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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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.*

National Pistachio Day!

It’s so eassssy being green, if you’re a pistachio that is.  Pistachios are wearing little birthday hats as it’s their big day! National Pistachio Day is Friday February 26th and pistachios are ready to be snacked upon.   Other nuts … Continue reading

Halos Mandarins Giveaway

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Why HALOOOOOO there!  We love giving away love to our readers but even better is a giveaway with pocket sized healthy treats, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  So have you ever tried Wonderful Halos mandarins?  At 50 calories each, these little orange fruits pack a punch of vitamin C without the seeds. We were given a bag to try but we’ve been buying these bebes in bulk since winter citrus became the rage again (or in season as the laymen say).  You can just throw them in your lunch bag, peel them without ruining your manicure, and with minimal desk mess.

But let’s veer off the beaten grove path.  You can also cook some sunny recipes with Halos to brighten up your day.

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One gloomy Sunday, we went bananas for mandarins with our brunch.

Baked Orange French Toast from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

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We kept close to the recipe but shaved off the zest of a Halos mandarin and subbed cinnamon for nutmeg.  Make sure you butter the pan or use PAM spray as our forgetfully blissful selves missed this step and our french toast had separation anxiety from the baking pan.  Taste overrides appearance, however, and this orangey french toast didn’t disappoint.  We tossed some mandarin pieces on top with a drizzle of pure maple syrup for pure deliciousness.

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Blueberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins from Damn Delicious

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This tasty and healthy recipe from home cook and blogger, Chungah An, features greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and orange zest.  These little muffins were simple to make, moist, fluffy and fruity!

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Looking for more Wonderful mandarin Halos ideas?  Wonderful Halos has a cool creative blog with more than just recipes.  Just in time for Valentine’s day, you can find sweet crafts and snacks to delight kids and adults alike.

Orange you glad we shared these recipes (hehehehe)?  Now for the giveaway details so you can make your own holiday halo-ful:

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Your Wonderful Halos Gift Basket giveaway includes a juicy bunch of Wonderful Halos mandarins,a Wonderful Halos branded lunch box, backpack, water bottle, chapstick (mandarin flavored), sunglasses and stress ball shaped like a mandarin.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway and happy halo-ing!

Sweet Scarletts Grapefruit Giveaway

Saying “so long” to sweet summer strawberry season can be saddening but as berries make their way out, sunny peak seasoned citrus can fill your fruit fancies.  Maybe grapefruit, however, isn’t normally your top citrus treat. Grapefruit can bring memories … Continue reading

Seasons 52 New Winter Menu

Chicago had it’s first snow fall Saturday-officially pushing our glorious fall weather onto a slippery patch of ice and out the door.  As the nights become darker earlier, we find ourselves seeking toasty dishes to fulfill our need for warmth … Continue reading

Go Macrobar for Vegan Energy

Good things come in small packages!  That’s what Kate always says about her height and what Monica says about GoMacro’s Macrobars.  Pocket sized (more like IPhone sized for your back pocket) Macrobars pack a healthy snack punch and cater to an array of dietary needs and taste preferences.

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Sweet back story: Co-founder, Amelia Kirchoff, grew up on a cozy London farm where her parents used the minimal produce they grew to sustain themselves. In 2003, after being diagnosed with breast cancer and enduring a lumpectomy and brachytherapy, Amelia turned down additional treatments  and turned up for a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle. Amelia’s adult daughter, GoMacro co-founder and CEO, Jola Sonkin, supported and joined her in her lifestyle change.

Macrobiotic nutrition focuses on increasing your intake of whole grains, produce and beans while limiting or excluding meat, dairy, eggs and processed foods.  Controlled amounts of fish and healthy dessert are acceptable so Amelia ventured into the world of scrumptious vegan goodies with farm fresh fruits and grains from their Midwest family farm.

GoMacro meditates on basic tenets to guide its products: Sustainability, Giving Back, Macrobiotics, Wholesomeness and (Hip Hip…no hippos or any other animal for that matter!) Vegan

Macrobars go for the green-gold with plant based proteins, gluten/additive/GMO freedom, organic origins, compostable containers and a reduced carbon footprint.

