Cold and flu season has reared its very ugly head around this neck of the woods. I’m sure you’re seeing the same wherever you live; it’s just that time of the year. We posted recently about various home remedies to relieve cold symptoms. It’s important to also keep in mind that a lot of the Standard American Diet sets us up to get sick and stay sick. So, let’s just look at a few things to avoid when you are fighting off a cold or flu.
Sugar. The number one culprit of lowered immunity in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is sugar. We put sugar in everything from our first cup of coffee to our breads and cereals and beyond. Baked goods and sodas are loaded with sugar. Did you know that a single 12-ounce can of soda can contain up to 9 teaspoons of sugar. That’s about 36 grams of sugar in one can. The American Heart Association recommends that adult men have no more than 36 grams of sugar per day. It also suggests that women and children have no more than 24 grams and 12 grams, respectively.
Sugar is notorious for tearing down immunity and will counteract whatever other good things you are doing or taking to get better. So, do your best to stay away from any comfort food that is sugary if you are fighting off a cold. Have an apple or an orange (which is high in vitamin C!) instead of a donut or muffin (unless you make your muffins with coconut flour and honey instead of white flour and white sugar)!
Dairy. The jury has not concluded that dairy is always bad for your immunity. Some of it has to do with what kind of dairy products we might be talking about. Many tout the huge health benefits of drinking raw, organic milk. However, even the raw milk does create extra mucous and can exacerbate your symptoms. So, it can’t hurt to stay away from the milk until you are better!
That’s not so hard, is it? What else do you avoid when you are fighting off a cold?
It’s that time of year, again. The day you have lots of friends come over to watch commercials and eat a bunch of fun food, right? Oh, of course, there are those few who will want to watch the game that takes place between the commercials. I’m joking, mostly. Did you know that you don’t have to be a big football fan to enjoy a good Super Bowl party. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to host a good Super Bowl party!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you do your last-minute planning for this weekend’s big game.
1. Find the deals; then, plan your menu. Check out the deals at all your local stores (including drugstores) before making your menu. Your guests may not care very much about the brand of chips, crackers, or even cheese that you have at the party. And, they won’t care that you have frozen pizza bites in place of the quiche you had originally planned to have. Make your menu based on the best deals you can find.
2. Stock up while you’re at it. Some of the snack foods and frozen foods on sale right now will not be on sale again for quite some time. So, if there are foods that you buy anyway, this is the time to stock up.
3. Make it a BYOB party. There aren’t many ways around the expense of alcohol, and guests expect to bring something with them. There is no shame in asking them to bring their own alcoholic drinks with them. You can still provide soda, punch, or juice. But, allowing guests to bring their own drinks can help cut costs significantly.
Are you hosting a party this weekend? What do you do to keep costs down for the big game?
If you want to save money you need to take care of your feet. Many medical problems can be traced back to improper foot care. Lack of healthy feet can lead to leg, hip, and back pain. I can’t even begin to tell you how many medical problems can come of improper care of feet. This doesn’t change the fact that besides a monthly pedicure, most of us ignore their feet. Why?
Why Are Feet Ignored?
Sure, baby feet are adorable. They even smell adorable. We love our nail polish and strappy shoes, but past that feet are gross. They are the body part we stuff in a leather container after covering it in a sock. They sweat and smell funky. When they aren’t in shoes they are on the floor or in the dirt. If you want to annoy your siblings, feet are the go to body part to poke them with.
Feet Need More Effort
Proper foot care is more than giving them a quick rub down in the shower. They need a gentle exfoliant to get dead skin off of them. They need to be moisturized. They could even use a nice little massage while being moisturized. This can help improve their circulation. It’s also important to get the bottoms of your feet, no matter how ticklish you get.
If you have certain conditions, your feet require special care. For example if you have diabetes, your feet need to be cared for by someone properly trained to do so. You may also have other needs for your feet. Powder will help reduce excess moisture when your feet are bundled up. Fungal infections need to be treated.
