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Garlic: The Big Flavor with Benefits

Garlic is a great way to add bold taste to your cooking without extra calories or sodium. But did you know that garlic offers more than big flavor? It's such a common ingredient in so many dishes that it's easy to overlook its health benefits.   Garlic is a member of the Allium family, along with onions, leeks and shallots. Like a tulip or daffodil, garlic grows from a bulb underground, producing leaves and a flower stalk. The underground bulb, with its individual cloves, is what humans have cooked with for more than 6,000 years.   Garlic originated in central Asia. Although Gilroy, Ca, calls itself the garlic capital of the world, China is the world's dominant garlic producer. Garlic shows up in many world cuisines, from garlicky Asian sauces, to Italian pasta dishes, to the classic French sauce, aioli.   Ancient Greeks and Romans embraced garlic for its health benefits; the Roman physician Galen praised its cure-all properties. Today, the National Institutes for Health notes that garlic is used as medicine for many conditions involving the heart and blood system, and for treating the immune system. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory and infection-fighting properties. According to the NIH, garlic is ''possibly effective'' when used as treatment for high blood pressure, fungal infections of the skin, hardening of the arteries, and colon, rectal and stomach cancer. When used medicinally, garlic is typically concentrated into extract or powder and given as tablets or capsules.   Varieties Garlic comes in hardneck and softneck varieties. Softneck varieties have a flexible flower stalk (which can be braided) and smaller cloves; most commercially available garlic is of this variety. Hardneck garlics have a firm, edible flower stalk (called a scape) and larger cloves. Increasingly, small farmers are growing heirloom hardneck varieties, some of which date back hundreds of years. You can find these varieties at many farmers markets.   Nutrition Data Garlic has been shown to moderately reduce cholesterol, and its sulfur compounds have been shown to reduce blood pressure. It's also low in calories (4 calories per clove) and high in vitamin C, selenium and magnesium. Very preliminary research has suggested that garlic may inhibit the production of fat cells in the body. A Note on Prepared/Processed Garlic Allicin, a unique sulfur component, is responsible for garlic's pungent flavor and also for some of its health benefits. Allicin is released when a clove of garlic is chopped and is at its most potent when used soon after chopping. For this reason, prepared minced garlic sold in jars in the grocery is less flavorful and less beneficial than fresh garlic. Pre-minced garlic is packaged with oil and preservatives like citric or phosphoric acid. Since it's so easy to peel and chop garlic, using fresh is recommended. You can even grow it at home pretty easily.  

Buying and Storing Look for garlic bulbs that are undamaged, with their papery skins intact. Choose bulbs that have larger cloves, as these are easier to peel. Garlic can be stored in a cool, dark place for three to six months; discard any cloves that have dried out or begun to sprout.   Cooking Garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. Cooking tempers the flavor (and lessens garlic breath). To prepare garlic for cooking, remove the papery skin and the hard root end from each clove, then chop according to recipe directions. (Some research has shown that cutting or crushing garlic activates its enzymes and that it's beneficial to wait five minutes before continuing with the recipe.) You can infuse olive oil with garlic by simmering a half cup of oil in a saucepan with 2-3 chopped garlic cloves. Garlic can be roasted, which creates a soft, caramelized texture and sweet, rich flavor. Note: Garlic is also sold in powdered or granulated form, which is appropriate for use in recipes like dressings, sauces or dips. Garlic powder is not a good substitute in recipes that call for sautéing or cooking fresh garlic. Granulated garlic, garlic powder and garlic salt are three different ingredients and shouldn't be used interchangeably, so pay attention to your recipe. Avoid garlic salt if you're watching your sodium levels. Healthy Recipes that Feature Garlic   Chef Meg's Favorite Ginger-Garlic Sauce This versatile recipe can be used to add bold flavor as a marinade or sauce for grilled meats or vegetables.   Low-Fat Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes Perfect for a crowd, this recipe can be made ahead for family gatherings. Chef Meg's Grilled Citrus Garlic Flank Steak Garlic adds a ton of flavor to this healthy, lean cut of beef.   Chef Meg's Herb-Roasted Garlic Sweet, softened roasted garlic is terrific on toasted bread slices, or in soups and stews. So, what are you waiting for? Start adding more garlic to your meals--the flavor and health benefits will be worth the garlic breath!

