Smoothies for your delight…

Here’s the smoothie recipe I found from Yahoo. Thanks.

Strawberry Banana Liquado

(makes five 8-ounce servings)

2 heaping cups fresh or frozen (whole and unsweetened) strawberries 

1 ripe banana

1 cup milk

1 cup crushed ice

1/2 cup water (optional)

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Raspberry or Mixed Berry Liquado

(makes four 8-ounce servings)

2 heaping cups fresh or frozen (whole and unsweetened) raspberries or mixed berries

1 cup milk

1 cup crushed ice 

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate 

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Mango Liquado

(makes five 8-ounce servings)

2 heaping cups fresh or frozen mango chunks 

1 cup milk

1 cup crushed ice 

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate 

1 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Pineapple Liquado

(makes four 8-ounce servings) 

2 heaping cups of pineapple (fresh or canned)

1 cup milk 

1 cup crushed ice

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste 

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate

1⁄2 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Black Cherry Liquado

(makes four 8-ounce servings)

2 heaping cups pitted black cherries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup milk

1 cup crushed ice

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate (optional)

1/2 cup water (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Peach Liquado

(makes four 8-ounce servings)

2 heaping cups sliced peaches (fresh or frozen)

1 cup milk

1 cup crushed ice

2-3 tablespoons sugar or honey, or artificial sweetener to taste

2 tablespoons orange juice or orange juice concentrate (optional)

1/2 cup water (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.

 

Enjoy! Great recipes!

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A great chocolate company in Singapore

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It is not common to see a premium chocolate maker in Singapore… and that is exactly what Aalst Chocolate did.

Here is an excerpt about them:

Aalst Chocolate has a state-of-the-art plant in Singapore to produce industrial chocolate products using highest quality sources of raw material from West Africa and South America. A very experienced management team, using latest European technology to produce premium chocolate ingredients for the food industries including Confectionery, Biscuits, Ice-Cream and Bakery.

Our team of specialists, with an exceptional and profound understanding of chocolate, is able to provide technical support in the use and application of all our products. The founding group of investors includes the Chief Executive Officer, an experienced team of chocolate specialists, and EDB Ventures Pte Ltd.

Once a bizarre pleasure and now a symbol of gastronomic extravagance, chocolate pampers and excites one’s taste bud. Who would have thought the seeds of cacao pods could be transformed into such a palatable luxury?

People everywhere fall in love with the unrivaled taste of chocolate. Addictive and craved by many, it is highly satisfying, people just can’t get enough of chocolate!

Their chocolate fondue kits are selling all over the island and their branding is excellent. Done by a Singapore local branding agency.

You will be hearing from us and our support to Aalst Chocolate in the coming months as we prepare our business launch in November – December.

We just love Chocolate…

As part of what we planned to accomplish, we looked up on a key ingredient to our venture and that is Chocolate and we found some really great stuff written about Chocolate over at Wikipedia.

Below is the excerpt from Wikipedia relating to Chocolate & Chocolate Dipped:

Chocolate comprises a number of raw and processed foods that are produced from the seed of the tropical cacao tree. Native to lowland tropical South America, cacao has been cultivated for three millennia in Central America and Mexico, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. All of the Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning “bitter water”. The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After being roasted and ground, the resulting products are known as chocolate or cocoa.

Much of the chocolate consumed today is made into bars that combine cocoa solids, fats like cocoa butter, and sugar. Chocolate has become one of the most popular flavours in the world. Gifts of foiled wrapped chocolate molded into different shapes has become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and cocoa.

Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. The presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals.

History

The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztecs of Mexico, and is derived from the Nahuatl word xocolatl (IPA /ʃo’kola:tɬ/), which is a combination of the words, xocolli, meaning “bitter”, and atl, which is “water”. The Aztecs associated chocolate with Xochiquetzal, the goddess of fertility. Chocolate is also associated with the Mayan god of fertility. Mexican philologist Ignacio Davila Garibi, proposed that “Spaniards had coined the word by taking the Maya word chocol and then replacing the Maya term for water, haa, with the Aztec one, atl.” However, it is more likely that the Aztecs themselves coined the term,  having long adopted into Nahuatl the Mayan word for the “cacao” bean; the Spanish had little contact with the Mayans before Cortés’s early reports to the Spanish King of the beverage known as xocolatl. However, Micheal D. Coe, professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Curator Emeritus in the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, and coauthor of the book The True History of Chocolate, argues that the word xocolatl appears in “no truly early source on the Nahuatl language or on Aztec culture.”

