Sunday, March 24, 2019

Recent Research About the Effects of Children's Screen Time

Children gaming
Children gaming

Pediatricians and concerned parents have paid attention to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations concerning the amount of time youngsters spend watching television or engaged with other electronic media. However recent research calls these recommendations into question. Does additional screen time beyond the AAP recommendations adversely affect children’s mental health?

A UK study published in 2017 in Child Development surveyed parents of 2- to 5-year olds. They were asked how much time their child(ren) spent watching TV, playing video games, or engaged with electronic media (computers, cell phones, handheld electronic devices). They also answered questions about several measures of childhood psychological well-being, including attachment to the caregiver, reliance (bouncing back from not getting their way), curiosity about learning new things, and positive affect (smiling and laughing). The researchers controlled for ethnicity, age, gender, household income, and caregiver education, as these factors were thought to also affect childhood mental health. There was no significant difference between the mental health of children whose parents abided by the APA guideline and youngsters who spent more time in front of a television or other screen.

A different UK study published in 2019 in Nature Human Behavior examined adolescents’ mental health and use of digital technology. Researchers statistically examined three large datasets and found that the relationship between digital technology use and adolescent well-being explained only 0.4% of the variation among individuals. They conclude that “these effects are too small to warrant policy change.”  Apparently, the question of the impact of screen time on the mental health of young people is still open for debate.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Children’s Screen Time

Children and Computers
Children and Computers

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced new guidelines for parents concerning their children’s screen time, encouraging limiting their exposure to television and other forms of electronic media. Among the age-related recommendations:
  • Children under 18 months old should not be exposed at all, except for video-chatting with distant family members.
  • Children from 18 months to 2 years old can be introduced to high quality programs while sitting with and discussing with their parents.
  • Children from 2 to 5 years should continue to watch appropriate programs with their parents, no more than 1 hour per day.
School age children and teens should have consistent rules about use of electronic media, including types and time spent. They should be encouraged to have media-free family time, media-free locations in their homes, and adequate sleep and physical activity.

Parents are encouraged to create a Family Media Plan. The Plan will help family members choose and use online media purposefully, without taking the place of physical exercise, family-oriented time or sleep.

More specific guidance for parents of children under age 5 and for school-age children and teens is available.

Children’s Mental Health Week was February 4-10, 2019

Strengthening Mental Health
Strengthening Mental Health

Those of us who parent or care for children often focus on their physical well being. We want to be sure our children eat healthy foods, stay active, and get enough sleep. But bodies and minds are closely linked, so it’s also important to support our children’s mental health.

Here are some resources to help parents and carers support children’s mental health:

iPhone and Android services for the blind: Opportunities to volunteer

Volunteer Hands
Volunteer Hands

By ArcticPixy, Virtual Ability community member

I'd like to inform everyone about a few services released for iPhone and soon Android to help blind and visually impaired people that I thought some folks might want to assist and volunteer in.

Seeing AIis one of these, but does not require volunteers.
This application has features such as:
      Currency identifier,
      Short text, to be able to read things such as recipes on boxes, names on mail envelopes and packages, and so on,
      Document scanner,
      Product, to be able to scan UPC codes from sellers such as Amazon, Best Buy, and others,
      Person, to recognize your friends and describe other people,
      Scene preview, to let you know what kind of area you are in,
      Color preview, to identify colors of items, and
      Handwriting preview, to enable us to read handwritten notes on paper, blackboards, and so on.

Two services in particular could use volunteer help.

The next application I'd like to bring to your attention is called Be My Eyes.
Basically, the person connects/calls in using the app, and another sighted person gets connected to the one being assisted. The blind user can ask things such as colors of items, what kind of things are on a menu, such as in a vending machine, or touchscreen, and so on.

To get more information and to volunteer for “Be My Eyes,” go to their website:

The last and final item I want to share is a pair of smart glasses. The service is called “Aira.”
Similar to Google glasses, I find this service more helpful for traveling, being that they can see everything pretty much from a straight path. The glasses have a camera, and they can help you out much easier.

Aira” can also be used just like “Seeing AI" and “Be My Eyes," but each app has its uses. "Aira" is a little more accurate and steady.

In order to register/volunteer to help with “Aira,” an application has to be filled out, and you will be evaluated. To volunteer, go to their website:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Security Tip: Be sure to periodically close and then restart your web browser!

