Archive for Winter

Beer and Food Pairings

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2011 by Firstsource

f someone ordered an Indian Pale Ale with their cheese, would that be so wrong? No. It’s all about personal preference after all. Wine always has its place beside any aged, dairy delicacy—or other less moldy edibles—but a perfect lager or ale can stand up to any red or white vino when pairing food and drink.

“Beer is a great match for food because of the complexity of its flavors, its ability to provide refreshment and to interact with many food flavors,” says Marc Stroobandt, master beer sommelier for the Food and Beer Consultancy, UK. “Even before the meal, beer already is doing its work for food pairing as the hops stimulate the appetite.”

When pairing beer and food, it all comes down to matching the food’s flavors to the flavors of the beers. We went directly to the experts to get their advice on mating the best brews with your favorite bites.

Cheese, Sandwiches, Pizza
Wine and cheese is a universally-known pair, but what most people may not know is that beer is one of the best matches for cheese. “Wine may cover up some of the flavors in cheese while the carbonation in beer creates a lighter acidity and lifts the fats in the cheese off the palate,” says The Beer Sommelier, Matt Simpson. “Whether it’s a straight-up cheese platter, pizza, sandwich, goat cheese salad, almost any beer is a go when it comes to cheese.

Recommended: All beer (Note: for stronger cheeses like goat and blue, grab a darker lager or ale.) Try Hennepin Saison (Belgium)

Chicken, Seafood, Pasta
The one rule with dishes like chicken, fish, salads or pastas are that you don’t want to overpower them with a beer. Therefore, lighter is better. A light German lager or Belgian Saison with chicken or fish is perfect. (If creams or sauces are added you need a heavy, richer beer.) Pasta is slightly more versatile but still pairs well with similar brews like blonde ales and German or American wheat ales.

Recommended: Belgian Blonde ale; German Hefeweizen; American Hefeweizen or wheat beer (as long as it is not too hoppy). Try Duvel (Belgium), Widmer Hefeweizen (US), Blue Moon (US)

Frites and Fried Foods
Even if the Belgians make the best frites in the world and are the largest consumers per person, those salty potato sticks are still an American staple cuisine. In general, fries (or frites) are light in flavor profile, so opt for a brew that will help cleanse the palate. “In general ask for a beer to cleanse your palate without washing away all the salty flavors, cutting through and bringing out the taste of the food,” says Stroobandt, who prefers a nice Stella Artois with his frites. The same recommendation goes for most fried, salty dishes.

Recommended: Light German Lager, Marzen-style (more malt); Octoberfest brews; Belgian Blonde ale or lager. Try Samuel Adams Octoberfest (US), Stella Artois (Belgium), Leffe Blond (Belgium)

Burgers/Steak/Roasted Meats
Steak and Cabernet are classic, but darker, heartier beers like brown ales or stouts can balance the bigger meats. It’s all about finding a beer that is equal to the meat. “The idea is to balance the sweet malt and bitter aromatic hops,” says Simpson. “Any big robust beef or meaty food should include a beer that is big and bold enough to stand up to roasted meat like a darker, fuller porter or stout.”

Recommended: Belgian-style lagers; pale or amber ales with deeper, roasted flavors; more toffee-like brown ales and stouts; darker, spicier lagers like German Dunkels and Belgium Dubbels. Try Newcastle Brown Ale (UK), Guinness (Ireland), Maredsous 8 (Belgium)

Spicy
Buffalo wings, spicy Thai, Szechuan Chicken and Mexican dishes all go well with light lagers—basically anything with more hops, which help cut down the spices in the food. “Little goes better with spicier dishes than a light Mexican-style lager,” says Matt Simpson. “It’s almost like milk when it comes to spicy food. It doesn’t coat the tongue, but the spice in the hops cut through the spiciness in the chilies and peppers and allows the beer to shine through.”

