Monthly Archives: January 2018

Good Foods and Drinks When Trying to Conceive

Trust me I know…the last thing you want is another diet right now, but what you do want to know what are the good foods and drinks when trying to conceive. It is a very important matter that most women and couples miss out on in their ttc efforts, and it’s one that could have a drastic effect on your natural fertility and ability to easily conceive…or at all for that matter.

This article is only part one of a many part series so please do make sure to look through my other articles and read part 2, as there is much to discuss regarding food and drink during this time, and it can’t all be done in one article.

Let’s start with the most basic and important nutrient of all….

WATER!

Need I say more about the need to drink LOTS of water every day? The startling fact is that most people go around slightly dehydrated much of the time. I thought it was very strange that I had to keep reminding my husband to take a drink of water when we were on long trips…otherwise, he just didn’t think about it! The one good thing about the bottled water craze is that it’s got most of us thinking about putting more water into our bodies. Since evidence has recently come to light that the clear, disposable water bottles have toxic substances that may affect the water inside, just carry an opaque sports bottle with iced water inside. Make sure your loved ones have one, too. Think about it…the inside of our bodies is filled with moving parts that all require water to work well. And what woman isn’t aware of the effect of lack of moisture on the skin?

During pregnancy and lactation, you will need to drink 8 to 12 eight-ounce glasses of liquids every day. Here are a few reasons why water is so very important to us – it provides for transmission of nutrients to cells, balancing acids, holding salts and cushioning the body’s organs. Water contributes 55 – 65% of our adult body weight. The fetus also requires an abundant supply of fluids to develop properly in its prenatal environment.

The amount of water required by the body can vary greatly from person to person, and environment to environment. Pregnancy and lactation, exercise, heat, dry climates and high fiber diets are all factors that increase the body’s hydration requirement. Inadequate water consumption can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and decreased mental alertness in pregnant women. For the fetus, it can mean inadequate transportation of nutrients, ineffective removal of waste matter, an overly-warm uterine environment, and insufficient fluid in the amniotic sac. As you can see, the effects of dehydration can jeopardize fetal growth and development. In some severely-dehydrated women, premature labor and delivery can occur. So…even though water bottles are being banned in some communities now, the national thirst for bottled water has made us all aware of the need for hydration.

Food and Drink

Food and drink have become a major part of most people’s lives, in particular their social lives. In fact the phrase ‘food and drink’ produces over 89 million hits on the Google website. Excessiveness in either is of course unhealthy, but perhaps this is one of the reasons why people see good food or good wine as something special, something to treat themselves with.

Guides to good food, wine and restaurants have become big business. Egon Ronay’s ‘Guide to the Best Restaurants and Gastropubs in the UK’ which provides detailed reviews of over 500 restaurants and gastropubs has sold over 2 million copies. Its simple to compare style of awarding up to three stars to each restaurant is clearly a hit with readers.

‘The Good Food Guide’ edited by Elizabeth Carter sells itself as Britain’s leading restaurant guide and is currently in it 56th edition, detailing over 1,500 eateries from gastropubs to high end dining.

Fine wine guides are also a big seller, with books such as Clarke’s ‘Fine Wine Guide: A Connoisseur’s Bible’ and Johnson-Bell’s ‘Good Food, Fine Wine: A Practical Guide to Finding the Perfect Match’ both readily available on the internet it is clear that there is a high demand for such guides.

This is not surprising as the United Kingdom is the second largest importer of wine in the world. Wine sales in the UK increased 25% between 2001 and 2005. In 2004 the estimated wine consumption was 1.2 billion litres. In particular there has been an increase in the consumption of so-called New World wines, for example those from Australia or the USA instead of traditional producers such as France. California now produces 2 billion litres of wine every year, making it the fourth biggest producer behind Italy, France and Spain. In 2004, New World wines accounted for over 55% of total consumption in the UK.

Exports of Australian wines have more than quadrupled in the last decade to reach nearly 800 million litres in 2006, 22% of which went onto the UK market, approximately 176 million litres.

Exports of New Zealand wines to the UK alone have increased from 8.1 million litres in 1997 to 21.9 million litres in 2006.

One factor in the explanation of this is an increase in the availability of fine wine in many supermarkets. Some figures place two-thirds of UK wines sales in supermarkets. Increased demand and competition between large chain supermarkets have increased the variety of wines and producers and made them more accessible to the general public.

A recent report by Vinexpo has predicted that the UK will become Europe’s biggest market for wine by 2010. The report which examined the worlds wine producers and consumers also predicted that by 2010 the UK wine sales would be worth £5.5 billion, despite the fact that the UK paid the highest average price per bottle (£3.11), which is equivalent to 28.5 litres per capita compared to an average of 27 litres between 2001 and 2005.

