The Mediterranean diet, recently called the healthiest diet in the world, is a way of both enjoying the lifestyle of and eating based on the traditional foods (and drinks) of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. This includes Italy, Greece, Spain, and Morocco.
The health benefits of a Mediterranean diet have been studied extensively in the last 10 years, resulting in better science and more clinical evidence.
What Foods are Included in the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet includes extra virgin olive oil, chickpeas, nuts (i.e. hazlenuts and walnuts), vegetables, fruits, fish, and whole grains are all included. There is a moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt). Additionally, there is an emphasis on a variety of minimally processed and, wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods (which often maximizes the health-promoting micronutrient and antioxidant content of these foods).
Opposed to many diets which exclude alcohol, the Mediterranean diet allows for moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals; about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women. From a contemporary public health perspective, wine should be considered optional and avoided when consumption would put the individual or others at risk.
Does the Diet Include Exercise?
Regular physical activity at a level which promotes a healthy weight, fitness and well-being is generally included in the diet as well. The Mediterranean diet, according to many nutritionists and health specialists, is more of a lifestyle than a traditional diet.
What Diseases Does the Diet Prevent and/or Reduce?
The February 25 New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a large Spanish study that found persuasive evidence that the Mediterranean lowers the risk of strokes and heart disease. In the featured study, participants who enjoyed plentiful amounts of these foods had less cardiovascular disease than subjects who followed a more conventional low-fat diet that included red meat. The results were so overwhelmingly clear that researchers study ended the study early. The researches concluded that among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.
A separate but also recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, diabetes, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Is This Diet New?
Although filed in with the myriad of fad diets, the Mediterranean diet is far from new. In 2010, UNESCO recognized this diet pattern as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco.
For thousands of years, residents along the Mediterranean coast have enjoyed the delicious diet and engaging in regular physical activity. They don’t think of their eating habits as a diet plan; it’s simply a way of life that can lead to long, healthy lives with less chance of chronic disease.
The fiscal cliff has been averted — at least for the time being — after a year of worrying, debating, and discussing. Congress and President Obama decided to raise taxes a bit, delay the scheduled budget cuts that promised to crush the economy, and create a plan that will delay (for now) a total economic meltdown.
The “fiscal cliff” is the term used to describe the situation our government faced at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 were scheduled to go into effect (December 31 at midnight). In the beginning of the 2013, about $500 billion in tax increases and $200 billion in spending cuts were scheduled to take effect. Now that the House has passed a Senate deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it will become law when President Obama signs it.
According to CNN, there are five things to know about the complex bill, and what it does and doesn’t do:
1. No side won: Republicans accepted higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans. Democrats accepted a higher threshold for how much income will face a higher tax rate. President Obama broke a vow to raise tax rates on annual household income over $250,000 and individual income over $200,000.
2. We may have a new definition of the ‘wealthiest’: President Obama made raising tax rates on the top 2% of earners in America a centerpiece of his re-election campaign. The 2% figure includes those with income over $250,000. The compromise bill changes that figure. Tax rates will go up only for individuals with income over $400,000 and families earning more than $450,000. The deal does, however, cap some deductions for individuals making $250,000 and for married couples making $300,000. That allows the president bragging rights to say the deal raises taxes on people at those income levels. But he said just weeks ago that capping deductions at the $250,000 level would not be enough and that tax rates would rise.
3. Three more fiscal cliffs are on the way: The deal delays the sequester, a series of automatic cuts in federal spending, for two months. In the meantime, the Senate plan calls for $12 billion in new revenue and another $12 billion in spending cuts. The spending cuts are to be split between defense and nondefense spending. The other two: the debt ceiling and a continuing budget resolution.
4. The majority of House Republicans opposed it: Although House Speaker John Boehner supported the bill, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, opposed it, as did most Republicans in the House. So while the Senate vote was an overwhelming 89 to 8, the House vote was 257 to 167. The vast majority of House Democrats supported the bill.
5. Your paycheck is still likely to shrink: The deal does not address an increase in payroll taxes. No legislation to address the fiscal cliff is expected to. Now, the cut on those taxes has expired. In monetary terms, those earning $30,000 a year will take home $50 less per month, and those earning $113,700 will lose $189.50 a month.
Most people are involved in some sort of bookkeeping, whether for their personal use or for their organization, yet there are many misunderstandings about what bookkeeping actually is.
Many San Diego accountants believe that their clients should be educated on bookkeeping in general, so that they can have better understanding of why they do things and what the finances of their own business need to do.
Bookkeeping is the recording of all financial transactions undertaken by an individual or organization. The organization may be a business, a charitable organization or even a local sports club. A financial transaction is any event that involves the exchange of money.
In short, bookkeeping is “keeping records of what is bought, sold, owed, and owned; what money comes in, what goes out, and what is left.”
The name comes from the fact that financial information used to be recorded using pen and ink in paper books – hence “bookkeeping.” However, these days it is more commonly recorded in a computer system.
Individual and family bookkeeping involves keeping track of income and expenses in a cash account record, bank account statements, credit card statements, or savings account passbook. Individuals who borrow or lend out money also track how much they owe or are owed from others.
