Texas is one of the most popular and most exciting states in the nation. This place just so happens to be America’s second most populous state, and it hosts many of the nation’s most affluent cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth. The Lone Star State consists of more than 260,000 square-miles, and it has some of the very best historical sites, national parks, amusement parks, train rides and science museums. Another great reason for coming to this destination is that there are a number of family-related activities that people can enjoy as a group. It’s time to pack your bags and take a trip to America’s last frontier.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
One of the absolute best things to see up close and personal is the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This extraordinary museum has been around since 1909 and over 2 million people visit this place every year. Science and education meets at this intersection as visitors will get a chance to view dinosaur exhibits, get a chance to see some of the rarest gemstones as well as see some of the best taxidermied animals. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
San Antonio Riverwalk
The San Antonio Riverwalk is by far one of the most interesting and relaxing destinations on the planet. Located in Texas’ second most populous city, this destination provides up to 2.5 miles of walkway along the San Antonio River. Did you know that the Riverwalk is the most visited attraction in the state of Texas? Yes, this is 100 percent true as this place offers artisan shows, festivals and parades. This long channel of water was first designed to provide flood control for the city, but as of today, it is lined with affluent restaurants, lodging facilities, museums and shopping outlets. TripAdvisor.com states that over 76 percent of people who visited this area gave it an excellent rating of 4.5.
The Fort Worth Zoo
Who aren’t amazed at wild animals? The next great attraction is basically the Forth Worth Zoo. There are over 542 species of birds, reptiles and animals here. Kids will get a thrill while viewing silverback gorillas, lions, tigers and other majestic animals. The prestigious USA Travel Guide ranks Forth Worth Zoo as the 5th best zoo in the US. This huge wildlife refuge hosts a splash park, a carousel, a train ride and a theater.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort
This particular waterpark is a fan-favorite as it allows you to beat the heat with downhill racing slides, a water coaster, a lazy river ride and pools. SW&R is located in New Braunfels, and it has a variety of attractions for kids and adults. Swim-up pools and cabanas roundoff some of the more popular venues here.
There you have it! The great state of Texas has many activities to participate in, and it has much to see. All in all, visiting Texas should definitely be on your bucket list.
It’s Out!! Kinda like me!
And Here It is!
So Why Did I Do It?
But I Need Your Help
I am proud to have been able to address body shaming, invisibility and love beyond limits as part of the TEDxProvincetown program to audiences that extended beyond just gay men, including people of all types, ages, genders and orientations.
I want to spread the word spread. I am asking for your help in getting this talk out. Helping me share the message to all audiences. This talk is one of the first licensed TEDx talks that actually addresses body shaming, sex, inclusion, and visibility from a bigger-bodied gay man’s experience. Because of this, it has the potential opportunity to reinforce that desire and love can blossom no matter the body type. The more views the talk gets, the higher it ranks and the better the chances that it gets picked up for wider distribution. I’m asking that you include the link below in any announcement lists, email, newsletters or websites in an attempt to get the widest scope.
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Today, healthy eating habits are more than just good for individual well being; it’s also contributing to the community at large. If you are looking to eat a more sustainable diet, here are five tips to steer you in the right direction.
Start looking to buy locally grown foods. Farmer’s markets are usually great to find sustainable groceries. If you live in an area that does not have a close enough farmer’s market kiosk or location, find a grocery store near you who imports produce from nearby farms in your city. Some markets collaborate with grocery stores to sell their produce for easy access to fresh local goods.
Vegan is now a rapidly growing diet of choice for people choosing to eat clean. But if you are not ready to make this transition entirely, no worries. Just start adding more fruits and vegetable to your meals. Eatingbetter.org suggests eating more fresh produce and decreasing your animal consumption. This will contribute to fewer health risks and reduce greenhouse gases pollution. Rather than making meat the main course, for example, perhaps serve it as a side dish occasionally.
Recognizing Sustainable Groceries
In addition to farmer’s markets, as stated above, there are other ways to locate sustainable groceries. Most notably, food co-ops are where a group of people in a community or organization come together as owners of a store, for the benefit of all members involved. They make a more conscious effort to favor sustainable, local and organic products. Sustainabletable.org reports that if you shop at larger chain markets, you can still find sustainable or organic products, but you still might have to ask.
