Everyday Is a Health and Fitness Resolution

Keeping physically fit requires resolve! Nothing is more important than deciding to follow a fitness plan. Around the holidays so many of us make a New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy, but I’m here to tell you that everyday is the time for a health and fitness resolution! Though we often blame outward circumstances for our poor health (e.g. office treats, fast food, “the holidays,”) in reality, the true barrier to preventing us from reaching our fitness goals is our own procrastination.

How often have we told ourselves, “Someday I’ll fit into that dress,” or “I’ll get back to my college weight eventually”? Time and time again we delay our health a fitness resolutions until a future date. It is time to stop this incessant procrastination because all we end up doing is having a perpetual desire… endless wanting. Make the resolution to turn these dreams into a reality. The time for delay has come to an end. As Shakespeare says, “Defer no time; delays have dangerous ends.”

The secret to living a healthy life is rooted in the realization that tomorrow never comes! Our tomorrow is nothing but the consequences of decisions that we make today. When we think about it, it becomes obvious that today is all that we have. The past no longer exists. The future has yet to come. The present is all that exists! The person you want to be in the future, therefore, will only come into existence when the person that you actually are resolves to do something… NOW. Again, everyday is a health and fitness resolution!

To reach your long-term fitness goals requires a commitment. There are no short cuts! What this will entail is different for each person. The best way to maximize your time and efforts is to work with a personal trainer. He or she will help determine which exercises and diet is best for your physical make up and life situation. It is much easier to reach your fitness goals when you have an everyday plan directing you how to get there.

Despite the numerous gimmicks, fad diets and fancy exercise plans, reaching your optimal health and fitness goals is really quite simple. It requires two ingredients; 1) an exercise plan that fits your body type and goals, 2) your determination and resolution to follow this plan, each and everyday! I’m not saying you have to train every day, it’s the mentality that you want to be on top of. Armed with this two-pronged attack, physical fitness will lose its mysterious and elusive quality. Exercise and diet plans are out there. Finding a program that works for you is very possible. The real question that you must ask yourself is this; “Do I have the resolution and determination to work towards my goals each and every day?” Do I sincerely desire everyday to be a health and fitness resolution?

The great secret to happiness in life is the realization that today is all that we have. The seeds of the future you are present in the little decisions that you make today. Each and everyday is an opportunity and invitation for you to become the new and improved you. You want to be healthier? You want to increase your level of fitness? Then make the resolution today, and everyday, to do what is required! Make everyday a health and fitness resolution.

Gourmet Foods For Every Occasion

Enjoying fine food is definitely one of the pleasures of life. There is so much fast food and bland tasting dishes today because of the lack of time to really prepare food right, that when you do get to enjoy gourmet fine food, it’s a special treat.

So what makes any food or drink qualify to be called “gourmet”?

Well, in general it means that a particular food or drink is considered above average in quality, and will appeal even to those who have the most discriminating tastes. It also usually means that a lot of time and effort has gone into it’s preparation too.

What comes to mind when you think of gourmet foods? Here is a list of many fine foods and beverages that can be found in the gourmet food category:

1. Coffees – Gourmet coffees include many exotic coffee blends from around the world and flavored coffees. Frequently you can get a nice mixture of various gourmet coffees that allow you to sample them before buying more of each kind.

2. Teas – There are several specialty teas from all over the world that qualify to be called gourmet tea.They can be either green, black, oolong or herbal teas. Again, you can often get sampler packs of these exotic teas to try them out first.

3. Chocolates – Whether milk, dark or white chocolate,gourmet chocolate assortments often come with fruit, nuts, and cream centers that are just incredibly delicious.

4. Caviar – If you really want to taste the good life, enjoy any of the various kinds of caviar, from the American Golden to the Russian Dark variety. Of course this is one type of gourmet food that can get really pricey fast, but there is a caviar for pretty much any budget if you look carefully enough.

5. Seafood – There are lots of seafoods that have been specially prepared as gourmet foods including smoked herring, oysters, shrimp and lobster rolls and bisques. There’s lots more in this category too and again you can often get samplers for taste testing in advance.

6. Fish – Some of the favorite gourmet fish foods are salmon, tuna, and halibut.

7. Meats – This is one of the largest gourmet categories and lately has become very popular. Entries in this field include ribs, roasts, steaks, and even some dried and cured meats.

