healthliteracywebhttps://healthliteracyweb.wordpress.comCombine background in mental health/social sciences, public health, applied linguistics, within the context of multi-level education, in creating positive change for individuals and communities.
Specialties: Health communication, counseling, training, program evaluation and research
It’s a male bonding thing, we can be happy about the World Cup to represent world team spirit and peace. It is similar to what Olympics were designed to do. Healthy adrenaline, seeing how teams are built, goals are targeted, and legends are made. Team Captain our captain 👨✈️ Lionel Andres Messi, of the Argentinian national team, a grande finale for this talented player.
However the game goes let’s remember the thousands who died building the stadium, cleaning the pews — kudos to the Japanese fans — all the staff preparing the food 🥘, so much goes on for a successful event …
November 19th is International Men’s Health Day reminding men to keep healthy, among other things special focus on heart 💜 health, skin health, and checking for testicular or colon cancers (talk with your doctor or paediatrician— yes testicular issues can happen with teens too!). Let’ normalise our body for better health….. it seems that our media alters our perception about being ‘perfect’ and so this post is dedicated to the many males that have told me about their health and sexuality issues, in my attempt to help them continue to ask questions and seek professional advice. Furthermore, I was sent this ‘talisman’ from an archaeologist friend to prompt interest in this area… after all ‘sex sells’ as they say. A 2022 article in Men’s Health focused on the Best and Worst Cities for Longevity but one may not be able to afford good food, have little time to exercise, and their immediate environment may be dirty, have toxins and in essence be hazardous for their health. Hopefully history can help us learn more, and continue to increase our health literacy.
1) The talisman of the phallus for “good luck and fertility/ health” from Roman times, gives historical context of the importance to men and women. Interestingly around the globe (except in Greece) there are temples dedicated to Priapus however he was banned from Olympus, perhaps there was a reason? Aphrodite (‘Venus’) in the statue found in the Archaeological Museum in Athens shows amusement but is ready to ‘strike’ with her sandal a very ‘eager’ Pan, while Eros holds him back…..
2) The statue of Don Quixote (Quichote) and and his trusted companion sidekick is his squire Sancho Panza found in Madrid, Spain.
Sancho Panza is a short, pot-bellied peasant (reminding men to keep healthy and share their problems with smart witty friends!)
Don Quixote of La Mancha was published by Miguel Cervantes in 1600s and considered a worldwide classic!
Freud talks about ‘penis envy’ but one could argue there is also ‘vagina envy’ and it seems more men like to cross-dress than women do, so that says something. Furthermore, since it comes up ⬆️ often in discussions (pun intended)…we thought to share about the “obsession with the penis” — read more in Science Direct article by K. Wylie published in 2008. There is also a very extensive blog post about “the Phallus in Ancient Greece” making the point that many ancient cultures revered it as a symbol of health and fertility. Beyond this, I published in 2006 about AIDS research 🧐 but we are still dealing with an endemic situation… Good to stay alert 🚨 and be safe.
Autumn is here and we are loving the rain and cooler days. For many world regions floodwater has destroyed property and land a bit apocalyptic for some; flooding is concerning due to continued climate change.
Time for the Earth to bare her last fruit/veggies as she, like us ”takes a rest”. Fall or Autumn (from the Latin autumnus) reminds us of the year passing, as we take out out warm sweaters and comfort foods.
What is your Fall Season “comfort food”? Perhaps a morning oatmeal with a bit of maple syrup reminding you of the colors and the beauty of autumn.
In times of “low energy“ it’s to your benefit to add some extra vitamins with pumpkin seeds, cranberries, some goji berries … good and extra yummy!
Wikipedia defines comfort food as something of nostalgic nature from our childhood usually that makes us feel “cared for” and indeed a hot breakfast around cold Fall and winter days makes us feel better. A reminder that “all that falls” could be your mood and a bit of seasonal depression so do something, be active, put on that warm cuddly sweater and make something good for yourself !
Demeter, goddess of agriculture, harvest and fertility, is a reminder of seasonal changes, human bounty, and potential loss. Gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece mirrored human nature, one may say as a mother she surely felt a great emptiness when her daughter Persephone was lured by Hades into the underworld disappearing from beloved earth grounds. Hades, a dark figure (may be something like a modern Darth Vader) convinces the kind-hearted Persephone to fall for him offering her a pomegranate.
By eating a few seeds she consummates this relationship so that even the great leader-god Zeus could not intervene, thus Persephone travels to Hades part of the year, and as she re-emerges her mother, Demeter brings flowers and the budding of Spring — a beautiful myth!
Writers talk about the necessity of change, darkness being a necessary part of our healing (Thomas Moore “Dark Nights of the Soul”).
