Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category

Take the 4-point plastics pledge

Probably everyone has seen that one scene from The Graduate where during the Benjamin’s party, one of his parent’s friends says something to the effect of: “I’m going to tell you one word about the future. Plastics.” Many of us even remember the old commercial sponsored by the American Chemistry Council that stated: “Plastics Make It Possible.” For years we’ve come to rely on the convenience, portability and “safety” of plastics.

Then, we got a collective environmental conscience and realized that plastics were filling our landfills and destroying the planet.

Now, we know that certain plastics contain Bisphenol-A a possible endocrine disruptor and hormonal disruptor as it mimics the female hormone estrogen.

It is in many items that we use daily and consider safe: from baby bottles to sports bottles, the linings of metal food cans, and in nearly any take-out container that isn’t foil or a paper product. The least safe plastic items are those labeled 3, 6 and 7 and their unsafe properties increase with heating from the dishwasher and microwave. A recent report by Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H. in the Green Guide states that “the plastics industry says it is harmless, … a growing number of scientists are concluding, from some animal tests, that exposure to BPA in the womb raises the risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioral problems such as hyperactivity. …[And] ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” The company bisphenol-a.org asserts that the levels of BPA found in the items we use daily are safe, and are only unsafe at high doses. Zandonella’s report continues that according to Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., a developmental biologist at the University of Missouri, “low doses that are now proving to cause a myriad of harmful effects in animals, including chromosomal damage in female egg cells and an increase in embryonic death in mice. A follow-up to this is a study indicating a relationship of BPA blood levels to miscarriages in Japanese women.” While the FDA sees no reason to change its 2003 opinion on the safety of BPA in conjunction with food use, they have been wrong before. In contrast, in December 2007, the Center to the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction issued a detailed report about BPA and its implications in humans, concluding that more study on the effect of BPA in humans is needed.

Hmmm. Some experts say BPA is perfectly okay; others, not so much.
So what are we to do?

After a thorough check of my cabinets for anything labeled 3, 6 or 7, I was happy to find that all of my son’s sippy cups were labeled 2. But that was just the cups themselves. What about the lid–the part that he actually sucks on? What about the ones that have been saved by relatives with toddlers before us and passed down to us and clearly show the wear and tear of little toddler nibbles? Are the ones that are a decade old (and clearly flaking) still safe? There was no way to know…as neither the contemporary lids nor the older sippy cups had any numbers on them. Am I to assume that because the newer cups have a “2″ imprinted on them that the lids are also twos?

You see. More questions.

I checked my son’s bowls and other plastic that we use for food regularly as well. No numbers there either. Luckily, I never heat food in plastic, but what about transferring hot food to a plastic bowl?

As you can see, the new information only leads to more questions, concerns and decisions about food container choices.

While on one hand I don’t want to give my toddler a glass bowl…it is much easier to take care of a cut than potential future problems that could affect his internal functions.

I put my mind at ease with the intent to make some behavioral changes and wiser shopping choices. Luckily, I didn’t have to grapple with how to dispose of any threes, sixes or sevens properly.

But later in the day, the question arose again. I was at my favorite local cafe, where as I sipped my steaming coffee from its cardboard-lined cardboard cup, I stared down at the number six on the lid. How many times have I sucked on a hot liquid in one of these lids in my lifetime? How many times have I consumed hot food from a number 6 container? Sure, my exposure has been minimal according to the FDA and some scientists, but the questions still lurk.

What about you and your family? It makes you too, wonder now, doesn’t it?

Armed with this new information, I am willing to take a four-point pledge for myself and for my family and make a behavioral change to reduce my (our) exposure to BPA.

  • A pledge to shop smarter and avoid purchasing plastic products labeled with the numbers 3, 6 or 7.
  • A pledge to avoid take-out and establishments that use plastic containers labeled with 3, 6 or 7.
  • A pledge that when point two is absolutely unavoidable, to avoid personal exposure to such plastics that have come into contact with heat.
  • A pledge to use sustainable and safe reusable products.
  • Will you too take the pledge?

    Feel free to make it public and claim the pledge in the comments field.

