Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Eggs: Should you eat the Yolk?

Egg Yolks, the colored part of the egg, have gotten a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol.  As a result, many people prefer to eat eggs without the yolk.  Studies in the past few years have shown us a different picture.

A 2012 University of Connecticut study had volunteers consume 3 whole eggs a day or 3 egg whites a day for three months.  Both groups experienced drops in bad cholesterol (LDL).  But, those who ate the whole eggs saw a bigger increase in their good cholesterol (HDL).  

Maria Fernandez, author of the study, says "Egg yolks seem to increase the amount of cholesterol delivered to the liver for removal from the body."  So even though egg yolks have cholesterol in them, they help remove more of the bad cholesterol from your body.  

In conclusion, Egg Yolks are not as bad as people thought.  I recommend eating them because not only do they lower your cholesterol, but you already paid for the egg so you might as well eat the whole thing.  Whether runny, firm, or hard boiled, experiment with egg yolks to find which consistency tastes the best for you.

Source: Special Men's Health EAT Edition 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Three Ways to Increase Your Metabolism

Now that the Holidays are winding down, most of us are putting our clothes on in the morning and wondering "Is it just me, or did this get tighter?"  Here are three ways that you can increase your Metabolism, which will increase the amount of calories you burn each day.

1. Strength Training:  Strength training doesn't have to mean lifting weights, it can also mean body weight exercises as well.  Exercising helps you burn calories and build muscle.  Each pound of muscle you gain burns an addition 14 calories a day.

2. Eat More Protein: Protein uses 20%-30% of it's calories in order to be digested, compared with 5%-15% for Carbohydrates.  The best type of protein are found in dairy products, eggs, meat, and fish.

3. Drink Green Tea: Green Tea contains a compound called ECGC, which has been proven to increase fat burning.  Drink 2-3 cups a day to reap the maximum benefits.  Note: Decaf tea doesn't work.

Source: Women's Health Magazine

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Magical Brazil Nut

We have all tried peanuts, cashews, and almonds before.  But there is a new type of Nut that has been getting attention lately: Brazil Nuts.

Brazil Nuts have a rich creamy flavor.  But more importantly are the health benefits.  Brazil Nuts are the richest known food source of selenium.  Eating just two of the nuts provides you with more than a day's worth of the mineral.

Selenium plays a role in keeping your metabolism and immune system running smoothly.  In addition, it helps your body absorb Vitamin E, which can help prevent cataracts.  In addition to Selenium, Brazil Nuts are a great source of copper, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.

Although Brazil Nuts are more expensive than regular nuts, the health benefits it provides are worth the cost.  A 2 pound bag can be purchased on Amazon for $18, the link is below the picture.

Source: Eat This Not That Fall 2015 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

5 Ways to Shop Smarter in a Supermarket

Have you ever gone to the Supermarket to pick up a carton of milk and end up leaving with two grocery bags full of goods?  I know I have.  While buying unintentional things may be satisfying, the extra items take up space in your home, not to mention cost extra money you did not plan on spending that day.  Here are 5 Ways to Shop Smarter, and spend less money, in a Supermarket:

1. Pay in Cash instead of using a Card

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research tracked the grocery-shopping habits of 1000 houses over a six month period.  The study found that shoppers who paid with a credit card spent 59%-78% more on their grocery bills than shoppers who paid with cash.

2. Snack before you Shop

This is a rule I should follow more often.  When you are hungry, everything looks good.  There have been times where I have been mindlessly grabbing food and putting it into my cart.  Eating something, even if it's just a piece of fruit or granola bar, will temporarily take the hunger away from you so you can focus on what you went to the Supermarket for.

3. Shop on Weekday Nights

Most people, including myself, shop on the Weekends.  If it's possible, consider going on a Weeknight instead.  There will be less people around, which means you will be able to get in and out of the aisles faster.  According to Progressive Grocer, only 11% of Americans shop on Wednesdays.  But the other days of the workweek are also effective.

4. Have a Grocery List

This may seem obvious, but having a grocery list can help keep you focused on why you are at the Supermarket and what you Need to buy.  Nowadays with our smartphones, you can just write your grocery list on a Note or Memo, so there is no "I forgot my Grocery list at home" excuse anymore.

5. Beware of Samples

We have all been there.  You are just strolling through the store when you come across a table with an employee behind it, advertising a new product and offering a free sample of it.  "It's free.  What do I have to lose?" you think.  You try the free sample, and unsurprisingly, it's delicious.  The employee mentions how the store is running a sweet deal this week only on the product, and entices you to buy it.  Only when you get home do you realize that you now have 3 Family Size bag of Chips, with the expiration date a month away.

