Heart Healthy

Did you know you can actually
repair damaged cells by eating
the right foods? It's true - a diet
packed with phytonutrients...

read more

Quick and Easy Valentine's

It's the night before Valentine's Day
and you suddenly realize you need
to find 24 Valentines for 24
classmates - STAT!...

read more

Tummy Tips

Pool season is just a few short months
away, if your abs need a little
fine-tuning before you bare them on
the beach try these great tips...

read more

Eat Yourself to a Healthier Heart



Did you know you can actually repair damaged cells by eating the right foods? It's true - a diet packed with phytonutrients can actually prevent and repair damage done to cells, including the cells that comprise your heart.

It may surprise you, too, that these heart-healthy super foods are actually pretty tasty too! Here are ten of the best foods for you to add to your diet today - and if you already enjoy some of these foods every day, pat yourself on the back!

  • Oatmeal - Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, folate and fiber. Try it for breakfast or make oatmeal raisin cookies as a treat!
  • Almond - Full of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium and fiber. Try mixing almonds into yogurt, trail mix, oatmeal or fruit.
  • Salmon - A fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids. Grill or broil salmon and serve it with vegetables or a salad.
  • Black or Kidney Beans - Rich in B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, fiber. Add beans to soups or salads or make a healthy dip for veggies.
  • Tofu - High in niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Try to turn tofu into a vegetarian main dish by grilling it or adding it to a stir fry.
  • Brown rice - Full of B-complex vitamins, fiber, niacin, magnesium and fiber. Brown rice can make a vegetarian meal more hearty - just vegetables and beans and dig in!
  • Blueberries - Rich in beta-carotene and lutein, vitamin C, folate, calcium and fiber. Eat blueberries in cereal, yogurt, muffins - or just by the handful.
  • Carrots - A great source of alpha-carotene and fiber. Peel and eat or shred and add to spaghetti sauce or oatmeal.
  • Spinach - Rich in lutein, B-complex vitamins, folate, magnesium, potassium, calcium and fiber. Make your salad more spinach than lettuce and add spinach, rather than iceberg, to your sandwiches.
  • Red wine - A fantastic source of catechins and reservatrol. Raise a glass and toast to your new and improved, heart healthy diet!

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Tummy Tips: Seven Steps to a Better Belly



The weather may still be cold and damp outside, but pool season is just a few short months away - and if you have a spring break trip planned, swimsuit season will start even earlier. If your abs need a little fine-tuning before you bare them on the beach, try these great tips, courtesy of Fitness Magazine.

  1. Choose Variety Over Reps: Doing the same ab exercise over and over will eventually lead to boredom for you and your abdominal muscles. In order to challenge your muscles and see change, mix it up. Try a different routine of ab exercises every few weeks.

  2. Don't Worry about "Upper" vs. "Lower": Your abdominals are all part of the same muscle sheath - the rectus abdominus. If you work part of that sheath, the rest of it will be engaged too.

  3. Engage Your Pelvic Floor: In order to effectively target your abs, you need to strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles. To do that, gently pull in your belly button toward your back - if your stomach is pushing out while you do sit-ups, then you're not engaged.

  4. Work the Abs, Not the Neck: In order to avoid straining your neck while doing core work, keep your chin up and eyes on the ceiling. Once your chin dips into your chest, your neck will begin doing some of the work - pain is sure to follow!

  5. Pump Up the Cardio: Even if your abs are rock hard, you'll have a hard time showing them off if they have a layer of fat over them. Try to achieve 45 minutes of cardio most days of the week. That will go a long way toward burning off the fat that may be keeping your gorgeous abs in hiding!

  6. Don't Wait to Work Your Abs: If you are doing both cardio and strength training in one workout, get your ab work done in between. That way, you're not completely drained when you start working on your abs and still have the energy and mental stamina to focus on form.

  7. Know When to Rest: Promising yourself you'll do 100 crunches every day is actually counter-productive... Your abs need time to rest and rejuvenate just like every other muscle in your body. Try to work them out every two days.

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Quick and Easy Valentine's

It's the night before Valentine's Day and you suddenly you and your little one realize you need to find 24 Valentines for 24 classmates - STAT! Well, you're in luck. Below are a few ideas that you can whip up with (hopefully) supplies that already somewhere in your house. Just find some cardstock, sturdy paper or construction paper and get to work!

  • Thumbprint Love: If you have an ink pad and a cute little thumb, you can make these cards! Simply have your little one dip his/her thumb onto the ink pad, make a thumbprint on the card and - without moving the thumb from its original spot - lift it slightly and rotate it 45-degrees and press down again. Voila! It's a little heart! Write an accompanying message or draw a picture around the heart and you're done.

  • Soft Heart: If you have scraps of fabric around, this one is for you. Using small squares of fabric, simply fold in half and cut a heart shape. If you are feeling really fancy, either glue or stitch a button on to the fabric heart and then glue onto your paper or cardstock.

  • Jar of Hearts: If you are making Valentines for a smaller group, consider filling small Mason Jars with conversation hearts and topping with pretty ribbon. For a different variation, fill with Hershey Kisses or Hugs - love in a jar!

  • Potato Art: This is a fun one for preschoolers... Take a baking potato and carve it into a flat heart shape. Then, dip it into sparkly red or pink paint and let your little Picasso go crazy. Who knew vegetables could be so fun!

  • Confetti Fun: First, trace a large heart on your card stock or paper. Then, cut a bunch of random, small paper pieces out of magazine pages, and let your child fill in the heart shape with the "confetti" pieces. The end product will be colorful and unique!

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