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25 Truly Amazing Places You Must Visit Before You Die

25 Truly Amazing Places You Must Visit Before You Die

Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil, ladies and gentlemen. (Or in more modern terms, create a new note on Evernote.) It’s time to create that bucket list you’ve been meaning to write up. Item #1: Create a bucket list. Item #2: Travel the world.

About that second item …You’re going to need a few target destinations to lead your adventure. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. When on a journey to travel the globe, make sure each of these 25 amazing places are on the itinerary.

1. The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

great barrier reef

      Photo credit: Source

      The Great Barrier Reef is the largest collection of coral reefs in the world, spanning over 1,400 miles. It’s so large that it can be seen from space, and it’s among one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. It is the place to go diving, offering a one-of-a-kind display of underwater life.

      2. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

      pyramids of giza

        As the only one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World still largely intact, the Pyramids of Giza are definitely worth a visit. Dating back to around 2,560 BC, the Great Pyramid of Giza stood as the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years.

        3. Stonehenge, Amesbury, England

        Stonehenge

            Photo credit: Source

            Lots of mystery surrounds Stonehenge, and contrary to those who believe it’s just a pile of 25-ton rocks, it’s actually a beautiful sight. Book a guided tour to visit the center, and at sunset, enjoy the stunning glow of the setting sun between Stonehenge’s pillars.

            4. Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia

            salt flats

              This massive salt flat–the largest in the world–spans a massive 4,086 square miles. Formed by several ancient lakes, this salt flat becomes so reflective in the rainy season that it’s used to calibrate satellites. It’s effectively the world’s largest mirror and a breathtaking sight.

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              5. The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

              grand canyon

                Carved over thousands of years by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold that one simply can’t fathom without being there. The massive rock walls span for over 200 miles.

                6. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

                antelope canyon

                    Photo credit: Source

                    The Antelope Canyon in Arizona is a picturesque series of crevices you wouldn’t believe wasn’t a photography trick until you checked it out yourself. The way water carved out the crevices millions of years ago–coupled with the manner in which the light hits each wall–makes the rocks appear different colors, creating a dazzling display.

                    7. Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Chile

                    easter Island

                      Like Stonehenge, no one really knows the story behind the 887 Easter Island “moai” statues. Even so, they offer visitors a great adventure. Plus, travelers can enjoy other Easter Island adventure options, like hiking and scuba diving.

                      8. Reed Flute Caves, China

                      reed flute caves

                        Today, the Reed Flute Caves are highlighted by multicolored lights, turning the 240-meter-long cave system into a stunning experience. As one of China’s most popular attractions for over 1,200 years, it’s worth the visit to view these incredible stalactite, stalagmite, and pillar formations.

                        9. The Great Wall of China, China

                        great wall of china

                          This massive, man-made wall stretches thousands of miles long. Not only does the marvelous structure leave many visitors scrambling to pick up their jaws knowing it was made by human hands, but it’s atop a mountain ridge that delivers awe-inspiring views of the area.

                          10. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

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                              Photo credit: Source

                              This area is among one of the most beautiful in the world, with crystal clear waters, lush green scenery, and stunning waterfalls.

                              11. Zhangye Danxia Landform, Gansu, China

                                This incredible collection of rock formations is one of the most amazing worldwide. The rainbow rock features were created by sandstone and mineral deposits laid down over 24 million years ago.

                                12. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

                                great blue hole

                                  Off the coast of Belize, divers find a submarine sinkhole called The Great Blue Hole, where the water is 407 feet deep. It’s over 980 feet wide and can easily be seen from above.

                                  13. Redwood National Park, California, USA

                                  redwoods

                                    The combined Redwood National and State Parks span over 133,000 acres across California’s north coast. These parks are home to the tallest growing species on Earth, the redwood tree, which can grow to be well over 300 feet tall.

