Healthy Lifestyle Fitness, Nutrition and Overall Personal Wellness <![CDATA[ Smart-Looking Scale]]> he DVS 250 Digital Vanity Scale is a smart looking
device that works on four "triple A" batteries enclosed.
The scale is easy to set up. Just unpack the box,
take off the plastic wrapping and install the four
batteries. Each battery is installed in series.
Place the scale on the floor and test it out. Step on
the scale and in seconds your weight will be displayed
in pounds and tenths of a pound. For instance, 100 1/2
pounds appears as 100.5 pounds. This is a big advantage
because you can see the fractional pounds gained/lost 
each day.
The advertised features are:
o accurate weight readings
o instant readings
o large high grade backlight display
o high tempered glass with accents
o slim glass platform for years of use
o two year guarantee
o over 300 pound capacity
o scale size slightly over 1 square foot
o 10 second shutoff
The reviewer followed the easy setup instructions and
tested out the scale on different occasions. The scale
works well.

Published on Amazon First
]]> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 03:21:45 +0000
<![CDATA[ Veggies Rule!]]> My Beef With Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet
is an important resource for people who need to make more optimal
food choices. A beauty of this book is that the author cites classic
high nutrient choices for providing mineral supplementation ; such as, broccoli
which is rich in calcium. Tofu and collard greens are calcium-rich too.
There are other superfoods. For instance, flaxseed is an omega superstar.
The author explains why grass fed cattle produce better beef than
grain fed cattle. The book states that shopping for whole grain,
vegetables, fruits, soy and legumes results in food consumption
that has less inflammatory response within the body chemistry.
Quinoa is a better choice than gluten-based wheat. Quinoa has
lysine, manganese, magnesium, natural calcium and phosphorus. 
In fact, the Incas considered it to be "the mother of all grains".
The author explains how certain fruits are high in protein.
Examples are peaches and strawberries. In addition, a plant
diet will produce fewer germs than meat. For instance, potatoes
are nutrient-rich with plenty of vitamin K. Similarly, dark
chocolate is high in anti-oxidants.
At the end of the book, the author provides sample diets which
are nutrient-packed and low in sugar and bad fats. Examples are
pumpkin muffins, mushoom pizza, hummus and flatbread burritos.
Flatbread is a better dietary choice because it is lower in carbs.
In addition, these preparations can be made with natural sweeteners 
like stevia, cinnamon or anise. 
My Beef With Meat is an important dietary resource for patients and
their physicians. The book is well written with many examples
of specific foods mapped to their nutrient content. The author has
provided a number of popular food preparations that are high in
nutrients while being low in bad fats, sugar and germs. The book
is well written and brief enough to be read quickly.

First Published on Blogcritics
]]> Sun, 30 Jun 2013 13:43:43 +0000
<![CDATA[Avocado Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Mon, 11 Feb 2013 07:39:58 +0000 <![CDATA[Ice Hockey Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Mon, 4 Feb 2013 16:43:11 +0000 <![CDATA[ It's That Near-Twinkie Goodness ... Without All The Bankruptcy!]]>

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, for the last time, I know! It isn't a Twinkie, but, since Hostess's unfortunate fiscal collapse, it's the closest we've been in a long time. I happened across an article in a business section of a newspaper that talked about how Little Debbie was going to use her 'street smarts' to launch what the writer was drubbing as 'The Near-Twinkie.' Two days later, I happened across a box at my corner Target stores, and, on an impulse, I picked 'em up.

For the record, no, it isn't the ill-fated Twinkie, but you know what? I'm no culinary expert, but it's a reasonable facsimile. No, the golden cake doesn't have quite the same level of moist sponginess that Hostess managed to squeeze into theirs, but what there is works just fine. I'll admit that, by the last bite, it may've all been a bit slow heading down the esophagus; still, that's a small price to pay (compared to the hefty $75-$100 a box of Twinkies will run you on eBay these days).

And, of course, there's a creamy center -- a white, sugary concoction that we were all brought up to love and crave so well. What Little Debbie pumps into the center of its golden delight isn't quite as sweet nor as creamy as I can recall from my days dining on Twinkies. It doesn't ooze around as well off the tongue as it should. I'll hold out hope that the formula gets a modest adjustment as the days wear on.

So, of course not. It ain't the Twinkie of our youth. Hostess has announced that it has several interested parties vying to take over that throne, so, until that fateful day, Little Debbie is just going to have to do, kids. It ain't a bad substitute, and it could be far worse. For now, Little Debbie has found a way back into my heart ... erm, I meant 'stomach.']]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 09:57:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sun, 9 Sep 2012 18:59:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Super Size Me Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> What can I say?  This is ridiculously stupid for the fact that Morgan Spurlock tries to point out how unhealthy McDonald's food is by eating it for a whole month.  Of course if you eat crap like that for a month, you're gonna get tons of health problems.  But really, if you eat too much of anything, even healthy foods (such as only eating fruit for a whole month), you're gonna get sick one way or another.  Moderation is the key for everything.

You don't need a movie like this telling you that fast food is unhealthy.  Just use common sense.

]]> Wed, 5 Sep 2012 15:26:03 +0000
<![CDATA[ Good Multi for Certain Buyers]]> Rainbow Light's Brain & Focus Multi is a food-base formula rather than something only concocted in the lab. This gives it better bio-availability and it is less harsh on you system. Many multis have given me an upset stomach if I don't eat food with them, but not these. That said, I'd still make sure I took these with a meal for better absorption. On that point, the daily dosage is broken down into 3 tablet a day, one with each main meal. This is another plus if you care about spreading out the nutrition over the course of a day rather than all at once.

