Friday, June 23

Don't Have A Cow, Man

Yes, I am a Simpson's fan. Well, more aptly, I was, when it was newer and somewhat groundbreaking. Anyway, that's all beside the point. A month ago I stocked up on a load of ground beef at a great price. Ever since then I've been eating a veritable ton of beef. In fact, as of today I was down to my last frozen lonely one pound chunk in my freezer.

Now, to make a short story long, I'm in the middle of getting prepared for a week long fishing vacation at a remote camp with some friends of mine. I've picked up some bug spray, happy to find that DEET was again included in the products. Look at this, DEET is pretty darned effective...

Repellents containing DEET provide the best protection
The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, says lotions that rely on plant oils or other chemicals don't last as long.

"I don't think DEET is the perfect repellent," said Mark Fradin, one of the researchers. "But it is still more effective and very safe."

Each worker was required to apply repellent and put their arm into a cage with 10 mosquitoes for a minute and repeated the action until the first bite.

According to the results, for DEET-based products:
  • solutions with 24 per cent DEET lasted five hours
  • ones with 20 per cent DEET worked four hours
  • repellents with six to seven per cent DEET lasted two hours
For non-DEET products:
  • eucalyptus ointments lasted two hours
  • soybean-based repellent worked 1 1/2 hours
  • plant-derived solutions, such as citronella, lasted less than 20 minutes
  • Avon's "Skin-So-Soft" bath oil and bug guard each lasted less than 10 minutes
  • repellent wristbands provided no protection
The results surprised officials at Avon.

Okay, I'll relent and continue with my story. I just didn't want to bore you since I wrote something similar a month ago. As it turns out, while I am out shopping, I see another amazing deal for ground beef. A two pound chunk of lean ground beef is only $3.00 -- where usually one pound of lean beef sells for $4.50 or so. It's on for a third of the price!

I picked up 8 packages. Yeah baby. Last time I ran into this deal I cut them all in half, yielding one pound chunks of beek. Since I am eating for one, I think I can probably get away with cutting them into thirds. Wise portion size options was a previous blog topic of mine so I'm trying to practice what I preach. I'm going to get 24 meals worth of ground beef at only $1.00 per meal. After adding in the pasta, sauce, spices and parmesan cheese, because it thriftier than shredding block cheese, I'm going to float through a second month well below budget on food expenses.

Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 20

Calorie Restriction for Money and Health?

I guess this entry isn't so much a tip as speculation. Anyway, I read an awful lot of health and fitness related news and thought I'd share this one with you since it does have the potential to have a significant financial impact. Food is, after all, one of the largest expenses that we can easily influence.

Doctors Devise New Diet
Scientists claim to have discovered a new diet that not only ensures weight loss but also tackles diseases and could even prolong life, according to a new report.

...

Dr James Johnson, who co-wrote the report with colleagues from Stanford and New Orleans universities, said the diet involves eating normally one day and then cutting food intake the next day to between 20 and 50 per cent.

...

Dr Johnson, who reports having lost 35lbs in the first 11 weeks of being on the diet, said: "We have observed improvement in a variety of disease conditions, starting within two weeks, including insulin resistance, asthma, seasonal allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, infectious disease, periodontal disease, and cardiac arrhythmias."

...

For people who want to lose weight, according to the report, the diet has the psychological advantage of not subjecting them to permanent food deprivation. But the scientists said what they call "up-day, down-day" dieting also has health-promoting effects.

Some of you who have been following along with my blog know that I take frugality quite seriously. Cutting out 50% of your food needs every other day leads you to 25% less food in total. Given that it appears to be both very healthy and very frugal, it really does look like a win. An added frugal bonus is that improved health means less spent on doctors visits and medications as well.

I don't know about you, but I think I might give this a try. I hate the idea of depriving myself for long periods of time on traditional diets, but if I can avoid overcompensating too much on normal days, this sounds like a cakewalk. Eat normally, eat lightly, eat normally, eat lightly. How hard can it be? It's not like they have lists of foods or special purchases or consumption guidelines to follow.

If you give it a go, please try to come back and drop me a comment to let me know how it is going for you. Oh, hey, I'm not a doctor, but if you have any existing medical issues, please check with your doctor before starting any major new dietary or exercise program.

UPDATE: After following a calorie cycling diet I've posted my results.

Monday, June 12

Buying Apples: A Small Tip

I like apples. Well, let me qualify that, I like apples when they are flavorful and in-season. I don't like apples when they are shiny and red but don't have much flavor. I don't know how they do it, but they often have apples in the supermarket that are completely devoid of flavor. Maybe it has something to do with picking them early and letting them ripen during shipping?

Anyway, as I said, just a small tip. What I like to do when buying apples is lift the bag to my nose and give a sniff. Usually apples are packed in bags with little holes for ventilation. Get close to one of those and inhale casually. You'll get a real good indication of the flavor that the apples contain, which is much more reliable than the look of the apples.

I know this might not sound like a frugal tip, but considering how wasteful it is to end up with apples you don't want to eat, perhaps it is. Unlike many other people I'm not going to cook with my apples, so I'm really only left to watch them go bad as I keep trying to force myself to eat them. It's a much better plan to give them the sniff test and then get value for my money instead.