Category Archives: Food

Packing a Protein Punch Premier Protein Shakes and Bars

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I recently received a box containing Premier Protein shakes and bars to review.  Unfortunately they contain dairy so I was unable to review them personally. I did hand them out to an office full of IT workers, and they were a hit as a quick grab and eat during busy work sessions.

Is it a wonder with delicious protein bar packed flavors such as:


and smooth shakes in a variety of flavors:

  • CHOCOLATE – 11 oz.
  • VANILLA – 11 oz.
  • CHOCOLATE, SINGLE – 14 oz.
  • VANILLA, SINGLE – 14 oz.

Premier Protein has teamed up with to offer a 100% guarantee on their products, “If you are not absolutely satisfied with your purchase, for any reason, let us know. We will promptly replace the item or give you a refund of its purchase price. It’s that simple.” With over 400K followers on FB they must be doing something right.

If you have problems getting protein powder down due to its chalkiness, look no further than their Recipes page which has some great ideas on how to integrate the powder into delicious smoothies. They also own another label, Joint Juice.

Increasing the Production of hGH with Amino Acids

I was recently contacted to review SeroVital-hGH, I did not receive any compensation and the opinions expressed are given freely. Human growth hormone has been lauded as a way to decrease wrinkles and body fat while increasing your energy and fitness to help give you that rockin’ swimsuit bod and youthful glow! SeroVital-hGH consists of a blend of amino acids to naturally increase your body’s own production of growth hormones.  Higher HGH levels are associated with youthful skin integrity, lean musculature, an increased sex drive and elevated energy production.

While HGH production supposedly can be boosted by foods such as yams, SeroVital-hGH should keep you from having to stock up on pounds of potatoes. At $99 a bottle it isn’t a small investment.  I would have loved to try this myself but I am still breastfeeding and didn’t want to potentially have any side effects for my little ones, not to mention my husband jumped at the chance to be my tester.  He is always looking for a way to trim fat, gain muscle and of course have more energy.

He took the pills every day with breakfast and did seem to be a little trimmer at the end of the supply.  We just moved to Portland OR from Chicago IL area and sadly our routine of working out has hit a wall with three kids and no caregivers.  I wish we could have seen the effects if we were working out daily. As for wrinkles, who knows, we aren’t really worried about wrinkles because we take care of ourselves – no smoking, no drinking, eating well and hydrating.  My husband does suffer from rosacea though and during the time of his trial with SeroVital-hGH his face was noticeably less inflamed.

I’m not quite sold on the product myself, I think some trials that included blood draws that monitored hGH elevation levels would definitely put me in the believer camp. The website does list a study


The use of amino acid supplements to provoke growth hormone (GH) secretion in athletes and entertainers now extends to the general public. Not only do they have a goal of building lean tissue and reducing fat, but also in improving skin quality and other rejuvenating qualities that they believe GH can provide. Despite increasing mainstream use, evidence for whether oral amino acids stimulate GH is not clear.

This was a cross-over, placebo-controlled randomized study. 16 (12 males; 32±14 years; 26.4±5.0 kg/m2) healthy subjects had serum GH measured at baseline and 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after taking a single low dose proprietary amino acid supplement blend (SeroVital™) or placebo.

After 120 minutes, GH levels had increased 8-fold from baseline (0.17 to 1.33ng/ml) and were significantly higher than placebo (P=0.01). In addition, a significantly higher mean AUC was observed after taking the supplement [20.4 (95% CI: 19.9-21.0ng/ml) vs. 19.7 (95% CI: 18.7-20.6ng/ml); P=0.04].

Our results show that a single oral dose of these amino acids can significantly increase GH Levels after 120 minutes in healthy men and women. Whether these GH changes persist over a longer duration or have other positive effects is being further examined.

