Have you ever heard of “Meatless Mondays” before? Despite popular belief, it’s not a new invention. In fact, going meatless was encouraged during World War I and II, when rationing meat and other staples became part of the overall war effort. (more…)
I’ve been cooking a LOT more lately, for a number – most of all, I like to eat healthier these days when I can. Anyway, I’ve put together a list of gadgets (and a couple of DIY and list posts I found valuable around the web) that I think everyone who fancies herself an at-home chef (and/or gadget geek) should consider looking into.
Olivewood Salt Keeper – Beautiful and practical, this box keeps up to 8 oz. of cooking salt within close reach. Handcrafted of richly grained olive wood with an oil finish, it has a swiveling magnetic lid for easy one-handed access.Williams-Sonoma
Garlic Press and Potato Masher Kitchen Tool Set – “Garlic Press and Potato Masher Set is the perfect combo to add to your kitchen tools. The plastic potato masher helps you make mashed potatoes with ease. All you do is press down and twist. Dishwasher safe. The garlic press crushes garlic cloves efficiently by forcing them through a grid as you squeeze the handle.”Amazon.com
How to Build a Tandoor Oven – We all want tandoori at home but how?! After researching online we found this example and this blog post to be the most helpful. Both of those at-home tandoor ovens were huge and elaborate, but they seemed to have amazing results. Our goal was to learn from them and make modifications to their design to fit our needs (ease of build, compact, cheap). Food52
Copper Garlic Press – The warm, lustrous shine of copper has a long history in the kitchen. Our copper-plated tool collection carries on the tradition, offering all the rich beauty of solid copper in a low-maintenance finish.Williams-Sonoma
Trudeau Herb Mill – “When you want to sprinkle foods with minced fresh herbs, skip the chopping board and grab this handy rotary mill. A simple turn of the crank distributes finely chopped herbs on pasta, pizza, salads and more.”Williams-Sonoma
15 Best Kitchen Gadgets Under $50 – Some kitchen gadgets remain state-of-the-art for decades—there’s no improving on the rice cooker, for instance. Yet others are continually updated with smaller proportions, and so many bells and whistles that they’ll do everything but the dishes. To compile our list of the best budget-friendly cooking tools we combed through the classics, the brand new, and the new-and-improved. If you don’t already have these kitchen essentials, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them!This Old House
Body envy. I am not going to lie to you. It used to be a HUUUUUUUGE issue for me. Pun entirely intended. In fact, my research tells me I’m not alone. Luckily, I’ve found the cure and I’m happy to share it with you.
Perfect Pictures Predicate Pouty People
It happens every single time when those infomercials featuring perfectly proportioned models pop onto the television screen promising an enviable body weight if you’ll just fork over enough cash to make you skinny forever.
Even though you know there’s no magic pill that guarantees overnight success, sometimes it’s tempting to dole out the money.
It’s enticing because losing weight is a struggle, and a vicious uphill battle that’s not always so easily fought.
The appeal to find a quick fix hits you every now and then – especially when you’ve worked hard to lose a little bit of weight and then you fall off the diet wagon and gain it all back (and then some).
We have all had the daunting thought, “There has to be an easier way to lose weight!”
Have you purchased every weight loss book ever published, forced down the diet bars, consumed the shakes, and attended the weight loss meetings so many times you could have paid for the entire building by the time you quit?
Have you done all of this and yet you still haven’t seen the long-term results that you crave more than food itself?
Are you sick and tired of trying, but you still know you need to lose weight so that you can have a healthier life? Or maybe you only need to lose a few pounds to fit into that new outfit or look good for an upcoming class reunion.
You know you want to lose weight, but you don’t want a gimmick and you certainly don’t want to keep going down a road that leads nowhere.
You just want to find a plan that really works for you without all of the empty promises. There’s something you might not know about the battle of the bulge – something that can help you gain the victory once and for all without having to resort to any costly plans or fancy gimmicks.
