Fun Fact for you all: what I did not know was how to spell “cornucopia”, or as we know it, the tagline of my blog.

That above little tidbit is pretty much the reason I started this blog. I know a LOT of things. Like many. But for every random, deeply researched, outlining (and sometimes life saving!) fact I know, there are about 10 very basic, almost embarrassingly simple things that I just can not ever remember (like the spelling of a word I wrote down every year from kindergarten ’til 6th grade on Thanksgiving).

Naturally, no one is going to believe the person who took 12 years to learn “example” never, ever is spelled with an “s” (ex + sample = example? It just made more sense my way) is going to know how to successfully teach English as a foreign language to 600 pubescent students whose former U.S. ambassador lives in a pineapple under the sea.

But I do know how! And I did do it, I swear. And I have continued to do it on and off professionally for years. Please, believe me!

But this problem is much much more than spelling abominations.

It is also remembering things, like words or names, which is bad…in job interviews. Like when I wanted to tell the interviewer that I interned and later was hired by the guy who secured one of the largest marine habitats, second only to Australia’s coral reef coastline. Only, that is exactly what I said, “The guy who…” because I could not remember his name, or the actual name of the strip of coastline he saved (somewhere along the coastline of California, where I had been living at the time for about 4 years or so) even though — true story — he was suffering from brain damage that left his short-term memory impaired. So much so that the beginning of every meeting began with the story of how he mobilized the public to go scuba diving at the Cannery Row in Monterrey, CA and fish up all the garbage at the bottom of the shore and dump it on the street for all the tourists to see the extent of emergency all the fishes were under.

And yet, I cannot for the life of me remember his name.

But it is true, that did happen, and I did write a beautifully detailed volunteer integration plan for him that ultimately got me a job offer (in a time before the apocalyptic, economic job crisis were skills and credentials where bartered for money and benefits). Unfortunately, no hiring manager would believe me. So that chapter of my life is off my resume, but lives on, haphazardly retold on this blog.

I am telling you this because in this blog I and going to epically unload all the facts and rules and insights and secrets and know-how I have, but in order for you to trust me, you need to know that my ineptitude in the mundane does not necessarily cancel my multitudes in the fun and fascinating.

I am telling you upfront to understand my flaws so you do not have to be wary of my truths. Not one of you should face the devastation of believing wholeheartedly in an internet source only to realize facts were masked with lies, or lies were told unintentionally (see: wikipedia).

Hopefully, as I let the facts free-flow from my finger tips I will learn to properly digest my thoughts and reasons in a way that will not make you wonder why I know more than 10 tenses of Italian grammar, but still, unknowing, often refer to espressos as “expressos”.

Baby steps

But still my point is, if you see something wrong, it probably is, so have your cookie, but grammarical glitches aside, I just want you to know I have a lot to tell you about everything I know I know.

Once upon a time I lived in Italy.

I lived in various regions for various reasons – some of those reasons being to study and/or research Italian food producers and products.

I studied them for academic reasons: regional history, investigative reporting, etc.

I researched them for business reasons: competitive analysis, industry knowledge, potential clientele, etc.

I also, of course, enjoyed many of these products and places as a genuinely interested food tourist.

Over the course of roughly 4 years, I compiled bags and bags of brochures, business cards, and flyers, tasted and visited a number of factories, production houses, vineyards, industry trade shows, and restaurants. And I also took many pictures and video recordings of what I saw and tasted.

Pictures and recordings which I eventually left in a terminal in Pisa on my last flight home.

All that lives on are the mountains of brochures and my faint memory of those places. I will be sorting through them and be organizing them on this site so that they may live on digitally (and so I can finally put them to rest in a recycling center.)

My hopes are that they serve some clueless foodie in Italy well one day.

Prego.

Here we go! The driest piece of information you will ever find on this site. Maybe.

Three chapters worth of academic economic/business terms and their definitions — that nobody asked for.

