Eat Your Way to Better Health

Eating healthy does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of foods that you love, or impose strict dietary limitations and remain thin. It simply means to increase your energy levels, improve you outlook by feeling positive and stabilize your moods. Do not feel overwhelmed by all the ‘expert’ advice that you hear. Here are some great ways to improve your dietary habits and attain good heath as a bonus.

1. Prepare more of your own food to control what you eat. A healthy diet includes a wide variety of nutritious foods that contain large amounts of vitamins and minerals. All these are obtained from green vegetables and including greens in your food will help you fill up the plate faster! Also cut back on the unhealthy foods in your diet and replace them with healthy alternatives. Start small.

2. Eat in moderation. That simply means eating only what the body requires and not over-stuff the body. Eating moderately also means to balance your diet with equal amounts of carbohydrates, protein, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It does not mean to completely eliminating the foods that we love. Eating bacon in breakfast once a week, or indulging in 100 calories of chocolate on a long afternoon would not be harmful. However, indulging in your favorite foods does not mean polishing off that box of doughnuts in your fridge. Use your common sense!

3. Cut back on those carbs for a healthy looking you. This does not mean to completely eliminate them from your diet, as it only results in failure! The main carbs to reduce include sweets and refined products like white flour, cakes, pies, candy etc. These are easily digestible and increase the blood sugar levels. Replace them with healthy carbs like whole grains, beans, fruits (in moderation) and green veggies.

4. Increase your protein intake. Proteins play a big role in the metabolism and provide you with vital energy for the day. Replacing your red meat with fish, chicken or plant based products like beans, soy, nuts is a great way to improve your protein content. Divide the extra protein in small amounts throughout the day. Snacking on nuts, peas, tofu and soy products instead of chips and pizza is a great trick to incorporate and increase protein in daily diet. A nursing mother needs 20g more protein in her diet than she did before pregnancy.

5. Don’t fear to include fats in regular diet. However, learn to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats. Including monosaturated and polysaturated fats like olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, fatty fishes like salmon, herring etc and walnuts help nourish the brain, heart and gives you a youthful looking skin. However, saturated and trans fats found in fried chips, baked goods, red meat, processed foods should be reduced from the diet.

6. Drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins in the body and decrease tiredness of muscles.

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Travel Insurance

Studying abroad entails a lot of risks – the risks of flight cancellation at eleventh hour, medical emergency, loss of baggage, etc. Pulling yourself up under such adverse conditions abroad can be quite expensive in itself. Also, a student living alone outside India might need visit from the family or other back-ups if something goes wrong.

To cope up with all these situations without burning a hole in your pocket, it is sensible to get student travel insurance from a reputed insurance firm. Each student who frequently travel to nearby destinations needs a student travel insurance. It keeps them protected in the new place and covers for expenses of hospitalization, loss of baggage, tuition fee, sponsor protection and travel, family visit and other incidental expenses.

Your choice to buy a good cover should be more dependent on the flexibility of the policy, the amount of coverage, claim settlement process and track record, hospital networks (the insurers tie up with the list of hospitals your child is going to study in) along with other benefits. There are many universities abroad that also provide their students extensive health cover with a strong network of hospitals. What’s good with the plans offered by the universities is that they provide cashless treatment in the hospitals based nearby.

Two important factors that you must consider while getting a student travel insurance are:

1. Gap year travel: Taking a gap year nowadays has become a custom among students around the world. This means that it will be hard for these students to find an appropriate cover especially those who will be visiting some other country, and that too alone. Fortunately, there is a wide range of life insurance policies that cater to such needs of the students and lend a helping hand to them. But an important consideration when purchasing a policy of this type is the exact period of your travel and also the destination covered, even if you are just passing through the country.

2. Extreme sports: If you are planning to travel overseas to participate in some sports activity, getting a student travel insurance that covers for extreme sports is an absolute necessity as there is always a risk of injury in sports. The insurance covers you when you get injured and helps you get treated from the best hospital in the nearby location. While there are many types of insurance policies that cover for basic medical emergencies, you should buy the one policy that provides extensive coverage if you plan to undertake extreme sports or activities. There are many insurance companies that even specify the type of sports that their policy covers for. So this gives you the option to choose the best policy that matches your criteria best.

