Sunday, December 02, 2007

Skin Care Fruit Verse

The Fruits Of Summer

Peaches, plums and nectarines are a rite of summer - and a must for healthy summer skin!

It's a sure sign of summer: mounds of sweet, juicy peaches; plump, flavorful plums; and aromatic nectarines that seem to arrive with the warm days of late spring and leave with the first cool autumn breezes.

Perhaps it's just a coincidence that these same peaches, plums and nectarines - long considered a delicious source of nutrition like most fruits and vegetables - are also important sources of antioxidants, essential for maintaining healthy skin. When the sun begins to shine, these fruits begin to work their magic.

A recent study conducted by the University of California - Davis found that these three summer stone fruits are rich in phenolic compounds which act as antioxidants, and include ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotenoids (orange or red colored substances found in many fruits) and provitamin A/beta-carotene.

Here's how antioxidants work to protect the skin. Photoaging - skin changes resulting from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays - happens where there is an imbalance of pro-oxidants (free radicals) and antioxidants in the skin's cells. The sun's UV rays can accelerate free radical production while at the same depleting antioxidants. Photoaging usually manifests itself in rougher, drier, wrinkled and less elastic skin.

Antioxidants protect skin cells by counteracting free radical activity. In addition,

Vitamin C is critical for the formation of collagen in the skin, and beta-carotene (transformed in the body into vitamin A) is important for maintaining the growth and health of skin cells.

All are good reasons to stock up on tree fruits between now and September. The best reason is just to enjoy these juicy, flavorful fruits that seem to be bursting with sunshine - all the while combating the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

A long legacy

According to The Peach Sampler, a cookbook compiled by Eliza Mears Horton, peaches originally came from China: the fruit is referred to in the writing of Confucius in the fifth century. Peaches then traveled, via caravan routes, to Persia, Greece and Rome. In the United States, peaches first appeared only years after the pilgrims landed in 1620.

Interestingly, peaches, plums and nectarines are members of the rose family. Nectarines, which many consider a form of the peach, is actually a very distinct fruit and likely predates the peach. Nectarines take their name from the drink of the Olympic gods: "nectar".

Plums come in two types: Japanese and European. Japanese plums - tarter, juicier and larger than European plums - are the most abundantly produced varieties in the United States. They were first introduced to the United States in the late 1880s when legendary plant breeder Luther Burbank imported the parent stock from the Satsuma province of Japan. They come in a variety of colors - red, purple, black, green and yellow. European plums were introduced in the United States by the Pilgrims: they tend to blue or purple, more oval-shaped, smaller and sweeter than the Japanese varieties.

Today, there are more than 1.7 billion pounds of plums, peaches and nectarines packed each spring and summer in the United States, with more than 75 percent grown in California.

The state commercially produces more than 200 varieties of peaches, 200 varieties of plums and 175 varieties of nectarines. Most peach varieties are freestone, meaning the flesh of the fruit easily slips away from the pit. For nectarines, freestone varieties are generally available in June and July. All plum varieties are clingstone.

Summerwhite varieties of peaches and nectarines have a pale white skin with splashes of bright pink, while the flesh is light pink or white. Summerwhite varieties represent about 20 percent of the peaches and nectarines packed in California.

The basics: Selection, storage and handling

When stone fruits are purchased in the grocery store, they often feel hard to the touch and are not fully ripe. The best way to ripen stone fruit is to place it in a paper bag, fold the top of the bag over loosely, and place the bag on the counter for one to three days. Never store hard fruit in the refrigerator, in plastic bags, or in direct sunlight.

Check the fruit daily. When it's ripe, it will be aromatic and will give slightly to gentle pressure. Once ripened, it can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

Peaches, plums and nectarines are easy to prepare: simply rinse under cool water and they're ready to go. Unless a recipe calls for it, you never need to peel any of these fruits: in fact, many of the antioxidants found in stone fruits are contained in the peel, and it's highly recommended that the peel be consumed along with the flesh.

