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Scarlett Johansson’s Superhero Bod

I’m not one to believe in one hit wonders, especially when it comes to a workout plan, but this move does make a big difference. Doing it alone won’t be very effective, but adding it to your workout will show some incredible results. The following article and pictures are courtesy of Self. 

Get Scarlett Johansson’s Superhero Bod in One Move

ScarJo Superhero

Scarlett Johansson rocks that magic combo of curves, confidence and fitness that somehow inspires a we-can’t-help-it obsession in us all. I mean, girl is gorgeous. As femme fatale Black Widow in The Avengers — which is in the running for an MTV Movie Award this weekend! — she looks so damn comfortable in that skintight body suit (not to mention this to-die-for burgundy gown), she got us jonesing get a bodacious superhero body, too.

To the rescue: L.A.-based trainers Bobby and Alicia Strom, who worked with Johansson while she was prepping for the role. “She really puts 100% into getting ready for whatever role she needs to play,” says Bobby. “When she was going to be in The Avengers, she wanted to be more athletic and toned.”

So, what’s the first thing you learn in Action Star 101? You need to get a core hovering in that “rock solid” zone. “She was being shot around in a harness, doing kicks and jumps,” says Bobby. “She [needed] to be strong enough not to get hurt doing stunts.”

The trainer had Johansson strengthening her core with a tough super move that combines the Inchworm with knee tucks. Check out this totally homemade but insanely awesome how-to video featuring Alicia Strom (who’s sporting super-chic Victoria’s Secret VSX Sport Line, btw). Once we nail this move like Scarlett did — watch out world, cat suit here we come!

Inchworm with Knee Tuck

See video here.

Standing straight up, bend to touch your toes, keeping knees straight. Crawling out with your hands, keeping your knees stiff, so that you’re stretching glutes and hamstrings. Walk your hands out to a plank position. Do a knee tuck by crossing your right knee toward your left shoulder. Do one knee tuck with each leg, then walk your hands back slowly, stand up and stretch toward the sky. Do the entire move 10 times for some fat-blasting results!

Amazing Ways to Spike Hot Cocoa

The best things about winter are not comfy sweaters and crisp white snow, or Santa Claus and holiday cheer. It all comes down to the best cup of hot cocoa and what to spike it with to warm you all the way down to your toes. Every once in a while I’ll pop on BuzzFeed at work and check out the latest to amuse myself. Today I spotted the best article yet. Follow text and images are courtesy of BuzzFeed.

15 Amazing Ways To Spike Hot Chocolate

AKA how to live life like a GOD.

1. Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

(White chocolate, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie liqueur)

Level of Boozy: Forgetting a lyric to Bette Midler’s solo song in Hocus Pocus.

Recipe here.

2. Mint Hot Chocolate

Mint Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, tequila, and peppermint schnapps)

Level of Boozy: NOT drunk dialing that guy because you’re at an entirely different adult sleepover.

Recipe here.

3. Nutella Hot Chocolate

Nutella Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, brandy, and Frangelico)

Level of Boozy: Silently listing of all the foods that are enhanced with Nutella in your head and feeling overwhelmed and a smidge anxious.

Recipe here.

4. El Dorado Hot Chocolate

El Dorado Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, rum, and cinnamon liqueur)

Level of Boozy: Insisting everyone watches The Road to El Dorado immediately, because nostalgia.

Recipe here.

5. Oaxaca Chaka Cocktail

Oaxaca Chaka Cocktail

(Hot chocolate, cinnamon, and tequila)

Level of Boozy: Tearing up over the Breaking Bad finale, again.

Recipe here.

6. Red Wine Hot Chocolate

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

(Bittersweet hot chocolate and red wine)

Level of Boozy: Two words: Couch coma.

Recipe here.

7. Hot Chocolate Martini

Hot Chocolate Martini

(Hot chocolate, vanilla vodka, and Bailey’s)

Level of Boozy: Politely arguing over whether or not Carrie’s voiceover in Sex and the City adds or detracts from the show.

Recipe here.

8. Hot Mint Chocolate Toddy

Hot Mint Chocolate Toddy

(Hot chocolate, Kahlua, and peppermint schnapps)

Level of Boozy: Taking 20 minutes to decide on an Instagram filter.

Recipe here.

9. Frozen Hot Chocolate Margarita

Frozen Hot Chocolate Margarita

(Frozen hot chocolate, tequila, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier)

Level of Boozy: Making a matching chocolate burrito at 3 a.m.

Recipe here.

