November 28, 2015 signature

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October 16, 2015 signature

ASK OUR 30 SECOND QUIZ:

When passing the organic produce section in your grocery store, you:

A. March over with a purpose, filling your basket with certified organic pears, bananas, kale, carrots, everything.

B. Eye the section with guilt as you opt for regular old bananas at 69 cents a pound, thinking maybe you’d switch if you were to get pregnant.

C. Walk over to squeeze the tomatoes, but don’t feel convinced that scientific research has proved they’re worth the price.

D. None of the above you haven’t walked through a produce section since they invented frozen pizza.

Even if you answered D, you’ve probably heard the buzz about organic food and seen the label popping up on everything from produce to that pizza. But most people still have doubts. As a physician, I’m constantly askedby patients, friends, even professionals at conferences”Is it really important to eat organic?” I always say yes, primarily because eating organic is simply healthier. Studies show that organic fruits and vegetables can have an average of 25 percent more nutrients than conventional produce. And eating organic meat limits your exposure to synthetic hormones that may pose risks to women in their childbearing years.

Of course, organic foods may not always be available or affordable; some cost an estimated 10 to 40 percent morea steep price hike, especially in this economy. So how can you determine which are the most important foods to buy “green”? To answer that, I looked at the foods women eat most, then considered which ones are the worst offenders when grown or raised according to mainstream methods. Eating these five things organic will go a long way toward protecting your body, and will also make for fewer toxic chemicals in our air and waterand a generally healthier planet.

1. Dairy

Organic dairy can have a big impact on your health and the environment, but the truth is young women don’t drink a lot of milk. They do, however, still reach for yogurt. Like all organic dairy, organic yogurts are made without the use of hormones and antibiotics two of the things women tell me they worry about most and can have higher levels of omega 3s, the heart healthy fats we Americans don’t get enough of, as well as beta carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention. I like varieties such as Horizon Organic and Stonyfield Farm, but any dairy product with the USDA Organic seal is probably a good choice. A food can’t carry the seal unless it’s made without toxic chemicals, antibiotics or synthetic hormones, and contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients. (“Hormone free” dairy products are better than their conventional counterparts, but they may not have as many omega 3s as organics.)

Organic dairy can also be much less damaging to the environment. We’ve already started to see how, as millions of people have switched, farming practices have improved in a way that will help reduce greenhouse gases. That’s a good prescription for your health and the planet.

2. Lettuce

Conventional lettuceespecially imported salad greenshas some of the highest levels of pesticides in any food, according to data from the USDA. But that’s not the only reason it’s near the top of my list of organic foods for women. It’s number two because women also tend to eat salads far more often than men do, which means that pound for pound, you’re exposed to higher amounts of these chemicals.

Start your salad with an organic bed of greens, and if there’s another veggie you always throw inwhether that’s cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, or imported broccoli and carrots (all high in pesticides that the Environmental Protection Agency considers toxic)make that organic too. Washing produce is always a good idea, but don’t believe that necessarily eliminates all the possible health risks of pesticides; pesticide levels are measured after produce is scrubbed.

The health benefits here bear repeating: You’ll get as much as 25 percent more antioxidants compared with conventional producethat’s like an extra serving of fruits and vegetables every day, a boost that we know could lower the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

3. Apples

Apples are the second most commonly eaten fruit (after bananas), and rank high on the toxic pesticide list. What’s more, conventional varietieseven after they’ve been peeledoften contain chemicals called organophosphates that can damage brain and nerve cells. Organic apples tend to be higher in nutrients, and have been found to taste better in blind studies. Not an apple eater? Choose the organic variety of fruit that you eat most from this list, since all have a higher pesticide load: nectarines, peaches, pears, strawberries, cherries and imported grapes and cantaloupe. When it comes to your health, there are some fruits you don’t have to worry about buying green: Oranges, bananas and pineapples have very low levels of toxic chemicals.

4. Marinara Sauce

Going organic with your pasta topper will cost you only a few extra pennies, if anything at all. It’s worth it because the average American consumes about 90 pounds of tomatoes a year, most of that in sauces (and sometimes in ketchup), and in a number of studies researchers have shown that organic tomatoes have significantly more lycopene. In case you’re not familiar with this potent antioxidant, it’s what gives tomatoes their deep red hue, and has been found to lower cancer and heart disease risks, and help repair cell damage. Those health benefits are actually intensified when tomatoes are cooked rather than eaten raw. In a perfect world, we could all afford to buy organic tomatoes too, but at the very least try organic sauces.

