Day: September 18, 2016

5 Tips to Keep Pets Fit and Healthy

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We all love to spoil our beloved pets with toys and snacks, but sometimes we need to remember that too many treats can be detrimental to their health. If you’ve noticed your dog has developed a bit of a waddle when they walk, or that you can no longer feel ribs when you pet your cat’s sides, your furry little pal may have a weight problem.

And yes, it is a problem. Extra weight on pets is unhealthy, and can lead to joint problems, arthritis, respiratory issues, back and hip pain, cancer and even diabetes. Just as with people, it’s important for pets to exercise regularly and control their caloric intake to stay fit.

 

To help you keep your puppy or kitty healthy and happy from the very start, or to help an older pet find their way back to fitness, we’ve compiled a list of 5 useful tips for you.

 

  1. Start Young—

Watch your pet’s food intake and weigh them regularly from an early age. If you notice a weight problem early, it’s much easier to adjust diet and exercise to halt the progression of weight gain before it becomes a problem than it is to lose weight after the pet is already obese.

Read the labels on your pet’s food and do your research so you can give your particular size, age and breed of animal the correct amount.

 

  1. Watch the Treats—

They love the treats and you love to make them happy, so it feels like a win-win for everybody. But too much of this seemingly win-win situation can very quickly turn into the need to lose-lose for your pet.

Experts recommend that if you must give treats, pay attention to the amount of calories you’re giving, and remove that amount from your pet’s other food sources.

 

  1. People Food is for People—

Only humans should be eating human food: no exceptions. Giving pets people food will only cause obesity and bad manners for them.

Once they develop a taste for it, and realize they can get it from you, your very smart animals will plead, whine and intently stare every time you eat. What was once cute quickly becomes annoying, and you have nobody to blame but yourself for reinforcing the bad habit of begging.

It’s best to avoid this unhealthy headache from the beginning by never feeding them anything but pet food.

 

  1. Exercise is Excellent—

If you’ve adjusted your pet’s diet and want to speed up the weight loss process, or simply want to keep them glowing with good health, finding ways to get them more exercise will help them, and will be great for you as well. Bonus!

If you have a dog, this can mean taking them on extra walks, throwing a ball or chew toy, or finding a safely fenced-in dog park where they can run freely and be stimulated by others of their kind.

To get a cat more exercise, laser pointers can entice them to chase the red dot around, feathers dangling from a stick can stir them up, and adding a cat condo can entice them to climb around more.

 

  1. Utilize Your Veterinarian—

Veterinarians generally do what they do because they love animals, and are more than happy to help you figure out a plan to maximize the health of your pet.

Consult with your vet to determine your pet’s fitness level and figure out a weight management plan specific to your pet’s particular needs. An expert can evaluate exactly where your pet should be physically, and the best way to get there.

 

Studies estimate that 40-50% of pets in the United States are overweight, and this obesity puts them at risk for many health problems, as well as reducing the length and quality of their life.

Do your pets a favor by keeping them on a smart diet and exercise plan so they can feel good and be with you for a long, long time.

 

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5 Simple Space-Saving Ideas for Small Kitchens

 

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No house or apartment is perfect, and sometimes we have to take a little bad with the good. For example, maybe the living room of your dwelling has plenty of cheerful natural light, but the bedrooms are dark. Or perhaps your home is older, but you have a gorgeous backyard that makes the extra maintenance worth it. Life is about compromise, so we decide what we can live with, what we can’t, and move on.

But if one of the things you’ve had to compromise on is kitchen space, you should know there are plenty of things you can do to make a tiny kitchen feel bigger.

 

Below are 5 simple space-saving ideas to help make your small kitchen more spacious.

 

  1. Mini is Mighty. Take an honest look around your kitchen, and decide which appliances you use, and which ones you rarely touch.

Of the often-used bunch, consider buying smaller, more compact versions of the same machines. Compact appliances are technologically sound, and you don’t have to sacrifice power or quality.

Some questions to ask yourself during downsizing might be:

  • Do I need a full-sized coffee pot, or can I get by with a single cup capacity machine?
  • Could I manage with a more compact refrigerator if it would open up more storage space above?
  • Do I use the blenders, juicers, toasters and appliances sitting out on the counters? And if so, could I buy smaller versions of them?

As for the rarely touched appliances: try putting them away in storage for a week. If you miss them, bring them back, but if not… I think you know what you need to do. (Cue: “Chopin’s Funeral March.”)

 

  1. Goodbye, Conventional. Hello, Convectional. Convectional microwave ovens, that is. New microwaves are available that come with convectional cooking capabilities and can even grill food, rendering that hogging-your-limited-space dinosaur of a conventional oven obsolete.

