Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea Giveaway!

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A few months ago at a cross fit blogger event,  I came across this unique new drink, called Motto. Bottled up like beer, but alcohol free of course, I was immediately intrigued. I’ve been a big tea drinker for years ( hello I’m a frequent Steeper at David’s Tea), but of course my relationship with tea comes and goes with the seasons, with me and tea sharing a closer bond in the colder months. Which is unfortunate, because tea is so good for you! Studies have even found that some teas may help reduce cancer and heart disease risk. Tea also appears to have antimicrobial qualities.

When it comes to matcha tea, Motto is the world’s first bottled matcha green tea beverage delivering the health benefits of this centuries’ old elixir in a ready-made proprietary formula. Motto is handcrafted in small batches, containing premium matcha: stone-ground green tea leaves, sourced from Japan. One bottle of Motto delivers the health benefits of 12 cups of steeped green tea with one-third the caffeine of a single cup of coffee. Apparently when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water but usually you might find matcha served steeped not with the whole leaf. However, Motto sources their matcha from Japan and ensures that the whole leaf is present!

Motto match tea also contains antioxidants. One of biggest the buzz words in nutrition, antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that help prevent chronic disease. Fruits and vegetables naturally contain antioxidants, but according to some studies, matcha contains the antioxidant EGCG, which is believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen.

In Motto you will find: Matcha Green Tea, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Organic Agave, Fresh Lemon Juice, Sparkling Water and Natural Plant Extracts.

As a result you WILL find a high sugar content because honey and agave are sugar- 14 grams! (whoa!) and the daily allotment for females is no more than 20 grams of added sugar. With that being said consume in moderation or as a sweet treat. I like to drink half one day and half the other so as not to consume more than half my day’s allotment on one product. So, just be mindful!

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Health Benefits:

  • Chlorophyll: Matcha is grown in the shade, which is why it is richer in chlorophyll than other green teas. Chlorophyll is a powerful compound that cleans red blood cells and creates new ones, helping the body detox and stay strong to fight inflections.
  • Catechins: Highly concentrated in green tea, Catechins are super antioxidants that are 25 times as potent as Vitamin C and 100 times as potent as Vitamin E. Catechins protect our cells from oxative damage and fight free radicals.
  • Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful immune booster and promotes skin and eye health.

Motto is currently sold in over 400 retailers in 28 states—everywhere from Whole Foods Market to gourmet delis and small, locally-owned, natural grocers. It originally began being sold in a natural and organic cafe in Nantucket and is now sold in Boston here. 

You can find out more about Motto at  www.DrinkMotto.com

Because I love Motto so much I am hosting a giveaway to one lucky reader who will win a case of Motto!  To enter, simply enter/click the rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also Like on Facebook for an extra chance to win!: https://www.facebook.com/drinkmotto

Raffle Ends July 6th! Open to U.S. residents only in the GREATER BOSTON AREA!

 

 

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Best Protein Shakes Available

Years ago I started using protein powders post workout. Not a huge supplement junkie, protein powders are one supplement I will recommend. 

Why? Well let’s look at the general function of protein first:

1. It helps provide structure for your bones, teeth and skin 
2. It helps to catalyze chemical reactions 
3. It helps in bringing glucose within the cell to provide energy
4. It builds the muscle fibers actin and myosin
5. And it also helps in immunity 

Most protein powders consist of whey protein, which gets quick delivery to the muscles and usually these powders contain all the essential amino acids required fin our daily diet. 

Working in a gym setting I can attest to amount of people with their shake bottles in hand that likely contain some sort of added whey protein. However, with so many “proprietary” blends out there, how do we really know what we are getting? Truth is we don’t as many products are not FDA regulated. Most of those powders have been found to contain arsenic and lead along with lactoperoxidase, relaxin, lactollin, and other “unique blends,” whatever the heck that means! Yikes!

So naturally, when I was asked what some of the best protein shakes and meal replacement shakes out there are, I decided I would share my response with you. Below is my approved list of protein shakes- not powders but shakes that you can grab on the go. Not all are perfect but SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than many out there..(ahem slim fast ….hydrogenation to the max!)

1) Svelte – organic/natural, low in sugar with 11 grams of protein. Soy-people friendly!

2) Orgain – an organic nutritional shake- also available for kids. 

USDA Certified Organic
16 grams of Organic Protein
Organic Complex Carbohydrates from Brown Rice
Organic blueberries, bananas, acai berry, apple and raspberry
Organic kale, beets, spinach, carrots, tomatoes
No caffeine, preservatives, gluten, soy, corn syrup, saturated fat, hormones or antibiotics

They also have a high protein shake that is: 

USDA Certified Organic
25 grams of Organic, Grass-Fed Protein
3 grams Net Carbs
150 Calories
No Sugar Added
Gluten Free
Non-GMO
No Artificial Sweeteners
Doctor Developed

3) Okay last but not least and also probably my last recommendation but..Isopure

Definitely doesn’t taste the best and does have both natural and artificial flavors but does not have sugar, glycerin, carrageenan, and hydrogenated oils like many others.

