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Published on August 7, 2013, by in Au Pair.

The sapota fruit, which is believed to have originated in Mexico and Belize, is found in many tropical regions. The sturdy trees grow quickly, can weather tropical storms and produce up to 1,000 pieces of fruit each year. The fruit is similar in appearance to a kiwi fruit, though it is a little larger in size and lacks the fuzz traditionally found on kiwi. The inner flesh of the fruit is smooth and amber in color when ripe. Sapota is not common to the United States. Nutritionally speaking, the sapota has a high fiber content that helps prevent constipation, anti-aging properties that beautify the skin and a high concentration of antioxidants and tannins that help fight free radicals.

Preventing Constipation

The sapota fruit is known for its high fiber content, which helps keep the body regular. While fiber can be hard for the body to break down, this fruit is easily digestible, making it a good option if you’re trying to increase your daily fiber. To learn more about the benefits of this fruit, check out these five blogs.

Beautifying Skin

The anti-aging properties found in the sapota fruit have been shown to preserve youthfulness. One key factor is the vitamin E content, which helps improve the elasticity of the skin and give it a healthy glow. To understand more of the beautifying effects of the sapota fruit, read these five blog posts.

Antioxidants

Like many fruits, the sapota contains antioxidants that fight the free radicals responsible for causing cancerous cells in the body. In addition, sapota also contains both vitamins A and C, which help improve eye sight and fight off illnesses and infections. These five blog entries give a more thorough explanation of the antioxidants present in the sapota fruit.

  • Benefits of Sapota The high concentration of antioxidants in the sapota fruit help to prevent infection.
  • Health Benefits of Chikoos or Sapodillas Antioxidants found in sapota have been found to help prevent certain forms of cancer.
  • Health Benefits of Sapota Sapota contains almost a quarter of your daily allowance of vitamin C, and eating the fruit can help the body develop resistance to some infections.
  • A Fleeting Look to Sapota High in vitamin C and A, the antioxidants found in sapota help reduce the free radicals that can cause some cancers.
  • Health Benefits of Sapodilla for Babies According to this article, sapota can be beneficial to babies and adults alike, and the antioxidants found in the fruit can help stop the free radicals created when your body metabolizes food.

Tannin

Tannins, which are a form of antioxidants, are anti-inflammatories that can help fight off various conditions found in the body.  The fiber found in the fruit helps the colon function better and the tannins help prevent illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome and other colon conditions. To learn more about the benefits of the tannins found in sapota, take a look at these five blog articles.

 
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Published on July 24, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Nearly 90% of Americans will suffer from a headache at least once in their lives, and more likely will encounter many. Headaches, while a normal part of life, are symptoms of a much larger problem. The majority are referred to as tension headaches and are caused by stress, tight muscles and poor posture. However, other causes include food sensitivities, the need for glasses, and allergies, just to name a few. The next time you find yourself reaching for another dose of over the counter headache relievers, try one of these natural remedies instead. You can drink water and other herbal remedies, apply ice or essential oils to your skin and use massage or acupressure to get rid of the pain.  These 18 blog entries will further explain how to get rid of your headache naturally.

Consumables

When it comes to treating headaches, there are several methods you can use in place of over the counter medicines. Instead, reach for an apple or cherries, which have nutrients in them that help to reduce and eliminate headaches. You can also drink several types of herbal teas to help relax and relieve any tension you may have that could be causing your headache. And sometimes it’s as simple as drinking a glass of water. For more home remedies read these six blog articles.

Applications

Just like muscle aches, there are topical treatments that you can use to get rid of a headache.  Many of these topical solutions are essential oils, but some are as simple as an ice pack on your neck.  These six blog posts are full of various treatment methods for a headache that just won’t go away.

Manual Remedies

When it comes to tension headaches, scalp massages can be particularly helpful. Applying pressure to your head and then releasing it will cause blood to rush to that point, which can ease a tension headache. To learn more about manual ways to help get rid of a headache read these six blog entries.

