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Friday, December 19, 2008


By David Zinczenko, with Matt Goulding
Provided by: Eat This, Not That America's Worst Mall Foods!

It’s that time of year again, when you’re logging more hours than ever at the mall. Blame stress, blame shopping fatigue, or blame the irresistible smell of food-court treats slamming your senses from the minute you walk in the door—whatever the reason, you’ll probably end up chowing down at the mall during your shopping trip.

Here’s the danger: Studies have shown that the more temptation people resist, the harder it becomes to continue resisting. That means after hours of being surrounded by last-minute sales, special offers and life-changing, one-time deals, your ability to resist the enticing edibles of the mall food court may be severely compromised. And considering the industrial-strength calorie bombs we uncovered while researching the Eat This, Not That! series, a lack of willpower in the presence of mall eateries can be a very dangerous thing.

Fortunately, we’ve developed a guide to help you navigate the nutritional pitfalls that pollute nearly every mall food court in America. What follows is a list of the worst foods we discovered in our scramble to save shoppers serious calories in the holiday season. Proceed with caution.

WORST CHINESE MEAL
Panda Express
Orange Chicken
500 calories
27 g fat (5.5 g saturated, 1 g trans)
42 g carbs
810 mg sodium

FAT EQUIVALENT: 9 strips of Oscar Mayer Bacon!

Compared to other traditional Chinese meals (think multi-serving takeout boxes of carb-loaded lo mein), 500 calories doesn’t seem so bad. But consider the source—one small serving of Panda Express orange chicken usually comes with a second entrée (add another 300-400 calories) and a side of rice (add 450 calories if you choose the fried variety, 380 for the steamed). Make it a double serving of orange chicken and a side of fried rice and you’ve just consumed 75 percent of your day’s calories in one moment of weakness.

Eat This Instead:
Broccoli Beef
150 calories
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated)
510 mg sodium
11 g carbs

WORST SNACK
Auntie Anne’s
Glazin’ Raisin Pretzel
510 calories
107 g carbs
4 g fat (2 g saturated)
480 mg sodium

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 2 slices of Pizza Hut cheese pizza!

It’s hard to consider this meal. Not all of Auntie Anne’s options are this heavy, though. The jalapeno pretzel (without butter) is a reasonable-sized snack that can give you the energy boost you need to make it through your shopping spree, without loading you down and threatening your waistline.

Eat This Instead:
Jalapeno Pretzel, no butter
270 calories
58 g carbs
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
780 mg sodium

WORST SLICE OF PIZZA
Sbarro
Stuffed Pepperoni Pizza, 1 slice
890 calories
g fat: unknown
mg sodium: unknown

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 3 Snickers bars!

It’s probably no surprise that a pizza labeled “stuffed” would pack a caloric punch—but 890 calories for a single slice? You’d have to eat 3 Snickers bars, or 20 Chicken McNuggets, or 15 KFC Hot Wings to match that load. And that’s not even taking into account what are surely stratospheric fat and sodium counts. (Sbarro’s doesn’t release full nutritional information for their menu items. Check out what other dirty little secrets your favorite restaurants are hiding in this eye-popping expose!)

Eat This Instead!
New York Style Thin Crust Cheese, 1 slice
460 calories

WORST SIDE
Steak Escape
Ranch and Bacon Fries
1,044 calories
71 g fat
1,398 mg sodium
84 g carbs

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 23 McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets!

Consuming half your day’s allowance of calories in one meal is bad enough—but in one side dish? Claiming innocence will never hold up in a Food Court of Law, though—not when a flood of ranch, a flurry of bacon, and a mountain of fried potatoes are involved. Until some nutritionally savvy company starts baking their fries in the oven, you’ll need to seek out alternative treatments to get your spud fix.

Eat This Instead:
Smashed Potatoes
246 calories
0 g fat
43 mg sodium
53 g carbs

WORST DRINK
Smoothie King
Grape Expectations II (40 oz)
1,096 calories
0 g fat (0 g saturated)
266 g carbs
250 g sugars

SUGAR EQUIVALENT: 13 Dunkin’ Donuts Chocolate Frosted Donuts!

Smoothie King calls this a way to “snack right”; we call it one of the quickest ways to pack on extra pounds. Even if most of the sugar comes from some form of fruit or fruit juice (in this case, ultra-sweet grape juice), the resulting blood-sugar surge (and inevitable energy crash) from this much sweetness may leave you struggling to find that last gift for Aunt Elma.

Drink This Instead:
Slim-N-Trim Orange-Vanilla 20 oz
250 calories
1 g fat (0 g saturated)
46 g carbs
38 g sugars

WORST BREAKFAST
Cinnabon
Regular Caramel Pecanbun
1,100 calories
56 g fat (10 g saturated, 5 g trans)
141 g carbs
47 g sugars

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 8 White Castle hamburgers

Cinnabon and malls are inseparable. Consider it a symbiotic relationship: Researchers have found that men are turned on by the smell of cinnamon rolls, and further studies have shown that men are more likely to spend money when they’re thinking about sex. But just because Cinnabon might be good for the Gap doesn’t mean it’s at all good for you. This dangerously bloated bun—among these Fattiest Foods in America—contains nearly an entire day’s worth of fat and more than half of your daily allotment of calories. Reconsider your breakfast or snack options, but if you absolutely must eat something, make it Stix.

