Archive for March, 2017

How do you get people to come to your party? It’s all in the invitations

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Or, perhaps you are a business owner seeking to retain your patrons by hosting a series of events and private parties to show appreciation for their business. You also have very limited time to dedicate to the creation of an invitation from the ground up, but you’d like to have something tangible to send to your customers. 
Here are some tips for meeting your invitation needs:
* When designing your invitation, first and foremost, you want to ensure that your guests have a clear understanding of when and where the event will be. It’s imperative that you allow enough time in your party planning to give those invited plenty of time to respond and reserve space in their calendars. If you find the date of your event quickly creeping up and you haven’t finalized anything aside from the date itself, a save-the-date may be a good option for you. It serves as a courtesy by notifying guests to reserve the day, and lets them know more details will follow.
* If you are hosting your event in a remote location, be sure to include directions and look into getting a group discount on hotel accommodations for out-of-town visitors. Integrating this information into the invitation will assist attendees in making the ultimate decision as to whether or not to attend your event. Additionally, when giving the location, state whether it’s outside or inside so guests can plan their attire. If you plan on holding your event on a boat, airplane or other vehicle, provide ample notice to your attendees. You should also feature the reason you’re hosting the event prominently on the invitation itself. For instance, if you’re hosting a gala to celebrate the election of a new president for your company, then attendees will know it’s more formal than a birthday party for a child.
* The design, color and paper quality selection also play an integral role in grabbing your invitees’ attention and getting them to commit to attend. This is why it is so important to take advantage of an invitation vendor who can accommodate your customization needs, with styles available in full color, in a matte, glossy or even linen finish and matching envelopes to complement your masterpiece. Be sure to include a way for your guests to RSVP. A low-cost option is to provide a phone number or email address where guests can leave their responses. If you want to be slightly more formal, include a response card with a pre-printed, postage-paid return address envelope with your invitations.
* Finally, it’s important to remember to stamp those invitations and RSVP envelopes. Otherwise, the chances of you getting RSVPs will be slim to none. Following these simple tips will help you create the perfect invitation for your next big event.

Shedding for the wedding: Your 3-month guide

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

(BPT) – The dress, the tux, the guests, the honeymoon – there are so many details that go into your wedding day. All eyes are on you from the moment you walk down the aisle until the last dance of the night. Understandably so, brides and grooms often feel a lot of pressure to look their best on this important day – there’s nothing like a wedding to motivate you to get serious about your health and fitness goals.

But crash diets or extreme exercise programs are never the answer. “It’s usually best to start thinking about your specific goals three months before your wedding day to allow plenty of time to establish your routine and adjust to a healthier lifestyle,” says Steve Bronston, certified personal trainer with Life Time, a healthy way of life company that operates more than 115 health and wellness centers nationwide. “This creates a great opportunity for the bride and groom to support each other and get in shape together.”

Bronston and Life Time offer a three-month countdown plan to get you ready for the big day:

Weeks 1-4

Focus on changing your unhealthy habits. Nutrition is key when trying to lose weight, decrease body fat and increase your overall health. Work with a professional to lay out a detailed nutrition plan that consists of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at each meal. Then, begin with a fitness program that incorporates weight training and cardio intervals. Arm exercises like overhead press, tricep push-ups and bicep curls, and back exercises like rows and rear flys help brides looking to tone up for a strapless or low-back dress. Bronston suggests starting with two or three days of weight training, two or three days of cardio and one day of Pilates or yoga.

Weeks 5-8

Now it’s time to switch up your exercise routines. It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer or join a group fitness class once or twice a week to shake up your routine and stay motivated. Your workouts should include one to two weight training exercises per body part throughout the week. If you can, try to shift the amount of weight you use and number of repetitions you do to help stimulate change within your body. Continue a cardio routine of two to three days per week and add in another day or Pilates or yoga.

Weeks 9-12

It is important to keep up with your developing healthy habits as the weeks progress, but as your wedding day approaches, you’re sure to feel the stress of planning. “A new focus on rest and relaxation during this time period is key,” Bronston says. You can eat well and exercise perfectly, but without sleep, stretching, rest and recovery, your body is at risk of not functioning properly.

Planning a wedding can be stressful and tiresome, but if you commit to a healthy diet and fitness plan, you’ll walk down the aisle feeling confident and ready for your new life ahead.

