Friday, December 6, 2019

Friday Finds!

It's time for another round of Friday Finds! 

First up, Ghost Lifestyle Pre-Workout: I recently ran out of my Bowmar Nutrition Dragonfruit preworkout (I liked it!) and I had a coupon for GNC and a gift card so I thought I would check out their options. I saw the fun flavors of Ghost (Sour Patch, Warheads, etc.) and couldn't resist the Warheads Green Apple. I also love that they have a full disclosure label. The product has 4g L-Citrulline (pump), 2g beta alanine and 202 mg total caffeine. It is zero calories and I'm hoping delicious! Check it out here: https://www.ghostlifestyle.com/

Next we have Nightfood Ice Cream! If you know me, you know I love ice cream. So when I saw Nightfood ice cream in my local Harris Teeter, I had to try it. I believe a brand is defined by their Vanilla so I purchased that one! I like the concept of it helping me sleep but I'm not sure how effective it truly was. I wanted to love this ice cream but I found it to upset my stomach. The first ingredient is fiber which I'm guessing was the culprit. I'm sure this ice cream may be fine for some people, but if you're sensitive, you may want to proceed with caution. If you're interested in trying it, you can check it out  here: https://nightfood.com/flavors/

Homesick Candles: I love candles! I love them especially in the fall and winter. I just think they're so cozy. Homesick candles creates specialized candles that have a nostalgic with scents to match different locations. I tried Australia and Library and loved them both. Not only do they smell amazing, look pretty and bring back good memories, but they also burn for a long time! I love this concept and I think they would make great gifts! Check them out here: https://homesick.com/

What have you been discovering lately? Do you use preworkout?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Dip Into Something Delicious!







When I dip, you dip, we dip.

healthy_happy_and_free. Can we all agree that the best part of watching televised sports is th


Has that been overused?

Well, I hope not because I love dipping! Dipping into deliciousness, that is!

With fall here (hey football season!), it's time for snacks! Who am I kidding? It's always time for snacks.

Stonemill Kitchens creates delicious dips that are perfect for sharing with the family, for tailgating, for taking to a party or event or anytime! You can use them as-is as a dip, or get creative and use them in a recipe or as a spread!

Artichoke Jalapeno Parmesan

This flavor has everything you want in a dip, cheesy, satisfying, with a bit of a kick. It pairs wonderfully with crackers or crusty bread. I made a snack tray with Italian meats, olives, crackers and this dip. It was a big hit!

Buffalo Chicken

Everyone loves buffalo chicken, especially on game day, right? I loved this flavor! It's creamy, spicy and has hearty pieces of real chicken throughout. I love dipping veggies in it or on nachos. I even used it as a spread on a breakfast sandwich! Can you say buffalo chicken bacon breakfast sandwich?? Cue the salivating.

Creamy Onion 

This artisan style dip will elevate your chip and dip game. It's a classic dip flavor that was executed perfectly. I would pair this with chips or maybe even roasted potatoes!

Cranberry Jalapeno 

This seasonal flavor had me feeling a little skeptical. Would it be sweet? Spicy? Both? What in the world will I use this for? However, it was so intriguing, I had to try it! I first tried it on a turkey sandwich! I paired it with sourdough bread, roasted turkey breast, and spinach and I was pleasantly surprised. The cranberry and jalapeno flavors were perfectly balanced and made a great flavor boost to my turkey sandwich. I would also pair this with crackers!

healthy_happy_and_free. It has been a minute since I had a good turkey sandwich. And turkey sz


Which dip would you dip into first?

You can check out Stonemill Kitchens on Instagram @stonemillkitchens or online at https://stonemillkitchens.com/

Friday, November 1, 2019

Friday Finds: Familiar Faces, New Finds!

Friday Finds featuring Familiar Faces!

Try saying that 10x fast. 

Some brands that I have been loving lately have come out with awesome new products that I just couldn't ignore. The world needs to know! So read on to see some new products from familiar faces. 

Built Bar Peanut Butter Flavor - Okay, it's the flavor we've all been waiting for from Built Bars. Peanut Butter. It was 100% worth the wait. These bars follow the same idea as all Built bars with a soft, nougaty like center coated in rich chocolate. This flavor seriously tastes like a Snickers bar, yet it boasts 20g of protein! You can't beat that! If you haven't checked out Built Bars yet, wyd?? You can find them here: https://builtbar.com/ and use code: HHF2019 to save! Shipping is always free! 

