squash (unpeeled) 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 teaspoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1 egg (beaten) 1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce

T I P Be sure to gently squeeze as much liquid out of the squash as you can before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Too much moisture will likely cause your “meatballs” to fall apart.

S E R V I N G S 14 “meatballs”

Summer squash “meatballs” are a wonderful vegetarian alternative to real meatballs in your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce. They have a meatballlike texture, and it is hard to tell the difference. Baked “meatballs” can be frozen, reheated and served at a later date. Recipe lightly adapted by Skinny Taste.

D I R E C T I O N S Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a nonstick skillet, add olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and squash. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until squash is cooked and oil is absorbed. Add mixture to a sieve or strainer and gently squeeze remaining moisture out. Add panko, eggs, cheese, oregano, marjoram, white pepper and squash mixture to a medium sized bowl. Mix well. Form into 14 balls using a #40 cookie scoop. If you don’t have a scoop, use your clean hands to roll into round balls. (The size should be a bit smaller than a golf ball.) Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 22–25 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, heat up marinara in large saucepan. When “meatballs” are done, add to marinara and toss gently to coat. Serve “meatballs” over cooked pasta or in “meatball” sandwiches.


• • •

• •


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Zucchini and summer squash are very versatile ingredients. They can be prepared by grilling, boiling, baking, pureeing, stuffing, dehydrating, frying, sautéing and so many other ways. Zucchini and summer squash originated in Central and South America. Zucchini and summer squash are technically fruits and not vegetables. Zucchini and summer squash are easy to grow and are known for being extremely prolific. Zucchini and summer squash are low in calories, high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, high in vitamin A, and known to aid in digestion and lower blood sugar levels. Zucchini has more potassium than a banana. Zucchini and summer squash taste best when picked young; the larger the zucchini, the less flavor it will have. One zucchini has about 25 calories. (A potato has about 130 calories.)


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GRILLED SUMMER SQUASH You can make this easy squash side dish outdoors on the grill or on the top of your indoor stove using a grill pan. Any leftovers can be added to soups, salads, sauces, pasta and even scrambled eggs. It takes only about 10-15 minutes to make, and you can be creative with the flavors that you apply. The key to successful grilling is clean, hot and oiled grates. Be sure to slice the squash equally for even cooking. You can slice the squash vertically or horizontally, based on preference. Horizontal slices are less likely to fall through the barbecue grates. If you think that your knife skills need work, try using a mandolin for consistent results.




1 pound zucchini or summer squash 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon green onion powder* (dried basil or parsley works well too) • Salt and pepper to taste

Green onion powder can be found online, or you can make it yourself. Just wash and dry scallions, cut off the green tops (reserve the white parts for other dishes), place in a food dehydrator or low temperature oven until dried. Add the dried onion to the food processor and blend until a fine powder forms (or desired coarseness). Store in a tightly covered container. The dried powder works well in a number of recipes and has a mild oniony, grassy flavor.

D I R E C T I O N S Preheat your barbecue or grill pan to medium high heat. Lightly oil the grates. Wash and dry squash. Slice into Âź-inch slices. Lightly brush squash with olive oil. Sprinkle with green onion powder, salt and pepper. Place on grill, cover and cook for about 1-3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill with tongs. Place on plate and serve.

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S E R V I N G S 4



Skinny On

Sweeteners Choosing natural sugars can have health benefits STORY BY SARAH LEMON



Hawaiian vacation gave Sherry Bowman-Harkness a glimpse at sugar cane’s transformation into ubiquitous food.

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Huckleberry Scone (Sweetener: Coconut Sugar) continued from page 29

The sugar factory, recalls Harkness of the tour taken when she was a teenager, was dirty, infested with vermin and indifferently managed. The realization that so many consumer products flowed from open vats of impure sugar slurry, she says, significantly altered her diet.

farmers markets and independent grocers. Bright Star’s wildly popular sweet potato brownies are enhanced only with applesauce and dates, says Gaudioso. “It’s just all whole food.” Gaudioso and Harkness agree that fruits are chock-full of sweetening potential for people who can digest fructose. Gaudioso makes her own date syrup by boiling down the water she uses to soak dates for rehydrating and incorporating into baked goods. She also favors maple syrup over agave syrup, which is highly refined, and honey, whose flavor overpowers other ingredients. Occasionally, she uses molasses.

