whole30-diets-eating-healthy-carbs

AA Homepage Articles | Family | Wellness |

Whole30 for the Whole Family: Healthy Benefits for Parents and Children

2 minute read

By now you’ve probably heard of the Whole30® diet, and maybe you’ve even tried it on your own as part of a New Year’s resolution.

For those who don’t know, here’s a crash course: Whole30® is different from other restrictive diets in that it’s more of an investigation of how what you eat impacts your physical and mental health.

You start by removing from your system: soy, dairy, grains, alcohol, legumes, and added sugars for 30 days straight. Then you begin slowly adding them back in, one food group at a time, with the ultimate goal of having a better understanding of how these foods and beverages impact your physical and mental wellbeing.

According to Whole30®, “Millions of people have transformed their health, habits, and relationship with food through the Whole30 program; eliminating cravings, improving energy and sleep, relieving symptoms, and discovering lasting food freedom.”

 Whole30 Benefits for Your Family

Because of the long list of foods to cut out, it would be tough to do Whole30® if everyone in the house isn’t on board. So make it a family activity!

Depending on your kids’ ages and level of independence in the kitchen, you may not need to tell them about Whole30®. If you simply start introducing healthier habits and foods into your family meal time, they’ll reap the benefits without any feelings of missing out. And when instilled early on, this type of mindful eating can be helpful throughout your children’s lives.

Here are just a few of the ways, taken from the official website, that Whole30® can benefit every area of your family’s life.

Outer Physical Benefits

  • Glowing skin with fewer blemishes
  • Whiter teeth and fresher breath
  • Stronger nails and hair
  • Flatter stomach with less bloating
  • More toned appearance

Internal Physical Benefits

  • Improved blood sugar regulation
  • Reduced or eliminated medications
  • Less acid reflux/ heartburn
  • More regularity/ less constipation and/or gas
  • Fewer asthma attacks/ seasonal allergies

Emotional and Psychological Benefits

  • Fewer mood swings
  • Improved behavior in kids/ less tantrums
  • Fewer sugar and carb cravings
  • Less anxious/ stressed
  • Improved self-esteem/ confidence

Food and Behavior Benefits

  • Healthier relationship with food
  • Healthy strategies to deal with cravings
  • Can distinguish between cravings and hunger
  • Learn new cooking skills
  • No more food guilt or shame
Whole30 Recipes for the Family

If your family could use any or all of the above benefits, take a look at a few recipes that will keep you compliant during the 30 days and may even become long-term favorites.

Grain-Free Chicken Nuggets from The Natural Nurturer

 Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup from Whole Kitchen Sink

Crockpot Creamy Tomato Soup from Real Food Whole Life

 Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Wholesomelicious

 One-Pan Mexican Chicken from Hello Glow

Newsletter

Get news, tips, and more sent straight to your inbox, and breathe easy.

AA Homepage Articles | Environment | Healthy Home |

Growing Green: Is Clover Better for Your Lawn than Traditional Grass?

2 minute read

A full, lush lawn is the envy of most homeowners, but just how “green” is that yard full of grass? With water and energy costs continuing to rise, many are in search of a more sustainable option.

Enter: clover.

Previously regarded as a weed by most, clover, (along with harmful weeds), fell victim to chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in the 1950s. But it’s beginning to make a comeback thanks to its many benefits.

