Thursday, 27 December 2012

Chocoholics Can Celebrate!!!

Seven Chocolate Myths Busted

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

1.       Chocolate Contains High Caffeine

Chocolate is not very high in caffeine. A 40g chocolate bar and a glass of chocolate milk both contain 6mg of caffeine – the same amount as a cup of decaf coffee. Regular coffee contains about 65 to 135mg of caffeine.

2.       Chocolate is Bad for Your Cholesterol Because It’s Full of Saturated Fat

Stearic acid is the main saturated fat found in milk chocolate. Research has shown that this unique fat does not raise cholesterol levels the way that other types of saturated fats do and has determined that eating a 40g chocolate bar instead of a snack has actually been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels.

3.       Chocolate Has No Nutrients

Chocolate is a good source of copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. It also comprises of polyphenols (an antioxidant also found in tea and red wine), associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. An average chocolate bar contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a 150ml of red wine.  Eating dark chocolate (which contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate) daily also lowers blood pressure and improves insulin resistance (according to a study by Tufts University in Boston and the University of L’Aquila in Italy). These findings do not suggest that people with high blood pressure eat dark chocolate instead of taking their prescribed medication, but that the flavonoids in dark chocolate has a positive effect on blood pressure and insulin resistance.

4.       Chocolate Causes Cavities

Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and starches from any type of food (soda, sweets, juice, bread, rice and pasta) to produce acid. This acid then eats through the enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity.  The calcium, protein and phosphate in milk chocolate actually protects tooth enamel and its naturally-occurring fat content means that chocolate clears in the mouth faster than other sweets and reduces the amount of time the sugars remain in contact with tooth surfaces.  Regular brushing of teeth and visits to the dentist removes carbohydrate residue and the application of plastic sealants can all help prevent the formation of cavities whether or not you eat chocolate.

5.       Chocolate Causes Migraines

While established as a common cause of headaches, a study by the University of Pittsburgh has shown no link between chocolate and migraines. The results were published in the medical journal Cephalalgia. Chronic headaches were once thought to be caused by amines in foods (including histamine and beta-phenylethylamine) such as alcohol, cheddar cheese, chocolates, cured meat and peanuts, but this study rejected chocolate as a possible headache cause.

6.       Chocolate Causes Pimples

Studies in the past twenty years have excluded chocolate as a cause of acne. Many dermatologists doubt that diet plays any significant role in the development of acne. Acne is now believed to be caused by a combination of high bacterial levels and oil on the skin.

7.        Chocolate Makes You Fat

Any food can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation. A normal chocolate bar has 220 calories (low enough to be a part of a weight control diet if other high-calorie foods are eliminated). Enjoying the occasional piece of chocolate reduces the risk of severe over-eating, which occurs when you feel deprived.


Chocolate’s unscrupulous reputation is slowly shifting and studies show that chocolate can easily be included in a healthy balanced diet when consumed in moderation. Keep serving sizes reasonable and choose to eat dark chocolate whenever possible – the occasional treat can be a part of your life, free of guilt.  So tuck in and enjoy!!!!!!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cats - They’re So Lovable!

I’ve had dogs.  I’ve had birds.  I’ve had reptiles, rodents and fish galore.  I enjoy them all, but I’ve got to admit that it’s cats that steal my heart.  I have three and I adore them equally – each in their own special, unique way.

Cats are low maintenance creatures and generally keep to themselves.  They’re also affectionate and loveable – and oh, so funny!  I’ve lost count of the number of times my cats have had me in stitches. It’s also said that cats feed off negative energy and have a calming influence.  I have personally experienced this when a friend gifted me with Velvet after my parents died.  I can honestly say I don’t know how I would have made it through my grief if it weren’t for Velvet.

Velvet is a Calico cat and I call her my laundry cat.  Every time I hang up my washing, she’s there, rubbing against my legs and inviting me to scratch her furry tummy.  Then playfully swats my hand away and runs, then she returns for more.

My other two, Tarzan and Prada, are her offspring and I wouldn’t swap them for anything in the world.  Tarzan is an antithesis of his name – he’s a lover rather than a fighter and my son can pick him up as much as he likes – he’s floppy and he doesn’t give a hoot.

