Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Got a sweet tooth, but you're trying to battle the bulge?

So this last year has been hectic, sorry I haven't had much time to post. I have lost 80 pounds in the last 10 months  and I thought I'd share one of my secrets. I have gone to a more paleo lifestyle and have changed my diet completely. No more grains and no more sugar (well no more refined sugars). One of the things I missed the most though was my yummy, froo froo sugared up coffee's. I can no longer do the sugar though, so what's a girl to do when she still has the sweet tooth, but doesn't want a big butt anymore? I was in my local health food store when I came across NuNaturals Liquid Stevia with Singing Dog Vanilla. I thought to myself, wow this stuff might be good, it was a little more than I would like to pay, but I thought I'd give it a shot, after all I really missed my coffee. So I bought it and brought it home and squirted a whole dropper full into one of my coffee shop breve's, and wow it was sweet. I think adding 5-7 drops is enough. I was absolutely shocked how good it was, how can something so yummy not make you gain weight? I decided to take this one step further and mix it into a batch of my low carb coconut flour muffins. It took quite a bit more to sweeten up the muffin batter, but the results were amazing. This is hands down the best alternative to sugar as there are no ill effects like weight gain, sugar crash, or toxic side effects that are linked to artificial sweeteners. I also use it with a little cream in my vanilla rooibos tea (if you are cutting back on caffeine intake) that is a yummy alternative to coffee. It can also be used in a home brewed chai tea. So if you are wanting to cut carbs, sugar, and your gut, use this as an alternative to sugars and artificial sweeteners. NuNaturals also makes an alcohol free version, but hey, I don't mind a little trace alcohol in my morning coffee. Don't let the price scare you, only very little is needed to sweeten up beverages and one bottle lasts me 2 months or more and that is with every day use. Hope this helps on your quest to be sugar free! It can be purchased at Fred Meyer's, Kroger's, Amazon and Health food stores in your area.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Olive Oil Dressing

As many of you know, I am a big advocate of using organic and all natural products. I wanted to share with you, that I am also a Bzzagent. Bzzagent is a word of mouth company that lets you try free products at no or little cost as long as you write about and share the product samples or coupons with others and give an honest opinion about how those products measured up. I am always thrilled to receive something for free, and it's even better when the product is all natural. Recently I signed up for the Filippo Berio Olive Oil campaign. I must say this is one of my favorite campaigns; I mean who doesn't like eating right? I received a bottle of Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), a handy jar opener, a olive oil measurement and butter conversion magnetic chart and a stack of coupons/recipes to share with my friends and coworkers. I use olive oil all the time by sauteing on low heat, making oil dips, marinades, and dressings as well. Many are not aware that you should only use EVOO as a dip or dressing, as it has a low burn point. Other refined olive oils can be used at a higher temp (although I do not recommend), but still should be cooked on low to retain the nutrients in your food and prevent free radicals and oxidation from building up. I prefer their organic cold pressed version, but I only buy it when I can afford it. I give this product 5/5 stars.

To your health!

Monday, March 26, 2012

At my house, everyday is a Meyer's Clean Day!

Mrs. Meyers Dryer Sheets

If you are like me, I am trying to be more conscientious of the products that I use both for the sake of my family and for the sake of our planet. We are inundated with carcinogenic and brain altering chemicals in almost every conventional product we buy. Soaps, shampoos, cleaners, air fresheners and even fabric softeners are just some of the things smart consumers have to watch out for, especially if they have small children and pets. One of the many dangers of using conventional cleaners and fabric softeners are their harsh solvents and fragrances, which are usually laden with petroleum, phthalates, parabens or chlorine. My biggest pet peeve with chemical cleaners is that it increases my allergic reactions (respiratory response, headaches & eczema). Meyer's clean day is an exception to that rule. They have created a whole line of sustainable plant derived products and use natural and essential oils as fragrance for their fabric softeners and cleaners. I have purchased and used their laundry soap, dish detergent, and my favorite, their lavender Dryer Sheets. I am not a big fan of strong lavender scents because I usually tend to get headaches from it, but this scent is a light lavender smell with a hint of vanilla. Our whole garage smells of Meyer's Clean Day when we are drying a load of clothes, which is good since it covers up that smell of cat box and my husband’s sweaty socks (the socks smell is way worse than the cat box, trust me). So many people are afraid to use environmentally friendly or natural cleaning products because they feel that they may not work or are deterred due to cost. I try all the natural products I can afford and I will say, recently the competition has made more companies try harder and make better products. Meyer's Clean Day not only manufactures products that are environmentally friendly, they also work! I would rather pay a little bit more for a product that I know will not harm my family or pets, rather than using a cheaper, health harming product that will cost me so much more in the long run. So in a world full of big, nasty, corporate, chemical companies whose only concern is to sell more products and exhaust our natural resources; I choose to pay a little more and know that they our keeping my family and the planets best interests at heart. I give this product 5 stars *****


