Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From KabariNews.com: Wii Fit, We Like

Do you remember the Dance Revolution craze that a lot of Asian kids really hyped up at the end of the 20th century? A friend of mine, Jackie Oei, recently wrote an article about the latest trends in physical fitness in one of the magazines I represent, KabariNews.com (see pages 42 and 43 of the May 2008 issue), a print and digital publication.

I am reprinting Jackie's article here because Wii Fit is a 21st century pop culture innovation that motivates people "to get physical!" in a most entertaining, relaxing way.

Here are some videos for us to explore.

The Wii Fit Commercial

Wii For All

Wii Fit -- full trailer from E307

A Wii Fit Demonstration By Nintendo Before a Live Audience

Wii Fit, We Like

By Jackie Oei
Reprinted with permission from Kabari

I applaud anyone and everyone who exercise regularly. I, for one, will need to exclude myself from this health-conscious and energetic group of people. My personal attempt at any form of workout is often short-lived and inconsistent. Maybe it’s the hefty price tag of gym memberships or the unpredictable San Francisco weather. Whatever the reason, fitness training is something I know I should do yet I seem to avoid it all costs. Luckily, the geniuses at Nintendo have created a game that is well-suited for people like me.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Wii Fit!

Scheduled to make its debut in the United States on May 19, 2008, the Wii Fit has received enthusiastic reviews from both fans and skeptics in Japan, Europe, and Australia.

Brian Ashcraft at Kotaku.com commented, “Let's get this out of the way: Wii Fit does work. Why wouldn't it? It's based on time-tried exercises. Stuff like doing sit-ups, push-ups and jogging. Well, jogging in place.”

A complement to Nintendo’s Wii Game Console, Wii Fit is a gaming bundle that includes a game disc and Nintendo’s first ever Wii Balance Board. It is priced at $89.99 for the United States, somewhat costly, but it seems reasonable for the quality of both the software and the board.

The company’s Senior Managing Director, Shigeru Miyamoto, created the initial concept of a game focused on exercise and checking one’s weight on a scale-like device. Balance became the essential ingredient needed to pull Wii Fit through a grueling process of research, development, and numerous test runs. The idea came from observing sumo wrestlers needing two scales laid side by side to weigh themselves. After two years of preparations, the new balance board became a wireless, rectangular foot panel with four sensors to detect the slightest shift in weight.

What may seem like a simple idea is actually ingenious because it takes video gaming to a whole new level. When Nintendo introduced their Wii console back in 2005, it broke conventional game standards by using wireless motion sensors in its controllers so game characters can mimic a player’s movements. Now with the Wii Balance Board, attention will be focused on the players’ hands and feet.

“I don’t think Wii Fit’s purpose is to make you fit,” Miyamoto explained. “What it’s actually aiming to do is make you aware of your body. That’s why we wanted people to talk with their families about Wii Fit, and become aware of these things together as a group. If you’re standing still, and it tells you 'Your body is swaying', you can see on the training results screen that your body has been shaking. But I think you’d never realize that your body is shaking in day-to-day life. I think becoming aware of things like this about yourself is quite interesting.”

Here is how Nintendo describes the Wii Fit:

- Learn to block soccer balls, swivel hips to power hoop twirls or balance to hold the perfect yoga pose. As users stand on the Wii Balance Board, included with Wii Fit, their body's overall balance is tied to the game in a way they've never experienced before.

- Wii Fit also uses the Wii Balance Board for daily tests. These evaluate two key measures that a household can track via progress charts:

- Body Mass Index (BMI): A weight evaluation based on a ratio of weight to height.

- Wii Fit Age: The Wii Fit Age is measured by factoring the user's BMI reading, testing the user's center of gravity and conducting quick balance tests.

- Wii Fit includes more than 40 types of training activities designed to appeal to all members of a household. Training falls into four fitness categories:

• Aerobic Exercise: 10-minute exercises that are designed to get the heart pumping.
• Muscle Conditioning: Controlled motions using arms, legs and other body parts.
• Yoga Poses: Classic poses that focus on balance and stretching.
• Balance Games: Fun activities, such as ski jumping and heading soccer balls, that challenge the player's overall body balance.

