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Top 5 Best Bagels In Chicago

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Bagels, Breakfast, Chicago

Top 5 Best Bagels in Chicago

Bagels are bread products that originated from Poland. They are made by shaping them with hands from the dough. Bagel variants include Montreal-style bagel, East coast style bagel, and pizza bagel. They are normally boiled but can be made in other ways as well. Did you know that despite the numerous flavors available, the most preferred is plain? An interesting individual modified the bagels, creating flat ones known as “flagels” which can now be found in Chicago and several other parts of the United States.

Bagels are the only bread that undergoes the boiling process before they are baked. When commercially produced, they are sometimes steamed instead of being boiled. In Chicago, there are several excellent restaurants where you can get the tastiest bagels. To enjoy your stay in Chicago, we have picked out five best places to purchase your bagels:

1. The Bagelers

2461 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

The Bagelers serves some of the best bagels you’ve ever tasted. It is prepared like the normal traditional bagel which is boiled first before it is baked, but The Bagelers have a special way of preparing theirs. Before baking, they include extra spices such as garlic and onion, giving it a different flavor. When it’s done, the bagels are decorated with toppings. The Bagelers are so good that they sold their bagels wholesale to large companies such as Langham Hotel long before opening their coffeehouse. A good thing about the Bagelers is that you can enjoy your snack with a cup of delicious coffee.

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2. NYC Bagel Deli

1001 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

This was the first branch of NYC Bagel Deli that opened in 2000. The establishment is a little old school with a lot of servers that hand you your bagel with a smile on their faces. It is a carry-out only establishment that is responsible for great-tasting bagels. You can’t afford to miss out on this great bagel here.

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I like my bagels the way I like my pillows: firm and chewy. @coreysbagels #nycbagels #nybagels #nybagel #newyorkbagel #bagel #bagels #bagelsandwich #reubensandwich #rivernorth #rivernorthchicago . . . . #chicago #chicagofood #eaterchicago #todayfood #chigram #infatuationchi #bestfoodfeed #foodgasm #foodpornshare #vscofood #forkyeah #dailyfoodfeed #foodstagram #mychicagopix

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3. Reno

2607 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Reno which has ranked 890 out of 9035 restaurants in Chicago is another great place to purchase your bagel. They serve their homemade bagels in the morning, along with tasty sandwiches while they sell interesting pizzas during the night. Unlike the other restaurants in Chicago, Reno produces a new breed of bagels which is made by dunking in a hot water bath sweetened with honey and malt syrup. They are skinnier and flatter than the normal Bagels.

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Rise and shine, baby. ? ?: @lavila92 #forkyeah

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4. New York Bagel and Bialy

4714 W Touhy Ave
Lincolnwood, IL 60712

New York Bagels and Bialys have provided some the finest breakfast since 1987. With more than 7000 bagels in a day, they guarantee the best from their ovens. Most places where you can find bagels in Chicago do not make it from the scratch but receive frozen bagels from out of state. New York Bagel and Bialy boast of freshly prepared great-tasting bagels.

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Bagel goals AF! ?: @dietitiandebbie #chicagofoodauthority

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5. 11 Degrees North

824 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

11 Degrees North is a Caribbean-Inspired Cafe that opened a few years back. Aside from the bagels which everyone keeps raving about, they also serve traditional American food. You can’t stop at one snack after you taste the crisp shell and chewy insides of their bagel. They also serve smoothies, coffee, and other drinks.

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Celebrating the first #Nutella Cafe opening in #chicago we are offering a special #Bagel filled with …of course Nutella, strawberries, banana ???? #coffeeshop #11degreesnorth #delicious #Bagel

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30 Things You Must Eat |Miami, Florida

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Skyline, Miami, Florida

30 Things You Must Eat in Miami

Welcome to Miami! The first thing you think of when going on a trip is the food. This must-visit paradise in South Florida rivals those big northern cities (we’re looking at you, NYC!) for some of the best food around. And with tasty delights that include Florida’s own unique foods, Floribbean cuisine, and a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, all paired with stunning views of the Atlantic, we’d say Miami’s got the edge.

Coming for a visit? Save room for these 30 things you must eat in Miami!

1. Stone Crabs

Joe’s Stone Crab
11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Miamians might be late to just about everything unless you put stone crabs on the table. These sweet crab claws are only in season from October through May. You’ll find them in many places, but Joe’s Stone Crab has been an institution in Miami since 1913, making it as much a history lesson as a taste of Florida’s best delicacy.

2. Cuban sandwich

Tinta y Cafe
1315 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Miami

Thankfully, there’s no designated season for Cuban sandwiches. This delicious pressed sandwich masterpiece filled with roast pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard only sounds simple. Everyone argues about who makes it best, but Tinta y Cafe is at the top of our list for consistent pressed-sandwich perfection.

3. Frita traditional

El Mago de las Fritas (Cuban Burger)
5828 SW 8th St., West Miami

If you like burgers, try the Cuban version of it. A frita puts your favorite hamburger on Cuban bread along with papitas (crispy thin potato chips in stick-form), all with a special sauce that’s as seductive as the vibe of Miami itself. Come and indulge in a frita at El Mago de las Fritas.

4. Tropical milkshakes

Robert Is Here
19200 SW 344 St., Homestead

When you’re in Miami, it would be foolish not to drive down to the Keys. Just before getting on the Overseas Highway, you’ll find this little place, Robert is Here, that has it all. It’s a food market, fruit stand, and farm. The real attraction here though is the milkshakes in tropical flavors like guanabana, papaya, and a classic Floridian treat, key lime.

5. Deli delights

Josh’s Deli
9517 Harding Ave., Surfside

Here is where you’ll discover a prime example of Miami cultures coming together as one. The “Jewban” as it has come to be known is essentially a combination of a Cuban sandwich that has joined forces with the foodie faves of Jewish deli goers with pastrami thrown into the mix. Try an original Cuban sandwich first. Then come to Josh’s Deli for this beautiful hybrid.

6. Cinnamon rolls

Knaus Berry Farms
15980 SW 248 St., Homestead

We love traditional Miami, and it doesn’t get more traditional than Knaus. This farm has fresh produce and delights, but by far the reason to stand in the sticky heat wilting away with the throngs of other tourists is for the sticky-sweet cinnamon rolls. Go early in the day because they sell out super-quick.

7. Jamaican patty

Jamaica Kitchen
8736 SW 72 St., Sunset

Cuban food tends to be most prevalent in the 305, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t snag a Jamaican patty when you can. Jamaica Kitchen does it so well, filling these hot pastries with beef (mild or spicy), jerk chicken, potato, veggie, and so much more. You’ll be spoiled for choice and have a cheap meal or snack that’s completely portable for munching on while sight-seeing.

8. Croquetas

Dos Croquetas
7340 NW 35th St., Miami

Don’t miss out on these dreamy wonders. They’re crispy on the outside with a creamy bechamel filling that can come with ham, seafood, or really just about anything. Once you try one, you’ll be hooked. Like Cuban sandwiches, Miamians will argue for days about who does it best, but majority rules with Dos Croquetas.

