Thursday, August 10, 2017

7 Products I’ve Used & Loved for Years

Hi, guys! Happy Friday!

The other day, I was out with one of my girlfriends and she gave me a compliment on my hair. She said it looked healthy and shiny and then she ask me what my secret was. I immediately replied, “magic hairspray!” I explained it actually wasn’t hairspray at all, but a “silkening mist” that I’ve used for years. My friend Marie actually introduced me to it back in 2011, and I’ve used and loved it ever since. It’s the best!

My “magic hairspray” actually got me thinking about some of the products that I buy again and again because I just love them so much. I’m always on the lookout for the best new products, but these ones are tried-and-true favorites that just can’t be topped! I highly recommend each of these products and, if you decide to try them, know you’ll love them, too!

Kenra Platinum Silkening Mist (aka “magic hairspray”) – This stuff is the best ever, especially when you’re having a bad hair day. It instantly adds shine, smooths frizz, and smells so great. It’s basically like giving your hair a boost when it needs it most. My go-t0 hairstyle lately is towel-drying my hair, spritzing it with sea salt spray and magic hairspray, and then letting it air dry. This gives me soft, smooth waves with very minimal effort!

Brooks Glycerin – My favorite running shoe ever – and I wore them even before I started working with Brooks. They provide just the right amount of flexibility and “bounce,” but they’re also stable and supportive in all the right places. FYI: has free shipping both ways!

Teddie Peanut Butter – I’ve tried a lot of peanut butter brands over the years and nothing tops Teddie. It truly has the best flavor and texture ever. It’s rich and thick, and it’s only ingredients are peanuts and salt.

SFH protein powder – I love SFH because it tastes great (Churro and Vanilla are my favorite flavors) and doesn’t have any of that funny stuff in it. It’s whey protein, but it doesn’t mess with my stomach like some other whey protein powders.

Juno Sports Bra – I know I’ve mentioned this sports bra on CNC a zillion times in the past, but it’s truly one of my long-time favorites and has served me well for years now. I typically wear my beloved Juno for long-distance running because it has plenty of support, shape (no uni-boob), full coverage (no crazy cleavage), and adjustable straps that completely un-Velcro when you need it. I also love that it’s a racerback to go with all of my tank tops. Best sports bra ever!


Nikki’s Coconut Butter – My favorite flavor is the vanilla cake batter, but I love a lot of Nikki’s options! I often eat it straight from the jar with a spoon, and it’s the perfect bite of deliciousness when you need something sweet. I also like spreading it on rice cakes and mashing it with banana or berries. So good!

Maybelline Full & Soft Mascara – I’ve tried a lot of expensive mascaras over the years, but I still love Full & Soft from Maybelline. It lifts and separates lashes, and it’s priced right! 🙂

Question of the Day

What product(s) do you love and used for years now? 


The post 7 Products I’ve Used & Loved for Years appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Tropical Oat Smoothie Bowl

This post is sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company but all opinions are my own.

‘Tis the season for all things tropical, summery and cool! I’ve been mixing up my breakfasts between yogurt bowls, overnight oats and smoothies.

Back in the day, aka 2011, I discovered how delicious it is to put raw oats into a smoothie a summer trend people are now calling “smoatmeal!” Sometimes I soak them overnight oats style and other times I just throw a handful right into the blender. I absolutely love both the taste and texture they lend. They add a hint of doughy flavor and a nice thickness, which is especially great if you’re eating your smoothie in a bowl (less dripping!).

I enjoy eating oats because they can be a good source of fiber and 100% whole grain, which helps give me energy. This recipe has 6 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein – talk about a nutritious morning!  

In celebration of summer, I combined some of my favorite tropical flavors for this bowl: mango, papaya, banana and coconut. Plus a hint of mint! Here in prime fruit season, there are so many creative options, from peaches and stone fruits to all the fresh summer berries you can pick up at the farmer’s market.

For this smoatmeal, combine your overnight oats base the night before, give everything a quick blend, and place the blender in the fridge to set. This also saves time in the morning if you have your fruits prepped too.

In the morning, add a wee bit more milk and your fruits and blend away.

The extra fruits you reserved become optional toppings. There are so many beautiful smoothie bowls across the Internet right now the patterns and designs have become an art!

Tropical Smoothie Bowl

Yield 1 bowl


  • 1/3 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped papaya
  • 1/4 banana
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp milk as needed to get smoothie going the next morning.


