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Monthly ArchiveNovember 2019

Less-known corners of Amsterdam

One of the first things I learned in Amsterdam was as far as possible from the center. The narrow streets of this city look romantic only in the pictures, in fact it is a constant dodging bikes, passing tourists or hugging the wall because a truck is passing by.

The second feature of Amsterdam is that it is undeniably a city famous for legal drugs and prostitution – a great magnet for tourists (all marijuana t-shirts, all the dirty shops!), But the locals don’t like it. If you don’t like it too, and you prefer to know where you can see authentic, normal Amsterdam called by the inhabitants of the “big village”, then follow me.


The oldest yard in Amsterdam, although nothing has survived from the medieval tenement houses that once surrounded them – burned down during great fires in the 15th century. In Begijnhof only one wooden, black house survived and it is also the oldest in Amsterdam (from 1528).

Amsterdam Tours & Tickets

Begijnhof is a place where beginki lived before – pious women who did not want to be bound by religious weddings. The houses are inhabited only by women so far, there are 105 of them and form a small community. Although the yard is in the very center of Amsterdam, it offers peace and respite from the crowded shopping streets that surround them. Inside, you must not ride a bike, give tours or behave loudly – the residents make this place available because of its historical value, but you must respect that it is their home.


Together with our host from AirBnb, we recognized Jordaan’s best district in Amsterdam. It is full of beautiful shops (clothes, antiques, home decorations …), the most delicious restaurants and atmospheric streets worth getting lost. Without a doubt, here is “real” Amsterdam, not the one invented for tourists. It is also much calmer and allows for long, relaxing walks. The most popular part is the northern Jordaan, near Westerstaat Street, although it is not particularly beautiful and I recommend entering the streets departing from it.

The coolest places in Jordaan:

  • Noordermarkt – weekend market, one half of which is occupied by fresh vegetables and fruits, and the other – souvenirs, antiques and other curiosities.
  • Hutspot – a lovely shop with clothes and accessories. Local designers and high quality products.
  • Moeders – the famous restaurant serving dishes “like a Dutch mother”
  • Kessens – the best place for breakfast!
  • Japanese Pancake World – one of three places in Europe where you can try real Japanese okonomiyaki. And before that, watch the frying process and talk to the chef.
  • Bloemstraat – a quiet street with lots of very nice tenements, one of the prettiest places for a walk.


Apparently the prettiest street in Amsterdam, which in my opinion is a distinction of a large caliber (because Amsterdam is all beautiful). The name comes from the breweries that were located here in the 16th and 17th centuries, on this street there were also a lot of warehouses with exotic goods imported to the Netherlands: leather, coffee, spices, oil … A great place regardless of the season and weather. Lots of pubs, including those that have tables above the water. Live not to die.

One block north of Brouwersgracht is Haarlemmerdijk, which is full of very original stores with clothes, accessories and decorations. Many shops belong to designers and designers from the Netherlands, so if you are looking for original things from Amsterdam, it’s best to start right there.


Once a retirement home (hence the name), now the University of Amsterdam is located there, and right next to it is a covered passage with stands of book dealers. Definitely more pleasant in summer than in winter, then there are also the most bukinist positions. The books are in Dutch and English, you can also buy very nice, original lithographs for around 20-30 euros – great souvenirs from Amsterdam. Don’t ask me how to pronounce Oudemanhuisport, Dutch is out of my reach …

6 things you can do instead of smoking

According to Dr. Mercoli

If you are a smoker, research suggests that regardless of your age, quitting smoking can be extremely beneficial for you. For example, if you quit before the age of 40, you can avoid the over 90% risk of death from continuing to smoke.

If you quit before the age of 30, the benefits will be even more dramatic – you will avoid the 97% risk of death from smoking. However, even if you quit smoking later in life, you can still get impressive benefits.

New research has shown that smokers over 65 who quit smoking can reduce the risk of dying from heart problems in just eight years of quitting.
Six things you can do instead of smoking

If you want to quit smoking, please refer to the three steps (at the end of the article) that you should follow first. Once you’re ready, the following strategies, recently published in the TIME magazine, can help you at the beginning of your path:

Carrot Munch: Healthy snacks can help you overcome your craving for nicotine (and the need to put something in your mouth). Carrots, celery, radish, slices of pepper and other fresh vegetables are perfect.
Distract: Surround yourself with people who support you in your decision to quit smoking and who can help you stop thinking about smoking – buy snus.