5. Meat

If you like to have a good burger every now and then, I’d recommend that you make it organic. Some scientists are concerned about a possible link between the hormones that are found in conventional beef and breast cancer in young women. While we don’t know definitively whether these hormones pose a cancer risk, we do know that grass fed beef tends to be leaner and can have about five times the healthy omega 3 fats of non organic beef.

As with organic dairy, choosing free range beef benefits the environment; if you want to have an even bigger impact, try to swap one serving of meat a week for other protein sources, like beans or tofuit takes 32 times more energy to produce 100 calories of beef than it does plant food.

And a Bonus: Wine

Researchers have been clamoring about the health benefits of red wine, specifically resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes. Scientists are raving about it because it has been shown to have gentle antiviral, anti inflammatory, anticancer, neuroprotective, anti aging and life prolonging effectsin other words, it could help prevent everything from a common cold to cancer, as well as slow aging. (It’s no wonder so many of us love it.) And you could get these benefits from a moderate amount (about a glass a day) of any type of red wine.

So why do I recommend going green with your cabernet or Syrah? Organic wines average 32 percent higher resveratrol levels. (Organic grapes also have more of the antioxidant, in case you’re not a wine drinker.) Unlike the USDA seal for foods, there is not always an organic seal for wine you will see it on the label, but you’ll probably need to ask your sommelier or even check the company’s website. (Two brands I like are Grgich Hills and Bonterra.) And perhaps the best news: Anecdotally, my friends report that organic wines don’t cause a hangover. Cheers to that!

September 15, 2015 signature

In your younger years, you can just pack your bag and leave. You have no worries about where your itchy feet will lead you. You do not even bother booking an accommodation in advance and you can stay even in hostels. A typical day during a holiday would most probably include a lot of walking, trying out activities that unleash your adventurous spirit, and partying until the break of dawn. You are more open towards meeting new faces and enjoying your chosen destination with them. All of these, however, will change at one point of your life – once you become a parent.

Having a child is a huge blessing, in the same way that it is a big responsibility. It requires preparedness on your part. You have to embrace new things and act on a new role. Whether you like it or not, your life will have a full turn. Gone where the days where you can just leave anytime. This time, you do not only have to think of yourself, but also of our baby. When traveling, your approach will also be much different and you need to be more prepared. Keep on reading the rest of this post and I will provide you with some ideas on the things to consider if you are going to travel with a child.

Choose your Accommodations Wisely

One of the most important things that you should do is to make sure that you are going to pick the right accommodation. It does not necessarily have to be expensive, but it should be complete with the features that you and the kids will enjoy during your trip. It should offer convenience, comfort, and of course, security. The following are some of the things to emphasize when evaluating choices for accommodation:

  • Larger rooms that can fit the whole family
  • Family-friendly amenities like a kiddie pool
  • Soundproof rooms
  • Baby services such as high chair, cots, and food warmers

Know What to Pack

One of the most demanding and mind-boggling tasks when going on a vacation with children deals with packing. When packing, make sure to think both the needs of you and your baby. Pay attention to what your kids use in their everyday lives and do not forget to be prepared in emergency situations. You should have the best pack and play 2015, specifically one that is portable enough to be carried during your travels. Bring with you a car seat, especially if you will rent a car in your chosen destination. A lightweight stroller will also prove to be essential. The following are some of the other items that should never be missed:

  • First aid kit
  • Pacifiers
  • Snacks, but avoid sweets
  • Motion sickness bag
  • Toys
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers

Plan your Flight

Just like in the case of choosing your accommodation, planning your flight is another thing that will prove to be important. Children can be a nightmare in the plane. Their tantrums can make you feel humiliated, but you should never be. Most people would be understanding, but you should demonstrate preparedness. Always have toys and treats ready to appease your child. If you are flying early morning, see to it that kids will sleep early. There is also a so-called witching hour, which is probably around dinner time. This is where the blood sugar of kids are at their lowest and they are very hard to control once they go irate. Avoid flying at night. Book for a direct flight if possible. Try to get a seat at the back of the plane so that you will be nearer the toilet.

Keep them Active

When planning your itinerary, make sure that it does not just include activities that you will enjoy. Going to boutique and souvenir shops, hitting the best places for wine, or finding the best restaurants are some of the concerns when planning things to do. When you are traveling with children, on the other hand, make sure that their needs are taken into account. If they are older, you can ask where they would like to go. A theme park is always a good idea. Make sure to visit places that have facilities and activities that are family and kid-friendly.

Be Patient and Have Fun

Patience is a virtue, especially when you are traveling with children. Kids easily become irritable, such as when the flight gets delayed or when they feel like they have not been doing anything for long. Once they begin to feel irate, do not lose your temper. Breathe and look for the best way to deal with the problem. If you become irritable as well, this will not have the situation resolved. At the end of the day, the most important thing to do is to have fun. Create new memories that you will treasure and that will make you have the best time with the family.

