No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. Efficient and effective marketing strategy is a function of the marketing manager’s ability to understand the environment in which the business operates.

The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that operate or influence a company’s performance in its chosen target market.

Jain (1981:69) defined the marketing environment to include all those factors that may affect the organization directly or indirectly in any perceptible way. Marketing environment factors affects the organization by the way of input and the organizations also affect the environment by output. The relationship between the organization and the marketing environment is often referred to as “inseparable” the organization and it environment are constantly in a state of: give and take” or homeostasis.

The marketing environment consist of those forces or element that impacts on the company’s capability to operate effectively in its chosen target market.

The marketing environment is divided into two major components. The elements are,

Internal environment: the internal environment is concerned with the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables. External environment: the external environment is concerned with the uncontrollable variables. These variables are called uncontrollable because the marketing manager cannot directly control any of the elements. The marketing manager is left with the option of adapting to the environment by prompt observation, analysis and forecasting of these environmental factors. The external environment can further be divided into two components, the micro environment and the macro environment.

Micro environment:

The elements that fall under the micro environment consist of forces or factors in the firm’s immediate environment that affect the firm’s capability to perform effectively in the market place. These forces are suppliers, distributors, customers and competitors. Let us discuss each of the variables in details.

Suppliers:

Suppliers are business customers who provide goods and services to other business organizations for resale or for productions of other goods. The behavior of certain forces in the suppliers can affect the performance of the buying organization positively or negatively. The critical factors here are the number of suppliers and the volume of suppliers to the industry. An audit of the suppliers will enable us to appreciate their strength and bargaining power, which the suppliers hold over the industry as a whole. The answers to the issues concerned have the potentials to affect the capability of firms in the industry to effectively deliver need-satisfying goods and/ or services. The trend today is that buyers attempt to persuade the supplier to provide exactly what the firms want. This process is known as “reverse marketing”.

Customers:

Customers are those who buy goods and/ or services produced by the company. In a purchase chain, different people play significant roles before a purchase decision is made. The various influences must be understood. The customer may be the consumer of the products where he/she is the user. The critical factor here is that needs and wants of consumers are not static. They are fast changing. The changes in the preferences of the consumer create opportunities and threats in the market. The changes called for the marshaling of separate strategy to either fit into windows of opportunities or survive the threats in the market. A good knowledge of consumers’ behavior will facilitate the design and production of goods and services that the customers need and want, and not what they are able to produce.

Competitor:

A competitor is a firm operating in the same industry or market with another firm. The consideration here is that, Firm A produces a substitute to that of firm B (industrial approach) or firm A and firm B seeks to satisfy the same customer need (market approach.

 

Imagine yourself in a room full of tempting food, jellies, chocolates, pastries, cakes, pizzas and much more mouth watering dishes. Slurp… I know by now you are too tempted to get to the market and buy yourself a nice, juicy burger, coke and an ice cream tub or are ready to order a pizza, rather than reading.

Just for a moment think of the chefs who stay in the kitchen all day long that is loaded with scrumptious cuisines giving out such enticing and alluring aromas. It must be really tough for them to resist the delicacies they prepare for their customers. One the other hand, if they start tasting every dish they prepare it will be extremely tough for them to sustain good health.

It is said, ‘People judge a book by its cover’, and the same applies to a cook too. A healthy and fit chef ascertains us that he is health conscious and knows all about good and rich cooking. This might not prove true in all cases; some guys do not have such luck. There are many professional chefs are surrounded by buttery carbohydrates, rich sauces, creamy puddings and fine succulent meat but are thin like a Cornish wafer.

The roly-poly chefs that we were accustomed to once, are replaced by much more disciplined, controlled and healthy chefs. There was a time when a thin chef was not trusted but today the scenario has totally changed. The more lean and fit a chef is the more energetic he will be. A chef should be prepared to bounce around the kitchen in order to do everything just right.

Being a chef, it is important to taste every dish and every dessert prepared to ensure it is delicious. In doing so the fats keep on settling on the stomach, in turn making you fat. To avoid this, it is better to take small mouthfuls in intervals. Small meals ensure better metabolism. Some chefs believe in drip free food and indulge in raw fresh fruits, raw vegetables and much water. They also avoid any sort of meal in between lunch and dinner. Lastly, a good 20 minutes walk each day. In case you do feel hungry at night, eat a bowl of cereal.

A chef is however known for his skills in cooking and preparing meal yet his physical appearance and nutritional habits also play an important role. Not only does it attract more customers for him but is also important for his own good.

