Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dirtiest Things You Touch Every Day

Time Magazine lists the 5 germiest places in the home

The toilet seat is not the dirtiest place in the home, says University Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, because we tend to wash that often.

Gerba suggests other places in the home need more care than they are getting. 

1. Towels should be changed out or washed every two days.

“Most people don’t wash their hands properly,” he says. When you towel off you’re rubbing bacteria into an ideal growing environment. 

Photo by Freya Willemoes-Wissing

2.  Toothbrush holders can contain a lot of germs because people don't clean them.

A 2011 report from the public health organization NSF International found 27% of toothbrush holders were home to Coliform bacteria—a sickness-causing family of microorganism that includes Salmonella and E. coli.

3. In the kitchen, the sponge used for washing and cutting board also attract bacteria.

The sponge may be the dirtiest place in the home, says Gerba. The NSF study found that 75% of home dish sponges and rags contained Coliform.
He recommends a dish cleaning brush that can be thrown into the dishwasher every day. Cutting boards should be thoroughly scrubbed or put into the dishwasher, too. 
4. Cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. 
"When's the last time you cleaned your cellphone?" asked Gerba. Studies show that one in six phones is contaminated with fecal matter. Wiping daily with a disinfectant cloth will help prevent bacteria buildup. 
 5. Outside the home, shopping carts can be havens for germs. 
“Almost 100% of them are home to E. coli because people are constantly touching the handles after holding raw food products,” Gerba explains. He also says reusable grocery bags can be dirty because they are seldom washed. 
Use wipes at the store or bring your own to clean shopping cart handles and areas where little children may sit.  
Many other everyday items should be added to the list, like shoelaces, purses, keys, and keyboards. Regular house cleaning should also include door knobs, handles, and other places that are frequently touched by many people. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Madison, Boise among best cities

2017’s Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle  

WalletHub Study

With "lose weight and get fit" being both the No. 1 most popular and No. 1 most commonly broken New Year's resolution and the level of inactivity among Americans aged 6 and older decreasing from 28.3 percent in 2014 to 27.7 percent in 2015, the personal-finance website WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2017's Best & Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle.

To identify the cities that encourage balancing a healthy diet with ample physical activity, WalletHub's analysts compared the 100 most populated U.S. cities across 30 key metrics. The data set ranges from "average monthly fitness-club fee" to "bike score" to "share of physically inactive residents."

Boise skyline (BluFox Images)

 Best vs. Worst

Orlando, Fla., has the most sporting-goods stores per 100,000 residents, 85.3, which is 40 times more than in Greensboro, N.C., the city with the fewest at 2.1.

Scottsdale, Ariz., has the most public golf courses per 1 million residents, 127.5, which is 90 times more than in New York, the city with the fewest at 1.4.

Madison, Wis., has the most fitness trainers and aerobics instructors per 100,000 residents, 156.15, which is 6.8 times more than in Bakersfield, Calif., the city with the fewest at 23.10.

Scottsdale, Ariz., has the most fitness centers per 100,000 residents, 229.48, which is 37.7 times more than in Greensboro, N.C., the city with the fewest at 6.08.

Madison, Wis., has the most park playgrounds per 100,000 residents, 71.98, which is 14.1 times more than in Hialeah, Fla., the city with the fewest at 5.11.

To view the full report and your city's rank, please visit:

Mineral Therapy for Arthritis

Montana son creates "Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy" to help his mother with arthritis

"Medicine Springs Mineral Therapy" was spawned from a necessity.
Brandon Price's mother Brenda had painful arthritis and could not close her hands. On a vacation, Brenda was sitting in a geothermal mineral hot spring and noticed she could close her hands and the pain was gone.

It wasn't a cure, but provided welcome relief.

Excited about how these natural mineral springs provided relief, she mentioned on her return that she wished she could put that water in her hot tub and bathtub.

As a former high school science teacher in Brandon thought this was something he could do. Based in Helena, Montana, Brandon and his wife, Julie, took chemical analysis of the most healing natural springs to be found around in the world, removed the water, separated the compounds, isolated the reactions, and packaged it.

They believe this is an opportunity to help others the way this helped Brandon's mom. They didn't intend to sell originally, but after giving it away—at Race for the Cure and to several Wounded Warriors—and seeing the results, they knew they needed others to try it.

Mineral packs by Medicine Springs are formulated to help alleviate symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint and muscle pain, various skin ailments (like eczema, psoriasis, and acne), or those who are athletic—really anyone who wants to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of a hot soak or bath.

The minerals in the hot springs they selected came from around the world, including Alaska, Canada, Costa Rica, Iceland, Japan, Montana, Peru, and Wyoming.

These mineral packs mimic the chemical makeup of some of the world's most famous 'healing springs' found around the world, including Bicarbonates, Boron, Calcium, Lithium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, and Sulfur.

You can see a short video with Brandon and Julie talking about Medicine Springs at

A short video can be seen at

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Lastly, affiliates of Rakuten Affiliate Network (formerly Linkshare) can market on their sites new products and receive a percentage of sales on The Grommet by referring traffic. Here is a link:


Alcohol Impact on Body

10 Lesser Known Ways Booze Impacts Your Body
 We all know that alcohol wreaks havoc on the liver and sends kidneys into overdrive. We also know that after a night of libations the next morning is often met with a dull headache and at times nausea. While moderate consumption of alcohol can offer health benefits, the happy hour or weekend partiers who binge drink may see negative effects. Dr. Christopher Calapai, an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, who has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers, offers some sobering facts and 10 lesser knows ways booze impacts your body.

