Balance Your Moods With Food

Here are some helpful hints on the nutrients you need to stay “emotionally fit” and help prevent mood-swings. These foods help keep you “hormonally” healthy – see Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating to ensure that you get all of the nutrients needed to maintain a well-balanced diet for optimal overall health.

Before breakfast:

Start your day with greens+™, a balanced formula of 23 herbs, vitamins, minerals, organic and nutrient-rich foods to help boost motivation and energy levels.

Breakfast:

This should include about one-third of foods that are high in lean protein such as eggs, grains or low-fat yogurt and two-thirds of low-density complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Mid-morning snack:

Reach for some raw, very low-density complex carbo-hydrates such as carrots, celery or zucchini.

Lunch:

Eat a balanced lunch including lean protein such as chicken or fish with complex carbo-hydrates from veggies and leafy greens.

Mid-afternoon snack:

Choose fresh fruit as a low-density complex carbohydrate snack to increase the level of serotonin in the body and help curb that 3 o’clock sugar craving.

Dinner:

This should be high in complex carbohydrates and low in protein to provide enough serotonin to help calm hormones during the evening for a good night’s sleep.

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Enjoying the Breeze

We have all heard of renewable energy. Renewable energy is derived from natural sources that are not used up, destroyed, or diminished in the process of generating power. There are essentially four types of renewable energy, Solar (the Sun), Geothermal (heat from within the Earth), Hydro (water), and Wind. Depending on where you live, you can utilize one, or more, of these renewable energy resources. The simplest to harness and use, however, is wind.

Wind power and hydroelectric power are very similar in principle. One uses wind, the other water, as a driving force to create kinetic energy which is used to power a generator which then creates electricity. I know what you are thinking, but it really is much simpler than it sounds.

A basic wind turbine has three parts: Rotor blades, a shaft, and a generator. The rotor blades catch the wind creating a drag or pulling which causes the blades to rotate the shaft. This action transfers energy from the wind into kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Any object in motion has kinetic energy. When the blades rotate, they cause the shaft to turn, or rotate, as well. The action of the shaft rotating transfers the mechanical energy into the generator. Generators operate on the principle of electromagnetic induction. When magnets are rotated around a conductor, they generate electricity.

So the blades catch the wind, turning the shaft, which causes the generator to work, which creates electricity. It really is that simple

You can use wind turbines whether you are on grid or off grid. Depending on the system you get you can generate 50% to 100% of your electricity. A wind turbine capable of producing enough electricity to power the average household in the United States costs between $6,000 and $20,000, plus installation – or you could make your own.

The primary advantages are the same whether you buy or make your own wind turbine – you are using wind power to generate some or all of your electricity. However, making your own system can save you $5,800 to $19,800, plus installation depending on the system you would have bought. You can do everything yourself in a weekend or two, except you will need a licensed electrician to tie your wind turbine into your home’s power supply, if you choose to do so. An alternative to tapping into your home power supply is to get a simple and inexpensive power inverter that you can simply plug your home appliances into directly.

Building your own wind turbine does not have to be a difficult task. You can try to figure it all out on your own, grabbing bits of information using online research, or you get a complete guide that instructs you every step of the way. You probably won’t want to make mistakes, so having one of these guides is highly recommended. There are many to choose from.

Using renewable energy sources to offset or eliminate your electricity costs does not have to be complicated or expensive. Additionally, most of these guides explain how you can use materials that are reclaimed and recycled from construction sites. The rest of the materials can be found at your local hardware store. Thanks to these great innovators, wind power is not just for the very wealthy anymore. Now anyone who can follow simple instructions can have their own wind power.

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Best To Distribute Your Messages

This holiday season 15 percent of consumers in the US plan to buy online, spending an average of $585. That’s 9 percent more revenue for online merchants in comparison to last year’s results.

A recent report estimates that Canadians will spend half a billion dollars online for gifts this holiday season. Even by conservative estimates the total number predicted is double the $282 million predicted for Christmas, 1999.

Whatever way you look at it – doing business over the net is growing at incredible rates and email marketing is becoming a ‘given’ element of many marketing campaigns. It should come as no surprise that tools to help us manage our email lists and distribution are becoming increasingly important.

The challenge in incorporating email marketing into a campaign is determining what type of email service best suits your business needs, today and in the long-term.

There are two main choices when establishing and maintaining email marketing programs: A desktop email marketing application or an email campaign submission service.

Let me describe the two options in greater detail -

Email Marketing Application- Tools such as these allow you to create, manage and distribute your own customized email campaigns. Cost is usually a one-time software purchase. This approach is best suited to those companies with a fairly well defined target market and corresponding email distribution list. This approach can also be used if your target audience is growing and/or change. The software applications available allow the user to build, maintain and change their own email distribution lists, create rich messages and distribute your campaigns.

