Category Archives: Healthy Living

Pastor’s Corner: 10 Confessions of a Christian- Confession #1: I’m a Liar

By Chris Kirish

I confess… I’m a liar.

Perhaps you can relate? Someone approaches and asks me how I’m doing.

Conjuring every ounce of strength I have left I force a smile.

“I’m good! How are you?”

Why did I just lie? Is it because I think it’s what they want to hear? Is it because it’s what American culture has trained me to do? Is it because I don’t really want to think about it? Is it because I don’t even know? Is it because I don’t know them? Is it because I don’t want to go that deep right now? Or is it because hidden somewhere deep down inside of me I’m afraid they won’t care if I told them the truth, and that would be worse than if they never asked me in the first place.

Whatever reason we have let’s be honest – we all lie. We lie about how we’re doing. We lie about who we are. We put on a face. We play the part. We act it out. We behave the way we think people want us to behave. We bury the feelings.

Now we have a million reasons why  we do this. It could be our up bringing, our lack of trust, or it could simply be because John Wayne said it’s “What a man’s got to do.”

Why is John Wayne so awesome?

But whatever the case is, we continue to suppress what we’re going through and we hide our struggles and sins from others. But, that does not erase the ever nagging question in the back of our minds… is this is the way it was supposed to be? Is this how life is supposed to be? Am I hardwired in my DNA to deal with everything on my own? Is this the way God wanted it to be? Does God want me to carry this weight alone?

I mean sure, not everyone needs to know your deepest darkest secrets and not everyone needs to know you’re not having a good day. But maybe someone should know. Maybe suppressing the pain, hiding our struggles, and lying is not what God wanted for us.

I find it to be fascinating that Jesus had a tremendous amount of compassion and grace for every sinner He came into contact with and yet He was extremely hard on the people who acted like they had it all together. We don’t have to guess as to why He felt this way – Jesus made it clear for us:

Matthew 25:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombswhich look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appearto people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

I’m no theologian but it seems to me that Jesus really didn’t like it when people faked it. And although we like to picture Jesus as a blond haired hippy surfer, carrying a lamb on his shoulders, smiling all the time, and saying “God bless you” – it may not be too far of a stretch to say Jesus was pretty angry at these religious leaders and He may not have been smiling or carrying a lamb at this moment.

And if you think about it God has never liked it when we hide. In fact, this problem of hiding goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us that when God came walking in the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat – they hid from God. This made God angry. And they weren’t the only ones. Jonah once tried hiding from God too. He got on a boat that was headed in the opposite direction from where God was calling him. Jonah though he could run and hide from God. I remember that not going very well for him.

Something about a big fish?

In the same way, many of us are still trying to hide from God today. We hide behind a smile. Behind a title. Behind a façade. A part we play for the people we think will judge us if they really knew us. Can I encourage you today? Drop the mask. You may be fooling people but you’ll never fool God. And God doesn’t want you to be perfect but he does demand that you’re honest. God can help a sinner but He can’t help someone who pretends like they’re not a sinner. God can do anything and He can save anyone but one thing God won’t do – He won’t save someone who won’t admit they need a Savior. Drop the mask. Tell God the truth and then go tell someone else the truth.

Pastor Chris Kirish is the Pastor of Ministries at VantagePoint Church. Contact at http://www.vantagepointchurch.org o: 909-465-9700 ex.711.

Autism Mom: Why the World May Be Shutting Down

By Melody Kraemer

The world is shutting down, so it may seem. Though is it? Or is the universe telling us something? We have been ‘social distancing” for years. Ever since we became the electronic world, people don’t seem to talk nor communicate.

Everywhere you look, people are on their electronic devices. Many people for a very long time have not looked up from their phones.

I have seen people in restaurants on their phones and not focusing on the person in front of them. I walk by people on the streets and they will bump into me not paying attention. Many car accidents I have read are caused by texting. So this social distancing is not new, it’s just now we can’t stand next to each other unless they are six feet away. But let’s be honest, many people never realized there was someone who was standing next to them.

