Tag Archive | Review

#ABXDVD Was not For Me

As per the FTC’s “Clear and Conspicuous Requirement” I received a copy of this DVD per a blogging review site. I was not compensated in any way other than the free DVD for this review.

I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade, run a successful Chicago area fitness studio and have been a paid presenter in the fitness industry. During this time I have blogged about fitness, health and wellness, reviewed DVDs and other fitness items, always honestly and without abash. I have read some of the reviews that were in the 1-2 star range for this product and was dismayed to see that the company took a negative stance against people honestly giving their feedback about a product; growth comes from honest critique not glowing praise even if your company’s philosophy is self-acceptance – probably more so because you shouldn’t need bloggers to affirm you.

Having put off this review so long that I keep receiving contact from the company I can no longer shirk the duty. The short and sweet, so as to not get into a debate with anyone representing ABX is, I personally did not like the DVD. I personally did not connect to the video. I personally did not like the routine. I personally did not like the video staging including the personalities. I would not personally recommend the DVD to any client I can think of; however, I personally believe that the DVD might have an appeal, as another reviewer on Amazon aptly pointed out, to males for viewing pleasure.

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Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy

I absolutely love this book for its illustrations, give me an anatomy book hands down any day and I am glued to the pages.  This book is broken down into specific muscle categories with clearly verbalized to the point execution notes, a meter for level of difficulty, variations and specific muscles targeted (yes the category may be chest, but there is more than one muscle in there!).

image SO how will this book play out to the fitness neophyte?  Probably not too handy.  There are several brief tables in the back that breakdown some sample push-pull, split or whole body workouts, and if you aren’t sure what some of those mean…that is kind of my point. This is another great book for the fitness professional, someone working with a fitness professional, or anyone looking for more information on anatomy and how muscles work.

While Contreras believes all strength trainees should master their own bodyweight as a form of resistance training before moving on to free weights and other training systems, he is adamant that a person can maintain muscularity and fitness solely by performing bodyweight exercises. “As you progress to more difficult variations and increase the number of repetitions you perform with the various exercises, you will continuously challenge your neuromuscular system,” he explains. “Your body will respond by synthesizing more protein and laying down more muscle tissue. In essence, your body adapts by building a bigger engine.”

Featuring drawings, instructions, and descriptions of 156 innovative and unique exercises, along with a rating system to help you determine the level of difficulty of each exercise, Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy goes far beyond standard pull-ups, push-ups, and squats to work every muscle in the body. Contreras, who maintains a popular blog at BretContreras.com, also has instructions on creating a customized, equipment-free workout program for building a stronger, more toned physique.

I received a copy of this book for review, I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed are freely given and my own.

Tips for Soothing and Shrinking Your Belly with the 21 Day Tummy

I received a copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way, all of the opinions expressed are given freely and are my own.

Health journalist Liz Vaccariello brings a third book to the market with 21-Day Tummy: The Revolutionary Diet That Soothes and Shrinks Any Belly Fast, the latest in a chain of books written about weight loss and digestion.  While the book held no help for me because of its reliance on meats, eggs and limited dairy, however; page 105 has a sidebar of Vegetarians Welcome Here stating that vegetarians are used to making substitutions. It did hold some interesting hypotheses on what causes bowel pain and digestion issues, including pregnancy.  Research regarding the gut conditions of pregnant women shows that they undergo dramatic changes which explains a great deal of the complaints mothers have during and after birth, the high need for modification of diet and even the high incidence of elimination diet in treating breastfed children.

There are some quick tips given regarding the “Belly Buddies” that should be included in meal plans such as:

  • fiber
  • magnesium
  • anti-inflammatory fats

Most of these may already be known, but the authors do go into greater detail into these categories, and they also include a quick reference list on page 95. At the end of the book there are “Belly Bully” tests which are propositioned as reverse elimination diets.  You add a certain amount of these foods to meals across a span of time and see if you have an adverse reaction.  Garlic and onions, my own nemeses are on this list.

There are recipes and meal plans given including make a head meals.  There are three phases, and a fairly lengthy bibliography referencing where some of the research for this book came from.  Convenient shopping lists are also provided and an index of recipes to make meal planning quicker.

Also present is a nice discussion of exercise and studies that conclude too much exercising not only impedes weight loss but it ruin the intestinal lining – a fascinating read and research but the test subjects were postmenopausal women, so it may not apply to all groups. Several studies are sighted that support the use of moderate exercise in maintaining a healthy weight and health GI tract.

This book definitely provide some interesting recipes and may be just what someone looking for an alternative way to manage their gut health is looking for.

