I have partnered with the Brightside Skincare Line to bring this post and exciting giveaway to you. All opinions are my own.
Grab your own Brightside Skincare products at a great discount over on Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2cBOyGK) using the coupon code 36RPU7PD to save $5 off of a full 5 piece set.
Have you ever woken up one morning after getting way too little sleep only to look into the mirror and wonder how the heck you aged so fast over night? This happened to me about a month ago. Thanks to my crazy work schedule, a toddler who doesn’t always sleep, and third trimester heartburn keeping me up all night, I have definitely been sleep deprived. Honestly, since Joey was born I have been very, very sleep deprived (what infant only sleeps for 20 minute stretches at a time for over a year?!). I think the lack of sleep has started to add up and I have been seeing the unpleasant results in my skin.
So one morning, I wake up and notice lines and dark circles that were not there the day before. Now normally, I would head to the store to find some kind of anti-aging skin products that would nip this whole aging process in the bud. Before kids and pregnancies, I would just grab a few products off the shelf that sounded promising and give them a try. I never really gave much thought about what I put on my body – funny since I spend so much time carefully paying attention to what I put in my body through diet right?
I never used to research (or even read) every ingredient in every skin care product I used. But when I became pregnant the first time with Joey, I started to research every ingredient, chemical, and additive that was in my beauty products. I started to look at what was in everything from cleansers, to moisturizer, to shampoo. I was horrified to find out many of the products in my skincare cabinet could be potentially harmful to my body (as well as my unborn child). I found my products were packed full of phthalates, parabens, and sulphates- all additives that are absorbed into the body through the skin and may have potentially negative health effects. So what did I do? I threw everything out and started from scratch. The only problem was it was almost impossible to find skincare products that were free from harmful additives that either didn’t cost a fortune or that actually worked.
Throughout my pregnancy with Joey I just accepted the fact that my skin wouldn’t look to great and would be more prone to dryness and aging. I decided to just avoid everything all together if I couldn’t find something that worked within my budget (or worked at all!). When I became pregnant this time, I had the same dilemma. I would have to just accept 9 months of bad skin in order to make sure both my baby and myself were healthy. And that’s what I was doing until I recently learned about Kerri Johanning’s story and the Brightside Skincare line she had developed.
Kerri’s life had been changed by losing both close friends and family to cancer in a very short period of time. She decided to begin working with the American Cancer Society to see what role she could play in the fight against cancer. Working with this society, she began to learn about environmental carcinogens and toxins that increase the risk of cancer and where they can be found. To her horror, she discovered that many skincare products are packed full of ingredients that could have the potential to harm health. She then set out on a mission to create a line of skincare products that were safe, natural, and effective to provide options for individuals who are trying to reduce their exposure to chemicals. Having been touched by cancer in my own life with the loss of many dear family members, her story really designated with me.
Her skincare line, Brightside Skincare, contains everything from cleansers to toners, moisturizers, to eye cream, and even lip balm. What I found amazing was that all of the products in this line are free from fragrance, parabens, sulfates, lanolins, phthalates, and carcinogens while being gluten and cruelty free. I was even more excited to learn that the products are made in a FDA approved Certified Organic Lab, which doesn’t always happen in the unregulated skincare market. The line sounded great and I wanted to try it out, but I figured it would probably break the bank based on all of the features it offered. But then I went on Amazon.com and was shocked to see that this natural skincare line is actually more affordable than some drug store lines!
I now have found a skincare line I absolutely love that actually works and that I can afford without going broke. Because I was so excited to learn about the Brightside Skincare line, I reached out to the company to see if we could partner together to spread the word. I was thrilled when they agreed to sponsor this post and allow me to giveaway a full gift basket of the product line ($100 value) to one of my amazing readers! If you want to try out the Brightside Skincare product line, now is your chance!
WIN! WIN! WIN!!!
How can you win the amazing Brightside Skincare Line Gift Basket? All you have to do is share this post (or image) on Instagram or Twitter tagging both Brightside Skincare and myself with your reason as to why you want to switch to a natural skincare line on or before October 27th. Then come back here and leave a comment below to let me know you have entered. The winner will be announced on October 28th!
In the mean time, you can grab your own Brightside Skincare products at a great discount over on Amazon.com (http://amzn.to/2cBOyGK) using the coupon code 36RPU7PD to save $5 off of a full 5 piece set.
It’s that time of year again. In just a little over two weeks, Halloween will be here and with it comes the piles of candy and temptation. Then, just when you think you can finally say goodbye to the last Reese’s, Thanksgiving pops up. Yup, it’s that time of year that we all love celebrating, but dread the results that it has on our waistlines. So what can you do to avoid this inevitable weight gain? Well first, stop thinking it’s inevitable! You don’t have to gain weight over the holidays, but if you decide in advance that you will, well guess what – you definitely will!
