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Healthy Fixes for Unpleasant Household Odors

Phew! What’s that smell? We human beings are very sensitive to disagreeable household scents, which make a house feel somehow less clean and homey. Get rid of unlovely odors with these 12 easy, natural fixes that won’t harm your health.

1. Cleaning

The obvious first step is to find the source of the smell and clean it up. Residue in your trash can or garbage disposal, smoke and mold are some of the most common causes.

2. Ventilation

Open the windows if at all possible to air out a musty or smoky room. Stinky furniture can be hauled outside to freshen up. Ventilate your cooking area and bathroom with electric vents.

3. Water

Here’s a tip from Minneapolis plumbers: If a drain in your home has been unused for more than three weeks, you may start to notice a foul, sewage-like odor. This is due to a dried out sewer trap. Simply turn on the faucet and run water through the drain for a few minutes to solve the problem.

Vinegar ice cubes work as a go-to garbage disposal deodorizer and blade sharpener.

4. Vinegar

Set out an uncovered bowl or dampen a towel or slice of stale bread with vinegar as an all-purpose odor eater. Deodorize kitchen and laundry appliances, as well as your toilet, and remove mineral scale at the same time. Ice cubes made of vinegar work well to refresh the garbage disposal and sharpen the blades at the same time.

5. Baking Soda

Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda, is the classic fridge deodorizer. Change once a month for optimal results. It’s also great for de-souring thermoses; fill the flask with water, add a couple of teaspoons of soda and soak for 15 minutes. Then store your thermos with the lid off in future.

6. Charcoal

De-scent a closed space such as a dresser drawer with a few charcoal briquettes, in an open container so they don’t shed black powder on your clothes. You can still use them for grilling afterwards (be sure to select only the natural, sustainable type). CAUTION: Never use lighter fluid-saturated charcoal for this purpose.

7. Match or Candle

Light a match or a non-paraffin candle in the bathroom to lessen the impact of toilet-related smells.

8. Salt

Salt comes in very handy for deodorizing spatters that burn while you are cooking or baking. Sprinkle around the burner or the oven floor, continue with your dish and clean up after the food is done.

9. Onion

Store a cut onion in the cellar or other mildewy area for cleaner-smelling air.

10. Tea

Loose green tea will keep Kitty’s litter box daintier. Unused teabags will get rid of foot odor when left in your shoes overnight.

11. Newspaper

Another way to sweeten your sneakers is to stuff them with yesterday’s newspaper. Newspaper is also handy for removing food smells from plastic storage containers.

12. Lemon

Heat lemon chunks in water to alleviate microwave odor. Rub kitchen knives and the interior of your blender or food processor with citrus to erase old food odors. Lemon or orange zest can be dried and stored in drawers for a cheap, natural potpourri.

By Laura Firszt, Networx.

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Healthy Living With Kim: Why We Should Go ‘Back To Natural’

Kim at DC(EDITOR’S NOTE: Kim’s husband, Eric, provided this week’s column while Kim is in Haiti.)

By Eric Waggoner

A little background on me. I grew up always having a garden, always eating fresh, delicious vegetables that my dad grew for us, and my mom always canned and froze the excess so we could eat it all winter. So yes, I’ve always been interested and involved in gardening. I always liked to see how much I could grow, how big the tomatoes could be, etc.

That being said, it wasn’t until four years ago that I realized how important it was to have safe, chemical free food for my family. Four years ago is when my wife was diagnosed with Lymphoma, a blood cancer that attacks your immune system. After Kim’s diagnosis, I did lots and lots of research about what I could do to help her stay as healthy as possible and keep the rest of my family healthy too. I was amazed to find out how much using synthetic fertilizers and chemicals in the production of our food can make to our health.

Why Should We Go “Back To Natural”?

First of all, what is “Back To Natural”? Back To Natural means caring for the earth the way it was meant to be cared for. What I am specifically talking about is how we grow our food.

We are ALL caretakers of the earth, no matter who we are, where we live or what we do. Our job is to leave the earth BETTER than we found it. Some ways of cleaning up the earth are simple and obvious – don’t litter and clean up after yourself. There are other ways of taking care of the earth that might not be so obvious, especially if you’re someone that doesn’t use the earth for producing food.