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Home Health Care

If you tend to think of lemons as more of a garnish or simply something you can add to a glass of water, it’s time to reconsider. Lemons are one of the healthiest fruits you can consume and given the fact they are so sour, you can rest assured they are not high in sugar like most other fruits. Due to their sour flavor though most people use them in smaller amounts and combine them with herbs and spices and add them to many sauces, dressings, and drinks.

Lemons have several beneficial properties that make it worthwhile to consider adding them to your eating protocol. Let’s look at some of the biggest health benefits that lemons will bring to your life…

1. Strong Antioxidant Power. The first real benefit lemons bring is the fact they offer a powerful dose of antioxidants to your body. Adding lemon or lemon juice to your meals can help you fend off free radical damage and also potentially lower the level of inflammation taking place in your system.

Lemons are a very rich source of vitamin C and has also been shown to help lower the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis along with rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Detoxification Benefits. Next, lemon will act as an excellent detoxification agent in your body. Just serving lemons with the foods you are eating will help cleanse your system, killing any unwanted bacteria that may be residing in your gut.

Killing unwanted gut bacteria is one reason it’s often advised to drink a tall glass of lemon water first thing in the morning. By doing so, you can help detox your system effectively so you go on to feel better throughout the day.

3. Immune Boosting Properties. Finally, thanks to the vitamin C content found in lemons, you will also get great immune boosting properties. Lemons can help you keep your immune system strong, so you’re less likely to fall ill to the common cold or flu, or disease for that matter.

When you have a healthy immune system, your body will be better prepared to fight any invading bacteria or virus and even if you do fall ill, you’ll recover far faster than you otherwise would.

So as you can see, lemons offer some benefits you shouldn’t be overlooking. Given the fact they also add great flavor to your foods without adding any calories, this is also an important reason to consider adding them to your daily eating plan.

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The Health Benefits of Scrabble

Scrabble is a popular family game for all ages, this article looks at the benefits of scrabble for kids and adults alike.

Scrabble was invented by Alfred Mosher Butts back in nineteen forty-eight, and since then it’s been a favorite game for generations of families. Not only is Scrabble a great educational tool to build word ability and comprehension, but it aids in lateral thinking and vocabulary enhancement.

Scrabble has surpassed several other competing word games in popularity over the years, and has found a new life in online word game such as Words with Friends for entirely new generations of people. With the advent of the internet, a whole range of additional tutorial, tip, and tricks have found their way into common availability. There are several experts who devote their time to producing a scrabble dictionary, word lists or cheat hints to develop players from beginners into advanced gamers who can compete in tournaments and online competitions.

The health benefits for children are numerous, from developing an excellent vocabulary to the ability to critically weigh different strategies. It’s a great skill to teach a child to think beyond the immediate gratification of creating a word now, versus holding your letters in order to play a longer and higher scoring word later. In addition to these benefits, the ability to patiently see a game through to the end is an invaluable asset which will help a child in life in general.

The mental concentration required to puzzle through different word options in Scrabble also puts the brain into a meditative state much like taking a class of yoga or meditating. Taking this time to deliberately relax and engage in some mental exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. Although this is great for general relaxation in the evening, one recommendation that has been made is that you should not play scrabble too soon before retiring for the night, as it’ll leave your brain in a ‘puzzle’ state for an hour or two and make it more difficult to sleep.

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Seniors Travel Checklist

Travel is the number one activity on retirees to do list. A good retirement requires planning so to keep travelling bedlam to a minimum prepare for your trip ahead of time. By doing so, you’ll be able to pick up the suitcase and walk out the door on travel day without a worry. Use a travel agent for peace of mind. Book early for popular products that give great deals such as early bird savings or fly free offers as these deals are limited.

The following travel checklist will serve as a guideline of tasks to complete for peace of mind for your security, your health and on your trip.

Your Security at Home and Abroad

  • Make sure your bank is aware of your travel plans so they do not refuse any charges to your credit cards in foreign countries.
  • Protect your Luggage with clear labels.
  • Use luggage identifiers such as a colourful ribbon or tag to help you find your suitcase on carousels.
  • Have someone collect your mail while you are away from home
  • Consider a house sitter to keep your house safe while you are away
  • Understand your travel insurance in case of emergencies

Your Health

  • Wear comfortable shoes this will help prepare you for long queues at some airports
  • Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what your medicine is for, how much you take and that is for your personal use
  • Talk to you doctor about your travel plans to consider what vaccinations you may need
  • Carry a spare pair of spectacles
  • Remember you are only allowed to carry 3.4oz/100ml of liquids or gels on the aeroplane. It is best to have these prepared prior to arrival at the airport to save time with long queues at customs and quarantine

On the Trip

  • Weigh your suitcase and be aware of weight restrictions
  • Take travel adaptors. On some long trips as you pass through different continents you may need up to 3 adaptors for your electronic aids
  • Take copies of your credit card numbers, in case they are stolen. If you have a copy this will make it easier to order a replacement card
  • Carry a mobile phone and a map with you always
  • Know the phone number of your tour group leader in case of emergencies
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Travel Photography: China

Travel photography in China is a big topic and therefore this article only explores the parameters that will go towards making your visit a success. The key point is to ensure that you keep the travel down to allow time for your main objective.

