New Bestowed Box delivers monthly assortment of best health food!

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With so many monthly box subscriptions on the market (hello Birchbox and Naturebox), it comes as no surprise that there is now a subscription to receive a box of healthy products handpicked by a Dietitian. So when I was told that I was signed up for one, I couldn’t wait to see what handpicked delicious and nutritious treats I would receive.

As an RD myself, saying that I adore snacking is an understatement. I am endlessly on a quest to find the best of the best healthy products on there to satisfy my snack cravings, and just when I thought I knew about every gluten-free, vegan, non-gmo product out there, Heather Bauer, the expert behind Bestowed, proves me wrong.

The box consists of healthy snacks, beverages, and other goodies delivered to your home or office. All products are expertly curated by nutritionist Heather Bauer and unlike other boxes, every box is loaded with expert tips, recipes, and advice!

Here’s what I received and what I thought about each product:

Because it is the summer months, Heather created my Bestowed Box with 2 things in mind: 1) Easy and convenient for travel and 2) Healthy and beach body friendly. My first product was a package called ALMOST NUTS: a gluten-free, non-gmo soy bean snack dipped in chocolate and packed with 9 grams of protein per serving! Heather’s tip was to put these in my yogurt or use as a healthy ice cream topping! Love the idea!

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2) AgroLabs Wheatgrass Boosts: I was a little hesitant to try this second product as I have NEVER had wheatgrass (yuck!). But, surprisingly, this gluten-free superfood was pretty tasty. It was packed with B vitamins and super convenient. It had somewhat of an aftertaste though, similar to what you might find in energy drinks, but is a healthier pick-me-up.

3) CleanWell Wipes: Considering I now go through more baby wipes than someone with a baby since my boyfriend insists we wipe our dog’s feet after playing outside, these were incredibly useful and exciting to receive. They are made with thyme oil and are cruelty-free, biodegradable, and free of alcohol!

4) Harvest Hemp Pro70: One of the highest quality hemp protein powders you can find, I thought this was by far one of the coolest products in my box. I think I know my protein powders well, but this was one I had shockingly never heard of. 20 grand of protein per 30 gram serving packet, this plant-based protein is easily digestible and offers all essential amino acids. It’s perfect for vegans and is also gluten-free! I suggest using this as a base for a smoothie or add to recipes for added protein.

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5) Mighty Leaf Iced tea bag: I received two of these in mango, which offered a sweet, cooling, and refreshing beverage post-workout as well as a mid-afternoon treat at the beach! With no sugar, all natural and no artificial flavors, this tea is perfect for the summer months! I made a huge pitcher and kept in my fridge to cool me down on hot days.

6) Raw Revolution Spirulina Dream: Okay, so these bars I have tried before. I tried them last year at the Crossfit Games and they have really taken off since then. These bars contain many things you want in a healthy snack. They are organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, and delicious! Plus spiraling is a superfood rich in protein and contains all essential amino acids. The only thing I didn’t like about this all-natural bar was the sugar content. However, you can pack in your beach bag for a nutritious snack OR pair with lunch or breakfast (eat half at one meal and eat half at another or as a snack so as not to ingest all that sugar at once and go into a sugar coma).

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7) Smooch Snacks: I can’t tell you how fun these snacks are! Not only is the name awesome but the packs are super cool as well! If you have ever heard of Fuel for Fire- these are like those packs! Easy to take anywhere, convenient, and packed with vitamin C and omega 3’s, these are a a new favorite. I loved the natural flavor with the chunks of fruit and chia seeds that I got. A great mid-day snack for both adults and children. Heather suggests throwing in your beach bag for a quick energy boost.

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8) And lastly Sour Cream and Onion BOPS Organic Potato snacks: BOPS are essentially baked potato chips or “crisps” free of additives and preservatives. Another Non-GMO product, gluten-free, and certified organic. The flavor was spot on, but the chips were a bit too airy and there honestly wasn’t much too them. You could definitely tell that less fat was used, but ultimately I think this is the best healthy comparable to potato chips. So if you want a healthier alternative but really love potato chips, give these a try!

Overall, I loved my Bestowed box and loved even more that I was given healthy food that made it easy to stay on track and make good food choices. I’m looking forward to getting future boxes, knowing that all snacks are hand-picked by a health professional that I can trust!

 

Have any of you tried Bestowed? What did you think?

 

 

 

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Isagenix: Diet Fad or Healthy way of Life?

Over the past few years, I have had friends/family/clients, approach me about the Isagenix 30 day weight loss program. As an RD I think it is important to educate others about different diet fads so that they are properly informed. I can only provide what the research supports to date, but as this diet has picked up in popularity, I only find it necessary to break it down for you and in my opinion I have mixed reviews on it.