Nutrition is also an important aspect of cooking delicious foods. And chefs are not an exception to this rule. While pursuing their education in the culinary arts, one of the subjects that these aspiring chefs study is Nutrition. Here, they learn about the amount of nutritive elements present in each ingredient – and how to analyze and determine which foods have how much nutritive value.

No doubt, this knowledge goes a long way in helping these chefs create delicacies that are not only tasty but also healthy for their customers.

 

The 21st century has been the age of so many technological breakthroughs and advances, technologies aimed for one purpose and that is to make the lives of people better by helping them become more efficient in their work. One such technological breakthrough is computer technology.

Computer technology has grown in great proportions starting from a computer with a size that of a room to a small well-designed palm top computer. Computers nowadays have become an indispensable part of the lives of people, especially at work, at companies, businesses, schools, offices and even in homes.

It has made the world smaller, but has it made our world better? It would then lead us to ask whether computer technology is good or bad. Now let us try to look at first some of the bad effects. With the advent of computers and with the internet it has become easy to access pornographic sites, children are more exposed to explicit content; some students would lose focus on their studies as they play computer games. The number of obesity cases has increased and it has been attributed to too much computer activity that led to less physical activity among a number of people.

On the other side of the coin, computers have opened a whole new world of possibilities. It is now easier to gain information on world events; you can even find a job in the internet; you can spread advocacies to a vast number of people all over the world; and most importantly it is now easier to be connected with one another even if you are on the other side of the globe.

Computer technology, just like any other material on earth has been created with a common good in mind. Just like a knife, it has been made to cut and slice food to speed up cooking time for people but it can also be used to kill people, and you cannot ban the use of knives in order to stop killing. And so you can’t blame computers for the problems it may have caused for it is the people who use them who caused the problem. It has disadvantages and advantages that must be taken into consideration.

But the problem is not computer technology itself; the problem resides on the people who use it. Computer technology is generally good for it can bring in a lot of good if it is used properly, but can do great harm if used unwisely.

People have choices on how they make use of earth’s resources, and that choice will determine how certain materials will affect people, be it good or bad.

 

1. When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” Instead, the company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant

2. In Spain, when Coors Brewing Company put its slogan, “Turn it loose” into Spanish; it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea”.

3. When Braniff International Airways translated a slogan touting its upholstery, “Fly in leather”, it came out in Spanish as “Fly naked”.

4. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, “Pepsi Brings You Back to Life” pretty literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave.”

5. Chicken magnate Frank Perdue’s line, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” sounds much more interesting in Spanish: “It takes a sexually stimulated man to make a chicken affectionate.”

6. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux”.

7. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.

8. The American slogan for Salem cigarettes, “Salem-Feeling Free”, was translated into the Japanese market as “When smoking Salem, you will feel so refreshed that your mind seems to be free and empty.”

9. PepsiCola lost it dominant market share to Coke in South East Asia when Pepsi changed the color of its vending machines and coolers from deep “Regal” blue to light “Ice” blue as Light blue is associated with death and mourning in SE Asia.

10. We can’t forget Chevrolet’s attempt to launch the Nova — Spanish translation, “Doesn’t Go” — in Mexico (turns out this one appears to be an urban legend and cannot be verified). Many sources on the internet allege this is untrue.

If you’ve never heard of Collembola, you’re not alone. Until recent years, it was thought that these soil borne creatures were essentially harmless. Even doctors vehemently denied that springtails were likely to infest human hair and skin. Folks who suffered from chronic itching, biting and crawling sensations were often considered delusional, but that mindset is slowly changing. Mounting evidence suggests that these micro-tiny pests can be surprisingly invasive.

Thanks to the tenacity of folks like Dr. Frans Janssens and his colleague, Dr. Kenneth A. Christiansen, the scientific community is beginning to recognize that springtails can pose a very real threat to human comfort when present in large numbers. The two researchers collected scores of reports from homeowners, doctors, and pest control operators in several countries, including many regions of The United States. Within the gray areas between casual testimony, scientific observation and concrete medical documentation, a startling picture emerged. Collembola are everywhere, and it’s not impossible for them to latch onto humans and animals.

As inhabitants of fertile soil, springtails are likely to be found just about anywhere. The more you water the lawn and apply fertilizer, the happier they’ll be. They are considered the most abundant arthropods on earth. Since prehistoric times, they have survived frigid winters and very hot summers, but their numbers decrease exponentially under dry conditions.

Pet owners are particularly vulnerable to collembola infestation. Dogs and cats who trample through moist soil or wet grass can pick up springtails and transport them into the home; however, it’s not likely that springtails will stay attached to pets like fleas unless an animal’s immune system is compromised (for example, if there’s a fungal infection of the skin.) Springtails are easily transferred between humans and animals. Close contact isn’t necessary. These acrobatic creatures can jump three to four feet. You may not always notice them catapulting through the air. They can be smaller than the head of a pin.

