May is a month full of anticipation as long summer days quickly approach. This issue of Start Healthy is here to help you prioritize your health and get your home organized before the new season begins.
With the end of school, vacations, and relaxing days on the horizon, you’ll want to make sure your home is tidy and organized so you can spend the next few months kicking your feet up. The enclosed guide to pre-summer organization and safety has everything you need so you can feel more prepared.
Whether at the beach or pool, enjoying the water is a cherished summer pastime. Make sure you and your loved ones stay safe in and around the water by following the safety tips in this issue.
Fruits and veggies abound this time of year, and the health benefits of loading your plate with fresh produce are many. Check out the two recipes inside that are perfect for helping you get your daily dose of nutrients deliciously.
Cleaning up your yard is a necessary task before summer’s arrival. And, while it can feel like a big chore to tackle, it can have some surprising benefits. Read about all the ways yard work can help you work up a sweat and boost your cardiovascular health.
Be sure to enjoy this last full month of spring! As always, it’s a pleasure to send you this magazine.
Vacations, barbecues, and recreational sports are just a few reasons why summer can be a busy time of year. It’s a good idea to get your home, health, and schedule organized ahead of time so you and your family can enjoy the season’s activities stress-free.
It’s out with the old and in with the new—so clean and organize your home to reflect the changes in weather and upcoming events. From grilling tools to sunscreen, take inventory of what you have, organize it, and shop for what you need or want to replace.
Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day all have red, white, and blue themes. Downsize your decor, limiting yourself to a bin or two of patriotic decorations you can use throughout the summer when appropriate. Keep this bin somewhere that’s easy to access so you can decorate quickly without making it a whole day’s affair.
Some of these items could include paper plates, napkins, and other patriotic dining utensils. If you can find them online, purchase them now to avoid the markups and shortages surrounding these holidays. Purchasing small items beforehand lets you focus on spending time cooking for a barbecue and not worrying about the extra details.
Prioritize your household’s safety above all else. You should always keep at least two to three bottles of sunscreen at home, and a can of bug spray or a citronella candle for your yard. Keep a bin or shelf near the door so everyone will be reminded to use sunscreen or bug spray before leaving the house.
If you frequent a nearby lake or beach, organize a bag of towels, sunscreen, sandals, sunglasses, and beach toys. Place your beach chairs and umbrella together so you can grab everything and go on your first trip of the season without needing to search for them. If you notice that your umbrella or chairs are rusted or tearing, add those to your shopping list.
If you’re planning to get some R&R from the comfort of you backyard, make sure your outdoor furniture, lanterns, and other essentials are in place. You don’t have to uncover them just yet if it’s not warm enough, but they’ll be ready for lounging when the first beautiful day arrives!
It’s important to have your grill supplies organized, clean, and ready for use. Store the following items in a drawer in your kitchen or in a sealed bin near your grill:
When it comes to scheduling your summer, you won’t be able to plan for everything. However, these are important events to account for and people to contact if you plan to leave town.
If you’re going away for more than a day, you might need the help of a house sitter, babysitter, or pet sitter. Make sure you request them in advance because summer can be a busy time for these helping hands. Be sure they have the following pieces of information before you leave:
Schedule any HVAC repairs, gutter cleanings, and other maintenance before hot and rainy weather hits. This time of year can be busy for HVAC professionals, so call or reach out to them as soon as possible—no one wants to be stuck without air-conditioning in the middle of the summer.
Plan when you’re hosting get-togethers now and send out invites as soon as possible. Start thinking about food and activities so you can be creative without a time crunch looming over your head.
If you’re traveling during the summer, lock down your trip plans now. You can use sites such as Tripadvisor to find the best places and activities near your destination. After you confirm your activity plans, use an app like TripIt to compile your tickets, hotel information, and other reservations into an itinerary that you can share with everyone.
You should still prioritize your health between all the fun in the sun. Being proactive and taking proper precautions will ensure that you and your loved ones are happy and healthy this season.
