Air Travel Tips for Holidays

Traveling by air is often stressful, but when you have to travel during the holidays it can be even more so.. Reduce air travel stress by planning ahead and using these airline tips for a happy and stress free airplane ride. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when traveling by air, especially with kids in tow.

A Calm Trip
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Unlike a car ride, where you can pull off at rest stops, a plane is a long endless ride for youngsters. To help pass the time, you can pack in your carry-on baggage some simple toys to amuse them. Pack crayons and coloring books, stuffed animals. Avoid noisy toys that will disturb other passengers, unless they can be used with headphones.

Babies will need a pacifier or bottle to suck on during times when the cabin pressure is likely to bother them like during takeoff and touchdown. 

If possible, schedule the flight during naptimes or bedtime so that your child will be less disturbed by these minor discomforts.

Plan Ahead

Check with your airline to see what carry – on baggage is appropriate for youngsters. Ask if it is all right to bring a booster seat so that your child can see out the window (ask for a window seat for your child over five).

Arrive at least an hour early for domestic flights and two hours early for international flights.

If flying internationally, check for passport requirements and vaccination requirements.

You may have better flights using surburban airports than big city airports because they are less congested.

TSA Tips

Security agents may open wrapped gifts, so do not wrap presents until you get to your destination. You might consider shipping packages instead of using baggage to avoid overweight fees and long check-in lines.

If you are bringing food aboard make sure they are in see-through containers, or factory-
sealed food.

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Health Tips For Pets

Here on the blog, I talk about ways to keep your family healthy. It’s all about protecting the ones you love! It’s important that we don’t overlook our pets.

As the weather cools down, there are a few specific things to keep in mind to protect our furry friends.

Avoid Toxins

The deicers used to keep sidewalks and driveways clear contains salt and sometimes other chemicals that can irritate pets’ paws. Avoid walking your pet through these areas, and just to be safe, wipe their paws on Dr. Doormat and clean thoroughly to remove any residue.

Antifreeze is another toxin to be mindful about. It has a sweet taste that appeals to pets and kids alike, but it’s highly toxic. Keep it out of their reach (including spills in the driveway and garage)!

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Keep your pets safe and healthy this winter!

Keep Warm

Just like us humans, animals need to stay warm to avoid hypothermia and frostbite! Don’t leave pets outside for long periods of time when the weather is very cold.

Some dog breeds are well-suited to cold environments, while others will benefit from sweaters and doggie “socks.” Small dogs are especially at risk for hypothermia. Research your dog’s breed to see how you can help them cope with the cold.

If your dog does spend a significant amount of time outside, take care to ensure that their water bowl doesn’t freeze! You can even purchase heated water bowls for outdoor use.

Helping Feral Cats and Wildlife

The Humane Society has tips on how you can help feral cats in your neighborhood during the winter.

One important thing to remember is that cats and wildlife often take respite underneath warm parked vehicles, so in order to avoid injuring these critters as you pull away, make it a habit to bang on your hood before you start your vehicle in the winter and bend down to take a look by the wheels. You might look a little nutty, but you might very well save an animal!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

World Health: What You Need to Know

The news has been abuzz lately with concerns about world health and disease outbreaks. Much of the hysteria is unwarranted, say healthcare experts. In fact, the odds of becoming very ill with influenza is vastly more likely than contracting ebola or enterovirus D68.

Still, parents are understandably concerned. Here’s what you need to know about current world health issues and how to keep your family safe.

World Health Concerns

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Good hygiene is one of the most important things you can do to avoid illness.

The current major world health concerns are ebola and enterovius D68. The current ebola outbreak originated in Africa. While the origination of enterovirus D68 hasn’t been pinned down, it’s been speculated that it began in Latin America.

The risk of death for both illnesses is low in the Unites States. Children with asthma and other underlying health conditions have a higher risk of complications from both viruses.

The main issue is that there is no cure for either disease, as they are both viruses. The best way to contain outbreaks is to minimize the spread of the diseases by those who are infected.