Duration and timing

For a visit of one or two weeks it will be well worth while to focus on one theme from one base only. Getting to and from the base and orientation there can swallow 4-6 days depending on your start point and quite how remote you plan to go. Each change of base is likely to take up at least one more day.

Flights may appear to shrink the country on paper but in reality the transfers to/from the airport, arrival and departure procedures and the inevitable delays will mean more frustration than ease. A good alternative is to make use of the new fast train network. That is mentioned again below.

If you are able to visit China for longer then you can begin to include additional bases. For a three-week trip two bases would be quite reasonable; three bases at a stretch – particularly if you are shooting in urban areas and are close to transport hubs for the required moves.

Your budget will also impact on the decision to move around. Flights and the associated costs are relatively expensive. Your budget will soon disappear on these if you try to include too much when, really, you should be thinking of allowing for quality services once at a base so that you are able to get out to the sites you want at the times that it is best to be there. That will normally require private transport and a local guide.

There is no best season to visit China. There are times to avoid, such as the Spring Festival (dates vary as this is based on the Lunar Calendar) the ‘Golden Week’ National holiday (1 – 7 October each year). During peak periods prices go up (an annoyance)but the main issue is that travel services become saturated and you are likely to find some tickets and accommodation unavailable at any price.

Destinations within China may have their own best season. It is well worth doing your research here as changing your dates by a few days may well have a big impact on the results you get. Check out national and local holidays/festivals as well as the phase of the moon (an indicator for tides too if you plan to be by the coast) and try to avoid major sporting events (such as the Shanghai Grand Prix) or trade fairs (such as the ones in Guangzhou – aka Canton).

Photographic style and style of travel

China is huge and exotic. It therefore offers photographers a vast range of opportunities. Your task during the planning stage is to get a handle on these and come up with an achievable plan. Be ruthless and eliminate as many add-ons as you can bear.

Landscape photographers are likely to be tempted to one of the mountainous areas. Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is rightly one of the top destinations for local and foreign artists. The karst landscape around Guilin is also hugely popular, including the rice terraces at Longsheng and the town of Yangshuo, my home for the last 12 years.

Those landscape photographers with more of a sense of adventure may be tempted to Tibet (but should instead look to visit Tibetan areas in Yunnan, Sichuan and Qinghai to avoid the need for special permits) or to the desert-rich far west. The Great Wall of China ends at Jiayuguan (according to most) and the combination of snow-capped peaks, desert and fortifications is hard to beat. Zhangye is not so far away and is becoming relatively famous for its multi-coloured rock striations. Search for ‘zhangye danxia’ if you are not already familiar with the area.

Fans of architecture will find great delight in almost any Chinese city. The pace is development is so fast that ancient, communist-era and modern buildings all exist within small spaces allowing for a wide range of shots efficiently, for contrasts and for a documentary-style approach to construction itself.

Street photography fans have, perhaps, the widest choice of venues – both urban and rural. Even the simple difference that signs have Chinese characters has a huge impact on backgrounds, and there is never any shortage of foreground interest. Don’t skimp on batteries; do try to learn a few basic phrases of Mandarin so that you can come across as friendly and harmless.


China has much to offer the travel photographer but only the well-prepared ones will make effective use of their time. Do take the advice in the first part of this article and keep travel to a minimum. You will only understand why after your first trip.

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Travel or Not to Travel?

This is always a difficult topic. When is a destination safe, and when is it not? Although it is generally agreed that numbers do not lie, and that statistics are cold, but true, they should always be put into perspective.

Over the last few years, Honduras has had some of the highest murder rates in the world, and the international press has been jolly about dubbing San Pedro Sula as the Murder Capital in the World. While the statistics do show a reality, it is one that a traveler to Honduras would probably never see. You see, crime, whether murder or petty crime, rarely affects the tourists and travelers in Honduras. As a general rule, you need only read the comments and reviews that different travelers put up on the travel websites to see that they not only were not affected by crime, but that most of them actually felt extremely safe! As you can see, there is a difference between safety vs. perception of safety in Honduras!

