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    • 5 Easy Ways to Enhance Digestive Health

      20 January 2022

      (Family Features) As your social schedule picks up steam and you attend more social gatherings and celebrations, you may find yourself with an unexpected issue: digestive troubles. Problems like this can have a negative impact on your overall wellness, so it’s important to make healthy digestion a priority.

      According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of how to live long and be healthy, the health of the digestive system is the core of optimum health. Ayurvedic medicine asserts the digestive system is based on the strength and balance of its Agni (fire), which enables the body to absorb, digest and assimilate food. The teachings suggest an imbalanced Agni creates undigested residues, which form toxins that create imbalances and can lead to disease.

      Some of the dietary guidelines for healthy digestion and strong Agni include:

      • Allowing 4-6 hours between meals
      • Avoiding eating between meals
      • Avoiding foods with cold, wet and heavy qualities
      • Drinking ginger tea or hot water to stimulate the Agni
      • Starting a meal with pungent (hot), sour and salty flavors
      • Consuming a small amount of bitter taste before a meal to increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach

      Take steps to protect and nurture your digestive health with these tips:

      Add Fiber to Your Diet
      Plant-based foods that are high in fiber fill you up faster, so you’re less likely to overeat, and they also help with digestive regularity. Increase your intake of high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. Take a gradual approach to avoid upsetting your digestive tract and bump up your water intake as you go since fiber will absorb it and decrease the likelihood you experience gas or cramping.

      Stay Hydrated
      Keeping your body well hydrated is like making sure your car’s engine is well lubricated. It keeps all your moving parts in sync and operating for top performance. Some fluids can also help with detoxification, which can be especially beneficial when your social calendar is full and your opportunities to overindulge are greater.

      An option like Buddha Teas’ Detox Dharma contains detoxifying herbs that stimulate your digestive system. Strengthening and soothing herbs are also incorporated into this balanced formula resulting in an effective yet gentle detox tea. For another solution, Turmeric Ginger Tea contains enough black pepper to make curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) bio-available in hot water, helping build healthy Agni.

      Eat Slower
      In today’s busy world, it’s easy to scarf down a meal in record time. However, slowing down gives your body more time to process food. You’ll give your brain more time to communicate with your stomach and be more aware of when you’ve satisfied your hunger.

      Start Exercising
      If you need one more reason to get moving, your digestive health could be it. Regular physical activity promotes better digestion. However, if you jump into a workout too quickly after eating, you could actually do the opposite. Eat light before exercising then have a protein-rich balanced meal for recovery afterward.

      Manage Stress
      Too much stress can manifest multiple physical problems, including interrupting your digestion. Try mindful meditation or another method of relaxing and relieving stress. Getting plenty of rest can also help keep stress in check. If you’re looking for a good night of sleep, consider Buddha Teas’ CBD Sleepy Buddha Blend. Herbs for calming and relieving stress are paired with organic, water-soluble, THC-free CBD to leave you feeling restored and rejuvenated.

      Find more solutions for enhancing your digestive health at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Set a Food Budget

      20 January 2022

      Americans spend an average of about 10 percent of their disposable personal incomes on food. The more money a family earns, the less it spends on food, with households in the lowest incomes spending 35 percent of their income on food, compared to 8 percent for the highest earners, according to the Agriculture Department. 

      The amount spent on food is almost the same for groceries to make meals at home and eating away from home at restaurants. Disposable income is how much money is left after taxes and other mandatory withholdings are deducted from paychecks. 

      While both low- and high-income families could benefit from budgeting for their food expenses, higher income households could see a bigger savings because their food expenses typically grow, but become a smaller overall amount of their general budget. 

      Eating out less is the main way to cut a food budget. But some of that money will go toward groceries, so the cost isn’t totally eliminated. 

      When setting a food budget for groceries, a good place to start is a report by the USDA that provides a weekly and monthly guideline that is updated every month to help show families if they’re overspending at the grocery store. It lists average food costs for a nutritious diet of meals and snacks prepared at home. 

      Costs are broken down into four spending levels: thrifty, low-cost, moderate and liberal spending plans. 

