Blog Posts by Claudine Zap

  • Comedian Not Kidding Around When He Takes 28-Day Vegan Challenge

    So a comedian walked into a gym. No, seriously: Mark Malkoff, who makes his living pulling quirky stunts like living in IKEA for a week – has pulled off his biggest challenge yet: a 28-day vegan diet and exercise plan to go from flabby to fit. A video documents the epic journey.

    Most people would find switching to a plant-based diet difficult enough. Add to that weight training and cardio, and that would make even the funniest comic grumpy.

    Malkoff didn’t let it get him down, especially as he noticed a change. There were “so many positives,” he said. “I physically just felt great. The pounds came off, and I started gaining this muscle.”

    Robert Brace, the tough trainer in the video, who created the 28-day plan, had to educate Malkoff on good vegan (almonds and steamed vegetables) versus bad vegan (unfrosted Pop Tarts). “I don’t think the Coca-Cola-Oreo vegan diet would have worked,” Malkoff told us.

    He also learned about portions. He ate almonds daily but was limited to 20. And fruit

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  • Teens: Put Down That Breakfast Danish. Seriously

    Bowl of Oatmeal

    It turns out breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. And no, a cronut washed down with a pumpkin spice latte does not count.

    A study recently published in the journal Public Health Nutrition reported that teens who skip the morning meal or only eat or drink something sweet have a higher risk of certain illnesses later in life.

    Also on Yahoo Shine: Snacking Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Diet
    Those bad breakfast habits were linked to a higher incidence of "metabolic syndrome" as adults, which increases an individual's chances of suffering serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    And the link was significant: The study reports that the odds for adolescents developing metabolic syndrome years later were a whopping 68 percent higher for those with poor breakfast habits.
    "Further studies are required for us to be able to understand the mechanisms involved in the connection between poor breakfast and

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  • Sorry, Sophie — There Are No Dragons, But We’re Working on It

    Sophie Lester's Letter (Photo: CSIRO website)


    A 7-year-old-girl’s request for a dragon and the surprising response she got from a science agency have captured the attention – and the imagination – of the Web.

    It all started just before Christmas when Sophie Lester of Queensland, Australia, wrote a letter to her country's science research organization, CSIRO.

    Her adorable letter was posted on CSIRO’s website. "Hello Lovely Scientist," it began. “My name is Sophie and I am 7 years old. My dad told me about the scientists at the CSIRO. Would it be possible if you can make a dragon for me. I would like it if you could but if you can’t that’s fine.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: 10-Year-Old Petitions American Girl for Doll With Disability

    Sophie included a helpful drawing and even picked out potential names for the future dragon: Toothless if it’s a girl and Stuart if a boy. Plus, she writes, “I would keep it in my special green grass area where there are lots of space. I would feed it raw fish and I would put a collar on it. If it got hurt I

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  • Sparkling Wines Better Than Real-Deal Champagne

    Sparkling Wine (ThinkStockPhotos)

    It’s that time of year to break out the bubbly, but Champagne, which is the label  for sparklers made in the Champagne region of France, is just one of many choices. “Sparkling wine, as one might expect, is the term used for everything effervescent made outside of the Champagne district, even in France," Kelley Wisniewski of H&F Bottle Shop in Atlanta, Ga., told Yahoo Shine in an email. There are plenty of fizzy options from other places around the world that might lack the Champagne name but will save you a pretty penny.

    1. La Marca Prosecco. The Italian sparkling wine, under $20 a bottle, boasts an impressive 90 out of 100 score from Wine Spectator. It also gets the thumbs-up from San Francisco Whole Foods’ assistant wine buyer Lyndsay Bazile, who tells Yahoo, “We can hardly keep it in stock.”

    More on Yahoo Shine: 6 Ways to Save on Entertaining and Gifts

    2. NV Schloss Gobelsburg Brut Réserve.The Austrian bubbly, which goes for about $30, has been bottled by monks since the 1100s,

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  • Judy Rodgers: Legacy of a Chicken Whisperer

    Chef Judy Rodgers (Photo courtesy of Zuni Café)Her roast chicken elevated the boring to the blissful   and her cookbook inspired a simple, rustic style of cooking. Judy Rodgers, chef of San Francisco's fabled Zuni Café, died on Monday of appendix cancer at the age of 57, the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed. But Rodgers's influence on the cooking scene will surely live on.

    "She was an important force in shaping America's culinary landscape," Jessica Harlan, author of cookbooks including "Homemade Condiments," tells Yahoo Shine. "Her focus on top-quality, local ingredients, simply prepared, is one of her legacies and is so important and relevant today."

    As news of the chef's passing spread, so did tributes on the Web. San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer hailed Rodgers as "one of the most powerful forces in cooking, not only in California but in the United States."

    Related: Notable Deaths of 2013

    Bauer recalled seeing her in the kitchen surrounded by staff as she prepared simple greens. "It was as if she were solving

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  • Experts on Declining International Adoptions: Do Them Differently

    Laura Duvelius with daughter Ellie (Photo: Laura Duvelius)

    When Laura Duvelius brought home Ellie, the 2-year-old girl she had adopted from the Ukraine in 2004, she noticed that the girl was hoarding food. Duvelius soon uncovered missing fruit, granola bars, and, in one smelly case, smoked salmon the toddler had stashed under the mattress and in a closet.

