Wellness Goals for Optimal Health

Some are calling January a “free trial” month to overall wellness goals for 2019; but, the effort really begins now. There are a few cautionary lifestyle areas that nutritionist and lipid biochemist Dr. Alvin Berger, who is also a co-founder of LifeSense Products, and is a featured specialist in the web series, “Real Skinny on Fat,” which was spotlighted on The Dr. Oz show.

Dr. Alvin Berger

Dr. Alvin Berger

From simple sugars to diet to exercise and sleep, Dr. Berger outlines a few lifestyle areas to pay attention to in 2019 to achieve optimal health.

4 Wellness Goals for 2019

  1. Diet: Minimize simple sugars: We all love simple sugars, technically mono- and disaccharides. These are glucose, fructose, sucrose, and several others, found in abundance in many foods under various pseudonyms. They are no friend to losing weight because they are readily converted to fat. They are no friend for sugar management because they can rapidly elevate blood sugar, which is terrible for diabetics, and in non-diabetics, results in feelings of low energy during blood sugar swings. Simple sugars are readily converted to body (adipose fat).
  2. Enjoy a Keto/Low Carb lifestyle, but without the stress and extreme regimentation of a traditional ketogenic diet: The jury is out. Low Carb, Keto-friendly diets are healthy for us, and are a major trend in the USA and soon globally. This is not just a fad, but a new lifestyle dogma. Humans do not have an obligate requirement to consumer sugars, and evolutionarily, likely consumed high healthy fat rich, low carb diets. In modern society, it is very challenging to consume a traditional ketogenic diet (90% of calories as fat), or even a newer fanged ketogenic diet with 75% of energy from fat, 20% from protein, and 5% of carbs. I am still advocating consumption of low carb, lower glycemic index carbs, but it is very important for adherence/stickability to low carb regimens, to not limit carbs too severely. The consumed carbs can be part of alternating meals in the same day. Or, it is feasible to have days where carbs are consumed in more abundance, and the individual can return to a lower carb regimen the next day without need to start the metabolic adaption process all over.
  3. Exercise Smarter: For competitive athletes, simple sugars are a great energy source, providing rapid energy for our exercised tissues. However, amongst us weekend warriors, too much simple sugars, can result in sluggish athletic performance, and even gaining weight. MCTs and exogenous ketone body salts, provide for more sustained energy than simple sugars and carbs and this is particularly important for endurance sports like cycling. Even in non-endurance sports like gymnasts and karate athletes, studies showed consumption of MCT oils did not diminish athletic performance, but allowed the athletes to decrease their fat mass. Due to digestive tolerance, some trainers will recommend MCT oils be consumed before and after sports to help with post-workout recovery. It is also recognized that loss of concentration and alertness is a major issue in athletes, particularly as they push their physical limits. In a recent study, MCT oils were shown to improve cognitive responses in exercised athletes.
  4. Sleep better: The lack of sleep in the human population is becoming epidemic. Recent studies show that at least 50% of teenagers, partly due to social media habits, do not sleep nearly long enough. The elderly lose sleep due to loss of melatonin and medications are known to not sleep enough. University students as a result of ingesting sugary, caffeinated drinks and tablets.

About Dr. Berger: Nutritionist and lipid biochemist Dr. Alvin Berger (MS, Ph. D, Prof) is also a specialist in ketogenic fats with 89-peer reviewed publications in scientific journals and 139 presentations on lipids at technical conferences.  Dr. Alvin Berger has 30 years of research experience in nutritional and pharmaceutical sciences in both academic and commercial settings. He has been responsible for leading teams and identifying research directions to support business goals, and developing, designing and releasing new products. A past NIH Fellow, Adjunct Professor Nutrition, and CEO of Sciadonics, Inc., Dr. Berger is also the co-founder of Life Sense Products, and is a featured specialist in the web series, “Real Skinny on Fat,” where he provides insights about KetoMCT and other ketogenic fats, which most recently was spotlighted on The Dr. Oz show.

Visit: https://lifesenseproducts.com/ and https://therealskinnyonfat.com.

5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier

More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.

To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.

“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”

Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.

  1. Ease Kids’ Minds – Pets are beneficial to people of all ages, but especially young children. Kids with pets tend to have less anxiety and loneliness, as well as greater self-esteem and social skills. Kids have also reported feeling more positive when completing a task if their dog is with them.

