5 Inexpensive Ways to Liven Up Any Kitchen

For anyone who is desperate for a kitchen renovation but can’t afford the price tag that would entail, here is a great solution. These are quick, easy and cost-effective ways to brighten up any kitchen and to transform the space with ease.

* Display your kitchen gadgets. Take your spatulas and serving spoons out of the drawer and put them in cute cans or baskets on the counter. This adds a look of country to the kitchen. You could also add an overhead rack to hold pans for a bit more money.








* Brighten up the kitchen with a colorful backsplash. This doesn’t cost much, but can really make a difference in the look of the space.

* Pain your cabinets. You may not have the money to buy new cabinets, but you can make them look like new, and get away from that ugly yellow color, by painting them a color you love.

* Bring in flowers to your space. This couldn’t be an easier or more inexpensive option. Buy beautiful flowers and place them in a vase in the kitchen.









* Buy a few new chairs for the kitchen table, either creating a nice traditional look or buying mismatched and colorful chairs for an eclectic feel.

In Vitro Fertilization: Rabbi Kenneth Brander

Kenny Brander
Rabbi Kenneth Brander discusses in vitro fertilization

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Vice President for University and Community Life and the Dean of the Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future discussed the Jewish view on in vitro fertilization at a lecture he delivered to fellow rabbis. One of the issues that arose during the lecture was the question of whether parents can decide which fertilized egg to have implanted in the woman, a fertilized egg that will develop to become a boy or one that will become a girl. During in vitro fertilization doctors examine the fertilized egg for genetic defects, and while they do that they can also discover the gender of the future child. Is it therefore proper to use that information to choose the gender of the ensuing baby?

Another issue which Rabbi Kenny Brander discussed in more depth is how to define parenthood; who are the father and the mother under the different scenarios of in vitro fertilization? For example:

•    If the woman who wants the child does not have viable eggs and eggs are donated by another woman,  who then is the mother? Is it the genetic mother, or the host mother? Or perhaps both?
•    If the sperm are donated because the man that wants the baby does not have viable sperm, then who is the father: the genetic supplier of the sperm, or the man who is married to the woman that will carry the baby who will be given the task of the raising the child? Or once again, perhaps both?

Rabbi Brander explains clearly that in vitro fertilization and other technologies that aid and improve mankind’s life and health are looked on quite favorably by Judaism. Just because difficulties might arise as a result of these technologies does not mean in any way that Judaism does not fully embrace them as a means to become partners with G-d in the Jewish mission to “repair the world.”

Exercise for Summer Success

runnAs the summer approaches, most people start to think about their looks. It’s human nature to want to look appealing. Of course, even more important is your health and to make sure that you’re within a normal weight range and that you’re exercising.

How can you kickstart an exercise program now that it’s about to be May? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Make plans with a friend. It doesn’t matter if you join the gym, go for walks or take up swimming. It’s all easier with a friend and will keep you committed to your plan more consistently.

2. Find some type of exercise that you love. Look into joining Curves or doing kickboxing or enjoying Zumba. Any and all of these activities can make you happy.

3. Set a goal. Some people do better when they are working towards a goal. One idea is to do a couch to 5k. This is a program where you can learn to run a 5k in somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks. Look at a plan such as the one here.

The bottom line is that it’s time to get up and go. You just have to figure out how you want to do so.


Top 10 Least Healthy Cities in America

obesityGallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the US in 2012 and 2013. The survey looked at both the physical and emotional health of residents. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is certainly an interesting report to look at and to use as a barometer of healthy living.

As Dan Witters, the research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index said, “When you’re talking about obesity, the big three are healthy eating, exercise, and smoking.”

Certainly, the researchers also found a strong connection between emotional wellbeing and physical health. As Witters explained, “Survey participants who were ‘clinically diagnosed with depression had a significantly elevated probability of carrying around obesity.’”

Here is their list of America’s least healthy cities.

10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.

> Physical Health Index: 72.2

> Obesity rate: 35.1% (5th highest)

9. Spartanburg, S.C.

> Physical Health Index: 71.9

> Obesity rate: 30.0% (34th highest)

8. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.

