Death by Tomato

If you could choose how you die, would you choose death by tomato? You see, tomatoes are everywhere, so the threat is everywhere. They are in salads, hamburgers, pasta sauces, soups, and sandwiches. They are hard to avoid. For someone like me, with a severe tomato allergy, this vegetable (or fruit) is something like the plague. And for all you food allergy sufferers out there, I’m sure you know how I feel. A death by tomato is not pretty.

It’s more challenging to eat healthy.

When I try to eat healthy by ordering a salad, I find most types of salad have tomato in them. A garden salad, for example, has those deadly red bombs – I mean vegetables – in them. I could order a caesar salad, but that has a lot of cheese, which isn’t the best idea if you’re keeping your calories down. Same with soup. Most soups are tomato based, so my non-tomato-based soup choices are limited.

Most hamburgers and sandwiches have a slice of tomato in them, so either I try to eat it, or perform surgery and remove the threat. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to remove the threat from a slice of pizza unless I resort to the child-like skill of lifting up the topping and scraping off the sauce. If I want pasta or mussels with broth? I have a choice of tomato or cream. For example, a tomato-based pasta sauce with vegetables or peppers, or the fattening alfredo, three cheese, or mushroom in cream sauce.

If tomato weren’t widely available enough, someone decided to make vegetable juices, and clamato juices so that you can find tomatoes in your juice aisle and at the bar. It’s possible to get a tomato buzz with a Caesar cocktail and a double shot.

Even your food options include tomato to make your food taste better! Ketchup for your fries. Ketchup for your hot dogs, omelettes, hash browns. Just slather that deadly stuff on everything.

You might ask, if tomatoes are everywhere, then how do you avoid them? The answer follows.

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Pizzas are tasty and filling but we must not forget that tomatoes are hidden away in there.

Living with food allergies is challenging but doable.

Sometimes I succumb to the temptations of food containing tomatoes and pay the price. I enjoy pizza and hamburger. But seriously, pizza without tomato sauce is not pizza. And lasagna without the tomato sauce is not lasagna.

So I’ve learned to live with allergies. I eat the tomato, I break out in hives and eczema. My skin turns red and ugly. I become an avid user of bandaids. My skin looks terrible so I wear clothes that keep me covered up and give people the impression I lack self confidence because I wear long-sleeved, ankle-length baggy clothes. Truth is, I need to hide the scars as well as keep my clothes airy and breathable so my skin isn’t irritated or exposed to unclean surfaces. I avoid activities that aggravate my allergies, such as hot yoga, because the heat makes my skin itchy. I carry antihistamines with me at all times and got a prescription for an epi pen because on really bad days, my eyes swell shut, and on super bad days, I can feel my throat closing.

I am grateful that my allergies don’t kill me instantly. I know that there are allergy sufferers out there who will end up in hospital from coming in contact with a piece of fruit.  I also heard about a guy who had a kiwii allergy. His lips became swollen after kissing his girlfriend although he hadn’t touched kiwii. But his girlfriend had eaten kiwii for lunch.

Sometimes I wish I were allergic to chocolate. It’s not part of the essential food groups for keeping you healthy. Having a medical reason for avoiding it would be a bonus. But for some reason, tomatoes were chosen as my nemesis.

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Half of this delicious salad seems to be tomatoes!

What can tomatoes teach you about life?

First, I’ve learned that tomatoes are a popular item in our food. We really like tomatoes as an ingredient. Whole tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, crushed into paste tomatoes, and tomato juice.

Second, I’ve learned that something that is harmless and healthful to one person can be deadly to another. I have met someone who is allergic to chocolate, and I would say chocolate is found in many food items as well. On the bright side, my friend loves tomatoes, so at a barbecue, she gets my share of the tomatoes in the veggie platter.

Third, life is about adaptation. I might not be able to do hot yoga but I can always try yoga at room temperature. My skin might not be pretty, but I look for beauty elsewhere.

Do you know any allergy sufferers/ survivors? How do they cope?

 

 

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How to Deal with Your Adversary

I’ve always had some level of anxiety when dealing with conflict. Maybe you do too. I don’t relish being the centre of attention, especially that kind of attention. If there is some productive way to handle my adversaries, then I’m all for it, whether it is in my professional or personal life. Fortunately, a recent adventure in outdoor paintball gave me some valuable tips about how to deal with opponents.