September 9, 2015 signature

Paige S., 14, knows what a pain a foot injury can be. “I hurt my feet doing ballet,” says the Boston teen. “I started doing pointe which is when you dance on your toes and I had to go to physical therapy to learn how to properly stretch my feet before and after dance,” she says.

Despite Paige’s injury, she admits that she spends more time thinking about what shoes to wear, from flip flops to Converse sneakers, than about how to keep her feet pain free. “I don’t really think about hurting my feet, although sometimes the high heels hurt after a while,” Paige confesses.

What about Zach A., 13, from Harwinton, Conn.? Does he think about ways of keeping his feet healthy? “Nope, not really,” Zach says. That might partly explain how he broke a toe. Zach, who plays football, didn’t know that stretching the calf muscles helps prevent injuries to the foot.

Maybe you’re like Paige and Zach, and you forget to look after your feet. It can be easy to neglect them. But taking care of your feet can keep you from dealing with some painful and sometimes gross situations.

Feet On the Move

Feet undergo an enormous amount of strain every day. For each mile you put on them, for example, your feet support about 100,000 pounds of pressure. If you’re involved in sports or other types of exercise, you may be putting even more stress on your feet.

The bones in the feet don’t fully mature until the ages of 18 to 23. So it’s extra important when you are young to take good care of your feet. That way, you can avoid permanent problems.

Feet and Sports

Dr. Larry Levine, a podiatrist (a doctor who specializes in feet) at Foot Health Center in Cherry Hill, N.J., says he sees a lot of kids and teens in his office who have wear and tear injuries. Those happen most often in ankles, knees, and feet because of overtraining. “Kids are being expected to do activities that their bones and joints aren’t ready for,” Levine says.

Luckily, there is a fairly easy way to prevent foot damage: Stretch. “One of the main problems that I see in younger athletes is that they’re not being taught how to stretch properly. The kids who don’t stretch are the ones who would be most likely to get injured,” Levine says.

You should also always alert your coach (and definitely your parents!) if you are in any sort of pain. You may have an injury that needs to be treated, such as a stress fracture. That is a tiny break in a bone; in the foot or ankle, it’s caused by repeated pounding from running and other sports. Read on for a guide to other types of common foot ailments and what to do about them.

Foot Friendly Stretches

Do these stretches, recommended by Dr. Larry Levine of the Foot Health Center in Cherry Hill, N.J., before every workout to avoid strains, sprains and pains.

Achilles Tendon Stretch: Stand on a step (you can also use a ladder or the edge of a sidewalk), with your heels over the edge. Then lower yourself until you feel a stretch in your calves.

Hamstring Stretch: Place your foot on a step, and flex it so your toes are in the air. Bend forward with a straight back until you feel the stretch along the back of your leg.

Thigh Stretch: While in a seated position on the floor, place the soles of your feet together so your knees point out toward the sides. Rest your elbows on your knees, and gradually push your knees down to the floor to stretch your inner thighs.

Not so happy feet: a guide to common foot ailments and what to do about them

Ingrown Toenails

When the side of a toenail grows into the skin, you may experience this painful problem. Ingrown toenails can come from sports that require repeated kicking, shoes or socks that are too tight, or incorrect nail trimming. They can even be genetic-you can inherit the tendency for curvy nails. If you have a minor ingrown nail that isn’t causing pus in the area, you can relieve the pressure by placing a piece of dry cotton under the semi ingrown corner of the nail. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid self treatment, as the nail can break the skin, leading to infections, according to Dr. Larry Levine, a New Jersey podiatrist. He remembers a 12 year old patient with a toe swollen to twice its normal size because of an ingrown nail: “1 asked him how long it had been like that, and he said, “About three months, but I thought it would go away”

Turf Toe

This funny sounding condition is nothing to laugh at. It’s caused by jamming the toe or by repeatedly pushing off with your feet when running or jumping. Turf toe is so named because it’s common among athletes, such as football or soccer players, who play on artificial turf. The hard surface, combined with the movements required in sports, can cause pain at the base of the big toe. “There are sports shoes that rigid … in the front of the shoe, which can help,” recommends Dr. Matthew Dobbs, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Flexible shoes, such as regular sneakers, give less protection to toes.

