Food Pyramid Thu, 01 Jan 2015 22:56:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Strawberry Allergy Thu, 01 Jan 2015 22:56:29 +0000 Strawberry allergy is an uncommon form of food intolerance. Popular for its heavenly scent and succulent taste, strawberries are literally everywhere from jams and ice creams to shampoos, creams and even air fresheners. For this reason strawberry allergy in toddlers is caught at an early stage, but it is common that the allergy develops later in life.

Compared to some other food allergies, strawberry allergy is not as serious in the sense that it rarely causes anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening immunological reaction of the body against substances that it does not recognize. That being said, it is essential to immediately seek treatment for an allergic reaction to strawberries since strawberry allergy symptoms if left untreated can become increasingly serious.


Yummy looking strawberries, but they may cause an allergic reaction.

Strawberry allergies – what really happens?

People who have an allergy to strawberries often ask about the biological processes that are occurring in their bodies. The protein that causes the allergy has been identified as “Fra a1”or Fragaria allergen 1, and this allergen, according to a study by Christian Seutter von Loetzen et al, is found in ripe red strawberries and absent in white ones. Now, what happens is that in people who have an intolerance to strawberries, the protein “Fra a1” is not recognized by the immune system. This causes the formation of Ig E antibodies that latch on to this allergen and cause the release of histamine and other inflammation causing substances. The whole cascade of released substances that follows leads to the symptoms observed in people who have allergic reactions to strawberries.

Symptoms of Strawberry Allergy

The signs of strawberry allergy usually appear within two hours of ingestion and primarily manifest on the mouth or throat. A strawberry allergy reaction often begins with tingling around the mouth area that may be followed by swelling of the lips, tongue or throat. Swelling of the lips and tongue can impede speech if serious and out of control swelling of throat can close up respiratory passages and make it difficult to breathe. For this reason it is essential to seek treatment for strawberry allergies, especially if you can feel your throat closing up.


A strawberry allergy reaction may cause swollen lips.

Strawberry allergy rash is also one of the symptoms. The histamine released due to the allergic reaction can cause widespread swelling of the skin and may also lead to red blotches and strawberry allergy hives. It can lead to the formation of itchy, red patches of skin and can even cause watery eyes and a stuffy nose. Many people who are unaware that they are allergic to strawberry first find out about their allergy when they get a rash from strawberries. A strawberry allergy test can also be done to confirm this diagnosis and then proper prevention must be followed to avoid any symptoms.

A strawberry allergy can also give rise to some gastrointestinal symptoms. As the body is not reacting well to the ingested strawberries, nausea, vomiting and abdominal bloating may accompany an upset stomach. In severe cases, the allergy can also cause abdominal cramps and diarrhoea. Even though anaphylaxis is very rarely seen in patients with strawberry allergy it is best to be prepared for anything. A rapid pulse, sudden drop in blood pressure or loss of consciousness are warning signs to rush for medical attention. In such cases of emergency you can use an Epi pen to bring quick relief to the patient.


Picture of an arm with mild strawberry allergy. Hives can break out as an allergic reaction to strawberries.

Strawberry Allergy Treatment

To battle some of the symptoms of a strawberry allergy you can consult your doctor for treatment. Usually anti-histamine tablets are prescribed for throat discomfort, sneezing or rhinitis. As for the skin symptoms, hydrocortisone creams or topical anti-histamine is commonly prescribed to patients with strawberry allergies. In the event of an emergency when the patient is rushed to the hospital with difficulty in breathing the doctor will administer an epinephrine injection which will bring quick relief to the patient. If you have experienced an anaphylactic shock before or swelling of the throat you can ask your doctor to prescribe you an Epi-pen in case of an emergency. The disadvantage with these medications is that most of them can cause side effects like irritability, dry mouth and drowsiness. However, they are life savers and should be carried with you in case you get a severe reaction.

For those with mild strawberry allergy you might consider using natural remedies that are free of nasty side effects and easy enough to put together any time at home.

Natural Remedies for Strawberry Allergy

1. Avoid Strawberries at all cost
Why worry about treating your allergy when you can just avoid it altogether? It may be pretty difficult at the start but once you have informed your friends and family of your allergy, they can help you stay in a strawberry free environment. Not only must you avoid strawberries, jams, cakes, but juices must also be avoided. Some lotions, lip glosses and air fresheners also contain strawberry so if you suddenly start sneezing make sure to inquire whether a strawberry spray has been used. It is also wise to wear a medical alert necklace in case of an emergency.

2. Use a cold compress
The swelling brought on by an allergy on the lips, face or general skin can be alleviated with a cold compress. Some people have experienced relief with this method.

3. Apply an Aloe Vera salve
Hives or itchy skin can be treated by an aloe vera salve. Just rub some gently on the affected area and sit back as the miraculous soothing effect of aloe vera clears up your skin situation. Do not put the salve on your lips as some aloe vera gels should not be ingested.

4. Sip on some green tea
You can always rely on easy to make herbal concoctions like green tea or chamomile tea that have an anti-histamine effect which may aid in relieve many of the symptoms of strawberry allergy including rashes, itching, hives and sore throat.

If you have suggestions to any kind of treatment that have helped you to relief a strawberry allergy, please share it in the comments section.

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Does Fast Food Cause Obesity? Sat, 27 Dec 2014 23:07:03 +0000 Obesity is now the major disease caused by poor nutrition in the developing world. In the United States, the proportion of people who are obese has doubled since 1980, with more than 72 million people now classified as obese.¹ Obesity is fast becoming a well-known epidemic.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the calculation of what we consider to be healthy and unhealthy weights. A BMI from 18.5 to 25 is considered to be in the healthy range. Any person with a BMI equal to or greater than 30 is considered to be obese. This means that according to obesity reviews in literature searches, more than 72 million people have a BMI greater than 30.