Price Discrimination: practice of charging different prices to consumers for the same goods and services

First-Degree Price Discrimination: charge each consumer max. price he/she would be willing to pay for each unit of good purchased — Ex. Buying a car

Second-Degree Price Discrimination: posting discrete schedule of declining prices for different ranges of quantities

Third-Degree Price Discrimination: charge different groups of consumers different prices for the same product — Ex. Student discounts

Two-part Pricing: consumers are charged a fixed fee for the right to purchase a product, plus a per-unit charge for each unit purchased — Ex. Costco

Block Pricing: identical products are packaged together in order to enhance profits by forcing customers to make an all-or-none decision to purchase

Commodity Bundling: bundling several different products together and selling them at a single “bundle price”

Peak-Loading Pricing: higher prices are charged during peak hours than off-peak hours

Cross-Subsidy: profits gained from the sale of one product are used to subsidize sales of a related product

Transfer Pricing: firm optimally sets the internal price at which an upstream division sells an input to a downstream division

Price Matching: firm advertises a price and a promise to match any lower price offered by a competitor

Brand loyalty: good in Bertrand Competition

Randomized Pricing: a firm intentionally varies its price in an attempt to “hide” price into from consumers and rivals

Limit Pricing: strategy where an incumbent maintains a price below the monopoly level in order to prevent entry

Learning Curve Effects: when a firm enjoys lower costs due to knowledge gained from its past production decisions

Predatory Pricing: strategy where a firm temporarily prices below its marginal cost to drive competitors out of the market

Raising Rivals’ Costs: strategy in which a firm gains an advantage over competitors by increasing their costs

Vertical Foreclosure: strategy wherein a vertically integrated firm charges downstream rivals a prohibitive price for an essential input, thus forcing rivals to use more costly substitutes or go out of business

Price-Cost Squeeze: tactic used by vertically integrated firm to squeeze the margins of its competitors

Direct Network Externality: direct value engaged by the user of a network because others also use the network

Indirect Network Externality: indirect value enjoyed by the user os a network because of complementarities between the size of a network and availability of complimentary products or services

Bottlenecks: negative network externalities; infrastructure cannot handle number of users

Lock-In: Consumers are stuck in a situation where they are using the inferior network

Penetration Pricing: charging a low price initially to penetrate a market and gain a critical mass of customers; useful when strong network effects are present

Organizational Design: process of deciding how a company should create, use and combine organizational structure, control systems, and culture to pursue a business model successfully

Organizational Structure: assigns employees to specific value creation tasks and rules and specifies how these tasks and roles are to be linked together in a way that increases efficiency, quality, innovation, and responsiveness to customers (Build competitive advance)

Control System: provides managers with 1. set of incentives to motivate employees to work toward increasing efficiency, quality, innovation, and responsiveness to customers 2. specific feedback on how well an organization and its members are performing and building competitive advantage so that manager can constantly take action to strengthen a company’s business model

Organizational Culture: specific collection of values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization

Hierarchy of Authority: chain of command that defines each manager’s relative authority

Span of Control: number of subordinates who report directly to a manager

Tall Structure: many levels of authority relative to company size

Flat Structure: fewer levels relative to company size

Principle of the Minimum Chain of Command: companies should choose the hierarchy with the fewest levels of authority necessary to use organizational resources efficiently and effectively

Integrating Mechanisms: Direct contact, liaison roles, teams

Strategic Control System: formal target-setting, measurement, and feedback system that allows managers to evaluate whether a company is achieving competitive advantage

Personal Control: desire to shape and influence behavior of a person in a face-to-face interaction in pursuit of a company’s goal

Output Control: system in which strategic managers establish or forecast appropriate performance goals for each division, department, and employee, and then measure actual performance relative to these goals

Behavior Control: control through the establishment of a comprehensive system of rules and procedures to direct the actions or behavior of divisions, functions, and individuals

Operating Budget: blueprint that states how managers intend to use organizational resources to achieve organizational goals most efficiently

Standardization: degree to which a company specifies how decisions are to be made so that employees’ behavior becomes predictable

Adaptive Culture: one that is innovative and encourages and rewards middle and lower level managers for taking initiative

Functional Structures: groups people on the basis of their common expertise and experience or because they use the same resources

Management by Objectives: system in which employees are encouraged to help set their own goals so that managers intervene when something isn’t going right

Market Structure: like product structure but focused on customer groups

Geographic Structure: geographic regions become basis for grouping of organizational activities

Mean (EV): sum of probabilities that different outcomes will occur multiplied by the resulting payoffs

