Reviews

Review: Thrive – Plant Based Nutrition Bars by GoMacro

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GoMacro Thrive I was recently sent a box of GoMacro’s newest bar — Thrive, a plant-based nutrition bar, which should be available at Whole Foods now. I’ve shared info in a previous post about GoMacro -so I knew I liked their bars, but I was interested in trying these bars because they use plant-based protein which I prefer because of my dairy sensitivities.

The GoMacro Thrive is available in six flavors that contain plant-based protein, essential fatty acids and prebiotic fiber to fuel your body and mind. 

GoMacro is a pretty cool company too. As I mentioned in my earlier postthese bars are made with quality ingredients and taste good.  The company is family owned and cause driven.  These bards are great if you are on the go and want a healthy snack that has protein!

GoMacro-Thrive: My FavoritesThrive bars are USDA Organic, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Kosher, Vegan and Low Glycemic and delicious. So far, my favorites are the ones that include chocolate! (no surprise)

Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip

All of their bars are under 200 calories with 7g of protein. In addition to the two flavors above they offer:

  • Almond Apricot
  • Blueberry Lavender
  • Ginger Lemon
  • Caramel Coconut

They were all good, although I am not a huge fan of Ginger or Lavender in general, so those were not my favorite. So, with that said, I heartily recommend giving these bars a try!

Keep in mind, whole fresh food should always be a first choice – but we all need to live in reality and recognize it’s not always possible situation-ally or time wise to eat that way. We have to be realistic and fluid enough to accommodate life. So, my advice is to always make the best choice with what you have available. These bars are not perfect –they do contain sugar (although natural coconut sugar and brown rice syrup) – but compared to some other bars on the market, they are a better choice.

Get 30% off GoMacro: Thrive bars!

And because the people at GoMacro are so kind, they are offering a one-time-use coupon code (Thrive30) for 30% off to my readers to buy Thrive bars at gomacro.com

 

Disclosure: Although GoMacro provided me with samples, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the brand or company. 

Well Fed, Healthy and Happy

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Well Fed - Melissa JoulwanI came home to a special package from Melissa Joulwan.  If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s the author of the popular blog The Clothes Make the Girl, which is now renamed to just her name alone and her Well Fed book series.  I’ve been a supporter and fan of Melissa’s for years now and have recommended her first Well Fed book before. If you are looking for really good recipes that meet Whole 30, Paleo, Clean Eating guidelines – look no further than her cook books.  Her recipes are by far the top of the top in terms of just being good food.  When people ask me for advice on going “paleo’ or starting a Whole 30 program — the first thing I recommend is to buy her cookbooks. Honest.

Want to buy the Well Fed books? Here’s a link to her online store and you can buy them through Amazon as well.  If you are looking for even more Paleo and Clean Eating resources, visit my Paleo/CrossFit resource area.

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September 21, 2016 is St. Jude Day at Chili’s

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Chilis and St Jude - Childhood Cancer Awareness MontHead over to Chili’s restaurants today for lunch or dinner and support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® by participating in their #CreateAPepper campaign!

Chili’s proclaims Sept. 21 as St. Jude Day and will celebrate by giving a minimum of $100,000 donation and an upcoming naming ceremony for support of the school program.

More info: CHILI’S MAKES $30 MILLION COMMITMENT TO ST. JUDE SCHOOL PROGRAM

Bacon Bonding with My Dog

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Dogs Life - Bacon - Trooper One of the greatest things that has happened to our family this past year is adopting our dog, Trooper, the white German Shepherd (IG: TroopertheWGSD). Although he is a ton of work – it’s like having a toddler living in my house again – he has brought so much joy and fun into our family life. The big joke among Scotty and the kids is that every time I go out to run errands I bring Trooper a toy. HB likes to say “I’m obsessed with him”.  She’s right but who else is that happy to see me all the time? His eyes light up every time I get him a new treat or play toy. He doesn’t complain about it being the wrong color or size. He appreciates it for what it is. And in my book that’s a win/win.

 

Having Trooper has improved our health as well. The kids get outside more than ever, taking him for walks, to the park, or just in our backyard to throw the chuck it ball – over and over and over and over again.  That boy loves to play fetch.

Pup-peroni’s new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavors

I was recently sent Pup-peroni’s new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavors treats so Trooper could properly celebrate International Bacon Day–and what do you know? Trooper loves BACON too. These treats are made with Angus steak with bacon-y flavoring (that’s what the box says anyway!) And Trooper loved them.