In most parts of the developing world, people are more likely to be captivated by various forms of modern day technology which potentially decrease physical activity. Recent studies have directly linked television-watching, for instance, to the rise of obesity. But does fast food cause obesity too?

There is no single cause for obesity as people can either be genetically inclined to be obese or can become obese because of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, there are many factors that could accelerate this inclination to obesity in human beings. Is fast food is a determining factor? And if it is, how does fast food cause obesity?


How Fast Food may be a Determining Factor for Obesity:

1. High Fat Content (High Calories): Most fast food restaurants are more concerned with their sales than the health of their customers, therefore they tend to use cheaper or subsidized food products (for instance rice, wheat, corn, and soybeans) which contain higher calories (and/or higher fat content) than the healthier options with lower calories. The U.S Government paid $12.3 billion to farmers in 2009 to enable them to meet the demands of these foods from fast food companies. The calories an average person should consume in one meal should not be greater than roughly 660 calories. However, one meal (including a cup of soda) in most fast food restaurants goes well and beyond 660 calories. Also, High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is the number one source of calories in the United States. It is found in soda and is synthesized from the most heavily subsidized crop – corn. HFCS contains 24% water and the rest sugars. According to the Center for Disease and Control, in the 40 years since HFCS was introduced, obesity has drastically increased.²

2. Bad Nutrient Quality: A lot of fast foods have almost zero nutrient quality. If you buy a meal from one of the popular fast food restaurants, always take a look at the nutritional labels (if present). You will find out that most of the calories listed have no nutritional value. Also foods that are too high in the nutrient sodium should be avoided as too much consumption of sodium (more than 2,300mg/day) can lead to congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, and kidney disease, especially in those who are obese.

3. Large Portion Size: Portion sizes are very important to maintain a BMI within the healthy range. Most people don’t keep track of their portion sizes, but the recommended amounts per meal can be found under the “serving size” information on grocery packages or restaurant meal menus. Over-sized portion sizes contribute greatly to obesity.


Is fast food causing obesity? The answer to that depends on the type of fast food. If it has high fat content, bad nutrient quality, and if it is consumed in extremely large portion sizes, then yes, it will cause obesity.

1. Duffey KJ, Popkin BM (2011) Energy Density, Portion Size, and Eating Occasions: Contributions to Increased Energy Intake in the United States, 1977–2006. PLoS Med 8(6): e1001050. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001050
2. Parker H. A Sweet Problem: Princeton Researchers Find that High-Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain [Internet]. Princeton (New Jersey). The Trustees of Princeton University; 2010 March 22. Available from:

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Integrated Charities: A look at Modern Hunger Crossroads Sun, 07 Dec 2014 15:39:29 +0000 Lingering hunger

When it seems everything else in the world is changing daily, the problem of hunger is stubborn in its consistency. It’s a condition human kind has been dealing with as far back as we can remember. Campaigns are regularly launched, organizations are established, resources are dispensed and yet, it seems that hunger is a problem that simply refuses to go away.

The United States faces a unique hurdle when it comes to hunger. We are a land of plenty, yet it is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans struggles with hunger on a daily basis. Our excess has reached a point that as a society, we are moving towards mass trends of fad dieting in an endless string of attempts to battle obesity in adults and children alike. When the hungry and the full stand side by side in a country, how is it possible to address both needs at the same time?


Where tradition meets innovation

The answer to that may lie at the crossroads of well-tested systems and new ideas. Those individuals out in the field who are looking for solutions are asking themselves the tough question of whether or not it’s possible to come to a place where hunger, nutrition and health can exist in harmony for the greater good.

Organizations that work to end hunger face a major hurdle when it comes to nutrition. Too often those living at or below the poverty line are forced to resort to fatty, overly processed food because of the price variable. Similarly, those fighting obesity struggle with calorie-packed foods that are easily accessible and overly abundant at fast-food chains across the nation. The bigger problem reveals itself when these two worlds collide.

What we now face is a growing group of people struggling to stay financially afloat and dealing with chronic health struggles. Recently, several groups have attempted to find a way to forge a solution that speaks to both of these issues with a common message. In doing so it’s becoming useful to use new ideas, traditional methods and creative combinations of the two.

Eat this, not that – new age nutrition

A prime example of revamping a system that already exists to make it efficiently modern and effective is the case of the book Eat This Not That! The Best (& Worst!) Foods in America!: The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution. Originally published in 1997, David Zinczenko along with the help of Matt Goulding decided to bring the material up-to-date in 2010. They coined their finished product the no diet weight loss solution.

At first glance, this book may seem like just another fad diet book on the shelf. A closer look would prove it to be otherwise. In fact, Eat This Not That is well equipped to take on several detrimental forces at once. The book lays out statistics, facts and most importantly, alternatives to unhealthy food choices the general public is likely to make. Investigative research into American’s top fast food chains and restaurants gave these authors the proof they needed to pen the nutrition labels companies would rather you didn’t have access to.

It’s important to note that this is not just a book based on scare tactics for the sake of weight loss. The authors follow up their terrifying facts with healthy or at least healthier choices that can be made when preparing certain dishes yourself or visiting your favorite culinary hot spot. What makes this initiative so valuable is the fact that it appeals to people across the economic board.

Those who live well above the poverty line but struggle with health issues will be able to find affordable and easy solutions to everyday predicaments. Where money is not an issue, those same people may be encouraged to make alternative choice based on the information available to them. Those who do live at or below the poverty line are able to use the information to make more informed decisions even if it’s necessary for them to sustain themselves with less nutritious choices. By offering alternatives that everyone can put into action individually, Eat This Not That sets a standard for self-sufficient and sustainable nutrition.

