Summertime Grecian Flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”

Summertime Grecian flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb, low fat
Servings: 4
Calories: 282kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 Plum (Romtomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pinch Italian seasoning
  • 24 kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 leaves fresh basil chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese freshly grated is best
  • 1 pound flounder fillets
  • 6 leaves fresh basil torn

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Plunge tomatoes into the boiling water and immediately remove to a medium bowl of ice water; drain. Remove and discard skins from tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until tomatoes are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in olives, wine, capers, lemon juice, and 1/2 the basil. Reduce heat, blend in Parmesan cheese, and cook until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
  • Place flounder in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over the fillets and top with remaining basil leaves.
  • Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.

This, Not That, Thursday – Sugary Drink Alternatives

Hi everyone! 
For this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” we are looking at healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. Numerous studies have shown the negative health effects of drinking sugary drinks on your waistline and your teeth. It may have far more health risks than many of us may realize. Drinking sugary drinks can cause a decline in kidney function, an increase in your risk of diabetes, and can cause vascular issues. Sugary drinks also deplete your mineral levels and leave you dehydrated. Sugary drinks are also linked to dementia and cancer.

These are just a few of the negative health effects of sugary drinks. Help to cut the cola with these healthy and delicious sugary drink alternatives.

Tea – iced or hot-
With all the different ways to enjoy it hot or cold, tea is likely one of the best sugary drink substitutes on this list. Tea has an extensive variety of flavor profiles and caffeine levels. There’s a tea out there for everyone! Perfect for any season or time of day, tea is a versatile sugary drink substitute and easy way to enjoy flavored beverages with little to no calories. Herbal tea can be used to help you unwind, boost your immune system, or reduce pain or soreness.

Freshly-squeezed lemonade-
A classic summertime pick-me-up, fresh lemonade—maybe with a dash of cane sugar or agave nectar for a hint of sweetness—has enough citrusy flavor to help wash away those memories of your sugary drink guzzling days.

Sparkling water-
After decades of public health initiatives, consumers are leaving sugary drinks behind for its sleeker, healthier counterpart: flavored sparkling water. Nowadays, sparkling water makers are everywhere, from homes to offices, hotels to restaurants. Rather than buying bottles and cans, avid sparkling water drinkers often invest in carbonated water dispensers to mitigate the environmental impact of buying cases of fizzy water. Now that’s some savvy sipping!

Kombucha-
Kombucha is a recent health trend that shows no signs of fizzling out. While its poignant flavor is not for everyone, Kombucha typically contains little to no sugar and is a potential source of probiotics, which are known to promote gut health. It contains antioxidants and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Sparkling water with a splash of juice-
Perfect for brunch, sparkling water with a splash of pineapple, orange, cranberry, or mango juice is a great non-alcoholic, low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks or mimosas at brunch.

Fruit and herb infusions-
Infusions are a great way to use up any extra fruit and herbs in your fridge before they spoil. Simply chop whatever fruit and herbs you have, throw them in a pitcher or reusable water bottle, and you’ll be sipping on some fruity goodness in just a few hours. If you enjoy fruit flavors but don’t want the sugar rush of juice, infusions are the way to go!

Coconut water-
Like Kombucha, Coconut water is a health fad and popular healthy substitute for sugary drinks that’s been on the scene for a few years now. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is a natural source of potassium and electrolytes, making it the perfect tropical alternative to plain water.

Mineral water-
Mineral water contains zero calories and has the added nutritional benefit of minerals such as calcium, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate. Mineral water is an everyday sugary drink substitute that’s sold at most grocery stores and online. It can help to lower blood pressure, regulate blood circulation, strengthen bones, and promote digestive health.

-Dr. P
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Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

In this salad, we combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries, peaches and added prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced and flavor-packed dish. Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb
Servings: 12
Calories: 233kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil julienned
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cups fresh arugula
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese pearls drained
  • 2 medium peaches sliced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto julienned

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk the first 9 ingredients. Add tomatoes; let stand while preparing salad.
  • In a large bowl, combine arugula, mozzarella, peach slices, blueberries, and prosciutto. Pour tomato mixture over top; toss to coat. Garnish with additional mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 233 calories, 18g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 486mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 8g protein.

