Welcome to another edition of Freaky Friday. For the first timer, each week I feature the creative and wacky ideas that people have. It can be in positive or negative way, as long as it's unusual then it's worthy enough to be put in freaky Friday.

And Freaky Friday is NOT sponsored post and I am NOT affiliated with any of these companies featured in Freaky Friday post.

This edition features the clever idea from a geek who found that his body was not composed of hands and heads solely. And the other parts of his body need more exercises than clicking, typing and seeing movies in computer. Then he found a company aimed specifically to cater geek's need to exercise. The company is named Slim Geek (Isn't geek slim already?).

Internet has changed the way of our life and some people (including me) spend more time in computers than moving around. Slim Geek sells a computer bike exercise gadget called Geek-a-Cycle which enables us to do a little exercise while they spend half of their life in front of PC.

Geek-a-Cycle package is comprised of desk table and bike pedal. The desk table is proportioned so that our hands are not pressed to the table surface. The inventor reckons that if our hands are pressed to the table surface for long time then we tend to have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. You can see in the image on the right that the keyboard table is tilted at 60 degrees.

What in the geek name is that?

According to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel - a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand 3/4 houses the median nerve and tendons."

Let me rephrase that in human language, Carpal tunnel syndrome makes your hands sore.

The most exciting part of this package is the bicycle located just below the table. It offers a chance to exercise while we spend our life in the computer and to some extents, it can help making our presence in the real world longer.

The inventor claims that he lost 24 pounds
in three months by using the Geek-a-Cycle. That's around 2 pounds a week. Although he made that result I don't think that one can possibly lose weight just by depending on this device. But still don't let that spoils the fun.

There's no harm than burning extra calories while we sit in front of our PC. And if you do some Wii Sports whenever you are in front of TV and pedal your Geek-a-Cycle while you are in front of computer, you are going to burn significant amount of fat.

The inventor suggests us to pedal when we are not typing and stop when we are typing.

I personally think this bike is a great idea to add to my PC. It costs $399 for the desk table and the bike. However the bike solely just costs $184.95. Spending $184 for this bike is wiser than stocking a month supply of diet water. Heck, with $184 you can't even get two of this alien sauna suit.

Geek-a-Cycle website is here.

The past editions of freaky friday:
-Diet Water
-Hula Chair
-Pet Fat
-Caffeine Pantyhose
-Cheese Burger Vacuum
-Sauna Sweat Suit

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So what does it take for the well known stars to have their well maintenanced figure? Although many of us seem to think that they have God given slender figure, in fact most of the Hollywood stars need to struggle very hard, if not harder than us, to maintain their body.

There's a myth that Hollywood diet involves several bizarre fasting. However the attribute of Hollywood diet is so vague that I ponder why there are still people who believe and swear by it.

The silly Hollywood diet was rumored to use only Papaya, pineapple and watermelon. First the dieter is required to eat papaya to soften the fat, followed by pineapple to burn it and watermelon to flush the fat. And not only that, the diet requires us to eat just a type of food for a day.

This sounds ridiculous, unhealthy and boring. What amaze me is the people who swear by it. Let's throw away that urban legend and learn about the sensibler diet that many Hollywood stars are doing.

Kate Hudson was a subject amongst the dieters because she managed to dish out around 40 pounds of fat after her pregnancy. Her secret was to consume high protein food in small portions. Her choices of training were weight training and cardio. She achieved that 40 pounds in 120 days (a little more than 2 pounds a week) and gained muscle on her abs which made it a subject of envious talk.

As the world most successful host in the world, Oprah is paying a lot of attention to her figure. Oprah followed a strict eating plan which is similar to South Beach diet.

She avoided white sugar and white bread and consumed a lot of fish and vegetables. Her choices of training were weight lifting and cardio (just like Kate). In addition she also claimed that she had never eaten after seven o'clock in the evening. In her late age, Oprah is still as charming as ever.

Gwyneth Paltrow was listed in one of the weirdest celebrities' diet in one of my previous entry. In addition of doing the infamous macrobiotic diet (a diet which forbids her from consuming sugar, gluten, dairy and red meat), she also did a cupping therapy. The therapy used cup of hot air pressed to her body.

Jennifer Aniston swears by the name of Dr. Barry Sears. She followed zone diet strictly and managed to be one of the sexiest girls on earth according to a Men magazine. Zone diet requires its follower to follow a strict 40:30:30 meal ratio. 40% of low glycemic carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. Zone diet is a hassle if you don't have a personal cook to carefully measure your meal. The only option is to depend on numerous zone diet delivery companies which rate are going more and more competitive

Paris Hilton diet is one of the unbelievable diets. She said that she had never done any strict diet before and she ate pop corn, fast food and other batty stuffs whenever she wanted them. She also said that she burned a lot of calories just by dancing. As these stuffs were said in her book, Confession of A Heiress, it doubts me whether is this for real or is this just a tool to make more people buy her book.

Battle is far from over! A few weeks ago, a new regulation forcing a great number of fast food joints in New York to display calorie information in their products was agreed to take effect on July 1st.

Just when everybody have been waiting to see the regulation takes effect in a few days, the court suddenly delayed this regulation enforcement to October 1.

I am sure with the proper calorie information many people would decrease their fast food consumption as the calorie in fast food menu is terrific.

A portion of Big Mac contains whooping 600 calories and that number is still added by side dishes and soft drink which people usually order to accompany their Big Mac. A super sized french fries can contain more calories than the big mac itself! Not to mention the "Super Size Deal" which offer an option to increase the portion size by just paying a few dollars more.

The fast food chains said that they are not reluctant to give the truth to customers. However their argument was that the menu board will look like a mess if they have to display the calorie count for each menu. I seriously find that the argument has no solid ground.

How hard it is to put additional menu boards on the left and the right side of the centered menu board. Another option would be for them to display the calorie in the printed menu only.

Of course they are afraid that sales are going to be hurt by displaying the calorie count. According to ChowBaby calorie counter, Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese holds an almighty 1070 calories! Fast food joints will be forced to offer the reduced portion size otherwise they can lose a lot of customers.

