#393 (1/26/2010) HOT READS, HOT TUNES, HOT TEA
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Be careful about reading health books.
You may die of a misprint.

Mark Twain

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Beachbody® Book Fair

Reviews by Denis Faye

Now that we're a few weeks into the New Year, you've done one of two things. Either you've made good on your resolution to eat better and you feel like a million bucks—even though you'd kill for a slice of strawberry cheesecake—or you went for that cheesecake, blew your resolutions, and now feel lower than the crumbs left on your empty Cheesecake Factory® plate.

Books on a Plate, with Knife and Fork

Either way, you could certainly use some inspiration right about now, so we've picked out a little winter reading that might—or might not—do the trick.

Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael PollanFood Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan (Penguin Books, $11.00)

In his last book, In Defense of Food, culinary journalist Michael Pollan managed to sum up healthy eating in seven simple words. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Unfortunately, this simple phrase can create more questions than answers for the uninitiated. And while In Defense of Food and its predecessor, Omnivore's Dilemma, are entertaining, thought-provoking reads, by no means are they simple road maps for dietary success.

Food Rules finds a middle ground. Seeking wisdom from both his own experience and that of his many readers, Pollan sets down a list of 64 simple laws to eat by, then offers a brief commentary for each. For example, rule #12 is "Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle," because you'll find the good stuff—produce, dairy, meat, and fish—in the outer shelves of the store while the center aisles tend to be reserved for processed foods. I'm also quite fond of rule #39: "Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself," which notes that if you only ate French fries that you chopped and fried yourself, you'd probably eat them a lot less often.

The book checks in at 140 pages with lots of illustrations and white space. It's a day's read or a couple months worth of daily meditation. The rules are simple and accessible, thus completely voiding criticism that paints Pollan as a "food elitist." To wit, rule #64: "Break the rules once in a while."

For the beginner, Food Rules are rules to live by. For the experienced, this is a well-written, amusing affirmation. It's definitely worth picking up.

Cook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide by David Zinczenko and Matt GouldingCook This, Not That! Kitchen Survival Guide by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding (Rodale, $19.99)

If you're looking for something a little more nuts and bolts, the latest in the Eat This, Not That! series tackles domestic eating (finally) and does it right. As is the case with its predecessors, this book is incredibly comprehensive. It's made up primarily of recipes offering healthy, homemade versions of artery-clogging restaurant fare, and it covers the gamut from breakfast to dessert. It also includes best-to-worst-and-why rankings for common staples, such as meat, dairy, nuts, and breakfast cereals, as well as neat little charts called "matrixes" that allow you to create salad dressings, smoothies, or kabobs—among other things—to your liking while keeping them healthy.

If I have any criticism of this book, it would be that it's extremely meat-centric. (See Food Rules, rule #22.) It would have been nice to see far more vegetable-based recipes. Even the Brussels sprouts have bacon on them! But if you just remember to add a few leafy greens to whatever carnivore concoction you whip up from Cook This, Not That!, you'll be fine.

Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres and Jenna TorresVegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World (Version 2.0) by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres (PM Press, $14.95)

On the other hand, you'll find not so much as a boiled-egg recipe in Vegan Freak. In fact, you'll find very little useful information at all. Instead, you'll get a 217-page diatribe from two very militant vegans who apparently feel anyone who doesn't see the world exactly as they do is a complete monster. Any karma these two may have earned treating animals fairly has probably been voided, thanks to the bile they spit on these pages.

The book is intended to be a hilarious primer for people interested in making the animal-products-free shift, but it fails on so many levels. They operate on the assumption that non-vegans make it their lives' work to torment and mock the chosen few who have seen the meat-free light. Then, with no apparent awareness of their hypocrisy, they go on to mock non-vegans with such rancor that were I on the fence about giving up animal products, I'd run out and buy a pair of Doc Martens® boots and a hamburger about halfway through the book just to spite them. (Full disclosure: I'm a pescatarian and agree with many of their stances, if not their attitude.)

More importantly, they don't even start offering usable information on going vegan until three-quarters of the way through, and even then, a lot of that advice involves suggesting other books to check out.

So I suggest you skip Vegan Freak and check out those other books instead. If you want to learn more about veganism, save yourself a lot of bad juju and check out Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis for great how-to tips, and Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for tons of great recipes.

No one likes it when sweet ol' Bessie the cow takes a bolt to the head, Mr. and Mrs. Torres, but life's too short to be that much of a hater.

Related Articles
"How to Eat, How Not to Eat: Two Book Reviews"
"Burger Buddies: Fast Food Nation's Richard Linklater and Eric Schlosser"
"The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite"

Denis FayeGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, February 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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How Darrick Beat the Odds (and His Genes)

Darrick Smith "Before" and "After" Photos

Topping the scale at 440 pounds, Darrick Smith was on a short road to huge health problems. His doctor told him it was in his genes, and there was nothing he could do. Guess again. With the help of Power 90®, Darrick took control of his life and won $1,000 along the way. Click below to watch his story and see what he looks like now.

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, February 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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My Top 5: Tania Ante Baron

You probably know Tania as the trainer from the Shakeology® workouts or from shaking it with best friend Shaun T in Hip Hop Abs®, Rockin' Body®, and INSANITY®. Or you might have caught her on tour with Britney Spears or in one of her music videos. Tania has appeared on stage, on TV, and in the movies (look for her dancing the "Tango Maureen" in the film version of Rent). So when Tania says a song gets her going, you know it's going to be good. Check out Tania's top 5 workout songs.

