Drug Abuse Problem

The Drug Abuse Problem

Drug abuse problem is one of the major problems facing many young people today. National surveys indicate that persons in the age group of 18 to 25 are most likely to use illegal drugs.

Drug abuse
Drug abuse

Why do young people, or why does anyone, young or old, use drugs? Studies reveal that responses such as the following are common.

  • “They make me feel good.”
  • “My friends all do it.”
  • “I’m more relaxed and friendly when I’m high.”
  • “I was curious.”

Unfortunately, the drug user’s life sooner or later becomes disrupted. Drugs can cause a wide variety of physiological and psychological problems. Drug abuse can interfere with school performance and personal relationships. It can cause lost jobs and cut short promising careers. It can ruin lives.

Many drug abusers are not aware they have a problem. They rationalize that they can stop anytime. Unfortunately, the research shows this is not true in many of the situations.

When to Get Help For a Drug Problem

  1. Do you take drugs or drink to get ready for social situations?
  2. Do you take drugs or drink to avoid facing personal problems?
  3. Do you hide your drinking or drug use from others?
  4. Do you take drugs and drink when you are alone?
  5. Do you get annoyed at others who suggest you drink or take drugs too much?

If you answer yes to many of the questions in the box above, you may have an alcohol or drug problem and should talk to an alcohol and drug counselor at your college health center.

Living a life of robust energy and fitness is a quality of life on the opposite end of the spectrum from a life of using drugs. Your quality of life does not depend on doing right or wrong or whether you are good or bad. Your quality of life is determined by your choice to live at your potential and to live each day to the fullest.

Exercise can be your drug – your recreational drug! Exercise can help you to handle personal demands, achieve career goals and maintain good health and wellness. Remember that wellness refers to engaging in behaviors that enhance the quality of your life. Regular exercise is the key to maximizing your potential.

Drug use has the potential to mess up your health and the quality of your life. Drugs used for treatment, cure, prevention, or pain relief are referred to as medicines. Such medicines have kept people alive and helped in maintaining health. When a person uses drugs for reasons other than medical treatment, this behavior is called recreational drug use. Drugs are used recreationally to lessen social tensions, to seek sensations of pleasure, to enhance physical performance, to rebel against the pressures of society, to gain peer acceptance, or for a combination of these reasons.

Drugs are classified according to the physiological affect they have on your body as follows.

Uppers and downers

  • Stimulants. Speed up your nervous system, increase alertness and excitability.
  • Depressants. Slow down your nervous system, Help you to relax (known as tranquilizers or sedatives).
  • Psychoactive drugs.  Alter moods, feelings, perceptions.
  • Narcotics. Powerful pain killers that cause pleasurable feelings.
  • Inhalants. Volatile non-drugs producing drug like effects when inhaled, substances such as glue and gasoline fall into this category.
  • Designer drugs. Illegal manufactured drugs that tend to mimic controlled substances. Generally more powerful and dangerous than the drugs they mimic.

Commonly Abused Drugs

Caffeine and alcohol are classified as drugs. All are legal and commonly used today in our society. They have the potential to be harmful if abused. Anabolic steroids, most often used by athletes, have also become a concern. The so-called recreational drugs, such as crack and marijuana, are another form of drug that can cause serious health problems.

Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Millions of people drink or ingest caffeine daily. It is found in cola drinks, chocolate, and of course, coffee. Restricting consumption to a couple of cups of coffee or cola a day allows a person to get the benefits without hurting his or her health.

Alcohol DrinksAlcohol. Alcohol, although socially acceptable, has probably caused more social, emotional, and physical damage to users and  their families than any other drug. People drink to celebrate, to relax, to ease social situations, to feel good, and for a multitude of other reasons.

Because alcohol is accepted in society as legal and appropriate, it is important to use it responsibly. This means drinking slowly (not more than one drink per hour), eating when drinking and, most important – not mixing drinking and driving.

Some people have a low tolerance for alcohol or may lose control over t heir alcohol consumption. These situations can lead to alcoholism. To date, there is no way of determining in advance who will have trouble with alcohol. A tendency toward alcoholism can be inherited, thus the drinking of alcohol can be very risk y for some people. However, the question remains, is the “inherited” from learned behavior or an actual physical connection?

