What Qualities do Parents Look for in Childcare Providers

As a parent, when you start searching for a childcare center, you want the best for your child. You want to make sure that when you leave your toddler there, they will be able to take good care of him/her. There should be no stress at all, and when you take back your baby in the afternoon, you should be happy that baby had a good day, he/she is looking healthy and smiling at you. There should be no sign of mistreatment or carelessness from the childcare center. In this post, we will look at the several qualities the best childcare providers have in common.

The caregivers truly love children

This one is primordial! You don’t want to leave your baby with caregivers who are doing the job just for the sake of a salary. They should love being around children, and find it to be fun and fascinating. They should typically have a background where you’ll find they spent a lot of time babysitting in their youth, or spent a lot of time with younger siblings, not because they were obliged to, but because of their love for children.

They should love spending time with other people’s children. Caregivers should honestly be able to treat your child in the same way they would have treated their own child. This quality is a MUST.

Caregivers should be natural nurturers

Caregivers should have a natural ability to take care of others. They naturally show affection to others, and instinctively hold, cuddle, and make children feel they are important.

Caregivers are warm people

They are good with people and get along with everyone. They can clearly state their point of view without being bad to others. This is an important childcare provider quality which helps the caregivers to cooperate with parents who may have differing parenting and discipline styles.

An abundance of patience

Good childcare providers are calm and patient. At times a child may go out of control but they but a child’s tantrums are all in a day’s work and good caregivers are not annoyed by the messes. They patiently look after everything till the child calms down. There may be instances where a child’s anger seems to terrorize other kids around, and the situation gets messy as other kids start to behave uncontrollably. This is where an abundance of patience comes to help.

Good discipline

Good caregivers use common sense where discipline is concerned. The caregiver cannot be a dictator who expects children to behave nor a marshmallow who would allow children to do whatever they want. A home childcare provider is able to set firm, yet flexible rules. In this sense, the child also learns to respect discipline.

Healthy childcare providers

The job of a childcare provider is both physically and mentally demanding. Childcare providers are “on duty” and “on alert” at all times. This is one of the childcare provider qualities you will want to see in the childcare provider that you will choose for your child. And, for this to be, they should be on good health and fit for duty. This is definitely not a sit-down job and good childcare providers need a lot of energy to keep track of several children.

Well organized

They have to be naturally well organized. From nutritious meals to all other activities, everything must be planned to keep all those little hands busy and learning. They also have to keep track of the children’s information and food program without forgetting the financial records. Record keeping or other administrative tasks are yet some other responsibilities childcare givers have to do on an on-going basis.

Creativity

Children will occasionally need something new to learn and discover to stretch their imaginations. Good childcare providers will always come with fresh ideas to incorporate into their programs. You want to see your child come back home and show you how thrilled he/she is when something new is learned or accomplished at the childcare center.

Training

You want to be assured that the caregivers have taken some First Aid and CPR classes.

They should be having a basic knowledge of Medicare and first aid response.

Child-friendly environment

They have plenty of space for several children and the surrounding has a child-friendly environment. The childcare center should comply with the health and safety regulations and strive to provide the best possible care. There are no hazards and the center have passed a fire inspection.

All in all, if you can see the child childcare providers in the list above, then more than likely, you are going to send your child to a good place where he/she will grow and learn.

Good luck with your child and don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section below.

8 DIY Homemade Insecticides

No homeowners want to see their lovely plants infected by devastating insects. Insecticides are a good option to deter them, but not everybody wants to use chemical insecticides which are not only bad to the environment but can also be harmful to your skin and eyes. Alternatively, you can do your own Eco-friendly insecticide which is cheap and easy to make.

1. Oil spray insecticide

Ingredient: You can use vegetable oil mixed with mild soap. This destroys troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc.

Preparation: Mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap in a bottle and shake well.

Add 2 teaspoons of the mixture with 1 quart of water in a sprayer, shake thoroughly.

Application: Spray on the surfaces of the leaves of your plants.

Result: The oil coats the insects and blocks the pores through which they breathe. The insects finally die out of suffocation.

2. Soap spray insecticide

Ingredient: Soap.

Preparation: Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of mild liquid soap with 1 quart of water

Application: Spray the mixture on the infected surfaces of the plants. It is recommended to NOT apply it during the sunny part of the day to reduce evaporation).

Result: The liquid soap effectively controls mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other leaf-eating insects.

3. Neem oil insecticide

Ingredient: Neem oil.

Preparation: Mix 2 teaspoons neem oil with 1 quart of water and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and shake thoroughly.