The type of shoe also helps to improve our foot care. We all know that high heels can damage our feet. So do shoes that don’t fit properly or have a bad sole (I suppose that makes them truly evil shoes). Make sure that you get a proper fit by trying on a shoe and walking up and down between the shoe racks. Pay attention to if they are too loose, too tight, or aren’t giving the bottom of your feet proper support. Shoes also break down in the sole over time. Shoe inserts can help you maintain the foot support you need.
We all could use a little help every now and then when it comes to finances. Often we are a little intimidated by those who would help us. I don’t mean friends or family. I mean the companies we owe or establishments set up to help in these times of financial difficulty.
Don’t go to a payday loan or title loan establishment. These places add huge amounts of interest and even if you can pay them off you’re going to lose a substantial chunk of your paycheck. If you can’t pay on time you will add late fees, delayed payment for extra interest, or delayed fines.
Do go to an established bank for a loan with usually low and fixed interest depending on your credit history. You can work with a loan officer who will let you know what the lowest payment you can make on that loan is. They can also help you best spend that loan. Talk to them about consolidation of debt and other financial worries.
The last thing that you want to do is avoid your creditors. Don’t hang up on bill collectors. Don’t lie to them and say that the payment is in the mail when it isn’t. Many of these people are here to actually help you find a way to make a payment that is both comfortable to you and them. Give them a chance to help.
When you are aware that you are not going to be able to make a payment on a bill, call the company to let them know. Many companies are willing to work with you to get their money. They may accept a partial payment or waive late fees if you can pay at a later time.
When you know that you may need a little help, don’t hold out until you are in financial trouble. Most government agencies are not known for their organization or promptness. That’s just another reason to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. When you no longer need the assistance be just as quick about letting it go. You wouldn’t want to owe the government extra by not doing so.
Also consider asking your community religious facilities what resources they have to offer. Some offer free babysitting for job interviews, free parenting classes, or child activities. Others have a charity pantry or run thrift stores. Often their doors are open to those in need regardless of belief.
Cold and flu season has struck our home. I was so relieved that both of our children were healthy enough for our entire family to go to church together on Sunday. Then, my daughter woke up congested and coughing. Two days later, my son was coughing, too. Here we go again…
Is it that way at your house these days?
Honey-Lemon Tea. Studies have shown that honey has antibacterial properties that help fight the common cold. It is also soothing to the throat and helps reduce inflammation, which may accompany a sore throat. As a matter of fact, my children’s pediatrician recommends a teaspoon of honey about a half hour before bed time to help ease that yucky night time cough. It has actually been proven to be more effective in preventing and reducing coughing than over the counter cough suppressants.
Elderberry Syrup. Elderberries have antibacterial and antiviral components to help fight off cold and flu symptoms. Check out this easy recipe for yummy elderberry syrup. If your children are like mine, they will remind you, if you forget to give it to them, because it’s yummy!
Cinnamon and Honey. Cinnamon also has antibacterial qualities to fight off colds, especially at first signs of sickness. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon to a teaspoon of honey and you will have a tasty remedy that won’t be a struggle to get your children to take.
Homemade Bone Broth. Grandma’s chicken soup may have seemed like just a comfort when you were sick. But science has backed up the immunity building properties of chicken broth. So enjoy that bowl or cup of broth, knowing it really is good for you and your children!
I had several “tea parties” yesterday with the children. I think that today, we will add a little “broth party” to the mix. In reality, it’s helping me get this good stuff in my body, too!
One of my favorite parts of a Super Bowl party is the snacks. I’m not much of a football fan (although I usually randomly pick a team I like for the big game), so the game itself is just a great excuse to spend time with friends and eat some fun snacks. It’s so easy, though, to end up spending quite a bit of money on Super Bowl party food. So, here are a few tips to help make your fun party both thrifty and healthy (or, at least, healthier).
Chop Your Own Veggies. It’s so easy to pick up a package of baby carrots or pre-cut carrots and celery. But chopping your own is easy and quick.
Make Your Own Dip. Pre-made dip can be full of preservatives and chemicals. Make your own dip using sour cream and onions. Here’s a super-easy recipe that looks better than any store bought onion dip! You could always make some homemade hummus, instead.
