Spanish Food and Drinks

Spanish food and drink – Spanish cuisine, if you will – is quite different from how it may be perceived in the United States. In fact, when most Americans think of Spanish food they tend to think of dishes that hail from Mexico rather than Spain. Tacos, tostadas, enchiladas and such are, however, wholly Mexican creations and the tourist will be hard pressed to find them in Spain unless Taco Bell manages to open a franchise there.

Like most things in modern Spain, traditional Spanish food tends to differ based upon the region that it comes from. The Southern city of Seville, for example, offers cuisine that is reputed to be very delicious while also being very simple to prepare. Here you’ll find the cold soup Gazpacho, which is a vegetable cream that includes tomato, cucumber, garlic, paprika, olive oil, and vinegar. This is usually served with bread or even with tomato-bread.

In the Northern region of Navarre you may find many specialties of meats and fish, with one original recipe consisting of a delicious trout stuffed with cured ham. Many dishes here include the local beans Pochas de Sanguesa, and of particular interest are the vegetables like asparagus and Pimientos del Piquillo, a mild red pepper dish. This Region is also famous for his Tapas.

In addition to traditional regional fare, the nation of Spain does have some delights that are enjoyed nationwide. For instance, many like to snack on quick Tapas, prepared bite sized snacks that may include pieces of fried squid or octopus, spicy sausage, cheese, squares of fruit, or even sweet candy with almonds. Tapas is literally everywhere in Spain and is often enjoyed during siesta as opposed to a full meal. Prices for Tapas vary slightly from place to place, but it is often a very inexpensive treat. In some places you can get a Tapa for as little as one Euro and in others that same one Euro will get you a glass of red wine and a Tapa. No wonder many Spanish stop at the local bar, for a meal.

Another well-known Spanish food is Paella (pronounced paeya) delicious mixed dish that consists of rice combined with many different types of meat and Seafood. Paella, is perhaps the most famous dish to come from Spain and, although it originates from Valencia, it can be found and enjoyed pretty much everywhere in the country, from the north to the south.

Spanish drinks are not quite as varied as the foods, but there are some particularly enjoyable specialties. Spain, like France, is a wine-drinking country and is famous for its various forms of Sangria, a sweet red wine that is combined with any number of other wines, liquors, and fruits. Sangria recipes differ based upon who is doing the mixing, so it’s not uncommon to find sangria that includes apples and bananas in one bar or restaurant and one that contains grapes, white wine, and oranges in another. Tinto verano is very similar to sangria, and is very popular at the south, were it is drunk during pestival. Wine is available everywhere in Spain and costs very little, starting for 1 euro for a glass. The wine loving tourist will have little to complain about when visiting Spain. Moreover, the prices of alcohol are cheaper in Spain that in any other western european country.

Spanish wines differ from region to region but most share two common traits: they are delicious and very inexpensive. The region of Catalunya, for example, offers wondrous Red wines from Peralda, Alella, Priorat and Tarragona, and the famous sparkling wine known as Cava. The region of Galicia offers several fine wines as well. Here you will find the remarkable Ribeiro, and other favorites include Fefinanes, Betanzos, Rosal, Valdeorras, Ulla and Amandi. Talking of Wine, you can’t escape Rioja, which come from a region with the same name and is a lovely, greattasting, inexpenssive popular wine. They even have their own Wine festival in the end of summer, where red wine is splashed everywhere.

It is important for the tourist, visiting Spain to note that Spanish libations are typically much stronger than those they may be accustomed to in the US. In fact, a Spanish drink may be as much as three times stronger than a similar drink made at home. Some experts advise that the visiting American count three rounds for ever one actually ordered. Also popular with the Spanish and visitors to their country are Horchatas, which are frozen drinks made with milk and a variety of crushed and chopped nuts. Heralded for both their taste and the fact that they are rich in vitamins, Horchatas are enjoyed in every area of the country and differ only slightly from region to region or recipe to recipe. In the hot summer, their popularity is on top.

