Wednesday, July 31

Adventures in Nutrition: Arbonne Fit Kit Detox (review)

June 1st through 30th I removed all gluten and dairy from my diet and followed the Arbonne Detox Fit Kit.

Now let's get this straight--this was not easy, especially when much of your diet is wheat- or dairy-based. I think I chose a good time of year to do this experiment. Fruits and vegetables abound, making my food prep fairly easy and straightforward.

Now the specific Arbonne products...
The whole Fit Kit: chocolate protein powder, vanilla protein
powder, two boxes of herbal detox tea, citrus fizz sticks,
pomegranate fizz sticks, lemon fit chews, caramel fit chews,
and daily fiber boost. 

Protein mix - I used coconut milk and a banana in every shake I made. Initially I struggled with grittiness, but once I began using bananas I found the thickened consistency to be pleasant. (I wasn't doing the detox to lose weight, so the banana fit my plan. Others who were trying to lose weight most likely didn't use bananas since they're considered extra sugar, etc.) I noticed that mixing frozen fruit changed the flavor more effectively than fresh fruit (with the exception of the banana). I was most pleased by the way my GI tract handled the protein. I've gone through several brands trying to find something that didn't bother the "I" part of GI, if you know what I mean. My only real complaint was that the zipper closures on the bags weren't that great, so I ended up using a clip on the bag to make sure everything stayed fresh. Both chocolate and vanilla flavors were satisfying, but I enjoyed mixing things up with the vanilla mix most. Coconut milk, pineapple, banana, and orange juice were amazing mixed with the vanilla shake.

Energy fizz sticks - Delicious. I was originally nervous about using these since they were supposed to be replacements for coffee and other caffeinated beverages because I don't do well with caffeine anymore. (Before my tumor I was fine... Now that I've only got one adrenal gland and no tumor making extra adrenaline, if I have a cup of coffee I usually end up feeling really loopy.) But I didn't feel jacked by the energy aspect of these drink mixes. The flavors were nice--citrus and pomegranate--and I was pleased that I could have even two of these in a day and not feel crazy. My only complaint is the little perforated area to tear open the packets was usually insufficient for opening it. I often had to use scissors to open it, which makes it slightly less convenient for on-the-go drink portability.

Herbal detox tea - This is amazing as sun tea. Herbal iced tea is one of my favorite things to drink in the summertime, but making sun tea with this particular tea was really enjoyable. I used five tea bags per quart and no added sweetener.

Fit chews - I had to keep these in the refrigerator after a bad experience with the wax paper not peeling off of the chew. The consistency is like salt water taffy. The lemon is my favorite flavor. Caramel was okay, but not as satisfying as the lemon was, as a replacement "candy" treat.

Fiber boost - I think this did its job--it helped me stay full between my breakfast shake and lunchtime. No flavor here, so it's an invisible extra in the blender.

All in all, I recommend the Fit Kit if you're looking to do some detective work around your diet. I was majorly uncomfortable after eating any gluten once I finished the 30 days, so I've learned that I'm sensitive to gluten. This has been really helpful information for me when shopping and planning. I still enjoy bread, beer, pasta, and pastries... just not all at once or all the time. I'm selective about what gluten to include in my diet now. It has to be quality if I'm going to eat it. (I'm not sitting around eating plain white bread!)

I learned a lot about what I *can* eat too. I've not gone the route of finding all my gluten-ridden favorites in a gluten-free form. I admit I'm concerned that I could end up swapping one unhealthy thing for another if I'm taking sugary or fattening versions of GF food. I really stuck to a meat, fruit, vegetables, and brown rice diet pretty well. (Again, doing this in the summer made the difference for my palate and patience since veggies and fruits were plentiful.) I can't say that I tried any new recipes or food preparations. It felt too complicated to try to overhaul my diet and my way of cooking in just one month. One thing at a time... :)

So before and after is a big deal with this Fit Kit, but mostly for folks who were trying to lose weight. Since I didn't get to workout for about two weeks in June, I know I didn't do anything truly spectacular for my physical shape. (I kept my same weight, within a few tenths of a pound, and my measurements didn't change either.) Lots of people kick up their fitness routine to get the maximum benefits from this kit, but I actually toned my routine down (by force, not choice) and ended up noticing how the nutritional changes affected my appetite. I wasn't hungry. I felt fuller longer and my GI--both G and I!--felt better and I'm okay attributing that to not eating handfuls of gluten every day. Dairy (fortunately) is not a problem for me, so I've integrated that back into my diet slowly (so as not to shock the system).
Good tidings of great gluten free Fit Kit

I'm interested in finding more information about digestive enzymes to help me process gluten better. I'm also interested in just keeping a low profile on the gluten-filled foods I like. I know I can live without them and I know how they will affect my insides. I pray I never get to the point that I have Celiac's disease or some other affliction that forces me to act on my diet again. I also have a new respect for my friends and acquaintances who eat gluten free regularly, either by choice or force, because I now know the pervasive grip that gluten has in our society's generalized diet. It's tough to be 100% gluten free because that little protein gluten is in so many things that we don't even realize it sometimes.

Would I recommend the Fit Kit? Sure. For people who are looking for a way to jumpstart their foray into dairy- or gluten-free life, this is a good way to get used to new things in your diet. It's simple too because there is no restrictive calorie counting or other numeric calculations (outside of your weight and measurements, if you choose to track them). Having the Facebook group to go to with questions and successes was a nice addition. (The Facebook group helped me solve the gritty smoothie problem in a matter of minutes, when I could have spent hours trying different combinations.) If you're looking to investigate your GI health in a safe way (no crash dieting), I think this is a good program with lots of information and support. The Arbonne consultants stick with you and have answers to questions, which makes the system really work. (Kudos to Becki from Fighting for Wellness!)