My word, today is just perfect. Too perfect in fact, to be inside slaving in front of the stove for dinner tonight. In just 20 minutes this delightfully fresh dish is on the table without the need of an oven heating up the whole house. 
Let Grandma Antoinette help you with dinner <3

-Dr. P
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Summer Bucket List for Long Island Kids


For our latest installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you Dr. Polcino’s “Summer Bucket List for LI kids.”
It features oodles of ideas when it comes to places to go, things to do, events, and activities to do with kids on Long Island! From toddlers to tweens, our Summer Bucket List has great ways to spend the days, and you’re sure to see a smile on everyone’s face.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Rabbit Repellent

Hey all! We’re back with another installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.”
If you need a way to deter rabbits from eating your flowers, try this organic rabbit repellent recipe. It uses garlic and red peppers to repel the rabbits naturally without damaging your plants. And don’t worry–those cute little critters won’t be harmed at all.

You just need a couple of items to make this Natural rabbit repellent: garlic, peppers, dish soap, and an empty milk jug.

Natural Rabbit Repellent Recipe
Items needed:
empty milk/water jug
7 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1-gallon water
1 tablespoon dish soap (see our other posts for a Natural Dish Soap)
Directions:
To make the repellent fill an old jug with water, add 7 crushed garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of crushed red peppers (you can save a packet from the pizza delivery for this) and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
Shake well. Then let it sit in the sun for a day or two to make sure the water is saturated with the flavors and smells.
Shake well. Then spray or pour on the plants that you don’t want the rabbits to eat.
I had to reapply the rabbit repellent once a week for a couple of weeks to convince the rabbits that my tulips were never going to taste good again. With my other bulbs, I sprayed them with the natural rabbit repellent as soon as they started to poke through the ground and then reapplied the repellent once a week and after it rains.
Good luck 

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Dish Soap

We’re here with this week’s installment of “this, Not That, Thursday” – Natural Dish Soap.
Here we go….

Every single recipe I’ve tried just kept falling short. It didn’t suds enough or it wasn’t soapy or slippery enough, or worse – it left a nasty film on my dishes. There are lots of factors at play of course (type of soap, water hardness, etc.) so I’m not saying that those recipes didn’t work – just that they didn’t work for me. THIS ONE DID!

Homemade Dish Soap: A Natural Recipe
Ingredients
1 ¾ cups boiling water
1 Tbsp borax
1 Tbsp grated bar soap (use homemade soap, castile bar soap, Ivory, or whichever natural bar you prefer)
15-20 drops essential oils, optional
Instructions
Heat water to boiling.
Combine borax and grated bar soap in a medium bowl. Pour hot water over the mixture. Whisk until the grated soap is completely melted.
Allow mixture to cool on the countertop for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Dish soap will gel upon standing.
Transfer to a squirt bottle, and add essential oils (if using). Shake well to combine.

*do not use vinegar – As per Dr. Bronners daughter Lisa “In great part, it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.”

-Dr. P
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June is Men’s Health Month

Happy June! Did you know that it’s Men’s Health Month? We all know that sometimes men and boys need a little nudge to go to the doctor or pay more attention to their health.

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to encourage education and prevention of preventable health problems and promote early detection and treatment of disease that might arise at different stages of life. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

Below are a few great resources to help kick off some healthy lifestyles for men:

https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health#doctor

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/recipes-men-love-healthy-comfort-food#1

https://www.webmd.com/men/features/top-health-tips-men#1

http://www.menshealthmonth.org/

This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Gardening Tips

In this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you some Natural Gardening tips. Gardening is tough enough, but to do it without chemicals is well worth the effort for you & the family.

Fertilizer
Although you can use ready-made organic fertilizers, it is best to learn how to create your own organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil and the environment in the long-term, but it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening.

Homemade Fertilizer
Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to improve the quality of your soil with natural fertilization. However, not everyone has the space or time for composting.
We’ve got you covered! There are some other easy ways to fertilize your garden naturally. For one thing, instead of a huge compost pile, you can simply save some of the stuff from your kitchen you’d normally throw away.
Three things that can benefit your garden:
Coffee Grounds – adds nitrogen to the soil and is ideal for acid-loving plants like tomatoes
Banana Peels – decompose quickly, replenishing potassium and other minerals to the soil
Egg Shells – can add calcium carbonate and help avoid blossom rot in peppers and tomatoes
Another common kitchen ingredient to help fertilize your garden is molasses. Just mix a few tablespoons of molasses with a gallon of water and then water your plants with it. The molasses acts sort of like a probiotic. It helps increase beneficial microbes.

