Posts Tagged ‘natural foods’

Back-to-School with CLIFKid

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Last year I shared my love for CLIF Kid snacks with you (to read post: Click Here). My family and I have been a big fan of their Zbars for a while now. Well, with back-to-school around the corner, I could not pass up the chance to share their latest product with you…CLIF Kid Zbar Protein! These nutritious snack bars are made with organic whole grains and contain 5 grams of protein. They are also a great source of calcium, fiber, iron, zinc and vitamin D. They do not contain any high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, preservatives or artificial flavors. They are also low in calories, fat and sugar. They are a great alternative to conventional granola bars, snacks and sweets that are filled with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.

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Zbar Protein is available in 3 flavors: Chocolate chip, Chocolate Mint (my daughter’s favorite!) and Peanut Butter Chocolate (my favorite!).  All three are super yummy…your kids won’t even know they’re actually good for them. A box of 5 sells for approximately $4.99…just around 99 cents per bar!

Zbar makes a great addition to your child’s lunch. It can also be used as an after-school snack, fuel for after-school activities, or a post-practice recovery snack. It is essential that growing, active children get their daily intake of nutrients in order to perform and flourish. I don’t know about you, but this is the type of snack bar I am happy to pack in my little girl’s lunchbox…

So, in honor of Back-to-School, I would like to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to be a “lunchbox hero.”  Be the first to leave a comment below sharing your most creative healthy lunchbox snack and you will win a half dozen variety of the new CLIF Kid Zbar Protein snack bars…simple as that!

For more info on CLIF Kid visit the Website or follow them on Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

 

Final Ecocentric Mom Review

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Yes, sadly, this will be my last Ecocentric Mom review. I have had such a great time being a part of the expert blogger team and receiving goodies to review and share with you, but my time has come to move on. This past year was a very busy one and after some R&R this Summer, I’ve realized the need to slow down a bit. With a new school year around the corner, I am looking forward to new projects and responsibilities. However, the focus on my priorities and time management will be much clearer. Family comes first and Ecocentric Mom has played a big role for me in making sure I do not forget that.

As a busy mom it can be difficult to find the time to ensure you are providing your family (and yourself!) with the healthiest and safest options. That’s where Ecocentric Mom subscription boxes can help. Every other month you will get a box of organic, natural and healthy products right at your doorstep. You can discover and learn about some of the healthiest snacks, safest bath products and cosmetics, and so much more.

Being a Birth and Postpartum Doula, I want to make sure I keep up-to-date with what’s out there for new moms and little ones too. So, without further ado, check out the great products I received in my July/August “Mom-to-Be” Ecocentric Mom Box…..

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Cream Foundation ~ this has become one of my favorite make-up lines thanks to Ecocentric Mom. I’ve tried their lipstick and glosses and love them. While I’m not a foundation fan, this stuff works great….super lightweight, all-natural and contains SPF-28. I received a 3 pack travel size worth $1.40.

Savannah Red Lip Balm ~ this balm comes in a variety of flavors. I received the Beautiful Sugar and love how it smells. Best of all, the natural and organic ingredients leave my lips feeling so soft. One tube of lip balm sells for $2.99. I also received a 20% online discount code.

Bears Beauty Belly Balm ~ This organic skincare line will be a great recommendation for my doula clients. Hand-made, chemical free and made with organic hemp oil, this vegan belly balm is a safe choice for your baby. I received a travel size balm worth $1.50 and a 15% online discount code.

Bathtime Baby Hair & Body Wash ~ Another great recommendation for my doula clients, this baby skincare line is free of parabens, glycols, petroleum, sulfates, fragrances, dyes, and all that toxic stuff that can be harsh and damaging to your baby’s delicate skin. It is made with organic plant and fruit extracts, nourishing vitamins, antioxidants, and other ingredients that are safe and gentle and care for your little one. Bathtime Baby is also made in the U.S.A., is vegan and comes in BPA & Phthalate free packaging. I received a 3 oz. bottle which sells for $7.50, along with a 20% online discount code.

Water Wipes All-Natural Baby Wipes ~ This is the second time I receive Water Wipes in my Ecocentric Mom Box…but I’m not complaining! In fact, they are the brand I recommend the most. These are truly the purest baby wipes ever…made with 99.9% water and just a drop of fruit extract. I received a 10 wipe travel pack which sells for 99 cents. They can now be found at most major retailers, including walgreens.com and diapers.com.