  1. Prepare overnight oats by combining oats, milk, yogurt, and chia seeds right in your blender. Blend for 10 seconds to mix well and chill overnight in the fridge.
  2. In the morning, add tropical fruit, coconut, mint and extra milk and blend everything together.
  3. Top with extra tropical fruit as you have it, and enjoy with a spoon in a bowl!

Courses Breakfast

Tropical Oat Smoothie Bowl //

Thanks to Quaker Oats for sponsoring this post. 

The post Tropical Oat Smoothie Bowl appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

CrossFit Training: How Going Primal Will Enhance Recovery

Tired sports man after box jumping exercise leaning on box. Dark picture.Exercise is a major stressor. But it’s a major acute stressor, rather than a chronic one. It hits us, then it’s over, and we recover. When the next session rolls around, we’re better/faster/stronger/fitter. We adapt. At least, that’s how exercise is supposed to go if you have enough buffer time between sessions. Most people do provide enough buffer time between their exercise sessions to promote recovery. Many provide too much, leading to detraining.

Some people go the other way. For these people who train 4, 5, 6 times a week, workouts can become, for all intents and purposes, chronic stressors. String enough acute stressors together with small enough buffers in between and you’re stewing in low level inflammation. Never quite recovering, never quite wringing out as much adaptation as you should.

A regimen like CrossFit demands a lot from you. The workouts themselves are demanding, prescribing complex movements, high intensity, and high volume. The weekly schedule is rigorous, with some boxes recommending 4-6 workout sessions a week. This can produce incredible gains in strength, body composition, and overall fitness—if you’re careful to recover and avoid burnout. If you’re not careful, if you don’t optimize your recovery, CrossFit training can burn you out.

Notice if you’re feeling an increased fatigue you can’t shake, decreased work capacity, intense sugar cravings, or poor sleep. Any of these are signs you need to pay more attention and time to recovery. If you’re finding yourself more injury-prone, obviously that’s a major red flag whose message you should heed.

Today, I’m going to explain how going Primal offers unique and particular benefits to CrossFitters and anyone else engaged in intense training who wants to optimize their recovery.

I won’t go deep into everything that factors into recovery from workouts, either because I’ve already covered them or they aren’t unique to Primal. These include:

Calories: Your body needs food to recover.

Protein: You need it to build back up that muscle you’ve been putting through the wringer.

Carbs: Refilling that glycogen you just burned through is important if you plan on getting back out there tomorrow.

Fat: Saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, omega-3s, and cholesterol all contribute to muscle recovery and protein synthesis. Make sure you’re eating plenty of all four. I recommend including a large source of all four in your last meal on training days. There’s something special about giving your body a ton of testosterone/androgenic precursors to play with before bedtime, which is when most of the growing and recovering happens.

One big issue is time itself. If you’re training five times a week, you simply don’t have as much recovery time available as the person training three or four times a week. It’s a numbers game. You can’t change that. In this scenario, your recovery strategy becomes even more crucial, your time more precious.

Ancestral Sleep

I have to start with sleep. When it comes to recovery from your training, it’s almost everything. Let’s put it this way: If you could fix one thing and one thing only in order to enhance recovery, it would be sleep.

Sleep is when muscles grow. If you don’t sleep, you not only lose the opportunity to make gains. One study found that sleep deprivation actually increases urinary excretion of nitrogen, which could indicate muscle breakdown and loss of lean mass.

Sleep is when testosterone and growth hormone spike. Sleep loss increases the catabolic glucocorticoid family of hormones like cortisol and decreases the anabolic triad of testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone, accentuating the “degradation pathways” while reducing the “protein synthesis pathways.”

Bad sleep impairs insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. If we can’t tolerate glucose or utilize insulin’s effects, we’ll have major issues replenishing the glycogen we need to recover and come back for the next session.

Okay, so, “go sleep more” isn’t good advice. It’s what everyone says. It’s what everyone knows. But it’s damn difficult to put into practice. How can Primal help you sleep more? What do we offer that others don’t?

First, we offer an evolutionary framework for understanding why human sleep is so messed up. After hundreds of thousands of years of hewing our sleep patterns to the light/dark cycles of the natural world, we’ve suddely reversed it. We spend our days indoors, away from natural light, and our nights at home bathing in artificial light. And since light exposure to our eyes determines our circadian rhythm and how well we sleep, restoring our ancient relationship to light is a prerequisite for good sleep. It’s actually simple:

Expose yourself to natural light during the morning and daytime. Sunlight is a great source of blue light that keeps us awake at night (bad) and alert and energized during the day (good). It has to be real, natural light to set the circadian rhythm most effectively.

