Archive | March, 2015

Animal Diseases and Your Health

28 Mar

pet_family_familyroom

Animal diseases that people can catch are called zoonoses. Many diseases affecting humans can be traced to animals or animal products. You can get a disease directly from an animal, or indirectly, through the environment.

Farm animals can carry diseases. If you touch them or things they have touched, like fencing or buckets, wash your hands thoroughly. Adults should make sure children who visit farms or petting zoos wash up as well.

Though they may be cute and cuddly, wild animals may carry germs, viruses, and parasites. Deer and deer mice carry ticks that cause Lyme disease. Some wild animals may carry rabies. Enjoy wildlife from a distance.

Pets can also make you sick. Reptiles pose a particular risk. Turtles, snakes and iguanas can transmit Salmonella bacteria to their owners. You can get rabies from an infected dog or toxoplasmosis from handling kitty litter of an infected cat. The chance that your dog or cat will make you sick is small. You can reduce the risk by practicing good hygiene, keeping pet areas clean and keeping your pets’ shots up-to-date.

Article published by MedlinePlus a service of U.S. National Library of Medicine

Homemade Healthy Dog Treats For Your Furry Friends

21 Mar

dog treats

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3.5 oz container sweet potato or apple baby food
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp flour (you could substitute for gluten free flour if your dog has an allergy)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the baby food, flour, rolled oats and honey together.
  4. Dump mixture on a lightly floured working surface and knead dough together.
  5. Roll dough to a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2-inch.
  6. Use a fun cookie cutter to punch different shapes.  If you are using two different cookie cutters, make sure the sizes are about the same, to ensure even baking.
  7. Place cutouts on prepared baking sheet.  Lightly brush the tops of cutouts with beaten egg wash.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on size) until treats are crisp and golden in color.
  9. Let treats cool before feeding your dog.
  10. For extended shelf-life, store treats in the fridge.

 

*Always make sure your dog doesn’t have any allergies to new foods you incorporate into his/her diet.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

17 Mar

smoothie_greens_fruits_vegtables_juicing

Make sure you get your greens today!

  • Kale:
    • Just 33 calories in a cup of raw kale
    • Nearly 3 grams of protein
    • 5 grams of fiber to help manage blood sugar & make you feel full
    • Contains vitamins A, C, K
    • Folate, a B vitamin that is key for brain development
    • Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid
  • Collards:
    • Detox
    • Filled with antioxidants
    • Excellent source of vitamin C, A, Manganese, & Vitamin E
    • Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids work together as anti-inflammatory nutrients
    • Support the cardiovascular system
    • Lower cholesterol
    • Over 7 grams of fiber in every cup helps support digestion
  • Turnip greens:
    • Only 32 calories per 100g
    • Excellent source of B-carotene, lutein, & zea-xanthin
      • Zea-xanthin provides antioxidant & light-filtering functions in the eyes
    • Vitamin A, K, C, B-complex groups like folate & vitamin B-6
    • Potassium helps control heart rate & blood pressure by countering effects of sodium
    • Iron for cellular oxidation and red blood cell formation
    • Believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases & possibly colon cancers
  • Spinach:
    • Rich in antioxidants
    • Excellent source of vitamins A, B2, C, & K
    • Contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium, & potassium
  • Broccoli:
    • Prevents osteoarthritis
    • Protects skin against the effects of UV light by applying directly to the skin
    • Reverses heart diabetes & heart damage by promoting the production of enzymes
    • Reduces cancer risk
    • Detoxifies air pollutants in the body
  • Red and Green Leaf and Romaine Lettuce:
    • Only 17 calories per serving
    • High water content helps you feel full quicker
    • Fiber content aids in cleaning digestive tract
    • Excellent source of vitamins C & K
    • Strengthens muscles with potassium
  • Cabbage:
    • Only 33 calories per cup
    • Low in fat
    • High amount of fiber to aid in digestion
    • Excellent source of vitamin K, C
    • High in sulfur, the beautifying mineral
    • Detoxifies the body
    • High potassium keeps blood pressure from becoming elevated
    • Contains cancer preventative compounds
    • Relieves the pain of a headache
    • Reduces hangovers
    • Betalains work as anti-inflammatory properties and blood sugar regulators

Give this simple green smoothie a try!

In a blender, add:

2 cups of leafy greens

Ideas: Spinach, Kale, Romaine, Bok Choy, Swiss Chard, or Collards

2 cups of liquid base

Ideas: Water, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, or Almond Milk

3 cups of ripe fruit (One of them frozen to chill your smoothie)

Ideas: Banana, Mango, Berries, Orange, Avocado, Peach, Pear, Apple, Pineapple, or Grapes

DIRECTIONS

1. Blend leafy greens & liquid base together first.

2. Add fruits and blend again.

3. Enjoy!

Use this great recipe to help your kids get their greens too… Without them even knowing!

Hidden Broccoli Chicken Nuggets

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (or panko)

1/2 cup flax seed meal

1 tablespoon grafted parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 cup broccoli or 1 cup spinach or 1 cup sweet potatoes or 1 cup beet, puree

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 lb. chicken tenders, rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

nonstick cooking spray

1 tablespoon olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder on the paper or foil and mix well with your fingers.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg with a fork and set the bowl next to the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken chunks with the salt. Dip the chunks into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.
  4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil.
  5. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut through a piece to check that it’s cooked through.) Serve warm.
  7. Enjoy!

