Switch to Switchel for Post Workout Recovery

Switch to Switchel for Post Workout Recovery

Next time you go to grab a Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes from a workout, hangover or whatever else you might use it for, try a switchel instead. I know you might be asking what in the heck is switchel?

Actually, switchel has been around long before Gatorade was even a thought. It was used to fuel and rehydrate farmers and workers in the hayfields during Colonial times.

Although farming has modernized quite a bit since those times, a farmer can still work up quite a thirst out in the fields. Just think how much thirstier a job it was for the Colonials when the grass was hand-cut with a scythe. I’m sure if Iron-Man races were a thing back then the athletes would have used it too!

Gatorade type drink were not around during that time as electrolytes were not even discovered until the 1900’s. And there were no scientific studies showing our bodies needed them replaced after exertion.

Somehow our ancestors knew what they were doing and what our bodies needed and created switchel to nourish them. To bad we didn’t listen and let preservatives and sugar take the place of this natural re-hydrator.

Switchel contains water, apple cider vinegar, ginger and a sweetener. The sweetener can be either molasses, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is all of the rage now and is great for digestion and gut health. Many people incorporate ACV into their diets to aid in weight loss.

With the exception of water, all the other ingredients in the switchel contain potassium which is an electrolyte. Which we now know our bodies need to function properly.

I recently received a sample of switchel from a company called Up Mountain Swizzle, who make a sparkling switchel with fresh ginger, real maple syrup and apple cider vinegar

I have to say the maple syrup definitely makes it sweet and the ginger adds quite a bit of flavoring. It is also fizzy so it feels like you are drinking a soda. You could think of it as a healthy ginger ale! I never drink pop so this definitely feel a like a treat!

I’ve been drinking a concoction I call wetter water for about a year and half which has apple cider vinegar in it. I do it first thing in the morning to get my gut ready for the day.

I like that the Up Mountain sparkling switchel is a little sweeter than my wetter water and definitely more travel friendly. I can just toss a can in my bag or suitcase. I tried traveling with a bottle of apple cider vinegar once. It really did not work out so well.

If you are a Gatorade junkie, I would encourage you to make the switch to switchel. If you have been curious about all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar drinks give Up Mountain sparkling switchel a try.

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Silicone Kitchen Gadgets Every Kitchen Needs

Silicone Kitchen Gadgets Every Kitchen Needs

Silicone kitchen gadgets seem to be all the rage these days and for good reason. First of all they are easy to clean. Second the flexibility of the material makes for easy removal of food and allows items to be made in a variety of shapes. Third the heat safe temperature allows items to be used on the stove top, oven and even put in the dishwasher. And last but not least, with the material being reusable it can help make going green a little easier.

Assorted Silicon Kitchen Gadgets

Here are my favorite silicone kitchen gadgets I think every kitchen needs.

Bump It Off Silicone Multi Purpose Scrubber

I saw this handy gadget made by Goddess of Gadgets come across my Instagram feed and was immediately intrigued as it looked like a great sanitary replacement for my icky dish brush that was falling apart. I took a screen shot knowing I wanted to check it out when I had more time. Coincidently, I received an email a few days later asking if I would like to have a sample sent to try out. Of course, I said yes!

Bump It Off

Although, I always throw my dish brush in the dishwasher after using, the bristles seem to sometimes catch debris in them so I have to rinse it before even after being washed. Overtime the bristles wear down and becomes unusable.

After using the Bump It Off one time I was hooked. Not only did it do a nice job of cleaning the dishes and sink, it came out clean and sanitary right out of the dishwasher. As you can see with the different textures it has a variety of uses. I am going to buy a couple more to have in other parts of the house.

Silicone Oven Mits and Hot Pads

We all have done it, you go to pull the lasagna, cobbler or whatever you may be cooking out of the oven and there goes the thumb of you oven mitt right in the dish. Now you have stringy cheese or sauce stuck in the fibers of the mitt. Even after washing, the mitt will still have stains and for some reason seem mine always seem to shrink!

Silicone Oven Mitt

In the past I have laid out another oven mitt on the counter which makes an uneven surface to lay the baking pan on which is probably not the safest method. Having silicone hot pads on hand make an easy flush surface to lay out on the counter to place your hot dish. These are my favorite silicone oven mitts and hot pads but the there is quite a variety to choose from so you could certainly get the one that is perfect for you.

Silicone Sponges

Much like the Bump It Off, these handy scrubbers can be a replacement for that sponge that seems to lay on the side of the sink harboring bacteria as we speak. Eventually that sponge becomes slimy and gross so it is tossed in the trash adding to landfill waste. Silicone sponges are washable and reusable which keeps your kitchen more sanitary and the environment a little greener.

