Here are my latest Calorie Bargain findings.
ePulse2 Strapless Heart Rate Monitor
The Why: There have been many attempts to get the strapless heart rate monitor right, but most of the units on the market really are missing the beat. ePulse2 changes all that; it's the only one that displays a continuous heart rate.
I've been testing it for a few months now, and it's really good. You strap the monitor around your arm right below your elbow. The band is comfortable, and is easy to get on and off. The best part is that you can easily read the screen, and while you exercise you can monitor your heart rate.
The only drawback is that if you exercise outdoors in the winter, you can't use this device because it only works on bare skin, so you need to be wearing short sleeves. But I still like it, and as a bonus, it has a rechargeable battery.
The Health Bonus: The primary purpose of a heart rate monitor is to provide you with a better understanding of your exercise intensity. Knowing your heart rate and exercise intensity can determine when you reach your anaerobic threshold and your muscles start to get tired. From that point, with proper training, you can increase your threshold and sustain peak performance for longer periods.
What We Liked Best: Ease of use and the rechargeable battery
The Price: $133 (on Amazon.com)
Where to Buy: Amazon.com, and other retailers (see: www.impactsports.com/retailers.html)
EatingWell Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals by Jessie Price and The EatingWell Test Kitchen (Countryman Press, 2011)
The Why: If you read my column, you know I really like the recipes from EatingWell magazine and their fabulous website, eatingwell.com. They also have a wonderful series of books, and they just came out with another one that is all vegetarian. Many people are giving up meat for health and/or ethical reasons.
Whatever your reason, EatingWell's new book has some wonderful, creative recipes for you, including 50 that are ready in 30 minutes or less, 45 that are vegan and 75-plus gluten-free options.
The Health Bonus: Many researchers claim that reducing your meat intake "even a few times a week can have a host of health benefits, including improved blood pressure, decreased risk of heart disease, lowered cholesterol, and better weight control," says the EatingWell authors.
What We Liked Best: Great photos and instructions
The Price: $16.47 (on Amazon.com)
Where to Buy: Amazon.com, BN.com, or your local bookstore.