1. Hair thinning, shedding and loss.
When you drink excessively (more than 3 drinks within a 3 hour period) there's an elevation of estrogen in the body and a decrease of zinc. "A rise in estrogen leads to the hair loss and then the drop in zinc plus folic acid levels compromise healthy hair growth and maintenance," explains Dr. Calapai.

2. Voice loss, or changes.
Ever lose your voice after a night out of partying? Typically shouting over loud music and second hand cigarette smoke gets the blame. "What people don't realize is that alcohol can cause dehydration leading to a dry throat and some constriction of the vocal chords. You really want to drink water in between cocktails," advises Dr. Calapai. 

3. Cuts and bruises take longer to heal.
In 2014, a study published by researchers from the Loyola University Healthcare System showed that binge drinking reduces bacteria fighting white blood cells and hinders the production of a special protein that attracts them. White blood cells are essential for wound healing. Dr. Calapai says to pay attention to how you heal. "A simple cut should be gone within a day or two and a bruise should be fading within 3-5 days. If you're drinking 10 or more drinks in one week you'll connect the dots to delayed healing."

4. Chronic colds.
This is more evidence of a compromised immune system. If you typically kick a sore throat with some warm tea, chicken soup and a good night's sleep; after binge drinking that same sore throat may escalate into strep throat. When the white blood cell count is low you may feel like your always battling a cold. "It's so important to drink water and add vitamin E, C, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to boost white blood cells and rid that run down feeling."

5. Always sleepy.
Alcohol causes disruptions to REM sleep, which sets in about 90 minutes after falling asleep and is the time for cellular turnover and restoration to the body. "You need the solid REM level sleep. When you don't get it you lose the ability to concentrate and will feel that mid day lag. People attribute the sluggish feeling to being out late thinking they slept deeply but they fail to reach that optimal REM state."

6.  Cystic Pimples and More Breakouts
Binging on booze or even consistent alcohol consumption over time, especially of sugary drinks with sodas and mixers, will cause insulin levels to spike. When insulin spikes you produce more sebum, which can trigger oiliness in skin. "Once you have high sebum production happening pores get clogged and that's when the breakouts start to happen. Want to notice a significant change to your skin's texture and clarity? Try cutting alcohol out! Even limiting alcohol intake to once weekly, 3 drinks maximum will help," suggests Dr. Calapai.

7. Chapped Cracked Lips
Dehydration is top cause of cracked lips. Alcohol dehydrates us and for many this leads to chapped, dry chapped lips. When you drink your system rids the body of water and for many with dry skin the lips feel tight and tingly. When alcohol hits the lips it has a drying effect on them. "Keep in mind that the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages can trigger lip ulcers which can linger for weeks. After a night of drinking try switching to 3 days of only drinking water, no sodas and no juices. You'll notice your lips and skin get back to a better color and texture.

8. Fuzzy eyesight!
When you drink you interfere with the way key vitamins are absorbed by the liver. Many of those vitamins are necessary to maintain eye health and eyesight. "If you're deficient in vitamin B-1 eyesight can become weak and eye muscles can even experience paralysis. Other eye issues to be mindful of related to alcohol are permanent blurred vision because the eye muscle coordination gets weak. This is due to a slow down in communication between neurotransmitters in the brain and a delay in signals to the eye muscle," explains Dr. Calapai.

9. Facial redness.
Alcohol increases blood flow leading to getting red in the cheeks and nose. This is even more obviously seen in people who have fair complexions. There are tiny blood vessels at the surface of the skin and excessive alcohol dilates them. This is when you see broken capillaries on the face that look like red spider legs. "Once capillaries are broken you'll need to see a dermatologist for a laser treatment which can be expensive," warns Dr. Calapai. "Lysine, vitamin C, gapeseed oil are all things that you can use at home that may help," he continues.

10. Memory loss.
Ever notice how after a weekend of partying you may lose your keys misplace your credit card and forget key details on a work assignment. That spacey, forgetfulness is due to shrinking brain mass. "When you mess with neurotransmitters you're messing with cognitive function which includes memory. Alcohol throws off brain chemistry in the hippocampus, a key spot in the brain helping us formulate memories. If you're noticing blackouts where you forget leaving a party, how you got home or other details of the timeline, that's a sign you're drinking too much or too quickly," cautions Dr. Calapai.

While it's certainly ok to enjoy a cocktail, a beer or some wine, too much takes a toll.

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Pressure Cooker Meals: Chicken down-in Rice

By Melanie

Preparation time 20 minutes
Calories per serving 400-530

This recipe is originally from Barbados. Cooked in a pressure cooker it takes half the time. It adapts well to individual tastes. I added a little more salt just before I ate my dinner and my husband added Louisiana Hot Sauce.

6 chicken legs (frozen) (or a whole chicken if you choose)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
2 cups of chicken stock plus one added cup of water
2 cups of uncooked basmati rice
1 bay leaf
2 to 3 sprigs of parsley
1/2 teaspoon of thyme

Pre-season the chicken with salt and 2 tablespoons of lime juice, allowing it to stand at room temperature for an hour. Transfer the chicken to the pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of uncooked (rinsed) basmati rice to the chicken in the pressure cooker and add stock and an extra cup of water. Add remaining lime juice and spices. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Add extra minutes if you are cooking a whole chicken.

To make the sauce:
3 tablespoons of butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 8-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To make the onion and tomato sauce, melt butter in a saucepan, Saute onions then add tomatoes, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve, make a bed of rice on a plate, arrange chicken on top, and cover with sauce, Serves 6 to 8.