By: Judd Handler, author of Living Healthy: 10 Steps to Looking Younger, Losing Weight and Feeling Great


Some people have difficulty inserting new agenda into their already packed schedule. Great news for those who know they have to get in better shape but don’t have a lot of time to exercise: There is a way to intensify your short-period workout.

Yoga Exercise Workout


The best way to maximize your workout if you’re short on time is to do shorter bursts of moderate to moderately vigorous exercise. There are highly effective and relatively simple exercises you can do that will help you burn more fat than if you were to do a much longer workout, say a 60-minute jog.


More research is confirming that shorter bursts of exercise help you burn more fat. One Japanese study in the Journal of Applied Physiology concluded, “Repeated bouts of exercise cause[d] enhanced fat metabolism compared with a single bout of prolonged exercise of equivalent total exercise duration.”

To maximize your short workouts, follow these principles:

  • Pick movements/exercises that utilize as many major muscle groups as possible
  • Allow your heart rate to elevate at a level where maintaining a conversation is slightly difficult (with your doctor’s clearance and after you’ve built up to that level)
  • Let your heart rate come down until you feel almost fully recovered
  • Perform movements that combine strengthening and stretching, and stimulate the cardiovascular system
  • Challenge yourself but don’t exercise to exhaustion as that will stress your body


The 3-5 minute warm-up

Warm up by moving major joints around in different directions such as hip circles, arm swings, knee lifts, ballet leg swings, shoulder rotations and many others. These movements are called dynamic stretches and will help lubricate the joints better than stationary or static stretching. Static stretching will not hinder muscle performance, contrary to some contemporary studies, but only if the stretches are under 60 seconds, so says one study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.


The 15-minute workout

After your dynamic warm-up, climb a deep flight of stairs. Skip every other step and make sure you are pushing off with your entire foot and activating the buttocks and hips as you push off. If your heart is pounding at the top, rest for 30 seconds until your breathing is back to normal or almost back to normal. Perform a set of push up until near failure i.e. unable to continue the push up due to momentary muscle failure, at the top of the steps. Modified the pushup if needed, for example, doing it while on the knees. Run back down the stairs. Immediately come back up.

When you have worked up to it, try sprinting up a segment of steps until your breathing is significantly labored. Pause, whether it’s quarter-way or halfway up the steps, if you’re out of breath. Rest. Repeat until you reach the top. Repeat pushups. Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll feel like you’ve been at the gym for an hour.

Other moves you can try: Rope jumping to a count of 100, then perform a downward dog yoga stretch, then do bodyweight squats, followed by cat-cow yoga stretch. Repeat for several cycles.


The 30-minute workout

You can simply choose to do additional cycles of the 15-minute workout; you’ll certainly get in better shape once you’ve gotten used to the 15-minute short burst workout. Or you can perform the first 15 minutes doing short bursts of bodyweight strengthening exercises followed by 15 minutes of power yoga. For example, 15 minutes of pushups, dips, squats and lunges, then, 15 minutes of lowering phase pushups to a jump-to-standing position. After 25 minutes of this, you’ll feel spent. Take the last 5 minutes to do static stretching.


The 45-minute workout

If you have 45 minutes or longer to exercise, you’ll still want to interval train to get your heart rate up, way up, to about 160 to 180-plus beats per minute (bpm) and then let your heart rate gradually drop to, about 100 bpm. Sprints are excellent for fat burning and increasing your lung capacity. Rather than jogging for 45 minutes — which might seem like a great fitness activity, vary your speeds from sprinting to slow jogs and you’ll maximize your workout. Every few minutes, drop to the ground and crank out a set of pushups.

Got any other ways to maximize your workout if you’re short on time? Share them here.



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Coffee is a staple of daily life around the world — so much so that 136.5 million bags of coffee were consumed in 2011 according to the International Coffee Organization. That’s up two percent from the 2010 totals. A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults over 18 drink coffee, in 2012, according to the National Coffee Association, up from 58 percent, in 2011. The steady rise in coffee in drinkers isn’t such a bad thing because there are numerous health benefits associated with that morning cup of coffee besides a great boost in energy.


