Archive for » April, 2010 «

Putting the Right Nutrients Into Your Breast Milk

During pregnancy the baby is like a parasite and will take all the nutrients that he requires from you. If your diet is sufficient in nutrients for both, it does not cause any problems. If on the other hand your diet is insufficient for both, then your recovery and the ability to produce breast milk after the birth will take longer and if you still do not replenish your body stores during the confinement period, you may remain weak for a long time. If you are breast-feeding, you need to increase the amount slightly because you are eating for two. A nursing mother must continue to eat high quality food recommended during pregnancy in order to establish lactation and maintain an adequate supply of her breast milk. A deficient diet not only upset the nutrient content of her milk but can also reduce the quantity of milk produced. This is probably why our elders make such a lot of fuss about eating well during the confinement period. It is important that you eat nourishing food that includes all of the main food groups at every meal.

Just remember the following pointers:

1. If you are breast feeding whatever you eat will be transferred to your baby via your breast milk therefore it is important that you eat a balanced diet so that your baby will get the right nutrients for optimum growth and development.

2. Some food does cause the baby to become ‘windy’ or have loose stools. If you find that your baby is suddenly quite unsettled, try to think of what you ate during the last 12 hours. Avoid that food for a few days and then try again. If the same happens again, then you should avoid that particular food for a while and re-introduce it into your diet by taking a very small amount and see how baby reacts then slowly increase the amount so that baby gets used to the food.

3. You may find that your appetite is slightly low especially during the first week. This is normal as your body is readjusting to its non-pregnant state both physically and mentally therefore it is better to have small frequent meals instead of the normal 3 big meals a day.

4. You need to drink plenty of fluids in order to make sufficient breast milk and it is best that you get this from sources such as soup or nourishing tea. Drinking too much plain water will dilute the breast milk and therefore is not nutritious for the baby.

So what should you eat?

Protein – The building blocks are amino acids that contain oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. Only eight amino acids are obtained from the food we eat. It is necessary for growth and repair of cells in the body. It helps make enzymes that enable us to digest food, produce antibodies and hormones. Too much protein in the body are converted into glucose and urea. Sources – Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, cereals (wheat, oats and rice), pulses (beans, lentils and peas), nuts and potatoes.

Fat Soluble vitamins

Vitamin A – Retinol and Beta-carotene are necessary for cell division and growth. To maintain healthy mucous membranes of respiratory, digestive and urinary tracts and is important for good eyesight. Sources –

Retinol – Liver, oily fish, dairy produce and eggs.

Beta-carotene – Carrots, red peppers, mangoes, spinach and kale.

Vitamin D – Calciferols is needed to absorb calcium and phosphorous for healthy teeth and bones. It is also produced by exposing the skin to the sun. Sources – Eggs, tuna, salmon, sardines, fish liver oil and fortified margarines.

Vitamin E – Tocopherols prevent oxidation of free radicals polyunsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes and other tissues. Sources – Vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ, seeds and margarine.

Vitamin K – Phylloquinone is essential in forming certain proteins and for blood clotting. Sources – Green leafy vegetables especially green cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts

Water Soluble vitamins

Vitamin B

Thiamin (B1) is needed to obtain energy from carbohydrates, fats and alcohol and to prevent build-up of toxic waste substances. Sources – Pork, liver, heart, kidneys, nuts and pulses.

Riboflavin (B2) is necessary to release energy from food and for the functioning of vitamin B6 and niacin. Sources – Milk, yoghurt, eggs, meat, poultry, fish and fortified cereals

Pyridoxine (B6) helps to release energy from proteins and is also important for immune function, the nervous system and formation of red blood cells. Sources – Lean meat, poultry, eggs, fish, tofu, wholemeal bread, nuts, bananas, yeast extract and soya beans

Niacin produces energy in cells to form neurotransmitters. Maintain healthy skin and an efficient digestive system. Sources – Lean meat, poultry, pulses, potatoes, nuts and fortified cereals.

Pantothenic acid helps release energy from food and is essential for synthesis of cholesterol, fat and red blood cells. Sources – Meat, vegetables, liver, dried fruits and nuts.

Biotin is important in the synthesis of fat and cholesterol. Sources – Liver, peanut butter, egg yolk and yeast extract.