Advantages to a Clover Lawn

  • It’s affordable. Clover comes as a free gift if you already have a patch or two growing in your yard–just let it grow. And if you need to buy clover seed, it’s rather inexpensive ($30 per 1,000 sq. ft. compared to $20 per 1,000 sq. ft. for traditional grass, according to FIXR).
  • It fertilizes itself. Clover is a leguminous plant, meaning it can take nitrogen from the air instead of the soil, and release it slowly to other plants. It even enriches the soil with the nitrogen it doesn’t use which can reduce or even eliminate the need for regular fertilizing, and makes for healthier and greener grass when planted alongside.
  • It’s low maintenance. Clover requires little to no mowing depending on your preferences, as it only grows to be around 2-8 inches. Reasons to mow or trim include: prevent blooming, remove deadhead old blooms, or simply tidy up the look.
  • It’s drought tolerant. Clover grows well in poor soil and can survive despite a lack of water once established in its area. This is a big change from the typical thirsty American lawn that requires watering all summer.
  • It holds its color. Clover stays green all summer until the first frost and is resistant to yellow discoloration from dog urine.
  • It attracts the right kind of insects. Bees love clover and will help your yard and garden pollinate. Parasitic wasps are also attracted to clover and are excellent exterminators when it comes to controlling pesky insects like caterpillars, stink bugs, and aphids in your garden.

Clover vs. Grass?
The battle between grass and clover doesn’t need to be all or nothing.

Newsletter

Get news, tips, and more sent straight to your inbox, and breathe easy.

Mixed grass-clover lawns – Most professionals recommend a ratio of 15-20% clover seed to 80-85% grass seed specific to your region’s needs. This mix is best for high traffic areas or playing fields and will help your lawn resist the effects of foot traffic since clover isn’t as hardy as grass. This grass/clover mix also doesn’t require regular reseeding.

Pure clover lawns – More resilient varieties of clover have been developed in the last few decades, referred to as micro-clovers. These varieties can be used to cover your entire lawn if you choose or to be intermixed with a lower percentage of grass. These thrive in areas with low to moderate traffic.

The beautiful thing is that whatever mix you choose, the natural balance of clover and grasses will adapt to reach an equilibrium that is best for the soil type and local conditions in your area.

So, if you’re looking to reduce the environmental impacts of your green space, clover seems to be an excellent option for a lush, green lawn that’s also sustainable.

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More
video chat - facebook - zoom - work from home

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Video Chat Services to Keep You Connected during COVID-19

2 minute read

Our lives have slowly moved toward becoming more and more online. As the coronavirus outbreak continues to interrupt our normal routines, we’ve turned toward the Internet and video chatting services to keep us connected.

Whether it’s chatting with Facebook, watching live concerts on Instagram, or texting, most of us have been looking for human connections with friends and family in the midst of social distancing and self-quarantines. Video chats have become increasingly popular as more people are seeking different ways to hang out with friends and family.

People were able to video chat when Skype was founded in 2003, but it wasn’t until Apple introduced FaceTime in 2010 that the networking tool gained popularity. The immediacy and convenience of chatting with friends and family through your iPhone made video chatting more commonplace than having to be tethered to your laptop. Since then, different companies have looked for different ways to improve the experience of video chatting through both mobile and desktop features.

Google introduced Google Hangouts in 2013 and has made various upgrades to the platform since then to include more users and additional features. Facebook introduced the Portal in late 2018. Amazon also has its own video chat software through the Amazon Echo Show.

My sister, who lives in Indianapolis, has the Facebook Portal and we’ve used it to chat and see my niece as much as we can due to the distance. One of the biggest benefits of the Portal is that you have more freedom of movement. We’ve found that the Portal camera can have trouble focusing when there is movement in the frame, but overall it’s a great tool.

Zoom, a company founded in 2011, has seen a rise in its number of users skyrocket as people across the world are in lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak. The company has added 2.22 million monthly active users in 2020 compared to the 1.99 million in all of 2019.  It has become the software of choice for primary and secondary schools to host online classes including many Ivy League universities. It’s being used to host as well. As restaurants and bars have closed across the country, many of us are looking for ways to reconnect with friends, family and coworkers. You can also break off in to separate groups too, but this feature is only accessible in the paid model.

My friends and I used Zoom for playing an online version of the game Jackbox this week as a way to reconnect and catch up. It worked super well. We used the free service, but as mentioned above there are different subscription options for a better experience.