 

Ask the pharmacist: How to avoid medication misfortune during a natural disaster

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017



“People with health conditions such as diabetes, asthma or heart problems need to be particularly vigilant about making sure they have access to their medications when preparing for the aftermath of a natural disaster,” says Paul Reyes, Express Scripts pharmacist and host of the Ask the Pharmacist radio series. “It’s very important that you have your medications with you if you have to leave your home or at least have the appropriate information so that you can quickly get a supply of medication if necessary. There is plenty of stress and worry in an emergency situation and you want to avoid having your drug treatments add to your problems.”

Reyes provides the following tips to help avoid medication mistakes when facing a weather-related emergency.

* Pack and prepare your pills: Keep an updated list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications (including the name of the drug, the dosage and the condition being treated) with you in a waterproof container or bag. Include phone numbers for all of your doctors and pharmacies in case you or an emergency worker needs to contact them. If you are concerned about potential evacuations, consider storing your medications in one spot for quicker access.

* Carry your prescription card: It’s important to always carry your prescription drug membership card. Your pharmacy benefit provider or health plan can help you obtain an emergency supply of any lost or damaged medication.

* Develop a plan: Consider discussing your medication disaster plan with your doctor, especially if the medication you take has special handling instructions or requires electronic equipment (such as a nebulizer) or refrigeration. Make sure you have at least three days’ worth of medication and supplies with you (more if local authorities advise). Ordering a 90-day supply of medication through your plan’s mail-order pharmacy is a simple way to ensure a full stock.

If you do experience an emergency situation, it’s important to consider the following:

* Medication safety: Medications that are exposed to moisture, excessive heat or simply left at room temperature when they should be refrigerated may become contaminated. Inspect medications to see if the look or smell of it has changed. Contact a local pharmacist or health care provider to help determine if a drug is safe to use.

* Skipping doses: If you haven’t been able to take your medication, contact a pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible, even if you’re not experiencing any negative health effects. If you’ve skipped doses of your medication, never take additional doses to make up for those you’ve missed before talking to a health care practitioner.

For more resources and information, visit Express Scripts’ Healthcare Insights blog at lab.express-scripts.com.

Family fun that is quick and delicious, easy and nutritious

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017


Making your own version of your favorite take-out meals at home means you can control the amount of sodium and fat your family is consuming without compromising on flavor. If you stock your freezer with whole-wheat pita and your pantry with healthy pasta sauce, you will always have the base for a perfect Pitazza at a moment’s notice.

Healthy cooking tip: To add protein to your Pitazza without the extra sodium, roast a whole chicken. Remove the meat and store in your fridge. Freeze the bones for when you have spare time to make your own, low-sodium chicken broth.

Prep time: 8 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

Serving Size: ½ pita

Calories per serving: 202

Ingredients:

• ½ cup (125 mL) Healthy Choice Garlic and Fine Herb pasta sauce

• 1 90g whole wheat pita, split in half to make 2 circles

• ½ cup (125 mL) finely sliced peppers (red, orange and/or yellow)

• ½ cup (125 mL) sliced mushrooms

• ¼ cup (50 mL) minced red onion

• 2 tbsp. low-fat feta cheese crumbled or your favorite low-fat cheese

Directions:

• Preheat oven to 400F/205C.

• On large baking sheet arrange pita bread

• Spread ¼ cup (75 mL) Healthy Choice Garlic and Fine Herb tomato sauce evenly on each pita half

• Top with ¼ cup (50 mL) each: peppers, mushroom and 2 tbsp.(25 mL) red onion.

• Evenly sprinkle crumbled feta cheese; bake for 12 minutes or until the pita crust is golden.

• Slice Pitazza into two pieces, serve with garden salad.

Tip: Top with diced chicken for an extra protein punch

Tip: Make it Naanzza using low fat, low sodium naan bread

Turn video games into family time

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

If you have children who love video games– and an estimated 95 percent of them do– or are interested yourself in video gaming, consider the positive aspects of how playing video games can benefit your family, and others:

* Educational components – Video games have plenty of educational opportunities designed for the youngest to oldest members of the family. Some games work on math skills, others teach history lessons and still others work on teaching different languages. Research studies have also shown that fast-action games improve visual acuity and attention to details – especially when it comes to reading the fine print.

