Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Got Burn-Out? Take These Steps

Are you bummed by job burn-out? If quitting your job isn’t an option, take these five steps to improve your situation.

• Identify stress factors and learn how to manage them. Be proactive rather than passive about workplace issues. Know the difference between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” If you have too much work and too little time, talk to your supervisor.

• Reconnect with your core work. Maybe you’ve strayed from what you were originally hired to do. Focus on the work you enjoy doing.

• Take care of yourself. Take time off to recharge your batteries.

• Build new relationships. Make friends with people who might have fresh ideas and perspectives. Do something different – open a Twitter account.

• Plan your next move. Outline what you’d have to do to change careers and start taking action.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How To Shake The Salt Habit

Are you hooked on salt? Most of us are. Adults consume about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day on average and that doesn’t count what you add with the salt shaker! Too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, leading to heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems. Here’s what you need to know and do to shake the habit.

• Your body needs sodium to function, but only about 500 milligrams a day. Table salt is 40 percent sodium so one teaspoon is 2,300 milligrams. Set your salt budget to 1,500 milligrams a day (two-thirds of a teaspoon).

• Seventy-seven percent of the sodium consumed is from processed and restaurant food. Food manufacturers and restaurants are taking steps to reduce the sodium, but while that’s happening, it’s up to you to take control. When eating out, share entrees, order smaller portions and ask for sauces and dressings on the side.

• Cook more at home and shop selectively. Cook with fresh herbs and spices, and rinse the contents of canned foods before you use them.

• Learn some salty language. The term “reduced sodium” only means that the product contains at least 25 percent less than its original version. “Sodium-free” is better – it means less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving. Look for “%DV” (or daily value) for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label. Anything above 20 percent is high. Aim for 5 percent or less.

• Watch out for diet foods. Kraft Free Zesty Italian dressing, for example, has only 15 calories, but 480 milligrams of sodium.

• Focus on eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. These are all high in potassium, magnesium and calcium, minerals needed to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

For more salt strategies, go to the Harvard School of Public Health site at www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt/tasting-success-with-cutting-salt/index.html

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Need Pain Relief? Try This…

If you’re looking to relieve pain – try meditation. People all over the world have recognized the benefits of meditation for thousands of years.
And recent studies show even brief training in meditation can help ease pain.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte researchers found that
students who received a single hour of mindfulness training over three days significantly reduced their awareness and sensitivity to pain. Other studies show that meditation is particularly helpful to people who suffer from chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and migraines. Here’s how you can get started:

 Understand that most types of meditation have four elements in common: 1) a quiet location, 2) a specific and comfortable posture,
3) a focus of attention, and 4) an open attitude.

 Try this 3-minute exercise called A.C.E. recommended by Psychologist Elisha Goldstein, PhD. Do it several times a day:
• Awareness. Spend 60 seconds becoming aware of what is happening right now in your thoughts and emotions.
• Collecting. Spend another 60 seconds collecting your attention on your breathing. Notice where you are breathing most prominently ─ your nose, chest or belly.
• Expanding. Spend another 60 seconds expanding your awareness into your physical body and noticing sensations like tingling, warmth, pain and coolness at specific sites.

 Practice. Dr. Robert Bonakdar from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine says the idea is to relax your body and become aware of your pain without judging it or fixating on it. Instead of running away from pain, come to terms with it. The reduced tension helps ease pain.

Educate yourself. You can buy books and tapes on all kinds of meditation techniques (mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, relaxation response, guided imagery etc.) or seek out information on the internet. Try different techniques to see which one best suits you. If you have chronic pain, you might consider taking formal training

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some Holiday Baggage Tips…

Are you planning to drag your bag through various airports over the holidays? These tips will help ease the pain:

Don’t travel with wrapped gifts in your carry-on or checked luggage.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents may have to unwrap them for inspection. Wrap the gifts when you get to your destination.

If you want to lock your checked bag, buy a TSA-approved lock. You’ll find them at airports and travel stores or look online at sites such as www.safeskieslocks.com or www.travelsentry.org.

Ship your bags ahead of time. On most airlines you have to pay to check them anyway (possibly $120 RT for two bags flying domestically including Canada). A company like www.theluggageclub.com offers door-to-door service that takes the hassle out of flying. Plus, it works for golf bags and skis, too. Before you commit, check out the prices offered by services such as Federal Express, DHL and UPS. It may cost less (but take more shipping time) to go directly to the source.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Should You Get A Flu Shot?