Folic acid is necessary for cell division and the formation of DNA, RNA and proteins in the body. Sources – Brussels sprouts, liver, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pulses, wheatgerm, fortified breakfast cereals and bread.

Cyanocobalamin (B12) is necessary for making DNA, RNA and myelin. It helps transportation of folate into cells. Sources – Meat, poultry, fish, tofu, eggs and diary products.

Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is necessary to make collagen and neurotransmitters like noradrenalin and serotonin. It is an antioxidant in the body and aids absorption of iron. Sources – Fruits, particularly citrus fruits, kiwis, strawberries, peppers, potatoes and vegetables.

Carbohydrates are converted into glucose and glycogen to give the body fuel for energy.

Glucose is in the blood and glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles. If the level of glucose drops, glycogen is converted into glucose for use. Sources – Sprouting grains, starchy root vegetables, fruits, cereals, pulses, milk and diary products.

Fats

• Saturated fats

• Monounsaturated fats

• Polyunsaturated fats

• Cholesterol

Rich source of calories for energy and provide fat soluble vitamins. It maintains healthy skin and body functions. Necessary for the production of sex hormones, synthesis of vitamin D and production of cell membranes and nerve coatings. Sources – Butter, cheeses, fatty meat and all forms of cooking oil.

Macrominerals

Potassium regulate heart beat and maintain blood pressure. Maintain fluid and electrolyte balance within cells. Sources – Avocado, fresh and dried fruits, banana, seeds and nuts, citrus fruits, potato and pulses.

Calcium is a vital component of bones and teeth. Vital for nerve transmission, blood clotting and muscle function. Sources – Green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, tinned sardines, milk and dairy products.

Chloride is vital for stomach acid formation. Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance. Sources – Salt and any food containing salt.

Magnesium is important for muscle contraction and assists in nerve impulses. It is an important constituent of bones and teeth. Sources – Wholegrain cereals, green vegetables, nuts, sesame seeds and pulses

Sodium works with potassium to regulate fluid balance. It is essential for nerve and muscle function. Sources – Table salt, processed meats, yeast extracts and tinned anchovies

Phosphorous help to form and maintain healthy bones and teeth, help to release energy in cells and essential for absorption of many nutrients. Sources – Red meat, poultry, fish and seafood, milk and diary products, seeds and whole grains.

Microminerals

Iron is essential for the production of haemoglobin which carries oxygen. It is needed for synthesis of RNA, DNA and collagen for healthy gums, teeth bones and cartilage. Sources – Liver, kidneys, red meat, sardines, egg yolk, green leafy vegetables, raisins, dried apricots

Zinc is essential for normal growth, reproduction and immunity. It aids the action of many enzymes. Sources – Oysters, animal proteins, beans, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin and sunflower seeds

Selenium protects cells against free radical damage. It is vital for normal sexual development. Sources – Meat and fish, butter, avocados, brazil nuts and lentils.

Water is vital for life. It is necessary for digestion and elimination of waste products. It acts as a lubricant for eyes and joints and regulates body temperature. Sources – Drinks, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, bread and cereals, milk and dairy products.

Food for thought

It is not only Asian communities that advocate lactating mothers refrain from eating fruits and vegetables, some Western communities do the same. In my opinion, the reason for avoiding fruits and vegetables is that some contain high levels of oxalate that interferes with calcium absorption. Lactating mothers require high calcium intake for adequate milk production.

Fruits high in oxalate – Kiwi, guava, star fruit, blueberries, figs and strawberries

Vegetables high in oxalates – Tapioca, pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, garlic, watercress, brinjal, leeks, turnip, chives, lady’s fingers, parsley and spinach

Tip – Blanching the fruits and vegetables could lower the oxalate level.

Fruits low in oxalate – Papaya, langsat, banana, avocado, cherries, lemon, mango, watermelon, honeydew melon, ciku, durian and peeled apples.

Vegetables low in oxalates – Cauliflower, cabbage, kai lan, petola, green pea, capsicum, potato, tomato, cucumber, iceberg lettuce

Tip – If you love your fruits and vegetables and is worried about calcium absorption, then it is best that you have your milk drinks 3-4 hours before or after your main meals.

Avoid taking too much salt as this may reduce breast milk production. Cooling and windy food may contribute to baby becoming colicky. Acidic food may increase bleeding in the mother and diarrhea in the baby. What you eat also depends on what you believe in and who cooks for you. I hope that with the above information you will be able to tell your ‘cook’ what is best for both you and your baby.

