Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving & Gluttony

This week marks the beginning of the gluttony season, the time when even the most health-conscious diner succumbs to the temptations of the holiday buffet.

But is pigging out during the holidays a harmless indulgence or a real health worry? Indigestion, flatulence and the need to unbutton tight pants are the most common symptoms triggered by the Thanksgiving Day binge. But vast helpings of turkey, stuffing and candied sweet potatoes can take a more serious toll. Big meals can raise the risk for heart attack, gallbladder pain and dangerous drowsiness on the drive home.

Every bite of food, whether it's part of a huge Thanksgiving meal or a weekday lunch, travels on its own fantastic journey through the body, touching off a simultaneous release of hormones, chemicals and digestive fluids. The average meal takes 1 to 3 hours to leave the stomach. But a large meal can take 8 to 12 hours, depending on the quantity and fat content.

The average American consumes about 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat throughout Thanksgiving Day, according to the Calorie Control Council, which represents makers of low-calorie foods. "It's like a tsunami of fat coming into the body," said Dr. Pamela Peeke, assistant clinical professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Average stomach capacity is about 8 cups, although it can range from 4 to 12, said Dr. Edward Saltzman, an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts University. A stretched stomach prompts the release of chemicals that tell the brain it's full. But some holiday diners, faced with a sumptuous buffet of mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie, keep eating.

Experts say the ability to ignore satiety signals is an evolutionary adaptation that helped build fat stores during times of plenty. Even so, the body eventually puts a stop to the binge. After about 1,500 calories in one sitting, the gut releases a hormone that causes nausea, says Susan B. Roberts, director of the energy metabolism laboratory at Tufts.

Although your stomach may feel as if it will burst, gastric rupture is extremely rare, notes Dr. William Goldberg, a New York emergency room physician whose book "Why Do Men Have Nipples?" explores the issue. The problem is usually limited to people with major eating disorders; in a study of people who had died with Prader-Willi syndrome, which causes excessive overeating, about 3 percent of the deaths were due to stomach rupture, said Dr. David Stevenson, an assistant professor at the University of Utah.

But while your stomach won't burst after a big Thanksgiving meal, overeating will make your body work harder. The extra digestive workload demanded by a food binge requires the heart to pump more blood to the stomach and intestines. Heavy consumption of fatty foods can also lead to changes that cause blood to clot more easily, said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

As a result, heart attack risk appears to surge. Dr. Lopez-Jimenez led one study of 2,000 people that showed a fourfold increase in heart attack risk in the two hours after eating a big meal. Israeli researchers reported a sevenfold risk. "Someone who eats three times the normal calories of a regular meal will have an extra workload for the stomach and intestines and therefore the heart," Dr. Lopez-Jimenez said.

Dr. Goldberg says the digestive workout may also explain the "food coma" many people experience after a big meal. Although popular wisdom holds that Thanksgiving drowsiness is caused by tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, Dr. Goldberg notes that the amount isn't significant enough to affect most people.

For most people, food fatigue just brings on the need for a nap, but for travelers it is also a safety risk. "A lot of families as soon as they are done eating say, 'Let's get back on the road,'" said Dr. Carol Ash, the medical director of Sleep for Life, a sleep disorders program in Hillsborough, N.J. Dr. Ash notes that food fatigue, along with holiday alcohol consumption, the monotony of driving and a natural circadian dip late in the day all make for a lethal combination behind the wheel.

As the stomach releases food into the intestines, the gallbladder begins to squeeze out bile to help with fat digestion. Like the rest of the body, it has to work harder after a big meal — a frequent cause of gallstone attacks, which occur when clusters of solid material get stuck in the narrow duct that connects the organ to the intestine. These attacks are seldom fatal, but the pain mimics a heart attack and can be excruciating. Many people don't know they have gallstones until an attack occurs.

Large meals increase the risk for flatulence, because bits of undigested food slip into the colon and begin to ferment. And people with existing health problems that require special diets have to be careful about their intake of salt, fat and calories at Thanksgiving.

