FitFinds

My blog about fit & healthy discoveries!

Archive for the tag “Healthy eats”

Simply Whey Bar

With SO many protein bars on the market today, how do you choose?

For me personally, I go for ones that aren’t loaded with a ton of ingredients and contain good quality protein.  I look for bars under or around 200 calories, low in sugar (5 grams or so) and carbs (15 grams), and provide about 15 grams of protein.

I seriously avoid anything chocolate coated (preferring REAL dark chocolate) – same for bars containing sugar alcohols, sucralose, corn syrup, and any other sneaky fillers disguised as ‘healthy’.

Currently, my favourite is the new Simply Whey protein bar.  It meets all of the above – plus delivers great crispy texture and coconut taste.WHEYC-2

For a truly outstanding snack, I’ll slice a bar lengthwise in half, and spread organic coconut oil and peanut butter on the 2 halves.  Seriously off the charts delicious! (I’ll have to take a photo and tweet sometime.)

Find the Simply Whey bars at all leading health and grocery stores, including Bulk Barn – which conveniently enough – I now buy my organic coconut oil and organic peanut butter at too :).

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Vega’s Maca Chocolate Bar

Those who know me, know I love dark chocolate – every day. Lindt 85% has remained a staple for years (and years), but every now and again I’ll try another brand.

While Vega’s maca chocolate bar isn’t exactly ‘new’, I recently discovered it at the CHFA Show in Toronto.  And by discovered, I mean devoured it!

Containing 70% dark chocolate infused with maca root powder (a super-food providing a host of health benefits including energy, stamina and hormonal balance), this bar reminded me of the raw chocolate I used to buy from Chocosol years a go.

Its potent taste provides the perfect amount of bitter with sweet. Its smooth texture is really nice, same for its easy ‘snap’ into bite-sized squares.

One bar down, and I can already sense a new addiction (sorry Lindt!) on my horizon.  A guilt-free one too.  That’s because this bar is considered a health food, with a daily recommended dosage of 1 bar/day!

I’ll take that kind of recommendation gladly….after lunch, with a cup of matcha green tea.

Talk about sensory heaven. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s dose!

Unjunk Your Junk Food

Potato chips, pop and ice cream – part of a healthy diet?  They can be, IF you know which brands to skip and those to enjoy.

Enter: Unjunk Your Junk Food, by Andrea Donsky and Randy Boyer (the creative force behind NaturallySavvy.com) with chief nutrition expert, Lisa Tsakos.

Whether you’re a salty or sweet person, inside this guide you will find healthier, just as tasty alternatives to your favourite snack brands -from Doritos to Oreos, Vitamin Water to Special K bars.

Beyond food swaps, it’s also loaded with tons of information about commonly used ingredients, what to look for when reading labels, and how best to avoid the worst of the bunch.

For example, I knew high fructose corn syrup (found in colas, ice cream and cereals) was bad, but didn’t realize when consumed it goes directly into the liver where it is converted into fat. What’s more, new research shows fructose (like that in HFCS) causes cancer cells to metastasize in a way that other sugars don’t! Lovely.

Bottom line, the more informed choices you can make when it comes to your diet, the better your choices can be.  In the case of junk food, this couldn’t be more true.

And thanks to Unjunk your Junk Food, you really CAN have your cake, and eat it (guilt-free) too!

For more healthy inspiration, I highly recommend NaturallySavvy.com as your go-to resource. Bookmark it now and visit often for the latest news, product reviewsFacebook/Twitter give-aways and more.

Also join their edible (R)evolution, and get a free excerpt of Unjunk your Junk Food! Visit: http://www.naturallysavvy.com/book/unjunk-your-junk-food                                             

Wilderness Family’s Coconut Spread

Hello new healthy addiction!

I recently decided to give-up peanut butter and swap-it for something healthier. One visit to The Carrot Common, and I found my answer: A sweet, melt-on-your toast coconut spread made by Wilderness Family Naturals.

No wonder the coconut-craze is so bloody popular, this stuff is amazing!

