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Great Schools for Online Music Education

April 8th, 2011

For many, learning how to play a musical instrument takes time, patience and loads of practice. When one typically thinks about the training process behind this skill, he or she might picture themselves in a practice hall with other instrumentalists, or in a small room for a one-on-one session with an instructor. However, advances in technology now allow individuals to acquire their musical education from the comfort of their own home. Here are
a few places where students can find music education at the college level.

  • Berklee College of Music: Since 1945, the Boston-based Berklee College of Music has prepared its students for musical careers by constantly evolving to reflect the ever-changing styles and state of the industry. In 2002, the institution launched Berkleemusic.com, its online music school. The online institution acts as an extension of the college and allows students to pursue whatever subjects they want, whenever they want. Web-based courses are available in a variety of creative subjects, including music production, songwriting, arranging, music theory, harmony and ear training. Individuals who wish to perfect their instrumentation can pursue online courses in guitar, bass and drums. Debbie Cavalier, dean of continuing education at Berklee, told the Boston Globe that enrollment in the online school has increased by 30 percent almost every year since its inception. "I think online learning in general is everywhere, but not as much in a formalized way for music," Cavalier added. Berklee's learning opportunities also feature their fair share of celebrity instructors. Grammy Award-winning rock guitarist, composer and producer Steve Vai recently set out to lead the world’s largest online guitar lesson with the help of the institution.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Just down the road from Berklee is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. The school offers online learners worldwide the opportunity to access course materials over the Internet through a program known as OpenCourseWare. Web-based courses that MIT has offered include Introduction to Western Music, Fundamentals of Music and Music of India. These online offerings were developed by school faculty, which according to Education-Portal, includes internationally known composers and performers.
  • Full Sail University: Students who have an interest in the business side of the music industry have the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in this area of focus online. As file sharing, iPods and other technological advances continue to change the nature of the music industry, Full Sail students can gain an understanding of business fundamentals in addition to the skills that are* necessary to work in this field, according to the university’s official website. At first, courses cover fundamental business topics, such as marketing, finance and advertising. As students advance in the program, they focus on industry-specific classes in intellectual property, publishing, distribution, artists and product management. In the final stages of the program, students draw on all that they have learned to formulate a business plan.
  • Other options: Beyond academic institutions’ online offerings, individuals who seek convenient musical education can find other options elsewhere on the World Wide Web. For instance, individuals who want to receive new age piano lessons can turn to Quiescence Music for online coursework. The lessons, which were developed by pianist and composer Edward Weiss, teach students three separate techniques – the Ostinato, the Crossover and the Broken Chord. Guitar Tricks is another online resource for individuals who wish to develop their skills on the stringed instrument. The website was launched after Jon Broderick, a San Francisco guitarist, searched for online lessons and found none. The artist has created a spot for anyone from novices to experts to acquire different playing techniques.

The Benefits of Attending College Out of State

April 8th, 2011

For some students, the transition from high school to college is enough of a change. These individuals might decide to attend a college near their home, or at the very least, in the same state, which allows them to stay close to their family and friends. However, more adventurous students might view college as an opportunity to get a change of scenery, gain their independence or even start a whole new life. To help students decide which path is right for them, here are some of the benefits of attending college out of state.

  • New experiences: Attending a college in the same region that a student grew up in or attended high school may allow them to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones, but it will not do much for broadening their horizons. Students who enroll in a college or university in another state stand the chance of seeing new things and meeting people who they may have never met if they stayed in one location their whole life. This is especially helpful to individuals who wish to broaden their worldview, according to Helium. Though every state has its McDonalds and Wal-Marts, students who attend college far away from home will be exposed to experiences that are unique to a particular region.
  • Independence and personal growth: When a student removes his or herself from their comfort zone, they may put themselves on a path to discovering who they are, and the type of person they will become. According to Associated Content from Yahoo!, personal growth and development is the second most important aspect of the college experience, next to earning a degree. Students who have lived at home their whole life can gain their first taste of independence when they choose to attend college far from home. Though technically these individuals will not be alone — living with a roommate in a dormitory full of their peers — it still provides another step toward adulthood. Helium states that students who live away from home can acquire domestic skills and learn how to solve problems when they cannot rely on their parents.
  • A sense of appreciation: Spending time away from one’s home and family may help students gain a better appreciation of where they come from. When the only times a student can see the house they grew up in is during school vacations, it might make being away from college all the more special. An individual who has been out of state for so long will most likely have more than enough to talk about at Thanksgiving dinner. In addition, all that time spent doing one’s own laundry may help students better appreciate all the years their mothers handled these chores for them.
  • Something to consider: Before applying to a far away college, students should know that they will most likely have to pay a higher tuition, as non-residents do not contribute to the funding of state schools through tax payments. However, there are ways for students to obtain out-of-state tuition waivers, according to University Parent Connection. For instance, if a desired degree is not available in a specific commonwealth, individuals may be eligible to participate in a tuition-exchange program or receive a reduced rate. School teachers, newly settled retirees, university faculty and staff as well as active-duty military personnel who are stationed in the area have the ability to receive out-of-state tuition waivers from select schools, according to the website. In addition, dependents of these individuals may also benefit.

The Incredible Benefits of Animal Therapy

April 3rd, 2011

Humans and animals share an ancient history of co-dependence, but this relationship extends far beyond domestication for food and labor purposes. The medical field, for example, utilized leeches and maggots for centuries, if not millennia. More modern times see a broader selection of animals helping their human partners through many different permanent and temporary conditions. Such admirable creatures as well as those taking the time to train them for the good of mankind rightfully deserve however many accolades people can give.

Physical Assistance

Easily the most common type of therapy animal — and probably the one that always pops into peoples' heads — are those working as assistants to the disabled and elderly. Dogs make for especially adroit companions, and organizations such as Assistance Dogs International devote their time and resources to training these amazing animals to better serve those needing of their help. Most probably think of these venerable canines as guides for the blind, but they also assist those in wheelchairs, the elderly and individuals with other sensory or physical impairments who face down difficult times getting around. Although extremely common, dogs aren't the only animals used to make life easier for the elderly and/or disabled. Monkeys, too, provide similar, though not identical, services. Their natural agility, dexterity and intelligence make them ideal for scrambling into out-of-reach spots for desired items. Many also learn how to feed and wash their human friends!

Emotional Therapy

Animal assistance and therapy completely transcends the merely physical. For those suffering mental and emotional trauma, the presence of a gentle animal helps quell some of the pain. While not a complete replacement for psychological care, allowing individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder to spend some time with a therapy dog, cat or horse provides an amazing supplement to routine treatment. Soldiers returning from war, for example, respond positively to their exposure to dogs — just petting, playing with and running alongside them fills them with the endorphins and energy necessary for healing. Beyond PTSD, therapy animals also provide warm companionship for the bipolar, depressed and anxious as well. Individuals with developmental disorders, such as autism, find some of their negative emotions soothed with exposure to horses. Also used in some physical therapy, these extraordinary equines play an integral role in helping people on the autism spectrum fortify their socialization skills. In addition to alleviating much of the depression and anxiety associated with the conditions, of course.

Everyday Perks

Simply owning a pet also offers up a couple of medical perks, even with animals without any kind of specialized training. Cats, for example, may help children with asthma improve their respiratory functions and lower cholesterol levels (and subsequently reduce the risk of a heart attack) — among other things. Along with relieving mental anguish associated with various psychological and developmental disorders, keeping a beloved pet of any species certainly makes life a whole lot less lonely. Many elder care facilities provide homes for animals eager to mingle with the patients and plaster big smiles on their faces. Oscar, a cat residing at the Steere House in Providence, Rhode Island, possesses the startling ability to sense when one of the residents is about to pass. Many of the patients suffer from dementia and great lonesomeness, and the little cat wanders into their rooms shortly before death to dispense solace. In the final moments of their lives, they feel love and gentle companionship rather than fear and isolation. And all thanks to the intuition of one inadvertent therapy animal.