Tania Ante Baron

  1. "Bamboo Banga" by M.I.A.

    I love the hard driving beats. It not only makes me want to dance, but it makes me kick up my intensity to another level.

  2. "Distortion" by David Guetta

    This song has a great tempo with a cool, electro-dance vibe. I love running to this track!

  3. "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor

    Who doesn't want to work out like Rocky Balboa? This song really amps up my weight-lifting workouts.

  4. "Separate Ways" by Journey

    Not only do I rock out to this song on road trips (belting out the lyrics at the top of my lungs), but it gives me the motivation to overcome obstacles.

  5. "Hot Like Wow" by Nadia Oh

    I love this sexy track. It instantly makes me get up and dance. It talks about having a body that's "Hot Like Wow"!

Related Articles
"My Top 5: Debbie Siebers"
"Celebrity Workouts: Look Like a Star without Spending Like One"
"Think You Can Dance: 10 Ways to Incorporate Dance into Your Exercise Routine"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, February 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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New Year, New You. Transform Your Body and Your Beauty Regimen!

Breakthrough in Beauty® Logo, Cosmetic Bottles, and an Orchid

It's a new year. Out with the old and in with the new—even beauty products. It's time to take a look through your bathroom cabinets and finally toss out those expired products that have been sitting around for years. There aren't any hard-and-fast rules for exactly when to throw out old makeup or skincare products, but keep in mind:

  • Eye shadows seem to last forever, but they tend to crack with age.
  • Organic products have a very short shelf life because of the preservatives in these types of products.
  • Liquid eyeliner and mascara should be thrown away after 6 months, since they can cause eye infections.

Check out the full article to learn more!

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, February 1st, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your Hot Tea IQ!

By Joe Wilkes

Hot TeaJanuary is National Hot Tea Month, not to be confused with National Hottie Month, which has never been declared (if only Bill Clinton had served another term). Ever since the rise of Starbucks® and other gourmet purveyors of joe, coffee's less caffeinated cousin, tea, has been growing in popularity. And it's not your mother's Lipton® anymore. How much do you know about Camellia sinensis?

  1. What is traditionally known as The Champagne of Teas? Darjeeling is the preferred tea of the United Kingdom and much of its former empire. It produces a lighter tea than traditional black tea, mostly because the leaves have not been allowed to oxidize as long. It comes from the Darjeeling region of India, and differs from most Indian teas in that it is made from the traditional Chinese tea leaves instead of the larger-leafed Assam leaves, which most Indian teas are made from. Like French Champagne, true Darjeeling tea can be distinguished from copycats by a seal from the Tea Board of India.
  2. Which teas contain antioxidants—black, green, or white? All of the above. White tea has been found to have the most antioxidants, mostly catechins. Green tea is next, and black tea has the least, but all have quite a bit. Studies have shown that catechins can lessen the risk of stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They've also shown a decrease in the aging process in mice, leading scientists to believe they may protect DNA. But here's a bummer for dairy lovers: if you take milk in your tea, you are likely not getting the benefits of the catechins, as their absorption is blocked by the milk protein.
  3. What is the common name for tea scented with bergamot oil? Earl Grey tea, which was named after former British Prime Minister Earl Grey. The bergamot orange is a citrus fruit somewhere between a lemon and an orange in flavor and shape. Bergamot oil, like grapefruit, can affect or impede certain medications. Bergamot oil in sufficient quantities (like a gallon or two of Earl Grey tea a day) can also block potassium. Variations include Lady Grey tea with lemon and French Earl Grey with rose petals. Twinings® is the official maker of Earl Grey, as endorsed by Richard Grey, the sixth Earl Grey.
  4. What is oolong tea? Oolong tea is a tea that has been oxidized less than black tea and more than green tea, kind of the half-and-half of teas. The oolong leaves are often rolled into balls as gunpowder tea, so named because the British remarked on its resemblance to ammunition pellets. By being rolled into balls, the tea leaves are kept from tearing, and the oils and flavor of the tea are better preserved. This allows oolong teas to be lightly roasted over longer periods of time. The amount of roasting is what often distinguishes the types of oolong tea. The name oolong means "black dragon" in Chinese, which could refer to its color and curled shape. Another story is that a hunter named Wu Long was interrupted by a deer while picking tea leaves, and by the time he had hunted the deer, the leaves had partially oxidized. The resulting brew was named for him. Oolong tea is also theorized to contain an enzyme that helps break down unhealthy triglycerides and speed up fat metabolism.
  5. What is the difference between English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast tea? Or, as they're respectively called in England and Ireland, tea. English tea blends contain more of the traditional Keemun, or typical Chinese Camellia sinensis, in their blends and the Irish prefer more of the Assam leaf (Camellia sinensis assamica) in theirs. They're not really worlds apart, but most find Irish tea blends to be stronger and more full-bodied. Or as my English friend Philippa said, "English is better than Irish." Or as my Irish friend Cormac responded, "It is, of course, the other way around." Another bit of trivia: Until the 18th century, tea and coffee were largely unavailable to the general English and Irish populations, and they had to rely on the all-time breakfast of champions, ale.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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