Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Healthy Sour Gummies!

First they're sour, they they're sweet!

Sour gummy candies > regular gummy candies, in my opinion. 

However, this recipe could be easily altered if you just want the sweet side!

I actually purchased beef gelatin for a different recipe (stay tuned) but needed something else to use it for. The answer: healthy gummy candies. I perused several recipes and finally tweaked it to make my own take on healthy gummies. They are so quick and easy to make, you'll be amazed!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp beef gelatin (I used NOW foods brand, inexpensive and quality products, non GMO)
  • 1-2 large packets of True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade (this packet is designed for a pitcher of the lemonade, 8 servings)
  • 3 tbsp honey 
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. First decide what you will use for a mold and prepare it. (You can use a silicone mold, straws, or simply line a pan with parchment/wax paper and cut into pieces after it sets.)
  2. Mix 1 packet of True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade with 1 cup water. Pour lemonade into a nonstick pot. 
  3. Add honey and bring to a low simmer. 
  4. Finally, add the gelatin and whisk until completely dissolved. 
  5. Remove from heat and pour into mold. Place in freezer for 20-30 minutes or until set. 
  6. As an option, you may sprinkle the mold or simply sprinkle the candies with an additional packet of lemonade for the sour dust effect!
  7. Enjoy!
Can you believe these have only 3 ingredients (plus water) and take no time at all!

Approximately 12-24 servings depending on mold used
Based on 12 servings, each serving is: 28 calories 0f/6.2c/2.3p

Benefits of raw honey: antioxidant properties, soothes throats, if local - it may help with allergies!
Benefits of beef gelatin: improves gut health and digestion, improves skin and heart health, protects joints and relieves joint pain, helps with sleep quality, maintains strong bones and the list goes on!

With all these benefits, I guess you better start eating more candy!

Let me know if you try this recipe! Do you prefer the sour or non-sour gummy candies? 

P.S. I bought my gelatin from Luckyvitamin.com and it was a really good price! I love Lucky Vitamin because they always have great deals and prices. Check out LuckyVitamin.com and you can save $5 on your first order $49+ with code 5OFFU. Even better, orders over $49 always ship free (US only). Happy shopping!







Thursday, September 14, 2017

Real Good Pizza - How good is it?

Real Good Pizza is making a splash in the fitness and low carb communities! But just how good is it?

First of all, they stand by using real ingredients. The crust is made from chicken and Parmesan that is hormone free and antibiotic free. The vegetables are non-GMO. They have five star reviews across the board! So far, so good!

I recently got my hands on the "Large" Pepperoni pizza. While this pizza is labeled large due to having two servings, it's really not very large. One half of the large pepperoni pizza is 260cal 16f/4c/25p. Not too shabby unless you're trying to eat a lower fat diet, in which case cheesy, pepperoni pizza is probably not your friend lol!

Dat cheese pull 
The taste test! I went into this knowing that the crust was made from chicken and Parmesan so I was not surprised that the texture was pretty different from a traditional pizza. It was pretty dense and had a bit of a cheesy flavor. However, it was more crust-like than seems possible given the ingredients. I thought it was pretty good, overall, especially if you're following a specific diet such as gluten free or low carb. It tasted like a frozen pizza to me! I will note however, that my dad, who was unaware of the lack of gluten, tried it and did not like it, so you may not be fooling your friends if you serve this under the guise of a regular pizza.

I would eat it again but what I really want to try is the breakfast pizza!

Have you tried the Real Good pizzas? What do you think of them? What's your favorite pizza chain? I'm caught between Pizza Hut and Papa John's. I'm looking at you cheesy bites crust!

Check them out here: https://realgoodfoods.com/

Monday, September 11, 2017

Review: Revele Whipped Gelato

I am an avid consumer and lover of ice cream/frozen yogurt/custard/gelato, you name it!

When I went to Italy, I ate gelato almost every day! However, at home, I typically steer towards lower sugar/calorie varieties simply because I eat it so much! It seems that new brands are popping up all the time now! My first discovery years ago was Arctic Zero, then I found my love, Halo Top, then I found my next love Enlightened. (Check out my Fit Frozen Faceoff! to see which I like best). I still haven't tried CoolWhey, ProYo, Breyer's new low calorie pints, or the new Skinny Cow pints. One new brand I had the honor of trying was Revele Whipped Gelato!