9. Ceviche

La Mar by Gaston Acurio
500 Brickell Key Drive, Brickell

Peruvian chef, Gastón Acurio, is a master of this iconic dish from his homeland. Raw fish cured in a citrus dressing and adorned with red onions, cilantro, and peppers, ceviche at La Mar goes great with the views of the city on Brickell.

10. Cortadito

Versailles Cuban Bakery
3501 SW 8th St., Miami

For the best cortadito, head to the main Cuban drag in the city, Calle Ocho. You can get a cortadito, a small yet supremely strong and utterly delicious Cuban espresso, just about anywhere but stopping at Versailles Cuban Bakery is a must. Incidentally, 3:05 pm is the official time to grab one in the 305, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up.

11. Deli and dumplings

Pubbelly Noodle Bar
1418 20th St., Miami Beach

Miami has no shortage of gastropubs, but one that really offers something as oddly satisfying as Miami itself is Pubbelly. It’s here you’ll find a dumpling stuffed with pastrami and sauerkraut, served with Thousand Island dressing. Yes, a Reuben in dumpling form. It’s incredible!

12. Plantains

Sansara
1315 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables

Love bananas? You’ll love Miami. Sweet plantains are much like their larger counterparts and are served with just about everything. Sansara takes these babies and makes them into hashbrowns, a total win. You will absolutely love these for breakfast!

13. Braised prime beef short rib

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant
11510 SW 147 Ave., Miami

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant has created dishes that will keep you coming for more. The braised short ribs here are lovingly crafted for 24 hours, a gorgeous example of how you can actually fall in love with meat that falls off the bone.

14. Pastelitos

Yisell Bakery
1356 SW 8th St., Little Havana

Incidentally, while you’re having cortadito in the 305 at 3:05 pm, stop by Yisell Bakery to try the pastelitos (cuban pastries). If you’re not Cuban in Miami, you’re bound to have Cuban friends who will tell you this is the place to get them. Guava and cheese are a match made in Miami heaven!

15. Lobster pop-tart

Barton G
1427 West Ave., Miami Beach

Speaking of pastries, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this epically divine creation. The Lobster Pop-Tart is a signature item with Maine lobster and gruyere inside a flakey pastry, plated in a retro toaster. The rest of the menu is pretty “fetch” if we do say so ourselves, filled with innovative creations all plated up in truly unusual and delightful ways. You won’t be disappointed in Barton G.

16. Steak

The Forge
432 41st St., Miami Beach

The Forge has been a legend in Miami since the 1920s. Like Joe’s Stone Crab but for steak, you’ll need reservations to snag a table here. Upscale and utterly divine, the steaks here are worth waiting for, and the wine cellar (which is one of the biggest in Miami) makes spending time here even more worthwhile.

17. Arepas

Doggi’s Arepa Bar
1246 SW 22nd St., Miami

Prepare to fall in love. Grilled corn cakes are stuffed with cheese for a sweet and savory sandwich called arepas. You’ll find the best at Doggi’s Arepa Bar where you’ll get them stuffed with more than just cheese – avocado, plantains, beans, and much more.

18. Burgers

Lokal
3190 Commodore Plz., Coconut Grove

Sure, you can get at any restaurant anywhere in the US, but Lokal serves up burgers that are made with all things local. The burgers are fashioned out of grass-fed beef from Florida, Florida avocado, and local produce. Everything they serve comes from the local community, making for a fresher, fully Floridian burger.

19. Arroz con pollo (Rice with Chicken)

La Rosa Restaurant
4041 NW 7th St., Miami

It sounds simple – chicken and rice. But this famed Cuban dish is so much more complex to the palate. Try it at La Rosa Restaurant and you’ll be a believer. It’s a filling and tasty meal for lunch or dinner.

20. Gator bites

Kush
2003 N Miami Ave., Miami

One of the best treasures of Floridian cuisine is that of Kush. It’s served up in bite-sized bits that are fried to golden perfection. They look and taste like chicken, though just a bit oilier. Be adventurous and give them a try. Yum!

21. Conch

Conch Heaven
11275 NW 27th Ave., Miami

Conch, a beloved food of the sea from Bahamians, is also adored in Miami. Go into just about any place and you’ll find a few pieces speckled into your order of conch fritters. Go to Conch Heaven and you’ll get more than just a few of ultra-fresh, utterly delicious conch.

22. Toston burger

Pincho
30 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables

Here’s another Miami-style burger you’ve got to try. Instead of bread buns, they fry up plantains, smash them into buns, and serve your burger upon them. The sweet and savory combination is a winner. You will melt in your seat, trust me, you will not regret coming to Pincho.

23. Publix chicken and subs

Publix
Various locations all over

Publix is beloved by every Floridian, particularly in Miami. The supermarket of choice has some of the best deli items around from fried chicken to the rotisserie and some amazing subs too. By far though, the most popular item at Publix is the chicken tenders. You can get them solo or have the Publix chicken tender sub. It’s a rite of passage, and it makes a great lunch to take for a picnic on the beach.

24. Fast Latin food

Pollo Tropical
Various locations all over

Want to get that Miami flavor without getting out of the car? Perfect for a rainy day, you’ll find Pollo Tropical locations everywhere that dish out heaping piles of beans and rice topped with juicy cooked chicken and served with plantains. We’re not saying it’s the best but it’s a totally Miami thing to grab quick and easy Latin food on the go.

25. Chicharrones

El Palacio de los Jugos
5721 W Flagler St., Miami

People come from miles around to get the chicharrones, crispily fried pork rinds. Don’t miss the fresh juices here either though, another reason why Miamians love El Palacio de los Jugos.

26. Trendy comfort food

Blue Collar
6730 Biscayne Blvd., Miami

Famed local chef, Danny Serfer, never intended to be a chef but his stumble into the culinary world has been a blessing. Aptly melding southern comfort foods with an upscale twist, anything on the menu at Blue Collar is sure to delight, from the shrimp and grits to the “Corben,” a heaping brisket sandwich served with potato latkes and au jus, named for Billy Corben, a local director.

27. Perros calientes (Colombian Hot Dog)

La Moon
97 SW 8th St., Brickell

You haven’t had a hot dog until you’ve had a Colombian hot dog! It’s served with five different and utterly spectacular sauces, topped with cheese and potato chips. Truly, nothing comes close! Next time you are craving a hot dog, come to La Moon.

28. Pan con minuta (Fried fish)

La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market
1952 W. Flagler St., Little Havana

With so much Cuban food to try while you’re in Miami, don’t forget to indulge your seafood desires. One way to do that is by popping in here for a fresh-caught treat of local snapper. It’s deep-fried with the tail on and the fleshy fish stays flavorful and moist inside. At La Camaronera Seafood Joint and Fish Market, it’s served on Cuban bread and dressed with a secret sauce and chopped onions, a most delicious way to eat it.

