23
May

Kit’s Organic Versus LaraBar

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Kit’s Organic fruit and nut bars appear to be CLIFs version of the all popular LaraBar. Up until these, CLIF was mostly offering grain based protein bars for active folks and a specialty brand of the same for women. I am not a fan because they have grains and they have soy. It was one these brands actually that I started consuming shorty before my thyroid disaster. When CLIF contacted me about trying these bars I was a nano second away from hitting delete when I saw that these were fruit and nut bars only. Well, okay, sure…why not?

When I got my Kit’s Organic bars in the mail I was curious to see if they could topple the other fruit and nut bars from my pantry shelves because LaraBar is pretty much King in this house. I eat them daily and my husband usually does as well. After diving into my Kit’s Organic box I quickly decided that CLIF is in fact trying to compete with LaraBar because the flavors are pretty much the same as some of LaraBar’s best sellers.

I started with the competition for my absolute favorite LaraBar…Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. The CLIF version is simply “Peanut Butter”. I don’t eat peanut butter anymore due to the aflatoxins, except I will eat these. Not going to give them up any time soon. LaraBar remains supreme for this flavor IMO. The Kit’s Organic peanut butter bar was only so-so.

This is where it got interesting though…

The Berry Almond Kit’s bar is very, very similar to the LaraBar Blueberry Muffin bar, which I also love. It is my second favorite in fact. Kit’s came out on top though. Their bar tasted like a moist and delicious blueberry cake.

The Cashew bar from Kit’s is exactly like LaraBar’s cashew cookie, except the LaraBar version is not very tasty IMO and the Kit’s version is insanely delicious. I might actually pass up a Peanut Butter LaraBar for this one!!

The Chocolate Almond Coconut Kit’s bar can be compared to LaraBar’s Chocolate Coconut Chew. Once again Kit’s comes out on top. I really like coconut and chocolate but never found the Larabar with these flavors to be really that good but I was wowed by the Kit’s brand.

Got to give props were they are deserved. Kit’s Organic bars are off the hook! Plus they are 100% organic, gluten free, soy free, and dairy free. The only drawback that I can see is that they are $1.59 per bar, which makes them about $.30 cents more expensive, per bar. Plus I only buy LaraBar’s in bulk when I see the price dip to $.80-$1.00 per  bar. If Kit’s bars have similar sales I will definitely buy in the future.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

9 Comments

29
Mar

Flip & Tumble Reusable Produce Bags

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Deal now closed. 

The Deal of the Day at Reuseit is for these super practical produce bags. I have some bags like these myself (though I needed to get more!) because they are perfect for Farmer’s market season and shopping the bulk bins at natural grocery stores. Instead of your market vendor bagging those yummy green beans or cucumbers in a plastic bag you can just hand them one of these. You can also fill one up with bulk grains, nuts, or seeds from the bins at Whole Foods. These bags are polyester but I actually like them better than cotton bags because the latter tend to shrink and get holes. :(

I don’t know how many times these nifty bags have saved me from having to accept a plastic produce bag.  They are well worth the initial, small investment. Today only a five bag set is 30% off, making them $7.76. Use code FLIP30. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

3 Comments

9
Mar

The Magnesium Miracle

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

I went primal/paleo about 3.5 months ago now. It has been for the most a wonderful and exhilarating ride that has brought so much to my health. I have lost inches off my waistline, I have gained energy, I have started sleeping much better, and I just feel more youthful. And yet, about the same time I went primal I also started experiencing PMS issues, which wasn’t such a great side effect.

I went from virtually no premenstrual issues to experiencing bloating, water retention, and cramps. This was not a big deal in general because before I went off grains I was pretty much bloated all the time and barely even knew what it felt like to NOT be bloated. Still it bothered me that my health could improve on so many levels by eating paleo, but yet this one area seemed to get worse. Well, a quickie Google search about why I had a wicked craving for chocolate during that time of month lead me to the words “magnesium deficient”. I knew a little about magnesium and its role in the body but I wanted to know more and so I picked up The Magnesium Miracle.

This book has proved to be a wealth of good information. Magnesium is incredibly important to our health and yet most of us are deficient because we aren’t getting it from our food. Depleted soil is in large part to blame but our overly stressed and busy lifestyles as well as processed food diets also make it easy for us to become deficient. It is such a problem that the World Health Organization has even toyed with adding it to our water supply.

So what does Magnesium do in the body? Well, do you have the time to read a book about it?

It has such an important role in our body and it effects so many body systems that it is hard to know where to start. For one, it regulates more than 325 enzymes in the body and the most vital of those are ones that help to produce, transport, store, and utilize energy. Many aspects of our metabolism are also regulated by magnesium and it facilitates the electrical current that works its way through the miles of nerves in our body. Magnesium also determines muscle activity by controlling the entry and release of calcium inside cells. Quite simply magnesium is indispensable to life and yet it is continually being lost from our natural food supply.

