Controtoolss

The balance sheet, also called the statement of financial position, contains three items: assets, liabilities, and stockholders’ equity. It is dated at the moment in time when the accounting period ends. The accounting equation that is a big part of the financial statements is: assets equal liabilities plus stockholders’ equity. When working with a balance sheet: the total assets must equal the total liabilities and equity.

The first part of the balance sheet is assets. There are two main categories of assets: currents and long-term assets. Current assets are expected to be converted to cash in the next twelve months or one business operating cycle (if longer than a year). Cash is the most liquidated asset. Short-term investments are stocks and bonds that a company intends to sell within the next year. Accounts receivable are the amounts the company expects to collect from customers. Notes receivable are amounts that the company expects to collect from a customer who signed a promissory note. A company also includes inventory, which is a current asset, into the balance sheet. Prepaid expenses are also a part of the asset side of the balance sheet because the company will benefit from them in the future.

Long-term assets include plant, property, and equipment, intangibles, and investments. Plant, property, and equipment (PPE) include land, buildings, computers, store fixtures, etc. Accumulated depreciation is also included on the balance in the long-term assets area. It is the amount of depreciation from PPE at the end of the year. It is subtracted from the cost of PPE to determine its book value. Intangibles are assets with no physical form such as patents. Investments are long-term assets because the company does not expect to sell them within the next year.

The second part of the balance sheet is liabilities. Liabilities are also split into two categories: current and long-term liabilities. Current liabilities are debts paid within one year or one operating cycle. Accounts payable is the company promises to pay a debt arising from a credit purchase. Income taxes payable are tax debts owed to the government. Short-term borrowings are notes payable that the company has promised to pay back within one year. Salaries and wages payable are amounts owed to employees. Long-Term liabilities are payable after one year.

The last part of the balance sheet is stockholders’ equity. The Stockholders’ equity is assets minus liabilities. There are two parts to stockholders’ equity: paid-in capital and retained earnings. Paid-in capital is the amount the stockholders have invested in that company. The basic part of paid-in capital is common stock where a company issues stock to the stockholders as evidence of their ownership. Retained earnings are the amount earned by income-producing activities.

I hope this helped explain the parts of the balance sheet.

One of the main purposes of travel is to gain experiences that allow us to grow and develop as individuals and it is important that people travel the way that bests suits them at a particular time. For example, I like to go on adventure holidays and this invariably includes a small group and expert guide, and I frequently participate in writing retreats around the world with like-minded people. However for me, the real joy of travelling has always been to take off on my own and just ‘see’ what comes along the way. Of course this can sometimes be fraught with frustrations, difficulties and even dangers.

Advantages of travelling alone

  • Freedom
    Most people who travel alone generally cite freedom as the great motivating factor: freedom to please themselves, go where and when they want, change their plans on a whim when they hear about something that is a ‘must’ to see, and to accept spontaneous invitations by locals.
  • No compromises
    This is associated with the previous point. Even if travelling with one other person, be it friend, colleague, lover or spouse, there will always be some compromises required. Not everyone has the same interests or the same energy levels, some people need to be emotionally supported all the time, others are apathetic, some have different attitudes to time. With solo travel, there is no peer pressure over finances, the unspoken need to divide up restaurant bills equally, or guilt trips when you want to go off on your own for a while.
  • Meeting people
    Travelling solo does not mean that you will always be alone. In fact, it allows you to meet more people because other tourists and locals find an individual traveller more approachable than those in a tightly-knit group. Also, people in groups have very little need to reach out to others for communication. I have met more people, had more interesting conversations and invitations and made more long-term friends while eating alone in foreign restaurants or sitting alone at bars. But then I am gregarious. Travelling alone allows you to choose the people you wish to spend time with rather than having to face the day-after-day annoyances of the inevitable clowns and whingers found in any large group.
  • Discoveries
    There is a real sense of discovery involved in travelling on your own, and that includes self-discovery. You don’t have to rely on an often ill-informed guide to lead you around on a leash, and there’s the surprise and thrill when you find something you weren’t expecting, like the time I became lost and ended up in a small Bavarian village with a monastery that contained a library with tens of thousands of Medieval manuscripts. Travelling alone allows you to discover more about yourself as you overcome simple challenges such as missing a bus or boat and realizing there is no other for a day or a week. Then there is the sense of achievement when solving much more challenging problems like finding yourself lost in a strange town at midnight or running out of money on a holiday weekend with no ATM in sight and the banks closed.