If you haven’t played outdoor paintball before, it’s a series of game zones in a large, enclosed area. Each game zone has a different theme, such as Prison Break (where you negotiate your way around some buses and cars, D-Day landing (where you locate and defeat the enemy in their bunker), and Speedball (where you are protecting fuel reserves from terrorists). Your friends work as a team to battle against another team of people who have showed up to play at the same time. Some zones require more cooperation between team members than others. Oh, and you shoot the other guys using a gun loaded with colourful paint balls. The way I decided to defeat our opponent (the other team) was using the following tips.

Tip 1: Network and learn about your adversary

After arriving at the paintball location and signing a waiver, I had to get my gear on. I knew the event organizer, as well as some of the others in our party of about fifteen. I asked people in the group about how to put on the gear – some of the apparatus was intuitive, while other bits were not. Those who had played the game before had some useful advice for me while we got to know each other at base camp prior to the start of the game.

By talking to people, I learned more about the players themselves. The ones who were confident, with paintball canisters strapped and ready for quick access (like they intended to take a lot of shots), were likely to be the ones attacking the opponent. The people who said they’d never played before and were anxious for the game to start, were likely to be more on the defensive. I exchanged names with some team members I hadn’t met before: whether they’d played before, how they knew the organizer, and what sports they played when they weren’t shooting paint. The people we were playing against looked like seasoned players. No one seemed to be wondering which way a piece of equipment was supposed to be put on. That had me worried about my lifespan once I entered a game zone.

Tip 2: Make yourself some allies

I already knew what my strengths and weaknesses were for games like these: I can duck and cover, but I’m not good at shooting moving targets. Still, my video game fantasies kicked in, my imagined military skills fluttering through my mind as I hid behind a tree. Ideally, I would dart out at the opportune moment to shoot and take down the enemy one by one while under heavy fire. They would be too slow to catch me as I flew through the obstacle course to the target zone in enemy territory.

How it really played out though, was I used the camouflage of a tree. Chatting with people before the game gave me a chance to find the fearless snipers, the risk takers, and the reluctant players. I formed a kinship with one of the reluctant players. Her goal was simply to try out the games and see how she did. Our strategy was to shoot the enemy from a safe hideout and keep an eye out for each other’s backs. Having her as an ally doubled my chances of survival. I felt safe knowing she and I were in the same boat. Until she disappeared behind another tree when an opponent came close, and then I found myself surrounded by shrubbery and quite alone.

Tip 3: Share strengths to defeat the rival

My strength, as I’ve said before, is in hiding and observing. It’s not a strategy I’m proud of. Dealing with your adversaries through passive rebellion is not at all heroic. There is too much dependence on others – the ones recognized as the stars of the team. These allies of mine were the ones who took the big risks and charged, fully exposed on all sides, into enemy territory. They were the ones who claimed victory for the team, such as capturing the enemy flag.

I helped by advancing when they advanced and taking on defense. When the fearless team members launched themselves deep into enemy territory, I followed and hid behind a wall or tree trunk where I could fire at others with minimum risk to my own safety and provided them with cover fire. I also helped by donating paintballs from my supply to the risk takers. They ran out of paintballs at twice the speed that I did. My very conservative contribution benefited the team.

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Paintball game zone

Tip 4: Let your opponent see your human side

It was in the last game zone, while my team was cornered and being slaughtered, that I realized I needed tip 4. In paintball, once you are hit, you must walk out of the active game area to show that you are no longer playing. That area is marked with a ribbon that shows the boundary of the game zone. After I was hit, I and other teammates stood along the ribbon, unable to go further because there were dense shrubs behind us. We started a lineup.

Eventually the opponent team fought their way to our side of the playing field and started to shoot at us, even though we had our hands up and we weren’t firing our guns. I lay on the ground to be as small as possible but even there I was hit about seven times. It felt more of a zombie hunting game at that point, since the enemy insisted that we could come back from the dead and were fair game.

