Michelina’s are more affordable than Weight Watchers

michelinas zap ems

I have lost a total of 70lbs over the last 6 months with Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners and Noom.  Money is tight and I can no longer afford the luxury of paying $2 for the WW meals, so instead I had to do some research and find some other cheaper alternative with the same calories, fat and sodium as the Weight Watchers.

My partner of 19 years told me that we should buy the Michelina’s because they were half the price, but I insisted on the Weight Watchers for several reasons.  The first reason is because the Weight Watchers has the name Weight Watchers.  It’s psychological.  If you see it is a product for losing weight, you put it in your mind that if you ate that or Lean Cuisine that you are doing good.  Another reason was because they weighed more than the Michelina’s, so naturally you want more food, even if it was only 1-2oz difference.  My final reason is that the Weight Watchers show up as green in the Noom app while the Michelina’s show up as yellow.  Although, the pizza snacks show up as red.

So since times are tough and we don’t have the luxury anymore, I decided to start buying the Michelina’s.  They are $1.49 at Albertson’s, but they are currently on sale for 10 for $10.  I could be paying .97 cents at Food Maxx, but what’s 3 cents?  I also have coupons for $1 off 5, so if I use 2 coupons then I am really getting 10 for $8.  Not bad.  Although, I printed the coupons and went to the store without them.  Ooops.

michelinas lean gourmet I wrote a post about how the Weight Watchers are better than the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet which I still stand by.  The reason I don’t like the Lean Gourmet is because the sodium is really high and the calories aren’t that much lower than the Zap ‘ems.  They have more flavors in the Lean Gourmet too like the meat and potatoes, which is what I miss from the Weight Watchers.  The Lean Gourmet meals are good, but I have a huge issue with the sodium content.  The Lean Gourmet also show up as yellow in the Noom app, so they aren’t any better than the Zap ‘ems in that regard.

Not all of the Zap ‘ems have vegetables in them so what I’ll do is I will buy some frozen vegetables and when I open the Zap ‘ems, I will pour 1 cup worth on the top and then microwave it for double the amount of time suggested to make sure the frozen vegetables will have time to cook.  My favorite is spinach.  I’ve added broccoli and brussel sprouts too.  I would like to also buy some carrots and put those in there.  It just makes it that much more healthier in my mind and it gives me more food.

I don’t have that much more weight to lose to get down to my goal weight of 170lbs.  Last night I weighed myself at 192.8lbs, but today it went back up to 195 for some odd reason.  Last week on my weigh in day I was 193.6 so I would love to be 191 or 192 tomorrow, but we will see how it goes.  I just hope the switch from Weight Watchers to Michelina’s hasn’t made much of a difference, but I will find out tomorrow.

I am trying to buy a bicycle so I can exercise to help me lose weight, but the only way I can is if people help me out by buying a keychain, my hemp choker or bracelet or some earrings on my Etsy store.  You can use the coupon code NODOMA for 25% off.  It would really help me.  The keychains are cheap at $2 and the earrings are also cheap (inexpensive, not cheap) at $5.  It’s only a couple bucks, and they literally take hours to make each and I’m not asking for much for them.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

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Lean Gourmet vs Smart Ones

lean gourmet smart ones

I have been eating Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners for lunch and dinner everyday since January 3rd or 4th 2013 and have lost a lot of weight.  The reason we started eating the Smart Ones is because we saw them at Food Maxx for only $1.88 and one of the packages had a coupon for $3 off 10, so we couldn’t resist considering they are around $5 at Albertson’s.

Diet food to me is a state of mind.  If you are eating food that you know isn’t good for you like say fried chicken, then you know you are eating crap and you end up making other bad choices because you don’t really care what you eat.  If you are buying a product that you know is a diet product, like Weight Watchers or Lean Cuisine, then you know you are eating healthy so you end up making better choices with other foods you eat.  I mean, that is just how I feel, you may not think the same way that I do.

