FOR YOUR HEALTH: What Blood Cancer Patients Need To Know

New patient information form.

Knowing your MRD status can help you move forward with confidence when planning for all of life’s ­moments.

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you know has ever had blood cancer, a term you might have heard is “minimal residual disease,” or MRD. MRD refers to the small number of cancer cells that can stay in the body during and after treatment. Often, these cells are present at such low levels they do not cause any physical signs or symptoms. However, they may be a sign that cancer is returning.

As one of the strongest predictors of patient outcomes in blood cancer, MRD status can help you and your doctor understand how your body is responding to treatment and how it may change over time. When your MRD status shifts, you may find that the course of your blood cancer journey changes as well.

clonoSEQ® is an FDA-cleared test used to detect MRD in bone marrow from patients with multiple myeloma or B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and blood or bone marrow from patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Testing is ordered by your doctor and performed by a licensed lab. clonoSEQ can detect very low levels of MRD—one cancer cell among a million cells (provided sufficient sample input)—so you and your doctor can be confident in your MRD status and prepared to act quickly if the cancer returns.

Talk to your doctor. If you have a blood cancer, talk with your care team about your MRD status to pinpoint where you are with your disease and develop a plan that works for you. To find a specialist and learn more, visit clonoSEQ.com and ask your doctor if clonoSEQ MRD testing is right for you.

Routine MRD testing may help detect the return of cancer before physical signs and symptoms arise. Knowing your MRD status can help you move forward with confidence when planning for all of life’s moments.

clonoSEQ is available by prescription use only. For more important information about the FDA-cleared uses of clonoSEQ, including sample types and test limitations, visit clonoSEQ.com/technical-summary.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Cabin fever can take on many looks

by Debbie Walker

How are you doing with your winter this year? I say this year because it is a little different than most. This year winter is following almost an entire year of isolation. Life has definitely been different than most years before it.

The winter months and the weather are usually the reason for some folks to experience cabin fever. Restlessness, irritability, and loneliness are all symptoms of cabin fever. Sound familiar? I believe it sounds familiar to a lot of people who experience a New England winter.

Even if you enjoy aspects of winter such as skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and ice skating, I doubt there are many who enjoy shoveling and driving on slippery roads. It brings its own stress.

Some will experience deeper bouts of cabin fever, actually consider the word depression. Don’t assume family and friends or your neighbors will know to reach out to you to help. If you are aware of what is going on, seek help.

Please keep in mind sometimes it is easy to help others. Maybe just a phone call every few days. Maybe offering to pick up things for someone who really needs to stay isolated due to severe health problems. We can all help someone and that will make us feel better, as well.

I know you still have restaurants that are closed or only open for take out meals. In a normal winter we can always get into conversations with other patrons of that type of business. There are usually interesting conversations and laughs. So many of our servers are the only friendly faces that some people experience in a day. I wonder how many folks had to learn how to make their own coffee!

Don’t forget the children. They have had to deal with the new experience as well. Children miss seeing their friends. Maybe they don’t understand why they can’t visit their friends or other family members. Why can’t we go to the movies? Watching a movie on TV is not like going to the latest cinema movie, they don’t understand why the movie house isn’t open.

School is at best, iffy for some. There are struggles to get these children a good education. Some families are able to be more help than others. It’s a shame but that is the reality. The teachers are limited as well, both in school and in virtual teaching.

Anyway…. I guess what I am asking for is kindness for yourself and others. And that is my two-cents worth on that subject.

Wait, no, I forgot. One more thing. It is winter, and your pets will be forever thankful if you will take a little extra time for them. Don’t assume that having a heavier winter fur coat means they are toasty warm and comfortable.

We are having some cold weather here, too. It’s been in the low 30s several mornings with more headed our way. Our winter days here are similar to your fall weather.

I’m just curious how you are doing with cabin fever. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org with any questions or comments. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major

Arturo Toscanini

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major

Back during the summer of 1965, the family had a General Electric table model radio which I listened to by the hour when it broadcast classical music from WMTW-FM then located in the old Poland Springs Hotel, at the foot of Mount Washington. Anyways, it regularly programmed stereo recordings as part of its nightly Evening Concert which ran for two hours from 9 to 11 p.m., except for Saturday nights when Ray Smith hosted his weekly show of big band jazz records.

