Welch’s® doesn’t just make the 100% grape juice you loved as a child yourself, they also make fat-free, gluten-free and preservative-free Fruit Snacks! “Mom” loves their Reduced Sugar Mixed Fruit flavor – perfect for both kiddos and adults to snack on while on-the-move this summer! The delicious fruit are made with REAL fruit and contain 100% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 25% of Vitamins A and E. Plus, Welch’s® has created a convenient 80-calorie pack so you can get a portion-controlled treat that makes it easy to count calories if you are watching your weight.

Welch’s® Fruit Snacks Reduced Sugar variety is recognized as a Healthier Snacking option by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. They are smart snacking choice that burst with flavor and will satisfy your craving for something sweet, without having to reach for a candy bar.

Why choose Welch’s® Fruit Snacks?

  • 100% DV Vitamin C
  • 25% DV Vitamin A & E
  • Fat Free – Gluten Free
  • No Preservatives

To learn more about Welch’s® Fruit Snacks and their Reduced Sugar varieties, or to locate a store near you, visit welchsfruitsnacks.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Natural Teething Tips

For many babies, teething can be a painful experience. Finding safe and effective ways to ease a baby’s discomfort can challenge new parents, but there are many natural solutions that can help.

Teething usually begins when a baby’s primary teeth come through the gums, somewhere between the ages of 3 and 12 months old. By age 3, most children have all 20 of their first teeth.

Lauren Feder, M.D., is a nationally recognized physician and author who specializes in primary care medicine, pediatrics and homeopathy. She says, “All babies experience teething differently. Some experience a lot of discomfort while others may show no symptoms. And while a baby might experience one episode of teething with pain, a subsequent tooth may cause little to no pain.”

The telltale signs of teething include irritability, drooling, chin rash, biting and gnawing, diarrhea, low-grade fever, and wakefulness at night about three to five days before a tooth breaks through the gum. Because a baby cannot communicate his or her needs, parents may want to try a variety of solutions to relieve the discomfort of these symptoms, starting with the most gentle and natural.

“Cold washcloths, teething rings and massage can help soothe swollen, irritated gums,” notes Dr. Feder. “Hard frozen foods and vegetables can present a choking hazard, however, so it’s best to provide safe objects to chew on.”

While many parents have used over-the-counter numbing benzocaine-based gels and liquids to ease teething pain, the FDA has advised that they can lead to a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia.

Symptoms of methemoglobinemia may be difficult for parents to interpret because they can be attributed to other illnesses. Concerned parents should ask their doctor before using benzocaine teething gels on a child, particularly under the age of 2. A consumer update from the FDA on this topic can be found at www.fda.gov.

“Natural medicines such as homeopathic teething tablets and gels can provide effective relief from mouth and gum pain,” says Dr. Feder. “They are formulated to temporarily relieve the symptoms of simple restlessness and wakeful irritability and to help reduce redness and inflammation of gums,” she adds.

Hyland’s all-natural Baby Teething Tablets melt instantly upon contact and have been trusted by parents for over 85 years to ease teething discomfort without numbing a baby’s gums.

(These statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.)

For more natural medicine suggestions and valuable offers, visit www.hylandsbaby.com. Hyland’s products are available nationally in natural food stores, groceries, supercenters and pharmacies such as Walgreens.

*Article courtesy of NAPS.*

You probably won’t find somen salad on the menu in a Japanese restaurant. However, it’s a popular potluck dish in Japanese American communities and, as expected, feeds many. This recipe from Daisy Kushino calls for kamaboko (Japanese fish cake) but you can use surimi (imitation crab meat) instead. Like any salad, feel free to substitute or change proportions to taste. The dressing goes fabulously with field greens too.

Somen Salad

Ingredients

1 pound dried somen noodles

2 eggs

Pinch of salt

Vegetable oil for brushing

½ medium head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded (3 to 4 cups)

8 ounces Chinese Barbecued Pork (page 165) or Virginia ham, cut into julienne pieces (2 cups)

6-ounce package kamaboko, cut into julienne pieces

2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

Soy-Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)

Preparation

Cook the noodles according to package directions until tender yet firm and still chewy. Do not overcook or the noodles will be soggy. Tip into a colander over the sink and rinse under cold running water. Drain and set aside.