Steroids. Anabolic steroids are powerful drugs that can change the way the body works. They can increase  body weight, muscle size and strength. They are looked upon as performance-enhancing agents. However, because of the serious health risks, physicians and sports organizations are against the use of steroids. Steroids are used medically to help the body heal. However, doses given for medical reasons must be carefully monitored by doctors.

Even though steroids appear to increase muscle bulk and strength, they can cause serious health problems. Side effects range from acne to cancer. Even heart attacks may show up years later after use. Bone growth can be hindered. In males, testicles shrink, with impotence and sterility resulting. Female uses end up with increased growth of facial and body hair. Over 70 harmful side effects have been identified.

Aside from physical problems, steroids can cause depression and violent behavior. Infections from steroid injections have led to infections such as hepatitis (a liver disease) and AIDS. Most important, many elite athletes who were known steroid users have died at a young age because of steroid use.

Despite these frightening facts, the use of anabolic steroids is increasing. And not just among athletes, but among fitness enthusiasts who want to experience strength gains and muscle definition beyond those seen with training and nutrition alone.

Some users report a feeling of euphoria. Many users don’t care about heart disease 20 years from now. They are only concerned with the present. Some physicians feel that steroids may be one of the most addictive drugs in America. Suffice it to say, the dangers from the use of this drug far outweigh its immediate benefits. Proper training will bulk up your muscles if this is your desire. It just might take a little longer.

Recreational Drugs

The most widely used recreational drugs are cocaine and marijuana. Use of these drugs produces feelings of exhilaration, euphoria, and well being. The effect is rapid and the high lasts from5 to 20 minutes for marijuana to 2 to 4 hours for cocaine.

After the euphoric feeling subsides, a depressed feeling often follows. Complications from cocaine use can range from cardiac problems to nervous system problems that can even result in death.  To say it simply, cocaine use can be devastating and it has no place in a healthy living style.

 

Cocaine
Cocaine

 

Marijuana, or pot, is characterized by many people as a harmless drug because it creates a relaxed and dreamy high and seems to be less addicting than some other drugs. Nevertheless, a wide range of reactions to this drug has been documented. There appear to be some potential health problems related to its use.

 

Marijuana
Marijuana

 

The Choice is Yours

Drugs prescribed for medicine have a place in helping people to achieve better health. However, unwise use of drugs can severely mess up your health and reduce your quality of life. As you begin to realize how good it feels to be physically active and to be in good physical shape, it will be easier to refrain from destructive behaviors such as using drugs or alcohol. People who have achieved a high level of wellness do not use drugs. If they do drink alcohol, they do so in moderation and control.

The choice, of course, is yours. Exercise regularly, eat properly, get adequate rest, manage stress and refrain from drugs. You might be thinking that although these things are important they are not important during your high school or college years. You may feel that for now you want to enjoy being inactive, eat what you want and will have trouble when you want, sleep less, and enjoy the parties. After all, you only live one and are only young for a short time. But you are fooling yourself if you think that such living patterns now cannot have a negative effect on the quality of your life later on.

Summary

We know without a doubt there is no place for drug dependence in a health lifestyle. The best alternative to the instant gratification that recreational drugs offer is to adopt and maintain an active way of life. Being physically fit means having a body that can function at its optimal efficiency. This translates to robust health and the availability of excess energy to fully appreciate the joys life.

Drug abuse the choice is yours.
Drug abuse or healthy life? The choice is yours.

 

 

 

Bean Dip Recipe

Bean Dip Recipes

Studies show that depressed people often lack B vitamins. Beans deliver a significant dose of these vitamins. What better way to get a good helping of them than in a delicious bean dip? Plus the “to-go-with” possibilities are nearly endless.

kidney-beans

Chili Bean Dip Recipe

Try pinto beans with rice, chickpea hummus on pita bread, or a black bean soup. Source: Secrets to Health and Wellness

Ingredients

Bowl of Fresh Beans for Chili Bean Dip
Bowl of Beans for Chili Bean Dip

1 can (16 ounce) pinto beans or 2 cups cooked dried beans
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Mash beans in a bowl.
  2. Add onion and chili powder and shredded cheese.
  3. Serve warm or cold with raw vegetables or tortilla chips.