As an obsessed record collector, I wanted to hear every disc that came my way and took note of piece and performer for consideration with my very limited purchasing power; I remember the thrill of discovery with certain works – the Brahms 3rd Symphony with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra and its life-affirming opening pages or the sweetly exquisite Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande incidental music via the Charles Munch/Philadelphia Orchestra album.

Usually the station avoided recordings from before the late ‘40’s LP years but, one evening, the announcer stated that an exception would be made with an RCA Victor release of a 1944 broadcast from the NBC Symphony led by Arturo Toscanini and pianist Rudolf Serkin of Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto in G Major because of its merit as a performance.

Like the Emperor Concerto, the 4th opens with the solo piano; unlike the Emperor with its bold assertive flourishes, its notes are of a gentler nature, and then the orchestra re-states the opening melody with very beguiling sonorites. The 2nd movement is a conversation between the meditative piano and the abrupt, at times abrasive orchestra which shortly leads, without a break, into the joyful concluding Finale with its knuckle-busting chords.

Serkin and Toscanini pulled it off with driving ferocity that some even considered too hectic, not including myself; the pianist would later record two distinguished 4ths with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra and leave another fine broadcast with an Italian radio orchestra that was released during the ‘80s on LP and CD.

Other superb 4ths were left by such titans as Artur Rubinstein, Walter Gieseking, Claudio Arrau, Alfred Brendel, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Van Cliburn, Guiomar Novaes, Clara Haskil, Van Cliburn, Wilhelm Backhaus, Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Kempff, Friedrich Gulda, Artur Schnabel, Julius Katchen, Gina Bachauer, Emil Gilels, Artur Schnabel, Clifford Curzon, Glenn Gould and Leon Fleisher.

Elvis vs. Boone

In 1955, Elvis Presley was the opening act for Pat Boone in a Cleveland, Ohio, concert. In 1957, a poll was taken among teenagers as to which singer had more fans. Among boys, Boone was preferred 2 to 1 over Elvis, and 3 to 1 among girls. Both singers did have a high regard for each other and both made a number of fine records.

Winter quote from the Greek philosopher Aristotle – “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”

GROWING YOUR BUSINESS: Finding and hiring the right people, Part 1

Growing your businessby Dan Beaulieu
Business consultant

Part 1

One of the more pressing problems that small business owners have is finding, hiring, and most importantly keeping the right people. This has been an issue with small business for years, and it seems that it is an issue that never really gets solved. I have done some research on this and then talked to a number of people who seem to have good people around them and these are the suggestions I have come up with.

Read on, hopefully they will help you.

  • Promote the good aspects of working for your company: Make sure your company has a good reputation. Not only in terms of your market but in terms of being a good company for which to work. There are even websites now where employees can go and review what it’s like to work for your company. If you have employees who are content, ask them to post a review.
  • Offer a referral fee to your employees: Reward them for recommending a good candidate. Pay them a fee if the candidate works out
  • Don’t just offer them a job, offer them a career: This is critical. Let them know from the very beginning they can make a good living working in your business. Let them see the future and how bright it can be if they do a good job.
  • Offer flexibility: Yes, offer as much flexibility as you possibly can. Especially in these hard times. Try to meet your employees’ needs. People have kids, people have obligations. It’s part of our job as business owners to try to navigate these tricky schedule waters. If the candidate is someone you want on your team then try to make their schedule and your needs work. This one is not easy, but it can be a key to getting the best people on your team, especially right now.
  • Create a sense of mission: Show them the bigger picture. Share your vision of being the best company in your field, whether that be the best pizza restaurant, or the best landscaping company, show them a mission and vision of being the best. This is one of the best ways to get them not only motivated, but in for the long haul.

One certainty is that a company, any company, is only as good as its people. And its people are only going to be as good as you and your company motivate them to be. And in the end that’s the best way to grow your business.

STUDENT WRITERS: Reaction to Covid-19 outbreak, and school

The Town Line presents the STUDENT WRITERS PROGRAM
This week featuring: ERSKINE ACADEMY

by Wes McGlew
Junior, Erskine Academy

What seemed like 10 years ago, March, was the beginning of this crazy, terrifying, isolating adventure that we experienced through a screen. Everything I had been looking forward to this year had suddenly been uprooted and thrown out. I think a lot of people were in shock or denial, or I don’t know what.

I was sitting in Global Studies, my sophomore year, as Griffin and I were talking about the up-coming lacrosse season and spring soccer, while the teacher was teaching us about the colonization of Africa. We probably should have been paying attention a little better. Most of it went in one ear and out the other. I asked Griffin, “So, is there anyone new joining the travel team this spring?” He must not have heard me at first, but I made sure to get his attention by throwing a piece of paper at his head. That seemed to work. I asked him again.