If the thought of a few springtails in the house makes you paranoid, relax. Their ability to divide and conquer will largely depend upon environmental factors. Do you enjoy growing potted plants indoors? Does your basement tend to flood after a good rain? Can you smell mold behind the bathroom wall? Are you still waiting on a plumber to fix that leaky pipe under the kitchen sink? Who was president the last time you cleaned your air ducts? A moist, moldy environment is like Disneyland to a springtail.

Getting rid of an advanced collembola infestation can be difficult because springtails aren’t classified as insects. They are defined as hexapods, primitive ancestors to modern day bugs. According to organic scientist David Glassel, chemical pesticides have no effect on the hexapod. Only natural insecticides will do the trick, and the best remedy is cedar oil.

Step By Step Guide to Eliminate Collembola Infestation:

1.) Treat yourself and your pets with a topical cedar oil insecticide approved for use with humans and animals. Avoid cosmetic or aroma therapy grade cedar oil. It’s not purified, and it usually comes from certain forms of cypress trees. Cedar oil that is formulated for home protection will kill ALL TYPES of parasites on contact, including springtails, lice and all forms of mites. If you’re tempted to use an over the counter kit designed for lice control, don’t bother. It won’t work, it’s not enough to cover large areas, and it’s just plain not good for you. Such products contain Lindane, a chemical banned for use with animals by the Environmental Protection Agency.

2.) Spray couches, beds and carpets with a fine cedar oil mist. A proper household formula will be very light and pure. In other words, it won’t stain fabric.

3.) Use a cedar oil fog machine to penetrate unseen cracks and crevices in the home. Normally, fog machines are considered optional, but advanced springtail infestations require aggressive measures. If you believe your infestation is severe, or if you’ve actually SEEN large groups of springtails moving over floors and walls, don’t mess around.

4.) Use the fog machine to treat air ducts or hire a professional air duct cleaning company. Many people are shocked to discover they have mold in their air ducts. It is not uncommon for mold to develop in your heating and cooling system from the condensation of your air conditioner. Springtails feed upon mold and thrive in moist conditions. Mold can also aggravate asthma and allergies. Air duct treatment addresses all of these difficulties.

5.) Purchase the highest quality furnace filters available at your local store. Filters designed for allergen and dust mite removal are best. Change filters frequently.

6.) Hunt for places where moisture accumulates. Patch leaky roofs and pipes. Seal cracks around basement windows. Pay special attention to bathroom walls and cabinets under sinks.

7.) Remove household plants, especially decorative trees sitting in large potted containers filled with soil. Remember that springtails can be transported directly into your home via bags of potted soil.

8.) Take aggressive measures to control animal populations on your property. Double bag garbage, and don’t leave open trash barrels sitting around. Animal foods that are stored outdoors should be kept in airtight containers. Use traps or repellents to control rodents, raccoons and squirrel populations. Resist the urge to pet stray dogs and cats. Report any sightings of feral cats to your local animal control center.

9.) Beware of ultra rich potting soil and wooden landscaping materials. Based on calls placed to our pest control operation from all over the country, springtail populations are often introduced to the home when truckloads of new mulch or soil have been dumped on properties that previously had minimal landscaping. (Mulch traps moisture and promotes the growth of mold.) Seal any cracks around basement windows before distributing natural landscaping materials around the perimeter of the home. If you’re worried about collembolla populations outdoors, there are super strength cedar oil concentrates designed to repel mosquitoes and kill insect populations in the grass and soil. Pet breeders, horse keepers, and livestock farmers use cedar oil concentrates to control all types of parasites in barns, pens and pastures. A generous treatment early in the spring or summer will do a lot to destroy eggs and control multiple insect populations before they explode. Veterinarian bills are EXPENSIVE. Destroy parasites before they destroy you!

10.) Last but not least, avoid chemical pesticides. In February of 2011, USA Today ran an article titled “Exposure to Pesticides in Womb Linked to Learning Disabilities.” The study focused on peremethrin, a chemical commonly used to battle household pests. As disturbing as this sounds, the topic is nothing new. Scores of scientific studies have linked chemical pesticides to neurological disorders, breast cancer and birth defects in children living near farms where chemicals are sprayed. In a nationally televised ABC World News investigation, spot drop flea and tick medicines were found to cause 44,000 severe reactions in a single year, including multiple deaths.