Limit artificial light at night. Blue light (from screens, smartphones) tricks your circadian rhythm into thinking it’s daytime all over again, which depresses melatonin and disrupts your sleep. A pair of UVEX blue-blocking safety goggles is an inexpensive workaround that really works.

For more details on putting the Primal sleep concepts into practice, read this post.

Better Food Quality, Better Recovery

I wish I could tell you to eat McDonald’s and cheese danishes, spaghetti and meatballs and fried calamari. I mean, you can. Go on. You’ll probably stay pretty fit if you’re doing CrossFit. But you won’t excel. And I can’t in good conscience say the quality doesn’t matter for your recovery.

The Primal Blueprint doesn’t stress the consumption of local, preferably organic produce, pastured animal products, and high-quality fats for superficial reasons. We have very good reasons for spending a little extra and taking a little more time to obtain better foods. We like eggs from bug-eating, grass-scrounging hens because they are extremely nutrient-dense and make our LDL more resistant to oxidative damage. We like grass-fed lamb because its fat comes pre-loaded with antioxidants that reduce carcinogenic formation during cooking. We like organic produce because it has, believe it or not, been shown to have higher levels of plant polyphenols and certain vitamins than its conventional counterparts.

Recovery is about reducing unnecessary inflammation. We’re already coming off a major spike in inflammation—thanks to the intense training session—and the last thing we need is more for no reason. When we eat higher quality foods, like pastured eggs, grass-fed ruminants, and organic produce, we’re reducing the inflammatory burden that otherwise impedes the recovery process. We avoid inflammation-producing foods like grains and industrial oils. On top of this, be mindful of your individual responses to other possible triggers like dairy, eggs, nightshades or even certain fruit in case they might be contributing to the problem.

Get Sunlight (or Vitamin D)

Sun exposure doesn’t just provide natural light that sets your circadian rhythm and promotes better sleep and recovery. It also helps recovery directly by increasing vitamin D production.

First off, vitamin D is a prohormone—a precursor of testosterone. Our muscles need testosterone to recover and build new tissue  Studies show that replenishing one’s vitamin D levels and correcting deficiencies increases testosterone production.

In 2010, researchers took adults with severe vitamin D deficiency, tested how quickly they could replenish local ATP-PC for fast energy in the muscle, gave them supplements for 12 weeks, then tested ATP-PC replenishment rates again. Their average ATP-PC recovery time half life dropped from 34.4 seconds to 27.8 seconds after getting vitamin D up to snuff.

The faster your ATP-PC replenishes, the quicker you can call on it during intense efforts without needing so much glycogen or fat. The more testosterone you have at your disposal, the better your muscles will recover.

Other Stressors

Stress is stress is stress. If you’re losing your job and your marriage is falling apart and you’ve got a bad head cold and you just got a new puppy and you just found out you or your partner are pregnant, you’ve got a lot on your plate. All those add stress to your life and impact your ability to recover from your physical training. Of course, carving out some time to yourself to engage in physically demanding work can also relieve stress, but only to a point. Eventually, the physiological burden of balancing psychosocial stress and training stress becomes too much. At some point we all break down.

I have no specific advice for the specific stressors I listed because they’re different for everyone. Primal acknowledges that modern life poses unique challenges to the human organism. We may not run from hungry hyenas, face swarms of bees protecting their honey, stalk an animal for over a day only to step on a twig and send it bounding off to freedom, or engage in hand-to-hand combat with rivals, but we stress. To our bodies, these stressors are major. They don’t really stop accumulating, either, which creates a chronic stress situation that destroys recovery.

Rethink your stress. You’re gearing up to head out for a hunting party; of course your pulse is pounding (to deliver nutrients to important tissues) and you’re breathing fast (to grab extra oxygen for the task at hand) and you’re anxious (to breed caution and help you make the best decision). It’s just your Primal self trying to make sense of the impending task the only way it knows. That’s a good thing.

Recovery is a big piece of success in CrossFit, maybe the biggest. You really want to get this right. Luckily, going Primal has its benefits.

That’s it for today, everyone. Take care.

This article was co-written with Laura Rupsis, Level 1 CrossFit CertifiedPrimal Health Coach Certified, and owner of Absolution CrossFitin La Grange, IL.