The continued pagan tradition of the pomegranate, a bittersweet food of seeds or squeezed into juice, rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory properties, is added with barley / bulgar wheat, to commemorate death of loved ones as part of the memorial services of several Eastern Orthodox traditions (called “kolyva” κόλλυβα).
There’s a great list of benefits including helping weight loss indicated in a popular fitness magazine, Shape (pomegranate info).
There are the RED types
Fall healthy eating tips:
Eat more pumpkin, lotus, and any beta carotene rich vegetables and fruit
Pair your leftover Halloween 🎃 candy w/ some Omega rich nuts !
Take a walk in the woods and gather some chestnuts ? Remember 20 mins a day, walk briskly.
We have known many people who are here today gone tomorrow, through accidents, illness, homicide, or even a sudden heart attack. We don’t know the why, it just is. Or is it?
It’s a combination of our genes and the environment. It’s also about our personality type if we are “impulsive” we take more risks or if we “keep things bottled up” can eat away at our core…. Reach out, Speak 🗣 Up! There are those philosophies about death and about living a “good life” that can help us reframe, as expressed in stoic philosophy.
Health literacy is about understanding risk and focusing on preventing or further worsening of symptoms. October is an “awareness” month for Fall (including for animals) and April for Spring, let’s keep learning. As CDC says, health literacy affects everyone!
Regarding intimate relationships and potential abuse or abuse of children and animals which is particularly traumatic or infuriating to all — sites like this one are mandatory for all youth to be reading and trained with! (See ywcaspokane.org Power and Control Wheel ). When we understand about Power and Control we can understand about human “sin”, motivation and weaknesses. And we need to promote classes in schools to discuss human – healthy relationships.
I was also very pleased to see a social marketing poster for citizens to remind them to call the hotline for dealing with potential child abuse as there have been many recent high profile cases, involving crime “rings” with that are surfacing in Greek news 📰 as of late. I note however that these crimes have been happening since the old times particular victims attractive “good-quiet” kids! 😣
How long will you wait before you say something? Social marketing poster with hotline to call 📞 for child abuse
I have lost many friends in their late 20s (diabetes, liver cancer, accidents), 30s and 40s (stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, heart attacks) and with secondary aging more expected in 50s and 60s and beyond. Death of young athletes especially shock us, like this of Mr. Nikolaidis, age 42, a Tae Kwon Do Olympic medalist who had a rare form of cancer. The Olympics article writes that he never said, “Why me?” in his two year cancer battle. He lived a good and useful life and when he discussed with a reporter years ago his working with children training them in Tae Kwon Do, I loved his sense of responsibility for the “twenty pairs of eyes” who looked up to him. As he also had two young children himself, we are especially saddened for their loss.
The Olympiad’s written message to all speaks volumes. Persistence is admirable and all are saddened by loss of great people. 😔😢The images speak volumes even if you don’t speak Greek, as his support for other cancer victims lead to his putting up his two Olympic medals for auction in helping children/ youth fighting cancer.
Teaching for more than 13 years courses like Developmental Psychology, having experience in hospitals and Psy wards as an intern and Counselor, discussing these cases is critical for my students learning. We talk about life but also death. I share 3 lessons for all …
Lesson #1 — if your teen or young adult is “drinking” themselves to death you need to intervene with friends/ family and professionals like family therapists or social workers, health psychologists, even religious leaders who mean something to the teen, young adult, older adult. There is specialized training, as often high risk behaviors “won’t go away” on their own. Young people engage in “sensation seeking” behaviors — as ridiculous as it may sound to you, we’ve had youth snort the white chemical known as white-out (or “blanco”) to get “highs”, and more often motorists speeding without helmets ⛑ for the rush of adrenaline ….and getting into very serious or deadly accidents, that could have been prevented. Police 👮♂️ need to do their jobs, and we never drink and drive. This shocking but true video speaks volumes….
Lesson #2 — too little or too much of a good thing can be harmful to our body. This includes too many vitamins or too little, exercise, sex, sleep, heavy lifting, etc. Self-care is NOT selfish! And managing our emotions and what we “take in” is priority.
Lesson #3 — share love 💗 as much as you can, ask for forgiveness, go to trips local or international, enjoy good food and good wine 🍷 (not too much), and ask for and give many hugs 🤗 ! Adult humans and children need comfort as much as animals do. These images and quotes from https://lessonslearnedinlife.com/ are particularly poignant.
Defining Health Literacy is critical to understanding life. We need patience to help others, ourselves and only time will tell the outcome. Keep moving and keep doing, don’t live with regrets, be all the best you can be, learning is a lifelong process.