Children’s physicals and immunizations are usually due by the beginning of the school year—especially if they play a fall sport. Appointment slots fill up quickly, so make sure you have your child’s scheduled and noted in your calendar. This is also a time of year that your skin needs extra protection, so check in with your dermatologist and have your skin evaluated. Everyone’s skin is different, and your dermatologist can recommend specific ways to protect yours. They can offer you product recommendations and advice tailored to the activities you enjoy, such as swimming and hiking.
Review your household’s protocol for how to protect yourselves during a flash flood, hurricane, fire, or tornado. It’s best to plan now before bad weather strikes and leaves you in a panic. After you come up with a safety plan, print it, laminate it, and hang it on the inside of your basement or garage door so you can grab and review it in a pinch. Be sure to include where to go if your house isn’t safe, and inform neighbors about your plan so they know to expect you in an emergency.
Summer should be a fun and blissful time of year, so organize everything now to make the most of your time.
Few things compare to spending a summer day in the water. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a lake, or your local pool, it can be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and create lasting memories with loved ones. However, no matter what body of water you plan to visit, it’s vital to practice proper water safety. Use these tips to have a safe time in, on, and around water.
Before you jump into the water for a fun day of swimming, you should make sure you and your loved ones know how to practice safe swimming habits. You should only swim where others are present. If safety signs are posted, read and follow the instructions; this is especially important for designated swimming areas in open water like oceans or lakes. Never leave children unsupervised in the water, and stay within arm’s reach of young swimmers. Plan to discuss safety rules with kids, including where they can swim and how far out they can go. Whenever you go swimming, keep your cell phone handy in case of an emergency. Finally, keep an eye on the weather during your time in the water, and stop swimming at the first sign of a storm.
Knowing how to perform CPR properly is crucial to helping someone recover from a water-related accident. Pledge to get CPR certified before heading to the water with friends and family this summer. You can find CPR classes in your area through the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Additionally, check with your local fire department to see if they offer CPR classes.
If you own a pool, make sure to follow these safety measures:
One of the most important safety items you can have on the water is a life jacket. While they are a must for inexperienced swimmers, adults with strong swimming skills should also wear them when enjoying activities like paddle sports and boating. If you encounter a water hazard or fall in the water, you may not have time to put a life jacket on. There are specific options for every water activity, such as kayaking, water skiing, and fishing. However, no matter what style life jacket you use, ensure it is approved by the US Coast Guard. Before putting your life jacket on, perform a safety check for any damage—you should never wear a life jacket with rips or tears. You should also make sure your life jacket fits properly, as ill-fitting jackets offer little protection. A life jacket that is too big will ride up over your head in the water, and one that is too small won’t be able to keep you afloat. To test the fit of a life jacket:
If you enjoy spending time on the water on a boat, you still need to practice safe habits. While boating can be relaxing, you should avoid consuming alcohol. It will impact your ability to drive the vessel and hinder your swimming ability if you fall in the water or need to help someone else. Before you ship out, make sure a friend or family member knows the details of your day, and stay alert to the water conditions and weather forecast. You may want to have a radio on board to receive weather updates. Everyone on your boat should have a life jacket, and you should have a throwable device, such as a life ring or floatable cushion. Other safety instruments you should stock your boat with include:
By following these tips, you can make sure you stay safe and sound as you float off to relaxation.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to something that could harm it. However, this ordinary process can become detrimental to your health if it occurs over an extended period of time. Exercising and eating healthy are some of the best ways to prevent chronic inflammation.
A low-FODMAP eating plan is often used to prevent inflammation in the body and uncover foods that can be potentially triggering to inflammation. The recipes below from the Everyday Low-FODMAP Cookbook are a great place to start if you’re looking to eliminate irritating foods from your diet.
Start your day with these protein-packed pancakes full of blueberry flavor! Blueberries are high in antioxidants—a natural inflammation fighter.
