Physical activity is something that you know is important, but you put off because you simply don’t have time. You aren’t the only one. Most people don’t ignore exercise because they’re lazy – they simply don’t have room in their schedules. At least they don’t think they do.
he truth is that you don’t need a 90-minute window in your day to exercise. There are plenty of ways you can schedule a workout into your daily routine. Here are a few ideas and strategies:
1. Perform High Intensity Workouts
The reason people think workouts take so long is because they take the wrong approach. They spend an hour on the treadmill because that’s the way they’ve always done it. But what if you could spend just 30 minutes on the treadmill and get the same results? You can.
When time is of the essence, perform high intensity workouts. Work harder, faster, and take fewer breaks. You can burn the same amount of calories in just a fraction of the time. Then you can get on with your day.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Another reason people take so long to workout at the gym has to do with distractions. Next time you’re exercising, take note of how many times you check your phone, send a text message, chat with a friend, or walk to the water fountain. By eliminating these distractions – and the downtime between sets – you could easily shave 20 minutes off your routine and get back to the other things on your daily to-do list.
3. Wake Up Earlier
Have you ever thought about how much your life would change if you started waking up an hour earlier each day? While you could use this time to get in an early-morning workout, you could also use it to get a head start on work and then get some exercise in the afternoon.
“Try the following experiment for a week and see what happens. Wake up one hour earlier than you typically do and knock out administrative tasks that don’t require the participation and input of others,” Green Residential suggests. “When the normal workday starts, you’ll be free to take care of the other duties. At the end of the day, knock off an hour earlier than you usually do. You’ll discover your workday isn’t compromised at all. In fact, you may be even more productive.”
4. Exercise on Your Lunch Break
Don’t have time to work out before or after work? Try packing a lunch, eating at your desk, and then using your lunch break to get in a 30-40 minute workout. Lots of successful business professionals do this, including Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.
“It feels weird (at first) to leave the office in the middle of the day, but total time spent is nearly the same with higher energy and focus across the board,” Williams says.
5. Involve the Entire Family
If you’re a parent or spouse, part of the reason you don’t make time for working out has to do with work-life balance. The last thing you want to do is spend more time away from your family. One solution is to start exercising together as a family. This allows you to feel less guilty about your fitness routine and helps your family grow closer together.
You Can Make Time
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to integrate fitness into your daily routine. Don’t get frustrated by what seems like a limited schedule. Whether it’s waking up earlier, utilizing your lunch break, or even just knocking out 10-minute fitness sessions, there are always opportunities to be active.
Believe it or not, we’re coming up on the halfway point of the year pretty soon, which means most people have already forgotten about their New Year’s resolution fitness goals. But if you’re still trudging along, now’s the time to kick things into high gear and focus your eyes on the prize. Here are a few suggestions to keep you motivated:
1. Mix Things Up
In order to stand any chance of sticking with your fitness goals, you have to start mixing things up. Monotony is a death sentence. The fresher things are, the more engaged and motivated you’ll be to keep pushing through. There are two ways you can do this. The first involves the actual type of training you’re doing.
“Change around your weekly exercise routine by mixing up the training you do,” fitness guru Hayley Madigan suggests. “Adding in a different assortment of styles will not only keep your mind focused but will also help to increase your overall fitness as your body will not have the time to adapt to the training intensity.”
The second way to mix things up is by altering your workout environment. Switch gyms, run in a different neighborhood, or move your workout equipment into another room. Little tweaks like this can be mentally beneficial.
2. Find a Workout Partner
There’s something to be said for working out on your own. It gives you time to clear your mind and rest in your own thoughts. You also don’t have to worry about keeping the same pace as someone else. But if motivation is lacking, you may benefit from finding a workout partner – at least for a couple of weeks. Not only does this change things up, but it also creates some accountability.
3. Surround Yourself With Motivating Elements
Are you motivating yourself to be successful? Having a goal is one thing, but constantly reminding yourself of why you set the goal is another.