While the advice below is specific to an issue with Google Chrome on March 21, 2019, it is an important general practice that everyone should follow.

"If you are running Google Chrome and its version is below 72.0.3626.121, your computer could be exploited without your knowledge. While it’s true that Chrome features an automatic update component, in order for the patch to be installed you must restart your browser."

Considering how many users keep Chrome and all their tabs opened for days or even weeks without ever restarting the browser, the security impact is real.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so yet, you should update and relaunch Chrome; and don’t worry about your tabs, they will come right back.

Along with restarting your web browser, it is also important for your computer's security to restart the computer at least once a week.


Friday, March 15, 2019

February 7th (or any day really) is Send A Card To A Friend Day!

By Orange Planer, Virtual Ability community member

There are a wide variety of ways you can send someone a card.
  • Postal Mail!  You write someone a card in your own handwriting, put it in an envelope, add a stamp for just a few cents, and someone picks it up and delivers it for you!  There's nothing more personal and enjoyable.
  • Email!  Who said you had to have a fancy "card"?  All you need is to send them a note that you're thinking of them.  You can add a picture of your own creation (got a cell phone or a camera?), doodles you can make in Windows Paint, the Mac equivalent, or some other application.
  • Online eCard companies!
    •  this is a for-pay site only but it's pretty cheap and the quality is very good.
    •  cards and invitations are sent with advertisements to help them keep the site free.  Some features are for-pay only, such as specialized cards, sending cards with pictures, or removing advertisements.
    • And more:  go to any search engine and look for "free online ecards."
  • Social media sites such as FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
  • Are they nearby?  Call ahead and drop a card off at their house!
  • And more.  Use your imagination and have fun with it.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Junk Journaling for Rehab

By OperativePhoenix, Virtual Ability community member

I've been debating over what to do with some of my memory clutters like old photos and school papers.  I couldn't quite come to throw them out since I've been a packrat.  I do organize and clean my room from time to time, but my storage has always been cluttered.  One day, YouTube was recommending some Junk Journal Artist videos.  I clicked them to see what they were.  And boom, they hit me like a thunder.  They recycled garbage and clutter and they created some fascinating junk journals with what they had.

Since the day I discovered what junk journals were all about, I've started my own effort to create my own journals.  My hands struggled to use a craft knife and cut out some shapes, and I was challenged to do some embroidery and sewing with my feeble hands.  However, as I struggled to do some things I used to do before the car accident, I started to find myself enjoying doing something in real life.  Sure, I cut some wrong places, or my sewing are kinda crappy looking.  However, many junk journal artists suggest how there are no mistakes in junk journaling.

Some of the junk journalists even suggested collaging instead of writing.  I'm a habitual skipper of writing a diary or I end up writing negative things in my diary and never bother to go back there.   Junk journalists keep journals on random days.  So, I realized I don't have to worry about keeping a journal every day.  I decided to make mine a gratitude journal.  Only keep something I feel good about.

My life changed completely after I decided to work on my journal.  Everywhere I look now, I think about collaging or getting papers for my journal, paying attention to some positive quotes and pictures.  It's been fun and I feel like I am moving one step forward toward becoming more positive.

Two great YouTube videos about Junk Journaling:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Information for Financial Literacy

Picture of growing money

There are an enormous number of websites offering financial information to help us pay less and spend our money wisely.  Unfortunately that information is hard to find without reading through website after website after website.  Enter Twitter.  One of the great things about it is you can find entries that people have added using hashtags.  Searching for a hashtag (such as #VirtualAbility) finds all comments that have that hashtag.  Also, each account is its own subsite where an organization can post information in its own space.

To use Twitter, go to and sign up for a free account.  You will need to verify the account using a link sent to the email address you used to create the account.  Below are several Twitter hashtags and subsites that will show useful financial tips and tricks, along with associated websites that contain more information.
  • #SavingsTipTuesday
  • #SavingsFactFriday
  • @Career1Stop (  A great employment starting point for people with disabilities.
  • @RealEconImpact (  has free classes on strategies to build financial wellness of people with disabilities.
  • @AmericaSaves (  America Saves is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA - and is dedicated to helping individuals save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
  • @IRS (  the one and only USA Internal Revenue Service.  While many people denigrate the IRS and try to avoid all dealings with it, there is no question that their website contains the original source material for all Federal tax information.  There are useful pages on how to get free tax preparation help, how to file, etc.
  • @FDICgov (  the official Twitter channel for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent agency created by the Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation's financial system... (
Other sources of information:

If you have other good sources of information, comment below!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day

We can be kind to strangers, to those we know, and to ourselves. Kind actions are often low-key and may be fleeting. When we are the recipients of an act of kindness, we are pleased, possibly surprised or inspired, and at the same time reassured about the basic goodness of humanity. What does research tell us about the effects of acting with kindness?