> Physical Health Index: 71.7

> Obesity rate: 29.7% (40th highest)

7. Clarksville, Tenn.-Ky.

> Physical Health Index: 71.6

> Obesity rate: 33.8% (8th highest)

6. Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.

> Physical Health Index: 71.4

> Obesity rate: 29.8% (38th highest)

5. Redding, Calif.

> Physical Health Index: 71.4

> Obesity rate: 27.6% (82nd highest)

4. Columbus, Ga.-Ala.

> Physical Health Index: 70.7

> Obesity rate: 32.5% (13th highest)

3. Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

> Physical Health Index: 70.5

> Obesity rate: 30.9% (25th highest)

2. Charleston, W.Va.

> Physical Health Index: 69.0

> Obesity rate: 34.6% (6th highest)

1. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio

> Physical Health Index: 66.2

> Obesity rate: 39.5% (the highest)

Join in Earth Day Today

It’s Earth Day today and over a billion people in 190 countries will be doing something to mark the day. This year’s theme is Green Cities and, as it explains on the Earth Day website, “With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.”

There are events around the world for Earth Day. Certainly, cleaning up your own garden, helping to create a green space in your community or helping others is enough. But you can also join an official event for Earth Day.  Here is a partial list of events provided by EarthDay.org. Certainly, there are many more to be found on their website.


The Tuscon Earth Day Festival will hold its 20th annual event on Saturday April 12, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Reid Park. The theme will be “Light the Way to a Bright Future”. Admission is free and it will feature a parade, environmental displays and activities, and alternative fuel vehicles.


The Arkansas Earth Day Foundation is hosting an event on April 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Heifer International Fair Grounds. It will include educational booths and children’s events.


Earth Day Santa Cruz is holding their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. in San Lorenzo Park. It is an exciting community event offering educational information, activities for kids including an arts and crafts tent, live music and a focus on green businesses.


Yosemite National Park will be celebrating National Park Week and Earth Day starting on April 19 and continuing through the 28. Activities will include a trash pick up, bike ride, family night, an Earth Day celebration at the Yosemite Village Mall, sustainable salad bar tasting, and more.


The City of Modesto is hosting their 25th Annual Earth Day event on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Graceada Park. It will include a free StaRT shuttle bus, a recycling collection and drop off, live entertainment, “green” education, food, art contest, and vendors.


San Diego Earthworks is hosting their 2014 EarthFair on Sunday, April 27, 2014 in Balboa Park from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will feature more than 300 exhibitors, special theme areas, a food pavilion, a children’s activity area, five entertainment venues, the Children’s Earth Parade, art show, and Cleaner Car Concourse.


Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council is hosting their 2014 Earth Day event on Saturday, April 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It will include live entertainment, a farm to table dinner, a green car show, food and drink, and “kid’s corner”. It is estimated over 35,000 people will attend and this year’s theme is “local roots”.


Stockton Earth Day is hosting their 2014 Earth Day event on Sunday, April 6, 2014 in Victory Park. This year’s theme is “Living Water Wise” and admission is free. Activities include a family bike ride, yoga at the park, and a food and clothing drive.


The City of Alameda will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Washington Park. It will feature free activities for kids, Earth Day games exhibitions, and farmer’s market stands.


Lakewood is hosting their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Heritage Center. The theme for the event is “Live Local” and aims to focus on local businesses, food producers, and environmental organizations. Entrance is free and special attractions will include a climbing wall, music, and educational demonstrations.


The Community Office for Resource Efficiency in Aspen will be celebrating Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at Wagner Park Pedestrian Mall. Come out and enjoy food, music, and conversation.


The Seventh Annual Earth Day Festival in Newton will be held at Newtown Middle School on April 26 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The Festival is family-friendly, open to the whole community, and through the activities it provides – live music, vendors, and more – seeks to “green” Newtown.


The Trumbull Nature and Arts Center is holding an Earth Day Celebration on April 27 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This event is for the whole family and will include nature hikes, displays by local environmental organizations, and more.


Wilmington’s 2014 Earth Day Celebration, in association with the Delaware Estuary will take place in Rodney Square on April 22 from 11:00-2:00. The event will include giveaways, raffles, green vendor displays, children’s activities, and live music and a radio broadcast.