Please read more about the book and its authors below:

Trim Tummy Fat – and Target Bloating, Gas and More – with 21-Day Tummy,

imageThe Revolutionary Diet That Shrinks and Soothes Any Belly Fast

Treat Common Digestive Disorders While Dropping Pounds and Inches in Three Weeks

NEW YORK October 28, 2013 From burps and groans to discomfort and moans, millions of Americans have stomach issues. One of the most common? Extra weight – which frequently brings indigestion, painful stomach cramps, uncomfortable bloating, and other tummy troubles. Research shows that foods that lead to gastrointestinal problems are often the same ones that pack on the pounds. Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief and New York Times best-selling author Liz Vaccariello suffered from these embarrassing symptoms, so she followed her own gut and teamed with Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN to distill the latest science and create 21-Day Tummy, a new healthy eating plan that shrinks and soothes any belly fast.

 

21-Day Tummy, available now at www.21daytummy.com and in stores nationwide December 26, does what no other diet plan can do: it trims tummies while tackling the “big five” most common digestive problems that no one wants to talk about: heartburn, gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. The easy-to-follow plan focuses on carb-light, anti-inflammatory foods scientifically proven to balance gut flora, reduce inflammation, soothe the digestive system and shrink fat cells (“Belly Buddies”), while avoiding pro-inflammatory fats and high-fructose foods (“Belly Bullies”).

“When I uncovered research linking two of my own challenges – weight gain and digestive slowdown – I knew I had a fresh solution to a common problem. I’m amazed at how great I feel eating this way – my digestion is regular and I don’t suffer cramps or feel bloated anymore,” said Vaccariello. “It’s possible to lose weight and improve digestion at the same time, and 21-Day Tummy will show you how, leaving you healthier, happier – and more comfortable!”

21-Day Tummy includes:

  • · Real-Life Success Stories & Advice Reader’s Digest recruited real men and women who tried out the 21-day plan. All lost weight – up to 19 pounds – and belly inches. The grand tally of weight loss in three weeks: 90 pounds! They each reported major improvements in their digestive issues and most found that their gas, bloating, nausea and bellyaches disappeared. The top tester dropped 19 pounds in 21 days and completely stopped taking medications for acid reflux.

  • · Recipes: 50 scrumptious recipes that incorporate Belly Buddies – foods that help shrink and soothe stomachs – such as Tomato-Ginger Flank Steak, Ratatouille Frittata and Strawberry Soufflé-lets.

  • · Workout Plan: An optional equipment-free workout plan created to soothe and sculpt your belly with a mix of core strengthening, walking, and yoga exercises.

  • · Belly Bully Tests: Guidelines on how to identify which Belly Bullies are problematic for your system and what you can reintroduce to your diet, so you can enjoy a variety of foods.

 

21-Day Tummy will help you target the foods and behaviors that challenge your personal digestive system and show you how to eat in a way that keeps you feeling great – and looking lean – for life.

 

21-Day Tummy

Pub date:  December 26, 2013

ISBN:  9781621451112

Hardcover/$25.99 

 

Available now at ReadersDigestStore.com and wherever books are sold.

 

About Liz Vaccariello

Liz Vaccariello is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest, one of the world’s largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she’s also the coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, The 400-Calorie Fix and Flat Belly Diet!. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachel Ray, and The View. Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on rd.com. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc).

 

About Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the nutrition and wellness field, specializing in digestive disorders. Kate completed her postgraduate training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate. The author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS, she has been interviewed in many national publications, including Ladies Home Journal and Fitness magazine. She lives and practices in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

About Reader’s Digest Association

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) is a family of iconic brands that celebrate reading, sharing and doing among consumers on print and digital platforms. Our portfolio of products includes our flagship magazine Reader’s Digest; Taste of Home, the world’s largest circulation food publication; The Family Handyman, America’s leading source for DIY; and a suite of Enthusiast titles including Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce. For more than 90 years, we have simplified and enriched the lives of a passionate readership by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting content in family, food, health, home improvement, finance, and humor. Reader’s Digest casts a global footprint by providing products and services around the world through owned and licensed operations. Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com.

Are you Looking to Dine Vegan Farm to Table in Chicago Burbs?

VeganOatmealandHash On our way home from one of our many museum outings I started scanning the area on my smartphone for vegan restaurants.  I was shocked to find one of off Harlem Ave in Palos Heights, IL called the Harvest Room Restaurant.  It is a farm to table run business that sources the majority of its ingredients from local producers.  They offer a wine list, which I wasn’t interested in, and a tea list with an in house tea-ologist who blends herbs and teas to create cup or pot fulls of elixirs and tea concoctions.

They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options.  Although our first visit here ended with a mix up in the vegan meal, the staff and management were quick to rectify the problems and make amends (something you don’t often find these days when dining out).  With such great food and service we decided to give it another shot.