Athlete’s Foot

Despite the name, athlete’s foot is not just for athletes! Anyone who walks barefoot in a public place, such as a shower or swimming pool, can get it. Athlete’s foot is a fungus infection that can make the bottoms of feet dry, cracked, and red. Feet also might itch and burn. Even grosser, the fungus can spread to other parts of your body if your infected feet touch those areas! Prevent the condition by wearing flip flops in gyms and public showers and by keeping feet very clean (make sure to wash and dry between toes as well). Because the fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, keep socks and shoes dry, and wear shoes that allow air flow (such as sneakers with mesh).

Smelly Feet

Foot stink is caused by bacteria that feed off the sweat and dirt in your shoes. They love to multiply in moist, dark places (such as the inside of your sneakers after sports practice). The waste products of the bacteria cause that certain, um, stench. These simple tips can help keep bacteria from becoming your feet’s new neighbors: Wash feet with soap and water daily; alternate shoes each day to give them time to dry out; and avoid plastic shoes, which don’t let feet breathe.

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the long tendon that connects the heel bone to the calf muscle. You need it to pull your heel off the ground and push forward while walking or running. When you overtrain or move incorrectly, you risk getting Achilles tendinitis, a pain along the back of the leg below the calf. Use the RICE method to heal it: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. (See “Easy as RICE;) That helps reduce pain and swelling. Over-the-counter painkillers will bring down the swelling too.

Plantar Fasciitis

This dull, aching pain in the bottom of the heel and arch is usually caused by overexercising, improper shoes, or tightness of the muscles in the back of the leg. The best cure is to rest, ice the foot, and take an over thecounter painkiller. Rarely, a doctor may inject cortisone (a steroid) to shrink swelling.You can help prevent plantar fasciitis by stretching well before exercise and always wearing the right type of shoes for your activity.

Plantar Warts

That locker room floor may look clean, but you still need to wear flipflops to protect your feet. That’s because you can get plantar warts, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), from walking barefoot on germy surfaces. Those warts, found on the soles of the feet, can look very similar to corns and calluses (small, thickened areas of skin). The difference? Plantar warts grow in clusters and usually have tiny black dots on the surface. Although they’re generally harmless, they can spread if you touch or scratch them. Many over-the-counter options use acid to peel the warts away. But if the warts come back or don’t respond, your doctor can burn, laser, or freeze the warts off for you. (Do not try this at home!)

Easy as RICE

REST, Don’t put pressure on or use the hurt body part. ICE, Apply an ice pack for 15 minutes. Take the pack off, and then put it back on 15 minutes later. COMPRESSION Use an elastic bandage or other wrap to limit swelling. ELEVATION. Raise the hurt part above the heart to keep swelling down.

September 7, 2015 signature

They’re around just about all the time. And when it comes to younger siblings, maybe they’re hanging around more often than you’d like! But you can have fun and get some exercise with them too. We’re talking about your family your at home source of workout partners!

Getting Started

Exercising as a family doesn’t mean you need to take an aerobics class together or organize a game of soccer. All you need to do is move. In fact, you might do one of the most popular family exercise activities already.

“I always say that the best and easiest thing for family time is a walk,” says exercise expert Len Saunders. He believes families should make time to exercise together. He even started a special day for that very purpose. It’s called PACES Day. PACES stands for “Parents and Children Exercise Simultaneously.” You can talk about anything you like while you’re walking, and that adds up to quality time. “A family walk is always a good thing,” Saunders says.

Is it too cold to go outside where you live? No problem! There are places to go walking indoors. Saunders recommends finding an indoor mall to walk in if weather is a worry. “It’s big enough to get some cardio in there, if you walk for an hour when it’s not a peak time,” he says. Many malls allow walkers in early, even before stores are open.

Shopping centers are also fun because you can do some holiday window shopping and talk with family members about what you see. “But don’t stop!” Saunders says with a laugh. If you take breaks too often to check out the deals, you’ll lower your heart rate!

Be a Good Example

If you are an older sibling, you have an important role. You can set an example for your younger brothers and sisters. They probably are already trying to do the things that you do. The same can go for exercise.

If you are a younger brother or sister, you can take advantage of the skills and knowledge of someone older. Ask your older siblings to show you how to play a sport or do an activity that they love. It’s a great chance to bond while you exercise.

And everyone can help get parents motivated. Most of the time, Saunders says, it’s the other way around: Parents are usually the ones who try to get kids to exercise. But you can break that trend! Show your parents that you care about their health and wellness, and encourage them to get off the couch and get active with you!

The Family That Plays Together …

Some families are on the go all the time. For the Tecco family in Pennsylvania, “on the go” means taking bike rides, walking, hiking, making up dances, playing basketball, tossing Frisbees, and ice-skating together!

Wow! How do they do it all? One way to fit in that much active time together is to pick activities that each family member enjoys and can do when you all have free time, says older sister Sianna, 16.