Can fish and meat textures and tastes be found in a vegetable? Chinese Black Fungus is renowned for these qualities, its vital nutrients and its valuable contributions, as a dietary supplement, to overall fitness and health. Usually obtained in dried packaged form, it requires washing before use.

As a Health Supplement

Enriching blood and preventing iron deficiency anemia, Western medical science has found Black Fungus very effective in blood viscosity modulation as it inhibits platelet aggregation thus lowering blood-viscosity levels. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) its applications include anaemia, uterine bleeding, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. It also figures significantly in cancer prevention and relief.

A very common and inexpensive ingredient in Chinese cuisine, it also has been recognised within TCM as a medicinal food for thousands of years. Black Fungus, rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, fat, vitamins and polysaccharides, also contains vital trace elements like potassium, selenium and manganese essential to the body’s long-term health.

Black Fungus’ bittersweet taste is not particularly strong, its texture is decidedly meat-like however. Its’ presence in dishes serves rather to enhance the flavours of the main ingredients.

As a Diet Aid

Black Fungus is a potent ally in the fight against obesity. Whilst very low-calorie, its meat-like texture (and taste) when boiled make it particularly appetite satisfying. It is frequently added to other dishes to ‘enrich’ them, to bulk these up for dieting/ slimming purposes as well as for its valuable nutritional contents.

Definitely not ‘fast-food’ it needs extensive soaking and cleaning before use. Available from most Chinese supermarkets, Black Fungus is sometimes stocked by inner-city branches of Tesco.

‘Fat Busters’ to Enjoy Alongside It

Keen dieters can wash down their Black Fungus with other proven Chinese slimming, weight-loss and nutrition aids like Green Tea (Lu Cha) and Bojenmi Tea.

Green tea stimulates the heart, aids digestion and provides a general ‘wake up’ call. Encouraging fat metabolization and popular for dieting and slimming, general bodily detoxification is also encouraged by Green Tea drinking.

Anaemia sufferers (and women during their menstrual period) should avoid Green Tea as it inhibits iron-assimilation somewhat. These should switch to Bojenmi Tea (see below) and/ or consume Black Fungus to remedy iron deficiencies.

Bojenmi Cha, also known as “good health, nice appearance flesh-reducing tea” also encourages slimming and weight loss. A blend of 12 medicinal herbs based upon an ancient Ming Dynasty remedy, this pleasant tasting tea aids digestion, lowers cholesterol levels and has a mild laxative effect.

Overall

Both teas help flush out fatty deposits from internal systems. Inexpensive Green Tea’s fat removal effect’s are such that Chinese restaurants use left-overs to clean grease from tables at closing time.

Black Fungus, Green Tea and Bojenmi Tea all have internal cleansing, detoxifying and longevity-inducing effects encouraging their inclusion in anti-aging and health and fitness dietary regimes. All three can be found in most Chinese Supermarkets

 

The term “cooking” includes a wide range of methods, tools and combination of ingredients to create the flavor and digestibility of food. Cooking technique, known as culinary art, generally requires the selection, measurement and combining of ingredients in a controlled procedure in an effort to achieve the desired result. Constraints on success include the variability of ingredients, ambient conditions, tools, and the skill of the individual cooking. The diversity of cooking worldwide is a reflection of many nutritional, artistic, agricultural, economic, cultural and religious considerations that impact upon it. Cooking requires applying heat to a food which usually chemically transforms it and changing its flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritional properties. There is archaeological evidence that the primitive human being used to cook their food with fire that was the most important thing discovered by the primitive human being. Cooking food and cuisine culture vary from country to country and from one culture to another and each cuisine has its specific particularity. Nowadays, because of the modern life that changes everything around us and influence our life style and eating habits, people are less preparing their own food. Eating habits tend to unify people from different society. The food production and the process of eating obtain new characteristics. Food available around us seems to be very different from the one that we used to eat.

Eating habits and modern life

Everything is running in high speed, people do not have time for cooking, don`t has the desire and patience to stay longer in the kitchen, and they don`t have the willing to prepare their own food. Old generation still prefer to cook their own food unlike young people who prefer to eat fast food because they don’t want to spend long time cooking and the desire for the cooking. The modern life shapes our eating habits and makes us like slave following its speed. It`s not hard to find fast food restaurant they are everywhere and every corner. Fast food consumption cause damages to the social and economic life of the country and leads to many health problems such as obesity and heart diseases according to many studies. Also, many nutrition experts from different countries have already declared the epidemic character of fast food. The rapid process of globalization and modern life influence our eating’s habits and gives opportunity to fast food restaurants to grow and flourish. Fast food seems to become very common everywhere, though some positive aspect of the fast food in easy to prepare, available in many places, and it is a substantial meal. But in other hand, we can estimate that its negative aspects are more important and bigger. I think it is easy to understand that fast food is one of phenomenon that is going to be accepted by people. We are going to see the process of disappearance of the traditional culture with the development of fast food restaurants in all countries all over the world.

