TIME Oklahoma

Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Method

Nat'l Governors Association Delivers State Of The States Address In Washington
Win McNamee—Getty Images Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on Jan. 15, 2014

The bill says doctors cannot use forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a fetus

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Oklahoma lawmakers have approved a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

The Senate voted 37-4 Wednesday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Rep. Pam Peterson. It now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who has previously signed several anti-abortion bills.

Under the bill, doctors cannot use forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in a dilation and evacuation procedure performed in the second trimester.

The bill would ban the procedure except when necessary to save a woman’s life or a serious health risk to the mother.

A similar measure was signed into law in Kansas on Wednesday.

TIME Aging

The Health Perks of Arts and Crafts for Adults

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Why the elderly should go DIY

Just as coloring books for adults are starting to fly off the shelves, a new study suggests that older adults who do creative activities like arts and crafts could delay the development of memory problems in old age.

The study, which is published in the journal Neurology, looked at 256 people who were between 85 to 89 years old and did not have any memory related problems at the start of the study. The men and women were followed for four years. The people in the study reported their levels of engagement in the arts, including painting, drawing, sculpting, woodworking, ceramics, quilting and sewing. They also estimated their social life—hanging out with friends, traveling, and attending book clubs and Bible studies—as well as their computer use, which included searching the Internet and buying things online.

People who exercised their artistic muscle were 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, a condition that can mean memory problems and reduced mental function, than those who didn’t partake in artistic activities. People who did a lot of crafts like woodworking and quilting were 45% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than people who did not, and computer users were 53% less likely to develop it compared to adults who didn’t use the computer. Social adults were 55% less likely to have memory problems later on than their antisocial peers.

The researchers also found that other risk factors, like having high blood pressure and depression in middle age, also increased the risk of mild cognitive impairment later in life.

Education may increase the mind’s resilience, which can keep memory loss symptoms at bay, the researchers say. “The reduced risk with computer use and with artistic or crafts activities suggest that these activities should be promoted throughout life,” the authors write. “These activities may also increase cognitive reserve, maintain neuronal function, stimulate neural growth, and recruit alternate neural pathways to maintain cognitive function.”

Kids are encouraged to express their creativity, but arts and crafts may stimulate the minds of adults, too. “There have been a number of studies both in older and somewhat younger individuals suggesting that physical but also mental activity may help prevent development of dementia,” says Dr. James Leverenz, director of the Cleveland Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic. (Leverenz was not involved in the research.) “We know [mental activity] doesn’t harm anyone, so I encourage it,” he says. “Sometimes that’s just getting out and being social and not sitting around the house all day.”

According to Leverenz, some science suggests that having the brain being stimulated both socially and physically increases growth factors that are important for brain health. At the same time, Leverenz says that the group of adults analyzed in the study was fairly unique since they had no memory problems at their old age. It also should be noted that cause and effect could not be determined in the study. “One of the earliest symptoms of the disease is a loss of interest in activities,” says Leverenz. “It might be that it’s not the loss of activities that cause them to transition, but actually it’s the very early stages of the disease that cause them to be less active.”

While further research is needed, this new study is your best excuse to dig out that artwork—or finger paints—you only thought you grew out of.

TIME ebola

A New Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise

With nearly a dozen Ebola vaccines now in various stages of development, researchers of one report promising results against the recent strain

A vaccine designed from a crippled virus with Ebola genes stitched in—the first tested against the strain that caused the outbreak in West Africa that has killed 10,000 and infected thousands more—protected every monkey tested from being infected with Ebola.

Reporting in the journal Nature, Thomas Geisbert, a virologist from the University of Texas Medical Branch, and his colleagues describe a vaccine made from a virus that commonly infects cows—called vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)—that’s had some of its genetic material replaced with genes for surface proteins from the Ebola virus. None of the eight monkeys inoculated with the shot showed any signs of severe Ebola infection after being exposed to the virus 28 days later, while both of the control animals died of the disease seven and eight days after infection.