Maybe now we can get a grasp on life and think about what there is out there. There is a world of beauty and people that will smile at you.

Sometimes I felt so alone in a world of people, why because some have no idea who or what is around them. Some never look up from their phones to see a smile in front of them. Or they are too busy worrying about the next selfie to post from where they are.

Now that everything has shut down and nowhere to go, maybe, just maybe, some will look up from their phones and see there’s a beautiful family in front of them and put down the electronics and get back to basics.

Enjoy the quiet moments, smile at the simple things, and have fun by talking, what a concept. Hopefully, on the other side of this crisis, life will be better, friendships and families will be stronger. Plus, the love of electronics will subside and the world will become a more delightful connected place between one another.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Sharing With Others

By Mark Hopper

Several years ago after my wife finished an extensive series of treatments for breast cancer, some friends invited us to use their house while they were away to give her an opportunity to rest and recover from this exhausting journey. Their home was on the water in Newport Beach, California. When we walked up to the house, we were amazed at how beautiful and peaceful it was. It was not on the beach with all the tourists and bicycles but on Newport Shores where it was quiet and restful.

She began to regain her strength as we went for short walks along the water. As the days went by, she felt more ambitious and determined to walk further. By the end of our stay she was walking all the way from the house to the pier and back. It felt like we were on an extended vacation even though we were only thirty miles from home.

On several occasions over the years other friends have shared their cabins in the mountains east of Los Angeles. My wife was a school teacher and after the end of a busy school year, we often went to the mountains to get out of the foggy June Gloom and enjoy the blue skies and warm sunshine. Our wedding anniversary was also in June so this provided a perfect setting to rest and celebrate together. When our children were younger, a friend loaned us his motorhome for our family vacation.

We are so thankful for the people who have shared so much with us. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share” (First Timothy 6:17-18).

You may not think of yourself as rich but I am confident that you do have things that you can share with others. You may have a mountain cabin, a beach house or a motorhome. You may have an extra car or some tools that you can lend. You may have experience, knowledge or skills that you can share with others. Let me encourage you to watch for an opportunity to share some things you have with neighbors, friends or people in need. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Centro Basco: Menu and Temporary Hours of Operation

COVID-19 Death Within 20 Miles From Eastvale

Staff Reports


Pomona
– On March 11, the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PCHMC) announced that a patient who passed away at their hospital confirmed positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This was the first reported COVID-19 death in Los Angeles County.
On March 9, the patient went to the hospital by ambulance and was in full cardiac arrest. Staff provided lifesaving care to stabilize her condition. Based on her travel history and symptoms, the patient was placed in isolation and infection control protocols were implemented according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LACDPH authorized to obtain samples for COVID-19 testing, but the patient died shortly after “due to complications from their illness,” according to a PCHMC statement. On March 11, LACDPH confirmed the patient tested positive for COVID-19.
A family member disclosed the patient’s travel status, which included a residence in the City of Walnut. However, the County confirmed that the individual “did NOT circulate around the City of Walnut and stayed primarily at the residence,” according to Walnut Public Information Officer, Melanie Tep. She stated that the City is communicating with LA County’s Department of Public Health for more information regarding the patients’ travel details. “We will communicate more information as it becomes available from the County.”
In addition, the LA County Department of Public Health confirmed that the patient’s family members are currently in quarantine. PCHMC is also following LACDPH guidelines for the staff that came into contact with the patient.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the patient and family,” said Daniel Gluckstein, MD, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at PVHMC. “At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, Associates, physicians, volunteers and community.”
“We understand people are feeling anxious about potential exposure to coronavirus, but we want to reassure our patients and their families that the risk of exposure from this case is low,” stated a PVHMC statement. “PVHMC remains a safe, high-quality facility to seek medical care.”
The City of Walnut issued a reminder stating that Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
• Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and and those directly caring for people who are sick and by people who are sick (source control).
• Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.