  1. Provide Stress Relief – As people get older, pets continue to be there for them. Even in the face of significant stressors – such as the loss of a loved one – pets are by their owners’ sides to help them through times of grief.

  1. Offer Therapy in Times of Need – Disasters can take many forms, and people need ways to cope and make sense of it all. That’s where the healing power of pets comes in. After tragedies, communities have brought in therapy pets to be a source of healing for people coping with hardships.

  1. Encourage Socialization for Pets and Owners – Pets help people connect. In fact, dog owners are five times more likely to know their neighbors than non-dog owners. While dogs socialize with people and other furry friends at the dog park, their owners have a chance to build relationships with other local dog owners. People also tend to feel safer in their neighborhood when walking their dog.

  1. Encourage Owners to Be Active – People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t. Pet ownership can even make a difference in the survival rate for heart attacks. In a Waltham study, 94 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks for at least a year, compared to 72 percent without pets. (Family Features)

Photos courtesy of Fotolia.

Mars Petcare

HIIT Workouts Are A HIT for Millennials Who Lack Time or Money for Fitness

 Vince Sant, Millennial Fitness Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of V Shred Shares Expert Insights

Millennials commonly referred to as “generation stress” would benefit most from a steady workout routine. Yet, according to a survey conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2019, 50% claim to be too busy to exercise and 35% admit to a lack of motivation.

Of the ones who do try to work out, they don’t want to be tied to expensive memberships at massive gyms. They prefer a smaller studio experience and at-home workouts leading to the growing popularity of online portals and fitness apps.

To serve up some tips specifically for millennials looking to shred up, is Vince Sant male model, Certified Fitness Trainer, Millennial Fitness Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the V Shred online fitness portal currently “blowing up” online.

With over 600k followers on Instagram and over 800k You Tube Subscribers, Vince is a legit fitness influencer committed to offering fellow millennials fast, efficient, workouts that they can stick with that deliver visible results.  

1. Do a quick HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all over social media featuring workouts that combine short bursts of intense moves done for a shorter amount of time, followed by a short rest. These bursts get the heart pounding fast and can boost cardio-respiratory health in less time.

When you do 8 burpees in 20 seconds, knee raises for 20 seconds, then a 20 second rest. Then you do jumping jacks for 20 seconds, push-ups for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and then repeat the circuit for 10 minutes, you will see how fast it goes and how your breathing becomes heavier as your cardiovascular system is being challenged.

Vince Sant explains that “Millennials want to see fast results. We are used to immediate gratification so when you feel your body firming up and notice clothes fitting differently within a few days, you’ll be more likely to stick with it.”

2. Create an at-home mini gym that won’t break the bank.

According to Vince, whose V Shred fitness program can be done in the gym or at home, you can get away with zero equipment but if you want to take it up a notch, there are a few must-haves.. 2 dumbbells (5, 10 and 20 pounds, for beginners), resistance bands and a work out mat. “You don’t need to get too fancy with contraptions and complicated machines shown on TV. You can get a lot accomplished with these basic things that aren’t expensive at all,” says Vince.  

3. No Equipment No Problem!

Check out this popular YouTube video of Vince demonstrating at-home moves using your own body resistance that can be done in under 5 minutes.

4. Create time by being body efficient.

HIIT exercises can be done within 5 minutes right in your home so time isn’t really an issue. You want to think in terms of seconds. Each move done for 25 seconds, adds up to a fast chunk of minutes. You become much more efficient and body confident as you see what you can accomplish within 90 seconds. “Imagine if all you did to get started the first week was a 20-second plank, followed by 5 push-ups, then a 30-second plank, then 30 seconds of jump squats daily before your shower. That’s less than 2 minutes and you can always increase each week,” encourages Vince.

5. Pay attention to your breathing.

Muscles need oxygen to operate at full capacity. You really want to inhale during the easier part of the move then exhale when more strength is required. “In the case of squats, you would inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up. It’s amazing how many people aren’t breathing correctly, then feel tired or even dizzy when working out. Don’t be afraid to breathe deeply. Your body needs the oxygen and the more it needs, the more work you’re getting done,” says Vince.

6. Bash through boredom by with fun, fast supersets.

Supersets call for doing multiple exercises back-to-back. “This not only helps the workout go by quicker, but it also bumps up the number of calories burned.

When doing full-body workouts, to maintain a high intensity and get the most out of pairing exercises back-to-back, alternate between upper and lower body movements. That way, one muscle group is always recovering while the other is working.

