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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.

Home Detox – Balancing the Elements: Fire

fire 300x225 Home Detox   Balancing the Elements: FireThe final element we’ll cover in our series is Fire – one that most of us have been using plenty of over the last few weeks. The system used to heat our homes actually creates a number of toxic byproducts that are then released into the air. There are a few ways to maximize the safety and lower toxins when it comes to your home heating system.

Go Electric

If you have respiratory issues, switching to electric heating (and cleaning your heating appliances often!) may be your best option. It will likely save you money, as well!

Ventilate

If you’re otherwise healthy or if doing so is impractical, you might not find it necessary to switch to electric heating. Another thing you can do to improve your indoor air is be sure to ventilate your home well. Opening your windows often can help. Be sure to have a properly functioning hood fan over your gas-powered stove, as well.

Ditch Flame Retardant Chemicals

While they were created to protect us, new research shows that the flame resistant chemicals used to treat furniture, carpets, and children’s pajamas are actually linked to a number of health issues, such as neurological delays, infertility, thyroid issues, and more.

These chemcials show up everywhere, even in our dust bunnies! A co-author of a study on household dust explains:

“Our study found that people are exposed to toxic flame retardants every day. These hazardous chemicals are in the air we breathe, the dust we touch and the couches we sit on. Many flame retardants raise health concerns, including cancer, hormone disruption, and harmful effects on brain development. It is troubling to see that a majority of homes have at least one flame retardant at levels beyond what the federal government says is safe. Infants and toddlers who spend much time on the floor are at higher risk for exposure.”

So pick up that dust, too!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Here’s to your health!

Happy and Healthy New Year! Wishes that we hear a lot this time of year. How can we all make this a reality and optimize our chances for good health? Of all the gifts we can give, good health is the most valuable to give and receive. Making a realistic new years resolution is a nice way to establish a goal for yourself that you can keep. Start with something simple.

  1. If it means being more active, great. Park your car further away and that will force you to walk more, take the steps instead of the elevator. 
  2. If you have never done sit ups or push ups or it’s been so long that you can’t remember the last time you did, then plan to do a small amount each day for a week. Start with 5 or 10 and do it every day, then increase by 5 each week. Before you know it you will be at 25 and 30.
  3. Can’t seem to change your diet, well try adding 1 piece of fruit to your menu each day. Pack an apple for work or a banana and skip the dessert. If you change one thing from your routine it could make a huge difference.
  4. If you want to read more and can’t seem to find time to read a book or want to learn more about current events. Start with an article in the paper or a magazine, try and read at least one a day.
New Year resolutions by app 728x513 300x211 Heres to your health!

Happy New Year

If you always do what you always did, then you will always have what you always had. If you want more or you want change in your life, only you have the power to change your habits. Here’s my secret trick for conquering my New Years goals: I set a realistic goal. Mine is to exercise more consistently. I start on the New Year but I don’t make myself crazy. Experts say that it takes 30 days of a routine to make something a lifestyle or habit. I give myself from the New Year until March 4th to get into a good routine and make it part of my lifestyle. This way if I mess up along the way it’s not all or nothing. I can miss a few days and jump back in and recover my plan. I will plan to March forth into the new year with a solid routine and good habit. Wishing you a great year!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

RARE SALE

Yes, this is a rare event.  We have had this once a year event only on GMA.  We are announcing this only to our Blog subscribers, Facebook followers, and Newsletter subscribers. You can even tell your friends and share the news.

Before this becomes public on GMA get it while you can.  You heard about it first.

50% OFF – All house size Dr. Doormats measuring 24″ x 36″.  Pay only $23.50 per mat plus shipping, no limit per customer.

All colors while supplies last.  No promo code required.  We are making room for the new inventory with our new design enhancement coming soon.  Great time to plan ahead for your holiday shopping.

0029 dm 300x200 RARE SALE

Dr. Doormat – 24″ x 36″ x 3/8″

 

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Food Allergies 101

Food allergies seem like an epidemic these days… between gluten intolerance, dairy-free-diets, and the more familiar nut allergies, it can be overwhelming to keep all of the different guidelines straight, particularly when you’re cooking for a friend or family member that has diet restrictions you’re not familiar with.

foodallergies 300x240 Food Allergies 101

Food intolerance and sensitivity is actually much more common than true allergies.

It’s so important to get it all straight, though, since one wrong ingredient can make a loved one seriously ill and even land them in the hospital!

It turns out that much of what we refer to as allergies, are not allergies at all!

Many people believe they have a food allergy because of the symptoms experienced when they eat a certain food.  Many of these cases are not true allergies, however.  More children than adults suffer from food allergies, but most are outgrown by the age of five years old.  The allergies that cause more severe reactions usually continue into adulthood.

A true allergic response to food is one that involves the immune system.  Antibodies are produced the first time the food is eaten and each subsequent time, a reaction occurs as a result of the histamine release from cells attached to body tissues and organs.  There are reactions to particular foods that do not involve the immune system but produce some of the same results.

