Archive | April, 2011

What you need to know about Heart Disease

What you need to know about Heart Disease

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

Tonight April 27th, after a film on Benazir Bhutto, I will moderate a discussion at Rice University 7 pm. (Community cinema)
Tomorrow April 28th at 10pm, be sure to watch Karen Walrond in the Beauty of Different. What is it that makes us Beautiful!!!
On Sunday at 3pm Learn how to prevent heart disease #1 killer in America

What I learned this Week: One man or woman can change the world with one action. It could be you. One man who took his life in Tunisia out of frustration, started unprecedented revolutions in the Arab world.

What I am grateful for: Change is part of life. The good part of that is no evil can last forever!

The Living Smart with Patricia Gras episode on Heart Disease will air Sunday, May 1st at 3 p.m. on Houston’s PBS. This episode features Dr. Stephanie Coulter, director of the Center for Women’s Heart and Vascular Health at the Texas Heart Institute, St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Coulter will share insight into the leading causes of heart disease and how we can prevent it.

Missed last week’s episode? It’s ok, we’ve got your back. Tune into Houston’s channel 8 this Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. to see the episode on “The Beauty of Different,” featuring “The Beauty of Different” author Karen Walrond who discusses what is the definition of beauty and how she defined it.

What You Need to Know about Heart Disease
By: Kristen Khalaf, Production Assistant, and Patricia Gras

Heart disease. It’s the killer of men…and the number one killer of women. Age, hereditary and previous history of heart attacks are some of the risks that may lead to heart disease. But, it’s not all bad. We can control what we do to help decrease our chances of having heart disease, and for Dr. Coulter, prevention is easy.

The most preventable leading cause of death is smoking, which is one of the ways we can curb getting the disease. High blood pressure and cholesterol can also be monitored. Obesity or being overweight can also increase our risk. Being physically inactive can also be controlled. Working out a few days a week can also help control high blood pressure, our weight and high levels of cholesterol. And while working out might seem dreadful for some, program manager Garrick Joubert at Lone Star College-Kingwood begs to differ.

“I am eating healthier and exercising on a regular bases,” says Joubert, “I do cardiovascular exercises at least 4 times a week anywhere between 35 minutes – 1 hour at a time.”

According to, “Even a brief amount of exercise every day helps keep your metabolism functioning optimally.” Even the pigments in fruits and vegetables are vital for protecting heart muscle. They also help absorb free radicals.

It's our body...why ruin it? Heart Disease prevention is important for everyone.

“I realize heart disease is a wide spread disease that can be very dangerous,” says Joubert. “The thing that scares me the most about heart disease is the fact that it’s somewhat of a silent disease.”

Let’s beat the silent killer. A couple questions to ask yourself each day are: What are you doing to prevent heart disease? Has heart disease affected you?

To learn more about heart disease and what you can do to prevent it, tune into “Living Smart with Patricia Gras” where Dr. Stephanie Coulter guests on Sunday May 1st at 3 p.m.

Heart Disease Information


NOTICE: The opinions and views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views and opinions of Houston PBS. Any questions? Comments? or concerns? Write to us either on the blog or at

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College Smart: The Beauty of Different

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

The Living Smart episode on “The Beauty of Different” with Karen Walrond, an award winning photoblogger and author of “The Beauty of Difference,” will air Sunday, April 24 at 3 p.m. and repeats on Friday night at 10pm. on Houston’s channel 8. In this episode, Walrond will describe why she decided to create, her award-winning photoblog, and how her life changed when she realized the true meaning of beauty. She also addresses bullying in schools.

In this episode of College Smart, an independent web series created by Houston PBS interns, production assistant and senior at the University of Houston Cassady Lance talks to students about what beauty is to them. Depauw University graduate Christina Rivera catches all the footage of the beauty of difference at the University of Houston.

What does being beautiful mean to you?

Notice © collegesmartseries 2011.

Also be sure to watch Teen Smart by Media students at Hightower Academy on the Virtue of Tolerance below:

Also this Sunday at 2:30pm Latina Voices tackles the issue of homelessness.

