Friday, November 13, 2015

Healthy Dietary Tips for Young, Mid-Life, and Old! It's Never Too Late to Feel Great!

I am not here to offer advice on what supplements, pills, or foods to omit from your diet. I am instead here to enlighten my readers on foods they should be consuming and how they should change their lifestyle to get the body, mental well-being, and natural energy they crave.

A huge commodity we have in modern civilization is the evolution of the fast food restaurant. However, this chain reaction has hindered and crippled generations of human beings, from young to old. With disease and ailments affecting everyone from the age of birth to mid-life, there is one main cause of a lot of these issues: food.

The problem that people have is they misconstrue "food" as being a general term for anything you put in your mouth. Most of the "food" that is easily available and doesn't require cooking is provided through a drive-thru window or a fast sit-down experience in a restaurant. But, these are the main things that will increase your health problems and risk of weight gain.

Not knowing what goes into your food is in a way, neglectful. The body is just as important as the brain. In the same way different drugs affect the brain, different foods affect the body. Just because they're there, doesn't mean they're safe. It's like you're not supposed to inhale computer duster to get high, but people do it anyway. Likewise, you're not supposed to live on, or make fast food/processed food, a regular part of your diet, but people do it regardless.

It's gotten to the point that some people cannot even stand the taste of fresh vegetables or grilled meat without them being drenched in sauce or fried in fatty oils. They are so dependent on convenience meals instead of nourishing meals. Their taste buds have been altered and need to be "reset."

One can "reset" their tastebuds by cutting out all GMO-foods, artificial salty/sugary snacks, and anything that comes in a brightly colored box that clearly was made in a factory and contains chemicals and ingredients you cannot pronounce or define.

Chances are, if your food didn't come from a healthy animal (grass fed livestock or wild-caught) or from the ground, a tree, or a plant (grown using sustainable farming methods)... it's not in your best interest to eat it. A little bit won't kill you, but a lot of it can over time, cause cancer because most of the processed food has a really hard time being digested. To the body, they are foreign objects.

Eating organic vegetables is always your better option, but if that's not available, it's ok to eat non-organic now and then. The main thing here is, non-organic vegetation has been sprayed with tons of pesticides and is also genetically modified. So you still want to attempt to avoid it when possible.

People who have depended on processed food for 10, 15, 20 years will noticeably have physical and internal problems which, if bad enough, may require trips to the doctor and procedures to remove unidentifiable lumps and chunks of growth that aren't necessarily tumors, but are the result of something going in that body time and time again, that never had a chance to process and expel itself.

People who have a diet of processed foods and fast foods will likely have bowel problems, and experience constipation or a feeling of constantly being full, but still craving something. They're normally craving nutrients but since they have ignored the necessary vegetable, fruit, and proteins they need, they will likely not change their diet until they encounter a serious health condition and a doctor recommends they take pills and change their food choices. Most doctors won't guide anyone toward a healthier diet, however, they will write a prescription to lower cholesterol or do something that supposedly will help, even though the truth is you have to do your own research to find the proper foods and herbs which will get your body back in tune, the way nature intended.

Combining alcohol with a poor diet is one of the worst things a person can do. Alcohol immediately takes precedence over whatever else is being digested. So, if you eat a lot of unhealthy food, such as fried pickles and ranch, with a burger on bread, and french fries, this meal is going to be processed after the alcohol. Since alcohol is a poison, the body makes sure it processes this before going to the food. Once it reaches the food, if its contents are unrecognizable, which most meals in restaurants are, it will not digest it in good time, and will likely leave you feeling tired, achy, and fatigued.

Even if you eat something you think is "healthy," being aware of what's combined with that is a huge responsibility. You might have a side of vegetables, but if the vegetables have been cooking in cheap oil, that's not doing your body any favors.  If you eat a piece of chicken, but the chicken has antibiotics and hormones, you're not getting the benefits of real protein. Instead, your body is now confusing its hormones with the chicken's artificial hormones and can actually alter your DNA, your baby's DNA (if pregnant), and your baby could be born or acquire a disease (diabetes) or mental illness (such as autism) in their very early life. Likewise, a woman who regularly eats artificial hormones and antibiotics can make herself infertile.

Most restaurants sadly use the cheapest salt they can get, but the salt we should be consuming is sea salt or pink salt. Any salt that has not been bleached or processed is good. These still contain iodine, and you can alway research the particular brand of salt to make sure it has iodine. Unfortunately, even a lot of white salt loses its iodine because it's been sitting out for so long. A lot of restaurants use cheap salt which doesn't have nutritional value, and they season all the food with it. This also causes problems in the body because there's no minerals or nutrients in it, which help the body digest.

