Think Happy: Instant Peptalks to Boost Positivity

When dealing with life, there are often highs, lows and moments in between. Within the book, Think Happy, the author, Karen Salmansohn uses her creativity to develop peptalks for people whenever they need a little support or extra oomph in their lives.

As described in the book, there have been many studies which have proven that positive affirmations can play a significant role in the way that a person lives his or her life. When those affirmations are constantly repeated, they can impact behavior and the sense of self. The great thing about these peptalks is the fact that they can be read anytime and anywhere. Instead of using typical affirmations, the author focuses on peptalks because they are catchier and they can be convincing in a logical manner.

Image result for think happy instant pep talks

Once I started reading this book, I just could not put it down. Personally, I carry it with me everywhere I go and I open it to read a peptalk whenever I’m in the mood. One of my favorite peptalks mentions the following:

“Good news: If you can drive yourself crazy, you can drive yourself happy. It’s all about which thoughts you choose to think. Wherever thoughts go is where you drive yourself. When you realize how thoughts work like steering wheels, you’re more likely to mindfully steer clear of negative thinking.”

Take a chance and pick up this book today. It will lift your spirits and help you become more aware and thankful within your own life!

 

Disclaimer: I received the book from Blogging for Books for this review.

4 Amazing Benefits of Eating an Apple a Day

Happy September! Fall is in the air!! When I think of this time of year,  love the smell of crisp apples and even fresh apple pie. I know you’ve probably been told since you were a child that apples are great for your health and it even plays a role in strengthening your teeth. Guess what? Whoever told you that was absolutely right. There are a plethora of benefits of eating just one apple per day.

Image result for apples

Image Source: rosannadavidsonnutrition.com

  1. An Abundance of Fiber for Your Digestive System

Most fruits and vegetables are chock full of fiber which allows for a healthy digestive system. Your colon is cleaned thoroughly and it plays a role in preventing potential inflammation. Keep in mind that most of that wonderful fiber found in apples is typically found in the skin, so don’t throw them away! If you have just one apple that is medium sized, you will be getting about 2.4 grams of fiber, which is great!

Foods that have a great amount of fiber can really promote a healthy well-being. The fiber that you consume allows water to enter the stool which allows for ease through the colon. Think about what would happen if fiber didn’t exist. It keeps your plumbing intact!

 Keeps Your Skin Glowing

It has been found that contain an abundance of both elastin and collagen which both play significant roles in the health of your skin. This is why many people like to apply apple slices on to their faces during or after a facial!

Research has even shown that apple cider may play a role in treating and preventing acne. Bacteria can be eliminated as well as the oils so that the pH of your skin is restored properly. Don’t forget that fresh apples are filled with vitamins A, B and C which are all excellent for your system overall.

  1. Prevent Issues with Breathing

Many people may not even be aware of this, but apples can actually play a role in keeping your lungs healthy. There is an antioxidant in the fruit known as quercetin and this is what helps the lungs function properly. Keep in mind that this substance is found in the skin, so that’s another reason why you shouldn’t throw it away!

  1. Helps with Weight Loss

Let’s face it- there are a plethora of people out there who struggle with weight loss or who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. By eating an apple a day, it’s a great snack to make you feel full. You never feel guilty if you have one and the nutritional values are endless. If  you substitute an apple for a candy bar, you’ll be on your way to a healthier method of losing that weight.

Fruits and vegetables are the best way to go when dealing with any type of weight loss. Don’t fall victim to those fad diets because they may be doing more harm to your body than you can imagine. Throw an apple into your bag in the morning or cut up some slices and have some honey on the side. If you’d like you can also add some fresh slices of apples to your tea to give it a nice zest.

Image result for apple farm

Image Source: marcussamuelson.com

 

Overall, apples have a wonderful taste and if you are adamant about being healthy, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be in your diet. Go ahead and get those apples! And don’t forget to support your local farms!

-Anita Haridat, Ph.D

 

 

 

 

Snow Crab Recipe for the end of the Summer !

It’s the last day of August which means that summer is slowly coming to an end, but that does not mean that we can’t enjoy scrumptious crab legs! I am a huge fan of this recipe below and the great thing is that it is super easy to make! Take a look:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pound of snow crab legs- thawed
  2. ¼ cup of butter
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons of fresh or dried parsley
  5. 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  6. ¼ teaspoon of black pepper

Directions:

  1. Clean each set of crab legs in a thorough manner and cut a slit (length wise) through each crab leg so that the flavors can infuse
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook the garlic until translucent
  3. Add the parsley, salt and pepper and continue to heat until bubbling takes place
  4. Add the crabs and let them simmer for 5-6 minutes
  5. Serve with some fresh lemon juice!

