Sunday, February 06, 2011
Cinnamon, the ancient spice admired for its flavour and aroma, is becoming popular around the world for its healing and health-promoting properties. Here are some reasons why you should eat more of it.
Researchers have found cinnamon is effective for lowering blood-sugar levels, making it a healthy addition to the diets of diabetics.
Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines have used cinnamon for centuries as a remedy for digestive problems and diabetes.
Other studies have shown cinnamon can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
Cinnamon is a good source of the trace mineral manganese, which is needed for healthy bones, nerves and thyroid function. It is also a source of iron, calcium and fibre.
To reap the health benefits of cinnamon, try adding a half to one teaspoon of ground cinnamon to your daily diet. For a tasty warm drink, try simmering cinnamon with soymilk and a little honey.
Friday, February 04, 2011
I just got it from my friend. It's a bit long but very funny.
ABOUT THE WRITER Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humour columnist for the Miami Herald.
I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a colour diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'
I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.
I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of Australia's enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavour.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-litre plastic jug, and then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a litre is about 32 gallons).
Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humour, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground. MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch?
This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another litre of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked..
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anaesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side and the anaesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.
There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea.
Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colours. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
On the subject of Colonoscopies...
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous.... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1.. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'
2.. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'
3.. 'Can you hear me NOW?'
4.. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'
5.. 'You know, in Tasmania, we're now legally married.'
6.. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'
7.. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'
8.. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'
9.. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'
10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'
11. 'You used to be an executive at BHP, didn't you?'
12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.' And the best one of all:
13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'
Thursday, February 03, 2011
A revelation with an Incredibly Big Message (IBM):
Well, you might have thought that you knew how the Internet started,
but here's the TRUE story ....
In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of Abraham Com did take unto himself a young wife by the name of Dot.
And Dot Com was a comely woman, broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.
And she said unto Abraham, her husband: "Why dost thou travel so far from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever leaving thy tent?"
And Abraham did look at her - as though she were several saddle bags short of a camel load, but simply said: "How, dear?"
And Dot replied: "I will place drums in all the towns and drums in between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will reply telling you who hath the best price.
And the sale can be made on the drums and delivery made by Uriah's Pony Stable (UPS)."
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move from his tent.
To prevent neighbouring countries from overhearing what the drums were saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was called Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a language to transmit ideas and pictures - Hebrew To The People (HTTP)
But this success did arouse envy. A man named Maccabia did secrete himself inside Abraham's drum and began to siphon off some of Abraham's business. But he was soon discovered, arrested and prosecuted – for insider trading.
And the young men did take to Dot Com's trading as doth the greedy horsefly take to camel dung.
They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS.
And lo, the land was so feverish with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the land.
And indeed did insist on drums to be made that would work only with Brother Gates' drumheads and drumsticks.
And Dot did say: "Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken over by others."
And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or eBay as it came to be known. He said: "We need a name that reflects what we are."
And Dot replied: "Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators." "YAHOO," said Abraham. And because it was Dot's idea, they named it YAHOO Dot Com.
Abraham's cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot's drums to locate things around the countryside. It soon became known as God's Own Official Guide to Locating Everything (GOOGLE)
And that is how it all began.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
I just read this email this morning and wonder what my Spark friends think.
"If you want to lose weight, there's one thing you must do...stop exercising.
And that's not some trick way of saying do more weights than cardio or make sure you only run in 3-minute bursts. I mean stop exercising. Back away from the treadmill, put down the weights, put your workout clothes away and cancel your gym membership.
I've been saying it for years. And now, a 20-year study proves I'm right.
But I didn't really need a study because I know it works. In fact, I lost almost 22 kilos/48 lbs without exercising at all./
I've told you before how much I hate exercising. I used to really envy the people that loved it. I thought I could never get in shape or get healthier without torturing myself at the gym.
But then I figured something out.
I wasn't overweight because I didn't work out. After all, people have been thin for millennia before the advent of the treadmill, stair climber and running shoes.
I was overweight because of food and how I used it. I didn't eat for sustenance. I ate for entertainment.
Once I learned how to stop doing that, the weight came off on its own. I lost about 22 kilos in 7 months and have kept it off for years.
The proof is in the (chocolate) pudding
Now I know what you're thinking...that I probably ate lettuce-wrapped tofu and drank hot water with lemon.
Well, I have done that (and grapefruit, apple cider, etc.), but none of that worked for me either.
So I designed my own plan to address my personal issues with food. I ate literally anything I wanted, but focused on when I ate and how much.
With that guiding principle in mind, here are five quick tips I built my plan around:
1. Don't eat until you're hungry. Don't plan in advance to eat at a certain time. Don't automatically eat breakfast or 3 snacks a day. Wait until your body tells you it wants food. (In fact, I never eat breakfast and I hardly ever snack.)
2. When you get hungry, don't eat yet, wait a little longer. Not an hour but 15 or 20 minutes. Try to push off your hunger when you can.
3. Stop eating when you're not hungry anymore. That means when the edge is off your hunger. Don't eat until you're full. If you eat out a lot, like I do, this usually means finishing less than half the food on your plate.
4. Always leave at least one bite on your plate. (I leave one bite of anything bigger than a cracker.) Once you decide to do this, you have to pay attention when you're eating. You can't just mindlessly shove food in your mouth.
5. Don't eat after 8 pm (or 2-3 hours before you go to bed).
I did this, plus a few other tricks here and there. Not only did I lose weight but my blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides all got in a healthy range (if you care about those sorts of things). All without exercising even one day.
Once I lost 19 kilos/41 lbs, I did start exercising because I wanted to tone and found out that I liked seeing some actual definition in my arms.
But for losing the weight, it's about the food and making the changes that you'll be able to live with long-term.
The real biggest losers
That was my story. Now let's see what happens when you DO exercise.
First, let's look at some shocking numbers...
Take 3,500 young subjects. Follow their weight gain and activity levels for 20 years. What do you get? A lot of people who still look a lot alike.
This study, reported recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that men with low activity levels weighed, on average, less than three kilos more than men with high activity levels.
Less than three kilos!
In 20 years!
And the average difference between their waistlines was only two and a half cms/1 inch.
So you have to wonder: How can all that stairmaster/exercycle/treadmill burning of calories result in such poor results?
It's actually pretty simple. When you burn those calories, your body craves replacement calories. And you're going to respond by eating. Maybe not at first. But the demands of your body will wear you down and win out.
You'll start by bargaining. You'll reward yourself with a little treat here, a little treat there. But those little indulgences are exactly the fuel your body craves and needs. Before you know it, those rewards completely offset your gains.
And then, if you're anything like me, you just give up altogether. I mean what's the point of exercising and eating right if it doesn't show on the scale?! Pass the pizza!
No question, I know from my own 20-year struggle that dealing with food and exercise separately is the best formula for effective, healthy, long-term weight loss."
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