Earth Day Miami is participating in the Green Cities campaign and holding an Earth Day event on April 5. The event is called “Better Miami” and is an evening of music, networking, and Eco-fashion. The event will also community leaders dedicated to sustainability in South Florida.


Sustainatopia is a set of environmental conference held from April 16-22 in Miami. The three conferences that encompass the event are the 5th Annual Impact Conference, the Sustainable Strategies Conference, and the Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design Summit.


Learning Gate Community School has teamed up with the City of Tampa and the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability to put on the 5th Annual EcoFest 2014 on April 12 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The event will include live music, demonstrations, green living products, and more.


Mount Dora Friends of the Environment, with co-sponsorship from the City of Mount Dora, is hosting an Earth Day celebration on April 19 from 10:00 – 4:00 at Donnelly Park. There will be environmental films, gardening workshops, children’s activities, and more.


The 9th Annual Central Florida Earth Day will be held in Lake Eola Park from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on April 19. It is the largest Earth Day event in Central Florida and will include speakers, environmental education, and more, along with Earth-friendly sponsors and vendors.


The 9th Annual Central Florida Earth Day will be held in Lake Eola Park from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on April 19. It is the largest Earth Day event in Central Florida and will include speakers, environmental education, and more, along with Earth-friendly sponsors and vendors.


On April 19, St. Petersburg will celebrate Earth Day with its first annual festival. This event will focus on educating the public about eco-friendly technology, research, and products that help create sustainable communities. Companies leading the green movement and speakers on topics affecting the Earth will also be present.


Milton, Georgia is proud to announce the 3rd Annual Earth Day Festival is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Birmingham Park.This fun, free family event is part of Milton’s efforts to increase environmental awareness in the community.


The City of Decatur, partnering with the Wylde Center, is holding its annual Decatur Earth Day Festival on April 19 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Oakhurst Garden. This Earth Day celebration is pirate-themed and a fun way for over 400 community members to celebrate with the city.


Maui Earth Day Festival will host their 17th annual event on Sunday, April 27th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Keopuolani Park Amphitheater. It will include two stages of live music and speakers, food environmental and social awareness booths, Keiki activities, vendors, farmers market, and alternative transportation, energy, and agriculture.


Idaho Falls Earth Day will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 26, 2014 in Tautphaus Park and Tautphaus Park Zoo from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Activities will include live music conservation education, games, crafts and displays by local clubs and organizations. Zoo admission free for children 12 and under.


The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is hosting Earth Day in the Parks, a conservation event throughout Illinois state parks. Schoolchildren and their teachers will participate in activities such as tree and wildflower planting, building brush piles, removing invasive exotic species, and more.


Earth Day at Indiana State University will include a rock climbing wall and outdoor games, live entertainment, and more than 40 local businesses and organizations offering educational activities about sustainability.


The Arthur M. Glick JCC’s third annual Earth Day Community Celebration is on April 27 from 1:00 – 4:00. Over 40 exhibitors will be present with as many or more activities that are all hands-on. This free event is open to all and 2500-3000 community members are expected to attend.

Mandometer for Healthier Eating

mandoA new Swedish method is teaching those with eating disorders how to start to eat sensibly again. A recent study has found that 75% of the patients who are treated using this method, called Manometer, were free of issues one year later.  The Manometer teaches patients to re-learn normal eating habits with a feedback device that is attached to a scale.

The Mandometer food scale is then attached to a computer which informs the patient about how much he should be eating. The person puts their plate on the scale with the food they plan to eat. As the patient is eating, the computer tells the person how fast they are eating and the patient inputs how full she is feeling during the meal. The goal is to finish the meal in 15 minutes.

The ultimate goal of the tool is to retrain the patient’s brain and to have them eating in a normal way within three or four months.

A study done on this tool that was published in the American Psychological Associations’ journal Behavioral Neuroscience found that 75% of the patients were free of symptoms within 12.5 months. Only 10% of patients were seen to relapse over a five year period.

As Per Södersten, professor of behavioural neuroendocrinology at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neurobiology, said, “This follow-up on 18 years of work show that treatment on a neurobiological base is effective.”

The device can apparently be used in the reverse as well, teaching heavy people to slow down when they eat.