nutrition bars

Protein bar manufacturers

In the world overflowing with consumption and brands, it has become rather hard to make a choice and pick your favorite whatever the product in question. From clothes and phones, to even protein bars, manufacturers do not seem to be giving it any rest.

The allure of protein bars

When it comes to protein bars, they owe their appeal to the fact that they are low calories, and able to perform a variety of functions at the same time, but to a great extent also to a good and moreover educational advertising that appeals to younger consumers.

According to Proteins Trends and Technology Seminar organized by Euromonitor  International, the biggest increase in sales of these products was noted in 2013, when consumers spent over 400 billion of dollars on protein bars for the sake of general wellbeing. Between 10 and 100 billion dollar sales were realized once people started buying protein bars due to specific health issues, food intolerance, and energy boosting.

Numerous manufacturers, endless bars

Protein bars were first introduced in the mid 50s by a weightlifting and fitness coach, Bob Hoffman, under the name of Hi-Proteen. At first, they seemed to be walking on a thin ice, as people were not incliened to believe the fact that they can greatly benefit from a single bar. But then they took the world by storm, mostly due to innovative products and competitive manufacturers.

If you still haven’t found your favorite protein bar, we have listed several manufacturers for you to choose from.

Tekmar

Found in 1996 in Slovakia, Tekmar is a renowned manufacturer, developer and distributer of muesli, cereal, and functional bars. In addition to their own production, Tekmar provides its consumers with possibilities of developing their own private label.

This company was one of the first to introduce bars with guaranteed content of live probiotic cultures. Tekmar offers dozens of protein bars through its several product lines, like Yoghurt, Women Line, Greenline Vegan, or Greenline Probiotic.

Continue reading “Protein bar manufacturers”

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Moscow’s Parks

Being one of the largest and prosperous cities of the world, Moscow has everything I had expected and more.

Huge areas (I don’t dare say grandiose again), enormously huge areas covered with parks came as an equally huge surprise to me. Each park has its history at least a century old!

After a long day in office, a walk in the park even just on the way home, can be just enough to recharge the batteries and carry on with your everyday duties. In my case, it would mean a great deal. The thing I was looking for that day, on my afternoon off, was a nice, peaceful park. I just didn’t expect to need a navigation app to help me find my way through it!

I’m not much of a fan of company on my little excursions; I like doing things on my own, and so I decided not to contact anyone for some guidance. It was just a little walk after all; a few hours spent in nature.

I decided on the Novodevichy Convent situated on the river Moscow, the river after which the city got its name. Somewhere in the past the Novodevichy Convent was a part of Moscow’s defense system and the high walls around it still stand proudly along with the twelve towers. The view over the river is magnificent!

Walk around the monastery grounds will lead to Novodevichy Cemetery that has been a burial place just for the distinguished citizens ever since its beginning. I don’t know that much about Russian history and some general knowledge isn’t enough to recognize all the generals buried on these grounds; so I looked for some names more familiar to me like Gogol and Chekov.

It was a pleasant and relaxing walk; I soaked in this peaceful, undisturbed atmosphere.

I came to realize just how quiet it was when I got back into the city and entered one of the most famous parks in the world, the Gorky Park. I visited the graveyard that was just a little bit different than the one at Novodevichy.

Near the entrance to the park there was the Graveyard of Fallen Monuments. Statues of former Soviet officials, along with other various sculptures dating mostly from the Soviet times, have been removed from the places where they proudly stood for years and are now moved here – to Gorky Park.

After this short visit to Moscow, I learned that history is very important here and once again I was fascinated with Russians’ appreciation of history, even of those infamous years.

The older part of the park is also impressive with all its historic gardens and summerhouses that are still well preserved. Visitors can imagine a group of literary enthusiasts gathered in this park for the evening of poetry somewhere in the 18th century.

The newer part of the park is somewhat different – it’s modern and fully equipt for entertainment! Plateau surrounding the beautiful composition of numerous fountains is the perfect place for young people gatherings especially on warm sunny days; for family picnics, various sports activities are also held here.

