Saturday, May 30, 2009

Food Facts: Energy Bars

Food, Sports, Energy, and Protein bars

The problem with food, sports, energy, and protein bars is that they are are man-made products with many ingredients. MOST are just "glorified candy bars". MY DIVA DIET is sure these products were designed with good intentions, but they fail the “real and natural” food test.

* Notes
  • There are too many food, sports, energy, and protein bars (alias “food bars”) to list here or analyze, and not all of them are created equal. Some are healthier than others, using real ingredients, while others are just glorified candy bars. 
  • Food bars (including granola bars) are only marginally better for you than candy bars or fast food burgers. 
  • Most food bars are high in calories, contain sugar (or high fructose corn syrup), wheat and other flour, fat and fat sources (like hydrogenated oil), salt, milk products, nuts, cocoa and cocoa powder, caffeine and other stimulants, ginseng, and additives and preservatives. 
  • Some food bars add vitamins and minerals to increase their value. 
  • Some food bars contain fiber and some are gluten-free. 

* Food, Sports, Energy, and Protein Bars Rules
  • MY DIVA DIET does not recommend food, sports, energy, or protein bars as part of your daily diet—we remind you that you need to get your calories from natural, fresh, and wholesome foods. 
  • It’s okay in an emergency situation to have one of these food bars. Try to choose those with fewer ingredients, higher protein and fiber, and no sugars and low to no flavor enhancers, additives, and preservatives. Again—read the labels! 
To learn more about reading labels, check out my blog post "Read Food Labels–Your Health & Fitness Levels Depend on It!"

Remember the MY DIVA DIET Golden Food Rule: 

"If God (nature) made it, it is safe. If it is man-made, it must be examined thoroughly.”

And if you are ready to get fit for life-check out MY DIVA DIET:  A Woman's Last Diet Book 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exercise Tips: The Foam Roller

The Foam Roller is an effective, inexpensive, and light weight  peice of exercise equipment that can be used in a variety of ways!  Foam rollers are used for self-myofascial release, self message, spine mobilization, balance and core training, and flexibility and corrective exercises. 

I love the foam roller and use it all the time, even while I am watching TV.  My favorite use of the foam roller (other than the massage affect) is for thoracic and lumbar spine mobilization.  

We are all to often always in a state of flexion (bending forward) and rarely (unless you are a gymnast or fitness enthusiast) take our spine into extension (bending backward). Using the foam roller can help mobilize your spine (or maintain its normal, healthy state), which is essential to good posture.  

Two great spine mobilization exercises:

Thoracic Spine Mobilization

While on your back, place the 4" foam roller just under your shoulder blades.  Place your hands behind your head. Gently lean backward over the roller as far as comfortable.  Exhale, relax and hold for 5 count then curl back up. Repeat twice at each level.  Move the roller upward an inch and repeat the process. Do this again on to two levels higher.  

Lumbar Spine Mobilization

While on your back, place the 4" foam roller along the top of the buttocks (below belt-line). Gently rock your knees from side to side while the roller is along the top of your pelvis.  Do 10 times slowly.  Then, move the roller up one inch, then gently lower your hips over the roller so that your low back arches, then tilt the  pelvis backward.  After 5-6 tilts forward and backward, move the roller up your spine another inch and continue slowly to rock your pelvis over the roller.  YOu may also rotate your knees slightly from side to side with the roller in the low back.  

The foam roller is a must addition to your exercise routine!  Here are some links to inform and guide you about the effectiveness and use of foam rollers.  They come in many sized and you can buy them at your fitness center, sports stores, and online!  

Diet Blog:  The Mighty Foam Roller

You Tube:  Stretching with the Foam Roller; By:

You Tube Top 5 Foam Roller Exercises; By:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tea Does a Body Good!

As noted in my last blog, "diet villain" ALERT:  CAFF, I am posting this information about tea.  

After water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, offering many health benefits if you skip the cream and sugar. The average amount of caffeine in tea is 40 milligrams per cup, compared to coffee, which contains around 100 milligrams per cup.

* Notes
Teas such as green, black, white, and red contain polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants that help protect our bodies from free radical damage and may reduce the risk of gastric, esophageal, and skin cancers.
  • Polyphenols also help prevent blood clotting, lower cholesterol levels, and may lower the risk of ovarian cancer.
Herbal teas are infusions made with herbs, flowers, spices, roots. and other plant parts but do not have the same health-promoting properties as green, red, and black teas. 
  • Herbal teas are consumed for their physical or medicinal effects, especially for their digestive, immunity, cleansing, relaxant, and wellness properties.
* Tea Rules
  • Drink a couple of cups of tea daily to help boost your water intake and add other health benefits. With such a wide variety of flavors you’re bound to find one or more you love.
  • Don’t drink grocery store or convenience store bottled teas that aren’t 100% tea. These teas usually contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other sugar derivatives, all of which are definite no-no’s.
  • Try pre-made unsweetened Tejava tea (, found at Trader Joe’s.
  • Some coffee bistros offer a variety of tea choices—just make sure they are plain teas—no sugar, cream, artificial sweeteners, etc.
Here are some articles you may want to read about tea:

Tea is good for you, but skip the milk.