8. Poultry – There are any number of gourmet foods prepared with chicken, but duck and turkey is also top favorites for special dishes.

So where can you use gourmet foods? Almost any special occasion is a good time to include gourmet foods, drinks, or desserts on the menu. Everything from intimate dinners for two to large social gatherings are all acceptable places to include the delicious taste of gourmet foods to help make that occasion truly special and unforgettable.

Tips to Make a Delightful Cup of Gourmet Coffee

When brewing gourmet coffee, it’s essential to combine several factors that will make your cup of coffee a dreamy blend of flavor. Gourmet coffee is in and of itself delicious, but it’s even better when made a certain way.

Before getting started, be sure to select only the finest gourmet coffee beans. Look for your favorite brand of coffee or sample several new types of coffee. If you visit an online gourmet coffee retailer, you can try numerous types of imported coffee beans from places around the world such as South America, Central America, Africa, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the North Highlands. You can also save money by finding an online store that offers high quality discount coffee beans. Determine how you will order your coffee – whether you would like ground coffee or whole bean selections. Many retailers allow you to order gourmet coffee both ways.

Brew with the Right Kind of Water

The type of water you use to brew gourmet coffee can make all the difference in its flavor. Tap water that has a strong, unpleasant smell or taste can negatively affect your coffee’s flavor. Keep in mind that your taste buds will be more sensitive when drinking a hot beverage such as coffee, so you’ll be able to detect any unpleasant impurities caused by your water. Opt for bottled waters instead, but avoid distilled water, as it doesn’t have the appropriate level of dissolved mineral solids, which are needed to give the coffee a fresh taste.

Even with the right quality of water, be sure to measure your coffee/water ratio appropriately. For optimum results, use two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of water (or 3/4 cup water). This ratio produces strong, rich gourmet coffee while using only one tablespoon will produce weaker coffee. Another way to reduce the coffee’s strength is to dilute the coffee with a little bit of water after it has been brewed.

Order Fresh Coffee Beans

Whether ordering gourmet coffee online or buying in a nearby store, make sure the coffee has been freshly roasted. The absolute best time to produce coffee is within 12 to 24 hours of being roasted. Some online coffee roasters will ship your coffee beans on the same day the beans are roasted, giving you ultimate freshness. If you plan to grind your own beans, be sure to wait until right before you plan to brew the coffee. The freshness of coffee beans will start to decrease once the coffee beans have been ground.

Grinding Your Own Gourmet Coffee Beans

How you grind coffee beans will also make a difference in the coffee’s excellence. It’s important to know what type of grind you’ll need, whether a finer or coarser grind. A fine grind works best with the drip brewing method, while a coarse grind works well if using a French press. If you want a fine grind, then a common inexpensive blade grinder will suffice. With French press brewing, use a burr grinder.

Gourmet coffee also tastes best when brewed using clean equipment. Coffee makers can build up minerals, oils and residue over time. These will taint your coffee flavor and strength as well as hinder how well your equipment functions. Look for cleaning brushes and safe solutions for your coffee maker, and clean it often if you brew frequently.

When shopping online for gourmet coffee, be sure to try all a roaster has to offer. There are many flavored coffees today including chocolate blends, hazelnut, banana nut fudge, pecan, raspberry almond, cinnamon, vanilla, cookies and cream, creme brulee, English caramel, ginger bread, English toffee, etc. You should also try some espresso blends such as Italian espresso, Spanish espresso, and Vienna roast blend. Go online today to discover the gourmet coffee that excites your taste buds. You’ll never return to mundane coffee once you’ve tasted the best!

History of Coffee: Part IV – Commercialisation of Coffee

For many connoisseurs, the period from the mid-19th Century to the late 20th Century is the ‘Dark Age’ of coffee. During this era, coffee lost its Middle-Eastern mystical charm and became commercialised and, quite frankly, ordinary.

When coffee was first introduced into Britain during the 17th Century, it was a drink enjoyed by every social class. While the rich would enjoy coffee almost ceremonially in their social clubs, the poor saw coffee as an essential nutrient, a hot drink to replace a hot meal, or hunger suppressant. It was only a matter of time, with the advancement of technology, that large companies would form to take advantage of the coffee commodity.