Wii Fit is an amazing piece of equipment, but not everyone is impressed. Devoted gamers have expressed concern that the program detracts from true, traditional gaming with analog controllers and virtually-advanced graphics. Miyamoto has responded by encouraging all gamers to try something new. Wii Fit opens the market to casual and hardcore gamers alike, even to those who have never played a video game before.

“I think we'd gotten to a point where video games were something that everyone could no longer enjoy. As a designer, I'm always focusing on what is fun -- ideas that people can enjoy. For me, I'm trying to entertain as many people as I can, creating games that the widest number of people can enjoy.” Miyamoto said.

People may also get a bit embarrassed if they are spotted swinging their hips or jogging in place within their own living room. Just be sure to close the blinds, if that is the case. Initially, the idea of weighing yourself in front of the television sounds absurd, but those who have tested the component realize that it does make one aware of their own bodies and how they are living their lives. It is more than a DVD work-out program because the game tracks one’s progress, thus acting like a personal trainer.

Overall, Wii Fit and the Wii console are living up to their “Revolution” strategy to challenge mainstream perceptions about what video gaming looks like. Who knew that exercise and Nintendo could work so well together? They are, indeed.

© May 2008, KabariNews.com

John Robbins and the Diet For A New America

Warning: Read this blog posting when you are not eating. The videos can be quite graphic. I was visibly disturbed by my own research (yes, I am literally shaking because I am a carnivore with an emerging vegetarian interest). All I seek is balance in my outlook and a re-evaluation of my own values.

Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, a Filipina Breastfeeding Advocate/International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a practising vegetarian these past 17 years, turned me on to the "Diet for A New America." As I strive to live a more healthy lifestyle, I also take the time to gather research and knowledge from people who can help me with my Diabetes Type 2 condition.

PETA TV has a thought-provoking, compelling video that features John Robbins, son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice-cream empire, who shows us why animal-based diets are killing Americans. You can also check out the YouTube videos (Part 1 to Part 8) of the same PETA TV documentary here.

Here is Part 1 of this YouTube video.

As a kid, John Robbins had been paralyzed from "the waist down" due to polio. Thus, his continuing interest in healing his body using a plant-based diet is John's prime directive.

What I learned from John is that: the food choices that are healthiest for our bodies, kindest to animals, environmentally-friendly, and ecologically-virtuous are vegetarian and vegan. John's "statement of consciousness, compassion, and care" resonate with my determination to be wiser about my lifestyle choices.

I am still in a state of shock. It will take a while before all of the knowledge and opinions I just imbibed will truly sink into my psyche. In the meantime, please take the time to check out the videos below.

Special Interview with Mr. John Robbins, Part I

Special Interview with Mr. John Robbins, Part II

Nona Andaya-Castillo is very busy bringing people and organizations together to organize the Second Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide Event, scheduled on October 11, 2008, as well as its launching during the World Breastfeeding Week on August 1 to 7, 2008. She is looking for public service, corporate, non-profit agency, and community-based partners.



Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
The Breastfeeding Clinic: Your Partner from Pregnancy to Parenting
Telephone: 632-444-4716 632-271-0954
+63-919-839-5555 and nurturers2005@yahoo.com.ph

Nurturers of the Earth
A support group for vegetarians and vegetarians-in-progress

Children for Breastfeeding
Mobilizing children to promote earth-friendly parenting

P.S. Here is something I learned from Nona about Formula Milk made by Wyeth that is supposed to be recalled in the Philippines. Very controversial!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hummus is A Dieter's Best Friend

Hummus and pita bread are such healthy choices in my life that my food shopping always include these delicious items. The Filipina in me loves the lemony after-taste in the hummus. I particularly favor the hummus spreads from Trader Joe's --- and although I also enjoy my Trader Joe's Naan bread, I've been buying their Middle-Eastern flat bread recently.

