5 Reasons to Start Eating Organically

Eating organic food contributes greatly to the improvement of your overall health. With that, it shouldn’t be a surprise to know more and more people are becoming keen on healthy choices. Consumers of organically grown food in Singapore has been on the rise, prompting U.S. itself to be Singapore’s largest supplier in 2015 to meet increasing demands.

Organic produce has been linked to having high prices, but the situation has changed entirely now that there is an increasing number of local farms who offer their greens and other produce for affordable prices. According to the U.S. National Organic Program, organic foods are produced without the use of conventional pesticides or fertilizers. Products like organic meat, eggs, dairy products, and poultry come from animals which were not given antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones.

This article will present reasons why it is ideal for you to consume organic foods on the daily, with some of them tracing back to the findings of various scientific studies.

Reduce Risk of Diseases
Pesticide residues can still remain in the food that we eat especially if they are not grown organically. Studies has shown that the presence of chemical residues in food links to a number of diseases such as reproductive dysfunctions, autism, and asthma. On the other side of the spectrum, eating organic food has tremendous health benefits. It reduces obesity and type 2 diabetes, to name a few.

Allergy-Free?
People who have not experienced food allergies were found out to develop an allergic reaction to foods with pesticide residues on them. Unlike organic food, foods which were exposed to various weed-killing chemicals are associated with a higher level of food sensitivity. Chemicals used for pesticides such as dichlorophenols may be to blame behind the sudden allergic reaction.

Antioxidants
As you age, your body’s ability to produce antioxidants takes on a decline. Antioxidants are essential to your health and they can be acquired through eating organic foods. These micronutrients are used by the body as a shield and a defense against attacks from reactive oxygen species or ROS. They also help in resisting the damage brought by pollutants and free radicals the body acquires during metabolism.

Long-Term Benefits
Eating organic has been proven to improve the food’s nutritional value and contributes majorly to early childhood development. There are negative effects of pesticide-laden foods on a child’s cognitive development. To minimize these adverse effects from happening, eating organic food during pregnancy and early infancy is encouraged instead.

Better Taste
When a produce is grown organically without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, its taste is enhanced also. Higher antioxidant levels in organic food affects food qualities such as taste, mouthfeel, and even aroma. When yearning for intense flavors, organic produce provides accentuated and flavorful fruits and vegetables.

4 Ways to Prevent Food Poisoning at Our Homes

It is mandatory that we clean our kitchen regularly. It is the place where we prepare the food that we eat and serve to our families so it is compulsory to keep it clean as well as the utensils in it. Health enthusiasts in Singapore stated that, if we do not give the right attention and cleanliness to our kitchens, this area could be the source of food-borne illnesses. If you do not want to acquire these food poisoning and other illnesses, then you should follow these ways:

1. Sanitize your kitchen regularly
When it comes to ensuring your home’s food safety, don’t just clean. Make sure to sanitize everything. Disinfect your sink, stove and utensils by using cleansers or DIY bleaches, etc. Commit to a regular schedule of sanitizing your kitchen and other important areas in your home. Germs and bacteria are everywhere which is why it is imperative that we keep things neat, clean and safe not only for ourselves but for our families as well.

2. Make sure to cook your meat properly
When cooking your food, you have to make sure that you cook it properly. Regardless of what type of recipe or meat you’re cooking, make sure that the right temperature is applied to your meat. It is advisable that you don’t eat it if it’s close to raw since you might get exposed to bacteria or other food poisoning causing germs. Not all stomachs are tough enough to handle various ways of cooking food, especially kids. So see to it that you serve them tasty and properly cooked food.

3. Use different cutting boards
There are many Chefs who would advise that it is necessary to use one designated chopping board for each type of meat or food. This should be done in order to prevent cross contamination. Food safety is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly so as much as possible, if we can, we should follow clean and safety procedures like this.

4. Clean as you go all the time
It’s always important that we and our families be reminded from to time to remember the things that we need to do as we go around and use the kitchen. We should make sure to wash our hands properly as we handle food or using utensils. Also, we have to make sure to wash everything carefully before and after use. Lastly, we should always check and keep the pests out of our kitchen if we do not want our food to get contaminated by pests.

Facts About Aerobic Exercise to Remind Yourself

We are told that healthy living is ours for the taking – it will not be easy but it is worth it at the end of the day. The good thing is that here in Singapore, the government is encouraging the people to live a healthy life by giving subsidies and implementing program that can promote overall well-being. That sounds good but it all boils down to how committed you are.

