June 11, 2018

Healthy Habits – Living Intentionally

Living Intentionally: 3 Easy Steps to Minimalism for the Military Veteran By: Dixie Bishop Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps to eliminate excess clutter and consumerism, while focusing on what’s truly important and what gives our lives meaning. The internet is full of people living in tiny houses or downsizing to 100 items. Those philosophies can be extreme and don’t apply to most minimalist. Living this lifestyle isn’t really that complicated. The concept is simply to gain more, with less. Its replacing material possession with experiences while simplifying your life. As military veterans, we are already trained to do this. When we deployed, we packed the essentials. One bag with uniforms and gear, and another with personal items. We knew not to pack five bags, because we would be hauling around those bags during our 24 hours of travel. We packed what we needed, and what was important to us. Minimalism uses the same concept in our everyday life. It’s intended to help you delete the unnecessary metaphorical baggage that you’re hauling. Today, I’m sharing three easy steps to help you remove clutter and teach you ways to start living intentionally. Step one: Take inventory and make goals. Write down what’s important to you and create objectives. This may be anything from spending more time with family, saving for vacation, fantasy football, or binge-watching Netflix. You don’t have to give up what you love to be a minimalist. Next you should create a list of things you want to remove […]
April 9, 2018

Family Time

By: Ryan Sargent In honor of April being the Month of the Military Child, here are a few things that are most important for children. Quality Time: Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages has helped countless couples navigate how to best love each other. Within those pages, he mentions that every child’s love language includes Quality Time. The best present to give our child is our presence. Mom, dads, and primary caregivers (whatever role that may be) have way more leverage than they realize in a child’s life. Spend time with them, make time for them, learn about them, schedule activities they enjoy, and participate with them. Learn the latest lingo and embarrass them with it. Apparently, a grown man saying, “This will be LIT FAM!” is not appropriate, at least that’s what my 16 year old says… but, it lends towards a good laugh. Make it fun. Here’s a list of a few local activities and resources in the Columbus, Ohio area. Similar things can be found in most cities, it can take some creativity and research. We may see them as activities or maybe one more thing to put on our calendar, but to our children, we are shaping their childhood memories in real time. When they’re grown, what will they look back on and remember? Use that influence wisely.   (Any of the below suggestions that are underlined, are clickable links to their websites. Click through, and plan your next activity!) Parks: These are great, free […]
April 2, 2018

Successful Tax Day in Stark County

Last week, on March 29, three of our tax specialists made the journey to the Veterans Service Commission in Stark County. Our specialists are certified through the Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) and the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). For the 17 veterans and spouses we helped with filling, they saved over $3,400 in filing fees. Not only are we saving them money, but combined, we were able to secure $15,000+ back in refunds.       Retired Army Major General, and MVRC Board President, Dan Hahn commented, “…Our specialists are trained is such a way, that they can handle virtually any tax issue or problem in the process of doing their taxes. This is a great service that we have offered the last couple of years. In each of the last two years, we’ve reached out to 500 vets, and we [are on track] to exceed that again this year. [Our hope] is that our veterans know that we truly care about them, and it’s not something we are giving them, but we are giving them an opportunity to once again find their purpose. This is not only value added to them, but to all the communities they end up living in.” We are grateful for Stark County’s VSC Executive Director, De Ann Covey, and Outreach Coordinator, Teresa White, for opening their facility to us, and for all the hard work they put in, in helping organize this event. It’s not too late to get help with your taxes. To […]
February 28, 2018

Healthy Habits – Is Organic Worth the Extra Expense?

Food for thought- Is organic worth the extra expense? By: Kelly Koons Organic has become quit the trend over the last decade. You probably pass by the organic produce section before coming to the regular produce or even see an entire section dedicated to just organic products at your local grocery store. If you’re one of the shoppers wondering if you should pay the extra price to be more health conscious, maybe this article will help you out. Here I’ll talk strictly about produce and some items which may be worth the extra price you pay for organic, and their long term affects on your health. What exactly is “organic”? It means products must be free of synthetic additives like harmful pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents. Often times you’ll see a label that states “USDA Organic” which is the stamp of approval from the United States Department of Agriculture, certifying the organic farming process. Many people wonder if it’s beneficial to purchase organic foods since they are more costly. That’s a difficult question since so many factors go into a particular fruit or vegetable such as, the attraction insects and animals may have to it, region of growth, size, exterior layer and so on. To better help you determine if you are getting extra bang for your buck on your favorite produce, take note of the Dirty Dozen list below.  Everything on this has been tested and scientifically proven to contain more pesticides […]
February 13, 2018

Healthy Habits – How’s That Resolution Going?