Celebrating the Olympics With Chinese Tea

The summer 2008 Olympics are quickly drawing near. The events are scheduled to take place in Beijing, China, and begin on August 8, 2008 (08-08-08). The preparations in China have been underway for at least the last six years; the hopes before they clinched the bid in 2001 going back even further. Now that the time is almost here, people all over the world are gearing up for the spectacular. The Chinese national drink, tea is at the center of preparations.

With the recent Sichuan earthquake occurring less than three months before the start of the Opening Ceremonies, many are wondering how it will impact the games. For starters, Beijing is approximately 960 miles northeast of Sichuan, the province where the epicenter of the May 12 quake occurred. Though tremors were felt in Beijing, there was no structural impact that will affect the games. The emotional impact is certain to make its presence known, but there’s also a good chance of this being a healing event.

With final Beijing preparations occurring still, China’s Vice President Xi Jinping recently reassured his nation, as well as the world, that equal attention will be paid to both the Sichuan earthquake relief and finishing everything in time for 8-8-08. The world will be converging on China at a time when it will need its support emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Even if you cannot attend the games in person, there are numerous ways to keep the spirit of the games alive in your own home. Watching the Olympic Games on television is a traditional event for many families, with network coverage showing the most-desired events during primetime viewing hours. Taking from the official theme of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, “One World, One Dream”, there are great ideas for keeping interest and excitement alive in your home clear through until the closing ceremonies on August 24, 2008.

Food and drink concessions are popular complements to any sporting event- baseball games with hotdogs and beer, football games with nachos and beer, Super Bowl parties with, well, everything. Hosting a big party for family friends might be appropriate for the Opening of Closing Ceremonies of the 29th Olympics, but chances are you aren’t going to be able to sustain that level of celebration and gluttony every night! Instead, consider highlighting a different snack, beverage, or food course each night or even once a week. A good place to start is with the national beverage of China, tea!

Worldwide, tea is the second-most consumed drink, behind water. Along with India, China is the world’s greatest producer of tea. While there are four main types of tea–black, green, white, and oolong-oolong is a great tea for everyone in your family. The caffeine in tea is less than half that of coffee, it is said to aid in digestion, and is full of healthful antioxidants. Oolong tea is the smoothest tasting of the four types of tea, lacking the slight bitter of black tea or the grassy taste of green tea. There’s even a slightly fruit-infused flavor that is sure to appeal to people of all ages. For more on tea’s healthful benefits, see the numerous articles listed here: Tea health benefits

Another night, you could focus on a menu of red foods. Red is considered to be a very lucky color in Chinese culture, seen in artwork, traditional clothing, and anywhere luck and fortune are desired or being celebrated. Try incorporating foods with red beans, radishes, seasonal red fruits, or red meats such as spare ribs. In China, there is a strong emphasis on fresh foods. Chinese people rarely use canned or frozen foods when preparing their meals, but that’s not to say you cannot take some short cuts! Check out this link for an online Chinese Microwave Cookbook: Chinese Microwave Cookbook. It may even be fun to get the family involved in planning the menu and preparing the red food feast.

Another way to incorporate Chinese cuisine into your Olympic activities is to focus on a different Chinese region each night. There are said to be eight main regional cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang. These are sometimes referred to as the Eight Great Traditions. Other times, two additional types of cuisine are included-Beijing and Shanghai-known then as the Ten Great Traditions. Follow this link to a page full of links that go in greater detail on the types of cuisine: Chinese Cuisine.

Even if you have no interest in exploring the different types of Chinese cuisine, recipes, or traditions, there are simple things you can do to bring the spirit of the Beijing Olympics to your family’s meals and snacks. One fun idea that the kids will undoubtedly love is to make all of your food into finger foods! Chinese people once thought using forks and knives at the table were barbaric, so foods were cut into bite-size, ready-to-eat pieces. Another reason for the small portions of foods was that fuel was once very hard to come by. By cutting food into small pieces, the individual pieces were able to cook more quickly, using less cooking fuel or using smaller cooking fires. Another idea is to serve fresh fruit for dessert or for a snack. Again, the emphasis on Chinese culture is to use fresh foods, so pick what is in season. Strawberries, for example, are both red and in-season!

Making the Most of PR in the Food and Drink

The food and drink sector is especially competitive, and an effective PR strategy can give you and your product the edge.

Below are some tips on getting started.

Before you begin…

In order for your consumer PR to have any effect at all, you first need to ensure that your product is in the stores and available for customers to buy – consumer titles won’t even consider promoting your product if it isn’t widely available. Likewise, the more stores you can get your product in to, the more likely you are to get press coverage.

Trade titles

If you have a new product that you want to shout about, this is the place to do it. When your press release is ready, call your chosen magazine. Explain briefly who you are, why you’re calling and what the press release is about, then ask who the best person to send it through to via email would be.

