• Foods

    Foods that Relieve Stress

    Foods photoTimes are tough. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. For some people that means living with stress. The effects stress can have on a person are profound. According to WebMD, stress can have a negative affect on the heart. It can also cause back pain, headaches, an upset stomach, nausea and diarrhea. Those are just some of the common symptoms.

    Stress over time can also affect the body. For instance, WebMD says over time it can cause your immune system to become weak. If you are stressed a lot you’ll likely get sick often. They say stress can also cause high blood pressure, low fertility and acne.

    Stress can also affect a person emotionally. WebMD says stress can affect the way a person feels, thinks and acts. For instance, when someone is stressed they may feel tired all the time or worry too much.

    So, now that you’re aware how stress can affect your body and well-being let’s talk about relief.

    Relief can come in many forms. For instance, you could exercise, get the recommended eight hours of sleep or eat to relieve stress. The best way to cope with stress is to find a method that works best for you.

    For the sake of this article we’ll focus on food. According to WebMD, food can fight stress in various ways. Some foods contain a calming brain chemical, while others can lower adrenaline.

    Below are five foods that WebMD says can relieve stress.


    Many comfort foods contain a calming brain chemical. An example, of a comfort food is a bowl of warm oatmeal.

    Complex Carbs
    Complex carbs are great at relieving stress because they help the brain make serotonin and make people feel balanced. Some examples are whole-grain breakfast cereals, breads, and pastas.

    Oranges
    Oranges have tons of vitamin C, which can reduce levels of stress hormones, while strengthening the immune system.

    Spinach
    Spinach has lots of magnesium, which can regulate cortisol levels.

    Bed time snacks
    Eating a bedtime snack can help you sleep better. It can also help the brain release serotonin. For instance, a glass of warm milk makes for a great bed time snack because it can relieve anxiety.

    Being stressed shouldn’t be taken lightly. Finding a way to relieve stress should become a priority because the affects it can have on the body or a person’s well-being are profound. Focusing on foods is just one of many methods that can work to relieve stress. If you choose to focus on food, it’s important to monitor what you eat. Make sure you’re not eating too much or too little. It’ll also be important to make sure you are eating well.

    List of SourcesDiet

    1. for stress management slideshow: stress-reducing food. WebMD.
    2. Stress Management – Effects of Stress. WebMD.
  • Foods

    How To Save Money On Groceries Now: Top Tips for Saving on Your Food Bill

    Groceries  photoWith crashing stock markets and closures looming like summer storm clouds, American’s purse strings are pulled tighter than ever before. Your average working family’s income is now going toward the rising cost of household bills instead of savings and investments. Desperate times call for desperate measures but saving money on food doesn’t always have to be at the expense of quality. Check out these money saving tips to help you save a bundle on your grocery bill.

    Buying Generics

    OK, so generic brands might not have the best reputation but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Many generic brands are almost exactly the same as their name brand counterparts. In fact, many are made in the same factories and plants. Just because the products aren’t name brand doesn’t mean they are sub par. But buyers should beware of off brand vegetables and cleaning products. The veggies tend to have undesirable pieces (ex: stems) and cleaning products can be watered down.

    Coupons!

    That mailer in the mailbox every week used to be trash but don’t be so quick to head to the can. Take some time to browse through it because they often have good deals and can point you to the super markets with the best sales. Weekly mailers usually come toward the end of the week (Thursday or Friday) and are good for the coming Sunday to Saturday.

    Price Club Cards

    Most of the larger chain markets have “club cards.” It only takes a second to fill out the paperwork and you can usually get your card on the spot. These are good for taking advantage of “members only” deals which can change from week to week. “Club cards” are especially useful during the holiday season because they often allow shoppers the chance to accumulate points to earn free products like holiday hams and turkeys.

    Super Stores

    Super stores are a good choice because they allow shoppers to but in bulk and save money on gas. Instead of running around town picking up this and that, shoppers can do all of their shopping under one roof.

    More money saving tips include buying locally made products (they cost less because it has to travel shorter distance), visiting farmer’s markets for fresh produce, and turning leftovers into new meals.

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  • Tech

    Technology: Wii, Mii, and Getting Ahead

    Technology photoWhen it comes to computers and technology, I can usually figure things out– mostly out of perseverance. That isn’t to say that I necessarily like it or that I’m even close to being technologically advanced. In some ways, it’s really gotten irritatingly fast and furious. Damn those printer drivers and software updates that have rendered the “scanner” function of my perfectly good printer useless. (Thanks again, HP!)