29. Lechon (Pork dish)

La Esquina del Lechon
8601 NW 58th St., Doral

Lechon is a whole roasted pig, a true treat for Miamians. You can’t go to a Cuban family gathering for a special occasion and not find lechon. It’s impossible. If you don’t have any friends celebrating in the area though, head to La Esquina del Lechon. It’s in Doral, a bit out of the way but worth the drive. They roast the pigs whole and then carve it up tableside. Cheering here when the rest of the crowd does is all part of the fun.

30. Fresh-caught seafood

CVI.CHE 105
105 NE 3rd Ave., Miami

And finally, if you’re coming to Miami and you love seafood, CVI.CHE 105 is a must. This place has been adored by fresh seafood lovers in Miami for years. And if you love ceviche, then you are in seafood heaven.

3 Day Itinerary | Chicago, Illinois

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Chicago, Illinois

3 Day Itinerary | Chicago, Illinois

Situated on the majestic Lake Michigan and visited by over fifty million people a year, Chicago towers like a shining cosmopolitan beacon smack dab in the heart of the Midwest. As you approach the city by plane or car, the skyline looms tall with steel giants such as the John Hancock Center, the Tribune Tower, and the famous Willis Tower (which used to be called the Sears Tower).

Chicago is home to United Airlines and even Boeing has headquarters here. It rivals New York City as a financial hub, and O’Hare Airport is the busiest airport in the world.  And who can forget the Chicago Cubs? Wrigley Field is an iconic landmark, and worth checking out, even if you can’t catch a game. With all of this and more, we can pack your trip with crazy architectural features and amazing food.

Getting Around

Known as the Windy City, Chicago has a world-class public transportation system, and to take advantage of this, buy a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) metro pass. Ventura is the company that handles ticketing for CTA. You can buy passes all over the city at a Ventura kiosk or retailer. These days, every major city has an app you can download to keep track of rail and bus line schedules, and Chicago is no different. You really don’t need a car if you plan to stay in the city.  And in a pinch, there is always Uber. Or better yet, use your feet!

Saving Money

Chicago is similar to any big city, in that the prices for just about anything can be exorbitant. Stretch your dollar further by always carrying snacks and water with you. And for a really good meal, you need to try the world-famous Chicago pizza! These tasty meal-pies are a good alternative to an expensive meal, and there are tons of pizzerias to choose from. (Keep reading for my pizza recommendations!)

Pro Tip:

Get the Chicago CityPASS: This is a book of tickets you can purchase online as a mobile app, and will get you priority entry to the following attractions:

  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Field Museum
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • 360 Chicago Observation Deck

With the CityPass, you get priority entry (i.e. skip the lines!) and thus more time to enjoy the attraction itself. By purchasing the CityPass you will save about 50% over buying each admission ticket separately.

Day 1

Head straight to Millennium Park and check out Cloud Gate, also known as ‘The Bean.’ This is the huge silver, mirrored structure you’ve seen in all the pictures, and is incredible to see up close and personal.

360 Chicago. This is a great thing to do at the Hancock Building, morning or evening. Either way, it’s spectacular. While similar to Skydeck Chicago (mentioned later), you get a much different view, with views of Lake Michigan being more prominent here.

Check out Navy Pier. Here you will find the Centennial Wheel & Rides, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and even an Architecture River Cruise. Other activities include an IMAX theater, Crystal Garden, and a whole slew of outdoor activities such as bike rentals and viewing street art. Stop by Giordano’s Pizza for some of the best deep dish in the city.

Then head south to the Chicago Riverwalk. Take in the city’s stunning architecture on this walk. The best time of day to do this is around sunset or ‘golden hour’. And the sun goes down, the city lights up and is truly spectacular.

Pro Tip:

Wear comfortable shoes on this trip! You will be doing a LOT of walking!

Day 2

The Art Institute of Chicago. As the city’s oldest and largest museum, it is also the city’s most popular, and you will no doubt spend several hours here taking it all in. Seemingly countless paintings and sculptures line every nook and cranny, from the ancient all the way to today’s contemporary. Be sure to check out the current main exhibition, which rotates continuously.

If space exploration is your thing, you must go to the Adler Planetarium. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s not far of a walk from the Art Institute. Find out the history of our space activities, as well as what the future holds for us among the stars.

Then head a short way’s over to the Field Museum, one of the largest natural history museums in the world. Allow at least 2-3 hours for this.

Are you a fan of comedy? Then catch a show at Second City in the evening. This is where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey got their start, among other famous notables! Check their website for current shows, they aren’t’ expensive!

Pro Tip:

I did mention pizza, and my top five picks for great Chicago deep dish are: Gino’s East, Spacca Napoli Pizza, Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. I can’t pick a favorite here, they’re all good!

Day 3

Start your last morning by getting a birds’ eye view of the city and head to Skydeck Chicago. Located high on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, the tallest building the city (and at one time, the world!) It’s a breathtaking way to spend an hour of your morning.

Shedd Aquarium. There are eight main exhibits to explore and so many interesting sea creatures to enjoy. The aquarium prides itself on its conservation efforts; you will come away with a new appreciation for the sea.

If you can squeeze in a bit of shopping, head further up Michigan Avenue to Magnificent Mile. Alternatively, a great tour I highly recommend is the Chicago Crime & Mob tour.

Pro Tip:

If shopping is not your thing, take advantage of your CityPass and visit more museums, such as the Museum of Science and Industry.

On your last evening, enjoy some great music at any one of Chicago’s many jazz clubs (Andy’s Jazz Club is a good one!), or take in a theater show.

Chicago is a big-city culture combined with friendly, Midwestern hospitality. Come see why the Windy City is such a popular spot. Have you been to Chicago? How would you spend 3 days in Chicago?

3 Day Itinerary | Miami – Florida

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Skyline, Miami, Florida

3 Day Itinerary | Miami – Florida

Miami – Florida is so many things, it’s an art deco heaven, a diversified city with tons of fantastic restaurants. Heavily influenced by Latino culture and don’t forget about the turquoise waters and palm trees galore! Miami is a city of contrasts and so sprawling, that it can be easily overwhelming. Miami – Florida is truly a city where over-the-top luxury meets down-to-Earth culture.

She’s quirky, she’s gritty. As you walk down her streets, the ocean air whips past you with the promise of your cosmopolitan adventure to come. You will no doubt fall in love with Miami – Florida and you CAN get a well-rounded experience of the grandeur of the city in just three days! But first, the basics.

Choosing a place to crash. If this is your first visit to Miami – Florida, it may be a good idea to find a place at or near South Beach. This area is very touristy, but it is a very good home base, as many of the attractions are nearby, and there are many transportation options. Airbnb’s are generally a less expensive option, and you get the advantage of a local’s perspective from your host.

Getting Around. If you want to have the full Miami experience, rent a convertible! But just be aware that parking may be hard to find as all the streets are typically filled with other tourists and locals, especially if you’re trying to get to the beach.

