Wellness Gizmos I’ve tried-Are they worth the money?

One of the main reasons I started this blog many years ago was because I am basically a human science experiment. I enjoy trying different wellness “things”, cleanses, programs etc and I wanted to be able to share my experiences so others don’t waste time on the stuff that isn’t worth it!

I’ve been wanting to write this post for over a year now but I’m just having the hardest time getting myself together when it comes to updating my blog!

I compiled a list of the latest, weirdest things I’ve tried in the last year and I must admit I’m a little scared to reveal how much money I’ve spent on all this stuff!

So I’ll just cut right to the chase. In no particular order here are the various Wellness “things” I’ve done with a description and then my personal verdict.

fitness-doo-dads

  1. Steam sauna. Cost: $90
    This one looks super weird! Last winter I missed the feeling of getting really sweaty. I know that sounds crazy especially to anyone who lives in a humid environment. But in Utah the air is dry year round and I was just craving that feeling. So I ordered this sauna off Amazon. Our house is very small and it’s not like we have tons of room for a sauna so my husband placed a large piece of plywood over the bathtub and the sauna sits on top. When I want to use the tub it’s easy enough to take the sauna down.

The Verdict: I love it! I would absolutely recommend this. There is a ton of research on the benefits of using a sauna that I won’t get in to here. The only downside is it’s hard to find a good time to sauna since it requires a shower afterward.

2. Infrared heat lamps. Cost: $20
This one came about around the same time I was researching saunas. I actually wanted an infrared sauna but the steam sauna was much less expensive. The research on infrared is really overwhelming. Some people swear it heals all wounds, acne, muscles, joints, everything basically. Infrared setups can be really pricey so I purchased a bulb and socket from amazon and just made my own.

The Verdict: Didn’t do anything for me or for my husband. Rocco liked to lay under the lamp because it was warm but that’s about it. I can’t say the heat penetrated any deeper than a heating pad.

3. HiDow TENS unit (muscle simulator). Cost: I have it on loan from my mom. Her Cost: $200-300
This is a pricey one, I know! My mom suffers from really horrible neck pain and I think anyone who deals with chronic pain is willing to spend just about any amount of money to make the pain go away! Spoiler alert: this thing made her pain go away, she never needed it again so she gave it to me! My husband had purchased a cheap, $20 version from the drug store but trust me when I say it was weak sauce compared to this bad boy! The HiDow has some serious power even though it is tiny. I love using it for sciatic nerve pain and my husband uses it for back pain. You can use it for every ailment under the sun though.

The Verdict: It’s awesome! Expensive, but if you have chronic pain that is muscle related it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

4. ALCAT Test. Cost: $350 (gulp)
The ALCAT test is something I had wanted to do for a reallllllly long time. I did a lot of research before pulling the trigger to see if it was legit. Basically it’s a “food sensitivity” test. You order the blood draw kit online and then go to a lab to have your blood drawn. The lab mails your blood to the ALCAT people and a week or two later you get a complete list of all foods you are either a) highly reactive to, b) moderately reactive to, or c) non reactive. I did this mainly for entertainment/curiosity since I really didn’t think I had any food sensitivities. The thing is, you don’t know if you have food sensitivities unless you get tested! The theory is that we could be eating some health food (green tea for example) and actually be sensitive to that food and that causes low grade inflammation which obviously is not good for many reasons. My results were pretty mild. I didn’t have any foods I was highly sensitive to. I was lactose intolerant, no surprise there. I was moderately sensitive to a lot of health foods I consumed on a regular basis like green tea, beets, cucumbers and beans.I just want to say CHOCOLATE, COFFEE AND PEANUT BUTTER WERE OK. I was so scared I was going to come back as sensitive to my 3 favorites but all was well.

The Verdict: Unsure. I got my results back and thought it was a worthwhile investment so I made my husband do it too because he likely has food sensitivities. The test confirmed he has gluten sensitivity which we already suspected but at least now he has a piece of paper to confirm it.
The bottom line: I probably wouldn’t recommend this unless you are just a curious soul like me and don’t like to leave any stone unturned when it comes to health. OR, if you know that gluten is making you sick but you need external confirmation to help you get it out of your diet for good.