How to fight fast food addiction

The best example of the fast food success to change the modern life is the invasion of the world’s food market by the giant fast food company such as McDonald, KFC and others. According to McDonald`s web site, McDonald has about 29.000 restaurants in 120 countries all over the world, and serves nearly 54 million customers each day. As well as it indicates the fact of such changing in eating preferences and even in the way of life itself. There is no doubt that right now fast food changes the face of many nations and eating habits around the world. To sum up, unfortunately, it is hard to prevent these global changes that traditional food is going to be replaced by new foods that common for all people in all countries all over the world. But the good news is that, recently there are some people and some movements which try to contrast the process of modern life and ask people to go back to their traditional food. To solve this problem we need restaurants that offers traditional food, and able to attract large amount of faithful customers. Also parents must teach their children how to prepare and cook the traditional food. Many People figure out that traditional food is much better for our health, so they want to preserve and keep the cooking tradition from evaporating. There is enormous hope of people to preserve their food preparation customs and tradition. The major obstacles are the modern life style. Some people might say that it is difficult to preserve our traditional food because it takes a long time to prepare and people today can not spend a long time in cooking. Other people, especially older people might say that, it is unfortunate to destroy culture and tradition. Those people might be right.

Conclusion

In these days, people have more health problems that are related with the new eating habits and fast food consumption. Despite some advantages of fast food the harm caused by fast food does not outweigh its benefit. I think that people should consider the negative fact of fast food consumption and the benefits of preparing their own food at home. It`s unfair that the traditional food which arrive to us from generation to generation we are going to replace it with junk food that will harm us more than benefit us. It`s unfortunate to lose the cooking tradition and eating homemade food prepared by our mothers together around the table. I am sure that all of us must think over this problem and try to find the appropriate solution to save our cultures, our traditional foods, and more importantly our health. So we should take action immediately to preserve traditional food and encourage people to prepare their own dishes, so they can stay healthy and live longer. Even though fast food is cheap, convenient, yummy and available in every corner in our cities, but that does not mean that our health is cheaper than the fast food that we eat.

 

Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking, when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 20 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Children of the past moved… a lot, and their sensory world was nature based and simple. In the past, family time was often spent doing chores, and children had expectations to meet on a daily basis. The dining room table was a central place where families came together to eat and talk about their day, and after dinner became the center for baking, crafts and homework.

Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were what held families together. Juggling work, home and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, internet, videogames, iPods) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles. A 2010 Kaiser Foundation study showed that elementary aged children use on average 8 hours per day of entertainment technology, 75% of these children have TV’s in their bedrooms, and 50% of North American homes have the TV on all day. Add emails, cell phones, internet surfing, and chat lines, and we begin to see the pervasive aspects of technology on our home lives and family milieu. Gone is dining room table conversation, replaced by the “big screen” and take out. Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. Sedentary bodies bombarded with chaotic sensory stimulation, are resulting in delays in attaining child developmental milestones, with subsequent impact on basic foundation skills for achieving literacy. Hard wired for high speed, today’s young are entering school struggling with self regulation and attention skills necessary for learning, eventually becoming significant behavior management problems for teachers in the classroom.

So what is the impact of technology on the developing child? Children’s developing sensory and motor systems have biologically not evolved to accommodate this sedentary, yet frenzied and chaotic nature of today’s technology. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behavior disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect, much less understand. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the US. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders can be causally linked to technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. An urgent closer look at the critical factors for meeting developmental milestones, and the subsequent impact of technology on those factors, would assist parents, teachers and health professionals to better understand the complexities of this issue, and help create effective strategies to reduce technology use. The three critical factors for healthy physical and psychological child development are movement, touch and connection to other humans. Movement, touch and connection are forms of essential sensory input that are integral for the eventual development of a child’s motor and attachment systems. When movement, touch and connection are deprived, devastating consequences occur.

