Who doesn’t like to sleep in? We all enjoy the weekends when there are no alarms blaring in our ears to disrupt our nocturnal slumber. While not many can say they don’t like sleeping, far more can say they don’t get to do it as often as they should. In fact, according to a recent Gallup report, only 59 percent of Americans get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep on an average night.
We tend to overlook the importance of proper sleep. Rather than showing the world how grouchy we feel on the inside, it’s our responsibility to put on a happy face and fulfill our many responsibilities. However, there are more consequences than you likely realize. Just a few health consequences of sleep deprivation include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Over time, these health risks can pose bigger problems and even reduce your overall life expectancy. Therefore, it’s important to consider things you can do to ensure you make time for proper rest and relaxation.
Create New Habits
After a long day, we like to unwind, and we typically do this by engaging in relaxing activities that don’t require us to think much. Whether that be watching television or taking a walk around the block, we need this time. However, we can find ourselves over-indulging. After all, once we close our eyes, we are that much closer to waking up to face another day on the job.
Make it a point to start developing new habits that you’ll associate with bedtime. For example, run a hot bath an hour and a half before you lay down. You could also light candles and engage in quiet meditation or reading shortly before you retire for the night. Make sure you do this on a consistent basis. Over time, your body will begin to recognize that engagement in this activity means it’s time to start powering down.
Ensure Proper Comfort
Even if you get to bed eight hours before you need to start your day, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually fall asleep in time to get the rest you need. In fact, while is should only take 10 to 20 minutes to drift off, some can find themselves trying for hours to sleep. Sometimes this can be a sign of a sleep disorder, so consult a physician. Either way, however, there are some helpful tips to take advantage of to ensure your environment is offering optimal comfort including:
- Turn off all the lights
- Make sure televisions or other devices aren’t running in the background
- Use sound effects such as a soothing stream or white noise
- Seek out the best mattress protector for your bed that will prevent problems like dust mites, allergens, and sweat.
Watch Your Intake
You are what you eat, and this fact of life impacts you in far more ways than one. For example, if you drink lots of water before bed, you’ll likely find your sleep interrupted as you’ll need to get up to use the restroom. Furthermore, use of stimulants such as caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep. In fact, even nicotine from cigarettes can hinder your ability to drift off when it’s time to do so.
It’s a good idea to avoid eating or drinking anything a few hours before retiring for the night. Also, while alcohol may make it easier to fall asleep, the fact remains that it hinders your ability to enjoy a restful sleep, and you’ll often wake up feeling more tired after 10 hours than you would after just five or six without alcohol.
Making the Most of Your One and Only Life
We only have one life to live, and it’s our responsibility to do what we can to ensure it’s a happy and comfortable one. It’s no doubt that people are busier than ever. Even though we have access to the most exciting technology in history, we have also opened ourselves up to the resultant increase in workload this inevitably creates.
Although it can feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a single day to get everything done, when you compromise on sleep, you do much more harm than good. Aside from the many health problems that can arise from sleep deprivation, you also suffer from:
- Decrease in attention span
- Trouble recalling information
- Difficulty attending to work or school duties
When you follow these helpful tips, you can better ensure you’re setting aside the proper amount of time to sleep and achieving the quality necessary to get through each and every day to your best ability.
Water damage can be easily managed, but sometimes it’s just completely unavoidable, especially if your restaurant is in a flood zone or has known water issues. If you do come across some water damage, it’s best that you get it taken care of as soon as you can to avoid irreparable damage to your business and even your customers health. There are quite a few things that you probably aren’t aware of when it comes to fixing or looking out for it.
Sanitation is critical in a restaurant because of the pure fact that it’s where food is prepared and served. When a restaurant becomes damaged by water, not only does it stop operations, but it also affects the health of those who visit, especially if it involves contaminated water. If this is the case, the restaurant will be deemed unfit for operation and will be closed until it’s resolved.
If your place of business is acquiring moisture from a leak somewhere and it’s going unnoticed, this is a breeding ground for mold. Mold can cause a whole wide range of health issues. This is especially true for those who may frequently visit your business and breathe in those mold spores. If they do, they can have an allergic reaction such as:
- Difficult concentration
- Unusual skin sensations
- Shortness of breath
- Itchy eyes and throat
- Poor memory
Unfortunately, once water damage and mold have taken over and gotten into your walls, flooring, and ceilings, it may not be able to be stopped unless you call a professional to restore your place of business. They’ll come in,a ssess the issue, locate all of the problem areas, and get everything fixed. This will most likely cost way less than having to replace everything if the mold and damage has completely taken over.
