Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Episode 402 – Robb and Nicki Q&A #8

Friday at The Hangout (Union Point)

Hi, guys! Happy Hump Day!

I’m a little behind on “day in the life” updates, but I’m working on getting them live on CNC ASAP. Summer is a FUN time for our family, so I want to remember these times and, of course, share them with you all. Plus, I heard they’re your favorite kind of blog posts, so I’ll be sure to keep ’em coming!

This “day in the life” post is actually from last Friday. (Seriously, how is it already Wednesday? I used to update my blog within hours of things happening – oh, how times have changed!) The day started kind of meh, but ramped up into quite the fun Friday. Ok, here we go!

Friday morning started bright and early at 4:45 AM. Now that Quinn does part-time preschool and Mal is home for the summer, I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with them, which means squeezing in work at odd times of the day. It’s not ideal, but I’d rather wake up early than miss out on quality time with them. Plus, even if I try to work in my office when they’re home, they both come in and out like 10 million times, so I don’t get much done anyway. Ha!

I worked for a solid 2 hours before Quinn woke up, so it was definitely a win for me. Once he was awake, we headed downstairs and had “hugs and snugs” on the couch. We were both hungry, so made use breakfast. For him: A smoothie and a PB & J bar from Trader Joe’s.

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For me: Cauliflower gnocchi (from Trader Joe’s) with shredded chicken, kale, and Parmesan cheese + a piece of toast with Justin’s cinnamon almond butter (<— so good! Quinn calls it “special peanut butter”) with banana slices on top. And, of course, iced coffee with Ripple vanilla creamer.

Please note the “real life” scene behind my breakfast photo. Our kitchen island is always insanely messy – everything just ends up there!

After breakfast, Mal got Quinn ready for school while I took Murphy for a walk. We’ve switched morning responsibilities since he got out of school, so I can start working first thing in the morning. Having Mal take Quinn to school has been such a huge help and really maximizes my time.

I worked for most of the morning and then drove into Boston for another doctor’s appointment. We’re still trying to get to the bottom of my phlegm-y cough. I have an appointment with a pulmonary specialist in mid-August, so, hopefully, we’ll get some answers then.

The appointment was at 11:45 AM, so I knew I’d be more than hungry after it, so I packed a bunch of snacks for the road: RXBAR, clementines, and Sour Cream & Onion Chips from Deep River Snacks. I love that these chips are made from simple ingredients, but still have an incredible burst of flavor! Plus, you’ll find a different charity on the back of every bag, because Deep River Snacks donates 10% of net profits each year. I love when brands give back like this, and it makes me want to support them even more!

After my appointment in the city, I drove back to the South Shore (and somehow miraculously avoided most of the Cape traffic) and popped into Rosa Farms for a smoothie and some more work. I actually had a meeting there later in the afternoon, so I just parked myself with my laptop at the coffee bar and banged out some work until it was time.

After the meeting, I packed up my things and headed home to grab my boys for another adventure at The Hangout at Union Point. If you’re local and haven’t been to The Hangout yet, please add it to your summer to do list! It’s a great spot and there’s so much to do there – including shopping, live music, food truck rodeos, movie nights, kids activities, classes, farmers’ market, yard games, and more!

Our first stop was the Brew Can, which is an outdoor bar with all sorts of drinks, fun, and games!

We met some of our friends there and hung out for awhile – it was quite the nice way to finish off the week!

We’ll definitely be back again soon!

Question of the Day

Local readers: Have you been over to The Hangout yet? 

Parents who work from home: What are you tips for getting work done?



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The Horrible Stuff In Protein Powder (Is it in yours?)

My favorite protein powder got recalled. And you’re never going to guess why…

Unlike most recalls, it wasn’t contaminated with an allergen… And they also didn’t find some deadly bacteria in it…

Nope, it was much worse.

Okay, maybe not worse, but I was completely disgusted.

They found rat droppings in it. Gross, right?!!

This was years ago, before I really got deep into investigating food. I’ve since learned that rat droppings are not the only crazy, disgusting (and super unhealthy) substance found in protein powder.

