I’m a sucker like everybody else when it comes to believing product claims – though I’m a little more cynical than most, having spent over a decade in advertising. So, as a service to my readers, I’m going to share those products that I have found to be all or more than they claim. In other works, I’m going to share my own “secret stash.”
The Low Down on Low Cal Sweeteners
Studies done by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have found that the safest sugar substitute is. . . Splenda (sucralose)! Hooray, since that’s my favorite. More than 100 studies have confirmed its harmlessness, according to More magazine (and based on studies by the CSPI, FDA, Calorie Control Council, etc.).
Stevia doesn’t need any approval to be sold, since it’s an ingredient “generally accepted to be safe”, so some critics say that there hasn”t been enough testing to prove it isn’t harmful. Over 200 studies have shown Aspertame (Equal, NutraSweet) poses no health risks, but some rat studies raise questions about it’s possible link to cancer.
30 human studies done since the 1970s have found no connection between saccharin (Sweet’N Low, Necta Sweet) and bladder cancer. The claim of any such connection was dropped in 2001. And, finally, Acesulfame K (Sunnett) has been subjected to 90 FDA studies with no safety issues arising, but critics claim they weren’t done very well.
Why bother with sugar substitutes at all? Hold on to your seats, ladies; this info from More magazine will make your head spin:
- 40-59 year old Americans down 350 calories a day in added sugar. That’s 130 more a day than in 1991, mostly from beverages.
- Sugar gives you wrinkles Apparently, excess fructose from sugar (from sugar or high fructose corn syrup) attaches to collagen and skin proteins and changes their structure, causing sags and wrinkles. Another good reason to put down that doughnut (or french fries). Oh, by the way, that “healthy” fruit flavored yogurt? From 11 – 35 grams of sugar.
- Sugar increases the risk of yeast infections Yuck. Candida albicans fungus feeds on sugar. The good news? If you have an infection, cutting back on sugar can help starve out the yeast pretty quickly
- Sugar harms your heart One 12-ounce can of regular soda a day can increase your risk of a heart attack by 24%; two or more raises that to 35%. . . and pretty quickly, too.
According to Dr. Robert J Johnson, author of The Sugar Fix, your aim should be to eat no more than 8 teaspoons of sugar a day. Just look at the nutritional labels, look at the “total carbohydrates” number and divide it by 4. FYI a single can of regular soda has 10 teaspoons.
My conclusion: I’ll stick with Splenda. Tastes the most like sugar, even when heated, with no funny aftertaste. And when I make desserts with Splenda, no one is the wiser (until now!).
One final caveat: sugar substitutes may actually make you gain weight, since your body loses its abilty to gauge how many calories you’re taking in and cause you to overeat.
God, I love these! They’re really easy to apply (takes me about 5 minutes every Sunday night) and only cost about $5-$6 for a package of 24 (about 2 weeks worth). But the real reason I love them is that I get tons of compliments. . . from co-workers, from women I pass in shopping, from receptionists (and who knows better than them?). I even had a (male) client disparagingly ask me how much I spent on my nails every month. When I told him less than $15, he didn’t believe me.
Everyone has fake nails now, if they’re willing to spend the money. I say, why pay someone for you to spend time you don’t have, sitting in a nail salon when you can do it yourself (and not risk infection, since you replace them weekly)? And you don’t have to worry about spoiling your expensive manicure when you garden, do crafts, or whatever.
L’Oreal Couleur Experte
Don’t try to pretend you don’t color your hair. Even if you have just a tiny bit of gray, you probably use some off-the-shelf color or get it done at a salon. (If you don’t, you’re looking older than you have to, unless you have really dynamite gray.) Personally, I can’t stand to pay anyone to do something I can do myself (except clean house), so I’m of the do-it-yourself mindset. I’m recommending L’Oreal Couleur Experte (oooh, French!), but, honestly, I buy whatever I find on sale. I mention this particular product because, believe it or not, it is incredibly easy to highlight your own hair and this one makes it even easier.
