10 Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

After the Thanksgiving meal is complete and everyone is stuffed to the brim, you may look around your table and wonder what on earth you are going to do with all the leftovers.  Never fear, we have 10 ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers to re-create your Thanksgiving experience in new and exciting meals.

Sweet Potato & Turkey Soup:  Using the bones of your bird to make stock, you can create just about any type of soup from your leftovers.  One great idea for a day-after Thanksgiving soup is to puree your sweet potatoes and mix them with turkey stock and other leftover vegetables for a creamy, sweet and savory soup.

Turkey Nuggets:  Kids will delight in eating turkey nuggets for a few days after Thanksgiving.  Chunk some leftover turkey and coat it with an egg batter.  Then roll it in bread crumbs and bake to make a delicious nugget your kids can’t resist.

Turkey Pot Pie w/Mashed Potato Topping:  This amalgamation can include tons of your Thanksgiving leftovers in one simple dish.  Using a creamy soup base, combine bits of turkey, veggies and even stuffing.  Top with a thick layer of mashed potatoes.  This reheats nicely and keeps for several days after Thanksgiving.

Smoothies:  Ok, a turkey smoothie may not sound appealing, but use leftover vegetables to enhance the nutrients of your morning smoothie.  Combine peas, green beans or carrots with fresh fruit, yogurt and milk for a scrumptiously nutritious smoothie.

Cranberry Muffins:  Using your favorite muffin recipe (or even a box mix), add cranberry sauce to the mixture to give your muffins a sweet and tangy twist.

Turkey Anything:  Turkey may not be your “go to” meat at other times of the year, but it is terrific for just about anything you would otherwise use chicken or beef to create.  How does a turkey bolognaise spaghetti sauce sound?  Or maybe turkey marsala, turkey parmesan, bbq turkey or turkey tacos?  For the next week, any time you were planning to use a different meat, pull out the leftover turkey and save yourself a step.

Potato Pancakes:  Leftover potatoes can be used to make a savory potato pancakes.  Form potatoes into a patty and then pan sear them in olive oil or another natural healthy oil.  These are wonderful for any meal or snacks.

Thanksgiving Omelets:  Many Thanksgiving leftovers can be added to omelets for a reminiscent morning-after meal.  Try fun combinations of flavors and add cheese to make a tasty and healthy protein breakfast.

Thanksgiving Kabobs:  Kids will especially like eating Thanksgiving leftovers on a stick.  Using toothpicks, string together one bite of turkey, a carrot, a green bean, a ball of potatoes and a small piece of cornbread.  Serve over a scoop of stuffing to incorporate all your Thanksgiving flavors in a fun and creative way.

Thanksgiving Sandwiches:  When all else fails and you still have Thanksgiving leftovers, sandwiches are a great way to clean out the fridge.  You can make sliders using extra rolls, roll up leftovers in a wrap or make a traditional sandwich on two slices of bread.  Be sure to include all the usuals like turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and cranberry sauce for a last bite of the Thanksgiving meal.

Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?

With the holidays coming up you may be indulging in those sugary snacks and deserts a little more than usual. While it’s okay to keep our sanity and spoil ourselves every once in a while, it’s important to ask yourself, “Are you eating too much sugar?” Keeping track of your daily nutrients and staying away from consuming too much sugar is a significant thing to do in order to maintain a long and healthy life.

Sugar can cause many problems for your body including cavities, uncontrollable hunger, weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, kidney and heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, and gout. Two major effects are obesity and diabetes, which has only been affecting more and more individuals as the years move forward.

The World Health Organization suggests giving no more than 5-10% of your daily calories to sugar. This is about 25 grams or six teaspoons of sugar to be precise. To put this in perspective, a can of pop usually contains 39 grams of sugar and a Starbucks Nonfat Pumpkin Spice Latte with no whip cream contains 49 grams. If you are drinking two to three soft drinks a day, along with other sugary foods, you are consuming too much sugar.

There are three different types of sugar: glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Glucose is a simple sugar that gives the body a good source of energy. You can find glucose in carbohydrates, such as bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes. Glucose is both helpful and harmful to the body because while it is used to give our bodies energy it can also be a danger if too much is consumed and your blood sugar levels fluctuate. Fructose is found in fruits and is actually sweeter than the other sugars, which is why it’s used in snacks, candy, and soft drinks. High-fructose corn syrup can be very dangerous to your health and cause cardiovascular disease. It’s important to keep fructose at a minimum, and even while fruits may seem healthy, you should still only eat them in moderation and keep to your daily intake of two to three servings. Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose which are your table sugars and sweeteners.