Out & About In Brussels

Your destination for royal artistry, majestic structural designs, and rich traditions & customs, Brussels is an appealing, generous and historic city of glories and gorgeousness. The Belgian capital is one of the finest cities of the world. The main governmental, economic, literary, business, and industrial hub of Belgium, Brussels is also the political seat of NATO.

Brussels is an amazing vacation destination bountifully packed with tourist attractions. There are a number of interesting points out & about in the city.

The House of the King is a stunning building that was established in the 19th century. The amazing building dates from the 16th century. Presently, it is being used as Museum of Brussels. Here you can learn more on the Brussel’s past time and the business art.

The Garden of Sculptures, located besides the Museum of Fine Arts, is a great place to see the confluence of art and nature. The garden offers you a stunning collection of amazing trees and plants. You can also see marvelous statues that are themed on women.

The Musical Instruments Museum, located in one of Brussels most attractive building – the former Old England, offers you a remarkable collection on musical instruments. The museum is a home to over 7000 instruments of all kinds and from all places.

The Atomium is truly a fine place to visit. This repository symbolizes the Brussels world fair of 1958. The Atomium is the diagrammatic symbol of the concept of an atom. It exhibits an iron crystal with its 9 atoms.

The Cathedrale Saint-Michel is the most renowned cathedral in Brussels. The Duke Henri I of Brabant laid the foundation stone of this glorious building in 1226 that was completed under Charles V. Its main attractions include the statues of the twelve apostles, the main facade with the two square towers, the Roman columns, Chapelle du Saint-Sacrement, Chapelle de Notre-Dame and the stained glass windows.

The neoclassic building of the Stock Exchange is beautified with different trades’ sculpts. There are about 150 Belgian and 140 foreign companies that are represented on the Brussels securities market. It was designed by Architect Léon Suys in 1873.

It is easy to reach Rue Blaes from the Grand Place. The whole street is full of antiques’ shops. Walking down this avenue, you will get to Place Du Jeu De Balle where you will find a market of second hand things, especially interesting at Sundays.

Manneken Pis is one of the Brussels’ turning points, which was created in 1619. It is a small fountain statue made of bronze portraying a small little boy urinating into the fountain’s basin.

Surrounded by the Royal palace, the Belgian parliament and the U.S.A. deputation, the chief public park – ‘Parc de Bruxelles’ is located in the heart of Brussels. There is also the Théâtre Royal du Parc on its edge.

The Saint-Hubert Gallery is one of the oldest galleries in the world. This is a fine example of a distinctive kind of building of the 19th century. The gallery is divided into two major parts – the King’s gallery (Galerie du Roi) and the Queen’s gallery (Galerie de la reine). A third, and small part was known as the Prince’s gallery (Galerie du Prince).

Holiday Destinations by Flight Duration

If like me you’re one of those people who love going on holidays, but cannot abide the whole flying experience, then this feature will be your new best friend.
Location, hotel, weather, nightlife – these are all major factors that we consider when planning a holiday. Although often overlooked, your flights play a hugely important role in your whole holiday experience as well. A bad flight or a flight that’s too long can be the difference between a fantastic holiday and an ok holiday.

ExclusiveLondon.co.uk has complied a list of holiday destinations by flight duration to help you choose the perfect holiday. If you don’t like lengthy flights, you may think you are just limited to holidays in France or Germany, but there are many destinations featured below that may be closer than you think. Flight durations are based on flights leaving from London, UK.

1 to 2 hours

Austria (Tryol, Salzburg)
Belgium (Brussels)
Denmark (Copenhagen)
France, North to Mid (Paris, Lyon)
Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg)
Ireland (Dublin)
Netherlands, The (Amsterdam)
Scotland (Edinburgh)
Spain, North (Bilbao)
Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, Zurich)

2 to 3 hours

Romania (Bucharest)
Hungary (Budapest)
Finland (Helsinki)
Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Majorca, Menorca)
Italy, North (Milan, Venice)
Latvia (Riga)
Lithuania (Vilnius)
Costa del Sol (Marbella)
Poland (Krakow, Warsaw)
Portugal (Lisbon)
Czech Republic (Prague)
Iceland (Reykjavik)
Netherlands, The (Rotterdam)
Bulgaria (Sofia)
Spain, Mid to West (Barcelona, Madrid)
Sweden (Stockholm)
Tunisia (Tunis)
Austria (Vienna)

