January 27th, 2014 by Kory
Far and away the most popular New Years Resolution is that to lose weight. Most Americans tend to gorge themselves over the holidays. The thought process is simple. They say “It’s OK for me to have this extra ‘insert dessert of choice’ because come January 1 I’m going to start a diet and lose all the weight.
Part of the reason for the difficulty with maintaining any sort of diet is that they rely upon calorie restriction. Calorie restriction simply means that you eat less food than what your body is used to getting by on. It’s sounds completely logical, but there is something within every human being that works against this logic.
Our bodies are designed to survive. When we starve our bodies they go into conservation mode. This causes us to lose weight, but if you’re not eating the right kinds of foods, you’re going to lose the wrong kind of weight. And then once you’ve lost some weight and decide to start eating normally again guess what, you’re going to gain all that weight right back again.
At no other point in our history has food been so abundant. And if you take a quick look around you or at the statistics, the human race has never been fatter either. This stems from several circumstances. The first is an overabundance of food. The second is that so much of the food we eat is highly processed carbohydrates that our bodies don’t need.
Another problem with dieting is that most modern diets have you cut out the macro-nutrients your body needs to actually lose fat. Most diets tell you to cut out fat, eat more carbohydrates and proteins. That’s all well and good, but when you cut out fats, your body notices and it switches gears so that it can hold onto this energy source.
Why do our bodies hang onto fat when we diet? Fat is the most efficient source of natural energy that we can eat. Every gram of fat contains 9 calories. In contrast every gram of carbs and protein contain 4 calories. Our bodies instinctively hold onto this efficient fuel source when we restrict calories because it wants to conserve them until they are most needed.
If you’re pumping yourself full of carbohydrates, your body will use these first. On the flip side, if you eat a diet high in healthy fats such as coconut oil and nut butters, your body will see that it has an abundance of fat coming in. This in turn will cause your body to begin using your stored fat for energy.
This is where the Paleo diet comes into play. Unlike other diets, the Paleo diet refers to the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. They ate whole foods. Meats, vegetables, tubers (sweet potatoes and parsnips), and nuts such as animal fat and nuts. Their diet consisted of very few carbohydrates. And as a result, they were very lean.
It also cuts out foods such as wheat and other grains, legumes, and dairy. All of these foods contain more carbohydrates than our bodies need to thrive. That’s not to say that you can’t have anything sweet however. There are some creative companies out there such as Gourmet Paleo, that have developed paleo chocolate chip cookies and other treats that adhere to the Paleo lifestyle. As with any treat, they should be eaten in moderation, but they won’t cause the same sugar spike you get from eating a few Oreo’s.
You can also find their products on Amazon.com
November 4th, 2013 by Kory
Hard to believe it, but it’s already November again. Seems to come faster and faster every year.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means that Christmas will be following quickly behind.
So have you started your shopping yet? According to industry sources, retailers are starting Christmas advertising even earlier this year. Kmart even went so far as to run a Christmas ad during the summer. They were of course roundly criticized, but what’s the old saying about publicity?
Gifts for Him
If you’re looking for a gift for the man on your list, here are a few ideas.
Diet and Exercise
If your man is into fitness (perhaps he’s even checked out CrossFit), then there are any number of things you can get for him. Minimalist shoes are very hot this year for those that are very active. If you’re familiar with the Vibram ‘toe shoes’ then you know what I’m talking about. Large manufacturers such as Merrell, Reebok, and Nike have all launched products in this space.
Most guys love electronics. If this describes your guy, then you can’t go wrong with an upgrades smartphone or tablet. In the last couple months Apple has come out with both a new iPhone and a new iPad. Both are stunning and smaller than you would believe. Check them out at Apple.com.
Gifts for Her
Gifts for women have always been a bit of a struggle for most guys. If you’re lucky enough to have a gal that tells you exactly what she wants, well, consider yourself set. But for the rest of us that have to figure it out on our own, these can be treacherous waters.
Of course the ladies claim that they drop hints all year long. And maybe they do, but my hearing isn’t attuned to that sort of thing until about December 22. This year my wife mentioned she wanted something to go with our bohemian decor. I’m not even sure where to begin with that. I guess that’s what’s going on in our living room?
When it comes to picking out things that go into decorating the house, I am completely lost. Decorative throw pillows, curtains, upholstery, these are all foreign words to me. Don’t make no sense.
Typically I go with the standard. Lingerie. What girl doesn’t like lingerie right?
Just kidding, of course. But if you don’t want to be stuck on the 22 of December with nothing to go on, start thinking now.
September 23rd, 2013 by Kory
One trip through Costco in mid-August is all it takes to understand that we are bombarded with Christmas earlier and earlier every year. I remember as a kid seeing distinctive seasons as Fall progressed.
First there was Halloween. With all the oranges and yellows, the colors set the tone for the entire month. And who could forget the cartoon specials, like “Garfield’s Halloween Special”. “Candy, candy, candy…calm yourself Garfield” was one of my favorite lines.
Then there was Thanksgiving. The colors of fall were everywhere along with Indians, pilgrims, and turkeys.
Then, shortly after Thanksgiving, everything would change in preparation for Christmas. And what a wonderful time of year it is. I can remember sitting for hours in our living room just watching our Christmas tree sparkling.
Sure I was excited about the presents. But more than anything, Christmas was a state of mind and a magical time of year. Even as a child it’s easy to appreciate that giving feels even better than receiving. My brothers and I would spend hours trying to wrap gifts for each other and our parents. No doubt using 5 times as much tape as was necessary.
