Monthly Archives: September 2018

Happy National Coffee Day!

Category : Uncategorized

Coffee

Who doesn’t enjoy the fresh aroma of a cup of steaming hot coffee?  This time-honoured beverage has graced tables and stimulated conversation around the world for more than 1,000 years. Coffee has stood the test of time and holds its position as the second most traded commodity in the world following petroleum.

A Bit of History

One legend has it that coffee originated in Ethiopia through a goat herder who noticed that his goats were particularly”energized” after eating some berries from a bush. He shared this information with the abbot of a local monastery. The abbot thought it would be a good idea to make a brew from these berries. So he took some berries, roasted them, ground them up and dissolved them in hot water to make what we now know as coffee. Other legends claim a different story and origin. Whatever the case, it seems that coffee did originate in the hot climate of Eastern Africa.

A Wildly Popular Drink

Coffee became a wildly popular drink throughout Eastern Africa and the Middle East. Pilgrims travelling from all over to Mecca sought to drink the beverage, the most popular drink of the time. From the Middle East coffee was introduced to Europe, Indonesia and the Americas largely through Dutch traders.

Fascinating Coffee Facts

(1) Coffee  was banned at least three times in history

The first time it was banned (16th century) in Mecca by Muslim rulers because they believed that the stimulating side effects of drinking coffee were undesirable and unacceptable. Coffee was banned a second time ( 17th century) by Charles the II. Then it was again banned (in the 17th century) by Frederik the Great.

(2) Coffee was the reason for the invention of the Webcam

In 1991 at the university of Cambridge (England), It seems that people were tired of walking across campus only to find that the coffee pot was already empty. The Webcam was invented as a way to stream the coffee machine online so that people could check (online) to see if the coffee pot had coffee in it.

(3) Coffee started a social revolution

Coffee houses began appearing all over the Middle East and East Africa where people would go for entertainment and to catch up on the latest news and gossip. There was usually dancing, gaming (chess games), musical shows, and other entertainment. These coffee houses were the place to be if you wanted to be “in the know.”

(4) Coffee beans are not actually beans.

The coffee “bean” is, in fact, the seed of a berry which grows on a bush. Although the coffee “bean” has worldwide popularity, the fruit does not seem to enjoy the same popular recognition.

(5) Caffe Suspeso is an Italian tradition

In Italy, there is a long held tradition which originated in Naples called Caffe Suspeso (suspended coffee).  According to this tradition, customers “pay-it-forward” by buying an extra cup of coffee to be put on hold for other customers who don’t have the money to buy coffee. When a “down-on-his-luck” customer comes by, he asks if there are any caffe suspesos available.

(6) Coffee used to have the name “Arabian Wine”

The Arabic name for this beverage was literally translated as ” wine of the bean.”  through the different languages and cultures; Turkish (Kahve) , Dutch (Koffee) and Italian (caffe), the beverage came to be known what we now call coffee.

(7) Expensive coffee is made from elephant dung

Some of the most expensive coffee in the world comes from Thailand. Here the elephants are fed coffee beans and then the coffee beans are picked out of the elephant waste matter. It seems that this procedure gives the coffee a smooth, earthy taste.

(8) Coffee Bath

In Japan, for about $30 (US) you can have a coffee bath where you can have coffee poured all over you. The coffee bath is one of several “beverage baths” available. There are also wine baths, chocolate baths, green tea baths and sake baths.

 

The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

(1) Caffeine improves brain function and activity

“The study results showed that caffeine promotes neuronal connections, providing possible mechanistic insights into caffeine’s enhancing effects on memory and cognition.”

Professor Kere (researcher) continued: “For example, our research shows that inhibition on neuronal connectivity is downregulated by normal levels of caffeine – similar levels to what you might drink in a day. This might well help understanding in part why coffee has been suggested to improve memory and protect against memory loss in the elderly.”

https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/2017/09/new-research-help-understand-caffeine-consumption-affects-brain-body/

(2) Caffeine protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia. A 2007 quantitative review of observational studies demonstrated a new, positive effect of coffee consumption on lowering the risk for AD – approximately by 30% as compared to non-coffee consumers []. A 2010 review of longitudinal epidemiological studies suggested that daily intake of 3–5 cups of coffee in middle age may lower the risk of the disease by 64% as compared to lower amounts of coffee.”

“A meta-analysis of cohort and case-control studies by Hernán et al., including reports published between 1966 and 2002, revealed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and the incidence of PD (Parkinson’s Disease). Coffee drinkers were at a 30% lower risk of the disease as compared to non-drinkers [], which is consistent with the latest meta-analysis from 2014 and the conclusion that the strongest positive effect (28% lower risk) was observed for the daily intake of 3 cups of coffee []. Additionally, that analysis demonstrates a linearly dependent correlation between caffeine dose and risk for disease.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420628/

(3) Caffeine may reduce the risk of Type II diabetes

“These results suggest that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower risk of type II diabetes in younger and middle-aged women. Coffee constituents other than caffeine may affect the development of type II diabetes.”

High coffee consumption has been associated with better glucose tolerance and a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes in diverse populations in Europe, the U.S., and Japan (13). However, it remains unclear what coffee components may be responsible for the apparent beneficial effect of coffee on glucose metabolism.”

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/2/398

(4) Caffeine protects against liver disease (cirrhosis) and cancer of the liver

“Overall, drinking coffee has been associated with up to a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer compared to those who do not drink coffee34-39.”

“Coffee drinking has also been related to a reduced risk of other liver diseases. A systematic review published in 2014 suggested coffee consumption was associated with beneficial outcomes in patients with chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease7. A 2016 review also concluded that coffee intake of more than 2 cups per day in patients with pre-existing liver disease was associated with a lower incidence of fibrosis and cirrhosis, lower hepatocellular carcinoma rates, and decreased mortality9.”

https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-consumption-and-liver-function/

(5) Caffeine may lower heart disease risk

“In conclusion, our meta-analysis suggests a non-linear relationship between coffee consumption and CVD risk. Moderate coffee consumption was associated with lower CVD risk, with the lowest CVD risk at 3 to 5 cups/d of coffee consumption, and heavy coffee consumption was not associated with CVD risk. This non-linear association with coffee consumption was observed for both the risk of CHD and stroke.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945962/

The Downside of Coffee

(1) Hydrochloric Acid Secretion

“Intragastric instillation of coffee, decaffeinated coffee and pure caffeine in humans significantly stimulated gastric secretion. After intragastric caffeine, basal serum gastrin concentrations were not changed. However after instillation of coffee and decaffeinated coffee serum gastrin increased significantly. Thus acid secretion was significantly greater after coffee and decaffeinated coffee than after caffeine. Roasted products seem to be responsible for the gastrin-releasing effect of coffee.”

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/21901415_The_influence_of_coffee_and_caffeine_on_gastrin_and_acid_secretion_in_man

(2) Mineral Depletion

Coffee drinking can contribute to moderate or significant loss of calcium, magnesium and iron.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/536960-does-coffee-deplete-nutrients/     

(3) Stress and Tension

Coffee (or caffeine) may contribute to stress and tension:

“The current study has presented results that suggest caffeine consumption may be associated with stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children, though the effect on stress disappeared after additional dietary, demographic, and lifestyle variance was controlled for statistically. The effects observed also appeared to differ between males and females. Though caffeine consumption was associated with anxiety in males at the multivariate level, no such observation was made in females. Furthermore, though the effects relating to depression occurred in both sexes, the threshold at which they appeared was lower in males than it was in females.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/ 

So, There You Have It…

Coffee, the ubiquitous beverage, with an interesting social history, still leaves us wondering: is it good for me or is it bad for me?  There are some significant benefits to drinking coffee, but perhaps it would be good to limit the cups to one or two and consume coffee after a meal rather than before. Cheers to you, let’s drink to that!!