3 to 4 hours

Bulgaria (Sofia)
Greece, North to West (Halkidiki, Preveza)
Greece, South (Kalamata, Athens)
Greek Islands, North to West (Corfu, Kefalonia, Skiathos, Zante)
Gibraltar (South of Spain)
Turkey (Istanbul, Anakra)
Madeira (Island South of Portugal)
Malta (Valletta, Birkirkara)
Morocco (Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat)
France, South (Marseille, Montpellier, Nice)
Norway (Oslo)
Portugal (Porto Islands)
Italy, Mid to South (Rome, Naples, Sicily)
Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg)
Spain, South (Seville)

4 to 5 hours

Azores Islands, The (inc. 2 hour flight from Lisbon, Portugal)
Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife)
Greek Islands, East to South (Mytilene, Cyprus, Mykonos, Kos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes)
Egypt (Cairo, Luxor)
Jordan (Amman)
Syria (Damascus)
Turkey (Izmir, Bodrum)

5 to 6 hours

Israel (Eilat)
Africa, West (Nigeria)

6 to 7 hours

Africa, West (Gambia, Ghana, Senegal)
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh)
Oman (Muscat)
United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

7 to 8 hours

Antigua (St John’s)
Barbados (Bridgetown)
Bermuda (Hamilton)
USA, East (New York, Boston)
Canada, East (Montreal)
St Lucia (Castries)
Trinidad (Port of Spain)

8 to 9 hours

India, North (New Delhi)
India, West (Mumbai, Goa)
Pakistan (Karachi)

9 to 10 hours

Aruba (Oranjestad)
Bahamas (Nassau)
Bangladesh (Dhaka)
Botswana (Gaborone)
Cuba (Havana)
Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo)
Jamaica (Montego Bay)
Kenya (Nairobi)
St Kitts (Basseterre)
Tobago
Zimbabwe (Harare)

10 to 11 hours

Canada, South (Ottawa, Toronto)
USA, South East (Atlanta, Miami)
USA, West (California, San Francisco)
USA, North to West (Montana, Seattle)
USA, South (New Orleans)
Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo)
Argentina (Buenos Aires)
Cayman Islands (George Town)
Hong Kong
Grenada (St George’s)
Mexico (Mexico City)
Namibia (Windhoek)
Chile (Santiago)
South Africa (Cape Town)
Sri Lanka (Colombo)
Tanzania (Dodoma)
Zambia (Lusaka)

11 to 12 hours

Australia (Sydney)
Thailand (Bangkok)
Hawaii (Honolulu)
Japan (Tokyo)
Mauritius (Port Louis)
South Korea (Seoul)
Singapore
Venezuela (Caracas)

12+ hours

Fiji (Suva)
USA, West (Las Vegas)
Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur)
USA (Montana)

This article was written by Maryse Mignott, for ExclusiveLondon.co.uk. Balance your work and social life by taking part in the London entertainment scene. For the hottest London events, restaurants, clubs, fashion boutiques and much more, visit www.exclusivelondon.co.uk

Brussels Tourist Information

General summary of city:

The city of Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is a modern city that is rich in medieval and art-nouveau buildings. Brussels is steeped in rich history with plenty of museums and galleries and a pulsating cultural life.

Brussels is also the administrative center of the European Union, which has earned the city the title ‘the capital of Europe’. The business sector in Brussels is booming with international agencies taking root in the city, however not at the expense of the rich cultural history. The juxtaposition of past and present is evident in Brussels with blocks lined with international businesses and their advanced steel and glass high rises which are only a few steps away from cobbled streets and medieval architecture that speaks of the city’s flavourful past.

With a mixture of French and Flemish culture and language, Brussels is steeped in history and culture, with something for everyone to enjoy. The nightlife culture of Brussels, complete with clubs and pubs to enjoy add to the eclectic ambience of this fair city in Belgium. During the day, as business booms throughout the week, there is a wide variety of attractions for visitors and locals to enjoy, regardless of age. Families enjoy Belgium for its unique atmosphere which embraces every aspect of family life and socialization for adults.

