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Multivitamin with Extra Vitamin D (For Most People)
A daily multivitamin, multimineral supplement offers a kind of nutritional backup, especially when it includes some extra vitamin D. While a multivitamin can't in any way replace healthy eating, or make up for unhealthy eating, it can fill in the nutrient holes that may sometimes affect even the most careful eaters. You don't need an expensive name-brand or designer vitamin. A standard, store-brand, RDA-level one is fine for most nutrients—except vitamin D. In addition to its bone-health benefits, there's growing evidence that getting some extra vitamin D can help lower the risk of colon and breast cancer. Aim for getting at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day; multiple vitamins are now available with this amount. (Many people, especially those who spend the winter in the northern U.S. or have darker skin, will need extra vitamin D, often a total of 3,000 to 4,000 IU per day, to bring their blood levels up to an adequate range. If you are unsure, ask your physician to check your blood level.) Look for a multivitamin that meets the requirements of the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia), an organization that sets standards for drugs and supplements.
Optional: Alcohol in Moderation (Not for Everyone)
Scores of studies suggest that having an alcoholic drink a day lowers the risk of heart disease. Moderation is clearly important, since alcohol has risks as well as benefits. For men, a good balance point is one to two drinks a day; in general, however, the risks of drinking, even in moderation, exceed benefits until middle age. For women, it's at most one drink a day; women should avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
Kazakhstan’s cuisine is hard to distinguish from that of its neighbours, and it is difficult to identify dishes the Kazakhs can really claim as their own. Mostly these are meals prepared from cooked mutton, and camel and horsemeat. The milk of these animals, served in tea or fermented in the form of kumis (mare’s milk) or shubat (camel’s milk), is the aperitif for every classic Kazakh meal, served along with baursaki (fried dough), raisins, irimshik (sour cow's cheese) or kurt (salted cheese balls).
Most guests feel full after only the first course, but a feast in a yurt always lasts a long time, and many more sumptuous meat dishes follow. These dishes are usually served with shorpa, a strong broth in which the meat has been cooked. Thinly rolled pieces of dough cooked into large noodles provide the carbohydrate portion of the meal. Another round of kumis, followed by tea, concludes the meal.
Many dishes of Arabian, Tatar, Uzbek, Uygur, Korean and Russian origin have been added to the Kazakh culinary lexicon, and they also grace the dastarkhan, a richly filled dinner table, named after the Persian word that means a tablecloth spread on the floor. If you are lucky enough to be invited to a dastarkhan you should join it with an empty stomach but not empty-handed. A small souvenir from your own country would be especially appreciated by your hosts. Otherwise, a bottle of good wine or cognac or a cake is welcome.
If you are a non-drinker you will need a very good excuse, or else the tamada, the toast-master - generally a highly esteemed person at the table who is responsible for the proper order of toasts - will be successful in his friendly but persistent attempts to ensure you drain more than one tumbler of either vodka or cognac, both of which are ever present at Kazakh meal times.
These days, meals start with a variety of salads, most of which originate from Russian cuisine. First courses also include mutton or horsemeat, and smoked fish. By helping yourself moderately to these delights, you can still enjoy the next round of meat dishes without embarrassing yourself with your pitiful appetite. It is sometimes hard to hide your amazement at the sight of the heaped plates of meat that arrive on the table, but the Kazakh ability to eat is legendary. Meat dishes are still the core of any dastarkhan, and the splendour of these feasts is measured by the sheer size of those dishes. Fortunately, there are many guests, the evening is long, and the vodka is in abundance. When the feast is finally coming to an end, the hostess will serve up cake or pastries along with large dishes of dried fruits and sweets. Tea is the courteous sign for an imminent conclusion to the night's revelry. The last, obligatory toast by the guests is to the host and hostess. Before leaving, you should drain your glass and say, "Zbol ayakh!" - meaning “May we return home safely”. A dastarkhan is an unforgettable experience; the great variety of dishes and drinks, the witty toasts, the heaviness in the stomach, will for long be a subject of conversation.
Food and drink
Kazakhs have developed a number of techniques to preserve and prepare their main commodities, meat and milk. These methods are still in use today: salting, drying, smoking, pickling or even a combination of these. In the past, one rather piquant process of salting and tenderizing was to place a flat piece of meat under your saddle until it was “ridden to tenderness”, the horse’s sweat serving to salt the meat. Travellers may find comfort in the thought that this kind of preservation is no longer practised.
The following glossary of food and drink should make it easier to read menus and Provide visitors to a dastarkhan with some background information. The most popular Kazakh dishes and a number of commonly eaten Korean, Uygur, Uzbek and Arabian dishes are included.
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