Tag Archives: Culture

10 Vices and Indulgences that do a Body Good.

30 Oct

chris-hemsworth-covers-details-november-2013In the latest issue of details magazine, the one with Chris Hemsworth on the cover, there is an article that talks about how many of our vices and indulgences may actually have health benefits. Check out the article below, and if you like it please comment and share!

 

 

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When it comes to matters of health, it seems that everything you do—or at least want to do—is bad for you. But recent research is calling into question exactly how bad our biggest vices truly are.

It turns out these so-called health offenders can actually strengthen your muscles, up your gym performance, boost your immune system, fight flab, and even prevent chronic diseases. Not bad for “unhealthy” habits, eh?

Here, 10 vices you can finally embrace guilt-free.

Sleeping In

Go ahead—hit the snooze. Or just break the damn thing altogether. According to a recent study from the University of Munich, people who wake up to an alarm rather than according to their body’s internal clock are three times more likely to be overweight. Waking up before your body is ready messes up your circadian rhythms, leading you to feel perpetually jet lagged and eat when your body isn’t primed to absorb nutrients, slowing your metabolism considerably.

Smoking Marijuana

“Medical” marijuana is bit of a misnomer. Every dooby comes with health benefits. A 2013 study published in The American Journal of Medicine found that regular pot smokers have 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels and smaller waist circumferences compared to marijuana virgins, dramatically lowering their risk of diabetes. Researchers don’t yet know why marijuana has the effect, but who cares? We’re heading to Colorado.

Snacking on Candy

Grab some gummies on your way through the checkout line. People who eat candy have lower BMIs, smaller waists, and less health-wrecking inflammation than those who skip sugary treats, per findings published in Nutrition Research. Sound counterintuitive? While candy is a veritable sugar bomb, it’s low in saturated fat and calories when compared to other desserts, making it a pretty good way to curb your sweet tooth and avoid devouring a whole cheesecake when your willpower finally relents.

Biting Your Nails

Gnawing on your nails isn’t exactly a turn-on, but it does have legitimate health benefits. Ingesting the germs that live on fingernails can potentially strengthen the immune system, according to Hilary Longhurst, Ph.D., a consultant clinical immunologist at Barts Health and the London NHS Trust. Nail biting exposes your body to relatively small amounts of bacteria so that when your immune system meets them again, its already equipped with the weapons that will annihilate them.

Drinking Alcohol

Next to diet and exercise (we know, we know) the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has ID’ed moderate alcohol consumption as one of the key behaviors that can lead to a longer life. A healthy happy hour habit lowers your risk of heart disease and wards off Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses, according to the CDC’s research. Keep it to two drinks a day, though. Any more than that and you can actually reverse alcohol’s good-for-you effects.

Going on Vacation

Put those PTO days to good use. In one study of 13,000 men, researchers from the State University of New York found that taking even one vacation a year reduces your risk of dying—from pretty much anything. And when it comes to men’s No 1. killer (that would be you, heart disease), one week away annually for just five years can reduce your risk by 30 percent.

Eating Chocolate

That bottle of chocolate syrup in your fridge is good for more than making sundaes. Cacao’s flavonoids lower blood pressure, slash stress hormones, and even fire up alertness and performance by increasing blood flow to the brain and heart. One Italian study found that participants who ate dark chocolate every day for 15 days cut their risk of insulin resistance by nearly half, thanks to chocolate’s high-powered flavonols. Snack smart: Bars with at least 70 percent cacao blend the greatest amount of antioxidants with the least amount of sugar.

Having Lots of Sex

As if you really needed a reason to get it on, sex can improve your immunity, help you sleep better, and—get this—look younger. As described in his book, Superyoung: The Proven Way to Stay Young Forever, neuropsychologist David Weeks kept tabs for 10 years on thousands of men and women who looked significantly younger than their years. What did they have in common? Active sex lives. (That’s at least two to three romps per week.) Apart from the aforementioned health boosters, sex keeps you looking young by triggering the release of human growth hormone, which promotes skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles, Weeks says.