To date, there are several sub-publications of the book that are focused on children’s health, supermarket shopping and restaurant swaps. This integrated system of information allows for individuals to apply it uniquely to their own situations and in doing so, make lasting change in their lives.

Feeding America – through change

Established in 1976 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Feeding America is a non-profit organization that aims to provide domestic hunger relief. As a whole, the organization functions as a network of hundreds of food banks and charitable support systems. When added together, Feeding America has earned the title of largest hunger-relief charity in the United States.

While they have been around for several decades, those who work for Feeding America understand the necessity for change in order to be the most effective. They too have set out to develop sustainable and nutritious solutions to hunger and health deficiencies across the country.

In October 2011, Feeding America partnered with Wal-Mart, Sesame Street and Brad Paisley to host a special titled “Growing Hope Against Hunger.” The TV special introduced viewers to Lily, a new Muppet whose family struggles with hunger–but it didn’t stop there. The program went on to feature the stories of actual families who deal with issues of hunger on a daily basis and resources and strategies they utilize to get by.

By partnering with Sesame Street, Feeding America made the effort to reach a younger audience who has the ability to carry lessons on nutrition and social issues into their futures. By highlighting real families who struggle with hunger, the organization is providing resources that viewers can take into their own hands and utilize those strategies independently.

Taking on the future

While hunger-relief charities and diet fads of the past set out with good intentions, their methods are outdated. Society is merging into a pool of needs that require more than one or two solutions. The path to reaching an integrated society in economic turmoil is by paving traditional paths with modern skills. Issues like hunger and obesity have come to a cross roads, and those who suffer don’t need a hand out; they just need a helping hand in the right direction. By recognizing the strength of individuals, and offering tools to help them achieve success, charitable organizations will make a long-lasting difference across the nation. Do you think hunger-relief charities are making strides forward with these innovative solutions?

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Dancing to the Tune of A Leaner Beat Thu, 13 Nov 2014 20:54:36 +0000 Once-upon-a time, dancing was exclusively set aside for the coordinated and the courageous. Men and women looking to take part in new social circles signed up for ballroom classes while those braving fancier footwork salsa stepped their way into ballrooms across the globe. While spa- goers waltzed their way through candle-lit dining rooms, top-tier professionals tangoed the night away in exclusive clubs.

No matter where their dance shoes take them, the unifying, underlying factors when it comes to dance are the thrill of the challenge and the exhilarating beauty of a dance that is successfully pulled off. Dancer across the board from Rumba to Swing can quickstep their way to increased heart rates, toned muscles and hard- earned flexibility and balance as a result of challenging twists and turns in their partner’s skilled hands.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise then that dance has taken the fitness world by storm in recent years. As health fanatics zeroed in on the guaranteed physical effects of dance on the human body, media experts began to see how dance, fitness and mass audiences could result in a worldwide slim down that would rake in millions of dollars.

Dance programs have brought obesity awareness

In the fight against obesity, dance programs have become the new normal, and media moguls have targeted obesity as enemy number 1 in efforts to pull in viewers and slim-down audiences. Televised dance competitions that result in celebrity sponsored weight loss rule the airwaves. These shows have not only been successful, they’ve brought obesity awareness to a new, feather-clad level.

Obesity has also been brought to the forefront of the nation’s attention through “Let’s move!” Initiatives set in motion by the Obama administration in recent years. Television shows have taken this focus and refined dance fitness into an aesthetically appealing, celebrity studded TV event. Shows like ‘So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars”, have been successful in bringing glamorized dance fitness into living rooms across America. While at first glance it may seem too sparkly to be trusted, dance fitness has proven its effectiveness by making dance not only accessible, but also desirable. The fact that the act of dance results in weight loss is an added bonus to the media-promoted fun.


In the wake of dance fitness shows has come a series of school based, dance and fitness initiatives as well as a new breed of dance exercise on the market. Elementary, middle and high schools across the country are now sponsoring classes, dance offs and performances in the name of fighting childhood obesity. Modern media is often the standard when it comes to defining what’s acceptably ‘cool’ amongst younger generations. The fact that teenagers are willing to stand up and dance in the name of healthy living is a true testament to social strides that are being made as the result of dance fitness movements.

Innovative dance infusions

These new innovative dance infusions don’t try to hide the fact they’re created in efforts to combine celebrity entertainment and promote an obesity-fighting dance craze nation-wide.

Zumba fitness is one such dance movement in particular that has taken the fitness world by storm. This Latin-dance based program emphasizes cultural diversity and sensual power. A strong focus on club-type beats and an appealing line of clothing to accompany your fitness efforts has made Zumba popular across a vast range of ages and styles. With Zumba, the fight against obesity is made into a public and global effort. Zumba instructors host Zumba concerts across the world where dancers can meet collectively to dance the pounds away.

When it comes to questions of obesity, the spotlight seems to have turned away from traditional diets and aerobic step classes. Instead, the media is shining the light on dance as the key to promoting health that goes hand in hand with glamour and celebrity. If all goes according to plan, the fight against obesity will soon look like a giant Zumba concert, where followers come together to dance to the tune of a leaner beat. As dance has become more accessible to the masses, so has an awareness on health. No longer an exclusive club, dance may just be the key we’ve been looking for to make obesity a problem of the past.

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Can you freeze yogurt? Wed, 01 Oct 2014 10:16:38 +0000 Yogurt happens to be a miraculously convenient food, which is part of the dairy food group. But can you freeze yogurt?

Have you bought too much yogurt by accident or did you take advantage of a great yogurt sale, and now you don’t know how to keep the yogurt from going bad? Maybe different thoughts have crossed your mind by now and perhaps you thought, “Can I freeze yogurt?” Well, the answer is yes, both home-made and store-bought yogurt can safely be frozen. However, freezing yogurt comes with a price.