Once you’ve established these contacts, by sure to check in with the journalists regularly – building a relationship can be extremely beneficial as it is more likely to lead to repeat coverage.

Consumer titles

While many consumer titles incorporate some food and drink coverage, opportunities are minimal and highly sought after.

Identify which titles are being read by your target market and focus your attention on these; it’s better to have a considered, targeted campaign applied where it matters than a blanket campaign that ends up being nothing more than a blip on journalists’ radar.

There’s little point in targeting recipe pages as the vast majority of these are written in house; you best bet is ‘Tried and Tested’ and ‘New in store’ slots.
Try and establish a point of contact at each title so that they become familiar with you and your products – you’re more likely to get positive feedback this way.

It’s also worth considering running competitions with consumer titles; guaranteed exposure for a small outlay (i.e. the cost of the prize) shouldn’t be undervalued.

Always be sure you have a plentiful supply of samples that you’re willing to send to journalists so they can review your products; it’s not a good idea to keep them waiting as it could reflect negatively on your business.

Food and Drink Photography

Thank God some tricks can be shared for all to imbibe. As food and drink photography becomes more of a niche, restaurant shutterbugs are in demand. Shooting irresistible pancakes and making them look oven fresh can be demanding. The trick lies in capturing the ‘freshest and ripest moment’. You may ask how many pancakes and honey syrup it takes to get the shoot right? Not more than a triple-decker of three pancakes! And the strategy lies in setting up the props before the ‘subject’ has arrived fresh out of the non-stick pan. A shutterbug with decent skills can do the lighting well in advance. So if you are in catering business, which is online, having delicious pictures of the menu can be the best bet for getting good business.

To make the food look digestible, the lead photographer will have the assistants arrange the studio bay first. The setting may take an hour or two. Why are we saying this? Because hot steaming food can look limp if it is bought before the shoot. The assistants will assemble the cameras, lens and the tripod stand. The controlling lights, white balance, bouncers and scrims will be positioned for the table top still pictures.

A photographer might use a camera that he can manually adjust to control the way he will shoot. A use of a compact camera is common for food and drink photography. Once the camera is loaded, the lens is another major component to choose. A good quality lens is fitted. A Canon has 50mm 1.4f. It is the best focal length that can capture great shots. A camera mounted on the tripod is steady and better suited for still photography sessions like this. The next comes formatting, i.e. Jpeg or RAW images. Most digicams have the two options. Why Jpeg is more popular-Because, it easily helps pictures to upload on the websites. It is lighter and speed is important when many images have to be seen together. Jpeg images are not necessarily of low quality. They can be scaled while photo processing. Some photographers like to use the RAW format too. The biggest advantage here is the many other elements around can be captured. If they are not required they can always be deleted during the editing. Several new age photographers are using live shot demos before the actual shots are clicked. Shooting tethering has become common. When the camera is plugged to the USB port of a computer the real time image is seen. It becomes easier to shoot the right frame. If a big difference needs to be made to a final shot this can be really helpful.

When these elements are done, the last thing that needs to be done is lighting. It creates the final impact on the product photography. Yes artificial lighting can be controlled and can do wonders. There is a choice of soft light box or halogen lamps with umbrellas. Throw off the lights or bounce them across the items on display. This makes the photographer take the delicious shot eventually.

Food and Drinks are Social

Two of the things in this life that none of us can do without are food and drinks. We must have food and drinks to survive but they also play a major role in our social lives. Interactions such as family gatherings, dating, or just sitting down with a friend for a drink or a cup of coffee. And how many business deals, both large and small, have been consummated over a lunch or dinner? The answer is “countless.” Restaurants provide the ambiance for social gatherings and business meetings. After all, a great many of our parents had their first date in a restaurant, and got to know each other over food and drinks. Had they not done so, then some of us might not be here today.

In the different countries all over the world, with all of our cultural differences, food and drinks are what bring people together. In Hawaii they have the Luau, Germany has Oktoberfest, Russia has Easter Feast, Mexico has Cinco de Mayo, and your own home town has the police officers at the donut shop. Imagine what life would be like if we ate just because we had to. There would be no festivals, no galas, and very few social gatherings. Of course, we would still see the police officers at the donut shop because…..well , just because.

Let’s face it. We just love to eat. We have taken great pains to insure that our food will always taste scrumptious, and is readily available. Gourmet food is a good example. We can even buy gourmet food gift baskets. And take it from one who knows, they are a special treat. As a matter of fact, getting a food gift basket for someone is a good idea. Come to think of it, getting one for yourself could be an even better one.

Being a RitzyShopper you have at your fingertips restaurants, gourmet food, food gift baskets, and drinks such as wine and tea. Take a peek and let your appetite guide you.

By the way, I just couldn’t resist kidding the police just a little bit. I have a police officer in the family and have a great deal of respect for the people who put their lives on the line everyday so I can sit here and write this article. Thank you.