Summer, Sun, and Sparkling Water

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When I was invited to participate in Gerolsteiner’s #SparklingDetox, I could not turn the offer down! I always love a challenge, and what’s not to love about sparkling water? For five days, from September 12 to September 16, 2016, I will swap out all my usual beverages for Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. It’s a super simple way to take a break from highly processed beverages and excessive caffeine to see how my body responds. In addition to changing my beverage of choice, I’ll have the support of  the Sparkling Detox Facebook Group. I know I am going to need all the support I can get with limited caffeine in my system!

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I am excited to participate in #SparklingDetox because I get a lot of my nutrients from supplements (calcium chews, magnesium pills, etc.) and I am excited to get the same nutrients from an all natural mineral water source. I encourage everyone I know to take calcium supplements or make sure to get enough calcium from their diet–I even got my roommate hooked on calcium chews! Ensuring adequate calcium intake from a young age through adulthood is essential for so many reasons, but especially when it comes to bone health. I was lucky enough to have a DEXA scan (fully body composition scan) that analyzed my bone-mineral content and it showed I have strong bones, which I attribute to getting plenty of calcium in! I understand hesitancy when it comes to taking processed supplements, but with another great option of mineral water to get this key nutrient…it’s hard to have a good excuse!

I have a hunch that Gerolsteiner sparkling water might be a better source of calcium than pop-tarts 😉

Although this is #SparklingDetox, I do not support detoxes that claim to be quick fixes or require strict diets in any way, but I am a huge fan of adjusting aspects of your lifestyle to see how your body responds. Health is a process and oftentimes changing it up and exposing our bodies to something new can be beneficial. I am so excited to see how drinking Gerolsteiner benefits my body. If you want to join me on this journey you can win a free supply of Gerolsteiner for your own detox here: sparklingdetox.votigo.com …

Look out for an upcoming post with more information on this detox.

Life Abroad: London Eats (Part 2)

London was pretty amazing…the sights, the food, the culture…all of it. One of my favorite cultural differences was the endless number of fresh food markets. Beyond the famous markets, like Borough or Camden Market, there is a fruit stand on nearly every corner in many areas throughout the city. I loved grabbing a pint of strawberries or fresh cherry tomatoes to munch on as I explored.
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I was lucky enough to meet a very kind chef who hooked me up with a delicious kabocha squash since I couldn’t find them anywhere! And yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

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Of course I had to try some of the amazing health foods…these Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars were delicious!

 

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My favorite meal by far was from Goodlife Eatery with some amazing ladies of Quest Europe!

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How to #FeelAmazingEveryday

So I am big on self-care, and funnily enough it is not as simple as it sounds. It takes time and effort to determine what makes you feel your best and no two people are the same. On top of that, I personally think that what you need for self-care constantly changes. Some days we simply need to relax and take a break from the chatter of the world, but sometimes we need the company of a positive friend. I have found a few things that I aim to squeeze in everyday, (even when I am studying abroad!) simply because they make me feel like my best self. I aim to do Blogilates five times a week (about 30 minutes each day), write in my gratitude journal every night, and get to bed at a reasonable time so I feel well-rested for the next day’s adventures.

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Although this is different from many of my peers (who must be Energizer bunnies!), it is what my mind and body need and I have come to fully accept that. In addition to these self-care practices, I have tried to eat well during my time abroad and that means eating a healthy breakfast every day! The Amazing Grass Superfood Protein line is perfect for this–what better for a quick breakfast option that a nutrient dense smoothie?

Amazing Grass Protein SuperFood contains a unique blend of organic pea, hemp, chia and quinoa, and provides a whopping 20g of complete plant-based protein. It’s a great grain-free, paleo friendly option made from whole-foods ingredients. I love that it is plant-based since I am working to move away from animal proteins, which have a much larger negative environmental impact.

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If you want to try out the new protein powder, be sure to check out the giveaway going on on my instagram account or buy here.

Get 50% your online purchase with code:”40SWEATPINK2″ for 40%  off your online purchase!

