Frugal For Everyone

Salt Alert – The Hidden Sodium in Food

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone | 25 comments

Salt Alert – The Hidden Sodium in Food

It’s a well-known fact that too much sodium causes high blood pressure which in turn increases risk of heart attack or stroke. What’s not quite as well known is that it can also lead to kidney problems, dementia and cognitive impairment. The ideal daily sodium intake for an adult is 1500mg – less than 2/3 tsp. – per day, exceeding no more than 2300mg – 1 tsp. – per day. However, the average daily consumption is more than 3000mg a day, more than double the ideal of 1500mg. We can stop adding salt to our foods and while that would help, it isn’t the main problem as this added salt is only about 10% of our daily intake. The real problem is with the hidden sodium in food which contributes 75-80% to our daily intake.  I checked some common foods and was surprised (and appalled) by the sodium content in some of these everyday products. Check out the corn flakes, the sandwiches, the Tim Horton’s Chickens Caesar Wrap or the so-called diet foods below. Pretty scary, right? Kellog’s Corn Flakes 729mg per 1/2 cup serving Kellogs Shredded Wheat 70mg per serving Roger’s Porridge Oats 0mg per serving Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Flavoured +/- 200mg/packet depending on flavour Greek Yogurt, non-fat 118mg per one 8 oz  (227g) container Cottage Cheese 411mg per 1/2 cup Milk 88mg per 1 cup Soy Milk 124mg per 1 cup Almond Milk 180mg per 1 cup Ham and cheese sandwich made with 2 slices whole wheat bread 1401mg to 1681mg Tuna sandwich made with mayo on two slices of whole wheat bread 870mg Aylmer Tomato Soup less sodium 570mg per 1 cup reconstituted Homemade Tomato soup less sodium 250mg per 1 cup serving Lipton Onion Soup Mix 610mg per serving (7g) McDonalds Big Mac 950mg each McDonalds Caesar Salad 1070mg each Tim Horton’s Chicken Caesar Wrap 1532mg – that’s your total daily allowance Tim Horton’s BELT (Breakfast Bagel) 1040mg each Mr. Christie Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies 140mg per 2 cookies Mashed Potatoes with Gravy 870mg per serving Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken 600mg per serving Lean Cuisine Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes 520mg per serving Weight Watchers Ham and Cheese Scramble 520mg per serving Weight Watchers Homestyle Beef Pot Roast 690mg per serving Salmon, Fresh (not farm raised) 59mg per 100g (3 1/2 oz.) Salmon, Canned 900mg per can Peas, Frozen or Canned 222mg per 1 cup Peas, Fresh 7mg per cup Homemade Apple Pie 128mg per slice Homemade Apple Crisp 0mg We do have choices once we know what the sodium content of the food is. The best way to control our sodium intake is: Stop buying processed foods and prepare our own – purchased sauces, mixes and instant foods generally contain huge amounts of sodium (and often are expensive and don’t save much time); Season foods with herbs and spices instead of salt – buy garlic and onion powders rather than the flavoured salts and use unsalted butter; Eat more fruits and vegetables (without the sauce) – season with herbs and spices; Check the nutrition labels more often and know what the labels mean; Don’t buy packaged meat that doesn’t show the amount of sodium – many meats are injected with a saline solution or salt water to ‘enhance’ the meat but actually only adds weight and sodium; Buy low-sodium canned products and if possible rinse the contents thoroughly before using; Avoid MSG, bouillon cubes, dry soup mixes, and condiments. They’re all high in sodium; When eating out, ask for sodium free or low-sodium foods. Don’t assume that the healthier sounding food in restaurants really...

Read More

150 Canadian Facts-150 Years-It’s All About Canada, eh?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone | 31 comments

