As the year closes, many people in the United States, Canada and around the world pause for a day to give thanks for their blessings over the previous year. This holiday is called Thanksgiving, and is typically celebrated with family meals, football and preparation for the December gift giving holidays.
Origins of Thanksgiving in the United States
After the English Reformation, Puritans became uncomfortable with celebrating traditional Christian holidays, instead preferring to acknowledge fast days as well as days of thanksgiving. Its celebration in the New World started sometime in the mid 1600s, though historical accounts are sketchy and it wasn’t until 1789 that George Washington made it a national holiday in the United States. In 1941, President Roosevelt and congress resolved that Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every month. Many schools and employers are closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving as well, creating a four-day weekend.
In the United States, Thanksgiving has a strong connection with food. Those who host Thanksgiving dinners typically prepare several dishes, in large quantities, for guests. Traditional Thanksgiving menus often include:
- Turkey stuffing (also known as “dressing”)
- Cranberry sauce
- Cornbread or corn muffins
- Green bean casserole
- Sweet potatoes
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
- Pumpkin pie
In addition to a large family meal, watching televised college and professional football games is often a significant part of the day’s celebrations. Canadians also enjoy football during their Thanksgiving celebrations.
Bargain hunters often celebrate Thanksgiving by getting in line at local stores before the Black Friday sales begin. Black Friday, the day after American Thanksgiving, is the start of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, many stores open at midnight, or even on Thanksgiving day, and offer significant price reductions on popular gifts.
While the Thanksgiving holiday is most closely associated with the United States and Canada, other countries do celebrate Thanksgiving holidays as well, usually in connection with a harvest festival or celebration, though a few countries celebrate a Thanksgiving that’s connected to political events or tied to American customs.
Wednesday, November, 27 2013 by Lainie Petersen
Planning on a vacation sometime this winter? If so, now’s the time to score some new eyewear for your trip. Not sure where to start? Think about what you’d like to do on your trip: Do you plan a lot of outdoor activity? Do you hope to let your hair down? Or are you thinking that your vacation may be a gateway to some changes in your life?
Below are some tips for selecting vacation eyewear depending on what you plan to do during your time off:
1. Spend Time on the Beach or at a Ski Resort
Planning on spending time on the beach or the slopes? You’ll need eye protection. Whether you are looking for goggles or just super cool shades, keep in mind that your glasses have a job to do. Check to make sure that they have UV coating and that they get dark enough to help protect you against glare. If you are a sports lover, you’ll also want lenses that adequately cover your eyes and can protect them crashes and foreign objects.
2. Try Out a New Look
Thinking that it’s time for an image overhaul? Try out a new look while you are on vacation. Get a new hairdo, buy some clothes in a totally different style than what you are used to wearing and get some fun, funky sunglasses. Pay attention to how other people react to and treat you. If you like what you experience, take your new look back home with you.
3. Live it Up
Ok, maybe you really don’t want to reinvent yourself when you get home: If you’re working as a CPA and need to maintain a conservative image, a pair of purple, bejeweled glasses may not be a good idea . . . at the office. But when you are on vacation, you have a lot more freedom to try out new looks, even if you don’t plan to make them a part of your professional or everyday image.
If you’ve never tried out an online eyewear store, now’s a great time to check out Zenni. We offer a huge selection of glasses in
Tuesday, November, 26 2013 by Lainie Petersen
Forget that tired old question about who’s hotter, Ginger or Mary Ann.
In this corner, weighing 150 pounds (and that’s just his forearms), is everybody’s favorite sailorman. Look at him nuzzle his anorexic extra-virgin girlfriend and inhale his spinach right from the can.
In that corner, weighing oh, probably 20 pounds (and that’s just his ears), is Elmer Fudd’s favorite nemesis. Look at him nonchalantly lean on the ropes while he chomps on a fresh carrot.
So who’s it going to be? The perpetually squinting Bluto-battler or the Cwazy Wabbit? Amazingly, the winner by a knockout is Popeye!
Spinach before carrots? How can that be? Didn’t our moms tell us to eat our carrots because they’re good for our eyes?
