Archive for November, 2015

New technology provides discreet hearing aid options

Monday, November 23rd, 2015



Despite the fact that many people have hearing loss, they often wait years to get help. Only one in five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually wear one. Many people still think of hearing aids as the big, bulky models of the past. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of today’s top hearing aids reside inside the ear and are invisible to the naked eye.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of hearing loss and could benefit from wearing a hearing aid, here’s an overview of some of the latest discreet technology that can greatly improve the quality of your life.

AMP. AMP from Starkey Hearing Technologies is designed specifically for first-time hearing aid users. About the size of a fingernail, AMP sits invisibly in a person’s ear canal and amplifies sound.

Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC). The IIC is the most advanced invisible technology on the market today. These aids – similar in size to a jelly bean – are custom fit to your ear canal and hearing loss. An IIC is placed deep in your ear, usually making it completely invisible to anyone else. The highest quality IICs are custom, digital and fully programmable.

Mini receiver-in-canal (RIC). People who want the benefits of an invisible hearing aid but can’t wear an aid that fits in their ear canal can choose a mini RIC. This aid resembles the shape of a more traditional hearing aid but it is nearly half the size. The mini RIC hides behind a person’s ear, making it nearly invisible. Despite its size, this hearing aid still offers the highest performance, power and features available.

The latest advancements in hearing aid technology mean you no longer have to be self-conscious about combating your hearing loss. To read more about each of these types of hearing aids and to learn how a hearing aid can improve your quality of life, visit www.invisiblehearingaid.com.

Top trends for a fall wardrobe update

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Fashion experts from two of the Art Institutes schools share six of the top trends for fall and how you can use them to make the most of the pieces already in your closet.

Animal print – “Look at any magazine and you’re going to see animal print,” says Stefani Bay, fashion instructor at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago. She says everything is in animal print. Whether black and white or a crazy color, this trend can be found on garments, shoes, bags and scarves. According to Bay, adding an animal print piece to any outfit in your closet will make you look “of the moment.”

Tweed – “Tweeds are a very important fashion story this fall,” says Emil DeJohn, fashion instructor at The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Each year a variety of tweeds grace the runways of Fashion Week, but this year they are stealing the spotlight, especially in black and white versions of houndstooth, Donegal tweed, and herringbone.

“A tweed jacket is the perfect thing over something old,” says Bay, especially when it’s a colorful tweed over a colorful outfit. Other options include tweed scarves and even handbags.

Leather – “When isn’t leather right?” asks Bay. DeJohn agrees adding whether it’s trim, collar and cuff, or the entire jacket, leather is something every woman should have in her closet this fall. You can find this incredibly versatile textile in jeans, blouses and accents, but according to Bay, the big story for leather is the motorcycle jacket. You can find motorcycle jackets in all price points, made from leather, faux leather, vinyl or patent leather. Added to your closet it will make anything look more current.

Black and white – A perennial favorite of chic women the world over, black and white is a big trend for fall, especially when paired with a bright shocking color, says DeJohn. The perfect way to jazz up black and white is with a punch of the season’s soft orange, citrus green, bright royal blue, gold or royal purple. “You can put anything black and white over a white shirt to look crisp and professional,” says Bay. You can also do the same with a black T-shirt or add a punch of black and white with a handbag.

Dresses – “Dresses made a major comeback. Every designer had a number of dresses in their collection,” says DeJohn. Dresses are easy, convenient and versatile. “They take you from day to evening,” says Bay. She recommends wearing a favorite dress with a motorcycle jacket and boots for day, and chandelier earrings and heels for evening. She cautions that the most important thing with dresses is fit. And if you have an old dress with a great pattern or color, just add a motorcycle jacket to give it new life.

Hats and scarves – According to DeJohn, hats are also making a comeback. He says they are an easy and practical update to any outfit, with a variety to suit all face shapes. Bay says scarves are another trend in fall accessories. For daytime, she recommends wearing a long woven scarf wrapped around multiple times, and for evening add a beaded scarf to a black dress.