Serving Size: Serving Size: 2 tablespoons dip
Recipe yields 15 servings of dip.

Per serving

  • Calories 40
  • Total fat 1.5 grams
  • Saturated fat 1 grams
  • Trans fat 0 grams
  • Cholesterol 5 milligrams
  • Sodium 115 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate 5 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 1 gram
  • Sugars 0 grams
  • Protein 2 grams

Bean Dip Recipe

Don’t limit beans to just entree dishes or soups, use them for dips, in salads, and dessert!

Ingredients

Bean Dip Recipe
Bean Dip

2 cups canned kidney beans
1 tablespoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Directions

Drain the kidney beans, but save the liquid in a small bowl.

Place the beans, vinegar, chili powder and cumin in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add enough saved bean liquid to make the dip easy to spread.

Stir in the chopped onion and grated cheese.

Store in a tightly covered container and place in the fridge.

Serve with raw vegetable sticks or crackers. You can store this dip in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.

Notes: If you don’t have a blender, you can mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Then stir in the onion and cheese.

Serving Size: 1/2 cup. Yield: 6 servings.

Per serving:

  • Calories 150
  • Total fat 7 gram
  • Saturated fat 4 grams
  • Cholesterol 20 milligrams
  • Sodium 410 milligrams
  • Protein: 9 grams

Free PDF Downloads

Would you like to download the recipes? Grab the free PDFs!

Heart Rate Recovery Test

Heart Rate Recovery Test

A useful procedure for assessing your cardiorespiratory fitness is the heart rate recovery test in the form of a step test. Stepping on and off a bench for a 3 to 5 minute time period at a selected cadence has long been used for rating a person’s physical capacity for hard work and evaluating the effects of training.

Step Test

Although not considered the best predictor of cardiorespiratory fitness, the heart-rate during recovery from a standardized step test is a simple way to evaluate the heart’s response to exercise. The faster your heart rate recovers after the standardized exercise bout, the higher your fitness rating. The test is easy to administer on an individual basis or to a large group.

It takes little time, does not require special skills to perform, and requires a minimum of equipment. A locker room bench or bleachers, a watch, and a card for recording pulse counts. The testing can easily be done with the procedure described here.

Heart Rate Recovery Test Procedure

      1. A locker room bench (generally 18 inches high) is recommended for both men and women. A roll-out bleacher seat (usually 16 inches high) can be used. If neither is available, a sturdy chair (17 inches high) can be used. Step-test ratings presented in the table below are based on stepping up on an 18-inch bench.
      2. Work with a partner. When the tester gives the signal “Begin,” the watch is started and you start stepping onto the bench. First the left foot up, then the right foot up. Then left foot down, right foot down. This complete step  represents four counts. Note that it is permissible to change the up foot during the test. Step to the following cadence: 120 counts per minute or 30 complete step executions per minute (0ne four-count step every 2 seconds – up, up, down, down). In a group situation, the instructor will keep the cadence.
      3. Continue the exercise for 3 minutes. Keep the tempo and be sure to straighten your knees as you step on the bench. After stepping for 3 minutes, sit on a chair or straddle the bench facing your partner.
      4. One minute after the exercise period stops, the tester counts your pulse beats for 30 seconds. He or she should record the pulse for the following periods during recovery.
        • 1 to 1-1/2 minute
        • 2 to 2-1/2 minutes
        • 3 to 3-1/2 minutes

In a group situation, the instructor will call out “Begin” and “Stop” for each 30 second period.

To take your pulse, the tester presses lightly with the index and middle fingers on the inside of the wrist, thumb side.

For added accuracy the performer also can check his or her pulse at the carotid artery site, in the region just below the jawbone and just behind the Adam’s apple. This measurement provides a double check for accuracy, and the rate should not differ more than two beats from the tester’s count during a 30-second period.