Yes they did. But they also told us that if we keep crossing our eyes, one day they’re going to get stuck that way. We love our moms, but maybe they’re not the most reliable source of information when it comes to eyes.
Nope, the consensus is in from nutrition and vision experts: the nutrients in spinach are actually better for the health of your eyes than the ones in carrots.
Let’s look, with both eyes open, at some facts surrounding nutrition and vision.
These facts come courtesy of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and its follow-up, AREDS-2, both conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI), which is part of the United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Keep track of those acronyms. There will be a test later. Not.
Results from AREDS, begun in 1992, were published in 2001. Results from AREDS2, begun in 2006, were published this year. Each study examined the two most common forms of eye disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
What are those, exactly? Let’s start with macular degeneration.
The macula is part of the eye’s retina, which serves a similar function to the film in a camera. We should probably explain that before there were digital cameras there was this thing called film. Google it.
Just like a camera lens, the eye’s lens receives an image. The image is transmitted to the retina, like the way an image taken by a camera lens used to be transmitted to the film in the camera.
The macula is in the center of the retina. When light comes to a point of focus on the center of the macula, you can see objects and colors sharply.
The macula is yellow, which enables it to absorb harmful blue and ultraviolet light that enters the eye, blocking this harmful light like a pair of sunglasses.
AMD comes two ways: dry and wet. Dry is when the tissue of the macula deteriorates. Wet is worse – that’s when the blood vessels behind the retina leak blood and other fluid into the macula.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. of people over 60, according to research conducted under the auspices of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Some estimates put the number of affected people as high as 15 million. However, many of those people are only mildly affected or won’t experience a decline in vision at all. But about 2 million Americans with AMD are severely affected, to the point of acute vision loss.
Check out this picture, which you can look at to test to see if you have any form of macular degeneration:
Click here for the full grid and explanation
Now let’s examine cataracts.
Cataracts form when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, leading to blurred vision and vision loss. Cataracts happen because the lens of the eye is made up mostly of water and protein. As we age, the protein begins to clump together, creating the cloudy effect on the lens.
Most cataracts are related to aging and are very common in older people. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract-removal surgery, according to statistics compiled by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). In addition, almost 22 million Americans have cataracts in at least one eye, and the number is expected to increase to 30 million by 2020.
OK, so now that we know what AMD and cataracts are, let’s look at which nutrients AREDS and AREDS2 found helpful in addressing these eye diseases.
The first study, AREDS, examined whether taking vitamins E and C, zinc, and beta-carotene – which makes carrots orange – reduced the onset of these diseases.
For AREDS2, the NEI scientists added omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidants lutein (pronounced LOO-teen) and zeaxanthin (zee-ah-ZAN-thin) – both of which are abundant in spinach, kale, and other leafy green vegetables. Both of these antioxidants are also present in the macula.
In addition to being antioxidants – which are molecules that help maintain the health of cells – lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids. Carotenoids are what give plant foods their colors.
Lutein is especially important because it gives the macula its yellow pigment. When this pigment degenerates – causes of this degeneration include aging, a poor diet, smoking, being a female, and having blue eyes – the macula degenerates, too, because the protection the pigment supplies gets lost. It’s like a dark, polarized sunglass lens getting replaced by a clear lens on a bright, sunny day.
Now let’s go back to the studies and their findings.
Contrary to the preliminary results of AREDS, the AREDS2 results show that taking vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, zinc, and the omega-3s had no effect on decreasing the onset or reducing the effects of either disease.
However, there were significant reductions in AMD from lutein and zeaxanthin.
Moreover, when beta-carotene was removed from the study, the scientists found that the AMD-reducing effects provided by lutein and zeaxanthin doubled.
Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Bugs.
AREDS2 also found that neither lutein nor zeaxanthin prevented cataracts from forming. But that’s not to say that there are not foods that help prevent cataracts. A 1993-2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford in England found that vegetarians and vegans were less likely than meat eaters to develop cataracts – vegetarians 30 percent less likely, vegans 40 percent– and that the more meat people ate, the greater the likelihood they would develop cataracts.
But let’s say you’re a young whippersnapper who hates carrots and spinach. You are years away from getting cataracts, and you spend more time thinking about getting MDMA than AMD.
