Sun Tan Lotion

This is just a simple public service announcement… Since it is now Spring time, and hopefully all of the lousy weather is behind us… make sure to get back into the habit of applying the sun screen in the morning. I don’t want to sound too much like your mother, but I had the roof down on my convertible this week and got a burn right across my forehead. Learn from my mistake! Okay, that’s enough preaching. :)

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Gator Bait

I have been thinking a lot about backyard chickens and how they might fare in Florida. Has anyone out there tried it yet? If so, please shoot me a email and let me know the pros and cons as you see it.

Obviously, the reason it is appealing to me is that you get to have free and fresh eggs whenever you want them. And, since it is Florida, you don’t have to worry about the weather getting too cold for the hens. Granted, people raise chickens in the mid west and they survive the winter just fine. But, it seems a warmer climate would eliminate hassles like having water dishes freeze and coops getting covered with snow!

I know of two sites that are really cool to share with you. First one is Green Roof Chicken Coops, which offers chicken coop plans for chicken coops that have gardens built into their roof. The other site is DIY Chicken Coops which helps with a bunch of free information related to building your own chicken coop and raising chickens.

Herb Garden Coop

Herb Garden Coop

My primary concern though is… Alligators! Don’t you think having a bunch of chickens running around in a Florida backyard might be inviting trouble? Sure, I’m sure the chances are low, but it would be a bummer to go looking for eggs and see an alligator had beat you to it!

 

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Quit Smoking

It is pretty widely known that smoking is pretty much the opposite of healthy. Since we are all about health, we take every opportunity to post new methods of quitting smoking. We understand that it can be difficult to quit smoking but we also know that it is definitely possible. We have never met anyone that regretted quitting smoking. Furthermore, everyone we know practically shouts it from the mountain tops in complete elation.

We know there are all kinds of methods out there from the patch to fake cigarettes. This product is a small mint-flavored lozenge. It seems remarkably convenient and might also help relieve the oral fixation that keeps people smoking. The name of this small mint-flavored lozenge is CIGRX. This link provides access to many reviews on the product: cigrx reviews. If you are considering quitting smoking or know someone that is considering quitting, it’s worth a look.

We know you have heard it all before but smoking causes all kinds of health risks including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and lung disease. Heart Diseases caused by smoking may include coronary thrombosis, cerebral thrombosis, stroke, and high blood pressure. Over time, smoking may cause several kinds of cancer including lung cancer, throat cancer and mouth cancer. The good news is that in 15 years the adverse effects of lung cancer can be reversed completely whereas a smoker would carry the same risk of lung cancer as a non-smoker (and lung cancer very rare in non-smokers).

Though lung, t and mouth cancer are cancers that are almost entirely prevelant in smokers, smoking can also increase the risk of other cancers such as: bladder cancer
cancer, cancer of the kidneys, pancreatic cancer and cervical cancer.

With all of the methods that help people quit smoking, if you are a smoker, we urge you to try quit! Furthermore, we would love to hear your success stories here!

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Good Vision

There are few things that maintain quaility of life like good vision. We get about eighty percent of our information from our vision. Our other senses combined make up the other twenty percent of information we collect maintain general awareness of our surroundings.  

Unfortunately, as we get older, our vision generally deteriorates (with the rest of our body parts). There are many options on the market for improving vision. For starters, proper diet and hydration does help maintain maximum potential vision. Obviously, there are other factors that deteriorate vision but being dehydrated and long term deficiency in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Lutein can negatively affect vision. We highly encourage good eye health through proper diet. However, we know that even with a great diet, there are many other reasons out of our control that cause our eyes to degrade. 

There are many options to correct our vision back to the desired 20/20. The three options come down to: laser surgery, contact lenses and prescription eye glasses.

We are going to focus on eyeglasses because we wanted to share the secrets of Zenni Optical with you. They have redone their website and given it a new look but the real value is in the competitive styles at very competitive prices. A pair of glasses like the ones below can be purchased for under $16. Take a look! 

Of course, remember to keep eating your Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Lutein as well!