Variance: sum of probabilities that different outcomes will occur multiplied by the squared deviations from the mean of the random variable

Risk Averse: preferring a sure amount of $M to a risky prospect with an expected value of $M

Risk Loving: opposite

Risk Neutral: indifferent between risky prospect with expected value of $M and sure amount of $M

Reservation Price: price at which a consumer is indifferent between purchasing at that price and searching for a lower price

Consumer’s Search Rule: consumers reject prices over reservation price

Asymmetric Info: when 1 person has better info than others

Hidden Characteristics: what 1 party knows about themselves but the other party doesn’t

Adverse Selection: situation where individuals have hidden characteristics and in which a selection process results in a pool of individuals with undesirable characteristics

Moral Hazard: situation where one party to a contract takes a hidden action that benefits him/her at the expense of another party

Signaling: an attempt by an informed party to send an observable indicator of his or his hidden characteristics to an uninformed party

Screening: attempt by uninformed party to sort individuals according to their characteristics

Self-Selection Device: mechanism in which informed parties are presented with a set of options and the options they choose to reveal their hidden characteristics to an uninformed party

Auction: potential buyers compete for the right to own a good, service, or more generally, anything of value

English Auction: ascending sequential bid auction in which bidders observe the bids of others and decide whether or not to increase the bid. Auction ends when a single bidder remains

First-Price, Sealed-Bid Auction: simultaneous-move auction where bidders simultaneously submit bids on pieces of paper. Item awarded to high bidder who pays the amount bid

Second-Price, Sealed-Bid Auction: simultaneous-move auction where bidders simultaneously  submit bids. Auctioneer awards item to high bidder who pays second highest amount

Dutch Auction: descending sequential-bid auction in which the auctioneer begins with a high asking price and gradually reduces asking price until one bidder announces a willingness to pay that price for the item. Equal to first-price

Independent Private Values: each bidder knows high own valuation of item but does not know the other bidders’ valuations, and each bidders’ valuation does not depend on other bidders’ valuation

Affiliated (or correlated) Value Estimates: bidders do not know their own valuation of item or valuation of others. Each bidder uses their own info to estimate their valuation, and these value estimates are affiliated: higher a bidder’s value estimate, more likely other bidders will have high-value estimates

Common Value: true value of item is same for all bidders, but the common value is unknown. Bidders use their own (private) info to form an estimate of item’s true common value

Winner’s Curse: “bad news” conveyed to the winner that their estimate of item’s value exceeds estimate of all other bidders

Matrix Structure: value-chain activities grouped by function and project/product

Product-Team Structure: easier, less costly; people organize into permanent cross-functional teams

Reconstructing: 1. streamlining hierarchy of authority and reducing number of levels in hierarchy to a minimum 2. reducing number of employees to lower operating costs

Reengineering: rethink how value-chain is organized

Business Process: any activity vital to delivering good/services to customers quickly or promotes high quality or low costs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was Socrates a Good Citizen?

Let’s see if this wandering scholar stood up to the master philosopher’s standards of a “good citizen”.

Socrates is among the most studied and modeled philosophers. His methods of questioning have been applied successfully to many avenues of learning, but can it be accepted as a form of political action? There are many qualifications for a “good citizen” under the theory of Aristotle, but none of which include a thinker. In investigating Socrates’ role and actions within his city during his time, it can be concluded whether or not he would be a good citizen within Aristotle’s model of the politics.

Aristotle’s good citizen is directly related to his role within the polis. According to Aristotle, “man is a political animal,” and so, at the least, citizens should strive to attempt to partake in politics. As the highest form or the “good citizen”, an outline is given. It is not a person who is merely living but someone who shares in the prerogatives (Aristotle, p 93). This citizen must also have virtue and must have a view that is for the city (Aristotle, p 90). Equally important, a good citizen must possess the ability to rule and be ruled well (Aristotle, P 91). If the states rule over him, then he should learn his rule in the household. “The ruler of the few is a master of his own household” (Aristotle, p 25). He also suggests that this type of citizen not include personal or private matters into the political realm, suggesting that these men also not be laborers or slaves for that reason. “It is impossible to pursue the things of virtue when one lives the life of a vulgar person or a laborer” (Aristotle, p 93). With these qualifications, Aristotle hopes that his good citizen would engage in political partnerships in order to participate in politics while reaching or at the least potentially reaching one’s telos and ultimately desiring the telos of the city.

