Archive | April, 2015

Farmer’s Market Safety

25 Apr


Getting locally grown fresh foods at the farmer’s market is a great choice as long as you know how to ensure that the farm-fresh food is safe for you and your family to eat.

In order to be a safe farmer’s market consumer, follow these guidelines:


  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water prior to preparing.
  • Before and after preparing your fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
  • Refrigerate cut or peeled produce within 2 hours after preparation.
  • Even if you plan to peel your produce before eating, it still must be washed.

Eggs and Dairy:

  • Unless you can confirm that milk has been pasteurized, do not purchase it, in order to avoid dangerous microorganisms like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.
  • Unless you can confirm that any soft cheese you are interested in is made from pasteurized milk, do not purchase it to avoid illnesses like Listeria.
  • Before buying eggs, open the carton to ensure that the eggs are clean and intact.
  • Make sure that eggs are properly chilled at 45 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Bring an insulated bag or cooler with you to keep meat cool on the way home from the market.
  • Keep your meat separate from other fresh items to avoid cross contamination.
  • Be sure the meat you are purchasing is properly chilled in closed coolers.


  • Be sure that any beverage you are purchasing has been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.

Hot foods:

  • Be sure that any prepared hot foods you are buying have vendors using a thermometer for them.


  • Do not sample something that is not kept with a barrier like a glove, tongs, tissues, or utensils — between hands and food.

Ask questions of your vendors about things you are interested in buying and stay aware of the hygiene of the vendors you are purchasing from. The farmer’s market is wonderful place to gather ingredients as long as you know how to pick and prepare everything properly. Enjoy!

Spring Allergies

18 Apr


An allergy is a reaction by your immune system to something that does not bother most other people. People who have allergies often are sensitive to more than one thing. Substances that often cause reactions are

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Food
  • Insect stings
  • Medicines

Normally, your immune system fights germs. It is your body’s defense system. In most allergic reactions, however, it is responding to a false alarm. Genes and the environment probably both play a role.

Allergies can cause a variety of symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling, or asthma. Allergies can range from minor to severe. Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction that can be life-threatening. Doctors use skin and blood tests to diagnose allergies. Treatments include medicines, allergy shots, and avoiding the substances that cause the reactions.


Article Published by MedlinePlus

Indoor Air Pollution

12 Apr


We usually think of air pollution as being outdoors, but the air in your house or office could also be polluted. Sources of indoor pollution include

  • Mold and pollen
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Household products and pesticides
  • Gases such as radon and carbon monoxide
  • Materials used in the building such as asbestos, formaldehyde andlead

Sometimes a group of people have symptoms that seem to be linked to time spent in a certain building. There may be a specific cause, such as Legionnaire’s disease. Sometimes the cause of the illness cannot be found. This is known as sick building syndrome.

Usually indoor air quality problems only cause discomfort. Most people feel better as soon as they remove the source of the pollution. However, some pollutants can cause diseases that show up much later, such as respiratory diseases or cancer.

Making sure that your building is well-ventilated and getting rid of pollutants can improve the quality of your indoor air.

Article Published by MedlinePlus a service of The Environmental Protection Agency

Spring Cleaning Has Sprung… In Your Kitchen

11 Apr


Winter has finally passed, we can come out of hibernation now!

Winter foods, so comforting – right?!  Well, time to put them away (for good!).  Spring has sprung and so has making healthier food choices! Just like you spring clean your house, you can spring clean your kitchen too! Staying on the health track is easier when unhealthy, tempting foods are not readily available at your fingertips.

Start by removing the unhealthy items: processed snacks, fatty meats (bologna, ham, salami, liver sausage..) sugary desserts (cookies, candy, pastries, pies, donuts, ice cream), sugary drinks (soda, lemonades, pre-made teas, sports drinks), and refined carbohydrates (anything white and processed-including sugary cereals).

Next, make a powerful grocery list! I know many are concerned with the cost of revamping their kitchen cabinets, but once the staples are purchased, weekly up-keep is easy and affordable.

Healthy pantry staples include: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Honey, Beans, Quinoa/Couscous, Eggs, Oats, Sea Salt, Sodium Free Seasonings, Tea, Mustard

These foods should always be available or on your grocery list:

Fresh fruits and vegetables- variety of color for variety of nutrients. Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Grapefruit, Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Spinach, Cucumbers, Carrots, etc.

