July 31st, 2008 cate
Here are several suggestions for some of the best yoga retreats or “zen dens” in the world.
1. WILDFLOWER HALL
Where: Shimla, India
Guru says: Yoga was invented in the Himalayas, in caves where acolytes of Tantric bliss experimented with astrology, nutrition, sex, medicine, and asanas (postures). But cave dwelling is so 5,000 years ago: Stay instead at this cliff-side manor, once home to British commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener and now a luxury Oberoi property. Instruction with local masters who grew up practicing yoga can be arranged in private sessions or with a group. Most programs last one week and include spa and Ayurvedic treatments.
Classmates: Wealthy Indian families looking to escape the heat of New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as many European couples. The Himalayan environment attracts a steady stream of fit, young professionals into adventure travel.
Om factor: Didn’t we mention yoga was invented here? Teachers are often part of a guru-disciple lineage dating back centuries.
Prerequisites: A simple mountain pose. Better: the sweat-inducing headstand.
Extracurricular: Day-trips on the white water of the Sutlej River, hikes and single-track mountain biking trips leading to king-of-the-world views, tennis in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
When to go: The summer is warm, but not hot; wildflowers bloom in late spring; and snow falls regularly in January and February. Take your pick.
Doubles from $390; morning yoga classes included, individual yoga programs extra
Tel: 800 562 3764
2. COMO SHAMBHALA AT PARROT CAY
Where: Turks & Caicos
Guru says: This is the spot for well-heeled yogis whose idea of Zen minimalism doesn’t extend to thread counts and evening meals. The private 1,000-acre island in the Turks + Caicos has snow-white sand and turquoise coves, and the rooms are unfussy but gorgeous, all teak and white cotton. Instructors give daily yoga classes, but the resort also attracts some of the biggest names in American yoga for retreat weeks.
Classmates: A yoga rule of thumb: When the price goes up, so does the average age of the clientele. Don’t expect the barefoot, stringy-haired hard-bodies you share floor space with at home. Instead, you’ll get moneyed couples and a smattering of New Age yuppies.
Om factor: With American yoga luminaries such as Rodney Yee and Erich Schiffmann as retreat week regulars, the level of instruction is excellent, with an average of five hours per day during retreat weeks.
Prerequisites: Downward-facing dog. If you don’t already know this pose, just watch your dog stretch when he gets up from a nap.
Extracurricular: Dive or snorkel in the most pristine waters and healthiest reefs of the Caribbean region. Or just collapse on the beach for an extended savasana.
Doubles from $680 including group yoga classes; $120 an hour for private instruction; retreat weeks $6,240 all-inclusive
Como Shambhala at Parrot Cay
Tel: 877 754 0726
Where: Hua Hin, Thailand
Guru says: This retreat, my budding spiritual narcissist, is all about you. Thailand’s top destination spa ensures no annoying classmates and no early mornings unless you want them. Upon arrival at the luxurious, secluded seven-acre property located 135 miles south of Bangkok, you’ll be assigned a Health and Wellness advisor who’ll design a personal yoga program, ranging from 3 to 21 days (or longer), and augment it with spa treatments and a nutritional program.
Classmates: There may be no one on the mat next to you (all instruction is private), but other guests do exist. Between yoga and spa sessions you’ll hobnob with British, Swedish, and Australian thirty- and fortysomethings. Most guests are women traveling with their girlfriends or mums to detox or lose weight, but there are plenty of soloists, so you won’t have to dine alone.
Om factor: High. Every morning Buddhist monks wander along Hua Hin beach draped in faded red robes.
Prerequisites: Half lotus with breath of fire (kalabati breathing). You aren’t going to be able to fake this one.
Extracurricular: While most guests don’t leave the property, we suggest shuttling into town to explore the market and local Buddhist shrines.
When to go: The most comfortable time is the dry season, October through April. But prices drop during the summer rains, May to September.
