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Eating with the Fish

If you love aquariums, you might want to check out the Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World in China. Visitors here can dine by candlelight in an underwater tunnel while watching fish, sea turtles and others swimming above them.

They can also be serenaded by underwater musicians during the meal. The Tianjin Haichang Polar Ocean World opened in the city of Tianjin in 2010 and has over 30,000 polar and sea creatures including sharks, jellyfish, seals, penguins, sea lions and beluga whales.

But from these pictures, the best part of the aquarium is definitely the chance to eat while watching the fish from below.

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Don’t Shame Overweight People, Shows New Study

weightIn a fascinating study, researchers from University College London have found that shaming people about their weight makes it six times more likely that people will be obese.

When people get criticized for their weight they are more likely to comfort eat. And fear of ridicule also makes them avoid exercise. Lead author Sarah Jackson advises the medical community to avoid using the word “fat” and to be careful about shaming patients.

Their study included almost 3000 English men and women aged 50 plus who were weighed once, and then again four years later.

Published in the journal Obesity, the study showed that the victims of “fat shaming” put on just over 2 pounds over the course of the study. They were six times as likely to become obese. Those who weren’t criticized for their weight became slimmer over the four years, although only be a small amount. Dr. Jackson said, “Our results show that weight discrimination does not encourage weight loss and suggest that it may even exacerbate weight gain. Previous studies have shown that people who experience discrimination report comfort eating.”

Dr. Jackson explained that weight bias exists for the general public, and also for health professionals. As she said, “Doctors tend to spend less time with obese patients. They feel that treating obesity is a futile task and many avoid doing it.We need to find a way of addressing this during training, highlighting that blaming and shaming isn’t going to help resolve the problem.”

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Blocking the Vagus Nerve for Weight Loss?

weight lossIf you’re struggling with your weight, this just might be the solution. Researchers from the University of Minneapolis have created a device that uses electrodes to block the vagus nerve from communicating the feeling of hunger to the brain. The vagus nerve runs the length of the torso and tells the body when it’s full – but often with obese people the vagus nerve becomes desensitized and causes people to overeat.

The researchers looked at 239 severely obese people whose BMI were between 35 and 45 and who had at least one or more obesity-related condition. They implanted the device to block the vagus nerve in 162 participants. The other 77 participants had a fake device implanted and both groups were offered weight management.

The results are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found that, after 12 months, those fitted with the device lost 24% of their excess weight, while those in the control group lost only 16%.

As the study concluded, “Additional studies are needed to compare effectiveness of vagal nerve block with other obesity treatments and to assess long­ term durability of weight loss and safety.”

But it’s certainly worth keeping your ear to the ground with this type of weight loss idea.

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Overcoming Emotional Eating with Deepak Chopra

In a recent episode of Help Desk, Hannah sat down with Deepak Chopra, author of the book What Are You Hungry For? He is a pioneer of mind-body medicine and in the series they connect spiritual leaders with people looking for guidance.

When asked how to overcome emotional eating, Chopra offered three key ideas.

1. Practice body awareness. Everytime that she thinks of putting food in her month she should ask herself if she is hungry and how hungry she is. This will “break the reflex” according to Chopra.

2. Cutting out sugar: Next he advised her to cut sugar from her diet.

3. Sleep: Finally, he said that getting enough sleep is essential. As he said, “Sleep deprivation causes obesity, as does stress.”

He said that people should meditate, get enough sleep and walk 10,000 steps a day.

See the full video below:


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Taking in the Sites in Azerbaijan

gobustan-mountainFor those traveling to Azerbaijan, there are many tourist attractions to cover. Individuals like Elchin Djavadov and Nasib Hasanov are experienced in this field and have been taking foreigners to local hotspots for many years. The country is home to the naphthalene – the only oil field treatment in the world which is used mainly as a precursor to other chemicals. But for tourists, what is probably of most interest is the country’s unique culture and ancient architecture. Both Djavadov and Hasanov have been leading tour groups around the region to give tourists a true sense of this.

Check out the country’s nature. Home to preserved forests that are a monument of the Cenozoic era, reservations like Gizilagach, Shirvan and Zagatala have garnered global recognition. Indeed the region is home to 13 nature reservations and 18 wildlife sanctuaries. Also when one is there, it is imperative to check out the Justif and Momine-Khatun mausoleums as well as the Absheron Peninsula. Indeed, these are the particular favorites of tour guide Nasib Hasanov. Aserbaijan is home to the Gobustan mountains and with Kichikdash, Shihgai, Shongardag and others, one can truly learn about the Azerbaijani people historically, beginning from the Stone Age, through tombs, burial places, rock fortresses and more.

For a more modern feel of the country, check out the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpets and Folk Applied Arts, featuring over 10 thousand artifacts. This includes pieces from the Bronze Age up until today, featuring modern artists from the region as well.
Azerbaijan has a lot to offer tourists.  And both Elchin Djavadov and Nasib Hasanov can show foreigners the region from beginning to end.

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How To Get that Novel Published..and Become a Famous Author

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Here is an unusual idea to make your millions. Today with the advent of the e-book, you don’t need a publicist and a book deal in order to get your first great novel up and running. Fifty Shades of Grey actually started this way, snowballing into a multi-million dollar bestselling franchise.

