(NewsUSA) - When you walk down the aisles of your local grocery store, there's a good chance you'll see a parent or two scrupulously reading packaging for buzzwords, like healthy, organic and natural -- the list goes on. Maybe you're one of those parents.
When making food decisions for your family, you might be looking for healthy, delicious options that your children will want to eat. Notorious for being picky eaters, however, kids won't eat something unless it looks good. So, you must add one more element to your shopping criteria: visual appeal -- namely coloring.
Yogurt needs to have a pretty pastel hue. Fruit juices need to have sweet shades. And each cereal flake needs to look as inviting as the box promises -- like more than, well, just oats. The big question: How can this happen naturally?
"Natural colors are derived from all the active ingredients responsible for colors found in nature, like plants, fruits and vegetables," says Tammi Higgins, Natural Colors Commercial Development Manager at FMC. "They're used in food and beverages as an alternative to artificial colors made from coal tar and petroleum. Nature is able to provide bright and vivid colors in every shade of the rainbow."
Think of grapes and red beets -- likely items in your fridge.
Anthocyanins, derived from grapes and other fruits and vegetables, impart vivid pink to red to purple hues in a wide range of foods, including fruit chews and fruit-based beverages. And the beetroot helps intensify the color of tomato paste or achieve that familiar red in red velvet cake.
Annatto is also one of those beautiful color sources found in nature. It is the seed of the tropical bush Bixa Orellana -- known as the lipstick tree -- which is a plant native to Central and South America. In addition to being used as a spice in traditional cooking, annatto seeds can deliver a bright yellow to orange color, a hallmark of macaroni and cheese -- a perennial family favorite.
Foods with natural coloring offer a cleaner label with recognizable, non-chemical ingredients. Natural colors are derived from sustainable sources and adhere to vegan, Halal and Kosher standards. They can even be certified organic.
So, as you comb the grocery aisles for healthy alternatives for your family -- or the occasional candy-coated chocolate treat -- look for foods enhanced with colors from nature. Remember, anytime something is added to food, like a natural color to enhance its hue or salt, to preserve it, it's considered an additive. But when that additive comes from Mother
Nature, you can feel confident that you're making a smart choice.
(NewsUSA) - With solar installation booming in the U.S., a growing number of consumers are choosing American-made solar panels for their homes.
To date, about 13 gigawatts of solar electric capacity have been installed nationwide -- enough to power over 2 million households. Simultaneously, 82 percent of people who responded to a recent solar survey said they support making solar panels on American soil.
"We've all heard about the importance of manufacturing to the American economy," said Robert Fortunato, whose California home hosts 26 solar panels made by SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Ore. "We selected our U.S.-made solar system for its quality, reliability and financial return and because we think it's important to support American workers."
Solar installers and electricians offer a range of domestic products.
"We made a decision at PetersenDean to only source our solar products from North America. As a result, we're supporting the American economy, supporting American workers and reinvesting those dollars back in America," said Jim Petersen, founder of PetersenDean, a nationwide solar and roofing company.
According to industry experts, here are the top reasons that homeowners select solar panels from American manufacturers:
Quality and reliability. A residential solar system is, effectively, a power plant installed on a home rooftop, and it's designed to last at least 25 years. Consumers trust American solar manufacturers to stand behind their product guarantees because these companies rank high in measures of quality, responsiveness to warranty claims, accessibility for customer service and compliance with safety requirements.
Sustainability. Sustainably minded Americans see little logic in buying a solar system that was made in Asia and shipped via diesel-burning cargo ship halfway around the world. Instead, green buyers select American-made solar panels, produced according to stringent environmental, labor and quality standards, to reduce environmental impact.
Energy independence. For the U.S., solar power represents an important tool for achieving energy independence. Just as people believe the nation should not rely on the Middle East for imported oil, many also feel that America should not depend on foreign nations for solar technology and manufacturing.
American job creation. The U.S. solar manufacturing industry employs thousands of Americans across the country. Studies show that technology and manufacturing jobs, with comparatively high wages and benefits, are the types of jobs that the U.S. should aspire to create and maintain.
To learn more about American-made solar power, visit www.solarworld.com/MadeinUSA.
(NewsUSA) - Adding new carpet is an easy way to rejuvenate the look and feel of any room in your home. But when you own pets, finding a quality carpet that is easy to maintain can be a tiring task.
"If you're a pet owner, it's important to find carpeting that can withstand the toll pets can dish out on flooring," says carpet expert David Duncan of Mohawk Flooring, a carpeting brand that has produced SmartStrand -- a soil- and stain-resistant carpeting that has successfully taken on zoo animals, messy kids and a cross-country tour of squirts and spills.
