Monthly Archives: January 2011

5 Unexpected Foods That Prevent Insomnia and 5 Foods That Promote It

Written by Sara Novak

You’ve heard it a thousand times: if you want to fall asleep you have to give up caffeine. So you’ve done that and you still can’t seem to sleep through the night. Well, your diet has a huge bearing on the way you feel especially if a sleep deficiency has become a part of your life. Choose foods that promote sleep rather than keeping you up all night.

5 Foods To Prevent Insomnia:

1. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium which serves to calm the body down. Magnesium helps to relieve the stress that can keep us up all night. Just 1 oz. of pumpkin seeds has 151 mg of magnesium, making it one of the most magnesium-rich foods out there.

2. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese health nutrition photo

Photo: Thinkstock

Cottage cheese contains tryptophan, a sleep inducing amino acid that relaxes the entire body and mind. If you don’t do dairy you can also find tryptophan in soy milk, tofu, hummus, and lentils.

3. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are rich in trytophan but they’re also high in carbohydrates with a medium protein content, perfect for before bedtime.

4. Brown Rice

brown rice health nutrition photo

Photo: Eising

Whole unrefined grains like brown rice have a calming effect on the mind. They soothe the nervous system so that the mind stops moving a mile a minute and you can fall asleep. Also consider oats for a similar effect.

5. Spinach

Chlorophyll-rich foods like spinach help you get to sleep. Spinach, like pumpkin seeds, is also loaded with magnesium, which calms and de-stresses the entire body.

5 Foods that Promote Insomnia

1. Refined Carbohydrates

refined sugar nutrition health photo

Photo: Thinkstock

These drain the body of vitamin B, which the body needs to release serotonin. When the body can’t get enough serotonin, tension, fear, and depression can keep you up all night.

2. MSG

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), often found in Chinese food, causes a stimulant reaction in some people. MSG is almost always found in processed, prepared, and packaged foods. Here’s a list of surprising places that MSG hides.

3. Bacon

bacon photo

Photo: Jupiterimages

Bacon contains tyramine, which increases the release of norepinephrine, a brain stimulant that keeps you up. Others foods that contain tyramine include chocolate, eggplant, ham, potatoes, sauerkraut, sugar, sausage, tomatoes, and wine.

4. Alcohol

While many of us drink to relax the body and mind, the fact of the matter is that wine, beer, and spirits can keep you up at night. This is especially true if you drink more than one. While alcohol can make you tired in the short run, you’re likely to awaken in the middle of the night.

5. Chocolate

chocolate organic desserts fair trade photo

Photo: Jupiterimages

Chocolate can elevate your energy levels with bioactive compounds like tyramine and phenylethylamine. Chocolate also contains sugar which wakes you up as well as the other obvious culprit, caffeine.

Beyond your diet, yoga is another great way to help you sleep. Here are some yoga and meditation practices to keep you calm and collected.

Bonus:

5 Things We Learned From Pac-Man

Written by Aaron Matteson

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Pac-Man: a little yellow poltergeist magnet.

?Pac-Man is one of the founding fathers of gaming.  He is to the arcade experience what Benjamin Franklin is to the American experiment, except Pac-Man ate more cherries in his day and Ben Franklin loved hookers more.  At the time when it was released, most games were about either low-res paddle sport simulation or killing aliens —Pac-Man invented an entirely new genre, one based around pellet consumption in a haunted maze.

That’s all well and good, but what did it teach us?  We learned a lot of stuff from Ben Franklin, like the fact that if you’re going to fly a kite, it’s cooler to attach something metallic to the string and do it in a thunderstorm.  Did Pac-Man teach us anything remotely as important?

1.) Waste not, want not.

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Pac-Man doesn’t waste perfectly good pellets just because they’re in a labyrinth full of hell-spawn.

?You would think that Pac-Man might be inclined to maybe go to his house and order a pizza.  He’s obviously hungry.  He’s aware of the fact that several ghosts are trying to disintegrate him.  Why not sprinkle holy water around the edges of your living room, call Domino’s and watch some Dexter, Pac-Man?

But the thing about Pac-Man is, he hates waste.  Even with four malicious apparitions hot on his trail, Pac-Man can’t stand the thought of all those delicious pellets going to waste, even if they are scattered around a maze.  So he won’t leave each level, no matter how nauseatingly packed his little yellow stomach is with pellets, until he eats every last god damn one.

While it puts him in perpetual danger, it’s a noble instinct.  Don’t let resources go to waste; if you do, then the ghosts win.

2.) Be wary of the supernatural.

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When you die, if you have sinned venially but not mortally, you become one of these.