The spacious walking areas are ideal for bikers, or rollerblading. I left the park rather tired, trying to imagine it on a winter day. I hope someday I’ll

The Heart of Moscow

World’s perception of Moscow has been shaped over the centuries mostly through the historical figures of Russian leaders and great literary works of some of the world’s most brilliant writers. I’ve always imagined it as something distant and grandiose covered with snow – there’s always been something about Russian winters that fascinates. And this is the picture I had in my mind when I got the opportunity to visit Moscow, only it wasn’t winter; it was the beginning of June and it was a business project involving a week in Moscow.

After the lecture about the software management and navigation – with a special interest in GPS API which I had to attend, and some company introductions – also obligatory, I had just the time for the morning view of the city and two-day field trips.

Where to begin?

It was a bright but not so shiny morning and I decided to start from the center. The starting point for every visitor of Moscow is The Red Square, Moscow’s central square with the Kremlin as the central government institution on one side and St. Basil’s Cathedral representing the center of religious life in Russia.

As I was walking toward the St. Basil’s Cathedral, I kept thinking how right I was – grandiose is the perfect word for the view around me, and the word most commonly used for description as I saw looking through various tourist guides. That was the option I choose, to grab some literature and see where it would lead me.

One of the first interesting things I came across pertains to the Red Square. This ‘red’ actually doesn’t have anything in common with communism, nor with the color of bricks surrounding the square.  Russian name ‘krasnaya’ which means ‘red’ was the name of the square since the 17th century, and Krasnaya Ploshchad occupied many major events in Russian history ever since.

It really is difficult to describe just how colorful and beautiful this Red Square is; I wouldn’t know where to begin. St. Basil’s Cathedral is magnificent! An old legend prevailed about Ivan the Terrible who ordered the building of the Cathedral and when it was completed he had blinded the two architects, never to built anything that beautiful again. St. Basil’s Cathedral has certainly stayed unique!

As I passed the walls of Kremlin regretting for not having enough time to look deeper behind it, I promised myself to hire a professional guide nex time.

I remembered reading somewhere “Visit Old Arbat and walk the paths that Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekov…” or something like that, so I hurried to walk these paths. And on my way, I simply couldn’t resist – I made a short stop at the Moscow’s Metro station. I didn’t actually take the train so I can’t say anything about transportation services; but I can say that entering the Metro station seemed more like entering a museum of art or history. I entered Kievskaya station, with frescoes and mosaics on the ceiling, and made a mental note to visit the others next time; this one really impressed me although I’m not an expert in architecture.

I actually managed to find my way to the Arbat street in the end, and just walk over the one of the oldest roads in Moscow. I passed the house where Pushkin lived – now The Pushkin Museum – bought as many souvenirs as I could carry and finished with tourism for that day.

Moscow’s Museum of Cosmonautics

During my brief visit to Moscow it became clear to me that I should have prepared better; I should’ve learned a thing or two about the city before I came, so that my visit is not reduced to frantic gathering data about the city! It felt like I’m missing some deeper insight in the real Russian life. Even the work related contacts with native Russians that I made, were rare and ended with exchange of business information regarding softer development in a strictly working atmosphere.

Incidentally, my job is mainly visiting various transportation companies and organizing presentations about our latest product, FiveCubits Inc. device, which is so indispensable if you own a lot of trucks or a delivery service.

So, I haven’t actually heard not a single “story behind”, and in Moscow every building has its story behind, every square and every street, almost every house in the famous Arbat street has its story to tell!

Determined to change this, I decided to investigate one of the most famous Russians and their biggest pride, Yuri Gagarin. And what better place for that than the Cosmonautics Memorial Museum.

As I approached the museum, Monument to the Conquerors of Space over 100 m tall with a rocket on top pointing to the Space occupied all my attention. It actually looks like the rocket launching; it’s the architectural masterpiece! Seeing it so up close on that sunny day, made me realize that photographs I have seen reveal only a small part of its greatness. I was to expect nothing less from the inside of the museum.