One of the most important things that needs to be done, is we have got to take care of the soil. The soil is vital to our existence! If the soil is bad or the soil is gone … we cannot produce the food we need to survive. We need to build the soil up, make it better, fill it with nutrients, stop depleting it, stop taking from the soil without putting anything back. The soil is a living organism and we need to start treating it like one.

How do we build the soil up? Amazingly, it’s really not that hard. The first thing we need to do is pay attention to what the soil needs. The soil will tell us or show us what it’s lacking, all we have to do is be observant. For example, if the soil needs more nitrogen, the plants growing in it will become light green and maybe eventually even turn yellow. They will literally look “sick”.

The dilemma for most of us, is the way we supplement the soil. The easiest fix for most soil problems is to reach for the synthetic fertilizers and the chemical soil amendments. There are plenty of natural or organic soil amendments that work as good and better than the synthetic chemical solutions we have today. A lot of the time, nutrients get tied up in the soil when we use and overuse synthetic chemicals. If the nutrients in the soil are tied up, the plants cannot absorb them. If the plants can’t get the nutrition they need, how do you expect them to give us the nutrients we need? It’s impossible!

Natural Gardening and Farming is sustainable. Using soil amendments that naturally occur is the best way to boost your soil … seaweed, fish emulsion, compost, earthworms, worm castings, natural soil conditioners. These are all natural solutions. I’m not saying going “Back to Natural” is always the easiest solution, but I believe it’s the best solution for the soil, for the earth, and for everyone.

Healthier earth, healthier produce, healthier people!

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Focusing on Mental Wellness, Mental Healthy Living is Making Support …

Focusing on Mental Wellness, Mental Healthy Living is Making Support Available to Everyone

PRWEB.COM Newswire

PRWEB.COM Newswire(PRWEB) July 24, 2014

Mental Healthy Living is located in Lakewood, WA, but offers web based supportive coaching, advice and guidance to clients who would like to feel better, but prefer the convenience of web based interventions.

“Right now is a difficult time for healthcare in our country. People are confused. Many people either do not have coverage, or their coverage does not include mental health services. This is a unacceptable.” Richelle Futch, LICSWA from Washington State founded Mental Healthy Living to make support accessible to everyone.

“I obviously can’t afford to provide services at no charge. Yet, recently I have clients who needed to drop out of therapy because they lost their jobs. That has impacted me at a basic human level and I wanted to find a solution that respected not only the therapeutic relationship, but also supported them as an individual in a difficult circumstance. I charge a basic rate, and open up so many hours per week for clients who pay what they can afford. There has to be some exchange for service for the integrity of the service. This has allowed those clients to continue services. What I have found, is that at times when they can, they have paid significantly more than my per hour charge.”

When asked what are the requirements or supporting documentation needed for her pay what you can afford services, Richelle added, “I’m asking people I’ve never met to disclose the most personal aspects of their lives. I must model that same trust. I take them at their word. I’ve found that if I set expectations in relationships people will most often honor them.”

Mental Healthy Living offers a variety of support professionals which allows their clients to choose a personal style that fits who they are. If you would like more information or to see how Mental Healthy Living can help you become happy, healthy, and whole, please email RichelleFutch(at)mentalhealthyliving(dot)com

Richelle Futch is an Associate Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Washington State doing clinical social work in her private practice. She also runs an online counseling website at She provides trainings and workshops on Managing Stress for employees and for military spouses who’s partners are deployed.

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Pretty interesting: businesswomen share health and beauty tips

Last week, Business Review organized an informal summery gathering where attendees could get tips on how to cultivate beauty inside and out from two successful Romanian entrepreneurs: Rucsandra Hurezeanu, founder and general director of Ivatherm and Camelia Sucu, owner of Iconic Health Concept, also the host of the event. By Oana Vasiliu