    It was only last year that I finally got an ipod. I do enjoy it, especially for working out and music on the go. Yet, I’m only utilizing a fraction of its memory and I’ve run out of data. I can’t even fill 4GB. Does that make me an ipod loser? Then again, I’m not a downloader. I still come from the school of CDs and full-length albums. It just seems strange for me to download an itune.

    I don’t have texting on my cell phone. There are no games or apps and I can’t surf the internet with a click of a button or check my e-mail remotely. I’m on Facebook, but I can’t even begin to compete with those who change their profile pic every couple of days and put way too much thought into coming up with a catchy, cool status update to send from their iPhone

    I got a GPS for Christmas two years ago and it was only six months ago that I finally got around to opening the box.

    “This is actually pretty convenient,” I thought as I wondered why I hadn’t tried it earlier.

    This year, I got Wii Fit Plus for Christmas. I decided to be more “up on things” this time around so I hooked it up. Although, it will never replace my regular workout, it definitely has its pluses– especially on those rare, rainy L.A. days– like today. I like the balance games– namely the snowboarding, the ski slalom and even the aerobic hula hooping even though I feel

    Some, okay most, of this technology is highly unnecessary. We’ve just allowed ourselves to get lazy and bored. I was perfectly fine without the ipod, the GPS, the Wii, and even e-mail [way back when] but all of it opens up a new world of possibilities.

    When jogging with the Wii, for instance, a friend pointed out, “OR you could just jog for real outside…” Well, yeah, sure I could, but Wii jogging in place in front of a faux waterfall won’t replace real jogging– it’s just a different experience.

    Microwaves have become ubiquitous, yet they still haven’t replaced ovens. And we were, I might mention, the last family in the neighborhood to get a microwave. (My mom was convinced that it was shooting radiation microwaves into our brains. I guess the jury’s still out on that. I still try not to stand in front of the microwave for that very reason.)

    In short, technology has its ups and downs. Some days I hate, hate it and other days, the convenience factor makes me never want to look back. On the other hand, some people have trouble looking forward. To this day, my mom still has dial-up internet. She can’t even view episodes of our web series, “It’s Always Smoggy In L.A.” and she pays more than I do for DSL. Her new years resolution is high-speed. By the time she gets it, technology will be onto the next big thing and we’ll both be left in the dust.

    Certainly things will continue to somersault ahead of me faster than I want to follow, but technology has certainly improved some things. Although, HP, if you’re out there, stop with the software updates– seriously. Not all of us can afford to get a whole new system of doing things every time you decide to upgrade.

     

  • Home

    Recycled Wood Floors and Lumber for the Home: Despite Weak U.S. Housing Market, Demand Grows for Reclaimed Wood

    Wood Floors photoRecycling lumber is easier on the environment but can be harder on the wallet. Though more expensive than new lumber, there are good reasons for using reclaimed wood for construction projects and flooring.

    Environmental Benefits of Using Reclaimed Lumber for Construction

    Aside from the obvious advantage of having to cut fewer trees, reclaimed lumber benefits the environment in additional ways. While some energy-intensive processing is required to make recycled lumber useable, it’s significantly less than the amount needed to turn standing trees into building lumber.

    Construction Benefits of Recycled Lumber

    After years of lumbering in all parts of the United States, most of the construction grade lumber is from second growth forests, most old growth wood having been harvested long ago. Most reclaimed lumber that is salvaged from old buildings is from old growth trees. This means that it is denser and has straighter grain then new wood. Recycled wood is more stable than new wood; any warping or shrinking caused by drying happened long ago.

    Pricing of Reclaimed Lumber for Building

    The use of reclaimed lumber is easier on the environment, and less easy on the wallet. It may cost more than new wood because of the work that goes into preparing the wood for reuse. Most recycled lumber comes from old barns, factories, and warehouses, which have to be disassembled by hand to provide reusable wood.

    Recycled Wood for Flooring

    While business is down in construction and related fields, sales are still fairly strong for tongue and groove wood flooring reclaimed from old barns, homes and factories. People interested in building or remodeling green homes buy it because they like the idea of using a recycled product. As with reclaimed lumber, it’s not the price point that makes it popular as it can cost $3 or more per square foot than new flooring that has been prefabricated to look old.

    Modern machinery, however, cannot precisely duplicate the look that a hundred or more years of wear imparts on a wood floor. It’s the patina and the random digs and dings that help make these old floors look warm and lived in. More and more homeowners are willing to pay a little extra to do their bit for the earth and bring the warmth and charm of old and mellowed wood into their homes.

