Organic Food and Its Surprising Health Benefits

There is no doubt that now people are much aware of the health benefits of healthy nutrition. This made them embrace organic food over processed foods such as high in sugar, saturated fats and sodium. In fact, processed foods contain fewer amounts of essential nutrients and lead to several health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Further, these things are made worse when flavor enhancers, different artificial preservatives are added to them, which have a bad impact on the health.

These things made the food unhealthy, but unfortunately, there is a healthier organic food. Organic food is becoming popular, and everybody wants to go for it. Well, there are several benefits of organic foods that are not known to general people. Organic food as the name suggests does not have non-natural ingredients. Also, organic food products do not have any artificial preservatives. In fact, grains, fruits, and vegetables labeled as organic are grown without the use of artificial fertilizers or synthetic pesticides.

According to a study in British Journal of Nutrition, organic products have about fifty percent more omega-3 fatty acids, which are a kind of unsaturated healthy fat, as compared to the conventionally raised versions. It is true that organic food is fresher as it does not contain additives or preservatives. The best thing about organic food is that it is GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) free. Well, some studies show that antioxidants tend to have more impact when they come from organic foods.

Since organic food is not prepared artificially or by using chemical fertilizers, so it does not have a bit of any strong chemicals. This, in turn, does not affect the human body in wrong way. Some people say that the taste of organic food is better when compared to conventional food. The reason being it is by the organic means of production and sold locally. That means it results in the availability of fresh food in the market. It is confirmed that organic food is safer than conventional food. If you have any doubts or if you want to take more quizzes then you can visit HealthIQ.com and participate in a mélange of quizzes.

3 Strange Attractions to See While in Seattle

When you travel to Seattle, you have plenty to do. You can catch a Seattle Seahawks or Mariners game or visit Pike Place Market. Most tourists head to these attractions, though. You’re different, and you want a unique vacation. Here are three strange attractions to see while in Seattle.

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

When is the last time you held a shrunken head in your hands? Have you ever inspected a real mummy? Do you love the macabre and mysterious? Seattle has the perfect tourist destination for you.

J.E. “Daddy” Standley opened Ye Olde Curiosity Shop in 1899, and his ancestors maintain it until this day. Yes, it’s a mom-and-pop antiquities dealership that happens to deal in the supernatural. As you walk through this store, you’ll see a three-tusked walrus skull, the spine of a whale, and shrunken heads.

You can even interact with a one-armed bandit named Black Bart. He’s a human-shaped slot machine. If he doesn’t interest you, his friend Estrella might. She’s an automated gypsy fortune teller. Put a few coins in Estrella, and she’ll boldly predict your future. If this sounds familiar, a machine like Estrella was integral to the plot of “Big.”

Many of the items here have taken on a life of their own. The Simpsons even parodied the store in the famous episode, “Treehouse of Horror.” That’s reason enough for you to visit! By staying at an inexpensive hotel near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, you’ll be in a convenient location for this shop and the two other attractions below.

Aurora Bridge

Your first thought is probably that a bridge isn’t a fun tourist location. You’re right in that the bridge isn’t the highlight here. Instead, it’s the thing that resides under the bridge. What creature famously lives under a bridge? Yes, it’s a troll, and the Aurora Bridge features an adorable one.

The Troll Monument is an 18-foot tall mass of steel, wire, and two tons of ferroconcrete. Suffice it to say that this sucker is ugly, and that’s before you factor in the metal eye! If cute-ugly is your thing, the Aurora Bridge troll is an optimal selfie spot. You’ll revel in the likes that roll in when you post photos of your group in the troll’s lap.

Seattle Underground

Don’t let the skyscrapers that dominate the downtown area fool you. A rich history lurks just beneath the city’s surface. The Seattle Underground is where a fire buried the past of Seattle, the first version of its urban development. In 1889, the new city fell victim to tragedy when flames engulfed the business district, wiping out much of the development. Unfortunately, many of the 19th-century buildings were made of wood. They burned completely and were beyond repair. Seattle had to start from scratch after the fire.