      A family of four with two children between ages six and 11, for example, would spend $150 per week under the thrifty plan, $197 in the low-cost plan, $246 in the moderate plan, and $299 in the liberal plan. 

      These USDA guidelines can help a family understand if their expenditures on food are out of line. If you’re buying organic, artisan food, then your food budget will likely be high. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum, then your food budget may be low. 

      To start a food budget, check your last bank statement to see how much you spent at the grocery store the previous month. If it’s more than what the USDA average is for your family size, chances are you can find areas to cut. 

      This doesn’t mean going hungry, though. Start by trying to cut your weekly grocery bill by $25. Buy generic brands, for instance, buy in bulk and shop at  different grocery stores with lower prices. Making a meal plan every week can help you avoid impulse purchases. 

      It may take a few months, but with help from everyone in the family, a food budget should be easy to pare down. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Credit Card Maxed Out — Now What?

      20 January 2022

      Charging too many expenses to your credit card can happen occasionally. It leads to what’s called a maxed out credit card, meaning you’ve gone over or are close to being over your assigned credit limit. 

      It doesn’t mean your financial world will come crashing down around you. But it is something to take notice of and deal with. 

      It’s okay to have a maxed out credit card if you plan on paying it off when your next credit card bill arrives. However, when your APR is applied to the balance, you may be over your credit limit. 

      A quick way to resolve this—especially if you need to make more purchases on your credit card or have services such as Netflix or a gym membership that automatically charges to your card each month—is to call your credit card provider and ask for a higher credit limit. 

      Without it, your next transaction could be denied if you’re over your credit limit. Some issuers allow over-limit transactions, and a fee may be charged for going over the credit limit. Along with the fee, you’ll have to make a minimum payment on the card when the bill arrives.

      Having a maxed out credit card can cause a credit score to fall. Credit utilization makes up 30 percent of a credit score. It’s a measure of how much credit you’ve used. Using 10 - 30 percent of a credit limit is recommended, and maxing out a card is using 100 percent of the available credit. 

      Once you’ve found out that your credit card is maxed out, paying it off in full as soon as you can is your best solution. If you can’t do that, asking for your credit limit to be raised is another step. 

      If none of those steps bring you success, focus on paying off as much of the balance as possible—and stop using your credit card until then. 

      You may also need to work out a repayment plan with your creditor, or with multiple creditors if you’ve maxed out multiple credit cards. This can require juggling your finances, such as taking out a personal loan or doing a balance transfer from one credit card to another that has a lower interest rate. 

      Even if you can’t afford to pay off a maxed out credit card quickly, it shouldn’t be a reason to panic. Stop using the card and pay it off as much as you can each month, and hopefully in a few months, your maxed out card won’t be maxed out anymore.

      This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Take Steps to Support Literacy: 8 Ways to Inspire Children to Read

      19 January 2022

      (Family Features) Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods.

      According to the Handbook of Literacy Research, in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is just one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Without books in the home, children lack the opportunity to practice reading skills and are exposed to fewer opportunities to build their vocabularies.

      While these limitations can hinder personal performance, multiple studies correlate low literacy rates with social concerns like elevated drop-out rates, reliance on welfare programs and criminal activity.

      Literacy is a cause that affects the community as a whole. Learn how you can champion literacy in your community with these tips:

      Give Books to Children
      The joy of receiving and opening a gift is exciting in its own right, but a book is a gift that keeps giving. You can make a book gift extra special by choosing a topic or theme that has special meaning, such as a place you’d like to visit together or a beloved character you enjoy incorporating into your make-believe playtime with the child. As a bonus, if it’s age appropriate, read the book together for the first time so it always carries a special memory.

      Visit the Library
      Libraries can be awe-inspiring places for kids. The wall-to-wall books represent thousands of possibilities. With so many options to choose from, you can introduce children to the delight of discovering different genres, enchanting topics and favorite authors who keep you coming back for more.

      When children have their own library cards, they can practice the grown-up process of checking out and caring for books. What’s more, honoring due dates helps teach responsibility. Marking that date on the calendar is a fun way to build anticipation toward the next visit.