After I did a deep dive into protein powders, I realized that most of them were full of nasty things that I never want to eat.

Which is really surprising for something that’s considered a health food, right?

Almost everyone has a tub of protein powder in their house, do you? Go grab it and let’s go over what to watch out for…

Top 15 substances to avoid in protein powder:

1. Soy Protein Concentrate or Isolate

Over 90% of the soy produced in this country is GMO and contaminated with Roundup herbicide, but that’s not the only reason to avoid soy protein. When soy is isolated to just its protein state, it becomes severely denatured and can cause hormonal disruptions because of the excessive amount of estrogen contained in it. Soy also contains an abundance of phytic acid, which leaches calcium and other vital minerals from your body. There are healthier forms of plant-based protein, which I’ll get into later in this post!

2. Whey Protein Isolate 

Whey protein isolate is highly processed, unlike a protein concentrate. Most whey protein isolates start from ultra-pasteurized “Monsanto Milk” raised on GMOs, antibiotics, and other drugs. This milk is then exposed to acid processing, which strips out alkalizing minerals and naturally occurring vitamins and lipids. This processing makes whey protein isolate overly acidifying in the body. Chronically consuming whey protein isolate without appropriate balance of alkalizing foods can acidify your body, which over time increases your vulnerability to degenerative disease. 

3. Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are chemical mixtures made with synthetic (not natural) ingredients in a lab. They’re produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar. Artificial vanilla flavor can be made from wood pulp. Want your protein drink to taste like strawberries? Blend it with some real strawberries!

4. Natural Flavors

Natural Flavor is practically the exact same thing as Artificial Flavor, but it’s derived from substances found in nature (plants, animals, etc). But that’s not all! Flavors typically contain preservatives, emulsifiers, solvents and other “incidental additives”, which can make up 80% or so of the formulation, even the “natural” ones. None of these are disclosed on the ingredient list. All of the top 10 plant-based protein powders on Amazon contain natural flavors, so this is hard to avoid… but I’ll show you how, keep reading!

5. Refined Sugar

Sugar is addictive, makes you fat, tired, depressed, age faster, makes your skin dull, weakens immunity and when consumed in excess causes all sorts of diseases. It’s added to protein powders in many different forms – you’ll see ingredients listed like corn syrup solids, fructose, maltodextrin, dextrose, and sometimes just sugar. The good news? You don’t need sugar to make a protein drink taste sweet. Real food does the trick too… read on for more info on that!

6. Artificial Sweeteners

Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose are the two most common found in protein powders. Although they have no calories, research finds they stimulate your appetite, increase sugar cravings, and promote fat storage and weight gain. Both of these additives have been linked to cancer in animal studies too, so it’s really not worth the risk.

7. Erythritol

To make erythritol most manufacturers start with genetically engineered (GMO) corn and put it through a complex fermentation process to come up with chemically pure erythritol. Sugar alcohols like this can harm healthy gut bacteria and function, which leads to a whole host of diseases and if you’re trying to lose weight or stay slim, keeping your gut healthy is vital! Erythritol is also known to cause diarrhea and stomach upset.

8. Carrageenan

This thickener and emulsifier is widely known to cause digestive problems and intestinal inflammation. It’s also linked to cancer, as tests have found as much as 25% degraded carrageenan in “food-grade carrageenan” (the kind used in protein powder and other foods). Degraded carrageenan is classified as “Possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

9. Cellulose

This anti-caking agent and thickener is usually made from wood, because it’s cheap. Research links consumption of this additive (not naturally occurring when found in whole food) to weight gain, inflammation and digestive problems.

10. Vegetable Oils

Refined vegetable oils like soybean oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil are added to many protein powders as a defoaming and thickening agent. These oils go through an insane amount of processing with chemical solvents, steamers, neutralizers, de-waxers, bleach and deodorizers, and unless organic, are extracted with the neurotoxin hexane – it’s literally bathed in it.