I had the vegan gluten free tomato soup – it was delicious, not too heavy and perfectly seasoned, nice and mild with the freshness of the tomatoes able to shine through.  I also have the Warm Eggplant Parcel, the Spaghetti Squash and the Tofu Torque over Quinoa.  Of the three my absolute favorite was the Spaghetti Squash in a mint olive oil with mushrooms, snow peas and petite onions (I skipped eating these because I wanted to be able to enjoy the aromatic garlic sautéed and my stomach can’t handle garlic alone). My husband had a burger (blah, I’m not writing about his carnivore experience – but it did look goodEggplantParcel and he did smile).

We both split the Sorbet Trio, green apple, blackberry and fruta de bosco.  OMG! That is all I can say.  The sorbet was light and airy, fruity but not cloyingly sugary which I can’t stand.  It tasted like you were eating whipped frozen fruit.  Served on a long tray with 2 small scoops per flavor it was great for sharing.  Of course hubby had to also have the Chocolate Lava Cake – it did look non-veganly delicious and was covered in berries to offset the chocolate.

Our first visit I had their oatmeal, home fries and the Eggplant Parcel Salad. My kids got organic wheat pasta and my husband had a biscuits and seitan gravy breakfast.  Both times we were pleased with our meals and the service was wonderful. Our first visit was a Sunday at 2pm, still in time for breakfast and it was quiet. Our second visit was a Friday night 8:30 pm and they were hopping! Even busy our water glasses never remained empty and we were asked several times if we would like more pretzel bread.

TwoSistersBrews I highly recommend you try this hidden gem of a restaurant

7164 West 127th Street
Palos Heights, Illinois 60463

Combat Free Radicals and Win @Bai5 Superfruit Drink CONTEST CLOSED

bai In just a couple weeks Bai 5-Calorie Antioxidant Infusions will be introducing its ninth adventurous flavor… Molokai Coconut. Don’t be confused, this is not a coconut water… it’s a coconut (un)water that has everything a coconut water lacks including rich, 100% natural coconut flavor with only one gram of sugar, while still offering the all-important electrolytes. By combining the antioxidant rich and often underappreciated superfruit, the coffee fruit, Bai5 has a new addition that all coconut lovers ought to try!

Sadly I am not included in the coconut fan club and neither is my husband who has a severe nut allergy.  I did however get a chance to try several of the classic flavors including: Brasilia Blueberry, Congo Pear, Panama Peach, Sumatra Dragonfruit and Limu Lemon.  I was a huge fan of the peach and pear flavors they were full and robust, the blueberry was a little artificial tasting but still good and the dragonfruit was quite powerful in tropical taste.  My least favorite was the lemon – it has an almost antiseptic taste and a very pungent aftertaste.  My children were in love with these as well.  I sipped on them to get a small dose of caffeine during our recent excursions to children’s museums so I could keep up with their youthful exuberance, a couple of times they snuck in sips from my bottle.  The caffeine is mild, natural caffeine (as much as a cup of green tea) and Bai has no preservatives.  You will find nothing artificial, OU Kosher, Vegan, Gluten and Soy Free. Every bottle of Bai contains 250% of the average daily antioxidant intake and bai5 has only 5 calories and is sweetened with  organic stevia.  One of Bai’s investors and marketing advisor is former Vitaminwater CMO Rohan Orza.  In 2012 Bai was named by Beverage World as the breakout drink of the season.

These are best served chilled.

Want to try some Bai? I have a 3 bottles to giveaway so be sure to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below and you could be sipping some chilled coffee fruit soon! Retail Value $2.30 per bottle

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received Bai5 samples for review, I was not compensated in any way for my review or my opinions, they are my own and given freely. Bai5 is not responsible for prize fullfillment and is not involved in this giveaway. Giveaway prizes are from unused samples received. Open to US residents only.

 

Thanks to all who entered.  Our random winner was Steph C.

Cycle into Spring and Bike Safety

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It’s springtime and even though no-one alerted the weather yet that it is spring but we have had a few good days for bike riding.  With warmer weather we have the ability to get the family outside more and one of my family’s favorite activities is bicycling. We have a membership to our local arboretum and love to take the kids there to tool around.  Cycling is the second most popular outdoor activity right after running for Americans.  Last year my husband and I splurged and bought ourselves new bikes, bike car seats for the kids, water bottle holders and even a bike rack.  What we did not buy were bicycle locks. But we are not alone, statistics show that 33 % of individuals do not lock their bikes up, and an unattended, unlocked bike is an easy target for thieves. 

