GoodBelly for Good Health

Listening to the radio can be enlightening sometimes…like, say when you hear that 9% of your local school district is out with the flu.  Cold and flu season is descending upon us like one of the Khaleesi’s dragons (yes, that was a Games of Thrones reference, we miss it so!), vicious and unrelenting!  Other than hiding in a bomb shelter or wearing a head to toe hazmat suit, what are some more social ways you can keep healthy?

One way is adding probiotics into your diet.  In our super bug society, good little bacteria flora often get killed off with the use of antibiotic soaps and drugs.  These good flora may help ease digestion processes (reduce bloating, gas, etc or make you more regular) and improve the immune system (read more on factors that influence the micro flora balance here).  Bacterial flora are often chilling out in yogurt but not everyone is able to digest dairy products.  GoodBelly, a probiotic juice drink, offers a dairy free, soy free, non GMO, organic AND vegan alternative probiotic boost* for people looking to win the fight on germs.  Each quart or shot also serves up immune enhancing vitamins and others, such as the PlusShot, include calcium too!

photo (13)

GoodBelly probiotic drinks contain live and active cultures of the probiotic strain, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (LP299V®).  This thoroughly researched strain, with over 125 species of flora, has demonstrated an efficient ability to make it’s way through the digestive track and improve both digestion and immunity.  Many product options are juicy and fruit filled while some are for the purist who just wants a “straight shot” without the sugar.  Those with digestive issues should try the SuperShot which contains 50 billion cultures (flora everywhurr!).  We tried 1 flavor of the 32 ounce GoodBelly quart, Pomegranate Blackberry, and one flavor of the 2.7 ounce shots, Blueberry Acai.

16029745611_670a282d53_o

So how’d we fare?  Well the Pomegranate Blackberry is seriously tasty and we liked it so much, we got another quart and snagged a Mango too.  The shots were definitely more concentrated and we felt you could taste the oat base a little more in this version.  Stomach wise, Kate already took probiotics pills and enjoyed the benefits of better digestion processes. GoodBelly is a tastier alternative to pills and is easy to incorporate as a breakfast juice or just a meal in general when running late for work.

Ready to give it a shot (ha)?  GoodBelly walks you through with a 12 Day Belly Reboot with buy 2 get 1 free coupons and a money back guarantee.  Each day, you drink 8 ounces of GoodBelly and you can measure how you feel online with the Belly Tracker to see your results.  3 quarts should get you through your 12 day trial.  We found GoodBelly at the South Loop Mariano’s and it’s available at all Whole Foods.  You can also use GoodBelly’s “Find a Store” function for a store near you!

15844434950_101880253d_o

*Gluten sensitive folks, take note, although gluten free GoodBelly is available, we have had a hard time finding the elusive green capped bottles in the Chicago area.

We did not receive compensation for this post but did receive coupons for free products.

New Year’s Mind, Body and Soul Detox Workshops

Did the holidays leave you dazed, not dazzled?  Do you need a little help forming what 2015 will look like this year?  Lisa Payne, celebrity trainer and fitness writer, and Sarah Baker, Chicago based health and wellness consultant, are teaming … Continue reading

Whole Holiday Gift Ideas with Whole Foods

If you’re like most peeps, you have a bevy of holiday partays, gift exchanges and soirees to attend to in the next few weeks.  So what if you need to bring a gift or a tasty treat to your event?  You could make several stops or…you could go to Whole Foods!  Yah we know, for us with low account balances, Whole Foods may seem a bit intimidating.  But we were pleasantly surprised to learn some new developments at Whole Foods this past week at a tour of their River North headquarters.  As we walked from room to room we delighted in the holiday goodies.  In no particular order, here are some Holly Jolly Holiday ideas from Whole Foods.