Your best bet is to get meat that is grassfed (if eating burgers and beef), or raised without hormones/antibiotics. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but not much more. If it saves you trips to the hospital and doctors offices later in life, is't that worth it? If it saves you thousands in medical bills, wouldn't that be worthwhile, to make the small changes now so that in the future, you won't have waited too long?

If someone really cares about their personal well-being, health, and future, they will not hesitate a second longer to make the changes so they can live a full, prosperous life. Going for organic foods, looking for the "non-GMO verified" label is all it takes. Shopping for these foods is cheaper at a wholesale club, like Costco or BJs. The organic selections in these places are on the rise. You can get a huge bag of non-GMO rice for only $15! I have gotten grass-fed (Kerrygold) butter from Publix and Costco, and it's amazing butter. I had no idea butter could be this good!

So, please take this post into your heart, and be on the lookout for more healthy tips when you check into my blog next time.

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Paying Servers Higher Hourly Wages VS Working for Tips

First, watch this video! Second, read my thoughts and opinions on the standard of tipping in America.

LOL... this guy gets it... maybe full "banning" isn't necessary, but it certainly shouldn't be the expectation!

When I worked at a banquet center, I was paid $12 an hour but it was noticeably more easy going for myself and the clientele. The occasional person would give a $5 - $20 tip but most wouldn't as it wasn't expected. At the same time as I had that job, I was also a server at a restaurant. It was a lot more fast-paced and demanding. At times I felt overwhelmed at the tables I had to manage. The restaurant had to delegate that many for anyone to make a decent amount of money, but it was so exhausting, my brain often felt like it was scrambling, as if I was experiencing an overload of information which was inherently useless and invaluable, but necessary to retain in my short term memory to earn dollars.

Here is a visual representation of what a server's brain looks like during peak times:

Arriving to work

30 minutes into dinner rush

1 hour into dinner rush

2 1/2 hours into dinner rush

Third hour into dinner rush

I remember applying for a serving job because I knew I would get tips, although I knew I would probably become really stressed out. I hadn't *done* much physical labor in the past 4 years besides finish up getting my Bachelor's degree and working for $8.65 in the dining halls and banquet centers on campus. But, it was extremely easy work, and not enough money, so I knew if I wanted to save money while living back at home, I couldn't go back to hourly minimum wage jobs. I would need to just accept the challenge of serving and get through it the best I could.

After applying to several restaurants with no serving experience, I was hired at a popular family food chain. I had never been called back within two hours of a random walk-in interview. They believed in me and were willing to invest the money and time to groom me into a server. I studied for a week learning the menu and drink items, as well as procedures, rules, this, that, yadda, yadda... blah. I felt I was back at college again, only this time it wasn't about Shakespearian poetry or Spanish tenses and syllables... it was about burgers and fries and all of their variations.

t took all my tests, got evaluated by other servers, and worked 15-20 hours a week at $4.95/hr plus tips. My first hour yielded $22.00. But, I screwed up the credit cards and two friends ended up paying for each other's meal. They saw I was in training and were understanding, so they wrote me a note on the receipt saying, "Your tip would have been higher but you switched our credit cards. :)" I knew right there that this was a job worth keeping. It had its ups and downs, all of which were pretty extreme. There were a few times when I feel like I finally got my "flow" and I could go through a shift where everything went well, but it was always thrown off by something, either that day or the next. I was having one of my best nights at work, and after making somewhat around $75 within 3 hours, I misplaced a check presenter with $60.00 in it. My manager said that there was no way to recover the loss, and told me her story of when the same thing had happened to her long ago. Except, hers included an upwards of $200. I didn't feel so bad anymore. Despite this unfortunate accident, I still owed tip outs to my coworkers and ended up paying out of my pocket to be at work that night.

THIS has probably happened to every server at least once. This would not happen if servers were just paid properly!

Occasionally, the servers would not get tipped. It may not seem like a big deal, but this can be wounding, since servers with no other financial stream live day-to-day, weekend-to-weekend, and month-to-month. Servers who didn't want to deal with that loss preferred to focus on paying customers, and attempted pushing those tables onto someone else willing to do the work, even if they knew they were probably not getting tipped.

This would make some servers appear "racist" and be reason for customer complaints. Although it was never originally based on skin color, it became the notion that people of certain demographics did not leave tips because it was proven each day that the majority never did. It was seen as an "inconvenience" for the server because a server's mentality is, "no tip, no service." They put in time, work, and effort... likewise... they expect to be paid!

There were customers who asked for adjustments to everything from the meal to the drink, to side dishes and how the checks were split.

We had these drinks that the bar would make because they had fancy glasses and fruit in them and included free refills. Some customers would order these and want refills every two minutes, with extra strawberries.  Not only was the bartender annoyed, but the server who had to maneuver glass tornadoes around for two hours.

