Showing posts with label healthy eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label healthy eating. Show all posts

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Reviewing a Multi Vitamin & Mineral in Powder Form

Arbonne's whole food multi vitamin & mineral supplement in powder form "dissolvable multi vitamin"
Purchase here
It doesn't matter how good a diet you have when food doesn't have the same level of nutrients in it as it did when our grandparents were our age.   This is one of the reasons why I've always thought of taking a multi vitamin and mineral supplement as a form of insurance - nutritional insurance so to speak.

The other reason is (although I know I've been writing about good nutrition a lot over the past year) because sometimes I don't make the best nutritional choices, I'm only human!  I have a sweet tooth and I also love me a cheeseboard!   Having said that I have been making much more healthier choices over the past 18 months as I've shared with you.

Why Did I Stop Taking a Multi Vitamin?


Now for years I took a multi vitamin and mineral tablet every single day, but I actually started to have problems swallowing them.  The tablets are so big, I can still swallow them if they're the right shape, but when they changed the tablets I used to take and the bottles were dark (which I realise is to keep the integrity of the ingredients intact) and the blister packs were shrink wrapped I just stopped getting them.

Luckily I discovered Greens Balance and this gave me lots of vitamins and minerals each day and I really noticed the difference when taking it.

So Do I No Longer Need a Vitamin & Mineral Supplement?


I still felt that a multi vitamin would've been a good idea, but I was eating well and took greens balance every day along with a good quality protein powder and fizz sticks.   When Arbonne introduced their whole food multi vitamin and mineral supplement I was really happy that it was in a powder form.

I tried it with water first as it was supposed to be tasteless - nothing is tasteless and although I couldn't say what it tasted like I wasn't overly happy with it.   I do have a protein shake at lunch time though so I diluted it in my shake and I couldn't taste it - mission accomplished!

My husband doesn't drink a shake so I got him to put it in a little tropical juice drink that he enjoys drinking and he liked it as well.

How Do I Feel After Taking This Supplement for a Couple of Months?


I don't feel a lot different, but everyone I've been working with has been really sick over the last few months and I haven't been so who knows if it's the multi vitamins or the greens balance or a combination.

What I can report is that I forgot to take them over a long weekend and I did notice my energy levels weren't as high as usual (but I also wasn't doing very much which could have made that difference).

In conclusion I don't know if a multi vitamin and mineral supplement makes a lot of difference, but I do like to take one as a form of nutritional health insurance.  I definitely recommend this powder form over a tablet as I believe it gets absorbed easier and it's a lot easier to swallow than some of the multi vitamin tablets I've had over the years.

Do you take a multi vitamin and mineral supplement?


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Saturday, September 7, 2019

Reviewing National Fruit and Veggies Month!

Did You Know That September Was National Fruit & Veggies Month?

Image adapted by Lou16 from a Pixabay image

I must admit it took me by surprise, but it's great that we have months where we can check out healthy eating habits.   March is National Nutrition Month and now we are encouraged to be good in September and make sure we eat all of our fruit and veg.

I'll be honest some days it's hard to get all of those serves of fruit and veg - do you find the same?   I do have a few sneaky ways in which I increase my vegetable intake though and I'm going to share them with you here.

  • Greens Balance
  • Spiralized Veggies
  • Hidden Veggies
  • Bulking Out Meals

Greens Balance - My (not so) Secret Weapon!


I love this product it's a powder that provides a serve of fruit and veg in one scoop and it's from 37 different fruit and veg which means you're eating a rainbow.

I usually take mine mixed in a drink, but I know some parents will put a scoop in things such as Bolognese to ensure that fussy children will get some fruit and veg.   I'm actually thinking of making some muffins or pancakes with the Greens Balance on St Patrick's Day next year!

Find out more about this super nutritional booster on my post - Reviewing Arbonne's Greens Balance.


Spiralized Veggies - Reducing Carbs & Adding Veg!


I first heard of spiralized zuchinni/courgette and thought it was an awesome idea and a great way to get my half a plate of vegetables when I just wanted to eat some Spaghetti Bolognese!  Once I brought my own spiralizer I discovered that you can use it on any number of vegetables.

My daughter is all grown up now, but I can imagine her wanting to eat her veggies (especially if she helped spiralize them) when they were in spirals as they just seem more fun!

If you're trying to cut back on eating pasta it is certainly a great compromise, check out my full review - Reviewing A Vegetable Spiralizer.


Hidden Veggies - Sneakily Getting the Veggie Count Up


There are lots of ways in which you can sneak vegetables into your diet from muffins to meatballs and so much more.   These are ways designed to get vegetables past picky eaters, but I love it as just ideas to increase my vegetable intake.

Check out some of these links:


Another way of disguising both fruit and vegetables is by making smoothies or even smoothie bowls.


Bulking Out Meals with Vegetables


Did you know that beans, lentils and chickpeas count towards your serves of vegetables a day?  I tell you that because I love using beans, lentils and vegetables to bulk out my meals.

When my daughter was young and we were a one income household I looked for ways to bulk out our meals, this budget inspired move also had healthy consequences as our vegetable intake increased!

Ideas I implemented included: 

  • Adding a tin of white beans to tomato soup and blending it up (this could count as a hidden veggie).
  • Adding green beans to lamb satay.
  • Adding chickpeas to a chicken curry dish my husband liked.
  • Adding frozen mixed vegetables to tuna pasta bake.
  • Adding spring onions and corn or onion and peas to potato bake.
  • Adding extra beans to chili (I have some recipes that call for black beans in which case I will also add white beans as they take on the flavor nicely and I have some recipes that don't ask for black beans, but I add them anyway!).
  • Adding zucchini to a number of different dishes (if it's in season it goes into just about anything from bakes to chili, shepherd's pie to stews).
  • Soups and stews can be a great way to add lots of vegetables to including any vegetables that are in the fridge (to avoid waste), any frozen veg or tinned veg.

