ARYA Healthy Immunity Boosting Drinks

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~ Hippocrates

When many people think of Indian food, they picture the gold color and fragrant smell of curry. Turmeric is one of the spices that gives curry it’s signature color.  The distinct nature of turmeric boasts a sunny power that is hiding inside: curcumin.  Curcumin is a plant produced compound with a bevvy of health benefits like cancer prevention, inflammation reduction and perhaps even memory boosting.

Turmeric only contains about 5% or less of curcumin in weight so how are you going to access this compound without chewing a bunch of turmeric roots or currying it up on the daily?  Welp, ARYA Curcumin+ Beverages and Daily Antioxidant Gummy Chews contain ARYA’s Curcumin+, providing 27 times the absorption of regular curcumin.  Extracted from non-GMO turmeric, ARYA drinks and gummies are a food based way to get a bigger batch of curcumin into your bod.

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We were offered samples of the ARYA line for review.  So how do they taste?  Is sipping on curcumin better than sipping on syzurp?

ARYA Curcumin+ Beverages

There are four sparkling blends: Energy (Citrus), Radiance (Mixed  Berry), Immunity (Tropical) and Sports (Lemon-Lime).  All 4 have a bubbly texture and are refreshing.

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The Sports blend has the highest sugar content (over 20 grams, jeez).  Our guess is the sugars serve to replenish lost carbs after a hard workout.  Basically, don’t go sipping this drink after that difficult weekend of Netflix binging on the couch.

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Other blends have 5 or less calories and feature stevia and monkfruit as sweeteners.  The color of the blends can be a little startling and nuclear at first, but remember the color of turmeric?  Yup you got it: that bright yellow.  We have mixed feelings about the taste of stevia usually but the monk fruit seems to tamp it down for a more balanced sweetness.

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These four beverages include the equivelent of 4 tablespoons of turmeric in curcumin absorption per can.  The Energy blend was our drink of choice wit ginseng, taurnine and B vitamins.  This could be a healthier sub for your 5 hour energy or Red Bull drinkers, too!

Daily Antioxidant Gummy Chews

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The gummy chews are reminiscent of a gummy vitamin and have a pleasant mango flavor with a happy smile on the front of the gummy.  Gummies pack 1 tablespoon turmeric per serving – a daily dose of curcumin.

We think the gummies would be easier to infuse into a daily routine and the beverages would be more like a sometimes drink when you are looking for a boost.

ARYA Curcumin+ can be found at Walmart, on Amazon and at other retailers near you.

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Chiorganicgirls Meatless Monday: Grillable Veggie Burgers

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July is National Grilling Month and it’s been a scorcher in Chicago.  With all the BBQs and back yard grilling bonanzas this month, adding some veggie burgers to the mix can happify those who don’t wanna have a cow.  Humans are naturally omnivores, meaning we’re down (and hard wired) for some vegging out.  Plus, eating more veggie based meals can help the environment, reduce cancer risks, minimimize exposure to meat based antibiotics, and improve the quality of life for animals.  But lettuce not forget taste!  There isn’t mushroom for a bad tastin’ veggie burger on the grill.

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Upton’s Naturals, an independently owned Chicago based company, dedicates themselves to providing delicious veggie based meat alternatives for the vegan and vegetarian community in Chicago and abroad.  They just celebrated their 10th birthday and certainly know how to turnip any grilling occasion.

Their veggie burgers are one of the newest additions cropping up on their rotation.  So you may wonder, how does Upton’s Naturals: The Classic Burger stack up?

Battle of the Burger:

Traditional Hamburger vs. Upton’s Classic Veggie Burger

Traditional Single Patty Hamburger

  • Ingredients:
    • Beef (moooo)..maybe some hormones.  We can’t guarantee anything.
  • Nutritional Profile (from the USDA website):
    • Calories Per Serving: 254
    • Total Fat: 10 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3.1 g
    • Trans Fat: .5 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
    • Sodium: 378 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 29g
    • Sugar: 5g
    • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
    • Protein: 13 g
    • Cholesterol: 28 mg

