Fitness, Product Reviews

Thursday Must Haves- Nutritional Support

Today I am talking about some nutritional support I use. I use these especially during my training days. I am still a strong supporter of making your own food. Although, sometimes I need that extra boost during or after a workout. So I am sharing what works best for me.

  • Nick Sticks by Wallace Farms
    • They make 100% grass fed beef or free range turkey sticks. I personally get them both for my whole family. These are a must have in my home. They were my local farmer in Iowa, but since moving to Arizona I buy them online instead. You can too here. They carry original and spicy.
    • They make a great nutritious snack, added protein in my kiddos lunch boxes, grab on the go, and a quick protein recovery after a workout. They are easy to throw into my kiddos sports bag too.  A great thing is: No MSG. No Nitrates. No Antibiotics. No Hormones. No Sugar. No Red Dye. No Gluten. So all over clean eating snack stick. You can learn more about Wallace Farms and their Nick Sticks here.

       

  • RX Bars are a whole food protein bar. Simple ingredient list with the core of it being Egg whites, Fruits, and Nuts. These are the bars I usually keep in my purse to have on hand. If my schedule gets crazy, I know I always have a great food option to snag. I take these on bike rides, while hiking, traveling, etc. I enjoyed a Blueberry Bar after my Sprint Triathlon too. You really can’t go wrong with these. My top flavors are: Chocolate Sea Salt, Blueberry, Maple Sea Salt, Mint Chocolate, and Pumpkin Spice. They usually have deals online and a monthly subscription. If you order by 11/11/16 you get 2 free bars of Peanut Butter in every order. I usually get mine at Trader Joe’s as they are only $1.99 a bar. The downside is they only carry Blueberry and Chocolate Coconut. They did carry Pumpkin Spice as a seasonal bar. They also stated they hope to carry more variety in Trader Joe’s in the future.
  • Tailwind Nutrition – This is an endurance drink that focuses on compete energy, electrolytes, and hydration. I have been using this for a little over a month now, and LOVE everything about it. Even the hubs approves too. This is easy on the stomach causing no bloat or gassiness for me. Takes care of the headaches I was experiencing on my longer runs and provides me the extra endurance. There were times when I got to mile 6 and needed a pick me up. I no longer feel that way when using Tailwind. I actually feel like I have more energy and could keep running. I use this for my long bike rides, runs, and my long swim days. This is one I will stick by! I have been using more and more of this in my workouts. It mixes easily in my water container or I toss it in my running vest bladder. Cleans up easily with no film. They come in multiple flavors. You can get it with or without caffeine. They also have to go packets, but when I travel I put my individual servings in a ziplock bag. You can learn more about Tailwind here.

     

  • Double Bonded Protein Powder by Mt Capra- Goats milk protein powder. I am sensitive to dairy so I have done a lot of researching and trials of protein powders. I always come back to this one. I like their vanilla best, but enjoy the Dark Chocolate.  I tend to get the Dark Chocolate because it is cheaper on Amazon. It has a very faint goat milk taste. This protein powder is easy on my gut and goat milk usually is easier to digest. Since starting Tailwind Nutrition I don’t use this as often as I use to.  This is strictly a protein powder not a meal replacement.   According to Mt Capra: “Double Bonded Protein™ is an unrefined fusion of both casein (milk) protein and whey protein. The natural synergy between these two proteins is nothing short of miraculous! Whey protein triggers the formation of new muscle and casein (milk) protein inhibits the destruction of previously created muscle. Consume just one of these proteins and you will be missing out on the crucial benefits of the other. This is why 100% whey protein isolates consistently disappoint. The ability of whey protein to trigger new muscle growth is second to none, but when natural “proteolysis” (the breakdown of previously created muscle) begins, whey isolate has no defense. Enter casein. Casein inhibits proteolysis and keeps the muscle that you have worked so hard for, right where it needs to be; on you! Double Bonded Protein™ is just what you need to reach the next level of muscle gain.” You can read more about Mt Capra and their farming here

 

Protein Smoothies:

  •      Mt Capra protein powder, 2 tbsp coconut oil, half banana, 1tbsp of almond butter, and 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed. Add to either 8-10oz of almond milk, coconut water, or regular water. Blend in blender and ice and blend again.
  •      Mt Capra protein powder, 2tbsp coconut oil, organic frozen strawberries, and organic greens. Add 8-10oz of either water or almond milk. Blend in blender.

     

So there you have it, some of my top nutritional supplements. What are some of your favorites you keep on hand?