  Sources   National Institutes of Health. ''Garlic,'' accessed July 2012.   The World's Healthiest Foods. ''Garlic,'' accessed July 2012.  

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Eating for a Healthy Heart

Looking for ways to kick start your heart-healthy lifestyle? Start by looking at your diet. Poor food choices can have a negative effect on your heart, weight and overall health; but making small, sustainable changes to improve your diet can have a lasting impact. There is a lot of misinformation about what foods are or aren't heart-healthy, so it may surprise you to learn that you don't need exotic fruits, imported nuts, or even pricey supplements to take care of your ticker. By making heart smart choices at home, at the grocery and at your favorite restaurant, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Dietary DOs and DON'Ts for a Healthy Heart DO focus on fruits and vegetables. Most American's don't come close to eating the recommended minimum of five servings per day, but vegetables and fruits of all kinds and colors should take center stage in a heart-healthy diet. They're rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that promote a healthy heart and body, plus they're filling and low in calories, which can promote weight management. Fresh, frozen, dried, canned (without sugar/syrups or added salt), raw, cooked—all fruits and vegetables are good for you. Here are more tips to fit them into your meals and snacks. DON'T overdo it on juice and processed "fruit" snacks. The fruit filling in a breakfast pastry is mostly sugar—not a real serving of fruit. And while small amounts of 100% fruit juice can fit into a healthy diet, they're also concentrated sources of sugar (naturally occurring) and calories compared to whole fruits, which also boast heart-healthy fiber while juice does not. Find out how juice can fit into a healthy diet. DO monitor your sodium intake. Sodium gets a bad rap—and deservedly so. Our bodies do need this mineral, but in much smaller quantities than we normally eat. To prevent high blood pressure and heart disease, a healthy sodium goal to strive for is no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. Keep in mind that sodium doesn't just come from the salt shaker; processed foods, frozen entrees, canned vegetables, common condiments (like ketchup), deli meats (such as salami) and cheeses (including cottage cheese) can be high in sodium, as can many restaurant dishes. Learn how sodium sneaks into your diet and ways to reduce your intake. DON'T forget about added sugar. Most people know that sugar isn't exactly a health food. It provides quick-digesting carbohydrates, but no real nutrition (think: vitamins and minerals). While many people associate sugar with the development of diabetes, few people realize that sugar plays just as much of a role in heart disease as dietary fat does. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who ate more sugar had lower levels of HDL "good" cholesterol and higher triglycerides—markers of increased heart disease risk. The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugars (about 100 calories) each day; that number becomes 9 teaspoons for men (150 calories). Just one 12-ounce can of cola has about 130 calories, or eight teaspoons of sugar. Learn more about where sugar lurks in your diet. DO cut back on fat. To reduce your risk of heart disease you need to choose the right types of fat, and make sure that you're not eating too much fat in general. Most adults eat too much fat, regardless of the source, so cutting back on dietary fat is a good first step to a heart healthy diet. That's why choosing low-fat products, baking or broiling instead of frying, and reducing or omitting the fats that recipes call for (think: oil, shortening, lard) are important first steps to get your fat intake in line. Avoid fats that elevate your cholesterol levels: trans fats (hydrogenated oils found in baked goods and many margarines) and saturated fats (usually found in high-fat meats and dairy products, including beef, lamb, pork, poultry, beef fat, cream, lard, butter, cheese and dairy products made with whole or 2% milk, as well as baked goods and fried foods that contain palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil). About 25-35% of your total calories for the day should come from fat sources. For someone eating 1,500 calories per day, that's about 41-58 grams of fat. SparkPeople's meal plans and nutrition ranges meet this guideline, so if you track your food and are within your daily fat goal, you are meeting this recommendation. DON'T fear all fats. Not all fats are bad for you. In fact, certain types of fat, such as monounsaturated fat and Omega-3s, actually promote heart health. Once you've gotten your fat intake in line, focus on making heart-smart fat choices to meet your daily recommendations. Fats found in nuts, olive, soybean and canola oils, fish and seafood. DO imbibe in moderation (if you drink). Research indicates that a moderate alcohol intake has been associated with a decreased risk for certain cardiovascular diseases, particularly coronary heart disease. A moderate alcohol intake is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. To find out if a moderate alcohol intake is appropriate for you, talk to your doctor about your consumption of alcohol, medical history, and any medications you use. Learn more about alcohol and your heart. DON'T start drinking alcohol if you aren't already a drinker. There are other, healthier ways to reduce your risk of heart disease rather than drinking alcohol, which also comes with its own set of risks and can lead to problems. If you don't drink now, don't start. Other healthy habits (like not smoking, eating right, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight) can also help you reduce your risk of heart disease. DO fill up on fiber. A high fiber diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Certain types of fiber may help lower LDL "bad" cholesterol. Adults should aim for 20-30 grams each day. To meet your daily quota, select a variety of unprocessed plant-based foods each day, including whole grains, (oats, whole-wheat bread/flour/cereal fruits and vegetables and beans. DON'T forget about cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance made in the liver and cells of animals. It is therefore found in animal products (meat, poultry, dairy and eggs), but not plant-sourced foods. A high intake of dietary cholesterol can contribute to heart disease. For the prevention of heart disease, limit your intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams each day. If you already have an elevated LDL cholesterol level or you are taking a cholesterol medication, this goal is even lower: 200 milligrams daily. While it may seem like there are a lot of "rules" to follow to protect your heart, it all boils down to making smart choices on a consistent basis. Focus on the foods that you know are good for you—whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean protein choices, and healthy fats—and limit or avoid the types of foods that don't do anything for your health (think empty calories, fried foods, sugar and sweets, and high-fat meats and dairy products). When you focus on the good stuff and make healthful choices most of the time, you'll be doing your body—and your heart—well. Sources American Heart Association. "Nutrition Center: Healthy Diet Goals," accessed March 2011. American Heart Association. "Saturated Fats," accessed March 2011. "Easy Tips for Planning a Healthy Diet and Sticking To It," accessed March 2011. Mayo Clinic. "Healthy Diet: End the Guesswork with These Nutrition Guidelines," accessed March 2011. United Press International. "Eating Fiber May Reduce Heart Risk," accessed March 2011. Welsh, Jean A, Andrea Sharma, Jerome L. Abramson, Viola Vaccarino, Cathleen Gillespie and Miriam B. Vos. "Caloric Sweetener Consumption and Dyslipidemia Among US Adults," Journal of the American Medical Association. Article Source:

