My Journey So Far on Whole30

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I eat way too much pasta, cheese and pizza. In fact, mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods, and it’s rare that HQ and I don’t end up eating some form of it every week. A lot of other attempts where we’ve attempted to change how we’ve eaten have failed within a few days. So earlier this month I decided to try something else: Whole30.

The program seems pretty simple: eat real food for 30 days. Avoid added sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy, legumes, carrageenan, MSG or sulfites — and do not try to recreate sweets or baked goods. I’ve eaten a lot of delicious salads, thai food, taco salad, and more.

It’s been seven days on the program. The toughest part has been added avoiding sugar and dairy. It’s been easier going the past few days, but I felt horrible the second day, probably because of  low blood sugar, because I hadn’t eaten any fruit the day before. Once I ate some strawberries and apples I felt much better.

The next 21 days aren’t going to be easy, but I’m hoping it will help us both eat better in the future!

What are your ways of incorporating more healthy food into your diet?

Homemade Protein Bars and Fuel

Last week, I mentioned some of my favorite dance and running fuel. Unfortunately, some of those can get quite expensive (paying 2-3 dollars per bar or gels can add up in a hurry). Another issue arises: many of us have allergies and intolerances (I may or may not–I’m not sure–have a slight soy intolerance). While I’ve been able to find many bars and supplements that meet my needs, they often come with a high price tag. So over the next few weeks, I’m looking to try some new recipes to make my own homemade bars. Here are some of the recipes I’m looking at:

homemade protein bars via Healthy Green Kitchen

I love the sounds of these, and that they use coconut oil and Greek yogurt!

Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars via Chocolate Covered Katie

These looked really, really simple. They also seem to have the same consistency as real food barre and other similar bars–and while I’m not the hugest fan of it, it does make the bars easy to eat. I also love that they don’t have huge chunks of nuts, because sometimes I want something that is nut-free.

Quick ‘n Easy No-Bake Protein Bars by oh she glows

These look absolutely delicious, and I love that they include rice crisp cereal and chocolate, which will be perfect when I want something desert-like but also want to get in some protein as well!

If you have any suggestions or any recipes (or dietary guidelines) that you’d like me to test out, let me know! I’d love to know what recipes you’ve found work really well (or not so well). I’m also on the hunt for a yummy baked oatmeal recipe after my last one horribly failed.

Do you buy or make your own protein bars? Why?

Sponsored: July Kona Kase Review

I was given one Kona Kase in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, not Kona Kase. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.

photo (1)I love, love, love getting packages in the mail, and last month’s Kona Kase was no exception (I’m a bit behind, I know). While I haven’t gotten the chance to try everything in the box quite yet (discovering I have a slight possible soy intolerance made eating any different foods a bit daunting) I liked most of what I tried. Here’s a list of the boxes contents:

  • Caveman Cookies: These we really chewy, but had good flavor. Not sure I’d buy them though.
  • Garuka Bars: This was delicious, although it may have contained soy, so I’m not sure how I reacted to it.
  •  Barbara Llewellyn Granola: Haven’t tried it yet.
  • Body Glove Surge Gel: Waiting for a nice long run to try it.
  • Perky Jerky: Still haven’t tried these yet, they’re still sitting in my goody drawer!
  • Enjoy Life: I was super excited to try this dried fruit, seed and chocolate mixture, but all of my chocolate was melted so I haven’t bothered yet!)
  • Pro Bar: These chews were my favorite thing in the box and I plan on buying more. They tasted awesome and they were good for two fueling sessions.
  • Health Warrior: I’m not a fan of Chia Seeds so I didn’t really care for it.

Ways to order Kona Kase (use GIFTSUMMER for $5 off your first box)

  • A month-to-month subscription for $15 each month. All prices include shipping costs.
  • A 3 month subscription for $41 total, a $4 savings.
  • A 6 month subscription for $77 total, a $13 savings.
  • A 12 month subscription for $145, a $35 savings.

Have any questions about the products in the box? I’d be happy to answer any questions or try something (or have HQ try something if it contains soy) and give you my feedback!

I was given one Kona Kase in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own, not Kona Kase. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.

