Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Benefits of a Wood-Burning Grill

According to health experts, grilling foods over an open fire is one of the healthiest cooking methods. Grilling also imparts smokiness to meats, fish and vegetables, improving the flavor safely. And let’s face it, grilling is a must especially when you have friends over!
Operating a grill isn’t taxing nor complex. As long as you have a fire going, then you can start grilling. An outdoor wood-burning grill is a worthy investment especially if you love hosting parties or dinners with friends and loved ones. In today’s post, we are listing down reasons why you should consider getting a wood-burning grill:
Juicy, Flavorful Food
Meats, fish and vegetables cooked over a burning wood just taste better than unhealthy frying. A wood-burning grill doesn’t just add smokiness to the food, it also enhances the natural flavors. The steady heat cooks the meat and poultry to perfection without burning. The result? Scrumptious, juicy grilled meats and perfectly cooked fish and vegetables.
You can even use different types of wood for burning to achieve a certain flavor. Expert grillers swear by almond or apple wood when cooking steaks. Almond and apple wood adds nuttiness to the meat. Maple and hickory complements all types of meats, imparting a strong aroma and richer flavor.
Zero Chemicals
You don’t have to add various seasonings or other food additives to whip up an amazing feast. All you need is a wood-burning grill and a dash of salt and pepper! Minimal seasoning means healthier foods. If you’re watching your sodium intake, you can experiment with different herbs, spices and fruit extracts to flavor meats, fish and poultry for grilling!
Boosts Nutrient Content
Did you know that grilling helps boost the food’s nutrient content? For instance, grilled vegetables contain more nutrients than boiled or sautéed vegetables. Meats retain more riboflavin and thiamine when grilled than fried or broiled. Because the cooking time is relatively short, grilled foods aren’t just flavor, they are also more nutrient-dense.
Less Fat
Grilled foods are less fatty as opposed to fried, broiled or boiled foods. The high heat cooks the meat to perfection, allowing fat to drip down so it doesn’t end up on your food. You can keep grilled foods even healthier by not using ghee, butter or vegetable oil.
Safer, Cleaner Foods
Grilling helps eliminate microbes that may otherwise cause sickness such as E.coli or salmonella. The same high heat that renders the meat juicy and tender inside and out also incinerates germs that may be present on or in the meat. When the food is cooked, you’re sure that it’s not only delicious but also clean too!
Fun, Rewarding Experience
Wood burning grill is often a mainstay in outdoor parties, special dinners and even holidays. Wouldn’t it be great to bond over sumptuous food while watching a game or hosting a special event with friends?
Generally, using wood-burning grill is a great way to touch base with friends, serve good food and have fun. The entire experience is not only rewarding, it will help create priceless memories too!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

More Sex Doesn’t Lead To Increased Happiness

Countless research and self-help books claim that having more sex will lead to increased happiness, based on the common finding that those having more sex are also happier. However, there are many reasons why one might observe this positive relationship between sex and happiness. Being happy in the first place, for example, might lead someone to have more sex (what researchers call ‘reverse causality’), or being healthy might result in being both happier and having more sex.
In the first study to examine the causal connection between sexual frequency and happiness, Carnegie Mellon University researchers experimentally assigned some couples to have more sex than others, and observed both group’s happiness over a three month period. In a paper published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, they report that simply having more sex did not make couples happier, in part because the increased frequency led to a decline in wanting for and enjoyment of sex.
One hundred and twenty eight healthy individuals between the ages of 35-65 who were in married male-female couples participated in the research. The researchers randomly assigned the couples to one of two groups. The first group received no instructions on sexual frequency. The second group was asked to double their weekly sexual intercourse frequency.
Each member of the participating couples completed three different types of surveys. At the beginning of the study, they answered questions to establish baselines. Daily during the experimental period, the participants answered questions online to measure health behaviors, happiness levels and the occurrence, type and enjoyableness of sex. The exit survey analyzed whether baseline levels changed over the three-month period.
The couples instructed to increase sexual frequency did have more sex. However, it did not lead to increased, but instead to a small decrease, in happiness. Looking further, the researchers found that couples instructed to have more sex reported lower sexual desire and a decrease in sexual enjoyment. It wasn’t that actually having more sex led to decreased wanting and liking for sex. Instead, it seemed to be just the fact that they were asked to do it, rather than initiating on their own.
“Perhaps couples changed the story they told themselves about why they were having sex, from an activity voluntarily engaged in to one that was part of a research study. If we ran the study again, and could afford to do it, we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind, perhaps with baby-sitting, hotel rooms or Egyptian sheets, rather than directing them to do so,” said George Loewenstein, the study’s lead investigator and the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Despite the study’s results, Loewenstein continues to believe that most couples have too little sex for their own good, and thinks that increasing sexual frequency in the right ways can be beneficial.
One of the study’s designers, Tamar Krishnamurti, suggested that the study’s findings may actually help couples to improve their sex lives and their happiness.
“The desire to have sex decreases much more quickly than the enjoyment of sex once it’s been initiated. Instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels they experienced at the beginning of a relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun,” said Krishnamurti, a research scientist in CMU’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy.

