5 Crucial Facts You Need to Know About Bread

As much as bread is a staple in many diets all over the world, it’s an easy way to gain weight when you’re stressed or tired. With the wrong kind of bread, you increase the risk of all kinds of conditions, such as weight gain and dental caries. But the good news is you can still enjoy it and other baked goods when you make better choices. To get you started, here are a few crucial facts you need to know about bread:

Marketing makes it difficult

The actual impact that “hi-fiber” or “multi-grain” flour has on dietary fiber, nutrition, and salt levels is minimal. You should especially be wary if the bread says “multi-grain” on the label. The reason for this is that terms such as “hi-fiber” or “multi-grain” can mean all kinds of things for both manufacturers and consumers alike.

All grains are the same    

Health food stores might sell different breads made from different varieties of wheat, but keep in mind that that milled flour is the same no matter what grain you use. Instead, having different seeds and grains such as chia, flax, and rye in the flour might add more nutritional value, but can make the bread denser and more expensive as a result.

There are different types of flour

There are three different types of flour you need to keep in mind: whole wheat flour, which is the most nutritious since it contains almost everything in the grain or seed that has the nutrient content; dark flour, which contains fewer dietary fibers; and finally, white flour, which is the least nutritious of the three.

Gluten-free doesn’t do anything unless you’re allergic to it

When kneaded with a small amount of water, wheat flour contains a protein that adds greatly to the texture of the bread. This protein is known as gluten. However, keep in mind that while some people, particularly those suffering from celiac disease, definitely benefit from gluten-free bread, there’s a good chance it will do little for you since this condition is really rare. This means that gluten-free foods aren’t necessarily healthier options, and they usually cost more than typical bread.

Bread can still be healthy

There’s no need to worry about not being able to enjoy delectable bread when you make the right choices. To start, be sure to read the label carefully to know the bread’s sugar, salt, and fiber content. If it’s possible, choose bread that’s whole-grain. Whole-grain foods that contain all the essential nutrients can give you a lot of health benefits, and they also make for a great way to help you lose weight. Healthy spreads are also a great way to add more flavor to your bread without necessarily adding the extra calories.

5 Amazing Tips to Help You Save Money While Traveling

Traveling can get expensive quickly even when you’re on a budget, so whether you’re taking that much-needed vacation or traveling frequently for your day job, it’s crucial to find ways to cut down on the expenses and stick to your budget as much as possible.

To get started, here are a few tips you can use to save more money on your travels:

1. Look for free stuff or activities. Doing a little research about the activities in that area will tell you about them, and if you look at community calendars, you’ll find out about what’s going on while you’re there. It also helps if you familiarize yourself by taking a tour of the place on your own. Simply walking around might just lead you to something unexpected yet definitely worth your time and money.

2. Bring snacks with you. There’s a good chance you’ll get hungry when going from place to place, and stopping to get snacks to munch on is an easy way to rack up your expenses and blow through your budget, so it’s always a good idea to bring a snack or two on the road or while making that flight. If you’re hungry and looking for a place to eat, stay away from the places close to tourist traps! They’re likely to be more expensive, and there are always better options if you take the time to look around.

3. Pay in local currency. If you’re a frequent flyer to a different country, one of the biggest ways you can cut down on your expenses is by spending in local currency. This saves you from the hassle of having to regularly convert from one type of currency to the other, especially when certain services can charge for this. One way you can do this is by applying for a multi-currency account from your bank of choice, which lets you maintain deposits in specific currencies and avoid certain exchange rates that don’t work in your favor.

4. Don’t get the best room available. Splurging on your accommodation is another way to burn through your budget before you’ve even started, and when it comes to getting a cheap place to stay, this is where you’ll really have to do your research and make the reservation beforehand. The good news is if you can, you should opt for a much cheaper accommodation. Feel free to ditch the fancy hotel room in favor of something that fits much more comfortably within your budget, especially if you’re only staying for a few days.

5. Get travel insurance. If anything should happen to you, proper travel insurance is your best bet for getting through most emergencies as safely as possible until you can get home.

Dog Infections You Should Know About

Losing a beloved pet to an illness that can be prevented is almost like losing a human loved one who has not been given the proper treatment. As a pet owner, you should be aware of these common infections that can affect your dogs.