For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 50 pounds in order to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight 10 years ago. To increase your chances of staying motivated, you could order a large canvas print of yourself at your ideal body weight and put it in a location where you spend a lot of time (and face temptations) – such as the kitchen.
Or, what if your goal is to run a marathon by the end of the year? Maybe you could create a chart of the miles you run each week and post it in your office. Since you know people will come by and ask you about it, you’re more likely to stay on track.
4. Buy New Workout Clothes
Are you familiar with the psychological phenomenon known as “enclothed cognition?” It’s the idea that we undergo mental changes when we wear different clothing. Well, this concept certainly holds true in the world of fitness.
Specifically, research indicates that buying and wearing new workout clothes can actually motivate you to exercise more. So, if you find yourself in a lull, maybe you just need to update your wardrobe.
Keep Pushing Through
The fact that you’re sticking to your New Year’s fitness resolution speaks to your determination, grit, and discipline. But as you’re probably realizing, things are becoming more difficult by the day. You’re a few months removed from the moment when you set these goals and a long way from the finish line. It’s this stuck-in-the-middle phase where people tend to bow out and succumb to failure.
In order to keep pushing through, you need to re-motivate yourself. We’ve provided a few practical suggestions that should help you stay on track, but feel free to customize them to fit your unique circumstances.
If you spend hours each week at the gym, it might be worthwhile to invest the money spent on a membership on your own home gym. Most people spend about $800 a year on a gym membership. If there are multiple people in your home that use the gym, you’re looking at doubling or quadrupling that amount.
With those stats in mind, you can actually save money in the long run with a home gym. If there are two people in your household who use the gym, and you spend $7,000 on a home gym renovation, you’ll have paid off your investment in about five years.
Furthermore, you’re more likely to work out if you don’t have to go anywhere to use the equipment. Getting to the gym is half the battle, and if you only have to walk a few steps to your basement, the odds of keeping your resolution to stay fit and healthy are much better.
When designing your gym, there are some important considerations. You want a gym that’s functional for your space as well as for your interests. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Choose a Room
You obviously can’t build your home gym if you don’t have the space to do so. You may need to make some renovations to repurpose an existing family room or turn a spare bedroom into your workout place. You could also use your garage or unfinished basement for the job.
It’s important to choose a room that’s big enough for all of your equipment and that will be out of the way. No one wants to entertain guests while their spouse is sweating away on a bench press in the same room.
If you only have a small space for your gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t build it. You simply have to make the most of the space. “Maximizing smaller space comes down to choosing the right equipment,” says Jeff Thomsen, president of Fitness Solutions Direct in Hoboken, NJ. “There are pieces of equipment that are very functional and take up minimal room.”
If you have nowhere to put your gym, you could also expand your existing property. The cost of doing so could be thousands of dollars, and it may not pay off. So, carefully consider all of your options before diving into this one.
2. Find Funding
After you’ve chosen a space, you’ll need money for the renovations and equipment. If you don’t have the money in your savings, consider taking out a home equity loan. This acts as a line of credit with your home as collateral and is often called a second mortgage.
It’s important to be careful when taking out a home equity loan and ensure that you’re using it for a good investment. “Home equity loans can be used to finance nearly anything,” according to the review site Home Equity Line of Credit. “However, it’s not a typical debt loan, but rather you spending an investment. Think of it this way: when you take out a home equity loan or HELOC, you are subtracting from an investment you have been contributing to for years. As such, you should not spend these funds lightly, irresponsibly, or for thoughtless purposes.”
A gym can be an excellent use for your home equity loan, as it will add to your home’s value and pay for itself in the long run.
3. Choose the Right Equipment
Once you have the cash in place, make plans for how you’ll spend it. Choose equipment that you’re likely to use. When you go to the gym, you may not use every machine available, so don’t put those machines in your home.