Younger sister Elise, 10, agrees. “You want to make it fun for everyone,” she says. So how do they make it work? One idea is something brothers and sisters have to do all the time: Share! “The family could say what each of them like, and then they can take turns doing it,” Elise says.

Some of the girls’ tips for making exercise more fun apply to everyone, whether you have siblings or not. Sianna suggests bringing along a camera and taking photos. Elise says it is fun to make up your own games; some of her favorites involve the trampoline. Other times the family will play a game such as 20 Questions while they’re walking or hiking, Sianna says.

It doesn’t matter what you do, she points out, as long as you are doing it together, “Just try to get everyone involved,” Sianna notes. And remember this saying: The family that plays together stays together!

August 20, 2015 signature

Building decks are no walk in the park. Digging post holes, driving lag screws, nailing joist hangers, notching 6 bys, and screwing decking take its tool on your tools and your body. Having some deck dedicated tools can cut time off your next job, conserve your energy, and maybe even get you out of a jam.

FASTENING

Cordless Impact Drivers: Not having the best impact driver during a deck project is just costing you time. A 9.6,12 or 14.4-volt tool packs a huge punch and works great for sinking 1/2 inch lag screws and cinching up carriage bolt assemblies, posts, and balusters. And for some under deck fastening systems, these tools offer the mobility and speed you need, especially if you’re tightening deck boards on your back.

Auto-Feed Screwgun: If you’re using screws to fasten decking to framing, the only way to go is with an auto feed screw gun that shoots a wide range of collated, deck specific fasteners. The long extension handles will give you great leverage and help save your lower back. And the corrosion-resistant fasteners are specially designed to penetrate into the surface, leaving a clean, finished deck.

Double Duty Nailer: Nailing joist hangers and framing might require two tools unless you use Stanley Bostitch’s N88RH-2MCN combination hardware/framing nailer. You can use its hardware nose to set hangers, then switch to the framing nosepiece for the lumber work.

Japanese Nail Set: A nail head sticking out of a handrail you just routed defeats the purpose, but setting 12d nails with a regular nail set is painful. A dual pointed Japanese nail set provides the grunt you need to flush a framing nail into place.

MAKING THE CUT

Circular Saw: Deep cuts on supporting posts often 6x6s are best made with an 81/4 inch circ saw, which will save time and energy finishing off any notches with a hand or rip saw. A worm drive configuration will come in handy for cutting wild-running cantilevered joists to length in place. The nose heavy worm drive falls right through the cut and provides a nice line of sight along your cut.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw: Get set up for production when you’re cutting beveled 2×2 balusters by setting a 10-inch sliding compound miter saw for a 45-degree bevel. Then set up a “stop” on your saw bench so you can gang-cut s number of them at the same time. The sliding compound saw is also great for cutting 4×4 posts in one pass and metering handrails.

DIGGING

Hydraulic Equipment: Shovels and digging bars work, but who likes digging holes? And, in compacted clay or a tangle of roots, these tools struggle. The ultimate digging still well worth renting if you’re starting at 30 post holes is Gravely’s Skidstsr outfitted with an auger. These machines are compact. powerful, and easy to operate, and they fit through fence gates and maneuver easily in tight confines. The augers won’t cut through every obstacle but the time savings is still incredible. You also can rent these machines with forks and buckets for small earthmoving jobs common on these projects.

Combination Hammer: For smaller digging jobs, a 14-pound combination hammer can save you a trip to the rental yard for a jackhammer. When equipped with a spade4ron and set on-chip mode, a combination hammer loosens clay and rocks in footer holes, which you can then remove with a shovel Switching bits enables you to drill holes for setting ledgers on concrete or brick.

LEVELING

Lasers and Bubbles: The fastest, most dependable way to strike level lines for ledges and beams, especially for multi-level decks, is a self4eveling laser level. Point a dot at each side of the deck, establish your reference points and start framing. Once you start framing, your 4 and 6-foot spirit levels will be your guide, along with a good heavy plumb bob.

August 16, 2015 signature

Let’s say you have a school project to do about immunization. You and a classmate sit down at computers next to each other and start your research. You both log on to the same search engine, but one of you types in the words vaccine safety, while the other searches using the words vaccine dangers.

Can you guess what might happen from there? Those two combinations produce very different search results and a lot of them. A search for vaccine safety, for instance, brings up more than 900,000 Web pages; depending on the search engine, vaccine dangers can produce from 100,000 to more than 3 million results. Hope that project isn’t due tomorrow, because you have a lot of reading to do! But more important, how do you know which sites have the right information? Fortunately, there are ways of sifting through all the online “noise” and bogus information.