Socrates, as an individual, appears good and virtuous, but his virtue does not seem to parallel with the virtue of Aristotle’s good citizen. While it is true that he created many partnerships during his journeys, it is also understood that these were not political in that they were private, not public issues. “For I go around and do nothing but persuade you, not to care for bodies and money” (Plato, p 81 e). He considers this his occupation. “Indeed, I must display my wandering to you as a performing of certain labors…” (Plate, p 70b). Although he accepts no money for it, Aristotle would see this as an action of a vulgar person.

His labor not only interferes with his political participation, but it also interrupts the household. “And because of this occupation, I have no leisure, either to do any of the things of the city… or any of the things of my family” (Plato, p 72c). This neglect for his family is proof that he does not even have the capacity to rule at the lowest level. It also becomes clear that he does not carry a mind for the polis. “(I) did not care for the things that many do – moneymaking and household management, and generalships, and popular oratory, and the other offices … that come to be in the city” (Plato, p 90 36b). He is much more concerned with his occupation and personal journey, which he claims is divine. “It seemed to be necessary to regard the matter of god as important” (Plato, p 70 22a). Overall he does not view his lack of participation as negative nor does he wish to be in the public eye. “This is what opposes my political activity, and its opposition seems to me altogether noble” (Plato, p83e). In contrast to Aristotle, he chose to be effective not in the public among the many, but in the private with the individuals. “It might seem to be strange that I go around counseling these things and being a busybody in private, but in public I do not dare to go up before your multitude to counsel the city” (Plato, p 83d).

The private laborer unconcerned with politics and focused mainly on personal journeys, even more so than his own blood, is undoubtedly not Aristotle’s depiction of a good citizen. With all his wisdom and divine workings, Socrates is not even qualified to be what Aristotle describes as a “good man”. “Do you suppose I would have survived so many years if I had been publicly active and acted in a manner worthy of a good man…”(Plato, p 85e). Yet, Aristotle’s notion of man being a political animal might still ring true. It is true that Socrates abstains from politics, but his rationale behind it might suggest it is because he is unsatisfied with its current state. Thought he seems apathetic at first, it later becomes evident that he is paying close attention to this incomplete regime and through his private, individual actions, is trying to ratify it. He states, “I did not go into matters where, if I did go, I was going to be of no benefit either to you or myself; instead, I went to each of you privately to perform the greatest benefaction, and I attempted to persuade each of you not to care for his own things until he cares for himself…to be most prudent…not to care for things of the city until he cares for the city itself” (Plate, p 90d). What Socrates was hinting at was for individuals to “know thy self” before attempting to rule others or preach in public. While Socrates investigations never found one single truth, he succeeded in showing, at least to his students, that many in power claim to be wise and have prudence, but do not. While novel and virtually difficult to measure, attempting to discover a truth in intentions and ambitions before setting out in to the business of ruling and being rules is imperative. Those who have studied later political theorists can understand what he is foreshadowing. For example, Aristotle freely offers the idea of an undefined telos that is supposed to be reached. He claims that it should be good because the city will collectively desire it for themselves, but how often do a great number of think towards a common and unselfish good? And how often can they actually discern for themselves what is good, let alone the one true goodness that will be held as the city’s goal? Socrates predicted with hsi concerns that dangers that might come when a people tried to find truth or universal law without first asking himself how he migh tbe prudent and virtuous.

It cannot be concluded that Socrates is an excellen citizen. He is undoubtedly unqualified in that sense. However, he can be said to be a revolutionary citizen, working outside politics not to oppose the regime, but to speak to the people individually to promote a new and better participation in the city. As seen throughout history, radical changes for a new government are not first brought up in the public where they can be stifled, but in small groups and factions where they care safe to develop followings. If anything, he too was on the verge of being a political theorist.

His theory?

Look to make oneself good and thoughtful in order to go out and create a good and well-thoughtout city. And do so by always questioning the validity of what already exists.

 

 

 

Having beautiful skin, hair, nails is not just for vanity sake. Lackluster aesthetics could be a sign that your health is not up to par. So before you buff, clip, and paint those imperfections away, take some time to learn what your imperfections are trying to tell you.