Signs Of Water Damage
If you find yourself noticing any of these signs of water damage, contact a professional right away.
If you can smell a musty odor, this is a red flag. Hidden water can stagnate and foster mold and the growth of bacteria. This means that mold has infested the surfaces and even under the surfaces of walls, ceilings, floors, and other items.
If there is water leaking behind walls or above ceilings, you may notice stains. The water will void the spaces between levels of walls and ceilings and appears as a stain or blotch as it saturates. A lot of people try to cover this up with a fresh coat of paint, but it won’t work and an inspector will notice.
One of the more obvious signs of water damage and moisture is the visual signs of mold. Spores that are airborne are microscopic and can find their way into almost anything. When moisture comes into contact with dormant spores, you then have active mold growth. You’ll notice fuzzy discolorations in spaces that are out of the way. You need to contact a professional immediately if this occurs.
Sagging ceilings and drywall are an obvious sign of water damage. This means that they have become heavy with added water weight and they will soon begin to buckle and become deformed. This is a huge safety hazard and should be remedied immediately.
When water gets into floor coverings such as tile, carpet, and vinyl, it will soak into the subfloor. The fact that it gets under those can make them peel up and you’ll notice uneven surfaces under carpeting. Hardwood floors will also begin to bow and buckle.
Your business is important to you and those who enjoy spending time there. You don’t want something like preventable water damage to completely shut you down, which is why you need to watch for the signs and call a professional if you notice any damage. You can also avoid fines and other punishments if you take action rather than allowing your customers to eat in an unsanitary environment.
American food is a representation of American culture. Many aspects of this country’s cuisine are rooted in other countries of the world. For example, the all-American hamburger is a tweaked version of the traditional German burger. In essence, American cuisine is a beautiful melting pot of cultures. A recent survey showed that the food that is coming up in the country is Mexican food.
Mexican Food Blends Easily Into the American Culture
Some people might be wondering how Mexican food became so popular in the United States. Most ethnic foods stay relatively unknown for most of the population, but this slowly changed for Mexican food. Some say the reason this occurred was because many of the ingredients needed for the meals can be homegrown and are readily available. There has been a growing movement amongst Americans to buy local. Buying local also gives a person the opportunity to eat food as fresh as possible. A lot of other ethnic meals contain ingredients that do not grow in the United States, making purchasing the ingredients difficult or too costly.
In essence, Mexican food seems to be one of the easiest foods to integrate into a particular cuisine. More and more Americans are having Mexican food at least a few times in a month. In some households, there is a day called “Taco Tuesday,” and some Mexican festivities are becoming a part of the American experience.
Americans are Adding Their own Touch to Mexican Food
There is no doubt that this type of food is becoming increasingly popular, but American cuisine always makes something its own. Yes, at the moment, the most popular foods from Mexico are tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and even margaritas, but that does not mean that Americans are not adding their own touches.
One obvious change is the way that some people prepare the traditional Mexican nacho. Not many Americans watch a football game without having some nachos on the side, with a few added sprinkles. For example, some cooks out there use Dorito chips instead of regular corn chips. That addition definitely adds a cheesy effect to the dish and makes it unmistakably American.
A large number of Americans love to infuse popular healthful additions in some of the foods they cook. For example, some Americans use the ingredients that are traditional used in chorizo but add fermented tempeh or soybean. This dish is vegetarian and tastes just as good. Others might use something like tofu instead of meat to make their tacos or enchiladas. Some Americans have fused their love for a good tostada with their love for vegetables by simply topping the fried flat-bread with shredded carrots, zucchini slices, or even crumbled cauliflower. They may also add avocado, cheese, beans depending on their preference.
It is clear that Mexican food and American food are being influenced by each other in the country. Most culinary aficionados are usually excited when two cuisines find common ground as it appears to be happening now.
Consider the taco, a basic configuration involving a tortilla, a filling, a topping, and usually accompaniments to the side. Much like the American burger, the simplicity is misleading. Either dish can be made a ton of different ways and while tacos and burgers might define their respective cuisines for some, they’re hardly the last word in either.
Trying to pick five of the very best Mexican dishes can be a challenge considering the endless array of food represented. Assuming that we’re all familiar with some basic ideas such as tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, fajitas, and the faithful burrito the limelight now falls on a few rockstar dishes that might show up in any one of these, or perhaps branch out into new territory.
