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When life gives you lemons, don't stop with lemonade
By Carol LeBeau
6/24/2013 12:37:01 AM


Pucker up and enjoy the health benefits of the lowly lemon!

Most married couples fight over things such as finances, how to raise the kids and control of the TV remote. Not Tom and me. No sir. We argue about lemons.

My love of lemons has caused a scene in plenty of restaurants. It starts as soon as the server delivers the water. Tom begins to squirm and I make my request for lemon slices – as many as he or she can carry or is allowed to give out without getting fired. And it’s not just water. I go for lotsa lemon in hot tea, iced tea, Pelligrino, tonic water, diet Coke and yes…lemonade.

I know my lemon obsession drives poor Tom crazy. (He winds up having to tip extra for the hassle!) But I can’t help myself. I love lemons.

From lemon drops to lemon bars, my love affair with lemons actually began in childhood. I was the only kid on the block who could peel a lemon and eat it just like an orange! Talk about sour power! Instead of cake, my Mom would bake me a birthday lemon meringue pie. You get the picture.

So when a friend sent me one of those e-mail forwards about the near miraculous health powers of lemons, not only was I intrigued, I felt vindicated. According to the blog, the lowly lemon could reverse the aging process, cure cancer and more!

There was just one problem. With no real science to back up the outlandish claims, it just didn’t pass the smell test. After clicking “delete,” I went online to some reputable health websites and got the real low-down on the lowly lemon.

Turns out, a little lemon can go a long way to improving your health! In fact, many health benefits from the sour citrus fruit have been known for centuries. Lemons have strong antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting powers and are used as a weight loss aid because lemon juice cleans the liver and aids in digestion.

Lemons contain many substances notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin and limonene – all of which promote immunity and fight infection.

I was fascinated to learn that lemons actually help balance your pH level. Though acidic to the taste, lemons are alkaline-forming on the body. (That explains why I’m sensitive to OJ…but lemon juice is no problem!)

The citric acid in lemons can also help eliminate calcium deposits in the arteries as well as pancreatic and kidney stones.

While green juices and fresh smoothies should still feature in your daily diet, the real super beverage may just be water with freshly squeezed lemon. And it’s so easy. At home. At your favorite eatery. Pull out your pucker face and pop a few lemon wedges in your drink. (Just don’t let Tom catch you pestering your server!)

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Sunscreen Solutions
By Carol LeBeau
6/17/2013 2:06:36 PM


Thanks to the Food and Drug Administration and San Diego Union-Tribune journalist R.J. Ignelzi, I finally have clarity on one of the mysteries of the Universe.


Armed with the FDA’s revised labeling and R.J.’s recent article which clearly explains the new rules, I can now boldly and confidently approach the sunscreen display at my neighborhood Rite Aid.

For years I have stared stupidly at the convoluted descriptions on literally scores of different sunscreen products…trying to make a choice often leaving the store empty-handed. SPF 30 or broad spectrum? Anti-aging or UV-B protection? Or UV-A? I don’t know. Waterproof or water resistant? Lotion or spray? It was enough to make me want to stay indoors!

No more! This summer I’m ready to take on Banana Boat, Coppertone or any other sunscreen product that even attempts to intimidate me!

If you haven’t yet loaded up on this summer’s supply of sunscreen, have no fear. A few simple changes on your favorite sunscreen labels will make it a whole lot easier to make the right sunscreen choice for you and your family.

R.J’s informative article in the “Health” section of the U-T, reporting on the government’s revised and updated labeling, cuts through the bureaucratic blather so all you have to do is lather on the sunscreen – confident you’re protected from the sun’s damaging rays.

Here’s what to look for on sunscreen labels now:

SPF value better defined:
The new labeling now tells consumers that sunscreen labeled as SPF 15 (or higher) and “broad spectrum” (see below) not only protect against sunburn, but, if used with other sun protection measures, can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

Any sunscreen that has an SPF value between 2 and 14 must now carry a warning: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”

No more super SPFs
Sunscreen products that have SPF values higher than 50 must now be labeled as “SPF 50+.”

According to the FDA, SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of harmful rays. “Any produce with an SPF value of 50 or higher adds little additional protection.”

Broad spectrum
Under the new regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage are labeled “broad spectrum” on the front of the package.

The FDA now has a standard test for over-the-counter sunscreen products that determines which are allowed to be called “broad spectrum.” Products that pass this test will provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation. Sunburn is caused primarily by UVB. Both can cause sunburn, skin cancer and premature skin aging. By contrast, any sunscreen not labeled “broad spectrum” must state on the label that the product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn – not skin cancer.

Water resistance claims
Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweat proof.” Instead they may label products as “water resistant,” but must say how much time a user can expect to be protected while swimming or sweating. Based on standard testing, two times are now permitted on labels: 40 or 80 minutes.

No immediate protection
Sunscreen cannot claim protection immediately on application (for example, “instant protection.”] or protection for more than two hours without reapplication, unless they get FDA approval.

No more sun blocks
Since no sunscreen product completely blocks all UV rays, manufacturers cannot use the term “sun block.”

Thanks R.J. Thanks FDA.

