I'm a big fan of meditation. It helps with my stress and keeps me calm throughout the day. But when I tell people I meditate, they tend to give me an odd look. Meditation is not really part of mainstream America. But it should be!
Still not working? There are plenty of cd's or apps you can buy to help. If you have a Fitbit, there's an easy "calm" option on most of them that's a great way to start. Play around until you find what works for you.
My dog, Scooby, tends to dig in his ears. It's typical behavior for him, but sometimes he goes overboard, and then I start to worry.
Ear infections can be serious in dogs. If left unchecked, they can lead to a ruptured vessel and potential surgery. But if caught early, they can be cleared up with a cleaning and medication in the ear canal in no time.
So what should you look for:
Okay, so it's also national heart health month, but that one is so overdone. I thought it would be better to focus on kid's teeth. Getting your little angels to develop good dental habits is so vital to their overall health! I did some research on the topic, and here's what I learned:
I heart coffee. It never lets me down and usually boosts me up. But as I was having my habitual cup this morning, I began to wonder how coffee impacts our health. Certainly there has been a lot of press about it lately, both good and bad. I decided to do some investigating, and this is what I found:
,An old lady disease, right?
Wrong. Osteoporosis is now affecting patients as young as teenagers. It is also hitting more and more men.
What the heck is going on here?
Osteoporosis is caused when our bones lose their density and their microarchitecture. This in turn can lead to fractures, pain, and even death. But why does it happen? There are many reasons, and they include:
Why I am I telling you all of this? Because prevention is your best defense against this painful, ugly and debilitating disease. If you have some of the above risk factors, work to eliminate them as much as possible. Once you lose your bone, it's super hard to get it back. And those drugs you see advertised on television don't really work. They also do more harm than good.
I know, because I've been there. I have this disease and don't want anyone else to get it. Do your part. Don't forget your bone health!!
It's February, the month of romance. Numerous studies have shown romantic gestures, trips, gifts, and words can all be good for your health. They help connect you with your partner, give a sense of belonging, and release healthy endorphins into your bloodstream.
Regardless of whether or not you're in a romantic relationship, you can still benefit from this goodness. Simple gestures that show your love to others are all you need:
Embrace the season. Find a way to show you care!
Ah, February. I personally believe the reason it's such a short month is because no one likes it. The holidays are over, the weather is cold, and there's not much to look forward to. What's worse, if you made New Year's resolutions, they likely have gone to the wayside by now.
What to do? First off, remember that spring is just around the corner. Next, take a hard look at those resolutions. Most of us make too many, or we make them so hard they're impossible to keep. Pick just one and tweak it. Break that resolution down into steps that are realistic and achievable.
For example, let's say you want to get in shape. Break that goal down into manageable mini goals such as first walking 5000 steps a day, then adding weight training twice a week, then adding more steps, etc. By focusing on the baby steps, you can stay on track.
I also find that reminding myself the reason for the resolution really helps. I have osteoporosis, and I don't want to break bones. I keep a little mini skeleton on my desk while I'm working. The visual reminds me to get up and move around. It also pushes me to keep that strength training 3xweek resolution I set at the start of the year.
Play around with these suggestions, and see what works for you. Remember, even taking the smallest positive step is movement in the right direction. Happy February!!
There is nothing worse than having your personal accounts hacked. I personally had this happen to me. Fortunately my credit card company notified me to let me know, and my card was immediately cancelled. I did not have to pay any charges, but I did have to change 15 accounts that used that credit card! That took me the better part of a day. Nothing is absolutely secure, but there are ways to make your accounts stronger to try to prevent someone stealing your accounts.
1.) Be cautious of phone pranks that convince you that they are your bank or other major institution and ask for your personal information.
2.) Be cautious of websites that have offers that are too good to be true and take you to another site for purchase.
3.) Update your computers security software annually.
4.) Use a strong and unique password and change you passwords frequently. Avoid using the same password for all of your accounts.
5.) Use encryption option when it is available to you for emails and online banking.
6.) Backup your devices so that if you get bad virus, they can be fully wiped and rebuilt from scratch.
7.) Purchase a special card or wallet that blocks the signal for someone to steal your credit card information for just being in proximity to you.
A great way to get more information about cyber security is SANS Securing The Human at http://www.sans.org/info/167527.
Be informed and safe with you cyber security!
My doctor has me on an organic diet, but that can get expensive in a hurry. That's why I decided to take matters into my own hands this year and set up a veggie garden. Now mind you, it would have to be a HUGE one to cover all of my dietary needs. I didn't have the space or time for that nonsense. Instead I started with a smaller variety, and if that works well I can expand my planting the following year.
It's easy to set up a mini garden at home, even if you live in the smallest of apartments. Containers can be set in sunny spots and can grow the items you use most often. For me that included basil, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and cilantro. When using containers, make sure you add a good plant food to the mix. You will also need to water more often than when planting directly in the ground.