Regardless of whether or not they receive any sort of formalized training, many different animals provide their human partners with more than just their friendship. Whether chewing up decaying flesh on a serious wound, helping a blind individual better navigate the streets, socializing an autistic child, comforting a dying elder or something else entirely, these amazing creatures make life that much better for often marginalized demographics. But their selfless efforts do not go unrewarded, at least in general. Gracious owners make sure companions receive sufficient shelter, love and nourishment as thanks for the enjoyment and assistance in making life flow just that much easier.

The 50 Best Snacks for Your Child’s Backpack

March 15th, 2011

Making sure your kids eat right as they dash between classes, after-school activities and plans with friends is tough, which is why it's important for parents to get creative when it comes to ensuring nutritional standards in their kids' lives even when they're away from home. Here we've found 50 great snacks and snack ideas that fit into the lifestyles of all types of active kids, no matter how messy that backpack is.

The Fundamentals

These classic snacks are fun to eat, kid favorites, and easy to pack in bags and lunch boxes.

  1. Peanut butter: Packed with protein and the good fats your kids need to keep them running around all day, it's an easy add-on to sandwiches, breakfast toast, as a veggie dip and with fruit. Spoon a few dollops into a small plastic container for dipping.
  2. Popcorn: Pre-pop a bag of popcorn or Kettle corn — particularly the kind without loads of extra salt and butter — for a fiber-rich snack that's fun to eat.
  3. Nuts: Great for active kids who need extra calories but limited junk, nuts are easy to eat and pack. Choose unsalted nuts and nut mixes for less sodium.
  4. Raw Veggies: Cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers and other raw veggies for kids to munch on as they break for lunch or head to practices and games after school.
  5. Peaches: Peaches have a lot of vitamin C, so throw a pack of diced peaches into your child's backpack for cold-fighting power.
  6. Strawberries and citrus: These fruits are also high in vitamin C and great for transporting. Oranges don't even have to be cleaned before eating — teach your kids how to peel an orange or clementine they can eat any time.
  7. Healthy energy bars: Your grocery store's energy and snack bar aisle is probably pretty overwhelming, but don't' grab any old box. Pick bars with more than 3 grams of protein and fiber, heart-healthy fats, whole grains, and limited sugar.
  8. Sugar-free Jell-o: Jell-o now makes sugar-free, low-calorie gelatin snacks in all types of flavors, already pre-packaged for backpacks.
  9. Lean lunch meat: Pierce rolled up pieces of lunch meat with toothpicks for a snack.
  10. Trail Mix: Assemble your own trail mix according to your kids' tastes and nutritional needs. Throw in dried fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, low-sugar cereals, and even the occasional piece of candy for something sweet.

Fun Recipes

When you have the time to experiment, surprise your kids with these fun recipes.

  1. Carrot Wraps: Cheeses, nuts, and apricots spruce up regular carrots.
  2. Cherry Hungry Caterpillar: Cherries and cream cheese are turned into a friendly caterpillar with this recipe.
  3. Kabobs: Low-fat meats and cheeses, cherry tomatoes, and fruit are fun to eat when pierce with a kabob stick.
  4. Tuna salad roll: Scoop out a whole-grain roll, then stuff it with tuna salad made with chopped apples and celery. Use low-fat mayo.
  5. Apple bites: Great for Halloween or a surprise, you'll stick silvered almonds in apple wedges that your kids will love to share.
  6. Tomato Basil Pizza Snack: Even as chilled leftovers, these are a great snack kids will look forward to all day.
  7. Cream cheese hearts: Use fruit spread and cream cheese with whole-wheat bread, and then cut the sandwiches into heart shapes.
  8. Awesome applesauce: Make your own applesauce to serve your kids at school.
  9. Honey Ginger Carrots: Give baby carrots more flavor with grated ginger, lemon zest, butter and lemon juice.
  10. Yogurt on the Go: Add sunflower seeds, raisins and strawberries to light yogurt.
  11. Pizzadillas: Don't forget to pack the dip for this sensible snack that packs in spinach, fiber, calcium, lots of vitamins, and protein.
  12. Wraps: Wraps are an easy way to get your kids to eat spinach or lettuce, especially when they're surrounded by low-sodium meats and low-fat cheeses.
  13. Egg tortilla: Scramble eggs to roll in a wheat pita or tortilla.
  14. Confetti quinoa: Introduce your children to this fiber- and protein-rich food by whipping up this mix, packing it into a containers, and serving it at room-temperature or cooled for lunch or later.
  15. Super Strawberry Bars: Make your own bars with rolled oats and strawberry jam.
  16. Sweet-Potato Sticks: Made with sweet potatoes and egg whites, this yummy snack is surprisingly easy.
  17. Quesadillas: Slip a leftover quesadilla made with low-fat ingredients into your kids' backpack for portable snacking.
  18. Polka Dots' Tomato Spots: These cherry tomato, cheese and tuna snacks will fit nicely in a plastic container and are easy to pop into little mouths.
  19. Polka-Dot Waffle Sticks: Kids get extra iron and vitamins with this recipe.
  20. Cheesy Apple Butter Snack: Add cottage cheese and grape nuts to apple butter.
  21. Balls of Energy: These little balls are packed with nutrients from bananas, peanut butter, peanuts and wheat germ.

Keep Chilled

Throw an ice pack into your kids' snack bag to keep these nutritional snacks fresh.

  1. String cheese: A favorite kid snack for years, this fun-to-eat cheese stick is perfect for throwing into side pockets and lunch boxes.
  2. Yogurt: Protein, vitamin D and calcium are just some of the nutrients kids can easily get from yogurt, a product that's well-marketed in kid-friendly packaging and flavors.
  3. Fruit salad: Depending on the season, you can pack chopped and assorted fruits in a hard container for your kids' backpacks, with kiwi, blueberries, watermelon, strawberries and grapes for a colorful, tasty variety.
  4. Milk: Fill up a thermos with milk instead of buying sugary juices and sodas for their lunch.
  5. Low-fat pudding: Use nonfat milk if you make your own, or buy low-fat pudding already pre-packaged for healthy desserts.
  6. Last night's chicken: If you have left-over lean chicken, chop up chilled pieces for a salad topper or a snack for your kid's backpack.
  7. Hard-boiled eggs: Give your child a dose of protein power by hard-boiling a couple of eggs and putting them in plastic containers.
  8. Cubed cheeses: Pack an assortment of cubed cheeses for easy, portable snacking, and lots of calcium and protein.

Crumble-Proof

Lots of snacks seem like a great idea, until they're smashed at the bottom of a bulky backpack. These crumble-proof foods last all day.

  1. Raisins: Higher in calories than regular fruit, raisins do fight cavities and gum disease, and it's an effective power-boosting snack to eat before workouts and active sports.
  2. Pickles: Low-calorie pickles are a kid-favorite because of their tart, sour taste. Buy pickles with no added sugars or artificial flavors.
  3. Pita and hummus: Either as a snack or lunchtime sandwich, pita is pretty durable, even in a backpack, and whole-wheat varieties have a lot of dietary fiber.
  4. Salsas: Pack salsas in a hard container — either a store-bought kind or something you make yourself — for healthy dipping and extra incentive to gobble up veggies.
  5. 100% juice boxes: Avoid juices that are mostly made with sugar.
  6. Apples: They might bruise after a few days, but a washed apple is one of the easiest snacks a kid can dig out of his pack.

Snacks to Share

Pack extras for your kids to share with their friends, inspiring even more kids to eat healthy.

