Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Ozeri Touch Digital Kitchen Scale!

At first glance the Ozeri Touch Professional Digital Kitchen Scale strikes you as a tablet/iPad of some sort--elegant, sexy, sleek, light, stylish, beautifully designed, unobtrusive, and boasting an award-winning thin design. It resembles a piece of art, some high tech glossy gadget you'd want to display. 

All black with a beautiful blue LED light display this is definitely a piece of equipment you wouldn't mind showing of and having on your counter. This is one stylish and functional kitchen accessory!

Ozeri Touch Professional Digital Kitchen Scale (17.6 lb Edition), Tempered Glass in Elegant Black

You can pick between an 11 lb or 17.6 lb edition, both of which are very reasonably priced and equally beautiful. The surface is a glossy tempered black glass surface, which claims to be 4x stronger than regular glass.

As with all of the products I review, I have used this extensively to make sure it is a quality, accurate, and "worth it" product to recommend to my clients and friends. I have been tinkering around with this scale for quite some time now, using it multiple times a day, comparing it to my other scales, and testing its accuracy, precision, and durability.

The scale works beautifully and for the most part has been pretty accurate. This scale operates with 4 new high precision GFX sensors, and provides measurements from 1 gram to 5250 grams ( 0.1oz-11lbs). I do wish it worked in 0.1 or 0.5 gram increments.

Although this is not a "nutritional scale", which upon entering a code gives you the calorie count, it does come with a calorie/nutrition guide book (included in the box). The LED display is clear and bright, and unlike many other scales it works immediately and you don't have to wait for it to "power on" or set itself.

The scale only has 2 'touch screen' buttons: "on/off/tare" and 'unit' (where you change the unit of measurement), and it also runs on 2 lithium batteries which come included with the scale. You can flip through a variety of different measurements, from fl oz, grams, ounces  ml, pounds, and kilograms, and of course, it offers a tare function as well. 

As with all gadgets, there are definitely some cons that I found when using this scale, which I will list below, most of them having to do with the touch pad technology and sensitivity:

This function sometimes takes a while to work or just doesn't respond. Since the whole surface is the scale, it will often just weigh your finger and the pressure you're placing on the tare function instead of zeroing the weight itself. This is fixed with patience, or turning the scale off and then on, or removing what you are trying to weigh, placing it back on the scale, and trying to tare again.

This often gets stuck and will not change to the next increment/weight measure, no matter how long you hold it or how many times you touch it. As with all 'touch pad' electronics, it is still a work in progress. In these circumstances, I end up turning the machine on and off a few times, until it allows me to change back to 'grams' or whatever unit I am in need of using. This doesn't happen often, and hasn't been a big hindrance yet.

I also wish that it weighed in 0.1g or 0.5g as opposed to 1 gram increments, although this is a minor gripe and shouldn't dissuade
 you from trying this scale at all!

The response time is generally very good (depending on how well the touch pad sensors are working) and the accuracy is usually pretty dead-on. I have tested several pre-weighed items across 4+ scales, and the reading has usually been right on, and not more than 1 gram off).

The pros to this scale definitely outweigh the negatives, although the touch pad sensors could definitely use some "tuning up" since the tare function can become rather frustrating when you are in a hurry (this may just be my scale). As a Nutrition and Supplement Consultant, the most important thing I look for in a kitchen scale is definitely accuracy, precision, ease-of-use, and functionality; this scale definitely covers most of those requirements with ease.
Ozeri Touch II Professional Digital Kitchen Scale
The added nutrition calorie counting book is a definite added bonus. This is great for everyone;  health conscious individuals, weight conscious individuals, fitness competitors, macro/micro nutrient counters, general dieters,cooks, bakers, diabetics, food lovers, to those who measure other items (works well for packages/envelopes, weighing other items, portioning, medicine and supplements etc). I recommend this for many clients concerned with getting adequate protein and micro-nutrient intake, portion control (never use "1 cup" as a measurement, always weigh it out), to those needing it to weigh out supplements, to craft people needing to make accurate mixes etc. 