11. Brown Rice

Brown rice is often contaminated with arsenic, a highly toxic substance classified as “Carcinogenic to Humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Arsenic is even found in organic brown rice, so you need to be very careful about the source and make sure it’s been tested. You’ll find brown rice in many plant-based protein powders, but there are safer plant-based protein sources, which I’ll tell ya all about in a minute! 

12. Synthetic Vitamins

Vitamins are healthy, right? Not if they are made in a lab from a variety of sources like coal tar, petroleum or GMOs. These vitamins differ from their natural counterparts, in that they aren’t believed to be absorbed by your body as well as naturally present vitamins that you get from whole food. You’ll see these listed on the ingredient list like: Vitamin A Palmitate,Thiamine (vitamin B1), Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C). Want vitamins in your shake? Blend in some leafy greens and berries. Real food is always best.

13. BPA

Most protein powders are packaged in plastic tubs that contain toxins like bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into the food. This was evidenced in recent tests that found BPA in 55% of protein powders. This substance is linked to birth defects, cancers, and neurological disorders. What kind of packaging does your protein powder have?

14. Pesticides

Most protein powders on the market are not certified organic. That means they likely contain GMO ingredients and most definitely are tainted with synthetic pesticides that are potentially toxic with long-term exposure. Pesticides used on conventional farms are hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, or reproductive toxins which are strongly linked to many diseases and health issues. The whole basis of organic farming is to produce food without the need to use toxic pesticides. Crops are managed in a way that prevents the need to use these risky chemicals. This is why choosing certified organic protein powder is very important.  

15. Heavy Metals

Heavy metals (like lead, cadmium, and mercury) accumulate in the body when you are repeatedly exposed to them and are highly toxic, particularly to the brain. This isn’t an ingredient that you’ll find on an ingredient list because heavy metals are substances that contaminate ingredients, similar to pesticides. Certain ingredients are more likely to be contaminated with heavy metals, and plant-based protein sources are often contaminated… and not always labeled as such on the packaging. I know this from personal first-hand experience (keep reading, as I’ll tell you what happened!)

What’s the best brand of protein powder on the market?

Remember how I told you they found rat droppings in my old favorite protein powder? At the time I remember thinking, “Maybe one day I’ll make my own protein powder.”

Well… That day has come!

Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder is here…

Truvani’s new protein powder is made with 6 simple ingredients…

In this short video, I explain what makes these ingredients so special…

Our unique protein blend of organic pea, hemp seed, and pumpkin seed protein creates a complete plant-based protein that is easy to digest and is smooth (not chalky and lumpy like the other brands!)

Let me tell you, creating this clean protein blend has been an exhaustive process… it was near impossible to find plant-based protein sources that met my standards. Even though so many of you asked me to create a protein powder, I actually thought we’d never be able to create this product. Here’s why…

We have strict criteria each ingredient supplier must meet before we’ll consider using them and then we hold them accountable by independently testing their ingredients. For instance, our ingredients need to be not only be certified organic and non-GMO, but they need to pass heavy metal testing as well. 

We reached out to 52 ingredient suppliers and most of them failed our initial questioning. The few that did pass sent over a sample for testing… and each source failed the heavy metals test.

And there was one ingredient in particular that gave us the most trouble… Organic Pea Protein. Every sample was coming back contaminated with LEAD.

I couldn’t believe it.

This was a COMMON ingredient found in many other Plant Based Protein Powders. Why was it so hard to find a clean version?

I felt so defeated. Pea protein was essential to the protein blend I wanted to create and so we kept searching and testing. I’m happy to say that my tenacity paid off! We FINALLY found a pea protein that passed. Can you imagine how relieved I was? 

And, you’ll NEVER guess why it passed!

I explain how our pea protein is different and passed the heavy metals test right here. 

The bottom line is: No one tests ingredients like Truvani does.

And that’s good news because that means our protein powder is the cleanest you’ll find anywhere.

And unlike other clean protein powders you may have tried in the past, it tastes GREAT– even when it’s just mixed with water!

But don’t take my word for it. Here are real reviews from people who had the opportunity to taste it:

“The fact that my 2 year old loves it should say everything about this product! He kept asking for “mo.” – Corinn T.