This October we celebrate Domestic abuse awareness, health literacy month, Breast Cancer Awareness, and it’s time for the annual mammograms for women over 50 years of age … pink ribbon 🎀 to commemorate and a beautiful Bougainvillea tree this year as a reminder!
Remember to check for any odd lumps as there is a recommended way to do self-checks – Mayo Clinic
And if we can think that we are checking for lumps the size of a pea (not a nut!) for primary prevention this is most important. Jennifer Garner, American actress recently shared the importance of mammograms check out Hello Magazinearticle and video.
Our friends the squirrels 🐿 look for 🌰 nuts, they are celebrating their own October month too … (Squirrels US National Awareness month) important for our globe’s ecology.
At the recent Europe in Discourse III Conference held in Athens, we presented on some very important health communication issues part of a global health literacy panel including:
Oral health and interrelated global health issues (Kritikos)
After school language program curriculum building for awareness of smoking as prevention (Dimitsanti)
Refugee crisis and health literacy (Ioannidi)
Violence against women and “femicide” (Argyriou, Kondilis)
😓given the event in Iran 🇮🇷 about the death by “moral police” violence of Masha Amini, this was timely
Graffiti in times of recent economic and covid crisis in EU (Kondilis & Kountouris)
She never explained, she never complained, she simply moved on. This was the most true-to-Queen Elizabeth II’s – life quote I’ve read. Monarchy or patriarchy, history can teach us something to “take home.”
In New Orleans, when someone dies, the music starts somber when accompanying the deceased person towards the burial ground and then joyous music (think “When the Saints Go Marching in”) the band plays upon return. This is perhaps how the Queen of England 🏴 and the UK 🇬🇧 may have wanted it to be (or not) upon her passing. One reporter captured a rainbow 🌈 the exact time she departed. September 8th its own very important symbolism, infinity), any Queen 👸🏻 “Making it” in the dominant world of patriarchy deserves respect.
Queen Elizabeth II indeed lived a full life , as positive psychology would dictate the popular phrase, “long live the Queen” was appropriate in her case. She had many life and leadership skills. She kept healthy (no smoking, maintained her weight and her humor), good social support and a good marriage as contributing health factors, she lived long enough to celebrate with her people the platinum 2022 jubilee, serving her country for 70 years. Perhaps 🤔 she could have written the 2nd version of her own life to accompany the famous book by Alan Axelrod titled, Elizabeth I CEO: Strategic Lessons from the Leader Who Built an Empire. Both women “inherited a business in trouble,” countries marred by war or flailing economies, yet “mothered” a nation.
Queen Elizabeth II lived a turbulent yet extraordinary life. She is now reunited with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (died 2021), managed to keep her “kingdom” in one piece, despite World War II, scandals and criticisms for many international decisions or “lacking support” as with Cyprus (still occupied), the death of princess Diana, Harry and Megan’s break-off from the Royal Family, and her life in the “open” under Netflix and The Crown…. What 3 things you did not know ?
1) she gave her first public speech to inspire the soldiers at war
2) trained with the military, assigned to Mechanical Transport Training (yes, she changed tires);
3) she was a “master” at dealing with the news press —Toastmasters using “Speaking to Inform” manual understand this important skill (find out more about Toastmasters here).
Introducing the Carob tree, here in Greece also found in many warm summer climates, whose benefits and usefulness are immeasurable. WebMD has all the fine details saying there is no “evidence” for medical purposes however it has been used throughout ancient times for feeding animals, making flour, boiling and drinking, and medicinally. Carob (ceratonia siliqua) in Greek “charoupi” (χαρούπι), is a hard shelled brown pod considered a sustainability product (see ResearchGate 2018 article).
The Carob tree can be male or female and traces back to Ancient Greece. Multiple vitamins, antioxidants and high fiber; it can be boiled for its juice, ground for its flour, eaten raw, or used for its seeds. Some people prefer it to chocolate as it’s caffeine free! It’s found also in syrup form, a gluten-free product and it’s fibers help weight loss, reduce blood sugar and insulin levels (see Healthlinearticle). Supposed benefits include:
Better control of diabetes (prediabetes) and cholesterol
autoimmune diseases like Celiac disease
sinusitis and congestion (hot Carob powder drink)
athletic performance (chewed over several weeks), and the syrup (taken orally of course) is used to improve sperm functioning
Photos taken in Neo Oitylon, Mani Peninsula, southern Peloponnesus. A mountainous region with much stone, wind, and 🌊 sea!