But again, they are basing this on the ingestion of amino acid supplements and amino acids are found in the foods we eat, they have just been concentrated down into pill form – which has its pros and cons. The study does suggest that levels of hGH are raised but whether or not that will have the intended effect of reducing wrinkles I think would take a longer study period and measurement of wrinkle depth.

If you have the money to spend, it can’t hurt to attempt to reduce your wrinkles and melt fat.

Reader’s Digest Presents The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide

Follow the Breakthrough Diet On-the-Go!

NEW YORK, NY April 15, 2013 – In the New York Times bestseller The Digest Diet, Liz Vaccariello and the editors of Reader’s Digest sifted through the latest weight-loss science to develop a groundbreaking 21-day eating plan to help readers drop the pounds. Now, Reader’s Digest introduces a practical companion to help you follow the diet while you’re on-the-go, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide, available now for $9.99 at and wherever books are sold, is an invaluable companion to the Digest Diet, helping you maintain and extend your weight loss results when eating out and in other tricky situations. For newcomers unfamiliar with the Digest Diet, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is an easy introduction and includes a summary of the three phases.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide tells you how to find fat-releasing meals anywhere you might eat on the go, from fast food restaurants to coffee shops to image your favorite sit-down establishments. Restaurants featured include favorites like: McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Panera Bread, Cosi, The Cheesecake Factory, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway and Chipotle, among many others, perfect for days where you do not want or do not have the time to cook at home. Weight loss does not need to be limited to eating at home and the guide is the perfect companion to a delicious and healthy night out at a restaurant.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide includes:

  • More than 350 meals at 60 national fast food and casual dining venues
  • A condensed version of the Digest Diet, summarizing the three phases;
  • Strategies for identifying fat-releasing foods wherever you are;
  • The best choices at different types of restaurants; and
  • New portable snack ideas for when you’re traveling, running errands, or just short on time.

“Every day, I hear from readers who have lost weight and improved their health by following the lifestyle and plan of the Digest Diet,” said author Liz Vaccariello. “As a busy working mom, I know that cooking at home is not always possible. I don’t believe that you should have to give up on dinners out to stay on a diet, and The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a response to that.”

Whether you’re new to the Digest Diet or looking to maintain your fabulous success away from home, The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide helps you make the slimming and healthy choices on the go.

LIZ VACCARIELLO is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest, one of the world’s largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she’s the author of New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, Flat Belly Diet!, and The 400-Calorie Fix. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachael Ray, and The View.  Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc).

About Reader’s Digest

Reader’s Digest simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products in health, home, family, food, finance and humor.  Recognized by 99% of American adults, Reader’s Digest is available in print; online at; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Sony Reader and Zinio; books and home entertainment products; Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

The above is a press release for The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide.  I received a copy of the book for review and was not compensated in any way.

The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide is a slim, thin book that can fit in almost any purse.  It contains quick go to sections on popular restaurants.  It is not a calorie counter – it a phase plan where you use restaurant meals and specific food combinations that are “fat releasers”. This means not every meal you might order at your favorite chain restaurant is represented in this guide.  You are given four to five meal options and told how to eat them for each phase of the diet.  I found very few meals I could eat as a vegan included in this book, even though I do eat at a few of the restaurants listed.  For the average American eater though, there should be plenty of options that would allow any individual to utilize this book.  Great for travelers who spend a lot of time away from their home kitchen, and people who like to eat out. Even if your favorite cafe isn’t listed, the beginning of the book goes over some tips for different eating environments.  Definitely a book for people who hate to diet because it means they have to stay home and measure food.

Code Leak for Free Products from @ConsciousBox and @SkyYogaStudio

ConsciousBox_Header While the 3 month Free Subscription Giveaway may have ended, congrats to our winner, the free products are still going.

That’s right, you can get a FREE ConsciousBox when you sign up for any duration of ConsciousBox, you just pay the shipping for the box.

