How to Prepare Your House for Winter

Winter is undoubtedly one of the best seasons of the year. During wintertime, we get to enjoy the wonders of snow, the never-ending festivities of Christmas and the New Year and the joyful reunion with family and friends. We change our wardrobe, we light up strangely-flavoured and scented candles, we slave away in the kitchen and we decorate our houses with Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and nativity scenes. The list can go on and it is easy to get carried away by all the excitement. But before any of these could happen, it is very important that you have completed all the preparation that you need for your house.

Here are five things that you must do to prepare your house for winter.

  1. Test your Heating System

Your heating system should be the first thing that you check towards the end of fall. You don’t want to freeze in the middle of the winter waiting for your heating system to work. It is highly recommended that you conduct a test run by turning on the thermostat to heat mode and setting it to the desired temperature. If it’s working, you should be able to hear the furnace turn on immediately as the warm air begins to flow. Turn the thermostat back to its original setting do this exercise at least three times in the morning, afternoon and especially at night.

A great addition to your heating system is a solid humidifier for your home. Not only does it help provide warmth, but it also generates much-needed moisture that is necessary to prevent dryness, itchiness and skin irritation.

  1. Inspect the Air Conditioning

Just because you won’t be needing air condition doesn’t mean that you have to ignore it. Before completely turning off and unplugging the air condition, clean the condensing unit of debris and dust first and then make sure that it is well-covered. The air condition can develop rust and collect dirt over the winter time and so it might not be functional come spring.

  1. Prepare the Wood-Burning Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace is a great source of warm air in the middle of the winter season. Before winter, prepare the fireplace and inspect the chimney if they are clear of any leaves, bird nests, dust and other debris that might have collected over time. Test how the fire burns using a few logs so you can diagnose any problems that might arise.

  1. Check the Insulation of your House

Every corner of your house should be properly insulated. Cold and warm air should be able to come in and out of your house evenly without leaving any leaks. You can insulate your house by applying an insulating blanket to your hot water tank, sealing exterior outlets with a foam gasket and installing a removable cover for your fireplace and chimney.

  1. Examine the Roof, Doors, and Windows

Do not forget about the parts of your house that are exposed to external elements. Examine the roof and its shingles to make sure that ice dams will not ensue and the melted ice will not leak into the interior of the house. Make sure the doors and windows can be opened and closed properly and will not accumulate ice or water.

 

At this moment, we still have rather lovely weather here with temperatures in the low 20s and days full of sun but only a few weeks back a cold snap brought the first snow of the season to the mountains just down the road… so get ready and stay warm as the saying goes, winter is coming!

Benefits of Beets

* By Susan Conley, creator of cookthestone.com 

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet.

Beets won’t exactly be the first thing that comes to your mind when asked about favorite vegetables. This root vegetable may not be as well-known as carrot or squash, but only a few veggies can match up with its nutritional value.

Health benefits of beets

  1. Control blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease like stroke, heart failure, and heart attacks. Heart disease also happens to be one of the top causes of death today.

Eating beets can improve your blood pressure. Experts say this is due to the high concentration of nitrates in beets, which our bodies convert to the compound nitric oxide that relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. When this happens, the blood vessels promote improved blood circulation and consequently lower blood pressure.

There have been numerous studies backing up this claim. Some studies have also indicated that beets can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mmHg a few hours after consumption. The positive effect on blood pressure is stronger when raw beets are eaten.

  1. Improve digestion

Like most vegetables, beets are rich in dietary fiber which has been linked to numerous health benefits such as improved digestion.

Did you know that a cup of beetroot already has 3.4 grams of fiber? That’s about 20 percent of the recommended daily value for dietary fiber!

Fiber can promote digestive health by bypassing digestion and heading straight to the colon, where it can add bulk to stool or feed gut-friendly bacteria. By getting more fiber out of your foods, you can regularly eliminate waste and lower your risks of digestive problems like constipation and inflammatory bowel disease.

Plus, fiber can also lower your risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

  1. Enhance your stamina

While eating beets won’t really make you into a world-class athlete, regular consumption of this root vegetable can improve your stamina and enhance your athletic performance.