MORE: Ebola Vaccine Is Safe and Effective, According to First Study

The vaccine is the second generation of one that Geisbert and Heinz Feldmann, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, co-developed in the 2000s. But because the vaccine relies on a live, albeit hampered virus, it raised concerns about safety that killed-virus vaccines, like polio and hepatitis A, don’t have. Neither the VSV nor Ebola virus are capable of replicating, since the VSV has part of its genome cut out and replaced with Ebola material, and the Ebola virus only has its outer surface genes and none of its dividing machinery. But a growing virus, even a slowly growing one, can cause problems. That’s what researchers saw in an early human trial of the first generation VSV Ebola vaccine, which was tested among 40 healthy volunteers in the Washington DC area. Some developed arthritis-like conditions, which added to existing concerns about the vaccine’s safety profile.

MORE: The Ebola Fighters

“Clearly there was a lot of room for improvement. It’s a balancing act,” says Geisbert. “What makes it such a good vaccine is that it grows. But we are trying to find the balance between efficacy and safety.”

MORE: The First Ever Large-Scale Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins in Liberia

He may have hit upon that parity with the latest version of the shot. By changing where in the VSV genome he inserted the Ebola genes, he found a vector that seems to deliver the same immune response against the Ebola virus, yet at lower cost to the person being vaccinated. The VSV loaded with Ebola grew at a five to 10 times slower rate than it did in the first vaccine, and animals inoculated with the newer vaccine showed 10 to 50-fold lower levels of both VSV and Ebola in their blood compared to animals given the first generation shot.

The slower growing VSV, says Geisbert, “in a well ordered universe is associated with less possibility of an adverse event” from the vaccine.

That won’t be known for sure until the vaccine is tested in the first healthy human volunteers, which may happen as soon as this summer.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

Beauty Tips from a Woman Who Rinses Her Hair with Beer

The author, Adina Grigore
Brittany Travis

Why the best skincare products might already be in your kitchen cabinet

If you let author Adina Grigore tell it, the key to healthy, glowing skin is lying in your cupboard. That’s the promise of her new book Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin, which makes the case that better skin come from putting the right foods in, and on, your body.

For Grigore, getting skincare is an inside job. She solved her own complicated skin issues by dropping all store-bought products and cleaning up her diet and supplementing with simple ingredients she could find in her own kitchen. Here, Grigore, who also has a simple-ingredient skincare line called S.W. Basics of Brooklyn, shares her favorite natural skincare tips.

Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore

TIME: How often do you need to wash your face?

Adina Grigore: Much less often than you would think! Right now we believe we need to be washing our faces all the time—at the very least twice a day. But I would argue that you can wash your face with water twice a day, or once a day. I would go so far as to freak people out by saying you could go a few days without washing your face at all, and you’ll benefit from it. That’s usually when people run screaming, though.

T: How, exactly, do you wash your face with just water?

AG: Reject the TV-commercial water-splash method. Take your clean hands, cup water in them, get the water all over your face and actually rub your face with your hands up and down. You’re actually removing dirt from your face with the water and your hands. You know when you see little chipmunks or squirrels cleaning themselves? Or your cat? Kind of like that. Water actually works really well.

T: Do you only wash your face with water even if you’re wearing makeup?

AG: No, because I think a lot of us these days are using makeup that’s so intense that it’s meant to resist basically everything. I make a joke in the book that you could survive a war and your makeup would still look the same. With makeup—and this is particularly true for foundations, concealers, powders—for that you’re going to want something like an oil or a soap to really cut away the ingredients off of your skin.

T: Tell me about the concept of a skin cleanse. What does it mean?

AG: It’s a break from skincare products. You can add things to your skin cleanse. You can think about your food. You can think about your lifestyle. But to do a skin cleanse, all you actually have to think about is taking a break from your products. That can mean taking a break from some of them or all of them. That can mean that you really indulge in some DIY recipes or experiment with single ingredients from your kitchen. For some people it’s just not wearing makeup for a day.