I would recommend this type of product to those businesses with a pre-identified target audience and an ability to access a distribution list to reach this audience. With a desktop application your original investment provides you with the flexibility to manage and define your own e-mail distribution lists – this is the type of service for you if you’re interested in owning and maintaining your own list and using this list as part of the intellectual property of your business.

Campaign Submission Service – When you use this type of service you are contracting a third-party to provide you with the interface to your customers and/or target audience. The agent will distribute your message to one or several opt-in e-mail lists that have been provided based upon some stated interest on the part of the recipients. These are lists of people who have registered for certain websites, e-zines or newsletters or have asked to receive information via e-mail and have stated their interested in certain subjects.

The agent or submission service will work with you to determine the list that best matches your product, service or announcement – working together you will use pre-existing lists to create a target email audience for your company’s use. The submission service will receive your message and distribute to one or more of the email lists – the quality control element in place is that you are sending relevant information to recipients that have already stated an interest in a related subject matter and most likely the message will not be viewed as SPAM. Cost usually runs on an 8 to 30 cent per email sent charge.

The submission service allows you to work with experts in the field of gathering e-mail distribution lists based on subject(s) interest and the application of this technology in receiving information. Each time you want to distribute a message you rely on these service providers for their advice, lists and expertise in distributing your information. If you’re new to the e-mail marketing forum and your business does not yet have a substantial e-mail distribution list – this service may be able to fill the gap and get you into the game.

A couple of items to keep in mind – the overall cost of your e-mail marketing efforts, campaign tracking reports and the future role of email marketing in your overall direct marketing plans.

There are plenty of choices in the marketplace – educate yourself and make the best decision for your organization.

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Who Can Donate Organs And Tissues?

Everyone is a potential organ and tissue donor. Typically, organ donors are healthy people who have suffered an irreversible brain injury (most often due to a motor vehicle accident), or a brain hemorrhage resulting in brain death. The health of the donor and his organs and tissues, not his or her age, is what the transplant surgeon considers. The organs and tissues used for transplantation cannot have sustained any damage at the time of death. Brain death means that the brain is no longer functioning and can never recover, but vital organs and tissues can be supported artificially for a limited time and saved for possible transplantation.

Tissues don’t require the same special conditions as organs to survive, so tissue donation is possible even after the heart and lungs have stopped working.

Why decide to be an organ and tissue donor?

Donors tell us that their primary motivation for deciding to become an organ or tissue donor is to help someone else. One donor can save or improve the lives of many other people if a variety of different organs and tissues are used. What better way is there to preserve the memory of a loved one who has died prematurely?

Which organs and tissues can be donated?

Organs that can be donated include the kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and bowel. These organs can be used alone or in combination (heart/

lung, liver/kidney, or pancreas/kidney). Transplantation is performed as quickly as possible after brain death, preferably within eight hours for the liver and pancreas, four hours for the heart, and two hours for the combined heart/lung.

Tissues require less blood supply than organs and are therefore more easily preserved, frozen and stored for future use. Corneas, bone, skin, heart valves and veins are among the tissues that can be stored for months, and even, in some cases, for years.

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Parent’s Most Important Job

Anyone can become a parent; there are no tests or interviews to pass. Children can become parents, mentally disabled people, it’s even possible to become a parent while in a coma!

When my mother, who is a truly great parent still, became a mom the first time, she was 19 and had very little experience with children. The hospital gave her 1 piece of paper with instructions and sent her on her way. Dolls come with more instructions than that!

We sometimes take for granted all the information at our fingertips today that didn’t exist as recently as 30 years ago. When I was a baby, if it wasn’t in Dr. Spock’s book, Mom was on her own. Today, parents are overwhelmed with information, often conflicting, and are often, as my mother was, on their own, but with more opportunities to make an informed decision.

I have been approached many times for advice on parenting by not only parents, but also prospective parents thinking ahead. The advise I always give is: Pay Attention.

As our children grow from the highly tactical stages into more strategic years, paying attention becomes more critical. Pay attention to who their friends are, starting at an early age. You can learn a lot about your own child by getting to know their friends. You may also want to limit exposure to some kids, you’re allowed to do that. (I’ve been known to say that I didn’t want a child at my house, but always give a reasonable reason why.)

Also, talk with your children. The subject matter isn’t always important during the younger ages, but keeping those lines of communication open will become more critical as they grow. When they have a problem with another child, role play with them. You be your child and have them play the part of the ‘perpetrator’. You’ll be teaching them how to handle their own problems as well as good communication skills. Keep in mind that a 7-year-old doesn’t always have the vocabulary they need to express themselves you need to teach them.