I’d love to know if you have tried any of these before or found any protein shakesyou like better. Please leave a comment and let me know!

Boston Blogger Meetup + Healthy New Arrangement!

It’s summertime, and for most in Boston that means endless parties, drinks on our roof decks, too many cocktails subsequently, and attempts to escape to the Cape or Nantucket. Fortunately, two weekend ago, I got to enjoy a little roof deck getaway with some of my favorite bloggers (Susan, Georgina, and Vanessa) in Boston’s historic North End. A gorgeous view, delicious food, great company..what more could you ask for?

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Appetizers and drinks were abound, with one of the highlights being the Crudite Creation I brought! Based out of Newton, I touched base with them a week prior to get the scoop on this healthy piece of art, which complemented my summertime attempts at eating more salads and veggies anyways in the hopes of fitting into my minuscule bikini before my first summer vaca. While I am not too sure my efforts are paying off, it helps having a company who makes healthy eating easy. And, I get to show off my skills in “party dish-bringing.” I absolutely cannot cook nor do I have the time to try and make something somewhat edible before parties, hence the Crudite Creation solution.

What is Crudite Creations? Crudite Creations are delicious, healthy arrangements, similar to Edible Arrangements, but with fresh vegetables arranged in an artful way! Instead of selecting candy coatings and chocolate like you would for fruit, the vegetables are prepared with a variety of gourmet dips, such as Caramelized Onion, White Bean, Hummus, and Ranch. Because I am a huge hummus fan, we got to try the gourmet hummus dip, which was hands down the most heavenly dip I have ever tasted. Plus, everything was gluten free 🙂 If you have food allergies, you can let them know and they are more than happy to accommodate.

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To tell you a little more, all the vegetables used in the Creations are from local suppliers and if you check out their Creations page, there are quite an abundance of selections to choose from. I got to talk to David, one of the owners, and he was generous enough to not only provide me with the arrangement but also answer a few questions below:

1) What areas do you deliver to?

a. We deliver to all areas in Eastern Mass.

2) What is the one thing you wish the public knew about your company that they probably do not?

a. Vegetable bouquets are great addition to any event or celebration, but we also work on corporate events. The vegetable bouquets are also great to send as a sympathy or condolence gift.

3) Where do you source from?

a. We source from local suppliers and when available local farm stands.

4) What is your mission?

a. To create a work of art using healthy and delicious vegetables that adds beauty, flavor and health to every occasion.

5) What does a day in the life of your business look like?

a. Creating new designs and finding new vegetables to include on the bouquets

b. Working with customers

c. Creating awareness for our products

Lauren Brooks, the creator of the company, is clearly passionate about sharing healthy food and I couldn’t be more ecstatic to have found out about this nutritious venture of hers. The Creation needless to say was a HUGE hit, that looked absolutely beautiful, and could be enjoyed by everyone. As an RD, I will admit, I won’t bring sugar to a party and the typical veggie and fruit platter can get a tad boring. You can bet I will be bringing more of these creations to my summer festivities!

If you want to know more or book a creation you can contact them at:

Crudite Creations
617-416-2609
info@cruditecreations.com

Let me know what you think!

Disclaimer: Although I received an arrangement for free to sample and review for my blog, I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

 

Blue Apron Vs Plated: What’s for Dinner?

This past week I had the opportunity to try, not one, but two (!), well-known food delivery services, Plated and Blue Apron. My parents have done Plated a few times and a good friend of mine has been raving about Blue Apron. And, when I heard that I would get delicious ingredients and easy recipes, based upon my preferences, delivered right to my doorstep, it didn’t take me long to sign up for their trial week.  This new concept takes grocery delivery and combines it with pre-portioned, ready to cook meals! Who hasn’t come home from a long day of work and wished the menu was already planned for the night? We’ve all been there…okay okay except for maybe me since my boyfriend does the cooking and we plan all of our meals for the week but still…you get the point. It’s nice to have healthy meals planned and pre-portioned for you.

My meals arrived Saturday afternoon in a neatly packaged cardboard box lined with ice packs to keep the contents cool for a few hours. Both packages (blue apron and plated) contained all of the ingredients needed to cook each meal, feeding 2 people, complete with recipes and photos. Literally, EVERYTHING is included from the major poultry and fish items all the way down to the lemon, butter, and fresh herbs, such as mint and basil. The only things not included were olive oil, and salt and pepper. Blue Apron even included little bags for each of the meals, called “knick-knacks,” which included items like butter and cheese for their beet pasta dish. This added bit of organization went a long way as I tend to lose things in my refrigerator.