Eastvale Schools Close But Learning Will Continue

Staff Reports

Eastvale – On March 13, Superintendent Dr. Lin announced that all Corona-Norco Unified public Schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 to Friday, April 3.
Dr. Lin stated that “the public health crisis created by the Coronavirus is not something any of us could reasonably have expected to happen, and we are in uncharted waters as we work to prevent the spread of the illness.”
“We have been following the direction of public health experts to keep our school community — students, staff, family members and visitors — safe in the midst of a growing health crisis,” he said. “We are now at a point where the balance has shifted and the appropriate path is to close schools. Additionally, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.”
Therefore, the CNUSD schools will be completely shut down and all activities on or off campus will be cancelled. However, Dr. Lin said they will evaluate and determine if the return date will change. “Parents and staff will hear from CNUSD directly in the event that the return date of April 6, 2020 changes,” stated the Superintendent.
He also said that there are plans for CNUSD students to continue to learn during the closure. The statement included a link to three phases of learning while the schools are closed. During Phase 1 (between 1 and 5 school days), students are encouraged to engage in enrichment activities and read grade level materials. During Phase 2 (between 6 and school 21 days), information will be sent via email and posted on the district website regarding “how to support students with additional enrichment activities they can complete from home.” Then in Phase 3, (longer than school 21 days), further communication will be sent via email and posted on the district website with “specific instructions for completion of school curriculum from home.”
CNUSD did acknowledge that they are aware all students do not have regular access to technology or the internet. Therefore, hard copies of the materials will be provided, and more information will be released at a later date. Direct access to both electronic and paper resources options are currently available on cnusd.k12.ca.us.
“This is a difficult decision, but necessary, as we try to slow the spread of the virus,” stated Dr. Lin in his statement. “Corona-Norco Unified School District serves a wide-range of communities including a high-needs population, and our schools provide a social safety net for our children. The closing of any school has real consequences beyond the loss of instructional time. This is not an easy decision and not one we take lightly.”
Since this is a rapidly changing situation, CNUSD staff advises that parents and families check their email regularly and visit cnusd.k12.ca.us for frequent updates. Dr. Lin stated they will communicate via email, Facebook and Twitter during the course of this closure, as well.
“These are unprecedented and challenging times, but we will get through this as a community,” concluded Dr. Lin.

Autism Mom: Are You Happy?

Columnist Melody Kraemer, AKA: Autism Mom

By Melody Kraemer

Are you happy? I am. I wake up each day with a grateful heart. I do get questioned at times of how I can be happy and stay positive with so much going on in my life. Plus, raising two autistic boys who need constant care and attention.


I am not saying my life is perfect. I’m not saying I don’t cry most days and I’m not saying life is easy. I am saying I am happy.


But you cry, how can you be happy, another question I get asked.


God chose me to have, love, and raise these two special boys.


They may be a handful and life can be overwhelming though, at the end of the day, my heart is filled with joy and love.


I have the patience that I didn’t know I had. I have learned to be so understanding, and I’ve learned to enjoy the simplest smallest things in life. I’ve learned to stop and smell the flowers, though my little one will eat them if I let him. I’ve learned to enjoy life and be silly, along this autism road I am on.


I have met some of the most exceptional people on this autism road who have become my supporters, my cheerleaders, my sounding block and close friends.


I am thankful and happy every day that God chose this road for me. Did I want or ask for the autism world? No, I didn’t! The autism world chose me. I’m happy despite the obstacles in the road of my life. I have the most amazing kids and the most gracious God who loves me unconditionally and will never leave me and just knowing that is comfort and happiness. “Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.” ― Rabbi Hyman Schachtel


Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

An Invitation for Wellness in 2020

By Nancy Stoops

Make 2020 the year you celebrate yourself.  I would like to extend two invitations to all of you. The first one is to join my new wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.org and receive a new wellness message daily and lots of other wellness ideas as well. The second one is to attend the Taste of Wellness 2020 event sponsored by the city of Walnut This wonderful and free event will take place Saturday March 28, 2020 from 8a.m. till noon at the Walnut Senior Center located at 21215 La Puente Rd. in the city of Walnut.  Their phone number is (909) 598-6200 and all you have to do is call to reserve your spot today.  This event will offer classes on meditation, the myths of diets, proper stretching techniques, yoga, a sage burning ceremony and a free tea and snack bar. Midnight the therapy dog will be there to comfort your souls and make you smile. This will be the fourth wellness event.  For those of you that have attended before keep on coming back and invite everybody you know.  If this will be your first time attending a wellness event be prepared to be delighted!

