The ”Trap King”

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 !

Julie giving love to one of many felines !

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 !

Learn more about Davis here:

The Trap King story!

The language of medicinal plants -(repost)

Dr. Alain Touwaide mesmerized his audience a few years ago presenting the “Hyppocrates’ Legacy: Greek Medicine in the Mediterranean and Beyond” showcasing his 40+ years of research experience as a classicist and scholar of the Byzantine world, taking us on a “medicinal plant journey” from Ancient Greece (Hellas), the Mediterranean and Middle East, through the Byzantine Empire and Middle Ages,the west, and tying in our modern times. A speaker of 12 languages, university lecturer and researcher, and Scientific Director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions; Touwaide, with the support of Emanuela Appetiti (cultural anthropologist, Touwaide’s wife and research partner) gave his audience a true “intercultural” lesson of sorts.  He helped us travel back to the days of Pedanius Dioscorides (Πεδάνιος Διοσκουρίδης) of Anazarbus (the then ancient Hellenic world, now modern Turkey) through Byzantine and modern times… Medicinal plants (e.g. Δρακόντιον) from archaeological representation, art, to actual plant.

johnson_papyrus_fragment_of_an_illustrated_herbal-_wellcome_l0045048

Johnson papyrus fragment of an illustrated herb

How fascinating to learn about the circulation of information via a papyrus and how this may have had effect on translation, since this medium was often recycled — the ancients and those through the middle ages printed on top of other manuscripts in order for this information to eventually reach the ‘commoners.’ We wonder, what has been erased at the base!??

Furthermore, the Greek concept of “ιατρό σόφια” or “γιατροσόφια” (meaning wisdom of medicine passed on from your grandmother) may indeed be one of those very useful things to more carefully look into –an oral and written tradition carried through the ages to our modern days. Indeed, we see that most of the world still uses traditional plants as therapies — these “traditional”,”alternative” or “complementary” medicines (see World Health Organization for the differentiating definitions), may be plants or herbs we use in our everyday cooking like basil and garlic, or for stress and pain reduction like lavender and peppermint. As a matter of fact there are several webpages dedicated to grandma’s medicinal knowledge or “γιατροσόφια” like this one and one interesting one that is tied to the “Agion Oros” (Mount Athos holy mountain, Northern Greece).

Since Greece is among the top three biodiversities in the world, could this not be cultivated more systematically in turn to produce and retain knowledge, create more jobs, and even tourism by rebuilding some of those ancient sites for consulting on medical care the revitalizing of the Ἀσκληπιεῖον – Asklepieion as a way to help the country look to something more positive in the midst of the ongoing crisis for the last almost ten years? Rumor has it that the Greek WWF may be thinking of more serious plant biodiversity proposals in the near future, we hope so!  The first ‘hospital’ was created by the “Asclepiads” inspired through Hippocrates’ original work (we all recall the Hyppocratic Oath), these ancient physicians  followed the cult of Asclepius and the temple of healing. The most well-known asklepieia in Greece today are the Asclepieion in Kos & the Asklepieion of Epidaurus — more that existed in the ancient Hellenic world, some are found in modern-day Turkey.  As an aside, it seems that there is a catalogue of physician’s “oaths” affecting the code of ethics that doctors still use today (anyone want to do a linguistical comparative study in context of the various historical times?).

Dr. Touwaide referred to terms like “diffusion of pharmacotherapies” or reconstructing the “life of the book” (pressed plants in books, etc.), and how the knowledge of a book was transmitted to common people — diffusion through translation (Arabic science is rooted in Greek science) as he showed us remnants from Arabic Baghdad of the 9th century….even in arabic one can clearly see mention of certain terms within the texts and even the image of Asclepius shown in a more culturally-specific and acceptable form that would be more geared for the middle east arabic-speaking world. Indeed we share a common language and interest, can this not overcome any modern-day barriers?

staffasclepius

Modern symbol in U.S. Medicine, the caduceus

The Asclepius staff is pictured in the U.S. as Herme’s “Caduceus” a universal images used for modern day medicine but there is so much more to those snakes than even we know (healing snakebites, etc.). It turns out that the original staff by Asclepius had one snake and nothing to do with ‘wings’…. this was exclusive to the messenger god Hermes, so another case of mistaken ancient-to-modern identity!