Three- to 21-day retreats from $1,530 to $10,710, including meals and yoga instruction
Tel: 949 487 0522
4. BEGAWAN GIRI
Where: Bali, Indonesia
Guru says: Bali seems tailor-made for serenity: The Balinese culture is based on harmony, and locals couldn’t be more hospitable. If you don’t come away from here feeling balanced and fulfilled, you need a personality replacement. The only decision is how upscale to go. The tippy-top is Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, where the guest villas are architectural masterpieces and the sumptuous spa overlooks the Ayung River. Yoga instructors are on staff, and the hotel hosts retreat weeks throughout the year. But Balinese tranquility isn’t limited to the elite. Australia-based yoga studio Inspya Yoga offers a handful of affordable Bali retreats each year, most of them hosted by renowned teacher Lance Schuler in the town of Ubud (just a stone’s throw from Begawan Giri). Retreat guests are lodged in a simple but comfortable compound with two-story bungalows, an open-air restaurant, and a spring-water swimming pool.
Classmates: Donna Karan at the Begawan Giri; attractive, down-to-earth Aussies with Inspya Yoga.
Om factor: Spirit saturates Bali. There are thousands of temples on the island, and even if you don’t know anything about Hinduism, it’s hard not to be intrigued.
Prerequisites: Wheel pose. Bali attracts types that do full back-bends in their sleep.
Extracurricular: Visit the mother temple complex, Pura Besakih; scale the sacred Mt. Agung volcano; dive in the pristine waters of North Bali; or learn to surf on the south coast.
When to go: Lance Schuler’s next Bali retreat is in July 2007. Begawan Giri announces its retreat week calendar in November 2006; check the website for details.
Begawan Giri: Doubles from $495, including daily yoga; retreat weeks from $3,882. Inspya Yoga: 10-day retreats from $1,009, including accommodations
Tel: 62 361 978 888
Inspya Yoga Retreats
Tel: 61 2 6687 2717
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July 30th, 2008 cate
We all know that overdo-ing it on the salt, is a big no-no for your heart and for your body, in general. The following list includes some of the most salt laden dishes in the U.S. You may be surprised at some of the dishes that you wouldn’t think had so much salt in them. Avoid these places if possible. If not, at least avoid these dishes particularly if you have blood pressure, heart and stroke issues.
20: Saltiest Side Dish
Denny’s Honey Smoked Ham, grilled slice
1,700 mg sodium, 85 calories
Calorie for calorie, this is the saltiest dish in America.
This side is steeped in salty brine before it’s smoked, soaking up 70 percent of your daily sodium intake.
19: Saltiest Dessert
Atlanta Bread Company Raspberry Scone
1,750 mg sodium, 360 calories
This fruit scone packs the same sodium load as seven servings of bacon at Atlanta Bread Company. If you need a sweet fix, opt instead for the pumpkin bread, which has a tenth of the sodium (160 mg).
18: Saltiest Soup
Baja Fresh Chicken Tortilla Soup
2,760 mg sodium, 320 calories
Soup and salt are nearly synonymous in the food world, but Baja takes it to the extreme, sinking more than a day’s worth of sodium into a single serving. Start with a bowl of stewed black beans with a scoop of fresh salsa instead; a serving has an eye-popping, belly-filling 26 grams (g) of fiber, with less than half the salt of the soup.
17: Saltiest Burger
Hardee’s 2/3 lb Monster Thickburger
2,770 mg sodium, 1,420 calories, 108 g fat
More than 100 percent of your daily sodium allowance is trapped inside this burger’s bun. And the three slices of processed American cheese are oozing with 780 mg sodium. Try the Low-Carb Thickburger–you’ll shave 1,000 calories and 1,700 mg sodium.
16: Saltiest “Healthy” Food
Chili’s Guiltless Grill Chicken Platter
2,780 mg sodium, 590 calories, 85 g carbs
Beware the bait and switch. Many restaurants and packaged-food producers advertise their dishes as being low in calories and fat, only to jack up the sugar and salt content. Case in point: This platter actually has more sodium than Chili’s 1,890-calorie Country Fried Steak with sides, toast, and gravy. Stick with the Guiltless Salmon, the best choice on Chili’s sometimes-healthy special menu.
• 15: Saltiest Pasta
Fazoli’s Rigatoni Romano
3,180 mg sodium, 1,090 calories, 54 g fat, 101 g carbs
Salt is one of the top ingredients in Italian sausage, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese, the three items that serve as this dish’s backbone. Simply order your noodles topped with marinara sauce and peppery chicken. The chicken has just 1 g fat and less sodium than the other toppings you can order for your pasta.