                                    14. Yellowstone National Park, USA

                                    yellowstone national park

                                        Photo credit: Source

                                        Yellowstone National Park spans over three states and features a variety of sights you don’t want to miss. This collection of hot springs and geysers will truly have you amazed. Some of the more popular areas in the park include the Old Faithful geyser and the Mammoth Hot Springs area.

                                        15. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

                                        bora bora

                                          Bora Bora is the poster child of the iconic tropical paradise. This island sits 143 miles northwest of Papeete, in the South Pacific, and features the extraordinary turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and beautiful greenery you’d hope to find in the tropics–only it’s more fantastic than you can imagine.

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                                          16. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

                                          taj mahal

                                            The Taj Mahal is a truly beautiful architectural feat. It’s a massive, white, marble-domed mausoleum constructed in the 1600s that attracts over three million visitors each year.

                                            17. Tianzi Mountains, China

                                            tanzi mountains

                                              Set as the inspiration for the floating mountains in the movie Avatar, these formations are more breathtaking than you can imagine. The area spans 16,550 acres, and the tallest peak rises about 4,140 feet above sea level.

                                              18. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

                                                Angkor Wat was previously a Hindu and Buddhist temple built in the 12th century. Today, it’s an architectural wonder worth visiting.

                                                19. Machu Picchu, Peru

                                                machu picchu

                                                    Photo credit: Source

                                                    Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca site that dates back to the 15th century and sits atop a mountain above the Sacred Valley. The restored site offers a fantastic look into Inca history and an even more fabulous view of the astounding scenery.

                                                    20. Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

                                                    glacier national park

                                                      Glacier National Park offers some of the most stunning scenes in the US. It’s full of beautiful mountains, green alpine forests, and clear lakes. There are over 700 miles of trails, making it a hiker’s paradise.

                                                      21. Pamukkale, Turkey

                                                        This area is home to natural hot springs that leave travelers in awe. Don’t end your journey without bathing in one of the remarkable natural tubs.

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                                                        22. Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia

                                                        victoria falls

                                                            Photo credit: Source

                                                            Are you ready to be impressed? You will be when you visit Victoria Falls. This waterfall measures one mile across and is 354 feet high. That–along with the fact that more than 260,000 gallons of water flow over the edge per second–makes it the largest singular waterfall in the world.

                                                            23. Venice, Italy

                                                            venice

                                                              Venice is the perfect destination for travelers seeking a unique city experience. The canals that run through the city act as roadways, providing a unique transportation option while delivering a beautiful scene.

                                                              24. Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil

                                                                  Photo credit: Source

                                                                  This area features a collection of clean, white sand dunes intertwined with crystal clear blue waters, creating the kind of picturesque beauty you’d hope for–but rarely see–in a beach.

                                                                  25. Highlands, Iceland

                                                                  iceland highlands northern lights

                                                                    A dazzling Northern Lights show is something that should be on every bucket list, and one of the best places to see the show is in Iceland’s highlands.

                                                                    After visiting these incredible places, settle down in one of these destinations abroad.

                                                                    Featured photo credit: martinak15 via flickr.com

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                                                                    8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                                                                    8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

                                                                    Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

                                                                    “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

                                                                    While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

                                                                    Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

                                                                    1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

                                                                    The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

                                                                    Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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                                                                    The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

                                                                    2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

                                                                    According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

                                                                    Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

                                                                    Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

                                                                    3. You could suffer from excess weight

                                                                    When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

                                                                    Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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                                                                    If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

                                                                    Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

                                                                    4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

                                                                    Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

                                                                    The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

                                                                    5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

                                                                    I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

                                                                    Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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                                                                    A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

                                                                    6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

                                                                    Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

                                                                    When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

                                                                    Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

                                                                    At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

                                                                    7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

                                                                    Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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                                                                    Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

                                                                    8. You could end up eating more processed food

                                                                    Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

                                                                    Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

                                                                    That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

                                                                    The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

                                                                    On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

                                                                     

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