 
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Published on July 17, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Gooseberries are an uncommon fruit that come in several different varieties. Some are grown in the States, typically on a bush that is three to four feet tall. Others are grown in India and some parts of Asia. Indian gooseberries are small in size, and typically ripen in late summer. They are largely used in jellies and pies, though when eaten fresh the berries are exceedingly tart and slightly bitter.  There are ample health benefits you receive from eating Indian gooseberries, which you’ll see by reading through the following 18 blog articles.

Antioxidants

Free radicals form in the body when oxygen reacts with certain molecules, and they can cause a chain reaction that can be damaging to your body’s DNA and cell walls.  To counteract free radicals, the human body uses antioxidants that can interact with free radicals safely and rid your body of them.  Indian gooseberries are a good source of antioxidants, and you can learn more about how they help your body in the next six blog entries.

Hair Health

There are a number of ways that Indian gooseberries help you to have beautiful, healthy hair.  Gooseberries can be applied topically to make your hair shiny and improve scalp health.  When ingested, the berries will improve the strength of your hair and help reduce hair loss.  In India, gooseberries are processed into hair tonics that are applied to the hair to darken and strengthen your hair.  These six blog posts can shed more light on the hair health benefits of Indian gooseberries.

Vitamin C

Everyone knows how important vitamin C is to staying healthy, and there are many different ways to consume vitamin C.  Supplements often don’t break down enough to get into the body. Fresh fruits are typically the best source of vitamin C, and Indian gooseberries contain 20 times as much vitamin C as an orange, which has long been noted for its high levels of vitamin C.  Take a look at these six blog articles to find out the many benefits of vitamin C.

 
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Published on July 8, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Did you know that a typical 20 ounce bottle of cola contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of sugar?  According to Harvard School of Public Health, one out of every three children is considered overweight or obese, and the consumption of sugary drinks is a contributing factor.  You can help fix this by providing your kids with low-sugar drinks this summer. Whether your kids like fizzy, fruity or frozen drinks, you’ll find recipes that will please even the pickiest child in these 25 blog posts.

Fizzy

Drinking a fizzy drink every now and then is a fun treat, and completely possible to do with these low-sugar recipes. Skip the diet sodas, which contain artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy chemicals, and instead try making your own non-alcoholic ginger beers. Use Stevia, which is a natural sweetener that allows you to have a sweet treat sans the sugar. Take a look at these five blog entries for some fizzy drinks the whole family will love.

Fruity

Typically, both homemade and store bought lemonade have a very high sugar content. Skipping the extra artificial sugars and sweeteners and using fruit and other naturally sweet ingredients allows you to sweeten lemonade without all the extra empty calories. Check out the fruity summer drinks in these five blog articles.

Frozen

There are very few things that are more refreshing on a hot day that a frozen drink. Unfortunately, many frozen drinks are high in sugar. These five blogs, however, feature recipes that are low in sugar and still taste delicious.  You can even find a low-sugar option to the frozen lemonade drinks featured at a well-known fast food chain.  To find these recipes, read through the next five blog posts.

Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to start out the day on a refreshing, healthy note. You can even toss in some veggies with the fruits and other add-ins to add an extra nutritional punch. The kids will love the taste and you’ll love the nutritional value. To find recipes for low-sugar smoothies, look over these five blog entries.

Water-Based

Water is the best drink to beat the heat during the summer, but some kids don’t care for water, making it a constant battle to get them to drink enough water to stay hydrated.  These five blog articles will share tips and tricks to make water taste like something special that the kids will ask for all summer long.

 
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Published on June 30, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Though the use of chia seeds dates back to the Mayans, they’ve only recently joined the rank and title of superfood in the latest health craze. The tiny seeds are related to the mint plant, and have a mild flavor that incorporates well into smoothies and baked goods. To lend credibility to their superfood status, the seeds contain more antioxidants than blueberries do and are a good source of raw energy. Take a look at these 15 blog articles to learn more about the health benefits of chia seeds, as well as get some tasty recipes so you can add them into your diet.