              I can’t think of a better way to help you meet your goals then by attending an event that will teach you so many wonderful ways to embrace wellness into 2020!  I personally will be running two of the five workshops offered and would love for all of you readers to come out to this amazing opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. I’m very excited to share all the facets of my very healthy lifestyle that have served me so very well for my life.  I will be discussing so many common sense ways to help yourself and just feel better so you can all improve the very quality of your life.  I look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing all of the secrets that have provided me and my patients with a life of quality and joy!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Navigation

By Mark Hopper

I grew up during the Space Race of the 1960’s as America and Russia worked furiously to be the first to land a man on the moon. It was an amazing time in our nation’s history. Apollo 8 was the first time men orbited the moon and Apollo 11 was the first landing of men on the moon in 1969. America won the Space Race.

It is hard to believe that was fifty years ago. In 2019 I enjoyed reading several books and watching TV documentaries and movies about both of those remarkable moments. One of the things that caught my attention was how essential reliable navigation was to the success of those missions. I learned that the American astronauts were required to memorize the locations of a number of stars and constellations. Even though they had computers and sophisticated navigational equipment the astronauts knew they could rely on the locations of constellations and stars to chart their course to and from the moon.

I have read that Polynesians used the stars to navigate their way across the vast Pacific Ocean. They rested in the day and paddled and sailed by night aiming toward certain stars and constellations. The European explorers like Henry the Navigator from Portugal and other nations used the location of the sun and the stars to identify their location and chart their courses, too. They knew the locations of the stars were predictable and reliable in ancient times and they still are today. Now we have GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to chart the paths for ships, aircraft and our own automobiles. These provide a reliable source for navigation and travel.

The Bible says that God created the universe. He placed the sun, moon, earth and stars in their places. The planets follow predictable orbits and the location of the stars are consistent and trustworthy. The Bible says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens – who created all of these? God calls each of the stars by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

Let me encourage you to reflect on the beauty and order of the stars in the sky. When you see a beautiful full moon rising up in the eastern horizon I hope it reminds you of the regularity of the seasons and the reliability of each day and month. Give thanks to God who created the world we enjoy. You will be glad you did and He will too!

An Invitation for Wellness in 2020

By Nancy Stoops

Make 2020 the year you celebrate yourself.  I would like to extend two invitations to all of you. The first one is to join my new wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.org and receive a new wellness message daily and lots of other wellness ideas as well. The second one is to attend the Taste of Wellness 2020 event sponsored by the city of Walnut This wonderful and free event will take place Saturday March 28, 2020 from 8a.m. till noon at the Walnut Senior Center located at 21215 La Puente Rd. in the city of Walnut.  Their phone number is (909) 598-6200 and all you have to do is call to reserve your spot today.  This event will offer classes on meditation, the myths of diets, proper stretching techniques, yoga, a sage burning ceremony and a free tea and snack bar. Midnight the therapy dog will be there to comfort your souls and make you smile. This will be the fourth wellness event.  For those of you that have attended before keep on coming back and invite everybody you know.  If this will be your first time attending a wellness event be prepared to be delighted!

