Five Ways to Get a Handle on Your Allergies From HomeFive Ways to Get a Handle on Your Allergies From Home

Get a handle on your allergies from home by simply making some easy changes that can improve the overall health and air quality of your household. If allergies are something that you regularly struggle with, but have not found a way to beat the stuffy nose and itchy eyes, these top five tips are sure to help. Whether you have a common allergy to pollen or are dealing with more severe allergies that can trigger asthma attacks, start living a healthier lifestyle today by making these necessary changes and upgrades.

Fireplace Cleaning

Indianapolis gas fireplace cleaning services are highly recommended for those who use their fireplaces regularly. Maintaining your gas fireplace by having it cleaned and maintained on a regular basis can help to keep you safe and your fireplace operating correctly. By skipping annual maintenance, the ventilation system can become backed up, causing allergens to circulate around the home and even the potential for deadly gas leaks. Simply maintaining your fireplace can be beneficial for your allergies.

HVAC Maintenance

Fight off seasonal allergies with the help of air ability HVAC services. Because pollen and other allergens can easily make their way into your home through cracks, open doors and open windows, opting to regularly maintain your air conditioning system can help greatly. Having your AC unit cleaned regularly can remove dirt, dust and debris that can built up within the filters and vents which may circulate around your home without you even knowing it.

Neti Pots

In addition to improving the air quality and air flow around your home, you may also choose to take advantage of other at-home solutions for your allergies such as the Neti pot. By simply filling the pot with a saline solution and flushing it through each nostril, you can be well on your way to naturally dealing with your allergies with absolutely no side effects.

Avoiding Pollen

If seasonal allergies are something that you constantly struggle with, there’s no need to make them any worse than they already are. While you can’t lock yourself inside all season long, avoid mowing the grass which can trigger your allergies from the pollen and grass clippings. Instead, get a handle on your allergies by enlisting a friend, family member or neighborhood kid to mow your grass for you.

Steam Cleaning Carpets

Steam clean your upholstered furniture and carpets throughout the house to help control allergens found deep within. This should be done on a regular basis.

While you may not see them, there are always allergens that are lurking throughout all corners of your home. By taking advantage of these tips, you can help to control them and eliminate your seasonal allergies.

ID-100163322FASD Awareness: What’s Nutrition Got To Do With It?

By Lauren Bartell Weiss, Ph.D.

As International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day approaches, people all around the world are planning events to raise awareness about the potential risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and the difficulties of people and families who struggle with FASD. The first FASDay was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from drinking alcohol. As a published researcher specializing in nutrition and it’s impact during pregnancy, I thought about how I could do my part during FASD Awareness Month. It came down to spreading the word about what I know best- good nutrition.

You might be asking yourself, “what does nutrition have to do with FASD?” The answer might surprise you. Let’s start with some facts about alcohol consumption. Approximately 60% of child-bearing-aged women consume alcohol and it has been suggested that up to 30% of women drink while pregnant. In addition, about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and it is likely that a woman may unintentionally drink during the early stages of pregnancy.

Here’s where nutrition comes into play. While the recommendation is still to abstain from consuming alcohol during pregnancy, there are ways to reduce potential risks to the baby by optimizing your nutrition status. While eating a healthy balanced diet is very important for health and disease prevention in general, women of childbearing age, especially those who consume alcohol, should also take a multivitamin/prenatal supplement to maximize their nutritional health in the event that they do unexpectedly become pregnant. Pregnancy increases the demand for many vitamins and minerals in order to adequately support a developing fetus and alcohol can interfere with nutritional supply from the mom to the unborn baby. It can also change the metabolism of the nutrients. This can be dangerous by potentially increasing the risk of pregnancy and baby complications and, also, of birth defects. There is strong evidence that a deficiency in folic acid is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy protects against this. The same may hold true for other vitamins and minerals in the protection of FASD so taking extra vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy may serve as a type of “insurance policy” if a pregnancy were to occur.

A new study I co-authored found a link between multivitamin use and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. We looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s multiple-state Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) of more than 100,000 women between 2004 and 2008. The women answered a series of questions involving their alcohol use before pregnancy as well as multivitamin consumption during it. The study found women who reported consuming alcohol regularly or binge drinking were significantly less likely to take a multivitamin supplement compared with those who did not report alcohol consumption. The findings of this study, in addition to other research, emphasize the importance for all women of childbearing age, especially those who drink alcohol, to take a multivitamin supplement regularly whether they’re planning to have children or not.