Keep in mind that you can still enjoy seafood even as the fall approaches. However, since it is still warm out, make this easy recipe and enjoy it outside!

Image result for snow crab legs

 

Enjoy!

Italian and French Food Galore! MAMO Restaurant in New York City

On a beautiful Monday evening in August, my dinner companion and I decided to cap our day in New York City with the well-regarded flavors of one of Antibes, France’s most popular restaurant.  Mamo — short for Mamo Le Michelangelo, which originated 24 years ago on the French Riviera — came to SoHo a little more than one year ago preceded by a reputation for savory dishes and stellar service.

Mamo bills itself as a “purveyor of affectionate Italian and Provençal dining experience.” We had read that the flagship eatery is regularly frequented by celebrities, especially during The Cannes Film Festival. So, naturally, our curiosities about whether the SoHo branch could justify that status were piqued. We made reservations for 5:30 p.m., and arrived ten minutes prior to soak in the sights and sounds of the surrounding area.

In a burgeoning neighborhood featuring a variety of restaurants, pubs, retail establishments, and apartment complexes, we wondered aloud how this particular eatery would stand out. From the exterior, Mamo’s size lent itself more to that of a bistro, and yet, it was still hard to miss. A charming dinner table, complete with a white tablecloth, was situated outside and served as a warm invitation for patrons to make their way inside. It was a subtle addition to the facade, yet impossible to ignore.

 

 

My companion and I were the first patrons of Mamo’s reopening for dinner service (the restaurant closes at 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays and weekends, respectively, until 5:30 p.m.). As soon as we entered, we were greeted by the wide and welcoming smiles of a man and woman, whom we told about our reservations.

We were immediately walked to our table on the first floor, and opted to sit next to each other on a comfortable, tan leather row of seating that spanned the length of each side wall. Across from those rows were square tables, and lavish white chairs that tastefully complemented the tan tones. The tablecloths were also white, as were the walls and ceilings, which we particularly noticed. Throughout our experiences, we have come across too many restaurants that left the ceilings unfinished, with piping or structural elements exposed. We have always felt that that sort of detail does nothing to help ambiance, which we place a premium on.

Mamo was not an offender. Its ceilings were not only painted perfectly white to match the overall décor, but also detailed with intricate designs that — for anyone who briefly gazed upward — appealed immaculately. Such attention to details paid by the restaurant lends itself to patrons’ expectations that other aspects of the dining experience will follow suit. That ambiance was rounded out by white lighting that illuminated the dining area calmly and cozily, and fresh-cut flowers at each table.

Upon being seated, we were welcomed by our server, Pierre, who would go on to speak to us with as polite a tone as one can expect for the entirety of our experience. He explained items on the menu, offered recommendations as per our requests, and exuded a genuine desire to accommodate us wholly. Pierre spoke clearly and articulately, respectfully and knowledgeably. If the overall service was to be judged solely on Pierre’s hospitality and attentiveness, Mamo aced it even before we had ordered a single item off the menu. But, of course, service isn’t based on one person alone.

And at Mamo, it was not. Throughout the duration of our meals, Pierre would be flanked by a team of helpers who assured that we were not only tended to as completely as possible, but also made to feel important. Our water glasses were never empty; if we used our tissue-cloths to wipe our hands or mouths, they were promptly replaced; fresh, clean utensils were provided at our table with each successive course that made its way from the kitchen. Such aspects are what any restaurant patron expects during their visit, and it was refreshing that Mamo had seemingly underlined, bolded and italicized its importance in its handbooks to all staff, because we felt it.

And from the looks of it, parties that followed did, as well. Shortly after we had arrived, two women — who seemed like mother and daughter — were seated next to us. Soon after, two couples entered, one of whom elected to sit at the bar. Then, a party of six women was led by the hostess to its table. We observed the interactions between Mamo staff and patrons, and they were premised on the same level of service we received.

My companion and I put in orders for a couple of choice cocktails that Pierre prepared himself behind the marble bar. I ordered the Mamo Negroni, comprised of Aperol, Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth and orange-infused gin; she ordered the Al Pachilli, made up of passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, chilli liqueur and Absolut Elix Vodka. Both drinks were neither strong nor light — so they were both quite easy to go down — and each contained a significant fruit base that paired exceptionally well with the bread and olive oil at the table.