If you have a favorite piece of equipment, purchase that. Otherwise, stick with the basics. Here are some things you’ll want to include:
- Cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and/or stationary bikes
- Full dumbbell sets
- Barbells and weights
- Workout bench
- Power rack
- Protective platform or mat to protect your floors
- Bumper plates
Other than that, don’t worry about adding too many extras to your gym. You can always add new equipment as you go, but if you have the basics, you can stay fit and healthy in the meantime.
A word on purchasing budget items: Since the equipment is only for personal use, you don’t need the highest quality. On the other hand, you don’t want to purchase cheap equipment that will break within a few years. Look for a happy medium and search for gently used equipment.
4. Install an Entertainment Center
One of the best things about your home gym is you can choose the music and listen to it as loud as you want while you work out. Working out to music and other entertainment has proven essential for a great workout.
“Research consistently finds that listening to music distracts athletes from their bodily awareness (read: pain),” says an article from the Huffington Post. “And a recent study found that not just listening, but controlling and creating music in time to one’s pace had an even more profound effect on perceived effort during a workout.”
Including a fully equipped entertainment center (a television and sound system) will keep you occupied and pumped while you exercise.
Addiction can affect your mind for years after your initial bout with substance abuse. That’s why American Addiction Centers and other organizations dedicated to rehabilitation treat addiction recovery as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time event.
The behaviors and habits you develop in your daily life will have as big an impact on your recovery as your initial treatment plan—if not bigger. Depending on the substance that was abused, the length of initial recovery, and other factors, relapse rates vary between 50 and 90 percent. That’s an enormous percentage, but small daily changes could be the difference in the rate and success of your recovery.
In addition to creating and maintaining a strong support network and going back to work, one of the best things you can do on a daily basis is exercise.
The Benefits of Exercise for Addiction Recovery
These are just some of the most important ways exercise can prevent relapse and put you on a healthier path to recovery:
- Stress. A recent study in rats demonstrated that even a small stressful event could be enough to trigger a relapse in cocaine-addicted rats. Anyone who has recovered from addiction can tell you how difficult it is to work past high levels of stress when addictive substances offer immediate release. Fortunately, exercise is one of the best ways to relieve that stress—both acutely and chronically—so you’ll be less susceptible to stress-related relapse triggers.
- Endorphins. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals in the brain that help us fight against stress and resist pain, among other effects. Exercising, therefore, can give you a similar (albeit much less extreme) high to the ones you experienced during your addiction. If you feel the urge to relapse, a quick jog or workout at the gym could satisfy your short-term desire for that rush—and at the same time, help restore balance to your neurochemistry.
- Occupation. Exercise, as part of your daily routine, also gives you something to do. Hobbies and regular schedules are extremely important for recovering addicts; excessive leisure time and/or boredom could set the groundwork for relapse. Plus, going to the gym or jogging with a group could introduce you to new people and new experiences that help you become more content with life.
- Confidence. Exercising consistently will help you lose weight, build muscle, and stay in shape. In turn, you’ll feel more confident in your daily life. That confidence will chip away at any lasting psychological consequences of your addiction, and will give you more incentive to do more things in life, whether that’s seeking further career development or going on vacation to a foreign country.
- Depression and anxiety effects. Addiction is complicated by mental health disorders; research suggests that individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are more likely to develop addictions. In a recursive effect, addiction can make these mental health issues even worse. Exercise has been empirically demonstrated to relieve symptoms of both anxiety and depression, especially when used habitually over the long term. In combination with therapy, positive social connections, and other helpful approaches, the effects of mental health disorders on addiction and relapse is minimized.
The hardest part of developing a regular exercise regimen is getting started. If you’ve never had a regular exercise routine before, consider talking to your doctor about your current health risks and what type of program you should pursue. If you’re currently out of shape, you might consider a light program that includes walking, resistance bands, and light callisthenic exercises.
