Becoming a #FutureHuman with Orb

I have posted a lot about my difficulties with sleep, usually I fall asleep within 45 minutes, but I struggle with staying asleep. I’ve tried so many different supplements, teas, and pills with little help.

I decided to try Orb Sleep Complex at Costco after the brand reached out to me with their new release to Costco stores (not all stores carry it, but you can find it on Costco’s online store.

I’ve worked in the health & fitness industry so I know about the smoke and mirrors involved with many supplements out there. I’ve tried a lot of products and have done my research, and I think it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

So what makes Orb different? It has time-release technology with a blend of supplements that help your body calm down for sleep, plus B12 for energy support. Plus, the pills look pretty cool:

See the beadlets floating in the liquid? The ingredients are separated for ideal absorption; vitamins best absorbed in liquid are in the oil and the the vitamins in the beadlets are better absorbed in dry form.

The Orb Sleep Complex contains:

  • Melatonin
  • Valerian
  • L-theanine
  • GABA
  • 5-HTP
  • Lavender & Ylang ylang oil
  • Vitamin B12

Our body naturally produces a hormone called melatonin; we make it based on our circadian rhythm, which follows the sunset and sunrise. Melatonin production also decreases with age. Melatonin supplements can help with insomnia, jet lag, and general sleep troubles. I’ve taken melatonin for years with mixed results.

Valerian is far less popular, but can be found in Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepytime tea varieties. Valerian is made from a root and helps with insomnia, and many claim it helps with anxiety as well. Research suggests it acts like a very mild sedative.

L-theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea (and some mushrooms). L-theanine boosts the neurotransmitters that make us feel good and happy–seratonin, dopamine, and GABA. These neurotransmitters work in the brain to regulate mood, emotion, concentration, and sleep, as well as appetite and energy. L-theanine has recently grown in popularity because it doesn’t make you sleepy, but instead makes you feel calm and relaxed.

GABA is crucial to our brain’s health; low GABA activity has been correlated to anxiety, depression, and difficulty focusing.

5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter I mentioned earlier. It has been shown to diminish depressive symptoms in high doses (500-1400mg daily for at least two weeks).

Lavender and Ylang Ylang oil both provide natural soothing properties. I actually take lavender oil capsules when I’m having a particularly stressful day and they definitely help me calm down.

Lastly, vitamin B12. Our bodies don’t make B12 so we must get it from food or supplements. Vegetarians are at higher risk for B12 deficiency. This is included because in the Orb supplements because lower than healthy levels of B12 can make you feel groggy or tired.

I’ve started taking Orb regularly and am loving how relaxed it makes me feel. I bought mine at Costco at a bargain price– 120 capsules for $28.99 in-store, $29.99 online (it’s regularly $39.99 for only 60 capsules).

I even brought it with me to Peru to take and share with my family.

They’ve been using it and enjoying it so far! I’ll keep you posted as I get in a rhythm and use it over the next few weeks; some of the ingredients work better over time (5-HTP for example).

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Do you have trouble sleeping? What have you tried that does or doesn’t help?

Disclaimer: I received this product from Orb, but all opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own and represent my own experience.

Fizzique: Bubbles of fun & fuel

I’ve never seen a fizzy protein drink until I heard about Fizzique. I was instantly curious if the drink would taste chalky or leave that weird protein aftertaste and I am a sucker for any new healthy products hitting the market. Luckily, I got the chance to try both their flavors–Tropical Limon and Strawberry Watermelon to see for myself.

My boxes arrived the night before I flew off to Australia, but I was dying to try them. So, after a little bit of research, I decided to take a chance. I wrapped a few cans of Fizzique in bubble wrap, wrapped them in sweaters, and squeezed them into my already full suitcase. Praying throughout the flight that my cans didn’t explode, 24 hours later I arrived in Australia and immediately checked–success! A dry suitcase, and ready to drink refreshments. Thank you to all the TripAdvisor forums for the solid advice.

The first day I walked for about 16 miles with a heavy backpack on and was ravenous even after a huge dinner. So I decided that would be the perfect time for a can!

 

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While it was hot outside, this flavor was crisp & refreshing. It had the perfect combination of strawberry and watermelon without tasting artificial. It makes sense because the ingredients are minimal and Fizzique is gluten free, GMO free, fat free, sugar free, soy free, with no artificial preservatives, colors or dyes. With a solid 20 grams of protein, it kept me full and I slept like a baby for the next 12 hours!

I only had a few cans with me in Australia, so I wanted to save them for the beach! I went snorkeling and hiking one day and enjoyed a can on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with soft, perfectly white silica sand.