 

Oddly shaped and/or textured nails: sign of an iron deficiency
The fix: spirulina, mollusks, or nuts

Dry, brittle nails: sign of a vitamin D deficiency
The fix: 15 minutes in the morning or late afternoon sun without sunscreen a day, ricotta cheese, sole, white tuna, and organic eggs

Weak nail or nail bed: sign of a Calcium deficiency
The fix: kefir, almonds, flax seed, kale, even dried herbs

Hangnails and/or soft nails: sign of a vitamin B and C deficiency
The fix: bee pollen, chili peppers, broccoli, papaya, garlic, pistachios, organic eggs, fish

White spots on nails: sign of a zinc deficiency
The fix: dark chocolate, oysters, toasted wheat germ

Flaky nails that shed: sign of a vitamin A deficiency
The fix: kale, carrots, spices (paprika, red pepper, cayenne), sweet potatoes

Thick, lumpy nails: caused by fungus and a sign that your intestinal flora is unbalanced
The fix: kefir, probiotic supplements, and a sugarless, anti-fungal diet

Yellow nails: sign of poor liver function
The fix: see this previous article on improving your liver

 

Written by me, but at Love Kouture

Spring is here, and with it all the associated images of flowers blooming, birds chirping, and pheromones flying. What better way to celebrate all three by enjoying an outdoor picnic with a lovely companion. Instead of the standard cucumber sandwich and bowl of fruit that is dainty to eat, but leaves no one satisfied, I propose a simple Italian menu that will not involve messy sauces or hours in the kitchen.

The Appertivo: Sparking Wine. The Italians call this spumante, you probably call it prosecco. At the end of the day it is sparkling wine that comes from Italy. They do not wait for New Years’ or a birthday to pop a bottle, so you should not either. You can try a rose’ (pink) or a lambrusco (red) or stick with an actual prosecco (white). In reality they have a wide range of offerings to explore, but later for that. If you cannot bring alcohol to your location take a large bottle of San Pellegrino and two small wine glasses instead.

The starter: Cheese. This can be parmesan cheese (the kind cut from a wheel not shaken from a plastic bottle) or fresh mozzarella. If you go the parmesan route simply crumble it in a small dish and when you arrive at your destination drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top. You can pick at it with your fingers or a toothpick. If you want to go all out, get top quality balsamic vinegar that has actually been aged. It is usually in specialty stores as “traditionale” and can get up to $80 – $100, but if you never had it, you will not miss it anyway. If you choose the fresh mozzarella route, slice it thick and alternate layers of it with equally thick slices of tomato. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and garnish with bits of fresh basil.

Snacks: Olives. I know for the typical American a snack is a bag of potato chips, but olives can be satisfying, too. They can come in different varieties than the standard dry, black ones we always see in the canned food area. Go for the jarred green olives often in saltwater and herbs. If you really cannot handle that level of simplicity, you can fill the olives with blue or creamed cheese.

The filler: Panino. What is the difference between a sandwich and a panino (panini is plural, by the way, and it does not necessary have to be pressed or hot) everything. Just kidding. But to make an authentic Italian sandwich you will need a different kind of bread. Foccacia sliced horizontally is a good base. It is neither so crunchy it flakes all over nor so soft it gets smashed in the travel process. It also tastes delicious! Skip the condiments and add a strong slice of cheese like pecorino with a few thin layers of deli meat. Usually Italians use high-quality cured meats in small portions (cured meats can wreak havoc on our livers and digestion in excess). Salami or whatever you prefer at the deli should be fine. Add a few slices of tomatoes and lettuce and your authentic panino is complete.

The side dish: A medley of veggies. Lightly steam cubes of eggplant, zucchini, and red bell peppers (or slice them thin and grill them if you have the time). Afterwards, dress them lightly with salt, pepper, your choice of dried herb, and a hearty serving of extra virgin olive oil. You might cringe at seeing raw oil floating around your plate of veggies, but you should know that eating uncooked extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest ways to get in your dietary fat.