 

Has this post been helpful to you?  Let me know in a comment below. I would love to dialogue with you.

 

Sharing ideas is the game and life is for living
Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
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Discover Amazing Golden Milk

These days, it’s all about the turmeric in health circles. It is making waves in scientific studies and anecdotal experience.  Golden Milk, made with turmeric, is becoming very popular. And the taste is awesome.  It gives a new definition to the “Hot Toddy.” I think it is safe to say that if you haven’t tried Golden Milk yet, you have been missing out.

So what is Golden Milk? It is an ancient beverage, typically consumed warm, from Ayurvedic medicine and is known for its delicious taste and numerous therapeutic, health benefits.  In Ayurvedic tradition, this drink was taken to fight off colds, congestion, sore throats and headaches. Beginning in India, thousands of years ago, the drink has made its way across the world and now the main component, turmeric (curcumin), is being studied for these and other health benefits. Some other benefits attributed to turmeric are:

  • blood purifier
  • antibacterial
  • antiinflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • aids in digestion
  • aids in cancer therapies such as radiation
  • aids in brain function

Ingredients

Golden milk ingredients (livingandstuff.ca)

Here are the main ingredients you will want to have in your Golden Milk:

Coconut oil –  makes it easier (the fats) for our bodies to absorb the curcumin in the turmeric root. Curcumin is the main compound we are looking to absorb.

Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fats that satiate as well as protect our brain against degenerative diseases.

Black pepper – The piperine in black pepper seems to be able to activate the curcumin to make it more bioavailable to our bodies. It makes the curcumin more potent.

Turmeric– either fresh grated or raw ground turmeric powder. I prefer the ground turmeric powder because it is easier to mix and I can keep it for longer. Tumeric is an anti-inflammatory root, similar to ginger root.

Coconut milk- the original recipe used milk, but I think coconut milk tastes better and is healthier

Honey -.Raw honey is best because of the enzymes contained in raw honey. Honey also has antibacterial properties.

Other ingredients– you can also add cinnamon or ginger to add more spice, some might want to add in some ginger as well. Cinimmon has anti-oxidants and helps to regulate blood sugar. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. It will also help to take away some of the bitterness of the turmeric root.

Directions

Add all ingredients except the (raw) honey to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently.

Boil for about 10 min. until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Boiling also takes away some of the bitter taste of the turmeric.

After 10 min; remove the saucepan from the burner and cool for 10-15 min.

Add the raw honey and mix thoroughly. The honey will give the mixture a cohesive paste texture as well as add a pleasant taste.

Put the paste into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. It should keep well for a minimum of 2-3 weeks.

Golden paste (livingandstuff.ca)

Some Ways to Use Golden Paste

  • in smoothies
  • as a topping for pumpkin pie
  • in coffee
  • in Golden milk
  • as a broth (omit the raw honey)
  • in a salad dressing
  • in soups (omit the raw honey)

Other Uses

  • as a face mask
  • as a poultice for inflamed skin or sprains
  • as a whitening toothpaste (omit the raw honey and add baking soda and coconut oil)
  • as a skin soother for sunburns and poison ivy breakout (mix with aloe vera gel)

Conclusion:

There is no reason not to try golden milk or paste and add to your daily routine. With such outstanding health benefits and versatility, it merits becoming a staple in every home. From a warming drink in the evening to a tooth whitening paste, there is something for everyone. Why not give it a try?

Has this information been helpful to you? Let me know in a comment.

 

Sharing ideas is the game and life is for living
Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
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Quebec City – My City – Ma Ville

Category : Lifestyle

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La Porte St. Louis (livingandstuff.ca)

So In Love With My City

What is not to love about beautiful Quebec City?  It is a city that meshes the charm and drama of the 1600s with the modern landscapes and lifestyle of the 21st century. It is a city where cannons and fortress walls meet cafés and shoe shops. Perched high on a cape overlooking the majestic St Lawrence River, upstream and down, and the city of Lévis on the opposite shore, the city of Quebec literally commands respect.

Let’s Begin Our Tour: The Upper Town

A walking tour around the city will bring you up and down steep hills and along twisting streets between the upper and lower towns. Of course, you can always go up and down on the funiculaire, if you don’t fancy going up and down the Breakneck Stairs. Driving around the old city can be a bit tricky if you are not used to a city full of one-way streets. Parking is not easy either. It is best to do the city on foot if you are able.

Le Chateau Frontenac (livingandstuff.ca)

Two stone archway gates serve as entrances to the city: Port St. Louis and Port St. Jean, the first leading down St. Louis Street lined with restaurants to the emblem of the city: The Chateau Frontenac and the second leading into St. Jean street area lined with shops. Just outside the gate is the Carré d’Youville where there is an outdoor skating rink in the winter and any number of activities (outdoor cinema, concerts) during the summer. This is also the location of the Le Capital theatre ( a picturesque old cabaret-style theatre) as well as the more modern Montcalm theatre.

L’esplanade (livingandstuff.ca)

And Now for the Lower Town

Going down to the lower town, which you can access either by taking the funiculaire or by going down all the stairs to the bottom, you will find the cradle of North America as defined and settled by the French colonists. Here you will find narrow cobbled streets reminiscent of the 1600s. Right in the center of this lower town is Place Royal, which was the social and business center of the original city of Quebec. This is a town square surrounded by 17th- century houses/buildings. It was here that everything happened from the market to politics to public reprimands.

Meet Samuel de Champlain

Every August this town square hosts a colonial market complete with townspeople dressed in 1600s French-style dress. Samuel de Champlain is a regular character around town. You will also meet the locals: the women at the market, the town priest, the fur trappers, the native Americans ( and others) as well as have an opportunity to become involved in the local “gossip” of the town. Walking through the square and the neighboring streets, you will likely meet up with Samuel de Champlain. He is certainly hard to miss dressed in a royal blue aristocratic ensemble. Here is your chance to ask him all the questions you want.

La Petite Champlain (livingandstuff.ca)

La Rue la Petite Champlain

The Breakneck Stairs (livingandstuff.ca)

At the bottom of the Breakneck Stairs, you will find yourself on the historic rue de la Petite Champlain, a beautiful, romantic street lined with shops that promote local designers and artisans (clothing, jewelry, shoes, and boots, and much more). There are locally known restaurants such as Le Lapin Sauté (“off the wall rabbit”)  and Le Cochon Dingue (“The Crazy Pig”) to enjoy a meal. Next to the Lapin Sauté is a little park with bench swings and Muskoka chairs, to relax in and take in the activity and music of street musicians. This street is my absolute favorite street in the city. It is energizing and inspiring and filled with activity. The shops are decorated with floral arrangements. And, at Christmas time, this beautiful street becomes even more spectacular with the festive lights and decorations illuminating the snow of the season.

Le Lapin Sauté (livingandstuff.ca)

Let’s Head Over to the Market

Down a bit from Place Royal along Blvd. Champlain ( a road that runs alongside the St. Lawrence River) is the port where you can often see cruise ships docked, marina activities and summer concerts and shows. If you go along this street towards the North East you will go past the art galleries and restaurants and come to the local farmer’s market near the marina-great place to stock up on local food and artisanal culinary creations. Just a little bit further and you will see our beautifully designed train station (La Gare de Train), keeping in line with the architecture of the city.

