Saturday, February 13, 2010
An article from a newsletter I got from The South Beach Diet site
3 More Reasons to Love Dark Chocolate
As if you need another reason to eat chocolate! We know dark chocolate is one of a number of foods containing antioxidant-rich compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to improve heart health. Well, three studies now show that eating dark chocolate has even more health benefits. Here’s the scoop:
Reason 1: Dark chocolate can decrease blood pressure and lower the risk of developing diabetes in healthy individuals.
The research: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating dark chocolate reduced insulin resistance and significantly lowered blood pressure. Doctors don't know exactly how much dark chocolate you need to reap these health benefits, but if you’re following the South Beach Diet, it's best not to overdo it. Starting on Phase 2, try dipping four to five strawberries in dark chocolate, or limit yourself to one or two dark chocolate wedges as an occasional treat.
Reason 2: Dark chocolate may be an anti-inflammatory.
The research: A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that dark chocolate improves health, including heart health. It significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a substance that is an indicator of inflammation in the body, which helps determine the risk for developing coronary disease. Thus, dark chocolate may have "anti-inflammatory" properties.
Reason 3: Dark chocolate may keep you feeling fuller, longer.
The research: A University of Copenhagen study found that dark chocolate gives people more of a feeling of satiety than milk chocolate. Two and a half hours after eating the chocolate, the participants were instructed to eat as much pizza as they liked until they felt comfortably full. As it turned out, the calorie intake from the pizza was 15 percent lower on the day they ate the dark chocolate. And it gets better! The participants also stated their cravings for sweet, salty, or fatty foods had lessened as well.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
This is an article that is in Today's Arab News paper in Saudi Arabia. Don't dare get caught celebrating the day here!
When the color is red
Tariq A. Al-Maeena I Arab News
TOMORROW (Feb. 14) means something special for a lot of people around the Western world. It is Valentine’s Day, a day on which the tradition of honoring your loved one has become a social custom in societies that celebrate such events. Tokens of affection are often transmitted through the exchange of red roses or gifts ensconced in red wrapping.
In the Kingdom, some things remain unchanged. Writing for the Associated Press, Abdullah Al-Shehri stated that “the Saudi religious police” (Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) had “launched last Thursday a nationwide crackdown on stores selling items that are red or in any other way allude to the banned celebrations of Valentine’s Day.”
According to his report, “Each year, the religious police mobilize ahead of Feb. 14 and descend on gift and flower shops, confiscating all red items, including flowers. Members of the commission inspect shops for red roses, heart-shaped products or gifts wrapped in red, and order store owners to get rid of them.”
The report goes on to say that “A statement by the religious police, informally known as the muttawa, was published in Saudi newspapers, warning shop owners against any violations. ‘Those who don’t comply will be punished,’ the statement said, without spelling out what measures would befall the offenders.”
With the youth across the Arab world increasingly embracing the concept of such an event to express their love and affection, it irks the more devout Muslims who oppose the celebration of this particular holiday as “a Western celebration of romantic love that corrupts Muslim youth.”
In contrast, in some Arab capitals the celebrations are going full steam ahead. According to Al-Shehri, “the Egyptian capital, Cairo, is a sharp contrast to the Saudi restrictions, with shops and restaurants going overboard in red ribbon and heart decorations.” He continues, “Dubai, a conservative Muslim city-state with a Western outlook, is every year taken over by a Valentine craze. Luxury hotels are draped in red, offering romantic dinner specials. Malls and cafes are decorated with giant hearts and flower shops offer promotional deals on roses and fancy bouquets.”
So how do some people here view this particular day?
Dave, an American who has been a resident in the Kingdom for the past 17 years had this to say: “It’s better to hand out roses than grenades. It is far more peaceful and does not carry out the message of violence. I don’t understand what the fuss is all about?”
Ahmed, a Saudi working at a local bank admits that this year is special. He was recently engaged and has prepared bushels of gifts for his fiancee, all decked in red. He does not attach any religious significance to Valentine’s Day, but instead sees it as an opportunity for expressing his affections. “I don’t even know who or what Valentine was”, he admits. “All I want to do is be extra attentive to my wife-to-be.”
Mona, a Saudi schoolteacher, laments the craze among our youth in following Western mores. “What next? Shall we be coerced into buying and decorating Christmas trees? Why our young are so easily attracted to the less significant aspects of Western culture? Why cannot they adopt the more serious characteristics of those societies like hard work, discipline, and proper work ethics? This is a lost generation”, she concludes.
Mario, a Filipino architect, plans to celebrate Sunday with his wife who is a nurse at a local hospital, albeit in a subtle manner. “We will not go out publicly in red, but we will certainly exchange gifts and love notes among ourselves. We have been advised to be careful.”
Faisal, a conservative Saudi and a father of five agrees with the commission’s goals of banning such celebrations. “We are embracing Western culture at the expense of our religious teachings, and that is very dangerous. It will erode aspects of our culture and stray us from our religion. Even music and those who trade in it must be banned.”
Nadia, a Saudi college student disagrees. She is emphatic when she says her plans for Valentine’s Day include partying with her girlfriends. “This day doesn’t stop me from praying or reading the Qur’an. What makes it even more special is that it is falling during the school break and we can go out and stay up pretty late.” And yes, she is going out in red. She had a new abaya tailored for the occasion, with the color red being prominently patterned around her cloak.
Yes, tomorrow is different to some. And depending on which side of the fence you sit, the color red will definitely have some say.
Friday, February 12, 2010
WTF? All of a sudden 1/2 the full title of this blog disappeared! It WAS titled "I got a "FREE" DVD" then all that was there was I got a the rest was missing! SparkPeople messing up again!
Yesterday I bought a $3.50 box of Special K cereal and got a "Free" Stott Pilates DVD called The Secret To Weight Loss Volume 1. It shows the different techniques of pilates moves and how to do them, breathing, positioning and it has some exercise demos. It's not a bad DVD but now I gotta try to watch for more of these DVDS. I thought that was neat. I don't know if it is available in the USA or other countries, I bought my box of cereal in Saudi Arabia.
I was wrong yesterday when I said I had 8 people join in 2 days, 9 people joined in 2 days using my name as their "Sparker" !!! I hope they become active! I posted on a Quality Health page or a Diabetic connect page that I belonged here so they must have checked it out.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I'm shocked! I looked at my SparkPoints today and wondered how I could have gotten all those points and found out I sparked 6 people on Thursday alone and 2 on Wednesday! I got a trophy for my Spark page too! What a pleasant surprise today!
I wandered around Ikea for 2 hours today for something different. I was looking for a magazine holder for the "reading room" but couldn't find one I liked so we'll just use an clean waste basket. Then I had to get a nother resistance band, I keep one hooked around the dresser leg so I know where it is when I want to do workouts. Then the dreaded grocery shopping.
I don' think I'll be doing an exercise workout today.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Even though it's Wednesday, it's like Friday here, our weekend starts on Thursday.
I noticed yesterday I had more points than usual so I carefully went down the list to see what extra I earned and found that I Sparked 2 more people!! WOO HOO! I do not recognize their names but I must have posted something somewhere along the line and they checked us out!
This morning I got in a 54 minute 2.8 mile walk, this afternoon I did a 25 minute Leslie Sansone WATP video, then did about 30 minutes of core exercises and dumbbell exercises.
So now I need to put together a menu and grocery list for next week so I can do the dreaded shopping on Thursday.
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