Coffee and hot chocolate round out the staple of Spanish drinks. These are enjoyed daily by most Spaniards, including children who often receive chilled coffee topped with ice cream as a treat. Coffee and hot chocolate are often drunk for breakfast and lunch and are enjoyed with churros, a pastry that is comparable to a fritter. Many tourists, however, complain that the Spanish coffee taste more like the american mild one, and not like the rich french/italian coffee.

Ofer Shoshani has been working for the last 5 years as a professional journalist, writing about finance, economy, travel and people. The Spanish / Latin culture soon became one of his favorite ones and for some years he lived and wrote from Spain, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, USA, Israel, India & Thailand.
His book Siesta time: A new horizon for humanity is about to be published soon.

Do You Have An Overactive Bladder Certain Food And Drink Could Be To Blame

If you’re like several of my patients you may have an overactive bladder which keeps you running to the bathroom to urinate frequently. Some people have smaller bladder capacities than others and therefore naturally have to urinate more. Other people may be eating certain foods that can irritate their bladder causing the need them to urinate. I’d like to explain to you what some of these foods are and what you can do to minimize your “going” issues.

Overactive Bladder – What Is It?

Overactive bladder is a mild to severe condition that can not only become a nuisance in always creating the to find a restroom while you’re out in public, but can also have some embarrassing consequences. It is also a condition that can be accompanied by something called “urge incontinence”, or UI, where you have to go so badly you just can’t hold it and urine leaks into your clothes; or “stress incontinence”, or SI, where you have involuntary leakage of urine through laughing or sneezing. Usually UI and SI are just variant symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome which also can include nocturia (waking up at night to urinate) and frequency, just “going” a lot all day long.

As mentioned above, overactive bladder can be caused by a few things which include:

  • A congenitally small bladder that has less holding capacity than most people
  • A “neurogenic bladder” – caused by damage, or pressure, pinching of the nerves of the spine that may occur in certain medical conditions like spinal injuries, epilepsy, Parkinson disease, MS, and stroke, that can result in involuntary emptying of the bladder.
  • Certain medications used to treat other conditions like diuretics for high blood pressure, or medications that contain caffeine.
  • Hormonal. Decreasing estrogen in menopause can cause bladder and urethra muscles to weaken and fall forward, resulting in more frequent urination and leakage. In men, an enlarged prostate can cause frequent urination as well.
  • Constipation. Pressure from retained waste in the rectum can aggravate the bladder.
  • Obesity. Too much abdominal fat can put pressure on the bladder as well.

However, the most common cause of overactive bladder is simple foods that we eat everyday! These are foods that have certain compounds in them that can irritate the bladder and sometimes result in a chronic inflammatory condition. The bladder attempts to wash these irritants out through triggering frequent urination. Here’s a list of the top bladder trigger foods:

  • Tomato products – tomato products generally have a lot of acid in them and can really irritate the bladder. In an attempt to get rid of the irritant, the bladder tries to flush itself out with frequent urination.
  • Caffeine – a stimulant present in coffee and tea can really irritate the bladder and make you go more. Decaf varieties can help, but they also have very small amounts of caffeine.
  • Chocolate – also contains caffeine plus other compounds like theobromines that can irritate the bladder. White chocolate has less caffeine but still has some. Try to cut down on the amount of chocolate you eat.
  • Citrus fruits – also highly acidic, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, can also irritate the bladder like tomatoes. Try to cut down on citrus fruits and supplement with an Ester-C type of Vitamin C to avoid further irritation.
  • Beer, wine, hard liquor – “spirits” draw more water out of your body to process it through your kidneys and make you urinate more.
  • Carbonation – soft drinks, champagne, tonic water, all contain carbonation that can trigger the bladder and make you urinate frequently.
  • Hot spices – like cayenne, jalapeno, especially when combined with tomato, can really keep you hopping to the bathroom. Not only does the spice itself irritate your bladder but they prompt you to drink a lot more cold fluids to wash them down.
  • Sweeteners – real sugar, honey, and artificial sweeteners like Equal, Splenda and Sweet N’Low, can over-stimulate the bladder as well.
  • Preservatives/Spices – MSG, salt, pepper, other kitchen spices and certain herbs like oregano and dill also have diuretic action that can keep you urinating more frequently.
  • Onions, cranberry – like tomatoes, are acidic based, which can irritate the bladder. However, cranberries can also help keep the bladder free of bacteria by neutralizing it with the compounds it contains and flushing them out.