I suppose I had high expectations since they call it gelato. In my experience, gelato is thick, creamy and ultra sweet. It melts in your mouth. Let me stop before I start salivating.

They state that they use premium gelato ingredients and whip it so it's naturally lighter in calories and fat. Some things that make them different from other low calorie options: No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners (no, not even stevia!), no sugar alcohols - made with real cane sugar, lactose and gluten free. These are definitely some unique benefits, especially for people who have digestive issues or bloating issues, often brought on or worsened by sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.

The array of flavors: Vanilla Symphony, Cake Batter, Strawberry, Coffee Toffee Crunch, White Chocolate Raspberry and Belgian Chocolate. Macros per pint: 320-360 calories 16gf/44-48c/4-8p 

The first flavor I tried was Vanilla Symphony!
The good: the flavor was spot on! It was a rich and full bodied vanilla flavor. However, the texture was a bit strange. It's like my spoon sort of just mushed it down instead of scooping it up. It was very light but not melt in your mouth. It sort of broke off in crystal formation, however, it wasn't icy. It was hard to describe, but not what I expect from something marketed as "gelato".

The second flavor I tried was Coffee Toffee Crunch!
I encountered the same scenario as I did with vanilla. The flavor was very good but the texture was a bit disappointing. This one didn't seem to bother me as much but I'm not sure if it was actually creamier or if it was because I was eating it after a hot run! lol! This flavor also had the added perk of toffee pieces! The toffee tasted very good and complimented the coffee flavor nicely.

Those are the only two flavors I have tried so far but I look forward to trying the others. They do a great job at capturing the flavors! I will update this post as I try more so stay tuned! Also, note that I receive these shipped on dry ice so I don't know if that may have caused a difference in texture! If you've tried them, let me know what you thought of the texture!

Gelato, frozen yogurt, ice cream or custard? What's your top pick?

Want to try Revele or learn more about them? Check them out here: http://revelegelato.com/









Thursday, August 24, 2017

Road Trip and Travel Tips!

Summer is full of adventures for a lot of people!

It's funny, I'm not in school or a seasonal job but I still find that I do more trips and travel during the summer. One trip that I take annually is to upstate New York to visit family. I also enjoy beach trips, camping trips, etc.

I do also, however, like to have a good fitness routine and try for decent nutrition. So how can these things work together?

Tip 1: Relax. Chances are, you are still home more than you are away so chill out.

Tip 2: If you want to workout on your vacation or trip, you can do bodyweight exercises, take resistance bands, or do park workouts at your location. Another great option is to just be active! When I visited NY, we all went hiking as a family, another day several of us went for a walk together and enjoyed good company, and another day we all went swimming! Fitness doesn't always need to be "the grind".

The Best Flavor!




Tip 3: Take breaks in long car trips to stretch and walk around. You'll get there when you get there. It's very hard on the body to sit for hours on end so be kind to your body and mind and stop at rest stops to stretch!

Tip 4: Find good roadtrip snacks! One of my favorite snacks is popcorn. I can only find Sinfully Thin brand of popcorn at Sheetz gas stations which we pass on the way to NY! How perfect! I also like to pack fruits, veggies, protein bars and chocolate.

Tip 5: Enjoy yourself. The more you stress about food or exercise, the less you will enjoy your trip and the company around you. The gym will be there when you get home!

Balance!




















What trips have you taken this summer? Do you exercise on vacation?














Popcorn photo from: http://store.openroadsnacks.com/category/Sinfully_Thin/1428.aspx

Monday, August 21, 2017

Keto Meringues! Sugar Free!

I recently had the idea to make Meringue cookies and my curiosity was piqued at the idea of making sugar free meringue cookies. I wondered if it would work! 

3 calories a piece?! I'll take 10! 

I took to Google, and to my surprise there were recipes with Splenda, erythritol, stevia and beyond!

I decided to try my hand at sugar free meringues with an erythritol based sweetener I just purchased recently. The brand is Swerve and I purchased it from Luckyvitamin.com. It claims to have no aftertaste!

Meringues can be a bit tricky to set up due to humidity and given that it was a hot August day in North Carolina, I think they turned out pretty well! The texture was good on most of them but a few of them were still a bit soft in the middle. 

Factors working against me:

  • I didn't have enough egg whites
  • I didn't have cream of tartar
  • I was attempting sugar free
  • I didn't have parchment paper
  • Humidity
You may be thinking, why even bother? Well, I don't know. I just had the idea in my head and couldn't let it go! All in all, I was pleased with my results and look forward to trying again with less humidity and real egg whites. 

