Franklin's Gourmet Popcorn Pack- Delicious pre-measured corn, oil, and seasoning Review

Thursday, December 18, 2014

We just sampled Franklin's Gourmet Popcorn! Over the years, we've tried to air pop, cook on the stove, and microwave popcorn. Each method has it's pros and cons, but I've never used pre-packaged kits that contain the seeds, oil, and seasonings.

The Franklin's Popcorn kit comes with everything you need (minus a heat source) to pop perfect movie-type popcorn. The ingredients are organic, non gmo and gluten free.

It was super easy to make - and the best, super easy to store! This is just as easy as microwave popcorn but a whole lot tastier and possibly healthier.

You can order them in multi-packs and just keep them in the pantry. I think they should even be added to an emergency kit. Think about it - popcorn (calories), oil, and flavor - all in an easy to store packet with a super long shelf life. And you can make them over a rocket stove or roaring campfire. This is good entertainment food and storage food.

How does it taste? Great!! I make air popped corn a lot, but it is always lacking in flavor. Sure you can add butter, but it never covers right. You can pop with butter on the stove, but you'll end up with burned butter almost every time. And popping with canola or olive oil just tastes wrong.

This is a great tasting  popcorn and the percentage of oil and seasonings are perfect to cover every kernel in flavor. We really enjoyed it.

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received. 

Lemon Oil - 100% Pure & Natural Essential Oil

Recently, I started making my own soap. I got all "organic" with it and added raspberry seeds, oatmeal, chunks of dehydrated lemon.... I wanted lemons because of their antibacterial and exfoliating properties. But they made my soap rip apart - not at first, but after repeated use. The whole bar of soap just crumbled into lumps.

Then I heard about Lemon Oil. All the benefits of lemon, none of the lumps. I started using it in soap and it was fantastic. The vitamin C exfoliates and brightens skin. But then I started reading more about it and found out there are all sorts of uses - massive cleaning options, mood enhancement, as an air freshener, in cosmetics and soaps, and even as a supplement.

The lemon oil I reviewed is 100% lemon oil - no other ingredients. It smells wonderfully of lemon (strong lemon) and the bottle is 4 oz, so it should last a long time.

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Simple Health Yacon Syrup Review

Looking for a natural sugar alternative? I recently had the opportunity to sample Yacon Syrup. It's a syrup made from yacon roots. The crazy thing is I was just looking up andean root crops to try and grow more root crops in my forest garden and I discarded yacon roots because they were way too low in calories!

And so it is with yacon syrup. As far as I can tell, it has no calories or essentially zero in each serving. See why it wasn't a "food crop" I wanted to grow? But people eat yacon roots because they like the taste, and its prebiotic properties.

What does the syrup taste like? Sweet, mild. I have tried it my tea. I rarely use sugar to sweeten products, but I could imagine this would be a great product to wean sugar users off of sugar. They would still get the sweetness, but none of the empty calories or insulin spikes. Then they could be weaned even further until they no longer required sweeteners?

Perhaps this is why it is recommended for diabetics?

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Compression Shirt For Women Review

I wear rash guards every time I'm in the water. For modesty, sun protection, and performance. Can you really surf or paddleboard if you're worried about something coming untied or having a body part exposed? I also wear them under my clothes in the winter for an extra heat layer.

I had a chance to review this Compression shirt from Goddess Rash Guards. I own quite a few compression shirts and rash guards, so I ordered the size I normally buy. It fit perfectly. I was worried because there were comments about them being "form fitting" or "tight."  This wasn't an issue.

The color is vibrant, the fabric is exactly as I expected, and the best part - no logos!!! I can't tell you how big a benefit this is.

Not having to have someone's logo plastered on you body every time your out is fantastic. I wish I had found this rash guard a year ago, when I bought a similar (but logo loaded) for swimming.

Looking for a quality compression shirt? The Goddess Rash Guards are a good choice.
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received.

USANA’s Berry Nutty Bar Review

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Looking for an all natural snack bar? You may want to consider, USANA’s Berry Nutty Bar.  It's a bar containing raw almonds, cashews, dried cherries,a and cranberries. All good stuff!  We had the opportunity to sample a couple bars and they taste great! Here are the nutritional details:

  • 160 calories
  • 8 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 8 grams of dietary fiber
  • 22 grams of carbs 
  • 9 grams of sugar

I have yet to see these in stores, but would definitely get them again when I do.

