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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.

NeighborhoodTop 5 Neighborhood Weatherization Tips to Conserve Energy and Save Money

The concept of neighborhood weatherization is one that you may not be familiar with, but many energy companies are starting to offer such plans as a way to help families, neighborhoods, and entire communities that they service. The basic idea is to help homeowners understand where energy waste is occurring in the household and then provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to address waste in order to cut energy consumption and lower their utility bills. This is not only good for individual homeowners, but it also aids the community at large by improving the environment. And generally speaking, it only requires that a couple of homes in any given neighborhood schedule energy audits (to pinpoint problem areas) and request that professionals come out to provide lessons in how to weatherize homes. But you don’t even necessarily have to rely on your power company to provide these services when you know the basics of weatherization. Here are just a few helpful hints that could lead to energy conservation and monetary savings.

1. Get an energy audit. Okay, this first step is going to cost you something. Whether your local power company offers neighborhood weatherization or not, you can’t really start addressing the energy waste in your home until you know where it is occurring. A professional auditor will go over your house from top to bottom and deliver a report that spells out where air is coming in and out, such as around door and window frames, near vents and ductwork, and even via outdated or inefficient insulation. Once you know the culprits you can begin to correct the energy issues facing your structure.

2. Add weather stripping. Even if doors and windows are seated properly, wooden frames are bound to shrink and expand over time thanks to temperature, humidity, and other weather conditions. And this could lead to leakage. In fact, these are some of the most common areas for drafts to occur. So add appropriate weather stripping as needed to seal up the leaks.

3. Insulate pipes. The pipes that carry water throughout your home are generally insulated in order to protect the surrounding structure and ensure that heat isn’t lost in transfer. But insulation can deteriorate throughout long years of use. While you might not want to tear out the walls in order to see if this is happening in your home, it’s not a bad idea to replace visible pipe insulation when you see that it needs to be done (and talk to a plumber about the rest).

4. Seal ducts. Ducts that vent to the outside can certainly become loose or unseat completely due to inclement weather conditions or even simple wear and tear. So check them periodically to see if you need to repair them and/or add sealant (duct tape, caulking, spray foam, etc.).

5. Create reusable window inserts. If you don’t want to shell out major money for winter storm windows to replace your summer screens, you can at least add an extra layer of insulation by creating inserts that can be used year after year and easily and cheaply repaired or replaced in the event that they are damaged. If you want to keep your electricity and gas prices low throughout the colder months of the year, all you really need is wood for the frame structure, weather stripping to make sure you get a tight seal in the window frame, and shrink wrap to trap an additional layer of air that will insulate your interior. You can find the best utility rates on sites like http://www.electricityprices.org.uk, as well as tips and tricks to reduce energy consumption, but there’s also a lot you can do on your own. And protecting your home from outside elements through weatherization is a great place to start.

Family Travel Tips for a Healthy End of Summer Vacation

Summer vacation may be coming to an end, but did you know that August is one of the busiest travel months for families? As parents are trying to fit in that last bit of fun before school starts up again, families everywhere will be preparing their carry-on bags and packing the car to hit the road. There’s no telling what adventures await you on your final summer trip, but you have to be careful, as traveling can upset your family’s health regimen and mastered schedule. Fortunately, a little planning ahead can help you fill your head with memories instead of regret!

Exercise Is Important, Even on Vacation

A great secret to staying healthy is exercising on a regular basis; this actually helps to boost your immune system! No time for the gym because your shopping too much? Take the longer route when walking to and from your car to the stores. Hitting the club scene? Dance the night away! Average 30-minutes of dancing can actually burn 150+ calories!

Upping Your Zinc Intake

Zinc Gluconate is clinically proven to short duration of a cold by almost half and if you start feeling symptoms of a cold, taking natural, homeopathic remedies such as Cold-EEZE Cold Remedy, which releases Zinc ions into the throat and upper respiratory system to prevent the cold virus from spreading. They are great to have on a plane, too. Sucking on a lozenge will alleviate the popping of your ears while flying!

Vitamin C – Complex B and Calcium

These vitamins not only strengthen your immune system, but they are easy to get a hold of as well! A glass of milk, orange juice or a quick trip the pharmacy can help you prevent a cold. Did somebody say Mimosa with extra OJ?!

Having Fun

Of course, stressing out before a trip is never any fun. Loosen up, laugh with friends, and dance a lot! Laughter reduces stress and the less stress you have helps your immune system function effectively

Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and avoiding the cold! Getting 8 hours of sleep on regular basis (even on vacation) is important and can help protect your physical and mental health. Staying up late and waking up early doesn’t allow for your body to get the rest it needs to fight off germs.

About the Author

These timely tips were provided by Dr. Jennifer Collins, a New York based Physician specializing in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

ID-100393225 Hot Tips for Glowing Summer Skin

Glowing summer skin starts not from exorbitant department-store creams but from what you eat. That’s right: beauty really does come from within, and even the best dermatologist and cleansers can’t rescue a bad diet’s effects on your skin.