Garden Pest Control
Every vegetable gardener faces pest issues from time to time, and learning how to manage the little leaf-munching menaces without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy, productive garden. To help you with this task, we’ve put together tips for keeping those pesky critters out of your garden.

Orange Peels
Orange peels can be placed around plants or attached directly to the stem to ward off and eliminate some pests. That’s because orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-Limonene, which can kill off ants and aphids. The chemical destroys the waxy substance around the bugs, causing them to suffocate.
Even the scent of orange peels, as well as other citrus peels, can keep those plant-destroying aphids and ants away.

Plant Marigolds Around the Perimeter of the Garden
Many gardeners put marigolds in their vegetable gardens. It’s believed the pungent smell potentially repels pests while attracting beneficial insects. Some say that the aroma of marigolds might even help keep rabbits and other rodents away from your vegetables too.
However, not everyone is a believer in the marigold theory. In fact, there are some gardeners who say marigolds may actually attract harmful spider mites. Regardless of whether it works or not – marigolds will at least add a splash of color to your vegetable garden.

Cayenne pepper
Sprinkling cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and/or garlic pepper on and around your plants when they are ready to bloom is an excellent deterrent. Squirrels won’t eat anything with cayenne—which you can often buy in bulk.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Cleaners

On this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” segment, we’re looking at all natural cleaning tips. Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.

The natural cleaning ingredients we like to keep on hand are:
* white vinegar
* liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)
* natural salt
* baking soda
* borax
* washing soda
* hydrogen peroxide
* lemons
* microfiber cloths
* essential oils (optional)
* a spray bottle or two (preferably glass)

Our 3 top recipes!

All-Purpose Cleaner Ingredients
* 1 tsp borax
* 1/2 tsp washing soda
* 1 tsp liquid castile soap
* Essential oils of choice – I use 4 drops lemon, 4 drops lavender, and 10 drops orange
* Glass spray bottle for storage
All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions
1. Place borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work.
3. Add essential oils of choice.
4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys.

Glass Cleaner Ingredients
* 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell)
Glass Cleaner Instructions
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.

How to Make Washing Soda
If you have an oven and are feeling crafty, try this simple method of making washing soda. Another bonus is that baking soda is typically even less expensive (especially at big box stores) and making this at home can help further reduce the cost of budget-friendly cleaning recipes.
Washing Soda Ingredients
* Baking Soda
* A large baking dish or baking sheet (I use these stainless steel restaurant pans for this and all of my baking and cooking)
* An Oven

Washing Soda Instructions
1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F.
2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel and washing soda is more grainy and not silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so be patient.
4. Let cool and store in an air-tight jar.
Use this homemade washing soda as you would store-bought in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.

-Dr. P
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This, Not, That Thursday – Natural Ant Repellent

There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen first thing in the morning, bleary-eyed and ready for your morning cup of coffee only to find that your home has been invaded by ants. Below are some of the best natural remedies you can try to get rid of the ants infesting your space.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an effective household ant repellent. Its smell discourages ants from entering your house and scrounging in your kitchen.
According to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, cinnamon essential oil yields positive results in both repellency and insecticidal activity.
* Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe down the areas where ants may enter and dwell. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
* You can also put ground cinnamon and whole cloves near entry points.
Note: Use the cinnamon oil spray strategically in places of ant infestation; do not put it all over the place.

White Vinegar
White vinegar will also send an eviction notice to ants on your premises. They cannot bear its strong smell. In addition, the smell masks their scent trails, making them lose their direction.
1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
3. Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly.
4. Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry points.
5. After an hour, wipe up the ants using a damp paper towel and discard them.
6. Repeat once daily until the ants are completely gone.
You can also use this vinegar solution to clean floors, windowsills and countertops to prevent ants from crawling over these surfaces.

Peppermint
Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that can effectively keep ants away. Ants hate its strong smell, which also disrupts their smelling capabilities so they cannot detect food sources.
* Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on all areas where ants are present. Repeat twice daily, until the ants are gone completely.
* Sprinkle some dried peppermint around your doors, entryways and garbage areas to repel ants.
* You can even grow peppermint plants in your kitchen garden.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) also works well as an ant repellent. This powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
The microscopic razor sharp edges of DE can cut through the ant’s exoskeletons, gradually causing their body to dry out.
1. Gently sprinkle a thin layer of DE on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, in and around garbage cans and any other places where you see ants.
2. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
Note: Do not wet the DE or it will not work.