Folks who just want a simple singe dose a day though may not like that. I suppose you could take 3 tablets at once, but I've not tried that and many of the vitamins could be consider mega-dosed at that point. And the Brain & Focus Multis are more expensive than your standard Centrum or generic multivitamin. Also, being food-based, they have a bit of a odor and slight flavor that may put some people off, though it was mild enough for me not to care. I didn't notice any special focus and concentration benefits after a month of taking these, nor any other improvement in health. Only the lack of any upset stomach. For that alone they are worth considering. If you don't want a large dose of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, and you eat a healthy, varied diet, then you could take just one, maybe two, of these a day. Then I would say they are a very cost effective multivitamin.

~ Kort]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:10:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ One of the Better Powered Toothbrushes]]> Oral-B Smartseries 5000. In addition, I have a slim Oral-B Pulsonic that I use when traveling. I also have an Oral-B Professional Care 3000 that does a decent job of cleaning. Its brush head is smaller and less effective than the 5000's, and it has only 3 modes rather than 5 and doesn't come with a SmartGuide™. The 5000 is less bulky and seems to hold a charge longer as well, nearly 2 weeks. Aside from that, they are fairly similar. They both pause when it is time to move to a new brushing zone and have the pressure sensor that lights a red LED when you press too hard.

There are a few quibbles. The pause that lets me know I need to change where I'm brushing is a bit too long, esp. when it reaches 3 pulses. It is louder than Sonicare electric toothbrushes though not as noisy as the Pulsonic or 3000 model. The travel case is bulky and somewhat unnecessary if you don't plan to use it when traveling. I don't use the SmartGuide but I can see how it may be helpful to young children when brushing and may add a bit of fun to the process. Personally, I'd rather save a little money and just get the brush. Speaking of cost, replacement brush heads are rather expensive as well.

I find it easier to get a thorough brushing with a powered toothbrush. A standard manual brush can work too too, but it takes less effort when using a brush like the 5000. In the past I used a Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite R732 and I have to give the cleaning edge to the Sonicare. But the Smartseries 5000 is still an effective cleaning tool for someone willing to invest a bit in their oral hygiene.

~ Kort]]> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 21:31:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Fruit Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 23:26:05 +0000 <![CDATA[ IT'S EASY TO MISS THE SIGNS OF THIS STAFF INFECTION -KNOWLEDGE IS POWER]]> My rating of +5 is based on the importance of being knowledgeable about MRSA

I was prompted to write this "review" about MRSA  (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) for several reasons; one being the fact that I have had this staff infection, another is that it is EXTREMELY contagious and spreads to others quickly and easily, and the most important reason - I want to get this information out because I have seen first hand the ignorance of some families that know they have it, yet refuse to get treatment for it, only to have it spread to their children, who in turn are sent to school by the parents, threatening a school-wide epidemic among all the other students and staff members.

MRSA, in short, is a staff infection that is resistant to most antibiotics.  A normal antibiotic such as Amoxicillan, Penicillan, etc. will not even touch this type of infection, so it is imperative we all know what MRSA looks like so we can be treated as quickly as possible.  It can get into your bloodstream, your urine, and on your skin.  MRSA is classified into two groups; CA-MRSA (this stands for Community Acquired) and HA-MRSA (Hospital Acquired) - Community Acquired infection spreads very easily through normal human contact and is spread from touching one's clothing, skin, and any surface the infected person has touched such as chairs, benches, utensils, furniture, etc.  Hospital Acquired MRSA comes from surgical sites, IV and other puncture sites, and can reach into wounds and eventually into the body infecting the blood, urine, and other body organs.

I basically just want to talk about the Community Acquired MRSA - unless we decide to live in a bubble, none of us are protected against this infection and we must use precautions and basic MRSA knowledge to help protect ourselves and our families.


I acquired MRSA on the back of my leg when I worked at a Correctional Center; we had a large group of inmates come from another facility with a huge outbreak of MRSA.  We were extremely careful to be protected; using gloves and other protective gear and devices; but I somehow got it on my leg, through my uniform pants (scrubs) - I assumed I had maybe sat on a chair that an infected inmate had used. Being extra careful did not prevent me from getting it - I stress this because I protected myself and still contracted it, so being in contact with everyday people leaves you at an even higher risk.  I immediately knew what it was and starting on Bactrim, a strong antibiotic.  In the meantime, I had a large red bump on my leg that needed to be squeezed periodically to get rid of any pus, and of course I had it covered with sterile dressings at all times.  Even after the infection was gone, I was left with a slightly discolored lump that will never go away.  I consider myself lucky that I was aware it was MRSA immediately and was treated before it had a chance to spread to others, or get more severe.  Knowledge is power!!

Here are signs and symptoms of CA- MRSA:

  • cellulitis (infection of the skin or the fat and tissues that lie immediately beneath the skin, usually starting as small red bumps in the skin),
  • boils (pus-filled infections of hair follicles),
  • abscesses (collections of pus in under the skin),
  • sty (infection of eyelid gland),
  • carbuncles (infections larger than an abscess, usually with several openings to the skin), and
  • impetigo (a skin infection with pus-filled blisters).

MRSA Skin Infection: Symptoms

MRSA infections can look exactly like ordinary staph infections of the skin: a small red bump, pimple, or boil. The area may be red, painful, swollen, or warm to the touch. Pus or other fluids may drain from the sore. Most MRSA skin infections are mild, but they can change, becoming deeper and more serious.


MRSA, Spider Bite or Something Else?

Bug bites, rashes, and other skin conditions can be confused with MRSA because the symptoms may be similar: red, swollen, warm, or tender. ER doctors routinely ask patients who arrive with a painful spider bite whether they actually saw the spider, because these "bites" so often turn out to be MRSA instead. When a skin infection spreads or does not improve after 2-3 days on usual antibiotics, it may be MRSA.