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I wish I could’ve squeezed more cans into my suitcase! I enjoyed the Tropical Limon flavor, but the Strawberry Watermelon is definitely my favorite. The Tropical Limon flavor reminded me of a less sweet, less artificial version of 7-Up taste-wise, but the Strawberry Watermelon was such a unique combination. When I had to return home (womp womp), I learned that Fizzique even tastes good when not on the beach 😉

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At work I was struggling through the afternoon after my last meeting of the day and this high protein snack kept me focused on work, not my rumbling tummy. I occasionally get bored-hungry (or real hungry) around 4PM, but try and keep the snacks on the lighter side so I am still hungry for dinner. This did the trick; light and bubbly, but with the satisfaction of a protein bar. I drank mine out of a wine glass with chopped strawberries to feel a little fancy! It kept me full for hours until I was ready to dig into a big dinner later in the evening around 7PM.

Fizzique is also a great pre- or post-workout beverage/snack. It is light & filling, but doesn’t weigh you down. Plus each can packs 4400mg of BCAAs; BCAAs (Branch-Chain Amino Acids) are shown to help increase muscle endurance and decrease muscle soreness. Feeling less sore after squats? Count me in.

If you are interested in trying Fizzique, use code HANNAHFIZZIQUE for a discount when you order from the Fizzique website.

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Have you heard of Fizzique? Do you like protein-packed drinks? Which flavor sounds better to you?

NYC Eats: foodie love on the East coast

I was on the road for about two weeks between business and spending time at home. I had the chance to spend a weekend in NYC visiting a dear friend from college, Zoe, and hanging out with an new friend I met through health blogging! My first meal on Friday was a HIT! We started our evening at Souen, and it was delicious. We split the sautéed mushrooms to start and I enjoyed a macrobiotic plate for my main. I loved that it included kabocha—my friend, Zoe, and I initially met because we both loved this squash (I’m 100% serious) and here we are 4 years later!

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For dessert, we enjoyed some of Hungry Root’s delicious black bean brownie batter–sooo delicious! My friend has been working for this amazing company for years so I was thrilled to try one of her creations 🙂

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We ate breakfast on the go before an amazing kickboxing class at Shadowboxing–one of my favorite workout classes to date! It had a great vibe—dark, music that was just loud enough (not too loud), challenging but without any judgement! It was intervals of boxing moves, strength conditioning, cardio, & bag work. Workout rating: 10/10

After getting all cleaned up, we enjoyed a later lunch at Hu Kitchen (it’s all over instagram and I kept hearing amazing things)…

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Next up was an extravagant dinner at The Little Beet Table. Almost everything on the menu sounded superb so we tried not to order everything…we started out with an arugula fennel salad. It wasn’t anything too exciting, but definitely tasted light and fresh.

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Now this dish stole the show; the beetroot tartare–black pepper-lemon yogurt, hazelnut, watercress, horseradish…an incredible combination of sweet, bitter, and tangy.

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My entree pick was the grilled cauliflower steak on a bed of green curry served up with maitake mushrooms, a salad of market herbs, apple & almond. I could have easily eaten an entire plate of the mushrooms! The other entree we ordered was the Atlantic salmon with daikon & carrot slaw, baby bok choy, coconut & turmeric; the curry sauce was quite spicy, but the combination was fantastic.   

Apparently the brussel sprouts are a must at the Little Beet Table so we ordered a side of those as well–they were delicious! A little on the oily side for my taste, but incredibly flavorful. Even a veggie hater would love these.

One of my last meals in the city was a great big kale & shaved brussel sprout salad with a bunch of roasted almonds, beets & orange.

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Do you prioritize good eats when you travel? Do you crave veggies when you’re on the go?

Miraculously Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve been living life on the fly a lot recently. For the past decade (or longer) I’ve planned every moment down to the second. Planning certainly has a lot of perks, but it makes our brain think in binary, rigid ways sometimes. In an effort to break out of this more, I’ve been actively trying to seek out spontaneity and go with the flow. I found eggplants on sale the other day, so I bought a few and just decided I would let an idea come–and if not, just chop and freeze them! I think living life without a guide, without a plan, without a recipe can be a great asset when you find yourself getting bogged down in and stressed by the arbitrary details.

Ingredients:

-1 eggplant

-1 bag prepared @miraclenoodle rice

-1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

-2 tsp olive oil

-1 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, & garlic in a skillet and let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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2. Cut eggplant in half length wise and roast at 350 for 10 minutes.

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3. Scrape out inside of eggplant and mix the pieces of eggplant “insides” into your skillet of veggies. .

4. Add prepared @miraclenoodle rice to veggie mix and continue stirring.

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5. Stuff both halves of the eggplant with veggie/rice mixture.

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6. Return stuffed eggplants to oven and roast for 7-10 minutes at 375.