There are countless ideas that can be used to get your vegetable intake up so let me know what your 'secret' way to increase your vegetable intake is.




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Monday, July 15, 2019

Reviewing the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit

NuWave Air Fryer Accessories
With my recent purchase of the NuWave Brio air fryer I also purchased the NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit. At first I thought the little pan and cooking rack were over-priced and I felt silly for spending that extra money. But after using them for nearly every healthy meal - multiple times a day - I consider them invaluable.

If you aren't at all familiar with the NuWave Brio air fryer, you can read my review here. The Gourmet Accessory Kit is sold separately here


NuWave Gourmet Accessory Kit


Because I am typically cooking only for myself I purchased the Gourmet Accessory Kit.  It sounds much more fancy than it is. It is really just a 6" x 6" square pan (2 Qt) with a handle and a 6" x 6" cooking rack.  Rather than cook my foods in the pan included with the machine or on it's existing rack, I use the little pan the most often. 

Easy Clean Up: The pan has been keeping mess to a minimum. The juices and splatter stay in the accessory pan. It is non-stick so it is easy to lift out and wash off. 

Portion Control: The Gourmet Accessory Kit also helps with portion control - without leaving me feeling deprived. The pan holds just a small amount. I cook that small amount and after a bit, if I'm still hungry, I can quickly cook a bit more in the Brio air fryer. However, I haven't felt like I needed that second portion very often.

Cooking Items Separately: I can also cook two different items at the same time. I place one item in the pan - sitting on the original rack in the machine - and cook veggies on the original rack next to it. I have not yet cooked a meal large enough to have to use the Accessory rack in addition to the original rack. But it's good to know that I will have that extra space if I need it.  

Weight Loss: After loosely following the eating habits recommended by the Embry family in Living Proof and using the NuWave Brio air fryer, I have lost 4 lbs in approximately 2 weeks. That doesn't sound like much, but I am thrilled with that much loss after just changing what I eat. 





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Monday, July 1, 2019

Reviewing the NuWave Brio 10 Qt Air Fryer

Reviewing the NuWave Brio on Review This! 
Just this week I purchased the NuWave Brio 10 qt air fryer. And I am immediately in love with this way of cooking. I had to immediately review my new kitchen appliance.  If I find that over time I become disenchanted with this air fryer, I'll update this review. But right now I cannot imagine changing my mind about this machine.


NuWave Brio 


I bought an air fryer due to a recommendation from a co-worker. My co-worker had a cardiac event at a very young age. Thankfully, he recovered fully and returned to work. Not only did he return to work he clearly was losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.  I asked him what his secret was. He said that he was using an air fryer. And if I was interested in losing weight and/or becoming healthier, I should definitely get one.

After looking at video reviews and comparison shopping in the stores, I chose the NuWave Brio 10 Qt machine. I made this choice for three main reasons.

  • similar pricing to the other machines
  • 1500w (double the power of some of the other machines)
  • a larger cooking space than some of the other machines

The NuWave advertising lists the highlights of this appliance as:

  • digital controls
  • evenly distributed heat
  • dishwasher safe parts (the parts - not the machine)
  • program functions - program your favorite recipes
  • stage functions - create up to 10 stages of time/temp adjustments
  • rotisserie - adjustable forks and rotates 360 degrees
  • sear function 
  • reversible wire rack (to adjust the height of your food and/or make room for up to an 8 lb chicken)
  • built-in "safe start" sensor
  • precise temperature control from 100F - 400F degrees. 

My Skepticism and Hesitation


That initial air fryer recommendation came to me close to two years ago. When my co-worker suggested an air fryer, one of the reasons I was very skeptical is that I didn't believe that I'd use one regularly. After all, I never deep-fry foods and I already often bake my meats/french fries rather than fry. 

Since then, a second co-worker has had a cardiac event (she is fully recovered also - thank God!). With my friends having major health scares, my own increasingly health problems, and after watching a movie of a young man who controls his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms via diet and exercise, I decided to take the plunge and purchase an air fryer. 

(No, I do not have MS, but his story about healthy diet was so motivating I decided to focus on cutting out even more carbs, sugars, and junk foods. If you would like to see my review of Living Proof by Matt Embry, click here).


The Past Week with the Brio Air Fryer


Since I have bought this machine, I have had a wide variety of cooked vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, green beans) that I normally would not have unless I was eating out. For some reason, I have never been able to stir-fry or saute vegetables and have them turn out appealing in any way. The one vegetable I cook well is summer squash, but I was frying them in a small amount of oil. Now I'm air frying them with only a dusting of cooking spray.

I've made chicken livers in this machine and they turned out GREAT.  I did not expect them too. The light flour coating browned and crisped. I was amazed. Another perk was that cooking the chicken livers in the machine greatly decreased that cooking liver smell that permeates the apartment when I cook them in the frying pan!  

I've also made a beef and broccoli Chinese food recipe that turned out GREAT. This is something I've never been able to cook successfully previously. 

I have made both lightly floured chicken nuggets and BBQ chicken chunks that looked and tasted as though they were grilled.

But the best thing about this appliance has been cooking great foods, foods that I often would pop into the oven for 30 - 45 minutes. But this apartment is hot and we've been having a heatwave. Without the Brio, I would either be on the verge of heatstroke while making dinner or I would forgo a real meal. With the NuWave Brio, I have been making great meals during this heatwave and adding very little, if any, extra heat in the kitchen. 