Places of interest:

Brussels boasts over a century of history which lends too many intriguing sights to visit and see in the city and immediate area. Brussels possesses the most fabulous market square and the highest concentration of restaurants in the entire world.

The Petite Rue des Bouchers, which translates to street of the butchers is located in the medieval center of Brussels and is most famous for the simple fact that every building on the street is a restaurant. The roadway is very narrow and is closed to automobile traffic, which allows for the restaurants to boast their wares in spectacular fashion, while on wider parts of the road, restaurants feature outdoor eating areas.

The central market square in Brussels is known as the Grand’ Place, which is notably the most beautiful in the world. A 15th century Town Hall dominates the Grand’ Place with hundreds of small statues and an elegant tower is surrounded by 17th century buildings with golden inlays which surround the entire square. Other places of interest to visit is the Manneken Pis, the Saint Michael cathedral, the Atomium, the Palais de Justice as well as a plethora of parks including the impressive Bois de la Cambre and the forest to which it once belonged, the Foret de Soignes which features birch trees that are hundreds of years old.

Brussels features many interesting sights for the whole family – business people, families, nature lovers, culture devotees and historians alike.

Things to do:

There is a wide variety of things to do in Brussels, regardless of your age or fancies. For those who love to dine, you could spend an eternity sampling all the wonderful restaurants and eateries in Brussels, which boasts itself as having the highest concentration of restaurants in the world. The restaurants in Brussels feature a wide variety of food types and styles for anyone’s palate.

For those who want to take in the rich history of Brussels, there is a surplus of museums that boast the wonderful and flavourful richness of a millennium in Brussels.

Sightseeing is plentiful in Brussels with many 15th and 17th century buildings around the city. Declaring a beautiful surrounding with intricately designed buildings from these centuries, the city of Brussels promises a wonderful view in any direction. With beautiful boulevards, picturesque squares, parks and a very active cultural life in every sense of the word, there is something for everyone in Brussels. You can take in a movie or a play at a theatre, enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants, and visit the monuments and places of great interest that abound in this beautiful city.

Brussels is steeped in over 1000 years of history and beauty for each individual to unfold whether visiting or moving to the city.

Food & Drink:

Brussels is all about the food. Because Brussels has the highest concentration of restaurants in all the world, the dining industry is literally one of the most prolific in the city. The Petite Rue des Bouchers (the street of butchers) is literally lined with restaurants. Every single building on the street is a restaurant that caters to a variety of flavours and tastes.

Throughout this beautiful historical city, restaurants, eateries and quaint cafes abound, offering up a dish of enlightening flavor to satisfy any palate. There is, of course, plenty of French food and Flemish food, but with the coming of immigrants to Brussels, there is an increasing variety of foods from other cultures and countries throughout the world. Within the streets of Brussels, you can find Western cooking, Lebanese flavourings, Greek, Mexican – really any ethnic food flavouring that your heart could desire.

To go to Brussels means to enjoy good food in a beautiful atmosphere. Brussels is known world wide for its upper class restaurants and small, cozy eateries that are both quaint and classy.

Hotels & Accommodation:

Silken Residence

Le Châtelain All Suites Hotel

Hilton Brussels

Minotel Chambord

Le Méridien Bruxelles

Eazires Europarthotel Avenue Louise

Hotel Villa Royale

Hotel le Dixseptieme

Sun Hotel

New Hotel Charlemagne

Hotel L’auberge Du Souverain

Aristote

Hotel Continental

Hotel le Chantecler

Hotel De Fierlant

Hotel Erasme

Rijckendael Hotel

Eurostars Royal Embassy Grand Place

Entertainment:

Brussels is very much a city of the night. There is a bustling nightlife in Brussels in the many clubs, discotheques, bars and restaurants. There is always something to do in Brussels.

During the day, the museums offer a great deal of entertainment for the entire family. With the wealth of history and past culture in Brussels, everyone in the family will find the museums, galleries and culture centers interesting and intriguing.

There are a wide variety of cultural festivals that are also offered throughout the city at various times of the year ranging in depth from family fun to adult entertainment.

Fun for the whole family is offered in the heart of Belgium in the capital city of Brussels. Movie theatres, shopping centers, parks, forests, museums, cultural centers and places of interest abound in this gorgeous city. Boredom is nearly impossible in Brussels – there is always something to do or see in this fair city. A rich social life is just around the corner in Brussels, all you have to do is see what they have to offer during your visit.