Recommended: Lighter lagers; Indian Pale Ales. Try Negro Modelo (Mexico), Corona (Mexico), Spaten-Fransikaner (Germany)

Dessert
The Chocolate notes in stouts always pair well with brownies or any rich dessert. Lighter, fruit-based lagers or ales can also provide a nice balance or contrast. Think raspberries and chocolate. “Beer and dessert is not the first choice for most, but a whole new world of flavors await you when you try fruitier beers with a wide variety of puddings, ice creams or sorbets,” says Stroobandt.

Recommended: Light, fruitier dessert beers; stouts; Indian Pale Ales. Try Lindeman’s Framboise Raspberry Lambic Beer (Belgium), Brooklyn Chocolate Stout (US), Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Rasputin (US)

When in Doubt . . . Go Regional
If chicken chimichanga or fajitas are on the menu, then opt for a Mexican brew. Leave it to the country of origin when pairing if the options are too overwhelming. “German foods like pretzels, brats, knockwurst, I like to pair with German beer,” says Simpson, who believes Americans and beer drinkers still need to educate themselves on the possibilities of pairing beer and food.

“It’s all about trial and error and finding that unique combination of food and beer,” says Stroobandt. “The wine industry is years ahead with informing and educating the consumer, so brewers have to step it up a gear and provide some info on how their beers can work with food.”

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Get Ray Allen’s Stamina

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2011 by Firstsource

 

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–>As NBA star Ray Allen goes for the all-time three-point record this Thursday, we take a look at the conditioning regimen that has kept Allen in the game over the years.

Back in 2007, the Boston Celtics strength and conditioning coaches, Walter Norton Jr. and Bryan Doo, worked overtime to get Ray Allen ready for 2007-’08 after he underwent double ankle surgery during the off-season. “We were concerned about getting his joints to move well again,” says Norton, “as well as strengthening his lower body, from his ankle to his knee to his hip.” Most athletes, the trainers say, tend to be quad-dominant, so they had Allen train with resistance bands to recruit his glutes when running or jumping.

 

“When he’s on the court,” says Doo, “we want him to use all his muscles, not just his quads.” The bands also help Allen focus on proper mechanics. “In an effort to get him more explosive, we’ve had to try and teach him how to land all over again,” says Norton. Allen performs nearly every exercise in an athletic position to simulate how his body moves on the hardwood.

He may have a band around his ankles or knees while squatting, lunging, or reaching.

“He’ll train in shoes one day and bare feet the next to change the stimulus,” Norton adds. Allen might stand on one foot while a staff member throws him medicine balls at different heights,allowing him to work on his balance.

“He has to use muscles in his core to slow the ball down,” says Doo. This sort of functional training, combined with Allen’s attitude, has kept him healthy and performing at a high level this season. “Ray is a pro,” Norton says. “He definitely understands the value of what we do.”

On Game Day…
Ray Allen rarely forces a bad shot on the court, so it’s no surprise that his discipline extends to pregame training rituals. Before tip-off, Allen sticks to a rigid schedule so he’s always ready to rain his sweet jumper from anywhere on the floor.

8 A.M. Wakes up, reads the paper, eats Aunt Jemima pancakes made with blueberries, a super food rich in antioxidants. 10 A.M. Attends morning shoot around at training facility in nearby Waltham, Mass., just to get his blood flowing. NOON Eats lunch. Usually a lean turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread. 1:30 P.M. Takes a two-hour nap. “This is my time to relax and recharge,” he says.

3:30 P.M. Eats pregame meal—generally baked chicken and rice with broccoli. “I ate too many heavy starches when I was younger and it seemed like my legs were always heavy starting games,” Allen says.

4 P.M. Arrives at TD Banknorth Garden three hours before tip-off. Runs through rigorous shooting drills, simulating every possible shot he could take in the game. He launches about 200 shots in an hour and on a good day will convert 170.

5 P.M. Stretches and replenishes with two peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches on wheat bread, plus 32 ounces of water.

7 P.M. Game time. Between his pregame work and his off-season workout regimen, Allen knows he’s ready for almost anything. “When I’m on the floor, I’m not going to break down,” he says. “I’m not going to be breathing heavy or panting. I’m either chasing somebody or they’re chasing me. But I can outlast them. When that happens, I’m going to make my move and get my shot off before they can stop me.”