Upton’s Classic Burger

  • Ingredients:
    • Vital wheat gluten, eggplant, water, tofu (water, soybeans, calcium sulfate), sunflower, canola or safflower oil, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybeans, salt), wheat flour, nutritional yeast, evaporated cane juice, onion, sea salt, garlic, natural hickory smoke concentrate, whole wheat flour, oregano, black pepper, paprika, parsley, marjoram and apple cider vinegar.
  • Nutritional Profile:
    • Calories Per Serving: 168
    • Total Fat: 5 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g
    • Sodium: 365 mg
    • Carbohydrate: 9 g
    • Sugar: 1 g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
    • Protein: 22 g
    • Cholesterol: 0 g
Upton’s Taste and Texture: Upton’s Burger tastes a lot like their other seitan blends that we’ve had before.  There is a slight smoke flavor with a peppery finish in the patty.   It’s a hearty veggie burger, not one of those ones that falls apart, and it easily cooks on the grill in a short time.  Can’t beet a quick cooking meat free burger to get those planty vibes!
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So who won?  Is this your garden variety knock out?  Upton’s has less fat, calories, and cholesterol than than a traditional beef burger.  It also has more fiber.  Upton’s is kosher, lactose free and vegan so it digs away at different dietary needs.  Note: Upton’s burger is NOT gluten free so traditonal burger takes the medal for that category.
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Are you ready for your BBQ guests to cheer “Olive Veggie Burgers!”?  
Upton’s Naturals’ Classic Burger is planting itself at natural retailers throughout the Midwest for $3.99 for a 2 burger box. Click HERE for a store locator.  Swinging by the Chi?  Sample the classic burger or many other vegan delights (jackfruit tacos, vegan bacon mac and cheese and more) at Upton’s Breakroom in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.  Visit www.uptonsnaturals.com and find @UptonsNaturals and @UptonsBreakroom on social media.

Your New Post Workout Snack: LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt Bars

Rise and Shine, beautiful friends!  Working out in the morning can give you energy all day.  And who wouldn’t get out of bed for a new kick a#@ workout, free samples of the new LUNA bar flavor, a beautiful Chicago skyline view at the ROOF at the Wit and more.

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LUNA delivered just that with the launch of their new Berry Greek Yogurt Protein Bar and threw a fitty party that would make you break up with your covers.  LUNA’s new protein bar is a refreshing new flavor for those of you who doth not love chocolate (we know, some people are weird like that!) or people who want a breakfasty bite after an early workout.

Protein Bar Stats:

LUNA Protein is gluten free  and high in protein.  LUNA brand is one of our favorites because of their girl power focus and their promotion of positive initiatives for women here and abroad.

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LUNA Berry Greek Yogurt Bar is:

  • 170 calories
  • Protein filled with 12g soy/whey protein
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • Low sugar
  • Iron and Vitamin D filled (definitely a must to incorporate as we get older to prevent athletic injuries…more self care!)
  • Helps you more easily fit protein into your diet (especially for you veg heads like Monica or weird people who don’t like to cook meat like Kate)
  • Free of trans fat, partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or synthetic preservatives and non GMO

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And taste?  Kate isn’t a huge fan of protein bars in general and Monica is not crazy about sugar laden bars.  But the light yogurty coating and fruity filled flavor is a great combination.  It hit the spot after the crazy sweaty morning workout with Betina Gozo and Jeana Anderson.

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Nike Fitness Stats:

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Nike Master Trainer Betina Gozo. Photo Credit: Amy Boyle Photography

Chicago based rock star NIKE master trainer, Betina Gozo, and the motivating  Jeana Anderson Cohen from #asweatlife cheered us through a partner based HIIT workout.  Jeana Anderson Cohen’s concept, #SweatWorking, aims to get people in Chicago working out while networking and getting to know each other.  Betina ensured that we did by pushing our partners to their physical limits, making us feel stronger and more connected to each other.  We celebrated our successes with a LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt bar.

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Photo credit: Amy Boyle Photography

Check our Instagram video post for the cool experience.  Also, go to the Nike Training Club schedule for more FREE workout classes with Betina and other Nike masters.  Sign up and bring your LUNA Protein Berry Greek Yogurt Bar.

You can make your own post workout berry bliss any where LUNA bars are sold!

Chop to it! Win Quick Healthy Dinners with ChopBox

Have you heard the news that Americans can’t/don’t cook?  As a country, we spend more time watching cooking shows than actually cooking.  Cooking, however, allows us to have more control over what we put in our bodies than eating takeout or processed pre-cooked foods.  So if you can’t cook (yet) or feel like you are too busy, healthy meal delivery services can dissolve both of these problems while being affordable.