Hotels in Brussels Belgium Making the Best of your Time

Brussels is not just the national capital of Belgium, but is also widely known as the Capital of Europe. The reason is being that the main governmental body of the European Union is situated in the city of Brussels itself. Brussels has a sparkling environment and also boasts of beautiful attractions and tourist spots. With imposing forts and buildings, medieval castles, narrow quaint streets, verdant parks, cafes, bistros, cozy restaurants and a vivacious lifestyle this city will leave you asking for more.

The city of Brussels is more than 1,000 years old and has Dutch and French as its regional language. Austerely beautiful all through the year, Brussels receives maximum number of visitors during the months from May to September. But since this is also the peak time, the places of interest, streets, restaurants are generally packed out. On the contrary, during winters although the weather is chilly, the locations are much pleasantly less crowded. This makes certain that your stopover at a museum is not done in a hurry. You may take your own sweet time to go museum hopping easily without any hassles. Besides, accommodation is easy to find during winters at much lowly rates as against summers. Cheap Brussels Hotel can be found in plenty in the city.

Brussels is a fine looking city, at every nook and corner you will find something or the other that will arouse your curiosity. Some of the most attention- grabbing places to visit in Brussels are as follows:

Grand Place

In the middle of the city- Brussels is sited an old town named the Grand Place or Grote Markt. Spread with beautiful quaint houses and eye catching gigantic buildings, the Grand Place is among the most beautiful towns around the globe. Most of the times, cultural events are held against the background of theses mega structures of the town, making the place a crowd puller. And do not forget to pick sundry bric-a-brac from the market place for your dear ones.

Musée des Instruments de Musique

A museum of its own kind the Musée des Instruments de Musique is distinct and intriguing. Showcasing the most unique and distinct compilation of musical instruments from around the globe, the museum pride’s itself on its large collection. The museum also gives you the chance to listen to these instruments via headsets… music lovers cannot ask for more.

Manneken Pis

Standing for the free spirited attitude of Brussels City, this miniature bronze sculpture portrays a child pee- peeing. The statue of Manneken Pis is just at a short distance away from the famous Grand Place and is also a great source of amusement.

Hotels in Brussels, Belgium are available in all price range. Varying from star hotels Brussels to Brussels budget hotels, everything is easy to find here.

To name a few Hotels is Belgium, we have:

Bedford Hotel Brussels

Located in the heart of the city, the Bedford Hotel of Brussels is a grand place to put up when you are on a visit in the beautiful City of Brussels. The Bedford is located in the midst of the renowned Eurostar or Thalys terminal and Grand Palace. The hotel is located only a little distance from the railway station and major business hub of the city.

Marriott Hotel Brussels

Within the spitting distance of Mont des Arts and Grand Place is the Brussels Marriot Hotel. Offering world class service and luxurious accommodation, this posh hotel is well equipped with all the necessary facilities.

Have a wonderful time vacationing in the City of Brussels.

All About Visiting Belgium

Belgium is a country that is surrounded by France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. It has a compact size which makes it thperfect country to travel. The capital of Belgium is Brussels and is also known as the heart of the country.

Brussels, Belgium is also the headquarters for NATO. There are so many different cultural attractions for travels such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Comic Strip Museum, and one of the most popular, the Chocolate and Cocoa Museum. The Chocolate and Cocoa Museum features one of Belgium’s best known products.

The capital is not the only place to experience in Belgium. In fact there are many enchanting cities including Ghent, Liege, and Bruges which all have impressive architecture, top-rated cuisine, as well as the night life.

Bruges, Belgium has been known as the “Venice of the North” because it is one of Europe’s most magnificent and well-preserved medieval cities. One of the best parts about this amazing city is that getting to Bruges could not be any easier. You can get there by Eurostar, a ferry, or Eurotunnel, than take a drive to Bruges.

If you are into popular fashion and modern design then you will want to visit the newly reinvented Antwerp. This city in Belgium is known as being a new hotbed for fashion and design. Antwerp, Belgium has many other sights to offer visitors as well including the mountainous area of the Ardennes region all the way to the East. There are also gorgeous coastline resorts set on the Western seaboard.

