Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Friday 5

Hi and happy November (oh my gosh, how is it November!?)!

I hope you had a very happy Halloween! We dressed up as a family of Pokemon yesterday – ooooh, yes! 🙂 Of course, we got our costumes from Amazon – totally last-minute for Mal and me, but weeks ago for Quinn. 😉 He was MORE than ready to be Pikachu for Halloween and must have asked to wear his costume to school a dozen times leading up to yesterday! 🙂

Not only was it fun to dress up as a family, but my costume was also super warm and cozy to wear as we took Quinn trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. Anyone else do a family costume this year? I figured sooner than later Quinn won’t be into dressing up like his parents, so might as well do it while he’s young, right?

We also had quite the pre-trick-or-treating get-together at our house. It started a few years ago with just a few close friends, but now our guest list has grown quite a bit! It was fun having a house full of friends and kids dressed in Halloween costumes. We ordered pizza and had a few (adult) beverages before heading out. It was definitely a great time and hopefully a tradition we’ll continue for years to come!

Anyway, here’s 5 things I’m loving lately including a hair product I’ve used for a decade now, my favorite pair of jeans that fit like leggings, and an incredibly good podcast about healing acne through a functional medicine approach.

Happy weekending, friends!

1. Trader Joe’s Advent Calendar for Dogs

I saw this advent calendar for dogs at Trader Joe’s yesterday and immediately purchased it for Murphy. I mean, is it not the most amazing doggie holiday treat ever?!

Trader Joe's Advent Calendar for Dogs

2. Broken Brain Podcast: A Functional Medicine Approach to Treating and Healing Acne with Dr. Robin Berzin

As some who has struggled with hormonal acne, I really enjoyed this podcast that talks about healing acne through a functional medicine approach. Dr. Berzin talks about the underlying causes of acne, the connection between gut health and skin issues, the problem with topical antibiotics, and more. If you struggle with acne, I highly recommend you give this a listen!

Here are some blog posts and products that have helped me clear up my acne:

3. NuDerma Portable Handheld High Frequency Skin Therapy Wand

Speaking of skin, I just recently ordered this skin wand, but I’m loving it already! The NuDerma Skin Wand (supposedly) amplifies cell turnover by supercharging ATP synthesis to slow, halt, and ultimately reverse the aging process leading to firmer younger skin… and it’s also supposed to help with acne scarring – we’ll see! If you guys are interested, I’ll do a full review!

4. Nordstrom Sarah Jeggings

These are honestly more like super stretchy jeans, than they are actually leggings – but, oh my gosh, are they comfy. I wear them ALL the time and always get questions and compliments on them. The best part is they’re priced right and go with everything – perfect to dress up or down all Fall long!

5. Kenra Silkening Hair Mist

I’ve used this hair mist for YEARS, but just ordered a new bottle from Amazon the other day, so I figured I should give it another shout out! 🙂 It makes your hair feel soooo soft and look sooo shiny. A lot of the time, I’ll air dry my hair and then spray some of this on to calm the frizzies and give it a finished looked. It’s also great for smoothing out ponytail frizz!

Flashback Favorites

Sales of the Week

Double Chocolate Protein Muffin Giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who entered to win some Double Chocolate Protein Muffins from Health Warrior! Here are your winners:

Sarah T
My favorite healthy treat is a date stuffed with natural peanut butter and dipped in dark chocolate w/ a sprinkle of sea salt. So good!

I love black grapes! It’s so hard for me to not grab a few every time I open the fridge (I usually don’t resist, haha).

Kim N
Currently loving string cheese or Chobani Flips (not super healthy). But I always keep the Kodiak Cakes version of these microwave muffins in my desk drawer for a quick late morning or late afternoon snack. I haven’t tried these yet!




Congrats, winners! Please fill out this form to claim to your prize. Once I receive your information, I’ll send it along to Health Warrior to mail you your box of protein muffins.

If you want to try these delicious double chocolate protein muffins for yourself, you can save 20% off your Health Warrior order with code carrotsncake20!