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Spring Exercise Plan

Most people are starting to think about spring and summer. That means we are thinking about getting out of this baggy winter clothing and getting into slightly more revealing attire (like swim suits). Diet and exercise are on the mind of many people. Some lucky college students are getting ready for spring break! If you are looking for short term weight loss, you are likely considering some fad diets that shed pounds quickly (like the soup diet). For those that only have a week or two, we recommend exercising twice a day. Warm-up in the morning with a little cardio and then hit the circuit training hard. In the evening, finish up with a long cardio event (45 minutes) and some abs. There are several workout routines that can serve as substitutes for circuit training. Many on the market like P-90x and Intensity accomplish very similar goals to circuit training. The newer workout routines force explosive and muscle confusion. They’re are great workouts for total fitness.

Here’s a word of caution. If you are going to hit the gym twice a day and burn out your body daily, do not go on a diet that will significantly hinder nutrition. You are going to need protien. Now, we’re not saying not to diet. We are saying diet well. Anytime you are going to hit the gym twice a day, we recommend a balanced diet. If you are not replacingthe nutrients that you are using during your workouts, you are being counterproductive. It is critical to build a diet plan that is commiserate with your exercise routine. There are weight loss tips all over the internet, in magazines, on television and in the newspaper. Do a little research about what you are doing to your body. Please do not just take the advertiser at their word. At the end of the day, a balanced diet with portion control and a steady exercise routine is the key to long term fitness.

Live a little, live on fire
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Storefront

When it comes to getting bills from a doctor’s visit, it can get pretty confusing pretty quickly. It is important to understand that just because you are in your doctors office does not mean that office is the only entity providing a service. You must consider lab work, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and specialists. In rare cases, your primary physician may take on the billing for all of the services but usually the bills are all handled through insurance. Your insurance will pay the various providers and then provide you an EOB or Explanation of Benefits. Then the various companies involved will all send bills to you. So, when you pay the co-pay at the doctor’s office visit, it doesn’t end there!

Pay close attention to your bills. Make sure to stay engaged with the various providers. Also, make sure everything seems normal. If a bill seems high, you need to call about it. It is possible your doctors office forgot to add a billable diagnosis code or perhaps a clerical error during processing. It is very important that you know your in network and preferred providers for medications and labs as well. Sending to an out of network provider can cost you a lot of extra money.

It is a lot like going to a store to shop but later being billed by the manufacturer. It is just important to understand that your doctor’s office is a business that is providing a service to you. In doing so, they have the ability to refer and prescribe many other services. We refer to the office as a store front so that people can remember the analogy and think about the services being provided at the office.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. You are paying your doctor to be an expert in examining your physical health but you are paying your doctor whether through insurance or direct pay. Take the time to make sure you know what is happening. That being said, most doctors are extremely happy to explain, discuss and teach…. so ask them about anything that might be confusing to you!

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Self Pay Patients

We wanted to take some time and focus on medical insurance in comparison to self pay patients because many people get their credit destroyed by medical bills. In later articles, we will also delve into medical insurance, co-pays and the seemingly endless number of bills that can accumulate from one visit to the doctor. In that regard, it is very important to think of your doctor as a store front offering many products by many different manufactures just like your local supermarket.

But, back to the self pay patients. If we had to wrap it up in a word, we would simply say “negotiate”. Ironically, many people do negotiate with their doctors. However, there are more bills than just from your doctor. Again, your doctor is the store front. Your doctor sends your blood work to a laboratory. He gets medications from a pharmaceutical company. He refers you to specialist doctors, physical therapy and other medical products. All of these entities are separate businesses and they bill separately for their services. Anyone spent any time in the hospital or at the doctors office (even if it is just to have a baby) knows that the bills add up very quickly.

Now, what makes it manageable is medical insurance. The insurance companies have negotiated rates with the businesses in the medical world. There are countless hours and competitive maneuvering behind the scenes where companies compete to be preferred with different insurance companies and in network with others. Medicine is big business. And, in that light, everyone wants a deal. So, insurance companies offer in network status and medical practices offer discounted services to that insurance company. The benefit being increase volume of patients (as patients will go to in network providers).