An example of a superset is 10 squat jumps followed by 20 seconds of tricep dips, 20 seconds of mountain climbers, then 15 bicep curls. You can do 4 reps of these supersets and feel that burn within 5 minutes.

7. None of it matters without the diet.

A lot of millennials use food as their motivation thinking they can eat whatever they want if they just work out. While it’s true that millennials have younger and faster metabolisms, they are also part of a generation exposed to high fructose corn syrup and supersized everything. “Eating well, along with daily workouts are what maintains your results, and you want to plan 10 years out. If you want to look and feel amazing well into your 40’s, then what you do at 25 and 30 will establish the lifestyle necessary for a long-term gain,” Vince says. He humorously adds, “Fitness is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition, you can’t out-run your fork.”

About V Shred: 

V Shred is the fastest growing fitness and nutrition brand in the world offering online training programs designed to put the fun back into fitness and nutrition. V Shred provides a results-driven enduring lifestyle change instead of a frustrating battle that is easy to give up on. With a support network comprised of trusted accredited advisors and virtual personal trainers, people meet their fitness, nutrition, and goals. 

The company, co-founded in 2015 by Nick Daniel, Roger Crandall, Kevin Pearn, and Vince Sant, sought out to create a healthy fitness movement specifically designed to deliver profound changes in your body with the minimal amount of workout time. V Shred has created some of the world’s most popular fitness and nutrition programs such as Fat Loss Extreme for men and women, Toned in 90 Days for women and Ripped in 90 Days for men. 

The diet that accompanies the workouts in these comprehensive fitness programs, offers plenty of healthy food options and recipes. V Shred’s supportive coaches encourage “portion empowerment” which inspires people to eat and enjoy food knowing it’s the fuel they need to achieve the results they seek. 

V Shred is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information visit http://www.vshred.com.

5 Ways to Avoid an Energy Crash

If you start each day motivated but find your energy tends to fade throughout the day, a few simple and easy-to-implement changes to your routine could make all the difference. Minor adjustments to your eating habits, exercise routine and mental attitude can help boost energy levels so you can power through the day feeling fully charged.

Tune in. Take the silence out of a dull morning with some of your favorite music to help ensure you’re starting the day on a positive note. Turn on the radio while you’re showering, plug in headphones while preparing breakfast or set a “wake up and get ready” playlist on shuffle during your commute.

Start with breakfast. It’s fairly common to skip breakfast if you’re in a rush to get out the door, but those few minutes you save in the morning can end up costing you as the day wears on. That’s because breakfast quite literally breaks your overnight fast and sends signals to your body that it’s time to kick back into gear for the day. With a convenient option like the Nescafé Coffee Protein Smoothie, you can hack your morning routine so that you can get more out of your day. Made with real 100 percent Colombian Arabica coffee, oats and almond butter, this ready-to-drink smoothie contains 15 grams of plant-based protein and as much caffeine as one cup of coffee to help you prepare for the day ahead.

Get creative. If you typically spend your mornings focused on routine tasks, give your brain some creative freedom. Carving out time during the day for an activity you enjoy, such as sketching or coloring, watching inspirational videos, meditating or even brainstorming outside-the-box ideas for a fictional client, can help increase productivity when you turn your focus back to the task at hand.

Shake up your afternoon pick-me-up. Mornings can go by in the blink of an eye, but afternoons sometimes seem to drag. A little boost may be all you need to keep going. Reward your hard work with an option like a Nescafé Cold Whipped Latte and enjoy a perfectly indulgent afternoon treat. Give it a quick shake and the chilled blend of coffee, creamy milk and coffee or French vanilla flavors create layers of barista-inspired froth and foam to deliver a coffee-shop experience right at your desk.

Prep for the next day. If you’re apt to take your work home with you, consider jotting down any end-of-day work thoughts and tasks for the following day before you leave for the night. Keeping a physical to-do list or journal can provide a starting point for the next morning. This can help prevent forgetfulness, reduce stress and potentially aid in getting a better night’s sleep because your brain isn’t buzzing from trying to keep a mental checklist.

