Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

February 20, 2017

4 Reasons Why I'm Using Collagen Peptides {Vital Proteins Review & Giveaway}

Disclosure: I was 2 complimentary tubs of Vital Proteins for review. The giveaway is fulfilled by Vital Proteins. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Like me, you may have read or heard of people (particularly in the paleo crowd) taking gelatin for health benefits such as a drinking bone broth. However, you may be wondering what do gelatin or collagen peptides actually do? Gelatin, like that JELL-O stuff?  

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and collagen peptides have the same amino acids as gelatin, however they are just processed differently.
Collagen peptides are hydrolyzed a.k.a. broken down into smaller amino acid chains so they are more easily digestible (I will forever be a chemistry nerd so I LOVE learning about food science). 

I had heard of Vital Proteins from reading about them on various blogs, and then had the chance to talk to the lovely people at the Vital Proteins booth and snag some samples at Natural Products Expo East 2016. Vital Proteins was nice enough to send me a tub of their collagen peptides and collagen beauty greens to try out. 


The Collagen Peptides powder in the blue container come from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides so they are not vegetarian. At first I thought it was a little weird that it was powder from cows, but after that initial moment of weirdness now I love how they are a natural and sustainable source of protein.

The green container of Collagen Beauty Greens contains marine collagen peptides along with greens, probiotics and skin healthy helpers like hyaluronic acid, all in a yummy coconut vanilla flavored powder. 


Because collagen is a protein in our own hair, skin, nails, bones, cartilage, and joints, the powder will help all of these parts of our body. Besides containing protein, studies show that collagen peptides can improve gut health, skin health, bone and joint health, and hormonal balance. There is a lot of research out there on the use of collagen for hair and skin health, which I found from just doing a quick search of a research database.

I've been taking the collagen peptides about 4x a week (mostly because there are always a few crazy days where I am rushing out the door), and the collagen beauty greens more sporadically. It's hard to tell from only a month, but I think my hair and nails look healthier and less brittle. 

So now that you know a little bit about collagen peptides, why have I been using them? 


1. They are easy to take every day.

The collagen peptides are dissolvable and unflavored (no, they do not at all taste beefy). I most often easily mix a scoop in with my coffee or tea in the morning-I can’t even taste that it was added. I have also mixed collage peptides into smoothies, juices, yogurt, and oatmeal. I’m not a huge protein powder person lately so I love that these can dissolve in both hot and cold beverages easily and add a nice protein boost to whatever I'm drinking. 


2. Collagen peptides are great for my bone health.

After my stress fracture I was interested in focusing on my bone and joint health. While the DEXA scan I had showed normal bone density, I figured supplementing and ensuring strong bones and joints couldn’t hurt. Basically bones are made up of minerals and collagen fibers. Collagen makes up 90% of our bones so ingesting collagen peptides may help bone metabolism and help increase bone density. You can read more and find links to specific research studies here. This is one of the bigger reasons why I started using collagen peptides. 

3. Vital Protein products are natural and not full of junk. 

Literally the only ingredient in Vital Proteins collagen peptides is collagen peptides, so I know exactly what I am ingesting. You can read on their website about how they exclusively produce their collagen peptides in Brazil because their cows don’t have hormones too. 


4. Skin health is important to me.

No matter how young I look or feel, I am getting older every year (and quickly approaching 30, eek). My body will continue to change and dreaded wrinkles (or what I will call my happy lines) will one day in the future start to appear. I have always been conscious of my skin health after having to go to a dermatologist and have some suspect moles removed starting at a young age, but making sure my skin looks great as I age is important too. If I can supplement with collagen and get the added bonus of helping out my skin, that is a win-win for me. 

So if you are interested in adding collagen or collagen peptides to your diet check out Vital Proteins. They offer all different sizes of products including travel-sized pouches and free shipping in the U.S. 

Vital Proteins was nice enough to offer (1) 10 oz. tub of their Collagen Peptides to giveaway to one reader. Enter the Rafflecopter below (U.S. residents only, sorry!) before the giveaway ends on March 6 at 12 AM EST.

Have you ever taken a collagen supplement? Have you read about gelatin or collagen supplements before? 

