Monday, August 12, 2013
Smoking is a tough habit to break, but if you can steer clear of tobacco you can significantly decrease your health care costs! Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. High health care costs are a result of unhealthy behaviors and smoking is certainly one of these. By kicking this addictive habit to the curb you will be creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself and lowering your healthcare costs. The American Lung Association reported that cigarette smoking costs our nation nearly $193 billion annually, or an average of $4,260 for each individual smoker. Cigarette smoke contains nearly 70 different chemicals that are known carcinogens and it is responsible for 90% of lung cancer cases. Trade in your pack of cigarettes for better health!
Not only will smoking cessation save you from many future healthcare costs, but it will also be saving the hole in your wallet! Purchasing cigarettes on a regular basis is expensive! In New Hampshire, an average pack of cigarettes is $5.87. This price adds up quickly. Think about positive things you could be doing with this money instead. Cigarette smoking often adds to higher health insurance premiums and added medical bills due to smoking-related illnesses. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer are common occurrences. United Health Care reported that quitting smoking can save up to $20,000 in health care bills throughout your lifetime. They also stated that $96 billion a year are spent on smoking-related illnesses. Not only will you be saving money by parting ways with cigarettes but you will also be on your way to becoming a healthier person. It doesn't take long for your general health to improve after kicking cigarettes to the curb!
UNH Health Services offers tobacco cessation programs and wants to help our campus become smoke-free. They reported that 5 out of 6 UNH students do not smoke and 7 out of the 10 smokers want to quit. You can visit Health Services website for more information, and also check out their YouTube video to learn about some statistics and cigarette smoking rules on UNH campus!
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Health cost is an unavoidable topic for the future of the Health Care industry. Mental health care, especially, is often neglected because of the perceived cost of treatment. 47% of individuals with untreated mental illnesses cited cost as a barrier to obtaining treatment, according to a 2007 research study published in the academic journal Psychiatric Services. Many people try to calm themselves by listening to a bird-song album or setting up a desk fountain to imitate the sounds of a running brook. Individuals in our fast-paced society are searching for solace and an escape from their stresses. I am convinced that individuals can find this solace in nature. A simple walk outside in the woods allows meditation. I frequent college woods and the many places of natural solitude on and around campus. My top three favorites include:
- The trails of West Foss farm, off of Mill Road. Last summer I was stretching in a meadow area here and spotted a gorgeous Blue Heron take off from the grass and soar through the sky above me.
- The field by the UNH Observatory, overlooking a small pond (on the way to Woodman farm).
- Less-frequented trails in College Woods, where I once locked eyes with an owl.
These experiences allow you to connect with yourself and with nature, and free your mind of worries. Clinical mental health care is very important and necessary for many individuals with mental illness, but let us always remember that free care is available with simple deep breathing and basking in the glory of the world around you.
It turns out that health professionals recognize the value of nature and incorporate such experiences in wilderness therapy programs. Wilderness therapy uses wilderness experiences for the purpose of therapeutic intervention. UNH is lucky to have prominent researcher, Michael Gass, on campus as a Professor and the Coordinator of the Outdoor Education program in the College of Health and Human Services. He is also the current Director of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs and the Director of UNH’s Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC). OBHRC’s research on wilderness therapy programs are distinguished knowledge used throughout the county and the world. Wilderness therapy offers individuals a holistic intervention and centers around building self-reliance and self-respect. Through experiences with nature, individuals are able to reconnect to themselves and their environment in a way which clinical settings never could.
Monday, August 5, 2013
When most people think of good chocolate they think of Belgium and Switzerland, but England should not be forgotten! England is home of Cadbury chocolate! The creamiest chocolate I have ever tasted. You know those little Cadbury eggs you get in your Easter basket? They’re so tasty! They are from England and here in England, Cadbury eggs are sold year round. It’s fantastic! Brits can all agree that there is no chocolate but Cadbury chocolate.
The chocolate that we think of today was not always in a bar form. It originated from the hot chocolate beverage, made from real cocoa powder. John Cadbury worked in the coffee and tea industry. As it turns out, cocoa was in quite a different league than coffee and tea at the time, because Parliament had placed a hefty tax on cocoa so only the wealthy were able to afford it, making the market quite small. In 1832 the Liberal party slashed the high taxes on foreign goods including cocoa, allowing John Cadbury took to further his research in making chocolate creamier and accessible to more consumers.
Cocoa on its own is quite acidic and thus not palatable for most people. Milk acts as a buffer to the acidity of cocoa, creating that delicious creamy taste we all love in our hot chocolate today. In 1727, an Englishman named Nicholas Sanders thought of adding milk to chocolate. Sanders had not perfected the process so many years later, John Cadbury borrowed his idea and attempted to perfect it. Meanwhile, Sir Hans Sloane developed a recipe that mastered the art of adding cocoa to milk. John Cadbury caught wind of this and teamed up with Sloane to create deliciously creamy hot chocolate that nearly all consumers could afford. It is interesting to note that Sloane Square here in London is named after this influential chocolate pioneer. You can see how important chocolate is to the English.
The next project was determining how this cocoa could be made into a bar for a portable, ready to eat treat. Cadbury’s rival, Fry and Sons had created a dark chocolate bar in 1847 but it was not perfect. It was crumbly and had a bitter taste which many consumers found distasteful. John Cadbury knew he could build off of their mistakes. The issue with making milk chocolate in a bar is creating a proportional mixture of cocoa butter and milk that allows them to mix together because they have a tendency to separate. Cocoa butter is what “gives chocolate bars their magic” says John Bradley, author of Cadbury’s Purple Reign. Rudolphe Lindt invented a process called “conching” in 1879 which basically mixes the milk and the cocoa butter at a high temperature for a day or two. Conching makes the chocolate smooth as well as ridding the chocolate of the volatile flavors. While Cadbury was continuing their experiments, a Swiss confectioner named Henri Nestlé created the first milk chocolate bar. This was not the best quality chocolate bar because it was crumbly, like the dark chocolate bar of Fry and Sons. Cadbury did not take this as a win for Nestlé, but more of a push for them to perfect the flaws of the Nestlé recipe. George Cadbury, the son of John Cadbury, was a chemist who discovered that fresh full cream creates the best tasting chocolate as well as the smoothest. He used cream from British pastures within a fifty mile radius of Birmingham, where Cadbury was experimenting. They used this as a marketing device when they first advertized the chocolate bar. In 1897, Cadbury had finally created a smooth and creamy milk chocolate bar. By 1904 the recipe was settled and plans for building a chocolate factory were underway. Unfortunately the Swiss’ sales were still a great deal ahead of little Cadbury, but they did not let this discourage them. They had made it this far after all! After many years of perfecting the recipe and their marketing strategies, Cadbury is now one of the world’s leading confectionary companies. In the UK, Cadbury chocolate is considered the definitive chocolate brand. They worked hard and deserve the respect and fame they have gained. You can taste the perfection in every bite. Cadbury chocolate is by far the creamiest chocolate I have ever tasted. I even went to Belgium and thought Cadbury was better than the chocolate there!
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