La Porte St. Louis (livingandstuff.ca)

Here Ends the Tour

Here is the end of our tour. I hope you enjoyed your virtual time in Quebec City.  It truly is a city to put on your bucket list of places to see. You may end up staying a while.  I hope that you will come by to visit our beautiful city, a city of charm, historical drama, excellent cuisine for every taste and budget, as well as ample opportunities to work off the calories.

Rue Ste. Anne (Livingandstuff.ca)

along Blvd. Champlain (livingandstuff.ca)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great day!

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The Breathtaking Magdalen Islands- A Summer Paradise

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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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The Fight of Our Life

Category : Life Tips , Success

What Are You Fighting For?

There are things in life worth fighting for and other battles we just need to let go.  We can’t carry everything on our shoulders. Some of the battles are just in our mind (our imagination) that we have conjured up and are not really worth fighting about. Figure out what the right fight is.

You’re imperfect and you’re woired for struggle, but you’re worthy of love and belonging – Brene Brown

Fight for What You Can Change and Leave the Rest

There are things in life that we simply cannot do anything about.  We cannot change the family we grew up in, we cannot change how people have treated us in the past and we cannot change other people. The past is the past and people are responsible for themselves.  We cannot change yesterday so why try?  We can’t fix it; it is what it is. Carry on.

There are some things we can change, though. – we can change the way we look, we can change how we feel, how we carry ourselves, and how we related to others.  We can certainly change how we think and we can change how our future will go.  What we can change and do something about is definitely worth fighting for and here is where the battle begins.

The battle of life, in most cases, is fought uphill; and to win it without a struggle were perhaps to win it without honor. If there were no difficulties, there would be no success; if there were nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to  be achieved. – Samuel Smiles

The Battle Is Real

There is always a battle going on and often we are not aware of the battles people are fighting at any given time. Some are fighting against an addiction, some are fighting for their marriage, some are fighting for their children and some are literally fighting for their lives. Many people are living lives of intense conflict inside their head, struggling to get up each day. We may never know what kind of struggle the people we meet are going through.

What are you fighting for? Are you fighting for a dream or are you fighting to survive? Are you fighting for freedom?  Are you fighting for dignity? Are you fighting for your family? Are you fighting for the future?  We all have something worth fighting for. We all want to live another day, so each day should be worth the fight. What is it that fires you up?  What would you give all of your energy to change?

 

 

Are You Prepared to Fight?

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln

All battles require preparation.  The military, the police, and firefighters are prepared long before the conflict arises. They have trained for all kinds of situations, so when they go into conflict, they are ready. And for them. the battles are every day – this very day their life may be on the line; they never know what is coming around the corner, nor if it will be their last day on earth.  They have trained their mind, their body and their spirit (emotions) for whatever they have to face.

Have a Strategy

Life was never promised to be easy; there will be gut shots. We need to be ready and not let our guard down. We need to prepare our mind, our body and our emotions for the gut shots of life.  All three must be engaged. We cannot slack off in one area and believe we are prepared. We need to be growing and strengthening always. If we stop, we go backward – we lose ground. Life is a fight and it is awesome, but awesome comes with a price.

Make that Dash Count

There’ll be two dates on your tombstone and all your friends will read ’em but all that’s gonna matter is that little dash between ’em. ~ Kevin Welch

We are living in the dash between our date of birth and the day of our death. Let’s make that dash count. Let’s be willing to pay the price so that that dash was not for nothing. Don’t waste the Dash!  That dash is why we fight; it is who we are every day and the impact we have in the world. That dash will be filled with gut shots, but we don’t have to take them lying down. When it comes down to inscribing the date after the dash, what will you have done? What will you have stood up for and what will you have fought for?

The Victory Is Yours

In the time of darkest defeat, victory may be nearest – WilliamMcKinley

We will have victories. Battles will be won, but be prepared! When the victory comes, another battle is on the way and we will have to fight just as hard. We will need to put on the armor again and fight. Don’t give up ever, ever!  So many do; they throw in the towel. They are battle weary. Their faces show the scars of defeat and their bodies are exhausted.  They have quit on themselves and life. Go for the victory in all that you do!

You may be in the middle of a marriage break up, you may be confronted with a terminal illness, or your son or daughter may be heavily involved in drugs. Don’t give up ever! Fight until your last breath. If you give up, you lose big time.

Are You Ready? Go!

Are you ready to tear it up? Do you know the stakes?  Do you check the scoreboard?  What are you willing to give to win the battles of life? Are you ready to look your best, have your attitudes in check, your emotions mastered, your body trained and your thinking in top shape?

How Do We Prepare for the Gut Shots?

Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday. – William Rudolph

Train the Mind

Modern day warriors strengthen their mind – they read consistently, every day. They study and educate themselves.  The very best way to train your mind is to read quality, truthful and educational books. There really is no excuse for not reading – we can all learn this skill.

Train the Body

We can be in the best shape possible. We may want to be in shape, but first, we have to be ready and willing. What does it mean to be ready? When nothing is an obstacle, when there are no excuses, we are ready.

It is also about what we eat. We are what we eat so choose wisely Preparing for battle means strengthening the body physically and giving it the right nutrition.

It is about how we carry ourselves too.  Stand tall and stand proud. Have a presence when you walk into a room.

Train the Emotions

We can get emotionally charged and fired up.  We flip on the anger switch when someone attacks us.  Our emotions trick us into saying or doing what we don’t want to do or say. So, get the emotions in check.

So how do we train emotions?  First, we all know what they are and what they make us do. Change your emotional responses. We can either change how we react or buy our own excuses.  The fact is, no one else is going to buy our excuses. They are not going to tolerate our lack of control, so why should we?

Decide ahead of time how you will respond to situations and attacks. Prepare the mind so that you don’t become a victim of your emotions.

Has this post been helpful to you?  Let me know in a comment below.

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Have a great day!

Read Also

Overcoming Fear and Leaving the Comfort Zone

12 Simple Daily Habits to Change Your Life

5 Ways We Block Our Success

Diana Lynne’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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Overcoming Fear and Leaving the Comfort Zone

Category : Life Tips , Lifestyle , Success

We All Have Our Fears and Doubts

Should we go for that new job?  Should we change jobs and take the chance on a new one?  Are we good enough to be able to compete? What will our family or our friends say? Maybe they will discourage us and say that we don’t have what it takes. Maybe we fear that we will fail or worse, that we will succeed and then what?  Our school experience may have taught us that if we don’t measure up, it is no use trying and we should just stick to what we are able to do.

I have to say that I was this way for a long time. I would have intermittent sparks of “I can do this” and then “reality” would bring me down to a level playing ground and I would settle down to doing regular, normal things, living according to (my and others’) expectations.  In fact, I had often dreamed of writing and speaking in front of audiences. This very blog was supposed to have been started about 10 years ago, but I just put it off because I believed that I was not technologically savvy enough to get it off the ground.  But here I am, 10 years later, doing what I always believed I could do.

Fear Is So Debilitating

Fear can paralyze us and doubt, which is a family member of fear, literally convinces us to stay where we are. How many times in our lives do we allow fear to keep us from doing what we would really love to do, from something that we would be so passionate about?

And fear is not even real; Fear is F.E.A.RFalse evidence appearing real. What we imagine is an obstacle doesn’t actually exist, except in our imagination.

Our Comfort Zone Is Too Comfortable

Apathy:  A common human tendency to seek a comfort zone in which nothing ever changes. It is our natural human tendency to look for a spot that is comfortable. Or maybe we could, alternatively, call it “the familiar zone“, since it isn’t really always that comfortable. The familiarity makes it safe, even if it may not necessarily be comfortable.