Despite all the publicity and serious worldwide concern about the H1N1 flu virus last year, many U.S. adults chose not to get vaccinated. As flu seasons approaches, here are some points to consider:

• The U.S. Centers For Disease Control reiterates that the flu is a contagious disease that can be life-threatening. They estimated that 60 million Americans contracted the H1N1 virus by March 2010. Some 270,000 were hospitalized and more than 12,000 died.

• The 2010-2011 vaccine will protect against 2009 H1N1 and two other flu viruses (an H3N2 virus and an influenza B). People who got the 2009 H1N1 vaccine (or had that flu) should still get the 2010-2011 vaccine.

• The CDC recommends that all people six months and older be vaccinated each year. Adults only need one shot while some children will need two. A new, higher-dosage vaccine will be available for people 65 and older. Most flu occurs from November through May. You should get the vaccine as soon as it is available in your area.

For flu prevention tips, see www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/index.htm

Monday, November 22, 2010

3 Top Negotiating Tips…

The next time you’re negotiating to buy almost anything, remember these top negotiating tips:

 Empower yourself. You have the right to negotiate. Most sellers are open to giving you a discount if it means keeping you as a customer.

 Do your homework. Ten percent is a good discount (20 is great) for manufactured goods (electronics). With household goods (furniture, appliances) try for another 10 percent. The deepest discounts come on services (hotels, lawn care), where you may get up to 40 percent if you pay cash, bundle services, and/or commit long term.

Ask for something you don’t necessarily want along with the things you do want. If you’re buying a dishwasher, car or TV, ask for an extended warranty, preferred financing or free delivery. When the seller counters, you have something to “give on” to make the seller feel like you’re meeting him/her part way in getting to an agreed upon price

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Would My Home Insurance Cover Replacement Costs?

Q. How do I know if my home is underinsured?

A. The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following:

• It’s a good idea to insure your home for the cost of rebuilding it. Check your homeowners’ policy to see the maximum amount your insurance company would pay if it had to be rebuilt.
• Find out what it would cost to rebuild your home. Your insurance agent can calculate rebuilding costs for you or you can hire an appraiser (call or email me for references). Make sure your insurance agent knows about all improvements you’ve made, such as a deck or larger kitchen.
• Make sure the value of your policy is keeping up with increases in local building costs. Many policies include an inflation guard; if yours doesn’t, consider purchasing one.
• Find out if you have a “replacement cost” policy for your house. If you own an older home, you may have a “modified replacement cost” policy.
• For the contents of your home – find out whether you have “replacement cost” or “actual cash value” insurance.
• Check the limits on certain personal possessions, such as jewelry. Consider buying an “endorsement” to insure valuables separately.

If you have any questions, or need capable and trustworthy representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Avoid International Cellphone Bill Shock

Have you been devastated by a sky-high wireless phone bill after an international trip? It’s easy to rack up a huge bill using your phone in other countries if you don’t do your homework first. Here are tips and options that will help you save money:

 Check with your wireless provider to see if your phone will work where you’re going and what the rates will be. Ask if your carrier offers international data roaming plans or other discount services.

 Buy or rent an inexpensive phone for the country you’ll be visiting.
If you’re a frequent international traveler, consider buying a “world phone” that will work anywhere. See www.worldphones.com.

 If your phone is capable, consider replacing your American SIM card with a country-specific SIM card. You can buy one at your destination airport. Be aware that roaming charges will apply if you travel to a different country so if you’re staying in the second country awhile, you may want to buy another SIM card. Note that your phone will have a different number!

 Sign up for Skype (calling over the internet) to use on your laptop or some smartphones (like iPhone). You can get unlimited Wi-Fi in over 70 countries at a reasonable rate through a service like Boingo Wireless.

 Buy an international calling card at your destination that you can use from a land line. (A good idea if you’ll be on conference calls where call quality is important.) Remember, if you use the calling card from your mobile phone, regular minute charges will apply.

 Be sure to look into the cost of international texting. Talk to your provider or go to www.squidoo.com/international_text_messaging.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

3 Life-Saving Numbers…

Do you know your numbers? You should know and track at least these three to save your life.

Blood pressure. Normal is below 120/80. Some doctors say to aim for 115/76 or less. TV’s Dr. Oz adds that you can lower it by losing just 10 percent of any weight you’ve gained since you were 18.

Cholesterol. Your total should be less than 200. HDL (good cholesterol) should be more than 40 for men and 50 for women. Optimal LDL (lousy cholesterol) is 100 or lower. Triglycerides should be less than 150. To help lower your cholesterol, add these to your diet: soy-based foods, almonds, grains and veggies.

