Eating Gluten Free with Udi’s

I participated in this program on behalf of Udi’s and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own!Do you know people that eat gluten-free diets? Maybe you do or someone else in your family? Our immediate family never did before, but I have a couple of close friends and other family members that have gluten sensitivities and have completely removed it from their diet. I’ll be totally honest–I thought gluten-free food would taste bad. Bland. Like a diet. I felt bad for the friends that HAD to eat that way…And then I actually tried it. We replaced parts of our diet with gluten-free counterparts (pastas, breads, pizza crusts, etc.). We buy Udi’s and it’s SO GOOD. Now I think the “worst” part about …

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If You Read One Thing Today, Pick an Article That Debunks An ACA “Horror Story”. Here Are Two…

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Serpentine ecosystems shed light on nature of plant adaptation, speciation

Plants that live in unusual soils, such as those that are extremely low in essential nutrients, provide insight into the mechanisms of adaptation, natural selection, and endemism. A seminal paper by Arthur Kruckeberg from 1951 on serpentine plant endemism has served as a solid bedrock foundation for future research on the link between natural selection and speciation. A recent article in the American Journal of Botany focuses on how this paper has influenced subsequent research on local adaptation, evolutionary pathways, and the relationship between climate, soils, and endemism.In the latest in a series of AJB Centennial Review papers, AJB Anacker (University of California, Davis) examines the impact that Kruckeberg’s 1951 AJB paper has had on our subsequent understanding of plant evolution and ecology.Kruckeberg’s classic paper reported on reciprocal transplant experiments, in which he made several generalizations about plant competition, local adaptation, and speciation. Kruckeberg showed that the strong selective pressures of serpentine soils — characterized by low amounts of essential nutrients and water, and high in heavy metals — can lead to the formation of soil ecotypes (genetically distinct plant varieties), representing a possible first step in the evolution of serpentine endemism (e.g., plants that are only found on serpentine type soils). These important initial findings spurred subsequent research on determining plant traits (from molecular to organismal) that underlie serpentine adaptation.Anacker draws attention to a second significant contribution of Kruckeberg’s paper — researching the historic origins of endemic species, such as those found in serpentine soils. Anacker explains that endemic species are thought to originate in two ways: neoendemics are species that have formed relatively recently via nearby progenitor taxa, and paleoendemics are species that formed following habitat-specific population extirpation. Kruckeberg viewed serpentine ecotypes as representing the first step along the path of paleoendemism. While this stimulated much research in this area, Anacker points out that several serpentine endemics appear to have arisen from nearby progenitor taxa, and thus the neoendemic pathway is also likely important.Interestingly, Kruckeberg’s experiments also showed that many serpentine ecotypes actually performed better on the non-serpentine soils than on serpentine soils, which begs the question of why serpentine-adapted plants are not also found on non-serpentine soils. Anacker points out that Kruckeberg was one of the first to indicate that competition may play a key role in serpentine specialization. He also highlights recent research indicating that serpentine species are typically slow-growing stress tolerators rather than fast-growing competitive dominants, and their adaptations for being more drought-tolerant puts them at a disadvantage in soils where water and nutrients are not limiting.While serpentine ecosystems are special and unique environments, Kruckeberg and subsequent researchers have shown how important these systems are for shedding light on broader aspects of plant ecology and evolution.The 1951 paper can be accessed online at: Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Journal of Botany. …

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Natural remedies for kids: Zarbee’s (coupon)

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Zarbee’s Naturals (#ZarbeesCough). I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.Did you know that about 10,000 kids every year are sent to the emergency room from accidental cough syrup overdoses? In 2007 the FDA stated these products were not safe for young children and many were then removed from store shelves or were labeled for ages 4 and up. So when you have little ones that need relief, where do you find it? It is miserable to see your babies not feeling well and being unable to help.natural remediesDr. Zarbock felt the same way for his 4 sons. He needed a solution and discovered a clinical trial that showed dark …

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Bloggers: get paid to work for great brands with #Markerly’s blogging network

Bloggers: get paid to work for great brands with #Markerly’s blogging network Emily Dickey posted this in Blogging~This post was written in a partnership with the blogging network Markerly. All opinions are my own.My blog started as a place to connect with friends and family when my husband and I lived out of state. It grew and turned into so much more. Now, my blog is my business and I make a very nice additional income for our family working from home. I love it!Part of how I make money is through blog networks that offer paid posts and sponsored content for influencer marketing. There are a lot of them out there so when you find one, sign up! You never know what opportunities might…

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Canvas prints of the kids for our new office

Canvas prints of the kids for our new office Emily Dickey posted this in ReviewsI love taking photos of the kids and we have professional family photos taken at least once a year. I upload them to my computer and most of the time that’s where they sit. If I’m on top of things (I’m not.) they get uploaded to Facebook for friends and family to see or I use some in a blog post… but I want them printed and displayed in our home!I love canvas prints because they add a special touch to your photo wall—something different to stand out from printed photos. And the bigger, the better! Last summer we had photos of the kids taken and they’re my favorite! I’ve used…

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The ACA getting the job done, and a great Health Wonk Review

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Long-Term Disability Claims – the Leading Causes

Long-Term Disability Claims – the Leading CausesPosted onJuly 11, 2013byRichard ReichIn the 2013 Long Term Disability Claims Review, the Council for Disability Awareness (CDA), examines and reports the leading causes of long-term disability claims.  The report includes causes of new claims approved during the current year, as well as existing or ongoing disability claims that were approved in previous years.From the report:The four most  common causes of existing long-term disability claims in 2012 were diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (30.7 percent of all existing claims), diseases of the nervous system and sense organs (14.2 percent), diseases of the circulatory system (12.1 percent) and cancer (9.0 percent).  These were also the top four causes in the previous two years. Cancer increased as a …

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Wish I could be… part of that world!