All of these sugars are metabolized differently in the body. For instance, the easiest sugar to metabolize is glucose, which is done in the blood stream and used for energy. When your body needs more energy it will use fructose, but only a small amount because it is absorbed in the liver. The rest of the fructose will be metabolized to fat synthesis. Sucrose is a combination of both and will be digested as necessary. An over consumption of all three can lead to a number of problems.

While our body metabolizes sugars differently, it’s important to keep our indulging to a minimum. If you’ve been dieting or you’re trying to lose weight and haven’t seen any results, it could be your sugar consumption. Sugar can do a lot to the body, and you may find it strange that sugar can cause addition, but it can. Many people who eat a lot of sugary foods have a hard time saying no when a desert or sugary snake is placed in front of them. Try your best to keep your sugar snacking to a minimum and always check to see which foods are high in fructose and sucrose. Remember it’s okay to eat sugar, but only in moderation. An overabundance of sugar in your diet can cause serious long-term effects on your body that can lead to disease and even death.


Unconventional Ways to Give Thanks this Thanksgiving

This season of giving thanks offers many possibilities for gratitude and giving back.  And get this:  as you are helping others, you are also helping yourself.  Studies show that actively participating in giving thanks is a great way to boost your physical health and emotional wellbeing.  While employing traditional ways of giving thanks is a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving, we’re thinking outside the box this year and sharing unconventional ways to give thanks this Thanksgiving.

Honor Unsung Heroes:  Heroes in your community deserve praise. But the same popular heroes often get all the accolades, while others don’t get any attention at all.  Take some time to think about the people who make a difference in your day.  Perhaps it is the crossing guard at your children’s school that ensures your kids safely cross the street every day.  Maybe it is your mail carrier that brings your mail directly to your door when you receive large packages.  Or it could be the bagger at your supermarket who always does his job with a cheery smile and offers to help you take your groceries to your car.  Take the time to call these people out and thank them for their contributions to your community and your life personally.

Buy Goods from Local Small Businesses:  Buying locally keeps financial and intellectual resources and services thriving in your community.  Yes, sometimes local vendors charge a little more because they are not mass producing and selling goods, but those few extra dollars make the difference between their success and failure.  Holding fast to a sense of community by supporting local businesses is a true way to show your gratitude for those who work hard to keep your community prosperous.

Show the Face of Thankfulness to the Troops:  Sending letters or care packages to the troops is a terrific way to express thankfulness for those who help maintain our freedom.  But take it a step further this year and put a face behind the thankfulness.  Take pictures of your family, friends and others in your community holding up signs of thanks and include them in your mailings to the troops.  Seeing the faces of those they are protecting and having a visual of their gratefulness goes a long way in showing appreciation.  This year, go beyond the letter writing campaign and include a photography campaign as well.

Anonymously Praise Others to their Superiors:  During the season of thanksgiving, spread anonymous praise.  When your server at a restaurant or a customer service representative go above and beyond their job to make your experience great, tell a manager or write a note of praise to their corporate office.  All too often we are quick to complain, but during this season, be faster to praise others.  Even without knowing who you are, you will instill pride, accomplishment and happiness in someone who brought something good to your life.

Perform Spontaneous Acts of Thankfulness:  Be a superhero and swoop in with spontaneous good deeds for others.  Pay for the coffee of someone behind you in line at the coffee shop.  Rake your neighbor’s leaves when you’re doing your own yard anyways.  Buy dessert (or a glass of wine) for a mother you see struggling with her kids at a restaurant.  Every time you buy a small toy for your kids, buy a second to donate.  These little moments that require little effort on your part will mean so much to someone else.  And the best part is that once you share thankfulness and acts of gratitude, others will be included to pay it forward.

Adopt or Foster a Rescue Pet:  Fostering or adopting pets are a great way to contribute to your community.  Rather than purchasing a pet from a pet store, check with your local animal shelters to see what their needs may be.  Adoption is a great option if your family is looking to take in a pet.  Otherwise, try fostering a newly rescued pet that need extra love and care as it is nursed back to health.  Also, volunteering at a shelter or collecting supplies to take care of the animals is a terrific way to contribute.