Pro Tip:

Park your car in a nearby parking garage or several blocks away and Uber to your destination.

For a more budget-friendly option, take public transport. When exploring the downtown area, hop on the free Metromover, which stops at all of the major attractions.

Miami is a big city, with tons of attractions. And everyone has different preferences, but for first-timers to the city, this 3-day itinerary covers the basics and then some!

Infographic

Day 1

Wynwood Walls. Miami has the largest collection of art deco buildings in the world. And South Beach has a nice collection of them. The pastel color palette and rounded corners guide you gently to the laid-back Miami lifestyle. Also, be sure to hit up Wynwood Walls. An incredible collection of street art murals painted on the side of warehouses, along with traditional art galleries and trendy cafes.

Pro Tip:

When you’ve conjured up an appetite, have lunch at one of the nearby food trucks, or go for a burger and wash it down with a craft beer.

Little Havana. If you don’t think you’ll ever make it to Cuba, you must visit Little Havana. A pretty good replica of the actual Havana, walk the streets and visit the tobacco factory. Then stop at a cafe and savor some of the best coffee in the world. Truly. Coffee lovers will go nuts. This really is an authentic section of the city, where you will find Cuban men leisurely playing dominos in Maximo Gomez Park, or whiling away the afternoon, simply people-watching.

Coral Gables. A truly beautiful area in its own right, the sprawling Banyan trees, and Spanish style homes create an elegant atmosphere that entices you to linger there.

Pro Tip:

You must visit the Venetian Pool. Built out of coral stone, what was once a coral rock quarry has been transformed into a gorgeous oasis. Freshwater flows daily from artesian wells, and people come here to swim their cares away.

Fun Fact!

Several times in its history, the pool was routinely drained of water so that the Miami Symphony could perform inside of it. Its acoustic properties made for some incredible-sounding concerts!

Day 2

Lincoln Road Mall – browse (I said BROWSE unless you have money to burn!) Lincoln Road Mall has its high-end shops and restaurants. It is the perfect place to sit at a local cafe out on the patio and people watch. As you walk along Ocean Drive, you will hear infectious Latin rhythms wafting out of pubs as restaurants. And when you’ve had your fill of sand and ocean, go to nearby Lincoln Road for some outdoor mall shopping.

Pro Tip:

If you are on any sort of budget, do not eat anywhere on Ocean Drive. The prices for food and drink tend to be a lot higher. You are better off eating or grabbing a drink before or after visiting this beach.

Perez Art Museum. If museums are your thing, this is one of the best spots in town. The Perez Art Museum, Miami Museum and the Frost Museum of Science are all clustered together for your convenience. Museum Park itself is located near the water, where you may just catch the comings and goings of cruise ships.

Dolphin Mall. This is the largest outlet shopping and entertainment mall in the area. If you love shopping, carve out a few hours to hit this mall. With over 200 stores and restaurants, you could easily spend all day here.

Day 3

Biscayne Bay. Did you say coral reefs? If you are adventurous and daring, check out the many activities that Biscayne Bay has to offer here!

Pro Tip:

If you prefer beaches a little less touristy and a lot less crowded, head to Mid Beach and North Beach.

Crandon Park. Located on Key Biscayne Island, this park is peppered with wildlife, such as peacocks and iguanas. This is a park you wouldn’t want to miss out. It offers bike trails if you’re feeling adventurous and hammocks when you need to relax. Enjoy water activities, such as parasailing and jet skiing.

Fairchild Botanical Garden. Step into a true tropical garden of Eden. You will stroll past a huge variety of exotic plants from rainforests and other wet climates around the world. The gardens are divided into two main sections, the Highlands and the Lowlands, with different species of plants and flowers in each. There is also a large scientific presence here, as botanists from all over come here to study certain rare species. There are both guided and self-guided tours available.

Jungle Island. Ever want to talk to a Macaw? Well, you can do it here! Just don’t expect them to hold a conversation! This is a zoological park that prides itself on giving you an adventure, with discovery and animals. You can immerse yourself in the jungle vibe, and get up close and personal with wild birds, kangaroos and even gators (don’t worry, it’s safe).

Pro Tip:

Bring the family here, the kids will not stop talking about their adventures here!

How would you spend 3 days in Miami?

3 Day Itinerary | Orlando, Florida

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Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

3 Day Itinerary| Orlando, Florida

Orlando is a fairly small city, but unique in the world. Why? Because it hosts the world’s most beloved theme park, Disney World. The park is a destination unto itself, and the vast majority of guests who visit Disney don’t even bother to step outside the park’s boundaries to experience Orlando itself. And outside the park even has hidden attractions. This article covers how to spend three days in the parks, but at the end of the post, I’ve included other attractions you may be interested in the city of Orlando itself, should you want to get away from Disney for just a bit.

Day 1. The Magic Kingdom

Spending a day in this magical place can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. The key is to have a game plan beforehand to get as much in as possible. Know which rides you want to go on – chances are most other park-goers will want to ride the same attractions as you, so take advantage of the Fast Pass and (mostly) avoid long lines, which really eat up your time at the park.

Carve out sometime (about an hour) to explore Main Street USA. There are many touristy gift shops here and also some great Disney memorabilia on display. Likewise, many great places to eat, whether you just want an ice cream cone or a full meal.

Pro Tip:

Depending on your situation (whether you are a couple, or have a whole family with you) there are certain areas of the park you may not be interested in. For example, Fantasyland has rides mostly geared for young children. You won’t find any heart-stopping rides in this section. So, if you don’t have kids with you, best to avoid this section and spend your time wisely in other areas of the park.

The rides I highly recommend at the Magic Kingdom are:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean. Fashioned after the Johnny Depp movie. This is a lazy log ride with some impressive animatronics.
  • Haunted Mansion. A Disney classic that’s “not too scary.” The special effects you witness in this dark environment are pretty awesome. And they completely transform it during the Christmas holiday!
  • Space Mountain. Hugely popular, you will want to grab your FastPass first thing on this ride. A heart-stopping roller coaster in the dark.

Day 2. Epcot Center

You’ve seen the multi-faceted sphere on T-shirts and in countless pictures. But nothing can prepare you for encountering this behemoth orb up close and personal. You will literally walk underneath the hulking giant as you enter the park, and it’s awesome! In this geodesic dome, you can ride Spaceship Earth. One of the tamer rides in the park, you take a trip on a slow-moving car as you travel in time and explore how communication has changed through the ages.

Now let’s visit the other end of the spectrum – Test Track. This is a 60-mph adrenaline-pumping ride, but the best part (I think) is that you get to design your car before you ride! Not in aesthetic design, but rather maneuverability, power, and fuel efficiency. As you speed along hugging curves, there are steep hills and sharp turns, as you whip around an actual test track, dodging obstacles along the way.

Epcot is truly a multi-world where you can immerse yourself in the culture of several countries. Walk down a quaint British street and ten minutes later be standing in front of an authentic Japanese building. Shops in each of the “countries” are staffed by people actually from the given country, lending itself even more to the authenticity of the Epcot experience. There are many events and festivals taking place at Epcot throughout the year, so there is never a bad time to go.