For more information, please visit the California Tree Fruit Agreement's consumer Web site at

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Diet Mood Ode

Making The Food-Mood Connection

Food is more that just fuel for our bodies. What we eat - and when - has a major influence on the hormones that control our moods and emotional well-being, according to Sam Graci, nutritional researcher and author of the new book - The Food Connection: The Right Food at the Right Time.

For many Canadians, eating-on-the-go and opting for convenience foods - instead of healthy foods - is a way of life in today's fast-paced, stress-filled society. Poor eating habits not only cause poor concentration, depression and fatigue, but they are making Canadians "hormonally" unhealthy. Foods that are high in cholesterol and fat are wreaking havoc on the hormones that control moods.

Serotonin is the hormone that regulates the body's appetite, obsessive behaviors and cravings - and it also controls our moods. Getting just the right amount of this hormone will help keep the body emotionally fit - and prevent us from packing on unwanted pounds. However, too much serotonin can cause nausea and diarrhea, and too little can leave us feeling anxious, restless, depressed, impulsive and aggressive.

Balance your moods - and cravings - by eating protein at the right time of day and with the right amount of carbohydrates. It's important to reduce protein during the day and increase the amount of complex carbohydrates such as ripe fruits and raw vegetables that we eat. Try a nutritional supplement such as greens+™ - just one serving is the equivalent of six organic salads.

Each meal or snack has a major hormonal affect on our current mood, energy, mental clarity and emotional stability. Our last snack before bed will determine how well we'll sleep during the night, and that sleep will have a direct impact on our appetite, motivation, energy, decisiveness and overall moods the following day. The next time you're tempted to reach for a candy bar or bag of potato chips, think about the consequences it will have on your hormones - and your overall health.

For more information about greens+, call 1-877-500-7888, or visit the web site at

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Healthy Hormones Eating Poem

Eat Your Way To Healthy Hormones

Reaching for a mid-afternoon candy bar instead of ripe fruit or raw vegetables can have serious consequences on our physical - and emotional health. According to a recent survey, 70% of Canadians are not getting the recommended five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables in their diet. As a result, poor eating habits are making Canadians "hormonally" unhealthy.

Poor eating habits not only have a serious impact on our overall health, energy levels and immune system, but the wrong food choices can be emotionally draining too, according to Sam Graci, nutritional researcher and author of the new book - The Food Connection: The Right Food at the Right Time.

Eating refined or processed carbo-hydrates, which are high in fat, salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners sends insulin levels soaring and throws our hormones off balance. Too much of the insulin hormone slows down the growth hormone (GH) which controls our sense of well-being. It also increases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which speeds up the aging process.

But you can eat your way to healthy hormones. Next time you have the munchies or that mid-afternoon craving, reach for ripe, colourful fruits, vegetables, a handful of nuts or seeds, or a nutritional supplement such as greens+™ - all of which are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay healthy and keep hormone levels - stress, energy and moods - in check.

It's not only what you eat that will keep your hormones balanced - consider when you fuel up. Eating five small meals a day - three meals and two snacks - will help avoid the peaks and valleys of moods that can accompany big meals. Avoid skipping meals and waiting more than three and a half hours in between meals since this will zap our energy hormones and spoil our mood.

To help jump-start your energy hormones and promote mental clarity, start each day with greens+, a nutritional supplement and balanced formula of 23 premium quality, natural herbs, vitamins, minerals, organic and nutrient-rich foods.

Be sure to eat a balance of carbo-hydrates, protein and fat in all three meals. About 55% of our total daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 25 % from protein and 20% from fats. Breakfast and lunch should include the highest amount of lean protein, such as fish or chicken in order to stockpile nutrients for the day ahead. Throughout the day, the amount of protein eaten should be reduced gradually, and replaced by complex carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, leafy green salads and whole grains. To help maintain hormonal balance at the end of day, try to eat dinner before 7:30 p.m. Eating too much protein and not enough complex carbohydrates at dinner can make for a restless night's sleep.

For more information about greens+, call 1-877-500-7888, or visit the web site at

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Lime Cocktail Serenade

A Cocktail Is Not A Cocktail Without Lime

Citrus is the fruit of good health and well-being - and indeed, for many of us there is nothing more rejuvenating than the taste and aroma of freshly squeezed lime. It makes for great cocktails too.