Living in the comfort zone may feel good, familiar and routine, but it can actually stop you from living the life you would really like to live. We harbor doubts of not being good enough, brave enough or strong enough (mentally or physically) to step out and do what we would really like to do or what we have always imagined ourselves doing…. one day. What if we fail? What if it doesn’t work out? What if we spend that investment money on a new venture and it falls through? What if, after trying to do something different, it just doesn’t work?

Opportunities Will Pass Us By

Living in the comfort zone means that we see the opportunities (sometimes) and let them pass us by. It means that we choose not to take the shots in life for fear of missing the goal. Wayne Gretzky (famously) said:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Well, that is certainly true. If you never try, you never do and if you never do then you never accomplish.

The Story of Bob Smith

There was once a man who went to heaven and noticed a distinguished gentleman walking around. He asked one of the angels who he was.

“Why that’s Bob Smith, the greatest General who ever lived.”

The man entering heaven said, “Well, I know my history, I like to think and I don’t remember anything about a General named Bob Smith.”

The angel clarified: “Bob Smith would have been the greatest General whoever lived if  he had decided to serve in the military.”

This “General” had let fears and his comfort hold him back from doing something amazing in his life.

We Can Not Move Forward Without Changing

If we always do the same things in the same way as we have always done them, then we will simply get more of the same things. Nothing will change and nothing will improve.

So, What Can We Do?

(1)  We can start by getting comfortable with the truth

What does that mean? Well, it means (to borrow a sports analogy) we need to get comfortable checking the scoreboard. So if we think we are doing okay, it is a good idea to check and see what the reality is. If the scoreboard doesn’t say you are doing well, probably there are some things to fix or change. We can’t ignore the facts. We can either rationalize the scoreboard (of our life) away or we can reason with the scoreboard.  We can make excuses for why we are where we are or we can try to figure out why we have the results we have and try to change something. Either way, the scoreboard will keep score.

So, this first one is a bit tough because it means looking at ourselves in the mirror and asking tough questions.

“The truth will set you free, but only after it makes you mad.

(2)  We can remember that we always have a choice

In everything we do, we always have a choice and, by not making a choice, we are, in fact, making a choice.   We can respond to what is happening to us, to our life circumstances. We can decide to something different today or tomorrow.

We have and make choices (big and small) every day of our lives. The question is, are we making good choices or bad choices?  Also, the gap between the accumulation of bad choices over time and an accumulation of good choices over time can be absolutely dramatic. Our lives can take drastically different paths based on the choices we make over time.

Two individuals can start by having similar life circumstances and then, 10 years down the road, their lives may be dramatically different simply because of the choices they chose to make. Our thoughts – the way we think – can have a profound effect on the choices we make and on the outcome of our life circumstances.

We have the choice over our attitude.

We can choose to see the good in every situation. Is the glass half full or is it half empty? The circumstance of life will always be a mixture of good and bad. Let’s sift through and find the good parts.

We have the choice to act

We are constantly bombarded with negative thoughts like weeds in a garden. We can choose to listen to and affirm them or we can choose to stop them in their tracks and yank them out of our mind. We can be proactive at guarding our mind. And, when we get rid of bad thoughts, we need to replace them with good thoughts. Like the garden, if we pull out all the weeds, but don’t do anything else (proactively),  then more new weeds will grow in the place of the old weeds. We need to plant something where the weeds were, then it is less likely that weeds will grow there. So, we need to yank out the negative thoughts and plant new positive information in.

( 3) We need to get  busy intentionally (not just busy)

How effective is our busyness?  We can be very busy and actually not get very much done or accomplish anything important. if we are not getting the results we want in our life, we have to get busy at being proactive and not just busy at doing what we have always done. We need to look at the scoreboard (of our life), examine it, figure out what is not working and make a game plan. What do we need to know to get better in these areas where we are not doing so well?  There is always something that we can improve, work on.

(4) We need to hold ourselves accountable

We can so easily trick ourselves into believing that we have done all that is necessary, that there is nothing to fix or improve upon.  We can be so naive (when we listen to ourselves). Competition in anything, be it sports or in the job market) will soon weed out those of us who are not on top of our game. So, it helps to hold ourselves accountable to someone else who can hold up a bar to show what we are trying to reach for. As the saying goes:

A line doesn’t know it’s crooked until it is held up to a straight line.

We really don”t know how we measure up until there is a measurement ( a scoreboard),. the scoreboard is not just for competition, but for all aspects of our lives. How do we measure up to how we would like to be? If we want to be something tomorrow that we are not today, we need to reach in and harness the potential inside of us.

 

What Could You Do if You Decided to Step Out?

I think Dr. Seuss expressed it best. Here is an excerpt from “Oh The Places You’ll Go“. I’ll let Dr. Seuss have the last word:

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some, you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

Have a great day!

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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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Weird and Wonderful Kombucha

Category : Life Tips , Lifestyle

It’s Getting Around Town

Kombucha.  You’ve probably seen it somewhere. Maybe you’ve seen it at the grocery store alongside other drinks and paid no attention to it. Maybe you have wandered into a “Hipster Hangout” at a local vegetarian or vegan “café, Or maybe you have one of those friends who is fanatical about “growing things” in their kitchen and you have seen “something” growing in jars on their kitchen counter. It is likely that you have come into contact with this “on the rise” drink.

The New Health Baby on the Block

Komucha has a bubbly, tangy taste to it. When you first try it, you don’t quite know what to make of it. The bottle ingredients may say that it is a cherry flavour or raspberry flavour, so you may expect a fruity drink. Well, it is that, but it seems to taste more like a fruity beer with maybe a twist of vinegar than a fruit drink.  In fact, you might even believe it is actually beer since the taste is so similar, except the it has that fruity taste as well.  And it is… really.. bubbly.

We may have tried it because of all the “health hype” about it. It is the new thing to try,  Kombochu is the new health baby on the block and we don’t want to in the dark about what it is. So we try it just to say that we have.

So, What Is it?

Basically, Kombucha is a sweetened tea that is fermented for a period of 1-3 weeks.The cloudy “floaty bits” floating around in it are called the scoby -some call it a mushroom.

A Bit of History

So where does it come from?  It seems that everything old is new again – new to us, that is. Kombucha was originally consumed in ancient China – about 2,200 years ago. It was revered for its detoxifying and energizing qualities. But, of course, it didn’t remain an “ancient Chinese secret”, Kombucha travelled on to Russia through trade routes and then eventually found its way into Eastern Europe. Around the time of WWII, Kombucha made its way into Germany and then later France and Northern Africa.

Fascinating Kombucha Facts

(1)  Don’t spill Kombucha on your rubber shoes

The acid in the Kombocha together with the friction from the rubber will eat at your skin. It is better to wash it off straight away.

(2) It’s not a mushroom and It is alive!

The “floaty thing” is often called a mushroom (as in a fungus). It is not a mushroom at all, but is, instead, a biofilm ( a cellulose particle) which is produced by bacteria.

(3) It’s like beer

Depending on how long the kombucha has been left to ferment, the alcohol content can range from between 0.5% and 5%. So it really is like beer and drinking enough of it….well.. you could (maybe) get drunk on it.

(4) It’s Chinese

Kombucha is said to have originated in China (The North Eastern part) around 220 B.C.

(5) It gets things moving

All the probiotics in Kombucha certainly help the metabolism and the digestive process to speed things up. So, the bathroom routine may definitely improve.

(6) It can be turned into clothing -seriously!