Eat This Instead:
Cinnabon Stix
379 calories
21 g fat (6 g saturated, 4 g trans)
41 g carbs
14 g sugars

WORST SOUP
Au Bon Pain
Large Macaroni and Cheese Stew with Bread Bowl
1,120 calories
42 g fat (19 g saturated, 1 g trans)
3,070 mg sodium
157 g carbs

SODIUM EQUIVALENT: 22 small orders of McDonald’s French Fries!

Whether it’s made from a giant fried tortilla or a massive hunk of sourdough, if you’re serving vessel is edible, you’re asking for trouble. In this case, the bread bowl adds a belly-building 600 calories to what is already one of America’s most decadent, over-the-top spoonables. If soup’s your thing, you’ll have a hard time keeping the sodium down no matter which bowl you order; good, old-fashioned tomato soup is as good as you’ll do at Au Bon Pain.

Eat This Instead:
Medium Old Fashioned Tomato Soup
200 calories
7 g fat (3 g saturated)
1,150 mg sodium
27 g carbs

WORST MALL FOOD IN AMERICA
Quizno’s
Large Tuna Melt Club with cheese and dressing
1,820 calories
147 g fat (27 g saturated, 1.5 g trans)
2,020 mg sodium
85 g carbs

CALORIC EQUIVALENT: 12 Taco Bell Fresco Style Beef Tacos!

Tuna off the grill or straight from the can is perfectly healthy; tuna drowning in mayonnaise, blanketed in melted cheese, and slicked with oily dressing is decidedly not. Not only does this sandwich carry with it nearly an entire day’s worth of calories and sodium, it also contains as much fat as 49 strips of bacon. In fact, it’s so bad that it will replace Quizno’s Classic Italian in our list of the 20 Worst Foods in America when we update it for 2009.

Eat This Instead:
Small Tuna Melt, no cheese, no dressing
500 calories
33 g fat (5 g saturated)
630 mg sodium
37 g carbs

Plan to have the little ones in tow this shopping season? Make sure they’re eating at the best possible places by checking out our list of the Best and Worst Restaurants for Kids.

Better yet, skip the restaurants now and then, and live off the healthiest staples in the supermarket. You’ll find them here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Herb Folklore
By Tina Columbus

Throughout the centuries, herbs have provided many practical uses. Their aromatic leaves have been used for cooking, decorating, and medicinal purposes. Many myths and legends have also become associated with herbs. With their healing properties as well as being tasty, fragrant, and attractive, people throughout the ages believed that the plants possessed magical qualities and attributed some interesting myths to them:

Bay Leaf: According to myth, the beautiful Daphne was changed into a bay as she escaped the clutches of Apollo. Thus, Apollo made a crown out of bay leaves and branches and wore it in her honor; In the 17th century it was believed that bay leaves repelled witchcraft. Pots of bay were placed in front of doorways in order to ward thwart evil spells and curses; It was also believed that bay would prevent one's house from being struck by lightning.

Chamomile: The Anglo-Saxons believed chamomile was one of the sacred herbs given to the earth by the god Woden; In Victorian times, chamomile symbolized patience in adversity; Chamomile is believed by some to possess the power to attract money, gamblers soak their hands in a chamomile infusion in order to increase their chances of winning.

Cinnamon: The Romans believed cinnamon to be sacred, and the emperor Nero burned bunches of it as a sacrifice at his wife's funeral; In the Middle Ages, cinnamon represented wealth and power. At large banquets, hosts served cinnamon in order to impress the guests.

Cloves: When the fragrant clove forests were discovered in Indonesia, it was said that they must always be planted around water in order to flourish; For over 4,000 years, people chewed whole cloves in order to freshen their breath and it was said that in ancient China if anyone wanted to speak to the emperor, they were required to have a clove in their mouth.

Dill: Dill represented wealth to the ancient Greeks; During the Middle Ages, dill was believed to possess magical powers and could destroy evil spells. A drink made from dill leaves was the remedy for anyone who believed that a witch had cast a spell on them. People also wore charms made from dill leaves to protect themselves from evil spells.

Fennel: During the Middle Ages, fennel was hung above doorways and on rafters in order to ward off the devil. Fennel seeds were also placed inside keyholes in order to prevent ghosts from entering the house; In 470 b.c. the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. They fought on a field of fennel and this led to the belief that fennel inspired courage and strength. Greek and Roman soldiers chewed fennel seeds before entering battle.

Lavender: Legend says that the pleasant smell of lavender comes from the baby Jesus. After washing his swaddling clothes, Mary hung them to dry on a lavender bush. Thus, the plant was given the smell of heaven; In the Middle Ages it was believed that couples who place lavender flowers between their bedsheets would never fight.

Mint: According to myth, Hades had developed a lust for a nymph named Minthe. Hade's wife Persephone found out and angrily transformed Minthe into a plant to be trampled on. Hades could not undo the spell, but he was able to ease it by giving Minthe a wonderfully sweet fragrance which would be released whenever her leaves were trampled on.

Oregano (Marjoram): The ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite created oregano; They believed that if it grew around a grave, the deceased would have eternal happiness; In Germany, oregano was hung over doorways to protect against evil spells; In the Middle Ages, oregano symbolized happiness and love.

Rose: According to myth, the first roses did not have thorns. While Venus' son Cupid was smelling a rose, a bee came out and stung him on the lip. Venus then strung his bow with bees. She removed their stingers and placed them on the stems of the roses; Myth also says that all roses were originally white until Venus tore her foot on a briar and all the roses were dyed red with her blood; In Christian lore the red color of roses comes from the blood of Christ.