I am one to look at gift horse in the mouth so I hopped on over to to make sure there were no hidden details, that you could just get one box free and you CAN! Simply pick the box you want: Classic, Gluten Free or Vegan, pick the delivery duration: 1 month, 3 month or yearly. If you choose 1 month you simply pay the shipping on the box, that’s it! (Shipping estimate $7.95)

How can you get your FREE ConsciousBox? Use code SECRETCODE , but hurry! Time will expire on this awesome deal.

Enter to Win Free 3 Months of @ConsciousBox from @SkyYogaStudio Great Products, Eco Friendly

I was contacted by Conscious Box to offer a giveaway for readers.  I was not compensated for this giveaway and did not receive a box prior to posting. All information provided is from Conscious Box and their own marketing. I did receive a code for a free box and so will you, no credit card information required, no strings!

How Does Conscious Box work?

Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

  • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
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The Ethics of Consciousness

Conscious Box, above all, is dedicated to the very ethics it seeks out in other businesses.

Conscious Box Recycles

Resource Use

We strive to make every aspect of our business as sustainable as possible. We’re always looking for ways to reduce waste and increase efficiency to support a more conscious approach to business. Some of the ways we do this is by using 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard, recycled tissue paper, and vegetable-based inks for printing. We also encourage our subscribers to upcycle their boxes and share their ideas on our Facebook page. We’re striving to make our business as waste-free as possible, but only you can make this a truly zero-waste experience!

Smart Shipping

We recognize that although we strive to be a waste-free business, the process of shipping can be taxing on our environment. That’s why we designed our box with this problem specifically in mind. The size of each Conscious Box was strategically chosen to maximize shipping efficiency while still providing enough space for a huge variety of products in a wide range of shapes and sizes. We’re constantly improving upon this process, and always on the lookout for new ways to improve our carbon footprint. As a member of 1% for the Planet we seek to help offset these emissions, and are seeking partnerships with other organizations to continually lessen our impact.

Honest Labor at Fair Wages

Conscious Box Warehouse

Conscious Box is also a supporter of jobs here in the United States. We only employ American workers who receive fair wages for the packing and shipping of boxes. All employees of Conscious Box are also encouraged to speak their minds and help the company move forward. To us, this is a family more than a business.

Protecting the Planet

Conscious Box is also committed to conserving and preserving our home, Mother Earth. We work with 1% for the Planet to make sure every purchase goes to a cause, and we also are active in the green community, spreading the message of environmentalism and encouraging others to take a critical stance when it comes to personal and public sustainability.

Committed to Customers

Finally, we encourage all of our subscribers to write us, review us, and be critical of us! No business is perfect, and Conscious Box is no exception. We constantly seek ways to improve our business, and we know you, the consumer, knows best. Tell us your thoughts and help us make change!


Impressed? Want to try a box? So what are you waiting for?

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The Chicago Gluten & Allergen Free Expo

The Chicago Gluten & Allergen Free Expo will take place on April 20th – 21st at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel in Schaumburg, Illinois.  Tickets can be purchased in advance ( or at the door.
The gluten-free food revolution is expected to reach over $6 billion this year and is the fastest growing claim in Nielsen’s Health & Wellness Top 20 Claims.  With 90% of shoppers wanting to sample products before they make a purchase, the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo allows the sampling of hundreds of products in one location.  The Expo’s offerings will meet the needs of the celiac community, those with gluten sensitivities, auto-immune, inflammatory diseases, and autism.  Athletes and the health conscious will greatly benefit as well.
There are more than 15 million Americans on a gluten-free diet and most are still searching for the best products available.  “The GFAF Expo is like a giant shopping mall for people with food allergies.  One of the biggest complaints is that many of the restricted diet products don’t taste good or that they are so expensive.  The GFAF Expo allows everyone to taste the products before they make a purchase,” says GFAF Expo Founder and CEO, Jen Cafferty.
The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo features over 150 vendors sampling and selling products.  The Expo also showcases personal care products, vitamins and supplements, and green household cleaning alternatives.  Both the dedicated peanut/nut-free area and special area for gluten-free kids are crowd pleasers.  Allergen savvy health care practitioners will be available to answer medical questions.  Guests can attend free lectures, connect with gluten and allergen-free restaurants, associated non-profits, and much more.