Silicone Bakeware

Who knew baking with silicone could be so easy. From pie tins to muffin cups, the flexibility of this oven safe material allows for bakeware to made in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Silicone Baking Liners

The reusable baking liners are a great replacement for parchment paper which again cuts down on landfill waste.

The silicone bakeware can be greased or sprayed with cooking spray which makes for easy removal of food. And although, the flexible material is great for making a variety of shaped bakeware, they can sometimes be a bit flimsy, so I always place my silicone baking dish on a flat sheet type pan before filling so it can slide easily into the oven.

This adjustable silicone divider called the Bakesplit can be placed on a sheet pan or baking dish to divide different flavors of cakes, dips, casseroles , sheet pan dinners and more. Great to use during the holidays to save on separate baking dishes for every dish.

Silicone Stove Top Gadgets

Prevent stove top splatters with Frywall. This handy cone shaped gadget comes in three sizes to fit 8, 10 or 12 inch pans. Be sure to measure your pan before ordering to get the best fit and results from the Frywall product.

Silicone pan handle cover. This cover helps keep the handle of you pan cooler so you can toss and flip or just hold the pan steady while cooking on the stove top.

If you have a gap between the wall and your oven and stove combo, these handy stove gap inserts will save the day! These gap covers will keep food particles and debris from falling in between the crack of the stove and the wall.

Silicone Kitchen Utensils

From scrapers to flippers you can find just about any kitchen utensil made of silicone. The heat safe material makes these utensils easy to use when cooking on the stove top. The flexibility makes scraping out that last bit of cake batter a breeze.

Having a silicone basting brush make grilling more sanitary as you can toss it right in the dishwasher after using it on raw meat.

Silicone whisks and tongs prevent leaving marks on nonstick cookware and enameled cast iron. I learned this the hard way while whisking a cheese sauce in my Le Creuset with a wire whisk. Imagine my panic attack as I see the all the gray scratches coating the bottom of my $300 pan. I was able to clean most of the pan using a little bar keepers friend but I will certainly will never use a wire whisk again!

Measuring and Miscellaneous Silone Kitchen Helpers

Silicone measuring cups

I received this set of flexible measuring cups a gift and love the versatility. The three sizes make it easy to measure just about any quantity and the flexibility allows for easy pouring. The large one is great to put a variety of batters in and makes it easy to pour out the perfect potion into you muffin pan or on the griddle.


Silicone infusers make it easy to flavor water by filling the infuser with loose leaf tea, herbs or bits of fruit.

Silicon Infuser

Collapsable items such as strainers and measuring cups saves on space in drawers and cabinets and work just as well, if not better than their metal and plastic counterparts.

Silicone Collapsable Measuring Cups

Silicone Collapsable Colander

So that is my list of some of my favorite silicone kitchen gadgets that have made cooking and clean up in the kitchen just a little easier.

I hope you try some of them out. Please comment if you have a favorite silicone kitchen gadget.

Notice: All links are affiliate links meaning I do make a small profit from your purchases. Your price is not affected by this commission. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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How Sparkling Water Can Lower Blood Sugar

How Sparkling Water Can Lower Blood Sugar

We have all been there and know that spike and then crash and burn feeling we get after eating a high carb meal. But how can we avoid it while still enjoying some of the foods we love like pasta, bread and even cocktails.

I know it sounds to good to be true, but the makers of Good Idea Drinks, have found a solution. I had the chance to get a sample of these drinks and chat with founder Björn Öste. Keep reading to get the scoop on this sparkling water that can lower blood sugar.

Good Idea Drink

Good Idea Drink

In a nutshell, researchers found a connection between the intake of dairy and a relatively high insulin response. They found that the intake of whey before and with a meal rich in fast carbohydrates could substantially lower the blood sugar spike following a meal.

The effect was also observed with protein that contained the presence of five specific essential amino acids. Repeated meal studies confirmed that the effect on insulin and glucose response from whey could be mimicked by serving a drink containing a proportion of the five essential amino acids before and with the meal.

Good Idea Drinks

Good Idea Drinks

As an additional development of the concept, a small quantity of chromium was added. Chromium is well known by scientists to have an important role in blood glucose regulation. Taken together, it was hypothesized that a combination of amino acids and chromium would have a synergistic effect that would further improve the effect on blood sugar rise.

After creating this dink the researchers studies results consistently showed a typical reduction of 25-30% in blood sugar rise following a meal rich in carbohydrates, compared to placebo.