Pay attention to what your child reads and the language she uses. Get to know her teachers and principal. Talk with other parents about their experiences for comparison. Pay attention to what your children wear, what their friends wear and current fashion. Keep it weather appropriate and pick your battles. Too much belly showing may be inappropriate for a 10 year old. Watch for gang-type clothing or accessories. These choices in our young children can be indicative of a problem requiring your intervention, so pay attention.

As your children grow older, they still need you to demonstrate that you care by setting strong boundaries on their behavior. My mother never needed to enforce much of a curfew on me since all my friends had them and there wasn’t much going on late in Rapid City, SD. She insisted, however, on knowing where I was and who I was with AT ALL TIMES even after I had my own car.

Pay attention to how your children spend their money start young. Teaching fiscal responsibility is one of the most important items on your job description. Modeling irresponsibility and debt acquisition will not help your kids grow into fiscally responsible adults. Teach your boys and girls how to save, shop for the best price, budget, work, balance a checkbook, invest, etc.

Along those same lines, teach your children to cook and clean, and require some of these jobs as their contribution to the family team and start early here, too. My 8 year old began cooking this year canned soup and Kraft macaroni and cheese! Model good eating habits and teach them to do menu planning and grocery shopping. When they leave home, you will want them to do their own laundry trust me!

The bottom line is: You are preparing human beings for adulthood. If your offspring are happy during the process, that’s wonderful, but not the primary directive. Being happy all the time is simply not realistic anyway. When they leave you around age 18, they need to know how to get along with people, get and hold a job, manage their money and their time, be responsible for their behavior and potentially lead others.

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Where Do Your Priorities Fit?

An expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students when he decided to do an experiment. He pulled out a large mason jar, a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one by one, into the jar. When no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. The instructor then poured gravel in the jar, shook it and asked, “Is this jar full? ” By this time the class was on to him. They replied: “Probably not,”

Next, he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar until all the space between the rocks was filled. Once more, he asked the question. “Is this jar full?” “No” the class shouted.

Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and poured until the jar was filled to the brim. The speaker looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” The speaker listened to a number of very good responses and said: “The truth this illustration teaches us is this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

What are the big rocks in your life? Are they your spouse, children and grandchildren? Are they your work, television or gambling? Are you wasting time with things that are unimportant? What is important in your life?

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Folic Acid and Its Benefits

o promote the awareness of folic acid and its benefits in helping to prevent birth defects.

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is essential for the healthy development of a baby’s spine, brain and skull. If taken prior to conception, it can reduce the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTDs), by as much as 70 percent. To be effective, folic acid must be taken prior to conception because neural tube defects occur in the first four weeks of pregnancy – before most women even know they are pregnant. And, since many pregnancies are unplanned, it is important for all women who could become pregnant to take a daily multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4 mg of folic acid and to eat foods high in folic acid.

“The information on folic acid and its benefits is not new,” says Anne Pastuszak, spokesperson for the Alliance and former Director of The Fetal Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children. “In fact, the issue has been around for 12 years now.”

So, why don’t more women know about folic acid? A recent Ipsos-Reid survey conducted among Ontario women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old, on behalf of the FAAO, found that while 80 percent of women have heard of folic acid, only 38 percent of women understand that folic acid must be taken before conception to help reduce the risk of NTDs. In fact, 41 percent of women had not heard of neural tube defects and only 42 percent understand that folic acid may reduce the risk of having a baby born with NTDs like spina bifida.

One in 1,300 total births in Canada are affected by a neural tube defect. Women can reduce their risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect, by taking folic acid before getting pregnant.

All women who could become pregnant should be taking a daily multivitamin containing a minimum of 0.4 mg of folic acid. However, more than half of Ontario women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old do not take a daily multi-vitamin. Of the 43 percent who do take a multivitamin, only 76 percent take a multivitamin containing folic acid. In fact, 58 percent of women don’t know how much folic acid they should consume daily. Women should also eat foods high in folic acid such as broccoli, spinach, orange juice and sunflower seeds, as well as foods fortified with folic acid, such as white flour, cereals and pasta.

“It’s obvious that there is a great opportunity to educate women about the benefits of folic acid,” says Pastuszak. “Over the next few months women across Ontario will see ads in magazines, buses and subways, information in their doctor’s offices and pharmacies.

The Easter Seal Society of Ontario, The Fetal Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children, The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario, Best Start: Ontario’s Maternal, Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre and The Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health. The member organizations came together in 1996 because they shared an interest in promoting the benefits of folic acid in preventing neural tube defects.

