I have done some searching and testing, and there is a good Google Chrome Extension for Text-to-Speech (TTS) processing. This one has a few cool voices (US Male English, UK Male English) and an nice interface. Just select some text and click on the button which is added to the top right of your toolbar!
So I was walking down Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens on my way to a coffee shop to meet some friends, and I glance inside a store front called “Natures Taste” which had lots of words such as “Organic,” “Grass-Fed,” and other words/phrases of interest to a guy like me.
I stop inside and ask a few questions, all of whose answers made me very happy. This store has lots of frozen meats, and traditional Greek food such as Gyro’s, souvlakia and sheftalia (traditional Cypriot sausage). They told me that all of their meat comes from their farm which is out in Long Island. I asked them what the name of the farm is and they said “L.I. Ranch.” I told them I would google it and come back after Greek Easter to try some of their excellent food.
Now, Greek’s celebrate Easter this year on Sunday, April 12th (2015), so tomorrow or some time next week I will stop in, take some pictures and buy some excellent meat and report on the quality!
In the meantime, see how they are listed on LocalHarvest:
and take a look at their Satellite photo on Google Maps here:
Now from that photo this place looks like an actual farm and not one of those CAFO operations. For the newly educated people on health food, CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation. Notice how the Google satellite has some animals clearly shown walking around and grazing. Also notice how the grass is not a “perfect green” that happens because animals actual walk around on graze on that grass. Contrast this to Industrial Farms where the animals aren’t allowed to graze on the grass, but instead are kept inside a big hen house.
I honestly don’t know if this Bell & Evans video is intended to make one want to buy their food or not, but take a look at this video, although Bell & Evans is doing a much better job than the conventional Chicken farm, watching this video should serve as a warning as to what happens in places worse than Bell & Evans!
So I have a new job at some high-tech Financial Firm based in Manhattan and they have several pantries that are stocked with loads of candy, “nutrition bars” and other junk. I normally avoid all of this stuff but during my new-hire training, I was walking right by one of these pantries several times per day. I ended up indulging more than once and I noticed that immediately after eating any of these sugar-rich snacks I ended up feeling horrible. Then I wanted to go back and get some more.
So now I am no longer in training, and I sit at my desk and only pass by these pantries one, maybe two times per day. I no longer grab any of the junks except for on special occasions. Regardless, I found a study that was published some time ago that mentioned that Rats preferred water that contained sugar more than water which contained cocaine. This even includes rats that were already addicted to Cocaine!
Does this mean that if I can avoid the snacks in the sugar pantry I have more will-power than a cocaine-addicted Wall Street Banker? I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out… Anyway, stay away from sugar, not only is it bad for you, it is addictive, perhaps more addictive than Cocaine…
To access the full-text of the study click on this link:
So I am big on traditional foods and the ways that they were prepared hundreds of years ago. Often the only way to find this is by going back to the village and asking the oldest grandmother still alive how her grandmother used to prepare dishes. seo service company Unfortunately, going to a village in the mountains of Crete, where I have perfect cell phone service, along with super-fast 4G mobile data, it is getting harder and harder to find out how our ancestors used to prepare lentil soup in Greece.
So, I did some digging on the internet and I found a very simple method:
- Take 2 cups of lukewarm water (slightly above room temperature) and place 1 cup of lentils and place them into a bowl.
- Add one and a half tablespoons of yogurt with live cultures in the bowl.
- Cover and repeat steps 1 & 2 every 12 hours.
Then cook your lentils as normal, and observe if it irritates your stomach.
Thanks and for those celebrating Clean Monday Happy Lent!
(Για αυτους που γιορτάζουν την Καθαρά Δευτέρα, Καλη Σαρακοστή!)
Lately I have been listening to a podcast by Abel James called “The Fat-Burning Man Show”. His homepage is here: http://fatburningman.com/ and his podcast is available on iTunes. Check him out!
I have told almost every single person that is close to me repeatedly that it is not excess fat consumption that makes us fat, but it is the excess consumption of Sugar. To back up my claim, I often reference a YouTube video of a professor giving a speech at the Harvard Law School Food Society that gives the best argument that Sugar is the culprit in the Western Worlds Obesity Epidemic.
After watching this video, there should be no reason for any reasonable person to believe that Fat is the culprit. So I recommend you watch the video and I will make a list of things you should look out for.