Rosemary: From the times of ancient Greece through the Middle Ages, it was believed that rosemary strengthened the brain and memory. When they needed to take exams, students braided rosemary into their hair in order to help their memory; The ancient Greeks burned rosemary in order to repel evil spirits and illness; In some parts of Europe, it was believed that if an unmarried woman placed rosemary under her pillow, her future husband would be revealed to her in her dream.

Sage: The Romans believed that sage was a sacred herb that gave immortality. Up until the 18th century, it was believed that sage increased fertility. It was also believed that sage strengthened the mind.

Thyme: During the Middle Ages it was believed that the scent of thyme inspired bravery. Knights wore scarves with thyme leaves sewn on them during tournaments; In English lore, if a person collected thyme flowers from hillsides where fairies lived, and rubbed the flowers on their eyelids, they would be able to see the fairies.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun, Healthy, Delicious Food - Can You Really Have it All


Fun, Healthy, Delicious Food – Can You Really Have it All?

by: Sahar Aker


Is there really such a thing as food that is fun, healthy, and delicious? So many people think grub that’s good for you automatically takes all the fun out of eating. After all, healthy food can’t possibly taste good, can it? Of course it can!


I have been busy gathering some ideas for fun, healthy, delicious foods to share with you. If you have kids, these are recipes I think they’ll like too. And here’s another bonus – they are all easy to make:


• Have you seen those “Flatout Mini” soft wraps? I love these! They are small-size wraps that are low in calories, convenient, and very versatile. Try this easy recipe – all you need are the wraps, cooking spray, Mrs. Dash, and Parmesan cheese. Cut each wrap into 16 wedges and place on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with a little Mrs. Dash and a bit of Parmesan. Bake at 350-degrees for about ten minutes or until lightly brown and crisp.


• Fruit kabobs – This is a fun alternative to a plain old bowl of fruit. Just pick a few of your favorites – maybe apples, pineapple, bananas - and cut them into chunks. Slide the fruit onto a skewer. Next, roll the skewer in a plate of nonfat yogurt… then roll again in a plate of shredded coconut. Voila! A fun, healthy, delicious snack!


• Sandwich kabobs - Cut whole-grain bread, low-fat cheese, and your favorite deli meat into cubes. Slide them onto skewers along with some veggies like grape tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and olives. Dip into fat-free or low-fat Italian dressing.


• For a quick mini-pizza, top an English muffin (go for the whole grain ones) with spaghetti sauce and a little shredded low-fat mozzarella. Broil until the cheese melts.


• Pop a frozen waffle or pancake into the toaster and top it with warm applesauce and cinnamon. Too easy, huh? • Freeze some grapes, bananas, cherries, or maybe peaches and blend with yogurt for a fruit smoothie.


• Yogurt pops – fill paper cups with your favorite non-fat or low-fat yogurt and put a popsicle stick in each cup. Freeze and enjoy!


• Creamy Coolwich (from Nabisco World) - put 2 tablespoons of sugar free Cool Whip in between graham cracker squares. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for three hours or until firm. Yum!


• Blueberry Cracker Bites (from Kraft Foods) – spread 1 teaspoon light cream cheese on a reduced-fat Ritz cracker and top with 5 frozen blueberries. Too fun!


So, you see – healthy foods can be fun and delicious.


Now, I am a firm believer that the key to a successful, healthy lifestyle is to choose fun good-for-you foods and exercises when you can. It’s a tough enough fight out there whether you’re trying to lose or maintain weight. But enjoying the journey is half the battle.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Basic Tips To A Good Multiple Sclerosis Diet


Basic Tips To A Good Multiple Sclerosis Diet

by Hazel Leong


Healthy eating is important for everyone, but it is particularly important if you have a chronic illness, such as Multiple Sclerosis. A good Multiple Sclerosis diet is understood to help manage and possibly eliminate many of the symptoms that come along with the disease. This can help slow the progression of the disease. Good nutrition, especially adequate calories and protein, helps maintain your bodies store of protein, provide energy, heal wounds, and fight infection. In between you should check with a doctor for a specific suggestions or procedure, for the basic tips to a good Multiple Sclerosis diet.

A key factor in a well Multiple Sclerosis diet is to eliminate all gluten. In general, you should avoid eating anything with flour, but you can check package ingredients if you are unsure of their content. There is no diet that will treat or cure multiple sclerosis, however there may be some connections between Multiple Sclerosis and diet. Many diets besides the Multiple Sclerosis diet do not allow gluten, so this is now easily found on many packages. Avoiding wheat, barley, oats, or rye is another way to cut gluten. People who eat too much saturated fat, processed lunch meats and sausages or have low levels of vitamin B12 or vitamin D may be at a higher risk for Multiple Sclerosis.


Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meats, fish, dairy products and eggs. For a successful diet you should also limit or keep away from animal fats, including dairy products and butter. Olive oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil are suitable alternatives for cooking or salads. For good digestion, you should try to avoid fried foods in general. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk and cereals, but your body can make most of the vitamin D you need when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Both vitamins can be taken as dietary supplements as well.


There is some evidence that reducing saturated fats and increasing polyunsaturated fatty acids may be of some benefit to people with Multiple Sclerosis. Totally avoid highly saturated fats in your diet. White meat skinless chicken, seafood, and fish are the best meat choices. Make sure to always completely remove any fat. Try to replace the saturated fats you cut out with unsaturated fats. Be sure to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and choose whole grains whenever possible.