We started with one of our Plated meals first, which consisted of Swordish with Spicy Mango Salsa and Israeli Couscous. The meals for both services range between 500-750 calories ( a little high for me), but use healthy ingredients for the most part. What I really loved was that with Plated you can choose between vegetarian or omnivore dinners. By selecting land, sea, or veggie, you will presented with a variety of options to choose from each week.  The menu is released a few weeks prior to delivery so if don’t like it, you can opt out a week! Unfortunately with Blue Apron, you don’t have much of a choice for what you get for the week you select, so we got stuck with beet pasta, which we don’t really eat. Plus, I would say, with Blue Apron, it’s not as healthy as Plated.

Instructions 

So our first attempt was the Swordfish. While the recipe card came with step by step photo instructions, the list was quite cumbersome and overwhelming. On the website, it said this meal was easy (they have different difficulty levels listed) and certainly it was easy to prepare but it took forever! I was under the impression that everything came prepared, which some of it did, but for the salsa, there was still a lot of peeling, rinsing, cutting, mincing, and chopping that had to be done, which took quite awhile to do. An hour and a half later and dinner was finally served!

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Unimpressed with the overall flavors, I don’t think this dish was worth an hour an a half of my time. The couscous were bland and honestly I felt like I didn’t get enough swordfish. I left hungry after this mediocre meal and I wish there had been more veggies. The only thing left to do was try Blue Apron!

On the menu for the week was: Lemon Parsley Chicken thighs, Fresh Beet Pasta, and Maple and Ginger Glazed Salmon. We decided to try the Lemon Parsley Chicken Thighs first. I liked how a separate instruction sheet was sent describing all three meals. It told us that our chicken is done when the juices run clear and that thinly slicing the yellow squash and zucchini is the best way to serve them. This was super helpful in addition to the recipe care they provided us for all 3 meals.

Similar to Plated, the recipe card came with step by step photos instructions, but once again there was plenty of peeling and mincing to be done. I couldn’t believe the amount of prep needed! However, this meal came out MUCH better than the Plated meal. This one was full of flavor, rich and delicious, and actually left me completely stuff afterwards. There was more than enough veggies, protein, and quinoa, and I finished the meal 100% satisfied, with plenty of leftovers too! After further consideration as an RD, I would even say this meal yielded enough for 3 or 4 people.

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Not only did this meal taste great but it looked great too! At the end of the day, I was very pleased with both options, but do wish they had some more health conscious and paleo friendly options.

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(Maple and Ginger Glazed Salmon)

Here are the pros and cons in my opinion

Pros

Convenient and ingredients sent to you

Great way to get more people comfortable with cooking

Fun activity to do with a partner
Meals will keep for at least a week

You can skip a week

Emphasis on local and seasonal food.

Some specialty ingredients you likely won’t find on your own

Cons

Time consuming! Definitely not practical for me during the week
Reoccuring payments if you are not careful to skip a delivery or opt out of the service-you would automatically be shipped another week by default.

Need lower calorie options

Not always the freshest produce

Plated Vs Blue Apron Prices $$

Blue Apron- $10 a person per meal for 1 week- this includes 3 meals for two people

Plated-$12 a plate Membership Price / $15 a plate A-la-Carte

At the end of the day you are paying for convenience. And while I absolutely loved trying new foods and recipes and getting to experiment a little, I won’t be using this weekly meal service. Both services impressed me with their organization and their ability to make my in-home dining experience feel a little bit more luxurious. I applaud them for their creative menus and who knows maybe I will periodically order from them! I just don’t have an hour and a half to spend during the week for non-paleo meals!

 

Tell me: Have you tried Blue Apron or Plated? What did you think? Do you prefer one over the other?

Maple Water: The new coconut water?

You’ve probably heard of coconut water and if you haven’t it’s time to crawl out from under your rock. Coconut water is not new but has recently taken off over the last few years. Sweet, refreshing, a little salty in my opinion, but packed full of electrolytes and incredibly hydrating, this drink has been the “it” drink. You can now even get flavored coconut water or coffee coconut water!

Naturally, it would make sense to introduce Maple water to the market. Maple water is an all natural, plant-based water, drawn from North American Maple trees and is being touted as the “new coconut water.” DrinkMaple was first conceived after Founder Jeff Rose and Co-Founder Kate Weiler tasted maple water for the first time and were hooked. They were introduced to maple-water during an Ironman triathlon and, intrigued by the subtle taste of maple, they worked hard to introduce this low-calorie beverage to the local New England market. 

maple. (as it is called), is obtained by tapping into maple trees, with no other added ingredients, just maple sap. I was a little hesitant to try this product as I have had pure maple sap in the past, and to be honest it is not the most pleasant of flavors. If you’ve ever had maple syrup or those maple candies, the water is removed from the maple sap and the sap is boiled, allowing the sugars to caramelize, and that’s why you get the sweet rich flavor of maple syrup. However, with the sap, it has only the slightest sweet taste.

