Celebrating the Olympics With Chinese Tea, Chinese Food and Drink

The summer 2008 Olympics are quickly drawing near. The events are scheduled to take place in Beijing, China, and begin on August 8, 2008 (08-08-08). The preparations in China have been underway for at least the last six years; the hopes before they clinched the bid in 2001 going back even further. Now that the time is almost here, people all over the world are gearing up for the spectacular. The Chinese national drink, tea is at the center of preparations.

“Vegetarian food”

With the recent Sichuan earthquake occurring less than three months before the start of the Opening Ceremonies, many are wondering how it will impact the games. For starters, Beijing is approximately 960 miles northeast of Sichuan, the province where the epicenter of the May 12 quake occurred. Though tremors were felt in Beijing, there was no structural impact that will affect the games. The emotional impact is certain to make its presence known, but there’s also a good chance of this being a healing event.

With final Beijing preparations occurring still, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping recently reassured his nation, as well as the world, that equal attention will be paid to both the Sichuan earthquake relief and finishing everything in time for 8-8-08. The world will be converging on China at a time when it will need its support emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Even if you cannot attend the games in person, there are numerous ways to keep the spirit of the games alive in your own home. Watching the Olympic Games on television is a traditional event for many families, with network coverage showing the most-desired events during primetime viewing hours. Taking from the official theme of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, “One World, One Dream”, there are great ideas for keeping interest and excitement alive in your home clear through until the closing ceremonies on August 24, 2008.

Food and drink concessions are popular complements to any sporting event- baseball games with hotdogs and beer, football games with nachos and beer, Super Bowl parties with, well, everything. Hosting a big party for family friends might be appropriate for the Opening of Closing Ceremonies of the 29th Olympics, but chances are you aren’t going to be able to sustain that level of celebration and gluttony every night! Instead, consider highlighting a different snack, beverage, or food course each night or even once a week. A good place to start is with the national beverage of China, tea!

Worldwide, tea is the second-most consumed drink, behind water. Along with India, China is the world’s greatest producer of tea. While there are four main types of tea–black, green, white, and oolong-oolong is a great tea for everyone in your family. The caffeine in tea is less than half that of coffee, it is said to aid in digestion, and is full of healthful antioxidants. Oolong tea is the smoothest tasting of the four types of tea, lacking the slight bitter of black tea or the grassy taste of green tea. There’s even a slightly fruit-infused flavor that is sure to appeal to people of all ages. For more on tea’s healthful benefits, see the numerous articles listed here: Tea health benefits

Another night, you could focus on a menu of red foods. Red is considered to be a very lucky color in Chinese culture, seen in artwork, traditional clothing, and anywhere luck and fortune are desired or being celebrated. Try incorporating foods with red beans, radishes, seasonal red fruits, or red meats such as spare ribs. In China, there is a strong emphasis on fresh foods. Chinese people rarely use canned or frozen foods when preparing their meals, but that’s not to say you cannot take some short cuts! Check out this link for an online Chinese Microwave Cookbook: Chinese Microwave Cookbook. It may even be fun to get the family involved in planning the menu and preparing the red food feast.

Another way to incorporate Chinese cuisine into your Olympic activities is to focus on a different Chinese region each night. There are said to be eight main regional cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. These are sometimes referred to as the Eight Great Traditions. Other times, two additional types of cuisine are included-Beijing and Shanghai-known then as the Ten Great Traditions. Follow this link to a page full of links that go in greater detail on the types of cuisine: Chinese Cuisine.

Even if you have no interest in exploring the different types of Chinese cuisine, recipes, or traditions, there are simple things you can do to bring the spirit of the Beijing Olympics to your family’s meals and snacks. One fun idea that the kids will undoubtedly love is to make all of your food into finger foods! Chinese people once thought using forks and knives at the table were barbaric, so foods were cut into bite-size, ready-to-eat pieces. Another reason for the small portions of foods was that fuel was once very hard to come by. By cutting food into small pieces, the individual pieces were able to cook more quickly, using less cooking fuel or using smaller cooking fires. Another idea is to serve fresh fruit for dessert or for a snack. Again, the emphasis on Chinese culture is to use fresh foods, so pick what is in season. Strawberries, for example, are both red and in-season!

However your family decides to enjoy the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, it is a great opportunity to learn about other cultures. Television and cable network coverage will no doubt highlight some of the traditions and experiences of the Chinese people, as well as what visitors are experiencing. Chances are, you’ll see that while Beijing seems worlds away, the Olympic spirit resides in each and every one of us, wherever we may reside.