The book is now about to be turned into a Hollywood film directed by English filmmaker Sam Tayor-Wood and the trilogy made the author £33million just last year.
And you don’t even have to be the biggest hit of the year to make some great money. Andy Leeks, 34, from Headcorn in Kent, has sold more than 40,000 of his ebooks and he is close to becoming an Amazon Top 100 bestseller. Last year he wrote the book called As They Slept: The Comical Tales Of A London Commuter. As he explains, “I was just sitting on the train going to work one day and I looked around – everyone else was fast asleep. It seemed an incredible waste of good time so there and then I decided to start writing about commuter experiences. It was easy to publish as an ebook and fortunately many readers seemed to like it and before long I was selling 500 copies a day with lots of people downloading it on to tablets and book reading devices such as the Kindle.”

At a store like Amazon, you can click on the “Independently Publish with Us” link and then sign up to Kindle Direct Publishing. There are other choices for self publishing as well, including Kobo.

Damien Fahy, who runs money saving website MoneytotheMasses and is author of ebook 30 Day Money Plan, offers some advice. He says that people should put aside money for a graphic designer who can create great cover, for an editor to edit the book and for other expenses. He also recommends setting up a Facebook page as a forum for sharing thoughts on the novel and having someone review it at Amazon.

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A Tomato A Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

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In the first study of its kind that’s been done, researchers from the University of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford looked at the diets and lifestyles of close to 14,000 men aged 50 to 69. They concluded that men who ate at least portions of tomatoes a week were 18% less likely to develop prostate cancer than were those who had no tomatoes or very few.

They believe that the magical protection against illness comes from a key chemical in the tomato known as lycopene. Men should not panic – the tomatoes don’t have to be eaten raw. It counts if it’s tomato-based sauces that people use, tomato juice and even tomato puree on a pizza.

And being an overachiever is even a benefit here. Men who doubled their intake of fruit and vegetables to the five portions a day that is recommended reduced their risk by almost a quarter.

Now, one portion is equal to 150 grams of tomatoes, half a pint of baked beans or a portion of pizza with a tomato puree. It’s best to keep it as pure as possible, however, and not to overindulge in baked beans and pizza sauce as they have high levels of salt content.

Prostate cancer ranks as the most common form of illness for men. There are 41,700 new cases each year and 10,700 deaths in the UK alone. As research leader Vanessa Er, of the University of Bristol, said: “Our findings suggest that tomatoes may be important in prostate cancer prevention. We also found men who ate more fruits and vegetables had a reduced risk of prostate cancer. The risk reduction figure for men who ate five or more portions of fruit or vegetables, compared to those who ate less than two and a half portions, was 24 per cent.”

Some in the medical profession disagree with a stud of this sort. As Dr. Iain Frame of the Prostate Cancer UK said, “Studies like these are notoriously difficult to interpret and should be done so with extreme caution. It is difficult to separate the effects of one type of food from another, and we still don’t have nearly enough evidence to make concrete recommendations on which specific foods men should eat to reduce their risk of prostate cancer. What we do know is that men shouldn’t rely too heavily on one type of food, such as tomatoes. A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables together with regular exercise is by far the best option.”

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Bhutan: Get Away to Luxury with the Aman Hotels and Vladislav Doronin

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Anyone hoping to add a fantastic place to his bucket list will not want to overlook Bhutan. This landlocked country bordered by China and India is rich in history, lush in landscape and captivating in culture. In 2013, they welcomed nearly 120,000 visitors, which was the highest in their history.

Bhutan has been turning to tourism for revenue, but is certainly hoping to keep its rich spiritual and religious life intact. They are careful as they try to balance growth and modernization with their heritage.

The rise in tourism has certainly helped to provide more jobs, and the government is hoping that this can help to keep so many from migrating to India or Thailand. There are more than 1000 travel operators in the country and the industry employs close to 30,000. As one Bhutanese man who operates a travel agency for filmmakers and documentarians, Tashi Tshering, said, “the promotion done by high end resorts have benefited us a lot. More people are aware of us.”

Vladislav Doronin

Vladislav Doronin

Those interested in coming to Bhutan will have many options. Aman Resorts, with majority owner Vladislav Doronin, offers incredibly luxurious hotel accommodations in remote locations. They have five properties in the country and they were the first foreign hotel operator allowed to build in Bhutan in 2004.

John Reed, the managing director for Aman’s hotels in Bhutan said that their resorts create a feel of “rustic luxury” and that they support the local community. As he said, “We get our vegetables from local farmers. We buy Bhutanese handicraft pieces. We hire locals. We dress them in local attire, not uniforms. We want the local economy to benefit.”

They give back to the community as well. As Reed explains, “We help whitewash monasteries, rebuild structures, and teach English and math in classrooms.”

Other great hotel choices include Taj Tashi and Uma. Mukesh Cupta, who operates the oldest travel agency for Bhutan, Bhutan Travels, also recommends Zhiwa Ling in Paro. The hotel has a temple on the second floor with rescued wood from the 400 year old Gangtey Monastery and is decorated with all local décor.

Certainly, everyone from the Aman Group with Vladislav Doronin to Zhiwa Ling balances their desire for tourists with the sanctity of the holy sites and the environmental issues in the area. Last year’s gross revenues from tourism exceeded $63 million and are the highest to date.

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