To share ways you and your pooch bond over Bacon, use #woofyeah or leave me a comment below!
And it doesn’t need to be said but, even though I don’t need any more reasons to love him, his love of Bacon makes him that more lovable!

Trooper with Bacon Treats

 

 

Please Note: Thanks to Pup-Peroni for sending me a bag of these treats for Trooper. They did ask me to include a link to their product but there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own.

5 Amazing Facts About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

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St Jude Blogger Tour 2016If you are a friend and/or a follower of this blog, you know I was invited to travel to Memphis, TN last week to learn about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Because of my own personal experience with cancer,  this blog and my other social media outlets, they asked me to join 11 other bloggers from around the country to learn more about ts history, its mission and the possible ways we all can do our part to end childhood cancer (Adult and Childhood cancer!).  There is so much I want to share from my three day learning adventure.  This is the third year of their blogger tour and in total, they have about 70 bloggers nationwide helping spread the word through their amazing Blogger Ambassador Program.

Here are some high level, meaningful facts that resonated with me about St. Jude:

Families never pay. – If you are a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. you will never receive a bill. They do bill insurance but the family will not pay co-pays, lodging costs, food etc. Even if your child has to stay for an extended period of time. I know personally how stressed out I was thinking about the financial burden Scott’s cancer treatment was going to be. We had great insurance fortunately — but think about it – I was already overwhelmed and emotional about his cancer diagnosis in general. Add to that  — how am I going to pay for this? Knowing that you would do anything to save the child/husband/family member you love. And then to walk into St. Jude and be told – don’t worry. We got you. First disbelief, then relief and you can focus on the big stuff – getting your child well.

Donations support the hospital.  – Last I checked, 81 cents of every dollar donated goes directly towards research and treatment. Based on the info they shared with us, it costs $2.2 million dollars a day to run the hospital and research facility.  No non-profit can claim 100% of their donations go directly towards their mission because there are always costs associated with running any non-profit. Considering what a large organization St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is, 81 cents out of every dollar donated is pretty impressive.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is making a difference. – When they opened in Feb 1962, their overall survivor rates were under 20%. Today, it’s around 80%. They also study other diseases like malaria, sickle cell disease to name just a few. Clearly, they are definitely making a huge impact that resonates globally.  Their research is released to the public and freely available to any research facility, doctor, scientist and/or patient.

Danny Thomas - St JudeDanny Thomas – The story behind the building of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is inspiring.  Mr Thomas made a vow and he kept it and enlisted countless friends and visionaries to help.  He believed strongly “No child should die in the dawn of life”  and who in their right mind would disagree.

They pay attention to details. – Here are few of the services and details I noticed:

  • They have an on site school so kids can keep up with their school work.
  • They have their own gardens so they can prepare food using the fresh product (farm to table) as much as possible. And when not possible, they work with the local CSA to grow the crops and offer a Farmer’s Market monthly on site.
  • Their utensils, etc are as eco-friendly as possible.
  • They have Child Patient Specialists to work with the patients to help them understand what’s going on in an age-appropriate way.
  • Legacy Services – End of life is unfortunately something that does happen – they offer services and legacy keepsakes to help.
  • Milestone Events – graduations, proms, dances, parties including No More Chemo parties!
  • Wagons – when possible, the patients are wheeled around in red wagons instead of wheel chairs – keeping some of their childlike magic in tact.
  • The Hospital – obviously it’s state of the art, but it doesn’t smell like a hospital. It may be because of the high end air filtration systems, but it was nice to not be inundated with that sterile, alcohol smell common to most medical facilities.  And the walls are adorned with colorful, gorgeous murals and large images of their patients. It’s a warm, inviting place to be — which is awesome AND surprising since it’s not like the hospitals I have seen or visited before.

These flags represent all the countries where St. Jude Doctors and Researchers come from. The brightest minds in the world are all working together to end childhood cancer.