Sometimes, there are those customers who gave you more of a headache than anybody in this living, breathing world, and would never fail to get your attention if they had another demand, complaint, or a "see the manager" request.

From a personal view, working for tips can be intensely stressful and takes a big toll on the server's emotional and physical well-being. There is little to no help from other employees during the dining process and the server is essentially doing everything on their own. Everybody pitches in to an extent, but when it comes to addressing the needs of each table, those chores are hauled primarily onto the server and the server is doing many interpersonal jobs at once. The other employees all have their own designated places from which they cannot migrate or assist other areas of the house.

That year was one of the most stressful times in my life that I can remember. My point of this story is that, working for an hourly wage is different in that the customers treat you differently. They do not make as many demands or requests, and when they do, they tend to ask politely, not just order the server around. What tipping does is creates uneven ground between customer and server. One feels at the other's mercy for pay, and the other may feel entitled since they are the one with the money. A server is defined in part by his or her hourly wage. A customer is assuming you only have the skills of someone who works for minimum wage. Only people who know the restaurant industry understand how hard it is, yet they understand you can make far more than minimum wage, too.

Servers who have experience and have seen the benefits, know what it takes to make that money, and how to go about doing that, without taking offense to the way they are sometimes treated. I do believe from experience that working for a higher hourly wage makes you appear more professional and eases tension between servers & customers in the entire dining arena.

I definitely think tipping should be optional and servers are paid something they can live on with the proper money management habits. Nobody should struggle. There is nothing worse in America than going into work for 6 hours, having 1 table, and leaving with $5 while your minimum wage barely provides a recourse. You would have to seek another money making opportunity to compensate for the loss. This happened to me a couple years ago and it's also the final reason I quit this particular restaurant without notice... I think restaurants would have a lot less turnover if the wage was appropriate and servers didn't feel the business was using them for their time without compensating for the slow periods. It's also important that an employee feels secure in what they do. They are likely to be happier because they know they're still getting paid the same amount, no matter what environmental factors are happening that day, month, or season. In turn, when customers do come in, they see a happier employee ready to do their job for the right reasons. This can increase business because of positive word-of-mouth and a healthier overall dining experience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Afternoon of Missed Attempts

I'll just write you a story.

A week ago, I ordered some stuff on because it wasn't available in the store, and they shipped it out to me recently. Yesterday, UPS made a delivery attempt, but I had left home for work so I wasn't there to receive it. They left a note that said they will try again, and gave me the option to sign it, giving consent to leave the package at the door should I not be present at the second attempt. I signed this, and I re-attached it to the door.

Well, a new day arrives. So, I wake up, have breakfast, drink a juice blend, get extremely sleepy again, and fall back asleep until around 12 pm.  This sleeping-in behavior isn't too common anymore, but I am assuming I was extra tired for working the day before, and also from the IPA I enjoyed before bed. Either way, I dilly-dallied around for about 2 hours, eating lunch, submitting bank statements for a company expense & reimbursement, tracking fabric shipments, followed by some social media watching and posting. 

I decided to shower and when my hair was wet, thought it would be a pleasant idea to take a nice walk outside and let the air evaporate the water rather than use a blowdryer. I put on some yoga shorts and a camisole with my new memory foam Skechers, which have a rainbow and black design on them and feel really good. I took my time, stopping to do some stretching and yoga poses underneath the sun. I inhaled many deep breaths and exhaled to the fullest extent my lungs were capable. I felt the stretches going through my joints and muscles, waking me up inside. As I kept walking, I took note of a large shell, only to find it was a snail making his way through the grass at the edge of the sidewalk curb. That was an entirely interesting spectacle, the odd-looking thing had about four slimy horns sticking out of its head and spent about 3 minutes walking 3 inches. It really made me appreciate how far I can walk with ease and in such a short period of time. 

Then I gazed at a party of ducks congregating in the shade beneath some trees. Most of them flew into the water when I said, "Hey duckies." I saw a turtle sunbathing in the shallow part of the lake until it saw my figure and receded back into the depths of darkness. I inhaled the scent of a few roses and noticed their fragrant aroma was wearing away, so I continued. Although I'd slipped a hairband onto my wrist, I decided to let my long hair remain fallen behind me as I started jogging very lightly and casually so as not to sweat too much but enough to get my heartbeat excited. Once I reached my building again I crossed the street, checked my mailbox and was met with an empty receptacle, so I walked back upstairs. I wasn't gone more than an hour. 

As I approached my unit, I saw my original UPS receipt with my signature on it, ignored, and still stuck on the door. But there was now also a second slip, stating a final delivery attempt will be made tomorrow. Oh, how they always choose the perfect time to come.