Another tip to keep in mind is to place your containers close to a water source. If you have to walk a distance or lug heavy watering cans, you are less likely to tend to your thirsty plants. I put my garden right next to a hose because I am one LAZY girl.
Finally, you'll want to make sure the "critters" in your neighborhood can't get at your plants. For me that meant keeping rabbits, deer, and raccoons out. An affordable mesh barrier can be purchased at your local hardware store. These work well and are easy to install.
Once your veggies start coming in, you'll want to harvest them quickly. This encourages new growth and also allows you to enjoy the "fruits" of your labor.
You’re not alone. Over 80% of us do. There are many ways to go about it, but the following are tips to make it last over a lifetime:
· Avoid a diet with too much red meat, potatoes, processed foods, butter, and sweets.
· Include stress management activities in your DAILY life.
· Quit drinking sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened beverages.
· Get enough sleep every night.
· Walk briskly 2 to 4 hours a week.
· Aim for no more than 1 hour of television watching per day.
· Drink alcohol moderately.
· Lift weights twice a week.
· Do 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week at a “somewhat hard” intensity.
These were taken from the June 2016 IDEA Fitness Journal. They work, but they require you to make a complete lifestyle change and stick with it, well, for LIFE!
I find that I can become easily upset with my husband when he does not do something the way I prefer it to be done, or in the time frame that I was expecting. When we get into conflicts about the little stuff, I am reminded to take a set back and re-evaluate why things are upsetting me. The key is the terms “my way” and “my time frame”. I have to check myself and bluntly realize that I am the one with the problem. I also have to remember that my husband is my partner in life, and I am not his boss.
Once I stop to evaluate the situation and why it upsets me, then I can have a reasonable discussion with my spouse about things that are upsetting me. It is important to realize that my reasons are often selfish, and I need to explain to my husband why it is important to me.
I am comfortable in a world of order. In my world everything has a place and should be tidy. But in my husband’s world, things do not have to be so organized. He finds a way to use our things and enjoy life. The little things do not get to him. So we have to find a way to meet in the middle. I find that some of my emotions stem from being jealous of his ability to not allow the little things to bother him.
Some important tips to deal with conflict in a relationship that I have to review often include:
By taking a closer look at the frustrations in your relationship, you will find that you can be much happier with yourself and your relationship.
As I threw away several moldy, mushy, and expired items from my fridge, I decided that I needed a new plan. I have a household of two adults and while I love to eat healthy, I tend to throw away a lot of food every week on trash day. Healthy foods tend to be more expensive and usually we have to purchase more than we need or would like to eat in the time frame before it goes bad. I looked into my options and tried a meal delivery program. There are several meal delivery programs available and many with great discounts or even free starter kits.
The program I chose has meal preference options to meet our needs. For example, you can choose vegetarian, low calorie, quick meals, or eliminate a certain kind of meat. We get a box delivered once a week (on Tuesdays) with 3 meals. The packaging is perfect and has plenty of sturdy ice packs.
There are many aspects about this program that I love! First, we are getting healthy, portion controlled foods. We are trying new recipes that we may not have before and they do not repeat meals. But they do give an easy to follow recipe card and a list of all of the ingredients to reproduce the dish should you choose. All of the ingredients are fresh. We have tried many new food items and learned how to cook with fresh herbs and new grains that we have not tried before.
This routine has become great for my lifestyle. I grocery shop on the weekend and make meals for the weekend and the beginning of the week while the items I purchased are still fresh. Then our box comes on Tuesday and we have meals for the remainder of the week. We found that we are cutting back significantly on our weekly grocery bill and are wasting very little food now.
I encourage you to give food delivery services a try if you have a smaller family like mine, want to try new healthy, portion-controlled recipes and cook with new ingredients.
Alzheimer's disease and dementia are a growing concern as the human race continues to live longer and longer. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent this devastating problem:
This time of year people are faced with two afflictions; spring cleaning the home and allergies. Most do not realize that the two are often connected. The house dust mite is the most common source of indoor allergens. Most mites are found in your bed. The combination of dead skin, moisture from sweating, and heat from your body make your bed the best breeding ground! Not only do dust mites cause allergies and skin irritation, but they also poop in your bedding!
Most people do not know how often they should wash or replace their bedding. Now that I have creeped you out, here is some help for you:
I read before bed almost every evening. It helps me to unwind and become sleepy. My husband can always tell when I have an exceptionally good book, because I stay up past my usual bedtime to continue reading. In fact once as a child, I stayed up all night reading a good book with a flashlight. I did not sleep very long and because of it, woke up feeling ill. My mother allowed me to stay home from school that day and after a good morning of sleep, I felt fine. Then I was busted, because no illness resolves that quickly. I had to fess up that I stayed up reading a book. I guess it could have been for a worse reason. I have always loved to read, but for others the interest is not present.