MRSA Skin Infection: Abscess

MRSA can sometimes cause a deeper infection called an abscess, which is a collection of pus that can be underneath the skin. A minor skin infection that goes without proper, timely treatment, can develop into an abscess. This type of infection may require surgical drainage and antibiotics to heal.


If you suspect you may have MRSA, a simple test of the infected skin area is used to determine if you have it and antibiotics are given.  It is imperative you stick with the antibiotics as directed by your Doctor and that you keep the infected area clean and covered with sterile bandages, etc.  Do not touch your infected area with your fingers and hands, then touch household surfaces - make sure you wash your hands thoroughly so as not to spread it to everyone else.

I know a family who keeps spreading MRSA to each other; they refuse to go and get antibiotics; instead they believe that just squeezing it will make it go away.  In the meantime, their children are out and about with an infected area, open and visible, on their skin which will only spread to everything and everyone they touch!  This is where the ignorance comes in -- the parents know it is MRSA, but refuse to get it treated.  In the meantime, I took the liberty of calling the school when their child was sent to school with MRSA on the leg - I could not bear the thought of innocent kids being subjected to MRSA because the child's parents are stupid.  The child was sent home and forced to get medical attention.

For more information and photos go to HERE
I obtained some of the information from this site
]]> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 20:57:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ Great Ideas For Someone Wanting to Add More Veggies and Fruit to their Lives ...]]> What you see is what you get in this cookbook. There isn't a breakdown of why to go vegan or what vegan looks like. Instead the book gets right to the recipes. And the ingredients in the recipes should be in most grocery stores.

I think this Is going to be a great resource for someone who knows the whys of going vegan but doesn't know where to start.

If you are looking for recipes to use your miso or make your own seitan you won't find them here. But if you want to eat Vegan and love salads and veggies and don't have a pantry full of unfamiliar ingredients you'll find some great recipes here. Also, if you have been a processed food Vegan who leans towards Oreos, Fritos, Soda but want to get more into veggies and make your own meals this would be a good transitioning cookbook. There is reliance on processed foods, but not as much as I expected. Most recipes use fresh produce as well. Of note, there are very few dessert recipes. Don't expect to find vegan cupcakes, cookies and oodles of treats. But the book doesn't promise that either.

I did find several recipes that sounded good. I did not make them as I borrowed the cookbook from my library and time was limited. However, I found several recipes I want to make so I'll be purchasing or borrowing this one again. Recipes like Maple Coleslaw, Hot and Sour Slaw, Tahini Brown Rice with Artichokes and Chickpeas, Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein, One Pot Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cellophane Noodles with Scallions and Chow Sauce, Japanese-Style Soba Noodle and Red Cabbage Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Tuscan-Style Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Artichokes and Sun-Dried Tomatoes are a few of the ones that grabbed the attention of my tastebuds.]]> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 01:20:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Information Alone is Compelling, The Recipes Look Mouthwateringly Good...]]>
Brazier's why to go plant-based is very compellingly presented. He has done some serious homework. The first 100 or so pages of Thrive Foods is focused on the realities of nutrition and why the Standard American Diet is not a recipe for health. Brazier then tackles what animal products contribute to (or actually take from) the environment. He offers solutions. I.E. go plant-based, and he offers the how to do that. Finally, in an attempt to "boil down" foods to the most nutrient rich/best overall choice he's come up with a formula. Now. I'll be honest. Though I was intrigued with this formula and the end result, my inner math-phobe rebelled a bit and I went into my high school math class induced happy place. But, since I've matured and survived radiation math I pulled myself back out and decided I needed to learn what he was patiently teaching. It's fascinating and horrifying. His top Thrive food choices added a positive spin after the bad news, so I ended up feeling hopeful that one person, one choice at a time, does make a difference. I was also thrilled to see that many of his go-to power foods are ones we already incorporate into our lives. He introduced me to several more.

Finally, Brazier offers loads of recipes, some his own that are tried and true. Others from chefs and restaurants he respects. Most of them sounded delicious. Brazier makes his own sports drinks and bars. And his athletic abilities prove that his diet is indeed part of making him the machine that he is. Since my time with the book was short-lived I didn't actually make any. However, these are the recipes I want to try. His Lemon-Lime Sports Drink, Kombucha Mojito, Candied Grapefruit Salad, Cream of Asparagus Soup, Energy Bars and Gels, Roasted Garlic Quinoa, Rustic Sweet Onion Flat Bread, Bok Choy Couscous with Sacha Inchi, Live Falafels, Live Seasoned Cashew Cheese, Live Cashew Sour Cream, Pecan and Dill Pate...okay. I want to try a lot of the recipes, and I'll be buying the book.

Alas, now the library version of Thrive Foods has to go back to the library.

I recommend this book to those who really want to go the next step from whatever diet they eat into whole food veganism. Athletes or manly men who wonder if they can find enough protein in plant food to survive and thrive should also check into Brazier's books. Newbie or transitioning from standard Vegan to whole food Vegan would benefit from this book as well. It's also going to be a great resource on what foods are the richest Thrive foods and how to prepare them. Folks who just wonder if a Vegan lifestyle is realistic, contains what the body needs, or palatable might want to score a copy. Finally, if you are eager to green up your life and reduce your carbon footprint, you should find his calculations fascinating.]]> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 01:16:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ New to Vegan Very Helpful Basic Recipes and a Few Tasty Twists for Experienced Vegans...]]> I made the following recipes from The Happy Herbivore.

Oatmeal Cookies
Fruity Oatmeal Bars
Chicken Style Seitan -- (which required these as well: No-Chicken Broth Powder (which will be a nice addition to my pantry) and her Poultry Seasoning Mix)
Maple Cornbread Biscuits
Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos

My assessment of the book.