The bacteria in Kombucha form a microfilm which can be made into fabric with a leather-like texture. From it, we can make shirts, shoes, coats and more.

(7) It can be addictive

People do develop an addiction to this drink, but not as much as coffee or tea.

 

Some Health Benefits of Kombucha

It seems that the probiotics, the B vitamins and the acidic compounds in Kombucha are responsible for most of the healthful benefits derived from drinking Kombucha.

(1) Kombucha may help with anxiety and other mood disorders

“In conclusion, the emerging concept of a gut microbiota-brain axis suggests that the modulation of the gut microbiota may provide a novel therapeutic target for the treatment and/or prevention of mood and anxiety disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25470391 

(2) Kombucha may boost the immune system

“These data show that probiotics can be used as innovative tools to alleviate intestinal inflammation, normalize gut mucosal dysfunction, and down-regulate hypersensitivity reactions. More recent data show that differences exist in the immunomodulatory effects of candidate probiotic bacteria. Moreover, distinct regulatory effects have been detected in healthy subjects and in patients with inflammatory diseases. These results suggest that specific immunomodulatory properties of probiotic bacteria should be characterized when developing clinical applications for extended target populations.”

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/73/2/444s/4737576

(3) Kombucha may decrease incidence of heart disease

“Probiotics create acids that counter cholesterol production: As probiotic bacteria absorb fiber from the intestines, they generate acids. One of the specific acids, i.e. proprionic acid, reduces production of cholesterol by the liver.

Probiotics break down liver bile acids: Bile acids assist body in digesting fats, and the liver produces these bile acids from cholesterol. The liver recycles bile acids and utilizes them over and over. Probiotics break down bile acids and, therefore, the liver has to make additional bile acids, using up more cholesterol in the progression.”

Probiotics actually eat cholesterol: Probiotic bacteria have been shown to break down cholesterol and use it for nourishment.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023901/

(4) Kombucha may fight yeast infection

“…exhibiting the most important inhibition zone observed against the Candida strains tested (Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis, Candida sake, Candida dubliniensis, and Candida albicans). In view of their antimicrobial activity demonstrated against a range of pathogenic bacteria and against a number of clinical Candida species, the fermented L. citriodora and F. vulgare may be very healthful.”

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0023643812000023

(5) Kombucha may help with type II diabetes

“The findings revealed that kombucha tea administration induced attractive curative effects on diabetic rats, particularly in terms of liver-kidney functions. Kombucha tea can, therefore, be considered as a potentially strong candidate for future application as a functional supplement for the treatment and prevention of diabetes.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3403982/

The Downside of Kombucha

(1) Keto acidosis

Overconsumption or daily consumption may lead to acidosis, which is an abnormally high level of acid in the blood (the ph drops below 7.35).  To be fair, one would have to drink a whole lot of kombucha to get acidosis.

The symptoms of acidosis include: confusion, headaches, tiredness, shaking and rapid breathing or shortness of breath. If acidosis is left unattended to, it can lead to serious medical emergency conditions of brain damage, coma and it may even lead to death.

For more information on acidosis read:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001181.htm

(2) Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is a risk depending on how the kombucha was brewed. If it was brewed in a pot that contains ceramic, clay, lead crystals or paint, the acid in the brew will draw out and absorb the lead in the pot.

There are many symptoms of lead poisoning which may include: headaches, stomach pains, sleep problems, constipation, tiredness, irritability, loss of appetite, numbness in the extremities.

Homebrewing needs to be done with careful attention to the pots used and measures are taken to test for traces of lead. If strict procedures are followed, then there should not be an issue with lead poisoning.

(3) Mold and pathogen contamination

This risk is higher in the home-brewed  and ‘raw’ (unpasteurized) varieties and usually only if and when certain precautions are not taken. Without going into detail on this subject, it is important to make sure that proper fermentation procedure is followed (length of time, no exposure to direct sunlight or to other objects -cross contamination) and sanitary guidelines are respected.

Kombucha purchased commercially usually does not have mold and pathogen issues because it has been properly tested.

(4) Kombucha can be addictive

Kombucha contains caffeine (it is made from fermented tea, after all). The high quantity of sugar in it also makes you want to drink more and more.  Initially, it makes you feel good and energized, so of course, you want to get this feeling over and over.

(5)  High acidity

The acidic level in kombucha should be a warning signal to people with IBS or other digestive issues.

Also, there may be the possibility of wearing away the enamel on your teeth with regular consumption. the takeaway on kombucha?

The Takeaway

Kombucha has an interesting history and appears to have several health benefits (for having been around for so long).  Most of the health benefits appear to be centered around the probiotic content of the drink more than anything else. The health studies done specifically on Kombucha are practically (almost) inexistent (for whatever reason).  The lack of studies does not necessarily make it unhealthy (or healthy); it is just that the benefits seem to be largely based on anecdotal evidence together with the current understanding of the health benefits of probiotics.

If a person is generally in good health, drinks kombucha in moderation (not becoming obsessed and fanatical about it) and obtains the kombucha from a reputable source (I do not know enough about home brewing to endorse it), then there should be no problem enjoying this sweet, tangy and bubbly drink.

So, pour yourself a glass of “bubbly” and raise a toast to life. Life is for Living, after all!

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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
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Perplexing Chocolate Facts

Category : Lifestyle

We Love Our Chocolate, Don’t We?

We love it as a drink, in a chocolate bar, in cake, in ice cream and in numerous other ways. It is a gift we like to give and receive. We celebrate special holidays with chocolate, adding in flavours such as mint, raspberry and many others.  Chocolate is enjoyed around the world, crossing all cultural boundaries. Chocolate makes us feel good, we believe. And chocolate is associated with love and romance (Valentine’s Day).  We sometimes even say that chocolate is “decadent” when our chosen dessert or snack is brimming with chocolate. Yes, indeed, we love our chocolate!

Some Little Known Facts about Chocolate

(1) Chocolate inspired the invention of the microwave

A scientist who was working on WWI radar and weapon projects also happened to be a  chocolate fan and probably always had some on hand. As it turns out, he had some chocolate in his pocket and noticed that the chocolate softened fairly quickly when he was near a device called a magnetron. He thought that maybe the magnetron would make it possible to heat up food quickly – and the microwave was born.

(2) Chocolate actually does make us happy (for a time)

Chocolate contains different chemicals including tryptophan, which through a chemical process can when we eat chocolate, bring us into a state of euphoria.

(3) Chocolate was once used as currency

The Aztecs and the Mayans placed an extremely high value on the cocoa bean and considered chocolate to be the “Food of the Gods”. To them, it was like “gold.”  They would exchange cocoa beans for the goods and services they needed.

(4) Chocolate may protect against tooth decay

Pure cocoa (without the sugar) contains natural chemicals that can fight against the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Maybe one day there will be “cocoa toothpaste” (if it doesn’t exist already).

(5) Too much chocolate can kill you

It’s true; chocolate can kill (for all you “Death by Chocolate” fans). Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which, if taken in very high doses, can cause heart failure, seizures, kidney failure, and dehydration. It is highly unlikely that we would consume the amount of chocolate required for this to happen, but dogs, which are much smaller, only require a small amount of chocolate to bring about these symptoms. so. no chocolate for Fido!!

(6) Chocolate slices created for your sandwiches

There is a company in Japan that specializes in making chocolate slices (similar to cheese slices) for sandwiches and, probably, more importantly, to make chocolate flower decorations (by the very skilled, of course).

