Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Ha! Nearly 80 percent of parents admit they delve into their child’s Halloween candy stash. And that’s not even counting the parents who don’t 'fess up—or the ones who stock up on bags of treats weeks before Oct. 31 and can’t resist snacking.Tip 3 Tooth Fairy

While it’s OK for you and your kids to indulge a sweet tooth every now and then, it’s important to realize some treats can harm teeth more than others.

This Halloween, keep your mouth healthy and your sweet-tooth satisfied with the following tips from Delta Dental of Washington:

In a small but significant shift, teens are consuming slightly less sugar and television
wellbody hallPhoto: Wellbody Hall in favor of slightly more exercise and fruits and veggies, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Mosaic Tile ArtFrom our friends at the Bean Sprouts Café & Cooking School, here's an all-in-one fun art project and snack that features fruits or vegetables and low or no added sugar

Tile in Style

Ingredients

4 tablespoons vanilla or plain cream cheese (at room temperature), organic if possible
2 cups colorful dried fruits
4 squares graham crackers

Preparation

1. Use the back of a spoon or table knife to spread the cream cheese on the graham crackers.

2. Tear the dried fruit into all sorts of shapes. Place fruit pieces on the cream cheese to create a mosaic masterpeas.

Wellbody tip: For a savory version, use whole-grain bread or crackers instead of graham crackers. Swap red, yellow, orange and green sweet bell peppers for the fruit. Vegans can use drained, mashed tofu for the white canvas background instead of cream cheese.

Raves for Else's mom's Almost Paleo Pancakes from the 'tween sleepover crowd!PaleoPancakePaleo Pancakes©Paula Bock

"Almost" because Else's mom subs in whole wheat flour for some of the almond meal, but if you're going all Paleo, you can use all almond meal or mix with coconut flour. 

The almonds in the recipe add protein, the blueberries and grated apple bring soluble fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. No sugar or refined flour! Read how the DNA in ancient tooth tarter gives clues about modern diseases linked to processed sugar and flour. 

Else's Mom's Almost Paleo Pancakes

1 C almond meal
1 C whole wheat or oat flour (To go gluten-free, use 2 C almond meal and no flour or 1 C coconut flour)
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
3 eggs
1 C coconut milk
2 T coconut oil (melted)
1 apple, grated
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries (can substitute any fruit in season).

Mix all ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased skillet. Turn when small bubbles appear. Serve with more berries and a drizzle of thick coconut milk. 

The tartar preserved on the teeth of ancient skeletons provides yet another reason to cut back on sugar-sweetened drinks and overall sugar.Ancient teeth nsf.govAncient teeth/NSF

In a study recently published in Nature, British and Australian researchers extracted DNA from dental plaque on 34 prehistoric northern European human skeletons to examine oral bacteria. Then they looked at oral bacteria in the last hunter-gatherers, the first farmers, people from the later Bronze Age, Medieval Times, the Industrial Age and today.

Genetic history encapsulated in the dental plaque reflects two major shifts in human diet – the adoption of a carbohydrate-rich Neolithic farming diet about 10,000 years ago and the uptake in industrially processed flour and sugar during the Industrial Revolution about 150 years ago.

As processed sugar and flour increased in the diet, diversity of oral bacteria plunged, letting caries-causing bacteria dominate. The dietary change spurred tooth decay, diabetes and heart disease—health problems we continue to grapple with today.

"The modern mouth basically exists in a permanently diseased state. Ironically, the introduction of sugar and carbohydrates contributed to the increase in dental plaque that now holds the vital information scientists are studying," one researcher noted in University World News.

"Until now, scientists have had to rely mainly on indirect evidence or historical documents to tell what people ate and what kind of illnesses they suffered from in the past. But now they can directly extract genetic information on diet and health from the tartar on teeth – which is very abundant and well preserved in the archaeological record – giving them a totally new source of unique information stretching back thousands of years."

Interested in genetics? Visit The Studio in Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health and Wellness to build DNA patterns, learn about cutting-edge genetic research in the Northwest and hear local scientists talk about their favorite genes. "Next Generation Genetics" will rotate out of The Studio at the end of May to make way for a new exhibit on neuroscience, so make sure to stop by before then.

And while you're here, check out the Odor Decoder in Wellbody Academy's Germnasium. Sniff different types of bad breath and try to trace the various causes!