“The War on Bugs” – Why We Really Need Germs

The Saturday Evening Post Examines

“The War on Bugs” – Why We Really Need Germs

Indianapolis (February 26, 2013) — In our modern effort to eradicate disease, we pop antibiotics like candy, apply hand sanitizers with abandon, and gargle mouthwash by the gallon. But this carpet-bombing of germs takes a huge toll on good microbes as well as bad. The March/April issue of The Saturday Evening Post, on newsstands now, reveals recent research pointing to medical problems including asthma, obesity, and chronic sinusitis that might be caused by the absence of certain microbiota in our bodies.

According to Post medical contributor Sharon Begley, “Our decades-long war on germs is looking seriously wrongheaded,” and goes far beyond the issue of people becoming immune to antibiotics and similar medications. Microbiota act like genomes – determining who is more prone to certain diseases and medical conditions. Knowing which microbes live in healthy people can help medical experts in the future.

Begley cited recent research and striking examples of how microbiota influence human health:

Excessive appetite: Certain gut bacteria produce a compound which makes you feel full and reduces how much you eat. Absent those bacteria, your brain doesn’t get the “stop eating” signal. For example, Helicobacter pylori regulates the stomach’s production of an appetite-stimulating hormone. Several labs have found that people whose stomachs harbor more H. pylori have less of the hormone and thus less hunger.

Asthma: H pylori also causes peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancers. Although once in almost everyone’s gut, H. pylori is now found in just 6 percent of U.S. children, in part due to the widespread use of antibiotics and anti-microbials. While that should mean fewer ulcers, there’s a dark lining to that silver cloud: H. pylori may ward off asthma.

Chronic sinusitis: Last September, scientists reported that the nasal microbiota of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) patients had low levels of good-for-you bacteria and abnormally high levels of a not-so-good bacteria. When the scientists depleted the microbiota of mice to make them like CRS patients’, sure enough, the animals developed sinusitis. And transplanting that bug into mice inhibited the growth of sinusitis-causing bacteria and prevented infection.

Autoimmune diseases: Researchers have found that the microbes in your gut play a role in regulating the immune system and therefore autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s. For instance one powerful gut bacterium has anti-inflammatory properties, protecting against recurrence of Crohn’s disease.

“Where all this leaves someone who wants to cultivate healthy microbiota is only starting to become clear,” speculates Begley. Until further research is conducted, consumers should protect themselves by considering antibiotic-free meat and restricting use of antibiotics for only must-have circumstances.

The full article from The Saturday Evening Post is available online at

About The Saturday Evening Post

For nearly 300 years, The Saturday Evening Post has chronicled American history in the making—reflecting the distinctive characteristics and values that define the American way. Today’s Post continues the grand tradition of providing art, entertainment and information in a stimulating mix of idea-driven features, cutting-edge health and medical trends—plus fiction, humor, and laugh-out-loud cartoons. A key feature is the Post Perspective, which brings historical context to current issues and hot topics such as health care, religious freedom, education, and more. Tracing its roots to Benjamin Franklin, The Saturday Evening Post mirrors cherished American ideals and values, most memorably illustrated by its iconic cover artist Norman Rockwell. The Post is also known for publishing such literary greats as Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, and Kurt Vonnegut, and continues to seek out and discover emerging writers of the 21st century. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the Post is a publication of the nonprofit Saturday Evening Post Society, which also publishes the award-winning youth magazines Turtle, Humpty Dumpty, and Jack and Jill.

