Friday, May 9, 2014

Stonyfield yogurt pouches.

I am a fan of organic yogurt for my boys and have long purchased Stonyfield Organic products for them. They love the squeezers for lunch boxes, and I get the quarts for them to eat by the bowlful at home. Sometimes, when I'm feeling zany, I buy the little smoothie bottles. Man, oh man, do they love it when I do.

Now, they want the pouches. I was given the opportunity to try out Stonyfield Organics new yogurt pouches and the boys really dig 'em!

We tried all three kinds of the pouches, the YoBaby, YoToddler and YoKid yogurts. My 6-year old wanted nothing to do with the YoBaby yogurts because, after all, he's not a baby, but I forced him to try one, just to help me out. 

Turns out, even 6-year olds enjoy the YoBaby yogurt! The boys tried the blueberry YoBaby, the strawberry-beet-berry YoToddler, and the blueberry YoKid. 

My 6-year old enjoying his blueberry YoKid pouch.

And my 3-year old with his strawberry-beet-berry YoToddle pouch.

I believe in organic dairy so these are a big win. I can see buying these for over the summer when we are out and about a lot -- they'd be perfect for bringing to the park or wherever. The pouches have caps so if my boys don't eat the whole thing at once (OK, that's unlikely), they can re-close the pouch and save it for later.

The other thing that I believe in is avoiding high fructose corn syrup and GMOs. Stonyfield Organic is certified organic -- and they don't use HFCS or GMOs. You can read more about what certified organic means at Stonyfield Organic on their site

The pouches that I bought were $1.49 at my local Price Chopper and $1.29 at my local Hannaford (yeah, go buy them at Hannaford!). You can find out where to buy the pouches by visiting the online locator

Overall, I give the pouches the thumbs-up. I'll definitely be buying more!


Connect with Stonyfield:
Thanks for stopping by!


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Review disclosure: I participated in a Blogger Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Stonyfield. I received coupons to facilitate my shopping trip and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

YoYummy!

Recently, I was invited to try out YoYummy, a new yogurt for kids. Now, I don't really eat yogurt -- the whole Paleo diet thing -- but my kids? Well, my kids love yogurt. They enjoy squeezers, yogurt in those little cups and regular yogurt mixed with fruit or jelly. They love it all!

So, it is fitting that they enjoyed the YoYummy yogurts.


The yogurt comes in cute little squeezable packages, with caps so you can easily re-close them. I really liked this feature but I also realize that this adds to the packaging and to what ultimately ends up in the landfill. It is nice to have the option to close up a half-eaten yogurt and save it for later!

 

YoYummy comes in four flavors: Mixed Berry, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry, and Cotton Candy. Cotton Candy was the fastest to go in this house, followed by Mixed Berry. Actually, the boys were really psyched to eat the cotton candy flavor. It was a huge treat for them.

My little guy sucking down the YoYummy!


Overall, my kids liked YoYummy and I think it is a good product. As a believer in organics (especially organic dairy), I wish they had an organic option, but maybe that will come at some point.

Here is some more information about YoYummy:
  • YoYummy yogurt is made with Grade-A rBST-free Vermont milk, is a good source of calcium, and is rich in vitamin A and D.
  • It has 10 percent less sugar than the leading national brand kids’ yogurt. Real fruits and berries add just enough natural sugar to YoYummy yogurt to make it taste sweet.
  • YoYummy is free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, additives, and preservatives. YoYummy is naturally gluten free.
  • YoYummy is available at Wegman’s, Costco, Hannaford, Stew Leonard’s, Fresh & Easy, and Sprout’s Farmer Markets.
  • The retail price for YoYummy is $4.99 for a 4-pack, $9.99 for a 12-pack, and $1.29 for single pouches.

And check out their website for coupons and special offers!

Have you tried YoYummy? What do you think of the yogurt?

Thanks for reading!


Want to read more from The Happy Runner? Stop over HERE for more giveaways, reviews, and running- and parenting-related posts


Review disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. I was not compensated for this review and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Grain Brain challenge wrap-up.

 The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. Opinions expressed are entirely my own!

Four weeks ago, I started the Grain Brain Challenge and now I'm here to let you know how I fared.




But first, let me give you a little reminder of what Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, recommends for optimal brain health:

Good fats from eating olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fish, grass-fed beef, goat cheese, and fish oils are fundamental for health, while carb-derived calories as one might get from things like bread, pasta, potatoes, below-ground veggies, fruit and fruit juices are things you want to avoid on a brain-healthy diet. -- Dr. David Perlmutter (via Facebook)

I started on the challenge 4 weeks ago, focusing on food, sleep, exercise and supplements, as laid out in the book. (Read my original post about the Grain Brain Challenge.)

For me, the challenge wasn't all that hard. I've been following a Paleo diet for a while now and the recommendations in Grain Brain are similar. There are differences, of course, but I didn't have to make the same sort of changes as someone who has been eating grains on the reg.