  1. Baked chips: Not all chips are totally bad for you, especially when they're baked, wheat-based, and shared with friends.
  2. Rice cakes: Buy lightly flavored (but low-sugar) varieties, or include a small container of peanut butter for your kids to share with the carpool gang.
  3. Cheese and crackers: Pack cheese spreads or slices along with wheat crackers.
  4. Whole Grain Cereal: Mix different types of whole grain cereal together for your kids to pass around with friends.
  5. Oatmeal cookies: Instead of throwing little boxes of junkier cookies into your child's bag, encourage them to share oatmeal cookies instead.

50 Best Blogs for Your Children’s Nutrition

March 14th, 2011

Eating well is important at any age, but especially so for young children who need the right vitamins, minerals and nutrition to help them grow and develop. Lucky for parents, you don't need a medical or nursing degree in nutrition science to understand the basics of eating a balanced, healthy diet. March is National Nutrition Month, and what better way to celebrate than by learning more about nutrition for your family? With some common sense, trial and error and the help of professionals like these bloggers, you'll be on the track towards better nutrition for your kids before you know it.

General

These blogs will teach you the basics of good nutrition for kids.

  1. Nourishing Thoughts: Parents can learn how to teach their kids about nutrition, what kids should be eating and much more on this great blog. Recommended post: "Pyramid Power vs the Junk Food Bandits- Animated Videos Promoting Eating Healthy Foods."
  2. Dayton's Children: This pediatrics blog is a great place to read not only about nutrition, but a whole host of other issues related to children's health. Recommended post: "Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle."
  3. Super Kids Nutrition Blog: You'll get a ton of great ideas to encourage kids to eat right with the help of this site, including recipes, ways to make good food fun and healthy choices you can make as a parent. Recommended post: "Starting a Family Garden."
  4. Healthy Kids Challenge: No matter where your kids are getting a meal, at school, at home or at a friend's house, this blog will help you challenge them to eat better and be healthier. Recommended post: "3 Steps Schools Can Take Today for Healthy Meals."
  5. Meals Matter Blog: If you have trouble getting healthy meals on the table, this blog may be able to help. It's packed with meal-planning advice that can make healthy eating much easier for busy families. Recommended post: "Meals Matter Moms- Insider Advice on Feeding Families."
  6. Nutrition for the Future: This blog will help you feed your kids the foods they need to grow up healthy, strong and with a good sense of what to eat. Recommended post: "Fun Ways to Enrich Family Mealtimes: At Restaurants."
  7. Food Fun Health: Want your kids to want to eat healthy? Take some advice from this blog, dedicated to helping parents get their children hooked on real foods. Recommended post: "5 Reasons Why Family Meals Matter."
  8. Little Stomaks: If you've got picky toddlers or fussy young children, this blog is a great place to look for healthy recipes and stories. Recommended post: "Surprising Easy Solution for Preventing Childhood Obesity."
  9. Healthy Kids, Healthy Families: This blogging mom has a PhD in nutrition and shares her thoughts on getting kids to eat right for optimal health. Recommended post: "Veggies First."
  10. SchoolMenu.com: Want to see what your kids are eating for lunch? This site will help you do that and help you stay educated about children's nutrition issues. Recommended post: "Apricots for March."
  11. Momma Data: From exaggerated claims to clear biases, sometimes children's health news isn't all it's cracked up to be. Read this blog to get the true story behind these news articles. Recommended post: "Best Parenting Books of 2009: The First Annual Momma Data Book Awards."

Family Focused

These blogs help you find ways to get your whole family eating right– not just your children.

  1. Family Health and Nutrition: Visit this blog to read about the latest nutrition news and get ideas on what you can cook that your whole family will enjoy. Recommended post: "It's WE TRIED IT! Friday. This Week: Green Smoothies."
  2. Dinner Together: From healthy meal ideas to the studies showing dinner together as a family truly is beneficial, this blog is an excellent resource for parents. Recommended post: "Involving Kids in the Kitchen: A Developmental Perspective."
  3. Family Feeding Dynamics: This blog addresses a wide range of nutritional questions parents might have. Recommended post: "Is it OK to put a fat baby on a diet, but not a lean one?"
  4. Nourish Family Nutrition: Find a range of recipes and news items here for whole family nutrition. Recommended post: "Tricky Veggies for Kids."
  5. Whole Family Nutrition: A blogger shares what he's eating and what he's making for his kids here. Recommended post: "Embarrassingly Healthy School Lunches."
  6. Nutri-Savvy: This blogger, dietician and mom believes that eating right shouldn't be a chore. Learn how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for your family here. Recommended post: "Kids Eat Right: Family mealtime."
  7. Real Mom Nutrition: Busy moms and dads will find a number of great ideas and strategies they can use to put together healthy meals on this blog. Recommended post: "Tied to My Apron Strings."

Recipes

If you're looking for recipes your kids won't turn their noses up at, these sites are for you.

  1. Meal Makeover Moms: These moms will show you how to cook meals that are not only healthy, but kid-friendly as well. Recommended post: "School Lunch Reform: An Interview with Chef Ann Cooper (Podcast #120)."
  2. Just the Right Byte: Both you and your kids will appreciate the tasty meals and recipes posted to this blog. Recommended post: "Alphabet Soup! B is for Vitamin B Complex."
  3. Keep Your Diet Real: Whether you're cooking for adults or little ones, these recipes use whole foods and healthy ingredients to create healthy meals you'll want to eat. Recommended post: "10 Healthy Breakfasts in 10 minutes or Less."
  4. WeeklyBite: This blogger shares stories about her life, but also amazing recipes that use fresh-picked, seasonal foods. Recommended post: "Easy Blueberry Muffins."
  5. Simple Bites: Here you'll get access to recipes that focus on using whole foods to create meals that are family friendly (and tasty to boot). Recommended post: "How to Make the Best Zucchini Bread Ever."
  6. Fix Me a Snack: Short on healthy snack ideas for your kids? Pay this blog a visit for some great recipes. Recommended post: "Homemade Polka Dot Fruit Roll Ups."
  7. Vegan Dad: If you're a parent trying to raise your kids without eating animal products, then get some quick and easy recipes for dinner and more here. Recommended post: "Creamy Mac and Cheeze."
  8. Raise Healthy Eaters: Maryann is a mom and a registered dietician, so she knows the score when it comes to getting kids to eat right. On her blog, you'll find a range of recipes and meal plans that can be a big help in feeding your family. Recommended post: "10 of the Best Cereals for Kids."
  9. A Life Less Sweet: If you feel like your family is eating far too much sugar and not enough of the good stuff, check out this blog for some great healthy recipes and more. Recommended post: "Cowboy Pizza."

Dieticians

Get some advice from the professionals on these blogs.

  1. Inspired RD: Whether you want to get in shape or focus on keeping your kids healthy (or maybe both), this blog is full of great ideas, suggestions and tutorials. Recommended post: "Lessons I Have Learned as a Mom."
  2. My Kitchen Nutrition: Julie Negrin aims to teach both parents and kids how to eat right through her work and her blog. Recommended post: "Kudos to Cooking Dads!"
  3. Mommy Dietitian: Angela Lemond is a dietician and a mother of two. On this blog, she shares ideas on eating right as a parent and helping keep your whole family healthy. Recommended post: "Wellness Lock-In: A 'Must Do' For All Families."
  4. Carrots and a Cupcake: This dietician and mom shares ways that parents can help their kids eat right most of the time, with a few indulgences now and then. Recommended post: "Sweet on Sweet Potatoes."
  5. Dietician Mom: Elizabeth Ward's blog on USA Today is one of the best blog resources for parents looking for creative ways to help families eat better. Recommended post: "2010 Dietary Guidelines: What They Mean for You and Your Family."
  6. Emma Fogt: From healthy after school snacks to the basics of children's nutrition, this dietician provides some seriously great information for nutrition-conscious parents. Recommended post: "Should Parents Hide the Veggies?"
  7. Nourish My Kids: Registered dietician Christina Fitzgerald doesn't just provide healthy eating advice for adults– she also shares some helpful ideas that can make dinnertime a healthy, fun experience for families. Recommended post: "Dieting and the Drive for Thinness – Eating Disorder Awareness Week."
  8. Nurturing Nutrition: Who better to educate you on children's nutrition than a pediatric dietician? That's just what you'll find here, with ideas on getting your kids the balanced meals they need. Recommended post: "Your Kids Calories."