With the technology overload these days as well as the ability to binge watch shows and movies from all of our electronic devices, reading has declined even more. Reading is essential for children of all ages, but important even for adults. We have to find a way to revive interest in books. When I was a child, we had a reading program that rewarded us with free pan pizzas for reading a goal number of books. Reading is essential in this world; we must read menus, signs, instructions, reports and correspondence. Most jobs require some form of reading. While learning the basics is essential, there are so many other reasons to encourage reading.
The benefits of reading are numerous. Children who read outside of school tend to be higher achievers, more confident, more imaginative and less reliant on others for entertainment. Children who read are often better able to communicate their feelings and needs. Reading enables a calm and quiet time where only the mind is stimulated. Reading exercises the brain and also lengthens concentration time. Reading teaches everyone about the world and cultures around them. They can learn about different ways of life, ideas and believes that may make them a more open-minded and tolerant person.
Some ways to encourage reading among the whole family are as follows:
· Set aside a set reading time each day for everyone in the family.
· Take a trip to your local library to participate in the reading programs.
· Allow children to choose their own book to read.
· Pick a topic, have every family member read everything they can about it, and then have a family discussion about it.
· Set goals and reward your child for reading a set number of books.
· Ask your child to read you a story.
· Make a themed scavenger hunt out of topics from a book you read together.
· Travel to a place that they read about.
Enjoy a good book, starting today!
Most of us have experienced heart burn. Heart burn is also called acid-reflux disease or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD). It is caused by an increased production of acid in the stomach and by the relaxation of the valve at the base of the esophagus called the esophageal sphincter which allows acid to move up the esophagus.
Common Foods to avoid:
Caffeinated beverages (Coffee, tea and soda) (caffeinated and decaffeinated)
Alcohol (Beer, wine and liquor)
Foods with high fat content including milk
Tomatoes (including ketchup)
Activities to avoid:
Eating large meals
Eating within 3 hours of going to bed
Eating within 3 hours of exercising
Drinking sports drinks during exercise-stick to plain water
If you suffer from heart burn, try to avoid the above items. Keep a journal of your diet and activity and when your symptoms occur. If you do not see improvement, discuss medication options with your doctor. If you are not getting relief with avoiding the above food and activities and mediations, you may be a candidate for a surgical procedure to control your symptoms.
Nutritionists are now recommending that we include greens in every meal we eat. I have found that breakfast can be the most challenging meal to accomplish this in. Sure, spinach can be thrown into an omelet. But why not ramp it up a bit? This recipe is delicious and easy.
You will need:
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1 bacon slice, cooked and crumbled
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 egg (optional)
Avocado slices (optional)
Preheat a skillet. Add the olive oil, and saute the kale and tomatoes until slightly wilted. Add the vinegar, salt, bacon, and pepper.
Serve in a bowl with a cooked egg on top or avocado slices.
If you're like most women, you have painful periods. We all tend to go through this from time to time. But if the pain comes back month after month, and is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition where the cells of the uterine lining (the endometrium) grow elsewhere in the body. This abnormal growth can cause pain, because these cells shed and bleed just like your uterine lining does during your period.
How do you know if you have endometriosis? The only true way to make a diagnosis is to cut into the body and examine the cells. However, there are many symptoms that can clue your doctor in:
I was diagnosed in my early 20's and underwent 2 surgeries. I went from being barely able to walk to living a relatively normal, and pain-free life. Don't avoid this issue. See your doctor for help!
June is wedding season. I always thought that was because the weather was warm. I was wrong! Here are some fun facts about weddings:
If you're going to a wedding this season, have fun and share your knowledge with the crowd. Maybe wait until everyone has had a few drinks, though!
We all know you have to exercise to burn calories, but do you know exactly how much exercise you have to do to burn off the snack you just had? It may surprise you. This weekend, I proudly approached my husband after a ½ hour on the elliptical and told him that I did 3 miles in 30 minutes and burned 350 calories. My neighbor who was chatting with him at the time responded “That’s it??? I thought you would get much more for a half hour!” Even more depressing was when we went to the local ice cream store for a banana split to find that it was 450 calories!
This misunderstanding of calories and exercise has transformed our world so that 2/3 of our population is now overweight or obese. The hottest trend lately has been fitness trackers that record steps, sleep and heart rate. I see them everywhere. I even hear colleagues tell me they have to go for a walk to get their 10,000 steps in today. But do you know what 10,000 steps get you? The average person with moderate activity will burn 400-500 calories for every 10,000 steps. You have to burn 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. If you meet a 10,000 step goal every day you should lose 1 pound per week. This is a very healthy goal and a great way to maintain weight loss once you have reached your weight goal. Keep in mind, weight loss is dependent not only on calories burned, but also how many calories you consume.