Nike's futuristic self-lacing sneakers to be released in November

Nike has announced that it's "Back to The Future II" inspired self-lacing sneakers will be available just in time for the holiday season.

In November, the company will make the HyperAdapt 1.0 available for purchase, according to The Verge.

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The shoes have been 28 years in the making, according to Wired, and have gone through many prototypes, redesigns and restarts.

The extensive piece in Wired detailed how the technological shoes were made, which uses an internal cable system to lace the shoes and a pressure sensor to adjust the shoe to the weight of the person's foot.

"When you step in, your heel will hit a sensor and the system will automatically tighten," Nike senior innovator and HyperAdapt’s technical lead Tiffany Beers, said in a Nike news release. "Then there are two buttons on the side to tighten and loosen. You can adjust it until it’s perfect."

The HyperAdapt also has a battery that takes three hours to charge and is expected to last three weeks so that the LEDs in the heel light up when the cables, made from fishing line, activate in the system and tighten the shoe.

Nike PR director Heidi Burgett tweeted that appointments to buy and experience the shoe begin Nov. 28.

The shoes will only be available in the U.S. at select Nike locations.

Reporter seeks to find child he saved 30 years ago

Sitting across the table from her, I finally said what had been on my mind from the moment I found her picture on the internet.

Whatever became of Joyce Hoover and her little girl?

I had waited 30 years and traveled more than a thousand miles to find out.