The cookies came out to about 3 calories a piece which includes the small amount of calories in vanilla and 0 calorie sweetener (it is listed as 0 calorie due to the serving size - if a food is less than 5 calories per serving, they can list it as 0 despite having a small amount of calories). 

Ingredients:

  • 8 tsp meringue powder (I used Wiltons brand)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp sweetener (aka 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whip with a mixer until stiff peaks form. (You may use 4 egg whites in place of the meringue powder but note that meringue powder contains cream of tartar in the ingredients so you may want to add cream of tartar or vinegar or lemon juice if you use egg whites.)
  3. Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. 
  4. Reduce temperature to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 20 minutes. 
  5. Turn the oven off and open the oven door. Allow the cookies to cool in the oven with the door open for 2 hour. 
  6. Peel the cookies off the parchment paper and enjoy!
Trust me on the two hours of cooling time! I thought my cookies were a complete fail because the texture was so off until I let them cool for two hours in the oven and they transformed!

Let me know if you try these! What is your thought on Meringue cookies? Have you ever tried to make them before?
Crispy, yet melt in your mouth!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Product Review: NeuroGum

I don't know about you, but I almost always consume some sort of caffeine or energy booster before a run or a workout. I'm sure its 97% placebo effect, but I continue to do it nonetheless.

Pre-workouts can be hard to find one that works for you and tastes good. Energy drinks can be full of sugars or artificial ingredients (not to say I don't use these things XD).

In comes NeuroGum! It's the #1 Nootropic Energy Gum engineered to give energy, clarity, and focus. It contains caffeine (40mg), L-Theanine - the major amino acid in green tea, vitamin B6 and B12 for a combination that is supposed to give you sharp and focused energy 5 times faster than other methods of energy. It's also Non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, soy free, aspartame free and sugar-free clocking in at 2 calories per piece.

So how does it hold up under test by a self-proclaimed caffeine junkie? With only a meager 40 mg of caffeine, can this gum actually do anything for me?

I put it to the test first at work. I work a desk job and was really dragging. I decided to chew a piece of Neuro gum and it definitely helped perk me up and keep me focused. I also feel like the mintiness and chewing help stimulate me.

The second time I tried it was before a run. I have recently been dealing with shin splints and took time off of running but I decided to try a fairly flat run and see how it went so I wasn't expecting my fastest pace. I have to admit, I had my morning caffeine along with the gum before my run and I can't say I noticed any additional enhancement. I actually chewed it  throughout my run and was pleasantly surprised that it didnt A) become hard as a rock, or B) completely dissolve.
My first run in weeks, with Neuro Gum to help!

I think this would probably be a good substitute for grabbing that energy drink from the gas station. However, if you already consume stimulants on a regular basis, I wouldn't expect any more of a boost than an energy drink.

Overall, I like this product and will probably continue to use it when I feel sluggish at work!

How would you use this? Do you have caffeine regularly?

 Check it out at NeuroGum.com




Monday, August 7, 2017

Mental Health: Endurance

from Pinterest.com

Endurance. What does it really mean?

In the past, when I was in the hospital, my friends and family would tell me I was so strong. I was enduring so much. However, I didn't feel strong or brave. I felt helpless and simply without choices. What could I do?

“Endurance: It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope. It is the quality which keeps a man on his feet with his face to the wind. It is the virtue which can transmute the hardest trial into glory because beyond the pain it sees the goal.”


― AnonymousCome Be My Follower

I needed, and often still need to, adjust my perspective. 

Yes, right now, things may seem horrible. Things may be horrible. But it is not the end. There is always a hope. I personally find hope in the Bible but no matter who you are or what you believe, every cloud has a silver lining. Change your perspective. 

I often think of a small child who drops their ice cream. They might cry or scream and seems to be the end of the world. In their eyes, it truly is horrible! If they could see that there will be more ice cream in their life, that a dropped ice cream cone is not that bad, that some children don't even know what it's like to have such a luxury, then they would be able to endure it. This is not to invalidate their feelings. Their disappointment and upset is very real and genuine. 

It's the same no matter our age. Whatever we're going through is, in our eyes, horrible and not without merit. However, when we reflect on our hope, on the grand future, we can bear up under hardships with JOY. Can you imagine it?


“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”


― Anne Frank