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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Know When to Hold or Pitch Common Household Items

November 7, 2014 2:00 am

Every few weeks, I question whether it's time to pitch out certain household items. While many things we use around the home including most food items have expiration dates, are they really a valid indicator that the item in question is obsolete?

A recent post at grandparents.com responds to that concern with a list of the top 10 household items you should replace. So if you are wondering if it's time to pitch or hold onto certain things around the house, consider these particular items:

Sponges - Filled with bacteria and mold, they're the top source of germs in your home, according to WebMD. To prevent your sponges and scrubbers from becoming encrusted with microscopic filth, swap them out every month or as soon as they begin to have a bad odor. Preserve them on a daily basis by throwing them in the dishwasher - the heat will kill germs and keep your family healthier.

Herbs & Spices - Old bottles of dried herbs and spices won't hurt you, says nutrition expert Janet Brill, there are no health concerns, they simply lose their potency. Seasoning purveyor McCormick these guidelines for shelf life:
  • Ground spices: 3 to 4 years
  • Whole spices: 4 years
  • Leafy herbs: 1 to 3 years
  • Bottled seasoning blends: 1 to 2 years
Faded color and loss of aroma are two other ways to identify old herbs and spices.

OTC Meds - Follow the "spring cleaning" rule, says Marjorie Phillips, Pharmacy Coordinator for Georgia Regents Medical Center and member of the FDA Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. Once a year, around the same time, throw out all expired prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Expiration dates guarantee that, with proper storage in a cool, dry place, the drug will retain 90 percent of its original potency until that date, she says. Afterward, the medication may have degraded enough to lose potency or, even worse, contain harmful degradation-related byproducts.

Tetracycline is one drug whose byproducts can cause injury if it's been sitting around for too long, but Phillips recommends checking with a pharmacist about individual meds. Medication doesn't magically stop working on the expiration date; it's just safest to follow that guideline according to Phillips.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Simple Swaps for Healthier Holidays

November 6, 2014 12:39 am

(Family Features) Rich, decadent, calorie-laden foods go hand-in-hand with the holidays. By choosing better-for-you snacks and swapping ingredients in some of your favorite recipes, you can keep the pounds from creeping up as you celebrate this season.

You can satisfy your cravings and stay full by consuming high-quality, protein-rich foods with fewer calories and lower saturated fat. Exchanging sugary treats and unhealthy ingredients for flavorful, more nutritious options will let you still enjoy your holiday treats without the guilt (or added weight) when the festivities have passed.

Stay on track for healthier, happier holidays this year with these tips:
  • Plan ahead before you hit the party buffet table by eating a protein and fiber-rich light meal or snack beforehand.
  • Limit your alcohol and intake of sweetened drinks; flush your system with water.
  • In place of candy and sweets, keep healthy nibbles on hand, such fruits, nuts and steamed or dried edamame. Individual packages of these nutritious snacking options also make excellent stocking stuffers.
  • For sweet, rich, baked goods such as cookies, soft-yeast breads and quick breads, swap some of the traditional flour with soy flour, which will substitute for up to 30 percent of the wheat or rye flour.
  • Modify your favorite recipes to reduce saturated fat, sugar and salt. Vegetable oil, cinnamon or nutmeg and herbs and spices deliver mouth-pleasing flavors that eliminate the less healthy alternatives.
Source: Soyfoods Association of North America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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