Benefits of Children Interacting with Their Pets

14 Mar

Having a pet can help children develop many skills. Aside from simply being loving creatures that act as friends, pets have an abundance of benefits for nurturing kids.

Pets and Kids

Children:

  • Have less risk of allergies and asthma
  • Can also develop responsibility, compassion, and empathy
  • Learn values of nurturing through pet-care chores of pouring food, fetching water, etc.
  • Stimulate their brain, body, and imagination by playing with pets
  • Develop the importance of perseverance through pet training
  • Reluctant readers can become more self-confident by reading to a pet that is not judgmental

Pets:

  • Boost self-esteem
  • Aren’t critical and their presence can help provide a sense of security in children
  • Can also help calm hyperactive or overly aggressive kids
  • Just like people, need food, shelter, exercise, and love

Get Walking With Furry Friends

7 Mar

Get Walking

It may sound silly, but dogs can provide so many health benefits to us by simply being themselves. Grab your neighbors and as many dog walkers you can find on your block and get into a routine that is good for everyone- dogs included!

What are the health benefits of walking a dog?

Dog walkers ease depression symptoms, stress, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety by:

  • Increasing exercise
    • Studies show that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners
  • Providing companionship
    • Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted
  • Helping to meet new people
    • Dog owners frequently stop and talk to neighbors on walks or at dog parks
  • Adding structure and routine to your day
    • Dogs require a regular feeding and exercise schedule, keeping owners accountable
  • Providing sensory stress relief
    • Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress, which can come from petting or walking your dog

How do your furry friends benefit from exercising with you?

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and illness
    • Exercising daily keeps your pup’s heart healthy
  • Eliminate digestive problems
    • Active dogs digest their food properly
  • Lessen susceptibility to urine infections
    • When dogs walk they stimulate urination, which helps eliminate harmful bacteria
  • Lengthened life
    • Active dogs are less susceptible to depression (just like humans) and will therefore live longer
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Exercise prevents obesity for dogs just like for humans

No dog? No problem?

Chances are you have a dog on your block and you can get moving with them or spend time walking around your nearby dog park. Whether you are walking your neighbor’s dog, or even volunteering at a dog shelter, spending time with these loving creatures will provide you with the same healthy benefits!

How to Unwind After a Long Work Day

1 Mar

sleep

When you get home from the office and your mind has been racing all day about a million things, it is important to get a good night of sleep in order to be ready to do it all over again tomorrow. Here are a few suggestions to get the best night of sleep possible.

  1. Set a regular bedtime and keep it as consistent as possible

Set a bedtime and stick to it.

  1. Turn off your television and computer

Turn off all of your electronics 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Screens stimulate your mind, making it hard to fall asleep.

  1. Read a book

Reading allows you to relax and unwind.

  1. Make sure your bedroom is dark

When it’s time to go to bed, make sure your room is dark. Make sure your blinds are closed, or simply sleep with a mask over your eyes.

  1. Keep your room cool but not too cool

Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold will interfere with the quality of your sleep.

  1. Avoid big meals at night

Our bodies cannot properly process food while laying down. Eating too close to bedtime will leave your stomach upset.

  1. Avoid alcohol before bed

Alcohol reduces the quality of your sleep by affecting the REM phase, which is the most restful phase of the sleep cycle.

  1. Cut down on caffeine throughout the day

Caffeine has a half-life up to eight hours meaning that if you have any coffee at 6pm, you could have it in your body until 2am, keeping you up late.

  1. Avoid drinking too many liquids in the evening

Drinking too many fluids will result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.

  1. Breathe deeply and relax your muscles

Get your body ready for it’s deepest relaxation of the day. Check out HAWA’s bedtime breathing technique.

 

Bedtime Breathing Technique:

“Equal Breathing”

  • Through the nose:
  • Inhale for a count of 4
  • Exhale for a count of 4

Benefits:

  • Calms the nervous system
  • Increases focus
  • Reduces stress
  • Take your mind off racing thoughts and distractions

 

March Challenge: Pet Health

1 Mar

Running Dog

We are dedicating this month’s newsletter to our furry friends! There are many health benefits to having a pet in the house, which can boost our immunity and improve our daily fitness routines. Dogs like to stay active and are routine focused, so if you start running/walking with them every morning they will hold you accountable to go for your daily run/walk even when you do not feel like it!

Pet Health Challenges:

  • Use your pet as a motivational tool to reach your fitness goals
  • Get up and active by walking/running with your dog every day
  • 
Create a daily routine, and your pet will help you stick to it
  • You brush your teeth every day; so don’t forget to brush your pet’s teeth
  • Be more aware of what you are feeding your pet: try making your own dog food or treats so you know what is going into their food
  • Teach your child about responsibilities by giving them daily or weekly tasks like walking the dog, feeding your cat or cleaning the fish tank
  • Do not let a day go by without petting and showing love and appreciation for your wonderful pet
  • Discover new running/walking paths

Bonus Challenges:

  • Take a new class at your local gym
  • Start your day by stretching for 5 minutes before getting out of bed
  • Think of 3 positive reflections over your day before hitting the hay at night
  • Try and plan 7 days of healthy meals for you and your family
  • Visit our Pinterest page and try a new workout from one of our various workout (boards https://www.pinterest.com/HealthAsWeAge/)