“Shoot” want a cigarette. Put the rubber band on your wrist and “shoot” it every time you feel the desire for a cigarette. Light baking will draw your attention for a moment and give you time to remember all the reasons why you quit smoking
Physical activity. Exercise helps combat addictions, releasing natural endorphins and relieving stress and anxiety.
Take a shower. This is another reassuring activity, and when you feel clean and fresh, you will be less likely to reach for a cigarette.
Listen to the music. Listen to your favorite relaxing melodies or turn on music to dance to celebrate your new “smoke-free” self

Smoking causes one in five deaths

Nearly 44 million American adults (or 19 percent) smoke cigarettes, and smoking is the cause of every fifth death in the US every year, resulting in over 440,000 deaths annually. The good news is that it’s more than half what it was fifty years ago.

While smoking is traditionally recognized as the main cause of avoidable death, in fact excessive sugar consumption and reliance on conventional healthcare systems for health problems are far worse. Both of these behaviors are far more harmful than smoking.

However, the risk of smoking is obviously high and it is certainly better to avoid it. If you decide to quit smoking, I think it is wise to first improve your health so as not to risk falling into another addiction, such as consuming too much sugar as a substitute for cigarettes. However, when you stop smoking, you’ll notice some benefits immediately, and others within a few years:

Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop
12 hours after quitting smoking, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood decreases and normalizes
Within three months after quitting smoking, lung function improves
Within nine months after quitting, the cough and shortness of breath will subside
Within one year of quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease is reduced, and the risk associated with cancer is halved in five years

Tobacco companies lure teens with candy-flavored cigars

Most flavored cigarettes have been banned since 2009, mainly because they tempted children with the smell and taste of sweets or fruit. Flavored cigars are still acceptable, however, and the tobacco industry cleverly produces flavored thin cigars that look like cigarettes.

A report by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently showed that more than two-fifths of high school and middle school students who smoke use flavored mini-cigars or flavored (menthol) cigarettes – and nearly 60 percent of them don’t consider quitting.

Teens are also switching to e-cigarettes

Although the number of teenagers smoking has dropped since 2011, consumption of other tobacco products has increased. An increasing number of teenagers use so-called Water pipes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), probably because they consider them a safer alternative to cigarettes.

According to a national youth tobacco survey conducted in 2012 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.8 percent of high school students tried e-cigarettes in 2012, compared to 1.5 percent in 2011. Sales of e-cigarettes are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can now be legally sold to minors (although some states and cities have already banned such sales).

Apart from the fact that smoking electronic cigarettes may tempt young people to try something more, they are also a unique threat in themselves (one of the reasons is the content of nicotine). When you breathe in through an electronic cigarette, the battery heats a liquid containing a flavoring substance (such as tobacco, menthol, cherry, vanilla or java flavor), a humectant (usually propylene glycol or plant glycerin) and sometimes nicotine.

When you inhale, you get a “dose” of flavored nicotine without the chemicals usually produced when you smoke. However, the FDA has already detected a potentially deadly antifreeze called diethylene glycol in electronic cigarette cartridges and tobacco-specific nitrosamines that are associated with cancer.

Studies have also shown that the aerosol of a leading manufacturer of electronic cigarettes contains metals such as tin, copper, nickel and silver, silicate balls and nanoparticles with unknown but probably harmful health consequences.
Here’s what to do before you stop smoking

Studies show that two-thirds to three-quarters of former smokers quit smoking on their own, without help, so if you want to quit smoking, do it right away without stopping smoking gradually. However, I believe that the “secret” to success lies in taking care of your health first, which will make it much easier to quit smoking.

Physical activity is an integral part of this plan, and as studies show, people engaging in regular strength training are twice as likely to be successful in quitting smoking as compared to those who do not exercise. Eating well is another important thing that you can’t ignore. In short, if you want to quit smoking, here are some basic tips to help you:

Develop a sensible exercise plan. It will be your ally in the fight against disease and cigarettes. Strength training is very important, but also remember to include in your plan a high intensity interval exercise, such as the Peak Fitness program, core strengthening exercises, aerobic and stretching exercises.
Find a healthy outlet for emotions. Many people are helped by physical activity, meditation or relaxation techniques – all of these strategies are helpful. I also recommend getting acquainted with the Technique of Emotional Freedom (EFT), because it can help remove emotional blocks from the body (from which you sometimes do not even realize), thus restoring the balance of mind and body and helping to get rid of addictions and avoid the desire for unhealthy products.

If you smoke, I strongly advise you to stop smoking. You should also remember about astaxanthin, which helps prevent oxidative damage in smokers. This may be one of the ways that will help some extent to reduce some of the harms associated with smoking to people who do not want or cannot stop smoking.