T: Walk me through your own personal routine.

AG: It’s as hippie as it gets. I wash with water every day, usually twice a day. When I do a really, really hard workout or when I’m wearing makeup, that’s when I use a makeup remover to cleanse or a foaming, sudsy face wash. That’s probably once a week. I only wash with water in the shower, which everyone always thinks is crazy. I’ve survived, and I’m not stinky. But I do use a natural shampoo and conditioner because my hair’s really difficult.

Everything else is a luxurious treat. I’ll exfoliate maybe once every couple weeks. I’ll do a mask once a month. Sometimes I’ll grab an ingredient from my cabinet like honey and do a mask with it or wash my face with it. I’m so sensitive that I was only able to clear my skin by doing it this way.

T: So how do you not smell?

AG: Smell generally comes from what you do when you get out of the shower. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you healthy? It’s not about, “Oh, I didn’t use body wash, so I don’t smell nice.” That’s a myth.

T: Diet is something you talk about a lot in the book. Are there foods you eat that your skin just immediately loves?

AG: Yes. The more you simplify your diet, the better your skin does. When I was eating really complicated food—eating out a lot, ordering takeout—that’s when my skin was really struggling. The more you can cook at home or at least know where your food is coming from, that’s definitely a big improvement.

There are a couple foods people don’t really think about as much as they should, especially in relation to skin: fat, which is now starting to get a little more attention, thankfully, and fermented foods. They’re key staples for your diet and help you have healthy skin. The nice thing about your skin is this stuff is quick. You see it immediately. You eat one salad or one plateful of vegetables, and you’re like, that was awesome! But if you think of it as, “Oh my God, starting tomorrow I have to be a raw vegan or I’m doing everything wrong,” then you’re never going to feel good about it.

T: What’s the ideal thing to eat when you’re preparing for a big event?

AG: Number one, be very careful to not change anything drastically. Not a good time to go on a juice cleanse, not a good time to suddenly starve yourself. That’s what everyone tends to rush over to, and it’s the worst thing you can do to yourself. Any drastic shift that you make in your diet or lifestyle is going to result in at least a little bit of your skin and body being like, “What is going on?” You don’t want a breakout, and you don’t want to get stressed and cause even more of a breakout. So don’t do anything crazy.

Drink a ton of water, that’s by far the best and fastest thing you can do in feeling and looking better. I say in the book don’t get caught up in how much water, just drink more of it. Carry it around with you, make herbal teas, whatever you need to do to get uncaffeinated beverages into your body.

T: When you feel a zit starting to grow, what do you do?

AG: When you feel a breakout coming on, if it’s on the day of a big date, don’t do anything. Just leave it alone! But if you’re at home, or if it’s the weekend and you feel like you want to experiment a little bit, try single ingredients from your cabinet. Baking soda is great. Honey is really, really great. Sea salt is amazing. You can wet it and just dab the spot you’re breaking out on. Apple cider vinegar, too. These are all super strong, and you’ll feel them when you apply them on your skin, you’ll feel the tingle. But they’re really effective. Just be patient and gentle and don’t run for 50 different products, because that will just aggravate it more.

T: In the book you talk about conditioning your hair with beer.

AG: Mostly I just wanted people to drink some beer in the shower. No, I’m just kidding! Beer is really nice. It’s super conditioning. While you’re pouring it in your hair, it feels a little luxurious, which is counterintuitive to what you’d think pouring a can of beer in your hair is like. But the B vitamins and all the nutrients from the fermenting are really great, and it’ll add body to your hair, too.

T: So is drinking beer good for your skin?

AG: I knew that was coming. The problem is the same with beer and alcohol as it is with a lot of foods in our diet. A beer that has gone through crazy amounts of steps to get into that bottle, it’s not the same as if you were to brew some on your countertop. A small amount of it would be good for you if you want to start your own home brewing process.

T: Let’s talk about putting oil on your face, even if you’re breakout-prone?