Natural

Learn how to nurture your little ones the natural way from these bloggers.

  1. Pure Mamas: These mamas will show you how to use natural ingredients to create amazing, healthy meals your whole family will enjoy. Recommended post: "Homemade Muesli & a Play Doh Party!"
  2. Hounds in the Kitchen: These bloggers try to make as much of their food as they can, and you can learn a whole lot about eating the old fashioned way from their urban homestead blog. Recommended post: "Kids Cook Green Monster Smoothie and Kale Chips."
  3. Healthy Child, Healthy World: Here, you can learn ways to reduce the amount of chemicals your kids eat– hopefully making them happier and healthier as they grow. Recommended post: "Our Intimate Relationship with Food: A Complex Truth."
  4. Nature Moms Blog: Learn how to raise all natural kids and cook all natural food from this blog. Recommended post: "Save Money on Healthy Organic Foods."

Safety

These blogs address food safety issues, including helping your children avoid foods to which they might be allergic.

  1. Food Safety News: You'll find everything you need to stay in-the-loop when it comes to any and all food safety issues, from BPA bottles to restaurant inspections. Recommended post: "Students Still Get Too Many Sugary Beverages."
  2. Food Insight: The International Food Information Council maintains this blog that is an excellent resource for families who want to learn more about food safety issues. Recommended post: "Red Isn't Just for Roses on Valentine's Day: The Role of Colors in Our Favorite Red Foods."
  3. Food Politics: This blog will help you learn about food safety issues as well as focusing on exposing the truth behind claims, advertising and more. Recommended post: "Chocolate toddler formula?"
  4. Please Don't Pass the Nuts: This blog is a great place to read about food allergies, especially those related to nuts– essential for any parent with an allergic child. Recommended post: "Food Allergies, Bullying."
  5. The Allergic Kid: Parents will find some amazing advice on raising a healthy kids with allergies on this site. Recommended post: "Mini Meatball and Fruit Kebab Lunchbox."

Pregnancy and Baby

Good nutrition starts before your baby even enters this world. These blogs will help you care for yourself and your unborn child and provide for the little tyke in the first few months following birth.

  1. Beyond Prenatals: Learn what you can do to get the right nutrition you need beyond taking vitamins if you're pregnant or hoping to conceive. Recommended post: "Vitamin D in Pregnancy and Beyond."
  2. Expect the Best: This blog will help moms eat healthy before, during and after their pregnancies. Recommended post: "Quick Healthy Meals for Your Family."
  3. Fresh Start Nutrition: This site is full of great advice and ideas for parents and little ones alike. Recommended post: "How to Choose a Fish Oil Supplement."
  4. Cassandra Forsythe: Check out this blog for stories and help for pregnant women on what to eat, how to stay fit and how to feed your baby. Recommended post: "Whole Grains are GREAT."
  5. Your Baby Eats WHAT?: If you're on a mission to make your own baby food and baby meals, this blog is a must-read. Recommended post: "Futari– pumpkin and yam stew for baby led weaning."
  6. Mama Knows Breast: For newborns, there's little better for them to eat than breast milk. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding here. Recommended post: "The IRS and Breast Pumps."

15 Famous Athletes Who Are Vegetarians

March 13th, 2011

Humans, and especially those who do a lot of physical exertion, need quite a bit of protein to keep their bodies healthy and in optimal shape. While meat is a great source of the essential nutrient, it's certainly not the only one; many athletes have opted out of eating meat in favor of plant-based sources. Some might think it's a disadvantage, but many of these athletes have won countless medals and competitions and have gone down in history as some of the best in their sports. If you're a vegetarian athlete or aspiring to be one, here are some of the greats in sporting history who show you just what can be done with hard work, lots of veggies and some amazing talent.

  1. Bill Walton: Bill Walton was never one to stick to the mainstream when it came to his personal life, but on the court he is remembered as a great player, winning three straight College Player of the Year Awards during his time at UCLA and named an MVP during his time in the NBA. This Hall of Famer didn't do it with the help of animal protein, however. A committed vegetarian, Walton is still active off the court today as an announcer.
  2. John Salley: John Salley isn't just a basketball legend — he's also an outspoken advocate for vegetarianism, often doing work for PETA. The first player in NBA history to play on three different championship-winning franchises, Salley calls vegetarianism "best damn way to eat– period" and one might be inclined to agree with him after seeing his performance on the court.
  3. Edwin Moses: Track and field star Moses won two gold medals in the Olympics and set the world record in his event an amazing four times. His powerful performance on the track was fueled by pure vegetable goodness, as Moses was a longtime vegetarian.
  4. Tony Gonzalez: Atlanta Falcons superstar tight end Tony Gonzalez isn't a strict vegetarian — but it isn't necessarily all his doing. Gonzalez experimented with veganism and vegetarianism, but was talked into having a few servings of chicken or fish a week by the team's nutritionist. The bulk of Gonzalez's diet, however, is veggie-based, and this football star holds the record for most single season receptions and most career reception yards.
  5. Martina Navratilova: Tennis champ Navratilova has 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 31 doubles titles to her name — an all-time record — leading Billie Jean King (another vegetarian) to call her "the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who ever lived." Throughout her career, Navratilova has been committed to vegetarianism and is an active spokeswomen for organizations such as PETA.
  6. Carl Lewis: It's hard not to have heard of this Olympic great, a man who was called, "the greatest athlete to ever set foot on track or field." Lewis has won ten Olympic medals over the course of his career, nine of them gold. Lewis isn't just a vegetarian– he's a vegan– and began this diet before the 1991 World Championships. His new diet didn't seem to hurt his performance as he, and others, felt he ran some of the best races of his career at that meet.
  7. Robert Parish: One of the greatest NBA players in the history of the game, Robert Parish is a Hall of Famer inducted in 2003. While well-known for this jump shot, Parish is also is famous for his vegetarianism– just showing that even a huge, athletic individual doesn't have to eat meat to fuel the body.
  8. Mike Tyson: Mike Tyson is a recent convert to an animal-free diet, committing himself in early 2010 to a fully vegan diet. It seems to have done wonders for the prize-winning fighter, as he's slimmed down and says he's happier now than he has been in years– a turnaround for a man famous for ear biting, crazy tattoos and jail time.
  9. Joe Namath: Anyone who knows football has heard of this legendary player, inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1985. This Super Bowl Champion once said, "It shows you don't need meat to play football," and his success on the field makes that abundantly clear.
  10. Prince Fielder: Prince Fielder decided to be a vegetarian after reading about how chicken and cattle are treated on farms, a decision that made national news and caused many to speculate that it might affect his performance on the field. Yet Fielder is a home run champ, and has hit over 110 home runs in the years since he went veggie.
  11. Tony La Russa: While La Russa might be more famous for his work as a coach than as a baseball player, his accomplishments in the field of athletics are nothing to shrug off. La Russa is a star manager in both the National and American leagues, becoming only the sixth manager in history to win pennants with both and one of only two mangers to win the world series in both leagues. He's also a committed vegetarian stating that he decided to stop eating meat after seeing a PBS program on how veal comes to the table.
  12. Ed Templeton: Those familiar with the skateboarding world will know this skater and artist's name well. Templeton owns and operates a skateboarding company and is a well-known skater in his own right. He's also a vegan and has been since 1990, citing the influence of his friends and readings about the meat and dairy industry as his reasons for making the change.
  13. Scott Jurek: If you've never heard of the sport of ultramarathoning, the name alone should alert you to the fact that it's a pretty intense sport. This hardcore athlete made the change to a vegan diet in 1999 and hasn't looked back, finding new and innovative ways to fuel his body for several marathons and loads of training every year. It seems to have done his body good, as Jurek is one of the sport's leading champions.
  14. David Zabriskie: Cyclist Zabriskie has won the US National Time Trial Championship a whopping five times and has placed well in the Grand Tour, making him an incredibly accomplished road bicycle racer. Along with his love of cycling, Zabriskie also has a passion for veganism and converted to the diet recently after learning about the impact the meat industry has had on the environment. He admits that it was a struggle, but believes that ultimately, it will be the best thing for his body and his training.
  15. Salim Stoudamire: Salim Stoudamire is an imposing man, standing at 6'1'' and weighing in at almost 200 pounds. He's also a vegan. This point guard has stated that he became a vegan simply because he always wanted to and doesn't mind if his teammates tease him over his meal choices, stating that the new diet has improved his endurance and energy on the court.

