Tea versus Coffee

Tea was a widely-consumed drink in colonial America; many people began their day with tea or enjoyed a cup in the afternoon. America’s love affair with coffee can be traced back to the 1760s and 1770s when the British government began imposing higher taxes on tea and colonials turned to other drinks like coffee to protest the tax. Today, 54% of American adults drink coffee on a daily basis; but tea remains a favorite beverage, with over 50% of the population having a cup on a given day. Some swear by the superiority of one drink over the other, but both tea and coffee offer significant health benefits.

Both tea and coffee contain polyphenols, molecules which possess antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee is in fact the largest source of antioxidants in the American diet. Tea and coffee also cuts the risk of developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Consuming either drink also lowers a person’s risk of developing Type II Diabetes and certain types of cancers. Coffee in particular reduces the risk of liver cancer and protects against liver cirrhosis.

Since tea contains low levels of caffeine, large amounts can be consumed without side affects like jitteriness. Tea boosts the immune system and depending on the type of tea, it can alleviate a variety of ailments like headaches, cramps, allergies, and even stress. Tea-drinking is also correlated with a lower BMI (body-mass index) and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.

Although coffee and tea share many advantages, coffee has the added benefit of aiding with cognitive functioning. Drinking an 8 oz. cup of coffee improves memory, alertness, energy levels, and performance on mental activities. Coffee can also decrease the likelihood of depression.

Find a local coffee shop through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. RLP can be used to locate a variety of businesses throughout the United States, from coffee shops, to restaurants, to computer repair stores, to hotels and resorts. Enter your state and city on the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, then enter key terms into the search box, or, choose from something on the popular categories list on the main page. The results page will display a list of businesses along with the address and phone number of the location.

Gardening and Health

jardinageSpring has arrived, and with it, warmer weather (for some) and newly-grown trees, plants and flowers. Dedicate some time this season to starting your own garden; you don’t need a green thumb or even a yard to start growing your own garden this Spring. Gardening is not only a fun pastime, but it is also great way to promote your physical and mental health:

Physical Health: Gardening is mild form of exercise that combines physical activity with stretching; since it’s a low-impact activity, gardening is especially good for people who suffer from chronic pain. Spending time in the sun is a good way to soak up Vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system.  Studies also found that gardeners tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the dirt itself is good for you; the bacteria common in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, helps alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms.

Mental Health: Besides being a good way to stay healthy, gardening is good for your mental well-being. Research found that gardening improves mood and reduces depression symptoms. Gardening lowers Cortisol levels (known as the stress hormone), supports positive self-esteem, and lowers a person’s risk of developing dementia. Simply looking at a garden can induce calmness and positive feelings.

Start your own garden in your yard or a room in your house. Start with some sturdy houseplants like a Jade plant, a Croton, or hang a Boston fern in your kitchen. Or, plant cherry tomatoes, beans, or peppers in a large bucket (poke holes in the bucket to drain off water) and place the bucket on a porch or balcony. Herbs used in cooking are also an easy introduction to gardening since they sprout in sunny corners and can grow in small planters.

Find nearby gardening and hardware stores using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for businesses and services located throughout the United States. Search by visiting the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and entering your city. Locate local businesses by entering search terms like “garden” into the search box, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list on the home page. The results page will display the address and phone number of the business. Use Real Local Pages to find a variety of businesses and services, from lawn care experts to hobby supply stores.

 

Discover your Creativity

mixing paintEveryone possesses the potential for creativity. Most people however associate creativity with artists and performers, like painters, musicians, dancers, and photographers; but almost everyone displays innovation in their everyday life. In 1988, researchers at Harvard Medical School defined “everyday creativity” as any expression of originality and meaningfulness; everyday creativity can be a unique way to solve a problem, from cooking a meal to resolving a work crisis. Everyday creativity could also involve a novel approach to daily activities, like preparing your breakfast in a different way.

To take better advantage of your creative skills, figure out how you are creative, then start developing that creativity. Switch up your daily routine—take a different route to work or change your hairstyle. New and unusual experiences also spark creativity. Take time out of your schedule to start a new hobby or activity. Art is a great way to enhance creativity by pushing you to think in a new way; even if you don’t consider yourself artistic, everyone can develop their skills and benefit from creating something.

Enhance Problem-Solving and Observational Skills: Art is a great way to improve problem-solving skills because it encourages unconventional thinking. Creating helps you see and think in a different way and flexes skills you wouldn’t ordinarily use—such as the ability to focus on details. Art requires you to concentrate on what you see and take in more information from the environment. Artistic practice re-trains your eyes to see in a new way and the skills you learn can spark creativity in other areas of your life.