“I don’t think so man, just the same guys. We lost our keeper though. He decided to focus on track this year,” he replied. We both thought that was pretty dumb, but before we could start talking about who might be a good replacement, we heard the familiar voice of the loud speaker, but it wasn’t the usual message, like, “Mason, please go to the guidance office.” It was a little more alarming…

What we heard instead shocked us all: “Due to the alarming increase of Covid-19, Erskine Academy will be closed starting tomorrow for two weeks. During the two weeks, we advise you all to stay quarantined in hopes of slowing the spread. We wish all of you good health, and hopefully we will see you soon.” Griffin and I immediately looked at each other, with the same blank expression, like we had just seen a ghost. Little did we know, this wouldn’t only put a hold on our sports seasons, but our lives as a whole.

I went home that day with my older sister Reece. We exchanged just a few quick comments on the otherwise quiet ride home. We both rushed inside to tell my mum the news we had heard at school. She told us to look at it as a positive, but that it would mean that we couldn’t see our friends, and for me it meant I couldn’t see my girlfriend, Sam, for at least two weeks. Luckily for me, I had just gotten my license, so from time to time I drove over to Sam’s house and talked for a while from my car. For two weeks that’s how it was. Boring, but bearable.

We just got worse news after that. Covid had gotten so bad, that school would be closed for the entire rest of the school year. So, I finished the last months of the school year online, having little to no interaction with my friends. Getting bored and depressed, I hated thinking about how much longer everything would be on hold. Months went by. Luckily, by mid-summer, I had gotten a job, which distracted me for nine hours of the day, and provided me with a little enjoyment and something for which to look forward.

Then excitement came in the form of protest. After the death of George Floyd, millions of enraged Americans took to the streets to protest the racism of certain people and certain systems of government. Taking part in these events cured me of any sort of quarantine slump. I started to look forward to hearing about what was going on, and seeing how I could make an impact.

And finally, now, with my junior soccer season over and school halfway back to normal, it seems as though history might repeat itself. Covid cases begin to spike again, school closed once, winter sports are questionable, businesses are starting to close, again. Meanwhile, I’m just thinking to myself, “Here we go again. Ready for round two?”

Student Writer’s Program: What Is It?

The Town Line has many articles from local students under the heading of the “Student Writer’s Program.” While it may seem plainly evident why The Town Line would pursue this program with local schools and students, we think it’s worth the time to highlight the reasons why we enthusiastically support this endeavor.

Up front, the program is meant to offer students who have a love of writing a venue where they can be published and read in their community. We have specifically not provided topics for the students to write on or about, and we have left the editing largely up to their teachers. From our perspective this is a free form space provided to students.

From the perspective of the community, what is the benefit? When considering any piece that should or could be published, this is a question we often ask ourselves at The Town Line. The benefit is that we as community are given a glimpse into how our students see the world, what concerns them, and, maybe even possible solutions to our pressing problems. Our fundamental mission at the paper is to help us all better understand and appreciate our community, our state, and our nation through journalism and print.

We hope you will read these articles with as much interest and enjoyment as we do. The students are giving us a rare opportunity to hear them out, to peer into their world, and see how they are processing this world we, as adults, are giving them.

To include your high school, contact The Town Line, townline@townline.org.

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Did you know that ferrets are man’s other best friend?

Black-footed ferret

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Don’t ask why or how, but last week, during a conversation, I was asked a question about ferrets. Not knowing that much about them, I decided to look into it.

What I discovered about the little furry animals was most interesting.

Although I know a few people who have had ferrets as pets, I didn’t realize they were the third most popular pet, behind only dogs and cats. They are popular, although often controversial. My wife and I had a pet Holland lop rabbit for nearly 10 years. I would have bet, if I were a gambling man, and based on conversations with a multitude of people who care for them, that rabbits were more popular than ferrets.

Ferrets have the size and shape of a zucchini, and are related to European polecats. They are not to be confused with skunks which are sometimes colloquially called polecats, but related more to wolverines, ermines, minks and weasels.

The ancient Greeks probably domesticated ferrets about 2,500 years ago to hunt vermin. The practice spread across Europe, especially with sailors who used ferrets on ships to control rats. Ferrets were introduced to America in the 1700s.