Lindsay Nixon's Happy Herbivore cookbook opens with an explanation of why and what Vegan looks like, what to have on hand to prepare Vegan meals and tips and hints. Had I been just starting out as a Vegan I would have very much devoured this section, and the very end of the book that is simply two pages that give details on what and how to make substitutions in standard recipes. After almost a year of the Vegan learning curve, this is less important to me.

As for the recipes. The Fruity Oatmeal bars are exactly as she said they'd be. Cereal bar taste and texture just like a Nutri-Grain type bar. Very tasty. I'll definitely make these again. There was no added fat as promised in the secondary title of the book either. Same scenario on the Oatmeal Cookies. Good texture, a soft cookie that is chewy and flavorful. Again, no added fat. One step in the directions caused me pause and I did not follow it. She suggested placing part of the batter/dough on parchment paper and laying it carefully upside down over the jam layer. I chose the lazy way out and allowed a few holes for the jam to peek through after plopping and spreading.

I love the No-Chicken Broth Powder. It makes quite a bit, a cup and a half or so (1 TBSP to 1 cup of water). It will work in other recipes and will be a nice staple for my kitchen. The poultry seasoning was a mix of several spices, and again, will be an addition to my pantry. The Chicken-Style Seitan was chicken-like. Nice flavor, and decent texture. It's still Seitan and has that texture so it won't fool most omnivores. It was a little time consuming so I'd make a double batch next time and try freezing it for the future or keep it on it's extra liquid/gravy in the fridge for a few days. The making was easy, but it required almost an hour to simmer and half hour to bake. Most homemade Seitan is involved, though, so this was not unexpected. There is a recipe on the web that I like slightly better that will be my go to "chicken" sub recipe but I believe I'll add the No-Chicken Broth Powder to it.

The Maple Cornbread Biscuits were very tasty and I loved her trick to keep them fat free! We also loved the Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos. I baked them a shorter amount of time and mashed the chickpeas. Very good flavor and a nice "meaty" feel.

The other recipes I'd like to try are:

Mushroom Burgers
Torkey (Tofu Turkey)
Spicy Sausage
Baked Shells and Cheese (which requires the Cheddar Cheesy Sauce)
Veggie, Bean, & Quinoa Croquettes
Baked Beans
Baked Onion Rings
Chili-Lime Corn Chips
Ranch Dip
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Sour Cream
Nacho Cheese Sauce
Brown Rice Milk
Gravy (three different ones)
Cinnamon Buns
Gingerbread Mini-Loaves
Pumpkin Cheesecake

Most of these recipes are not unique to The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Many are on blogs. However, I'm at the point where I'm looking for the perfect go-to recipes to replace family favorites and/or for holiday baking and entertaining. I am giving the cookbook a 4 star rating especially for new to Vegan cooks, and a 3 or 3 and 1/2 for unique recipes or for experienced Vegan eaters looking for unique or new ideas.

Depending on what you are looking for this could be THE cookbook for you. The recipes are basic and a chef's hat is not a required tool to use it in your kitchen. Vegan eaters who want to cut fat should look into it. An experienced Vegan who has been playing around with recipes for a long time may not find as many keepers as a new Vegan would.]]> Mon, 26 Mar 2012 01:11:18 +0000
<![CDATA[Tony Horton's 10 MINUTE TRAINER 5 Workouts SET - Includes Resistance Band and Other Extras Quick Tip by Clay_Miller]]> Tue, 7 Feb 2012 15:45:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Eggplant Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2012 03:43:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Sleep Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
]]> Fri, 9 Dec 2011 00:30:19 +0000
<![CDATA[Pizza Hut Quick Tip by RabidChihuahua]]> Sat, 12 Nov 2011 20:53:42 +0000 <![CDATA[ Not the Only Vegan Cookbook You'll Ever Need, But Will Add Nice Spice to Your Life...]]> I'm not a cookbook collector. Oh, I collect books and have a whole wall of bookshelves to prove it. But I need my cookbooks to be more than pretty decoration. If they don't work for me, I scavenge what I will use, put it in a three ring binder and the cookbook moves to a new home. Vegan with a Vengeance is moving in.


I've made nine recipes. One of them twice. All but one of them stellar. The following is a list of the items I've tried.

Seitan. Terrific and easy. Yum.
Sparkled Ginger Cookies. AMAZING. All thumbs, and big toes, up.
Fauxstess Cupcake. They taste freakishly like the original.
Chocolate Chip cookies. Good
Pumpkin Muffins. Really good.
Lemon Gem Cupcakes (I made a bundt version... very, very lemony delish)
Gingerbread Apple Pie (Good and got raves from non-Vegans.)
Cold Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Seitan (making that one for dinner tomorrow, the sauce and seitan are done, pretty sure it's going to be delish.)

Other recipes are marked with "gotta try this" strips of paper. Others won't be ones that tempt me. She has a pancake recipe that looks way too involved and I have a pancake recipe that I LOVE. Scrambled Tofu, tried it, didn't love it and I have another recipe I like better. Many of her recipes are comfort food makeovers or fun twists on standard ethnic dishes.

Moskowitz is clever, creative and funny. Her bodacious attitude peppers the book with comments and she shares her story, her kitchen tool list, and her ingredient must haves. Her cat, Fizzle, pops in with interesting facts throughout the book.

I don't think Vegan with a Vengeance could be the only Vegan cookbook you'll ever need, but it certainly can add a whole lot of interesting spice to your menu repertoire.]]> Wed, 19 Oct 2011 12:46:54 +0000
<![CDATA[ Vegan? Looking for Healthier/Meatless Recipes? Love Cookbooks? Check it Out.]]> When I get a cookbook, I look through the recipes and try a few that sound good to me. And if there are five or ten recipes I will add to my life recipe file, I consider the book a keeper. I'm pretty picky. If a recipe book has only two or three I want to try, I don't buy it. If I'm given the book with just a few keeper recipes I usually will copy down the recipe, put it in my file and get rid of the book. I just don't need a huge shelf of books that aren't being used.