AG: My theory is that fear of oil comes from back in the day when companies were using a lot of mineral oil. It’s really, really hard on the skin. Everyone started freaking out over the oil in this product. Beauty companies should have come out and said ‘It’s mineral oil, that’s the problem.’ Instead, they came out with products they called “oil-free.” But a lot of natural oils are actually super great for your skin. Jojoba oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, all of these are amazing.

T: Are there any kitchen products you should definitely not put on your face?

AG: It’s just important to go really slowly. Tiptoe into your kitchen, don’t charge in there and scrub your whole body with sea salt and wonder, “Why am I bright red?” I think the bigger fear in the kitchen is just diving in and going overboard, then freaking out when you have a reaction. This happens a lot with apple cider vinegar. People will buy a huge jar of it and then they’ll drench themselves in it and have reactions. Apple cider vinegar is a super-intense ingredient.

T: What else do you really want people to know about their skin?

AG: You don’t have to be super hardcore like I am to still make little changes that will make your skin feel way better. Even if you didn’t used to read ingredient lists and now you kind of look at them more, that’s already a huge change. We’re all beauty junkies. But it should feel fun and it should feel like everything you’re using is helping you and is good for you—not like, “Oh my God, I have to keep buying products and my skin’s a nightmare.” I’m trying to get us out of that zone.

TIME Research

Weight Loss Supplements Contain Amphetamine-Like Substance, Research Finds

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Many supplements contain a potentially dangerous ingredient, a new study says

Several supplements for weight loss or fitness contain ingredients that are similar to the stimulant amphetamine, but have not been tested for safety in humans, according to new research.

The chemical BMPEA, labeled as Acacia rigidula, was first discovered in a handful of dietary supplements analyzed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013, the New York Times reports. The names of the specific supplements were not released by the FDA, but in a new study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, a team of researchers have found that BMPEA has not been removed, and is still present in several currently on the market.

“Consumers of Acacia rigidula supplements may be exposed to pharmacological dosages of an amphetamine isomer that lacks evidence of safety in humans,” the study authors write. “The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements.”

Read more at the New York Times.


TIME medicine

Could An Allergy Drug Treat Hepatitis C?

A drug that's been around for decades may help find a new solution for an expensive chronic disease

An over-the-counter drug commonly used to treat allergies may one day also contribute to the treatment of hepatitis C, according to new research in mice published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

For the last 10 years, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Hiroshima University have been searching for new, better drugs to treat hepatitis C, an infectious disease that attacks the liver. By screening thousands of drug compounds in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration library—many of which are already approved and on the market—the researchers have determined that a class of antihistamines may be repurposed to treat hepatitis C. The drug chlorcyclizine HCI (CCZ)—a drug that’s been approved since the 1940s—was shown to be the most promising inhibitor of the virus, the new research found.

“Current drugs against hepatitis C, although they are effective, are expensive, have side effects, and are associated with drug resistance,” says study author Dr. T. Jake Liang, a senior investigator of liver disease at NIH. “There’s definitely unmet needs in the current regime of treatment.”

Promising drugs to treat hepatitis C have made it to market in the last few years, but at a hefty price. The biotech company Gilead Sciences has two hepatitis C drugs with high price tags: one drug, Harvoni, costs $95,500 for 12 weeks, and the other, Sovaldi, costs $84,000. That comes out to $1,000 per pill. Still, many patients with hepatitis C prefer oral drugs over the daily injections that were previously required.

MORE: Why Hepatitis C Drugs May Soon Get Far Less Expensive

The researchers of the new study report that CCZ can specifically target hepatitis C, and prevented infection in mice by blocking hepatitis C from entering liver cells. That’s a different mechanism from the current drugs, which block replication of the virus once it gets into the cells. “This is certainly new compared to the existing drugs,” says Liang. “I think that’s the exciting part of our research: We are finding a new class of drugs that are active against hepatitis C.”