The Isagenix products contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to function properly. The system is equipped with bars, snacks, supplements, and protein powders for their shakes. It may help you lose weight yes. It may be a great way jumpstart weight loss but is a quick fix. It does not teach you anything about nutrition! I do like the isalean shake as it has protein and is just a protein powder supplement and we know how great protein is at sparing muscles and keeping our metabolism revved. New research suggests that we should shoot for at least 20g of protein at each meal for satiety and weight management (Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M).

On the contrary these products lack natural vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables and you also get no fiber unless you opt for their fiber snacks (but of course you have to pay extra for that). Most Isagenix packs cost between $250-500 for 30 days, when you could be spending those dollars on real food (http://www.ewg.org/goodfood/index.php). In terms of fiber though, You need 25-30 grams of fiber a day at least, so you may find yourself severely lacking in fiber with these products. I also worry about the high vitamin and mineral content of these products. The Ionix that comes in the 30-day pack has 2000% of your b12! Yes b12 is water soluble but if you continually take megadoses of vitamins you can end up with some serious side effects that you should be aware of. If you’re routinely taking megadoses, for instance, too much Vitamins C or zinc could cause nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Too much selenium could lead to problems including hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. The biggest and first side effects though will be brain fog, nausea, and diarrhea so be aware of these if you do decide to purchase isagenix.

Additionally, looking at their snacks I noticed that their IsaLEAN bars are somehow supposed to make you lean with 16 grams of added sugars! There’s a solid body of evidence that links excessive sugar consumption to heart disease and other ailments, such as type 2 diabetes. A study recently published in Jama Internal Medicine found that excessive added sugar, more than 20-25grams for females or 6 teaspoons, and 35-40 grams for males (9 teaspoons), led to an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Please understand we are not talking about naturally occurring sugar we find in dairy and fruit, but sugar that has been added to foods and beverages, like it has in this Isalean product.

And if that’s not enough bad news already, you will also be severely lacking in Omega 3’s, which are omitted from their shakes as well or at least lacking sufficiently. If you want to obtain these, you will have to purchase ,for an additional cost, their IsaCrunch product or be sure to consume plenty of nuts, avocados, olive oil, salmon, etc that contain heart healthy fats.

So basically, if you want a well-rounded diet you will have to purchase most, if not all of their products (that contain a plethora of ingredients I never want to put into my body), for a hefty price, so I really hope you have a thick wallet if you decide to jump on the Isagenix bandwagon.

Positives: You dont have to schedule meals or plan, you can simply drink the shakes. Super easy and convenient.
Downside: No guarentee on taste, may get sick of this real quick, doesn’t teach the knowledge behind making healthy choices when cooking and eating out, is essentially a processed product, may not fill you up.

Great to jumpstart- but I always recommend real food and obtaining the knowledge necessary to make a lifestyle change.

Resources:

Quanhe, Yang et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults”. JAMA Intern Med. Published online February 03, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13563

Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp- Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 558S-61S.

Brunch Delights at Towne Stove and Spirits

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When it comes to food, there is nothing I love more than a good Brunch. Though my recent work schedule has prevented me from frequenting brunches with some of my favorite ladies in the #BostonBrunchers group, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the latest gathering. And boy am I glad I did! Boston has quite the hopping Brunch scene, and one of the places on your Go-To list, must include Towne Stove and Spirits.

Located next to the Pru, this classy restaurant boasts quite an exquisite arrangement of dishes to meet your pre and post-shopping fuel needs. Brunch is served on both Saturdays and Sundays, but their Sunday Brunch Buffet is what really Wow’s the crowd.   Here is an inkling of what they offer

·  Breakfast Breads and Pastries
·  Coffee Cakes
·  Cereals
·  Grilled Vegetable & Salad Station with weekly Salad Specials
·  Raw Bar Including Wellfleet Oysters & Jumbo Shrimp
·  Bagels, Salmon & Other Smoked Fishes
·  Selection of Cheeses, Pates & Terrines
·  Carved Meat of the Day
·  Three Hot Entrees (Fish, Meat or Poultry)
·  Including Vegetarian Pasta
·  Maple Bacon,
·  House Made Sausage
·  Grilled Ham
·  Made -to- Order Omelet Station
·  Made -to- Order Pancake Stations
·  Dessert Display

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Their menu changes weekly, so when we arrived we were first greeted with glasses of prosecco and coffee and a first course of (my fave) Oysters! I should back the story up a bit by saying I actually arrived late because I had to work, so when I was taken upstairs to the table I first saw just a man with a glass of prosecco. I couldn’t see the rest of the brunches behind the curtain so when the hostess insisted that that was our table, I kindly replied ” Um..no..that’s a man..we don’t have men in our group!” Well- in fact we do! Welcome to the group Alex! Anyways, after I was sat and settled with my coffee and libation, we were asked to go indulge.

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The first course arrangement included a cobb salad, shrimp, fruit smoothies, crab, smoked salmon, and a cheese assortment. If you don’t enjoy brunch, at least go for their cheese platter and warm bread pudding. Living with someone who eats paleo, I don’t often get to eat cheese so you can bet I enjoyed every single one of the cheeses they had to offer.