Write a Letter and Mail It:  For friends and family, write personal letters and mail them.  In the age of emails, texts and social media, it is rare to get a heartfelt letter from those you love.  Let others know how thankful you are for them by writing it down and sending them a letter of gratitude.  Not only will your words mean so much, the method of delivery will make you message stick with them much longer.

Invite an Unexpected Guest to your Thanksgiving Meal:  Joyous times are meant to be shared.  We usually share major holidays with our closest family and friends.  This year, consider inviting someone who isn’t able to be with their nearest and dearest.  Perhaps it’s a college student or co-worker who can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, or your widowed neighbor who would otherwise be alone.  Spread your family’s holiday festivities to those who could use a dose of togetherness this holiday season.

We wish you a warm and happy Thanksgiving!

Decorating the Table for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here which means it’s time to start planning if you haven’t begun already! Decorating the table for Thanksgiving is a fun and creative way to express yourself this holiday. If you’re having family and friends over this year, checkout these trending themes and give your guests something else to talk about than their most favorite foods:


Decorating with Fruits and Vegetables: Decorating with fruit is a fun and wonderful way to add some color and excitement to your dinner table this year. You can either use real or fake fruit for your decorations, and this can be a number of things including pears, pumpkins, squash, grapes, or berries. You options are endless! If you are planning to decorate with fruit try to find a table cloth color to go with the theme of colors you choose. Another tip is to not go overboard with decorations because you will be adding a lot of food plates to your table and you don’t want it to seem too busy and have your guests not knowing which food item to put on their plate!

Fall Colors: The first day of winter isn’t until December 22nd, and until then Fall is here to stay! This Thanksgiving try using the beautiful colors of Autumn to give you a little inspiration. You can try a colored table cloth that is either plain or one with patterns and designs. You can use colorful place mats, silverwares, dishware, and so on. Be creative! The top Fall colors are reds, purples, greens, oranges, and browns.

Let Your Food Be the Spotlight: Creating beautiful and delicious food can be a great way to decorate your table. Normally, we tend to eat a lot of orange and white foods such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pies during Thanksgiving. While you might want to keep your traditional recipes, try something a little new to bring a little more color to your table. You can try different garnishes to top the foods with like large petals of basil, rosemary, or bay leaves. You can even use different fruits such as cranberries, blueberries, and other berries. If you’re really in the mood for some cooking you can change up the pies this year and add a colorful fruit cobbler or fruit salad.

Decorating with Nature: Thanksgiving falls right in between Autumn and Winter, which means there are big changes going on outside. The trees are losing their last leaves and every so often snow will fall. This Thanksgiving use nature as your decorations. You can make beautiful center pieces with leaves, branches, and other plants from either outside or at your local craft store. The nature theme will bring an organic and beautiful sensation to your dinner table!


Signs you are Eating Too Much Salt

saltLimiting salt intake is one of the basic dietary principles we’ve all heard for years.  Salt is, of course, an essential part of the human diet, but within reason.  Excess salt has negative side effects that can impact a person’s health and lifestyle greatly.  Today we’re exploring signs you are eating too much salt and how to reduce salt in your diet.

Benefits of Salt

First, the good news about salt.  In moderation, salt contains vital components necessary for normal bodily functions.  Salt is a mineral made of mostly sodium but also contains iodine and chloride.  It is a crucial electrolyte that maintains proper water retention in the body.  Salt is also responsible for muscle contractions and the enzymes and secretions vital for digestion and the breakdown of food for nutrients, absorption and energy.  A balance of dietary sodium helps ensure the body retains enough water, especially for adequate blood flow.  Without it, bodies can easily become dehydrated and not operate at their maximum capacity.

Affects of Too Much Salt

On the other hand, too much salt wreaks havoc on the body.  Specifically, excessive salt is extremely dangerous for the heart, brain and bones.  Too much salt leads to fluid retention and may cause high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke or other heart related conditions.   Salt is known to impair cognitive function over time and may even contribute to brain degenerative diseases.  The mineral is also responsible for calcium loss and therefore thinning bones associated with osteoporosis.  The kidneys, skin and digestive system all suffer from an overdose of salt as well.  The recommended daily intake of salt is just 6 grams, but most people consume well above this amount.

Are you Eating Too Much Salt?

