How to get a good chef knife


Having a good chef’s knife is like owning a tool that basically puts your cooking ideas into practice. It’s so important to have a knife in your hands that feels comfortable to use. Imagine having to chop something and your knife acts like it doesn’t listen to your thoughts and cuts the ingredients in uneven pieces. This is why you need to identify your personal preferences and needs and realize that in order to cook at a professional level you must own a great knife.



Even if might take a little time to find your ideal knife, you can start by searching a cutlery or a cookware store where you can look a wide selection of knives. It’s crucial to understand the size and the handling before concluding that the piece is made for you. It’s not about spending a fortune but more about the feeling you get when in contact with a certain item. You can find a chef knife under $50 if you just know how the knife of your dreams should look and feel like.

Since we’re talking about the feeling a knife enables you we must mention the testing part. In the process of finding a good knife, you need to run tests for dozens of models before making your final decision. There are certain foods that are suitable for this type of tests. Basically, an amazing tool needs to be tested for mincing parsley, dicing an onion, slicing a winter squash, carving a melon, and cutting carrots into thin strips.


After seeing the results, you can move on to comfort and perfect fit. A chef knife made of quality materials must feel like a natural extension of your hand. Furthermore, it needs to inspire confidence so you can trust your instincts and achieve full performance while trying out new recipes. If the knife looks and feels great, you can start chopping without having to worry about slipping off and cutting your fingers.

Besides the look and the grip, a knife must have an ideal weight. Some cooking schools teach their future chefs that the reason why a chef’s knife cuts so well no matter the texture of the food is that it falls with force.

You might have never thought of this aspect, but a perfect balance is a must if you want to get an excellent chef’s knife. In order to check its balance, grip the knife by its handle. If it feels too heavy toward the back of the handle or toward the blade of the tool, you should opt for another product. If the knife is not balanced enough, you’ll put too much effort into the cutting and end up exhausting your hand.

The most popular chef knife size is the 8-inch option that ensures plenty of versatility. You can get a 10-inch knife but it might be less flexible while cutting certain ingredients.



Why you should always buy BPA-free kitchen appliances


You might have heard of BPA and how dangerous it can be for your health. BPA is a component found in plastic, and the main problem with it is that it can leak into your food and drinks if you store or make your beverages and meals using plastic utensils or other appliances that contain BPA. Here are some thoughts on how to stay safe and ensure that you don’t expose yourself and your family to such risks.

What risks are we talking about?

Recent studies have shown severe effects of BPA on human health, by specifically being a factor that influences fertility for the worse. In males, exposure to BPA leads to the reduction of sperm count and motility, while women who try getting pregnant, via IFV or naturally, experience serious issues.

But infertility is not the only problem resulted from BPA contamination. This toxic compound is linked to obesity and the drainage of the reserves of vitamin D in the body. Current studies examine the possibility of a relationship between BPA exposure and heart disease.


Go for stainless steel or glass

Plastic may seem like such a convenient choice for kitchen appliances. But the truth is that containers that are made from plastic pose many threats to your health, when in prolonged contact with your food. Blenders, coffee makers, as well as other appliances do not necessarily need to have plastic parts.

Especially the jug where the food or beverage is processed can just as well be made from stainless steel or glass. These materials are BPA-free, and they present other advantages. They do not rust, and they are more durable, keeping your kitchen free of toxic compounds.


BPA-free plastic is a convenient alternative

There are, indeed, reasons for people to favor plastic, especially for food containers, since glass can be very cumbersome and difficult to transport. That is why new manufacturers invested more in researching a type of plastic that is free of the toxic compound.

You will now find in stores food containers made from BPA-free plastic. They are just as convenient as regular plastic models, but they are not dangerous for your health. They are easy to carry around, and they won’t break easily.

Other ways to stay clear of BPA

Prepackaged foods are the main issue when it comes to BPA exposure, for the mere fact that they come wrapped in plastic and they need to be warmed up inside a microwave oven, which makes matters even worse.

Besides purchasing all kinds of BPA-free kitchen appliances, what you can do for your health is to ensure that you cook more at home, using fresh ingredients. While you may not be able to stay clear of BPA altogether, since it is an environmental pollutant, by limiting its effects, you will work towards improving your health.



How much water should you drink in a day?


Our bodies constantly lose water mainly through sweating and urination. As the body is around 60 percent water more or less, there are varying opinions on how much water has to be taken in per day. It is generally accepted that water helps you stay slim and regular. Getting enough water keeps the metabolic rate at peak efficiency and also the digestive system working optimally.

Despite the general consensus that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, the quantity of water we actually take in is more individualized than we may think. Amidst that, knowing how much water one should drink is not a cut-and-dried concept. This becomes even more complicated if you consider what some health gurus are saying that we need to constantly sip water throughout the day regardless if we are thirsty or not.



The fact of the matter is, water consumption depends pretty much on the individual and that is aside from the variety of internal and external factors that have an ultimate influence on our water needs.

The 8-glasses rule is a good starting point but it is not a concept based on solid, deeply-researched information. The recommended intake is dependent on a variety of factors such as age, sex, activity level, among others. Breastfeeding and pregnant women are just some of those that exhibit variability in the recommended intake.

It is currently recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that people ages 19 and older drink around 72 ounces or about 9 cups or 2.7 liters of water for women while men should drink at least 104 ounces or around 13 cups or 3.7 liters of water. This denotes the overall fluid intake per day and includes any water-containing food or drink such as vegetables and fruit.