A Croatian researcher states, “Research has indicated that practicing love, kindness, and compassion for ourselves and others builds our confidence and sense of coherence, helps us create meaningful, caring relationships, increases individual and community resilience and well-being, promotes human rights, physical and mental health.” Also, acting with kindness was found to be a protective factor against suicidality in women:

The etymological root of the term “kindness” is shared with words like “kin” and “kinship,” indicating a basic type of positive activity among those related to us. However, kindness can be a social activity that extends to strangers when we believe that a kind action on our part will relieve a difficulty or improve a situation.

Random acts of kindness are usually undertaken with no expectation of recognition or reward. There are benefits both for the giver and the receiver of these random acts of kindness ( ). Students who “paid it forward” with kindness showed positive mental health benefits, while the recipients of these kind actions smiled more and indicated they would be more likely to “pay it forward” in turn.

How is random kindness perceived? One research study ( ) found that when people recalled an act of kindness that followed social norms, they felt more positive about it than about a random act. But those who recalled a random act of kindness tended to show more generosity toward strangers and even enemies.

Intentional kindness produces “subtle increases in day-to-day experiences of positive emotions.” US researchers found that evidence-based practices such as loving-kindness meditation can improve emotional wellbeing:
For an audio and text guided loving-kindness meditation, with associated research:

Let’s be kind to each other and to ourselves today, and every day. That will make our world a better place.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Consideration of Pain in the Disability Determination Process

Your Feedback Is Needed!

The US Social Security Administration (SSA) is asking for input on how they determine pain in adult and child disability claims. Input is due by February 15th. It's a great opportunity as these guidelines have not been updated since the 1950's.

You can provide input and read more at:

Shyla the Supergecko

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Soup Tips for January Soup Month

Potato Soup

Here’s three quick ways to improve your soups during cold winter weather.
  1. Use the slow cooker.
    The word “slow” may seem like the antithesis of “quick” but it’s not, not really. You can prep ingredients ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator or freezer in zip top bags, and dump them into your slow cooker as you dash out the door on a busy morning. The ingredients are up to you. Include one part liquid (broth, juice, water), one part protein (meat or meatless), one part starch (rice or potatoes or beans), and as many veggies as you can fit in the cooker. Don’t forget to switch it on as you leave for the day and your supper will await you that evening. Imagine coming home to the smell of a delicious hot stew!
  2. Include leftovers.
    When planning meals, make them larger than necessary so you are sure to have leftovers. Leftover meats of all kinds go great in soups. So do grains (rice, couscous, barley) and pasta. Many grains and pastas will cook quickly in soups if you don’t have leftovers.
    And what about sad-looking leftover veggies? Puree them, and use the puree to thicken the soup broth base.
  3. Doctor canned soups.
    Canned soups are notorious for adding to your sodium intake. Fight that by introducing additional low-sodium ingredients such as healthy cooked meats and fresh veggies until you have two servings. Not only will this bulk up the can of soup, but it will make it a lot healthier.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Tips: How to Eat Healthier in the New Year

Fresh poke bowl

  • Avoid overly processed foods.  One way to tell:  ingredients you can’t pronounce.
  • Skip prepared foods with more than five ingredients.  They are likely to be overly processed as well.
  • Don’t believe the health claims on food packages.  Do the research to find out what’s true and what’s only advertising hype.
  • A cartoon on the package is a sure sign the product is being marketed to children.  You’re an adult!  You don’t need that stuff.
  • Shop the outside perimeter of the store for healthy less-processed foods.  Look higher and lower on shelves to find products that usually are the same as the popular brands on the eye-level shelves.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Positive Thinking to Achieve Healthy Lifestyle Goals

Whatever your reason for setting a goal that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle, positive thinking can help you get there.