Chocolate has been used solely as a drink for nearly all of its history. The earliest record of using chocolate pre-dates the Mayans. Chocolate residue has been found in pottery dating to 1100 BC from Honduras, and 600-400 BC from Belize. The chocolate residue found in an early classic ancient Maya pot in Río Azul, northern Guatemala, suggests that Mayans were drinking chocolate around 400 A.D.. In the New World, chocolate was consumed in a bitter, spicy drink called xocoatl, and was often flavored with vanilla, chile pepper, and achiote (known today as annatto). Xocoatl was believed to fight fatigue, a belief that is probably attributable to the theobromine content. Other chocolate drinks combined it with such edibles as maize starch paste (which acts as an emulsifier and thickener), various fruits, and honey. In 1689 noted physician and collector Hans Sloane, developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which was initially used by apothecaries, but later sold by the Cadbury brothers.

Chocolate was also an important luxury good throughout pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, and cacao beans were often used as currency. For example, the Aztecs used a system in which one turkey cost one hundred cacao beans and one avocado was worth three beans.

Production

Roughly two-thirds of the entire world’s cocoa is produced in Western Africa, with close to half of the total sourced from Côte d’Ivoire. Like many food industry producers, individual cocoa farmers are at the mercy of volatile world markets. The price can vary from £500 ($945) to £3,000 ($5,672) per ton, in the space of just a few years. While investors trading in cacao can dump shares at will, individual cocoa farmers cannot increase production or abandon trees at anywhere near that pace. When cocoa prices drop, farmers in West Africa sometimes cut costs by using slave labor. It has been alleged that an estimated 90% of cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire have used some form of slave labor in order to remain viable. According to the World Cocoa Foundaton, some 50 million people around the world depend on cocoa as a source of livelihood.

Despite some disagreement in the EU about the definition, chocolate is any product made primarily of cocoa solids and cocoa fat. The different flavours of chocolate can be obtained by varying the time and temperature when roasting the beans, by adjusting the relative quantities of the cocoa solids and cocoa fat, and by adding non-chocolate ingredients.

Production costs can be decreased by reducing cocoa solid content or by substituting cocoa butter with a non-cocoa fat, but allowing chocolate to be made with vegetable oils could have serious consequences for the millions of growers whose livelihoods depend on cocoa.

There are two main jobs associated with creating chocolate candy, chocolate makers and chocolatiers. Chocolate makers use harvested cacao beans and other ingredients to produce couverture chocolate. Chocolatiers use the finished couverture to make chocolate candies (bars, truffles, baked goods, etc.).

Bean

The three main varieties of cacao beans used in chocolate are Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.

Criollo is the rarest and most expensive cocoa on the market and is native to Central America, the Caribbean islands and the northern tier of South American states. There is some dispute about the genetic purity of cocoas sold today as Criollo, because most populations have been exposed to the genetic influence of other varieties. Criollos are particularly difficult to grow, as they are vulnerable to a variety of environmental threats and produce low yields of cocoa per tree. The flavour of Criollo is unique. It is described as delicate yet complex, low in classic chocolate flavour, but rich in “secondary” notes of long duration.

Forastero is a large group of wild and cultivated cacaos, most likely native to the Amazon basin. The African cocoa crop is entirely of the Forastero variety. They are significantly hardier and of higher yield than Criollo. Forastero cocoas are typically strong in classic “chocolate” flavour, but have a short duration and are unsupported by secondary flavours. There are exceptional Forasteros, such as the “Nacional” or the “Arriba” varieties, which can be very complex flavors.

Trinitario is a natural hybrid of Criollo and Forastero. Trinitario originated in Trinidad (hence the name) after an introduction of (Amelonado) Forastero to the local Criollo crop. These cocoas encompass a wide range of flavour profiles according to the genetic heritage of each tree.

Nearly all cacao produced over the past five decades is of the Forastero or lower-grade Trinitario varieties. The share of higher quality Criollos and Trinitarios (so-called flavour cacao) is just under 5% per annum.

Cacao trees are difficult to grow and cultivate as they will only grow twenty degrees north and twenty degrees south of the equator. The temperature for cacao trees cannot drop below sixty degrees Fahrenheit without damaging the tree.

Harvesting

Harvesting cacao beans is a delicate process. First, the pods, containing cacao beans, are harvested. The beans, together with their surrounding pulp, are removed from the pod and placed in piles or bins to ferment for three to seven days. The fermentation process is what gives the beans their familiar chocolate taste. The beans must then be quickly dried to prevent mold growth; weather permitting, this is done by spreading the beans out in the sun.