A 1490 painting by Leonardo da Vinci named Lady with an Ermine, actually shows her holding a ferret.

Ferrets are carnivores, meaning they eat only meat. According to the American Ferret Association, domesticated ferrets typically eat factory-made chow. A healthy diet for pet ferrets consist of 36 percent protein, 20 percent fats and is low in carbohydrates. A healthy ferret will sleep up to 18 hours a day.

Male ferrets are known as hobs and females are called jills. In the wild, hobs and jills mate around March and April. Following a gestation period of 35 – 45 days, a jill will give birth to one to six kits. Kits will stay with the mother for about a month and a half, leaving the mother as autumn approaches. They become sexually active at one year old. In captivity ferrets can live up to 12 years, but the actual life expectancy is 7-10 years.

Unlike dogs, ferrets have not yet been rigorously studied when it comes to social cognition. According to Hungarian researchers, their early history in service to man is obscure, but have probably been domesticated for more than 2,000 years through selective breeding. Like dogs, ferrets were originally bred for practical reasons like hunting. However, their role within human society has since shifted, as they are now predominantly pets.

Most ferrets will live happily in social groups. A group of ferrets is commonly referred to as a “business.” They are territorial, like to burrow, and prefer to sleep in an enclosed area.

Ferrets can release their anal gland secretions when startled or scared, but the smell is much less potent than a skunk’s and dissipates rapidly. Most pet ferrets in the U.S. are sold de-scented (anal glands removed).

When excited, ferrets may perform a behavior commonly called the weasel war dance, characterized by a frenzied series of sideways hops, leaps and bumping into nearby objects. Despite its common name, this is not aggressive but is a joyful invitation to play. It is often accompanied by a soft clucking noise, commonly referred to as “dooking.” Conversely, when frightened, ferrets will make a hissing noise; when upset, they will make a soft ‘squeaking’ noise.

Although most domesticated ferrets were introduced by Europeans, there is only one that is native to North America. It is the black-footed ferret, and its existence is in trouble. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to use unmanned aerial drones to rain peanut-butter laced pellets down on northeast Montana, where the ferrets reside. The pellets contain a vaccine against the plague, which is common in prairie dogs. Prairie dogs consist of 90 percent of the ferret’s diet. As Americans moved west, prairie dog eradication programs and agriculture and development removed much of the ferrets’ prey and habitat, and by 1987 only 18 of the ferrets remained.

It is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of its very small and restricted populations. The species declined throughout the 20th century, primarily as a result of decreases in prairie dog populations, which is their major food and shelter source, and sylvatic plague. They will also eat small mammals such as opossums, rabbits, hedgehogs and rodents, but prairie dogs are the fare of choice.

Wild ferrets were thought extinct until Lucille Hogg’s dog brought a dead black-footed ferret to her door in Meeteetse, Wyoming, in 1981. The remnant population of a few dozen ferrets lasted until the animals were considered extinct in the wild in 1987. However, a captive-breeding program launched by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service resulted in its reintroduction into eight western U.S. states, Canada, and Mexico from 1991 to 2009. Now, over 1,000 mature, wild-born individuals are in the wild across 18 populations, with five self-sustaining populations in South Dakota (two), Arizona, and Wyoming. It was first listed as “endangered” in 1982, then listed as “extinct in the wild” in 1996, before being downgraded back to “endangered” in 2008.

So, by feeding the prairie dogs with the vaccine they would stay healthy, which in turn would help the black-footed ferrets.

I guess domesticated ferrets don’t have it all that bad, kinda like dogs and cats.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

What is the Super Bowl record of the Seattle Seahawks?

Answer can be found here.

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon budget committee meets

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
grams29@tds.net
Solon, Maine 04979

The following is notes on the annual Solon Budget Committee meeting held last Saturday: The committee nominated and elected Michael Golden as chairperson. Elaine Aloes gave a selectmen update. Ann Padham has moved out of town. Heather Padham has taken her place on the budget committee.

The committee discussed article 5. The article sets funds for general government and allows flexibility to move money around if needed. This was recommended yes by the committee. A discussion about the duties of the Health Officer took place. This is extra work for the Codes Enforcement Officer being done by Terri LaMontaine for which $200 was recommended by committee.

Discussion points at the committee included several issues. The committee recommended yes to all. Pay raises which is two percent plus minimum wage increase. The Codes Enforcement officer position has a recommended raise. Terri is doing the job well, is responsive to complaints and follows through. She is helpful to the planning committee and dealt with a rat infestation well. This amounts to $400 a month and includes all travel.