We can hear you now:
“Dude. Why should I care about this? My vision’s 20/20. I’m sticking with the four major non-food groups – doughnuts, candy bars, 64-ounce sodas, and cigarettes!”
Go ahead, knock yourself out. But remember Dud, uh, Dude, what you eat now affects your eyes today and in the future.
Keep eating junk food and smoking cigarettes, and you could be setting yourself up for type 2 diabetes. Almost 400 million people around the world have diabetes, and 25 million of them are Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Close to half of all American diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy, which, after macular degeneration, is the second leading cause of blindness of people in the U.S. Also, people with diabetes get cataracts earlier, and diabetics are 60 percent likelier to get cataracts than non-diabetics, the ADA states.
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but the number of children and adolescents who have this type of diabetes has greatly increased during the past 20 years. Consequently, the name of the disease has changed to reflect this appalling reality.
But if you eat a diet rich in – you know what’s coming – fruits and vegetables, that will not only improve your chances of maintaining good vision but improve your overall health, too.
And that’s what’s up, doc.
Eye Diagram Via: Wiki Media Commons
Monday, November, 25 2013 by Matthew Surrence
Writing for an eyeglass company blog has some strange benefits, including staying up to date on eyeglass-related crime. While I’ve always thought of sunglasses as a semi-effective disguise for criminals, the news proves that eyeglass involvement in criminality is far more varied than I thought: More than a few people are wanted for stealing eyeglasses, while other criminal suspects have been accused of using them as courtroom props. Even more bizarre is the occasional use of eyeglasses as weapons, as well as Robocop-like law enforcement technology.
Here are a few examples:
I had no idea that eyeglasses were such a hot commodity, but a simple search for “eyeglass theft” on Google news revealed a surprising number of cases. One story reports that a woman allegedly stole $2,300 in designer glasses, while another reports that a couple armed with a baby carriage allegedly robbed an optometry clinic, taking off with glasses, frames and even equipment.
Eyeglasses as a Defense Team Prop
The ongoing Jodi Arias murder trial has attracted a lot of media attention, particularly since the accused underwent a “makeunder” between when the crime occurred and her trial. In addition to changing her hairstyle and the way she dressed, Ms. Arias began wearing glasses. Some commentators believe that she’s using the glasses as a to make herself appear more intelligent and trustworthy.
Will this strategy work? The verdict is still out.
Eyeglasses as a Murder Weapon
In February, a convict being transferred cross-country to serve his sentence used his (broken) eyeglass frames to stab the detective guarding him. He escaped custody and sparked a statewide manhunt. (The fugitive was eventually captured and returned to custody.)
Using Glasses to Spot Crime
It’s not only criminals who are fond of their glasses: Police officers in Brazil are using glasses with facial recognition technology to scan faces and identify potential criminals in a crowd. While some people are concerned that these glasses might infringe on civil liberties in cases of mistaken identity, others think that they can help prevent serious crimes from occurring at large events.
Sunday, November, 24 2013 by Lainie Petersen
Last wee was just a prelude to all the splendor of the holiday we get to enjoy in the United States next week; Thanksgiving is the holiday most of us love, and the theme of being thankful is perfectly relevant for those of us who wear glasses.
Think of all the things we all have to be thankful for, especially those of us dealing with vision problems: free and affordable access to these incredibly attractive glasses, healthy vision that requires only minor vision aids to be fully functional, and the funds to purchase glasses to go with our ever-changing fashion sense.
The vision benefits of good glasses lead to their own list of reasons for thankfulness. Most importantly, the ability to work, enjoy family time, and prepare delicious Thanksgiving food to share with loved ones and friends. If you are going to be reveling in these advantages of modern science next Thursday, you can take a moment to express another note of gratitude, this one slightly less serious, for the fun of stylish, attractive glasses.
As the holiday season begins and we all decide to head out for a movie after the meal, to take advantage of Black Friday, or to travel across the globe to be with family, Zenni Optical invites all our customers t join us and take a moment to think about everything that makes us feel grateful, from the trite and exciting – like a nice pair of glasses to match your favorite coat – to the most important things in the world.
Friday, November, 22 2013 by Dave Schreiner
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