This is a good step taken by government in NY to fight the fast food addiction. It's possible that other states will follow through should NY succeed in enforcing this rule. And after some states follow, some countries might also follow.

In 2006 fast food joints approximately earn US$142 billion in sales, as estimated by National Restaurant Association. As this involves a huge amount of money, a fierce tug of war is happening now behind the screen. And the fast food has won the first round by delaying the enforcement of calorie display regulation to October 1.

I can only hope that someday we can know exactly what and how much we eat.

The full story in 1010 wins.

More about fast food in Diet-Meals-Recipes:
-Pet food is healthier than fast food
-Fast Food 101

It's summer season, shopping spree anyone? If you are on tight diet then it's better to avoid shopping for a while, otherwise you will be parting with a large chunk of your bank account.

With the currently happening Singapore Great Sale or Surabaya Big Sale, it's actually hard not to enter the shopping spree mode. And just like all women with a little cash, the fool side inside of me find it's hard not to reduce Zara summer season inventory. Just like TV, shopping is not a good companion for our diet.

A study done by Kathleen D. Vohs and Ronald J. Faber as published in the Journal of Consumer Research, volume 33 (2007)- pages 537–547 evaluated the buying desire of people who were in self restraint mode. The study conducted two very interesting experiments which clearly simulate the self restraint mode and its effect to shopping habit.

The research can be downloaded in here, scroll down until you see the title "Self-Regulatory Resource Availability Affects Impulse Buying". Setting aside those complicated statistical jargon, the study highlighted two experiments to prove that self constraint really affects impulse buying.

The first experiment was done by asking a bunch of men and women to watch a 6 minute muted videotape with guise that they would be asked their opinion toward the interview later. The video had a random text displayed in the bottom of the screen. The first group was forbidden to read the text at all and they must look at the woman face all the time, the second group was given no instruction.

Then both groups were asked to give the amount of money they would be willing to pay upon some pricey products such as watches and cars. The first group was reported on paying much more money on those goods compared to the second group. This first experiment highlighted that people in self constraint mode tend to spend more money when they are given the chance to break away from the constraint.

The second experiment involved some people which were divided into two groups. The first group was told to write everything which was in their mind but they were forbidden to think about white bear, and every time they think about white bear they must cross the paper. The second group was given no constraint at all.

After that people from both groups were given small amount of money as reward which they can spend on anything inside a particular store or they can just keep the money. The first group who was being constrained during the test, spent more than the second group. The buying impulse is harder to resist when a person is experiencing a tight constraint.

This can be related with our diet, if you are on crash diet or struggle very hard on the borderline then chances are you will be spending a lot when you are given the chance to do so. Of course it's a different case if you are already used of the diet and you consider diet not as limitation but a chance to live happier and healthier. For the moment, I will avoid those tempting sale!

A few weeks ago I got these cute candies packages from a close friend. They look cute and appealing at the same time due to its flashy colors combination.

It's very obvious that these snacks use a lot of food coloring since their main ingredients are only sugar and egg. This fact stroked a curiosity in my mind and I did a quick looking in the nearby supermarket to see whether all the packaged products use food coloring.

Although this might not be surprising for all of you but this fact surprised me. I always expect that many packaged foods use food coloring but I do not expect all of them to use food coloring.

From the flaming red can of coke to the pink salmon in the 'fresh' seafood corner. Why do we need to have food coloring? What are the suspected food additives? Can we do something about it?

All the food coloring additives in developed countries has passed the strict safety checks imposed by their respective governments, therefore there should be no harm done by having food coloring in our food. However my primary concern is, do we need it that badly? What's the matter with murkier cola?

Even some juice brands contain food coloring in their ingredients box. Yet they still tag their products as natural fruit juice. While most fruit's skin are colored, it also surprises me that some packaged meat and vegetables are also colored.

If the companies in the food industry did not put food coloring in their products at the first place, I personally think that right now we would not need nor get used to food coloring. The competition is tough and all the companies want to get the winning edge, and right now it's usual for our apples to be colored red, our lemon colored yellow and our salmon colored pink or orange.

While the food additives passed the safety test, they were only tested at individual basis. They have not been tested for combined use. Many products use more than one coloring to create another color. According to The Guardian, there's a leak in the upcoming research which hints that certain food additives could damage DNA and cause several health problems later.

According to BBC, these particular food coloring also have been linked with health problems. Food coloring such as Tartrazine (E102) which is commonly found in fizzy drinks, black (E151) commonly used in our barbecue or hickory sauce, and green coloring used in packaged vegetables are amongst the suspected additives.

Of course one of the leading packaged drink industry, Coca Cola snapped this opportunity and created their "healthy coca cola". This new coca cola will be manufactured without food coloring and preservative and will be tested in Israel.

Can we do something about it?

Sadly we can only do something about ourselves. I always make it a habit to peel fruit's skin before consuming it as the skin is laden with coloring. So this means I won't be able to chew apple while strolling in the campus, no problem.

I also do not buy packaged food often, as they are laden with preservatives and coloring. The sad fact is I rely on packaged sauce heavily, it's too much hasle to prepare the sauce myself although many of them are laden with coloring. Yogurt is my another area of concern, I stop consuming those fresh looking fruit yogurt as they are artificially colored to match the fruit taste. Plain, ivory color yogurt (not white) is my choice now.

I have no idea whether packaged food actually makes our life easier with their long lasting attribute or more difficult with more and more health problems arising from packaged foods.

Your thought?

As it's my habit to write about crazy products in the weight loss industry on weekend, I name this product review session: Freaky Friday. Although I did not write the past wacky products reviews exactly on Friday, that does not stop me for being cool and include them in Freaky Friday session :D. The past editions of freaky friday were:
-Hula Chair
-Pet Fat
-Caffeine Pantyhose
-Cheese Burger Vacuum
-Sauna Sweat Suit

This edition of freaky friday highlights this wacky diet water which is supposed to help you lose weight. At first I thought that this was just an idea from one mad scientist, however it turned out that I found some diet water brands were sold in the market. So this could means that this product line is a money maker for several companies. Let's dig deeper into this diet water.