I am really pleased with this purchase and I'm very glad I finally acted on my co-worker's recommendation.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Did You Know That March is National Nutrition Month?

March is national nutrition month
Image courtesy of Pixabay
As National Nutrition Month, March seems a good time to review ways to increase your nutrition in your daily life.   Most people do not consume the recommended nutrients every day to keep their bodies running in peak condition, so let's look at ways we can fix this.

Of course you could use March as an excuse to give your body a reboot aka a spring clean for your body instead of your house!  This is a great way to start creating your healthy habits.

You may think that's a bit too much so let's look at other things you can do -

  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Reduce your salt intake
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Reduce your processed foods
  • Increase your fruit and veg intake


We've all heard these comments before haven't we?   The problem is how and where to start so lets's go through them all one by one.

How to Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Now if you only drink one cup of coffee or tea a day then you are probably okay, but I know many people drink a LOT more than that.  The problem with drinking too much caffeine whether it's from coffee, tea, cola drinks or energy drinks is that caffeine can cause the depletion of certain nutrients such as vitamin B6.   Not only that but it also interferes with your body's ability to absorb essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

It can be had to cut back as a lot of the time we grab these drinks out of habit, one way that I've gone down from 10 mugs a day to 1-2 a week is by using Fizz Sticks.  Let me tell you more ...

I like to drink what I call a green ogre drink on my way to work and I find that it gives me the same effect as my morning latte that I used to grab on my way to work at my previous job.   If you start off by just replacing one coffee with this I think you'll find you won't need your next one as quickly because you don't get the espresso crash as the effects of the caffeine from coffee wears off.

If you enjoy having a cuppa when you get up or after dinner then try a few caffeine free teas instead such as these -

Why Drink Peppermint Tea?Why Drink Peppermint Tea?
I love the flavour of peppermint so I'm probably biased as to why you should drink peppermint tea! However it does have a lot of benefits from aiding digestion to helping with concentration.


Review of Lifestyle Awareness TeasReview of Lifestyle Awareness Teas
Lifestyle Awareness is a brand of organic tea and this review focuses on just two of the teas in the range - Immunity Now and Serene Slumber. These teas have medicinal benefits to them as well and we can all use help with boosting our immune systems!



Or I do enjoy a cup of Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla before going to bed on a cold night.

If you're more of a soda drinker or you feel like you need an energy drink to keep you going then Fizz Sticks are definitely something that you can substitute for them.   You will find that the effects last a lot longer so that you don't need to drink as many. They come in four different flavors and contain a lot less sugar as well as being a lot healthier in other ways too.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake


Too much salt can adversely affect our sodium/potassium balance and let's face it everywhere you turn you're being told to cut down salt aren't you?

Salt is one of those foods that are often in hidden in the foods you eat, one product that is usually high in salt is commercial stock (especially the convenient stock cubes).   A simple way to deal with this is to make your own vegetable stock, it's very easy as you can see here - how to make veggie stock - and you can make big batches to freeze down.   Using this you can monitor exactly how much salt you add to your food.

Reducing the amount of processed foods will help a lot (more on that later) and reading labels to build your awareness will be quite a shock to you.

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake


Sugar is empty as far as nutritional value goes and it's also addictive.   I would try and use other products to sweeten things for example when my daughter was younger I would half the amount of sugar a recipe called for to make sweet muffins and throw in a mashed banana to use for sweetness instead.

If you or your children like using flavored drinks instead of water then why not look at putting cubed watermelon in your water pitcher as this fruit contains electrolytes.  Berries or citrus are also great ways of  adding flavor.

Looking on sites such as Pinterest can help with ideas for sugar free or low sugar recipes and I find myself using dates, bananas, apples and even maple syrup in my cooking as a way to keep the sweetness while raising the nutritional value of a dish.

How to Reduce Processed Foods


Processed foods can be devoid of many nutrients as well as containing high amounts of sugar and/or salt - this is especially so with low fat processed foods.

Now I'm not saying you have to totally embrace the whole food movement (although it's really great!), but being more aware of what you're eating is a good place to start.   The best way to reduce processed foods is to start cooking a few things from scratch.

Now with our busy lifestyles it can be hard to imagine cooking everything from scratch so I would recommend starting with one meal a week and cooking double quantities, one lot for that meal and one lot for the freezer which means the next week you have your 'new' meal plus the frozen meal from the previous week.

Snack foods can be the biggest fall down for many households when it comes to processed foods so I like to make sure I have fresh fruit available and have vegetables such as carrot sticks prepared and ready to eat.   I also find making protein balls or bliss balls a great idea.

How to Increase Your Fruit & Veg Intake


We're all told to increase our fruit and vegetables, but how?  If you're starting to cook more from scratch and having it as snacks as well you will find that you start to increase your intake.

I try to throw extra vegetable into my meals when I'm cooking them for example when I cook a lamb or beef satay I will always add green beans.   I also add diced zucchini (courgette) to a number of dishes as it takes on flavors really well.

Another easy way to add vegetables into your diet is by using it to substitute some of your other foods for example use a spiralizer to make vegetable 'pasta' or using cauliflower or broccoli in place of rice.

Another thing that I do is I have a scoop of Greens Balance every day - this contains a rainbow of fruit and veg - and this can be taken on it's own, popped into a protein shake (or the green ogre shake above) or even added into something when you're cooking such as bolognaise.

I did see someone added the greens balance to banana muffins for her fussy child and he ate them because he was told they were made from monsters!

If you don't like eating breakfast or you have a child that doesn't like eating in the morning or at lunchtime then why not try a shake or a smoothie bowl - it's a great way to add in berries and other fruits as well as spinach, kale or a good old scoop of greens balance.

