Monday, March 19, 2018

March 20 is International Day of Happiness - Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Tomorrow, the International Day of Happiness (March 20), is a great time to begin adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. What’s the connection?

A study by researchers from Australia and the UK, published recently in the American Journal of Public Health, found that eating more fruits and vegetables may make you happier.

You can read about the specifics of that study, “Evolution of Well-Being and Happiness After Increases in Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables,” and decide for yourself.

The researchers looked at longitudinal food diaries (lists of everything a person eats) for three years from more than 12,000 Australians of all ages.

They found that life satisfaction and happiness increased with each additional daily serving of produce people ate. The greatest positive change in life satisfaction occurred for those individuals who changed from eating less than one portion of produce a day to more than eight. The change in their life satisfaction was equivalent to the gain in psychological well-being that they would have obtained from changing from unemployment to employed status.
Another great thing about the benefits of including more fruits and veggies in your meals is that these results happen quite a bit more quickly than do most physical health benefits from improving your diet.

Images Source: Pixabay

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Humpday Hint: Have a Heart for Healthy Cereals

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

March 7th is National Cereal Day. But that doesn’t mean we should indulge in sugar-sweetened refined-flour breakfast treat. With all the brightly colored boxes staring at you from the cereal aisle in the supermarket, how can you make a healthy choice for the morning meal?

You should be looking for a cereal with low calories per serving, high in fiber and protein, and full of vitamins and minerals to give you the best nutritional benefits.

For the healthiest cereals, check that each serving contains 5 grams or more of fiber. Fiber in your diet not only helps material move through your digestive system, but it can also help lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose.

The American Diabetes Association recommends bran cereals for diabetics. For more on the role of fiber in the diet, read this article from the Mayo Clinic: Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.

Also, be sure your cereal choice contains 10 grams or less of sugar per serving. Eating sugar can give you a quick energy boost, but often this is followed by a “sugar crash.” Cavity-causing bacteria thrive on the sugar on your teeth after you eat sweetened cereals. Excess sugar in the bloodstream can lead to depression, weight gain, inflammation, higher blood pressure, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes. Find out more about the effects of a high sugar diet by reading this article at WebMD: How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

Still think your cereal needs a little sweetening? Consider topping it with fresh or dried fruit. A sprinkle of cinnamon is also refreshing.

For more information on National Cereal Day, visit

Images Source: Pixabay

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tips for Making Lifestyle Changes “Stick”

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

"Just when the caterpillar thought
the world was over,
she became a butterfly."

From "Ladies of the Borobudur" by Barbara Haines Howett

Initially, any change you make will feel uncomfortable, perhaps even unnatural. You can overcome this discomfort by focusing on small steps, keeping a positive attitude, and reaffirming your commitment to change.

Divide long term goals into small, doable actions. You don’t need to make an entire life change all at once. Remind yourself that changing even small behaviors can help you reach your goals, if you stick to them long enough for them to become new, healthier habits.

Added note: It is said if you stay with a new habit for 30 days, it's an established habit. Resolve to stick to that new, positive lifestyle change and it will simply become part of your life.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Monday, February 26, 2018

Caring for a Thermos Bottle

Contributing Author: Gentle Heron

Did you know that February 26 is Thermos Bottle Day? What is a Thermos® bottle? It’s a brand name of an insulated storage bottle also known as a vacuum flask. The space between the outer and inner metal bottles is a partial vacuum, created by removing the air. This gap stops heat transfer between the outside and inside containers. If a hot liquid is put inside, it stays hot; it a cold liquid is put inside, it stays cold.

When you first get a new vacuum flask, clean it carefully with warm water and dish soap. Remember, the flask is fragile, so avoid bumping it. You will clean it the same way, with warm water and dish soap, after each use. Do NOT immerse in water or put in a dishwasher. Let the flask drain upside down, then dry it carefully and thoroughly. Store your flask with the stopper off.

When you are ready to use the flask, pre- fill it for a few minutes with hot water (if the contents will be hot) or cold water (it the contents will be chilled). Avoid filling the flask too full; there must always be enough space at the top for the stopper to fit into the neck. Close the stopper tightly and be sure the cup fits securely in place on the top.

Always use the cup when drinking hot liquids from the flask. You should never use the flask to transport baby foods or milk products as these can spoil.

If you care for your vacuum flask properly, it will give you years of hot cocoa and iced tea when you are on long car trips or picnics.

Image credit: Pixabay