Carnegie Mellon University

8 Ways to Enjoy Sun-Ripened Tomatoes

There is no such thing as having too many tomatoes! Red, juicy tomatoes make a great addition to pasta dishes, savory meals, and sauces. Wondering what to do with your sun-ripened tomatoes?  Encourage the whole family to eat healthy by whipping up these delectable gastronomic creations:
1. Grill Them
Although tomatoes are traditionally eaten fresh or stewed, you can pop tomato slices on the grill. We recommend marinating the tomatoes for a few minutes in olive oil and fresh basil before charring it slightly over the grill. You can serve grilled tomatoes with melted cheese as a summer appetizer or on the side for grilled meats and poultry!
2. Salsa from Scratch
What’s a classic salsa without juicy, ripe tomatoes? Make your very own chunky salsa from scratch using leftover tomatoes. Just dice the tomatoes up together with onion, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro. Add a dash of lime juice and season with salt and pepper. You can serve the salsa as a side dish, as a dip or as stuffing to meats and seafood!
3. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Do away with store-bought spaghetti sauce. Store-bought sauces are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Instead of feeding your family with junk, why not make good use of those leftover tomatoes for a homemade spaghetti sauce? It’s surprisingly easy to make.
Just blanch fresh tomatoes in boiling water then give them an ice bath to remove the skin. Then, roast the skinned tomatoes. Finally simmer the roasted tomatoes in a pot of water and add fresh basil, minced garlic, oregano, and wine. Season with salt and pepper and you are done.
4.Make Appetizers
Here’s a quick appetizer you can try using fresh tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes thickly and soak it in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add crumbled feta cheese, blue cheese, Mozzarella or any cheese that strikes your fancy. Serve this and enjoy the explosion of flavors in your mouth!
5. Whip Up a Tomato Fruit Cocktail
Tomato is a fruit, but you rarely see it being added in fruit salads. Why not give your regular fruit salad recipe an upgrade by adding sweet summer tomatoes? Just pop halved cherry tomatoes to your fruit salad mix. The tartness of the tomatoes will cut through the sweetness of the summer fruits.
6. Stuffed Tomatoes
If you have large, beautiful tomatoes, you can stuff it with chopped olives, artichokes, feta cheese and seasoned rice for a delightful meal! You can also try filling it with sausage, peppers, and bread crumbs. Just hollow out the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Now fill it with your choice of filling then broil the stuffed tomatoes. Serve it piping hot and enjoy!
7. Tomato Chips
If you’re watching what you eat then you can convert tomatoes into a healthy snack. Slice several tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and basil. Pop the tomatoes in a dehydrator and dry the vegetable for 8 to 12 hours. You can use the chips as a snack, as ingredients for stews or add in salads.
8.Freeze Them
Preserve your leftover tomatoes by blanching them and then giving the tomatoes an ice bath to remove the skin. Remove the seeds and keep the sliced tomatoes in a Ziploc bag. Stick the baggies in the fridge. Now you have a stock of fresh summer tomatoes you can use to make soups and stews during the fall and winter season!