To make the omelets, beat the eggs in a small bowl with the salt. Lightly brush the bottom of an 8-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium for 1 minute. Swirl in half the eggs to coat the bottom of the skillet in a thin, even layer. Cook until the omelet surface is nearly dry and the underside is light golden, 1½ to 2 minutes. Lift the edge of the omelet to check. Flip and cook for another 1 minute or so. Slide onto a plate. Repeat with the remaining eggs. When cool, roll the omelets into fat cigars and cut crosswise into very fine strips.

Transfer the noodles to a large platter and arrange the lettuce, meat, kamaboko, green onions, and egg strips on top. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad. Toss and serve.
Soy-Sesame Dressing

Ingredients

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Combine the oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, and salt in a jar with a screw-top lid. Cover and shake well. (Alternatively, whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl.)

Makes 1/2 cup.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Daisy Kushino, from The Asian Grandmother’s Cookbook.*

It’s summertime, and that means sweaty clothes after playing outside, shoes that may collect lingering odors after a rain shower, and many more questionable odors. What Odor? makes it easy to eliminate smells in an instant with a blend of 41 essential oils! Not your typical toxic household odor eliminator, What Odor? is 100% biodegradable and is so gentle that it can be used on all surfaces and even on all of your furniture. The entire line of products is Non-Hazardous, Non-Flammable and Non-Corrosive, so you can use it anytime, anywhere, on anything in the home.

Mom” loves that it gets rid of that diaper pail smell that never seems to truly leave the pail, as well as making her dog’s pet bed smell nice and fresh! This non-toxic, multi-purpose odor eliminator is a must-have for any household with pets or children!

To learn more about What Odor? and their various products, or to order online, please visit WhatOdor.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Healthy Milk Alternatives

There are many reasons not to consume dairy. First, we are the only species that consumes the milk of another species (you have to admit that’s kind of gross). Second, an estimated 75% of adults experience lactose sensitivity, and third, recent studies have debunked milk’s primary justification as a calcium builder, by proving that milk, ironically enough, supports calcium loss from your bones.

As little as five years ago, soy milk seemed like the only milk alternative regularly available on the market. But as recent studies have identified soy as a common food allergen (much like milk) and linked the dairy alternative to breast cancer-causing isoflavones (very similar to estrogen), other substitute milks, such as almond, coconut, and hemp, have gained popularity.

Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or overall health-conscious, there are plenty of healthy milk alternatives besides soy which you can incorporate into your diet. Below are some of the top-rated milk substitutes to satisfy your creamy cravings.

Almond Milk

In addition to being low in calories, carbohydrates, and cholesterol, Almond Milk contains bone-strengthening calcium (30% recommended daily value), immunity-boosting Vitamin D (25%), skin-nourishing Vitamin E (50%), and healthy muscle-repairing B vitamins. Some of the tastiest brands include Trader Joes Original and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, Silk’s Unsweetened Original and Vanilla Almond Milk, and Almond Breeze’s variety of flavors (which even includes unsweetened chocolate!). These beverages are great in cereal, baking recipes, smoothies, protein shakes, and on their own.

Coconut Milk

With the advent of low-carb and Paleolithic-diets, coconut milk has become a popular dairy substitute. The high levels of manganese in coconut milk can help manage blood sugar, the potassium content is effective in lowering blood pressure, Vitamin C supports the immune system, fiber promotes fullness and weight management, and zinc promotes prostate health when paired with a natural prostate medication, like Prosvent’s all-natural solution. In addition to its numerous health benefits, coconut milk is a bit sturdier than almond milk and holds up better in cooking dishes, especially Thai and Indian, which benefit from its rich flavor. Stick to canned coconut milk, as refrigerated cartons typically have added preservatives. Some of the tastiest brands include Thai Kitchen (rich and creamy), Trader Joe’s 99 cent light variety (wallet conscious), and Native Forest (organic and BPA free).