Here are some photos of all the people in my family currently loving the Superfood Protein…

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Baking Mixes GALORE (and more)

Silver Fern Brand contacted me and asked if I wanted to try out a new line of baking mixes…and in what world could I possibly turn that down?

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This brand is not the typical Pillsbury or Duncan Hines. I got blueberry muffin, german chocolate brownie, and chocolate chip cookie baking mixes–all sweetened with a proprietary, low glycemic natural sweetener called Kakato, a blend of monk fruit extract, Stevia sweetener and prebiotic fiber. I also got bags of caramel corn, kettle corn, sweet jalapeño cheddar, and movie theatre style popcorn. Most of their baked goods are made with algal flour (instead of wheat flour), which makes them allergen-free, GMO-free, gluten free, and trans-fat free. This also makes them high in fiber and protein, and low in net carbs. So for everyone who reads that list and automatically thinks they must be taste-free too, WRONG 😉

We had family in town this past weekend so I decided to make the blueberry muffins for breakfast. The longest part of the prep was waiting for the oven to heat up, and the muffins came out looking beautifully golden-brown.

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My cousin tried one (he is not one to hide his opinion) and he loved it! He is pre-diabetic and this was the perfect breakfast option that everyone could enjoy.

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My dad is addicted to Skinny Pop and my mom loves her Cracker Jacks (only on rare occasions…) so the caramel corn and movie theatre popcorn were big winners in our house! I was a big fan of the unique sweet jalapeño cheddar flavor–just a little bit of spice!

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I’m a big fan of healthy alternative-type products and this brand is certainly one to look out for! The popcorn also makes a great #strangebutgood topping to smoothie bowls or just about anything really! (Props to Sprint 2 the Table for the popcorn topping idea!)

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but it still reflects my honest, unbiased opinions on the products. 

Arctic Zero (Reviews+Giveaway!)

So I was lucky enough to receive a package of the new Arctic Zero flavors from the amazing Angelica and her team. Of course, I had to sample them all so my dad and I sat down and tried some of every pint! We have analyzed the data and what follows is our official report.

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In full disclosure, my dad is a die-hard chocolate fan and I need a strong flavor to be pleased so we are a bit biased. So here are all the pints, lined up and ready for judgment tasting.

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  1.  Snickerdoodle Dandy:

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We liked this flavor! My dad is not a huge cinnamon fan, but he still enjoyed it! I LOVED it–the chunks were amazing and tasted like little bites of snickerdoodle dough heaven.

2. Banana Pudding: I don’t have a great photo for this one, but keep an eye out for future instagram shots of it! We liked this flavor alright, but neither of us are huge on banana so that could explain it. It was creamy and reminded me a little of banana laffy taffy in color!

3. Poppin’ Pomegranate: We liked this one overall, but was not a fan-favorite! The pomegranate flavor was nice and refreshing, but it wasn’t one to write home about!

 

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5. Brownie Blast: My dad just wanted more and more of this flavor! The was super rich and decadent and the added brownie chunks AND chocolate chips were certainly a hit with both of us. I am currently dreaming of plopping a nice scoop on top of a hot dessert (I’m thinking mugcake..or even pancakes!) and letting the chocolate chips get all melty.

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Sorry for the blurry quality, we can’t be tamed around chocolate…

6. Cake Batter: I LOVE this flavor. Old Arctic Zero flavors sometimes fell a bit short, but this one is alllll there. Even my dad was surprised by how much it tasted like cake batter! This one is definitely my second favorite (following a tie between brownie blast and snickerdoodle dandy).

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For your chance to win your very own pint, simply pop over to my instagram and enter by 05/22/16. (Open to US only). For an additional entry, comment below with which flavor you most want to try! FIVE winners will get a coupon for a free pint of any flavor!

Yummy Candy (+Giveaway!)

I’m always on the hunt for new products–I love finding unusual products and healthy alternatives to the typically preservative-packed, sugar-filled treats! I love baking and making goodies myself, but there are some amazing products out there that taste amazing, are nutrient-packed, and make it possible to get the best of both worlds!

