Jan 17, 2012

A strange visitor

A strange guest appeared at my doorstep last evening.... A Serama chicken, or a Malaysian Serama, a breed of Bantam chicken. It demanded to be allowed into the house and made itself at home much to the delight of my daughter and my visiting nephews....

Jan 13, 2012

Cockroach facts..... errmmm (I hate them... but this is pretty interesting!!!!)

  • The word cockroach comes from the Spanish word “cucaracha” which means “crazy bug”.
  • A cockroach can hold it’s breath for up to 40 minutes.A cockroach can hold it’s breath for up to 40 minutes.
  • A cockroach can live for 3-4 weeks without its head.
  • In a nuclear war which would level the Earth, cockroaches would be the only survivors.
  • Cockroaches have white blood.
  • Most roaches have the ability to fly, but not all do
  • Jan 9, 2012

    Grand Theft by a 'lion'

    Note the lion trying to steal the stroller from the unsuspecting mother who was watching the other lion dancing.....

    Jan 8, 2012

    My pet Marimo....

    I somehow ended up adopting or buying myself a new pet today. A Marimo ball. Marimo (a.k.a. moss ball) is an endangered species of filamentous green algae originally founded in its natural habitat in Lake Akan, Hokkaido but it has now become a popular domestic plant that can be purchased at souvenir shops. Legend has it that Marimo can bring love, luck and happiness to those who nourish it with love and patience.
    So hopefully, my pet Marimo which I call "Baby Emerald" will bring me love, luck and happiness.... It's small and in a bottle with some tiger eye crystals. I probably might get it a small aquarium to put it in.


    There is a fairytale behind marimo balls. About 100 years ago, on the island of Hokkaido, there lived a young girl whose father was the head of a village near Lake Akan. The girl’s marriage had been arranged but unfortunately, she fell in love with a commoner and they ran away together. When the lovers reached Lake Akan, they jumped in. They then metamorphosed into little marimo balls and lived happily ever after

    let's go NUTS

    Type of Nuts -

    1) Almonds : top source of alpha tocopherol. Eat regularly for slow ageing and boost immune system..

    Almonds are known to be greatly beneficial for a healthy skin. They help against pimples, premature wrinkles and hair fall. Almond oil massages are known to give the skin a natural glowing complexion. Almonds are used to treat anemia as they are a rich source of copper and iron. Almonds are known to improve bone density. They are also very good for the brain. They are good for the digestive system too as they are natural laxatives.

    2) Brazil nuts : source of mineral selenium. Protect against cancers of the prostate, liver and lungs.

    Brazil nuts are dry fruits which are similar to macadamia nuts. These nuts are rich in protein, fiber, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin E and thiamine. Selenium in these nuts helps ward off the risk of cancer, as this antioxidant helps fight carcinogenic free radicals. These nut also help one maintain weight and help in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Brazil nuts are helpful for the patients suffering from Acrodermatitis enteropathica which is a rare inherited disease. This is so because Brazil nuts can help alleviate zinc deficiency.

    3) Cashews : source of zinc. - helathy visions n immune systems..

    Cashew nuts are high in antioxidants, mono-saturated fats, magnesium, copper and calcium. They are an excellent source of vitamin K and are excellent for body building. With high levels of copper, cashews help in absorption of iron in the blood, help improve flexibility of bones, tissues and blood vessels. Eating cashews triggers your energy levels and gives you stronger bones and joints. Their consumption also helps produce melanin for hair and skin pigmentation. (Also go through these .) These small kidney-shaped munchies are very high in energy and calories, and are filling too. They have a good amount of dietary fiber which will help you manage weight when eaten moderately. also include giving you healthy gums and teeth. Now that sure is a tasty reason to smile for! Give your diet a bonus with these edible ivory delicacies!

    4) Hazelnuts : very rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fats.

    Hazelnuts are packed with essential oils and supply a well-balanced mixture of vitamins and minerals. Hazelnuts contain about 75 percent mono-unsaturated fat and less than 4 percent saturated fat.