Traditionally coffee was roasted in the home or in the coffeehouse. A practice imported from the Middle-East was to simply stir-fry green beans in an iron pan over a fire till brown. Some coffeehouses used a more sophisticated method of a cylindrical unit hung above a fire with a handle to rotate the beans inside. Both these methods were only capable of roasting small batches of coffee, a couple of kilos or several pounds at most, which ensured that the coffee was always fresh.

However, with the onset of the industrial revolution and mechanisation, coffee roasting technology soon improved. Commercial coffee roasters were being invented which were capable of roasting much larger batches of coffee. It was now possible for the few to meet the coffee needs of the masses.

It was in the United States where coffee initially started to be commercialised. In 1865, John Arbuckle marketed the first commercially available packages of ground, roasted coffee. His brand, ‘Ariosa’, was sold over a far larger area then any other coffee roaster. Instead of being confined to a small area close to his roasting factory, Arbuckle was able to establish his coffee as a regional brand. Others soon followed suit and, by World War I, there were a number of regional roasters including companies such as Folgers, Hill Brothers, and Maxwell House. These companies offered customers consistent quality and convenient packaging for use in the home, but at a price: freshness. It could be several weeks, or even months, before the end product would reach the customer.

One approach to prolonging the freshness of roasted coffee was to glaze it with a glutinous or gelatinous matter. After the coffee beans had been roasted, a glaze would be poured over them, which would form a hard, protective barrier around the bean. Once such glaze patented by John Arbuckle in 1868, consisted of using: a quart of water, one ounce of Irish moss, half an ounce of isinglass, half an ounce of gelatine, one ounce of white sugar, and twenty-four eggs, per hundred pounds of coffee. Arbuckle experimented with many different glazes over the years, eventually settling on a sugar based glaze. In fact, Arbuckle became such a prolific user of sugar that he entered into the sugar business rather then give a profit to others for the huge quantities he required.

So why were customers willing to buy this coffee? Once ground, coffee quickly loses its flavour and therefore should be consumed as soon as possible (at the very latest within 48 hours). But this was the age of the brand, where consistency ruled king over quality. Local roasters would often produce excellent coffee, but they could also produce foul coffee, occasionally containing a number of adulterations. Customers wanted to trust what they were buying. They wanted their coffee to taste exactly the same, time and time again.

The first coffee brand to come to Britain was Kenco. In 1923, a co-operative of Kenyan Coffee farmers set up a coffee shop in Sloan Square (London), called the Kenyan Coffee Company, to distribute high quality coffee beans around Britain. Their shop proved very popular and their brand of coffee (renamed Kenco in 1962) soon spread throughout the UK.

Worse was to come to the brew known as coffee. As regional roasters grew into national roasters and then into international roasters, their pursuit of profit intensified. Traditionally coffee came from the ‘arabica’ variety of coffee bush. But in the 1850s, the French and Portuguese began to cultivate a different variety of coffee bush, known as ‘robusta’, on the west coast of Africa between Gabon and Angola. Robusta beans were (and still are) cheaper then arabica beans as they are easier to grow and have an inferior flavour. Coffee roasters looking to minimise their production costs started blending robusta beans with arabica beans in increasing quantities. They also used shorter roast times, to reduce weight loss stopping the coffee from fully developing its complex flavour.

However the lowest point for coffee comes with the introduction of instant coffee – a drink bearing little resemblance in taste to actual coffee. Although the first commercially produced instant coffee, called ‘Red E Coffee’, invented by George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala, was marketed in 1909, it is Nestlé who are generally attributed with the invention of instant coffee. In 1930, Nestlé were approached by the Instituto do Café (Brazilian Coffee Institute) to help find a solution to their coffee surpluses. They believed that a new coffee product that was soluble in hot water, yet retained its flavour, would help stimulate World coffee sales. After seven years of research and frequent tasting, scientist Max Mortgenthaler finally achieved the desired results and, on 1st April 1938, Nescafé was launched, first in Switzerland and then later in Britain.