Joyce Hoover pushed aside her iced tea on this warm summer afternoon and looked down at the yellowed newspaper photo of herself hugging her daughter, taken the day after we met.

Try as I might, I’ll never forget her expression on that day.

It was the day I stopped her 6-year-old daughter from being kidnapped.

Burly stranger by the pool

Sept. 28, 1986, wasn’t unfolding as a remarkable day. I went to the Orange Bowl, saw Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins lose to the San Francisco 49ers 31-16, then headed to my favorite watering hole to erase the memory.

The Chickee Bar on Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale was the kind of Sunday afternoon neighborhood joint that would inspire Jimmy Buffett to jot lyrics about umbrella drinks on a stray napkin. Formal attire consisted of flip-flops, cutoffs and a tropical shirt. Nobody ever drank alone, since everybody knew everybody.

Except for the burly stranger lingering by the pool.

I first caught a glimpse of him as I was about to pull out of the parking lot. I wasn’t looking at him so much as the girl he was carrying as if she were a rag doll. He grabbed her by one arm so tightly that she was suspended in air, her tiny feet dangling in a futile stretch for the ground. Her cries told me she’d been misbehaving, and that Daddy was punishing her by taking her home. But this was more than just a father punishing his daughter.

He tossed her into the back seat of his car, shoved her down and walked around to the driver’s seat to take off.

She stubbornly popped back up.

He angrily shoved her back down.

That’s when it happened.

"I want my mother!" she yelled through tears.

Four words that changed my life — and hers. They told me that maybe this wasn’t all it appeared to be, or at least, if he were her father, he was a rotten father.

My new Camaro be damned, I pulled it in front of his car, blocking it, then jumped out and confronted him through his rolled-down driver’s side window.

"What’s going on here?" I demanded to know.

He didn’t say a word. He stared at me, dumbfounded. Thankfully, Rich Vidal, a friend and paramedic, had the man on his radar from the moment he grabbed the girl. Although Rich couldn’t hear what was going on over the music, when he saw my actions, he hurdled the poolside railing and hopped in the car on the passenger side. Rich slid the gear lever into park, then yanked out the keys.

Just then, Joyce came running up, led by her 5-year-old son, Steven. Joyce (then known as Joyce Swint) worked in the Fairwinds Hotel office by the bar, and the kids enjoyed playing in the pool just a few feet away. Little Steven told Mom she had to come — right now — because his sister, Linda, was in trouble.

Flinging open the car door, Joyce pulled Linda out and wrapped her arms around her.

"Do you know this guy?" I said.

"I’ve never seen him before in my life!" she screamed, the horrified expression on her face unlike any I’d seen before, or have seen since.

I turned to see the entire bar had emptied, engulfing us in a three-deep circle.

"Call the police," someone said.

A firefighter, a bowling ball of a man about 5-feet-10 and 220 pounds, had another idea.

"Screw the police," he said. "Let’s take him out back and deal with it ourselves."

As tantalizing as vigilantism sounded, lawfulness prevailed.

"Don’t let him get back in the car," said the bar manager, Kevin Sharpe. Until then, it never occurred to me the man could be armed.

Max Fernand Augereau, it turned out, was a career criminal. French-born, 44 years old, with scruffy hair and a scruffy beard to match, he had just moved into a nearby trailer park. Although he was a chef at a popular Fort Lauderdale restaurant, Augereau had a record dating back five years.

We cornered him and Augereau nonchalantly leaned against the hood of his car, arms folded, the picture of a man certain he could talk his way out of this.

A Fort Lauderdale police cruiser pulled up. Then another and another and another.

Police took our statements. They took Augereau to jail.

He eventually told police he’d been drinking that afternoon, which could explain his curious behavior while we waited for the officers. Why did he do it? He offered conflicting stories to police, at one point claiming the girl asked him for a ride. In his report, the arresting officer wrote, "He stated that he did not know why he grabbed her and did not know what he would have done had he been able to leave." The report also says a woman’s purse with no identification was found in the trunk of his Pontiac.