Beautiful inside …

Free-flowing conversation and a cool breeze in the shade of one of Bucharest’s hidden gardens, Iconic Food Wine Design, were the secret ingredients of this lesson in beauty. In 2012, Camelia Sucu started to offer a detox program, which has been tried and tested in detox centers all over the world. “A harmonious lifestyle means balanced nutrition, exercise and a detox program at least two or three times a year. My personal belief is that we can have a good life if we want it and if we know how to take care of ourselves, and I’m really happy that clients who have started the Iconic Health program can see the benefits and do the program once or twice a year,” said Sucu in her opening address. At Iconic, Sucu offers a wide variety of detox plans and products, from healthy juices to colonic hydrotherapy recommendations and even post-detox menus. Prepared in cooperation with nutritionists and doctors, Iconic Juices are 100 percent natural drinks made from unique recipes and at optimal dosage, she said. The secret of these detox juices, according to the entrepreneur, is the type of squeezing, using cold pressure, not spin, in order to keep all the nutrients intact. During the program, followers have six meals per day: four raw juices, a salad and vegetable soup. The programs on offer include basic detox, with four natural juices per day, a salad, a protein supplement made of quinoa or tofu and a soup; advanced detox, which can be done over five, seven or ten days with six meals per day, very similar to basic detox; and master detox, recommended for three or five days, containing only five natural juices, vegetal milk and soup. Detox prices run from RON 600 to RON 1,200 for the basic program, RON 550 to RON 1,100 for advanced and RON 350 to RON 550 for the master regime. The menu should be complemented by a holistic approach that involves colonic hydrotherapy, lymphatic drainage and other procedures to attain various objectives: the rapid loss of excess weight, extra energy and general toning.

…glamorous outside

Innovation and efficiency in anti-aging therapy was the topic that Rucsandra Hurezeanu chose to discuss with the women invited to the event. Coming from a family of medics, Hurezeanu followed suit, graduating from medical school and then taking a pharmaceutical marketing master’s at Ecole Superieur de Commerce de Paris. She took an EMBA and obtained her PhD in infectious medicine. After experience in the local and French pharmaceutical industries, she founded her own beauty products firm, along with her mother, based on thermal water extracted locally from the Herculane source. Herculane thermal spring water used in Ivatherm products comes from a saline spring and has a medium degree of mineralization (2500 mg/l), which is ideal for cosmetic products, she told attendees. It contains Al, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mg, said to be essential elements for the skin’s health, conferring a calming and anti-irritant effect on the skin . “Besides the Herculane thermal water, all our products contain 95-97 percent natural ingredients, with a special focus on vegetal and scientific innovation,” said Hurezeanu. She listed as the ultimate products for skin care Glycokines, natural sugars obtained through biotechnology; Viniferol, the extract of Bordeaux vine stalks; Macadamia oil; MDI complex, an extract of marine cartilage; Alpha-bisabol, a well-known anti-inflammatory obtained from Vanilomopsis Eritropapa, an Amazonian tree; PhytoCellTecTM Alp Rose, a natural extract of Rhododendron ferrugineum, a plant found in the Alps; and Cupuacu butter, obtained from the fruit of a wild tree in the Amazon rainforest, among the most important ingredients helping skin to “fight” signs of aging.

More pictures from the Event on BR’s Facebook page.


Foto: George Thiuts

Cost positioning involves both parties as owners discuss rent reductions with tenants.


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5 Tips for Healthy Plant-Based Eating

Plant-based eating is nothing new, but it seems to be more of a trend as we seek ways to improve our health.

Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, said eating a diet focused on plants can reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

“And there’s another added bonus,” she notes. “Plant-based eaters tend to be slimmer.”

Palmer shares five simple strategy for maintaining a healthy weight by eating a plant-based diet. Click the gallery to check it out.

Kristen Fischer is a journalist, copywriter and author who has written about health for Prevention, Woman’s Day, Healthline, and HealthDay.

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Holiday Health Tips: Dr Nina Byrnes

There’s no excuse to ignore your health on holiday, says Dr Byrnes.

Health insurance is vital, especially for travel outside of the EU

“My daughter has booked a holiday for the two of us later this summer,” a reader writes. “She is very excited about it and has put a lot of effort into the planning. I’m looking forward to it but I have a number of illnesses and am taking lots of different tablets each day. How can I prepare for the trip?”


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Dr Nina replies:

A holiday abroad should allow time to relax, unwind and let the stress of daily life melt away. For those who have a chronic illness or disability, travelling away from familiar access to medicine and healthcare can be daunting and result in undue or added stress. The thing to understand is that preparation is key and when preparing for any foreign holiday, considering your health is as important as considering your wardrobe or travel choices.

There are a number of factors that may reduce health-related stress while abroad.