I recommend the Ozeri Touch Digital Kitchen Scale wholeheartedly to anyone looking for a great and needed addition to any kitchen/lifestyle. It's a great gadget that is multi-functional, practical, easy to use, enjoyable to use and look at, and most importantly, precise and works as it should!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: New Walden Farms Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread

Walden Farms has been slowly but surely increasing their product line this past year: reworking their formulas, changing their labels, and adding new twists and interesting flavors to their lineup (Honey Dijon mayo, chipotle mayo, pomegranate mayo!). 

Two of their newest products are the new Chocolate
Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Spreads. As I have mentioned several times on this blog, I use their products as a base, and then build on it depending on what flavor and consistency I want, and what I'm using it for. I have been mixing their Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dip for years now.

 I will review the Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Spread in another post, and focus solely on the Chocolate variety today. Upon opening the jar, you immediately notice the slightly darker colored spread (cocoa) and the pleasant mild cocoa scent. As with all their products, this is calorie free, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, and kosher. Note that calorie free means less than 5 calories a serving and fat free means less than 0.5g a serving. If you want further explanation, please see my post on calorie counts. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email or leave a message in the comment section.

*Since there are 12 servings a jar, the most this entire jar could have (of digestible energy) would be 59 calories (4.9cal* 12 servings). 

The jar itself, and in fact all their new labels, look streamlined, modern, with a clear picture on the front depicting the spread slathered on a piece of toast. The product is nicely topped up in the jar, which is nice since their products are rather expensive for the size.

As I've mentioned numerous time before, I use their PB more as a pudding, and in many cooking and baking recipes (peanut satay, Thai and Asian inspired dishes, in pie crusts, shakes, desserts, yogurt, cottage cheese etc: I love mixing it with Bragg's Liquid Aminos, garlic, chili flakes, ginger and a few other items for a fantastic Asian marinade/dressing). That being said, I dove right in with a spoon to give it a taste. It is a little bit sour/bitter, and pretty much tastes exactly like if you had mixed a small amount of their Chocolate Dip or sauce and regular Peanut Butter Spread together.

I immediately (as I do with most of their sweet dips--chocolate, caramel, marshmallow, and peanut butter) added a packet of sweetener (I used the pink sweet'n'low, since it works the best to brighten up the flavor in these products), but you can add whatever you want. I think honey would work very well! I would like to add that I do not add the sweetener to make it sweeter per say; I add it to brighten up the flavor and make the flavor pop and be more noticeable and 'clear' if you will. I also added cinnamon, and tried a couple of flavor drops in it for fun. I also added some oat fiber and PGX granules for texture.

I cannot wait to use this in my baking, and between my cakes. This will work fabulously in my protein icing/frosting, in my pancake batter etc. For those not accustomed to their products, I don't recommend starting off with the peanut butter (their dressings/jams/BBQ/tomato basil pasta sauce/pancake syrup are great!), as the taste takes some getting used to. I'd recommend doing a half-and-half with either PB2/ FitNutz, or any regular nut butter. I cannot stress adding sweetener and cinnamon to this if you've never had it before! It makes a world of difference! Also try to incorporate it into your meals. 

 They have improved the consistency and flavor of the spread immensely from the first incarnation, making it thicker and have a more pronounced peanut flavor; make sure you get the black lids and NOT the green peanut butter jar if you are in a store, that is the old formula and most negative reviews are based on the old version. It should be noted that their peanut products do contain real peanut extract, so those with allergies or sensitivities, be warned. 

I'd love them to make an Almond Butter spread! I am going to add a TB of cocoa powder when I get another jar, and make truffles with it as well (using cereal or GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread sprinkles). I was planning to attempt in making protein cake balls (using the PB, protein cupcake, cocoa, sweetener, oat flour, and some sugar free pancake or Davinci syrup), but ran out of peanut butter.

These products are extremely versatile if you use them as correctly and as a base. I love adding this as a ripple or ribbon in ice cream, with their caramel dip and chocolate dips. Their jams (blueberry, apricot, and strawberry especially) are fantastic, and work very well in recipes. I suggest mixing it in with sugar free refrigerated ready-to-eat pudding (like Jello Sugar free vanilla cups, or any flavor; Kozy Shack sugar free rice pudding and sugar free puddings).