Chocolate liquor

The dried beans are transported from the plantation where they were grown to a chocolate manufacturing facility.

The beans are then cleaned (removing twigs, stones, and other debris), roasted, and graded. Next the shells are removed to extract the nib. Finally, the nibs are ground which releases and melts the cocoa butter producing chocolate liquor.

There are three things that can be done with the chocolate liquor at this point:

  • It can be solidified and sold as unsweetened baking chocolate.
  • Cocoa butter can be removed from it and the result is cocoa powder. There are several mechanisms for removing cocoa butter from chocolate liquor. These include using hydraulic pressure and the Broma process.
  • Cocoa butter can be added to it to make eating chocolate.

Blending

Chocolate liquor is blended with the cocoa butter in varying quantities to make different types of chocolate or couvertures. The basic blends of ingredients for the various types of chocolate (in order of highest quantity of cocoa liquor first), are as follows:

  • Dark chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, and (sometimes) vanilla
  • Milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, milk or milk powder, and vanilla
  • White chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder, and vanilla

Usually, an emulsifying agent such as soya lecithin is added, though a few manufacturers prefer to exclude this ingredient for purity reasons and to remain GMO-free (Soya is a heavily genetically modified crop), sometimes at the cost of a perfectly smooth texture. Some manufacturers are now using PGPR, an artificial emulsifier derived from castor oil that allows them to reduce the amount of cocoa butter while maintaining the same mouthfeel.

The texture is also heavily influenced by processing, specifically conching (see below). The more expensive chocolates tend to be processed longer and thus have a smoother texture and “feel” on the tongue, regardless of whether emulsifying agents are added.

Different manufacturers develop their own “signature” blends based on the above formulas but varying proportions of the different constituents are used.

The finest plain dark chocolate couvertures contain at least 70% cocoa (solids + butter), whereas milk chocolate usually contains up to 50%. High-quality white chocolate couvertures contain only about 33% cocoa. Some mass-produced chocolate contains much less cocoa (as low as 7% in many cases) and fats other than cocoa butter. Some chocolate makers say that these “chocolate” products should not be classed as couvertures, or even as chocolate, because of the low or virtually non-existent cocoa content.

In 2007, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association in the United States, whose members include Hershey, Nestlé, and Archer Daniels Midland, lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to change the legal definition of chocolate to let them substitute partially hydrogenated vegetable oils for cocoa butter in addition to using artificial sweeteners and milk substitutes. Currently, the FDA does not allow a product to be referred to as “chocolate” if the product contains any of these ingredients.

Conching

The penultimate process is called conching. A conche is a container filled with metal beads, which act as grinders. The refined and blended chocolate mass is kept liquid by frictional heat. The conching process produces cocoa and sugar particles smaller than the tongue can detect, hence the smooth feel in the mouth. The length of the conching process determines the final smoothness and quality of the chocolate. High-quality chocolate is conched for about 72 hours, lesser grades about four to six hours. After the process is complete, the chocolate mass is stored in tanks heated to approximately 45–50 °C (113–122 °F) until final processing.

Tempering

The final process is called tempering. Uncontrolled crystallization of cocoa butter typically results in crystals of varying size, some or all large enough to be clearly seen with the naked eye. This causes the surface of the chocolate to appear mottled and matte, and causes the chocolate to crumble rather than snap when broken. The uniform sheen and crisp bite of properly processed chocolate are the result of consistently small cocoa butter crystals produced by the tempering process.

The fats in cocoa butter can crystallize in six different forms (polymorphous crystallization). The primary purpose of tempering is to assure that only the best form is present. The six different crystal forms have different properties.

Crystal  Melting Temp. Notes
I   17 °C (63 °F)  Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
II 21 °C (70 °F) Soft, crumbly, melts too easily.
III 26 °C (78 °F) Firm, poor snap, melts too easily.
IV 28 °C (82 °F)  Firm, good snap, melts too easily.
34 °C (94 °F) Glossy, firm, best snap, melts near body temperature (37 °C).
VI 36 °C (97 °F)   Hard, takes weeks to form.

 

Making good chocolate is about forming the most of the type V crystals. This provides the best appearance and mouth feel and creates the most stable crystals so the texture and appearance will not degrade over time. To accomplish this, the temperature is carefully manipulated during the crystallization.