At the time, I was a 28-year-old editor in the sports department at The Miami Herald. Still, no amount of journalistic experience qualifies anyone to gauge such a strange story in which I would become a principal figure.

I wasn’t ready for what came next.

What if I hadn’t acted?

"Pair thwart abduction of girl" was the banner headline in The Herald a day later. The week that followed was surreal, with TV crews visiting my residence and office, a crime-watch group picking up Rich and me in a limo for a lavish dinner, and other civic groups giving us commendations.

Sharpe, the bar manager, told me that two days after the incident, a man visited the bar, asking for Rich and me while waving hundred dollar bills.

Before he became a crime-fighting television host, John Walsh, who lost his son, Adam, in a heinous Broward kidnapping five years earlier, presented me with a plaque bearing Adam’s likeness. I make a living with words but struggled to find the right ones as John quietly explained he’d just flown back from California where he was trying to help a couple whose child disappeared. This case, he told me, was such a welcome respite.

A hero. That’s what I was called, even by police, who inscribed "A true hero" on another plaque.

Unless you’ve been in a similar position, I don’t expect you to get what I’m about to say. Whether it’s someone who performed CPR, dove into a canal to pull a stranger from a sinking car or took action to prevent a kidnapping, you often hear of heroic deeds done by people who don’t consider themselves heroes. And you’re reading one now.

This is who I am: someone who did what he needed to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of what I did — as proud as anything I’ve ever done — but I look at from a different angle. What if I hadn’t acted? What if, in those handful of seconds, I turned away? What if I didn’t want to get involved?

And what if I turned on the news the next day and saw that girl’s picture? That chill I felt when Joyce said he’d never seen the man before in her life? That’s what I would have felt, forever.

Nobody has called me a hero in ages. A good reason is that for nearly all of these 30 years, I’ve hardly spoken about the incident. I assure you that most people who know me — and know me well — are reading this with mouths agape: 5-foot-5 Hal did what? To a 6-1, 210-pound guy with a record?

Once, I spoke to a journalism class at Florida Atlantic University. The professor had Googled my name and stumbled across a reference to the incident, so she put me on the spot. After giving her a look, I swallowed and began telling students it was Sept. 28, 1986. As I did, a girl in the front row mumbled, "He remembers the date?" I nearly paused to say, "Of course I remember the date."

You’d probably find my most precious memento strange. With the Swints present, the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce honored Rich and me at its monthly breakfast, during which tiles advertising the Yellow Pages were positioned at every place-setting as coffee coasters. Trinkets.

As everybody got up to leave, little Linda walked up to me, tile in hand.

And silently handed hers to me.

After 30 years, I needed answers

Five years and five years’ probation. That’s what the judge sentenced Max Augereau for that day. A plea deal, no trial.

And that was about the last I’d heard of any of them.

I often wondered whatever happened to Joyce and her two children. Sept. 28 never passed without my thinking of them, especially Linda.

Where is she? What if anything does she know of what happened? Of me? Is she happy?

Is she safe?

I decided after 30 years, I needed answers.

The journalism business has taught me that some people leave a trace as they go through life, some don’t. The Swints fell into the latter category, including Joyce Swint, who had remarried and changed her name to Joyce Hoover.

Although I traced them to Frederick, Maryland, about an hour outside Baltimore, making contact was a challenge. Voicemail and electronic messages to Linda went unreturned. So did Facebook friend requests. Steven accepted my request but nothing more. Finally one day came a Facebook message from Joyce: "Of course I remember you!"

At last, Joyce summarized the past 30 years — how she’s working two jobs, how Steven is busy supporting his 4-year-old daughter and how Linda is working fulltime and going to school fulltime.

"But she is very shy," Joyce wrote.

That might have closed the door on any face-to-face reunion, except for one other point:

"It is very exciting to be able to say thank you again," Joyce wrote. "You did save my ‘little girl’s’ life many years ago."

A month later, I got on a plane.

"She was so fearful afterwards"

I walked into The Home Depot in Frederick, where Joyce worked, and there she was at the service counter.

"Can I help you?" she said.

"You don’t recognize me, do you?" I said.

"Hal?" she said almost immediately.