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carb Free All Natural Sweetener

Looking for a calorie free sweetener that is all natural and doesn't leave a nasty taste in your mouth? Look no more, Emerald Forest makes a erythritol sweetener which looks and tastes just like sugar minus the calories and carbs which pack on the plump (or fluff as we women like to call it). What is erythritol? It is a sugar alcohol which is extracted from plants and can be used for a variety of things. I use it in my tea and also for cooking & baking. It is 70% as sweet as sugar, but if you have eliminated cane sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet, I find it is sweet enough. Artificial sweeteners are riddled with many cancer causing chemicals as well as damaging your taste receptors. There's many reasons to stay away from artificial sweeteners as I have learned from personal experience as well as documented scientific studies and research. Other sweeteners and sugar alcohols (even natural ones) can cause digestive upset, but erythritol is a smaller molecule and is absorbed into the small intestine and excreted through the urine, which is why it doesn't have an effect on blood sugar. This sweetener has been used in Japan since the early 1990's and even though it has 0.2 calories per gram it is labeled as calorie free. You can buy both powdered or granulated erythritol. I bought the granulated and pulverized it in my coffee grinder, this helps with using it in recipes like frosting and muffins. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance-Grain Free Cat Food

My 17 year old cat is a picky one when it comes to her food. She is spoiled and rightly so at that age; I only feed her high quality grain free foods. She usually does a wet dry combination. In the past I was opposed to feeding Hill's SD as they were full of corn and contained byproducts. Naturally I was excited to see that they came out with a more natural line of food containing no corn or grains. As soon as I received my free 2 lb. bag via Pet Food Direct (courtesy of BzzAgent) I opened it and watched her go to town. She chowed to her hearts content and then , being utterly exhausted from mowing down a mountainous pile, decided to take a nap on her heated pet bed. I will give it some time and check back in at a later date to see if she gets bored of the taste. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Equitas Organic Coffee

Equitas Organic French Roast Decaf SWP

For those of you who know me, I have gave up drinking coffee awhile ago. Why anyone who knew me tolerated me sans coffee, is a mystery to this day. I was moody, angry, tired and feeling overwhelmed. After being completely off the stuff for several months I felt better and didn't miss those sleepless nights I had been having before, but I still craved the taste of it; after all I have been drinking coffee since I was 6. Yes I know what you are thinking! What kind of parent gives their 6 year old coffee? Well my lovely mom was a busy woman with 3 kids.... anytime she had her back turned, I'd sneak off with her brew and ever so carefully replace a nearly half empty cup back onto the kitchen counter. I don't think she noticed either. Well I started thinking, would it be bad to start back just drinking decaf or would that become a gateway drug into drinking full blown caffeinated coffee again? I decided to give decaf a try. It was really important that I found one that wasn't bitter and was fair trade. Nothing like giving people who harvest our coffee a fair price for all their hard work and effort. I am not just going to support big box names like STARBUCKS, so I went out looking to help the little guys. Equitas Coffee is shade grown and fair trade. It comes from Central America and is certified organic, which is important, because coffee is an expensive commodity and is usually heavily doused with pesticides. Decaf coffee although, does contain a minimal amount of caffeine in case you were wondering. Drinking 6 cups decaf is equivalent to drinking 1 cup regular. I usually drink no more than 2 cups and I am done. I will tell you that there are certain health benefits associated with coffee, but make sure it is organic shade grown if you want to take advantage of those benefits. Also if you are planning on losing weight it is best to cut the caffeine. I give this coffee a bold 5 stars and hope you have the time to look at some of the key health benefits to organically grown coffee, and remember most of coffee's pitfalls are associated with it's caffeine content.