Quest Bar Chocolate Caramel Chunk - Quest is slaying the game with consistently coming out with new flavors and products. Though they now have protein powders, bars, chips, and even pizza, the bars will always be my favorite product from them and they just keep getting better. This flavor has sweet, gooey pockets of caramel throughout, not to mention chocolate chunks. The bar has a soft, chewy texture that I love! Check them out here: QuestNutrition.com

Bowmar Cornbread Protein Nut Butter - No, that's not a typo. Cornbread. Nut Butter. I was hesitant. I was scared. I was intrigued. I don't really know how to describe this cashew based protein spread. It's slightly sweet with a hint of corny flavor? Whatever it is, its growing on me and I'm starting to love it! I'm not sure if it beats animal cookie though. Time will tell. Check it out here: BowmarNutrition.com

Real Good Foods Roasted Tomato Stuffed Chicken - Now available at Walmart and with a new flavor, the stuffed chicken breasts are by far one of my favorite products from Real Good Foods. The price point at Walmart is great too! I've only tried this flavor and the Spinach artichoke and loved them both! This one is stuffed with mozzarella cheese and roasted tomatoes. It makes for a quick, easy and delicious entrée. Find them at your local retailer or check them out online: https://realgoodfoods.com/ and use code: HHF at checkout to save!

So that's it folks! Some familiar brands coming out with all sorts of fun new flavors and products! I hope you check them out! 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Product Review: Purple, Yummy, and Easy on the Tummy!

I've got a riddle for you. 

What's purple, yummy, and easy on the tummy? 

I'll tell you. 

It's Beviva Foods snacks! Beviva Foods produces Sweet Potato Chips, Cereal Cups, and Granola Pouches.

But these aren't your average, every-day snacks. These snacks were created with a purpose. The founder, Sylvia, was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2011. She dealt with the debilitating symptoms while working and caring for her three children. 

She was inspired to create Beviva Snacks so that others who are dealing with digestive issues and sensitivities can have mini-meals and snacks that they can take when they are on the go, or in a rush, or anytime. Having tummy friendly snacks on hand are a must for those dealing with IBD and similar issues. I love that Sylvia has created these innovative products to help the many people trying to juggle life while dealing with their condition. 

Purple sweet potatoes stand as the foundation of their snacks. It is nutritious, easily digestible, delicious, not to mention, pretty! 

Their product line up includes:
  • Purpo All-in-One Cereal Cup : It has a crunchy sweet potato granola with dried papaya, sultanas, and cranberries and oat mylk. Just add water! The oats are certified gluten free so no worries there! 
I personally love a quick, light breakfast and especially one that I know will digest easily so I loved this little cup! It's satisfying and yummy! I actually tried it warmed up and loved it! It's not overly sweet but I enjoyed it. Top it off with some nut butter and you have a great mini-meal for busy days! 
  • Purpo Granola Pouches: Purple sweet potato granola with probiotics, 6g fiber and real coconut and fruits added in. 
I found this to be a great yogurt mix-in! I have been loving granola lately in yogurt or ice cream or even on it's own. This is a nice travel packet form for taking on trips or to work! 
  • Sweet Potato Chips: These chips are simply sweet potatoes and oil, vacuum fried in low temperatures to preserve the nutrition. No salt added. 



These are great when you're in need of a crunchy snack! Personally, I would add some salt to give it that extra oomph! But you could eat them as-is, sprinkle salt or cinnamon or even use them in a recipe! The possibilities are endless! 

I loved trying these IBD friendly snacks and though I don't personally have a diagnosed digestive disease, I have dealt with some undiagnosed symptoms. On days when my tummy just doesn't feel right, it's good to have a "safe" snack option that I can eat in confidence! 

Do you deal with any digestive issues? Did you know 70 million people suffer from digestive disorders? 

If you have digestive issues (or even if you don't!) I would say check out Beviva Foods! You can check them out here: https://www.bevivafoods.com/ or find them on Amazon!


I received this product free but all opinions are my own. If you are suffering with a digestive disorder, make sure to always check labels for yourself as each person is different with their dietary needs. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday Finds!