Application: Spray on the affected plant foliage.

Result: Neem disrupts the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg).

Neem oil acts as a hormone disruptor and discourages insects from feeding on leaves and other plant parts. Neem will also combat powdery mildew and other fungal infections on your plants. You can likewise use neem oil as a precaution by spraying the leaves of plants before they are actually infested.

4. Diatomaceous earth

Ingredient: With its somewhat unwieldy name, Diatomaceous earth is made from a sedimentary rock created by fossilized algae (diatoms). This earth is abundant in nature as the earth’s crust is said to be made up of 26% of Diatomaceous. You can find Diatomaceous earth at your local garden store.

Preparation: You don’t need to prepare anything as the earth is sold in bags and is ready to be used.

Application: Simply dust the ground around your plants, or sprinkle it on the leaves. However, you will have to reapply after every rain.

Result: It will help control snails and slugs as well as other crawling insects. It has an abrasive quality and easily absorbs the lipids (a waxy substance) from insects’ exoskeleton, which then dehydrates them to death.

5. Garlic, onion, and cayenne

Ingredient: 1 garlic, 1 small onion, 1 tsp cayenne pepper powder.

Preparation: Make a puree with the above ingredients and let it stay for 1 hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tsp liquid soap and stir well. You can store it up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Application: Spray generously onto both side of the leaves. Spray again after heavy rain.

Result: The smell of the mixture will keep insects away for a while.

6. Coffee grounds

Ingredient: leftover coffee grounds

Preparation:

Application: Place some coffee grounds in the spots you think pests are coming in.

Result: Critters can’t stand the smell of the coffee grounds and will stay clear.

7. Tomato leaf

Ingredient: Tomato leaf.

Preparation: Chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves into 1 quart of water, and let stay overnight.

Application: Spray onto the plant foliage.

Result: The leaves contain alkaloids which can effectively control aphids and other insects

8. Banana

Ingredient: Banana peels

Preparation: Leftover banana peels

Application: Just place a banana peel under the soil near the stems of your plants. Reapply when they are decayed.

Result: This will deter bugs and also nourish the soil.

The above homemade insecticide recipes should be a good starting point for you to start creating your own version. Everyone seems to have their own blend and ratio of ingredients, so by concocting your own solution, you can modify it to best suit your own insect battles.

But be cautious not to kill off all the insects in your garden, as any healthy ecosystem requires an abundance of insects, microbes, and fungi, both in the soil and on the plants themselves. Alternatively, you can consider introducing other predatory insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, etc.) or create a good habitat that would welcome such insects so that they can get your plants rid of harmful and invasive insects and yet a more Eco-friendly approach to effective pest management.

Hope these 8 DIY tips will help you keep your plants happy. For more information and tips, do not forget to share your experience in the comment section below.

Beers which you should and shouldn’t be drinking

There are more than 7,000 beer breweries in the United States, so chances are that when you head to your local spirits shop or grocery store, you’re confronted with an embarrassment of options. But how does one choose which six-pack is most worthy of their precious fridge space? It’s not easy.

It’s not too surprising that there are so many varieties to choose from. We have evidence that humans have enjoyed beer since about 3400 B.C., and the first written instructions for making beer were recorded by the Sumerians in 1800 B.C. That’s a lot of time to try a lot of different recipes.

That doesn’t mean that we’ve perfected the art form of creating the perfect brew, though. Just as important as knowing which beers to try is knowing which you shouldn’t buy. This guide can help you learn more about beer and discover new lagers and ales you’ll love, from classic IPAs to green-tea infused brews. It will also spare you from those disappointing moments when your first sip brings a frown instead of a smile, or (even worse) a look of derision from your liquor store clerk.

Here is a list of beers that you should drink :

1. Allagash White Ale

If you want to start exploring craft beer but aren’t sure where to start, Allagash White Ale is a good bet. When the Maine-based Allagash first came out with their white ale, it was one of the few Belgian-style cloudy ales being brewed in the states. Now, Allagash serves as the perfect stepping stone for those who like beers like Blue Moon and Shock Top, but who want to start exploring the wider world of white ales. Allagash White has been ranked as one of the best American wheat ales in the country, and it’s easy to see why. The beer is a little cloudy, a little malty; it has notes of mouth-puckering citrus and Curaçao orange peel, but never tastes too sour; and it has a warm spice profile thanks to the addition of coriander.