* Physical fitness – Gaming doesn’t have to be a couch potato activity any longer. Modern gaming systems encourage players to stand up so the technology can track body movements to create the action happening on the screen. This physical activity can help improve muscle tone, balance and provide a cardio workout while the player is engrossed in the game play.

* Social connectedness – With gaming systems encouraging multiple players at once, and online communities established for players to talk about specific games, players can connect and socialize across the globe. On the local scale, a family video game night promotes a bit of competitive fun among family members, while still enhancing the physical and educational skills that children and adults can glean from video game play.

This Nov. 2, take advantage of the positive benefits of playing video games, and push them one step further by signing up for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Extra Life event. Families can register to participate in this give-back gaming celebration, asking supporters to pledge at least $1 per hour of game play on Nov. 2.

In previous years, Extra Life participants have raised an average of $200 each, which benefits CMN Hospitals across the country to fund the most pressing local pediatric needs. Families can find their area’s member hospital and sign up to start their fundraising quest at www.extra-life.org.

Once registered for Extra Life, invite friends and other family members to also get involved in raising money for CMN Hospitals. Consider blogging or using social media to report your family’s participation in the day’s activities, and document the different games played each hour. You can even switch it up and play a mix of video, board and lawn games. Relays are a great way to keep the energy going while allowing regular breaks.

And consider keeping the tradition going strong by establishing a video game-playing night once a week or once a month. Push your children to the physical and educational games, and see if you can keep up with them. By joining them at the console or computer, you’ll turn video gaming into family fun time– and show them that play can do the world a whole lot of good.

Move over carrots: other key nutrients for healthy vision

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Move over carrots and beta-carotene, there are other foods and nutrients that appeal to eye health. Dr. Michael Roizen, author and co-founder of RealAge.com, provides a brief tutorial on the best nutrients for eye health.

Lutein and zeaxanthin – The same survey found that less than half of Americans (41 percent) are familiar with lutein and only 6 percent of Americans are familiar with the nutrient zeaxanthin. Of the 600 known carotenoids, these are the only two that are found in the retina of the eye.
 
 Eat dark leafy greens (like spinach) and eggs and you’re on your way to incorporating lutein and zeaxanthin into your daily diet. While there is no established recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for lutein and zeaxanthin, the American Optometric Association recommends 10 mg per day of lutein and 2 mg per day of zeaxanthin.
 
 The recently published AREDS 2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) was launched to determine whether a combination of key nutrients – including vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and omega-3s – can further reduce the risk of progression from the common dry macular degeneration to advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Secondary analysis showed that the group receiving lutein and zeaxanthin versus those not taking lutein and zeaxanthin, had a 9 percent risk reduction for progression to advanced AMD.
 
 DHA and EPA omega-3s – DHA omega-3, found in fatty fish, fish oil and algae (the fish get it from algae—they don’t make it themselves), is a major structural fat in the retina of your eye (and in your brain). It plays an important role in infant visual development, in visual function throughout life, and in eyesight and memory support with aging.
 
 The LUTEGA study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology showed that supplementation of lutein, zeaxanthin, DHA and EPA omega-3s result in increased concentrations of these nutrients in plasma and a significant improvement in the optical density of the macular pigment in 172 individuals with “dry” AMD.
 
 Vitamin E – This essential vitamin, found in oils, wheat germ and peanuts, is an antioxidant that supports eye health. It may be difficult to get the recommended daily amount of vitamin E through diet alone – 15 mg/day for anyone older than 14. For example, to get 15 mg of vitamin E, you would need to eat one cup of peanuts that comes with about 827 calories.
 
 You can also get this vitamin in foods such as spinach, salmon and walnuts. But, if you’re not eating foods rich in these nutrients on a daily basis, consider adding supplements specifically formulated for eye health. Some of these supplements include Ocuvite, i-Caps and Centrum Specialist Vision. Check with your physician before starting any supplement program.

Roizen’s quick tips on how you can help support the health of your eyes include:

1. Avoid smoke, including second-hand smoke;
 2. Wear UV protective sunglasses;
 3. Take in 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day;
 4. Get 900 mg of DHA omega-3 a day.