Building an Offline Office for Your Online Classes

March 4th, 2011

Enrollment at online universities is growing fast, and thousands of Americans are launching their academic careers from the comfort of their own homes. Students can watch video lectures streamed over their laptops, take tests on secure web sites, turn in homework over email and attend social media study groups. Despite the ease of attending classes on their own schedules, many online students face a challenge when they try to pick a location for their home classroom. Working from home, people can be easily distracted by chores, pets, family and entertainment. Fortunately, successful students and professors are glad to share their tested secrets for building the best home office. Here are some of their tips.

  • Unplug the distractions. Most people study best when they avoid interruptions, so the best virtual classrooms do not include blaring televisions or ringing phones. To avoid these pitfalls, some students choose their bedrooms while others leave the house entirely and settle in a public library or local coffee shop. For students who study at home, the crucial step is to dedicate the work space entirely to schoolwork, says Lisa Gillis, the author of "Virtual Schooling: A Guide to Optimizing Your Child's Education." "The area could be as elaborate as an entire room transformed into a classroom, or a small desk space in an office," Gillis said in a release. "Occasionally, students like to take a break and sit on the couch with their laptops."
  • Stay organized. Computers are wonderful when they work, but technology problems can wipe out hours of productive study when an assignment gets lost in e-mail or a computer crash deletes a term paper. Professors at Chabot College in Hayward, California, advise their online students to print out paper copies of each syllabus and assignment calendar, making multiple copies if they study in several different places. Another good habit is to save copies of class notes and homework tasks in a single folder on the PC screen, so it's easy to send them again if they get lost in a weak wireless connection. Some students even back up this data on a disc or flash drive.
  • Learn from your classmates. Online students may sit alone in a home office, but they do not need to face their academic challenges alone. The best students share ideas and comments with their classmates throughout the semester, according to teachers at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. By using e-mail or instant messaging, they can ask quick questions and help tutor friends when they know the answers. Students also benefit when they develop a support network of friends and family who respect their need for quiet computer time even when it coincides with a weekend party or an outing with friends.
  • Take advantage of the technology. The most successful students tap the unique benefits of online coursework, from posting comments on group study pages to getting instant feedback from professors. Dedicated students make sure they log on to their course homepage every day, to avoid falling behind on the flood of information. Other students take advantage of the anonymity of virtual classrooms, taking their time to post answers to group discussions without being distracted by classmates' reactions.

In the end, online students must sort through all the advice and pick the home study habits that work best for them. The best approach is simply the one that allows them to focus on their studies and to finish them fast. Maybe they'll even have time to fit in a workout or to catch their favorite TV show to relax at the end of a day.

80 Great Ways to Celebrate National Nutrition Month

March 2nd, 2011

March is National Nutrition Month, and a great time to focus on your nutritional health. Whether you're a model eater, or could use some help in the diet department, this month will give you a good opportunity to think more about the food you're eating. Try these activities, habits, and small changes to celebrate nutrition and food this month.

General

These are ideas you can use all month long.

  1. Define good nutrition: Learn about what good nutrition really is.
  2. Think about making calories count: Rather than labeling foods good or bad, consider the vitamins, minerals, and fiber available in foods.
  3. Always have water available: Make sure that there's always water ready and waiting for you to drink.
  4. Set reasonable goals: Start making small changes you can live with.
  5. Be optimistic about food: Think about food as nourishment and fun.
  6. Consider supplementing: Although you may be reaching all of your nutritional goals, a vitamin or mineral supplement can help ensure that you're getting everything you need.
  7. Be patient: Instead of settling for food with immediate gratification, take your time and enjoy what you eat.
  8. Indulge: Don't forget to allow yourself to indulge when appropriate.
  9. Plan ahead: The more you plan, the better you can control your nutrition.
  10. Eat frequently: Becoming a frequent eater will allow you to eat more often in smaller portions.

Activities

Take part in these activities and make nutrition month a fun experience.

  1. Take a cooking class: Spend some time properly learning how to prepare foods with a cooking class.
  2. Write down everything you eat: This month, take the time to track everything you're eating, so you get a better idea of what exactly you're taking in.
  3. Join a food club: Have fun with food and friends in a food club.
  4. Play with your food: Dress your food up into edible art for a little fun.
  5. Watch Super Size Me: Consider how fast food can affect your body with Super Size Me.
  6. Join a CSA: Becoming a part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) will enable you to eat well and support community farmers.
  7. Eat something fresh: If you've never tried anything but canned pineapple, try a fresh one.
  8. Read about good nutrition: Find books that celebrate healthy nutrition.
  9. Visit a farmer's market: Find fresh, local, and even organic produce and other items at a farmer's market.
  10. Pack a bento box lunch: Have fun with lunch by creating a bento box at least once a week this month.
  11. Attend a nutrition class: Learn more about good nutrition with a class.
  12. Look at labels: Before you buy or eat food, take a good look at its nutrition facts.
  13. Enter a diet contest: Submit a recipe to a contest.
  14. Create an emergency food kit: If you're out and about and become hungry, you're likely to turn to whatever's available-make sure you've got a healthy food kit ready to go.
  15. Go on a picnic: Eat great food in the great outdoors.
  16. Visit a farm: See where your food comes from by visiting a farm.
  17. Watch Food, Inc.: Learn more about the way your food is made with Food, Inc.
  18. Make a healthy menu: Plan meals ahead of time for the entire month, so you'll have great nutrition all month long.
  19. Enter a cooking contest: Participate in a cooking contest in your community.
  20. Eat local: Practice sustainability and a connection with your food by eating local.

Shopping

Celebrate nutrition this month by taking these ideas to your grocery store.

  1. Buy fresh food: The fresher the food, the more nutritious, so buy as fresh as possible.
  2. Try a new grocery store: Get a new perspective on available foods at a new store.
  3. Avoid shopping when you're hungry: Avoid impulse buys by shopping when you're full and rational.
  4. Look for whole foods: Choose simple, whole foods that are the closest to nature for more nutritional bang for your buck.
  5. Purchase organic products: Try some organic products, like milk, meat, or produce.
  6. Stay away from ingredients you don't recognize: If you can't recognize, pronounce, or spell an ingredient, don't buy it.
  7. Stick to the outer aisles: You can find produce, meats, fish, and eggs in the outer aisles of grocery stores.
  8. Find produce in season: Get fresher produce by shopping in season.
  9. Read labels: Although most foods with great nutrition won't require labels, be sure to look at the ones that do to be an informed consumer.
  10. Don't buy desserts or munchies: Treats are fine, but make them worth it by making them from scratch yourself.
  11. Shop for colorful foods: Get a variety of phytonutrients with colorful produce.
  12. Don't believe everything: "All natural" or "fat free" labels can be deceiving.
  13. Write a list out: Before you head to the store, make sure you've got a list ready to go.
  14. Learn to recognize all forms of sugar: Refined sugar can come in many forms so look for corn sugar, fructose, caramel, syrups, and more.