Reviewing Smoothie Bowl RecipesReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
Essentially a smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings and it is delicious. You can have a myriad of different flavors and there's really no rules as to what you can pop on top


Tropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe ReviewedTropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe Reviewed
The tropical fruit smoothies taste really good and they are very easy to make. Simply gather your favorite tropical fruits and the blender and you have a quick and healthy snack for breakfast, lunch or after dinner!


Healthy and Delicious SmoothiesHealthy and Delicious Smoothies
Feel more energized and healthier by adding a smoothie to your day, from tropical fruit to green smoothies and so many other recipes in between.



baby step ways to improve your nutrition for national nutrition month and beyond


So, Over to You


What are you going to do to improve your nutritional intake this month?




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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reviewing How To Reboot Your Body

reviewing how to reboot your body
The end of the year is often a time for reflection  and our New Years start off with  promises to ourselves of keeping good habits, kicking bad habits, taking time out for gratitude and other things.

This year I started my January by doing Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and I felt fantastic on it.   This plan is a great way to basically give your body a reboot!

I will be 'rebooting my body' again in January 2019 and I'm going to review the reasons why as well as the what, whys and hows of the plan.

Why I Love The Basic Principles of The 30DTHL Plan


There are three principles behind the plan as I see it -
  • First foods that are often allergenic, acidic or hard for the body to digest are eliminated - don't worry it's only for 30 days!
  • Second, you nourish your body with good, clean food and quality supplements.
  • Thirdly you support your body as it goes through it's rebooting process.
Doesn't that sound good?  This was what attracted me to this plan as I had discovered over 10 years ago that a certain food could cause my Rheumatoid Arthritis to flare up and yet other foods that cause other people to flare up didn't appear to affect me.

The idea of eliminating and then (this plan does include the words and beyond) re-introducing the different foods gradually so that you can see how they may or may not affect you, this idea is one that I think is brilliant.  Everyone is different, but I do think that everyone would benefit from a reboot at least once so that they can find out how different foods affect them.

I also love how the importance of nourishing your body correctly is handled.  This program provides you with protein powder to use twice a day leaving you to only have to prepare one meal a day (and snacks).  Initially I was a little unsure how I felt about this, however if I had to prepare three meals to the proportions recommended and not including processed foods I would probably not have lasted the whole 30 days.

We live busy lives and that's what Arbonne gets.   The protein powders are specially formulated (and by the way all of the products are vegan, gluten-free & kosher) and although I was skeptical about them filling me up they really do!   If you don't want shakes that's fine as you can cook with the protein powder too and there are recipes available for protein porridge, pancakes and lots more ideas.

Personally I love making up a shake in the morning as I find it quick, easy and filling.   On the weekends I will often treat myself to a smoothie bowl -

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2018/05/reviewing-smoothie-bowl-recipes.htmlReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
A smoothie bowl is essentially a thick smoothie that is served up in a bowl with a variety of toppings. It is delicious and feels like a decadent treat while also being a very healthy choice.

Gently supporting your body in a delicious way with their herbal tea and body cleanse is also great.   If you live in the US, Canada or the UK you also get what they call Digestion Plus to take every day and this works wonders on your gut health which is really important.

Who Needs to Reboot Their Body?

I think most of us need to reboot our body at some point so that it's working efficiently.  I think of when my internet connection is dropping out or just seems to hang, the first thing I do is hit the reset button on my wifi router and 99% of the time that's all it takes.

So why would you need to hit the reset button on your body?  Well let me list a few symptoms that may show your body isn't working as well as it could be -


signs you may need to detox
  • Bloating
  • Bad Breath 
  • Feeling Tired
  • Dry Lips 
  • Insomnia
  • Sore Muscles 
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Low Libido 
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Breakouts 
  • Headaches
  • Depression 
  • Gas
  • Skin Rashes 
  • Low Energy


What Do I Get with the 30 Day Pack?


When you order the plan you will receive 2 x bags of protein, 2 x boxes of herbal tea, 2 x boxes of fizz sticks, 1 x bag of fibre, 1 x box digestion plus*, 1 x box of Body Cleanse and 1 x tub of Greens Balance.

*Only available in the US, Canada & UK

You also get access to a private coaching group on facebook, a downloadable recipe book, 30 days worth of meal plans (both vegan and non-vegan plans) and you can message me any time.   I've actually done this plan a few times so can help with any questions you have.

30 days to healthy living and beyond - rebooting your body the healthy way
30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond

Changes I Have Personally Experienced


When I did my first 30 days to healthy living I found that I had lost 5kg (11 lb), I had lots of energy, I wasn't experiencing any mood swings (I am menopausal and these had been quite bad), my hot flushes had stopped, my sleeping had improved, my energy levels were really high and (as a total surprise) I was no longer sore or stiff in the morning when I woke up.

Now that last point was a big surprise to me as I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis approx 16 years ago.  I had come off of my medications about a decade ago and had been managing my condition with diet & lifestyle.   I had accepted, however, that I would be stiff in the mornings and sometimes a little sore - a combination of RA and getting older.   I have discovered that while doing this plan that was no longer the case and hasn't been all year!

Now I'm not claiming that this will work for everyone, but I can't think why you wouldn't give it a try!

What Happens After the Reboot


Part of the health reboot is eliminating certain foods for 30 days, now if you want to maximize the effect of this plan you need to gradually reintroduce these foods one at a time over the following few weeks.   This way you can pinpoint which foods (if any) effect you.

Foods can affect you differently as you age as well.  When we get older our bodies produce less digestive enzymes and this is why when I was on an elimination diet over a decade ago only one food seemed to effect me.   I now know that I have to reduce how often I eat other foods too.