Health insurance is vital, especially for travel outside of the EU. If you have private health insurance, this may provide some cover for travel abroad but always check your policy before you travel. You may need to top up your policy, or if you have pre-existing medical conditions, some insurance companies will require a medical report from your doctor documenting your fitness to travel. Within the EU, ensure that you have a European health card which will provide access to local public healthcare.

Planning your trip through the airport is a good idea. If you have arthritis or a limited ability to walk you can arrange for transport or mobility assistance through security and to your gate with the local airport authority.

This can be done through your tour operator or airline, but must be arranged at least 48 hours in advance of your flight.

Travelling with medication can become an additional stress, especially with all of the restrictions that are now in place for carry-on baggage.

There are a number of important factors to consider. Firstly, ensure that you have enough medication with you for your entire trip and bring extra to cover any unplanned delays. Bring a copy of your prescription with you with details of the generic drug names and doses clearly detailed. You may need to provide this at airport security to confirm the need to carry these drugs, and it will also help if you need to seek an emergency prescription abroad.

You should also bring the name, address and phone number of your doctor and pharmacist, and it is a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor that clarifies your medical history and a list of your medications. This letter should also verify any allergies and if you need to carry items, such as syringes or needles.

Carry your medication in its original packaging and not in dosing boxes. This will make it easier for airport personnel to verify its authenticity. I also advise carrying all of your medication in your carry-on bag. Every year, up to 26 million suitcases go missing in transit and securing emergency prescriptions abroad can be very difficult to do. Unfortunately, theft of medication from checked bags is also a common occurrence.

Some medication is also temperature sensitive and the temperature of the cargo hold of an airplane can vary from very cold in the air to very hot on the ground.

If you are travelling across time zones the usual advice is to take your medicine at the same hour that you normally would. However, the interval between doses remains the most important for certain medication and you may need to adjust the times that you take it. Talk to your doctor before you travel to arrange a dosing schedule.

Once you board the plane, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Wearing flight socks and moving about the cabin if possible, or at the very least moving your legs regularly, will help reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis – a danger to all travellers, especially those on long haul flights. Other risks include obesity, pregnancy, the contraceptive pill, HRT, recent surgery and smoking.

If you find yourself abroad and needing medical assistance or prescription medicine, talk to your tour provider or hotel staff. They can usually direct you to medical services that are used to dealing with tourists or who speak English. Your travel insurance should also have an emergency contact line and this can be a helpful source of advice on local care.

Some medication that is only available on prescription in Ireland can be purchased over the counter in other countries, so talking to a local pharmacist is another good starting point.

Enjoy your break!

Health Living

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Court Ruling on Health Care Subsidies Risks Loss of Coverage

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Two Americas on Health Care, and Danger of Further Division

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Key Question on Health-Law Subsidies: Were Plaintiffs Harmed?

David Klemencic, a 54-year-old who owns a flooring retail business in West Virginia, says it would be a burden to buy health insurance even with a hefty federal subsidy. The federal government says Mr. Klemencic’s beef isn’t a financial one because he would pay just $20 a year for a policy.

That argument is simmering beneath court battles about the legality of insurance subsidies tied to the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Klemencic is a key plaintiff in a case in which a Washington, D.C., court Tuesday invalidated subsidies for…

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Marin County melanoma risk 60 percent higher than state total

(07-23) 10:34 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — For decades Marin County has been considered a hot spot for breast cancer. Now its residents have melanoma to worry about.

The rate of melanoma diagnoses in Marin County – an affluent community with a relatively high number of people with light skin – is 43 percent higher than in other Bay Area counties among white people and 60 percent higher than in the state as a whole, according to a study released Wednesday.

Scientists have long been trying to determine why the county has higher-than-average rates of breast cancer, and the new findings could put melanoma under the same level of scrutiny.

“Marin County, as we’ve learned through the breast cancer studies, is a very special county,” said Christina Clarke, research scientist at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and lead author of the study, which was released by Marin County Health and Human Services. “We know it’s really small and really homogenous for a county that backs up on a major city (San Francisco). It also has a very different racial, ethnic and wealth distribution than other counties.”