10 P.M. Postgame cooldown with his feet in a tub of ice. “Just my feet for 15 minutes,” he says.

11:30 P.M. Bedtime. There’s another day of preparation on the horizon.


The Celtics staff makes sure Allen’s hamstrings are loose before tip-off.


Allen gets focused (and a quick pump) on the sidelines.

Sculpt Her Five Favorite Body Parts

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by Firstsource

Sure, she’s attracted to you. But wouldn’t it be better it she couldn’t keep her hands off you? We surveyed women to find out what they like most about your body, and asked James Chan, NSCA-CPT, author of Strength snd Physique: Neo-Classical Bodybuilding, how to make it even better.

Most of these exercises require no weights—you’ll use your body weight to perform each exercise. “Saying you can get strong on machines is kind of like saying you can ride a bike, but you’ve been riding with training wheels the whole time,” Chan says. “Body weight exercises make you work harder to stabilize muscles, so you’ll get a better workout.”

Complete as many reps as you can of each exercise three times a week, and you’ll have a ‘bod she’ll brag to her friends about in no time.

Arms

If you have access to parallel bars (yes, the kind gymnasts use), use them to do dips. This will tone your chest, triceps and back. And don’t worry if you can’t do more than three at first: “Most people will find parallel bar dips very difficult,” Chan says. If you can’t go all the way down, partial reps will work wonders, too. No parallel bars? Push two chairs of equal height together at home, place your hands on the top of each chair back, and complete the dips this way. For biceps she’ll love, pull-ups are your best bet. Use a bar at the gym, buy a pull-up bar and mount it on a doorway in your house, or visit a local playground for free.

 

Abs

Another reason to invest in a pull-up bar: it can give you the most effective abdominal workout there is. Grasp the bar with both hands and let your legs hang down. Raise your knees up to your chest, curling your body as far up as you can go on each rep. Lower your legs until your body is straight again; that’s one rep. Unlike traditional crunches, which require a small range of motion and are only effective if you keep your abs tight throughout the exercise, leg raises require you to activate more nerves in your midsection, which means you’ll see a six-pack more quickly. Resist the urge to do these every day, or you’ll increase your risk of overtraining and fatigue.

 

Legs

For Beckham-worthy quads, Chan recommends a challenging exercise called sissy squats. Stand near a table or surface that is waist high and grab on to it with one hand for support. Squat down until your shins are parallel to the floor—you’ll be balancing on the balls of your feet in order to do this—then return to a standing position; that’s one rep. Keep your upper body in a straight line as you go down. “Bending at the waist takes away the emphasis on the quads because the glutes and hamstrings come into play,” Chan says. “These squats will create a toned look, especially around the knees, without adding extra bulk.”

 

Glutes

If you’ve been trying to squat your way to a better backside, you probably haven’t made much progress. Why? Most men don’t lower their bodies until their thighs are parallel to the floor—the position you need to be in to really target your glutes. If you’re one of them, lunges are a great alternative. Start at one end of the room and do walking lunges; 10 to 15 reps on each leg is a good goal. If you don’t have the space, you can do alternate leg lunges from a standing position. For a bigger challenge, hold a dumbbell in each hand during each rep, or put a barbell behind your shoulders. Either way, be sure to use enough weight so the last few reps are challenging.

 

Chest

Standard pushups will give you a strong chest, but for one she’ll really want to rest her head on, try side-to-side pushups. Start in a raised push-up position, but instead of going straight up and down, lower your chest until it almost touches your left hand, return to an upright position, then repeat on the right side. Too easy? After you lower your body to your left, shift your weight towards your right hand, and then straighten your arms to return to start. Don’t let your chest touch the ground, and keep your body in a straight line. At the gym, a worthwhile machine to try is the pectoral fly machine. “Your chest will look bigger and more sculpted, and it’s not that hard to do,” Chan says. But be sure to grab the handles, not the pads—or you’ll risk hurting your shoulders. Aim for 10 reps, and always pick a weight that feels difficult towards the end of each set.

