20 Apr 2012

Popcorn is good for you

It comes in a bucket and served at your local multiplex. But we bet you didn’t know that popcorn is a wholegrain and a 30gm serving—12 handfuls—means one less daily portion of millet or buckwheat.

A fibre content that kicks like Bruce Lee keeps you full for longer, balancing blood and seeing off bad cholesterol. The Centre for Human Nutrition in Nebraska found that popcorn-munchers had a 250 per cent higher intake of wholegrains and 22 per cent more fibre than nacho scoffers.

Add that to a dose of heart-healthy B vitamins to fire up energy levels and steel nerves so you never lose your cool, no matter how much your life might seem like Dev D’s.

Raise the bar

Research has shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high BP.

Dark chocolate can also reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by up to 10 per cent. This doesn’t mean you eat a box daily.

Chocolate is still a high-calorie, high-fat food. Most studies conducted so far used no more than 100gm of chocolate a day to figure out its nutritional benefits. We sift out the nutritional facts about your favourite bar with the help of nutritionist Dr Sonia Kakar.

Grab these

Milky Way (a 100gm bar) 452 calories; 16.7gm fat; 3.5gm protein; 71.4gm carbohydrates; 0.0gm fibre (Calories in 26gm: 117kcal)

Celebrations (100gm) 437.5 calories; 18.8gm fat; 0.0gm protein; 75gm carbohydrates; 0.0gm fibre (Calories in 8gm: 36kcal)

Mars (a 100gm bar) 452 calories; 17.5gm fat; 4.0 gm protein; 69.6gm carbs; 0gm fibre (Calories in a 65gm Mars bar: 294kcal)

Have a couple

Galaxy Minstrels (a 100gm pack of small balls of milk in a crisp chocolate shell. You can put Nutty’s or Gems in this category.) 497 calories: 22.3gm fat; 5.3gm protein; 68.6gm carbohydrates; 1.1gm fibre (Calories in a 42g pack of Minstrels: 209kcal)

Twix (a 100gm pack—two sticks of chocolate with caramelcovered wafers) 494 calories; 24.1gm fat; 64.8gm carbohydrates; 4.6gm protein; 0.0gm fibre (Calories in a twin bar of Twix (100g): 306kcal)

Stick to a piece

Kit Kat Bar (a 100gm bar) 507 calories; 26.1gm fat; 5.9gm protein; 62gm carbohydrates; 0.0gm fibre (Calories in 2 Kit Kat (21gm) sticks: 106kcal)

Snickers (a 100gm bar) 501calories; 28.1gm fat; 9.3gm protein; 52.9gm carbohydrates; 0.0gm fibre (Calories in a 64.5gm Snickers bar: 323kcal)

Dairy Milk (a 100gm bar of plain chocolate) 530 calories; 29.9gm fat; 7.8gm protein; 57.1gm carbohydrates; 0.0gm fibre

Food rules to break

Myths, or even half-truths, get in the way of a fitter, healthier you; because misinformation on nutrition fools men into becoming confused and frustrated, even if they're achieving results. Let science enlighten you, so you know about these food fallacies.
Red meat causes cancer
The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed 'heterocyclic amines', compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. Since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.

What science really shows: There's no direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer. As for the population studies, they're far from conclusive, because they rely on broad surveys of people's eating habits and afflictions, and those numbers are crunched to find trends, not causes.

The bottom line: Meat lovers worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don't need to avoid it; rather, they should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.
Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes
The origin: Most of us eat the highly processed version of the white potato. So consumption of this root vegetable has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycaemic index.

What science really shows: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn't necessarily better than the other. Sweet potatoes have more fibre and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals.

The bottom line: The form in which you consume a potato-for instance, a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that's used to make chips-is more important than the type of potato.
High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys
The origin: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increases your 'glomerular filtration rate' (GFR). Think of it as the amount of blood your kidneys filter per minute. From this, scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places kidneys under greater stress.

What science really shows: Nearly two decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. "Though when you exceed protein intake kidneys have to do more work. But there's no damage," says New Delhi-based nutritionist Dr Sonia Kakar. There's no published research showing that downing large amounts of protein damages healthy kidneys.

The bottom line: Eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you're 60kg and want to be 80kg, then have 180gm of protein a day.

19 Apr 2012

10 Biggest Myths About Men

What makes a man? The mythology surrounding this question still looms large. So much so that men often experience a hidden battle: whether their decisions should be self-determined or dictated by how masculine they will seem to others. Do I let my wife know how much something is bothering me or will that come across as not being in control? Do I speak my mind at work or does that risk being seen as too emotional? If I take a stand on a principle that bucks the boys’ club, will I lose status? Luckily, women can be strong advocates for change by encouraging men to evolve and expand beyond the stereotypes. Take a look at the 10 biggest falsehoods about men that, when debunked, can lead us to true masculinity.