The drug showed promising results when tested on a population of mice who were infected with the virus. The researchers discovered that when the mice were given the drug on a daily basis, there was a significant decline in their viral levels. “That’s typically what we look for when we test any drugs,” says Liang.

The findings are still preliminary, and there are several steps that need to be taken before there’s any clinical use available for people. The scientists still do not know if the drug has the same effect in humans, how exactly it works and what form the treatment should take. “We want to caution people that these drugs have not been tested in people yet,” says Liang. “They should not run out and take this medicine to treat hepatitis C.”

Liang says his team is working on understanding how CCZ and antihistamines in general could contribute to the treatment of hepatitis C. They will be initiating a small proof of concept trial in humans which will look at the effect of short term CCZ dosing on the infection. Liang says that since the drug is already approved, his team doesn’t have to go through a slog of regulatory approval for trials, and that the FDA is interested in drug repurposing, which appears to be a growing area of drug discovery. The same process was recently used to identify drugs during the Ebola outbreak. Liang says his team is also looking at ways to modify and optimize CCZ to make it more effective and suitable for humans.

With CCZ costing about $0.50 a tablet for allergy-related uses, the big question is whether a new hepatitis treatment that could come from existing drugs would be more affordable. Liang says he doesn’t have a “clear answer” to that question, but he says he envisions a few scenarios where the treatment could bring down costs. “If this particular class of drugs turns out to be effective against hepatitis C, it could be used in combination with existing drugs to perhaps shorten the duration of use,” he says. “Instead of [taking the drugs] for three or six months it could be [taken] for four weeks. That will certainly reduce the cost of the drugs because you are not taking them for as long.”

More research is needed in the search for better treatments for the 3.2 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis C.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

10 Veggies Anyone Can Grow On Their Own

How to give gardening a try

Early spring is a great time to start a garden, even if you’ve never planted a single seed before. Not only can cool-weather gardening result in sweeter vegetables, there are other benefits, too. Growing your own food means you’re eating produce when it’s most nutrient-dense, since foods can lose some of their nutritiousness after they’re harvested. “And the fact that you have grown food yourself changes everything,” says Matthew Benson, author of Growing Beautiful Food and farmer of Stonegate Farm in New York. “You have a back story about your food.”

Benson, Rodale

Benson recommends starting simple, taking it slow and not being obsessed with perfection. “Things are going to fail. You are going to get fungi and insects. It’s going to perplex you,” says Benson. But with easy tips and a dose of enthusiasm, Benson says you could have a garden in just a few weeks.

Here, click though for 10 foods even beginners can grow.

MORE: The 50 Healthiest Foods of All Time

(Some basics: For all the veggies recommended you will likely need around eight to 10 inches of soil. If you’re not planting in your backyard, but say, a rooftop, Benson recommends a mix of soil with peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. Also, a lot of planting timing goes based on frost dates, so be sure to look them up before you start. Try here or here.)

  • Spinach

    Close up of spinach plants
    Getty Images

    Benson recommends first-time gardeners start by planting a bed of loose leaf lettuce. After just three weeks, your greens will be ready to harvest. Go for spinach, arugula, mustard greens, mizuna or asian greens. “You can literally go out with a scissors and sort of give a portion of the bed a haircut, put it in a basket and two weeks later and that section you just harvested will have re-grown,” says Benson. “That’s really a thrill to be able harvest your own salad.”

    Growing your own greens also has health benefits. Lettuce can lose about half its nutrient value in just 48 hours after its been picked, Benson says. “If you are getting a salad and it’s coming 2,000 miles away, it’s basically just chlorophyll.”

    How to grow spinach (and other loose leaf lettuce): Make sure your spinach seeds get both sun and some afternoon shade. Plant spinach early spring when it’s still cool. Keep seeds at least 2 inches apart, planted 1/2 inch deep in the soil. At three to five weeks, you can start cutting leaves for your salad. They will continue to grow, even with the trimming.