You can tour the ruins of the Seattle Underground, visiting all the remnants of Seattle’s original iteration. Here, you’ll see the shops and bars of old, the ones lost in the fire. It’s an engrossing tourist attraction that will cause you to appreciate the frailty of early metropolitan settlements.

All three of these tourist attractions will provide ample entertainment on your trip. After you’ve seen all of them, you can then visit the more conventional Seattle tourist attractions.

Have a Wild Day With the Animals of Monterey, California

Monterey, California, offers a comfortable climate year-round that makes it as appealing to local wildlife as it is to visitors. From the rocky coast to the protected marshland, you’ll find plenty of prime places to witness creatures breed, feed, and play. Visit some of the area’s most notable inhabitants on your next trip to Monterey, and say hello to these creatures of the wild.

Spot Sea Otters

Sea otters are perhaps the most famous of Monterey Bay’s animals. They’re drawn to the abundant kelp forests, which serve multiple purposes for an otter. Otters will wrap themselves in strands of kelp to sleep side by side without drifting away from their group, known as a raft. The kelp forests also provide food to the invertebrates that sea otters like to dine on, such as sea urchins, snails, and clams.

The Elkhorn Slough National Estaurine Research Reserve at Moss Landing State Beach (1700 Elkhorn Road in Watsonville, California) is one of the best places to spot sea otters in large groups. However, you have a good chance of spotting at least one or two anywhere you’re near a rocky outcropping or quiet cove.

Watch for Whales

According to Blue Ocean Whale Watch, you’ll have at least a 90 percent chance of seeing a whale in any given month in Monterey Bay. The migrating season and feeding season overlap here, providing outstanding year-round viewing opportunities. Look for humpback whales between March and November when they’re feeding in the bay. Blue whales come seeking the area’s abundant krill between May and October.

Gray whales migrate through the bay between December and May. Killer whales can be spotted year-round, although the most frequent sightings are from mid-April to mid-May and from late August through October.

Seek Out Shore Birds

If you prefer bird watching, Monterey Bay offers plenty of picks. Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve is a popular choice with 340 species calling this area home. Snowy egrets gather at Moss Landing State Beach while cormorants and pelicans are a common sight at Asilomar State Marine Reserve, adjacent to Asilomar Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard. Try Carmel River State Beach on Carmelo Street in Carmel-by-the-Sea for finding harriers, hawks, terns, and swallows.

Visit in September and you can participate in the Monterey Bay Birding Festival with workshops, documentary screenings, organized field trips, and more. If you’re coming into town for this event, make sure to secure your Monterey hotel early for the best rooms, as this event is a large draw for birding enthusiasts.

Catch the Sea Lions

Not to be confused with the small cat-like sea otters, Monterey Bay’s sea lions are larger, louder, and almost impossible to miss when they gather. The public dock at Moss Landing draws more than 400 of these barking creatures. The area around Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a popular gathering spot as well. Just follow the Recreation Trail north and let your ears guide you to these playful creatures.

With its abundance of wild delights, Monterey is a must-visit place for vacationers who enjoy visiting animals in their natural habitats. Although you have options such as the Monterey Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium for guaranteed wildlife sightings, taking a few natural excursions is an unforgettable alternative to keep your vacation interesting.

Enjoy Your Bloomington Vacation on a Budget

 

Bloomington, Minnesota, is an incredibly popular destination, and like any other city with world-class shopping, dining, and attractions, it’s easy to spend a fortune during a trip here. Though Bloomington has an expansive selection of luxury hotels and amazing shopping opportunities, including the famous Mall of America, you can have fun on vacation here without spending lots of money. Follow these three tips to travel on a budget during your next visit to Bloomington.

Go Easy on the Luxury Dining

It can be tempting to eat out for every meal on a vacation, whether you simply don’t want to cook or prefer to experience the best of the many amazing eateries in the city before heading home. Especially for those traveling with a family, paying for two or three meals out every day adds up fast.

