Obey Your Food Rules

Every modern society has laws or rules that are meant to be followed and obeyed. Things like traffic laws, paying taxes or even rules that govern every sport you can imagine. We all know what happens if we have no rules, right? Yes, chaos ensues and our society begins to fall apart. Yikes! The same thing is true with your fat loss goals. I have always been a firm believer in having what I call “food rules” that govern the way I eat. Remembering that it’s impossible to out train a bad diet, if you obey your food rules it is easier to stay on track and make sure that you are only consuming foods that are taking you closer to your goals, not farther away from them. Continue reading

Why Natural Organic Foods Are Good For Your Health

Whilst it might appear like a new trend, organic food has really been around for a lot longer than the foods that we’re accustomed to eating. This is food that is grown and nurtured in a natural manner, so as not to upset the growing development or the person who’s eating it. But with more and more labels claiming to be ‘natural’ as well as ‘organic,’ it can become confusing when you’re in a grocery store aisle. Then when you see that the prices are somewhat higher than ‘normal’ foods, you may doubt if it’s even worth a second look.

What defines natural food?

Natural foods are defined as foods that do not endure any chemical processing, either in the growing procedure or in the harvesting procedure. These are foods that do not contain pesticides or insecticides, fertilizers as well as other toxins.

If you observe organic foods that are pre-packaged, this means that each of the components is also processed using organic methods. Though, you need to look for packages that include the phrase ‘100%’ or ‘certified’ organic in order to know that all of the ingredients are organic. If a package just includes the now generic term of organic, it can signify that only a percentage of the ingredients are processed in this method.

Why decide on natural foods?

Many people are turned off by the elevated costs that organic foods appears to have. And with the lessened processing, these costs don’t seem justified. However, the reason behind the somewhat higher prices is that these are farms that cannot manufacture as much yield as those that make use of chemical substances. Lots of fertilizers will allow farms to cultivate many more stalks of corn, for example.

But when you take away this fertilizer to cultivate organic corn, you may only obtain half as much – and in doing so, the farmer needs to charge more. There are as well some restrictions as to how much money these smaller and sometimes family run farms get from government sources. Without the additional monetary help, these farms may not make any profits without increasing their overall prices.

In selecting natural foods, you are also supporting local farmers (in the majority of cases) that are growing healthier products. The food that you consume should not contain added toxins as well as chemicals. A number of scientific studies have shown that eating large quantities of these kinds of substances can lead to a multitude of problems – some cancers, diseases, as well as other health problems.

The toxins can build up within your body and start to damage healthy cells. And this is no wonder, considering nature never intended for us to eat chemical substances that have been added to our foods. In addition, a lot of people are sensitive to these kinds of chemical substances, so consuming organic food allows them to avoid any harmful reactions they may have otherwise.

Specialty Coffee – A Vibrant Industry, Or The Future Of Coffee At Crossroads Of Change?

Seattle; the home of Boeing, software giants, grunge music and…specialty coffee. Well, not quite. Contrary to popular belief, while Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Boeing and Oracle do indeed hail from the Pacific Northwest, modern specialty coffee has its roots much further south.

When Alfred Peet died in his sleep a few weeks ago he was a sprightly 87. He passed away peacefully hopefully dreaming of coffee trees laden with ripened cherries. While most people have never heard of him, Peet is widely recognised as being the father of modern “specialty coffee” in the industry. He was a Dutchman who became an American. He had traded tea for Lipton’s in Java, lived in Sumatra, worked in the business in New Zealand before, finally, settling down (somewhat) in the University suburb of Berkeley, California. It was at Berkeley where he founded his roastery in 1966 and Peet’s Coffee was born. Alfred Peet was passionate about coffee. His roasting exploits legendary and his ability to commentate, roast and put out fires simultaneously are famous. His experiences while living in Indonesia had given him an affinity with farmers who grew coffee, as well as a thorough understanding of the origin, the place where coffee was grown. This background, combined with his love of roasting, resulted in a place where coffee was not just a cup of Java, but something exotic, living and with a story.