Product Reviews

Review of Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour

One of Rob’s favorite filipino dishes is Sio Pao. We have not enjoyed these in over 4 years. Sio Pao is a filipino dish which means steamed buns. The fillings for Sio Pao can be endless. We like them usually with Pork Adobo, hard boiled egg and onions. I have also made them as a breakfast option with bacon and eggs. One things I learned about myself as I have been testing this recipe round and round is I don’t have the patience of a baker. I love to cook, but baking is a different story! I honestly thought it can’t be that hard. Then again I haven’t baked much since going gluten-free/paleo.

When I was given the opportunity to try out Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour, I knew just what I wanted to bake/steam. You guessed it, Sio Pao! Cassava, or Yuca, is a root vegetable. According to Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour differs from others on the market because

“Otto’s Cassava Flour is thoroughly peeled, dried, and ground into wonderfully consistent, delicious flour that you can count on cup after cup. “

Otto’s Cassava Flour is said to be equivalent to using wheat flour 1:1 in most cases. It is also gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, and paleo certified. Finally a win for me when baking/cooking kiddos lunches that need to be nut-free. We are a peanut free household since my daughter is allergic to peanuts. Baking with this has brought back many memories of cooking with traditional flours. Even the smell and texture reminds me of traditional baking flours.

When working with this flour, for me, I noticed I needed a little more liquid. That is honestly the only problem I ran into. Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour is seriously a game changer. You will not be disappointed. Sticker price may be a shocker to some. When I  really when I look at it, I spend more money per pound on almond flour then I would on this flour. So if I had to choose, this would be my first pick. I feel I can get more use out of this flour then out of the almond flour.

That being said, I tried some amazing recipes. First one was tortilla wraps from Fork & Beans. You can find the recipe here.IMG_0161

Also Otto’s NY Style Pizza crust by Alana on her website Planks, Love & Guacamole. You can find the recipe here. Paleo, gluten-free pizza never tasted so good! We made ours on the Traeger and it turned out AMAZING.

 

I then made my own Paleo Banana Pancakes using Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour. You can find the recipe on this blog here.IMG_0320

Used the Cassava Flour also in my Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry. You can find the recipe on my blog here.

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Finally our favorite dish Sio Pao was born. This really brought back memories and was delicious as ever. Tasted just like the original Sio Pao I remember! You can find the recipe on my blog here.IMG_0435

I am hooked! So much so that I purchased the 5lb bag they just came out with.IMG_0310

I was also truly impressed with their outstanding customer service and quick deliveries. They also offer free shipping on all domestic orders on there website currently (no code needed). So what are you waiting for? Go grab a bag and get to cooking!

 

Clean Eating, Product Reviews

When life throws you a curve ball…

This was not my day today. I have been up since 3:30 this morning because the twins didn’t sleep well. They both climbed into bed with Rob and I and it was a toss and turning match. Usually Charlotte will head back to her bed, but not last night and that is ok. I love the snuggle times and sometimes giving up sleep is what I have to do. So I rubbed some backs tried to comfort them and find another spot on the bed to sleep. It was not happening, restless/sleepless night.

So I got out of bed and chatted with my best friend this morning for a little bit, thanks to daylight savings time and she being 3 hours ahead of me. Then it was off to Yoga at 5am. It was a leave it all on the mat kind of day, tears and all. Afterwards I felt refreshed and ready to conquer the morning. It was constantly on the go today. Making breakfast, snacks, and lunches. Getting the kiddos off to school and then heading out the door for me. I had church group with the younger 2 and then off to school. Been dealing with some developmental issues with Q so today was his more in depth screening, and trying to get the assistance he needs to keep progressing forward. I have been so thankful for the group of ladies I was working with before I moved, so I’m hoping we will have the same thing going forward!

After running around all day it was arriving home just in time for lunch. Throw a quick lunch together and tried picking up the house. The twins are at that stage where it is hit and miss with afternoon naps. If they take a nap they don’t fall asleep at night until 10pm, if they stay up they are bears by about 6pm. So it is a take a nap every couple of days. Today was not one of those. We laid down for some quite time, but no falling asleep today. So after about an hour it was letting them play while I tried again to get stuff done around the house.

Before I knew it, it was 3pm and the older kiddos would be arriving home soon. So it was getting snacks ready to go. They walked through the door, unpacked, and started snacking away. I called out to start homework and tried to get as much done before our music concert tonight. Then out the door again for the concert. By now I am exhausted. We still had homework to finish up and dinner to make. Oy, I don’t know how much I have left in me. Plus Rob still has some work to be done tonight. So I threw in the towel! Hit the store and grabbed some pizza. I had some chicken left but wasn’t in the mood to do anything more. Kiddos still needing my attention and homework needing to get done, I sacrificed and did what I needed.