              I can’t think of a better way to help you meet your goals then by attending an event that will teach you so many wonderful ways to embrace wellness into 2020!  I personally will be running two of the five workshops offered and would love for all of you readers to come out to this amazing opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. I’m very excited to share all the facets of my very healthy lifestyle that have served me so very well for my life.  I will be discussing so many common sense ways to help yourself and just feel better so you can all improve the very quality of your life.  I look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing all of the secrets that have provided me and my patients with a life of quality and joy!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Meet the President

By Mark Hopper

Recently my wife and I were traveling to Texas to meet some friends in San Antonio. Our flight on Southwest airlines took us to Dallas first and then we waited at Love Field for our short flight to San Antonio. After we found our departure gate we noticed a familiar looking person in the waiting area. I had just seen his picture in the Southwest Airline magazine on our last flight. It was Gary Kelly – the president of Southwest. He was going on the same flight we were to San Antonio.

I wasn’t sure it was him until I introduced myself and my wife and asked if he really was Gary Kelly. He greeted us warmly and assured us he was the guy in the magazine and he was glad to take a picture with us. I told him we loved Southwest Airlines and we had been flying Southwest since the time it began in Dallas when I was a graduate student in Dallas in 1971. I enjoyed our brief conversation and told him how much we appreciated the way Southwest has personally helped us on several occasions. I told him we had recently flown on one of the new Southwest flights to Hawaii a few months ago.

He was very gracious and gave the credit to the airlines’ helpful employees. As we prepared to board our flight I noticed Gary and his wife were in line with all the other passengers. He did not request or expect special or preferential treatment. I suspect most of the passengers on our flight had no idea that the president of the airline was flying with us. I have enjoyed reading many of Gary’s articles in the Southwest magazine. Many times he has stressed Southwest’s philosophy of customer service. I am confident he models being a servant leader and putting the needs of others ahead of his own. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus did not come to be served but to serve others and give his life for us” (Mark 10:45). Let me encourage you to watch for opportunities to serve people around you – in your company, your community and on your school campus. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Autism Mom: Ice Cream

Columnist Melody Kramer, AKA: Autism Mom

By Melody Kramer

“Don’t let your ice cream melt by looking at someone else’s sprinkles” Wow, isn’t that the truth?


 When I heard this the other day,  it was so accurate. I am not sure there’s even a better way to describe not to be envious or jealous of someone’s blessings (sprinkles).
 I used to let my ice cream melt by counting other people’s “sprinkles.”


Having two boys on the spectrum,  it isn’t easy and adjusting to the autism world was something that wasn’t in my plans for my life.  I started to get envious of people conversing with their children. I use to wish that my child could talk with me and hold a conversation.


 I would see people playing with their children and think if I could only do that with my child.  I would see a group of kids playing, and get teary-eyed and think I wish my child could play with other kids like that.


 I spent a lot of time counting the sprinkles of others, but in the meantime, my ice cream was melting.


 One day I decided to look at the heavens above and prayed about it all. The answer came back to count my sprinkles and quit letting my ice cream melt!


My boys are loving, kind, happy, and they may not be able to do all the things out there, but it’s ok. They are uniquely made and have amazing qualities.
My sprinkles, my blessing from above, is precisely that, Blessings!  In no way would I  ever let my ice cream melt again by counting someone else’s sprinkles because I’ve got plenty of sprinkles on my ice cream.


“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.” Quote By: Rachel Marie Martin


Never let your ice-cream melt.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com

4 Ways to Get Fit as a Family

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint

By Statepoint

One of the keys to encouraging children to develop health habits early is to make fitness a priority in the home.

The great news is there are a variety of ways to lead an active lifestyle that are suitable for the whole family, including kids of all ages.

Let these four creative ideas help you turn each day into an opportunity to get fit and have fun as a family. As with any workout, it’s important to have the proper gear, and that starts with footwear. Each exercise is paired with a suggestion of what to consider when it’s time to choose the right shoe.

  1. Visit a playground: Choose your own adventure, taking note of your favorite parks and playgrounds and their features, such as skate parks, swings, slides and climbing walls.

Shoes to try: Vans all have a variety of “updated classic” styles available in men, women and children’s sizing in on-trend colors, such as blush, yellow and white. This ensures that everyone can find a pair that reflects their personalities, while also providing necessary support.