Another service you can use is Netflix Party, which allows you to watch Netflix shows together with a group of people and with synchronized video playback and group chat. It’s a free service that just requires a Netflix subscription and Google Chrome.

Although the use of video to interact with friends and family may seem foreign, the idea of telecommuting will become more common as workers may continue to work from home even after the COVID-19 outbreak. Some doctors, including psychiatrists, have even used telemedicine to help treat patients.

Due to the recent surge in internet use from school to work, many different companies are lifting data caps or allowing you to upgrade your service without incurring a rate hike. These different promotions are short-term fixes. You can discuss the length of terms with your specific company.

Let us know if you have a particular service you like to use while practicing social distancing and self-quarantining.

Newsletter

Get news, tips, and more sent straight to your inbox, and breathe easy.

AA Homepage Articles | Environment |

Glossary of Terms for COVID-19 Outbreak

6 minute read

A slew of terms has been introduced in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak. Let’s go from A to Z with new people and terms to help you understand the unfolding situation.

COVID-19 Glossary

Adams

  • Jerome Adams is the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. He served as the Indiana State Health Commissioner before being sworn in as the Surgeon General in 2017. His role is to advance the health of the American people and he has been instrumental in COVID-19 response.

Bans

  • The United States has issued a travel ban from Europe to the United States as of March 16th and most companies have grounded all non-essential travel domestically and internationally for the next several weeks.

COVID-19

  • COVID-19 or coronavirus is a virus in the same family as the common cold and flu. It has turned into a pandemic and has been compared to the 1918 Spanish Flu. The 19 is in reference to the year it was discovered

Diamond Princess

  • The Diamond Princess Cruise ship was for COVID-19. Passengers were quarantined on the ship and left to their rooms and many health officials have criticized the decision saying that it allowed the virus to rapidly spread. Passengers and crew were eventually allowed to leave the ship after a month total on board and nearly two weeks after reports of the first case.

Epidemiology

  • Epidemiology is the study of infectious diseases and how they spread, occur, and are controlled.

Flattening the Curve

  • The term refers to reducing the exponential growth of an infectious disease if people start distancing themselves from other people. Reducing gatherings with people through quarantining and other social distancing practices can drastically reduce the number of cases. The practice is especially important in alleviating the burden on hospitals.

Source: Britta Jewel/MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis/New York Times

Gatherings

  • Late Sunday on March 15th, multiple governors and health officials called for social gatherings to be limited to 50 people or less. President Trump has asked for people to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people to continue to reduce the spread of the disease. This practice has led to the closing of bars, restaurants, and retail stores across the country.

Handwashing

  • Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with soap and water. All health organizations have advocated for everyone to wash their hands often to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Here are some fun

Newsletter

Get news, tips, and more sent straight to your inbox, and breathe easy.

Immunocompromised

  • A group of people, young and old, who have weakened immune systems due to underlying conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Down Syndrome, or heart disease A person with an immunocompromised system who contracts coronavirus may result in hospitalization. Those who are not immunocompromised may be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or experience mild symptoms.

January

  • On January 17th, the CDC and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol started health screenings at all S. airports for passengers returning from Wuhan City, China. On January 23rd, the United States reported the first case of coronavirus.

Killing the virus

Leisure time

  • Find ways to relax during the COVID-19 outbreak and to take a break from social media and the news. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. The CDC has several recommendations to manage stress and anxiety.

Mike DeWine

  • The Governor of Ohio, Republican Mike Dewine, was one of the first governors to initiate school closures, public gathering bans, and the closing of restaurants and bars. He recently decided to postpone the Ohio Democratic primary election as a result of COVID-19.

Novel

  • According to the World Health Organization, the coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to MERS and SARS. COVID-19 is a novel, or new, viruses in the coronavirus family. It was not previously identified in humans until November 2019.

