Monday, August 17, 2015

Final Thoughts: Wild Rose D-Tox Herbal Cleanse

This cleanse was amazing.  I definitely felt better, and was noticeably more energetic by my peers by the third day.  My skin cleared up, and I wasn't bloated or dealing with any of my usual stomach issues.  I did visibly lose weight, but I didn't weigh myself for a before and after so I'm not sure how much weight I lost.  I wasn't really looking to lose weight with the cleanse so it wasn't a priority to track.

After the cleanse ended, I decided to experiment with reintroducing wheat.  I ordered pizza on Saturday (cheeseless of course) and ate it that day, as well as yesterday.  Yesterday morning, I noticed a breakout on my forehead, the kind that is a bump with no real head, and you can't really pop it.  Last night, I noticed another one on my chin.  I tried to lance them and pop them today to see if they would go away, but as expected, both are red, irritated, and have no head to them.  They are classic irritation zits and I am now completely certain that I am reactive to wheat.  Am I allergic?  Probably not.  I've eaten wheat my entire life and have never had anaphalactic shock.  However, I would definitely say that I am sensitive and reactive to wheat.  What this means for my life is that should I chose to eat it now and again, it's not the end of the world, but it's not ideal for my overall health.  Also interesting, I noticed my left foot was a little sore, whereas my overall body pain level has significantly dropped during this cleanse.

The final thought I would leave you with is this: if you are having unexplained health issues, or are just feel sluggish and worn down, I highly recommend doing a cleanse.  This cleanse was gentle and didn't interfere with my regular life, and was definitely effective.  It helped me pinpoint the source of some of my inflammation and skin issues, and I can't say enough about how helpful that is.

You can get this cleanse at most natural grocery stores, or on Amazon.  I actually received mine directly from Garden of Life.  I am one of their official bloggers, so I did receive this item free to try.  At no point did they actually require or even request a review, and they certainly accept my opinions at face value.  Overall, I really love the Garden of Life company and I'm happy to be an official blogger for them.

Monday, August 3, 2015

More Health Updates & Starting a Cleanse!

I am FINALLY starting my Garden of Life Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox Cleanse.  I've had it sitting in the cabinet for about a year.  I meant to do it when Aaron moved in last June, but it didn't happen for whatever reason.  I'm a Garden of Life blogger, so they sent me this cleanse to try based off of my lifestyle.  Fortunately it has a good shelf life or I'd be missing out!

All of this, plus my regular allergy medicine and my Spironolactone for acne.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Health Updates & Why I Disappeared

I know I've gone and disappeared right in the middle of the cookie diet.  I'm still eating lots and lots of Lenny & Larry's, and have actually become an ambassador for the brand, but I've had a few health issues come up that have taken me away from regular exercise.

Starting the beginning of June, I noticed my left knee was hurting pretty terribly.  I chalked it up to stress from running and decided to let it rest for a bit.  Unfortunately, I found in the coming weeks that not only was my knee not getting better, but the pain and stiffness spread to my other knee, then down into my ankles, and started to travel up into my right hip and my lower back.  I immediately made an appointment with a nurse practicioner that I absolutely adore now, and got some rather alarming news.

That, coupled with additional symptoms and past diagnoses, led her to connect some dots together for me.  She thinks I have some sort of chronic inflammation and pain disease, whether it be Lupus, Fibromyalgia or even Rhuemetoid Arthritis; I have long suspected as much.  I'm not one to cry woe is me or panic, so I've been working with her for pain management, as well as symptom management.  Overall, my pain is better, though if I sit too long in one position, it's very painful when I start using my limbs again.  Overall, I'm finding I'm better off if I keep moving.  Now that I have the pain mostly managed, I am feeling confident that exercise is going to be okay again.  I also have an inhaler now to help with the shortness of breath I was working through when running.

Am I going to start running again?  I don't think so.  I just don't think my knees can handle it.  I'm going to follow up with her in a few weeks and ask her what she suggests I do about that, actually.  Overall, I'm avoiding long term damage right now, and without knowing if it'll be a bad idea, I'm refraining from doing it.  This means my primary means of cardio is gone.  I don't have access to an elliptical or a pool, which would both be low impact cardio workouts.  I don't have weight machines, I just do body weight exercise.  I feel a little frustrated right now, but I'm going to push forward.  My pain is much better now, so it's silly to spend any time feeling sorry for myself or demotivating myself.  I still work on my feet in a fast paced retail environment and walk to and from work each day.  I think I'm going to start taking dog on our nice long walks again.  The only drawback to those is the amount of bugs at night time, and the heat during the day.

