Friday, July 24, 2009

"Shopping Pockets" Are Here: Versatile and Protection Against Germs!

Attention all you parents (and those of you who are concerned about germs) out there -- "Shopping Pockets" are here! Designed by Dreamtree Products, my personal friends, "Shopping Pockets" combines purse, diaper bag, coupon holder, etc. into one convenient tote while providing protection against germs on the shopping cart handle.

  • Our innovative design combines handbag, diaper bag, coupon holder, etc. in one convenient tote.
  • Our snap-over-the-handle shopping cart tote provides access to conveniently placed pockets for things such as cell phone, pen, shopping list, ipod, checkbook, cash/credit cards, glasses, water/baby bottle/sipper cup, etc.
  • Heavy duty snaps keep your possessions safely attached to shopping cart while shopping.
  • Non-slip strips under tote helps keep it in place on handle of cart.
  • Provides protection from unwanted germs on shopping cart handle.
  • Having the tote on the handle allows more room in cart seat for child or more shopping items.
  • Concealed zippered pocket.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap.
  • Made of durable fabric. (Machine Wash, gentle, hang dry, or wipe clean).
  • Patent #5961018
  • Made in USA
After the birth of my 2nd daughter, my "germ-conscience" husband and I began working on ways to keep our two young children from putting their hands and mouths on shopping cart handles. We knew shopping carts were handled by hundreds of people every day, therefore leaving behind a multitude of germs o
n the handle. We decided to create our own product to combat this problem. It started with a simple wrap of material around the handle of the cart and grew from there. My husband and I decided to bring in my sister, and my mom, (the seamstress in the family) for inspiration and a little brainstorming.

Eventually we came up with a tote that was a combination diaper bag/purse which snapped over the handle of a shopping cart.

Dream Tree Products are a family business: The creators of "Shopping Pockets" include Elizabeth Wright (and her husband Tom) and Rhonda Marshall who are sisters and partners in this incredible adventure!

By the way, the creators (Libby & Tom) of "Shopping Pockets" are awesome and the nicest people I've ever met. They are also the best parents on the planet. Their two daughters are terrific and happen to be my daughter's best friends. Photo here of Christmas 2006!

With so much versatility and a great way to keep germs away while you shop, how can you resist this unique invention? Get your "Shopping Pocket" today! And stay tuned for more products by DreamTree Products -- Coming Soon: Mommy Pockets, Shopping Pockets Jr., and Mow-Tote!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Exercise Tips: The Swiss Ball

What is a Swiss ball?
Swiss balls are large, heavy-duty inflatable balls with a diameter of 45 to 75 cm (18 to 30 inches). 

The Swiss Ball is versatile and inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that you can use to get a full body workout while improving your balance, posture, strength, and so much more––it is unique because it works multiple muscles at one time while forcing your body to balance itself.  It can be used during your weight training and flexibility parts of your exercise program–at home or in a fitness facility. It is great for beginners, advanced exercisers, athletes, and rehab patients.  

Benefits of the Swiss Ball
  1. Improve Posture
  2. Improves Balance and Stability
  3. Improve Flexibility 
  4. Nervous System Activation 
  5. Strengthen Core and Extremities 
  6. Effective Rehabilitation Tool
  7. Great Addition to Athletes Training Program 

Where did they come from?
"The Swiss ball was used as early as the 1960s. It originally was used by physical therapists and chiropractors in Switzerland to assist with rehabilitation and became known as the Swiss Ball.

Through seminars and classes the Swiss Ball was introduced into the USA in the early 1980’s. But, the Swiss Ball is far more versatile and valuable than simply for re-hab use. In the late 1980’s coaches, athletic trainers and personal trainers realized the effectiveness of the Swiss Ball in developing balance and core strength. Since then they are reported as being the most effective method for core conditioning". Background information from
For  more information on Exercise--see my blog in MY DIVA DIET "Tools For Success", 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Food Facts: Frozen Entrees

Many diet programs, nowadays, include frozen "entrees" that are labeled, SMART, LEAN and HEALTHY, however there is nothing smart, lean or healthy about them, even if they are low in calories, fat and carbs!  This includes frozen entrees offered by NutriSystem, WeightWatchers, or Jenny Craig--Thanks Nora)!  