Upon observing Pierre concoct these cocktails, we realized that the television screen that overlooked the dining area and faced away from the bar was a bit too large for the space. In our opinion, for a restaurant as ambient and chic as Mamo, such a large television screen would actually take away from experience. We feel that those who would prioritize watching a game or event at a place as such would probably prefer to do so at a venue that would not be as pricey or founded upon the roots of fine dining. The patrons we observed were not watching the television; they were engaged in conversation, reveling in personal moments and enjoying each other’s company. For us, that’s what the atmosphere lends itself to. A small television inside the bar in the corner, solely for patrons seated at that bar, would perhaps be the better bet at salvaging the classy environment afforded to diners through most of Mamo’s other aspects.

As patrons trickled in, we also noticed that, based on the arrangement of tables and their relative proximity to each other, unaffiliated parties were a bit too close. In breaks of conversation between my companion and I, I was able to perfectly listen to the two women seated next to us. Of course, this is to be expected in a crowded restaurant, but a little bit more space between tables would be welcome.

My companion and I were looking forward to the masterful creations of Michelin-Starred Executive Chef Massimo Sola and his team. To start, we decided to share the margherita pizza, priced modestly at $16. I’ve had more than my share of margherita pizzas in the past, and I would absolutely rank this one as the best without hesitation. Each slice contained the ideal amount of cantal cheese, which perfectly complemented the bed of mozzarella cheese underneath. The basil and tomatoes that rendered the pizza unmistakably margherita were garden-fresh and plentiful.

For entrees, I was immediately intrigued by the Mamo Burger, a $44 creation containing wagyu beef, fresh truffles, foie gras, and smothered sufficiently with Mamo gravy. As a self-proclaimed burger addict, I expected otherworldly flavor crystals — especially for that price. And in all honesty, it was one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. The beef was thick, juicy and bursting with deliciously-seasoned flavor. The meat was a little bit pinker than I usually prefer, but I absolutely understand that the quality of beef being used does not lend itself to being any more well-done than that. I’m not usually a huge fan of gravy, but it certainly worked here. It was an incredible burger. I do believe that a burger on an Italian cuisine menu does have its own place, but perhaps at a lower cost.

My companion ordered the $19 Spaghettoni all’ Amatriciana, which was a spaghetti-based dish that mixed crispy bason, tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. The lady loves her pasta, and she raved not only about how well the flavors blended together, but also how authentically Italian it was — and trust me, we have been to our share of restaurants that claim that they’re the real deal. This was. I gave it a try myself, and it was incredible. The pasta was not dry, the sauce was very flavorful, and there was even a generous amount for two people to share (of course, a requisite staple of authentic Italian cuisine).

We completed our meals and sat for some time to discuss our experiences with each other, and at no point did we feel rushed or interrupted. As we wrapped up and made our way to the exit, we received warm goodbyes from every staff member who was on the dining floor. Pierre himself took the lead, opened the door for us on our way out, and gave me a handshake, urging us to visit again soon.

Aside from the couple of aforementioned preferences for the television and spacing — and based on the exceptional service of Mamo staff, the delicious works of culinary art that Chef Sola and his team created, the ambiance of the restaurant and how we as patrons felt revered and prioritized — I absolutely recommend Mamo to others without any hesitation. Our expectations of the French Riviera staple’s New York City branch were surpassed, and I will be going back.

 

By: Vikas Girdhar

Check out the published review on the Daily Meal!

 

Live Your Best Life!

Who doesn’t want to give meaning to their life? In the witty book, The Better Life by Claire Diaz-Oriz, the author writes about small messages that pack a huge punch. The ideas are situated accordingly in order to help readers improve their mentalities and their overall lifestyles through simple suggestions. There are well-articulated reflections on concepts such as productivity, balance, success and even love.

Personally, I find that most self-improvement books become redundant after a while, but the author manages to indicate new ideas throughout each chapter. All of the stories are completely relatable and the ideas are very manageable.

One of my favorite passages is as follows:

“And so our challenge is to find a way to not shield ourselves from joy and grace of our very best things. And this is hard and I do not know the way. Every day, I try. I try to give thanks in the things I know I can do. I can smile wide. I can spot a bird. I can blink my eyes. I can take a sip of water. I can sign my name. I can bit into a cupcake…and I can give thanks along the way.”

