Fun Friday! = Movie Discounts!

moviesIf summer means spending more time with the grandkids, one thing’s for sure: It’s a time when you can spend less money—or none at all—taking them and yourself to the movies.

Regal Cinemas, the largest theater chain in the United States, once again is holding its Free Family Film Festival, offering free admission to movies rated G and PG each Tuesday and Wednesday through August. The passes are available to anyone on a first-come, first-served basis, with shows beginning at 10 a.m.

AMC, the second largest chain, has its own bargain Tuesdays, offering the cheapest ticket price of the day to anyone age 60 and older. Monday through Thursday, at select theaters, AMC offers a $5 special on unlimited popcorn and soda, as well as $1 admission on Wednesdays to family movies, with proceeds going to two children’s charities.

Others have also gotten into the act, even though the economic recession has proved to be a gold mine for movie theaters, with attendance up 13.5 percent this year as worried consumers seek to forget their real-life money troubles with reel-life escapism.

Carmike Cinemas, the nation’s fourth largest chain, recently launched “Stimulus Tuesdays” at its 250 theaters, selling 16-ounce drinks and 46-ounce tubs of popcorn for $1 each on that day.

Dates for these discounts vary around the country, so check your local theater.

Source: http://www.aarp.com

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“Organic” Not Necessarily Healthier

organic-food-life-eatsWEDNESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) — Food that beckons from the organic aisles of grocery stores may not be any better for you than what lines the rest of supermarket shelves.

According to a British review of studies done over the past 50 years, organic and conventionally produced foods have about the same nutrient content, suggesting that neither is better in terms of health benefits.

“We did not find any important differences in nutrient content between organically and conventionally produced foods,” said study author Alan Dangour, a registered public health nutritionist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Nonetheless, the researchers noted, organic foods continue to grow in popularity. In the United Kingdom, the market share for organic foods increased 22 percent from 2005 to 2007, they said.

Likewise, the market for organic foods in the United States has grown at about a 20 percent rate each year since 1990, reaching $13.8 billion in consumer sales in 2005, according to the Organic Trade Association. That represents 2.5 percent of total food sales in the country, the trade group noted.

“As a registered dietitian, it is good to see that a systematic review of the literature supports what has long been believed — that the nutritional content of traditionally grown foods and organic foods are comparable,” said Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and past president of the American Dietetic Association. “This report provides confirmation for consumers that if they choose conventionally grown foods or organic foods they will be meeting their nutritional needs.”

The review zeroed in on 162 studies that dealt with the nutrient content of foods. Only 55 were of what the researchers considered to be “satisfactory quality” — a strong indicator that, overall, the science on the subject is not up to snuff.

They found no noted differences between conventional and organic crops with regard to vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc and copper content. Organic crops did have higher levels of phosphorus, and conventionally produced crops had higher levels of nitrogen.

No differences in nutrient content were indicated in the livestock studies, according to the review.

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Source: health.com

Talking With Your Partner About Incontinence

couple2If you have an overactive bladder, you’re not alone. About 25% of women over 18 have experienced urine leakage, and one in five adults over age 40 have OAB or problems with urge or frequency. But it may feel like you’re alone because OAB is something many people are embarrassed to talk about.

OAB can be very isolating, say experts. You may find yourself only going out to places you know well, where you’re sure you can get to the bathroom in time. You may forgo things like movies and plays because of the constant need to excuse yourself in the middle of the show.

And you may find your relationships suffering. Studies have found that women with urinary incontinence issues are more likely to avoid intimate relationships and sexual activity. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re prepared to talk about your OAB situation with a partner-whether it’s someone you’re newly dating or a longtime relationship-you might find that things will get a lot less embarrassing.