Guzzling Coffee

Perk up! People who drink four cups of coffee each day are about 10 percent less likely to get depressed, according to a 2013 study from the National Institute of Health. One possible explanation: Coffee beans are ridiculously rich in antioxidants, among them chlorogenic acid (CGA). When consumed in moderate doses, the polyphenol has a major anti-inflammatory effect and is linked with reduced blood pressure, improved insulin response, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, and even weight loss.

Getting a Massage

It does more than feel good. It does good, too. Regular Swedish massages (the ones that go deep) reduce the adrenal gland’s secretion of stress hormones, according to one recent study from researchers at Emory University School of Medicine. As those hormones are known to suppress the immune system, spur inflammation, and degrade muscle cells, getting rubdowns on the regular may combat a whole host of chronic diseases. A previous study from the same researchers found that even a single massage session is enough to bolster the immune system.

Read More http://www.details.com/blogs/daily-details/2013/10/10-vices-that-do-a-body-good.html#ixzz2jDhjGbeo

Whiskey Your Way

26 May

Now this is a post we can get behind.  No matter how many artisanal whiskeys hit the market, it seems there’s never one that matches your idea of smokey, caramel-hued perfection.  The May 2010 issue of Details Magazine (True Blood’s Stephen Moyer on the cover) asks us a very important question: why not make your own?  The Whiskey Your Way program at House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon, lets you tailor an entire barrel ?(about 100 Bottles) to your exact specifications.  And just to make sure you know what you’re doing, the process kicks off with a tasting seminar, which will help you explain to your drinking companions back home why a Port finish and Oregon oak barrels are the only way to go.

Barrel of Whiskey Your Way

From $5,400; whiskeyyourway.com


Rob Roy: A Drink You Can Depend On

25 Feb

In the March 2010 issue of Details Magazine, the one with Leonardo DiCapprio on the cover, there is an article entitled “A Drink You Can Depend On” which discusses the Rob Roy.  They say that it is a tribute to the drink, as it is one that is rarely screwed up:

Here we are, ten years into a revolution in the way America makes and drinks cocktails, and it can still be damned difficult to get a good one.  Sure, you can go to one of the new speakeasy-style boutique cocktail joints.  By now, almost every city of any size has at least one.  Your drinks will be good.  You’ll probably even meet interesting people.  But you’ll pay a lot of money for those drinks, and – the real problem – you’ll miss out on one of the greatest things a bar can offer.  Patina, let’s call it: that intangible feel of comfort and security that drinking in a place that was open for business when your grandfather was barely legal gives.  The modern speakeasies will get that one day, but if you wait for it, it’ll be a long time between drinks.

Unfortunately, the modern cocktail place can be a picky one, and in our experience most places that have been around long enough to get that patina are, let’s say, not obsessed with current trends in mixology.  In joints like that, we order a Rob Roy.  We might, all things considered, prefer a manhattan, but something has happened to manhattan-making out in the wild that has rendered it a risky choice.  You would think that two parts rye or buurbon, one part red vermouth and a couple dashes of bitters would be hard to screw up.  But most non-geek bartenders, reasoning from the dry martini, seem to believe that vermouth is toxic and use only a tiny splash, leaving you with a big glass of (often) lukewarm whiskey. (Whiskey is not gin; it needs vermouth and can stand up to it perfectly fine.) Then, realizing that this isn’t all that appetizing, they attempt to fix things by splashing in the yuck from the maraschino-cherry jar, thus compounding the error.

Rather than argue with an otherwise-wonderful bartender, we’d rather make an end run.  A Rob Roy is nothing more than a Scotch manhattan.  But that’s the last way you want to order it.  Just say “Rob Roy.”  If the bartender knows it, he’ll make it the way it is in the book.  Good.  If not, simply say, “two parts scotch, one part red vermouth, couple dashes of bitters.”  Done.  And if you are offered a cherry, decline that offer.  Twist.  Now, drink in hand, you may take the generations’ worth of crap on the walls, enjoy the story the old-timer next to you is telling, and appreciate the polka records on the jukebox.  Best of both worlds.

How to make a more interesting Rob Roy:

Mix with cracked ice:

  • 1.5 oz. of Compass Box Asyla blended Scotch (or Johnnie Walker Black)
  • 1.5 oz. of Carpano Antica vermouth
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters number 6
  • Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an imported, Luxardo-brand maraschino cherry.