Basically, I stuck to eating lots of vegetables and high-quality protein and good fat.

Avocados! Such good fat.

I also experimented with adding some dairy back in to my diet, not eating sweet potatoes, reducing my fruit consumption, and taking the recommended supplements.

And how did all of that work out? Well, honestly, it wasn't a 100% success. Instead, I'd say I was about 75% successful. I tried to be perfect for 4 weeks. I mean I really, really tried. I tried so hard to cut out the sweet potatoes. The first week was fine. I went cold turkey -- no problem. I wanted to see how my body would respond to having no sweet potatoes and only one piece of fruit a day.

My body didn't respond all that well. I had way less energy for my runs and, boy-oh-boy, that's not what I'm looking for. So, in the second week I let myself eat a little more fruit, still trying to avoid sweet potatoes.

But then I caved and started eating them again.

Here's the thing, though. In the past few months, my fruit and sweet potato intake has been slowly creeping up. I was eating sweet potatoes almost every day and supplementing my diet with probably 4 pieces of fruit each day. Yikes! That's a lot and I guess I didn't realize how much I was eating until I started with the Grain Brain Challenge. Being challenged to cut out and cut down on those foods forced me to take a cold, hard look at my diet.

Grain Brain lunch: Salad with lots of chicken, drizzled with olive oil and a little vinegar.


So, even though I couldn't completely cut out the fruit and sweet potatoes, I have cut way down on them. In fact, I'd say I'm eating about half the amount of fruit and sweet potatoes that I was in the past. And I have plenty of energy for my runs and workouts. So, to me, that's a big win!

As for the dairy, well, I don't know. Over the course of the challenge I did eat a little full-fat dairy and it was fine. Just fine. I don't think I need it, but it was nice to have a little extra variety in my diet. Going forward I plan to keep dairy out of my diet, about 90% of the time. I'm thinking I might go wild now and then and have some yogurt or a bit of cheese. I'll have to see.

What about the rest of the challenge?

Not so bad. I spent the month working on going to bed a smidge earlier and I was mostly successful. I became more aware of how I was normally wasting about an hour or so before bed, just staying up for no good reason. So, I've changed that and now if I am staying up, I'm trying to have it be for a reason. So far, so good.

And the exercise? Well, I've got that down. Easy peasy, as my little one would say!

Now, the last piece -- the supplements. I have such a hard time figuring out if supplements work. I just don't know. I believe in them and the benefits that Dr. Perlmutter outlines in the book. But have I noticed a difference? Not really. That doesn't mean they aren't working, it just means I haven't been able to tell if they are.

I plan to stick with the supplements (and my Paleo diet!). My hope is that they will do what they're supposed to do and I'll continue to age and eventually become one of those whip-smart elderly ladies, still running races and kicking butt.

Think that's do-able? I sure do!

Have you read Grain Brain? What did you think of it? 




Want to read more from The Happy Runner? Stop over HERE for more giveaways, reviews, and running- and parenting-related posts.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good-bye to Grain Brain!

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. Opinions expressed are entirely my own!


Have you heard of Grain Brain? The full title is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar -- Your Brain's Silent Killers, a new book by Dr. David Perlmutter, outlining lifestyle changes you can make today to keep your brain healthy, vibrant and sharp. Last week I received a copy to read and review. I also received an invitation to join Dr. Perlmutter's Grain Brain Challenge, a 4-week challenge designed to improve brain health through some diet, exercise and sleep recommendations.

I gladly accepted the invitation and agreed to take on the challenge.

 

The timing couldn't be more perfect because I'm not training for any races right now, so I don't need to freak out about changing up my diet. And, as you'll see, Dr. Perlmutter's dietary recommendations really aren't that different from what I'm doing now anyway. But I'll get into that a little more later. 

Also, although I've been really good with my diet for the past few months, lately I've been slipping a little more than usual. Since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease again in September, I started feeling a little sorry for myself. I felt like it was unfair, like I shouldn't be dealing with Lyme again, especially after my hip and blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine . . .

But, really? It was just an excuse to eat more sweet potato chips and trail mix.

So, the Grain Brain challenge is -- in my opinion -- just what this happy runner needs to get things back on track. And, hey, if my brain is going to benefit? Well, huge win right there.

OK, so, now you know that I'm in. But what exactly is the challenge?

Good question. Here's the deal. In the book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter makes a very strong and well-supported case that grains are pretty much the root of all evil when it comes to your brain. Sure, he uses all sorts of more refined, scientific and medical terms but, basically? Grains = evil. Fat, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Not evil at all, despite what the medical establishment would have you believe.