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The Beauty of Different

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The Beauty of Different

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

Note from Patricia Gras:

What I learned this week: People have a right to their opinion of you, but you have the right to disagree with it!
Don’t give people your power.

What I am grateful for: I meet people with great courage and they inspire me. Be sure to watch Freedom Riders on May 16th on HoustonPBS and learn why courage is necessary for social justice

Celebrate The Beauty of You!
By: Cassady Lance, production assistant
Supervising Editor: Patricia Gras

When was the last time you celebrated a birthday, an anniversary or a graduation? I bet you can remember exactly when such an occasion took place.

In a world where we celebrate almost everything under the sun, when was the last time you celebrated you- not for having a birthday, or getting a promotion, but just for being you? I’ll bet that kind of celebration is a little bit harder to remember.

So why do we not celebrate ourselves on a regular basis? Probably because we are so busy beating ourselves up for our imperfections and failures that we forget to appreciate the positive traits and successes in life worth celebrating.

Consider Living Smart Guest for the Sunday, April 24 show at 3pm., Author Karen Walrond’s interesting and refreshing take on beauty:

“One of the exercises that I love to do with people is say, if you think about the people in
your life that you think are truly beautiful, chances are the person that you come up with isn’t Heidi Klum. Right? It’s a grandmother or it’s a child or it’s somebody that really stirs your soul, and I think that that is more valid—a more valid definition of beauty, and that’s what we really should strive for is being able to stir other people with what it is that makes us different.”

Try this exercise for yourself, and think about who is truly beautiful in your life. Why are they beautiful to you? Then ask yourself what it is that makes you truly beautiful? What is different about you? Do you embrace your differences, or do you try to hide them?

Now take the challenge to celebrate yourself, and focus on all of the great things that make you, well… you!

The lack of confidence and self-esteem plagues many people of all ages, genders, races and cultures, many times because of the attention that is paid to celebrities and their seemingly unattainable beauty. We imagine what it would be like to have Halle Berry’s flawless face, or Jennifer Anniston’s hair or Kim Kardashian’s famous curves; but what we seem to forget is that these people are human just like the rest of us. The difference is that celebrities have the money to hire hair and wardrobe stylists, makeup artists, fitness trainers and nutritionists to help them maintain that picture-perfect look.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Jennifer Lopez admits that celebrities have somewhat of an unfair advantage. The magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2011 says that she works hard for her look by maintaining a portion-controlled diet, a rigorous workout routine and a consistent skincare regimen. She also reminds readers that being beautiful is a part of her job.

But even with all of that help, celebrities still have their own insecurities. Glamour Magazine asked some of the most beautiful people in Hollywood what they don’t like about themselves, and some of the responses are surprising.

To some, Kim Kardashian is one of the most beautiful people in the world, but the E! reality star admits that it took her some time to feel comfortable with who she is.

“I would always see skinny models and think I didn’t fit in, but I realized I can’t change my reality; I can only do what I can to improve my body and work out to stay fit and healthy,” Kardashian said.

Even Kerri Hilson says that she once struggled with her own image. The R&B recording artist and songwriter says that it took time for her to love herself, flaws and all.

“I had to learn to fix what I can and accept what I cannot fix… that’s probably the hardest thing for a young, growing hormonal female to do,” Hilson said.

The bottom line is that it is rare and virtually impossible to find someone who doesn’t feel insecure about something. But we need to remember to celebrate our differences and really take the time to appreciate everything that we have, and look beyond what is on the surface.

Not only is it important to practice self-acceptance for yourself, but it is also important to lead by example for others- especially formidable children and teenagers. Bullying is a huge problem for young people today, and unfortunately, statistics show that violence in schools is increasing.