5 Tricks To Learn Any Language Without Going To Class

Nowadays you can adapt and personalize the way you learn more than ever before, depending upon preferences, motivations and time.
Do you remember the point in your school life when you decided which career path you would follow? Was there a moment when your mental magnesium burst into a searing white flame of clarity and you determined to become a chemist, or when you first calculated thirty-four multiplied by twenty-one quicker than the teacher and decided to paint your world in numbers?
One of the imperatives of any teacher is to communicate the purpose of learning; the present and future utility of the information taught. I knew very early on that I wanted to be a world-famous sportsman. I derived so much joy from simply accelerating into big open spaces that no teacher had to convince me of the utility of it. I approached other subjects with a much greater degree of scepticism; why read Shakespeare? Why figure out the length of the longest side of this triangle? Why learn French when they all speak English anyway?
I remember vividly how my French teacher would stand at the front of the class with twenty boards that he would repeatedly shuffle and display. Every week he would show the same boards and we would garble the same sentences. In hindsight, it was most probably a method of crowd control to deliver students into a trance-like state of compliance, but it still despairs me that one of the displayed sentences was Je gagne au loto (I win the lottery), taught in isolation and virtually impossible to use in the present tense.
In an article published in the Guardian, young learners were asked what motivated them to study languages. Interestingly, only a small number considered school a fundamental drive behind their language learning. Exchanges in foreign countries, conversations with native speakers, watching foreign films and new methods of learning via online games and mobile apps proved much more significant.
Since leaving school I’ve learned three languages, two of which I’ve learned to a high degree of fluency. I’m by no means a natural, and certainly not a polyglot. Here are a few tricks on how to learn once you’ve escaped from the confines of your school walls.
1. Throw yourself in at the deep end
Many people will look you in the eye and tell you with utter conviction that the only way to learn is to move to the country of your target language. This isn’t strictly true, but it obviously makes immersion more likely. You still have to seek out opportunities for the lengthy and laborious conversations that really affect the rate at which you progress. Define your new environment early on and in the language you want to learn (don’t forget your original imperatives and slip nonchalantly into groups of fellow countrymen). When I moved to Spain I purposefully moved in with two Madrileños and played weekly games of football and basketball with natives. Speaking is easy when you’re in the mood and you have a beer in your hand, but it’s much more taxing when you’re expelling words between pants after a madcap game of baloncesto. Order your thoughts in these moments, however, and your thoughts will order themselves in less demanding situations.
2. Speaking with natives for one hour is more useful than studying for weeks at school
When you’re just starting out, equip yourself with questions. As you stumble through your first exchanges, you may sometimes perceive yourself as an eye-rollingly tedious conversation partner. Remember that people love to talk about themselves. Expand the range of questions you ask when you meet people and prepare your own answers. If your counterpart is vaguely practiced in the art of conversation, your questions will be duly returned. It is through these exchanges that you will begin to mimic your counterparts, develop and judge register, and even construct a personality in your new language. This bizarre process of personality building is fascinating and infuses the whole experience with an emotional salience that will continue to drive you forward.
3. Blur the lines between your free time and your learning time
There’s a great Eddie Izzard sketch where he pokes fun at the morose inactivity of British film when compared with the bombastic sensationalism of Hollywood. Different countries tell stories differently, and they often have a whole cast of acting royalty that is barely known beyond their borders. At the age of 18, I never would have thought that some of my favourite films 10 years down the line would be in Spanish, German, Portuguese or Italian. I didn’t think a German sentence would move me to tears, or a single scene in a Mexican film would jolt me into the immediate purchase of a ticket to la ciudad. Y Tu Mamá También, El Mar Adentro, Cidade de Deus, Hin und Weg, Biutiful, Le Conseguenze Dell’Amore, Im Juli (and anything else with Moritz Bleibtreu… ) are all films from which I gained so much by watching them in their original, unadulterated versions. And that’s just film. Try listening to Freiheit by Marius Müller-Westernhagen – and to how the crowd reacts to this gawky, poetic homage to freedom itself – and you may struggle to repress a saccharine emotional rush.
4. Travel as much as you possibly can
If you travel, you will enjoy the enormous utility of languages first-hand. Your languages will facilitate your movements, ensure a richer diversity of more authentic experiences, and may well even reduce the cost of your trip. I never really returned to French after school, but in the summer of 2014 I took a train from Berlin to Madrid, stopping off at various points along the way. Between Freiburg and Dijón I hurried through a course all about hotel vocabulary on my phone. When I arrived I asked the cantankerous receptionist tentatively;
“Vous parlez anglais, allemand ou espagnol ?” - Do you speak English, German or Spanish?
I thought the assertion implicit within this question that I was not a stubborn monolingual would placate him, but his reply came venom-lined;
“Non, seulement français.” - No, only French.
“J’ai réservé une chambre pour ce soir. Mon nom est Wood.” - I reserved a room for this evening. My name is Wood.
It wasn’t perfect, but it sufficed, and he perked up enough so as not to eject me from the establishment. I disappeared into my room and proceeded to do the next few courses on how to order food, and then I ventured out into the city of mustard.
5. Take control of your own class
How would you like to learn? How do you think you learn best? Do you know the answers to these questions? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Remember that the most important question is how you like to learn, not how you learn best. If you enjoy the learning process, you’ll stick to it, and even if it takes a little longer, who cares? You’re enjoying it, after all. So relocate your class to a park, listen to music in your new language while walking to work, or best of all, meet up with a friend who’s a native speaker or also learning, and immerse yourself in the simple pleasures of coffee and conversation, just like the protagonists of our video.