October 21, 2016

Super Berry ProYo Smoothie Bowl

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ProYo. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Right before Expo East this year, I was introduced to the one of exhibitor products, ProYo, a protein-packed frozen yogurt pop.  I really find myself needing to up my protein and not just eat sugar-packed protein bars on-the-go, plus I love ice cream & frozen yogurt. It seemed like a win-win and spoiler alert: they taste delicious! Each 4 oz ProYo tube is made with creamy probiotic yogurt packed with 20g of protein, 2g of fat, 3g of fiber, and only 140 calories plus is rated as low-glycemic. It's also gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO.  

I love that I get an extra helping of probiotics to help my tummy out as well as 25% of my RDA for calcium. The pops come in various flavors including Vanilla Bean, Dutch Chocolate, Banana Vanilla, and Blueberry Pomegranate. Truthfully, I can tell the pops have that slight whey/protein taste,but despite this I still had to tell my boyfriend to keep his hands off of them! 

Despite being delicious right out the package, I've found that the recommendation on the ProYo boxes to blend with water like a smoothie has been one of my favorite ways to eat them. It's great make 'banana ice cream' with frozen bananas and pop one of these in there for a different flavor plus extra protein.  

When I'm feeling a little more ambitious to whip up a pretty food-blogger inspired smoothie bowl, I've been making a variation of the one I'm sharing on the blog today.  I really prefer eating thick smoothies out of bowls and love being able to top them with all sorts of goodies (chocolate chips is a favorite topping!). This is a berry ProYo smoothie bowl topped with superfoodie toppings like chia seeds. 


Super Berry ProYo Smoothie Bowl


      1 Tube Blueberry Pomegranate ProYo High Protein Frozen Yogurt
      1/2 Cup of Frozen Strawberries
      1 Tbsp honey
      ½  Tbsp of chia seeds
      ½  Banana
      4 oz milk (based on preference)
      1 handful of ice cubes
Toppings (optional)
-       ½  banana
-       1 Tbsp peanut butter
-       ½ Tbsp chia seeds
-       1 Tbsp hemp seeds


– Squeeze ProYo Blueberry Pomegranate Tube into blender.

– Add ½ banana, honey, and ½ tbsp. of chia seeds
– Add 4 oz of milk and handful of ice cubes.
– Blend all ingredients together and pour into a bowl.    It maybe a little thick so use a spoon to help.
– Slice ½ banana and place on top of bowl. Top bowl with peanut butter, chia, seeds, hemp seeds, and anything else you’d like!
– Eat immediately and enjoy!

If you don't have any ProYo on hand this recipe could work by substituting 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt or various other substitutions. Obviously I totally recommend the ProYo (plus it's simpler), which you can find in the freezer aisle at Giant stores locally in the Maryland area or check out their store locator for more options. Check out more recipes on the ProYo website including mine :) 


Do you enjoy drinking smoothies or eating them out of bowls? What is your favorite snack topping?

October 13, 2016

My Go-To Post-Run Snacks with Relay Foods MD

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Relay Foods. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Thank you SO much for all of the congratulations on my previous post-yes a race recap for the Chicago Marathon is coming so stay tuned! 

With travelling and a really busy rest of the month ahead, I definitely am in need of some healthy and easy grocery shopping and meal prep options. I've reviewed Relay Foods MD before and even shared a yummy marinated mushroom recipe from Relay Foods that is still a favorite and easy side dish. I was definitely excited to place an order after getting back from Chicago so that food shopping was one less errand I had to run. 

Basically Relay Foods is an online grocery store where you can shop online from their stock of products and groceries from over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  


Relay Foods also just released their new rigorous food standards, ensuring that they are always offering foods good for you, the community, and the planet. 

I just completed an order of my favorite easy snacks to refuel with after a run.  I always try to eat something within the 30-60 minute post-run window, even if it's a snack before I get the chance to make a meal. Honestly I'm always hungry so it's easy to eat, but it's good to try to get a snack with a good 3:1 carb to protein ratio that will help my body recover.  

Check out my go-to post-run snacks: 


1. Bananas with nut butter 

(right now I'm loving Relay's Own fresh ground almond butter). 

2. Michele's Granola and yogurt (like this Liberte black cherry whole milk yogurt) 

Michele's Granola is a delicious Baltimore brand that is not too sweet or heavy on the sugar and is super crunchy. 

3. Organic chocolate milk 

(I limit dairy but chocolate milk has great a great recovery ratio and is super easy to drink a glass of while I'm prepping a larger meal!) or these single serve boxes

4. Trail mix

I'm a sucker for trail mixes especially ones with lots of different nuts, dried fruits, seeds and of course some chocolate chips. This Antioxidant Mix, Berries & Chocolate also satisfies my sweet tooth!