Another Friday and another round of Friday Finds!


The Girl On The Train (US cover 2015).png
from Wikipedia.com
Girl on the Train - I've been trying to read more lately and some books are almost a grind to get through. This book was captivating from the start. It's a page turner that I could not put down. If you like psychological thrillers, I would recommend this book!

Heka Good Keto Bars - There's a new bar in town and it's supposed to be good, heka good! These bars looked and sounded great and with just one gram net carb, it seemed too good to be true. I tried the peanut butter chocolate chip bar. It tasted good, not overly sweet. It had a Quest-bar ish texture but slightly more sticky. I think these would be a good option for someone on the keto diet but probably will not be a regular for me personally. Check them out here: https://hekagoodfoods.com/


 Paris Café Single Wick Candle - Bath And Body Works
from bathandbodyworks.co
Paris Café Candle from Bath and Body Works - I love candles. I just adore them. For some reason, in fall and winter, I love them even more. It's not often I share a specific candle I love on the blog but this scent will instantly transport you to a Parisian café (not that I've been to one lol). It creates an ambience that is irresistible. While you're candle shopping, you can smell all the pumpkin and leaves and harvest candles your heart desires. It's candle szn.

Bowmar Nutrition Frosted Animal Cookie Cashew Butter - I had my eye on this fun nut butter for a while and I finally had the chance to try it. I already love cashew butter so the nutty base was already a win. It tasted sweet and had a nice thick, yet drizzleable texture. The macros are higher in protein and lower in calories than your average nut butter so it's a good option for people who track macros plus it just tastes good! Check it out here: https://bowmarnutrition.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I Tried Every Trendy Diet of 2019 in One Week

Keto. Whole30. Intermittent fasting.

The diet world is on fire!

I set out to try some of the most popular, most challenging, and downright wild diet trends of 2019. In. One. Week.

Why did I do this?

I wanted to:
  1.  Assess the physical and mental effects of the top trending diets. 
  2.  Assess the long term sustainability for an "average" person.
I roped my mom into this crazy venture and we set off on Day 1 with the ever popular Whole30.

Day 1 : Whole30

If you're not familiar with the Whole30 diet, it's a 30 day "reset" that eliminates all dairy, soy, sugar, sweeteners, grains, legumes and certain additives. They have a sheet of rules and common additives in case you need some help.

My experience: To be completely honest, I have gone through a Whole30 before. I think when used properly, this diet can be ok. Depending on the person, this may have different mental effects. I found it somewhat refreshing to challenge myself to give up the diet sodas and energy drinks for a while. While the concept is nice and can be useful if you have food intolerances, the strict set of rules and regulations can make this diet feel a bit like punishment. I think having an appropriate mindset is the key and I think it's often touted as a weight loss plan when it serves better as an elimination diet.

Physically I was simply more tired because I consumed less caffeine (black coffee is just not that appealing lol). My overall energy, however, was pretty good. I had no abnormal bloating and my bowel movements remained normal. The other test subject reported a stable mood, normal bodily functions and feeling sluggish the next morning (likely due to decrease in caffeine).

Okay, that wasn't so bad. We got this.

Day Two: Keto 

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb diet with the concept of burning fat as fuel when you enter the state of ketosis. While I didn't have a blood glucose monitor or ketone strip, I followed the general rule of thumb to keep net carbs below 25g. We definitely did a bit of "dirty" keto consuming some "keto" bars, sugar free chocolate and zero calorie energy drinks - all which made the experience a little bit more fun. However, I did find that I was thinking about what foods I could eat, what the carbs were in one strawberry, etc. Subjects reported it was easier than expected but not sustainable as a lifestyle. Bodily functions and energy levels were reported as normal.

Day Three: Intermittent Fasting 

Intermittent Fasting is a diet method of eating in a time restricted window. It is typically 16 hours fasting with an 8 hour eating window or up to 14 hours fasting with a 10 hour eating window (more often for women). We opted for the shorter fasting window (obviously lol!).

Physically, I didn't find it that hard. Hunger subsided for me rather quickly but mentally, I was consumed with thoughts of food. The other subject reported hunger and that once the fasting was over, they overconsumed on carb-heavy foods.