A stethoscope, if available, provides the most accurate measurement.

Improper Procedures

  • Not keeping the cadence of 30 step executions per minute.
  • Failure to straighten the knees to full extension on the up steps.
  • Not counting the pulse accurately.

Scoring

The sum of the three 30 second pulse measurements is your recovery index.

Heart Rate Recovery Test Chart
Heart Rate Recovery Test Chart

 

Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions in PDF

Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions
Download the Heart Rate Recovery Test Instructions

Natural Teeth Whitening

Natural Teeth Whitening with Strawberries

Strawberries can actually whiten your smile!

Fresh Strawberries for Natural Teeth Whitening
Fresh Strawberries

Combined with baking soda, strawberries become a natural tooth-cleanser, removing stains from coffee, red wine and dark sodas.

Natural Teeth Whitening Recipe

1 ripe strawberry
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Crush the strawberry to a pulp, then mix with the baking powder until blended.

Use a soft toothbrush to spread the mixture onto your teeth. Leave on for five minutes. Brush thoroughly with toothpaste to remove the berry-baking powder mix.

Floss to remove any seeds and rinse. Use once a week.

Note: Be careful not to use this too often as the acid could damage the enamel on your teeth.

Strawberry Nutrition

Strawberries are high in vitamin C and other cancer-fighting antioxidants. Strawberries also boast a lot of fiber, plus some iron and potassium. At just 45 calories per cup, strawberries provide 85 mg of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Did you know?

Historically, strawberries were used as a medicinal plant. Inside the body, the berries were said to remedy digestive upsets, while the leaves and roots were used for gout. Externally, the berries were used as to treat sunburn and blemishes. The juice was even used for discolored teeth – as noted above.

Love strawberries? Consider trying our recipe for Yogurt Popsicles  – strawberry-luscious!

 

Frosty Fruity Favs

Frosty Fruity Favs for Summertime Treats

Following are some of our most popular refreshing, frosty fruity favs and even a slushy for healthful and cooling summertime treats. I’ve also added a recipe card image if you’d care to download and print that way. Click on each “card” for a larger, crisper copy.

Chocolate Banana Pops Recipe

Servings: 8 bananas
Prep Time: 10 minutes

4 ripe, firm bananas, peeled and cut into half crosswise
1-1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or white chocolate
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup toppings such as chopped nuts, colored sprinkles, grated coconut, etc.

Insert stick into the cut end of each banana.
Freeze banana for 1 hour or until solid.
Melt chocolate in microwave or over hot water.
Stir in vegetable oil until mixture is satiny and smooth.
Dip frozen bananas into chocolate, coating all sides.
Place toppings on a flat plate. Roll coated bananas over toppings. Serve.

Fruity Frosty Favs Free Recipe Card

Frosty Fruity Favs Chocolate Banana Pops Recipe Card
Chocolate Banana Pops Recipe Card

Easy Strawberry Frost

1 cup egg whites
6 ounces cold water or non fat milk
1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Blend at slow speed for 20 seconds.
Add one-half cup frozen strawberries.
Blend at high speed for one minute. Enjoy!

Frosty Fruit Favs Free Recipe Card

Frosty Fruit Favs Easy Strawberry Frost
Easy Strawberry Frost Recipe Card

Fruit Slushy Recipe

1 serving

Quick and easy, and additively delicious, this is a great, easy to make snack recipe for kids.

1 tablespoon chia seeds
1-1/2 cup cool water, coconut water, or juice of choice
1/2 to 1 cup frozen fruit of your choice
1/3 cup fat free evaporated milk
Spiced bananas, orange sections or cubed angel food cake

Add all ingredients to a blend and liquefy using the most powerful setting. BLend until smooth. Drink immediately.

Customize! You can use a blend of different fruits or stick to one kind. The possibilities are almost endless.

Frosty Fruit Favs Free Recipe Card

Frosty Fruit Favs Fruit Slushy Recipe Card
Fruit Slushy Recipe Card

Pomegranate Frost Recipe

Serves 6

Ice cubes
1-1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1-1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup each fresh lemon juice and fresh lime juice
1 bottle sparkling water
8 finely shredded mint leaves

Fill a pitcher half-full with ice cubes. Add the pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice,

lime juice, 1-1/ cup sparkling water and the shredded mint; stir until well mixed.