With this short, motivational book, readers will be able to find the essentials for enjoying life and living well on a daily basis. You can even use it as your manifesto!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Moody Publishers for this review

3 Nutrients that Every Woman Needs for Better Health

When it comes to maintaining your health, there are so many resources around you that can guide you in the right direction, but doesn’t all seem so confusing? For many women, it is important to take the right types of vitamins and minerals, however, this can all be confusing as well. How can you be sure that you are consuming the right types? If you’re really unsure, you may want to discuss this with your health care provider, but here are some essential nutrients to keep in mind:

  1. Calcium:

As we get older, we are more susceptible to brittle and soft bones which is why our need for calcium is so dire. You need an ample amount of calcium to build strong bones and to prevent against conditions such as osteoporosis. Keep in mind that calcium also plays a role in proper muscle function, so take those supplements if you need to.

The USDA says that women who are below the age of 50 should take about 1000 mg per day and those who are over the age of 50 should try to get about 1200 per day.

 

  1. Vitamin D

This vitamin goes hand in hand with calcium, but it also has its own separate benefits that you should be aware of. Keep in mind that vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium in your body and it plays a role with muscle and skeletal function as well. So the importance factor is extremely high.

Vitamin D can come from sunlight, so catch some rays when you can. When it comes to food sources, opt for eggs and fatty fish- which also contain a great amount of omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. If you are concerned about your levels of vitamin D, be sure to go to your physician.

 

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These compounds are great because they help fight against a plethora of conditions such as arthritis, depression and as I stated before, heart disease. It’s especially beneficial for women because it can promote the healthy development of a baby. There is an abundance of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, but you can also find a ton in algae, tofu and brussel sprouts.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also great for providing you with ample energy to help get you through your day. It is recommended that you should take no more than 1000 mg to fully reap the benefits. There are plethora of natural substances out there that you can opt for. Just be sure to read those labels carefully in order to make sure that there are no harsh additives included.

 

If you’re interested in taking a natural multivitamin, the possibilities are endless. However, keep in mind that most of your nutrients should come from wholesome products such as fruits and vegetables. However, it’s understandable if you simply cannot obtain all of the adequate vitamins and minerals from your diet alone. Natural supplements are excellent as long as you stay informed. Stay healthy everyone!

Anita Haridat, Ph.D

Life of the Party: Motivation to Start a Business

In today’s society, is there anyone who does not want to read about motivational stories that pertain to success? Within Life of the Party by Bob Kealing, there is a remarkable story of the business woman known as Brownie Wise as her story unfolds during her development of the Tupperware Empire. First of all, I’m so glad I picked up this book, because I am a sucker for learning new things. I had no idea that there was such a tumultuous story behind the development of Tupperware. Wise had a rocky life, but she was still able to maintain a strong stance well throughout her journey.

Although I felt that there were times when the story kept dragging, there were many inspirational aspects which may be beneficial for those who are looking to start their own business. While Wise’s story took place in the 1950s, there are still a variety of principles that exist until today. One of my favorite excerpts from the book is written when Brownie Wise delivers a memorable speech to one of the Tupperware Home Parties. She says the following:

“Live this day. Make it work for you; for in the magic of this day walks tomorrow. All of us have to believe to live and the more we are able to believe with firmness and conviction; the more abundantly, the more prosperously, the more happily we live.”

Overall, I am truly impressed with this underdog story. Bonnie Wise is an extraordinary woman that people can definitely learn from!

Disclaimer: I received the book from Blogging for Books for this review.

4 Herbs and Spices with Nutritional Benefits

For those who are health conscious, when it comes to consuming products with nutrients, whole foods come to mind. This includes fruits, vegetables and the occasional whole grain. However, there is another category that many of us are missing. Herbs and spices! Some of these really pack a punch when it comes to health. Let’s take a look:


1. Cinnamon
I’m a huge fan of cinnamon because you can put it on virtually anything. I put some in tea, on cereal and even my natural apple drinks. It really kicks up the flavor. When it comes to health, cinnamon helps to stabilize sugar levels and it is even recommend for people with type 2 diabetes. Just make sure that it is in the natural form before you use it. There should be no extra ingredients!
Add some cinnamon to your yogurt even to some whole grain bread for a delicious treat after dinner.
2. Oregano
This is another spice that I use often because it really kicks up the flavor of many Italian dishes. This herb has a plethora of antioxidants which fights off free radicals and toxicity in our bodies. Make sure to use a generous amount in some whole grain pasta, sauce or even a grilled cheese sandwich. You will notice the enhancement of flavor immediately.
3. Turmeric
This is a dark yellow herb that contains substances which fight heart disease as well as cognitive decline. It’s typically found in curry powder and you and you can add it to tuna salad, egg salad etc. for a wonderful delight. Don’t forget to look for vinaigrette recipes because turmeric tastes excellent in them!
4. Rosemary
This herb is excellent for decreasing potential inflammation that occurs within your body. When inflammation occurs, you are susceptible to other health conditions so it is important to fix the problem before it becomes severe. You can add rosemary to marinade for your meats or you can mix up a nice sauce with olive oil for a sauce to use with whole grain bread.

