Benefits of Sleep: Sleep Deeply, Live Longer

  If you woke up this morning feeling less than well rested, you’re not alone. No one is sure exactly how many of us spend our nights tossing and turning, but scientists estimate that somewhere between 10 percent to 34 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia. Our national lack of sleep amounts to big business for pharmaceutical companies, which spent more than $329 million in 2005 advertising prescription sleep aids (and it's getting worse). And those efforts have a big payoff — Americans … [Read more...]

Risk Factors for Developing Neck Pain

  It’s estimated that about 1 in 6 American adults experience neck pain in a given three-month time frame. Neck pain is a major cause of work absenteeism, work-related injury, and reduced quality of life. While some risk factors for neck pain may be unavoidable, many are not.   A systematic review completed by a team of authors from the Department of Orthopedics at Duke University concluded that work requiring sustained and/or awkward postures was the most important physical risk factor for neck … [Read more...]

The Relationship of the Hip, Low Back, and Knee

  The hip is a very unique joint. The depth of the socket, the strength of the muscles and ligaments surrounding it, and the way it functions in weight bearing activities is unlike any other joint in the body.   The hip joint is a synovial joint, meaning it moves freely. It is a ball-and-socket joint that is made up of the femoral head (the “ball”) and the acetabulum (the “socket”). The ball is largely contained within the cup or socket, though there are genetic and cultural differences with … [Read more...]

Healthy Grilling

  Willing as many of us are to make some changes in our eating habits in order to improve our health, along comes summer grilling, and all bets are off: In this country, cooking out means hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks.   But the people who worry about the amount of fat in our diets would prefer that we choose something else to cook outdoors. To tell the truth, they'd just as soon we cut back on charcoal grilling, period. As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says in its brochure … [Read more...]

Home Composting Made Easy

  A compost pile can magically transformation your kitchen scraps into rich, black soil for your garden. If you follow this standard set of directions for making compost, you can dump your garbage together and stand back. It's almost impossible to fail!   How to Compost The compost pile or "heap"—a mixture of decayed vegetable matter sometimes combined with manure—is an invaluable, yet inexpensive, device for providing the gardener with top-grade soil. Through the work of harmless bacteria, raw … [Read more...]

How To Grill Any Vegetable

  This guide serves as both a tool for grilling almost any kind of vegetable and as a template for a gorgeous (and tasty) vegetable tray for any summer cookout.   How Do I Prepare Vegetables for the Grill? The more surface area you give your vegetables for grill marks, the more flavor you’re going to get. This also makes them easier to move around the grill. Here’s how to prepare them: Bell peppers: Seed and quarter. Onions: Peel and quarter through the root. Yellow squash, zucchini, and … [Read more...]

Synthetic vs. Whole Food Vitamins

  The difference between synthetic vitamins and whole food vitamins is, essentially, the difference between something that's living and something that's dead. Don’t be fooled when the word “natural” is used on a label. It has no specific definition other than the substance can be found somewhere in the universe.   The words to look for are “Whole Food Vitamins”. This means vitamins as they are found in food that was delivered by Mother Nature. They are untampered with in any way that would … [Read more...]

Edible Flowers from the Garden

  Nothing brightens up a salad or serves as a better garnish than edible flowers. Who can resist smiling when served a plate complete with the happy faces of some pansies or violas looking up at you? Many restaurants are taking advantage of this phenomenon and including chives, calendulas, clovers, nasturtiums and marigolds in their meals. If you want to truly astonish your guest at your next dinner party, it might be time to include some edible flowers in the menu.   There are actually quite a … [Read more...]

5 Container Gardening Tips to Successfully Grow Produce

  If your yard is not that big, container gardening is a good option! Container gardens can include flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even small trees and shrubs. Here are some tips to get you started on this year's container garden.   Assess Your Sunlight You need to take notes on how much area receives full sunlight and for how long each day. Some plants do better in shade than others. So, you need to know how much exposure your containers are going to receive before you start your seeds … [Read more...]

Smart Gardening with Vegetables in Michigan

  It is the beginning of the vegetable gardening season in Michigan, and one of the questions a new vegetable gardener may ask is, “Can I plant vegetable seeds and transplants in the garden yet?” The answer is not a simple yes or no because several factors need to be considered; however, there are some easy ways to gauge when it is a good time to plant.   To best determine planting times, consider these first: Frost-free dates for your area. (Keep in mind that the last frost dates are averages; … [Read more...]