Disadvantages of travelling alone

  • The single supplement
    For those who like to stay in decent hotels, there is the unfair single supplement that can add thousands to the cost of your trip.
  • Lack of help
    There is no one to watch your luggage while you go to the restrooms at airports or train stations, no one to help with persistent touts, no one to be there for you if you get sick or if you are being stalked or harassed by a determined male in the street.
  • Photos
    There are times when I would like to have had more taken of myself in certain places, but there again, there are always people willing to snap one or two for you.

I know there will be times in the future when I will travel as part of a group out of choice because I want to visit areas where it is just not possible or sensible for a woman alone, or because I wish to be with family or like-minded people. However, due to my particular personality traits, my preference is to travel alone. I guess it really doesn’t matter how people travel, but that they travel.

 

How do Filipinos celebrate weddings may sound strange to foreigners, but if they do get a chance to witness a traditional Filipino wedding, they will certainly love the experience. Weddings in the Philippines are never a one-day event. The wedding preparation takes months. And then comes the wedding day itself which in most cases begins from sun-up to sundown.

Filipino weddings are typically solemnized in the church, officiated by a Catholic priest or a pastor, depending on the religion of the couple. Garden weddings have become quite popular these days, too, but usually they are allowed only when it is not going to be a Catholic wedding.. If it is, the couple must have been married in civil rites first for them to obtain permission to get married in a garden or non-church setting.

Catholic wedding ceremonies, regardless of where thuey are celebrated, usually takes more than an hour to finish. The bride arrives in a bridal car, a carriage, or mode of transportation for that matter just minutes before the wedding. Then the church bells ring, signaling the start of the ceremony. The wedding ceremony begins with the processional of the wedding entourage composed of the groom, the parents of the groom, the principal sponsors (some have as many as 20 pairs of principal sponsors!) who will stand as witnesses, secondary sponsors who will light the candles, and put on the veil and cord, the maid or matron of honor, the best man, the bride’s maids and junior bride’s maids, the coin bearer, the ring bearer, the bible bearer, the flower girls, and finally the bride who may or may not be accompanied by her parents. Sometimes, the processional alone can take 20 minutes already!

The mass proper then begins; incorporated therein are the wedding rituals such as the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, and the giving of the arrhae. A photo shoot after the mass is customary. This can take another 30 minutes to one hour. If you want this portion to be organized, better get the services of a professional photographer who has vast experience taking wedding photographs.

After the wedding, the guests proceed to the reception. It can be in a hotel or in the bride’s residence. Hotel wedding receptions can be very expensive, but they can be less stressful for the couple and their families as they no longer need to stress themselves out any more than they already have. Wedding receptions held in the house are more comfortable and fun, though. All the neighbors get to be invited which make the affair very memorable. They are also less expensive, but can be more tiring.

During the wedding reception, the usual rituals, such as the slicing of the cake, the throwing and catching of bouquet and garter, and the releasing of doves, are observed, with some variations. There is an abundance of food, lots of table-hopping, greeting friends and guests, picture-taking, dancing, singing, and tears of joy.

So how do Filipinos celebrate weddings? Well, Filipino weddings are joyously celebrated, that’s for sure!

 

Music has been one of the key features of the entertainment industry. People have become so addicted to music that they can’t imagine their lives without it. Listening to music reduces the stress level and helps to calm an individual. It also rejuvenates and soothes one’s mind. Truly, music refreshes an individual and acts as a stress buster for the people whose lives have become monotonous due to the hectic schedule.

