Monday, July 28, 2014

Will Eating More Vegetables Cause You to Gain Weight?

by Nadine Sigle, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Whoa! I thought eating more vegetables was supposed to be good for you. Recently I read a new report by the USDA called, “Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep.” The results really surprised me, but after reading the report, I totally agree with what they are saying.

In short, the report said that eating more fruit is associated with healthier weight but that Americans who eat more vegetables may actually increase their calorie and sodium intake. What?? Vegetables are naturally low in calories and sodium.

What’s happening is that when many Americans eat vegetables they prepare them in ways that add calories and sodium while reducing fiber. As a result, if your vegetables are prepared in this manner you will also get more fat, sodium and calories.


Potatoes are a really good example. A plain baked potato with skin is naturally high in fiber and low in calories. But is that how we eat it? We ladle on the butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits and chili. Then think about mashed potatoes. Growing up, we only added a little butter, milk and salt. Today, popular recipes include sour cream, butter, cream cheese, garlic salt and chicken broth. They taste great, but it’s a heart attack in the making.


Raw vegetables were a staple in my house as a kid. We always had celery and carrots and lots of times lettuce and cabbage. During the summer, cucumbers and tomatoes were also offered at almost every lunch and supper. We ate them plain and didn’t know any different. Today, dips and dressings are very popular and the addition of them makes a very attractive relish tray or salad. Unfortunately, the base of many of these dips and dressings are either cream cheese or sour cream. Ouch! There come the calories, fat and sodium.

And we’ve all heard how good cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) are for you. I have to confess, my favorite way to eat broccoli is with a cheese sauce. When I make the cheese sauce I do try to reduce the calories and fat by using low fat milk.

In reality, most of us need to eat more vegetables than we do to get the nutrients and fiber they provide. Try to increase the variety of vegetables and range of colors you eat. Limit the added ingredients and keep processing to a minimum. To enhance flavor, try seasoning with herbs and spices.

We can improve the company vegetables keep! And in doing so we will be giving ourselves a health boost.

Friday, July 25, 2014

End of Life Decisions

by Kathy Lupfer Nielsen, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

I recently attended the Positive Aging Day sponsored by the Sedgwick County Extension Service along with several other agencies. A session provided by TROOP Wichita, was of special interest to me. I had not heard of Transportable Physician Orders for Patient Preferences.

While this is currently available in Kansas City area as well as Wichita/Sedgwick County, it is something to know about and to ask your physician about when making these decisions. TROOP Wichita is based on the belief that all individuals have the right and responsibility to make their own health care decisions. It is designed to improve the quality of care people receive at the end of life by translating their treatment goals and preferences into their medical orders. It can clarify a patient’s intentions for treatment and minimize confusion regarding a person’s care preferences.

TROOP is modeled on the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm which was developed in the 1990s and is one of 30 such efforts underway nationally.

This form complements the Advanced Directive and isn’t intended to replace it. An advanced directive is necessary to appoint a legal health care representative and provide instructions for future life-sustaining treatments. An Advanced Directive is recommended for all adults, regardless of their health status.

Difference between the Advanced Direction and the TROOP or POLST (as it is called in other states)

Advanced directive:

  • For anyone 18 and older
  • Provide instructions for future treatment
  • Appoints a Health Care Representative
  • Does not guide Emergency Medical Personnel
  • Guides inpatient treatment decisions when make available.

TROOP/POLST (Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment Paradigm):

  • For persons with serious illness-at any age
  • Provides medical orders for current treatment
  • Guides actions by Emergency Medical Personnel when made available
  • Guides inpatient treatment decisions when made available.

This form is recommended for individuals with advanced, chronic, progressive or terminal illness or for any individuals who wish to further define their treatment preferences for end of life care beyond the advance directive. It is to accompany the patient when transferred to home or new care facilities.