Find more inspiration to energize your morning and shake up the afternoon at Nescafe.com/us. (Family Features)



A Valentine for a Caregiver

Written by Peter Rosenberger, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine  

Peter Rosenberger

Peter Rosenberger

Of the 43.5 million of those providing unpaid care to an adult or child in the last year, AARP shares that 60 percent are women.  Following a somewhat exhaustive search, no data seems to exist reflecting how the laundry and household chores are divided between men and women. Based upon calls to my show and conversations had with many male caregivers, however, a growing trend seems to show that while their wives struggle to care for an aging parent, many men seem to overlook the growing pile of laundry in the home—as well as other things.

In addition, the iron seems to fall into disuse during lengthy caregiving stints.  While food arrives in the home via carryout or delivery, the pantry itself lacks basics being restocked. If made, the beds don’t often see fresh linens, and the bathrooms …well, let’s just say that they don’t reflect a “freshness.”

For a wife following a heartbreaking day of watching a parent (s) slip away, arriving home to an untidy house, piles of laundry, a packaged meal, and a bathroom that, well …, only adds to the weariness.

As the baby-boomer population ages, the strain on American households will only increase. Shared responsibilities must become a conversation topic for the family unit.  If not, resentment is only a hamper away.

To their credit, many men seem sincere in adapting to tasks previously assumed or regulated by women.  The conversation about household chores among the sexes, however, is not about gender equality.  It’s about love and consideration.  Serving as a caregiver wears on the soul and body in ways only understood by those who’ve punched that clock. Years into the role, the little things increase in value to the family caregiver. Folded laundry, a clean bed, heart-healthy home-cooked meal, a well-stocked pantry, and timely paid bills.

All too often on Valentine’s Day, the traditional gifts of chocolate, flowers, dinner out, and sometimes lingerie serve as the expressions of love.  For a caregiver, however, those things seem perfunctory or sometimes meaningless. Imagine crying your eyes out after bathing or wiping your mother who lives with dementia —and who curses at you while doing so, and then going home to a messy house and a needy husband.

What about that cries out “romance?” For that matter, how does it even reflect love?

Caregivers want to be seen. They want their pain acknowledged, and they don’t want platitudes or the low-hanging fruit of customary gifts. Picture instead, wonderful chocolates resting on a clean pillowcase in a freshly made bed.  Or a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a scrubbed and sparkling bathroom. Instead of lingerie, men …lay out the most comfortable pajamas she owns.

Planning a meal requires a bit of effort. Simply firing up the grill isn’t enough. Setting a proper table and serving heart-healthy meals that reflect thoughtfulness and observation of what your spouse enjoys. When serving dinner, the keyword is “serving,” and cleaning is just as important as cooking.  The task remains unfinished until the kitchen and/or dining room are restored to pristine condition.

Loving without expecting represents a higher form of love. Seeing and meeting the need without requiring recognition or even a “thank-you” expresses a deeper awareness and character.  In the case of a caregiver, the greatest expression they may be able to give is to fall asleep while you tuck them into bed. Their rest can be all the recognition the spouse or partner of a caregiver needs.

February 14 becomes just another day when bent under the grief of caring for an impaired loved one. Yet that same day can signify a milestone in any relationship when a supporting partner pushes past the stereotypes and steps into a level of love that many desire, but few have the courage to offer—or receive.

A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference. – Winne the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

 About Peter Rosenberger

Peter Rosenberger hosts a radio program for family caregivers broadcast weekly on more than 200 stations. He has served as a caregiver for his wife Gracie, who has lived with severe disabilities for more than 30 years. He is the author of several books including Hope for the Caregiver@hope4caregiver

Meet the New Standard in Party Wellness

A night at a bourbon festival leading to six entrepreneurial minds creating the ultimate hangover cure seems a bit too cliche to be true, but for The Rally Patch, it’s a story of how an all natural, vitamin power-punch has come to be the new standard in party wellness.

Paul and Sheri Bartoszek are Mufreesboro, TN, natives. The couple is what the world would call good samaritans. They have spent many hours providing breathalyzer tests for beer and wine events in downtown Nashville in efforts to make booze-ridden socializers more aware of their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Paul Bartoszek is a former police officer, and Sheri Bartoszek had lost an uncle to drunk driving so the issue of safe driving had always resonated with them both. The company was initially launched as a result of the breathalyzer initiative they had begun.

Pour the bourbon. Music entrepreneur Andrew Cohen was attending a bourbon festival in Nashville when he was given a patch. Reluctantly, he stuck the patch to his body and proceeded with an evening that, based on his beverage intake, should have yielded a punishing next day.