3 Hot Tips That Can Help Men Be Healthier

November is here again, and it is time to shift gears to "Movember." For those of you that are not aware, "Movember" is the clever portmanteau of "moustache" and "November," fashioned from the idea of growing a moustache beginning Nov. 1 to help bring awareness to men's health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. The creators of Movember carry the primary goal of "changing the face of men's health issues."
Since "Movember" deals with men's health, it got me thinking about a recent article that was published by the WHO (World Health Organization), which provided a link between consumption of processed meats and cancer risk. One of the main causes of health issues is related to what we put in our bodies. We as men, as a whole, are prone to eat a very animal-based, protein-rich diet. Usually, these diets consist of meats and processed meats, which include bacon or ham, among other tasty options. The report outlines that eating 50 grams of processed meat each day can increase the risk of cancer by 18 percent, which is the equivalent to two slices of ham.
The report mentions colon, stomach and other cancers, but among those, prostate cancer is one of the leading health issues that ignite major concerns for men. In just this year alone, it was predicted by the American Cancer Society that an astonishing 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, with a 29,480-person death rate, making prostate health a serious concern for men. For these reasons, we really need to think "Movember."
As a registered dietitian, I understand the importance of nutrition and its effects on health. Like anything else, moderation is key. As to the report, eating two pieces of bacon or prosciutto, or a juicy piece of steak once in a while is not going to kill you. Rather, I recommend that you focus on the entire diet and not just one food. Also understand that just eating healthy foods alone may not prevent chronic disease or cancer, as there are several other lifestyle factors involved such as exercise, medicine, and smoking cessation. However, for the sake of this blog, I will focus my attention on cancer prevention, specifically prostate cancer, and the importance of food and eating habits. Here are three solid recommendations to help any man be healthier.
Lose the Gut
Now, we get serious to all the guys out there and I want to start by making a distinction between your medical waist and what we might call your fashion waist. As far as the medical profession is concerned, if your waist circumference is more than 40 inches, you are at risk for cancer, heart disease, hypertension, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps most urgent of all, reduction in sex drive! Men, it's time to lose the gut and it's time to reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
What I recommend in my private practice is to moderate alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get a good night's sleep, cut down on refined or processed sugars, increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables and do not skip on meals, this will prevent the tendency to over eat. A few pointers when it comes to portion sizes is to eat according to your hand. Make a fist to measure about 1-1½ cups of carbohydrate, such as sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans or brown rice. Use the size of your palm to measure the portion of proteins, about 5-6 ounces of meat, which should be lean meats most of the time. Be sure to fill up with vegetables, at least half of your plate.
Think Color
You always hear experts saying that you should eat variety and choose from different colors. There is a reason for that since the different colors, or phytonutrients, provide different health benefits, including cancer prevention. Since we are talking about prostate health and cancer prevention, let's think tomatoes. Tomatoes, for instance, contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Research has found that lycopene-rich foods can help suppress carcinogens, slow cancer cell growth, and reduce cell damage (1). Men who have lycopene-rich diets tend to have lower risks of prostate cancer (2).
It's not just eating raw tomatoes that will give you the lycopene benefits; it's the cooked tomatoes that ensure adequate lycopene absorption. Studies have found that the risk of prostate cancer dropped by 19 percent for those who ate cooked tomato products compared to 11 percent for those who ate raw tomatoes (2). Another study showed the levels of lycopene in blood are higher after consuming cooked tomatoes than after eating raw tomatoes (3). So let's welcome some canned tomatoes and tomato sauces. Moreover, there is yet another trick to help the absorption of lycopene, and that is by pairing cooked tomatoes with a small amount of oil or fat. For example, you can drizzle oil in your tomato sauces or you can enjoy a pizza. For this reason, I wanted to provide the recipe for my hearty and delicious Quinoa Parmesan Pizzette that add the power of lycopene rich tomatoes and heart healthy quinoa.
Get Cooking
If there's one incredible thing you could do for your health it's to cook your own meals. You can't really get control of your nutrition and your health until you know exactly what you're putting in your body. If you are preparing your own food, you are in control of your own nutrition. Remember that cooking isn't just about dinner; prepare and pack your lunches as well.
Start off small, by agreeing to cook the evening meal one day per week. Bear in mind that "cooking" includes shopping-otherwise you never really know what's in the food. Once you've mastered a few basic recipes, you'll have a new respect for anyone who gets dinner on the table several nights a week. Moreover, the process of cooking, including the smells associated with food preparation, are part of the experience of satiation, or feeling satisfied from a meal. By taking charge of the kitchen, you'll cook more of the healthy food you want to eat.