Bake Chicken Tenders. Who dictated that Buffalo wings were the standard Super Bowl snack? Honestly, I’ve never really been a big fan of Buffalo wings. It’s easy to prepare a much healthier option by baking chicken tenders. Here’s a recipe that is a nice alternative to the wings without sacrificing taste at all.
Black Bean Quesadillas. How about using beans to save money and calories? Our family loves black beans. Here’s a delicious (and nutritious) Super Bowl snack option!
Crispy Chickpeas. Here’s another thrifty healthy alternative. Nuts can be expensive to buy. But chickpeas are very reasonably priced. Make these crispy chickpeas and no one will miss the Blue Diamond almonds!
Who says that a big game should set you back on your new year’s resolutions to be healthier and more frugal? Enjoy the game, the snacks, and the extra money in the bank!
You have looked into grants and scholarships. You have worked and saved up your own money. Now you are considering taking out a student loan. Education is important, but it is also insanely expensive. Many of us find that we will be working until retirement just to pay off our student loans. That’s if we have other things we want in life, like a family or a house. We need to get all the facts and weigh the good against the bad, even with a topic as important as education
Society Is Changing
There are a number of changes that have been happening in the way we work in the United States. First of all, most people don’t stay with the same job for twenty years. They don’t earn retirement benefits. Benefits in the work sector have also changed. Many employers are only hiring part time in order to avoid the costs of mandatory health care.
We need to look at the positions that our education would qualify us for and determine if our education will support our lifestyle. Will we be able to raise a family on that amount of income? Will we be able to pay back student loans, plan for retirement, and pay for our medical insurance?
There are vocational schools that allow you to get an education for a profession but not need to take classes that are useless to that profession. There are a wide range of schools like this. They still cost money, but they cost a whole lot less. Plus, they tend to lead to employment more quickly and many of these professions pay very well.
What Other Options Are Available
While we know there is student loan forgiveness, we also know we shouldn’t plan on it. That means that a second job is the best bet for paying for your education. Other options are asking family for help with a written agreement to pay them back. Or you could promise you career services free to them in exchange for helping you out. Think outside the box, or should I say, think outside of the standard student loan.
As January comes to a close, it might be a good time to check in on how you’re doing with your new year’s resolutions. And, since losing weight is usually up there on our lists, I thought I’d share a few tips just in case you could use a little encouragement.
Making Healthy Choices. I believe that making healthy choices is actually a more important goal than weight loss. There are a lot of unhealthy ways to lose weight. You could suffer short or long term consequences from losing weight by making poor health choices. And you will likely regain the weight you lost over time. However, making healthy choices as part of your weight loss plan will reap you far greater long term consequences. You only get one body, treat it right.
Look at labels. If you think about your body a little like you might think about your bank account, it would help you to make better choices. What do you want to deposit into your account: empty (and possibly hurtful) calories that are found in most processed foods and junk food or nutrient dense calories from whole foods that have not been processed. If you look at a label and find ingredients that you can’t pronounce or ones you can because you learned them in your science class, then put that box/jar/container right back down. You need a snack, grab an apple or a banana or even a healthy homemade baked treat that isn’t loaded with sugar and white flour. Put rich foods, not nutrient deficient foods, into that bank account called your body.
A note about exercise. I LOVE to exercise. I realize that makes some people mad. I’m not saying that I do it all the time; I don’t. (It’s hard with two little ones at home.) But I say that to say that while exercise is a healthy and possibly fun activity, it is not required for weight loss. If we are eating as we should, we should not HAVE to exercise to maintain. I’m not saying don’t exercise. Not at all. DO exercise. Find something you love to do and do it regularly. Enjoy it. Make it part of your lifestyle. But do not do it simply as a tool for weight loss. I say that because I know that sometimes we get injured or sick or you name it. If you rely on exercise, you WILL gain weight when you’re out of commission. However, if you make healthy choices as part of your lifestyle, then if you take a break from your exercise routing, for whatever reason, you can still maintain your weight. Realizing that helped me so much in my own journey.
You can do it. Every day is a new day. If you made bad choices yesterday, start over today. If you made bad choices at your last meal, start over at your next meal!
How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?