Young children require 3-4 hours per day of active rough and tumble play to achieve adequate sensory stimulation to their vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile systems for normal development. The critical period for attachment development is 0-7 months, where the infant-parent bond is best facilitated by close contact with the primary parent, and lots of eye contact. These types of sensory inputs ensure normal development of posture, bilateral coordination, optimal arousal states and self regulation necessary for achieving foundation skills for eventual school entry. Infants with low tone, toddlers failing to reach motor milestones, and children who are unable to pay attention or achieve basic foundation skills for literacy, are frequent visitors to pediatric physiotherapy and occupational therapy clinics. The use of safety restraint devices such as infant bucket seats and toddler carrying packs and strollers, have further limited movement, touch and connection, as have TV and videogame overuse. Many of today’s parents perceive outdoor play is ‘unsafe’, further limiting essential developmental components usually attained in outdoor rough and tumble play. Dr. Ashley Montagu, who has extensively studied the developing tactile sensory system, reports that when infants are deprived of human connection and touch, they fail to thrive and many eventually die. Dr. Montagu states that touch deprived infants develop into toddlers who exhibit excessive agitation and anxiety, and may become depressed by early childhood.

As children are connecting more and more to technology, society is seeing a disconnect from themselves, others and nature. As little children develop and form their identities, they often are incapable of discerning whether they are the “killing machine” seen on TV and in videogames, or just a shy and lonely little kid in need of a friend. TV and videogame addiction is causing an irreversible worldwide epidemic of mental and physical health disorders, yet we all find excuses to continue. Where 100 years ago we needed to move to survive, we are now under the assumption we need technology to survive. The catch is that technology is killing what we love the most…connection with other human beings. The critical period for attachment formation is 0 – 7 months of age. Attachment or connection is the formation of a primary bond between the developing infant and parent, and is integral to that developing child’s sense of security and safety. Healthy attachment formation results in a happy and calm child. Disruption or neglect of primary attachment results in an anxious and agitated child. Family over use of technology is gravely affecting not only early attachment formation, but also impacting negatively on child psychological and behavioral health.

Further analysis of the impact of technology on the developing child indicates that while the vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated, the visual and auditory sensory systems are in “overload”. This sensory imbalance creates huge problems in overall neurological development, as the brain’s anatomy, chemistry and pathways become permanently altered and impaired. Young children who are exposed to violence through TV and videogames are in a high state of adrenalin and stress, as the body does not know that what they are watching is not real. Children who overuse technology report persistent body sensations of overall “shaking”, increased breathing and heart rate, and a general state of “unease”. This can best be described as a persistent hypervigalent sensory system, still “on alert” for the oncoming assault from videogame characters. While the long term effects of this chronic state of stress in the developing child are unknown, we do know that chronic stress in adults results in a weakened immune system and a variety of serious diseases and disorders. Prolonged visual fixation on a fixed distance, two dimensional screen grossly limits ocular development necessary for eventual printing and reading. Consider the difference between visual location on a variety of different shaped and sized objects in the near and far distance (such as practiced in outdoor play), as opposed to looking at a fixed distance glowing screen. This rapid intensity, frequency and duration of visual and auditory stimulation results in a “hard wiring” of the child’s sensory system for high speed, with subsequent devastating effects on a child’s ability to imagine, attend and focus on academic tasks. Dr. Dimitri Christakis found that each hour of TV watched daily between the ages of 0 and 7 years equated to a 10% increase in attention problems by age seven years.

In 2001 the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement recommending that children less than two years of age should not use any technology, yet toddlers 0 to 2 years of age average 2.2 hours of TV per day. The Academy further recommended that children older than two should restrict usage to one hour per day if they have any physical, psychological or behavioral problems, and two hours per day maximum if they don’t, yet parents of elementary children are allowing 8 hours per day. France has gone so far as to eliminate all “baby TV” due to the detrimental effects on child development. How can parents continue to live in a world where they know what is bad for their children, yet do nothing to help them? It appears that today’s families have been pulled into the “Virtual Reality Dream”, where everyone believes that life is something that requires an escape. The immediate gratification received from ongoing use of TV, videogame and internet technology, has replaced the desire for human connection.

It’s important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioral health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships. While technology is a train that will continually move forward, knowledge regarding its detrimental effects, and action taken toward balancing the use of technology with exercise and family time, will work toward sustaining our children, as well as saving our world. While no one can argue the benefits of advanced technology in today’s world, connection to these devices may have resulted in a disconnection from what society should value most, children. Rather than hugging, playing, rough housing, and conversing with children, parents are increasingly resorting to providing their children with more videogames, TV’s in the car, and the latest iPods and cell phone devices, creating a deep and widening chasm between parent and child.

Cris Rowan, pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert has developed a concept termed ‘Balanced Technology Management’ (BTM) where parents manage balance between activities children need for growth and success with technology use. Rowan’s company Zone’in Programs Inc. http://www.zonein.ca has developed a ‘System of Solutions’ for addressing technology overuse in children through the creation of Zone’in Products, Workshops, Training and Consultation services.