These days, music systems come with a variety of features and enhancements and are well equipped with proper bass, vibe and treble. They have a better sonic resolution. One can arrange their music tracks in their order of preference while listening. One can also take it as a disc jockey when arranging for a party. The karaoke is another important feature introduced in these systems. This feature shows a listener, lyrics of the song being played which increases the interest of a listener even more. Moreover, a listener can sing the song along with the same beats and rhythm.

Music industry is aware of the demands of listeners and so keeps on updating the music systems with new software. Sonos is the foremost digital music system that enables an individual to play music in all the rooms of the house.

Internet is another medium that makes music accessible to the people around the world. No matter if it is an old song that one wants to hear or a latest track all can be downloaded from the Internet. Computers are equipped with memory, software, sound card, processors, record and play features that can play the same track infinitely. One such software is named file-sharing program. This enables the internet user to browse a site and download the music in a digital format. Moreover, all the songs can be downloaded free of cost with best quality voice.

DVD players are another source of music. These players make use of digital video discs to store data and movies. Though priced quite reasonably, they have features that are parallel to high-valued models. They are portable and also have a video screen. It can be used for listening all different types of music like jazz, rock, soft and many others.

Thus, music is an important source of entertainment and can be listened anywhere through various sources available. The means of music systems vary and are distinctive in range, whether it is music system, Internet music or DVD players.

 

In the olden days a career in finance did not offer anything more than a back-office recording keeping job. A finance person was understood to be a record-keeping person in an organization.

However, with the evolution of business landscape, the role of finance has evolved and become more challenging. In today’s organization a finance person occupies a much broader role involving decision-making, planning, controlling the financial operation of a business.

Within finance, one can find a variety of job roles that are not limited to just the accounting field. You can explore financial career options in various industries such as financial service, financial planning, fund management, regulatory compliance, trading, financial management, and so on.

These different jobs require you to have completely different skill sets, and you can choose a financial career that suits your personality and skill level.

If you are analytically oriented, you can choose a career in risk management, where your job is to measure and manage the risk faced by a bank or a financial institution. Alternatively you can also join the insurance industry as an actuary where you ass the risk of loss, and design and price new insurance products. These jobs require number crunching skills. You are also expected to be very diligent as a small mistake can turn into big losses.

On the other hand, if you are a very outgoing person and like meeting people, you may be better suited for selling financial instruments. You may want to join a bank or an insurance company, and promote their financial products to prospective customers. In a bank, you are expected to sell their financial products such as deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans, home loans, etc. For a career in sales, most organizations provide you a thorough training on their products and common techniques for selling. You are expected to be a go-getter with the ability to close deals quickly. In most financial services institutions, you are paid a decent salary and a commission, which is based on your sales targets.

One more lucrative career option is in trading. As a trader you use your employer or client’s funds to trade in financial products such as equity, bonds, currencies and currencies in an attempt to make a profit. Traders study the financial markets and identify opportunities to make profit. This is a high stress job and requires you to have strong analytical skills and a tough attitude. A career in trading also offers good salaries with bonuses and incentives linked to your performance.

While these are a few important career options available in finance, a person interested in this field can choose from a much wider array of job roles. Best of luck with your financial career!

People save and invest to improve their quality of life. However, it is easy to make mistakes that can cause stress and cost you money. You can avoid those mistakes and keep your investment on track by outlining your financial goals.

It is a common investment mistake for investors to have no idea why they are investing. So, you should ask yourself…

Why are you investing?

Do you know why you are investing? What are you going to do with your money? What is most important in your life?

“Making money” is not a good enough reason to invest. How do you see yourself spending your money in a year? Five years? Ten years? If you can clearly explain your goals, you have taken the first step toward making your own investment plan.

With that in mind, write down your financial goal. One simple sentence is all you need. For example, you can write “buy a home”, “pay for college,” “start a business,” or “retire as a millionaire!”

Next, write down the amount of money you think you will need to accomplish your goals.

