Health & Beauty Tips

Avoiding GMO Food

Green Peace describes genetically modified organisms as:

“created by taking genes from organisms such as bacteria, viruses or animals and inserting them into other, often unrelated, species. Unlike traditional breeding, genetic engineering creates new organisms that would never occur in nature, creating new and unpredictable health and environmental risks. The term ‘genetically engineered (GE) food’ refers to any product containing or derived from GMOs.”

According to studies, GM foods are unhealthy and often cause food allergies, reproductive disorder, digestive disorders, and the like. With this in mind, we parents should be vigilant when it comes to protecting our children from such products.

Below are some tips to keep GMOs out of our homes:

  • Opt for organic food. These are described as grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Fresh produce that do not come from GMO seeds are widely available these days.
  • Check the source of protein products like milk, cheese, eggs, beef, chicken, and pork. These might be fed with GMOs.
  • Avoid food with additives derived from corn, canola, soy, cotton and sugar beets since these are commonly genetically modified.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, opt for frozen ones that are labeled additive-free.
  • Look for no-GMO certifications like the one from the GMO Guard Verification Program from Natural Food Certifiers. Always read labels thoroughly before purchasing.
 

Summer Family Fitness

Summer is just around the corner which means it’s time to get in shape and start working towards your health and fitness goals. It’s important to keep a daily record of what you are eating and how much you are working out. However, whether you are doing cardio, weights, or Pilates, keep in mind that what you eat is really 90% of the success you will have in the long run. It’s not wrong to enjoy your favorite food but it’s also important to watch what you eat.

In our home, I am always talking to my family about health and nutrition. We try our best not only to eat organic meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables but also to discuss why these food items are crucial for a healthy diet.

The kids really get it and because of that, they also want to be healthy. I cook with them in the kitchen while explaining to them what I am doing. Through this, I make them feel that they are a part of it.

I love to provide them with fresh raw veggies and homemade healthy dips and hummus while they watch me prepare our meals. Not only do they learn stuff in the kitchen but they also get to enjoy the benefits of eating good food.

We definitely watch the amount of sugar we eat but I also don’t try to eliminate goodies. I know kids love ice cream so we try to make healthy frozen yogurt. Moreover, I do like to bake healthier versions of cupcakes but they do get the real deal too.

We don’t drink sodas nor do we eat fast food. We also don’t drink sugary juices. There are so many healthy versions of juices available now that taste really great.

Apart from eating healthy, I also encourage my family to stay active. We take long weekend walks with the kids and dogs or go for bike rides and runs on the beach when the weather permits. Less TV and more time playing outside is the name of the game.

We also don’t allow them to play on the iPad until it’s the weekend and then we limit the amount of time they get.

It’s important for the kids to see how mom and dad live, eat, and workout. Find ways to incorporate your kids into working out. Remember that just sixty minutes a day is great not just for kids but adults as well. It also makes for wonderful family time.

 

Happiness and Beauty

There is nothing that can make you prettier than when you are happy.

It is true that being happy makes us more beautiful! Have you ever noticed how beautiful people become when they smile or laugh? It lifts up everyone around them and it can become contagious. I think being able to find happiness in life is one of the greatest things you can accomplish.

I know as a parent that I want my children to grow up healthy and happy. Isn’t that what we want for all of our kids? Yet in the world we live in today, there is such a push for materialism, competition, and striving to be the best. I think one has to be mindful not to fall into the traps that can be laid for this type of thinking. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely enjoy living the good life and I would definitely say that I am a driven person who also finds joy in healthy competition.

What I steer clear of are the relationships with people that seem to have these qualities but use them to control their life instead of using them for good. No matter what they gain, buy or accomplish, they are pushed towards the bigger things and as a result, they seem to have lost all sense of enjoyment or personal satisfaction that should come with a goal being accomplished. People can easily fall into the comparison game which can be very dangerous for them.

When you constantly look over the fence playing the comparison game, you are never fully able to enjoy the little things that really matter like good health, your family and friends.

When there is too much focus on material things, it is easy to get lost in it all and you will not feel happy because you never feel like you have arrived at success.

Being optimistic will help you with your self-image. It will also help you to treat your husband, kids, the people you work with, and your friends better. There may be days when everything seems wrong but a healthy optimistic mind will say: “Tomorrow is a new day.” Remember: hope comes in the morning so forget your bad days and wake up with a fresh attitude.