Here are some tips:
Function: What is the room used for? For high-traffic areas, such as a family room, den or hallway, consider carpeting with built-in triexta fibers -- exclusive to Mohawk Flooring -- that are stain- and soil-resistant. A dining room carpet should be stain-resistant and easy to clean as well. Carpets with chemically applied stain protection treatments can lose their stain and soil resistance over time. Also consider the environment by choosing carpeting made in part with plant-based materials.
Design and Color. Want to make a room seem larger? Look for a light-colored carpet. Want cozy? Opt for dark. Want relaxing? Blues and greens can create a feeling of calm. In addition, different carpet textures add interest to any room. But regardless of color or style, if your room gets a lot of traffic, or if you have pets with preferred sleeping spots, choose a carpet with fibers designed to spring back into place, rather than the flagpole-shaped design of the fibers in some carpets. Carpets with kinked, spring-shaped fibers are designed to resist matting, and bounce back when walked or sat on.
Style and Softness. Comfort is a key factor when choosing a carpet for your home, especially if you have children or pets that spend a lot of time sitting or lying on the floor. Carpets with built-in stain protection have been shown to retain their softness over time, in part because there are no added chemical stain-protection treatments that might leave a rough or sticky residue.
Maintenance. High-maintenance carpets should be avoided in areas where there are children or pets. No one wants to spend a lot of time cleaning up the inevitable messes, and some high-maintenance carpet cleaning products can be hazardous to your home environment. Choose a carpet made of triexta fibers, which are designed to be dirt-resistant and can be cleaned easily with water and a mild detergent. In addition, take advantage of warranties offered by some carpet manufacturers on stains caused by pets.
(NewsUSA) - Whether you're building a new house or remodeling a cherished older property, the product choices you make are critical to the long-term enjoyment of your home.
"I advise consumers to 'start from the ground up' when thinking about the product needs for their home projects," says Mark Clement, professional contractor and co-host of MyFixitUpLife home improvement radio show. "Invest time to research products so you're comfortable with the final outcome."
Clement says the basement is a great starting point. "The foundation selection can determine if you'll be able to use the basement for simple storage space or as an active living area," says Clement. "By starting with energy-efficient precast concrete panels from Superior Walls, you can get a basement that is dry and comfortable for year-round use that also adds resale value to the home."
Moving up the house exterior, the largest "holes" in the home need special attention. Of course, we're talking about windows.
"When you think that a pane of glass is all that really separates you from the weather outside, it becomes very important as to what that glass and its frame are made of," says Clement. "For my money -- and for my home -- we selected Simonton windows with fusion-welded vinyl frames and argon gas fill to maximize energy efficiency."
Other "holes" that need filling are the main entry door and secondary doors leading to your patio, deck or garage. Clement recommends fiberglass doors for the main entry due to their resilience to dents, dings and rot.
"I've seen many fiberglass doors in the Therma-Tru product line that either have a smooth finish for painting or have a realistic woodgrain that can be stained in oak, mahogany, walnut or cedar," says Clement. You can also "dress them up" with low-maintenance urethane and PVC trim pieces. "Decorative Fypon products I've worked with are easy to install, resist rot and insects along with adding curb appeal to the home," he says.
Finally, Clement reminds homeowners not to overlook the roof. The right roof selection can last for 50 years, while a bad choice could be "gone with the wind" if severe weather strikes.
"We invested in a DaVinci Roofscapes polymer slate roof for our home and have never regretted the choice," says Clement. "This composite roof resists impact, fire and high winds."
For additional ideas for your home, visit www.myfixituplife.com and download the free "FRESH Color Schemes for Your Home Exterior" e-book at www.sensationalcolor.com.
(NewsUSA) - Got a headache? You're not alone.
Headaches are responsible for more than 18 million doctor's office visits annually in the U.S., and are the most common reason for reaching for over-the-counter medication. Likewise troubling is their toll on the economy: $25 billion in lost productivity, based on the estimated 156 million work days lost each year by sufferers sometimes too debilitated to even make it out of bed.
All of which helps explain why a study in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics is causing such a stir among health experts -- and prompting patients interested in drug-free alternatives to consider heading for their nearest chiropractor.
The study came down squarely in favor of chiropractic for two key types of sufferers. "Evidence suggests," it concluded, "that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches." The latter refers to headaches originating from faulty cervical and other spinal biomechanics often precipitated by awkward motion or positioning, and can be accompanied by neck, shoulder or arm pain.
What's more, even patients with episodic or chronic tension type headaches were found to be "helped" by doctors of chiropractic, who go through a minimum of four years of post-college chiropractic education and clinical training.