Sadly, a US citizen, for example, is probably much safer visiting Honduras than going on a shopping trip to the local mall, or walking into a theater to watch a movie. Heck, kids are surely much safer on vacations in Honduras that in school in the USA! Chances of randomly running into a nut with a gun are certainly higher in the United States of America than anywhere else in the World!

The US state department issues travel warnings for all of its citizens planning a trip to Honduras, warning them of the dangers and perils of visiting Honduras, yet they somehow neglect to warn the desperate Hispanic immigrants who are following the American Dream of the perils of living in the USA. The feared Central American gangs where actually born in the streets of Los Angeles as a means of defending themselves from the local gangs there! The local gangs were born when members were deported from the US back to Latin America.

Honduras, as a travel destination offers truly unique and often overlooked experiences and sites. The people of Honduras are certainly some of the most friendly and hospitable people you will find on planet earth. Given the opportunity, they will go out of their way to make you feel at home, safe and happy during a visit to their country.

Dare to break the misconceptions about Honduras. Plan a trip to Copan, La Ceiba, Tela or the Bay Islands. Discover the beauty of Honduras and the heart of its friendly people. Come and learn firsthand that safety vs. perception of safety in Honduras are two very different things!

During your visit to Copan, regardless if visiting Copan Ruinas, Gracias, Lake Yojoa, Tela, La Ceiba or the Bay Islands, you will be surprised at how safe you feel and how friendly the people are. Travelers coming through Honduras usually find that their travel experiences always exceed their expectations. Come and see for yourself!

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Health Insurance Policy

With the rising medical cost, health insurance has become indispensable. Today, costs of medical treatment has reached at an all time high and are expected to rise even further. Absence of health insurance can cause a major setback to your financial condition. Medical emergencies like accidents, sickness or disease which may lead to prolonged hospitalization can bring you in severe financial crisis. A comprehensive health insurance individual policy provides coverage against the expenditure caused by unforeseen medical emergencies.

When it comes to buy a health plan for yourself, there are two common mistakes that people generally commit:

1. Often people don’t purchase an appropriate health policy at the right time. When met with an accident or any other disease, they come to realize their mistake and to over-compensate it they buy too much of insurance, which may or may not be that much useful for them.

2. A majority of professionals are provided medical insurance plans by their organizations. Employees are very much dependent on such covers to counter their health emergencies and fail to evaluate their health insurance requirements.

Importance of Personal Health Cover

1. Insurance Cover Provided By Present Health Care Policy

Most of the companies provide a basic health cover to its employees which may cover individuals from minor illness, giving a decent amount of coverage. Often this amount is insufficient in times of a major emergency. So, it is necessary that individuals prepare themselves for any health contingencies and get an health insurance individual policy.

2. Validity Of Insurance Provided By The Organization

The insurance plan provided by the organization is valid upto the time you are associated with the organization and lapses once you leave it. In case of retirement, job change or job loss, individuals have no health insurance cover and have to liquidate their assets or savings to meet any medical emergency. This may also affect their budget and further financial plans.

3. Tax Benefit

Opting a health cover also helps in tax saving. The amount paid for insurance premiums are eligible for tax deductions. Individuals with 65 years or below of age can claim a deduction of Rs 15,000 against the insurance premium paid for themselves, or for their parents, spouse or children.

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Health Benefits Of Truffles

Although truffles are very costly, there are now many more reasons to eat it apart from the truth that it is very exciting to eat a delicacy. One of these reasons is you are consuming truffles because these may bring you health benefits.

Through the years, contentions have been hounding the health benefits and nutritional value of truffles and mushrooms, generally. People say that edible mushrooms like truffles have no nutritional value at all and these are used just to add flavor to a selection of staple dishes.

Yet, more recent reports show that truffles and various sorts of mushrooms can bring a great deal of health benefits especially to vegetarians, individuals who don’t eat meat and only consume vegetables.

Technically, truffles are mushrooms that don’t have stems and are usually discovered under the ground-usually under oak, pine, beech, and pecan trees mostly in Europe including various parts of Italy, France, Slovenia and Croatia. In Asia, some varieties are located in China along with in Middle East while there are also some types native to North Africa.