Plan for this by researching a few must-try restaurants ahead of time to make sure you hit your favorite spots and still experience some of the city’s unique fare without blowing through your budget. Another option is to book a room with kitchen facilities. This will make it much easier to pick up groceries and cook a few meals on your own before heading out for a day of sightseeing in Bloomington.

Plan Your Trip Around Discounts

Visitors can save lots of money on a trip to Bloomington by finding discounts for popular locations. For example, tickets for the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America are cheaper if you buy them online. You can also take advantage of The Big Ticket Adventure Pass, which offers a steep discount on regular admission prices, if you want to stop by this destination. This grants access to attractions in the mall (the aquarium plus Nickelodeon Universe, FlyOver America, Crayola Experience, the Minnesota Zoo and its IMAX Theatre, and the Science Museum of Minnesota) for one low price.

Find Free and Cheap Things to Do in the City

Limiting your spending while visiting major destinations such as Mall of America is one option, but travelers can also focus on visiting free or cheap attractions to lower their expenses. Two totally free options, if you want some time outdoors, are Normandale Japanese Garden and Hyland Lake Park Preserve. The Japanese gardens are fantastic if you just want to unwind, and you’ll find plenty of activities, such as fishing, swimming, and cross-country skiing, to keep you busy at Hyland Park.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is another free choice. Your family can spend an entire day looking at several animal exhibits and seasonal floral shows in the Sunken Garden at no charge. Other options for some free culture in Bloomington include Bloomington Historical Museum, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

There are plenty of other ways you can save on your next trip to the area – just remember to plan ahead. Many destinations have discounts you can take advantage of, and sites like Groupon and SaveOn are good resources for extra savings. Follow these tips, and you’ll have plenty of fun in Bloomington without going over budget.

4 Museums to Visit During a Trip to Indianapolis

Indianapolis at sunrise – downtown seen accross the river

Indianapolis is referred to as the “Crossroads of America” because the city has the highest number of interstate highways crossing it in the United States. This easily accessible travel spot is home to many diverse cultural institutions. Learn about four must-see museums for your visit to Indianapolis.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis 

Indianapolis boasts the largest children’s museum in the world at North Meridian and West 30th Street. Created in 1925 to give children a unique experience, the downtown facility is still committed to that vision today. The museum is almost 475,000 square feet resting on 29 acres. A nonprofit organization with 1.27 million visitors annually, it houses 120,000 artifacts and pieces. The museum’s interactive exhibits teach kids about world cultures, natural and physical sciences, and the life of dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Located at 4000 Michigan Rd., the Indianapolis Museum of Art displays works from artists spanning several centuries, including Rembrandt, Cezanne, O’Keeffe, Lichtenstein, and more. Pop Art, Minimalism, and Abstract Expressionism styles are among the most viewed pieces. Here you will find what is considered North America’s most comprehensive collection of Neo-Impressionist paintings. Art pieces from around the world such as South America, Asia, and Greece are represented as well. Indianapolis Museum of Art is now part of Newfields, A Place for Nature and the Arts, which encompasses Fairbanks Park, The Garden, Lilly House, and the Elder Greenhouse.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Image via Flickr by kajsahartig

Another downtown Indianapolis museum to visit is The Eiteljorg, which is located at 500 West Washington St. in White River State Park. This area is an optimal spot for your hotel stay due to its proximity to the museums on this list. Founded by philanthropist Harrison Eiteljorg, The Eiteljorg Museum shares an appreciation of the art, history, and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. This one-of-a-kind facility includes pieces from Andy Warhol, Kay WalkingStick, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frederic Remington, and Allan Houser. Special exhibitions have included Jewish life in the West, African American and Native American connections, and the history of motorcycles and pistols.

Indiana State Museum

Also in White River State Park at 650 West Washington St. is the Indiana State Museum. Explore the history and culture of Indiana from the prehistoric era to today. The building itself is an extension of the exhibits showcasing the state’s architecture and sculptures. Adults will gain a wealth of knowledge from the renowned Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection. Your younger family members will race you to the state’s largest movie screen at the IMAX Theater. The museum is also home to the legendary L.S. Ayres Tea Room, a restaurant known for its chicken velvet soup and Monte Cristo sandwiches. Be sure to call ahead for dining reservations.