Determining factors

The study, which relied on California Cancer Registry data from 1988 to 2011, focused on the numbers rather than the reasons for the high incidence of the disease in Marin County. But melanoma experts point to a few factors that they think could at least partly account for the disproportionate rate.

“(These are) people who spend more time outdoors and maybe, most significantly, have a higher degree of access to health care, meaning a higher number of skin biopsies for melanoma,” said Dr. Boris Bastian, a UCSF professor of dermatology and pathology.

Nearly 73 percent of Marin County residents described themselves as non-Hispanic whites, compared with 39 percent in California, according to 2013 U.S. census figures. Melanoma rates are 20 to 30 times higher in non-Hispanic whites than Asian/Pacific Islanders or African Americans.

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the fifth most common cancer diagnosis in the U.S. In Marin County, it ranks third, behind breast and prostate cancer, the study found.

“I’ve known for years we had high numbers. What I didn’t know was how much higher we were than anyone else,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schneider, chief of dermatology for the Kaiser Permanente region that covers Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

A look at risks

The study found the rate for melanoma in whites in Marin County was 52.2 cases per 100,000 people from 2007 to 2011. That compares with 36.7 per 100,000 in the Bay Area and 31.4 per 100,000 statewide.

Doctors pointed out that intense, intermittent sun exposure – the type associated with vacations in warm climates, ski trips and weekends in the sun – greatly increases melanoma risk, especially when that exposure occurs in childhood and adolescence. Use of tanning beds may also contribute to the risk.

In older adults, they said, regular exposure over a lifetime combined with outdoor retirement activities such as golfing also adds up.

“We now understand both patterns of sun exposures – the intermittent early and chronic exposures – result in an increase in melanoma in different times in one’s life,” said Dr. Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, who directs California Pacific Medical Center’s Center for Melanoma Research.

The study showed that men, particularly those older than 65, were the most likely group to be diagnosed with melanoma. Melanoma rates for Marin County men age 65 and older were 103 percent higher than the state average, according to the state data from 2007 to 2011.

This risk in older Marin residents has increased dramatically in recent years. Before 2003, the incidence of melanoma for this age group was similar to what was found in the Bay Area and California. But from 2003 to 2011, it has risen nearly 200 percent for Marin County residents older than 65. The researchers said some of that increase could be traced to better reporting from doctors.

But the study found that melanoma cases in Marin County tended to be diagnosed early, when the disease is more curable.

“What looks like an alarming message is actually a little reassuring,” said Dr. Susan Swetter, a dermatology professor and director of Stanford University’s pigmented lesion and melanoma program. “They are super health conscious. Yes, they’ve had chronic outdoor activity, yet they have good access to health care and specialty care and they’re getting to the doctor.”

Saving lives

Marin County residents who’ve been diagnosed with the disease were a little surprised the county had such high rates of melanoma. But they agreed that getting to the doctor quickly may have saved their lives.

Lance Logan, 65, a retired San Francisco police officer who lives in Fairfax, believes the time he spent patrolling in his car may have contributed to melanoma discovered on his left eyelid in 2008.

“It didn’t get angry looking or radical. It just didn’t look right,” he said of the lesion, which was surgically removed. Logan also said his Danish-Irish heritage and sun exposure as a child added to his risk.

Raymond Cummins, a retired radiologist living in Larkspur, said he wasn’t exposed to a lot of sun growing up in San Francisco’s Sunset District.

“My behavior was that I was Irish,” said Cummins, who also had a strong family history of melanoma. He noticed changes in a mole near his belly button that turned out to be melanoma.

Cummins, who said his disease was also caught early and excised, said he likes to play golf now that he has the time, but he stays covered up.

About melanoma

What is melanoma? It’s the deadliest form of skin cancer. It begins in melanocytes – the cells that produce the pigment melanin that colors the skin, hair and eyes.

What are the risk factors? While anyone can get skin cancer, people with a fair complexion that burns easily, who have a lot of moles and a family history of the disease are more at risk. Multiple, blistering sunburns, especially in childhood and adolescence, use of tanning beds and intermittent, intense exposure are also associated with higher risk.

How common is it? Melanoma accounts for less than 2 percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.

Can it be treated? Yes, but it’s important to catch it early.

Learn more: For the Cancer Prevention Institute of California’s report, go to

Source: Chronicle research

Victoria Colliver is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @vcolliver

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