This wonderful benefit of beets is believed to come from the high nitrate contents of beets. Nitrates have been associated with enhanced efficiency of mitochondria which produces energy in the cells. Numerous studies have also backed up these claims, and many elite athletes are known to incorporate beets into their diets.

One study conducted and published in 2009 showed that cyclists who drank beet juice were able to pedal up to 15 percent longer. The author of the said study says eating 3-5 beets at least two hours before an event can give an individual a boost in performance.

  1. Enhance your brain’s performance

Eating beets can make your brain work better. I suggest you eat beets before taking an exam as it could enhance cognitive function.

Again, the nitrates found in beets are responsible for this wonderful benefit. By relaxing and dilating the blood vessels, nitrates can promote increased blood flow to the brain which could lead to improved brain function.

This effect is particularly critical for senior adults because studies have shown that the body’s capacity to generate nitric oxide decreases with age.

In one study conducted in 2010, 14 participants with an average age of 74 were asked to eat a high-nitrate diet that included beet juice. They were then observed to have increased focus and attention to detail for two days afterward.

  1. Lose weight

Beets are low in calories and high in water which makes them a good food to incorporate into your weight loss diet.

But what’s intriguing is that beets also have protein and fiber despite their low-calorie content. Protein and fiber are two essential nutrients for maintaining a healthy weight.

You will also be able to lose weight when you eat more beets because the vegetable can increase the feeling of satiety and reduce your appetite.

  1. Lower your risks of cancer and other diseases

Beets contain the potent antioxidants called betalains which can lower your risks of chronic disease like cancer and heart disease. It also has betacyanin which can protect the body against carcinogens. Betacyanin is the pigment responsible for the purple hue of beets.

Conclusion

With the many health benefits of beets, we should be eating more beets as a good way to incorporate a vegetable into your diet.

There are many ways to enjoy beets. You can juice or steam it. You can also roast or pickle it. But I would suggest avoiding the boiling beets to preserve the nitrates which are water soluble. Or simply let your home blender do all the work, then you will have a perfect drink for good health after few minutes.

Besides those ideas above, there are many excellent ways to prepare beets that you can use in your daily life.

Let me know what you usually do with beets in the comment section below.

Happy cooking!

Beets are one of the super foods. They are an excellent source of fiber and vitamins as well as full of essential nutrients like iron, manganese, B vitamins, copper, and potassium. This article will share the benefits of incorporating beets into your diet./>

Healthy Living and Modern Society

Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?

7 tips on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in modern society. Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?That is the million $ question… what steps should we take to achieve healthy living?

We are all different and my happy balance will probably be different to yours but some main rules will always apply… in the end, we both want to achieve the same state of happiness, being fit, energetic and simply feeling good!

Since we left the busy life style of the city and moved to the countryside, I am more content, calm and happy… I know this change worked for me and I would never go back but lately, I find myself searching for a deeper meaning of healthy living and the different steps I can take in order to improve even more the quality of my life.

I came up with some tips, which I believe if followed should improve one’s life and put them on the path towards healthy living.

Stress Reduction

I know this is easier said than done, but it can and must be done. Try to identify what is stressing you and take steps to reduce it or preferably make it go away completely. Stress is part of life, there is no question about it but high-stress levels can be very damaging to our health especially if they accrue over a long period of time, so stress less… or at least try.

Practice “Me Time”

We all have things we love to do, things which calm us down and bring us joy. No matter how busy life gets it’s important to find the time for these activities, being a long bubble bath or a lonely walk in the woods… “me time” should never be optional… this is something which keeps us sane and can be extremely helpful when trying to achieve a healthy living state.

Good Night Sleep

Everyone knows that sleep is an essential part of life; an uninterrupted good nights’ sleep will go a long way to making our life better… make your bedroom nice and cozy, air it well, leave your phone outside the door, turn the TV off, pull the curtains too and sleep… try to leave day to day worries behind and just sleep… focus on your breathing, relax and sleep… everything will look much brighter after a good night sleep.

Stay Fit

We all need some form of exercise in our lives, walking, running, cycling or swimming, the choice is yours… but we all need it. It’s hard to know what form of exercise will suit us well, improve our well-being and bring us the most satisfaction, so you might want to consider a personal trainer for a while; trainers like Stephen Coleclough can guide us on the right track, can help to make us healthier, fitter and stronger.

