Tomorrow is National Hot Chocolate Day. That delicious chocolatey warm drink that can warm your heart on a cold winter’s day.
A quick history lesson . . .
Back in the 1800’s, a father and son helped create the cocoa powder you use in your drink.
Casparus van Houten Sr. figured out how to separate the cocoa solids from the butter. His son, Coenraad Johannes was the one who made the fats more soluble in water. Both together created cocoa powder perfect for hot chocolate.
You and I know that hot chocolate is delicious. We also know that hot chocolates can be high in sugar. The great news is that if you are diabetic and watching your blood sugar you can still enjoy a cup!
How can I enjoy hot chocolate as a diabetic?
You can keep your glucose levels down and drink hot chocolate if you watch your ingredients.
Ingredients . . .
You should start with a high quality cocoa powder that is organic and low in sugar. Ghiradelli Unsweetened Dutch Process Cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark 100% Cacao are both good options.
Next, choose unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk to your cocoa with a dash of salt.
For sweetness you can add stevia which is natural and sugar-free. It comes in liquid or powder form.
Instructions . . .
Heat the milk until it’s hot but not boiling. Add two to three tablespoons of cocoa and mix. Finally add your sugar-free sweetener. Heat a bit more, then enjoy!
Private Home Health Care knows that hot chocolate can reduce your blood pressure and increase brain function. It’s also good for the soul on a cold day.
As you age, bathing can become a problem. You might have trouble getting into a bath tub. Would a shower or a bath be better for you when you are elderly?
There seem to be good points to each but overall the thinking is that if your shower is set up safely that has more positives than having a bath.
A shower is easier for you to get in and out of, especially if your entry is at the same level as the floor. You don’t need to lift your legs over the sides of a tub and stay steady.
Add safety handrails. Plumbers need to install some but there are also some with strong suction cups that you could add. You need to make sure handrails are placed at a spot for you to to reach should you slip.
A shower door over a sliding door is recommended. Sliding doors can be alot to manage and they can move if you grab on to them.
Inside the shower you can get a rubber mat for the floor and it is also recommended that there is a seat for you in case you get tired or if you need support.
Be sure too that the mat you use when you leave the shower has a rubber base and does not move.
If you love your baths don’t feel that you have to eliminate the. There are positive things about baths too. For example, they have bathtubs with doors that allow you to walk straight in.
A bath can be relaxing for your muscles and joints and can help moisturize your skin. You might also feel that you can sleep well after a nice warm bath.
Private Home Health Care understands that as we age normal tasks can get difficult. Be sure to ask for help if you need it but also look into what is the most safe option for you. We want you to stay as healthy as possible.
Change a Pet’s Life Day is annually on January 24. This day isn’t only life-changing for our pets, it changes our lives for the better too. Often seen on the windows of cars is the saying, “Who saved who?” An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet. There are many positives to owning a pet. In fact, research has shown physical, mental, and emotional advantages. Furthermore, having a pet will increase the owners exercise, protect them from invaders or predators, and even sense danger. This day enables us to provide a new home for one or more of the millions of animals in shelters. Though not everyone is able to adopt a pet, there are many other ways to contribute to changing a pet’s life.
Positive social impact of owning a pet
Couples who own a pet together have lower blood pressure. Further, They also interact with each other more than those in a pet free home.
Studies show that pet owners are more likely to engage with people in their neighborhood than those who do not have a pet.
Health Benefits of being a pet owner
lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels (stress related hormone)
Decrease loneliness, boost your mood and increase feelings of social support
Animals can serve as a source of comfort and support
Children, Pets and Learning
Taking care of a pet helps with teaching children about responsibility and empathy
The presence of a pet is proven to help children with ADHD maintain focus
Furthermore, studies show children on the autism spectrum feel more relaxed and comfortable with an animal around them.
Many pets are being trained as service animals to help folks with disabilities, needs and conditions.
Handwriting? What is that? Do you recall learning handwriting in school?
We all learn to write because that is the road to learning letters and reading. As we go up to the older grades there is still some actual handwriting that is being taught too.
Journaling is a popular way for many to write. You can find studies that show that putting pen to paper in a journal can have some health benefits.
If you have a sense of being overwhelmed or if you want to try and sort out some of your feelings, writing in a journal can help to reduce some of your stress. It can be a good release.
There have been a number of studies done where if you journal for a period of time, 12 weeks or a few months you feel less depressed and anxious.