So this isn’t something we do often, but it is nice to know that there are options available if needed. If I get pizza, Against the Grain Gourmet Pizza is the brand I prefer.IMG_0265

According to Against the Grain:

It is a made with uncured pepperoni and made in a dedicated gluten free facility. There products contain no gluten, wheat, corn, soy, rice, peanuts, or tree nuts! There is no preservatives, dough conditioners, gums, or flavor enhancers ever used in any of there products. Made with real food and real ingredients. The milk comes from a local family farm that bottles the milk shortly before they receive it. The eggs are delivered directly to them from a local family farm as well. The cheese they use has no anti-caking agents and is natamyci-free. 

Really this beats any fast food joint people will run to when they are in a bind. So know there are things you can make when you are in a bind. There are companies that are really looking out for the good of the people. There are farmers that still care how there farms are ran.

So when life throws you a curve ball, know there are options available.

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Product Reviews

Laundry detergent & NaturOli Soap Nuts- Product Review

Oh happy day, it’s laundry day.  The one thing mommies love best. As a family of 7 I do at least one load of laundry every day. Whether or not it gets folded and put away the same day is a different story.

3 years ago I did a revamp of my laundry room system. With a house full of kiddos, I wanted a system that would work better for me. So I went out searching for a DIY laundry storage system.  That is when I came across my favorite DIYer Ana White. I found a laundry basket storage shelf I liked. Rob and I set forth and started to build the shelf. You can find Ana White’s plans here.  Seriously, anything to make laundry days a little bit easier, I will take. So I rallied up the kiddos and gave them the assigned duties for when putting clothes into the baskets. Bonus, this unit made it across states in a POD without falling apart!

For me this is how my basket go:

  • 1st basket – Socks, underwear, and pajamas
  • 2nd basket – Workout type clothes
  • 3rd basket – All other clothes
  • 4th basket – Towels, rags, and washcloths

Now I can easily take each basket and dump them straight into the washer with one simple swoop! Rob and I have our own separate basket so I divide ours up amongst these baskets and then do our dress clothes separate along with any of the kiddos dress clothes that get put in our room to wash. The first 3 pictures below were from my hold home, cloth diapers and all. Last photo is in my current home after it moved across states!

So I try to eliminate as many toxins as possible both in my diet and in my everyday life. This includes the laundry room. I feel like I have tried it all. Started out many years ago switching to a free and clear laundry detergent. Then 4 years ago made the switch to making my own. Which I loved for about a year or so. With twins in cloth diapers the detergent I had I felt like was not getting clean enough. So then I switch to Rocking Green Laundry Detergent and loved! It is an eco-friendly laundry detergent and safe for cloth diapers as well.

According to Rocking Green the laundry detergent is:

  • Biodegradable and made from recycled materials
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • Phosphate-Free
  • Gluten and Vegan Friendly
  • SLS- and Parabens-Free
  • Free of optical brighteners

You can learn more about this laundry detergent here. According to their website it cost approx. $0.19 per load. Which is pretty good deal! Although I was happy with my rocking green laundry detergent I was still in search for an even cleaner laundry detergent that  would also cost me less. I then tried again making my own laundry detergent after we were done with cloth diaper, but in liquid form this time. I used this as I continued to search for another alternative. This is when I came across soap nuts.

According to NaturOli:

“Soap nuts are known worldwide by many names such as soapnuts, soapberry, washing nuts, soap nut shells, wash shells, soapberry nut husk, Ritha (Hindi) nut shell, Chinese soapberry and many more. Very simply, soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents such as those containing sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.”
It is amazing what they little things can do! They even fight stains and are hypoallergenic. Soap nuts are completely non-toxic and can be composted when done using creating no waste! NaturOli soap nuts come with a re-usable muslin bag that is needed when using soap nuts in laundry.

How to Use Soap Nuts for Laundry:

Seriously this is so easy, and I have been using them for over a year now! I don’t even have to worry about my kiddos coming into contact with chemicals when they do laundry. Take the muslin bag and fill with 5-6 soap nuts. Put in the washer and fill with clothes. Wash in warm or hot water. You can wash in cold water, but I usually soak my soap nuts in the muslin bag in a glass of water for about 5 minutes. Then I put the soap nuts and water in the washer and add my clothes. Wash as usual. Dry clothes as normal. You can use the Soap Nuts for several washes before the shells start to fall apart and become soft, and then I compost. I get about 5-6 washes per 5-6 soap nuts depending on how dirty my laundry is that I am washing. You can use the same bag back to back if doing multiple loads at once. Otherwise hang the bag with soap nuts to dry between washes. Soap nuts are low sudsing so can be used in HE washers as well! You don’t even have to use fabric softer when using soap nuts. According to NatuOli soap nuts are even septic safe and can be used on cloth diapers. My clothes come out clean, fresh, and static free.