The TRIO system currently in use is no longer supported by Microsoft and a new system using SOL is proposed. It is user friendly, web-based and secure. The cost is $7,055. The paving project is at a total of $792,000. This includes the Brighten Road, Drury Road, Falls Road, French Hill Road, Grant Road, Hole in the Wall Road, Pleasant Street, and York Street. The money will be pulled from reserve funds and LRAP funds. The chip seal technique like what was done on the South Solon Road will be used.

The fire department proposed the building of an addition to the fire station. It will be about 55 feet by 30 feet. It will store extra gear and the workbench. There will be a garage door, a rear exit and a window. The siding will match the building. The budget is $25,000.

The lights will be changed to LEDs and one light will be added. It is estimated to save $2,000 a year with the use of LEDs.

The amount $5,000 was raised and appropriated for heat pumps for the town office. The fire department is considering taking over the parade. The person who runs it in the past doesn’t plan to continue. Special event money budgeted is $1,000. First Park debt is now paid off and Solon will receive revenues. Last year there was $4,000 in revenue. The amount of $7,000 was raised to help pay off the approximate $20,000 fire department truck loan quicker.

The Capital Reserve account included $9,000 more with most of that for the transfer station truck and tub. The library will be improved with some of this money.

The reserve surplus was increased to $100,000. Even with this increase from $80,000, the overall net raised by taxes is decreased by 12.9 percent. The committee recomends yes.

The Budget Committee Ordinance changes the name of the group to the Advisory Committee. This reflects the work of the committee and all current members will continue in that role. The committee recommends yes.

And now for some sad news; My dear friend and walking partner, Alice Heald died recently, She was the one that had been presented with the Gold Cane several years ago. I received the following names of NEXT IN LINE for BOSTON POST GOLD CANE from the Solon Selectmen, I will put in the next in line for the cane is Patricia Munroe (2/17/1925; after her is Gladys Rogers (12/23/1925) Lois Starbird) (9/23/1927) next is Richard Viekman (1/13//1929, Marilyn Rogers (429/1929), Carlene Viekman (9/25/1930) Leon Hilton (9/30/1930) Loen Burbank (12/19/1930).

I’m running late again this morning so I will end with Percy’s memoir with these words: Can You Say? Can you say in parting with the day that’s slipping fast, That you helped a single person of the many you have passed? Is a single life rejoicing over what you did or said? Does some one whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead? Did you waste the day or lose it, Was it well or poorly spent? Did you leave a trend of kindness, or a scar of discontent? As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God would say—-You have made the world much better for the life you’ve lived today? ( I can only hope!)

Maine Memories: The amazing story of Mr. Perkins

(internet photo)

by Evangeline T.

Hello and welcome to Maine Memories, little snippets of life from our home state.

For the first installment, we have a story that starts in a far-away country, across the Atlantic Ocean.

One day, a young soldier was on shore leave, and as he strolled along picturesque sidewalks and byways, he couldn’t help but notice a sign that read, “Puppies for sale.” Since he adored animals, especially dogs, this kind-hearted military man decided to pass some time just looking at the pups, no intention of buying one. After all, he was a soldier stationed on a nearby base, where animals were not allowed.

The sign pointed along a brick path, up to an old house. He rang the bell, heard it echoing inside, and soon, a man answered.
“Excuse me, sir. I was walking through your charming neighborhood and saw the sign. Could I possibly meet your puppies?” the soldier asked.

“Of course! Follow me.”

He was taken around to a small shed housing a large box. Inside were a mother dog and four pups. They were small, about the size of a cat. One was all black, the others had black coats spotted with white.

“I’ve changed my mind,” said the soldier, smitten by love at first sight. “I’d like to buy one.”

“Good for you. Take your pick!”

The soldier pointed to the black pup. “Him,” he said. “I can tell we’ll get along just fine.”

So, a great adventure began for both of them.

He named the dog Mr. Perkins. Why, I can’t explain. No one knew. But the name fit him perfectly, like a glove. As time passed, Mr. Perkins grew and grew and grew. Eventually, what had once been a tiny puppy now resembled a bear cub!

The soldier received his orders to return home, to a small radar base in Maine. It took a while, and a lot of paperwork, but he arranged for Mr. Perkins to accompany him. Another adventure awaited!

