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Holiday Weight Gain? Not as Bad as You Might Think!

Holiday Weight Gain? Not as Bad as You Might Think!

People gain weight during the holidays, but not as much as they think, according to dietitian Cynthia Sass. Sass points to a 2009 study from Texas Tech University that followed 48 men and 100 women for six weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas. On average, the subjects gained one and a half to two pounds each.

While this gain isn’t terrible, it tends to stay on. Sass says weight creep is
responsible for adults gaining 10 to 20 pounds over a 10 year period.

If you want to avoid that extra pound or two, Sass recommends drinking
two cups of water before meals. One study found that adults who followed
this prescription were able to shed 40 percent more weight during a 12-week
diet period. Drinking water also makes us less hungry.

Finally, budget your carbs. Holidays are carb heavy with potatoes, cakes,
pies, breads, and cookies. Try to choose just one carb item each day so you can
indulge, but not at every single meal. If banana bread is on the menu for
lunch, skip the toast and potatoes at breakfast and dinner.


Keep Your Water Flowing This Winter

Keep Your Water Flowing This Winter


Frozen pipes not only mean the inconvenient lack of water, they can also burst, causing expensive repair problems. Homeowners are often understandably frantic to get water pipes running again. But thawing pipes improperly can lead to more problems.

Use the right method for thawing-

A little heat on the right pipe could get that water flowing. But a flame on the pipe is a very bad idea.

According to fire experts, flames under the house, even when directed at pipes, are a common cause of fire. The open flame from a heater, especially a propane salamander, can ignite insulation or flooring materials under a house.

Excessive heat on metal piping can cause water to boil, causing the pipe to burst. If you know where the pipes are frozen, first open the faucets and then apply heat with a hair dryer or electric heating pad.

Prepare ahead-

If you know your pipes are prone to freezing, take some simple steps ahead of cold weather. First, prepare an emergency water supply. Partially fill a bathtub with water when very cold temperatures are predicted. This can provide water for pets, cleaning, or bathing. It will also give you some breathing room so you can take your
time unfreezing pipes. Next, keep the faucets open to a drip. This will help prevent pipes from freezing. Open your cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom to allow
warm room air to circulate.

Prevent frozen pipes-

One of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes is with heat tape or heat cable. These low-heat products usually can be plugged in at the beginning of the season and left until Spring.

Disconnect outdoor hoses and close valves supplying outdoor faucets.

If the problem with frozen pipes is persistent every winter season, consider
relocating exposed pipes. Although this is a major project, it is worth the
temporary hassle and expense to prevent future problems.

Insulation in attics, basements and crawl spaces will help prevent frozen pipes,
too. Just make sure that pipes are on the warm side of the insulation. If pipes are
on the cold side of the insulation, they are more likely to freeze.


Carpet Cleaning in Winter? Really?

Carpet Cleaning in Winter? Really?


This is the time of the year when you may wonder if it makes sense to get your carpets cleaned. Great question! But first, let’s think about this… Does it make sense to clean your wood or tile floors in the winter? Does it make sense to clean your bed linens in winter? Of course.

For some reason, many people treat their carpet differently. It’s as if the carpet was
somehow magically immune to soiling because the weather is cool. Logically, this
is not true.

It’s what you can’t see that is the problem.

Modern carpets do a great job of hiding soil. This may lead you to think you only
need to clean your carpets once a year or when they “look” dirty. But according to
the EPA, most households should clean carpets at least twice a year, maybe more
depending on lifestyle and other factors.

This may surprise you until you think about all of the soils, allergens, oils, pollutants
and contaminants that carpet traps.

In most homes, carpet is the largest filter, trapping soils, pollutants and pet and
human dander (dead skin cells, which we shed by the millions every day and dust
mites live for).

The fact is that winter is a great time to get your carpets cleaned. Here are a few
reasons why.

You’re worth it!