This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

The post The Friday 5 appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Dear Mark: Why “Game Changers” Isn’t Worth My Time and Sugar Addictions

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering a couple questions. The first one is a big one, one that multiple people have asked me across several different mediums: why don’t I do a full review of “Game Changers,” the vegan documentary on Netflix, or at least watch the film? I explain why I won’t watch it, why I don’t think it’s worth your time, and why I’ve already addressed it all before. Then, I answer why sugar is such a fixation for us and give some options for avoiding or mitigating it.

Let’s go:


How come you dismissed the “Game Changers” documentary without watching it?

Because it’s not worth my time. The premise is simply preposterous.

Humans are omnivores. We have eaten meat for millions of years. And not just “eaten meat.”

We used animal femurs as bone marrow storage containers. We fought off massive African predators just to get at the meat and crack the bones for the goodness inside. We slurped brains. We smashed bones to bits and boiled them in animal skin bags to extract every last ounce of collagen and fat. We drove entire species to extinction in our lust for large portions of fatty animal meat.

Even after we were hunter-gatherers, the importance of animal products persisted. The biggest influx of humanity that provided a large portion of extant DNA across Europe and huge parts of Asia were livestock-driving nomadic herdsmen who ate cheese and yogurt (animal products—and not low-fat), drank blood, and hunted game. They farmed a little but relied so heavily on animal products for their calories that they had to borrow the agricultural words from the populations they displaced. To give you a taste of how important animal products were to them, their word for wealth was the same as the word for cattle.

What—that just goes away? Those millions of years of slurping and gnawing and atlatl-ing and spear throwing and stalking and weapons-craft and herding…don’t matter?

So, when a persuasive documentary comes out preaching about the evils of red meat (and let’s face it: it’s always about red meat) and the benefits of excising all meat from your diet in favor of plants, I laugh. I shrug. I smirk even.

Red meat consumption is down across the board. People listened to the “experts.” And guess what? Health got worse. Waists grew. Healthcare spending shot up. Diabetes spiked. Heart disease persisted (deaths decreased, thanks to better emergency care, but incidence is still there).

Does the documentary address all that? Does it mention the word “evolution”?

My time matters too much to me to waste it on the documentary. The arguments I’ve laid out in other responses to attacks on meat eating stand and, most likely, apply to the arguments in the documentary. Check these out for a few of my explorations of the “meat is bad” topic:

Is meat as bad as smoking?

Will meat give you diabetes?

Is charred meat bad for you?

Does red meat give you colon cancer?

Will red meat kill you?

Is saturated fat deadly?

Read those, then get back to me. And I probably still won’t watch the documentary.

I’d rather spend my time:

Helping people who want the help.

Coming up with interesting new products that help people make better choices in the grocery store.

Standup paddling.

Playing Ultimate frisbee (and playing in general).

Writing about new topics or new developments of old topics.

I have yet to see a new argument from the plant-based crowd. I’ve heard the same things for years upon years. Nothing changes. “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

We have better things to do. Bigger fish to fry (in a gluten-free breading using low-PUFA oil kind of way).

How to conquer sugar addiction and is there a primal need to eat something sweet? Would Grok ever get the urge for something sweet?

Our relationship with sugar goes way back. In ancestral situations, sugar was rare. The urge to eat something sweet was so strong because it was so hard to get—a powerful urge was required to coerce the organism to do the work required to get the sugar. And in those situations, sugar was beneficial. An odd trove of honey represented a potent source of caloric energy, a way to replenish glycogen stores. Acute doses versus chronic overload. We have old cave paintings from 25000 years ago of honey hunters climbing trees to grab hives; that’s how much they prized it. Fruit, while not always plentiful or as oversized as today’s fruit, definitely existed—albeit to varying degrees depending on the climate and region. The farther you got from the equator, the scarcer sweet tastes became.

Even up to a few hundred years ago, when sugar was actually available, it remained a luxury item. It had to be imported, out of reach for most regular people.

Today, sugar is everywhere. We’re glutted with the stuff. We can’t escape it. And yet we still retain that ancestral mindset of sugar scarcity. Our bodies still crave it. Our physiological desires were molded in the context of low sugar availability. Introduce them to a sugar-replete environment and you get obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and tooth decay.

I’m not sure if there’s a physiological need today to consume sugar. But there’s certainly a physiological desire to consume it. And really, the only way past it is to erect artificial barriers to sugar consumption.

Don’t keep sugar in the house.