  • Actinomycosis and Nocardiosis. These are caused by the bacteria Actinomyces sp. and Nocardia sp., respectively. Dogs with wounds are at greater risk, so make sure to wash and dress them properly to prevent infection.
  • Aspergillosis. It is a fungal infection that causes nasal discharge, frequent sneezing, and bleeding and swollen nose.
  • Bacterial Ear Infection. An ear infection is usually caused by the yeast Malassezia pachydermatis. Symptoms include inflamed inner ears, bad odor and waxy buildup in the ears, and itchiness.
  • Blastomycosis. The fungal infection can cause weight loss, lameness, and coughing.
  • Brucellosis. This contagious infection is caused by the bacterium Brucella canis. Look out for the following if your dog has been neutered or spayed: back pain, paralysis, rear leg weakness, eye inflammation, and scrotal enlargement in males.
  • Coccidiosis. This intestinal infection is caused by a protozoal parasites Coccidia. Signs include diarrhea, bloody stool or stool with mucus, weight loss, and loss of appetite especially in puppies.
  • Cryptococcus. Caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, the infection can affect the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and brain. Look out for the following symptoms: seizures, inflamed eyes, swollen lymph nodes, coughing, and imbalance.

  • Distemper. Canine distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus. It can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, loss of appetite, eye or nose discharge, fever, labored breathing, hardening of the footpads, and eye inflammation. Neurological symptoms develop when not treated, which include sensitivity to touch, seizures, twitching, paralysis, and uncoordinated movement.
  • Ehrlichiosis. Caused by the bacteria Ehrlichia, it is usually transmitted by ticks. Watch out for the following: neurological problems, eye inflammation, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, eye or nose discharge, muscle pain, enlarged spleen or lymph nodes, abnormal bleeding, fever, and low platelet count.
  • Giardia. It is also a name for a protozoan parasite that can cause diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
  • Leptospirosis. This is an infection caused by the Spirochetes bacterium. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, redness of the mucous membranes, and lethargy.
  • Lyme Disease. It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, lameness, lethargy, painful joints, and loss of appetite.
  • Parvovirus. This contagious viral infection has two forms. One type causes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight loss while the second type attacks the heart muscles and often affects puppies. Although some older dogs survive parvo, it is often a fatal infection, so the best way to prevent it is through vaccination.
  • Staphylococcal Infection. Caused by the Staphylococcus sp. Bacteria, it is a skin infection that can also affect humans. It is usually treated with antibiotics, shampoo, and ointments.

  • Toxoplasmosis. If you have a cat, you and your dog will also risk exposure to the Toxoplasma gondii parasite which can cause seizures and neurological problems, tremors, muscle weakness, paralysis, respiratory problems, inflammation of the tonsils/retina/iris/cornea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, and jaundice.

What is Dysgraphia?

Dysgraphia is characterized by difficulties in several areas that concern motor skills and writing. The person diagnosed with the condition is not necessarily an invalid or a moron, but it will take a while for him/her overcome hurdles during the learning years.

How do you recognize the symptoms in your child and what can you do about dysgraphia?

Overview and Causes

There is no specific cause for the condition, but there could be a lot of factors that might be linked to organizing the information in memory and the act of getting words on paper itself. Sometimes the condition can run in families and can also co-exist with other learning disabilities. So, what separates this condition from, say, dyslexia? Dysgraphia is more specific in that it affects how the person remembers the word and then recording it on paper. There are many other symptoms, however, before a person can be diagnosed with dysgraphia.

Symptoms of Dysgraphia

Proper diagnosis is a must to get early intervention for your child. Usually, a doctor will have to identify symptoms of dysgraphia from six categories such as fine motor, visual-spatial, language processing, grammar, spelling and handwriting, and language organization.

The following are the general symptoms of dysgraphia:

  • Difficulty telling a story from start to finish; usually leaves out information or provides too many details
  • Often jumbles sentences and uses vague descriptions
  • Finds it more comfortable conveying ideas when speaking
  • Difficulty using punctuation properly
  • Often forgets to start a sentence with the first letter of the first word in uppercase
  • Difficulty writing complete sentences or writes run-on sentences often
  • Difficulty understanding spelling rules and often misspells words
  • The child can spell correct orally, but not when writing it down
  • He/she finds it difficult to read even his/her own writing
  • Writing is a blend of cursive and printing, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Difficulty following directions and loses train of thought
  • Cannot follow grammar rules and apply them on writing
  • Difficulty writing ideas on paper
  • Cannot use scissors or art materials as well as other kids

  • Awkward writing position; difficulty holding writing materials, doing puzzles, keyboarding, using the cell phone to text, tying shoes, etc.
  • Difficulty understanding letter-spacing and shapes
  • Difficulty organizing written words from left to write; some letters go in different directions
  • The child will have a hard time making sense of maps
  • A child with dysgraphia will find it difficult to write or draw or color inside lines or shapes
  • Difficulty reproducing or drawing shapes

Living with Dysgraphia

The signs usually are not apparent until the child struggles to keep up with school activities. Diagnosis must be provided, however, by a trained psychologist who will measure the child’s motor skills and writing skills. Intensive teaching in handwriting will be needed, so you might have to enroll your child in a school that will offer such a program. Some schools also offer one-on-one instructions for children to be able to keep up with school. No medication is needed unless the child has been diagnosed with another co-existing condition that requires it.