I am only posting this here because I wanted to explain why I dropped off the face of the cookie earth after hyping up this cookie diet.  It's not my style to quit in the middle of something, but it's not fair to judge my progress in a diet based off of a TDEE that doesn't currently apply since I've becoming a little more sedantary.  I haven't really gained any additional weight (steroid side effect; if only I hadn't been in too much pain to weight train, haha), but I am sitting at my start weight, and I think I'm retaining a lot of water for some reason.  All things to talk to my doctor about, I know.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Cookie Diet - A Giveaway!

This image will be used for a re-gram option in the giveaway!

To celebrate #thecookiediet and my weight loss so far, I wanted to pass on some of the delicious love.  Lenny & Larry's sent me a package that I decided to pass on to one person since my cabinet is currently stocked to the gills (seriously, check my Instagram if you don't believe me).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Cookie Diet - One Week Update!

I started the Cookie Diet on Monday, June 1, 2015.  Today is Monday, June 8th and it has been one week.  In the last week, I have consistently eaten an average of 1,200 calories a day, as well as taken my vitamins and a Skinny Bird supplement from Hum Nutrition.

Breakfast today; a protein mocha, half a Complete Cookie, and supplements.

In one week, I am down three pounds.  Yes, I said three pounds.  I think I'm going to have to adjust my calories if my weightloss doesn't stabilize out to two pounds this week.  Most people would think it's great to drop weight that quickly, but ideally you don't want to drop more than two pounds a week and since I'm looking for sustainable, long term weight loss, I'd like to follow those guidelines.  Granted, I know my body pretty well so we'll see where we go with this.

If you're still interested in following my weightloss journey, I highly suggest adding me on Instagram here.  If you're looking to get your hands on the cookies I'm eating for the Cookie Diet, check here.  And last, but certainly not least, the protein powder I use and love can be found here, use code BBE100 for a discount!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Cookie Diet!!

Losing weight is calories in < calories out.  It's a simple enough equation, and while I need to drop some quick weight, I felt like it was a chance to have a little fun with it.  If I were trying to build muscle, or cut body fat quickly, we'd have to do it with a little bit better control over nutrients and macros.  Also, this is not a long term, sustainable lifestyle change.  It is, however, delicious and kind of hilarious.

My TDEE is generally around 1,600 calories, on a particularly active day at work, my Fitbit claims I burn about 100-200 extra calories.  I shoot for 1,200 calories a day.  Being realistic, I eat closer to my TDEE, and on some days, I eat well over it (obviously).  I am probably estimating it to be a little low, but despite the amount of walking I do each day (10,000 to 15,000 steps), I don't think I'm off by much.  I used multiple calculators to land on this number.  For this fun little experiment, I will continue with my daily goal of 1,200 calories, with motivation to exercise for extra calories for snacks.  I am lucky that the math works out perfectly in my favor.. you see, three protein shakes and two full cookies are almost exactly 1,200 calories.  Yes, I just said cookies.

Lenny and Larry's Complete Cookies are a little piece of fitlife heaven.  For a whole cookie, which is 4 oz, you eat 380-420 calories, 12-14g of fat, 54-58g of carbohydrates, and an impressive 16g of protein.  They come in eight different flavors, so hold on to your seats here: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, White Chocolate Macadamia, Oatmeal Raisin, Lemon Poppyseed, Pumpkin Spice and the newest Snickerdoodle.  The most important part about all of the different flavors?  They're actually good.  These cookies are the perfect mouthful of cookie, not too crumbly or dry or even too moist for that matter.  They're fantastic dipped in coffee or eaten plain.  I have yet to try one I don't like (and I've had a lot of them).

My protein powder for this experiment will be from True Nutrition.  It is their gemma pea protein (non-gmo) formulation, and the massive tub we have this time is in Creamy Peanut Butter.  That said, they have ten vegan protein sources, and more flavors than you can shake a stick at.  Seriously, if you manage to try them all, I will be impressed with you (and if you decide to do so, use my discount code BBE100).

For those curious of a breakdown of my day, they can follow me on MyFitnessPal.  If you just want to casually follow along, check out my Instagram!