Antioxidants

Chia seeds contain four types of antioxidants, allowing them to eliminate the free radicals in your body when they’re consumed.  These antioxidants also allow you to store chia seeds for up to two years at room temperature without spoiling. The following five blog entries explain more about the benefits of antioxidants and chia seeds.

Energy

Nutritionists all around the world are adding the amazing chia seeds to the diets of star athletes to help them maintain endurance during a game or race. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits of chia seeds, though.  By eating as little as one tablespoon of chia seeds per day you can experience the health benefits and energy boost that they will give you.  For more information about how chia seeds help improve your energy, check out these five blog posts.

Ways to Use

While the benefits of chia seeds are plentiful, you may not know how to add them into your diet. Since chia seeds don’t have a strong flavor, you can eat them raw or toss them into a baked good without even knowing they are there. It is noteworthy that when soaked in liquid, chia seeds form a gel, so don’t be surprised if you find your liquids thickening up once you add chia seeds to them. For recipes that use chia seeds, read through these five blogs.

 
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Published on June 26, 2013, by in Au Pair.

All parents want to do what is best for their children. They want nothing more than for their offspring to be as healthy and as happy as possible. They go to the grocery store armed with a list and the best of intentions, and shop for foods that will both  nourish their children and keep them satisfied. However, marketing and misinformation has made it difficult to know what the right food choices are for today’s children. Unfortunately, many of the foods parents have been trusting to be healthy and wholesome actually are not. Some of these may surprise and disappoint you.

  • Juice - Most parents feel they are filling their children with vitamins when they offer them a cup of juice, and they are to a degree. However, juice also contains sugar. Just one cup of apple juice contains around 27 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends preschool children to have only 12 ½ grams of sugar per day, and kids ages four to eight should have less than 17 grams. So with just one cup of juice, a child will exceed his daily allowance of sugar. In addition to the sugar, juice contains over 100 calories per cup and is thought to have played a major part in the childhood obesity epidemic. Eating whole fruit is much better than drinking fruit juice because whole fruit contains fiber, which slows down the digestion process of the juice it contains. The child will process it slower and retain energy longer by eating the fruit itself rather than drinking only the juice.
  • Breakfast Cereal - While most kids’ cereals boast “whole grain” on their boxes, they still are not healthy foods. Sure, they are fortified with vitamins, but being fortified with vitamins does not remove the sugar, artificial colors and corn syrup that are found in many of these boxes.
  • Sports Drinks - Loaded with sugar, sodium, artificial colors and calories, sports drinks are not a healthy alternative to juice and soda. Researchers from the University of Minnesota have stated that consumption of sports drinks is contributing to the obesity epidemic, and that unless someone is doing at least an hour of intense exercise, they have no need for such beverages and water will suffice.
  • Kids’ Yogurt Products - While yogurt itself is usually a very healthy food, many of the yogurts aimed at children today are not. Check the label to ensure that your child’s yogurt contains live cultures, and that it contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors. The healthiest way to go is to buy plain, organic yogurt and add fresh fruit to it yourself.
  • Peanut Butter - Peanut butter is a fairly healthy food choice, most of the time. Many parenting books recommend apples or crackers with peanut butter as a healthy snack. However, most commercial peanut butters contain hydrogenated oils. These oils turn to trans fats, which lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol. In addition, most peanut butters contain added sugar. There are peanut butters out there that are all natural and contain none of these problematic ingredients. Seek these out for your children.
  • Whole Milk - While whole milk used to be what pediatricians recommended for children to drink, the American Academy of Pediatrics now only recommends this until the age of two. After that, they recommend 1% due to the high fat content of whole milk.
  • Applesauce - Applesauce is being marketed to kids in a big way. It is sold in handy lunch box sized containers and even fun tubes with popular characters on the front. But many of these apple sauces are loaded with extra sugar, and some even contain artificial colors. Look for the labels that read “unsweetened” and “all natural” when shopping for your child.
  • Fruit Snacks - When fruit snacks hit the scene, they seemed like a fun and healthy treat that was so much better than candy. However, when you look at the labels of these popular snacks, they are not much different from candy at all. Many of the first ingredients you will find include sugar and corn syrup. Other common ingredients you may see are gelatin, which is often made from animal by-products, and artificial colors and flavors.
  • Granola Bars - Most parents find these to be a reasonable, energizing snack for their kids, especially when they’re on the go. However, today’s popular granola bars have evolved to something very different from the original bars made by enthusiastic hikers and campers. Many commercial granola bars contain lots of sugar and even the dreaded hydrogenated oils. The protein and all natural products from their ancestors are nowhere to be found in this new generation of granola bars. Better to get back to the basics and make your own.
  • Fish Sticks - Frozen fish sticks are not healthy. This is sure to be a blow to all parents who thought they found a convenient way to get omega-3 fatty acids into their picky children, but it’s true in many cases. Most brands are full of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, even if you are baking them at home, they have been previously fried in oil, making them high in fat as well. They are also high in sodium and missing most of the nutrients you get from fresh fish.
 