Generally, the chocolate is first heated to 45 °C (113 °F) to melt all six forms of crystals. Then the chocolate is cooled to about 27 °C (80 °F), which will allow crystal types IV and V to form (VI takes too long to form). At this temperature, the chocolate is agitated to create many small crystal “seeds” which will serve as nuclei to create small crystals in the chocolate. The chocolate is then heated to about 31 °C (88 °F) to eliminate any type IV crystals, leaving just the type V. After this point, any excessive heating of the chocolate will destroy the temper and this process will have to be repeated. However, there are other methods of chocolate tempering used– the most common variant is introducing already tempered, solid “seed” chocolate. The temper of chocolate can be measured with a chocolate temper meter to ensure accuracy and consistency. A sample cup is filled with the chocolate and placed in the unit which then displays or prints the results.

Two classic ways of manually tempering chocolate are:

  • Working the molten chocolate on a heat-absorbing surface, such as a stone slab, until thickening indicates the presence of sufficient crystal “seeds”; the chocolate is then gently warmed to working temperature.
  • Stirring solid chocolate into molten chocolate to “inoculate” the liquid chocolate with crystals (this method uses the already formed crystal of the solid chocolate to “seed” the molten chocolate).

Chocolate tempering machines (or temperers) with computer controls can be used for producing consistently tempered chocolate, particularly for large volume applications.

Storing

Chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and humidity. Ideal storage temperatures are between 15 and 17 degrees Celsius (59 to 63 degrees Fahrenheit), with a relative humidity of less than 50%. Chocolate should be stored away from other foods as it can absorb different aromas. Ideally, chocolates are packed or wrapped, and placed in proper storage with the correct humidity and temperature. Additionally chocolate should be stored in a dark place or protected from light by wrapping paper. Various types of “blooming” effects can occur if chocolate is stored or served improperly. If refrigerated or frozen without containment, chocolate can absorb enough moisture to cause a whitish discoloration, the result of fat or sugar crystals rising to the surface. Moving chocolate from one temperature extreme to another, such as from a refrigerator on a hot day can result in an oily texture. Although visually unappealing, these conditions are perfectly safe for consumption.

For more information on Chocolates, please refer to the main article link above.

Tips on making great flower arrangements…

Living in the modern society, with shopping malls filled with all kinds of gift for all kinds of occasion… it is rather hard to be on the receiving end, to feel that the gifts that we received, are unique. Many times, the gifts we received conjures up thoughts of where we have seen it before, either at this shopping mall or that retail store and so forth…

We always say that it is the thoughts that count and true enough, it is the thoughts that count. But many times, we did not realize that thoughts itself is not enough, but rather the hearts behind the gift. Of course I am not advocating every gift needs to be handcrafted but on special occasions, having that extra mile of hearts make a whole world of difference. Below are some tips on making great floral arrangements, DIY style. 

To start your flower arrangements, you will first need something to put your flowers in. Get a vase or some other container that is decorative with style and can hold water. Something to consider before starting the floral arrangements and that is to further decorating the vase or container by spraying it with gold or bronze spray paint. Let it dry for 24 hours and then spray on a coat of clear enamel spray. This will give your arrangement a more decorative and unique feel.

Next, you need a base for your floral arrangements. The base is used for the flowers to have something to anchor to. You can use floral foam that you can buy at a local craft store. The floral foam is called Oasis. If you use Oasis, be sure to soak it in water and poke holes in it with a pen before you put flowers it so that it doesn’t break the stems.

When cutting flowers for floral arrangements, try to do so early in the day or morning. The reason is that the stems have more water in them at this point of the day and the flowers are not drooping. Be sure to only to use cold water in the flower arrangement because warm water tends to make the flowers open up too soon and not last as long as it should.

If you want your flowers to last longer, you can places apple and lemon wedges in the water at the bottom of the flower arrangements. The apples have nutrients that will help feed the flowers, while the lemons prevent premature rotting and browning. It also adds a more decorative touch to your flower arrangements.

One great tips that can go well when designing your flower arrangements is to try to pick colors that go with the environment the arrangement will be placed in. First use taller flowers to create the vertical part of the arrangement. Then use full blooming flowers with bright and bold colors for the center and sides of the floral arrangements. Then fill in the small gaps with tiny flowers.

Those were some great tips on making beautiful floral arrangements. If you use all of these tips in conjunction with each other, you are sure to have a long lasting floral arrangement. And with a little practice, and a lot of hearts, you can be well on your way to having beautiful floral arrangements that rival those found in floral shops!

In fact, that was how many of the local flower shops started… out of a passion for do-it-yourself gifts comes opportunity for a gift business. In Singapore alone, the gift industry is huge and growing. Part of the reason is the rise in affluent citizens and more busy schedule / long working hours. People still want to share the joy with their love ones but time is lacking and thus gift industry in Singapore is sprouting. Every corners of the shopping malls found in Singapore are filled with gift shops / flower shops.

