Becoming familiar with Halal

Halal is an Arabic word meaning ‘lawful’ which is used in the Muslim world to designate practices and food that are accepted under Muslim law. When they think of halal most people associate the term with meat, but it is a much wider concept. Sweets, pizzas, sparkling wine… at Alimentaria we learned more about halal and the great business opportunity it affords. 

It’s no longer just about eating

DietaPaleo It’s no longer just about eatingWe’re witnessing a revolution in the diet world, and the fact is that it’s no longer just about eating but about adapting to the person, their lifestyle, their preferences and their beliefs. Vegetarian or vegan diets are familiar worldwide and have millions of followers. They are so deeply embedded that they are even reflected by the restaurant sector and it is common to find haute cuisine vegetarian and vegan restaurants in every city.

But there are more and more people with alternative lifestyles who are adapting their diets to their beliefs, coming up with new eating plans. An example of this is flexitarianism or the flexitarian diet, which is governed by vegetarian principles – fruits and vegetables – but very occasionally allows the inclusion of some form of meat, though never as the main ingredient. Flexitarianism is the perfect option for people who want to live a healthy life without relinquishing the occasional new dish in a restaurant or at home.

Another trend that has experienced a real boom is the Paleo lifestyle. Addicts of this diet maintain that it is the healthiest way of eating because it is the only one that takes a nutritional approach to our genetic make-up. Its practitioners point out that modern diets, full of refined foods, trans-fatty acids and sugar, are the cause of many degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, infertility and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and that by adapting our diets to that of Palaeolithic man we will obtain all the nutrients necessary to keep strong, healthy and full of energy. The Paleo diet thus focuses on eating fruits and vegetables – rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which have been proven to reduce the likelihood of suffering degenerative diseases – along with healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, fish oils and free-range meat; products rich in monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 which significantly reduce the incidence of obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive impairment.

These alternative diets are winning over more and more people, so it is increasingly common to find restaurants dedicated to people who engage in these lifestyles, such as flexitarian eatery Flax&Kale, Neichel, the Polo Restaurant and the Garlana, all of which have Paleo options on the menu. Having said that, we should also champion the virtues of our rich and varied Mediterranean diet which forms the basis for Spanish cuisine and this week has been very evident at Alimentaria.




Millennial brides, proactive and connected

Bride Millennial brides, proactive and connectedYoung, busy and hyper-connected: these are some of the characteristics that could be used to describe the lifestyles of the Millennials, the people born between the 1980s and 2000 who are thus the current and future brides of the world. According to the results of the survey ‘Millennial Brides, Born in the 1980s, Getting Married Today’ by professor José Luís Nueno (IESE) for Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, the girls are in charge of organising the wedding these days. Even now, in the 21st century, the grooms play a much more marginal role, though without losing an iota of their charm, but very much on the sidelines. So without much support from their partners, the women are the real driving force behind weddings all over the world, and in Mediterranean countries in particular they are forced to become very organised so as not to waste a single moment of their precious free time.

The choice of wedding dress is a very special and magical moment for these young women who, in contrast to their mothers and grandmothers, find out about every style and price on the internet through blogs, apps and social networks. The so-called ‘shopping journey’ thus starts online, but it still ends up in a traditional bridal shop with the Millennial bride, surrounded by girlfriends and family members, refusing to relinquish this part of the wedding ritual in the company of her loved ones while choosing the most important dress of her life. Furthermore, they tend to have great taste and love a bespoke dress, which is normally an adaption of a model from the designer’s prêt-a-couture collection.

And as they never have enough time, the services of a wedding planner are becoming more and more popular. This is the person charged with sourcing suppliers and organising the perfect event. The price of the average wedding, which has been falling year-on-year due to the economic crisis, is beginning to recover, and even though economies are still being made, the dress is the only element to enjoy immunity and escape any cutbacks.

At Fira de Barcelona, between 26 April and 1 May, a new edition of Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week is taking place, featuring catwalk shows by the top national and international brands and the presence of the leading operators in the bridal industry which, thanks to the results of this survey by BBFW, already know how to seduce these Millennial brides (and grooms!).

Serious games

With only a few bricks and pieces you can build a genuine vehicle designed by oneself. That’s what many of us have done hundreds of times when we were kids (and also adults …) with a few pieces of Lego. “I’ll make this bike yellow and I’ll put larger wheels” or “with this handle it will look really cool” are some of the phrases that decorated the whole process.

But games eventually stop… or become perfected. There is a culture called Custom which defines those passionate for the two-wheelers who take their passion a little further and build their own bikes from scratch with selected parts or even custom-made. The name first appeared in the USA in the 50s and has spread worldwide.

