Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Make Extra Income By Renting Your Home Or A Room

With thousands of hotel rooms available that offer the same amenities, many travelers now prefer a more personal experience – staying with a host by renting a room or an entire house through sites like,, and As a host, you can make significant extra income by renting your space. Here are key questions you should ask if you are considering hosting: • Is it safe? Check with the site you might list with for specifics. AirBnB provides hosts with insurance and “Verified ID,” which means they have verified guests’ information. It’s wise to speak with your guests on the phone before you book the reservation. Plus, guests and hosts are both subject to reviews from other guests/hosts on most sites. • How much can you earn? Hosts who rent out a room make anywhere from $70 per night on AirBnB in a city like Houston, to over $100 in San Francisco. The most profitable locations are places with beaches like Miami and San Diego, mountain towns, or cities with summer festivals. HomeAway reports that homeowners charge an average weekly rate of $1,520 for an entire home. • How much time does it take? Hosts who are more hands-on have higher occupancy rates. Cleanliness, an accurate description and pictures of your property, and developing a relationship with your guests will help you book more often, and get you better reviews. HomeAway says its hosts spend an average of 9 hours per week marketing and managing their properties. • Can I do it in my neighborhood? Understand the laws in your town. Call your local zoning/planning office to make sure it’s legal to rent a room to short-term renters.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Causes and Cures of Pain

From aching joints to general fatigue, sometimes we’re plagued by symptoms, but we don’t know what the medical problem could be at the root of our pain. Here are a few health issues that could be causing your problems, and a few “quick tips” that may help. 1. Backaches – An old mattress can cause back pain, but you may want to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels – a deficiency can cause back and joint pain. A daily supplement can help if that’s the culprit. Weakened vertebrae, muscle fatigue, and back spasms may be eased with daily stretching, yoga, and hot and cold therapy applied via heating pads and ice packs (see your doctor for help with how to use this correctly). 2. Aching joints – Pain sensitivity is particularly acute for women who have gone through menopause. If you eat tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, dairy, and/or gluten, keep a food diary to see if food sensitivity is a culprit of your pain. 3. Lethargy and fatigue – Remaining alert and awake ensures you’re working at your highest levels of productivity. If you’re also suffering from sensitivity to cold and unexplained weight gain, hypothyroidism could be to blame. Of course, poor sleep could be at fault; get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day to increase levels of deep sleep. 4. Foot pain – Though gout affects joints throughout the body, the most common place for this painful condition to occur is the base of the big toe. Pain concentrated in the heel or arch of the foot may result from plantar fasciitis. Ditch the high heels and tight-fitting shoes, and lose excess weight to help decrease pain. Alcohol and stress can increase gout flare-ups. For a more comprehensive list of possible hidden causes and cures of pain, try this online tool:

Monday, May 20, 2019

Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum

Located at Paine Field Paul Allen has focused the collection of important aircraft, tanks, and other military treasures from WWII in two working hangers. In 1998 he began acquiring and preserving vintage aircraft and opened to the public in 2004. This year they break ground on a 3rd hanger adding 30,000 ft. of exhibit space. Open 10:00am to 5:00pm Tue-Sun - $14. Adults –

Friday, May 17, 2019

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).

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Surprise: Coffee Is Good For You

Studies show that black coffee – in moderation (no more than 5 cups a day) – can be good for your health. Here are four benefits you probably haven’t considered: 1. Coffee contains nutrients and antioxidants such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin. These are all things your body needs to function well. 2. It also contains caffeine. Caffeine speeds up your metabolism and aids in fat burning. says it may protect brain cells from damage that contributes to the development of Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Avoid it, however, at least four hours before bedtime, or if you have caffeine sensitivity. 3. Drinking one or two cups per day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular and liver disease, as well as lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 4. Coffee may fight depression and make you happier. But, seriously, try to hold off on the venti white chocolate mocha lattes.

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to Be More Grateful

We would all rather be happy if given the choice. In some cases, our state of happiness can be a conscious choice we make to focus on the positive things in our lives. Learning to be grateful in your daily life is a surprisingly effective way to improve your health and overall happiness. The benefits of being grateful can be huge. Studies show that people who are more grateful sleep better, feel healthier, have higher self-esteem, have more energy, and experience less stress. Staying grateful isn’t always easy, but with all these physical and mental benefits it’s absolutely worth the investment of your time. Here are some easy ways to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Try out a few of them to see which suits you best. • Keep a “gratitude journal” to jot down 1-2 things you’re grateful for daily. • Actively work on cultivating positivity by looking for a bright side to negative situations. • Pay someone an unexpected complement each day. • Talk about 2-3 positive moments from the day during nightly dinner conversation. • Offer a heartfelt – not routine – “thank you” for a mundane task, such as someone holding a door open for you at the store. • Say out loud what you’re grateful for, even if you’re talking to yourself. • Put a picture of your family, or whatever you’re most thankful for, somewhere you’ll see it multiple times a day. • Donate your time to a favorite cause. Monetary donations are great, but donating your time is even more effective at making you feel grateful.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Don’t Be Vitamin D-ficient

Do you get an “F” in vitamin D? Most of us don’t get enough of this nutrient that’s needed by all the tissues in the body. Studies show a vitamin D deficiency can raise your risk of developing cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoarthritis. Here’s how you can raise your grade: The main source of vitamin D is the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, baking in the sun is bad, but a little sun is good. Try 15 minutes of sun exposure on sunscreen-free arms/legs a few times a week. Eat D-rich foods. Fatty fish, eggs and orange juice naturally contain it but many other food items are fortified with it. Read the labels. Ask your doctor for a vitamin D (blood) test. It’s particularly important if you are obese, elderly or have fair or dark skin and purposefully stay out of the sun. You also may be low if you live north of 35 degrees latitude (above Atlanta, GA) in winter, where the sun’s rays are less strong. Take D supplements (with your largest meal of the day). Aim for 1,000 IU a day; 1,200 if you’re over 60. Some people need more than 2,000 a day. Talk to your doctor for specific supplement doses.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Home Soundproofing Tips

From loud electronics and kitchen equipment to noisy neighbors and street sounds, an otherwise serene home can easily become an unpleasant cacophony of disturbances. Keep the peace with a few simple soundproofing tips. • Install interior doors that aren’t hollow. Particleboard-core, composite-core, or solid-wood doors are all better options. • Add sound-dampening throw rugs and fill bookshelves in the most voluminous rooms. • Maintain appliances or invest in quieter ones when it’s time for replacements. • Keep external noise to a minimum by closing the garage door, installing triple-pane glass, and using curtains made from tightly woven fabric. • Add insulation to thin walls and ceilings. • Tighten squeaky floorboards. • Avoid inexpensive or poorly designed speaker systems.