Simple strategies can help minimize the gluttony. Keep the serving dishes in the kitchen, so you won't take extra helpings mindlessly. Use smaller serving spoons and plates. In one study, Brian Wansink, a researcher at Cornell University, found that the bigger the bowl and serving spoon, the more ice cream people tended to eat.

Stick to foods that require utensils — we eat finger foods faster than those that require a fork.

Finally, contribute to the dinnertime conversation. The more you talk, the less you'll eat.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Minute English: The New Apartment

bulletcommute- going (usually) from home to work and from work to home everyday
bulletkilling me- very difficult for me
bulletI know what you mean- I understand
bulletwalking distance- very close, you can walk there
bulletnot working out- It's not good for what I need
bulletlandlord- person who owns the building
bulletrepairs- fixing broken things
bulletbreaking down- becoming broken
bulletbudget- how much money you have to use
bulletfurnished- it has furniture included (sofa, bed, etc.)
bulletutilities- electricity, water, gas, etc. You usually have to pay extra for these

To translate:

Read the dialogue.

Henry: I am so tired of my commute to work. Driving all those hours is just killing me.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I used to drive two hours to work each way. But now I live within walking distance of my work. It's great.

You're kidding. I didn't know that. Did you move?

No, I got a new job near my work.

Well, I don't think I can change my job, but I am thinking about changing my apartment. The one I have just isn't working out.

What's wrong with it?

Well, besides being too far from work, I'm having some problems with my landlord. He keeps raising the rent, but he never does any repairs. Everything is breaking down.

That's terrible. Listen, I think there is a vacancy in my apartment building. And my landlord is excellent. And I'm sure it would be closer to your work than you are now.

Really? But is it expensive? My budget isn't that big.

No, it's not that expensive. And it's furnished and the utilities are included.

That sounds great. I'd love to see it. When can we go?

How about now?

Sure. I'll drive. 
Answer the questions.

 Click on link   HERE

First multiple choice practice

 For each sentence, choose the best word to complete the gap from the choices below.


1 After a great deal of discussion we were all .......... agreement that we should have a party.

A for                            B at                              C on                                         D in

2 Thanks for telling me about that website. I'll keep it .......... mind.
A in                              B on                             C to                             D about

3 What do you do ....... a living? I'm a computer programmer.
A as                             B by                             C for                            D of

4 Our train's been cancelled. We'll have to listen out ....... an announcement.
A for                            B to                              C about                        D on

5 She isn't going to university next year. She's had a change of ........ .
A attitude                     B thoughts                    C heart                         D tune

6 There are lots of different sweets to choose from. Just ....... your pick.
A make                        B take                          C do                            D select

7 If you want to buy that motorbike you'll have to take .......... a loan to do it.
A down                        B on                             C up                             D out

8 The success of the school play was thanks .......... all the hard work involved.
A to                             B for                            C in                              D of
1 D
2 A
3 C
4 A
5 C
6 B
7 D
8 A

Friday, November 15, 2013

Listening: The Job Interview


bulletresume- a summary of a person's work and education
bulletresponsibilities- things that must be done
bulletto oversee- to be the boss of, to make sure something is done, to supervise
bulletto keep track of- to be aware of or notice something
bulletinventory- the number of items a store has
bulletto handle- to take care of, to deal with
bulletto be transferred- to be moved from one place to another
bulletan opening- an available job
bulleta position- a job
bulletreputation- how other people feel about something, the opinion of other people
bulletto jump on something- to do something immediately  

Listen and read the interview.  Begin Here        

How to.......

Edited by 80_Calo, Tiagoroth, SgtMajorKululu, SmileBomb and 14 others
Smiles (or what appear to be smiles) are contagious. You can easily Stand Out from the Crowd by smiling, and at the same time, improve your happiness. In fact, smiling helps make you feel much much better emotionally, because it releases endorphins, brain chemicals that relieve pain and increase your feelings of contentment. Moreover, smiles are contagious, which means you can increase the happiness of others around you simply by sharing one, whether or not you know the person. If you'd like a very easy and effective way to lighten your own mood and the atmosphere around you, try smiling more, all for the sake of happiness.


