Creating a Malt from Grains in Beer Brewing


Beer Brewing pic
Beer Brewing

Studying at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Todd Belok has a background as a mental health technician and has worked with psychiatric patients in therapeutic settings. An avid camper and hiker, Todd Belok also enjoys brewing beer at home.

One of the fundamental aspects of a tasty brew, grain provides the simple sugars that become alcohol through fermentation and help determine the flavor and appearance of the beer. The initial step of beer making is the creation of the malt through a process that involves soaking barley water and slow drying it in a kiln. This hastens the process of sprouting, which produces enzymes and breaks down complex carbohydrates.

This malt is then soaked in hot water at a temperature of around 150 degrees Fahrenheit, such that the enzymes are activated and complete the process of converting carbohydrates into simple sugars. This process of creating mash is completed prior to the home brewer purchasing the malt extract or crystal malt and starting the process of creating a unique craft beer.


Tips for Smoking Meat


Smoking Meatpic
Smoking Meat

A mental health technician by profession, Todd Belok serves on the care team at Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys grilling and smoking meat.

If you are planning to smoke meat at home, one of the first things you will need to do is select a smoker. Charcoal smokers tend to be the easiest for beginners to control, as they typically use easy-burning charcoal in combination with wood for flavor. Pure wood smokers often lead to more flavorful meat, but maintaining an even temperature may be more difficult.

Hardwoods, such as oak, pecan, or hickory, tend to generate the most aromatic smoke. Each wood has its own flavor, from the strong smokiness of mesquite to the sweet and mild apple. Regardless of wood variety, a good hour’s soaking of smaller chips helps to keep the wood wet so that it smokes longer.

Many smokers choose to get even more flavor by using a rub or marinade on the meat. This also tenderizes the cut of meat and improves the texture. After rubbing or marinating the meat, you just need to heat the smoker to 250 degrees before putting the meat on the grill.

Once you add the meat, you can let the temperature drop to 220, but you will need to track it carefully so that it doesn’t fall too low. You will likely need to add new wood or charcoal every 30 minutes, but it is important not to check the temperature by lifting the lid. You should not need to open the grill except to add wood or charcoal until 10 or 15 minutes before the meat is done, as this is an ideal time to add an extra dose of seasoning glaze.

Caring for a Person Who Is Having Hallucinations


Todd Belok

Todd Belok serves as a mental health technician at the Episcopal Campus of Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. There, Todd Belok cares for patients with a variety of mental illnesses, addressing symptoms that include hallucinations.

A hallucination is present when a person experiences something with one or more of the senses, yet no one else can validate or share the experience. Hallucinations may involve any of the five senses, though the most common are auditory. Common in schizophrenia, psychotic depression, and certain other mental illnesses, hallucinations may also result from a fever or other physical ailment.

The most important factor in treating a hallucination is the determination of its root cause, although it is also important to care for the person’s distress in the moment. Empathy is crucial, as the person who is hallucinating may not be able to tell the hallucination from reality. Without either engaging with the hallucination or attempting to convince the patient of its fictitiousness, the caregiver can acknowledge that the patient is upset or anxious.

Hallucinations can be distracting, so the caregiver must keep communications simple. Depending on the patient’s level of awareness, the caregiver can invite him or her to talk about the experience and ask if anything might help. If the patient does not know how to soothe or help himself or herself, the caregiver may suggest a distraction, such as music or television.

Once the patient is calm and safe, the caregiver can talk to other members of the treatment team to see if medication or other elements of the care plan require adjustment. In the meanwhile, it may be important for the caregiver to monitor physical health and response to treatment, depending on his or her role within the care team.

Gas Grilling vs. Charcoal Grilling

Grilling pic

As a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital-Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok strives to maintain a safe, therapeutic environment for patients. Outside of his job, Todd Belok loves to cook and is particularly skilled on the grill.

One of the most heated debates among grilling enthusiasts is whether to use a gas grill or a charcoal grill. The answer is not a simple one and depends on what you want in a grill.

As for price, there is no clear winner. Both gas and charcoal have standard options in the $125-$300 range. While you can buy a cheap charcoal grill for about $30, the quality may be disappointing. One caveat is that charcoal is typically cheaper than propane gas.

As taste goes, charcoal is the clear winner. A charcoal grill gives the meat a smoked flavor that cannot be reproduced on a gas grill.

As to convenience, the gas grill pulls ahead. Starting a gas grill is as simple as pressing a button, while a charcoal grill requires you to arrange and light the charcoal and wait up to 20 minutes for the coals to be ready.

Alpha Phi Omega Seeks to Empower Volunteers


Alpha Phi Omega  pic
Alpha Phi Omega

A former emergency medical technician (EMT) with American Medical Response and the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Todd Belok serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital’s Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alongside his career in health care, Todd Belok has given back to the community through the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity.

First envisioned after World War I by Frank Reed Horton, H. Roe Bartle, and Herbert G. Horton at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, Alpha Phi Omega came into existence to promote service across university campuses. Today, the fraternity continues to assist students in connecting with the community and one another through leadership, friendship, and service.

In 2017, Alpha Phi Omega hosted its national volunteer conference in Dallas, Texas. The conference takes place every year, in addition to the fraternity’s regular convention, as a way to promote giving back to local communities.

The fraternity also offers alumni an opportunity to gain further education through its Volunteer University. With eight different tracks, or colleges, the Volunteer University provides volunteer training and support for its members.

For more information about these volunteer support opportunities or to learn more about Alpha Phi Omega, visit

Talking to a Person with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia pic

With a master’s in biomedical science, Todd Belok currently serves as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia. In this role, Todd Belok works with patients diagnosed with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Talking with a person who has schizophrenia requires both patience and compassion. The disorder causes an altered perception of reality that can be difficult for people with normal cognition to understand. The most important thing is to try to understand the person’s perceptions of the world and accept that whatever they are experiencing is real to them.

Individuals with schizophrenia often find it reassuring when a conversation partner repeats back what they have said and validates their experience of the situation. It is important not to argue with their beliefs but rather to consistently reassure them that they are safe and cared for. If possible, caregivers can remove the individual from a situation perceived as frightening, giving simple and straightforward directions if necessary.

Caregiver can offer to talk or provide help, but they should know that the individual may be suspicious or jumpy. To appear more trustworthy, caregivers can give the individual plenty of space and explain their actions in advance. A simple preparatory statement, such as “I’m going to pull this chair over,” can help to reduce fear and affirm a sense of safety.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep pic
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

When he is not working as a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok enjoys reading. One of Todd Belok’s favorite authors is Philip K. Dick, writer of the seminal cyberpunk novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream? focuses on two major characters, Rick Deckard and John Isidore, as they deal with questions regarding their own personal isolation and the morality of hunting fugitive androids. This book served as the basis for the successful movie Blade Runner, which retells the novel in a more focused manner. Though it earned little attention in its time, the story’s unique tone helped inspire other famous science fiction and fantasy writers and led to other film adaptations of Philip K. Dick novels such as Minority Report and Total Recall.

The novel’s core question deals with humanity and what constitutes being a creature worthy of moral consideration. The androids, despite being nonhuman creatures, display traits that are typically associated with being human. Some of the mortal characters, conversely, lack traits like empathy, leading the reader to question the humanity of these flesh-and-blood people.