In addition to being a powerhouse of information on Magnesium this book also makes and excellent case for why it is getting harder and harder to get needed minerals without supplementation. Our food supply is just not cutting it.

Just some of the things Magnesium can help you with:

  • Anxiety/Panic Attacks
  • Asthma
  • Bowel Issues
  • Depression
  • Detoxification
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Heart Disease
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Musculoskeletal  conditions
  • Nerve problems
  • PMS, infertility, pregnancy problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tooth Decay

Other helpful things I learned:

Magnesium deficiency can cause constipation, which then causes toxins to be reabsorbed into the body instead of expelled with the waste.

We have plenty of reasons to stay away from fluoride but here is another. Fluoride seeks out what little magnesium you have in the body and it binds with it, making it unavailable to do its work. The new mineral produced in the bonding also ends up taking the place of magnesium in our bones but it is brittle and makes our bones much weaker and prone to fracture.

If we are in poor health already and have a leaky gut we are more likely to not absorb the magnesium we ARE eating. A high protein diet can make the deficiency worse as can eating grains and soy because of the phytic acid content in them. I thought perhaps getting rid of grains was the issue but it seems perhaps not in light of that. Grains/soy may be high in magnesium but they also prevent you from absorbing it properly… go figure. I am guessing it is the same with nuts. I think that going grain free did move along my deficiency though, even if grains are a poor quality source.

ADHD, ADD, and autism have all been associated with magnesium deficiency and there are those in some medical circles who think it may be the cause of these issues. Adrenaline in the body causes magnesium levels to go down so hyperactive children especially need extra magnesium because of their constantly high adrenaline levels. Very interesting! The whole section of the book that addresses deficiency in kids has me looking into how I can introduce this supplement to them.

Okay so what do I need to do to bring my magnesium levels back up and alleviate some of these PMS symptoms? I could just give in to the chocolate cravings because chocolate is high in magnesium… that is why my body craved it! Most doctors advise against that though because of the sugar but I eat very dark chocolate without much sugar so no problems there. I also plan to eat more pumpkins seeds (eating some now in fact), soaked nuts, kelp, dulse, herbs, and wild greens. After reading about how grains impede magnesium absorption I am not the least bit worried about excluding them. I just have to eat more magnesium rich foods to replace what little I got from grains.

I am also using my Ancient Minerals products daily to help me absorb magnesium through the skin. I apply the spray or gel before I go to the gym and then I shower it off when I get there. After one day of using them a premenstrual backache went away. They really do work. I also hope to get more of the bath flakes and take baths in them on non gym days. Lastly, I plan to supplement with magnesium pills. I look forward to seeing how I feel a few weeks and months from now.

** Also recommended by a reader (see below) the Natural Vitality – Natural Calm Rasp-Lemon powder, which is a magnesium/calcium powder you can put in water and kids supposedly love it. Gotta try that!

 Update – 4/7/2012

This update comes roughly one month later. I woke up this morning to find my monthly visitor had arrived with nary a symptom. No PMS at all. No backaches, minimal bloating, no fatigue whatsoever, and no chocolate cravings. My skin also gets a bit oily and I may get a tiny pimple or two this time of month. I had none of that this time. In fact last month I told the kids I was sick and spent two days in bed, dog tired. This month I could literally do cartwheels in the backyard. I am totally sold on magnesium supplementation at this point.

What did I do exactly? I started taking a 500mg pill every single day and eating more magnesium rich foods. I sprayed myself with magensium oil almost daily about 20 minutes before my shower because it is more easily absorbed via the skin. After strenuous CrossFit workouts I would soak in magnesium flakes and also drink dark chocolate coconut water or Natural Vitality drink products. It was pretty effortless to make these small changes but the benefit was amazing!

Friday, March 9th, 2012

27 Comments

24
Feb

TGIF! The Lorax, Brown Rice with Arsenic, and a Birthday Weekend

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF everyone! The gorgeous young miss to the right is turning eight this Saturday so my weekend is pretty busy with her birthday celebration. We don’t usually do parties so I don’t have to worry about themes, favors, and all that jazz. We like to keep it an event for family and maybe a friend of her choosing. So this weekend we have a series of special things planned for her and one friend, along with immediate family and grandparents. Because her birthday is in February we decided to do something that incorporates lots of swimming. All the kids have been itching to get some pool time so it should be very enjoyable. I will be sure to post pictures next week.

In other news, I had a visit with two doctors this past week. My thyroid levels are looking good but at this time I am still on a low dose of thyroid medication. I am so conflicted because I HATE pharma meds but I feel really awesome. I need to research ways to get weaned of the meds but this doctor and another one both tell me I should expect to be on them forever… sigh. Anyway, I saw this doc just before I went paleo/primal and was shocked to hear that I had lost 20 pounds since I was there last. Whoa… it melted off like butter after giving up grains. Cool!