But before the entrance, the surrounding area of the museum has a few more stopping points, the first of which, standing next to the Monument, is the honorable place for the monument to Konstantin Tsiolkovski, the creator of Russian cosmonautics. The story is quite impressive: Tsiolkovski lived and worked in the late 19th and the early 20th century. From  just a provincial teacher eager for knowledge; from ideas considered “crazy” for the time, Russia got the first wind tunnel and Tsiolkovski rocket equation! These are foundations of rocketry and astronautics, and so much more!

Continuing to the entrance of the museum, I found myself in the avenue of cosmonauts with smaller memorial statues of the most important figures such as Yuri Gagarin, Valentina Tereshkova – the first women in space, Belyayev,  Leonov and Komorov,  along with the numerous memorial stones with a star on them and the names of people that contributed the space program in different ways. Of course, there’s also the impressive statue of Sergei Korolev, the eminent scientist and engineer who made the space flights possible; it’s unbelievable to see how many people still visit this memorial and bring flowers.

You can see tons of mesmerizing stuff – from famous dogs and their spacecraft, first satellites and rocket engines, various space suites for inside the spacecraft and outside space walks, a gallery of magnificent photographs of space to exhibits of more modern space technology and many more. The place is really worth a visit!

Yuri Gagarin a highly decorated and one of the most famous Russians has his block in the museum with documents witnessing the importance of his accomplishments as well as some of his personal belongings. I wanted to learn more about Gagarin and end up learning more than I could ever imagine!

Ako na silnú a kvalitnú erekciu?

Nude sensual couple

Keby tak muži nemuseli riešiť tento problém. Dobrou správou ale je, že nefungovanie libida a neschopnosť mať erekciu je po vačšine doménou pánov, ktorý sú už vo veku, kedy sa o potenciu nesnažia. S erekciou môžu mať na druhej strane problémy aj mladí páni. Prevažne tí, v ktorých sa sexualita len prebúdza, a ešte poriadne nespoznali svoje telo a nevedia, čo im robí dobre. Za nekvalitnou alebo žiadnou erekciou stoja často krát aj problémy s menom stres.

Bohužiaľ toto postihuje všetkých chlapov bez rozdielu veku, ktorí stres dlhodobo pociťujú. Ak sa nedokážu pri sexe dostatočne od ich vnútorných stresov odpútať, len ťažko môžu viesť kvalitný sexuálny život.
Pre dobrú erekciu je teda dôležitá nielen nálada a atmosféra pri samotnom milovaní, ale je dôležité byť dlhodobo fit a psychicky v poriadku.
Ak majú muži ktorí sú uvoľnení a v pohode, pripravní na sexuálny styk, neschopní erekcie, problém bude niekde inde. V tomto prípade, ak problémy pretrvávajú dlhšiu dobu,  je vhodné zájsť za sexuológom, ktorý odporučí spôsob liečby. Väčšinou Vám predpíše podporné látky, stimuly, ktoré treba užiť pred samotným sexuálnym aktom, aby zaručili silnú a kvalitnú erekciu.
Okrem siahania po doplnkoch výživy či viagre zaručujúcich erekciu, je vhodné prehodnotiť pri problémoch s erekciou aj životný štýl. Večné vysedávanie v kancelárii či doma pred telkou má vplyv aj na potenciu a toho kamoša tam dole.
Šport, ľahšia strava, upustenie od fajčenia a tvrdého alkoholu už mnohým mužom pomohla k lepšiemu sexuálnemu životu, a spríjemnila tým životy mnohých dám. Dbajte o svoje zdravie, a akonáhle Vám vyšle signál v podobe, ktorá sa Vám nepozdáva, vyhladajte odborníka a zaujímajte sa nielen o možnú liečbu, ale aj o prevenciu v budúcne. Niet nad to, ak perfektne spoznáte svoje i partnerovo telo. Prináša to kvalitnejší a dlhší život.