If in this case you are learning everything you can about aerobic exercise, you have come to the right place. In just few minutes, you will realize the power of aerobic exercise. Here are some facts:

What is aerobic exercise?
You have heard about cardio exercise, right? Actually aerobic exercise is also called cardio exercise. It is called so because it requires the heart to pump oxygenated blood to distribute oxygen to the muscles. It is designed to stimulate the heart rate as well as the breathing rate to rise so it can sustain the exercise.

What are the examples of aerobic exercise?
You have to know that there are many examples of aerobic exercises. Now it is only a matter of choosing which one you can keep up as a beginner. Examples of aerobic exercises include spinning, walking, swimming, running, cardio machines, dancing, hiking, skiing, kickboxing and many more.

What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?
The good news is that the body can adapt to training. This means that if you exercise regularly, it will surely benefit the body. Since it is cardio, it can make the heart get stronger. With each beat, it can pump more blood. When you exercise, the hearts will be conditioned thereby they will have greater mass and diameter. If this is the case, the heart can pump efficiently.

Studies show that aerobic exercises can lessen the risk of cancer. Aside from that, it can also increase bone density so osteoporosis is not a problem. Another benefit is the reduced risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. It does not only help you physically. The act can actually elevate your mood.

How much do you need?
It is important that you know how much exercise you need to keep yourself healthy. The general recommendation is that adults should accumulate at least thirty minutes of moderate aerobics all the days of the week. You have to understand the word “accumulate”. This means you do not need to exercise thirty minutes at once.

There is also another recommendation – at least 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity (like jogging, running, swimming or dancing) 3 to 5 times a week.

5 Fun Ways to Spice up Your Life

Life can get exhausting if you’ve been functioning like a robot every single day. You wake up, drink your coffee, trudge to the shower, dress up and get to work. You’re basically on autopilot the entire day, without realizing that your whole routine is an energy drainer and a creativity killer. For that reason, we listed down some fun and simple ways on how you could possibly spice up your life and live it to the fullest.

1. Tweak Your Routine

Wake up earlier than usual so you won’t end up feeling rushed. You can take your sweet time meditating, cooking a good breakfast meal, or dressing up to your favourite Beyoncé track. Changing things up a bit every once in a while will make you realize that you do have a control over how your day would go.

2. Commute Differently

Instead of doing your usual commute, switch to another mode of transportation that’ll make you view your city in a new light. You can ride a different bus route or walk a different path to work. Trust us, it’ll feel like you’re travelling to a different place.

3. Watch a Live Show

Go and watch a live show, regardless if it’s a comedy show, an open mic night, or an acapella performance. We’ve been communication behind our tablet and phone screen that we’ve forgotten how invigorating it feels to be in the middle of the crowd. Plus, aside from the entertainment, you could also meet some new friends.

4. Do a Random Act of Kindness

If you want to experience a legit feel-good rush, do an act of kindness for someone who least expects it. Psychologists say we tend to feel better when we treat someone else as compared to spending for ourselves. The act simply fires up an area in our brain where joy, pleasure and trust reside. So the next time you find an old bag that you no longer need, load it with food and clothes and give it to any homeless person you see.

5. Make the First Move

This is undeniably one of the most difficult things to do due to the fear of rejection. Men, too, are scare and don’t have any clue as to how they should approach women – and yet, they’re expected to act like they know what they’re doing. Well, the worst thing that could happen to you is to get rejected – but then again, you’ll have a good material for a fun story to share in the future.

Spicing up your life doesn’t need to require a lot of energy and money. Simply switching things up a bit is already enough to break your monotonous routine and make you experience things that you’ve never experienced before. So be sure to try any of these activities to help you live one crazy, meaningful life.

To Hang or To Fold: A Guide to Properly Storing Your Clothes

To hang or to fold? That is every fashion girl’s ultimate question. We all detest wrinkled-beyond-recognition silk pieces and stretched-out sweaters, which is why we put together the ultimate guide as to which clothing pieces should be hung and folded. So read on and do your clothes and closet a favour.

Clothes to Hang

• Cotton, Rayon, Satin, Silk and Velvet Blouses. We suggest using velvet slim line hangers for these pieces, as they’re strong and thin enough to not consume too much space in your closet. Hanging work shirts? Ensure that the top button are locked to keep its collars from developing unwanted creases.

• Dress Pants and Trousers. Use clips to hang your trousers at the hem or at the waist. Another great option is to fold them along their crease and drape them over the bar of a sturdy hanger.

• Jumpsuits and Dresses. Hang your jumpsuits and dresses on hangers, unless they’re heavily embellished and are prone to wearing from weight.

