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Sunday, September 30, 2007

7 Great Tips to Lose Weight Without Dieting

It’s pretty easy to lose weight quickly, especially if you follow one of those fad diets. You’ll be able to shed the pounds pretty quickly but you might feel a little hungry and deprived of the foods you love. But what sucks even more is that if you lose the weight with a fad diet then it’ll just come back.

So how do you keep the pounds off permanently, without dieting?
Its simple, you must tweak your lifestyle habits so that all the little things you do add up.
Take on one or more of these simple, painless tactics to help lose weight without going on a "diet":

1. Eat Breakfast To Lose Weight.

Many people who make it a habit to eat breakfast are able to lose weight and keep it off. Don’t even think about skipping breakfast, sure it’s a sneaky way to cut calories but you’ll usually end up eating more during the day. Eating breakfast not only helps you satisfy your hunger but it also gives your body the nutrients it needs to function properly.

2. Lock Up The Fridge

Determine a time when you’ll stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night cravings or unnecessary snacking while watching TV. If you do feel a bit hungry during the night then have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or if you want something sweet enjoy a small bowl of frozen yogurt. Another strategy you can use is to brush your teeth so you’ll be less likely to eat or drink anything else.

3. Choose Liquid Calories Wisely.

Stay away from sweetened drinks they load you up on calories and don’t take way your hunger like whole foods. If you need a drink go for water, sparkling waters, small amounts of 100% fruit juice, or skim milk. Limiting your alcohol intake will help a lot to drop down these calories as well.

4. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies.

Consuming lots of low-calorie, high-quality fruits and vegetables is much better than eating foods that are higher in fat and calories. When you start eating more fruits and veggies your diet will be enhanced with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won’t be reaching for the bag of chips.

5. Be In Command Of Your Environments.

Another simple strategy to help decrease your calories is to control your environment. This includes everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy choices to choosing the right restaurants to eat at. This means staying away from the “all-you-can-eat” places, and eating a healthy snack before going to a party so your not starving.

6. Cut Your Portions.

Hers an interesting thought, If the only thing you do is reduce your by 10%-20%, you will lose weight. Most of the portions you eat at restaurants and at home are more than you need. Use measuring cups to get a sense of your usual portion sizes, and work to get them down. You can instantly take control of this by getting smaller plates, bowls and cups.

7. Walk It Off.

If you lack in the physical component of weight loss then you wont see results as fast. To help work your muscles and stay active, try walking everyday to keep your heart and muscles in tiptop shape. If you want to take it one step further track your progress with a pedometer and slowly but surely add more steps to your day until you reach 10,000 per day.

Marci Lall is a Weight Loss and Body Sculpting Specialist for women. Visit his website at to get his FREE special report "How to Get Maximum Weight Loss & Fitness Results in Minimum Time".

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Herbs and spices and crostini- oh my!!

Herbs and spices have been used throughout history by many civilizations and remain one of the most ancient and fundamental aspects of cooking. The Chinese were the first to use herbs and spices in cooking and are well known for their medicinal knowledge of herbs. Throughout history, spices have been thought of as valuable trading goods. During the nineteenth century when European trade was at its peak, cloves sold for $18 a pound, and pepper was so valued it was sold by the peppercorn. Having an herb garden was commonplace in early Colonial America, but unfortunately now that is no longer a necessity.Herbs and spices often come hand-in-hand, but they are not the same thing. While herbs are the leaves of the plant (often dried), spices are the more aromatic parts of the plant such as buds or roots. In order to harvest herbs, it is important to understand the particular herb you are dealing with. For example, leafy herbs should be carefully picked when ripe and you should never take more than 10 percent of the growth at a time. These types of herbs should be pruned carefully and you should avoid over-pruning the plant. At the same time, if you are growing something such as garlic, you can pick that whole plant when you are ready to use it. It is best to pick the plant and use it when you know it is at its ripest, just like any other type of fruit or vegetable.If you want to store your herbs, you should always keep them in a cool, dry place, with a minimum amount of sunlight. In most cases a cupboard would be fine for storage. Drying your herbs is a good way to keep them longer for cooking. Some herbs, such as bay leaves, actually are most flavorful after they are dried. The method for drying bay leaves is to clean them with a pastry brush (no water), then lay them out on a warm dry surface, and in about a week they will be dried. They should be stored in an airtight, glass container. Other herbs can be dried just by tying them into bundles and hanging them. The only catch to this is that the room they are stored in should not be more than 86 degrees, because their oils will evaporate from the humidity. It is also not recommended that you dry your herbs in the kitchen. Generally, a more dry area of the house is better for this. Do not allow the herbs to dry for too long either, because then they tend to crumble if dried for too long. One other method that is quick is to dry your herbs in the microwave. After cleaning the herbs, dry them and spread them out between two paper towels. Then put them in the microwave for 2-2 ½ minutes and store the herbs in airtight containers.

(copyright 2005-2007 The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati)
4 thick slices of bread (crusty Italian type)
2 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese2 ounces tomato paste8 anchovy filletsOlive oilOreganoSalt and paper
Using an oil that has a thin spout, pour a light coating of olive oil on each slice of bread, then equally divide the tomato paste among the 4 slices of bread.Place 2 anchovy fillets on each slice of bread.Sprinkle with oregano and then add salt and pepper.