5. Fascia Blaster. Cost: $90
Oh I know I am totally crazy with this stuff, I’m killing myself here! If you haven’t heard about the Fascia Blaster yet it’s a stick like doo-dad with claws on it that you use like “the stick” for rolling muscles. The claws break up fascia which releases bound up scar tissue, fascia, muscles, etc. The Fascia Blaster has a huge following and people buy actual big infrared saunas to put in their homes and dedicate 30-60 minutes of their day to blasting. So at least I’m not that extreme…

The Verdict: It works but it may be too expensive depending on your needs.
Ahhh, I feel like I’m going to be burned at the stake by FB devotees for saying that. I know some people’s lives have been changed forever because of the FB, especially people with scar tissue and people who have had surgeries. So if that is an issue for you I would 100% say it’s worth every penny. I like to use it on my calves and I did break up some scar tissue in my husbands foot. The hardest thing is that, like all fitness things, you have to actually use it for it work 🙂

6. Sauna Suit. Cost: $20
Alright, so I obviously went through a “sweating phase”. I have the hardest time getting sweaty which I know is weird. So I bought one of those old school, plastic suits and for a while I was wearing it to workout in. Actually I was only wearing the top because the bottoms were hard to move in.

The Verdict: I loved it at the time but I wouldn’t recommend it now. My phase was short lived and now I have this plastic sweat suit in my garage…

7. Bellabeat Leaf. Cost: $139
I wanted the Leaf so bad so I asked for it for my birthday. It’s fitness tracker jewelry basically. It has many of the same features as a Fitbit but it looks like a bracelet or necklace and you can wear it different ways. The reason I really wanted it is because it is also tracks meditation and your monthly cycle and gives you a daily stress score based on how much you slept, how much you moved, how much you meditated and where you are at in your monthly cycle. This feature for me was the selling point. I don’t need any encouragement to get up off my butt, I need confirmation that I have indeed worked hard and it’s time to sit my butt down and take some deep breaths. As a result I went from meditating 0 times/week to meditating 4-7 times a week. As someone as compulsive as I am, if I see I’m getting a bad grade in the meditation department I will take 10 minutes to meditate to get a better score.

The Verdict: I love it but I’d recommend waiting for the next gen to come out. I bet the next ones will be smaller and less clunky. I also think it’s a little overpriced compared to other fitness trackers out there and it doesn’t allow you to record what you eat. Hopefully in the future the app will have that capability.

8. Liver Cleanse (Global Healing). Cost: $70 a pop.
Over the summer I went on a liver cleansing spree. Why you may ask? I don’t know, I don’t even drink really but I was in the mood to cleanse something so I decided to go with a liver cleanse since I’d never done one before. I actually did 3 rounds with alternating rest week’s in between. It’s a 5 day cleanse and every day you drink 2 different potions throughout the day and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. It also doubles as a colon cleanse which is a bonus. It’s short enough that the restrictive diet is totally doable. I mean…it’s only 5 days. I should put a disclaimer on here though that on the last night you have to drink a glass of epsom salt water which tastes extremely bad. Like, really bad. But then the worst part is that 30 minutes later you have to drink 6 ounces of olive oil (and not throw up). Yes, 6 ounces, aka more than a 1/2 cup! Probably one of the grossest things I’ve ever consumed. That potent cocktail is what cleanses the gallbladder which is something you’ll have to experience for yourself!

The Verdict: I love it and can’t wait to do it again! By the end of the 5 days my liver felt like it was pink and shiny and sparkling. I can’t say I experienced any lasting effects that would indicate that it really “did anything”, but I felt good at the time and you just never really know about this stuff, right?

Alright, now you know how crazy I really am! I hope you enjoyed this little list of nonsense 🙂

Laura

Easy Chili

Happy New Year!

Haha, I know I’m a little late in the game as usual but here we are in 2017!

This Christmas was the first year in the last 5 years that I have just stayed home and it was so nice! It felt extra long since I didn’t travel anywhere. It’s funny how at the start of a break I always feel super ambitious and there’s all these things I’m going to do (like post this recipe) but with each day that passes I get lazier and lazier and I somehow never get the important things done (like getting my tires rotated). But now with the holidays behind us I’m easing back into the swing of things and meal-prepping all my food as usual 🙂

I have been making this chili for a while and it’s so easy and so delicious! I know chili is nothing ground breaking but this has been a staple for me lately so I want to be sure I put it up here so I can always remember how to make it. It seriously only takes a few minutes to throw together and then lunch for a week is done.

House update: We met with the builder last week for a walk through and he expects the house will be ready for move in mid-March! What?!! That is feeling like it’s coming up super fast! That is just about 9 weeks away. It is all framed now and the next step is a roof, then insulation then sheet rock. For all I know the roof could already be done!