The following chart contains only a few of some common frozen-food entrees that are considered healthy (and labeled that way). We won’t address canned foods and other packaged foods, they would take up our entire book. MY DIVA DIET wants you to read and compare the labels on these and other products before you choose any packaged, processed, or man-made food products.

Listing include calories, protein, carbs, fat, sugar, sodium, fiber and number of ingredients: 
  1. South Beach Diet:  Caprese Chicken w/Broccoli -- 260;  33;  12;  7;  4;  710;  4;  About 50
  2. Smart Ones:  Chicken Fettuccini -- 340;  23;  47;  6;  3;  680;  4;  About 50+
  3. Lean Cuisine: Lemongrass Chicken --  240;  17;  30;  6;  4;  600;  4;  About 55
  4. Kashi:  Sweet and Sour Chicken -- 320;  18;  55;  3.5;  25;  380;  6;  About 60
  5. Lean Cuisine:  Panini -- 280;  21;  32;  8;  3;  690;  5;   MANY
  6. Lean Pockets (1) -- 290;  11;  45;  7;  5;  500;  5;  MANY  
  7. Healthy Choice: Roasted Chicken --  290;  16;  39;  7;  7;  600;  10;  MANY
  8. Smart Ones: 3-Cheese Macaroni --  300;  14;  48;  6;  3;  570;  3;  MANY
  9. Stouffer’s Rigatoni w/Roasted Chicken -- 390;  19;  44;  15;  2;  820;  3;   MANY

Clean calories (reading labels/things to look for)
  • Preservatives and additives
  • Flavoring agents, coloring agents, sweeteners (artificial and natural), emulsifiers, texturizers, stabilizers, etc.
  • Chemicals and other fake foods
  • Hidden fats (hydrogenated vegetable oils and other unneeded and unhealthy fats)
  • Hidden sugars (maltodextrin, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)
  • Hidden sodium (salt, MSG, sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, ferrous sulfate, etc.)
  • Hidden flour (white flour, baking powder, starch, dextrin, etc.)
* Notes
  • Clean and pure calories are very important in MY DIVA DIET (in both Phase One and Two) because health should be the number one goal in any weight-loss program. In fact, if you are healthy you will find it much easier to lose weight.
  • Cleaning up your calories is more important than decreasing your intake, and the best way to do it is to select natural and fresh foods over packaged, processed, man-made foods.
  • Some diets are based on eating a great many unclean calories that help you lose a few pounds but place you at risk for health predicaments like fibromyalgia, headaches, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and others.
* Clean Calories Rule
  • There are two main rules in this category:
  • Become informed about food additives and preservatives.
  • Read labels, read labels, read labels! 

Paw Ingredients Label Guide 

Number of Ingredients     Signals 

 1        Ideal 

 3    Excellent 

 5   Probably OK 

6-9      May need further analysis 

10-19           Could be a problem 

20-29      Caution 

30 +      Stay away! 

* FYI's on food labels:  
  • Ingredients for a given product are listed by weight, in descending order.
  • Some preservatives are okay, but not when there are more preservatives than the natural food it is supposed to be made of.
  • Some preservatives are actively harmful—you should do your own research to learn more about food additives.
  • Avoid products containing too many additives like colorings, fillers, flavor enhancers, etc.
  • Watch for hidden calories, fats, sugar, sodium, and flour.
  • Avoid products with unfamiliar ingredients—find out what they are!
To learn more about reading labels, check out the MY DIVA DIET blog "Read Food Labels: Your Health & Fitness Levels Depend on It!"  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"diet villain" ALERT: JUNKSTER

JUNKSTER: Eating too much junk food

Junk food is more than fast food, pizza, ice cream, potato chips, cookies, candy, donuts, etc....

Junk food makes up about 50% or more of today’s American diet, and many people lack an understanding of how its prevalence affects body fat and health issues. MY DIVA DIET wants you to know that junk food is just what its name implies, and it underlies many of our worst food choices, wreaks havoc on our health, and is a major factor in our obesity epidemic.