I think it would definitely get easier the more you do it, but I don't see why you would. A good breakfast is something I look forward to start my day. I kept my caloric intake the same because I don't want to lose weight. The idea (for using this as a weight loss method) is that you consume less food, however, the hunger and subsequent overfeeding seems to negate that effect for an average person. I have limited knowledge of the longevity, cell autophagy, etc. effects of fasting and the windows that would be necessary to reap these benefits but I'm quite certain the masses that are adopting this trend are doing it primarily for the "weight loss".

One perk of this day was that we got to eat whatever we wanted during the eating window.

Day Four: Vegan 

Veganism is on the rise. It is a diet comprised of plant based foods only (no meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc.). Not only do vegans claim this diet is healthier, but also morally superior and better for the environment. (Let's not get into that!) Both test subjects have no intolerances to animal products. Subjects reported bloating and less satisfaction. Carbohydrate consumption increased and protein decreased despite the use of supplements. Energy and mood levels were stable. Some meals did not seem satisfying.

I found that there is a lot to take into consideration - even some beverages are not vegan! If veganism is being adopted for someone's personal viewpoint or taste, I completely respect that, but I don't think it should be sold as another diet or tool for weight loss. Oreos are vegan! Lol!

Day Five: Carnivore

The Carnivore diet is a very restrictive diet that includes only foods from animals: meat, fish, eggs, and certain dairy products. We included cheese and also (maybe cheated) zero calorie flavored beverages. It is purported to potentially reduce symptoms of autoimmune disease, have anti-inflammatory effects and obviously, aid in weight loss.

I started strong with eggs and bacon - can't go wrong there. I also consumed beef, lamb, chicken, bone broth and a small portion of cheese. Subjects reported no bloating and normal energy. However, the diet was very hard to follow with such heavy restrictions. It also caused a decrease in appetite which was not desirable for us. This diet is definitely unsustainable simply from a mental perspective. I think personally, I would consistently be underfed and preoccupied with thoughts of food.

So there it was. Five days, five diets. (And guess what, I caught a cold by the end of it!)

The Conclusion:

None of the diets appear to be sustainable for long term or effective as a long term weight loss method.

 Whole30 is marketed as a 30 day program and is acceptable as such, however, should not be primarily for weight loss.

The Ketogenic diet is a therapeutic diet for people with certain medical conditions and is not a magic weight loss diet. It creates a food focus and tendency towards processed foods.

Intermittent Fasting is effective as a weight loss tool due to a decrease in calories, however, the mental effects may negate the benefits. The effectiveness would vary person to person.

Veganism is not a weight loss diet and should not be approached as one. It is a choice for those with certain intolerances or personal viewpoint.

The Carnivore diet is the ultimate elimination diet, possibly could be beneficial to those with severe autoimmune issues or intolerances, for a temporary time period to ascertain the underlying issues.

If you personally benefit or enjoy a certain way of eating, go for it! However, I think it's important to remember that what works for someone may not work for you. Also, if something feels like punishment, it won't be sustainable as a lifestyle and there will most likely be a repercussion. That's why so many people "can't keep the weight off" after a "successful diet".

My personal recommendation would be to focus on fueling your body with good foods that make you feel good inside and out!

Which diet do you think would be hardest? Do you follow a diet for weight loss or other reasons?

Disclaimer: This article is not medical advice. Do not attempt any diet without consulting your medical professional. These were the results of our personal experiences. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

2 Ingredient Chocolate Truffles!

I'm a self proclaimed chocolate aficionado.


I just adore the small chocolate shops with cases of beautiful truffles and candies.

How can I recreate the experience at home? How can I make decadent, rich chocolate candies with silky smooth interiors?

Just two simple ingredients and you can be in chocolate bliss. No fancy chocolate shop necessary.

Ingredients:

  • 30g dark chocolate of choice (I used Montezuma chocolate from England!)
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream (this should be unsweetened, just coconut)
  • coating options: additional chocolate, melted; shredded coconut, cocoa powder, etc

Directions:

  1. Combine the chocolate and coconut cream in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. 
  2. Place the mixture in the fridge or freezer until it is firm enough to form into balls.
  3. Form into four small balls and coat in coating of choice. 
  4. That's it! Enjoy!
Makes 4 truffles.