?Our little round protagonist has done something awful to upset the next world.  Perhaps Pac-Man bought a copy of the Necronomicon and accidentally recalled the colorful ghosts of four serial murderers to earth.  Or maybe, in a shocking act of disrespect, Pac-Man built his patented maze / pellet shop on top of Indian burial grounds.  Whatever the reason, the beings that inhabit the next world seem pretty pissed.

So even if you’re not superstitious, why tempt fate?  Better safe than sorry.

3.) Don’t do too much hard work without taking a breather.

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This cutscene furthers the plot by depicting a comically large Pac-Man.

?According to our sources, Pac-Man was the first game to feature cutscenes — in the form of the brief, unplayable moments between levels where Pac-Man and the ghosts have awkward interactions.  It pioneered the use of small breaks between sections of intense, stressful gameplay that would later grow into epic, cinematic lumps of exposition.  While the cutscene is sometimes criticized as a convention for taking players out of the experience of gaming, one has to admit that sometimes they can be quite relieving, especially if you’ve been frantically running from ghosts for the past twenty minutes.

4.) You can face your fears.

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?Say what you will about Pac-Man.  Sure, he’s kind of a weird little guy.  His complexion indicates that perhaps he has an untreated jaundice infection.  And he clearly has some type of eating disorder.

But we have to give it to him, the little yellow ball has balls.

How many people can say that with a little nutritional supplement, they overcame their biggest fear and faced the menace that was haunting them?  And won?  Not many.  But Pac-Man, after a little encouragement from a bigger-than-usual pellet, does that exactly — he confronts the demons who are harassing him and sends them back to the little box from whence they came.  It’s a cathartic, proud moment, that gives us all hope that if we eat right and stay focused, we can all reclaim the maze of our lives from the ghosts of unhappiness.

Of course, the ghosts are only banished back to the center box momentarily, and so Pac-Man is ostensibly locked in an eternal, Sisyphus-like struggle with his demons.  But why focus on that?

5.) When you see true love, recognize it.

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If you are a heterosexual male small yellow sphere who eats pellets and hates fucking ghosts, and you meet a female (see the bow?) small yellow sphere who eats pellets and also has a major problem with ghosts, ask her out for the love of god.  Most potential girlfriends are going to be turned off by your Humpty-Dumpty physique and the fact that all you ever talk about are how shitty ghosts are and how awesome it is to eat pellets.

Bonus:She made this in 1996 but refuses to wear it in public because it’s “too nerdy”… Let’s set her straight!

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10 Common First-Aid Myths and Mistakes

Written by Polly Turner

Picture this: You’re walking through the woods behind your house and are bitten by a rattlesnake. What would you do?

John Wayne probably would have pulled out his penknife, sliced the bite wound, sucked out the venom, and tied on a tourniquet. But that’s the wrong approach for anyone except a silver-screen cowboy.

1. Myth: Cut a snakebite

“The safest thing to do for snakebite is just splint the limb and go to the hospital,” says Christopher P. Holstege, M.D., an emergency medicine doctor and toxicology expert. “Cutting the bite wound could sever tendons, nerves or arteries or increase the risk of infection, and tourniquets are risky,” Dr. Holstege explains.

Dr. Holstege recommends the right approaches for the following first-aid myths.

2. Myth: Put butter on a burn.

Reality: If you apply butter or another substance to a serious burn, you could make it difficult for a doctor to treat the burn later and increase risk of infection.

The right approach: “It’s usually OK to cool the burn with cool water, but burns with significant blistering need to be seen at a health-care facility,” says Dr. Holstege. Keep the burn clean and loosely covered. Don’t pop the blisters.

3. Myth: Keep syrup of ipecac on hand in case of an accidental poisoning.

Reality: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other experts no longer recommend using syrup of ipecac. The AAP says there’s no evidence that vomiting helps children who have swallowed something poisonous. Most emergency medical facilities have switched to activated charcoal, which binds with the poison in the stomach and prevents it from entering the bloodstream.

The right approach: Throw out any syrup of ipecac that you have at home. If an accidental poisoning occurs, immediately call your doctor or a poison-control center for advice.

4. Myth: Apply a tourniquet to a bleeding extremity.

Reality: When severe bleeding occurs, some people mistakenly tie a belt or shoestring around the limb above the wound to slow the flow of blood. But doing so can cause permanent tissue damage.

The right approach: Pad the wound with layers of sterile gauze or cloth, apply direct pressure, and wrap the wound securely. Seek medical help if the bleeding doesn’t stop or if the wound is gaping, dirty, or caused by an animal bite.

5. Myth: Apply heat to a sprain, strain, or fracture.

Reality: Heat gives the opposite of the desired effect—it promotes swelling and can keep the injury from healing as quickly as it could.

The right approach: Apply ice wrapped in a cloth or something else to keep it from having direct contact with the skin, alternating 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off for the first 24 to 48 hours.