Happy Baby Meal Time Board Book ~ This adorable book would make a great gift for any new mom and baby, especially when it is time to introduce solid foods to your little one. The bright pictures and clever words will keep baby entertained and expose him or her to meal time fun and reading. The board book sells for $9.95.

eInvite Sample Personalized Cards & Stationery ~ I received 5 sample fold top cards and a 20% online discount code which introduced me to eInvite.com. The site offers a great line of personalized stationery. You will find baby related stationary, like shower invitations and birth announcements, all customizable and all made in the USA. Visit http://www.einvite.com for more info.

AROMAFLAGE Botanical Fragrance & Insect Repellent ~ Now that I’m back on the East Coast for the end of Summer and its humidity, I will definitely be putting this to use to keep those pesky mosquitoes away. It is free of synthetic fragrances, parabens and other toxic chemicals. The cedar wood, vanilla, citrus and Vitamin E combination even make it smell good, unlike most natural insect repellents. I received a travel size sample worth $3.75.

The Natural Suburban Spices and Teas ~ I received a sample of “Summer Herb Garden Savory Spice”, as well as “Need a Little Sunshine in my Day Tea.” While I have not used either yet, I love that they are handcrafted, all-organic blends. I also received a 20% online discount code.

Yogavive Apple Chips ~ Last, but certainly not least (considering I opened these first!), I received a regular bag of chocolate flavored apple chips. Not sure if it was the chocolate or the Yoga that caught my attention first. Regardless, this healthy snack is made with USDA certified organic Fuji apples and are 100% fat free…tasty too! A bag sells for $4.49.

There you have it…another box of great finds, thanks to Ecocentric Mom. If you are thinking of signing up for a subscription box service, I highly recommend you give them a try. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

For more information and to subscribe visit the Ecocentric Mom website.

March and April Goodies for Mom


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I’ve been enjoying some great new products the past couple of weeks, thanks to my Ecocentric Mom Discovery Box. Every other month I anticipate what new and useful products I’m going to find. With Mother’s Day coming up next month, you should really consider gifting yourself or a special mom in your life a subscription to Ecocentric Mom. Just look at all the amazing things I received in my March/April Box…

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2 Degrees Food Bar ~It was a nice treat to find this healthy food bar in my Ecocentric Mom Box. I actually tried one for the first time just a few weeks ago and liked it very much. It’s not just tasty, but also vegan, non-GMO, gluten free and Kosher. The bars are made with Heritage Grains like quinoa, chia and millet. What I like most about 2 Degrees Food is that they donate a meal to a child in need for every bar sold. I received one bar in the Cherry Almond flavor which sells for $1.99.

BrewLeaf Organic Tea ~ I love trying new teas. I received a sample pack of caffeine-free Roman Provence Rooibos Tea by BrewLeaf. The tea leaves smelled fresh and the tea tasted fruity and yummy.  A regular 2 ounce bag can brew up to 25 cups and sells for $6.99 – $8.99. I also received a 20% online discount.

BluApple ~ Another great surprise! I’ve been meaning to purchase something to help my produce last a little longer in the fridge for a while now. BluApple is a safe and effective way to do just that. The apple-shaped blue gadget absorbs the ethylene gas that fruits and veggies emit, allowing them to last up to three times longer. I’m still testing the product out, but after a week my tomatoes still look good! A pack of 2 Bluapples sells for $9.99. I received one BluApple Sample Kit.

Oatmeal Grapefruit Face Wash Powder by Homespun Northwest ~ Talk about literally feeding your skin…this powder is made of ground organic oats, Kaolin clay and grapefruit essential oil. Just a pinch of it mixed in with a little water creates a face wash that is perfect for any skin type. Homespun Northwest also make a variety of natural and vegan, home, baby and other beauty products. I received a travel size of face wash powder which sells for $3.50. A regular 4 ounce size sells for $7 and there is a certified gluten-free version that sells for $8. I also got a 10% online discount code.