150 Canadian Facts-150 Years-It’s All About Canada, eh?

150 Canadian Facts is my contribution to Canada’s 150th Birthday. Hope you enjoy learning about our beautiful Country. We’re not always the polite and quiet folk people think we are – we do have our quirks. There are interesting – and sometimes odd – places to visit and things to do. But read on – discover for yourself the diversity of this land I am fortunate enough to call home. Happy Birthday, Canada. Canada became a country on July 1, 1867. Queen Elizabeth II is the Canadian Head of State. The Governor-General is the Queen’s representative in Canada. John A. MacDonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister. Canada’s name originated from an Iroquoian language word ‘Kanata’ meaning village. Canada’s capital is Ottawa, until recently the second coldest capital in the world with temperatures dipping down to -38C (-38F). It has now slipped down to fifth place but the temperature hasn’t improved – it’s still darn cold. Canada’s official phone number is 1-800-0-CANADA The North American Beaver is Canada’s national animal. Canada does not have a national flower – instead the Maple Leaf is the National emblem. Canada’s motto is A Mari Usque Ad Mare meaning From Sea to Sea. Canada’s national anthem ‘Oh Canada’ was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1927 and officially adopted as Canada’s national anthem in 1980. Canada’s flag was officially adopted on February 15, 1965 – 98 years after Confederation. Upon seeing it, Queen Elizabeth II remarked that “a touch of blue would have been nice”………I agree. Canada has 10 Provinces and 3 Territories. CANADA/USA, AMIABLE NEIGHBOURS, MOSTLY. The Canada/USA border is the longest international border in the world, 8,891 km (5,525 miles) long. For years we took great pride in our ‘undefended border’. While there are many parts still unprotected since 9/11 passports are needed to cross at border crossings. This unprotected border has raised some interesting situations. The Haskell Free Library and Opera House straddles the border and has its entrance in Derby Line, Vermont, USA while the books are in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. The building also contains an Opera House, where the audience sits in the USA while the stage is in Canada. The building has two addresses: 93 Caswell Avenue, Derby Line, Vermont, and 1 rue Church, Stanstead, Quebec. Both Canada and the USA declared the building a Heritage Site in the 1970s. The Aroostook Valley Country Club also straddles the Canada-USA border. Flying both flags, it is situated on the border at Perth-Andover, New Brunswick and Fort Fairfield, Maine. The course and clubhouse are on the Canadian side; the parking lot and pro shop are on the American side. With this course you can not only shoot the ball out of bounds, you can actually shoot it out of the country. Membership is about 50% from each country. Niagara Falls is a huge tourist attraction shared by Canada and the USA. 4 out of 5 of the Great Lakes are shared by Canada and the USA – Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Lake Michigan is situated entirely within the USA. Canadians like the border – almost 75% live within a hundred miles (160km) of the border. It is estimated that 93,000 Canadians live in the USA with expired visas – more than any other group of immigrants. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October – much earlier than the Americans who celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. Americans make fun of our monopoly coloured money so how’s this for irony? The green colour Americans use in their bills was invented by T. S. Hunt...

Read More

Lovage: Budgetwise Plant For Health and Taste

Posted by on Jun 25, 2017 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Health, Herbs, Recipes | 21 comments

Lovage: Budgetwise Plant For Health and Taste

Lovage is such a useful herb yet it is seriously underused. Known in Holland as the Maggiplant it is a perennial herb that once planted keeps on producing forever, basically giving you a celery type product for free. It smells somewhat like beefy celery and makes a fabulous substitute for celery in soups and stews besides having a myriad of other uses, including cosmetic and medicinal. Growing Lovage: As lovage plants and seeds are difficult to find locally it makes more sense to buy a plant from a Herbal Garden Centre. (One plant is all you’ll need.) It is easy to grow, requiring average, moisture retaining soil and a sunny spot (some shade in hot climates). It is a tall plant growing to 5-6 feet (2 metres) so should be planted at the edge of the garden or at the back of the flowerbed. It is one of the first plants to appear in the Spring and one of the last to die in the Fall. Lovage can be harvested throughout the growing season. Like all herbs, pick after the dew has dried. Cut the stalks and pull off the leaves. It is best used fresh but can be frozen – simply chop the leaves and stalks and freeze in ice-cube trays covered with water or, even easier, place the leaves and stalks in freezer bags.  Lovage – Medicinal: Lovage will deliver its many health benefits either as a tea or when added to food. Lovage Tea (tastes like a broth): To make: Add 1 tsp. finely chopped lovage leaves, root or rhizome (underground stem) for every 1 cup of boiling water. Let steep for 5-10 minutes or to taste. Health benefits: Boosts immune system; Coughs, colds and bronchial problems – contains eucalyptol which soothes irritated tissue; it is an expectorant which helps loosen phlegm and mucus; Boosts kidney health – encourages healthier urination which decreases the risk of kidney stones; helps prevent urinary tract infections; Menstrual relief – can relieve menstrual pain including severe cramping and bloating; may also act as a mood booster during this time; Digestion aid – as an anti-inflammatory, lovage tea will help reduce irritation of the bowels, reduce bloating and flatulence, soothe upset stomachs; may improve appetite; Anti-allergenic – contains quercetin (histamine inhibitor) which reduces allergic reactions, itchy eyes and runny nose; Anti-inflammatory: Relieves migraine headache pain; Improves blood circulation; Relieves arthritis, rheumatism, gout and other joint pains. As with all herbs, lovage must be used with care. I believe strongly in the adage “All things in moderation”. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid lovage. Anyone with chronic health issues, especially kidney or heart disease, should NOT use this herb without prior approval from their doctor. Lovage is an aquaretic which stimulates healthy urine flow without losing electrolytes. This increases water loss when fluid retention is a problem. However, to prevent excessive water loss, anyone taking water pills should avoid this herb. There have been some reports of increased photosensitivity associated with lovage use. This could increase risk for sunburn and skin cancer which makes sunblock and protective clothing a must.   Lovage – Cosmetic/Medicinal: Leaves applied directly to skin can: Reduce the itch and redness from psoriasis; Help control acne. A decoction used as facial wash or added to the bath can: Increase blood flow to the skin which improves skin tone, making skin feel and look smoother and healthier. To make a decoction: Place a ¼ cup chopped lovage leaves in small pan, add 4 cups cold water, cover and place on low heat to slowly simmer for 1 hour. Strain...