    Posted in Health, Daily Living, Health Care, Healthy Living, Poison, Smart Buying, Guest Blogger, News Items | 1 Comment »

    Once A Month Cooking and Oatmeal Bars

    YummyBars.jpg

    In the essence of keeping to our healthy resolutions, hubby and I have been moving our diet to a more plant based one. We have cut out all red meat and pork, leaving only seafood and fowl. We feel better and have found that our grocery bill is lower, giving us extra money to spend on the other items we enjoy to eat.

    One of my favorite bloggers (and a great person to know), Marye Audet at Baking Delights posted a really comprehensive How-to on Once a Month Cooking. This is probably the best guide with a realistic approach I have found. I’m not saying that just because I like her, it’s really that good.

    Since we can buy more, we can put away more. Freezing and dehydrating are two of the best ways to keeping food fresh longer, though I have not tried dehydrating a whole meal yet. That will come eventually! As a work at home professional, it is essential for me to be able to throw together a meal quickly. Healthy meals and fast healthy meals are exactly what we need! I need something quick for the mornings, one child off to school and the two others small enough to be starving to death before their sister is out the door.

    Our children do like to eat some sweets and my mother in law would bring the kids doughnuts occasionally for a morning treat. Even once in a while is too much when the doughnuts in question are covered in chocolate glaze and stuffed with whatever can fit inside.

    So, I experimented with a sweet but healthy breakfast treat. Pre-packaged oatmeal squares and other types of breakfast ‘bites’ are available. I tend to avoid these because of the preservatives and other unnatural ingredients. So, this morning we had home-made oatmeal breakfast bars with fruit. So tasty and very filling!

    I can post what went in, but not the exact amounts, because when I experiment, I throw caution to the wind! You can experiment with the ingredients on your own, I will try to estimate the amounts to give you a better chance of duplicating my results. These bars took about half an hour to bake up, your time may vary. You can place these in the fridge and keep for up to a week without freezing. Make a double batch and freeze a whole pan!

    Super Oatmeal-Fruit Breakfast Fuel

    2 cups Oat meal, plain (the kind in the big cylinder)
    ¾ cup flour (all purpose)
    1 ½ cup low fat granola (I just used some from a cereal box with almonds and raisins)
    ½ cup raisins
    2 bananas, sliced thin
    2 eggs
    1 cup milk (more or less)
    3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

    Preheat oven to 400 F.
    Mix everything in a large bowl. It will be slightly ‘goopy’. The milk will not completely absorb, but try to get all of the flour mixed into the liquid. If the mix is too dry, add a little more milk. Once it is all completely mixed, pour into a pan that has been lined or oiled well.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes for browning. The top of the bars should be dry with spotty golden brown areas. Remove from oven, cool until you can cut and handle the bars without being burned. Serve warm!

    Posted in Uncategorized, Cooking, Healthy Living | 2 Comments »

    Friday’s Foods: Healthy Substitutions

    Spices

    Do you need to change your diet to include more healthy foods? There are still pleanty of foods you can enjoy, especially if you use substitutions. Sometimes it may be hard to figure out what you can use in place of another ingredient. To help you with this change, I offer a list of healthy substitutions for commonly called for ingredients.

    1 Baking Chocolate Square- 3 tablespoons carob powder from the health food store and 2 tablespoons of water.

    Butter or Margerine- Vegetable oil, sesame oil, or tahini butter in the same amount called for of butter or margerine.

    1 cup of Buttermilk or Sour cream- 1 cup of low fat yogurt, 1 cup of milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Cornstarch- Arrowroot, agar agar

    Cottage Cheese- An equl amount of tofu

    Ground Beef- Use the same quantity or weight in ground nuts, soy beans, tofu crumbled, or textured vegetable protein.

    1 egg- 1 tablespoon arrowroot or 1 tablespoon cornstarch. This works well in baking.

    Milk- Soy milk or nut milks. Almond milk is especially nutritious and tasty.

    Peanut butter- Use other nut butters such as hazelnut, walnut, almond, or cashew butters.

    To replace salt you can use salt substitute or make your own mix of dried herbs. There are many different recipes for dried herb mixes that you can place in your own shaker and use to season your food. If you have spices and herbs that you favor above others, try experimenting until you have your own secret mix to season all of your favorite recipes.