2. Smuttynose Finestkind IPA

Smuttynose Finestkind IPA is a classic New England-style IPA that primarily uses Simcoe, Santiams, and Amarillo hops for a balance of citrus and bitter flavors that make this style of beer so distinct. Finestkind is unfiltered and hazy, which is also classic for east coast IPAs. The body of the beer is refreshing and light, which helps to keep the intense hoppy bitterness from overwhelming the other tastes and aromas in the glass.

3. Harlem Brewing Company Sugar Hill Golden Ale

Sugar Hill Golden Ale, named after a neighborhood in New York made famous by musicians during the Harlem Renaissance, is the flagship brew of the Harlem Brewing Company. When brewer and company owner Celeste Beatty first moved to Harlem, she became involved in community gardening, and that’s when she fell in love with growing hops. When she combined her newfound interest with an existing passion for cooking with beer and wine, Harlem Brewing Company (HBC) was born — the first African-American owned brewery in the country.

Beers which you shouldn’t drink :

1. Ballast Point Fruit Beers

There is such thing as too much of a good thing, and while Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA is a reliable classic, the brand itself has suffered since being bought by Constellation Brands in 2015. That’s unfortunate for the new owners, who purchased Ballast Point for a whopping $1 billion. One of the problems is that, instead of sticking to their roots as an innovative IPA-maker and shifting to more East Coast-IPAs like a lot of their competitors, the brewery hopped on the fruit beer trend, damaging their reputation among beer-lovers in the process. That’s because, frankly, a lot of their fruit beers aren’t any good (the Watermelon Dorado and Mango Even Keel come to mind).

2. Blue Moon

If you started drinking Blue Moon as a nice alternative to the ubiquitous Bud Light, you’re not alone. It turns out a lot of people use Blue Moon as a gateway into the world of better beer. And while Blue Moon itself isn’t bad per se, it’s also not one of the most interesting beers on the market. Blue Moon has also come under fire in the beer community for misleading consumers about whether or not it is, in fact, a craft beer. Though owned by MillerCoors, the company has marketed itself as craft and even won a lawsuit saying it was okay to present its beer as a craft brew. The Brewers Associate doesn’t agree, which has caused some bad blood in the industry, and we’d rather not have our beer caught up in all this drama.

3. Bud Light

Bud Light is the most popular beer in America, and we’re not denying that there are a time and place to crack one open. It’s a fine beach beer (a little sand won’t ruin a beer of this quality), and it’s certainly thirst-quenching on sweaty summer nights at the bar.

Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

I am sure that you probably drink beer to have a great time with your friends, spurring some of your greatest stories or just to bring out the dancer in you. However, the science gods have now spoken and it has been proved that drinking beer in moderation is actually good for your health.

How much does moderation drinking entail?

Even though there is an exact amount of alcohol which is allowed, it also depends on a person’s tolerance level and physical makeup. But according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, having a moderate drink means one drink per day for a man and up to two drinks per day for women.


Below are some facts about why you should not feel bad when you crack open a cold beer after a long stressful day :

1. Beer is good for the heart


According to several studies which have been conducted it has been proved that the consumption of beer could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. It is all because beer has a thinning effect on blood and it reduces the chances of clot-forming which can cause a blockage in the coronary artery. It also reduces the risk of inflammation which can cause atherosclerosis.

2. Beer helps in losing weight

According to a study conducted by Oregon State University, there is a chemical called xanthohumol in beer which helps when you are trying to shed those extra pounds and control your cholesterol levels.

3. Beer improves cholesterol level

We all need some lipoprotein which is the good type of cholesterol in our bodies as they help to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Beer also has high amounts of fiber which helps reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol which is the bad type of cholesterol.

4. Beer promotes better bowel movement

One bottle of beer contains around 20 percent of the fiber which your body needs for a better bowel movement every day. It benefits a lot for people who suffer from constipation.

5. Beer decreases the risk of cancer

There is an antioxidant called xanthohumol which helps the prevention of cancer as it also contains polyphenols which play a major role during the treatment of cancer patients.

6. Beer boosts mental health

Studies have proved that having beer can protect your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Drinking beer also increases your dopamine level in your brain which makes you feel more relaxed and calm.

7. Beer helps in improving eyesight

According to the University of Western Ontario, a beer a day minimize people’s chance of developing a cataract as it contains enzymes and antioxidants which protect the eyes by preventing mitochondrial damage.

8. Beer reduces the risk of diabetes

A study done by Harvard has found out that people who drink beer regularly have fewer chances of developing type-2 diabetes.

9. Beer reduces the risk of developing kidney stones

Water is the most powerful tool for the prevention of kidney stones and having a beer is a great idea to prevent these stones from forming as 90 percent of beer is water. Beer also contains potassium and magnesium which help to prevent the development of kidney stones. Having a bottle of beer every day can reduce the risk by 40 percent.