-Dr. P
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Elective induction. Could it be right for you?

 

Induction

A recently presented study can provide some useful information for women and their healthcare providers during their discussions about labor and delivery. This study was presented at a Dallas meeting sponsored by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. It concluded that elective inductions of labor at 39 weeks of gestation were safe for the newborn and had benefits for the mother by decreasing the risk of a cesarean delivery and developing a high blood pressure problem. The study also showed that the women who were induced felt more in control of their birth experience and also rated the pains of labor less than the women who were not induced.

These findings differ from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists “Choosing Wisely” campaign which suggests that elective inductions should be considered when medically indicated.
As always expectant mothers and their health care providers should have open decision-making discussions and this new study should provide some new information to review.

-Dr. P

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Turner Syndrome – A distinctive group of woman

 

Turner syndrome

Women with Turner Syndrome (TS) are a distinctive group of women who require specialized medical and obstetrical/gynecological care. TS is found in approximately 1 in 2,500 pregnancies and is the result of the loss or partial loss of an X chromosome. Normally women’s chromosomes are 45XX and with TS it will be 45X. Because of this missing chromosome women with TS can look slightly different and can have an array of possible medical conditions such as:

  • cardiovascular disease which could be the result of a congenital anomaly
  • osteoporosis
  • hypothyroidism
  • abnormal lipids
  • diabetes

Pediatricians and pediatric endocrinologists usually follow these patients closely during childhood and adolescence, initiating estrogen to begin puberty and normal development. Conception and pregnancy offer unique conditions which will require individualized intense care by a team of specialists and preconception counseling is a must. Because of the higher risks for various medical conditions, TS patients need to be followed carefully throughout their lives.

-Dr. P

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What is your blood pressure profile?

High BP

We all know that having high blood pressure puts you at an increased chance to have a heart attack or a stroke. We all know family and friends who take their high blood pressure pills every day to help control their blood pressure. For many years, doctors diagnosed patients as having high blood pressure if it was 140/90 mm Hg or greater on repeated testing. There is now a new definition of hypertension and this could mean that half of all Americans will be diagnosed as hypertensive.

Here are the new definitions:

Normal BP:  systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80

Elevated BP: systolic between 120 and 129 and diastolic less than 80

Stage 1 hypertension: systolic between 130 and 139 or diastolic between 80 and  89

Stage 2 hypertension: systolic 140 or greater or diastolic 90 or greater

With this new information, go speak to your healthcare provider about your blood pressure profile.

-Dr. P

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Are you at your mental best? No? Maybe you need a cup of coffee and a nap.

Most of us have a downtime in our day approximately 7 to 8 hours after we awaken so that means between 2 and 4 pm we may not be at our mental best. The benefits of an afternoon nap are well known with 10 to 20 minutes being the most ideal. We arise from the nap with increased mental sharpness. You can increase this mental boost even greater by having a pre-nap cup of coffee. The caffeine will kick in just about the time you get up and perhaps your thinking will be even sharper. It seems there is another benefit to having that extra cup of coffee!

Morning Coffee

Starting the day off with a cup of coffee may open those eyes up a bit wider but it may also have a great health benefit, reducing the risk of many common medical problems.  Scientific studies have demonstrated a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes in those who drink 3 cups of coffee per day.
Most of us have heard about the benefits of antioxidants and their ability to help the body decrease inflammation and aid in oxidation process. It is believed that inflammation is the basis of many of our common health conditions. The health benefits of coffee seems to be derived from it being rich in antioxidants especially a chemical called polyphenols.
To get the most benefit from your daily cups of coffee, freshly ground, caffeinated coffee hits the mark especially if you don’t add the fattening cream, sugars and flavoring.

Getting ready for college life


It is already mid-August and many families with a college student are about to start on a new adventure. Whether the young adult is going to a commuter school and living at home or attending an away college and living in a dorm, there are many changes about to hit family dynamics and the college students lives. Long discussions should now begin about forming healthy habits that will be important for now, and more importantly, for the future. I always advise living the way your grandmother taught you. Here are some of Grandma MaryAnn’s suggestions.