Best of all, the way you can lose weight can be found in your own refrigerator, in your pantry or at your grocery store. By the way, this little known method of losing weight won’t break your wallet. I guarantee it.
Understanding the Basics of Weight Loss
To understand how weight loss works, you have to first understand how calories work. A calorie is energy given in the foods you eat. Your body uses this energy as fuel. Think of it as wood for a fireplace. If you put in too much wood, the fire gets too hot and there’s too much heat produced.
In the same manner, too much consumption of calories, especially those foods with empty calories, equals an overabundance of fuel. The same way you would store wood in stacked piles for your fireplace, the body stacks an overabundance of calories as fat.
It then takes that fat and adds it to the places you don’t want it put. Then you see results like a tummy that laps over the top of your jeans – often called a muffin top – or you discover the results are flabby thighs or a double chin.
To make the battle of weight loss even more discouraging, that fat, and its cellulite, can give you a lumpy, bumpy look.
Cellulite are pockets of that stored fat beneath the surface of your skin. In other words, it’s the chocolate cake or donuts or the second helping of carbohydrates if those calories aren’t burned.
Now, all of that’s the bad news. But the good news is, you don’t have to accept being overweight as your fate (no matter how many times you’ve fallen off the diet wagon in the past).
Because this weight loss technique is easy and inexpensive, so you can stick with it forever. Not only can you stay on the plan, but you’ll find you actually enjoy it!
Your Body’s Secret Workout
When you watch a movie, what you see is the finished product. All of the actors and actresses stand where they’re supposed to. They say their lines like a pro and they look good doing it.
What you don’t see happening is the chapped hands and runny noses from filming outside in below zero weather or the nights filming lasted until two in the morning. You didn’t see what went on behind the show.
Many people sit down to eat a meal or a snack and never give a second’s thought to what goes on behind the scenes once the food is finished.
Everyone knows how you gain weight and most of us are pros at the gaining. We gain by eating too much of the wrong kinds of food.
But what if I told you something about your own body that could help you lose weight?
Your body has to work to digest each bite of food you put into your mouth. What does that have to do with anything?
It’s simple: Because your body is expending energy to digest the food, it’s actually sort of performing a silent workout.
Sounds great, right? Your body is working out without you having to lift a finger.
Picture this: your body is burning energy to digest the food while you watch television, while you talk on the phone, drive to work and even while you sleep. It sounds like a fantastic win-win situation doesn’t it?
If it’s so fantastic, then why are some people still overweight? Because you’re not eating the right kinds of foods. You’re still stuck measuring portions and counting carbs and assigning foods as good or bad.
Truth? There is no such thing. Food is simply fuel. All of it is. But how (and at what rate) the fuel is burned depends on the foods you eat because it correlates to how it makes your body work. Still follow me?
Negative Calorie Foods – Your Body’s Secret Weapon
What if you discovered you could lose weight simply with the foods you choose to eat? Foods that help you work off calories simply by eating them. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But it’s not.
There are foods that make your digestive system use more energy to consume them than the calories contained in the foods themselves.
When you use more energy to digest a food than the caloric value of a food, then those foods are called negative calorie foods. By eating these negative calorie foods, you will burn calories and you will lose weight effortlessly.
Let’s say you have a slice of chocolate cheesecake from the store bakery and you consume roughly 350 calories (or more depending on the type of ingredients used). Once you’ve eaten that slice of cheesecake, your body goes to work breaking it down and beginning the digestion process.
Let’s say your body burns 150 calories digesting that cake (and that’s probably figuring the amount burned on the high end). You’re still left with a gain of 200 calories.
These calories will turn into unwanted fat and weight gain if not used as energy by the body. Now remember, the amount of calories you burn by eating negative calorie food will depend on the type of food it is.
Instead of the chocolate cheesecake, let’s say for example that you chose an apple instead. A medium sized apple has approximately 80 calories. You eat the apple and then the digestion process begins.
Because an apple is a negative calorie food, your body works harder to digest it than you gain in calories by eating it.