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Other Uses for Soap Nuts:

Soap nuts can be used for several things around the house. You can use them on your pets, to clean carpet, household cleaner, shampoo, hand wash, just to name a few. You can follow instructions here on other uses.

Have you used soap nuts? What are your thoughts about them?

 

Product Reviews

Review of FATCO (FATFACE)

Have you ever wonder was in your skincare regimen? It has been at least 4 years since I have made a switch in my skincare regimen. I am not one to wear make-up. So you will be lucky if you see me in make-up a handful of times a year. So I have not dove in a whole lot about make-up. When I do wear make-up, I use Jane Iredale’s line.  You can read more up on specifics on their website here.

I ditched all my chemical face washes and creams 4 years ago, and turned to oil cleansing. Since I was already making changes in other parts of my life, I decided my skincare needed the same tune-up. I couldn’t imagine putting chemical filled products on my face anymore. I started off using coconut oil as my oil cleanser at night and then used coconut oil as my moisturizer in the morning after washing my face with just water. Oil cleansing is also great for removing make-up.

It wasn’t until November of 2015 that I started searching for a skincare line that would actually help balance my skin.  I wanted something that would complement me and my lifestyle. Since I ditched the chemicals already, I didn’t want something with chemicals in it. I live a gluten-free and clean eating lifestyle, so I didn’t want a cleanser with gluten or other fillers in it. This is when I came across FAT FACE (now called FATCO). This is what they say about their products:

     FATFACE Skincare specialize in making Organic, Natural, REAL skin care products that aren’t full of preservatives, chemicals & toxins. We believe in using healthy fats to nourish our skin instead of dry it out! We use plant based fats like organic coconut oil and raw shea butter, as well as tallow from pastured, grass-fed cows.

After reading more about Casey and her product line, I figured  I would give it a shot. I ordered the facial skin care kit and fat sticks. The FAT STICKS are amazing to say the least. My oldest daughter gets severely dry hands during the winter months.IMG_7041 She rubs a little bit of this in and she is good to go. I wish I would have taken pictures. Her hands would get chap and break open, but this was honestly the first year it didn’t happen. She keeps a fat stick in her backpack to use during the day. It is also great on eczema patches and of course lips! My youngest daughter likes to put it on and around her nail beds too. My kiddos even come asking for this stuff. My daughter who tends to get eczema patches every now and again will come asking to put this on. This is one product I will not run out of.  I actually love it so much that I placed another order mid December and gave FAT STICKS to all my kiddos teachers,  classroom assistance, and a few family and friends of mine for Christmas gifts. You can also see I ordered another facial skincare kit which went to my mother-in- law, and stank stops I wanted to try for Rob and I.IMG_7381

The facial skincare kit comes with a cleansing oil, toner, and myrrhaculous face cream. If you haven’t oil cleansed before check out their step by step instructions here.  I love how this makes my face feel. My face is not overly dry or too oily. I feel it is more balance now then when I was using just coconut oil. With the coconut oil I would sometimes feel like my face would be a little more oily. I don’t feel this way with this line. My nightly routine is oil cleanse, toner and little bit heavier on the myrrhaculous face cream. In the morning I wash my face with just water and pat dry. Then I use the toner and a small amoIMG_8973unt of myrrhaculous face cream. My husband even committed on how clearer my face looked. I think my overall complexion is better too. They also have a myrrh free face cream which was great to see. So when I order a facial skincare kit for my friend who is expecting a baby, I got her the face cream that was myrrh free.

Lastly I tried the stank stop. I have tried a couple different ways of making my own deodorant which never worked out for me. I also was using Lavanila. Although I did like using Lavanila, I could not use it for at least a day after shaving because I would break out.  I like the smell of the stank stop, and I am impressed at how well it does for me. I usually don’t have to reapply during the day unless after I work out. For me, I don’t break out after using this even on the day I shave my armpits. A downside for Rob though is he does have to reapply  throughout the day. Other than having to reapply for him, he does like using it.

This company is doing it right. I strongly urge you to read more about their philosophy here. Take a look at what you are using now, and decided if you need to make some changes. I am an advocate for educating yourself in what you put in and on your body.

***I was not given any products to review or compensation for writing this review. All these products I bought myself, and it is an honest review of what I think about them.