10. Beer helps in the development of healthier bones

If you didn’t know, let me tell you that beer is rich in dietary silicone which contributes to a higher bone density and it also minimizes the risk of osteoporosis.

11. Beer increases Vitamin B levels

A medical journal named The Lancet has mentioned that beer contains Vitamin B6 which is great for the prevention of heart disease as it keeps a check on the formation of homocysteine in the body.

12. Beer cures insomnia

For people who suffer from insomnia, beer contains Lactoflavin and nicotinic acid which can help to promote sleep. Have a beer and sleep soundly like a baby.

13. Beer has positive effects on the skin and hair

Beer contains a lot of vitamins which is beneficial for your skin as it reduces acne and adds a glow to the skin. Hops and malt found in beer also helps in promoting the healthy growth of hair.

14. Beer delays aging and promote longevity

Nowadays, no one really likes to look old however the good news is that Vitamin E which is found in beer acts like an antioxidant which helps to keep the skin healthy while slowing down the aging process.

15. Beer flushes out toxins from the body

Beer has precious diuretic properties which increase urination thus facilitating increased removal of toxins from the body.

16. Beer helps reduce stress

Two glasses of beer a day can reduce work-related stress or anxiety. However, too much alcohol consumption on a daily basis can do more harm than good.


10 Essential Hiking Tips for Beginners

Are you preparing for your first hiking trip with your friends? Alright, you have decided you want to go hike a mountain and you don’t know what it cost and the preparation time it takes. Hiking is an excellent low-impact workout that offers multiple physical and mental benefits such as reducing anxiety, preventing osteoporosis. Hiking is an outdoor activity that delivers benefits that are both scenic and fun. It is true that hiking is not like walking on a treadmill or paved path as it involves more and sometimes unpredictable and memorable situations. To make your hiking trip a success, here are 10 essential tips that a vital for beginners.

1. Give yourself time to prepare – Start training by doing exercises you enjoy. The more you enjoy something the more motivated you will be in doing it. For example, if you love swimming or yoga, then add it to your exercise plan. It is believed that once you start having fun, then you will enjoy your training. Also, think of joining a walking group as it comes with great benefits like making new friends and also helps provide motivation to get out and train. Go through social media to meet people who join walking groups.

2. Familiarize yourself with the trail – As you have selected the trail, get a map of the area and review the reports and data along with your group. Check online as well for excellent resources. Take note of any intersecting trails where you could possibly take a wrong turn. Choose a trail where you can end it beautifully with a view on a lake or peak.

3. Check the weather – The weather can be unpredictable which is why it is essential to always check the forecast a few days ahead of your hike as well as few hours before. Checking up on the weather forecast helps you pack and dress accordingly and change your plans if need be. It is better to reschedule if there are thunderstorms in the forecast.

4. Inform your closed ones where you will be – Write down the exact location of where you will be and where you are planning to go next. Better give a copy of your trip to your family members and friends, just in case. Tell them when you will be back and when they should be worried and call for help. If you are running late, do check in with everyone!

5. Function over fashion – While on hiking, forget about looking fashionable and think more of being comfortable. If you are caught wearing the wrong shoes or clothes, then forget hiking! It is better to leave the jeans and fashion boots at home and also skip cotton clothes. Go for wool and synthetic, moisture-wicking clothing as it provides warmth and dries up quickly in cold conditions. Wear light hiking shoes with synthetic or wool socks to prevent blisters. Don’t forget to pack extra clothing just in case you need it. If possible, opt for something that will block the wind too.

6. Pack the 10 essential things – There are 10 essential things that you have to take with you when you are going hiking and they are:

  • Navigation (maps and compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra warm clothing)
  • Illumination (lamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter)
  • Repair kit and tools
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water)

Though this list is never-ending, it will be easier once you tailor the art of hiking without any problem. Remember to pack light so that your bag does not feel like another body weight that you have to carry around.

7. Use hiking poles – Hiking poles can help support you if you feel a little bit unsteady. The poles are like two extra legs and slow down your momentum going downhill and serve as a stair rail support on the way up. Poles help keep you healthy as it disperses the workout to your entire body by taking the pressure off your knees. Make sure you use two poles though as one pole would eventually hurt your back and disrupt your body symmetry.