    Filbert properties were first pointed out by the Greek physician Dioscorides 1800 years ago, "It cures chronic coughing if pounded filbert is eaten with honey. Cooked filbert mixed with black pepper cures the cold. If the ointment produced by mashing burnt filbert shells in suet is smeared on the head where hair does not grow due to normal baldness or to some disease, hair will come again."

    A study conducted by Italian researchers has confirmed the presence of taxanes in the shells and leaves of hazel plants. The finding of the essential elements in shells and leaves, which are considered discarded material is a good sign for the future availability of paclitaxel 'Taxol'. Here is an overview of the health benefits of hazelnuts.
    Hazelnuts are a good source of energy with their 60.5% fat content.
    They are rich source of vitamin E which helps prevent oxidation of the polyunsaturated fats.
    Hazelnuts are high in oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, which helps to lower cholesterol.
    The cardio-protective arginine, an amino acid from hazelnuts helps in the relaxation of blood vessels.
    Only a few nuts contain vitamin A, and hazelnuts are among them. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and has cancer-preventing properties.
    They also provide you proteins but for that, combinations with other nuts, grains or legumes are required so as to avail the maximum benefit.
    Hazelnuts rank number one among tree nuts in folate content. Folate is responsible for a decreased risk of neural tube birth defects and it reduces depression.
    Hazelnuts are rich in minerals, particularly in manganese, selenium and zinc. The minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium from hazelnuts help to lower cholesterol.
    Hazelnuts contain nearly 75 percent mono-unsaturated fat and less than 4 percent saturated fat. This high level of mono-unsaturated fat is credit-worthy for a reduction in both total blood and LDL cholesterol levels, provided hazelnuts are consumed as part of a low saturated fat diet.
    Plant compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins are the phytochemicals that play an important role in decreasing the risk of heart diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases. Hazelnuts have the highest proanthocyanidin content of any tree nut. These elements offer astringent flavor to foods and may help reduce the risk of blood clotting and urinary tract infections.
    Taking into consideration hazelnut nutrition facts and health benefits, hazelnuts are placed in a 'heart healthy' food group. Natural, roasted and blanched hazelnuts, all are considered as healthy for heart.

    5) Macadamia nuts : excellent source of vitamin B n Thiamin.

    Fats: Macadamia nuts comprise 84% monounsaturated, 3.5% polyunsaturated and12.5% saturated fatty acids. Being low in cholesterol and high in monounsaturated fatty acids which are 'good' fats, macadamia nuts help in the body's manufacture of essential fatty acids by maintaining the balance between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids as well as increase the production of protective high density lipoproteins while suppressing the unhealthy low density lipoproteins. Hence, one of the most important macadamia nut health benefits is that being low in saturated fats and cholesterol, these nuts reduce the risks of , stroke, anti-inflammatory diseases, anti-aggregatory diseases and immunomodulating diseases.

    Protein: Macadamia nuts are also rich in essential and non essential amino acids which play an important role in the body's muscle formation, connective tissues and blood plasma development and overall well-being.

    Carbohydrates: , also described as dietary fiber are the most basic source of energy in our body. In their most simplest form, they are present as saccharides (sugar) in the body. Hence, these nutritional nuts are also a good source of sugars, sucrose, fructose, glucose and maltose, and some other starch-based material.

    Minerals and Vitamins: Macadamia nuts are loaded with like vitamin E, thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and folate, and such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Hence, the nuts promote healthy bone and teeth formation, as well regulate the body's fluid balance and immune system. Also they enhance our nervous system and promotes healthy skin.

    Dietary Fiber: Dietary fibers are nothing but roughage or complex carbohydrates that give a feeling of fullness and reduce appetite. Hence, macadamia nuts are rich in complex carbohydrates like lignans, hemicellulose, amylopectins, mucilage, gums and insoluble cellulose which promote desirable intestinal bacteria, slow digestion, and reduce constipation, hunger pangs, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems.