Once you develop a baseline level of fitness, you’ll want to escalate the intensity and frequency of your training. Strive to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week, preferably every day, for at least 30 minutes each session. You should strive to utilize a mix of cardiovascular exercises, including jogging, swimming, and biking, and resistance exercises, such as lifting weights, to see the full benefits of your program. It may be hard to find the motivation at first, but once you’re used to the routine, it will be harder to break it than it will be to keep going.
Vacations are tempting opportunities to cheat on your health and fitness plan. You’ll want to relax and avoid exercise, and eat and drink foods you’d otherwise avoid like the plague. No matter where you go, there will be delicious restaurants to try, enough time and distance from the office to enjoy a few drinks, and of course, the luxury of your hotel. If you’ve been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or just maintain your physical condition, vacations could crush your otherwise solid plans.
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to vacation light and fit—all while having a good time.
Strategies for Vacation Fitness
These tactics will keep you healthy, active, and fit without compromising the relaxation or enjoyment of your trip:
1. Choose a vacation with lots of natural opportunities for exercise.
Your approach should start with your choice of vacation; try to choose something that will give you lots of opportunities for exercise. For example, you could stay in the Appalachian Mountains, where you’ll have the chance to hike, jog, and explore the natural landscape, or visit Coconino National Forest, which has some of the best locations for rock climbing in the country. You could even choose to visit a big city, with the intention of walking to most of your destinations. However you choose to approach this, choose a vacation that will allow you to exercise as part of the vacation.
2. Choose accommodations with a fitness center.
If you’re going to stay in a hotel, choose a hotel with an available fitness center. According to USA Today, Hyatt and Four Seasons hotel chains offer some of the best fitness accommodations, but you don’t need top-of-the-line equipment to get a decent workout in. Any place with cardiovascular equipment and weights should be enough to get you that all-important 20-minutes-a-day.
3. Limit going out to eat.
There are tons of new restaurants to try, and you’ll be tempted to try all of them, but try to limit how often you go out to eat. Restaurants will offer large portion sizes, often with limited available nutritional information, and you’ll be tempted to load up with drinks and desserts while you’re at it. Try not to eat out more than once a day; for other meals, rely on foods you get at the market or local grocery stores.
4. Indulge strategically.
Do take the time to enjoy your vacation—but do so wisely! If you’re going to have a drink, opt for a lower-calorie drink like a gin and tonic, rather than something dense and creamy like a pina colada. If you want dessert, go with the small portion or split it with your traveling partner. Track how much you’re eating, and try to keep your indulgences within reason.
5. Pack your own snacks.
You’ll get hungry between meals when you’re out and about, so rather than relying on fast food or whatever’s in the local vending machines, pack your own snacks. Stock up on some nuts, dried fruit, and other healthy choices so you can satisfy your appetite without needing to indulge in yet another calorically dense meal.
6. Rely on calisthenics.
If you aren’t able to get a hotel with a fitness center, or if you’re running low on time, rely on some calisthenics to get your pulse up. Things like jumping jacks, pushups, and situps are easy to do and can be done almost anywhere—even if your room is somewhat cramped. Get your morning started with just 10 minutes of moderate exercise, and you’ll feel better and keep yourself in better shape while you’re away from your normal routine.
7. Vacation with a fit-savvy partner.
If you want an even better chance at sticking to some kind of fitness plan, go on vacation with a partner who shares your values. You’ll be able to keep each other in check and stay motivated even when you’re relaxing and enjoying the scenery.
Avoid the Stress
Trying to keep your health and fitness regimen perfect while on vacation is probably going to stress you out—the exact opposite of what you wanted on your getaway. Instead of trying to maintain a perfect record, these strategies are designed to help you avoid a total train wreck while you’re enjoying yourself. Let yourself live a little, breaking your fitness habits and indulging—within reason. As long as you keep things in moderation, you’ll have no trouble bouncing back when you return.
