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Should You Wash Bagged Greens?

greensWhen pre-washed, bagged salad mixes were introduced to the grocery store, it resulted in more people eating salads at home. It is so easy! Just open the bag and pour the salad into a bowl and you are done. You don’t need to wash, dry or cut the greens, which takes time. Or so we thought…


The time-saving convenience is great, but many people have asked if those prepackaged greens are safe.


There are two different thoughts on this. One side says that it is important to always wash greens even if they are in a bag that claims “every leaf is triple-washed”. The dissenting opinion insists that the greens are safe because they are washed in a processing plant with more sophisticated cleansing methods than those in home kitchens.


Here’s the problem – there is science to support both these claims.


Wash it!


A 2010 Consumer Reports study tested 208 containers of 16 different salad green brands for bacteria. It found 39 percent of the packages exceeded safe levels for coliform bacteria, and 23 percent had levels of enterococcus bacteria that were unsafe. However, no disease-causing bacteria that food safety experts are concerned about, such as Listeria, Salmonella, or E. coli were found.


The problem with the presence of enterococcus and coliform bacteria in the greens is that they indicate poor sanitation methods and fecal contamination. While these may not cause diseases directly, they are used as a rough guide to potential pathogen contamination.


The processors say that fresh water and chlorinated baths are used to “triple wash” salads.  However, thoroughly cleaning lettuce (especially that sprayed with chemicals) can be exceptionally challenging. Therefore, Consumer Reports recommends washing pre-bagged salad greens.


Don’t Wash it!


A 2007 study published in the Journal of Food Production Trends found that leafy greens in sealed bags that come with the “pre-washed” label do not need re-washing – unless the label has instructions to rinse the greens. The study’s authors said that the safety of the product is not enhanced when consumers wash it, and in fact, could instead cross-contaminate the greens.


Since produce is not washed in chlorinated water by consumers and since homes are not inspected by the FDA, perfectly clean greens may be contaminated with bacteria when bagged greens are washed in the home. One of the leading causes of food-borne illness is improper handling of food at home.


So what do you do – wash bagged greens or not? If you are going to buy pre-packed salad greens, make sure that you choose brands that are recognized and reputable. Also, make sure that the label on the package says that the greens are pre-washed and ready to eat, and always check the expiration date.


If you do wash your prepackaged greens, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before handling them and sanitize your sink. Washing, or not washing, bagged salad greens is a personal choice. Whichever you choose, make sure that you are always careful about choosing the greens you eat and handling them.

4 Ways to Boost Your Mood

Happy young woman jumping with colorful balloons in green field against blue sky background. Freedom concept

True joy is a sublime feeling, something that you can’t usually buy with money. Although keeping your chin up and staying positive can feel like an uphill battle sometimes. Your mood may dip for a variety of reasons, such as: a stressful day at work, a fight with someone you love, or having too many things on your plate. Sometimes there is not enough time to get everything done in the day or even the week. This can add to the stress that comes with just the normal aspects of trying to survive.


A recent psychology study indicated that though a percentage of your happiness is predetermined by genetic makeup and your life circumstances, 40 percent of it can be controlled by the right actions and positive thoughts!


Whatever the reason is behind your morose mood, there are a bunch of things you can do to lift your spirits and eliminate the blues. If you are looking for ways to turn a terrible mood around, try these four tips that could return a smile to your face.


Listen to Upbeat Music

You may feel like doing nothing at all, but on a day or week that your mood is sullen, listen to some peppy notes!


According to a study that was published in 2013 by the University of Missouri, 10 minutes of upbeat music can perk your mood. This can be music by Pharrell Willams, the Buddy Holly or your favorite band.


Laugh it Off

This is a no brainer. Laughing helps elevate the mood almost instantly. If you are laughing how can you be sad? It’s possible having a good laugh, telling some jokes, and listening to a funny story, can help you dislodge yourself from your slump. We agree, laughing may not come easily when you are feeling low. So we suggest an episode of Seinfeld, the movie Trains, Planes, and Automobiles, Dumb and Dumber, or another light-hearted show.


There’s scientific merit to laughing. According to a study done by scholars at Stanford University, laughter stimulates the production of dopamine in your brain, that in turn helps elevate your mood.


Another study reported by the Mayo Clinic suggests that laughter increases the levels of oxygen supplied to the body and calms the stress response system which results in making you feel more relaxed, positive, and in control.


Think about the Good Times of Your Life

Reflecting on the good times in your life can have a calming effect on your senses. When you feel perturbed, think about three things that are going well in your life. If that’s not possible, think of two, if that is not possible, think of one thing that is going well in life and try to figure out why. Perhaps another aspects of your life need to change.