Pro Tip:

Try to avoid the summer months, as it gets quite crowded and the prices are generally higher. This is true for all of the Disney parks!

Day 3. Animal Kingdom

The newest and by far the most popular attraction in the Animal Kingdom is Pandora – World of Avatar. A section of the park modeled after the James Cameron film, Avatar. You can immerse yourself in the Avatar world, and even speak Na’vi to the cast members there since they know the language!

It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring all of the sections of this fantastic theme park, from Africa to Dinoland, the USA to Asia, and Discovery Island. In each section, you will find unique exhibits, good places to eat, and interactive installations galore. My favorite is the Safari Ride, where you hop in a guided car through a slow drive through the bush and view some incredible wildlife! The Animal Kingdom is part theme-park and part zoo, taken up a notch.

The other ride I highly recommend is the Kali River Rapids. This is especially nice on a hot day, as you will almost be guaranteed to get (very) wet as you raft down the water in what amounts to a circular bumper car. After the Florida sun has dried you off, go catch a show. Disney regularly rotates a number of professionally-produced shows and musicals that people of all ages will enjoy

Pro Tip:

  • Disney has recently introduced ‘Magic Bands’, which can be used as a FastPass, for charging food and other things to your hotel bill (you need to stay at a Disney hotel for this) and even to enter the theme park of your choice. You pay the admission fee beforehand and it gets coded into your bracelet.
  • Get to the park a few minutes before it opens (there will already be a line to get in). Early mornings are the best time of day, as the temps are generally cooler and the crowds are much thinner.
  • Go on your favorite rides during parade times, as the lines are shorter.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be on your feet the majority of the day. The average park goer walks 7-10 miles a day while visiting Disney World. Wi-Fi is available in most areas throughout Disney World.

Awesome Things to Do in Orlando Outside the Parks

How would YOU spend 3 days in Orlando?

8 Benefits of Kale

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Kale, Benefits, Health

8 Benefits of Kale

With celebrity endorsements, major health benefits, superfood status, and deep love from the general public, it is no wonder that kale is the rock star of the vegetable world. Although it hasn’t replaced broccoli on America’s number one favorite vegetable list, it’s a popular food trend that is not going away anytime soon.

Types of Kale

Common Curly Kale

This is the common variety that you normally see displayed at your local grocery store. It is green to deep green in color with frilly leaves. It’s filled with vitamins and minerals and you incorporate this variety into a salad of any kind. Roast in the oven with some extra virgin olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. You can make kale chips or use this healthy green in hearty bean soup or even incorporate it into a fruit smoothie.

Lacinato Kale

Otherwise known as dinosaur kale due to its reptilian skin appearance. This Italian variety of kale is dark blue-green, slender, with long leaves. It lacks the curly frilled leaf its cousin, the common curly kale has. Lacinato looks similar to savoy cabbage and normally used for Tuscan soups and stews. It can also be used for a salad.

Red Russian Kale (Ragged Jack)

This variety is considered heirloom kale and its appearance looks like overgrown oak leaves. Depending on the outside temperature, the leaves may be blue-green to purple-reddish. Unlike its bitter-tasting cousins, this variety is semi-sweet and tastes richer after a frost. Its leaves are tender and go well cooked in salads.

Chinese Kale

If you are an Asian food fan or enjoy stir fry then you are probably unaware that you have been eating this variety of kale for a while. Its other name is Chinese broccoli and it is very high in calcium, iron, vitamins A and C. Its good advice to increase the amounts you eat during the cold season and it can be steamed or stir-fried.

Siberian Kale

It’s noted as a cold-hardy variety with large gray-green ruffled leaves.  It is grown as a winter crop in the southern United States. This variety is high in vitamin C and according to home cooks and many culinary professionals, it is best sautéed with garlic and onions.

Health Benefits of Kale

Trend or not, the nutritional value of kale is impressive and the health benefits of this green leafy vegetable are endless. For starters, it is packed with vitamin A, which keeps your eyes healthy from age-related vision ailments and it wards off night blindness. There is a strong scientific research that suggests vitamin A along with the carotenoids and flavonoids found in kale lowers your risk of certain cancers. The vitamin A found in kale supports a healthy immune system and for younger populations, it reduces the risk of acne. It is also ideal for bone health and overall well-being.

Kale also contains high levels of vitamin C, which helps combat the common cold. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that boosts the human immune system and reduces the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease. Eating kale increases your intake of vitamin C.

Kale is rich in vitamin K which is another essential vitamin our bodies use on a daily basis. It helps us during injuries such as a fall or trauma from a car accident. Vitamin K helps regulate normal blood clotting and it also transports calcium throughout the body. Our bodies need vitamin K for optimal bone health. Maintaining good levels of vitamin K assists with bone loss, and decreases the risk of bone fractures. It also may help to prevent calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.

According to many medical doctors and nutritionists, eating just one cup of chopped kale will give you over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A, 134% of your daily value for vitamin C and almost 700% of your daily value for vitamin K. If you are not getting enough fresh vegetables then consider increasing your kale intake throughout the year for overall health.

Minerals

Kale has important vitamins that benefit our immune system, heart, muscles, and helps us maintain good bone health. The leafy superfood gives our bodies additional benefits from minerals too. Kale is loaded with important minerals like manganese, copper, phosphorus, and potassium, which helps the human body regulate fluid, send nerve signals, and regulate muscle contractions.

You might be surprised to know that per calorie, kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk.  Iron is vital to the human body because it helps the blood carry oxygen throughout the body and it also produces red blood cells. Iron is an essential nutrient that cannot be produced in sufficient quantities and therefore must be consumed through food sources.

8 Health Benefits of Kale

  1. Promotes eye health
  2. Natural detox due to antioxidants
  3. Great source of Vitamin C, and K which benefits the immune system and bone health
  4. Lowers cholesterol
  5. High in fiber which aids in digestion
  6. Promotes heart health
  7. Anti-inflammatory food
  8. High in Omega-3 fatty acids

Eat Your Kale!

Not everyone has the same pallet. Some of you with vegetable aversion may have been mildly scarred by early parental demands to finish all the vegetables during a meal. There are even some people who do not like the taste of fresh vegetables. Regardless of your veggie intake history, there are several types of kale you can purchase at your supermarket with numerous ways to prepare it. Give it a go, its versatile, inexpensive, and maybe you will find something you’ll like and more importantly get the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Invest in a couple of bunches of kale and enrich your diet with this versatile and nutritious green leaf! Your body will thank you.

History of Miami, Florida

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History, Miami, Florida

History of Miami, Florida

Miami is all over with glamor, elegance, and cosmopolitan developments, and the first association with the city of Miami is certainly Miami Beach and CSI: Miami but its not all fun and games. Located in the southeast part of Florida, Miami can boast of sunny weather throughout the year making it an extremely popular tourist destination. In addition to its incredibly beautiful beaches and architectural buildings, Miami has a rich cultural life spanning the influences of the Caribbean Islands, Latin America, and Europe. Although, like most of the cities in the United States, it is modern and cosmopolitan. But even without historic buildings, the history of Miami is interesting enough and long to be intriguing to everyone.