12 Days of (Free) Christmas…

13 Dec

The funny thing about the recession is that every magazine on the shelves is talking about how to do everything for less.  I mean everything. I will spare you some of them, but one caught my eye and I thought that it would be worth posting.  The November 2009 issue of Men’s Health magazine, the one with Jason Bateman on the cover, has a full section on how to save money during the recession and various statistics about how spending habits are changing.  One section was titled “12 things that don’t cost a cent.”  For your pleasure, here they are…

Music – listen to full-length albums at lala.com and spinner.com.

Directory assistance – Dial (800) FREE-411 for phone numbers

Television – Hulu Desktop (hulu.com/labs/huludesktop) streams shows – 30 Rock, Lost and more – from a computer’s HDMI out port to a connected HDTV.

Brains – MIT’s OpenCourseWare portal (ocw.mit.edu) provides lecture notes, project examples, homework, and tests from real classes in 35 fields, from biology to architecture to economics.

Software – Open Office (openoffice.org) has word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs that are nearly identical in look, feel and features to Microsoft Office.

Wi-Fi – know before you go with wififreespot.com, which catalogs hotels, cafes, and shops with free web surfing in your hometown or travel destination.

Grub Reviews – your paper’s bloated dining critic is limited to one meal a night, typically at an over-hyped joint.  But chowhound.com‘s user reviews help you find authentic and downright delicious spots from diners who share your tastes and budget.

News – The Wall Street Journal charges for its online content, but if you have an iPhone, you can download its free app and enjoy the same stories at no charge.

Books – Pull up public-domain books, from Twain to Dickens to Poe, on your cellphone with Project Gutenberg’s nearly 30,000 digitized, downloadable books.

Shipping – before you check out at your favorite online store, visit freeshipping.org for coupon codes that can cover the expense of shipping.

Languages – Learn to say “Where’s the bathroom?” in 36 different languages with the BBC’s online guides.

City tours – Learn from the locals with free city tours through the Global Greeter Network (globalgreeternetwork.info), which pairs groups of visitors with knowledgeable volunteers.

Science Fiction Books – Not Just for Nerds

27 Nov

In the November 2009 issue of Details Magazine, with a fab-tastic Glambert on the cover, the “Words” section caught my eye.  The spotlight is on Brandon Sanderson, an up-and-coming author specializing in science-fiction.  Here is the excerpt:

“If the epic-fantasy genre seems suited only to people who play Magic: The Gathering and own Star Wars bedding, consider this: Robert Jordan’s unfinished Wheel of Time series has sold more than 44 million copies. That’s a lot of readers who were left on the edge of their seats when the author died in 2007—including Brandon Sanderson, the 33-year-old writer who was chosen by Jordan’s widow to complete the series using the notes her husband left behind. Today, Sanderson is releasing the first of the three concluding volumes, A Memory of Light: The Gathering Storm (Tor, $30), and is facing expectations from fans who make a tween girl’s passion for the Jonas brothers look like what it is: child’s play.”

Below are 4 additional sci-fi selections that are worth reading.  Choose to do so…if you dare.

1. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer [Little, Brown, $26] – “The literary wonderkind you love to hate puts a pomo finish on Michael Pollan in this polemic about carnivorism and food production.  Foer’s usual stylistic trickery (e.g. a Swiftian endorsement of eating dogs) doesn’t make reading about castrated piglets much more enjoyable, but maybe a subject like this shouldn’t be fun.”

2. Evening’s Empire by Zachary Lazar [Little, Brown, $25] – “In 1975, when the author was 6, the father he barely knew was shot in the head in a parking garage.  More than 30 years later, Lazar tells the haunting story of this outwardly conventional accountant’s secret life – while painting an indelible portrait of the Space-Age suburbs and an American dream built on fraud.”

3. Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith [Penguin Press, $26] – “Analyzing her father’s comedy obsession, 50 Cent’s film Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and E.M. Forster in her first collection of essays, the novelist effortlessly shifts her tone from academically stiff to whimsical.  Bits like the piece about having multiple linguistic personalities offer insight into the author and will appeal to super-fans hoping to better understand Archie Jones of White Teeth.