NEW YORK TIMES best-selling celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin, author of THE VIRGIN DIET has five strategies to boost your complexion for younger, healthier skin – no matter what the season, including:

1. Get an Oil Change. Vegetable oils and processed foods are loaded with inflammatory fats that help neither your waistline nor your complexion. Swap them for extra virgin olive oil (drizzling on salads), olive oil (sautéing), and coconut or red palm oil (high-heat cooking). Avocado, olives, and coconut milk also provide good fat for glowing skin. Raw nuts and nut butters make healthy snacks rich in good fat. A study in the Journal of Lipid Research found the omega 3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in fish and fish oil could help prevent skin aging. If you’re not eating wild-caught fish several times each week, supplement with high-quality essential fatty acids formula.

Fresh-Fruit-Bonanza

2. Taste the Rainbow. A variety of fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients and antioxidants that support healthy skin. As you get older, your collagen breaks down, leading to wrinkles. Since your body requires vitamin C to synthesize collagen, you’ll want to get optimal amounts from fruits and vegetables like broccoli and berries. You have probably heard about resveratrol in grapes, blueberries, and yes, red wine. A study in the journal PLoS One found this anti-aging compound could prevent age-related skin disorders.

3. Ditch the Sweets. You know sugar isn’t doing you any favors, and that especially proves true with your skin. Sugar attaches to collagen in a process called glycosylation. Scientists call these sticky proteins advanced glycolated end products, with the appropriate acronym AGEs, since in this case they age your skin. A study in the journal Experimental Gerentology found that skin AGE accumulation contributes to the loss of skin elasticity. Learn to satisfy your sweet tooth with low-glycemic berries and other fruits, sweet potatoes, and vanilla.

4. Protein for Healthy Collagen. High-quality protein like wild salmon and grass-fed beef offer optimal amounts of collagen-building amino acids like lysine and proline. Animal protein also contains zinc. A study in the International Journal of Dermatology found this mineral provides excellent antioxidant protection for healthy skin. I start every morning with a protein shake that combines plant-based (but not soy) protein powder, unsweetened coconut milk, berries, kale, and flax or chia seeds. Talk about a fast, filling, fat-burning breakfast that’s also fabulous for your skin!

5. Hydrate. Once you realize you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, which takes its toll on your skin. Always keep a canteen with purified water nearby to quench your thirst and hydrate your cells so nutrients stay in and toxins get out. Proper hydration means you sweat more efficiently to keep your skin glowing and looking fabulous. A study in the journal Wound Repair and Regeneration showed that about two cups of water every day improved blood glow to your skin. Drink half your body weight in water ounces, starting with a big glass first thing in the morning. The only time you should not drink is during meals, when too much liquid can dilute stomach enzymes that break down protein.

About the Author

JJ VIRGIN, cns, chfs, is one of the nation’s foremost nutrition and fitness experts. A 25-year veteran of the health and fitness industry, she has coached high-performance athletes, CEOs and A-list celebrities. She frequently offers health advice for national television, radio, and print media, including NBC’s Today, Access Hollywood and The Doctors, among others. She spent two years as the nutrition expert on Dr. Phil and most recently was the co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Visit her at www.TheVirginDiet.com.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Baby Girl5 Tips to Help You Go Green With Your Newborn

Like your parents, grandparents, and countless generations that have gone before, you are probably wondering if now is a good time to bring a child into the world. Our grandparents had to contend with the effects of WWII and the atomic bomb, while our parents were the first generation to openly question the direction that our government was steering our country thanks to the horrors of the Vietnam War. These days we’ve got internet predators, international terrorist organizations, and global warming to contend with. And each generation thinks they’ve got it worse than the one before. But humanity prevails, one way or another, so eventually you’re probably going to move ahead with your plans to start a family. While there’s little you can do about the societal integration of the internet, since it will no doubt be a major part of your child’s life, and terrorists are beyond your scope of influence, you can assuage at least one concern by adopting greener lifestyle practices that will help to create a brighter future for the planet and your child. Here are a few tips to help you go green on behalf of your baby.