When you feel negative or worried, sitting down to journal for a few minutes can help you process your emotions. It can set you apart from your emotions and you might even find that you can look at them subjectively.
Processing your emotions can be hard. Journals can be a way to work through them. They can also help provide you with next steps.
You and I use social media, computers, iphones, ipads and other devices. If truth be told we can’t live without them but writing in a journal can be another outlet. All you need is pen and paper.
Private Home Health Care suggests writing something you are grateful for each day. Life can get so busy. It’s helpful to step back and check in. Journaling can be a great outlet. Give it a try.
We all have stress in our lives. You could have a fight with a sibling or spouse, you have a deadline at work or an issue with your dog. Our bodies can handle our blood pressure getting elevated for a “short” time and then coming down. That’s a part of daily life.
In addition, there is actually no proof that normal stress can lead to long-term elevated blood pressure.
The issue begins when your stress becomes chronic. When stress lasts for weeks, months or years this chronic stress can lead to health problems.
Chronic stress can increase your risk of damage to your blood vessels, heart and kidney. This is when doctors become concerned.
Stress is not always easy to handle but there are ways that you can look to help manage it. They are not difficult and they don’t have to cost money.
Here are some suggestions:
Make sure you get enough sleep. Seven to eight hours a night are recommended.
Try some relaxation techniques. Listen to quiet music and relax your mind, meditate or try yoga. Mindfulness exercises work too.
Have you picked up any bad habits? Try excessive amounts of alcohol or coffee. Be careful not to overeat.
Exercise – move as much as you are able either by walking outside, in a gym or mall or on a treadmill for example. Any movement helps.
Don’t hold onto anger. Address issues as they come up.
If you can identify stressors in your life try and reduce or eliminate them.
Private Home Health Care sees the stress in people’s lives. We hope that you can find ways to reduce stress for a healthier and happier life.
January 19 is Good Memory Day. The human memory is one of the most amazing, yet fragile aspects of life. Today is a day to cherish good moments from our past and present as well as making new ones. From the moment we are born, our brain takes in and process all kinds of information. Unlike a computer, that stores memory securely for eternity, the human memory does not have that luxury. Many factors play into memories being preserved and for how long. There are also many studies on how brain functionality can change over time.
An organization near and dear to us is The Alzheimer’s Association. This organization leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. This is done by accelerating research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support (https://www.alz.org/about). They are one of the premier groups that fundraise, spread awareness, as well as advocate for Alzheimer’s and dementia research.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
Another leading concern for brain injury and memory loss that has garnered headlines recently is Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE, which is a brain condition thought to be linked to the repeated head injuries, like concussions. CTE has made the news being linked to the National Football League (NFL). A large number of former NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE. With the violent collisions and helmet to helmet hits in football, brain injuries are a major problem. Furthermore, retired and even active players are coming forth with struggles they are facing do to CTE. There are ongoing studies of former players and their brains after a career in football with the repeated blows to the head.
These are only two potential problems that affect the memory. Researchers and doctors are striving to find ways to help prevent, lessen and hopefully cure these problems. Today is a day to look into what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones. As stated previously, the brain is a very complex and fragile part of the body. We only have one. Please take some time in honor of good memory day, to reflect on those positive memories you have and informing yourself on how to protect those memories.
How to Celebrate!
Scroll through old photo albums and
Take time to reflect and share positive memories.
Play games geared brain stimulation
Taking time to research ways to keep the brain active
Fundraise/donate to causes related to causes that work with brain memory and functionality
Sign up for a walk or fundraising activity to shed light on these causes.
Popcorn is a quick, easy and depending on the popcorn, a healthy snack.
Traditionally you think of getting popcorn when you go to a movie theater. You can also pop it or buy it and enjoy watching a movie at home. It’s also a great snack if you are on the go!
We’ll talk about the packaged brands later but if you pop it yourself and limit the salt and butter you’d be amazed at some of the health benefits.
Find a brand that you can add your own salt and oil. To make it healthy, use a light butter or olive oil rather than butter. You might also try grated cheese or chili flakes for some variety!
According to WebMD, you’ll find in a three cup serving of air-popped popcorn (low in salt and butter) the following stats:
Calories: only 93
Protein: 3 grams
Carbs: 18.6 grams
Fiber: 3.6 grams
Sugar: .02 grams
Fat: 1.1 grams
Add on some antioxidants and vitamins like B6, A, E and K and you get more nutrition.