High Fiber Foods- Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Breads, Flax breads, Brown Rice, Quinoa, Whole Grain Pastas, Oatmeal. Fiber helps with the full feeling so a little goes a long way!

Lean proteins – Eggs, Chicken, Turkey, and Lean (90/10 the lowest) Ground Beef, Fish, Low Fat/Non Fat Plain Greek Yogurt, Light Cheeses, and Skim Milk.

Sweets- First and foremost- Chocolate- the darker the better. If you have a weak sweet tooth, it’s best to keep ONE package/item on hand for when the cravings hit.  Deprivation leads to over indulgence, so if it’s available, and limited, you’ll be able to satisfy but control. No options.

Spices – Trade in your salt and butter for non-sodium seasonings, spices, cooking spray, and olive oil. Incorporating just a pinch into your cooking will drastically change the meal.

Liquids – Tea, Sugar Free Lemonade Mixes, Water. Leave calorie laden sugar drinks behind (one less pop a day = 16 less pounds/year!). Limit Diet Soda intake as well. Need options? Buy tea bags and brew homemade tea or sugar free lemonade mixes.

Finally, Snack Smart – Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Brazil Nuts), homemade whole wheat pita chips, hummus, veggies and fruits are all smart alternatives to high carb, high fat chips, pretzels, crackers, etc..

Starting now before the weather warms up will help prepare you for the hot Summer days! It will also build more habit to make healthy eating easier into the Winter months.

By Valerie Bannos, DTR, ACE Certified Health Coach


Your April Challenge: Spring Clean Your Health

4 Apr



After a long, cold, record-breaking winter, HAWA wants to help you get ready for spring, by spring cleaning your health! Spring cleaning is a healthy task that de-stresses, de-clutters and gets you and your family organized and ready for the fun & warm months ahead!

First step to spring cleaning is de-cluttering!

Clutter and uncleanliness around the house can be mentally exhausting which is why cleaning clutter is the first step and sometimes the hardest part of spring cleaning. Emotional attachment sometimes makes it hard to get rid of things we have memories with. Before you start navigating through your house, come up with a game plan that even your kids can stick with!

Buy colored stickers, and go through the house tagging things, red: trash, green: keep in the house, yellow: put in storage, orange: donate, blue: garage sale.

Spring Cleaning Overview:

  •  Prepare for allergy season:
    • Dust your ceiling fans, wash your drapes, vacuum your mattress, wash your rugs, reseal grout lines, vacuum and wipe down your walls, clean upholstered furniture, dust every surface.
  •  Organize your medicine cabinet and safely dispose any expired medicines
    • Many pharmacies and clinics offer a medication take-back service for free.
  •  Ditch all of your old toxic trash that has been sitting around for years:
    • Paint cans, stains, poisons, batteries etc. Call your city for the nearest location where you can drop off toxic trash.
  •  Spruce up your garden:
    • Gardening can be a great workout and a stress reliever that also increases the value of your home and impresses your neighbors.
  •  De-clutter your paper products:
    • Donate any old books and recycle all of your old mail, magazines, unneeded directions, instructions etc.
  •  Organize your inbox and unsubscribe from store emails:
    • You may have saved 15% on your purchase at the time by giving the store your email address but now they are temping you every day of the week with new products and sales.
  •  Replace your old workout shoes/workout clothes:
    • An active athlete should replace their running shoes every 4 months. New workout clothes will give you more motivation to work out!
  •  Ladies, throw away any old makeup and clean your brushes
    • Most makeup has a shelf life of one year.
  •  Visit your local famers markets:
    • Spring is a great time to start eating healthy and supporting your local farmers!
  •  Clean out your pantry:
    • Throw away any expired foods! Healthy Tip: If you buy healthy foods you eat healthy foods.
  •  Make your own non-toxic household cleaners and detergents:
    • Save money and protect your house from unnecessary toxins. Visit HAWA’s Pinterest page “spring cleaning” for easy recipes!.
  •  Change the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

For additional spring cleaning tips, room by room checklists and recipes visit HAWA’s “Spring Cleaning” board on our Pinterest page (