Several studies in recent years have shown that one surprising method for escalating sleep quality and improving overall health is moving from sleeping indoors to the fresh air of the outdoors.

One of the biggest reasons sleeping outside is a helpful sleep aid is the exposure to natural light. One study showed that “Increased exposure to sunlight may help to reduce the physiological, cognitive and health consequences of circadian disruption.” Or, in English, being exposed to sunlight in the morning helps your body wake up and get ready for the day.

Fresh air also boosts your immune system.

It’s easy to get a case of the sniffles, especially in the winter. Help to fight them off with the power of fresh air. It helps your immune system fight off disease more effectively due to healthier white blood cells. It also supplies your immune system with the oxygen it needs to kill and destroy bacteria, viruses and germs. Breathing in stale air will not supply your body with enough oxygen to keep your cells fueled and functioning properly.

Sleeping outside can re-energize and re-invigorate your system, with no need for coffee or energy drinks. Research shows that spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people. Often when we feel depleted, we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to spend more time outdoors.

Another argument for sleeping outside is the stark difference in air quality inside and out. It’s not surprising that the better quality we breathe in, the better it works. A night outside in the fresh air improves our ability to think. There were also studies done that show that sleeping outside reduces stress and other factors.

And there you have it! Sleeping in the sukkah was never so appealing. 😉

Did you know that September is National Honey Month? Honey is a real superfood, created from beginning to end in nature. Honey has been used for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians who used it to treat and heal wounds, says WebMD. Today it’s favored not only for its sweetness, but for its nutritional and medicinal properties. Honey has so many benefits, it was a struggle to pick just a few for this post. Here are the top three:

  1. Some types of honey have been found to contain antioxidants (the darker the honey the more antioxidants it typically contains), which can help fight cell damage that may increase the risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc. The American Heart Association recommends that most women consume no more than 25 grams or (6 teaspoons) of total added sugar per day (that’s about 100 calories worth). 
  2. Honey can help speed up the healing process in burns and minor cuts. How? Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally. It can be used as a conventional treatment for wounds and burns by disinfecting them from major species of bacteria.
  3. Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep. Honey’s steady rise in insulin causes the tryptophan in honey to enter the brain, where it’s then converted into serotonin and then melatonin, thereby increasing the quality and length of your sleep.

The United Refuah community wishes you a sweet new year, and happy dipping! 😊

It’s back-to-school time again…. Children all over the world are heading back to classrooms and schoolyard playgrounds. While those environments are nearly impossible to regulate, there are many preventative measures a health-conscious parent can take for a healthy start to the school year:

  • Schedule a wellness visit. Child wellness visits are eligible for sharing as per the American Academy of Pediatrics well-visit recommendations. Children, ages 2 and up, are eligible for sharing once/year after the first 60 days of membership. Children under 24 months of age are eligible for more frequent visits, even during the first 60 days of membership.
  • Get vaccinated; It’s just not worth the risk. Vaccines are eligible for sharing, subject to the annual pre-share amount and co-sharing maximum after the first 60 days.  Don’t forget to ask your provider for VFC (Vaccines for Children) vaccinations, which are provided at no charge for self-pay, uninsured patients.
  • Schedule an eye appointment. Don’t let your kids strain their eyes. Make an appointment with your eye doctor TODAY.
  • Hand washing is one of the most important ways we can prevent the spread of illness in the classroom and elsewhere. By teaching your child how to wash his/her hands properly, you can help he/she reduce the risk of getting sick.
  • Boost your child’s immune system. Keeping your child’s immune system strong is an important way to stay healthy and ward off illness during the school year. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, managing stress, exercising, and emphasizing hand washing can help reduce your child’s risk of getting colds, the flu, and other infections.

Who doesn’t love camping? The fresh air, the incredible views, the chance to spend time with family… But the real reason we love camping is the campfire food! Meals cooked over an open fire just taste better. Here are some simple, healthy camping-friendly recipe ideas that will get you fired up for outdoor adventures, that require minimal effort and are both healthy and delicious.