Meet word-of-mouth. Cohen shares the success of conquering Kentucky brown-water by way of said patch with fellow music entrepreneur Jarrod Holley, who coincidentally had just spoken with festival producer Brad Parker and serial investor Daniel Sullivan about the work hard, play hard culture young professionals embody. The four then contacted Paul and Sheri to see how they could help turn this patch into a staple of Music Row, and beyond.

Assemble the crew: After road testing the original bulky cardboard packaging with artists, entertainment professionals, and all-day partygoers, the group realized they needed to enhance the packaging. In doing so, they landed on a conveniently sized foil sleeve that protects the patch from any damage while it’s in your pocket, purse, etc. Once they had given out the product, they also realized our consumers were often the type that could not allow their hangover to hinder the next day, thus needing to Rally the following morning after a night out.

Ready to Rally. Rally Patch has been embraced by both young professionals balancing the demands of late-night socializing and day-jobs, as well as parents confronted with early-rising children after a night out. The 2 x 2 inch patch is rich with vitamins often used to combat the defeating effects associated with hangovers, and it is most effective when applied when the drinking starts.

Cheers! Priced at $5 per patch, it is cheaper than a craft beer in Music City.

Disclaimer: The RallyPatch does not affect or reduce one’s alcohol blood level and does not prevent or reverse sensory impairment. Do not operate machinery or vehicles after alcohol consumption. Individual results may vary. Not intended for minors. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Learn more at www.therallypatch.com.

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Kids and Screen Time

 Written by Reena B. Patel, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine 

Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers up the facts on how screen time may be harming our children and what to do about it

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in 1970 children didn’t start regularly watching TV until they were four years old. Today, they report that children begin interacting with digital media at four months old. One look around and it’s easy to see that many children have their own cell phone, tablet, television, or other type of screen that is occupying a lot of their time and attention. The problem with this is with all that screen time there are numerous ways that research shows it may be harming kids. From the smallest of toddlers who are glued to watching tablets and televisions, to teens who are using their devices almost constantly, it’s prompted concerns that every parent should be aware of.

“There is no denying that technology plays a major role in our lives today, but when it comes to our children we need to be aware of the challenges it can cause,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author. “Children’s cognition skills are still developing, so it’s imperative that we take that into account when it comes to their screen usage time.”

In the same report, the AAP reports that 75 percent of children ages 0-8 have access to a mobile device, and that most one and two-year-olds are using a mobile device on a daily basis. This trend continues through every age group. The average 8-10 year old is spending around eight hours per day on various forms of media, and older children are spending more than 11 hours per day. A Pew Research Center report shows that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” and 92 percent of them report using their mobile devices on a daily basis.

As many would suspect, all of this screen time coming from phones, tablets, and televisions, raises some questions about how healthy it is. In a separate AAP statement, they report that the cognitive impact of the media depends on the child ages, the kind of programming or games they are playing, and social context of viewing. They find that there are both negative and positive outcomes.

When it comes to adolescents, screen time can have a negative impact. The research shows that adolescents who spend more time on electronic communication and screens (such as social media, texting, and gaming) and less time on non-screen activities have a lower psychological well-being. In addition, excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, aggression, sleep problems, and other behavioral problems.

Most parents realize that children also engage in learning activities and even have homework assignments they need to use screens for. They are a part of life and a part of their learning experience, as well as their entertainment one. Rather than sheltering kids from social media and screens, parents should strive for teaching them healthier ways to use them, and how to maintain a balance. With screens here to stay, it’s important that parents take steps to help keep their child’s time spent on them in check. Here are some tips to do just that:

  • It’s recommended that children under the age of two not be exposed to screen time at all. For children over the age of two, it’s recommended that the screen time be kept to one to two hours per day at the most.
  • Discuss the screen time challenges with your children, especially when they are adolescents and teens, so they understand the concerns. Ask your child what are the pros and cons of unlimited or excessive use of devices. Devise a plan for using screens, which limits the amount of time they can be used each day. When children are involved with developing the plan, they are more likely to follow the rules they helped create.
  • Encourage kids to create a balance between screen time and non-screen time. It’s important that kids of all ages engage in physical and social activities that do not involve the usage of screens. Encourage them to have real-life relationships, rather than their friendships being all online or done through electronics.
  • Create rules that will help give them boundaries about when they can use their devices. For example, no devices at meals, and no phones allowed in their bedrooms overnight.
  • Find non-screen activities that the whole family can engage in. This will help them create bonds and learn healthy social behaviors.
  • Use positive parenting techniques when working with kids to help teach them the limits of screen and social media time.
  • Be the example that you want them to follow. From young children to teens, they are watching what parents do when it comes to screen time. Parents who overuse screen time are setting that same example for their children. Having healthy screen habits will teach children to do the same.
  • Parents should be familiar with all the apps and devices their children use. They should have access to the social media apps as well. Ex: Instagram can be created and monitored from a parents account and note on social media pages that it is “parent monitored.” Also, become familiar with Internet safety, including setting parental controls, and how to avoid giving too much personal information online.