Five unexpected ways to get your kids to eat veggies – and like them

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015



Smooth operator

Picky eaters might turn up their noses at the sight of leafy green vegetables, but they’ll gladly accept a tasty, blended treat. Incorporate a variety of veggies, plus some fruit for sweetness, into a smoothie, and your kids will just taste the sweet fruit flavor. Throw a few broccoli florets and a handful of spinach, along with some green grapes, a bit of pear and avocado, plus water and pineapple juice, into a Vitamix 5200 to create a sweet green smoothie. The little ones will think they’re enjoying a decadent treat, but they’ll also be getting antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients.

Squeeze the juice

Most kids enjoy a nice glass or box of refreshing juice. Rather than giving them store-bought juices, which could be loaded with sugar and missing essential nutrients, utilize a high-powered blender to make whole-food juices at home. Use carrots, pineapple and a little water to make a sweet yet healthy juice that contains antioxidants and fiber. With whole-food juices, you’re able to keep the healthiest parts of the fruits and vegetables: the seeds, skin and pulp. Plus, you’ll know exactly what your kids are drinking.

Sauce it up

What kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Increase your children’s veggie intake by making a homemade cheese sauce with healthy ingredients. Puree cauliflower, carrots or butternut squash, add them to your sauce and serve over whole-wheat macaroni noodles for a more nutritious version of this favorite dish. You can also make a fresh tomato sauce to serve over spaghetti squash “noodles,” a wholesome, gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. To make the “noodles,” simply halve and seed the squash, then bake in a dish with one-half cup of water at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. When the squash is cooked, use a fork to scrape the flesh, which creates the “noodles.”

“Souper” healthy

Another great way to get more veggies into your kids’ diets is to add them to a soup. Many kids would rather not eat plain broccoli, so try a low-fat cheesy vegetable soup that incorporates this essential ingredient. All you need is broccoli or cauliflower, low-fat milk, low-fat cheese and some spices to make a nutritious, satisfying soup. Your kids will love the cheesy taste – and you’ll love that they’re eating more vegetables.

Sweet treats

A frozen treat is a satisfying way to end a meal. Create an avocado sorbet using soymilk and a touch of sugar, or make a spinach-lime sorbet with fruit juice for sweetness. You can make the sorbet ahead of time and let it freeze, or use frozen fruits and vegetables to whip up a quick treat in a high-powered blender. Your kids will enjoy their dessert, and you’ll enjoy knowing it’s full of healthy veggies.

You may have to be creative to get your children to eat the recommended three to five servings of vegetables each day, but there are many ways to introduce them to new flavors. Try some of these ideas, and your kids will be getting the nutrition they need. Also, when it comes to eating your veggies, be sure to lead by example. Children are much more apt to try new things if they see others enjoying the food.

Vitamix All Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 3/4 cups green grapes

1/4 Bartlett pear, ripe, seeded, halved

1/2 avocado, pitted, peeled

1/4 cup coarsely chopped broccoli

1/2 cup spinach, washed

1/4 cup ice cubes

 Directions:

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.

Select Variable 1.

Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.

Blend for 35-40 seconds or until mixture is smooth.

Gluten-free meals with ‘wow’ factor, from breakfast to dinner

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

(BPT) – As awareness of gluten-free diets continues to grow, more people are searching for ways to make their menus delicious, creative and varied while still staying gluten-free. In the past, forgoing gluten was challenging at best and frustrating at worst, due to a lack of available ingredients and products. But that was then. Now, whether it’s gluten intolerance or a goal of healthier eating that drives your meal plans, you can indulge and enjoy great meals from breakfast to dinner (and everything in between).

The expanding availability of gluten-free substitutes for favorites like tortillas, breads and pastas means that you don’t need to give up the dishes you love. For truly healthy options, it’s important to look for gluten-free products with shorter ingredient lists filled with familiar items.

Get your gluten-free menu started with these tips for meals throughout the day. Packed with flavor, nutrition and great ingredients, they’ll keep the whole family happy.

