Monday, July 29, 2019

Creating a Family Routine

With school quickly approaching, the schedule-free summer days are almost over. For many families, the switch from the summer schedule to the school day routine can be stressful. But, things go more smoothly when both you and your child know what to expect. Here are some tips to creating structure and rules to make your back-to-school transition easier than ever!
  • Establish a routine and stick with it. A routine is a set of steps or to-do-items that you do the same way each time, making the day’s activities predictable. Morning and bedtime routines are crucial to creating structure in your child’s life.
  • Give your child choices whenever possible. Asking them, “Do you want A or B?” or “Do you want to brush your teeth or take a bath first?” allows your child to learn to be more independent and feel like they have some control in daily tasks. Plus they get valuable practice in making good choices.
  • Be predictable. Children crave structure, and they feel safe and know how to behave when they have a clear routine. Being predictable in all areas of a child’s life can reduce stress and improve their behavior. Be sure to enforce the routine and rules you have in place, even if you get pushback.
For more back to school tips, click here.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Monday, July 22, 2019

A Brief Guide to Going Plant-Based

The roots of veganism can be traced back more than 2,000 years, but modern-day veganism had its origins in 1944 and is still a relatively new concept to many people. The idea of cutting out all animal products to eat a more plant-based diet can be daunting. Most people are hesitant to go vegan because they believe the shift has to occur overnight, and a lot of people don’t want to give up their favorite dessert or snack item. This brief guide will give you tips and tricks to embracing a plant-based lifestyle at your own pace — no sacrifices required.
  • Try crowding in, not cutting out. Instead of trying to cut animal products out of your diet, crowd them out by putting emphasis on constantly seeking out new plant-based foods. You won’t miss your scrambled eggs in the morning if you are enjoying a delicious and refreshing smoothie bowl.
  • Cultivate the habit of trying new foods at every opportunity. Try starting with sampling at least five new plant-based foods each week. When looking at recipes, find those with ingredients you have never tried or even heard of. This will make your dietary shift exciting and fun!
  • There’s no timeline you have to follow. Some people do it overnight, while others ease into it over months or even years. How fast you go is not nearly as important as whether the approach you take feels easy and comfortable to you. Like any other lifestyle change, going plant-based not only takes getting used to, but it also takes time to determine what will work best for you.
  • Start small. Making small changes to your everyday meals is one of the easiest ways to increase the amount of plant-based foods in your diet. You could start by removing meat or dairy one day a week and go from there. Or you could try changing one meal at a time, having vegan breakfasts during your first week, adding a plant-based lunch a few weeks or months later, and so on. You could even try changing one product at a time by substituting almond or soy milk for cow’s milk, or using coconut oil or margarine in place of butter. There's a plant-based alternative for almost every type of food you can think of, so you don't have to miss out on any of your favorites.
  • Give it a test drive. Set a time frame for trying a plant-based diet, and at the end of the trial assess how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are you enjoying the adventure of trying new things? If so, keep it up! If not, perhaps start with vegetarianism and then work your way back to a fully plant-based lifestyle at a pace that works for you.
  • Keep it nutritious. Make sure you don't miss out on essential nutrients. Vegan doesn’t automatically mean healthy. There are vegan versions of almost every type of junk food. As long as you eat a wide variety of plant foods, different types and colors of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, planning a healthy plant-based diet that incorporates all the vitamins and nutrients you need will be a breeze.

Source: The Vegan Society

Monday, July 15, 2019

Effects of Yoga

You don’t have to be able to do a handstand to enjoy the benefits of yoga! According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 82% of adults who practice yoga said it improved their overall health and made them feel better. As an increasing number of studies are showing, yoga may help with several aspects of wellness including stress management, balance, healthy eating and physical activity habits. Here are a few ways yoga can help your wellbeing:
  1. Yoga may help relieve some symptoms of chronic pain conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  2. Yoga-based interventions can help individuals create healthy eating and physical activity habits.
  3. Yoga may be helpful for anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations.
  4. Yoga may help manage sleep problems because it can help ease stress and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
You can read a detailed report of the benefits of yoga here.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Five Ideas to Maximize Family Time

Finding quality time with your family can be a challenge, but it is an important investment in your overall wellbeing. This summer take time to inspire each other to live better and make new family traditions that encourage healthier lifestyles. The sooner in life we build healthy habits, the easier it is to keep them.

  • Introduce “Meatless Mondays” and create a family meal with only vegetables. 
  • Set limits on screen time. This includes television and all electronic devices. Instead, declare a family game night with board games, a dance-off or an outside physical activity. 
  • Try something new as a family. Bike rides, swimming and backyard baseball are all fun ways to fit in exercise. 
  • Let every family member create their own flavored water using fruit, vegetables and herbs. 
  • Try breathing exercises or a family meditation each night to help everyone unwind to get a better night’s sleep.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Don't Forget the Sunscreen!

The summer holiday is here but spending too much time in the sun can increase the risk for skin cancer and premature skin aging. Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer. Here are some things to consider to ensure you’re getting the most out of your sunscreen protection.

What to look for:
Broad Spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, both of which cause cancer.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher to protect against sunburn.

Don’t skimp!
Slather on at least an ounce (or a shot glass-sized amount) to get full protection. Water resistant sunscreen provides protection for 40 to 80 minutes. Reapply regularly according to the package directions and after getting wet or sweating heavily.

Don’t miss any spots!
Be sure to apply sunscreen around your eyes (look for sunscreen that is safe for your face), the tip of your nose, the tops of your feet, your lips, ears and near the hairline and scalp.

Don’t stop at the beach!
Protect your skin with sunscreen every day. Incidental sun exposure accounts for the majority of the sun’s rays people are exposed to in their lifetimes.

Not just for sunny days!
Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. UV rays can penetrate through haze and fog to damage and burn your skin.

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