Why Plant-Based?

I’ve made a greater effort to choose plant-based options over the past few months. While everyone is different, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’ve made the slight shift. I am definitely still eating plenty of animal products, but here are some of the main reasons I’m opting for more plant-based options:

  1. It’s better for the planet. Plant-based options have a smaller carbon-footprint; these foods often require less transportation and have fewer environmental side effects (decreased carbon emissions, decreased methane gas–ehem, cows). sky-earth-galaxy-universe
  2. Animals are cute (ethics). While some people think eating animals is entirely unethical, I do not personally fall into that camp. I take more issue with eating animals and byproducts of animals that have been treated poorly. Choosing cruelty-free, local, grass-fed options makes a huge difference, but often those options are more difficult to come by and are more expensive.7479512636_b19884cac6_b
  3. Nutrition. There is a ton of evidence that eating a plant-based diet has numerous positive effects on health. The China Study, one of the few large-scale, reputable nutrition studies, was conducted by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. The study found individuals with a plant-based diet where most protein comes from plant sources have decreased cancer rates and lower prevalence of bone fracture, among other health benefits. If you’re curious, read more here.Nutrition-pyramid
  4. It’s not all or nothing. I think this is a huge misconception in our world of extremes. Everyone thinks that you must choose a label and stick with it, but I prefer to stay flexible, eat what I want, and eat to feel good. There is no need to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, but trying to make mindful choices and choose plant-based options a little more often can add up to big benefits.764px-Balanced_scale_of_Justice.svg_
  5. I love Nuzest protein powderThis is a simple one…I fell in love with Nuzest protein powder when I first tried it. This is a super simple pea protein with very few added ingredients and it tastes great. Look out for recipes using this powder coming to the blog soon!Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 5.31.29 PM

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. 

Holiday Travels: Tips and Tricks

Traveling for the holidays is hard. It’s mass chaos everywhere; people are distracted, highways are packed, and airports are bustling! There are a few things I always do before traveling to minimize stress and anxiety, whether traveling by car or plane.

      1. I tend to randomly think of things I need to do before I leave or items I need to pack, often in the middle of the night or during class or work. I highly recommend taking 1 minute and writing it down on a piece of paper or make a note on your phone. Then right before you head out the door for your trip, go through the list and make sure you did it all!
      2. SNACKS! Nothing is worse than being stuck in the airport and hungry. Overpriced snacks or unhealthy snacks are both awful options (in my opinion…I am a cheap college student here 🙂 so I always make sure to pack some fruit, veggies, and of course a few questbars.

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3. Stay hydrated! It is tempting to drink less so you don’t have to stop on a drive or get up during a flight, but staying hydrated keeps you feeling good the whole day! Planes dehydrate your skin (why your lips and face feel dry post-flight) and drinking plenty of water can keep your skin and body feeling good.

 

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4. Treat travel time as “me-time.” Bring along a book you’ve been dying to read, a new CD, or a podcast you enjoy. Jam out, learn, or even sleep!

5. Pack everything the night before…except toiletries! Pack them as you use them in the morning–that way you remember everything you use on a daily basis.

Safe travels this holiday season!

Jem Raw Organics and Under-Appreciated Spices

 

Words..I have no words..I officially declare cardamom the most under-appreciated spice in my spice cabinet. Jem Raw Organics was kind enough to send me a few jars of their decadent, raw nut butters. You can seriously taste the quality; they are all silky smooth! I tried the Hazelnut Raw Cacao, Cinnamon Red Maca, Cashew Cardamom, and Superberry Maqui Camu. Their products are all gluten free and vegan and suit nearly every dietary restriction, other than nut-free (obviously).

I have been eating it by the spoonful…

On flax seed rice cakes….

With fresh fruit…

You name it! I definitely forgot how delicious cardamom was. These nut butters are delicious and the flavors stand out on their own–free of additives. I am planning some recipes with these guys and can’t wait to play with them more and let their flavors shine!

What spices do you think are the most under-appreciated?

Feeling Powerful…

Powerful Yogurt is amazing! I’m loving that their bars have a probiotic yogurt coating; I am a die-hard Questbar fan, but it is nice to have a change of pace every once in a while. I like the yogurt creme bar best–it literally tastes like sugar cookies. There is a rich, buttery vanilla flavor and the bar is super smooth.

I’ve been using their protein shakes as coffee creamer, as well. It is SUPER good and comes in both chocolate, vanilla maple, and açai, although I haven’t tried açai yet! They are delicious on their own, as well. Once again, I am a huge fan of the inclusion of probiotics. They keep the ingredients list short and the shakes are shelf-stable, which is perfect for tossing in my backpack for a long day at school.

I cannot wait to try their yogurt; has anyone tried them? Favorite flavors??

Super(Duper) Bites

These super bites are so delicious and packed with healthy ingredients. They do contain sugar, but it is natural cane sugar and keeps the bites crunchy, slightly sweet, and crisp. Five of my friends tried them and gave ratings of 9/10 and called them “super filling.” Each pack comes with 2.5 servings so a little goes a long way. I don’t know that I will munch on these all the time, but they are great for an on-the-go satisfying snack! A great, convenient way to get some healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein.

Moments of Beauty

 

I am so blessed to have this beauty as part of my walk to classes every morning. Although this week has been rainy, humid, and dreary, I am grateful to have this beautiful scenery and the frequent sunny, mild days of Southern fall. It’s easy for me to feel annoyed at the slightest inconvenience; just missing the shuttle to main campus for class, stepping in a puddle, a (extraordinarily) bad hair day…but when all is said and done, those things are inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

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