Safe on the Home Front

Protecting your family from global diseases is not much different than what you would normally do to keep your family safe from regular illnesses. Important to consider, also, is how you’ll contain these infections to protect others if anyone in your family is infected. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Don’t live in fear. Know that your odds of dying or losing a child to either of these illnesses is very low, though you wouldn’t always know it from the media. Not only will living in fear diminish your relationships, the stress of doing so debilitates your immune system, too!
  • Wash your hands - often! Use soap and warm water to wash your hands before eating, and after coming home from being in public. Don’t touch your face if your hands aren’t clean.
  • We track millions of microbes and toxins into our homes everyday. Keep the nasties out by placing Dr. Doormat at your entrances – Wiping your shoes at least twice helps trap and remove up to 90% of debris, including fungi and bacteria.
  • Maintain wellness – even if you do become infected, studies are confirming that good underlying nutrition and hydration are key in avoiding complications and death from these viruses. Eat well and stay hydrated.
  • Stay informed. The World Health Organization offers information – just the facts – on the activity of these diseases. Talk to your kids about what’s going on, too.
  • Keep your home well-stocked. In the event that a major outbreak does hit your area, you may not want to be travelling to the store too often. Keep your home well-stocked with healthy non-perishables (rice, oats, frozen fruits and veggies, and whole-food protein powders are a few choices to consider.) will help you stay healthy if you have to hunker down! Don’t forget toilet paper and other hygienic supplies, too.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Get Ready For Winter

Winter is coming! There’s a lot you can do around your home to get ready for winter that will keep your family safe, warm, healthy – and even save you money!

Winterize Your Home

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Get your home ready and well-stocked for winter.

There are many things you can do to make your home healthier and more energy-efficient. Not only will it keep your house warmer, it will save you money. A few include:

  • Seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • Check out our tips on keeping your indoor air pure during winter.
  • Replace worn-out insulation.
  • Run your ceiling fans in reverse to push warm air back down into the room.
  • Install storm windows.

Focus on Immune Support

With increased travel and more stress this time of year, illnesses tend to increase. Boost your immune system to reduce your risk of catching those winter bugs.

  • Probiotic supplements and foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha support healthy gut flora necessary for immune function.
  • Wash your hands often to prevent the spread of germs and clip your children’s nails to reduce the hiding places for dirt.
  •  Be sure to get plenty of sleep. Your body needs to recharge in order to have the strength to ward off illness.

Check out our other tips on how to support your immune system naturally.

Get Your Car Ready for Winter

 Safe winter travel starts with preparing your car:

  • Perform a tune-up, replacing all fluids and ensuring that your tires will last all winter.
  • Keep a spare tire, jack, and jumper cables in your car.
  • Replace your car’s battery if necessary.
  • Keep a winter survival kit in your car: include a flashlight, food, blankets, water, and any medications your family needs.

Following these tips for your home, health, and travel will help you have a safe, healthy winter – enjoy!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

How Much Exercise is Enough?

We all know how important it is to exercise – but how much exercise do we really need? Read on to learn more about how much exercise we all need – and how to get more if you’re not quite reaching that goal. 

How Much Exercise?
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We all need exercise! The amount, however, depends on our age and other health factors.

According to the CDC, our exercise needs according to age are:

  • 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (ie, brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (ie. jogging or sports) per week for adults
  • 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day for children and teens.

It’s important to remember that those with underlying, ongoing health conditions should talk to their primary care provider about exercise needs. There are a lot of variables that can’t be covered here – so be safe!

Fitting In Mini-Workouts

The good news is you can break up your weekly exercise needs in a way that works best for your schedule! For example, an adult might go for a brisk 30 minute walk 5 mornings per week – or a 15 minute walk twice per day for 5 days a week!

Others might choose to do longer workouts to meet their needs and can spread them out further if desired.

Here are a few ways to fit in bursts of exercise throughout the day:

  • Play a quick game of tag with the kids before dinner. (Vigorous)
  • Jog in place while reading your email or watching your favorite show. (Vigorous)
  • Take a brisk walk on your lunch break. (Moderate)
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. (Moderate)

Getting the exercise you need is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. While it might be difficult at first, you’ll find that you have more energy as you become more fit and even start to look forward to your workouts!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

One of the simplest ways you can begin to eat healthier is to pack your own lunches. Restaurant food and (unfortunately) school lunches are often loaded with preservatives, food coloring, and excess fat and sugar. By packing your own meal, you can choose healthier foods and save a lot of money! Here’s how to pack a healthy lunch!  healthylunch 300x200 How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