Right Nutrition

This is most likely the more difficult one to achieve. Wherever you look there is a fast-food joint on every corner, shops are packed with unhealthy snacks and processed food, and we always lack time! But where there is no pain there is no gain… as they say… start from a position of smart shopping, buy raw ingredients instead of packed food, plan your meals, cook in batches when you have time so you have some healthy nutritional meal in your freezer once you don’t… swap crisps for nuts and cookies for fruit… take care of your body and in return, it will take care of you.

Right Friendships

We don’t live in a vacuum. Every day we are surrounded by 10s or 100s of people, we interact with them because we have to but what about the people we really want to spend our time with? A good, real friendship is the best cure… there really isn’t a better thing in life than having someone you can always count on. Look after those friendships, they take work too but in the end, it is worth it!

Do What You Love

Do what you want, do what makes YOU happy; after all life is short! Hate your job? Maybe it is time to quit and find something else which will give you an income? Drowning in debt? Maybe it’s time to downsize and finally put your life on the right track? Always wanted to see Paris? Why not buy the last minute ticket and go for a trip?

I know we all have our own burdens and responsibilities but at the end of the day ask yourself: Am I happy? Is this all I can expect from my life? If you are satisfied with the answer… good for you but if you are not, maybe it is time for a change… take baby steps but do something to improve the quality of your life before it’s too late.

7 tips on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in modern society. Healthy lifestyles should work for us, keep us fit, both body and mind, improve our health and well-being… healthy lifestyles should make us happy but how do we achieve it in modern society?

“Sustainable happiness is important, because it not only elevates our own well-being locally, but also contributes to the collective global flourishing.”
Lisa Cypers Kamen,

* This is a collaborative post.

#ThroughTheFleaHole

Have you ever wondered how celebrities live like? Have you ever dreamed of visiting their homes? Well, for some this dream can come true today, courtesy of Scrumble!

Take a tour of this mystery house and guess who lives in it for your chance of winning a fabulous pet pamper hamper!

To enter this giveaway please visit Frontline UK Facebook page and comment under the relevant video post.

Good Luck!

So, who lives in a house like this?

* This is a collaborative post.

How to Decipher Pet Food Labels

Let’s be honest, most food labels, being human or for our pets, are not really designed for your average Jo… you really do need specialist detailed knowledge if you wish to fully understand what you or your pet are eating. Human food labelling is slowly getting better, the regulations are changing and some labels are becoming straight forward, but what about pet food? Not so fast to change, so how do you go about deciphering that?

Well, this is a good question. Unclear terms and tons of marketing babble can make it really hard to truly understand what’s inside the packet.

Recently, I came across an article “Calls for clearer labelling on pet food” by Dogs Monthly, which features an infographic by Data Label. There was a part which really made me think.

What is Meat Meal?

Well, apparently there is no official definition of it, but it seems to be a high concentrated lower grade protein powder obtained from rendering down parts of an animal, which cost a fraction of the whole animal…

Every time you read on your label dehydrated, powder, dried, meal, concentrated… this is not whole meat, those are parts of the animal which are either surplus requirements in the human food industry or are not intended for human consumption… doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

Now here is another pet food labelling dilemma. Let’s say, I just bought a puppy and I want to buy a high protein dog food to help him grow up big and strong… I look at the labels, I study all the numbers and tables and pick the one which shows the highest amount of protein… sounds good, right? Well, not really… it’s maybe not the right choice or even a good choice because I have no idea what type of protein they are using… protein from the whole chicken does not equal proteins obtained from say chicken beaks or feet… yet looking at the labels I will never know which grade of protein is in the pack.

A lot of people think that naturally the more expensive the food, then the better quality it is… I personally strongly DO NOT agree with this! I think if this would be the truth then there would be no need for mystery labelling… I think the company would be proud to clearly state what’s in their food for everyone to understand without having a degree in deciphering mystery labels. Don’t ever underestimate what a fully funded marketing department can achieve.

If you hoped this post will give you an answer as to how to read pet labels, well, I am sorry I couldn’t help…

Pet food labelling shouldn’t be a mystery, it should be clear, simple and understandable to everyone, to all customers.

I hope one day this will become a reality!

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More on the topic:

The Science of Pet Food Labels

How to Read a Pet Food Label

Understanding Pet Food Labels