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  • Home

    Eco Friendly Home Improvement: Home Design with Mother Earth in Mind

    Eco Friendly  photoHome design with mother earth in mind – If you are just starting a home improvement project or are thinking about one in the near future, think about saving money and the Earth at the same time. Thinking “Green” will not only help the Earth in the long run but it can also save you money.

    Say no to oil based products
    By using products that are not synthetic based we can lower the amount of oil that the world’s population uses and thus lower the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. For example installing a new carpet made of natural wool fibers rather than nylon or polyester will not only reduce the dependency on oil but the reduction of the pollutants made during the processing of it. Wool carpet does cost more than nylon but it lasts longer and does not build up a static charge like the synthetic fabrics do. Wool carpet can also add value to a home.

    Think cotton
    For decorator fabrics choose cotton rather than polyester. Drapes, throw pillows and even upholstery can all be made from cotton or another type of non-oil based textile. Burlap, jute and silks are other types of textiles that can be used.

    Stay close to home
    Buying items that were manufactured close to where you live cuts down on the pollution caused by shipping an item. Think about buying products for home decoration from local artists and craftsmen.

    Maintenance
    Thinking about how you will maintain your newly done home improvement project will determine if it is truly a “Green” home improvement. If you have to clean your new carpet or flooring with a harsh chemical rather than biodegradable cleaner then maybe you should rethink your project. It is also more eco friendly to have a hard surface floor rather than carpet. Vacuuming a carpet uses electricity. Shampooing the carpet uses chemicals and more electricity. On the other hand a hard surface floor just needs sweeping and the appropriate floor cleaner applied with a mop.

    To help our future we must look to our past
    It seems that our technology based lifestyles has become our planet’s undoing. Chemicals and the technologies that have developed over the last 15 years has done more in creating pollution and toxic landfills than we care to think about. By turning to our simpler past homes made with natural elements rather than man made synthetics we can try and make a difference in our world ecology. For more information on helping our planet go to Rescue our Planet.com

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  • Foods

    The Food Network is Making Me Crazy

    Food photoDoes watching the food network make you feel inadequate as a cook sometimes? Yes, I do refer to myself as a cook because the title of chef requires more knowledge and training.

    My fascination with the food network started out of boredom from the same ole staples in my kitchen. Some of my regulars would be baked chicken, rice and green beans. Occasionally, there would be spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a roast. Then on a have-to-put-something-on-the-table-night there were franks and beans, hamburgers and french fries, sandwiches or pizza and salad.

    And then the mouth watering Sunday dinner consisted of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams and cornbread with homemade lemonade or iced tea. Banana pudding sometimes if they were lucky.

    My family never had a problem with Sunday dinner and neither did I. But I was getting tired of Monday through Friday’s meals.

    As I became more frustrated we began to eat out more. And the more we ate out we began to get sick of that. Don’t want to eat at home and don’t want to eat out either.

    So what do I do? Run out and apply to the top culinary schools in the country? Perhaps visit one of those establishments where you can prepare your meals a week in advance. Both of those options required either time or money or both.

    So what did I do? I turned on the .

    My sister had been trying new recipes out on the family and most of them came from her favorite cooks on the food network. Some dishes were hits and some were misses. But the ones that were hits were different; flavorful. I wasn’t use to having these flavors on a daily basis. And I liked them.

    So I started watching some shows on the food network. I tried 30 minute meals with Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and Emeril live to name a few. But the one that stood out with me was Iron Chef America.

    I watched and watched very carefully. Meals were prepared from beginning to end in front of my eyes.

    I’m not really one to follow recipes. I prepare by using the method of cook to taste which works well for me because who better than myself to be the judge of my own cooking.

    So what did the food network teach me? It didn’t exactly teach as much as giving me ideas. It got my creative juices flowing and opened my mind to healthier options.

    For the first time in my life I started using olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh vegetables, chicken broth etc…

    I sauté, grill and bake things in ways I never thought of preparing before. I’m cooking vegetables like, squash, zucchini, colored bell peppers, broccoli and cauliflower on a regular basis. I even tried broccolini courtesy of my sister, but I didn’t particularly care for it. But I tried it and that’s what matters.

    I’m using new phrases like EVOO-extra virgin olive oil for you amateurs out there. And I finally figured out what a reduction is. And that one had me stumped for a minute.

    The food network is great but I would also like to give honorable mention to Top Chef courtesy of the Bravo network. I watch for entertainment purposes in addition it has introduced me to new techniques that I’ve never heard of.

    Lastly, I would like to give an honorable mention to Hell’s Kitchen courtesy of the Fox network. It provides me with non stop laughter and several ways on how not to do things in the kitchen. And for some reason I like Chef Ramsey.

    Until next time Bon appétit!