  1. 1
    Consider the neuroscience behind the smile. People are attracted to other people who smile.[1] We're compelled to spend more time around someone who smiles and to share in the feel-good chemicals their smile induces in us. Whereas, a frown will push aside others, for we're afraid of catching their negativity, which is contagious too. And which would you rather catch––the blues or a feeling of blissful joy? Laughter, an extension of smiles, is contagious too and those who love tend to attract us to their side too.[2] Did you ever notice that in television shows, you hear background laughter in parts of the show that aren't even that funny? That is because the producers know that laughter is contagious, and when the audience hears laughter, things seem funnier than they actually are. [3]
  2. 2
    Smile to stay positive. Smiles increase our feeling of well-being and sense of positivity.[4] A test to show you how smiling keeps you positive is to smile, and then try to think of something negative, but keep trying to smile. You'll soon see that it is hard, usually too hard to do! When you smile, your body and mind are sending a message to you that everything is okay, and that life is great. Smiling can help get alleviate feeling down and depressed; indeed, practiced regular, it works better than any type of medication to relieve yourself of stress.
    • Smiling changes mood. When you're feeling sad, start smiling. Your mood will be elevated. Smiling tricks the body into changing your mood for the better.[5]
  3. 3
    Smile to make yourself seem more successful. People who smile appear more confident, and are more likely to be promoted.[6][7][8] This seems to happen because your cheery smile will put your boss into a happy mood, and you're more likely to be approached by many people, making you the workplace social butterfly, the "go-to" person who keeps morale high. In addition, smiling around your boss may make him or her feel more charitable (see below), making him or her more likely to see you as promotion-worthy material. Smile during meetings, and you will see that people will react to you favorably (of course, do so within context––it isn't going to be so appropriate after a mid-year profit loss has just been announced!).
  4. 4
    Smile to look younger. Smiling can make you appear more youthful and may even take years off your real age.[9] The muscles used to smile lift up your face, which is one way to make you appear much younger. Moreover, simply by smiling you appear more youthful than adopting a dour, down-faced look all the time. Of course, don't force things––an unnatural and dramatic smile will cause people to worry about what you're up to! Just try to smile throughout the day naturally, thinking of pleasant things and sending out love to others as you smile. Some ways to increase the power of your smile (and hopefully your youthful twinkle) include:
  5. 5
    Smile to be more forgiving and more tolerant of frustration. It has been shown that unhappy people tend to be more antagonistic than happy people.[10] In order to reduce this sense of internal angst and outward frustration, cover your bothers with a smile. When you're intolerant of frustration, it can display itself outwardly on your face as sourness and in stiff body movements. Moreover, it wreaks havoc with your sense of peacefulness and leaves you in a horrid mood that lingers.[10] Of course, smiling your way through times of frustration should not be mistaken by others for being a pushover or indifferent––be considerate of the appropriateness of smiling on such occasions. And never use smiling to cover up your inner feelings of unhappiness about the direction that relationship problems are taking––smiles don't take place of proper communications and working out things together.
  6. 6
    Smile to be more kind and charitable to others. Using smiles to open yourself to others and appear welcoming will help to increase your feelings of kindness toward others.[10] Rightful righteousness involves being happy when you're helping others,[11] so you could interpret smiling as a way of helping others because it leads them to smile and feel good about themselves too! Go the extra mile; allow the cashier to keep the change, let the woman behind you cut you in line, avoid road rage, and do anything you can to act nicely and righteous toward others.[10] And all the while, just smile.
  7. 7
    Smile around your spouse. Happiness plays a strong role in marriage and its longevity prospects, as spouses are easily influenced by each other's moods. An increase in one spouse's positive outlook can easily boost the positive feelings of the other spouse (just as the reverse can also apply). The proximity of spouses to each other has been positively proven to influence each other extensively in this way. In the occurrence of a phenomenon known solely as "health concordance", the health behaviors of partners tend to influence each of the partners' good or bad habits including smiling. [10] As such, aim to influence each other in the most positive manner possible. As mentioned before though, don't cover up your feelings of frustration or unhappiness by pretending to smile things away––always leave the doors of communication open. A smile can ease your way into a difficult but necessary conversation...
  8. 8
    Smile to relieve stress. Smiling can be used as a quick relief from stress and as an habitual response to ward off stress long-term.[12] Easily shown on our faces, stress can etch itself into wrinkle and frown lines permanently if we don't find constructive ways around it. Smiling helps to prevent you from looking exhausted or overwhelmed. When you're stressed, as well as finding ways to lessen the stressors, try to put on a smile. Smiling might not solve the problems (you'll need to tackle the sources distinctly) but it will increase your sense of well-being, and you will appear happy. Moreover, you signal to your brain that you're feeling better than the stress wants you to feel. This can quickly reduce your feelings of stress, and stops you from transferring your stress to others, who can take a more positive cue from you instead. It's a virtuous cycle––when others are happy, you'll become happier too, and so on. You may even start laughing, and then others might too. Aim to turn around the stress every time and end in smiles and laughter instead.
  9. 9
    Smile for better health. It can feel hard to smile when you're feeling physically unwell, yet a smile can boost your immune system too by improving your general feelings of well-being.[5] Moreover, smiling has good effects on your blood pressure, reducing it considerably (which also helps reduce feelings of stress). [5] When you smile you become more relaxed, thus causing a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. And as already noted, smiling releases endorphins, your brain's natural pain relievers and serotonin.[5] When these two brain chemicals work together, they increase your tolerance to pain and help increase your feelings of well-being. For those who are really able to tap into this, the feeling can be better than pain-relieving drugs! And if this hasn't been enough to convince you of the health effects of a good smile, consider that smilers live an average of seven years longer than non-smilers![13] So smile every day! Obviously you need to exercise, eat right, and live a healthy lifestyle, in addition to smiling. The conviction that you'll live longer can make you happier, because you believe that you have more years to be happy and to enjoy life.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Feeling ill?