It's WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT!! Add sweetener, thickener, or thin it out to use as a dressing (you can add nutritional yeast as well!). Add fruit to smoothies, protein powder, flavored coffee creamer, sugar free syrups; mush it up with bananas, or add it right to the banana bread or muffin batter. 

Overall, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread is an interesting addition to Walden Farms ever expanding line, and if used appropriately, can be a fun addition to your diet and in helping you reach your diet goals! Bottom line: it has potential! Much like house hunting, think of it as an investment that needs a few "fix ups", but you get great return on investment with all the calories you save! I like the regular peanut butter spread, and prefer adding my own chocolate so I can have control over the flavor. Adding protein powder (chocolate) is great as well.
Walden Farms Whipped Peanut Spread

Here is the chocolate pb with yogurt mixed in, and then the "PGX faux-rice pudding:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are you accidentally making your home toxic?

Are there toxins in your products?

I wanted to share this list from Dr.Mercola's website (http://). We've all seen plenty of these lists, read articles, and seen news programs about additives/carcinogens/toxins in our products; however, it never hurts to be reminded every once in a while!

Ingredient Use Dangers
Parabens Heavily used preservatives in the cosmetic industry; used in an estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products. Studies implicate their connection with cancer because their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and could disrupt your body's endocrine system.
Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum These petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They're implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity. When you think about black oil pumped from deep underground, ask yourself why you'd want to put that kind of stuff on your skin…
Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) Found in over 90% of personal care products! They break down your skin's moisture barrier, potentially leading to dry skin with premature aging. And because they easily penetrate your skin, they can allow other chemicals easy access. SLS combined with other chemicals may become a "nitrosamine" – a potent carcinogen.
Acrylamide Found in many facial creams. Linked to mammary tumors.
Propylene glycol Common cosmetic moisturizer and carrier for fragrance oils. May cause dermatitis and skin irritation. May inhibit skin cell growth. Linked to kidney and liver problems.
Phenol carbolic acid Found in many lotions and skin creams. Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death from respiratory failure.
Dioxane Hidden in ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Very common in personal care products. These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that's easily absorbed through the skin. Its carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965, and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages are considered extremely vulnerable, making it, in my opinion, a really bad idea to use these things on your face.
Toluene May be very poisonous! Made from petroleum and coal tar… found in most synthetic fragrances.

There are many alternatives you can use, from vinegar and baking soda, to natural store brought brands without added chemicals, with make keeping your home clean and chemical free easy and convenient!


Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage…May affect a developing fetus.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

RUNNING SHOES AND PRONATION: Important, picking the right pair

 When you are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle and remain active, proper shoes can be your best friend and they go a long way toward helping you remain fit and healthy. However, buying the wrong category of shoes can lead to potentially severe damage, contributing to bone spurs, lower back pain, neck pain, hip pain, compressed discs, I.T band injuries etc.When you are running, your feet are the first to absorb the shock.

Many people are not aware that there are different "pronations", and that they require a certain category of running shoes. Picking the right shoes is key in preventing injury and potential back and joint pain; it goes so much further than picking a color or a brand.

Think back to the last time you were looking for running shoes. Did you pick based on brand, or maybe color? This is a mistake many people make which leads to injuries and unfortunately may reduce their activity, shorten their duration, reduce their enjoyment, and lead many people to give up. This is not limited to "serious" runners-- even if you only walk, having the proper shoe is extremely important. If you buy the wrong category, you could be exacerbating the problem, which leads to many uncomfortable injuries. Having the proper type of shoe make a world of difference.

I highly recommend you get your gait analyzed. The Running Room does it for free, because you need to know what category your foot falls into before you even consider buying shoes. It's unfortunate that so few store train their employees on this, and many are simply unaware of this at all. Most stores, with the exception of The Running Room, do not have their shoes organized by shoe category,nor do they know what type of shoe (other than brand) you are looking at.

Pronation is the natural way your foot rolls. Factors effecting this range from your arches, knees, if you have orthotics etc.

There are 3 main shoe categories for different "pronations": Neutral, Stability, and Motion Control. Besides getting your gait checked, there are a few quick ways you can narrow it down yourself.