Blood sugar. Fasting blood sugar should be less than 100. One way to help keep yours stable is to switch to whole-wheat pasta. It also contains magnesium, which lowers the risk of diabetes.

Know your numbers, and ask your doctor what you can do to improve them.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gift Cards Just Got Better - NEW Rules are in Effect!!

You may have hesitated to give gift cards last year because of the confusion over fees and expiration dates. Now they’re better to give ─ and receive ─ because new protections went into effect in the U.S. in August. Here’s what you should know:

The gift card must be good for at least five years from the date of purchase. Money added must be good for five more years. If the card expires and there’s unspent money, you can request a replacement card at no cost.

Fees are limited and must be disclosed on the card or its packaging. Note: You can be charged a fee if you haven’t used it for at least a year.

Rules affect store gift cards and cards with a MasterCard, Visa, American Express or Discover logo. Some other types of prepaid cards aren’t included.

New rules don’t apply to cards purchased before August 2010. So if you have some sitting in a drawer, be sure to read the documentation that came with them. Look for fees for “dormancy,” “inactivity” or “maintenance.”

To make the most of a gift card, use it right away. If you aren’t going to use it, give it to a friend or swap it on a web site like www.plasticjungle.com

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Learn How To Organize And Get Things Done

Do you feel like you’re always working to keep up, but don’t really get anything done, especially around holidays? In his best-selling book Getting Things Done, David Allen gives you an effective time management system to help you organize your stuff, your work activities and your personal life.

Allen’s key idea is to start with a “mind sweep” ─ get everything out of your head and down on paper (or other written form). Once your mind is cleared, your productivity goes up and you can focus on creative action. His five basic stages of mastering your personal or professional “workflow” are:

1) Collect. Capture anything and everything that is on your mind.
2) Process. Decide what each thing means. Is it something you should do? Do it now or later? Can you delegate it (and track on a “Waiting For” list)?
3) Organize. Place the items in categories, such as Projects, Calendar, Next Actions and Waiting For, and sub-categories of your choice. (To help you visualize this, he includes a diagram for navigating through the processing and organizing phases of your workflow.)
4) Review. Go over Calendar and Action lists daily and do a weekly customized review to get clean and current.
5) Do. Make choices about your actions based on what you can do, how much time and energy you have and your priorities.

Another one of his most popular methods is the “two minute rule.” If any task can be completed in less than two minutes (for example, a quick email response), do it immediately. Stop putting those little things off.

Allen says Getting Things Done is “just advanced common sense.” But once you learn how to get everything under control, real change begins.

Millions of people around the world have found that his methods work. To order the book, search for “Getting Things Done” at www.amazon.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cashing In On The Gold Rush - $1,400 an Ounce

If you haven’t already taken advantage of the high price of gold, follow these tips to get the most money for your items.

• Learn the lingo and shop around. Pure gold is measured by the troy ounce (just over 31 grams). Dealers often quote price per pennyweight (20 pennyweights equal a troy ounce), which sounds like they are paying more. Visit at least three legitimate gold buyers who are members of the Better Business Bureau, and don’t accept the first offer.

• Stay clear of mail-in companies, which pay significantly less. If you use one, select one that offers free insured shipping you can track online. Remove jewels and photograph the item before you send it in.

• If the piece is an antique or has fine craftsmanship, have it appraised and sell it as jewelry.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Resolve To Follow These Fitness Trends In 2011

The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked the top fitness trends for 2010 based on a worldwide survey of fitness professionals. Make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate these trends in your family’s fitness program this year:

 Educated and experienced fitness professionals. As the fitness market becomes more competitive, consumers are realizing the importance of working with professionals who have been certified through accredited health/fitness educational programs.

 Strength training. This was once the domain of bodybuilders, but it’s now an essential part of a complete physical activity program.

 Children and obesity. This is the year to reverse an alarming trend of rising obesity rates by getting overweight kids involved in exercise.

 Personal training. As more personal trainers are educated and certified, they are becoming more accessible to a greater number of people.

 Core training. This training specifically emphasizes strength and conditioning of the stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back.

 Special programs for older adults. Fitness facilities are offering more exercise programs for active older adults. Get your parents involved now!

 Sport-specific training. High school athletes are now training during the off-season to prepare themselves for their specific sports.