If you do not have the time, I recommend you read this blog posting that goes over the major points of the video, I suggest you visit this page right now as it will change your life:
The person talking in the video, is a personal hero of mine and his name is Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
If you don’t have the time to even visit the web page above, just remember these two points from the video:
“Eat less sugar and more fiber”
The Paleolithic and Atkins diets have two things in common, they work and they are “low sugar, high fiber”
Otherwise, the video really is a pleasure to watch, the speaker is very good with his delivery of his analogies and everything, starting with the first one “people don’t choose to be fat” from a real perspective.
So I drink Kombucha on a pretty much regular/daily basis. In Queens, you can buy a regular-sized bottle of GT’s Kombucha for about $4.00, while in midtown Manhattan you can buy the same bottle for around $5.00. So if you are cost-conscious and want to prove to your friends that it doesn’t cost a fortune to eat and drink healthy foods, I have prepared some instructions for how to brew your own Kombucha in the privacy of your own home for a fraction of the cost of buying it in the supermarket.
Before you read the instructions, check out GT’s website to see how many flavors they have. My favorite flavor is Cherry Chia: http://synergydrinks.com/index.php/products#enlightened-synergy/enlightened-synergy-cherry-chia. Eventually you will be so good at brewing Kombucha that you too will start to flavor your own homemade brew as well.
- 1.5 liters of water
- 4 x Black Tea Bags (http://www.twoleavestea.com/organic-earl-grey)
- 1 x Kombucha Starter aka SCOBY (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-tea-starter-culture.html)
- 1 x cup white vinegar
- 1/2 x cup organic white sugar
- 1 x glass mason jar
- 1 x rubber band
- 1 x cheese cloth or paper towel
Step 1 – Boil 1.5 liters of water
Step 2 – Steep 4 tea bags for 3-5 minutes.
In order to avoid steeping the tea for too long and making your tea too strong, I take my tea bags and tie them to a big wooden spatula and use that to quickly insert and remove my tea bags.
Step 3 – Wait 5 minutes for water to slightly cool then add sugar
Step 4 – Allow tea to cool to room temperature. This can take a while and the best part is that once the tea cools to room temperature it won’t get any colder!
Step 5 – Add SCOBY and 1 cup of white vinegar (you can also use existing Kombucha, the vinegar is used to make the solution acidic to prevent molds and other bacteria from growing)
Add a SCOBY – Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. This is a picture of my SCOBY from my last batch of brewing Kombucha. After a while the SCOBY gets so big that a baby SCOBY comes off of it and you can then start to brew two batches of Kombucha at the same time!
Step 6 – Cover jar with paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Then let it sit somewhere for 7 to 28 days. Check the kombucha by tasting it every few days or at your discretion. The best way to taste it is to stick a straw inside the jar and to then cover one end with your finger so that you avoid contaminating the kombucha with anything from the straw. After a few days you will notice that the Kombucha does not taste as sweet and its carbonation level will start to increase. Once the kombucha tastes satisfactory, remove it from the dark place and place it into the refrigerador to stop the fermenting process.
If you are lucky, you will also now have two kombucha scoby’s in your original jar. This usually does not happen during your first brew if you purchased a dehydrated one such as the one I referenced in the ingredients section above. That is how it happened for me and now I have 4 Kombucha SCOBYs! As a side note, if you know me personally and would like a Kombucha SCOBY please contact me and I would be more than happy to give it to you along with a mason jar so that you can get started with brewing your own Kombucha as well. Have fun!
Now you may be wondering, how do I know so much about health and nutrition? Where do I find all of the free time to do all of this reading and research if I have a day-job as a computer programmer? Well, the answer lays in Text-to-Speech software. You see, as a computer programmer, I find it very easy and convenient to have my headphones on while I code. When a programmer is in the “zone” having their headphones on and listening to music often helps them do a better job. Well, not for me, I have Text-to-Speech software and I listen to health articles and research papers while I work. It is this that has allowed me to consume hundreds of articles all while doing my regular work.
Of course, since I am very adept with my computer skills, I have also written several Python scripts that extract article text from newsletters. Additionally, if I download a research paper, I open the PDF in Adobe Reader and use the “Save as Text” option. Then I use my knowledge of regular expressions, an advanced programming concept to remove all headers and footers, along with long urls to make my listening experience more efficient.