Don’t worry about trying to fit in every little cost. You can always revisit your target later when you check your performance. Focus on your goal, and try to write down a target number.

This number will be different depending on your goal. For example, maybe you’re buying a $100,000 home, you may want to save $10,000 for a down payment. Maybe you need $5,000 to start a business or $50,000 to pay for college. If you don’t have much money to invest, you can make up for it by investing over a long period of time.

Finally, consider the importance of your investment goals. How important is your retirement, your kid’s college tuition, or your down payment on a house? The importance of your investment will give you an idea of your risk level.

Every investment has risks.

You don’t want to take too many risks. However, you need to take some risks to earn a reasonable return. Also consider the amount of time you will be invested. If you have more time to invest, you may be able to take risks and still catch up if you run into trouble.

Ask yourself if you are ready to invest before you move on. Be honest with yourself.

You may not need to invest your money. Would you be better off paying off your debt? Can you afford to just save your money rather than invest it? Make sure you can commit enough money and time to investing.

It is important to stay motivated toward your goals and keep them in mind when you invest. Every investment decision you make should move you closer to your goals. You should be willing to learn, improve, and work toward your goals as you invest.

If you can stay committed and keep that motivation toward your investment goals, you are much more likely to succeed!

A. Michael Hayes, Jr

You can learn more about how to achieve your financial goals at my website, Great-Mutual-Funds.com.

So you’re vegan and have this passionate love of food. You would like to pursue this passion further, but you’re not sure what the vegan cooking school options are out there. Happily, there are plenty! There are quite a few schools that focus on plant-based meals, and many that aren’t exclusively vegan can be geared toward you, so you won’t find yourself chopping chickens and preparing fish if you’re not into that.

There are many casual plant-based cooking classes around the world if you’re looking for something just for fun without any fancy certification. In this article, though, I focus more on professional programs that have varying degrees of intensity. Some require only a little time and money if you don’t want to be a professional chef; others will take you the full distance to running your own kitchen.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of some popular schools around the world, with some information about each.

Living Light Culinary Arts Institute
Where is it? Fort Bragg, California
What do they offer? 100% vegan and raw food instruction
When do the programs run? Multiple times a year, depending on the program
Website: rawfoodchef.com

The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute is located in a small coastal community on the Mendocino coast. If you love the ocean, temperate weather, and raw vegan cuisine, you’ll love this school. Run by Cherie Soria, the “mother of raw food”, this is THE raw foods institute. This is the one that draws people in from all around the world and produces top-of-the-line celebrity chefs of all kinds.

There are several types of courses, including a Gourmet Chef Certification Series (6 weeks), Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series (4 weeks), Raw Food Nutrition Educator Series, and the full-out Professional Chef Series, which runs almost an entire year, including a 250-day internship at the school.

Many of the well-known raw food chefs around the world went to Living Light for their training, including Chad Sarno and Jennifer Cornbleet.

The Natural Gourmet Institute
Where is it? New York, NY
What do they offer? Public classes and professional chef training that are plant-based and vegan-friendly
When do the programs run? Inquire by e-mail on their website
Website: naturalgourmetinstitute.com

The Chef’s Training program they offer is an intensive, professional course which can be taken part-time or full-time, but runs 619 hours. This school does teach people how to prepare seafood, chicken and eggs, but if you’re vegan you can opt out of that. This school teaches a wide range of cooking styles, including how to ferment, prepare raw foods and macrobiotic foods, and even Chinese medicine and medicinal cooking. The emphasis is on whole, plant foods.

The Natural Gourmet Institute offers a fun Friday night dinner, where the people enrolled in the school prepare a fine-dining experience for the general public at big, communal tables (with candlelight!), so if you’re in the area, you could swing by and see what it’s all about.

The Matthew Kenney Academyformerly the 105 Degrees Academy
Where is it? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
What do they offer? Chef certification program in raw foods
When do the programs run? Monthly, or several times a year for the more advanced classes
Website: kenneycuisine.com

Matthew Kenney offers very small and personal raw food chef’s training classes (typically 4-8 people). It’s designed for beginners and chefs alike.