It is fine to freeze yogurt!

How will freezing affect yogurt

Even though you can freeze yogurt safely and extend its life by 4 to 6 months (approx 2 months in the case of homemade yogurt), you can’t be sure it will taste or look the same. Different brands of yogurt respond differently to freezing and thawing. You may want to experiment with whatever brand of yogurt you find best. For example try putting Yoplait yogurt in the freezer for a day, thaw it overnight, and taste it to see if you like it.

If however you want to freeze yogurt for more than a month, bear in mind that the yogurt may develop an acidic taste and a clumpy texture. So you may not feel like eating it directly but using it in smoothies or baking will give the perfectly normal taste.

How about the active bacteria in yogurt? Does freezing yogurt kill the bacteria? Freezing the yogurt kills some of the bacteria cultures, but there are countless bacteria that reactivate as soon as you defrost your yogurt so you don’t lose any health benefits. So keep eating yogurt for a healthy diet!

How to freeze yogurt

How do you go about freezing yogurt? You can freeze plain yogurt or flavored yogurt without the fear of it going bad as long as you keep a couple of things in mind. Yogurt expands on freezing, so you must make sure to keep it in a container with enough space for it to do so. You should also make sure you use air tight containers, as odors from the fridge can easily enter and get absorbed. Unopened yogurt containers are of course fine to freeze directly. Always label your containers with a date that could either be when you froze it or your own best-before date. In that way you will prevent yogurt from perishing.

You can thaw the yogurt by keeping it in the fridge overnight or if you’re in a hurry pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. However you mustn’t refreeze the yogurt after thawing. For this reason it is advisable to freeze yogurt in serving size quantity. When it comes of different ways to freeze yogurt, you have a few options.

Ways of freezing yogurt

Freezing yogurt cups

The first way is pretty self-explanatory. Flavored and plain yogurt both come in adorably colored cups which you can keep in the freezer as it is if you haven’t opened them. Storing the yogurt cups upside down may also help in preserving the flavor and texture. If you have opened a cup, transfer it into an airtight container before you freeze it.

Freezing yogurt in containers

As we mentioned earlier, you can use airtight containers to freeze yogurt. Make sure you label the container so you can keep it from going bad

Freezing yogurt in ice cube trays

If you are thinking of freezing yogurt for smoothies, this is the best way to do so. All you have to do is scoop yogurt in to an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours. Next, take out the yogurt cubes and make sure to put them in an airtight container. When you want to make your favorite smoothie, all you’ll need to do is pop a couple of cubes out of the freezer and into the blender. It’s that easy! Another way you can save time is by adding berries along with the yogurt in the ice cube tray. Strawberry smoothies have never been this easy to make.!


Plain yogurt in ice cubes.

Freezing yogurt to make frozen yogurt

Frozen yogurt is a very delicious treat. How awesome would it be to be able to make some at home whenever you want? If you want to freeze yogurt to make frozen yogurt, know that it’s possible but it won’t quite be the same. At first you’ll have to defrost the frozen block in your fridge and after thawing the yogurt it may not be as creamy or sweet as frozen yogurt but it’ll still be delicious. You can mix in some sugar or sweetener to make it more to your taste and enjoy!


I just thawed a bunch of yogurt I had in the freezer, but I am not able to use it. Can yogurt be frozen again?

You should not refreeze yogurt. Once thawed, please use it.

Can you freeze yogurt and still keep its original flavor?

The freezing process will change the texture and flavor of the yogurt. Now, some yogurts might taste better than others if you are just eating them as is. However, if you are to use them for baking or for cooking, you will probably not notice much change to its flavor.

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How to get rid of a hickey Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:03:11 +0000 In the heat of the moment with a significant other it is all too easy to find yourself with a hickey. The next thing you know you’re searchinghow to get rid of a hickey on the internet and hoping to find something miraculously to fix the love bite. Remember that a hickey is really just a minor bruise. This condition is caused when small blood vessel under your skin tear and the blood leaks, causing a blue and black color. So, getting rid of hickey is pretty much like getting rid of a bruise.

How do you get rid of a hickey?

There are lots of different ways to get rid of hickeys. If you use any of the methods below and still can’t seem to get rid of the hickey, you could always try to conceal it. Take note that not all methods work for everyone. Our bodies react differently to different treatments so if one method does not work just try another and hopefully you will see results.

1. Apply ice on a hickey

Perhaps the fastest way to get rid of a hickey is to apply an ice compress to the skin. This ice method works best for getting rid of fresh hickeys. Just wrap a couple of ice cubes with a paper towel and press your home-made ice compress to the part of the skin affected. The cold temperature will make your capillaries constrict, preventing more pooling of the blood under your skin. This stops your hickey from increasing in size even if you ice it a few hours later, but for best results you need to do this as soon as possible after you received the hickey. Make sure you don’t bring the ice cubes directly in contact with your skin, as this is unnecessary, painful and risks damage to your skin.


Putting ice on a hickey can help.

2. Freeze a spoon

If you don’t happen to have ice cubes available, don’t panic. Just put a metal spoon in your freezer for a few minutes. Take out when cooled and press the cold spoon to the skin affected. Make sure though, that the spoon covers the entire hickey as leaving some parts uncovered can lead to an even weirder looking and attention grasping hickey.


Pressing a cold spoon on the hickey.

3. Apply toothpaste

Peppermint has the medicinal property of increasing blood circulation. Hence, applying a layer of mint toothpaste over the skin affected can get the blood moving faster. All you need to do is wait till the tingling stops and wipe it away with a towel. Some people have very sensitive skin which can cause irritation when applying toothpaste. These people should try other methods instead of endangering their skin further.


