Goji Berries Super Fruit & Super Food

Over the past decade western culture is starting to pay attention to the Goji berries long history and medicinal properties. Goji, (Lycium barbarum) also know as Wolfberry has been consumed in Asia for thousands of years. It is so highly regarded that many regions have annual celebrations that last weeks, giving tribute to this unique food. Goji berry grows throughout a vast area of central Asia stretching from Mongolia to the Himalayas and beyond. These cultures claim Goji has unique magical properties and is the secret to a long healthy life.

This is what we know about Goji berries:
Goji berry is extremely high in vitamin C, approximately 500 times more vitamin C than oranges. They also are rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, B6 and E. Goji contains 19 amino acids and 13 percent protein. These little berries have 21 trace minerals and more beta carotene than you can shake a carrot at. If that’s not enough, included are selenium and germanium, what you end up with is a super fruit or more commonly called a super-food!

This little berry is being studied all over the world to make sense of the complex science surrounding Goji berries unique nutritional value. It is being studied for possible benefits in cancer treatments and its effect on tumors. Many other studies include but are not limited to Goji berries effects on blood pressure, effectively lowering cholesterol, treatment for enlarged prostate, its anti-fungal and anti-bacteria properties, its overall effect on the nervous system and the list goes on and on.

The Goji berry is consumed in many different forms. One form is juice, usually good quality and delicious but very expensive and realistically most people cannot afford it. Another popular form is dried berries. Dried Goji berries are more affordable and taste good as well. Many claim they taste like raisins while others say they taste more like dried cranberries. In recent years freeze dried Goji berries granulated into powder form has become very popular. Though it is possible to lose a little nutritional value in this process, if done correctly using quality fruit it can be a great alternative to juice because it becomes a lot more affordable. This method makes it possible for many to incorporate Goji into their everyday diet.

A great resource for those interested in learning more in-depth about the Goji berry is a book by Dr. Earl Mindell called, Goji: The Himalayan Health Secret. This wonderful book is packed with good information from the history to past and current studies on Goji berries.

It is also important to understand that like all food the quality varies from one crop to the other. Quality or potency also varies from geographical region to region. This is a fact of nature in all foods and is only one reason why healthy bodies need to have a diverse menu of fruits and vegetables. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to educate yourself on good sources of high quality food with a wide spectrum as to nutrition. By devoting a little time and discovering what quality food is and what sources are available you will create a healthy mind as well as body. With these tools you become better equipped to handle life and all that it has to offer.

Travis Witt
Your natural health resource & review by Travis Witt

2013 Volkswagen CC 2.0T – First Drive Review

In designing the latest Jetta and the U.S.-market Passat, Volkswagen didn’t take many aesthetic risks. Their innocuous, slab-sided shapes reflect modern, strip-mall Americana as much as they contrast the elegance of the brand’s other U.S.-market sedan, the eminently European CC.

Graceful as it is, the CC has been largely unchanged since its emergence as a 2009 model. For 2013, it adopts new styling cues that bring it in line with its more-modern, Yankee-fied siblings. Fearful that the comparison-test-winning four-door coupe’s other strengths were ironed out in the process, we headed to Half Moon Bay near San Francisco for a closer look.

Approach the 2013 CC and you get a familiar feeling; its new three-bar chrome grille looks plucked straight from the Passat and gives the car a harder, chunkier mug. Bright, bixenon headlights flank the new face and are accented by standard LED daytime running lights on all but base Sport models; the LED DRLs are part of the Sport’s optional adaptive front-lighting system. The hood and front bumper also are tweaked, and the car’s side sills are more sculpted than before. The cool, frameless doors carry over.

The CC’s rear also has been restyled and incorporates standard LED taillights that illuminate in an unmistakable “CC” shape. New 17- and 18-inch aluminum wheel designs unique to the CC complete the visual reinvention.
Volkswagen claims the effort makes the car even more elegant while adding some muscle to its stance. That’s a difficult combination to pull off when the original car’s soft, delicate look was its calling card. It’s still one of the prettiest sedans for the money, but the look has been somewhat commoditized.

The other major change for 2013 is the addition of a center seating position in the back, something that’s been offered as an option on the European model for a couple of years. With the addition of a seatbelt and some raised padding in place of the bin that was there before, it retains the four-seat look but eliminates what VW says was the car’s greatest point of rejection among potential buyers.

Just don’t expect it to be of much use with full-size passengers. The rear footwells are tight, and the sloping, tapered greenhouse severely crimps head- and shoulder room. Occupants quickly will become acquainted with each other. Minor trim changes keep the rest of the cabin fresh, which is good because the CC’s seats and ergonomics were already excellent.

Four- and six-cylinder engines, as well as chassis bits, carry over untouched. The ride is still refined yet sporty, the steering light but tactile and responsive. All the controls are well-placed and have a premium feel to them.