Place baking paper on a baking pan and coat it lightly with oil.Place each slice of bread on baking paper.Then bake for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees, until the cheese melts and becomes bubbly.
Serves four people
Ciao for now..
Maria Liberati

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Risk of Heart Attack and Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most prevalent type of heart disease, affecting nearly 13 million people in America alone. It is caused by the gradual accumulation of plaque-fatty deposits-in the coronary artery (the main artery supplying blood within the heart), over several years. The result is a decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. If left untreated, CAD can lead to heart attack and death. The most dangerous thing about CAD is that it can act as a ‘silent killer’ i.e. it causes the death of the patient without any warning symptoms or signs. But usually 3 main warning signs are experienced by many CAD patients. These are:

(1) Angina (Chest Pain): It feels like pressure or tightness in the chest, often appearing suddenly in a stressful situation. The stress may be physical or psychological.
(2) Shortness of Breath: Fatigue and shortness of breath are two main alarming signs of CAD. Usually, these are accompanied by swelling in the feet and ankles. The end result of these may be Congestive Heart Failure (CHF).
(3) Heart Attack: A heart attack occurs when one or more of the arteries supplying blood to the heart become completely clogged (with plaque). The pain in heart attack is similar to but more intense than that in angina.

Some precursors of heart attack are listed below. If any or more of these are experienced, it’s time to see your physician.

Pain in the chest, radiating to the left shoulder, arm, back, or jaw
Repeated encounters with pain in the chest
Prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
Shortness of breath
Nausea and vomiting
Impending sense of doom

More can be learnt about CAD and heart attack by visiting Dr. Rodger Murphree’s website

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Il Perdonanza, Cafe torronata, L'Aquila...

(copyright 2006-2007, Maria Liberati)
One of the things I look forward to doing each year (if selected) is being part of a 700 yr old medieval event that is held in the capital city (L'Aquila) of the region I live in (Abruzzo).
Each year, a certain number of dignitaries and notable people - from not only Abruzzo but all over the world are selected to take part in this event. This year was the second year I was selected to be part of the 'sfilate' or parade along with many notable people from ambassadors and/or their wives from Bosnia, other parts of Europe, the Vice President of Italy, 5 bishops from the Vatican and all of the mayors from every town in Abruzzo.

I will do a sequence of blogs on this event since it is an important event and it has a lot of significance in the world today. The event was started by Pope Celestino- the Pope back in that time. The event is known as "La Perdonanza Celestiniana". It refers to an idea this Pope came up with to try to make peace in the world, because at that time many countries were also fighting against each other.
His philosophy was in order to try to make peace in the world- to forgive everyone and wash their slate clean from that day forward- no matter what they had done in the past. However, they must promise to mend their old ways and start anew and all would be forgiven. And amazingly enough, at that time this created peace in the world. A beautiful thought and a beautiful way to celebrate the idea of peace in the world
One of my favorite reasons to go to the beautiful city of L'Aquila- besides their beautiful churches, works of art, scenery and food is a special coffee drink called 'cafe torronata'. It is an espresso served up elegantly with a chocolate candy (a specialty made in L'Aquila) placed in the bottom of the drink and allowed to melt into the coffee. A dollop of whip cream on top and prepare to be mesmerized!!.
Here is my recipe for cafe torronato. However, to get the real thing, you should have a chocolate covered torrone from Fratelli Nurzia or Sorelle Nurzia. They invented these candies and are still making them in L'Aquila the same way they did over 50 yrs ago.

Cafe Torronato
Brew 1 cup of espresso. Place chocolate covered torrone at bottom of glass. Let stand for about 1 minute, stir gently, top with some fresh 'panna' or whipped cream. Dust with powdered sugar.

Mmmm!! Delizioso

Ciao for now!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bragging Ripes

I wish they all could be California fruits.
I am not as well traveled as I would like to be. In this fine country I call home, I've been to Massachussetts, New York, Florida, Georgia (just the airport), Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Utah (again, the airport), Iowa and Nebraska. I've traveled to Hawai'i, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. I lived in Seattle, Washington briefly as a child and in Southern California since I was five. Everywhere I have gone, I have sampled the cuisine the region was known for. I consider it a culinary sin to do anything less on vacation.
The papaya in Hawai'i is better than anywhere else in the world. The baked crab I had in the Bahamas could not have sweeter. The grouper in Florida is tops for grilled fish (especially with a Margarita), and call me super-satisfied at a good Vegas buffet. Shredded meat wrapped in corn tortillas on the waterfront in Playa del Carmen, Mexico is paradise plated. But nothing rivals California avocadoes. Sorry, rest of the world.
I am not going to give you another guacamole recipe. You already know they make a healthy substiture for mayonnaise on a sandwich. And I'm sure you know by now how expensive they are, and for good reason.
I just want to tell you something more important about avocadoes. The best way to eat the avocado is simply. Scoop it, slice it, and squeeze on top if it only fresh lemon juice and sea salt. That's it - I'm totally serious.
I've been to Napa, Sonoma, Healdsburg and sampled wine country cuisine (and wine, of course!)in depth. I've eaten at the seaside places in Malibu. I've eaten hot dogs from the most notorious and oldest establishments in L.A. And I've had cocktails and steaks at fancy-schmancy restaurants in San Francisco. And nothing else in California rivals the avocado.
Find yourself here eating one, simply.
And when I do get to the rest of the world (I'm thinking Europe, namely, the Mediterranean countries), the only time I will stop eating is to write about the food of the region.
But as a California Girl, born here, raised here, I'll always come home to the avocado. Nothing rivals a simple comfort.