Not so with Prada – she’s still small and fragile despite being a full-grown feline, a princess to the core.  She’s the one who makes a dainty beeline for my lap the moment I sit on my couch, cuddling with me as though she hasn’t seen me in yonks, making a conversation with me all the while.  She makes these gigantic eyes whenever anyone else comes near.  But bounce a little marble or a bead on the floor and she’s after it like a bullet and then meows mournfully when she loses it under the fridge for the umpteenth time.

All three wait for me to get home.  Velvet will be tripping me along the way to the door, Tarzan plods behind and Prada follows me, light-footed, along the wall (all the better to be out of Velvet’s reach).  As I open the front door, Velvet shoots through the cat door, thinking that it’s a game of who gets home first. 

All three are as diverse as can be – despite the fact that they’re related.  As are my friend’s two cats, also Velvet’s offspring.  Pandora (identical to Prada in every way including size, except her face is rounder) delights in washing herself with – I kid you not – the fresh water put out for her every morning.  It is quite an amazing sight to behold as she dips her little paw in the water and rubs her face with it.

Pandora’s brother, Felix, is the fluffiest cat you’ve ever seen and such a gentle soul.  Unfortunately he gets the short end of the stick with Pandora, who loves using him for bat practice – the blockhead just takes it from her.  He loves his food though, and is fat and content.  But woe betide that he should get in Pandora’s way for any reason that she should choose.  Maybe she remembers something that he did to upset her three weeks ago and decides it’s time to smack him again.

Cats also keep mice, rats and insects at bay – just my kind of pet!  So yes, cats provide lots of fun and laughter and gentle companionship.  I’d recommend a cat as a pet anytime!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Happy Birthday, Madiba!

Happy 94th Birthday, Nelson Mandela! You are a great and wise man and I'm sure that many South Africans share my sentiments when I say that I wish you were still President of our beautiful country.
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!
We love you, Tata!  We love you, Tata!
Happy birthday dear Nelson Mandela!
Happy birthday to you!
This amazing man was fighting for our country's freedom from the apartheid regime and in 1962 he was jailed in Robben Island for 27 years. He was released from prison on 11 February 1990 and he entered negotiations which led to the establishment of the South African democracy in 1994.

Mandiba is also an author of a number of best-selling books. Here are some of them if you are interested in reading them:

Many people are in awe of this gentle man and his humble way of thinking. Many have written books about Mandela in heart-felt tribute to him:

And of course, accolades to Nelson Mandela wouldn't be complete without movies! My favourite is Invictus. Once again there are many and I can only list a few here:

And paraphernalia (of course!):

Just goes to show how much the world loves him, no matter what we call him - Madiba, Tata, Nelson Mandela.

So what can we do for his birthday?  All Mandela wants for his birthday is......   Peace in our land!!!!!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

2012 - Fact or Hysteria?

It All Started with the Ancient Mayans

The Mayans were a people who spanned the Yucatan Peninsula and areas that are now parts of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico during the Classical Period.  Archaeologists are still debating on the hows and whys of their disappearance, yet they seem to have declined after 1000 AD.  The Mayans encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century, for example, are worlds apart in differences from the ones they would have encountered in the year 1000 - to the extent that the use of the Long Count calendar was no longer in use by the Mayans in the 1600's.

The Mayans shared much of their culture with other civilizations such as farming, building of temples, art and religion. One such item they introduced was their world-famous calendar.  Now someone noticed that on 21 December 2012, the 13th Baktun of the Mayan Long Count calendar is ending.  Not knowing how the Long Count works, it was decided that it was resetting back to zero.  Thus the world has to end.

The questions remaining, though, is whether our Gregorian calendar and the Mayan Long Count calendar have been synchronized correctly?  What if the Mayans had simply run out of space when creating their calendar?