An hour later, we huddled at a nearby coffee shop.

Thirty years is a lot of time to fill in.

Linda, it turns out, remembers me, but has only sketchy details of the incident. At the time of my visit, Linda was house-hunting in Missouri because her boyfriend was being transferred.

Our lives in the weeks and months after the near-kidnapping were polar opposites.

While I was riding around in that limo, life was traumatic for the Swints.

About a week after the incident, Joyce received a call from an apologetic woman. Augereau raped me, the woman told her. "If only I’d pressed charges," she said.

Augereau was no stranger to police, compiling a rap sheet that included two cases of grand theft, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, burglary, kidnapping and two sexual batteries — one occurring a week before the Chickee Bar incident, the other, three weeks after.

Meanwhile, Joyce couldn’t go into crowded stores without traumatizing Linda.

"She was so fearful afterwards," Joyce said. "I think she got tired of being afraid. It got to the point she was afraid and did not know why."

Joyce herself was so unnerved she did not return to her apartment, instead spending time with relatives before deciding it was time to leave Broward County.

I offered Joyce one bit of peace: Just before arriving at the coffee shop, I ran a search that showed Augereau died of unspecified causes in 2004 at age 61, in Lee County.

I also shared another fact — that during the investigation involving Linda, police administered a polygraph to determine if Augereau was involved in the abduction and murder of Susan Jacques, an 18-year-old Connecticut student on spring break whose body was found in a canal near Delray Beach five months prior. He passed that test.

Over the years, Linda tended bar to help pay for college. Now 36, she’s relieved to be on the brink of graduating — the delay attributed to a change in majors — and is inches shy of becoming a paralegal. Given that I now cover the Dolphins for The Palm Beach Post, I was amused to learn she is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. Joyce proudly showed a photo of a painting Linda drew, attesting to her considerable artistic skills.

Joyce related a story from the night of the incident. After leaving the scene, she took the children to her mother’s. Earlier that day, her mother had been at her prayer group, praying for her family.

"They were praying at the time she was kidnapped," Joyce said. "If somebody says they don’t believe in prayer, talk to me. I believe I have a girl because of God. He put you in the right place at the right time. He put Rich and my son at the right place at the right time."

Joyce added, "You saved her, Rich saved her, my son saved her."

As for lingering memories?

"She knew something happened because of all the attention but she doesn’t remember the fear. I don’t know if she blocked it out."

Along this journey, I reconnected with Rich, a 60-year-old grandfather living in Port St. Lucie, still married to Sophie, who worked at the Chickee Bar. The longer we talked, the more I learned that everything I feel about that incident, he feels. That includes rejecting the "hero" label and wondering about the forces — mystical or otherwise — that inspired us to act. And often wondering whatever happened to Linda.

Rich retired last year, but 30 years as a paramedic qualified him to say, "I’ve saved a lot of people, but that was the highlight."

As we spoke, my phone buzzed with a notification. I looked down to see "Amber Alert," a chilling reminder to Rich and me.

"I honestly believe we saved that little girl’s life," he said. "We did good."

For 30 years, I’ve wished I could see the grown-up Linda, or at least talk to her. Not to hear thanks but to thank her — for yelling for her mother and jolting me into action.

I thought meeting her would mean closure, an affirmation our story had a happy ending.

I learned that Linda doesn’t remember every detail of what happened on Sept. 28, 1986.

Come to think of it, maybe that is the happiest ending.

Staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this report.

Woman has message for ‘dirt bag’ who threw dog out of car

A Michigan woman has a message for the person who threw a sweet, scared dog out of the car Friday afternoon.

In a Facebook post, Danielle Cole said her husband was driving through the Allegan Township area, near a forested region, when he saw a person throw a dog out of their car and sped off. The dog tried to chase the owner’s car down but collapsed on the side of the road. It was not until the next day that Cole, her husband and a group of concerned citizens were able to lure the frightened little dog out of the forest.

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Cole expressed anger at the person who discarded the dog, saying, “How could you throw your dog out like a piece of trash? This handsome little guy is so sweet and loving, he loves my kids, especially my son, he likes my other dogs … You are a real scumbag, and you will answer to what you did one day.”