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7. Enjoy! Feel free to freeze or use the leftover veggie rice in another dish or as a side dish.

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🍜

All the Colors Miracle Rice

I’ve been trying to have fun in the kitchen to cope with the more recent uptick in stress at work…mission accomplished! I’ve been loving the CSA boxes I get from Imperfect Produce as inspiration, which is conveniently delivered to my doorstep! A recent delivery included purple daikon radish, and oh my, these are delicious. Definitely a mild bitterness, but when cooked with coconut oil it blends perfectly with other flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag miracle rice, prepared according to directions
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 purple daikon radish
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 heads bok choy

Directions:
1. Chop bell pepper, purple daikon radish, onion, and bok choy into 1 inch cubes (I usually eyeball and guesstimate what a comfortable bite looks like). Toss veggies in 1 tsp warmed coconut oil.

2) Cook all veggies in you air fryer at 375 for 20 minutes, pausing once to stir. If you don’t have an air fryer, feel free to use the oven!

3) Meanwhile, prepare @miraclenoodle rice and add in garlic, 1 tsp coconut oil, and liquid aminos.

4) Combine veggie mix with  rice mixture and enjoy! This would be great with chicken, shrimp, or tofu!

I added some steamed broccoli on top and enjoyed this over a bed of dressed greens on the patio at work (I’m blessed with California’s sunny winter days 😉

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle!

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What’s your favorite colorful veggie? How do you cope with stress?

Going with Your Gut with GLG

If you’ve been in my life during the past 6 years, you might know I’ve struggled with a lot of GI issues. Without any clear answers, the various doctors I saw decided it must be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which has no real cures. The symptoms are highly varied and flare ups can come at any time. I’ve learned that my trigger is often times of high-stress, but I’ve also learned what foods I can use as tools to keep my gut happy.

I’ve been taking some form of gelatin nearly everyday for the past 3 years and I’ve recently started incorporating collagen as well.

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I have been taking it for a few weeks now, and I’ve heard it takes a bit longer to see and feel all of the benefits that come with collagen supplementation. There are numerous benefits beyond gut health: skin elasticity, joint health, and bone health, to name just a few. Collagen is shown to create measurable improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. [1] There is evidence that collagen can help repair the lining of the intestines, which can improve overall gut health. [2] I am curious to note whether or not I experience any changes in my joint health, although I am lucky enough to have few joint-related issues.  It is full of necessary amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) that keep our skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones healthy.

As a fan of functional foods, especially as an alternative to prescription drugs for treating my IBS, I’ve been pleased with my results from incorporating gelatin into my diet..so I have high hopes for the benefits that come with hydrolyzed collagen! If nothing else, I will have incorporated more healthy proteins into my diet. The regular collagen powder can be mixed into just about anything–your morning cup of coffee, your oatmeal, a smoothie, soup, etc. The cherry-flavored Collagen Endurance product has been a ton of fun to try out as well…

One of my favorite recipes reminds me of little gummy candies–they are my energy gel bites! These are a great pre-workout snack with B vitamins for natural energy and a good dose of protein for satiety.

Ingredients:

-1 scoop Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance
-8 grams gelatin
-1 cup water

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1. Combine Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance and gelatin with 1/2c boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Stir in 1/2c cold water and pour into a lined baking loaf tin.
3. Place in fridge for 4-6 hours or into firm.
4. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

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While many companies have recently started popping up promoting their own collagen supplements, I love Great Lakes; the company has been around since 1922 and does research to evaluate the real benefits, not simply hopping on the trendy bandwagon.

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Disclaimer: Great Lakes Gelatin & Sweatpink sponsored this review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions

Sources (because when I make claims, I base them in science):

1: Choi, S. Y., Ko, E. J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, B. G., Shin, H. J., Seo, D. B., … & Kim, M. N. (2014). Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy16(3), 132-137.

2: Graham, MF. Collagen Synthesis by Human Intestinal Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3792777>.

Radishes are Red: Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

I recently received beautiful watermelon radishes in my Imperfect Produce CSA (Community-Sourced Agriculture) box. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I was inspired with the passionately pink-ish red radishes. Radishes have a bit of a bite on their own, so I decided to create a savory sweet dish that diminishes the bitterness, and highlights the beautiful colors.

Ingredients:
-1 bag miracle rice, prepared according to package directions
-1 large watermelon radish, sliced thin
-1.5 cup roasted broccoli
-2 tsp coconut oil
-1 tsp minced garlic
-1 tbsp sliced ginger (sushi ginger)
-3 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
-sriracha, to taste

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients, besides miracle rice, in a small pot on the stove. Let simmer together for about 15 minutes, or until the radish is tender and the flavor has mellowed.