Recent Spates of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions Adding to the Alarm

Recent earthquakes and other misdemeanors of our beloved Mother Earth is adding to the hysteria (naturally).  Experts are predicting that the Earth's magnetic field is shifting and that the continents are moving.  Alignment of planets have always caused major earthquakes such as:

  • 11 April 2012:  Earthquake of 8.7 on the Richter scale - Mars and Neptune were nearly lined up on the same day
  • 11 March 2011: Earthquake of 9.0 on the Richter scale - Earth, Mercury and Uranus lined up on 9 March 2011
  • 27 February 2010: Earthquake of 8.8 on the Richter scale - Earth, Mercury and Neptune were lined up on the same day
  • 26 December 2004: Earthquake of 9.1 on the Richter scale - Earth, Venus and Mercury lined up on 27 December 2004
  • 28 March 1964: Earthquake of 9.2 on the Richter scale - Venus, Earth and Neptune were lined up on 23 March 1964
  • 22 May 1960:  Earthquake of 9.5 on the Richter scale - Mars, Mercury, Venus and Uranus lined up on 27 March 1960, Mars, Uranus and Mercury lined up on 21 May 1960, plus Neptune's helio-centric connection with Earth on 22 May 1960

The Two Sides

Humanity is currently split into three - those who are frightened and are reading up on the 2012 books, those who are debunking the myth and those who are unaware of the furor.  Which side are you on?

Personally, I feel that the Earth always goes through stages of renewal and that it's possible that it might be going through one right now, or will do so somewhere down the line.  Think Ice Age, etc.  I have faith, however, that humanity will survive anything our Mother Earth throws at us (which has always been the case previously).

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Reputable Casinos

I came across this website called Reputable Casinos (find them on

Their idea is that there are a lot of casinos out there which are not reputable. To simplify your life and assist you with your peace of mind, they created this website.

If you like to gamble, why not check it out and see for yourself?  After all, what do you have to lose?  You can even subscribe to get their newsletter.

Happy gambling! 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Buying a Car – New or Used?

My car is currently in for a major service after experiencing sporadic problems with it (practically since it was bought).  It is now 6 years old – I had purchased it second-hand.  My previous car was procured out of the box and I’d had it for 5 years.  No problems whatsoever with it – except once with the starter after maybe 3 or 4 years.

I’m faced with a bill of over R8,000.00 after this service is over – and it’s not even covering everything that would need to be done, such as changing the cambelt, replacing the broken clutch and repairing the faulty wiper sensors.

My thinking is that when you purchase a car brand new, you have peace of mind for at least the first few years, knowing that the car is covered for service under the maintenance plan and also more likely to be reliable.  You would also not be inheriting the problems the previous owner has caused to the car.  You would be lucky if he or she had taken good care of it, serviced it regularly, etc.

My argument is that a car is not a good investment and shouldn’t be treated as such.  Buying a car brand new means a depreciating value of at least R10,000.00 the moment you drive it out of the showroom.  A car is not purchased every day, however, and ideally it should be used for at least ten years or more before considering getting another one.

So why spend such a fortune on an older car that may not be dependable?  As a car owner who has experienced both scenarios, I have found that it has worked out cheaper to purchase a car brand new.  Sure, if you stuff it up, then fine – you’ve no one to blame but yourself.  But why deal with someone else’s car troubles at your expense?

I look forward to hearing your comments - would you buy your car brand new or second-hand, and why?

Saturday, 20 August 2011


I started watching the first season of Stargate SG-1 last night (with subtitles, of course) and I loved it. I liked it so much that I kept watching the next episode and the next, until I finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

It carries on where the movie Stargate left off, even retaining a few of its original cast. At first I was disappointed because not everyone from the original movie was in the series. I soon overcame that in the first two episodes.

The acting is brilliant and the costumes excellent. The plot is gripping and I couldn’t wait for the DVD player to go to the next episode automatically when the credits rolled – I had to stop it and go to the next episode as it was faster!

What Stargate is About
Colonel Jack O’Neill is pulled back from retirement when hostile aliens open the Stargate on Earth. He admits to General Hammond that he hadn’t destroyed the Stargate on the planet Abydos as ordered because Daniel Jackson is still alive and living with the people.

Jack arrives at Abydos to check up on the people as he believed that Ra was still alive after all, only to discover that Ra’s aliens hadn’t come through the Stargate from there. This meant that there were other Stargates in the galaxy leading to other worlds and Daniel shows him a map of the Stargates that exist throughout the galaxy, which he had found a month after he was left on the planet.

Exciting events unfold from there, and I refuse to tell you anything further so as not to spoil the story. You need to see Stargate SG-1 for yourself!

I would highly recommend Stargate SG-1 if you enjoyed the original movie, or if you’re into Sci-Fi.