What happens to self pay patients? Well, by default, they will be billed at list price. DO NOT pay list price. Call the office, medical device company, or laboratory and negotiate a discounted rate. Unless you are very wealthy, the bill will likely be a hardship on you and you need to tell them that is the case. However, many people see the high bills, assume they cannot pay it and they just try to forget about it. Then, the medical companies send the bill to a collection agency and people get penalized on their credit scores. Usually, when things turn around, they try to get a line of credit and realize they have a bad credit score due to a forgotten medical bill. Unfortunately, once the bill is in collections, there is little that can be done to reduce the cost of the bill.

The conclusion is simple. If you want your credit to remain in tact, call up the company that provided the service. Talk to them. Let them know your situation. They may very well put you on a payment plan as well as reduce your rate. Just do not wait until the bill has gone to collections and there is a very good chance you can save a significant amount of money and your credit score.

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Chronic Diseases in Florida

By definition, Chronic Diseases are recurring problematic health conditions. They cannot be prevented by a vaccine and are not able to be cured by medication. These diseases are become part of life for people that live with them. Chronic diseases include heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The good news is that the symptoms of these diseases can often be treated and quality of life can be maintained at a high level. That being said, it is important to understand that these chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer and diabetes) account for the death of 7 out of 10 people in the United States. These diseases affect the quality of life for approximately 90 million people in the United States. For 1 out of 10 Americans, quality of life is severely reduced causing major limitations in activity. For Floridians, according to 2007 statistics, 1 out of 3 deaths were caused by heart disease and stroke.
Why do we bring these facts up? Because…. for many people, these chronic diseases are preventable with proper diet, moderate exercise, avoiding tobacco products and scheduling routine check-ups with your doctor. Our goal is to find resources that promote healthy lifestyles and cutting edge medicine.

Minimally invasive heart bypass surger is certainly one such example of cutting edge medicine. You can learn about the multiple forms of minimally invasive heart bypass surgery (by clicking on the link) and how they may be more beneficial than traditional bypass surgery.

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Weight Loss Tips

When it comes to living well, maintaining a healthy weight goes a long way to having a long life with high quality of living. While being overweight not necessarily the direct cause of health problems, it is often the indirect cause of many. Heart disease, diabetes, and joint pain can be a side effect of being over weight. Furthermore, being over weight, can cause mental health issues like low self esteem and depression. In short, there is a lot of truth to the concept of being sound in mind, sound in body.

We are not going to tell you which diet plan to use. Part of me still remembers the sign in my Grandmother’s kitchen that said, “Diet is a 4 letter word.” So, the trick is to find a diet that is more of a lifestyle change. Sure, there are fad diets and the fad diets might be great for jump starting your weight loss but over the long run, the goal is to find something sustainable. So yes, if you need to jump into a bathing suit for vacation and you want to shed 10 pounds, go ahead and try the three day tuna diet or the soup diet! However, our best advice for sustainable long run weight loss tips is to find a diet and exercise program that you are happy maintaining as a lifestyle. Some people have found the South Beach Diet to be a good guide. Some people like the ease of Nutrisystem. At the end of the day, you just have to pick what is right for you because the truth is that if it doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t work!

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Healthy Living Ideas

We are all about promoting balance. Mental and physical balance. In our “about” section, we mentioned that we plan on bringing creative ideas to you. Well, this is one of them! It the rat race that is modern day living, many of us are looking for a break from cell phones, internet, texting and constant over communication. We are almost addicted to it. It’s crazy how plugged in the world has become in the last 20 years.

Even more ironic is the trend for people to go back to nature. One of the movements in this flock back to nature is backyard chickens. Chickens are some of the most efficient creatures on the planet for their ability to eat very little and subsequently be an excellent resource for food specifically in egg production. So, we did a little looking around and really loved the “Green Roof Chicken Coop”. We like the concept of a garden and chickens. We can picture our readers getting outside at sunrise, letting their chickens out and watering their garden.  Then, coming back at sunset to round up their chickens safely into the chicken coop, collect some organic eggs and water their garden again. What a great escape from being plugged in!

There are all kinds of chicken coop designs out there to fit your style but the main point is that backyard chickens can create a great counter balance to a highly technical world as well as providing some great organic eggs in the process!

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