Getting It Right

When it comes to health information, finding a reliable source doesn’t just raise your chance of getting an A. If you or a loved one has a disease or health condition, you might turn to the Web to learn more or to find support. Many people go online for exercise or nutrition tips and information. The key is sorting out the facts from the fakes.

Take vaccine safety land vaccine dangers, for example. High school students in Texas were asked to search online for those phrases and use the sites they found to answer questions about vaccines. Then researchers checked whether the students’ answers were correct. While 59 percent of students believed what they learned from the Web sites, the researchers found that only 33 percent of the search results contained accurate information.

“There’s a lot of inaccurate information on the Web, and I think that’s contrary to what a lot of people think,” says Philip Kortum, a professor in the psychology practice at Rice University in Houston. He was one of the researchers who studied how teens found the vaccine information online. Here are the steps Kortum recommends for being a health-savvy Web surfer.

Be aware. “Just knowing that there’s a lot of inaccurate info on the Web is an important thing for people to, ” Kortum says. Verify the information you find with other sources, especially if it sounds too good (or bad) to be true.

Start smart. Begin at a known, trusted Web site, and travel from there to other reputable sources. Kortum recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health (www.nih.gov), and the American Medical Association.

Think critically. “Just because a site looks and sounds professional doesn’t mean that it contains accurate information,” Kortum says. For example, be wary of a site promoting the ideas of one doctor. For more on how to tell whether a site is trustworthy, see “Clues to Clicking.”

Seek out facts. Make sure the information you find is backed up by facts and statistics. People tell a lot of good stories on the Web, Kortum says, but not all of them are grounded in science.

On Trial in Cyber Court

Sometimes, a combination of online research and old-fashioned detective work can lead you to the right answers. One place to start is your library–sure, the building is full of books, but chances are your library is full of computers and helpful people too. You might not even have to leave your home to get there–you can probably access your library’s resources online.

The library is one of the places New York City teen Faizunnahar D. checks when she’s doing research. “If it’s some minor information that I’m just curious about, I usually start to research on Google and check out a few of the Web sites. But if it’s for school, I use the Brooklyn Public Library databases,” she says. “The information is already verified and updated frequently.”

In a South Carolina program, librarians are helping teens learn how to search smartly, but not by standing at the front of a classroom or distributing photocopied handouts. The librarians and students take Web sites to Cyber Court, a role-playing activity.

In the “courtroom,” the students hold a health-related Web site responsible for its content. Some students act as judges, while others play the roles of people who have been affected by Web sites’ claims. In one case, a student played a mom who was angry about a Web site her child had used. Other students take on the roles of lawyers for and against the Web sites on trial. “In order to defend their site, [students] had to really look at their Web site and determine whether it was reliable,” explains Janice C. May, coordinator for the Hands on Health-South Carolina program at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Students consider six factors about each of the Web sites that come to Cyber Court: site sponsorship, the accuracy of content, the qualifications of authors, editorial policies of the Web site, privacy protection, and the availability of “contact us” information. May recommends using those factors to evaluate any Web site. Whether you’re looking to buy an iPod or writing a research paper, you should know who runs a site and what that person’s or group’s intentions are, she says.

Wisdom Beyond the Web

Just like all the other sources of information out there TV shows, advertisements, books, magazines, your friends anything you learn online should be just one part of your complete health picture. Don’t forget to turn to the people in your life, especially if you need help or advice. “Certainly the Internet is a great place to start,” says Kortum. “If you use these trusted sites, you can get accurate information in the privacy of your own home, but you should also seek out the advice of a trusted individual a school nurse, doctor, your parents.”

August 4, 2015 signature

Spa recipes too yummy to be good for you (but they are). Plus: * Fizzy, fruity, low-cal cocktails * Permission to eat that creamy spinach dip everyone loves * Couscous meals you can throw together in minutes

Need some diet inspiration? Ditto. So we asked chefs at America’s top spas for their most popular dishes and skinniest cooking tips, Steak, chocolate, Mexican food, yay!

Filet of beef with tomato, red onion, and basil salad Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, TUCSON, AZ

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
4 large plum tomatoes, seeded, julienned
1/2 small red onion, julienned
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, julienned
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 (4-0z) beef filet steaks, about 3/4 inch thick
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 oz fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 thin slices

1. Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until it’s reduced by half and becomes thick and syrupy, about 8 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, toss tomatoes, onion, basil, and half of the salt and pepper; set aside.

