A Commuter’s Emergency Kit for Winter Weather

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Happy Winter Everyone! With this cold weather it is the perfect time to cuddle up with a book and a heated blanket. But, when it comes time that you HAVE to leave the house, you need to make sure your car is prepared for the cold weather. My fiancé, who is an EMT, put together an emergency car kit for me just in case something was to go wrong during my long commutes. I am here to share his genius with anyone who drives during the cold months.

A Winter Emergency Kit contains some equipment that should be in your vehicle at all times. Such equipment includes;

  • Car Phone Charger – Similarly to how your car should always have more than a ¼ of a tank of gas in the winter, your phone should never fall below ¼ of a battery. In case of an emergency you need to be able to call for help.
  • Car Jump Starter/Jumper Cables – It would be the worst if your car’s battery died and you are left out in the cold. Be prepared: sometimes batteries drain for the cold temperatures.
  • Basic First Aid Kit – No one ever plans on getting hurt, but if you or someone else does you will be prepared to help! For advice on how to stock your first aid kit, visit Red Cross.
  • Flashlight and batteries – “Oh no, it’s dark outside! Good thing I can see with my handy dandy flashlight!”
  • Flare- While a flare might sound bizarre (we are not out at sea), it is an important universal signal for help.
  • Tire Changing Kit- Even if you do not know how to change a tire, someone who does know can assist even if they are not prepared. See the equipment you will need for changing a tire at the DMV website.

Once you have your basic necessities, add in your winter equipment. This portion of your kit ensures that you will stay warm, and be able to either get yourself out of a sticky situation, or be comfortable while you wait for help.

  • Kitty Litter/Wood shavings- Believe it out not, if your tires get stuck in the snow one bag of kitty litter can give you the traction to drive out. Wood shaving also does the trick and it is environmentally friendly.
  • Window Scraper- Invest in a nice window scraper! I have used mine to clean windows, clean out snow in my tire wells, and dig my tires out of snow. Life-Saver.
  • Shovel- You do not need a huge shovel, but it is essential to get out of big messes.
  • Tow chain and rope – Just in case the shovel doesn’t work… anyone with a truck can pull you out. I have used mine several times…
  • Extra Hats, Gloves, Coats, and Scarves- You never know if you may need a little something extra.
  • Blanket- If you need to wait for assistance, you might as well stay comfortable.
  • Water and Food- Once again this basic necessity can keep you comfortable and prepared if you must wait. Food such as raisins, nuts, and granola are good to have.

Thank you for reading, I hope this Winter Emergency Kit helps you to feel safe and prepared for winter’s unexpected experiences.

Until next time, be safe, stay warm, and carry on…

Kari Rebman

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What Should I (wh)Eat Today?

Where Should Grains Fall into Your Diet…

 

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With so many diets out there, knowing what to eat can be confusing. Even if you aren’t on any specific diet plan, you still want to monitor what goes into our precious bodies! One thing I personally get confused on is what to do about grains. So many diets nowadays call for either low grain or (if possible) no grains at all. So what is the answer… are you supposed to eat as much grains as possible, or avoid grains altogether?

This is really a tricky trick question. No, really, like a trick question. Because there are two basic types of grain categories: Whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains, such as wheat flour, contain nutrients and fiber. Essentially, no modifications done to the genetic makeup of the grain whatsoever, meaning the three parts of the grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) are all still there. Refined grains are nutrient poor, because they lose those key qualities to them during the processing. Specifically, it loses the bran and germ part of itself. With the removal of the bran and germ, 25 percent of the grain’s protein and about seventeen key nutrients are lost.

 

Refined grains are also high in carbs that get digested and absorbed very quickly, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar and subsequent hunger and cravings. They are linked to obesity and many metabolic diseases. Numerous studies show that people who eat the most whole grains have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and tend to live longer. (You can check out some those studies HERE, HERE, and HERE!)

 

So why do so many diets call for no/low grains? Well 1) so many grains out on the market are refined grains, so it is easier for some just to say forget them altogether. And 2) grains are high in carbohydrates, so they are unsuitable for people who are on a low-carb diet. Diabetics may not tolerate a lot of grains, because of the large amount of carbohydrate.

 

So, what do you do now? Eat grain… eat no grain… CONSUME GRAINS UNTIL YOU BECOME A PIECE OF WHEAT?! As with most things in nutrition, all of this depends entirely on the individual. If you like grains and feel good eating them, then there doesn’t seem to be any good reason to avoid them as long as you’re eating mostly whole grains. On the other hand, if you don’t like grains or if they make you feel bad, then there is no harm in avoiding them either. Grains are not essential, and there is no nutrient in there that you can’t get from other foods. At the end of the day, grains are good for some, but not others. If you like grains, eat them. If you don’t like them, or they make you feel bad, then avoid them. It’s as simple as that.