Peas and Thank You is a keeper. A lifetime member of my recipe shelf. The recipes I've tried are delicious, they turn out when I follow the easy directions, and they don't taste like someone is trying real hard to make tasty food healthier. Everyone who has tried the recipes I've made from Peas and Thank You, whether Vegan or meat eater, cautious eater, or don't-give-a-rat's-rear-end-what they put in their mouth, rave about the food.

I have only tried nine of the recipes, but three of them I've made several times. These are the recipes I've tried and love. And they are SO worth the stinking sticker price. Heck. I'm tempted to send a check to someone.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Lemon Lentil Soup
Cutout  Sugar Cookies
Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
Almond Joy Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Blondies with Ganache
Double Chocolate Single Chin Brownies
Grand Old Biscuits
Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas

I have about a dozen more that I must try. More recipes are marked than not.

Mama Pea (Sarah Matheny) is a talented and engaging writer as well and she shares charming and sweetly twisted stories about each recipe. I don't often laugh when reading a recipe book. I did with this one. She also shares pantry information, details about why they went vegan and most of her recipes are designed for busy folks and use convenience items. If you are newly Vegan, want to explore meatless, or love cookbooks, you need to add it to your list.

The only thing I did not love was the recipe title appeared at the beginning of each recipe, but not after the story and right before ingredients. So some recipes are a page or two after the introduction/story. So you have to do a little page flipping to make sure you are on the right recipe. Otherwise I LOVE it. Don't even ask to borrow it. This little sucker is part of me now.
]]> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 13:47:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ This makes perfect sense to me.]]> theories, opinions, books, pills, potions, gadgets, exercise regimens and fitness centers out there. Turn on your radio on a Saturday or Sunday morning or click on your TV late at night and you will find a whole array of hucksters vying for your attention and hard-earned money.  Indeed, weight loss is big business in this country and around the world and if you are the least bit vulnerable you are probably going to get sucked in.  Author Mike Schatzki believes he has discovered a safer and saner way to go about the businees of losing or maintaining weight and he has the research to back it up.  His findings are presented in a neat little book with an extremely long title.  "The Great Fat Fraud:  Why The 'Obesity Epidemic' Isn't,  How To Be Totally Healthy Without Losing Weight and If You Should Lose Some Pounds, How To Keep Them From Finding You Again" is the weight loss industry's worse nightmare because it makes a pretty compelling case that the key to better health is not how much you weight but how fit you are.  The case presented by Mike Schatzki makes perfect sense to me because as a result of trial and error I have been doing precisely what he recommends in this book for the past two decades.  And while I may not exactly be the perfect physical specimen I am pretty darn healthy.  During all of that time I have missed fewer than 10 days of work due to illness.   

Now if you find yourself a few pounds overweight like the vast majority of Americans are these days you might take comfort in knowing that in the studies cited in "The Great Fat Fraud" "heavy people who were fit had substantially lower all-cause mortality rates (and death rates for a number of specific disease entities) than thin people who were unfit."   To further illustrate this point BMI (Body Mass Index) research conducted by Dr. Ming Wei back in 1999 and cited in the book is quite conclusive and somewhat shocking.  Dr Wei discovered that "As long as you are fit it does not matter what you weigh!"  And so the next logical question would seem to be how does one go about getting himself or herself physically fit?  Given all of our sophistication and technological know-how the answer is surprisingly simple......walking.  The goal is 10,000 steps a day.    

That figure of 10000 steps cited in "The Great Fat Fraud" may seem intimidating to some particularly if you are out of shape.  Mike Schatzki offers up some useful suggestions to help you gradually increase the number of steps you take each day.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away at the mall parking lot and do as many errands as possible on footIt all adds up!  Perhaps a family member or a neighbor would like to take a walk.  And don't forget that you can listen to music or make phone calls while walking which can be a very efficient use of your time.  Personally, I find prefer to walk alone.  I find that I do my best thinking while on foot and ultimately make much better decisions.  And it goes without saying that you can do your walking inside on a treadmill.  But as Mike Schatzki points out "your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make getting fit and staying fit a requirement in your life."  I would wholeheartedly agree and as far as I am concerned walking 10,000 steps a day sure beats the hell out of doing sit-ups.  I count myself among the 80%-90% of Americans who hate to exercise. 

I think that it is safe to say that "The Great Fat Fraud: Why The 'Obesity Epidemic' Isn't, How To Be Totally Healthy Without Losing Weight and If You Should Lose Some Pounds, How To Keep Them From Finding You Again" will prove to be a real eye-opener for many Americans.  Mike Schatzki offers his readers a safer, cheaper, more common sense way to achieve physical fitness and good health.  You can devour this little book in just a few hours and as far as I am concerned it is well worth your time and effort.    Very highly recommended!]]> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 12:00:56 +0000
<![CDATA[ It's Exercise Not Yo-Yo Dieting !]]> Book Review: The Great Fat Fraud by Michael Schatzki  
By: Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

The Great Fat Fraud by Michael Schatzki  is a considerable discussion on debunking
myths about weight gain or loss held by the public. The impact of fitlessness on mortality rates
was published by Dr. Jeremy Morris in 1953. Dr. Morris studied drivers and conductors on
English double-decker buses and discovered that conductors who climbed up and down steps
many times daily had a 50 percent reduction in their chance of dying of a heart attack compared
to inactive drivers. The conductors still had half the cardiovascular mortality rates of the drivers
"whatever their physique-slim, average or portly".