One reason for cleaning your carpets in the winter is that you want your home to
look great for visiting friends and relatives during the Holidays. Nothing makes your
home feel clean and inviting quite like freshly cleaned carpets.

Even if you don’t expect guests, you will be spending more time at home in the winter, so you want it to look nice for you, too.

Of course, there are far more important reasons to clean your carpet than
appearance. In fact, if you wait until your carpets look dirty before you clean them,
you have waited too long. Soil damages carpet, dramatically reducing its usable life.

Can you imagine waiting until your clothes look dirty before laundering them? Of
course not. That would be unhealthy and they would probably begin to smell before
they looked dirty. Carpet is no different.

During the summer, pollen and other pollutants enter your home and become
trapped in the carpets. In the fall, mold spores are more prevalent, again, becoming trapped in your carpet fibers. All of this just in time for you to close things up
for the winter and spend more time inside… Not a pretty picture is it?

It’s bad enough that winter is the time when people suffer from cold and flu
without adding poor indoor air quality to aggravate conditions such as
asthma and allergies.

Carpets tend to dry faster in the winter because the humidity is lower and most
of us are using our furnaces. Warm, dry air is great for drying carpets!

Clean the winter blues away..

Remember that in winter, days are shorter. Darkness comes earlier and lasts longer. A clean, fresh, healthy carpet is a great way to help fight off the winter doldrums. A clean, neat home just makes you feel better.

Hansen Steam Way is usually busiest during the Holidays; everyone wants a clean house for family and guests. Call now to book your cleaning before the big rush!

Post-Thanksgiving Sleepies

Post-Thanksgiving Sleepies


It’s about the gobbler, but not the one you might think.

It has become a truism: You get sleepy at Thanksgiving because of all that
tryptophan in turkey. But is it true? Yes and no, but mostly no.

It is true that the amino acid tryptophan works as a precursor to other sleep-inducing chemicals. Turkey has lots of it. But cheese and nuts have more. Even Tofu-turkey has more, according to

In 1972 a psychiatrist named John Fernstrom looked into the tryptophan
connection and found that tryptophan alone does not make you sleepy. Instead, he found that it’s really a carb-heavy meal of mashed potatoes, pie, dressing, and bread. Those carbs create loads of sugar and force amino acids to go to work breaking it all down. With amino acids busy fighting sugars, the brain starts converting tryptophan into serotonin and suddenly you feel you just can’t watch another third and 10
on the game. Snores ensue.

It’s not just the chemistry of the meal, however. The parasympathetic nervous
system also has a role to play. This little brain gadget does things in the
background so you don’t think about them; like breathing. When you eat too much, you have to digest a lot. The parasympathetic nervous system kicks in to give the body energy to digest and takes away energy elsewhere. You feel tired and it’s because you ate a really big carb-loaded meal. Too late to do anything about it. Just kick off your
shoes and don’t blame the turkey.

Simple Food Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

Simple Food Safety Tips for Thanksgiving


Use these safety tips when preparing turkey for the whole family.

• The best way to thaw a turkey is in a refrigerator, according to USDA
recommendations. Allow 24 hours for each four to five pounds, in a
refrigerator cooled to 40 degrees or below. Be sure to let the turkey thaw
in a container so juices will not drip onto other foods.

• If you must thaw a turkey in cold water, be sure it is in a leak-proof bag. The turkey should be submerged in cold water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change the water frequently. USDA recommends every 30 minutes. Cook immediately when thawed.

• Cook turkey to 165 degrees in thickest part of the breast, inner thigh, and inner wing.

• Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching any food.

• Do not store stuffing inside a turkey. Refrigerate it separately.

• Don’t wash the turkey. According to the USDA, loosely attached bacteria
can contaminate the kitchen when you wash meat or poultry. Studies have found bacteria cling to sinks, sponges and towels. Bacteria is effectively killed in the oven. The best idea is to take the turkey out of the package and put it straight into the pan.