Now, our inner caveman may love campfire cooking, but the prep-work? Not so much. For the prep, we prefer to dwell back in the modern world, doing as much chopping and prepping as possible in the comfort and convenience of the home kitchen. For best results, chop the veggies, cube the chicken breasts, and so forth in advance, and pack your goodies in air- and water-tight containers in the cooler.

1. Campfire Foil Packs

All you need to do is wrap chicken, beef, and vegetables in heavy-duty foil. Add in some olive oil, and place it near or on the edge of your campfire.

2. Roasted Kebobs

Place cubed chicken, turkey, or beef interspersed with vegetables on a stick. Douse in flavored olive oil. Wrap in foil, and place over your campfire.

3. Healthy Smores

Instead of graham crackers, place marshmallows and dark chocolate between two apple slices. Roast, and enjoy!

Another idea is to place strawberries* on a stick, smear with marshmallow fluff. Then, dip into melted dark chocolate and crushed graham cracker crumbs.

Mmmmm 😉

Happy Camping!

*Make sure to check with your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding the kashrus of strawberries.

It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day life. Things don’t go well, schedules get messed up, plans fall through… basically, life happens. And it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of negativity. It’s human nature to dwell on failure and focus on all the things that don’t go right. But sometimes, it helps to take a step back and count all the blessings in your life. It’s all about perspective.

Take a minute to think about all the things you have to be grateful for. And it doesn’t have to be the big things either. Simple, everyday occurrences that we take for granted, like the fact that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothing to wear. It’s the little things that are the most important. By focusing on the positive, you’ll be able to live a happier, contented life. Framing your thoughts positively can really have a HUGE impact on your life, and the life of those around you.

Try it! Take a minute every day and list all the positive things in your life. It takes so little time, but can have a tremendous effect.

Let us know how it helped you in the comments below.

As Shavuos draws closer, there’s one thing on all our minds. Cheesecake! There’s nothing like a good slice of cheesecake to go with a steaming cup of coffee on Shavuos morning. And there are also cheese bars, pastas, and all sorts of dairy delicacies to be made in honor of the holiday.                    But before you jump in, remember the old saying: “Everything in Moderation.” There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Yes, even cheesecake. Cheesecake is loaded with unhealthy fats and calories.

But – no worries! There are multiple low-fat and healthy cheesecake recipes out there, that are just as good, if not better, than the classic recipes. That way, you can have your cheesecake – and eat it too. [smiley emoji]

We’ve looked through lots of different recipes, and selected the ones that were the most delicious-and- good-for-you recipes we could find. And yes, as hard as it is to believe, they actually exist!

Heavenly Lemon Cheesecake

By: Jamie Geller

  • Prep Time : 15 min
  • Cook Time : 1 hour
  • Ready Time : 1 hour, 15 min


  • 3 (8-ounce) packages light cream cheese
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar substitute, such as Splenda
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup light whipped cream topping
  • 1 to 2 lemons for garnish


Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar substitute and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Add lemon zest, juice, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until center is almost set but still slightly jiggly. Let cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator and let set overnight.

Serve slices with a dollop of whipped topping and additional lemon zest. Enjoy!

Best Healthy Cheesecake Ever



  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 cup reduced-sugar cherry pie filling


  • In a bowl, beat cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add egg substitute; beat until smooth. Pour into a 9-in. pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until puffy and light brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla. Spread over cheesecake. Bake 15 minutes longer. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate.
  • Before serving, top each serving with 2 tablespoons cherry pie filling.


Do you have any healthy cheesecake recipes to recommend? Please share with us in the comments section below.

The sun is finally coming out, and we’re all SO happy to welcome sunshine back into our lives!

The most important thing to remember is to make sure to use SUNSCREEN!