10. Orange Hot Chocolate

Orange Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, Pisco, and Grand Marnier)

Level of Boozy: Stealing a laptop to show everyone your photos from your study abroad trip in Peru and how you drank Pisco aaaaalll the tiiiiime.

Recipe here.

11. Coconut White Hot Chocolate

Coconut White Hot Chocolate

(White hot chocolate, coconut rum)

Level of Boozy: Looking up flights for spring break even though it’s October.

Recipe here.

12. Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, homemade peppermint schnapps)

Level of Boozy: Breaking out your “Premature Holiday” playlist on Spotify.

Recipe here.

13. “Grown Up” Hot Chocolate

"Grown Up" Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, marshmallow vodka, and homemade Bailey’s marshmallows)

Level of Boozy: Staring into the bottom of the cup and not talking to anyone because the best thing that’s ever happened to you is gone.

Recipe here.

14. Bacon and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

Bacon and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, bacon, bourbon, and Frangelico)

Level of Boozy: Reevaluating your entire life because it never occurred to you that bacon strips could double as stirring spoons.

Recipe here.

15. Irish Hot Chocolate

Irish Hot Chocolate

(Hot chocolate, Guinness, whiskey, and Bailey’s)

Level of Boozy: Truly and inexplicably falling in love with a warm beverage, and not caring who knows.

Recipe here.

8 Foods Experts Won’t Eat

The following article is courtesy of Eat Local Grown. See article here. While we know these foods aren’t the best for us, some of the reasons may surprise you. Eat right and stay healthy! 

8 FOODS EVEN THE EXPERTS WON’T EAT

Author

We asked them a simple question: “What foods do you avoid? Experts from different areas of specialty explain why they won’t eat these eight foods. Food scientists are shedding light on items loaded with toxins and chemicals. The experts offer some simple swaps for a cleaner diet and supersized health.

Food scientists are shedding light on items loaded with toxins and chemicals–and simple swaps for a cleaner diet and supersized health. Experts from different areas of specialty explain why they won’t eat these eight foods.

Clean eating means choosing fruits, vegetables, and meats that are raised, grown, and sold with minimal processing. Often they’re organic, and rarely (if ever) should they contain additives. But in some cases, the methods of today’s food producers are neither clean nor sustainable. The result is damage to our health, the environment, or both. So we decided to take a fresh look at food through the eyes of the people who spend their lives uncovering what’s safe–or not–to eat. ” Their answers don’t necessarily make up a “banned foods” list. But reaching for the suggested alternatives might bring you better health–and peace of mind.

1. The Endocrinologist Won’t Eat: Canned Tomatoes

Fredrick Vom Saal, is an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A.

The problem: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Unfortunately, acidity (a prominent characteristic of tomatoes) causes BPA to leach into your food. Studies show that the BPA in most people’s body exceeds the amount that suppresses sperm production or causes chromosomal damage to the eggs of animals. “You can get 50 mcg of BPA per liter out of a tomato can, and that’s a level that is going to impact people, particularly the young,” says vom Saal. “I won’t go near canned tomatoes.”

The solution: Choose tomatoes in glass bottles (which do not need resin linings), such as the brands Bionaturae and Coluccio. You can also get several types in Tetra Pak boxes, like Trader Joe’s and Pomi. Exposure to BPA Causes Permanent Damage In OffSpring

2. The Farmer Won’t Eat: Corn-Fed Beef

Joel Salatin is co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of half a dozen books on sustainable farming.The problem: Cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. But more money for cattle farmers (and lower prices at the grocery store) means a lot less nutrition for us. A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease. “We need to respect the fact that cows are herbivores, and that does not mean feeding them corn and chicken manure,” says Salatin.

The solution: Buy grass-fed beef, which can be found at specialty grocers, farmers markets, and nationally at Whole Foods. It’s usually labeled because it demands a premium, but if you don’t see it, ask your butcher.

3. The Toxicologist Won’t Eat: Microwave Popcorn

Olga Naidenko, is a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.

The problem: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize–and migrate into your popcorn. “They stay in your body for years and accumulate there,” says Naidenko, which is why researchers worry that levels in humans could approach the amounts causing cancers in laboratory animals. DuPont and other manufacturers have promised to phase out PFOA by 2015 under a voluntary EPA plan, but millions of bags of popcorn will be sold between now and then.

