Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fiber Fun

My junk-food loving husband has recently become obsessed with Fiber One Chocolate Oat bars. He eats them for a mid-afternoon snack at work, as a much needed blood-sugar booster to hold him over until dinner. I'm pretty excited he's volunteerily eating an extra 4 grams of fiber! So I was looking for some Fiber One coupons and found some for $1 off on their website (look towards the bottom). While I was poking around there, I came across a nifty list of 10 ways to get more fiber in your diet. I thought it would be nice to share, so here ya go!

Scan for Bran
Look for “bran,” “whole grain” and “whole wheat” on product packages and ingredient labels. These ingredients can help boost fiber intake.
½ cup Fiber One Original = 14g fiber
1 cup Fiber One Honey Clusters® = 13g fiber

Grab the Whole Food
Munch on a whole piece of fruit, in place of drinking a glass of juice. You’ll get the nutrients and the fiber too.
1 medium apple = 3g fiber

Savor the Skins
Eat fruit and vegetables with the skin on. Eating the skin helps to bump up the fiber, plus it provides texture and a bonus of other nutrients.
1 medium baked potato with skin on = 4g fiber

Screen for Beans
Replace your typical side dishes with high-fiber dried peas and beans, such as kidney, pinto, lentils or black-eyed peas. These fiber-packed legumes make it easier to meet daily fiber goals.
½ cup canned red kidney beans = 8g fiber

Go Nuts
Jazz up salads, vegetables, snacks and desserts with almonds, sunflower seeds or soy nuts. Nuts and seeds add fiber and fun-to-chew crunch to foods.
1 ounce roasted almonds = 3g fiber

Be Berry Wild
Choose raspberries, blackberries and boysenberries to add variety to your cereals. These berries have twice the fiber of many other fruit selections.
½ cup fresh raspberries = 4g fiber

Bring on the Brown
Use brown rice instead of white. Switch to whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat flour whole-wheat breads and whole-grain crackers instead of regular white versions.
1 cup brown rice = 3g fiber

Skip the Chips
Select snacks that are a good source of fiber. Instead of potato chips, go for low-fat popcorn, whole-grain pretzels or oven-crisped whole-wheat pita triangles.
3 cups popcorn = 4g fiber

Drink Up
Water is a healthy beverage choice—especially as you up the fiber. Your body needs more water to help process the added fiber you eat.
Aim for eight 8-oz glasses of water each day.

Sneak in Some Fiber One® cereal
Mix Fiber One cereal into your favorite side dishes or top yogurt, salads or oatmeal. Even a small amount of Fiber One cereal makes a difference.
¼ cup Fiber One cereal for sprinkling = 7g fiber

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What every women should know (but no one wants to talk about)

I don't know why I always forget how much of a pain it is! Every month I have two days from heck, followed by probably six days of interruption and concern. In my own defence, it wasn't always this way... after my daughter was born I got an IUD (Paragard). For many reasons, such as no hormones, total dependability, and my lack of ability to take pills daily, it was the best choice. I had never had crampy, heavy, drawn out periods before, but having the IUD has made a big difference. However since my stance on the big three factors I just stated, and since we do plan on having more children someday, the IUD will stay, and instead I have become more adept at dealing with that "time of the month".

With the dramatic increase in the number of tampons I use, I started thinking about where all those tampons are going. I hate the pre-programmed "flush it and it goes away" attitude of our society, so I've done a little research, and the news is, well... pretty gross.

Most tampons made today are "biodegradable" which means that when you flush them they will eventually break apart and decompose. In six months. Yeah, really, and not the whole thing usually. In fact, the Women's Environmental Network says that 70% of blockages in the sewage system are caused by sanitary waste. Yes, that's a lot of tampons, taking a very long time to decompose.

And speaking of "The Network", they'd also like to raise concern over the amount of pesticides being used on the cotton that will make it's way into your body's most absorbent place. There are organic cotton options available, like from seventh generation, but they are a little hard to find still. While times have improved since the high rates of TSS due to Staphylococcus bacteria, and other toxins such as dioxide (from bleaching) have been reduced thanks to information and education about these issues. The question still remains, "Are tampons the best solution?", and if not, what are our other options?

Here's what I've come across...

The Diva Cup (also Moon Cup and Keeper Cup), which is a silicone cup inserted just inside the vagina creating a seal preventing leakage. Several times a day, you remove it, dump and wash it, then reinsert it. They last a really long time, and there's no trash generated. I do have one of these and I do use it each month. However, due to my not doing enough kegals, and a really heavy start, it does sometimes leak. I don't usually use it the first 2 days, and since you need to have a sink reachable from your toilet, public bathrooms are not an option. But I do like it a lot; it does save me from using more tampons than needed, and for medium to light flow days, I'd say it's pretty great!

Fabric pantyliner, like Glad Rags which are washable and, from what I've heard, do a pretty good job. I do not speak from experience on this one, as I just don't think they would work for my horrible flow. But it's a very nice concept, if you don't mind dealing with bloody "rags". Women have done it for eons, so it's probably not all that horrible, once you get used to it. It seems like they usually have little buckets of vinegar water with a lid next to their toilet, or some similar preparedness. Women experienced in cloth diapering probably have lots of good ideas for how to deal with these in a smell/bacteria controlling way.

I should mention that the backing of regular synthetic pantyliner never biodegrades, so if you use them, please consider switching to the above. Thanks!

So then we're back to the organic cotton tampons, or at least the lowest impact ones. I admit, I live in a small town with pretty much no access to green products, other than through the internet. I usually buy o.b. tampons. At least they don't have the applicator to throw away, though the string doesn't ever biodegrade (polyester), the rest of it does, eventually. They are convenient and small, and take up less packaging. Mainly, I try to use the Diva Cup as much as possible, and make sure that I keep in mind what I am flushing, and continue to be proactive in finding a better solution that works for me!

I'm always open to the wisdom of other women, so if you have any tips you'd like to share on this subject, please comment!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recipe Puppy

This is super-fun and just what every mom in a rush to figure out what's for dinner needs! The Recipe Puppy website searches tons of recipe sites according to the ingredients that you type into the search bar. So lets say you have chicken, broccoli and hmm, how 'bout some ginger? Oh, but a lot of the returns have cheese, and I'm fresh out! You can place a minus (-) sign in front of an ingredient you don't have, or that you don't want in the returned recipes! I've also found that it has an easier time if you put commas in between the ingredients. So go try it out! You'll be ahead of the game of figuring out what's for dinner!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Chores a 3-year old can do

I have a wonderfully active 3 year old son. Note the "active" part! I feel like all that energy needs to get put to good use, so I've come up with a list of easy chores he can help me with!

  • Put his shoes in the "shoe spot" This means less mess in the living room, and he's learning everything has place
  • Put his plate and cup in the sink after meals. Sometimes I have him do his baby sister and Daddy's too, bwaaa haa haa! (okay, I hate clearing the table) I'm hopeing to get him to put the salad dressing back in the fridge door in the near future.
  • Empty the drying into the basket. This works well when I'm putting another load in; he wants to participate and this is something that actually helps me get done a little faster.
  • Pick up specific toy items, like the blocks, trains, or legos. We're still not at the point of being able to clean the entire room by himself, but if he has one specific task to focus on he does pretty well (especially if a little treat is offered to help him stay motivated)
  • Sort the silverware. I take the sharp knives out first, but then open the drawer and let him stand on a stool and sort the spoons, forks and knives. I always fondly remember doing this for my mom when I was little, and it's good sorting skills for him to work on.

So what simple chores do you have your busy little person work on? Please share your tips and ideas in the comments!

Want to make a cute customized chore chart for your favorite helper? Check out these from Alenka's Printables. Just click one of the four designs and you can fill in your child's name and the chores and print it right off!