5. Energy Bars

It's easy to have an energy bar in my gym bag or purse to have on hand, especially if I'm away from my apartment or need to drive home from a run. Some of my favorites lately are the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabar, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate KIND bar, and Coffee Chia Health Warrior bar

Relay Foods has a great Refer a Friend (RAF) program in which if you're a current customer you can refer friends to try out Relay Foods with your link and you both save! 

Currently a RAF link will save a new Relay Foods customer $20 off of their first order of $60 or more and the person who's RAF link it was, will also get $20 credit. During the month of October it has been increased to $30 off of $60 (still for new customers only!) and the RAF link owner will also get $30. 


If you haven't tried Relay Foods and are curious, please use my Relay Foods link to save $30 off your first order of $60. If you already are a customer, share your code with friends to save! 

What's your go-to easy post-run or post-workout snack? 

July 11, 2016

Relay Foods News and Marinated Mushroom Salad

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Relay Foods. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Happy Monday-hope you had a great weekend like I did! Like I mentioned a few months ago, I started using Relay Foods when things get really busy (when aren't they for me?) to help making cooking and my attempts at meal-prepping easier.  

You can read more about it here, but if you haven't heard about it, Relay Foods is an online grocery store-they are allowing you to shop at your convenience from their stock of over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  

Relay Foods also has some new things going on including a new Doorstep program where you get unlimited deliveries for the month for only $19/month with no contract and the ability to cancel at any time.  


Their website includes a fun meal-planning section which includes great recipes for all occasions. The best part is you can order all of the ingredients for each recipe through the website with the click of your mouse.  

I ordered these portabella mushroom caps for $4 immediately once I found this delicious-looking Marinated Mushroom Salad recipe. 

You simply marinade the portabella mushrooms in a mix of balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, soy sauce, and dried Italian herbs and then cook. It was a great side dish to some delicious chicken thighs for dinner. I loved the strong balsamic flavor of the salad. It gets a thumbs up from me! 


One of my FAVORITE meal prep options I purchased in my last Relay Foods order was the "Five Day Dinner Pack for Two".  For $35 I get all 5 days of protein options for my boyfriend and I so all I need to worry about besides cooking these is making some sides.   The pack included frozen 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1.6 lb Wolf Creek grassfed london broil as well as fresh 2 boneless pork chops and San Miniato sausage.  All of the meats were really high quality and tasty!

I paired the pork chops from the dinner pack with a big organic Muraski white sweet potato from my order for a simple dinner one night. 


Something I planning on grabbing in my next order is their new Local Bounty Share which is a collection of local produce (aka from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina). It's like a CSA except requires no commitment AND you get to preview what you are getting in your share ahead of time.  It comes in half or full sizes so you can pick what works for you! 

I'm still a big fan of Relay Foods obviously and love that it makes getting local produce easily, especially during the summer when travelling causes me to miss my favorite weekend farmers markets.   If you are curious, remember  
you can get $20 off your first order with my Relay Foods link!

What's your favorite side dish suggestion right now? 

May 13, 2016

5 Friday Favorites 5/12/16 featuring Sweet Note GF Bagels & Birthday Cake

Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary Bloom VoxBox through my partnership with Influenster.  I was sent two complimentary packages of bagels to review from Sweet Note Bakery. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Yikes I'm still alive, guys. A crazy busy month of schoolwork and work plus 3 weeks of assignments due like everyday and now finals has me barely hanging out here in my corner of the internet! Don't worry I'm still running and eating. Just less running and more eating lately. I'm back today with some of my favorites from the past week. I still have finals week brain so I'm looking forward to having a really relaxing weekend!

5 Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Beverage: Coffee, Espresso, etc. 


Duh, graduate school and end of the semester means lots of coffee beverages all day, everyday. You have pretty much always been able to find me lately with a 32 oz. Nalgene full of water and a coffee in the other hand.  I love popping over to Ceremony Coffee in the afternoon for a cortado or coffee. You can also grab some Gundalow Juice while you're there which is a bonus!  

2. Favorite Breakfast: Sweet Note Gluten-Free Bagels


I love carbs but know I feel better when I can limit some gluten. When I tried these bagels on a breakfast sandwich at my local bagel shop (holla THB!) I was pretty impressed with the texture. 