The story of Miami began 10,000 years ago with Tequesta Indians whose territory ranged from the Florida Keys Archipelago in southern Florida to Broward County in the north. The Indians called themselves Miami, from where the name of the city comes from. Their villages were the largest on the northwestern side of the River Miami, or around today’s Key Biscayne. Tequesta Indians depended on the Miami River, and it could be said that they were the first inhabitants of Miami. Something more recent history compared to 10,000 years ago, returns us to the 16th century, more precisely in the year 1513, and the first European Juan Ponce de Leon who visited Miami.

Soon, Florida became a Spanish colony, and it was precisely the Spaniards that named it Florida, or “Bloom,” because it was discovered during Flower Week (Semana Florida) and not because it was full of flowers. Tequesta Indians were under the control of the Spaniards either forced to accept Christianity or to find a new territory. Around the 1700s there were migrations of Indians going to the south of Florida. These Indian tribes were much combative and they called themselves Seminoles. Seminoles were leading 3 big wars against America when the United States bought Florida from Spain. Florida was officially incorporated in the US in 1821. The wars with Seminoles began in 1816 and ended in 1858, and those 40 years of the Indian bloodshed represent the longest and bloodiest “Indian war” in the entire American history. Seminoles were trying to resist resettlement from today’s Miami in Arkansas and Oklahoma, where they did not like the climate. Between the second and third wars with the Seminoles, one settler renewed his uncle’s plantation on the banks of the River Miami and founded the Village of Miami. There begins a story about the current Miami.

“Village of Miami” was beginning to develop slowly, and the inhabitants started building hotels and, most importantly, build a railroad. The railway arrived in Miami in 1896, and the same year has officially founded the city under the name “The City of Miami”. Although at the beginning of the 20th Century Miami counted only about 1,000 people, it continued to evolve, and thanks to the warm climate, it began to attract immense people who built their magnificent houses and hotels in Miami. It’s interesting what a flourishing city and tourist destination experienced during the prohibition.

At a time when it might have been impossible for the new city to evolve, Miami succeeded. From 1923 to 1925, Miami attracted many people thanks to casinos and alcohol, which, like in Chicago, were not banned. In 1925, another important thing happened – “Coconut Grove” joined the city. And yet some settlements were making a city of 100,000 people. An important role in the history of the city was played by John Collins and Carl Fisher, who made Miami Beach are one of the most interesting and most attractive destinations in the whole country. They built hotels, night clubs, Dixie Highway, developed agriculture, and promoted the city. Nevertheless, in 1926, when a devastating hurricane hit Miami, the city was returning almost to the beginning, and the reconstruction of the city has further shaken by the Great Depression that occurred three years later.

After Hurricane, Depression, and WWII, a new period in the development of Miami begins. During 1950, the “art deco” building started in the nearby Miami Beach, which almost represented the symbol of Miami. However, in the 1950s, there were turbulent years for Miami. By 1959, Miami was a place of great fun for Cubans, which made the city known as “American Cuba”. Since 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, a large number of Cubans immigrated to Miami in search of a better life. In addition to the Afro-American, Hispanic, and Caribbean populations. Cubans also joined Miami city in hopes of becoming a place with diverse cultural influences. During the 1970s, the immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua joined this mix of cultures. During the 1980s, the Miami region experienced a great rise. It starting to attract celebrities, and during the 1990s it became the third most desirable destination in the United States. That is really impressive given the fact that Miami had a major downfall just a few decades ago. Nevertheless, it did not prevent it from continuing to develop and conquer people with its beauty and charm. Today, Miami is the seat of many financial and multinational companies that connect cities with the world economy. A large number of international banks are also present, and the city continues to be a paradise for rich and famous people, but also to tourists from all over the world.

From the Tequesta Indians and the Seminole tribes, the Spanish conquest and merging to the United States, to the devastating Hurricane, the Great Depression, and the Cuban immigrants, it can be said that Miami has been through a lot, but it came out of it as a winner. The tumultuous history and the aggravating circumstances prevented it from being “The Village of Miami” to becoming the magnificent “The City of Miami” adorned with the beautiful Art Deco district, Miami Beach, and many other attractions that perfectly fit into the city’s background. The extremely favorable climate and unbreakable character of Miami made it one of the prettiest and most visited places in Florida. The future can only bring Miami more visitors and wonderful sunny days on the shores.

Food Supplements | Pros and Cons

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Food Supplements | Pros and Cons

There has always been a grey area as far as dietary supplements are concerned. A clear majority of people have been known to benefit from these supplements while a fraction of us have borne the ill-effects of it too. Incorrect use of dietary supplements can lead to risks to the body.

However, there are certain things everyone must be quite aware of when it comes to using food supplements. Your personal medical condition, your dietary habits, and your lifestyle is quite important and must be taken into consideration while deciding what dietary supplements to take.

Also, vitamins and minerals are quite widespread in our diet alone. Apart from certain vitamins, most of this nourishment is presented to us in the form of our diet itself. However, when our diet falls short of these vitamins and minerals, it is recommended to turn to food supplements to fill the void of the required nutrition.

Before we delve into the details of using food supplements, let’s understand why they are important, and what must you prefer under general circumstances.

  • Professional guidance is the most crucial before subjecting your body to any sort of synthetic or organic supplements.

So, make sure you consult your doctor and be fully aware of your medical conditions when you start supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals. Another most important aspect to bear in mind is to avoid overdosing of fat-soluble vitamins. It is impossible to overdose on water-soluble vitamins like B and C, but fat-soluble vitamins pose certain risks with excess consumption.

Is Using Food Supplements Recommended over Regular Food?

On one hand, were some brands and companies are struggling hard to provide their customers with nothing but the best nutrition, others are just milking money in the name of health and fitness.

Food supplements like vitamins and minerals from reputed and trustworthy companies have known to beneficially affect people in improving their immunity and good health. Having said that, some people have even fallen prey to malpractices by some other companies allowing their health to suffer in the long term.

Which is why, food supplements, especially synthetic ones including inorganic ingredients, are never recommended over that of naturally occurring food. But sometimes, one is not in the condition to eat certain foods or consume meals which their bodies require nutrition from.

Allergies, sickness, medical conditions like chronic disorders, and lifestyle habits may cause you to keep away from particular meals. Also, during pregnancy, menopause, childbirth, lactation, and bodybuilding, one may need more energy that is granted by diet alone.

Under both these circumstances, using food supplements like multivitamins and minerals like calcium and iron is quite recommended and advised. It is never good to keep your body devoid of the nourishment it requires especially when it is being put under strain in conditions like old age, pregnancy, childbirth, and bodybuilding.

Does Veganism Affect What Nutrients You Can Consume?