Disclaimer: Lenny & Larry's did provide me some swag for this diet.  It did not influence whether or not I took on this cookie diet challenge.  True Nutrition has provided me products to review in the past.  The protein I will be using for this challenge was purchased.  They did send me a True Nutrition Blender Bottle to use for the challenge.  As always, I reserve the right to my open and honest opinion.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

True Nutrition Vegan Wholefoods Replacement Powder

There are a ton of different meal replacement powders out there for vegans.  The ones that I have used the most in the past are the Garden of Life brand, from several of their different lines.  I have tried so many options for meal shakes, but am often disappointed by the high amount of carbs.  Carbohydrates are higher in meal shakes than protein shakes due to the fact that it's supposed to substitute a meal.  That's all fine and dandy, but when I'm trying to stick to a moderate amount of carbs and would rather get them from a piece of fruit, that simply doesn't work for me.

Enter stage right: True Nutrition's Vegan Wholefoods Replacement Powder; cue heavenly music and ethereal lighting.

This stuff is fantastic.  It's available in a huge range of flavors, everything from Natural Premium Vanilla to Corner Candy Store (which now I want to know, WHAT DOES THAT TASTE LIKE?!?!?).  The macros are out of this world; for a 30g serving size, 15 to a pound, you have 130 calories.  Of those 130 calories, you have 2.9 g of fat, 4.9g of carbohydrates, and a whopping 19.7g of protein.  If you need more carbs in a meal, it's easy to eat a piece of fruit with this and still have a reasonable amount of calories for a meal.  For more protein and fat, pair it with a handful of almonds.  Basically, you have options.

I make all of my shakes in Blender Bottles or Smart Shake bottles.  This formula is pretty smooth outside of the hemp protein found it in (the little black dots that people occasionally complain about).  Hemp protein is hard to get smooth, and the only company I've seen do it well was Manitoba Harvest.  The hemp protein is minimal in this, with the bulk of the protein coming from pea and rice, so there shouldn't be enough to bother you.

Outside of the pea, rice and hemp protein it has a few other ingredients to bulk it up and make you feel full.  It has Swedish Oat Starch, " a low glycemic, high molecular weight wholefoods powder that is high in the nutrient b-glucan."  It also has Psyllium seed husk fiber to bulk it up and help with elimination.  It has Medium Chain Triglycerides Powder (from coconut and palm oil), which are a fat source that is easily assimilated by the body and help prevent muscle breakdown.  Outside of needing to add in a raw supergreen powder for nutrients, this is the complete package.  Since I have plenty of raw supergreen powder, this is ideal for me.

Oh, the last reason why you should give this stuff a chance?  The price is better than anything else on the market.  For a pound of it, even in a tub, with a scoop, and premium flavoring at double strength, it's only around $11 a pound.  If you're not fancy with the flavoring or packaging (and you really don't need to be), you can get it for much closer to $9.  Using the code BBE100 will help get you there, too.

Quick breakdown:
1 scoop (30g)
15 servings per pound
Cost: ~$9-$11+ per pound

Total Calories: 130
Fat: 2.9g
Carbohydrates: 4.9g
Protein: 19.7g

Would I buy it again?  Absolutely.  The macros are spot on and other than the slight grit with the hemp protein, I have no complaints.  Some people expect their meal powders to have built in vitamins and supergreens; I add my own.  If you're one of those people, you may be a little disappointed, but the price should make up for it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

REVIEW: My March Vegan Cuts Box!

I have been a longtime on again and off again subscriber of Vegan Cuts' Snack Box.  And full disclosure, this month the box was sent to me for free to review, so you may see slightly different items in my box than what you received.

Here's what was in my box this month (with details and reviews under the cut):

Some classic favorites and some new things to try!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

About that wagon.. also, taking responsibility for your journey.

Hey guys!  I feel like I've disappeared off of the internet.  I'm still on Instagram on the reg, but it's been harder to sit down and type anything up.  My schedule got the usual holiday trainwreck that retail causes, and my entire life got derailed from working too much and too many mids and closes.

I'm at a crossroad in my life.  I don't want things to stay how they are.  That's an exciting and terrifying feeling.  The only thing I want to stay the same in my life is who I share it with.  I am ready for a new career with a stable schedule.  I am ready to get on and stay on the daily grind that is a physically fit and balanced life.  I don't want to get derailed by stupid excuses.  Most of all, I am ready for Aaron and I to have time to spend together to really have a life together and focus on it being long, healthy, happy and prosperous.  I feel like a lot of things in my current life have to change to make that possible, but I am ready to do whatever it takes.