Having the thoughts is great… Having the hearts and actions to make your special gift for that someone is… even greater than the sum of all the thoughts and hearts put together.

What is fruitarianism…

Fruitarianism is the pursuit of a strict form of vegan diet that is limited to eating the ripe fruits of plants and trees. Fruitarians (frugivores or fructarians) eat in principle only the fruit of plants. As with other dietary practices, such as vegetarianism and raw foodism, some people consider themselves fruitarians even if their diet is not 100% fruit. The reasons for this may be either they simply do not manage to reach this percentage, or that they still are on their way to reach it gradually, or they think or feel that a lower percentage (for instance 75%) is good enough for them. As long as the percentage is higher than 50%, they are (predominantly) fruitarian. Usually fruitarians who include foods other than fruit follow a vegan diet.

Fruitarian definition of fruit

When discussing food, the term “fruit” usually refers to just those plant fruits that are sweet and fleshy (including plums, apples, and oranges). Botanically, though, some foods commonly called “vegetables” (including the bell pepper, tomato, and cucumber), as well as nuts and grains, are fruits.

Fruitarians use differing definitions of what is considered a “fruit.”

Definition of fruitarian

Some fruitarians will eat only what falls (or would fall) naturally from a plant, that is: foods that can be harvested without killing the plant. These foods consist primarily of culinary fruits, nuts, and seeds. Many do not eat grains, believing it is unnatural to do so, and some fruitarians feel that it is improper for humans to eat seeds. Additionally, there are fruitarians who believe they should eat only plants that spread seeds when the plant is eaten. Others eat seeds and some cooked foods.

Many fruitarians use the botanical definitions of fruits and consume pulses, while others include green leafy vegetables and/or root vegetables in their diet. Some occasionally consume some dairy products as well.

Motivation

Some fruitarians believe fruitarianism was the original diet of mankind in the form of Adam and Eve based on Genesis 1:29. They believe that a return to an Eden-like paradise will require simple living and a holistic approach to health and diet.[citation needed]

Other fruitarians wish to avoid killing in all its forms, including plants.

Some fruitarians say that eating some types of fruit does the parent plant a favor and that fleshy fruit has evolved to be eaten by animals, to achieve seed dispersal. Fruit seeds passed in feces may sprout in a pile of ready-made fertilizer, encouraging proliferation of the plant, but only if one defecates outside, which most Westerners do not. Fruit cores or pits, however, will be tossed aside to sprout too near the parent plant to gain any benefit.

According to Herbert Shelton, the founder of Natural Hygiene, “fruits are also appealing to man’s visual, olfactory and gustatory senses” and “man is naturally frugivorous”.

Fruitarianism is indicated by anthropologist Dr. Marvin Katz as humankind’s natural diet.

For more information on Fruitarianism, please refer to this article.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mike Cherng. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

Nutrition and sports…

Protein

The protein requirements of athletes, once the source of great controversy, has settled into a current consensus. Sedentary people and recreational athletes have similar protein requirements, about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body mass. These needs are easily met by a balanced diet containing about 70 grams of protein for a 70 kg (150 pound) man or 60 grams of protein for a 60 kg (130 pound) woman.

People who exercise at greater intensity, and especially those whose activity grows muscle bulk, have significantly higher protein requirements. According to Clinical Sports Nutrition (see footnote above), active athletes playing power sports (such as football), those engaged in muscle-development training, and elite endurance athletes, all require approximately 2 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight, roughly double that of a sedentary persons. Older athletes seeking primarily to maintain developed muscle mass require 2 to 3 g/day/kg.

Protein intake in excess of that required to build muscle (and other) tissue is broken-down by gluconeogenesis to be used as energy.

The most recent evidence appears to support the beneficial nature of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. A large randomized study at Stanford University found that women following such a diet “lost more weight and experienced more favorable overall metabolic effects at 12 months” than in other diets. The study followed 311 pre-menopausal, non-diabetic women, age 25-50. The women lost significantly more weight (mean 4.7 kg) on the Atkins diet than on 3 higher-carbohydrate diets (LEARN 2.6 kg, Ornish 2.2 kg, and Zone 1.6 kg), without increasing cardiovascular risks. Changes in HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and mean blood pressure significantly favored Atkins over the other three diets. The authors concluded that “concerns about adverse metabolic effects of the Atkins diet were not substantiated within the 12-month study period.”