Coffee Bean


It will help you live longer

A 2012 study of over 400,000 individuals between the ages of 50 to 71 showed that drinking coffee was associated with living a longer life. “There was a significant inverse association between coffee consumption and mortality,” the study said.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine


It may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Drinking coffee throughout adulthood may delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. “Older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee – about 3 cups a day -will not convert to Alzheimer’s disease, or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer’s,” said study lead author Dr. Chuanhai Cao of the University of South Florida.



Added with sugar, it boosts brain power and attention span

Drinking coffee with sugar boosts the brain’s efficiency and helps lengthen your attention span. A 2010 study in the journal Human Psychopharmacology found that “sugar-sweetened coffee may be the best way to prepare the brain for a busy day ahead.”

Source: UK Daily Mail


It helps reduce skin cancer cells

Your daily espresso (or two) could reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the predominant form of skin cancer. “Our data indicate that the more caffeinated coffee you consume, the lower your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma,” said Jiali Han, a professor at the Harvard Medical School who led a study with over 110,000 participants.

Source: LiveScience


In moderation, it helps reduce heart failure

A study of over 140,000 individuals in the journal Circulation Heart Failure showed that drinking one to two cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of heart failure. People who drank two cups a day were 11 percent less likely to have heart failure, but that benefit disappears once you consume that third cup, the study showed.

Source: FOX News


Women could significantly lower their risk of developing diabetes

A 2011 UCLA study showed that women who had at least four cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 56 percent. Coffee raises the levels of sex hormone-binding globulin in the bloodstream, and this SHBG is known to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, the study said.

Source: MyHealthNews


It lowers the risk of developing colon cancer

A study of nearly 490,000 men and women showed that drinking at least four cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing colon cancer. “Coffee was inversely associated with colon cancer, particularly proximal tumors,” the study concluded.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition


It helps reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease

Because the direct cause of Parkinson’s disease is currently unknown, it’s hard to pin down exactly how coffee helps reduce the risk of developing the disease. But the Mayo Clinic wrote that “some research has shown that caffeine, which is found in coffee and tea, may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”

Source: Mayo Clinic


It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

A 2011 study found that coffee consumption reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases including stroke and coronary heart disease. Caffeine consumption reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 38 percent in men and 22 percent in women, the study showed.

Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health


It Helps You Recover After Exercise

A 2009 study from the University of Illinois found that a cup of coffee before exercise not only energizes your body but also “kills some of the pain of athletic exertion.”

Source: LiveScience



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Original author: Don Rauf

Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

To ward off diabetes, people generally avoid all-you-can eat menus. Counting calories, however, may not be such a problem for those who follow a Mediterranean diet including olive oil and nuts.


Olive Oil Buffect


For years now, health advocacy groups such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have been touting the health benefits of “The Mediterranean Diet,” which is rich in vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and fish. While consuming too many calories typically leads to weight gain and increases diabetes risk, scientists have recently found that diabetes risk may be lowered for those who followed a Mediterranean diet without any calorie restrictions, but including extra-virgin olive oil and nuts.


Jordi Salas-Salvadó, MD, a professor of nutrition at Rovira i Virgili University and the head of the Department of Nutrition at the Hospital de Sant Joan de Reus in Spain, and his colleagues followed 3,541 men and women who were at a high risk of heart disease but had no diabetes at the beginning of the study. Ranging in age from 55 to 80, these subjects had at least three cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, being overweight and high cholesterol.


The scientists set out to find how olive oil and nuts, which are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats, might affect the onset of diabetes, regardless of how many calories participants consumed. People with diabetes are at high risk of heart disease, so the American Diabetes Association recommends eating more healthy unsaturated fat and less saturated fat, which can be found in dairy products (such as butter and ice cream), red meats, lard and coconut oil.


Participants in this study were randomly assigned to follow one of three diets — 1,154 stuck to a Mediterranean diet including just over three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil daily; 1,147 followed a Mediterranean diet plus about two tablespoons of mixed nuts daily; and 1,240 were assigned to a control group.


The control group received recommendations to reduce intake of all types of fat (from both animal and vegetable sources), but they were not assigned to follow a Mediterranean diet. Those following a Mediterranean eating plan had dietary training sessions, seasonal shopping lists, meal plans and recipes.


