Planning Your Next Vacation

Winter in New York is harsh, but it makes you appreciate when the weather is warmer. As winter finally starts to die down and the anticipation of spring is becoming unbearable, it is time to start planning your spring/summer vacation.

Tropical climates might be cliche for vacation, but I personally need to warm my toes in the sand and absorb some fresh vitamin D.

If you’re planning your “break-free-from-winter” trip for the spring, it is advised that you avoid Florida and Mexico. Spring breakers can quickly turn a relaxing vacation into a trip you want to repress more than they do.

Here are a few places to consider:

·         Dominican Republic

o   Beautiful beaches and a culture to match, this place is one for the bucket list! Try to pick up The Rough Guide to the Dominican Republic 3 for many useful tips.

·         Phuket, Thailand

o   Thailand is full of dream-like atmospheres that will have you reconsidering if you really need to go home.

·         Bora Bora

o   Turquoise lagoons, plush sand and swimming with sea turtles is all that needs to be said.

·         Bali

o   If you’ve ever seen Eat, Pray, Love, you are probably already dreaming about your Bali trip.

·         Tenerife, Spain

o   The largest of the Canary Islands, this place has it all. Hiking and climbing for the adventurers. Yellow and black sand beaches for the beach bums.

Owning a healthy dog or cat

As any good paw-rent can tell you, being the keeper of a fur-baby isn’t always easy. You want to make sure they’re happy, well-fed and entertained. In a society where people are having less children, pets are taking their spots and it is much easier to spoil them. However, like children, pets are also at risk for obesity.

 It is estimated that 54 percent of pets in the US are obese. This puts them at a higher risk for medical related illnesses, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
  • Kidney Disease
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Limiting your pet’s diet might be easier if it is a dog. Dogs are typically happy as long as someone’s there to play or cuddle. It’s cat owners that seem to struggle the most when addressing issues of obesity with their cat overlords. A recent New York Times article points out a number of fears that cat owners have when trying to correct their pet’s diet. Many owners fear it will lead to increased aggression, depression and vindictiveness.

According to the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, however, many owners reported that their cats were actually more affectionate after limiting their diets. So, take a deep breath and feel confident, knowing your dog or cat won’t hate you if their diet starts to tighten up a bit. They’ll thank you in the long run.

Diet Right

If you’re still hanging on and sticking with your New Year’s diet – first off, well done! You’ve made it farther than most. Secondly, there are a few pointers to help you ensure you’re going about dieting in the right way:

1.       Most individuals attempting to change their diets avoid snacking throughout the day. By the time dinner comes around, they are starving and more likely to indulge. Make sure you’re eating balanced meals throughout the day so you aren’t more tempted to quit your mission to a healthier lifestyle.

2.      “Don’t eat before bed or you’ll gain weight,” is a common myth. Eating before sleeping will not make you more likely to gain weight than any other time. The slowed digestion will not increase the likelihood of your body storing your meal as fat. It will likely lead to you not getting a comfortable night’s rest, though. If you can, make sure you eat a few hours before bed – you’ll likely feel better in the morning.

3.       It’s also important that if you’re eating late, you’re still eating smart. Eat foods that help make up for the vitamins, minerals and proteins used throughout the day.

4.      Going out to dinner while attempting to change your diet can be very difficult, especially if you’re trying to cut back on fats and oils. If you’re out to eat, try to ask for no sauce or dressing. They can easily turn your healthy meal into a “cheat-day” meal.

The fact that you’re making improvements to better yourself is important. If you fall off the wagon, it’s fine, as long as you are committed to getting back on. Try to keep these tips in mind as sticking to your diet starts to become more demanding!

Is Zika The New Ebola?

Headline after headline, today’s media is filled with Zika, Zika, Zika. People are treating it similarly to Ebola; however, the healthcare community is being more proactive this time. While the Zika virus poses a big risk to developing fetuses, it’s little more than a mild irritation to everyone else.

Here are the facts:

  • Zika has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly, making it a threat to pregnant women.
    • Microcephaly occurs when a person has a brain or head size so small that it prevents proper development.
  • Typically spread through mosquitoes, but can be spread by people – and is sexually transmittable.
  • The symptoms are mild.
    • 80 percent of those infected have no symptoms.
    • If symptoms occur, they are usually a fever and a rash.
    • Other symptoms can be muscle & joint pain, pain behind eyes, headaches and conjunctivitis (pink-eye).
    • Usually lasts two to seven days.
    • Over-the-counter medicine can help relieve some of the symptoms.

A new disease spreading rampant around the world is terrifying, but this disease is essentially harmless to most. If you are pregnant and concerned about contracting the virus, make sure you are wearing a lot of insect repellant. If you’re pregnant, believe you’re at risk and sexually active, make sure your partner is also wearing insect repellent to ensure the pregnancy will go without any additional complications.

Zika isn’t the new Ebola, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be safe if you could be putting someone else at risk.