Grandma MaryAnn says you must:

  • Get your sleep – It is important to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night. During sleep your body may be resting, but your brain is busy processing all the information it was exposed to during the day. Sleep helps your immune system to stay strong and prevent colds and other infections you are constantly exposed to. If possible, shut off all your electronic devices 30 to 40 minutes before going to sleep; the light from the screens can affect chemicals in your brain that enhance getting to sleep.
  • Eat well – Food is your body’s fuel. In order to work hard and think clearly, you need to eat the fruits, nuts and vegetables that we all know are the right stuff. Starting with a healthy breakfast will get the brain ready for the day. Healthy snacks are a must. The crash after the candy bar will be tough to handle.
  • Exercise – Exercise needs to be a part of your regular schedule because it decreases stress, keeps your mind sharp, and is fun. You should think of it as an investment in yourself.

I wish all the students a great year, and remember to call your Mom and Grandma as often as you can because with loving words from your biggest supporters, there is nothing you can’t handle.

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A gentle way to remove a tick

We, here on the Island, are in the middle of tick season and it is reported that there is an above average tick infestation this year. If you do come in contact with a tick, there is always the time honored tweezer method to grasp and remove it.

Another method is to take a cotton ball and put a liberal amount of liquid soap on it. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball. Rub for a few seconds and usually the tick will release and be attached to the ball. This simple method is perfect for children and upset adults.

As always, prevention is the best medicine. Please check out the 8 best ways to avoid being bitten by a tick.

Ticks Poster 1 Rev5

-Dr. P

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Another reason to encourage weight control in adolescents

kid-scale

Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.

-Dr. P

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Grandma Antoinette’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

Grandma Antoinette’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

“This recipe has been our family favorite. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.”
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: soy free
Servings: 4
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 18-24 male zucchini flowers (with stems)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Clean flowers and dry with a paper towel.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, and olive oil together in a separate bowl; stir in flour mixture until batter is smooth.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  • Dip flowers in the batter and fry in the hot oil until golden and crispy, 2 to 5 minutes, working in batches as needed. Transfer fried flowers to a paper towel-lined plate; sprinkle salt over each.

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

Spaghetti Squash with Broccoli

In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccoli, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, low calorie, low carb, low fat, soy free, vegetarian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 1 2 - 3lb Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • 1 Bunch Broccoli ( or Broccolini) Chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Pepper

Instructions

  • Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450°F.
  • Place squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish; add 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, uncovered, on High until the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, place squash halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 400°F oven until the squash is tender, 40 to 50 minutes.)
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper (if using); cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring, until the broccolini is tender, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Use a fork to scrape the squash from the shells into the bowl. Place the shells in a broiler-safe baking pan or on a baking sheet. Stir ¾ cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the squash mixture. Divide it between the shells; top with the remaining ¼ cup mozzarella and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  • Bake on the lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil, watching carefully, until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
  • Easy cleanup: To save time and keep your baking sheet looking fresh, line it with a layer of foil before you bake.

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Chicken & Sweet Potato stew

This skillet recipe is a colorful and healthy main dish that can be on the table in just over an hour. The subtle, sweet-spicy flavor is a nice surprise.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, diabetic, Gluten Free, heart healthy, low carb, low fat, soy free
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves cut into cubes
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped
  • ½ pound white button mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper or more to taste
  • 1 pinch paprika or more to taste
  • 1 pinch sea salt or more to taste
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach, crushed red pepper, paprika, and sea salt with the onion and garlic in the saucepan. Pour as much chicken broth into the saucepan to make the mixture as soup-like or stew-like as you’d like it.
  • Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Summertime Shrimp Salad

Summertime Shrimp Salad

“Use an array of colorful veggies to make this healthy shrimp salad pop. Cooking the shrimp with fresh herbs and garlic infuses them with flavor without coming off too strong for a light dinner salad that’s perfect for summer entertaining.”
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Salad
Keyword: dairy free, diabetic, Gluten Free, low carb, low fat
Servings: 4
Calories: 290kcal

Ingredients

  • pounds raw shrimp 21-25 count, peeled and deveined
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 medium cucumber diced
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil plus more for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Toss shrimp with oil, thyme and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the shrimp are pink and firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl (discard thyme and garlic). Add lemon juice and stir to coat. Gently stir in cucumber, tomatoes and basil. Arrange the shrimp and vegetables in a serving bowl. Serve drizzled with any dressing left in the bowl and garnish with more basil, if desired.