From Alfred Peet’s inspirational example came many of the coffee cultures that now are household names today in America and around the world- Starbucks being the most famous of these of course. The original founders of Starbucks- Baldwin, Bowker and Ziv Seigel originally leant their roasting trade from Peet, in fact Peet roasted for them in their early years. Many others in the industry in America today also passed through the Peet’s Coffee experience. In fact when Howard Schulz purchased Starbucks, Bowker and Baldwin moved across and purchased Peets Coffee- Alfred Peet retiring to a role of Coffee Mentor for the Industry as a whole.

Today most coffee drinkers, from Surabaya to San Francisco, recognise Starbucks and its logo, but the name “Alfred Peet” often draws draws blank looks.

Specialty Coffee today is at a crossroad- an important junction in deciding which direction coffee will be heading over the next decade. In the last 10 years many new comers have entered the business. It is estimated that the global coffee sector today is valued at over US$80 billion. It is no wonder that with these revenue numbers, the industry attracts a mix of business people with mixed agendas- who often see the potential bottom line rather than education and passion as being the driving force in what they do. Traditionally the specialty coffee industry has been built on the strong foundation of sharing knowledge and experience- with the supposition that by helping each other the industry will be strongly quality focused. However a number of the more recent arrivals in the market are perhaps choosing coffee for the perceived easy profits, rather than for a real passion for coffee or its heritage. As a result many of the traditional methods of exchange are not as effective, or used as frequently as they have been in the past.

Globally Coffee is in a position where consumption is beginning to slow down and opportunities to grow coffee are becoming more difficult to find in the traditional coffee consuming markets- Europe, USA, South America and Oceania. The easy answer if to look at new emerging markets- China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia are prime targets. These countries either have low coffee consumption (Indonesian’s, for instance, consume 500gm per person per year vs. Norway’s 12kg per person per year), or have reasonable consumption, but historically are tea consumers (India). The new markets are also very suggestible to western branding- in many cases the strength of branding has been shown to be more important than the product itself. This presents a number of opportunities to strong western brands and of course new local brands to emerge. However it does not necessarily equate to long-term longevity of specialty coffee in these new frontiers.

In the more mature markets, the patterns of consumption have changed markedly over the last 15-20 years. The traditional, lower quality coffee products such as instants, are being replaced by roast and ground coffee (drips, plungers etc) and of course Espresso Based Drinks (cappuccino, latte, espresso etc). Fresh roasted coffee has many advantages over the instant coffee. It is more flavoursome and more importantly has a greater link back to where it originally came from. This means that customer awareness is also on the increase- bringing into the spotlight the actual paper trail of where the coffee comes from, who picked it, what price the grower get from it etc. To consumers in countries such as New Zealand this is very important- as generally there is a linkage between quality of coffee and the return the farmer or grower gets. The correlation is the better the return to a farmers, the better the coffee will be. Higher returns means more time can be spent in the origin country looking after the crop, pruning, selective harvesting, proper intensive drying and packing/storing the coffee once it is dried.

The role the specialty coffee industry plays in all this is very important. Retail shops that source and supply only the best coffee help to sustain the industry both upstream and downstream. This means the farmers and workers will be rewarded and the consumers will have access to quality coffee, hopefully growing the business further.

Unfortunately the reverse is gradually becoming more often the norm. Cafes, coffee shops and roasters entering the market all over the world tend to look for short-term cost advantages to try and fuel their business models. To achieve this they either buy poor quality coffee, as cheap as possible or average quality coffee…likewise as cheaply as possible. Cheap coffee equates to, at the best, very average finished product. This in turn means generally a poor perception of the place selling the coffee. This would perhaps be OK if there were not so many cafes now selling poor quality coffee. As it is it means that poor quality coffee is often accepted a being the norm- hence having the result of putting people off drinking coffee.

In many ways the industry can be seen as having come almost full circle back to where it was in the early 1970’s when instant coffee and coffee sitting on hotplates for 10 hours were seen and accepted as being normal coffee. This is what pioneers like Peet worked so hard to change. It is also why the crossroads the industry now stands at are so important.