8. Drink and eat well – Always remember to keep yourself hydrated! It is very important to drink water before, during, and after your hike. Carry enough water in your backpack to combat dehydration. It is better to avoid caffeine and alcohol as it won’t get you far. To fuel your adventure, remember to take some good snacks to keep you strong. Bring in the carbs and protein so you don’t end up with dizziness, low blood sugar or fatigue. Don’t forget your victory snack to have at the end of the trail!

9. Pace yourself – Pick up on a pace and keep that during the entire trail so that you don’t feel tired quickly. You have to go through all day, so keep the pace and save your energy for later.

10. Leave no trace – Being outdoors is wonderful! It is for everyone and you should respect it. So learn and practice Leave No Trace principles on your hike. Pick up your trash, leave the trail in a better and cleaner state than you found it. While others are trying to find peace, don’t go on listening to music on high volume.

Here it is, happy hiking!

10 Weird American Foods

Every country has some culinary miracles that not everyone wants to enjoy. There are foods that are not exactly the best to see and eat and most people wonder how these foods are some people’s favorites. America may be the birthplace of the airplane and the printing press, but you know what else they have? Weird foods, America has stock weird foods that just make it among the top whenever I search for weird foods. Well, it is hard to accept but some people do like weird foods. It is okay to accept that as every country has some weird foods that they are pretty proud of. Today we are going to explore all about the different American foods that are outrageously seen by foreigners and enjoyed by most Americans.

Scrapple

Not to be confused with that American soft drink popular in the ’90s, Scrapple is actually a mixture of pork scraps, that are combined with cornmeal and flour, then fried. It is a shoot-out to Pennsylvania’s Dutch settlers and their money saving ways, but those scraps and trimmings also make it like the original mass-manufactured hotdog, but without any of the fun of a bun or a grill.

Rattlesnake stew

It’s a steaming bowl of a reptile that’d totally kill you. Pro: You can tell yourself that you’re a badass/cowboy the whole time you eat. Con: You’re totally wondering if there’s any way you’re about to die from this.

Rocky Mountain oysters

Chopped, battered and deep fried testicles definitely deserve a spot on any list of strange American foods. The Western United States is the home of this delicacy, sometimes called Rocky Mountain Oysters. It is so popular that there is even an annual festival- The Testy Festy- in Montana to celebrate.

Fried alligator

Killing and eating a giant, almost pre-historic animal is about the closest you’ll ever get to Chuck Norris-status. Alligator fritters are one of the strangest American foods that you can actually find in more than a few places, like Florida and Louisiana. Alligators fritters look similar to chicken nuggets but it is different in taste.

Muffuletta

American-sized immigrant fare, the Italian sandwich is typically ordered by the quarter… because even a half is too much to house, even by our super-sized standards. It’d be ranked higher if our dry cleaning bills weren’t so long thanks to olive salad drippings. While most people like it, it is one food that everyone must taste once in their lifetime.

Turtle Soup

Louisiana has a culture all its own, and turtle soup is a huge part of it. Of the strange American foods that exist, turtle soup really makes you wonder what you’re eating. The meat comes from the upper and lower shells, called Brain Sandwiches. Indiana, USA is the home of one of the most bizarre and strange American foods. Deep fried brains, originally from a cow but now from pigs, date back all the way to the Dutch and German settlers who did not waste a thing. Today it has been made famous by the Hilltop Inn in Evansville.calipash and calipee respectively.

Smoked Bear

Okay this food totally shocked me; Alaska is a state where you can expect weird food from everywhere. One of the most Alaskan foods is smoked bear. Black bear is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and definitely grown in the wild. This food is most appreciated by Native Alaskans, who eat it occasionally. If you are visiting Alaska, better avoid this food as the big animals might carry diseases.

Poi

A Polynesian starch staple food, it is made from the stem of the taro plant. It has the consistency of grits and is typically served as a side dish with salt and pepper. The taste is completely unique. You can have it with bread or simply the way it is. One thing for sure, it is advisable to have it when you are fed up with oily and heavy foods.

Chocolate Covered Friend Bacon with Sprinkles

Whatever you want to call it, please do, because there is not exactly anything that we can relate to this special food. Mostly found in states like Illinois, the bacon covered chocolate with sprinkles is a must-try. I think you will end up loving the sweet and salty flavor.

Pemmican

Meant to be a healthy snack, this food is a mixture of meat and fat and protein. This looks somehow like some bland dog food. Well, I haven’t tasted it but if you want to then head to Montana.

There is no food in the world that can stop a foodie from having it but these are few exceptions that are not meant to be avoided. Though, these foods are different in colors and weird tastes. If you are not adventurous enough, then don’t go to the US for the weird foods.