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I am getting so excited to really decorate. I have never decorated any place I’ve ever lived and I’ve always thought I was kind of clueless in that department but I think I could be good at it if I gave it a shot. So I’ve been collecting all sorts of images on Pinterest and I’m excited!

And how about these winter storms?! I feel like we haven’t gotten this much snow in YEARS. It seems like we are just getting hit with storm after storm but that’s a good thing I suppose. I haven’t done a super good job of getting out and playing in the snow all that much yet but I will. I’m going to take skiing lessons this year so that I can become a proficient skier. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before but last year I switched from snowboarding to skiing. I skied until I was 17 and then took up snowboarding because it was the new, cool thing to do. It was SO HARD to learn how to snowboard, especially since I never took a lesson, I just figured it out on my own. But snowboarding got to be hard on my neck. I have herniated disks in my neck so the constant looking around would just kill my neck. I thought skiing would be more of a “lifelong” sport that I could enjoy for many years to come. I only went a few times last year but I did enjoy it and it is certainly much easier than snowboarding!*

*Please note I only do green runs with the occasional blue run so I’m not implying that skiing is easy, haha!

Alright, here is that chili recipe!

chili

Easy Turkey Chili
Makes 8 2-cup servings or 16 1-cup servings

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs leanest ground turkey you can find (my costco has organic!)
  • 3-4 cups broth, divided (Any broth will do. I’ve used vegetable and chicken)
  • 3 carrots (1lb), peeled and diced
  • 1-2 zucchini (9oz), peeled and diced
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (I think this is the secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ground pepper to taste

Directions

In a large soup pot cook the ground turkey over medium heat in about 2 cups of broth to prevent turkey from sticking to the pan. While the turkey cooks, peel and chop the carrots and zucchini (food processor is great here if you have one). Add the vegetables to the pan as soon as you are done chopping them. Puree the tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked all the way through add the pureed tomatoes, marinara sauce, kidney beans, pinto beans and spices. Add remaining broth until desired consistency is reached. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.

I don’t usually calculate the nutrition facts for things but since I had the time over break I did it and as you can see this chili is an excellent source of protein!

If you made this into 8 servings (about 2 cups each serving) you would have the following per serving:

469 calories
39g carbohydrate
46g protein
12g fat

Ok I hope you’ve started watching The Bachelor! You know I have! I have my bracket going and everything. I was filling it out the other night but then Rocco threw up on it so I guess we all know how he feels about this season! (I don’t know why he threw up. He’s fine I promise)

I hope your January is off to a great start!

Laura

 

 

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just when I thought I was going to make it all fall without doing anything with pumpkin puree, BAM! I found this recipe in US Weekly of all places and had to try it. I modified it a little and I love it! 

One of the comments I hear most often from my clients is “What is something quick I can grab for breakfast?”. And I totally get it! Mornings are so rushed as it is, I don’t know anyone that has time to be scrambling eggs before work!

First though, I want to mention a quick note about how important breakfast is because I know a lot of people put off eating breakfast for as long as possible hoping this will lead to weight loss. And I know we’ve heard it a million times-breakfast is the most important meal of the day-and I’m chiming in to say…It’s true.

Why is breakfast so important? Well, let me tell you about the Sumo Wrestler Diet, aka the diet many American women are following hoping to lose weight. Sumo Wrestlers wake up and workout for hours on an empty stomach and THEN eat breakfast. This causes their metabolism to tank so they can gain more weight! And hey, does this sound familiar? It’s the dieting advice that every women has been told to do if they want to LOSE weight!

So on this one I’m going to go with a “better safe than sorry” approach and just eat something before I workout. I mean, maybe working out on an empty stomach makes us burn 10% more calories…but maybe it slows our metabolism to a slow crawl. I don’t want to take that chance. Plus I like food.

I think doing a short/easy (30 minutes or less) workout on an empty stomach is ok, but ideally we should be eating within an hour of waking up. Otherwise our body will hold on to fat because it thinks its starving. Fair enough?

Before I get to the recipe below, house update time! Our house if officially under construction! Last week they dug the hole and poured the footings. So, in 16 weeks approximately we should be moving in! 

Here is our pile of dirt so far!

    Today we took Rocco out there and showed him where his backyard would be. He was super excited. The next step will be foundation but we are supposed to be getting some big storms next week so we’ll see. I had the brilliant idea that to countdown these 16 weeks, every week I need to get rid or something or clean out a closet. Probably one of the worst ideas I’ve ever had!