    Posted in Cooking, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition for Adults | 4 Comments »

    Healthy Herbs:Rosemary

    When my little girl began pre-school, I found out first hand how germs travel from child to child. Then they invade your home. I had no idea what to do to prevent this spread of germs once she was away from home and mixing with other children. Face it, most pre-school kids aren’t very fastidious about their cleanliness while playing. I know some older kids who aren’t either!

    About a month after my daughter had been in school, I read an article on how rosemary can help prevent colds. Just plain old rosemary for cooking. Some people drank tea of the herb, but I preferred adding it to food my girl already ate. Rosemary tea just isn’t very appetizing, though it makes a wonderful addition to a bath for someone suffering from a cold or the flu.

     

    I just sprinkled a pinch or two of rosemary into her eggs, along with different cheeses before heading off to school. Adding in some chopped tomato is also tasty and healthy. Just don’t tell the kids about the healthy part.

    Another wonderful thing about rosemary is that it’s easy to grow. You can find rosemary trees at your local grocery close to Christmas in the floral department, though some carry them all year. Follow the instructions on the care tags and you’ll have a natural air cleaner that kills airborne germs. The scent of rosemary has been valued since before the Roman Empire!

    Why not try some Rosemary Potatoes to get your taste buds clamoring for more?

    Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
    2 large sprigs rosemary (about 1/4 cup of stripped leaves)
    2 pounds unpeeled potatoes cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
    3 cloves garlic, smashed and halved
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon of salt.
    Toss the potatoes with the rosemary, olive oil, garlic, and salt, then put them in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and roast uncovered for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees, until they are browned lightly on the outside and tender inside. Serve immediately. These potatoes are terrific with chicken, pork or even hamburgers.
    Recipe credit-http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/tipstechniques/herbs/rosemary.asp

    Posted in Health, Cooking, Cold and Flu Remedies, Healthy Living, Herbs and Natural Remedies | 4 Comments »

    How Fat Can We Get?

    human jawsThe race to get fat is on!

    And, according to research released by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, most Americans are going to place in this race with a big fat blue ribbon.

    The research points out that if Americans keep gaining weight at the current rate they’re gaining; in just eight years 75% of Americans will be overweight and 40% will be obese.

    Raise you hand if you’d like to come in last in this race.

    Our kids are affected as well. It’s not fair to train them for a contest that will kill them.

    Sorry if I sound agitated, I do tend to be chipper and positive — look on the bright side.
    But when my son and I go to the city park I count far more chubby kids than slim kids. More parents sitting on the bench then playing Frisbee or swinging with their children. It’s sad. Many of the people my age aren’t going to live to see their grandkids. Fat will do them in early — if they even have grandkids. Studies show that overweight individuals have a much harder time conceiving.

    Right off the top of my head I can think of two revolutionary ways to stop this…

    Eat better and exercise.

    Cutting out soda and fruity sugary drinks will help too. As will trimming down food portion sizes and actually hanging out with our kids; setting a good example by playing with them, outside in the fresh air.

    Other key points found by Johns Hopkins:

    But no one is entirely off the hook. The overall fact remains that 75% of ALL Americans will likely be overweight by 2015. Imagine what this will do to the already escalating health care costs.

    This is serious. I hear peppy talks by fitness trainers. I see nicely worded articles about slimming down youth. I feel all warm and fuzzy when I learn that yet another overweight pregnant woman thankfully gave birth to a healthy baby.

    But honestly, I think we’ve reached the point where happy pep talks and saying “robust” when we mean “grossly overweight” has got to stop. It’s not working. Maybe knowing that we’re willfully harming our children will work. Maybe considering that there soon won’t be enough healthy people to care for the unhealthy people will work. Is death a motivator to get in shape?

    Maybe…

    If you’d like to see your children grow up healthy and happy you can visit:

    The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

    Youth Becoming Healthy

    National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences kids page

    Healthier US.gov

    Why not make a choice right now that you and your children will lose this race. All you have to do to get started is click on a link above. It’s that simple.

    Posted in Child Abuse, Exercise, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition for Adults, Weight Management | 3 Comments »

    Green Ideas for Kids!

    images.jpgKids can make a difference for our planet as well as any adult.

    Kids today, have a distinct advantage over us adults — they’re being raised in an environment and communities that are already aware of the consequences of not being green.With a little help from parents who care, kids today are going to change the world we live in for the better.

