Archive for October, 2011

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

Here’s an article from the ASPCA on how to make sure your pets are safe and happy this Halloween:

Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents 

Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

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Here’s a great post at Yahoo! Health detailing 10 mindless habits that cause us to gain weight. The bad habits include eating while distracted, making bad coffee choices, and having dessert every day. Cutting these bad habits out of your routine can help you avoid that extra 100 calories every day, and thus those extra 10 pounds each year!

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Did you know that it only takes an extra 100 calories per day to gain about 10 pounds each year?! So if you have a weight loss goal, or even a weight maintenance goal, let’s put 100 calories in perspective. All the items below are at least 100 calories:

  • 3 oz ice cream = 105 calories
  • 1 Tbsp butter = 100 calories
  • 1 Tbsp mayo = 100 calories
  • 1 slice American cheese = 100 calories
  • 2 slices bacon = 100 calories
  • Chocolate chip cookie = 100 calories
  • Glazed donut = 250 calories
  • 1 oz milk chocolate bar = 150 calories

So when we think “oh, it won’t hurt to have a little treat,” maybe we are wrong. Or maybe we need to spend some extra time exercising. For example, in a one-hour hatha yoga class, a 150-pound person burns about 190 calories. Or that same person can burn about 240 calories jogging for 30 minutes or 175 calories walking (at 4 mph) for 30 minutes.

So be aware of what you eat. Don’t let a little snack derail your goals!

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Simple Detoxing

Some folks like to go to extremes to detox; some by going on month-long cleansing diets of, say, lemonade or water or broth. If you are being monitored by a doctor, then those forms of detox aren’t necessarily a bad thing. But there are simpler and safer ways to get some of the toxins out. Here are four ways:

Courtesy of Photos8.com

1. Drink more water. Simply drinking enough water can help flush out your system. The new rule seems to be 8-ounces per 10 pounds of body weight. So I, who weigh about 120 pounds (give or take 5 lbs; okay, really just “give” 5, not “take”), should drink 12 8-ounce glasses per day.

2. Clean up your cleaning act. Use “green” and “nontoxic” cleaners to get rid of the volatile organic compounds in your house. And add some air-cleaning plants inside.

3. Walk. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It is good for your heart and mind, improves digestion, and increases the functioning of your immune system. And it can be refreshing and you might even get fit!

4. Remember to breathe. Deeply. Most of us are very shallow breathers, which doesn’t help us get the oxygen that cleanses our bodies and refreshes our minds. Take a series of deep breaths throughout the day. It will also relax you.

So go you there and be happy and toxin-free!

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Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Another yummy cool weather favorite of mine: Butternut Squash Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 rib of celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 T butter

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, chopped (I usually buy the 2 halves from the grocery store that are already peeled with the seeds removed; if you really wanted to make it easy, you could buy it chopped)

1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash & apple should be at 3 to 1 ration)

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper

Combine butter, onion, celery, and carrot in large saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, apple, and broth. Bring to boil. SImmer for 10 minutes or until squash is soft. Puree. Add spices to taste. Serves 4-6.


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Quote of the Day

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight.

– Japanese Proverb

My daughter, who is 11 months old, lives by this proverb as she has been learning to walk. It is inspiring to watch her determination and perseverance. And it is paying off — she is now walking around like a toddler. Go Sarah!

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