(7) There may be bugs in your chocolate

A chocolate bar can typically contain about 8 insect parts. The FDA still considers this safe. When the proportion goes beyond 60 insect parts per 100 grams, then it would be considered unsafe to eat. But let’s not worry. Today, you can find many opportunities to eat chocolate covered insects (grasshoppers and maggots), right? So. no worries!

A Bit of History

Chocolate found its beginnings in what is now called Mexico about 4,ooo years ago when the first cocoa plants were found. One of the earliest civilizations in the region -the Olmec- were the pioneers in transforming the cocoa bean into a bitter chocolate drink. Later, this bitter drink was named “xocolat” by the Mayans.

Chocolate was considered by the Mayans and the Aztecs to be the “Food of the Gods” It was used in the sacred rituals of birth, marriage, and death. It was also given to victims being sacrificed as a way to “cheer them up” and was often tainted with the blood of previous sacrificial victims.

The Spanish Conquistadors were introduced to this bitter drink and brought it back to Europe’s upper class.  Eventually chocolate moved beyond the upper classes and into the general population. In the 19th century innovation led to creating solid chocolate, milk chocolate (Switzerland: Daniel Peter) and, of course, lots of sugar.

Today we may wonder if the ancient Mayan and Aztec would even recognize the drink they once called: The Food of the Gods.”

 

So, Is Chocolate Really a Health Food or a Superfood?

Chocolate, especially high percentage dark chocolate, has been hailed, in recent years as one of the superfoods of the 21st century. Many health claims have been attributed to this bitter seed from the rainforests of South and Central America and the African varieties. It seems, from all the studies, that chocolate may:

  • lower blood pressure
  • improve blood circulation
  • protect skin from sun damage
  • improve vision
  • improve brain function
  • fight off disease

These are some of the claims associated with eating chocolate. They all seem plausible and cocoa is natural, isn’t it? And what about the overwhelming number of studies that substantiate these claims? What are we, the consumers and chocolate lovers, to make of all this?

Is It Good to Eat?

First of all,  even if these study results are all legitimate, who would seriously want to eat chocolate (cocoa) without the sugar – no sugar at all? Not too many of us, I would guess. Even the rainforest animals enjoy nibbling away at the tangy tasting pulp surrounding the seeds but will spit the bitter seeds out on the ground. What do they know that we don’t? Clearly, they are not buying into the health benefits of the cocoa bean pod seeds.  It seems that, cocoa. by itself, is not ideal for consumption and that is why we need to sweeten it up.  We are certainly, today, very far from the “Food of the Gods” version, aren’t we?

When and why did all this interest in chocolate health properties appear? Chocolate has been with us for a very long time, so when did it become a superfood and how?

Heavy Investing?

It seems that for the past 30 years or so, major chocolate producing companies have been investing heavily into “scientific studies and research grants” that are more favorable to the study of cocoa. The result of all this industry investment is that dark chocolate has skyrocketed into the sphere of “health food stardom.” Yet, despite the massive amounts of money poured into research, the long-term health benefits of cocoa are still questionable.

Vox had this to say about chocolate (cocoa) research studies:

“Here at Vox, we examined 100 Mars-funded health studies and found they overwhelmingly drew glowing conclusions about cocoa and chocolate — promoting everything from chocolate’s heart health benefits to cocoa’s ability to fight disease. This research — and the media hype it inevitably attracts — has yielded a clear shift in the public perception of the products.”

“Mars and [other chocolate companies] made a conscious decision to invest in science to transform the image of their product from a treat to health food,” said New York University nutrition researcher Marion Nestle (no relation to the chocolate maker). “You can now sit there with your [chocolate bar] and say I’m getting my flavonoids.”

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/10/18/15995478/chocolate-health-benefits-heart-disease

And the Guardian adds:

Prof Marion Nestle, a nutritional scientist at New York University, uses the word “nutrifluff” to describe “sensational research findings about a single food or nutrient based on one, usually highly preliminary, study”. She points out that most studies on chocolate and health get industry funding, but journalists generally fail to highlight this. “Industry-funded research tends to set up questions that will give them desirable results, and tends to be interpreted in ways that are beneficial to their interests,” she says.

 A Few of the Health Claims of (Dark) Chocolate

(1) Chocolate may improve blood circulation and decrease blood pressure

“More good news for chocolate lovers: A new Harvard study finds that eating a small square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure for people with hypertension.”

“The study joins the growing research into the heart-healthy benefits of flavonoids, compounds in unsweetened chocolate that cause dilation of the blood vessels. The Harvard study was announced today in Atlanta at the American Heart Association’s science session on cardiovascular disease. “

https://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-03-2011/dark-chocolate-can-help-lower-your-blood-pressure.html

(2) Chocolate may protect skin from sun damage

“Our study demonstrated that regular consumption of a chocolate rich in flavanols confers significant photoprotection and can thus be effective at protecting human skin from harmful UV effects. Conventional chocolate has no such effect.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19735513

(3) Chocolate improves brain function

“In Dr. Berk’s findings, eating chocolate with 70 percent cacao was shown to increase communication involved in a number of immune responses, such as T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception, associated with the brains ability to adapt and learn new information and skills, according to a press release of the study.”

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/26/eating-dark-chocolate-improves-brain-function-new-/

(4) Chocolate may be helpful in improving vision

More than 70 percent of the people scored significantly higher on the vision tests after eating the dark chocolate bar than they did after the milk bar.

One category that saw the biggest enhancement was contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to distinguish between light and dark values especially in situations of low light, fog or glare. Driving at night is an example of an activity that requires good contrast sensitivity for safety.”

http://goodvisionforlife.com.au/2018/06/27/good-news-research-suggests-that-dark-chocolate-could-improve-your-eyesight/

There Are Some Downsides

(1) Chocolate may weaken bones

“Increased chocolate consumption was associated with lower mean bone density at all the measured sites. When the researchers took into account other factors, such as age, BMI and lifestyle, that could potentially affect this relationship, they found that some of these relationships (e.g. when bone density and strength were measured in the shin) were no longer significant.”

https://www.nhs.uk/news/older-people/chocolate-causes-weak-bones/

(2) Chocolate may have a negative effect on moods

“You can see the problem: the tyramine and PEA in chocolate may slow each other’s metabolism. The consequence is having both of these chemicals hang around too long in the body would be high blood pressure, a fast beating heart, heightened arousal, racing thoughts, anger, anxiety, and rage.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/your-brain-food/201011/chocolate-the-good-the-bad-and-the-angry

(3) Chocolate is high in fat and sugar

“Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.”

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/

So, what are we to conclude?

There is so much confusing information out there. Is chocolate healthy, or is it just a hyped “superfood?” There are certainly more than enough studies to highlight its health benefits, but, as we have seen, the studies are funded for marketing purposes. I don’t think we should stop eating chocolate for all of this, but,, everything in moderation, right? So go ahead, enjoy a bit of chocolate. Life is too short to worry about the details.

Have a great day!
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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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Fascinating Coffee Facts

Category : Life Tips

Coffee

Who doesn’t enjoy the fresh aroma of a cup of steaming hot coffee?  This time-honoured beverage has graced tables and stimulated conversation around the world for more than 1,000 years. Coffee has stood the test of time and holds its position as the second most traded commodity in the world following petroleum.

A Bit of History

One legend has it that coffee originated in Ethiopia through a goat herder who noticed that his goats were particularly”energized” after eating some berries from a bush. He shared this information with the abbot of a local monastery. The abbot thought it would be a good idea to make a brew from these berries. So he took some berries, roasted them, ground them up and dissolved them in hot water to make what we now know as coffee. Other legends claim a different story and origin. Whatever the case, it seems that coffee did originate in the hot climate of Eastern Africa.