The choices are really quite simple. For coffee to evolve and grow further there needs to be education of the retailer and the customer. The global industry is built around national organisations that play a varying role in providing advice and education to those in retail or wholesale. The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) are two such organisations. However to become members of these organisations is as simple as filling out a form and paying a fee. Often the motivation of the people joining is just to get a sticker to put on their shop door, knowledge is a secondary motivator. There is talk that membership should involve some form of basic enter test and then continuing education via the internet- which would at least help to provide tools to pass information on to those drinking the coffee.

Looking at those in the industry who do things well, is also a great way of building and planning the future for specialty coffee. In the USA quality roasters and café operators such as Allegro, Blackstump Coffee and Intelligensia have taken industry standards to a new level. Buying quality coffee, hiring quality staff and imparting quality knowledge to customers buying their morning coffee has proven very successful for these companies. So much so that it is an unquestionable part of their corporate culture. All of these companies also practice something unique- they regularly visit their growers in countries such as Indonesia, Guatemala, Kenya, Brazil and Colombia. To take this one step further, they do not just visit and spend a few nights- taking photos of a grower’s coffee trees, they maintain regular contact with those growing the coffee. This approach must be seen as the future for coffee in competitive, quality driven markets. It is true relationship coffee where the roaster becomes by default part of the farmers extended family.

Passing knowledge on to those who buy a coffee everyday, and arming them with information on what type of coffee they drink, how it is grown, who grows it, when it is picked, how it gets to them gives all power to the customer. It is a very important, yet lagging piece of the future of coffee globally. Being able to learn the differences in tastes/cupping qualities has some snob quality, but more importantly it helps the buyer to differentiate between good, average and poor coffee. Here lies the problem. A successful café founded on the principles of sustainability and true coffee culture has nothing to fear from education. A café selling poor quality coffee is unlikely, or perhaps unable, to want to educate clients about quality.

A failure to address quality, education and sustainability in the business sector (from the farmer to the retail customer) will ultimately result in consumption patterns falling further. Quality issues- especially over the counter and in the cup, need to be addressed. If not unfortunately those to suffer will be the grower or origin country, rather than the retailer. With current economics a grower in Indonesia receives only around 2-5% of the cost of the average cup sold in America or Europe. If demand drops off, the Arabica business ultimately will fall back into a cycle of commodity pricing rather than specialty pricing that many quality origins now enjoy. Competition from other beverages, and lifestyle choices, compete with the disposable income that coffee comes from.

If Alfred Peet was still alive, undoubtedly he would just carry on doing what he did well and loved, roasting coffee and sharing his knowledge and experience with anyone willing, and wanting to learn and listen- a model to all of us in the industry today.

© Alun H.G Evans, Merdeka Coffee, 2007. The writer reserves all moral rights to this article. May only be reproduced.

Candles Make No More Crying Onion Peel

PEELING onions like annoying, when you peel it then guaranteed to be dripping with spicy hot because the air that comes from the onions are very sharp. Now, there are ways to overcome them!

Well, do not let your eyes sore when peeling onions so it’s good to pay attention to the following four so while peeling onions became more enjoy:

Light a candle near the cutting board while peeling onions, because of the heat of the candle will attract sulfur compounds of garlic so that it will stay away from your eyes

With large wind power it will make the heat from the onion will disappear and your eyes while peeling onions will no longer sore.

running water
With peeling or cutting onions under running water or in a water bath it will make your eyes sore so no, this is because the water will dissolve the sulfur compounds contained in onions before finally making you shed tears. So, while peeling onions will do lah frequently dipping your knife into the water.

Freeze first
Before peeling the onion so it’s good to first cool the onions for 30 minutes before being cut or peeled, or freeze for 10 to 15 minutes all depends on the size of onions are used. This will make the cells of the onion will react more slowly because of the cold air coming into the onions when cut.

Wake Up And Smell The Coffee

Ever wondered how the morning cup of coffee washes off all the lethargy of sleep and kick starts your brain to face a brand new day? Does credit for coffee’s legendary refreshing effect go to the diminutive but obvious presence of caffeine? Can we reduce the virtues of such a great beverage to a mere work of a chemical? Clearly, the flavor, smell and arrogant upshot of caffeine all contribute towards making coffee a complete experience, rather than just a beverage.