• Blazers, Jackets and Overcoats. Be sure to hang these pieces especially if they’re made of suede or leather. Casual jackets and blazers can be hung on regular hangers, but heavy coats should be placed on curved suit hangers to help keep their shape.

• Dress Skirts. Dress skirts made of leather, silk and suede should always be hung at the waist using clipped hangers.

Clothes to Fold

• Sweaters. Sweaters made of angora, cashmere and wool will definitely stretch when hung, which is why it’s always best to fold them to keep their shape. Also, after washing, ensure that you dry them on flat a surface instead of hanging them.

• Casual Skirts. Thick-nit or denim skirts can be easily folded on a shelf or slung over a hanger to save more shelf space.

• Heavy pants. Cargos, cords, jeans and leather leggings are all made of thick fabric, thus folding and keeping them in your closet shelf won’t cause them to wrinkle.

• Embroidered Evening Gowns. Loosely folding your evening gown actually retains its shape better than hanging, especially if it’s adorned with heavy embellishments. Just make sure that you wrap it loosely in a tissue paper and store it in a clean box to keep its beadings from scratching your other clothing pieces.

• T-Shirts. Fold all your long- and short-sleeved tees as its fabric might thin and stretch out when hung.

Knowing how to properly store your clothing pieces is one way of ensuring that they’ll last long. So be sure to put these tips to work the next time you rearrange and rebuild your closet.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider

If you’re planning to outsource your IT service provider, then it’s crucial that you find a managed services provider (MSP) that you can trust; someone who has the expertise, experience and skills to manage your IT network. Whether you’re thinking of changing your service provider or is considering hiring one for the first time, it’s crucial that you know what factors to consider when choosing an MSP. With that in mind, we listed down some of the important factors you should consider when choosing a managed IT services provider in Singapore.

1. Experience and Reputation

Choosing an MSP with a good track record is crucial when it comes to outsourcing IT service providers. This gives you an insight about the service provider’s past achievements and enables you to predict what results the vendor might produce. Some of the important things to consider when choosing a managed IT services provider is the number of years they have operated in the industry, as well as the certifications and licenses that they have.

Aside from that, you should also check as to whether or not they are offering scalable IT services. A good service provider will be able to show you a portfolio of services that not only covers your current IT system, but also supports your system development plans in the future.

2. Staff Expertise

One of the most important factors worth considering is the knowledge and expertise of the IT staff of your service provider. Make sure that they are capable of performing operations other than basic system maintenance and management. Aside from that, good IT service companies in Singapore should also have enough experience in handling and operating delivery models like cloud and IT strategic outsourcing. Ensuring this enables you to achieve multi-environment support that will aid in meeting your company’s individual needs.

3. Skillset

One of the said benefits of hiring a managed services provider is you get to work with IT experts and specialists, which is why it’s crucial that you also factor in the skills that your prospective MSP has. You will rely on your service provider for advices, so you would want to ensure that they stay updated with the newest software, hardware and cloud solutions available in the market. Opt for an IT professional who constantly updates their knowledge and skills to stay relevant and useful in the industry. Be sure to ask your prospective MSP some probing questions so as to evaluate their qualifications.

4. Service Offerings

Some business owners in Singapore falsely believe that hiring an MSP requires signing a huge contract to get a comprehensive package of IT services. Sure, there may be service providers who practise this, but there are also those who would willingly evaluate your system and listen to your specific needs. This is why it’s important that you have an open and honest discussion with your MSP, so both sides get to listen to each other’s idea and decide on the best IT solution for your business.

5. Reliability

Hire a managed IT services provider who can minimize the system disruptions in your business by creating and complying with a service level-agreement (SLA). Your service provider should also be able to resolve problems and requests upon first contact. Moreover, your vendor’s disaster recovery and business continuity option should give an assurance that your IT infrastructure will run smoothly even after a local disaster occurs.

6. Adaptability

As the IT needs of your business change, your relationship with your MSP will change as well. Being able to evolve, grow or shrink your IT capabilities whenever you need it will help you in avoiding costly system interruptions and redundancies. Remember that offering solutions that are capable of adapting to new circumstances that may arise is the job of your prospective vendor. Before choosing a particular IT company in Singapore, make sure to inquire about the levels of support they will be able to provider, as well as the cost of making such changes.

7. Round-the-Clock Assistance

Technical problems may occur at any given time of the day, which is why it’s important that you hire a vendor who can provide you a round-the-clock support when you need it. Make sure that your prospective service provider has a remote support desk and that their service hours is in line with your business hours. It would also be a good idea to know if they will be able to provide professional support at the frequency that you desire, and if they offer support services that re in line with your business needs.

