How Well Are You Doing With Your Online Shopping? Have You Had Any Bad Experiences?

We are approaching once again with ever growing era of cyber world and the year 2007 is certainly another year facing well developed and sophisticated online business into ever popular and favored by millions globally and Australia is no exception. In fact, Australia is one of the fastest growing internet use nations in the world and with online shopping.

Going by the well known statistics, the top reason online consumers to shop on the web is to avoid crowds, lower prices, ease of comparing products and prices with wider selection of products and to avoid the inconvenience of traveling stores. As such, we have become accustomed to purchase online over the years with benefits of able to find better product information with wider choices, competitive prices and easy gift delivery to allow us have more time to spend on other activities we desire. There is also proven reports that suggest consumers have become more familiar and trusting with their online buying options and are still growing and continued comfort with buying online, reliance on shipping and arrival of those products on time. Although, we cannot discount for those of you who’s had really bad experiences with certain merchants and online shops because there are still bad worms out there trying to sabotage the consumers good trusts and trying to deceive us with frauds.

We all want the basics, trouble free easy transactions with safety and comfort when we do the shopping and to put our minds at ease especially with online shopping. Although, we have sound knowledge of online shopping, there are still encumbering facts that drive us away from online shopping apart from frauds. Some factors like, added costs for shipping and handling, lengthy processing and delivery times, sites that request too much information and the risk of entering a credit card details etc.. Out of all these factors, the most annoying factor to abandon the purchase by the consumer survey was in fact, the high shipping and handling costs and lengthy delivery times. I am pretty sure that many of us have experienced this and agree to it and know how frustrating this can be. All of the above factors continue to be the biggest hinder in the side of consumers doing online shopping but these encumbering factors should be eliminated as we are approaching to the new era.

To keep online shopping safe with peace of mind and comfort with added security, one should always have at least the following basic knowledge of handy tips.
Always check to see if contact details are clearly displayed including a physical address of the merchant or trader which can be verified by checking in the phone book or by contacting the trader directly.

It is best to shop with reputable traders. You should check their delivery and returns policy, their terms and conditions, refund policy, as well as security and privacy statements.

Check their promptness and if they are easily approachable. You can do this by calling them on the phone or send them an inquiry email.

Always check if you are dealing with an overseas trader because they may have different system of delivery and handling, refund policy, and other hidden ( E.g. customs duties/taxes )charges, unless this is your intention and confident with.

When purchasing or giving information online always check if there is secure browsers “http” in the web page address or URL of the purchase page and when you are entering your payment details, ensure that there is a padlock or unbroken key at the bottom of the screen, which confirms you are entering your details, such as your credit card number in a secure environment.

Having said all this, the benchmark for the online shopping safely with comfort is to physically try out and see for your self. When you have found the ideal merchandises from a particular trader, why not try to buy first from just a small value and see their promptness and service. If satisfied, gradually build a good rapport with the trader. This way you don’t loose much but you will always be at ease with peace of mind that you are dealing with a trustworthy trader and as for the traders, they know they are dealing with genuine buyer as well as gaining the mutual trust. After all, they are all humans too!

In conclusion, consumers should be free from annoyance, frustration and deceits when doing online shopping especially when we are in the ever growing cyber world. After all, online shopping is ultimately designed for the consumers to have the comfort, ease of comparing products, highly competitive prices and with the most important factor of having peach of mind. All merchants and traders should always have this on their mind and be dedicated to serve this purpose.

For further information, please click on or visit http://www.kooz.com.au to browse through exemplified online shopping of costume and fine jewelries.

Lose Weight Now With Your Complete Low GI Shopping List

CUPBOARD CLEANING

I would like you to clean out your food cupboards prior to going shopping armed with your new eat only list. If you are in a family situation and they are not involved with your new program, allocate a separate cupboard for yourself and stock only the allowable foods.

A SHOPPING YOU WILL GO

You do not have to buy everything on the list immediately, grab the essentials like skim milk, all bran or oats, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, bread and salads.

From the recipes and your own imagination work out what meals you are going to prepare for the first few days and buy accordingly. Have fun and experiment. If you are interested in a food that you are unfamiliar with or you want try something that is not on the list make sure that it is:

A / Low fat (especially saturated fat)
B / Low calorie
C / High fibre

Re. calorie content per serving: make sure the serving size is a reasonable one.

I have spent many hours researching the foods on your list and they are there only because they have met strict criteria, so please do not try to re-invent the wheel as they say. The criteria for including a food is not just that it has a low GI, it must be within certain limits in regard to fat (both saturated & unsaturated) fibre content, calories and nutritional value.