DIY Gifts

Did you know Whole Foods is a DIY hot spot?  If you have a crafty side, you have all you need to develop a relaxing bath salt, tantalizing sugar scrub, or soothing lip gloss by snooping through Whole Foods’ beauty and bulk section.

photo (10)

Beauty

On our tour, we created our own Epsom salts by mixing 3 cups of salt with essential oil and flower choices.  We picked the eucalyptus oil (as cold season is on the rampage right now) and calming lavender oil (cuz the holiday traffic is making us pull out our hair.  Then we threw in some bright yellow dried calendula flowers (a relative to chamomile), lavender buds, light pink Himalayan salt, and some crinkly red rose petals.

photo (12)

Floral

Who says the poinsettia is the only petal you can gift?  The Whole Foods Headquarters arranged a flower bar for guests to create holiday bouquets.  Pluck some deep red and purple buds, add some baby’s breath, and grab a cute mason style jelly jar for presentation.  You can feel charitable about your choice too.  Whole Foods carries fair trade and organic flowers as well as Veriflora Certified flowers (Veriflora certification indicates better working conditions such as no child labor, fair hiring practices, and access to education, healthcare and other needed services).

photo (11)

Life of the Party

You all know that thing where you’re at a party and everyone is talking around the food set up?  Party food can make or break a soiree.  Stopping by a gathering?  Whole Foods produce, bakery, and cheese departments all offer unique and most talked about treats.  Our favorite cheeses at the gathering were the truffle stuffed camembert (a soft, creamy french cow cheese with a layer of tasty fungus…yes that’s a truffle, weird right?) and a pyramid shaped goat cheese.  In the bakery section, we delighted in gluten free and vegan options like a rice flour crust blackberry pie and the banana hazelnut vegan cupcake from local cupcake purveyor, Swirlz.  And on the non-semi healthy side of things, the gigantic Carol’s cookie was so fresh and chocolately and big enough to feed your whole family.  Or be the angel of the party, bring a fresh fruit tray and rejoice on your savings.  Whole Foods has heard our wallet cries and is now setting out to price their produce on par with competitors like Marianos and Jewel-Osco.

Hosting your own get together?  Lazy it up with Whole Foods catering and wow your guests with gruyere and spinach stuffed mushrooms, ripe guacamole, or ethnic goodies like spanakopita, a greek stuffed phyllo dough appetizer.

15809279517_b60c368d8c_o

Swirlz Cupcake – Vegan Peppermint Chocolate

Feeling inspired?  Go out there with confidence and shop, dear friends, and impress those peeps with your Whole Foods Holiday swag.

Quick and Easy Superfood Breakfasts

Superfoods are all the rage right now but why shouldn’t they be?  They are super after all, super at making your body feel spectacular.  In a world of fast food, we’re all in need of healthy heros like Sambazon!

20141026_111629

The brand Sambazon focuses on fair trade, non GMOs and sustainability of the cute lil acai superberry.  We recently tasted two of their acai breakfast (or any time of day, for that matter) options and simply swooned over their hunger pang crushing powers.

The first sample was the chocolate, almond and coconut milk protein smoothie.  Lactose issue folks and vegans can rejoice over this tasty drink containing 8 grams of vegan protein to get the day started.  We are a big fan of coconut milk as it adds a rich touch that makes the drink feel decadent.

IMG_20141003_084446

The second option, Acai Berry Superfood Smoothie Packs, breaks down to the bare essence of the superfood, fair trade organic acai berry pulp, in a convenient frozen ready to blend serving.  We love to make green smoothies to get a pop of spinach or kale in the morning and incorporated the pack into our easy and quick green recipe with coconut water, spinach and blueberries.

Monica & Kate’s Super Samba Greenie:

  • Take 1 cup coconut water (like Zico or Vita Coco) and put in a magic bullet or blender.
  • Add a smattering of blueberries, handful of spinach and half a superfood smoothie pack and viola!

IMG_20141014_192434

Your not too sweet not too sour SUPER green smoothie has been created!

Like the Sambazon Protein Smoothie but wanna make your own version?

Monica and Kate’s Fake Out Samba Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 cup Coconut-Almond blend milk
  • 1 packet Samanazon Acai superfood smoothie pack
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (like Ghirardelli)

 IMG_20141022_074830

Voila!  3 breakfast options to break from your egg and granola routine.  Ready to get in touch with your inner champion?  You can find Sambazon at oh so many retailers like Marianos, Jewel-Osco, Whole Foods, Walgreens and even (*gasp*) Walmart!  They are everywhere :).

