Sat12272014

News

Merry spirits: Traditional holiday drinks and memories that surround them

Merry spirits: Traditional holiday drinks and memories that surround them


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Town Crier columnist Christine Moore’s holiday drink menu includes her take on the Moscow Mule, the Bucking Reindeer.

Growing up, our dogs were always outside dogs. We lived in the country, which made...

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Schools

Santa Rita visits The Terraces

Santa Rita visits The Terraces


Susie Greenwald’s third-grade class at Santa Rita School has a special relationship with The Terraces at Los Altos, a senior retirement community. The class visits the center once a month to share quality time with the residents, above. The s...

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Community

Veterinarians offer advice for keeping pets safe over holidays

Veterinarians offer advice for keeping pets safe over holidays


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The holidays present a number of hazards for pets. Be sure to secure electrical cords to keep playful cats at bay.

During the holidays – when people tend to focus more on family and food – pets are often overlooked. But...

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Sports

Owls getting a lot out of a little

Owls getting a lot out of a little


In a typical season for the Foothill College women’s basketball team, coach Jody Craig wouldn’t be satisfied with a 7-4 start and No. 8 ranking in Northern California.

But this isn’t a typical season. Craig had just a few weeks ...

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Comment

Holiday cheer: No Shoes, Please

Admittedly, the holidays are not my favorite time of year. I don’t like sharing streets and parking lots with a zillion other people who need to get their shopping done. I don’t like being reminded by a holiday doomsday countdown clock h...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Pharmacy headed to 400 Main St.

Pharmacy headed to 400 Main St.


Ellie Van houtte/Town Crier
Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy is scheduled to open a new store in the Jeffrey A. Morris Group’s 400 Main St. project. The new location will open in late February.

A new tenant is slated to call the recently complet...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

MERLYN "DALE" STUBBS

Merlyn "Dale" Stubbs, a 51 year resident of Los Altos Hills, passed away on December 15, 2014.

Dale was born to Harry and Anna Stubbs in Americus, Kansas on February 10, 1926.

When Dale was 9 years old his father, a carpenter, suffered a fatal hear...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

'Starcatcher' runs until Jan. 3 in PA

'Starcatcher' runs until Jan. 3 in PA


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Adrienne Walters stars as Molly and Tim Homsley portrays Peter in the TheatreWorks production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” playing through Jan. 3 at Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Theatre.

TheatreWorks’ producti...

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Spiritual Life

The good news: Christmas means the long wait is over

Ah, Christmas! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the presents are set to be given and received, and preparations are underway to be with family.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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How to avoid overeating during the holidays


Town Crier
Overindulging on holiday sweets can have a negative impact on an individual’s blood-sugar level and overall mood during the holidays. File Photo

With the holidays upon us, you will probably find yourself at an office holiday party, dinner party or other social activity surrounded by tempting foods and drinks, which look inviting and taste delicious but are usually high in calories, fats and simple sugars.

Many people overeat during the holidays – and not just because of the increased availability of goodies. Often, individuals are attracted to such foods because of their association with celebrations and other positive childhood memories.

Eating foods high in carbohydrates and simple sugars increases the brain chemical serotonin, which affects the brain’s pleasure center. This elevation provides an immediate sense of well-being and makes you feel good. However, this feeling is very short-lived, and can add to feelings of depression, increased anxiety, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Additionally, consumption of these foods wreaks havoc with blood-sugar (insulin) levels, causing a depressed mood when those levels drop.

Some people use food for self-soothing as they seek to re-create a happier time when they were part of a family structure or social support system that involved holiday food and a sense of belonging. Older adults living alone who have decreased social support because their spouse has died or their extended family lives out of the area are particularly vulnerable. They are often lonely and turn to food or alcohol to feel more connected to others.

Creating a plan

Overindulging during the holidays can trigger a cycle of guilt and remorse. People often think, “I’ve already blown it, so I might as well give up.” Those who drink more than they normally would may experience a loss of inhibition, causing them to eat and drink even more and put on additional pounds. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year.

The good news is that those prone to overeating and gaining weight during the holidays can take steps to effectively manage their behavior. The most important step is to create a plan.

• Manage your activities. If you are a highly social person, try to pre-empt holiday stress by not overbooking yourself with too many activities. If you live alone and don’t have a large social network, don’t hide out. Find some activities to engage in, such as volunteering in the community. If you’re a senior, visit your local senior center to interact and converse with other people.

• Maintain your current exercise program or build in additional physical activity. If you are a regular at the gym, keep going. If you drive to work, park your car farther away than usual and walk the extra distance, or walk around the block during lunchtime. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in your office or apartment building.

• Train your brain. Rather than soothing your mood with food, consider a warm bath or massage. If you’re feeling isolated and depressed, go outside and take a walk or call a friend rather than turning to mindless eating for a quick fix, which sets up a cycle of remorse and guilt. If your mood is really bad, however, contact your doctor.

If you overindulge during the holiday, don’t get completely derailed and beat yourself up. Pick yourself up the following day with a reminder that today is a new day during which you will get back to managing your plan. Be realistic about your health goals during the holidays and, most importantly, enjoy the time with family and friends.

Barbara A. Mocnik, R.N., CNS, is clinical director of Behavioral Health Services at El Camino Hospital.

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