ALLOWABLE FOODS LIST

All Bran
Apple & Bran Muffins
Apples
Almonds (limited)
All Spices (used sparingly)
Apple Sauce (unsweetened)
Asparagus
Aubergine
Alfalfa
Bread (100% stoneground or a quality whole grain)
Basmati Rice
Beans (fresh & most canned beans, low fat, drained & rinsed)
Baking Powder & Soda
Blueberries & Blackberries (not canned in syrup)
Black Pepper Corns
Bottled Water
Buttermilk
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat
Bacon (lean back rashers)
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Cherries
Cherry Tomatoes
Cheese (fat free)
Chicken Breast (skinless)
Cottage Cheese (fat free)
Chilies
Courgettes
Cucumber
Cocoa
Coffee (de-caffeinated)
Cold pressed olive oil (extra virgin)
Carob
Canola spread (light) and use sparingly
Extra Extra Lean Mince
Fettuccine Pasta
Flavoured Vinegars
Frozen Yoghurt (fat & sugar free)
Fromage Frais
Filtered Water
Grapefruit
Grapes (white)
Green Tea
Ham (lean deli)
Hazelnuts
Ice-Cream (fat & sugar free)
Larissa Paste
Lean Beef & Ham
Leeks
Limes
Lemons
Lettuce
Mandarins
Margarine (non-hydrogenated) Light
Mayonnaise (fat free)
Mushrooms
New Potatoes only (boiled)
Non-Fat yoghurt (preferably sugar-free)
Oat Bran
Olives
Olive Oil (extra virgin, preferably cold pressed used sparingly)
Old Style Oats
Onions
Omega 3 Eggs (no more than 5 whole eggs per week)
Oranges
Parmesan Cheese (very sparingly)
Pasta (fettuccine, spag, penne, maca, vermicelli, linguine) – limited & wholemeal
Peaches
Peas
Pearl Barley
Peppers
Plums
Porridge (old style oats)
Protein Powder (soy or whey)
Potatoes (new, boiled)
Pickles
Raspberries
Rapeseed Oil
Raisins (only a few for cooking e.g muffins)
Raw Vegetables
Red Onions
Rice (Brown, Long grain, Wild)
Salad Dressings (fat-free) or vinegar & olive oil
Seafood (no additives or batters) – See List for Stage 1
Sea Salt
Skimmed Milk
Sliced Almonds
Soy Beans
Soy Milk (low-fat)
Soy Protein Powder
Soda Water
Soft Drinks (diet only) moderation
Soups (chunky bean, vegetable and pasta)
Spices & Herbs
Spinach
Sugar Snap Peas
Sweet Potato
Teas (all teas)
Tomatoes
Tofu
Turkey Breast (skinless)
Vegetables (all vegetables except pumpkin, Swedes, large potatoes and parsnips)
Veal (lean cuts)
Vegetarian Chili
Vegetable Sprays
Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs
Wheat Tortilla wrap
Whole Meal Flour
Wheat Bran
Zucchini

SEAFOOD SHOPPING LIST

I have decided to add this seafood shopping list for you. It is an added bonus if you are a seafood fan as the general health and nutritional benefits of seafood are well documented. Please remember, NO coatings or deep frying.

As carbohydrates and fibre are minimal and of little consequence with seafood, the following list has been carefully compiled and are the lowest in fat and calorie content. These are the most suitable for the early stages, later on I will introduce other products for you, such as good oily mackerel, but 100g of smoked mackerel for example contains 31g Fat and1465 Kj, as against 100g of Cod which contains 1g of fat and only 420Kg.

Anchovies (in brine)
Blue Grenadier
Cod (baked or grilled)
Caviar (black in brine)
Crab (fresh or canned)
Flounder (baked or grilled)
Leatherjacket (steamed or poached)
Ling (steamed or poached)
Lobster
Mussels (steamed or boiled)
Ocean Perch (baked or grilled)
Oysters (raw)
Octopus (steamed)
Prawns (school prawns only)
Pike (grilled)
Scallops (steamed or boiled)
Scampi (steamed, boiled or grilled)
Snapper (grilled or baked)
Trout (rainbow, grilled or baked)
Tuna (canned in brine)
Whiting (baked or grilled)

EXAMPLE RECIPES USING ONLY THE FOODS FROM YOUR LIST

BREAKFAST

PORRIDGE (1 SERVING)

50g (1 ¾ oz) rolled oats (the real big flaked oats)

Follow directions on packet. Use only water & skimmed milk. To make it a bit more interesting try mixing in fat free yoghurt, 1 tbsp sliced almonds, fresh fruit pieces, or your allowable berries.