Custom bikes have a mostly American flavour and many evolve from the Harley-Davidson aesthetics and are even based on actual models of the legendary Milwaukee firm. So hearing about Bobbers, Choppers, Cutdowns, Scramblers or Rat Bikes is quite usual in this world.

For motorcycle lovers, master builders or just those appreciate unique pieces, the new Motoh! Barcelona show which opens today at the Montjuïc venue has created a dedicated area custom bikes where we will see some of these pieces of art and craftsmanship that, far from remaining in museums, were created to cruise the highways.

The liver, the silent sufferer

Liver The liver, the silent sufferer

The liver is an organ that rarely complains. In fact, many people who have a chronic liver disease don’t know it. Its existence goes unnoticed and it is rare for it to be diagnosed before the first symptoms appear. Today, on the first day of the Congress of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, which has brought more than 10,000 experts from around the world to Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via Exhibition Centre, we talked with Dr. Pere Ginès, head of the Hospital Clínic‘s Hepatology Department in Barcelona and Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona.

What do we understand by liver diseases?
It is a very broad term that refers to any disease occurring in the liver. The most common are the outcome of chronic inflammation over many years that may be caused by a hepatitis virus infection, metabolic diseases, long-term alcohol consumption or other autoimmune diseases.

How have these diseases and their treatment evolved?
Today, there are vaccines for hepatitis A and B and this has contributed significantly to no new cases being detected. And very effective antiviral drugs have emerged for the treatment of hepatitis C, which is very prevalent in our region (more than 100,000 people are infected by this virus in Catalonia). However, there has been a considerable increase in the number of cases of “non-alcoholic fatty liver”, that is, people who accumulate fat in their liver because of severe obesity or diabetes.

How should we look after our liver?
With a balanced diet, not putting on weight and drinking alcohol with moderation. And what does that mean? Not very much alcohol at all. It is considered that men are exposed to a risk of chronic liver disease if they consume more than 40 grammes of pure alcohol a day for 10 years. If you drink three beers a day, you are already exceeding that threshold, for example.

What is the key to diagnosis and treatment?
The most important factor is early detection of a chronic liver disease. There are many sufferers who don’t realise it; it is silent and shows no symptoms until it is in a very advanced stage. Current research is focusing on new, simpler tests that could be included in routine check-ups such as those used to detect blood sugar or cardiovascular diseases, which would enable us to know what state our liver is in at an early stage.

Are more donors needed?
The number of donors in Catalonia exceeds most European countries, the USA, Canada or Australia. However, more donors are needed. To give an example: in Europe, it is calculated that 170,000 people die each year of liver cirrhosis, compared with only 5,500 transplants a year.


Smart sewing machines are here at last!

HMF16 Smart sewing machines are here at last!

In the early 1800s, most people did not have enough money to spend on clothes, not to mention the fact that there were very few shops in which to buy them. In those days, nearly all clothes were made by hand. Families made their own trousers, shirts, dresses and shoes stitch by stitch with a needle and thread. However, in 1846 Elias Howe patented the first practical sewing machine, revolutionising the approach to making clothes, and in 1889 a Boston machinist called Isaac Merritt Singer patented the first electrical sewing machine for domestic use, transforming the task into something within the reach of every family.

Since then, the rattle of a sewing machine has been a familiar sound in most households. Families used to adjust trousers, sew on buttons and even create their own clothes from scratch at home. But the years passed, and along with the growth of the global economy, new fashions and plunging clothes prices, sewing machines were relegated to a dark and dusty corner of the wardrobe.

Yet this would not last forever. Today, the technological boom and the increasing popularity of Do it Yourself has merged with tradition to revive the art of sewing, as well as making it accessible to even the most cack-handed amongst us. These new smart sewing machines combine the traditional appearance of yore with tactile, interactive screens that are very similar to the menus on mobile phones, making sewing more accessible than ever. They even include step-by-step tutorials so that the skill is not restricted to a few experts.

Machines like this, and experts in their use, which can transform the art of sewing into a pleasurable hobby on which to spend a few hours releasing your daily stress while exercising your creativity, can be found at the forthcoming Handmade Festival at Fira de Barcelona.

Fira in 100’’

Explaining that Fira de Barcelona is one of the largest trade fair institutions in Europe in the time it takes to travel in a lift or answer a WhatsApp or two is difficult but not impossible, as shown in this video.

New images and content to present—in just 100 seconds—the potential of an institution with over 80 years’ experience organising trade fairs and backing innovation, internationalisation and the social and economic promotion of this country. With a portfolio of over 80 shows and conferences, bringing together 30,000 direct and represented companies and visitors from over 200 countries, it has become a major global events operator thanks to its track record, activity and leadership.