The difference in negative calorie foods is comparable to the difference between walking and running.
When you go for a low key walk, you don’t expend the same amount of energy you would if you were running.
Let’s Do the Math
Math was never my favorite subject in school, but this kind of math is the kind I love. So let’s go back to the foods.
If you eat that apple, you’ve ingested around 80 calories. Your body begins the digestion workout and without you having to do anything, burns calories.
Let’s say as an example, that your body burns around 100 to 110 calories. We’ll split that and say the body burned 105 calories. To eat that 80 calorie apple, you would have burned an extra 25 calories.
If you had the slice of chocolate cheesecake, but felt the urge to eat the apple afterward, you would then be 25 calories to the good on the cheesecake.
Boiled down, it means that 350 calorie cheesecake minus the 25 extra calories you burned by eating the apple leaves you with 175 calories charged against your caloric intake for the cheesecake rather than the entire calorie count for the cheesecake.
However, unlike math, there is no simple formula that can subtract months or years of eating the wrong way. But with a little addition of the right kind of foods – negative calorie ones, you can erase those pounds and keep them off.
There are a few things to keep in mind with any type of diet. The more involved a diet is, the less success most people achieve in the long run.
Studies have shown that the more elaborate a weight loss plan is, the less likely the person is to stick with it to the end because we like things basic and to the point.
That’s why negative calorie foods are an ideal weight loss plan for people who want to lose weight, want to get healthy and want a simple method but need a little something extra working in their favor.
Your own digestive system can give you that boost you need to keep going until you’ve reached your goal weight. By using your body’s own digestive system, you can actually change the equation.
Stealing From the Store
If you’re a junk food junkie, you probably have more than your share of fat stored – fat you would love to see disappear.
Remember the apple math?
If you have fat stored from junk food and you start eating negative calorie foods, what’s going to happen is those negative calorie foods are going to begin stealing from you.
These foods are going to take the fat your body put in store and they’re going to begin using it. Why? Because it took more energy to consume that negative food than the negative food had to give.
That energy deficit had to be made up somehow and your body knows just where to get it.
When you eat negative calorie foods, your body works hard enough to pull the nutrients and energy from the foods to the point that the food calories don’t count.
If there’s not enough energy in the foods your body digests to perform the job, like a car putting in more gas, your body will pull up to the pump – in this case the fat stores – and get whatever it needs to finish the task.
I know what you’re thinking!
“This is one thief I wouldn’t mind having around!”
But Are These Negative Calorie Foods Good For You?
Are you thinking there must be a catch? That negative calorie foods are some type of exotic food with names you can’t pronounce? With all the benefits we’ve talked about that come from eating negative calorie foods, they can’t possibly be good for you, right?
In fact, negative calorie foods are exactly the kinds of foods doctors not only recommend that you eat, but also encourage patients to do so for weight loss and disease prevention.
What are these mystery foods? They’re certain fruits and vegetables. Since experts agree that more fruits and vegetables are a good thing for everyone, negative calorie foods are a great weight loss plan.
A Brief List of Negative-Calorie Foods
This isn’t a complete list, but for an easy reference, I’ll mention some of those foods for you.
There’s nothing odd about that list of vegetables or fruits. They’re just ordinary foods with the power to create negative calories upon consumption.
Now don’t get confused thinking that the phrase ‘negative calorie foods’ means that the foods don’t have any calories, because that isn’t the case at all.
The food you eat does contain calories – your body just has to work so hard to digest them that you wind up with a caloric deficit once it’s all said and done.
Is it safe to eat negative calorie foods?
Yes, it’s safe. You can’t overdose on negative calorie foods. Unlike heavily advertised pills and gimmicks, there are no ill effects to eating negative calorie foods because they’re healthy for your body – working to keep it naturally lean and strong enough to produce the energy you need throughout the day.
For both your mental and physical health, it’s important to spend some “me” time pampering and relaxing yourself. These days, there are plenty of different relaxation options available as well as several ways to relieve stress, enjoy and rejuvenate your senses and body.
