Upgrade your health without a prescription

Next time when you go grocery shopping, take a look around and try to pick up some of the foods that most of the time are left unnoticed.

Your shopping cart should start looking differently, with more fresh colorful fruits and vegetables and less processed, boxed food.

 Cabbage 

Major player in European and Asian cuisine is almost absent from the North American typical meal.

Health benefits: Cabbage is loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.On top of being healthy, the calories intake is very low. One cup of chopped cabbage has only 22 calories.

How to eat it: There are many ways to add cabbage into your diet. Top your sandwiches and burgers with chopped cabbage, have it as a side dish or as a salad. You can eat it raw or cooked, is equally delicious. 

Beets

Beets are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable and have a rich crimson color.

Health benefits: This crimson power food is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments – called betacyanins—that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.

 

How to eat them:  Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decreases their antioxidant power. For a simple salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add grated horseradish for a spicy version of the salad.

You can also eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They’re now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.

 Swiss chard 

This salty, bitter vegetable is native to the Mediterranean.

Health benefits:  A half-cup of cooked Swiss chard provides a huge amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin, supplying 10 mg each. These plant chemicals, known as carotenoids, protect your retinas from the damage of aging, according to Harvard researchers. That’s because both nutrients, which are actually pigments, appear to accumulate in your retinas, where they absorb the type of shortwave light rays that can damage your eyes. So the more lutein and zeaxanthin you eat, the better your internal eye protection will be.

How to eat it:  Chard goes great with grilled steaks and chicken, and it also works well as a bed for pan-seared fish. Wash and dry a bunch of Swiss chard, and then chop the leaves and stems into 1-inch pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, and add two peeled and lightly crushed garlic cloves. Sauté for 1-2 minutes then add the chard. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the leaves wilt and the stems are tender. Season the chard with salt and pepper. 

 Goji berries

These raisin-size fruits are chewy and taste like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. More important, these potent berries have been used as a medicinal food in Tibet for over 1,700 years.

Health benefits:  Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings—a method of gauging antioxidant power—of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although modern scientists began to study this ancient berry only recently, they’ve found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance—a risk factor of diabetes – in rats.

 How to eat them: Mix dried or fresh goji berries with a cup of plain yoghurt, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or cold cereal, or enjoy a handful by themselves. You can find them at specialty supermarkets or at gojiberries.us.

How to boost your metabolism

Your metabolism is based on your metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn throughout the day.

Your body constantly burns calories to keep going, while you are eating, sleeping, exercising or simply running chores. A slow metabolic rate can cause your body to store fat, which is why keeping your metabolism charged is an important part of a healthy weight-loss program.

Depending on your body type, age and your needs, the typical calories intake is a minimum of 1, 200 to 2, 000 calories a day.

If your calories intake is too low, your metabolism slows down in order to conserve calories rather than burn them.

It also forces your body to break down muscle tissue to get the necessary energy.

Loosing muscle is bad for a number of reasons. For once, more muscle means a faster metabolism and less body fat.

Tips for boosting the metabolism naturally:

  1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Eat a balanced diet and make sure you eat enough calories. What you should consider having in your diet: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, lean proteins and fresh herbs and spices, to give you energy and keep blood sugar level even.

Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, seeds, nuts) promote longer lasting energy levels.

Lean proteins( white poultry meat, fish, soy foods, lean meats, lean diary) offer essential proteins for better digestion and muscle building.

 

  1. Drink water

Try to aim at at least 8 glasses a day. It will help your digestion, keep your skin well hydrated (may help with your fight against wrinkles as well) and help your body function efficiently.

 

  1. Eat breakfast

Eat a balanced, healthy breakfast within an hour of waking to jump start your metabolism. Try to include proteins like eggs or soy foods.

 

  1. Eat on a regular schedule

Don’t go more than four waking hours without eating. If you don’t give any food to your body, it will go into a starvation mode and preserve the calories as much as possible. As a consequence the metabolism will slow down.

 

  1. Eat metabolism-boosting foods

Add metabolism-boosting foods to your meals. Include celery, cabbage, apples, grapefruit, spinach and berries.

These foods are natural metabolism boosters. Proteins containing omega 3 fatty acids have also been proven to have positive effects on metabolism.

 

  1. Get your sleep

Getting enough sleep will help your metabolic functions.

 

  1. Exercise regularly

For optimal metabolism boosting and fat burning, a combination of aerobic exercise (running, treadmill, stepper, dance) and resistance training seems to be the best.