Romanesco Broccoli Soup

Romanesco Broccoli Soup

The Romanesco broccoli is technically an edible flower and is easily recognized by its eye-catching fractal appearance. It is grown in the region of Lazio, home to Rome and hence its name. In Italy, you find it typically consumed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted or sauteed. It has a delicate nutty flavor making it easily adaptable to various preparations and is a favorite ingredient in Italian soups just like this one.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: low fat
Servings: 4
Author: Grandma Antointte

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small carrot finely chopped
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery finely chopped
  • 7 ounces Romanesco broccoli (a large head) tough parts discarded, chopped
  • 4 small potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups hot water
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Step 1
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrot, shallot, and celery; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add Romanesco broccoli and potatoes.
  • Step 2
  • Pour hot water into the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until broccoli and potatoes are soft, about 40 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.

Vegan Watermelon Fruit Pizza

Vegan Watermelon Fruit Pizza

These wedges of juicy watermelon are topped with nondairy coconut yogurt and berries that make for a crisp and refreshing dessert. For kids snacks, leave the wedges blank and let everyone add their own toppings to the yogurt.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, diabetic, Gluten Free, heart healthy, soy free, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 8
Calories: 70kcal
Author: Dr. Polcino

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut-milk yogurt alternative
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large round slices watermelon 1 inch thick, cut from the center of the melon
  • cup sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup halved blueberries
  • 1/2 cup halved blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  • Combine yogurt alternative, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl.
  • Spread ¼ cup of the yogurt mixture over each watermelon round. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Top with strawberries and blueberries and blackberries.
    Sprinkle with coconut. Enjoy!

Notes

Per serving: 70 calories; 2 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 15 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 8 mcg folate; 0cholesterol; 11 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 813 IU vitamin A; 20 mg vitamin C; 47 mg calcium; 0 mg iron; 5 mg sodium; 196 mg potassium
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (33% daily value)
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1 fruit

Grandma Antoinette’s Pepper steak

Grandma Antoinette’s Pepper steak

"My favorite recipes are ones with few ingredients that I normally have on hand, you'll love it too!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free
Servings: 4
Calories: 388kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers sliced into thin strips
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak cut into thin strips

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, and garlic in oil until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour soy sauce, honey, and red wine vinegar in pan, then add beef. Cook beef, stirring frequently, until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cooked vegetables, and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.

A New Supplement to Help Women with PCOS

people and leisure concept - happy young woman plus size sitting on sofa at home

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of women during their reproductive age.  It is often characterized by obesity, irregular menses, and impaired insulin function.  Obesity may play a role in the etiology, and with weight loss, there has been reported improvement in some of the clinical findings.

There is a recent large study that suggests a Carnitine supplement may be of benefit for these patients.  L-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys.  It helps the body turn fat into energy, and your body usually can make all the Carnitine it needs.  In this study, the diagnosis of PCOS was made using the Rotterdam criteria.  To make the diagnosis, two of the following findings needed to be present:

  1. Irregular menses over 35 days or less than 8 menses per year caused by a problem with ovulation
  2. Signs of hirsutism indicative of increased testosterone
  3. Polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicular cysts in each ovary

In this study, when 250 mg of L-Carnitine was given to women with PCOS, who were also on metformin, there was a significant reduction in weight based on BMI changes.  There was also an improvement in glycemic control.  The Carnitine was given for over 12 weeks.

Remember to always speak to your health care provider before considering starting any supplement.

-Dr. P

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Why Overweight Women May Have an Increased Chance of Cancer

Why Overweight Women May Have an Increased Chance of Cancer_81946825 [Converted]Most of us are aware that being overweight has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and hypertension, but it can also increase a woman’s chance of breast and uterine cancer.  By using a person’s height and weight, a BMI (body mass index) can be determined.  A measurement of 25 to 29 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese.  According to a recent study, 40% of American women meet the clinical definition of obesity.

The exact relationship between obesity and certain female cancers is not perfectly understood, but there seems to be three factors that may play a role:

  • A body being in a state of chronic inflammation is pro-carcinogenic, and obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory state.
  • There are enzymes in fat cells which increase the production of estrogen, and an elevated level of estrogen has been associated with a higher risk of breast and endometrial (uterine) cancer.
  • Fat cells produce hormones that may stimulate tumor growth.

Please speak to your health care provider to determine your BMI, and start using the walking shoes your loved ones gave you for the recent holidays!

-Dr. P

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A New Way to Decrease Alzheimer’s Disease by Larger Percentages

ink pen and watch on calendarLast week, I attended our yearly national conference on anti-aging, and as always, there was so much new and exciting information!  One of the world’s experts on brain aging gave a statistic that we should all think about carefully.