Breakfast

* Breakfast burrito bar – Get the day off to a spicy start with delicious breakfast burritos. Make it an interactive morning event on the weekend with a burrito bar. Set out an array of gluten-free ingredients, like scrambled eggs, beans, vegetables and cheese, for your family to mix and match. Fold it all up in black rice tortillas made by Food For Life, which are highly nutritious – black rice boasts antioxidant levels on par with “superfruits” like acai and blackberries.

* Dressed-up English muffins – Crispy outside, fluffy inside and topped with delicious, nutritious goodies – what could be a better way to start the day? Try topping yours with mashed avocado that’s been whisked with crushed chili, a splash of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Or, if you like something sweeter, try gluten-free almond butter with raspberries, blackberries or a dash of cinnamon sugar. Gluten-free English muffins are available from Food For Life.

Lunch

* Standout sandwiches – Go beyond the basics for your midday meal. Using gluten-free bread, you can create gourmet sandwiches that would cost far more in a restaurant. Rethink tuna salad by using Dijon mustard instead of mayo, and adding capers, diced sundried tomatoes and preserved lemon. Or, go for a veggie extravaganza with Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, crunchy sprouts and hummus.

* Seasoned quesadillas – Add a little something extra to your classic quesadilla, that well-loved snack of melted cheese between two gluten-free tortillas. Try adding a variety of cheeses and boosting the flavor with herbs and spice mixes.

Dinner

* A new take on pizza – Everyone loves pizza for dinner, especially when they can make it their own. Using gluten-free tortillas, the whole family can create personalized mini-pizzas with thin, crunchy crusts. Simply assemble the toppings of choice and either grill or toast in the oven. For busy nights, it’s a meal that’s quick, easy and guaranteed to please.

* Enchiladas -This classic Mexican dish is great for crowds, so if you’re welcoming friends, add it to your menu. Black rice tortillas will add eye-catching color and lots of nutrition, without bringing gluten to the table. Fill the enchiladas with the meat of your choice (such as shredded chicken or beef) as well as rice, beans and grilled onions and peppers. Top with a spiced sauce of roasted tomatoes, as well as Mexican cheese like cotija or chihuahua, and bake.

Today, gluten-free diets can be every bit as delicious and rich with nutrition – and maybe more so – than other diets. Celebrate the possibilities and find creativeness in your gluten-free kitchen. For more ideas, go to www.foodforlife.com.

Tips for safer home medication storage and consumption

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

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“Many of us keep multiple medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, in the house,” says JeQuithia Sims, pharmacy technician program chair at Everest College in Arlington, Texas. “But when stored or consumed incorrectly, medication can cause unexpected consequences.”

Everest campuses across the country offer a pharmacy technician program that prepares students, through technical and practical training, for careers in aiding licensed pharmacists. Here Sims shares 10 pharmaceutical best practices to keep in mind when organizing the medicine cabinet.

Storing your medication

* Store in a cool, dry place – While it varies by manufacturer, this rule stands true for most medications. A few simple storage locations might be in a medicine cabinet, on top of a dresser or on a designated shelf. If you have children, be sure to keep medications up high and out of reach.

* Keep away from light – Light can degrade medication more quickly than intended, so it’s important you don’t store medication in light-filled places such as a windowsill or under powerful indoor lighting.

* Honor the expiration date – Whether it’s an over-the-counter or prescription medication, old pills degrade over time and can cause a bacteria imbalance when consumed. Most medication expires after one year, so use this as a rule of thumb when revisiting old pills. Before picking up that 500-count bottle of pain reliever because it’s a “better deal,” ask yourself if your household will consume all 500 pills that year. If not, it might be safer to grab the smaller bottle, and re-stock yearly.

* Do not flush – When disposing of expired, discolored, or unused prescription medications, be mindful of proper disposal practices by throwing medications away in the household trash or through your community’s medication disposal program. One of the easiest options is to take your unused or expired medications to your pharmacy and they will dispose of them properly. Flushing or pouring medication down the drain harms the environment, as sewage systems are not capable of removing medicines from the water released into lakes, rivers and oceans.

Using your medication

* Note the warning label – Even if you’ve taken the medication for years, it’s always a good idea to look at the warning label for consumption directions, as your doctor may have altered your dosage or the manufacturer slightly changed the consumption directions.

