Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Random Tidbits about Coffee

I'm sure that many of you have heard, especially over the last several years, about the numerous health benefits that coffee contains.  Back in the day, a lot of the wanna-be health gurus used to act like this stuff was actually bad for us, but more and more scientific evidence suggests otherwise.  It is loaded with antioxidants, helps prevent cirrhosis of the liver, reduces the chances of getting certain types of diseases, good for your cognitive function, etc.

On this post, I'm not going to list all of the health benefits, but I will provide several random tidbits about this substance that you may or may not have been aware of.  You know, the fun, trivial sort of stuff.

* How was coffee discovered? Going by what I have read, some time around 800 A.D. (during the 9th century), a few goat herders noticed the hyped up energy level the goats would have after eating coffee berries. Well, supposedly, a nearby monk decided to brew a drink with coffee berries and, from there, noticed that it increased alertness and kept him awake.  So one could say, as word got out, that coffee beverages first hit the market from that point forward.

* There are 2 types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. 70% of coffee beans are Arabica. The less popular version (Robusta) is slightly more bitter and has twice the amount of caffeine. So yeah, one could say that Robusta is, well, rather robust!

* Who produces the most coffee on this planet? At the moment, Brazil produces 40% of the world's coffee, which is twice as much as the runner-ups, which are Colombia and Vietnam. Do you want another tidbit about coffee growing?  Okay... Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that commercially grows coffee.

* It is hard to believe, but coffee actually used to be used as a food. Coffee berries were mixed with fat to create an energy-rich snack thingy. Talk about a cool candy bar; ha! It was also consumed as a wine when made from the pulp of coffee berries. At any rate, it sounds like we finally figured out the best way to use coffee, if ya ask me... Oh, speaking of wine, coffee's original name was "qahwah." The term qahwah came from the Yemen term for wine. It was called "kahveh" in Turkey, but later on the Dutch referred to it as "koffie," which is where we get the English name "coffee."  Alright, that is enough random word tidbits for this particular subject...

* So, what type of food is coffee? Actually, coffee is considered to be a fruit. Coffee beans are really just the pits of a little berry that are grown on bushes. Yep, it's a seed but we like to call it a bean due to the way it looks. Pretty neat, eh?

* So what type of diseases is coffee thought to prevent? Well, I wasn't going to list any health benefits in the 'random tidbits' section of this post, but these are some of the lesser known ones... Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.  In addition to that, it helps prevent cirrhosis of the liver and has positive effects on Type 2 diabetes.  Some research even claims that coffee could even help prevent skin cancer.  Is all of this actually considered medical facts or is it just mere speculation from confused researchers? I hope it is true, but don't ask me...

* Who in the hell invented instant coffee? This is a good question, so I just looked it up online and I found out that a chemist that went by the name "George Constant Washington" experimented with dried coffee before he created what was called "Red E Coffee," which was the first brand-name instant coffee.

* Decaf doesn't mean it is totally caffeine-free.  Yeah, I'm sure many of you already knew that one, but did you know that dark roast coffees have less caffeine than lighter roasts?  The darker roasts may taste stronger, but some of the caffeine is actually lost during the roasting process.

I know there are loads and loads of additional random coffee tidbits I could post on here, but I don't want this low-traffic blog to waste anymore of my time today; cheers!

Image Credit: Bing image search using the 'free to share & use' function.

---End of Post "Random Tidbits about Coffee"

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Iridescent Clouds doesn't mean the 'End is Near'

What would this planet be like without the constant "end of the world" propaganda from outspoken humans? I don't know.  Perhaps an unusual, unfamiliar place to dwell?  Ha-ha!  But seriously, "signs of the times" and/or the "end is near" proclamations have been around for countless centuries, I suppose.  Ever since man has been able to communicate with each other by way of various languages or whether it's via pictographs or even sign language, for example, doomsayers have always had their say.

With the freedom of speech and freestyle expressions out of the way, let's get on with these mysterious iridescent clouds, shall we? First of all, it is September of the year 2015.  For a magnitude of strange reasons, many folks are predicting that we are entering the 'End is Near' stage of our existence, uh, AGAIN!  It seems that every couple of years or so, a new theory about the end of the world surfaces.  I can't even count the amount of times I have heard and witnessed these false claims over the years, all to be wrong, as usual.  But let's clear one thing up real quick: If humans keep predicting the end of our human-populated world every single day for the rest of our existence on planet Earth, eventually we'll get it right.