Thanks Alain…just in time for winter and thinking of prevention and healing of our common colds the flu, health problems I’m sure we all experience and likely natural cures that stand the test of time…

Happy May & workers rights !

Happy May and what great spring traditions!

A brief history of the Maypole tradition

Everyone has the opportunity to “dance” and socialize (now that masks are off in many countries) as it contributes to good health including minimizing risk for longer-term health complications due to inactivity!

The other day we discussed employee safety and preventive measures. The field itself is called “occupational health and safety” — see OSHA and EU-OSHA, I am truly a proponent of occupational safety measures as they have the biggest short and long-term impacts!

This is what health ”literacy“ involves, reading up ⬆️ to also help yourself and your workers … since May 1st has been additionally celebrated for workers rights!

Post-Covid small businesses are continuing to struggle w/ making enough money and covering costs (particularly now with high energy bills) to be “open” to eco-changes and keeping their staff (many millennials often don’t stay in longterm jobs or many employers hire on a temp basis!). However, it’s important to care for the health and safety of workers which increases confidence in the manager and the agency – company.

Protective plexiglass and face masks 😷 should be required for all manicurists!

Indeed our beautician-friend and small business owner were well aware of what to do for safety of clients as is also most importantly safety for the employees! I congratulated them on being a health literate small business, I only wish I could give them a HL certificate… something to think about in a future “association”!

My daisy-inspired design and nail outcomes are evidence of a happy duo! And do remember your May flowers and local traditions to keep up with an ever-changing world.

Happy May to all the little and big creatures!

Chamomile, nature’s Spring wonder-herb

Fresh chamomile looks like mini-daisies

Each Spring we pick chamomile (word is from the Greek ”χαμομήλι” or little apples of the ground ) and have posted before about these spring pickings! This year due to much snow and rain there was an abundance of chamomile everywhere … nature’s “wonder drug” can be used for many medicinal purposes and helps calm the mind as well as our body.

  1. Picking season can range from early April to early May
  2. Only the buds should be plucked, you can use the ”hand comb” technique, leaving the roots in ground to allow it regrowth.
  3. Pickings need to be dried out at least 2 weeks. Once dried can be stored in glass jars for use any season (for drying use cool dry areas, careful of windy spots and consider a tulle cover).
1 week drying vs. freshly picked buds

Does wonders for one’s skin, stomach, great for anti-cancer and anti-diabetes regimens considered one of nature’s miracle teas (see article) . And it turns out is terrific anti-anxiety drink for pups !

Picking chamomile in the fields of white -gold is a great way to get sun and our protective vitamin D!

Skin or eye minor irritations? Take one teaspoon of your dried chamomile with two cups water and allow it to boil — you use a sieve and a piece of paper towel to remove any micro-leaves. Allow liquid to cool slightly and use cotton swabs, gauze, or small cotton towel (careful it will ”yellow“ your towel, so keep one to reuse) skin (for minor acne) or eye 👁 compresses.

To add highlights to your hair — after final shampoo and rinse use at as a rinse to add highlights and shine. More on healthline, or watch this helpful video:

Homemade chamomile hair rinse

Chamomile and oregano are both natural antiseptics. Wonder herbs and comfort stomach teas 🍵 !

April 7th World Health Day 2022

This year as every year the World Health Organization puts out a theme. For 2022 its ”Our planet, our health”.

Are we able to reimagine 

  1. a world where clean air, water and food are available to all?
  2. economies focused on health and well-being 
  3. cities are liveable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet?

These are the questions posed by the World Health Organization 🌎 WHO for 2022 and what I ask all of you to think 🤔 about. Beyond the individualistic view towards thinking collectively…

  • progress means more energy utilised but also new ways of strengthening communities 
  • wellness and sustainability
  • Respecting cities 🏙, including those who dwell there, care for, and build them. 