“This is an issue that we can’t ignore and hope that it gets better,” added Patel. “We have to take the time to address it, no matter how old our kids are. The technology may be newer to us, but it’s always been a part of their lives, it will continue to be part of their everyday lives and they need to know how to use it in a healthy and constructive manner. They need parental guidance to get there.”

Patel is the founder of AutiZm & More, and as a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and in community settings. She does workshops around California, where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of two children’s books that teach compassion and kindness, called “My Friend Max: A Story About a Friend with Autism,” and “Winnie & Her Worries,” both available on Amazon. To learn more, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com.

Reena B. Patel

Reena B. Patel

About Reena B. Patel

Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com and to get more parenting tips follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.


American Academy of Pediatrics. Children and adolescents and digital media. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162593.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Decreases in psychological well-being among American adolescents after 2012 and links to screen time during the rise of smartphone technologyhttps://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000403.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing Media. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Managing-Media-We-Need-a-Plan.aspx.

Pew Research Center. Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/.

What Your Sleeping Style Says About Your Relationship

Written by Lisa Smalls, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine  

Our beds are a sacred place. It’s the place where we sleep, dream, pound a bag of potato chips and make love. Our sleep space is the place we are most vulnerable and letting someone into your bed is an intimate step to take in any relationship. While sharing a bed can be fun (in more than one way), it can also be frustrating. All of a sudden there is another person hogging the covers, snoring, or kicking you in your sleep. In some sense, the way a couple shares a bed echoes the dynamics of their relationship. Intimacy, independence, selfishness, sacrifice – it’s all lurking right there under the covers.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

Sleep is important in every aspect of our life—mental, physical, and emotional. In fact, one study has found a connection between sleep and relationship satisfaction, where 96% of respondents who said they were well-rested felt satisfied with their current relationship compared to 75% who said they were not well-rested. One suggestion for this difference in satisfaction could be that lack of sleep intensifies conflict among couples.

As with many compatibility concerns at the beginning of a relationship, there’s no telling how your sleeping position preferences might differ from that of a partner. But as you experiment with sleep arrangements that work best for both of you, the essential tools for relationship success apply: cooperation and communication.

Does the way we sleep tell us something deeper about our relationship?

It’s possible. Here’s what some of the experts have to say:

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash. 

Mature relationships result in more separate sleeping positions.

Although some people suggest sleeping on separate sides of the bed with minimal touching indicates a lack of connection between a couple, it could also just mean the honeymoon phase is over and getting quality sleep becomes more important than intimate cuddling. Especially if there are children in the house! Other relationship psychologists suggest sleeping back to back without touching is healthy and communicates this couple is connected but secure in themselves. This position shows both closeness and independence.

Spooning is more common in younger couples.

By young, we don’t mean in actual age, but rather the longevity of the relationship. This makes sense considering more mature couples prefer less physical sleeping positions. According to one study, only 18% of couples assume the spooning position when they hit the hay. But for those who do, this sleeping position indicates a more protective stance of one partner and vulnerability of the other that communicates trust.

Assuming a more physical sleeping position leads to sex most often. Dozing off face to face with legs intertwined is a pretty passionate way to sleep. It’s not surprising this sleep position leads to more sex.

No matter how you choose to sleep beside your partner, no position will compensate for the discomfort of your sleeping structure. In fact, finding a bed that meets each person’s sleeping needs is just as important as discussing expectations come nighttime. Do your research and read quality reviews. But don’t forget to keep these tips in mind when discussing sleeping arrangements:

The bigger the bed the less likely you are to feel your partner’s movements! While some couples prefer to cuddle each night, it’s better to have the option to default to your separate sides than having no room for adjustment at all.

