Tag Archives: family health

How to Plan a Leaf Peeping road trip

plan leaf peeping trip

Guest post, Sean Farrell

Every fall, the changing of the leaves and the ushering in of cool, brisk air brings about a fresh atmosphere. As writer F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” One of the best aspects of the changing weather? The leaves that dot the trees. Deep golds, burgundies, and oranges reach as high as the eyes can see, showcasing just how beautiful nature can be.

A great way to take in the wonders of autumn while discovering the environment around you is to embark on a fall foliage road trip. All across the country, a plethora of forests and tree-lined paths make for exciting destinations.

It’s important to plan out your trip, from how many snacks to pack to the temperature of each place you plan to visit so you can dress appropriately. Take a look at the graphic below to learn more about how to plan the best fall foliage road trip.


How Healthy can you Get?

jump rope exercising

The days recalling our youth and childhood, brings nostalgic memories of those times when we were footloose and fancy free. Life held mysteries and dread, that beckoned us to step a little closer and dare to seek out the answers, or run as quickly as possible, back home.

Which ever choice you made, it required us to move our bodies. Those were days when our energy levels seemed to be unbearable to contain, and moving whether running, skipping, skating, sledding, was fun! So, what the hey happened that has stopped you?

Days of Yesteryear

Days of high school were spent worrying about what others were thinking of us, or learned to care not an iota, about their opinion. Some had greater worries, bad homes, unstable lives, next to the piles of homework our teachers heaped on us every night.

For some teens life was a struggle or battle, to juggle our worries with so many demands depending on our home environments. Not everybody’s life is idyllic or picture perfect as it seems especially in the suburbs.

Yet, some may have managed to be part of their school’s extracurricular activities such as being part of sports, music or hobby teams. Some teens still got to mix fun, into their daily routines.

school recess exercising
school recess exercises

Obesity moved In

Recent news stories have stated that North Americans have quite high levels of obesity. Parents really should take note to observe their family’s over all activities. There may be quite a few latch-key children that parents prefer to be home or some may allow their child(ren) to be part of their school’s extracurricular activities. Today’s society does require parents ensure the safety and security of their child(ren).

Parents can still provide activities for their children, and teach them early on how to learn and maintain their health. I would highly recommend sitting down together and having a discussion about long term health and importance of staying active.

Active Living Plan

Brainstorm idea’s together, which can be applied. It can start with taking a drive to the nearest park in winters and tobogganing, going out skating, hiking through a national park, swimming at the local public pool, biking through the neighborhood.

fun exercise planning
family exercise planning

The simplest of activities that are great can be walking and dancing. One can add investing in small dumbbells, a skipping rope, and even ankle weights. It’s said that the amount of calories you take in with eating should equal the amount of calories you burn.

A little online research will reveal just how many calories we consume with our diets, as there is a lot of information available. Note the following chart in regards to calories that can be burned with walking at a comfortable pace of 2 m/hr.

Exercise and Calorie Burn Charts

Weight Est. Calorie Burn 30 Minutes




















 Now, let’s take a look at hiking and how many calories can be burned not to forget, it’s fun! A hilly landscape would burn more. Additional fun would include bringing along your camera, some water and dress appropriately. Good footwear is important and pay attention to your local weather report.

Weight Est. Calorie Burn 30 Minutes



















Minding the Calculations of Time

I also have to add here that you can still accomplish the numbers of calorie burning with whatever method you choose. If you split the 30 minutes into two, you have 15 minutes one direction and return trip home, will give you that 30 minutes. A straight 30 minutes one way and another 30 minutes return home will double your number. Got to keep the math in mind.

The following chart reveals just how many calories is burned with my own various exercise activities. Note that they are a MIX of activities. I stand at 5’8 and my weight ranges from 145 – 155 lbs. It doesn’t include my running up and down the stairs with ankle weights and totally missed including the jumping rope exercise.

I don’t even do these exercises all at once but only in quick five minute intervals (except my canoe outings!) throughout my day, since I do work and have parental responsibilities too. A life of leisure sounds great but I get bored too easily.