By: Ryan Sargent Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash Most resolutions don’t make it past January 31st. Is that why gyms charge their “maintenance fees” in February? Maybe Valentine’s Day is strategically positioned so we can cope with chocolate? On many occasions I hear people talking about their resolutions, which is usually promptly followed by a look of disappointment for not following through a promise they made to themselves at the turn of the new year. They lost motivation, can’t seem to get their schedule around the change they started to make, or otherwise share words of defeat for not feeling capable or able to step up to the challenge. There must be a more effective way to make healthy change, right? Some of the drastic changes some of us expect: get a new career, lose 40 pounds in 12 months, go from never going to the gym to going for two hours a day. On New Year’s Eve, these sound admirable and almost doable – we get caught up in the moment and make promises. Once we get out of the starting blocks, however, we quickly feel defeated. If you dig a little deeper and explore the impact this dynamic has on our mental health, it might have you reconsidering how you approach goal setting. Setting these kinds of goals, expecting ourselves to achieve the impossible, and then beating ourselves up when we fail closely remind me of a common thinking error called, “All-or-Nothing Thinking”. This nasty little trait can fuel a […]
February 9, 2018

10 Inexpensive Date Ideas

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought it would be fun to make a list of 10 inexpensive date ideas in Columbus. If you’re anything like me, it’s easy to get in a rut of doing the same old things, so it’s fun to explore the city through someone else’s eyes. 1. Go ice skating at the Columbus Blue Jackets Winter Park, presented by Worthington Industries at McFerson Commons. ($5/kids $10/adults, includes skate rental) 2. Show your competitive side at Pins. They have Duckpin Bowling, Pinball, Ping Pong, Shuffleboard, Bocce Ball, Foosball, and Giant Jenga. (games range from 50 cents-$10/hr) 3. Think you would be a good detective from all the crime shows you watch on Netflix? Find a good deal on Groupon for an Escape Room. These are especially fun with a group of friends! 4. Visit your favorite frozen yogurt joint, and take a stroll around Easton. Whether you’re people watching, or window shopping, there’s something for everyone! 5. Something everyone must do at least once, is explore German Village and have a cream puff from Schmidt’s! 6. When the snow finally melts, you can climb 6,000+ square feet of wall for free (if you have your own harness) at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. 7. Take advantage of free admission every Sunday, at the Columbus Museum of Art. 8. Enjoy a coffee while taking in the picturesque beauty of the Topiary Park. 9. Step back in time at the Slate Run Living Historical Farm. Take a peek […]
December 27, 2017

Healthy Habits – Just How Healthy is Your Salad?

By: Kelly Koons With the New Year approaching, many of us are re-evaluating our lifestyles and setting goals for a healthier year. One way you might go about this, is by your food choices. Many people opt for a salad when they are seeking a healthier option at a restaurant or drive-thru, but is that salad really that much healthier than the combo #5? Here are some tips for insuring you get the most nutrition out of your salad. Although a salad smothered in Caesar, Ranch, or Blue Cheese dressing may be delicious, they serve little to no purpose in the nutrition department- in fact they are filled with fat, calories, and are high in sodium. A great substitute for salad dressing is olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, or an avocado. If all else fails, ask for it on the side, and only eat a little. One salad topping that tops the list for most is, meat. When ordering a salad it’s important to assure the meat is lean and not deep fried or breaded. Fried chicken and bacon are poor choices, even though it may taste good, they can be filled with bad carbohydrates, fat, grease, multiple calories, and high in sodium. Instead substitute with a grilled meat or turkey bacon that is smoked. Caesar and western salads are infamous for croutons and tortilla strips which carry no nutritional value and pack extra calories, sodium, and carbohydrates. Try substituting chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts instead (be sure the nuts […]
December 6, 2017

Healthy Habits

By: Kelley Koons A few weeks ago a friend of mine said something that really resonated with me, which leads me into the first edition of Healthy Habits. We were talking about our health, wellness, and fitness when my friend said, “I’m starting my health and fitness journey now, so I can be ahead of the game and go into 2018 feeling great!” I realized at that moment how many people use the holidays as a scapegoat to put off health and wellness. November and December are filled with giving, so many of us become consumed with that tradition, that we forget about self care- mentally, physically, and nutritionally. When January rolls around, the gyms are so crowded, people get frustrated or discouraged waiting on a piece of equipment to become available. They almost set themselves up for failure, and the January rush can make a health journey all the more intimidating for a beginner or someone who wants to get back into it. Often times you’ll see the gym crowd or the supplement isle at the grocery store die down late January or early February. Much of this is due to crash dieting, over-training, or in general, over doing it. This can lead to quick burn out, fatigue, low energy, high blood pressure, and injury. By starting off slow, retraining yourself on fundamentals and gradually moving in the right direction with nutrition and workouts you’ll be much more likely to be successful. If you have a goal of improving […]
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