3. Season beef with remaining salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet
over medium-high heat until hot. Add steaks and cook 2 minutes per side, until seared. Reduce heat to medium and cook another minute per side for mediumrare.
Transfer steaks to a plate and let rest 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, toss tomato salad with 1 Tbsp of the balsamic syrup. Divide salad
among four plates. Place a steak on top of each salad and top with a slice of goat cheese. Drizzle remaining balsamic syrup over steaks.

Makes 4 servings.
Each serving: 246 cal,
14g fat, 22g protein,
10g carb
“People mistakenly assume that steak is a diet no-no. Tenderloin filet, New York strip, and top sirloin are all healthy choices.”

Chef Chad’s skinny tip

“When you’re making tuna or chicken salad, mix one part low-fat mayo with three parts nonfat plain yogurt that’s been strained for 20 minutes. The salad will contain 75 percent less fat.”

Shrimp a la diabla Rancho La Puerta, TECATE, MEXICO

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 Tbsp olive oil
16 jumbo shrimp (1 lb), peeled and deveined, with tail shells intact
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts), thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup tequila
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes.

2. Add leeks and garlic; cook, stirring until leeks start to soften, about 1 minute. Add lime juice, shaking pan to combine. When lime juice begins to boil, stir in chiles.

3. Remove pan from heat; pour in tequila. Return to heat; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cilantro; swirl in butter just until it melts. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.
Each serving: 207 cal,
lOg fat, 19g protein,
9g carb
“Guests love that this dish is so different from how restaurants typically serve shrimp: swimming In butter and lemon juice.”

Chef Gonzalo’s skinny tip

” When buying veggies, remember that the brighter the colors, the higher the level of nutrients. To retain all the good stuff, blanch them: Put veggies in a pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then transfer them to an ice bath. Or saute them for a few minutes in a hot skillet.”

July 30, 2015 signature

Seafood is low in saturated fat (the kind that leads to heart attacks) and cholesterol. It is high in protein and low in calories. Four ounces of white-fleshed fish provides about half your daily protein requirement at a cost of just over 100 calories. Despite the fact that many fish live in saltwater, they are low in sodium (they have osoregulators that keep the saltwater out). And seafood is a great source of vitamins and minerals, since the flesh contains most of the elements present in seawater.

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It contains a kind of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids reduce the tendency of the blood to form clots. Clots pushing through narrow coronary arteries are the main cause of heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids raise blood levels of HDL, the good cholesterol, and lower levels of blood triglycerides.

Seafood has a bonus – omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent depression. Research suggests that in countries where seafood is the main part of the diet, fewer people suffer from depression. When depressed patients reduced fat by eating seafood, they reduced their incidence of depression. But patients who cut back on fat by switching to plant fats did not lower their rate of depression.

Can’t you just take a pill ?

Fish Oil supplements aren’t as good for you as eating fish. In the first place, the capsules themselves have calories. Second, You probably will increase your fat intake because You are eating something else instead of fish. A problem for women is that the pills are too potent. Since the fatty acids keep blood from clotting, excessive blood may be lost during menstruation. Finally, the pills don’t have the vitamins and minerals that occur naturally in fish.

You don’t have to give up other foods to get the benefits of seafood. Studies show that eating fish once or twice a week gives as much Protection as eating it six times a week.

How safe is it?

Our waterways have become dumping grounds for substances such as PCBs, dioxins, and radioactive elements and metals; and these toxins may appear in fish. Once poisons get into an animal’s body, they often accumulate to dangerous levels. New regulations passed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994, however, give consumers assurance that their seafood is safe.

How can you tell freshness?

Look for a store with a good seafood department, and a dealer you can trust. The seafood in the display case should be packed in ice and have firm flesh, shiny scales, red gills, and bright, protruding eyes. Seafood should smell like a fresh ocean breeze, not fishy.

Seafood falls into two categories: fish with fins (such as flounder and salmon) and shellfish (those that have shells, such as oysters, scallops, and shrimp). Seafood comes in many states of preparedness – whole, with the insides and scales; cleaned, with the head and tail still on; filleted, cut away from the ribs and back-bone; or as a steak. Don’t assume that a fish labeled “previously frozen” is inferior. A lot of seafood is flash-frozen while the fishing boat is still at sea, and these may be the freshest of all.

Ask questions, and you’ll find that the fish dealer will be happy to give you advice, cooking tips, and recipes.

How do I cook it?

Seafood is a very versatile food. It can be broiled, baked, steamed, poached, sauteed, used in a stew, covered with a sauce, cooked in a pastry crust, or served cold in a salad.

