Sunday, July 31, 2011

How To Prevent Portion Distortion

Your mother’s old adage “finish your plate” isn’t the best advice anymore. Whether you eat out (restaurant portions are up 40 percent over the last 30 years) or eat in at home, portion sizes have grown out of proportion, causing many of us to consume extra calories and add unhealthy pounds. Here’s how to prevent portion distortion and help control your weight.

Know your terms. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal. Big or small – the choice is up to you. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces of milk.

Read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Food and Drug Administration puts it there to tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium and other nutrients are in one serving of the product. You may think the 3-ounce bag of chips is one portion, but the label says it contains 3 servings.

Gradually reduce your portions. Try relating one serving size to everyday objects such as these offered by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:
1 cup of cereal = a fist
2 tsp of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball
1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball
1 medium fruit = 1 baseball
3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = 1 deck of cards

Use the “New American Plate” guide. The American Institute for Cancer Research says to look at your plate and aim for meals made of 2/3 (or more) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein.

Repackage products. Buying large-size bags or boxes may save you money, but divide the items into single serving packages when you get home.

Don’t “supersize” at fast-food restaurants. It may sound like a good value but you know you’re eating more than you should. If you go for the larger-sized meal at any restaurant, be sure to share it with a friend or take half of it home for another meal.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Help Your Grad Make Great Financial Choices!

Have This Talk To Avoid Financial Mistakes

Want to get your college (or high school) grad off on the right financial foot? The Better Business Bureau suggests you have a talk about avoiding these common (and expensive) financial mistakes:

• Not being prepared for emergencies. Plan ahead. Stash some cash so you’ll be able to have a least a three-month emergency fund.

• Living off credit cards and making minimum payments. Once you go down this road, you may never catch up.

• Using loan leftovers. If you happen to have some leftover loan money, don’t spend it – use it to pay back what you’ve borrowed.

• Rushing to build credit. While you want to have good credit, you don’t want to do it by opening multiple credit cards accounts. Chances are you’ll lose track of billing and end up in heavy debt.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

4 Ways Google Can Help You

The number #1 search engine may be able to help you in ways you never 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 (Try this’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!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

It Pays to Turn Off the TV!!!

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!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why You Should Always Wash Your Produce

Are the Foods You’re Eating Contaminated by Pesticides?

If you’re concerned about pesticides and your food, there’s some new information that you should know. Some of the most popular fruits and vegetables you eat every day are the most contaminated with pesticides, according to reports conducted by the Environmental Working Group, and Consumers Union. What are they?

Foods that were found with the highest pesticide levels were: Apples, Peaches, Pears, Potatoes, Spinach, Strawberries, Grapes, Cherries, Nectarines, Celery, Bell Peppers, and Raspberries.

The produce with the lowest pesticide levels were: Avocados, Sweet Corn, Broccoli, Bananas, Mangos, Papaya, Sweet Peas, Pineapples, Kiwi, Onions, Cauliflower, and Asparagus.

A 2003 study conducted by Seattle scientists and published in Environmental Health found that school children eating conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables are more likely to exceed EPA safety thresholds for organophosphate pesticides than children eating organic produce.

What can you do? To reduce your exposure to pesticides, always wash your produce, and buy organic whenever possible. What are the advantages of buying organic produce?
Organic foods have been found to contain more nutritional value and more antioxidants than conventionally grown foods, according to University of California, Davis scientists. Organic foods were found to have high levels of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

What’s the difference between organic and conventionally grown foods? Organic foods are grown in safe soil, and have no additives, or irradiated genetically modified organisms. Organic foods must be separated from conventional foods (in storage containers) so there is no contact with chemicals or pesticides. For more information, go to, or

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is Natural and Organic Really What You are Getting?

What Food Manufacturers
Don’t Want You To Know

If a product is advertised as “natural” and “organic,” it’s good for you, right? That’s not necessarily the case. While the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has taken some enforcement actions against companies, food labels still need improving. Don’t be fooled: Here’s what to look for to select the healthiest products for your family.

• “Zero trans fat.” That may be true but it could mean the product is high in saturated fat. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label for the full story.

• “Low calorie” or “Reduced fat.” Compared to what? Chances are the company has a previous, higher calorie version of the product.

• “Made with real fruit.” That may be in the form of a concentrate and the primary ingredient may be sugar. You’re better off eating an apple.

• “Natural.” This word isn’t regulated. To be sure a product is natural, buy from a local farmer or buy food that is certified organic by the USDA.

• Ingredient label tricks. Since ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product, the first three are what you’re primarily eating.
A manufacturer may use various sugars (sucrose, high-fructose corn
syrup, dextrose etc.) in the product so the word “sugar” isn’t listed first.