    Read and discuss this list with your kids! Your kids (and you) can try these easy ideas for going green and saving the planet.

    Recycle: Okay, that’s a given in most places today — but not all. In my neighborhood in Albuquerque there were barely any recycling resources. If this is the case where you live write a letter, or have your parents help you write a letter to public officials in your area. Make your voice heard. You can even draw a picture to show how you feel. Don’t know where to write try starting here.

    Don’t let go: Of that cool balloon. Each time a helium balloon floats away they may end up hurting animals and fish. Helium balloons fall (eventually) back down to the earth and strong winds can blow them to our oceans. A sea animal may try to eat the balloon and that could kill the animal. Balloons can also wrap around small animals and hurt them. No matter how much fun it is to let your balloon fly — don’t. If you want to fly something fun that won’t hurt animals try building a kite with your parents.

    Brush your teeth: Now, simply brushing your teeth won’t save the planet– you will have a beautiful smile though. However, you can help to save lots of water by turning off the sink faucet each and every time you brush. Also stay away from pump dispenser toothpastes; they add much more waste to our landfills than a normal tube. Some companies are even making toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes that you can recycle. Take a look at your local co-op and see what’s available.

    Let someone else play with your stuff: Before throwing that old toy away see if a friend of yours might want to trade one of their toys for your old toy (always ask an adult before doing this). If no one wants your toy donate it to a thrift store or charity that gives toys to other children who may not have as many cool toys as you do.

    If you want to learn more about how to save your planet visit The Environmental Kids Club. At this website you can even become an official planet protector and get free coloring books and games.

    Or read this book: Good Earth Art: Environmental Art For Kids, for more ideas

    Have fun and always stay green!

    Posted in Healthy Living | No Comments »

    Have a Wonderful and Safe 4th of July!

    0616769-R1-036-16A_a 250x203.jpgThe 4th of July is a great time for families to get together. A nice warm day, picnics in the grass, icy watermelon, slip & slide fun (hey, do they still have slip & slides?), and the amazing firework displays.

    It’s a fun and family focused day of the year.

    But sadly, many accidents can and do occur on the 4th each year. Not to put a damper on the day’s festivities but there are some simple facts you need to know to keep your family safe and healthy this 4th.

    Facts & figures

    I could give millions of accident stats for the 4th — there’s no shortage. However, let’s just look a few biggies offered by The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

    On July 4th there are more U.S. fires reported that on any other day of the year — and fireworks account for half of these fires. The figure that surprised me was the sparklers — which are seemingly harmless. I always have let my son use them in the past but I’m re-thinking that this year. Each year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) promotes a list of safety tips for 4th of July firework safety.

    This year however, the AAP is doing something new. The NFPA has come forward with, instead of safety tips, a new recommendation that tips aren’t needed. What’s needed is a call for everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals. The AAP agrees with the NFPA and so this year’s tips are a little less bulky and a lot safer…

    Legal or not for consumers, fireworks are too risky for amateurs leave the fireworks to the professionals.”

    Besides saving you some reading this tip could save your family money, stress, and more importantly maybe your health or life. So follow this year’s one tip. Gather the family, pack a picnic, and head to the nearest community fireworks festivities for a fun and safe 4th.

    Safe & happy July 4th wishes from Family Resource!

    Posted in Child Safety, Holidays, Personal Safety, Healthy Living | 1 Comment »

    I’m back!

    Well.  Well.  Well.

    So the kids decided, after all, that a Disney Post Christmas extravaganza was in order.  We got back from delivering them to my parents last night.  I must admit, the drive home felt like I was reversing some kind of law of physics - the fact that I was driving in the opposite direction from my kids was the most unnatural feeling I have ever had. 

    But they are knee deep, as we speak, in Little Mermaid and Buzz Lightyear heaven.  I talked to them this morning and they sound like they are having a blast!  Which was exactly what I needed to hear - it is hard to sleep without them in the house.  But, the fact that they are having an adventure with their Nana and Papa eases my mind greatly. 

