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Dear Hungry Girl,

I can tell that you LOVE ice cream! I see you often use Breyers Double Churn Free in recipes, but you also write about Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned Light a lot. Which one do you like more? Any other ice cream picks or advice for me?

Ice Cream Obsessed

Dear Ice Cream Obsessed,

I have A LOT of opinions about ice cream. For starters, Breyers Double Churn Free is great if you want super-creamy ice cream that's fat-free and pretty low in calories -- it's great for dessert recipes, especially blended shakes. But if you're looking for the BEST-TASTING light ice cream to enjoy scooped out of a "tub" or carton, definitely go for Dreyer's/Edy's Slow Churned. My favorite flavors are Take The Cake and Caramel Delight, but honestly, there are a BAZILLION different kinds and they are all INCREDIBLE, so the choice is yours. The only issue I have with those is that it's a little hard to stick with one serving. If you have the same problem when left alone with a multi-serving container, stick with pre-portioned, single-serving frozen treats. There are some "snack size" cartons of light ice cream out there, like the new ones from Dreyer's/Edy's, but just read labels on those carefully -- they often have more than the typical half-cup serving. The Skinny Cow makes a lot of great single-serving treats (Truffle Bars, Sandwiches, Fudge Bars, etc.), as does Weight Watchers (too many to mention, but the new-ish Candy Bar Ice Cream Bars are AMAZING). If you like to use LOTS of ice cream in smoothies, shakes, and other blended drinks, check out a product called Arctic Zero, which has a tiny fraction of the calories of any low-fat or fat-free ice cream (128 - 136 calories in the entire pint!). Arctic Zero is a bit harder to find than most ice cream, but you can buy it online. People are obsessed with it. It's not exactly "ice cream" (more like a really good frozen protein shake), so I find that it's best in recipes and for when you want to eat a LOT of frozen dessert. Other brands worth mentioning are Turkey Hill (I get TONS of emails about the guilt-free options, but I can't get 'em easily in Los Angeles) and Blue Bunny (lots of FANTASTIC scoopable and pre-portioned treats). Remember, these are just a few of my favorites -- there are SO many more out there. Just be sure to pay attention to labels -- not everything with "light" or "reduced-fat" in its name is low in calories and fat. Stay cool...


Dear HG,

You write about food all the time but rarely talk about exercise. Do you think it's important? And do you exercise?

Wondering About Workouts

Dear Wondering,

Yes, I absolutely think it is important to exercise, and I do it A LOT. But I'm going to be truthful: I used to hate to work out. A long time ago, I would avoid gyms and gym equipment at all costs. They intimidated me in a huge way. I would attempt intense workouts that were unreasonable or "scary," and then I'd quit and feel bad about myself. Then I changed. I started to do some simple weight training to build muscle, and I began doing low-impact cardio as well. I WISH I were the type of person who could easily run a few miles every day, but I'm not -- so I walk, usually on a treadmill, just fast enough to get my heart rate up a bit. And the thing that keeps me happiest while walking on a treadmill is watching TV. I have a TiVo in my treadmill room, and I watch my favorite shows while I walk. (These days, I like The Next Food Network Star and The Big Bang Theory!) TV helps distract me and makes exercising almost fun. Truly. I typically walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour, four to five times a week. The key is to figure out what works for YOU -- working out with a friend, listening to upbeat music while you exercise, watching movies while using cardio equipment... ANYTHING that can help make your workouts fun. Now I actually look forward to my workouts. Another thing I learned (thanks to my fancy schmancy Bodybugg!) is that doing simple household chores or even going to the mall can be a good workout. The other day I actually burned more than 200 calories trying on clothes at Nordstrom Rack. (Yes, I tried on A LOT.) Amazing! I also love to play a video game called Rock Band with my husband (I'm the drummer), and I burn about 20 - 35 calories per song while playing. The lesson here? You can find ways to exercise in the most unlikely places, and you can actually have LOADS of fun doing it. So start exploring and get moving!

Today, July 22nd, is National Penuche Day. Penuche is a vanilla-flavored, fudge-like candy. July 22nd is also the date in 1967 that the band Vanilla Fudge played its first-ever concert. Coincidence? We think not.
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