Archive for November, 2017

Adventures in Iceland: Glaciers, Fermented Sharks, and Silica Mud Masks3 min read

Ice cave Iceland healthy travel

It’s likely you’ve heard about Iceland as a travel destination more and more in recent years. If you’re like me and on social media, you’ve probably seen breathtaking photos or many a drone video panning over its hot springs more times than you can count.

For those reasons, or if you’re looking for your next international adventure, Iceland can be the trip of a lifetime. The island offers many healthy amenities for the health-focused travelers. Getting to experience Iceland could be your chance to see why the country has been ranked one of the happiest in the world.

Here are some tips for healthy travel on the happy little island:

Get Active

One problem you won’t have while visiting Iceland is finding ways to get active. We rented a car for our visit, and still found plenty of paths, mountains and even glaciers to hike on. Iceland is a great destination for adventure travelers of any level.

Whether you’re just interested in seeing Iceland at a casual pace or a more active one, the island offers many ways to get moving while seeing the sights. There are different programs you can sign up for led by experienced guides. Some of these programs can let you let you walk on a glacier, through ice caves and tunnels, go deep sea fishing, see the Icelandic wildlife or go kayaking! There is no shortage of active adventures you can go on to see the island.

While there are guided programs you can go on, it’s also possible to do something safe exploring on your own too. My friend and I chose to rent a car and travel the Golden Circle, a major roadway on the island that takes you to many of the popular stops on the island. Most of the major tourist spots from waterfalls to glacier parks have marked paths that we followed to explore—and certainly got our heart rates up!

Soak in the Geothermal Pools

After a long day of sightseeing, you might crave a good bath or spa experience. Luckily, it’s easy to find a number of hot pools and springs to kick back in. Some of these pools are still heated by volcanic energy as they have been since Viking times. Others have been installed with geothermal pools and hot tubs.

One of my favorites and also among the most popular destinations is the Blue Lagoon. Surrounded by lava rubble, the light blue water is sourced from a geothermal power station nearby. The facility includes different grottoes, steam rooms, a sauna and a restaurant. The restaurant (LAVA) has a delicious dinner menu that can be satisfying after a day of swimming around the lagoon—be sure to check out their local fish of the day and the grilled beef tenderloin!

Once you’re swimming in the lagoon, you can float over to the silica station. The water is packed with the natural minerals made from dissolved rock from the Earth’s mantle. The white mud is good for renewing and cleansing the skin. Putting some silica on your face or body can add to your spa experience while floating around the Blue Lagoon.

Other popular hot pools and springs you can visit on the island include Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths, Mývatn Nature Baths, Reykjadalur hot springs, and the Seljavallalaug hot pools, among others.

Lavish in Local Flavors

Along with the incredible views in Iceland, you have the chance to round out your visit with interesting local dishes. We took the chance to step outside of our diet comfort zone, and weren’t disappointed. You’re likely to encounter fresh fish on local menus as well as fermented shark, whale, and puffin!

Dining out in Iceland can get pricey so if you’re on a budget it might be helpful to eat in for some meals. You can still find plenty of healthy and unique options in local grocery stores. A good go-to for me were Skyr yogurts—a popular item in Iceland that has a unique flavor and is low-fat. They’re perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!

image courtesy of Pandotrip.com

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 27, 2017 at 21:25

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Learning London: Exploring the City in Between Classes While Studying Abroad3 min read

When it’s time to choose a city or country to study abroad in, there are a number of factors to take into account—your field of study, maybe your ancestry … and an important factor is what you’ll be doing outside the classroom. Being a global center for fashion, finance, art and culture, London offers a lot for someone passing through, or especially for a student studying abroad.

If you have the incredible chance to study abroad in London while in college or another academic program, you’ll find your classes can teach you a lot. Seeing the city in between classes or on your days off can show you even more.

Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your education (while having fun) in the U.K. capital:

Visit museums

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when you first arrive in a major city like London. It can be stressful to figure out what you should see first. Visiting one of the many museums London has to offer is a great way to get situated and find your way around the city.

Many of London’s museums are located in and around the city center and are either free or have student rates. Visiting museums can help you get a better feel for the layout of the city while learning more about the cultural hub you’ll be living in.