Don’t use artificial sweeteners or even natural ones like stevia or monk fruit if they trigger the craving for real sugar.

Just say no. Sheer willpower may not hold out forever, but in those instances where you’re faced with an intense dose of sugar and you don’t want to eat it, don’t give in. You can do this.

Chronic doses of sugar are the real killer: those little peanut butter cups at the co-worker’s desk you grab every time you walk by, those peanut M&Ms at the secretary’s desk, those half donuts in the break room—they add up. They always add up. Acute doses of sugar probably aren’t a big deal for most reasonably healthy people. High quality dessert after a great dinner out? Birthday party and the host is a legit whiz in the kitchen? Try it.

Avoid anything you’re intolerant of or allergic to, of course. Avoid gluten whenever possible.

Whatever you do, don’t waste your acute doses of sugar on garbage. Don’t eat a Hostess donut. Don’t eat a half gallon of low-fat frozen yogurt from those places that charge you by the ounce.

Eat real ice cream made with great ingredients—just a child’s scoop. Don’t get the weird “ice cream” shake from the fast food joint.

Don’t get the microwaved lava cake from the chain restaurant. Share a portion of real panna cotta from the fancy restaurant.

That’s it for today, folks. If you have any other suggestions or comments or questions, throw them in down below.

Take care, everyone.

The post Dear Mark: Why “Game Changers” Isn’t Worth My Time and Sugar Addictions appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Happy Halloween & The Best Pumpkin Carving Tools


Hope you have your pumpkins carved and ready to light tonight. See below for our new favorite pumpkin carving tools that we used to make the pumpkin above. Last year on this day we came home from the hospital with little Birch! It was a chaotic time to bring a newborn home, but also sort of a fun memory. Did I ever tell you guys that the night before a nurse came into my room in the dim light to check my vitals. She moved about the room doing business as usual and I barely looked up until finally she approached my bed….wearing a witch hat and full witch costume! I burst out laughing and said: “OMG you’re a witch!” The super dim lighting and the fact that I hadn’t noticed for about two full minuets made the situation extra funny.

The Best Pumpkin Carving Tools!

I have to tell you about the new pumpkin carving tools we got this year that made the process so much easier! First, this scooper. So much better than the short plastic one I had used in year’s past. And second – these cut-out shapes! Think cookie cutters for punching through pumpkin skin. You do need a rubber mallet (not included) to bang them in. (Mazen loved that part). He needed help getting the shape started in the right spot, but once we got it going he banged it the rest of the way in. We also found Thomas’s nail remover tool to be key to get the pumpkin out of the cookie cutter after punching through.

But these are such a great invention because 1) they saved SO much time for the grown-ups who would have otherwise had to do most of the carving and 2) our face looks really good, doesn’t it?!

The only knife we used was to cut the top of the pumpkin off.

Thomas and I traded off pumpkins while the other snuggled with Birch on the porch. Next year he can carve too!

The brothers have started playing together!

I think things will get a lot easier for Mazen (and a lot harder for me!) when B can walk. I kind of want to fence in our front yard because we do live on a busy street, but Thomas said it’s not that simple.

Sweet Swinging

To contain him for now, Birch has a new swing! This company is the alternative to the plastic primary color swing hanging in your front yard. He loves it! The swing fabric is indoor/outdoor, although you’re not supposed to leave it out in the rain/snow/bright sun. Right now it’s on our front porch, which is SO great for watching the “cas” go by, but we’ll move it to the back porch when it’s finished. We can sit on our rocking chairs and push him at the same time!

And speaking of sweets…

I had to share two pics from our visit to Vivi’s Cakes and Candy. When Sweethaus expectedly closed, so many of us were devastated. But it re-opened not too long ago as Vivi’s in the Ivy Road location. Same amazing cupcakes and candy as before. (This was where we got Birch’s birch cake.) If you’re ever in town, get the cookie dough frosting!

Think after all the candy he gets tonight he’ll be like a kid in a candy store!?

The post Happy Halloween & The Best Pumpkin Carving Tools appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

from Kath Eats Real Food

Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble With Seitan

This Sweet Potato Breakfast with Seitan is an easy, plant-based breakfast recipe that will help you start your day on the right foot! Plenty of veggies and protein to keep your body fueled all… Read more →

from The Gracious Pantry