When It’s Time to Talk About OAB
* If you think your OAB may interfere with a sexual relationship — for example, if you have urine leakage during sex or worry that this might happen
* If your OAB is significant enough that it’s interrupting your dates — for example, if you’re excusing yourself from the table multiple times at romantic dinners
* If your anxiety about your OAB is making it hard for you to be comfortable when spending time with your partner
* If you find yourself turning down or canceling plans because you fear that you won’t be able to control your overactive bladder
* If you’re planning a trip or making other plans that involve spending a lot of time together

In general, it’s better to bring up a difficult topic yourself than to wait until your partner has become uncomfortable enough to ask you about it. You may be surprised-if you’ve been acting strangely and hurrying out of events, your partner may be relieved to learn that the problem is OAB rather than something more medically serious or an impending breakup.

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Source: WebMD

Energy Boosters Are Poor Substitutes for Sleep

caffine crashWhen you’re living with less sleep than your body needs to operate, it’s tempting to go the easy route and keep yourself alert with caffeine and sugar. But these quick fixes can make things worse in the long run.

Sugar brings a quick crash
Sugar can give you a temporary energy boost, but when that “high” wears off, you may become even sleepier and slower to react, according to a 2006 study from England’s Loughborough University.

“Sugar is not the best way to stimulate the brain,” says Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of the Loma Linda University Sleep Disorders Center in California. “It doesn’t have the value that caffeine does for the short boost.”

For a boost to get you through the day, you’re better off with a small snack; aim for a combination of protein and carbohydrates, like an apple with peanut butter. But don’t eat too much: A full stomach can make you even more tired.

Caffeine is a sleep stealer
Caffeine—and coffee in particular—poses the opposite problem. Within 15 minutes of drinking a cup, you’ll have the jolt of energy you were looking for. But since caffeine can stay in your system for 12 hours, its effects continue long after your latte is gone.

That’s why experts recommend quitting coffee altogether if you have difficulty sleeping at night, or at least stopping after your morning cup. Soda and chocolate generally contain less caffeine than coffee, but if you are sensitive to even small amounts, they can cause problems—especially in excess or too close to bedtime.

Even decaf drinkers should beware: A 2007 Consumer Reports study found that “decaffeinated” coffees sold at several chain restaurants varied widely, containing up to 32 mg of caffeine per cup—about the same amount in 12 ounces of cola. This amount of caffeine won’t keep most people up, but if you are particularly sensitive, two or three cups might.

Still, for some insomniacs, the need for caffeine is so great that they will sacrifice their sleep in order to stay alert during the day—creating a vicious cycle of sleeplessness. Jacqueline Cutler, 49, is one of them: While most coffee drinkers average three cups a day, she drinks six.

Caffeine props her up during the day. Once the coffee starts flowing, “I just go into automatic,” says Cutler, a journalist in suburban New Jersey. “If a story is due or I have to go somewhere, I just do it.” Cutler did make an effort to eliminate coffee from her diet, but she ended up getting headaches.

She now drinks six cups a day and is awake from 2:30 to 5:30 every morning. At this point Cutler may need the help of a doctor—and either temporary medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions—to gradually get better sleep and break her dependence on coffee.

Source: http://www.health.com

Chicken Marsala

chicken marsalaClarified butter (butter without the milk solids) is ideal for searing meats because it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. Although you can purchase clarified butter, we detail how to make it below in the first step.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half, 1 cup pasta, and 1/4 cup sauce)

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Cooking spray
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons half-and-half
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)

Preparation
Place 3 tablespoons butter in a small glass measuring cup. Microwave butter at MEDIUM-HIGH 45 seconds or until melted. Let stand 1 minute. Skim foam from surface, and discard. (Mixture will appear separated.) Pour melted butter through a fine sieve over a small bowl, and discard the milk solids. Set the clarified butter aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Cook 3 minutes or until moisture evaporates; remove mushroom mixture from pan. Set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken breast halves in flour.

Add clarified butter to pan, and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan. Return mushroom mixture to pan; add broth and Marsala, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup. Stir in peas; cook 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon butter, half-and-half, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring until butter melts. Return chicken to pan; cook until thoroughly heated. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

Nutritional Information
Calories:585 (24% from fat)
Fat:15.3g (sat 8.4g,mono 4.1g,poly 1g)
Protein:51.4g
Carbohydrate:55g
Fiber:3.7g
Cholesterol:133mg
Iron:4.4mg
Sodium:469mg
Calcium:57mg

Source: Cookinglight.com

How to Survive a Heat Wave Without Air Conditioning

heatwaveIn summer, heat waves can strike areas of the country where cooler climates are the norm. In these areas, many homes do not have air conditioning, and surviving in the extreme temperatures becomes a challenge for everyone. The following steps can help you keep cool during a heat wave even if you have an air-conditioned home.