Dietitians advised participants on use of extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and dressing; weekly nut consumption; increased intake of vegetables, fruits, beans and fish; recommended eating of white meat instead of red or processed meat; avoiding butter, fast food, sweets, pastries or sugar-sweetened beverages; and enhancing dishes with a “sofrito” sauce that uses tomato, garlic, onion and spices simmered in olive oil. All participants were encouraged to drink fewer alcoholic beverages other than wine. Questionnaires were used to gauge how well participants were adhering to their Mediterranean diets.


Although diet and exercise may possibly cut diabetes risk further, participants were not asked to decrease their calorie consumption or increase their exercise. After about four years, the researchers observed that 273 individuals had developed diabetes — 80 (6.9 percent) from the olive oil group, 92 (7.4 percent) from the nut group and 101 (8.8 percent) from the control group. Based on these results, the authors concluded, “A Mediterranean diet without calorie restrictions that is supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes.”


This study was published in the January 7 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.



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Arab coffee culture

Al Monitor

Coffee, between the Arabs and Turkey

Coffee drinking is a part of the habits and traditions of Arabs and other peoples. In many countries, coffee is the favorite daily drink. Coffee is linked to nationalism in the Mediterranean basin. Anyone who has traveled to Greece, for example, knows that asking for “Turkish coffee” from a hotel or restaurant waiter would result in a lengthy discussion clarifying that its proper name is “Greek coffee.” Similarly, if I dared, as an Egyptian, to ask for “Turkish coffee” in Lebanon, I would face stares of admonition because it’s called “Arabic coffee.”

Coffee came to the region from Africa in the early 16th century — first to Yemen and then to Mecca, Cairo, Syria, and then, in the mid-16th century, to Turkey. Although some religious men in the Ottoman court disapproved of drinking coffee, the first cafe in Istanbul opened in 1554. Then-Sultan Murad III banned coffee at the end of the 16th century.

Coffee remained banned by the Ottoman Empire until the 1839 regulatory law, which has regulated coffee in Turkey until today. There are different ways to prepare coffee throughout the world. In the West, people drink a large cup of coffee with breakfast, and some drink another large cup in the afternoon.

Arabic coffee differs from European and American coffee in terms of taste, cup volume and method of preparation. The method of roasting coffee beans differs between Arabic and Western coffee. Even between Arab countries, there are different ways to prepare coffee. In Egypt, for example, coffee is prepared the “Turkish way,” with the presence of a layer of foam and in a small cup. The foam is a sign that the coffee was prepared the right way. On certain social occasions, such as an engagement or a bereavement, the coffee must have a layer of foam, which Egyptians call the “face,” and one cannot savor coffee that has “no face.”

But the Lebanese prefer to drink coffee that is boiled once and has no face, and they drink it in larger quantity than the Egyptians. The Egyptians also love tea, but that’s another story.

I have always enjoyed roaming the Arabic coffee shops in Cairo and examining the differences between the types of coffee beans, from light and dark coffee, and coffee mixed with spices, and black coffee (coffee powder with no spices).

In famous Lebanese coffee shops, all the world’s coffees meet: Brazilian, Colombian, Kenyan, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Indonesian and others. And you can find coffee with special blends — not just the blend of a particular country, but blends concocted by people, such as the “al-Hajj Yusuf blend” and “Umm Ahmad blend,” and so on.

Coffee in the Gulf

Gulf Arabs are also creative in the way they prepare coffee. Their coffee differs from that in Egypt and Lebanon in terms of bitterness and the type of cups the coffee is served in. I asked a Gulf friend about what coffee he likes to buy. He took a deep breath, as if he was recollecting sweet memories, and said, “If you want to buy Arabic coffee that tastes good, ask for ‘wild colored coffee.’”

I memorized that name for many years. And when I visited the Gulf I decided not to miss the chance to buy Arabic coffee. As soon as you enter a shop in a Gulf capital, you are struck by the smell of roasted coffee beans. Your nose tries to distinguish between Lebanese, Egyptian, Turkish and Gulf coffee.

When you enter the shop, you recognize the shop owner as Thai. He asks you in broken Arabic what you want. You say the phrase that you’ve had memorized for many years: “wild colored coffee.” Then he expertly weighs a kilo of light colored coffee beans from Yemen (in fact, Mocha coffee is named after the Yemeni port of Mocha). You notice that Gulf coffee beans are mildly roasted compared to coffee beans in Egypt and Lebanon. But the main difference is in the additions: the seller adds green cardamom, cinnamon sticks and saffron filaments, then he grinds them into a powder, which he puts in a bag. You pay for the coffee and you leave happy with what you got.