Research shows that self-esteem is an integral part of helping children deal with bullies. Consider the following information from

Kids with low self-esteem may not want to try new things, and may frequently speak negatively about themselves: “I’m stupid,” “I’ll never learn how to do this,” or “What’s the point? Nobody cares about me anyway.” Their self-talk is the key. They may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or waiting for somebody else to take over. They tend to be overly critical of and easily disappointed in themselves. Kids with low self-esteem see temporary setbacks as permanent, intolerable conditions, and a sense of pessimism predominates. Self-esteem is so important to help your child deal with bullies.

Here you can also find important statistics about school bullying:

• 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied. An American Justice Department school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics studies shows that this month 1 out of every 4 kids will be abused by another youth.
• School bullying statistics surveys show that 77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally, & physically. Cyber bullying statistic are rapidly approaching similar numbers.
• In a recent school bullying statistics study, 77% of the students said they had been bullied. And 14% of those who were bullied said they experienced severe (bad) reactions to the abuse. Many have tried to stop cyber bullying according to cyber bullying statistics.
• 1 out of 5 kids on a school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics study admit to being a bully, or doing some “Bullying.”
• Each day 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.
• A school bullying statistics reveals that 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
• 100,000 students carry a gun to school.
• 28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home.
• A school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics poll of teens ages 12-17 proved that they think violence increased at their schools.
• The same school bullying statictics and cyber bullying statistics poll also showed that 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
• More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school. Playground school bullying statistics – Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.

So whether you’re doing it for yourself or for others, realize the importance of self-acceptance, and learn to love and appreciate everyone’s differences as something that makes us all unique and beautiful. That’s the beauty of difference!

How will you not only impact your own life, but impact the lives of others as well through self-acceptance?
People Magazine Article:,,20360857_20481259,00.html

Glamour Magazine Article:

Statistics on Bullying:

The views expressed in this blog do not express the opinions of Houston PBS. The Living Smart episode on The Beauty of Difference airs this Sunday, April 24th at 3 p.m. The episode focuses on Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different.

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Virtue of Tolerance, Cancer Prevention, Post Partum Depression

Virtue of Tolerance, Cancer Prevention, Post Partum Depression

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

Teen Smart this week tackled the issue of tolerance and what it means to them. Take a look at their powerful video on tolerance from a teen perspective by Hightower Media Students. What does tolerance mean to you?

Tonight, Jill Carroll PhD discusses the virtue of tolerance at 10pm on HoustonPBS. This Sunday at 3pm learn unknown tips on cancer prevention. This is especially useful if you are a cancer survivor.
News of the mother in New York who killed herself and her three children has a lot to do with the fairly unknown condition known as “post partum depression” Watch the program on this blog if you know someone who may be experiencing symptoms. What you can do to help. Click on the right of this screen to view the show.

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College Smart: Cancer Prevention

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

The Living Smart episode on “Cancer Prevention” with “Avoiding Cancer One Day at a Time,” author Dr. Lynne Eldridge will air this Sunday, April 17 at 3 p.m. And repeat April 22 at 7 p.m. In the episode, Dr. Eldridge will discuss common and easy ways anyone can prevent cancer. These tips range from having multiple plants in your home, to checking radon levels, to even eating berries, berries, and more berries. And while, cancer prevention doesn’t seem like a fun task, Dr. Eldridge assures us that we can make cancer prevention fun. The question on everyone minds these days is: what are you doing to prevent yourself from getting cancer?

The third episode of the College Smart series features University of Houston senior Michelle Reed and Depauw University graduate Christina Rivera as they ask students how they manage to stay healthy, and if cancer is even on their minds.