The modern American diet is laden with salt, often in hidden places.  Many processed foods use salt as a preservative and flavor booster, but it’s certainly a health reducer.  Many fast food and restaurant foods contain excessive salt too.  Signs of eating too much salt include bloating, swelling, dehydration, thirstiness, and other conditions such as hypernatremia, which is when kidneys cannot handle excessive salt and dehydration.  If you notice any of these symptoms or are experiencing heart problems or lack of focus, you may want to speak to your physician about having your blood tested for too much salt intake.

How to Combat Too Much Salt Intake

Luckily, by making a conscious effort to reduce your salt intake, you can greatly improve your health as it is related to the negative side effects of salt.  First, limit processed foods and fast food.  When possible, read labels or research the sodium content of your favorite restaurant foods.  Seeing the numbers may help you make better choices.  In the grocery store, look for “low sodium” versions of your favorite foods and select fresh fruits, vegetables and meats rather than pre-packaged versions.  When cooking, use light salt and reduce the amount of salt called for in recipes.  Chances are you won’t even notice the difference.  Be aware of adding table salt to your foods.  If you crave salt for flavor, try different natural spices instead as these may offer great flavor alternatives.

Salt is an important part of our diet but, like most things in life, it’s all about balance.  Too much salt can negatively impact your health.  Make smart salt choices by first being aware of your salt intake and then taking small steps to reduce salt in your diet.

10 Texting Rules

Texting is a modern luxury that greatly improves communication in our lives.  We can probably all agree that texting is just easier sometimes and we can get information quickly and effectively.  But with great power comes great responsibility, so there are still rules and regulations that need to be followed when texting.  Today we’re taking a look at 10 texting rules.

1 – Never text while driving. This should be ingrained in each of us by now but in case you still don’t abide, think about the consequences for you and others.  There is not a message in the world that is worth risking your life or the life of other drivers.  Put the phone down while driving and if something is urgent enough, pull over to address it.

2 – Follow basic grammar and punctuation. You don’t have to be as strict as your high school English teacher about grammar and punctuation, but not following these language rules cans change the meaning of your text.  In fact, you may want to over punctuate to separate thoughts.  Also, check for auto-correct so you don’t leave your textee wondering what you meant to say.

3 – Say what you want to say concisely in one text. Sending small tidbits over the course of multiple texts is annoying and alarming to others.  Instead, combine your thoughts in one text and leave the other person alone.  No one likes an over-texter.

4 – Don’t call in response to a text. Unless the texter asks you to call, text back or ask if you can call.  Chances are, if someone wanted to talk to you on the phone, they would have called you.  They may be in the middle of something else and need a text response rather than a phone call.

5 – Watch your tone and sarcasm. Words are easily misconstrued on texts so keep your tone calm and sarcasm to a minimum, especially with those who don’t know you very well.  Someone may take your text the wrong way and become angry, hurt or offended by something you never intended.

6 – Don’t say things on text that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Texting should not be a coward’s way out.  If you aren’t willing to discuss an issue with a friend in person, you shouldn’t be texting them about it.  That includes intimate conversations too.

7 – Don’t nudge for a response for 24 hours. Texting may not be the preferred form of communication for your friends and family so if they don’t respond right away, don’t freak out and don’t bother them about it for at least a day.  If something is that urgent, you shouldn’t be texting about it anyways.

8 – Always text when you are running late. It’s just rude to show up more than 10 minutes late without having given your “date” a heads up that you are delayed.  Respect other people’s time by doing them the courtesy of sending a short text to let them know you are on the way.

9 – Make sure you are texting the right person. First of all, texting the wrong person might bother them.  But more than that, it could be embarrassing!  It might be humiliating or uncomfortable if you text your boss something meant for your husband or you text the wrong friend about a fun night out.  Double check who you are texting before hitting send.

10 – Respect other people’s schedules. If you know a friend goes to bed early or sleeps late in the mornings, don’t text them during their non-waking hours.  It is quite disruptive to hear the phone buzz when you’re trying to sleep.

Keep these texting rules in mind as you enjoy life’s modern conveniences of communication.

Foods that are Surprisingly Bad for You

We all want to eat healthier and essentially look and feel better, but while some of us might think we are on the road to reach our desired selves the “healthy” foods we are eating may be the thing holding us back. While some foods may say “fat-free,” “sugar free,” or even “gluten free” they could have added sugars, carbs, and unnecessary calories that are keeping you from losing your unwanted weight.