Grow Your Own
You don’t necessarily need to have a large backyard designated for gardening. There are select herbs, fruits and vegetables you can begin seeding inside your home and grow outside on a small patch of earth, or on your balcony, come the right season. Growing your own produce is a gratifying and sustainable, cost-effective way to eat. If you really don’t have outdoor space, join a community garden.
Check the Label
Look for products carrying the Fair-Trade Certified label. This allows producers from poorer countries to get fair deals for their products. Fairtradecertified.org provides an excellent resource for contributing companies who support this global movement.
These are all easy ways to practice a more sustainable lifestyle. Clean eating and living will give you good health while making your planet better. Cheers!
You have worked so hard on sticking to a strict eating plan such as the paleo diet. However, it can prove challenging when you need to leave your house, especially when it is time to go to work. At the office, it can be even more tempting when your co-workers bring in special food to share that may not be on your meal plan. Here are some helpful tips for managing these temptations while staying on track with your progress.
Pack Your Meals The Night Before
It is more than likely that you will not have enough time to pack your approved meal when getting ready for work. Therefore, make sure you have all of your meals, snacks, and drinks packed the night before so that you can grab it as you run out the door. You are more likely to stick with your eating plan if you have your food on hand to eat at lunchtime.
Have The Right Essentials
Back in April, we posted about some ways to eat better specifically when on the road and I mentioned that the right food containers make all the difference. My love of the Lock and Lock line always makes for some great handy food options. But other essentials make sense. A new favorite is the Yeti brand Rambler. This 18-ounce container is a perfect fit for most briefcases and bags, keep temperatures perfect and with the extra accessories, like the Rambler Chug Cap you can both the option of an open mouth container and the removable smaller cover. Great for beverages, soups, stews etc.
If someone passes you a slice of cake at an office birthday celebration, you can help pass it along onto another willing candidate. Make sure to practice an answer such as, “Thank you, but I’m all set,” ahead of time so that you are not caught off guard. There is no need to mention your eating plan at this time. You can also give an extra congratulations to the special person that is being celebrated. Sometimes it also means the “fake out”, grab a small plate fork, a napkin and put some food on it.. then as you work your way around the party, you can dispose of it. But in peoples eyes, you will have “had something” and allows you to maneuver out of those more pushy folks.
Stack Emergency Snacks
Portion out some small amounts of your favorite meal plan food that are shelf stable that you can keep at your desk or car. These can be eaten when you are stuck late at the office and get hungry. The last thing that you do not want to do is raid the vending machine out of convenience. Wherever you store these treats, whether in a drawer or in your car, make sure that they are in a sealed container. The last thing that you want to do is to attract ants, bugs, or mice to your workspace. I do this a lot, it may mean spending a few dollars more on some prepackaged snacks – but they keep longer that way.
Keep Motivating Pictures At Your Workspace
Have a tangible reward in mind when you reach your goal weight. If you plan on going somewhere special, you can print out a picture and stick it in a spot on your desk where you can see it frequently. You have worked this hard to stay committed, and this is one assignment that you can see through to the end.
Office Picnic Challange – because I love coming home to an “oh by the way”
Picnic panic defense! With us, both being on vacation for two weeks and then Paul had to work in Baltimore right after it’s been a busy catch up with on my end. Paul then reminded me that it as his annual office picnic on Saturday too. So I managed to get into the kitchen and make some of my favorites to being with. Of course, Dino was hoping I would spend more time with him after his two weeks at Hightail Hotel, than my being in the kitchen while Paul was away – but he got plenty of snuggle time later.
First – the cookie!
Perfect for a picnic as it is for dinner is one of the favorites of his office is the variation to the Black Pepper Biscotti Ifrom Valerie Bertinelli. I have made this a bunch of times and its become a perfect goto not to mention is a great based to change it up from. In today’s version, I made one with chopped walnuts and almonds (because that’s what I have handy). I also used a bit of lemon extract in place of the peel that is mentioned in the previous post since I didn’t have any handy. But go easy on lemon extract, a little goes a long way. The second version is essentially the same but without nuts or almond extract. For this one, I amped up the vanilla, added some powdered ginger and a bit of homemade ginger syrup (see the recipe below). The third version was a Spicey Chocolate Biscotti with dried cherries. This was a made up recipe, so is in draft form but I liked the version enough to bring. I think next time it needs more cayenne (most likely 3/4 tablespoon in total). Once it gets done I will repost the final version recipe.