At any rate, iridescent clouds doesn't mean in the slightest that the end is near.  Who in the hell comes up with this crap?  Nuclear wars, massive asteroid collisions, etc., all make sense, but some of these other wild & crazy theories of our demise doesn't add up - nor do they make any sense!

Anyway, this subject entered my cranium structure earlier today when I was reading the headline: 'Iridescent cloud' leaves people in Costa Rica fearing it's the end of the world.

Although it's somewhat rare, it is a natural weather phenomenon.  But during these crazy times of instant messaging/texts, instant video and image sharing, and social media hype, word spreads rather quickly when certain people ~feel~ that the end of the world is fast approaching!  Plus, this is September of 2015, like I mentioned earlier, so there has already been enough hoopla & ballyhoo about how the end is near.  I've heard of several things this month ranging from Armageddon, Wave X Awakening, Full Disclosure of Alien Visitations, Worldwide Grid Collapse (click here for wind turbines for your home), Massive Asteroid to Destroy Earth, Nibiru / Planet X Conspiracy, to the Pope (supposedly affecting something?) and the Last of the Blood Red Moons to signal that the end is near.  I mean, holy crap!  LOL!

I guess I have rambled on about everything surrounding this topic except for the actual science behind iridescent clouds.  With that being said, I will simply supply a couple of informative links for such things and simply wrap this post up.  Hopefully the planet will be around for at least a few more years, so we can share some more of these creative 'end of the world' scenarios; cheers!

For more information on this subject, go here:
* http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/scientific-american/sup5/On-The-Cause-Of-Iridescence-In-Clouds.html#.Vfx0aZiFOzc
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_iridescence

Image Credit:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CircumHorizontalArc_GQ_07312012_1938.jpg

---End of Post "Iridescent Clouds doesn't mean the 'End is Near'"

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What's up with the latest Sriracha Hot Sauce Craze?

Has anybody else noticed this latest food condiment craze? It is sriracha this, sriracha that; add a dash here, a pile there, dip that into some hot sriracha, squirt the red rooster sauce on this, etc. Hell, they even make sriracha chips and french fries now. Actually, I've tried the fries before and they were really good.

At any fiery rate, this hot sauce isn't bad, but I don't get what all the hoopla & ballyhoo is about. It is just red chili peppers (or red jalapenos) mixed with a bit of sugar, salt, garlic, and vinegar, more or less. I know that most great hot sauces are relatively simple to make and generally consist of very few ingredients, but this one seems to be gaining a little extra steam in the U.S. lately.

Here's a quote from another website that spoke highly of this particular condiment craze: "Although Sriracha sauce (a.k.a. "rooster sauce") has only been on the scene since the 1980s, it is quickly taking the culinary world by storm. Its flavor is unique, addictive, and wildly versatile." Source = https://www.thespruce.com/making-the-most-of-sriracha-sauce-1328440

Personally, I'd like the rooster sauce better if they left the garlic off. Garlic can make some foods taste better, but it seems to conflict with the yummy pepper taste, in my opinion. The added sugar is a plus, though. I think it would be best if the sriracha hot sauce was mixed with ketchup and used as a dipping sauce replacement for certain foods (seafood, fries, etc.) Overall, I'd still give it a decent rating, but it just seems to be a bit overrated. Perhaps it's the name that's fueling most of the fire. I guess it sounds more cool to say "pass the Sriracha" as opposed to saying "hand me the hot sauce." I dunno...

Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sriracha_Hot_Sauce_Bottles_Freshii_Restaurant_Family_Dinner_Downtown_Grand_Rapids_June_27,_2014_1_(14552677466).jpg

---End of Post "What's up with the latest Sriracha Hot Sauce Craze?"

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Maybe you should refrigerate your fish oil supplements?

This is just a quick post about a certain issue concerning the extremely popular supplements that contain omega-3 fish oil, how it might be a good idea to check for rancidity, and that you should refrigerate the ones that are still good.

A few years back, this particular product was getting pushed and marketed like it was some miracle pill and whatnot.  Take fish oil for this, krill oil is best for that, omega-3 does this, and so on.  First of all, it is well known that omega-3 fatty acids are very good for your overall health, heart & circulatory system, etc.  But for the ones that don't regularly consume fish/seafood (which is the most common source for omega-3s), taking the fish oil supplements simply seems like the best option.