Eating Out

While you're dining out, you can use these tips to celebrate nutrition.

  1. Visit a new restaurant: Go to a new restaurant you've been meaning to check out.
  2. Find out how your food is prepared: Consider whether your food is baked, fried, or prepared in another way.
  3. Add a new fruit or vegetable to every meal: Try something new each time you cook.
  4. Educate yourself before going to a restaurant: Go to the restaurant's website to learn about the nutrition for the items available on the menu, so you can make a healthy, informed choice.

At Home

Nutrition can take center stage at home with these tips.

  1. Make a healthy eating plan: Create a plan for eating a balanced diet at home.
  2. Buy a new cookbook: Find a new healthy cookbook to spur interest in new recipes.
  3. Get an illustration of the food pyramid: With a food pyramid, you'll have an easy reminder to eat a balanced diet.
  4. Balance it out: Eat a good balance of foods for good nutrition.
  5. Practice family mealtime: Eat together, and teach children a healthy attitude toward food.
  6. Create a rainbow on your plate: Find a rainbow of foods to make a plate rainbow.
  7. Try a new recipe once a week: Find a new recipe to check out each week of National Nutrition Month.
  8. Measure with a tablespoon: Instead of a knife, use a tablespoon to measure and spread on condiments.
  9. Cook with your kids: Get kids interested in nutrition by having them help you cook.
  10. Increase the amount of times you eat at home: At home, you're better able to control what you're eating, so aim to increase the frequency of your mealtimes at home.
  11. Go meatless once a week: If you're a big meat eater, consider going meatless at least once a week.
  12. Prewash your vegetables: Buy vegetables washed, or wash them when you get home from the grocery store, and you'll be more likely to grab and go veggies as a snack.

Daily Habits

Try to work these daily habits for good nutrition into your routine this month.

  1. Get a better night's sleep: When you're well rested, you're less likely to turn to junk or comfort foods.
  2. Find a tip a day: Get a tip a day nutrition calendar, or sign up for email alert every day.
  3. Take a vitamin: Make sure you're reaching all of your nutritional needs with a vitamin supplement.
  4. Stick to serving sizes: Read the nutrition facts to find out the proper serving size for the food you're eating.

Gardening

Put nutrition on your windowsill or in your backyard with gardening.

  1. Teach kids about nutrition in the garden: Kids can get an understanding of gardening for health with your help.
  2. Start a garden: Plant vegetables, fruits, and herbs, so you can enjoy your very own harvest.
  3. Garden with meals in mind: Plant items that can be used over and over again in the meals that you plan to cook.
  4. Plant a row for the hungry: Set aside a section of your garden to donate to your local food bank or soup kitchen.

Community

Use these ideas to make food and nutrition a social affair.

  1. Explore food science: Learn about the science of food to appreciate it more.
  2. Find a new food blog: Check out a new food blog every week this month.
  3. Cook for friends: Invite people over to enjoy dinner at your home.
  4. Plan a foodie trip: Plan a trip to a fun food festival.
  5. Blog about National Nutrition Month: Let others know that you're celebrating National Nutrition Month by posting about it.
  6. Visit festivals: Seek out food, wine, or beer festivals to enjoy more gourmet food.
  7. Share recipes: Start a recipe exchange with friends and family.
  8. Give away your produce: Share extra produce from your garden.

Exercise

  1. Get active once a day: Manage your body weight by being active for an hour every day.
  2. Take part in a fun activity: Join a race or adventure dash to get exercise in a fun way.
  3. Introduce weight training: Become lean to put your nutrition to good use.
  4. Take a walk as a family: Spend time together as a family and get active with a walk around the neighborhood.
  5. Meditate: Give yourself time to collect yourself and focus inward with meditation.

60 Excellent Recipe Links for the Lactose Intolerant

March 1st, 2011

Lactose intolerance, sensitivity or allergy — as with all dietary restrictions, really — certainly provides a challenge to those diagnosed with the condition. And, by extension, the family and friends with whom they share meals. Eating out particularly poses problems, as the lactose intolerant don't always know exactly how every ingredient they consume was processed. Fortunately, literally thousands of recipes exist for people needing to avoid dairy. Many of them even closely replicate the flavors and textures of favorite dishes now off-limits. The following 60 may not represent even a fraction of the options posted online for DIY types eager to whip up dairy-free delights. But they do showcase a sliver of the ethnic, flavor, texture and ingredient diversity available.

For home chefs wanting to use store-bought products, checking the labels for any sneaky dairy products is absolutely essential when filling the grocery cart. Many of the following recipes include margarine on their ingredients list, for example, which can possibly come blended with butter or other milk solids. When in doubt, pick up the vegan version for greater peace of mind and gastric health.

Appetizers and Sides

  1. Chickpea and Lental Paratha: Vegans and those avoiding soy, gluten, nuts and (of course) dairy should consider this lively, flavorful dish and its accompanying fenugreek-cilantro chutney as a lovely starter or side.

  2. Spinach and Strawberry Salad: This healthy, light eat comes packed with antioxidants and proves that salads don't need heavy, creamy dressing to be palatable.

  3. Roasted Eggplant Bruschetta: A perfectly roasted eggplant boasts an earthy flavor and creamy texture without any dairy whatsoever. This recipe works well for vegans (depending on the type of bread used) and the soy-free.

  4. Quinoa Tabouli: Enjoy common Mediterranean flavors in this lovely little vegan dish — also suitable for those with other assorted food allergies.

  5. Applesauce: There's nothing fancy about this simple, satisfying applesauce recipe. Eat it as a snack, dessert or nice accessory to pork chops.

  6. Parmesan-Artichoke Dip: Vegan cheese and milk alternatives allow the dairy-free to enjoy this piping hot classic without fear. Even those without dietary restrictions may want to give it a try, as it is healthier than the original.

  7. Guinness Chicken Wings: Startle friends and partygoers with these unexpectedly sweet, sticky chicken bits marinated in soy sauce, sugar and the eponymous Irish stout.

  8. Jicama with Chili and Lime: A common staple in Mexican cuisine, jicama makes for a terrifically refreshing lactose-free, vegan treat. Nothing more than a simple mix of chili and lime is needed to make it pop.

  9. New Orleans-Style Crab Cakes: Dairy-free, reduced-calorie margarine allows individuals and families with lactose problems a chance to enjoy decadent crab cakes safely.

  10. Homemade Hummus: Try this versatile Mediterranean and Middle Eastern staple as a sandwich spread or a dip for vegetables or a favorite unleavened bread.

Drinks

  1. Lemonade: Both kids and adults, regardless of their ability to competently digest dairy, can delight in this refreshing summer classic.

  2. Rose Petal Iced Tea: Give the standard iced tea a fragrant, flavorful makeover by infusing the delicate floral taste of roses into the mix.

  3. Tofu-Based Buttermilk Alternative: Replicate the flavor of a dense, flavorful buttermilk using healthier — and of course, lactose-free — ingredients.

  4. Soy Milk Chai: Interestingly enough, this chai contains no tea whatsoever, but still wonderfully replicates the satisfyingly spicy, milky taste of a hot or cold cuppa.

  5. Strawberry-Orange Slushie: Cool off with this fruity treat that proves milkshake and malt drinkers don't have to have all the fun.

  6. Potato Milk: Whip up homemade potato milk — complete with almonds for the calcium — and drink it up whenever cravings for the lactose-laden version strikes.