Read More

Horticultural Therapy – How It Works

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health | 19 comments

Horticultural Therapy – How It Works

This article – Horticultural Therapy – is a guest post by Stephen Pettengill, a Certified Horticultural Therapist. Let me give you a little bit of Stephen’s background in his own words: “Growing up in southern Oregon, with ‘the woods’ right outside my back door, I developed an affinity for nature and outdoor activity.  There were caves to explore, tree forts to play in, streams, rivers and other adventures. I felt at home in nature, and loved the physicality of working outside. This led to a lifelong study of horticulture and design. At an early stage in my career, I wanted to combine my interests in gardens with psychology; the adventure of the mind! I wanted to learn more about how best to create meaningful, even transformational interactions with the natural world, not just a pretty garden. I have an interdisciplinary degree (Business, Gerontology, and Environments) from Marylhurst University and at the age of 50 I completed an HT (Horticultural Therapy) program. Currently, I live in a community called Ananda, where I use my skills to help enhance the environment and organize community activities.” The Nature of Things Horticultural Therapy For Seniors – How It Works. ‘True sanity is rooted in the natural world’ Andy Fisher, from Radical Eco-Psychology. They say that gardeners live longer. True or not, gardeners are always looking ahead, adapting to changes and attuned to the slow rhythms of the natural world; things that bring quality of life. Academics are working to understand the impact of nature on the human psyche, with research growing showing the effectiveness of engaging with the natural world. Even small things make a difference – for instance: Fish tanks in doctors’ offices are known to calm patients. A study called ‘A Room with a View’ showed that prisoners who had windows in their cells had less anxiety and less violent behavior. Realtors know that a tree lined street has intrinsic value to a neighborhood. In 1984, Edward Wilson, a Harvard University conservationist, first coined the term Biophilia: ‘the urge to affiliate with other forms of life’. The theory that we have an innate need to connect with nature and other forms of life is shared by a growing number of professionals. Nature therapists say we have allowed ourselves to disconnect from our environment for a variety of reasons. This can lead to a host of physical, emotional, or mental issues. Social norms and lifestyles that are out of sync with laws of nature (sleep, food, sex, e.g.) come at a price to our health. Additionally, a culture of hyper-individualism can foster disengagement from our surroundings, including other people. Isolation and loneliness are common issues among senior populations yet we live in a society that needs engaged elders. On top of this we have an increasing technological society. A new challenge for humans is emerging that we barely understand (we often adopt new technologies before we know its full impact on us). With so many changes going on it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose our center.  ‘Getting grounded’ in the natural world is a way to help us transition from adulthood to elder-hood and possibly help heal a lifetime of being out of balance. What is Horticultural Therapy? My passions are nature (includes food!) and psychology. Where these two intersect you can find several evolving fields of study and practice. Environmental Psychology, Eco-Therapy, and Horticultural Therapy (HT) are disciplines that use plants and natural environments to help people become grounded, or rooted, in nature. This practice of Horticultural Therapy has been around for centuries. Activities using plants can be adapted to...