 

 
When you’re cooking, try to use as many of these spices and herbs as you can because they really play a role in improving your health. Some of them even help to boost your metabolism so don’t hesitate to apply them generously when you can. There are a ton of others out there that you can jot down after you have done your research and you can experiment them while cooking. It’s a wonderful feeling when you have concocted a delight in the kitchen. Don’t forget to opt for wholesome fruits, vegetables and whole grains as well. Stay healthy everyone!

Anita Haridat, Ph.D

Book Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Towards the end of May, I decided to take the PopSugar 2016 reading challenge and it has been quite a journey! I’ve been reading books that I do not typically pick up. I find myself perusing books stores and libraries hoping to fulfill the unique categories that are available. If you are not familiar with the PopSugar reading challenge, I highly suggest you check it out. Some of the categories include the following:

  • Read a book that takes place on an island
  • Read a book about an unfamiliar culture
  • Read a book that takes place in the summer
  • Read a book in Oprah’s book club

And the list goes on!

One day, I was walking through the aisles of my local library and I spotted On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves. Now, for those of you who do not know already- I am an avid fan of books and movies that take place on a stranded island where people have to find a way to make sure that they survive. As soon as I started on the Island, it captured me and the premise was slightly different. In essence, a 30 year old English tutor travels accompanies her 19 year student on a family vacation in Maldives. The student has suffered from a form of cancer for years and he has been behind in his studies. The family is already waiting for them to join, however their plane goes down and there is a tumultuous series of events that take place.

 

The book not only covers the premise of being stranded on an island, but there is a dynamic that enfolds between the student and the teacher. I finished this book in one day because I was completely captivated!

Happy reading  🙂

Anita Haridat, Ph.D

 

 

 

4 Wonderful Benefits of Ginger

Oh ginger.  There are people out there who love the root with a passion and there are others who simply loathe it. I hardly find any middle ground. I’m the type of person who absolutely loves ginger. I make tea with the fresh root, I add some of the root in many dishes and I even use it for digestive issues because it really works wonders. The truth is that there are a plethora of benefits of ginger that we should take advantage of.

Keep in mind that ginger is a root. It helps to preserve substances and it can be spicy when used in abundance. For thousands of years people have sworn by ginger to help protect against health diseases and even spirits. It is also says that is plays a role in increasing your positive energy.

Let’s take a look at 4 specific benefits to be aware of:

  1. Great for Digestive Health

When it comes to discomfort in your stomach- ginger is the way to go. The secret is the fact that it aids the absorption of food. Typically when you have an upset stomach, something didn’t settle well. Ginger will try to fix any mishaps thereby allowing better digestion. It also plays a significant role in preventing potential inflammation that happens. So chew on a raw piece of ginger the next time you have a stomach ache from something bad that you might have eaten!

  1. Fends off Respiratory Issues

If you find yourself developing a cough, ginger is great at helping your lungs expand. It also loosens up that extra phlegm that you may have lying around. This is why ginger tea is excellent during cold season. If fights off all the bad guys and really aids your breathing. Give it a try next time you have a cold!

  1. Helps to Absorb Nutrients

 When you’re eating a healthy diet, chances are your intake of nutrients is adequate. Ginger can play a role in really helping towards absorbing those nutrients so that your body can make full use of them. Keep in mind that ginger is great even if you have a diet that is poor. Your body may not absorb nutrients right away, so ginger will be there for assistance.

  1. Prevention of the Common Cold

While there isn’t a cure for the common cold- yet, ginger can help to prevent symptoms from developing. You can make a nice tea with the fresh root or you can eat it raw once those winter months start to begin.

Keep in mind that there are so many other benefits to take advantage of when it comes to consuming ginger. If you are interested in staying healthy, you can take about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger every day. Do this especially if you feel a cold or cough coming your way. Also, you can use ginger for a variety of healthy dishes like stir fry broccoli or healthy ginger snap crackers. So do your research and enjoy thoroughly!

Anita Haridat, Ph.D