Two most common bookkeeping methods used are the single-entry bookkeeping system and the double-entry bookkeeping system:
- Single-entry bookkeeping uses only income and expense accounts. Its is a simple method of bookkeeping relying on a one sided accounting entry to maintain financial information.
- Double-entry bookkeeping requires recording each transaction twice, as debits and credits. It is a set of rules for recording financial information in a financial accounting system in which every transaction or event changes at least two different nominal ledger accounts.
While many companies outsource their bookkeeping to accountants, bookkeeping San Diego specialists agree that any individual or organization involved in bookkeeping should be aware of the process and what goes into it. A more informed client can assure that his or her accounting services are the most appropriate for their needs.
Solar panels can provide a home with clean energy and reduce the utility and electricity bills. However, there are five things that a person should do before installing rooftop solaire energy systems:
- Understand the electricity bill. It is important to find out how much is paid per kilowatt-hour for electricity in ones home. A large amount of the electric bill covers supply and delivery charges, which are independent on the amount of electricity used. Being aware of ones usage and energy patterns – in addition to how much one actually pays for electricity – can help a person make n informed decision on solar power.
- Increase energy efficiency. Any San Diego solar installer would agree that energy efficiency improvements should be made before solar installation. A house that is poorly insulated, for instance, is not very energy efficient. Some states will offer rebates for those who have a professional home energy audit performed before solar is installed.
- Reduce current energy consumption. If a person installs solar panels, they’ll want to get the most out of their investment. So how can someone get the most out of their energy? By starters, reducing the amount of energy consumed – turn the lights off, buy energy efficient appliances, etc. Any solar energy produced from the solar panels will offset more of the total usage; the less that is used, the more that is saved.
- Check the roof. Not all roofs are alike. Certain roof orientations provide better sun exposure than others. It is important to know if the roof location will receive full sun between the high sun hours – which are generally 9am to 3pm. For example, a south-facing roof with no obstruction will on average receive maximum sun exposure. Solar panels will generate power in less-than-perfect conditions, but in these cases the panels are not being used to their full potential.
- Check the bank. After a person decides they are ready for solar panels, it is important for them to check their financial situation. Renewable energy does save money, but installation is expensive and the return on investment can take up to ten years. In addition, it is important to find out if the state one lives in offers any special solar-related programs. If you live in California, for example, returns on investment will occur fast and there are several programs (such as the California Solar Initiative) to simplify the process.
Solar panels can be a great way to get clean, renewable energy and reduce the amount paid in electricity bills. It is always a smart idea to be an informed and educated customer before installation.
Energy policy is the way in which a government will decide how to address the issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption. The 2012 Presidential Election is coming to an end, and several of the debates have honed in on the two presidential candidate’s energy policies. There are similarities and differences between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney’s positions on energy development. Here are some of their energy positions on select, relevant topics:
- Obama supports renewable energy, and under his term renewable energy doubled. He is for government investments in renewable energy, including wind, solar, biomass and electric vehicles. This includes all clean energy policies from subsidies for residential rooftop solar panels San Diego projects to large-scale wind farm tax credits.
- Romney is against clean energy and would cut any existing funding for it. He opposes government investments in both solaire energy systems and wind energy, and puts his support in the oil industry. Romney would rather invest in oil drilling and natural gas.
Climate Change & The Carbon Footprint
- Obama believes in climate change, and issued the first ever carbon dioxide reduction requirements for vehicles and new power plants. He supports cap-and-trade systems.
- Romney is not convinced by the climate science and believes that carbon dioxide is not harmful to health. He opposes any sorts of carbon tax and cap-and-trade systems. If elected, he would amend the Clean Air Act to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from reducing carbon pollution.
The Keystone XL Pipeline
- Obama has already approved the southern part of the Keystone XL, but is unsure of his opinion on the northern sector. He is waiting until the environmental analysis of the new Nebraska route is finished in 2013 to decide.
- Romney favors “North American Independence”, and has said that on day one of his prospective Presidency he would authorize the Keystone XL pipeline.
Oil & Natural Gas Drilling
- Obama supports expanded oil and gas drilling and the development of natural gas resources. He would open more offshore areas for oil drilling and support drilling on existing leases. However, he would maintain the drilling moratorium off the Pacific coast and most of the Atlantic coast. He favors an “all of the above” strategy and wants to continue reduction in US reliance on foreign oil.
- Romney also support expanded oil and gas drilling and the development of natural gas resources. However, he favors “North American energy independence,” leaning heavily on increased imports from Canada and higher US production. He would allow drilling on federal lands and waters. Romney would give that power from the Interior Department to states and would open all federal lands and waters for drilling. In addition, he would keep tax incentives and tax breaks for oil and gas drilling.
- Obama wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and the EPA has negotiated agreements with some utilities to close down aging coal plants (many to be replaced by natural gas-fired plants).
- Romney would remove obstacles and EPA regulations that are “impeding the development of coal”.
The two presidential candidates have several similarities and differences between their energy policies, the fate of which will affect not only the US economy, but the global one as well.