All Entries For sparkmom
Be amazed by what's happening during your snooze sessions
Sleep—such a peaceful word, isn't? It evokes images of closed eyes, slow breathing, dreams and relaxation. But while you're dozing, your body's systems are doing lots of crazy things that will blow your mind. Don't worry: They're all normal. Still, you may never think of hitting the hay the same way after reading this. Read More ›
Whether you keep up with the daily news using an app or by watching TV, chances are you pay close attention to whatever pops up about breast cancer. And if you sometimes find yourself confused by what you read or hear, you're not alone. "Reports on breast cancer studies often lack balance or context, which may make it hard for a woman to know what it all means for her," says Lisa Schwartz, M.D., codirector of the Center for Medicine and the Media at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire. To help make sense of the latest headlines, we asked the pros to rate them for accuracy and to set the record straight. Their clear explanations and advice will empower you not just to understand but also to outsmart this perilous disease. Read More ›
Acne isn't just a teenage problem. In fact, 25% of women in their 40s and beyond experience breakouts. Banish blemishes for good with our spot-on advice from NYC-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D.
Is there a right way to wash your face?
Dr. Engelman: Over-cleansing can irritate blemishes and dry out your skin. Wash twice daily with a gentle but effective cleanser that contains 2% salicylic acid. This will lightly exfoliate skin and open up pores, which can prevent future breakouts.
Editor's product pick: Bioré blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, $8 The tingling, cooling sensation refreshes skin. Read More ›
For Amy Scheibe, tolerating meltdowns didn't end after her son, Bo, graduated from toddlerhood. When he was 10 years old, he started having serious fits of screaming and sobbing that he wasn't good enough for his parents. After one particularly bad incident, she and Bo ended up cuddled on the couch, where he finally admitted that he missed the way things used to be. "You don't tickle me anymore," he said. Turns out Bo was simply going through a typical—but stressful—developmental hurdle: the desire to become more independent while still yearning for a little parental hand-holding.
In the years leading up to and during puberty, hormonal surges are a lot like biological fireworks, skyrocketing even little problems into big explosions. And your kid has no idea how to handle them. In fact, research suggests the region of the brain involved in planning, organizing and making decisions—all things that help us cope with stress—is still developing during puberty. That's why we shouldn't expect kids to always have the best judgment or react to pressure well. But they can learn the best way to address and manage it.
Check out these six common tween and teen stressors—submitted from real moms via e-mail and Facebook—and smart ways to overcome them. Read More ›
Brittni Reum's first broken bone happened in her right heel at age 10. She suffered four more fractures over the next three years in her arms and knee—all from seemingly minor mishaps while playing on the monkey bars or shooting hoops in gym class. "Brittni seemed so fragile that I was afraid to let her go outside or play sports," says her mom, Michele, an accounting manager in Jacksonville, Florida. Read More ›
Your son can't find his backpack (again) and your husband still hasn't fixed the leaky toilet (three weeks later). Stress is everywhere—and though you may not be able to control what causes it, you do have power over how you react to it. And keeping your cool is a key to safeguarding your heart.
"Stress sets off a surge of hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in your body," explains WD heart health expert Michelle Albert, MD. "Elevated levels of these hormones can harm your heart because they raise your blood pressure and cause inflammation." So it's important to develop ways to cope when life becomes tense. Keep clicking for six speedy strategies that'll calm you down. Read More ›
Quinoa pronounced KEEN-Wah has quickly become a staple in my cooking. I love that it is quick and easy to prepare, has outstanding nutritional value and is allergy-free. Since it cooks through in less than 20 minutes, it is a useful grain substitute in just about any recipe. A single serving is high in healthy fats, fiber protein, iron, magnesium phosphorus, and riboflavin. Quinoa is also gluten free! Increase your nutritional grain options with these quick and convenient Quinoa recipes. Read More ›
Welcome in the new year with these winter slow cooker soup recipes. As a busy mother, wife and writer, I have to plan ahead if I’m going to achieve my health goals. When I utilize my slow cooker, I’m able to quickly and easily prepare family meals. These hearty soup recipes will warm you on a cold night and support you nutritionally too. Begin 2013 on a strong note with these soup recipes. Read More ›
At many dinner tables, the term "meatloaf" strikes fear in the hearts of even the most hardened palates. I have spent considerable time trying to bring peace among those who in my family who love and hate this classic American dish. Even for those who crave this American delicacy, there's the problem of how to prepare it without the fat and calories that wreek havoc on your health goals. Start by substituting lean meats, whole grains and vegetables. Use fresh spices and dried herbs to give it an international feel. Did you know meatloaf can even be made without meat? Have fun in your kitchen and enjoy these healthy meatloaf SparkRecipes. Read More ›
It just wouldn't be the holidays without this warm and nutty spice. Impress friends and family at the dinner table with some trivia. Did you know nutmeg is actually the seed of a type of tree?