One percent

  • One percent is considered to be the mortality rate for the coronavirus, according to many science and public health officials. The percentage has ticked higher in places where hospitals have been overwhelmed by sick patients who are unable to get the care they need. Current mortality rates in the US are hovering at 0.5 percent.

Pandemic

  • An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that attacks many peoples at the same time in one area. A pandemic is a disease that spreads across many countries and affects a large number of people. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020, by the World Health Organization.

Quarantine

  • Quarantine refers to the restriction of movement for people. Currently, the United States is asking people to self-quarantine to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Other countries such as Italy and China have established national quarantines to slow the rate of infection. In isolation, healthy people are separate from the sick but with COVID-19 it’s hard to know who is and is not a carrier.

Response Supplemental Appropriations Act

The United States enacted $8.5B in aid to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 titled the Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. President Trump initially asked for $2.5B. The bill includes money for research, public health funding, medical supplies and to help fight the disease internationally. The bill was enacted on March 6th by President Trump. Senators and other members of Congress have asked for another round of efforts of economic relief for small businesses, middle and low-income families, and the travel industry.

Social Distancing

  • Social Distancing refers to maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people, in addition to minimizing contact, public transportation, and other large gatherings. The strategy has been used to help save lives during other pandemics. You can still go outside, but you must avoid close contact with people even if they appear to be healthy. A person can still be a carrier even if they are asymptomatic.

Toilet Paper

  • Toilet paper became one of the first products to fly off the shelves. Many people on social media have spread pictures of empty aisles in Target, Kroger, and other major department store chains. Despite the empty aisles, producers say they have plenty of food and supplies in stock.

U.S. Public Health Service

  • The U.S. Public Health Service is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services and is the largest public health program in the globe helping staff the local health departments throughout the country. The coronavirus is being monitored by the public health service at both the local and federal levels. Check with your community’s public health department to see what restrictions are being implemented.

Virulence

  • Virulence refers to the severity of the harmfulness of a disease. Many epidemiologists are still trying to quantify the virulence of COVID-19. To keep up with the current outbreak, the World Health Organization has an interactive map to track cases worldwide.

Work from home

– Working from home has become the new reality for millions of workers across the country as many offices have shut down and school closings have kept many parents home. It’s unclear how long offices will remain closed as health and government officials determine the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, but working from home might be the new normal for many workers.

(e)Xtra time

– One of the benefits of being home and quarantined is spending more time with your family and loved ones. Most of the time, we are bustling from school to work to other activities, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has allowed many of us to spend more quality time with our families.

Yellow fever

  • Yellow fever is an infectious disease spread by mosquitos was catalyzed by trade as infected patients traversed between Europe, America, and Africa. Many doctors initially hypothesized that you had to come in contact with an infected patient as widespread epidemics occurred in major port cities in the United States such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and New Orleans. Many more Americans who fought in the Spanish-American war died of Yellow fever as opposed to combat. A vaccine was developed in the 1940s, but there are still cases of yellow fever throughout Africa and Central America resulting in approximately 30,000-60,000 deaths annually. Pandemics such as yellow fever have created the modern medical system we know now and spurred the creation of the National Quarantine Act in 1878. COVID-19 does not have a vaccine and while it should not take hundreds of years to create, it is expected to be another year or so, although preliminary testings have started.

Zoonotic

Raise a Happy, Healthy Home
Breathe easy with the blueprints to a Healthy Home.

Learn More

Family | Wellness |

Helping Your Child Adjust to Learning from Home

3 minute read

Schools across the country are shutting down for the next several weeks. The important thing is to make sure your children do not treat this as a prolonged break. Learn more about how you can help your child successfully transition to this time at home.

Learning From Home

If this shift might cause problems with your student due to a lack of resources, check in with your child’s teacher or school to see what resources they have available so your child does not fall behind academically.

Even if your child does have all of the resources to access the material online, e-learning can present other challenges. School provides an enriching social experience, built-in scheduling, and an established format for students to ask questions. Without these norms, it may be difficult for students to focus on schoolwork when they have easy access to their smartphone and other more appetizing options.