Tips to Stop Cravings and Snacking at Night

Restricting, depriving or skipping meals throughout the day will definitely lead you to think constantly about food. This is your body telling you that it needs to be fed. However, by consuming a little snack to just avoid your stomach from rumbling is not the healthiest option ever. You are just neglecting your body’s needs and wants.

In this era, most of the people want to lose weight but skipping breakfast does not help, actually skipping any meal only leads you to illnesses, not weight loss. Finally, when dinner time comes, you realize that you have not prepared anything and stop by your favorite restaurant for a take out. It is of no use to feeling guilty after having junk food. The deed has been done already. After a day without eating much, late night snacking is inevitable. Especially if you have the habit of sleeping late. You might mostly end up in front of the tv and find yourself getting up for snacks during a commercial break.

If this scene sounds familiar, you might be suffering from night eating syndrome which means the persistent pattern of late-night binge eating. Constant snack eating at night might result in weight gain. While this might be a big issue, unhealthy eating is a bigger problem. Overeating can disrupt your sleep at night which lead to imbalances of hunger and satiety hormones.

If you think that nighttime eating is getting out of control and you want to regain some balance, there are many ways to do so. Below are some tips which you can follow:

Eat enough during the day

Not eating during the day is what makes you crave for midnight munchings. Well, I guess this is obvious enough! If you are constantly depriving your body of nutrients and energy, it will eventually feel frustrated and be craving for food. When we restrict our intake, this makes us bound to be a victim of bingeing or overeating because our bodies have to make up for the loss. It is better than you give yourself permission to eat appropriately during the day. Eat well-balanced meals to prevent excessive eating at night.

Find out the actual reason behind the overeating

We all need food to be able to survive. However, our food choices are very important. While some are nutritious, others bring us wellness. Food does a lot more than just give us energy. Some food brings us joy that is why we celebrate birthdays with cakes. Food is a good way to add some happiness into your routine.

In a world where we are surrounded by negative feelings such as stress or loneliness, food becomes an easy thing to lean on. But you need to ask yourself, is this food helping me to deal with my stress? It is better to add stress management techniques to your routines such as yoga or meditation. Plan entertaining activities with your loved ones instead of eating to get rid of your stress. Taking yourself out to a bookstore seems like a great idea too.

• Add more fun activities to your life

Cultivating more joy in your life is definitely a win-win situation. Eating at night can be a source of de-stressing yourself especially if you know that there is ice cream waiting for you at home after enduring a bad day. However, this can be your day’s highlight as well. Food can be your source of entertainment, joy, and fun. Then it would be a problem for you. So ask yourself: What are you missing in your life? Are you craving for joy? Comfort? Company? Once you know what you really need, you will stop fulfilling it with food.

Make some changes in your routine

Routines are part of our everyday life. What do you do the first thing after you wake up? Which route do you take to go to work? Which best friend to you call when you are feeling low? The same way we all have routines when it comes to eating as well. We all fall for these routine temptations. Just imagine that you are at the theater and you order popcorn. Do you really crave for popcorn or you just order because you are at the movies?

A change in your routine might be fundamental to stop binge eating at night. If you have a habit of eating in front of your TV or while watching a movie on your laptop, you could opt to do something else like playing games. TV is one of the main sources which gives a boost to snacking. It is a great idea to find a new habit which is less associated with food.

• Sleep early

Snacking at night often lead to sleep deprivation, the best thing to do is to turn off all your electrical devices and focus on creating an atmosphere which will make you feel asleep earlier.

Baby Steps Towards A Zero-Waste Home

Plastic is becoming a huge and life-threatening issue in today’s world. It is dangerous for both our society and the environment. As consumers, we have a responsibility to limit our consumption of plastic even reducing the use of it by opting for eco-friendly products. The zero-waste movement is something we can all adopt in order to make a change in the world. It all starts in our homes.

What is the zero-waste movement?

It is a philosophy which has been created in order to encourage waste cycling which supports a goal of zero waste which means our lands, incinerators, and oceans have to be waste free. This philosophy is applicable for consumers as well as manufacturing, packaging and more. So far, the aim of the Zero Waste Movement is to reduce the creation of waste.

Can you be Zero Waste?

If big companies and the government can go zero waste, well you as a consumer should be easier to do so. In our use once and throw away life, it is a challenge to do so. Are you ready?

It is difficult for sure, but not impossible. Some families do find a way to do so and they are pretty good. The point is that you should not be discouraged if you are not fully zero-waste. No matter what every little initiative counts.