This trip meant the world to me – Seeing sick kids is hard but I was able to meet some amazing people (bloggers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital staff, families, people from Memphis to name a few) and I left there feeling hopeful and inspired – ready to figure out how I can do my part to help.  The topic of cancer has always been threaded throughout this blog — so helping spread its important mission and work fits in perfectly. I will be sharing more about my trip, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and ways we can all help, so stay tuned…

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

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St JudeI’m still processing the St. Jude Blogger Tour. It was a heavy topic but I came back feeling hopeful, inspired & grateful. My new blogger friend Melissa Fenton talked about  “turning guilt into gratitude” as we head back to our families and look at our healthy kids. Be grateful that we have healthy kids that can live their normal lives. I am taking that to heart and will do my part to end childhood cancer. I am even more forever changed..

I will share my entire experience in the next week — as it was full of information, emotions, fun and hope and what being a St Jude Ambassador Blogger means –including all the programs and ways people can get involved.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Next month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and there are a ton of ways to help, including a walk/run in many cities around the country. To search for an event in your community use this link: Find an event near you or Donate.

 

St Jude Walk/Run

 

Keep on Keeping On

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Summers are hard on working parents. Now that my kids are older, it’s hard to find camps to occupy their days and it’s even harder to figure out how to get them to the camps that are available. So many of them are only half day – and I am left wondering how am I supposed to work and get my kids to and from camp during the day? I am lucky at least right now in that I have quite a bit of flexibility with my current work situation and can handle what needs to be done but there are days when I feel less than adequate.  Like today:

HB is trying out for volleyball and I forget to get her forms handled completely. I made an assumption that she could use a different form and it would be ok –and last night in a mad scramble we realized it was not going to work, so I had to rush to the Medi-Clinic at Target to get her a sports physical. Thank goodness it worked out but it was another reminder that this parenting deal is hard.  Then Nate had a dr appointment that we had to rush to — and then I had to get HB to the actual try outs. I’m not sure how this would all workout if I was not an independent consultant and able to work odd hours of the day. It wears me out physically and mentally and I actually have it pretty darn good overall. I can’t imagine being a single parent trying to keep up with all of the parenting demands.  It’s been a very trying week or so…

Fitness/Health Progress Update

I’m down another pound – so total loss is 13#s and even more body fat, although I’m not sure how much. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there is a noticeable difference in my arms and shoulders. They look leaner and strong! It’s been hard to keep focusing on eating right all the time, but I have been doing pretty good. Before I would say I was 90% true to eating clean. Now, I would say 75-80% true to it. It all comes down to planning and focus. I’ve been feeling stressed out and crunched for time – two saboteurs of progress. But -I will get there.

 

Beauty and Wellness

Kat Von D Lock It Revolution

Thanks Influenster Vox for my box of Kat Von D Lock it Goodies! 

I don’t spend a ton of time on the blog talking about beauty products, but I do think looking your best is a huge part of living well.  For the ladies, as we age – we should make sure we keep up with the latest skin care products, treatments and techniques. I’m lucky that HB, who is 14, is heavily interested in fashion and makeup because she helps me stay current. There are a ton of really great beauty products out there that do amazing things that weren’t available when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. I’m not talking about contouring and thick costume-y make up either.  I’m sure on some people those styles work, but for most of us – Just NO!  Can you imagine walking into work with blue lips and a fully contoured face? I can’t and unless you work in a business that is all about that –you shouldn’t either. So, I was recently sent some Kat Von D Lock It products via a program called Influenster Vox.  I had never used her products before — and they aren’t cheap but I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the concealer. It is lightweight, covers what it’s supposed to, and lasts. That along with the Lock it setting powder — I am sold.  If you are looking for a high quality concealer – head over to your local Sephora and try it.

 

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A Upcoming Visit to Memphis

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St Judes Hospital I have some exciting news to share. Yesterday evening I invited to be a special guest for a St. Jude Blogger Tour – an exciting and educational three-day experience in Memphis, Tennessee this coming August where I will visit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tour the facilities and witness first-hand the holistic care doctors, researchers and staff provide to their patients.

I am beyond honored and speechless to be offered an opportunity like this which includes learning more about how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. They are also generously covering my expenses for the trip! I have confirmed my availability and am waiting for additional information about this three day event.

I have been blogging regularly for over 8 years now, focusing on health, wellness and family inspired by my husband’s experience with colon cancer. I started blogging to keep people in our lives up to date on Scotty’s progress and treatment and during that time I found a passion for living healthy and fit. Live Fit and Sore was born out of that original blog and I haven’t looked back. I share the info and experiences to help others find support and motivation to make changes in their own lives, but more importantly, to keep myself focused on health and wellness.  It’s a passion of mine and it has introduced me to the most amazing people and has brought me opportunities that I could not have even imagined.