It was that first batch of Weight Watchers Smart Ones that lead me to downloading Noom on my android phone which has helped me to lose more than 66lbs since January.  I have wanted to buy the Smart Ones, but I never could afford Albertson’s prices.  The decision to start using Noom also lead me to start eating fruits and vegetables, so it was literally a domino effect for me.  And like I said in the previous paragraph, it’s a state of mind.  I knew I was eating healthier, which lead me to eating more healthy foods and here we are.

So now it is mid June 2013 and I have to start making some choices.  The Smart Ones are going up in price.  Most of them went up to $1.98 and the rest have shot up even higher in price.  There are literally only 3 or 4 flavors that I actually like that are still $1.98, so my choices are now very limited.  When you only have 3 or 4 different choices, you become bored with your diet and end up branching out to eating well, crap.  So before I get to that point, I need to make a new plan of action.

We went to buy more Smart Ones the other day, but my partner found that right next to the Smart Ones were the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet for only .97 cents.  Holy crap!  That is cheap!  So, rather than buy 20 of the Smart Ones, we only bought 10 and 10 Lean Gourmet.

smart ones nutritional facts The Weight Watchers Smart Ones nutrition label shows you exactly how many calories you are eating.  I didn’t buy the same flavor in the Lean Gourmet that I also bought in the Smart Ones because I wanted all new flavors, so I couldn’t exactly compare the same meal.

This Smart Ones is the Lasagna Bake with Meat Sauce, which by the way is very good.  There are many things you want to look for when you read the nutritional facts when you are buying food.  The 3 most important things are calories, fat and sodium.  Although the sodium is pretty high in this particular meal, it does show up as green in the Noom app.  The fat content is fairly low and it doesn’t have any trans fats.  I didn’t take a picture of the ingredients, but the Smart Ones use wheat pasta.

lean gourmet nutritional facts

This particular Lean Gourmet is Creamy Rigatoni with Broccoli and Chicken.  I have had the Smart Ones version plenty of times over the months, and I have to say that this one from Lean Gourmet is way too salty.  I don’t know how much sodium is in the Smart Ones version, but this one is really high at 680.  It’s only 270 calories and the fat is pretty low, but the salt is (I’m assuming) what makes it yellow in Noom instead of Green.  I would assume that the regular Michelina’s meals are probably red.

The chicken in the Lean Gourmet has a different taste than the Smart Ones, they are also smaller than Smart Ones.  The Lean Gourmet chicken tastes like the chicken in Chicken Soup, very salty, the Smart Ones chicken tastes like actual chicken and isn’t too salty.

I have been eating the Lean Gourmet for lunch every day and the Smart Ones for dinner.  My partner doesn’t want to buy the Smart Ones anymore if these are a dollar cheaper, but I would personally rather have the Smart Ones because they just taste better.  The Lean Gourmet ones are an excellent price and around the same calories as the Smart Ones, but they are way too salty.  I would rather keep buying Smart Ones and pay that extra dollar even if it means I only have 3 or 4 choices.  But honestly, they only went up maybe .10 or .20 cents or more, so it’s not that much more expensive.  I have lots of choices, it just raises my grocery bill.

In my personal opinion, the Weight Watchers Smart Ones are the better deal because your sodium is lower and the taste is 10 times better and you are actually getting 1oz more food.  Quality wins over quantity.

Is coffee with creamer going to prevent weight loss?

coffee bean frame top

Coffee_cream

I have been drinking coffee since I was homeless at age 17.  I didn’t like it black back then, and I don’t like it black today.  I have always had it with cream and sugar.  Although, I quit using actual sugar when I started getting fat after I quit smoking.  I have been using a sweetener like Sweet N Low or Equal.  I have been hearing about how horrible those sweeteners are for you and how you should use Splenda (gives me horrible stomach cramps) or Truvia (gives me the worst gas along with explosive diarrhea), but I simply can’t use those.  Beside being more expensive, they have caused painful health problems for me.