14: Saltiest Chinese Entrée
P.F. Chang’s Beef with Broccoli
3,752 mg sodium, 1,120 calories, 65 g fat
Like many Chinese dishes, this ubiquitous entrée sounds deceptively healthy. Also like many Chinese dishes, this meal is swimming in a murky brown sauce made mostly of soy sauce and oil. Skip the fried rice (it can contain up to 2,700 mg sodium on its own) and send out an SOS (“sauce on the side”) to your server.
• 13: Saltiest Breakfast
Arby’s Sausage Gravy Biscuit
3,754 mg sodium, 961 calories
Yes, cured meat and lard-riddled biscuits are found in this troubled Southern staple, but the coat of gravy carries 2,600 mg sodium on its own, making it the primary offender.
12: Saltiest Beef Entrée
Bob Evans Steak Tips and Noodles
4,131 mg sodium, 822 calories, 43 g fat
Bob lubricates his take on beef stroganoff with a huge ladleful of gravy, damning this dish before you even poke your fork into it. Try your steak without the salt bath: The regular sirloin has half the calories and a commendable 638 mg sodium.
11: Saltiest Frozen Dinner
Swanson Hungry-Man XXL Roasted Carved Turkey
4,480 mg sodium, 1,360 calories, 70 g fat
Yes, the nutrition data on the back suggests that the package contains two servings, but the label proudly proclaims the 1 1/2 pounds inside, and besides, how many guys are going to share their frozen dinner?
10: Saltiest Bread
Dunkin’ Donuts Salt Bagel
4,520 mg sodium, 320 calories, 62 g carbs
This bagel is more like a giant salt-encrusted pretzel, delivering 188 percent of your recommended daily sodium intake.
9: Saltiest Sandwich
Quiznos Turkey Bacon Guacamole Large Sub with Cheese and Reduced-Fat Ranch Dressing
4,670 mg sodium, 1,120 calories, 49 g fat, 116 g carbs
First, skip the large sandwich. At Quiznos, few come in under 1,000 calories and 3,000 mg sodium. Next, abandon mozzarella for Swiss, which has a tenth of the sodium. Finally, choose one of the low-calorie subs at Quiznos–the Tuscan Turkey, or better yet, the Honey Bourbon Chicken.
8: Saltiest Pizza
Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s Stuffed Crust Pizza (3 slices of the 14” large)
5,070 mg sodium, 1,560 calories, 87 g fat, 114 g carbs
A good rule of thumb: Never order a pizza with more than a single meat topping. Because if the calories don’t get you, the salt will. This problematic pie has six meats and 4,000 mg sodium too much.
7: Saltiest Comfort Food
Denny’s Meat Loaf Dinner (with Mashed Potatoes and Corn)
5,080 mg sodium, 1,210 calories, 69 g fat, 97 g carbs
There’s nothing comforting about a dinner that carries the same sodium load as 27 strips of bacon. Trade the salty loaf for the Steakhouse Strip Dinner, which has just 460 mg sodium and 390 calories (before sides).
6: Saltiest Salad
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Chicken Florentine
5,460 mg sodium, 840 calories, 53 g fat
Salads are often the biggest blood-pressure boosters on the menu, since the innocent leaves play perfect host to a flurry of briny toppings and dangerous dressings. Here, salt-laden olives, capers, and Parmesan collide with Macaroni Grill’s massive portions and its cooks’ affinity for the saltshaker.
The only reasonable insalata on the menu is the Mozzarella alla Caprese: It has 450 calories and 760 mg sodium.
5: Saltiest Mexican Entrée
Chili’s Buffalo Chicken Fajitas
5,690 mg sodium, 1,730 calories, 107 g fat, 143 g carbs
Here are a few offenders to choke on: fried chicken, Buffalo sauce, blue cheese, smoked bacon, ranch dressing, and sour cream. All make this the sodium equivalent of single-handedly downing three and a half baskets of Chili’s bottomless tostada chips. Add rice and beans and you’ve just ordered 3 days’ worth of sodium and an entire day of calories. If you’re salt-sensitive, avoid fajitas–any kind of fajitas–at all costs.
