Sunday, July 5, 2015

How the FDA Protects the Consumers' Interests

Do you ever wonder how to interpret food labels?  Did you know that ingredients are listed with the largest content ingredient first?  If you have any questions about food labeling, Angela Gomez contacted me to offer a free e-book entitled FDA food labels:  Requirements in a Nutshell.

The FDA website informs us that “The Food and Drug Administration is the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government.” It has been regulating food production and delivery practices and enforcing food laws for over a century. The agency’s requirements for proper food labeling have been giving food producers a headache because of their complexity, but the consumers definitely benefit from their rigorous standards.

The FDA provides strict guidelines on how to label a food product, so that it includes important information about its contents: the percentage of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, calories, the list of all ingredients, including and clearly identifying any potential allergens, the origin of food or the address of the manufacturer/distributor, etc. Conscientious food producers often include non-mandatory but useful information such as “best before” date, information about whether it’s “washed” or “ready-to-eat”, health claims, recipes, defrosting instructions and other helpful tips.

The FDA is constantly improving their website with news and tips about food safety. Looking after the consumers’ best interests, it is now proposing changes to current food labeling regulations to include more accurate information about the serving size, added sugar, etc. Before that happens, everyone concerned about healthy nutrition and food safety should become better informed about what they are eating, and the best way to start is to find out how to read food labels and read this simple guide to food labeling requirements.

Thank you, Angela  Gomez, for bringing this ebook to my attention and writing this blog post (all except the first paragraph).  Readers can access and download this free ebook at

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ways to De-stress your Summer

A couple weeks ago I read this blog post from the Positivity Blog (Henrik Edberg), I recognized the value of his list. Henrik has over 59,000 (yes 59,000) followers and here’s the reason I look forward to his tips and strategies:  they work.  So if you have five minutes, check out Henrik’s post on 10 ways to decrease your stress this summer.  I think you will find at least a couple suggestions that you can use to make this a great summer for you and your family.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

4 Ways to Handle Stress

The American Heart Association gives us great advice on healthy ways to handle stress:

1.     Self-talk which is positive instead of negative will help us deal with stress.  What do you say to yourself when you are stressed?  Have you ever considered whether you are making yourself feel worse by talking negatively?  For example, instead of saying a negative such as “I hate it when this happens.”  Say something positive to yourself, like, “I’ve dealt with this before.  I can do this today also.“

2.     Emergency practices which decrease your stress such as: “Count to 10 before you speak.  Take three to five deep breaths.  Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you’ll handle it later.  Go for a walk.  Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” if you made a mistake.  Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late, Break down big problems into smaller parts.  For example, answer one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.  Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving. Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.”

3.     Find pleasure.  Add things to your life that give you joy.  Try to add one activity which gives you pleasure every day. 

4.     Relax.  Learn how to meditate, pray, practice yoga and any other activity that you enjoy which gives you time to quiet your mind and relax. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Do you wish for a good night's sleep?

Do you find yourself tossing and turning, frustrated because you are still wide awake?  Many people struggle with sleep issues.  Medical experts recognize that lack of sleep contributes to obesity, diabetes and poor immune system function.
What can a person do to get more sleep?  

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) gives 10 tips to promote healthy sleep
1.     Schedule bedtime, even on weekends to keep your body on a schedule.
2.     Form a bedtime routine which helps you wind down for sleep.  (We personally find watching a favorite TV comedy helps us wind down.)
      3.     Nap early in the day, because afternoon naps may interfere with a good night’s sleep.
4.     Add exercise into your day.
5.     Make your bedroom comfortable.  This NSF recommendation includes a cool (60 to 67 degree temperature) quiet environment.
6.     Consider your mattress and pillows.  Are they comfortable? If they are older than 9-10 years (lifespan of many quality mattresses), you may want to replace them.
7.     Turn down the lights in the evening so your body’s circadian rhythms can wind down to sleep.
8.     Skip the alcohol, cigarettes and heavy meals at night.  Allow yourself 3 hours after a meal before bedtime. 
9.     Slow down the last hour of the evening so your body can relax and prepare for sleep.
10.  When you can’t sleep and your mind is spinning, leave your bedroom and relax until you become sleepy.  Sometimes it’s best to write down/type the thoughts and ideas in your head so you can relax.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tick check