There are two 4-week training sessions – Level 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, and Level 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine. The Level 1 courses run every month and is Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm. The Level 2 course runs 4 times a year and is the same hours as the Level 1 classes.

Cordon Vert School
Where is it? Altrincham, Cheshire, UK
What do they offer? Vegetarian leisure classes and workshops, a diploma program for professional chefs only
When do the programs run? Several times throughout the year; programs are short
Website: cordonvert.co.uk

The Cordon Vert School offers classes at their Vegetarian Society headquarters, and they even have rooms for lodging. They have a variety of vegetarian courses, ranging from 1 to 2 day workshops, classes for leisure, and professional classes. Their professional diploma class, a week in duration, is only available to professional chefs. However, their workshops and leisure courses are open to the general public, and occur frequently throughout the year.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Where is it? Austin, Texas
What do they offer? Full professional chef program that is vegan-friendly, public classes
When do the programs run? Begins every August and February
Website: naturalepicurean.com

This school specializes in vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic and raw food preparation and cuisine. They offer a full 900-hour professional chef training program. All of the training takes approximately a third of a year, if you jump straight from training into internship. This is an intensive course that will fully prepare you to work in a natural kitchen.

They also offer public classes, though they’re sparse and seldom due to the emphasis on the professional chef training program.

The School of Natural Cookery
Where is it? Boulder, Colorado
What do they offer? Professional training as a foundation course, with the option to go further
When do the programs run? Most are in the Fall and Spring
Website: naturalcookery.com

The foundation course at the School of Natural Cookery is a 16-week diploma course where you learn fundamentals, bread making, gastronomy, nutrition and more. If you achieve a very high mark in this course, you may take a 4-week personal chef course or teacher training course. However, in order to pursue the teacher training course, you must have finished their classes as well as have five years experience with natural food.

Courses are typically offered for a spring semester and a fall semester and run the duration of a typical school semester.

Vegan Culinary Academy
Where is it? Anguin, California
What do they offer? Online courses and a 1000 hour professional apprenticeship
When do the programs run? Anytime
Website: veganculinaryacademy.com

There are two major highlights of this school – first, someone who is looking for a professional apprenticeship opportunity will find it here, and it can be completed in six months to two years depending on how much you work, and second, they offer a distance learning program. The online program requires only that you have a camera and a computer with internet, and each student gets personal attention from the instructors in addition to all of the class materials and lessons. The apprenticeship is geared toward those who are already chefs, dietitians or food service directors.

Heaven on Earth Vegetarian Institute
Where is it? Hamilton-Stoney Creek, Ontario
What do they offer? A vegan, macrobiotic and ayurvedic 3-module program
When do the programs run? Mid-October to mid-March for all 3 modules
Website: heavenstudio.ca

This institute offers a Holistic Health Consultant & Cooking Certification program that runs in 3 modules and goes far beyond cooking. It delves into many aspects of holistic health, including yoga, pranayama, diet and lifestyle changes for preventing diseases, and of course healthy food preparation. All of the cooking is vegan with the exception of one class, where fish is included.

Natural Kitchen Cooking School
Where is it? Mercerfield, New Jersey, Haddonfield, New Jersey and New York City
What do they offer? A natural chef training program
When do the programs run? October to May, one weekend each month
Website: naturalkitchenschool.com

This school has several locations and occurs during weekends, making it more accessible. The class sizes are kept small (12 or less) so personal attention and assistance can be given.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does cover the major vegan-friendly cooking schools out there. Every year, more and more small classes pop up in different cities, so if you’re just looking for some basic instruction and have no interest in pursuing a career in cooking, check out what your city (or nearby city) has to offer. If you are looking to get serious with preparing that awesome vegan food, there are a few great choices on this list that could help you achieve your dreams.