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ChopBox is a Chicago based company that provides:
  • Family friendly dinner kits for 4.  Price per person is around $10 a person, less than you usually spend at many healthy fast restaurants.
  • Pre-portioned meals changed weekly to add variety. They do the shopping and portioning. You cook and enjoy!
  • Delivers the recipes and ingredients directly to your house so you can get your chef on.  Unlike other meal delivery service, you can either try ChopBox once OR sign-up for weekly meal service.

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Now We’re Cookin’

We were given 2 meals to sample in exchange for an unbiased review:
  • Tofu Stir Fry with rice noodles and veggies
    • Bright colorful vegetables and perfect amount of tangy sauce.
    • Delicious, filling, and we had more than enough for 4 people.  YAY healthy leftovers!

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  • Raspberry Pecan Crusted Chicken with sauteed asparagus and jasmine rice
    • Crunchy dark green asparagus, spicy sweet raspberry sauce and juicy pecan crusted baked chicken…yum!
    • Recipe cards are colorful with easy step-by-step instructions.
    • (Tip: Make sure you read carefully.  Kate missed the fact that egg white was pre-portioned and included, thus she needlessly cracked two eggs and wasted them.  Umm and she overcooked the jasmine rice so try not to multi-task).

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  • Both recipes were ones that Kate hadn’t made on her own so you get guidance and encouragement to try new foods.

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To the Chopping Block

  • The weekly menu options are a bit more limited than other meal services we have seen and/or tried with slim to no vegetarian options.  ChopBox is willing to work with you on any allergy or diet requests, however, so put your foodie desires out there.
  • If you are an experienced chef, you may want to add your own flava’ to spice it up to your taste.
  • If you don’t cook AT ALL, please note that you will need some basic ingredients like salt, pepper, olive oil, and pans to make these meals work.
  • You may have to chop ingredients 😉 for some recipes so we hope you have some decent knives.  The chicken dish actually required very minimal prep (no chopping) compared to the tofu.

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Wanna skip the line tonight?

  • Enter here to WIN your own ChopBox and feel like the next Master Chef.
  • Giveaway runs from July 11th-July 18th.
  • You must live in the following states to win and delivered: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.
  • Ready to roll with a ChopBox?  Sign up here!

 

A Nutritionist Dishes: How to Find the Perfect Healthy Snack

We have a confession to make….when we see a new “healthy” snack option, we just gotta try it.  But, with all the maca, acai, jackfruit, hemp milk, hair of the goat (ok we made the last on up) superfoods out … Continue reading

Windy City SmokeOut Ticket Promo

A fantastic summer can be summer-ized (see what we did there) by the Three Bs: Bands, BBQ, and Beverages. Even vegetarians are tantalized by the smell of the grill when they’re getting down on a veggie burger. So where can you get a hearty helping of all 3? The Windy City Smokeout, of course, July 15-July 17. Hosted by Bub City and Academy of Country Music Award winner, Joe’s Bar, this fest promises to be anything but basic. Don’t like the ‘Que? No problemo. Hob Nob with other non ‘Que carousers at famed spots like Three Dots and a Dash, Drago’s Seafood or The Salsa Truck. Or do what we do, and eat up all the sides :).

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What:

Windy City Smokeout

  • 3 days of live music from up and coming talent (Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Chase Rice, Billy Currington, Corey Smith, Big & Rich with special guest Cowboy Troy, Phil Vassar, Jessie James Decker, Whiskey Myers, Walker County and Whiskey Jam)
  • All the BBQ you could ever purchase from BBQ Big Wigs like Smoque, Lillie Qs, and Chicago Q.
  • Cooking demos, beverage pairings, and more!

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When:

Friday July 15th through Sunday July 17th

Where:

560 W GRAND AVE CHICAGO, IL 60654

Promo Code:

3 day tickets only $75 with CHIORGANIC (good until 11:59 July 7th, 2016). That’s $35 dollars off!

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Additional information on this year’s fest available here: http://www.windycitysmokeout.com/.

The World’s Healthiest Granola?

Granola may bring to mind images of incense burning, camping, and a halo of healthiness but store bought kinds are often sugar bombs.  But can some granolas live up to the healthier than the hype?

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We recently were given samples of Viki’s Granola new on-the-go Granola Packs to test for their health-o-meter reading.  Viki’s Granola is not your grandma’s granola but, dang, it could be.

First, Viki is an actual person, Viki Sater, who creates the actual granola, originally for her daughter’s bake sale.  Her small batch granola was so popular that orders began pouring in.  Currently, Viki’s granola offers 5 different flavors: Original, Blueberry Almond, Maple Cranberry, Banana Walnut and Apple Cinnamon.