• Combining healthy ingredients. The actual amount of the healthy ingredients may put them at the end of the list. By combining them into a “blend” or “mix” they can make it to the top.

• “Yeast extract.” It’s a labeling trick to hide monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can cause side effects for people sensitive to this additive.

• Using the word “wheat.” All flour derived from wheat can be called “wheat flour,” even if it’s processed. The key is to look for “whole grain wheat flour” on the ingredient list to make sure you’re eating whole wheat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Help Keep the Road Safe for Everyone!

How To Protect Yourself
And Others On The Road

Could you pass a written driver’s test – today? The results of an online GMAC Insurance survey showed that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers – 38 million Americans – probably wouldn’t! Here’s what you should do to brush up on the Rules of the Road and make yourself safer.

 Take the National Drivers Test. Go to Answer the 20 questions from state exams and study up on the ones you missed. You also can download it to Facebook and challenge your friends.

 Review Local Traffic Laws. Many states post them on a .gov website.

 Avoid these top driving mistakes that cause crashes:
• Multi-tasking while driving. Say “no” to: texting, phone calls and eating!
• Following too closely. Leave 2 seconds between you and the car ahead.
• Failure to yield on a left turn. Check for cars or people in your path.
• Incorrect merging. Merge carefully but don’t stop.
• Backing up. Don’t rely on the mirrors. Look over your shoulder.

 Consider a refresher course. AARP offers an online Driver Safety Course geared to drivers 50 and older. Plus, taking it may qualify you for a car insurance discount.

 Keep your brain sharp by subscribing to a computer driving program. CogniFit sells a Senior Driver program that starts with an assessment of 10 cognitive abilities essential for safe driving, including visual scanning and response time. It’s probably good for everyone!

 Get help from your car. The next time you’re car shopping, look for a model that offers new “smart” technologies such as Distance Control Assist (which applies the brakes when you’re following another car too closely); Blind-Spot Detection (which alerts you about vehicles in your blind spots); and Night Vision Systems (which give you a vision of the road ahead with a infrared beam).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fitness Trends For 2011

Resolve To Follow These
Fitness Trends In 2011

The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked the top fitness trends for 2011 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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's a Great Time to Buy a Bank Owned Fixer!

Q. We’re thinking of buying a fixer-upper as an investment. What’s the best way to find a deal without being taken to the cleaners?

A. Many people make good money buying rundown properties, fixing them up, and reselling them for a profit.

The best strategy for finding a profitable fixer-upper is to find the least desirable house in the most desirable neighborhood. Then, examine whether the cost of fixing up the property to its full market value will yield a significant profit.

You can find a fixer-upper in most communities—even in more affluent neighborhoods. One of the best ways to find a fixer-upper is to ask a real estate agent. Most agents have one or two properties they don’t like to show. You also can look for advertisements with phrases like “handyman’s special,” “needs TLC,” “or earn your down payment.”

The most profitable fixer-uppers will only need minor repairs like inside and outside painting, new carpeting and flooring, new light fixtures, new kitchen cabinets, landscaping, or a thorough cleanup. Look at properties that can be bought at 20-30 percent below what the house will be worth after fixing it.

Avoid homes that have serious flaws like a sinking foundation, structural damage, serious termite infestation, or that need a new roof. Also, avoid fixer-uppers that don’t fit in their neighborhoods, such as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house in a neighborhood of three and four bedroom homes.

To get an idea of the finished market value, look at comparable properties in good condition. To determine the cost of fixing any existing problems, hire a good inspector. A competent inspector can save you from making a bad investment. You can find one through the American Society of Home Inspectors’ website:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CO Detectors can Save a Life

Steer Clear Of This
Invisible Killer!

Do you spend time around gas-burning motors, generators, stoves or heaters? If so, this little article may save your life! CO (or Carbon Monoxide) poisoning is responsible for thousands of deaths per year. And because the gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, many times the inflicted aren’t aware of their exposure. Yet it can kill in seconds. Generally, the initial symptoms of CO poisoning include the feeling of being intoxicated followed by nausea. Here are a few tips for keeping you and your family safe from CO poisoning:
 Buy one or more CO detectors for your home and install them according to product instructions,
 Never spend time around a running gas-burning auto, boat, generator, stove, or heater without adequate ventilation,
 If you feel you’ve been exposed to CO, immediately get into fresh air and seek medical assistance.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Procrastination Can Really Hurt!!

Are You “Stuck In Neutral?”