Myth 1: Men Are Not Emotional

This may come as a surprise, but men are probably more emotional than women. How is this possible? Unlike femininity, masculinity doesn’t permit emoting on a regular basis, so men are like Victorian novels: placid on the outside, but concealing a deep emotional life within. Convincing a man that it is masculine to open up—in fact, it takes more cojones to do so—is a cause women should embrace. By encouraging men to reveal their true feelings, women are helping them release pent-up emotions, leading to a happier and healthier guy.

Myth 2: Sex Is What Matters the Most

Yes, sex is important to men. It’s one of the ways we access our imaginations. (At times it might seem like the only way we do.) But one of the big secrets about men is how much they long for real solidarity with their partner. And sex, because it makes the imagination literal, is something we rely on to achieve that bonded feeling. Next time you see your mate’s desire for sex as chauvinistic, remember that he may be asking for proof that you and he are the team he fantasizes about.

Myth 3: A Man Is His Job

For most men, the pressures of work stem from two things: a desire to excel at something (a principle of manhood we were taught as boys) and a need to contribute to the well-being of our families. But duty is not the same as identity, and what one does is not the same as who one is. This is true for women, too, but culturally men are more defined by their professions, which can keep their passions—what really identifies them—invisible. Talking with men about their interests is a great way to get away from the conventional ways they are seen—even how they see themselves—which will help ensure a more unconventional (and improved) masculinity.

Myth 4: Males Are Limited Creatures

“Men as underdeveloped” is the most effective propaganda the male sex has created. Your belief in our limitations brings certain “rewards” (i.e., expectations are lowered; bad behavior is tolerated; apathy becomes a non-negotiable). Women, the usual victims of these limitations, most likely buy into the idea because it elevates them. The thing is, men are not limited, and if women decide to sacrifice a little superiority they will gain better treatment by men. Just look at the vibrant imagination of any 5-year-old boy or recall the way past boyfriends have courted you—we can be highly animated, curious, loving and devoted. Holding your guy to a higher standard may not get thanks right away, but it will actually liberate him to be a more expansive, and more real, man.

Myth 5: Men Hate to Commit

Masculinity is one of the most oppressive forces as far as behavior goes because it demands that men appear “tough” at all times, thereby avoiding any overt displays of love and affection, which can be detrimental to a relationship. How often have you witnessed a man shut down during a tender moment or make a joke to detour from it? The toll this eventually takes is enormous, depriving men of the riches of intimacy, one of which is completely giving over to a true and loving partnership. While men may appear to prize freedom and independence, in their heart of hearts they truly value loyalty. In standing by her man, a woman can fill a primal absence. And once he realizes you have his back, he will start to show his feelings in his own way—which may not be “traditional” romantic gestures, but they will be gestures nonetheless.

Myth 6: Guys Don’t Communicate

Men like to talk—have you ever tried asking us the best way to get somewhere? But we often censor ourselves based on how we think women might react to a deeper honesty. So, there are times we just don’t bother. This is unfortunate because men’s internal lives are interesting and telling, and getting to know them by suspending judgment will encourage a man to be more open and more revealing to you.

Myth 7: A Woman’s Looks Are Everything

Non, nein, nope. A woman’s beauty is a thing to behold, and sometimes we can behold it at the wrong times (like when passing another woman on the sidewalk). But that’s just visual titillation. The stimulus that matters most reaches our hearts and minds. A woman with a laser-like intelligence, sharp sense of humor and a compassionate soul—now, that’s a centerfold.

Myth 8: Men Don’t Take Things Personally

This is certainly a myth we would like to believe about ourselves. Nothing fazes us; we’re breezy, easy, confident. Yeah, right. The fact is that men take many things personally—the light teasing about our paunch, the less-than-stellar bedroom performance, the snide colleague at work—but the principles of masculinity prevent our admitting them. The problem is, these things come out in ways that truly affect us. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men commit suicide four times as much as women and suicide currently ranks as the seventh leading cause of death for men. Watching for when a guy might be repressing reactions for the sake of masculine pride, and asking him to forgo that habit, is one way women can literally save a man’s life.