Support Gatherer’s Granola Kickstarter Campaign

My favorite granola brand, Gatherer’s Granola, is nearly halfway through their Kickstarter Campaign to raise money in order to fund their new gluten free granola line. I first fell in love with their Fox’s Fancy flavor–made with apples, spices, and honey when I tried some at my grandma’s house over Christmas in some vanilla yogurt.

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Ever since I was little, I’ve been eating yogurt and as I’ve mentioned, it was the one thing I refused to give up while attempting to go VB6. I’ve been adding granola for some added crunch ever since high school, but it’s always just been that–for crunch, not flavor. Even the granola I picked up from Whole Foods didn’t offer a whole lot of extra flavor. Gatherer’s Granola’s Fox’s Fancy, on the other hand, adds a delicious cinnamon and apple flavor to my vanilla yogurt and eliminates a need for me to add extra honey.

So I got excited when I heard they were running a Kickstarter Campaign so they could create a gluten-free line, especially given that I’m beginning to wonder if I have a very mild gluten allergy myself. Check out their video:

So I talked Nate Giroux, Director of Sales,  to learn more about their Kickstarter Campaign and how you can help Gatherer’s Granola reach their goal:

What makes Gatherer’s Granola unique?

Nate Giroux: Gatherer’s is unique in its firm commitment to taste and quality. Our slogan says it all… “Granola for people with tastebuds.” Generally, when people think about granola, they think “healthy snack” – a notion that is too often disconnected from thinking something is “delicious.” While our granola is definitely a healthy snack, part of our mission at Gatherer’s is to advance the public perception of health food. We want our customers to think of our granola as yummy, first, and healthy, second. We use only the highest quality ingredients and very careful baking processes to realize that goal.

Why have you decided to make gluten-free granola?
Nate Giroux: Over the past few years, gluten intolerance has emerged as a common health concern, and in many cases can have a profound effect on someone’s diet. In response, many vendors in the food industry – including major granola makers – have introduced gluten-free options to consumers. Unfortunately, it can be very expensive to make gluten-free “versions” of food taste as good as the original, so customers with gluten intolerances end up taking a back seat when it comes to flavor. Gatherer’s Granola aims to change that. We have designed three gluten-free flavors to add to our current line of gourmet granola – all of them delicious, and using high quality ingredients including: locally sourced artisan honey, some of the world’s finest dark chocolate, pistachios, orange blossom, dried cranberries, and walnuts. You can have my wallet if you find any granola – gluten-free or not – that tastes as good as our new flavors.

What made your team decide to use Kickstarter?
Nate Giroux: Gatherer’s Granola started out as a family business at our president’s local farmer’s market in Delmar, NY. We continue to appear at local farmer’s markets every week, and although we now have a full bakery and retail locations in 11 states, we still think of Gatherer’s as a family and include our customers as part of that family. In fact, our customers are the reason we’re making gluten-free granola – they asked, and we’re listening – but we can’t do it alone. Kickstarter has allowed us the opportunity to involve the public in our mission to design and produce granola that is not only gluten-free, but that also has gourmet flavor.

What are some things people will receive if they donate?
Nate Giroux: We have some truly stellar incentives for people that donate to our campaign. In addition to the awesome feeling that comes with helping a small business do something revolutionary, our donors can look forward to advance samples of our new flavors, Gatherer’s swag (t-shirts, ball caps, aprons, and more!), tickets to our launch party for the new flavors, monthly subscriptions of granola delivered right to your doorstep, and more. We’ve even created an option to design your own flavor of granola, meticulously prepared by Gatherer’s (we’ll send you a whole case of it). Two lucky backers will indulge in an all-inclusive weekend for two at the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa, including cooking classes with world-renowned chefs, gourmet meals, and spa treatment.

When will the new line be available?
Nate Giroux: With the success of our Kickstarter campaign, our new flavors will hit shelves by October, 2013.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Nate Giroux: If we don’t reach our goal of $15,000 by August 9th, we don’t get funded, so hurry up and reserve your swag now before it’s too late! Thank you!

Don’t miss out on your chance to help support Gatherer’s Granola out–many of the rewards include some of their awesome granola! You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. You can donate to help create their gluten free granola line via Kickstarter.

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While Nate Giroux is my cousin, I’ve written this post because I truly enjoy their product and wanted to help them out. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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