I will list out a few of the applications which I have sampled and continue to use here:
- Cost: $29.95
- Voice Prices: $35 each
- My Favorite Voice: British English Peter (by Acapela)
- Sample: http://ttsdownload.com/acapelasamples/Peter.wav
I purchased a license to the TextAloud system because it supports many foreign languages including Greek. I like to listen to articles all of the time and sometimes I come across an article that is published in a Greek newspaper. The voice of “Dimitris” costs $45 and is worth the price.
- Cost: $59.95
- Voice Prices: Varies
- My Favorite Voice: Salli
- Sample: http://www.ivona.com/us/products/ivona-reader-salli/
This is my favorite text-to-speech application. It has a nice voice – “Salli” and can export many documents to mp3 and other formats. IVONA Reader can also read a pdf document to you as well. They offer many bundles and options, but all you really need is the cheapest edition that comes with the Salli voice. Don’t worry about missing out on all the other voices, all you need is one really good voice.
- Cost: $45.00 (Comes with one voice)
- Voice Prices: $45.00
- My Favorite Voice: David
- Sample: https://www.cepstral.com/en/demos
The first text-to-speech application that I purchased and was able to install onto my work computer before I got my Administrative rights restored. Give this application a try if you do not have Administrative rights on the computer you are using.
All three applications should work on Windows XP and Windows 7 and are suitable for the workplace.
If you want to laugh a little… I initially started researching Text-to-Speech software about a year and a half ago when I was handed a 150-page document which contained an “abridged” version of the Dodd-Frank legislation and was told that this was my “design document” for implementing a portion of a Swap-Execution Facility. So I said… why not listen to it while I scan through the document myself? And after a month… I found the best Text-to-Speech applications listed above.
You can make Greek yogurt in the comfort of your home using kitchen supplies that you probably already have. All you need is the following:
- Half a gallon of milk (preferably organic, grass-fed pasteurized goat’s or cow’s milk)
- a pot with lid that can fit at least half a gallon of milk
- A nice thermometer
- A towel (Yes, that is a bath towel in the photograph)
- A small, porous kitchen towel
- A spaghetti strainer
- A pot to catch all excess whey
Step 1 – Pour the milk into the pot with the thermometer attached
Step 2 – Turn on the heat – not too high, and not too low. You don’t want to burn the milk that is towards the bottom of the pot, so the higher the temperature, the more you have to stir the milk to keep it from burning. If you are in a rush, keep the heat high and constantly stir, if you are not in a rush, keep it low and stir it occasionally.
Step 3 – Take a small cup of Plain Fage yogurt and open the lid and leave it on your counter. We are doing this to allow the temperature of the yogurt to go to room temperature.
Step 4 – Monitor the temperature of the milk, keep heating it until it reaches 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5 – Turn off the heat once the milk reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and preheat your oven to the lowest temperature – usually 200 degrees is good enough. Once your oven beeps letting you know that it has been “preheated” aka has reached 200 degrees Fahrenheit, turn your oven off. This is not necessarily a required step, I simply do this to make sure that when I incubate the yogurt in the oven it is inside a warm environment that will ensure that the milk doesn’t cool down too much at any point during the incubation process)
Step 6 – Wait for the milk to reach a temperature that is just above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This usually takes about half an hour to 45 minutes. (Depending of course how cold your kitchen is…etc)
Step 7 – Once the milk has reached 115 degrees Fahrenheit, take the yogurt from the Fage cup and mix it in to the milk in the pot.
Step 8 – Take the thermometer out of the pot, put the lid back on and wrap the pot in the towel. Remember, the goal here is for the pot to maintain as much of a constant temperature as possible. Don’t worry about air not being able to get into the pot or anything like that.
Step 9 – Place the pot wrapped in the towel into the oven and set the oven timer to 8 hours. Note: Make sure the oven is off! (Yes, if you forgot your oven on, a fire may break out, or you will start smelling a burning towel before realizing you forgot it on…)
Step 10 – Take some raw honey (yes, unpasteurized honey that you can get from your local farmers market) and place some into the yogurt that you were unable to scoop out of the fage cup and eat it! This is a treat and the last time you will likely buy yogurt from the supermarket other than to use for making yogurt)
Step 11 – Return after 11 hours and remove the pot from the oven and enjoy your yogurt! Or, you can continue this guide to turn this regular yogurt into Greek yogurt…
Step 12 – Gather the yogurt straining equipment. A pot or other similar container to catch the whey is required, a regular wire mesh strainer, and a thin towel.