This magical substance is claimed to contain CitriMax according to this seller. Citrimax is the acid which is commonly used in diet pill, so naturally its purpose is for weight loss. However the hype did not just stop right there, they claimed that their diet water contains an enhanced form of CitriMax called super CitriMax.

What does it do? Aside from burning a hole in our pocket by charging $49 for 24 bottles of 0.5 litre of water this magical drink is supposed to curb our appetite, reduce our body mass index and makes us healthy!

24 bottles of 0.5 litre are equal to 12 litre of water, which is just enough for 5 days if we drink 5 bottles a day. So for a month supply we will need $200 to acquire this potion.

Perhaps this diet water brand is not doing so well, so here's another diet water with fancier design. Well, I must agree that this line looks better and has higher chance to get grabbed in supermarket compared to the above diet water.

However this diet water goes further by saying that their water can also supply you with lasting energy in addition of better metabolism and weight loss!

Of course they don't forget to say the condition: "If paired with a healthy diet and exercise". Isn't that what normal water does anyway? They sell this diet drink for $29 (12 of 20 ounce bottles) which is just as costly, but hey if it's making money then why not charge a premium.

The next company does a creative twist by adding flavor to their diet drink! Woohoo, Skinny water releases their enhanced diet water with Lemon and Raspberry flavor.

Of course they don't forget to give both products a matching themed package. This means they also use artificial flavoring to their diet drink. Wonderful package, fresh enticing colour (yellow and raspberry red), great flavor are the ingredients of successful product.

I do not think (and I think most people also) these products worth the price. The companies surely wanna grab a slice of pie in the obesity era, and they will surely make good money if they charge such high premium for just a hyped drink. In fact most diet pills won't cost as much as these drinks. Anybody want to buy these products? Send me a complimentary diet drink to try.

PS: I love raspberry!

There's a saying, breakfast is the most important meals of the day. However in my case, I am often forget to eat breakfast since I usually sleep a little bit later which results in no time for breakfast. Despite that fact, I often feel an unbearable hunger in the morning and yet if there's no time then that means no choice also for me.

As I am living in Asia, a typical breakfast will always be either rice or bread. And guess what, a typical lunch her would always include rice or noodle. Sometimes I am just sick of those two foods. This case may be the opposite of what my fellow readers experience in America. So let's sum a few breakfast alternative ideas to spice up our morning.

1. Cereals or oatmeal - rice
I have stocked some boxes of cereal or oatmeal as an alternative to my typical breakfast: rice with veggies. Obviously if you are used of cereals or oatmeal then try rice instead. Rice with saut
e vegetables still tastes great as long as you don't have them for 20 years. Brown rice is the alternative if low carb is your belief.

2. Add fruits to oatmeal or cereals
Since I hate raisin, I often use raspberry and diced apples as addition for my regular oatmeal or cereal. Don't forget that puffy cereals will keep you full for fewer spoonful as proven by Cheetos diet research.

3. Egg is not a threat for weight loss
As quoted by City News, a study sponsored by American Egg Board took two groups of women and gave them different meals for breakfast (both meals have the same calories). The first group had two eggs and a toast while others were given bagels and yogurt. The egg group lost 65% more weight and 83% more belly fat.

I use just half of the yolk, tomato and broccoli for my scrambled egg. A low fat cheese will of course taste wonderful with scrambled egg. Just put the cheese after you have fried your scrambled egg, the cheese will melt beautifully on the scrambled egg. It's not the egg which makes you fat, it's what you consume with your egg!

4. Protein bar
There are tons of meal replacement bars available in the market nowadays. This can be a healthy alternative if you don't mind the cost.

5. Add nuts to your breakfast.
Almond and walnut are incredibly addictive for me, so normally I include both of them in my regular serving of cereal. And the best thing is that both of them are a good source of good fat.

6. Yogurt
With the hype of fro-yo things it should be easy to stock some frozen yogurts to have in the morning. Just watch for the serving size of fro-yo as people tend to consume fro-yo in large quantities since it's pictured as healthy food. Of course the best choice would be a traditional yogurt. I have noticed that some yogurts have long shelf life (4 - 8 months) while some have short shelf life (4 - 8 days). My suspicion is that those who have longer shelf life are packed with preservatives.

7. Air popped popcorn.
It's the traditional breakfast of the Indian according to this source. Air popped popcorn contains significantly lower calories than microwave popped popcorn. However the taste is kind of plain so it's wise to look at this article by University of Nebraska. They wrote some ways to spice up the popcorn while still maintaining the low number of sodium.

Other recipes for breakfast:
Negative Calories Sandwich
Tuna Salad
Tuna Pita
Bruschetta Salad

Do you enjoy watching Lost a lot like me? Then the best bet for us is to stay away from any foods during Lost show time in Television. In fact, a research conducted by Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago proved that our brain can affect the amount that we eat significantly. As quoted by MSNBC, a research involving Jay Leno program and chips proves that statement scientifically.

45 volunteers were asked to eat as many chips as they want while they were watching Letterman show, Jay Leno late night talk show and while they were not watching anything at all.

The respondents ate 44% more chips when they were watching Letterman compared to when they did not watch TV at all. And the respondents ate 42% more chips when they were watching Leno compared to when they were not watching TV.

According to Dr. Hirsch, the neurological director at Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, the scientific reason for this result is that when we are distracted to other things other than our foods, we tend to eat more foods.

So this can also means that Letterman show was more exciting at that time. According to him, if we can concentrate on the taste and flavor of the food we will feel full faster than if we are distracted. The distractions are not limited to television in my case, it can be in form of chatting, book, and computer games. Yeah I often do those three things while eating!

There's a part of our brain which is called ventromedial nucleus. This is the satisfaction center of our brain, this tells whether we are full or not yet full. In a nutshell, by watching entertaining television show our body ignores the signal from the ventromedial nucleus since we are distracted. This is why many respondents ate more chips when they were watching television.

Bottom line: I should throw away my books (especially if the next Harry Potter comes out), turn of my television and concentrate to my food in order to eat the appropriate amount of meals.