2. Learn a new sport: From tennis to golf to touch football, there are a variety of ways to experience healthy activities as a group.

Shoe to try: The Adidas Lite Racer features a Cloudfoam EVA midsole to guide your foot when enjoying high-impact sports, such as running or tennis.

3. Participate in a charity run: Whether you’re a seasoned runner or have just signed up for your first 5K, many fundraising races are designed to accommodate the whole family. For younger children, search for events that allow baby strollers or that host a separate Fun Run for the kids.

Shoe to try: Nike offers the Flex Experience, which features lightweight synthetic overlays for a great fit and feel in both adult and children’s sizing.

4. Get outdoors: Explore a new hiking trail to make memories and enjoy stunning scenery. Cater to all family members by choosing the length and level of difficulty of the hike.

Shoes to try: Built to go off-roading, ASICS hiking shoes features reversed lugs on the outsole to ensure a dependable grip both uphill and downhill.

New footwear can help each member of the family get motivated to meet fitness goals and try new activities. For a one-stop-shopping experience and shoe trends for families, visit the Athletic Shop at Rack Room Shoes in stores or online at http://www.rackroomshoes.com/athleticshop.

Exercise shouldn’t be a chore. With new gear, a great attitude and a sense of adventure, getting fit as a family will be fun.

3 Ways to Make the Most of Summer Produce

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint
Always clean fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides, wax and soil.

By Statepoint

Summer can be all too fleeting, but one of the best ways to ensure you make the most of the season is by enjoying the generous harvest of fruits and vegetables it brings.

Here are three simple ways to make the most of summer produce:

Get Produce at Its Peak

Produce tastes best when enjoyed during its peak season. Before shopping, check produce guides to see what’s at its peak near you. A few easy ways to be sure you’re getting the cream of the crop are to join a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, visit a farmer’s market and to simply look for the local label at your supermarket. In a culinary rut? Because CSA members don’t always have the option of selecting the exact items they receive, a subscription is a particularly good idea for those with adventurous spirits looking to expand their horizons.

Be Safe

In your efforts to feed your family nutritious produce this summer, be mindful that many fruits and vegetables contain contaminants like pesticides, wax and soil on their outer layer. While independent studies show that washing produce with water or bleach solution still leaves behind large traces of pesticides, there is now a better way to protect your family.

With just a spray and rinse, Arm & Hammer’s Fruit & Vegetable Wash safely eliminates more than 90 percent of residue from the commonly used pesticide thiabendazole, when used as directed — four times better than water alone. Made with pure and simple ingredients like Arm & Hammer baking soda, water, salt and lemon oil; and free of harsh chemicals, it’s easy to stock your kitchen with it and make it a part of meal prep. For more information, as well as cleaning tips, visit armandhammercleans.com.

Use it Up

Don’t let any produce go to waste. Here are five fun uses for fruit and vegetables:

• Fruit popsicles: Chop fruit into small chunks and mix with juice and even a bit of honey. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze. You’ll have a delicious, healthful snack for later.

• Fruit or veggie kebabs: The grill is not just for burgers and dogs. Make veggie skewers using mushrooms, zucchini, green peppers and onions. For a light dessert, grill pears and peaches to be eaten on their own or topped with a bit of ice cream.

• Pesto: Go beyond the classic basil recipe to get creative with your pesto sauces. From cilantro to spinach to mint, many of summer’s richest green herbs and vegetables make great stand-ins.

• Cold soups: The weather may be hot, but that doesn’t mean you need to put soup on the back burner — or any burner at all. From gazpacho to borscht served chilled, you can cool down with soup this summer.

• Preserves: Certain fruits — such as strawberries — can technically be found any time of year, but are absolutely unparalleled in summer. Capture that magic for the months ahead by turning your favorite fruits into jams.