During the recent years many people have started doing exercise, taking yoga classes and also following strict diet in many countries. The reasons behind these activities are many, like work-stress, people suffering from diabetes, people taking lots of fats in their food and due to the pollution and the ongoing urbanization. Most of the people living in the cities suffer from heavy pollution due to heavy intakes of carbon monoxide in their bodies. Due to this heavy intake there are many side effects involved in this process.

Most of the people are also addicted to smoking and alcohol, recent studies by an organization out of 100 people 60 percent drink significantly more than is healthy. Also in most of the countries even the percentage of the female population abusing alcohol is increasing. Due to this many of the doctors suggest people take regular exercises and also play sports in their leisure time. In the last ten years heart diseases has increased enormously from 35% to 70%. In recent years most of the children are born with diseases, a result of their parents poor health and lifestyle. So in these times it is necessary to follow some rules so that our health as well as our younger generations will be healthy.

Keeping healthy is nothing but keeping our body clean with healthy habits like taking regular exercise. First of all a regular jog of 2 km is enough for an individual of an average age. During the school days till college everyone is involved in one or other sport, but when people find a job they forget about health and they soon become busy in their work. One should consult their doctor every 3-4 months for a regular checkup’s. They should not be stressed – if they find stress they should take yoga classes every day, so that their blood pressure will be normal. Otherwise that would lead them to hyper blood pressure or hypo, which may lead to heart disease. Most of the corporate companies in USA as well as rest of the world are employing dietitians, physiotherapists, and also good doctors to take care of their employees.

The next thing I want to discuss is the diet because the intake food which we are taking is responsible for all the fats, carbohydrates,proteins and necessary enzymes which will be useful for the energy conversion or utilization in the human body. We should follow the diet very strictly by avoiding the junk food available in the market. A recent survey states that most of the people fall ill by consumption of junk food. A food with little fat is advisable because by taking more fat content the fat will be accumulated in the veins and arteries in the human body which result in high blood pressure which may lead to heart disease. In order to reduce the fats in the human body we should take less oil or cheese or butter in our food there by controlling the fats in the human body. Regular exercise will be helpful to control the fat in the human body.

By playing sports it will be a good exercise in the human body. Swimming is also a good sport. We should maintain our body weight according to our height. There we can reduce our health problems to most of the extent. I conclude my discussion to the above topic by saying that a regular exercise or yoga and a strict diet and playing sports and regular check ups we can keep our body healthy after all there is an old saying “Health is Wealth”.

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

What does the term ethnic food mean to you? To me, I think of the different countries and the cuisines they have to offer. One such type of food that greatly prevails all others is Indian Food. Well what does Indian cuisine consist of you may ask? Indian food is derived from India and uses a blend of subtle herbs and spices. In this form of cooking, there is a great amount of variation in the meat, vegetables, and spices used. The majority of Indian cooking is made up of vegetables and yet there are several meat and poultry dishes as well. Within India, there are two main yet distinct methods of cooking seen in both North India and South India.

Common Food Found in Northern India:

– roti: a traditional Indian flat bread eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables

– naan: resembles the western “pita” bread and is eaten with Indian curries or cooked vegetables as well

– kulcha: another form of tasty flat bread, usually found from Punjab

– tandoori chicken: form of chicken that is marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices, it is cooked in a large clay oven

– palak paneer: cooked spinach with minor cheese cubes and marinated with curry powder

– channa masala: chickpeas smothered in zesty sauce and marinated with curry powders and masalas

Common Food Found in Southern India:

– dosa: a type of South Indian crepe and made from rice and black lentil

– idli: a small spongy cake made from rice and black lentil

– vada: a small snack made from lentils and containing small pieces of onions as well as green chilies

– sambar: a thick spicy soup consisting of lentils and vegetables

As you can see, the above dishes are quite unique from western foods such as hamburgers and fries. In Northern India, there is a considerable amount of curry powder used in specific items. Whereas in South India, the spices are not strong and are much less filling than North Indian food.