Carolyn suggested that we all Google end of life videos to learn more about these issues. One statement she made that really stuck with me was “just because lots can be done medically for you, should it?” That is for you, the patient, your health care agent and physician to discuss. Not an easy conversation to have with your family or maybe even your doctor. A book she recommended was “Talking about Death Won’t Kill You” by Virginia Morrison. For more information on this contact the Wichita Medical Research and Education Foundation at 316-686-7172 or

Monday, July 14, 2014

Highway Time: A time to grow and learn with your family

by Nora Rhoades, Family and Youth Development Agent


Bouncing from one activity to the next finds families on the road traveling to ball games, camp, vacation, and more. Don’t let those highway miles become a bore. Road trips –short or long– can be a great opportunity to get back to the basics of learning while family memories are made.

Here’s some gadget-free ideas that will help keep minds learning, loved ones communicating, and time passing with enjoyment.

Creative Questions – Come up with unique questions and brainstorm answers. Exploring different responses will help your child use their imagination and think about things from many perspectives. (i.e. What does autumn sound like? What does the letter “R” smell like? What do rocks think about? What shape is happiness? What sound does the color blue make?)

Spelling Bee – Bring along a dictionary and challenge each other to spell words correctly. You can mix things up by reading the definition and guessing the word that is being described.

Group Storytelling – Create a story together by having one person start by saying a few sentences. The next person continues the story where the first person stopped and so on. Keep it up until the story is fully told and everyone has had a turn.

Good Times – Select a topic and have each person describe their favorite moment (i.e. vacation, experience at school, holiday memory). Describe the best part or sight. What did it smell, feel, sound, taste, and look like?

Who is it? – Everyone writes something about themselves on a piece of paper that they think no one else knows. Put the papers into a hat. Pull and read the papers one at a time. Try to guess who the paper is about. Younger kids can have an adult help them write down their ideas.

Treasure Bottle – Before going on your trip, fill a recycled bottle or jar with uncooked rice or birdseed until it is 2/3 full. Add 20 or more small objects (i.e. safety pin, paper clip, bolt, penny, bead, lego, button). Make a list of the items and challenge passengers to find all of the objects without opening the container.

The ABC Game – Search for letters on signs (road markers, restaurants, etc…) that are outside the vehicle. The letter can be anywhere on the sign, but you have to find letters in alphabetical order.

Five Finger Facts – Take turns sharing five facts about things you like about yourself. (i.e. something you do well physically, something you like about the way you look, something you like about your personality, things you like to eat, things you like to do, etc...) Use your fingers to keep track of how many have been shared.

The Name Game – Choose a category (example: “animals”). Start with saying an animal (“snake”). The next person has to share an animal that starts with the last letter of the previous one (“elephant”). Try not to repeat any animals and see how long you can play without getting stumped! Other fun categories are: names, states, countries, fruit, etc…  

Counting Categories – Choose a category (i.e. type of vehicle, windmills, cemeteries) that your family will watch for outside the vehicle. Split into teams or play as individuals while you keep score of who can find the most along the way. A variation of this activity is to set a goal of finding 100. You can each choose a separate category (i.e. different color cars) and see who can find 100 the fastest.  

Twenty Questions – Take turns thinking of an object (i.e. cat, tree, swimming pool). Other players will take turns asking questions that will only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The goal is to ask questions that will help narrow down ideas until a guess can be made. If they can guess correctly in 20 questions or less, the players win!  

Survival Island – Create a scenario that leaves your group stranded on a deserted island. You only have five items to help everyone survive until the rescuers arrive. Discuss and decide what five items you would like to have. Remember, the whole group has to agree!

Paper Plate Weaving – Make cuts in a paper plate from the outside edge toward the center. Cut strips of yarn or ribbon. Tape one end to the back of the plate. Weave the strip over and under the cut sections of the plate. Can you make a shape or design?

Monday, July 7, 2014

IDK:Wheat Head Armyworm

By Sandra L. Wick, Post Rock Extension District Agriculture Agent – Agronomy

What is causing the insect damage in the wheat kernels this year?