In many countries and cultures the month of April is not only celebrated as the beginning of Spring, but as the beginning of the yearly cycle of life and activity. Of hope and resolve. We derive the name of April from the Romans, who named it ‘Aprillis’, which means ‘to open.’ They, in turn, borrowed the word from the ancient Greeks, who called it ‘Anixi’, which means ‘anything that is open.’ Many ancient cultures celebrated various fertility festivals during the month of April to help the awakening landscape continue to bud and blossom into fruits and flowers.
In North America April is also celebrated in a wide variety of health initiatives that are meant to remind people of good health practices, and encourage and educate them about them. The Department of Health and Human Resources provides a listing of most of them:
April has been set aside as National Distracted Driving Month. Motorists are reminded to refrain from texting while driving, or using any handheld device while in motion.
April is also Alcohol Awareness Month. The toll that alcohol abuse takes on physical and mental health is enormous. It also has a staggering impact on the finances of individuals and companies. Yet many people remain unaware of the danger signs of alcoholism -- in themselves and in others.
April is designated as Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Those who fall victim to such cancers are in danger of losing their speaking, eating, and talking abilities. Dr. Mark Silberg, a Pittsburgh Periodontist suggests taking some extra time this month to review your oral hygiene procedures.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every state in the USA now has a toll-free number that can be called to report possible child abuse situations. Do you know the number in your state?
In April we celebrate National Autism Awareness Month. This complex disability behavior usually develops in early childhood, and requires a medical specialist to accurately diagnose and treat.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is in April. Communities are working much more closely together in order to provide protection against and help for this criminal and traumatic experience.
April has been set aside as Irritable Bowel Syndrome Month. This is a serious physical ailment that sidelines thousands of people each year.
Appropriately, April is also National Donate Life Month. The month has been set aside to celebrate organ donors and to educate the public on the importance of signing up to be an organ and tissue donor.
It’s also National Facial Protection Month. Facial injuries can leave deep emotional scars even after the physical healing is finished.
April is National Minority Health Month. An opportunity to examine the disparities between healthcare for mainstream Americans as opposed to those who, for whatever reason, have been marginalized.
April is Sports Eye Safety Month. Protecting the eyes during sports events is crucial in protecting eyesight.
National Youth Violence Protection Week is April 2nd to the 9th. Young people are often both the victims and the perpetrators of physical violence, such as bullying. More education and intervention is needed, especially in the public schools.
World Health Day is April 7th. A day set aside to recognize the outstanding achievements of the World Health Organization in preventing and treating global disease outbreaks.
National Infant Immunization Week goes from April 22 to April 29. Check with your clinic to see if they are offering any free or discounted infant vaccinations during this time.
National Sleep Awareness Week runs from April 23 to the 29th. According to the CDC, one in three adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
And World Meningitis Day is on April 24th. This silent killer still afflicts thousands of children and young adults each year across the globe. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of this murderous malady!
Smartphones are an everyday part of life. They keep you organized, connected, informed, and entertained, but they can also help you lose weight. Exercise, diet, and sleep are all integral parts of losing and maintaining your weight. Having a smartphone with the right features and apps can make your weight loss goals achievable, manageable, and fun.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Calories
Image via Flickr by Tanvir Sajib
Keeping a written diary of your weight loss efforts is a good way to measure your progress and stay motivated. Taking pictures of your body as you slim down is even better.
A study at the University of Alicante found that 71 percent of participants, mostly women, met their weight loss goals during a 16-week program. The weekly full-body photo rated the highest motivator among most test subjects. Put those selfies to work for you and share your transformation with friends. Have a smartphone with a great camera so that your pictures look as good as you feel.
Get Fit With a Little Help From Your Friends
Losing weight is difficult if you do it by yourself. Your friends want you to succeed as much as you do, so use your smartphone to stay connected to them.
Start a group chat to share healthy recipes. Send encouraging texts between workouts at the gym. Have someone to call when you feel tempted to cheat on your diet. Make sure your phone always has a signal when you're on vacation. You want to be able to reach your crisis buddy when someone starts making s'mores on your camping trip.