Benefits of a zero-waste lifestyle

One of the obvious benefits of going zero waste is that it reduces waste. However, there are many other benefits in addition to helping the environment.

• Saves money 

When you decide to go zero waste, you become more aware of what comes into your home and life. You will find yourself thinking twice before investing in something especially those which will turn into waste or comes with a lot of packaging. Using your resources wisely only means that you are not wasting them.

• Saves time 

Reducing the number of things that come in your home can help to lessen the amount of time that you take to clean it up. Being zero waste makes you make fewer trips to the store and think well before purchasing something.

• Promotes healthy eating 

Junk food is more likely to come in a single serving package than real food. Avoiding those packaging also helps you to eat clean. Foods that can be bought in bulk are usually whole foods which are much healthier and less expensive as well.

Baby Steps to a Zero-Waste Home

Zero-waste living can seem overwhelming but all you need is some good planning. Even some small changes, can make a huge difference.

Start slowly :

Simply jumping into a zero-waste lifestyle will only cause frustration. Like everything that we plan to initiate, it is important that you take one small step at a time.

  • Cook at home

Cooking at home is one of the best ways of reducing waste. Packaged food or take-outs come with all their packaging and results in a lot of packaging waste. Making your own meal saves you from all the unnecessary packaging. Plus it is also a healthy habit.

  • Drink more water

Doctors are tired of repeating that people should be drinking more water. Drinking water from home can help to reduce waste. Instead of investing in a plastic bottle every day it would be more in your advantage that you get yourself a water filter and bring your own water bottle when you go out.

  • Conduct a trash audit

You can start by looking through your household trash and taking a mental note of what is showing up the most in your trash. This can give you some ideas on where to start reducing your waste.

  • Getting rid of junk mail

Junk mail is not only a pile of paper, ink, bills, it is also a huge waste of time when you have to get them recycled. If you are signed up to some magazines or something, and you feel like they are useless, you might want to call the company ask them to get you off the list.

  • Shop Secondhand

Another of reducing waste is to buy second-hand things which are still in good conditions of course from the store whenever you get a good deal. Those ways you reduce the amount of packaging that comes with new stuff. You can also browse through online second-hand stores.

  • Switch to zero-waste feminine care

Attention ladies! You can go zero waste by opting for cloth pads and menstrual cups instead of conventional pads and tampons. Conventional pads or tampons are loaded with chemicals and pesticides that can easily build up with monthly use. Menstrual cups can save you a lot of money and keep you healthy as well.

Baby steps matters! One small action can bring big contributions.

How to Choose your Prenatal Vitamins

There are so many prenatal vitamins available out there that it is difficult to know which one will best suit you. What you should know is that what may work for you may not work for another person. Women respond to supplements differently. It depends on which element of your body has a deficiency or which element can boost your body and that of your baby also.

Eating a whole lot of food is not always possible to absorb the necessary amount of nutrients. This is where prenatal vitamins come in handy. You can research over the net or ask your doctor which vitamins will best suit you. But in the end, you would still want to know if you can take this or that because you don’t want the baby to lack any of the nutrients that will make him/her smart and strong. And, your doctor will not have time to give you a whole list of the essential nutrients beneficial for both baby and you.

So, what you can do is to request your doctor to prescribe you an in-depth blood test to determine where your deficiencies are and whether you should be going for a prescription or an over-the-counter prenatal vitamin.

Prescription vs over-the-counter prenatal vitamins

Keep in mind that the essential ingredients are pretty much the same in each. But, some prescription prenatal vitamins may contain extra nutrients at higher doses. Nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acid or zinc and iron. Some over-the-counter whole prenatal multivitamins are excellent. You can check on their nutritional facts and talk to your doctor.

What should the best prenatal vitamins include?

The nutrient that is most imperative in a prenatal vitamin is folic acid. It is an established fact that folic acid decreases the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida. In a supplement, you may find more than 30 nutritional elements. It is a huge list like below:

So, what you should be looking for?

Folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA. The rest is as much important, but you should be getting most of them from eating a balanced diet. The supplement will be most helpful for people who cannot follow a balanced diet.

Calcium is essential to support a baby’s bone development. It also prevents osteoporosis in the mother. Most prenatal vitamins contain 200 – 300 mg of calcium. You will need to get more from your food.

Vitamin D works together with calcium to help the baby’s bones and teeth develop. It’s also necessary for healthy eyesight and skin. Most prenatal vitamins contain about 400 international units of vitamin D.

DHA is essential for all of us. It is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps our brains to perform at their best.