One man who knows that chiropractors can do even more to help relieve such conditions -- providing nutritional advice, posture coaching and exercises -- is Gerard Clum, DC, an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, who said in response to the study: "Chiropractic care helps relieve the stress on your nervous system. And it's fast becoming a go-to choice for providing a non-pharmacological approach to effectively manage headaches."
For more information, visit www.yes2chiropractic.org.
(NewsUSA) - These days, travel for baby boomers can be challenging. But AARP wants to make everyone's road to their favorite destinations quicker and more enjoyable through their new website, travel.aarp.org.
Multiple studies cite travel as the top aspirational activity for individuals ages 50 and over. And, recent research conducted by AARP shows that approximately 80 percent of people 50-plus spend between 30 and 36 hours a year researching, planning and booking their trips online. Ideally, they would prefer to spend about 12-18 hours per year doing so. Additionally, they spend about 18 hours a year online booking these trips, when they would rather spend 12 hours on this.
The nature of travel for boomers is diverse and includes business trips, visiting family members and taking exotic getaways. But online travel planning for any trip can be tedious, with time-consuming tasks of visiting many websites to get information to plan and book a trip.
The new AARP Travel website offers a one-stop shop to plan, book, and share a trip -- be it a quick weekend getaway or a longer vacation. Anyone can explore the site, which pulls together content, tools and features -- making each step both fun and easy.
The site's articles and tips are particularly geared toward helping people 50-plus think about fun ideas on where they may want to go, including food festival-themed trips, places to reimagine their lives and must-see international destinations. The site also offers more practical information such as saving money, locating accommodations for special health needs and managing safety concerns.
The site's interactive tools were designed to make the planning process easier and more delightful. If a user would like more ideas on places to go, AARP has created a "Trip Finder" tool that offers suggestions. Destination Guides include key information and details about specific locales, including suggested things to do. Within each guide, a detailed "Map Explorer" function shows users street-level details of an area's hotels, restaurants and attractions that can then be saved to "My Saved Trips," where users can save personalized itineraries and build upon them each time they return and log in.
For more information and travel tips for individuals 50-plus and their families, visit travel.aarp.org.
(NewsUSA) - The discrimination and stigma surrounding mental health challenges along with a troubling history of medically sanctioned treatments are no secret. Today, for someone with a psychiatric diagnosis -- such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar or ADHD -- the standard treatment is psychotropic medications that are always doctor-ordered and sometimes court-mandated.
Researchers and clinicians are now providing data suggesting that recovery is not always achieved solely with prescribed medications.
"By pursuing a multi-faceted approach that combines peer support, person-driven plans and other supports with medication at an individual's optimal level, if needed, we are witnessing results with much better long-term success," said Dr. Gina Firman Nikkel, president and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
Part of the equation is recognizing that psychiatric medications can come with side effects, and because each person's chemistry differs, these can range from minor to significant. Over long periods of use in particular, the side effects can outweigh the benefits, particularly when addiction is involved.
This recovery model for mental health care is not a one-size-fits-all cure. Because mental health issues develop regardless of age, race or income level, an approach that requires collaboration is crucial. Most importantly, individuals and their families who face mental health challenges need to realize that they have choices.
Dr. Nikkel's organization, which was founded in 2011, is driven by a mission to educate professionals and individuals with the goal of making the recovery model of care the new mainstream. As a community foundation with an international reach, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care funds independent research, new program development and awareness. "As a community mental health development bank, we match the passion of private philanthropy with today's top researchers to bring recovery practices to every community," said Dr. Nikkel.
For more information about the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, the programs and research it funds and how to help spread the message, visit www.mentalhealthexcellence.org.
(NewsUSA) - How smart is your home? You can make your home smarter and safer, and make your life easier, with these five simple switch-outs that make the most of emerging home technology, courtesy of Jack Thomasson, HGTV Smart Home House Planner.
* Entry level. You needn't throw away your key, but save it as a backup, and install a keypad at your front door instead. The latest keypads provide not only security, but also remote access via your smartphone. You'll never again have to wonder whether you locked the door; your smartphone, tablet or other Internet device will tell you if you did, and let you lock it if you didn't. Need to open the door for someone when you're not there? Keypads allow for that option as well.
* Perfect temperature. Want to come home to a cozy warm or comfortably cool house? Make the switch to a WiFi-accessible thermostat, and adjust the temperature of your home remotely.
* Guess-free garage. With wireless technology and your smartphone, you can check the status of your garage door and open or close it as needed.
* Who's there? Security cameras accessible from your smartphone let your house tell you who's making a delivery. In addition to viewing camera feeds, remote home monitoring systems allow you to arm or disarm your home security system and to receive specific notification by text, email or phone in case of emergency.