Anyone, but specially those on a Multiple Sclerosis diet, should try to totally eliminate advanced sugar. There are many healthier alternatives that you should understand as well. Honey, fructose, or natural unsweetened fruit or vegetable juices would be ideal for a person on this diet. Supplements such as evening primrose oil contain gamma-lanoline acid. This substance can be converted by the body to form lanoline fatty acid. However, individuals with Multiple Sclerosis seem to have difficulty making the conversion.


Apparently, any foods you are allergic to should be cut from your diet. If you are unsure of allergies, try consulting a doctor or allergy specialist. Vitamin supplements may also be beneficial or even necessary for your Multiple Sclerosis, but you should consult a doctor to make sure you take the right vitamins. You may also try eliminating all of the most ordinary crisis foods from your diet, and after two weeks bring them back one at a time. If you have a bad response to any food, then you be supposed to eliminate it from your numerous sclerosis diets.


You should increase the amount of fresh vegetables and fruits in your Multiple Sclerosis diet. Try to always eat recently cooked food when you must cook it. This will add to the amount of vitamins and minerals your body absorbs. This will help to make up for some of the nutrients you lose by critical certain things from your diet. Medical researchers currently believe that MS patients are not born with multiple sclerosis and it is not a genetic disease. It has been suggested that geographical locations may have a correlation to Multiple Sclerosis.

Try to always drink lots of water. It is very easy for a person with Multiple Sclerosis to become dehydrated, so make sure to drink at least 8 large glasses of water every day. Additionally, those with Multiple Sclerosis should get enough rest and exercise, should try to lead as stress-free a life as possible, and should try to remain active in both body and brain. As weird as it sounds, this may help to get better the incontinence that many people with Multiple Sclerosis suffer from.

These tips for humanizing your Multiple Sclerosis diet are planned to help you control many universal troubles such as fatigue, incontinence, and constipation. Studies have indicated that eating a healthy low fat diet rich in essential fatty acids may be essential to managing Multiple Sclerosis.


Adjusting your diet may also help to avoid making other problems worse. Many of these tips are built-in in other diets, and even people without special dietary needs may advantage from following these suggestions. It has also been suggested that individuals with Multiple Sclerosis should not only supplement their diet with essential fatty acids but may also benefit by supplementing with vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How Can You Be Sure Your Children Are Getting The Nutrition They Need?


Most parents would worry that if they keep their children from eating those fatty foods that they love, and only offer vegetables, that the children will starve, or have nutritional deficiencies.


These parents feel that the kids will just not eat the food. If you think about it this way, how much nutrients are they receiving from the fatty, processed foods now? If their diet consists of French fries, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, chocolate pudding, and maybe chicken fingers, how could it be worse if you only offer fruits and vegetables? Sure, maybe they will demand to have the foods they like, and not eat. They will eventually get hungry and if you keep offering fruits and vegetables and do not give in, you will see that they will begin to enjoy it, especially if they see everyone else in the family eating healthier.


Incorporate bean soups, such as yummy lentil soup and if that doesn’t work make your lentil soup into a “lentil burger”. You may have to gradually change their eating styles. Try making fresh bean and/or vegetable soups with some cheese sprinkled on it. Make sure it is tasty, and not too spicy. Make homemade pancakes with wheat and only sweeten it with pure raw honey. Make fruit shakes and throw in a carrot or romaine lettuce. Make tasty salads with homemade dressings….and also make faces out of the tomatoes and cucumbers and carrots. Make tasty salmon and have them try it.

There are so many possibilities and recipes that you can try. Do not give up on your child because they have shown a dislike for a vegetable or fruit. Just eat it around them and watch them ask you for a piece. Keep offering it to them at dinnertime and ask them to eat a couple of bites.

If children eat plenty of fruits and green leafy vegetables, they are also getting their calcium requirements. But you could also include some almond milk or rice milk if you want.

The focus is to keep introducing them to new foods so that they develop a taste for natural foods that we as humans were meant to eat.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why Need Drinking Water Filters

If you are one of the many people who are not using a drinking water filter, then maybe you should start to think about getting one, because otherwise you might be doing yourself some harm. Why is this?

Have a look in any grocery store or supermarket that sells drinks or beverages. What's the most popular item on those shelves? Chances are you'll see it's bottled water. The supermarkets are finding they are selling the stuff in huge quantities now. The reason is that people are beginning to realize that the water coming out of their tap is not really very good for them, and it also often tastes lousy. So they will buy bottled water even though it's heavy and quite a drag to carry all the way home!

If you care about your health and that of your family, that's as good a reason as you need to look into the whole question of the quality of the water you are drinking.

If you haven't yet found out what is in the water that comes out of your kitchen faucet, you could be in for a shock. It often contains varieties of such heavy metals as uranium, radium and also chromium. These metals enter the water supply quite naturally through rock formations and the like. There is often lead from old pipes that the water still passes through.

The water companies add large amounts of chlorine to kill off bacteria. Chlorine gives the water an unpleasant "swimming pool" smell and taste, which is not nice to drink. And there is evidence that chlorine can be harmful to humans, not just bacteria. The water authorities also add fluorides to the water, which is an additive whose benefits are strongly contested by many experts.

As if that wasn't bad enough, there is a dwindling stock of truly fresh water available, and so many municipal systems use reclaimed water and, yes, that does mean the water is reclaimed from the sewage system. Add to this that many irresponsible people tip engine oil, paint, or solvents into the system, and we end up with a picture that is far from pretty. Despite the best efforts of the water companies, quite a lot of that stuff gets through to your tap.