5 Delicious Low-Carb Recipes Perfect for a Cookout

Photo Courtesy: (c) georgerudy / stock.Adobe.com

By Statepoint

Food on the grill, carb-loaded side dishes and high-sugar desserts are at the center of most seasonal cookouts. But this doesn’t mean you need to avoid those countless neighborhood barbecues to ensure you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.

Courtney McCormick, manager of Clinical Research & Nutrition for South Beach Diet, recommends these five lower-carb recipes that are great to bring along to any cookout.

• Shredded Chicken Chili: Just toss some chicken, beans, tomatoes and a combination of chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano in your slow cooker and let that magic machine do all the work. Six hours later, you’ll have perfectly cooked chicken and plenty of flavorful fixings for fewer calories than a chicken prepared in a sugary or cheesy sauce.

• Avocado Tuna Sandwiches: Mix lemon juice, avocado, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add canned tuna fish. Scoop onto a slice of whole grain bread with arugula, sliced cucumbers and red onions and you’ve got yourself a delicious sandwich to eat in place of that hamburger.

• Skinny Shrimp Fajitas: You won’t miss the tortilla with this recipe! Combine shrimp, onion, bell pepper, olive oil and dry fajita spices such as chili powder, garlic, onion, cumin and paprika in a large bowl. Pour into a veggie basket or place on skewers and let the grill do the work for you.

• Pesto Cilantro Dip: Bake walnuts at 275 degrees until golden brown, then chop cilantro, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor for about 25 seconds. With the machine running, pour olive oil in a steady stream. Add sour cream, lemon juice and salt. Pulse a few times to combine and you’re done! Serve with fresh veggies.

“This recipe is quick and simple,” says McCormick. “It contains minimal ingredients and it is packed with healthy fats. Plus, it keeps five days in the refrigerator and freezes for up to a month.”

• South Beach Coleslaw: Coleslaw is a BBQ staple and this recipe for a lighter version of it is easy as 1-2-3! Whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, celery seed and a sugar substitute. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For more details on these recipes and other great tips and tricks to lose weight and live healthier, visit South Beach Diet’s website The Palm at palm.southbeachdiet.com/cookout-low-carb-recipes.

Remember, cookouts don’t need to wreak havoc on your healthy diet. By making some simple swaps and choosing healthier options, you’ll stay on track while still enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

5 Warm Weather Weight Loss Blunders to Avoid

Photo Courtesy: Statepoint
Make favorite drinks healthier with simple ingredient swaps, says Julie Chrisley.

By Statepoint

Along with warm weather comes picnics, cookouts and other parties that can take a toll on your healthy lifestyle.

To help you stay on track while you’re enjoying the sunshine and good times, Courtney McCormick, manager, Clinical Research and Nutrition at Nutrisystem, is sharing the top five weight loss blunders people tend to make this time of year and simple tips for avoiding them.

• Blunder 1: Crash dieting: The thought of putting on a swimsuit may entice you to crash diet. Crash diets are not only unhealthy, they tend to slow metabolism, making it difficult for you to drop more than just a few pounds. Also, any weight you lose short-term will be regained as soon as you resume eating normally. It’s best to stick with your healthy lifestyle year-round. Have a bad day? That’s okay. Vow to get back on track the next day.

• Blunder 2: Ordering smoothies and frapps: When the weather turns hot, a blended drink can seem like an ideal morning or afternoon pick-me-up. However, those from coffee shops and convenience stores tend to be loaded with sugar and fat. A 16-ounce serving may have more than 200 calories and 50 grams of sugar. Quench cravings by ordering unsweetened or lightly sweetened iced coffee or tea or opt for a protein shake.

“Being from the south, I love my sweet tea. To be sure I don’t overdo it on the sugar, I will use a little bit of honey as a sweetener instead,” said Julie Chrisley, Nutrisystem ambassador.

• Blunder 3: Not watching alcohol intake: Alcoholic beverages can be very refreshing in warm weather, but even a light beer or white wine is more than 100 calories, and today’s popular sweet drinks like hard cider and wine coolers have as many 180 calories each. To avoid over-indulging, alternate one or two drinks with fizzy seltzer over ice and a lime wedge.