~I received product to facilitate this review of The Little Mermaid on Blu-ray/DVD. All opinions are my own!I want allllllll the Disney movies. I remember going over to my 2nd grade teacher’s house when I was a little kid (why? I have no idea), but I DO remember that she had a bookshelf FULL of Disney movies. I mean, like every one ever. And I.was.jealous. It instantly became my life goal, haha. Now with the new releases on Blu-ray and DVD (and, oh yea, it’s FOR THE KIDS, I swear), I’m starting my collection! We have a few Disney classics and some of the newer ones, too. I’m THRILLED to be reviewing the new Blu-ray The Little Mermaid!Ryan doesn’t …

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I. hate. meal. planning.

I. hate. meal. planning. ~I received meal planning services from eMeals to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own!You’d think this far into my “wife” and “work-at-home-mom” career thing I’d be used to planning dinners and cooking. Nope. Not a fan. When I cook, I HAVE to have a recipe, I’m terrible at throwing things together… so for me, the hardest part about cooking is figuring out what in the world to make! I realized that if I sat down every weekend and figured out meals for the next week–and then went to the store for those items–I could make it work.And THAT is exactly why I love eMeals. Love love love. It’s a life saver.What IS eMeals? A meal…

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Fecal microbiota transplantation as effective treatment for C. difficile and other diseases

Aug. 22, 2013 — Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has emerged as a highly effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, with very early experience suggesting that it may also play a role in treating other gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI diseases. The topic is examined in the Review Article, “An overview of fecal microbiota transplantation: techniques, indications, and outcomes” in the August issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.Fecal microbiota transplantation refers to the infusion of a suspension of fecal matter from a healthy individual into the GI tract of another person to cure a specific disease. FMT has received public attention recently with the publication of several studies showing that stool is a biologically active, complex mixture of living organisms with great therapeutic potential for Clostridium difficile infection and perhaps other GI and non-GI disorders. C. difficile is a bacterium recognized as the major causative agent of colitis (inflammation of the colon) and diarrhea that may occur following antibiotic intake. The disruption of the normal balance of colonic microbiota as a consequence of antibiotic use or other stresses can result in C. difficile infection. It is now estimated that 500,000 to 3 million cases of C. …

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High-angle helix helps bacteria swim

Aug. 13, 2013 — It’s counterintuitive but true: Some microorganisms that use flagella for locomotion are able to swim faster in gel-like fluids such as mucus. Research engineers at Brown University have figured out why. It’s the angle of the coil that matters.Findings are reported in Physical Review Letters.A high-angle helix helps microorganisms like sperm and bacteria swim through mucus and other viscoelastic fluids, according to a new study by researchers from Brown University and the University of Wisconsin. The findings help clear up some seemingly conflicting findings about how microorganisms swim using flagella, helical appendages that provide propulsion as they rotate.Simple as single-celled creatures may be, understanding how they get around requires some complex science. The physics of helical swimming turns out to be “a really interesting fluid dynamics problem,” said Thomas Powers, a professor of engineering and physics at Brown and one of the new study’s authors.At the scale of a single cell, fluids become much more viscous than on larger scales. A bacterium swimming through water “would be like us trying to swim in tar,” Powers said. That means swimming at the micron scale is a completely different enterprise than it is for fish or people. Counterintuitive as it may sound, tiny helical swimmers rely exclusively on drag to move forward. The turning flagellum creates an apparent wave that propagates out from behind the creature. …

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No evidence drugs, vitamins, supplements help prevent cognitive decline in healthy older adults

Apr. 15, 2013 — A review of published research has found no evidence that drugs, herbal products or vitamin supplements help prevent cognitive decline in healthy older adults.

The review, conducted at St. Michael’s Hospital, found some evidence that mental exercises, such as computerized memory training programs, might help.

“This review provides some evidence to help clinicians and their patients address what strategies might prevent cognitive decline,” said Dr. Raza Naqvi, a University of Toronto resident and lead author of the review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The issue is of particular importance given that mild cognitive impairment affects 10 to 25 per cent of people over age 70. Mild cognitive impairment is characterized by reduced memory, judgment, and decision-making skills compared to someone of a similar age, but not enough to interfere with daily activities.

The annual rate of decline into dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is about 10 per cent. Given that rate and the aging population, it’s estimated the number of Canadians with dementia will double to more than 1 million in the next 25 years.

They found no strong evidence for pharmacologic treatments such as cholinesterase inhibitors that were developed to improve the effectiveness of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that assists memory, thought and judgment.

Nor was there strong evidence that herbal supplements such as gingko improved cognitive functions or vitamins and fatty acids such as vitamin B6 or omega-3 fatty acids.

Some studies on estrogen actually indicated an increase in cognitive decline and dementia.

Evidence on the value of physical exercise, such as strength-training, was weak.

The strongest evidence was for the value of mental exercises such as computerized training programs or intensive one-on-one personal cognitive training in memory, reasoning, or speed of processing.

Dr. Naqvi said future studies should address the impact of cognitive training on the prevention of cognitive decline.

“We encourage researchers to consider easily accessible tools such as crossword puzzles and sudoko that have not been rigorously studied,” he said. “The studies in this review that assessed cognitive exercises used exercises that were both labour- and resource-intensive, and thus may not be applicable to most of our patients.”

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