Top Dentist Survey, Blondies Recipe, McKay Jenkins’ Book About Toxins, Colon Cancer Awareness

Top Dentists 2013
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Click here to vote for Delaware Today’s
Top Dentists 2013. Voting ends March 15.
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The Couric Effect

Years ago Katie Couric had a colonoscopy on live TV. That’s when I knew I wanted to be an actress. Just kidding. In order to raise awareness about colon cancer prevention, Katie Couric demonstrated for a national audience the prep and protocol of a colonoscopy. The American viewing public was receptive to this educational message and research from the journal Annals of Internal Medicine showed a 20 percent increase in colonoscopies after the episode of “The Today Show.” To this day, it is referred to as “The Couric Effect.”

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These days we need Katie to have another effect on the worried well. She needs to change the prep work for colonoscopies so they are more bearable. For those who have not had the pleasure, the prep traditionally consists of drinking gallons of water with a horrible tasting powder to clear out your gastrointestinal tract so it’s clean for the colonoscopy the next day.

“I hate the prep. It’s tedious.” — A friend over 50.

“The prep is the worst part of the colonoscopy. I can handle the colonoscopy.” — Another friend over 50.

“I am not a fan of clear liquids.” —One more friend over 50.

“I absolutely love the prep for the colonoscopy.” – No one ever.

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What can be done about this? Can Katie save the day? I have to tell you, dear readers of “Get Healthy, Delaware!” that I was unable to secure an interview with Ms. Couric, but I did learn a great deal from Melinda Huffman, cancer screening nurse navigator at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

“These days you have a lot of choices for the prep,” says Huffman. “Your doctor might want you to do the gallon prep, but there are other options. You have options based on how much volume you wish to consume, how it tastes and even between pills if you choose that route.”

With all the choices out there, I asked if there are any new types she has seen people use less begrudgingly.

“Miralax now offers a Miralax Prep,” says Huffman. “The powder does not have any taste so you can you can have it with your regular clear liquids. This may help people who have trouble with the prep because of taste.”

So there is hope. As March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I hope this “prep awareness” is helpful. Years after Katie had the colonoscopy on the air, she had a home-office makeover and she actually apologized to the viewers for the state of her desk at home. I kept thinking, Katie, we’ve seen your colon. I think we can handle the stapler being out of place.

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McKay JenkinsA Toxic World

I have said it many times before: There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what’s good and what’s bad for you. Can I eat the red M&Ms or the brown ones? Which one am I supposed to avoid? Is soy my friend or foe? Why is it that research states women have to cut back on some of life’s delicious food but prove that eating pizza can help a man prevent prostate cancer?

How is that fair?

The mass media makes sure we are all kept well aware of the varied findings and theories out there regarding harmful foods. But what about the everyday chemicals we use? Are there steps we should take to find out what exactly we are breathing in?

McKay Jenkins, a professor at the University of Delaware, wrote a book on this very topic. “What’s Gotten Into Us: Staying Healthy in a Toxic World,” explores Jenkins’ journey to better understand the amount of chemicals we come in contact with every day—from cosmetics to lawn care products and how we can decrease our risks from toxic chemicals through wiser choices.

“We come into contact with chemicals all day long,” says Jenkins. “We have reached a point where we are now questioning our food sources, but ask yourself where did your nonstick pan come from? What about your cosmetics? There is a public perception of safety that needs to be addressed.”

Jenkins discovered the toxic chemical levels in his everyday environment by going room to room in his home with a toxicologist. As everyone may not have that opportunity, there is an online database of consumer products available to the public.

“The Environmental Working Group has a database of personal care products that are ranked by hazard,” says Jenkins. “It’s important that the public not just take the product’s word for it if they say they are safe.”

Between the chemicals in processed foods and those on my lawn, I think it can be a daunting task to start exploring chemical exposure. But if we don’t do it, we allow the chemicals to explore us. I just really wish there weren’t chemicals in M&Ms.

Blondies Recipe

Gluten-free readers, I have not forgotten about you. Newark Natural Foods in Newark shared this delicious recipe for Blondies. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp gluten-free flour blend
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate mega chunks
  • Flax gel (1/3 cup warm water, 2 tbsp finely ground flax)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Prepare a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment or non-stick spray. Set aside.

3. Combine flax gel, vanilla extract and oil in a large bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine gluten-free flour blend, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

5. Add brown sugar to wet ingredients. Mix until uniform.

6. Combine flour mixture with wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Stir in chunks. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool. Cut and serve.

Healthy Events

Thursday, March 7

Christiana Care Health System’s Celebrating Women’s Health Lecture Series: Dance Your Heart Out
Location  Chase Center, 815 S. Justison Street, Wilmington
Time  5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
More info. (800) 693-2273

Sunday, March 10

Inaugural The Lucky Leprechaun 5K
Location  Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant, 105 Union St., Milton
Time  Noon (registration opens at 11 a.m.)
More info.

Sunday, March 10

University of Delaware’s UDANCE (benefits pediatric cancer and the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation)
Location  University of Delaware Field House, Newark
Time  11 a.m.-11 p.m.
More info.

Sunday, March 17

50th Citizen’s Bank Caesar Rodney Half Marathon and 5K
Location  Rodney Square, 11th & Market streets, Wilmington
Time: 8:15 a.m. for 5K;  9:30 a.m. for half marathon 
Details: 737-6414, ext. 17, or

Tuesday, March 19

Nanticoke Health Services’ First Aid Training Session
Location  Nanticoke Training Center, Water Street, Seaford
Time  6:30 p.m.
More info.  ($35) 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Wednesday, March 20

Christiana Care’s Visiting Nurse Association/CARE DEL Caregiver Lecture Series: Reducing Stress
Location  John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, Christiana Hospital campus, 4755 Ogletown-Stanton Road, Newark
Time  2 p.m.-4 p.m.
More info.  (800) 693-2273


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