The post CrossFit Training: How Going Primal Will Enhance Recovery appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Market Watch: Melons

Sweet, fragrant, and brimming with juice, melons are the original thirst quencher. Since they’ve been cultivated for thousands of years, they come in an amazing range of sizes, colors and shapes. The most popular type sold in the US is the orange-fleshed cantaloupe, which is actually a type of muskmelon, or netted melon. (True cantaloupes are smaller and available mostly in Europe and the Middle East.) Other grocery-store standards include the honeydew, a reliably sweet green-fleshed melon, and of course, numerous varieties of watermelons. But increasingly, more unusual types are found in local farmer’s markets from August through early autumn. Some, such as the Charentais, with its dark orange flesh and musky aroma, don’t ship well and are best bought locally. Other exotically-named varieties you might find include the slightly spicy Crenshaw, the super-sweet white fleshed Canary, or the aptly named Tangerine Dream watermelon.


Melon Facts

Choosing the best melon is the subject of much debate among connoisseurs. Some inspect the exterior pattern of netting, while others probe the stem end for softness. Still others weigh melons in their hands, or knock on them as if listening for some mysterious answer. While there is no sure way to determine optimal ripeness besides cutting into the flesh, there are a few helpful tips. All melons should feel heavy for their size and firm (but not rock hard). With honeydew and other winter melons, the blossom end should be slightly soft. When choosing a muskmelon like cantaloupe, your nose might offer the best clue — they should smell fragrant and fruity. Unlike stone fruits, melons don’t continue to ripen after being picked. Though they won’t get any sweeter, storing them at room temperature for a few days will make them juicier. If beginning to soften, transfer a ripe melon to the refrigerator and eat within a day or two. Watermelons are best when served chilled.


With a high water content, melon offer a wealth of nutrients including vitamin C and potassium, as well as fiber. Like cousins pumpkins or butternut squash, orange-fleshed varieties of melons contain beta-carotene. Red watermelons contain the highest level of the antioxidant lycopene per serving of any fruit or vegetable. Honeydew melon provides zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that protects eye health.


What to Do with Melons

Simply sliced and served without any adornment — think of the pure pleasure of a watermelon wedge on a hot day–melons are also delicious in appetizers, salads, frozen desserts, drinks and even main courses. To use in recipes, first trim the melon flat on both ends and stand upright. Following the curve of the fruit, cut away the peel with a large, sharp knife. Then halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. If using watermelon, choose a seedless variety to save yourself the trouble.


Floral-smelling orange-fleshed varieties like cantaloupe, Crenshaw, or Charentais melons pair well with salty cured meat. A perennial favorite on the hors d’oeuvres plate (and one that couldn’t be easier to prepare) is melon slices wrapped with prosciutto. You can substitute any type of cured meat with good results: try Serrano ham, or, for the kids, regular old deli ham.


Melons also pair well with acidic ingredients, like citrus and wine. For a simple and elegant dessert, use a melon baller to scoop honeydew or any type of orange-fleshed melon into wine glasses. Top with a sparkling white wine such as Prosecco or Moscato and serve sprinkled with thinly sliced basil or mint leaves. To make a refreshing and ridiculously easy sorbet, cut a ripe melon into cubes and freeze until solid, then purée in a food processor until smooth. Re-freeze until solid, and then scoop into bowls. Or, for a simple (and healthy) weeknight dessert or breakfast, serve melon slices drizzled with a mixture of honey, plain yogurt and a squeeze of lime, then top with a handful of chopped pistachios or hazelnuts.


Melons are also a natural fit with salads. Combine any type of orange melon or watermelon with cubed seedless cucumber, sliced red onion and lime juice. Season with salt and toss with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, basil or mint. If you like, serve topped with crumbled feta, queso fresco or shaved ricotta salata.


Melons also make the base for refreshing soups. Try pureeing an orange-fleshed melon with hot chili paste, lime juice and salt, then chill and serve with grilled shrimp. Or make watermelon gazpacho — substitute part or all watermelon for tomatoes in your favorite recipe. In fact, melons, particularly red watermelon, can be substituted for tomatoes with good success in many recipes. Swap them for tomatoes in salsa: combine finely chopped watermelon with cilantro, white onion, lime juice and Serrano pepper and spoon over grilled fish or fish tacos.


Of course, to quench your thirst on a hot summer day, ice-cold watermelon is the hands down winner. For an upgrade on plain old wedges, sprinkle sliced or cubed chilled watermelon with a pinch of salt–which brings out the sweetness–and a mild chili powder. Then squeeze a fresh-squeezed lime juice over it and enjoy.

Recipes to Try

Honeydew Melon and Cilantro Ice Pops (pictured above)

Melon Smoothies

Cold Melon Soup

Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho

Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

Fish Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

Melon with Berries and Sorbet

Watermelon, Lime, and Mint Granita

Watermelon and Cucumber Smoothie


Abigail Chipley is a freelance recipe developer, writer and cooking teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...