Are you someone who puts things off until the last minute, or misses deadlines? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Everyone does it sometimes. But procrastination can lead to even more stress. Here are a few tips to help you manage your time and reduce your stress:

• Time Management. Use a schedule planner or notebook to plan your day or week. Use a timer or alarm clock to help you keep on track.
• Break Up Large Tasks. If you know you’re unable to concentrate on a project for three hours, divide your work into one hour blocks for three days.
• Plan To Play. Plan your work and plan your play. If you know you are going out for fun later, you will be able to start your work and concentrate on it now.
• Create Short-Term Deadlines. Many people feel they work better under pressure. But if you always work under pressure, you will increase your stress. Decide to reach some short-term goal before stopping your work for the day.
• Avoid Perfectionism. If you accept nothing less than a perfect performance, you may never get to work on a task because you’re worried that it won’t be perfect. Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Cell Phone Danger!

Is Your Cell Phone Weakening Your Facial Muscles?

There could be more cell phone dangers on the horizon. Researchers in Florida recently studying more than 200 patients with tumors and other related conditions found that while cell phones may not necessary raise the risk of certain tumors, that doesn’t mean they are completely safe.

The intratemporal facial nerve, the one that runs through the middle ear just behind the eardrum, affects facial movement. Researchers noted that when people place cell phones next to their heads, this nerve is exposed to cell phone radiation.

Researchers found that tumors on this nerve can cause facial weakness and disfigurement. While cell phone radiation may not increase the risk of these tumors, cell phones are a relatively new technology.

Most cell phone calls usually only last a short time. But, there’s no way to know what may happen when people talk much longer on cell phones and over a period of many years. Here’s just one more reason to either limit your cell phone use, invest in a headset, or buy a hands-free cell phone for your car!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Birth of the Toothbrush??

Here’s more information than you probably ever wanted to know about your toothbrush. Did you know that dental hygiene dates back to 3000 B.C. when ancient Egyptians would gnaw on “chew sticks” after meals? It’s true. The twigs had frayed ends that helped clean their teeth.

The Chinese invented the first toothbrush in 1498, attaching Siberian wild boar bristles to handles made of bone or bamboo. In 1780, William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, mass-produced the first toothbrush by attaching cow tail hairs to the end of a whittled cow thighbone. Addis' descendants continued to manufacture toothbrushes at a factory in Hertford, England until 1993, long after plastic handles and nylon bristles replaced the cow hairs and bones.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don’t Go Swimming Without Reading This First!

That cool, shady pond or mountain stream might look inviting for a refreshing swim, but it can harbor parasites and bacteria that can make you ill. Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) can affect your skin, eyes, ears, and possibly trigger the deadly brain infection—primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).

Avoidance is the key, but when in doubt take these precautions before making a splash:
1. Stay away from warm and muddy water. The amoeba Naegleria fowleri thrives in water 86 degrees or warmer and at the bottom of fresh lakes, ponds and streams.
2. Wear nose plugs. Many parasites and bacteria will enter your body through your nostrils.
3. Always keep your mouth shut. Avoid swallowing water while swimming.
4. Don’t swim if you have an open wound.
5. Don’t swim or wade in marshy areas. You can pick up an annoying parasite that causes swimmer’s itch – a condition characterized by itching, burning, and rash lasting up to a week.
6. Thoroughly dry your ears to protect against swimmer’s ear – a painful bacterial infection.
7. Avoid ocean beach water after heavy rains. Overflow from storm drains routinely runs into the ocean, carrying sewage, animal waste, and human garbage.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big Smile! Optimists Live Longer Lives!!

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!

Friday, July 1, 2011

How to Make Your Move go Smooth!

Q. We’re planning to move to a new home soon. What steps can we take now to make our move go more smoothly?

A. Moving can be very stressful, but there are ways to help you tackle the task. Here are six quick tips to make your next move go more smoothly:

1. Have a garage sale well before you begin packing. That way you won’t be taking unnecessary items to your new home. (Here’s your chance to unload all the things you don’t want or don’t need any longer. You’ll be glad you did.)
2. Use sturdy, reinforced boxes. Go to a professional moving company to get the right boxes. Your grocer’s boxes just won’t do. Remember to pack your boxes carefully.
3. Use towels, blankets and pillows to separate pictures and fragile items. Pack all your glass items and dishes vertically and with packing materials to prevent any breakage.
4. Label all your boxes. Mark boxes with FRAGILE ITEMS on the outside.
5. Pack one box with essential items: coffee, tea, soap, toiletries, flashlight, plastic ware, snacks, paper towels that you can open when you arrive. Mark this box OPEN ME FIRST...that way you’ll have the essentials when you arrive at your new home.
6. Lastly, work with your moving company. Be sure to have your shipment’s registration number, and let the company know how to reach you at all times.
If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competent and caring representation, please call me at 206-226-0565.