Some claim that it was the introduction of commercial television in 1956 that acted as a catalyst to the success of instant coffee in Britain. The commercial breaks were too short a time in which to brew a cup of tea, but time enough for an instant coffee. There is probably some truth to this claim as, by the 1960s, the majority of the tea industry started producing tea bags, an invention by Thomas Sullivan over half a century earlier (1904). Tea bags were seen as more convenient, simpler and quicker to use then traditional loose leaf tea and so could compete against instant coffee.

The coffee industry soon realised the association between commercial breaks and coffee drinking and started investing heavily in television advertising. Probably the most famous series of coffee advertisements were made for Nescafé Gold Blend. First aired in 1987, these advertisements focused on the sexual chemistry between a couple, played by Anthony Head and Sharon Maughan, acted out in a mini soap opera. The advertisements gripped the whole nation, featuring as frequently as Eastenders or Coronation Street as topics of conversation. This original series of advertisements ran for ten years, increasing sales of Gold Blend by 40% in the first five years (there were two further, less successful, sets of advertisements with different actors). Such was the profile of these advertisements, that they even featured as a news article on the ‘News at Ten’.

With the coffee industry focused on price rather then quality, it was little wonder that coffee sales became stagnant. Coffee drinking was now more about a caffeine fix rather then about savouring the taste, to be drunk in a break from work, rather then to be enjoyed over conversation or while reading the newspaper. Unsurprisingly the younger generations born in the 70s and 80s turned their back on bitter coffee, preferring sugary soft drinks such as Coca Cola and Pepsi for their caffeine kicks.

Sahara Desert Tips and Restaurants

The Sahara is considered as the largest and hottest desert situated in Northern Africa. Many restaurants located near the Sahara offer different specialties that would range from the meat of lamb, chicken or even a mixture of other delicacies. They also love to eat vegetables. They even prepare salads, in form of tuna and vegetables.

Most fine dining restaurants from all parts of the world serve a dish influenced by North African recipes. The restaurants along the Sahara desert offer their best in culinary cuisine. The unique flavors come with the unique way of preparing it. The way they cook in these regions, until after the preparation of foods on the plate are similar to contemporary catering.

Customers always leave the dining areas very satisfied and fulfilled. Some tourists who visit the Sahara also go to fine restaurants nearby or near their hotels in order to experience that extraordinary African cuisine. In fact, they are more recognized for the quality and great tasting sauces as well as the mixture of spices they put in every dish.

There are also numerous restaurants along the Sahara that serve seafood. Most of these restaurants are still influenced by the culinary masterpieces of a North African chef.

Tips while Traveling to the Sahara
People may find restaurants near the Sahara either through tour guides or by looking at a travel guide book. As a general rule, if you are not familiar with the places around or even within the desert, it is best to hire a tour guide or a local who can take you to the places of interest near and within the area. Aside from the dialect, a guide can help you get the best lodging accommodations and they can take you to the most popular dining spots. They can also translate words or conversations you find very difficult to understand.

When you leave your hotel, make sure that you keep all the important documents in a safe place. Make sure that you have photocopies of these important documents and you have left copies at home.

Make sure you also bring some loose change when you tour the area. Never bring lots of money when you leave the hotel but don’t just leave your money inside the hotel. It is wise to check in a hotel that has a safety deposit box where you can put your valuables.

Although it is practical to check in to cheap hotels, it is best to inspect the hotel. If you think it is not a safe place to stay in or your valuables are at risk, then it is better to go with a hotel that you are familiar with. You’ll never go wrong with a rated hotel.

Sahara Restaurants
There is a restaurant near a fuel station along the Western section of the Sahara, between Guergarat and El Dakla. They have a great selection of foods. They also have an autogril and a rest shop. This fuel station restaurant offers breakfast, lunch or even snacks. It is not that expensive since a meal will only cost you $10 USD.

Another stop-by restaurant is found along the south section of El Dakla. It is located near a fuel station. They serve delicious omelets, breads and yogurts. They have a cafeteria that serves a very popular type of mint tea. You can spend less than $10 USD by visiting this restaurant called brunch en route.

Lastly, there is a resto-bar that lies within the western section of the Sahara. They serve food and drinks. You can experience fine dining dinner or you can just stop by to have a couple of wines and liquors. Their menu includes dishes like Chicken Tanjine and many other great tasting recipes. They also have the best cold drinks and mixes. This is located along the north section of the Mauntritrian Border. It is called the Bar Restaurant Barbas. They accept all major credit cards as well.