Toys “R” Us Canada recalls Aqua Dots

My son has been asking for months for this Aqua Dots toy. Luckily for us, I did not buy it.

The toy consists of hundreds of coloured beads that can be arranged into various shapes and designs, and it’s approved for use by children ages four and above in Canada.

With a special 4 colour chamber pen you arrange the beads on a template, then spray water and wait for it to dry.

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Yesterday Toys “R” Us recalled the popular toy after it was discovered that a similar product in Australia releases a hallucinogenic drug when swallowed by kids.

The Australian version of the toy- called Bindeez- was found coated with a chemical that releases the drug gamma-hydroxy butyrate, also known as GHB or fantasy, when swallowed.

GHB, also known as liquid ecstasy, is a depressant that can lead to euphoria, lowered inhibitions, increase sexual desire, as well as dizziness, drowsiness and memory lapses. High doses can cause severe side effects, including hallucinations, seizures, vomiting, black outs, coma and death.

Bindeez, sold by Moose Enterprise in Australia, has been named toy of the year 2007.

Two kids landed in hospital after they swallowed some beads but recovered since then.

It was not immediately known where Bindeez is made.

Aqua Dots, distributed in North America by Spin Master Ltd  will not be available at Toys “R” Us for the foreseeable future. Spin Master noted that both Aqua Dots and Bindeez are manufactured by Moose Enterprise .

According to the media release from Moose Enterprise   they voluntarily recalled the Bindeez from Australian market and is fully cooperating with health and consumers organisations.

The products are manufactured by internationally approved Chinese toy manufacturers.

So the mistery is solved: the toys are manufactured in China.

Media release
7 November 2007

Organic food on a budget

Is there any way to buy organic food without going into bankruptcy?

Yes, if you select carefully what you buy.

Some things labeled ‘organic’ might not be that organic after all. Products like cleaners, cosmetics, even seafood does not face the same requirements as meat and vegetables.

 

What is worth buying organic:

– Fruits: Apples, cherries, grapes, pears, berries, peaches, nectarines, plums

– Vegetables: Celery, potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans

– Meat: Beef, pork, poultry

– Eggs and dairy

– Baby food

 

What is not worth it:

– Fruits: Bananas, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, oranges

– Vegetables: Asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, sweet peas

– Meat: seafood

– Processed food (including pasta!!), cleaning products, cosmetics

 

The price on organic meat and eggs very often is 100% more than regular one; the reason is the expensive organic feed for animals.

Alternative: consider antibiotic and/or hormone free meat

 

Long time I thought that free-range eggs were coming closer to the organic version. Actually I was wrong. Free-range means that the chickens are not living in cages, but allow roam freely within the farm and they are going to feed on greens and insects. But that does not mean they are going to be fed organic food.

The good part is that eggs from free-range chickens have higher nutritional value, more Omega 3, Vitamins A and E and lower levels of total fat.

From my shopping experience I can say that the price difference between free-range eggs and organic eggs is not that big, but if you buy on a budget it can be taken into account.

 Another way to budget your organic shopping: look for what’s on sale. Also, buy fruits and veggies that are in season when pricing becomes much more competitive.

Beachfront properties in France

Dreaming about moving to France?

Let’s take a look at France’s regions

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Cannes, the Riviera… the perfume of old times.

France enjoys miles of stunning beachfront property. Depending on your preferences, you can choose between the calm, family-friendly resorts of the Normandy coast, the rugged beauty of the Celtic Brittany shores, the sandy immensity of the Landes, the thrill of the surf on the Atlantic by Biarritz, and the timeless charm of the Mediterranean in the south, among other destinations. Needless to say, this is not the cheapest sector of the property market, but on the whole it represents good value, and there are still affordable areas if you look hard.

 

The Riviera

Properties along the Riviera tend to be pretty expansive. Prices have risen over the past couple of years and now rival those in Paris, but it is still possible to find compact studios in these coastal towns for under $150,000.

But you can still find a ready-to-move-in one-bedroom apartment of just over 450 square feet with a view of the sea in Marseille for $137,000.

 

Beachfront Property in Normandy

With its 400 miles of clean, uncrowded coastline, and easy access to Paris, beach land and beach lots here are much sought after-you’ll be competing with Parisians looking for an easy weekend getaway, and, with the arrival of a low-cost airline in Deauville, with Brits eager for the same. Low-key Trouville is popular with families, yet close enough to the casinos of Deauville for entertainment. Honfleur still draws crowds at weekends except in the depths of winter, and the old-fashioned resort of Granville has a slow charm of its own.