Alleviate Stress: Creating art gives you a sense of accomplishment and seeing your talent develop gives artists a sense of pride. Studies have proven that the act of concentrating on a creative activity like art lowers stress, anxiety, and creates a sense of purpose. Art can also be therapeutic. Spend some time every week engaged in some artistic activity, whether it’s painting, drawing, photography, or making a collage or scrapbook, art has the potential to bring out our creativity and enhance our daily lives.

Find nearby craft and hobby supply stores using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and type in your city and state. Search for local businesses by entering terms like “craft” or “art” into the search box on the main page. You can also search for local services and businesses by choosing from the popular categories list. The results page will show a list of businesses along with the phone number and address of the business. You can use RLP to find a variety of businesses, from seafood restaurants to furniture stores.

Spring Cleaning

spring-cleaningMarch 8th is Daylight Saving Time; while most people aren’t ready to give up that extra hour of sleep, everyone is looking forward to spring. Greet spring by sprucing up your home with these three easy home improvement projects:

 Repaint the Interior: An easy and inexpensive way to add value to your home and transform a space is by repainting. Neutrals are usually a good bet when painting a room since these colors work well with most decorating choices and don’t overwhelm the space. Dark colors make a room seem smaller, but they can make a statement. Warm colors like yellows and oranges work well in kitchens, while shades of blue are good for bedrooms since blue projects a sense of serenity. Be sure to prepare the area before painting. Remove light fixtures and other items on the wall, clean walls with a dry rag to remove dust and cover molding and light switches with painter’s tape.

 Re-grout your Shower, Bathtub, and Toilet: Grout, also known as caulk, is the rubbery material situated between the sink, toilet, bathtub, shower and the floor or wall. Grout protects against moisture and gives the bathroom a clean, finished look. Grout wears down over time and can lead to water damage; fortunately, re-applying grout is easy. Completely remove old grout so that new grout will stick properly.

 Floor Makeover: Offset the wear and tear on your floors by regularly cleaning and caring for floors. Rent a carpet cleaner to remove dirt and dust from the floor; cleaner carpets visually brighten the room. Sweep and mop tile floors to wipe away streaks and dirt. Protect wood flooring by attaching felt pads to chairs and rubber pads to sofas in order to prevent your furniture from scratching floors.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find nearby hardware stores to help you complete home improvement projects. RLP is an online directory of services and businesses, visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to get started. Enter your city and state, then, search for local businesses by entering key words like “hardware store” into the search box. Users can also search by choosing a term from the popular categories list on the main page. The results page will display the business listing along with the business’s address and phone number. Real Local Pages can help you locate a variety of businesses, from steak restaurants to pest control experts.

One Steak at a Time

Beef_fillet_steak_with_mushroomsDespite recent concerns with the health effects of red meat, beef remains a favorite for many Americans for its associations with luxury and heartiness. Chefs are finding new ways to serve up traditional favorites to cater to the latest food trends.

Sustainable Steak: Sustainably-produced food is a popular trend across the States. More Americans are concerned with where their food comes from, and how it is grown, fed, and produced. Sustainably-produced beef can mean a variety of things. Grass-fed cows and free-range beef refers to how the cow is cared for; grass-fed cows are fed grass and other items, free-range cows are raised in open spaces (versus crowded slaughterhouses). Sustainable also means that the cows are not injected with hormones that artificially increase their mass. Fat from these steaks is healthier and the meat has a unique flavor. Some steak restaurants practice sustainability by purchasing locally-raised meat or by putting the entire animal to use, like using marrow bones for soup.

Giant Cuts: Large steak cuts have recently become a popular menu item. Weighing in at 22, 32, or even 40 ounces, these king-size cuts offer a good value and encourage a family-style dining experience.

International: Steak restaurants are specializing in international beef options, offering customers a taste of items like the Argentinian favorite, chimichurri, or Japan’s yakiniku-style beef.

Natural Grilling: Natural grilling includes anything prepared over an open flame. Open-flame methods like charcoal grills and wood-burning ovens give beef a beautiful char. Wood-burning fires impart a smoky, distinctive flavor to the meat.

Preparation Techniques: Chefs are experimenting with unconventional techniques of preparing meat, like a recent favorite amongst foodies, sous vide, in which the meat is sealed in a plastic bag, placed in a cooker that can be set at a particular temperature, then given a final sear to finish the preparation. Chefs are also applying techniques like dry-rubbing or cold-smoking to less prestigious beef cuts to create flavorful meats.

Find a local steak restaurant using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of business across the United States. Start by visiting the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and typing in your city and state. Search by choosing from the popular categories list or by entering simple terms like “steak” into the search box on the main page. Use RLP to locate other types of businesses, from clothing stores to auto repair shops.