Identifying Alzheimer’s Before Symptoms

New tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease are emerging, offering hope for new treatments and therapies.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the memory disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5 million people are currently living with the disease. In fact, for seniors, a third of all deaths stem from either Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Although there is no cure in sight, for now, every effort is being made to find a way to diagnose and treat this growing threat.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there is support for a new approach to how Alzheimer’s is identified in the population, and it could lead to dramatically earlier warnings of the disease and accelerate research. New approaches hope to discover the disease before symptoms ever present.

Like finding malignant cells in the body to find cancer or plaque buildup in the arteries for heart disease, the presence of amyloid and tau proteins could be the key to early identification. Previously, doctors could only see these proteins during an autopsy, but improved technology has allowed for these markers to be seen in living patients. These scans are sometimes used to rule out Alzheimer’s in patients with various cognitive issues. Critics of the method agree that the process works to identify amyloid proteins but argue that there is no definitive way to predict whether or not the patient will actually develop symptoms.

Another test involves recognition of smells. One of the first things to decline is the ability to smell, which is associated with the first cranial nerve, according to WebMD. Researchers have found the ability to smell differs between nostrils in Alzheimer’s patients but it is still too early to say definitively if this will be a diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s

Food Spills on Carpet: A Few Do’s and Don’ts

Food Spills on Carpet: A Few Do’s and Don’ts


You vacuum twice a week, like clockwork. You ask everyone to take their shoes off at
the door, leave your muddy shoes on the garage stoop, and toss your throw rugs in the washer every weekend. You do your level best to keep dirt outside where it belongs and pollutants inside your home to a minimum.

But no family is perfect.

Despite your best efforts at keeping spaghetti in the kitchen and dirt in the garden, no matter how careful you are, sooner or later it will happen. Someone will spill food or drink onto your carpet. You may see it the second it happens, or you may not spot it until it has dried and set. Either way, you will panic. You will fear that your beautiful carpet is ruined forever.

And you will wonder what to do.

What you need to know is that whether a simple spill comes out or becomes a permanent stain depends just as much on what you don’t do as what you do. Here are a few recommendations to help increase your chances of a successful stain treating outcome:

DO NOT rub or scrub the carpet with a towel or brush. This will distort the face yarns and cause permanent damage to the surface, which will only amplify the look of any stain.

DO pick up any chunks and then remove the excess liquid by gently blotting or scraping up as much of the spill as you can. If it is a liquid, such as coffee, wine or soda, use a white towel and blot up as much of the spill as possible. Keep blotting until your towel stops absorbing liquid.

DO NOT spread the spot. When scraping up thick spills, such as spaghetti sauce, work
gently from the outside edges of the spot toward the middle. Scrape up as much as
possible before using any spot cleaners.

DO call a reputable professional cleaning company as soon as possible. Experienced
carpet cleaners will have a specialty spotter for just about any type of spill. In addition,
they will have the equipment to promptly remove the stain and flush it with fresh
water. Prompt professional attention is your best chance to remove spills without
damaging the color or texture of your carpet.

DO NOT use cleaning agents from the grocery store. Most often, these products are low quality and ineffective. But even high quality products still need to be used carefully.
A cleaning product must be carefully chosen for the type of spot and the kind of fabric that your carpet is made from. If you try to use the wrong product, or use it incorrectly, you may make the spill more difficult or even impossible for even the most
experienced professional to remove.

While nobody can guarantee that every spot and stain will come out, by following these tips you will make cleaning up spots and spills much easier. You will be more likely to remove the stain completely, leaving your carpet looking good and helping your
carpet to look good for years to come.

Be a Good Neighbor on Halloween

Be a good neighbor on Halloween


Many people enjoy handing out candy to their little visitors on Halloween. To make sure your visiting trick-or-treaters stay safe in your yard:

• Clear away lawn equipment and any clutter from the yard, walkways, and steps so kids don’t trip over them.