Oh Honey! New Henry’s Humdingers Sweet and Spicy Honeys

We been aching to keep up with all the new cool products that we been sampling and this one has been on daily rotation for the Chi Girls.  Normally, we don’t mix our sweet and spicy with the exception of a Mayan Mocha now and then but when Henry’s Humdingers  reached out to us, we were intrigued.  Not only were the products unique, raw honeys infused with varietals of hot peppers, but they aim to help the source of honey, our bee pals!  Now, if you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that we have a bee crisis on our hands, which isn’t just bad for bee dudes but also for us and our food sources.  Henry Miller, founder of the company, donates part of all his profits to The Foundation for the Preservation for Honey Bees to combat the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder which is hurting our friends.

 

So what does Henry’s Humdingers have to offer?  4 different crazy raw honey flavas for yo tongue!

  • Grumpy Grandpa Cayenne and Garlic Honey
  • Phoebe’s Fireball Chipotle and Cinnamon Honey
  • Naughty Nana Pepper and Ginger Honey
  • Diabolical Dad Habanero Lime Honey

504205B8-994D-499F-9AAA-C5D8475DEB8A

What to do with all these combos?  Well Henry has some suggestions that range from sweet and sassy wing sauces to english muffin spreads.  So far, we’ve been addicted to the Phoebe’s Fireball in our morning coffee with some sweet coconut milk stirred in.  We’ve also used the Naughty Nana in rice wine vinegar to pickle veggies for Tofu Bahn Mi sandwiches.

Oh and who can forget the old standby of eating spoons of peanut butter as a snack.  Our afternoons have been filled with PB honey spiced dreams.

We highly recommend Henry’s if you have a willing palate!  We let some of our friends try it in tea as well and their mouths were pleasantly piqued.  You can find Henry’s for purchase at J’s Vitamins in Chicago, online or at locations listed here.

Our fave is really Phoebe’s Fireball but we don’t wanna hurt the other honeys’ feelings so keep it quiet.

photo (20)

Loving Summer in Chicago: Upcoming Fun, Food and Fitness Events

Ok so our weather still isn’t too summery but the events in Chicago are in full swing!  We wanted to share all the summer goodness with ya’ll instead of keeping it for ourselves.  Here’s just a few fun, free events to keep you fit and entertained this summer.

Bikini Blast Time

Looking to get your muscles tight for your new polka dot bikini (or speedo)?  Join the Old Town Purre Barre team for a grand opening party on Thursday, June 19th from 6-8 p.m.  Pure Barre gives clients a chance to sculpt and lengthen their muscles by alternating tiny shake inducing muscle movements with stretching sequences.  Believe us, you will tighten your problem areas and wonder why such little movements can be so sweat provoking.  The grand opening party will feature drinks, light snacks, raffles as well as retail and class specials so this would be a perfect opportunity to snag a deal and step to the barre.  See the Purre Barre website for class information and more details.

Pure Barre Old Town

1350 N. Wells Street, Suite 4

Chicago, IL 60610

oldtown@purebarre.com

312.642.2922

Free Parking in the Self Park lot behind Cobbler Square is available.

 

Getting in Touch with Nature

Are you a city kid with country dreams?  The North Face, the well known outdoor clothing brand, and our beloved Chicago Park District are doing outreach to help us urbanites learn to camp in under our unforgettable Chicago skyline.  Events may feature camping basics, fishing skills and  nature hikes, or even spooky campfire tales lead by Chicago Park District staff.  Visit the website to register and more information.  Registration is mandatory to attend.

There are several spots to learn and set your gear down throughout the summer:

  • July 26-27: Northerly Island
  • August 9-10: Garfield Park Conservatory
  • August 16-17: Calumet Park
  • September 13-14: Gompers Park
  • September 20-21: CCFP Bullfrog Lake
  • September 27-28: Northerly Island
  • October 11: Family Adventure Day

Activity Guides from North Face are also available to give you the low down on other fun park events.

http://exploreyourparks.com/pdf/Chicago_EYP_Download.pdf

Logo

 