I substitute hummus for any wraps that ask for cheese spreads or sour cream.

In May of 2001, I had to prepare vegetarian sandwiches for my friends when we attended HH The Dalai Lama's teachings at the Shoreline Auditorium in Mountain View, California. Since Noam, one of my friends, was a real vegan, I was challenged to come up with my own recipe just for him. I used the classic Hye Roller Bread, a standard in making Vegetarian Hye Roller Wraps at that time. Today, there are more types of wraps that keep me interested...

There is going to come a time when I will make my own hummus at home. I found a really good YouTube video from Dede's Mediterranean Kitchen, a website on easy, healthy, Mediterranean Cooking. Thank you, Dede! I'll be using your recipe as a guide to making my own Lorna's Hummus.

Here is Dede's Famous Hummus, courtesy of YouTube.com!

From Dede's website: The Famous Hummus

1/4 Cup Yogurt
1 Can Garbanzo Beans "Chick Peas"
1/2 Cup Tahini (Sesame Seed Paste)
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
2-3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Tsp of Salt
1/4 Tsp citric acid "if you need more lemon taste"
2 Tbs water "if to thick"
3-4 Fresh Mint Leaves "for taste"
2 Tbs of Fresh Parsley "for garnish"
1 Tsp of Cayenne Pepper or Paprika "for garnish"
1/4 Cup of Olive Oil "for garnish"

Mix first 9 ingredients and blend until smooth and to desired thickness. Garnish with parsley, cayenne pepper and olive oil.

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Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Bread, The Original Flourless Low Glycemic Whole Grained Bread

It's been more than six months now since I first started eating this wonderful bread. It's available at most health-related food shelves in a supermarket. I buy mine from Trader Joe's.

Although I would like to change my diet to a more plant-based one, this is a time in my life that I'm learning to balance my carnivorous desires with vegetarian delights. Thus, this is my renewed effort at updating my blog with my own fresh discoveries and realizations.

For instance, I just read from RunTex.com about some of their tips on how to switch my diet to a plant-based one. I did not agree with their non-recommendation of coconut oil since the Philippines has made great inroads on the virtues of virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.

I'm quoting a paragraph here to make you salivate!

"Try to keep lunch to soup and bread, salads, or sandwiches. Spread a no fat wrap (Ezekiel makes an easily available one) with lots of a zero fat hummus (there are two we have found, one made by Oasis Classic Cuisine the other by Sahara Cuisine or you can make your own without tahini using chick peas, lemon, garlic as a base.) then put chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, shredded carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, thawed frozen corn, maybe beans, rice, cooked broccoli, mushrooms, etc. and top with lots of spinach or lettuce. Roll it up into a sausage like shape, cut in half, put on a baking sheet and bake in a high oven about ten minutes at 450 until the wrap is crisp."

Back to Ezekiel.

I was researching on why this particular brand name is Ezekiel until I found out that "Ezekiel bread is the recipe God gave Ezekiel in Ezek 4.9 and told him to eat for 390 days."

I found a recipe from FoodDownUnder.com for those who want to make Ezekiel Bread from scratch.

Scientists also tested the Ezekiel bread recipe. Here's a quote from one of the posts at KnifeForums.com.

"A modern day interpretation of the Ezekiel recipe calls for the following: 20 parts wheat, 12 parts Spelt, 4 parts Hulled Barley, 2 parts Hulled Millet, 2 parts lentils, 2 parts Pinto Beans, 1 part Great Northern Beans, 1 part Kidney Beans.

Modern Food scientists have found that Ezekiel Bread is surprisingly complete in nutrients, containing all 8 essential Amino Acids. It only lacks the vitamin provided by sunlight that converts cholesterol in the skin into Vitamin D, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.

Ezekiel Mix can be ground into flour to make Ezekiel Bread, used to make Soup, Stews or Porridge. Ezekiel Flour can also be added to other bread flour recipes to enhance nutrition.