1. Use box fans and ceiling fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Opening doors in the house and using box fans to push hot air outdoors can function as an “exhaust” system and draw cooler evening air into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows and promote as much air circulation as possible. When the sun rises, close all doors and windows, making sure to close curtains and blinds as well, to keep the indoors cool for as long as possible. When the outside air cools to a lower temperature than inside (usually in the evenings or at night), open up the windows and turn on the fans again.

2. Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Fill buckets or basins and soak your feet. Wet towels and bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Take cool showers or baths, and consider using a spray bottle filled with cold water for refreshing spritzes throughout the day.

3. Head downstairs. Since hot air rises, the upper stories of a home will be warmer than the ground floor. A basement can be a cool refuge from the midday heat.

4. Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.

5. Remember to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which means you’ll need to consume more water than you usually do when it’s hot. If you’re sweating profusely, you will also need to replace electrolytes by eating a small amount of food with your water or by drinking specially-formulated electrolyte replacement drinks. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration; you should drink sufficient amounts of fluids before you feel thirsty in order to prevent dehydration. – Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, as both of these substances can act as diuretics and promote dehydration.

6. For a homemade “air conditioning” system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice.

7. Try to visit public buildings with air conditioning during the hottest hours of the day if the heat becomes unbearable. Libraries, shopping malls, and movie theaters can all be good places to cool down.
Don’t eat large, protein-rich meals that can increase metabolic heat and warm the body.

8. Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and true heat emergencies (heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, heat stroke). Call emergency services (911) in the event of a heat emergency and try to cool the victim until help arrives.

9. Finally, remember that pets also suffer when the temperature rises. Cooling animals (dogs, rabbits, cats) by giving them a “cool” bath or shower will help keep their body temperature down. A cool towel on a tile floor to lay on, a cool towel or washcloth laying over the skin next to a fan will also help cool the animal. Make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink as well. Signs of a heat stroke in a pet are: rapid panting, wide eyes, lots of drooling, hot skin, twitching muscles, vomiting and a dazed look. Call your vet if you think your pet has a heat stroke.

Source: http://www.medicinenet.com

Swine Flu Vaccine

needleTHURSDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) — U.S. officials hope to have 160 million doses of injectable swine flu vaccine on hand by October, with more doses coming in the form of a nasal spray.

Since immunization is expected to depend on each person getting two doses spread a month apart, the amount of vaccine will still only cover a fraction of the population, but more is expected to arrive in the following months, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a meeting with the world’s five leading flu vaccine makers to assess how many doses might be available. Jerry Weir, an FDA official charged with overseeing vaccine production, told the AP that the H1N1 swine flu vaccine is proving more difficult to grow in the standard way (using chicken eggs) than typical seasonal flu vaccines. In fact, the yield is just 30 percent of normal.

The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for buying up and distributing new vaccine stocks. Robin Robinson, who helps direct the HHS effort, told the AP that his team is keeping the production slowdown in mind as HHS buys and distributes new vaccine stocks.

But there was brighter news, as well. Maryland-based MedImmune Inc. told U.S. officials on Thursday that it expects to have 14 million doses of a swine flu version of its FluMist nasal spray vaccine ready to distribute across the United States by October, and would have even more available if it could fill its spray devices any faster. Tens of millions more doses will be ready to be bottled, the company said, and it’s possible that a sprayer wont even be necessary — it may be enough to administer droplets of the vaccine into the nose.

“A dropper instead of a sprayer works well,” MedImmune vice-president Dr. Ben Machielse told the AP. MedImmune said it plans to begin trials in August to make sure the H1N1 version of the nasal vaccine has no more side effects than the vaccine for the seasonal flu.

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Source: Health.com