Relax and Recharge in the Burbs

Grab some mini massages, snacks, and behind the scenes tours (OH MY!)  of the brand new Massage Envy Spa Mount Prospect, at their Grand Opening event on Tuesday, June 17 from 5-6:30 p.m.  Email massageenvy@heronpr.com to RSVP to the event.  (Text modified from Heron PR)

Movies and More under the Stars

Chicago Park District continues to bring free Movies in the Parks until early fall and that includes our beloved Millennium Park every Tuesday evenings and one bonus movie on Sunday, June 29th.  Click here to search the nearest park in Chicago.  This year Chicago Park District will also showcase the first Chicago on Screen which will feature locally-produced independent, documentary and short films around Chicago.
Wanna snuggle with a Lion during your show?  Ok that might be dangerous, but you can get up close and personal with the animals of Lincoln Park zoo and then catch a flick afterwards with Zoovies!  General admission is free but you can upgrade to VIP package for snacks, drinks and surprises.
IMG_0898

Photo Credit: MLK Photographs

Summer Bites

Chicago’s most romantic restaurant Geja’s Café will celebrate its 49th Anniversary Sunday, June 29 through Friday, July 4.  Guests will receive 49% off all food bills and can take part in Geja’s 5th annual recipe contest and 4th annual poetry challenge during the 6-day anniversary celebration. Guests are encouraged to compose original poetry about their experiences at Geja’s over the years.  Aspiring fondue foodies are invited to submit an original dipping sauce to accompany Geja’s signature meats and seafood entrée.  The winners from each contest will win a dinner for 6 with selected premium wines.  For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.gejascafe.com.  (Text provided by Heron PR) 

 

 

Chicago Passport to Healthy Skin

Chicagoan, need a healthy glow after the harsh winter?  Well, this is your opportunity to learn simple solution to healthy skin and more at this FREE event!

Date:  Saturday, June 7th  Location:  Millenium Park North Promenade, Chicago, IL  Time:  11:00am-3:00pm

One survey showed 75% of Chicago women are aware that what they eat impacts their skin’s health, but 52% don’t feel they can call themselves healthy eaters.  So tell your girlfriends and come check out this FREE event which includes the following….

  • Yoga workout sessions
  • Stress-relieving massages
  • Healthy treats and detoxifying teas
  • Skin-loving beauty samples
  • . . . Plus, get first-hand tips from our POPSUGAR editors and the Simple® Advisory Board
  • and FREE goodies!!

RSVP here and you will be showing off your luminous skin just in time for the summer!

Detergent for the Green and Eco-Restless

We’re always looking to reduce the amount of chemical exposure we have on a daily basis.  With a multitude of ingredients on products and a limited time span, it’s often hard to figure out what you are putting in and on your body.  Reading the ingredients in our fave products often feels like you’re deciphering an ancient code with no decoder ring.  And laundry detergent is no exception.  Phenalyna-glycol a wha?  You want your clothes to be clean but do you need a ‘laundry’ list of items in your detergent?

IMG_20140416_092114

So what’s a more clear option?  Spearheaded by a former fashion designer, Puretergent aims to fill the gap between eco-friendly and fashion forward.  Kate attended a brunch to check out the new line with fellow Chicago bloggers at delicious Beatrix.  The line not only includes a minimalist ingredient list but has easy instructions and identifying packaging for the laundry illiterate.

Check it!  You have a pile of sweaty yoga clothes.  Should you choose the:

  • Colors
  • Whites and Dirty Stuff
  • X-Tra Sensitive

See, not as hard as a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.  Whites and Dirty Stuff it is!

IMG_20140416_092140

Now what about the other essential elements you look for in a detergent?

Scent: Botanical fresheners like Aloe Vera, Lavender and Eucalyptus are the scent base.  None of the products smell perfume-y or strong and we especially liked the relaxing lavender smell of the Colors detergent.

Texture: No gooey sticky gel here.  Puretergent is almost like water when you pour it in.

Clothes Feel: No clothing softener needed as Purtergent promotes natural softness.

And the best thing about Purtergent?  It excludes chlorine, phosphates, nonylphenol ethoxylates, alcohol, dyes, optical brighteners, animal products and EPA priority pollutants so you can rest easy in your freshly laundered jammies.

puretergent

Puretergent is available at Target and runs at a similar price as most major brands.  Anyone feel like doing our laundry ;)?