In my life, the things that make me happy are my husband, children, our pets, my closest family and friends, and the things that interest me.

Living in beautiful Orange County, there are stunning people everywhere, huge homes, massive bank accounts; and I could keep going. While I do enjoy seeing all these things and appreciate everything that’s beautiful, it’s important for me on the inside to be thankful, happy, be able to contribute to others, and be able to move forward with my personal goals which are: keeping my body, spiritual life, and soul fed. Sure I have bad days just like everyone else but I end those days thinking about how great the next day will be.

I genuinely want the people in my life to flourish and have their dreams come true. While I have many more places on my list to travel to and see, I can honestly say that an afternoon in the backyard with my family, dogs, and our rose garden is one of the most wonderful places in the world, and still tops it all.

Take the time to congratulate yourself on the great job you do every day as a mother, wife, or friend. Give yourself a much needed pat on the back for hitting the gym regularly. None of us will achieve the physical perfection we set up in our minds but, darn it, we should be able to run around the beach in our bikinis feeling happy without shame and simply enjoying life.

If you have achieved a special goal, please take the time to treat yourself to a special night out with friends and family; allow them to share your joy and excitement. You can even order that well-deserved bottle of wine or champagne.

Does it mean you are done achieving? Certainly not! We never are since it is part of our job here on earth to continue growing, sharing with others what we know, and hopefully allow people that we love to learn from us. We have to keep learning.

Now, we may never be perfect and I, for one, am ok with that. My wish for you is that you may find the joys in small things and that when the big things come, you may be overwhelmed with happiness from them.  If you are still waiting for something wonderful to happen, remember that you are strong and that you will be filled with hope. We all walk through this life with incredible talents; please share them with the world because we do need it. We are all special, talented, and unique!

Remember that just like the butterfly, there is only one of you and that is what makes you GREAT!

God Bless,

Tara

 

Spring 2013 Fashion Trends

Fashion week may have been over but judging from what we’ve seen from the runway, we will all have fun dressing up this Spring. If you’re like me and you’re always looking out for what’s hot in fashion to incorporate into your wardrobe, here are a few of the styles that stood out at the runway shows:

Sixties-Inspired Outfits. Think flower power, bright colors, a-line dresses, graphic checks, and Mary Jane shoes. This trend was seen from Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, and Moschino.

Linear Prints. From plaid to two-tone grids, to squares, and checkerboard patterns, Spring will be all about graphics. This look was spotted from Marc Jacobs (his stunning runway show was a hit among fashionistas), Thom Brown, Emporio Armani, Dries van Noten, SportMax, David Koma, Daks, Jonathan Saunders and Louis Vuitton.

Pastel Colors Inspired by Laduree. The hues of decadent macarons like spearmint, baby blue, and soft pink was spotted at the London Fashion Week. These sweet pastels will liven up your day and they are perfect to wear this Spring. Designerrs like Erdem, Christopher Kane, Michael Vanderham, Corrie Neilsen, Meadham Kirchhoff, Emilia Wickstead, Mulberry, Antonio Marras, Fendi, Ports 1961, Prada, Sonia Rykiel, Viktor & Rolf and Valentino took this trend to heart and made stunning pieces.

Cropped Pants and Jackets. Short is the way to go this season. This look was spotted from designers Balenciga, Chanel, and Alexander McQueen.

Bombers. This piece is the jacket to have this season. Be it elegant, sweet, or sporty, almost every designer at Fashion Week had one including Loewe, Jonathan Saunders, Erdem, Chanel, Stella McCartney, Antipodium, and Zoe Jordan.

Pencil Skirts. This is the perfect piece to match bombers. Pencil skirts were seen from Oscar dela Renta, Roland Mouret to Michael Van Der Ham, Erdem, Christopher Kane, Prada, and Alexander McQueen.

Fringe. This look for Spring this year is inspired by the Roaring ‘20s and the 1970s disco scene. This season, delicate and sleek trimmings will be all the rage thanks to the designers who brought it to the runway including Nina Ricci, Bottega Veneta, and Versace.


I hope you have a fun time dressing up this season, ladies!