Here are a few 😋 good recipe links you might like:
Do you look up to the sky and ask yourself what is my purpose? Do you wonder what is out there? Did you notice anything strange lately like Elon Musk’s new Starlink satellites? (Those night streaks are causing both space clutter as well as obscuring astronomers’ telescope views ….. see BBC report). This was a week of contemplating about life which often happens when there are challenges, or times for relaxation. Trying to finish a summer reading book titled 📖 Someone I Used to Know by Wendy Mitchell, about her experience of Dementia. She poignantly states how her colleagues, friends and family deal with her cognitive loss, and how phrases like “living with” instead of using “suffering from” can make a big difference in curative care and survival. Other books like Thomas Moore’sDark Night of the Soul help people philosophize about their personal life struggles.
The recent death of internationally acclaimed astrophysicist Dionysus Simopoulos, age 79, and his last message to his friends “That’s All Folks!” having talked openly about his battle with pancreatic cancer leads me to believe we need these great examples of how to better communicate difficult topics for the general public to better understand and advocate for services. I’m not an expert in astronomy or physics but Smartphone applications like Night Sky 🌌Apps certainly help us see the world in a different light! As a matter of fact I also learned about the astronomical Ophiuchus, pronounced ‘o-few-cus’, and those with this star sign have a mix of traits from both Scorpio and Sagittarius. Ophiuchus or “the serpent bearer” is often considered as a 13th sign and it appeared on our clip, described as insightful and curious, and a “seeker of wisdom and knowledge.”
A good friend’s father passed away and it was curious that her other siblings never came to the funeral as some cannot experience loss in the same way or the concept of filial piety seems to be fading away or very busy young people who may be lacking resources. A few years back I wrote a book chapter about Ageing, health literacy and the end of life issues both from a research perspective, and cultural histories which included commonalities of rituals and challenges as part of the acclaimed International Handbook of Health Literacy (Orkan et al., 2019). We all can and will experience this so why not be better prepared? One of the best courses we took in high school (US in the 1980s) was “Relating” which included about “death and dying” learning about Elizabeth Kubler Ross stages and having a classmate’s dad, a mortician, explain what and how they deal with the “body” and the families. Why is it that we can watch gruesome details of murders on CSI, or Law and Order, but seem not to be able to discuss about the basics?
Be ware of how developmental stages affect how we perceive loss and view blog post on losing a pet.
Keep talking and be patient with yourself, others who may have lost something special or someone special. Expect delayed reactions.
Practice self care always!
Life purpose may take time but keep searching ….for sure doing good, to love ❤️ and be loved 🥰 is a basic human (and perhaps extraterrestrial) need…. Don’t underestimate the power of God and the energy of the universe.
Think creative, think cash, and think health. Times are tough …. the phrase “ah shucks!” Is a farm-based word equivalent to “oh shame” or “darn”…. thought of it today as I shucked peas — meaning remove the outside —to put them in the freezer. Berry and strawberry season are perfect seasonal foods. What about gaining beta carotene and vitamin C with low-fat Loquat (in Greek “mousmoula” μούσμουλα)? All Seasonal foods! Think health.
Many struggle with 💰 money due to pay cuts or unemployment, so one has to think smart. It’s part of our financial literacy. Think cash.
Trying to get kids eating more fruit and nuts? ….Think creative. Here is a ”palm tree“ made with banana (good source of potassium and magnesium) , kiwi 🥝 fruit (very high vitamin C), and decorated with brazil nuts (good source of Omega 3s).
Think creative, think cash, think seasonal and think healthliteracy!
From “Trapper” – rapper to cat trapper, Sterling Davis is a creative genius and true global citizen! We love that you are doing such awesome work around the globe to educate about catch, neuter, release, all those kitties, teaming up in Greece w/ Let’s be S.M.A.R.T. and the fabulous big-hearted Julie Kelly !
Davis gave two ”Trap King and Queen Greece” awards to dedicated cat trappers in the hopes of making them role models for others to follow suit in helping the strays. Maria the ”Greek Trap Queen” awardee goes 3 am and has trapped and neutered 2,000 cats! 🤩😮
A Fundraising event held this month in Varkiza Resort was hosted by the Mayor of the municipality towns Vari, Voula, Varkiza (3 Vs) which are part of the southern Attica “Riviera” in Greece. Mayor Grigoris Konstantellos indicated roughly 20,000 interventions in the 3 Vs alone the past year (!) and he will help take the lead in this cause, hopefully other Mayors follow this great 👍🏽 example.
Beyond greater Athens, nearby cities have several animal oriented groups making BIG attempt in creating this needed awareness — cats are breeding often out of control without food or shelter; despite their 9 lives, we still need a symbiotic relationship.
We caught up with the “King” after his rap, sharing brief stories about Atlanta, GA his hometown, and community wellness despite challenges !