    Phytonutrients: Macadamia nuts are good source of phytonutrients or phytochemicals like tocopherols and tocotrienols, (derivatives of Vitamin E), the biologically active components in the body that help remove which oxidize blood fats and damage healthy cells. Hence, their antioxidant properties reduce the possibilities of certain types of cancer like breast, cervical, gastrointestinal, lung, stomach and prostate cancer. Moreover, regular intake of the macadamia nuts serves in the growth of new tissues, slow down the aging process and also denigrates birth defects.

    6) Pecans - high source of antioxidant.

    One of the most significant facts of pecans nutrition is that these nuts are the best antioxidants. If you add a handful of pecan nuts to your daily diet, it will help to subdue the blood lipids to get oxidized unnecessarily. This helps in preventing coronary heart diseases. Pecan nut contains vitamin E which is a natural antioxidant that protects blood lipids from getting oxidized. No wonder, pecan nuts are topmost ranked nuts with highest antioxidant capacitance, among all the other nuts.

    Another distinct factor of pecans nutrition is that they have cholesterol lowering properties. After an extensive research carried out by Dr. Ronald Eitenmiller from University of Georgia, it has been proved that the plant sterols in pecans have cholesterol-lowering characteristics. Heart patients now have a reason to rejoice, at least when it comes to pecan nuts!

    Research has also confirmed that pecan nuts help in weight loss. According to researches consumption of these nuts help in increasing the metabolic rate of the body and improves satiety. More on .

    Pecans are called 'heart-healthy' nuts. The reason behind this is that the unsaturated fat content in pecan is supposed to be the heart-healthy fat. Sixty percent of the fat content in pecans is mono unsaturated and the leftover thirty percent is polyunsaturated. This means that the saturated fat content in pecan nuts is very low and the unsaturated fats are heart-healthy. Besides, pecans contain zero trans fats.

    Coming to the real pecans nutrition, let me tell you at the first place that pecan nuts contain 19+ vitamins and minerals. Vitamins from the B group, , , calcium, potassium, folic acid, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium are also present in pecans. If we look at the daily value of required fiber for our body, pecans provide 10% of the total fiber. Pecans are rich source of and contain less and zero cholesterol. They are best-suited for sodium restricted diet for heart patients and those with high blood pressure, as they are sodium-free nuts.

    7) Pine nuts - rich in manganese, zinc n magnesium n cholesterol - lowering phytochemicals.

    Pine nuts are actually edible seeds of pine trees. Pine nuts are one of the few sources of pinolenic acid, which acts as natural appetite suppressant. Pine nuts also contain oleic acid which helps the liver function properly. Pine nuts also help prevent the blockage of arteries. These nuts are packed with iron which helps the body maintain the right hemoglobin levels. Magnesium found in pine nuts helps prevent muscle cramps and fatigue.

    8) Pistachios - rich in fibre. Good source of potassium which keeps blood pressure normal..

    9) Walnuts - rich in heart healthy alpha - linolenic acid - same type of omega 3 found in fish. Rich in gamma tocopherol.

    Walnuts are rightly called the food of the gods. Walnuts strengthen the immune system, protect the heart and nourish our brain. Walnuts are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids which makes them an ideal health snack for people suffering from asthma, arthritis, eczema and psoriasis. Walnuts reduce the cholesterol levels in the body and encourage the production of good cholesterol. They also help people with sleep related illness. Some also say that walnuts reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. They are also known to increase the bone density and prevent gallstones.

    10) Peanuts -

    Monkey nut, ground nut are some of the many names that peanuts are known by. Munching peanuts is not only a good way to pass time but also an excellent way to nourish your body. Peanuts provide the body with the required vitamins that help maintain a balanced metabolic rate. They nourish and strength muscles and tissues. Peanuts provide the body with good fats that protect the heart. Peanuts also help fight against harmful free radicals

    INTAKES of NUTS - stick with a handful. Unsalted, dry roasted..prevention is better than Cure

    Wasteful habits from our generation?

    Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
    I apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."
    The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
    She was right about one thing -- our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…?

    After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day here's what I remembered we did have.... Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled.
    But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
    Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.
    Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
    Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.
    We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.
    Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
    But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

    Countries I have been to....

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