Month: March 2010

- Pumping Irony -

PUMPING IRONY: The Son Also Rises

My son and I traveled to the fancy gym in the suburbs last night for a workout. He’s 19 and likes to go first-class (although we traveled there in the Crapmobile, which I think he’s beginning to appreciate for its rugged good looks). My local gym, which is in the basement of the office where I work, can be… Read more »

- Pumping Irony -

PUMPING IRONY: The Great Outdoors

Winter is giving way to spring around here, which makes my morning and evening walking commutes both exhilarating and treacherous. Patches of ice materialize at inopportune times, so mindful walking is the order of the day: one foot in front of the other. I’ve managed to maintain my footing so far, unlike My Lovely Wife,… Read more »

Save Your Neck

A chronic case of “computer neck” can undermine your work and your workouts. So don’t sit and suffer. Start getting the kinks out – now.

Eden Organics Vegetable Alphabets

These hearty, 60 percent whole-grain pasta letters and numbers allow you to re-create the alphabet soups your kids love in a way that respects your healthy standards – and your budget. Most conventional canned alphabet soups aren’t just questionable nutritionally, they are outrageously overpriced, too! And these letters are even better than the originals because, thanks to added organic beets, spinach and carrots (don’t worry, your kids will never know), they come in a variety of colors. Milled in small batches at the company’s Detroit facility, a single package of this pasta can letter-stud pots and pots of soup. Visit the Eden Web site to find recipe ideas and to learn more about this company’s commitment to local organic production. 

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel-Cut Oats

Unlike flaked oatmeal, steel-cut oats are made from the whole-grain groats of the oat kernel. This preserves more of the fiber and protein from the whole grain and gives the cooked cereal a pleasantly chewy texture, which is especially nice for those who aren’t big fans of the mush factor in regular oatmeal. There are few hot breakfasts that are heartier or healthier, and fewer still that are a better value than this organic brand from Bob’s Red Mill ($3 for a hefty 24-ounce sack). A quarter cup is enough to make a sizeable stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. Top a steaming bowl with nuts, fruit, a little drizzle of real maple syrup and a pat of organic butter, and you’ll feel like you’re being served breakfast in a five-star hotel – for about 85 cents. 

Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili Sauce

Originally used as a dip for seafood in Si Racha, Thailand, this tasty garlic chili sauce has become universally popular in the last couple of years, appearing everywhere from noodle houses and taco stands to high-end kitchens, where it’s beloved for its unique tangy-hot flavor. Because it has flavors of hot, sweet and sour, it can fill in the missing element in any number of recipes. As far as the home cook is concerned, that makes this versatile sauce a great value. Use it to add a little heat to soups, sauces and stir-fries. Make a deliciously spicy mayonnaise for sandwiches. Mix with yogurt for a dish-finishing garnish. Or just drizzle a little over plain rice and veggies, and voilà – where there once was a mere plate of food, there is now a dish . You can find several brands of sriracha out there, but Lee Kum Kee is one of the only ones made without sulfite preservatives. 

Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

The difference between a plain canned tomato and a roasted one is like the difference between flying coach and first class, but without the price hike. Roasting tomatoes releases their sugars and mellows their natural acidity. It also imparts a delicious smoky flavor that adds a touch of magic to your dishes. With little or no doctoring, these organic roasted tomatoes from Muir Glen will make a delicious sauce for seafood, pizza or pasta, saving you considerable change on prepared sauces that might contain other ingredients you don’t want anyway. They also transform ordinary bean chili into something sublime. 

Everyday Shea Body Wash and Lotion

We’d love Everyday Shea products even if they weren’t wonderfully affordable: They’re a pleasure to use, they’re free of nasty chemicals, they perform well, and they’re made by a company that cares. The fact that they’re a terrific bargain just makes ’em better still! Shea butter is a staple ingredient in West Africa – used for everything from wound care to cooking oil – but it’s most often celebrated for its skin and hair moisturizing qualities. Everyday Shea trades with cooperatives in Togo to acquire its high-quality unrefined shea butter and incorporates it into their super-rich lotion and body wash, which also contain zero parabens, artificial fragrances or petroleum ingredients. The company adheres to Fair Trade policies and donates 10 percent of its profits to community development projects in West Africa. So you get a giant 32-ounce bottle of lotion or body wash for only $14, and you get to feel good about it. 

- Fitness Tips -

Workday Workouts

Yes, you’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find time for fitness. Here’s how to squeeze in a series of invigorating activities that turn wasted moments into body-strengthening mini-workouts.