Hemp Milk

As hemp milk doesn’t need or use pesticides for growth, it is better for the environment and your health. The beverage is brimming with Omega-3s and Omega-6s, which improve mental capacity while warding off diabetes, bad cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Hemp milk is an excellent vegetarian source of protein, as it’s packed with amino acids for building and repairing lean muscles. Hemp milk is typically boxed and can be found in the dairy substitute aisle of any health food store. Living Harvest’s Tempt Hemp Milk comes in original, vanilla, chocolate, unsweetened original, and unsweetened chocolate and has one of the best texture/flavor combinations on the market. A close second is Pacific Natural Foods, which is a bit more affordable and readily available at Whole Foods around the country.

Remember, all of these milk substitutes are all-natural and can be made at home with a little patience and dedication. Look up different recipes online and try experimenting with different natural sweeteners, like agave and honey! Happy digesting!

About the Author

Lynn Maleh is a graduate of University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program. She regularly blogs on a variety of topics, including health, lifestyle, and eco-living.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

These summer rolls replace the traditional rice paper wrapping with lettuce leaves. In Phase 2, replace the carrot with a second daikon.

Summer Rolls

From The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook by Colette Heimowitz

Ingredients

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dark (toasted) sesame oil
1 small red chile pepper, seeded and minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 large green or red leaf lettuce leaves
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 small daikon radish, julienned
½ cup mung bean sprouts
¼ cup peanuts, toasted and chopped

Preparation

1. Combine lime juice, sesame oil, chile, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add shrimp; simmer until pink, about 3 minutes. Drain; add to lime juice mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.
3. Set lettuce leaves on a counter with stem ends toward you. Press against the “spines” until you hear a crunch to make it easier to roll.
4. Divide carrot, daikon, and sprouts among leaves, setting them in the centers toward the bottom. Divide shrimp among leaves; sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Roll lettuce from the bottom up.
5. Place each roll, seam side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove wrap; cut rolls in half and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

*Recipe and image from The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook by Colette Heimowitz. Copyright (c) 2011 by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Printed by permission of Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.*

Lightweight, comfortable, and available in a wide range of colors and patterns, Coobie has designed the ultimate bras and camis for every shape & size! “Mom” is expecting, and the seamless bras & camisole tops have fit nicely throughout pregnancy – they truly are one size fits all! The material used for both the bras and camisoles is extremely soft and stretchy, and is very comfortable against a tummy that is being stretched by a growing baby. You will want to own a variety of colors! The bras are made of a lycra/nylon blend, with adjustable straps, and make an excellent choice for wearing this summer as the weather continues to heat up outside.

Available in styles with lace trimming or the standard scoop neck, Coobie garments come in an abundant array of vibrant colors, offering a pop of color to your essential everyday outfit. Coobie also offers slight shape enhancements with the option of removable padding. To learn more or to order online, please visit ShopCoobie.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Ten Tips To Cut Home Energy Bills

The secret to reducing your monthly energy bills is following the latest tips to cut down on your household’s everyday consumption, according to the Department of Energy.