There’s no shortage of spices in this yummy quesadilla recipe! The guacamole on top adds another layer of creaminess and flavor.
Reprinted with permission from The Everyday Low-FODMAP Cookbook by Zorah Booley, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Junaid Samaai
recipe by zorah booley
photos by junaid samaai
Pancakes remind me of weekend mornings as a kid, when I would make a batter from just flour, eggs and milk and enjoy my simple pancakes as if I had made a gourmet breakfast. Fast forward a few years (more like two decades) and these blueberry ricotta pancakes may just be my most gourmet pancake ever. The buttermilk and ricotta create a creamy consistency, which really brings through the fluffiness and moist texture in the pancakes. Worried about the dairy here? Don’t be! The amounts used in this recipe make it safe for you, allowing you to fully enjoy the flavors.
Yields 8–10 pancakes
recipe by zorah booley
photos by junaid samaai
Being Indian, I grew up with savory spices and they just became part of who I am today. I wanted to translate a piece of that experience into this quesadilla and bring you a dish packed with amazing flavors. Add the cheese, sour cream and guacamole, and it becomes a wildly gratifying meal.
Yields 2 large quesadillas
You’re not alone if you dig gardening but dread going to the gym, or you’d rather wear your work boots than a pair of running shoes. The good news is you can work on your physical fitness this spring and summer while planting your flowers or tending to your yard.
Maintaining your backyard can be a good cardiovascular workout that reduces blood pressure and eases stress. For instance, you could get your heart pumping by clearing debris out of your garden beds and work your muscles while pulling weeds or pruning trees. With some planning, you can get your exercise while breathing fresh air and getting chores done.
To get the most out of your yard work, set a regular schedule for your outdoor chores, and rotate your tasks to exercise different muscle groups. For example, you can spend one day pulling weeds to improve your arm strength and finger dexterity and the next day sweeping your patio to exercise your arms, legs, and shoulders. If yard work will be your main form of exercise, try to perform some kind of physical activity in your yard for at least two and a half hours per week.
Yard work can be difficult, so it’s best to ease into it. You should stretch your back, leg, and arm muscles beforehand to prevent pain or injury. Walking around your backyard to see what needs attention will stretch your legs. Simple arm circles, trunk bends, and wrist extensions will loosen up your arms, back, and wrists. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after your outdoor chores to stay hydrated. Take frequent breaks to avoid overheating or overstraining your muscles.
Shield yourself from the sun and potential injury while working in your yard. You should wear a hat, long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sunscreen to block the sun. For the most UV light protection, get clothing made with UP50+ to block UV light. Long pants will help protect you from tick and bug bites. Knee pads and foam rests can help you avert injury when you’re working on your knees, and gardening gloves may prevent cuts.
Gardening can be a great workout for your arms; just use both arms equally to strengthen them both. Try squatting instead of kneeling or sitting when weeding to build your leg muscles. Use a long-handled shovel instead of a hand trowel to work more muscles, including those in your back, shoulders, and arms.
Landscaping can employ several muscle groups, provide a cardio workout, and burn calories. Chores like planting trees and bushes and adding landscaping elements like rocks or mulch require muscle strength. Avoid injury by using your legs and core muscles when lifting or pushing heavy tools or materials.
Use a traditional push lawn mower instead of a ride-on or robotic one to get a high-intensity, low-impact cardio workout and work your upper body, leg, and core muscles. You will get even more exercise if you use a manual push reel mower instead of a gas or electric one.
The next time your bushes or trees need clipping, reach for manual pruning shears or branch cutters instead of an electric or gas trimmer to exercise your forearms and shoulders. You’ll also get a workout when you clear the branches from your yard. Vigorously sweeping a patio or walkway counts as cardio and can burn 200 calories or more an hour.
With some time, effort, and patience, your new backyard fitness regimen can produce the results you want for both you and your yard.