Heavy individuals who were fit had much lower death rates than unfit individuals who were thin.
The conclusion is that as long as you are fit, it does not matter what you weigh. Our body is
programmed to move a lot because humans were hunter-gatherers during early evolution.
Walking enhances fitness at the threshold of 10,000 steps a day.

The body recognizes a dietary famine and moves your set point to a higher weight so that you have
a larger fat reserve to survive diets.  Fitness helps you to maintain your existing weight even if
you choose not to diet. Buy a podometer for $10- $30. to count steps. Attach the instrument to the hip.
Incrementally, raise the number of steps you walk each day from 4,000 to 10,000 over months.
At 10,000 steps, you will be fit regardless of weight according to The Great Fat Fraud.

When you use an abs machine or do weight lifting, the body recruits weight evenly from across
the torso in the same way as if you were walking or jumping rope. Walk 10,000 steps a day and you will
eliminate any negative health consequences associated with weight gain.

The Great Fat Fraud has citations from prestigious medical journals like The Lancet, JAMA,
Int'l Journal of Obesity and Other Metabolic Diseases and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The presentation is easy to read and understand. The cost of the book is very affordable.
There are a number of simplified charts and tables which depict the supporting data in simple English.
Always discuss weight management issues with your private physician or health care provider.

The Credits : First Published On Blogcritics]]> Thu, 6 Oct 2011 21:45:41 +0000
<![CDATA[Apple Juice Quick Tip by JadeLouiseDesigns]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:20:46 +0000 <![CDATA[Pizza Hut Quick Tip by JadeLouiseDesigns]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:18:49 +0000 <![CDATA[ Favorite Flavor of a Great Soda Alternative]]> Sparkling ICE Spring Water, Pink Grapefruit
I was pleasantly surprised when a co-worker let me taste a new flavored water drink he had discovered. I expected it to be overly sweet with and artificial flavor and aftertaste. Instead, it tasted like the real thing, wasn't too sweet, had a mild carbonation, had mostly natural ingredients and vitamins, and no calories or carbs. There is even some green tea extract! Since then I've tried the other flavors, but go back to the Pink Grapefruit as my favorite.

Too good to be true? Almost. Ice includes Sucralose, an artificial sweetener with questionable effects on the body. If they could use an natural sweetener like Stevia and keep it from making the drink bitter, then I'd be totally sold. Another factor that leads me to take away a star is that they use artificial colors. Not a deal breaker, but I'd rather they didn't. However, if you want a healthier (and even slightly nutritious) alternative to sweet sodas and something a bit more flavorful that water, Sparking Ice might be the drink for you.

Comes in 17oz. and 33.8oz. bottles.

~ Kort]]> Thu, 29 Sep 2011 21:24:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Good Spinner With A Design Issue]]> Leifheit 23200 Signature Salad Spinner. Sturdy design, attractive appearance, effective drying mechanism, a container that doubles as serving bowl, and a mesh cage that can also drain hot pasta. The primary feature is a lawnmower-like pull mechanism that takes a little practice to get the hang of. It isn't intuitive and both of my children (ages 7 and 11) were not able to make it work without overextending the cord. This forced me to rewind it manually by removing the inside lid cover over the pull mechanism; easy enough but a hassle.

The operation of the 23200 is not as idiot proof as OXO's salad spinners' push rotation mechanisms. Where the 23200 has an advantage over the OXO design: the cord is pulled to spin the mesh bowl and as it retracts, it immediately halts the bowl's rotation; dispensing more water from the lettuce. The next pull sends the inner bowl spinning in the opposite direction, and so on. This is a very effective way to dry lettuce, and ours comes out virtually free of water after several pull cycles. The rubber grips on the bottom of the smoke-tinted bowl help keep it in place during this operation, though a firm hand pressing down on the lid is a must. It would have been nice if some English directions were included on the box, but I was able to figure things out fairly easily.

The 23200 Signature Salad Spinner seems well made and comes with a 3 year warranty, but the jerking of the cord mechanism causes me to doubt whether it will last that long. The Leifheit is a German designed product, made in China.

3.6 stars.

~ Kort]]> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:35:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ Makes me say "Ahhhh"]]> Alphagel Sensitive Skin -- the 'Fragrance Free' feature is a bit misleading. I even enjoy the way it can make my eyes water if I use a lot of it, but that may not be for everyone. It also doesn't lather up as foamy as some competing products (which I like), but Remington uses this as a selling point.

I generally prefer to use an electric razor and dry shave. However, I occasionally use my wet-dry razor or a a regular blade in the shower. I really noticed the difference with the Alphagel -- no irritation or dryness after shaving with it. It worked well on face and neck. It produces a pleasant cooling sensation that lasts a good while depending on how long you let the gel remain on your skin before shaving or rinsing it off. I do have to use a large dab when applying it to my skin, but this is definitely a product I will purchase again.

~ Kort ]]> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:50:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ Quality Fish Oil]]> Schiff MegaRed and Coromega. The latter I enjoy sucking right out of the packet - it tastes that good. But if you prefer soft gels, then Wholemega is a good option. I like the fact that included in the formulation are herbs that benefit mood and alertness. I trust the New Chapter brand and appreciate their dedication to providing the purest and most wholesome ingredients they can.

Two minor things keep me from wholeheartedly (I know, another pun) recommending this product. The first is that one needs to take 3 softgels per serving or over the course of the day. This leaves you with only 20 servings per container -- not quite the value of the other two products I mentioned. They only require one pill or one packet respectively. Also, even when taken as directed, I would occasionally get mild fish-burp. Not as severe as other companies' formulations and not every time, but it does happen. I never get it with MegaRed or Coromega.