8 Things You Probably Didnt Know About The Packers

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by Firstsource

packer-fans.jpg
With the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers headed to Superbowl XLV on Feb. 6, MF is offering up a few quick trivia lessons. We’ll start today with some facts you might not now about the Packers (that is unless you were born in Wisconsin, in which case these were probably answers on your SAT test). Check back next week for some Steelers trivia.

  • Founded in 1919, the Green Bay Packers are the second-oldest franchise in NFL history. The oldest? The Arizona Cardinals.

 

  • The team was started by newspaper editor George Whitney Calhoun and Earl “Curly” Lambeau. The namesake of Lambeau Field, “Curly” was also a player and the squad’s first head coach.

 

  • The Packers get their name from the Indian Packing Company–a meat canning business where Lambeau worked and an early investor in the team.

 

  • Green Bay’s colors were originally blue and gold like “Curly” Lambeau’s alma mater, Notre Dame. It wasn’t until 1950 that the familiar green and gold colors became their official trademark.

 

  • With twelve league championships, The Green Bay Packers have more titles than any other team in the NFL. This trophy case consists of 9 NFL Championships and three Super Bowl Championships, including the first two. 


 

  • First awarded in January of 1967, the “World Championship Game Trophy” was renamed the “Vince Lombardi Trophy” in 1970 to commemorate the legendary coach after his sudden death from cancer that same year. Unlike the Stanley Cup, of which there is only one, a new Lombardi Trophy is produced for every winning team.

 

  • The “Lambeau Leap”–the team’s trademark touchdown celebration in which the successful player jumps into the arms of the crowd–was first performed by LeRoy Butler after a touchdown against the Raiders in December of 1993. Wide receiver Robert Brooks gets credit for popularizing the act.

 

  • Out of all of the professional sports franchise in the United States, The Green Bay Packers are the only team that is publicly owned. Technically speaking, over 100,000 people can claim ownership of the franchise.

Hottie of the Day

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by Firstsource

Denver

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by Firstsource

For a bit of scenery, head to Washington park, or Wash park as the locals call it. Run along the 2.6-mile trail, hit some balls on the free tennis courts, or check out the recreation center’s indoor pool and gym. The park spans 165 acres in the heart of the city and is always packed with people playing soccer, volleyball, or just enjoying the ample eye candy.

HOTEL GYM
Hyatt Regency
650 15th St.
303-436-1234

This 24-hour, 6,700-square-foot fitness center includes both the expected (cardio, weights, indoor pool) and the surprising (an outdoor hot tub).

Going Out

EATS
Panzano
909 17th St.
303-296-3525

Expect fine northern Italian cuisine in an old-world atmosphere. Dinner is well worth the steep prices, but if you want the same great food for less dough, hit Panzano’s power lunch.

Willie G’s
1585 Lawrence St.
303-575-9000

As far as chains go, this local fave is tops, with seafood specialties, pasta, and steaks to satisfy all those hungry-man cravings.

NIGHTLIFE
My Brother’s Bar
2376 15th St.
303-455-9991

The oldest bar in Denver is also the liveliest. The burgers and drinks are the stuff of legend, and with the kitchen open till 1:30 a.m., there’s no better way to start — or end — the night.

Tryst Lounge
1512 Larimer St.
303-629-0544

The Mile High City’s place to see and be seen. Sample the much-buzzed-about infused vodka, while scoping out scantily clad cage dancers.

The Church
1160 Lincoln St.
303-832-8628

Sinners and saints alike party into the wee hours in this former house of worship. Enjoy three dance floors, two lounges, plus a sushi bar.

Joe Theisman

Posted in Diet, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by Firstsource

Joe Theismann has, by his own admission, enjoyed several careers. The first of which ended in 1985 when former NY Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor crumpled his right leg underneath him. Since then, he’s moved on to become a broadcaster—currently for the NFL Network—and now he’s spreading the word about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, a condition few people know about. We sat down with Theismann to find out more.