  • Edible Flowers

    Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) including 'Alaska' and 'Empress of India'
    Getty Images

    Edible flowers like nasturium are a simple and tasty addition to a garden.

    “There are varieties of nasturtium that are deep dark blood purple and there are varieties that are orange streaked with yellow,” says Benson. “A nasturtium tastes something like a floral version of arugula. It has this intense heat to it.”

    How to grow nasturtium: Nasturium does well in the sun, but in the summer it needs a little shade if it’s very hot. The best time to plant is two weeks before the last spring frost. The seeds should be covered in 1/4 to 1/2 inches of soil. They can also be grown indoors in pots. It will take about one to two weeks until you start to see the flowers. Simply snip off the flowers and petals for eating.

  • Herbs

    Getty Images

    Every new gardener should start out with some simple herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, thyme and dill. They require very little space and can make all the difference in a meal.

    “Cities have certain things you have to deal with, and finding a place to grow is one of them,” says Benson. “Even if you take a little of your fireplace or rooftop or windowsill, that’s enough—grow some herbs.”

    Herbs can be expensive to buy in the store, but they’re cheap and simple to grow. Benson likes to grow several varieties of basil.

    How to grow basil: Basil likes the sun, and grows easily in warm temperatures. Benson recommends planting basil seeds one to two weeks after the last spring frost. The seeds can be planted 1/8 inches deep and at least 10 inches apart. Snip off the leaves during the season to encourage more leaves.


  • Bok Choy

    Bok Choy growing in vegetable garden
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    Bok choy is a veggie high in antioxidants and vitamin A, and depending on the variety, it can add some color to your plate. Some bok choy varieties can have deep purple leaves.

    How to grow bok choy: Bok choy grows well in the spring sun, and in light shade during the summer heat. The best time to plant is early spring through midsummer and bok choy seeds should be planted eight to 10 inches apart, with about 1/4 inch of soil coverage. Once the plant reaches about three inches, you can start cutting small leaves for eating, or cut the entire head for a one-time harvest.

  • Kale

    Fresh Kale on Weathered Door
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    Leafy greens like kale are good for gardeners since they can grow all season long.

    “I know some people don’t get the whole kale craze, but it has the highest nutrient and protein density of any green,” says Benson. “When it’s cold, their cell structure takes the starches that are in them and converts them to sugar as a kind of protective response to cold weather. After a few frosts, your kale actually gets sweet. It’s programmed to last as long as it can.”

    How to grow kale: Kale does well in the sun, but also in cool temperatures. Plant the seeds in your garden around three to four weeks before the last frost, 1/4 inches deep in the soil. About a month after planting you can start harvesting your kale. Snip the leaves near the bottom of the plant first or the baby leaves near the crown.

  • Rainbow Chard

    Red chard growing in wooden crate
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    Chard is a colorful leafy addition to a garden and can reach up to two feet tall with bright red stems.

    Growing chard yourself is a good idea since this veggie is not known to ship well and finding it in good quality in a grocery store can be difficult.

    How to grow chard: Chard does well in the sun and in cool temperatures. The seeds should be planted 1/2 deep one to two inches apart. The best time to grow chard is around the last frost of spring. You can harvest your chard once the plant is about six to eight inches tall.

  • Cherry Tomatoes

    Farming Cherry tomatoes
    Getty Images

    Tomatoes are easy to grow, and cherry tomatoes are a good place to start. Regular tomatoes can be “prima donnas,” according to Benson. They do well is very specific temperatures which can be tricky for gardening newbies to navigate. Cherry tomatoes on the other hand are a cinch. “Home grown tomatoes are better than what you get in the store,” says Benson. “Home grown fruit is not laced with fertilizers and pesticides. Fruit really gets hammered with that stuff.”

    How to grow cherry tomatoes: Find a sunny spot for tomato seeds and make sure there is deep soil for their roots. As they start to grow, tie them to a supporting stick or tomato cage. You can start picking them when they change color.