 Pilates. This form of exercise that targets the core of the body has become a mainstay of most fitness facilities. If you haven’t already done so, try it this year to increase your flexibility and posture.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tips to Save Big When You Shop for Groceries

Use These Strategies To Shop Smarter For Groceries

You can read plenty of articles on the internet about how to save money on groceries, but do you really have a grocery shopping strategy? Here are some supermarket tips and secrets that will make you a savvy shopper.

 Approach grocery shopping like a job. You need to have a plan (take a list) and a budget to make the best use of your time and money.

 Stick to a time schedule. Shop for what you need and get out. It is said that if you’re in the store more than 30 minutes, you’ll spend an extra 50 cents to $1 per minute as you walk the aisles.

 Shop alone. Real Simple Magazine says parents will spend 10-40 percent more if they take their kids along. It might be worth it to hire a babysitter!

 Only buy “food” at a grocery store. Generally, you’re better off buying toiletries, cleaning supplies and pet food at a big-box discount store.

 Know the floor plan. Shop the perimeter first for fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and milk. You’ll find some good buys in the center aisles, but you’ll also be tempted by items like frozen convenience foods.

 Don’t assume everything on sale is a bargain. Stores often display “sale” items at the end of the aisles. Manufacturers pay to have their products put there so they aren’t necessarily a good deal.

 Check “price per unit.” Sometimes it’s cheaper per unit to buy two smaller items than it is to buy one supersize package.

 Look high and low. Stores often place higher-priced items at eye level (brands pay for the space). Check prices on the top and bottom shelves.

 Pay attention at checkout. Shoppers lose up to $3 billion a year on scanner mistakes (current sale prices not reflected).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Home Remodeling That Pays

Q. I’d like to do a makeover on my house and make it the look more luxurious, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend. What do you suggest?

A. 1) You can make your home look more luxurious with a fresh coat of paint and a little bit of creativity. Try the new faux treatments and other new painting techniques. Your local home improvement store-brand paint usually runs about $30 per 5 gallons. Give your kitchen cabinets a clean, quick makeover by applying a coat of flat primer. After it dries apply a top coat of semi-gloss latex enamel.
Another trick: add crown molding where the wall meets the ceiling for a elegant style. Kits are available at home improvement stores.

2) Ceramic tile flooring can add luxury to your entryways, kitchens and bathrooms for $2-3 per sq. ft. If you’re handy, you can do the work yourself; otherwise installation is usually $2.50-3.50 per sq. ft.

3) New overhead lighting fixtures can change the look of a room and create a luxurious ambiance. Shop for off brands or contractor packs at home improvement stores that’ll save you money. If you are buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4 New Ways Google Can Help You

The number #1 search engine www.google.com may be able to help you in ways you never imagined...here are just a few:

1. You can enter your airplane’s tail number (in Google search box) to find out the airplane’s maintenance service record before you fly.
2. To find out about yourself (or anyone or anything else), go to www.googlism.com (Try this out...you’ll be amazed!)
3. Need something defined? Enter “define” in the search box, followed by a colon, space, and then what you would like defined.
4. Need a recipe? Enter a key ingredient(s) to get recipes for your next dinner party. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overeating Triggers...And How To Avoid Them!

Why do we overeat? While not all of us struggle with weight (yes, there are a few out there who don’t) most of us do have triggers that can cause us to overeat and consume up to an extra 500 calories per day. Here are a four overeating triggers and tips on how to avoid them:
Emotional Triggers. Stress, frustration, and worry are just a few of the emotions that can trigger overeating. Have a plan to deal with these feelings without food...go for a walk, bike ride, or talk with a friend.
Situational Triggers. Overeating has a pattern. TV is a big food trigger. Focus on what you’re eating without any distractions (don’t watch TV or read while eating). Set a time to stop eating (after 7 p.m.)
Low Energy Triggers. People tend to overeat when they are tired and need an energy boost. Identify your low energy times, and plan to do something else (or have healthy snacks like carrots ready to eat).
Environmental Triggers. Lighting affects how much we eat and when we eat. The brighter the lighting, the less likely you will overeat.
If you’re plagued by overeating triggers, keep these quick tips in mind: take a walk, take a nap, make a phone call, leave the table, do 20 sit-ups, drink two glasses of water, brush your teeth, or check your email!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Latest News On Wrinkle Cures

With age comes wisdom, and with age also comes the dreaded wrinkles. While many of us continue to search for the fountain of youth, there is some new information on the latest therapies that help to remove or diminish wrinkles, and improve our skin as we age.