These are just some of the museums that Indianapolis has for your cultural enjoyment. Whether you stay for a weekend or a week, you will have plenty of historical landmarks and memorials to see.

 


 

 

Seattle on a Budget

Seattle, Washington, is known for its coffee lovers and for being the hometown of musical legends like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Jimi Hendrix. With a relaxed atmosphere, a friendly attitude, a great bar scene, and world-class seafood, it’s no question that Seattle is a popular vacation destination for all ages. Unfortunately, it’s not always the cheapest place to plan your next trip. Check out all of the tips below for visiting Seattle without breaking the bank.

Accommodations

The closer you are to downtown, the more you’ll pay per night. If you’re open to staying outside of the city center, you can save a good chunk of change while still being in close proximity to all Seattle has to offer. Take a look at hotels in Bellevue, Washington. The city’s name is derived from the French phrase for “beautiful view” and is the third-largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area, with plenty to offer visitors.

Transportation

Luckily, getting around downtown Seattle is pretty easy. You can purchase an ORCA card online or through a local transit agency for $5 or less, and you can add any amount you feel you’ll need to cover your transportation during your trip. You can use the ORCA card for the bus, ferry, rail, or train.

If you want to travel outside of the downtown area and you aren’t looking to splurge on a rental car, calling an Uber or Lyft in the area is cheap and easy. Plus, you won’t have to worry about navigating through an unfamiliar area. Hop in, relax, and arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

You’d be surprised at how many things you can do in Seattle without spending a single penny. Some of the top free attractions include exploring Pike Place Market, relaxing at Waterfall Garden Park, and strolling through Olympic Sculpture Park.

Pike Place Market is one of Seattle’s top destinations where visitors can peruse the stalls full of fresh seafood, flowers, food, and much more. Waterfall Garden Park is a pocket park in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. It’s home to a 22-foot tall waterfall and is the perfect place to take a break during a busy day. Olympic Sculpture Park is managed by the Seattle Art Museum and has dozens of large pieces of art to stroll by and snap photos of. The park is open daily, from dusk until dawn.

Cheap Eats

Eating out for every meal when you’re on vacation can really start to add up. Luckily, Seattle has some great restaurants that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

If you’re looking for Mexican food that lives up to the hype, El Camión is the place to go. This spot also serves breakfast all day long! If burgers are more your speed, stop by Rain City Burgers for a classic burger, a cheap beer, and Seahawk-inspired dishes.

Seattle is a beautiful city full of culture and unforgettable experiences. But you don’t have to empty out your savings account to make the most of your next vacation to the Emerald City. Keep these tips and attractions in mind for a budget-friendly Seattle trip.

Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are looming and just like most of the country we have the travel bug. Whether it’s a short drive to the coast or a long flight to somewhere fancy, travelling with kids can be a real struggle. We have put together a list of just a few travel must-haves for this summer’s ultimate road trip or flight.

Fully charged tablets & chargers
With all the research we did this was the TOP answer on everybody’s list. However much we get told to limit screen time, travelling with children has been made so much easier with the invention of tablets and phones and it seems it can be completely forgiven to use them on long journeys. Just make sure they’re fully charged and you pack the chargers for the way back.

Travel Games
Not all kids are into tablets and/or get bored of them pretty quickly. So be sure to pack some travel games and toys. The fewer pieces, the better though; there’s nothing worse than having to collect the bits up at the end or heaven forbid you lose a bit; you’ll hear about it for the whole holiday if you do. There are ‘back of the car’ safe travel games such as Story Cards, where their imagination gets them through the time. Or for the older ones there are knowledge based games where they learn and play too like Fast Flags, the ultimate flag matching game.