5 Fun Things to Do in Bangkok

If you’re going on a Thai vacation, don’t just pass through Bangkok and head towards the islands and jungles of Thailand. This city is full of interesting things to do and sites to see, from street foods to temples, kickboxing to beautiful rooftop bars.

Here’s our top picks of the things to do when you’re in Bangkok.

1. Sleep in Style and Wake Up to a Breathtaking View
First things first, you need a place to stay while in Bangkok. Book a hotel that’s located near tourist attractions, that’s comfortable and preferably with a scrumptious complimentary breakfast—ideally, a buffet. Your Bangkok experience should start the moment you land into the place, and that begins with a great accommodation.

2. Visit the Floating Markets
Markets on boats is one of the things Bangkok is known for. Small river boats selling fresh fruits, desserts, spring rolls and grilled seafoods paddle towards you at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It is one of the capital city’s tourist attractions, so make sure to check it out while you’re there. For a more sedate setting, head to Taling Chan Floating Market instead.

3. See Buddhas in All Sizes and Set-Ups
As a Buddhist nation, Thailand loves their Buddhas as much as their king. From the Reclined Buddha, 1,000 Buddhas, Emerald Buddhas to Golden Palace, you will never ran out of unique Buddhas to see. If you have extra time, take a trip to Ayutthaya to explore more Buddhas.

4. Shop ‘Til You Drop
Thai love to shop. That’s why Bangkok is laden with market places and shopping destinations and you’re sure to find goods for any budget you may have. Just take a look at their nightly pedestrian traffic. You can head to malls or stroll the sidewalk, where vendors sell everything from souvenirs, clothing, beauty essentials and many other knickknacks you can imagine. Some of the best malls to check out are Paragon, MBK and Siam Center; while for nightly street vendors are Nana district, Victory Monument and Khao San Road.

5. Experience Thai Street Food
From fresh fruits to soups, fishball to noodles, Thai sidewalk food hawkers offer a mouth-watering feast. This is definitely one of the best charms of Thai culture that people from around the world can’t get enough of. The hawker stalls, which glisten with inviting visual experience, will surely extract temptation and curiosity from your palate.

Bangkok is a destination you won’t forget. It’ a vacation spot where you can stay for a few days or weeks and your trip will be packed with awesome and unique activities to do.

Why Reading is Good for You

There are a couple of people we know of who absolutely dread reading. Why should they? Is it really that bad? Definitely not! Maybe people tend to dread reading because they haven’t really experienced it to the fullest and the memory of how they felt when they were reading was but a mediocre experience. Everyone should read but the sad thing is not everyone can. What’s even worse is that some people even choose not to read at all. We’re here to argue why reading is good for you and hopefully after reading this article, you might just pick up a good book.

Here are some reasons why reading is good for you:

1. Exercises the brain
The brain is still a muscle and it definitely needs exercise. A lot of us forget to exercise our minds which leads us to a dull functioning mind. Learning itself is actually a skill and the best way to improve your learning skill is by exercising. This is why we have people whom we can call fast learners. These people have exercised their learning skills and have become able to learn faster than other people.

2. Encourages imagination
Some people think that knowledge is everything and we would like to counter that thought. In fact, we believe that knowledge is only half of the whole pie. It is knowledge and creativity that is important. We work on our knowledge every day and somehow forget that investing on our creativity is of equal importance.

Everything we have today has been a product of both knowledge and creativity. When the plane was invented, it started from imagination. It seemed absurd but with the necessary knowledge to back it up, it was then made possible! Imagination or creativity and knowledge always go together. In fact, you can’t possibly take these two apart that is why you have to work on both.

Reading is an excellent way to encourage imagination. After all, reading sharpens the imagination and helps readers practice putting details into their minds with the work of their own minds as their very own paintbrushes.

3. Improves vocabulary
Vocabulary is needed in our everyday lives. We all have a specific range of vocabulary. We know some words and there are definitely still other words we don’t know. So is improving your vocabulary basically about collecting different words? No! It is about being able to speak better. The more words you know, the better you tend to talk. Because of the wide selection of words, you’ll be able to really say what you mean instead of having to substitute it for an easier word.

4. Teaches you something new
It’s always good to learn something new every once in a while. Besides, why stop building your brain? Learning something new every now and then is definitely beneficial to you because the more you know, the better you will become in terms of reacting to certain external factors around you.

Books are one of the things you must learn treasure and if you are capable of treasuring your books, your books will do the same for you. Books improve you as a person and with a lot of them out there, there’s no doubt you’ll improve.