  1. BPA-free bottles. This toxin is present in many modern plastics, including some bottles. So if you plan to bottle-feed your infant at all, either with formula or expressed breast milk, make sure that you get BPA-free baby bottles. You can stop your child from ingesting this known carcinogen by simply reading labels and choosing products that are made specifically without BPA.
  2. No-VOC paint. Most people know that it’s bad to breathe in paint fumes, which is why you air out a freshly-painted room until the smell is gone. What you might not know is that the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in most paint products can hang around, polluting your interior air, for years to come. And while the levels are low, these toxins have been linked to issues as diverse as headache, nausea, neurological disorders, and cancer. So your best bet is to avoid them completely by selecting paint options that contain low or no VOCs when you paint the nursery and other areas of your home.
  3. Organic linens. There are dozens of chemicals used in the production of clothing, mattresses, sheets, towels, curtains, and literally any textile you might bring into your home. Since babies are more sensitive to these substances, exposure could lead to rashes, allergies, and even asthma. So consider outfitting your nursery with all-organic textiles to prevent such issues. You can even find organic carpeting for baby to crawl on!
  4. Green cleaners. Natural cleaning solvents may not pack the same punch as the chemical variety, but with ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, and baking soda you can be fairly certain that they’re not going to harm your curious tot. As a bonus, you can make your own concoctions with items commonly found in the home to save on money and manufacturing. Simply look online for a wide variety of easy recipes.
  5. Organic food. Many expectant mothers are torn on issues concerning pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing, such as whether or not to exercise during pregnancy or donate cord blood to a New York or California cryobank. And the decision to switch to organic foods is a big one many moms-to-be. But you should know that organic produce lacks the pesticides and fertilizers found in your average fare, while organic animal products come without hormones and antibiotics. Since the foods you consume get passed along to your fetus and later your infant, it’s definitely something you’ll want to consider.

 

Dad & DaughterAny Dude Can Father a Child but it Takes a Real Man to be a Dad  

Yesterday may have presented a dad disengaged from parenting or bumbling at best, but noted parent educator, Annie Fox, says today’s New Dad is happily engaged in the process and essential in the emotional development of his children.
 
“The number one objective is to raise a young adult who’s got a strong sense of self and cares about the needs of others. That’s the end game,” says Annie Fox, M.Ed. “Today’s New Dad provides counterpoint to the helicopter and Velcro parenting we’ve seen in recent years.”
 
With an international following, and blending wit and wisdom into speaking engagements, Facebook posts, tweets, books and her blog, Ms. Fox offers a few parenting tips this year for Dads:

Model respect and empathy starting with mom – married or divorced – when parents show mutual respect children learn to treat other people with kindness. 

Get silly and play – unstructured fun when kids take the lead and it’s ok to get messy, empowers children and fosters positive family connections.

Show your squishy side – Macho men need not apply, showing vulnerability helps children, especially boys, understand that feelings are a cool part of being human.
 
A dad’s role begins at birth and research from University of Oxford found that infants whose fathers were strongly engaged with them at three months old had fewer behavioral problems at one year.
 
“More dads are stepping up with greater confidence in their unique and essential role in helping kids become young people of good character,” says Annie.
 
Her most recent book, Teaching Kids to be Good People, is the latest addition to a collection of apps and books available for both parents and children. To read her Father’s Day blog click here.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Fresh-Fruit-BonanzaGluten-Free Meal Planning Tips

A gluten-free diet doesn’t have to mean resorting to expensive, specialty gluten-free products. Build meals around naturally gluten-free foods for a healthy gluten-free diet fit for your whole family.

Follow the MyPlate guidelines for a generally healthy diet:

• Start by filling half the plate with fruits and vegetables.
• Fresh fruits and vegetables are all naturally gluten-free.
• Canned and frozen plain vegetables are gluten-free, but avoid those with sauces and breading.
• Check labels of dried fruits, which may have added flour.
• Fill one-quarter of the plate with lean meat and beans.
• Choose fresh lean beef, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, plain nuts, and dry and canned beans, which are all naturally gluten-free protein sources.
• Read labels carefully when selecting self-basting poultry, cold cuts, processed meats, and hot dogs, which may contain gluten.
• Fill one-quarter of the plate with whole grains.
• There are many gluten-free options appropriate for the whole family, including corn tortillas, grits, cornmeal, brown rice, puffed rice cereal, oats, and gluten-free flours, such as almond meal and rice flour.
• Fill in the gaps with gluten-free specialty products, including breads, crackers, cookies, baking mixes, cereal, and pasta.
•  Add a serving of low-fat dairy.
•  Choose low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream.
•  Avoid malted milk, and check the labels carefully on flavored milk and yogurt, cheese sauces and spreads – the additives in these products may contain gluten.

Many of the meals your family already enjoys may be gluten-free, and most meals can become gluten-free with just a few simple substitutions.

Does your family enjoy tacos regularly? Substitute corn tortillas in place of flour tortillas to make this meal gluten-free. Spaghetti night? Prepare homemade sauce and try spaghetti squash for a vitamin-packed pasta alternative. Lunchtime a problem? Make wraps using corn tortillas; sandwiches with rice cakes, cornbread, or gluten-free bread; or salads packed with vegetables, low-fat cheese, and rice or quinoa.

The eMeals Gluten-Free meal plan makes it simple to prepare gluten-free dinners utilizing basic, easy-to-find ingredients. eMeals provides seven mainstream dinner recipes and a shopping list every week, making it easy to shop for and prepare flavorful meals the whole family will enjoy.  Download a free sample plan and see how eMeals can help you simplify gluten-free meal planning.