The great thing about a cruise like this is that we see places we would otherwise miss.
Hoorn (pronounced ”horn”, as in Cape Horn, which was named by Dutch navigator Willem Schouten in 1616 in honor of his birthplace) is a charming and historic harbor town in North Holland.
In the 1600s, it was a prosperous trade center for the Dutch East India Company, as evidenced by elegant merchant houses and the Hoofdtoren, the magnificent watchtower overlooking the harbor that was built in 1532, with its clock added in 1651.
Modern shops, restaurants, and sailboats mingle comfortably with centuries-old architecture and barges. We would love to come back!
We arrive in Amsterdam a day before we embark on our Viking Cruise through The Netherlands and Belgium, and check into our wonderful hotel De L’Europe. The hotel is an easy walk to the Museumplein, the square that’s home to the three major museums, the Rijksmuseum (famed for its collection of Dutch Masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer and Jan Steen), the Stedelijk, featuring works by Picasso, Matisse, Rauschenberg and Warhol, among many others, and the Van Gogh Museum.
But much of the art is the city itself, with its 16th and 17th century brick houses lining the streets and canals.
It was — but I cannot wait to have a functioning oven again!
Thanks, T — even when I have a proper oven I never want a gigantic pizza 🙂
Prunes may be the secret weapon to prevent holiday weight gain
LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom — Has Thanksgiving already sent your diet spiraling off a cliff? You’re probably not alone. With holiday weight gain a major issue for many, a new study has found the one snack that may keep your holiday appetite (and your waistline) in check — prunes.
Researchers from the University of Liverpool discovered that eating more prunes helped a group of dieters control their appetite better, consume fewer calories, and even lose slightly more weight than people choosing others snacks during a 12-week test.
“These studies demonstrate that dried fruit can both produce satiety and be incorporated into the diet during weight management,” says Professor Jason C. G. Halford, President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), in a media release.
Researchers examined the impact of eating prunes in two phases. The first compared the reactions of participants who either ate prunes, raisins, or jelly bean-like candies during the experiment. The team found that people eating prunes generally consumed the fewest number of calories during their next meal. The prune snackers also reported feeling less hungry throughout the day, feeling fuller after eating, and feeling as though they couldn’t eat as much later on.
Prunes make it ‘easier’ to lose weight
In the second part, study authors examined the amount of weight each person lost after completing a 12-week weight loss program. They split the volunteers into two groups, one eating prunes as their daily snack and one who only received guidance on healthy snacking but could choose whatever snack they wanted.
Although researchers say the weight loss difference between the two groups was not significant in terms of total pounds lost, results show the prune group participants lost slightly more weight on average (4.4 pounds vs. 3.4 pounds). People eating prunes also told the team they felt it was easier to lose the weight than those eating other snacks.
“This study reveals that nutrient-dense prunes can provide an advantage over other snack choices due to their favorable effects on satiety and appetite control,” adds Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD Nutrition Advisor for the California Prune Board.
“These are the first data to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming prunes as part of a weight management diet,” Halford concludes.
A recent poll found that Americans expect to gain eight pounds during the holiday season. Although prunes have a reputation of being a snack people only choose to relieve constipation, researchers say putting out a bowl at your next holiday party may cure you of festive overeating.
If you’re wondering what wine to bring or serve with turkey, here are the top suggestions, according to a search of the all-knowing Internet:
Plus, a few hints to avoid overeating today — or at any large holiday meal this season:
Your brain can only crave 3 or 4 things at a time. So decide what you most want to eat, instead of trying a little bit of everything. If you go back for seconds, that’s the time to sample other foods — you’ll eat a lot less.
Experts say that a serving is the size of your loosely held fist, not the entire plate.
Eat slowly and stop after 10 minutes to let your brain register whether you’re satisfied. After a five-minute break, you may find that you don’t want much more.
Plan ahead to “save” room for dessert, rather than “making” room for dessert; ie, be sure you’re actually still a bit hungry.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday, however you’re spending it! xx, Alisa