June 29, 2011

How Parmesan Cheese Comes To Life

Today I'm going to take you on an extraordinary journey: the "creation" of Parmesan cheese. A form of art that dates back centuries.
Nutritionists around the world agree that Parmesan cheese (real Parmesan-Reggiano cheese) can play an important role in a healthy diet, due to its nutritional value (high protein content, easy digestibility and high concentrations of calcium and vitamins). Parmesan can rightfully be labeled as a power food, very good for athletes, whether pros or amateurs. It is also beneficial to seniors because of its high content of calcium, phosphorus and one of the lowest cholesterol levels among cheeses.

 


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June 27, 2011

Re:Model Yourself

It doesn’t matter if your job is to walk down the fashion runways or not, in today’s world appearances do matter, so it’s better to be prepared and to try to look at your best every day.
In fact, looking sharper will give you that extra confidence that will eventually help you succeed. So here are few tips that will help you look better and, also, feel better.
Of course, we can’t guarantee that if you follow them religiously poster campaigns will follow or that you’re going to be booked for a runway show at next Milan’s Fashion Week, but it will enhance your style, boost your confidence, get fitter and, at the end of the day, help you become more successful in your life!




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June 24, 2011

The Truth About Sunscreen

Three days ago with the summer solstice, the summer has officially begun. We’re all ready to hit the beaches and get a good tan. I’m not a big fan of roasting myself under the sun but I know there is a good amount of sun lovers out there so here’s few recommendation to take in order to prevent irreversible damage to your skin. I mean, I believe it’s better if everyone knows what to do in order to prevent painful sunburns, deadly skin cancers and premature skin aging.
Provided that you should always put sunscreen, how high an SPF should one choose? What is the difference between SPF 50 and SPF 30? What does “broad spectrum” mean? Are all sunscreens equally effective?
No better time to get the answers to these questions than now, during the week of the summer
solstice.
And hear this out, even if it is not sunny where you are, the UV rays hitting your skin will be

their most intense.






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June 7, 2011

Flaxseed Granola Bars

I’m a big fan of flaxseeds, I sprinkle them over my yogurt and sometimes on my salad but I haven’t learned to use them in any other way until I found this recipe on the New York Times by Martha Rose Shulman for making delicious granola bars with flaxseeds and chocolate.
I tried it, made few slight changes from the original recipe and now I make my own granola bars: healthy and with a great taste. Give them a try!





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June 6, 2011

Become A SuperHero: Chris Evans Captain America Workout and Diet


Among comic books adapted to movies there’s one, coming out this summer, that I really look forward to: “Captain America: The First Avenger”.
Captain America has always been one of my favorite Marvel superheroes, and you wanna know why? Because it has no superhuman powers. Although as a result of the Super-Soldier Serum and "Vita-Ray" treatment, he is transformed from a frail young man into a "perfect" specimen of human development and conditioning.
Captain America's strength, endurance, agility, speed, reflexes, durability, and healing are at the highest limits of natural human potential.
Yes, Captain America is the embodiment of TheIronYou, there’s no doubt about that. Plus, he has a bad ass nigh-indestructible disc-shaped shield made from an experimental alloy of steel and the fictional vibranium that protects him from bullets and other weapons.
His costume is also pretty rad even if it’s nothing to extreme.

The fact that Captain America isn’t immortal, can’t fly or can’t make enemies bursts into flames makes him more relatable to “us” (aka normal people).
Real science has not yet been able to create the Super-Soldier Serum (too bad, uh...) so the only way to become Captain America is to train and hit the gym hard.
Exactly like actor Chris Evans had to do in order to portray Steve Rogers (Captain America alter ego) in the upcoming summer blockbuster. Let’s discover more how did he “transformed” himself into the superhero.
Captain America
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Captain America workout

Through his movie career, Chris Evans has maintained a lean, defined look. He has done this despite a challenging work schedule and a limited focus on dieting.
Also Chris Evans is not new to the superhero: he played the Human Torch in the "Fantastic Four" series.
In an interview released back in 2006 he said that “the key is dedication” and even though he professed to be unscientific about exercise and dieting, he has been pushing iron with regularity since high school. He hates the treadmill and prefers instead playing  basketball, tennis, and even football whenever possible.
Even if he wasn’t following meticulously a working out plan, he has been doing cardio and weights almost everyday since he was a teenager. This is already enough to be in good shape!
Taking a look at his physical body, Chris Evans has always maintained a lean muscular look, one which he had to improve on for this film.