So why don’t we lock up our bikes? Maybe we still like to believe that we live in a world where we can leave our front doors open to catch a breeze and kids can leave their bikes in front of the store to grab a cool drink on a summer day.  Sadly with 48% of people having had their bike stolen, or knowing someone who has, it just isn’t the case anymore.  Our bikes weren’t cheap, they weren’t racing bike expensive, but they were a little more expensive than the grocery store variety – enough to warrant protecting them from theft with a $26 bike lock.  Enter the

image 8195D Force Series ULock:

  • Force 3 standard U-lock
  • $1000 anti-theft guarantee
  • Sliding dust cover protects keyway from dirt and moisture.
  • Hardened steel body resists cutting, sawing and prying.
  • Double locking shackle withstands 3 tons (2.72 metric tons) of pull force.
  • Disc key for superior pick resistance.
  • Soft grip for comfortable use, weather and scratch resistance.
  • Carrier bracket included for convenient storage.

I have used this lock and it is quick simple, comes with a carrying bracket that mounts to your bike so there is no excuse to not have a lock with you.  You are more likely to lose your lock key than lose your bike to a thief with this lock.  The $1000 anti-theft guarantee assures you that these locks will provide security and peace of mind through many years of use. They have been engineered to provide you the highest level and most economical means possible to secure your property. It’s just another reason why Master Lock products offer street smart security.

Now that you are armed with your lock and your bike you are ready to set out, right? Well don’t forget basic bike safety.  Riding while wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%, so be sure to cover your noggin before you mount up and know that 3 hours of cycling a week can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke by 50% so get pedaling.

As for your bike be sure to check:

 imageDon’t own your own bike? No problem there are options for those who don’t own to simply rent, including a new online site Spinlistera marketplace that lets bike owners rent their bikes to travelers, cyclists, and locals looking to explore over 300 cities in 50 countries.

How it works:

-For bike owners, it’s easy to list a bike and earn cash. After filling out a few details, and submitting photos of your sweet chariot, within 24 to 48 hours (after we check for quality, price, and accuracy), your bike will be ready for rent.

-For bike renters, you have it easy too! Simply search by location, bike size, and type to get a list of available bikes near you. From there, you can request a rental from the bike’s owner and ask questions. Once the Lister approves your request, it’s a match made in bicycle heaven.

 

I was provided a sample bike lock for review and use of graphics, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own, given freely.

Ditch the Joint Stress, Workout With Ease Giveaway CONTEST ENDED

Up until October 2012 I owned a fitness studio and taught full time, a full schedule of fitness, dance, and yoga classes. Through two pregnancies, up until the day each was born, and back to work two weeks post partum.  It is not something I recommend but in order to keep income coming in I had to work.  Small business owners seldom get a day off from their daily grind.

Throughout the last decade I have taught a variety of formats; Zumba, Pilozing, Yoga, Ballet Bootcamp, you name it and even with all of my credentials I still make a wrong move, twist the wrong way, or forget to bring my dance shoes to class.  Now, with Dancesocks you don’t have to worry about buying the “right type” of shoe for class.  Several instructors that worked at my studio used slip-on sock products to teach on a variety of surfaces – from carpets that allow no slide to wood floors that can get tacky.

Why would you need Dancesocks? The average sneaker most people buy is a running shoe, turned up at the end with a high amount of grips on the bottom – these shoes are made for forward movement, not lateral movement, spinning or twisting.  Now, you could purchase a pair of shoes for each exercise endeavor you take on, and there are cheerleading/dance shoes with pivot points for dancing, but; you could just as easily get a pair of Dancesocks for $10 and save yourself the cost of a new pair of $100 shoes that you will only wear in class.  Dancesocks are economical and make sense, you can transition any pair of sneakers into aerobic dance shoes.

My Dancesocks arrived from http://www.cocoscloset.com/ , a website that invites you to shop in “your coolest friend’s closet” and offers a wide range of clothing, gift and accessories. I have a hard time finding cute tops and always seem to run into people who find the most comfortable looking trendy tees that I would want to teach yoga in.  Cocoscloset definitely has few adorable tee shirts I wouldn’t mind owning.  In fact, there are a lot of great items for trendy moms available in Cocoscloset.  Here are my top three picks for mom (hint, hint, wink to my family!)

1. I happen to know another owl crazed mom so “ode to you my bellydance friend” it is the

Vegan Leather Phone Wristlets – Owl (Pink)

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2. For moms on the run and on the go, yes I miss the fanny pack it is

Spibelt – Small Personal Item Belt – Turquoise Pouch with Black Zipper

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3. Let me end my list by saying:

“NAMASTE” T-shirt

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Armed with a few great ideas for mom this Mother’s Day go out into the world and shop, or click the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win you or you mom Dancesocks from CocosCloset!

I received a pair of DanceSocks for review, I was not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are my own and given freely. Winner will receive a pair of Dancesocks from CocosCloset, FamilyCanBFit is not responsible for prize fulfillment

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to our Winner Rose!