Being vegan also keeps your body from consuming certain essential nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A. Animal liver and fatty fish are great sources of vitamins and minerals which vegans cannot take advantage of. In their growing years, children perform much better if they are put on vitamin and mineral supplements.

Under What Circumstances is Using Food Supplements a Wise Option?

True that vitamin and mineral supplements may not be the best option to consider over food sources, but sometimes certain situations call for using food supplements. Here are some:

  • Old age:

People above 65 years of age are more prone to disorders and acquired illnesses despite living a healthy lifestyle and having healthy eating habits. Opportunistic infections, loss of teeth, and mood swings make it difficult to have a balanced diet. Doctors recommend vitamin and mineral supplements to the elderly to help them keep up with their dietary requirements.

  • Pregnancy and lactation:

An expecting or lactating woman is practically providing for two bodies instead of one. However, it is impossible to consume twice the amount of food. In this case, vitamins and minerals supplements are the most important and primary ones that are quite recommended for every woman and her unborn or little child.

  • Children in their growing years:

Vitamins like A, D, E, K, B, C, and minerals like calcium, selenium, and salmon omega fish oil supplements are some of the most popular and highly recommended ones given to kids. This helps in their growth and developmental years to lay a healthy foundation for their adult years. It even prevents deficiency of these essential nutrients since most kids are picky eaters.

  • Veganism and vegetarianism:

People who only derive their nourishment from plant sources are more likely to be deficient in nutrients occurring only in animal products like meat and poultry. Supplements of vitamin B12 and D and minerals like zinc and iron are recommended for vegans.

  • Nutrient deficiencies:

If an individual is already suffering from a deficiency of a particular nutrient like vitamin A or D or C, or minerals like iron and calcium. They are bound to rely upon supplements to meet their dietary requirements.

  • Lifestyle effects:

For someone spending most of their time indoors, chances are they may fall prey to vitamin D deficiency. Likewise, pay attention to how your lifestyle is influencing your health and address it accordingly by using vitamin and mineral supplements.

  • Illnesses and allergies:

Allergies and sickness may cause you to eliminate certain foods from your diet altogether. This may result in a long-term deficiency of that particular nutrient. The only alternative to prevent the ill consequences of deficiency disorders is to use food supplements.

For example, if you’re allergic to spinach or conditions like kidney stones advise you against consuming spinach, it’s best to consider vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for it.

  • Bodybuilding:

People who are into working out, weight training, and bodybuilding need to supplement their diet with added nutrition like calcium, protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. It is not physically possible to consume a large amount of food to meet these requirements for building lean muscle mass. Hence, supplements play a major role in this regard.

  • Improving immunity:

For people who are quite weak and fall prey to opportunistic infections quite easily are given regular doses of vitamin supplements. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant thereby improving the immunity and the overall strength of the body in the long run.

PROS and CONS of consuming vitamins and mineral supplements?

Every aspect of nutrition has some advantages and disadvantages to it. Let’s have a look at what are the probable pros and cons of consuming vitamin and mineral food supplements as opposed to consuming their natural and organic food derivatives.

PROS:

  • They help in curbing any sort of nutrient deficiency that your body may be facing
  • Multi-vitamins are a quick and reliable source of energy without having to consume food
  • Enhances memory retention and concentration power
  • Boosts immunity and promotes good overall health
  • This is the best option to complement the nutritional requirements of a picky eater

CONS:

  • Our bodies may become accustomed to consuming multi-vitamins over natural food sources over a period of time.
  • Having multivitamins regularly may cause an overdose of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, leading to ill-consequences in the long run.
  • Supplements like calcium cause deposits in the kidney leading to kidney stones or gallbladder disorders in due course of time.
  • Some supplements contain harmful chemicals and additives that can take a toll on the health of the other vital organs in the body.
  • There is no guarantee that your multi-vitamin supplements will function in your body as per your expectation. You may or may not achieve the desired results even after proper doses.

Having said that, these cons of taking multi-vitamins and mineral supplements can be cured if you take the required steps. Make sure that the brand of supplement you use has a good reputation and that its ingredients are strictly approved by the FDA.

Additionally, it will be better if you go a step further and choose those supplements which have only organic and natural components listed as their ingredients. Lastly, consume your supplements in the required recommended amounts only after consulting with your doctor.

How can you up the intake of vitamins and minerals in your diet?

If you wish to avoid taking in food supplements, the best option is to resort to improving your diet. Ensure that you make conscious efforts in the right direction to keep topping up the number of nutrients in your diet.

Here are some food items you must include in your diet to complement your requirement for vitamins and minerals:

  • Green leafy vegetables are a great source of minerals like iron and calcium. Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and kale are quite popular ones. You can cook, boil, make a salad of these veggies, or have it as a side to consume.

  • Fresh fruits and colored veggies too are a great source of antioxidants like vitamin C which is good for your hair, skin, and nails. It even boosts your immunity with regular use.

  • Animal products like cheese, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are quite rich in minerals like selenium, zinc, and calcium needed to complement the rest of your nutrient intake.

  • Nuts, cereals, legumes, pulses, grains, whole foods work in the same regard in imparting much-needed nourishment like vitamins and minerals to your daily balanced diet.

Most of these food items are even great at providing you with the nourishment from trace elements and minerals like iodine and fluorine. Although they are quite widespread in our diet and fortified in processed foods too, it is important to keep a track of its consumption.

Salt is now strictly fortified with iodine to help curb the ill-effects of goiter, a deficiency of iodine. Fluorine, needed for good dental health, is found in toothpaste. This ensures that a deficiency never occurs, but it is better if you take the due steps in your power by supplementing your diet with trace elements to avoid such an occurrence in the long run.

In Conclusion:

Speaking of vitamins, minerals, and supplements, the topic is still under debate. However, a huge majority of scientific researchers and medical professionals recommend using food and natural sources as the source of any type of nutrition that your body needs. Your food works like magic for your body.

The best way to make sure this happens is to have a well-balanced diet completely full of vitamins and minerals. Eggs, green leafy veggies, nuts, legumes, pulses, whole foods, and grains in the recommended right amounts each day are just what you need to fulfill your dietary requirements of vitamins and minerals.

If you don’t and you still wish to use food supplements, consume in limits with quite a sharp eye on each dose. Take extra care especially with fat-soluble vitamins since you don’t want to bear the consequences of its overdose.

Never forget to consult your physician before consuming any supplement especially if you are suffering from any chronic disorders. Kidney disorders, fatty liver, cardiovascular diseases, gut health, inflammatory bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disorder, hypertension, high blood pressure, or any kind of inflammation needs special care and treatment before you use any sort of dietary supplements in the long run.

So, yes, multivitamin supplements are a good option to consider, but it’s wise to talk to your nutritionist and doctor first to see what suits your health concerns. 