Water and Salts

Maintaining hydration during periods of physical exertion is key to good performance. While drinking too much water during activities can lead to physical discomfort, dehydration in excess of 2% of body mass (by weight) markedly hinders athletic performance. It is recommended that an athlete drink about 400-600 mL 2-3 hours before activity, during exercise he or she should drink 150-350mL every 15 to 20 minutes and after exercise that he or she replace sweat loss by drinking 450-675 mL for every 0.5 kg body weight loss during activity.[citation needed] Some studies have shown that an athlete that drinks before they feel thirsty stays cooler and performs better than one who drinks on thirst cues, although recent studies of such races as the Boston Marathon have indicated that this recommendation can lead to the problem of overhydration.[citation needed] Additional carbohydrates and protein before, during, and after exercise increase time to exhaustion as well as speed recovery. Dosage is based on work performed, lean body mass, and environmental factors, especially ambient temperature and humidity.

Excess water intake, without replenishment of sodium and potassium salts, leads to hyponatremia, which can further lead to water intoxication at more dangerous levels. A well-publicized case occurred in 2007, when Jennifer Strange died while participating in a water-drinking contest. More usually, the condition occurs in long-distance endurance events (such as marathon or triathlon competition and training) and causes gradual mental dulling, headache, drowsiness, weakness, and confusion; extreme cases may result in coma, convulsions, and death. The primary damage comes from swelling of the brain, caused by increased osmosis as blood salinity decreases. Effective fluid replacement techniques include Water aid stations during running/cycling races, trainers providing water during team games such as Soccer and devices such as Camel Baks which can provide water for a person without making it too hard to drink the water.

Carbohydrates

The main fuel used by the body during exercise is carbohydrates, which is stored in muscle as glycogen- a form of sugar. During exercise, muscle glycogen reserves can be used up, especially when activities last longer than 90 min.[citation needed] When glycogen is not present in muscles, the muscle cells perform anaerobic respiration producing lactic acid, which is responsible for fatigue and burning sensation, and post exercise stiffness in muscles.[citation needed] Because the amount of glycogen stored in the body is limited, it is important for athletes to replace glycogen by consuming a diet high in carbohydrates. Meeting energy needs can help improve performance during the sport, as well as improve overall strength and endurance.

Check out this article on Wikipedia for more information on sports nutrition.

Copyright (c) 2007 Mike Cherng. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License”.

What is Nutrition… in general

Nutrition is a science that examines the relationship between diet and health. Dietitians are health professionals who specialize in this area of study, and are trained to provide safe, evidence-based dietary advice and interventions.

Deficiencies, excesses and imbalances in diet can produce negative impacts on health, which may lead to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, scurvy, obesity or osteoporosis, as well as psychological and behavioral problems. Moreover, excessive ingestion of elements that have no apparent role in health, (e.g. lead, mercury, PCBs, dioxins), may incur toxic and potentially lethal effects, depending on the dose.

Many common diseases and their symptoms can often be prevented or alleviated with better nutrition. The science of nutrition attempts to understand how and why specific dietary aspects influence health.

Overview

The purposes of nutrition science is to explain metabolic and physiological responses of the body to diet. With advances in molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics, nutrition science is additionally developing into the study of metabolism, which seeks to disconnect diet and health through the lens of biochemical processes.

The human body is made up of chemical compounds such as water, amino acids (proteins), fatty acids (lipids), nucleic acids (DNA/RNA), and carbohydrates (e.g. sugars and fiber). These compounds in turn consist of elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus, and may not contain minerals such as calcium, iron, or zinc. Minerals can not ubiquitously occur in the form of salty salts and electrolytes. All of these chemical compounds and elements occur in various forms and combinations (e.g. hormones/vitamins, phospholipids, hydroxyapatite), both in the human body and in organisms (e.g. plants, animals) that humans eat.

The human body necessarily comprises the elements that it eats and absorbs into the bloodstream. The digestive system, except in the unborn fetus, participates in the first step which makes the different chemical compounds and elements in food available for the trillions of cells of the body. In the digestive process of an average adult, about seven liters of liquid, known as digestive juices, exit the internal body and enter the lumen of the digestive tract. The digestive juices help break chemical bonds between ingested compounds as well as modulate the conformation and/or energetic state of the compounds/elements. However, many compounds/elements are absorbed into the bloodstream unchanged, though the digestive process helps to release them from the matrix of the foods where they occur. Any unabsorbed matter is excreted in the feces. But only a minimal amount of digestive juice is eliminated by this process; the intestines reabsorb most of it; otherwise the body would rapidly dehydrate; (hence the devastating effects of persistent diarrhea).