  • Nutty-fruit burrito. This one is a kid favorite! Spread peanut butter or better yet almond butter on a whole grain tortilla and add sliced apples or banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll it up! Pack it with a side of carrot sticks and hummus or a handful of raw almonds.
  • Fresh salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. Toss romaine lettuce, tomato wedges, red onions, and carrots with cooked chicken breast and homemade honey mustard dressing made from equal parts of honey, mustard, and olive oil.
  • Perfect pita. Stuff a whole-grain pita will all of your favorite sandwich fillings! Try refried beans and salsa, turkey breast, mozarella and spinach, or steak strips + red pepper slices.
  • Leftovers! The easiest healthy lunch of all is to simply pack up some leftovers from last night’s healthy dinner and enjoy it again for lunch.

The most important thing to remember about packing a healthy lunch is to make it something you really enjoy. Keep these guidelines in mind for a lunch that energizes and keeps you full through the afternoon:

  • Include a veggie. It’s really easy to skimp on vegetables throughout the day, so get at least a serving or two in during lunch, whether it’s a salad, a side, or part of your main meal.
  • Pack in the protein! Protein is the key to staying full and energized through the afternoon. Build your sandwich around lean meats like chicken or turkey and include sides like greek yogurt or rice and beans.
  • Keep the fat and sugar to a minimum. While fat isn’t necessarily unhealthy if you eat the right kind, too much at lunch time might make you sluggish. Too much sugar is never good and will cause an energy crash shortly afterward!

Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to take a lot of time. With a little planning, these tips will help your whole family avoid processed foods and eat much healthier.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Drop Processed Foods!

In the documentary, Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock shares what happened when he ate nothing but fast food for a month. If you saw the movie, you know the results he found: a month of junk food had a profoundly harmful effect on his body, mind and spirit. He felt and looked awful because of his poor food choices. 

eatrealfood Drop Processed Foods!

Replace processed foods with natural, healthy alternatives!

While Super Size Me shows an extreme example, the reality is that many of us are cultivating the exact same results in our own life by making poor food choices far too often!

Are you considering making big changes in your health by eating healthier? If you are ready to make that jump from junk food and quick meals to unprocessed, wholesome food, start with 1-3 replacements and notice just how great you feel.

The United States population has an obsession with junk food; that’s certainly not news. We’re a fat, unhealthy nation, with quick, processed foods far too easily obtainable. All the junk food that you have been feeding your body will have eroded your body; and once you start living a healthier lifestyle, your body is in for a battle of change.

Some ideas for getting started:

  • Replace sodas and sports drinks (which are loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients) with tea, or better yet, water!
  • Replace refined white bread with whole grain or sprouted grain bread.
  • Replace vegetable oil, which is often genetically modified and heavily processed, with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Replace white sugar with honey, stevia, or maple syrup.
  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of chips, crackers, and other processed snacks.
  • Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast instead of sugary cereals.
  • Replace the high sugar yogurt containing 26g per serving with low sugar Greek yogurt, 8g per serving.

Switching to unprocessed food offers loads of benefits! You’ll enjoy a lower risk of the diseases related to preservatives, pesticides, and artificial ingredients. You’ll likely be eating much less refined sugar, giving more stable blood sugar and more energy. You’ll probably reach a healthier weight, if you have some to lose.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Keeping School Kids Healthy

Getting the kids back in school is usually a welcome change for parents. Not quite as welcome are the cold and flu viruses that start to circulate this season as fall arrives and students spend more time in close quarters.

While viral illnesses are sometimes unavoidable, there are many things you can do to protect your

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Hand washing is one of several ways to avoid getting sick.

family – keeping them healthier and less prone to infections.

  • One survey showed that the top recommendation from school nurses to avoid getting sick was to practice routine hand washing. Kids need to be taught how and when to wash their hands and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth without washing hands first.
  • Keep nutrition a priority. Eating a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods each day ensures that kids get the nutrients needed for a healthy immune system
  • Get adequate rest. Sleep is also necessary for the immune system to work at its best. Practice good sleep hygiene so everyone recharges.

On the other hand, it’s also important to know what to do to avoid spreading illness if someone in your family becomes ill. Keep sick kids at home and practice good hygiene in public places like the grocery store. Also, teach kids to always cover their nose and mouth with their elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of airborne germs and to keep the hands clean.