Belgium is a country that is best known for its specialty products such as ubiquitous beers, delicious chocolates, beautiful lace, and of course Belgian waffles. If you visit Belgium you must stay at one of their comfortable and inviting bed and breakfasts that they are so well known for.

The Sabiha Gokcen International Airport: a Sign of Progressive Turkey

If you are flying to Istanbul for first time and you are looking for any sign proving what you have learnt previously about Turkey – that Turkey is a country that is about to emerge as an economic powerhouse in Europe – you can look too close.  All you need is looking your surroundings at the moment you land at the airport.  Chances are that you have landed at the Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW).  SAW is the best proof that can show Turkey’s economic progress.

Istanbul had a growing need for a bigger international airport and SAW is a response to this need. Previously, Ataturk International Airport (IST) was the only international airport of Istanbul . However, as IST was built in the 1970s, its facilities have become outmoded. Number of airline passengers flying to Istanbul is growing orderly. And IST is too small to accommodate this growing number.

Sabiha Gökçen was Turkey’s first female aviator and SAW was named in honor of Sabiha Gokcen who was also the first ever female to become a combat pilot.  In 1996, Sabiha Gokcen was honored by the United States Air Force as one of the 20 greatest aviators in history.  Destinies of Sabiha Gökçen and SAW look like each other, just like Sabiha Gokcen, SAW is a sign of progressive of Turkey which help Turkey reach for greater heights in economic progress, with its increased capacity for domestic and international travel.

SAW which is the second international airport for Istanbul has a capacity of 3 million passengers per year for international travel and 500,000 passengers per year for domestic travel.  It has two terminals, one of these terminals is for international flights and the other is for domestic flights.

Total area of the international flights terminal is 20,000 square meters. Two floors divide this area in two with the ground floor having an area of 16,000 square meters and the mezzanine level at 4,000 square meters. The state-of-the-art facilities, VIP lounges, bars, cafes, restaurants and duty-free shops fit the mezzanine level.

Total area of the domestic flights terminal, on the other hand, is 2,000 square meters.  Domestic passengers can find a cafeteria to serve them in this area.  The cargo terminal is also found here.

Many airlines make use of SAW’s facilities. You can find the airlines being serviced by SAW in the followings:

•    Aerotur Airlines – Aktau and Taraz
•    AMC Airlines – Cairo
•    Condor Airlines – Frankfurt and Munich
•    Corendon Airlines – Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Tel Aviv, Eindhoven
•    easyJet – Basel/Mulhouse, London
•    Germanwings – Berlin-Schonefeld, Cologne, Bonn, Dortmund and Stuttgart
•    Jazeera Airways – Kuwait
•    MyAir – Milan
•    Norwegian Air Shuttle – Oslo and Stockholm
•    Pegasus Airlines
•    SkyEurope – Bratislava
•    SunExpress – Berlin and Schonefeld
•    TUIfly – Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hanover

Naturally, Turkish airlines are being serviced in SAW too. Turkish Airlines flies domestically from SAW to Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir and Dalaman. It has international destinations include Cologne, Berlin, Hanover and Nuremberg.

Istanbul’s newest international airport is SAW and it is the shape of things to come for Turkey.

How to make healthy foods more palatable

OK, time for true confessions. While I am a foodie, and usually face new food challenges with a good attitude and a well-tuned fork, there are certain foods I’ve struggled to enjoy my entire life. Exhibit one: Brussels sprouts. My mom loved to serve the mini-cabbage want-to-bee’s, and while I tried repeatedly, they’re mushy, bitter, smelly approach left me always trying to escape the dinner table. Another frequent offender – salmon patties. Mom said they were “good for me,” but after finding crunchy bits of bone and trying to eat the watery, thin sauce that inevitably accompanied them, I found that tough to believe.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve come to realize that my early encounter with these foods was a travesty of misrepresentation. Often, the way a food is introduced to us causes us to form opinions that may be totally wrong. I now know that the best Brussels sprouts are picked young and tender, and gently sauteed in flavorful oils and spices are a diner’s delight. And salmon? Let me wax eloquently on the beautiful, healthy, flavorful fish that I still struggle to believe is the same canned specimen my mom served!

So, what have these culinary trans-formative encounters taught me about “icky” foods? Plenty!