You Are What You Eat, So Know What You Are Eating
Diet is more important than exercise when trying to lose weight, and knowing what to eat can be difficult. Installing the Fooducate app on your smartphone helps you make the right choices. The app allows you to scan barcodes at the grocery store with your smartphone's camera. It then grades the food's nutrition value and shows alternative suggestions and user feedback. Fooducate also has a full-featured calorie and exercise tracker.
Music Is the Soundtrack of Your Ideal Body
No workout is complete without music to get you through it. Streaming your favorite songs on your smartphone is the easiest way to have music when you need it, and apps such as Spotify and Pandora have millions of songs to choose from.
Streaming music can use up much of your smartphone's data plan. You won't always have access to Wi-Fi while you're out exercising, so you want a smartphone paired with a reliable data communications network. For example, the versatile LG G6 on T-Mobile's network comes with unlimited music and video streaming capabilities on a reliably quick nationwide 4G LTE network. As a result, you can exercise to as much music as you need, when you need it.
Sleeping Is the Best Exercise
A good night's sleep is vital to everything you will do during the day — doubly true for your weight loss goals. Set your smartphone's alarm for the same time every morning, and set your smartphone's alarm to remind you when it's time to go to bed. You need to get at least seven hours of sleep a night so that your body can recover from your workouts. You also want to be alert in the morning so that you don't make poor food choices during the day.
Remember that transforming your body is a lifestyle change, and getting consistently great sleep will be part of that lifestyle. Depend on your smartphone to keep your sleep schedule in order.
Losing weight is a huge undertaking, requiring time, commitment, and resources. A smartphone can help you on this journey from start to finish if you use it properly. You want a phone with the right features, on a good network, that can run the applications needed to help you meet your weight loss goals. The smartphone has come a long way since its start, and it can now be a force of positive change in your life.
Do you wear a fitness tracker? If you do, you aren’t alone. About 1 in 6 people wear the popular devices to keep track of their physical activity throughout the day. Some people wear them as part of a training regimen, others are trying to lose weight, while some are just curious about how many steps they take every day.
Regardless of the reason for wearing them, though, fitness trackers are a booming business: Fitness trackers alone account for nearly a third of the $3 billion wearable technology industry. This is despite questions about their utility (studies show that they don’t always make a measurable difference to weight-loss efforts or overall fitness) and studies that show many users abandon their devices within six months.
In fact, despite all appearances to the contrary, the market continues to grow, and demand for new devices is high. In fact, as with any technology, consumers expect new developments and new features in their devices, and the coming months and years will not disappoint.
Goodbye Utilitarian Design, Hello Style
Until the introduction of smart watches, most fitness trackers were relatively simple devices, usually a plain silicone band equipped with a small sensor/processor. The designs have changed a bit over the years to include actual displays, and it was possible to find replacement bands that were somewhat more stylish (or at least color coordinated to your outfit), but even then, it’s fairly obvious what the device is.
The latest designs of fitness trackers are taking a page from the smart watch book and designing trackers that look less like the fitness bands we know, and more like stylish watches and accessories. Essentially, these devices are watches with fitness trackers built in. However, the “traditional” fitness bands are also getting makeovers as well. Expect to see slimmer bands, including some that look like jewelry, as consumers demand trackers that are both practical and attractive.
New Form Factors
For the last few years, fitness trackers have almost exclusively been worn on the wrist. Moving forward, that paradigm is shifting — and wrist trackers may soon be seen as old-fashioned or even obsolete.
One of the major drawbacks to devices worn on the wrist is that they have limitations when it comes to collecting accurate data. Not only do monitors worn on the wrist fail to provide the same detailed data as ECG monitors, which place monitors on strategic areas of the body, but when the accelerometers are placed on extremities to measure movement, they don’t always capture accurate information about how much the body is actually moving. If you have ever seen an increase in your step count when you haven’t been walking — but you’ve been typing, folding laundry, or just having an animated conversation — you’ve seen this in effect.