  • Tech

    Next Generation Hard Drive Technology

    Hard Drive Technology photoSolid-state technology for computer hard drives is relatively new for PC consumers. Although military applications and industry have been using solid-state technology for some time, the first solid-state computer hard drives really only became affordable for everyday personal computing on desktop machines in late 2008. So, you may not yet be familiar with what a solid-state computer hard drive is or why it is much better than a conventional hard drive.

    What Is a Solid-State Computer Hard Drive?

    Unlike conventional computer hard drives, which use a motor to drive a spindle with a magnetic head to encode and read information from a magnetically coated disk (platter), a solid-state computer hard drive contains no moving parts. Instead, these hard drives, such as the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA Solid-State Drive, use only flash memory, a CPU and a battery component.

    Many smaller devices, such as flash drives and camera memory cards, already use solid-state technology for portable data storage. This year, however, solid-state technology is becoming popular for more than just flash drives, and with good reason. In fact, with entry of affordable solid-state computer hard drives onto the market, some industry experts are predicting the death of the traditional computer hard drive.

    Advantages of Solid-State Technology

    Their unique design gives solid-state computer hard drives a decided advantage over other computer hard drives. Don’t take my word for it, however. Learn the facts and decide for yourself.

    Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from a solid-state computer hard drive:

    • Lower Failure Rate – You have probably already experienced at least one computer hard drive failure. In fact, with a mechanical hard drive the moving parts make eventual failure somewhat likely. Even something as innocent as dust getting in the mechanism could cause problems. Since there are no mechanical parts to solid-state drives, the failure rate is much lower.
    • Longer Life – With a conventional hard drive it is usually not a matter of whether the drive will fail; it is a question of when. Most hard drives fail after several years and can be severely damaged if dropped or shaken. In contrast, with a solid-state drive there are no mechanical parts to wear out. In addition, advanced products such as the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA employ wear-leveling algorithms to extend the life of the drive.
    • Environmentally Friendly – A traditional computer hard drive needs a fan to cool the motor down. However, there is no cooling requirement for a solid-state hard drive, as it consumes less power and is easier on the environment than a traditional hard drive. The lower power consumption means that a computer with a solid-state hard drive costs less to operate, too.
    • Faster – You may think that your traditional hard drive is fast, but a solid-state hard drive can access data in a fraction of the time that a typical hard drive takes. For example, a typical hard drive can take as long as 10,000 microseconds to access data. The read latency for the Intel® X25-E Extreme SATA is only 75 microseconds. That makes the solid-state drive 133 times faster!
    • Quieter – Traditional computer hard drives have gotten quieter over the years, but if you listen carefully you can probably still hear your computer hum (something that you won’t hear with a solid-state machine). The mechanical parts of the computer drive cause that hum.
    • Lightweight – A solid-state drive weighs much less than its traditional counterpart, making it easier to ship and store. The lighter weight also gives your computer equipment a much lighter footprint and makes your computer easier to install and move.

    A Word About Cost and Size

    If solid-state technology is so wonderful, you might ask yourself – why are we still using traditional hard drives? Why don’t all computers have solid-state drives?

    Until recently, a relatively high cost and low memory size kept solid-state technology drives from dominating the personal computing market. However, the newest generation of solid-state hard drives offers both reasonable cost (less than $1,000) and larger storage capacity.

    With recent technological advances, solid-state technology is not just for flash drives any more.

    What to Remember When You Choose a Solid-State Computer Hard Drive

    As the solid-state computer hard drive technology market starts to heat up, dozens of players are bound to enter the consumer market.

    However, your best bet for finding a reliable solid-state hard drive is to look for a company that has decades of memory engineering experience and a solid reputation for design and reliability. Doing your homework and carefully choosing the right vendor is crucial to getting the right computer hard drive for your needs.

     

  • Home

    Setting Up a Personal Filing System

    Personal  photoWith all of the information that is out there and circulated to the home (car payments, bank statements, and utility bills) paperwork can get to be overwhelming. There is the question of what to save and file and what to discard. Anything other than advertisements seems important and should be either read or saved. A personal filing system can help keep everything in perspective.

    Choosing a Filing Cabinet or Other Type of Filing System

    The type of filing cabinet that is chosen goes according to the quantity of materials a person has. A college student may require a small portable portfolio for tuition bills and other small bills. A person who has more information (say from years of home ownership or divorces) may have more paperwork and is going to need a larger filing system (something like the metal ones used in offices, but on a smaller scale).

    There are plastic filing systems and more simplistic filing systems (racks for folders) that can also be used. Some may be happy with storing information in a small vault or drawer. A drawer might not be the most practical way to organize as items need to be separated and easy to view. Considering where to place this filing system is another challenge. Finding a small corner in a home office is ideal.