Grateful 😊 for our food 🥘 shelter, the shared networks and “communities” that become part of our “flock” Family, friends, pets/ animals, flowers 🌸 insects 🐞 sea, land, sky, technology and resources . 

Make your own choices and let it happen, one step, one brick, one dream at a time. Live intentionally. It’s a time of responsibility and renewal for our planet, ourselves, for future generations.

Daisies for everyone!

It’s Spring! The trees are budding, wildflowers are blooming everywhere, birds are singing to entice their mates… we might be experiencing a bit of friskiness from “Spring fever” 😻😺😜and we want to be out (particularly post covid lockdowns)!! Small creatures are enjoying the flowers as much as we are, we are walking and cycling more! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎 This is exactly what nature intended, if we are mindful to notice and experience.

The more we learn about each flower, appreciating their diversity, we are in awe of the master of the universe. Daisies are the cousin of sunflowers — a very pregnant Katy Perry, chosen here as the Spring symbol of fertility w/ her appropriate song ”Daisies”. 🎼

Katy Perry ”Daisies” (c)2020

Many of us used to play “he/she loves me, loves me not” picking off the daisy petals, to allow our thoughts and cares to drift away. Maybe getting creative ideas, or simply thinking 🤔 of an upcoming May wreath? Picking those mini-daisies of chamomile will be our next blog post.

Recalling positive memories is a great way to fight off melancholia (sadness) as you recall joy is that feeling not far behind! Science proves that fighting depression must involve physical activity such as a 20 minute daily walk, getting in some sun doses of vitamin D (nature’s natural antidepressant and an antioxidant), great for our overall wellness.

Pick some wildflowers to share, as it makes everyone smile 😊 and for your workspace — a great stress reliever helping create a pleasant feeling to (hopefully) get more work done. Try the Pomodoro technique which allows for more cognitive focusing with timed breaks in between. Now that’s some great health literacy this Spring !

Write ✍️ your daily goals accomplished after your “to do” lists. Keeps you positive.

Lucky 🍀 networks

March 17th is a big celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, who apparently was a Roman, and no snakes in Ireland! Great 😊 video ….things we did not know. I was lucky to grow up with many Irish and even met several Irish setter dogs … sweet auburn haired pets. Their good temperament makes for great pet therapy dogs.

Photo by Adam Fejes on Pexels.com

Even luckier a few years ago as we met up with colleagues at the last in-person conference in Dublin Ireland, sponsored by the International Health Literacy Association (i-hla.org), meeting with President and co-researcher, Dr. Kristine Sorensen. The importance of bonding and ”practicing” what we think, and teach / “preach”… like eating good food, using social support, always fitting in fun and a bit of music 🎵 and dancing, much exercising …images speak louder than words.
Happy Spring! 🍀 🌹 ☔️ 🌸

Those deserving the Purple Heart 💜

(Almost a repost!) One more Valentine’s Day coming up with continued quarantines, economic destruction, the importance of “bubbles” to keep safe, people being afraid 😱 of their neighbor — “have they done a rapid test?”, “What if they’re positive?” Thankful for the latest trends to possibly ”end” the pandemic.
We still want the chocolate and the 🧁 heart-shaped fruit 🍎

Catching your breath under the 3 layer mask, lack of oxygen likely affecting our brain, for the “nth” time a trip to the supermarket. No wonder schools are staging protests in the US to end face masks 😷 for kids (see WA story) … in most places in the US with spacious homes, cars, streets and sidewalks this makes sense but what of overcrowding and smaller countries like in the EU? Think bus 🚎 tram 🚈, taxi 🚖!

One bakery (Veneti) in Attica, Greece, has a great Valentine’s bread 🍞 idea in the shape of a heart. St. Valentine was Roman Catholic of Italian decent — his relics are dispersed and displayed around the world (Rome, Italy 🇮🇹 and Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪) for those “seeking” love 💗 with one relic buried on the island of Lesvos (Lesbos) Greece 🇬🇷.