4 Foods to Eat to Get Enough Vitamins You Need in Your 30s

While you should always take good care of your health, make it a top priority when you’re already in your 30s. Your poor diet in your 20s could already be taking a toll and gone are the days when you can survive with junk food for lunch while still feeling great. Now that you’ve become older (and wiser), improve your health by including these vitamin-packed food items to your diet.

Green Leafy Vegetables
This comes as no surprise that green leafy veggies are on the list. Adding more greens to your meals provide heaps of essential vitamins and minerals. Spinach, lettuce and cabbage are jampacked with calcium, which make good alternatives for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. More than keeping your bones healthy, calcium from these veggies can also protect you from cancer and certain heart diseases.

Green leafy vegetables are also rich in vitamin A, which helps boost your immune system. When it comes to these foods, the sky is your limit. They have zero cholesterol and very low in sodium, so you can devour as much as you can on any day.

Beans and Legumes
Many people get intimidated by beans, but they are good sources of nutrients. Beans and legumes are loaded with B9, a vitamin essential for your baby’s brain development (if you’re an expectant mom) and essential for cell repair. Incorporating a cup of garbanzos to your salad can give you a complete doze of folate you need in a day.
Moreover, these foods are great source of phosphorus, copper, potassium and magnesium as well. It helps reduce your calories intake, since they are high in fiber, which keep you feeling full for longer.

Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits are rich in antioxidants that counteracts the effects of free radicals. They are rich in vitamin C and E, which are the skin’s best friends for looking young. They help with he generation of new skin tissues and regulate the skin’s retinol levels to prevent early onset of fine lines and wrinkles.

Also, fruits are packed with essentials like natural glutathione and phytonutrients that keeps your skin moisturized and blemish-free. Freshly picked fruits are wonderful source of prebiotics that takes care of your gut health, boosting your overall fitness. Instead of a doughnut for snacks, get a bowl of fresh fruits for a healthier alternative.

Dark Chocolate
That bittersweet taste from a high-quality dark chocolate is what makes this treat nutritious. The more bitter it is, the higher its cocoa content, which makes a bar of dark chocolate more nutritious. An ounce of pure dark chocolate provides a significant amount of iron, which is an element essential for blood regulation.

Dark chocolate also boasts excellent amount of flavanols, which can even equate to the amount found in acai and blueberries. Stick to at least 70% cocoa to get the most nutrient out of this treat.

Eat right to feel right. At this stage of your life, what you eat greatly matters in making you look and feel your best.

5 Reasons to Stop Using Gadgets When Babysitting

Most parents have probably done it: hand the iPad to the kids while waiting for the food in a restaurant, put on a cartoon during a long drive or let them play video games while you’re doing the chores. You can say that your child is happy and even learning how to count and read, and that they should learn to adapt to technology.

However, screen addiction can be detrimental to your child’s mental, physical and socio-emotional development. Here are more reasons why you should stop using gadgets while babysitting and avoid your kids from too much exposure from such technology.

1. It affects the child’s overall brain development
During a child’s first few years, over a million of neural connections are growing every second. Children who spend so much time on gadgets lack the opportunity to play and socialize with other children, which is crucial in the development of your kid’s social skills. Youngs kids who prefer screen time instead of playing their toys and their friends are deprived of the chance to exercise their communication and problem-solving skills.

2. It affects healthy sleep pattern
According to experts, watching TV within two hours before bedtime can make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep. Even just the mere presence of mobile device in the room during bedtime already increases the risk of poor sleep quality and inadequate sleep. And don’t forget the notorious ‘blue light’ from your device’s screens, which can suppress melatonin—the hormone that signals your brain to relax and rest.

3. It puts mental and psychological health at stake
More and more studies today have shown mental and psychological effect of technological overuse. Linking digital overuse to anxiety, aggression, autism, ADHD and depression. Addiction to video games is also linked to lower life satisfaction and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

4. It can also affect your kid’s performance in school
Many preschool teachers in Singapore have reported an increased cases of short attention spans, less interest in play time and delayed speech among children who they found out are excessive gadget users. Why is this so? Playing with a gadget, instead of interacting with a real person, children do not have the chance to express themselves and have a hard time paying attention when they are spoken to.

5. It halts healthy development of motor skills
Use of iPads and other mobile gadgets may get your children sit still, but it is not the ideal way of training them to practice focus. Instead, it only prevents your kids from engaging movements and being active. Remember, how the body executes movements and how the brain works to organize series of activities that the body will perform is directly related. This is what you want to develop in your growing child.

Technology is not pure evil. They also provide entertainment and education value. However, it is up to the parents to control and teach their children how to use gadget properly and responsibly.