Travel sickness tablets & sick bags
Be prepared, if they have a history of travel sickness it is better to be safe than sorry. There is nothing worse than the smell of sick for the whole way to your destination.

Baby wipes & change of clothes
For those ‘oops’ moments. You never know with kids, they can make a mess in an empty room. Then there is the toilet issue; I’ll leave that there.

Drinks & snacks
There may be some delays in your journey and there is nothing worse than hungry children in a confined space. Cover the basics by packing some quick and easy snacks, the less messy the better, but you have baby wipes so you’ll be prepared.

Have you got any travel must-have tips? We’d love you to share them on our social media pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

An unexpected benefit: BrainBox games for autism and dyslexia

Don’t you love an unexpected benefit? You know, when a decision or a course of action has positive consequences that you didn’t intend or foresee. Like when you give in to the incessant requests of your children and buy a cat, only to discover that you no longer have to worry about birds eating your grass seed. Or when you switch to an own-brand pasta sauce to save a few pence each week, and find out it tastes better than what you used to buy.

We had our own unexpected benefit moment at BrainBox HQ recently. We’ve always set out to design games that combine learning and fun, and that can be enjoyed equally by families playing together or children playing alone. But we were delighted to discover that our games are also a big hit among children with learning differences such as dyslexia and autism.

It was customer reviews that gave it away initially. Here are a few of our favourites:

• “For our son with special needs… I think this will help enormously with his development”
Joy, Mummy blogger of children with Aspergers, reviewing BrainBox Dinosaurs

• “Fantastic and fun. My two children have dyslexia, and we play it to help their short-term memory”
Clare, reviewing BrainBox Dinosaurs on Amazon.co.uk

• “Excellent product for my son who has ADHD with autistic tendencies. He enjoyed the game and it also helped to calm him on some of the down time occasions over the holiday period”
Deirdre, reviewing Brainbox Football on Amazon.co.uk

• “The instructions were very clear and D especially enjoyed giving the cube shaker a good shake to start the game”
Jeannette, Mummy blogger of two autistic children, reviewing Square Up

• “It’s fairly simple and my 6 year-old can play it … it’s great as it’s very non-confrontational”
Daisy, posting about Qwirkle in an online forum discussing games for dyslexic children

• “This is a great game: almost as challenging as Scrabble but without the need to be able to read and write. If I hadn’t just left teaching, I would love to have tried it out with teenage dyslexic students”
Mrs Grace, reviewing Qwirkle on Amazon.co.uk

• “Both my children loved this game and great fun was had by all! I am still amazed that it kept Xaviers attention for the duration!”
Lucie, Mummy blogger of children with autism, reviewing Corner’d

Our suspicions were confirmed when Dyslexia Scotland highlighted BrainBox in a report called ‘Supporting Pupils with Dyslexia at Primary School’: “The games are simple, compulsive and great fun for one or more players.”

In her book The Autistic Spectrum: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, Lorna Wig says: “Children with autistic spectrum disorders tend to prefer toys that involve visuo-spatial skills such as shape and colour matching, jigsaw puzzles or constructional materials.”

We’re not quite sure what the magic ingredient in BrainBox games is. Maybe it’s the vibrant colours, or the tactile elements, or the emphasis on visual and memory skills.

Whatever the reason, we’re very pleased that our games are making learning fun for so many children and families – and perhaps you might just find some unexpected benefits when you come to play them.

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a maths surprise

It was snowing leaves in the park earlier today; great flurries of reds, golds, yellows and greens, as the first winds of autumn started to bite and one of our most magical seasons got well and truly underway.

Best whisper it, but leaves are great at adding a bit of autumnal fun to maths too. So with October half term upon us, why not pull on some wellies and a warm coat and set off with the children on a woodland treasure hunt – with a mathematical twist at the end.

You’ll also need to take some squared paper and pencils, as well as a ruler, some tape or other sticky stuff, and a few short pieces of string.

First you need to collect some leaves, either by simply picking them up as you wander along or by finding a good spot and then letting the kids have a free for all. Make sure they get a good random collection, though.