Fill six tall glasses with ice. Pour the mixture into the glasses and serve immediately.

Frosty Fruit Favs Free Recipe Card

Frosty Fruit Favs Pomegranate Frost Recipe Card
Pomegranate Frost Recipe Card

Fruit Shake

Here’s a fruit shake that’s simple, fast and yummy. Also very filling in
the morning.

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup (approx.) frozen strawberries

Blend all ingredients in the blender. The frozen fruit makes it thick; there is
no need for ice. Try experimenting with different juices and fruits.

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Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating Flexibility

Evaluating flexibility is important. Flexibility is the ability to use a muscle throughout its maximum range of motion. The loss of the ability to bend, twist, and stretch is often a result of muscle disuse. Disuse can come from long periods of sitting or standing.

Sedentary living habits can lead to shortened muscles and tendons. This can cause lower back pain and imbalance in the strength of opposing muscles. The shortening of the hamstrings (back of the thighs) is a very common disorder. Long periods of sitting or standing lead to poor muscle and tendon adjustments and a loss of flexibility in these muscles. This loss of flexibility limits your ability in the following activity.

  1. Walking smoothly.
  2. Sitting down or standing up gracefully.
  3. Performing efficiently in recreational pursuits.

Is Extreme Flexibility Best?

Extreme flexibility has no advantage. If your joints are too loose or flexible, you may become more susceptible to injuries of the joints. Many people are able to stretch one or two inches (plus or minus) from the man. In other words, too much flexibility may increase the chance of injury.

Although no single test will provide adequate information about the flexibility of all the major joints of the body, the following two tests provide a reasonable indication of your ability to stretch.

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Flexion for Evaluating Flexibility
Evaluating Flexibility

 

Purpose: To measure the amount of trunk flexion and the ability to stretch the back muscles and back thigh muscles (hamstrings).

Procedure: Sit with your legs fully extended and the bottom of your feet flat against aboard projecting from the wall. Now extend (stretch) your arms and hands forward as far as possible. Hold for a count of three while your partner uses a ruler to measure the distance (in inches) between the board and your fingertips. Distances before the edge (not able to reach your toes) are expressed as  negative scores; those beyond the edge are expressed as positive scores.

Improper Procedures:

  • Not holding the flexed position for a count of three.
  • Bending at the knees.

Trunk Extension for Evaluating Flexibility

Trunk Extension Stretch
Trunk Extension

 

Purpose: To measure the range of motion (flexibility) of the back.

Procedure: Lie in a prone position (face down) on the floor. Have a partner kneel and straddle your legs to hold your buttocks and legs down. With your hands grasped behind your neck, raise your upper trunk (chest and head) off the floor and hold for a count of three. Another partner measures the distance from your chin to the floor.

Improper Procedures

  • Not holding the measuring device in a perpendicular position while measuring.
  • Raisin the hips off the floor.
  • Not holding the extended position for a count of three.

Check Your Results

Norms for trunk flexion (inches from fingertips to bottom of feet).

  1. Normal range. Women: -4 to +8. Men: -6 to +6.
  2. Average (mean. Women: +2. Men: +1.
  3. Desired range. Women: +2 to +4. Men: +1 to +3.

Norms for trunk extension (inches from chin to floor).

  1. Normal range. Women: 12 to 30. Men: 4 to 27.
  2. Average (mean). Women: 21.  Men: 15.
  3. Desired range. Women: 21 to 25. Men: 15 to 20.

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Confetti Grain Salad

Confetti Grain Salad Recipe

Confetti grain salad is a very healthful and satisfying salad with brown rice, tangy lemon juice, green onions, parsley and your favorite vegetables.

Brown rice will only last about six months before it gets stale. When it get stale, it is very difficult to get it tender. You can cook brown rice the same as white rice, just increase the recipe listed above by 1/2 cup liquid.