I now encourage you to do your part during FASD Awareness Month by spreading the word about daily multivitamin use among your circle of friends. Let them know, a prenatal vitamin today could make for a healthier child tomorrow, even if they don’t plan on starting a family for a very long time.

MotherToBaby has facts sheets on alcohol’s risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which can be found at MotherToBaby.org. For more information or to get a personalized risk assessment about alcohol, medications or other exposures, call MotherToBaby toll-free at (866) 626-6847. MotherToBaby is a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). MotherToBaby and OTIS are suggested resources by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About the Author

Lauren Bartell Weiss, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UC San Diego’s Center for the Promotion of Maternal Health and Infant Development and co-author of “Associations Between Multivitamin Supplement Use and Alcohol Consumption Before Pregnancy: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2004 to 2008,” which was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research earlier this year.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

ID-10069058Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and obesity is an epidemic that everyone in the family can help combat!

Did you know that in a study researching the trend of childhood obesity, an estimated 43 million children around under the age of 5 were overweight or obese, globally, in 2010. This number is staggering, but in honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are a few tips to help prevent any more children from becoming part of this statistic.

Designate Family Time for Getting Active

Whether it’s a walk together after dinner or getting together in a park on a Sunday afternoon, there are always times to get in some time for physical activity. Doing this together holds you all accountable, sets good examples for kids, and gives you more time to be with your loved ones!

Limit TV and Video Game Time

Sitting in front of electronic screens for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for kids—it makes it easy for them to fall into couch-potato status instead of getting outside and playing sports or meeting friends outdoors.

Fresh-Fruit-Bonanza

Cook Meals Together

Here’s another easy opportunity to stay fit as a family. Cooking homemade meals together increases bonding time with the family and prevents you from picking up take-out or pizza on your way home from work

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Make Sure They Get Proper Nutrients

Following the idea of cooking meals together, you have to make sure what you are feeding your kids will help them continue to grow strong and healthy. Try to limit sweets, increase veggies, and make sure they get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Incorporating a children’s multivitamin like USANA USAnimals into your kid’s daily routine can help ensure that this happens.

*Main image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

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7 Steps to a Smarter Kid

With kids headed back to school, it’s more important than ever to support their healthy development to ensure they have every advantage in school!

One of the most overlooked aspects of brain development is the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on a child’s brain. A recent study shows the significant impact of omega-3 DHA in relation to a child’s vocabulary and comprehensive testing. Early intake of omega-3 supplements will benefit your child’s cognitive learning and may increase intelligence in their pre-school and school-aged years.

Karlene Karst, a mother, Registered Dietician and five-time published author on “Healthy Fats,” believes so strongly in the power of Omega-3’s that she developed her own line called Sea-Licious, which she gives to her two young boys every day! To help other parents, Karlene has outlined 7 steps parents can take to help build smarter kids by incorporating Omega-3’s into their everyday lives.

7 Steps to a Smarter Kid:

1. Supplement each day with ½ tsp. of pure Omega-3 oils. Sea-Licious is one of the tastiest and most powerful options on the market.

2. After age 1, begin to incorporate nut butters such as almond and sunflower as a way to increase healthy omega-3s. Nut butters can be spread on brown rice cakes, pita bread or sprouted grain bread for a delicious breakfast or snack.

3. Incorporate ground flaxseeds, chia and pumpkin seeds into baked goods such as muffins, loafs and cookies. They can even be added to soups and stews for additional fiber, protein and of course healthy fat.

4. Greek yogurt — such a delicious, healthy snack! You can incorporate a brand such as Sea-Licious right into the yogurt if your child doesn’t want to take their omega-3 oil on its own.

5. Smoothies — this is one of the easiest and delicious ways to pack a ton of nutrients into your child’s diet. As a base use organic milk or a dairy alternative such as rice, or almond milk. Load the smoothie up with spinach, berries, and add a banana for sweetness. You can also add the chia/flaxseeds as well as Sea-Licious right into the blender!

6. Serve fish such as halibut and salmon. There are many delicious ways to prepare it. Make it flavorful and your kids will love it!

7. Be your child’s role model — they will do what you do! If you are taking your Omega-3’s, so will your children! If you eat healthy, so will your children!

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

5 Examples Why Going Green Can Make You Some Extra Cash5 Examples Why Going Green Can Make You Some Extra Cash

Having extra money in your wallet is certainly delightful. At least for the time-being, you can stop stressing out about bills and spending money. However, when you want these changes to be permanent, you should look into going green. What are some reasons why doing so can save you money?