First off, all that I’m saying is give these foods a chance. I’ve talked to a lot of people who tell me they’ve had similar experiences to mine. A poorly cooked dish can turn a person off to a particular food faster than weather changes in Michigan. If you absolute “hate” a particular food, take a deep breath and set your resolve to try it again, in a new way. Try a different recipe (like the ones I’ve listed below). What’s your favorite spice or infused oil? Can you integrate it into the preparation of this food? Attempt to wipe your mind and your palate of previous poor examples, and resolve to give it one more try – but use it in a new, and appetizing way.

Also, make sure the food in question is fresh, fresh, fresh! Don’t settle for an “OK” example of the food. Instead, hand pick the food from the freshest market you have available. Then, you’re sure to give the dish it’s best possible opportunity to make it into your repertoire. Also, if you’re working with fruits or vegetables, make sure they’re ripe. Nothing ruins a perfect dish like an ingredient that is green and tasteless. Wondering how to tell if something is ripe or fresh? Before you shop, check out this link:

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmor ematters.org/?page_id=165.

Great springtime vacation spots in Europe

There are plenty of great spots in Europe to visit. I myself have been to Norway, France, Spain, England, Scotland and Italy. But by far the best place had to have been Belgium. This place was amazing. The mass transit system was top notch whether it was train, bus, or cab (not really mass transit).

I went to Brugge and Antwerp. I missed Brussels as I was only there for 5 days. Antwerp is a splendid city, the diamond capital of the world. I was blown away by every jeweler I went to had diamonds everywhere. Best of all they were all very happy to educate me on the five C’s of diamond shopping (Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat, and Certification). The diamonds weren’t mindbogglingly cheap but they were cheaper than anywhere in the states. Brugge was a nice rustic town with amazing features. I was lucky enough to see a Salvador Dali exhibit while there. This is the town you want to walk around, down all the windy streets and cobblestone pathways.

The food was excellent. I heard about Belgium beef before I got there and was determined to have a steak there. My first night out was spent in a quaint little mom and pop restaurant. I ordered the steak with a nice mushroom sauce to accompany it. To this day (that was eight years ago) I have never had a steak that flavorful or tender in my life. The absolute perfection of beef.

So for an out of the ordinary experience I suggest Belgium. Great people, great food, an overall great experience. I look forward to returning.

Visiting Brussels? An Introduction To Travelling To The Heart Of Europes Charming Capital City

Tagged as the capital of Europe, Brussels boasts a number of attractions to lure the most fussy of travellers. From fine dining and quaint architecture to a vibrant nightlife and it’s many landmarks, there’s something to appeal to everyone in Brussels.

Look around the streets of Brussels and you’ll see people from a wide variety of backgrounds and culture – a testimony to the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Aside from the many ex-pats posted here from around the world, Brussels also plays host to immigrants from Turkey, Greece and North Africa.

The dominant language in Brussels is French, but Flemish is also spoken in certain pockets of the city as is a unique mix of the two languages (called Marollien or Brusselse Sproek).

So what’s Brussels characterized by?

- Fine food and tasty beers. You can’t help but be impressed by the wide variety of food options open to the Brussels visitor. The national dish is “moules et frites” and must be sampled but the city also offers a magnificent choice of ethnic foods including Turkish, Chinese, Moroccan, Vietnamese, Tunisian, Italian and more.

- The vibrant “Grand-Place” is the very heart of Brussels and should be the first port of call for the newly arrived visitor. Many believe it to be among the finest town squares to be found anywhere in the world.

- Brussels is the EU capital, and as such is the location of an increasing number of European Union buildings.

- Brussels gave birth to the “art nouveau” architectural movement in the late 1890’s. This was to spread to many other countries who embraced the bold new combination of materials such as stone, iron and exquisite tiles. Some examples of famous landmarks you can visit that are a testimony to the movement are the Hotels Metropole & Solvay, Musee horta and Maison Saint Cyr. The Art Nouveau movement was spearheaded by Belgian architects Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde.

- Lovers of architecture, museums and cathedrals will be satisfied by the good mix on display. Aside from the wide range of museums, there’s the “Cathedrale des Sts Michel et Gudule” who’s origins can be traced back to 1072.

- Chocolate. Belgian chocolate is reputed to be the best in the world and Brussels offers many chocolate shops where you can stock up on fine chocolate to take home.

Whether you come to Brussels for the culture, architecture or just the heavenly chocolate, you’re certain to have an enjoyable time.