Apply toothpaste on a hickey.

4. Brushing/Scraping

For some, this is probably the best way to get rid of a hickey. You see, brushing will actually break up the blood that has gathered to form the hickey. For this method you could use different tools.

Toothbrush – Not did you know that you could use your toothbrush to brush away a hickey. Just use a toothbrush and gently but firmly stroke the skin in different directions until the blood is dispersed completely. The bristles of the brush make for a very efficient system in getting rid of hickeys.

Coins – Yes, any kind of coin will do. So if you have a quarter, dime, or any other coin at your disposal, just scrape away the love bite. Yes, it will be like scratching a scratch card, except your prize will be different. With one hand you use your fingers to pull back the skin to stretch the hickey. Then with your other hand you take the coin and start scraping the hickey with the edge of the coin. Start from the center of the hickey and out. It might get a little painful but well worth it.

Remember to ice the area as it might be a little sore after the procedure. In case you don’t have a toothbrush or if your skin is sensitive to metals, you could use other devices like a plastic comb. Whatever you use to scrape make sure not to use sharp objects or anything that could hurt your skin and make things worse.


Scrape your skin with a coin.

5. Massage the hickey

This is a very easy and quick way to get rid of love bites as you do not need anything but your fingers. Just gently massage your hickey with your fingers to disperse the pool of blood that has gathered under your skin. Just apply pressure from the middle of the hickey and drag your fingers outwards so that you break up the blood clot. You should see results after doing this for 5 to 10 minutes.


Massaging a hickey can help.

6. Use herbs and plants

Healing ointments made of herbs and plants like Aloe Vera, Arnica and Witch Hazel don’t only work on regular bruises but also on hickeys. Applying salves containing these ingredients is a very quick way of getting rid of hickeys. These miracle remedies, known for their astringent and swelling reducing properties can work wonders on hickeys overnight. For example, Arnica gel is commonly used for bruise control and has even been recommended by famous doctors like Dr Oz.


Applying arnica for hickeys can fix the situation.

7. Boost up on your Vitamins

Particularly Vitamin C can be very effective when it comes to healing bruises. Vitamin C contains collagen that makes up the capillary wall so you can understand the reason for its miraculous effects.


How to hide a hickey?

Sometimes a hickey can be really hard to get rid of. In this instance one has no other option but to try to hide the hickey. Hiding hickeys is really not that difficult, you just need to be creative. Let us give you a few ideas.

Use clothes – You can cover a hickey by wearing a light scarf around your neck, making sure that it covers the whole area. Hiding a hickey is probably easiest during colder weathers because you need to put clothes on anyway. You can wear a turtleneck without any questioning eyebrows being raised.

Use your hair – Depending on where the hickey is and how long hair you have, you could cover up a hickey by wearing your hair down. Try tucking some hair inside your shirt so it doesn’t expose the love bite.

Use make-up – Use a concealer that matches your skin tone and try your best to cover it up. You can even go for a foundation first, and then apply the concealer. You would really need to experiment and find what works best for you. Just make sure you bring your make-up with you so that you can reapply more make-up in case you need it.

Use a bandage – You can always use an adhesive bandage to cover up the hickey. It might not be the best solution as you might be getting question why you have a bandage on your neck. However, it will cover up the love bite.


You can hide a hickey with a turtleneck.


How is a hickey formed?

There are a lot of different types of vessels in your body that carry and transport blood. The smallest of these vessels are called capillaries; they are minuscule and very easily prone to getting damaged. Thus, passionate kisses or love bites can break these vessels and cause blood to pool around the surrounding tissue. Now since the capillaries are so tiny, the blood loss is minimal and your body patches up the break in the wall almost immediately so it’s not really a serious thing to be worried about. The worst that can happen is an itching feeling and some swelling. This is very similar to how a bruise forms and so getting rid of a hickey is not much different from trying to get rid of a bruise.

I just want to know how to get rid of hickeys fast. Is there a cure-it-now method?

A hickey is a bruise, and as any other bruises some need time to heal. However, many have experienced applying ice or brushing the hickey with a coin to be very successful. Often a combination of both is used for best results

How does a hickey look like?

As mentioned earlier, it looks like a bruise, and you will sure notice if you have one. Take a look at a the image below showing several hickeys around the neck area.


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Avocado Allergy – Can you be allergic to avocados? Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:28:56 +0000 Since avocado allergy is not a very common occurrence you may have been caught unaware of an allergic reaction to avocado. Like all other food allergies it is important to deduct the allergen from your diet in order to avoid any negative symptoms. According to a study by Elissa M Abrams et al, anaphylaxis due to avocado intake is extremely rare. Anaphylaxis is an immunological reaction of the body against foreign material that can be life-threatening. It is still important to remember that avocado intolerance is an allergy and so must be treated before the situation aggravates.

avovado allergy

Can you be allergic to avocado without knowing?

Types of Avocado Allergy

There are in fact two types of avocado allergies that affect the general population. The first is the oral allergy syndrome and the second is an allergy associated with latex. Oral allergy syndrome is the less severe form of the two and is manifested upon eating the fruit or any food containing it. It is caused by the body reacting to the avocado after not being able to recognize its biological molecules. In doing so the body reacts to the avocado much like it does to pollen as an allergen. Oral allergy syndrome actually affects up to one third of the people who have pollen allergies.

As for the avocado-latex connection, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that approximately half of the people with latex allergies are also allergic to avocados. This is because the proteins present in the latex are similar to the ones in these fruits and are not recognized by your body which prompts the immunological system to attack them. Allergy to avocado in association with latex allergy is more serious and severe than oral allergy syndrome. In addition, intolerance to other foods like chestnut, kiwi, tomatoes and bananas may also be present.