Those are not necessarily deal-breakers and Wholemega is still a good product, but after I finish this jar, I think I'll stick with my other brands. If you prefer softgels and/or want to spread your dosage out over the course of the day, then Wholemega may be right for you.

~ Kort ]]> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:50:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ The amateur footrace & how I narrowly missed (legitimately) getting first place]]>
A Little Background
After having fallen into some bad eating habits and having fallen off my going to the gym wagon for a few months, it was time to make some changes in my life.  I typically run every time I go to the gym just to get a little cardio in -- about 10 minutes or so on the treadmill at a fairly low speed, and that was it.  It wasn't until my friend Lyta suggested that I go for a run first thing every morning that I really got into this running thing and decided to take it more seriously.  This was in March and I remembered how my first several runs around my mostly flat neighborhood knocked the wind out of me within about 5 minutes.  It was the saddest thing.

How I Got Talked Into It...
Fast forward to July, when I had built up my endurance and could survive 20-30 minute runs.  I took up to running three mile outdoor runs several times a week, plus pre-workout runs on the treadmill at the gym, at which point, my run-a-holic friend Jenny suggested that I sign up for races.  Then a Living Social deal for the Run in the Parks Series popped up and Jenny told me that she would run it with me, so I had to sign up.  I was tempted to do the 5K since the thought of a 10K freaked me out, but Jenny pushed me to sign up for the 10K anyways, saying that I could do it.  So it was settled.

I should note that I had never ran anywhere close to 10K before.  I only started doing three mile runs in July, and I ran my very first four mile run the week before the race.  I had meant to run at least 10K once or twice by the time the race rolled around, but didn't get the chance to.

Race Day
Come race day, I told Jenny that I’d probably see her half an hour after she had passed the finish line as I wasn’t expecting myself to run at a fast speed all the way.  My goal was simply to finish and to keep moving the entire way, even if it was at a slow pace.

The setup of the race was a little funky.  The parking lot was pretty far from the registration tables and it looked like they were giving everyone their swag bags before the race.  This meant that we had to make three trips back and forth to pick up the swag bag and get our race number, put the swag bag in the car, and walk back to the race.  I guess that was a nice warm up.  If you're curious about what's in the swag bag, it included a t-shirt, some snack samples and a Chinook coupon book.

The Actual Race
The race started promptly at 8 AM and this race wasn't sophisticated enough to give everyone a chip to keep track of time, so you definitely had to be on time there at 8 on the dot.  Even though it was freezing that morning, Point Pinole was surprisingly nice and it was great to have a nice view to enjoy while running.  Something else that surprised me -- I never once felt like stopping and actually followed Jenny and a couple other runners most of the way.

Eventually, I somehow ended up making it way ahead of her and everyone else.  But then s*** hit the fan when I reached a marker at mile five.  I got confused by the arrows and there was no one around me to follow, so I ended up running the wrong way, praying the whole time that I was running in the right direction.  The praying didn't work and I did make it to the finish line eventually. ...But in the opposite direction. 


RunKeeper Saves the Day
Thank goodness though, that I had RunKeeper running (will have to review them soon)!  I actually do a lot of my outdoor runs with RunKeeper because it's such a neat app.  I was afraid that I wouldn't get to submit an official time, but the race officials worked with me.  They also seemed fascinated by my app as I showed them the path that I ran on a map, the calories I burned, and my average pace, among other things. 

With the help of the app, they concluded that I had ran about a quarter mile off course, so half a mile total since I had to run back.  They decided to just multiply my average pace by 6.2 and decide on a time that way.  Unfortunately, that only shaved a measly 56 seconds off my overall time (I ran an extra half mile!), but it did place me second in my age group, about 20 seconds slower than the person who got first place.  I didn't feel like making a case of it though.  It was a fun, lighthearted race, and honestly, I was proud of myself for merely being able to run the entire distance.

Oh, and guess who won first place -- Jenny :)

There were bananas, oranges, bagels, water, cider and coffee for everyone to nosh on.  When the race was over, winners in each age group were announced, medals were passed out, and that was the end of that. 

Final Word
For my first race ever as well as my longest distance ever, that was pretty darn fun, and I would totally do it again!  I'd also recommend it to friends who are just starting to get into running.  For those who run on a regular basis, but don't think that you can run 3-6 miles, I bet you can!  I went into this having never ran over 4 miles before and not thinking that I could run the entire 6.2 miles, to somehow accidentally running nearly 7 miles straight.  Don't underestimate your body's capabilities.

Funny thing, on the way back to the car, Jenny said, "It's okay, Dev, you can say it -- you got first place".  Without missing a beat, I said back with the biggest grin, "Don't worry; I'm already thinking it"


]]> Fri, 2 Sep 2011 22:24:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Grapes Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 2 Aug 2011 12:43:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Almond Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sun, 24 Jul 2011 19:32:10 +0000 <![CDATA[Lemon Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 00:49:09 +0000 <![CDATA[Pineapple Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Mon, 11 Jul 2011 12:19:10 +0000 <![CDATA[Blueberry Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:36:12 +0000 <![CDATA[Mango Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Mango rules!]]> Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:34:11 +0000 <![CDATA[Pineapple Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:25:44 +0000 <![CDATA[Coconut Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]> Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:23:02 +0000 <![CDATA[Breakfast Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 23:09:17 +0000 <![CDATA[Breakfast Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
I'll never ever pay some $25 for a hotel breakfast. They might as well go break the bank! Brunch is another story altogether!]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 06:51:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Spinach Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 21:41:08 +0000 <![CDATA[Osteoporosis Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>
It seems to be prevalent in the Chinese society. I suspect it may be due to their dislike for milk, cheese and other dairy products. 

