May 31, 2011

What's in a Name

There are many countries that end in 'stan', such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. Pakistan has an interesting beginning. It is an acronym of the different regions, which originally broke down into: P=Punjab, A=Afghania, K=Kashmir, S=Sindh and the suffix -stan. Later, the 'i' was added to ease pronunciation. It might almost be called a place of places, as the name is made up of different regions.

The suffix -stan in Persian means "home of" and in Sanskrit means "place". So, Afghanistan is the place of the Afghanis and Pakistan is the place of the various Paks. In the old days, when tribes moved, the name was given to where they lived. It was their place. Many people still move from one place to another and still refer to their current house as 'my place'.

Incidently, abad, or abat is used as an ending in Asian cities names to refer to the person who founded the community. For instance, Abbottabad (where Osama was killed) was named after James Abbott, a British officer who governed the area during the British Colonial era.

Alcohol Does Not Kill Brain Cells

Time to debunk another popular myth. Research has shown that the quantity of alcohol you could possibly take in, without killing yourself, does not introduce enough alcohol into your bloodstream to kill brain cells. This was proven by a study by Grethe Jensen and co. in 1993. They meticulously counted neurons in matched samples of non-alcoholics and alcoholics.  They found no real difference in the density or overall number of neurons between the two groups.  Other research has backed up those findings. 

According to a study done at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Italy, 29% of people 65 years or older who almost never drank alcohol throughout their life had mental impairment issues. About 19% of people 65 years or older who drank moderate amounts of alcohol regularly had any mental impairment. It was further discovered that, among the various groups where other problems might impair them mentally, the same trend appeared. In every group, those who drank moderately on a regular basis throughout their lives always had a less chance of becoming mentally impaired in their old age compared to those who didn’t drink at all or almost never drank.

Scientists also once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was fixed. They have now discovered that new neurons are continuously created in the adult brain.

There are other side effects of alcohol on your brain, such as developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by: confusion, coordination problems, hallucinations, memory problems, eye problems, and even inducing a coma or death, if left untreated.  Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time causes a vitamin B1 deficiency, because alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb thiamine.

Bacon Rub

Here is a grilling favorite, a dry rub with a twist. Bacon Rub allows you to give nearly any meat a bacon-wrapped flavor simply by rubbing in this mix of herbs, spices, and brown sugar.

It is all-natural, Kosher and vegetarian friendly and is zero fat. Mmmm! Who could ask for more?

Tips to Make Your Browsing Easier

Here are a few tips that might help while browsing the web to get around your screen a bit faster without using your mouse.

Go directly to the Address Bar - (to type in a new site)
    Firefox: Control/Command + L
    Chrome/Safari/WebKit: Control/Command + L
    Internet Explorer: Alt + D
    Opera: Control/Command + L

 Get to your browser search box - (to search something)
    Firefox: Control/Command + K
    Safari: Command + Option + F
    Internet Explorer: Control + E
    Opera: Control/Command + E

May 27, 2011

Happy Friday

Live your best, act your best, and think your best today, because it is preparation for all the tomorrows that follow.

I am always living, acting, and thinking my best when preparing for a Happy Friday!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in our nation's service. The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day", which was first used in 1882.
Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization for Northern Civil War veterans), in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

The holiday changed after World War 1 from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a federal national holiday by an act of Congress, and its observance was set on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day Poppies

Moina Michael conceived of an idea in 1918 after reading a poem, to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later, Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom. When she returned to France, she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries.

In 1921, the practice of selling poppies was taken up by the American Legion Auxiliary and in1922 by the VFW. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. The practice continues today. 

Several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3, Jefferson Davis' birthday, in Louisiana and Tennessee.

Blood Pressure Facts

High blood pressure affects about 50 million Americans and 1 billion people worldwide.

Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is highest near your heart and in the major arteries and lowest in small arteries and capillaries. Because it varies, blood pressure is taken in a standardized place, usually on the inside of your upper arm along the brachial artery.

The upper number, systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps blood throughout the body. The lower number, diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing. Healthy blood pressure should be around 120/80 or lower. When the systolic pressure is greater than 120 and the diastolic pressure is greater than 80, patients are diagnosed as having high blood pressure. These levels have recently been lowered from 140/90. Different levels are used for children and adolescents.

High blood pressure is called hypertension and can lead to a number of serious conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure. Elevated blood pressure levels can make you tired, give you headaches, cause vision problems, and give you an upset stomach, or there can be no symptoms.

Low blood pressure is called hypotension and can result in a decrease in the amount of blood being pumped to the brain resulting in lightheadedness, dizziness, weakness, and fainting. Extremely low blood pressure can also be a sign of a severe cardiac disease and should be taken just as seriously as high blood pressure.

Red Meat and Blood

While on the topic of blood pressure, it is interesting to know that the red fluid in red meat is not blood. Almost all blood is removed from meat during slaughter, for both red and white meat. A very small, trace amount of blood remains within the muscle tissue of meat from the store.

Red meats, such as beef, contain a good deal of water. Water mixed with a protein called myoglobin, makes up most of the red liquid. It  is a protein, that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to hemoglobin, which stores oxygen in red blood cells. Most animals with a high amount of myoglobin are considered to be red meat, while animals with low levels of myoglobin, like most poultry are considered white meat.

Chickens and Turkeys are generally considered white meat, however due to the fact that both use their legs extensively, their leg muscles contain a significant amount of myoglobin which causes their meat to turn dark when cooked. This is why they have both white meat and dark meat.

Meat remains pinkish-red if it has been exposed to nitrites.  Packagers use this to artificially keep the meat looking pink, even after it has spoiled.  Consumers associate pink meat as fresh even though the pink color has little to do with the freshness of meat. Trust your nose, not your eyes.