The other thing that will happen after you've been making your clean meals for one meal a day (most people have dinners, but you may have chosen lunch) is that it's much easier to make your second meal as well.   I admit that a number of people I know actually continue to have a smoothie for their breakfast after finishing the plan.   In my case it's because it's easy, yummy and keeps me full!

Interested in Learning More?


Contact me via messenger on my Facebook page or leave a comment below and I'll get back to you with more information including how to order it at a discount.





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Monday, July 2, 2018

3 Refreshing Pea Recipes for Summer

It is very hot outside and I'm feeling particularly lazy. Yet I'm hungry. It's too hot to eat a full, heavy meal but I'm really hungry. After seeing my gardening friends posting their magazine quality photos of their pea harvests, I'm having a pea craving. I think the following three recipes are the three best pea recipes. 


7 Layer Salad


I love 7 layer salads. I tend to make them only occasionally in the summer and have not yet made one this year. There are a variety of 7 layer salad recipes to be found, but I always use the recipe that uses peas. I love the flavor that peas add to this salad.

While looking for that recipe, so I could give you the amounts of the ingredients, I found this version of a Layered Salad by The Pioneer Woman. I like her version even better! She adds spinach and tomatoes - in addition to the 7 ingredients I add: lettuce, eggs, peas, green onions, bacon, cheese, and mayo. 


Layered Salad by The Pioneer Woman

Her salad is like a beautiful BLT in a bowl, with the added oomph of the peas and other ingredients. What a fresh and beautiful layer salad. YUM! My mouth is watering. 

I need to stop at the farmer's stand and buy some fresh, ripe 'maters - instead of those cardboard flavored tomatoes at the grocery. 


Pea Soup



Pea Soup recipe by Eating Well
Pea soup!  How easy and flavorful can you get?  This Pea Soup recipe by Eating Well is right up my alley - only 12 ingredients; all of which I have in my kitchen right now with the exception of fresh thyme or parsley. The recipe claims that it only takes 35 minutes until ready to eat.

In this heat, I believe I would serve this chilled (as many pea soup recipes are) but I can also imagine this would be a great soup to prepare and serve either warm or chilled - depending on my mood that day.


Smashed Peas with Mint Butter


All my life, I've smashed my peas in my potatoes and made smashed peas. Mom served them separately but they ended up mashed together on my plate. Who knew that would become "a thing" ?!  Well, it is. 

Including the water, this Smashed Pea with Mint Butter recipe by Genius Kitchen has a whopping 7 ingredients! Again, everything I have in my kitchen already with the exception of fresh parsley. No, I don't intentionally boycott parsley, I apparently just don't really use it.

The idea of adding my own fresh mint (from the balcony) to my smashed peas excites me.


Smashed Peas with Mint Butter by Genius Kitchen


*  *  *  *  *  

Whether you prefer using fresh peas for a garden to table cooking or frozen peas (because frozen peas keep their flavor for a garden-fresh taste even when the gardens aren't producing) I hope you find one of these recipes to be useful. 

Summer is a wonderful time for trying new recipes and re-visiting family favorites because the seasonal vegetables are at their freshest and most flavorful. I always feel more adventurous in the kitchen when gardens are in full swing.

Related Link:

Do you think you hate eating peas? For me it was beets. I despised beets for decades. But I changed my mind recently. Here is my article about how I came to love (and crave) beets. Even if you think you don't want to eat peas, one of the above recipes may change your mind.

Looking for vegetable recipes other than peas?  I've included some recommended cookbooks below. And yes, I've included a kid-friendly cookbook (being released in October) because, frankly, kid-friendly recipes are more my style.


Photo Credit: Intro photo courtesy of Pixaby - CC0 creative commons


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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Reviewing Greens Balance by Arbonne

greens balance - adding nutrition to your day the easy way!
Greens Balance
We all know that we need to eat lots of veggies, most of our moms would tell us to eat up our greens when we were growing up and I know I used to challenge my daughter to eat a rainbow every day when she was younger (I made sure to let her know M&Ms did NOT count!).  Sometimes it is hard to get as many serves of fruit and vegetables that we should have into our daily lives though.

It can't just be a problem for me can it?  I didn't used to have any veggies with my breakfast until I discovered green smoothies, which meant I had to up my game come lunch time.  Dinner has always been easy to fit lots of vegetables into and fruit can be consumed as a snack, but I would still have days when I came up short on my 5 serves of veg and 2 of fruit.

Next I heard that instead of 7 a day we should be eating 10 a day and I must admit my first reaction was to throw my hands up in the air and give up!

Now some readers will know that I embarked on a healthy weight loss journey in December 2017 and this has been successful in both weight loss and health benefits - I have so much more energy it's like I've rediscovered my inner spark!  My journey uses Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and it was through this plan that I was introduced to Greens Balance.

So, What is Greens Balance?


Greens balance is a deep green powder that reminded me (in color and smell) of spirulina when I first saw it.  This is hardly a surprise when you look at the ingredients and see that it contains this nutrient dense algae along with wheat and barley grass and an array of different fruits and vegetables.

In just one scoop of this powder you really can say you're eating a rainbow!  A few of the fruit and vegetables that are in this powder are kale, broccoli, pomegranate, tomato, pumpkin, mango, blueberry and purple sweet potato.   As well as containing all the nutrients different colored fruit and veg provide, this powder also contains a powerful prebiotic fibre to help support a healthy digestive system.

How Do I Use Greens Balance?


As it's in powder form this makes it very easy to use, some people mix it in a little water and drink it like a shot of wheatgrass.  When I first saw and smelt the Greens Balance I thought people were crazy taking it this way so I did the following ...

