• Why can't I tickle myself?

    By Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature Network
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    Q: Why is it that I can tickle my kids, can tickle my husband, but I can't tickle myself? I thought about this after a tickle fight with my 5-year-old, who bursts into uncontrollable giggles after I tickle her, but is stone-faced when she tries to tickle herself. She often tries to make herself laugh by tickling herself, but can't. Why is this?

    A: Interesting question. I myself used to be so incredibly ticklish, I would start laughing even before someone tickled me. Just the very thought of being tickled would do it. But as I got older (and the fun got sucked out of me, I guess), I grew less and less ticklish - and I've often wondered why that is. Before I ponder the answer to my query, though, the polite thing to do would be to answer yours, no?

    There are two types of tickling, named in 1897 by the psychologist G. Stanley Hall. There is knismesis (a light tickle that does not induce laughter) and

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  • Seven reasons not to diet

    By Mel, selected from DivineCaroline
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    By Sheer Balance, DivineCaroline

    Chances are that at some point in your life you went on a diet. You may even be on one now. Or you made a New Year's resolution to diet in 2011. Let me stop you there. If you are planning on losing weight in the future, save your money and time, and instead, resolve not to diet. No, I'm not kidding.

    I'm going to tell you a secret … dieting doesn't work. Some of you may be thinking: "But my friend lost 20 pounds on the Atkins diet!" or "I have heard fantastic things about Nutrisystem." Sure, these diets work in the short term, but after a dieter stops dieting, they most likely put back on some, if not all of the weight.

    I'd like you to indulge me and make a resolution or set a goal not to diet. And, I want you to remember the following things about diets, why they don't work, and what are better solutions:

    1. Lack of nutrition

    Contrary to popular belief,

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  • (Photo: Jupiterimages)(Photo: Jupiterimages)By Sara Novak, Planet Green
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    You've heard it a thousand times: if you want to fall asleep you have to give up caffeine. So you've done that and you still can't seem to sleep through the night.

    Well, your diet has a huge bearing on the way you feel especially if a sleep deficiency has become a part of your life. Choose foods that promote sleep rather than keeping you up all night.

    Five foods to prevent insomnia:

    1. Pumpkin seeds
    Pumpkin seeds
    are a great source of magnesium which serves to calm the body down. Magnesium helps to relieve the stress that can keep us up all night. Just 1 oz. of pumpkin seeds has 151 mg of magnesium, making it one of the most magnesium-rich foods out there.

    2. Cottage cheese
    Cottage cheese
    contains tryptophan, a sleep inducing amino acid that relaxes the entire body and mind. If you don't do dairy you can also find tryptophan in soy milk, tofu, hummus, and lentils.

    3. Sesame seeds
    Sesame seeds
    are rich in

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  • By Melissa Breyer
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    Second only to heart disease as a leading cause of death in the United States, cancer is responsible for close to 500,000 deaths per year. Many products we use in our homes contain ingredients linked to or suspected to cause cancer, not to mention other ingredients that can cause allergies, asthma, and other health problems. Poor government regulation in the face of so many chemical ingredients is to blame, but we can take charge once we know what to look for.

    Luckily, it's fairly easy to replace many of these products with nontoxic options that work well and are often quite a bit cheaper. For example, you can swap out toxic cleaning products by creating a simple nontoxic cleaning kit -- most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand.

    Here is a list of some of the top offenders in terms of carcinogenic risk. Of course, these products don't necessarily lead to cancer, but why take the risk when there are

    Read More »from 8 known carcinogens to remove from your house
  • By Sarah Irani, EcoSalon
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    (Photo: Flickr / tillwe)(Photo: Flickr / tillwe)

    Is the economy beating you up? It's time to get creative. Next time you have an ache or pain, forget about a costly trip to the drugstore and test-drive some of your grandmother's remedies instead. It'll save money and be gentler on your body and the environment. Recessionistas (and gents), welcome to the DIY medicine cabinet.

    1. Stop Bleeding

    You'd think it would burn, but a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on a cut will quickly stop the bleeding and actually relieve the pain.

    2. Toothache

    There's nothing so bad as the shooting pain of a toothache. You don't want to ignore a tooth problem, because an infection that close to your brain can be extremely dangerous if it spreads. But in order to reduce swelling and pain while you wait for a dentist appointment, try putting a few drops of clove oil on your tooth and gums, and bite down on a smashed piece of garlic (which has excellent antibacterial properties). This has always

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  • By Chanie Kirschner, Mother Nature Network
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    Q: Just finished scarfing down a plate of nachos and was promptly hit with a case of the hiccups. I'm wondering, why is it that when I eat fast, I often hiccup?