Which brings me to the next point, that when you deal with your adversary, it helps to humanize yourself. It is harder to bring down an opponent when you can see yourself in their shoes and feel what they feel. To the other team, we were just targets in masks and soldier’s gear. They couldn’t feel the relentless pain of being zapped by paintballs, of getting the bitter, medicinal tasting paint in your mouth while soaking in the heat of padded clothing. Worst of all, I still had a working paintball gun which I wasn’t firing because I was playing by the rules. At that point, the game ceased to be fun until the referee realized what was happening and rescued us by drilling the rules into the opponents’ ears: do not shoot players when they are out of the game!

Tip 5: Separate small goals from large goals

When the game ended, I was a lot more colourful than when I’d started. I didn’t make it through all of the game zones because it was just too exhausting to run around in three thick layers of clothes in warm weather. I managed to survive at least half the zones by setting small goals for myself, such as crawling to a tree while under fire, and making it from one game zone to the next. The main goal, to make it through to last game zone, I did not achieve, but many of the team didn’t either. Most were just too drenched in their own sweat. I concluded none of us would make it as true military personnel.

The most important lesson I got from the game was working together as a team to defeat a common opponent. When you have allies protecting you and supporting you, you will be a lot harder to defeat. Definitely I wouldn’t have survived as long as a team of one. This lesson was one that I could apply to a work situation or even in my personal life.

That was probably the point of the game: for all to have fun and experience an adventure with your teammates.

 

The Importance of Eye Contact

“The simple act of holding someone’s gaze … has the power to ignite or deepen a relationship.”

I’ve had my heart stolen by a man I barely knew – we had spent no more than three hours over six months talking about impersonal things – and yet, when I said goodbye that day and was walking out the door, I turned to see him gazing at me. That look was so intense, his eyes locked on mine like he wanted to kiss me, that I wanted to forget about leaving and just go back and throw my arms around him although we were near strangers.

Eye contact is captivating.

This contact is what humanizes and strengthens connections. I was once mesmerized by the incessant gaze of a seagull as it watched me watch it. I moved around in the room; the seagull paced back and forth outside on the window ledge, its eyes never leaving mine. By the time it flew away, the moment we shared was unforgettable.

It doesn’t matter whose eyes are engaging ours, whether human or animal, alive or pictorial. The contact is a way of sending a message. Researchers at Cornell University did a study on the significance of eye contact using the Trix cartoon rabbit by changing the gaze of the rabbit shown on different cereal boxes. The box that a panel of adults chose most frequently was the one with the rabbit looking directly at them, instead of away.

Eye contact makes you memorable.

The body language of the eyes can be powerful enough to make a person fall in love. A gaze can stop a person from walking out the door. Eye contact can make a moment unforgettable.

We’ve heard the saying, “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” People are more likely to believe someone is being honest when eye contact is made. We think that when we look into someone’s eyes, we can peer into their true intentions. For this reason, holding eye contact during a conversation or a presentation makes your words more memorable. The next time you are giving an important talk, hold someone’s gaze, then look away, or make a sudden hand gesture. Your words at that moment will become more solidified in that person’s mind.

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Eyes can reveal the mental state of their owner.

Eye contact can reveal the truth.

When we hold someone’s gaze, we feel that we can prevent them from deceiving us if they seem a bit shady in character. The truth, however, is that liars are better at holding eye contact than those who tell the truth, perhaps because they are aware that we think a gaze will reveal a person’s true intentions. In fact, we are better able to interpret a person’s intentions from their body language than we think.

A study on a person’s ability to read body language from the expression in their eyes only (the rest of the face was covered), revealed that men could interpret the mental state of the person 76% of the time, while women could guess the state 88% of the time. But it’s not known how we are able to deduce our conclusions from eye contact.

Eyes need to roam to gather information.

Most of us aren’t aware that we also get our information at a subconscious level. When we see someone new from a distance, our eyes go to the face, then the body, and then back to the face. The exchange of glances helps us assess how interesting we think the other person may be. The glimpse of the body tells us the sex of the person we are approaching.

Women are able to gather this information more discretely close up because of their peripheral vision. Men have tunnel vision, so it is more noticeable when they are trying to check out someone from head to toe from close up.

After a meeting, we also check out the rear view of the person as they leave. In a study of job interviews, researchers found that both men and women checked out the physical details of job interview candidates as they entered the room and when they left. Women tended to be more judgmental of the candidates’ clothes and overall appearance. Both sexes needed to give the candidates a complete once-over at the start of the interview. This is a fact to keep in mind if candidates are trying to maintain eye contact the moment they enter the room – it makes the checking out process difficult for the interviewer.