The alternative that many people go for is bottled water. But this is heavy to carry, often expensive, and the disposal of the plastic bottles can be harmful to the environment.

Perhaps it's time for you to think about getting a water filter for your home? The good news is that there are many excellent home filter systems on the market, with different types of filtering arrangement to suit all types of need, and a good filter system will take out almost all of the contaminants we mentioned, without any of the problems associated with bottled water. It is a good idea to read some reviews before you buy.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chicken Rendang

Rendang is a popular dish in Malaysia. Preparing it may take a while but the result is satisfying.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Chicken
- 1.5 kg chicken, cut into 12 pieces and wash with salt. Rinse well.
- 250ml coconut milk
- 100ml water
- salt to taste

Ground Ingredients
- 3 tablespoon clarified butter
- 8 cloves shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 15 stalks chilli padi
- 3cm fresh tumeric
- 4cm ginger
- 1 tablespoon meat curry powder

Garnishing
- thinly sliced tumeric leaves

Instructions
1. Heat the clarified butter, saute the Ground Ingredients until cooked. Add chicken pieces, stir and mix evenly over low fire for 5 minutes. Then add meat curry powder, water and milk.

2. Stir the rendang until gravy thickens. Add salt to taste.

3. Sprinkle with chopped tumeric leaves before serving.

Serve hot.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

http://www.mybloglog.com/buzz/join_comm.php?ref_id=2008091410473927

What is a Flogger?

A friend of mine asked me what a flogger was. I replied, a flogger is a combination of food and flogger.

There are plenty of bloggers out there, ranging from political blogs to gossip blogs and even travel blogs. However, one if the common themes is food, which means there are plenty of floggers out there.

In Malaysia, there are plenty of floggers. This is especially so because Malaysia is famous for its food and there are a lot of bloggers who blogs about food and food outlets.

In fact, I am a flogger, too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why Use Flower Food?


While a flower is attached to the plant, it receives nourishment allowing it to grow and develop. When cut from the plant, it loses its source of nourishment and water. Fresh Flower Food was developed to simulate the flower's original environment, and allow the flower to fully develop (open).


The key functions of a fresh flower food are:- Provides food in the form of sugars to keep the flowers alive. Just like ourselves, flowers use carbohydrates as an energy source.- Helps lower the pH, which keeps the water/food conducting system in flowers working at maximum efficiency.

- Stem unpluggers


Homemade versions such as copper pennies in the water, aspirin, soda, etc., do not contain all of the necessary ingredients vital to sustaining flower life. For the most part, they are ineffective and end up costing you more than fresh flower food.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Gift Of Flowers Is Better Than An X-Box


A Gift Of Flowers Is Better Than An X-Box

by: Wesley Berry, AAF

One of today's hottest items, and among the most requested gifts, is the X-Box game system. Although video games are a lot of fun, the money it costs to buy an X-Box would be better spent on flowers. In fact, according to a study titled the Home Ecology of Flowers Study conducted for the Society of American Florists (SAF) Flower Promotion Organization (FPO), flowers have an amazing affect on those who include them in their lives.

The study was conducted by Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., who is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. One of the findings of the study was that they fuel compassionate feelings in people. Participants in the study began to experience more feelings of compassion towards other people after living with flowers for less than one week.

The study also showed that flowers help people to feel less anxious, worried, and depressed when they were at home. When participants were at home with flowers they quickly began to feel less negative. Because they wanted to see the flowers as much as possible and as soon as they woke up each day, the participants placed their flowers in areas where they would be spending a great deal of time, such as the kitchen, dining room, and living room.

Another finding of the study was that they improve the energy and enthusiasm of people who live with them even when the flowers aren't present. Participants felt better and happier in their workplaces just because they had flowers at home.

To help spread the great news of the positive impact of flowers, Dr. Etcoff will serve as the spokesperson for the SAF/FPO alliance for a major public relations campaign set to begin soon. The campaign will make the findings of the Home Ecology of Flowers Study public and keep generating information about flowers. Included in the campaign will be a press kit for print media, a satellite television tour, and other materials.

Incredible news like this is definitely cause for celebration. May I suggest a party complete with gifts? But, forget the X-Box, give flowers, instead.

A Great Way to Send Flowers




A Great Way to Send Flowers

by: Morgan Hamilton

Men giving flowers to women probably goes way back to around somewhere near the dawn of man. It is really easy to understand why women adore flower so. They are beautiful to look at and very sweet to smell. Though they’re sometimes considered a bit cliché, sending flowers has been a standby in romantic relationships since the dawn of time.

Granted, some of this predisposition toward flower-giving is more than likely a part of culture we come from as depicted in nearly every old movie and television show. I can recall the husband or boyfriend usually always showing up with the ubiquitous bouquet of flowers when he knows he’s done something wrong. A man's way of paying penance. Nonetheless, flowers make up an aspect of adornment and decoration in almost every culture worldwide, so there must be something universally attractive about them.

If you’ve ever tried to purchase flowers from a florist, especially near Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, you know you want universal fact, they can be quite expensive. But if you think about it, isn't that high cost justified? Ever attempted growing an orchid or a calla lily? There is nothing easy about it. There’s always the option of swinging by the park or your neighbor’s garden and helping yourself to whatever flowers are in season, but getting arrested or whacked over the head with a rolling pin isn't very appealing.