Monday, July 29

Adventures with Oiselle: my new favorite running shorts (review)

The Game Day short does what all other Oiselle running shorts do, but then it does a little more. I love my Rogas--long and regular length--but the Game Day short fits like a dream.

Here I would like to show you the comparison of these shorts so you can pick the best one for you!

Roga - classic Oiselle
A super flattering yoga style waist band combined with weightless running shorts. It's the short that started the Roga Revolution: the no-poof, super-streamlined, one rear zip pocket, booty-flattering wonder short!
Long Roga - classic with more leg coverage
If you are transitioning from running capris to running shorts, the Long Rogas are for you. The 6" inseam gives more coverage and will not chafe or ride up as you log your miles. Also a great short for trail running, hiking, or yoga class. The Long Roga running shorts have an additional hidden side pocket big enough for an phone or iPod.
Game Day - new line, but picks up where Roga left off
The Game Day Short is made from the same uber-stretchy poly woven that made our Roga Short a hit. It moves with you - for both comfort and a more flattering fit.
Although the inseam is the same as the Roga, the legs offer a bit more coverage. We have the same flattering rear detailing as the Lesley Knicker, with attractive flatlock seams. A pop of color on the rear zipper gives it a modern look.
Each of these pairs of shorts has a role in my running clothing repertoire, but lately Game Day shorts are my go to. They fit so well, the side leg coverage is better than Roga, but they don't move as much as my Long Roga when I'm moving. Long Roga has the amazing property of more fabric for a longer inseam but without making the shorts feel like granny-like. (This is a common downfall of longer shorts made for us, um, super tall ladies...)

The inseams are more noticeable in this photo. Pick the shorts that suit your style. :)

Sunday, July 28

Adventures with Injinji: Yoga Toe Socks (review)

Guess what? I'm in love with another kind of Injinji socks! I had a GroupOn for 20 yoga classes in my neighborhood and I took my Injinji yoga socks for every session. 

The toe socks are essentially the same fit and form as the performance toe socks (reviewed original version and run 2.0), but with the addition of some tiny little rubber dots on the sole for grippiness.

The yoga socks also come in different colors than the performance socks... and with a cute stripe pattern on the toe and ankle band. This helped me make sure I took my yoga socks to yoga and my running socks for running. I'm sure nothing bad would happen running in yoga socks, but doing yoga in regular socks is *hard.* So I recommend keeping your Injinji yoga socks in a separate location just so you're not forced to peel down to bare feet to keep from slipping.
Tiny gripper dots

The little grippers on the bottom are just that--little. I'm convinced the grippiness would be improved if they were a little larger. You can see how small they are in the next two pictures (close up of the toes and foot).

I recommend these socks for people who freak out a little about putting bare feet on the bare floor in the yoga studio. Not only do they provide a barrier between you and the floor, they also keep cold feet warm. I found them useful in group yoga practice, but at home I appreciated the opportunity to go bare foot.

I think if the grippers were larger I would be more inclined to wear them for yoga at home.

Gripper dots also on outside of
foot. Good for side planks!
The only drawbacks to these socks are the pilling. It happens relatively early in the life of the sock. I've washed them in the gentle cycle with my other workout clothes, letting them air dry so the dryer isn't the cause. I think the pilling is due to the friction between the foot and the yoga mat.

Saturday, July 27

I'm on Team Ignite! (plus coupon code)

I'm delighted to report that I'm now part of Team Ignite, with Ignite Naturals!

As an ambassador for Ignite, I'd love to share my initial review of the electrolyte beverage mix. I love the dragon fruit!

Want to try it? Use my coupon code for 10% off! (IN0720)

I'm looking forward to being part of the team and learning more about the all-natural approach Ignite takes with its products. Real ingredients for real health!

Friday, July 26

First cucumber of the season!

So crisp, so sweet... My cucumbers vines are bursting with fruit now, meaning if any of you (in the local area) want an organically-grown cucumber, let me know. I'll soon have more than I know what to do with! (There is also potential for this same problem with tomatoes...)

Here's my beauty! I ate it solo because I can eat cucumber slices like chip. Good crunch. :)

First cucumber of the 2013 garden!

And... we're back

My apologies for not being in touch lately. Life's craziness got in the way, but now I'm back in action.

Here's what I've got planned for the next few weeks:

  • Energy Bits review 
  • Arbonne Fit Kit review
  • Vapur antibottle review 
  • Injinji yoga toe socks review
  • Conscious Box review
  • Oiselle apparel review
  • Gardening updates
  • Running progress alert
I'm working on getting some giveaways too, so stay tuned. :)

Sunday, July 7

Garden Update: Tomato Flowers and Popeye's Spinach

I have lots more now, but here's the first!
Everything in my garden I have grown from seeds. I'm really proud of my plants. They're strong and they are just about as big as plants I've seen that other people have purchased, so I feel good about their age and maturity too.

Late last week, in between rainstorms, I was pruning tomatoes when I saw some fully opened tomato flowers!

After a few more days of rain, I decided it was time to pick some spinach. My plants took awhile longer to mature, but I think I let the biggest leaves get a little too big... they were as big as my palm!

Nevertheless, the spinach would've made Popeye proud and it was the first yield from my garden this year. I happily made a salad with it and enjoyed each scrumptious bite.
Note varying sizes in spinach leaves. :-o