8. Culture and Attitude

Other than their skills and the services they are offering, it’s also crucial to factor in a service provider’s attitude towards servicing their clients. Consider the vendor’s knowledge, their response time to your questions, their zeal to discuss and cater to your needs, as well as the time they took to provide you with a good proposal. How they worked with you at the start will give you an idea of the things to come, so be sure to choose a service provider that showcases efficiency right from the get-go.

Looking for the right managed IT services provider for your company will not be difficult if you just know what factors to consider. Just keep in mind though that not all service providers are the same, and that you will need to evaluate them well enough to know who really understands and has the skills to cater to your IT needs.

Walking and Socializing Your Dog

 

The reputation of man’s best friend, the dog, can be summed up in two categories: they are either the helpful, loving and loyal companions in the form of beloved pets, therapy and rescue dogs; or the dangerous, violent monsters descended from wolves that could harm and even kill. Most veterinarians and animal behavior experts however would be able to give you a simple advice to avoid the latter scenario—walk and socialize your dog.

Here are some points you should consider:

 

  1. Love is not everything. Besides food, shelter, regular vaccinations and attention, dogs need exercise and interaction. They come from a species that rely on socialization to survive, while their bodies are built for withstanding vigorous physical activities no matter what the breed.

 

  1. Learning from experience. If the dog does not know how to react to different situations, chances are it could end up fighting or fleeing when put in any unfamiliar situation. Behavior problems often come from lack of interaction with people other than family members and other dogs. Unsocialized dogs react to strangers in fear or anger. Train them early.

 

  1. They’re just like us. Fearful dogs, stressed dogs, aggressive dogs—these can all be avoided if they were trained how to respond. Like humans, dogs fear the unknown and unfamiliar. They see these as threats to them and their owners. Aggression comes from fear.

  1. It’s good for you and your family. Walking, running, fetching, and swimming are just a few of the things you can do with your dog. Take it along with you if you’re out for a stroll or a family member wants to go jogging. This will help create camaraderie and set the rules in dog and owner relationship.

 

  1. A lot of people like dogs too. You can take your dog to pet-friendly shops, parks and beaches all over Singapore. You and your dog will be able to meet new friends by sharing common experiences together. Exchange tips with other dog lovers or schedule activities and games. You can even take your dog to competitions and shows organized annually in the country like the Singapore Kennel Club.

 

  1. A happy dog is a good dog. Grooming is also essential especially for breeds that need special care for their coats or furs. Taking your dog to the groomer is also a form of interaction. There are also obedience training classes all over the country if you need help or you just want more for your dog.

 

  1. The rewards outweigh everything else. Sounds like a lot of work? Don’t forget to keep in mind that part of your responsibility is looking after your pet’s well-being. If you don’t have enough time, set a schedule for walks with other family members. Remember also to clean up after your dog if you take it to a park. Make sure to follow rules when you’re in public with your pet. Most importantly, enjoy your time together.

Coco Heaven: The Many Forms of Chocolate

 

Who could resist that creamy, melting substance? Not only is it a cure for the broken-hearted but making chocolate has become an art since the prehistoric South Americans gave this gift to the world. Chocoholics can choose from so many varieties today. Ever wondered what are chocolates made of? This is an essential guide of what makes chocolates chocolate-y.

The Food for the Gods

It all starts with the cocoa pod. Thanks to the advances in preparation and cooking, we don’t have to offend the Aztec and Maya divinities to eat or drink chocolate. Cocoa is usually in powder form for easy mixing. It is produced by removing the fat from the chocolate liquor. Then it is hardened and ground into powder.

To be classified as chocolate, it needs to contain chocolate liquor. Chocolate liquor is made by grinding the cacao beans until they become paste or liquid. Most chocolates are made beginning with this process. White chocolate has milk, cocoa butter and sugar, but no chocolate liquor. Therefore it should not be included in the list of chocolates.

The types of chocolates are the following:

  • Baking Chocolate does not have specific qualities. This could be in any form and taste to suit your baking needs. One example, the pre-melted chocolate, is a pasty unsweetened chocolate. It is composed of vegetable oil and cocoa powder.

 

  • Chocolate Coating is used to decorate cakes and pastries. It is made from sugar and cocoa powder and butter. Couverture is a type of chocolate coating with more cocoa butter content.

 

  • Ground Chocolate is simply powdered chocolate. This is common as toppings for desserts and drinks and is different from powdered cocoa used for baking.

 

  • Compound Chocolate is a combination of cocoa and cocoa butter substitutes. It is used for coating and toppings. It’s sometimes not considered as chocolate like white chocolate.

 

  • Chocolate Extract is an option besides chocolate coating if you don’t want the fat. It is made from soaking the cacao beans in liquor.