From the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, 10-14 November 2008, WHO, Geneva

They concluded and recommended:

For adult pregnant and lactating females, the minimum intake for optimal adult health and fetal and infant development is 0.3 g/d EPA+DHA, of which at least 0.2 g/d should be DHA. … The US Food and Drug Administration (DHHS 1997) having set a ‘Generally Regarded as Safe’ level of 3000 mg/day …

EPA is yet another essential omega-3 fatty acid which works together with DHA to keep the brain strong and healthy.

Note the % Daily Value from the right column in the above table. Some nutrients are below 100% of your daily recommended value. You will get the rest of your daily recommended value from food. Check on the labels of the products available over the counter. Talk to your doctor about your needs and he/she will help you choose one that best addresses them.

I hope the above help you with choosing your prenatal multivitamin. Good luck with your baby.

Simple Ways to Make your Baby Smarter

Parents want to set their child for success and the promise for success is the baby’s IQ.

The decisions, choices, and things that we make can affect the growth and development of a baby. Some moms will listen to Beethoven, others will read books and some others will use their creativity in art drawings or concocting amazing recipes. The basic idea being that the more relaxed you are while also being creative during that period of pregnancy will help to form the baby’s brain. Nowadays, stress is the cause of almost all kind of diseases. Thus, when you relax and allow your creativity to show up, your body produces fewer stress hormones.

Let’s take a look at the things that you can do during your pregnancy.

Exercising

Your body releases mood-boosting endorphins after a workout. Blood in your body carries all the essential nutrients to your baby. Exercise increases the blood flow around your womb. That, in turn, stimulates the baby’s development. Research has found that Aerobic exercises during pregnancy target baby’s brain. Particularly, improving brain function and spatial learning.

Stop doing drugs. Stop drinking alcohol. Stop smoking!

These points are undeniable. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of birth defects and learning disabilities in newborns. No amount of drinking alcohol is safe! Kindly abstain from drinking alcohol to promote the intellectual development of a baby.

Eat fish

Fish may help expectant moms improve their baby’s cognitive feature. Fish may also decrease the risk of early symptoms of autism. In 2016, a study found that kids whose mothers ate fish regularly (3-4servings per week) had an IQ score of 2.8% higher than children whose moms ate less fish. Fish contains essential omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA). You get these from a variety of oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and lake trout.

You can refer to an interesting blog article on What are Fish Oil supplements and capsules. If you don’t eat tons of fish you should be taking food supplement like fish oil in your diet to get enough EPA & DHA. But, to be on the safe side, consult your doctor before taking any prenatal food supplement.

From the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition, 10-14November, 2008, WHO, Geneva

They concluded and recommended:

For adult pregnant and lactating females, the minimum intake for optimal adult health and fetal and infant development is 0.3 g/d EPA+DHA, of which at least 0.2 g/d should be DHA. … The US Food and Drug Administration (DHHS 1997) having set a ‘Generally Regarded as Safe’ level of 3000 mg/day …

Eat eggs

The egg is a superfood that may set a baby to become a fast learner with better memory. Egg yolks contain choline which is a member of the vitamin B family. Choline is among the US Institute of Medicine’s list of essential nutrients for pregnant women. In 2004, a study on rats revealed that choline changes the brain’s cell structure to support cognitive development. The rats had received an increased intake of choline during pregnancy. They found that the pups had 20-25% larger neurons in the brain area that’s critical for learning. This means that their brain cells had more capacity to receive incoming signals.

Choline food supplement

In case you do not eat much, check with your doctor if it is OK for you to supplement on Choline. You can refer to this interesting article on Brain Enhancement Nutrient – CHOLINE.

Talk to the baby when it is still in the womb

David & Sarah’s Pregnancy Session

In 2013, a study revealed that babies were able to recognize a word and its variations after they were born. Expectant women were given a recording to play toward the end of their pregnancy that included a made-up word. A test with neural signals showed they could recognize the pitch and vowel changes in the word. The babies who heard the word most often when they were in the utero had the strongest response. This suggests that learning starts inside the womb. The baby is receptive to what the mom talks.

Within the first two months of life, the baby can recognize the voices of the parents. Their voices become a familiar sound that helps soothe and make baby feel safe.

Conclusion

During the nine months of pregnancy, the mother should stay calm and live without stress. The mother should practice regular exercises and eat healthy foods. If there is any nutrient deficiency, your doctor will tell you which food supplement to take. Smile and talk to your baby despite he/she is still inside the womb.

You will reap the benefits by getting a smarter than average baby. Good luck to you!

For more information and tips, jot down your comments in the section below. I will be happy to reply.