Cut open the fruit of a tropical variety of evergreen tree and you’ll find this inch-sized brown seed. It doesn’t look like much but this little baby packs in warm and earthy flavor when it’s freshly grated. Ground nutmeg is also widely available, but isn’t as potent.
Native to Indonesia, the Caribbean and part of India, the outer covering of nutmeg is cultivated as an entirely different spice known as mace.
One tablespoon of nutmeg has just shy of 40 calories, 1 gram of fiber and B-vitamins like thiamin, B6 and folate. You’ll also find minerals like copper, iron and potassium.
What to do with Nutmeg
Use nutmeg to add a spicy, sweet kick to baked goods. Banana, pumpkin, apple and carrot get along famously with this sassy spice. Sweet foods love nutmeg but so do creamy dishes like fettuccine Alfredo, mac and cheese and creamed spinach. You’ll find it in lots of holiday recipes; everything from pumpkin pie to green bean casserole.
Shopping and Storage Tips
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Pasta is a crowd pleaser and doesn’t have to be hard to cook or unhealthy. Baked pasta is my go to meal when I need to prepare something ahead of time for dinner. With these simple modifications I've been able to take high-fat, high-calorie dishes and replaced them with highly nutritious ingredients.
- Use only half the amount of cheese.
- Replace high-fat protein with lean protein.
- Replace half the pasta with vegetables.
- Try pasta made with rice, corn or quinoa flour for a gluten-free option.
- Use non-fat milk and Greek yogurt for a cream based sauce.
The modern coffee house has become the de facto office space for thousands of work-from-home Americans, including yours truly. When I need to change of scenery or to interact in-person with other human beings, my local java joint is my go-to option. The people-watching is decent and I will often bump into a friend, which approximates the traditional water-cooler conversation. It’s also a place for nutritional choices and I often find myself struggling to stick to the program. Whether it’s the sweet aromas or the attractive displays, many of the items in the forefront are loaded with calories and easily put me over the top on my daily sugar intake. not to mention how terrible I feel later. Even worse are the hidden calories in my original favorite drink, the latte. I thought I was being so healthy, because there was no minimal sugar, only to find out how many calories are in the deceptively large servings. I am happy to share, however, that I have learned a lot over the last year to take control of the coffee house menu to make it work for me and my health needs. Read More ›
To help increase your immunity this cold and flu season, give yourself an extra boost of vitamin C (no supplements required!). This antioxidant is found in a wide range of foods from potatoes to bell peppers. Check out these 5 delicious, vitamin-C rich recipes.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 60 milligrams. Each of the recipes below contains at least 20% (or 12 milligrams) of your daily recommended dose.
Vitamin C has many other roles besides helping stave off the common cold. It also helps form collagen, a building block of connective tissue that gives strength to skin, hair, and nails. Vitamin C also helps increase the body's absorption of iron. Read More ›
There's no better time than the holidays to teach your teens the significance of making a difference. By helping them create a giving circle—a group of people who pool individual contributions to make a bigger charitable donation—you'll enable them to have a greater impact and pick up some valuable life lessons. "Kids become much better informed, not only as philanthropists but as active community members," says Ken Menkhaus, Ph.D., professor of political science at Davidson College in North Carolina, who helped launch a course as part of the Learning By Giving program. Classes at selected schools—including Tufts, Columbia and UC Berkeley—research local nonprofits and debate who should receive grant money. But you don't have to wait until your kids reach college. Just use this simple plan to get your teens to step up. Read More ›