Learning from Home for older students

Help your child adjust by creating an atmosphere that’s more akin to a school than home. Like we advised in our Tips for Working From Home blog post, set your child up in an atmosphere that limits distractions but is also comfortable for them while they watch lessons and do homework. When your student needs a break, let them grab a snack, text with friends, or take a prolonged lunch break to decompress from schoolwork. Try and keep your student on as much of a schedule as possible. If you have a student who is a bit older, you can even work together with them to create an at-home schedule so they feel like they have some input and ownership.

Learning from home for younger students

This can be more difficult for younger students and you may have to stay more on top of them to watch online lessons, help them with logging in to multiple programs, or answering their questions regarding class material.

Depending on their age, you may even have to find other ways to keep your child engaged by having them download books from the local library. Several companies are offering free e-learning programs in the wake of coronavirus to help parents and children with this new reality. Scholastic is offering free courses for students from pre-kindergarten to grades 6 and higher. For other free online programs, check with your child’s teacher.

Easing the anxiety of learning from home

There will likely be growing pains for both you and your child as you transition to e-learning. As the rest of the nation continues to grapple with the pandemic, it is difficult to forecast how long your student will be learning from home. If you have any questions about how to talk to your child about the coronavirus, the CDC has a great guide to help answer your child’s questions and help alleviate any anxiety they are feeling. Another way to help with these feelings of anxiety and uncertainty is by engaging in physical activity.

Getting exercise is a great way to break up the monotony of your child’s day. Go for a walk outside on a trail or around the neighborhood. Boosting your physical well-being can help both you and your child focus on work. We also have a blog post on at-home exercises.

Staying informed

It’s uncertain how long this will last as school administrators continue to develop plans for the coming months in alignment with recommendations from health and government officials. Find the best way to communicate with your child’s teacher or other school officials so you can stay informed about procedures or other resources to help you and your student.

We will continue to provide helpful tips and information regarding the coronavirus. Check out Aprilaire.com for more information regarding Aprilaire Products to create a Healthy Home.

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Clean Air | Wellness |

The Impact of Indoor Pollution – A Closer Look at the Air We Breathe

2 minute read

The air pollution conversation used to revolve almost entirely around pollutants emitted from gas-burning vehicles. But in the age of electric, hybrid, and other clean, fuel-efficient cars, and during a time when people are spending more time indoors than ever before–that conversation is starting to change toward volatile chemical products (VCPs).

“It’s time to think about the indoor environment as being a source of pollution the same way we’ve thought about cars contributing to pollution in the past.”

 This quote is from Matthew Coggon, a Research Scientist II of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Chemical Sciences Division of the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.

Thanks to recent studies in Los Angeles, we can see that volatile chemical products contribute as much to the abundance of urban volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the emissions from motor vehicles.

What are Volatile Chemical Products and Volatile Organic Compounds?

VCPs are products that easily become vapors or gases and are predominantly emitted in the indoor environment, where they release VOCs. They can then be transported to the outdoors via building exhaust where they add to the pollution of the ozone layer.

VOCs are up to 10x higher indoors. They are also released from several everyday consumer products containing volatile chemicals.

Listed below are common Volatile Chemical Products:

  • Cigarettes
  • Paints and thinners
  • Air fresheners
  • Personal care products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, etc.)
  • Solvents found in adhesives, cosmetics, cleaners, spot removers, nail polish removers, lacquers, and dry-cleaning fluid
  • Copy machines and printers
  • Building materials and furnishings
  • Pesticides

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

The top two categories of indoor air pollution and volatile chemical products are personal care products and adhesives.

The good news is that there are several ways to keep VOCs out of your home.