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The duration of eye contact can affect how you feel about someone.

Eyes send a clear message.

Whether or not you are thinking about the message your eyes are sending out, you should be aware that you are always transmitting something. When you hold eye contact, you are showing interest. If you are checking someone out, even subconsciously, you could be creating an awkward situation, especially if the other person is politely trying to hold a gaze. Your emotions are spelled out in your eyes, and people can read your message with over 75% accuracy. Eyes are indeed the windows into your innermost thoughts. So, hold eye contact, be confident, and be memorable!

 

 

Connecting with People in Vancouver

I’ve heard many say that it’s hard to meet people in Vancouver. Newcomers think that locals hang out with their local friends and don’t open up their social circles. Singles go online to meet hook ups, potential dates, or future spouses. People in the same office building exchange polite hellos and smiles without knowing the barest details of each other’s lives. With these habits, how does one break through these barriers to make a new friend in person? Too often it seems people become suspicious when a complete stranger wants to know more than directions to a landmark. Approach someone you don’t know to ask him or her random questions about favourite hobbies and restaurants and you’re likely to get something ranging from a strange look to questioning from police.

People don’t socialize with strangers

Busy people are everywhere. If there is a long lineup at the coffee shop, we take out our smartphones to check our friends’ status on Facebook, text a friend about weekend plans, reach the next level on a game app, or screen work emails while we stand around. There we are, multi-tasking our social and professional lives, considering ourselves efficient in our use of time. I can’t recall when someone turned to a stranger to say something other than, wow, this lineup is long.

We connect with people at events

We open ourselves up to meeting new friends only when we attend an activity or event where socializing is part of the event. For example, at a birthday party, my friend introduces me to her friend who is finally back after six years in Europe and now she’s in the same career as me so she and I should talk. Or, I join a swimming class and one of the ladies lives a block away so we decide to carpool and perhaps have dinner after class since we’re pretty much neighbours.

People have noticed that meeting people through some haphazard coincidence is unlikely. To address this situation, lifestyle coaches and other professionals hold workshops about how to meet people in Vancouver. Yes, they teach you how to do this type of social interaction.

We learn how to connect at workshops

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Vancouver event where people learn to connect with others

I think it’s ironic to sit with a table of strangers and open a conversation with, “Hello! You’re having trouble meeting people too? This problem we both have has finally connected us.”

Apparently, people are so afraid about how a stranger would react if you tried talking with them out of the blue that they’re likely to let the moment pass. So even if you think the woman at the table next to yours might be interesting to get to know as a friend, you will keep your thoughts to yourself and not say anything in case she calls you a freak.

For others, it was a lack of social skills that brought them to the workshop. The presenter taught us how to look a stranger in the eye, begin, and maintain a conversation. We had to be taught these things, because apparently it’s a skill we lack.

I spoke with a few people after the workshop finished about why they were there. They wanted to connect with others, network, and learn how they could increase their circle of friends. Most of them were single and trying to avoid meeting potential dates online. Some still believe in organically starting a relationship.

Generally, I found it easy to meet and chat with people at a How to Meet People event. I exchanged phone numbers with some ladies after a quick chat about interests and what activities we could attend together the next time we met.

Some people don’t feel the need to connect

What surprised me were the people who attended the social event and made their escape as soon as the workshop was over. I had so many questions about their purpose in attending that evening.

Did they have to run because they accidentally ate some chili peppers? Or did they simply want something to pass a couple of hours in their day? Were they learning how to connect with people so they could practice the skill on someone else? Most importantly, did they think the people from that evening were not worth connecting to? I guess I’ll never know because I didn’t speak with them.

Finding chances to connect with others

My biggest takeaway from the workshop experience was that only the brave ones are willing to ask a random person if they are enjoying the sunshine, or if they would like to join them at their table and have a chat over coffee. Trying to make friends with the person sitting next to you on the bus seems almost taboo. Perhaps our culture has to change. Perhaps people need to be friendlier. Or maybe making a new friend each day is too ambitious or unnecessary a goal for most of us. What do you think?