What Can You Do To Slow Your Go?

The best recommendation I give my patients who seem to have overactive bladder symptoms from food sources is to do the following:

  • Keep track of your symptoms and what foods seem to irritate them the most. Then, try to reduce the amount, or eliminate, these foods altogether to cut down on your frequency of urination.
  • Keep drinking your recommended amount of daily water intake, generally eight 8 ounce glasses a day, or more if you’re sweating a lot. Adequate water intake dilutes your urine so that if you do eat some of these foods, they will be less of an irritant to your bladder.

If you have symptoms of overactive bladder, visit your doctor for an evaluation to determine if there is a medical condition behind it such as those mentioned above. If you’re like my patients, however, most likely foods and drinks that you take in every day are causing over active bladder symptoms. To get your “going” problems under control, try the recommendations noted above, watching what foods you eat and what your symptoms are. Continue to drink your recommended amount of water to flush out any irritants and keep the rest of you healthy as well!

I am one of the few doctors in this country who is board certified in anti-aging and am currently the Director of South Florida’s Institute For Healthy Aging. With more than two decades of experience in treating thousands of patients, you could say I’ve seen it all. I treat a wide range of medical conditions- from cancer to obesity- and believe that natural, practical alternative carry the day. I believe that education is fundamental to prevention and wellness. I’ve partnered with other medical experts and developed an online health education site,

An Elementary School in North Carolina Rethinks Student Rules on Food and Drink

No gum. No food. No candy. No drinks. It’s easy to understand why elementary school students are asked to follow classroom rules. Teachers are too busy to spend time scraping gum off the floors and the underside of desks and mopping up spills made by their students. Perhaps it is far easier to simply forbid all food and drinks from the classroom. However the teachers and parents at the school where I serve as principal recently decided to rethink some of their rules nor the benefit of the students.

Why? Think about it this way. Let’s say a child eats dinner at home at 6:00pm on most evenings. The child goes to bed around 8:30pm and awakens early enough to get on the school bus at 6:30am. At this early hour there may not be time for breakfast. School lunch is served at 12 noon during the school day. That is a whopping 18 hours without food, an unreasonable amount of time for a tiny growing body.

Similarly, students may never have the opportunity to drink fresh water. Dehydration can cause students to become sluggish and tired. Drinking water helps curb the appetite and flush out toxins in the body.

What did our school do about this conundrum? For starters, our district approved free breakfast for all students. Already about 75% of our students were receiving free or reduced meals from a federal government program, so allowing the remainder of the students to have breakfast at no charge wasn’t a huge burden for the district.

We take upon ourselves at the school to encourage students to eat breakfast at the school. Our cafeteria staff works to make sure the morning line moves fast and the food is tasty. Often the kids eat a fortified cereal bar, a fruit, and a milk. Our bus drivers and teacher assistants make sure the students move from the school bus to the cafeteria first thing in the mornings. Our teachers allow car students to bring their cafeteria meal into the classroom if they don’t have time to finish their meals prior to the sound of the tardy bell. I occasionally check our numbers with the cafeteria manager to see how many students are getting breakfast, and I send out reminders to parents that it is important for students to have a nutritious breakfast each morning.

Furthermore, we encourage students to keep water bottles with them in class. We ask that the bottles be clear so that we can ensure that they are indeed drinking water and that the container have a lid. Teachers often prefer that the water bottles are made with a sports top, in which a stopper can be opened or closed easily.

The results so far appear to be very positive. It seems to me that student behavior is better and that teachers are able to get a lot of work out of their students. Students able to focus on their studies instead of their stomachs. Students continue to bring their water bottles. At least one student reportedly asks for water at home instead of sodas.

Just is week I got a call from the local fire department. They had heard about our new initiative and offered to provide all of the students with fire-safety themed water bottles. It is great to know that the community is getting on board with what we at the school feel is an important way to educate our students from head to toe.