The recommended water intake for children has much to do with age. For boys and girls between 4 and 8 years, around 5 cups or 40 ounces per day is recommended. By ages 9 to 13, this becomes 7 to 8 cups or about 56 to 64 ounces. Youngsters from 14 to 18 should take in 64 to 88 ounces or around 8 to 11 cups.

The recommended water intake for breastfeeding and pregnant women changes as well. Regardless of age, pregnant women should take in ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is around 80 ounces. The total water intake for breastfeeding women can go as high as 13 cups or 104 ounces.

For those who are trying to lose weight and who are already well hydrated and having plenty of water intake, drinking more water is not likely to make plenty of difference. However, for those who go through every day with very little water or are hugely dehydrated ought to get enough water to see palpable success in their weight loss programs.




Can you drink alcohol if you want to lose weight?


Unwinding with a glass of wine at the end of a particularly long day is fine, but will it still be so if you are currently trying to lose weight? One thing that scares people trying to lose weight is alcohol and how it will make you fat. However, that is a myth.

Your favorite beer or wine do not have that many calories that can expand your waistline compared to the calories or sugars in the mixers used in making cocktails. Those are the components that really push the weight meter up, not to mention the bar chow you gobble with your drink.



Take for example a 4-ounce serving of margarita or daiquiri, which can have over 35 grams of sugar equivalent to 7 teaspoons. Furthermore, there’s also the fact that those drink mixers contain more than twice the calories compared to a shot of tequila or rum in the drink and that’s just for half a mixer.

This is further compounded by the bad kinds of calories in mixers, which are from simple and refined sugars. Alcohol slows down the metabolism since it has to be broken down first before all the other calories. This is the likely reason why the myth about alcohol making one fat came to be.

It is not the alcohol but the combination of the alcohol and sugars in mixers that result in weight gain. While alcohol does contain calories, it is still safe to assume you won’t gain a lot of weight simply by downing straight shots of vodka. The real damage is caused by how the body considers alcohol as a metabolic priority over fats and carbohydrates, leaving what it is you ate before stored as fat.


Since alcohol gets to be broken down first, fat gets burned more slowly instead.

Long-term studies that have been published in the International Journal of Obesity and the Archives of Internal Medicine show that older and middle-aged women who were moderate drinkers, consuming one drink a day, gained less weight with time compared to those who never drank at all.

The studies are variable and complex but a co-author of one of those studies says moderate drinkers seemed to be more likely to offset their occasional drinking by imbibing fewer calories from other sources. They also showed a greater tendency to be a bit more physically active. Apparently, it helped that they didn’t over-indulge in fattening foods.



Now can you drink alcohol if you want to lose weight? Of course, you can, but like any other thing you love, do it in moderation. Know the proper serving size, and a proper glass of wine is sure not filled to the brim but only 5 ounces full. Minimize the calories from mixers as the simpler the drink is, the better.

Use real lime juice in margaritas. Mix using diet tonic water or naturally calorie-free club soda in place of regular tonic water or other carbonated, high-calorie drinks.

Indulge in drinks only on splurge meals if you are actively pursuing a weight loss program. This helps lessen the effects of slow fat burning in general. To help counteract that effect, nibble on foods that provide long-lasting energy. Prior to going out, have a snack or dinner with fiber, protein, and healthy fat. This helps keep your blood sugar levels stable without decreasing your metabolism rate.

How to make your own yogurt at home


I am a huge fan of cultured foods. A couple of years ago when I had some spare time and went into the kitchen to do the dishes, I took my laptop with me and looked for several recipes on YouTube. I came across Donna’s Cultured Foods, a channel that I have come to adore and later on checked out her website, which is packed with recipes and a good deal of information you can benefit from if you want to boost your immune system and start living healthy.

I’ve always had problems with my digestion ever since I was a kid. Of course, my teenage years didn’t help me one bit given that I became addicted to heavily processed foods, mainly burgers and French fries. Back then, I had no idea what these foods could do to your body, but I quickly became aware of their consequences once I started packing some pounds.

Fortunately, my parents were committed to keeping my brother and me as healthy as possible, so they started cooking food at home. We used to get store-bought yogurt, but even so, I quickly understood that it had a beneficial effect on my digestion. When I moved into my own place, I started to do a bit of research and found out that there were appliances with the help of which one can make yogurt at home.

Getting the best yogurt maker was kind of difficult because I had to read a lot of reviews and understand what people were looking for in such an appliance. The neat thing about all of the models I considered, regardless of whether or not they were capable of making a single batch of yogurt or multiple ones in several containers, was that they came with straightforward instructions. As you can imagine, I was a complete rookie and had little to no idea with regard to making my own yogurt, so I didn’t know where I was supposed to get the culture from, what type of milk I was meant to use, or even if I would be able to make non-dairy specialties.

I have a friend who is lactose-intolerant, so I would have loved to treat her from time to time. There are several products you can choose from, but I believe that one of the crucial factors you need to keep in mind is its construction. I am not debating whether or not it’s made from quality materials that can enable it to withstand the test of time. I am, in fact, referring to the nature of these materials. Make sure to get a BPA-free yogurt maker especially if you have kids. Since this is one of the concerns expressed by most parents, many manufacturing brands will include this information in their product descriptions.


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