School Competition

I spent the entire last week in Iten, Kenya, training with local runners, both professional and amateur. We had trainings two times a day and I ate a lot of carbs and a lot of clean sugar which they poured in the tea, which they drank more than water. Surprisingly, I lost 2.5 lbs, which is probably the result of excessive training; plus, I had three morning trainings on an empty stomach. Perhaps it was just a placebo, but I really started to notice some changes in my performance; I was able to breathe more easily.

Apart from wheat and corn, I was eating a lot of beans and green vegetables; and instead of snack bars, cakes or chocolates, which I usually had back in the US, I ate a lot of bananas and papayas.

People in Iten are really friendly, especially if you are a runner. Being a runner in Kenya is equal to being a rock star in the US; and if you are an Olympic winner, like Ibrahim was, you are THE man!

Ibrahim invited me to enter a school competition. He said that anyone can join in – from local runners to professional athletes and even Olympic medalists come here to compete with the future generation of champions.

Almost every kid in the village is a runner, and although not all of them have the ability to become the champions, many of them compete for scholarships in the US. Many Universities are here scouting for gifted athletes and promising them scholarships.

The competition was split into many categories, each grade competing separately; the guest runners were also split into age categories.

The school of St. Patrick’s has given many champions throughout the years, including Ibrahim Hussein, Peter Rono, Willson Boit Kipketer, Mathew Birir and they all applied to compete in this year’s competition. I was very excited to meet them. Apart from Ibrahim, obviously whom I already knew.

I started the race with the 8th graders and I am shamed to admit that the majority of them were better than I was! They ran smoothly, their breath wasn’t as nearly as heavy as mine was; and perhaps I would have had a better result if I didn’t have to stop down the road to talk to a truck driver whose truck GPS wasn’t getting any signal and so he caught me to show him directions to Iten! The race, of course, took place along the open road, instead of the track…

Ibrahim seriously made fun of me, a white boy so shamefully beaten by a bunch of 8th graders, but then he added, “Don’t feel bad, I bet one of those kids will be an Olympic winner and there is no shame in losing to an Olympic winner.”

Ibrahim was right of course and I honestly didn’t feel bad about losing. In fact, I spent two wonderful weeks in Kenya and gained a lot of experience in training, nutrition and the mindset of a runner.

Besides, not that I want to brag or anything, but at the last Boston Marathon, I finished 3rd in my category, which is the best result I’ve ever had in my life. I owe it to Kenya…

Running on an Empty Stomach and Weird Tradition

My first morning at Iten, Kenya, I woke up at 6 o’clock and went straight to the training center. It is some 3 km away from Kerio View Hotel according to my offline GPS I had in my rented car.

I drove myself there and was surprised that the guys were laughing at me as I exited the car. Ibrahim explained that I could have used that distance to warm up before the run and I started to laugh with them when I realized how stupid I was to drive to the training center. Later, I explained them that back in LA, it takes me 40 minutes of driving to reach the track; but I was again surprised by their reaction – they didn’t understand why I need to run on a track when I can run anywhere.

When the run started, I realized that this training center was just a gathering point – since we ran on a gravel road that led out of the village. I have to say that I’ve never expected to be able to run 20 km on an empty stomach. They told me that running hungry and low on energy will improve my fitness because my body will use more oxygen this way, which is not abundant in this highland. And indeed, my breathing was really hard.

Running with these guys was really fun, but definitely not easy. They were disciplined and Ibrahim was holding the tempo at a moderate pace.

Afterwards and after some stretching, they invited me to witness the initiation process of male children and to see why Kenyans are the best and can endure pain. I accepted the invitation gladly.

I had a great portion of rice and pasta for breakfast to replenish my glycogen and, once again, ugali for lunch with some fish. After lunch, I went to see the ceremony… It was brutal!