Reusable Food and Beverage Containers
Every day, you are tossing a water bottle and a lunch bag away. If you are not recycling the appropriate items, you are doing even more harm to the environment. Instead, you should choose reusable food and beverage containers. Finding a sports water bottle is not difficult, and you can just use this one each day. Plastic food containers that can be washed and reused are smart options as well.

Cash in on Your Bottles
Many different types of cans and bottles can be brought to recycling centers in your area. On the item, it should say how much you can turn it in for. Do not throw these types of items into the garbage. Cashing in on your bottles might not seem as though it will bring you a lot of money, but if you consider how many you have used in your lifetime, you’ll start to recognize the savings.

Solar Panels and Energy Star
In your home, you definitely want to have EnergyStar certified windows. These types of windows will help to make your house a more enjoyable climate. If you have a little extra money to spend right now, you should consider installing solar panels as well. You might wonder how spending more could help you save more. Well, consider the long-term savings as opposed to the short-term ones. In the end, having these types of upgrades to your house can definitely help you to save a lot of money.

Consider The Monthly Bills
You pay for things like electric, heat and water usage on a monthly basis. You probably notice a spike in the bills when certain seasons come around or when you have out-of-town guests staying at your house. Work on controlling these bills by reducing the amount of resources that you use. You might not think that little changes, such as turning off the water when you brush your teeth or shutting off the lights when you leave a room, really make much of a difference. However, these little changes really do add up in the end.

Avoiding Penalties and Fees
Depending upon where you live, you might actually get fined if you are not living a somewhat green lifestyle. For example, some communities will fine you when you are putting items that are supposed to be recycled into the garbage can. On top of that, most communities impose a fine if you litter. When you take steps to be friendlier to the world around you, then you can stop receiving these unnecessary fines for your current practices.

About the Author

Dixie is a freelance writer. She recommends visiting recycling centers in New Orleans if you want to get started on your greener lifestyle today.

Fresh-Fruit-BonanzaParents are living a more fast-paced lifestyle focused on their children and extracurricular activities as the kids head back to school this fall. With this on-to-go lifestyle, it can be hard for parents to find time to cook for their families after a long day.

To help make the planning and preparation process easier, Cooking Planit is offering a few tips for busy parents. Cooking Planit is an important website and mobile app that provides home cooks with step-by-step instructions to create full meals, organizing the process for a more efficient cooking experience that leaves all dishes ready to serve at the same time. Essentially a “GPS for the kitchen”, users can filter by main ingredient, occasion, dietary restriction and type of dish, with each recipe showing a full list of ingredients and necessary cooking utensils.

5 Meal Planning Tips for Busy Parents

1. Prep Ahead: Organize your grocery list for each recipe that you intend to prepare. Prepare ingredients earlier in the day, or while you are prepping dinner the night before. Wrap chopped herbs or aromatics, like garlic and ginger, in damp paper towel in airtight container, and refrigerate. Then, go straight to cook mode come dinnertime.

2. Freeze It: So many recipes freeze well and defrost in minutes, providing fast and flavorful dinner solutions. Soup is my favorite because it can make a meal all on its own.

3. Opt for Seafood: Fish or shrimp cook quickly and have unique health benefits compared to chicken or red meat. Don’t be intimidated by making fish at home.

4. Hide Veggies: Kid’s might not dig into a big pile of broccoli, but you can put broccoli or other veggies into a delicious recipe and they’ll never realize how much healthy stuff they are eating too.

5. Keep It Interesting: It’s easy to get into a dinnertime rut, making the same 5 or 6 relied upon recipes over and over again. Keep kids coming to the table by surprising them with new recipes.

six environmentally friendly waysSix Environmentally Friendly Ways to Dispose of Used Electronic Devices

As the world continues to consume more electronic products each year, it is important to either dispose of or recycle those items in a responsible fashion. The recycling of consumer hardware products is a major aspect of the global eco-friendly initiative. This is why so many firms have adopted a commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of their electronics, as well as that of their customers. To that end, there are numerous programs available to help consumers conveniently and properly dispose of or recycle their products. Below are six environmentally friendly ways to dispose of used electronic devices.

Participate in Earth Day
Many communities offer ways to celebrate saving the environment with festivals including dropping off unwanted electronics and their accessories at participating locations. This greatly helps to reduce and divert the approximately 96 million pounds or more of e-waste from U.S. landfills. Every citizen can check for details at their city or town’s website or other information resource.