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Published on June 24, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Frozen snack pops are simple to make and can be made using a variety of flavorful ingredients.  If it’s a healthy snack that’s needed, go all natural with fruit juice or puree.  Other fruit pops can be made with a sweeter base, like milk or yogurt, and still contain nutrient dense fruit.  For something richer, a pudding pop or yogurt pop might be just the thing.  For all of these recipes and more, check out these 30 blog entries.

All Natural

A light and healthy frozen snack pop can be made out of fresh fruit juice and all natural ingredients like coconut milk and mint. Mix and match ingredients, then freeze up a variety of snack pops that can be enjoyed anytime. Take turns letting the kids pick the flavor of the week.  These six blog articles will explain how to make all natural frozen snack pops.

Fruit Pops

You can quickly make up a batch of fruit pops using whatever fruit and fruit juices you have on hand, or you can make a creamier version by adding in sweetened coconut milk.  These six blog posts will provide the inspiration you  need to get creative in the kitchen.

Pudding Pops

Frozen pudding pops come together quickly and easily for a rich, creamy treat that rivals store-bought fudge bars.  Mix up a batch of pudding using a box of any flavor pudding mix according to package directions, add some cream and pour it into the molds to freeze. That’s it! These pops, as well as the ones featured in the next six blog posts, are the perfect treat for a hot summer day.

Yogurt Pops

What’s not to love about frozen yogurt? You can make a batch of yogurt pops by using the yogurt as the base, mixing in a sweetener and then adding in the flavor of your choice. Trying to be healthy? Stick with fruit add-ins. Looking for an indulgence? Use chocolate for a marbled. Experiment with different flavors and check out these six blog posts for recipes the whole family will love.

Smoothie Pops

You can transform your favorite smoothie recipe into a delicious frozen pop by doubling the batch and pouring it into snack pop molds or small paper cups. If using cups, let the mixture harden for half an hour and then add the sticks.  Freeze for several hours or overnight, then enjoy! Take a look at these six blog entries to find a starting point, then go grab the blender!

 
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Published on June 23, 2013, by in Au Pair.

Jet-setting all over the world is nothing more than a dream for most people. However, for those who take the plunge, international travel opens doors to a world of fun and adventure. New cultures, people, languages and food are all ready for you to discover as you navigate your way around the globe. In order to get the best from international travel, it is important that you are properly prepared. These thirty blogs provide ideas and tips for conquering the world, allowing you to relax and enjoy the ride.

Trip Planning Tips and Ideas

The world is your oyster, which means you have a lot to consider before settling on your international destinations. Just because a travel destination is popular, doesn’t mean it is the best match for you and your family. Having plenty of information on each potential travel location will allow you to draw up a shortlist. The five blogs in this list will contain ideas and tips for travel locations from every corner of the globe.