 Lose fat and gain health NOW with MY DIVA DIET: A Woman's Last Diet Book 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"diet villain" ALERT: CAFF (caffeine)

CAFF: Drinking too much caffeine from liquid sources like coffee, sodas, and other high-caffeine drinks with no nutritional value.  And consuming other products containing caffeine like medications and diet pills.  

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
If you think that just because you don’t drink coffee or you drink decaf that you aren’t consuming any caffeine, think again. Under current federal regulations a product labeled “decaffeinated” can still contain 2.5% of the original amount of caffeine, and caffeine is also found in tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate, candy, medications, and diet pills.

* Notes
  • Coffee itself is not the problem so much as is consuming too much caffeine.
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant and can cause your heart to pump faster and your breathing to quicken.
  • Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which increases the body’s need for more water.
  • Caffeine is also a drug that can be addictive, so people who consume caffeine every day will usually need to continue to consume the same amount of caffeine just to feel normal.
* Coffee and Other Caffeinated Drink Rules
  • Coffee is okay in moderation, especially without sugar and cream.
  • A little honey or agave nectar is good for sweetening coffee, as is low-fat milk because of its lactose (milk sugar) content.
  • Skip dry creamers—they contain hydrogenated oil as well as sugar and other unwholesome ingredients—try a little low-fat soy milk or rice milk instead.
  • Watch out for those fancy coffee drinks—they are full of fat and sugar.
  • Tea is a great substitute for coffee—it’s low in caffeine and has other beneficial qualities (will posted about tea next).
  • Avoid soda—not just because of the caffeine but for other reasons as well.
  • Be cautious of so-called “energy drinks”, as they usually contain high amounts of caffeine.
  • Chocolate is okay on occasion, but choose dark chocolate instead of milk or white.
  • Be aware of caffeine in medications you are taking.
  • Stay away from diet pills! 
* FYI’s
  • Coffee beans are produced by the Coffea plant, a small evergreen plant. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked, processed, and dried, then roasted to varying degrees (depending on desired flavor) and brewed for coffee.
  • It’s been suggested that coffee may provide health benefits because of its antioxidants, which help prevent free radicals from causing cell damage.
  • Coffee’s negative health effects are mostly due to excessive consumption of the caffeine it contains, which research suggests may create temporary problems such as increase in the stiffening of arterial walls, magnesium deficiency, and a mixed effect on short-term memory. 
Final Note:  I love my coffee (having some now)!  Coffee is NOT the villain here, it is the excess intake of caffeine (that you will find in many products other than coffee). Not to mention, what we add to our coffee!  Since, coffee comes from a plant it has antioxidants and it is a natural way to get a "jolt" to help you exercise!  
To learn more about coffee has its benefits:

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Five Factors Affecting Body Fat & Health

The Five Factors 

Factor #1:  Liquid Consumption 

Factor #2:  Quantity and Distribution of Calories 

Factor #3:  Quality and Purity of Calories 

Factor #4:  Restrictive and Unbalanced Dieting 

Factor #5:  Exercise  

Factor #1:  Liquid Consumption 

Too many poor liquid choices add unnecessary and empty calories to the American diet, and an inadequate 

water intake leaves women dehydrated, unhealthy and unhappy.  

Factor #2:  Quantity and Distribution of Calories 

  • Daily caloric intake (uncontrolled calories—too many or not enough)  
  • Daily nutrient ratio: protein/carbohydrates/fat (unbalanced calories)  
  • Number of meals in each day (too many or not enough)  
  • Meal size (uncontrolled portions)  
  • Meal timing (unmonitored timing)  

Factor #3:  Quality and Purity of Calories  

  • Fat calories 
  • Unhealthy calories  
  • Dirty calories 
  • Impure calories  
  • Old and dead calories 
  • Non-kosher calories  

Factor #4:  Restrictive and Unbalanced Dieting 

Because most women look for quick-fix solutions to our obesity and poor-health epidemic, we buy into gimmicks and false promises.

We subscribe to dangerous pills and special packaged foods. We suffer needlessly. Sometimes we lose weight only to "rebound"–

gaining more weight than when we started and usually at the expense of our health. We end up confused and more desperate.

So instead of seeking the proper way to lose weight, we start the cycle all over again.  

Factor #5:   Exercise 

Lack of exercise is a major factor in our health and often explains why we may be fat in the first place. We are “remote-control” country: we lack physical activity and are frequently too lazy to exercise (or at least find ways to be active).  


The Five Factors Fixed 

Factor #1:  Monitor liquid consumption. 

Consume plenty of water each day and proper amounts of other liquids 

Factor #2:  Calculate the quantity and distribution of calories. 

Eat according to your metabolism, goals, and activity level. 

Factor #3:  Determine the quality and purity of calories. 

Eat pure and wholesome foods. 

Factor #4:  Eliminate restrictive and unbalanced dieting forever. 

Factor #5:  Introduce a balanced exercise regimen. 

MY DIVA DIET (copyright 2007)