I like to add a scoop into my breakfast smoothie, when I add cacao powder or a handful of berries I find that I can't even taste the greens balance and yet I'm getting all of that goodness.

I usually only have the one scoop a day, but when my family (and a number of work colleagues) were sick with a flu virus earlier this year I actually added a scoop to my lunchtime shake as well.  I never got the virus despite being surrounded by all the germs!

After I had been adding it to my shakes for several months I did try it as a shot and I quite liked it that way, until I discovered something called the Green Ogre Drink and now that's the way I like to take my shot of Greens Balance every day!

You can also add the greens balance to dishes when cooking to increase the vegetable content, I haven't personally tried this, but it sounds like a great idea.

Does It Really Help Though?


"It sounds good, but how do I know if it's doing anything for me?"  This is often a problem when you're doing lots of things to improve your health and you're not sure which ones are really necessary, but I will NOT be giving up my greens balance ......

I am feeling a lot healthier this year and my energy levels are fantastic, my immune system is awesome, my hormones are balanced, my rheumatoid arthritis is not only under control, but I wake up to no pain or stiffness at all.   Let's just say that what I'm doing is working really well.

A few weeks ago I actually ran out of greens balance (I thought I had another tub, but didn't), my order was delayed and I went 1 day with only half a scoop and 3 days with no greens balance.   Now I didn't think much of it until I got home from work on the 2nd day of not having any and I was really tired.   When I said to my husband how shattered I felt his first response was have you eaten enough?  I had eaten plenty, but that's when I realized that what was missing was the greens balance.

I am not letting the tub get too low before re-ordering again!

Do I Need Greens Balance if I Have a Good Diet?


I think I have a good diet, I have at least half a plate of vegetables with my main meal every night, lunches have been a problem in the past, but the past couple of years they have usually included either a salad or a vegetable soup (depending on the season).  Breakfast would often be my downfall, in the summer I would have some fruit and occasionally some veg included, but in winter when I used to have porridge there wouldn't be any fruit or veg. 

I still feel I need greens balance.   Only you know how much you eat, but I don't think you can ever have too much good nutrition.  I seriously am now considering it to be as important as my health insurance.

Where to Get Greens Balance?


You will need to purchase your greens balance online through any of the links I've provided, but if you want to contact me via my facebook page (Louanne Cox Business) then I can let you know how to get 20% off the standard retail price   Well worth looking into if you're planning on taking this every day.

How Long Does the Greens Balance Last?


At one scoop a day a tub of greens balance will last you 30 days.


Have More Questions?


If you want to know the full list of ingredients or have any questions that I haven't covered here then go straight to the website - here - and look at the product sheet.  Alternatively comment below or message me privately (via my facebook page or instagram).

Another Fun Way to Increase Vegetables in Your Diet


If you're not a fan of adding a nutritional supplement to your diet then you have to get creative with ways of increasing your veggie count and one way I do this is by using a spiralizer ...

easily increase your vegetable intake with a spiralizerEasily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer
A fun way to increase the vegetable content of your meal is to turn vegetables into noodles. This is really easy to do with a spiralizer.



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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why Drink Kefir? If You're Not Including this in Your Diet, You May Want to Rethink That...

Are You Familiar With Kefir?

If you haven't read up on Kefir, you're going to be surprised by all it's benefits.

In case you aren't familiar with Kefir, Kefir is fermented milk. Hey, I heard that gag.

I remember when I first told my mom about Kefir, and used the words 'fermented milk' to describe it, she about up-chucked on the spot.

However, stop right there, it's not sour milk .... it's more like drinkable yogurt.

Kefir comes from the Turkish word 'Keif' which means, "good". So that settles it, it's good.

So Why Drink Kefir?

I tripped upon Kefir's benefits about two years ago while researching inflammation remedies for a very unexpected health matter. Since then, it's been a daily (or almost daily) inclusion in my diet.

According to Healthline there are a number of Benefits to Kefir - Here's a summary of a few of Kefir's good stuff:
  1. Kefir contains high levels of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics
  2. There are approximately 30 strains of good bacteria that help protect against bad bacteria overgrowth, tumors, leaky-gut syndrome and more.
  3. It helps to boost immunity. One of the ingredients that's unique to Kefir is Lactobacillus Kefiri which aids in the protection of other harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. Coli.
  4. Another ingredient in Kefir is Insoluble Polysaccharide, also known as "Kefiran" and Kefiran is said to be an antimicrobial that guards against Candida. (Candida is a type of Yeast Infection that's mostly found in the mouth, vagina, intestinal tract, mucus membranes and skin). By the way Candida can give you a lot of symptoms - A white coating on your tongue, fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, gas, bloating, chronic sinus issues and more.
  5. Kefir is made from Whole Fat Dairy and has high levels of Calcium. Due to it's make-up it also helps you better absorb the calcium. All of this is good for your bones, especially if you're battling Osteoarthritis.
  6. It's anti-carcinogenic benefits make it a good cancer prevention addition to your diet.
  7. All of the above components give it the traits that aid the fight of Allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as improving your skin.
  8. This one benefit may be hard to believe considering it's made with milk, however, it is said to help those who are lactose intolerant. Like yogurt does, Kefir does this more effectively: It's live microorganisms help your immune system suppress allergic responses.
So How Does It Taste?
Lifeway Probiotic Low Fat Plain Kefir, 32 Ounce -- 6 per case.Lifeway Probiotic Low Fat Plain Kefir, 32 Ounce -- 6 per case.
There's plain Kefir and flavored Kefir. I've had both, and tried many flavors. As mentioned above, it tastes like drinkable yogurt, but has a slight tang to it. However, it's not tangy, it just has that hint of difference from other typical drinkable yogurts.