Budgeting for Travel

World travel can be expensive. That’s not to say, however, that you should rule out any destination based on the perception that it will cost too much. Where there is a will there is a way, as they say. If you really have your heart set on a dream destination but have a relatively small budget to work with, then the advice offered in these five blogs is for you. Learn how to travel the frugal way, with budgeting tips from these expert globetrotters.

Personal World Trip Travelogues

The closest experience you will ever get of a foreign land without going there yourself is through the eyes of another. A destination may look good on paper, and the travel agent will, no doubt, assure you that it’s the vacation spot for you. However, there is nothing more unbiased than the first-hand account of another traveler. These personal travelogues were written by accomplished world travelers who circumnavigated the globe, bringing you sights and sounds from all five continents.

Family Travel Fun Tips

If you have never traveled internationally with your family in tow, then you’re in for an adventure. Whether that adventure is fun-filled or an epic disaster really comes down to how well you are prepared. The secret to great family vacationing is in finding the balance. If you can keep everybody happy most of the time, you are doing a good job. These five blogs will help you ensure that no man, woman or child is left behind, with great tips and advice on family travel and activities.

Travel Language Barriers

Realistically, you’re probably not going to become fluent in a foreign language in time for your international vacation. You can, however, ensure that you know enough of the language to get you through. Locals will appreciate that you took the time and cared enough to learn their language, which will help break down barriers and may even earn you some international friends. Engross yourself in these five blogs, so you can start practicing your new language skills in plenty of time for your vacation.

Travel Customs and Etiquette

Before you set-off to regions unknown, it is advisable to learn a little about your destination and its people, cultures and local customs. Many a traveler has unintentionally offended everyone around him in a foreign land with little more than the nod of a head or seemingly innocent hand gesture. By learning your destination country’s etiquette, you can avoid causing embarrassment or offense to the people of your host nation. These five blogs provide tips and advice on travel etiquette, which will help keep you on the right path.

 
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Published on June 18, 2013, by in Au Pair.

When the summer sun is beating down, few things are as satisfying or as refreshing as a treat from the ice cream truck. For parents that are concerned about the commercial additives and preservatives found in many packaged frozen treats, however, the idea is downright disgusting. Rather than banning all things sweet and icy during the dog days of summer, consider reaching for the blender to whip up one of these ten smoothies, each of which is a surefire hit with the smaller set.