Keep Healthy Foods in your Diet

Diet plays a large part here too. I eat a lot of foods that many, including my own sons, is considered, too healthy. They run away to their extended families some days, yes but I do cook meals they love also. The following chart shows the calories of some of the foods that my own diet provides. Yes, I always have a side of veggies and fruit too. I don’t always eat healthy 24/7/364 either! shhh 😉



Gram of Fat

McDonalds Salad w/ Ranch



Chicken Salad, 1 cup



Steak, 4 oz



Tuna, in water



Peanut Butter Jelly sandwich



Bran muffin



Eggs, boiled, poached



Vegetable soup



Regular but not Perfect

Moderation is said to be KEY to maintaining one’s weight with diet. As you can see with the above chart, I don’t totally stay away from ‘bad’ foods. I get my cravings too especially for chocolate. One just has to learn to mix the healthy foods into their diet and practice self-discipline with the ‘bad’ foods then balance it with exercise.

I do this due to a heart defect and recent diagnosis of pre-diabetes. Between my diet and exercise, I get great reports from my doctor. It can be a struggle but at least once you learn, healthy practices can become habit and your children will greatly benefit, for the rest of their lives. So, how healthy do you want to get?

Learning in Motion

Extra Resources

Calorie Calculator

Calorie Burn Calculator

Food Calorie and Nutrition Chart

An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us.


Cat Litter and Toxoplasmosis at Home

Cats get Infections too

A cat can be quite a lovely creature with their lithe grace, silky fur, purrs and playful antics. They even have us trained to provide a litter box for them so they can tend to their ‘bathroom’ needs. Who can’t help but become friends with a cat?

Many people love cats aka ‘crazy cat’ lady or man. Cats do provide us an outlet to express our love and they are a source of comfort and lift our Spirits with their playful and silly antics.

Disease in our Cat

Unfortunately, they can also be a source of a disease known as taxoplasma infection aka taxoplasmosis. Now, what does a cat have to do with infections?

Infections in our cat arises from contact with a germ and those germs can thrive in various environments, wet, cold, hot, dry. As long as they have their needs met, such as, food, water and shelter they will thrive and our own bodies provide a perfect environment. It seems our own bodies can betray us, don’t it? But we are own keeper, responsible for our own bodies.

the Guilty one – cell Germ

Toxoplasma gondii a sporozoan Parasite

Toxoplasmosis begins with the germ, ‘Toxoplasma gondii‘, a sporozoan parasite, and is borne out of infected meats such as mutton, venison, pork, goat meat but also when in contact with cat feces. Careful handling and cleaning a cat’s litter box is important since we are not always aware if the cat is infected.

A cat becomes a carrier if it eats an infected mouse or rat. Studies have found infected rodents are not afraid of cats and will seek them out by scent. This is due to how it changes the behaviors of cells in the brain, ‘dendritic cells‘ secrete ‘GABA’ergic secretions which inhibits fear and anxiety.

Types of Infection for Cats and Humans

The types of infection depends on how it was acquired. Infants born with toxoplasmosis are considered as having the ‘congenital‘ form which affects the central nervous system and may cause blindness, brain defects, or death.

The ‘acquired‘ form falls into two categories, ‘lymphadenopathic‘ which resembles mononucleosis and the second version, ‘disseminated‘, which causes lesions to appear on the lungs, liver, heart, muscle, skin, brain and meninges.

Medical Definition
  • Congenital – present at, or existing at birth
  • lymphadenopathic, enlarged lymph nodes
  • disseminated, scattered, or distributed over a considerable area

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Allied Health

Research studies of changes in a ‘host‘ have found, that people with various psychiatric disorders, are found to be infected with toxoplasmosis. There is evidence infection may be found in people who are extroverted or exhibit risk taking and aggressive behaviors.

Rate of Infection and Symptoms

Analysis of records suggest that up to 30% -50% of the global population may be infected, with 60M infected in the US (CDC). Humans have lived with this parasite for a long time.