I used to only use liquid creamers like International Delight or Coffee-Mate, which taste way better than the powder, but I find that I end up using more than I should and go through them much faster than I do with powder.  Even though Coffee-Mate powdered creamer tastes good, it’s not as good as the liquid because it’s bland and doesn’t have the awesome flavors like Dulce De Leche, Hazelnut or French Vanilla.  They do make the powdered ones with flavors, but I can’t afford them.  The plain is more in my price range.

Someone lectured me recently about how I’m never going to lose any weight until I quit drinking coffee with creamer, but if I have to drink it black then I’d rather not drink it at all, so I quit for the week as an experiment.  I was told that if I quit drinking coffee that I would start going through withdrawal symptoms, like headaches.  Well, that never happened.  I went almost a full week and I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms at all.  In fact, I was perfectly fine.  Although I did notice that I haven’t been going to the bathroom as much (number 2 of course lol) so that has worried me.  My weight loss didn’t increase by quitting coffee with creamer, so that theory of how I’m never going to lose weight if I don’t quit drinking coffee with creamer failed.

I wondered if there were any studies suggesting that coffee was bad for me, but I found quite the opposite.  Popular Science gives me 7 Reasons Why Coffee Is Good For You.  WebMD gives me The potential health benefits — and drawbacks –- of coffee.  Forbes tells me to Have another cup of coffee – it’s good for you!  And finally MayoClinic says What does the research say about coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?  Spoiler alert, it’s good.

Of course coffee does have caffeine which is addictive, but I think I have proven by my non-side effects that it isn’t, for me anyway.  In fact, I have quit drinking many times in my life, not because I wanted to but simply because I couldn’t afford it and I never went through withdrawal symptoms before.  I only drink coffee because I like the taste.  I don’t like that it gives me bad breath or that it coats my tongue, but that’s what brushing your teeth and tongue is for, right?

I have been on my diet, or as I prefer to call it my new healthy lifestyle, for 9 weeks, and I have been drinking coffee this whole time up until last week and I had lost 28.4lbs.  The amount of weight that I lost today on the beginning of my 10th week, which by the way was 3lbs, proves to me that I haven’t lost any more or any less than I have been losing in those 9 weeks.  My goal is 2lbs per week and in those 9 weeks I have lost 3 to 4lbs per week.  Nothing changed by cutting out coffee, so screw it, I’m drinking coffee again.

coffee bean frame bottom

I Need New Coils Already

ecigs_red_black

I got my new Clearomizers almost a week ago.  They arrived on a Tuesday and today is Sunday and the coil in the red clearomizer is already starting to go bad.  I can still vape it, I still blow out a lot of vapor, so it’s not that it stopped working, it’s just that I’m not getting as much flavor out of it anymore.  I still get some flavor, but not as much as when it was new.  It’s starting to taste burned.

I thought they were supposed to last a lot longer, like a month.  And the thing is, I barely even use it, so it shouldn’t be going bad so quickly.  I feel sorry for anyone who vapes full-time, like every 5 minutes or whatever.  I can’t imagine having to go through so many coils in one week.

The black clearomizer is still doing good.  I don’t vape it as much as the red one because the black one is Gingerbread which I don’t mind, but I don’t love, and the red one has Banana Nut Bread which is way better.

My red clearomizer only has 1ML left inside of it and the bottle is empty so I’m going to try to finish it before the new coils come on Tuesday.  I wouldn’t want to waste it.  I have 1ML left of the Pumpkin Pie flavor, but I don’t want to use that with a brand new coil, I’d rather start a new flavor.  I loved the Pumpkin Pie, but I don’t think it’s any good anymore anyway, so I’m just going to chuck it.  I have a box with 15 5ML bottles so I have plenty of flavors to choose from.

I have to say that I have been very careful whenever I had to unscrew the tip to add more e-liquid to the clearomizer.  My blue clearomizer got messed up because I tightened the tip too much and it made the rubber seal come out and I had to pull it all the way out which ruined the whole thing.  I’ve had these new ones for less than a week and haven’t ruined either of them… yet lol.  I think I’m doing pretty good.