Arabic coffee as a global product

After drinking coffee in the Arab Gulf, you snack on dates to ease the bitter taste. You reflect on the coffee cup that you bought with the coffee. It is white, with a gold strip at its lip, and has a traditional Arab style. You turn over the coffee cup and notice an inscription in English: made in China. You try to look for the origins of the coffee components and you find the following: cardamom comes from South India and Sri Lanka, and is now grown in Guatemala, Vietnam and Tanzania. The cinnamon comes mainly from China, where it was found 3,000 years ago, before Vasco da Gama shipped it from Sri Lanka to Europe in the 15th century. To produce a kilo of saffron, one needs about 80,000 to 150,000 plants grown on ​​1,000 square meters [0.25 acres]. An agricultural worker would spend an entire day to harvest what would produce only 60 grams [0.1 pounds]. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. It is grown in Iran, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Greece.

Regarding the price that you pay for the coffee, just a very small part of it will go to the owners of the coffee fields in those remote countries and even less will go to those who spend their days growing the coffee in harsh working conditions. Most of the money goes to the importer, the retailer, international shippers and import taxes. Then you can think about your government’s priorities in how it spends those revenues according to its social and political biases. You hold the coffee cup in hand and your memory goes many years back, recalling the first time you realized the essential difference between price and value in a practical, globalized and modern example.
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Earth Talk: Keurig K-Cup coffee containers

Keurig K-Cups—those little one-serving coffee containers that allow people to brew one cup at a time in a specially designed Keurig brewing machine—are all the rage these days. Each K-Cup is made up of a plastic outer container with one cup’s worth of ground coffee and a small filter inside, capped off with a foil lid. They go into Keurig brewing machines which pierce the bottom of the K-Cup with a nozzle that then forces hot water through the coffee grounds and filter, and then out into the drinker’s cup. K-Cups and the Keurig brewers are convenient and require little to no clean-up while producing gourmet quality coffee for a fraction of the price that a retail coffee shop would charge.

Environmentalists’ beef with the Keurig system is in the single-use, non-recyclable nature of the packaging, given the implications for our waste stream. The individual parts of a K-Cup (plastic, paper and foil) could theoretically be recycled on their own, but the combination is too small and messy for recycling facilities to be able to sort. So our only choice is to throw the whole K-Cup pack, lock stock and barrel, into the garbage. Each pound of coffee consumed sends 50 K-Cups to the landfill. And with upwards of 17 million U.S. households and offices possessing Keurig brewers these days, billions of K-Cups are already ending up in landfills every year.

KeurigGreenMountain, the company behind the K-Cup revolution, is on the case about the bad environmental reputation it is developing over the issue. As a first step, it launched its Grounds to Grow On program in 2011 whereby office customers can purchase K-Cup recovery bins and fill them up with spent K-Cups. When the boxes are full, they are shipped to Keurig’s disposal partner, which turns the used coffee grounds into compost and sends the rest out to be incinerated in a “waste-to-energy” power plant. Critics point out, though, that waste-to-energy is hardly green given the airborne pollutants released from incinerator smokestacks and the fact that, in the words of Julie Craves of the Coffee & Conservation blog, recyclingis the enemy of the never-ending stream of garbage needed to feed waste-to-energy facilities.

In 2012, KeurigGreenMountain, realizing it still had a lot of work to do on sustainability matters, undertook a lifecycle assessment across its product lines—and set ambitious sustainability targets to achieve by 2020. Chief among them is to make all K-Cups 100 percent recyclable. Other goals include ensuring responsible sourcing for all its primary agricultural and manufactured products, reducing life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of its brewed beverages by 25 percent compared to the 2012 baseline, and achieving zero waste-to-landfills its manufacturing and distribution facilities.

Those who love the Keurig system but are ready to forego the environmental guilt sooner than 2020 do have some options.Julie Craves reports that used K-Cups can actually be refilled with ground coffee and reused. An easier option might be buying a reusable K-Cup—most of them are made out of plastic with a stainless steel mesh filter. Still the best choice for the environment, however, might be getting the old traditional coffee pot out of storage and brewing up several cups at once—just like the old days.