The Purple Heart 💜 is a U.S. military decoration given to those courageous wounded soldiers, or those killed in battle. Today, we dedicate thanks 🙏 to those workers who help us daily, who put up with customer rudeness, stock the shelves and risk their own health are exhausted and stressed, ‘forgotten key workers‘ — working in supermarkets, factories, pharmacies, flower shops, street cleaners, garbage collectors, to name a few …. so many songs that could be dedicated here.

Today it’s Sting “The Shape of My Heart” 💗❤️And a recent graffiti featuring a healthcare staff woman with a white rose of ”gratitude” painted outside a hospital in Piraeus, Greece …absolutely!

Tzaneion hospital artistic graffiti of gratitude

Snow melts, let’s move on from the Covid pandemic !

The latest big news 📰 on the pandemic when trusted expert, Harvard doc and occupational health specialist Dr. Stefanos Kales speaks we listen. He was the first to address the preventive power of face masks during the pandemic and now says let’s “move on”! check out his interview.
FD976338-149F-40A8-8D2E-1B179D2D5D5E

Recently many parts of the globe 🌎 experienced extreme snow ❄️ ⛄️ even as far as the Middle East. Just like some endemic diseases, climate changes are here to stay. But as with all we learn and move on.

A couple of years ago our post on “snow literacy” proves current today. The earth 🌍 of extremes — floods, snow emergencies in winter months, more floods and extreme heat 🥵 causing fire 🔥 in summer months.

This year started with a big “snow ball” in greater Athens, and all parts of Greece which are unaccustomed to so much snow… although children live for “forced snow days” — the perfect ‘powder snow’ can turn into sticky mayhem that can make many adults very unhappy and life can suddenly become treacherous on the roads or in the home (power outages or worse fires 🔥). It’s the first time that the National road had hundreds stranded causing the government an unneeded headache and necessity to reimburse drivers.  Some narratives still show that our snow literacy  ❄️  ⛄️ is severely lacking.

There are many types of snow that one can find from places like the ‘National Snow and Ice Data Center’ (Types of Snow, NSIDC). We all can remember at least once making those wonderful snow angels so why ruin that pleasantry with a tragedy film of small-town America which received low reviews this past decade (Snow Angels from the New York Times Review).

Snow melts, hence ice, hence slippage and likely injury.  You need to sweep and shovel the snow, throw sand or salt on it as it melts, and at night when it is colder tread carefully (including appropriate shoes, and car tires) or not at all.  Avoid slipping, sliding, to prevent injury. Of course on the other hand, some physical therapists, orthopedics and sports doctors will have some extra work!

Question #1 — do most societies experience high violent crimes especially by teens and young adults due to CoVid lockdown?  as these years are the highest age of ‘sensation-seeking behaviors’ and the pent-up energy needs to be redirected into a more positive societal outlook? 

Question #2 — can parents afford to not go to work because their kids stay home? Why do kids with few symptoms COVID positive need to stay home 🏡 more  than 4-5 days? Focus on immunity building and as for the snow, some municipalities do not have enough snow plowing machines, and worse no salt to throw on the ice.

Question #3 — unrealistic expectations from some people — do you expect the government to actually plow your front door and sidewalk ? 😱 change policy and change thinking, buy a snow shovel and salt. Take some personal responsibility. This learned helplessness attitude needs to change.

Yes indeed, snow literacy should be one of the fundamentals of survival and overall health literacy AND yes 🙌 we need to move on from a “pandemic”, the data speaks !

One might think it was the Swiss Alps! Attica, Greece 2022
Photo by Rulo Davila on Pexels.com

Stardust, The Little Prince, and Covid lessons

If we could wave a magic wand in 2022 it would take us back to pre-covid “normal”. Tinkerbell used her magic stardust for Peter Pan and why not for us?

Does anyone get the feeling that we are living another reality? A recent meteorite just ”skimmed” past our planet 🌎, major catastrophes, earthquakes and tsunamis, some people could benefit from snow literacy, and all benefit by touching faith.