Our wheel time was limited to the 200-hp 2.0T model, which comes with front-wheel drive and a choice of a slick-shifting six-speed manual or the six-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic, depending on the trim level. The 2.0T is wonderfully tractable and makes more than enough power to have fun on an empty mountain road. Compared with pricier, 280-hp VR6 models we’ve driven in the past, the 2.0T feels lighter and more responsive. (The VR6 remains available with front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive for 2013.)

Prices increase slightly over last year, with 2.0T stickers ranging from $ 31,070 to $ 36,175. Base CC Sport models are well-equipped with 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, heated and powered front seats, a touch-screen audio system with eight speakers, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, and leatherette seating.
Stepping up to the 2.0T Sport Plus adds the front LEDs and adaptive front lighting, as well as navigation, the DSG gearbox, and 18-inch wheels. The top-level 2.0T Lux model brings different 18s and interior trim, along with ambient cabin lighting and a sunroof. A sporty R-Line model will reappear later in the year and will feature a more-aggressive steering wheel and exterior highlights, along with unique 18s and a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. Pricing has yet to be released, but it should come in just above the Sport Plus model.

VR6 models start at $ 38,550 for a front-drive Lux and include all of the 2.0T items, as well as heated headlight washers, a rearview camera, navigation with a larger touch screen, leather seating with heated and cooled chairs up front, and “Interlagos” 18-inch wheels. The VR6 4Motion Executive ($ 42,240) adds all-wheel drive, paddle shifters, a massaging driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, an upgraded Dynaudio sound system, and a power rear sunshade.

Despite their reserved styling, the new Jetta and Passat have shown to be strong sellers in the U.S. market. Even if the CC’s refresh has diminished its beauty, the sedan remains the most attractive VW of them all. On top of that, it still drives sweetly.

Overall, the LED lights are widely used for automotive lighting, and will come out with even more innovation in the future.

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The Good Old Soccer with a Twist

Thailand International Soccer 7s are invitational football tournaments that are held in many key cities of the country. The main thrust of these championships is leisure and sport. It aims to promote camaraderie among soccer vets, enthusiasts, and even tourists who simply want to have some fun while staying in the land of smiles. There is no prize money at stake. Players come together simply for the love of soccer, and for the fun and excitement of mingling with people from different cultural and racial backgrounds.

Thailand’s Soccer 7s is a slight innovation to the traditional football game. Like a usual soccer game, it is still played following the FIFA Laws besides a few exceptions, such as the offside rule and tradeoffs of players. Unlike soccer, which is conventionally played by 11 players, soccer 7s is played as the name suggests, with only seven players on the pitch. The 7-minute halves rule also makes it a faster, more action packed version of its classic predecessor.

Soccer 7s is something that everybody can enjoy and numerous tournaments are opened for players of all age. There are categories for the veterans, with each team composed of players older than 35 or 40. There is also an open category, where each group consists of any age from 18 years old players. Teams are invited to join, but those who do not belong to a team may also register by themselves and get drafted into teams that are short of players.

Appearing at the sports scene only at the turn of the century, these spiced-up soccer championships are already much of a fad at present times. Athletes and inquisitive folks from all over the world find their way to the land of smiles just to be in the game and experience the thrill for themselves. The tournaments in big cities like Bangkok and Phuket, as well as Pattaya hoard seas of spectators and players during championship seasons. Even more people are expected to come as the sport steadily builds its name across the globe.

It is not just all about the game, too. An important aspect of Soccer 7s is relaxation and interaction, so parties and other cool hangouts are never out of the picture. In between the games are social happenings like exuberant night parties, where players can relax and meet each other. Aside from that, the cities where the tournaments are held also contain their own great wonders that are perfect backdrops for unforgettable experiences.

Seeing this growing national attraction, the organizers in Thailand has made things even better. They are now also offering the best Soccer 7s training camp deals. Interested amateur or professional parties who want to train in an amazing and different environment, or play friendly practice games, may sign up for a training camp.

Plain soccer 7s training is not the only offering of these camps. Each one comes complete with playing venues, PA sound systems, the soccer balls, as well as accommodation and meals at the Hotel. A learning experience coupled with convenience and comfort awaits the players. Plus, they also get evening parties, drinks and great many opportunities to make new friends during the camp.

A fresh way to enjoy a well-loved classic sport, endless get-together, great training camp deals, global group of friends ‘ these things make Soccer 7s a hot foreign attraction. If you have not gone to one, you have not gone to Thailand!

>> Michel Gerard is a Travel author based in Asia. Visit the Thai Soccer7s website to learn more about the Thailand International Soccer 7s tournaments and its soccer training camps in Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya. => http://www.thai7s.com