“I’d give 2 thumbs up to this chocolate protein powder – all natural, very minimal ingredients, no artificial sweeteners and yet it tasted sweet and delicious. I’d definitely be happy to drink this for breakfast every morning!” – Stefani M.

“I’ve tried a lot of vegan protein powders and I am very impressed with Truvani protein powder. It taste great, mixes well and the texture is nice. I’ve had protein powders that tasted chalky before and was pleasantly surprised to find that this one is not chalky or gritty at all.” – Melinda A.

I know it tastes great. And that’s why we also offer a no questions asked “Love The Taste” Guarantee. Meaning, if you try our Protein Powder, and dislike the taste, just email our team and refund your order. Easy.

It’s fantastic in recipes too and when you place an order for the new Truvani Plant-Based Protein Powder, I’ll send you a beautiful recipe guide full of delicious ways to use your protein… It’s not just for smoothies and protein drinks. I’ll show you how to use it to bake protein muffins, pancakes, and even desserts. 

Save up to 35% off the retail price when you order today.

Remember, we don’t compromise on ingredients. I created Truvani on the belief that we should have real food without added chemicals, products without toxins, and labels without lies.

Simple, really. You shouldn’t have to compromise on health. Or taste, for that matter. Other companies claim to be “clean” or “natural.” At Truvani, we really mean it.

Our new Plant Based Protein is:

  • USDA Organic
  • Dairy-free
  • Soy-free
  • Free of stevia
  • Free of additives or artificial flavors
  • 100% plant based (made from a unique blend of pea, hemp, and pumpkin seed protein for a complete amino acid profile)
  • Made from real protein (NOT an isolate)
  • Easy to mix – even in just water
  • Good for your cardiovascular health, a strong immune system, muscle growth, a healthy metabolism, and youthful skin

Lock in the lowest price and order our new Plant Based Protein powder before the launch special ends here 

If you know anyone who uses protein powder, please send them this Top 15 list of what to watch out for… it’s crazy that some brands are passing off their products as healthy shakes when they are anything but! 

Xo, 

Vani

 

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CrossFit vs. Bodybuilding

Wedding Anniversary at Mirbeau Inn & Spa

Last week, Mal and I had the opportunity to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary at Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and it was pretty darn incredible! 🙂 The nice people at Mirbeau offered me a complimentary spa treatment and lunch in exchange for a blog post, and I was more than willing to participate in the partnership. The timing worked well with our anniversary, so I invited Mal along for the day.

Once we arrived and checked into the spa, we headed to the gym for a quick 20-minute workout. We didn’t have much time before our treatments, so we figured a little something was better than nothing. Plus, we figured we might as well take advantage of all of the amenities available to us. Spa guests have access to the gym and fitness classes (there’s actually quite a lot, including yoga, spinning, and more) as well as locker rooms with eucalyptus-infused steam rooms and the year-round Aqua Terrace, an outdoor area with a whirlpool, waterfall, oversized fireplace, and bar featuring small plates and beverages.

Mal and I actually went out to the Aqua Terrace after our spa treatments and sat in the whirlpool for awhile, but I didn’t have my phone with me, so I forgot to snap a photo. It was quite amazing and beautiful out there. Here’s a photo if you’re curious! 🙂

After our workout, we took showers in the looker room, got into our cozy robes, and then met in the resting area before our treatments. The Resting Area had a wonderful heated foot massage pool, so we used that for a little bit and then relaxed in a couple of the lounge chairs and wait for our names to be called.

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Mal got a massage, and I enjoyed the Organic Radiance Facial was, ooooh, so nice. It included a natural fruit acid peel to exfoliate dead skin cells and improve skin tone and texture. There was also all sorts of awesome organic products (peptides, grape stem cells, antioxidants and plant extracts) to help improve skin tone and texture, brighten, and fight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It was quite the amazing and relaxing treatment – I even fell asleep at the end!

After our spa services, Mal and I showered and got ourselves ready for lunch. We stopped by The Bistro & Wine Bar first for a cocktail and conversation. I ordered the “Garden Party,” which was cucumber-infused vodka with sage and lime.