This is the breakfast you really should be aiming for as often as possible, it will follow you around all morning. A grapefruit or whole orange instead of juice, as this provides more fibre and less calories, finished off with your favourite cup of tea with skimmed milk and sugar substitute if required, (a great anti-oxidant).

MUESLI

Soak your oats in skimmed milk overnight, then mix in the fruit, berries, sliced almonds and sweetener (preferably aspartame).

  • 50g (13/4 oz) rolled oats
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) skimmed milk
  • 125g (4 oz) diced pear, apples or berries
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds
  • 180g (6 oz) fat free yoghurt

These two make a wonderfully nourishing breakfast and get you off to great start.

OMELETTE (1 SERVE)

The following is your basic omelette recipe. Omega 3 eggs are a wonderful food to use, if you can’t find them use 1 whole egg with two egg whites. This is a very versatile breakfast as any of your foods on the list can be added. You can come up with a Mexicana, an Italiano or a Vegetarian. Use the same mixture for your scrambled eggs (mix in the pan instead).

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 m (2 fl oz) skimmed milk

LUNCH

Always include some protein with your salads and vegetables like chicken or turkey breast (skinless), lean ham, fish, (no coatings), low fat cottage cheese or beans. Stay strictly with your wholegrain / wholemeal breads, canola light spreads, and low fat / light salad dressings. If unavailable use olive oil and red wine vinegar. Chunky vegetable soups together with a salad makes an ideal lunch. Tuna (canned in brine) and salad sandwich, wholegrain bread with canola light. Include a piece of fresh fruit or tub of non-fat yoghurt with a glass of skimmed milk or water.

CRAB AND SALAD TORTILLA WRAP

  • Wheat or wholemeal tortilla wrap spread with canola light.
  • 50g (2 oz) fresh or canned crab meat
  • Favourite salad mix.
  • Serve with canned mixed beans or red kidney beans (drained & rinsed) you can add a bit of get up and go with chili powder, garlic, olive oil and lemon.

SASSY TOMATO AND LENTIL SOUP

210g (7oz) can of diced tomatoes / 240g (8oz) red lentils / 1 lge red onion / 1 chopped clove of garlic / 1 tbsp olive oil / 1 stick celery / chili to taste / ground cumin / paprika / salt & pepper / garnished with chopped coriander. Soak lentils in bowl of water while you are sautéeing the celery, garlic and onion in the olive oil. Add drained lentils to the vegetable pan with the chopped tomatoes mix and add the remaining spices. Cover and simmer until lentils are soft (approx 30 min).

CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD

  • 120g (4 oz) skinless chicken breast (grilled)
  • Plenty lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • No more than 15g (½ oz) Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp low-fat Caesar salad dressing
  • Top off with a container of healthy soup (your tomato & lentil soup)

DINNER

Unless stated otherwise recipes are for one person. The preferred choice of meats are skinless chicken and turkey breast with a small amount of lean steak. You will notice quite a lot of fish and seafood dishes. Please remember your ratios:

  • Vegetables 50%
  • Potatoes / Pasta / Rice 25%
  • Poultry / Meat / Fish 25%

BARBEQUED STEAK

  • 120g / 4oz lean steak, totally trimmed of fat
  • 3 small boiled new potatoes
  • Onions / field mushrooms / asparagus / Brussels sprouts / green beans and broccoli

While your new potatoes are boiling, steam, boil or microwave the Brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli and fresh asparagus. In a non-stick pan sauté the onions and mushrooms in a small amount of water. These three jobs could be handled by your willing assistant whilst you are barbequing the steaks. A good tip is to finish off your steaks on the grilling section allowing any fat to drain prior to serving.

OR while the barbie is warming up have a pan of chipped sweet potatoes dry roasting in the oven, throw on your sirloin and serve with your favourite salad and or vegetables. As I said earlier please stay with beef as pork and lamb tend to have a higher fat content, and even then keep it down and only buy the extra, extra lean mince. Also remember not to make the fatal mistake of allowing the pasta or rice to dominate the dish thereby ruining your ratios.

GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST WITH PEARL BARLEY BASE (SERVES 2)

  • 2 Skinless chicken breasts
  • 60g (2 oz) pearl barley cooked
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Chili to taste (powder or chopped whole chili)
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 red pepper
  • Juice of one lime with the rind grated

Have the barley cooking as per instructions on packet. Brush chicken lightly with olive oil, then grill until golden brown. Stir oil / chopped red onion / chilli / coriander / red pepper and lime juice with grated rind into the barley. Serve barley with sliced chicken breast and garnish with chopped parsley.