* Consuming liquids is not the same as consuming water – If the label instructs you to consume with water, be careful not to consume with other beverages. Juices and acidic drinks can cause the medication to break down faster than normal and hot drinks, such as coffee or tea, cause coated pills to melt too quickly in the stomach – not the intestine, where it’s intended to break down. This may produce side effects as harmful as stomach ulcers.

* Don’t lose the dropper – It might seem the same to use a household spoon with liquid medication, but the dropper or spoon provided by the pharmacy has been measured specifically for your intended dosage. Research shows that silverware teaspoons can vary between one to nine milliliters dependent upon design, making them an unreliable tool for medication.

* Your pharmacist is your friend – Don’t forget that your pharmacist is an expert. When in doubt about the safety of consuming a medication for any given reason, your pharmacist is there to answer your questions.

Tips for kids

* Children are not small adults – If a medication is intended for adult consumption only, keep in mind that it cannot simply be given to children in smaller doses. Instead, seek a medication specifically designed for children.

* Medicine is not candy – Although referring to medicine as “candy” around children might be a tempting tactic to entice them to take it, parents should be wary of what might happen when they are not around. Children can easily get ahold of medication, consume large amounts and overdose.

Savory fall dishes enhanced with grapes

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015


Beautiful fall vegetables are in season now and make for wonderful dishes that will have your family members saying yum.

In addition to the traditional fall flavors of produce like squash and cauliflower, California grapes are also in season, having one of the longest, just-picked seasons among North American fruits, from May to January. Always the perfect snack, grapes possess a flavor balance of sweetness and acidity, making them a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory preparations.

When it comes to fall produce, cauliflower is often passed over in the produce aisles in favor of its much-touted cousin broccoli. But roasting cauliflower brings out a hint of surprising sweetness in this robust veggie. Add to that roasted grapes, with their juicy burst of tangy flavor, along with a good sprinkling of ground cumin, and you’ll be reaching for cauliflower more often just to prepare this simple and delightful dish.

Butternut squash takes on a whole new dimension when baked with grapes and rosemary and seasoned with a gratin topping. The crunch of the topping adds another texture component to the pop of juice coming from the grapes and the browned edges of the comforting squash. Rosemary offers a hint of aromatics that fits perfectly into the mix.

Roasting grapes is a big trend in finer restaurants, but very easy to do. Roasted grapes can also be turned into a simple sauce, by adding a ladleful of wine, water or broth and reducing the mixture over heat to thicken to a syrupy consistency. Drizzle over pork tenderloins or sauteed chicken breasts, and you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before.

Both featured recipes have an added bonus: They combine fruit and vegetables, which are foods that health experts say we need to eat more of, more often.

Roasted Cauliflower and Grapes

Serves six

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower (3 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch florets

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups red, green or black seedless California grapes

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Toss cauliflower, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, salt, cumin and pepper together in a large bowl and spread in one layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast 20 minutes and stir the cauliflower. Toss the grapes and remaining olive oil together and add to the baking sheet. Roast 5 to 10 minutes longer and serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 116; Protein 3.3 g; Carbohydrate 17 g; Fat 5.2 g; 37 percent Calories from Fat; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 287 mg; Fiber 3.6 g.

 

Butternut Squash, Rosemary and Grape Bake

Serves eight

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 medium butternut squash (about 4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks or 3 1/2 pounds pre-cut butternut squash chunks (11 cups)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 large red onion, cut into thin slices

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups red or black seedless California grapes, stemmed and rinsed

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the squash and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes, then transfer to the baking dish. Repeat browning of remaining squash with another tablespoon of olive oil and more salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish.

Heat another tablespoon of the oil in the skillet and add the onion and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Bring to a simmer and pour into baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 F. Remove the dish from the oven and take off the foil. Sprinkle the grapes over the top. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the squash. Bake until top is browned and bubbling, or about 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 259; Protein 6.6 g; Carbohydrate 36 g; Fat 12 g; 38 percent Calories from Fat; Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 266 mg; Fiber 4.7 g.