The dessert: An Italian pastry. Italian sweets are usually sweet, mini portions meant to be eaten with the hand so you do not have to worry about lugging around a knife and plates. If you are lucky enough to locate a southern Italian bakery I recommend sfogliatella. There is nothing special about its outward appearance, but its spiced inward custard coupled with its crunchy, flaky crust surpasses any colorful, frosted confection you can imagine. For the unfortunate ones miles from an Italian bakery, you can make your own pistachio butter (think Nutella, but green) and spread it over some unsalted bread or butter cookies. Also, a chilled mandarin orange goes along way.

 

Originally written by me, but here at Love Kouture

Have you ever taken the time to distinguish the difference between anger and a temper? It is both normal and healthy to react to a negative circumstance with a flush of emotion. Even if that emotion happens to be anger, it is still considered to be a healthy expression of our sentiments. A temper seems to differ not with the type of emotion expressed, but more so with its triggers and intensity. People who flip out over lines at Starbucks or stolen parking spaces seem so momentarily completely consumed with anguish that they can barely hold it together. I once witnessed a guy threaten the down fall of a Chinese restaurant because his take-out time was misquoted. He assured all the gawkers that after years of loyalty, this slip up was worth his wrath.

These public outbursts plague society (and disproportionately those in the service industry), but they also rear their heads in intimate settings like relationships and the dating scene. Many people even say they would not have the patience for kids or even marriage because of how little tolerance they have for basic human interactions (understandably, the interactions would be 24/7 in those circumstances), and definitely those on the receiving end are not so happy with it either.

When observing a situation where one person is angry, we might be inclined to see both sides of the story. Cheated on him? His anger is justified. Keyed her car? Her anger is justified. Forgot to add the lemon wedge to your glass of water in a restaurant? Maybe not so much. While I understand that both types of people are experiencing waves of emotions that are difficult to control in the moment, it cannot always be true that the second party is always responsible for the explosive reaction coming from an irrationally hot-tempered person.

I believe those with short tempers should and can take steps to manage their rage. In order to understand the root of a temper, one first has to understand the body.

How does my liver control my temper?

The liver does over 500 functions for our bodies and takes up to 20% of our energy to do so. I will not get into the laundry list of miracle-working processes our liver performs. Instead I will highlight the two biggest ways it is connected to our tempers.

1)      It metabolizes estrogen to prevent PMS for us females.

2)      It prevents dips in our blood sugar in various ways from glucose production to GST for insulin management.  The lows of which usually result in irritability for us all.

Seems simple enough, but in order to do these two (out of 500+) things well, our liver has to be in tip-top shape. It is really hard to be sure where you and your liver stand if you do not know what to look for, but once you learn about the aftermath of a dysfunctional liver the signs are everywhere.

Signs of an Overworked Liver

Most people assume liver damage happens only at destitute stages when words like “cancer”, “cirrhosis”, and “liver disease” are spoken in doctors’ offices. Although many people do suffer from these sometimes fatal stages, the majority of us will not. That is not to say that your liver is healthy as along as it is far from the operating table. Even just a subpar liver causes us to suffer when it cannot perform its basic tasks. Below are some of the very first signs that your liver is crying out to you:

  • Impatience
  • PMS
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Tired after meals
  • Depression
  • Mood instability
  • Irrational anger
  • Quick temper

How are you Hurting Your Liver?

What is the number one way we overwork our liver? Drinking! – is what I guess most of you are thinking, but you are wrong. There are a million different ways that we mindlessly tired that non-stop organ out every day before we even get to the bar. So let us look at the not so obvious ways we are stressing our liver out.

By eating pesticides – Those are the chemicals we sprinkle on to food to keep the mutated super bugs that followed at bay. Unfortunately, washing your apple “extra good” or even peeling the skin will not save you from ingesting the chemicals as they are now (as of the last 50 or so years) systemically within our produce. So unless you are eating organic at home and never eat out at places that are not 100% organic, chances are your liver has to work to break down your “healthy” salad.

By eating ammonia – I know you do not drink your window cleaner, but ever had a steak or a burger or a premium slice of prosciutto? Well, then you come pretty close to it. Most associate the ammonia in meat with pink slime, or cattle raised in compromising environments (they use ammonia to flush out the growth of E.coli that grows as a result of departing from their natural feed), or even cured meats that are literally sprayed with nitrates (to keep things pretty and pink!) and ammonia during the aging process.  Ammonia is actually the result of normal digestion of meat, any meat, even if your meat is organic. So if you are eating meat (especially beef or pork) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner you are most likely overworking your liver.