Drink it or Make Smoothies With It

If you can't stomach drinking Kefir (and once you start drinking it, you'll oddly begin to crave it) - then make smoothies with it.

I like to keep a flavored Kefir in my fridge when I'm not in the mood to make a smoothie, and I keep a bottle of plain Kefir for smoothies. I find plain Kefir too hard to drink, but added to smoothies it's ideal.

My Favorite Kefir Smoothie Recipe:

In my Vitamix:
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Pitted Cherries (buy them in the frozen fruit section of your local grocer). The frozen cherries replace 'Ice' - If you use fresh cherries, you'll have to add ice - (too much work)
  • 1/2 Cup of Kefir (honestly I don't measure, I just kinda pour it in)
  • I'll add one single cherry flavored yogurt cup (any flavor is fine - buy regular fat yogurt, don't use any of that '0 percent stuff'- it's all fake sugar!)
  • About 1/4 cup of lemon water (we always keep lemon water in the fridge - just water with two whole lemons cut up in it) - use plain water if you must
  • Optional: a handful of spinach
  • Adjust the thickness you want by adding more or less of any of the above ingredients - just play with it. If you want a richer cherry flavor, add more cherries.
By the way, I'm not a doctor or health professional! Because of my own health issues I had to become informed on the right foods to include in my diet, and Kefir hit my radar.

Here's to your health *clinking kefir glasses*



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Monday, June 13, 2016

NutriBullet: Why I Waited Too Long!

NutriBullet Pro 900
I am slow to buy the latest thingamajigs and doodads. I'm not sure why, but my tendency is to not buy things when they are new on the market. I recently purchased a NutriBullet Pro 900 and I regret having waited for so long. If you like smoothies or if you are committing to a more healthy diet, I highly recommend the NutriBullet Pro 900. 


Why I chose the NutriBullet Pro 


My inexpensive blender finally gave up. While it was operational, I thought it did a suitable job making smoothies. I didn't feel like it was a big deal when the occasional banana blob got caught in the straw or the chunk of ice crunched between my teeth. I loved the heavy-duty glass pitcher and it worked well to make my smoothies every few days. But then it wore out and was beyond repair.

I had been reading reviews of different "smoothie" makers.  I've listened to friends talk about their wonderful and expensive blenders. I still procrastinated and didn't make a purchase. I didn't want to spend the money. I didn't want another kitchen gadget. And frankly, I thought smoothie makers were over-priced and just a gimmick.  In the meantime, I missed my occasional morning smoothie much more than I thought I would.

So far, my NutriBullet Pro has done a great job.  Not only does it crush ice completely, and mix the bananas into a smooth drink, it transformed carrots, a splash of orange juice, a splash of french vanilla creamer, ice, and water into an "orange" creamsicle drink!  Yes. Carrots pulverized into a smooth and creamy drink.  I believe the NutriBullet folks refer to it as "extracting" but I prefer the word pulverizing. 

While ultimately, there are more pieces with this system (the base, the two cups, the cup ring, lid, and handle attachments, and the blade assembly), somehow this seems easier than using my old blender that only had three pieces.  With the NutriBullet, I just add my ingredients to the cup, screw on the blade assembly, turn it upside-down and press and turn it slightly into the base. Then I watch it pulverize. When finished, I just remove it from the base (easy), remove the blade assembly, and add the cup attachment I prefer (the sippy-lid).

With my beloved blender, I had to choose a variety of settings (the ice setting first, followed by one of the higher settings). I also had to stop the blender and scrape ingredients from the sides. While I thought I'd miss the glass blender jar, the smaller cups are faster and easier to wash.

I regret having waited so long to add this machine to my kitchen and the health benefits to my life.


Pros


In addition to the creamsicle flavored smoothie, I like the following about the NutriBullet Pro 900:

  • the NutriBullet Pro 900 is 900 watts - which means little to me except that it is far more powerful than my blender was
  • is able to "breakdown" ingredients like carrots, nuts, flax seeds, and so on.
  • it is very easy to use - no fancy buttons or settings
  • it takes up very little counter space 
  • the cups are dishwasher safe (top shelf)
  • recipe book is included & free app with recipes available
  • nutritional information booklet -the reported health benefits of a variety of fruits, greens, and "boosts"
  • a 133 page booklet of recipes, health information, and testimonials

Cons


My only concerns are mild concerns. So mild that I nearly did not mention them here. But I decided to list them in the event someone who designs the future NutriBullet models reads this.  

I am a 51 year old woman with short fingers, weak hands, and apparently with worsening vision. I would still rate my NutriBullet Pro at 5 out of 5 stars. But the following are my concerns:
  • the "max" line on the cups are VERY hard to read with the ingredients in the cups 
  • the attachments (the blade, and the cup ring attachments, etc) are a large size that are nearly too large for my short fingers to grasp while turning
  • the attachments may be difficult for folks with arthritis, or other problems with grasp, to use easily
However, these issues will not cross your mind if you have good vision, average length fingers, and good grip. 

Perhaps the NutriBullet folks will make a NutriBullet Seniors model.

Next week I will explain why smoothies are important to me and I'll share some delicious smoothie recipes from my friends.


NutriBullet Recipe and Information Booklet Included






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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It's National Banana Day!

National Banana Day happens on April 20th and for all of you that don't have a calendar handy, that just happens to be today.

Now I don't know about you, but for me, bananas are not just monkey food, they are the best people food too.  After you are finished eating them, don't throw away the peel either.  I'm not going to suggest eating it, but did you know that you can bury it in the ground around your rose bushes and they will love all the nutrients that are coming to their root systems.

No mess and no waste, all of that banana goes, first, to feeding you, and then the peels, into feeding your garden.