"The diet heart hypothesis that suggests that a high intake of fat or cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit, and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprises, food companies, and even government agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century." -- Dr. George V. Mann, one of the participating researchers in the famed Framingham Heart Study (from Grain Brain, page 78)
Fat, in fact, is and always has been a fundamental pillar of our nutrition. Good fats, like DHA omega-3 (found in fatty fish and algae) help reduce inflammation and certain vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, require fat in order to be absorbed properly. This is important because, as Dr. Perlmutter points out, the root of many brain conditions is inflammation, which can be triggered by carbs, especially those containing gluten and that are high in sugar. 

The first few chapters of Grain Brain lay out Dr. Perlmutter's claims, like the above, and offer support through multiple studies and reports and Dr. Perlmutter's own observations. In addition to discussing why our brains need fat, and why it isn't the big bad cause of heart disease, he also explains the connection between the grain-and-processed-crap-heavy standard American diet and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other brain conditions.

It is all extremely interesting to me -- especially because it is in-line with what my doctor prescribed to help repair my nerve damage and it fits with other research and reading I have done. I've been following a mostly sugar-free diet since January and have been (mostly) Paleo since early May. The dietary changes have made a big difference in my life. I'm ready to try out what Dr. Perlmutter prescribes in Grain Brain.

So here it is.

About the Challenge

The Grain Brain Challenge is a 4-week challenge to make some lifestyle changes to benefit your brain. It starts with some supplements that Dr. Perlmutter actually recommends taking for life. As in, forever.

For the challenge, I'll be taking:
  • GNC Preventive Nutrition resVida, which contains trans-resveratrol
  • Spring Valley Omega-3 Fish Oil Soft gels with 1,000mg of DHA and EPA
  • BrainStrong DHA with 900 mg DHA from algae

Some of the supplements that I'll be taking during the challenge.

These will supplement what I already take (and that Dr. Perlmutter recommends):
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin D
  • Coconut oil
Each week of the challenge has a different focus and they look like this:


Week 1: Focus on Food

Shift your body away from relying on carbs for fuel and add brain-boosting supplements to your daily regimen.

Week 2: Focus on Exercise

Incorporate a fitness routine into your schedule if you don't already have one. (Got that one covered!)

Week 3: Focus on Sleep

Work on getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week.

Week 4: Put it all Together

Establish a new rhythm and maintain healthy habits for life.

The big thing, of course, is the food. Isn't it always? Here is the What to Eat and Not to Eat from Grain Brain:

Foods Allowed:
  • Healthy Fats – extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, organic butter, almond milk, avocados, nuts and nut butters, cheese (except blue cheese) sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
  • Herbs, seasonings, and condiments
  • Low-sugar fruits and vegetables – avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, lemons, limes, leafy greens and lettuce, spinach, broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, green beans, celery, garlic, asparagus
  • Protein – whole eggs, wild fish, grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, pork
Foods Not Allowed:
  • Gluten including whole-grain and whole-wheat forms of bread, noodles, pasta, pastries, baked goods, and cereals
  • Processed carbs, sugars, and starch – corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chips, crackers, pastries, muffins, pizza dough, cakes, doughnuts, ice cream, jelly, processes cheese spreads, juices, honey, sugar, corn syrup
  • Packaged food labeled “fat free” or “low fat” except for things like water, mustard, balsamic vinegar
  • Margarine, vegetable shortening, cooking oil
  • Soy – soy burgers, soy nuggets, soy hot dogs, etc.

OK. Most of that, to me, is no problem. No problem at all. I have already ditched the bread, pasta baked goods and cereals. Margarine, corn syrup, soy? Yuck. Ditched those, too.

But . . . sweet potatoes?

Duuuuuuuuuude.

It is going to be a rough 4 weeks without my beloved sweet potatoes. And, quite honestly, I'm going to have a hard time giving up my daily bananas and dried cranberries. I had best be getting this brain in super-sharp shape!

We'll see how it all shakes out. I'm committed to 4 weeks and I'm ready for it! I'm not totally sold on adding dairy back in to my diet so I'll have to figure that one out. Maybe I'll experiment and maybe it will be fine. Who knows? I guess I will at the end of 4 weeks!

I'll report on the challenge from time to time. (You can't wait, can you?!?) In the meantime, if you're interested in following how the challenge is working out for others, pop over to Twitter or Instagram and the hashtags #GrainBrain or #GBChallenge.

Have you read Grain Brain?
 Do you have experience -- good or bad -- with giving up grains and sugar? 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Goddess Garden Organics winner!

I'm so late with this winner post! Life has just really been getting in the way lately :-)

Before I announce the winner, let me thank everyone who entered -- and all of you who stop by to read my reviews and enter my giveaways. I appreciate the support!

Now, I chose the winner using random.org and the winner is . . .




Heather @ runodonnell



Congratulations!! 

Shoot me an email (felicehalf [at] yahoo [dot] com) with your mailing address so you can get your new lotion.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



Want to read more from The Happy Runner? Stop over HERE for more giveaways, reviews, and running- and parenting-related posts.