It was refreshing and so tasty! The first sip immediately reminded me of summer! 🙂

After that, we were hungry for lunch, so we headed outside for lunch at the Garden Bar, which was absolutely gorgeous – it was literally out of the painting! The Garden Bar is surrounded by a live replica of Monet’s Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. The ponds and gardens offer such a relaxed and beautiful dining experience. Breathtaking, right? There’s even live music on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings!

The menu is fairly casual and features a raw bar and specialty pizzas. We were ALL about the cheese plate and ordered it as our appetizer – it did not disappoint!

For my entree, I ordered the garden salad with grilled salmon, and it was perfection. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the veggies and dressing were so fresh and flavorful.

And, of course, we couldn’t turn down dessert on such a special occasion, so we ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake, which was served with fresh blueberries and ice cream. Two words: holy yum!

After lunch, we explored the area and snapped a few photos. Check out my handsome lunch date! 🙂

Ok, this photo of me is a little derpy, but shout out to the dress I’m wearing – I’ve owned it longer than Mal and I have been married! It’s just a cotton t-shirt dress, but gets a ton of wear – you can dress it up or wear it casual. I found this one at The Gap, which is very similar. My sunglasses are the LIVERMORE from Kohv and you can still save 10% with code carrotsncake. I love that so many of you guys have used the code and scored some sweet sunglasses this summer! 🙂

Love birds! 🙂

All in all, it was a wonderful 10 year wedding anniversary celebration! Here’s to many, many, many more years with the best person I know! Thank you, Mirbeau, for hosting us!



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Blue Apron In The Wild

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron

One of my goals through my partnership with Blue Apron is to showcase the many ways you can use the subscription to your advantage, whether that’s a date night in, entertaining at home, hosting a girls cook night, or efficiently getting dinner on the table for your family. Just like I would if I planned out three of my own recipes and did my own shopping on the weekend, I find that doing some prep work and batch cooking of the Blue Apron recipes all at once saves me so much time when I’m ready to put the final dishes together. This strategy gives me the most flexibility when hunger calls. Or when I’m in the mood for a picnic dinner!

The first 50 readers to sign up with from this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron.

The three recipes that came in this week’s box were as follows. We love the three-recipe Family Plan because it always makes enough for some leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night but of course if you need less food you can choose less recipes and/or the Two Person Plan. I purposefully chose recipes that I thought would be easy to cook together.

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Calzones with Tomatoes Sauce + Marinated Goat Cheese Zucchini

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Lettuce Cups with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Jasmine Rice

Orange Soy Barramundi & Fried Rice with Snow Peas & Bok Choy

And here was our meal plan:

Monday: Make calzones with Thomas. Eat two, save two. While calzones bake, prep and cook everything for lettuce cups. Make double batch of rice and save half for barramundi.

Tuesday: Lettuce cups picnic dinner.

Wednesday: Cook barramundi and veggies.

Thursday: Leftovers.

Most of the cooking was done on Monday, when I had a clear schedule and Mazen was with his dad. This was one hard working pan!! Bonus: I only cleaned it once! My rice cooker was also hard at work on two of the three recipes, which both called for rice, and I was able to get all prep work complete and only wash my cutting board once. Efficiency FTW! (Note any raw meat was handled in a separate area.)

The calzones were incredible!!! One of our favorite Blue Apron recipes to date. (I recall us loving another calzone recipe from last winter).

The lettuce cups were such a great food to pack for a picnic, and we made everything extra special with the addition of fruit and cheese and calzones for the kids.

Rose for the drinking adults and raspberry lemonade (aka pretend rose!) for the pregnant mama : )

Meals enjoyed with fresh air taste so much better.

Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post. The first 50 readers to sign up with from this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron!

The post Blue Apron In The Wild appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.



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Clean Eating Roasted Brussel Sprout Quinoa Salad Recipe

This clean eating roasted brussel sprout quinoa salad is surprisingly delicious!

It doesn’t look like much, but Mini Chef and I plowed through almost the entire dish for dinner the other night!… Read more →



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