Key Benefits Include:

Parkinson’s Disease – Studies from Saaksjarvi et. al show that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease.

Type 2 Diabetes – Other studies show that coffee consumption make protect us against type 2 diabetes.

Liver, Gallstones & Kidney Stones – There is a small amount of evidence that coffee may also protect us against cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, kidney stones.

Cognitive Function – Caffeine is a stimulate. Drinking coffee has been shown to increase mental attention in the short term. Some have even suggested that by drinking coffee, we can better cognitive function.

Alzheimer’s Disease – Some studies show that habitual coffee drinking may protect us against developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Antioxidants-Organic Coffee is full of antioxidants which help reduce oxidation, cell damage, and aging.



Video about the benefits


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Proof Is In The Science

After a few months on hiatus I am back with a new line of products I have tried. I am super excited to tell you all that a new economy grocery store has opened up in town . They are super cheap and carry all natural products and foods, thus allowing me to try several new products, which I can blog about to my hearts desire. The first product that I absolutely love is Earth Science A-D-E Creamy Cleanser. I tend to get excessively dry skin in the winter so this creamy cleanser has been keeping my dry skin at bay and coupled with the Earth Science toner my skin is starting to show significant improvement. I like that there are no harsh perfumes which make my skin itchy and red. You don't have to worry about any harsh chemical and cleansers that will strip away your skins natural oils, thus causing you to age prematurely. It may not be for every skin type, but if your skin tends to be on the dryer side this product is well worth your time and money. It retails for about 9 bucks, but can be purchased through Vitacost for a few bucks cheaper.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Aunt Patty's Organic Coconut Oil

Aunt Patty's -- Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut's have so many amazing properties. Coconut trees have been revered in tropical regions and called the tree of life because they have so many different uses (see my post on coconut water). One of the uses I will cover today is the oil. Coconut oil should be cold pressed, virgin and organic if you are wanting to attain its health benefits. The unrefined version of this oil can be used for cooking, internally, and topically. I have personally used coconut oil for baking, sauteing, tropical, Thai or eastern dishes. I also use it internally for a boost of energy and to aid in weight loss. It can be melted into its liquid state and be rubbed onto your skin to alleviate dryness and will kill certain types of fungal infections on the skin. Aunt Patty's Organic Coconut Oil is the most economical of the brands I have found and is a local company. Dr, Bruce Fife has written several books on the uses of coconut oil and coconut products, I suggest going to the coconut research center to learn more. I give this product 5/5 stars.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coconut Almond Kind Bars


Looking for a low glycemic, energy raising, appetite appeasing, taste satisfying, nutrition bar? I love coconut and I love almonds so when I seen the coconut almond bar by Kind, I was excited to try it. It had big shavings of coconut and toasted almonds, with a lightly sweetened finish. I was surprised that it didn't make me feel sick after eating it like most energy or nutrition bars do, as they are usually full of sugar or filler ingredients. The only thing I would change is the soy lecithin. I am not a big fan of un-fermented soy products for various reasons. They are really sticky too, so a word of caution goes out to those with fillings, I don't have any fillings (no pun intended), but I know my husband would have a hard time chewing these up. I give this product 4/5 stars.

We look better nakedTM
Ingredients : Almonds, dried coconut, honey, non GMO glucose, puffed rice, chicory fiber, soy lecithin.
Vitamins and Minerals : Vitamin A (0% DV), Vitamin C (0% DV), Calcium (4% DV), Iron (6% DV)
Serving Size : 1 Bar (40g)
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Numi Moroccan Mint Tea

I am not particularly a mint tea kind of girl, but I have to say this is quite possibly the best Mint tea I have tasted yet. It's not that I don't like the taste of mint, it's just that I never had a mint tea that didn't taste bitter or hay like. We used to have mint growing all over at my childhood home in California. As kids, my brother and I would eat the leaves right off the plant. While searching for a decaffeinated tea for my cleanse I was on, I saw Numi's Moroccan Mint was on sale. The label stated that it was hand picked and organically grown in Africa and is the sweeter "Nana Mint" variety. The other teas that were on my list given to me by my doctor were not sounding appealing. I had to choose between mint, fenugreek, dandelion, ginger, or comfrey. Peppermint sounded like the best choice. I did a little research on the benefits of mint to see why it would be on the suggested list of herbal teas. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center here are just a few of the benefits:

"In test tubes, peppermint kills some types of bacteria, fungus, and viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. Several studies support the use of peppermint for indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome"

They also site it as being useful for tension headaches, lowering blood sugar, reducing cold & flu symptoms, and is soothing when used on certain skin irritations.