1. Use the latest lightbulbs. Lighting-related costs add up to about 10 percent of your electric bill. Reduce your lighting usage by up to 75 percent by using the latest lighting technologies, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs.
2. Keep the wattage low. Make sure that your lightbulbs aren’t a higher wattage than the listed wattage for sockets.
3. Hit the pool. Use 75 percent less wattage than incandescent pool lights with white Pentair IntelliBrite LEDs, and save up to $1,500 a year by switching from a single-speed pump to an IntelliFlo variable-speed pump, part of the Eco Select family (www.pentairpool.com/calculators).
4. Install ceiling fans. You’ll be able to raise the thermostat for your air conditioner about 4 de­grees without compromising relief from the heat.
5. Find and plug all air leaks. Save 5 to 30 percent on energy costs by caulking or weather stripping gaps where air flows: window frames, doors, baseboards, electrical outlets, mounted air conditioners, attic doors, fireplace dampers, pipes, wires, mail slots. If you can rattle or see daylight around a door or window, it’s likely leaking air.
6. Turn the water heater down. The energy used to heat your water accounts for up to 25 percent of your energy usage. Turn down the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.
7. Set up a programmable thermostat. Cooling and heating systems account for about 56 percent of your energy use. Set your thermostat for the morning, day, evening, overnight and vacation to control costs.
8. Replace your old cooling and heating equipment. In­stalling a high-efficiency air conditioner can help reduce re­lated energy costs 20 to 50 percent. And if your forced-air furnace is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it.
9. Remember your filters. Change the filters on your forced-air furnace and air-conditioning unit about every month or two and have professionals check them annually.
10. Explore your insulation. Seal any gaps around attic openings for pipes, ductwork and chimneys with expanding foam caulk or other permanent sealant. And make sure there’s a vapor barrier such as a plastic sheet or specialized paint beneath insulation, including the attic door.

Homeowners cut energy costs up to 90 percent with Eco Select equipment in their pools, the second-largest consumer of home energy after HVAC, according to Pentair Aquatic Systems.

(Sources: Department of Energy; ENERGY STAR; Pentair Aquatic Systems)

*Article courtesy of NAPS.*

Easy to make, this peach sorbet is hands down one of the most refreshing desserts we have ever tasted! Nothing beats a cool bowl of sorbet on a hot summer day!

Peach Sorbet

Ingredients

4 cups chopped fresh peaches
½ cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Chill mixture in refrigerator for at least two hours. Once chilled, freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.*

Common Negative Effects of Globalization on the Planet

While there are certainly many benefits associated with a growing global community; including increased awareness of and communication with other regions and cultures, opportunities for businesses to expand, and the potential to spread societal advances and goodwill across the planet; there are also quite a few drawbacks that go along with human expansion. For one thing, there are always going to be unscrupulous parties (individuals or entities) looking to take advantage of unsuspecting people, and even entire nations. And unfortunately, the negative impact on the environment can be high. Here are just a few of the most common side effects of globalization that are currently facing our planet.

The first major issue comes in the form of greenhouse gas emissions (you know, those pesky hydrocarbons that are to blame for the speeding up the global warming trend). With increasing globalization we have seen growth in both the travel trade (as tourists enter previously unvisited areas) and shipping. The expansion of multinational businesses into new nations is beneficial in that it provides new jobs and inroads for infrastructure to those countries while allowing for the businesses to reach new consumer markets with their goods and services (not to mention possibly improving the global economy). But the downside of this growth is an increase in travel and shipping. And overseas freight shipping (often done by airplane) is one of the worst polluters (although the overland trucking business isn’t far behind).

Sadly, this isn’t the biggest threat by a long shot. Many nations that are emerging as prospective business partners are somewhat new to the global economy. In many cases they don’t have the same environmental restrictions in place as their more fully developed brethren. So they may not be aware of the impact that manufacturing, mining, and even tourism can have on their ecosystem (and the planet as a whole). They might therefor allow abuses that other countries have banned. This, of course, encourages some businesses to exploit the system, moving into burgeoning economies in order to take advantage of their lax standards where the environment is concerned.

But it gets even worse. Countries that have long enjoyed partnerships with companies from larger, more profitable nations do not want to see those corporate dollars heading to greener pastures (so to speak). And they may feel that the only way to gain a competitive edge is to lower their own environmental standards in order to give businesses incentive to stay. This so-called “race to the bottom” not only damages the country in which it occurs, but it has the potential to negatively impact the entire planet. And it likely won’t end until some kind of international environmental standards are enacted.

However, it’s not all bad. The increased communications capabilities that have allowed for the advancement of globalization may be used to spread an eco-friendly agenda. And many organizations have used it to support and expand movements in developing nations that are calling for increased environmental standards. They make sure that more information is available over at these locations so that grass-roots organizations can spread the word and increase awareness of their cause. They may additionally gain funding to launch campaigns for change across the globe. The hope is that they will eventually prevail over big business and its penchant for pollution.