That said, I only buy this when it’s on sale; other times I look for other highlighters because I don’t highlight every time I color. But here’s what I do do (and here’s my secret): I use one of those old caps with the pull-through holes in it. This way, I get even highlighting all throughout my hair. Of course, at least once I’ve left the highlighter on too long (didn’t hear the timer) and had to pull the hair color bottle out of the trash and reapply over the highlights for a few minutes. Believe it or not, I got tons of compliments.
Restora Fuzz Removal Comb
This is something I buy friends as little giftees. It’s only a couple of dollars (I get mine from Vincent, my dry cleaner, on Bethany Rd. in Hazlet), and it is perfect for removing pilling from all kinds of clothes. Many an article of clothing that was bound for Goodwill was granted a longer life with Restora.
he heel protectors that I have are simply called “The Invisible Heel Protector” but I have a feeling almost any brand will do the trick. These are virtually invisible plastic sleeves that go over your heels, then shrunk with a hair dryer. Other brands use adhesive, but I like this kind because they’re less likely to peel off or be affected by rain and snow. They really don’t show and they eliminate the tears we get on our favorite shoes. Ouch!
Heel Grips, Forefoot Cushions, etc.
Apara makes a ton of shoe accessories that I can’t live without (for obvious reasons). My two favorites are printz, which are cushions for the ball of your feet that can even be used with sandlals, and Heel Appeal, which keeps my shoes from slipping off. There are lots of other gel cushioning products which come in really handy when I find a pair of size 8 shoes that my size 7s slip out of. A simple gel insole does the trick!
Dr. Scholl’s has some of these products, too.
In all honesty, I have not tried this product, but it looks like a great idea, especially for you women who do a lot of city walking. I’m sick and tired of walking over grates, cracked sidewalks and around other obstacles simply put there to destroy my favorite shoes.
These are even good for stopping your heels from sinking into the grass.
Make fun of me if you will, but I’m not getting my purse snatched from the back of my chair! (Marlene knows what I’m talking about) I’m also not picking up all the germs and bacteria from the floor (read how your purse is bringing e coli into your house http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease/purse.asp), or passing them onto a table or desk. This nifty little gadget (thanks, Suzanne!) goes everywhere with me. You can buy them in Harmon’s, Annie Sez and tons of places online. And what a great stocking stuffer!
Do My Back
I don’t have one yet, but I’m gonna! Do My Back allows you to apply lotion to your own back. It swivels, it folds, it has a soft foam pad (that can be replaced). There is nothing more annoying than being on the beach and struggling to apply suntan lotion to your back. Aaaaah!
Use it on the beach, after a shower, or just when your back needs some pampering. Who needs a man? www.domyback.com
Love it! Especially the powder fresh scent. It works, it lasts and I’ve been using it for years. And, unless anyone out there has noticed a funky odor emanating from me, I guess I’ll keep on using it.
I no longer have it and I don’t have a picture, but I absolutely needed and used my S-shaped mister during the long, hot summer days when I actually had sun in my backyard. Roberta Gale was giving them away on-air (we both worked for Nassau Broadcasting), and when I told her how much I wanted one, she gave the one she had left. I think Gary made me throw it away when we had to clear out our attic for the new roof installation. Bummer!
Better than Botox?® I don’t know, since I am staying away from Botox. But I’ve been using this for the last 6-8 weeks and I think it’s working. . . I’ll know for sure when I take my after pix (and post them, of course). But I’m going to give it a couple of months before I make my decision. Of course, I got my tube really, really cheap at Marshall’s. But if it does what it’s supposed to (reduce wrinkles), I’m going to Costco and stocking up!
Strivectin was originally developed to reduce/remove stretch marks and began being marketed as a wrinkle reducer after it was remarkably successful at reducing crow’s feet, wrinkles and fine lines. I’ll keep you posted on my results!
Have your own favorite products? I’ll have a link up (really soon) that will let you send me your comments directly.
Make sure you check out my “Cool Stuff” page for some. . . cool stuff! Just click on the link at the top of the page. See it up there? Now, click on it!