This initiation process was the rite of passage for these boys and it was all about enduring pain. Before the ceremony, the boys, mostly 7 to 8 year-olds, were circumcised with a sharp wooden stick, which must have hurt like crazy! Still, they were not allowed to show pain…

Their first task was to crawl almost naked through a tunnel of African stinging nettles; then they were beaten on the bony part of their ankles; next, their knuckles were squeezed together and finally the acid from the stinging nettle was wiped onto their genitals… I couldn’t bear to watch to the end!

Kenyans believe that they gain mental strength from this ritual and they always take Kipchoge Keino as a good example when discussing the morality of the initiation rite. Kipchoge won the Olympic gold despite doctors forbid him to compete due to some problems with his gallbladder which caused a lot of pain especially while breathing heavily, like in running. Interestingly, not only did Kipchoge won the gold, but he also set the Olympic record!

Whether the philosophy behind the initiation rite is true or not, I can’t say. One thing I noticed was that these guys eat a lot of carbohydrates and starches, so demonized back in the US. Maybe that’s got something to do with their success?!

Welcome to Iten, Kenya

Being a professional athlete is tough business, both physically and mentally; but being a mediocre runner your whole life is even tougher, especially if you come from place where being the number one is all that matters. I had to learn to live with the fact that I will never win a marathon and instead to truly just enjoy running. Still, I haven’t stopped competing – I just compete with myself; I want to beat my best result in each race.

For the last 25 or 30 years, Kenya has been unbeatable at all major running events! In fact all modern masters of this ancient discipline come from this country; the country that contributes merely 0.06% of the world’s population. This fact has been mind-boggling science for decades now and nobody knows the real answer to this mystery.

So, I decided to see it for myself – I bought the airplane ticket to Kenya and went to steal their secret, if there is any, of course.

It was late afternoon when the plane landed on the Eldoret International Airport; I wasn’t sure what the exact time was because my clock wasn’t set up to adjust to time zones. Outside the airport I found a Rent-a-Car company and got myself a nice, comfortable European car that was equipped with navigation app which I found pretty useful since I didn’t know how to get to the Iten, the most famous village in the world of athletics for its marathon runners.

It took me more than an hour to get to Iten. Residents of this village, located on the Western Kenya highlands, are used to large numbers of people coming in to their village to train with the locals. Any of the locals could easily beat more than 90% of professional runners all over the world!

The village is small and the residents are very friendly. While I was driving slowly through it, skinny children ran on both sides of my car, greeting me with wide smiles on their faces. Some of them might be the future Olympic gold medalist!

I checked in at Kerio View Hotel and took a nap since I traditionally take flights really badly.

After my one-hour nap, I went down to the restaurant and ordered a traditional runner’s dinner – ugali, which is basically a simple dish of maize flour cooked with water. I tried to make this ugali myself once when I read about the nutrition of Kenyan runners, but it was never as delicious as this one.

After dinner, I went to the training center to meet the best local runners. They were stretching after the evening training and greeted me quite friendly. When they found out that I am a marathon runner, they invited me to join them in their morning practice run. They explained that they usually run on an empty stomach, which is something I’ve never done – I always like to fuel my muscles with glycogen before running. But since this was something I came here for, I decided to do it their way.

I was excited about the following morning like a kid waiting for Santa!

The Pearl of the Black Sea, Nessebar

We stayed at a charming hostel in Plovdiv that night, because we still wanted to go through with our plan and visit Bachkovo Monastery and Spa resorts Hisarya, etc. and we also wanted to see probably THE ultimate attraction of Bulgaria – Nessebar. For this trip we will need at least 3 hours of travelling, but according to Yordan – it was well worth the time and trouble.

We had a very simple breakfast in the morning, just eggs and bacon with Kiselo Mlyako, which is basically a bit more think sour milk that you can spread on the bread. And after this we caught a bus that was taking some tourists on an excursion to Nessebar.