Last spring, hubby and I were working in our flower beds.  After wards we went into the house for showers and a quiet evening. We did our tick check and found a tiny tick on the back side of my right ear lobe.  He wasn’t attached yet but unfortunately he bit me.  It took months for that sore place to heal.  I really hate ticks and now I think of that experience every time I look at my flowers.  The good news is I did not catch any of the 10 diseases (viruses,germs and parasites) that ticks carry.

How can we protect ourselves and loved ones from tick bites?

Ticks live in moist, humid places so grassy places and woods are their habitat.  However, remember that deer and animals can carry ticks into your yard.  Since we treat our yard routinely, I think the deer who often walk through our yard at night left that hungry tick behind to chew on me.   

According to the CDC website, we can protect ourselves by using DEET repellent on our skin and permethrin products which kill ticks on our boots, clothing and camping gear.  (Don’t use permethrin on skin).  For details on how to properly use these products, check out 

Tick Check

After last year’s experience of finding the tick, we will continue this habit.  As you come in, check your clothing for ticks.  Shower as soon as you can.  A shower within 2 hours is recommended as one way to find and wash away any unattached ticks.  Physically look and check for ticks.  If you are doing this tick check on yourself, use a mirror to examine hard-to-see areas.  Body areas that you should check include:  under the arms, between legs, in and around your hair, inside belly button, at the waist, backs of knees –and don’t forget your ears.   

What if you find a tick? 

If you find a tick attached, the CDC recommends, “grasping with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out.” 

Other preventive actions

Treat your yard to create “tick-safe zones”. More information about this topic can be found at 

Discourage deer (My personal opinion is good luck on this one.  When our subdivision was built on original farm land that deer wandered through, that’s probably not going to change.) The suggested actions involve removing plants that deer like to feed on and constructing physical barriers to keep deer out.   

Protect your family pets (which also protects your family) 

If you do get tick bit, watch the wound carefully and seek medical help if a fever or rash develops.  More information can be found at





Sunday, May 24, 2015

Happy Memorial Day (tomorrow)

We recognize that Memorial Day is the day to honor our veterans and active service personnel for their work and sacrifice.  So thank you for your service.  I (We) appreciate what you do.
What’s the history of Memorial Day?  Memorial Day was called Decoration Day when it was first celebrated in 1868.  On that day General John Logan ordered that flowers and decorations be placed on Civil War graves as a remembrance of their sacrifice.  The celebration and remembrance spread across the land.  Eventually the name was changed to Memorial Day.  In 1971 the National Holiday Act placed the day as the last Monday in May and gave us a three day weekend for Memorial Day.

I took this picture of the Statue of Liberty when we visited New York City a few years ago.  Happy Memorial Day. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In the News--Women play dangerous waiting game with heart symptoms

Researchers at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have found that women “deny” and delay seeking medical care for heart symptoms.  Because women deny and delay, they are more likely to suffer more severe heart damage than men.  Why do women deny and delay?  The researchers suggest women allow their focus on their caregiving role in the family.  Women may discount their symptoms thinking heart disease is more a “man’s disease”

·        What are symptoms of a heart attack?  Angina (chest pressure or discomfort, squeezing, tightness in the chest),

·        Angina pain may spread to shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw.

·        Angina pain may feel like bad heart burn. 

·        Feeling short of breath

·        Feeling anxious, feeling dizzy or lightheaded

·        Sweating

·        Feeling sick at your stomach or vomiting
Women may experience any of the above symptoms and also unusual fatigue.
Anyone who experiences these heart symptoms should call 911 and get emergency help.  Ambulance staff have equipment to monitor and support your condition. 
Science Daily, Women Play Dangerous Waiting Game with Heart Symptoms,

Mayo Clinic, Heart Attack Symptoms: Know what’s a medical emergency.