Too often we think of the path to our goal as something negative.  For instance, if your goal is weight loss, you may be thinking of the desserts or snacks you will be giving up.  Instead, focus on the benefits of weight loss.  You will have lower cholesterol and better blood pressure readings; you will look and feel better.

If your goal is to stop smoking, instead of focusing on the nicotine cravings you are dealing with, think about gaining a longer and healthier life, having better smelling breath, and being able to taste the subtle flavors of foods.

Focusing on positive outcomes instead of thinking of what you are denying yourself will help you maintain your motivation and get you to your goal.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Neglected Organ: Your Microbiome’s Role As Guardian And Protector

By The Tortoise

Weizmann Institute of Science immunologist Dr. Eran Elinav calls the microbiome – the collection of commensal bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi which live in and on us – our “neglected organ,” both integral to the body, and with a microbial composition and function unique to each person.1  Cornell University Professor of Immunotoxicology Rodney Dietert describes the lack of a complete or adequate microbiome in newborns the “equivalent [in many ways] of being born with a serious birth defect, resulting in inappropriately matured physiological systems.”2  Describing the seeding of a complete microbiome at birth as “absolutely critical for a healthful life,” Dietert states:

In the absence of effective microbiome-based training, the immune system does not learn what is safe outside of the body, resulting in haphazard, inappropriate reactions to innocuous environmental factors – allergens such as pollen, mold, cat dander, and peanuts.  It also fails to properly recognize and ignore internal targets, resulting in autoimmune and inflammatory responses that are misdirected, ineffective, and sometimes never-ending.  Such reactions can eventually compromise the function of our own tissues and organs.3

With the microbiome not generally recognised to even exist until the late 1990s,4 medical science has been unaware, until very recently, of the critical role this overlooked organ plays in our health and well-being.  This role cannot be overstated.  The human is a composite creature of single-celled organisms from all domains of life (eukaryotes, archaea, bacteria) and its own mammalian cells – a composition Dietert calls a “superorganism.”5  This superorganism that is the human is, by cell numbers, “approximately 90% microbial.”6  The University of Washington’s Ecogenetics Center describes humans as “mostly microbes,” with microbes outnumbering human cells by ten to one.7  Residing mostly in the gut, this microbiome can weigh as much as 5 pounds (2 kg).8  While two-thirds of each person’s microbiome development is unique to them, the result of lifestyle choices and environmental factors,9 the newborn's initial microbiome is largely inherited from the mother, seeded through its birth via the birth canal.10  This process exposes the baby to vaginal microbiota and also maternal intestinal flora.  Skin-to-skin seeding is also significant at birth.  Dietert notes that “cesarean-delivered babies typically have altered immune profiles and are at an elevated risk for NCDs (non-communicable diseases) such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, and obesity.”11  The University of Utah’s Genetic Science Learning Center's profiling of such non-communicable health conditions now known to be linked to a compromised microbiome include:  acne, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, asthma, allergies, autism, auto-immune diseases, cancer, dental cavities, depression and anxiety, diabetes, eczema, gastric ulcers, hardening of the arteries, inflammatory bowel diseases, malnutrition and obesity.12  The University of Washington’s Ecogenetics Center states, more directly, that “autoimmune diseases appear to be passed in families not by DNA inheritance but by inheriting the family’s microbiome.”13  The vertical transmission of familial microbiome inheritance is, however, greatly complicated by modern living circumstances.  Dietert points out that the increase in cesarean deliveries, the reduced prevalence and duration of breastfeeding, overuse of antibiotics both as prescription drugs and in agriculture, modern urban living surrounded by sanitizers, and a general tendency to limit contact with the environment have changed our relationship with the microbes that are an integral part of our biology.14  An additional and important factor of microbiome health is not mentioned in Dietert’s article – the everyday consumption of fibre.  Like Dietert, Stanford microbiologists Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg also believe there is a direct link between the health of the body’s ecosystem of intestinal microbial organisms and Western diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, diabetes, allergies and food sensitivities.  However, they believe that the root of the problem is the recently-evolved Western diet – a diet high in processed foods which lack the abundant and diverse fibre we need.15  With such foods, digestion takes place in the stomach and small intestine, leaving too little fuel for the beneficial microbes in the large intestine to maintain themselves with. This leads to low bacterial diversity in the gut, unbalanced microbe communities, and a damaged microbiome.  The change from traditional high-fibre hunter-gatherer diets to the last 100 years of the most processed and modified foodstuffs ever experienced in human history,16 has contributed to what the Sonnenburg’s call a “mass extinction event” of the 100 trillion bacteria required to tune our immune systems and regulate inflammation.17  This dietary time frame correlates directly with the rise of non-communicable diseases. Dietert writes:

In less than 100 years, leading diseases and causes of death have shifted dramatically away from infectious diseases and heavily toward noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), not just in developed countries, but around the globe.  NCDs are now the number one killer worldwide, accounting for 63 percent of all mortalities.18,19

For the generation which grew up in the 1920s, Dietert notes that fear of infectious diseases – including typhoid fever, cholera, and influenza – far outweighed concerns about heart disease or cancer.  Autism, Alzheimers, attention deficit disorder, and Parkinson’s disease were virtually unheard of.  Allergies, then called hay fever, were around, but not common.  Ratchet ahead… to the 80s and 90s and the fear of cancer grew enormously, while a number of new diseases began to appear […]  Asthma, autism, lupus, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, attention deficit disorder, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and diabetes, among others, became common concerns.  Fast-forward another two decades to the present day, and it is not a matter of whether you, your friends, or family members have one of these ailments, but which ones and how many.20

Mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are also directly linked to the health of the microbiome.  In an article for the American Psychological Association, Dr. Suri Carpenter points out that gut bacteria manufacture approximately 95% of the body’s supply of serotonin, a neurotransmitter which affects mood, sleep, memory, digestion, and increases feelings of well-being.  In addition, the microbiome produces “hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood,”21 rendering it, for University of California’s Center for Neurobiology of Stress gastroenterologist Dr. Emeran Mayer, “almost unthinkable that the gut is not playing a critical role in mind states.”22  In other words, an unhealthy microbiome can lead to mental health instability. For Dietert, “altered microbiomes and elevated risk of NCDs go hand in hand,”23 creating a modern living landscape where non-communicable disease is now a persistent, global, medical situation with the highest mortality rates.  Without doubt, we need to preserve and maintain microbiome health.  Damaging our microbiome can be far easier, and quicker, than replenishing it: research shows that gut bacteria depleted by diarrhea or antibiotics take approximately 30 days to recover to their pre-diarrhea or pre-antibiotics state.24  So how can we look after our microbiome as best as we can?  Here are three key ways:
  1. Avoid processed and fast food
A Cornell University-Kings College experiment showed that even just 10 days of eating McDonalds fast food “devastated” the microbiome of a 23-year old male, with “massive shifts in his common microbe groups.”25  Kings College Professor of Genetic Epidemiology Tim Spector asked his son Tom to eat all his meals at McDonalds for 10 days, with additional beer and crisps in the evenings. Fecal samples were collected before, during and after the experiment, and sent to three different labs to ensure consistency.  Within 4 days of the diet, Tom experienced lethargy, which continued to increase.  His friends thought he had “gone a strange grey colour” by day 7.26  The last few days were “a real struggle,” with Tom feeling “really unwell.”27  After 10 days on the diet, Tom lost 50 percent of his Bifidobacteria (good bacteria which suppress inflammation), and his firmicutes (bacteria which helps us extract energy from food) had been replaced with obesity-linked bacteroidetes as the dominant type. In addition, he had lost an estimated 1,400 species of bacteria after just a few days – nearly 40% of his total species diversity.

Two weeks after ending the McDonalds experiment and returning to a healthy diet, Tom's microbes had not recovered.28
  1. Increase your prebiotics
Eat diverse and plentiful amounts of prebiotics (dietary fibre which feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut).  Have as wide a variety of plant-based fibre as you can, as different microbes require different polysaccharides, the complex carbohydrates in plant matter which they feed on.29  Research shows that there is a direct correlation between the food we eat, and the species of bacteria which responds: for example, the standard Western diet which is high in protein and fat produces greater proportions of the Bacteroides genus linked to obesity, while a high-carbohydrate, high-fibre diet, encourages higher numbers of healthy Prevotella bacteria.30

