Boosting Your Child’s Brain Power

Every parent wants to believe that their child is a genius or has the genius potential.  While intelligence clearly has a genetic component, there are some things you can do to boost learning and intelligence in your child.








Play brain games – Games like chess, cryptograms, riddles, and crosswords all train the brain to perform harder than other games.  These games promote strategic thinking, problem-solving, and complex decision making.  If you keep these games on hand and challenge your children with them you will help boost their intelligence… in a fun way.

Encourage them to play an instrument – While the early days of your child learning an instrument may not be the most pleasing to the ears, by encouraging your child to take up playing an instrument they learn to utilize their right brain more than others who do not play an instrument. Organized music lessons also benefit children’s IQ and academic performance – plus the more years they take lessons, the greater the effect.

Encourage physical fitness – Studies show a strong relationship between physical fitness and mental intelligence in school-aged children.  By participating in organized sports, children learn confidence, teamwork, and leadership.  So instead of letting your child head to their video game system or cell phone after dinner encourage them to grab a ball and head outdoors for some physical activity.

Avoid junk food – Cut out (or significantly reduce) the amount of sugar, trans fats and other junk food in your child’s diet and replace them with high-nutrient alternatives for early childhood mental and motor development.  Pay attention to what your child is eating, and good grades will come in time!

Encourage curiosity – Allow children to explore new ideas and become interested in different hobbies and interests to foster intelligence.  Ask your child about their interests and allow them to try a number of different hobbies and activities throughout the course of their childhood.

Fitness for All: Switch up Your Workout!

If you are getting tired of the same old gym workout day after day, then luckily there are plenty of other options out there to shake things up a little bit.  Here are some fun and interesting ways to add a little something different to your daily gym routine.








Mixed martial arts training and conditioning – If you have even seen a mixed martial artist then you know that they are in top physical shape.  Not only are they lean, but are also very strong.  Some gyms offer MMA circuit training, but if they don’t you can perform all of your exercises in one big superset, rest and then repeat.

Resistance training – Many gyms now offer plenty of different options when it comes to resistance training and you can spot chains and bands virtually anywhere in most gyms.  You can begin using these bands and chains by putting them on the ends of barbells and dumbbells.  As you lift, the weight will get heavier.  While this is an often-overlooked technique, it is an excellent way to increase strength and size quickly.

Non-traditional implements – Not all gyms will have tractor tires, sleds and sledgehammers lying around, but if they do, then you should be using them!  Implementing these non-traditional items into your workout is a great way to increase strength, improve conditioning and increase power.

Train unilaterally – By training unilaterally, or one side at a time, you can quickly point out weak spots while eliminating the need to do other parts of your workout that you used to do to make up for these weak spots.

Rest actively – If you find that you are spending lots of time at the gym and not seeing results, you may be spending too much time resting. If you rest for two minutes in between sets, either shorten that to one minute or do another quick exercise, such as jumping rope, during one of those two minutes.

Spotlight on: Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.








Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

  •  2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 medium bananas
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well. Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.) Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Spring Cleaning 101: Burn Calories While You Clean

With spring comes the ever popular, “Spring Cleaning.” While everyone loves to have a clean house, it’s also good to know that you can burn some decent amounts of calories (thereby losing some weight) while you are doing your Spring Cleaning this year.








Here are some calorie breakdowns:

  • Window washing – 226 calories
  • Scrubbing floors – 291 calories
  • Dusting – 97 calories
  • Scrubbing toilets and tub – 246 calories
  • Vacuuming – 317 calories
  • Cleaning gutters – 258 calories
  • Sweeping – 194 calories
  • Mopping – 153 calories
  • Washing dishes – 77 calories 

Editor’s Note: The calories burned estimates listed here are based on one hour of cleaning for a 155- pound woman.

Food for Thought: Anti-aging Foods

Aging is a difficult thing… and it can be tough on your body.