Confetti Grain Salad
Confetti Grain Salad

 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
3 cups water
Juice of 2 lemons
3 green onions (also called scallions)
1/4 cup minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil, or other vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of your favorite vegetables cut into small pieces

 

Directions:

  1. Wash rice and put into a 2-quart pot with water. Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer, and cook uncovered until all the water is absorbed. (approximately 45 minutes).
  2. Pour into medium sized bowl and allow to cool.
  3. Pour lemon juice over rice and stir. When rice is cooled to lukewarm, add vegetables, salt, pepper, and oil.
  4. Stir and chill at least 1 hour. This dish also can be served warm.

Serving Size: Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Recipe yields 6 servings.

Per serving:

  • Calories 300
  • Total fat 11 grams
  • Saturated fat 1.5 grams
  • Trans fat 0 grams
  • Cholesterol 0 milligrams
  • Sodium 230 milligrams
  • Total Carbohydrate 47 grams
  • Dietary Fiber 4 grams
  • Sugars 3 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Download Recipe in PDF

Confetti Grain Salad Recipe
Confetti Grain Salad Recipe

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Orange Juice or Milk?

Milk Calcium vs. Orange Juice Calcium

Is the calcium  you get from supplements or fortified orange juice absorbed as well as the calcium from milk?  Scientists at Tuft’s Mineral Bioavailability Laboratory say, “Yes”.

The results of an experiment done by Tuft’s showed that blood and urine tests proved that calcium from all three sources was equally absorbed.  This is good news, especially for people who do not like or cannot drink milk. A glass of orange juice can make up for the milk many people get in their  daily morning cereal.

Reduce Dairy Fat with Low Fat Milk

However, it is worthy to note that this doesn’t make the three calcium sources nutritional equals.

Milk, for example, contains protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorus. Orange juice has vitamin C and folate. Supplements are great if you need to get calcium, but overall, it is always best to get it in food if possible.

In other words, building a healthful diet is not just about getting enough calcium. It is important to construct and eating plan with a wealth of vitamins and minerals, which is why fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, low-fat dairy and other low-fat protein sources should all be figured in.

Since fruits are a favorite among many and rightfully so, how about a very enjoyable, refreshing fruit treat? And since we can’t leave out all-important vegetables, consider the quick recipes below the fruit-sweet treat.

Island Party Kabobs Recipe

Star Fruit  Sweet orange for Orange juice
Mangoes
Bananas
Oranges (but not if too juicy)
Kiwifruit Slices
Assorted Melons

Assemble on kabob sticks and serve.  Chill in the refrigerator before serving for a tasty cooler on a hot summer day.

Veggie UP Tuna or Egg Salad

Let’s not forget our vegetables!

Serve tuna or egg salad a new way by cutting off the top of a hard roll,  hollowing  it out and filling it with the salad. Add fresh onion, tomato and lettuce and put the top back  on. Enjoy.

Chili Bean Pita Pizzas

Black beans, corn, plum tomato and green chilies in a pita. This one packs a wallop of vegetable goodness!

Spread 1/4-cup fat free salsa over two small (6-inch) unopened pitas.  Divide 1/2-cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained), 1/2 cup corn kernels, 1 chopped plum tomato, and 1-tablespoon chopped green chiles between the two pitas.  Top with 1-1/2-ounce 2-percent Monterey Jack cheese.  Bake in a 450-degree oven for eight to ten minutes.

An Active Lifestyle

Living An Active Lifestyle

An active lifestyle is more than simply visiting the gym for an hour or jumping around in the living room to an aerobics tape. Be creative and find ways to incorporate physical activity into almost everything you do.

An active lifestyle

Here are some suggestions to get you started and help you boost your activity level. Believe me, if you make a conscious effort to integrate more activity into your daily life, it will eventually become second nature. Give some of these suggestions a try! You may have heard some of these before, but they bear repeating as a reminder.