Second – the fruit salad
This was an easy one Summer + Picnic+ Fruit Salad. I have been making this cool watermelon chili, but on a recent episode of Sara Moulton I saw this new version that uses Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Feta Cheese, and Procuitto. I have made it now for several potlucks and news this one would be perfect. She adds paprika which gives it this sweet smokey flavor for a different twist. Sara’s version of Two-Melon, Proscuitto and Feta Salad is really good as is. Try it first then change it up for your needs. At times I have swapped in smoked ham slices and or pepperoni in place of the prosciutto. I change up the nuts from time to time.
For this weekend version, I kept it pretty much the same but swapped out 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of a local Habanero infused olive oil. You will notice that this shot has a lot of extra marinades. That is on purpose. I like to much that I save it and use it as a salad dressing base or as we did on vacation when I made it. Just add more melons.
As an extra – cold marinated cucumbers and carrots
This is one from my childhood I revamped. its quick and easy to make – tastes better the longer you let it chill. But equally as good with a 30-minute marinade. Unlike the Pickled Carrots and Jalapeños I did before, these require no heating. Just chop, pour, season and chill. This one I eyeball for measurements – eventually, I will try to measure it out. Slice up some 2-3 English cucumbers on an angle, toss in come carrot slices (or buy them already fancy sliced), add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, add chopped parsley or cilantro, 1/2 cup of sugar and 7 or 8 ice cubes (1/2 of chilled iced water works too if you are short on time). Mix well and leave in the refrigerator 30 min to overnight. Taste to flavors. You want a tart, sweet, herbed crunch. Most fresh herbs work. As does add sliced raw peppers (hot or sweet), radishes, even celery.
- Several large pieces of ginger, peeled and rinsed and sliced, approximately 4-6 inched or about a cup sliced.
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
In a saucepan – cook the ginger, water, and sugar first to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool 5-10 min. Once cool, strain out the cooked ginger into a clear glass jar. add a few uncooked peeled pieces of ginger and refrigerate.
Note: If you want some extra zing, add cinnamon sticks or rosemary to the simmer and strain out.
Supplement all that good food and excercise
As many fitness enthusiasts know, you can work out incredibly hard, eat healthily, and do everything right, but still see room for improvement. This is where supplements come in. Supplements are a way to overcome a body’s natural deficiencies in areas such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, or some other vital nutrient. For those of us who like to work out and stay in shape, supplements are a way to help us attain our performance goals and to achieve the look we want.
The problem, though, is there are so many supplements on the market, how does one go about finding the right supplement? The following is a short list of tips to help you navigate the complex world of supplements and help you find the right supplement for you.
Check Out The Company
It only seems natural to check out the company who is trying to sell you the supplements before you do anything else. Do they have a website? See if they share results of their research. There’s something a bit suspicious about a company asking you to put something in your body that isn’t willing to show you the research they’ve done to prove it is both safe and effective. Check out their reviews on third-party sites. Also, make sure if you are purchasing them from an online reseller that they are authentic.
Look For Certification
Check on the bottle to ensure that the product has been certified by a third party organization such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). Certification will assure potency, purity, strength, and how well the product will dissolve in your body.
Check The Price
Sometimes the cheapest product isn’t always the best. Quality products, not to mention certification from one of the above organizations, costs money. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many manufacturers sometimes opt for lower quality ingredients, or even skip certification, in their attempt to save money.
Check Out the Ingredients
By reading the label, you can see exactly what ingredients are included in the product. The quality of raw materials is essential to the ability of the body to absorb and process them. If your body can’t absorb the supplement, then the supplement is doing you no good.
Check The Daily Values
First of all, it is essential to know that Daily Values are not the same as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a nutrient. The RDA is based upon your individual factors such as age or gender. The Daily Value will be listed as a percentage. You want to get a supplement that contains about 100% of the Daily Value, not a very large amount like 4000%. In some cases, a nutrient can actually be toxic at this dose and should be avoided. In this case, more of a good thing is, in fact, a bad thing.
Review the Other Ingredients
There shouldn’t be more than five ingredients in any given supplement. This is unnecessary and can hinder the absorption and processing of the supplement in your body. This is especially true of things like added sugars or artificial flavors and colors. Dyes should also be avoided. Likewise, look on the label to see if there are any allergens in the supplement. Many people are allergic to peanuts, wheat, or seafood. A supplement should mention what allergens it does not contain on the label.