So you’re vegan and have this passionate love of food. You would like to pursue this passion further, but you’re not sure what the vegan cooking school options are out there. Happily, there are plenty! There are quite a few schools that focus on plant-based meals, and many that aren’t exclusively vegan can be geared toward you, so you won’t find yourself chopping chickens and preparing fish if you’re not into that.

There are many casual plant-based cooking classes around the world if you’re looking for something just for fun without any fancy certification. In this article, though, I focus more on professional programs that have varying degrees of intensity. Some require only a little time and money if you don’t want to be a professional chef; others will take you the full distance to running your own kitchen.

Without further ado and in no particular order, here’s a list of some popular schools around the world, with some information about each.

Living Light Culinary Arts Institute
Where is it? Fort Bragg, California
What do they offer? 100% vegan and raw food instruction
When do the programs run? Multiple times a year, depending on the program
Website: rawfoodchef.com

The Living Light Culinary Arts Institute is located in a small coastal community on the Mendocino coast. If you love the ocean, temperate weather, and raw vegan cuisine, you’ll love this school. Run by Cherie Soria, the “mother of raw food”, this is THE raw foods institute. This is the one that draws people in from all around the world and produces top-of-the-line celebrity chefs of all kinds.

There are several types of courses, including a Gourmet Chef Certification Series (6 weeks), Advanced Instructor Training Certification Series (4 weeks), Raw Food Nutrition Educator Series, and the full-out Professional Chef Series, which runs almost an entire year, including a 250-day internship at the school.

Many of the well-known raw food chefs around the world went to Living Light for their training, including Chad Sarno and Jennifer Cornbleet.

The Natural Gourmet Institute
Where is it? New York, NY
What do they offer? Public classes and professional chef training that are plant-based and vegan-friendly
When do the programs run? Inquire by e-mail on their website
Website: naturalgourmetinstitute.com

The Chef’s Training program they offer is an intensive, professional course which can be taken part-time or full-time, but runs 619 hours. This school does teach people how to prepare seafood, chicken and eggs, but if you’re vegan you can opt out of that. This school teaches a wide range of cooking styles, including how to ferment, prepare raw foods and macrobiotic foods, and even Chinese medicine and medicinal cooking. The emphasis is on whole, plant foods.

The Natural Gourmet Institute offers a fun Friday night dinner, where the people enrolled in the school prepare a fine-dining experience for the general public at big, communal tables (with candlelight!), so if you’re in the area, you could swing by and see what it’s all about.

The Matthew Kenney Academyformerly the 105 Degrees Academy
Where is it? Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
What do they offer? Chef certification program in raw foods
When do the programs run? Monthly, or several times a year for the more advanced classes
Website: kenneycuisine.com

Matthew Kenney offers very small and personal raw food chef’s training classes (typically 4-8 people). It’s designed for beginners and chefs alike.

There are two 4-week training sessions – Level 1: Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine, and Level 2: Advanced Raw Cuisine. The Level 1 courses run every month and is Monday to Friday, 9am – 3pm. The Level 2 course runs 4 times a year and is the same hours as the Level 1 classes.

Cordon Vert School
Where is it? Altrincham, Cheshire, UK
What do they offer? Vegetarian leisure classes and workshops, a diploma program for professional chefs only
When do the programs run? Several times throughout the year; programs are short
Website: cordonvert.co.uk

The Cordon Vert School offers classes at their Vegetarian Society headquarters, and they even have rooms for lodging. They have a variety of vegetarian courses, ranging from 1 to 2 day workshops, classes for leisure, and professional classes. Their professional diploma class, a week in duration, is only available to professional chefs. However, their workshops and leisure courses are open to the general public, and occur frequently throughout the year.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts
Where is it? Austin, Texas
What do they offer? Full professional chef program that is vegan-friendly, public classes
When do the programs run? Begins every August and February
Website: naturalepicurean.com

This school specializes in vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, ayurvedic and raw food preparation and cuisine. They offer a full 900-hour professional chef training program. All of the training takes approximately a third of a year, if you jump straight from training into internship. This is an intensive course that will fully prepare you to work in a natural kitchen.

They also offer public classes, though they’re sparse and seldom due to the emphasis on the professional chef training program.

The School of Natural Cookery
Where is it? Boulder, Colorado
What do they offer? Professional training as a foundation course, with the option to go further
When do the programs run? Most are in the Fall and Spring
Website: naturalcookery.com

The foundation course at the School of Natural Cookery is a 16-week diploma course where you learn fundamentals, bread making, gastronomy, nutrition and more. If you achieve a very high mark in this course, you may take a 4-week personal chef course or teacher training course. However, in order to pursue the teacher training course, you must have finished their classes as well as have five years experience with natural food.