A Wildly Popular Drink

Coffee became a wildly popular drink throughout Eastern Africa and the Middle East. Pilgrims traveling from all over to Mecca sought to drink the beverage, the most popular drink of the time. From the Middle East coffee was introduced to Europe, Indonesia, and the Americas largely through Dutch traders.

Fascinating Coffee Facts

(1) Coffee  was banned at least three times in history

The first time it was banned (16th century) in Mecca by Muslim rulers because they believed that the stimulating side effects of drinking coffee were undesirable and unacceptable. Coffee was banned a second time ( 17th century) by Charles the II. Then it was again banned (in the 17th century) by Frederik the Great.

(2) Coffee was the reason for the invention of the Webcam

In 1991 at the University of Cambridge (England), It seems that people were tired of walking across campus only to find that the coffee pot was already empty. The Webcam was invented as a way to stream the coffee machine online so that people could check (online) to see if the coffee pot had coffee in it.

(3) Coffee started a social revolution

Coffee houses began appearing all over the Middle East and East Africa where people would go for entertainment and to catch up on the latest news and gossip. There was usually dancing, gaming (chess games), musical shows, and other entertainment. These coffee houses were the place to be if you wanted to be “in the know.”

(4) Coffee beans are not actually beans

The coffee “bean” is, in fact, the seed of a berry which grows on a bush. Although the coffee “bean” has worldwide popularity, the fruit does not seem to enjoy the same popular recognition.

(5) Caffe Suspeso is an Italian tradition

In Italy, there is a long-held tradition which originated in Naples called Caffe Suspeso (suspended coffee).  According to this tradition, customers “pay-it-forward” by buying an extra cup of coffee to be put on hold for other customers who don’t have the money to buy coffee. When a “down-on-his-luck” customer comes by, he asks if there are any caffe suspesos available.

(6) Coffee used to have the name “Arabian Wine”

The Arabic name for this beverage was literally translated as ” wine of the bean.”  through the different languages and cultures; Turkish (Kahve), Dutch (Koffee) and Italian (caffe), the beverage came to be known what we now call coffee.

(7) Expensive coffee is made from elephant dung

Some of the most expensive coffee in the world comes from Thailand. Here the elephants are fed coffee beans and then the coffee beans are picked out of the elephant waste matter. It seems that this procedure gives the coffee a smooth, earthy taste.

(8) Coffee Bath

In Japan, for about $30 (US) you can have a coffee bath where you can have coffee poured all over you. The coffee bath is one of several “beverage baths” available. There are also wine baths, chocolate baths, green tea baths, and sake baths.

 

The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

(1) Caffeine improves brain function and activity

“The study results showed that caffeine promotes neuronal connections, providing possible mechanistic insights into caffeine’s enhancing effects on memory and cognition.”

Professor Kere (researcher) continued: “For example, our research shows that inhibition on neuronal connectivity is downregulated by normal levels of caffeine – similar levels to what you might drink in a day. This might well help to understand in part why coffee has been suggested to improve memory and protect against memory loss in the elderly.”

https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/2017/09/new-research-help-understand-caffeine-consumption-affects-brain-body/

(2) Caffeine protects against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

Alzheimer’s is the most common neurodegenerative disease and the leading cause of dementia. A 2007 quantitative review of observational studies demonstrated a new, positive effect of coffee consumption on lowering the risk for AD – approximately by 30% as compared to non-coffee consumers []. A 2010 review of longitudinal epidemiological studies suggested that daily intake of 3–5 cups of coffee in middle age may lower the risk of the disease by 64% as compared to lower amounts of coffee.”

“A meta-analysis of cohort and case-control studies by Hernán et al., including reports published between 1966 and 2002, revealed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and the incidence of PD (Parkinson’s Disease). Coffee drinkers were at a 30% lower risk of the disease as compared to non-drinkers [], which is consistent with the latest meta-analysis from 2014 and the conclusion that the strongest positive effect (28% lower risk) was observed for the daily intake of 3 cups of coffee []. Additionally, that analysis demonstrates a linearly dependent correlation between caffeine dose and risk for disease.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5420628/

(3) Caffeine may reduce the risk of Type II diabetes

“These results suggest that moderate consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may lower risk of type II diabetes in younger and middle-aged women. Coffee constituents other than caffeine may affect the development of type II diabetes.”

High coffee consumption has been associated with better glucose tolerance and a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes in diverse populations in Europe, the U.S., and Japan (13). However, it remains unclear what coffee components may be responsible for the apparent beneficial effect of coffee on glucose metabolism.”

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/2/398

(4) Caffeine protects against liver disease (cirrhosis) and cancer of the liver

“Overall, drinking coffee has been associated with up to a 40% reduced risk of liver cancer compared to those who do not drink coffee34-39.”

“Coffee drinking has also been related to a reduced risk of other liver diseases. A systematic review published in 2014 suggested coffee consumption was associated with beneficial outcomes in patients with chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, hepatocellular cancer, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease7. A 2016 review also concluded that coffee intake of more than 2 cups per day in patients with pre-existing liver disease was associated with a lower incidence of fibrosis and cirrhosis, lower hepatocellular carcinoma rates, and decreased mortality9.”

https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic-overview/coffee-consumption-and-liver-function/

(5) Caffeine may lower heart disease risk

“In conclusion, our meta-analysis suggests a non-linear relationship between coffee consumption and CVD risk. Moderate coffee consumption was associated with lower CVD risk, with the lowest CVD risk at 3 to 5 cups/d of coffee consumption, and heavy coffee consumption was not associated with CVD risk. This non-linear association with coffee consumption was observed for both the risk of CHD and stroke.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945962/

The Downside of Coffee

(1) Hydrochloric Acid Secretion

“Intragastric installation of coffee, decaffeinated coffee and pure caffeine in humans significantly stimulated gastric secretion. After intragastric caffeine, basal serum gastrin concentrations were not changed. However after installation of coffee and decaffeinated coffee serum gastrin increased significantly. Thus acid secretion was significantly greater after coffee and decaffeinated coffee than after caffeine. Roasted products seem to be responsible for the gastrin-releasing effect of coffee.”

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/21901415_The_influence_of_coffee_and_caffeine_on_gastrin_and_acid_secretion_in_man

(2) Mineral Depletion

Coffee drinking can contribute to moderate or significant loss of calcium, magnesium, and iron.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/536960-does-coffee-deplete-nutrients/     

(3) Stress and Tension

Coffee (or caffeine) may contribute to stress and tension:

“The current study has presented results that suggest caffeine consumption may be associated with stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children, though the effect on stress disappeared after additional dietary, demographic, and lifestyle variance was controlled for statistically. The effects observed also appeared to differ between males and females. Though caffeine consumption was associated with anxiety in males at the multivariate level, no such observation was made in females. Furthermore, though the effects relating to depression occurred in both sexes, the threshold at which they appeared was lower in males than it was in females.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4668773/ 

So, There You Have It…

Coffee, the ubiquitous beverage, with an interesting social history, still leaves us wondering: is it good for me or is it bad for me?  There are some significant benefits to drinking coffee, but perhaps it would be good to limit the cups to one or two and consume coffee after a meal rather than before. Cheers to you, let’s drink to that!!

Have a great day!!

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Has this post been helpful to you?  Let me know in a comment.