So Tuesday I will get the new coils so I can start vaping a new flavor.  I don’t have any idea which one I will pick, but whatever it is, it’s going to be what I’m going to be vaping for the next week until the 5ML bottle is empty.  I usually tweet what I’m vaping every day and I have what I’m vaping in the Vaping page, not that anyone really cares lol.

Brand New Clearomizers

ecigs_red_black

WOW where to start?  Let’s see, I’m sure people don’t read every blog post so I will summarize everything lol.  A Twitter friend (@destinblue) told me that her and her husband have an online store (@ZeusEJuice) where they sell e-liquid for e-cigarettes.  I don’t smoke, but it got me thinking, and long story short I decided that it was for me lol.  I figured the sweet tastes would help me stop snacking.  I bought a kit with 2 batteries, 2 atomizers, the charger and cartridges.  It took like 6 weeks to get to me and I already had the e-liquid from Zeus e-Juice waiting to be used.

I faced several issues.  1 the atomizers weren’t giving me any flavor and 2 I bought 50/50 strength e-liquid, which I later found out doesn’t matter.  I bought a “Changeable Coil Clearomizer” from Smoktek and all was great with the world until I overtightened the tip and snapped the rubber seal and could then only taste burnt flavor.  I didn’t know that that was why I was tasting burnt flavors and I bought 5 new coils which still tasted burnt so I bought 5 more coils and wasted 2 of them for nothing.  The first 5 were the right type of coils, but the second 5 weren’t, they had a cone near the threads so I had to return those to get the right ones.

Fast forward to now…  LOL

When I got the new coils that were the right fit, they still tasted burned and I finally came to the realization that the problem wasn’t the coils, the problem was that rubber seal that snapped and was removed from the clearomizer, so I bought 2 new clearomizers in red and black (pictured above).  The only problem is, the coils in them are the same wrong ones that I returned, so now I have 8 wrong coils for these new clearomizers lol.

I had been without my e-cigarette for over a month because of this whole snapped rubber seal and didn’t even realize that it was the seal and not the coils.  I guess something in me just snapped and made my eyes open to the fact that the clearomizer is dead and I needed another one.  I am so happy with the new ones because not only do I now have 2, but they work and I can vape 2 different flavors whenever I want to instead of being stuck with 1 flavor.

Another thing that I love about them is that they screw on the battery all the way, the other one and the atomizers that came in the kit didn’t, and they wobbled.  These new ones have 2 holes at the bottom for air flow, so that’s why it can screw them on all the way.  Also, the black one has a round tip and not a flat tip which I found out is actually better because it makes pressing the button less awkward if the flat tip isn’t lined up with the placement of the button.

As far as the 8 wrong coils are concerned, SmokTek was very understanding.  It wasn’t their error in sending the wrong coils, they were sent the wrong coils and the new clearomizers that I got that had the wrong coils, well technically it was their fault, but they didn’t even notice that they weren’t the right ones when they shipped them to me.  It was such an odd coincidence that a screw up would happen to me twice, but I laughed it off.  As long as I get 8 new coils that fit these new clearomizers I’m happy.  Those things cost money you know, they are $2.50 each, so I had $20 worth of coils, $25 if you count the ones that I thought were burnt out and I threw in the garbage.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I basically threw $5 in the trash.

So the new clearomizers rock.  I’ve been vaping Banana Nut Bread in the red one and Gingerbread in the black one.  I’ll take a few hits off of one, then switch to the other.

As always, for some reason I feel that I have to state that I do not get paid to blog about SmokTek and/or Zeus e-Juice.  I have seen videos on YouTube where they state in their video that they are not getting paid and so I feel I should also state that just in case.

Candy Corn e-Liquid from Zeus E-Juice

When I say that I have a sweet tooth, I’m not joking.  I look forward to October every year for the Candy Corn.  It is one of my guilty pleasures in life.  Some people think that Candy Corn is awful because it’s sickeningly sweet.  Everyone has different taste buds so one person might hate it, while someone else might love it.  I am the one that loves it.