  • Cucumber

    Getty Images

    Cucumbers grow easily in warm conditions and Benson says once you start growing cucumbers it’s hard to go back to buying them at the grocery store.

    How to grow cucumbers: Make sure soil is warm when planting cucumber seeds. Plant them at least one week after the last frost around one to two inches deep in small hills of soil that are a few inches high. Keep them around two feet apart. Use a trellis to allow the cucumber plants to grow upwards. Once cucumbers reach full size, start harvesting them each day.

  • Peas

    Peas on the vine
    Getty Images

    Snap peas also grow easily. “You want to be as vertical as you can when you’re growing in a small space,” says Benson. And peas fit that bill.

    How to grow snap peas: Plant seeds in the early spring about four to six weeks before the last spring frost. Benson recommends planting them 1/2 to one inch deep and four to six inches apart. Snap peas will grow into tall, lanky vines, and it’s a good idea to tie them to a small trellis for support. You can pick the peas when they are bright green and plump.

  • Carrots

    Harvested carrots lying in soil
    Getty Images

    Carrots will always be a garden mainstay, and though root vegetables may seem more intimidating, new gardeners can find them worthwhile and easier than expected.

    “We know less about what’s going on under our feet than we do what goes on up in the cosmos,” says Benson. “It’s so mysterious, all of these interesting relationships between roots and rhizomes and microbes and all these cellular chatter that goes on in the dirt.” Pulling veggies from the soil can be very satisfying for a first time farmer.

    How to grow carrots: Carrot seeds should be covered with around 1/4 to 1/2 inches of soil about two to three inches apart, and should be planted two to three weeks before the last spring frost date. Keep the soil moist. Seeds can take around three weeks to start to sprout. Depending on the variety, carrots are typically ready to harvest after 46 to 65 days.

TIME Parenting

Unhappy Families Can Make Daughters Fat

Michael Hevesy—Getty Images

A new study suggests that stress at home can have a major impact on our kids' waistlines

Childhood obesity has become such a big problem in the United States that the rate of obese adolescents—21%—exceeds the rate of overweight adolescents (14%). It’s been that way for the last decade.

Dr. Daphne Hernandez, assistant professor at the University of Houston, wants to figure out why despite our efforts, that rate hasn’t budged. “Many times when we’re designing interventions and prevention programs, they’re done in schools because that’s where we have ease of access to all these kiddos,” she says. “But the issue is that in those interventions, we don’t think about the family environment and what could be happening at home.”

In her new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, she decided to look at three family stressors: family disruption and conflict, the kind a kid would experience after a parent got divorced, remarried, incarcerated or if the child experienced a violent crime or death of a loved one; financial stress, a measure of poverty determined in part by whether a mom was unemployed or had less than a high school education; and maternal poor health, whether the mom was a binge drinker, drug user or had elevated depression.

MORE: Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores

Hernandez analyzed data from 4,762 adolescents between 1975-1990 using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. She measured each adolescent’s exposure to these family factors from birth until age 15, then looked at their weight at age 18. The results showed clear gender differences. In adolescent girls, experiencing family disruption and financial stress repeatedly was linked to overweight or obesity by age 18. That wasn’t true for adolescent boys. Just one stress point—poor maternal health—was linked to being overweight or obese by 18.

When all the findings were lumped together, Hernandez says, the gender differences disappeared. “Not all stress influences females and males the same,” she says. The reason why lies beyond the scope of this study, but Hernandez suspects it has something to do with physiolgocial and behavioral stress responses. Your body secretes cortisol when it’s stressed, she says—which, if chronic, suppresses your body’s ability to feel satiated. “Behaviorally, you then gravitate more towards the more palatable foods, the high calorie, high fat foods, so you’re not reaching for that apple or celery stick,” she says. This pattern seems to be more prevalent in females than in males, she adds.

“We really need to think about how we are teaching our adolescents how to deal with stress, and trying not to use food as a way to deal with stress,” Hernandez says. “Perhaps encouraging physical activity is the way we should be going.”

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