Love Lots,


Tara



Images via http://www.vogue.com

 

Flu Fighting Food

Flu season hit the U.S. pretty bad this year. Recent reports have shown that almost all of the States has already experienced elevated influenza levels. In fact, the city of Boston received reports of 700 cases of flu and 4 deaths on January 9 while there were 15,000 cases of flu reported in the State of New York on January 7.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control advice the public to get their flu shots, there are also small things we can do for our family like serving feel-good food that helps fight off the sniffles and the flu. I came across a list of these kinds of food and I’d like to share it with you.

Chicken Soup— Kaboose.com reports that “broth and noodles provide carbohydrates for maintaining your energy levels, potentially helping you feel less lethargic.” Furthermore, the vegetables in the soup boost the level of nutrients making it a staple for fighting off colds and flu.

Garlic— Garlic contains compounds like allicin—an oily substance that gives it its distinctive odor as well as its antioxidant properties. Research has shown that this helps in preventing colds and also in shortening its duration.

Green Tea— This particular type of tea is rich in antioxidants that help boost immune function.

Strawberries, Oranges, Sweet Red Peppers, and Broccoli— These food items are rich in Vitamin C which is known for preventing colds and flu in adults as well as in children. Moreover, these are also rich in antioxidants that can help in boosting one’s immune system.

Lean Meats— Lean red meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish are high in iron which helps in maintaining a healthy immune system. These are also rich in zinc that activates white blood cells that help in fighting off infection.

Honey— According to an article published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, this helps in reducing cough through “by coating and soothing an irritated throat”.

Hot Peppers— The Capsaicin present in hot peppers can thin out mucus which helps you to breathe better; it also allows your nasal passages to get rid of germs.

I hope you and your family stay safe this flu season. God bless!

Love,

Tara

 

Should You Worry about Peanut Recalls?

Peanut RecallParents like me have been bothered by the recent recall on peanuts and peanut products for possible Salmonella contamination. So should we really worry about this?

Salmonella can cause serious infections in young children and those with weakened immune systems. Its symptoms include fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and infection that last for up to seven days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are already 35 people from 19 states who have been infected with salmonella. This is likely a result of eating Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with sea salt, manufactured by Sunland, Inc… Eight have already been hospitalized but no deaths have been reported yet.

As of late, about 240 products have been pulled out of the shelves including those from popular brands like Trader Joe’s and Hines Nut Company. Parents.com reports that Trader Joe’s recalled eight of its products including its Creamy Salted Valenciana Peanut Butter while Hines Nut Company, Inc. recalled its salted jumbo Virginia in-shell peanuts.

This recall raised concerns to consumers and the CDC advised those who may have gotten sick from consuming peanuts and peanut products to consult their physician. It is also best to steer clear from recalled items for now.

Parents are also advised to check expiration date labels on food items. According to Parents.com “If a product is released with an expiration date that is after the date on the recalled product, you should be safe.”

You can also heat peanuts to at least 160 degrees for not less than ten minutes can also help kill off any salmonella that a product may contain.

At times like this, it pays to be cautious. Stay safe everyone!

Tara

Product Images Courtesy Of

Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter: http://www.fda.gov
Hines Salted Jumbo Virginia In-Shell Peanuts: http://www.hinesnut.com
 

Best Hairdo and Outfit Pair Ups

Nothing beats a great outfit complimented by an equally great hairdo. I think it just allows your look for the day to really come together.

I’ve been looking around Fabfitfun.com for tips and I saw this article about matching your hair to mane to your clothes. Here are what I’ve come across with:



Top knot paired with embellished shoulders or high-necked outfits. Show off this falls’ most fabulous tops with a chic top knot. This up do can draw attention towards your clothes and it’s perfect for a night out.




Luscious volume, half up, half down paired with an off-the-shoulder dress. Pack on tons of volume on your hair, pin it back halfway, and show off your shoulders for maximum impact.




Side braid paired with workout clothes. Let your inner sporty gal loose with a pretty side braid and pair it with your capris and zip-up workout hoodie. You will avoid frizzy ponytails and you’ll be able to focus on toning your body instead of worrying if your hair is all over the place.




Center part and wavy paired with a blazer and skinny jeans. Make a classic statement with a blazer and slim-fit jeans. Part your hair in the middle and rock big loose curls and you’re all set.