Mr. Perkins continued growing. The soldier once again relocated, but this time, Mr. Perkins was left behind because of regulations. That didn’t mean he was lonely. The town adopted him as their mascot, and he lived – and continues to live – a very happy and rewarding life.

Each morning, Mr. Perkins made his rounds to the local grocery store and the restaurant, where a variety of local cuisine awaited. He was now as large as a bear, and the local children would even take turns riding on his back! Mr. Perkins loved everyone, and everyone loved Mr. Perkins.

One day, he followed me home from downtown and decided to take a nap outside my front door. I didn’t realize he was there until I tried leaving the house. I pushed and pushed, but Mr. Perkins was just too heavy for me to move, and he wouldn’t move until he got good and ready. I had an idea. I went out the back way and around to where he was sound asleep against the door. One wave of a delicious treat in front of his nose, and that got him up and moving. Mr. Perkins never resisted a free meal!

Last I knew, Mr. Perkins was still the town’s mascot and still making his daily rounds to the grocery store and restaurant…but he’s also added the new local ice cream shop to his list. He’s a great big dog, definitely the largest I’ve ever seen. No one can resist his sweet personality. If it hadn’t been for that smitten soldier, we’d never have met such an amazing animal.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Consuming healthy foods and beverages

A display of fresh vegetables, beans, fruit, fish, lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and milk.Being aware of food portion size, the kinds of foods and beverages you consume, and how often you have them may be a step to help you make healthier food choices.

What kinds of foods and drinks should I consume?

Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to learn more about what kinds of food and drinks to consume and what kinds to limit so you can have a healthy eating plan.

Consume more nutrient-rich foods. Nutrients—like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber—nourish our bodies by giving them what they need to be healthy. Adults are encouraged to consume some of the following foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice
  • seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
  • beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds
  • sliced vegetables or baby carrots with hummus
  • fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products

If you’re sensitive to milk and milk products, try substituting

  • nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium
  • lactose-reduced fat-free or low-fat milk
  • dark leafy vegetables like collard greens or kale
Fruit, colorful veggies, beans, fish, and low-fat dairy products are rich sources of nutrients that give our bodies what they need to be healthy.

Consume less of these foods and beverages. Some foods and beverages have many calories but few of the essential nutrients your body needs. Added sugars and solid fats pack a lot of calories into food and beverages but provide a limited amount of healthy nutrients. Salt does not contain calories, but it tends to be in high-calorie foods. Adults should aim to limit foods and drinks such as

  • sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
  • foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard, and shortening
  • white bread, rice, and pasta that are made from refined grains
  • foods with added salt (sodium)
  • whole milk

Easy snack ideas. Instead of sugary, fatty snacks, try

  • fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
  • fresh or canned fruit, without added sugars
Making better choices, like baking instead of frying chicken, can help you cut down on the added sugars and solid fats you consume.

How can I follow a healthy eating plan?

These tips may help you stay on track with your plan to eat healthier.

  • Reduce the overall calories you consume. If you consume more calories than you use through daily living, exercise, and other activities, it may lead to weight gain. If you consume fewer calories than you use through physical activity, it may lead to weight loss.
  • Have healthy snacks on hand. Whether you are at home, at work, or on the go, healthy snacks may help combat hunger and prevent overeating. Look for snacks that are low in added sugar and salt. Your best bets are whole foods—like baby carrots, fresh fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of chips, cakes, or cookies—rather than packaged or processed foods.
  • Select a mix of colorful vegetables each day. Choose dark, leafy greens—such as spinach, kale, collards, and mustard greens—and red and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes. If you have had kidney stones, be aware that some vegetables, like spinach and sweet potatoes, are high in oxalate, a chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form a common type of kidney stone. So, if you have kidney stones, you may need to watch how much of this you eat. But for others, these are great choices. Eat a rainbow of food colors!
  • Choose whole grains more often. Try whole-grain breads and pastas, oatmeal, or brown rice.
  • Shift from solid fats to oils. Try cooking with vegetable, olive, canola, or peanut oil instead of solid fats such as butter, stick margarine, shortening, lard, or coconut oil. Choose foods that naturally contain oils, such as seafood and nuts, instead of some meat and poultry. And use salad dressings and spreads that are made with oils rather than solid fats.
  • Switch from frying to baking or grilling. Instead of fried chicken, try a salad topped with grilled chicken. Instead of ordering fries when eating out, ask for a side of steamed veggies.
  • Limit foods and beverages that are high in sugar and salt. Avoid snack foods high in salt and added sugars; and keep away from sugary soft drinks.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. The Nutrition Facts label tells you how many calories and servings are in a box, package, or can. The label also shows how many ingredients, such as fat, fiber, sodium, and sugar—including added sugars—are in one serving of food. You can use these facts to make healthy food choices.
Select a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables each day.