This reaction is called food intolerance.  Every time the food, let’s say chili for example, is eaten, the body will go through a series of not so pleasant symptoms that subside over time.  With a food allergy, the symptoms gradually get worse.

Common Allergies in Children

From infancy to two or three years of age, pediatricians recommend that children be introduced to new foods slowly.  They believe that introducing children to solid foods before six months of age puts them at greater risk for developing food allergies.  Any allergies that may occur usually disappear by two or three years old.

Pediatricians and scientist also believe that breastfeeding your child for the first six months of life will protect them from most food allergies.  This has not been proven conclusively.  Children who are breastfed for six months or longer do gain enhanced immunity from the mother’s milk.  But, parents may have had allergies as well and heredity does play a part in whether or not the child will develop any type of food allergy at all.

The most common allergies in children are: eggs, shellfish, fish, milk, soy, peanuts, true nuts, and wheat (gluten allergy).  They can occur when foods are introduced early in a child’s diet.  Some like shellfish, peanuts, fish, and wheat don’t usually disappear but affect them as adults.

How to Prevent Food Allergies

Who is at risk for a food allergy? Well, anyone can develop a food allergy.  A child with one or both parents who suffered from or still suffer from allergies does have a greater chance of being affected by food allergies.  Any allergy could be one that fades with time or it could be of a more severe type that continues their entire life.

Delayed Introduction is a method recommended by pediatricians.  When a child is old enough to eat solid foods, they are not fed from the table but introduced to single ingredient foods like baby applesauce, strained green beans, sweet potatoes, and the like.  Each food is given at least four days before another food is added to their diet.

This method allows a parent to observe the child for any signs of allergy symptoms.  If any are present, the food will be eliminated from the child’s diet and a doctor consulted about what to do next.  In the absence of visible signs, parents may continue to select new foods for baby to eat.

Doctors advise new parents about the kinds of food their children can eat when it is time for solid foods.  The foods that are most likely to cause food allergies are the ones recommended for avoidance.  Since milk and soy are potential allergens, doctors recommend breast milk for as long as it is feasible.

The other common childhood allergens are not to be introduced until two or three years of age. This also means foods that may contain nuts, eggs, peanuts, and shellfish are on the naughty list. 

Some of the most offending foods for children are fresh fruits and vegetables.  One wouldn’t think that fresh would be of harm but there are more potentially allergic proteins in these foods when they are introduced into a child’s diet too early.  The processed fruits and vegetables that we eat have lost many of these substances during the cooking and canning process.  Introduce only one at a time to be able to identify the cause of any reactions!

Prevent food allergies in children by delaying the introduction of foods deemed as potentially problematic.  Be on alert if one or both parents suffered from allergies as children or as adults.  It is not pleasant to suffer from food allergies so if it can be avoided do so. If you are not sure what you are dealing with, consult a physician.  They will send you on to an allergist if they believe a true food allergy is present.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

4 Tips for Nontoxic Home Renovation

With the last full month of summer underway, many of us are trying to wrap up a few renovation projects while the weather still allows. If you’re fixing up certain areas of your home or landscape, consider the health and environmental impact of the materials and products you’re using.

For example, the chemicals in some paints and building materials can leech fumes into your home, sometimes even for years. Some materials may leave toxic traces surrounding your home, only to be dragged inside later. nontoxichomerenovate 242x300 4 Tips for Nontoxic Home Renovation

Consider these alternative healthy renovation options in your renovation projects as the summer winds to a close:

  • Low-VOC/Non-toxic paint. While we fortunately don’t have to worry about lead in the paint we buy anymore, there are still many brands which contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are linked to a number of health problems including nausea, eye and respiratory tract irritation, heart, kidney, and lung damage and even cancer. Thankfully, many nontoxic and low-VOC options are available.
  • Formaldehyde-free wood. Formaldehyde is classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen and is present in many building materials, particularly cabinets.
  • Non-toxic caulks, sealants, and adhesives. Again, aim for low-VOC options and look for those that are free of butyl rubber, chlorinated hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, neoprene and solvent-based acrylic.
  • “Green” carpet. If you’re replacing your carpet, know that some brands are less toxic than others. Look for “green” options that have lower emissions and include more sustainable backing and adhesives.

Thankfully, with more and more consumers striving to live a healthier and more eco-friendly lifestyle, there have never been more nontoxic products available for our homes.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Protecting Your Family from Poison Ivy

poisonivy Protecting Your Family from Poison Ivy

Protect your family from poison ivy!

As you enjoy the great outdoors this season, be sure that you’re on the lookout for poison ivy – the harmless-looking plant that populates wooded areas. Merely brushing up against poison ivy can lead to a painful, contagious rash and for those who are extremely sensitive, even swelling and fever. Read on to learn more about poison ivy and how to protect your loved ones.