Source: MSNBC

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My friend recently showed me her book about Suzanne Somers diet. That was my first encounter with Suzane Somers diet which quickly absorbed me into learning it. Somers diet is nicknamed Somersizing by its founder, Suzanne Somers herself. Being invented and endorsed by celebrity, this diet has a lot of die hard fans and haters too.

A large part of Somers diet has a lot of resemblance to Atkins diet with several alterations. Somersizing is a diet which relies on food rather than exercise. This diet put a lot of emphasis on eating habit and food combining.

Although food combining and some of her tips are not brainwaves, they still make sense. One of the biggest cons of this diet is it's not supported by any scientific evidence. But hey, as long as it works and endorsed by celebrity then people will still try anyway.

Somersizing Review and Summaries:

Suzanne Somers claimed that she got the inspiration from the French who always eat foods rich in fat and yet still have beautiful waistline. And it turns out that the French practise food combining in their meals as a secret to their slender figures. So Somers decide that she could have the same result by learning from the French and develop the so called "Somersizing".

Somersizing is a marriage between Atkins and low carb diet. There are four groups of food combination in somersizing.

Protein - Fats: Protein from poultry, meat, fish, oil, cheese and butter.
Vegetables: Various fresh vegetables except starchy vegetables.
Carbohydrates: Whole grain bread, cereals and pasta.
Fruit: Fresh fruits.

The general rules about food combining in somersizing are:

-Protein - fat group should be eaten with vegetables group.
-Carbohydrates also should be eaten with vegetables.
-Protein - fat and carbohydrates are not meant to be together.
-There should be at least 3 hours interval between protein - fat meal and carbohydrates meal.
-If your stomach is empty, your choice should be the fruit group.

Suzanne Somers also advises against these high carbohydrates food and sugar such as potatoes, alcohol, white rice, carrots, beets, white sugar and brown sugar.

Therefore an example of Somersizing as practiced by my friend when we went to restaurant for dinner was a choice between protein - fat and vegetables or carbohydrates and vegetables. Her choice was protein - fat and vegetables, so she substituted the potato in her steak to vegetables instead.

The problem with this Somers diet is that the calorie intake is so few that it is hard to stay on this diet on long term basis. Although it's not nearly as harsh as lemonade diet, Somersizing requires you to stick to this diet for lifetime in contrary of lemonade diet which can be finished in just few days.

Her book was more like a recipe book too, looks like Suzanne Somers cover her lack of scientific back up with a lot of delicious Somersizing recipes. And she also does not emphasize a lot about going to gym which I think is deceiving. It's true that diet can make us lose weight, however a great body takes more than just a diet.

With such tight body that she has, it's likely that she does an intensive exercise to achieve that. While my friend is a die hard Somersizing fan, I have decided that I am not going to walk her way.

Somersizing official website:

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With more and more restaurants enter the dining industries, it's normal that the competition gets fiercer. While delicious taste is compulsory, many restaurants turn into developing their ambience to get a winning edge. However since developing a good dining ambience can be costly, many restaurants tend to compete by increasing their portion size significantly.

As a customer of restaurant the most annoying thing that happened to me is when I ordered an expensive meal which turns out to be so tiny. Nowadays that kind of thing does not happen very often.

Every restaurant seems to compete by serving larger portion to their customers. This applies to most restaurants ranging from fine dining to fast food. We have "super size it" in Mc Donalds and those huge fatty steak at premiere restaurant. In fact, according to survey most chefs do not realize that they serve way too much.

Survey conducted by Penn State University and Clemson University as quoted in USA today took 300 chefs as respondents. Three quarters of them said that they think they had served the proper portion, while in fact they served two to four times way too much (normal portion is 3 ounces while they serve 12 ounces). And only 16% of the respondents care more about the portion than the look of the food.

Well, I can't blame them for sure since they are chef and not dietician. I should make a habit of asking them before I order a "chicken cordon bleu." However as pointed in one of the Chowster discussion board, one of the chef seems to regard such question as insult. While I do not agree with such opinion, I think that it's wise to make our question sounds tactful.

Instead of asking about calories and stuff, tell them that you are starving and you wonder whether the portion is big enough to satisfy your hunger. If the answer is yes , then most likely the serving will be more than your stomach needs.

You should also ask this question when you order your appetizer and dessert. Ordering proper appetizer can also lead you into eating less main course. That will be very annoying if the main course turns to be so huge. When ordering dessert you can ask whether the portion is big since you are already full. To be safe, I always order fresh fruits as dessert.

Another trick is to get out from the plate cleaner clan and take away any leftovers. However some people like me do not like the hassle of packing and reheating the leftovers. So for me the most viable choice is to ask before I order.

While a lot of people blame this on restaurants, I think that this is not restaurant responsibility to serve the proper amount of food. Some customers will definitely complain if the serving size is adequate (they say it's too small). And the restaurants exist to make profit, but we exist to live a long and healthy life (okay at least that's my goal). Of course for people in States, there are always Applebee and Ruby's Tuesday for low carbs dining out.

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It always amazes me that there are a lot of wacky weight loss devices which some people really try. There are two categories for wacky diet devices, the one that works and the one that is just selling myth.

I admit that several wacky diet devices that work such as fat pet and hula chair are really brilliant idea from the inventors. However certain weight loss gadget such as caffeine panty hose is based on vague principles.

Here's another diet gadget which is based on diet myth that say "If you sweat a lot, you will lose a lot." While going to gym and taking sauna bath afterward are indeed good for my weight loss journey, exercising while wearing this sauna suit may not be healthy for me. This suit is priced around $99 to $120 a piece and it is claimed to be able to dish out your fat easily.

While it's true that we can lose a lot of weight through sweating but that kind of weight loss is not nice at all! This sauna suit is said to be able to trap our body heat thus creating an excessive sweating during out activity.

In other words, in order to lose weight using this suit we need to dehydrate our self. If we sweat a lot, chance is we will drink a lot too thus regaining the mineral and water that we lost. And it's not nice if we end up dying because severe dehydration either.