For that reason, wearable devices are moving away from the wrist and onto other parts of the body. Device developers are working on ways to incorporate sensors into athletic clothing, shoes, and even glasses to collect more accurate data for better insights.
Not only does moving the sensors to better locations help improve data collection, newer fitness trackers are also being equipped with better sensors.
For example, one of the primary complaints about the current crop of trackers is that it doesn’t always provide an accurate reading of the number of calories burned during exercise. In order to get more accurate calorie readings, measuring the heart rate is important. While some of the current fitness trackers offer this feature, again, with the sensors on the wrist, the readings aren’t the most accurate, so engineers are working on ways to improve these readings.
However, heart rate and calories burned aren’t the only measures of health. Soon, you can expect to see fitness monitors that include sensors designed to collect such data as blood glucose, hydration, and oxygen via sweat. This information can help athletes improve their performance and give healthcare providers more in-depth insight into their patients’ progress.
When used properly, fitness trackers can benefit anyone looking to improve his or her health and/or athletic performance. With the new developments coming in these ubiquitous devices, they are bound to become even more useful, and beneficial to both amateur and professional athletes alike.
That juicy steak you were planning to grill could be a source of illness. We’re not talking about the eventual cholesterol issues that could accumulate in your arteries over the years, but the food recall that resulted from contaminated boneless beef in March 2017.
Mass production and processing of foods can result in food contamination. Imagine the volume of food that is processed daily to meet our country’s food needs.
Recall of Nearly 74,000 Pounds of Beef!
The beef that was recently recalled came from the H&B Packing Co. meat processing plant in Waco, Texas due to possible E. coli contamination. The potentially contaminated product was produced on March 6 and sent to Texas food manufacturers.
What is E. coli? It’s a bacteria that occurs naturally in animals’ and human’s intestines and can be spread in water or through food. According to WebMD, most strains of E. coli are not dangerous, but those that are can really knock people, especially children or the elderly, for a loop.
Cooking thoroughly and washing hands, utensils, and avoiding cross-contamination with uncooked foods can make a difference. Washing hands after using the toilet is important. Hot soapy water is your best defense. Cooking to the prescribed temperature suggested for the food you’re cooking is also a good strategy.
But Aren’t We Protected by Food Inspections?
The United States does have a governmental organization, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service, with 9,600 employees. With 26 billion pounds of beef processed in the U.S. each year, not counting the poultry and eggs the department is also responsible for, each employee in the FSIS would need to inspect 2.7 million pounds of beef yearly, which is an enormous amount of beef and other food products to inspect.
Obviously, FSIS does what it can, but sometimes the prevention aspect comes after the fact when incidents of illness are reported.
Recently, a heath alert was released because prepackaged wrap sandwiches that had been distributed to 10 states in the Midwest and East from Michigan-based JLM Manufacturing were already past the “best by” dates. JLM Manufacturing had prepared sandwiches on January 23 and 25 that were offered at retailers with “Best by” dates of February 12 and 14. What looked like appealing wraps with ham and cheese, Italian, and Tuscan chicken, were carrying listeria, another nasty bacteria that children, pregnant women, and older folks can be particularly susceptible. Listeria has the added concern that it can spread in a refrigerator over 40 degrees Fahrenheit to other food.
What Is Safe to Eat?
A good question, as food safety has been a concern for centuries. Nowadays, we are much more sophisticated about our food choices, but still people get sick from improperly prepared food.
Organic foods come to mind as good choices, since they are grown very restrictively in fields or conditions where contaminants are less likely to be in the foods. However, even the simplest items can cause a problem.
If you’ve ever read the lists published in newspapers about which restaurants were downgraded because of unsafe holding practices, you’d probably never visit any of those restaurants ever again. Raw and cooked foods being stored at unsafe temperatures are often a reason for the downgraded quality rankings.