The “Pill” – Birth-control pills flood our bodies with extra estrogen. If your liver is not busy detoxifying your lunch, and you do not happen to be low on any of the B vitamins (yes, there is more than one) or protein you need, then maybe your liver can handle this extra load. If not, then the tired liver starts to filter it out the estrogen to be recirculated as estradiol a toxin, rather than estriol which is not. Estradiol is associated with explosive tempers and irritability that can easily be found under the umbrella of PMS.

SmokingBut wait! I smoke to calm down and reset to prevent a blow out! Maybe the slow, deep breathing action associated with smoking is equivalent to taking a 10-count of deep breaths before you snap on a colleague, but the difference between that and the latter is you are sucking in toxins. All those toxins get into your bloodstream via the lungs and end up in line behind the aforementioned offenders to be filtered. Smokers, you may be shooting yourselves in the foot here.

How to Support your Liver and In Turn Be Welcomed Back into Society

So now that you have been beaten glum by the realization that you are the cause of your own explosive temper, I will tell you what you can do about it – besides get angry.

Eat this: lean meats like chicken and turkey or fish, which produce ammonia much slower than their red counterparts. If it is organic (no need to process antibiotics) that is even better. It would help to if you did this in moderation, too.

Take this: Digestive bitters (without alcohol). They flush out the liver every time you take them. They aid with the digestion of the aforementioned foods, but in order for them to work, you need to drink plenty of water.

Protect with this: Milk Thistle has a flavonoid called Silymarin. When extracted (at least 80%) it is an excellent for cleansing and protecting the liver and even reversing the negative effects already taken place. Up to 560mg per day for about 2 week is recommended to those who suffer from serious liver complications, you could probably take much less.

Drink this: Lemon water; one half to a whole lemon in 8 oz. of water to be exact. In the morning, at lunch, after a workout, at night, anytime really is a good time to have some of this detoxifying goodness.  Just do not bite your server’s head off if they forget it the first time.

There are more drastic and difficult things you can do like lifestyle changes and detox programs to salvage your liver, but I know no one with a temper has the patience for that. Start with the little things, and once you stop seeing red, we can talk.

Originally written by me, but here at Love Kouture

The temptation to touch can come at any time for a singleton in the dating scene. Sometimes it is a delayed spark that slowly creeps in after date five, and other times it hits you over the head five minutes upon meeting — pheromones are a hell’ova drug. It is possible that you both are feeling the same way, but just have not found a causal way to bypass that ingrained rule of keeping our hands to ourselves.

Often times for women it is easier to slyly cop an innocent feel if coupled with a flirty comment on how much their date works out. For men, a public tickle fight might come across as childish or clumsy instead of sexy. So what can you do to cross that physical barrier?

An Exotic Solutionethiopian food

I have a food-oriented answer. This is only for daring daters who are down to get dirty in a restaurant in order to eventually get down and dirty in bed: Eritrean/Ethiopian food.

The most authentic places will seat you at traditional basket woven tables where your date is seated close enough for “accidental” knee bumping. The food is very similar to India cuisine in that it is stewed in spices and broths, so the time between you order your delicious East African dishes and the next time you see your waiter is long and uninterrupted. If you happen to be in the San Jose area, I highly recommend Zeni’s. On a Saturday night they play live music that dresses up the evening and hides neighboring conversations, giving the illusion of privacy even in an open dining room. In general, though, most restaurants follow the same layout.

When your food arrives, you are invited to share your feast the same way Eritrean/Ethiopian couples do, by feeding your date. There is nothing sterile about this food exchange. It does not happen across a 3-foot table with a fork and knife. These hearty dishes are eaten with bare hands and fed to each other the same way. No one knowing at least the basics for Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine will think twice about your flirty exchange, and the staff and onlookers might even applaud your PDA as a cultural triumph. It is called “gusha” in the Ethiopian language of Amharic or “mkulas” in Tigrinya, and it was even featured in the foodie episode of The Simpsons of all places.

Once you have giggled over exploring this physical exchange of food together (and maybe a few bottles of Asmarian beer) you can transfer that energy into an exploration of a different nature.

Originally written by me, but at Love Kouture

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