How much should I consume?

How much you should consume each day depends on your weight, sex, age, metabolism, and how active you are. In general, men need more calories than women. Younger adults need more calories than adults in midlife and older. At all ages, adults who get more physical activity need more calories than those who are less active.

Keeping your food and beverage portions in check may help you reach or stay at a healthy weight. To learn more about a healthy eating plan and the amounts of food and beverages that are right for you, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.

STUDENT WRITERS: Negative Effects of Toxic Masculinity

STUDENT WRITERS PROGRAM
This week featuring: ERSKINE ACADEMY

by Adam Oches
(from Vassalboro, Maine)

The negative effects of various media like television and movies on women and young girls have rightfully been shown time and again. The negative effects on men from these same forms of media is a much lesser known, but no less real, phenomenon. Media is filled with images of unrealistic body standards and the glorification of unhealthy behaviors. Media has negative effects on men that greatly damage the self-image of males in today’s society.

Many movies and television shows with male leads often have men with very muscular bodies on camera consistently. Action heroes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Hemsworth, and Hugh Jackman are all well known for their muscular definition and physical fitness. The average movie male lead has a level of fitness that requires the strict regimentation of diet and exercise that the majority of people will be unable to achieve. These unrealistic standards that require these measures are already a problem, but the superhero look has another problem to it. It is unsustainable.

In preparation for shirtless scenes in the show The Witcher, Henry Cavill had to dehydrate himself for multiple days in order to attain the look wanted for the scene. Bodybuilders, like the aforementioned Schwarzenegger, dehydrate themselves to reduce their fat percentage. This practice is lethal if sustained for any kind of long period of time. It even has the high possibility of being fatal in a short period of time. In 1992, professional bodybuilder Mohammed Benaziza died after competing in a contest from dehydration-induced heart failure.

Stoicism is a philosophy originating with the ancient Greeks. It advocates for mastery of the self through the control of one’s emotions. This idea is not inherently harmful, however it can quickly lead to repressed emotions and the effects those have on mental health. This philosophy has embedded itself into our society’s ideal man. In various action movies, the main character does not cry. He does not show grief. His emotions are kept to himself and are not shown to the outside world.

Since these strong, manly men do not cry; crying must be a sign of weakness. Any sign of sadness is to be shunned and kept in the dark for fear of being exposed as a weaker, lesser man. Society has convinced itself that in order to be a man, they must face all challenges and hardships without showing pain or asking for help. Our media has perpetuated this idea. Its effects are very clear. Young men face pain alone and are afraid to ask for help to alleviate some of their pain. This can lead to the abuse of chemicals like alcohol, a negative self-image, and in the worst of cases, suicide.

In conclusion, the media we consume in our daily lives has had negative impacts on the wellbeing of generations of young men. Too often is the issue of the media’s portrayal of people seen as based on sex. This is not a women’s issue or a men’s issue; it is a people issue. Media has affected both sexes negatively. The problem with media is not its portrayal of women or men, it is with people in general.

Student Writer’s Program: What Is It?

The Town Line has many articles from local students under the heading of the “Student Writer’s Program.” While it may seem plainly evident why The Town Line would pursue this program with local schools and students, we think it’s worth the time to highlight the reasons why we enthusiastically support this endeavor.

Up front, the program is meant to offer students who have a love of writing a venue where they can be published and read in their community. We have specifically not provided topics for the students to write on or about, and we have left the editing largely up to their teachers. From our perspective this is a free form space provided to students.

From the perspective of the community, what is the benefit? When considering any piece that should or could be published, this is a question we often ask ourselves at The Town Line. The benefit is that we as community are given a glimpse into how our students see the world, what concerns them, and, maybe even possible solutions to our pressing problems. Our fundamental mission at the paper is to help us all better understand and appreciate our community, our state, and our nation through journalism and print.

We hope you will read these articles with as much interest and enjoyment as we do. The students are giving us a rare opportunity to hear them out, to peer into their world, and see how they are processing this world we, as adults, are giving them.

To include your high school, contact The Town Line, townline@townline.org.