House Blend Organics Coconut Body Wash ~ Right now we have everything from coconut oil to coconut cereal in our home. A coconut body wash was very welcomed…and I am loving the House Blend Organics version. It has a nice, light coconut smell and rich lather that leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. Best of all, its ingredient list simply consists of organic coconut, olive and jojoba oils, along with organic aloe vera and rosemary extract. This makes it a great choice for those suffering from dry skin and/or eczema and other skin issues. A regular 8 oz bottle sells for $14.95. I received a travel size bottle and a 15% online discount code.

MarieNatie All-Natural Lip Gloss ~ This came at the perfect time. I recently lost my favorite lip gloss and this Cotton Candy shade from MarieNatie matches almost perfectly. Best of all, it is free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, phthalates and petro-chemicals. I’m going to have to check out the rest of the cosmetic line too. A full size lip gloss sells for $18. I received a travel size gloss, which sells for $5, and a 20% discount code.

Treefort Naturals Comfrey Salve ~ This all-purpose salve is sure to come in handy now that the warm weather is setting in and those pesky mosquitos and bug bites are coming back. The Comfrey Salve is handmade with natural and organic ingredients, containing only organic olive oil infused with comfrey and calendula, beeswax, and lavender essential oil. A full size tin sells for $8. I received a travel size tin and a 20% online discount.

Bach Original Flower Remedies ~ This line of natural remedies is a system of 38 plant and flower based essences developed by Dr. Bach. By placing a few drops in your water, you can help manage the emotional demands of everyday life. I received a bottle of Elm which “restores your normal strength and optimism when you are temporarily overwhelmed or burdened by responsibility.” This couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve been extremely busy lately and counting down to my few days of break for the Easter holiday. Call it coincidence, but after a hectic week and placing a few drops in my water bottle each day, I did not feel as stressed and had a very productive and positive week. J I received a regular size bottle of essence, which sells for $19.98, and a $4 online coupon.

Powernap 2-CD Set ~ Someone is definitely trying to tell me to relax! 😉 I am definitely not much of a napper, but this CD set may convert me. In the first disc, you can choose from 3 long “naps” or two 5 minute programs. Each “nap” ends with chimes and a gentle voice to wake you. The second CD contains 19 songs with guitar and piano melodies that can help you sleep, relax, meditate, or even just get your creativity flowing. I actually plan to incorporate these CDS into the yoga classes I currently teach. The CD set sells for only $9.99.

Eco-Friendly Organic Acai Seed Bead Hair Barrette by Terri Jean’s Adornments ~ My daughter snagged this one from me! The hair barrette is very unique and I love knowing that it was designed with animals, nature and the environment in mind. It’s nice to see the growing trend in jewelry and accessories made with fruit seeds and other eco-friendly materials. One small barrette like this one sells for $5 on Etsy. I also received a 15% discount code.

Sport Suds Laundry Detergent ~ This detergent is formulated to completely get out odor-causing bacteria, oils and dirt from fabrics and leave them free of any residue. Best of all, it is biodegradable, made with natural ingredients and is non-toxic. I have yet to give this laundry detergent a try, but plan to use it this week on the hubby’s gym clothes. I received 2 sample packets and a 20% disount code. Prices for regular size jars, pouches and tubs range from $20.95-$59.95.

Along with discovering so many new and great products, I also received a $10 gift card for ESSIO, the world’s first aromatherapy diffuser for the shower.  Of course, my Ecocentric Mom box would not be complete without the March/April Expert Tips card. It included: Tips for a Safe and Non-Toxic Vacation by Kathy Scoleri and A Healthy and Tasty Lunch Recipe by Alysa Bajenaru.

This Mother’s Day, I highly recommend you give Ecocentric Mom a try. You end up getting so much more than you paid for…and who doesn’t love getting a surprise package in the mail? 😉

Happy Non-GMO Thanksgiving!

I recently shared the following infographic from the Non-GMO Project on the GreenDeals Go Green Blog and felt I should share it here too. (Join me in helping spread the word!) It is a great guide to ensure we keep our family well fed, safe, and healthy this holiday season. Be careful of those hidden ingredients and remember to buy local, organic, and look for the non-gmo label. You can even find a shopping list template, cookbook and recipes from the Non-GMO Project: Click Here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Diabetes Prevention in Children (Guest Post)

Diabetes-awareness-month

Every year more than 13, 000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus, formerly known as juvenile diabetes) in the United States. Recently the growing number of children being diagnosed with type 2 (adult onset) diabetes has raised an even greater need for concern and awareness. I’d like to thank Carolyn for sharing and writing the following article on a very important topic. 