MINESTRONE WITH MEATBALLS (SERVES 4)

  • 400g lean lean lean beef mince
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • 1 green capsicum chopped and fresh basil
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • Two 400g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large red onion chopped and 2 cloves of garlic crushed.

Combine half the onions and half the garlic with the mince and make into small meat balls. In a lightly oiled non-stick pan cook until nice and brown, remove from pan. Cook remaining garlic, onion, carrot, capsicum and celery in pan until tender then add tomatoes and bring to the boil. Return meatballs to pan, reduce heat, simmer uncovered until cooked then stir in chopped basil.

POACHED COD IN PARSLEY SAUCE

  • 100g (4oz) cod steak
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 50g (2oz) buckwheat
  • Broccoli / carrots / cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 1 tbsp light canola spread

Melt the canola and add white wine in non-stick pan. Poach cod steak in pan with chopped parsley. Serve with buckwheat and vegetables.

STEAMED COD WITH TOMATOES AND LENTILS

  • 100g (4 oz) cod steak
  • 100g (4 oz) green lentils (canned / drained)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 50g (2 oz) mushrooms
  • 50g (2 oz) leek (sliced into strips)
  • 25g (1 oz) celery (chopped finely)
  • ½ clove garlic (chopped finely)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp thyme

Any firm white flesh fish off your list may be used for this recipe. Start steaming the cod steak (approx 15 min) Heat olive oil in a frypan and cook onion until soft, adding the garlic, celery and leek, cooking for a couple of minutes. Add sliced mushrooms, a bit of water as necessary and cook for a further 3 minutes. Finally add lentils, thyme, parsley and tomatoes and cook for a further 3 minutes. Pour mixture onto plate placing cod on top and season to taste.

Shopping in a Tuscan Market

Market day is the high point of the week in a Tuscan town. Each town has its regular market day, a very small town maybe hosting just a few stalls of fruit and vegetables, bigger ones filling several streets with all the goods under the sun. One of the joys of being on holiday in Italy is having the leisure time to explore its tastes and flavours, by wandering the small food shops and observing what the locals buy. Food is taken seriously and the buying of it is a social activity, market day more so than ever, with people flocking from the countryside around to buy and sell.

Whenever there is a market of any size in a Tuscan town, you will find a stall selling porchetta. This is a favourite market snack and treat – a whole young pig, spit-roasted and stuffed with an aromatic mixture of herbs and salt. The meat is tender and the stuffing tangy with the herby salt. You can buy a packet of slices by weight (100g is called an etto) or purchase a panino, a crusty roll, filled with slices of porchetta to munch on there and then. Ask for some of the stuffing to be added if you like strong flavours.

Wander around browsing the other stalls as you munch on your porchetta panino. You will find vans selling cheeses, some will just have two varieties of pecorino cheese, the sheep’s milk cheese that is a Tuscan speciality, others a huge selection of cheeses from all over Italy. Every area produces cheese with different characteristics, depending on the pasture that the sheep graze on. Pienza in Southern Tuscany is famed for its creamy pecorino, the fresh ones mild and the stagionato (aged) ones smooth and gentle on the tongue. Pecorino from around Rome has a stronger flavour, and is the cheese used there instead of parmesan to grate on pasta and in cooking.

Taste the cheese before you buy. If you ask about a certain cheese you’ll be offered a sliver, to help you decide, then you can decide how much you’d like to buy. A whole round of a stagionato cheese to keep or just a quarter for your picnic today.

The fruit and vegetable stalls will be loaded with fresh produce, whatever is in season. In spring and autumn juicy bulbs of fennel, finocchio, make a wonderful salad to accompany your pecorino cheese, sliced thinly and tossed with some salad leaves, or layered with dramatic red blood oranges, arancie sanguinie, in spring when there are still some left over from Sicily’s winter harvest. Once you have chosen your fruit, strawberries, apricots and peaches in early summer, luscious grapes, figs and pears in early autumn, you are all set for a picnic lunch in an olive grove. You just need to search out the Forno, the bakery, follow your nose into a side street, it will be baking up a storm for the market, with crusty loaves of bread, trays of focaccia, pizza bread, local speciality cookies.

You could of course continue to wander the market, examining stalls of everything from white embroidered linen, ironmongery selling barbeque grids and tongs, to cheap shoes and clothes, wooden household implements and plastic wares. The bars will be bustling with coffee drinkers. Then with a swish of a broom by 12.30 the market stalls will be packed up and gone, over till next week, leaving the Tuscan town to the serious matter of lunch followed by a siesta.