I’ll tell you a secret- I love sweets! Yup, I have chocolate chips and cookies in the house right now. If it were up to me, these foods wouldn’t be in my house at all because I have no willpower. If I’m around candy for too long, I eat it. Sound familiar? I know there are some people who could care less about sweets and desserts (and I hate them just a little for it), but I think sugary treats really do tempt most of us. So what’s the solution? Definitely don’t ban yourself from them. That’s actually the WORST thing you can do. Why? Think about it this way – imagine I just told you that you could NEVER have ice cream again. Were you thinking about ice cream a minute ago? Probably not. But let me guess, now you feel like raiding your locally grocery store and stock piling every pint of Ben & Jerry’s you can get your hands on, right? Deprivation does that. So don’t deprive yourself or you will definitely go overboard and gain weight during the holidays.
So what can you do? Treat yourself! Yup- go ahead -indulge, but before you do, just give your favorite treats a little bit of a makeover. I’ll tell you a quick little story – one of my favorite holiday treats used to be a Cinnabon. This was before I learned how to read a food label and the horror that I experienced when I discovered what was really in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have eaten an occasional one since that sad, sad day of revelation, but it hasn’t tasted quite the same knowing the reality of how much sugar and fat it really contains.
As sad as that story I just told you is, it that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave an ooey-gooey warm cinnamon roll. I’d eat one everyday if I could. So that’s why this holiday season I decided to find a better way to enjoy my favorite treat. With a little research and experimenting, I came up with a version I think is on par with the mall food court version with a quarter of the calories. And the best part- no added sugars! What?! Yup- no added sugar- even in the icing! So this recipe is even perfect for those trying to lose weight or control blood sugar with diabetes. And it gets better- you can make it in minutes in the microwave! Yes! This is actually a mug cake recipe. If you don’t know what that is, you are missing out on a big, delicious trend (and don’t worry, I only discovered this trend like a week ago myself). To sum it up, you can make individual serving size cakes in a coffee mug – in the microwave! So amazing! I will definitely try to come up with more of these little cakes, but today, I share with you my very first mug cake recipe – Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to get excited about breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or any meal really- it’s healthy enough you can enjoy it anytime you want!)
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp Truvia
- 1 each Medjool date pitted
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
- 2 tbsp low fat Greek yogurt plain or vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Truvia
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Spray a large mug (or two small mugs) with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Truvia. Add in mashed banana and yogurt to form dough. In a separate bowl, mash the date and add in cinnamon and salt (you can also do this in a food processor and add in a bit of water for a thinner textured filling if desired).
Place ½ of dough into the mug. Pour ¾ of date filling on top and then add remaining dough. Cover with the remaining filling. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout.
While mug cake is baking, mix together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia in a small bowl or food processor. Top cinnamon roll with icing when warm. Remaining icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 186 Calories 32 gm Carbs, 3 gm Fiber, 8gm Protein, 2 gm Fat
I can’t wait to hear what you think!
This past Saturday (October 1st) was National Homemade Cookie Day. For those of you who may have missed it, I say why celebrate homemade cookies just one day? I would be happy to celebrate cookies any day of the week! My family loves a good cookie (and so do I), but traditional cookie recipes packed full of added sugars, refined flours, and saturated fats are not exactly the most nutritious food to eat each day. However, with a few simple tweaks, you can make a delicious cookie recipe that you can actually feel good about eating more than just ‘occasionally.’
One of my new favorites is this Whole Wheat Pumpkin Walnut Cookie recipe. Since pumpkin season is here and pumpkin recipes are on the rise, I decided to make light and fluffy pumpkin walnut cookies that have less fat, less calories and more nutrients than your average cookie! By substituting ½ an avocado for ½ the butter, I was able to reduce the overall content of saturated fats while boosting both the fiber and nutrient content of the recipe. Swapping whole grain flour for an all-purpose flour further increases the fiber content of the cookie while boosting nutrients such as iron and B vitamins. Adding in walnuts and sunflower kernels ups the protein content and provides a good boost of plant-based fats for added health benefits.
These cookies are a great way to treat your family and friends to the taste of fall while providing them with nutrition you can feel good about.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1/2 each avocado mashed
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/3 cup sunflower kernals
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix sugar, pumpkin, butter and mashed avocado in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and salt. Stir in walnuts and sunflower kernels.
Drop dough by teaspoon onto an non-greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from cookie sheet and allow them to cool.
Nutrition Facts (per serving) Serving Size = 1 cookie Calories: 85 Carbohydrates: 9 grams Fiber: 2 grams Fat: 5 grams Protein: 2 grams
Want more healthy cookie recipes? Make sure to check out all of my recipe creations over on my Instagram page!