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The Power of Desire

You can give your child the best possible schooling, teach all the important techniques of success, encourage goal setting and set a fantastic example. But that is not enough! All these good things have one vitally important pre-requisite. Before you can achieve anything, you must know what you really, really want.

A burning desire is the first, most important and essential step towards any major achievement. As a parent, you are in a unique position to influence another person’s desires – your child’s. By the time they reach their teens, you will have lost this influence to a significant degree, as young adults are swayed much more by their peers’ opinions than their parents’.

So make the most of the early years by instilling positive, beneficial desires in your children. The desire to do well academically could shape your child’s further education and career much more than her innate ability.

How can you instill desire? Telling stories is a great way. Children love stories! Be creative and tell stories where the hero or heroine has a burning desire for something, overcomes challenges and set backs, and achieves the desired outcome. Try telling stories where a child achieves academic success, which in turn results in something even more desirable. For instance, one story could tell of a child who has a burning desire to travel to the North Pole. She succeeds academically and thus wins an award, which makes her dream come true. Tailor the stories to your own child’s life and experiences as much as you can.

The famous author Napoleon Hill used story-telling to instill in his almost-deaf son both a burning desire to hear, and a firm belief that his disability would actually bestow upon him a great advantage (although at the time even his father had no idea what that advantage could be). By the time this boy left college, he had against the odds acquired a hearing aid that enabled him to hear clearly for the first time in his life. More remarkably, he had justified his father’s belief by securing a marketing position with the hearing aid manufacturer to bring the same benefit to millions of other deafened people.

“Gifted child”? Give your child the gift of self-esteem, and you will give him the gift of happiness.

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Holiday De-Stressing Tips for Kids

The holiday season can be a hectic, stressing time not only for adults, but also for children: lots of driving around town in traffic jams; schlepping through overcrowded shopping malls; giving up your room for out-of-town relatives who emit a funny smell. Yep, it can be a difficult time. Here are a few tips to keep your little ones, and yourself, calm and comfortable during the holiday season.

  • Lay on the floor together with your legs propped up against the wall; toes pointing to the ceiling. Talk to each other or just silently count the turns of the ceiling fan.

  • Go for a walk together. Take an early morning walk before everyone wakes up, or an evening walk after dinner. Remind your child that this is your special relax time together. Make time for it each day.

  • Blow bubbles together. Use pre-made bubble solution or make your own. Mix together water, dish-washing liquid and a small amount of corn syrup. Add a few drops of food coloring for more colorful fun.

  • Fold towels. It may sound silly at first, but the simplicity of the folds, combined with the warmth of the towels fresh from the dryer, create a very calming and comforting feeling.

  • When all else fails, remember that hugs are free! Sometimes the best stress reliever is a comforting hug from someone we love.

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Who Says Nothing Lasts Forever?

In a world of instant gratification and so much that is made to be tossed out after one use, there are some things worth preserving. Childhood memories are among those things worth safeguarding.

As a new grandmother, I fully appreciate the importance of teaching my son ways to capture memories of his first-born. Memories that will last for years to come.

With some forethought memories that could easily slip away can be preserved for years. When it comes to our children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, isn’t it worth doing everything possible to capture their childhood experiences in a unique way?

I still have a teddy bear given to me as a child. It is something that will forever remind me of my childhood. I have to wonder how much that childhood gift influenced my decision to open a teddy bear gift shop over ten years ago. A store that allows me the privilege to advise parents, grandparents, sister, brothers, uncles and aunts about gifts that can last that special child a lifetime.

There is nothing more rewarding then knowing I am helping someone create fond memories through the choice of a special gift. Whether it is a unique picture frame, a special teddy bear or a distinctive gift such as a pewter case like ones from the A E Williams English Pewter selection, each gift is very carefully thought through.

Something else I enjoy are conversations I share with my customers about what they do to create and preserve memories with their loved ones. Knowing how busy folks get, it is so refreshing to hear of how they take time to do something special.

If you are someone who seems to always be busy, do yourself a favor and share quality time with those you love. Create fun experiences and rituals that are uniquely yours. You will forever be happy you did.

Take plenty of pictures to capture those infant years that quickly turn into adolescent years that quickly turn into adulthood. Photo albums filled with precious experiences make wonderful gifts for first time parents as well as grandparents.

Enjoy the wonder that is such a big part of a child’s experiences. Put yourself back into the feeling of what it was like to discover something for the very first time. Think of how a child feels the first time they discover a butterfly gently landing on a flower. Or what about the first sight of a plane in the sky? Perhaps it is the discovery of what happens when water and dirt mix. Realize they have uncovered a hidden treasure with that one.

Regardless of the discovery, it is in a moment a memory is made. When all is said and done, isn’t life really about the memories we create with those we love? And aren’t the memories what lasts forever?

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