The sauna suit (which is sold in this site) is made from vinyl which makes it look glossy. I can imagine that such suit will definitely torture me with severe sweating and heat.

However the website states that you can just wipe the suit clean using damp cloth. I can imagine how smelly I would become if I wear the suit for the second time. Definitely not a gift for father's day! With $99 I could get two fat pets which in my opinion would become a more ideal gift than this suicide suit. What do you think?

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When we are dieting for weight loss, it seems that our snacks choices are limited. It's salad, sandwich or instant meals bar. And although sushi is indeed one of the best choices for diet snack, it is too much hassle to make sushi by our own. And sushi never comes cheap! Chawan mushi might be a great appetizer but preparing chawan mushi can be a tedious job.

But there's actually a variation of sushi which is easy to make at home. In fact, it's easier to make this sushi variation compared to grilled salmon. And best of all, there's no fancy ingredients required. Although you will need Japanese rice, but that one is also easy to get.

In order to make it "low carbs" you can use brown rice instead of Japanese rice. I have seen a lot of restaurants swap Japanese rice with brown rice and the taste is still great although slightly different. This sushi variation dish is called temaki. Temaki comes from Japanese word which means "hand roll". That's why it's easy to make, we don't have to use any tools beside our hands. Here's the temaki recipe:

Don't let the beautiful appearance of Temaki deceives you. Temaki is actually a very simple dish. There are three main parts which are important in making Temaki. The first part is rice. Japanese rice (japonica rice) is the essential ingredient of Temaki. Although some people do not mind eating Temaki made from other rice but I prefer to use Japanese sushi rice. We will cover more about how to cook the rice for the best result.

Temaki is rich in protein because of the nori. Nori is an excellent protein source and since Temaki just use a few spoons of rice the carbs are not much also. If you use fish as fillings, then you will get the omega 3 fatty acid bonus. Temaki is a complete low carb, high protein, good fat diet snack which is easy to make.

The second part is the filling. There are tons of varieties here. You can use scrambled egg, caviar, avocado, crab stick, raw fish, cucumber, beet, shrimp, cuttle fish, smoked fish and many more. My favorite filler is raw salmon fillet.

The third part is the wrapper. Temaki uses nori (seaweed) as the wrapper and you should make sure you buy the large paper size nori instead of small nori.

4 cups of Sushi rice
4 sheets of nori seaweed
Fillings of your choices
1 cup of Sushi vinegar
Dashi soup stock


1. Use the instant ichiban dashi powder to make your dashi soup stock. Just mix the powder with boiling water and then let it cool.

2. Then soak the rice with water and rinse the water repeatedly until the water becomes almost clear.

3. Drain the rice and let it dry for a while before putting it in your rice cooker. Soak the rice (but don't over soak it)with your cooled dashi soup stock and turn on the rice cooker.

4. While the rice cooker is working, prepare the sushi vinegar. It would simplify things if you can get instant sushi vinegar, but if you don't, it's not hard to make either. Mix 1/4 cup of cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of mirin (Japanese rice wine), 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Mix them on light fire until the the salt and sugar have been dissolved.

5. After the rice has been cooked, quickly plough the hot rice while moving them to small bowl. Then mix the vinegar to the rice while you are ploughing the rice. This ploughing will make the rice cool faster. Plough until the rice is not dazzling hot.

6. Then it's time to make the temaki. Cut the paper size nori into half and put some tablespoons of rice and the fillings in the middle of nori. I used raw salmon and tuna fillet with cucumber as fillings but it's up to you what to use. Avocado and smoked fish will taste wonderful too. Even scrambled egg and cucumber can make a tasty filling.

7. Wrap the nori around the rice and the fillers. And voila, it's done! If you don't want to consume your temaki immediately, make sure you separate the nori from the rice as the nori will become damp.

You can also make a buffet style party by providing various fillings and the rice in the table so that your guests can make their own temaki. This makes a good party snack and the best of all, you don't need chopsticks. Just eat them by hand! Don't forget to eat this dish with soy sauce!

Most of the ingredients can be found in this extensive Asian Food Grocer.

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Other related recipes:

Tuna Pita Bread
Tuna Salad
Morning Bruschetta
Easy Temaki
Silky Tofu Pudding
Chawan Mushi
Vegetarian Saffron Rice

When we are talking about dessert, we have some images of chocolate pudding or ice cream floating in our mind. In my country (and the whole east Asia) tofu is one of the most popular food which can be made into dessert. And although I am not quite fond of tofu as much as maccha ice cream, I find that tofu is VERY EASY to prepare for dessert. As an added bonus, tofu pudding is also a great dessert to have for you who are in phase one of South Beach Diet.

The best of all tofu is loaded with tons of health benefits. In fact tofu is a GREAT source of protein for vegetarian. Tofu belongs to the soy families which contain a great amount of fatty acids while having no saturated fat and cholesterol.

One of my favorite recipes is tofu fruit pudding. I agree that a piece of tofu does not look mouth watering at all. In fact it looks boring! While tofu is quite flavorless, it can be made easily into a tasty pudding with several additions of fruits and syrup. I am quite fond of this dish since it's silky smooth and can be easily garnished.

Tofu pudding is incredibly easy to prepare. Whenever I am lazy, I will just whip this recipe and voila, a fresh tofu pudding appears ready to be served to my guests.

For the best result you need to use silken tofu instead of regular tofu. Silken tofu is different than the regular tofu. Some groceries put silken tofu in different shelf than regular tofu. Silken tofu is just like its name. It's soft and easier to crumble rather than regular tofu. Don't forget to handle your silken tofu carefully or you might make it falls apart. Unlike regular tofu which is packaged in water, silken tofu sometimes is packaged in aseptic container.


12 ounces of silken tofu
3 tablespoons of maple syrup (or other fruit syrup to your taste)
Fresh fruits (I use Kiwi, peach and lychee)


Just puree all the ingredients in food processor until smooth. Then chill them in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Top with chopped fresh fruits (or chopped almond).

There you go, your excellent protein source in a tasty dessert. It's silky smooth and it's glossy too. Tofu is also high in calcium while low in fat and sodium which makes it a wonderful ingredient to include in your diet.