As you can see I kind of went with the unorganized messy approach and just went to town (literally!), as it is an all you can eat buffet.

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The second course consisted of maple glazed pork (yummy!), with a maple syrup glaze. The salmon and kale were also really delicious and cooked to perfection. There was also a carving station, made to order omelets (which I unfortunately did not try), and an entire breads and pastries section. Pacing myself for dessert was a challenge.

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But, between mini red velvet whoopie pies, chocolate mousse in champagne glasses, and of course their famous warm bread pudding with layers of deliciousness, chocolate bits, and topped off with whip cream, how could I say no? I was in dessert heaven.

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Overall, a wonderful time with new friends and old, chatting about Vegas, nutrition, chefs, and of course our blogs! As Towne could put it

“a delightful mingling of international flavors & solid american fare,” was had by all!

Thanks for having us!

On a side note: Fun brunch promo!: The Sunday after Black Friday (Sunday, December 1), Brunch guests will receive a free house-made candy bar (layers of handmade caramel and cookies dipped in milk chocolate) as a way to fuel up before hitting the Pru/Newbury Street for holiday shopping.

Note: Towne Stove and Spirits provided the Boston Brunchers this brunch free of charge. But all opinions expressed here are my own.

Friday’s Festivities and Lessons Learned/C2 pilates

photo-11photo-9photo-2photo-7photo-8A lot has happened since I last posted on here. I was invited along to do a talk show on Radio Entreprenuers, I assisted in a cooking demo for a local athletic club, received my training in barre, and today started off my day with a Barre class at C2 pilates in South Boston. I had read of C2 Pilates and their Barre class and since I live in Southie, decided to give another version of this hot workout a try.

I was not impressed. I should have known from the start as the instructor was an overweight woman, which gave me total confidence that the movements she was about to take my cross fit conditioned body through would be effective. Yeah right. Like other barre classes there was the use of balls, bands, weights, but the movements were not synced with the rhythm of the songs. Furthermore, barre is designed to be free of stress and strain and the body. My knees cracked a total of 15 times in today’s class- 15 times! That right there was a sign that something wasn’t right with this class. As we continued to move through the sequence I only hoped and prayed I would not need a trip to the ER and thanked god that none of the women currently in the class had joint, hip, or muscular problems, which if they keep attending barre at C2 pilates, they are sure to soon have.

Now I am not a barre pro, but after training, there a few tips you should know before going into a barre class.

1) each movement is slow and precise while being controlled. Our movements in this class were quite the opposite (see video to follow)

2)Many exercises emphasize alignment and stability. I felt like we were flying through the class without instruction.

The instructor failed to correct anyone’s incorrect movements (and trust me..no one was doing them right). When tucking was involved, it was not mentioned that these movements should be small so as not to place stress on spine and I cringed as I saw many of the girls over tucking. Another key movement is the relieve in which the heels are lifted off the ground. It should mentioned that while in relieve, the heel should not be held as high as possible so as not to put stress on the knees and flexor hallucis longus. Doing this is considered a “bad” exercise for the ankle and foot and can really lead to harm.

I posted a video as I just couldn’t resist as you’ll see. Last time I checked, I was attending a barre class, not a ghetto dance class. “Lean back” should not be part of any barre routine. We also did running mans in place (um excuse me?) The class couldn’t have ended sooner and while my legs were burning by the end, it was very different from the other barre studios I have attended and I will not be back. If you want to try out Barre in Boston i recommend pure barre, boston body pilates (excellent!!) as well as the bar method. The instructors are all great (and in shape!) and will ensure that the movements you do are safe and effective. Lesson learned: I do not recommend C2. 

Low and behold the class is over. So what else happened in my week? I was invited via my boss Laura Hartung, RD to be on a radio show! You can click the posted link to hear us as we spoke on kale, kind bars, and reducing sugar in the American diet. Woot woot! what a blast that was! Most americans don’t realize how much sugar we take in in a day but 88grams people! that kind of looks like whole whole glass of water if you’re trying to picture! I also had the chance to attend a few college health fairs, in which we promoted KIND and provided body fat analysis testing. Fun right? The students loved it and so did I!

What else did I do this week?

Workout

Last night, I went to CrossFit Southie to do the Open WOD 13.4, which is a short 7-minute workout of an ascending ladder of increasing reps of clean and jerks and toes-to-bar. Seemed easy but boy was it tough as is every workout. The weight for women is 95 pounds, but I’m not quite there yet so I did 75. My 1RM is only 110 so 95 seemed like a far reach to do 12 reps of. I finished with total reps 53..not half bad.

My bf’s mom is in tonight so tonight we will be hitting up a few restaurant hot spots, Haru sushi and Market by jean georges! Ugh can you say get ready for food coma??!

ANyways more to come soon! Thanks so much for making time for me:)
Have a wonderful weekend!