Step 13 – Pour the yogurt inside the towel, which is placed over the strainer, which is placed over the pot.
Step 14 – Tie up the towel and hang it up to allow the yogurt to strain.
Step 15 – Unwrap the towel after at least 4 hours. The longer you leave the yogurt hanging the more dry the yogurt will be. This all depends on taste. I personally like my yogurt to have some of its juice in it, but I don’t like it to have all of its juice/whey. Of course, if you strain it too much you can always add back some whey and stir it back in. Here is the end result of the batch that I made:
Finish – Amount of yogurt produced:
What is the biggest mistake that people make on a regular basis when trying to eat a “healthy” diet?
… well, they substitute fat for sugar.
So when I decided to try a store bought brand of “Greek” yogurt, I opted for a Pomegranate flavored Chobani “Greek” Yogurt. There was no fat in the yogurt, but that is more of a bad thing than a good thing… As you may know, the FDA, requires that ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance according to the weight of each ingredient (21 CFR 501.4) . So… what is the first ingredient? Nonfat yogurt. What is the second ingredient? Evaporated cane juice. That’s right, the 2nd largest ingredient of that yogurt is sugar! … And you thought it was good for you???
Let me read the Ingredients list off to you:
- Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei)
- Evaporated Cane Juice
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Pomegranate Juice Concentrate
- Natural Flavor
- Locust Bean Gum
- Fruit and Vegetable Juice Concentrate
Think of it this way, if the ingredient after sugar is pomengranate seeds followed by pomengranate juice, then that means that the amount of sugar is greater than each of these ingredients individually. So when you are eating this yogurt, just look at the massive volume of pomegranate seeds and pomegranate juice and say to yourself, would I add that much sugar to my yogurt?
Surely, your answer would be a strong resounding NO!
But the truth is that there is already that much sugar in the same yogurt which you are eating right now! So if this product is called “Greek”, when it has nothing to do with coming from the nation of Greece, if it is called “Yogurt” and “Pomegranate”, then why isn’t it called “Evaporated Cane Juice Yogurt”? Because there is more Evaporated Cane Juice in this product than there is pomegranates.
Stop eating low-fat high sugar “Greek” yogurt!
Stop eating sugar laced “health” food products and start eating full-fat yogurt made from whole milk. This is very simply to do, all you have to do is purchase yogurt that contains a very simple ingredients list: The ingredients on the product must not contain ~any~ sugar or sugar substitutes. Pomegranates are supposed to have a nice flavor naturally without having to add sugar, so why is Chobani doing so?
Oh yeah, did you continue reading the label? Did you notice another funny ingredient called “Natural Flavor”? I made it red for a reason…
Natural Flavor is a convenient method for manufacturers to sneak GMO’s into their products. Don’t believe me? Google it…
Also, for those who may not know this yet, but sugar has recently been vindicated as the cause for heart disease. Yes, that’s right, sugar is what causes inflamation of your veins and other bodily organs, which as a result become weaker and weaker and then one day they collapse causing what is known as a heart attack… Avoiding fat and cholesterol is so 80s.
It gets worse…. See Fage
Even Fage puts sugar as the first ingredient in most, if not all of its fruit flavored yogurts, except for in their honey flavored yogurt.
Noosa has to put sugar even in its honey flavored yogurt. Tell me something is not wrong here… Noosa yogurt is supposed to be some new “hot” thing which is Aussie-style yogurt. I purchased a cup today and noticed that not only was sugar the 2nd ingredient after yogurt, there were various other forms of sugar listed throughout the ingredients list. So be warned, soon Fage and Chobani will be moving their sugar into other forms of sugar so that they can be moved further down the ingredients list.
As for Noosa, stay away from it right now! As for Fage and Chobani, opt for the plain flavored yogurt and get the higher fat version. Nonfat doesn’t work, neither does diet or light. Just look around you, do you see any healthy looking people eating nonfat yogurt? I only see fat people and anorexic looking people eating nonfat yogurt.