How to Achieve Your Goals

It’s the Energizer Bunny of entrepreneurship: the relentless thirst to network with new people and explore new ideas. The other day my need to explore led me to an event with a group of Law of Attraction people. I’d heard of the concept, and was interested in seeing how it compared to the entrepreneur mentality of SMART goals and the 5 Second Rule.

The question I wanted answered was: which method is more likely to get me what I want?

How Law Of Attraction gets you to your goal

“Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on.”

The Law of Attraction (LOA) is about the power of our mind to take our thoughts and turn them into our reality. In other words, what you send out is what you get back. It is something you can use in your everyday life to achieve small to large goals. The important concept to remember with LOA is that you should send out positive thoughts, not negative ones. It also means that the only limit is you. If you feel that you don’t deserve to receive something, then you won’t. You set your own limitations.

At the LOA event I attended, a woman shared her story among a group of ten people who believed and studied LOA. From their conversations, I could tell they knew each other well and were very supportive of each other.

The woman had been looking for a condo in Vancouver, and she had some specifications in mind for room sizes, kitchen arrangement, and location. At a time when affordability is a huge issue for buying homes, she decided that money would be no object and she would pay cash for the place. At first, I assumed she was a millionaire, or someone well connected, when she said that she was willing to pay two million all in one shot, no mortgage, for her new home.

She said that LOA would get her this home she envisioned because you don’t limit yourself. You find the home first, and then somehow, the financing comes later by borrowing from other sources – whatever it takes. In the end, two million would appear, if necessary, so she could get her dream condo without being slave to a mortgage. Her listeners were riveted to their seats, so I assumed they were wondering like I was how she could come up with the funding in a short time.

She was reviewing the strata minutes in the final stages of the purchase when the story took an interesting turn. One line in the strata minutes was a deal breaker: she couldn’t have a bird feeder. That was her disappointment.

What I learned from the Law of Attraction meeting was that positive thinking can get you in the direction of what you want. In the end, it wasn’t necessary to make two million dollars materialize in a matter of days. But one woman was able to find a condo she liked, and until the end, she remained positive about being able to get her financing.

How S.M.A.R.T. gets you to your goal

Positive thinking holds much power over our ability to achieve what we want. We need to believe our goals are attainable, and that with some effort, we will get where we want if we have a clear vision of where we are going. Motivational speaker and life coach Tony Robbins says, “Goals are dreams with a deadline.”

If you know your WHY – your reason – for setting your goals, then you will have a clearer plan for achieving them because you have a sharper focus. You also need to set up ways to make sure you’re able to evaluate your progress. One way is with S.M.A.R.T. goals.

First, you will need to be specific. Know what you want to accomplish, who and what is involved in your plan, and what limitations you may have. Second, your goals need to be measurable so you can assess your progress in getting where you want to go. Third, check that your goal is achievable. You may not be able to decide if someone wants to buy your product, for example. But you can control how you market and price it. Next, ask yourself if your goal is relevant. For example, you might not want to go on your road trip of a lifetime if you’ve just purchased a set of new furniture. Lastly, your goal must be time-bound. Having a target date makes it easier to prioritize everyday tasks with tasks due three days from now, or three months from now.

Having this plan will keep you on track. You may need to re-evaluate your plan from time to time to ensure that it is still relevant. For example, you may change your deadline to finish renovations when some supplies are temporarily out of stock. Regardless, taking action is crucial to getting you closer to what you want.

The 5 Second Rule is useful for completing tasks and taking action. Its premise is simple: Don’t think. Just go and do it.

I was with some business partners in Las Vegas when we set up a challenge for ourselves using the five second 5-4-3-2-1 Go! rule. Sometimes it is too easy to spend too much time thinking while your doubts and fears start chewing away at you. You will second guess yourself and your ability to achieve goals. Instead, you give yourself five seconds, count them down, and then you Go Do It.

As we walked along the Vegas strip, one of us started to dare the others to do different tasks, like pose for a photo, walk into a store, or go jump in the water fountain. Unlike the other mundane challenges, jumping into water would attract some public attention, so I looked at the others in eager anticipation. After the five-second countdown, I waited  for a splash, but there was only the hum of city traffic. I suppose the brain still overrules some impulse decisions.

The common formula between both approaches

Both the Law of Attraction and entrepreneur mentality have something in common: being focused on a goal and not giving up until you achieve that goal. The more clearly you can visualize where you are going, the more likely you will get what you want.