As it's an excellent source of protein, vegetarians often consume tofu as their protein source. Well, even meat eaters like me still consume in regular basis, especially this tofu pudding. Unlike green tea ice cream, tofu pudding is easier to get and prepare by my own.

Negative Calories Sandwich
Tuna Pita Bread
Tuna Salad
Morning Bruschetta
Easy Temaki
Silky Tofu Pudding
Chawan Mushi
Vegetarian Saffron Rice
Doria chicken recipe

Tofu pudding makes a great dessert in phase one of South Beach diet.

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Consider ourselves lucky that we live in the technology era. Now we have tons of choices of tasty desserts which are low in fat yet still taste wonderfully delicious.

I can imagine having to stand 104 Fahrenheit of heat and yet can't find anything cool which does not threaten my waist. Perhaps that's the thing in 50's but definitely not now.
However the amount of choices of "healthy" desserts seems to be overwhelming at this point.

Every company seems to be attracted in this lucrative industry and start making low fat version of every ice cream! According to International Ice Cream Association, American spent $21.6 billion for ice cream consumption in 2006. The highest consumption is in retail outlets, with $13 billion spent!

While healthy desserts are indeed heaven sent, don't fall for the "not so healthy" desserts which are aimed at your pocket instead of your health. So what is my pick for the healthiest dessert?

I admit that fro-yo is one of my favorite especially since I live in the everlasting hot country. However my favorite pick still falls for the Japanese Green Tea Ice Cream or maccha.

First of all, green tea has a lot of benefit by itself. While I used to make this green tea cocktail in the summer, a maccha ice cream will refresh me better. Green tea is very rich in anti oxidants. As a comparison, one cup of green tea contains 3 times more anti oxidants than orange juice and ten times more than apple juice.

Second, the serving size of green tea ice cream is small! Compared to the big portion that I got when I ordered frozen yogurt, the portion serving of green tea is small. This means I can be satisfied with just one scoop and this complies with my Japanese way of eating.

Third, green tea ice cream tastes great even though it is not served with a lot of toppings. One of the fanciest green tea ice cream that I ever tasted was the one in the picture. That one used wafer as coating (no chocolate at all). Most of the time green tea ice cream is served plain and small. In my opinion, plain yogurt tastes worse than plain green tea ice cream.

And last, you won't be tempted to eat a lot of toppings. Compared to the amount of toppings which were shoveled under my nose when I ordered the fro-yo, green tea ice cream does not go well with too many toppings. In fact less is better.

Can you imagine a green tea ice cream with chocolate covering? That would make it chocolate ice cream. However fro-yo is made to be sold with a lot of toppings. My concern is I will be tempted to over eat all of their toppings since they appear to be delicious!

Got to go now. It's blazing 95 Fahrenheit here even though it's not July, I need to go to buy myself some green tea ice creams.

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I am proud to say that this blog has grown in such a fast pace in its 40 days of life.
I started http://www.Diet-Meals-Recipes as http://daily-diet-recipe.blogspot.com in 26 April 2007. I intended to just share some easy recipes in this blog instead of writing a lot about weight loss.

Honestly, I am not much a chef, I like to experiment and cook simple dishes such as sandwiches and shakes. And it was really boring when you could only wrote about chocolate shakes recipes all the time. That's why I added some reviews to some popular diet methods which I have or I have not tried before.

I am proud to say that Diet-Meals-Recipes has exceeded my expectations by receiving a lot of exposures despite its young age. And this quick development surprised me since I am very new in blogging. In fact I never tried writing any contents before save for school project.

Here are some of the milestones, my future targets, and the list of people and blogs that I would like to give a huge thanks.

As you can see in the graph, 9 May 2007 was the first milestone that this blog has reached. This blog received its highest visitors in a day at that date. I remembered that I could not believe my eyes that this blog received around 350 visitors in a day at that time. The usual daily visitor's number was 200 before 9 May 2007.
Click the picture to make it bigger.

After that huge spike, the traffic returned to normal though. And surprisingly, just in the third week of May, my traffic went on frenzy mode and started its leg up. Starting from 21 May, my daily traffic surged to 300 - 350 for a week. It was faster than I expected. The 200 daily visitors on 14 days age already surprised me and yet this 300 - 350 traffic came so quickly still.

And starting in the first week of June, I am proud to say that this blog reached its highest visitors record which was around 900 hits. Traffic dropped back to 600 daily visitors until today. Until now the unique visitors are 88% of the total daily visitors. This means I have 12% loyal readers. Thank you for becoming my faithful readers!

I am happy that people feel helped by what I wrote. And I hope that I can continue helping people by sharing my experiences.

Here are the top five contents that people read in Diet-Meals-Recipes.

1. Lemonade Diet Review (Old stuff that I wrote on the second week of blogging)
2. How to quit binge eating (Wow, this was only published last week, yet it quickly became one of the top content!)
3. What snacks to choose from vending machines (I wrote this last week)
4. iCrave Sushi (Old stuff I wrote about Japanese guide to eating)

(Click the thumbnail below to view the screenshot bigger)

My further target is to take more pictures, maintain the current traffic rate and increasing my subscription rate. I am a person who dines out a lot. Yet sadly I often forget to take picture of various foods which I have eaten. I will make taking pictures my habit now.

I did not even know what the heck is feed during the first two weeks of blogging. So sadly my feed subscribers are still few considering that I receive a lot of traffic daily. I moved the feed button to the top fold now to make it more visible and I encourage all of you to subscribe to my blog feed using your favorite newsreader. That way you won't miss any of my blog posts :).

I would like to give thanks to some people and blogs which have helped me so much.

1. Blogging Secret which is owned by Louis Lim. That blog taught me how to embed bookmark button and adsense automatically in my post.

2. Peter Chen of Blogging for Dummies :D. Yes I told you I am a dummy in blogging and online stuff. I remember that I spent 5 hours just to widen the range between the left bar and the main bar.

3. Kumiko from CashQuests and Maki from DoshDosh, whose posts opened my eyes and motivated me to get serious in blogging.