Some popular spots include:

  • British Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • Natural History Museum
  • V&A
  • Natural Gallery
  • Imperial War Museum

Hang out in local parks

Similar to New York City, London is packed with parks all throughout the city. Whether you have a break from classes, want to hang out with friends or even just get some fresh air, London has miles of green to wander around.

Hyde Park houses Kensington Palace (where part of the royal family lives), a lake, meadow and thousands of trees. Here you can find countless spots to lay out to read a book or have a picnic with friends. On a nice day, Hyde Park can also be ideal for taking a stroll or riding a bike.

If you’re looking to get some exercise during your free time, Regent’s Park is the place for you. You can wander around its many acres of park and gardens or play a game with friends at the largest outdoor sports arena in London—complete with facilities for football, softball and rugby.

Some good spots to people watch can be found in St. James’ Park. With many green acres that also house the Mall near Buckingham Palace, tourists and locals are constantly moving through the park. Plenty of animals such as water birds, pelicans, and woodpeckers can also be seen around the park too.

Visit local markets or restaurants 

If you have a lunch break or are looking for a snack between classes, London offers an array of new culinary experiences unique to Europe and the city itself. From local markets to restaurants, you have the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of London you might not realize it has.

Some of the most popular markets include Camden Lock, Borough Market and Brick Lane to name a few. Each is packed with creative bites for snacks or meals. Many also feature clothes and gifts made by local artists. Exploring the markets of London can help clear your mind between classes or be a new adventure for the weekend.

Explore new neighborhoods

Getting around London is easy. If you’re looking to stretch your legs and have some time to kill after a class, exploring London’s different neighborhoods can help you get comfortable in your new home. Grab a friend and hop on the next tube or bus to where you want to go. Neighborhoods like Kensington, Notting Hill, Greenwich, and Primrose Hill among others each have their own personalities and hidden gems.

Studying abroad is about your academics but it’s also a chance to learn about a new culture first hand. Even if your days are packed with school work, find time for exploring! If your study experience is like mine, it’ll fly by in the blink of an eye!

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 21, 2017 at 21:21

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Slight Turbulence6 sec read

Museum, A Cartoon by Terry LaBan

Museum, A Cartoon by Terry LaBan

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 20, 2017 at 23:17

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The 10 best blogs for ADHD

ADHD blogs offer educational information, tips, and support for those with ADHD and their friends and families. We have selected the best ADHD blogs.
ADHD / ADD News From Medical News Today

Posted by Lustige Bilder -  at 18:17

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Seoul by Subway: A Safe and Convenient Way to See South Korea3 min read

Namdaemun Market Seoul

A few years ago, my wife and I visited Seoul, South Korea on a trip that was very important to us. We were there to finalize the adoption of our son, who at the time had just turned a year old. Amid the hustle and bustle of those sometimes hectic and emotional days, we had some time to explore the city of his birth—and we did it all on Seoul’s top-notch mass transit system.

Whether you’re visiting Seoul on a special journey like we were or simply exploring a new culture, I highly recommend that you take the subway around town. It’s safe and healthy, since it gets you out and about instead of stuck in a cab. You’ll also get to mingle with locals and get a better feel for what Seoul is all about.

It’s a Simple and Easy, Even If You Don’t Speak Korean

The best part about Seoul’s subway system is that it’s completely accessible to English speakers. I had just a smattering of Korean—pretty much enough to say hello, thank you, and ask for the restroom—but that didn’t matter at all. All of the machines and signage in the subway system are both in Korean and English, so you should have any problems.

The Details:

  • Like most mass transit systems, you’ll purchase your fare first at a kiosk, which is in English and Korean.
  • You can by a single trip ticket or a reusable card for multiple trips.
  • Fares are cheap, ranging from 450 won for kids (less than $ 0.50) to 1350 won for adults (a little over a dollar).
  • All of the subway lines are color-coded with numbered stops, so it’s virtually impossible to get lost. And if you miss your stop, simply get off at the next one, cross the street, and go down to the other side to catch the train in the opposite direction.

And if you really do get lost, you’ll find that most residents of South Korea speak English very well. Of course, your politeness goes a long way, so the best tactic is to say hello first in Korean (Annyeong haseyo) and then ask if they speak English after they respond.

Expert Tip:

If all else fails, make sure you have a business card from your hotel with you. The concierge can provide one. Hand it to any cab driver and they’ll whisk you back to the hotel. It’s your get-out-of-jail-free card.