In truth, you may think you’re eating healthy but instead you’re falling for the sneaky labels Food Company’s put on the front of their packages. Today we are sharing 11 foods that are surprisingly bad for you even though they are labeled “health” food.


  1. Agave: There has been much talk about the natural, sweetener Agave for the past year. Some have raved about it, and others have said its worse for you than regular sugar. Despite the debate there is definitely something to know about it. Agave comes from the blue agave plant, but much like high-fructose corn syrup, it is processed before eating and actually contains more calories per tablespoon than normal table sugar. In addition, agave is much sweeter than regular sugar, but most people use more agave than sugar because they think it’s okay because it’s labeled as a “health” food. Agave is fine to use as long as you keep to the normal serving size, but if you’re looking for a healthier substitute try Stevia.
  1. Yogurt Covered Snacks: Yogurt covered fruits, pretzels, and so on may seem healthy because you’re using low-fat yogurt and fruits, but in the end you could be feeding your body excess sugars, carbs, and fat. This all depends on what kind of yogurt you are using and its ingredients. Most yogurts are not healthy at all and the contents are usually oil, yogurt powder, sodium, and fats. Also when eating snacks like this they should be eaten at a minimal instead of a whole bag. Before making these types of snacks read the ingredients on your yogurt container to make sure there is a healthy amount of proteins and fiber. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a better alternative try Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit on top.
  1. Energy Bars/Nut Bars: While energy bars and nut bars are said to be for athletes and for a quick and healthy snack in between meals, there are hidden ingredients that could be adding extra sugar and saturated fat to your daily food intake. Some bars realistically could be meal replacements due to the high amount of calories they hold, and lots of times the amount of sugar and unhealthy fats in these bars are similar to candy bars and other junk food. To keep to a healthier diet you want to stick to bars which contain less than 200 calories and have healthy amounts of protein, fiber, and sugar. It’s also more beneficial and healthier to make your own energy/nut bars because you will know exactly what ingredients are in your snacks.
  1. Banana and Plantain Chips: This snack is by far one of the biggest upsets to health food. Fruit chips may seem like a healthy alternative to potato chips, but fried is fried. Dried fruits sometimes contain a lot of added sugar, and when they are fried they lose all nutritional value which leaves only sodium and fats. In the end they are not so different from potato chips. Read your labels! For a healthier option try fresh fruits or homemade veggie chips without the salt.
  1. Dried Fruits: It’s harder to eat 5-6 fresh fruits than it is to eat a whole bag of dried fruits, and this is where dried fruits can be a problem. While dried fruits can be a great source of fiber, vitamin a, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, they could be loaded with added sugar and preservatives. Stick to an appropriate helping when eating dried fruit to avoid the extra sugars and calories.
  1. Rice Crackers: This is another snack most people think is a healthy alternative for potato chips. Rice crackers have little to no nutritional value. You’re lucky if you find a brand that has some fiber and protein in them. With no nutrients the crackers are just refined carbs which are digested and converted into sugars. Although they may be better for you than potato chips, they can sometimes have just as much sodium and carbs if you’re eating more than the normal serving. If you still love your rice crackers try sticking to the plain versions.
  1. Flavored Soymilk: While the nutritional value of regular soymilk is great, flavored soymilk is another story. Flavored soymilk is high in sugars and unwanted calories. These drinks can have just as much sugar as desert or candy! Instead of the flavored varieties just stick with the plain or unsweetened choices.
  1. Smoothies: Smoothies can be a great morning breakfast or meal replacement if done correctly. Many people fall victim to adding too much to their smoothies such as proteins, foods high in sugars like ice cream and flavored milk, and extra fats like cream and peanut butters. You want to keep your smoothies to a minimum and add healthier items like greens, fresh or frozen fruits, Greek yogurt, superfoods, and good protein powders.
  1. Blue Corn Chips: You might think reaching for a bag of blue corn chips is the healthier decision compared to yellow corn chips; however, despite the fact that blue corn does contain healthy amino acids and antioxidants, it’s not true when they are turned into a chip. Blue corn chips are actually very similar to yellow chips and can contain just as much sodium. If you want to find a healthier substitute for your blue corn chips look for ones that have little to no salt added to them.
  1. Gluten Free/ Paleo: Gluten free and Paleo diets has been the talk of the town for the past few years. However, gluten free products might seem healthier when they are in fact not. Many gluten free items have added carbs and sugars. Although you are using healthier items to make your gluten free/paleo zucchini bread, you are still eating carbs. This is where you can get in trouble if you eat too much. All those extra carbs will be digested into sugars and turn into undesired fats. Stick to the appropriate serving size and always read the labels before you buy an item that says “gluten-free.”
  1. Couscous: Couscous was a huge fade a few years ago as the healthier option to pasta. While many people believe couscous to be a whole grain, it is in fact a small refined grain similar to white pasta. This is another food that can get you in trouble if you eat too much of it. Instead look for whole grain couscous or try something a little different like quinoa.


