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Don’t forget to wash your hands when grilling.

The summer time is prime time for all things social and outdoors. Memorial Day kicks off the grilling season! One of everyone’s favorite activities to do outside with friends and family is grilling. Whether you’re grilling chicken, burgers, or anything else you might be craving, it’s so important to remember the steps you can take from preventing everyone at the barbecue from getting sick from your delicious meal. Funny enough, one of the simplest and most preventative steps to making sure you keep everyone around you, including yourself, healthy is washing your hands. It’s so easy to forget to wash your hands after petting your dog, then going back to flip the burgers, or putting some raw chicken on the grill, then going to assemble the salad, or getting prepared a hamburger bun, then getting out the gluten-free hot dog buns. Not only is it essential to remember to wash your hands between all of these activities, but also how you wash your hands. Believe it or not, there is an exact science as to how we should wash our hands effectively. A researcher willing to shed some light on this science is Dr. Don Schaffner of Rutgers University. In a webinar delivered by Dr. Schaffner, through the Partnership for Food Safety Education, he explains all about the do’s and don’ts of hand washing.

To explain the proper steps of hand washing, it really depends on the audience you are trying to address and the environment. Some environments call for strict enforcement of proper hand washing. An example of an environment like this would be a hospital. When you look at history, the percentage of women that would pass away giving birth and patients that would die from complications with surgery dropped dramatically, just because regular hand washing was implemented. In a different environment, like in your home, the explanation of guidelines for hand washing can be a little different because they’re not as specific, making them more understandable.

Because of the variety of ways to teach the public about hand washing, the guidelines according to the Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control differ. FDA’s guidelines, in general, are a bit more specific. They are intended for food service staff or hospital staff, as mentioned before. According to the FDA, in simplified terms, the steps to washing hands are as follows; rinse hands under running warm water, apply a clean compound, rub hands together vigorously for 10-15 seconds, run hands under warm water again, and finally dry hands thoroughly. The CDC guidelines are different in that they are more consumer friendly. These guidelines explain that the individual should wet their hands, apply soap, and lather up. Next, the individual should scrub for at least 20 seconds making sure they hit the back of the hands and under the
nails.After this, the hands should either be dried with a clean hand towel or air-dried.

 These guidelines sound easy enough to follow, but let’s say you’re at the gym. You’re trying to help out your summer body, using all the machines, then you leave, get home, would this be the right time to wash your hands, even if they don’t look dirty? Or what happens if you’r
e working in your garden and you get dirt on your hands, should they be washed differently since you can see that they’re soiled? The CDC guidelines explain that you
r hands could still very much be contaminated even if you can’t see it and that there is a difference of how to wash your hands if you can see they’re dirty versus not. When the hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol based hand sanitizer would be fine to use because it is easily accessible, effective at reducing bacterial counts, and can improve skin condition. On the other hand, if the hands are visibly dirty, they must be washed. First, remove physical debris off with a paper towel and then turn on the faucet. This method reduces the risk for cross contamination. After this, the hands can be washed per usual using the steps mentioned before.

Dr. Schaffner explains that besides just how to wash your hands, there are a lot of other factors that go into hand washing. Some of these factors include what kind of soap to use, how to dry your hands, and so on. If you go to the store to buy simple hand soap, you’re faced with an overwhelming amount of products to choose from. You could be stuck on whether to get bar soap or liquid soap, and the choice you make could impact how effective your hand washing is at stopping illnesses from spreading. Bar soap is never used in food service settings and this is because when you wash your hands with bar soap, it’s possible to leave some contamination behind on the bar. When using liquid soap, you normally don’t come across this problem. When it comes to how to dry your hands, aside from air drying, you have two main options. These are cloth towels or paper towels. Similar to using bar soap, when using cloth towels, you run into the issue of leaving behind contamination. Beyond these options, it is up to you to choose whichever scent, size, color, and shape you wish!

The decisions you make to properly wash your hands are valuable efforts you’re making towards risk management, in other words, preventing the chance that you get sick or get someone else sick. Keeping in mind that there is no such thing as zero risk, it is still very worthwhile to try to reduce your chances as much as you can. Even though it might seem tedious to make sure you’re washing your hands often, and it might take some time to remind yourself to do so, it is a very important and simple change that will really go a long way, whether you’re at a summer barbecue, hospital, gym or anywhere else.

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

It’s Earth Day! Here are some ideas to celebrate:

1. Get your hands and shoes muddy.
Plant an organic garden There is nothing better than having your own organic and chemical- free fruits and vegetables right from your yard! Right now is the perfect time of year to plant a garden- so what better day to do it than on Earth Day?