Supplements are not prescription medications. There is no such thing as a “pharmacy strength” supplement. Supplements that contain such claims on the label might actually be perfectly good supplements. They also might be charging a premium for a claim that, quite frankly, is not true.
Look At the Expiration Date
Vitamin and minerals lose potency over time. Taking expired supplements can often be completely ineffective and expensive. You should also store your supplements in a cool, dry place. The medicine cabinet and refrigerator are bad places to store supplements as they can develop moisture which will, in turn, decrease the effectiveness of the supplement.
Check With Your Doctor
Finally, always check with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or planning to take. We all have our own specific medical histories, and not all supplements are right for everyone. In addition, supplements which may be perfectly harmless on their own can sometimes interact with a medication to produce unpleasant, even dangerous, side effects.
If you are already a fitness buff, you are probably already in the habit of reading the labels on your food. If you are planning to start – or if you already take – a supplement, it is essential to apply the same principals. Read your labels. Know who is making the supplement, know that a third party is overseeing its production, and make sure the quality of raw materials is up to the standard you apply to the food you eat.
5 Things to Look for in Buying Supplements | University Hospitals
The Top 4 Things to Look for When Buying Nutritional Supplements | Sanesco
8 Questions To Ask When Finding The Best Supplement Manufacturer | Biovation Labs
Vitamins and Supplements: What to Look For, What to Run From | Everyday Health
Image courtesy of SellingYouParadise.com
With the United State’s long coastlines on the east, south and west borders and the coasts on the island of Hawaii, there is no shortage of varied and distinct beaches for all tastes. However, there are some beaches that stand out from the crowd and deserve a visit at least once if possible. No matter which coast, everyone will love soaking up the sun at these beaches. While many of you know that the beaches of Cape Cod always are some of Frank’s favorite, including the tip of the Cape, Provincetown. Since he will be posting more of Provincetown later this month, I will share some other beaches of note that are worthy of a mention. (Reader’s note – neither Frank or I am not affiliated with any of the links below listed below, nor do I get funds of any kind for the mention)
As a teaser, remember when Frank helped with this video back a few years ago?
You can read the full post here or search “Provincetown” in the BiteTheRoasearchch box above.
Myrtle Beach is the quintessential beach resort of the south Atlantic coast. Its boardwalks are replete with arcades, restaurants, and shops, and the Family Kingdom amusement park and the SkyWheel Ferris Wheel are top attractions. The beaches offer some of the whitest sand on the Atlantic coast, and the golf courses are the best around.
The coasts of Nantucket Island are varied as to the types of beaches. The north shore is calmer and is popular with families. Jetties Beach offers lots of rentals and other amenities, and Children’s Beach features harborside waters and a playground. The south shore is windier, and the beaches have more surf. Those who want more secluded beaches or enjoy surfing will appreciate beaches such as Suftside and Cisco.
Kauna’oa Bay is the essence of Hawaii. Beautiful white sand, calm blue water and lots of palm trees are what draws visitors to this crescent-shaped island. Visitors who stay at either the Westin Mauna Kea Beach Hotel or the Westin Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel have complete access to the beaches, and other beachgoers have more limited beach access.
Most people think of shelling when they think of Sanibel Island, but there is much more to this beautiful island. Visitors can enjoy miles of walking and kayak trails through the J.N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The kayak trails are lined with mangroves for a peaceful paddle, and there are also miles of biking, walking, and driving routes throughout. Visitors can stay at various resorts and other rentals or come for a day trip.
This beach is situated across the bay from San Diego, California. The surf is gentle, the beaches are wide and the quaint streets and fine hotels offer both families and couples a fun respite from their busy lives. Visitors will enjoy visiting the many shops, gardens and mansions and partaking in activities like kayaking, sailing, and gondola rides. Make a point of visiting the iconic Hotel del Coronado that was built in 1888.
Bone Broth – yeah you have seen it in the stores recently.
But did you know that for thousands of years, humans have relied on bone broth for its nutritive and restorative properties. When our lifestyles moved us away from utilizing the bones and connective tissue of animals to make soups and fulfill other aspects of our diet, we also lost vital nutrients that can be difficult to get in other foods. Read about the “4 Broth Gains” available from adding bone broth into your diet.