I also saw an orthopedist about my arm, which I injured badly at the gym in late November (after listening to some monumentally bad weight lifting advice). I got the go ahead so start weight lifting again and he gave me a bunch of stretching exercises to do so that my arm muscles stop bunching up and hurting so much after each session at the gym. If I don’t see improvement on my own he said I will need to see a physical therapist but so far, so good.

Okay… a bit of housekeeping now. The winner of the Chobani Champions yogurt case (from 2 weeks ago) is…. Tara Sabo. Congrats Tara, I am emailing you know. Enjoy your yogurt!

Also I want to know what YOU want to read about. If there is a topic that interests you and you want me to cover it, leave me a comment below.

Interesting articles for the week…

I am sure you have heard about the arsenic/brown rice fiasco. Anna at Green talk has some great articles that address the issue, explain why rice and arsenic are such a cozy pair, and what you can do in your home to reduce exposure. Part One and Part Two. I am not surprised that no one sought to fix this issue, even though it is likely they knew about it. Without public pressure these companies have no reason to change things. Money is more important than the safety issues they hope we will never find out about. At any rate I am glad that I am grain free and don’t have to worry about this particular issue.

I read an infuriating article at Cinema Blend about the new Lorax movie. A conservative panel member on Fox News actually encouraged parents to take their kids to the movie and litter all over the theater and theater property to protest the fact that “Hollywood” is trying to indoctrinate our children and turn them into something almost as bad as demon worshippers… ENVIRONMENTALISTS!! The horror! Anyway we cannot wait to see this movie. ;)

I also wanted to share this Chipotle ad just in case is you haven’t seen it yet. LOVE that this corporation sees a problem within our current food system and is doing what they can to fix it from a fast food perspective. I am a big Chipotle fan!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, February 24th, 2012

7 Comments

17
Jan

Paula Deen Confirms Type 2 Diabetes – What Is to Blame?

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Over the weekend rumors were flying that Paula Deen was going to announce that she has developed Type 2 Diabetes. This is such a hot issue because in recent years she has been called out in the media, and by fellow Food Network chefs, for her food being so unhealthy. Today she did in fact confirm that she developed diabetes three years ago. The delay in the announcement seems clearly, to me at least, an attempt to buy time and figure out how to spin this and profit from it. In addition to becoming a pharmaceutical company spokesperson she is also starting a new diabetes management program called ‘Diabetes in a New Light’ which appears closely linked to the aforementioned pharma company.

I have limited knowledge of Paula Deen myself. I did not watch her show (though I may have seen bits of an episode or two) and I don’t want to bash her or bash her food. That is not the intent of this post. What irritates me about this whole thing is that the first thing people say when they hear about this is… “Well, just look at all the fat in her recipes!” They talk about her fried foods and her love of butter. They talk about all the bacon she used in her recipes. They talk about how she needs to go vegan and get rid of all that fat. Huh????

Color me confused but what in the heck does fat have to do with this issue. Nothing. Why does everyone bring up the fat content of her meals? It was not the fat that made her diabetic. It was all the sugar and other foods that turn into sugar and cause insulin spikes and blood sugar imbalance, the carbs. It was not the butter, it was the bread, pasta, grains, baked goods, and sugar. It wasn’t the egg, or the patty, or the bacon in her Lady’s Brunch Burger… it was the glazed doughnut that sandwiched these things.

Perhaps Ms. Deen DID go overboard with fats in her recipes. I don’t dispute that. I highly doubt she much considered the quality of her fats either. But I do not think that fats make you fat and lots of current research supports this. Watch the movie Fat Head for a crash course. The book Wheat Belly also addresses this at length. It is too many calories and all the carbs… grains, pancakes, pasta, doughnuts, bread, oatmeal, etc that causes obesity. The insulin causes our body to store fat and send messages to our brain to keep eating carbs, even though technically we have eaten enough calories. Fat satiates us and makes us feel full. Carbs make us hungry again an hour after we eat a big meal. The insulin spikes from the constant carb load eventually cause insulin resistance. Our body is worn out from years of abuse and we develop type 2 diabetes and it wasn’t from eating fat. If you put two sticks of butter in your mac and cheese that didn’t help matters. Yet it was the pasta next to all that cheese and butter that caused your body to store that fat instead of burn it and make you ready for seconds before the first plate even digested.

It bothers me to see bloggers and other media folks harping on the fat while they give a free pass to the real culprits… the grains and carbs. Obesity is blamed when obesity is simply the symptom. Sadly when Paula Deen’s recipes are revamped for “healthier” eating they will likely become low fat whilst remaining high carb. A diet like that almost ensures that a diabetic will need to take insulin for management and intertwine their future with a pharma company who is motivated by profit and has no desire to help you achieve actual health.

Sadly I see the wrong foods being blamed here and the “cure” isn’t going to do anything but ensure you become and remain, a pharma customer. Why isn’t anyone talking about that?

Lady Brunch Burger Photo Source  | Added to Real Food Wednesday

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

26 Comments