    What are hiccups anyway? And while we're on the subject, got any tips on how to get rid of them?

    A: Well, first let's talk about what hiccups actually are. Even though it may not seem like it when that attractive noise emits from your throat, hiccups actually start with your diaphragm, the muscle right below your chest, that contracts and expands as your breathe. A hiccup emerges when your diaphragm contracts jerkily instead of smoothly (like it's supposed to), causing a sudden intake of breath that is stopped when your vocal cords snap shut, causing that characteristic "hic!" noise.

    So what causes your diaphragm to get all jumpy in the first place? Hiccups often occur when you eat too fast and you swallow extra air (as in your case), drink

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  • (Photo: Claudia Snell / Caringsoap.com on Flickr)(Photo: Claudia Snell / Caringsoap.com on Flickr)By Steve Graham, Networx
    More from Guest Bloggers blog

    Deodorizers can be expensive and even dangerous. They also may contain harmful toxic chemicals, including formaldehyde.

    The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found 884 toxic substances in a survey of about 3,000 chemicals used in artificial fragrances. The institute reports that the chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, and neurological and reproductive disorders. Fragrances also can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.

    It's cheaper and safer to make your own with basic household items. Here are 10 ways to have a great-smelling bathroom:

    1. Squirt hand soap into the toilet bowl and give a quick swish with the toilet brush to cut odors. Do this instead of spraying the room with a room deodorizing spray.

    2. Before guests arrive, quickly freshen up by grating some orange zest in the bathroom. A strong, desirable orange smell will overpower bathroom odors. Or try this cinnamon-pear air

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  • (Photo: Brand X Pictures / Getty Images)(Photo: Brand X Pictures / Getty Images)By Lori Bongiorno
    More from The Conscious Consumer blog

    With Internet directories and cell-phone lookups, many people consider the printed yellow pages a relic of the past. But the books keep showing up on their doorsteps, year after year. Finally, there's good news for those who want to prevent stacks of unwanted phone directories from being delivered to their front doors.

    A new, national opt-out Internet site from the Yellow Pages Association and Association of Directory Publishers lets you control which yellow pages (if any) you receive.

    In less than five minutes, I opted-out of the 10 phone directories (both white and yellow pages) I was scheduled to receive this year. In the past, you had to contact each phone book publisher directly, and it wasn't always easy to find the publisher's contact information. But this new site lets consumers make all the requests at once.

    Here's how it works:

    1. Go to yellowpagesoptout.com. Enter your ZIP code. You'll see a list of the
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  • By Eric Steinman
    More from Care2 Green Living blog

    Blueberries have long been touted as a superfood, high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and manganese. And unlike other superfoods like acai berries, bee pollen, and wakame seaweed, blueberries are accessible and attractive, so they're an easy sell to anyone skeptical of health food.

    So this reputation could be why blueberries are in so many packaged foods, from muffin mixes to salad dressings. They appear to add nutrition and deliciousness that might otherwise be lacking. Nevermind that actual, fresh blueberries are only in season about 2 to 3 months out of the year -- the blueberry harvest goes on all year at the grocery store.

    But have you actually read the labels on those supposedly blueberry-filled products?

    Some of them, like Target Blueberry Bagels and General Mills Total Pomegranate Blueberry Cereal, might be fooling consumers into thinking the food has something it doesn't. While manufacturers state they're still

    Read More »from Blueberry imposters: Fake blueberries may be in your packaged foods
  • 10 painless ways to save for vacation

    (Photo: Ben Bloom / Getty Images)(Photo: Ben Bloom / Getty Images)By Jeff Yeager
    More from The Green Cheapskate blog

    The average American family plans to spend about $1,650 on summer vacation, according to a study by Visa. That's more than chump-change, particularly in these hard economic times.

    Here are some simple ways to pump up your piggy bank so that your vacation is paid for before you ever leave home.

    1. Choose tap water at restaurants
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of us spend nearly 45% of our food budget on meals prepared outside the home. Cooking more meals at home can save you about 80% compared to restaurant meals, but -- even if you still want to eat out -- just by ordering tap water instead of overpriced beverages with your restaurant meals the average family of four can save about $800 a year ... nearly half of your vacation budget. I'll drink to that.

    2. Turn down the hot water heater
    Heating domestic hot water -- the water you use to bathe, wash dishes, etc. -- accounts for about 15% of

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