Two weeks ago a rep for Vega reached out to me after I expressed interest in trying their new mocha nutritional shake flavour — I honestly hadn’t seen it available anywhere locally at that point (apparently it is available almost everywhere in Canada now but only at Whole Foods in the states), so I thought, awesome, I’d love to try a sample. I provided my shipping address and this amazing box of goodies showed up at my doorstep…
Can you say spoiled??? Thanks Trevor!
Even though I’m a whole-foods, plant-based advocate, I love smoothies and find adding protein powder is one of the easiest (and tastiest) ways to get in an adequate amount of protein for my muscle-building goals. I’ve loved and have used Vega to fuel my endurance sport endeavors since forever — before it was even called Vega, I think. I met Brendan Brazier six years ago through my employer at the time (an Ironman triathlete who happened to be friends with him) when he gave a talk to a few of us in the marketing department on sports nutrition. I had just got into triathlon training at the time, so I was stoked to try his new endurance bars and natural sport drink mixes. A year later, I was sent their brand new sport endurance line of products to test out and review (right around the time I started this blog, I think), but had to decline due to a job I had in the triathlon events industry at the time. It’s been awesome to see how much this Vancouver-based company has grown since then, adding momentum to the plant-based movement.
In May of this year, I was lucky enough to snag one of the latest fitness trackers available on the market in a presale batch: the LEAF activity and lifestyle tracker by wellness tech company Bellabeat. The LEAF, designed as the first activity tracker made specifically for women, not only tracks your daily step count and sleep duration and quality, but also your stress levels through breathing exercises and your menstrual cycle. Although the stress-reducing and female-specific features had me intrigued, I was even more excited about the fact that it doesn’t LOOK like a bulky, plastic activity tracker. The LEAF is made of sustainable wood and hypoallergenic stainless steel, and the design is something I actually wouldn’t mind wearing every day as a piece of jewelry.
I’ve had my LEAF since late July, and have been wearing it every day for the last three weeks. I’ve worn it for long runs, intense strength training sessions, out to dinner with friends, to the office, camping, hiking and even to a country music festival. I was going to wait to do a review until more features are available and more bugs are fixed in the app, but I thought I would give you all a gear “preview” in case you were considering signing up for the next available batch.
Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts so far about the LEAF’s design, wearability, tech, app and tracking capabilities, and what I hope Bellabeat will make available in the next product batches and app updates. (more…)
I tried the Tamari & Cracked Pepper Coconut Chips, which are made from roasted coconut chips and flavoured with tamari soy sauce, nutritional yeast, Himalayan cystal salt and black pepper. Aside from being super tasty and made with real food ingredients, it’s all organic and locally made right here in BC, which is awesome.
You could easily eat an entire bag in one sitting as a snack, which I almost did, or you could use them as a topper on a salad or baked with some fish. A Hippie Snacks Coconut Chip encrusted mahi mahi on the BBQ would taste AMAZING.
Although a bag sells for a reasonable $5.99, I’m not sure I’d be picking it up as a snack — just 1/3 cup packs about 11 grams of fat and only 120 calories, which would not leave me feeling satisfied. If you plan to use it in cooking or as a salad topper, though, it’d be worth adding to your pantry. They also come in a bacon flavour that looks intriguing.
Although you know I believe in eating whole, minimally processed foods, I’m a sucker for convenience and LOVE drinking smoothies. I regularly use vegan protein powders and drink mixes in my fruit and veggie smoothies to up the nutrient intake, especially during marathon and ultra training. I have a few go-to powders I love the taste of (Vega, Everlast and Sunwarrior), but am always up for trying something new and sharing my thoughts about it here on the blog. (more…)
Although apps can help us track and improve everything from our eating habits, sleep quality, running efficiency and productivity, several studies have shown mobile phone use can actually be harmful to our mental health. Being on our phones can make us unhappy, detached and anxious, especially when we spend long periods of time on social media viewing unrealistic images.
Thankfully, there’s an app for that.
As someone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, I decided to test out a few new apps that claim to use cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques to help users manage stress and anxiety. I’ve listed a few of my favourites below. I’ve also included several of my go-to guided meditation apps, as they are also effective stress management tools. (more…)
As someone who doesn’t eat red meat or dairy, and very rarely eats chicken, eggs and fish (I only do if it’s served to me just to make my life easier so I’m not “that picky vegan girl”), I need to get most of my protein and healthy fats from plant sources. Because I can’t eat peanut butter at every meal (even though I kinda want to) and I get sick of tofu and tempeh if I eat it everyday, I like finding ways to sneak the good stuff in to each meal. Not only is it more nutritionally well-rounded to include all macronutrients in each meal, but also it keeps you feeling satiated for longer.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan and haven’t tried hemp hearts yet (though you probably have because we’re all a bunch of hippies at heart), I highly recommend including them in your salads, smoothies and oatmeal as a protein and fat source. Hemp hearts contain 10g of protein and 10g of omega 3 and 6 per 30g serving (about 2 Tbsp). Also, they’re delicious. I add 1 Tbsp to my oatmeal everyday (and have been for the past three years) because it makes it a bit crunchy and extra tasty. I also use them in baking a lot for a boost of protein. I tried this recipe from Manitoba Harvest’s website last night and THEY ARE AMAZING. (more…)
Aside from vegan protein powder and spirulina in smoothies on occasion when I’m training and not eating very balanced, the only other supplements I take are a DIM-blend for my skin (It was my last resort to clear up my skin aside from taking Accutane… and it actually frickin’ worked.) and probiotics for my temperamental stomach. Since probiotics were already a part of my health regimen, I agreed to test a new raw, organic liquid probiotic from LiviaOne.
LiviaOne is a clear, tasteless, certified organic liquid probiotic that doesn’t require refrigeration, which is a bonus. According to the company, because LiviaOne Probiotics are “USDA Certified Organic, raw, living and active, they are more effective than any other product at breaking through stomach acids and getting into your intestinal tract.”
The dropper was definitely quicker and easier to use than taking a pill, but at $50 for a month’s supply, I’m not sure it’s entirely worth the cost. I took the product for three weeks and didn’t notice any difference or improvements in digestion… so that’s a good thing, I guess? Perhaps if I hadn’t been taking probiotics before I would have noticed a difference. In all honesty, I’d rather spend $15 on my month’s supply of pills than spend $50 on a liquid formula. It might be worth it if you don’t like taking pills, or perhaps if you are giving it to a child. The company says you can add a few drops to a cold drink, but not to add it to a hot beverage as the heat could damage the living organisms. (more…)