*Disclosure: I received complimentary samples for review purposes. No compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.

Car Seat Back Protector/Cover Review

As soon as I saw the Car Seat Back Protector, I thought - "why didn't I think  of that???" For years, my kids have been kicking the back seat and getting it full of dirt and salt. I ask them not to, and they try, but for the most part when they sit in the back, their feet stick straight out and touch the seat in front without even trying.

It's well made of sturdy materials and covers all of the back of the seat. At first, I thought I wouldn't like the buckles that hold the cover in place. I thought it was going to feel uncomfortable to the person in front, but they can easily hide down into seat crack.

If you don't want the back of your seats ruined, then this is a worthy investment.
*Disclosure: I received a complimentary product for review purposes. No compensation was received.

Prenatal Multivitamin Review

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why do we even take vitamins? I take them to supplement any holes in my diet or in the nutritional components of the the food I eat. It's well known that our soils, and the food grown on them, are less nutrient dense than they used to be. That means, even if we eat the "right food" we may come up short on vitamins and minerals. 

But I've always had a problem taking "artificial" vitamins. The vitamins you get in whole food are vastly different from the vitamins made in a laboratory. They may contain some of the same chemicals, but maybe not all of them or not in the right arrangement. It's a tricky situation.

Luckily, there are options. First, grow your own food and feed your soil well! Second, source your animal products from farmers that raise them the way nature intended - on pasture and eating a variety of whole foods.

Then, look for whole food vitamins. I had no idea they even existed until I had the chance to review the NutriGold Whole-Food Prenatal Multi Gold vitamins

Here is some information about multivitamins directly from the manufacturer:

About Multivitamins
Multivitamins are supplements that contains at least 3 or more vitamins and/or minerals in amounts that are below tolerable upper limits established by the Office of Dietary Supplements to help ensure that the body's nutrient needs are met and risks of health conditions associated with specific nutrient deficiencies are minimized.
Most commercially available multivitamin supplements feature vitamins and minerals in one or more of the following forms:
  • Synthetic isolates created wholly in a lab from industrial chemicals
    Cultured nutrients created by culturing vitamin and mineral isolates in nutritional yeast
    Whole-food nutrients extracted from natural food sources (e.g. herbs, fruits, spices, & vegetables)
    A combination of the three forms listed above
Forms of Multivitamins - Synthetic Isolates vs. Cultured Nutrients vs. Whole-food Nutrients 
    • Synthetic Isolates - Although not ideal because they are synthetic and created in a lab from industrial chemicals, synthetic isolates are frequently used in commercial multivitamin formulations to achieve high doses of vitamins and minerals without the premium price tag associated with food-based and whole-food vitamins. Although relatively inexpensive compared to cultured nutrients and whole-food multivitamin supplements, products formulated using synthetic vitamins and minerals suffer from issues related to poor bioavailability, poor assimilation, non-compliance due to metallic/medicinal aftertastes, and tend to produce side effects like nausea when taken on an empty stomach.
    • Cultured Nutrients - Cultured Nutrients are synthetic isolates that are cultured in a blend of nutritional yeast, S. cerevisiae being the most common, and other vital nutrients. The benefit of culturing isolated vitamins in this nutritional yeast blend is that it transforms the vitamin isolate into a whole-food matrix that resembles food. This form of vitamins is safe, natural, wholesome, and does not have the metallic taste associated with synthetic vitamin isolates. This form of vitamins is also better assimilated/utilized by the body than synthetic isolates.
    • Whole-food Nutrients - The terms "whole-food" and "food-based" are, without a doubt, the most overused and abused terms in the supplements industry. Most companies use these terms loosely to either market vitamin isolates cultured in yeast / probiotics or, in extreme cases, to market products that contain synthetic vitamin isolates along with a small amount of fruit and vegetable powders to justify the reference to "food" on the label. This kind of labeling is misleading and a disservice to customers who are looking for vitamins derived from conventionally grown food sources. As a general rule, products that claim to be "food-based" or "whole-food," and list yeast (S. cerevisiae) or probiotics instead of the actual food source that the vitamins were extracted from are NOT true whole-food multivitamin products. Whole-food vitamins and minerals are highly bioavailable nutrients that are extracted by concentrating the full spectrum of naturally-occurring nutrients and their co-factors from conventional food sources like fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices..
Prenatal Multi is a synergistic complex of food-based nutrients concentrated from 100% certified organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs using a patent pending process AND ActivFood™ nutrients cultured in a proprietary whole-food matrix comprised of nutritional yeast, probiotics, bioactive enzymes, glycoproteins, lipoproteins, chlorophyll, glucomannan, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), glutathione, ß-glucans, lipoic acid, essential trace minerals and CoQ10.Prenatal Multi does NOT contain any vitamins or minerals in the synthetic form.
Prenatal Multi  - Head-to-Toe Wellness Support 
  • Cognitive Function - Folate, B6, B12, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Organic Annatto Extract, Organic Lemon Extract
    Hair and Skin Health - Vitamin A, Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), Folate, Biotin, Vitamin C. Vitamin E, Copper, Iron, Selenium, Zinc, Organic Amla Extract, Organic Annatto Extract, Organic Lemon Extract
    Cellular Energy Production - Vitamins B1, B2, Niacin, B5, B6, Biotin, B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Zinc, Organic Amla Extract, Organic Annatto Extract, Organic Guava Leaf Extract, Organic Holy Basil Extract
    Cardiovascular Health - Niacin, Folate, Vitamin E, Vitamin K2, Magnesium, Organic Lemon Extract, Organic Holy Basil Extract
    Glucose Balance - Biotin, B12, Chromum GTF, Magnesium, Vanadium, Zinc, Organic Sesbania Extract
    Bone Health - Vitamin D, Vitamin K2, Magnesium, Zinc
    Prenatal Health - Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Folate, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Zinc, Organic Amla Extract, Organic Lemon Extract, Organic Curry Leaf Extract
    Immune Function - Beta-carotene (and other carotenoids), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Zinc, Organic Amla Extract, Organic Annatto Extract
    Pregnancy-related Nausea, Digestive Discomfort - Organic Ginger Extract
The Whole-Food + Cultured Nutrient Prenatal Multi Advantage
  • No Synthetics: The TRUE whole-food + cultured nutrient multivitamin and multimineral supplement with absolutly NO synthetic vitamin isolates
    Organic + Whole-food: Synergistically formulated with certified organic nutrients concentrated from fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and ActivFood™ nutrients complexed in a whole-food matrix
    Gentle on the Stomach: Can be taken with or without food
    No Unpleasant Aftertaste: Nourish your body without any of the unpleasant aftertaste associated with consuming synthetic vitamin isolates
    Complete Nutrition Each serving delivers 100% or more of the daily values of 19 essential vitamins and minerals for complete head-to-toe protection
    Optimal Health Rich source of Iron and Folate to support a healthy pregnancy and fetal developement
    Purity and Potency Verified by independent, third-party labs
    Perfection Manufactured to stringent cGMP standards without the use of GMOs, additives, fillers, binders, artificial ingredients, preservatives, Stearates, Sulfates, Laurates, and Dioxides
Prenatal Multi Key Health Benefits: Supports energy production, heart health, cognitive function, immunity, healthy aging, and overall well-being*
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Prenatal Multi contain anything other than the active ingredient?
In addition to the active ingredient, each vegetarian capsule of this multivitamin product contains a food concentrate that the nutrients are cultured in, which includes S. cerevisiae and other vital nutrients like CoQ10, complex carbohydrates (beta-1,3-glucans and mannan), dietary fiber, SOD (superoxide dismutase) and glutathione (an antioxidant found in yeast that plays a major role in cellular defense mechanisms). To some extent, this food concentrate is considered an integral part of the active ingredient and does not qualify as an additive or filler in the truest sense of the word.
Is Prenatal Multi free of allergens and GMOs?
Prenatal Multi is verified free of egg, gluten, milk, peanut and shellfish by an independent, third-party lab. Although the product contains a soy derivative (Natto, from which the K2 is extracted), the soy protein allergen is removed during processing. Individuals who have an allergen or intolerance to soy, yeast or any of the other ingredients in the food concentrate that the multivitamin nutrients are cultured in should consult their healthcare provider before taking the product. This product is pending GMO-free verification by the Non-GMO Project™.
Is Prenatal Multi suitable for Vegans / Vegetarians?
Prenatal Multi does not contain any animal-derived ingredients and is, therefore, suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.
Is Prenatal Multi safe for long-term use?
Prenatal Multi should be safe for both short-term and long-term use when taken as directed and under the guidance of a licensed pharmacist or healthcare professional.
Is Prenatal Multi suitable for individuals with a medical condition?
Individuals with a known or suspected medical condition should always talk to a licensed medical professional before beginning any form of supplementation. It is never advisable to self-diagnose or self-treat a medical condition.