The best way to know what you’re feeding your body is to read labels instead of the flashy signs on the front of the package. Remember everything is about keeping to the regular serving size. Just because something is a health food doesn’t mean you should overconsume.


Is a Gluten-Free Diet Right for You?

gluten-freeGluten-free diets have been very trendy for several years now for weight-loss and detoxification purposes.  But is gluten-free right for you?  The true answer depends on your gut.  No, not your instincts but rather how you digest gluten.

Gluten is a set of proteins found only in wheat, barley and rye.  Most typical breads, cereals and pastries contain gluten, which helps dough rise when combined with yeast.  Gluten-free diets eliminate all foods and products containing these grains, and either focus on direct alternatives made from other grains (often alternative flours) or naturally gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, beans and nuts, among others.

While gluten-free is a choice for some, others must be completely or mostly gluten-free for health reasons.  People with celiac disease have an autoimmune disorder that attacks and damages the digestive tract, including the inner lining of the intestines, with chronic inflammation.  It is marked by an upset stomach, bloating, cramping, gas, and even skin rashes.  Those with celiac disease may start experiencing malnutrition and nutrition deficiencies as the disorder prevents food from properly being absorbed and used within the body.  Celiac disease affects approximately 1 in 133 people, according to the National Institute for Health.  However, it often goes undiagnosed.  A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed up to 80% of people who have celiac disease don’t know it.

Gluten intolerance or wheat allergies may have similar symptoms to celiac disease but are less life-threatening.  Those with gluten intolerance may not have to be completely gluten-free but can handle small amounts of gluten up to a certain threshold.  Gluten intolerance or sensitivity may cause more cases of diarrhea as well as headaches.  It is estimated that up to 10% of the population may have gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

People with these medical conditions have a clinical need for gluten-free diets.  It will make them feel better and improve their quality of life.  However, in recent years, more high-profile figures have spoken up in favor of gluten-free diets as a lifestyle choice because it can be a cleaner and healthier way of eating.  Many claim they feel better, have more energy and lose weight by eliminating or reducing gluten from their diets, even without a medical reason to do so.

The benefits of a gluten-free diet may lie in the natural choices people make when not consuming gluten.  Many naturally gluten free foods – produce, lean meats, oils, pure dairy products, etc… – are healthy dietary options.  These natural choices help cleanse the diet (although aren’t really considered detoxifying foods for those without celiac disease or gluten intolerance because gluten is otherwise not toxic).  However, simply replacing foods and products that contain gluten with gluten-free alternatives probably will not have the same effects, especially for weight loss.  After all, even gluten-free cakes, breads and cereals have carbohydrates and sugar.

Also, gluten-free diets may be lacking in essential nutrients, such as iron and calcium.  Making a conscious choice to go gluten-free may require a rebalance in other areas of the diet by adding in these key nutrients either through foods or supplements.   Gluten-free products are generally more expensive too, which may be cost-prohibitive for some.

Before beginning a gluten-free diet, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure it is a good choice for you.  Your doctor may want you to undergo tests first to determine if you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or allergies.  He may also want to make sure you are not already calcium-deficient or anemic before recommending this drastic change in diet and lifestyle.

The good news for those who do decide to go gluten-free is that there are now more gluten-free choices than ever.  Gluten-free products line grocery store aisles and many restaurants cater to the needs of gluten-free diets.  So sacrificing taste and indulgence aren’t necessary anymore, however all of the factors of a gluten-free diet should be weighed before making a decision.

Hairstyles 2015: Switching It Up this Winter

Why is it when the summer sun begins to dwindle we head straight for the box of dark hair color without even thinking about it? Is it strange we have to change our hair color to match the mood of the weather? Instead, put down that box of burgundy hair dye and follow this new winter trend until the end of 2015!

This winter stylists are heading towards a different route than the dark and sad pasts of the winter’s before. This year they are brightening things up with natural and softer colors. Below are the top picks for 2015:

Photo credit: miguel77 / / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: miguel77 / / CC BY-SA

Sunkissed Brunette: Follow models and actress such as Jessica Alba and Alessandra Ambrosio for this great look that can be worn all year round. If you already have natural dark brown hair, try lightening up your ends to add some warmth to those locks.

Rusted Cooper: If you still want to change your hair to that flashy red, try something a little more subtle and test out the rusted cooper look. This look has a beautiful blend of auburns, coopers, and warm honey tones that look great on anyone with natural dark hair.

Photo credit: gdcgraphics / / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: gdcgraphics / / CC BY-SA

Golden Strawberry: Here is another favorite if you’re into the red hair look. If you’re naturally blonde this is the prefect look to warm up your cool tones.  Amy Adams and Bella Thorne make this look absolutely fabulous.

Buttery Blonde: Another blonde must-have! This look embraces your natural blonde color but brightens up the ends with a warm buttery look.

Carmel Gold: This style is absolutely gorgeous on any color. Whether you’re naturally blonde or brown you can lighten or darken up your hair with this warm Carmel look with gold accents.


Fall Superfoods

With each new season, we get to reinvent our diets with tasty superfoods.  Fall brings in a new crop of delicious fruits and vegetables that naturally help keep our bodies strong and healthy for the onset of colder weather and the spread of germs.  Most of the best fall superfoods on our list are foods you may be eating already and are part of some of your favorite traditional fall recipes.  Continue to incorporate these fall superfoods into your seasonal diet for your best health and wellness.

pomegPomegranates:  This beautiful red fruit yields amazing heart-health benefits due to its rich concentration of tannins.  While the seeds are delicious and nutritious, the pulp-like ariles around the seeds is full of antioxidants that help strengthen all bodily cells and natural protection mechanisms.  The seeds are wonderful as a stand-alone snack, salad toppers or added to cold or hot cereals.  You can also grind the ariles and seeds into juice, syrups or jams.

Brussels Sprouts:  This small but mighty vegetable packs a hefty dose of Vitamin K, folate and iron in every bite.  Brussels sprouts are slightly bitter in taste but roast nicely with many savory spices or can be topped with tangy sauces.  Served as a side vegetable or added component of an autumn harvest salad, this lean, green, Brussels machine is a terrific choice for fall.  Also, consider shaving raw Brussels sprouts as a lettuce or cabbage substitute in cold salads and slaws.

healthy-pumpkins_0_courtesy of readersdigest.caPumpkins:  Last week we discussed the power of the pumpkin and we couldn’t resist adding it to our list of fall superfoods.  Pumpkins have loads of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which gives it its orange tint.  Along with fiber, potassium and plant sterols, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds are terrific for your heart, eyes, immune system and entire body.  They are low in calories and can be eaten chunked, mashed, souffléd, roasted and in tasty breads, pies, cookies and other desserts.

Beets:  Most people either love or hate beets because of their polarizing taste and consistency.  But there is no denying that beets are really good for you.  Beets are a root vegetable that contains antioxidants, folate, Vitamin C and magnesium.  They can be roasted with spices or puréed into creamy soups.

Kale:  This trendy leafy vegetable is packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, along with fiber, potassium and a spectrum of B vitamins.  It has cardio-protective properties, helps strengthen bones and improves digestion, skin quality and immune defenses.  Kale can be easily added to a fall diet in smoothies and juices, or as a salad base.

Apples:  The fruit of fall, apples are an easy and delicious way to get your nutrients this season.  The skin contains lots of fiber so avoid peeling your apples.  They are also a good source of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.  Apples can be added into any course of your fall meals, from salads and soups, to meat dishes and desserts.

Parsnips:  Similar to carrots but lighter in color, parsnips are a fall superfood with a sweet, nutty flavor.  Parsnips contain potassium and fiber, along with other vitamins and minerals. They make a lovely addition to colorful autumn root vegetable pairings along with turnips, rutabaga, carrots and yams.

Enjoy your fall superfoods and have a happy fall!

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