I have no idea what to expect but I have always respected the St Jude’s Organization and am so beyond touched to be invited. I will share the details of my trip when they are confirmed.

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Focus and Doing the Work Equals Success

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Steph HoaglundI didn’t see any weight loss this past week, but I also didn’t see any weight gain – so it’s still a win. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bother me though. I have been on point, eating well, no crap snacking and exercising as usual. You would think my body would step to it and show results. Although in fairness, I am about to hit that monthly time, so it could be the cause of the lack of results this past week. I’m going to go with that and see what next week’s weigh in produces. My clothes are looser and I have had more than one person mention that I am looking leaner -so I am going to try my best to focus on those positives. It’s not easy though. I want proof!!!

I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to open up my shoulders and chest during strength training. Not only is my posture less than stellar in general, I also tend to pull in during boxing as well. I’m becoming more excited each workout to see the changes happening to my arms. shoulders and back.

I’ve also been mixing things up too. Solidcore has opened in Ashburn, so I bought their opening rate special and will be adding that to my weekly schedule one day a week. With boxing and Body by Wayne training — it’s a pretty well rounded fitness routine that includes Core, Strength and Cardio Work. With two rest days each week –which I know I get asked about constantly. Working out is my stress releaser – it’s hard to take rest days but I schedule them just like other stuff.

Solidcore Ashburn

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The Eat More Protein Diet Plan

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Tulips  - live fit and soreI’m down another 2 pounds this week. Which means I’m down 6 pounds in 3 weeks. Seems adding more protein, cutting out the majority of processed crap/extra snacking, and being focused –  in addition to appreciating how much better I am feeling..mentally and physically has made all the difference. Funny how the old fashioned/no gimmick way works if you commit (which is the hardest part).

Slow and steady — is the name of the game; 1-2 pounds a week.

The other thing I have noticed, besides feeling better and my pants aren’t cutting off my breathing is my face looks less puffy. It’s one of those subtle things that most people don’t even notice but I do. I had been eating gluten and dairy at least once a week regularly for months, and it was causing inflammation and puffiness. I am starting to see that go away now that I am 3+ weeks into re-energizing.

So-am I doing anything mind blowing or off the charts to see progress? Nope.

First, my mind is right. I am all aboard on this — committed and focused and present.

Second, seeing progress and hearing about my progress from my support system around me.  I try to surround myself with uplifting, awesome and like-minded people who give me props and understand the importance of lifting one another up- so we can all win.

Finally, I am making sure that when I go to eat – my first thought is what am I going to eat with protein. I am so used to eating more carbs – no matter the form – that I have to really make an effort to include a protein source each time I eat.  I have not been eating enough protein overall. And even though it’s only six pounds, I have had a lot of comments about how much leaner and cut I am looking. I haven’t changed up my fitness routine all that much, but I am considered very active – so I definitely need more protein.

I have been using an organic veggie protein powder that I mix in my Ninja blender with almond milk and ice to get more protein. I also have been adding in phliosophie -superfood a really great tasting and healthy super food/protein blend powder to give it an extra boost. The blends are made by a small company: Philosophie. I read about the founder Sophie and her products via an article a while back. Here’s the description from the website…

Each of the Philosophie Superfood + Protein Blends is vegan, raw, gluten-free, and has absolutely no filler ingredients. The detoxifying Green Dream blend, beautifying Berry Bliss blend, and energizing Cacao Magic blend contain nothing but the purest, most healing ingredients that have been deemed “superfoods” due to their exceptional nutrient density. Because these blends can be added to absolutely any food, it is easy to enrich every meal with the amazing health benefits of the world’s most potent superfoods. When the body receives optimal nourishment from these wholesome, plant-based sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals, it more readily releases unneeded material and toxins, leaving you feeling renewed and vibrantly healthy.

I have tried all three blends and like them all – although the Cacao Magic is my favorite because CHOCOLATE.  I also read a pretty good review/comparison of another super food blend that shares my same views about Philosophie:  Smoothie Food Fight: D’Vida vs. Philosophie.

So, there you have it – I’m sure you can sense my energy and excitement as I get closer to my goal — and I gotta be honest, it feels so good to be excited about it again.

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