Both approaches avoid statements such as, “I could never…” or “I won’t.” Setting up limitations in the mind already defines boundaries for what you are able to do. One must also not let doubt creep in and weigh your belief in yourself.

No matter which approach you use, it is important to remain steadfast in your determination that you can get what you want.

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Keep a sharp focus on your goals

 

Teas and Their Health Benefits

In the city of Vancouver alone, the number of places where you can sit and have a cup of tea must be in the hundreds. Within a couple of blocks downtown, you will encounter more than one shop with its choice of teas, such as Starbucks, Blenz, and Waves, just to name a few. If you aren’t looking to hold a hot cup of tea in your hand, you can also visit a store, such as David’s Tea, to purchase looseleaf teas as a gift. With over 3,000 varieties of tea, it shouldn’t be too surprising that it is the most consumed beverage in the world second to water.

Tea can be divided into four basic categories: black, oolong, green, and white. These are classified according to processing, growing conditions, and geography. Some people drink tea for a caffeine kick, while others drink it for its calming effects and its multitude of health benefits. I like having all four types of tea, but the one I choose depends on the benefits and taste that I’m in the mood for.

Black Tea

Black tea, contrary to its name, isn’t black, but is stronger in flavour than the other teas and has the highest caffeine content. This tea is one of the most popular types in the world, particularly in Europe and North America. Boiling this type of tea at high temperatures will release polyphenols – antioxidants – and might help in the prevention of cancers such as prostate and ovarian cancer. There are studies that drinking black tea can reduce the risk of stroke, prevent type 2 diabetes, and help improve gut health. The tannins are beneficial for a healthy digestive tract. They also strengthen the immune system. Another ingredient in black tea, L-theanine,  has calming qualities that help you to relax and concentrate better. To maximize the benefit of antioxidants, it is recommended to avoid adding milk or sugar.pexels-photo-230477

Green Tea

Together with black tea, green tea is one of the most popular types of tea in the world, especially in Eastern Hemisphere countries such as China and Japan. This tea is loaded with antioxidants, which prevent free radicals from causing damage through aging and diseases. It has a history of medicinal uses in Asia because of its fermentation process, which allows it to retain much of its antioxidants. One type of antioxidant, EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), gives green tea its medicinal properties. It contains caffeine and L-theanine, which improve brain function and give a mild alertness buzz. By increasing metabolic rate, it also helps to  burn fat. Green tea can also help to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Green tea can also help protect against neurodegenerative diseases, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The catechins in green tea can kill bacteria and reduce risk of infection. Further, there are studies that applying green tea leaves topically can reduce the effects of sun damage because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.

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Oolong Tea

Having the combined qualities of black and green tea, oolong tea offers the health benefits of both. The polyphenol compound in oolong tea may help with weight management by preventing enzymes from building fat. It also helps in the fight against free radicals, resulting in controlling diabetes, strengthening bones, and reducing cancer risk. It also promotes healthy skin, benefiting those with skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis by suppressing allergic reactions. The anti-oxidants slow the aging process and help with reducing hair loss if you make a tea rinse from the leaves.

White Tea

Like the other tea varieties, white tea contains antioxidants, but in comparison, it has several times as many antioxidants as green and black tea. The level of tannins and theaflavins (TFs) in comparison are lower in this type of tea. The TFs give the tea its sweeter flavour. White tea is less processed than the others, but provides similar benefits. It can reduce the risk of premature aging, as well as repair against skin damage from ultraviolet light. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce skin conditions such as eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, and wounds. It may be helpful in preventing some types of cancer, such as lung cancer and prostate cancer. Flavonoids found in the tea help to decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has antibacterial properties which make it a useful remedy for the flu and common cold.

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Health benefits and cautions

Tea can be served hot or cold, no matter what the season. You can enjoy a cup of hot tea by the fire during a winter night. Or sip a glass of ice tea on a sizzling summer afternoon. The many benefits of tea make it a strong beverage choice. However, there are also a few cautions to heed when having this drink.

Teas contain antioxidants, which are beneficial for your health, but the flavonoids can prevent you from absorbing the iron found in plant foods. For this reason, tea should be drunk between meals to reap its benefits and avoid some of the disadvantages.