Alright, here is the recipe for these breakfast bites. These are so good!!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Squares

3 cups whole rolled oats (I go for organic gluten free ones)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning or nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup +/- mini chocolate chips (could also use raisins, craisins, nuts or something else if you don’t want chocolate for breakfast)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9×9 pan.
Place oats in a food processor and process until they resemble a course flour.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice.
Add the ground oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the mixing bown and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and then pour into the prepared 9×9 pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Alright, that’s it! And now tomorrow is Black Friday! Or I guess Black Friday starts today. What are you shopping for?

DIY Laundry Detergent

I’m back from the blogging dead, haha!

It’s only been 2.5 months since I last posted something. I’ve really been enjoying my summer and I have so many blog posts I would love to do.

I mean first let’s back it up 2.5 months and talk about the Bachelorette! I was so into the Bachelorette this year that I made a bracket and everything. I never thought I’d be joining #bachelornation. I can not wait to find out who the next Bachelor is going to be. While we wait for the next Bachelor I’ve gotten into Bachelor in Paradise. If you don’t watch this show you definitely should. Will Evan find love in Paradise?! We’ll have to wait & see I guess.

So…what did I do this summer? The husband and I spent an entire week in Lake Tahoe. It was a blast. We rented a condo near the lake and went mountain biking and kayaking and of course did plenty of relaxing. We took one weekend trip to Sun Valley but the mountains were on fire so that was a very smoky trip.

And, ok, I guess this is kind of a big deal…I almost forgot…we are building a house!! It’s all still very new and nothing has really happened yet. Basically we found an area where we wanted to build but had to wait 6 months or so until the builder could release the lots. About a month ago the lots were finally released and we were 3rd in line to pick our lot! So we plopped down some money to secure the lot and now we are basically just waiting.

The next step will be going to the design center to pick out all the colors and finishes. This sounds fun but is also slightly terrifying. I have some sort of color blindness and I have a really hard time matching colors and also identifying what a color is. For example, I will swear up and down that something is purple when it is in fact brown (or so people tell me-I still don’t believe them even when they tell me!). So that makes it hard but then there are also just so many decisions to make. And they all cost money! I think that’s the scariest part. I just know that the things I like are probably going to be the most expensive option and then I’ll have to choose between being heartbroken or being broke. And those aren’t fun options. But that should all be happening in the next couple weeks.

This will be a fun thing to blog about though 🙂

Rocco is doing great still, he’s just my best little buddy! Lately he’s been going to Doggy Daycare a couple times a week and LOVING IT. I had been wanting to find a day care for him since some days I can’t exercise him in the morning and in the winter there are days that I just don’t want to exercise him. He has friends there now, including another Min Pin named Max and apparently the two just play all day. I like to image Max is one of Rocco’s brothers and they’ve been reunited…

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Anywho, so the title of today’s post is DIY Laundry Detergent and I actually AM going to tell you how to make your own laundry detergent!

But first, a testimonial! Last winter we went to Mexico and it was super humid and when we got home all our clothes had “that smell” that clothes get when they’ve been damp for a week. It’s not a good smell FYI. I first used traditional laundry detergent and “that smell” did not come out. Not after one wash and not after 2 washes. So, I made up a batch of this laundry detergent and what I want to tell you is: THE HOMEMADE CHEAP STUFF WORKS BETTER THAN COMMERCIAL DETERGENT. I was just a shocked, believe me. I have a pre-conceived notion that home made cleaners can not be as effective as store bought, chemical filled cleaners.

Wrong.

And the thing is, it’s really easy to make. It doesn’t make a big mess in the kitchen like most of my projects and it only takes a few minutes. And I really can’t stress the importance of switching to “all natural” as much as possible. The chemicals and dyes in cleaning products not only get into our bodies through our skin but they also get into the water supply which isn’t good for all the frogs and other creatures. And if that isn’t disturbing enough, just think about all those chemicals getting into your body and messing with your hormones and then storing themselves in your fat cells so they can wreak havoc in a time released fashion.

So let’s get to it!

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All the supplies you need to make liquid laundry detergent!

DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent (safe for front load washers)

  • Large, clear plastic bottle (I use a clear soft soap bottle)
  • 1 cup castile soap (I use the tea tree flavored one for extra germ-killing power!)
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 2 cups hot water

Mix 1 cup castile soap with 3 cups hot water together in the large container you are going to use for your detergent.
In a glass bowl or large glass measuring cup mix the baking soda, salt and 2 cups of hot water and stir. Pour this mixture into the other mixture, shake to combine and voila you are done! The detergent will separate and you’ll have to shake it up before each use which is why I think storing it in a clear container is key.

Use 1/4-1/2 cup per load. I still have my old plastic laundry cups and use a full cap in my front load machine.

 

I know making laundry soap sounds like a total pain but I promise it only takes a couple minutes. I make 2 bottles every time so I only have make more once every couple months.

Alright that’s all for now, now go get caught up on Bachelor in Paradise!

Laura

 

Choc Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + GF) + 5K

cookie 1

YEEEESSSSSS this happened and they are SO GOOD!!! These are probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The texture is perfect. Thick like a brownie, good texture, soft but dense, gooey and most important: chocolaty!!

As I was eating one of these bars for breakfast (yes, really) I thought to myself: Does anyone really like oatmeal raisin cookies? If you do please comment and let me know! I know there was a time in the early 90’s when I pretended to like oatmeal raisin because we were told it was the healthier option but now that we don’t live under such false pretenses I don’t know anyone that chooses oatmeal raisin over chocolate chip.

Anyway, before I get to the recipe, I ran another trail 5K last weekend! Here I am at the finish with my “trainer”.

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This time my hubby was in town so he and Rocco came to support me which was exciting 🙂 Rocco didn’t run the race even though it was a dog friendly race. He’s fast but he gets distracted by people and dogs, plus I didn’t want him to get trampled!

Like the last race, this one was a lot of fun. It was a much bigger event so there were a lot of people. The course wasn’t as steep which meant I couldn’t go super fast on the downhill. Actually I swear there wasn’t any downhill on this course. It felt like it was uphill the entire way! I finished 9th in my age group out of 50 some ladies. I feel pretty good about that because I have never trained for speed. I’ve always trained for the Long Slow Distance and I didn’t grow up running and was certainly never on any Cross Country or Track team. I’m hoping to do at least one more this summer but we’ll see!

cookie 2
Yum Yum Yum

Alright, this recipe. I want to believe it’s healthy because there isn’t any flour in it AND there is an entire can of beans in there (I swear you can’t taste them). But there’s also 1.5 cups of chocolate chips so they kind of cancel each other out 😉 You can totally eat this stuff raw too! If you don’t plan on baking it just leave out the baking soda and baking powder and then you can roll it into balls and freeze or refrigerate it. I haven’t tried using the dough to make regular cookies but I’m pretty confident you could if you wanted to.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (vegan + gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (omit if just making “dough”)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand)

Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a food processor. Process until smooth scraping the sides down as necessary. There should be no chunks for the garbanzo beans left and the dough should be very smooth and sticky.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

If baking, line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Scrape the mixture into the baking pan and smooth it out. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for at least 30 minutes before removing from pan.

That’s it for now! 2 posts in 2 weeks is pretty good for me! I’ll be back soon with a DIY laundry detergent recipe I’m super excited about!

❤ Laura

 

Cooling Cucumber Soup + My 1st 5K (video)

Hi hi hi!

I’m back today with a recipe for a cooling summer soup. Raw vegetable soup is basically just a vegetable smoothie but calling it a soup sounds way better!

blender
Tonnnns of veggies!!

Blending vegetables is a great way to make them more digestible. This is good news for anyone who gets digestive upset from eating raw vegetables or salads. Plus it sneaks a ton of variety into the diet without having to try too hard! And as another bonus, since this is basically just raw vegetables going into a blender it only takes a couple minutes to make a big batch.

Swapping out your afternoon snack for this soup is a GREAT way to get rid of bloating, flatten the belly and get your smokin’ hot bod ready for summer! Seriously, give it a try. If you usually have a protein shake, protein bar, cookies, chips, pretzels, etc in the afternoon, try swapping those out for this soup next week and see what happens!

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My soup ready to go for the week!

And on a totally unrelated note, I ran my FIRST EVER 5K last weekend! It was also my first ever trail race! I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve never participated in a 5K. I started running on my 30th birthday unable to run a mile without stopping many, many times. As I progressed to being able to run 1 mile, then 3, then 6 without stopping my first first ever foot race was a Half Marathon and then a Full Marathon. So I guess I never felt like it was worth getting up early and paying money “just” to run 3 miles. Except then the 5K started to scare me for some reason. When you think about it, a marathon is hard for sure but the #1 goal (for me anyway) was to finish/not die. I didn’t really care what my time was. Just finishing is accomplishment enough. But people who run 5K’s generally try to go FAST. I am not fast (at least that is the story I tell myself over and over).