Losing Weight with Intermittent Fasting

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Tomato, Weight, Loss

Losing Weight with Intermittent Fasting

Losing weight is not limited to specific strategies. Instead, there are many options today, which one can take in their quest to lose weight. Depending on the resources at your disposal and the preferences of the alternatives, you can pursue a measure you believe in. There are traditional methods of losing weight, which come with a variety of requirements. Most of them are based on frequent exercise and dieting, even coffee. The most recent advancement to losing weight by fasting is called intermittent fasting. The best tip to start off with is water.

Basically, it involves regular short-term fasts but is not popular among the wide population. The reason is it this idea is among the most passive of all techniques of losing weight. Experts suggest that it is effective in helping people to reduce the amounts of calories they take. Moreover, it helps optimize some of the hormones responsible for weight control. Even with statistics and testimonials available; can you lose weight with intermittent fasting?

Background to Intermittent Fasting

Notice that intermittent fasting requires the individual to form a habit of regular short-term fasts. There are, however, several methods to choose from here. The basic ones include:

  • The 5:2 Diet: restrict yourself to consuming only 500-600 calories on two days of the week. You should however re-compensate by eating normally the other 5 days.
  • The 16/8 Method: You will be skipping breakfast every day and instead eat during an 8-hour feeding window (for example, you could choose to eat between 12 noon and 8 pm)
  • Eat-Stop-Eat: This one means you take one or two 24-hour fasts each week. For example, you could avoid eating from dinner on a particular day until dinner the next day. Be careful not to compensate by consuming more calories than you can burn. During the non-fasting period, you should limit calorie intake and remain disciplined enough to fight on.

Intermittent Fasting and Hormones

It is important to note that your body stores energy (calories as fat). This means that without eating, your body reacts by accessing the stored fat. It converts this fat into the necessary energy you need. The changes occur in your nervous system to cause the diversion of critical hormones. Here are some of the changes in your metabolism:

  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline): The nervous system is responsible for sending out norepinephrine to the fatty cells. It helps to break them down into free fatty acids that can easily be burned for energy
  • Insulin: Insulin increases every time we are eating. Whenever we fast, the insulin levels fall sharply and facilitate fat burning.
  • Human growth hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormone may rise sharply during a fast, consequently raising as much as 5-fold. The growth hormone aids fat loss and muscle gain, among other issues.

How to Reduce Calories and Lose Weight

The main technique implored by intermittent fasting is to help you reduce your calorie intake. Most of the techniques have a variety of timings to skip meals as you fast. If you do not compensate by eating enough during the break (eating periods), it means you have succeeded in reducing your calorie intake. A recent study showed how the technique can be used to make significant changes in weight loss.

Within a period of 3 months, you can reduce your overall body weight by between 3% and 8%.

People who participated in the study lost between 4% and 7% of their waist circumference meaning they successfully eliminated belly fat.

Luckily, the benefits of this technique exceed losing weight. You will improve your metabolic health and may prevent chronic disease and expand lifespan.

Most importantly, intermittent fasting can help you hold on to muscle when dieting. This is usually the challenge faced when fasting as the body burns muscle alongside the fat.

Beware, if you maintain a continuous intake of calories even while in the process of intermittent fasting, you will not find the results you want.

Another recent study had the subjects consume the same amount of calories as before, in just one huge meal during dinner. The participants were closely monitored.

The results showed that these individuals lost body fat and increased their muscle mass, along with many other beneficial changes in health markers.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to this technique of weight loss would be its simplicity. It helps health living easy and organized. You do not have to sweat or shift your work schedule to incorporate the exercises. Though, it is always a good thing to exercise.

Verdict

Regardless of the criticisms today, the truth is short term fasting can help you burn fat but how can you lose weight with intermittent fasting? The logic is this process helps to initiate changes in the body, which burn fat easy and fast. Part of the process is reduced insulin, increased growth hormone, enhanced epinephrine, signaling, and a rise in overall metabolism.

Is Organic Food Worth It?

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Avocado, Health, food

Is Organic Food Worth The Extra Cost Over Regular Food?

When you go to the grocery store and hit the produce section, you’ll notice how there’s a special section for organic fruits and vegetables for twice the amount that conventional options are sold. For a moment, you wonder if you should buy organic, but can’t seem to pull the trigger based on the extra money. They just can’t justify the extra costs associated with organic fruits and vegetables and organic foods in general.

Those who do purchase organic foods justify their purchase due to the association with organic food being more nutritious and healthier. They believe that organic food is a better way of ensuring they don’t get pesticide-filled foods and that they’ve grown in a more sustainable manner. But in the end, is organic food worth the extra cost?

What Makes Food Organic?

In order to be labeled organic, food must be grown using organic methods, which include omitting chemical pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, or other harmful fertilizers. Most farmers will use helpful bugs to keep harmful ones out of their crops. Farmers must be USDA certified to be labeled organic and that’s a three-year process. During that process, farmers and growers need to meet certain standards. For poultry, meat, dairy, and cheese products, animals must be fed organic feed and given outside access. The animals must also be given no growth hormones or antibiotics.

There are also strict rules on how organic food should be labeled. Even the packaging must be made using 95% organic ingredients. If a product is made using all organic materials, it can be labeled as being 100% organic. However, if there are only 70% of organic ingredients, then the label “made with organic ingredients” can be used. If there are less than 70%, then the word “organic” it can only be used to characterize certain ingredients.

Is Organic Food Healthier?

Despite being labeled as organic, many wonder if organic foods are really healthier. Although there’s a lot of debate on this issue, many feel that it is because the foods that are organic tend to have more nutrients and antioxidants than their regular counterparts and a lot fewer pesticides.

A huge reason why organic foods would have more nutrient levels than regular foods could be the fact that organic foods are usually produced locally and fresher than foods that need to travel long distances to get to them. Plus, there’s a lower risk of contamination or damage happening to organic foods during shipping.

Organic foods grow under better conditions of stress since farmers can’t use conventional methods of getting rid of insects and disease. Due to higher levels of stress, plants produce more chemicals needed to defend them from things like herbivores, wounds, and stress because of photosynthesis. As for meat, organic meat comes from animals less stressed and happier. They get to be outside and are not injected with all sorts of things to make them grow faster or bigger. All these factors contribute to making organic foods healthier for consumers, which also justify its hike in price.

But the reason why many prefer organic over traditional foods is the fact that organic foods limit pesticides and environmental impact due to all the requirements, rules, and regulations they must pass to be labeled organic. People like to know that they are eating fresh foods without all sorts of junk being injected into them and find that organic foods give them that peace of mind. When you buy organic, you’re paying extra for all the things growers and farmers need to do to become labeled as organic.

So Is The Higher Price Of Organic Food Worth It?

In the end, it’s a personal matter, really. If you prefer to know exactly how your food is grown, then organic is worth it. However, there have been many studies done that show there’s not that much of a difference between organic foods and regular. And, it’s good to note that organic foods can be just as harmful due to microbes and bacteria that can still affect these foods.

If you can afford to buy organic, then that’s great. If not, but you still want to buy organic, choose what organic foods matter most – meat, eggs, veggies or fruits.