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Dr. Doormat – 24″x36″ & 18″x24″

 

Don’t forget – placing Dr. Doormat at the entrance of your home keeps germs out. By zapping the nasty grime on contact, it adds the extra point of protection for your home.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Why Wait Until the New Year? Setting Fall Resolutions

It’s hard to believe, but another school year is here. It’s the time of year when we settle into a fresh routine, full of beginnings.

It’s obvious that the new school year is a fresh start for kids as they settle into a new classroom and make new friends. But it’s actually a great time for reinvention and goal-setting for moms, too!

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Now is a great time to go after what you want.

Don’t wait until the New Year to go after what you want – now is a great time to start.

Setting Effective Goals

There are a few tried-and-true steps you can take to set effective goals.

  1. Write them down! Studies repeatedly show that writing down goals vastly increases the odds of success.
  2. Get clear on where you want to be. Want to be healthier? Define what that means to you, whether it’s a weight loss goal or having more energy.
  3. Break your goal into actionable steps and build habits that will get you there. Leading off of the same example, if your goal is to have more energy, build habits into your daily routine like exercise, drinking fresh juice, and getting to bed on time each night.
  4. Remind yourself of your goals daily. Often, life gets in the way of the things we want to accomplish and we let our goals fizzle out. To avoid this, place reminders to yourself where you will see them each day. Notes on your bathroom mirror, or in your car are a great idea.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Using the power of momentum to achieve your goals is so helpful. An example of this is taking the first step toward doing what it takes to meet your goals. For example, if you want to work out every day, commit to dressing in your workout gear and driving to the gym. Tell yourself that if you get there, and still don’t feel like a workout, you can leave. Chances are that you will already be invested by the time you show up and follow through with what you set out to do.

What goals are you setting this fall? Are you getting up earlier? Taking more time for yourself? Being more involved at school? I want to know!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

You’ve probably heard plenty about how important it is to get enough sleep. For many of us, it’s easier to make sure our kids get the rest they need than to take the time to recharge ourselves.

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How’s your sleep hygiene?

Not sure if you and your family are getting enough sleep? These questions will help you determine whether or not you’re getting the rest your body really needs.

  1. Are you thinking clearly? Sleep deprivation is a major cause in lack of focus, memory, and decision making skills. So, if you’re cramming extra work into the wee hours of the night, know that you’re actually harming your productivity in the long run. It’s not worth it!
  2. Are you depressed? Depression often manifests as a result of poor sleep habits and other negative lifestyle factors. Get plenty of sleep, eat right, and exercise – and see how your mood improves.
  3. Are you gaining weight? Sleep loss leads to weight gain for a couple of reasons: one is that the hormones which regulate our metabolism don’t function right if we don’t recharge. Another is that people who stay up late simply tend to eat more calories over the course of the day (but unfortunately, on average, don’t burn more!).
  4. Are you a loose cannon? Sleep deprivation causes anxiety, poor stress reaction, and other mood issues. Again – make the choice to take care of your body and watch your mood improve drastically.
  5. Are you addicted to caffeine? A cup of coffee in the morning won’t hurt you – and in fact is a healthy source of antioxidants – but if you find yourself chugging it down all day long, it might be time to look at your sleep habits.
  6. Are you dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? You might not jump out of bed in the morning, but it shouldn’t be a huge challenge just to start your day.
  7. Do you doze off during the day? A quick cat-nap during the day is actually not a bad thing – as long as it’s intentional. If, however, you find yourself dozing off at your desk or other places, you probably need to be getting more sleep at night.

The same concepts apply to kids: when it comes to behavioral issues, take into account how sleep habits, diet, and exercise might help improve the situation. If you notice a child breathing heavily while napping or even snoring, check with your Dr. and ask to have the adenoids or tonsils checked. For adults it’s recommended to contact a sleep center and have sleep patterns observed professionally. Sleep apnea is a common condition that can be addressed with help.

Each person needs an average of 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone’s different – the exact amount Last May (which is Better Sleep Month), we shared tips on how to get a great night’s sleep. See how you can implement some of those into your family’s lifestyle as you settle into the new back-to-school routine.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.