The solution: Pop organic kernels the old-fashioned way: in a skillet. For flavorings, you can add real butter or dried seasonings, such as dillweed, vegetable flakes, or soup mix. Make it organic and use coconut oil. If You’re Still Eating Microwave Popcorn, You’re Not Fully Grasping The Health Consequences

4. The Farm Director Won’t Eat: Nonorganic Potatoes

Jeffrey Moyer is the chair of the National Organic Standards Board.

The problem: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes–the nation’s most popular vegetable–they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. “Try this experiment: Buy a conventional potato in a store, and try to get it to sprout. It won’t,” says Moyer, who is also farm director of the Rodale Institute (also owned by Rodale Inc., the publisher of Prevention). “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”

The solution: Buy organic potatoes. Washing isn’t good enough if you’re trying to remove chemicals that have been absorbed into the flesh. Budget tip: Organic potatoes are only $1 to $2 a pound, slightly more expensive than conventional spuds.

5. The Fisheries Expert Won’t Eat: Farmed Salmon

Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, published a major study in the journal Science on contamination in fish.

The problem: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT. According to Carpenter, the most contaminated fish come from Northern Europe, which can be found on American menus. “You could eat one of these salmon dinners every 5 months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says Carpenter, whose 2004 fish contamination study got broad media attention. “It’s that bad.” Preliminary science has also linked DDT to diabetes and obesity, but some nutritionists believe the benefits of omega-3s outweigh the risks. There is also concern about the high level of antibiotics and pesticides used to treat these fish. When you eat farmed salmon, you get dosed with the same drugs and chemicals.

The solution: Switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon. If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed. There are no commercial fisheries left for wild Atlantic salmon. Farmed Fish vs. Wild Fish: How Healthy
Is The Fish At Your Favorite Grocery?

6. The Cancer Researcher Won’t Drink: Milk Produced With Artificial Hormones

Rick North is project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility and former CEO of the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

The problem: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers. “When the government approved rBGH, it was thought that IGF-1 from milk would be broken down in the human digestive tract,” says North. “There’s not 100 percent proof that this is increasing cancer in humans,” admits North. “However, it’s banned in most industrialized countries.”

The solution: Buy raw milk or check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk. These phrases indicate rBGH-free products. Why Do Humans Still Drink Milk?

7. The Biotech Specialist Who Won’t Eat Conventional Soy: GMO Unfermented Soy

Michael Harris is biotech specialist who has directed several projects within the biotech sector including those forgenetically engineered food. He has been a consultant, manager and director for companies such as Xenon Pharmaceuticals and Genon Corporation.

The problem: Genetically engineered food is a cause of great concern due to the manipulation of DNA and genetic code including transfers from one species to another. Fermented Soy Is The Only Soy Food Fit for Human Consumption and since almost 90% of soy in the world is genetically modified, if you are not ensuring sources are organic, long-term health problems are inevitable, especially since soy has been found to affect hormonal balance and even cause cancer.

The solution: Check labels to ensure soy is Non-GMO or organic and never consume unfermented sources. If possible contact the company to find out exactly where the Non-GMO soy was obtained.

8. The Organic-Foods Expert Won’t Eat: Conventional Apples

Mark Kastel, a former executive for agribusiness, is codirector of the Cornucopia Institute, a farm-policy research group that supports organic foods.

The problem: If fall fruits held a “most doused in pesticides contest,” apples would win. Why? They are individually grafted (descended from a single tree) so that each variety maintains its distinctive flavor. As such, apples don’t develop resistance to pests and are sprayed frequently. The industry maintains that these residues are not harmful. But Kastel counters that it’s just common sense to minimize exposure by avoiding the most doused produce, like apples. “Farm workers have higher rates of many cancers,” he says. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides (from all sources) with Parkinson’s disease.

The solution:Buy organic apples or apples from a farmer that you trust!

Nine Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

The following text and images are courtesy of Natural News. See the article in full here

Nine foods that lower blood pressure

Friday, April 19, 2013 by: PF Louis

blood

(NaturalNews) High blood pressure (BP) or hypertension is considered a high risk factor for heart attacks and strokes as well as kidney failure. Many have high BP, but most don’t know as it doesn’t usually have its own symptoms.

Blood pressure readings are in two sets of numbers. The top number, systolic pressure, indicates pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats. The lower number, diastolic pressure, shows the pressure on artery walls between heart beats.

A normal reading is 120/80. Above those numbers up to 140/90 is considered pre-hypertension while above 140/90 is hypertension. But people with normal health in the pre-hypertension zone are not considered at risk for strokes, heart, or kidney failure.