1. Tacos al pastor
Pork that has been marinated, roasted on a vertical spit called a trompo, and then sliced thin onto corn tortillas, served with onions, coriander leaves, and pineapple. Not just for flavor, enzymes in the pineapple marinade help to break down the meat. The idea came into Mexico with Lebanese and Syrian immigrants. ‘Al pastor’ means ‘in the style of the shepherd’ and the flavors have been a Mexican favorite since the 1920’s. Al pastor meat is used in many dishes.
Think shish kebab meets Philly cheesesteak on a tortilla, Alambre means ‘wire’ indicating cooking on a metal skewer though the meaning has been expanded to include cooking on a flat top or skillet. In any case, alambre is likely to include bacon, peppers, onion, salsa, and avocado topped at some point with cheese and served with a plentiful stack of tortillas.
Traditionally pork is used but now carnitas might also be beef or even chicken. Cooked low and slow in a manner almost like a confit, it’s a recipe that translates well to crock-pot cooking though the texture won’t be the same as in the stovetop and oven method. Once the filling is tender-cooked and spiced to perfection it can become a part of tacos or tostadas or even be wrapped in lettuce leaves if carbs are the enemy.
4. Caldo de Camaron y Pescado
A caldo is a brothy soup, camaron y pescado would be shrimp and fish. This comfort food usually includes potatoes and carrots with the seafood in a savory, flavorful broth. The dried chiles add depth of flavor rather than spiciness. Good eats on a winter day.
Mexican sandwiches made with thick, soft bread dipped in a salsa made from guajillo chiles and then griddled for a crisp signature finish. Usually stuffed with papas con chorizo , a potato and chorizo hash, pambazos can be ‘simple’ or stacked up ‘with everything’. The second option can cover a lot of ground including lettuce, queso fresco, pickled jalapenos, refried beans, and sour cream.
So many Mexican dishes deserve a highlight and a test drive on my plate, but I’m happy to start with these five. Bottom line: Mexican food is easy to get to know, easy to love, and really, really easy to eat.
Tacos al pastor http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/top-10-foods-try-mexico
al pastor and alambre: http://casablancamexican.com/real-mexican/
Caldo de Camaron y Pescado: http://www.allroadsleadtothe.kitchen/2013/08/CaldoDeCamaronYPescado.html
Mexico offers more than 761,600 square miles for the adventurous traveler. But how are you supposed to decide where to go and what to see? With so many beaches, mountains and resorts, which are truly worth your time? If you’re considering a trip to Mexico, here are just six destinations that you won’t want to miss.
1. Copper Canyon
Officially known as Barranca del Cobre, Copper Canyon is one of the great natural wonders of Mexico. Though it’s hailed as “Mexico’s Grand Canyon,” it’s actually bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon, and it’s existed for hundreds of years as a permanent monument to the grand majesty of Mexican wilderness. Climb the cliffs of Copper Canyon for a one-of-a-kind view on top of the world.
Everyone knows about Tijuana’s reputation for wild partying. But were you aware that it’s also a hotbed of general commerce? Even after you’re done drinking, dancing and clubbing the night away, you can find all kinds of shops, malls, museums, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters and fashion boutiques lining the sidewalks of this busy metropolis. Shop ’til you drop when you visit Tijuana.
3. Mayan Riviera
The Mayan Riviera is home to many famous honeymoon locations like Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s a tropical paradise filled with fluffy clouds and umbrella drinks as far as the eye can see, and it’s the perfect place to get away from the daily grind. Swim with dolphins; dine at five-star resorts and restaurants; take helicopter tours of the coast. The Mayan Riviera has it all.
4. Chichen Itza
History buffs, this one is for you. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza is where you’ll find Aztec ruins in the form of crumbling pyramids and half-forgotten animal sculptures. More than 1.2 million people visit Chichen Ita each year, so it’s one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations and definitely one to put on your bucket list.
Guadalajara is a great place to go for authentic Mexican culture. Mariachis stroll the cobbled streets and play songs for spare change; advertisements for rodeos and salsa classes are pinned to lamp posts; cathedrals and churches loom over the sidewalks and block the sun. If you want the real deal during your vacation, go to Guadalajara.
6. La Paz
La Paz is perfect for travelers on a budget. Tucked away between several larger cities, it’s a hidden gem that offers beaches, bungalows and boardwalks for a fraction of the cost of well-known tourist towns. It’s a great way to see Mexico without emptying your wallet, so don’t let a lack of funds stop you from traveling to La Paz.
These are just a few destinations in Mexico that you have to see to believe. There are many more, of course, but these should be enough to inspire your own travel dreams. Mexico is a big country filled with even bigger opportunities, so don’t be afraid to make your own itinerary and do something new!