• If you have lighted jack-o’-lanterns, position them far enough away from where kids will stand so their costumes won’t catch on fire. Better yet, use glow sticks instead of candles.

• Make sure paper or fabric decorations can’t blow into the flame of a jack-o’-lantern.

• Keep all of your outside lights on during the evening.

• If you are driving during trick-or-treat time, watch for kids.

Before sending your children on their rounds, make sure they eat so they won’t be tempted to dig into their goodie bags before you can examine them.

Check to make sure no parts of their costumes drag on the ground. Kids could step on them, trip, and fall.

If they are wearing masks, be sure they have a good field of vision. Face paint is a better alternative.

Tell them to walk, not run, stay on sidewalks, and cross streets only at intersections, not between parked cars.

Advise kids to approach only those houses with outside lights burning. Never go inside a house. They should wait at the door for their treat.

Young children should be accompanied by an adult. Older kids should travel with a group of friends.

Take time to teach your children how to have fun, but be safe on Halloween.

Top 5 Financial Planning Tips

Top 5 Financial Planning Tips- What are the best ways to improve your money and budgeting situation? These top five strategies will help.


1. Make saving a priority.

-Saving on a regular basis can be hard, but if you treat this as an expense, you’ll have better success. As with any bill, you should make it nonnegotiable to pay into your savings account each month. Even a little saved on a regular basis will make a
difference. If you struggle with this strategy, consider an automatic deduction to a savings account to make it a no-brainer. 

2. Plan for the unexpected.

-A budget is crucial, but we don’t always know what is in the future. To prepare for the unexpected, you need an emergency fund. This is different from a long-term savings account because you should expect to use this money at any time. By realistically developing a working budget and having a reasonable emergency fund, you will
have the means to pay all your expenses and avoid debt. 

3. Understand your emotions. 

-It is important to understand your money personality and that of your spouse. If you tend to be a spender, recognizing this and developing strategies to manage your expectations is important. A person who tends toward saving as much as possible also needs to learn how to properly spend money. If you and your spouse are opposite money personalities, communication about your financial goals will help you develop a plan that works for both of you.

4. Set your goals. 

-Without goals, you will be unable to stay on track. Getting input from a good financial planner can help you see how much you need to save for retirement. Paying off debt should always be your first goal in financial planning. You also need to identify what you want to spend your money on. If you love to travel, then your extra money after savings may go toward that. If you have significant expenses coming up, like college for your kids, or the purchase of a new home, then you should be clear about those goals. Whatever your goals are, identifying them, talking about them, and tracking them is crucial.

5. Don’t bet on what you hope to happen. 

-Many people plan their financial present based on things they hope happen in their financial future. But if those things don’t materialize, you can be in trouble, especially if you are accumulating debt now in anticipation of a change in your situation. Until you actually get that bonus, move to a cheaper city, inherit that money, or see the
stock market move up, don’t spend that money. It is better to have it actually be a bonus and increase in funds than to have to deal with trying to come up with money you’ll never see.

Gluten-free lifestyle may not boost heart health

Gluten-free lifestyle may not boost heart health
If you don’t have celiac disease, your heart won’t get a boost from going gluten free, according to a new study.
The gluten-free lifestyle is crucial for people with celiac disease. For them, eating wheat, barley, and rye triggers the body to attack the small intestine, causing inflammation and leading to malnutrition and gastrointestinal distress. The inflammation then increases heart disease risk. Eliminating gluten stops the attack on the small intestine and reduces inflammation.
What the May study in The BMJ asked is whether people without celiac disease would  benefit from going gluten free.
The Harvard research team did not find much of a difference in risk of heart attacks between people who ate the most gluten and those who ate the least.
On the other hand, people who avoided nutritional whole grains had an increased risk of heart disease.
The lesson: If you don’t have celiac disease, don’t cut whole grains out of your diet and don’t worry about going gluten free, according to the Harvard Health Letter
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