      Support Organizations That Promote Literacy
      Conducting your business with companies that share your commitment to literacy is a way to inspire reading on a larger scale. One example is The UPS Store, which created the Toys for Tots Literacy Program in partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to provide disadvantaged children with direct access to books and educational resources that enhance their ability to read and communicate effectively. You can donate at participating locations or contribute online.

      Create Reading-Inspired Traditions
      Children thrive on routines and rituals, and incorporating books into special moments can be an especially effective way to establish positive connections with books and the joy of reading. At home, traditions might be as simple as bedtime stories or reading parties where the whole family dons pajamas early and gathers in a room to read together, whether quietly or out loud. You can also tie reading traditions to special celebrations, like reading a favorite story together before heading to bed on the eve of a birthday or holiday.

      Participate in Events Supporting Literacy
      Show your support by attending and participating in events that showcase the importance of reading. Examples might include book fairs and fundraisers for literacy programs in your community. You can also look into programs offered through your local library and community center. If you find a shortage of events in your area, consider creating one of your own, such as visiting a local senior living center and reading to residents or hosting a book swap or book club with your friends and neighbors.

      Encourage Kids to Get Hands-On
      Reading a book is one way to demonstrate literacy, but kids can also develop a love for reading and put their comprehension skills into practice by adapting their favorite stories for playtime. That might mean acting out a different ending for a favorite story or drawing a picture from a scene they remember best. You can also promote literacy by encouraging kids to write songs or their own short stories, which they can illustrate for a finished book to share with others.

      Start a Neighborhood Library
      Recognizing not all kids have access to books at home, you can help promote an interest in reading by creating a mini library within your neighborhood. Create a small structure that will protect books from the elements and spread the word that the contents are free for the taking. Encourage users to return books when they’re done so another child can enjoy them and invite neighbors to donate their gently used books to help fill your library.

      Model Good Reading Habits for Kids
      Children learn from the examples set by trusted grown-ups. Sharing your love of reading with a child demonstrates you value learning and education. You can encourage children to mimic your interest in reading by sharing stories about the books you enjoyed most when you were their age and choosing to spend quiet time reading together in place of screen time.

      For more tips and information on how you can support literacy, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Tips for Teaching Children Table Manners

      19 January 2022

      When you sit down for family dinner, at home or at a restaurant, it’s comforting to witness your children mind their manners. But these aren’t behaviors that come naturally, rather, they need to be taught. Of course this is no easy task, as children can be easily distracted and sometimes even a little wild. Here are some tips to easily teach your children table manners. 

      Start With Hygiene
      The first thing you want to teach your children is to wash their hands. This should be something done before any meal, snack or even some activities. Not only is it polite, but it can keep germs from spreading everywhere, from your child’s mouth to the serving spoon. For a guaranteed clean and a way to make hand washing fun, come up with a 20 second jingle your kids can sing while they wash.

      Sit Nicely and Be Patient
      Children have shorter attention spans than most adults. This means that a 30-minute dinner for you might only be a 15-minute dinner for them. Kids get bored easily, so much so that it can even pull them away from a delicious meal. Patience, in this step, will need to come from both sides. Once a child sits down, they need to learn that it is polite to wait until everyone at the table has their food to start eating. Though there will be plenty of times they will be done and leave the table first, it’s a good idea to teach them to stay until everyone has finished their meals.

      Say Please and Thank You
      During dinner, second helpings are almost inevitable. If you’re ready for a second helping of veggies, a second scoop of potatoes or another piece of chicken, be sure to politely ask for the plate or bowl to be passed to you. “Please pass the gravy” followed up with a “thank you” is a great way to teach by example. Remind children when they forget, and before you know it, it will come naturally to them. 

      Listen to Each Other
      The dinner table was made for conversation, and it’s important that all members of the family get a chance to speak and be heard. Even though hearing about Dad’s work day or a test an older sibling had to take at school may not be what a child is interested in, teaching them to listen to and engage with others at the table is vital when learning good table manners. When you listen to others, others will listen to you. 

      Help Clean Up
      Once a meal is finished, helping with clean-up is a great way to show good manners. Teach your children to help clear the table by giving them a job. Whether it’s collecting utensils or cups, this is a great way to show them how to give thanks for the meal that was thoughtfully prepared and enjoyed together. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.