If you live to 85 in our country, there is a 50% risk of developing a mental cognitive disease, including Alzheimer’s disease.  This risk can be decreased by 5% yearly for every working year after age 65.  This may mean that if you work until 75, your chance of cognitive loss decreases to 25%.  What happens if you work to 90?  This may cause us not to accept that gold watch at 65, so starting a new business endeavor at 70 may be perfect!

-Dr. P

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Ovarian Cancer Treatment – One Essential Step You Must Take

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Last week, I attended a daylong conference at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  The event was the State of the Art Ovarian Cancer Conference.  It was wonderful to hear of all the advances in the treatment and care of the women who are fighting this terrible disease.

Being associated with a special gynecologic oncologist for many years, I saw firsthand the benefits of the initial surgery for ovarian cancer and the need for an extensive surgical procedure.  At the conference, this was especially emphasized and the long-term benefits were so significant.

It is important to remember that if a loved one or you find yourself in a battle with ovarian cancer, you must find a gynecologic oncologist for your initial surgery and get the best results possible.

-Dr. P

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Zika Update: A New Way to Test for This Infection

Blood sample positive with Zika virusThe CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently updated its guidelines concerning the testing of pregnant women who have a possible Zika virus infection or exposure.  It must always be noted that most people with the Zika virus infection are either asymptomatic or have mild clinical symptoms.  Mild clinical symptoms can be an acute onset of a fever, a rash, joint pain, and/or conjunctivitis.

There is new data suggesting that the virus can be detected in the blood and urine for 2 weeks after the infection begins.  This testing of the urine and blood for the virus should be performed for:

  • Symptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after the symptoms begin
  • Asymptomatic pregnant women in less than 2 weeks after a possible exposure

After this 2-week window, blood testing should begin for the Zika virus IgM antibody, which the body makes in response to a new Zika virus infection.  If this is found to be positive, there was definitely an infection and close fetal evaluation should begin.

As always, you should discuss the Zika virus problem with your health care provider so you can get the best possible care.

-Dr. P

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Is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?

Are you approaching or in menopause and are concerned about its symptoms?  My office manager and I are here to help!  We discuss bio-identical hormone replacement therapy questions and answers.  You will hear an introduction about the therapy, and I will help you understand it with more depth.

My vimeo channel: vimeo.com/channels/drpolcino

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4 Quick Zika Virus Facts – Treatment, Testing, How It Spreads, and Prevention

Zika VirusLet’s look at some Zika virus facts:

1. Treatment

At the moment, there are no approved drugs or vaccines for the Zika infection, but scientists are working on a vaccine.  Since the infection itself seems to be mild and short-lived, fluids and Tylenol are mostly recommended.

2. Testing

Testing to determine if you have had the virus is mainly confined to pregnant women and symptomatic travelers who have visited the areas where the virus has spread.  At this time, testing is done at only a state or federal lab and getting results can take weeks.

3. How It Spreads

The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and through sex with an infected partner.  It is important for pregnant women to know the travel history of their sexual partners.

4. Prevention

Preventing mosquito bites is the best way to protect yourself from this virus.  Use the time-tested methods of bug sprays and cover-ups, and eliminate any standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs.  You should check your window screens and keep the air conditioners on if possible because mosquitoes hate the cold.

-Dr. P

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Where Did This Mysterious Zika Virus Come From?

definition of zikaToday, the Zika virus is on the mind of almost everyone; pictures of the children affected by the virus are seen constantly in the news.  Beginning today, I will try to keep us up to date on the latest information available.

The virus is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda, Africa, where it was first discovered in the late 1940s.  Since then it was not considered to be a major problem because it usually caused mild flu symptoms, which soon passed rather quickly.  Then last year’s reports came from Brazil about a major invasion of the virus.  There were pictures of the many affected newborns that had been infected, and the resulting congenital microcephaly was seen everywhere.

Why is this virus now causing all these problems?  Where has it been the last 60-70 years?  Some experts believe the virus has mutated, and some think it has always been there, but was quietly going unnoticed.

As the summer approaches and the mosquitoes return, the Zika virus will certainly be a concern in the mainland of our country.  Puerto Rico already reported about a 1000 confirmed cases, including approximately 100 pregnant women.  With the travel season upon us, the numbers of our family and friends who will be exposed to the virus is staggering, so being aware of the latest information is paramount in our quest to be safe.