Memory foam helps absorb the movements of your sleeping partner. Memory foam without a doubt is one of the best materials for isolating movement while sleeping, as compared to a traditional innerspring mattress. However, the most common complaint with memory foam is that it traps body heat, which is no bueno for your and your significant other. Be assured! There have been huge improvements in memory foam construction over the years to help promote airflow and keep you cool all night long.

Dual-Sided Mattresses Exist! Yep, that’s right. If you and your sleep partner can’t agree on a mattress that suits you both, consider a split king or queen. Each of you can customize your side to your preferred firmness and comfort level. Talk abou a win-win.

Sleep is vital to our overall health and well-being—the well-being of our bodies and relationships! Prioritize sleep and and take the steps you need to protect it.

3 Ways to Make Your Heart Healthier

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? One in four people die from it each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have it or are at risk of developing the disease. Smoking, being overweight or having diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease all increase your chances of getting the disease.

The good news is that you can do something about it.

“It’s never too late – or too early – to lower your risk for heart disease,” said Josephine Boyington, Ph.D., a nurse, licensed nutritionist and program director in the Division of Cardiovascular Health at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Heart disease is a general term for a variety of conditions, such as clogged arteries, that make it difficult for your heart to pump blood properly,” she said. “Adopting small changes, like moving more and following a heart-healthy eating plan, can make a big difference. Research has shown that making healthy lifestyle changes that last can be a lot easier when you have friends or family doing it with you.”

To mark American Heart Month, the NHLBI – the nation’s leader in research on the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders – is encouraging that kind of group support. It is celebrating “Our Hearts,” a national effort to motivate Americans to join each other in adopting heart-healthy behaviors throughout the year and beyond.

Ready to start? Here are three tried-and-true ways you and your friends and family can help each other give your hearts a boost.

1. Adopt a healthy eating plan. Try NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. It’s free and, when compared to a typical American diet, has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels. The DASH eating plan features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts and lean meats, and it limits foods that are high in saturated fats, sugars and sodium. Have fun with menus by inviting friends to join you for a heart-healthy dinner party or start a lunch club at work and trade creative recipe ideas with your colleagues.

2. Move more and #MoveWithHeart. One of the major risk factors for heart disease is inactivity. Getting up and moving helps lower that risk – and you don’t need to put in hours at a time to see results. Breaking up your daily activity into small chunks, such as 10-minute increments three times a day for five days a week, can begin to make a difference. To stay motivated, find a walking buddy or make a standing date to walk with a friend or neighbor, dance at home with your kids or play a pickup soccer or basketball game with colleagues. The bottom line: just move.

3. Quit smoking. It can be hard to stop, but the benefits to your lungs and heart are huge. For inspiration and to keep you motivated, consider a support group. You can find resources and connect with a trained counselor by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting smokefree.gov.

For more information about heart health, and to discover what activities are going on in your community, visit nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts. Use #OurHearts on social media to share how you and your friends and family are keeping your hearts healthy. (Family Features)


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Diversify Your Dinner Menu

Crafting quick, easy, nutritious meals is one of the most common goals for home chefs, yet it may sometimes be difficult to keep the menu feeling fresh and new. By introducing a variety of ingredients, you can broaden the horizons of your family’s dinner options.

For creative, simple, tasty family meals, consider these globally inspired recipes that highlight inventive ways to incorporate veal as a satisfying main ingredient in nearly any dish. From sandwiches to salads, the versatility of an ingredient like veal can help you build out a full menu with a wide array of protein-rich dishes. With recipes like these, veal can become a staple on your family’s weekly menu.

Visit vealmadeeasy.com for additional recipes and complete nutrition information.

Classic Veal Parmesan Sandwiches

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 6          veal cutlets (3 ounces each)
  • salt, to taste
  •             ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2       cup all-purpose flour
  • 1          egg wash
  • 1          cup breadcrumbs
  • 1          cup vegetable oil
  • 12        tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3          tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 6          slices provolone cheese
  • 6          slices mozzarella cheese
  • 6          sub rolls
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Pound each veal cutlet between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap until 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Blot veal dry. Season each cutlet with salt and pepper, to taste. Dredge veal in flour; shake off excess. Dip in egg wash and dredge in breadcrumbs.
  4. In large skillet over medium heat, heat about 1/8-inch oil to about 350 F. Working in batches, add breaded veal to hot oil and pan fry first side until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Turn once and pan fry second side until it reaches internal temperature of 160 F, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Drain on paper towels or wire rack set over baking sheet.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons tomato sauce to each veal cutlet and sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese on top. Add one slice provolone and mozzarella cheese to each cutlet.
  7. Place veal parmesan in oven 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt and veal is hot.
  8. Add veal to sub rolls and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 45 g protein; 55 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 11 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 145 mg cholesterol; 908 mg sodium.