Vaping was one of the ways that was supposed to allow me to indulge my sweet tooth without actually having to buy candy or any other junk food, and still be able to maintain my diet and not gain any weight.  It has worked so far.  This Candy Corn flavored e-liquid from Zeus e-Juice taste almost exactly like Candy Corn, but without the guilt.  You get a lot of flavor in your throat when you vape it.  You actually get flavor on your tongue when your tongue touches the tip, and when your tongue is near the tip as you are taking a drag.  You get the best of both worlds with every hit, without any of the sugar, calories and fat that comes with it.

I would definitely recommend this flavor to anyone who loves Candy Corn.  Just for October 2012, Zeus E-Juice is offering this and 3 other flavors in the 10ML sized bottle for only $3.99 while supplies last.  Don’t forget, if you are a new user, enter the coupon code “iget20” and you get 20% off your first order.  Also, when you are checking out, make sure you let them know that Mike McDonald aka @xanapus sent you.

I personally like 80%PG and 20%VG, the PG gives you more flavor.  I would get 100%PG, but I’ve heard of throat burn from that, so I’d just rather not have to experience that every time I vape.

Disclaimer: I am not a paid spokesperson for Zeus E-Juice, although the owners of the company are Twitter friends of mine and they have given me some of their e-liquid samples to taste.  I review them and tweet about them because I want to, not because they are paying me to.

Disclaimer: I don’t encourage smoking and/or vaping with nicotine, I vape with no nicotine so I am not addicted to anything.  Do not start smoking and do not start vaping if you are under the age of 18 as it is against the law.

If you are a smoker already and want to quit or you want to stop smoking poison and start vaping a healthier substitute, might I suggest heading over to www.Smoktek.com and buying a eGo battery, charger (that is compatible with the battery) and a Changeable Coil Clearomizer in your choice of color with some extra replacement coils.  These flavors are so much better in a Clearomizer than an atomizer with a cartridge.  I suggest you use Zeus E-Juice for all your e-liquids because they are simply the best because they add more flavor than their competitors and it’s the least expensive you can buy anywhere else.

My Blue 1.6ml Changeable Coil Clearomizer Came

I am a very happy camper today because my blue 1.6ml Long Wick Changeable Coil Clearomizer came in the mail.  I was actually surprised at how fast it came, but thrilled that I can finally taste the e-liquids.

When I first bought my PV starter kit, all I had was 2 batteries, 2 atomizers and a few cartridges.  I had some 50/50 flavors from Zeus E-Juice which I could barely taste.  I was happy with the flavor that I was able to taste, and I tasted all of them, but just barely.  I wasn’t happy at all that I couldn’t taste them very well and at first I blamed it on the fact that I got 50/50 strength.  The PG is supposed to give you more flavor than the VG, so I just convinced myself that that was the problem, but now I’m starting to wonder if strength had anything to do with it.

I got the Clearomizer and immediately poured some of the 70/30 Banana Nut Bread flavor and let it soak into the wick for a few minutes before I vaped any of it.  When I did vape it, I tasted it immediately and every time I take a puff I taste it and I get vapor every time.  When I was using the atomizer, I was having to take many long slow drags to get any flavor, but with this clearomizer, I just took 1 short slow drag and I got immediate flavor.  Oh and the throat hit isn’t too strong with the 70/30.  I was told that 100% PG would be too strong and would actually burn which is why I ordered 70/30, but my next order is all 80/20’s.  I am very satisfied with the 70/30 and can’t wait for the 80/20.  I don’t want throat burn lol.

So here is my recommendation.  If you are going to buy an e-cigarette as a replacement to smoking, to quit smoking or to buy with no nicotine for flavor to help you quit snacking, go ahead and buy any eGo battery with the charger.  Don’t waste your time with the atomizer and cartridges, just buy an any color 1.6ml long wick changeable coil clearomizer.  You can buy the regular clearomizer for $5, or you could buy the changeable coil clearomizer for the same price.  You can buy the replacement coils for $2.49 each.  I prefer to change the coil for half the price.  And I read that these last a month, so if you buy 6 new coils, you have enough to last you for half a year.

Now I am going to enjoy my Banana Nut Bread flavor for the rest of the day.