Vodka cocktails are very popular at any time of the year and the makers of Finlandia, who have been producing vodka for more than 400 years, tell us that the next time you plan to mix your Limosa - or your Lime Mary, your Limedriver, Limetini, or Key Lime Smoothie, and others - they now have the perfect shortcut to the right taste every time.

New on the shelves this year is Finlandia Vodka Lime. You will recognize it by the familiar red dot on the ice-crafted bottle, except this new brand of icy-white vodka features a touch of lime, on both the outside, and inside the bottle. Mix it with soda, tonic, cranberry, grapefruit juice, or use it in any number of vodka cocktails. The lime flavour required is already evenly blended into a vodka that is hailed for its premium quality, promising quick, less fuss, bartender-style results.

It would appear that making a premium vodka is far from easy work however.

"The goal when distilling vodka is to produce a totally pure spirit, one without the slightest trace of anything else," says Corey Ball, group brand manager for Finlandia. "Ours follows a set of rigorous steps, of which the most important include: using the purest, glacial spring water; using six row barley, the most expensive distillers grain; using home-grown yeast to ensure freshness and consistency; and applying a continuous, uninterrupted distillation process.

"And when you go looking for our newest family member, Finlandia Vodka Lime," says Ball, "not only will you have little trouble recognizing the bottle, but as it stands right now, it is the only vodka on the shelves to offer this popular blend of lime. It is the only one, we say, to give you a taste of the arctic but with a hint of the tropics too."

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Chicken Diet Opus

Chicken Scoop: Why Is Chicken A Dieter's Best Friend?

Let's Ask the Experts! Did you know a skinless chicken breast contains less than 1.5 grams of fat per 100 gram serving? Offering expert advice just in time for bathing suit season, Bryan Hughes, New Product Development Manager at Maple Lodge Farms raves over the nutritious merits of chicken.

"One of the leanest meats on grocery store shelves, chicken is an excellent source of protein that offers an energizing boost without the fat," says Hughes. "And by removing the skin from a chicken breast, you can reduce its fat content by an additional 80 per cent!"

But cooks often make the mistake of adding fat when preparing chicken, he adds. Oils, sauces and dressings account for 65 per cent of our daily fat intake and can quickly transform low-fat chicken into a high-fat meal. It's important to use each in moderation.

"Lighter fare is key to sensible summer eating," says Hughes. "Premium Oven Roasted and Seasoned Chicken Breasts from Maple Lodge Farms are two ideal options available at your neighbourhood Sobey's, IGA and Knechtel's food markets."

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Lime Vodka Verse

Bartender Quick Tip: Buy Vodka Evenly Blended With Lime

Special occasion gatherings and parties take a lot of planning and preparation, especially for the food and beverages. An occasional short-cut therefore, with a guaranteed taste-pleaser is very welcome indeed. Lime is one of the most natural and appropriate flavour enhancements to any vodka cocktail and now you can buy it already perfectly blended in one bottle, with Finlandia Vodka Lime. You will recognize it by the familiar red dot on the ice-crafted bottle, except this new brand of icy-white vodka is featuring a touch of lime - on both the outside, and inside the bottle. Mix it with soda, tonic, cranberry, grapefruit juice, or use it in any number of vodka cocktails. The lime is already proportionately blended into a vodka that is hailed for its premium quality - making for the perfect drink - and now with less fuss every time.

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Family Safety Ode

Who Says Life Doesn'T Repeat Itself?

There is a growing awareness that children who witness family violence experience severe emotional and behavioural problems. As they grow older, boys are at greater risk of abusing others, and girls are at greater risk of experiencing abuse in their relationships.

- In a sample of federal inmates who had a history of family violence, more than half (56%) reported that they witnessed some form of violence as children.
- Men who witnessed their mothers being physically abused by their fathers were three times as likely to be violent against their female partners than men who grew up in non-violent homes.
- In a one-year period, a total of 57,182 women, along with 39,177 children, were admitted to 448 shelters that provide residential services to abused women in Canada
- The majority of children accompanying their mothers to shelters were very young: three-quarters were under ten.
- The number of children under twelve whose parents separate or divorce has tripled over the past twenty years.