2) Add in the prepared miracle rice and let sit on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Enjoy! This is delicious on its own, but also goes surprisingly well over greens with an Asian-inspired dressing (think miso, soy, or ginger flavors).

**Use code HANNAHJAN for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle**

Doesn’t this just look like a romantic Valentine’s Day meal? Although I can’t say your breath will be great..

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Do you like radishes? What’s your favorite pink vegetable?

Salted Caramel Mug Cake (SF+DF)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I want are sweets–which is not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I believe that is moderation is certainly important, but I also love coming up with healthy alternative recipes. It brings me so much joy to develop a recipe that packs more nutrient value and still tastes amazing.

I came up with this salted caramel recipe recently after craving a warm cake late one evening.

Ingredients:
-2 tbsp oat fiber
-2 tbsp coconut flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-dash cinnamon
-1 egg (or 1.5 egg whites)
-Almond Milk or water, 3-7 tbsp
-Caramel Syrup
-Dash sea salt
-Dollop of whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine oat fiber, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Add in egg and 2 tbsp liquid and mix well.
  3. Slowly add in one tablespoon of liquid at a time until you reach cake-batter like consistency.
  4. Pour batter into a large greased ramekin and microwave on medium-high for 2-3 minutes or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch.
  5. Remove the cake from the microwave and pour on a generous amount of caramel syrup, a dash of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp), and a dollop of whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy your own mini piece of heaven!

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What’s your favorite healthy alternative recipe?

Warm, Creamy Rice Pudding: Two Ways for Winter (GF)

I have been craving different desserts with winter-themed tastes reminiscent of cinnamon and hot, deep cocoa flavors. Sometimes I feel like my mind is blank and lacks all creativity, but I recently had a stroke of creative genius for two different cozy, rice-based desserts. I love picking up different seasonal fruits and vegetables and I just picked up a bag of fresh cranberries. I love a nice cranberry sauce so I started with a simple homemade cranberry sauce and used it as a base for a creamy vanilla pudding.

Cozy Vanilla Cranberry Rice Pudding

Ingredients:
-1 bag Miracle Noodle Rice
-3/4 cup fresh cranberries
-1 tbsp water
-stevia, to taste
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Prepare Miracle Noodle Rice according to directions on the bag.
2. Combine fresh cranberries and water in a small microwaveable bowl and cover with a plate. Cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until you hear popping.
3. Remove cranberries from the microwave and combine with stevia until it is sweet enough for your liking.
4. Combine the cranberry sauce and vanilla, mix well.
5. Mix the prepared rice and cranberry sauce well.
6. Sprinkle cinnamon on top and enjoy!

Creamy Hot Cocoa Rice Pudding 

Ingredients:
-1 bag Miracle Noodle Rice
-2 tbsp special dark cocoa powder (or your favorite cocoa powder)
-2 tbsp almond milk (or dairy, soy milk, etc.)
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbsp vanilla protein powder (or hot chocolate mix)
-Stevia, to taste
-1 tsp coconut oil

Directions:
1.Prepare Miracle Noodle Rice according to directions on the bag.
2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, protein powder, coconut oil, and stevia to taste.
3. Combine the cocoa mixture with the miracle rice, stirring well. Add slightly more milk if the mixture is too thick (or more cocoa if the mixture is too thin).
4. Place the mixture in a bowl and enjoy hot or cold with a dollop of whipped cream!

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What’s your favorite winter dessert? Do you use rice for dessert recipes?

Holiday Travel: the good, the bad, the ugly

Holiday travel can be unpleasant, to put it mildly! I hate traveling on the average day (the flights, not the destinations and experiences), but somehow the holidays amplify the stress and bring out a little extra crazy. I’m now flying home from the West Coast and opt for overnight flights to avoid losing a day at home or work, plus these flights are often less pricy. In an effort to make my travel as comfortable as possible, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks that help me.

  1. Make a packing list: you’ll probably tell yourself “oh, I would never forget that..,” but there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination without underwear or the murder mystery you were halfway done reading.
  2. Packing cubes:
  3. Water bottle:
  4. Chargers:

Specific to overnight flights:

  • Pack a pillow! I recently bought a Turtl pillow (yes, I realize how silly they look). It is so important to have good neck support so you can sleep and wake up without serious neck pain when you arrive at your destination.
  • Take something to help you sleep whether that’s melatonin or a low grade sleeping aid; just ensure that you have enough time in the air after you take it so you are not too drowsy when you land. Depending on what you take, I like to have a minimum of six hours of buffer time after I’ve taken my melatonin or other sleep aid.
  • Pack socks–nothing is worse than cold feet! They take up so little room and will definitely be worth it.

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Will you be traveling this holiday season? What are your best travel tips?