4. All the kind people who have reviewed this blog. Thanks Famefire, Scott, Franco Yong, kind people in MyBlogLog (where I met some great inspirators: Lady Rose, Carol Bard, etc), my friends in StumbleUpon and all other blogger which are impossible to mention one by one. I am really thankful for your support !

5. Success with Auction for hosting a wonderful article writing contest which I have won the grand prize of $1000. The check is on its way to my home now and I expect it to arrive next monday through DHL. This article won me some recognizition and perhaps a couple of faithful readers too. Thanks for the opportunity!

6. The faithful commentators who spiced this blog. Thank you for your feed backs, without you all this blog would be an online graveyard.

Read next, my blogging mistakes and how I promote and monetize my blog.

In spirit of celebrating the milestone, I want to review my blogging mistakes as well as sharing about how I promote my infant blog.

I hope you can learn something from my mistakes as well as from my free blog promotion which I did. This will be one of a few posts in my blog that cover the blogging topic.

Here are my top SEVEN blogging mistakes:

1. Not getting a domain for my blog as soon as possible
Domain is useful for your image. A domain gives you a better branding compared to something.blogspot.com and a domain can be easily remembered by your potential readers. A domain cost only $8 or less for A YEAR. This is one of the most rewarding investment that I spent. And I moved to my own domain too late and I lost all the indexed pages in Google as well as some inbound links.

2. Not putting up my profile
I never put up my profile during the early life of this blog. And that was a huge mistake. How can the readers read and trust this blog if the owner remains anonymous? A profile picture gives your blog a personality, so I advise that you use your picture for your profile and put it up in your blog side bar.

3. Not having any bookmarking widget
Social bookmarking is the hot thing right now! You should help your readers to bookmark your site by providing the widget. The neatest widget I have seen and used is Add This. Social bookmarking sites can give you the right exposure and popularity so by all means ride their train. I did not use this bookmarking widget during the early life of my blog. And that means I lost some opportunities to get more exposures.

4. Not cutting the long blog post using read more function
All of your blog posts are listed in the front page of your blog. I did not cut my blog posts and my front page was very long. Readers need to scroll down very far to see my older posts. And this would be a turn off for me. Your blog is a blog, not a sales letter. So keep it short so that readers can see more of your blog posts. If your average blog post is more than 400 words then cut it up to 200 words with the read more javascript.

5. Set my comment setting to registered user only
While this may prevents spam but this discourage the participation of your readers. Some readers who want to comment might cancel because they don't have time to register. I experienced very few comments way back when I required the commentators to register. Now I allow non blogger members to comment too and the result is great.

6. Using label wrongly
I used to label (or categorize) my blog posts wrongly. I labelled all the posts with their keywords. And this results in a messy label list. You should label or categorize your blog posts in the simplest manner as possible. This will help your site navigation tremendously.

7. Not using pictures
Pictures speak louder than words. I rarely used pictures during my early blogging life. This is a huge mistake since my blog looked plain ugly at that time. It was like reading a novel. Since then, I always embed pictures in my blog posts. Sometimes I even embed videos. Even if your blog is about tutorial or marketing, you should give a lot of screenshots and metaphor pictures to spice things up.

Those are my top seven blogging mistakes which I have paid dearly.

And here are what I did to promote my infant blog:

1. Participate in Yahoo! Answers
The folks there ask about anything! I answered as many questions as possible which were related to my blog by citing my related blog post link as reference. I never flagged for SPAM since my answers were highly relevant to the reference, and now I became top contributors in Yahoo! Answer. You can do the same way too.

2. Write articles and submit it to top directories
Article writing is still effective in giving some traffic to my blog. I don't do article writing for back link, but I do that for traffic. I have compared submitting articles to multiple directories and the result was not better than submitting my article to just TWO directories. I submitted to Ezinearticles.com and AssociatedContent.com. If you live in USA, you can even get paid by writing for AssociatedContent.

3. Submit your blog posts to social media sites.
I got wonderful result from StumbleUpon, great result from MyBlogLog, good result with Digg and okay result from Blog Catalog. If you have FaceBook account that could be a good way to promote your blog too.

Those are all the promotions which I have done to this blog. I did not do so much promotion starting from 2 weeks ago. But the result from my previous promotion are still pouring in. The best of all I do not spend a dime promoting this blog.

Well, let's stop before this blog becomes a Money Making Blog. That's all folks, I hope it's useful to you as it's useful to me although I bet many of you have known all of these.

I am welcome for any feed backs still if you disagree with me, have any inputs or questions.

Butter Escargot

Have you ever eaten snails for your dinner before? Although snails are pretty common food for various dishes worldwide, my friend was still shocked when she found out that I ate snail for appetizer.

Cooked snail is called escargot and is a common appetizer in France as well as some commonwealth countries. On that dinner, we dined in French restaurant so I did not miss the chance to order some french delicacies including escargot.

Some of you might be turned off by snails. Yes, they are gooey and they live on dirt, but they are natural and taste wonderful! In fact compared to our popular packaged snacks, people should be more disgusted by those artificially colored snacks rather than snails. I ordered butter escargot with garlic sauce, the restaurant special cuisine, which tasted so delicious and savory.

The lightning was kind of dark at that restaurant but you should be able to see the snails clearly if you click and zoom the picture above. The snails excreted a lot of sauce when biten and they were not smelly at all. Nothing tasted better than eating a snail completely soaked in garlic and butter sauce. Wait, there is more than good taste! Snails can also be a good foods for your diet! Read more to learn about it.

Snail contains a lot of protein while maintaining a low fat content. Snail is a good food for the dieter like me who should not consume too much carbohydrates. And just like Salmon which contains "good fatty acid", snail is also rich in linoleic acid whic his a member of essential fatty acid called Omega 6 acid. About 11% of snail is protein while the fat is 2%. So snail is a good ingredient for those who are in low carb - high protein diet.