 

  1. Dish Decisions. Do you wash dishes often, or do they sit sadly in the big, empty dishwasher all week? If you don’t make a lot of dishes, consider replacing your traditional dishwasher with a compact one. Many people with small kitchens completely remove the built-in dishwasher to free up the space for cabinets, using one of the efficient new compact portable counter top dishwashers instead.

 

  1. Wonderful Wet Bars. One easy way to make room for food preparation in the kitchen is to create spaces outside of the kitchen for wines, beers and other drinks. These entertainment areas can feature compact wine and beverage refrigerators, wine racks and even kegerators for beer. If you have an area of your house that would make a great home bar, consider moving beverage-related items out of your cramped kitchen and into a space of their own.

 

  1. High Hanging Helpers. When you find yourself trapped in a small space, sometimes you have nowhere to go but up. So look up, not around. Place a magnetic strip on your wall to get that knife block off your limited counter. Use wire racks above your sinks for extra storage. Install overhead pot racks to hang pots and pans and free up cabinet storage. Get that bowl of fruit up out of the way with a hanging fruit basket. Seeking extra storage? Well, maybe you weren’t blessed with square footage, but nobody’s stopping you from utilizing those walls.

 

With the addition of compact appliances and some of the suggestions on this list, you can turn your small kitchen into a fully functional, efficient and spacious area for your family to enjoy.

5 Powerful Foods for Superhero Health

 

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Some excellent reasons for including many fresh fruits, vegetables and juices in our diets is for their vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory, and potential cancer-preventing properties.

Many foods, commonly known as superfoods, have been found by researchers to help prevent cancer, and have even been shown to stop the progression of cancer cells in studies.

Below are some powerful health-boosting edibles you should definitely include in your diet:

  1. Broccoli—

Broccoli and cauliflower, both members of the cruciferous vegetable family, contain powerful health agents. Not only do these vegetables lower your risk of getting certain cancers, researchers are discovering they can even fight off existing cancers by preventing them from growing.

Scientists have found that a chemical found in broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables called isothiocyanate can stop cancer growth by killing cancer cells.

Broccoli is also full of antioxidants, vitamin K and vitamin C, making it a wonderful addition to any detoxification program or cleanse.

  1. Kale—

Kale is in the same plant family as broccoli, and contains the same cancer cell-killing phytonutrients, plus it packs a punch loaded full of antioxidants (carotenoids and flavonoids) and anti-inflammatory nutrients that help your immune system fight off disease and illness.

Studies have shown that a diet including kale can not only help prevent cancer, but may also help with its treatment. Kale is extremely alkaline, and if you are fighting disease, one of the best things you can do is to lower your body’s acid levels and increase the alkalinity, giving it more power to fight off the bad guys.

Kale also contains enzymes involved with detoxification, and can help cleanse toxins quickly, allowing us to perform at maximum capacity.

  1. Purple Sweet Potatoes—

A new type of sweet potato has been grown specifically for its cancer fighting benefits. With purple pigment inside rather than the usual sunny hue, this strange new vegetable contains the chemical anthocyanin, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, prevent cancer and even slow the progress of existing cancer cells.

The purple sweet potato is loaded with the same antioxidants found in similarly-colored grapes and berries, but don’t count out those good old-fashioned orange-toned sweet potatoes, because they have plenty of vitamin A and antioxidants to offer as well.

  1. Flaxseed Meal—

Flaxseeds are loaded with much-needed Omega-3s (which are helpful for reducing inflammation and preventing skin cancer), vitamin E and dietary fiber, which is great for colon health (and the prevention of colon cancer).

It’s important to grind whole flaxseeds up or buy them in the already-ground meal form to reap the full benefits, as they can be hard to digest.

In scientific studies, daily ingestion of flaxseed meal has been shown to reduce cancer cell growth in patients, making flaxseeds an important addition to your daily smoothie, juice or breakfast cereal.

  1. Spinach—

Well known for its high iron content, spinach is one of the best superfoods you can feed your body, as it also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, folate and magnesium.

This nutritional powerhouse vegetable has been shown to lower the risk of macular degeneration, making it an excellent daily juice or smoothie choice for those genetically prone to eye disease.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences discovered that eating carrots and spinach more than twice weekly reduced breast cancer risk by 44%, so mixing in some carrot juice with your daily spinach juice would be a great idea. (Source: Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, November 1997)

Other studies have proven spinach to lower the risk of ovarian, stomach, skin, prostate and bladder cancer, so do your body a favor and eat your daily spinach.

 

Fruits and vegetables have long been considered powerful weapons in the fight against cancer, and research only continues to show this over and over again. Nearly every study conducted proves the anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting protection these plant-based superfoods can provide, so be sure to include them in your diet today.