Besides its insanely delicious taste and buttery texture, the coconut (specifically its natural oil), is a super-food unlike any other. Here are just a few health benefits:

  • Used for energy, not stored as fat
  • Promotes a faster metabolism, with easier weight loss 
  • Increases immunity
  • Supports heart health
  • Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails
  • Improves thyroid function

What’s great about this particular spread too – is that not only is it organic, it’s made from fresh coconut meat that is dried at low temperatures, and cooled without heating. (Meaning, it’s pretty close to raw, and not overly processed like the majority of other coconut products.)

For all you almond butter/peanut butter lovers out there, I urge you to give this coconut spread a try! You won’t believe the difference in your energy and digestion…not to mention how wonderful it tastes in baking, smoothies, on toast – pretty much anything!

To learn more, visit: www.wildernessfamilynaturals.com

For more on the amazing health benefits of coconut oil, check-out this article by Dr. Mercola.

Sibu Beauty Chocolates

Move over chia, there’s a new superfood on the scene.  Chocolate-covered too! 

Coined the ‘holy fruit’, ‘the fountain of youth in a berry’, sea buckthorn really isn’t new.  Tibetan people have been enjoying it for hundreds of years.   And according to recent research, it may hold the secret to their very long, very healthy (they don’t get sick!) and vibrant lives.

But the real kicker? Sea buckthorn promotes ageless, youthful-looking skin.  For real.

Containing 190 bioactive compounds, it provides a superior source Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9, plus a host of antioxidants and vitamins including  A, B, C & E.  There’s simply no other ‘skin food’ source like it.

Now for the chocolate part…

Sibu Beauty, the world’s largest purveyor of Himalayan sea buckthorn, recently added dark and milk chocolate truffles containing 250 mg of sea buckthorn oil to its extensive line of skin care formulas and supplements. 

For a dark chocloate lover like me, these truffles are decadent tasting, rich and smooth.  Delicious! Available in dark mint flavour or milk orange, just 1 satisfies a chocolate-fix -and then some.

Now will these infused chocolates make my skin more beautiful?  I’m not too concerned. Mainly because I’m also taking a sea buckthorn supplement and enjoy sea buckthorn tea – daily.  

Such is the fountain of youth my friends…I say eat and drink it up.

(For more, check out a recent article in Town & Country magazine.  You couldn’t ask for a better, more convincing article about sea buckthorn!)

Allergic Solution, Muffin Mix

I love muffins.  Like, really love muffins.

Unfortunately, healthy muffins are very hard to come-by.  Hello, a typical Starbucks or Second Cup muffin packs about 350+ calories, 30 grams+ of sugar, 10 grams+ of fat!

So what’s a muffin lover like me to do?  Besides enjoying the occasional Delica Superfood muffin, or my sister’s fantastic creations…. make my own, right?! 

Unfortunately, I’m not much of a healthy baker, nor do I have a a pantry featuring almond flour, coconut oil, flax, etc.

Enter Allergic Solution, a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free (everything-free) brand of mixes, designed for those with special food allergies (or not) and want great-tasting muffins, cake, bread, etc. without the hassle of buying multiple ingredients.

For muffins, simply add olive oil, almond milk, your preferred sweetener plus some water (you can also add coconut oil, berries, currants, cinnamon – anything you want really) and bake for about 25 minutes. 

Besides being WAY less in calories, fat, bad carbs and next to no sugar, muffins turn-out plump and tasty!  (I like to top mine with peanut butter/hemp butter, and spread with a touch of jam.)

Now that I’m using my muffin pan more often, I think I’m ready to try Allergic Solution’s carob cake mix for some healthy cupcakes :).

Look for Allergic Solution mixes at Noah’s and other health food stores.

To learn more, visit: www.allergicsolution.com

From Farm to Table: Kettle Corn Popcorn

I don’t eat popcorn too often, but when I do, I tend to like the homemade stuff best: A bit of oil, organic kernels, lots of salt. 

Unfortunately, corn doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation.  It’s highly sprayed with toxic chemicals, genetically modified, and hidden in a ton of foods. 