So far, truffles are used only in the culinary field-as main ingredient to various dishes or as flavoring and garnishes to different specialties. The most frequent gourmet edible truffles that are being employed in various restaurants include the French Black Truffles, the Italian White Truffles, the Chinese Truffles, and the Summer Truffles.

If you are fond of eating truffles and mushrooms generally, here are the some of the health benefits that you are able to expect:

1. It is a good source of high protein. Truffles have high protein content ranging from 20 to 30 percent for each serving. Experts say that truffles are excellent sources of high protein content which it very ideal because these contain all the amino acids necessary to good nutrition for humans. For people who don’t consume fats and carbohydrates- specially to people who are having Western diets-truffles are very ideal since it is a fantastic source of protein.

2. It is in addition a moderate source of carbs. The main element of truffles and mushrooms in the main is carbohydrates derived from glycogen and chitin or also called the fungus cellulose which is a functional proponents of the fungal cell wall. All the same, compared to other vegetables, truffles have lower proportions of carbohydrates. This is in addition very good for people suffering from diabetes because truffles have low value of energy.

3. It is low-fat. As it is vegetable, truffles are ideal for individuals who cannot and do not want to consume too much fat. When dried, it has only about two to eight percent of fat which are mostly crude fat and lipid compounds such as fatty acids, sterols, phospholipids, glycerides and linoleic acid.

4. It is cholesterol free. This is probably the largest benefit to health of truffles. Through the years, cholesterol has been thought to be of the risk aspects of coronary heart conditions and other associated diseases. If you are inclined to stroke or heart attack or you have a family history any heart complaint, it would be great to consume cholesterol free food such as truffles to help you decrease your total cholesterol levels.

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International Travel Packing

Do you plan on traveling internationally for a long period of time? Are you the type of person that over packs for everything? Traveling for an extended period of time can be a challenge when packing because the typical regulation for checked luggage is a maximum weight of 50 pounds per checked bag, and a common dimension of 27″ x 21″ x 14″. When I was planning a trip to Europe for two weeks several things became clear: 1) I over pack 2) I prepare for the unexpected, and 3) I would return with a lot more than what I was leaving with and needed to allow space for souvenirs and clothing purchased on the trip. After a lot of research and asking multiple people who traveled abroad, I learned a few tips that might help you appropriately pack your luggage and avoid an excess baggage weight fee. Here are the tips I found helpful.

1. Liquids: Packing liquids can be a little tricky because you do not want it to spill and depending on the number of liquids and amount required it may weigh a lot, and liquid containers may take up a lot of space. Target has smaller plastic containers in their dollar section. Label the containers with a sharpie; i.e. shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, or anything else you feel the need to bring. I then packed the liquid containers in a large zip lock bag or you can use a bathroom bag with plastic lining that zips closed for easy spill cleanup.

2. Plugs: If you decide to take an item that needs charged (phone, computer, blow dryer, and straightener), buy the correct international plug before your trip. You can find international plugs that are for American items rather easily. On eBay you can purchase converters for all different countries, just make sure you purchase the adapter that will work for the country(ies) you are traveling to. Most European outlets are three prongs, but it could be circle or rectangle plugs, something to look out for. I also found it helpful to purchase straighteners and phone chargers made specifically for these countries to ensure it would work properly and these can be found rather cheap on Amazon UK and other similar websites.

3. Clothes: This is something I never considered until my teacher told me her trick to staying under the maximum weight returning home. She packed old clothes or purchased cheap clothes during the trip and left them behind at the hotels. That’s right, when traveling for a long time you tend to forget that your worn clothes may start smelling especially if the hotels and hostels do not have laundry facilities, or if you do not have time to wash them. If you think about it, this is genius. I purchased cheap summer dresses from Ross, Burlington, Walmart, and other cheaper stores (still have to look cute for pictures) and as I wore them I would leave them and my undergarments in the hotel trash. This trick lightened my load along the way, and most importantly made space for souvenirs for the trip home.

4. Luggage: A very important decision when traveling is what luggage to use. I wanted something sturdy, easy to carry around especially up and down stairs, but also noticeable for all the times I would have to find it in a big group of other bags. I went with a hard shell, light weight luggage set. I took the biggest one of the set and fit everything perfectly in it. Weighing in at around 13.5 pounds, with 360 degree wheels made maneuvering smooth and there was an attached pad lock. I decided on a bright color that not many people have and it was easy to spot coming around the airport luggage conveyor belt.

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