A great way to experience a heaven-like, self-indulgent beauty treatment is at a day spa or a beauty salon. Beauty professionals use 100% natural and pure oils extracted from plants and herbs, known as essential oils, to cure, heal, and energize your body.
Need for Essential Oils
A good body massage at the hands of an experienced masseur is not just physically rewarding but also emotionally advantageous to your body. Massage and body massage oils are perfect for pampering and relieving the stress and tension of your body and mind.
Essential oil blends are the traditional and age-old cures to enhance the feeling of being healthy, vitalized, as well as spread a general sense of positivity and goodwill. Essential massage oils, when used for massages, not only moisturize the skin, but also ease muscle tension and help you de-stress and relax.
Essential oils such as Orange, Lemon, and others are full of rich minerals and vitamins. Their composition is such that they can be absorbed by the skin with ease and offer deep-tissue treatments for the body. You can use aromatherapy essential oils as home spa oils as well. These oils are perfect for use as bath oils and after bath moisturizing.
History of Essential Oils
The history of essential oils is as unique and interesting as the oils themselves. Used by early civilizations such as Indians, Chinese, Egyptians, and Babylonians essential oils have also been mentioned in the Bible.
The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and some Chinese manuscripts have records of physicians and priests using oils extracted from plans to make some of the earliest known medicines. These oils were also used for protection against diseases and for curing wounds and ache as well as during religious ceremonies, embalming the dead, and as perfumes!
Several royalties such as Cleopatra was fully aware of the power of essential oils and would use them to attract men towards her. She also used them for glowing, supple skin and thick, dark, lustrous hair.
Extraction of Essential Oils
All-natural and pure essential oils are aromatic or fragrant extracts of trees, flowers, herbs, spices, bark, fruits, seeds, and fibers by the process of distillation, or solvent extraction.
Since essential oils are essential to the plants’ growth process and to the substances that give them their special fragrance, they are also known as “life force.” There are more than 150 different types of essential oils that are used in aromatherapy.
Some of the essential oils are more expensive than others. This could be due to the rarity of the sources or the complexity of the extraction process. Emu Oil, extracted from Emu bird is very expensive but excellent for the skin, wrinkles, and overall beauty. On the other hand, orange, lemon, sage, rosemary, patchouli, and others are fairly inexpensive and easily available in the supermarkets.
Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils are wonderful for us. Not only because they are completely natural and don’t have any side effects but also because they give us more than physical relief. If you use essential oils on a regular basis, you will feel healthier, fitter, mentally stronger, psychologically more in control, besides having a higher immunity level against common illnesses such as colds, fevers, allergies etc.
Different essential oils offer different benefits. Some may offer unique healing, antiseptic properties while others may offer anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, expectorating, and diuretic properties. You must seek an aromatherapist before buying an essential oil for treating a serious ailment.
Some Essential Oils for Health and Beauty
We thought with all this talk about essential oils, you might be interested in knowing which ones you can buy without having to peel through layers of research for spending money on consulting a professional. And remember, each of these essential beauty oils have their own healing properties that offer your skin a rosy and healthy glow. So here goes:
1. Sunflower Oil – Grown by American Indians for 1000s of years, this oil is extracted from sunflower seeds and is rich in minerals and in Vitamins A, and E.
2. Olive Oil– One of the most cherished, valuable, and powerful multi-use beauty/health oil, it has also been called “liquid gold” due to its miraculous powers for improving the texture and appearance of your skin. Olive oil leaves your skin feeling soft and your complexion glowing due to the high mineral content, Vitamin E, and vital fatty acids!
3. Jojoba Oil – Obtained from the seeds of the desert plant Jojoba, the oil is light and waxy. Excessively being used as a humectant, Jojoba oil creates a protective layer on the surface of your skin to lock the moisture in so that your skin stays hydrated and soft even in winter!
Essential oils are a perfect way to look beautiful and stay healthy for longer, don’t you think? They’re also among the longest-held beauty solutions.