Cooking to kill bacteria, cleaning the utensils and hands of anyone who works in the kitchen, sealing foods, and placing them in a cold refrigerator are some of the simplest approaches to food safety.
But, even if this whole situation makes a person decide they’ll just buy prepared frozen foods, even those are not above reproach. A food recall in the past included a frozen meal that had evidence of tiny glass shards in the food!
When Your Health Has Been Threatened, What Can You Do?
A natural move might be to sue someone, especially if you or a loved one suffered a serious sickness and injury that is proven through negligence of a restaurant or food processor and manufacturer.
So how can you stay safe? Cooking food to the suggested minimum internal temperatures, washing your food before cooking, and keeping food safely covered and frozen or refrigerated. After all of the preparations exhaust you — you might want to eat out. Now, which restaurant received the highest ratings for cleanliness?
If you’re the lone person in a group who is itchy, red, and swollen after being outside in the warm weather, you know what it is like to be the target of bug bites. It might be pheromones that your metabolism has in abundance that the mosquitoes and other flying attackers like, but whatever it is, you would really like to be left alone!
Cover up or Avoid the Great Outdoors
Taking precautions against getting bitten can use many approaches. Covering up can be your first line of protection. Clothing yourself with long sleeves, long pants, and cover-ups can prevent bugs biting. Buttoning up and wearing closed-toe shoes so the bugs can’t get to you adds another layer of bug defense.
Avoiding bright colors is another suggestion. You don’t want to be mistaken for a flower or hedge, right? This approach probably works, but it presents an unappealing, colorless picture of you covered up like it is the middle of winter.
And, heaven forbid that you wear any type of scent that could attract flying critters! Especially flowery scents — which may attract the opposite sex, but might also appeal to other species, too.
Upping the Ante in Your War Against Bugs
If the above strategies don’t work and you are highly allergic to bug bites, you could become a recluse. But, if covering up or staying inside won’t work and you would really like to be out in nature, don’t let this depress you!
The next strategy is to try bug repellants. A lesser repellant can work if you want to gradually escalate; starting with what is the least harmful to your well-being while repelling the bugs. If those don’t work, you can liberally dose yourself with those “deep woods” outdoor repellants.
Be careful with stronger methods because you especially you don’t want children to eat or ingest the chemicals. Build up to the more potent repellents including the sprays. And, try not to breathe the spray or get it into your eyes or mouth.
You can also try to find clothing with insect repellants embedded in the cloth as a healthier, but expensive strategy.
What to Do After the Bugs Get You Anyway
Most home remedies are after-the-fact approaches that have the bitten victim putting on ice, elevating the arm or leg that is affected, or taking medications.
If you are greatly allergic to bugs, keeping a non-prescription medication like Benedryl is considered an important precaution. Small children shouldn’t take these medications — unless the doctor recommends them. Local anesthetics, like benzocaine, can cool off the heat of the bite, but not everyone can use them.
To avoid all of this, we have one last suggestion so you can enjoying the outdoors
Spray the Outdoors — Not You or Your Loved Ones
If you love hanging out in your own yard, the easiest way to remove the bites, bugs, and swelling from your life is to hire an expert pest control company who can spray the yard for mosquitos, not you, your family, or your pets.
Don’t even think about the rub-ons, the covering up, or inhaling repellent sprays!
Have your yard treated by a company when you’re not outside so you can enjoy the backyard when you want to. And, a reputable firm will stand behind the prevention guarantee and come back to retreat the problem.
Your comfort level will rise when you realize you can just go outside, have a family picnic, and see a gorgeous sunset. Maybe you can relax in a way you never had before because you don’t need to be vigilant. Your children can run around and not worry about being bitten. Then, you don’t need to figure out how to make them comfortable when they’re bitten and itchy. And, the scary viruses that mosquitoes spread will also be eradicated, so one less worry!