Below I have outlined a brief synopsis of what to look for to ascertain your gait. I will also give you a few of my "top shoes picks" for each category.

Note that Saucony's, in general, tend to have a wider toe-box; Asics/Mizuno's tend to be narrower; Nike's tend to be wider.

Neutral (often a yellow symbol at shoe stores- see chart above^)
 Gait type= supinate/underpronate (feet and ankles rolls outward/along edge,
 or neutral heel-toe gait).


You tend to have high, rigid arches, and your shoes tend to wear along the outside of your shoe. Squat down a couple of times with your feel shoulder width apart. Watch your arches in the mirror (or get a friend/expert to watch)- your arches should not collapse, and remain high/rigid. These shoes are good for midfoot or forefoot strikers.
What to look for: Shoes with a curved last or low/moderate rear foot stability. Look for shoes that are cushioned and have a flexible forefoot and a soft/firm midsole. You need shoes with maximum midsole cushioning, and minimum medial support.

Click HERE for an excellent video detailing underpronation/supination.

Injuries common to supinators:
  1. Illiotibial band syndrome
  2. Plantar fasciitis
  3. Achilles tendonitis

* if you wear orthotics, you would normally use a neutral shoe, since your gait is corrected.

**please note that all of these shoes in all categories offer cushioning.Many people mistakenly assume that "neutral' shoes offer the most comfort, while the other categories are uncomfortable. This is not the case, and the "cushioning" refers to something other than comfort (shock absorption).

 Top "neutral" shoes:
Brooks Glycerin
Brooks Ghost
Asics Nimbus
Asics Cumulus
Saucony Powergrid Triumph
Adidas Adizero Boston 3 This is a good speed-work shoe.
Mizuno Wave Rider 15

Stability -Pronator (Blue Symbol)

These shoes offer moderate pronation control, heel support, and stability.
You have normal to flatter arches, land on the outside of your heel and then pronate (roll) toward the inside as you walk/run, and your arches collapse when you squat or put weight on them. Your knees also roll inward when bent/squatting, and your shoes tend to wear in the center, since you push off from there. You need medial support and are a STABILITY SHOE.

What to look for: Shoes with moderate control features such as motion control support and moderate heel counters and a multi-density midsole. The level of stability features can vary significantly within this category.

Top Stability shoe picks:
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12
Saucony Powergrid Hurricane 14
Asics Kayano 18
Asics DS Trainer 17
Asics 2170
Saucony Progrid Guide 5
Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

Motion Control- Excessive Pronation (Red Symbol)

Most people don't fall with in the "Excessive pronation, motion control" category (which is evident by the few shoes made especially for this category). However, there a some truly excellent shoes made specifically for this condition.

- You have completely flat and collapsed arches. Your feet and ankles pronate (roll inward) excessively, and your knees also roll inward when bending. You roll/push off along the inside of your foot and the midsoles of your shoes wear out and breakdown rapidly.


You need shoes that give strong motion-control or stability support with firm midsoles. These shoes should have a strong and rigid heel counter to keep the heel secure and reduce pronation. These shoes have maximum support on the medial side (arch side) of the foot..
What to look for: Look for shoes with a straight of semi-curved last that offer maximum rearfoot stability. You need motion control or strong stability shoes that provide firm midsoles, a wide landing base, and maximum control features such as, motion control, a strong/rigid heel counter to counteract excessive pronation and keep the heel secure.

These shoes are also good for big or heavy runners (weight can affect arches) who need support and durability.

Injuries common to overpronators (applies to Stability shoes as well, which is milder overpronation):
  1. Achilles tendonitis
  2. Arch pain
  3. Knee pain
  4. Rigid big toe
  5. Hip and lower back pain

Click HERE for a video on overpronation.

Top Motion Control shoe picks:
Brooks Beast
Brooks Ariel
Saucony Progrid Stabil CS 2
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11
Asics Gel Foundation 10

Here is an excellent link for doing the "wet test" to determine your arch-type.
Do It Yourself:

  1. Pour a layer of water into a shallow pan.
  2. Wet the bottom of your foot.
  3. Step onto a paper towel or any surface that will leave an imprint of your foot.
  4. Look at the imprint and match it to one of the arch types below.