So when I recently found From Farm to Table’s popcorn made from local, Ontario corn that’s GMO- and pesticide-free, I knew I had to try it. 

Their snack-sized bag of kettle corn also caught my attention due to its added Omega-3s derived from fish oils.  (Fish oils and popcorn? )  Not to mention its rather kind nutritional info: Just 90 calories per bag, 4 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbs and 6 grams of sugar. 

A few handfuls in, I was hooked! This popcorn is slightly sweet and salty, with no trace of fish – NONE.  It’s light and crunchy, and definitely hits the snack-spot.

According to the company’s website, they also make dill, butter & salt, white cheddar flavours – though I’ve yet to see on store shelves (here’s hoping soon!).

In the meantime, check out The Health Shoppe (on Yonge St.) to find the Kettle Corn.

Morning smoothie

This isn’t a new find, but something I’ve been enjoying for years. It also happens to be fit and healthy, so I figure why not share? 

It’s my daily smoothie.  It’s high in protein, loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants.

I make it because I absolutely love the taste.  Not only that, I’m convinced it’s why I rarely get sick, can bounce-back from marathons as well as build and maintain lean muscle quite easily.

What goes in: Approximately 1.5 cups of water, greens+bone builder (or greens+multi+), proteins+ (vanilla flavour) Bioflavia, Cell Food, frozen mixed berries and cinnamon.  During marathon training and/or following my long runs, I’ll add more proteins+, glutamine and maybe some banana.

I typically drink 1/2 the smoothie before my morning workouts, then the remaining just after (I keep the second-half in a shaker cup in my fridge). Using a Magic Bullet blender, it takes minutes to make, and very little clean-up.

So there you have it.  A simple and very healthy way to start the day. 

Until next time!

Stash Breakfast Tea

I’m a coffee lover, true and true.  But lately I’ve been enjoying a ton of tea lately – including Fusion Breakfast Green and Black Tea by Stash Tea.

I discovered this dark, edgy tea at The Natural Food Depot.  It hit my ‘tea spot’ immediately when I read it contains 3 different black teas, 2 green teas plus Japanese  matcha tea (one of my most favourites).  

If you’ve read much about tea, you’ll know black, green and matcha are rich in polyphenols -great for metabolism, anti-aging and cancer-fighting benefits

In the afternoon, I make a few cups and enjoy its potent taste enormously. Like most teas, I find the caffeine is subtle enough that I don’t get a huge energy buzz,  but enough to keep me feeling okay well past the usual 3pm dip.

One draw-back about this tea is that it’s not organic.  Nor do I know for sure its antioxidant levels…Having said this, I don’t doubt there’s some value in it, and will continue drinking it up!

To learn more about Stash Teas, visit: www.stashtea.com

Powerplant – Raw Plant Food Bar

In the world of nutrional bars, there’s a ton of junk for consumption. 

While the vast majority may appear to be ‘healthy’, the truth is most of them lack real food ingredients, are loaded-down by natural sugars (enough with the dates already!), provide too many calories (esp. carbs) – and quite honestly, lack worthwhile taste.

Enter the Powerplant Raw Plant Food Bar!

Containing mostly raw and organic ingredients, this bar is in a class of its own for a few simple reasons:

  1. Real food ingredients: including spinach, kale, carrots, parsley, broccoli and bok choy – along with hemp oil, sprouted chia seed, flax, pumpkin seed, hemp seed and radish seed – wrapped in organic, bittersweet chocolate.
  2. Amazing taste and texture.Especially when enjoyed right out of the fridge (though not necessary).
  3. Low in calories (only 140 per bar), with 22g carbs, 5 g fibre, 6g protein.

Made by Fresh Fields Whole Foods, in Kelowna B.C., the Powerplant bar also comes in a fruit-based option – though I prefer the plant version for its greener ingredients.

So where do you find these amazing bars? In Toronto, check out Noah’s on Yonge (at Charles).  I haven’t seen them anywhere else – yet.

To learn more, visit: www.freshfieldswholefoods.ca 

You can also find them on Twitter: @fresh_fields

Enjoy!

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