Germany medical company rejects blame for blinded patients

Berlin (AFP) - A German medical company on Monday rejected claims its product cost 13 Spaniards their sight in one eye as the substance was also linked to medical mishaps in France.
The Spanish and French governments have recalled the compound, Ala Octa, which is used in eye surgery and produced by German company Alamedics.
Alamedics' general manager Christian Lingenfelder said that a series of laboratory tests had shown "no evidence of contamination or other abnormality" in the product batch used in Spain.
"While there was an initial suspicion that such a medical product could have been the cause if contaminated, now the search (for the cause) must be conducted in the hospitals," he said in an undated statement.
He stressed the need for "chemical purity" and "correct application" of the product, which "must be completely removed from the eye during surgery" to avoid inflammation, a fact he said was known to specialist physicians and stated in the package leaflet.
The company said it was "aware of at least one case in Spain where the product was left in the eye for one week instead of being immediately removed after surgery" and urged further investigations.
Spanish health authorities said Saturday a faulty substance used in eye operations has cost 13 Spaniards their sight in one eye and left 28 other patients also suffering injuries.
Government medical agency AEMPS said it was "aware of 41 cases of people affected by usage of the surgical product Ala Octa, which was recalled by the Spanish health ministry in June and is suspected of causing loss of vision in several people".
The agency said there had been 13 confirmed cases of patients being completely blinded in one eye after operations in which Ala Octa was used.
Other complications included damage to retinal tissue and the optic nerve, inflammations and a loss of sharpness of vision.
The 41 cases were reported at 11 health facilities in Spain, primarily in the Basque region near the French border.
France has also announced a recall of the product.
On Monday its medicine regulator ANSM said two French patients had also lost the use of one eye after using the product.
"Two incidents were reported in France in July 2015, with the consequence being the loss of the function of the eye," said ANSM.
France decided to withdraw the product from the market in late July, although Brigitte Heuls, in charge of medical devices at ANSM, said that at this stage there was no direct evidence the product was to blame.