THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- MARCH 25, 2023
Spring has sprung, sort of. This is the time of year when the weather has the hiccups. However, as we crawl and stumble toward spring, thoughts turn to renewal and rejuvenation. It's time to think springy things.
Spring is a time to shake off the winter doldrums. Health Grades has ten simple suggestions about improving your health. “You don’t need to take drastic measures to get healthy. In fact, small lifestyle changes are more effective.” The top three tips fit nicely into a spring routine.
First, just go outside. “People who spend two hours per week in green spaces—local parks or other natural environments—are more likely to report good health and psychological well-being.”
While you're outside, move your body. “You don’t need to run a marathon to get the benefits of physical activity. Any sort of bodily movement can boost mood and enhance flexibility and strength.”
As long as you're out and about, it's a good time to get friendly. “Social interaction wards off depression and stress and may promote brain health and prevent untimely death.” (https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/lifestyle-and-wellness/10-small-things-you-can-do-today-to-get-healthy)
Spring is also a time to time to think green. Pretty soon, your yard will be a color other than white. “Your grass lawn may be looking a little patchy and sad after a long winter—which may have you thinking about potential ways to get it back into shape before summer party season is in full swing. You have several options to bring your lawn back to its former emerald, grassy glory.”
RealSimple.com has some great suggestions. “Here's what you should consider when you're deciding whether to reseed or resod your lawn–or make it over into a garden space.” Read more at: https://www.realsimple.com/should-you-resod-or-reseed-your-lawn-7368446.
Some people like to stay at home, but others consider spring the beginning of the camping season. You may have a nifty camper setup, but a guy in Florida probably has you beat. “After sitting in a New Mexico desert for about forty years, a private jet once owned by Elvis will be transformed into an RV to tour the country and raise funds for charities, like St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.”
The new owner says the1962 Lockheed JetStar is “flipping cool.” It has a television, red velvet interior, swiveling seats, and more. “We’re going to be able to create such a unique, Elvis-type of experience that the whole world will get to enjoy.”
A sure sign of spring is the appearance of Easter candies on store shelves. While chocolate is not technically a health food, according to Munson Healthcare it can have some benefits if consumed mindfully. “You might be surprised to learn that your favorite delicious treat has some health benefits.”
Mindfully is the key word in this case. “Cocoa seeds contain antioxidants that can be beneficial for our bodies, including reducing the risk of heart disease. Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can help fight inflammation – and pure dark chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants. Milk and white chocolates, as well as lower-quality dark chocolate, may have less (if any) cocoa powder and cocoa butter. In their place may be low-quality fats and oils that not only lack antioxidants but may contain unhealthy saturated fats. The word 'hydrogenated' on the label is a common giveaway.” (https://www.munsonhealthcare.org/blog/benefits-of-dark-chocolate)
With this in mind, there is an obvious question. “What is the preferred way to eat a chocolate Easter bunny? Fortunately, the definitive answer comes from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
“A study was done that looked at the preference of order for eating these sweet critters. More than 28,000 answered the online survey of which fifty-nine percent of Americans revealed they eat the ears first. Only about four percent go after the feet or tail, while thirty-three percent have no preference. It was also noted that few other holiday confections, such as chocolate Santas, undergo the same type of specific anatomical amputations that chocolate bunnies endure. In conclusion, the ears have it.” (https://www.communitynewspapergroup.com/oelwein_daily_register/lifestyle/how-to-eat-your-chocolate-easter-bunny/article_2e70731b-6f39-530e-b212-f471c7828756.html)
Finally, since spring is a time for new things, it's a good opportunity to have fun with a fresh word. I recently came across one that sort of fits in with spring – tootle. (https://worddaily.com/words/tootle/)
Pronounced “toodle” (as in noodle), tootle can mean a leisurely journey (noun) or to move along in a leisurely manner (verb). For example, on a nice spring day it's enjoyable to tootle along the McKellop Walkway on Lake Cadillac. Or, you might enjoy a tootle through the shops in downtown Cadillac. You could even take a brisk bike tootle on the White Pine Trail.
There's more. The kiosks placed all over Cadillac by the Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau feature routes, maps, and information about tootling throughout the area. The local environs are a tootling bonanza!
So, as the weather warms and we emerge from our cocoons, here's hoping everyone has a joyous and healthy spring. Happy tootling!
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.