Super Foods: Maintaing a Healthy Diet
1. Mediterranean Diet: non-hydrogenated plant oils, breads, potatoes, grains, fish, fruits and vegetables, legumes (chick peas, lentils, beans, peas and peanuts), tree nuts, seeds.
2. Green Tea
3. Water ( 8 glasses a day)
4. Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)
5. Tomato Products
6. Blueberries
7. Fish
8. Flax
9. Apples
10. Collard Greens, Spinach and Kale
11. Olive Oil
12. Kelp/Seaweed
13. Beans
14. Raspberries and Strawberries
15. Red Grapes
16. Broccoli Sprouts
17. Brazil Nuts
18. Pineapple
19. Pomegranates
20. Avocados
21. Exotic Mushrooms
22. Sweet Potatoes
23. Carrots
24. Dark Chocolate
25. Grains
26. Hot Chocolate
27. Garlic
28. Rosemary
29. Tumeric
30. Ginger

Foods to Avoid:
1. Orange Peel
2. Refined Sugar
3. Trans Fat
4. Pickled Foods
5. Smoked Foods
6. Nitrates/Nitrites
8. Potassium Bromate
9. Food Dyes

1. Eat 5 to 9 servings of fruits & vegetable per day
2. Choose organically grown foods
3. Avoid fast food
4. Clean all produce
5. Marinate meats before grilling, trim fat, and avoid letting the flames touch the meat
6. Use a fire chimney instead of lighter fluid
7. Choose baking, roasting, and boiling over broiling, frying and grilling
8. Keep plastic out of the microwave
9. Toss grains and buts before they become stale; refrigerate nuts and peanut butter
10. Do not resuse cooking oil

For more tips and strategies, watch the episode with Dr. Lynne Eldridge this Sunday at 3 p.m. or buy her book “Avoiding Cancer One Day at a Time.”

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University of Houston Pres. and Chanc. Renu Khator

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

This Sunday at 2:30pm on HoustonPBS on Latina Voices: Smart Talk, don’t miss Dr.Renu Khator as she discusses the future of the University of Houston and its recognition as a Tier 1 University. What will that mean for students, faculty, staff and the future of the city of Houston!
We also spoke to the Museum of Fine Arts Latin American curator Mari Carmen Ramirez about the extraordinary renaissance of Latin American artists in the United States.

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Cancer Prevention: How adding a plant to your home can make a difference

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Cancer Prevention: How adding a plant to your home can make a difference

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

What I am Grateful For: I have eyes to see, and a soul to feel and enjoy a sunset on the beach.

What I have learned this week.
Teamwork! At the Poynter Institute, I could not have learned to edit without my classmates and my teachers.

Do you know anyone who’s had cancer? How did you help them?

By: Production Assistant Christina Rivera and Patricia Gras

The upcoming episode  of Living Smart is featuring guest Lynn Eldridge, who will provide viewers with many useful and practical everyday tips for cancer prevention. In preparation for the episode, airing on April 17th at 3 p.m., we decided to expand on one of those suggestions. The tip in focus: how adding houseplants can greatly reduce harmful toxins in your home or office.

In order to help you maximize on this tip we decided to connect you with the details of which plants stand out above the rest for their air cleaning properties. One resource that focused on this life saving plant property was a blog article on “Eartheasy: Solutions for Sustainable Living.” The article focuses on explaining the findings of Dr. B.C. Wolverton and the research that he has done with NASA on using plants for toxin removal purposes. “Through studies conducted by NASA, scientists have identified 50 houseplants that remove many of the pollutants and gases mentioned…” The article ends with a useful list of the top 10 plants for removing toxins in your home.

The Top 10 Plants for Removing Indoor Toxins | Eartheasy Blog

Another article with valuable information on the topic is on “WebMD”  titled Is your home’s air unhealthy? Try Plants. This article uses the findings of a plant study that took place at the Univeristy of Georgia. “Of 28 indoor plants tested, Stanley Kays, PhD, of the University of Georgia and his horticultural team identified five “super ornamentals” that had the highest rates of contaminant removal, a process called phytoremediation.”

Is Your Home’s Air Unhealthy? Try Plants

So click the links to read the full articles and get inspired to find you perfect houseplant. And after you buy or grow your new houseplant, don’t forget to tune in to Houston PBS on Sunday April 17 at 3 p.m. to catch more useful tips for cancer prevention. Question for the day: What do you do to keep yourself cancer free? Do you thinks plants can really make a difference? Why or why not?