It’s that time of year again- back to school time! Sure, it may seem like having the kids in school all day will give you a bit for free time to devote to planning and preparing nutritious meals, but that isn’t always the case. Before I had my son, I had this idea in my head that when I went back to work and he headed off to daycare, that you basically just drop your child off, kiss and hug them, and then spend the rest of the day working. I didn’t really give thought to the time needed to plan out lunches and snacks for the day, clean out the lunch boxes from the night before, prep healthy breakfasts we could eat before we head out in the morning, and find time to prepare a healthy dinner as well. Honestly, those first few weeks of adjusting to a new schedule stressed me out more than I could have ever expected. And I think many parents feel the same way.
Whenever you and your family are adjusting to a new schedule, such as the one at the start of the school year, it’s normal to feel a bit stressed and overwhelmed. I see this in so many of my client. That first week or two of the new school year is pretty much a whirlwind filled with grabbing meals and snacks mindlessly on the run. If this sounds like you, I wanted to help take away some of that stress. That’s why I teamed up with my friends over at Chobani to develop my top five quick-fix lunches for all of you busy moms out there. These simple lunches can be pulled together in minutes and are packed full of the healthy nutrients that your little ones needs. Feel free to mix and match these options up for a well-balanced, stress-free start to the school day.
Some kids are more snackers than meal eaters. I get this since I am more likely to graze on food throughout the day than to sit down to a big meal. For snack lovers, try using a compartmentalized bento box to offer a variety of bite sized options. The small portions and increased variety are a great way to prevent your child from feeling ‘overwhelmed’ at mealtime. This is also a great way to introduce new foods in kid-friendly portions. For a balanced lunch, pair together a whole grain muffin, carrot sticks with hummus for a dip, turkey breast, strawberries, and almonds. To save time, spend one day per week washing and slicing variety of fruits and vegetable so you can just grab and go when packing a lunch. For mini muffins, I usually make these in batches of 24 and freeze them. If you pop one in the lunchbox in the morning, it will typically thaw by lunchtime. Round out the lunch with an adorable Doc McStuffins squeezable pouch of Chobani Kids, which contains two times as much protein than the leading kid’s yogurt and 25% less sugar. With a varied lunch such as this one, even if your child does not finish all the foods offered, you can still feel reassured that she consumed a variety of essential nutrients.
If you are packing meals for daycare, it can be easy to run out of ideas for soft food options that provide your little one with the nutrition that he needs. For toddlers, adequate protein, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for development and growth. That’s why I love this combination of applesauce, diced butternut squash, whole grain tortellini, and a broccoli & carrot quiche for a mix of antioxidants, protein, and fiber. To round out the lunchbox, I add in a squeezable Chobani yogurt, which is made with only natural, non-GMO ingredients, real fruit, and provides 12mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids to help promote healthy brain development.
Picky Eater Perfection
If you have a picky eater at home, you are probably no stranger to having your child’s lunchbox return home after the school day completely untouched. To make lunch more appealing to even the pickiest child, liven it up by adding a mix of fun shapes and colors. It doesn’t have to take long to make a ‘fun’ lunchbox. I use a combination of colorful silicone shapes to hold bite-sized snacks along with cookie cutters to decorate sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, and even cheese slices. For the best results, look for the cookie cutters that have a spring-loaded punch. These can cut through more challenging foods like bread and vegetables much more quickly than the standard cutters. Sometimes all it takes is a touch of food art to turn the pickiest eater into an adventurous eater.
The goal of your child’s lunch should be to fuel both her body and her mind. One way to accomplish this is to make sure to include at least one or two “brain foods” into even lunchbox. Foods rich is omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, walnuts, edamame, and Chobani Tots which contains 12 mg of DHA Omega 3 per serving, can make great additions to any meal. Round these brain foods out with antioxidant-packed fruits and vegetables and you have a delicious recipe for academic success. For a quick and easy lunchbox, pack together a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread along with a handful of walnuts, blueberries, and edamame. Toss in a Chobani Tots squeezable yogurt for an added boost of DHA.
The Chocolate Lover
Do you have a chocolate lover? I do and sometimes it can be a challenge to get him to eat a meal without the constant begging for “dark treats” as he likes to call chocolate chips. So why not give him what he wants? Of course I don’t mean feed your child chocolate every lunch, but you can incorporate it in a healthy way to make both mom and child happy (and in our house this makes my junk-food loving husband quite happy as well).
I take Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, which contains no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or flavors, and top it with a small sprinkling of mini dark chocolate chips. This makes the perfect ‘dessert’ for any meal while providing a good source of protein and calcium. You can even try mixing one teaspoon of 100% cocoa powder into one cup of Chobani for a delicious chocolate ‘mousse.’
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Chobani. All opinions are my own.