By thinking about memorable events that you know will make you smile, you send your body positive vibes. Wellness expert Susan Biali firmly believes that revisiting happy memories will have the same effect they had on you when you experienced them.


Enjoy a New Experience

Focus on having an enjoyable experience. Whether that’s a meal with a friend, retail therapy or trying something new, getting up and active makes a big difference in mood. A short walk or conversation with a loved one can leave you with a warm feeling inside. Make your heart happy and your will make your mind happy.


There are many ways you can uplift your mood. These are just four that have merit and meaning. Don’t give in to negative thoughts and let them define you.

Be Kind To Yourself: The Weight Didn’t Appear Overnight, Don’t Expect To Lose It Overnight

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We are hard on ourselves when it comes to losing weight. Yes, you need to maintain a healthy weight for good health, but does it mean that you should put yourself under immense pressure? Many people push themselves hard to get and stay thin.

It’s true that it can be tough to lose weight and make sure that it stays off. However, it does not have to be as hard as you make it to be. Remember that you did not gain those extra pounds so overnight; you should not expect to lose it overnight.

How to lose weight without pushing yourself to the limits

Here are a few tips to help you lose weight without punishing your body or yourself:

  • Love yourself: The first step is to practice self-love. You should honor and nurture yourself. Give yourself some precious time every day to pamper yourself. Whether it is luxuriating in a bubble bath or treating yourself to a massage, make sure that you love your body and yourself.
  • Feed yourself beautiful foods: Stop eating junk. Choose the best for your body’s DNA and eat only the most beautiful foods – colorful, raw vegetables, juicy fruits, and the freshest foods you can find. You deserve healthy, organic and nourishing produce, proteins that are lean and hormone-free and whole grains like brown rice and quinoa.
  • Only Eat when hungry: You need to always remember that your body is your temple. So you need to be careful what you put into it. Also, eat slowly and only when you are hungry. When you are truly not feeling hungry anymore, stop eating. By being careful about what you put in your mouth and listening to your body and knowing when to and not to eat, you will find that you lose the pounds with ease.
  • Get active: You do not need a rigorous workout routine to lose weight effectively. Just make sure that you lead an active life. One of the fastest ways to gain weight and the best way to ensure ineffective weight loss is to lead a sedentary life. A 30-minute brisk walk every day and light exercise may be all you need to lose weight! Also, by being active, you prevent a number of diseases, some of which can be very serious, so get active now!

It is important to be kind to your body and yourself when you are trying to lose weight. Punishing yourself and pushing your body to its limits is not the best way to shed those extra pounds. In fact, you will find yourself enjoying trying to lose weight and maintaining it when you love yourself and your body more.


A Comparison between Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and GenoVive’s DNA Diet

CaptureWith so many diets, choosing the right one for you can be confusing. When you compare diet plans like Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and the DNA Diet by GenoVive, you can get a better idea of which program may be best for you – at least in the short term. Most diets aren’t sustainable, which is why it’s important to find a program you can stick with while still enjoying life.


The approach for each diet varies by organization. Both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers apply the same system to everyone where as GenoVive customizes its program for each individual.

The personalization for the DNA Diet is based on an individual’s unique DNA, obtained by a simple cheek swab. GenoVive interprets the results from the DNA test, which is available through healthcare providers. Participants work with their dietitians, chiropractors, fitness trainers, or physicians to obtain their desired weight by eating foods and doing exercises that are optimal for their DNA.

To aid in the program, Jenny Craig offers one-on-one counselors while Weight Watchers holds group meetings for support and motivation.



The philosophies of these three plans are similar but they have very different methods.

In both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, the dieters are helped with healthy weight loss through shedding calories. With Jenny Craig, dieters are provided prepackaged foods so that they do not have to worry about counting the calories they take in. With Weight Watchers, dieters get a points system where each member is given an allotted amount of points every day based on their weight. Each food is also assigned a points value based on the calories, fats, and fiber content.

GenoVive is based on eating the foods each individual’s body wants as opposed to counting calories or points that could be applied to either junk food or healthier items. Recognizing the importance of exercise, through their DNA test, GenoVive also analyzes which exercises are best for an individual’s body. Therefore, the DNA diet includes food and exercise.

This philosophy sets GenoVive apart by tailoring each diet program to the customer.


Choices of Food

Dieters obtain a variety of food choices in both Jenny Craig, GenoVive and Weight Watchers to help keep them on track as well as satisfied. All three programs offer dieters prepackaged meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as several snacks. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, pasta, and lean meats are a part of this diet plan.