Food and Nutrition Guidelines For Weight Loss

One of my clients just told me that, in the 3 months we have been working together, she has lost 24 lbs!

That’s incredible! I am so proud of her for her dedication, her hard work, and her commitment to the program.

I asked her, of all the things she was doing to reach her fat loss goals, what one thing did she think was the key to her fat loss success?

She answered very quickly:

“It’s all about nutrition.”

Ding, ding, ding! By golly, she’s got it!

In fact, there was a few weeks between the second and third months we worked together that she had an issue with her shoulder she had recently had surgery on and she could not do some of the workouts.

So, she was losing weight, without working out consistently, because she was doing the right things in the kitchen.

If I’ve done nothing else for this client, I will feel extremely satisfied that she has learned this one important point – that when it comes to fat loss, nutrition is key.

Here are 29 Food and nutrition guidelines for you to follow if you are looking to lose weight:

1. PLAN your menu out for the week each Sunday. Use the list of ingredients as a grocery list and shop for those items only. Do NOT add anything else to your cart that was not on your list (just make sure there was no junk on your list!).

2. PREPARE any food you buy that day so that when you need to use it it is ready. i.e. wash and chop veggies for snacks, cook chicken for future meals, separate snacks into portion controlled bags, etc).

3. COOK meals that day that take a long time to make and may inhibit actually cooking them the day you have them planned for. Freeze anything that is more than a day or two away.

4. RECORD all food consumed into a daily food journal (you receive a Success Journal with the UHW Fat Loss System)

5. ASK nutrition related questions and get healthy recipes from an online weight loss support group.

6. THROW AWAY all junk that you currently have in the house. If you do not have it in the house, you cannot eat it.

7. AVOID crackers, cakes, pies, cookies, candy, prepackaged foods, processed foods, fast food, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, fried foods, refined flour and sugar, and trans fat.

8. CONSUME fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and 100% whole grains, volume according to that order.

9. CALORIES count. You must eat enough calories to maintain the vital systems of the body but not more than your body needs to complete the activity you ask it to do.

10. EAT lean protein at every meal. Not only does protein make you feel fuller longer but it can counteract the insulin response set in motion from any carbohydrates you eat during that same meal. We also need lean protein to build muscle tissue.

11. INCLUDE healthy fats in your diet each day.

12. DO NOT fall for any scam fat burner bills or any diet gimmick that claims you will lose weight if you use it (i.e. Slim fast, Ali, Special K Diet).

13. INCORPORATE a weekly fasting session into your regime to balance blood sugar, help build lean muscle, and curb sugar cravings. **The Best of all the food and nutrition guidelines!

14. STRIVE to eat at least 10 fruits and vegetables each day. Smoothies and soups are a great way to do this.

15. FREQUENCY of meals (increased) has been shown to lead to a decrease in overall calories consumed for the day. Eat the proper # of calories each day but feel free to spread them out in 3 meals or consume 6 smaller meals throughout the day.

16. BREAKFAST is still the most important meal of the day, in my opinion, in terms of providing energy for a stressful and active day. However, if you aren?t a breakfast person no need to force yourself. Eating breakfast doesn’t boost daily metabolism as much as previously thought either.

17. DO NOT be a late night snacker. Eat dinner no later than 3 hours before bed. The circulating blood insulin levels that are associated with ingesting carbs will interfere with the release of growth hormone, an important hormone for fat loss and lean tissue building that is secreted about 1 hour after you fall asleep.

18. PURCHASE organic food when possible. It is a little more expensive, however, all the money you will be saving on crap can be used to get the good stuff.

19. GO vegetarian, unless you eat meat from free range, grass/vegetarian fed animals who are killed humanely and are not given any growth hormones or antibiotics.

20. TRUTH about what is in a product is on the back of the box, not what is claimed to be true on the front. Know how to read food labels and ingredients. Do not fall for claims of “fat free”, “reduced sugar”, ” high protein”, or “low cholesterol” unless you verify it from the list of ingredients (these claims always imply added chemicals to the ingredients list).

21. ALWAYS carry a healthy snack with you in case you get hungry. This will prevent you from caving and stopping for fast food or going overboard when you do finally make it to a healthy spread. **Probably my favorite of all the food and nutrition guidelines.

22. DO NOT drink your calories. Avoid soda, diet soda, alcohol, energy drinks, and fancy coffee drinks.

23. DRINK water, lots of it. Aim for half of your bodyweight in oz each day. (i.e. a 160 pound person should consume 80 oz of water each day). The only other beverages you should be drinking is unsweetened green, white, or yerba mate teas. No fruit juice, alcohol, soda, diet soda, fancy coffee drinks, or energy drinks.