Courses are typically offered for a spring semester and a fall semester and run the duration of a typical school semester.

Vegan Culinary Academy
Where is it? Anguin, California
What do they offer? Online courses and a 1000 hour professional apprenticeship
When do the programs run? Anytime
Website: veganculinaryacademy.com

There are two major highlights of this school – first, someone who is looking for a professional apprenticeship opportunity will find it here, and it can be completed in six months to two years depending on how much you work, and second, they offer a distance learning program. The online program requires only that you have a camera and a computer with internet, and each student gets personal attention from the instructors in addition to all of the class materials and lessons. The apprenticeship is geared toward those who are already chefs, dietitians or food service directors.

Heaven on Earth Vegetarian Institute
Where is it? Hamilton-Stoney Creek, Ontario
What do they offer? A vegan, macrobiotic and ayurvedic 3-module program
When do the programs run? Mid-October to mid-March for all 3 modules
Website: heavenstudio.ca

This institute offers a Holistic Health Consultant & Cooking Certification program that runs in 3 modules and goes far beyond cooking. It delves into many aspects of holistic health, including yoga, pranayama, diet and lifestyle changes for preventing diseases, and of course healthy food preparation. All of the cooking is vegan with the exception of one class, where fish is included.

Natural Kitchen Cooking School
Where is it? Mercerfield, New Jersey, Haddonfield, New Jersey and New York City
What do they offer? A natural chef training program
When do the programs run? October to May, one weekend each month
Website: naturalkitchenschool.com

This school has several locations and occurs during weekends, making it more accessible. The class sizes are kept small (12 or less) so personal attention and assistance can be given.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it does cover the major vegan-friendly cooking schools out there. Every year, more and more small classes pop up in different cities, so if you’re just looking for some basic instruction and have no interest in pursuing a career in cooking, check out what your city (or nearby city) has to offer. If you are looking to get serious with preparing that awesome vegan food, there are a few great choices on this list that could help you achieve your dreams.

Communication is always one of the most important and vital strategic areas of an organization’s success. You can have the best or most innovative products or services, but if your internal and external communications are weak, then the demand for your products or services raises a personal flag of concern. When communicating the value of your products or services, you want to focus on how they will benefit your clients.

When planning your strategy for Integrated Marketing Communication or IMC, you want to have dialogue with your customers by inviting interaction through the coordinated efforts of content, timing and delivery of your products or services. By ensuring direction, clarity, consistency, timing and appearance of your messages, conveyed to your targeted audience, these factors will help avoid any confusion about the benefits of your brand, through the connection of instant product recognition.

When looking at your marketing mix, you’re examining price, distribution, advertising and promotion, along with customer service. Integrated marketing communication is part of that marketing mix included in your marketing plan. IMC strategies define your target audience, establishes objectives and budgets, analyzes any social, competitive, cultural or technological issues, and conducts research to evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional strategies.

If companies are ethically planning, communicating, and following industry guidelines, they will most likely earn the trust of their customers and target audience. There are five basic tools of integrated marketing communication:

1. Advertising:

This tool can get your messages to large audiences efficiently through such avenues as radio, TV, Magazines, Newspapers (ROP), Internet, Billboards and other mobile technological communication devices. This method can efficiently reach a large number of consumers, although the costs may be somewhat expensive.

2. Sales Promotion:

This tool is used through coupons, contests, samples, premiums, demonstrations, displays or incentives. It is used to accelerate short-term sales, by building brand awareness and encouraging repeat buying.

3. Public Relations:

This integrated marketing communications tool is initiated through public appearances, news/press releases or event sponsorships, to build trust and goodwill by presenting the product, company or person in a positive light.

4. Direct Marketing:

This tool will utilized email, mail, catalogs, encourage direct responses to radio and TV, in order to reach targeted audiences to increase sales and test new products and alternate marketing tactics.

5. Personal Selling:

Setting sales appointments and meetings, home parties, making presentations and any type of one-to-one communication, to reach your customers and strengthen your relationship with your clients, initiate this IMC tool.

Decisions linking the overall objectives and strategies during the marketing planning phases help to evaluate and fine-tune the specific activities of integrated marketing communication. Before selecting an IMC tool, marketing, product and brand managers must look at social, competitive, legal, regulatory, ethics, cultural and technological considerations. One thing you want to avoid when activating the tools of integrated marketing communication is reaching inappropriate audiences and causing controversy. That could be damaging when trying to build brand awareness and encourage consumer spending with your company. When marketing managers examine the beliefs, emotions and behavior of their targeted audience towards their brand, they can influence their beliefs to achieve product awareness, by attracting attention to their promotional campaigns.