So, I signed up for a 5K trail race. My husband was out of town so I was all on my own. No hand holding here, I had to be a big girl. I got up at 4:30am, too sleepy to eat breakfast. I stopped drinking coffee a while back so I didn’t even have that comfort. I drove myself up the canyon and I couldn’t believe how nervous I was!

To make a really long story short I LOVED IT! It was a really great experience and the funniest thing is that I ended up getting 2nd place. I started off in the very back because I assumed I would be the slowest one and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. I also forgot to double knot my shoes so I had to stop to tie my shoes and I had to pass all but one person. I think the person who beat me finished about 45 seconds to a minute before me. Shoot. Next time I’ll double knot my shoes and try a smidge harder!

Oh and the “next time” is this weekend!

Here is a little video I took right after finishing. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I talked to my phone #imsoawkward

Alright, here is that recipe!

Cooling Cucumber Soup (servings: 4)

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bulb fennel, feather part and all
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cups of filtered water

Directions: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy warm or cold.

Alright, that’s all for now! I’ll be back soon with an update from my next race!

❤ Laura

 

 

Choc Chip Banana Nut Cookies

Well, that’s quite a name for a recipe! I think I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the last YEAR and I’m just now getting around to it. Or I did post it but didn’t link to it in my index. Even if that’s the case it’s been a year and so its new again!

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I know it’s been over a month since my last post so I’m racking my brain for interesting updates.

Well, it’s Spring in Utah so I feel like a little bear coming out of hibernation. The sun has touched my skin a couple times so that was exciting. But lately we’ve been getting tons of rain so it hasn’t really started heating up yet.

A week ago I got to go to a formal dinner with my hubby! Here is a picture of me from the beginning of the evening. I wish I had a full length picture that showed my awesome shoes! They were gold and glittery and platform and AWESOME. I was probably 5’4″ in them, haha!!

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I know, what an evil woman I am for cropping my husband out of the photo. But you know, he doesn’t appreciate his photo on the internet and who can blame the guy, really?!

And then this a photo of me from the end of the night after I’ve had a whopping TWO GLASSES of white wine. I haven’t had any alcohol for the past probably 3-4 months so those two glasses hit me HARD. I was hungover for 1.5 days afterward 😦

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Not too drunk to put on my seat belt and take a selfie though so clearly I was feeling good. (and I was a passenger, not the driver just to be clear)

And those curls in my hair are thanks to my newest beauty doo-dad. I invested in a 1″ Curling Wand. I don’t even own a curling iron so this is my only curling device. It’s pretty darn great. Here is a better picture of what it looks like. Very beachy 🙂

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Alright, this is turning into quite the self-absorbed hair post so how about a picture of Rocco now to round things out.

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He is just the smartest, sweetest, funniest dog and I love him so much. He is my little buddy ❤ ❤

And now for that recipe! This is a really simple, healthy recipe that scratches the itch for chocolate chip cookies. Yes, they taste like banana and the texture is that of crushed almonds but they are delicious nonetheless and you can totally eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner or any time in between.

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Choc Chip Banana Nut Cookies
(Makes approx 30 cookies)

1 1/3 cup raw, unsalted almonds
2 small or 1 large ripe banana (this is not an exact science)
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I still like “Enjoy Life” brand)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place the almonds in a food processor and process until a near flour like consistency.
In a mixing bowl, mash the banana(s) into a paste. Add the coconut sugar, peanut butter and baking soda and ground almonds and stir until combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Form each cookie by dropping 2 tablespoons of the batter onto a cookie sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just brown.
If your batter is much runnier than regular cookie dough that is ok, mine was too and they still turned out great. If you are super concerned about it you can add more peanut butter and/or almond flour.

Nutrition per 1 cookie
Calories: 100
Carbohydrate: 9g
Fat: 7g
Protein: 3g
Sugar: 6g

Alright, that’s it for now. Hopefully I can come up with something cool to post soon.

Bye for now!

❤ Laura

 

 

 

Healthy Bod Products

Hey, hey!

So I think I’ve mentioned a time or two on this blog that I’m working toward using all natural home and body care products. Every time I run out of something “toxic” I use that as an opportunity to swap it out for something healthier for my body and for the planet. It’s been great fun! I have done quite a lot of experimenting so I wanted to put together a list of my favorite Healthy Body Products I’m loving these days.