Sources: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, Canadian Council on Social Development.

In an attempt to break the cycle of violence, many communities across Canada have implemented programs designed to help affected children better deal with their experiences by providing them with safety and protection, self-esteem development and coping skills. Frequently these projects also help abused mothers who need assistance with parenting.

For more information on these and other innovative crime prevention efforts currently in place across Canada, visit the National Crime Prevention Centre Web site at or call toll-free 1-877-302-NCPC

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Computer Techs e-Learning Poem

Distance Learning and e-Learning for Computer Techs

Just a few decades ago, distance learning existed only in the imaginations of science fiction writers. Of course, computers were as big as a house and only those same science fiction writers wove stories of a world in which computers were commonplace.

While technology has not taken the strides some predicted and we Earthlings didn't colonize the moon by the year 2000, there are many who probably never expected that most people log onto the Internet on a regular basis.

The great advances in technology have created a couple of new situations. As with any new gadget, there has to be someone who can work on it. When cars first hit the scene, those who could understand the workings of a gas engine were in great demand.

Even more demanding was the need for training to stay abreast of the development of the automobile. The same is true today of the computer technology.

But the techs of today have a great advantage that wasn't available when auto mechanics were trying to learn. They have computers and access to instant communication through computer networks.

That means that the very subject they need to learn more about is instrumental in keeping them up-to-date in their field. Like those who are already busy with adult responsibilities, computer techs have limited time for training, classes and certifications.

But they have a definite need for those things, many on a continuous basis. Distance learning and elearning can be the answer.

While it's always been possible to learn without being in a classroom, the opportunities to do so were limited by a number of factors. One of the biggest problems with learning outside the classroom has always been the fact that students didn't have an opportunity to actively participate.

If a student simply reads text and takes a test to discover whether he retained the knowledge, he's likely to get something from the course. A student who is allowed to talk to others, ask questions and observe the questions of other students is much more likely to gain the knowledge.

Even elearning (typically in the form of online courses) offers the opportunity to do interactive activities and students usually get feedback along the way to help them stay on track.

Distance learning and elearning are no longer fictional ideas, but have become a reality that is opening doors to many who would otherwise have missed an opportunity. And by offering technical training to those who work closely with computers, the distance learning and elearning options will likely continue to grow.

John Tipton dropped out of school early, and worked boring jobs for 20 years. Then he discovered 'distance learning' and finally got the education he missed. After lots of different courses at lots of different schools, Peter shares his experience in this series of useful articles. Find out why distance learning lets anyone go back to school. Discover what you need to look for in a distance learning program, and what you should avoid. Click

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Marketing Ideas Serenade

The Miraculous Conversion

The recent bloodbath among online content peddlers and digital media proselytisers can be traced to two deadly sins. The first was to assume that traffic equals sales. In other words, that a miraculous conversion will spontaneously occur among the hordes of visitors to a web site. It was taken as an article of faith that a certain percentage of this mass will inevitably and nigh hypnotically reach for their bulging pocketbooks and purchase content, however packaged. Moreover, ad revenues (more reasonably) were assumed to be closely correlated with "eyeballs". This myth led to an obsession with counters, page hits, impressions, unique visitors, statistics and demographics.

It failed, however, to take into account the dwindling efficacy of what Seth Godin, in his brilliant essay ("Unleashing the IdeaVirus"), calls "Interruption Marketing" - ads, banners, spam and fliers. It also ignored, at its peril, the ethos of free content and open source prevalent among the Internet opinion leaders, movers and shapers. These two neglected aspects of Internet hype and culture led to the trouncing of erstwhile promising web media companies while their business models were exposed as wishful thinking.

The second mistake was to exclusively cater to the needs of a highly idiosyncratic group of people (Silicone Valley geeks and nerds). The assumption that the USA (let alone the rest of the world) is Silicone Valley writ large proved to be calamitous to the industry.