• Today’s lasers are better at removing spider veins, scars, birth marks, age marks, tattoos, and hair.
• Intense pulsed light therapy delivers multiple wavelengths of light in millisecond intervals. It works by inducing trauma to the skin just as lasers do.
• Light-emitting diode photo-modulation uses a single wavelength, promoting collagen and elastin production in skin. It’s less powerful than a laser, but promotes skin growth without trauma, and there’s no recovery time. You can do it on your lunch hour!
• New skin products like Revitol, Hydroderm, Avotone, and Prescriptive Intensive Rebuilding Moisturizer are now available that improve skin tone, and help diminish wrinkles.
For more information, go to The American Academy of Dermatology’s website at www.aad.org

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Save BIG Turn Off That Cable TV Service

Here’s Another BIG Reason
To Turn Off The TV…

Watching TV may not only be mind-numbing, it can turn you into a couch potato. But here’s another reason to get rid of your TV habit. Consumers are paying high dollars for cable TV and satellite TV. Today, nearly 110 million American homes have at least one TV, and of those 68% receive a cable signal and 22% receive a DBS signal, according to Gary Shapiro, president of Consumer Electronics Assoc.

The average cable TV subscriber pays over $58.51 per month, while the average satellite TV subscriber pays about $57.72 per month, reports J.D. Power and Associates. This adds up to about $700 per year just for watching TV! Imagine what you could do with an extra $700 per year. You can take that money and invest it, and in five years at a 15% return; you’ll be almost $7,000 richer! In 25 years you could have $200,000–or a vacation home! Now, that’s worth thinking about!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Homeowners Insurance Has Eight Levels

Q. We have just purchased our first home. What should we know about homeowner’s insurance before we go shopping for a policy?

A. Getting homeowner’s insurance should be a fairly simple process. Your goal is to get enough coverage to rebuild your house and replace the contents in the event of a total loss of your home. Along with insuring your house, you also need protection in case someone is injured on your property and sues you for maximum damages. Some agents will pull a “quickie” assessment based on your location, the size of your mortgage, and the number of rooms in your home. This can be risky at best, so here is some insider information on how the insurance industry will gauge your homeowner’s policy.

The insurance industry classifies homeowner’s policies on a scale of 1 to 8, tagging them as, for example, “HO-3.” Each level defines a different type of policy, separated by what they cover. Here is a brief list of HO1-8 policies.

HO-1, HO-2 – These basic policies cover from 11 to 17 named perils. Named perils can include fire, lightning, riot, theft, vandalism, falling objects, snow and ice damage, and faulty electrical and heating systems.
HO-3 – This homeowner’s policy is broader and more practical for most people. HO-3 policies protect against all perils except the ones explicitly excluded from the policy. Earthquakes, floods, and nuclear accident are usually excluded.
HO-4 – This level is excellent for renter’s insurance that covers your possessions from 17 named perils, but excludes the structure itself.
HO-6 – If you buy a co-op or condominium residence this level of insurance covers personal property and adequate liability coverage.
HO-8 – If have an antique or landmark-class home, you may not be able to get a guaranteed replacement policy. Companies figure the cost of rebuilding this type of home with the original materials and craftsmanship to be impossibly high. This policy covers against 11 named perils and will repair damage (with no guarantee on materials quality), or pay you the actual cash value of your home.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Create Your Own Cash Safety Net

Even in the most stable of times (great economy, good health, and a steady job) it’s wise to create a cash safety net. Your emergency fund should cover at least six month’s of living expenses. Living expenses include rent or mortgage, debt and car payments, medications, groceries and any other fixed expenses you incur each month. You can get an excellent estimate of your living expenses by keeping a simple budget in a personal finance computer program such as “Quicken” by Intuit.

Your emergency fund should be liquid and immediately accessible. Keep the money in a CD, savings account, or money market account (if you want higher interest). It is not for impulse buying or vacations. You can target the money for emergency car repairs, medical bills, or a short spell of unemployment, but remember to make repayment a top priority.

Look for a bank account with zero maintenance fees. Many banks will eliminate maintenance fees if you maintain a set minimum balance. You can also avoid bank charges by linking a checking account to a savings account or interest-bearing checking account.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can Optimism Make You Healthy?