If you have great nerve then you can try Escargot diet. Honestly I think it will require greater nerve than the lemonade diet, cabbage soup diet or even the grapefruit diet. As published by New York Times, you can try the escargot fad diet by eating snails for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

This old piece of news said that snail is metabolized perfectly by our body so there's no need to worry about how many butter and garlic sauce that we use on our snails. History said that french fishermen invented this diet and kept it secret for long time.

Although escargot is delicious but I definitely will puke if I need to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

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As I have written countless times already, sushi is one of my favorite foods. Although I am not inclined to enjoy other Japanese dishes as much as Sushi, but chawan mushi turns to be one of my favorite appetizer also. It's usually served in a small cute "chawan" (means small cup). What I like about this dish is the serving size which is very small. Heck, this is even smaller than any salad appetizer. This can be a great variation to the countless salad that I used to eat as appetizer.

The process of making chawan mushi can be tricky. It's not easy at all, and honestly I still could not make a great, smooth chawan mushi. Although I got the recipe right, I still messed up when beating the eggs. I took that picture while I was eating at a Japanese restaurant, any good chawan mushi should has smooth surface without any bubble at all. The filling can be varied according to your preferences. This is the chawan mushi recipe which is taught by Sherry. Thanks girl!

Chawan mushi is Japanese egg custard. This is a popular appetizer in Japan. Unlike other Japanese dishes which require either "fresh" or "hard to get" ingredients, chawan mushi does not require complicated ingredients. Basically what you need are egg and filler. The easiest filler to use is chicken breast and some cilantro leaves. If you can easily buy Japanese Shitake mushroom, then try to use the mushroom.


Three eggs
Three cups of Japanese fish stock or ichiban dashi
Four slices of shitake mushroom or boiled chicken breast. (you can use one or all of them)
Four cilantro leaves
Four small shrimps (peeled and boiled)
Salt and soy sauce

This makes four servings

Instant ichiban dashi powder is available in Amazon. I regard my instant ichiban dashi stock purchase as my profitable investment. First I can use the ichiban dashi left over to make other soup. Second, ichiban dashi gives such strong flavor to a lot of dishes that I don't need to use as much salt as I would normally use.

To use the instant ichiban dashi, just add one cup of boiling water to one table spoon of ichiban dashi stock. For chawan mushi make sure the ichiban dashi is not blazing hot. Cool it until it's warm but not hot.


Clean and boil all the fillers. Remember this is supposed to be served in small chawan or cup so avoid using too much fillers. Clean and cut the head and tail from the shrimps. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and soy sauce. My favorite Japanese soy sauce is Kikkoman.

Make sure you have the necessary cups for chawan mushi first! I disastrously wrecked my first attempt by realizing that I have no such cups at all! The cups should be small and should be able to be closed by lids or covered using aluminium foil.

Then pour all the eggs into one bowl. Use chopsticks to carefully dissolve the eggs mixture. Do not let the eggs mixture have bubble at all. This is not easy for me, this is where I messed up also. Slowly mix all the eggs and then pour the dashi slowly while stirring with chopsticks.

Prepare four cups and fill each of them with shitake, shrimps and chicken breasts. Slowly pour the egg mixture into each glass.

Boil water in steamer and put the cups in the steamer. Use the strong fire for one minute then reduce to medium fire for another 10 - 13 minutes. This part is also hard since there's no exact duration when steaming the chawan mushi. In my first attempt I overcook it by mistakenly steaming it for 15 minutes under medium fire. So don't leave the kitchen, its best when it's not overcooked.

Chawan mushi should be ready after 10 - 13 minutes, then place the cilantro leaves on the top. It's very hot so be careful when serving the chawan mushi to your guests. The least thing you want to happen is for them to grab the cup hastily then dropping it.

The ingredients listing at Amazon:

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Negative Calories Sandwich
Tuna Pita Bread
Tuna Salad
Morning Bruschetta
Easy Temaki
Silky Tofu Pudding
Chawan Mushi
Vegetarian Saffron Rice

Damn camera! The picture is supposed to show me drinking a tall blended coffee at coffee bean. As I have written in "inserting coffee in my pantyhose", caffeine is a common ingredient found in diet pill. This became the basis of a vague diet guide called coffee diet. Coffee is promoted heavily as a good beverage to help people lose weight while maintaining the muscle. Sounds like a great news right? The coffee diet suggests us to drink 5 glasses of coffee throughout the day.

While I might happily do so, coffee turns out to be a "not so good" drink for our body. In fact weight loss is even out of the question if you drink too much coffee everyday.

The reasons that this diet became highly popular were because coffee is rich in anti oxidants and a lot of fad diet like master cleanse diet and cabbage soup diet, which were also popular, did not include coffee in their diet. I can tell that it's hard to stop drinking coffee for a while. That's why this coffee diet gained some popularity, especially amongst coffee lover. Here are some reasons why loving Starbucks too much is harmful.

Thankfully my rate of drinking coffee is just one cup of coffee in the morning. And a n additional tall Starbucks without whipped cream on weekend. The first reason why coffee is not a good beverage for diet is because coffee is closely associated with sugar and cream. Amongst million of coffee cults, I am sure that most of them won't enjoy coffee if it's served without sugar and cream. This is one of a problem, since the sugar and cream are definitely not good for your waist if it's consumed in excess. A solution is to consume coffee with skimmed milk and low fat sugar. But this is also not good if consumed in excess.

The second reason is that coffee affects our blood sugar and blood pressure level in a bad way. The stimulant function that caffeine causes to our body will trigger a release of adrenaline. The adrenaline in turn will release sugar to our blood. This is what makes us alert after drinking coffee. Too much coffee can put you into risk of heart attack. So by all means let's drink our coffee moderately. I know that in USA people tend to visit Starbucks everyday. Luckily in my country, Starbucks outlets are so few that it's impossible for me to visit them everyday. Drink your coffee in moderation and next time you go to Starbucks, say "No whipped cream" please.

If you are thinking about taking diet pills, do your research before hand. If you want to lose weight, make sure you do it the healthy way!

There are many weight loss products on the market.

Do your research before decided on weight loss drug that is good for you.

If you have any questions, talk to your doctor before starting any weight loss medication

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