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One of my favorite product lines right now is Yummy Health. I’ve never tried their chips, but their bars are the perfect way to get my chocolate fix and some omega-3s in. See my previous post to learn more about healthy fats and why we need them! These bars are not sugar free, but that means that they don’t include artificial sweeteners. I would feel comfortable giving these bars to my nephew–and I know he would love them! Plus the little boost of fiber is great, especially considering that the majority of Americans barely get enough on a day-to-day basis.

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The bars come in Brownie, Chocolate, Cookie Dough, Coconut, Peppermint, and Peanut Butter flavors. My personal favorite might be the peppermint–if you close your eyes, then it is EXACTLY the same as a peppermint patty. The bars are coated in dark chocolate, which is so hard to find. I really dislike milk chocolate and that automatically rules out nearly every candy bar…but finally I have these guys!

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Money shot

If you’re dying to try them (and how could you not be?!), I’m hosting a giveaway to sample all the flavors! The giveaway ends 04/29/16 and is open to the US only (sorry friends abroad!). Enter the giveaway here: ENTER HERE 🙂

Want access to more amazing giveaways? Go check out Running with SD Mom’s Link-up: http://www.runningwithsdmom.com/2016/04/wednesday-giveaway-roundup_26.html#.VyC72iMrJO1

And the winner is…@j_mosh! Congrats! Thank you to everyone who entered and keep on the lookout for more giveaways to come!

True to your core, even when it gets crazy (+Giveaway!)

So life has gotten a little beyond crazy recently–I firmly believe this time of year is inevitably the busiest time! I am so grateful for the amazing people I have in my life who always support me at times like this. Funnily enough, one of those people just reminded me of the value of friendship. Having close friends keeps us healthy in both mind and body. It can be hard to make time for chatting with friends or going out to dinner, but when you’re stressed that’s often the best solution!

I have been able to keep to my work out plan because that’s what makes my body feel in tip top shape. Plus making the time to spend with friends has really brightened my mood and decreased my stress despite the spring chaos. These activities are part of who I am and make me feel good. They are pretty typical and have lots of research to back them up, but everyone is different. Maybe for you it’s spending some time outside everyday or meditation, but these things are at the core of who we are and keep us grounded in chaos. I truly think discovering what makes you feel good and making the time for it is a huge secret to living well.

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I recently got the chance to try some CORE hydration water and I must say it is some pretty delicious water. I gave out some bottles to the lovely people at my college’s post office and friends and everyone was surprised! I’m typically not a water snob (we all know those people who always think the water tastes funny), but even the snobbiest of people would love this stuff. I’m usually not a fan of plastic bottles either, but these bottles are 100% recyclable and pack a great punch of electrolytes and minerals–making it way better than tap water! So now…here’s your chance to win some with a giveaway for a CORE hydration product!

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Giveaway ends 04/11/16.

Enter the giveaway here!

What brings you joy at the core of your being? Are you a water snob?

Find CORE Organic at a store near you here, including 7-11 (link:http://bit.ly/findorganic).

Hemp Protein and Ethical Eating

I got the chance to try the new Manitoba Harvest Protein Smoothie line and got a bag of each flavor to try. I love their Hemp Hearts product, which is a great way to get your omega-3s. I have never been a huge hemp protein fan, but with nutritional stats like 15g of plant-based protein and the inclusion of organic spinach, kale and broccoli greens into the mix, it definitely is appealing!

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Flavors: Chocolate, Mixed Berry, Vanilla Chai

Ingredients of Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie: HempPro 70 (hemp protein concentrate, natural plant extracts), organic coconut sugar, organic fair trade cocoa powder, organic harvest greens blend (organic spinach, organic kale, organic broccoli)

Does it get any better than that?

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I made a smoothie bowl using half a frozen banana, 30g of Chocolate Protein Smoothie Powder, 5-6 ice cubes, water, and about 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum until it blended smoothly. I topped it off with Kim’s Magic Pop chocolate drizzle bites, coconut chocolate granola, and Kashi GoLean cereal.