In a study of first year law students at the University of California at
Los Angeles, psychologists discovered students with positive attitudes and expectations had stronger immune systems and overall good health. Researchers drew blood from “declared optimists” and a control group. They then measured levels of key immune cells at the beginning of the semester. At that time there was no difference, but well into the stress-filled semester the optimists showed significantly higher levels of key immune cell activity than their less-than-positive counterparts. Keep smiling—you’ll live longer!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Banish Headaches with These Amazing Natural Remedies

Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Headache pain is one of the top ten reasons for absenteeism in the workplace and schools. The migraine headache strikes 18 percent of women, 6 percent of men and (surprisingly) 8 percent of children. Migraines are throbbing headaches that affect only one side of the head and can be accompanied by vision complications, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. The duration of a migraine can last from a few hours to a few days.

A variety of foods, the body’s own hormones, and environmental stimuli can trigger migraines. Migraine sufferers should avoid beer, red wine, monosodium glutamate (used liberally in Chinese foods), certain cheeses, yogurt, and smoked fish. Sodium nitrate, found in bacon, cold cuts, and hot dogs is also a known cause. Caffeine and chocolate also may be connected with migraines.

Fluctuations in hormones can cause migraines. It can affect men, but it especially affects women during their monthly cycle – possibly due to fluctuations in estrogen and serotonin levels in the body. Sixty percent of female migraine sufferers have them in relation to their monthly cycle.

People on long-term prescription medications or painkillers like aspirin and acetaminophen can experience a “boomerang” effect when medications are stopped. The body may go into withdrawal, triggering a massive migraine. A magnesium deficiency may also trigger migraines, and has been correlated to the migraine-like symptoms of early fibromyalgia.

Can anything be done for sufferers of migraine headaches? The answer is yes. There are new prescription medications for treatment of migraines, but simpler natural solutions may effectively eliminate or lessen migraine suffering with less cost and side effects. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Watch what you eat. Keep a food diary, and notice the effects of the food listed above. If symptoms appear up to 18 hours after eating, avoid the food.

2. Try the herb “feverfew.” This potent herb reduces the release of serotonin and the production of an inflammatory substance known as prostaglandins. Both of these events in the body are associated with migraines. Taken regularly, it has been shown to prevent future attacks.
3. Take 800 mg. of L-carnitine a day. The amino acid L-carnitine decreases the sensitivity of the body’s nervous system to fluctuating oxygen levels, one of the key migraine triggers.
4. Take a calcium and magnesium supplement daily. These two minerals work in tandem to reduce the duration and severity of migraine attacks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Natural Health Remedies

Minor aches and pains can be an annoyance, but they’re usually not serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor. You can treat most minor health problems yourself: minor cough, heartburn, swimmer’s ear, muscle strain, headache, and sinusitis. Here are six useful home remedies:
• Strained Muscle – Right after the injury, put ice on the injury for 20 minutes; elevate the area. Repeat every few hours.
• Tension Headache – Put a drop of lavender on your index fingers; rub the oil on your temples and the back of your neck.
• Heartburn – Mix ½-teaspoon baking soda and 1-cup warm water, and drink it to relieve the discomfort.
• Swimmer’s Ear – Warm ½ onion in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Hold it close to your ear (but not touching) for one minute.
• Cough – Make hot tea from wild cherry bark, steep. Drink 1 cup.
• Sinusitis – ½-teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 cup of warm water. Gently breathe into your nostrils.
(If any symptoms are unusual, or don’t go away after a few days, or come on suddenly, call your physician.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Safe Is The Bottled Water You Drink?

Don’t be fooled. The bottled water you’re drinking may not be any safer than your tap water. According the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), some bottled water sold in the United States may contain bacteria and/or chemicals. And 30 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. comes from a city or town’s tap water!

The NRDC cited one incidence where a bottled water brand labeled “spring water” actually came from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot. While they reported that most bottled water was safe, about 30 percent of the bottled water they tested contained bacteria, synthetic organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals.

In another recent study, Dutch researchers found 40 percent of the bottled mineral water they tested from 16 countries, (not including the U.S.) showed the presence of bacteria or fungi.

Why should you care? First, people with a weakened immune system (children, the elderly, people with cancer, kidney failure, or AIDS,) may have an increased risk of infection from bacteria. Serious infections can develop from legionella, a bacteria causing Legionnaires disease, pneumonia like illness.

Secondly, bottled water is expensive. A five-year supply of bottled water (8 glasses a day) costs about $1,000. The same amount of tap water costs $1.65.

There are some regulations on bottled water. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires that if water is taken from a municipal source and not treated, the label must say it’s from a municipal source. If, the water is treated (using common technology) there is no requirement to label the municipal source.

The NRDC concluded that bottled water “should not be assumed to be purer or safer than most tap water.”