Initial infection may cause ‘flu‘ like symptoms and then disappear into a ‘dormant’ phase and depends upon the strength of one’s immune system. It can be fatal for those with weaker immune systems (HIV/AIDS) or the unborn fetus.

Inflammation of the choriod and retina aka ‘chorioretinitis‘ eventually occurs in the congenital or chronic form with symptoms of pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, black spots.

Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is difficult and expensive. Bloodwork is drawn and stored for comparison purposes. Biopsy’s of cysts, and swollen lymphs may also provide visual changes.

vet cat care
vet cat care- Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Treatment and Therapy for Cat and Owners

Humans ; Treatment is effective with a combination of drug treaments and Folinic acid (a derivative of folic acid used to treat folic acid deficiency)with the following;

  • Pyrimethamine (Daraprim), and sulfadiazine or triple sulfonamides for a total of thirty days and reserved for those with weak immune systems.

Newer drugs are proving effective and may also, be additionally used. Inflammation of the eyes may be treated with corticosteroid, anti-parisitic or antibiotic drugs, dark glasses, and may include laser surgery to remove lesions.

Prevention of this disease, is done with emphasis on avoid eating raw meat, that may contain ‘cysts’, avoiding contact with cat feces, and ensure visits to your Veterinarian for your cat. Best practices when handling raw meat, do not cross-contaminate your knives and other utensils in the kitchen, or with other foods or liquids.

Use disposable gloves, face mask and disinfectant, when cleaning the cat’s litter box. Make sure to wash the area where the litter box is placed too.

Cats ; A Veterinarian specializes in caring for animals and will treat your cat. Like humans, blood work must be done first to verify the presence of the t. gondii germ. Cats will normally develop an immunity after their initial infection and shed germs for approximately 24 days. They can still get infected from eating raw meat with tissue cysts (bradizoites stage) or passed from mother to kitten while pregnant for both felines and humans.

Adult cats immune systems are strong enough to overcome the infection but not kittens. They will have symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, coughing, difficulty breathing, sneezing, and runny nose. Severe illness in cats will have seizures, uncoordinated gait, leading to death. They can be treated with antibiotics, anti-convulsants and if weakened by the infection, they will remain at the Vet’s office for fluids and intravenous feeding.

Life of t. Gondii germ

The stages of the Toxoplasma gondii germ are as follows;

  • Tachyzoites, fast growing stage, able to cross Placental barrier both pregnant felines and humans.
  • Bradyzoites, tissue cyst form, cause damage to organs and tissues, hard to remove
  • Sporozoites, in oocytes stage, immature form

Absolute care must be taken when handling raw meat and importance of not cross- contaminating other dishware and work areas with used knives or cleaver. This germ can be cleared with the following steps;

  • Soap and water does kill these germs so do ensure washing your hands, work surface and utensils.
  • Cook meat at 153 degrees Fahrenheit (67 degrees Celsius) – thoroughly.
  • Freeze meat at 9 degrees Farhenheit ( – 13 degrees Celsius)
  • Avoid tasting food while cooking

Another method found to kill this t. Gondii germ is with gamma radiation. I’m not sure where ordinary folks would find that but good to know?

Feeding your Feline

Owners of cats, me included, may love the ‘routine’ their cat sets in regards to meals. I wake in the mornings and get immediately met with yowling, purrs and body rubs from my cat, and he walks me to the kitchen straight to his bowl. Yes, cats do develop a personality.

Food for your cat should consist of canned, dry cat kibble or cooked food. Cleaning of the litter box should have you wearing a disposable mask and gloves. Wash the litter box with disinfectant and I go an extra mile, spritz rooms with disinfectant spray plus turn on the HVAC air exchanger. It’s good practice to have good hygiene habits.

Learning in Motion

Further Learning Resources

The history of Toxoplasma gondii–the first 100 years

Garden veggies and poopy parasites

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

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AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense creates and posts articles online about business development, second income idea’s, health, science, technology and society.