So is this really the healthiest granola out there?  Check out these healthful stats.

Nutrition

Sugar: Per 1/4 cup of granola, Viki’s has on average 4 grams of sugar.

Nutritionists suggest you should look for granola with 8 grams or less of sugar. The 1.5 ounce on-the-go Pack is perfectly portioned so you don’t have to wonder if you just snarfed down a crazy amount of granola.  Also, bees rejoice, Viki’s only uses organic honey or pure maple syrup as a sweetener.  You won’t find any high fructose corn syrup here.

Calories: With about 150 calories per pack, you would want to add some fruit or yogurt for a meal but this is a sizable snack to have in your bag after a workout.

Ingredients: Each granola features only 6-7 ingredients (gluten free oats, organic honey, unsweetened coconut, and different nut and fruit combos) and none that you would have to look up to figure out what it is.  This is about as clean as you can get for a processed food.  Viki’s is mindful of special diets as well.

• Gluten Free
• Non-GMO Verified
• Cholesterol Free
• Zero Trans Fats
• Sodium free
• Dairy Free
• Kosher Pareve

Taste

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Viki’s Granola is pretty versatile as it is not overly sweet.  Expect soft honey touched oats intermingling with dried fruit.  It’s inclusion of tree nuts like almonds and walnuts adds a nice crunch and a pinch of healthy fats to keep you fuller longer.  We liked eating it with a splash of coconut almond milk or mixing it up in a parfait.  Viki’s website has other fun recipe suggestions like granola covered frozen bananas (summer yummer) or even granola crusted chicken.

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You can purchase Viki’s Granola at several grocery stores or even order online.

So is Viki’s the World’s Healthiest Granola?  It’s pretty close.  There are a small amount of other granolas out there vying for the title.  Does your favorite granola have a shot at the title?

Easy Gluten Free Treats with Garden Lites

Gluten Free

Gluten free goodies are hit or miss. Sometimes you try a gluten free muffin that’s as heavy as a hockey puck and wonder: “Is this the only option I have for muffin glory?”  For people with gluten sensitivities or, even more serious, those with Celiac disease, the need for gluten free options is real. But do we want them super processed or super disgusto?  No!

Garden Lites gets to the root of this matter and offers gluten free frozen treats to cure your muffin madness with fluffy de-lite-fulness.

Ingredients

  • First 2 elements: zucchini and carrots in almost every products
  • Gluten free flour mix: brown rice, sorghum flour, flaxseed meal, or cornstarch
  • Allergens: Nuts free and dairy free.  Some products are soy free, too. (Check particular products, however, for allergen information)

Garden Lites shear off unnecessary fillers and keep their ingredients at the root of what’s needed to make their souffles and muffins.  Most have a list of 10 or less on the nutrition facts.  The most processed item we noticed is soy lechitin, a common emulsifier used in chocolate and other health related food products.  Obviously, it’s best to eat whole foods, but Garden Lites’ chocolatey or blueberry oat muffins will harvest your health compared to those fast food muffins.

Taste the Goodness

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We dug into the Chocolate Muffins, Ninja Power Muffins (Heroes in a half shell…turtle power!) and one of Garden Lites’ savory options, the Butternut Squash Souffle.

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These muffins are great for tricking kids into eating veggies and tricking adults into being health conscious.  The muffins and souffles are all soft in texture and not grainy.  They are also produce packed with the following nutrients:

  • Calories for one muffin range between 80 to max 120 calories,
  • 2-5 grams of protein, and 8 grams protein in souffle
  • 2-4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams in souffle
  • less than 11 grams of sugar, 18 grams in souffle

The Chocolate muffin is moist and melty like a baby lava cake.

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The Ninja Powered Muffin is but a morsel with a chocolate chip zucchini bread flavor and is aimed at the youngins’.  We like Ninja Turtles though so we also enjoyed them.

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The Butternut Souffle was cornbread like in texture with the mellow aroma and flavor of squash.

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Purchase Options

Garden Lites are available at Costco, Target, and Amazon — and let us tell you that Amazon shoppers are all over the Garden Lites, like bees on flowers.  Also, you can purchase the frozen products at HealthyGoodness website and get a FREE pint of Three Twins ice cream here!  What are you waiting for?!  Go Power yourself with Gluten Free Goodies!

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*We received free Garden Lites coupons to sample the product.  We were not monetarily compensated and our opinions are our own.*

Chicago Patio and BBQ time at Porkchop

During May, National BBQ month, we were invited to give Porkchop West Loop a try.