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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca
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7 Effective Ways to Resolving Conflict

Category : Life Tips , Success

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

Sometimes We Fight

Typically, we are not very adept at handling conflict, whether in our personal relationships or business related situations. In most cases, we simply have never learned how to be effective and many of our attempts to confront have been negative, if not outright damaging. We go in with what we know, replaying what we have seen our parents do. Sometimes we go into defense– attack mode, pulling out all the weapons: blaming, shaming, accusing, sarcasm, – you name it. We go in fighting, trying to defend our reputation and our dignity.

Sometimes We Shrink Back

Other times we shrink back and go into helpless victim mode where we retreat or fall into a puddle of tears. We then hope that the other person will see how much he or she has hurt us. And we throw missiles such as ” You always…” or  “You never…”, hoping they will get the point and see our perspective.  Sometimes we go into a passive-aggressive mode, trying to make the other person feel guilty. Maybe then they will see the error of their ways.

Sometimes We Avoid It All together

“Conflict builds character. Crisis defines it.” Steven V Thulon

Our track records of failed attempts at solving issues often result in a lot of hurtful fights, blows to our self-esteem and confidence and damaged relationships. So what are we to do?  Conflict keeps showing up. It shows up in our friendships, at work, and in our family. We can never say its all done and recuperate.  Conflict seems time-consuming and energy draining, so why get involved at all? Many of us would rather just do our very best to avoid conflict altogether.

No One Wants to Rock the Boat

We avoid bringing up important issues so as not to ‘rock the boat.”  “Let’s not step on any toes and let’s just avoid the problems”, we tell ourselves…  We use a number of avoidance strategies such as making ourselves very busy or physically avoiding the people we need to talk to. We involve ourselves in outside activities or entertainment, over scheduling if necessary. In the end, we hope that, in time, the problem will just go away.

The Conflict Won’t Magically Disappear

Hoping that conflict will never happen or will simply evaporate, doesn’t make it so.  Conflict shows up when we least expect it and often when we are unprepared. Unresolved conflict will continue to reappear because the underlying issue is still there. The emotions, the misunderstandings, the resentment, the needs, and the expectations have not gone away just because we have avoided confronting a person or a situation. Time does not heal unresolved conflict. In fact, with time and added information, perspectives, and opinions, the conflict may become even more complex and delicate.

Why Are We So Afraid of Confrontation?

“Proactive people take initiative and “work on the things they can do something about.” – Steven Covey

Maybe we are afraid that our feelings might be exposed and that our confidence might take a beating. Perhaps what we fear most might actually happen. If we are not careful, the other person will prove, once and for all, that we are wrong and our opinion is not worthy. We might be afraid that, no matter what we say, the other person will not listen to what we have to say and will simply dismiss it. We may be afraid that we will be overpowered by the other person’s words and left feeling miserable because we are unable to get our point across.

At any rate, we may reason, it’s not worth the time and emotional energy to deal with the problem, so we sneak back into our “safety” mode of avoidance. Why should we invest our time and risk our emotions in a conflict which will get us nowhere?

Sometimes we have to take off the gloves. There is no way around it; confrontation is necessary and healthy. The personal and professional costs of not addressing issues and not going into the” ring” are real. Sometimes, it is downright necessary to get into the ring and fight (in a good way!)

 Health Costs

Avoiding conflict can take a toll on our physical and mental health. Pent up anger, frustration, and resentment can result in anxiety, stress, depression as well as physical ailments such as heart problems. When we hold back our emotions for long periods of time, one way or another, they will find an exit. Sometimes this may be in the form of an emotional explosion appearing”out of the blue”.

 Professional Costs

The professional costs are high as well.  The unwillingness to confront issues or behaviors creates a roadblock to the flow of good ideas and opportunities for innovation and growth. Crucial information may not get shared and misunderstandings can cause stagnation in the workplace. People are misrepresented and their professional credibility may come into question. And, of course, there are financial losses all around as a result of workplace conflict issues.

 Personal Relationship Costs

Conflict avoidance in personal relationships, particularly close ones such as a spouse or parent-child relationships, rob people of opportunities to grow and learn to deal with problems. We can create an atmosphere of fear, lack of trust and emotional distance from those close to us when we choose to gloss over or avoid bringing up important issues to discuss.

What to Do?

In his book The 7  Habits of  Highly Successful People, Conflict Resolution, author Stephen Covey lists 7 important steps to smooth conflict resolution.

(1) Begin with the End in Mind

Essentially, we need to be clear what we are hoping to gain from the discussion (even the heated discussion). We should not be looking to change the other person’s opinion or viewpoint. Our goal should be clearly fixed on a beneficial outcome (or solution) for both parties. Having a clear understanding of the larger objective (valuing and preserving the relationship) and finding a workable solution will help us steer clear of what is not important.

(2) Put First Things First

We need to focus on what is important and not allow our emotions and side issues to become distractions or weapons. We need to “keep the main thing the main thing.”   By sticking with the main issue, we keep the issue or conflict simply and relatively easy to resolve. When we go off on all kinds of tangents, these do nothing to help us figure out our differences.

(3) Think Win-Win

There is no winner without a loser and often times in conflict both parties come out losing something.  Winning at any cost really is a losing solution. Effective conflict resolution is really an opportunity to practice our creative communication skills and manage our emotions effectively. It is better to think of the situation as a team project to come up with a creative and workable solution.in which everyone comes out a winner.

(4) Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood

We should try to understand the whole picture and the point of view of the “opposing” party. Perhaps there is information we do not have. It is better to show interest and curiosity in the other person’s perspective (listen) to learn how they view the situation. When we begin with “seeking to understand”, the chances that the other person will want to listen to our side are greater than if we had just jumped in with our side of the argument.

(5) First Listen

A Cherokee proverb states “Listen to the whispers and you won’t have to hear the screams.”

John Maxwell writes in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 

” You cannot connect with someone if you don’t try to listen to and understand them.”

Listening is the crucial component to a meaningful and helpful conversation and the basis of all human connection. People want others to hear what they have to say and be understood.  So, if we do nothing else, but get this point right, we’re off to a good start in resolving our differences.

(6) Synergize

Opposing viewpoints do not actually have to be in opposition. Maybe there is a way to bring them together. It does not have to be a question of one person persuading, cajoling or in some way bringing the other over to his way of thinking. It is more about finding an effective way to work together with different viewpoints towards a common goal and solution. It can be about using the strengths of two personalities to bring about a creative outcome.

(7) Sharpen the Saw

Effective conflict resolution happens long before conflict occurs. By working on ourselves, learning and growing, we can prepare for how to deal with the inevitable personal or professional conflict that arises. We can make it a habit to learn through books, training programs and people who have been “through the fire” to be better equipped to deal with conflict. Iron sharpens Iron, so the proverb goes. We can learn a lot from others and leverage their experience to give us the tools we need.

Human Relationships Are Complex

Human relations are so complex (and we make them complicated). Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could carry signs around to show people what we are feeling and let them know exactly how they should treat us? Imagine a sign saying “I am a fragile human being so treat me with utmost care. Don’t hurt me and don’t ignore me.” And of course, we would all understand and act accordingly, wouldn’t we? Maybe in a perfect world.

Conclusion:

The best we can do is make the best of what we have. These seven steps from Stephen Covey are an excellent start to a new tool in our life toolbox called: Effective Conflict Resolution.  Let’s Listen, learn, care and understand. Then we can work together rather than apart, solving problems and creating solutions.

Has this post been helpful to you?  Let me know in a comment below. I would love to dialogue with you.

Related Posts

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Why Boundaries Matter and How to Set Them

5 Surprising Things that Cause Conflict

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Diana’s passions are family, travel, self-improvement, living a debt-free/financially free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca

 

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