Picture courtesy of Pixaby : I love My Minions and my Bananas
Bananas are one of Nature's most perfect fruits.  They are very high in vitamin B6  and low in sugar. They also contain essential minerals, Vitamin C,  and dietary fiber.  While bananas also contain potassium, they are not as high in potassium as other fruits and vegetables.  Having said that, you will still get a good amount of potassium,  8% of your daily requirements from a banana that weighs about 100 grams.  You get more potassium from beans, apricots, carrots and bell peppers, but they aren't nearly as ready to eat as that beautiful yellow skinned banana. (USDA)

What is really neat about bananas is that they help to regulate your blood sugar and cholesterol.  They are good for people who are having issues with their heart.  Bananas have also been studied in relation to High Blood Pressure and found to be very effective in regulating blood pressure in many people.  That is good news if this is something that worries you.  


Different Ways to Use Bananas 


I'm always interested in ways that people use bananas other than just peeling and eating them.  I love to peel them, cut them up and then layer them with ice cream either chocolate or vanilla.  If I've had a bad day and you make me a bowl of ice cream and banana, I will be a happy camper.  There is also the perennial standby of a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  I don't know anyone, regardless of age that doesn't like that for a treat (unless of course you have a peanut allergy).

Banana bread is always a welcome treat too.  There are so many recipes with different variations, but the same soft moist and nutritious outcome.

In my kitchen there is always a banana available.  Those banana hooks are pretty good at keeping them from getting all bruised.  They are right there in the open for anyone looking for a healthy snack. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals and not a whole lot of sugar.  So perfect for anyone who is watching their waistline too.  Quick and easy to eat, nutritious and delicious and really good for you.

When you buy too many bananas and they start to go brown, you don't have to make banana bread right away if you don't want to.  Just peel the bananas and place them into a Ziploc Bag, freeze them and when you are ready to make a banana dessert, they will be ready too.

Basic Banana Bread Recipe:


2-3 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar (you can make this 1 cup if you want it sweeter or 1/2 cup if you like less sweetness)
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 4x8 loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Stir in the melted butter.
Add to the mixing bowl,  soda and salt.  Stir in the sugar, beaten egg and vanilla extract. Add flour,
mixing until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Test with a skewer, when it comes out clean, the loaf is done.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Remove from the pan.  Use a serated knife to cut into slices.

That is the basic recipe from Simply Recipes (http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread), but you can add chocolate, nuts, cherries, dates, and a host of other additions to make this banana bread your very own.  I have used this recipe so often, and each time I try a new addition.  I have not been disappointed yet.

It is moist, delicious and nutritious. Banana bread is always a good seller at Bake Sales too!  You can also freeze it, just in case unexpected guests arrive.

Some things that may help you keep Bananas at the ready in your house.....







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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Paleo Spiralizer Recipes Cookbook Review

Two of the most popular words in the cooking and recipe world these days are “Paleo” and “spiralizer.” This cookbook really caught my eye because it incorporates both of these trends (or call them fads, that's okay, they're good fads) in one book with a rather long title, Spiralizer Cookbook: 45+ Paleo Spiralizer Recipes To Get You Started - Get Creative With Endless Possibilities, by Trisha Eakman. I recently found the book in the Kindle bookstore and wanted to share my review.

Besides the enticing combination mentioned in the title, the next thing that got my attention is that the recipes in this book go far beyond zucchini ribbons. While (as I write this) it's zucchini season, and zucchinis are the reason I originally bought my spiralizer, this book includes recipes that use spiral versions of lots of different foods.

Take carrots, for instance. How do Nutty Carrot Pancakes sound? Or Carrot and Garlic Pasta? Banana and Carrot Muffins? Just wait 'til you read those recipes that use spiralized carrots!

I do love zucchini, though, so I was very pleased to find, as I browsed the table of contents, plenty of recipes that use "zoodles," or zucchini noodles. The Fiery Shrimp and Zucchini Pasta, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles (I've already tried this one, see my photo below), even Choco Coco Zucchini Cookies all sound wonderful and are on my list of recipes to try.

This isn't a book meant to educate you on the benefits of eating clean, Paleo, or gluten free. It's a recipe book to encourage you, as the subtitle says, to "Get Creative With Endless Possibilities." The creative recipes inside are easy to follow and the ingredients are relatively easy to find. If you already cook gluten free, you'll probably have most of them on hand.

Paleo recipe from the Spiralizer Cookbook, Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles
from the Spiralizer Cookbook
(Photo by Susan Deppner)
If you follow a gluten free diet or if you're looking for Paleo recipes, I think you'll really enjoy this cookbook. In fact, you'll probably have a hard time choosing which recipe to prepare first. I finally chose Greek Salad with Zucchini Noodles. As you can see from my photo, it turned out great, healthful, beautiful, and delicious!



Like this one? Follow the link for more cookbooks for Kindle.

P.S. Did you know that you don't have to own a Kindle to enjoy Kindle cookbooks? Use one of Amazon's free reading apps to read on your phone or tablet. You'll find more info on the book page.


NOTE: This book is now available only in a paperback edition. The links above have been updated.

Veggetti Pro Spiral Vegetable Cutter
As Seen on TV


UPDATE: Readers have left comments about not being familiar with a spiralizer, so I found a version of the spiral vegetable cutter that I think you'll like.

This tool is called the Veggetti Pro, an "as seen on TV" spiralizer kitchen gadget with great reviews, very easy to use, and it makes both wide and narrow cuts (notice the wider zucchini noodles in the picture).

It's available at a great price, too, in the $25 vicinity as I write this. Great gift idea!



-- Susan Deppner
Read more of my reviews.




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