Calorie Bargain: Icebreaker Merino Wool Socks
The Why: Icebreaker is a cool company that makes phenomenal athletic clothing. The merino is one of the world’s most ancient and toughest breeds of sheep. Icebreaker’s merinos live in the extremes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, where regular sheep would freeze. But the merino’s fleece is built for extremes — breathable in summer, insulating in winter, yet exceptionally soft and lightweight.
The Health Bonus: Feeling really comfortable.
What We Liked Best: My socks didn’t smell, and my feet didn’t sweat as much.
The Price: $14-23.
Where to Buy: us.icebreaker.com
Calorie Bargain: The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies: 1,001 Doctor-Approved Health Fixes and Injury-Prevention Secrets for a Leaner, Fitter, More Athletic Body! by Jordan Metzl and Mike Zimmerman (Rodale, 2012)
The Why: Jordan Metzl really knows his stuff. He’s a physician and a serious athlete who has completed nine Ironman triathlons and 29 marathons. He understands the mind of the athlete, how psychologically devastating any injury can be, and what it takes to get you back in your game as quickly and safely as possible.
Here is the way the publisher describes the book: “Whether you’re a hard-core competitor or a weekend warrior, this book belongs on your shelf. The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies is your go-to resource for safe, effective, do-it-yourself treatments whether you have a strain, sprain or pain that you’ve never felt before.
“When you get hurt, you have fears. You have questions. Ice or heat? Should I see a doctor? Will I need surgery? This book answers those questions and allays those fears. Dr. Jordan Metzl, one of the nation’s leading sports medicine physicians, breaks down all the information into easy-to-follow strategies for effective self-treatment while letting you know in no uncertain terms when you should go see your own doctor, pronto.
“The book also answers other common training questions like, ‘What should I eat to fuel my workouts?’ and ‘What exercises can I do to prevent injury and perform at the next level?’ "
The Health Bonus: The book can help keep you moving and active by avoiding injuries (as well as resolving current injuries more quickly).
What We Liked Best: The “eye-popping” illustrations of each injury.
The Price: $16.98 (on Amazon.com).
Where to Buy: Amazon.com most major bookstores.
Calorie Bargain: Clif Bar’s Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut Bars Why: I’ve been a big supporter of Larabars and never understood why no other bar maker had created a simple bar that was nothing but food with no chemical ingredients. Well, now Clif Bar co-founder Kit Crawford has helped to create some with only 170 to 200 calories each.
The Health Bonus: All-natural bars, with no ingredients other than real food. Also, they are gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.
What We Liked Best: These bars taste great. They are being offered in the following flavors: Cashew, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Almond Coconut, and Berry Almond.
The Price: $1.59.
Where to Buy: They will be in stores in June.
Calorie Bargain: Musco Family Olive Co. Pearls and Early California Reduced Salt olives in two varieties
The Why: The Large Black Ripe Olives contain 25 percent less sodium than regular black olives. The imported-from-Spain Pimiento Stuffed Manzanilla Olives have 75 percent less sodium than their conventional counterparts.
The Health Bonus: The lower sodium is important, (see: http://www.cspinet.org/salt/) especially in the stuffed olives.
What We Liked Best: Olives are healthy, and you don’t have to give up taste to lower your sodium intake. But keep in mind that four olives have 25 calories, so don’t go crazy.
The Price: Large Black Ripe Olives are $1.79 per 6-ounce can. The Pimiento Stuffed Manzanilla Olives have a suggested retail price of $1.98 for a 5.75-ounce jar.
Where to Buy: www.olives.com/finder.asp
Calorie Bargain: Quirky.com’s Stem
The Why: Now you can spray more natural flavor on any food. Here is the description from the manufacturer: “Spray it, don’t squeeze it! Stem is designed to allow a cook to spray juice directly from a citrus fruit. No longer do you have to cut and squeeze your fruit to get the juice out like a common cook. With only one finger you can now spray citrus juice on your favorite foods evenly. Let Stem add a little zest in your kitchen and on your food!”
The Health Bonus: Adding flavor to foods with lemon, lime or orange juice is a great way to improve the taste of healthy foods.
What We Liked Best: Very simple to use.
The Price: $4.99.
Where to Buy: www.quirky.com/products/187-stem-citrus-fruit-juice-sprayer
Calorie Bargain: Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike by Grant Petersen (Workman, 2012)
The Why: Bicycle riding is great exercise, and this quick-read guide is both handy and informative. From the publisher: “A reformed racer who’s commuted by bike every day since 1980, whose writings and opinions appear in major bicycling and outdoor magazines, and whose company, Rivendell Bicycle Works, makes bikes for riders ready to opt out of a culture overrun by racing, Grant Petersen shares a lifetime of unexpected facts, controversial opinions, expert techniques, and his own maverick philosophy. In 87 short, two-to-three page chapters, it covers:
- Riding: Count Days, Not Miles; Corner Like Jackie Robinson; Steer with Your Hips, Shift with Your Legs
- Suiting Up: The Shoes Ruse; Ponchos the Ultimate Unracer’s Garment
- Safety: #1 Rule Be Seen; Helmets Aren’t All They’re Cracked Up to Be
- Health and Fitness: Why Riding Is Lousy All-Around Exercise; Saddles Don’t Cause Impotence; Drink When You’re Thirsty Not Before
The Health Bonus: Bike riding is one of the most efficient calorie-burning activities around, which means it can help you lose weight. Riding at a leisurely pace of 10 to 12 mph, a 155-pound person can burn 423 calories in just 60 minutes, or about seven calories per minute. Now up that to 14-15.9 mph, and you’ll be burning about 700 calories per hour. Why do it?
- It builds muscle, particularly in your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
- You can control the level of your workout by riding slow or fast on city streets, roads or scenic trails.
- It's a convenient, inexpensive way to get around town. Parking is always simple and you can get some exercise while you’re running errands.
- It's a great way to enjoy the outdoors and do some sightseeing.
- It helps the environment.
What We Liked Best: The book is a really quick read, and the advice is great for anyone who owns a bike or is thinking about buying one.
The Price: $11.16 (on Amazon.com).
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com. Copyright 2012 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at DietDetective.com.