Knowledge is power. Prevention is key. 

Diabetes Prevention in Kids: Where to Begin

Last month, the American diabetes awareness campaigns hit close to home. Since one of my little cousins was just recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, it’s been a personal journey to help her and my other cousins all start practicing healthier habits. According to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, one in three kids are currently struggling with being overweight or obese. With obesity and bad eating habits being the two main factors of Type II Diabetes, it’s never been more real to me of how important these factors are, which is what has lead me to working with all of my cousins to create healthier lifestyles in all of them.

Diabetes Prevention 101

The basics may seem simple to people who don’t have weight issues that run in their families. For one, don’t eat bad food. Secondly, get outside. However, diabetes prevention is more than eating the right food. You have to monitor your blood sugar intake and energy output, which means that while you may think diabetes sufferers can’t eat sugar, they actually are supposed to have a healthy amount of sugar in addition to vitamins and protein. However, they have to pay more attention to the type of sugar and how much they intake every day.

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Balanced Diets for Kids
The most important thing for preventing diabetes in children is a balanced plate. Macaroni and cheese may be my cousin’s favorite thing, and taking it away looks like a punishment, but if families bond together and eat the same foods on every plate, it’s just as fair and can even be a learning experience for everyone.

Plates should contain a large portion of non-starchy vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, mushrooms and cabbage. Smaller portions on the plate can include some starches like rice, pasta, whole grain bread and beans. The other small portion can contain sources of lean protein like sirloin, eggs, some types of cheese, chicken and turkey.

Things to Do and Avoid

Diabetes prevention comes down to reading labels. There are all types of food at the market with claims of being natural, organic, low in sugar and carbs, but reading the label proves otherwise. It is important to avoid refined sugars, high carbohydrates, ingredients with glucose and other high-in-sugar foods.  Perhaps even more important, is to stay away from preservatives, chemicals, dyes and genetically modified foods. There are several studies that link these all to not just diabetes, but cancer, autoimmune diseases and other life-threatening illnesses. More times than not, these bad ingredients are hidden in our foods. Snacks and foods specifically designed to appeal to children are the biggest offenders, so to understand the labels is key.

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Kids have to stay away from junk food, particularly in the beginning of learning these new habits. Any treat or sweet may seem like the diet isn’t serious, and we want kids to understand that it is a new direction, not a momentary pause before going back to McDonald’s on the way home.

Fast food and fried foods should also be off limits for a while in the beginning, though once healthy habits have been established small treats occasionally are allowed. The point is that you have to maintain a balance. If they eat a cookie after school, dinner has to be balanced and carbohydrate intake must be monitored.

The Other Half of the Equation
Eating right is only going to solve some of the problems. Kids also have to be outside and living an active existence. For some kids who are sedimentary, like video game lovers and television fanatics, you don’t have to change everything. These are some activities which can be done indoors or outside, and they aren’t that strenuous–meaning parents and other family members can join in too.

Yoga

Yoga for kids is really fun and you can challenge each other to do poses that resemble animals, trees and dancers. For example, Warrior 3 pose actually kind of looks like a flamingo, while the tree pose is fun and yet takes time to master. You just need a comfortable place to complete this low impact exercise, and enough space for all who want to participate. My cousins love to see their progression into harder poses now that we’ve been doing yoga for the past month!

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Dance

Zumba is probably one of the greatest new exercise classes which combines high energy dance routines with pop, hip hop and Latin music. If your kid loves to dance, Zumba may be the fun activity that gets them moving and it burns a lot of calories. You can also incorporate the video games kids like to play by using games such as Just Dance!

Just Get Out and Play

Many of the games kids like to play already have lots of running in them – we like to organize big games of neighborhood kickball tag, capture-the-flag, Red Rover, hide-and-seek, soccer, etc. The kids think they are just going out to play, yet they are getting tons of great exercise by running around for hours without even realizing it!

~Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/

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Other Sources: 

Holiday Cheese and Fruit Platter

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was very fortunate not to have to do any cooking this holiday. I was able to sit and enjoy a delicious meal, wine and quality time with the family. It was very needed. I was also able to put a lot of thought and effort into the appetizer dish I was asked to bring.  O.k., so it didn’t take much thought, but I’m still proud of my effort. Anyone who knows me knows I simply can’t resist cheese and if I could, I’d live off of cheese, chocolate and wine forever. My family is also very big on cheese and wine so I figured a cheese tray would definitely do. I trotted off to Trader Joe’s to buy a couple of my favorites and find a few new ones to sample. Imagine the sweet surprise at finding the very same cheese I had encountered last year around the holidays…and have been searching for ever since!

Chocolate Cheddar Cheese…what more could one need? A glass of red wine to go with it, but of course. The cheese is a great treat by itself too. The Chocolate does not overpower the cheddar or vice versa, as one might think. It’s a great blend. Melt it on some crispy bacon and now we’re on a whole new level. 😉

Another favorite Trader Joe’s cheese right now, perhaps thee favorite, is the Creamy Toscano Cheese Dusted with Cinnamon that I discovered back in September. It is truly brilliant. The light traces of cinnamon blend with Cheddar and Parmesan flavors to create a delicious and unique combination that is addicting. (Well, at least I’m completely hooked.)

Shopping at Trader Joe’s is always full of great surprises and new finds. It always inspires me too. After finding pomegranate seeds and some new cheeses, I instantly envisioned my pretty party platter.  I included the name labels on the tray so that everyone knew what they were trying. It was a big hit. It’s an easy and fun appetizer that can be used for any event, big or small (girls’ night, wine tastings, etc.), or even just a quiet evening at home. I’ll be putting together a bigger and better one for Christmas!

Holiday Cheese & Fruit Platter

Other cheeses I included: Trader Joe’s Parmesan & Gouda – another favorite in our household; Trader Joe’s Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper- a very unique combination that took a little getting used to, but enjoyed; Trader Joe’s Asiago Cheese – loved it on crackers. Also included are Trader Joe’s Red Grapes, Blackberries, Blueberries, Pomegranate Seeds, and Cracker Assortment.

Real Food AllWays

This week I finally made it over to one of my favorite cafes in the area. When I first moved to PA, this was the first place I came across that reminded me of home. The AllWays Cafe is a little spot in Huntingdon Valley that is known for it’s healthy and fresh food choices. Six years later, it is still my favorite, especially during the Autumn and Winter months.

During this time of year, there is nothing I crave more than a good bowl of soup and AllWays has my absolute favorite…butternut squash. It just might be the best one I’ve ever had! Along with this, I am also addicted to their Sweet Potato Quesadilla, made with pumpkin seeds, spinach, honey-lime chipotle sauce, sweet potatoes and cheddar cheese. It is served with a side of their salsa and sour cream. I have tried duplicating the quesadilla at home, but it just doesn’t come close.

What makes AllWays so unique to the area is their healthy choices of local and organic foods that cater to a variety of foodies and diets: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, raw diet, etc. I have had their Raw Salad, Lavendar Salad, Asparagus Salad, Thai Peanut Salad, Fresh Mozarella Panini, Veggie Wrap, Portabello Mushroom Sandwich, Falafal, Black Bean Burrito (thought I asked for chicken in it) and their Hummus & Veggies Starter. All of these dishes have been absolutely fantastic. They also carry my favorite line of ice teas, Steaz, and they make some good lattes. The meal isn’t complete without one of their famous Chocolate Bombs (a cross between a brownie and a cookie) for dessert. I only wish they made some without walnuts.

The Cafe is located in the Bethayres Shopping Center and while the parking lot isn’t tiny, it can get tricky during peak lunch hours. The place itself is very small. If they are busy it can be difficult to find seating and service can get slow. This is a great place for the whole family because of the quality of food, but if you are going to take small children, avoid peak hours or maybe just order it as take-out. Inside the cafe has a nice, boho-artsy and relaxed feel to it. Their menu is written on blackboards across the top of the ordering counter. Prices are extremely reasonable (average of $10 or less), especially for the amount of deliciousness you get. The only negative points, besides the lack of seating at lunch time, are their hours and that they don’t offer BYOB. They are only open Mon-Sat., 11am-7:30pm. It would be great if they had longer dinner hours on the weekend so you can enjoy a glass of wine or two with your meal.

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