Myth 9: Guys Don’t Listen to Criticism

It’s hard to argue that this one is a myth. But the reason men can be diva-like when it comes to criticism is because said criticism is rarely delivered in a way we understand. Women tend to talk around the problem, but it’s OK to get in our faces every now and then and just say what’s on your mind. Sometimes, the greatest act of love is taking someone seriously enough to risk offending them. In a weird way, those tough conversations get at the truth and, in calling attention to our blind spots, are about helping us. It’s when couples no longer think it’s worth the trouble that they have to worry. So, next time, try some tough love; we can take it.

Myth 10: Boys and Girls Are So Different

Okay, so your son prefers horseplay and trucks, and your daughter likes dolls and playing dress-up. Who cares! The things that matter in life—whether your kids are ethical; whether they are kind to others; how they achieve self-fulfillment—are as important to recognize in adults as they are in children. Just as you wouldn’t indulge your son’s overconfidence because that seems “male,” don’t allow your husband to get away with things that hurt your feelings because “that’s how guys are.” The fact is, when it comes to men and women, our mythologies are—and should be—about living more authentic lives.

All photographs courtesy of Shutterstock.

Myths about Male Sexuality

Throughout this program we debunk many myths about various aspects of sexuality.

This section looks at few of the myths that pertain specifically to male sexuality. It includes both information and some questions you may want to reflect upon, whether you're male or female.
The myths regarding male sexuality have been particularly tenacious because men have traditionally not talked about their sexual feelings and experiences honestly and openly with each other.
Our culture has perpetuated these myths and makes it difficult for men to admit to any lack of knowledge or experience, and this has lead to feelings of isolation and inadequacy for many men.
There have been positive signs recently that this is changing. The men's movement is beginning to redefine what it means to be a man, and qualities of gentleness, caring, and vulnerability are becoming more valued.

More men are beginning to discuss their sexuality more openly, and this can only benefit both the men themselves and their partners.

Before we move on to look at the myths, we want to recommend an excellent book: The New Male Sexuality by sex therapist Bernie Zilbergeld, revised in 1999. It's a "must-read" for anyone who is male or cares about someone who is male (which pretty much everyone).

The myths cited here-and others-are explored in more detail in Zilbergeld's book.
Myth: Size matters.

Fact: We put this myth first because it's a very common concern for men. If you compare your penis with those of other men you see in the locker room or is porno films, you might conclude that yours isn't "good enough," that it's either too small or too large or not shaped "right."
The fact is that penises and testicles come in a variety of sizes and shapes. When they're not erect, penises appear to be quite different in size, but when they're erect their sizes are much more similar.
Since many men don't see each other's erect penises except in porno films where they're seeing actors hired on the basis of size and then enhanced through the miracles of filming, they really have no realistic basis for comparison. No wonder they may feel inadequate.
The size of your penis has nothing to do with how much pleasure you feel, and it had little effect on your partner's pleasure either.

In terms of vaginal intercourse, penis size matters very little, since only the outer third of the vagina is richly supplied with nerves and the clitoris is a woman's main organ of sexual pleasure anyway. In addition, the vagina is not an open tube to be filled up; it's more like a very elastic sleeve with the walls touching each other until an object moves them apart.

Because the rectum is much less elastic, a smaller penis may be advantageous in terms of anal sex.
How has the myth about penis size affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section? What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: Men are always ready and willing to have sex.
Fact: Even men who really love sex aren't always in the mood, and don't always want to get into the mood. Sometimes they just have other things on their minds. And while sex can be an important and satisfying part of life, there are other things that are just as important and satisfying or more so, even to guys.

Lack of interest in sex is actually very common among both men and women, and this may be related to the complexity and responsibilities of day-to-day living. In his work, Bernie Zilbergeld has found that 30% of men felt, at least at times, that sex was a burden. Yet while we have come to accept that women have a right to say "no" to sex, we sometimes deny men this same right by expecting them to be "sex machines." They're not.

How has this myth about men always wanting sex affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section? What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: Very few men are virgins.

Fact: Sometimes guys lie about sex. You probably knew that already, but you may not be aware of just how common it is or how it affects our perceptions of what's really going on.
For example, a Psychology Today survey found that men estimated that only 1% of their peers were virgins, while 22% actually were. A Playboy survey of college students found that 26% had never had intercourse with a partner, and a more recent survey at the University of Alberta put the figure at 24%.
How has this myth about males and virginity affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section?

What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: Sex requires an erection.

Fact: This is a myth that seems to have become even more ingrained in our culture with the introduction of impotence drugs. The fact is that many men experience a lack of erection from time to time and this doesn't need to be a problem. In fact, being so goal-oriented about sex means that you miss out on a lot of pleasure.

Using your hands, mouth and imagination, there are many things you can do to satisfy a partner and experience sexual pleasure yourself. After all, your skin is your largest sex organ and your mind is the most powerful one.