This is one of those restaurants we always drove by on Randolph and thought, yup, someday we need to try that.  Of course, Chicago BBQ has tough competition compared to BBQ meccas like Memphis and Kansas City.  We do have a smattering of saucy spots like Porkchop, however, to tickle your taste buds.

Look and Feel

Think Austin mixed with Chicago mixed with Deliverance.  Rustic wood is the format for the space with saws dotting one wall (let’s do some DIY crafting), yet the bar space, snuggling cozily under a staircase, is hipster chic with mason jar hanging above.

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Superior Service

Melanie, our bartender/server, popped out from behind the bar counter to immediately seat us.  The vibe here won’t be killed as the atmosphere is warm and unfussy.  Paper towel roll napkins are ready to wipe BBQ coated finger tips, with cutlery and BBQ sauce options flanking both sides to convenience you.

Pretty Patio

If there is one thing Chicagoans are constantly searching for, it’s patios and rooftops.  The Holy Grail of the season, patio seating is in high demand.  Porkchop offers open air seating inside when weather is nice and a small patio for prime people watching.  Patio doggies are welcome as well.  We spotted 2 cute baby boxers at patio play during our dinner.

Food for the Masses

Portion sizes are Texas style, large so leftovers are an expectation.  We sampled the fried okra, mac and cheese and chicken tacos as starters. Stop judging ;).  The mac and cheese was rich and creamy and, good lawd, the noodles were nonstop.  The chicken taco meat was well seasoned and sprinkled with onions and cilantro and the fried okra breading was light, crispy and slightly addicting.

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For dinner, we were close to full but wanted an excuse to drizzle more foods with BBQ sauce.  We ordered the fried chicken sandwich and pulled pork sandwich.  Both come with hand cut fries, the yum kind with skins still on. The pulled pork was juicy but I prefer mine super saucy so I used the Chicago Style BBQ sauce, infused with rosemary and olive oil, to douse it. The chicken sandwich was pounded thin and had a peppery breading.  It didn’t disappoint either with it’s buttery bun and simple slice of red onion and crisp lettuce.

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Veg options are available including a handmade veggie burger and a wealth of sides. May we suggest an all sides meal?!

We would love to go back and gorge on their brunch, which features southern specialties like fat Elvis Waffles, shrimp and grits and Johnny Cakes.

So what’s our final Q-cision?  If you’re looking for a low key night, solid happy hour, portions for the whole fam, and a quaint patio, Porkchop can deliver with minimal Q mess and no stress.

 

*Porkchop offered a free meal for honest review.  We were not paid for these opinions and they are our own.*

 

Chicago’s First Juice Crawl!

Wanna hear some juicy gossip?  You’ve probably heard of bar crawls and food crawls…but we got something fresh squeezed and new just for you: a juice crawl!

Where did we find out about this sweet event?  Last week, we attended a Fuel Flow class with Mindfuel Wellness at the James Hotel.  Owners and fitness teachers, Jacquelyn Brennan and Kelly Moore, want to ignite a passion for wellness in individuals, corporations and the community.

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The Fuel Flow class is unique in that Kelly and Jacquelyn take turns leading and blend their diverse backgrounds in yoga and pilates.  We loved the pace of the class and the 15 minute segments of each discipline.

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Mindfuel Wellness offers personalized one on one programs, community building events and corporate wellness initiatives like kitchen takeovers or movement classes.

Following class, we were treated to juice samples from Real Good Juice Co. (a preview of juices to come) and snacks from David Burke’s Primehouse.

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Now what’s the “dill” with this juice crawl?

Juice Joints: Begin at City Press Juice in Lakeview, run to Real Good Juice in Old Town and drink up with a final sampling & toast at Harvest Juicery in West Loop.

Fit Points: Squeeze out some fitness as you crawl and run between juice spots, a total 4.8 miles.  All paces of runners/joggers/hop on a divvy bikers welcome!

Cost: $40

Click here to mix it up!

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You can also get a taste of Mindfuel with Kelly and Jacquelyn’s weekly Fuel Flow classes.

Dates and Times: Sunday June 5 & 12, 4:00pm-5:15pm

Location: Spring – 3940 N. Lincoln, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL

Format: An all-level 75 minute class alternating between Pilates and yoga.

Cost: $20 per class.

RSVP here

There are so many good juice spots in Chicago so we hope this becomes more than an annual event.  Where would you love to crawl to?  Let us know in the comments!