Whether you are using it for it's medicinal properties or just drink it for the taste, Numi's Moroccan Mint is worth a try.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Benefits of Coconut Water

If you are looking for a way to cut back on sugary drinks and looking to boost your health; coconut water is a good start. There are many reasons to drink coconut water and I will go into that in a bit, but first, I will tell you my experience with it. I had tried it once or twice at my local health food store and I loved the taste (tastes like a slightly sweetened coconut flavored water). Twenty minutes had passed and I noticed that a slight headache I had before drinking it went away. When I got to reading the back of the can it mentioned some benefits that were unknown to me previously.

 It stated that coconut water had been used in place of saline solution intravenously in the tropics when saline was not on hand. It is completely isotonic and contains electrolytes to help balance out any bodily fluids that have been lost from illness or trauma. In fact  (after further research) it was used in World War II* and in the Pacific War** in place of blood plasma transfusions.  It is relatively low in calories, low in carbs, High in Potassium, and fat free.

After doing my own personal research over the course of a month I found that I felt more energy while drinking coconut water, my digestion had improved and I noted that after eating sugary foods (which tend to make me feel ill and lethargic if I even slightly over do it) it brought me back to feeling normal again. It also lessened the amount of migraines I had been getting. While all of the benefits sound amazing; keep in mind, this is no miracle worker and may not be right for everyone. If you are looking into healing with foods though, rather than drugs, this can be used for a variety of ailments. Please note, I have tried several different brands of coconut water and C2O is the best by far. Beware of other products found on the Massive grocery store chain shelf. I tried two of those brands (Zico and Vita Coco) and they tasted bitter and spoiled.

 Do your own research and discover the amazing benefits of coconut water.

Look at the list of benefits below to name a few:
  • Boost's immune system
  • May treat kidney stones
  • Replenishes electrolytes after illness or intense exercise
  • Helps detoxify your body
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Increases circulation
  • Helps control diabetes
  • Helps for either constipation/diarrhea
  • Raises metabolism
  • Contains anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties
  • Research studies suggest that cytokinins(e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects***



*       http://www.howardsbest.com/ww2.php
**     http://www.drinkpura.com/about-coconut-water.php
***   http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut-water.html
**** http://www.body-detox-and-you.com/dissolve-kidney-stones.html

(Please note this has not been evaluated by the FDA & is not to be taken as medical advice)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tired of fishy tasting fish oil?

Nordic Naturals Arctic-D Cod Liver Oil, Lemon
When my doctor told me to take a fish oil supplement, I was hesitant to say the least. The reason I was hesitant was due to a few bad experiences I had in the past. I tried several different higher end brand capsules and they all made me have the fishy tasting burps and some even gave me nightmares. I finally quit taking it because I was about to lose my mind with that constant fishy after taste and nightmarish sleep. Then when I explained the side effects to my doctor, she suggested I take the oil, not the capsules; which I was strongly opposed to before, because it was just the nasty thought of swallowing oil that tasted like fish. She explained the burps and fish taste was probably from the fish oil being rancid or oxidized. She also suggested I take the Arctic Cod Liver Oil over the fish oil, because of it's extra health benefits. When I was looking at all the options at the health food store, I decided to question the on staff herbalists. I asked them what the best bang for my buck would be and also was the least offensive tasting. I explained I had an easy gag reflex, I hate fishy tastes and this is something my kids would be taking as well. She immediately pointed out the Nordic Naturals Lemon flavored Arctic Cod Liver Oil.  It is in a beautiful dark blue glass bottle. I decided to go with it and I was pleasantly surprised. For one thing, no oil is easy to swallow. It is a consistency you just have to get used to over time. The first few times you feel like yakking, but the fourth and fifth time it's really no big deal. This formula is awesome, not only could I not taste the fish, I  never experienced any of the burpy aftertaste or nightmares. I give this product 5/5 stars. Open the hatch and here's to your health!