Possibly the worst thing you can do to fish is overcook it. Many chefs count on the Canadian 10-Minute Rule for baking at 450 degrees, broiling, grilling, steaming, or poaching fish. It’s easy to remember: Measure the thickest part of the fish and cook for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Double the time for frozen fish

Boil shellfish for a few minutes in water. Shrimp and lobster are done when they are pink or red. Shells of clams, oysters, and mussels pop open when they are done. Scallops turn opaque and firm.

Lighten up

You can make your fish dishes even lighter by using yogurt instead of mayonnaise and buying tuna that is packed in water, not oil, Shellfish are low in calories but high in cholesterol. Enjoy them, but in moderation. Be careful when eating out, especially at fast food restaurants. Much of their fish is fried in saturated fats and is coated with high-calorie breading.

Different parts of the country prepare fish in different ways: Northern cooks boil and poach; Southern cooks fry and stew their fish; Midwestern cooks broil and bake; while East and West Coast chefs prepare shellfish and deep-sea fish delicacies to please their customers.

However you eat it, fish is a dish you can savor.

July 2, 2015 signature

enderize-Beef-Step

Food preparation strategies for tender meat:

Whenever preparing meat, maintaining this tenderness as well as succulent is in fact very important — also it is not too tough. Using the subsequent preparing suggestions, anyone may have completely prepared meat each time.

Food preparation suggestion #One: Comprehend into slashes:

The softness as well as juiciness associated with meat is actually affected through the reduction. The greater muscle mass within the meats, the actual harder it will likely be similarly, the actual heavier and the juicier. The most tender slashes associated with meat tend to be (for reducing): tenderloin meat, the best knife meat, the best loin sirloin, rib beef roasts, rib meat, as well as ribs eyes meat. Furthermore, remember that beef having a bone-in may have much more tastes.

Food preparation suggestion #Two: Match up high quality in order to objective:

In case you tend to be preparing meat just, without having weighty sauces, select the appropriate quality associated with meats feasible. With regard to soups or even foods displaying sauces, you may choose more affordable slashes.

Food preparation suggestion #Three: Obtain the quality:

You will find three levels associated with meat: Perfect, option, as well as quality-selection. Quality depends upon marbling — the quantity of fat imbedded within beef that will bring this damps. The most tender beef may have marbling all through and not simply within the exterior sides. Marbling is essential simply because as soon as you prepare beef. The actual fat will start to dissolve through adding taste as well as juiciness. Prime is considered the most extremely marbled along with extra fat along with the majority of tenders as well as delicious.

Food preparation suggestion #Four: Purchase vibrantly colored:

Make certain your beef is rather firm and it is the vibrant red color. In case beef is really a more dark red in order to dark brown, it might be old. Although correctly older beef is going to be renderer, the majority of grocery shops usually do not have older beef.

Food preparation suggestion #Five: Maintain beef refreshing:

The moment you obtain your beef house, in case you are not preparing this, which time, take it off through the grocer papers as well as cover this within plastic material cover. After that put it within a zip-lock tote to remain this cooled.

Food preparation suggestion #Six: Marinate with regard to additional taste:

To get ready beef with regard to preparing, wash, this having a thoroughly clean damp towel as well as think about an easy marinate. Marinating meats will help include tenderness as well as taste — keep in mind great high quality beef will never require a large amount of additional taste in order to flavor great. Actually only a subtle mix associated with salt as well as dark-colored spice up could be sufficient. Still a combination of wine beverages, olive essential oil, lime liquid, and some refreshing seasonings could be an excellent immediately marinate to assist tenderize.

Food preparation suggestion #Seven: Prepare equally:

Prior to you to prepare your beef, take it off through the fridge, and enable this arrived at room temperatures. This can make sure that this prepares a meal much more equally since it would be the exact same temperatures all through.

Food preparation suggestion #Eight: Become heat -wise:

Exactly how you prepare, your beef may have a significant impact upon tenderness as well as juiciness. For many slashes associated with beef, you ought to prepare this for an inner temperature associated with one hundred and thirty degrees, with regard to exceptional as well as one hundred and forty degrees with regard to medium- food preparation meats. Any kind of greater than the medium is going to be dried out. Take advantage of a meats thermometer to obtain precise inner temperatures.

Food preparation suggestion #Nine: Sear, after that beef roasts:

A great means for preparing tender slashes associated with beef would be to sear the exterior within a very hot, gently oiled molded metal or even weighty bottomed fry pan after which complete this within a 400-degree stove. Whilst cooking food, just turn the actual beef as soon as and utilize tongs in order to flip, not really a fork. When the beef is actually reduced to, all the juices will certainly instantly go out.

Food preparation suggestion #Ten: Allow it to rest:

Eliminate beef through the stove and enable it for rest no less than five mins prior to slicing. You would like the actual juices to stay as well as disperse prior to offering.