Now, be strong and courageous! Consider yourself armed as you take on the sunscreen display this summer and choose the sun protection product that’s just right for you!

See you at the beach!

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.

Coronado's Fabulous Flowers
By Carol LeBeau
6/10/2013 3:46:07 PM


Do you love lilies, lilac and lavender? Are you fond of fresia, foxgloves and fuchsia? If sunflowers and snapdragons make you smile and pots of pansies and peonies bring you joy, then you simply must plan a trip to Coronado soon!

April showers brought May flowers to the Crown City – a community that takes its tulips and trumpet vine seriously. In anticipation of the popular Coronado Flower show last month, fierce competition got underway in the Nado neighborhoods…homes, businesses, entire streets all vying for a coveted blue ribbon.

The annual tradition has its detractors, especially those homeowners awarded less than they think they deserve. But for the rest of us, the race for the roses and ranunculus is the perfect opportunity for a walk, drive or bike ride through some of the most breathtaking displays of daffodils, daisies and dahlias I’ve ever seen!

With my friends Pat and Susan – both flower fans with gobs of gardening experience - we combed the streets of the island community on foot admiring the magnolias and morning glories along Margarita, the gladiolas and gerberas on Glorietta and petunias and plumeria as we plodded up Pomona! No artist’s palette could compare with the bursts of color at every turn.

For the record, I was born with a brown thumb. My homage to gardening includes two small clay pots on my bedroom balcony into which I plant and attempt to keep alive several red geranium plants. My friends, on the other hand, actually know the Latin derivation for every flower, bush, vine and succulent.

But you don’t have to be a master gardener to appreciate the color, symmetry and unique design of each landscaped home and business. Simple or elaborate, the 120 volunteer judges roaming the neighborhoods award ribbons based on first impression, tidiness and overall care and health of the garden.

The 86-year-old tradition culminated with the famous Flower Show several weeks ago, but there’s still time to take a gander at the gardenias yourself. And unlike a gallery or museum, this artistic display is free of charge!

Trust me, it’s worth a trip across the bridge.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.

Loren Nancarrow: Beating brain cancer with a smile
By Carol LeBeau
6/3/2013 2:14:55 PM

Loren Nancarrow is battling a brain tumor.  You may already be aware of the sad news because the popular Fox 5 News Anchor made the announcement himself in his blog posted February 13, 2013.  “The reason I haven’t been in my anchor chair for the past few weeks,” Loren explained, “is because I have brain cancer.”

Loren is a friend and former colleague.  I was blessed to work with him for many years at 10 News where he would greet me each day with a big smile and a cheery, “Hi, Miss Carol!”

But friendship with Loren is something I share with thousands of other San Diegans who have known and watched him over the years as he has covered everything from devastating wildfires and environmental disasters to the weather, home remedies and gardening tips. 

Like many of you, my heart hurts for Loren and his family as they go through the difficult and emotionally draining process of cancer surgery and treatments.   But leave it to Loren to make things easy for those of us who care about him by putting a positive spin on what would turn a lesser man to despair.

After giving thanks following surgery for the return of his speech, Loren blogged,

“The doctors tell me I have between one and three years to live. So, boo-hoo, poor me.”

But the affable newsman didn’t stop there. “Oh yeah,” Loren continued. “I forgot to mention – I’m gonna beat this thing!”

I just read a short piece Loren recently wrote for San Diego Magazine that captured the essence of Loren’s take on his situation…both charming and courageous.   It made me smile and I thought it might be an encouragement to you especially if you’re facing a major trial.

And please keep our friend, Loren and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

When Life Gives You Lemons

Posted on March 25, 2013 by Loren Nancarrow

My favorite news photographer likes to tell me I can do anything with a couple of lemons. Need to keep an avocado fresh? Squirt a little lemon juice on it before you put it in the fridge. Wanna clean some copper? A squeeze of lemon helps out. Well, life recently handed me a whole bushel of lemons.

Ironically, on January 31, I had surgery to remove a lemon-sized cancerous brain tumor. I couldn’t find much use for that particular lemon. I’ve spent the last several weeks wishing this phase of my life could be as simple as coming up with one of my do-it-yourself remedies. Got a tumor? Baking soda and white vinegar should clear that puppy up. The reality is it will take a neurosurgeon’s knife, an oncologist’s concoction, and a radiologist’s isotopes to do the trick this time.

Following the surgery, I thought it might be fun to get my nails painted a Milk-of-Magnesia-bottle-blue. There’s no deep explanation for this; it just struck me as a soothing color. What I hadn’t anticipated was that suddenly hundreds of friends, neighbors, and coworkers joined in the cobalt blue movement by sending in photos of them with blue nails. It was a show of support I had not expected and it still chokes me up.

I don’t know how this chapter of my life will end. I’m hopeful and I’m treating it much as I’ve treated other challenges in my life – with hard work where it’s needed and plenty of jokes where they’re not.

By the way, if you’ve been part of the cobalt blue movement you may have noticed that blue polish can discolor your nail beds. Guess what? A little lemon juice soak will clear that up quite nicely.

Go figure.


Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.


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