Good Idea Drinks Nutrition

Good Idea Drinks Nutrition

To get the full details of all of the science behind the drink and results of the study can be found on the Good Idea website as well as answers to some FAQ’s.

I had a few FAQ’s of my own and after my chat with Björn here is our Q&A session.

1. How did you come up with the idea for Good Idea Drinks? After learning of the research results from Lund University our company formed a collaboration to create the dink.

2. Can it help people with diabetes? Although it is not specifically targeted for that, it would be something to ask your doctor about to see if it might be a “good idea” to include it into your diet.

3. I have heard chromium can be used as a weight loss supplement. Can Good Idea drinks be used for weight loss? It is not marketed as a weight loss tool. However, studies have shown that chromium has shown to reduce the glycemic index which makes you eat less therefore could cause weight loss.

4.  Why does it taste sweet when there is no sugar in it? It is flavored using natural flavor.

5. What exactly is “Natural Flavor”? How do you make it? Where do you get it? Great question.

6. Would it be helpful to drink while eating a dessert? Yes.

8. Would it be good to use as a mixer in cocktails, as alcohol is considered a sugar and most drinks are made with sugary mixers or juices? Yes.

This sparkling water is a little sweet and definitely has the flavor. I loved the idea of making a cocktail with it and had a bunch of limes on hand so thought I would take a stab at creating a “Good Idea” Mojito.

Although, this mojito recipe does not have any actual sugar in it, this flavored sparkling water will help the spike caused by the sugars in the alcohol or added sugars should you decide to sweeten it up yourself. Details on how to do that are listed in the directions of the recipe.

mojito garnished

The Good Idea Mojito

I wish to thank Good Idea Drinks for the sample. For more information on the drinks or how to purchase them visit the Good Idea website.

Cover photo from Good Idea.

 

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You Can Have It by Chef Devin Alexander

You Can Have It by Chef Devin Alexander

Celebrity Chef Devin Alexander is no stranger to the struggle of being overweight. As a teenager Devin tipped the scales at 200 pounds and was headed down the path to become the culprit of many diseases.

Learning to cook from her grandmother, Devin started cooking up a storm putting a healthy twist on the foods she loved which helped her shed 70 pounds. Now the author of nine cookbooks, Devin shares the knowledge and recipes to help you shed the extra pounds as well without sacrificing the flavors you love.

Devin Alexander

Devin Alexander You Can Have It

Her newest cookbook, You Can Have It!, features diabetic friendly recipes that the whole family will love.

I have both a father-in-law and a niece who suffer from diabetes so when I got the opportunity to check out this book, I could not say no.  I love to be able to make things they can eat when they visit.

Although this cookbook is labeled diabetic friendly, you would never know as the book features recipes that include pizza, burgers, tacos, sandwiches, cocktails and even dessert.

Curry Chicken Salad Cups Recipe Devin Alexander

Curry Chicken Salad Cups Recipe Devin Alexander

I recently made her recipes for Gingerbread Overnight Oats and Curry Chicken Salad Cups. Both of which were quite tasty!

Overnight Oats

Gingerbread Overnight Oats by Chef Devin Alexander

I am looking forward to trying many more recipes out of the book including the pulled chicken tacos, rosemary beef stew, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, perfect pumpkin pie-lets, and champagne blackberry chillers plus a few more.

One of the most things I really liked about this cookbook is that includes the everyday recipes that are easy to make without a long list of unheard of crazy ingredients.

 

Devin has quite the resume from restaurateur to hosting her own cooking show with numerous television and radio appearances in between. You can read more about Devin and her accolades along with information on all her cookbooks at the Devin Alexander website.

©2018 by the American Diabetes Association. You Can Have It! is available at ShopDiabetes.org, in bookstores nationwide, or by calling 1-800-232-6733. Food Photographer: Mittera Creative Services; Lifestyle Photographer: Michelle Pederson

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Planetarians Sunflower Chips a High Protein Snack

Planetarians Sunflower Chips a High Protein Snack

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a product but when I received an email offering a sample of these high protein Planetarians Sunflower Chips, my interest was peaked.  The email noted, “Planetarians is developing high protein snacks for growing population from by-products of the food industry, without the need to grow more crops.”

I was like what? How does that work? I am always looking for a snack high in protein that doesn’t contain nuts so I asked for a sample.

Turns out, the chips are made from sunflower meal which is the by-product from the production of sunflower oil.  It’s referred to as an oil cake, which contains both protein and fiber.