Sell Your Old Electronics
Selling old electronics is another safe way to reduce waste and prevent improper disposal of potentially dangerous devices. For instance, it is safe to assume that many people generally have at least one or more old PDAs, cell phones or other devices lying about in their homes. However, rather than let these devices take up valuable space, people can participate in saving the environment while earning money by doing something as simple as deciding to sell your iPhone for cash at AppleShark.com.

Donate Used Electronics
Donating used electronics is another way to dispose of old products responsibly. Many organizations accept computers, VCRs, printers and other electronic products when they are still in good working condition. Check with community centers, schools and other firms in the local area or consider contacting an electronics charity program.

Find a Recycling Center
For electronics that no longer work, there are numerous disposal units and recycling centers in a number of cities and towns. Most state and major cities offer programs that make recycling convenient through special city-run drop off locations. Recycling organizations use old electronic product materials such as metal, plastic and glass, all of which require that energy be used to mine and manufacture them. In partnerships with townships and private vendors, some firms offer the convenience of recycling consumer electronics through national voluntary programs.

Trade In the Electronics
Trade in old electronic devices through retailer and manufacturer programs that give consumers credit or a gift card toward another purchase. Generally, the value of these products can be determined at each company’s website. Typically, items may be mailed in or dropped off. However, much like trading in a car, the credit for the product is generally less than what a consumer may receive when they sell their electronics.

Be a Conscious Consumer
Another way to reduce waste is to become a conscious consumer and purchase products that produce less toxins and are made of reusable products. This reduces the amount of potentially hazardous substances from entering the environment, while making it easier to dispose of them in the future.

5 Surprising Ways Going Green Can Save You Money5 Surprising Ways Going Green Can Actually Save You Money

Going green is often considered and expensive and privileged venture. It’s considered something that only rich people can afford, but that’s far from the truth. Going green can actually be cheap and save you money in the long run. There are plenty of green products that don’t cost a fortune, and you will be doing something good for the environment.

You Will Use Fewer Items
Using green all-purpose cleaners means you will be buying fewer cleaning supplies. Green cleaners, or ones you make yourself, are excellent at cleaning grime and stains. They are often made using natural oils and fragrances. You can also make your own cleaning solutions with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

Using Environmentally Friendly Energy
Energy consumption is the biggest concern for those who are going green. Energy is expensive. Switching to different types of energy from your electric company can result in a price increase, but you will be doing better for the environment. You can get a home security system like Vivint home automation so you don’t have to leave lights on all night or while you are traveling.

Organic Food Can Be Cheap
Organic-store brands can be just as cheap and affordable as normal brands. Buying organic is an important part of going green, but people often mistake it for being so expensive. It can be pricey if items aren’t in season, but overall it’s a better investment. Shopping around can net you cheaper organic items that you would otherwise buy conventionally.

Saving On Water
Saving on water is also a way to go green and save green. Use a low-flow shower head and time showers to be shorter. Take no more than 15 minutes to shower for saving the most water. You can also plant gardens that don’t require constant watering. Using a faucet aerator to get a high-pressure flow without using as much heat and water. It’s a brilliant solution that costs very little.

Think Before You Shop
Thinking about what you buy before you shop for it is a good method to save the environment and go green. You may not need to buy something new, but some items should always be purchased new. If you’ve been a victim of burglary, you may want to consider buying a new Aurora home automation system. Craigslist and other places online offer free items you may want and need. You can also go to thrift stores and yard sales to get the best deals.

ID-100149759Easy Meal Makeovers With Mango

Need a secret weapon against food boredom? Looking for a simple, foolproof ingredient to add an element of surprise to your next meal? Look to mangoes to makeover dishes with naturally sweet, tropical flavor.

Mango’s versatile taste enhances any meal, like on-the-go breakfasts, brown-bag lunches, after-school snacks and family dinners. They pair well with other flavors, transforming meals and snacks with fresh flavor that brightens your plate and your taste buds.

If you are trying to maintain a fresh and fit lifestyle, mangos deliver a host of nutrients to make healthy eating more delicious. They are high in fiber, cholesterol-free, fat-free, and a good source of dietary fiber. A one-cup serving of mangos is just 100 calories and provides 100 percent of your daily vitamin C. That’s not all: Mangos live up to their superfruit status with more than 20 vitamins and minerals.

A few simple tips when selecting a mango will make this healthy fruit a weekly staple on your grocery list. To find a ripe mango, just squeeze gently. Color isn’t always the best indicator of ripeness. A ripe mango will be slightly soft like a peach or avocado. Keep unripe mangos at room temperature and store ripe mangos in the refrigerator. To speed up the ripening process, place unripe mangos in a paper bag. Whole ripe mangos may be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator, or can be sliced, cubed and placed in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.