GenoVive’s meals are planned in accordance with their customers’ DNA needs.

Weight Watchers’ meals reflect their point system so customers can eat anything they choose while still staying within their food allowance.

Each program can be done without purchasing a meal plan.



Regardless of the program, dieters are expected to expend effort.

GenoVive’s clients each talk with a healthcare provider who walks them through the results from their DNA test. Their DNA will be the same so the DNA diet is not a short-term solution rather it’s a lifestyle. Adjusting to the diet may take a bit of effort, although in the long run it’s less effort than weighing foods, counting calories and keeping track of points.

Jenny Craig’s customers tend to rely on the foods that are delivered to them, but they do need to make sure that they meet with their counselors. Once they leave the plan, they will need to learn more about calorie counting so that they can maintain the weight they have lost.

Weight Watchers dieters need to put in a lot of effort into calculating points and making sure that they are under their daily allowance. They also need to attend meetings and weigh-ins.

Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and GenoVive’s most successful participants are individuals who want to either lose or maintain their weight and who stick to the program.



According to US News and Health Report, both Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are considered expensive. In Jenny Craig, there is an initial registration fee and weekly payments for the prepackaged meals. Weight Watchers gives dieters the option of making payments for unlimited monthly meetings or payments for only the meetings they attend. They can also purchase access to the exclusive online program.

GenoVive’s DNA test includes the processing fee and end report. A meal plan and follow-up care with a healthcare provider (which may be covered by insurance) are options to improve the results.


Overall Rating

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers lack a personalization aspect. Neither program takes an individual’s characteristics into account which is likely why the programs work well for some people although not for everyone. GenoVive solved this problem by customizing each client’s diet and exercise program for them based on their unique DNA.

All three offer pre-packed meals or snacks and a variety of food. However only GenoVive and Weight Watchers incorporate a physical activity aspect.

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are both more expensive and take more effort than GenoVive.

GenoVive offers the best value with real, science-backed information that is provided through a healthcare professional. The company’s overall grade is an A, trailed by Weight Watcher with a B and Jenny Craig which earned a C.

Stretching: A Healthy Start to Each Day

It can be quite challenging to try to incorporate exercise into your morning routine. However, according to The American College of Sports Medicine, there are certain types of exercise, like stretching, can have many positive effects in the early hours of the morning. All it takes is a few extra minutes!

stretchHere is a look at how stretching every morning has a positive effect on you:

  • Morning stretching reduces and prevents aches and pains

Do you often wake up with backaches? If you know that your back ache is not caused by injury or illness, you may find that stretching helps. Tensions in your muscles and spine are reduced, thus preventing and relieving back aches. For a lot of people, this is one of the best health benefits of starting the day by stretching. According to the American Council on Exercise, stretching regularly in the morning can help in eliminating aches and pains that affect the joints and muscles.

Although aches and pains can affect you at any time, they most likely tend to occur in the morning as your body has been at rest for a long period. Stiffness and aches often occur in the morning due to fluid increase in the joints and spinal discs while lying horizontally. By stretching, you can alleviate joint discomfort and get rid of stiffness and pain.

  • Stretching in the morning increases flexibility

Sitting around idly all day and having a low level of physical activity causes your muscles to tighten and decreases flexibility. When you stretch every day in the morning, you relax and lengthen your muscles and significantly improve flexibility. With morning stretching exercises that concentrate on opening up your back and chest muscles, you can effectively loosen them up. You will notice a significant difference in your body’s flexibility with regular morning stretches.

  • Morning stretches improve your posture

A large number of people, especially those who sit in front of the computer for long periods, develop poor posture because they overstretch their back muscles and their chest muscles get tight. Poor posture is caused by tense muscles. When you stretch regularly in the morning, it helps in relaxing and lengthening your muscles. When your muscles are relaxed, they become more flexible and it helps in keeping your back in better shape. This in turn leads to good posture.

  • Stretching in the morning improves circulation and boosts energy levels

When you stretch in the morning, it helps in increasing the flow of blood to different parts of your body, including muscles and brain. Although it is crucial to have healthy blood flow throughout the day, it may be especially important in the morning as you jump start your day after sleeping for many hours. When there is more blood in your muscles, you get more energy in the morning. Morning stretches also boosts blood flow to the brain and increases your concentration and sharpens your senses in the morning.

As you can see, starting your day with stretches can be highly beneficial. It does not take a lot of effort or time. If you have not already done so, start a routine of stretching every morning and you will gain the many benefits it has to offer.