“As the nation changed, the Post changed, but it looks to its past as a fertile ground
for its future.”—
—Starkey Flythe, Jr, Former Post Executive Editor

#Vegan Recipes for National Sandwich Month

Soy Suggestions for National Sandwich Month in August

Ankeny, Iowa, February 22, 2013—Some foods never go out of style—they just keep getting better and more popular.  Sandwiches fit into that category. Ever since the 1700s when the Fourth Earl of Sandwich came up with his idea for a hand-held meal of meat between two slices of bread, we’ve been tweaking his invention. We add cheese, sauces, condiments and vegetables. And now, The Soyfoods Council shares creative sandwich combinations for National Sandwich Month in August.

With garden-fresh tomatoes, onions and salad greens and other late-summer vegetables in abundance, all you need are some low-fat, high-flavor protein ideas for sandwiches. The following soy-rich combinations from The Soyfoods Council just may inspire you to reinvent some of your own favorite sandwiches.

TofuWiches feature tofu triangles that are marinated, slit and baked before being stuffed with vegetables and drizzled with a sweet-and-spicy marinade. Burger lovers will enjoy Mojo Tofu Burgers.  The patties are made with firm silken tofu, oats, black beans and barley. The seasoning combines the flavors of garlic, orange juice, lime, cumin and oregano.

Or, get soy-creative with a classic. For Grilled Tofu BLTs, make your own tofu “bacon.” Extra-firm tofu is marinated in a smoked paprika-infused olive oil and flavored with low-sodium soy sauce.  Quick Barbecue Soy Sandwiches are made with TSP (Textured Soy Protein) and your favorite barbecue sauce, along with other flavorings. The sandwiches are served on hamburger buns.

            Soyfoods are versatile, convenient ingredients that make it simple to customize your favorite sandwiches. Condiments such as Soy-Based Tzatziki Sauce add protein and flavor without adding cholesterol. The sauce, made with soft silken tofu, is flavored with lemon juice, grated cucumber, garlic, salt, white pepper and olive oil. It’s ideal for serving with gyro sandwiches.

            When you cook with soyfoods such as tofu, TSP, soymilk and edamame, you’ll discover a whole new world of better-for-you foods. As a plant protein, soy provides all the essential amino acids plus a protein quality comparable to animal protein. However, soyfoods are low in saturated fat, and contain no cholesterol. One serving of soyfoods offers from 7 to 15 grams of protein. Also, some soy products such as soymilk are fortified with calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. 

Want to learn more? The Soyfoods Council is your one-stop resource for health and nutrition information about soy, and offers a wealth of easy-to-prepare recipes. For sandwich recipes and sandwich-friendly condiments, visit the website at Bookmark the site and visit it often.  New recipes are constantly being added, and you’ll also find instructional videos, the latest research and cooking tips.


About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods.  Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.

About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries.  In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties.  Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat.  In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.  All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.


Mojo Tofu Burgers

6 oz (about half a package) firm silken tofu, drained
1 cup oats
1 1/2 cup black beans
1 1/2 cup cooked barley (can substitute brown rice)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup fresh orange juice, plus the zest of 1/2 large orange
Juice from 1 lime, plus the zest
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Non stick cooking spray

Preheat a non stick skillet over medium heat.
Meanwhile, pour oats into food processor and pulse until a chunky powder (about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Put tofu, 1 cup black beans, garlic clove, orange juice and zest, lime juice and zest, cumin, oregano, salt, olive oil and salt into food processor and pulse until chunky-smooth and combined, about 45 seconds total.
Scoop tofu mixture into mixing bowl with oats. Add cooked barley (or rice) and 1/2 cup whole black beans. Gently fold ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Mixture should be thick and only slightly sticky.
Spray skillet with cooking spray. Make burgers by gently pressing with hands, using 1/2 cup of mixture for each one.
Cook on skillet, about 4 minutes per side or till golden brown. Keep spraying pan with non stick spray (may need to spray in between flips). Serve immediately.
Makes 10 patties