Our must have Macrobars:

Our taste buds meandered around the tropical tastes of the Balanced Goodness Macrobar, with coconut and crunchy granola. We are suckers for coconut!  The Sunny Uplift with tart cherries and sweet berries tempted our tummies with it’s ripe chewy fruit bits and the Morning Harvest Macrobar with apple and walnut reminded us of a warm baked apple on a crisp autumn day.

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Macrobars have a tiny ingredient list and there is no foreign” hydra-processed-glutamate PBA” (we made that up) Frankenstein like ingredients. Expect brown rice syrup or coconut sugar, nut or seed (!) butters, cacao and more fruit than an orchard squeezed into a colorful pouch. Kate went on a stint of what she calls the mornin’ Macrobar mania.  Basically, it means you roll out of bed as late as possible, pack a Macrobar, fresh pressed veggie juice and an apple in your bag for a breakfast that lasts til’ lunch.  Trusted by athletes (like the LA Clippers) and fit dabblers (like us) alike, Macrobars offer balanced energy as well without the crash.

Macro-your way to Whole Foods or online to treat yo’self with a full sized Macrobar or a Macrobar mini for those max hunger moments.

Pay it Forward with My Fit Foods

Back to school time brings joy and challenges.  The world just seems to speed up and you have less and less time for meal prep.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  So why not strike against prepping!  Chicagoland My Fit Foods can help busy people feel less busy.

This quick healthy food chain started in Houston before spreading it’s healthy roots to five different states.  All foods are gluten free and many are paleo-friendly.  On our visit to My Fit Foods we noticed how it separates itself from other convenient health meal services with its offering of supplements, protein powders, and muscle building snacks.  They have a registered nutrition on staff who works with you to set goals and keeps you in check.  A 21 day challenge option can be a best bet for someone trying to make healthy eating a habit.  Sunny, the registered dietitian at the Clybourn location of My Fit Foods, explained how different types of fitness goals, including weight loss, gain, toning or bulking up, could be integrated into the meal plan.  Sunny doesn’t stop at just nutritional counseling.  She encourages participants to work out and lends a listening ear for clients, even if they slide off track.  The meals are very meat focused, however, and as there is only a smattering of veggie options, this service wouldn’t be the best bet for strict vegans and vegetarians.  Carnivores rejoice, however, with a bevvy of meaty flavors.

Kate’s favorite dish was the turkey chorizo egg white omelette with seasoned sweet potatoes.  Monica’s favorite breakfast (one of few vegetarian options) was the “Fit Energy Bar” consisting of a yummy peanut butter cranberry bar with berries and non-fat greek yogurt.

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We also loved the daily cleanse ingredients available for purchase.  Get a daily dose of energy with liquid B12, apple cider vinegar, lemon, and unsweetened cranberry juice and ditch the caffeine habit.  We liked to sprinkle turmeric and chili powder in for a little extra vitamin va va voom.

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Ready to bite into a quick bit of healthy food?

My Fit Foods is currently promoting Pays “Fit” Forward this September every Friday with a focus on friends and charity.  Healthy eating is taking on a whole new meaning of “feel good,” with My Fit Foods’ “Pay Fit Forward” campaign.  During the month of September, My Fit Foods’ is encouraging their guests to share healthy lifestyle habits with friends, whilegiving back to those in need.  Guests who purchase a meal at My Fit Foods during participating “Pay Fit Forward Fridays” will be offered the option to donate a FREE meal either to a friend, or to a local hunger-relief charity.

“My Fit Foods is committed to making healthy flavorful meals convenient and accessible for everyone,” said David Goronkin, CEO of My Fit Foods.  “We recognize that it is much easier and more fun to adopt healthy habits with a friend or partner.  We look forward to having our guests come in and participate, whether it’s sharing a delicious meal with a friend or paying it forward to a local charity.”

As part of the “Pay Fit Forward” program My Fit Foods retail stores will guarantee a donation to each of the local charities within the respective markets.  Donations in Illinois will go to the Lakeview Pantry, one of Chicago’s largest and longest-operating food depositories.  Wanna double the impact?