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Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised when I tried Drinkmaple for the first time. It tasted just like water with only a hint of sweet maple flavor. Others have compared it to watered down maple syrup or sugar cane flavor. But, I quite enjoyed it! It was hydrating, refreshing, and only 20 calories with 4 grams of sugar! Maple. is also naturally dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free of course. 

Health Benefits:

  • Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and prebiotics. Antioxidants help your immune system and protects against oxidation, or the production of free radicals.
  • Less than half the sugar of coconut water
  • More manganese than one cup of Kale. Manganese plays many vital roles in the body such as ensuring healthy bone structure, blood sugar regulation, maintains thyroid health, and assists in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Because it is a naturally occurring mineral in our bodies but only in small amounts, it is necessary to obtain from our diet as well. Symptoms of manganese deficiency include high blood pressure, bone malformations, high cholesterol, poor eyesight, and trouble hearing to name a few. Though quite rare because manganese is can be obtained from a plethora of sources, maple. is a great way to ensure you obtain enough as it contains 40% of the recommended daily allowance. 

If you’re a Boston native then you’re in luck because maple. launched May 12 on local store shelves in the Greater Boston area and is also being sold online via drinkmaple.com. Maple water is already hugely popular in NYC, where another of my favorite brands, called Happy Tree is sold. Plus, given the recent buzz on maple water (was recently on the Today Show as well!) and the fact that DRINKmaple is the ONLY company based in the area and selling the product in the area, of course I wanted to share it with you! In my opinion, it’s the perfect morning refreshment (next to coffee of course!) or afternoon hydrating pick-me-up. 

If you haven’t yet gotten your hands on a bottle, you can purchase maple. at the following places:Cambridge Naturals- Cambridge
Pemberton Farms- Cambridge
Squeeze Juice Bar/Equinox- Chestnut Hill
Squeeze Juice Bar/Equinox- 2 Boston locations
Lexington Power Yoga- Lexington
Espresso Love- Boston
Debra’s Natural Gourmet- Concord
Concord Provisions- Concord
Haute Coffee- Concord
The Nantucket Club- Nantucket 
Grassy Roots- Wenham
Vidalias- Beverly
Willow Rest- Gloucester
The Club by George Forman III/Nourish Your Soul
Idylwilde Farms- Acton
Natural Food Exchange- Reading
Pure Cocobeet- Boston
Foodies Urban Market- South Boston
Snap Top Market- Boston

If you have tried maple water, what did you think? 

p.s.I wouldn’t recommend it post-workout but rather as a tasty beverage to keep you hydrated if you’re not a fan of regular water and need a little flavor.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Dine out Dietitian Review: Bristol Lounge

Have I mentioned that I am a contributor to Dine out Dietitian? A site dedicated to offering YOU, Dietitian approved insider tips to nutritious fare while dining out all over the U.S.! Plus, if you’re a frequent traveler then this site is definitely for you. I can’t tell you how many clients I see that experience anxiety over traveling when trying to be healthy, as travel often involves lack of nutritious fare, long periods of sitting, meals out, and situations out of one’s control. But, to mitigate this anxiety, Dine out Dietitian was created to offer healthy restaurant option in various regions throughout the country. The RD contributors offer ordering suggestions, explanations of the dishes we selected, and insider tips when dining out. So, next time you travel be sure to check out some of the restaurants that made the cut in your visiting city!

My most recent review was on Bristol Lounge (Four Seasons Hotel), in the city of Boston. If you are looking for an upscale, healthy breakfast, look no further.

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Depending upon your mood you can order off of the sweet or savory menu. Of course, if you are trying to be health-conscious, stick to savory. You have a couple of healthy options to choose from on this menu, which I love! Their menu doesn’t leave you scouring for hours trying to find something nutritious to eat and they are more than willing to make modifications, not that much are needed. I went with the eggbeater frittata (so delicious!), served with a plethora of vegetables. I didn’t have to choose from potatoes, sausage, or bacon, but could rather choose from 1) Mixed greens or 2) Fruit.

As if the healthy options aren’t already endless enough, you can wash down your meal with a “Sunrise on the Charles” smoothie, packed with carrots, ginger, and blueberries. Or if you are more of a green goddess, you can opt for the kale, apple, and celery smoothie. What isn’t to love about a place you can feel good about going to!

Click here check out my other inside tips and read my full review.