Symptoms of Avocado Allergy

Avocado allergy symptoms vary depending on the type of allergy. As described earlier, if you already suffer from latex allergy the symptoms will be much more severe. However if you suffer from oral allergy syndrome the symptoms will not be much different from those that affect people with pollen allergies. To put it in other words, the symptoms of oral allergy syndrome to avocado may appear on the mouth, lips and throat. You may experience itching or a tingling sensation in the moth or throat area. It is also not uncommon that swelling may occur on you lips, throat and tongue. Again, similarly to pollen allergy, the patient may also experience itchy and watery eyes and frequent sneezing after eating an avocado or food containing it, for example guacamole. It is extremely rare to suffer from anaphylaxis as a result of oral allergy syndrome to avocados.

If you already know that you suffer from latex allergy perhaps after an unfortunate reaction to balloons, it is wise to stay away from avocados, kiwis, bananas, chestnuts and tomatoes. Symptoms produced by this crossfire include hives, skin rashes, itching, watery eyes, wheezing, nasal congestion and frequent sneezing. In addition the patient may also experience nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, hoarse voice, and sore throat, trouble in swallowing and avocado diarrhea. This shows the wide range of symptoms that you can be affected with from mild to severe so it is best to consult a doctor and get an avocado allergy test done.

avocado allergy symptoms

Symptoms of avocado allergy may include sneezing and stuffy nose.

Avocado Allergy Treatment

According to a case examined by Allan B Becker et al, a fifteen year old patient with an avocado allergy who’s symptoms did not respond to anti-histamine tablets was taken to the emergency where he was treated with an anti-histamine injection and steroid. Upon release, he was prescribed a steroid and also given an epi-pen. Since every patient’s response to an allergy is unique to themselves it is best to consult a doctor as to what particular medicine would be suitable for treating your allergy symptoms. Sometimes patients develop a tolerance to avocados after repeated exposure but obviously there are risks associated with it and it is better to be safe. Since allergies can never really be completely obliterated it is best to have a couple of natural remedies to fall back on every time you accidentally encounter an allergen. Let’s look at some of those.

Natural Remedies for Avocado Allergy

Avoid Avocados and Avocado containing foods – Prevention is better than cure. It is most advisable that you avoid eating avocados at all cost and also beware of foods that contain avocado like guacamole, salsa, soup and mixed fruit juices. If you react severely to avocado, wear a medical alert necklace that can help in case of emergency.

  • Apply Aloe Vera – Rashes or itchy skin caused by avocado allergy can be treated with the soothing effects of Aloe Vera. Just buy a tube of Aloe Vera gel or cut a leaf of Aloe Vera and apply it to your skin to calm the allergic reaction.
  • Drink some green tea – Herbal concoctions like green tea or chamomile tea have an anti-histamine effect that can relieve many of the symptoms of avocado allergy including rashes, itching, hives and sore throat.
  • Pomegranate and Sugar cane juice – Who ever thought that the cure for an allergy would be so delicious? Freshly made pomegranate and sugar cane juice soothes the stomach and alleviates all traces of nausea. Vomiting and diarrhea can also be prevented by sipping on these fresh juices.
  • Inhale steam – Inhaling steam can open up your nasal pathways and clear away all the mucus that’s making you all stuffy. For a magic touch, add some chamomile tea in it!

Now you’re well equipped to deal with an avocado allergy. Just remember it’s better to be careful than sorry!

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How to get rid of bruises Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:44:48 +0000 How do you get rid of bruises? Well, it is no secret that bruises is something we all have experienced during our lifetime. However, finding the best way to get rid of bruises is something many of us have not figured out yet. There are many ways to treat a bruised area, and as some methods may work well for you, same methods might have no effect for others. Also, depending on how serious the bruise is, the location of the bruise, and its size, each method you use could be different. However, keep reading and you will find some of the best ways to get rid of bruises.

rid bruises

A bumped knee might end up with a colorful bruise.

Ways to get rid of bruises

Sometimes you suffer from an ugly bruise nuisance on your face or arms when an important event of your life is right around the corner. In such scenarios you struggle to land the fastest way to get rid of a bruise. Well, the good news is that you have an array of options to choose from here below, and it is just a matter of finding your personal best way that will work for you. Let’s explore what gets rid of bruises effectively:

1. Applying ice on a bruise – In order to subdue inflammation, icing a bruise is among the most popular and helpful ways to get rid of bruises. You will need a resealable plastic bag filled with ice chips and directly apply it to the bruised region. You can also use a frozen bag of vegetables from your fridge. Whatever you use as an ice pack you will apply it for fifteen minutes to the bruised area. Then take one hour rest before you apply the ice pack again to successfully reduce the swelling. If you apply the ice pack for an extensive time it may lead to skin itchiness.

2. Heat for bruises – Warm compress is an effective treatment to heal bruises quickly. Take a cloth, dip it in warm water, and apply it on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes. You will need to repeat this process several times during the day, depending on the severity of inflammation and pain. You can also iron a warm cloth and massage the area. The heat allows to increase the flow of blood to the injured tissue and to pace up the healing process. Using heat for bruises works best if you have had the bruise for a few days. If the bruise is fresh apply ice instead.

3. Vicks for bruises – Vicks is an over-the-counter topical ointment that has various uses in our everyday life. One main usage of Vicks is how it assists in getting rid of bruises in a fast manner. The ingredients present in Vicks aid the healing process by breaking down the accumulated blood clot in the region. So for those of you left wondering how to get rid of bruises efficiently, applying Vicks may help in fading the discoloration of the injured area.