I highly recommend going to http://www.ewg.org/skindeep to see how toxic your beauty products are. They also have an app which works moderately well.

Another thing that has really been weighing on my mind since I started going “all natural” is the fact that I bleach my hair and have for a very, very long time. Ok, technically bleach doesn’t touch the scalp, it just sits on the hair so that makes me feel a little bit better, but I know it can’t really be healthy. So I finally took the plunge and returned to my natural hair color last weekend! I stopped coloring it about 6 months ago and the color & texture difference from having natural hair vs fried hair was driving me CRAZY.

hair before and after

You can see the grow-out situation in the bottom pic. And then in the top picture I’m just looking all sorts of fly in the parking lot of the grocery store. Yeah! I can’t believe how much of a textural difference this made on my fried ends! My hair is so soft now.

The one natural product I have NOT been able to find is a good shampoo and conditioner! I have tried A LOT and it’s getting to be an expensive and frustrating experiment. All the natural products I try dry my hair out and make it even more angry. The only product I found that didn’t dry my hair out horribly also didn’t clean it so I ended up with mad build up on my scalp. So, it was back to my beloved Pureology.

Alright, let’s look at my list starting with the top left working clockwise.

fave body products

Enkido synergy facial lotion. This is an Australian company so this stuff isn’t easy to get but I absolutely love it and I’m a facial care snob. It’s not expensive, you just have to order it from Australia. They do ship orders of $99 for free though and with the AUS to USD conversion rate it’s a steal. All their products have an EWG rating of 1! I also use their eye cream and their moisturizing face wash and love both. My skin is extremely acne prone (like, extremely) and my skin has actually improved since using this.

Jane Iredale “Disappear”. All Jane Iredale products are fabulous and non-toxic. This disappear product is my favorite concealer for all my acne scars and hyperpigmentation. It’s legit.

Uncle Harry’s Toothpaste. OMG I use natural toothpaste and I love it! My goal is to start making my own toothpaste but until then I will be buying this. It’s awesome and it’s remineralizing.

Almond Oil or Jojoba. I use this as a body moisturizer. It’s a little more convenient than using coconut oil since it’s liquid all year long and absorbs better.

Andalou Naturals Creamy Lemon Face Wash. Everything Andalou is awesome. They make a really good body lotion too if you are looking for a traditional looking/feeling/smelling body lotion.

Earth Science Tea Tree & Lavender Deodorant. Have I never posted about switching off regular deodorant?! That’s a novel in itself, what a journey! This deodorant is great and it’s inexpensive. I got it at Harmon’s! (local grocery store)

Sappo Hill Soap, unscented. I was convinced when I stopped using my “moisturizing body wash” my skin would dry up and flake off my body. No such thing. It turns out those “moisturizing” soaps and lotions dry skin out so we have to keep using them! Since I switched to natural products my skin has been much softer and not nearly as dry! It’s all a conspiracy I tell you…

Jane Iredale Glow Time. This is another great Jane Iredale product. Just 4 tiny drops does the entire face. Great for covering up those scars!

Andalou Naturals BB Cream. This is my absolute favorite sunscreen!! This is the only sunscreen that doesn’t make me break that I can actually stand the feel of. It’s tinted too so that’s a nice bonus. It’s a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide) so it’s non-toxic!

I should also mention that most of these products are SUPER inexpensive and cost much less than the toxic versions I was using before. Check out http://www.vitacost.com for most of these products or Amazon or even the local grocery store! I am loving vitacost these days. Free overnight shipping, plus their prices can’t be beat and they are always having sales and sending coupons.

And here is the Rocco pic of the day. He was starting to get sleepy after a run.

rooco j.jpg

Alright, that’s it for now! If you know of any good & natural shampoos you better be sending me a message!

Bye for now!

Laura

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Woo hoo, I have a new fun recipe for you just in time for the weekend!

I have been on a MAJOR peanut butter cookie kick because these are SO easy to make and I always have these ingredients on hand. I know I’ll be making another batch of these veeeeery soon. Like, today.

cookie 1

Before I get to the recipe I have Rocco stories!