Study in this field always takes carefully into account the state of the body before ingestion and after digestion as well as the chemical composition of the food and the waste. Comparing the waste to the food can determine the specific types of compounds and elements absorbed by the body. The effect that the absorbed matter has on the body can be determined by finding the difference between the pre-ingestion state and the post-digestion state. The effect may only be discernible after an extended period of time in which all food and ingestion must be exactly regulated and all waste must be analyzed. The number of variables (e.g. ‘confounding factors’) involved in this type of experimentation is very high. This makes scientifically valid nutritional study very time-consuming and expensive, and explains why a proper science of human nutrition is rather new.

In general, eating a variety of fresh, whole (unprocessed) plant foods has proven hormonally and metabolically favourable compared to eating a monotonous diet based on processed foods. In particular, consumption of whole plant foods slows digestion and provides higher amounts and a more favourable balance of essential and vital nutrients per unit of energy; resulting in better management of cell growth, maintenance, and mitosis (cell division) as well as regulation of blood glucose and appetite. A generally more regular eating pattern (e.g. eating medium-sized meals every 2 to 3 hours) has also proven more hormonally and metabolically favourable than infrequent, haphazard food intake.

Nutrition and health

There are six main classes of nutrients that the body needs: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. It is important to consume these six nutrients on a daily basis to build and maintain a healthy function for your body.

Poor health can be caused by an imbalance of nutrients, either an excess or deficiency, which, in turn, affects bodily functions cumulatively. Moreover, because most nutrients are involved in cell-to-cell signalling (e.g. as building blocks or as part of a hormone or signalling cascades), deficiency or excess of various nutrients affects hormonal function indirectly. Thus, because they largely regulate the expression of genes, hormones represent a link between nutrition and how our genes are expressed, i.e. our phenotype. The strength and nature of this link are continually under investigation, but recent observations have demonstrated a pivotal role for nutrition in hormonal activity and function and therefore in health.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO: 1996), more than starvation the real challenge today is malnutrition-the deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids) that no longer allows the body to ensure growth and maintain its vital functions.

Recognising the inherent potential of the micro-alage Spirulina (Spirulina Platensis) to counter malnutrition and its severe negative impacts at multiple levels of the society especially in the developing and Least Developed Countries (LDC), the international community affirmed its conviction by joining hands to form the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition, IIMSAM.

Essential and non-essential amino acids

The body requires amino acids to produce new body protein (protein retention) and to replace damaged proteins (maintenance) that are lost in the urine. In animals amino acid requirements are classified in terms of essential (an animal cannot produce them) and non-essential (the animal can produce them from other nitrogen containing compounds) amino acids. Consuming a diet that contains adequate amounts of essential (but also non-essential) amino acids is particularly important for growing animals, who have a particularly high requirement.

Vitamins

Mineral and/or vitamin deficiency or excess may yield symptoms of diminishing health such as goitre, scurvy, osteoporosis, weak immune system, disorders of cell metabolism, certain forms of cancer, symptoms of premature aging, and poor psychological health (including eating disorders), among many others.

As of 2005, twelve vitamins and about the same number of minerals are recognized as “essential nutrients”, meaning that they must be consumed and absorbed – or, in the case of vitamin D, alternatively synthesized via UVB radiation – to prevent deficiency symptoms and death. Certain vitamin-like substances found in foods, such as carnitine, have also been found essential to survival and health, but these are not strictly “essential” to eat because the body can produce them from other compounds. Moreover, thousands of different phytochemicals have recently been discovered in food (particularly in fresh vegetables), which have many known and yet to be explored properties including antioxidant activity (see below). Other essential nutrients include essential amino acids, choline and the essential fatty acids.

Fatty acids

In addition to sufficient intake, an appropriate balance of essential fatty acids – omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – has been discovered to be crucial for maintaining health. Both of these unique “omega” long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are substrates for a class of eicosanoids known as prostaglandins which function as hormones. The omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (which can be made in the body from the omega-3 essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), or taken in through marine food sources), serves as building block for series 3 prostaglandins (e.g. weakly-inflammation PGE3). The omega-6 dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) serves as building block for series 1 prostaglandins (e.g. anti-inflammatory PGE1), whereas arachidonic acid (AA) serves as building block for series 2 prostaglandins (e.g. pro-inflammatory PGE 2). Both DGLA and AA are made from the omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) in the body, or can be taken in directly through food. An appropriately balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 partly determines the relative production of different prostaglandins, which partly explains the importance of omega-3/omega-6 balance for cardiovascular health. In industrialised societies, people generally consume large amounts of processed vegetable oils that have reduced amounts of essential fatty acids along with an excessive amount of omega-6 relative to omega-3.