4. Vinegar for bruises – One of the main reasons why vinegar is considered to be an effective remedy to get rid of bruises is due to its ability of increasing the blood flow in the area where it’s applied. If you apply vinegar to the bruised region, the blood flow will be enhanced which will dissipate the pool of blood accumulated in the injured region. It is best to apply apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water for it is a popular method for getting rid of bruises. However, using white vinegar have been reported to work as well.

5. Banana peel for bruises – Banana peels are known to cure various skin related problems. It comes as no surprise that they might be a successful remedy for getting rid of bruises. Some people have seen results with this method. Bananas have a mixture of enzymes called Bromelain, which has a blood-thinning effect. What you need to do is to cut a banana peel of approximately the same size as your bruise. Rub it on the region for a few minutes and repeat this process daily to see a noticeable difference.

6. Epsom salt for bruises – Epsom salt has been used since centuries as a popular topical treatment for relieving skin pain and healing sour muscles. By soaking your bruise in a mixture of Epsom salt and water for a while you will feel the inflammation pain pacifying. It is best to have a long warm bath with Epsom salt to heal your swollen bruise. This is because Epsom salt has a relaxing effect on the muscles which aids in the process of healing the injured region.

7. Aloe Vera for bruises – Aloe Vera has a medicinal usage in alleviating muscle and bruise pain. Whenever you question the elderly as to how to get rid of bruises they suggest using Aloe Vera as the ultimate cure for relieving bruise pain. Just cut a leaf of Aloe Vera and apply the gel on the bruised area, but If you do not have access to the plant you can buy a tube of pure Aloe Vera gel.

8. Essential Oils for bruises – How do you get rid of bruises by using essential oils? Bruises can be treated by using essential oils giving a soothing effect to the bruised area. The most popular essential oils used for massaging a bruised region are Fennel, Hyssop or Lavender. You need to be careful that in your attempt of getting rid of bruises with oils, you do not apply excessive pressure on the vulnerable area. While massaging you need to control your finger movement so they are headed outwards from the middle of the bruise.

9. Elevation – You can use gravity to your advantage by elevating your bruised area, such as leg or hand. This will make the flow of blood smoother and after a while you might see an improvement. However, this method is usually part of the RICE approach, which is the abbreviation for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

10. Wrap an elastic bandage – Immediately after suffering a heavy blow or trauma you need to wrap an elastic bandage tightly around the bruised region. This will prevent the blood to leak from the capillaries underneath the skin and as a result a severe swollen bruise can be avoided.

11. Arnica – The use of Arnica cream can help relieve symptoms of bruising. Just apply to the affected area and massage gently. Arnica has also been recommended by Dr Oz.

When to see a doctor?

Although most bruises are not severe and may not require medical attention this may not always be the case. If you notice reoccurring bruises without any significant trauma, injury or fall then it is best to consult a doctor. Also, if your bruise is accompanied with a very high fever or you feel that your bruise is getting infected then this may be an alarming situation. Sometimes, lack of oxygen to the tissues lead to a permanent paralysis and such a condition is known as compartment syndrome.


What is a Bruise?

As a result of impingement, the blood capillaries near the skin surface are damaged. You must have witnessed that upon hitting your hand or leg on a hard surface, the affected area suddenly becomes blackish-blue and swollen. This is because the broken capillaries start to leak in the surrounding tissues. It is advised by doctors to never leave the bruised area unattended. We often exhibit carelessness when it comes to bruises and assume that it will heal on its own. Getting rid of bruises is a simple task but you need to repeat the chosen method properly. Bruises accumulate blood in the trauma region for at least 10 to 15 days During that time your skin might also go through color changes ranging from green to yellow.

How do you get a bruise?

As explained above, bruises are a form of skin discoloration that occurs as a result of injury or trauma. You can get a bruise in different ways. Here are a few:

  • Trauma and Injuries – The most common way of getting bruises is to experience different levels of injuries to your body. It might be bumping your knee on to a table, hitting your fingers and toes, or more severe levels of trauma.
  • Aggressive exercises and work out regime – Athletes and weightlifters may experience bruises mainly due to the excessive stress and tension applied on the muscles. Upon rigorous exercise, the fine blood capillaries may sometime suffer microscopic tear and suddenly the area is seen turning blue or black.
  • Bruises in elderly people – As you age your skin starts to become thinner. As a result, the cushioning support of the tissues provided to the blood capillaries near the skin starts to deteriorate. This results in reoccurring bruises on your legs and other regions. This is the main reason why doctors recommend elderly individuals to make Vitamin C an essential part of their daily diet.
  • Bleeding disorder – In extreme cases, some individuals suffer from rare disorders such as Thrombocytopenic purpura in which random blood clots appear all over the body.

If you get a bruise from one of your daily routines, will any of the suggested ways to get rid of bruise work?

No, not all methods will work for you. It will depend on how you got the bruise, its location, and the size of it.

I am just interested to know how to get rid of bruises fast. Is there ways to get rid of bruises instantly?

There is not really a quick fix to get rid of bruises instantly. Each method can have great success, but there is no “one” solution for all. If you find one please share your secret method.

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Can you freeze muffins and muffin batter? Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:43:14 +0000 Have you ever wished you could bake muffins with minimum effort? Have you ever wondered, if you can freeze muffins? Or better yet, can you freeze muffin batter for those kind of days when you just don’t have enough time? Well, think no more, you can freeze muffins and you can also freeze muffin batter, allowing you to make your life so much easier! Now all your dreams of an instant muffin can become a reality.

To be able to freeze muffins you will need to bake a few first. Let’s start you off with a basic muffin recipe, and then talk about how to freeze muffins and muffin batter.