So, What Can You See by Subway?

Historical sites, art exhibits, delicious food, markets where you haggle for trinkets (and sometimes treasures) … they’re all accessible on the subway. Here are three of my favorites, but don’t be afraid the branch out:

Namdaeun Market: This market is one of the oldest continuously running markets in Seoul. It can be overwhelming, but definitely worth a visit. A lot of it is outdoors, with shops and stalls lining the streets. Duck into one and find aisles and aisles of different products. There’s lots of good food here, so plan your trip so that you’re there during lunch time. Try the galchi jorim (braised hairtail fish) at one of the vendors in Galchi Alley. Yes, I know it sounds adventurous, but it’s delicious and you won’t be disappointed. Station stop: Hoehyeon Station, Line 4 

Changdeok Palace: The Changdeok Palace, also known as Changdeokgung, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the five grand palaces in Seoul. The architecture of the palace will be interesting to any Western visitor, but my favorite part of the visit was the gardens behind the palace. There are lily ponds and hundreds of different types of plants and trees that I’ve never seen before, some of them more than 300 years old.  Station stop: Anguk Station, Line 3

Jamsil Baseball Stadium: Yes, we even caught a baseball game. Go Doosan Bears! Baseball is a big deal in South Korea, both for the game itself and the crowd atmosphere at the stadium. Korean fans from opposing teams will have cheer battles led by cheerleaders, and every team has their own cheer culture. Seoul’s Doosan Bears’ cheers involve waving white flags emblazed with the team logo and pounding together noise-making balloons. The sound is deafening – a can’t-miss! Station stop: Sports Complex Station, Line 2

Grab your South Korean guidebook and mark off a few of your own favorites. Many of the current guides will have all of the cultural sites you want to see listed and coded by their stop on the subway line. Happy exploring!

 

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 16, 2017 at 18:18

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Recipe: Creamed Greens with Farro2 min read

Creamed_Greens_with_Faro

Creamed_Greens_with_Faro
Creamed Greens with Farro

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be all heavy starches and fatty dishes. This recipe is packed with good for you greens and fiber rich farro, tied together with just enough dairy to make it feel like a celebration. Greens like kale, chard, and spinach are rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants that lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even help to slow your absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals, preventing that energy crash and burn, or “food coma” feeling. They also boost your immune system and help fight off those pesky colds. Make this dish as a vegetarian side for your Thanksgiving feast, and as cozy hearty recipe all winter long.

Serves 6-8

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for topping
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (more or less to your preference)
  • 1 large bunch rainbow chard, stalks and greens roughly chopped
  • 1 large bunch lacinato or dinosaur kale, stalks and greens roughly chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked farro
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  1. Preheat your broiler to medium, or about 400 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet or pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until starting to soften and turn golden, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the chard and kale, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté until mostly wilted, about 6 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the broth and cream cheese, and stir well to combine. Allow this mixture to cook for another 6-8 minutes, until the stalks of the greens have softened.
  5. Turn off the heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, mozzarella, lemon juice, farro, and fresh spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt from the residual heat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Spread the mix in an oven safe baking dish.
  7. To make the topping, mix the panko with roughly 1-2 teaspoons olive oil, until you have a sandy texture. Mix in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Spread the topping evenly over the greens, and broil in the oven for 1-3 minutes, until just golden brown. Watch it carefully- it burns easily!
  9. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 15, 2017 at 23:21

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The Caribbean is Open for Business: Tourism Helps Recovery and Survival4 min read

Caribbean is Open for Business

While Hurricanes Irma and Maria have taken a huge toll on parts of the Caribbean, there are still many resorts and islands that are open and ready for business.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30th, and the fall weather throughout many of the islands is back to normal. Now is as great a time as any to pay a visit to any of these islands, especially since the tourism industry throughout the islands is playing a huge role in the hurricane relief efforts. The Caribbean Tourism Organization is one group supplying relief funds to the more seriously affected islands. Booking a trip to the Caribbean this fall or winter is a great way to send the signal that you believe in the islands and their people, and that through your vacation you are supporting the recovery of your favorite tropical paradise.