]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:49:25 +0000
<![CDATA[Hiking Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

I love hiking with a camera and especially if I'm not rushing to finish a trail! Hiking alone does pose some degree of dangers, especially for woman and older people.

Having said that, hiking in national parks is one of the best experiences of life! Just so long as you're not caught in the rain ;-)]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:28:17 +0000
<![CDATA[Exercise Quick Tip by Sharrie]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 10:19:51 +0000 <![CDATA[Fourth of July Quick Tip by Sharrie]]>

So, anyone knows when is Lunch's birthday?!?!?!

]]> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 04:22:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ A great app to keep your health in check]]>
Since diet accounts a lot for your overall fitness, even moreso than physical activity, I felt like a food diary of sorts would be helpful for that.  Knowing me, I'd never realistically keep up with keeping an old school paper journal, so I hit up my trusty app store and downloaded the highest rated free food diary app there was -- MyNetDiary -- and it did not disappoint!  I've been updating it with my diet and exercise daily/religiously since.  Note: this is a review for the free version of the app.  There's also a pro version with even more features.

You start off entering your basic info, like age, height, weight, weight goals, when you want reach your goal weight by, etc.  My personal goal isn't to necessarily to shift my weight in any drastic direction, but to get fit and toned by making sure I'm putting the right foods and nutrients, and the right amount of it, into my body (I am, afterall, training for Tough Mudder!).  I'm looking to shed some fat, gain some muscle, and become overall stronger and healthier.  MyNetDiary is marketed as a calorie-counting weight-loss app and doesn't exactly have an option for my goal, but I still find their daily analysis of my diet and exercise really helpful and insightful.

Based on the data that you enter, it gives you tips on how to achieve your goals.  For instance, if you're trying to lose 10 pounds by the end of summer, it will calculate how many calories you should consume a day versus the daily recommended average of 2000 calories.  Also, after you've entered in at least 400 calories into your food diary in a day, it will give you a more in depth analysis on how much weight you'll lose or gain in a week and a month based on what you've consumed and the calories you've done.  It also points out pros and cons of your diet, like too much fat, or too little calcium, and gives tips on how to improve your diet, like eat more fiber in the morning.

Entering in your grub.  Below are the ingredients for a salad

Exercise entries

An overview of the day's caloric intake

An analysis of the day's diet and exercise

Highlights of your day's diet and exercise

Nutrients consumed

FYI, there are a few more features of this app that didn't particularly pique my interest, but might be of interest to others -- you can take before and after photos, take measurements, and there's actually a community behind this app so you can share tips and feedback with other people who may be on the same heath track as yourself.  There's also a website that syncs up to this app.  I visited it once recently and it wasn't impressive.  It was actually kind of messy compared to the app, so I'll just stick to the app.

There's one other pitfall to the app -- the amount of calories burned and the nutritional value of the food that you consume are only loosely approximate.  For counting calories burned, I suggest a calorie counting device of sorts, that takes your weight, age, gender, body fat percentage, heart rate, etc, all into account, because the app can't do that.  In terms of food, it's already hard enough to measure as it is, but then there's also contributed content, which are food data contributed by members and aren't always accurate.  I myself have mistakenly entered in wrong serving sizes for contributed content and had not know how to fix it.  So don't use this app as the rule; just use it to eyeball and gauge your exercise and diet.

Despite the few flubs, I still think that this is a great app for anyone who wants to gain or lose weight, or simply just gain insight into their diet.  If you have a smartphone, you're likely addicted to it and are on it pretty often, so you have no excuse not to update it.  I have to add though, that for optimal fitness results, an app alone is not enough.  I suggest reading about exercises and diets that will work in your favor, and even consulting a personal trainer and nutritionist if you can.  Having all the knowledge, support and resources behind you will work better for you than blindly going about.

Now I'm on my way to getting getting toned and mud-swimmin' fit ;)]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 21:56:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ Rockin'!]]> Fellowes' Foot Rocker is a nice addition to my office set-up, though perhaps not a must have item. I'd been wanting to improve my workstation ergonomics with a foot rest for some time and this rocking model seem just the thing. I like that you can flip it over to increase or decrease the height. My wife and I found this a must have feature since our legs are different lengths. The rocking motion is soothing and does keep my lower body a bit more energized and less stiff when sitting at my desk for extended periods.

The Foot Rocker might not be for everyone however. It arrived disassembled and the instructions for assembly on the box are not overly clear (see Customer Photos). Still, there are only five pieces and I had it together in 5-10 minutes. They fit well and weren't warped, but that's not to say it was easy though. Locking and sliding the rollers onto the footrest takes quite a bit of elbow grease. I had to bodily push it down on the floor to snap them into place because I wasn't able to muscle them in by hand. Once together it is very secure, though the plastic parts flex slightly and can cause some creaking noises when in use. Unless you are in a very quiet environment, it shouldn't be annoying. I can't hear it over the music I usually have playing. People who use plastic chair mats might want to consider buying a non-mobile footrest instead, as the side rollers slide around on them. I just ditched my old one though and on the carpet under my desk it is fine.

If you need a very quiet, easy to assemble foot rest that doesn't slide around doesn't slide around on slick chair mats, then the Fellowes Foot Rocker isn't for you. If those aren't concerns and you don't mind the slightly premium price for this plastic yet sturdy foot rocker, then you should at least consider it.

~ Kort]]> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 15:52:58 +0000
<![CDATA[Strawberry Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Wed, 8 Jun 2011 19:42:55 +0000 <![CDATA[Banana Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 28 May 2011 15:15:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Corn on the Cob Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 28 May 2011 15:12:37 +0000 <![CDATA[Carrots Quick Tip by Count_Orlok_22]]> Fri, 27 May 2011 23:12:16 +0000