How Poison Ivy Works

Poison ivy leaves are covered with an oil called urushiol oil which is what causes irritation of the skin. The scariest thing about this oil is that it stays potent for a really long time. So if it get’s on your kids’ clothes and they just throw them in the hamper, you can potentially be infected by just touching the clothes when you go to wash them.

Poison Ivy Symptoms

Some people are more sensitive to urushiol oil than others.. and some people are completely immune. Symptoms can range from nonexistent to mildly uncomfortable to extreme.

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Blisters
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Skin peeling (typically as the rash is healing)

Even those who appear to be immune to poison ivy should avoid it. Immunity can change several times throughout a person’s life. Plus – they can still spread the oil to those who are sensitive to it!

Avoiding Poison Ivy

In order to avoid poison ivy, it’s crucial to know how to properly identify it. There are a few different varieties of poison ivy, all of which should be avoided. Some types are shrub-like and grow close to the ground, while there are more vine-like types that creep along the ground and up trees and other supports. Poison-Ivy.org offers some great pictures of what poison ivy looks like throughout the year and in different regions.

Wearing long clothes that cover the skin while you’re in wooded areas is another good way to lower your risk of exposure.

If You’re Exposed…

If you realize that you or someone else has brushed up against a poison ivy plant, fortunately you still have time to minimize the rash outbreak. Follow these steps as quickly as possible after contact:

  1. Remove clothing and place directly in the washer.
  2. Cleanse the area thoroughly with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. These help dissolve the oil and remove it from the skin.
  3. Shower off in cold water – hot or warm water will open the pores and make the oil more easily absorbed.
  4. Wash your clothes in very hot water 2-3 times-use bleach if your clothes will allow it. Run an empty load with a splash of bleach through your empty washer afterward to clean it.

If the damage is done and you or someone you love does end up with a poison ivy rash, calamine lotion and oatmeal baths can help with the itching. Another trick I learned at summer camp is an old gardeners secret that works.  Place white cider vinegar in a bowl with salt and stir to form a thick mixture.  Apply the vinegar/salt mixture to the infected area by blobbing it on with cotton balls.  Soak the cotton ball with vinegar and pile the salt on top with a spoon and apply.  This mixture dries the rash out quickly, continue to apply throughout the day.  MayoClinic suggests visiting a doctor if:

  • The reaction is severe or widespread
  • The rash affects your face or genitals
  • Blisters are oozing pus
  • You develop a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C)
  • The rash doesn’t get better within a few weeks

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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

Protecting Your Family From Ticks

Spending time outdoors is one of the summer activities families look forward to most, but with the outdoor fun comes a few new safety and health concerns. Just as it’s important to consider safe sun protection, protection from certain insects is a must.

21906 new dig camera pictures 146 225x300 Protecting Your Family From Ticks

Happy and Healthy 4th of July!  Let our children enjoy the summer by protecting them from harmful ticks and insects.

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is a particularly high risk in the Northeast, but appears commonly in any wooded areas. Public health consultant Bob Oley warns, “These microscopic bugs pose an enormous threat to our children, who are especially vulnerable during the summer months. It is imperative to educate ourselves about tick-borne diseases, and take the necessary precautions to protect our children from them.”

Ticks can appear in lawns, campgrounds, and even picnic tables. Clearly, summer camp is another high-risk area as kids are spending more time outside in these areas. Fortunately there are several ways to minimize exposure to a variety of deer ticks and reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease and other severe bacterial infections.

  • Dress defensively. Mother Earth News advises, “When you venture into areas where ticks might be waiting, dress for the occasion. Wear a hat and light-colored clothing (to help you see ticks before they find skin), and tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants into your socks. You may look goofy, but it’s better than becoming a tick’s dinner.
  • Repel ticks. Use an insect repellent with nontoxic ingredients to ward off bug bites. The Daily Green shares a few quality products as well as essential oils that can deter ticks. For those of us who have experienced serious infections or have had family members hospitalized over a single bite try Permanone (active ingredient is Permethrin, I would not classify this as a green alternative but it works) which is available at many stores.  When Permanone is sprayed on clothes including underwear and socks, let it dry thoroughly, it will maintain it’s strength for up to 2 or 3 washes.  I recommend washing hands after handling these types of sprays.
  • Come clean. Immediately upon coming back inside, remove all clothing and place it in the dryer on high for 20 minutes, which will kill any ticks immediately – don’t forget to clean it out afterward! Do a thorough inspection of the body and remove any ticks – be sure to check hair really well, too!
  • Be aware of the symptoms. As scary as it sounds, there is a risk of getting Lyme disease and other bacterial infections if you venture outside in the summer! Be on the lookout for flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes – seek medical attention right away if these show up.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, do not burn it with a match or pull it out with tweezers, you are likely to leave the head inside and could cause infection and pain to the dog.  Place your finger on top of the tick and rotate your finger in a circular motion, in time the tick will get dizzy and pull out.  Sounds silly but it works.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

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