LDS Missionary Health & Fitness

If you are planning on going on an LDS mission in the near future, or if you have a child planning to go, it is important to be prepared. You will be gone for two years, leaving the comforts of home behind you and living out of two suitcases. One thing to consider is your health. A mission is exhausting and you have a very busy schedule to follow, so you need to be healthy.

On a mission you do a lot of walking and many missionaries also do a lot of bike riding. If you are not physically fit, this can be really hard on your body and you could suffer a great deal. Before you go on your mission you should have a fitness plan and exercise each day to prepare for what is ahead. Even going walking every day for 30 to 60 minutes is great, especially if you wear the shoes you’ll be wearing on the mission. By doing this you can break in your shoes and it will prevent you from getting horrible blisters out in the mission field.

While on your mission you can also exercise. Missionaries are supposed to wake up at 6:30am each day and do their personal and companionship studies. You are allowed to wake up 30 minutes early at 6:00am and do some exercising. Take advantage of these 30 minutes. Although you might be walking or bike riding a lot on your mission, you still need to get some good cardio exercise and strength training. All you need is a good exercise plan to follow and you can keep yourself strong and fit throughout your entire mission.

Many missionaries come home from their missions having gained 20 pounds or more. Some will write home asking for larger clothes because the ones they have are starting to get too small. Take the time to exercise each day and avoid losing weight and feeling gross. If you have a plan and you stick to it, you will be blessed with increased energy and stamina and you might even come home a bit thinner than when you left.

The Final Word On Fitness For Women

When women are looking for a fitness program you know they’re not just looking to ‘get fit’. Anyone who understands women knows that they always have more than one reason for doing anything. As women we want to get fit, but we also want to: lose weight, halt the effects of aging, improve our tone, improve our flexibility, look younger, be more attractive to the opposite sex and even more importantly help us look attractive enough to pass inspection by other women. Continue reading

Six Best Culinary Herbs for Cooking

Freshly picked culinary herbs add flavour to food and many are delicious additions to salads. Edible herb flowers such as pot marigold, nasturtium and rosemary can also be added to the salad bowl. Many culinary herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and when freshly picked and eaten raw they can form part of a well-balanced diet. Raw herbs can also be used to add flavour to oils and vinegars for cooking and for salads.

Parsley

Parsley leaves gives a fresh flavour to sauces and salads, when added just before serving. The stems and leaves of parsley can also be used in bouquet garni. Parsley tastes particularly good with pasta dishes, omelettes, vegetables, fish and any meat or poultry.

Parsley is one of the most widely known and used of the culinary herbs. There are two main types of parsley – curly leaf and flat leaf – and both are excellent for culinary purposes. Both of these herbs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they can be used to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes and green salads.

Basil

Basil goes with almost any dish but it has a special affinity with tomatoes and is a favourite in Italian cooking.

Sweet basil with its soft green leaves and creamy white or purple tinted flowers is the most popular type of basil. This culinary herb can be used in sauces and salads and to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Perhaps the greatest basil dish is pesto sauce, eaten with spaghetti. This combination makes a wonderfully delicious meal.

There are many other types of basil. Purple ruffle, dark opal and Greek basil are three of the other more unusual varieties, all with differing flavours.

Mint

Spearmint and peppermint are two members of the mint family most widely known and used as culinary herbs. There are many varieties of mint, some with distinct scents and flavours and some can be used for a variety of culinary purposes, such as in sweet and savoury dishes, in salads and for herb tea.

Spearmint is a favourite for mint sauce to accompany lamb and tastes particularly good with dishes such as soups, stews, plain meats, fish and lemon-based deserts.

Peppermint is also popular as a culinary herb flavouring. This herb is most commonly used as flavouring for sweets and chocolates etc. and is also used to flavour cordials. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used to make peppermint tea and the leaves can be added to fresh green salads.

Thyme

Thyme can be used to improve the flavour of most dishes. Both the fresh and dried leaves of this herb are used for cooking. Fresh thyme leaves are useful in many savoury dishes.