Well, a couple years ago, there was some crazy study that came out claiming there is a link between fish oil supplements and prostate cancer.  Can you believe that crap?  So, I decided to write about that bogus study, here: [Original link has been removed by the author; will be adding that post to this blog, instead]

However, after discovering some rancid fish oil from my pile of supplements that I regularly consume, I decided to search for more information.  Although I generally consume fish and/or seafood a few times a week, I would still take a few fish oil pills throughout each week.  In the past, it seemed to smell fine with no noticeable issues, but the last couple of bottles I purchased seemed a bit odd, extra fishy smelly and rancid, so I quit taking them altogether.

Upon further research, this seems to be a common problem with fish oil supplements.  This particular oil spoils much quicker than conventional oils like vegetable, corn, peanut, canola oil, etc.  Even olive oil lasts longer than fish oil, going by what I recently read, and olive oil is quite prone to spoilage to say the least.  So after thinking about this a bit more, perhaps the crazy study that linked prostate cancer to fish oil pills didn't realize that it could simply have everything to do with rancid fish oil and not omega-3 supplements that were fresh and of high quality.

In closing, if you do decide to buy fish oil supplements, check them out before use.  Cut one open, smell it, and let your nose and common sense decide.  The oil shouldn't smell like rotten fish!  Buy from reputable brands and, to increase the real shelf life (not the one listed on the bottle), I think it might be a good idea to refrigerate your fish oil.  The last two bottles I bought that were rancid, coincidentally occurred during the hot summer months and from the same brand (Spring Valley), so go figure; cheers!

---End of Post "Maybe you should refrigerate your fish oil supplements?"

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Grappling is overrated because of the MMA & UFC sport?

First of all, the sport of UFC & MMA can provide some really talented fighters/mixed martial artists and is viewed by many as a decent form of entertainment. I remember back in 1993 (or thereabouts) when the UFC first got started.  There were far less rules (and rounds) back then and it closely resembled the "tough man contests" that were gaining popularity during that particular time era, to say the least.  However, things have changed a great deal since then. 5 minute rounds have been added, weight classes now exist, and additional safety measures have been applied.  In short, the MMA and UFC can definitely be labelled as a "sport" now, more so than ever before.

What about the dominance of grappling? Is it overrated or does it receive too much credit because of this type of sport?  I would hate to argue about the effectiveness of a good grappling game, as it has crippled the strategy of many a good striker, kick boxer, etc. There is no doubt that judo, wrestling, jujitsu, and other grappling skills, are all highly effective at getting submissions for the victory within the sport of MMA and the UFC.

But when it comes to real-life street fighting with no rules whatsoever, would the outcome be the same?  Take that picture above, for example.  The guy has the other guy in the all-too-famous arm-bar thingy-ma-jiggy. It looks like the dude on the bottom is in trouble, right?  In the sport of MMA & UFC, he would have clearly lost the fight via tap-out/submission.  If this was out in the backyard, though, what would happen if the other guy took a huge bite/chunk out of his leg? I mean, his leg is clearly right by his mouth... Ha-ha!  Would he have even gotten a chance to wrestle around, hug and grope the other guy for several minutes until he nestled his legs around the other guy's face and arms, without all the rules being applied in this sport?

The questions of grappling being overrated doesn't stop there, either. What about eye pokes/gouges and groin strikes that are not allowed in the MMA and UFC?  How about direct downward elbow strikes to the spine and neck when the opponent tries to take you down, which is also not legal in this sport?  These are just a few examples of rules that wouldn't apply in real life.  By having these rules in place, it does limit the defense a person has when another one is trying to take them down intentionally so they can use their awesome grappling skills to squeeze something they normally wouldn't have the chance to get to in the first place.

On the flip side, having excellent grappling skills, if nothing else, can save your life - especially if you are fighting a much bigger and stronger opponent.  I'm not saying that being an excellent Kung-Fu striker is better than being an excellent grappling wrestler, as it would depend on the person and their ability, potential, skills, strength, and so on.  What I am saying, is that due to the "sport" of UFC and MMA, grappling has become a bit overrated, in my opinion.  At any rate, I enjoy watching a good fight from time to time, whether it is professional boxing, UFC, etc., so I'm not complaining in the slightest; ha!

Image Credit: It is in the Public Domain and is not under copyright protection.

---End of Post "Grappling is overrated because of the MMA & UFC sport?"

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