* Notes
  • Junk food goes far beyond candy, cake, donuts, and commonly prepared desserts:
  • It comprises most fast food.
  • It includes soda and other sugary drinks.
  • It also comprises many of the packaged, processed, and refined foods so popular today, including but not limited to crackers and snack items, frozen and canned foods, cereals, etc.
  • It also includes items made with hidden flour, sugar, sodium, and fake fats.
  • It incorporates many foods that are man-made, especially wholesome foods that are:
  • Manipulated in any form
  • Made with artificial ingredients
  • Packed full of preservatives and additives
* Junk Food Rules
  • In general, stay away from fast food and the other junk food items listed above, as well as the ones you already know about.
  • Be cautious and extremely selective when choosing man-made food products—less is better here.
  • Eating junk food once in a while might be okay, but some choices are better than others.
  • Do a little research: in addition to reading labels, check some of the charts available on restaurant menus and at fast-food eating places.
  • There are much better choices than junk food when you want dessert or just a sweet treat, such as frozen yogurt, sorbet, pudding, and gluten-free fig bars.
* FYI’s
  • JUST read labels of some commonly used food items, like chips, fruit snacks, cookies, donuts, cake, crackers, Cheetos, etc., which at first glance, you may think are low in calories or fat, but when you analyze their ingredient panels you’ll discover that most contain anywhere from twenty to seventy-five items, including trans fats, sugar, flavor enhancers, preservatives, MSG, white and wheat flour, milk, nuts, cheese cultures, and other unwholesome ingredients.
  • Even when trans fats are omitted (a recent trend), these foods contain saturated fat and other harmful ingredients.
  • Most man-made foods (including the fat-free products) do not have any fiber or nutritional value.
Other items to consider labeling as JUNK FOOD are frozen food items like frozen dinners; processed meats and meat products like hot dogs and lunch meat; breads and cereals made with white flour and sugar; as well as most canned foods.  Especially those that have anywhere from 10 to 50 ingredients–which most man-made and man-manipulated food products do!  

Next blog will be about Frozen Foods!  

Anything that does not pass the "pure and wholesome" food test and has more than 5 ingredients must be examined thoroughly!  

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pilates in Paradise!

Parrot Cay Resort Hosting Pilates Retreat: “Strength Without Struggle” with Lynda Lippin
Experience the power of Pilates in paradise this Fall, 2009!
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Jul 08, 2009 at 6:09 pm

This Blog is about Parrot Cay Resort and their Pilates Retreat and Lynda Lippin, a highly-qualified Pilates instructor, but it will also teach you the benefits of Pliates and its POWER to transform your body!

One of the most prestigious, exclusive, and spectacular resorts in the world, COMO Shambhala Retreat at Parrot Cay Resort, located in the Turks and Caicos Islands, will be hosting a five-day, six-night restorative Pilates Retreat, “Strength without Struggle.”

World class Pilates teacher, Lynda Lippin, (Parrot Cay’s popular and highly experienced resident Pilates specialist), will be leading this Pilates Retreat from November 8th to the 14th, 2009, which is open to all, including beginners.

Lippin has been practicing and teaching Pilates for over 20 years, has owned and operated award winning Pilates studios in the U.S., and trains Pilates teachers for the Physical Mind Institute. Lippin is also an accomplished fitness trainer, certified by ACE (American Council on Exercise), and has her own array of "back and neck pain" Pilates audios & e-books.  
Parrot Cay is a tiny private island, which is geographically situated in the Northern Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands, only a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami and a three-hour flight from New York City.

Parrot Cay Resort and COMO Shambhala Retreat is the only thing on the 1000-acre island––even the private estates are under the COMO wing, as it were. Parrot Cay Resort is a quiet and peaceful place where you will find an award winning holistic spa––a retreat for those who seek total relaxation and rejuvenation for your mind, body and spirit. White sand beaches, hues of turquoise to azure and on to deep blue waters, and coral reefs surround the resort, while the island is rich with marine life and vegetation.
Click here to learn more about Pilates-- Blog Critics: Author, Christine Lakatos......
Check out Lynda Lippin's blog,  Pilates Goddess, to learn more about Pilates, her expertise and her own array of "back and neck pain" Pilates audios & e-books.  