  • Strawberry Banana – There’s just something about the classic pairing of strawberries and bananas that kids can’t seem to get enough of! Combine one banana, a handful of hulled strawberries, a cup of ice and a dollop of yogurt into your blender, then puree until smooth. You may also find that frozen strawberries do the trick, and allow you to eliminate the ice altogether.
  • Pina Colada – While adults may know this frozen concoction as a sweet delivery of rum, the non-alcoholic version is a great choice for kids. If you don’t have fresh pineapple on hand, canned will suffice. Combine one can of drained pineapple with seven tablespoons of cream of coconut and one cup of ice, then blend until smooth.
  • Peanut Butter and Banana – Kids that don’t suffer from peanut allergies will love this sweet and savory combination! Just mix three tablespoons of peanut butter with one peeled banana, a half-cup of milk and a cup of ice.
  • Berry Berry – The beauty of a berry smoothie is that you can use any fresh or frozen berries you have on hand. Just add berries and yogurt to the blender, using a cup of ice if the berries are fresh and omitting the ice if they’re frozen and blend to sweet, creamy perfection.
  • Peaches and Cream – Peaches and cream complexions may burn in the sun, but this smoothie is a guaranteed way to beat the summer heat. Combine two pitted and peeled peaches, one cup of vanilla yogurt and one cup of ice in your blender and puree away.
  • Tropical Punch – Mangoes, papaya, pineapples and kiwi make for a great frozen tropical treat! Combine them with ice and milk or yogurt in a blender to whip up a chilly concoction packed with summery flavors.
  • Lemon Berry – Blueberries are not only rich in antioxidants, but also lend a vibrant blue hue to your kids’ smoothies. The tart flavor of the lemon blends beautifully with the sweetness of the berries, but it doesn’t lend well to dairy-based concoctions. Skip the yogurt, instead mixing berries, ice and lemonade into a slushy, sweet snack.
  • Pear Berry – Those who juice as part of a dietary plan know that pears and apples are great when it comes to lending a bit of healthy, natural sweetness to an otherwise bland drink. Use that sweetness to your advantage by combining two peeled and cored pears with a pint of fresh blackberries, yogurt and ice. The pear’s sweetness will tame the berries’ tang, making for a scrumptious and potable snack.
  • Mango Carrot – Carrots are sweet and brightly colored, especially when they’re pureed into a smoothie. Kids don’t have to know that what they’re drinking so joyfully actually contains a vegetable when the veggie in question lends itself so well to a mango smoothie. Two peeled and seeded mangoes, a cup of ice, a cup of yogurt and three large carrots are all you need to whip up a colorful and sweet smoothie.
  • Coconut Watermelon – When dairy products aren’t an option, cream of coconut can lend fruit smoothies the creaminess kids love without upsetting lactose-intolerant tummies. Two cups of diced and seeded watermelon, four tablespoons of the coconut goo and a cup of ice are all you need; the water content of the melon lends more than enough moisture to the smoothie.

Kids that have milk allergies or are on dairy-restricted diets aren’t necessarily left out in the cold when it comes to sweet, summer smoothies. Most recipes can be just as easily made dairy-free, using apple and other fruit juices in place of yogurt or milk. Just be sure that you choose a pure, preservative-free brand of juice.

 
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Published on June 10, 2013, by in Au Pair.

In many homes, corn on the cob is a food staple during the summer months, and there are several different types of corn that appeal to a variety of taste buds. Corn can be prepared in an assortment of ways, from boiling it on the stovetop to grilling it to roasting it in the oven, just to name a few, and each way develops the flavor profile differently. These 30 blog entries will give you directions on how to cook your corn on the cob, as well as some creative recipes that include this summer staple.

Boil

Native Americans were the first to eat sweet corn on the cob, and they preferred two different cooking methods: boiling and roasting. Take a look at these six blog articles, which explain how to boil your corn to perfection and what to cook alongside it.

On the Grill

Corn can be grilled several different ways. You can soak the ears while still in the husks and put the corn right on the grill with no cleaning necessary.  Or you can shuck the corn, add butter and spices and wrap the ears in foil before grilling. For more grilling ideas, read the next six blog posts.

In the Oven

One of the easiest ways to cook corn on the cob is to take the ears, husks and all, and put them in the oven.  Once cooked, the silks and husks come off easily. Another way to roast corn in the oven is to take the cleaned cobs and add butter and spices and wrap them separately in foil before cooking.  This is a clever way to achieve a similar flavor to grilling if the weather isn’t right for cooking the corn on the grill.  Check out the recipes on these six blog entries for more oven-roasted corn on the cob ideas.

In the Crock Pot

The crockpot comes to the rescue again when it comes to easy corn preparation. Similar to how you would make baked potatoes in a crockpot, the corn needs to be shucked and cleaned and then wrapped in foil before putting it into the crock pot.  It only takes about four hours on low to cook the corn to perfection.  Since you are wrapping the corn in foil anyway, you may as well add some butter and herbs to the foil packet to ramp up the flavor.  For more crockpot corn on the cob ideas take a look at these six blog articles.

In the Microwave

One of the quickest ways to cook corn on the cob is in the microwave.  No need to waste time bringing a big pot of water to boil, preheating the oven, starting the grill or waiting hours for the corn to cook in the crockpot when you can just toss them in the microwave! For recipes to use when microwaving corn, you can read these six blog posts.