“I didn’t eat sugar for years,” she says. Harkness instead experimented with natural, whole-food substitutes for cane sugar while pursuing a doctorate degree in natural health and certifications in herbal medicine and nutrition. Her Harkness Wellness in Rogue River counsels clients across the country for conditions ranging from allergies and obesity to cancer and kidney failure. “Chemicals create a lot of our illnesses,” she says of synthetic additives widely used in processed foods. For clients who know their health is failing, Harkness prescribes a monthlong regimen of no processed foods, no grains and no dairy. Any sweeteners must originate from natural foods, including coconuts, dates and even mashed and pureed fruits, such as bananas and applesauce. And she coaches clients to carefully read labels for


“I noticed a lot of people were asking for cane sugar-free stuff,” says Laura Gaudioso, whose Bright Star Bakery in Talent specializes in vegan and gluten-free treats, as well as goods suitable for paleo and keto dieters.

Coconut sugar, say Gaudioso and Harkness, is the easiest substitute — in equal quantity — for cane sugar. For low-carbohydrate recipes that don’t elevate blood sugar, both women cite monk fruit powder, which is most commonly packaged in a blend with the sugar alcohol erythritol for baking. Unlike stevia, also recommended for its low glycemic index, monk fruit doesn’t have a distinctive aftertaste.

Years of recipe development, before Gaudioso’s 2018 arrival in Southern Oregon, yielded cookies, muffins, granola and scones for sale at local

“It works well for diabetics,” says Harkness. “It’s a good alternative for people who know they have to get healthier.” continued on page 31

Pumpkin Pies (Sweetener: Crust: Coconut Sugar, Filling: Maple Syrup) anything they put in their bodies. “It’s in your medicine; it’s in your toothpaste,” she says of refined and synthetic sugars. Sugar exists in nature in many forms. Common types are derived from tree sap and fruit pulp, from some grains and even floral nectar that bees masticate into honey. For all of cane sugar’s popularity, particularly as an alternative to high-fructose corn syrup, there are more than

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a dozen other, all-natural choices.

FOOD TRY THESE SWEET ALTERNATIVES TO SUGAR CANE Agave nectar: Produced from the juice of the core of the agave, a plant native to Mexico, it contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, but has a higher calorie count than sugar (60 calories per tablespoon versus 46 calories per tablespoon, respectively). It remains controversial in nutrition circles for its high fructose content — much higher than high-fructose corn syrup, linked to weight gain, high triglycerides, heart disease and insulin resistance. Claims of low glycemic index because of agave’s low glucose content still are being evaluated. Brown rice syrup: Combined with sprouted rice or barley, cooked brown rice yields this sweet liquid that contains about 13 calories per teaspoon and is less sweet than sugar. The syrup breaks down relatively slowly, providing more of a time-release energy flow than sugar does and contains some magnesium, manganese and zinc. Coconut sugar: Made from coconut palm sap, this sugar is high in potassium, iron, antioxidants and calcium. (This is not “palm sugar,” which is from a different type of palm tree.) Coconut sugar has a low-glycemic index and also is considered a raw food. It can be substituted in the same quantity for cane sugar. Date sugar: This sweetener is an extract of dried dates. It contains some essential minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and selenium. You can also find or make date syrup.

Chocolate Almond Chip Keto Cookie (Sweetener: Monk fruit and eryithrol)

Maple syrup: From the sap of maple trees, it is filtered and boiled down to an extremely sweet syrup that contains fewer calories and a higher concentration of minerals (like manganese and zinc) than honey. “Maple-flavored,” imitation syrups are primarily made of corn syrup, sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. Monk fruit: Also known as Lo Han or Swingle, this small, round fruit native to southern China has zero calories. In Eastern medicine, the monk fruit is used as a cold and digestive aid and is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia: Made from the leaves of stevia plants, related to sunflowers, it has zero calories and zero carbohydrates. Some people do not like the aftertaste of stevia, which is more than 200 times as sweet as sugar, so use it sparingly. The American Diabetes Association includes Stevia as one of the top sugar substitutes recommended for people following a ketogenic diet. ■

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Retina Care Center welcomes Rocio Diaz, MD Dr. Rocio Diaz joins Retina Care Center in providing exceptional care and state-of-the-art treatment of diseases of the retina, macula and vitreous. Dr. Diaz obtained her medical degree at the University of Panama, becoming the first M.D. in her family. After completing a 2-year internship in her home country, she moved to Memphis, TN to work as a research fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Charles and Dr. Jorge Calzada at the Charles Retina Institute. Following her work as a research fellow, Dr. Diaz completed her Ophthalmology residency at the Hamilton Eye Institute, Memphis, TN before completing a 2-year Retina fellowship at the Truhlsen Eye Institute in Omaha, NE. Jeffrey Rinkoff MD, Adam AufderHeide MD PhD, Rocio Diaz, MD – Physicians & Surgeons Offices in Medford, Grants Pass & Mt. Shasta retinacarecenter.org 541 842 2020 800 770 1092 toll free

¿Hablas Español? Dr. Diaz speaks fluent Spanish. MF-00130036


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