Coffee is basically prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee beans – as the seeds are referred to – are roasted and powdered. The processing of coffee beans is a very labor intensive process. The roasting phase of processing considerably influences the final taste and odor of coffee and is thus the most significant part of the whole process. Roasting causes extremely complex chemical action that metamorphoses the insipid taste of the coffee seed to the great taste we all know and love. In some cases the coffee beans are even aged for a considerable period of time before they are roasted.

The range and variety of the experience we call coffee is considerably huge. For the stringent coffee buff that prefers an experience devoid of caffeine, decaffeinated coffee hits the mark. There are the darker roast styles that justify the word ‘black coffee’. There are even special flavored coffees in the market for people who need a twist in the tale. There is no end to the ways you can get your cup of coffee.

But, coffee is more than just a hot liquid in a cup. Its significance and influence extend in all aspects of society and culture. The coffee houses of the 16th century started off a trend of using coffee as an excuse and means of getting people to socialize. Coffee is the greatest social lubricant ever invented, capable of bringing people together to mingle, talk, debate and decide. The coffee houses of India became the axis and base camp of the workers struggle where people and propaganda celebrated the birth of a new political age. In Sweden and the Nordic countries, coffee is an important cornerstone of their culture.

In the past, coffee had a religious and spiritual significance. This appears quite natural given the experience of coffee is nothing short of divine. The early Arabs created wine from the coffee fruit which was used during religious ceremonies. In many cultures coffee naturally substituted wine when wine was prohibited.

The experienced connoisseurs of coffee indulge in coffee cupping. Coffee cupping is simply a great excuse to turn your love for coffee into a professional pursuit with all the semblances of any grave enterprise. Some professional coffee tasters are so proficient in drinking coffee they can identify the geographical origin of coffee from its taste.

Coffee is a great accompaniment for any informal meal, typically as an integral component of breakfast. In relatively more formal settings, like for instance, in a restaurant, coffee fits in perfectly during the dessert course. It’s obvious that coffee is a great accompaniment to anything from pastries, cookies, shortbread to muffins. But, if the coffee lovers of the world are to be taken seriously, coffee goes with any occasion or time no matter what.

Buy Best Quality Charcoal for Your Barbecue

Buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

If you enjoy an outdoor barbecue then, there is nothing best than the charcoal barbecue. Charcoal is the most commonly used fuel for grilling and barbecuing. Food lovers often love to have their barbecue cooked over a charcoal flame as it is what induces that peculiar and authentic taste to the food being cooked. Nothing beats the aroma of the food that is cooked over a charcoal or wooden barbecue not even the so called modern gas grills. The quality of charcoal too plays a very important role in the barbecue apart from the quality of meat, ingredients used and arrangement of the grills. To enjoy a good meal one should always buy best quality charcoal for cooking.

There are specifically made barbecue grills are available in the market that makes use of the charcoal as the main source of heat generation in order to cook the meat thoroughly from inside out. The form, pattern and size of the grills may vary from place to place. Thus depending upon your requirement you can pick up a size that cat cater to your family needs. To ensure that the meat is well cooked and has that peculiar aroma, it must be cooked on low heat over supreme quality charcoals. Following the step by step guide of the barbecue meat helps you bring forth onto the table something amazing not only in looks but at the same time in taste too.

Also while, barbecuing makes sure that you do not add the charcoal lighter fluid to the already heated charcoals as they can further strengthen the heat which in turn might result into the fire that might be hazardous. This should be avoided in all situations as they can lead to unwanted and unnecessary burns and rashes. If a little care and attention is paid, one can easily cook food without getting oneself hurt or injured. Soak the charcoals beforehand only in the charcoal liquid for about 10mins to get absorbed.

Care should also be taken while igniting your barbecue grill to make sure that the meat being cooked is not burnt and is well cooked from inside out, leaving no raw corners. Place the meat only when the charcoal is well heated and appears to be white hot and ashy. Further you can serve the meal thus cooked with freshly chopped veggies or a salad. The dishes that are prepared in the similar fashion are simply mouthwatering and lend an exceptional taste in the mouth.

If what you are seeking is a place to buy charcoal than there are several vendors on the web these days that are involved in the selling of quality charcoal and other such elements that help you enjoy a beautiful meal after all the hard work and efforts that have been made by you. Charcoal is easily available in the e-stores as well as in the physical stores at cost-effective rates. They are usually stocked in a pyramid fashion. Spread out the heated charcoal evenly all around the grill to enjoy the best barbecued food ever.