Once you have a ripe mango, wash the fruit and use a clean knife and cutting board for slicing. Simply slice off the sides of the fruit about a quarter of an inch off center, avoiding the large seed in the center. Once you have these two sides, or mango cheeks, you can get to the flesh by slicing through the flesh but not through the skin and scooping it out with a spoon.

Once cut, mangos don’t lose their color, and the texture holds up extremely well, making them a great prep-ahead fruit. Keep slices on hand to upgrade everyday staples like mango on cereal or oatmeal, quesadillas with mango, mango and ice cream, or yogurt topped with mango.

Since mangos are available year-round, they are a perfect addition to everyday favorites, family staples and tried-and-true recipes. The fresh taste of mango is a fun departure from tropical fruits such as banana or pineapple. Kick up the flavor in everyday meals like toast topped with almost butter and mango or gooey-sweet Mango Upside-Down Cake. Adding mango is also a great way to upgrade in-season produce year-round, from mango-strawberry shortcake and mango and peach crisp to mango-cranberry sauce and mango and yams with toasted marshmallows.

Mango’s flavor is bright and sweet with a little tang, so try it in dishes where you might use a tomato, like mango salsa, Caprese salad with mango, fresh mozzarella and basil or a mixed green salad. Also, don’t be afraid to try mango on the grill, baked in sweets or sprinkled with sugar and put under the broiler.

For a simple lunchtime makeover, add fresh mango slices to a classic sandwich like Grilled Ham and Cheese with Mango. Tropical mango makes a sweet addition to this traditional dish with an unexpected pop of flavor and color.

What do you call it when mangos create a tropical transformation? A Mangover, of course.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Mango

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. softened butter (“Mom” prefers organic)

2 slices whole wheat bread

2 slices Monterey Jack cheese (“Mom” prefers Applegate Farms)

4 slices deli ham (“Mom” prefers Applegate Farms)

1 mango (about 1 pound), peeled, pitted and sliced

Preparation

Spread 1 tablespoon butter on one side of each piece of bread. On first slice of bread, place 1 slice cheese, ham and mango on unbuttered side of bread. Top with remaining slice of cheese and second piece of bread, buttered side up. Heat small, nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Place sandwich in skillet and cook until golden brown and cheese is melted, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Makes 1 sandwich.

For more mango recipe ideas, cutting technique details, and additional information about mangos, visit the National Mango Board at www.mango.org.

*Article courtesy of NAPS. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Fairy Tales Hair Care GroupThe kids are back in school…time to start weekly head checks for lice! A recent survey by Fairy Tales Hair Care found that while 93% of parents teach their children the basic prevention tips such as not sharing hats, helmets, brushes and combs, only 56% of parents do a weekly head check. With 12-15 million cases of head lice reported each year in the U.S., these head checks are important!

Fairy Tales Hair Care Nit Picking Comb

Studies have shown that a proactive check for lice and their eggs in “hot spots” can help to minimize a lice outbreak. Lice lay eggs (nits) in warm, moist areas around the head. These include behind ears, nape of the neck and at the part lines. By checking these areas with a metal comb designed to remove nits, parents can stay ahead of an outbreak. Lice expert and founder of Fairy Tales Hair Care Risa Barash, recommends the Fairy Tales Terminator Comb as the stainless steel, micro-grooved teeth are gentle on the scalp and catch the smallest of nits.

To assist parents, Fairy Tales Hair Care, makers of the bestselling Rosemary Repel lice prevention products, shared the following easy tips to prevent the spread of lice. While we don’t really like to think about lice on our little ones’ heads, prevention is the best treatment for this all too common issue. A video tutorial and additional tips on lice prevention and removal using chemical free products such as Rosemary Repel and Lice Good-Bye can be found on www.fairytaleshaircare.com.

Lice Prevention Tips

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as hats, combs and brushes, hair accessories, towels, pillows, and ear buds. If you must share an item, such as an athletic helmet, wipe it down with a wet cloth before use
  • Herbs such as rosemary, citronella and tea tree have been proven to repel head lice; the smell keeps them away
  • Keep long hair pulled up in a braid or pony tail
  • Avoid daily hair washing when possible. Lice attach more easily to clean hair
  • Use hair care products that repel lice naturally with ingredients such as rosemary oil, citronella oil and tea tree oil
  • Store each person’s personal items such as jackets, backpacks, hats and scarves in separate cubbies or a sealed bag

For more information on lice treatment and prevention, please visit www.FairyTalesHairCare.com.