Thyme has a rich flavour which makes it an ideal accompaniment to roast meats and tastes good in slowly cooked dishes such as stews and soups. The finely chopped fresh leaves may be added to new potatoes or salad.

Thyme is regarded as one of the great culinary herbs and is widely used in European cooking. This herb is an evergreen perennial it is recognisable by its mauve flowers and small leaves.
Warning: Avoid using Thyme if you are pregnant.

Rosemary

This lovely culinary herb has a strong but pleasant flavour. It enhances the flavour of many dishes such as strong tasting fish and some meat dishes but goes especially well with lamb and also tastes good with strong flavoured vegetables.

How to Shop for the Best Coffee Machine

Trying to find the perfect coffee machine is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Considering the variety of different coffee makers out there, the entire experience can be more than a little overwhelming. Take time to focus on the big picture, before making any decision. There are six basic methods of making coffee. Select which method you’re going to use, then find a machine that fits.

Single Cup Coffee Machines are liked by many for their speed, ease of use and flexibility. This style of coffee maker uses either a coffee pod or a coffee capsule. Coffee pods come complete with ground coffee inside its own filter. The pods are produced by a number of corporations and may be switched between different brands and models. Single cup coffee brewers that use capsules pose a disadvantage since they are not interchangeable. Both the capsules and machine need to be purchased from the same company.

Introduced in the early 1970s, the drip coffee maker quickly replaced the percolator as the most common way to brew coffee at home. They are economical to use and quite simple to operate. Place some ground coffee in the paper filter, pour water into the reservoir and turn on the machine. As water is heated to the correct temperature, it drips onto the grains in the filter and runs through to the glass carafe below. Be careful not to leave the coffee sitting on the hot plate for too long, as it can start to cook. One way around this problem is to use a thermally insulated carafe.

The combination coffee machine is basically a drip coffee machine combined with a grinder. It’s simple to use and easy to brew a fresh pot of coffee. Place some whole beans in the bean reservoir, pour the right amount of water into its reservoir in turn on the machine. The appropriate amount of beans gets ground and poured directly into the filter. From this point forward, it operates exactly as a drip coffee maker. You can set the machine up the night before, to make the freshest cup of coffee,for the next morning. These combination coffee makers are usually bigger than standard coffee machines. So make sure you take measurements, if you want to put it on your kitchen counter underneath the upper.

The French Press Coffee Maker (or coffee plunger) could very well be one of the best coffee machines. It’s actually quite simple and some models are very aesthetic. The French Press is simply a glass beaker with a plunger and mesh filter on it. Put some coarse coffee grounds in the jar, mix in some hot water and let it steep for about three to four minutes. Then simply push the plunger down to separate the grounds from the coffee. Some people feel the flavor and essential oils are better captured because the grounds stay in direct contact with the water, and a fine mesh is used instead of a paper filter. However, because of the direct contact the coffee will become bitter fast if left to stand.

A vacuum coffee maker is the machine with two chambers, where vapor pressure and vacuum work together to produce coffee. Admirers of this method of coffee making it feel that produces a much cleaner, crisper, richer and smoother coffee. With your you agree or not, one thing is true. This is a complicated and time consuming method of making coffee. These are not easy machines to keep clean, due to their convoluted shape. Perhaps that’s why it’s not a very popular way of making coffee.

Prior to the 1970s, the percolator could be found in practically every coffee drinking home in North America. Whether it was a stove top or an electric model, everyone had one. They are called percolators because of the percolating action that occurs continuously. Cold water is poured into the bottom of the percolator where it warms up and moves to the top through a pipe. The water disperses onto the coffee grounds and gravity pulls it back down to the bottom of the machine. Here it heats up again and the cycle repeats. Once the coffee reaches boiling point the perking action stops and the coffee is ready to drink. These days, percolators are mostly used for larger crowds. It’s very rare to find one sized for regular home use.

Food and Health Concerns Among People

In terms of nutrition food and health are great concern all over the world. The major concentration is on the threats exerted by kinds of foods, and how we can cut them by avoiding junk foods and modifying our daily diets. For example, many consumers avoid the white sugar as they perceive that it is harmful for health.

Many nutrition and health authorities offer guidance for people to avoid health problems associated with over or under-consumption of certain foods. However, it largely depends on the attitude of the people to their food intake and health. Continue reading