Forward Thinking

By Marta Bright, Bobbie Hartman, Chris Null, Kate Pavao, and Patricia Waddington, February 2008

The Red Wine Diet

Drinking red wine may be able to prevent heart disease and diabetes—and help you live to become a well-aged vintage yourself. At least that's what Roger Corder, a professor of Experimental Therapeutics at the William Harvey Research Institute in London—and red wine fan—says in his book The Red Wine Diet. Corder says these benefits are due to a group of natural grape compounds called procyanidins.

But not all red wines are created equal, and their procyanidins content can vary greatly. So how can you choose a red wine with the greatest health benefits? "At a restaurant, if the sommelier can't be very informative, you want to start asking for the wines that are firmer in tannins," Corder tells Profit. "If you've got an uninformed sommelier who can't tell you that, you probably should look at the Cabernet Sauvignons, which are more likely to be tannic than not." Also, he says, stay away from wines with a higher alcohol content.

Don't like red wine? Never fear. Procyanidins are present in plenty of other sources, such as apples and berries—even chocolate. In fact, in the recipe section at the back of Corder's book, only two meals use red wine as an ingredient (because the benefits can be lost in the cooking process). Instead, says Corder, "The wine should be enjoyed with the meal."

Every business traveler knows that staying healthy on the road can be tricky, but don't be fooled into thinking a Cabernet a day will keep the doctor away. In The Red Wine Diet, Corder advises a Mediterranean-style approach to eating, with lots of fresh foods and olive oil—as well as plenty of exercise. "This isn't a quick-weight-loss diet," he says. "It's about having a strategy to improve your overall well-being, which allows you to drink wine and eat chocolate in moderation."

Bon Voyage, Bon Appétit

If you'd like to combine a lust for travel with the chance to sharpen your culinary skills, Paris might be the obvious choice. But for those peripatetic chefs who'd like to go off the beaten path to hone their culinary talents, here are some suggestions:

The Thai Cooking School at the Oriental Hotel
Bangkok, Thailand
For the past 15 years, the Oriental Thai Cooking School has taught people all over the world the methods and ingredients that make up fine Thai cuisine. The school offers hands-on classes where you'll grind pastes, chop meats and vegetables, stir-fry, stew, and finally sample your delicious creations.

Belle Isle School of Cookery
County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
Nestled among the stately homes, beautiful woodlands, and vast waterways of County Fermanagh, you'll find the Belle Isle School of Cookery. Although the school is on a country estate, the atmosphere in the kitchen is relaxed and informal. Courses introduce you to some of Northern Ireland's most exciting and innovative culinary ideas. Don't fret if you're not an experienced cook: participants with any level of cooking ability are welcome.

The Rhode School of Cuisine
Marrakech, Morocco
The House of Green Mint offers a cultural as well as culinary exploration of Moroccan cuisine. You'll learn about the exotic combinations of spices and techniques that make up the traditional dishes. When you're not in the kitchen, you can enjoy camel riding, trips to the local market, and relaxing in a Turkish steam bath.

Beat the Winter Cooties

The flu and the common cold are bad enough. Now we also have to worry about bird flu and SARS? It's a war out there. And if your life involves human contact or stepping outside your front door, you might want to enlist Nozin, a new product from Coral Gables, Florida-based Nozin LLC. "Somebody described it as the love child of Purell and Airborne, which is hilarious," says John Willimann, executive vice president and CSO—that's chief science officer—of Nozin. You apply the alcohol-based solution inside the rim of your nostrils, using a cotton swab. It's designed to kill germs you already carry and prevent your nose from picking up other nasty suspects. Willimann says Nozin works similarly to hand sanitizers but has more staying power. Hands don't let germs into the body—they merely deliver germs to entry points, such as the nose. "Hand sanitizers are great," Willimann says, "but after you use them, the next thing you touch—the next hand you shake or the next doorknob you touch—can repopulate the hands really easily. This product lasts much longer." In fact, it lasts up to eight hours, according to Willimann. The idea is to use Nozin in combination with other good-hygiene habits to keep yourself in fighting shape. Your boss will appreciate it, too. Nozin is available at www.nozin.com.

Corporate Recycling

According to the Clean Air Council, each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees. So, can starting a recycling program at work make a difference to the environment and make your business more profitable? For the connection to be direct, you should focus on reducing waste in the first place. You can then focus on persuading people to change their work habits so that recycling becomes a part of the daily routine. Here are some tips on how to get started:

 

  • Determine the departments that will participate and what types of waste will be recycled.
  • Educate participants by distributing clear and easy-to-follow guidelines.
  • Promote the program's success—you'll help people stick with their new habits.
  • Close the loop. If you're not purchasing recycled materials, such as 100 percent postconsumer paper for office use, then you're not really recycling.