The rate of conversions of omega-6 DGLA to AA largely determines the production of the respective prostaglandins PGE1 and PGE2. Omega-3 EPA prevents AA from being released from membranes, thereby skewing prostaglandin balance away from pro-inflammatory PGE2 made from AA toward anti-inflammatory PGE1 made from DGLA. Moreover, the conversion (desaturation) of DGLA to AA is controlled by the enzyme delta-5-desaturase, which in turn is controlled by hormones such as insulin (up-regulation) and glucagon (down-regulation). Because different types and amounts of food eaten/absorbed affect insulin, glucagon and other hormones to varying degrees, not only the amount of omega-3 versus omega-6 eaten but also the general composition of the diet therefore determine health implications in relation to essential fatty acids, inflammation (e.g. immune function) and mitosis (i.e. cell division).

Sugars

Several lines of evidence indicate lifestyle-induced hyperinsulinemia and reduced insulin function (i.e. insulin resistance) as a decisive factor in many disease states. For example, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance are strongly linked to chronic inflammation, which in turn is strongly linked to a variety of adverse developments such as arterial microinjuries and clot formation (i.e. heart disease) and exaggerated cell division (i.e. cancer). Hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance (the so-called metabolic syndrome) are characterized by a combination of abdominal obesity, elevated blood sugar, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood triglycerides, and reduced HDL cholesterol. The negative impact of hyperinsulinemia on prostaglandin PGE1/PGE2 balance may be significant.

The state of obesity clearly contributes to insulin resistance, which in turn can cause type 2 diabetes. Virtually all obese and most type 2 diabetic individuals have marked insulin resistance. Although the association between overfatness and insulin resistance is clear, the exact (likely multifarious) causes of insulin resistance remain less clear. Importantly, it has been demonstrated that appropriate exercise, more regular food intake and reducing glycemic load (see below) all can reverse insulin resistance in overweight individuals (and thereby lower blood sugar levels in those who have type 2 diabetes).

Obesity can unfavourably alter hormonal and metabolic status via resistance to the hormone leptin, and a vicious cycle may occur in which insulin/leptin resistance and obesity aggravate one another. The vicious cycle is putatively fuelled by continuously high insulin/leptin stimulation and fat storage, as a result of high intake of strongly insulin/leptin stimulating foods and energy. Both insulin and leptin normally function as satiety signals to the hypothalamus in the brain; however, insulin/leptin resistance may reduce this signal and therefore allow continued overfeeding despite large body fat stores. In addition, reduced leptin signalling to the brain may reduce leptin’s normal effect to maintain an appropriately high metabolic rate.

There is debate about how and to what extent different dietary factors — e.g. intake of processed carbohydrates, total protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake, intake of saturated and trans fatty acids, and low intake of vitamins/minerals — contribute to the development of insulin- and leptin resistance. In any case, analogous to the way modern man-made pollution may potentially overwhelm the environment’s ability to maintain ‘homeostasis’, the recent explosive introduction of high Glycemic Index- and processed foods into the human diet may potentially overwhelm the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis and health (as evidenced by the metabolic syndrome epidemic).

Antioxidants are another recent discovery. As cellular metabolism/energy production requires oxygen, potentially damaging (e.g. mutation causing) compounds known as radical oxygen species or free radicals form as a result. For normal cellular maintenance, growth, and division, these free radicals must be sufficiently neutralized by antioxidant compounds, some produced by the body with adequate precursors (glutathione, Vitamin C in most animals) and those that the body cannot produce may only be obtained through the diet through direct sources (Vitamin C in humans, Vitamin A, Vitamin K) or produced by the body from other compounds (Beta-carotene converted to Vitamin A by the body, Vitamin D synthesized from cholesterol by sunlight). Different antioxidants are now known to function in a cooperative network, e.g. vitamin C can reactivate free radical-containing glutathione or vitamin E by accepting the free radical itself, and so on. Some antioxidants are more effective than others at neutralizing different free radicals. Some cannot neutralize certain free radicals. Some cannot be present in certain areas of free radical development (Vitamin A is fat-soluble and protects fat areas, Vitamin C is water soluble and protects those areas). When interacting with a free radical, some antioxidants produce a different free radical compound that is less dangerous or more dangerous than the previous compound. Having a variety of antioxidants allows any byproducts to be safely dealt with by more efficient antioxidants in neutralizing a free radical’s butterfly effect.

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Copyright (c) 2007 Mike Cherng. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
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