Veal Za’atar Flatbreads

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1/4       cup za’atar seasoning
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1          package (10 ounces) flatbreads
  • 1          onion (4 ounces), finely chopped
  • 1/2       pound ground veal
  • 1/4       cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1          tomato (6 ounces), cored and chopped
  • chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. In small bowl, combine za’atar seasoning and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  2. Spread about 1 tablespoon za’atar mixture on each flatbread. Arrange flatbreads on large baking sheet; set aside.
  3. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, heat remaining olive oil. Cook onion 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add veal and cook 4-5 minutes until no longer pink, stirring to break up meat.
  4. Remove skillet from heat; stir in feta cheese. Spoon 1/4 veal mixture onto each flatbread. Sprinkle each flatbread with tomato. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until hot. Sprinkle each flatbread with parsley.

Nutrition information per serving: 17 g protein; 40 g carbohydrate; 19 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium; 1 g fiber; 5 g total sugars; 10% DV calcium; 15% DV iron.

Mediterranean Grilled Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1          large orange (12 ounces)
  • 1/2       cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1          veal cutlet (12 ounces), pounded to 1/4-1/8-inch thick
  • 1          bulb fennel (7 ounces), trimmed, halved and cored
  • 1/2       small red onion (1 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2    cups cooked farro
  • 2          cups packed baby arugula (about 3 ounces)
  • 1          head radicchio (4 ounces), cored and torn (about 2 cups packed)
  • 1/2       cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1          ounce Parmesan cheese
  1. Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from orange; reserve orange. Stir zest into salad dressing.
  2. Use knife to remove skin and pith from orange. Use knife to cut between fruit and membrane to release each orange section. Squeeze membrane to extract 1/4 cup juice; reserve juice and orange sections.
  3. In bowl, whisk reserved orange juice, mustard and salad dressing. Remove 1/4 cup dressing to re-sealable food storage bag. Add veal cutlets to dressing in bag. Re-seal bag and turn several times until veal is coated with dressing; set aside.
  4. Prepare grill or heat grill pan over medium-high heat on stovetop. Remove veal cutlets from dressing; discard dressing. Grill veal cutlets 5-6 minutes, turning once. Remove cutlets from heat. Place on cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces.
  5. Thinly slice fennel halves and place in bowl. Add red onion, farro, arugula and radicchio; toss. Add veal, orange sections, reserved salad dressing and hazelnuts.
  6. Draw blade of vegetable peeler across surface of cheese to make thin ribbons. Toss to coat with dressing. Divide salad among four bowls.

Nutrition information per serving (about 2 cups): 30 g protein; 36 g carbohydrate; 17 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 560 mg sodium; 6 g fiber; 9 g total sugars; 3 mg iron; 539 mg potassium.

Veal, Spinach and Tomato Arepas

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • 1/2       pound veal cutlets
  • 1          teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          green onions (1 ounce each), sliced
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 1          can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/8       teaspoon salt
  • 2          cups packed baby spinach (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 4          arepas (5 inches in diameter)
  • 1/4       cup crumbled queso blanco cheese (1 ounce)
  1. Pound veal cutlets into 1/4-1/8-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch strips. Place in bowl and toss with cumin and chili powder.
  2. In 12-inch, nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook veal strips 1-2 minutes. Remove veal to plate; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, cook green onions and garlic 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and salt; over high heat, heat to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes until slightly reduced.
  3. Stir in spinach. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until spinach wilts and is tender. Return veal to skillet; heat through.
  4. To serve, heat skillet or griddle over medium heat. Toast arepas on each side until lightly browned and heated through, turning once.
  5. Cut each arepa in half horizontally. Top bottom half of each arepa with veal mixture. Sprinkle each with cheese; replace arepa tops.

Nutrition information per serving (1 arepa): 15 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 14 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 50 mg cholesterol; 450 mg sodium; 2 g total sugars; 10% DV calcium; 10% DV iron. (Family Features)

North American Meat Institute