The Automatic Diet

By Charles Stuart Platkin

The Automatic DietThe Automatic Diet : Trying to lose weight? Here’s some food for thought. What if Americans were as conscientious about “spending” the calories on their bodies’ daily budgets as they are about spending their hard-earned dollars?

According to Charles Stuart Platkin, author of the new book “The Automatic Diet”, there is a set number of calories in the body’s budget for the day. So how do we make the most of our “finances,” calorie-wise?

The answer lies within the pages of “The Automatic Diet,” where readers discover that all successful dieters share a common secret to consistently maintaining their weight: They do not have to think about what they are doing. Their food choices are automatic; they already know what to eat to keep off the weight.

One of the key secrets is “calorie bargains”: foods that are low in calories but still taste great and satisfy our strongest urges. They are substitutes for the “higher-priced” foods we tend to eat.

Here are a few of Platkin’s picks:

* I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spray (5 sprays: 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 carbs).

This spray is a great way to accent food and is a tasty alternative to both butter and oil.

“You can spray it on toast, popcorn, vegetables. I use it on almost anything,” Platkin says. It is easy to control portions and even if you get up to 25 sprays (more than enough for a baked potato), it is still a clear calorie bargain and has no trans fats. Conversely, 2 tablespoons of butter have 204 calories and 23 grams of fat.

* Jolly Time Yellow Pop Corn (5 cups, popped: 100 calories, 1 gram of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber).

Popcorn that you pop yourself is a perfect high-fiber snack – you get loads of food, yet it is still low in calories.

* Miss Meringue Sugar Free Vanilla Meringue Cookies (13 cookies: 35 calories, 0 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber).

Have a sweet tooth? These are a good guilt-free alternative. They have no fat, trans fat, cholesterol or lactose.

* Low Fat Kettle Krisps Hickory Barbeque Chips (1 ounce: 110 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs).

With 40 fewer calories than regular chips, these are a great alternative for chip lovers. – NU

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Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

By C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian The Return to NarniaPrince Caspian: The Return to Narnia : If you recently watched the very popular Disney movie “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, you might be aware that C. S. Lewis wrote a total of seven books about Narnia. These are, in order of the internal chronology of events:

1 – The Magician’s Nephew
2 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
3- The Horse and His Boy
4 – Prince Caspian
5 – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6 – The Silver Chair
7 – The Last Battle

The novel “Prince Caspian” begins one year after the events told in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on a railroad platform where Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy are waiting for trains that will take them to their boarding schools. Suddenly they feel themselves transported into another world, and after a few hours of wandering about they realize that it is Narnia, where many centuries have passed in the meantime.

The second plot line involves young Prince Caspian, heir to the throne of Narnia, who has to flee from his usurping uncle Miraz. Deep in a forest he discovers some of the “Old Narnians” – talking beasts and dwarfs – and later decides to challenge his uncle for the kingship.

Soon, though, the military situation deteriorates for Caspian and his small army, and they end up besieged on Aslan’s How, a hill built over the site of the stone table that played a crucial role in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. When things look utterly bleak, Caspian uses his most precious object, Queen Susan’s Horn, to summon help.

This review does not try to give away too much more of the plot and spoil the reader’s enjoyment, so let me just say that the two plot lines intertwine, there are thrilling battle scenes (including a duel) and a wonderful celebration at the end.

Lewis does a good job of showing the gradual re-transformation of the four children, who once again turn from being English schoolchildren to becoming Kings and Queens of Narnia.

To me, “Prince Caspian” is one of the three best books in the Narnia series, together with “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “The Magician’s Nephew”. In many ways, it repeats themes from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, but adds an interesting perspective by having the events of the earlier book become the stuff of legend.

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