By the way, putting pressure on yourself to get an erection only makes it less likely that you'll have one.

Remind yourself that the causes of erectile difficulty are not usually medical, but are far more often related to other factors such as:

 •preoccupation with other things
 •ill health
 •alcohol and other drugs (including prescriptions)
 •relationship dissatisfaction
lack of sufficient stimulation (physical or psychological)

How has this myth about sex requiring an erection affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this sections?

What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: Sex is over when the man comes.

Fact: This need not be the case. The couple may slow down, stop and start again during the process of having sex, taking breaks and communicating about their needs and wants. If one partner is not yet satisfied, sexual activity can continue until both are ready to stop. (See the myth "Sex requires an erection.")

And by the way…

There's not reason why every sexual encounter has to include an orgasm. While we may have heard horror stories about "blue balls" and "lover's nuts," they are not harmful conditions. There may be some discomfort if a man doesn't ejaculate, but it passes. He can still have a pleasurable sexual encounter without orgasm, especially once he gets past adolescence.
How has this myth about being over when the man comes affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section?

What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: All orgasms are "explosive, mind-blowing, and earth-shattering."

Fact: If you've been living in this culture with its movies and pulp fiction, you may have a very unrealistic idea of what an orgasm is all about. The fact is that orgasms vary in intensity and character. It's perfectly normal for them to feel different from one occasion to the next.
How has this myth about the nature of orgasms affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section?
What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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Myth: Men in relationships don't masturbate.

Fact: This is plainly not true. While masturbation tends to be less frequent among those in relationships, many men and women masturbate when their partner isn't available or just for their own pleasure. Some couples find that masturbating together enhances their level of intimacy. It's a matter of personal preference.
How has this myth about self-pleasuring in relationships affected you? How do you feel about it after reading this section?

What could you do to reduce this myth's impact on you?

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These are just a few of the myths about male sexuality.

It's surprising how much these myths can affect us even if we know consciously that they're not true. We would encourage you to be aware of the myths and try to determine what is true about sexuality and sex for you, examining and trusting your own values, feelings and experiences. You may find it very helpful if there's someone you can talk to about these things honestly and openly without fear of being judged.

The Creation of Man by Prometheus

Prometheus and Epimetheus were spared imprisonment in Tartarus because they had not fought with their fellow Titans during the war with the Olympians. They were given the task of creating man. Prometheus shaped man out of mud, and Athena breathed life into his clay figure.
Prometheus had assigned Epimetheus the task of giving the creatures of the earth thier various qualities, such as swiftness, cunning, strength, fur, wings. Unfortunately, by the time he got to man Epimetheus had given all the good qualities out and there were none left for man. So Prometheus decided to make man stand upright as the gods did and to give them fire.

Prometheus loved man more then the Olympians, who had banished most of his family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that man must present a portion of each animal they scarified to the gods Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. He created two piles, one with the bones wrapped in juicy fat, the other with the good meat hidden in the hide. He then bade Zeus to pick. Zeus picked the bones. Since he had given his word Zeus had to accept that as his share for future sacrafices. In his anger over the trick he took fire away from man. However, Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back again to man. Zeus was enraged that man again had fire. He decided to inflict a terrable punishment on both man and Prometheus.

To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a mortal of stunning beauty. The gods gave the mortal many gifts of wealth. He then had Hermes give the mortal a deceptive heart and a lying tongue. This creation was Pandora, the first women. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open. Thus, completed Zeus sent Pandora down to Epimetheus who was staying amongst the men.

Prometheus had warned Epimetheus not to accept gifts from Zeus but, Pandora's beauty was too great and he allowed her to stay. Eventually, Pandora's curiosity about the jar she was forbidden to open became to great. She opened the jar and out flew all manor of evils, sorrows, plagues, and misfortunes. However, the bottom of the jar held one good thing - hope.

Zeus was angry at Prometheus for three things: being tricked on scarifices, stealing fire for man, and for refusing to tell Zeus which of Zeus's children would dethrone him. Zeus had his servants, Force and Violence, seize Prometheus, take him to the Caucasus Mountains, and chain him to a rock with unbreakable adamanite chains. Here he was tormented day and night by a giant eagle tearing at his liver. Zeus gave Prometheus two ways out of this torment. He could tell Zeus who the mother of the child that would dethrone him was. Or meet two conditions: First, that an immortal must volunteer to die for Prometheus. Second, that a mortal must kill the eagle and unchain him. Eventually, Chiron theCentaur agreed to die for him and Heracles killed the eagle and unbound him.
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