-Dr. P

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What Factors Lead You to Vaginitis?

Vaginitis - Printed Diagnosis with Blurred Text. On Background of Medicaments Composition - Red Pills, Injections and Syringe.

Let us continue our update and review of vaginitis from my last post about this topic.

To better understand why vaginitis occurs, let us look at the vaginal environment.  The lining of the vagina is made of squamous epithelial cells.  These are flat and stratified, which means that there are multiple layers of these calls.  These cells are rich in glycogen – a storage form of glucose.  Remember, glucose is the most important simple sugar, and it is used as a source of energy for all human functions.

The squamous cells are continuously being shed from the lining and the glycogen in these becomes the energy for the lactobacilli that are naturally found in the vagina.  These bacteria convert the glucose into lactic acid, which keeps the vaginal environment in an acidic state, helping to maintain the normal vaginal bacterial flora plus preventing abnormal organisms from growing.

Microscopic view of Trichomonas vaginalis
Trichomonas vaginalis

If you disrupt the normal community of organisms, vaginitis can occur.  There are many factors that can affect this natural environment:

  • Pregnancy
  • Estrogen levels, for example, a menopausal state where estrogen levels are decreased
  • Different phases of the menstrual cycle
  • Sexual activity
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Different medications such as oral contraceptives and antibiotics

-Dr. P

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How to Exercise When Your Routine Is Being Snowed On

HowExSnow57039413 2If you are on a regular walking program as part of your exercise plan, the recent snowstorms may hold you back for a while.  It may be time to revisit your stairs at home or at work to continue staying in shape.

Try to vary your ascent by speed and the number of steps taken.  Before you begin each climb at home, you may want to add stretching and doing a plank or push-ups.  Before your descent, consider 10 jumping jacks.  Also, always remember to speak to your health care provider before beginning any exercise program!

-Dr. P

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What I Learn from the Anti-Aging Medicine Conferences

Last week, Mary Ann and I attended the World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas.  This is a meeting we attend annually, and each year we return with new and exciting information.

My focus was again on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and I am never disappointed with my time spent with the world leaders in this field.  The overall philosophy of this branch of medicine is to help our patients prevent disease and to maintain function throughout their lives, long into old age.

-Dr. P

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What Are the New Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines for Average-Risk Women?

Nurse Assisting Patient Undergoing MammogramThe American Cancer Society (ACS) recently updated their breast cancer screening guidelines for women who are at an average risk of developing the disease.  It was published in the October 20, 2015 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Society).

Here are the recommendations:

  • Women with an average risk of breast cancer should undergo regular screening mammograms starting at age 45
  • Starting at 40, have annual screenings if the woman desires
  • For women aged 45 to 54, the screenings must be annual
  • For women over 55, mammograms every 2 years or annually if the women desires
  • Screen as long as the overall health of the women is good or if her life expectancy is 10 years or greater
  • For average-risk women at any age, ACS does not recommend clinical breast exams for breast cancer screening

These recommendations have refueled the debate over what are the best guidelines, and these differ from the other major health organizations.  It can be confusing, but I think it opens more discussions between women and their health care providers concerning the best way to screen for breast cancer for each individual.  Please continue to speak to your health care provider about your breast health and come up with a plan best suited for you.

-Dr. P

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New Hope for Women with Ovarian Cancer

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A recent medical article reviewed that the ten year survival rate of patients who were treated for ovarian cancer has been increasing and now may be approaching 30%.  This is an exciting report, and it suggests that the current medical and surgical treatments are starting to have a positive effect on survival rates.

Early diagnosis is still most important when dealing with any cancer and especially ovarian cancer.  Remember to visit your health care provider if you are experiencing increased gastrointestinal bloating or if your “stomach” is just not right.

-Dr. P

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What Could Your Frequent Hot Flashes Indicate?

Mature Woman Experiencing Hot Flush From Menopause
Frequent hot flashes may indicate an increased risk of developing heart disease.

A recent small study of menopausal women with frequent hot flashes may show a relationship between these flashes and an increased chance of developing heart disease. Frequent hot flashes meant that the women experienced these flashes 5-6 times per day.

In the study, changes were seen in the vessels of the cardiovascular system.  This again points to the importance of menopausal women having regular visits with their health care professionals to assess their cardiovascular health!

-Dr. P

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