My Fit Foods invited celeb besties Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens; Mandy Moore and Minka Kelly; Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough to eat at My Fit Foods during the month of September.  If any of these celebrity duos accept and visit any My Fit Foods retail store during the month of September, My Fit Foods will DOUBLE its Pay Fit Forward hunger-relief charity donation.  Guests and social media users can help My Fit Foods rope these BFFs into the action by tweeting and using the hashtag #PayFitForward.

Disclosure: Thank you to the Clybourn My Fit Foods location and Sunny, the kindest registered nutritionist around, for free meals and knowledge in exchange for this post.

Giveaway! Pure Canada Maple Syrup

If you read our last post, we tried to coerce you into running the Fit Foodie 5k…we are still trying.  Come with us!!

One of the sponsors of the race is Pure Canada Maple with their delish maple syrup.  Who can say no to a big ol’ stack of pancakes with maple syrup?  You can even modify them to make them healthy no grain paleo banana cakes…or something goodish for you :).

Here’s some things we didn’t know about PURE CANADIAN maple syrup!  Don’t be going for none of that processed syrup wanna-bees.

  • It has many health benefits for runners (or wanna be runners like us).  It naturally contains essential vitamins and nutrients such as maganese, riboflavin, zinc (just in time for cold season), magnesium and potassium.  Many of these are vital elements for muscle repair.
  • It doesn’t cause the same blood sugar spike as many sugars and alternatives like the oh so pervasive corn syrup.
  • It contains polyphenols similar to those you find in healthy tea, red wine and flax seed and 54 different antioxidant compounds.
  • It has simple carbohydrates that are easily broken down by the body into glucose and used for fuel during exercise.

Follow us on race day and look for our #ILOVEMAPLE tweets to learn more.  Oh, and, wanna win some satisfying syrup?

Enter our giveaway and tell us in the comments what fit foodie recipe could you use Pure Canadian Maple Syrup in to win a maple prize pack*.  We would love some roasted brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of Pure Canadian Maple Syrup.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!

*Prize pack may include a variety of the following items: maple water, maple syrup and other maple themed items.

Infographic shared from the Pure Canadian Maple website.

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Throw Shade at Food Allergies with Sun Cups

Ah the pleasures of being Aunties!  You get to see your nephews, hug them, play games with them and give them back.  Both of us have outgoing nephews under 3 who love to snack.  Sadly, both of them have food allergies.  Nut, dairy, shellfish, gluten and more can all lead to unhappiness for many people.  This is precisely how the fabulously chocolatey dessert, Sun Cups, came about.  In 2008, Seth Ellis Chocolates opened their door to find a determined dude with chocolate and sunflower seed butter in hand who wanted a comparable Peanut Butter Cup substitute for his nut allergic son.  Challenge accepted and thus Sun Cups were birthed from a chocolate womb…or maybe created in the store.

Sun Cups are not only nut free (and pack with sunflower butter goodness) but also gluten, egg, shellfish, soy and fish free.  If that wasn’t enough wholesomeness to sunny your disposition, Sun Cups are non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Kosher, and they help the environment by using Rainforest Alliance Certified farms for their chocolate.

We were given illuminating Sun Cups to sample and brought them to a park picnic to share with our peeps.

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Milk Chocolate Sun Cups

Dark Chocolate Sun Cups

The dark chocolate cups had a nice balance of sunflower butter filling and a firm semi sweet dark chocolate shell.  There are 2 in a pack and we refused to share.  Dark chocolate is a great choice for getting your healthy flavonoids while treating yo’self.

Caramel Sun Cups

Our male comrades are caramel hounds and gobbled these up before we could even breathe on them.  One tester commented: “The caramel tastes like buttery melty toffee”.  We are happy it made his soul shine but jealous too.

Mint Sun Cups

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Mint and sunflower seed? Uhh let’s see how this works.

Sun Cups also sell milk and dark chocolate bars for the simplistic types.  C’mon who doesn’t like a good cup!? You can find Sun Cups online or at health food locations nationwide.