Well, we are thankful for the moisture for our row crops along with our ponds and pastures, even though it slowed down the wheat harvest. The good report is that some of the wheat is better than expected, but for the most part, reports are coming in that wheat around the district is dependent on where “mother nature” put the moisture. The yield ranges are all over the board.

You may have heard about the wheat crop having some "insect damage kernels", also known as "IDK" coming into the elevators. The culprit for the damage is the wheat head armyworm. This armyworm actually overwinters in the pupae stage in Kansas and emerges as adult moths in the spring to lay eggs on a wide variety of grasses, but they highly prefer wheat. Unlike the true armyworm, there is more than one generation per year, but it is the first generation of larvae that feeds on maturing wheat heads and causes direct damage to kernels. Fall flights of adults moths of the wheat head armyworm, can be observed well into October and it is not clear if a portion of these represent a third generation, late-developing second generation individuals, or some combination of both. Larvae that complete feeding on maturing warm season grasses in the fall pupate in the ground, but remain dormant until the following spring. Formerly an occasional pest, this insect has become more of a consistent problem over the past five years, although the reasons for this are not clear. 

Larvae feed on the wheat heads from evening to early morning, typically
 hanging onto the awns upside down and hollowing out The kernels .

The adult moth is yellowish brown with a chocolate-colored stripe down the length of each forewing. The larvae vary in coloration from greenish to cream-colored, depending on the maturity of the grain they have consumed, but all have longitudinal white and brown lines down each side of the body. Larvae feed on the wheat heads from evening to early morning, typically hanging onto the awns upside down and hollowing out kernels. They rest in the soil at the base of the plant during the day. Damaged kernels appear hollowed out and resemble those damaged by stored grain pests.

The wheat head armyworm, is usually a minor pest of wheat in most years, but occasionally can cause noticeable crop injury. Unfortunately, the first indication of a wheat head armyworm problem is often when wheat is downgraded at harvest because of insect-damaged kernels, or when larvae are noticed on grain screens at elevators. Damage to kernels by the wheat head armyworm is difficult to distinguish from that of certain stored product pests and can be classified ‘IDK’ (insect damaged kernels).

Larvae are greenish to cream colored with longitudinal lines on both sides of their body.

The farmer is at risk of having wheat downgraded if a load contains more than 10 "insect damaged kernels", or IDK, per 100 grams upon delivery to the elevator. The problem is caused by 'tunneling' of wheat kernels by the young wheat head armyworm larvae that leaves many kernels partially consumed and with damage that is superficially indistinguishable from that caused by stored product pests. Ironically, it is not the damage to the kernels that is the true concern, but the relationship between damaged kernels and finding insect fragments in the grain. IDK caused by stored product pests such as lesser grain borer and weevils tends to correlate well with contamination of the wheat with parts of these insects. These pests feed inside the wheat kernels and thus can be hard to remove from the grain prior to milling leading to insect fragments in flour, but this is not true for wheat head armyworms that are external feeders.

There are no established management plans for this pest. Infestations are usually concentrated around field margins so scouting efforts for this pest would need to include interior parts of the field to obtain a representative estimate of population levels. In addition, no economic threshold has been determined. There are no materials specifically labeled for this pest, but materials registered for other armyworms in wheat would likely provide control if applied sufficiently early. However, unless detected well in advance of crop maturity, treatment would be impractical because the pre-harvest interval requirement of most insecticides would cause even greater losses due to delayed harvest.

For additional questions on wheat insect management, contact any Post Rock Extension District Office in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.

Post Rock Extension District of K-State Research and Extension serves Jewell, Lincoln, Osborne, Mitchell and Smith counties. Sandra may be contacted at or by calling Smith Center, 282-6823, Beloit 738-3597, Lincoln 524-4432, Mankato 378-3174, or Osborne 346-2521. Join us on Facebook now at “Post Rock Extension”.  Also remember our website is