Don't forget getting and staying in shape (low body fat and good health) requires exercise AND the proper diet.  Check out my blogs:   

All this and more can be found in the diet book for women of all ages -- MY DIVA DIET:  A Woman's Last Diet Book 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"diet villain" ALERT: DAIRY MAIDEN (Got Milk? Know the Facts)

DAIRY MAIDEN: Consuming too many dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, etc.)—especially non-organic

GOT MILK?  Know the facts:

Total daily dairy intake
Although Americans consume some milk and milk products from sheep and goats, the American diet derives most of its dairy products from cattle. We at MY DIVAD DIET love cows and know that dairy is big business, but there are mixed reviews from nutritionists, fitness professionals, and even those in the medical field about the benefits of cattle dairy products, ranging from the belief that they are harmful to the conviction that they are a great food source. MY DIVA DIET takes the middle ground and finds dairy and dairy products acceptable as long as they are clean and pure and are not consumed in excess.

* Notes
  • We tend to drink too much dairy (milk) and eat too many foods and products that contain dairy, and there are drawbacks to this habit. 
  • The lactose that is found in milk (and all dairy products) is a form of naturally occurring sugar, but many dairy products contain added sugar (for example, some yogurts = 36 grams of carbohydrates, and 31 of them are from sugar). 
  • Dairy and dairy products do have some protein, but they are high in fat unless you get low- or non-fat types (the two exceptions are cottage cheese and some yogurts). 
  • Unless you use organic dairy and dairy products, you risk the possibility of consuming a product from a cow that was injected with hormones and antibiotics. Also, consider the cow’s feed (which affects its milk) as well as its health, treatment, and living conditions. 
  • The big push for milk is because of the calcium it contains, but you can select other healthy foods that are good sources of calcium. 
  • In one cup of beet greens, broccoli, chicory, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, rhubarb, or spinach you can get anywhere from 10% to 35% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of calcium without the fat, sugar, or sodium. 
  • These foods also provide other important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 
  • You can also get calcium from sardines and salmon, tofu, soy or rice milk, soybeans, nuts and seeds, and other leafy green vegetables. 

* Total Daily Dairy Intake Rules
  • Dairy and dairy products are okay but are not the total answer to your mineral requirements and can add unhealthy calories to your diet (unless you are extremely careful with your choices). Your best bet is to keep dairy and dairy product consumption down to one to two times per day (or less if you can). 
  • Less dairy (except for yogurt) is best when you are trying to lose weight, but this also holds true for maintenance and overall health. 
  • Choose low-fat or non-fat organic milk & cottage cheese and low- or non-fat, no- sugar-added yogurts. 
  • Cottage cheese is a great way to get protein into your diet. 
  • Yogurt is a good source of acidophilus—a beneficial bacteria that helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the body (gastrointestinal tract). 
  • Choose yogurt and cottage cheese that contain live active cultures. 
  • Because of its high fat content, cheese should be consumed in small amounts. 
  • In the Diva Reduction Phase, Parmesan, Romano, feta, skim mozzarella, and string cheese are acceptable because a small amount goes a long way. 
  • In the Diva Maintenance Phase, you can add other kinds of cheese in small amounts. 
  • Other commonly used dairy products are butter and cream. These are high in fat and should be used sparingly. 
  • For those of you who are lactose-intolerant (unable to absorb the natural sugar in dairy) or who don’t really care for dairy, rice or soy milk and other soy and rice products are good choices. 
  • Be aware that dairy is used as an ingredient in many other foods, so you need to monitor this aspect as well. 
  • Try goat’s milk—e.g. popular alternative to cow’s milk.
Does milk do a body good?  Only if it is the the right kind.  
To learn more about your "diet villains" check out the MY DIVA DIET website "diet villain" page.  

Here's a secret from a retired fitness competitor and bodybuilding--If you want to get really lean, skip ALL dairy except the yogurt recommended above and small amounts of organic low-to no-fat milk (or switch to soy milk).  

Wild Cow Productions!  

Monday, July 6, 2009

Herbs & Spices Focus: Cinnamon

While most popular during the cold winter months, cinnamon is available throughout the year. The brown bark from the cinnamon tree is available in two forms: dried sticks and ground powder. Cinnamon is known for its anti-clotting, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is sometimes used as a food preservative, and helps control blood sugar, boost brain function, improve colon health, and protect against heart disease. Cinnamon is rich in manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

TIP: Try adding cinnamon to lamb, sautéed vegtables, oatmeal, and yams. Try some in your coffee too!

To learn more about other herbs and spices check out MY DIVA DIET "Tools for Success"  -- Herbs and Spices the Forgotten Treasure.