Last weekend we went to St. George, UT for some fun in the sun and to get out of Salt Lake. Whenever we travel Rocco goes into straight up Watch Dog mode. He didn’t sleep the entire car ride down and once we arrived he was on red alert. All. night. long. He didn’t sleep a wink. He just sat upright all night long keeping watch and crying softly. Ah yes, good times with a dog in a hotel room! He also refuses to eat, drink or go to the bathroom when he is in watch dog mode. Extra good times. My poor husband probably took him outside 5 times that night trying to get him to go to the bathroom so he didn’t get any sleep either because he was in “watch the dog” mode.

The next day we were all tired but we had plans to go mountain biking so we took Rocco to Doggy Day Care for the first time ever!

Mountain biking was a blast and Rocco had a great time at Day Care. Needless to say, that night (and the next night) Rocco slept VERY well.

rocco 1

If you want to see pictures of Rocco’s second birthday party or of the two of us slow dancing to Cher, check out his Instagram account @ rocco_the_minpin

Alright, cookie time!

cookie 2

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I like enjoy life brand)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (If you don’t have a silicone baking mat I highly recommend getting one!)

In a large bowl mix the sugar, egg and vanilla with a fork. Switch to a spatula and stir in the peanut butter. Once the mixture is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips.

Gently form balls of the dough using a spoon, a cookie dough scoop or your hands and place on the cookie sheet. Use the back of a fork to flatten the balls and to make the criss-cross lines.

Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan or they could break.

WHO WANTS COOKIES!?

Bye for now!

Laura

 

DIY Kitchen & Bath Cleaner (easy & cheap!)

Today I’m so excited to share a recipe for something other than food! It’s a really simple recipe for kitchen & bath cleaner* that I have been using for several months. I’ve been slowly but surely swapping out aaaallllll my commercial cleaning products & beauty products out for non-toxic versions. This cleaning solution is really, really, really easy to make and it will save a ton of money since the only thing you might have to buy is white vinegar which only costs a few $$. The other ingredient is orange peel but you can eat the orange so that doesn’t really cost anything!

I got the recipe from my friend Jacqueline who is a chemistry teacher and Yoga Teacher extraordinaire. She is awesome and has tons of recipes for household products so I’ll be sharing a DIY laundry detergent recipe soon.

*I do want to mention that you should NOT use this cleaner on granite or marble because it will eat through the sealant! I have quartz (silestone) counter tops and it works great. I checked the silestone website and it indicated you can pretty much use any product except for really harsh stuff like paint thinner or battery acid. Everything in between though is fine. I have found this cleaner actually makes my counters feel much cleaner than the commercial cleaning product I had been using before.oranges in a bottle

Kitchen & Bath Cleaner
Ingredients & Supplies Needed

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Peels from orange or lemon to fill the glass bottle
  • Glass bottle with plastic cap (don’t use a huge jar or else you will have more cleaner than you know what to do with)
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Funnel if you have one

Find a large glass jar or container. I used my weck juice jar as pictured above which worked OK but isn’t ideal since it has a narrow neck. In the future I will use a large glass jar I got from IKEA. Stuff glass jar full of orange rind. Pour vinegar into bottle, covering all the orange rind. Cover with plastic cap. Store in the pantry for 2 weeks minimum, shaking daily.

Once the vinegar is ready, mix at a 1:1 ratio with water by pouring the vinegar into an empty spray bottle (this is where a funnel comes in handy), filling it half way. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water. See, super easy!

This is my funnel.

funnel

I really love my funnel because it breaks apart into 3 separate funnels depending on what type of project I have going on. My husband got it for me. What a guy, right? It came from Harmon’s (grocery store in Utah) and I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

A while ago I mentioned that over the summer we got new kitchen counter tops and installed a tile backsplash and I never did share pictures! Well, in the photo above you can see said counter tops and backsplash! It’s very light and I love it. This is what my kitchen looked like before (so clean, haha!) and I don’t seem to have an after picture with a clean kitchen. Hmmmm.kitchen before

BUT what I also want to say is that when we got the counter installed we also got a new sink. We opted for the single basin sink and OMG it’s the greatest thing ever.

sink

Also featured in the above photo is our new reverse osmosis water filter. I’ll probably save details of that for another day but for any of my friends struggling with acne I think this reverse osmosis filter has had an incredibly positive impact on my skin. Mainly because city/ground water contains a lot of endocrine (hormone) disruptors and this filter removes all the nasty stuff like arsenic & lead. My skin had gotten pretty good before I got this filter but now it’s like GOOD good and very rarely breaks out.

And last, here is my guapito as I call him (my little handsome).

guapito

That’s all I have for this week. Bye for now!

Laura