Broth Gain 1: Collagen
Did you know that bone broth contains collagen? You might be familiar with the term by now — collagen supplements are all the rage these days for its beautifying properties.
It also offers up hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, and more than a few minerals. These are the building blocks of healthy hair, skin, nails, and joints. Collagen consumption is also said to provide protection against Alzheimer’s disease, help treat heart disease, heal leaky gut syndrome, and ease joint and back pain.
Image credit: Genesis Dermatology
Broth Gain 2: Dental Health
Although there has been a recent revival of this health elixir, few people are aware of the broth’s ability to strengthen teeth and gums. The stellar helpers here are the glycosaminoglycans that the body uses to make collagen.
Since gum tissue and teeth contain collagen, broths provide the building blocks for their repair and maintenance. And the calcium, magnesium, and trace minerals aid in remineralization of the teeth. This is great for prevention and perhaps even resolution of dental caries.
Also, collagen in the bone and connective tissue helps keep teeth set in the jaw. Here, bone broth assists in improving bone density and arresting gum tissue atrophy too.
Image credit: Howard Family Dental
Broth Gain 3: Gut-Brain Connection
Further down our digestive tract, this simmered broth can help repair the endothelial lining of your gut to calm inflammation and aid in the restoration of a healthy balance of bacteria in your GI tract. Amazingly, this rebalancing can calm anxiety, improve thinking and alleviate depression because there really is truth to the idea that the gut is a second brain.
When your GI tract is healthy, it communicates more effectively with the brain, and changes in mental clarity, moods and stress levels are not unusual. Of course, your digestion and bowel function do benefit, but your immune system is also strengthened.
Image Credit: The Indian Superstore
Broth Gain 4: Auto-Immune Conditions
Furthermore, auto-immune diseases link to a damaged gut lining, so anything that helps to restore its integrity again can ease symptoms and even reverse conditions. Challenging ailments like asthma and arthritis can subside with regular consumption of bone broth.
Making soup with the bones and connective tissue of animals releases a store of nutrients and minerals in a form so easy to absorb that it really is a superfood. Choose bones from grass-fed animals, and you’ll get even more hard to get nutrients and minerals.
Image Credit: Chiropractic Beacon
Lots of online recipes exist for ways to make your own bone broth. Here are a few I liked:
Read, read, read. Seems like I always have something to read or listen to with me.
From the classic paper-based books I still buy, collect and read, to the digital versions on various e-readers that travel so well.
But even with an Amazon Amazon Unlimited (What is Kindle Unlimited? Kindle Unlimited is a service that allows you to read up to 10 books at once for one low fee of $9.99 a month and you can cancel anytime. They offer a “Try it free for 30 days.”) and an account with Scribd which offers a similar plan (but with an $8.99 per month for unlimited reads of from what they have in inventory), and has a great blog at https://literally.scribd.com/ buying books add up.
So I started to give a few of the newsletter membership based book lists a try. The two that I seem to find the most offered from; one is BookBub. with a simple sign up, you get emails every day with reduced and free reads for most of the available e-readers. Members also have access to the BookBub blog which I check out on a regular basis.
The other list I get daily is from The Fussy Librarian which is also based on interest, and provides me with several suggestions that link right into the e-reader of my choice. You can also find out more details on its website thefussylibrarian.com .
Prepping for my vacation read
As I get ready for the annual vacation I always go back and review lasts years post to make sure I am packing the right tools for the trip and multiple e-readers make sense. When out on the bike, I tend to want my smaller Kindle Oasis with its small format and expanded battery. Poolside or on the bear I tend to use it as well. The rest of the time, I use my trusty Ipad Pro 9.7″ which does the job perfectly. Truth be told I also keep an older Ipad mini at my bedside too!
My 2018 Delemia; Read or listen
I have never been a big fan of audiobooks. I find that they end up putting me to sleep (even when driving – so not a good combination for me) but earlier this year I fell back into podcasts with a few new genres that really caught my fancy. Since I tend to be Apple product based. I use its native app for podcast listening but also recently downloaded Stitcher as an app alternative.
Note: Make sure you check your device features and settings – and know when you are streaming and downloading versus already have downloaded it via wifi or you will hit some pretty big data jumps as you get engrossed.
Prepping for vacation meant a search for more creative, provocative, compelling and thought-provoking listens. My tastes range widely which is definitely is reflected in my playlist and why am always on the listen for new ones.