6. Myth: You should move someone injured in a car accident.

Reality: A person with a spinal-cord injury won’t necessarily appear badly injured, but pulling him or her out of a vehicle—even removing the helmet from an injured motorcyclist—could lead to paralysis or death.

The right approach: If the vehicle isn’t threatened by fire or another serious hazard, it’s best to leave the person in place until paramedics arrive.

7. Myth: Rub your eye when you get a foreign substance in it.

Reality: Doing so could cause a serious tear or abrasion.

The right approach: Rinse the eye with tap water.

8. Myth: Use hot water to thaw a cold extremity. Hands and feet go numb when they get too cold, in which case many people try to warm them up by putting them under hot water.

Reality: Hot water can cause further damage.

The right approach: Use lukewarm water only, or use dry heat.

9. Myth: Sponge on rubbing alcohol to reduce a fever.

Reality: In children, the alcohol vapor is absorbed from the lungs. Children are sensitive to very small amounts of alcohol.

The right approach: “Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen,” says Dr. Holstege. “If a fever is very high, have it checked by a physician or treated in a hospital emergency room.”

10. Myth: It’s OK to treat at home an allergic response to a bee sting.

Reality: Delaying professional treatment could be fatal.

The right approach: For symptoms such as breathing problems, tight throat, or swollen tongue, call for an ambulance immediately.

The Short and Sweet Guide to Being Fucking Awesome

Written by inoveryourhead

uJKji.jpgPeople will tell you that there are all kinds of yardsticks to measure progress.

What they don’t say is that most of them are worthless.

Money, career, fame…whatever. That’s all fine and good, but the bottom line is that there is one thing– just one– that really matters.

Being fucking awesome.

You can be broke and be awesome. You can be in a wheelchair and be awesome. You can be homeless and be awesome. You can even be dead and be awesome.

You want a purpose to your life? I got one for ya.

From this day forth, your purpose is to be the most fucking awesome person you can imagine being.

Quick story: in my early 20s I used to hang out with piercers and tattoo artists a lot. It was the 90s, and a bunch of us were getting crazy parts of their bodies pierced.

One day I walked up to my piercer friend, Azl, who was pretty much covered with tattoos. Incidentally, he’s now an amazing poker player with a huge backpiece of a king of diamonds (with an axe in his head). Epic.

Anyway, I walk up to him one day in the studio and I ask: “What is it like to look down at your arms and know that all these tattoos are yours– that this is what your arms look like?”

Pausing for a moment for dramatic effect, he answered: “Julien, It is fucking awesome,” and smiled widely.

That’s pretty much it right there.

What kind of friends do you want to have?

What kind of job do you want?

What kind of life do you want to have?

The answer to all of these is simple: you want friends, work, and everything else to be awesome. The more your life is awesome, the better everything is, and the happier you are, whoo!

Seriously, being awesome should be a fucking religion.

There are three– count ‘em, three– standards for awesome. Here they are, in no particular order of bigness.

1. Yourself

I was thinking about this yesterday while I was taking a break from exploringthis town in Malaysia where I am right now. I sat down and “counted my blessings” or whatever. Here’s some of what I came up with.

  • I have an amazing, supportive girlfriend who also happens to be gorgeous.
  • I have great friends– the same people I’ve known for close to 20 years, and I meet great new people all the time.
  • I co-wrote a bestselling book and am working on another.
  • Etc.

If you put this in the context of my 24 year old self, who worked in a call centre, finished at 2am and walked home in the snow, was pretty heavily in debt, and ate nothing but bread and hummus (not kidding), then you realize that pretty much anyone can become more awesome. This means you.

But wait, there’s more! What’s great about the world of awesome is that it’s totally subjective. You don’t have to care about the ways I do it, and I don’t have to like yours. The main judge is yourself, and whether you like yourself more than you did yesterday or last year.

If you do, congratulations! You are becoming, or already are, awesome. But here’s the clincher.

This is only true if you are honest with yourself.

There are a lot of people (people in public relations, or something) who claim that maybe their job is awesome. Or maybe guys that make a lot of money and think that they can be in on this love-fest too. Wrong.

Doing something prestigious does not equal being awesome. In other words, awesome does not look the same close-up as it does from far away. Which brings us to the next point.

2. Your friends/peers

Who are the people that you care about, and that you work with? For me, that’s people like my family, my close friends, my girlfriend, and people I respect in this industry we call the internet.

People who know you are a great judge of whether or not you are awesome, and also, how to become more awesome. But again, only the people who are willing to tell you the truth.

Yesterday, for example, I got a Facebook message from my friend Jason telling me that Snooki, of Jersey Shore fame, is now a New York Times bestselling author. The kind of person that does this is the kind of person you should be counting on; ie, people that keep you grounded.