Get “Flattened by Flavor” with Potbelly’s New #Flatbreads!

Is the old white bread rigamaroll bringing you down?  We have developed a forever love of Potbelly’s whole grain bread subs (sorry Subway :/ ) that keeps us coming back for the skinny mushroom melt and the vegetarian Mediterranean.

photo (19)

But what’s this?  Potbelly has unveiled a new bread experience: the flatbread gloves are off and Potbelly is ready to battle.

Last Thursday, we had the privilege of tasting the new multigrain flatbreads with the toppings of our tried and true sandwich stars.  And boy howdy does Potbelly know how to make you feel special!  Bottles were popping and flatbreads were flowing.  Ok well, actually the new frozen raspberry lemonades with the tiny shortbread cookies on the straws were popping.  We can dream right?

photo (18)

Once we checked in, we walked upstairs to the VIP lounge.  Each table had several snack bags of BBQ Popchips awaiting our arrival.  Potbelly staff walked around with samples of the several types of sandwiches on the new flatbread.  We both tried a full sized veggie Mediterranean and Kate nibbled the tiny sized grilled chicken and cheese.  The Wreck, Turkey and Tuna on the flats were also available but we didn’t partake.  After we gobbled down our sammiches, we delighted in a “Drop the Popchip in your mouth” competition.

BBQ Popchips!

BBQ Popchips!

Review!

Nutrition: With 90 calories less than Potbelly’s traditional breads, the flatbread is a solid nutritional choice for somebody watching the waistline while craving a sammitch.

Taste: We are a big fan of the skinnys as too much bread can be overwhelming.  The flats had a mild multigrain flavor, not too overwhelming.  They have a nice balance of outside crunch and inside softness as well.  The raspberry lemonade was off the chain tasty but our guess is it is not on the health conscious list.  For a nice summer treat in 80 degree weather, it would alrighty but not the best idea in addition to a cookie, chips, sandwich, shake…hehehe…although light and airy Popchips are a good choice if you just hafta add the chips.

So when can you grab the flats and flatten them out?  Flats go national wide on May 6 and the yummy lemonade hits stands in June.

 

Our VIP Goody Bag from Potbelly

Our VIP Goody Bag from Potbelly

 

Spring Tea Time Treats

We’ve jumped from winter to winter to oh my, is that spring we see?  There was that one blissful 60s weekend and the tulips have somehow managed to peek out of the ground and stretch their leafy arms.  What’s best way to enjoy the promise of such weather? With a break, of course.  A very classy wafel break. We Americans have been doing our break all wrong, you see.  We’ve been missing the stroopwafel, a cookie made of  two thin Dutch waffle-like wafers with gooey caramel in-between.  When we first received a sample box from Rip van Wafels, we screamed in delight.  The presentation of the monthly coffee/tea & stroopwafels was cuter than a bucket of bunnies cuddling puppies. Vanwafels Numi Breakfast Blend tea, the featured beverage, was packed in a handle mason jar with two legions of  individually wrapped wafels on each side.  Numi is a perfect partner for Rip Van Wafels with it’s focus on fair trade and organic products. First things first, we didn’t follow the suggested directions of placing the stroopwafel over a steamy beverage to warm the ooey-gooey caramel loveliness inside.  After about 4 days of mindless wafel munching (Kate received and commandeered the wafels at her house), Monica closely examined the packaging and realized the delicacies of this Dutch tradition, koffietijd, or a mid morning coffee and wafel break.

photo (17)

Heating our wafels up with Numi Tea

Subscribers to Rip van Wafels will get a new coffee or tea in each box as well as sturdy traditional stroopwafels or their fanciful cousin, the cocoa filled wafel.  We are curious to know how the cocoa filled wafel would stand up to our Chicago micro-roasting coffee companies.  Yumm, delicious collaboration could be on the horizon!

image

Picture courtesy of Rip van Wafels

So what say you America, shall we start a mindful revolution of stroopwafeling and mid morning time outs? We say let’s import the Dutch tradition and while we’re at it, let’s bring back the old school kindergarten nap time to the adult work world too!