Whew. Heartburn. The holiday meal you just ate was so amazing, but why do you feel so bad after eating it. Heartburn is the culprit. Here is a quick tip to help you avoid the holiday heartburn. Holiday Party Help: Rich, fatty foods, creamy dips, cookies, candies, and decadent desserts are often the holiday party heartburn culprits. Avoid peppermint! Peppermint is a holiday favorite but for heartburn sufferers it is anything but soothing for the belly. Peppermint, mint flavorings, and rich meals can relax the sphincter muscle and allow stomach acids to flow into the esophagus. Tip: Eat five or six smaller meals, instead of larger meals. This can minimize heartburn because smaller amounts of food minimize abdominal pressure. Have fun at holiday parties, avoid your personal trigger foods and drinks, and go lightly when filling your plate. New Year’s Tips: Kick up your heals but try to not have too many cocktails. And if you happen to over due it, you may be paying for it during the first few hours of January. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is one of the biggest heartburn offenders. Tip: Alternate alcoholic beverages with “mocktails” (non-alcoholic drinks). Choosing nonalcoholic drinks is the trifecta of good health: stay well hydrated, avoid that dreaded hangover -- and minimize heartburn.
- Eat Healthy: Avoid refined sugar. White, refined sugar weakens the immune system by stealing your white blood cell's ability to destroy bacteria. It can also encourage addiction to eating foods devoid of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Additionally, stay away from Aspartame and synthetic sugar products, such as NutraSweet, which includes Methanol (wood alcohol) which is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen. Synthetic sugars contribute to acidity, a condition which leads to inflammation and the creation of fat cells to store that extra acid. Try using natural sweeteners, such as honey for your sweetener. Eat more greens and veggies. Not only do veggies taste good, but they also boost your intake of antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and omega-3s. Include: a daily serving of greens, a daily serving of colored veggies (can include bright-colored berries), and a daily serving of sulphur-producing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, onions, and garlic.
- Log your food intake. Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat every day and when you eat it. The timing of your food intake affects how you feel and tracking what you eat is a helpful sports performance tool.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Movement is good, make a habit of it and stick to it. A healthy dose of exercise not only helps you get fit, but it can help you live a longer more energetic life.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Mayo Clinic, hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries in 2010 throughout the United States. 72% were to people less than 15 years of age. Additionally, in 2007 alone, toymakers recalled over 19 million toys worldwide because of safety concerns such as lead paint and small magnets. When it comes to toys and gifts, the excitement and desire to get your children their favorite toys may cause shoppers to forget about safety factors associated with them. Before you make these purchases, it is critical to remember to consider the safety and age range of the toys. This holiday season (and beyond), please consider the following guidelines for choosing safe toys for all ages:
- Inspect all toys before purchasing. Avoid those that shoot or include parts that fly off. The toy should have no sharp edges or points and should be sturdy enough to withstand impact without breaking, being crushed, or being pulled apart easily
- When purchasing toys for children with special needs try to: Choose toys that may appeal to different senses such as sound, movement, and texture; consider interactive toys to allow the child to play with others; and think about the size of the toy and the position a child would need to be in to play with it
- Be diligent about inspecting toys your child has received. Check them for age, skill level, and developmental appropriateness before allowing them to be played with
- Look for labels that assure you the toys have passed a safety inspection – “ATSM” means the toy has met the American Society for Testing and Materials standards
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (give a helmet with the skateboard)
- Keep kids safe from lead in toys by: Educating yourself about lead exposure from toys, symptoms of lead poisoning, and what kinds of toys have been recalled; being aware that old toys may be more likely to contain lead in the paint; having your children wash their hands frequently and calling your doctor if you suspect your child has been exposed to lead. Consult the last two websites listed below for more information
- Do NOT give toys with small parts (including magnets and “button” batteries which can cause serious injury or death if ingested) to young children as they tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the piece can fit inside a toilet paper roll, it is not appropriate for kids under age three
- Do NOT give toys with ropes and cords or heating elements
- Do NOT give crayons and markers unless they are labeled “nontoxic”
Holiday dinners with the family create some of the fondest memories. So consider the best possible food preparation techniques to avoid anyone getting sick. Follow these simple steps to correctly prepare your holiday meal.
- Cook Cook your food at the correct temperature. Many people think they can tell when food is “done” by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without using a food thermometer.
- Clean Wash hands and surfaces often while preparing your holiday meal. Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and countertops.
- Chill Refrigerate all your food properly. Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.)
- Separate Don’t cross contaminate your food. Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.
Did you know this week is national handwashing awareness week? According to the CDC, Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. It’s easy to do and is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. When should you wash your hands? Wash often! Help stop the spread of germs by washing your hands often, especially during key times listed below.
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After touching garbage
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them