Low side pony with an asymmetrical top. Balance out an asymmetrical top by pulling your hair to the side of your bare shoulder in a low pony. If you want a more intricate look, you can opt to braid it.




There are now hard and fast rule when it comes to styling. I hope these tips would help you the way it helped me.

Cheers!

Tara

Photos and original story courtesy of  http://fabfitfun.com

 

Vote YES On Prop 37: Label Food Containing GMOs

Following my post about the two-part video series called, The GMO Ticking Time Bomb, I’d like to share with you the on-going ballot initiative in California, dubbed as Prop 37 or the labeling of food containing GMOs.

If it pushes through, prop 37 would enact the country’s first law requiring companies to label genetically modified foods. It can provide the public with sufficient information about the food we buy and eat.

Essentially, Prop 37 requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. It also prohibits labeling or advertising such food or other processed food, as “natural.”

Moreover, Prop 37 exempts foods that are: certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages.

This means that produce like banana and corn will be identified as genetically modified or not. This will make it easier for consumers to choose safer food options for their family.

GM crops have been known to pose long-term health effects including endocrine disruption, infertility, organ system failures, and immune system failures. This has been proven in various researches despite some biotech companies’ claim that GM foods aren’t as different as organic crops.

In this light, I urge you to vote YES on November 6th on Prop 37.

Cheers,

Tara

 

GMOs and a Must Watch Documentary

GMO Ticking Time Bomb

That’s what I thought after coming across the two-part documentary called the ‘GMO Ticking Time Bomb.’ It’s a must-see documentary from Gary Null that all people should really watch. It features the dire effects of GMOs to our bodies, the lack of product labeling provisions for GM foods from FDA, and how GM crops affect the livelihood of organic farmers worldwide.

GMOs or genetically modified organisms are crops whose DNA is altered for faster growth and resistance to pathogens or pesticides. There had been many debates regarding GM crops regarding its safety since these food products may cause infertility, immune system failures, organ system failures, endocrine disruption, and even cancer.

In this documentary, the staggering truth about how GM crops are injected into our daily food supply is highlighted. Companies like Monsanto, Dupont, and Bayer are mentioned and their participation in producing GM foods and seeds are discussed to show everybody that these companies that essentially create chemicals, play a big role in the prevalence of these altered crops in America’s food supply.

The GMO Ticking Time Bomb is produced, written, and directed by Gary Null. Resource speakers include Dr. Joel Bakan, Dr. Shiv Chopra of GMO Free Zone, and Institute for Responsible Technology, International Center for Technology Assessment, Lens Eye (India), Dr. Don Lotter of Mercola.com, Natural Solutions Foundation, Navdanya (India) and Dr. Arpad Pusztai of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation.

You can watch the videos by following these links: GMO Ticking Time Bomb or Part 1 and Part 2.

Love,

Tara

 

Things to Know about the West Nile Virus

Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoOver the summer, the West Nile Virus carried by mosquitoes has spread across 47 states with over 1100 confirmed cases and 41 deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Controls, the peak of this epidemic will carry on through September.

However, before we all panic from all this, let’s see what www.parents.com say about the West Nile Virus:

  • West Nile Virus comes from WNV-carrying mosquitoes and less than 1 percent of people who are bitten get seriously ill. Moreover, only a few mosquitoes carry the virus.
  • Mosquitoes get this virus when they feed on infected birds.
  • This virus can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, breastfeeding, or from mother to baby during pregnancy
  • Symptoms of WNV include fever, headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and occasionally a rash on the chest, stomach, and back. However, about 80 percent of those who are infected don’t know it because they do not manifest the symptoms.
  • There are no antibiotic treatments for WNV because it is viral in nature. However, people get immune from it after being infected.
  • Get rid of puddles and stagnant water in your home since mosquitoes thrive in these environments.
  • Stay indoors during dawn and dusk since this is when mosquitoes are most active.
  • You can protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves or pants when going outside. For babies, insect nettings can be used. Moreover, DEET-based insect repellents are also useful for defending yourself from mosquitoes.

Remember, however, that despite the epidemic spreading in various States, we should not panic. We just have to follow simple steps and to arm ourselves with the right information regarding the WNV.

If you want to read more about the West Nile Virus, you can visit this page.

Stay Safe everyone!

Lots of Love,

Tara

Image courtesy of phil.cdc.gov via wikipedia.org