Even when you make the appropriate food choices and exercise, it still may feel like you aren’t doing enough to reverse the physical signs of aging.

Because there is no “Fountain of Youth” we offer you these foods that contain vitamins and nutrients that contain anti-aging properties.

Add some of these foods to your daily diet and see what difference they make for you.








Flaxseed – full of DNA-boosting omega 3s, zinc and selenium

Spinach – contains antioxidants Vitamin A and C

Grapes – antioxidant polyphenols, resveratrol, aids in cell repair

Red snapper – high in omega 3 fats that reduce oxidative damage to cells

Almonds – high in antioxidant Vitamin E and a great source of zinc and iron

Oysters – contains the antioxidant selenium as well as DNA-boosters Vitamin D and zinc

Canola Oil – contains Omega 3 fats as well as antioxidant Vitamin E

Collard Greens – great source of Vitamin A, folate and fiber, which are all linked to longer DNA strands

Dark Chocolate – contains the antioxidant resveratrol that is thought to fight aging cells

Bell peppers – antioxidant beta carotene and Vitamin C help in DNA repair

Guacamole – great source of telomere-lengthening Vitamins E and C, and folate

Peanut Butter – full of DNA-improving nutrients: Vitamin E, folate, and resveratrol

Healthy Living: It’s All About the Feet

As odd as it may seem, your feet may be the window to your overall body health. Here are some things to look for that will give you clues that there may be other important body issues to consider.








No hair on your feet or toes –

If your feet or toes are lacking hair, it can be a sign of having poor circulation because of vascular disease.  If you notice that your feet and toes do not have any hair on them, you will want to consult your doctor to find out ways to improve your circulation thereby reducing your risk of acquiring vascular disease. 

A wound that won’t heal on your foot – Wounds on your feet that just won’t heal could be an indication of diabetes.  Over time, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to serious nerve damage in your feet that you may not feel when you have a sore or a wound on your foot.  If your wound continues to go unhealed there could be major problems, including amputation.  If you notice a wound that won’t heal on your feet be sure to contact your doctor to discuss your wound.  If you are currently living with or being treated for diabetes, be sure to check your feet often and mark any changes.

Thick, yellow toenails –

Toenails are not supposed to be thick and/or yellow.  Thick, yellow nails are most often an indication of a fungal infection living beneath your toenails.  People that have other medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other immune deficiencies are more likely to get a fungal infection than those that do not have these conditions.  To treat thick, yellow toenails, you will need to consult a podiatrist.  By the time your nails are already discolored and thick it is too late for any over-the-counter creams or medicines to work.

An enlarged big toe –

Gout is the condition when the big toe suddenly swells up to an uncomfortable size. Gout is a form of arthritis due to the buildup of uric acid. This condition typically shows up in your big toe because it affects the part of your body with the lowest temperature, which is often the big toe.  It can also occur in your knees, elbows, Achilles tendon and the instep of your foot.  If you discover that your big toe has swollen to an abnormally large size, contact a foot care specialist, who with diet recommendations and medication, can help to cure this condition.

In the News: Bottled Water Versus Tap Water

At one point or another in our lifetime we have been given the choice of bottled or tap water. Which did you choose? Why did you make that choice? Could you taste a difference?







Studies show that most people have made the switch from tap water to bottled water in the last four years. But tap water is just as safe as bottled water research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows.

Because of the rigorous standards placed on tap water by public health organizations, under normal circumstances bottled water is not necessarily any safer or cleaner than tap water.   Plus tap water does not come with any additional waste or cost that is associated with bottled water.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop drinking bottled water all together.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) governs the quality of bottled water and the regulations are as stringent as the EPA standards for tap water.  But since bottled water can get costly, here are some suggestions to make sure your tap water is of the finest quality.

