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Portage, MI 49024

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Summer is Here! Keep cool!

It seems like Summer began in May since we had higher than average temperatures early this year. However, I suspect we will still have high temperatures in July and August this year. It seemed like a good time to consider ways that we can all enjoy the summer months, and keep “cool”. 

Incorporating even a few of these ten tips into your lifestyle can make an enormous difference in how much the heat affects your body. I found these ideas from a variety of resources.

1) Up your Vitamin C intake, as this increases your tolerance for heat by delaying sweat gland fatigue, which reduces the occurrence of heat exhaustion and prickly heat rash. A 250 mg supplement would be enough, or better yet, find natural sources such as strawberries, kale, broccoli or parsley. 

2) Stick to the shade. Shade from trees is better than shade from buildings, as it releases moisture into the atmosphere to keep itself and air around it cool; whereas, buildings trap heat and radiate it back out to the environment. 

3) Eat spicy food. Capsaicin, the substance in peppers that makes spicy food spicy, binds to the pain receptors in your mouth. In response, your brain interprets this as being hot, and makes you sweat, and the sweat on your skin subsequently cools you down. You can do all of this without actually raising your body temperature, making it a great way to cool down when things get hot outside. 

4) Avoid ice cream. The high fat content in ice cream makes it difficult to digest. The extra energy your body uses to digest the ice cream can actually raise your body temperature a little bit. So, if you want to cool down, try a fat-free frozen dessert like sorbet or an Italian ice. 

5) Sip peppermint tea. A glass of peppermint tea is a good way to make your insides feel cool and tingly, thanks to menthol, a substance in the plant that works the opposite way capsaicin does, instead tricking your body into feeling cold. You can also spray mint tea on your skin to provide both evaporative and mentholated cooling, so this beverage pulls double duty. 

6) Cool your car down fast. When it's 80 degrees outside, for your car to get up to 123 degrees inside. Rather than turn on the AC and walk away, or sit in the car and suffer through the heat while it cools down, you can quickly cool off your car by creating a cross-breeze. Roll down a window on the passenger side of the car. Then open and close the door opposite that window several times to quickly draw the hot air out and get your car down to a reasonable temperature with reasonable speed. 

7) Eat water-rich food and drink lots of water. Seasonal produce like watermelon, cantaloupes, and cucumbers contain loads of water to help keep you hydrated. In addition, they're easy to digest. 

8) Pull out your summer whites. Light colors reflect light, which means you'll be cooler in white or pastels than you would be in dark clothes, which trap heat. Cotton or gauze fabrics are best. And whenever possible, opt for clothes on the baggy side since loose-fitting clothes provide better air flow, which means you'll feel cooler. 

9) Soak your feet. Pulse points are spots on your body where blood vessels are very close to the surface, which makes them ideal to focus on when you want to cool down fast. Feet are a commonly overlooked pulse point, but soaking your feet in cool water will give you instant relief from the heat and can also be helpful if your feet swell in hot weather. Do this at home, or in pools, or lakes to get a respite from summer temperatures. 

10) Try wearable ice packs. Examples exist that you may wear like a headband, wristband, hat, or around your neck. The object is to cool off pulse points. Take one with you to outdoor events so you can stay cool despite the heat. Another idea is to place a bottle of frozen water at your feet at bedtime.


Don’t forget to take lots of photos at your County Fairs, as this is one of the Michigan State Grange Photography Contest categories this year!

The Lecturer’s charge in the Alternate Installation Ceremony states that the 
Lecturer has the “responsibility to bring educational…programs to the Grange.” It further states: “Look for interesting and timely topics for discussion.” In the past several years and especially in the past few weeks, there has been increased news media regarding racism and what inclusivity really means for society, especially as it might relate to immigration issues.
It is my belief that most Grangers would say “I’m not racist! All Lives Matter!” However, it is also my experience in the Grange that diversity is not to be found at our Grange meetings or in our membership. I would like to challenge every Granger to step back and think about these topics. It is extremely hard to find unbiased media posts in places like Facebook, so “stepping back” probably means checking out media that we may disagree with vehemently. This may also mean paying attention and listening to those that we are not like in race, religion, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. How can one make a decision on how they feel about these issues, with limited experience and knowledge? We need to consider if our behaviors are truly related to our values.
As part of the learning process for each of us, one might read fiction and/or non-fiction books written by those of a different race in order to get the idea of what issues are important, and what we are missing when we only see the world through our own personal lens. Some of the books currently available are hard to read, as they are quite graphic in their descriptions of scenarios that others have experienced. It is important to push through this discomfort so that we are not ignoring others’ realities. “Tears We Cannot Stop” by Michael Eric Dyson is an example. Several churches in our area have sponsored study groups to read and discuss this book. I learned a lot when reading this book, and it opened my eyes with regard to everyday treatment of the Black community in the United States. Dr. Dyson is a professor at George Washington University, and has written other books as well – “Long Time Coming” is another example. He writes of his experiences growing up and living as a Black male. I also like to read about women and their accomplishments. A book that I enjoyed and learned from is “The Three Mothers”, by a young Black woman, Anna Malaika Tubbs. The book tells the story of the mothers of James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. For those that might like fiction, reading/re-reading “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” might be an option. “The Indigo Girl: A Novel”, by Natahsa Boyd, is another fiction book that takes place in the early days of enslavement in the South.
Although I have not read “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents”, this is another non-fiction book that explores our society. Its description on Amazon: “In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.”

​After we individually become more knowledgeable about these key issues, what actions might we take? In 
the Grange, this could mean cultivating new connections (to build off the National Grange theme). This could mean considering new community service activities for/in non-white communities near us by collaborating with organizations already working there. It could mean having a brainstorming activity as part of a Lecturer’s program to consider what opportunities your Grange has with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It could mean a book report during the Lecturer’s program, followed by discussion.