Moral of the Story: In store samples are marketing tactics designed to get you to purchase their product.  The smell of fresh food and drink, along with a special promotional price, is effective at  encouraging you to buy the product.  Proceed with caution.

Source: Eat This Not That Magazine Spring 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

CounterStrike: Source

Counter Strike is one of the most popular FPS games of all time.  First released in 1999, it quickly became a hit amongst the competitive gaming industry.  Fast forward to 2004, when CounterStrike: Source came out.  CounterStrike: Source took the original CounterStrike and graphically updated it so it would look a lot cleaner.  Though there is much debate over this topic, Source is my favorite CounterStrike game.

In CounterStrike, there are 2 teams: Terrorists (T's), and Counter-terrorists (CT's).  The objective of the game was to accomplish the objective in the map.  There were three main objectives:

1. Bomb Maps: The Terrorists must plant a bomb in a designated location, and defend it until it explodes.  The Counter-Terrorists must defuse the bomb before it goes off.

2. Hostage Maps: The Counter-Terrorists must locate and rescue a group of hostages that are being held by the terrorists.  The Terrorists must prevent the hostages from reaching the rescue point.

Winning by killing the other team

3. Other: Eliminate the opposing team before they kill you

In Bomb and Hostage maps, winning can also be achieved by killing the entire enemy team.


I first played CounterStrike Source at my friend's house.  I would go over his house on the weekends, and we would play CounterStrike.  Because he only had one computer, we would have to take turns.  But I had fun spectating the game aswell.  The map we used to play a lot was called fy_simpsons.  The map is really small, and is perfect for fast rounds. 
fy_simpsons: One of my favorite maps.

*Note: All of the following screenshots were taken by me*

A Player Created Map based off of Pac-Man

My favorite part of CounterStrike was the Player Modded maps.  Players who knew how to code could create their own maps that people could play on.  The only limitation was a person's imagination, or their programming skill.  One of the more memorable Player Modded maps I have played on is called de_thematrix.  This map was a re-creation of the Matrix, and contained many elements from the Matrix Movies (ex: The Dojo, White Room, Telephone).

A Player Created map with Tron bikes.

widow: Always at the top of the leaderboards

One of the best parts of playing CounterStrike is developing Rivalries with other players.  I have spent over 1000 hours playing CounterStrike.  Having played against thousands of people, the best player I have faced is this guy named widow.  Widow is a retired CounterStrike professional player, which would help explain why he's go good at the game.  We used to play on the same server together.  The map was always cs_office.  I have played over 10,000 rounds on that map, and I know all the hiding spots and where the enemy will be.  But, I still couldn't Widow. Everytime I would run into him, I would press my mouse to fire my gun, but he would always kill me first.  It was a very frustrating experience.  But, it was also very rewarding when I finally did kill him.

I killed widow!

There was this other server I liked to play a lot.  What made this server special was that it was a Bot server.  Humans on one team.  Bots on the other.  While this may seem easy, it wasn't.  If the humans started winning, the Bots got harder.  It was not uncommon to be facing Bots with over 200 Health!  This made it an added challenge where you really had to be smart and use teamwork in order to succeed.

A line of Bots all sufferring the same fate: Death.

My score of 32-4 on the Bot Server. 
After years of playing, I eventually formed a clan with a few of my friends.  The clan was called GAUSS, and we were mainly a casual CounterStrike clan.  The purpose of the clan was so we could play together and develop teamwork and different strategies.  We would communicate through Skype, so we would be able to hear each other while playing.  This made it more effective when relaying enemy location points to each other.  Playing with friends was a great part of playing CounterStrike, and motivated you to perform better and improve your skills.

Me and my Friend representing GAUSS Clan
Our scores after A nice clan scrimmage

At the height of its Popularity, CounterStrike Source was an amazing game.  It was a classic FPS game with no gimmicks.  There was no regenerating health like in Call of Duty, no shield like in Halo.  It was a game of skill and mastery.  Play enough, memorize the maps, and you will do well. 

de_dust2, one of the most popular maps in CounterStrike

Nowadays, CounterStrike Source has died down.  This is due to a new game called CounterStrike: Global Offensive, that came out in 2013.  Most of the players switched to Global Offensive, leaving Source quieter than ever.  I tried Global Offensive, but I just couldn't get used to it.  Source was better in almost every way to me.  I still play Source, but there are a lot less servers to choose from nowadays.  Before, it was "Wow, there's so many choices!  Which server should I join?"  Now, it's "Which servers have people playing in them?"

One of the servers I play on these days: Old Drunk Men

But I will never forget those days, playing CounterStrike Source with my friend, facing off against people like widow, and dying and dying again.  The thing was: I kept dying against him, but I kept coming back for more.  You know a game is good when you keep losing but keep coming back for a second shot, a chance to die a more honorable death.