But now things seem very different. By continuously moving Christmas sales earlier into the year, retailers remove much of the luster that is the Christmas spirit. For as much as we would like to carry that feeling with us all year, for most it is something that is short-lived. That’s not to say it isn’t appreciated, it’s just that everyone goes back to normal after Christmas.
Of course with the difficult economy, retailers want consumers to buy now rather than later. So they induce them with bigger and better offers earlier than ever. This is how we get to the point of seeing Christmas decorations displayed during the hottest time of the summer. We see stacks of pink elephant pillows piled high with bows of greens and reds.
The worst part of all is that people begin to think of Christmas as just another sales event. Instead of thinking of family, friends, warmth, and love, they begin to associate Christmas with long lines, impatient shoppers, and snarling traffic. It’s unfortunate that things have ended up where they are.
I hope to instill the same feelings about Christmas in my children that I had when I was young. It should be a time of happiness, not because of fancy toys and gadgets, but because of gathering together with family and friends. It should be about reflecting on what we have in our lives and appreciating them for what they are.
The feeling of Christmas isn’t something you can spread out like jam across the entire year. It’s short, sweet, and special.
August 1st, 2013 by Kory
If you’re like me, you probably don’t pay too much attention to the knives in your drawer. As long as they continue to cut through your meat and veggies how could anything be wrong with them?
But all it takes is one slip up and you can make a good slice in your finger. This can happen because your knives are too dull. It may sound counter-intuitive, but dull knives are much more dangerous than sharp knives when you’re working in the kitchen.
So why is this?
A dull knife will slice along the axis of the pressure you provide until it encounters something that is too dense for it to cut through. The duller the knife, the less density required to make your knife jump off axis.
A sharp knife on the other hand is more likely to cut through anything you need to cut on a day to day basis. Have you ever tried to cut a pork butt using a dull knife. Speaking from experience, it is a slow and painful procedure. There’s lots of visceral fat on a pork butt that needs to be removed before it can be cooked, and this is downright impossible with a dull knife.
A sharp knife on the other hand will gently slide though the meat and the fat. This makes the job much easier and much safer.
There are a few different methods for restoring a razors edge to your kitchen knives. Here we’ll discuss a few pro’s and con’s of each method.
Sharpening stones have been used for thousands of years to sharpen knives. They take a good deal of practice to perfect the method, but professionals claim there is no better way to sharpen a knife. Here is a link to an article on how to sharpen a knife. Typically you will need to use multiple stones to achieve a lasting edge on the blade.
The first stone is used to raise a burr. The second stone is used to set the bevel of the blade. And the third stone is used to strop or hone the blade. Honing the blade gives it a consistent texture that contains no imperfections. This helps with the durability of the edge.
Electric and Manual Knife Sharpeners
For the average consumer, a manual or electric knife sharpener is going to be your best bet. These products have guides built into them that allow you to accurately and consistently achieve a sharp edge on your knives.
Many experts complain that electric knife sharpeners remove too much material from the blade when sharpening, but if you read the instructions carefully for most products, you can avoid doing any damage to the blade. The best knife sharpeners should be able to restore your blade to it’s original state or sharper in a matter of minutes.
Professional Knife Sharpener
Finally, you can hire a professional knife sharpener to repair your blades for you. Most professionals will charge between $5 and $10 per knife. This can add up to quite a bit if you’ve got lots of knives. But if you’re properly taking care of your knives, this should only need to be done every few months.
The downside to having someone else sharpen your knives is that you will be without them for the time it takes them to perform the work. But as long as you are prepared for this, it shouldn’t present a problem.
February 15th, 2013 by Paul
Despite an economy that refuses to rebound, high unemployment, and rising food and gas prices, colleges and universities continue to raise tuition year after year. But according to a 2007 study by the College Board, education pays. People with a bachelor’s degree earn over 60% more than those who have only a high school diploma. And this is true over a wide range of degrees. Whether you’re planning on going into medicine, technology, business, or even teaching, a college degree gives you an advantage over those without.
How To Pay For Higher Education
Student loan debt is ballooning in the U.S. Since Obama moved to take over the student loan industry the total outstanding debt has reached nearly a trillion dollars. Unfortunately a larger and larger percentage of this debt is delinquent as many college grads are finding it difficult to find a job in this economy.
But the government continues to make it easy to get money. There are any number of scholarships and grants that are available for education in anything from the arts to X-ray technicians. And the qualifications for these loans and grants are pretty lenient. Unfortunately, this is what is leading to so many of these loans becoming delinquent in the first place.
Reasons for Going Back To School
Providing a better life for ourselves and our families can be a powerful motivating force for starting or returning to college. While it can be stressful and demanding to go to school while working, the rewards are well worth it. A lifetime of higher pay and better benefits can easily offset the costs of returning to school.
The rewards don’t end there. Doing something that you truly love can be very fulfilling. And it is difficult to put a price on job satisfaction.
Take the career of an x ray technician as an example. These medical imaging specialists help doctors diagnosis and treat illnesses in disease in their patients. This can be extremely rewarding work. And the schooling required to enter this field of medicine is relatively short. You need only have an associates degree and the proper training. .
Who Has Access To Government Loans?
Just about anyone can qualify for a government backed student loan. Specific groups include minorities such as Hispanics and Asians. Financial background has a lot to do with it as well. Those that fall in certain income ranges can qualify for a whole host of loans and grants.
Even groups as specific as single mother’s have grants designated just for them. The idea is to help as many people as possible create a better life for themselves through further education.
Is Assistance Available for Training Programs?
Money is even available for training outside of a school environment. If you’re looking to take a technical course or even something like a writing course, these loans can be used to cover those costs.
So if you are interested in furthering your career and and increasing your salary, take a look at going back to school and getting your degree or associates. It could be one of the smartest decisions you make.