Catching a Cold
bulletcure (n,v)- something that makes you well after being sick
bulletliterally (adv)- really, actually, exactly
bulletvirus (n)- very, very small --- that causes sickness
bulletto get rid of (v)- to stop, to throw away
bulletcongestion (n)- stopped up (when your nose is congested you can't breathe)
bulletmiserable (adj)- very terrible feeling
bulletfever (n)- heat in your head and body
bulletremedy- (n) cure, something that makes you well
bulletliquid (n)- wet and runny like water, milk
bulletto get over (v)- to finish
Many people catch a cold in the springtime and/ or fall. It makes us wonder... if scientists can send a man to the moon, why can't they find a cure for the common cold. The answer is easy. There are literally hundreds of kinds cold viruses out there. You never know which one you will get, so there isn't a cure for each one.
When a virus attacks your body, your body works hard to get rid of it. Blood rushes to your nose and brings congestion with it. You feel terrible because you can't breathe well, but your body is actually "eating" the virus. Your temperature rises and you get a fever, but the heat of your body is killing the virus. You also have a runny nose to stop the virus from getting to your cells. You may feel miserable, but actually your wonderful body is doing everything it can to kill the cold.
Different people have different remedies for colds. In the United States and some other countries, for example, people might eat chicken soup to feel better. Some people take hot baths and drink warm liquids. Other people take medicines to stop the fever, congestion, and runny nose.
There is one interesting thing to note- some scientists say taking medicines when you have a cold is actually bad for you. The virus stays in you longer because your body doesn't have a way to fight it and kill it. Bodies can do an amazing job on their own. There is a joke, however, on taking medicine when you have a cold. It goes like this:
If takes about 1 week to get over a cold if you don't take medicine, but only 7 days to get over a cold if you take medicine.
Check Your Understanding
True or False

Today's saying

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys

Meaning: An employer who pays low wages will have bad staff.
Note: peanut (noun) = a seed like a hard pea, typically eaten by monkeys | peanuts (noun) = a very small sum of money | pay peanuts (verb) = pay very low wages | monkey (noun) = a small to medium-sized, human-like animal living in trees in tropical countries

Variety: This is typically used in British English but may be used in other varieties of English too.
Quick Quiz

"If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" because
  1. monkeys like peanuts
  2. good workers like good wages
  3. bad workers like peanuts

answer: b.