Captain AmericaImage courtesy of 20th Century Fox

In order to become Captain America Chris Evans trained two hours a day for four months without days off: "It was brutal, really brutal" the actor confessed recently in an interview. "I usually like working out. Going in sucks, but walking out, you're like, 'I'm glad I did that!'" Evans told PopSugar. "This was different. I'd walk out and I'd be like, 'I need to vomit. I hate this trainer. I hate this movie. I want to go to sleep for a week.' It was just relentless."

In another interview he explained to Britain's Men's Health magazine "It was grueling, and I'd find any excuse possible not to go. But I had to do it. I wasn't trying to lose or tone - I was just looking to gain. The rule of thumb was: if you're not eating, go get something."

The routine

Chris Evans’ workout was mainly based on bodyweight exercises. This was because being always on the road bodyweight exercises were the only thing he could stay consistent with and claims that they helped him achieve the “Hollywood look“.
The bodyweight exercises allowed Chris to move quick and maintain his balance so that he doesn’t get hurt during the filming of the movie.
However, he did suffer for minor injuries
"I don't think my body is supposed to be as big as it got for Captain America. There was a strain on some joints. After a month and a half of training I found my right shoulder would click and my left pec would hurt. There are certain things that hurt more than others. But that seems to be pretty universal. Every guy I know has some sort of freak injury in their body.
The standard bodyweight exercise are so pull-ups, push-ups and sit-ups and those made up a majority of his workout.
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

But you cant’ become Captain America just with bodyweight exercises, and in fact Chris’ workout consisted also of plyometrics and also strength training.
Let’s also remember that Chris’ goal was to look as much as possible as Captain America, that is to say he was working the muscles that will actually show-up on camera.
Chris must have therefore done a lot of: deadlifts, bench presses, shoulders presses and squats. These movements build the most muscle but also increase your metabolism so you burn more fat.
Captain America in the comics had wide shoulders and muscular abs so Chris’ trainer also made him do compound exercises where the core is activated in any movement, helping therefore defining the abs.
It was an ever-evolving workout, in which we always found ways to work around the parts of me that were sore” the American actor explained in an interview.
 

Captain America
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures


Captain America Diet

Chris Evans diet for the movie was, according to him the hardest part: “The workout was one thing but the eating was the tuff part. You go to the gym and it’s exhausting but then you go home and I since I had to gain mass and I had to gain size, this is only gonna happen if you eat proteins. So it was just a matter of going home and just constantly eat those bland pieces of chicken
Chris diet was probable based on the  so-called
carb cycling, which is very popular among celebrity diets. An example of it goes as follows:
1. Protein and carbs up until workout for the day
2. Post-workout and until bed time, keep carbs low and focus on protein.
3. Off days should be kept quite balanced, possibly lower in carbohydrate, but not too strict
4. Binge once in a while, but don’t exaggerate and completely throw the diet out the window.
Protein shakes should have also made part of its eating regimen, this because of the limited amount of time given to him to bulk up, let’s say three (maybe four) months maximum. In such case you have to resort at least to whey and glutamine to achieve results!

Considerations

One of the most important things we can take from Chris Evans and his workout and diet and, in general to his approach to health is to be consistent and patient.
This is the point that I would like to emphasize as far as celebrity workout and diets are concerned.
Finally, just remember that actors/models weren’t given any more special talent than you or Super-Soldier Serum and "Vita-Ray" treatment when it comes to health.
If they achieve a body that you appreciate, it’s because they put in the hard work every day. If you have the same passion and want for the body you’re trying to achieve, you can have it.



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June 5, 2011

Chia Seeds, The Aztec Superfood

I discovered Chia seeds through my friend Alex. He became a vegan almost two years ago, and since then he's always on the hunt for new foods that can help him maintain a balanced diet. He told me a lot about chia seeds (the so-called “Aztec superfood”) as being a good source of protein, fiber and an array of precious nutrients.
I got curious, went to Whole Foods, bought a pack, got back home and throw a handful in my green protein smoothie. And guess what: I loveeeed it. It thickens up nicely and adds a certain je ne sais quoi!
I wanted to know more about it, so I did my fair share of research and discovered the following...

Chia Seeds


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