Get them to sort the leaves into colours – there should be a mixture of browns, reds, yellows, and the odd green too. Next, start counting, making a note of how many of each colour they’ve found. Once they’ve got their data, it’s time to plot the number of leaves of each colour on a simple graph. Or, if it’s not too windy, why not create a ‘living graph’ on the ground using sticks as the axes and the leaves they’ve actually collected, or even take the whole lot home and create a masterpiece for the kitchen wall?

You can also use leaves to help learn about perimeters and area too. Ask the kids to pick one leaf each and have a rough guess about how many centimetres they think it is round the edge, or how many square centimetres the whole leaf takes up.

Put the leaf on a piece of squared paper, carefully sticking down the stem to hold it in place, and then draw round the outline. Lift the leaf away and take one of the pieces of string and use it to trace around the leaf’s outline. Keeping your thumb and forefinger as a marker, lift the string away and measure it with the ruler to find the leaf’s perimeter. Who came closest with their guess?

Try it with different sized leaves – how big is the difference between a long thin leaf and a short fat one?

Now, using the outline of the leaf they’ve already drawn, see if they can work out how to find its area. First explain to them what size each square represents; then they’ll need to count up all the full squares and estimate how many extra ‘whole’ squares are made up by all the little fiddly bits round the edge. Add them all together and all of a sudden they know the area of a very random shape, and something which is a million miles away from the straight-edged squares and triangles they’ve drawn in class.

Of course, it’s not just leaves you’ll find on the forest floor at this time of year. Nuts, conkers and acorns will all have plummeted from the canopy and they’re all excellent for playing simple counting games – and so much more fun than using a boring pen and paper!

Keeping it green

If you grew up in the 1970s, being environmentally-friendly meant little more than putting your sweet wrappers in the bin, with kids encouraged to turn off lights to save electricity in energy-stricken Britain, rather than to stop the ice caps melting.

If your childhood spanned the 1980s, you may well have worn a Save the Whale badge, but most people who voiced any concerns for the environment were simply dismissed as ‘Tree Huggers’. It was only in the 1990s, when climate change became more widely discussed, and Governments sat round the table to sign agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, that a much greater green awareness entered the mainstream.

Today’s children, whether they know it or not, are more environmentally aware than any previous generation. School plays an important role instilling the importance of caring for our environment and conserving resources, so why not help find ways in which your children can do their bit for the environment round the home, too.

A good place to start is with the green mantra – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s a phrase that’s become common parlance over the last few years, as we finally wake up to the fact that the earth’s resources – and the space to dump our rubbish – are, in fact, finite.

So get the children to grab a pen and paper, and see what ideas they can come up with. Chances are they’ll say things you’ve never even thought of, so here’s a few to keep up your sleeve, just in case!

Reduce

As well as turning off lights to save electricity, encourage your children to turn off PCs and TVs rather than leaving them on standby. And once those precious DSs and I-Pods are fully charged, get them into the habit of turning the charger off at the wall, too.

Water’s often see as a limitless and free resource and the classic waste of H2O is leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth. Turn it off and you’ve got an immediate, easy win.

Reuse

It’s amazing how much paper children can get through! Home offices are constantly raided in search of a wad of pristine A4 sheets, but try to encourage them to use the other side of used sheets, too.

Ditch those new daily cartons or bottles in lunch boxes – the kids can easily replace them with a reusable bottle full of water or squash. If they’re fussy about the taste of your tap water, simply get a water filter and keep it topped up in the fridge.

Recycle

Draw up a house rota which makes someone chief of recycling each week. Then it’s their job to make sure people use the right recycling bins and don’t get lazy by simply lumping everything in with the rubbish!

Incentivise your children to clean up their room, and sort out all those old toys at the same time, with the offer of a Big Swap, when they can trade their old stuff with friends.

Or, if you’ve got some good things together that make it worth the early start, why not try a car boot sale and turn your ‘junk’ into money? You can even make a deal with the kids that anything that isn’t sold is recycled through a charity shop.