How and where you get your flowers can be a bit of a challenge, it’s never been easier to send flowers. Telflora caught on to the idea early, allowing you to send flowers from anywhere in the U.S. with a phone number, and address, and a credit card. FTD saw that winning business model and ran with it as well, and now the vast majority of florists will send flowers for you as long as the recipient is within a reasonable distance. The delivery the also, of course, costs extra.

With the popularity of e-commerce it’s not surprising to know that most florists, especially larger chains, allow you to send flowers by ordering them online. This is a great way for you to pick out the various flowers that they have in their inventory without having to actually visit the florist. Although few things are more pleasant than the sights and smells of a well-stocked florist. Complex, pre-made arrangements are also a lot easier to visualize and decide upon when you can see a photo of them on your computer screen. When it is time for you to send flowers, I suggest you first at least take a look at the Internet so you will have an idea of what you like to send.

Best Gourmet Coffee - The Top Ten Ingredients




Best Gourmet Coffee - The Top Ten Ingredients


by: Joachim Oster

Premium arabica coffee is a gift from the sun and the earth, born only under perfect environmental conditions in the mountainous regions between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. The best coffee requires light, fertile volcanic soil, abundant rainfall, some cloud cover, warm temperatures, very little wind, sunny mornings, rainy afternoons and the purest air. But where on earth can these ideal conditions be found? How about Kona, Hawaii? At the base of volcanoes Mauna Loa and Hualalai, the view is bounded on one side by mountains of perpetual green and pacific blues on the other. The morning air is soft and balmy, yet pure and refreshing.

There is no place more beautiful where one would desire to pass their allotted time on earth, nor is there any other place better suited for growing specialty coffee! This is the Kona Coffee Belt, a 20-mile long by 2-mile wide band, which rests 700 to 2,500 feet above sea level. Spanning between the slopes of two volcanoes, lush green hills are covered by small, family owned plantations made up of trees that are sometimes more than a hundred years old. Here's are the 10 key reasons why Kona coffee, one of (if not THE) worlds top gourmet coffees can come only from Kona, Hawaii.

The Air

There is an island, which is far away from any other land. So far actually, that when the winds finally arrive, the air is cleaner and clearer than anywhere else on earth. Naturally filtered of pollutants and oxygenated by thousands of miles of ocean in each direction, it feels like breathing pure silk. This is Hawai'i, the most isolated archipelago in the Pacific and in the world. Hawaiian weather patterns are affected primarily by high-pressure zones in the north Pacific that send cool, moist trade winds to the island's northeastern slopes. The winds are forced up-slope, where moisture condenses into rain producing clouds - a phenomenon that creates the rich tropical environment for Hawai'i's flowers and vibrant greens.

The Earth

The Big Island is a bit smaller than the state of Connecticut and slightly larger than the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. It's the largest of the seven Hawai'ian islands though, yet only 130,000 inhabitants call this place home. Due to Hawai'i's remoteness, the islands have been spared many diseases and countless pests have never landed on its shores, which enables the land, the sea, even the air to remain abundant, fertile and pure. The disintegrating volcanic rock on the Big Island is rich in natural minerals and erodes easily. This geologically young, porous and well-drained soil, mixed with decayed vegetation creates nutritious and healthy pastures for Hawaii's flowers, fruits and verdant greens. The Big Islands broad slopes and high peaks obstruct the flow of weather patterns over the Pacific, causing 13 of the world's 16 global climates to be found here: sunny beaches, tropical rain forests, cool alpine regions and stony deserts - each with its own unique weather, plants and animals.

The Water

The year-round warm ocean waters are responsible for the equally balmy air temperature. On their long journey, the trade winds pick up the cleanest ocean water and drop it onto our mountains. Rain is not gloomy here, but nurturing, cleansing, warm and refreshing. Towering cumulus clouds tend to build up over the volcanoes on sunny warm afternoons, resulting in brief, intense and localized showers. One may ask where all the rainwater goes, if not used by vegetation or running back to sea? Accumulated rainwater is filtered through rocks and pools between ancient layers of lava, creating gigantic aquifers of the purest fresh water deep in the earth to be tapped by future generations.

The Fire

The Hawaiian islands were created by a fine crack in the mantle of the earth, which leaked so much lava onto the deep ocean floor that it created the world's highest volcano. And if measured from the ocean floor, it is also the world's highest mountain. Magnificent steam explosions occur where the glowing lava flow enters the ocean and creates new land out of rocks, pebbles and sand. The volcano is believed by Hawaiian's to be an incarnation of the goddess Pelé, who is soothed by sacrifices and offerings of respect. Occasionally one may find stony strands of her 'hair' or pellets like shiny 'tears' on the beach, from when she wanders amongst us mortals in the figure of an old woman.

Sun drenched mornings and misty afternoons are not all Kona needs in order to produce the perfect Hawaiian coffee climate. Large steam plumes on the other side of the island are produced where lava enters the ocean. These clouds contain a mixture of light hydrochloric acid and water droplets, which is created when the intense heat of lava evaporates salty seawater. This hazy mixture we call 'laze'. The constant airborne emissions of the Kilauea crater releases sulfur dioxide gases, which react chemically with sunlight and oxygen. They form a sulfuric acid fog we call 'vog' (volcanic fog). The trade winds dilute these cloud mixtures and send them on a hundred mile journey around the southern tip of the island to Kona. Here in the coffee belt this cloud mixtures serve as a gentle and natural fertilizer for the coffee trees. Volcanic soil is sometimes too alkaline and requires these acids in order to balance the pH value, which in turn creates the perfect growing conditions for coffee arabica trees. This unique combination is yet another reason that Kona coffee beans come from the most productive trees on earth!