Sunscreen is a real wonder of technology. It’s the closest thing we have to an anti-aging miracle, and it makes the outdoors safe for our skin. We know you probably have questions about how to use it, and even whether you really need to use it. Here’s our primer (see what we did there?) [winking emoji] on all your sunscreen basics.

Sunburns are a result of being exposed to UVB rays from the sun. This only really happens in the middle part of the day in the summer, since that’s when the sun is shining straight down on us. Once the sun’s angle dips below 35 degrees, either because it’s early or late in the day or because it’s winter, you won’t get any significant amount of UVB, and therefore don’t have to worry about sunburn.

But a good sunscreen will also protect your skin from UVA rays, which cause your skin to age and thicken. They also contribute to a significant risk of skin cancer. So make sure to buy yourself a good sunscreen, with a high enough SPF to ensure full coverage and protection.

Worried that you’re rubbing chemicals on your skin every day? That’s understandable. But then again, you’re also rubbing chemicals on your skin any time you apply any lotion or cosmetic. Science has not found any serious threats to your health from using sunscreen.

The bottom line: sunscreen is vital to maintaining healthy skin and staying cancer-free. Don’t #skipthespray. It’s just not worth it.

What’s your top summer safety tip? Drop your comments below!

Even if you planned out your menu for Yom Tov, it’s easy to overlook Chol Hamoed. Don’t forget — you need to eat on Chol Hamoed too! You don’t want to go back on all the hard work it took to be careful to plan out a healthy Yom Tov menu.

To help you out, we did some research, and came up with a list of healthy, easy Chol Hamoed lunch/dinner ideas, hyperlinked to the recipes for your convenience.

You’re welcome. ?

We hope you have a happy, healthy Yom Tov!

Throughout this blog, we hope to share relevant information, updates, and the latest in healthcare, as well as recipes, lifestyle tips and more.

What are YOUR top Pesach planning tips? Share them with us below.

After a long, extended winter, Pesach is finally here!

Maintaining a healthy diet can be very tricky over Jewish holidays, because so much of the holiday revolves around family meals and food. Pesach can be particularly difficult, as there are foods that aren’t particularly healthy that we are accustomed to eat in abundance. But don’t despair! As daunting as this may seem, with a few tricks and a touch of self-discipline, you can get you through virtually unscathed.

The biggest trap that people fall into is saying – “I’ll start my diet after Pesach”.  (Yes – we’re looking at you. ?)

We’ve all said that at some point or another. But don’t leave it all for after the holidays! If you plan well, you can maintain a healthy diet throughout the entire eight days.

Below is a list of tips compiled by lifestyle coach, Alan Freishtat, published by the Orthodox Union for the Pesach season:

  1. Don’t skip meals – especially right before the Seder. Remember, the meal on seder night is much later than you would normally eat a meal, and the resulting hunger could lead to overeating.
  2. Plan a healthy Pesach meal ahead of time. Make sure there are healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes, so you won’t be tempted into eating something you shouldn’t.
  3. Avoid the “All or Nothing” approach to eating. If you overate at a meal, move on and start making healthy, balanced choices again. 
  4. If you don’t use canola oil because of kitniyos, choose walnut oil instead of palm oil, which is high in saturated fat. Your health is worth the slightly higher price.
  5. Make sure to have healthy snack foods handy. Overeating or eating too much of an unhealthy food often occurs because you are too hungry to make wise decisions, or there are no healthy alternatives. Keep cut up veggies, nuts, and cheese available for snacking and….
  6. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Just as you are planning the Seder and your Pesach cleaning in advance, you can also plan your meals so that you are not left hungry. Plan you daily menus, shopping, and snacks so that you have plenty of healthy options and you don’t skip meals.

Read the full article here:

Have a Chag Sameach, and happy planning!

Throughout this blog, we hope to share relevant information, updates, and the latest in healthcare, as well as recipes, lifestyle tips and more.

What are YOUR top Pesach planning tips? Share them with us below.