In the 1970s and 1980s, evolutionary biologists like Richard Dawkins and Rupert Sheldrake developed models of cultural evolution. Dawkins' "meme" is a cultural element (like a behaviour or an idea) passed from one individual to another and from one generation to another not through biological -genetic means - but by imitation. Sheldrake added the notion of contagion - "morphic resonance" - which causes behaviour patterns to suddenly emerged in whole populations. Physicists talked about sudden "phase transitions", the emergent results of a critical mass reached. A latter day thinker, Michael Gladwell, called it the "tipping point".

Seth Godin invented the concept of an "ideavirus" and an attendant marketing terminology. In a nutshell, he says, to use his own summation:

"Marketing by interrupting people isn't cost-effective anymore. You can't afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing, in large groups and hope that some will send you money. Instead the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk."

This is sound advice with a shaky conclusion. The conversion from exposure to a marketing message (even from peers within a consumer network) - to an actual sale is a convoluted, multi-layered, highly complex process. It is not a "black box", better left unattended to. It is the same deadly sin all over again - the belief in a miraculous conversion. And it is highly US-centric. People in other parts of the world interact entirely differently.

You can get them to visit and you get them to talk and you can get them to excite others. But to get them to buy - is a whole different ballgame. Dot.coms had better begin to study its rules.

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia. His web site:

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Retirement Quit Opus

Retirement: Why Quit for Good, When You Can Quit for the Better?

Lets Talk About Money With Jim Larranaga!

Only one quarter of Americans age 35 and older have amassed $100,000 or more for retirement, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2000 Retirement Confidence Survey. What's more, the previous year's survey found that 20 percent of "forty-something" workers haven't even begun saving for retirement. If you're among them, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise when you leave your job.

Calculate What You'll Need

Most experts say you'll need 70 percent to 80 percent of your pre-retirement income after you stop working. Given today's life expectancies, you could easily live 20 years beyond retirement. Seeing just how much money you'll need in retirement may give you a few gray hairs, but it can also motivate you to start saving - and fast.

When it comes to saving for retirement, the sooner the richer. The table below shows that for every $100,000 in your retirement nest egg, you'd have to save $2,114 a year for 20 years. Wait just five years to start saving and your annual contribution jumps to $3,598. (That's 70 percent more.)

Savings Goal

How Much to Save Each Year (in a tax-deferred investment with an 8 percent rate of return)

_________________5 yrs_______10 yrs________15 yrs________20 yrs





The American Savings Education Council reports that those who have calculated how much they'll need in retirement are more likely to save for their goal. And, they tend to save larger amounts. Fortunately, there are a number of tax-favored ways to set aside retirement funds.

Invest Wisely

Employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, provide one of the best places to squirrel away your savings. You won't have to pay taxes on the money you contribute until withdrawal during retirement.* Plus, the contributions don't count toward your current taxable income. Try to chip in the maximum amount allowed, particularly if your employer matches all or part of your contribution, which helps your money grow even faster.

Traditional and Roth IRAs can also offer tax advantages. With a traditional IRA, you may be eligible to deduct contributions, depending on whether you participate in an employer-sponsored plan and your income. Whether you can deduct contributions or not, your money grows tax-deferred until withdrawal at retirement. Contributions to a Roth IRA are never deductible. But they offer a real plus - tax-free (yes, you read that right) withdrawals at retirement as long as you meet all the requirements.

Tighten Your Money Belt

Cutting unnecessary expenses can help you pare down your debt and boost your savings. Creating a budget may help. List your expenses, starting with the most essential. Make retirement saving a priority. Finally, consider paring the expenses over which you have some control, such as entertainment. You don't have to live like a monk, but I'm sure you can find ways to cut down discretionary spending.

Lengthen Your Timeline

Time equals money when it comes to saving for retirement, so staying in the game for a few extra years can help you stay ahead. Remaining on the job allows your investments more time to grow and may boost your Social Security benefits.

Remember - it's never too late to start building that nest egg.

* Withdrawals prior to age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10 percent penalty.

Jim Larranaga is Executive Vice President of Priority Publications, a Minneapolis-based publisher of financial newsletters.

Courtesy ARA Content,

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