2. Your trash could be someone’s treasure
Recently, I saw on a local neighborhood site, an anonymous poster who posted:
We are very lucky. We live in a affluent, safe neighborhood. I know many of you feel you deserve everything you have because of your hard work. But nonetheless, we are all incredibly fortunate to live in a beautiful place where we can raise our children safely with top notch schools. As opposed to 99% of the rest of the world.   Often, when I go for a jog, I see what folks are putting on their curb as trash. Completely functional basketball hoops (because sonny moved on to other interests). A little out of style (but completely functional) furniture. You name it. All will end up in a landfill, polluting the planet.
PLEASE if you are able to, find a local non-profit and donate these items. You’ll even get a tax deduction and you can use the money to buy more crap you don’t need.  If you aren’t able to, please contact me and I’ll be more than happy to help out and take your items to local non-profits that can find a new owner.  Protecting the planet starts with each and everyone of us. Thank you!!! 🙂 “

So, this anonymous earth loving friend, inspired me to post his words as # 2 and words to live by on earth day and all year long!  Who doesn’t love the feeling of getting rid of old clutter? But even better, finding the clutter items a new home!   You could also recycle qualified materials that you have sitting around.

3. Go on a hike
Spending time in nature is something people often overlook. It’s nice to take a step back to relax your mind and enjoy the beauty on this earth. Hiking is also a great form of cardio which is an added bonus for your health

4. Set up a compost bin in your backyard
Compost is when organic materials break down to produce a nutrient-rich soil (which you can use for your garden!). Things that can be composted include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, pet and human hair, dried leaves, torn up cardboard, and hay. Compost bins are great for the environment for gardening with the soil.

5. Sign up for a local CSA
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. When you sign up for a CSA, you will receive fresh produce grown by local farmers which is an awesome way to support your community and the earth! Find out more about local CSA’s here.

Now Offering Nutrigenomix

We are excited to announce that our Registered Dietitian, Kristie L. Finnan, RDN, LDN,  is now offering an exciting new service called Nutrigenomix. It is a simple genetic test using your saliva that will allow for personalized nutrition recommendations that are based on your DNA! Please find out more here and call for your appointment 215.801.8757 OR schedule an appointment online.

Organic Farming and Eating Local

IMG_0802I had the opportunity to volunteer at Roots to River Farm two summers ago, which is an organic farm located in New Hope. Roots to River farm participates in farmers markets and CSA’s. Just from spending one day at this farm, I learned so much about what it takes to be a farmer and run an organic farm. The people at Roots to River farm are very passionate about what they grow and how they grow it. Organic farming is not easy- it involves intense care. The owner of Roots to River farm told me that nutrient dense soil is essential to growing organic crops. Everything is done by hand when you are running an organic farm- it takes long hours, dedication, and a passion for what you are doing. Throughout a 6 hour period we washed and packaged up veggies to be sent out to restaurants, harvested onions, hoed, planted lettuce, and watered the greenhouse. Eating local, organic food has such great advantages! First off, it is better for the environment because there cannot be any use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Second, you know exactly where the food you are putting into your body is coming from and how it is grown. If you purchase local and you are curious about how the produce is grown, ask the farmers and they will be more than happy to tell you! Another great thing about locally grown products is their nutrient value. Food that is not locally grown decreases in nutrient value due to the time it takes to get from harvest to your table since it is being shipped from far away. Roots to River Farm sends their crops to many local restaurants and establishments such as Jules Thin Crust Pizza, Kome, Spring and Vine, The Doylestown Food Coop, and more!

If you are thinking about getting into local and organically grown products, take advantage of the resources around you here in Bucks County because there are so many benefits both environmentally and health- wise!


More about our day at the farm! :

This is the wash station, where all of the crops go to get all cleaned up!


The Green House


Lauren packaging up some eggplant and cilantro- which smelled absolutely amazing!


Some of the onions we harvested!


Look at those greens!












My MTHFR Gene Mutation Story

Written by Miranda Ortolani

From as young as I can remember, I never felt right after eating. I thought to myself, “this doesn’t feel normal”, but I sort of just assumed that it was. Finally, when I was 18 years old I was diagnosed with IBS(irritable bowel syndrome) and was put on a low-FODMAP diet. However, I still always felt sick after eating, had severe abdominal pain, irregular bowels, nausea, fatigue, frequent migraines… the list goes on. It got to the point where it started interfering with my daily life.  I had been tested for many different diseases, one being celiac disease which came back with negative results. Two years later, I heard about the MTHFR gene mutation from Kristie L. Finnan, RD, LDN. My life has completely changed since then! I was tested for the gene and I am homozygous for the MTHFR c677t mutation. If you’re wondering what this silly sounding gene stands for, it is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (I know- it’s a mouthful!). MTHFR is an enzyme that makes folic acid usable by the body. When a person has this genetic mutation and cannot use the folic acid they are consuming, it builds up in the body and can cause the symptoms I was experiencing. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate and is found in many processed foods as well as fortified grain products (bread, cereal, pasta). Therefore, I started Read More

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