The Trade Winds

Throughout most of the year Hawaiian weather patterns are affected primarily by high-pressure zones in the north Pacific that send cool, moist trade winds to the island's northeastern slopes. The strength of these winds build as the heat of the day rises and reach a peak in the afternoon, only to diminish in the evening and start again the next day. The trade winds are forced up-slope by the mountain heights where moisture condenses into rain producing clouds. Most of this rain falls then in the mountains and valleys on the wet, windward (northeastern) side of the island and it is this weather phenomenon that creates the rich tropical environment for Hawaii's flowers and vibrant greens. Shelter on the dry, leeward (southwestern) side from the prevailing trade winds and occasional tropical storms is provided by the 14,000 foot height of the volcano Mauna Loa. But there is enough wind left for the Kona coffee belt for some cooling breezes during tropical nights.

The Shade of Vector Clouds

Coffee trees cannot withstand dryness, heat or frost. For these reasons only the world's premium coffees are grown under shade trees, which protect against the overhead tropical sun. Other commercial or inexpensive coffee varieties require additional fertilizers and pesticides in order to thrive in harsh, sunny terrains. Without a lush tree canopy for protection, the thin tropical soil of these sun-loving varieties is exposed to blazing rays and eroding rains. The sun literally scorches the much-needed microorganisms that exist within the earth. Once destroyed, they must then be replenished artificially. Naturally shade grown Kona coffee maintains a nutrient rich soil, which reduces acidity and produces dense and more flavorful beans. During the course of any given Kona day the land is gently heated by the sun, which draws moist breezes up the slopes to create what's called vector clouds. These clouds not only make shade trees obsolete, but they prompt drizzly convection rains throughout the afternoon. Therefore only in Hawai'i is coffee grown at lower altitudes and naturally irrigated. Each day around 20,000 gallons of pure, fresh Pacific rainwater is poured onto each acre of happy coffee trees. But moments after these periodic rains disappear, one may witness the sun once again pushing its way through at the coast below, creating magnificent rainbows and the most breathtaking Hawaiian sunsets.

The Trees

The coffee tree is one of the few plants that can simultaneously grow a blossom as well as a ripe fruit on the same branch. These trees develop a deep root system in our porous, deep and well-drained soil. Not really huge trees, they appear more like bushes with heavily ridged leaves and long whip like branches that bend toward the ground once heavy with fruit. Members of the gardenia family, they produce amazingly fragrant, brilliantly white flowers that coat the hills many times throughout the year. Over here the folks like to call these blooms 'Hawaiian snow'. Century old coffee trees are handpicked to obtain the best flavor, assuring that only the reddest, ripest and finest cherries make it into your cup. Picking cherries too early or too late in the season will affect the taste of coffee, so only a trained eye knows exactly which fruit is at the right stage. Not many people know this, but the average Kona coffee tree yields about 13 pounds of raw cherry, which results in about 2 pounds of roasted coffee. So when you order 2 lbs from a Kona coffee farm, you're actually buying the yearly fruit of an entire tree! If you want to avoid consuming higher levels of caffeine,make sure to always serve coffea arabica beans, as they have half the caffeine, but double the aroma of the cheaper coffea robusta beans. To know that you got any of the other aforementioned benefits buy only pure Hawaiian Kona coffee (100% Kona Coffee).

The Sun Drying

During the pulping process the harvested red berries are soaked in the freshest and purest rainwater to ferment overnight. This labor-intense 'wet method' is the preferred way of processing high grown arabicas. The soaked skins and pulp are then removed from the beans, which are later washed and spread out to dry on a wooden dry deck. The moist beans are raked many times throughout the day so that the drying happens uniformly. Kona's warm sun and gentle breezes dry the beans slowly to the perfect moisture level. Commercial grades of coffee utilize a mechanical drying method, which forces hot air over the beans to speed up the drying process. This method proves less labor intensive, therefore lowering the price. Sundried coffee maintains more of a delicate, mellow flavor--whereas kiln dried coffee will oftentimes lose some of the aromas Kona coffee is famous for. The only way to safely preserve coffee and its rich aromas for as long as possible is to keep it in its parchment form. Yet most coffee is processed very quickly to its green bean form in their respective country of origin. Once the green beans are exposed to air, light and humidity, the surface oxidizes and bacteria, yeasts and moulds start their deteriorating work. Many months journeys in the stuffy hold of a ship, various cargo trucks and warehouses go by before the green beans get to the roasters and ultimately to your cup. Better to only hull the parchment of the beans right before they are roasted. It's simply healthier and tastier.

The Small Estates

Family owned plantations produce the finest, estate-grown coffee with superior large, dense and flavorful beans. Kona coffee maintains individual subtleties; much better tasting than pooled, generically sold cheaper alternatives. Kona is comparable to the Champagne region in France, which produces the only legitimately named 'Champagne' product. And like Champagne, 100% Kona coffee is distinguished from commercial blends not only by region and the ideal growing conditions, but also by the enormous amount of care taken throughout each step of the farming, harvesting and roasting processes. Whether it's from the individual pruning of the trees, handpicking only the ripest coffee cherries, carefully sun-drying on large open decks and roasting prior to packaging the coffee in specially sealed bags to ensure freshness--you can be assured that Hawaiian Kona coffee is comparable to no other. Only 14,000 to 16,000 sacks of this precious Kona coffee is produced each year by the few hundred farms dotting the hills of this region, making pure Kona coffee the rare and sought after gourmet coffee in the world.