Control and Eliminate sources of VOCs

  • Look for fragrance-free products that don’t contain fragrance materials or masking scents.
    • Be careful not to confuse unscented for fragrance-free, as unscented typically means that chemicals have been used in the product to neutralize or mask the odor of other ingredients.
  • Choose non-toxic cleaning products that are water-based as opposed to products containing solvents.
  • Reduce the overall use of personal care products.
  • Don’t stock up on products that you only use occasionally, rather buy only what you will use right away so you’re not storing unnecessary chemicals in your home.
    • Things like paint, fuel, and chemicals should be stored far away from your living space.

Use As Directed

  • Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when it comes to storing household products that contain chemicals.
  • Never mix household cleaners or other chemicals unless the label gives specific directions.
  • Keep all products out of reach of pets and children.

Purify Your Air

  • Use an air purifier or whole home ventilation to ensure a healthy indoor environment for your family.
  • Aprilaire Air Purifiers reduce airborne pollutants, allergens, microbes, odors, and more. They can be a key piece in reducing the amount of VOCs in your home.

 

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

Learn More

AA Homepage Articles | Healthy Home |

Tips for Working From Home During Coronavirus Outbreak

3 minute read

For many of us, the idea of working from home during the coronavirus outbreak will provide more freedom but also more distraction. It’s a concept that many of us are unfamiliar with.

Create a Work Space to Work from Home

As we transition to working from home, we will have to create a workspace. The easiest thing to do is to transition into your home office, but some of us will have to create a new space. Finding space that can function as your personal work station can be especially challenging if you have limited space. Find a spot in your home that will provide comfort and limit distractions.

It may be difficult to use public spaces such as the library or a coffee shop due to the spread of the coronavirus but check with your local city and county governments on restrictions if you work better from home.

Dress for the Day

The transition can be hard. It can be difficult to maintain a routine when you do not have to get up at the same time or you do not have the same schedule of daily meetings or a commute. You’ll now be presented with different distractions and interruptions that you didn’t have at your office such as kids, pets, and binging your favorite shows.

To help combat these shifts, create a daily schedule where you map out your day with tasks. For example, if you usually start your day drinking coffee and checking email then continue to do that. Keep as many of your daily routines as possible to help keep you in work mode despite the shift in setting.

You’ll also want to have a schedule throughout the day to keep you focused on your work. This schedule can be a daily schedule, a weekly schedule or even a bi-weekly schedule. I work best with a series of general projects planned out over the next several weeks and several smaller tasks that may change day-to-day. You know yourself best so whether a more detailed list with specific times or a more general list of daily tasks, find the right method to keep you focused and motivated.

If you need to take a break from work, don’t be afraid to do so.

Look after yourself

Humans are social creatures. We like interacting with and being around other people. Being isolated can present a certain set of social challenges so make sure you find time to catch up with coworkers, friends, and family.

You can suggest doing a daily video chat with your coworkers to keep up with what’s going on with the company, everyone’s lives, and other updates for projects. These little check-ins will help strengthen your team’s bond and will provide an injection of social interaction.

And definitely take time to recharge with your family. If you have kids, spend time with them in the morning and throughout the day in small tasks like making lunch. Most of the time, our work lives can interrupt our family life so cherish these moments of spending time with your kids and significant other.

Find ways to also recharge physically as well like taking a short walk outside, going to the gym, or doing a mid-day yoga session at home. If you’re unable to go to a gym given the direction of community officials, find other ways to stay active like stretching or standing up every hour. We also wrote another post about exercises to do at home. You can find that post by clicking here.

Boosting your physical well-being can have an impact on your creativity and mood. Weight gain can be an unexpected side-effect of working from home where snacks and other food is more readily available. Plus, you may not be burning the same amount of calories you were while at work.

While there will be an obvious adjustment to working from home, don’t stress if the transition is difficult for the first couple of days. For most of us who do not work from home regularly, making this transition will prove to be difficult until we adjust to our new schedules. Following these simple tips above will hopefully provide a more seamless transition.