The FDA has required restaurant chains to post to calorie information on all of their menus. This allows us to better realize how many calories are in the meals that we are ordering. The actual amount may surprise you. The amount of recommended calories daily is based on age, gender and activity. The USDA guidelines recommend 1,600-2,000 calories per day for women and 2,200-2,800 calories for men to maintain your current weight.
So I highly encourage you to be vigilant about the amount of calories you take in daily and how many you are actually burning each day. Keep a record for just one week and you will quickly realize why your jeans are feeling a little snugger. Now know you where you need to do to make changes in your diet or activity to meet your goals.
Summer is quickly approaching. We have all been working on our landscaping, but what are you going to replace your spring umbrella craft decoration with? My suggestion: make and display a flip flop wreath. This is such an easy and affordable project that gets lots of attention!
The photo shows flip flops secured to a 16 inch Styrofoam ring base using longer pins. However, you can skip the ring base and pins and simply use a hot glue gun to connect 8 flip flops (4 pairs). I purchase various child size flip flops at the local dollar store or retail store for $1 or less per pair. You can mix and match any colors that meet your style. Then use a hot glue gun to attach your favorite flowers.
Finally, proudly display your creation and soak up the compliments!
You might have heard the term, neuroplasticity, being bantered around lately. That’s because it’s an exciting new field of scientific research. It looks at the brain’s ability to change and adapt. This is especially important as we get older, and our cognitive function declines. By using neuroplastic exercises you can slow down and even halt this natural decline.
How does neuroplasticity work? It involves doing mental tasks that are challenging and work areas of the brain you tend to use infrequently. When combined with physical movement, these activities become even more challenging.
If you want to give neuroplasticity a try, here are some exercises:
1. Space It – This activity applies spatial, language, and math skills. While walking at a moderately fast pace, say your favorite color out loud. Spell it forward, then backward. How many letters does the word have? Does your telephone number contain that number? If it does, say the section of your number that has it. Repeat that numerical answer backward.
2. Speak It – This activity uses problem solving with spatial and language tasks. Alternate an activity that uses the left and right side of the body, such as forward lunges. As the right side moves, recite the name of any fruit or vegetable. As the left side moves, recite any word in a different language. Do this for 1 minute (Biscontini, 2016).
Continue to work your brain throughout life. You can do crossword puzzles while standing on one leg, play a musical instrument while marching, or play chess while doing planks. By combining physical movement with these mental activities, you will increase the benefits and promote long-term good cognitive health.
We all have those days where the rain keeps us indoors with children whining that they are bored! Now your mission is to find endless activities to entertain them and keep the peace. Here are some fun rainy day ideas:
Crafts- there are plenty of ready-made kits and lots of ideas online using common items found in your home. Keep plastic table clothes handy to spread across table for easy clean up.
Bake- making homemade cookies or a cake together. Kids love mixing the ingredients and everyone loves to sample when it is done.
Dance party- turn up the music and dance. Be silly and have fun!
Music- make instruments using household items, form a band and make up a song.
Living room fort- use blankets and pillows and your living room furniture to build a fort.
Household obstacle course- use furniture and larger items to make an obstacle course in your home. It is a great way for the kids to burn energy.
Tell stories- start telling a story, and then hand it off to another member of the family to add to it. See how fun of a story you can invent as a family.
Read stories- it’s traditional, but still a favorite. Read a story to you children or better yet, have them read to you.
Hide and seek- again, traditional, but fun for everyone. Take turns being the seeker and make it fun for everyone.
Board games & card games- there are so many out there that are fun for the whole family. Play a round of each family member’s favorite game. Clue and UNO are very popular ones in our home.
Watch a movie- when you need some time to unwind, make some popcorn, and snuggle under a blanket and watch a family friendly movie together.
Take a rain walk- every put on their rain coats and boots, grab your favorite umbrella and take a family walk. No one will melt in the rain. Jump in every puddle you see!
Hopefully that is enough ideas to get you started!
I don’t know about you, but when I have muscle soreness after a workout I usually reach for a heating pad. I know that ice works well with swelling and inflammation, but for me the heat is better at relaxing my sore muscles.
That’s why I was surprised when I read a study by Petrofsky (2015) in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It looked at both treatment options after a workout and found the cold therapy works much better. It did not matter if the cold pack was applied immediately after a workout, or 24 hours later. Either way there was less muscle soreness than when using a heat wrap. It should be pointed out, though, that the heat treatment also provided some relief. It just wasn’t as much as when using a cold pack.
The takeaway for me is to apply a cold pack for 20 minutes after a workout. Then if I’m sore later, I will still break out my trusty heating pad. A girl’s gotta have some comfort, man!
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who served in the military and died for our country. While this is a solemn holiday, most of us still use it as a day to have some fun with family and friends. Here are some fun facts about this holiday:
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