You can make your own Ezekiel Mix, or do as we do. We purchase the mix from Walton Feed. They sell Ezekiel Mix in 25 pound bags, #10 cans with oxygen absorbers and Super Pails. (6 gallon air tight plastic food grade pail, containing the mix in a sealed mylar bag with oxygen absorbers.)

To grind the mix into flour you must use a grain mill. Because of the beans in the mix, you cannot use a stone mill because it will plug up the stones."

Nutrition facts are found here. Each slice has 80 calories (5 unsaturated fat calories, 18 grams carbohyrdate calories), certified organic.

Quoted from FreshAbundance.com:

Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Products are:

* Flourless, * Complete Protein,
* and Sprouted Whole Grain

Food for Life discovered when these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens. A complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high, that it is 84.3% as efficient as the highest recognized source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. There are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread – from all vegetable sources – naturally balanced in nature.

Ezekiel 4:9® Bread, made from freshly sprouted organically grown grains, is naturally flavorful and bursting with nutrients. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat. Try it served warm to release its exceptionally rich nutty flavor.

Ingredients: Organic Sprouted Wheat, Organic Sprouted Raisins, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Filtered Water, Fresh Yeast, Sea Salt, Cinnamon.

Dairy free, Vegan, Kosher

There are infinite possibilities for this bread. Use your own combination. Here are some of my recipes.

Masala Veggie Burger with Mango Chutney on Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel Bread

From Trader Joe's, buy:

Trader Joe's Vegetable Masala Burger (vegan)
Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel 4.9 Bread (vegan)
Alfafa Sprouts
Organic Vine-ripened tomatoes
Trader Joe's Organic Micro Greens
Organic Earth Balance Whipped Buttery Spread, 100% vegan

From Cost Plus World Market or other places, buy:

Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney, A mild chutney with a fruity, tropical sweetness


1. Lightly oil a preheated pan or cast-iron skillet (I use a skillet). You can use Earth Balance for a buttery taste.

2. Heat a masala vegetable burger for 3-4 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. Set aside.

3. You can toast two slices of the Ezekiel bread at this time


3. Using the same skillet, add about 2 tsps. of Earth Balance and lightly toast the bread slices, turning them over to make sure the other side gets the melted "butter."

4. Assemble your burger sandwich.

On each slice of bread, spread about 1 tsp. of the Patak sweet mango chutney.
Add some alfafa sprouts.
Add two sliced tomatoes.
Add the micro-greens.
Add the masala vegetable burger.

Since I oftentimes crave for something sweet, the explosion of sweet and spicy in this veggie burger is to die for! This tastes good whether served warm or at room temperature.

Ezekiel 4.9 Cinnamon-Raisin Toast with Non-Fat Cheese Spread (Made from Non-Fat Yogurt)

Prepare the "Cheese" Spread two days before using:

1. Buy a small container of any low-fat or non-fat plain yogurt. The brand I use is from Trader Joe's: FAGE Total 0% All Natural-NonFat Greek Strained Yogurt.

2. Using a double layer of cheese cloth (or for the Philippines, "sako sa harina"), empty the contents of the container (yogurt) into this make-shift strainer. The goal is to gently strain the water out of the yogurt and make your own cheese spread.

Since I have cheese cloth bags that fit over a large glass comfortably, I am able to put the yogurt inside the cloth bag, and there is still space in the glass for the water to accumulate.

3. Cover the glass or strainer with plastic wrap and tie it up with a rubber band so air doesn't get into the mixture. Store inside the refrigerator.

4. In two days, you can see a nice cheese spread forming.

5. You can mix herbs with your cheese. Anything from minced onions, chives, garlic, whatever.

For your snack:

1. Toast your Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel 4.9 bread slices.

2. Spread lavishly with your homemade cheese spread.

3. If you have a sweet tooth, add a "no sugar added" type of jam. I love using Stonewall Kitchen's Fig and Ginger Jam.


I found other recipes using Ezekiel 4.9 Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I am including them here as well.

Ezekiel Organic French Toast

Lorna's notes: Even if you don't have Ezekiel bread, whole wheat bread is a wonderful substitute.