3 Pre-Travel Tips to Keep in Mind

Before you head out the door for your trip to the Caribbean, keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Call the Hotel First: The front desk at the hotel can give you an honest assessment of the hotel, the surrounding property, and nearby attractions. They’ll tell you if there has been any damage that will impact your stay or your ability to travel around the island. 
  1. Ask What to Bring: On some islands, certain products may be in short supply. These supplies can range from the things you’ll need for your personal comfort, as well as supplies the staff may need in the kitchen or around the hotel. If you bring an extra suitcase, they may be willing to reimburse you for what you bring. 
  1. Keep Your Travel Insurance Current: Many islands are in good shape and have made, or soon will make, a full recovery. However, it’s always smart to have travel insurance for your trip, which can help in the case of a medical emergency or a natural disaster (like a hurricane).

Island Damage Varies by Location

While many islands emerged from the hurricanes with minimal damage, others were devastated. The islands that suffered the most severe damage include Puerto Rico, St. Martin, Barbuda, St. John and St. Thomas, and Cuba. If you have a trip to one of these islands scheduled in the near future, check with your hotel or travel agent about your next steps.

Much of the problem for the Caribbean now is public perception of the reality on the ground. Keep in mind that the Caribbean is a huge area, so some islands were not affected at all by the hurricanes. If you have a trip planned to any of the following islands, your travel plans should be unaffected. Still, it’s a good idea to keep the three tips above in mind before leaving.

Aruba

This Southern Caribbean island was essentially beyond the reach both hurricanes. You’ll still find world-class snorkeling, diving and other water activities along the white sand beaches. The Aruba Tourism Authority also boasts about the diversity of the island. With more than 90 different nationalities calling Aruba home, the reflection of this exceptional diversity is seen through the cuisine throughout the island.

Jamaica

Like Aruba, Jamaica was spared damage from the hurricanes and its resorts are open for business. When it comes to choosing a spot in the Caribbean, Jamaica has plenty to offer. Miles of untouched coastline, beautiful landscapes and a rich reggae music culture make Jamaica a standout location where you can find something for everyone.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia was another island not touched by the hurricanes. St. Lucia is surrounded by majestic mountains and beautiful beaches, allowing all who visit to indulge in the breathtaking views. Finding something to do in St. Lucia is not hard when there is so much to offer—the turquoise waters are great for fishing, kayaking and snorkeling, and the island terrain reaches up into the lush rainforests for those who seek more adventure.

Bahamas

The Bahamas, a nation of 700 different islands, was not entirely spared from the hurricane. Much of the damage the islands received, however, fell on islands that are not frequented by tourists, like Ragged Island. The best tourist spots in the Bahamas were left almost entirely untouched by the storms.

Grand Cayman Island

The Cayman Islands were spared during the hurricanes and have been welcoming tourists since late September. The Ministry of Tourism in the Cayman Islands is encouraging travelers to experience their world-class beaches, dining, accommodations and all the Cayman hospitality the islands have to offer in the coming months.

Grenada

Grenada is considered by many to be the newest Caribbean hotspot, so to hear that the island encountered no damage at all from the hurricanes is wonderful. This island is the perfect example of having something for everyone. Whether you are looking for adventures, beautiful beaches or the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, the petite and picturesque island of Grenada has got what you need for a perfect vacation.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 9, 2017 at 15:22

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International Fall Foliage Tour: 3 Places to Soak in Autumn’s Beauty2 min read

Neuschwanstein Castle In The Fall

Fall can be breathtakingly beautiful. Even if it’s not your favorite season there’s no denying the picturesque beauty of the changing colors and the satisfying sound of leaves crunching under your feet. Plus, on most days the sun is still shining and warm, allowing for outdoor activities with near-perfect weather. Can you tell Fall is my favorite? If you love fall foliage as much as I do, you’ll want to add these destinations to your list of places to go — just be sure to book your trip before the snow starts to fall.

The Highlands, Scotland

Scotland is known for its impressive landscapes, hills, and mountainside views. Picture the scenes you’ve seen in movies like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and imagine those expansive green fields and forestry set ablaze with autumnal colors and falling leaves.

About 20 percent of Scotland is covered in trees, so there are many trails to explore with beautiful scenic views of the countryside. In addition to the rustic views, apples and plums are in peak picking condition and game is easier to catch now that the wildlife is more active.