I’m kinda on this kick about how much food waste is in our country. Although, there is not much one can do once the food is delivered to the masses, founder Aleh Manchuliantsau explains on the Planetarians website, that using by-products from the production of products (how’s that for a tongue twister) is a good place to start. I like his approach and hope there are others that will follow in his footsteps.

 

Planetarian Sunflower Chips

 

Now, back to the chips. Planetarians Sunflower Chips come in three flavors. Firey Sriracha, Sweet and Smokey BBQ and Sweetly Cinnamon. I got two packages of each in my sample pack. I’ve tried all three flavors and have to say they are all pretty good.

The crunchy texture of these bite-sized squares are a little grainy, but I wouldn’t say its bad, just different. Especially if you are expecting it to be like a greasy potato chip. They are definitely thicker, which makes them a hearty little snack.

 

Planetarian Sunflower Chips

I love sunflower seeds and sunflower butter. I would say these have a hint of sunflower seed taste but with the flavoring added you taste mostly that. The flavoring of the Sweet and Smokey BBQ definitely reminded me of the GUYS brand barbecue potato chips, which I haven’t had for years! These were a real a treat that brought back some fun memories of my youth! The Sriracha was not that fiery but had a good spicy flavor. I would say the Sweetly Cinnamon reminded me of the cinnamon and sugar toast I used to eat as a kid.

 

Planetarian Sunflower Chips

 

I try to eat pretty good most of the time and am always looking for healthier snack that is easy to take on the go. They do have some sugar in the seasoning, but they also contain protein and fiber, which is a little hard to find in crunchy snacks these days. Each flavor differs and you can find all the ingredients and nutritional information here.

Planetarian Sunflower Chips

 

My bottom line on these would be that although, the texture is not quite that of a potato chip, it does satisfy when you are craving that crunch. The taste satisfies when you craving something salty with the Sweet and Smokey BBQ and Fiery Sriracha flavors, while the Sweetly Cinnamon can cure a sweet tooth.

I would also consider these a transitioning food/snack. By that I mean if you are trying to eat healthier but still like some junk food, replace you snack attack item with Planetarians. It will satisfy the crunch and flavor you are craving while giving you a little more nutrition. If you have some young children or even not so young, try substituting these in place of their other chips and snacks and see if they like them. The pre-portioned packets make them super easy to grab on the go or throw in a lunch box.

If you are interested in trying Planetarians Sunflower Chips for yourself or family, the company is offering 25% off the 1st purchase on Amazon using code: 25cycled

Feel free to comment below if you have tried these and how you liked them.

Happy Snacking!

Sharm

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Look Gorgeous with Minimal Effort using Mineral Fusion Makeup

Look Gorgeous with Minimal Effort using Mineral Fusion Makeup

Products from the Mineral Fusion Makeup Line available at Whole Foods Market, will keep you looking gorgeous with minimal effort.

The Mineral Fusions company is based in Denver, CO and they make skin care and cosmetics (in the USA) that are free of gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, SLS, and phthalates. They’re also committed to sustainability and utilize wind power, soy inks, packaging from recycled materials and packaging that is recyclable.

I am a huge fan of Mineral Fusion and use quite a bit of their products so when the chance came to write about them as a Whole Foods Ambassador, I decided to share with you my favorite Mineral Fusion products.

#1 Hydrating Primer. My dry skin loves this primer. It smoothes and evens my skin tone and allows my foundation to glide on smoothly for a flawless look.

mineralprimer

#2. Lash Curling Mascara. The curved brush on this lash lengthening mascara separates and defines lashes and is made with a hypo allergenic formula.

mineral mascara

#3 Lip Pencil. I use this lip pencil to line my lips and also use it to fill in as a base layer under my shear moisture lip tint which come in at number four.

mineralliner

#4 Sheer Moisture Lip Tint. This sheer lip tint adds shine and color without drying out my lips.

mineral liptint

#5 Nail Polish. With 61 shades to choose from that are free from formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl, phthalates and camphor, this polish is long lasting and goes on streak free.

mineral polish

These products with just a touch of foundation and blush can give you a glamorous look with minimal effort.

Whole Foods Market is committed to carrying products that are up to their body care standards and Mineral Fusion fits the criteria. You can check out their standards here along with a list of 400 unacceptable ingredients that cannot be in any of their body care products.

Whole Foods Market carries the Mineral Fusions Makeup line and now for a limited time you can pick up this Whole Foods exclusive eye shadow palette that includes six neutral colors, eye shadow brush and eye pencil.

mineral pallette

IMG_1956

Disclosure: Whole Foods Market provided me with some samples of the Mineral Fusion products and gift card, but all opinions expressed are my own.