Get More Energy With The Raw Food Detox Diet

Raw food detox diet involves eating food in its uncooked form, referring to anything that occurs naturally. There are immense benefits to be derived from a diet consisting primarily or sole of raw organic vegan food. Eating raw foods gives you 100 percent of the available nutrition. But you can lose up to 85 percent of the original nutritional value when you cook the same food.

Raw food detox diet also provides enzymes that help digest your food. Living foods not exposed to temperatures above 116 degrees Fahrenheit keep their enzymes intact; otherwise, the enzymes break up and your body has to work harder to digest your meals. Enzyme-rich foods give you a more realistic and efficient energy source. They rapidly break down in our stomach and immediately begin to provide energy and nutrition.

One of the most life enhancing benefits is the abundant amount of energy that is available to you. Energy that is usually use to digest cooked food is freed up for you to spend for other things, when eating raw. You will find that you will need to sleep less to feel rested.

Many athletes have found that light raw meals give a more sustainable form of energy and improve their performance. Students find that raw food detox diet gives them a more stable blood sugar level, helping them to think more clearly and stay more focused. Eating in this manner is also known to enhance your beauty. Most of all, when you eat well you feel good – and feeling good is the essence of life.

To start your raw food detox diet, increase the amount of fresh produce in your cooked food diet. The cleansing process begins and helps flush out old toxins. Greens and fresh fruits are especially effective in pushing debris out of your cells and colon. These two primary raw sources attune your body to eating more and more raw food.

As you feel fuller and more nourished from the increased quantities of raw food, you may consider trying to let go of cooked meals. Cultured items (like tofu) help initiate beneficial flora. Dried foods assist your transition by giving a raw food way to satisfy a cooked food craving for something heavy. The goal in a raw food detox diet is to achieve the ideal balanced diet of 60 per cent fresh foods, 20 per cent sprouted foods, 10 per cent dried foods, and 10 per cent cultured foods. Try to achieve that to make the most of healthy, energy and culinary enjoyment!

Fitness Personal Training for Healthy and Fit Living

It’s never easy to avoid being a victim of food. Chocolates, ice cream, cake, etc., how can one resist? It’s really hard to avoid digging in to a plate of delicious goodness. But, if you want to stay healthy and fit, do you have to neglect eating? The answer is no! There’s no need to watch out keenly over your diet. You can lose those extra ounces of fat in your body without having to starve to death. The secret to a healthy and fit life is fitness personal training. Continue reading

Buy Frozen Potatoes, Immediate Put in Cooler Box

After buying frozen potatoes in the supermarket, most of us would take for granted. There is one place that is able to maintain its freshness.

According Arroji, Key Account Manager USA-Indonesian Potato, put the frozen potatoes in containers at grocery bag will make the potatoes can be easily damaged. “Potatoes have odor absorbing properties. When the potato is placed in a plastic bag, what happens is contaminated potato plastic smell. Automated potatoes so damaged,” he told Okezone in SCBD, Jakarta, recently.

He added, with a put potatoes in the plastic packaging, disbursement process becomes faster. As a result, the potato has a lot of water content.

“If the location of your house not far from the supermarket, about 3 minutes the baseball problem and your plastic bags. But if much, I suggest you should bring cooler box or airtight container which has a cooling,” he explained.

Package frozen potato storage process should not go unnoticed. “Potatoes packaging must be placed in one place, not combined with other foods. Taken together, the potatoes will smell bad when eaten,” lugasnya.

According to him, the fries will not be maximum. “It was nothing, fries over dry, broken, and fried in a little longer because you basically frying water,” he concluded.

My Nutritional Advice From a Personal Trainer

What’s the point of doing extensive exercises and workouts when you don’t get and maintain a proper diet and nutrition? Your Personal Trainer will not only guide you through the workouts, but also help control of your appetite, diet and nutrition plans. Since your goal is to build your body in such a way that you’ll look and feel good and healthy, it is therefore important that you watch what you eat because some of it could just make the program and your efforts useless. Continue reading