• Blunder 4: Perspiring to lose: When you exercise in the heat, you may think you can feel the pounds melting off with each bead of sweat. And if you weigh yourself right before and after a workout, you may see a difference. The problem is as soon as you replace the fluids you’ve sweated out, you’ll see on the scale that you’ve lost little, if any, weight. Your best bet is to maintain a steady activity level every day so that you get at least 150 minutes of movement a week. Regular activity keeps your metabolism burning continually, even if you’re just walking inside an air-conditioned mall.

• Blunder 5: Loading plates with BBQ favorites: Backyard barbecues bring out many favorite classics, like potato salad and coleslaw. While those dishes start with healthful vegetables, they get weighed down with excessive saturated fats from mayonnaise and sour cream. What’s more, the loads of sugar in popular barbecue sauces can heap calories on a lean chicken breast. To manage intake, avoid creamy salads and dip chicken in BBQ sauce instead of slathering it on before grilling.

For more tips and tricks for staying on track with weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com.

To overcome the most common warm weather weight loss blunders, it’s best to know what they are, as well has have go-to strategies to avoid them.

5 Reasons Kids Should Play Outside More

Photo Courtesy: (c) FatCamera – iStock.com

By Statepoint

Whether it’s dance lessons, computer projects, art class or yoga, kids these days are busy bees. And while such activities are enriching and fun, experts say that many kids aren’t spending enough time doing something much simpler and every bit as important as structured programming: playing outdoors.

“Finding time for the kids to play outside can be such a challenge for parents,” says Keri Wilmot, a pediatric occupational therapist and an expert contributor to TheGeniusofPlay.org. “As a parent I worry about ‘stranger danger’ or whether my kids will be able to navigate social issues on their own. Without spontaneity, playtime has lost some of it’s fun.”

Outdoor play is necessary for healthy child development, according to The Genius of Play. The initiative, whose mission is to raise awareness about the importance of play and help parents make play a critical part of raising their kids, is sharing five benefits of unstructured outdoor playtime:

• Physical Development: Research has shown that physically active kids tend to be leaner and healthier, while an inactive childhood can lead to a sedentary (and likely unhealthy) lifestyle in adulthood. Furthermore, physical play builds gross and fine motor skills necessary for success in school and beyond. Hanging from the monkey bars, for instance, helps kids develop the hand muscles needed to grip a pencil.

• Risk-Taking: Through outdoor play, children are given the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones and try new things. While taking risks won’t always lead to success on the first try, moments like a first bike ride without training wheels, or the first trip down the big slide in the playground, are critical for building the confidence and resilience needed to pursue a future career, start a business, or handle life’s many challenges.

• Social Skills: Childhood games played outdoors can help build social skills and teach kids to follow directions. From games as simple as tag, to those with more complicated rules, like “Kick the Can,” “Capture the Flag,” and sports like soccer and basketball, communication, teamwork and other important social skills are developed during outdoor play.

• Problem Solving: Children’s imaginations are often stimulated by the world around them. Being outside widens their horizons and can encourage kids to tap into their creativity in order to come up with solutions to challenges, such as learning how to build a sandcastle or figuring out how to climb up a jungle gym.

• Reducing Stress: So much outdoor play involves physical activity, thrilling moments and a sense of freedom, all of which can boost endorphins, helping to lower stress levels and reduce anxiety and depression. Interestingly, simply touching dirt when creating mud pies or digging for worms can be beneficial. According to a Bristol University study, certain types of “friendly” bacteria in soil have been found to activate the group of neurons that produce serotonin, which contributes to a feeling of well-being and happiness. So, don’t be afraid to let your kids get a bit dirty out there!

For play ideas, expert advice and other play resources, visit TheGeniusOfPlay.org.

Playtime is essential for children. To promote health, happiness and confidence, be sure some of it is spent outdoors.