Muffin Recipe

Let’s start you off with a simple muffin recipe so you have fresh muffins to put in the freezer. Start by preheating the oven to a medium temperature and then line a muffin tray with muffin paper cases. Now begin by beating 2 eggs in a bowl and adding 125 ml vegetable oil and 250 ml milk to it. Add 200g caster sugar to the bowl and mix well with a whisk until the sugar dissolves completely. Now it is time to sift in the dry ingredients, starting off with 400g of plain flour and 3 tea spoons of baking powder. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and mix well. At this point you can add any extra ingredients that you may like for example, chocolate chips or blue berries. Once you’re done mixing the batter, pour it into the muffin cases taking care to fill them only two-thirds full. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until they turn slightly golden brown.

How to freeze muffins?

The best way to freeze muffins is very simple. After baking the muffins as directed in the recipe above, cool them completely and then place the muffins in a large freezer bag. Make sure you remove all the air you can before sealing the bag. You can also wrap individual muffins in heavy duty aluminum foil and keep them in an empty ice container or tin. Did you ever think freezing muffins would be this easy?


Use a freezer bag to freeze muffins!

How to freeze muffin batter?

Now that you know how to freeze muffins, let’s find out how you freeze muffin batter. Freezing muffin batter is almost as simple as freezing muffins. All you have to do is prepare the muffin batter, bring out a muffin tin, fill the tin with muffin cases, and fill up with two thirds of muffin batter in each case. Put the muffin tin in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours or until batter is solid. Once the batter is frozen you can use a butter knife to wedge the frozen muffins out, paper and all, and stack them in a container or a plastic bag removing air as best as you can.

Another way of freezing muffins is by pouring the batter into a container and freeze it. You can then use a scooper to form nice muffin balls for each muffin case once you are ready to bake them. Again, remember to label the container or bag with the date for your own convenience. You can freeze muffin batter for up to four months.


Apple muffins prepared to be frozen


How to thaw the muffins?

So we have covered how to freeze muffins and muffin batter, but let’s talk about the thawing process. To reheat baked muffins, just pop them out of the freezer and back into the muffin tray. Heat up the oven to 350 degrees and keep the muffins in till thoroughly warmed. If you are in a hurry, pop them in the microwave and check at 15 second intervals until they are perfect. You can also let the muffins thaw in room temperature. Have them then out for at least an hour before you eat them.

As for the frozen muffin batter, if you have all the batter in a container you can just let it defrost in the fridge. Take it out when you are ready to make muffins and stir around with a rubber spatula. If you have the frozen muffin batter in paper cups just bring them out from the freezer and place them back into the muffin tray. There is really no point in letting them thaw. Just bake them as you normally do but add an extra 5-10 minutes since they are frozen.

FAQs about freezing muffins

Can you freeze English muffins?

Yes, of course you can freeze English muffins. If you bought a package of them just take them out of the bag, put them in a zip bag, and toss them in the freezer.

What about other sorts of muffins? Can you freeze blueberry muffins or banana muffins?

If those are your favorite muffins you don’t have to worry. You can perfectly freeze muffins with blueberry or banana.

Can you freeze muffins in paper cups?

You can freeze muffins in paper bags. In fact you can even freeze muffin batter in paper cups as well.

How long can you freeze muffins for?

Frozen muffins will be in perfect condition for about three months. Remember to label the plastic bag or container with the date so you can take them out before they go bad.

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Can You Freeze Sour Cream? Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:52:12 +0000 Can sour cream be frozen and used safely without it going bad? Can you freeze sour cream dip and can you freeze food with sour cream in it? The good news is that you can definitely freeze sour cream to preserve it and any other sauce or food that contains sour cream. However, freezing sour cream can cause some changes in it.

How does freezing affect sour cream?

Freezing sour cream can affect its texture. As it freezes the sour cream clumps and separates due to the moisture. So when you thaw it you might end up with texture that resembles cottage cheese. For this reason you may not want to use it for salad dressing or in tacos. However, you can try adding a teaspoon of cornstarch and whipping it into the thawed sour cream to restore its original creamy texture. Remember though, the sour cream is perfectly safe to eat and will taste the same. You can freeze the sour cream for at least 4 months without it going bad.


Freeze sour cream that you are not able to eat.

How to freeze sour cream

If you have bought a lot of sour cream and want to store them in the freezer take care of a couple of things. Make sure that sour cream is always kept in an airtight container or bag. If you have already opened the container you bought, it is therefore wise to transfer it to an airtight bowl or bag. Another thing is to freeze small portions of sour cream separately so that when you want to use a little sour cream you don’t have to thaw and refreeze a whole block of it. This can cause it to perish quicker. Storing an unopened store bought container upside down also supposedly helps keep the moisture at bay. One essential tip you should never forget is to always label your container with a ‘use by’ date. This way you will remember to use all of your sour cream before it starts to go bad.

How to thaw frozen sour cream

Thaw frozen sour cream by popping it out of the freezer and into the fridge for a couple of hours. You can even keep it overnight if you prefer. Whip in some cornstarch to get it creamy as soon as it thaws completely. The best way to use thawed sour cream is in soups or baked food like casseroles. It works because the altered texture of the thawed sour cream is not noticed at all and the flavor is all there. So don’t hesitate to stock up on some sour cream and eat up!

FAQs about freezing yogurt

Can you freeze sour cream and keep the same creamy texture?

In general you will not get the same creamy texture as it was once before. Try to whip it well and see if you can get the same creamy texture back. It is the best you can do.

I bought a bunch of sour cream that was on sale but with a very short expiration date. Can I freeze sour cream even if it is past the expiration date?

This is really hard to say because sometimes food that is past its expiration date can be just fine to eat. However, there are times when food can even go bad before the expiration date. If the sour cream is all bought from the same batch that was delivered to the store, you could always try one sour cream container to see if it is fine. Then you could reason that the rest of the batch should be the same as the one you opened. Take conclusion from there.

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