    Separating Bills, Taxes, and Other Papers

    Before filing items that include bills, taxes, and other important papers (doctor bills, any financial statements and letters) the information needs to be separated and files need to be clearly labeled. The system is personal and has to work for the person organizing it. Large black letters may be used (written or typed) indicating what is in each file. Red tags or removable notes may be inserted where there is something important to follow up on.

    Maintaining and Cleaning out the Filing System

    As things are neatly stored away in the personal filing system and kept up to date, items should also occasionally be cleaned out. Papers can quickly pile up and take up too much room. When this happens, cleaning is necessary. When sensitive items pile up (tax information, financial statements, and other items containing social security numbers) shredding is in order.

     

    These days, throwing papers out with sensitive information on them is risky because of identity theft, so it has become very common to shred sensitive documents. To solve the problem, shredding services may be hired or small shredders can also be purchased at almost any office supply store. To speed up shredding, do not file papers away with a lot of staples in them (they’ll have to be taken out later, unless the shredder can shred staples).

    A personal filing system can keep private information handy and accessible. Making sure the right type of system is chosen for personal belongings is necessary. Keeping track of everything and cleaning out once in awhile will keep things in order and up to date the next time something needs to be retrieved.

  • Foods

    Gyminee.Com – Workout and Food Tracking

    Food  photoWith exercising and eating properly becoming more important than ever, a great way to track your progress is to use an online diary such as Gyminee.com. The site is free to join and provides a wealth of information to help you achieve your diet and exercise goals.

    One of my favorite parts of the site is the workout programs and exercise instructions. By entering information about yourself, Gyminee helps you to create cardio and weight training workout routines to achieve individualized results. If you do not want to spend time to create your own routine, you can use other routines that users have shared. Gyminee’s library has tons of different exercises. Everything I could think of was included. A great feature is that they have video showing you how to do each exercise properly to maximize results and minimize injuries.

    The site allows you to track your exercising such as the sets, reps, weights, distance, heart rate, and more. I find it very quick and easy to enter this information after my workout because there aren’t a lot of complicated options. Gyminee even provides graphs for you to look at to see your progress.

    Another of Gyminee’s major features is its online food diary. I used to keep a paper diary but found that I am much more likely to keep it up to date on the computer. The database has 67,000+ foods so almost everything you can eat is included and if it’s not you can add your own. The nutrition labels for the foods you eat can be viewed on the website. The site tracks your intake of calories, fat, carbs, protein, and other things to help you manage your goals.

    A neat feature that many similar websites do not have is GymBuddies. You can have an online partner who will support you when you are doing well and provide support when you have having trouble. There are also fitness groups for all different kinds of activities where you can connect with other people who share your goals.

    There are a variety of friendly fitness and weight loss challenges where you can compete against other users. I find this really keeps my motivation level high because I like watching my name moving up the rankings.

    I have been using Gyminee for a couple months now and have found that it really helps me track my progress. I am much more likely to watch what I eat if I know I will be recording it later. The competition and fitness companions motivate me to exercise even on days when I do not feel like it. I recommend this website as a valuable tool for anyone who wants to take better care of their health.

  • Foods

    Sea Meat the Wonderful Food

    Meat  photoIf I were to list the food I love to eat

    Without a doubt it would be sea meat.

    Sea meat, sea meat is this some new fad?

    No It isn’t it’s the best you’ve had.

    The meanies at PETA call them sea kitties

    But they have no idea and that’s such a pity

    All slimy and gooey on their shiny outside

    Yummy and tender baked broiled or fried.

    So get a sharp hook and a small piece of bait

    And get yourself sea meat, oh boy I can’t wait.

    Omega fats and protein sea meat is so high

    But with bad things it is low and I tell you this why?

    Sea meat is so good with any old dish

    Eat all you want all the sea meat you wish.

    But be careful of what type you will eat

    Not all is the same, this is true with sea meat.

    Some sea meat is bad if you love the planet

    Choose wise the sea meat you feed your aunt Jeannette

    Mackerel is great a sustainable fish

    Swordfish is bad so low on my list

    Tuna is yummy but it pays a great price

    And salmon is great, but you had better think twice

    Orange Roughy is totally off of my roll

    That sea meat has really taken a toll

    Pollock from Alaska, now that’s a good one

    And hybrid striped bass my my such fun

    Eat herring and sturgeon that is raised on a farm

    So you eat your sea meat and your causing no harm.

    So be a good buyer and fisherman too

    Then all can have sea meat, we all can thank you.