24. REWARD yourself once each week with a reward meal.

25. FALL of the wagon? Realize what happened and why and then move on. Just do no further damage.

26. WATCH your portions. In my opinion, most Americans chronically overeat. In reality, it does not take us very long to get the nutrients we need from food and to be satisfied by what we are eating. When eating meals, pay attention to how you feel and eat until 80% full then stop. When eating dessert, have one or two bites only and see if that amount satisfies your sweet tooth.

27. EAT reward meals and other indulgent food that you shouldn’t be eating, shortly after a workout.

28. LIMIT the frequency of which you eat out at restaurants. Restaurants are in the business of making money and to make money, they need to make the food taste incredible so that you keep coming back. To make the food taste great they have to add a ton of ingredients that are not fat loss friendly.

28.5. AVOID all fried foods. They contain copious amounts of trans fat that has seeped into the food being fried. Especially avoid french fries!

I hope you enjoyed these food and nutrition guidelines. Everything you need to know to lose fat by improving your nutrition.

Should I Consider Organic Foods Over Snack Or Conventional Foods

Organic foods are regulated by the USDA and feature crops that are grown without pesticides, artificial fertilizers, irradiation or biotechnology. The animals are raised on a healthy diet of organic food, without being confined 100% of the time, or “free range,” and they are not given antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones. About 70% of Americans find it worthwhile to pay a little extra to encourage farmers to adhere to these more ethical standards. Research suggests that these healthy foods that are grown organically have more nutrients and that livestock raised organically is more ethical.

Many people are often confounded when standing in the produce section, looking at the organic foods, conventional foods and healthy snack foods. For instance, both tomatoes may look plump, juicy and red but one is labeled “organic” and the other is not. They both provide vitamins, antioxidants and nutrition, but what are the differences? Conventional farmers use chemical pesticides to keep pests and plagues away from their vegetables. They use chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, and manage weeds using chemical herbicides. They may also give their animals antibiotics, growth hormones or medications to prevent illnesses and encourage growth.

By contrast, organic foods farmers strive to encourage soil and water conservation, not to mention reduce pollution and treat animals ethically. Organic farmers also use other insects, birds or traps to deter pests, use manure or compost to encourage plant growth, rotate crops or mulch to manage weeds, give animals a healthy diet of organic feed and allow rotational grazing, free range mobility and clean housing to prevent disease and to encourage healthy growth.

When buying organic foods, there are some things to consider. Buying raw foods, like fruits or vegetables, should be done in season to get the best quality. Shopping on the day when a new shipment will be arriving can also ensure freshness. All produce should be washed thoroughly to remove dirt and bacteria, using a small scrub brush for any item where the skin gets eaten. Removing the skin from fruit and vegetables, as well as refraining from eating animal skin can also reduce exposure to pesticides.

Tips to Help You With Successful Snacking

Diet and snacks seems to be one of the most asked about topics of concern when it comes to losing weight. We all have our favorite snacks. Some love the sweet stuff, such as chocolate or cookies, while some of us crave salty, savoury snacks. Unfortunately, whether sweet or savoury, these snacks can slowly but surely add inches to our hips!

Here are some good tips to help you with your diet and snacks.

* 1. Don’t think of snacks as “extras”. Plan ahead and make them a part of your daily diet regime.

* 2. View snacks as “mini-meals”. Think of them in terms of “snacks to fill the cracks”. When you plan your daily menu, use snacks to use up those serves you don’t eat at normal meals. For example, a complex carbohydrate and a fruit.

* 3. Plan your snacks ahead of time – this will prevent you from grabbing the first thing you see.

* 4. Only snack when you are hungry try not to nibble on foods when you are bored or anxious. Chances are, you won’t even taste it. Rather find something else to use up that extra energy, such as taking a brisk walk.

* 5. Pay attention to your snacking. Focus on what you’re eating, and enjoy it. Savour the flavor and texture.

* 6. Be prepared. Keep healthy items such as ProVita, Knorr Cup-a-soup Lite, and fruit in convenient places like your briefcase, desk drawer, and fridge at work. Identify the times and places you are more likely to snack, and have something healthy on hand for those moments.

* 7. Reach for the fruit – these are the perfect solutions for when you’re feeling peckish. Remember to count them as part of your diet serving, and where possible, have whole fruit, rather than fruit juice, to increase your fibre intake.

* 8. Don’t try to be perfect. Denying yourself rarely works. Cutting back on how much you do snack on, is the way to go.