Those who are overweight or diabetic are more at risk with higher than normal BP. Over half of the high BP population is diabetic. Men are more likely to have high BP, and those who smoke and drink alcohol excessively are more likely to have high BP.

Pharmaceutical medications with decongestants, NSAIDs (non-steroid ant-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen, steroids, birth control pills, and antidepressants are likely to raise blood pressure. Mainstream medicine considers salt/sodium consumption as a main factor of high BP.

But processed and fast foods account for over 80 percent of the sodium intake using toxic processed salt, mixed with other health damaging additives such as HFCS and trans-fatty acid oils, which are more responsible for causing high blood pressure than pure, unprocessed sea salt.

Foods that can help reduce high blood pressure

(1) Cayenne is in chili peppers. Using those with food is good for reducing blood pressure, even though it may not feel that way.

Herbal masters Dr. Christopher and Dr. Schulz recommend taking a teaspoon of at least 40,000 heat units of cayenne pepper powder mixed in water two times daily to support complete heart health and more.

(2) Hibiscus or Jamaica (hu-my-ca) tea on ice is well known as a refreshing beverage in the Caribbean islands, South America, and Mexico. It has been clinically proven to lower high BP. You can dowse the flame out of your mouth from cayenne with a Jamaica iced tea and double the benefits.

Dried hibiscus flower petals are used to make the tea. Some health food stores may have them. Stores specializing in Hispanic foods most likely will. Or you can order them online.

To prepare: Simply cover the bottom of a large pan thickly with the petals, then pour hot (not boiling) water over them. Cover and let it steep for a half hour. Strain while pouring into a glass container then refrigerate and use when desired.

(3) A Louisville medical center study found that snacking on raisins three times daily could reduce BP among those in a prehypertension group. Amazingly, they even used processed food snacks containing raisins. [2]

(4) The American Heart Association has discovered through research that eating three kiwis a day reduces BP.

(5) The American Chemical Society claims purple root vegetables, such as purple potatoes, have chemical properties that reduce BP.

(6) A Florida State University study found that watermelon lowers BP. In addition to watermelon’s potassium contribution, they found a specific amino acid that contributes to lowering BP. [2]

(7) Speaking of potassium, don’t forget to eat bananas. The Harvard Medical School reported a UK study that determined foods containing potassium nitrate were even better than supplements using potassium chloride for lowering BP.

(8) Hawthorne berries have both herbalists and mainstream medicos agreeing on its blood pressure lowering ability. Its tea has been a Chinese household heart tonic for centuries. If you can’t find a Chinese food specialty store, go online or use Hawthorne extract supplements. Details here (http://www.naturalnews.com/035685_hawthorn_berries_heart_health.html).

(9) We can’t forget chocolate, can we? It should be organic and dark or bittersweet without milk and with very little sugar. Yes, it has been researched; there are compounds in cacao that dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure (http://www.naturalnews.com).

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039994_foods_lower_blood_pressure_hypertension.html#ixzz2SFUVGOTw

Dita Von Teese – Strip Strip Hooray!

Oh, Dita!

For those of you who are not familiar, Dita Von Teese is the international QUEEN of Burlesque. Her beauty, style, and elaborate attire have made her a worldwide sensation in the burlesque world. Last week she came to New York to perform and I had the pleasure of watching her and her troupe undress and bat their eyelashes. It was divine.

Dita’s show was a spectacle of glamour and glitter. It comprised of four of her own performances and about six performances by other burlesque stars from all over the world, ranging from the sexiest man, Monsieur Romeo, to the smallest woman, Selene Luna. All hosted by “the hardest working middle-aged man in show business,” MC Murray Hill.

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Dita began the show with a martini glass act featuring a very classy and seductive disrobing before stepping up into a large martini glass complete with twirling and splashing.

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Next came the famous ‘Rhinestone Cowgirl!’ performance. My jaw dropped as Dita came on stage in a head to toe pink glitter cowgirl outfit. She whipped out her lipstick, then her gun, and off the clothes went!

Photo by Todd Williamson

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Dita’s third performance, entitled ‘Bird of Paradise,’ was an exquisite portrayal of an exotic bird. Even the bird cage sparkled. Every tiny detail of each performance was well thought out and planned. It was perfect.

Photo by Todd Williamson

Photo by Todd Williamson

The final performance of the evening was Dita’s ‘Opium Den,’ an exotic Asian themed love nest. Spectacular!

Photo by Todd Williamson

Photo by Kaylin Idora

Photo by Todd Williamson

Photo by Todd Williamson

For more information on the show including videos and pictures.