Major economic power countries have so much ”space junk” floating around (check out Business Insider article); yet, media is so focused on this “little bugger” Covid. It’s been proven as a blood clotting disease 🦠 attacking lungs and other vital organs, while we are all learning Greek letters one painful Covid strain at a time (Delta δ , omikron ο)…. I loved reading about the creative writing student who wrote about the Greek letters protesting about their reputation and losing ”face” as someone wrote “can’t wait for the letter pi (π) it will just be going to infinity” 🤓😩😮

The scientific community is still at odds about mRNA vaccines and the ”architect“ of these vaccines stands with over 16,000 scientists planning for a protest in Washington DC soon which will add yet another dimension to our own confusion.

One thing is for sure, Covid is highly contagious, hospitalization may be an unpleasant result for some due to infection, continued fever and trouble breathing as oxygen intake hypoxaemia or other concurrent health issues may even lead to core damage or death (the ”cause of death” is another contentious issue for many countries’ data bases).

If you’ve ever made any arts and crafts in grade school with glitter you know how it sticks to everyone… it’s exactly how covid transfers from person to person. These winter months so does flu, the common cold and now there is a new category of both flu and covid 😵‍💫.

Take care of your health and if you do not only believe in “luck” you’ll surely make it out ok ✅, but please stick to the recommended 15-day rule of self-testing everyone or rapid/ PCRs for your home (close contacts) and requirements for travel. As global citizens you owe it to be responsible, vaccinate if its appropriate and recommended for your age, remember medical staff are overwhelmed. Alas, this 2020 WHO poster is now becoming a reality; there are many cases of people needing surgeries or other care, and not getting it due to the Covid pandemic…..understandably a big problem.

Think about it… don’t overuse the health system … and focus on prevention and early treatment.
“One only understands what one tames”, said the fox 🦊 to the Little Prince. We must be patient, deal with our inner gremlins even our idealizations, realizing we all have something to offer each other. Perhaps this needs to be our “great reset” button this year, not focusing so much on conspiracies.

Contributing to your health literacy, with some health tips (remember severe pain or fever, may signify a more serious condition, you need to consult a medical provider):

  • wear a mask 😷 tight around the nose, when you’re indoors in crowded spaces, for those who are sick at home cloth masks are just fine (always wash your hands and wear clean masks every few hours)
  • rest, sleep 😴 🛌 is the best medicine
  • don’t panic 😱! Look at the data, most people make it through just fine, and be more diligent about self-care if you have a chronic health condition.
  • Good Mental Health is key 🔐 reframe the ”little bugger” (positive Get a little crazy …mindset) as it helps your physical health
  • check your oxygen levels using an oximeter (they are cheap) and body temp with a thermometer 🌡. Remember an oximeter is essential to detect hypoxaemia, the source of oxygen which may be too low and you may need to be put on a ventilator or worse clinical distress and need to undergo endotracheal intubation.
  • Intake plenty of fluids, antioxidant vitamins (C, Zinc), garlic, propolis, a bit of 🌞 sun for vitamin D (15 minutes near a sunny window, think like a cat!) Echinacea works in the very first symptoms as its more preventive
  • rinse out mucosal passages morning and evening before bed (throat and nose — saltwater is great, lemon with honey and a bit of hot water is equally soothing for a scratchy painful throat),
  • eat good food, stay off dairy and sugar
  • some indoor/outdoor exercise like walking and even lung “workouts” (there are plenty youtube videos especially by Ayurvedic physicians).
  • One additional thing that helps any flu or lung-type cold is heat. Tried heating a large stone/brick in a stove (not microwave) or in the summer sun —> a porous large stone or brick are best, wrapping in a soft towel and putting on chest (shirt required to prevent unwanted burns, and adults only!) until heat runs out, about 10 mins.
  • eucalyptus type creme or gel on chest and nostrils 👃 may helps free up clogged nasal passages as some are not keen . A few essential oil drops from eucalyptus or lavender are great in a humidifier too!
  • Honey with lemon and a bit of hotwater in the morning, later on with your herbal tea, and in your cough syrup is great medicine! Honey honey honey! 🍯
  • There is a rainbow after every major difficulty…. Rainbows 🌈 for all.

“What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery