The Big Picture
From the Ground Up – Diversity in the Workplace
As the global economy continues to grow, it is important to look to and educate the next round of profes- sionals. Every day, more and more children are growing up in areas that do not provide the education needed to prepare them for their future. Whether you are a parent, mentor, professional, or all of the above, Mode believes in the importance of getting involved.
How can I help?
As a parent or mentor –
Celebrate diversity in your child’s classroom. Students of different eth- nic backgrounds will be familiar with various cultures, and can therefore educate one another on topics that pertain to their personal ways of life. Creating a diverse environment in the educational realm prepares children and young adults for the dynamic experience of entering the ever-ex- panding global market.
As a professional –
As we know, children and young adults are commonly very impressionable, and often easily excited about learning of new opportunities in life. As a professional, you have the opportunity to be a mentor, as well as an inspiration, to many children. Mode encourages you to implement these ideas within your business:
- Interact with students at local high schools and educate them on the wide world of possibilities that await their future. Students are often only aware of the job opportunities that are right in front of them; most often jobs in their neighborhoods, or jobs that their parents have held.
- Teach them differently. Educate children on the importance of diversity in the workplace and encourage them to form relation- ships with other students, of every ethnic background. Teach students the impact of language barriers, as well as the impor- tance of multiculturalism.
- Invite students to visit your work place and experience what it is like to be a part of the global economy.
- Introduce students to profession- als with similar backgrounds to their own. For example, introduce children of poverty-stricken communities to professionals who grew up in, and overcame, the same environment. This instills a sense of hope in children of every upbringing.
Diversity in the workplace is some- thing that we are all familiar with. By creating a diverse environment for our world’s children, the transition into professionalism becomes much easier. Not only will this benefit the students, but it will globally benefit corporations as these young adults filter into the workforce. While the global economy continues to grow, so too must diversity in education.
What's your story?
Companies that are good storytellers have strong brands. Story telling helps potential customers develop an emotional connection to your product or service. A good story helps create a favor- able and unique experience, plus it improves brand loyalty (in other words, it keeps your customers coming back for more). Why is your company’s story so important? Consider the following example by marketing guru, Martin Lindstrom:
Imagine that you have three rocks. All of the rocks are approximately the same size, color, shape, and weight; they’re practically identical. When you first look at the rocks, you would conclude that they are each worth the same amount, very little. You will soon change your mind about each of the rocks once you learn their stories.
You collected your first rock in 1989 in Germany right as the travel restrictions were lifted for East Ger- mans. The Berlin Wall, which had divided East and West Berlin since 1961, was opened at the border of the Bornholmer Strasse Crossing. Over the next few days, additional border crossing points opened, and the Berlin Wall was peacefully dismantled. You were lucky enough to witness this historic event and to get a hold of a piece of the wall. What value does this rock have to you now? Is it worth more than you thought at first glance?
Your story continues with the second rock. This rock was originally gathered in July of 1969 by Neil Armstrong. Neil, the first man to walk on the moon, was able to bring back two rocks as souvenirs for mankind. One of the rocks is on display at the Smithsonian museum, and you inherited the other from a family member who had a close relationship with Neil. If you decided to sell this rock, how much would you want for it?
You picked up your last rock in your back yard. You had just sold the house, and you were in the process of moving to your new place. You picked up the rock as a keepsake to remind you of your first home. What do you think this rock would be worth to others?
Which of your three rocks has the highest value now? Did their value in- crease once you heard their stories? Your rock from the moon that appeared to be ordinary and of no value at first, is likely worth thou- sands of dollars once you’ve learned its story. Without the story, it wouldn’t be worth $1.00. What stories are already a part of your business that you can share with potential customers? What stories can be created to reinforce your brand experience?
-Brilliant Results, August 2006
Storytelling with Build-A-Bear Workshop
There are many companies that have built a strong brand through storytelling. Build-A-Bear Work- shop is one of them. 10 years ago, Maxine Clark founded Build-A- Bear with a great idea and a “beary” sweet slogan to develop their story around.
The company’s slogan “Where Best Friends Are Made” immediate- ly creates a positive image in the minds of parents and children. For parents in today’s busy world, it’s important to bond with their children and spend quality time together. Building a bear is an easy way for parents to create a memorable experience with their child. For the child, a teddy bear represents security, love, and friendship. The company con- stantly reinforces this emotional tie throughout the store (and the story).
The company reinforces its message through banners that are hung throughout the store, at each interactive building station, and with its accessories. It’s as though the company has created its own country with its own rituals and language, creating a unique experience for everyone who visits. At all ages, guests enjoy the highly visual environment, the sounds, and the fantasy of this little country while they create a memory with their friends and family.
Guests are walked through eight stations during their experience; Choose MeTM, Hear MeTM, Stuff Me and Heart StuffTM, Stitch MeTM, Fluff MeTM, Name MeTM, Dress MeTM, and Take Me HomeTM. The child begins by selecting a furry friend like a puppy, bear, kitty, or pony. A preexisting sound chip is selected or a custom chip is created and then inserted during the “Stitch Me” process. One of the highlights is the small satin heart that each guest selects, adds his or her own love and wishes to, and carefully places it inside his or her new furry friend. This process has proven to be heart melting for men, women, and children. Once their new friend is named, dressed, and ready to go home, guests are given a customized birth certificate and a special “Buy Stuff Club Card” to apply toward future purchases.
Build-A-Bear Workshop has initiated several key programs based on the philosophy of giving back to the community. The company supports various causes that help children and animals. These causes are congruent with their business and have given them the opportunity to partner with organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). There is a co-branded series of WWF plush animals available in stores, and a portion of the proceeds supports efforts to protect endangered animals. Today, Build-A-Bear is a $374.4 million dollar company. In March of 2006, the company was oper- ating 200 stores in the U.S. and Canada, plus over 30 franchises worldwide. Build-A-Bear’s success can largely be attributed to the overall expe- rience that guests become a part of when they enter a store.
6 keys to success
1 Enthusiasm – Remember, people are more impressed with your enthusiasm than they are with your knowledge.
2 Persistence – To become successful, you have to be persistent.
3 Gift to get over it / Act instead of react – For example, if a child is running and runs into a sliding glass door, he gets up, brushes himself off, and almost immediately starts running again.
4 Adventure – You must have an adventurous spirit. Most millionaires don’t look for guar- antees, they look for opportunities.
5 Faith – When you were little, you were probably told there was a big jolly man who knew if you were naughty or nice, and he would come down the chimney (that most of us didn’t even have) to deliver a ton of gifts. We had so much faith that we put out cookies and milk for Santa. There was a time when we used to try anything. When we were kids, we had no fear.
6 Specialized Knowledge – Continue to grow the knowledge and skills you need to perform the tasks that are going to help you in your career. No matter how old or educated you are, continuous learning will help you be successful in your personal and professional life.
We were all born with everything we need to succeed. As kids we all were enthusiastic, persis- tent, had the gift to get over it, an adventurous spirit, and faith. The problem is that most of us have been conditioned to believe that we don’t possess the skills we need to succeed. In reality, all we have to do is use the ones we already have but may have forgotten!
Carmen Uyttenhove, Entrepreneur & Guest Columnist
Tastefully Simple –
hard work & family focus builds $120 million company
There are many inspirational stories of women that have built a better life for themselves and their families through the direct sales industry. One of those women is Jill Blashack Stra- han, founder and CEO of Tastefully Simple. She created a company that has helped many women better their lives as well as her own.
The importance of family and hard work was instilled in Jill Blashack Strahan at a very young age growing up on her family’s farm. Her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and her dedica- tion to hard work played an important role in the foundation of her company. She created an award-winning business plan that helped her found Tastefully Simple in 1995. By 2006, she had built a $120 million company with 300 employees and 21,000 independent consultants. The company’s mission is simple, but powerful: “promote a simplified lifestyle through convenient and unique gourmet products and an enriching business opportunity.”
Jill created a culture that focuses on teamwork, passion, and creating an environment to help people reach their full potential. Her aspirations for the company are to become a house- hold name, to be a trendsetter and role model, to partner with consultants to achieve their dreams, and to be the number one employer of choice in the nation. Jill used the concept of innova- tive products, personalized service, and the direct selling approach to set her company apart from others. Partygo- ers get samples, ideas, and concepts to help them work the products into their busy lives. “The company offers over fifty gourmet items: seasonings, soups, breads, sauces, snacks, dressings, desserts, and beverages. The products are easy for their users because they are meant to be opened and enjoyed with the addition of one to two ingredients.”
When Jill first started the company, she managed the business during the day and then led parties at night; her dedication to overcoming personal and financial obstacles to make her dream come true has in turn done the same for many women. Jill is not only a mentor and inspiration in the direct sales industry, but to business women everywhere. She has been awarded numerous awards includ- ing: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist (2003), Fast Company magazine Top 25 Woman Business Builder (2005), Twin Cities Minnesota Business Hall of Fame (2006).
The company that Jill created is one that is dedicated to its employees, consultants, and community. Tastefully Simple contributes at least 10% of their earnings each year to organizations in their area and encourages their consultants to follow the company’s lead in their individual markets. The company has also created a culture that is committed to excellence by focusing on “teamwork, passion, and helping people reach their full potential.” This is done with teams that focus on recognizing success, spirit, and commitment to the company.
Tastefully Simple was created on what Jill Blashack Strahan often calls “a dream and a shoe- string, in a small shed in Minnesota.” It has become much more than that to many people. Her dedication to her dreams and the people that are helping her make those dreams come true is an “inspiration to thousands of women across the country. Her down to earth nature and charismatic approach make her someone women believe in, and most importantly someone who enables them to be themselves.”
-Kim Wallace, Direct Inspiration Columnist
Say “goodbye” to debt
Getting out of debt is no easy task, but getting into debt is a very com- mon problem in today’s society. The use of credit is more prevalent than ever before, so we need to be responsible with our credit more than ever. Getting out of debt can help reduce your overall level of stress and make you feel much more comfortable about retiring and providing for your family long term. Here are some tips that can help you get out of debt faster and more efficiently than you may be doing now.
The first step in getting out of debt is the most basic and yet most difficult for everyone to do, stop spending more than you make! If you don’t stop accumulating debt you will never get ahead. This is easier said than done, but without this basic concept in place, you will never make any progress. In order to ensure that you are following this basic rule, you need to make a budget of all of your expenses. This will help you stay on track with your spending as well as track your success in reducing your debt. Make a list of all your debt which includes informa- tion such as the balance, minimum monthly payment, interest rate, and any other notes that may be important, such as being over your credit limit or a promotional option on the account such as a same as cash offer. You want to make sure you can look at a consolidated list of all your debt so you can decide which debt should be paid off first.
For ease in our discussion, there are two general classifications of debt. We will call them good and bad debt. An example of good debt is a mortgage or some types of student loans. These are considered good debts because the interest you pay can be tax deductible and you are generating wealth at the same time. Bad debts are items like credit cards or retail loans. These usually have high interest rates and the interest is not tax deductible. In almost all cases, you want to pay off your bad debts before you pay off your good debts, and you want to start with those that have the highest interest rates first. This will help you reduce the amount of interest you pay and maximize the use of your money. You also want to make sure that you do not have any accounts that are past due or over their credit limit. These accounts must take priority over any others because of the fees that are assessed for being past due and over the credit limit, not to mention that these accounts are lowering your credit score, too.
There are many other ways to help reduce or eliminate your debt. Many people consolidate their debt into a single consolidation loan. Other people roll all of their debt into some kind of home mortgage. These are all good solutions under some situations, but you should weigh the benefits of doing any of these with a financial planner or tax accountant. Everybody has their own distinct budget, debts, income, and circumstances, so one approach may work well for some but not for all. One of the best things to remember is that you must plan your spending, as well as your expenses, to be certain that you are eliminating your debt.
-Scott Moore, Financial Columnist
The power of a handshake
We all know that first impressions are important, but do you know what your handshake says about you?
Many studies have revealed that the quality of your handshake leaves a significant impression in the minds of your new acquaintances, business contacts, and potential customers. A firm shake leaves a good impression for both men and women. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Alabama shows that a firm handshake does even more for women; it is an effective form of self-promotion.
Your handshake is related to as- pects of your personality. For example, women with a firm shake are more likely to be extraverted and open to new experiences. Those with a weak handshake tend to be more on the shy side. In addition, the study shows that women who are more intellectual and liberal also tend to have a firm handshake.
Interestingly, the opposite holds true for men when it comes to personality. A firm handshake still provides a good first impression; however, these men tend to be less open than those with a less firm shake.
Consider the following characteristics the next time you shake someone’s hand: strength, vigor, duration, eye contact, and completeness of grip. The quality of your handshake is an easy and inexpensive way to make a great first impression!
Get organized –
save time & reduce stress
If you were more organized at home, how much time do you anticipate you would save every day? According to the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) survey of 1,074 respondents, 13% of men and 25% of women anticipate saving more than one hour each day.
In addition to this survey, NAPO has collected some interesting statistics on organization:
- 80% of what we keep we never use
- Getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework
- 80% of the clutter is a result of disorganization, not a lack of space
- The average person uses 55 minutes a day looking for things they own, but can’t find
- 23% of adults pay late fees on lost bills
- Productivity decreases 20% to 40% every time we multi-task
The problem of disorganization is rising because people don’t feel that they have the time to combat the problem. They neglect the clutter until it grows and grows. Then, in crisis mode, they are forced to deal with it. Psychology Today reports that more than 90% of people declare an overwhelming sense of “time-poverty.” And, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 80% of our medical expenditures are due to stress.
Is there a connection between disorganization and mental health? Those who have dealt with clutter, full circle, say “yes.”
Disorganization and clutter causes us to be less productive at home, less effective and cooperative at work, and more tense and irritable overall. It also collects dust, makes housecleaning more difficult, and complicates our day-to-day activities, like cooking, reading the mail, and paying bills.
Do you feel you have no time to organize? Don’t have the space? Don’t like to organize? Too tired? Or maybe, that the kids mess up faster than you can clean? It’s not a hopeless situation.
Being organized will help you add peace and security to your home, and it’s the key to giving you more time to do the things you want to do.
Multi-taskers beware! Experts agree that those who multi-task are less efficient at organizing, because the best way to organize is to focus on one area at a time.
Once you succeed in a single area, you’ll be able to visualize success in other projects as well. Focusing and visualizing are extremely helpful for those who do not like to do the work or can’t get motivated.
Here are 10 easy steps that will help you implement a personalized plan that will work for you and your family:
1. AREA. Pick an area that needs immediate attention.
2. EMPTY. Completely empty the contents from the area.
3. CLEAN. Clean and vacuum.
4. SORT. Decide whether the items should be kept, tossed, given away, or relocated. (see “Tips on sorting”)
5. ORGANIZE. Put back only items that will be kept. It’s important that every item have its own place.
6. STORAGE. There are many storage systems and containers available. Purchase those that make sense for your needs.
7. RECRUIT. Recruit family members to keep the area clean by implementing a daily and weekly pick-up routine.
8. HABIT. Force yourself to keep this area organized until it is a habit.
9. SAVOR. Enjoy the benefit of being organized!
10. PLAN. Plan on keeping the area clutter free by adopting an in-out rule (if you buy an item, you must get rid of an item).
During the organization process, you’ll be forced to make tough decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. Keep in mind, the benefits of being organized far outweigh living with clutter, stress, and chaos. For more information on organization, please visit your local library or consider watching a televised profes- sional broadcast like Clean Sweep.
www.napo.com-Carol Palichleb, Columnist
Palestine: Land between Syria and Egypt
Palestine is a country filled with cultural richness, a deeply compelling history, and legendary hospitality. Situated in the Mediterranean, Palestine has a temperate sea climate with April and May bringing some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world. Today, there are approximately 10 million Palestinians, and the average age is less than 18. Most Palestinians speak Arabic plus a second language, usually Hebrew or English. Palestine is also where Judaism, Christianity and Islam took form.
Religion Most of Palestine is Muslim, which means they follow the Islam religion. Today, Islam is the second largest religion in the world, and it includes a wide variety of religious practices that touch on virtually all as- pects of life and society. A few of the practices that fall into Islamic etiquette include greeting others with “as-salamu alaykum” (“peace be unto you”), using the right hand for eating and drinking, and restricting certain foods from their diets like pork and alcohol. Approximately 3% of the population is Christian, and there’s an even smaller group of Samaritans that are a part of the Jewish community.
Art Art is an important part of life in Palestine. The types of art are divided into four areas — the Mediterranean, desert, Jordanian valley, and the mountains and hills, and are very different from one another. In the desert, you can expect to find carpets made of wool thread and lamb skin. Olive oil, soaps, and beauty products are common in the city of Nablus, whereas coloring, drawing on, and recycling glass is common in Hebron. Music is also a big part of the culture, with the flute and drum being the most traditional instruments.
Food Lamb meat and yogurt are common foods in Palestine. As with the arts, food influences differ between the areas. Breakfast often consists of foods like eggs, dry thyme, olives, white cheese, and solid yogurt. Their main meal is lunch, which is served between 2:00P.M. and 4:00P.M. Sweets are also enjoyed throughout the coun- try, although some of the best pastries are known to come from Jerusalem and Nablus. Kanfeh and Namurs are traditional pastries.
If you are planning a trip to the Holy Land, remember that Palestinians are welcoming and that they enjoy tourists. In fact, tourism is a vital part of their economy. For more information about Palestine, go to:
-Hannah Gonia, Columnist
Hair Help — An Evian Shower?
Summer tends to wreak major havoc on your hair, especially if it’s color treated. The scorching hot sun, wind, and chlorine from the swimming pool can dry out and fade your fabulous tresses. Before you head out into the elements, a great way to keep strands healthy and shiny is to invest in a filter for your shower. Hard water and chlorine in the water systems make hair dull and lifeless. So Jonathan Antin, celebrity hairdresser and star of Bravo’s hit series “Blowout,” has found a way to turn your shower into a natural spring with his Beauty Water Shower Purification System ($95). One filter will last six months and replacements are half that investment. And it’s worth it because you will be amazed at how full and soft your hair will be. You can find this “Consumer Digest’s Best Buy” winner at Sephora.com or Jonathanproduct.com.
Body Basics — Body Creams — A test drive
It’s skin-baring summertime! You can drive your skin wild with these three moisturizers in any price range.
The mega watt moisturizer of the sea! The Body Creme boasts their patented “miracle broth.” It truly lives up to its claims of being like a seaweed wrap in a jar! For the price, I essentially expected it to magically turn my skin into the same skin that a baby has. It does feel transformed into completely hydrated, smooth, soft skin. Plus, the effects lasted for a couple days without reapplying. You can find it at NeimanMarcus.com
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter
This tried and true drugstore favorite is packed with skin nourish- ing cocoa butter and vitamin E. It’s best to rub it on slightly damp skin to seal in the moisture right out of the shower. As an added bonus, cocoa butter has been used to help smooth the appearance of stretch marks and uneven tone.
Savannah Bee Company
Their Royal Jelly Body Butter is packed full of vitamins, propolis, and hydrating beeswax that comes right from the hive—the beehive that is! Luckily, the queen bee is will- ing to give some away for this all-natural moisturizer. The black- berry scent is just right and not too sweet. Buzz into a Bath & Body Works store near you to try some!
Makeup Musts —
Lipstick Queen Poppy King
You probably have more lip gloss in your handbag right now than lipstick. Color creator and renowned beauty expert Poppy King is bringing it back in a big way with her sensational new line of lipsticks aptly called “Lipstick Queen.” There are twenty perfect shades so far which are split between “Saint” (sheer) and “Sinner” (opaque). Her line has just launched at Barney’s on Madison Ave. in New York City, but if you can’t make it there to try them on, you can purchase them online at Barneys.com. Poppy is practically Australian royalty, and she first started her original lipstick company Poppy at the age of 18. She has won numerous awards for her entrepreneurial skills, and is the foremost expert on everything and anything having to do with lipstick. Now the only thing left to do is figure out for yourself if you are more of a Saint or a Sinner!
Saint or Sinner?
An interview with Poppy King
Q: What is the one thing to keep in mind when trying to find that perfect lipstick?Poppy: Trust your own judgment . . . when a lipstick looks good on you, you can tell. Forget what is happening on the catwalk and just go with what you love. Your own confidence is your best beauty tool.
Q: Was it daunting to start your own business?
Poppy: In fact it was more daunting not to . . . when I feel passionate about something I find it very hard to contain it and not give it a go.
Q: You have a book coming out about your experiences in business called Lessons of Lipstick Queen, and some of the proceeds benefit K.I.D.S. organization. Can you tell us a little about that?
Poppy: Sure. Lessons of a Lipstick Queen is a guide to how to turn an idea into a reality and all the steps involved. So many women ask me how I did what I have done and so I decided to write a book that explains how I did it but also how they could do their own thing, too. K.I.D.S. is a charity helping underprivileged kids to get new clothing and shoes that are donated from the big retailers and manufacturers. It is about lifting kids’ self esteem and that is an issue very close to my heart. Being entrepreneurial has so much to do with confidence, and the more confident the kid the more chance that kid has to realize their dreams just as I have.
Q: Any advice for busy moms or women in the workforce who want to add a little glamour to their lives?
Poppy: Whether you are a mom or a woman in the workforce, please know that true glamour comes from the inside, from how you feel about yourself. If you appreciate yourself and your gifts to the world be they work and/or children . . . the rest of the world is more likely to appreciate you!
Home & Office
Decor – simple & inexpensive fresh starts
Need a fresh start? After a cold and dreary winter, who doesn’t? Try these simple tips to perk up your décor and your mood for summer.
A change in textiles is a simple and inex- pensive way to begin the transition indoors. Start by replacing those heavy winter drapes with a sheer window treatment. This will instantly lighten up your room and give it a more airy feel. Natural matchstick blinds are another option if sheer is not your style. Next, trade in your thick rugs for ones made from a hand woven linen, cotton or bamboo and straw. Lastly, add vibrant colors and bold patterns to any room just by changing the linens. Bright new bedding can do wonders for your personal space. Trade heavy flannel comforters for crisp linen coverlets. Don’t forget throw pillows for splashes of color and added comfort!
Rotate your art. The author of “Home Therapy: Fast, Easy, Affordable Makeovers,” offers this advice: “Separate your art into summer and winter piles. Hang the lighter, pastel colors in spring and put the deep, oil paintings in storage. This way you can enjoy your art with a new vigor, and it’s something you can do in minutes.”
Update your accessories. Switch out dark colored candles around your home with lighter more spring appropriate colors. Replace dark pottery and brass containers with clear glass or crystal vases and coffee table books with gardening magazines or flower books. Soothe your senses by infusing light spring- time scents into your décor with fresh cut flowers, candles or incense.
Do you have an outdoor space that is in need of some TLC? Home Crest has come up with some great tips to help you create an outdoor living area that you can enjoy all season long! Begin by tak- ing a look at your everyday lifestyle. Your outdoor space should reflect your interests as well as your favorite activities. Do you prefer entertaining large crowds, or are you happier just hanging out with close family and friends? If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind, consider some oversized, overstuffed furniture and perhaps a water feature to add sooth- ing background noise. Next, take inventory of what you have as well as what you may want to add to your space. Define your space into separate activity areas. One for cooking or grilling, one for eating and one for relaxing. This can be done by simply adding plants and flowers at different heights around the space, or take it one step further by adding some fold- ing screens or curtains in an outdoor fabric. These can also add color and texture to your space. Get creative, don’t be afraid to mix and match! This is your space; personalize it with things you love. Look to outdoor living and shelter magazines for more inspiration.
Family & Food
Tips for summer fun
Mother Nature has a lot to offer in family fun, especially during the summer months. Family and friends often spend summer months getting together for bon fires and BBQs or even taking week long vacations. This summer, remember that family fun doesn’t always have to put a dent into your savings. Along with these tips for summer fun, you may also want to check your local papers for free concerts and fairs.
- Pack up some snacks and refreshments and take a family trip to the zoo.
- Picnic in the park. You’re planning on having lunch anyway, why not enjoy Mother Nature at her best and take advantage of your local park?
- Support your local baseball team, major league or minor league; grab some peanuts and Cracker Jack, and root for your team!
- Make the weekend a casual learning experience and enjoy your local museums. If it’s music, history, art, or even a science museum, it just goes to show that learning can be fun!
Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a weekend camping trip, the great outdoors is inexpensive and always there. Pack a lunch and change of clothes and enjoy the fresh air.
Spice up your home
It doesn’t matter if you’re a city or country girl, it’s easy for you to add some spice and beauty to your home with a simple herb garden. Many herbs can be grown indoors or out, and they’re a great way to add some fresh flavor to your favorite meal.
- Use a flowerpot or window box for your container with good drainage
- Loosen roots before planting
- Once planted, place in full sun or a window with south or west exposure
- Allow moderate drying (but not wilting) between watering
- For rosemary and other leafy herbs, clip a sprig from the plant and pull the leaves off the stem.
- If you would like to dry your herbs, allow harvested herbs to dry for two weeks or three-four weeks if you’re in a humid climate.
- Once dry, store in a container in a cool dark place.
Good indoor herbs:
- Bay Leaf
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (aged for at least 6 years)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon course ground black pepper
1–3 teaspoons sugar (sugar to taste, after refrigeration)
1/2 teaspoon salt Sun-dried huckleberries (optional)
Gorgonzola cheese (optional)
Walnuts or Almonds (optional)
Combine ingredients and pour over a bed of mixed greens. Add sun-dried huckleberries, gorgonzola cheese with a few walnuts/almonds of your choice.
-Contributed by Ross & Renee Jensen
Diet & Lifestyle – committing to a healthier you
Should I go on a diet or not? Many of us often ask ourselves this question. Instead, ask yourself, “Am I committed to changing my lifestyle to adopt a more healthy eating habit?” If not, you’re already at risk of diet failure.
Habits are hard to break, especially when it’s a habit that brings you comfort – like food. So, no matter what diet you choose, you’ll need a lot of determination, and you’ll need to adopt a common sense approach. This means that fad diets are out.
You’ll lose weight if you eat a balanced diet and consume fewer calories than you burn.
Before you start
Visit your family doctor. Your physician can help you determine your Body Mass Index, your Body Fat Percentage, and your caloric needs. He or she can educate you on nutrition and help you set a realistic weight loss goal.
Things to consider
Weight loss should be done on a gradual basis. Avoid losing more than one to two pounds per week – any more is unreasonable and unsafe. Educate yourself on healthy eating habits by reading books and researching the internet. If you’re willing to spend a little cash, the Weight Watchers and Sonoma programs can jump-start your knowledge of healthy eating habits and troubleshoot your weight loss woes. You’re on track for success if you can modify your eating habits to fit one of these diets.
Know your weaknesses. Is it eating too much fast food, bread, milk, chips, chocolate, pizza, or lobster bisque? Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food, instead, control your portions. Plan your meals in advance to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store and unplanned meals. And, always have plenty of fruits, vegetable and healthy snacks on hand.
Begin with the basics
Start by concentrating on the everyday basics – consider these mandatory: six 8 oz glasses of water, five servings of fruits/vegetables, two servings of dairy, a small portion of healthy oil (canola or olive), a multivitamin, and an increase in fiber.
To help suppress hunger pangs and to maintain a healthy body, eat a sensible amount of protein every day. Foods rich in protein include milk, eggs, meat, fish, and nuts. The USDA’s Recom- mended Daily Allowance is 91 grams of protein on a 2000 calorie diet, but the RDA will vary depending on your gender and age. Don’t abuse this essential nutrient, because research suggests that too much protein can be detrimental to your health.
Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you’ve eaten. And, until you’re comfortable with your new diet, document everything you eat and drink.
You’ll want to count calories or points until you’ve learned to develop the ability to listen to your body and determine your fullness.
Exercise and activity
Don’t set yourself up for failure by starting an exercise routine at the same time you start a diet. Instead, plan on gradually increasing your activity. This will speed up your metabolism and help your body burn more calories.
Here are simple ways to increase your activity level: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park far away from the store, lose the television remote, and clean your house in double-speed.
If you’re already exercising, be aware that your body will require more calories than if you’re sedentary. And, the way your clothes fit may be a better success gauge than a scale. You’ll be gaining muscle and losing fat, and muscle weighs more than fat.
Enlist a support team by joining friends who have the same weight loss and exercise goals. Studies have shown that this is a huge benefit when making a lifestyle change.
Remember that dieting is about gradually changing your lifestyle and your habits. It’s about common sense and perseverance. Check out our “Habits for healthy living,” and start committing to a healthier you today!
-Carol Palichleb, Columnist
Habits for healthy living
• Make sure to eat breakfast. Many overweight people skip breakfast.
• Buy low-fat dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt – they are nutritious and not fattening.
• Go for balance in your diet. Too much of a good thing can also be bad.
• Use healthy mono- and polyunsatu- rated fats, which are found in olive oil and canola oil.
• Go to the doctor for an annual check-up and cholesterol test.
• Try eating foods that are in their most natural state, so that you get the nutrients that nature intended.
• Choose to consume wisely. Eating oranges, grapes, and apples are more nutritious and filling than drinking a glass of the same – and, it takes longer to consume too.
• Learn how to read the nutritional facts on most food packages. This information is invaluable in choosing healthy foods.
• Stay away from any bread that boasts that it’s “enriched.” This means that they’ve taken nutrients out and have had to put them back in.
• You have to eat to lose weight. Don’t let yourself go too long without food.
Smart health activities
Tips for maximizing your medical care
Get the first appointment of the day
Backlogged appointments and paperwork are not likely to distract your doctor first thing in the morning. It’s your best chance to get in and out of the office quickly, plus your doctor is more likely to take the time to truly listen to you and answer your questions.
Plan your pap test the week before or after ovulation
This is when the cervical opening is widest, making it easier to sample cells providing more accurate test results. Avoid having intercourse and using vaginal medicines for two days before your test.
Arrange elective surgeries in the winter or spring
Teaching hospitals are flooded with medical students during July through September. A recent study by the Bureau of Economic Research found that the average length of stay increases 2% and that mortality rates increase by 4% during these months.
Test your cholesterol twice a year
Cholesterol levels fluctuate between the seasons and usually peak in the winter. The average change from July to January is only four points, but it can be enough to require treatment.
-Prevention Healthy Woman,
March 27, 2007
When the bad goes good!
It seems in today’s world, we are always being told bad news about the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. We’re happy to bring you some good news about that cup of coffee or tea that has become a part of your daily routine. Many studies have been done that show that both coffee and tea bring a lot to the table, though you should keep in mind all good things come in moderation!
Healthy Cup of Joe:
While too much caffeine from your favorite cup of Joe may give you side effects such as jitters and stained teeth, in moderation coffee provides a couple of health benefits. Accord- ing to the University of Scranton, among other researchers, coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet (though fruits and veggies are still the richest). Other studies have shown that in moderate consumption, coffee improves glucose regulations and lowers the risk of Type II Diabetes. So don’t feel guilty next time you feel the need for a cup or two of coffee throughout your day.
Black, Green, or Red:
These three types of tea contain polyphenols, which help prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of gastric, esophageal, and skin cancer. Accord- ing to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity score (a method of measur- ing antioxidant capacities of different foods), tea sometimes has higher levels of antioxidants than most fruits and veggies. Health benefits relating to arthritis, bone density, flu, heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and even oral health are just some of what researchers have to cheer about with tea. Another thing to keep in mind is that using milk in your tea blocks key benefits like polyphenols such as EGCG which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and some types of cancer. For anyone who is dieting or watching their weight, both black and green tea boost your metabolism.
A cup of tea contains 40mg of caffeine, compared to coffee, which has 85mg. Although you may want to consider substituting your daily cup of coffee with a cup of tea, only you can decide which “bad” habits are good for you. At least you know now — while tea offers more health benefits, coffee has it perks, too.
-Hannah Gonia, Columnist