Read More

Gardening for Seniors – Adjusting to Limitations

Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Do-It-Yourself, Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Health, Herbs | 19 comments

Gardening for Seniors – Adjusting to Limitations

  Adapting to limitations has to be the gardening senior’s biggest annoyance in addition to being an ongoing challenge.  Just when you’ve adjusted to accommodate one problem another one pops up and you have to try something else again.  Seniors come with a bunch of different physical or mobility problems so for them to continue to garden safely means adjustments geared to each individual. I’ve had to adjust many times the older I get. I started with “in the field” gardens, moved on to raised beds set on the ground and next moved up to the current garden beds raised to table height.  My gardens have also become smaller each year. This year I won’t grow any vegetables as I did in the past but concentrate solely on my salad and herb gardens.    Garden size becomes another limitation.  Seniors often downsize and move into smaller townhouses, apartments or condos where they feel they no longer have the room to garden, so they quit. Gardening is such a healthy activity with both physical and psychological benefits that seniors should be encouraged to carry on. Putting one of the methods shown below in place allows the small size gardener to continue. When my parents moved from their country home to a city apartment you could tell where they lived from a mile away – mom’s balcony was a blaze of colour, flowers of every kind growing in pots and placed everywhere, even hanging from the balcony rail. The smaller area certainly didn’t stop her from enjoying her flowers. Gardening for Seniors – Adjustments: Most seniors find bending over difficult which makes the garden beds raised to table height ideal. The beds can be built any size, even as small as 1 or 2 feet wide by 3 or 4 feet long. For details about raised bed gardens, click here. The senior should be able to reach the centre of the garden without leaning on the soil to prevent compacting the soil. My gardens are 4 feet wide but that is because I can walk all around them and easily reach the centre from both sides. For anyone able to access only one side or for those less mobile, 2 or 3 feet wide will be the better choice. All walkways should be kept clear to prevent falls and to never obstruct safe movement, whether walking, using a walker or in a wheel chair.  Gardens should be placed in the most convenient locations – especially salad and herb gardens which should be close to the kitchen door for easy harvest. If space is limited any of the gardens shown in picture 2 are an attractive alternative. A previous post “vegetable gardens for small space gardeners” details how easy it is to adopt the alternative methods. When large patio pots are used they should first be placed on wheeled platforms. We seniors are a determined lot and if we don’t like where a planter is situated we’ll do what we can to move it. Having the wheeled platform will help avoid muscle strains, damaged backs or worse. A super idea is to wrap the handles of garden hand tools with bright coloured duct tape. This serves two purposes – it makes it easier to keep track of the tools and also provides a better grip for arthritic hands. Electric tools shouldn’t be used. Older hands can’t always be counted on to do what’s required and they may let go at the most critical times which could lead to serious injury. Instead use manual tools – not necessarily specific garden tools either. A couple of...

Read More

Add Beauty To Your Yard With Shade Loving Herbs

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Frugal For Everyone, Gardening, Green Living, Herbs | 27 comments

Add Beauty To Your Yard With Shade Loving Herbs

In Ontario, where I live in garden zone 5, the gardening season kicks off on the Victoria Day weekend (this year May 20-22). At that time all the garden centres and nurseries will be offering huge deals on plants of all kinds, including vegetables and herbs. When I was asked to share this infographic  about shade loving herbs I was delighted to accept – it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m sure this information will help many decide which plants to choose during the sales, making this infographic not only informative and fun to read but even help the bottom line. Hard to beat that combination, enjoy………Lenie “In our infographic below, find out which herbs and plants will do best with limited sunlight, including roots like ginger and ginseng. Our guide has a comprehensive list of which herbs thrive in the shade, including their grow zones, size, planting characteristics, and uses. Herbs that make good cooking ingredients such as cilantro, dill, and rosemary tend to thrive in the shade, as well as herbs used to brew teas such as lemon balm and even catnip, which isn’t just for cats! We also have tips for making sure your shade-loving herbs flourish. Shady herbs tend to grow tall, so be sure to give them adequate growing space and support. Keep in mind that herbs that grow in the shade tend to prefer moist, humus-rich soil. Read the rest of our tips and then get ready to start planting!” Source:...

Read More