  7. Wassail: Even though it possesses an association with the winter months, this aromatic, spicy apple cider can be enjoyed any time of year.

  8. Honey and Orange Blossom Lemonade: Whether lactose intolerant or sensitive, vegan, Celiac or other gluten-free restriction or a raw foodist, honey and orange blossom lemonade certainly satisfies a thirsting palate without stirring up trouble.

  9. Quinoa Chocolate Milk: Vegans and those with lactose, gluten, nut and soy restrictions can still enjoy a frothy cup of tasty chocolate milk using a combination of quinoa and cocoa powders blended with water.

  10. Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie: Enjoy all the fun of a satisfying smoothing boasting a nostalgic childhood taste without worrying about what it might do to the digestive tract.

Breakfast

  1. Pumpkin Bread: Imagine a thick slice of warm, comforting pumpkin spice bread with a favorite tea, coffee or milk alternative starting off the day.

  2. Polenta and Fruit: When time is not an issue, settle in for a dairy-, egg-, soy- and gluten-free "cereal" of wholesome polenta and flavorful fruits. The effort will not go wasted.

  3. Turkey Sausage Patties: Carnivorous members of the dairy-free community will love noshing on these nourishing breakfast sausages packed with protein and spices.

  4. Vegan Crepes: Enjoy these thin, eggy pancakes…without eggs. Or any other dairy products for that matter! The best part is customizing them with a favorite topping.

  5. Vegan Coconut-Banana French Toast: This creamy, delicious and dense breakfast classic gets a tropical vegan twist suitable for plenty of different dietary restrictions.

  6. Granola: Splash some granola into a bowl of milk substitute or throw it into a fruit smoothie for a beautifully nourishing breakfast.

  7. Potatoes O'Brien: When pan-fried in olive oil, potatoes, onions and bell peppers create an excellent, heavy start to an incredibly busy day. These taste especially amazing with a splash of vinegar-based hot sauce.

  8. Asparagus Frittata: Both gluten- and dairy-free, a tasty, healthy asparagus frittata (or any of these excellent egg dishes) is sure to delight parents and kids alike.

  9. Vegan Lemon Pancakes: Individuals on strict dietary regimens don–t have to miss out on one of breakfast's most enduring staples!

  10. Blueberry Muffin: Baking with soy milk probably raises a few eyebrows in those unfamiliar with the art, but it's a nice way to ensure the lactose-free can enjoy some of their favorites sans anxiety.

Lunch

  1. African Peanut Soup: Warm up a cup of this unique, satisfying soup either alone or with a nourishing (lactose-free, of course) sandwich for a quick lunch from home.

  2. Mock Tuna Salad: Enjoy the texture and flavor of a classic lunchtime staple without any animal products whatsoever — perfect for vegans and the lactose-free alike.

  3. Bagel and Lox: Pick up a package of guaranteed dairy-free bagels and substitute the traditional cream cheese with avocado for all the texture with none of the digestive disrupts.

  4. Mock Egg Salad: Replacing the mayonnaise with its vegan counterpart renders this deliciously messy dish a tasty, far healthier alternative to the real thing.

  5. Jalapeno Chicken Salad: Add a delicious (if not outright spicy) kick to one of lunchtime's absolute staples — and using vegan mayonnaise ramps up its nutritional value.

  6. Grilled Cheese Sandwich: When the hankerin' for a hunka (grilled) cheese descends, the lactose-free and vegans of the world don't have to miss out on its comforting flavor and texture!

  7. Barbecued Pulled Pork: Slow cook this meaty delight ahead of time and fashion quick sandwiches for work and school all week. If using commercial rather than homemade sauce, be sure to check for any milk solids that may have wormed their way into the recipe.

  8. Chicken Spring Rolls: The beauty of this simple, classic Asian recipe is the fact that the chicken can be replaced with turkey, tofu, shrimp, beef or pork to suit any particular dietary need or preference.

  9. Vegetarian or Chicken Pitas: Pick either of the provided fillings and stuff them in a pita with pistachios for a lunch as healthy as it is quick. Both the vegetarian and chicken recipes also make for nice wraps.

  10. Lettuce Wraps: Omit the beef for a healthier stuffing to this crisp, refreshing, Asian-inspired meal. These may be a smidge unwieldy and messy for lunchtime at the computer, though.

Dinner

  1. Fettuccine Alfredo: Regardless of whether or not one includes the chicken with this recipe, he or she can still enjoy a traditionally creamy entree entirely sans dairy.

  2. Crock Pot Chicken Vindaloo: Enjoy a world-renowned dish from the Goa region of India straight from a simmering stint in the crock pot, with or without chicken depending on taste and dietary needs.

  3. Grilled Salmon: Soy sauce and brown sugar are all it takes to bring out the rich, oily flavors to be found in a slab of grilled salmon.

  4. Winter Squash with Apricot Stuffing: Serve up this vegan dish when a chill starts snapping through the air. Family and friends, regardless of whether or not they consume animal products, will come to consider this an essential comfort food.

  5. Pork Stew with Rosemary and Lemon: This dense meal concludes the day with flavor, warmth and absolutely no dairy products whatsoever.

  6. Quinoa and Black Beans: Fans of black beans and rice looking for a venerable interpretation of an old classic may want to experiment with quinoa.

  7. Pad Thai: Thailand's most popular dish abroad should be a flavorful cornerstone of every dairy-, soy- (though not every recipe will be as such) and gluten-free diet. A couple of tweaks can make it vegetarian as well.

  8. Wasabi Grilled Tuna: One of the most infamous condiments on the planet accompanies fresh slabs of grilled tuna in this sumptuous pescatarian entree.

  9. Pot Pie: Don't think of every meat or vegetable in pot pie as absolute. Depending on dietary preferences and needs, both can be adjusted rather easily.

  10. Shishlik: Fire up the grill and mix and match different meats and vegetables for the Israeli skewer treatment. Wrap the finished products into pita sandwiches or eat them straight off the stick for a dairy-free meal.

Dessert

  1. Caramel Corn: In spite of the name, this Amish-style caramel corn does not utilize store-bought candies that may or may not have been produced with dairy.

  2. Vanilla Walnuts: Close out a meal with these sweet, spicy and crunchy treats, which also make for an excellent homemade gift.

  3. Strawberry Shortcake: This recipe uses no dairy or egg products for those with allergies or other conditions. It can also be adapted to bake delicious scones as well!

  4. Ashure: Traditionally served during Eid in Turkey, ashure takes a while to make, but the rich, flavorful results easily satisfy the sweet tooth of the lactose intolerant.

  5. Raw Brownies: Vegans, raw foodists and — of course — individuals unable to consume dairy products can still enjoy the chewy, chocolatey delight of a brownie without ever having to prepare their ovens.

  6. Tres Leches: Almond milk and cream of coconut form the base of a dairy-free alternative to the wildly popular Latin American dessert.

  7. Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti: Close out an evening with a steaming mug of (obviously lactose-less) hot cocoa, coffee or tea and a couple of crisp, blissful biscotti.

  8. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies: Parents hoping to share the joy of baking with their children will find flourless peanut butter cookies a nice starter project.

  9. Vegan Marshmallows: Vegan or not, marshmallows are not the easiest sweets to make. Try this recipe when looking for a challenge or a unique personal gift to friends and family who can't eat dairy.

  10. Basil-Lime Sorbet: Step outside on swarthy summer nights with a unique frozen dessert featuring some unexpected, but ultimately complimentary, flavors.

50 Terrific Blogs for Cancer Support

February 28th, 2011

Cancer is a despicable, overwhelming disease that's still frustrating doctors and nurses, as well as their patients. But through all the tests, hospital stays, surgeries, chemotherapy and side effects of cancer, a powerful and uplifting network of bloggers has also flourished. These bloggers have opened up to their families and the public to share their fear and shock during diagnosis, physical burdens during treatment, and struggles to get back to a more normal life once they've kicked cancer out, hopefully for good.