    So then.  What to do?  John and I are all alone - we slept in and ate breakfast in bed.  So many things that we could do with the rest of our holiday but, really, we both seem content to be home and dig into one another.  Since I was a single mom when we met, it is always painfully obvious to us - when we get a chance to be alone - that we never actually dated, in the traditional sense of the word.  We never got to indulge in one another the way other couples do.  Sure.  We had a good time, but always with the pretense that there was a sweet boy at home waiting for me (which meant our evening usually ended at 10pm).  We never felt slighted, it’s just that at times like these, we really realize that we never got to really revel in that new relationship splendor.  And, now that my mind is at ease with the kids being safe and happy, we are able to.  We are able to enjoy what we really love about each other and remember why it is we fell in love.  I hope you’ll excuse me this week if I end up being syrupy sweet about everything, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to stop myself. 

    Posted in Marriage, Healthy Living | No Comments »

    Same as It Ever Was…

    Well, we made it through our weekends of identity searching.. Of course, I had no idea that we were searching for identities this weekend but, something along those lines happened.  Joseph discovered that he really doesn’t care about football (even though he was completely stoked about it as he left Friday) or tailgating (whew!!) and I discovered that, given enough time in the day, I become unyeildingly productive and return to my inherent artistic temperments. 

    If you have children, find a way to be alone for a weekend.  I did my share of going out and catching up with friends (until 4am!.. god what was I thinking?  I’m not 20 anymore.. I was in much pain the next morning).. But the best part were those moments when I was completely alone.  I relished every moment.  I highly recommend it.

    Aside from the obvious self reconnection that can occur from such a weekend there are also huge (huge!) benefits to your marriage.  I missed my husband. A lot.  He missed me.  A lot.  We have been (ahem.. literally..) inseperable since he got home.  Again, I highly recommend it. 

    And, today, we’re back to the grind.  There is laundry to do, articles to write, magazines to edit, baths to give, dogs to walk, bills to pay…. But we do it, today, with renewed energy and admiration for ourselves and one another.  All that just from one little weekend away from it all.  It’s enough to keep you going for a long time to come. 

    Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living | No Comments »

    Somebody Stop Me..

    I have grown accustomed to the fact that, since having children, my body has somewhat become it’s own creature.. Changing and evolving (if you can call it that) into something that I have little control over.  I have grown used to the feathery stretch marks on my belly and have become thankful that they aren’t as bad as some of my friends.  I have dealt with the fact that I have nursed two children and, well, the ladies are a bit tired these days.  There isn’t a lot of “perk” to my jiggle and jerk, if you know what I mean.  I’ve eased into all of these things and thought that I was doing pretty good.

    Somehow, as I crouch toward thirty, some scary things are happening to me.  Widening type things.  Things that have nothing to do with producing children.  My body is spreading.  All over the place.  Of course, I’m the only one to notice.  So far.  I can admit that most of it is in my mind - but some of it is not.  And that’s more than I can handle. 

    Here’s the thing.  I’m not an jazzercizer.. I don’t really “do” exercise.  In fact, I hate pointless exercise and think that people who go to gyms are weird.  Can’t explain it - I just get annoyed with exercise.  I know this about myself.  No big deal.  I am still very physically active, nonetheless.  I live a very energetic life.  Really.  I do.  Exercise isn’t my problem.  I know what my problem is and I can’t (don’t want to) fix it.

    It’s food.  I love it.  I mean, I love it like most people love sex or drinking or - name your addiction.  Seriously.  If you want me to be somewhere, just dangle a carrot in front of me - if food will be there, so will I.  And, here I am, two days into the flu and it’s in front of me and even though I feel like dog shit, I want to eat it.  I love it.  Love. It.

    My adoration of food has never been a problem.  Until tonight.  I caught a glimpse of my spreaded out ass today in the mirror.  Sure I was wearing my “sick” pants (a very old and very saggy pair of sweat pants that are far from flattering) but, still.  It looked gross.  And, I know that my love of eating is the cause.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have an actual addiction.  I just love food.  I love cooking it, smelling, picking it out at the farmer’s market, reading about it, planning meals..  

    So, what’s a girl to do?  The Dr. Weil trial is going well but, since I have been sick all week, it is hard to be following a health regimen.  All I have felt like doing is sleeping (and eating, somehow).  Perhaps if I keep following it, I will develop a better sense of balancing foods I adore with foods I should eat to age “gracefully” and without the mom butt creeping up on me as fast as it is. 

    Posted in Healthy Eating, Healthy Living | No Comments »

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