 

 

Additional Resources

 

The ROI of a Thank-You Note

There's a simple way that anyone in your company can increase loyalty, grow sales, and improve profit margins. How? With something we all learned how to do at our mother's knee: say thank you.

Many companies spend millions of dollars implementing wonderfully sophisticated software systems to help them know, understand, and anticipate the needs of their customers. But if you're not in the big leagues or if you're still looking for just a little more edge on the competition, there may be something you're overlooking.

Etiquette experts, sales and service specialists, protocol officers, and marketing mavens all agree: good manners never go out of style, and the value of a thank-you is enormous.

Experts in the field of customer retention remind us that in most industries, when customers stay with a company longer, they are more profitable. They tend to purchase more and complain less, and they are not as sensitive to price increases. In other words, the time it takes to say thanks is well worth the effort.

You might choose to express your appreciation via phone or e-mail, in a handwritten note, or with computer-generated communication. Whatever you choose, follow these guidelines to create a positive impact:

 

  • Whenever possible, personalize the thanks to the recipient.
  • Be sincere. Keep notes, phone calls, and e-mails short and simple.
  • Check and double-check grammar, spelling, names, and titles.
  • Express thanks promptly.
  • Although notes of thanks usually come from the salespeople directly involved, it's great to have an executive write an additional note, whenever possible.
  • If it's feasible, handwritten notes make a better impression and add more value.

 

Tech Events

GTC Southwest 2008
January 28-31, Austin, Texas
This event for government technology professionals provides business and technical training and features keynotes by New York Times technology writer David Pogue and former con man Frank Abagnale.

CIO Academy 2008
February 26-27, Sacramento, California
This invitation-only event provides California state and local government CIOs with a chance to sharpen their business skills and network with other professionals.

Quest ANZ 2008 Conference & Exhibitor Showcase
March 12-14, 2008, Sydney, Australia
Anyone who works with Oracle's JD Edwards World, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, or PeopleSoft Enterprise software will get something out of this intensive three-day event, including networking opportunities and one-on-ones with Oracle professionals.

COLLABORATE 08: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community
April 13-17, Denver, Colorado
COLLABORATE 08 brings you best practices and user-driven training from the three host Oracle user groups for Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, Oracle Retail, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Oracle Communications, MetaSolv, Hyperion, and the rest of the growing family of Oracle Applications.

Walk It Off!

For as little as US$10, you can purchase a simple pedometer and start putting one foot in front of the other for some economies of scale—and yes, we mean pounds. "Taking a flight of stairs or a brisk 10-minute walk can mean the difference between gaining and maintaining," says Dr. Ruth Hoddinott, a family practice physician in the San Francisco Bay Area. "If you set some reasonable distance goals in conjunction with, for instance, adding 1 percent milk instead of whole milk to your cereal, you can really help yourself by preventing long-term weight gain."

After some simple experimentation, we found that with approximately one hour of brisk walking on mostly even terrain, we could cover up to 8,000 steps. At just one third the distance (2,000 steps), you can still reap some impressive benefits. According to the America on the Move Foundation, weight gain can be prevented in 90 percent of adults through burning 100 extra calories per day. A few simple, ordinary activities can quickly add up. Circle the house while talking on the phone, refill your beverage by walking to the break station farthest from your desk, or take the stairs instead of the elevator. See www.americaonthemove.org for more tips on walking it off.

i2Telecom VoiceStick

January 2008

i2Telecom's VoiceStick makes Voice over IP calling painlessly simple while offering plenty of extras for power users who want to do even more than use their computer to make calls.

The centerpiece of the program is the VoiceStick itself. Plug the standard USB thumb drive into your PC, and slip on the included headset, which connects to your computer's standard audio ports. In the time it takes to get the earpiece situated, the VoiceStick software is ready to run, right off the drive. A simple telephone interface makes dialing and accepting incoming calls a breeze.

You have two basic options when it comes to a cell phone plan: pay for all-you-can-eat calling (US$20 a month in the U.S. and Canada or US$25 a month for a global plan that also includes several hundred international destinations but not the entire world) or pay only for the calls you make, on a per-minute basis. The quality for domestic calls is just fine (although some callees reported a slight echo), and using voice mail is especially speedy and simple. Find out more at www.voicestick.com.

 
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