The 100% Rule

Most likely any coffees you ever drank came from ultra-productive, low-waged labor, machine-picked and pesticide sprayed coffee farms in other parts of the world. Large companies who trade in coffee are interested in buying the cheapest beans available, resell, ship, store it for many months to the point where they have to infuse coffee aromas back into the beans during the roasting process! And you wonder why your stomach rebels against that second cup... Intense hand labor, only ripe beans, a unique climate and soil in Kona combined with natural processing gives this coffee its greatness. Real, fresh 100% Kona coffee is hard to come by outside of Kona, which is why many coffee drinkers are easily duped. Companies all over the world mislead customers and profit on the reputation of the Kona fame by mixing few Kona coffee beans with much, much cheaper inferior Central or South American beans. This combination produces an atypical, cheaper taste, and is commonly referred to as '10% Kona Blend', 'Kona Roast', or 'Kona Style'. Yet this name misleads folks to believe that the bag of coffee they've purchased contains a mix or 'blend' of various Kona coffees. The law of Hawai'i stipulates that a bag of pure Kona coffee must have printed on its label the words 100% KONA COFFEE to guarantee its contents. So watch out for it and check the bag or cross check the coffee websites carefully before you order!

Barley: An Ancient Super Food Rediscovered


Barley: An Ancient Super Food Rediscovered

by: Darrell Miller


Most people would be surprised to find out that the number-one cause of premature aging and disease in the Western world is the over-consumption of food. This is true not only because too much food can make us fat, but also because everything we eat must be processed by our bodies, which requires an expenditure of energy. Since the body has to be continually processing calories, we suffer much wear and tear.


Within each cell of the human body, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthful fats, and other important nutrients are the important parts that create energy and repair the wear and tear that our body is continually fighting.


The modern diet is extremely abundant calories, but yet extremely light on these healing, renewing substances. A diet that is calorie-dense yet nutrient-poor has a serious effect on the state of our health, causing us to be overfed and malnourished.


Barley in the most energy-efficient food available in nature, having major implications for those who are concerned with maximizing longevity, avoiding disease, increasing athletic performance, and fighting obesity. Barley is much more than a supplement found at your local health food store, it is a complete food which has been converted into a super food through an all-natural process, making it so powerful and functional that it can be used to nourish those who are struck by famine.


Actually, the United Nations uses it as a relief food for those in famine-stricken countries because of its ability to support human life better than any other single food. In ancient Rome, sprouted barley gruel was used as a food for gladiators and also as a staple for the roman army.


Sprouting is known as a way to transform grains or beans into a more nutrient-dense food that is easier to digest. The unique activating procedure, where the grain isn’t sprouted but pre-sprouted instead, uses a low-temperature process that was first used as a replacement for mother’s milk, as a formula for infants who were unable to nurse. The process that is used to activate barley preserves enzyme activity, vitamins, and minerals, bringing it just to the point where it’s ready to sprout then putting it into a state of suspended animation, where it is then transformed into a powder that mixes easily into any drink or recipe.


Barley transforms into a gel in the GI tract, slowing its passage through the body, which in turn allows maximum nutrient absorption. It also stabilizes glucose levels and is great for use by diabetics. Its composition is unique among others, being extremely energy dense, providing four hundred percent more energy than barley that hasn’t been pre-sprouted.


Barley is often used to improve athletic endurance, help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, control hunger, boost the immune system, and detoxify the blood. It has a very low glycemic index, allowing it be used in low-carbohydrate diets. This super food is rich in soluble fiber and beta-glucans, which explains its healthy effects on cholesterol, blood sugar balance, and the immune system.


The pre-sprouting process that is used also to increase the grain’s content of beta-glucan a substance known to boost the immune system. Have you had your barley today?

Food and Flower




Food and flower has always been man's best friend. Food is essential to man as it provides energy. Food also provides nutrients.

According to Wikipedia, Food is any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal or human for nutrition or pleasure. Items considered food may be sourced from plants, animals or other categories such as fungus or fermented products like alcohol. Although many human cultures sought food items through hunting and gathering, today most cultures use farming, ranching, and fishing, with hunting, foraging and other methods of a local nature included but playing a minor role.

Most traditions have a recognizable cuisine, a specific set of cooking traditions, preferences, and practices, the study of which is known as gastronomy. Many cultures have diversified their foods by means of preparation, cooking methods and manufacturing. This also includes a complex food trade which helps the cultures to economically survive by-way-of food, not just by consumption.

Many cultures study the dietary analysis of food habits. While humans are omnivores, religion and social constructs such as morality often affect which foods they will consume. Food safety is also a concern with foodborne illness claiming many lives each year. In many languages, food is often used metaphorically or figuratively, as in "food for thought".

Flower, on the other hand, makes man happy. Flower, provides happiness to those who are sad, represent oneself when not being able to be present and are used to present as gifts.

A flower, also known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to mediate the union of male sperm with female ovum in order to produce seeds. The process begins with pollination, is followed by fertilization, leading to the formation and dispersal of the seeds. For the higher plants, seeds are the next generation, and serve as the primary means by which individuals of a species are dispersed across the landscape. The grouping of flowers on a plant are called the inflorescence.

In addition to serving as the reproductive organs of flowering plants, flowers have long been admired and used by humans, mainly to beautify their environment but also as a source of food.