* Smart cookies. Preheat your oven while you're still at the grocery store. Certain apps and appliances will let you adjust and monitor your oven and other appliances remotely via your smartphone. You can adjust cooking temperature and set a timer, too.
Need more ideas and inspiration for how to make your home smarter? Check out the HGTV Smart Home 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The English cottage-style home includes three bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms, and lies in the fashionable Green Hills area of Nashville. The home's high-tech features include remote management of energy use, security, lighting and climate control.
Visit HGTV.com/smart (#HGTVSmart), and enter for a chance to win the home between April 15 and June 9, 2014. The HGTV Smart Home 2014 was designed by P. Shea Design and constructed by Carbine & Associates.
(NewsUSA) - Every time you buy a bottle of wine sealed with a natural cork stopper, you're helping to sustain one of the world's most biodiverse forests and protect an extraordinary ecosystem.
While it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to ensure that there is no shortage of cork is to use more cork. That is because the greater the demand for cork, the greater the economic incentive to protect the cork oak forests for future generations.
The 6.6 million acres of cork oak forests in the Mediterranean Basin not only serve as a refuge for endangered species, they also help reduce greenhouse emissions. It seems like a small thing, but every cork stopper represents a carbon offset of 113.5 grams. Looked at differently, the 6.6 million acres of Mediterranean cork oaks capture approximately 14.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Not only do cork oak forests provide a significant carbon offset, but cork stoppers are 100 percent natural and recyclable; they are truly the gift that keeps on giving.
"We have recycled more than 47 million cork stoppers and have planted more than 8,000 cork oaks," says Matt Hughes, brand manager at ReCORK, North America's largest cork recycling initiative. "Our recycled corks are used to replace petroleum-based materials in consumer products and to extend the useful life of wine corks."
Contrary to popular opinion, cork oaks are never harmed or cut down during the harvesting process. Highly skilled professionals use axes to safely and carefully strip the bark. On average, 90 to 130 pounds of bark are harvested from each cork oak. Each tree can produce enough cork for 4,000 to 6,000 stoppers.
Cork's unique attributes make it a highly versatile material. Because cork is composed of a honeycomb of microscopic cells, it is very light, easy to compress yet strong, impermeable to liquids and gases, adaptable to temperature and pressure, an insulator against moisture and noise, and resistant to fire. When it comes to preserving wine, cork allows just the right amount of oxygen to interact with the liquid, making it the perfect material to allow wine to age properly. And when it comes to the wine experience, no artificial stopper can come close to reproducing the iconic "pop" when the cork is removed.
In recent years, fashion designers and shoe manufacturers such as Stella McCartney and SOLE have started to use cork to create their signature footwear.
Says Mike Baker, Founder and CEO of SOLE: "The transformation of used wine corks into durable and attractive footwear is an elegant way to extend the lifecycle of this remarkable material while providing consumers with a terrific new product that literally lightens their carbon footprint."
(NewsUSA) - Home health care is an essential part of the nation's health care system.
Rapid advances in technology and new ways health care is provided to patients have created new opportunities to receive care at home. The health care community is constantly evolving and understanding that not only does home health care reduce the overall cost of treatment, it also improves the quality of life of patients and their families. In fact, a recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that people receiving home care tend to live longer and have a better quality of life.
Home health care providers include medical professionals like physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists, as well as medical social services providers and skilled home health aides. It's the best way to ensure ill, elderly or disabled people receive high-quality health care in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. In addition, home health nurses serve as the eyes and ears of physicians, keeping them up-to-date on recovery and alerting them to potential health concerns.
As home health agencies coordinate a plan of care with your physician, there are dozens of administrative and operational tasks that go on "behind the scenes" concerning scheduling and planning patient care. That's where companies, like Axxess, a technology company that integrates home health care software to promote quality health care services, come in.
The Axxess software is a complete, end-to-end solution for home health care agencies to manage and efficiently run their businesses. It allows an agency to deliver the best tools possible to their health care providers for excellence in patient care.
Axxess puts all care and administrative aspects of a home health care agency at the fingertips of managers and providers: care plans, patient data, medication management, assessments, clinical progress notes, scheduling and billing. This type of software is user-friendly, cost-effective and secure and with ongoing customer training and support available at no additional cost, Axxess has quickly become the industry's fastest-growing home health software.
Axxess is committed to advancing the technology of health care. For home health providers who use their mobile device, Axxess has a free mobile app. Axxess clients can download the app for free and get driving directions to patient's homes, see their daily schedule at a glance and keep in touch with agencies for real-time patient care and collaboration. For more information, visit www.axxess.com.