Increasing your fibre choices will increase your microbiome diversity.  As Spector notes, “the clearest marker of an unhealthy gut is losing species diversity…  Loss of diversity is a universal signal of ill health in the guts of obese and diabetic people and triggers a range of immunity problems in lab mice.”31  Good prebiotic foods include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, asparagus, beets, cabbage, beans and legumes, bran, whole wheat and grains, oats, barley and bananas.32
  1. Probiotics can be useful
They certainly won’t hurt.  Aim for properly fermented foods which are full of beneficial lactic acid producing bacteria.  These include yoghurt with live cultures, unpasteurised miso, kefir, tempeh and fermented vegetables such as pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi.  NOTE: Always look for these foods in the refrigerated section, as shelf-stored varieties do not contain live bacteria.33

  1. How your gut bacteria govern your health – and how you can change them for the better, Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, BBC Two,
  2. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  3. ibid.
  4. Fast Facts About the Human Microbiome, Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health, University of Washington,
  5. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  6. ibid.
  7. Fast Facts About the Human Microbiome, Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health, University of Washington,
  8. ibid.
  9. Whiteman, Honor, The gut microbiome: how does it affect our health?, Medical News Today,
  10. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  11. ibid.
  12. The Microbiome and Disease, Genetic Science Learning Centre, University of Utah,
  13. Fast Facts About the Human Microbiome, Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health, University of Washington,
  14. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  15. Swansburg, John, Cute Family.  And you should see their bacteria, New York Magazine,
  16. Welch, R.W., & Mitchell, P.C., Food processing: a century of change, British Medical Bulletin, 2000, 56 (No 1) 1-17,
  17. Swansburg, John, Cute Family.  And you should see their bacteria, New York Magazine,
  18. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  19. Bloom, D.E. et al, The global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases, Geneva, World Economic Forum, 2011,
  20. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  21. Carpenter, Siri, That gut feeling, Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association,
  22. ibid.
  23. Dietert, Janice & Dietert, Rodney, The sum of our parts, The Scientist,
  24. David, Lawrence A., et al, Gut microbial succession follows acute sensory diarrhea in humans, mBio, American Society for Microbiology,
  25. Spector, Tim, Your gut bacteria don’t like junk food, even if you do, The Conversation,
  26. ibid.
  27. ibid.
  28. ibid.
  29. Swansburg, John, Cute Family.  And you should see their bacteria, New York Magazine,
  30. Sakimura, Johannah, Eat these 3 foods for a healthy gut,
  31. Spector, Tim, Your gut bacteria don’t like junk food, even if you do, The Conversation,
  32. Sakimura, Johannah, Eat these 3 foods for a healthy gut,
  33. ibid.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

How to keep your portion size equal to serving size

Most of us are eating portions of food that exceed the recommended serving size as specified on the Nutrition Facts label. Here are some tips to control the size of portions you eat.
  • Be aware of the serving size on the Nutrition Facts label before you serve yourself.
  • Serve yourself slightly less food than you think you want to eat.
  • Eat slowly and be aware of your food. Use all your senses to enjoy the food’s appearance, texture, smell, temperature and taste. Put your fork or spoon down after each bite so you can concentrate on enjoying your food.
  • Avoid distractions while you are eating. Don’t watch TV, read, or look at your phone at the table. Concentrate on enjoying your meal.
  • Put your food on a plate or in a bowl. Sit at a table while you enjoy your meal. Never eat directly from the container, or while standing up.
  • Notice when you begin to feel satisfied. That’s the time to stop eating, even if you have not finished your portion.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Set daily lifestyle change goals

It is important to set one inspirational goal each day for any lifestyle change you are working toward. It doesn’t need to be a giant step forward; remember that progress seems to work best when it’s one baby step at a time.

The goal should be worded as a positive. “I will eat a piece of fruit for a healthy snack” is better than “I won’t eat junk food for a snack.” Your daily goal also should be aligned with your personal likes and dislikes. It’s not reasonable to expect your habits to change totally overnight.

So, keep your focus positive and work toward making a small step in the right direction each day. This strategy will make it more likely that you will achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What is the difference between a portion and a serving of food?

These terms can be a bit confusing.

A portion is how much food is served on your plate. A serving is a specified amount of food that has a known number of calories and nutrients.

At restaurants and at home, the portion you are served of many foods contains more than one serving.

To understand the size of a portion of each food, read the Nutrition Facts label on the package.

The label will tell you how many pieces, or what volume or weight of that food equals one portion.

Don’t be fooled by a handy looking package. Not all packages are single servings. Always read the label to make sure you aren’t overeating and practice good portion control.