8 slices Ezekiel Bread
1 Large container Organic Cream Cheese
8-10oz Organic Strawberry Preserves
1 Organic large brown egg
2 Tbsps Organic milk
2 Tbsps Organic butter (Lorna uses Earth Balance)


1. Beat egg and mix with milk.

2. On 4 slices of bread, spread cream cheese and cover with remaining bread (like a sandwich).

3. Dip in the egg and milk mixture and put in a frying pan of melted butter (Use Earth Balance - Lorna's advice).

4. Brown on both sides.

5. To hasten the cream cheese to melt, cover a few minutes.

6. Serve immediately with warm strawberry preserve spooned on top of the French Toast.

*Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with a fresh strawberry.

Recipe for Home-Made Ezekiel Bread
Excerpts from www.Bread-Bakers.com

Ezekiel's Six-Grain Bread

This recipe is found in Ezekiel 4:9, where God tells the prophet,
"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them
in a single vessel and make bread out of them".

Yield: 2 loaves

2 C warm water
2 pkg yeast
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C graham (whole wheat) flour, divided
1/4 C lentil flour
1/4 C white bean flour (fava, navy, etc.)
1/4 C barley flour
1/4 C millet flour
1/4 C spelt flour
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 to 2 1/2 C bread flour
Sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

Combine water, yeast, honey, oil, and salt in a large bowl, stir to
dissolve. Stir in 1/2 C of the graham flour. Beat thoroughly. Let
stand 10 minutes, or until foamy.

Sift the remaining 1 C graham flour, lentil flour, bean flour, barley
flour, millet flour, spelt flour and coriander together. Stir until
well blended.

Add flour mixture, about 1 C at a time, to the yeast mixture,
stirring thoroughly after each addition. Add enough of the bread
flour to make a stiff dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10 to 12
minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 1 1/2 hours, or
until dough has doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough. Knead lightly, then let dough rest 5 minutes.
Divide in half and shape into two round loaves. Place loaves on a
lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 30 to 45 minutes, or
until doubled. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350F. If
desired, lightly brush the tops of risen loaves with water and
sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake in a 350F oven for about 45 minutes, or until tops are browned and loaves sound hollow when
tapped. Remove from baking sheets and let cool on wire racks.

Note: to make the bean or grain flours, grind dried beans or whole
grains in an electric blender or food processor. Do not grind more
than 1/4 C at a time

and take lots of breaks so your machine doesn't overheat. It will
take quite some time to grind the flour. Sift the ground mixture
though a fine sieve before use, or use a regular flour sifter if you
want a coarser blend.

These various flours absorb moisture at different rates, so be sure
to follow the directions about sifting them together before adding
them to the yeast mixture. Pearl barley can be used to make the barley flour.

From Breaking Bread with Father Dominic, by Father Dominic Garramone


Ezekiel Bread (Ezek 4:9 NKJ Version) 1.5 lb (Bread Machine)

This bread recipe is for Ezekiel bread, which is the recipe God gave
Ezekiel in Ezek 4.9 and told him to eat for 390 days. This recipe is
made easier in that you can use cooked beans rather than grinding
beans as a lot of other Ezekiel bread recipes are. However, a batter
bread is probably closer to what Ezekiel actually ate. There are
additions such as honey, salt, olive oil, and a little gluten flour to help it out in the bread machine, but then the text doesn't mention the water that would be needed to make bread either. Since I am not good at making bread by hand, I've modified the recipe from the verse for the bread machine. I started with other
recipes and modified them for the NKJ version. I used this version because it agrees with Strong's concordance, and others. The Old English in the KJV had fitches, which was translated various ways by some. say is spelt).

"And take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and
spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself
. . . This is the first time I have posted this recipe with the
nutritional information (and the 2nd time altogether). 14.2% calories from fat.



Vegan - from Trader Joe's

Products that are free of all animal products and /or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, honey, gelatin, lanolin, confectioner’s glaze and carmine

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