Cole urged others to share the post so “maybe the dirt bag will see this post.”

Her post has been shared over 50,000 times.

To the dirt bag that threw his dog out in the Allegan forest on 48th street Friday at about 3:30pm. Let me tell you what...Posted by Danielle Cole on Sunday, September 18, 2016

Teen over 7 feet tall, still growing

Michigan teen Broc Brown stands over 7 feet tall, and at the rate he's growing, he may end up in the record books.

At 19, Brown is 7 feet 8 inches tall, and is currently growing an average of six inches per year, according to WJBK. Brown wears size 28 shoes and his 8-foot bed was custom-built.

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Brown has Sotos syndrome, a genetic condition. By the time he was 5 years old, he was already over 5 feet tall. In addition to abnormal growth, Brown also suffers from heart strain, spinal deformities, learning and behavior disorders. While he experiences chronic pain, he is unable to take painkillers, because he was born with only one kidney.

Brown’s community raised approximately $10,000 to help pay for the teen’s special clothing and shoes.

Posted by Broc D Brown on Friday, October 24, 2014

These 5 Illustrations Perfectly Sum Up What Anxiety Feels Like

We all get anxious from time to time. Think about the sweaty palms and heart-beating-out-of-your-chest feeling you get before a job interview or speaking in front of a crowd. Living with anxiety is something much more serious. Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million American adults, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S. It's hard to explain what anxiety really "feels" like, but these awesome illustrations from The Tab do an eerily good job: Photo: The Tab Photo: The Tab Photo: The Tab Photo: The Tab Photos: The Tab

Appeals Court Says It’s Cool for Employers to Discriminate Against Dreadlocks. WTF?!

Last time we checked, hair styles had nothing to do with crushing it at work. Even if you're in the food service industry, where a stray hair could end up in someone's food, all you've got to do is put on a hat or hair net, and you're good to go. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that it's legal for companies to discriminate against employees with dreadlocks. The ruling comes from a suit filed by Chastity Jones, an Alabama woman who had her job offer rescinded after an HR manager said dreadlocks "tend to get messy," so they wouldn't be appropriate in the workplace. The HR manager allegedly told Jones, "I'm not saying yours are [messy], but you know what I'm talking about." Well, if you're asking us to read between the lines, it doesn't sound like you're talking about a messy bun. The company's grooming policy stated "hairstyle should reflect a business/professional image. No excessive hairstyles or unusual colors are acceptable." So dreadlocks are either unprofessional or excessive. It seems like some thinly veiled racism here, huh? The appeals court didn't agree. The justices said that while hairstyle can be associated with a person's heritage, the HR managers actions were not discriminatory because hair is a physical characteristic you can change. So by this logic, an overweight person could be denied a job because that's something they could change. Ultimately, we should be hiring people based on their ability to do the job, not on the way they look.