    Perplexed, the 39-year-old logged on to a Yahoo group on adoptions looking for help and got the advice she needed. The solution: She had to take all nonperishable food in her pantry, place it on the bottom shelf and remove the door. That worked.

    “Ellie just needed to know it was and there and that she was safe,” Duvelius tells Yahoo Shine, who notes that her daughter, who lives with Duvelius; her husband, Alex; and their 12-year-old son, Drew in Silver Springs, Maryland, is now a healthy 10-year-old who loves to cook.

    That kind of parenting skill is not exactly intuitive, says Adam Pertman, president of the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) and author of “Adoption Nation.” A recent report

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  • Foster Teen Gets First ‘Real’ Thanksgiving With Adoptive Family

    Ara Hunt, second from left, with, from left to right: Shyann 11, Seth, 19, Siara, 13, and Cody, 12 (Photo: Ara Hunt)

    This Thanksgiving, the table at Ara and Robert Hunt’s house will be a little more crowded. The couple, who have four children from past relationships and three kids they adopted together, will welcome one more to the holiday feast: Seth Miller, who, at 19, is the newest member of the Hunt family.
    Yahoo Shine reported on Miller’s heartwarming story last month: The high school senior had been in foster care since he was 7 and had aged out of the foster system.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Teen Orphan Tugs at Churchgoers' Heartstrings to Find a Family
    The Texas teen was living in his car when he received help from Virginia Barrett, a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, who helped him move into his own apartment.
    Miller appreciated what she had done for him, but he wanted something more. “One family," he told Dallas affiliate WFAA. "Even if I had to live in a box – family."

    The young man’s story caught the attention of the Hunts, who live in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall.

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  • Child's Rare Bone Disease Leads to Mistaken Charges Against Dad

    Andrew and Bria Huber with daughter Kenley

    It all started with a simple diaper change.

    Andrew Huber heard his infant daughter’s hip pop and immediately took her to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Tests revealed that little Kenley, just 3 months old during that hospital visit in August 2012, had multiple fractures.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Saying No to McDonald's May Lead Dad to Lose Custody

    Doctors determined the fractures to be “non-accidental injury” and diagnosed "suspected physical abuse of a child," according to local Dallas affiliate WFAA, which first reported the story.  When Andrew's wife, Bria Huber, who had been in Chicago on a business trip, returned that night, she was told by police that her husband was to blame. 

    “I am the mom before I’m the wife,” Bria Huber tells Yahoo Shine, recalling what she told the authorities at the time. “I can’t fathom this, but I’ll do whatever it takes.”

    More on Yahoo: Parents Work Their 7 Children to Steal from Toys R Us

    Bria Huber was up that night, going through every moment of her

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  • Mexican Coca-Cola Fans Get Some Not-So-Sweet News: Key Ingredient May Be Changing

    Mexican Coca-Cola

    Adios, Mexican Coke. The beloved Latin American export, which contains cane sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup, may be in for a change, reports Slate.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Mexican Coke Taste Test

    Though many American fans of the drink specifically seek out the international version, and it's even become a hipster trend in some places around the country (looking at you, Brooklyn), “Mexi-Coke” could indeed be switching up an important ingredient. According to global business blog Quartz, executives of the Mexican bottler suggested a move away from pure sugar in response to a steep sales tax on soft drinks passed by Mexico’s congress on Oct. 31.

    Reports Quartz, “On an earnings call with analysts last week, the head of Arca Continental SAB said that the Mexico-based Coca-Cola bottler could 'move to more fructose,' which is cheaper than cane sugar.”

    The government has imposed an extra peso per liter of soda for all soft-drink sales in the country. The action is meant to curb the growing

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  • 8-Year-Old Helping Homeless Kids One Cup at a Time

    Jaxon Evans, left, with helpers and customers at his Kool-Aid stand (Photo: Alandra Evans)

    Some kids are born athletes. Others excel at art or science. Jaxon Evans has the compassion gene.

    The 8-year-old Bakersfield, California, resident has opened a Kool-Aid stand to raise money to buy toys he plans to give out to homeless children. So far, Jaxon has raised $1,600 and is aiming to raise $2,500 before Black Friday, when he and his mom, Alandra Evans, 39, will hit Toys R Us. (Their local store has even offered them a 10 percent discount.)

    “He has compassion for others,” Alandra tells Yahoo Shine of her son, who got the idea thanks to a fellow student who ran a lemonade stand for charity. "It's cool to aid kids," Jaxon says.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Kids' Birthdays Turned Charitable

    Alandra Evans, who teaches eighth grade at Sequoia Middle School in Bakersfield, supplied the Kool-Aid and Jaxon enlisted two friends to help set up. He even made up fliers to give out at school, while his mom posted messages to friends and family members on Facebook.

    “Everything $1. Or pay with your Read More »from 8-Year-Old Helping Homeless Kids One Cup at a Time


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