Tips to Boost Your Activity

Walking down an escalator

  • Walk as much as possible by parking the car a few blocks away from where you’re headed or walk to an appointment from your office instead of driving. Whenever you’re walking try to focus on long strides and a quicker than normal pace. This gets the heart rate going a bit faster than just meandering along.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up the stairs as quickly as you can. For a little variation, try slowing down and taking two stairs at a time to further strengthen your legs.
  • During breaks at work, walk the stairs, walk around the building or walk down the halls. Find any type of activity that keeps you moving during your break (you can sit at your desk and relax after the break!)
  • Whenever you’re walking somewhere, take the long way around. Use this technique to get anywhere you’re going… from shopping at the mall to getting a drink at the water cooler.
  • Don’t use drive-thru windows. Park and get out of your car to do your banking, grab a bite to eat, or pick up the dry cleaning. You’ll be amazed at how many muscles getting in and out of a car use!
  • At the supermarket, whenever you have a light load, carry your own groceries out to the car without the shopping cart. And remember to park the car in a spot furthest from the store entrance!
  • Whenever possible, stand instead of sitting. Even standing still will burn more calories than sitting!
  • Loose the remote. When was the last time you actually got up from your seat, engaged all your leg muscles, and walked over to change the channel on the TV? New TVs have no channel changer? Just get up during commercials and look out a window or something!
  • Unless it’s urgent, always opt for the bathroom that’s furthest from you. Better yet, use an upstairs bathroom, if there is one near you. Do the same for answering the telephone. It is estimated that Americans save walking approximately 70 miles per year with the advent of extension phones! To make matters worse, we now carry mobile phones on our person every where we go.

 

Meaning of an Active Lifestyle
An active lifestyle means more than just visiting a gym.

Home Grown Herbs

Home Grown Herbs Uses and Storage Ideas

Many home grown herbs will freeze beautifully to extend their shelf life. For best flavor, use herbs fresh out of the garden whenever possible. Always pinch back basil, thyme, oregano and chives so that you get fullest production out of the season.

Home Grown Herbs
Home Grown Herbs

Plants like rosemary need a good cutting now and then to keep them from getting too woody. If you haven’t planned a meal around your pruning, try some of these ideas to preserve your herbs.

Freezing Herbs

Wash herbs very well and gently pat dry with paper towels. Wrap leaves or sprigs in freezer paper or place in freezer proof zip-lock bags. Seal and freeze. These herbs can be chopped and thawed for use in cooking, but are not suitable for garnish. They will become limp when thawed. Flavor is best if herbs are used within a few months.

Herb Cubes

This is a very convenient way of storing herbs. Put the clean, dry herbs into the bottom of an ice cube tray. Fill the compartments with water or stock. Then when you need herbs, just pop them into soups, stews or sauces. You can mix and match to make combinations that you use in your recipes.

Drying Fresh Herbs

One thing to remember when using dried herbs as compared to fresh, is that you want to use 1/3 teaspoon powdered or 1/2 teaspoon crushed for every tablespoon of fresh.

Dried herbs for fresh herbs
Dried herbs for fresh herbs

Air drying is the simplest method requiring only rubber bands to secure the stems of herbs together.  Just hang upside down in a dark, airy area with good air circulation until dry. This method takes the longest time.

Microwave Drying Herbs

Helpful Healthy Herbs Variety
Healthy Home Grown Herbs

Try this simple microwave drying method with herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme and oregano. Wash and gently pat dry herbs picked in the morning just after the dew has dried. This is when your herbs will have the most oils in the leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two leaves. Spread them out on a microwave safe dish in a single layer between two paper towels. Place in microwave and cook on high for about a minute Check them. Continue cooking for about 20 seconds at a time until the herbs are just crisp.

Drying Herbs in a Conventional Oven

When drying with a conventional oven, begin by placing the clean herbs on shallow trays in the oven. Leave the oven door ajar and turn the heat to the lowest setting. This would be about 150 degrees. Allow the herbs to dry, testing after each hour. A small electric fan placed to circulate air into the oven cavity will speed the drying time.

Storing Fresh Herbs

When storing, place herbs in airtight jars, out of direct sunlight.

If you’d like more in-depth information on home grown herbs, might we suggest the book, Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More.

This herb-helpful book by Miranda Smith will teach you everything you need to know about growing your favorite herbs using safe, natural, all-organic methods!