  • Consider using a filter like Brita or ZeroWater, that specifically targets the contaminants in water.
  • Find out where your tap water is drawn from – if it’s a private well, then it isn’t regulated as strictly as a public well.
  • Find out what kind of pipes your home has – if it was built before the 1970s, your home may have lead-lined pipes that could throw off the quality of your water.

Fitness for All: Recreational Workouts… and the Calories They Burn

Tired of your typical gym routine? Day in and day out you are hitting the gym and getting bored. If you still want to be active and burn calories, without the hum drum of being indoors at the gym every day, you can try one of these recreational activities that are not only fun and exciting but great calorie burners!








  • Cycling is one of the best non-weight bearing exercises and depending upon your speed you can be burning around 300 to 400 calories in just a half hour.  Cycling provides a great cardio workout and builds your calf and leg muscles.
  • Swimming is an excellent overall body workout burning up to 360 calories in a half hour time depending upon what swimming stroke you are using.  The best swim workout is interval training – swim two lengths, take a breather, and then repeat.
  • Because rock climbing relies on quick bursts of energy to get from one rock to the next, your strength, endurance and flexibility will significantly improve, plus you will be burning about 370 calories every half hour.
  • Running is a great cardio-respiratory workout, burning about 450 calories every 30 minutes – based on an 8-minute mile.  Your leg strength and endurance will also benefit greatly from a good run.
  • Racquetball is a great recreational workout burning 300 calories in simply 30 minutes along with building your lower body strength, endurance, and back and abs flexibility.  Just be sure to warm up first to avoid twisting an ankle!
  • Because of the non-stop action of basketball, you will burn more than 285 calories every half hour that you play.  Basketball also helps to develop flexibility, cardio-respiratory health and endurance. You also need to warm up properly before an intense game of hoops, so you don’t get injured.
  • Rowing burns about 280 calories every half hour and is a great way to burn extra energy. It also builds up endurance, strength and muscle in your shoulders, thighs and biceps.  In the same vein as rowing, but not as high in calorie burning are kayaking and canoeing, which each burn about 170 calories in a half hour.

Eating Healthy Spotlight on: Plums

  • Plums, and their dried version known as prunes, are very high in phytonutrients, which function as an antioxidant and provide much benefit to the body.
  • Eating plums, which come from the same fruit family as cherries and peaches, helps in the production and absorption of iron in the body, thereby leading to better blood circulation leading further to the growth of healthy tissues.
  • Consuming plums on a regular basis will help prevent macular degeneration and other eye infections.








Recipe: Chicken Breasts with Plum Salsa and Basmati Rice

1 ½ cups of water

1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed and drained

¾ pound plums, pitted and chopped

½ medium red onion, minced

3 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

3 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place water in medium saucepan and stir in rice. Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and fluff with fork.  In a bowl, mix the plums, peppers, onions, cilantro and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Season chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-heat. Place chicken in oil and brown 1 minute per side.  Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 5 additional minutes per side.  Serve over rice with plum salsa.

Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad

½ cup water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

15 seedless grapes, halved

½ orange, sectioned

10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 apple, cored and diced

1 peach, sliced

1 plum, pitted and sliced

15 pitted Bing cherries

¼ cup fresh blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the rhubarb, turn heat to low, cover and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes.  Mash and chill in the refrigerator about one hour.   To serve, mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce.  Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat.  Refrigerate for at least two hours for all of the flavors to blend well.

Heart Health 101: Obesity and Heart Disease

It’s a well-known fact that being overweight increases your chance of being at risk of many chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.  But research shows that even a small amount of weight loss can lessen your risk of falling victim to these deadly diseases.








Research also shows that, unfortunately, eating just 100 more calories a day than you should, can cause your body weight to be in the obese category and not just the overweight category.

To determine whether you are overweight or obese, use a BMI Calculator.  A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight; a BMI between 30 and 39.9 is considered obese.  If your BMI is greater than 25 and you are older than 30 years old, you should strongly consider losing weight to reduce your risk of heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.