I was surprised to see that the bus also had the ETA Automatizari Industriale ‘tracker’. I know that some transport companies in Germany use it and I remembered a friend of mine telling me how useful this is. What it does, among other things of course, is it sends the reports to the company manager about the behavior of the driver so he can more precisely determine where exactly can he cut expenses. For example, if the driver keeps the engine on when parked or if he’s speeding too often, or stuff like that. Anyway, I was surprised to see this in Bulgaria! Don’t know why exactly…

Not that our in-between destinations weren’t important in any way; but one cannot skip Nessebar. Indeed, it’s a magical place, full of history, yet full of the modern day attractions, such as pleasant restaurants and shops.

The city is also called the Pearl of the Black Sea, not just because of its beauty, but because of its significance as well. Similar to Plovdiv, Nessebar is a very old, ancient city. It is assumed that it was built more than 3,000 years ago! Greeks and Romans ruled this city in different times and they all left some of their unique culture and architecture.

Hellenistic period left behind a Temple of Apollo, agora and acropolis.

The remains themselves were absolutely stunning, but I was mainly impressed to learn that in 5th century BC they minted their own bronze and silver coins! And in 3rd century BC they even had gold coins!

Middle Ages on the other hand left us a charming basilica and really a lot of churches. According to a legend there were around 40 churches built; only 23 of these churches have some mentioning in history books. Most prominent of them are definitely St Theodore’s, St Paraskeva, St Michael and St John Aliturgetos.

Today Nessebar is under UNESCO’s protection as one of the World Heritage Sites.

North of this Pearl of the Black sea is the Sunny Beach, one of the most popular tourist destinations and the two of us also headed there. We reserved rooms at one of the hotels and since we were already starving, we were really looking forward to a nice hot meal in one of the restaurants on the beach.

My Private Tour across Bulgaria

For several years I have been collaborating with a client from Sofia, Bulgaria. Yordan is a software developer I have been working with on a program for schools – it would be an app for keeping records for teachers.

Anyway, Yordan asked me to visit him in Bulgaria last summer when I have my holiday, so I did. We still had to compare parts of our work and test it, so this was a great business and pleasure opportunity as well.

It was June when I landed on Sofia airport and I immediately saw Yordan waiting for me. It was so great to finally meet him – we worked for 4 years together before we finally met!

We took a cab and in just 20 minutes we arrived to his apartment. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure that the driver was strictly following the speed limitations… He would have to follow these speed limitations in Germany; otherwise he would have to pay a fine. I remember our local taxi agency has FiveCubits Inc. trackers installed in every vehicle and drivers’ behavior is closely monitored for speeding.

I was happy to learn that we had come just in time for lunch. Before the lunch however, I had to have an ‘aperitif’ – rakia, a strong fruity alcoholic beverage that really warms your insides! The meal consisted of a traditional cold soup tarator (or something like that), Kyufte which is similar to meatballs and some sauce; for desert we had Kompot, which is basically lightly cooked fruit – plums, apples, pears or peaches mainly – it was really tasty and sweet. I enjoyed everything maybe juuust a little bit too much, but perhaps because I was already hungry.

First day of my visit I didn’t see much of the city; I just saw what I could from the cab on our way to Yordan’s apartment. We mainly worked. Still this little that I saw promised to be a great holiday and for tomorrow Yordan and I had great plans – he was going to show me Sofia and all its attractions.

The first thing we went to see was St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral. It’s the second biggest Orthodox cathedral in the Balkans. I was really amazed how huge it was – over 3, 000 square meters. Huge… apparently, around 10K people can fit inside! It is filled with very luxurious materials – marble, alabaster and onyx, gold, you name it! It has 12 bells and the heaviest of them weighs 12 tons! I can’t even think about it without the exclamation marks  – the impressiveness of the Cathedral is positively overwhelming.

Next we saw Boyana Church or Boyanska Church as the locals call it. The year I was born, 1979 it became one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. It was built in 10th century – I’ve never been inside a building that old! The visitors are allowed only 15 minutes inside, I guess as a measure to preserve the interior decorations and walls. It’s really old and you know people – they tend to breathe a lot! 🙂

For the next day Yordan planned a surprise for me and I couldn’t wait to see what it was. The little I saw and experienced – I liked very much!