4. Invisible by Paul Auster [Henry Holt, $25] – “In this novel with multiple (possibly unreliable) narrators, a young poet is sucked into the orbit of an older French couple in 1967 New York, until a shocking violent act derails their association. As usual with Auster, things are more complicated than they appear, and a Russian doll-like series of tales within tales unfolds – all in the author’s crystal clear prose.”

Hard Cider: It’s Easier (To Find a Good One) Than It Sounds

27 Nov

Ask most men, and you will be told that Hard Cider is for girls.  Incorrect – the December 2009 issue of Details Magazine, the one with John Mayer on the cover, points out some good truths about hard cider.  “If you think cider comes in those six-packs you see in the Smirnoff Ice aisle of the grocery store, you’ve clearly never had the good stuff – which is quirky, elegant, and a little hard to find.  Crafted from long-forgotten apples with names like Bramtot and Nehou, in places like Austria, Spain, and Upstate New York, it combines the food-friendly refreshment of beer with the layered intensity of a top-notch bubbly. You can even serve it in a flute, if you’d like.  But guzzling it from a Mason jar while polishing off a plate of ribs is okay, too.  That’s the beauty of a first-rate cider: options.

5 Top-Notch Options:

1.  Isastegi Sagardo Naturaia (Pictured) – $10, demaisonselections.com – This classic basque cider is pungent  – right on the cusp of unlikable – and does its best work with aggressive foods such as salt cod or a rib-eye served bloody.

2.  West County Cider Refield – $13, westcountycider.com – A single-variety cider made from scarlet-fleshed redfield apples (hence the rose hue).  This Berkshire’s find makes for a smart stand-in for Prosecco or demi-sec champagne.

3.Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie 2007 – $11, bunitedint.com – This addictive French cider may smell like plain old apple juice, but one sip reveals a winey complexity that stands up to rib-sticking stews and charcuterie.

4. Farnum Hill Extra Dry – $14, farnumhillciders.com – The driest offering from a crew of New Hampshire cider wizards, this lean concoction is versatile – so you don’t have to stress about the pairing.

5. Wandering Aengus Ciderworks Semi-Dry Cider – $16, wanderingaengus.com – With its very subtle sweetness and ginger flavors, this organic cider from Oregon is great with dessert, especially pies and tarts.

The Look: Mad Men’s Don Draper

21 Nov

Want to look good?  Part of it is how you dress and part of it is how you act – or how confident you come off – in your own clothes.  Men look good in suits, but it can be a hindrance if they don’t look right on you or if you don’t feel confident in them.  In the November 2009 issue of Men’s Fitness magazine, there is an article titled “The Perfect Fit” that features mad Man’s Don Draper. “John Hamm is a modern-day style icon – even though the show is set in the 1960’s.  To help you rock the best of his classic vibe, here are tips on how to dress like Draper without looking as though you just stepped out of your father’s closet.”

Get a Custom Fit – Find a good tailor and bring in an armload of stuff from your closet. Most men buy their shirts and suits way too big. Have what you are not wearing taken in to give it new life. Then, when you are trying new items on, go for a smaller size than you normally would. You’ll end up looking leaner and the suit will feel as if it were made especially for you.

Get Your Swagger On – Once you’ve got Draper’s duds, then you need the attitude.  Use clothes to help you exude confidence. When you own your look, everyone around you knows it.

Don’t Be a Slob – Men in the 60’s didn’t wear clothing baggy.  Always opt for shirts and pants with flattering lines that contour the body.  In Don’ Draper’s world, a man should always look put-together.

Pay Attention To The Details – Accessories are the key to pulling off the Mad Men aesthetic.  Hats, tie bars, pocket squares, and watches provide a way for men who wear suits every day to show originality.  The must-have accessory is a slick pair of cuff links.

Embrace Color – The 60’s were all about rich browns, grays and blues.  Mixing those colors into your wardrobe doesn’t have to be difficult.  You probably already have them in your closet now, you just need to bring them out.  Teal and mustard yellow also capture the feel of that era.  A good move: buy a skinny tie (about 2 and a quarter inches wide) in one of those classic shades.