So one of the litmus tests for whether you are awesome is the people around you who don’t believe the hype. Hey, speaking of hype, could you tweet out this post right now? Click the button below.

Your peers, btw, can see things you definitely can’t, or won’t. You’re too used to yourself– this is why you think you’re handsome and that your beer belly “doesn’t look that bad.” (Neither of which have anything to do with being awesome, but you get my point.) Other people will always see you better than you can see yourself.

Do you have people around you that you can count on? Then I suggest you go ask them. Find the most awesome people you know and ask them how.

Optionally, ask Twitter. Seriously. A first impression is often just as good as someone who’s known you your whole life (speaking of which, don’t ask your mom).

If you speak to a bunch of people, and they all think you’re great, super!You might be awesome. But, then again, it’s possible that you actually have another problem. See below.

3. Your world

Ok, so first of all, your world is as big as you want it to be, so it’s not important what you choose here, with one condition.

If you are already awesome to everyone in your world, then your world needs to get bigger.

You do this by getting out of the little pond and doing new things, or having a positive influence on people outside of your sphere. You ever notice how people who volunteer (if they’re not self-righteous) tend to be fucking awesome?

I’m pretty sure there’s actually a relationship between how many people you help outside of your sphere and how awesome people inside your sphere think you are. Makes sense right?

My friend Nicole, for example, just told me about a dude she knows who helps children get out of the sex industry in Thailand. How awesome is that guy. And here’s what’s particularly cool about it: if you wanted, you could be him.

Seriously, it’s that easy. You can just decide to become more awesome, whichever way you want, and then look it up on the internet to figure out how. The knowledge automagically makes your world bigger, which makes you more awesome. Then you just go ahead and do that thing, which is easy because you just figured out how. Whoo!

Anyway, what was my point with this? Oh yes. Being awesome is now your new religion. Welcome to the Cult of Awesome. It’s very exclusive, but there are lots of perks.

Your job is now to look out to the wide world, and take a look at what impresses you, at what you find absolutely great, and then find ways to become more like that.

We need more awesome people in this world, and I would like you to be one of them.

5 Best Android Newsreaders

Written by Jason Fitzpatrick

Five Best Android Newsreaders

First we took a look at the five most popular newreader apps for iOS. Now we’re back to balance things out with a peek at the five most popular newsreaders for the Android.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite Android newsreader. We tallied up the nominations, and now we’re back to share the five most popular readers.

Google Reader (Free)

Five Best Android Newsreaders

Google Reader, the long awaited official app from Google, took its sweet time getting to the Market. None the less, despite being on the Market for less than two months it’s one of the most popular RSS apps. It syncs seamlessly with multiple accounts and gives you access to the full subscription features like starring, marking as read, sharing, and more. Google Reader also includes some neat navigational features like the ability to use your phone’s volume rocker switch as a next and previous key for your RSS feeds. [Google Reader on AppBrain]

FeedR ($1.99)

Five Best Android Newsreaders

Many RSS tools piggyback on Google Reader. FeedR supports synchronization with Google Reader if you’re a fan but also supports plain old feed importing if you like to manually manage your feed and keep Google out of the loop. You can search and preview your feeds, read offline with images thanks to local caching, easily switch between the mobile and full view for articles, and more. FeedR’s design places emphasis on transparency; the UI stays out of your way which frees up valuable screen space for reading. [FeedR on AppBrain]

Pulse (Free)

Five Best Android Newsreaders

Pulse was a popular contender in our iOS newsreader Hive Five thanks to its sleek layout and photo-centric swipe based reading style. The interface translates surprisingly well to Android phones. Pulse is the most social of the newsreaders in this roundup and includes the ability to stream your Facebook feed right along side your news feeds as well as share stories via Facebook, Twitter, , and email. You can start fresh with Pulse or import all your feeds from Google Reader. [Pulse on AppBrain]

NewsRob (Basic: Free/Pro: $6.84)

Five Best Android Newsreaders

NewsRob syncs your Google Reader account to your Android phone for real-time and offline reading. NewsRob includes system wide notifications of new content, caching to the SD card for smoother reading, and the ability to mark as read, favorite, and edit feed categories. Upgrading to the premium version removes the ads and enables article sharing and article notation. [NewsRob on AppBrain]

gReader (Basic: Free, Pro: $5.47)

Five Best Android Newsreaders

Long before Google released and official read app, gReader was filling the niche. gReader sports two-way synchronization with Google Reader, offline reading, direct editing of your feed and folder settings from gReader, support for local caching and saving media from your feeds to your phone, offline reading, system notifications, and easy sharing via email, Twitter, Facebook, and more. The premium version removes the ads, and activates additional features like themes and widgets. [gRreader on AppBrain]

Bonus:Every Saturday night
Every Saturday night