What Dating a Sober Guy Taught Me About Myself

We were watching The Lego Movie. I remember it clearly, because it felt odd to be stressing out while listening to the movie's upbeat theme song: Everything is awesome; everything is cool when you're part of a team. But nothing was awesome, and I was anything but cool. I was about to have sex with someone new, without being my usual three vodka sodas (at least) deep. While little Legos danced across the TV, I tried to ignore the panic starting to creep in. The guy I was dating didn't drink. Up to this point, it had been a welcome break from the usual bar scene. But in those minutes before my clothes were about to come off, I actually thought about sneaking out of his bedroom and grabbing something from his roommate's liquor cabinet to calm my nerves. I missed having alcohol as a security blanket during encounters like this—how a few drinks could dull my insecurities and make me feel like a catch. Now, sober during the act, I focused on positioning my body to look its most flattering, avoiding eye contact with my partner, and honestly, waiting for it to be over. Why didn't I feel hot enough to sleep with someone new unless I was hammered? Later that night I took a hard look at how I'd ended up there. Why didn't I feel hot enough to sleep with someone new unless I was hammered? How have I managed to be sloshed every time I've had sex with a new guy, without ever having to go out of my way (or raid someone's liquor cabinet) to do so? The answer: I was locked into a pattern—one that will probably sound familiar to any 20-something dating in a big city. The beginning of any new relationship went something like this: For the first date, we meet at a low-lit bar. I order a drink that I chug way too fast because I feel uncomfortable. Over drink No. 2, I continue to drown out how awkward I feel by asking the standard questions: "What do you do?" "Where are you from?" "Do you know my friend so-and-so? She went to the same college as you." Drink No. 3 makes me feel even more confident and bold, and my date and I get closer to each other. Make out over drink No. 4. Dates three through five repeat this format again and again, subbing in questions that are less surface level and make it seem like we're actually getting to know one another. Eventually we have sloppy, drunk, first-time sex. But it's OK that it's sloppy. Because we're both drunk and can use booze as a scapegoat. This is not the case when you're getting it on stone-cold sober in the middle of the afternoon to the rhythm of "Everything Is Awesome." Alcohol makes a lot of things easier—conversations with strangers who you'd potentially like to make out with being one of them. It also helps drown out the things you're feeling insecure about. Booze makes awkward moments feel bearable. It makes you feel loose, relaxed, and at ease. But it also clouds your judgment and distorts your perception. Alcohol put a rose-colored (beer-goggled?) filter over whomever I was dating, obscuring the obvious flaws. After three months of dating someone, I’d suddenly become aware of something I hadn't noticed while we were sloshed, like his short temper or jealous streak. I'd stick around for longer than I should've, remembering the good times that I only thought were good because I was wasted for most of them. Alcohol put a rose-colored filter over whomever I was dating, obscuring the obvious flaws. Granted, getting out of the bar and away from the drunk-interview style of dating wasn't easy. There were times I missed having that vodka soda in my hand so much that I'd stand as if I were still holding it, like a phantom limb. But for the most part, I haven't found myself on many dates where we're both just standing around, because dating sober requires you to get creative. And let me tell you, even the process of making plans that don't involve picking a bar that's convenient for both of you can tell you a lot about the person you're dating. Spending a day firing an AR-15 at a gun range? Trying to sneak into Brooklyn's fanciest rooftop pools on a Sunday afternoon? Not for everyone. But there's a bond that gets created when you’re trying something out of the ordinary and outside your comfort zone. Without alcohol as a crutch for conversation, I've had to learn how to be comfortable with awkward silences. Or take the time to fill them with something thoughtful instead of stream of consciousness babbling. I've had to own whatever stupid thing I've said that didn't come out right. I had always considered myself a good listener; I'd just blame my zoning out on the blasting background music at whatever bar I was at. But dating sober has made me better at having a conversation and actually paying attention to what's being said. I'm not saying everyone should quit the sauce and plan an adrenaline-spiking first date. But I do think anyone who's out there trying to meet someone could benefit from a few dates that get you both off the bar stool. It's a way better gauge of compatibility than seeing who can shoot the most whiskey. As for sex without the vodka? I'm still learning how to get out of my head and be present in what's happening, without critiquing myself the entire time. But that's easier to do when you're actually feeling everything that's happening to you. There are no dulled sensations. Nothing feels watered down. Everything is awesome.

Mom fires back on internet haters after she colors her daughter's hair

A Florida mom is coming under fire after she decided to give her daughter the hairstyle of the child's dreams.

Mary Thomaston, who is a colorist by trade, dyed her 6-year-old daughter's hair, giving the girl what's called "unicorn hair," The Huffington Post reported.

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Thomaston's daughter Lyra had been asking for the pastel-colored dye job that includes long teal locks, and a purple sun shaved on the right side of her hair.

A photo posted by Mary Thomaston (@marythomaston) on Aug 21, 2016 at 6:29pm PDT

Thomaston received hundreds of responses to the post of her daughter's hair, many in support of allowing Lyra be unique, but some people took to the web to complain that a child shouldn't have her hair dyed, even saying that it was dangerous, reported.

Thomaston said that she used hair color that will wash out and that she was not harmed during the coloring process, using products from Manic Panic N.Y.C., which bills itself as alternative hair color.

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