By and For Patients

Connect with patients who are going through similar experiences to find support and tips for your own journey.

  1. Blog for a Cure: This blog community is a platform for patients to share treatment stories, photos, concerns and personal updates for inspiration and support.
  2. My Breast Cancer Blog: This writer chronicles her journey with breast cancer through photos, silver linings, and and her inspirations.
  3. Dancing With Cancer: Living With Mets, a New Normal: This blogger's breast cancer has surfaced four times, but she's still dancing through it.
  4. Painting 2 Cancers: Browse paintings from a survivor of two types of cancer, and learn how art was an escape and a form of therapy during and after the fight.
  5. Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog: This blogger writes about her medical ups and downs with breast cancer.
  6. Care Pages: On this network, you'll find nearly 1,000 blogs and discussions about living with cancer and caring for loved ones with cancer.
  7. Bah! to cancer: Stephanie's giving cancer a run for its money, and now she's loaded with tips and information for others going through breast cancer.
  8. Multiple Myeloma for Dummies: Phil has been going through tests, transplants, chemo and endless hospital stays for nearly five years, but he's still a cheerful blogger who writes about creative writing, family life, advocacy and more.
  9. BRICKS for Young Adults: This Pittsburgh-based program helps young adult cancer patients find support, information, contacts and resources to help them battle their disease.
  10. We Are Wonder Women: This blog aims to empower young women fighting cancer, written by a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  11. Being Cancer Network: Here's another network of user blogs from around the world to help you learn about specific types of cancer and what it's like to live with cancer day by day.
  12. A Single Cell: Find out what it's like to have cancer as a single woman, and get support for living alone and trying to fit in as you battle cancer.
  13. Women with Cancer: This young blogger from Texas hopes to develop a community to inspire and motivate women with cancer.
  14. Just a breast lump in the road: This 30-something woman blogs about getting involved breast cancer organizations and also her personal journey of fighting the disease.
  15. Breast Cancer? But Doctor, I hate pink!: This blog takes on every part of the breast cancer journey, "from suspicion to diagnosis to treatment."
  16. Cancer, Life and Me: Chris has been battling cancer and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome since he was 7 years old. Now 30, he still writes as part of a mission to stick it to cancer.
  17. ChemoBabe!: Find resources, tips and inspiration to look your best even when you feel like hell.
  18. Eyes Peeled, Always: This 28-year-old cancer patient posts updates on treatment and family support (including stem cell donations from her sister) with grace and her fun-to-read writing style.
  19. Living with Cancer: Learn about dealing with grief, troublesome treatments, waiting around for doctors, and trying to remain hopeful despite all the frustrations and darkness of cancer.
  20. Team April's Breast Cancer Blog: Read Team April's blog whenever you start to feel like you don't have the strength — she's dedicated to helping others put on their game face and "take no prisoners" during the fight.
  21. The Liz Army: Liz is a cool chick who just happens to have brain cancer, and she blogs here about her progress, treatments, and rants against cancer.
  22. Keep Going! Blogging Breast Cancer: For Maria, the last year was a blur of chemotherapy and surgery. Now, she's blogging to help herself and other patients keep going through the next phase.

Experts, Treatment and Research

Doctors, experts and patients share the latest developments in treatment options, research studies and cancer news.

  1. Dr. Len's Cancer Blog: Dr. Len's blog on Cancer.org offers insight and welcomes discussion about early detection, screening, treatment, prevention and more.
  2. Chemo / Therapy: Browse posts about conquering chemotherapy so that this brave blogger can get back to real life.
  3. Every day I am killing cancer: Author Heather Jose is a cancer survivor who writes to help families, patients and health care providers make the most of their treatment and available resources.
  4. Doctor David's Blog: Learn more about pediatric oncology and the latest in cancer treatments, especially for young patients, here.
  5. Cancerwise: Houston's distinguished MD Anderson Cancer Center keeps up this blog to share expert news, insight and research analysis for patients and their families.
  6. Science Update Blog: Three professional science communicators from Cancer Research UK write about research studies and debunk common cancer myths.
  7. Colon Cancer Blog: Suzanne Dixon is an award-winning registered dietitian and epidemiologist, as well as a nutrition science teacher and cancer patient counselor who blogs here about research, treatment, and cancer risk.

Information and Resources

These blogs offer an introduction to living with cancer, from finding help to learning about surgeries to learning how to recover from treatment.

  1. AOL Cancer: Learn about cancer treatment options, pain control, surgery, and different types of cancer here.
  2. Everything Changes: Popular posts on this blog educate readers about financing their treatments, going to see a therapist, answering people's stupid questions about cancer, and more.
  3. The Cancer Help Blog: From surgeries and chemo to head scarves after treatment, this blog offers resources and ideas for living with cancer during each stage.
  4. Livestrong Blog: From cancer research news to races and charity events to inspiration for living with cancer, this popular blog is a great site to check for community support.
  5. Living with cancer blog: This blog from The Mayo Clinic covers setting goals, staying motivated, mental side effects, and the healing process.

Family and Friends

Family and friends of cancer patients and survivors can find support here.

  1. Hope and Jason: After leaving the hospital on Christmas Eve in 2009, with a bleak outlook on treatment and survival, Jason's wife is still writing about her husband's progress and fights with cancer.
  2. Live Fit and Sore: Stephanie decided to rethink her own lifestyle choices after he husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, and here she writes about her family's new passion for holistic health.
  3. Valerie's Blog: Valerie is a respected wellness editor living in New York, and she's also a cancer survivor. Read her blog for frequent "gratitude" posts that can help you find the hope and beauty in the small things.

After Cancer

Survivorship poses unique challenges, too. Get inspired from cancer survivors who've set new goals for themselves from these blogs.

  1. The Stupid Cancer Blog: This blog was founded by and for young adult cancer survivors and advocates early detection, quality of life improvement, and debunking common myths about cancer.
  2. The Cancer Warrior: As this blogger found out, no one's really around to tell you when you'll start feeling like yourself again. Read this blog for support and empowering posts on survivorship.
  3. Hope. Love. Run.: As this blogger reiterates, cancer treatment can be almost as painful and overwhelming as the disease itself. But running, writing and art helped her recover and live a fulfilling life after cancer.
  4. MIss Melanoma: If you're a cancer survivor who's ready to talk about cancer with a little bit of humor, check out this blog.
  5. Not quite Tom Riddle's Diary: Scully rants about stupid cancer here and is now dedicated to proving the link between environmental pollutants and the disease.
  6. Cancer Schmancer: This blogger has been writing about cancer since 2008 but is now starting to post about moving on from her past battles.
  7. Ciao, Cancer!: Duper explains what it was like to be diagnosed with, live with and recover from cancer, informing and inspiring readers along the way.
  8. I Kicked Cancer's Ass: This young law student was told that her pain was all in her head, only to discover that a tumor had crushed her uterus and ripped open her kidneys. After excruciating treatment, she graduated law school and now blogs to inspire other fighters and caregivers.
  9. Life is like a sandwich: enjoy the big bites: A two-time cancer survivor attempts to enjoy "normal" life and shares different sources for inspiration and motivation here.
  10. Dangennari.com: Get inspired to pursue other interests and aspects of your life from this blogger, who uncovered his love of writing and travel as he read other cancer blogs.
  11. Fuzzy Cancer Socks: If you're going through chemo and need support, read this blog for optimism, support and a little humor.
  12. Baldylocks: This is a truly inspiring blog for anyone looking for an outlet or motivation to work on any projects you abandoned when you got sick.
  13. 'kin Hodgkin's: This young woman had an 8-month old baby when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Her blog is an honest look at the ups and downs of everyday life since then/