4: Saltiest Kids’ Meal
Cosi Kid’s Pepperoni Pizza
6,405 mg sodium, 1,901 calories, 93 g fat, 190 g carbs
Kids under 13 should max out at 1,900 to 2,200 mg sodium a day, according to American Heart Association. This pizza serves up nearly three times that much, plus an entire day’s worth of calories. You could feed your child 50 turkey sandwiches at Cosi for the same sodium price tag. (But stick to just one.)
3: Saltiest Seafood Entrée
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Grilled Teriyaki Salmon
6,590 mg sodium, 1,230 calories, 74 g fat, 79 g carbs
Think you’re playing it smart by opting for fish? The slather of teriyaki, which is essentially highly sweetened soy sauce in concentrated form, sinks that strategy fast. The grilled halibut, topped with a fresh tomato-basil relish instead, has just a quarter of the sodium.
2: Saltiest Appetizer
Papa John’s Cheesesticks with Buffalo Sauce
6,700 mg sodium, 2,605 calories, 113 g fat, 296 g carbs
If you were to split this appetizer with two friends, you’d still be close to downing your daily sodium allowance before you even reach for the pizza. Each stick packs the same amount of sodium as a small slice of cheese pizza, and that’s without dipping. Your best bet? Cheese pizza. Thin crust.
1: The Saltiest Dish in America
Romano’s Macaroni Grill Chicken Portobello
7,300 mg sodium, 1,020 calories, 66 g fat
With three items on our top 20 list, plus a slew of dishonorable mentions, Macaroni Grill earns its title as America’s saltiest chain restaurant. But what makes this the saltiest dish in America? One word: demi-glace, a fancy French name for the viscous salt slick that blankets this disastrous dish. You would have to eat 32 cups of potassium-rich broccoli to compensate for this sodium avalanche. [source]
July 29th, 2008 cate
Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads is an A-to-Z reference book written in a straightforward style that?s informative enough for library use but informal enough for general reading. This essential guide takes a practical look at the popular uses of herbs and spices, presented in an easy-to-use format. The book is a refreshing alternative to the how-to guides, cookbooks, and picture books usually found on the subject.
From alfalfa to ginseng to yellow dock, more than 100 entries are included, featuring historical backgrounds, popular and practical uses, folklore, and bibliographies. Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads also contains related listings and essays that range from alternative medicine to food preparation and nutrition to herbs in wedding celebrations. Detailed enough for reference use by academics, the book has a natural tone that appeals to garden club members, herb and spice experts, hobbyists, and others.
Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads also includes information on:
-herb growing and marketing
-herbs and spices in literature
-medicinal herbs and spices
-federal regulations on herbs and spices
An everyday guide for enthusiasts and a perfect place to start for newcomers, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads is an easy-to-use handbook with wide-ranging appeal.
For more information and to sample some pages click below:
Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads
July 28th, 2008 cate
It has been a while since I’ve had a cough, in fact, I don’t even remember the last time I had one. But when other people have the horrible, persistent cough, I feel for them. Here’s a remedy to drink at home.
Sage & Honey Tea (for a medium pot)
2 large fresh sage leaves
In a medium teapot, place 2 large sage leaves inside, pour hot water into the pot and let steep at least 5 minutes. The water will have a slight tint of green. Once it has steeped, pour into tea cup or mug and add some honey, to your liking. Sip the tea while it is still hot.
It’s simple; I know but I swear by sage tea. You actually can leave out the honey but sage leaves has a very strong (some call it medicinal) flavor and honey rounds out the flavor. This tea is also a natural calmer and if you have some problems with insomnia, this will help you by leaps and bounds. Try it.
On a side note
Growing fresh sage is easy as pie. It grows very well in a garden with very little maintenance. No garden? Plant some in a pot and keep it indoors next to a window sill. It is beautiful and makes a lovely decorative addition to your house or apartment.
July 27th, 2008 cate
From the nation:
“Our disfunctional financial system hit a new low last week when Citigroup, the hopeless wreck of Wall Street, announced it had lost $2.5 billion in the past three months–a cheer went up, and so did the Dow. Only $2.5 billion; people were afraid the losses would be much higher. Happy days are here again.
There are no happy days for the millions of Americans who have been trying to put away some money for their retirement in tax-sheltered entities like IRAs, Roth Accounts and 401(k)s. For them, the market’s downward slope has been harrowing and frightening. When will the steady erosion of their savings end? And when it does, what will be left of their future financial security?…”
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