Now why the Highlands? The Highlands’ are filled with mountain ranges, including the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis. These rolling fields will give you a remote, off-the-grid feel without actually being in the middle of nowhere.

Bavaria, Germany

Germany’s landscape is dotted with charming villages surrounded by some of the prettiest foliage you will see in Europe. Like Scotland, forests make up a significant portion of the countryside in Germany, and if you travel south to Bavaria, the Fall scenery is a real showstopper. Known for Oktoberfest – the German holiday celebrating the 19th-century marriage of King Ludwig and Princess Therese –  it’s a destination on many a bucket list for people who love German beer, food, music, and tradition.

Even if you visit after Oktoberfest, the changing leaves and quaint cobblestone paths won’t disappoint.

One specific location to visit at this time of year in Bavaria is the Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle was the inspiration for the castle in the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty and is completely surrounded by mountains, where you’ll have a gorgeous view of autumn’s handiwork.

Lugano, Switzerland

This Swiss city borders Lake Lugano just south of the Alps. The residents here speak Italian, since Lugano is just a stone’s throw from the Italian border and about an hour’s drive from Milan.

When the heat of the summer is over and the temperature is the perfect amount of mild, it’s time to explore the outdoors and all this town has to offer, like the annual Autumn Festival in celebration of the beautiful foliage, ripened grapes that yield amazing wine, and traditional folk music. While boating season is coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to stroll around the lake and the surrounding promenade area.

Lugano is encompassed by multiple mountains, which means there are lots of trails to explore during peak fall foliage time.

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 3, 2017 at 21:44

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Acetaminophen during pregnancy is associated with ADHD

Acetaminophen use by pregnant women has previously been linked with ADHD in the offspring. A new study backs up these concerning findings.
ADHD / ADD News From Medical News Today

Posted by Lustige Bilder -  at 11:27

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Recipe: Japanese Salmon Sushi Rolls2 min read

Japanese_Spicy_Salmon_Sushi

Japanese_Spicy_Salmon_Sushi
Japanese Spicy Salmon Sushi

Packed with satiating protein and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, these salmon sushi rolls bring the restaurant to your home kitchen, faster than you could call in for takeout. These rolls also incorporate both fruits and vegetables into one recipe, so you get a broad spectrum of vitamins and antioxidants all in one meal. Mangos provide an excellent source of vitamin C, and help boost your immunity and alleviate indigestion. Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help your body utilize all the other vitamins provided in this meal. Be sure to seek out wild salmon when you’re cooking; farm raised salmon does not contain the same levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t let all the steps below dissuade you, once you get the hang of rolling your own sushi, you’ll want to make it for every meal!

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup diced mango
  • 2 tablespoons diced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon mirin, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 sheets soy or rice sushi wrappers
  • 6 oz. sushi grade salmon (preferably wild), sliced into very thin strips, against the grain
  • ½ cup cooked rice, cellophane, or vermicelli noodles
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrots
  • ½ avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • 2 large bib lettuce leaves, rib removed
  • Furikake, to serve (optional)

Directions:

  1. First, make the pickled mango. In a small bowl, mix together the mango, scallions, rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon mirin, and salt. Set aside to marinate while you continue with the recipe.
  2. Next, make the peanut dipping sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the nut butter, 1 tablespoon mirin, tamari, and lime juice. If it seems too thick, add a splash of water to thin it out. Set aside while you continue with the recipe.
  3. To assemble, the rolls, arrange one wrapper on a dry, clean surface. Lay down ½ the sliced salmon on the upper 1/3 of the wrapper. Next, layer the lettuce on top of the salmon, and the noodles, carrots, and avocado on top of the lettuce, keeping everything in the upper 1/3 of the wrapper.
  4. Dip your fingers in water, and just barely dampen the wrapper on the edge opposite from the fillings. Working quickly, tightly roll the wrapper over the filling, pressing everything as you go to keep all the components together. Seal the edge of the wrapper with a bit more water if needed, and set it seam side down to set while you complete the other roll.
  5. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice each roll into roughly 8 bite size pieces. Arrange them all on a platter, and top each roll with a spoonful of the pickled mango, and a sprinkling of furikake, if using. Serve with the peanut sauce on the side, and enjoy!

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Posted by Lustige Bilder - November 2, 2017 at 19:33

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