Manitoba Harvest is committed to the environment and social justice. From the ingredients, it’s easy to read that their cocoa powder is fair trade and their coconut sugar is organic, but these small details mean a lot. It means that the company is working to create an honest product that is both high in nutrition, while promoting sustainability and equality. Buying products like this shows the power of the consumer–we can choose brands that value our earth and everyone on it. That, to me, is the core tenet of ethical eating. BONUS: It’s tasty.

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If you want to win your own Hemp Protein Smoothie enter in the contest and post pictures on instagram, facebook, or twitter using the #hempproteinsmoothie and tagging Manitoba Harvest. Participants will be entered to win a case of their favorite flavor of Hemp Protein Smoothie.

Or if you want it and you want it now, order with promo code “hempsmoothielaunch16” for 15% off your  order.

Although I was compensated for this post, the opinions are my own and reflect my honest beliefs.

Sweet It Fudgy Chocolate Cookies (Grain-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan)

I have finally gotten to experiment and come up with my own Vitafiber recipes! If you don’t have this Sweet It Vitafiber syrup, it is a must if you love playing in the kitchen and healthy baking. I have relied on other recipes until now, but decided to give my own a shot and I am so glad I did! Here’s the super easy, two ingredient recipe:

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-2 tbsp Sweet It Vitafiber syrup

-3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Pour Vitafiber into a small bowl
  3. Add cocoa powder 1 tbsp at a time until a firm dough forms that you can mold in your hands
  4. Taste-test–if it is not sweet enough, then add a dash of stevia or your dry sweetener of choice.
  5. Place 2 teaspoon size balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet
  6. Bake for about 8 minutes or until firm
  7. Enjoy!

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Have you tried baking with Vitafiber? What would be your ideal cookie flavor?

Variety as Challenge: BeFit Fitness (+GIVEAWAY! Ends 03/01)

If you are someone who loves routine, change is hard. Unfortunately, change is also a huge component of growth! I love challenging myself through working out, but I typically stick to the same workouts (Blogilates), weight-lifting moves, and yoga poses. I do increase reps and use heavier weights, but I do not often challenge my body to try new moves and styles of workout.

This month, I have been using online workouts from BeFit. I love home workouts. As a college student, like anyone who is busy, I love that I can pause whatever I am working on and do these workouts in my dorm. All you need is a set of weights and a yoga mat–all of which can be ordered from Amazon for less than $30 (way cheaper than any gym membership!). The BeFit calendar tells me exactly what workouts to do when, which is a blessing. If I had it my way, then I would be working out abs everyday (I am strange in how much I love ab day and any grueling ab workout).

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In addition to trying out the workout calendar, I’ve gotten the chance to try some of BeFit’s nutritional products! I am a huge protein powder fan; I hate cooking meat and fish and like to supplement my protein intake, as well as satisfy my cravings for sweets, with protein shakes! I am a huge fan of blending protein into an ice cream like consistency (add ice and a pinch of xanthan gum–which is a natural plant byproduct that thickens the shake) and topping it with cereal, fruit, nut butters, and syrups!

Their vanilla whey protein is on point–definitely hits the spot and does not leave me with stomach pains as some animal-based protein powders can. I am so excited for the chance to host a giveaway to win BeFit Pre-workout, Whey Protein, and Burn! Giveaway ends 03/01/16.

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Giveaway entry methods: 

    • Like BeFit on Facebook
    • Follow @BeFit on Twitter
    • Follow @BeFit on Instagram
    • Tweet about the giveaway, tagging @BeFit and #BeFitAllYear and @craving_happy
    • Share the giveaway on Facebook, tagging @BeFit
    • Share the giveaway on Instagram, tagging @BeFit #BeFitAllYear and @craving_happy

Enter the giveaway here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to US only. One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from BeFit through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner and spread the BeFit love! 

 

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Check out this link for more giveaways: http://www.runningwithsdmom.com/2016/02/wednesday-giveaway-roundup.html#.VsHbCnQrKCR