Some people choose tea for the caffeine boost that is 50 percent less than that of coffee. Caffeine can give some people the jitters, which increases nervousness. One drink that I have instead of tea is Rev3 Energy because it has long-lasting energy, containing the caffeine from green and white tea, but low-glycemic. Tea is low in calories, unless you mix a lot of sugar in with your drink.

Studies are still being conducted to verify or dispute the many health benefits of tea. Overall, many experts agree that the antioxidative properties in tea are a boost to our health. For this reason, you will continue to find me and so many others sipping a cup of tea at different times of the year.

How to Find Your Soulmate

The weather has warmed up for summer, and you’re craving a partner for trips and outdoor activities. You could attend a spring singles mixer in the hopes of finding that special someone. I went to such an event, lured by the promise of hundreds of singles in a wide age range.

The place was crowded and the music was booming when I got there. I was handed a number, a paper with questions, and a matchbox that would lead me to my counterpart. As I caught up with my girlfriend, I saw glimpses of men, some strikingly good looking, others more forgettable. So the adventure began, with the goal of finding my special match by the end of the night.

Step 1: Leave Your Comfort Zone

To find my soulmate, I had to be willing to try out new places and activities. If I hadn’t found him yet, there was the possibility that he wasn’t where I normally frequented. Time to change my routine. This night was unusual for me. Having a number stuck on my arm, like I was an item at the auction house was atypical also.

When I walked into the room, I reminded myself to check off all the pointers on that mental list for making myself more noticeable. Look confident. Check. Meet guys with solid eye contact. Check. Smile. Appear as if searching a crowd of singles for right match was a totally normal activity. Check and check.

Step 2: Engage in Conversation

We were given a piece of paper with statements in a grid pattern, like a game of Bingo. The purpose was to approach guys and ask them questions from the paper. For example, I had to find someone who owned a truck. If the guy I spoke to owned a truck, then he would sign his name in that square. When I filled all the squares with names, I could enter my paper in a draw for a prize.

The benefit of this set up is that shyer folk would have a purpose for approaching a complete stranger and speaking with them. The questions could begin a conversation, or, if the conversation fell flat, you had a reason to move on and ask another guy another question from the paper.

The disadvantage of this set up is that more outgoing folk had to ask questions about things that weren’t relevant to my interests. In the spirit of completing the questionnaire, I had to find a guy who liked the colour pink, and another guy who used to wear braces.

I can hold my own in a conversation with a stranger, and I would have preferred the chance to just mingle and ask questions about what I really wanted to know, such as what brought him to this event. Or whether he was there as a wingman for a friend. And if there was one thing he could change about the world, what would it be. The writer in me wanted to feast on these insightful bits of information.

The most important tip for getting to know someone, though, is picking the right venue. The music was blasting into our ears, dampening the atmosphere for mingling. I spent the next few hours yelling at people, or screaming into their ears.

I would rather have gone on a coffee date in a quieter place. If the chemistry is right, no conversation is ever dull.

Step 3: Look for Common Goals and Interests

At the singles mixer, we were each given a match box. When I slid the box open, the word handwritten inside was WEALTH. A guy in the crowd supposedly had the matching word. Someone, maybe, who shared my dream of having a successful side business that would allow for early retirement.

I wondered what he looked like. I dreaded that he would turn out to be a much older man who would converse about politics until I drowned in the words. Or that he would turn out to be the younger man who was ambitiously drinking several bottles of beer at once. A few guys looked at my Wealth box, and said, I wish I had that, and showed me their box with the mismatched word. But all night long, my box’s mate never appeared.

At least I could still dream, and consider it a metaphor for my life – I was still searching for this soulmate who would say the magic words: We share the same dream.

Step 4: Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In

My girlfriend was disappointed in the mixer and returned to her previous belief that she’d met so many guys – none were The One. If he hadn’t appeared in her life by now, he wasn’t going to. There was someone in her life at the moment – they fought a lot – but she thought  he was okay and she was pushing him to discuss having a common-law relationship. I really hope that she won’t settle.

My soulmate wasn’t at the singles mixer. I laughed, thinking that maybe he’d gone to another event, hoping to meet me there. One of these days, we would cross paths if we continue to do the things that interest us. Just not that day. After I returned home, I placed the matchbox on my kitchen counter. It’s a beacon for The One.

Healthy Mind and Body, Wealthy Life