The opinions expressed in this blog article are not necessarily the views of Houston PBS. Please leave comments and questions at the end of this blog or e-mail us at

Be sure to watch the featured video on the side of the blog. This video features the Living Smart episode “Breast Cancer Prevention,” with Dr. Mirtha Casimir as she shares stories and knowledge from her 30-year tenure as an oncologist. Please leave comments and questions on the Youtube page for this episode.

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College Smart: Tolerance

Posted on 08 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

The Living Smart episode on “The Gift of Tolerance” with, Rice University associate professor of world religions, Jill Carroll will air on April 10 on Houston’s Channel 8 at 3 p.m., and repeat on April 15 at 7 p.m. In the episode, Jill Carroll will discuss what tolerance means to her and what she has seen through religious trends all over the world . She also discusses how people are tolerant today and how they are still intolerant to race.

The second episode of the College Smart series deals with the issue of tolerance among college students. In this episode of the newest College Smart web-series, intern and senior at the University of Houston Cassady Lance and shooter and editor Christina Rivera explore the issue of tolerance and intolerance among college students. As one of the most  diverse Universities in the nation, students at the University of Houston deal with tolerance each day, but the question remains: what is tolerance? Why are some people intolerant to other races? religions? beliefs? Leave us your thoughts.

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Tolerance and American Exceptionalism

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Tolerance and American Exceptionalism

Posted on 06 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

By: Patricia Gras and Matthew Hayes, production assistant

This Sunday at 3pm on HoustonPBS National Expert on Tolerance Dr. Jill Carroll (repeats friday night 10pm)

To what degree does our cultural belief in America’s global presence require that we lead the world in equal treatment of others?

While watching the news oscillate from the speculative dissection of our political climate to our military involvement in Libya and beyond, I’ve tried to answer that question. I’ve tried to define how our political agenda and our military involvement in foreign affairs could coexist and why we are burdened with the desire let different religions, races, and cultures coexist with the majority. There has to be a consensus between race, religion and culture that makes up the intense spiral of exceptionalism in America.

The idea of one race, one religion, one culture, combined with America’s propensity to welcome traditions that are different from the majority, create the idea of America and how we successfully blend tolerance of others in our Democratic experiment. Consider this quote by President Barack Obama on America’s military involvement in the Libyan conflict:

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and—more profoundly—our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.”

Mr. Obama’s belief in America’s past and therefore ongoing duty as global rudder, leaves us with little choice in matter’s of whether we should fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. Partisan concerns aside, bolstering our moral standing before the international humanitarian community is good for America, especially in the face of asymmetric conflict. We, by sheer merit of who we are as Americans, must forever maintain an unwavering pact with the rest of the world to lead by example.

To that end, the President’s speech even included a recognition-by-omission of our allies (Brazil, Russia, India, Germany and China) who abstained from voting on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized the international response to the Libyan crisis, as if they were, supposedly, foot-dragging on a morally unambiguous conflict:

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies -– nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey –- all of whom have fought by our sides for decades.  And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibilities to defend the Libyan people.

Here are some questions to think about: When was the last time you realized you could have been more tolerant of another person, culture, or ideal? When was the last time someone could have been more tolerant toward you? The “Arab Spring” revolutions, which begun in Egypt and Tunisia, are youth-driven. How do we ensure that the new generation’s efforts to move forward aren’t soiled by mistakes of the past? Can we afford another generation clinging to the ideals of its heritage? What parts of ourselves should we leave behind in service of the future?

President Obama’s Speech:

Doubts concerning his views on American Exceptionalism:

On the U.N. vote:

The views expressed in this blog do not express the opinions of Houston PBS. The Living Smart episode on Tolerance airs this Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. The episode focuses on Jill Carroll, a religious tolerance lecturer at Rice University.

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Overcoming Addiction This Sunday at 3pm on Ch. 8

Posted on 03 April 2011 by Patricia Gras

Be sure to watch the video on addiction by the Hightower Highschool’s Media Academy.


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Patricia Gras (Twitter)

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