 

  • Bittersweet Chocolate, also known as semi-sweet, unsweetened or dark chocolate have cocoa butter, sugar and chocolate liquor. The amount of sugar and chocolate liquor vary.

  • Sweet Chocolate has lesser chocolate liquor content than dark chocolate but does not have milk like milk chocolate.

 

  • Milk Chocolate has the same ingredients as dark chocolate but also contains milk which may be in the form of cream, liquid or powder.

 

  • Raw Chocolate is made up of only two ingredients, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Health-conscious individuals might find this healthier than other chocolates.

 

  • Mexican Chocolate is a special variety that may contain sugar, cinnamon and almonds. These are mixed with pure chocolate.

 

  • Gianduja or Gianduia is made from grounded and toasted hazelnuts. Most types of chocolates are made from cocoa.

 

  • Cocoa Butter is the resulting fat removed from the chocolate liquor. It is used in chocolates we eat as well as body care products.

4 Benefits of Co-Sleeping

 

Many Singaporean parents believe that co-sleeping is for the better. While other Western cultures see co-sleeping as a social taboo, what matters most at the end of the day is what you believe in. Co-sleeping is also called “sharing sleep”. This is a parenting practice where parents and children share the “family bed”.

Seeing it as a social taboo is unfounded. Parents who share sleep with toddlers or even older children reported many benefits. To discuss it further, here are the benefits of co-sleeping:

  1. It fosters independence and trust. Many parents are afraid that if they encourage co-sleeping, the kid will grow dependent. While it is good to encourage children to sleep alone, you shouldn’t do it hurriedly. Remember that they are babies or toddlers once, you have to enjoy it. It will not foster dependence. In fact, it will be the other way around. When you share sleep with your kids, you are teaching them that they can trust those around them and eventually be independent.

 

  1. It makes children feel more secure. The image of children thumb sucking or carrying a blanket is a common sight but what does this really tell you? These children do not feel safe enough that they tend to rely on those habits. When you share sleep with your kids, they do not need to feel more secure because you are there. In this society, children are now taught to self-soothe. As a result, parents let them find security objects. But why not provide them comfort by your presence?

  1. It is an excellent bonding moment. Parents do not realize this but when you allow your kids to your bed, it sends a strong message saying “you can reach us day or night”. The countless hours or snuggles can be an excellent bonding moment. You won’t realize it but it can have a positive impact on your children’s self-esteem.

 

  1. It encourages good sleep. There is no question that during their infancy, you share sleep because you need to nurse them. As they get older and you want them to be dependent, you thought it is for the better to leave them in their rooms. That is where you are wrong. As long as your child is comfortable, co-sleeping can encourage good sleep.

Co-sleeping is not that bad. With the benefits mentioned above, you can give it to your children effortlessly. If you need bigger bed, then do it. It is fun to co-sleep if you give it a chance.

Everything You Should Know About Cyber Safety

 

The cyber world is so vast that it can influence its users. Cyber world can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, personal computers, etc. using the internet. Here in Singapore alone. Many children are provided with such electronic devices because parents think that it is for the greater good. While it is undeniable that these gadgets made things easier, no one should discount the risks it involves.

What are the risks these devices pose? Smartphones or tablets are now used by minors for sexting. Sexting is the act of sending inappropriate contents (like texts and images). Some even use their devices to bully other people. Bullying can have a mental effect on your kid as it is a form of sending threatening messages. The worse thing that could happen is uploading it to YouTube thereby crushing the kid’s self-esteem. It does not end there because it can also be the root cause of improper time management. Plus it can compromise the kid’s safety as it can automatically share your current location on social media apps.

Knowing about the risk, how should you curb it as parents? Ever heard about cyber safety? You can fight it if you are being vigilant and that includes filtering, locking, controlling or monitoring the electronic devices of your kids. How can you do this? Well, the first thing that you can do is to prevent the use of the device’s camera because it is the source of everything. If your kid is being bullied, help him/her to block the texts or calls from specific persons.

If you are serious about this, why not set a limit when it comes to internet access? This can help a lot because it is like preventing things to happen before it actually started. The most important thing is to instil to your kids that file sharing is a no-no especially if it is with sensitive contents. File sharing over Bluetooth is the beginning of everything. Might as well tell them to screen the apps they download as it can also be a source.

Remember that at the end of the day, your kids need guidance. Always explain why you are restricting their access so they will understand. But if the kid is really curious, they will find something to access it outside. This is the reason why you should also teach them how to behave appropriately so they will not become a victim of anything. Discussing the risk and their protection is not easy but if you have to do it, do it anyway.