 

*Be Proud, But Never Satisfied*

 

~Luke Pallo

 

Experiencing a Plant-Based Diet.

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This summer, I went to lunch with a friend, and in the first half of this lunch, she spent a good 20 minutes asking a million questions to the waiter about what contained the vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

I was really surprised by this, because normally this girl is all for meat and cheese. She explained to me that recently she had decided to move to a plant based diet, cutting most dairy and all meat out of her diet.

So today, I thought that I would share her experience, and her reason for making such a drastic change to her diet.

On the surface it seems like her choice is very similar to strict veganism. On her plan, she doesn’t eat any red meat or poultry, but she does eat some seafood and some eggs. Many of her replacements in recipes that call for meat, she uses shrimp, which many vegans choose not to eat. In a very similar fashion to veganism, she does not eat dairy, so any milk, cream, cheese and occasionally some eggs.

When she first introduced her diet to me, she told me that within the first month she lost almost 20 pounds, which she said was very rewarding, because she noted that it was a very hard adjustment period, when she was previously someone who loved meat and dairy products. There are a lot of cravings for her old type of diet, which she admits wasn’t always the healthiest.

Now however almost 4 months into the transition, she is really liking her new diet! She is constantly sharing new meat and dairy free recipes with me, and she says that she has gotten the hang of cooking with new ingredients and things that she is not used to.

She makes a lot of stir fry with tons of veggies, sometimes some shrimp and some rice or ramen noodles. This, she claims is her go-to recipe, because it is something that is really easy to meal prep for, as she lives on campus and has limited access to a kitchen. It’s also a meal that can be very versatile, you can always add different veggies, and different seasonings, so it doesn’t seem like you’re always eating a dairy free, meat free meal.

She even is getting less cravings, although it has taken a while, and they still aren’t always gone. (I think I hear her crave pizza once a week, but she is working on finding a dairy free pizza recipe, so I’ll keep you updated).

Although she is loving her new diet, and it has worked for her, not only for weight loss, but also to find a much healthier lifestyle (in all aspects), she cautions that this diet is not for everyone. She began this diet after doing extensive research, and learning about how the things she wanted to cutout, effect your body when you eat them and when you don’t. She also did a lot of research into how she could transition from eating a mainstream meat and dairy diet to taking those out, while still getting all of the proper nutrition.

The best advice that she would have for anyone deciding if this diet is right for them is to figure out why you’re doing it, it’s easier to stick to it if you have a solid reason that ties you to the importance, and won’t allow you to give up.

As always, this is just one person’s experience, and it is always best to do your research and understand how your body might react. It is also always best to consult a nutritionist, dietitian, and doctor before making any diet changes.

 

 

-Nicole

Some sources she used when learning and researching:

“What the Health”-Netflix

https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/why-go-vegan

How to Become Vegan- Steve Pavlina (book)

Morning Meditation

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Starting your day with a morning meditation is the perfect way to get yourself going. If you are experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety, then a short meditation in the morning may greatly improve how you feel throughout the day. Meditating in the morning can help influence how your day is going to go. Meditating has been found to have many health benefits. Meditating daily can help balance your emotions, boost your immunity, and increase your energy level. Those are just a few of the benefits of meditation, and the positive impacts of meditation can be different for everyone. The more regularly you meditate, the more benefits you will see.

One Medical provides tips on how to get started with a morning mediation. Here are five tips to help you through your meditation.

Dress Comfortably- One of the best parts of a morning meditation is that you can meditate in your pajamas. To stay warm, you may want to wear a sweatshirt or grab blanket.

Find a Quiet Place- If possible, find a place you can mediate in every morning. Make sure it is somewhere you will not be disturbed. You can make your space more comfortable with things like pillows and candles. The most important thing is that it is somewhere that you can sit comfortably.

Focus on Your Breath- Take deep breaths and feel your breath move through your body. You can also direct your attention to your third eye, the area just above the center of your eyebrows, and continue to breath in and out.

Relax Your Mind- Just let your thoughts come and go freely. Don’t focus too much on what comes into your mind. Let go of reactions to your thoughts.

Mediate Every Morning- It is important to keep practicing. Some mornings your meditation will be better than others, and that is okay. There might be mornings when you just want to sleep in, but try your best to still get to do your meditation. Remember the way you feel after your meditation, and overtime you will see the benefits of meditation.

There is no time like the present to start your morning meditation. All it takes is setting your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier to be able to do your meditation practice. Remember its important to try and stay in a rhythm and complete your morning meditation every day. If you think you need a little more guidance to be able to meditate there are many apps available to help you through a guided meditation that you may find helpful. There are also various videos to help assist you in your morning meditation as well. Try your morning meditation a few times to see what works best for you and stick with it. You will see all of the wonderful benefits of meditation in no time.

~All you can do is work to become a better you~

~Sadie Wrobel