So why did I take Prenatal vitamins? Am I pregnant? Ha! Fortunately not! But they are the first whole-food vitamins I have come across and nutritionally they are well balanced for a female, pregnant or not (in my opinion.) They are about the same size as ordinary vitamins. I assume they are doing the job....

I am a sporadic vitamin taker, so knowing for sure that I have better remineralized my body or improved my overall health, will take a bit longer to evaluate.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

All Natural Parasite Cleanse Review

Living in a civilized society, I bet you never think about parasites. But they are out there, and if there should ever be a real emergency that limits your access to clean food, clean water, sanitary sewer systems, and a clean uncrowded living space, then you will want to know how to rid yourself of parasites and intestinal worms.

Even under the best of conditions, you can be exposed to parasites. A trip to an exotic location or a trip to the grocery store, they are out there.

I had the opportunity to review the All Natural Parasite Cleanse from NatureWorks. I did some reading first, to see if I might be infected with parasites right now. Then I did even more digging to see if anyone in my family - even my pets - might have an infection.

I am fairly certain we are parasite-free for now, but I like the idea of having an easy 10-day cleansing system to rid the body of worms. I read about each of the ingredients and they are indeed used to get rid of worms.

You could gather the supplies to make your own parasite medicines, but it will take practice, time to grow the plants (if they will grow in your area) and it's messy. I still recommend it for the long term - plant some wormwood, gather some whole cloves,  locate a black walnut tree, and stock up on some diatomaceous earth.

But for a quick emergency, I recommend you keep a bottle of the Parasite Complex in your medicine cabinet. That's what I am going to do. I love knowing that I have this aspect covered - at least for one person - if we were to encounter parasitic worms. It also saves me an embarrassing trip to the doctor where they will likely recommend the same types of treatment, assuming easy access to medical care. I will also be packing this when we go on vacation. Bad things happen on vacation, and I learned long ago to always bring bacitracin, antibiotics, and ibuprofen. Now this will be added to the list as well.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes

Monday, December 8, 2014

I use a pressure cooker often. I have found it so useful for making "one pot" stews and soups. And that's basically all I know how to make in the pressure cooker. With those limited skills, I still love the pressure cooker and would recommend any one who cooks at home to get one.

So I ventured out into other pressure cooker recipes in this book: 225 Best Pressure Cooker Recipes.

There were stews and soups, meals like beef stroganoff, tons of chicken based meals, and even desserts!!

I read through the recipes and they have inspired me to try a few new things, but I honestly can not fathom making cakes in a pressure cooker. I'm amazed that it's possible, but I am most interested in "meals" in the pressure cooker.

Luckily, that is the main focus of this book and it is something you could flip through on a busy weeknight to look for a recipe that uses whatever happens to be in your pantry at the time and whip something up. It's a good cookbook.

*I received a complimentary book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation for this review.

Home Herbal Remedies Book Review

I recently had the opportunity to review the book: Home Herbal Remedies. It interested me because I grow a permaculture-style food forest and include a lot of medicinal and edible herbs.

The book is beautiful inside and does give a good overview on how to make tinctures, extracts, and poultices. Every remedy has a complete how-to picture and description.

Unfortunately, I just didn't find it useful to every day life. Many of the "illnesses" are things I would never treat - even if they occurred in our household. And beyond that, some of the most useful remedies were not even included (including wormwood, willow bark, mullein, garlic...)

I think the concept was good and the product was beautiful, but I would rather see a more practical use book and one that tackled real, every day problems that one may want to treat without modern medicine.

*I received a complimentary book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation for this review.