If you are looking to purchase popped popcorn from the store, Livestrong.com worked with dietitians to come up with the top 10 healthiest popcorn brands.
Nutrition (especially calories, fat, fiber and sodium)
Here are some of their suggestions: Skinny Pop Original, Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Salt, Quinn Aged Parmesan and Rosemary, Boom Chicka Pop Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn, Newman’s Own Organic Touch of Butter, Whole Foods 365 Organic Yellow Popcorn, Trader Joe’s Organic Popcorn with Olive Oil.
Private Home Health Care loves to eat popcorn for a quick healthy snack. You might just find us eating some on National Popcorn Day tomorrow!
Customer Service Day is celebrated each year on January 17. No company or brand would exist without a customer. All goods and services are created with the consumer in mind. “Customer service [department],” plays the all-important role of ensuring that the customer receives the best service possible, building positive relationships to build brand loyalty and making sure that their complaints are heard and followed up on.
The adage, “The customer is always right,” dates back to the 1800’s, and exhorts service staff to give a high priority to the customer. This ideology stems from keeping customers happy to ensure they will continue coming back. The customer service department is a liaison between the customer and the company, working to make certain the customer has the best possible experience while working with the company. This relationship can make or break the possibility of doing business in the future.
In this day and age, where the internet places almost anything a person may need at their fingertips, customer service plays a major role in where people will take their business. Consumers would prefer a brand where they can get problems resolved right away. Gone are the days of working hours being 9:00-5:00, consumers do not want to wait over the weekend, the next day or even hours for responses. They are looking for immediate satisfaction, and any prolonged wait time can hinder the way they view the company. For many larger companies, “customer service” is available around the clock. As the demand for services is becoming more fast paced by the day, the need for customers to be able to contact a business is also more in demand than ever. This has led to companies having designated customer services phone lines that are available 24/7, E-mail accounts set up solely for customer service inquiries and websites having customer service representatives available online to “live chat.” As technology is advancing, everything is judged on how quickly a person can get what they need. Companies like Amazon rose to the top by offering options like same, overnight, or next day delivery. The aphorism, “time is money,” is as true in customer services as any other department.
Excellent customer service is critical to running a successful business. One Major way a company can judge how their relationship with the customer is, is through customer reviews. The internet has provided many references consumers can use to evaluate who they would like to take their business to. Sites like Google, Yelp and even Facebook offer consumers insight on how others have had experiences with companies, through their consumer reviews. If you have unsatisfied customers, they will not be returning nor will they recommend others. On top of losing their business, they will leave negative reviews warning others of the missteps a company has had, leading other potential customers to look elsewhere. These reviews and customer feedback are also important internally for the companies, as they provide them with insight on what they need to improve on, their strengths and weaknesses and can provide vital information they can use to grow and succeed. If a company cannot quickly resolve any issues that arise, they may suffer negative reviews.
Today is a day to reflect on those folks who typically deal with unsatisfied customers, and work hard to resolve any issues. Most of the time that I have contacted customer service, I was very unhappy. That was no fault of the person that I spoke to on the phone, yet before the conversation even began, I was in a frustrated mood. These workers face unhappy customers all day long, and work hard to give us the best service possible. When I call customer service, the first thing I do is apologize upfront, knowing that I am already unhappy to even be making this call, and tell them I understand that it is not their fault. I think most people can attest to taking out some of their frustration on the person on the other end of that line. Hopefully next time you are stuck having to make a call to customer service, you will remember this blog, and will at the very least, remember it is not personal with the person you are calling, and the issue is with the product/company.
Today, Private Home Health Care honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King was a man of peace who stood up against racism and segregation without violence. He was very charismatic and a wonderful speaker. He believed that all people, no matter the color of their skin, were created equal.
He began as a Baptist minister in the South. He had a small following that grew with his speeches. His righteous movement was driven by faith and led by civil disobedience without violence.
Dr King was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and spoke on the right to vote, desegregation and basic civil rights for people of color. He helped organize the Montgomery Alabama bus boycott and nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama.
His highly memorable “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered on the Washington Mall in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. There were thousands of people in attendance.
This truly faith-filled and amazing man’s life ended when he was only 39 years old but his life and inspiration live to this day.
On this day, we laud Dr. Martin King Jr. and his peaceful quest for equality for all people.