Photo courtesy of ESPN

You’ve been a busy guy. You recently became involved with Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) awareness. How did you become associated with this condition?
My dad was diagnosed with AAA three or four years ago. Getting involved was enlightening for me. The large artery that carries blood from the heart to the lower extremities gets a bulge in it, a little bubble. If that bursts, there’s about a 90% chance of you dying. If it’s diagnosed and treated, those numbers are reversed.

So I’m on an awareness campaign. As you go for a physical, ask for a vascular ultrasound. You probably know someone that has AAA, but they don’t know it, either. We want people to go to findtheaaanswers.org to check it out.

As a former QB, what was your reaction to the league cracking down on helmet-to-helmet hits this season with increased fines?
We play a violent sport with violent hits, and they’re not going to go away. We have a wonderful ability to adapt, as players. The thing that scared me when the emphasis was first placed was there really isn’t any penalty for hitting someone below the neck. If you hit someone in the head, you’ll be penalized. If you go low, you’re going to start ending careers.

What are your thoughts on the proposed 18-game season?
You have to look at the off-season programs. They need to be modified. When I came into the league in the ’70s, we went to training camp to get in shape. I played six exhibition games, as well as a 14-game schedule. I played 20 games before I even got to the playoffs, so I’ve played an 18-game season. The first thing they need to do is increase the roster size from 45 to 53, then you’ll have a bigger pool of players to be able to play, so you can possibly cut down on the wear and tear on specific individuals. You don’t have to have your starting middle linebacker covering kicks.

One issue from the player’s union perspective is the retired players benefits package. As a retired player, what do you think?
I’d like to see retired players get their compensation quicker—and an increase in the amount of money for retirement. We have one of the worst retirement programs in all of sports. When you’re 22 or 23 years old and making $10 million, there is no end. And then all of a sudden the harsh reality of being out of the game for three of four years strikes and you have to go get a job, a real job. And there’s a lifestyle that you and your family are used to—and it goes away quick. You’d be surprised how fast a million dollars can go if you don’t watch it.


Theismann at MF headquarters in NYC

Let’s get your Super Bowl predictions.
Last year, they [Pittsburgh and Green Bay] played and the game was 37-36. Ben threw a TD with no time left on the clock to beat the Packers. You expect a high scoring game, but I don’t expect Ben to throw for 500 yards, and I don’t expect Aaron Rodgers to throw for 380 yards. It’ll be a close game somewhere in the 20s.

The difference between last year’s game and this one is Green Bay’s defense was nowhere near as good as it is this year. I like the Green Bay Packers in this game. I think Aaron Rodgers spreading the defense out is the way they’ll approach it. Green Bay’s a throwing football team. If Pittsburgh has to get into a throwing game, they probably can do it, but it’s not the most comfortable thing for them. If Green Bay threw 60 times, I wouldn’t be surprised. You’ve got a terrific receiving core. I’m leaning towards the Packers.

Let’s discuss your famous injury. What went through your head as it happened?
That moment changed my life. I was the most despicable, egotistical pain in the ass that you could imagine. I had no room for anybody. I was a football star. I was making a lot of money. I had all the things that you could materialistically want in life, but I lost myself along the way. Football was the most important thing to me in my life. When it’s gone, you become very introspective. I had to rebuild Joe Theismann.

How painful was the injury? It looked absolutely excruciating.
My leg from the knee down was completely numb. They took me from the gurney at the stadium into the ambulance, from the ambulance to the hospital gurney. When they lift me up they forget to pick up the lower part of my right leg. And I don’t feel a thing. I happen to mention to one of the attendants, “Can you do me a favor? Can you pick up the rest of me and put me on here, too?”

But I felt nothing. And when I got into the hospital, I had to bring a black and white TV in, with a coat hanger stuck in, so I could watch the rest of the game. So I actually watched the rest of the game while they prepped my leg.

Over the years, how many times do you think you’ve seen footage of the injury?
I’ve only seen it once. Only once. I was sick to my stomach just before it happened, and I’ll never see it again. Never. Never, ever, ever.