Constantí Serrallonga and Fira’s DNA

CS Constantí Serrallonga and Fira’s DNA

Last November, economist Constantí Serrallonga was appointed general manager of Fira de Barcelona. Before taking up his post, however, he already knew a few things about trade fairs and conferences: as the manager of Barcelona City Council he was frequently involved in the trade fair milieu, plus his experience in other spheres (hospitality, TMB, the private sector, etc.) has given him a multifaceted and global perspective of the economic and social spheres. A perspective very close to that of the trade fair business.

Now, looking at it from the inside, he confesses that he is even more aware of the role played by Fira, particularly with regard to SMEs, the region, the impact on employment, the generation of wealth, ‘and a social value that can’t be measured in economic terms,’ he notes.

What major goals have you set yourself?
I want to update and drive forward Fira’s Strategic Plan in order to identify the challenges ahead of us and our internal and external opportunities, putting an emphasis on teamwork which, in an organization like this, is absolutely fundamental.

The needs of the business and economic world, not to mention the social and political ones, are demanding and ever-changing. Serrallonga is aware of this and emphasises that ‘Fira holds a prominent position in the national and international market which we intend to strengthen, anticipating the needs expressed by society and the economic sectors.’

Fira is not just about the economy but also has a public and civic value, as highlighted in a recent study by ESADE business school. The general manager confirms that the creation of social value should be seen as the institution’s contribution to society as a whole, ‘in terms of improving living conditions, creating wealth and wellbeing, generating opportunities, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and collective initiatives… ”

Perhaps the worst of the crisis has now passed, although its effects are still being felt by many individuals, families and companies, and we are now in a kind of permanent limbo of uncertainty.’ This is how Constantí Serrallonga sees the future in this context:

I think Fira will continue doing what it is best equipped to do: being alert to demands in its sector when it comes to creating or attracting trade shows and congresses; taking advantage of the dimension of Barcelona as a major international platform for business, and supporting the business sector. All this, as well as innovating in products, services and the way we relate to our exhibitors and visitors. By definition, trade fairs are dynamic entities, and this is inherent in Fira de Barcelona’s DNA.

Read the full interview in Firanews 




Apprende inglés

AppsPost Apprende inglés

Mejorar el inglés es uno de los propósitos más recurrentes, ya sea a principios de año, a la vuelta de las vacaciones o al empezar el curso académico. Cualquier momento es bueno para hacerlo y la falta de tiempo o dinero ya no puede ser una excusa. Las nuevas aplicaciones para smartphones nos permiten aprender inglés en cualquier momento y además de forma gratuita. En el portal Toolbox del programa educativo mSchools, impulsado por la Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCB), podemos encontrar un catálogo online de aplicaciones para estudiar idiomas evaluadas por docentes siguiendo criterios educativos.

El catálogo presenta una gran variedad de ofertas como Duolingo: Learn Lenguages Free, una app que incluye diferentes etapas de aprendizaje de vocabulario y expresiones y que permite estudiar otras lenguas aparte del inglés, o Phrasalstein Phone, donde el doctor Phrasalstein y sus amigos nos ayudarán a perder el miedo a los temidos “Phrasal Verbs” y a memorizarlos.

Otras apps como Learn English with ABA o 6 minute English Listening optan por utilizar contenido multimedia en forma de video o audio para impartir sus cursos. Ofrecen contenido en línea – o en el caso de esta última también para descargar – que permite practicar el “listening” o el “reading”.

Por su parte, el British Council también cuenta con varias aplicaciones para aprender inglés a través de juegos, podcasts y videos. Alguna de las más populares son Learn English Great Videos, con la que se puede mejorar el inglés y, de paso, los conocimientos sobre la cultura y forma de vida británicas; o IELTS Word Power, aplicación que resulta de gran ayuda para preparar el examen IELTS.

Pero para los que puedan permitirse una inmersión total en la lengua de Shakespeare, el Salón de los Idiomas/Aseproce, que se celebra hasta el domingo 13 de marzo en el marco del Saló de l’Ensenyament de Fira de Barcelona, presenta los cursos más innovadores, como los que compaginan el aprendizaje del inglés con la práctica de deportes acuáticos o el cuidado de animales.

The Mobile’s backstage

To host an event like the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Fira de Barcelona’s employees are ”mobilized”. Spending months, weeks and thousands of hours to make everything, even unnoticeable details for visitors, work perfectly. What’s behind the event? The figures speak for themselves: 30 programmers, more than 1,000 chefs and waiters, 60,000 food services, 1,000 hosts and hostesses, 7,500 builders, 2,000 trailer trucks, 1,500 tensabarriers, 1,000 barriers … Today we introduce you to some of the faces in the backstage of the MWC.

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