 Eventually I chatted Sweet Note Bakery up on Twitter (Philly-area love!) and sampled more of the flavors at Expo East this past year. Their New-York style bagels are top 8 allergen free including being vegan and gluten-free They were nice enough to send me a couple bags of frozen bagels which have been an awesome breakfast I can take with me out the door these past few weeks.  The snickerdoodle bagel picture here has all this ooey gooey cinnamon sugar on the outside which is SO yummy especially when made into a PB&J bagel. 

3. Favorite Food: Birthday Cake


It was my birthday last week on Cinco de Mayo so I was treated with this huge piece of red velvet cake (best in the city as introduced to by Sarah) after a birthday afternoon run. It was marvelous, and I ate every bite. Cake is good running fuel, right? The next day I ate some of my ice cream cake and proceeded to eat a slice for the next 3-4 days straight. Dessert is the best, especially when it's your birthday. 

4. Favorite Workout: Spinning


The few weeks I've been going to a spin class at Rev once a week, and it's reminded me of a couple things. One-spinning is a sweaty awesome workout. SO sweaty. Two- spinning is a  great complementary workout for running. This blurb I saw in an issue of Women's Health magazine only confirms that!

5. Favorite Package: Bloom VoxBox from Influenster

Through Influenster I was picked to get the Bloom VoxBox, which was actually the perfect little package for finals week. I mean of course I needed a study break to paint my toenails with the Sinful Shine nail polish. Let's be honest, the chocolate chip Sunbelt Bakery granola bar didn't make it very long either! 

What is one of your favorite breakfasts, foods, or workouts of the week?

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as NicoleJilland Amanda .

May 9, 2016

My Top Mid-Run Fuels

As I'll soon be gearing up for marathon training season and getting serious about long runs, I thought I'd share what my go-to mid-run fueling products are.  

I'm the type of person that always eats before a long run or race. I also follow the general recommendation of taking in 100-200 calories (25-60 grams of carbohydrates) every hour, after the first hour of running.  For me this mostly applies to longer runs or marathons.   

Sometimes I don't eat anything during a half marathon, but if I do it's either some gummy candies, chews, or a gel around mile 7 or 8 if I feel like I need it.  Obviously this is just my preference and what works me. I encourage you to grab a bunch of different types of fuels and flavors and see what you like.  Lots of people also eat natural fuels, which I have tried. Honestly it's easier for me to grab these pre-packaged fuels, and so far they have all worked for me. 

For me I want something that has enough carbohydrates, sits well in my stomach, and is pleasant to eat (both taste and texture!).  I still sometimes try out new flavors, but here are what are really my top mid-run fuels: 



nuun hydration plus and active

Obviously as a Team Nuun athlete, I use nuun hydration as a hydration product to replenish electrolytes during and after workouts or runs. I usually always drink a glass of nuun with me before long runs and drink it during workouts or runs if I carry water. I mentioned before that nuun active has been reformulated to better work with the body and is vegan, gluten-free, non-gmo, less than 12 calories a serving, and free of any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives!   

Recently nuun launched a product called plus for nuun which contains carbohydrates. You mix 2 tablets of plus for nuun with 1 tablet of nuun active with water. Each serving of this will contain 11g of carbs, 48 calories, as well as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. I love using this during runs where I don't really want or need to take any fuel to eat and as a supplement during races. 

1 tube of 10 tablets of nuun active is $7.00 and 1 tube of 6 servings is $6.99 MRP. 

HoneyStinger Waffles and Gels

I also am a member of the HoneyStinger Hive this year and really like their products. Their organic waffles are these crumbly, delicious waffle snacks which now come in some gluten-free varieties. I mostly eat them before a run or race but sometimes I'll cut one up and take it with me on a run.  It also totally caters to my sweet tooth. They also weirded me out before I tried them, but now I like them a lot! 

I also really like the HoneyStinger gels. I'm a big fan of the taste of honey so I sometimes get the flavored gels but usually go for the Gel Gold which is 95% honey and gluten-free. 1 Gold Gel packet is 100 calories and 27g of carbs. It literally just tastes like honey plus I like that it is more of a natural sugar product.  

Here's the actual unwrapped and cut up HoneyStinger waffles! 
1 box of 16 HoneyStinger waffles runs for $22.74 and 1 box of 24 HoneyStinger Gold Gels runs $33.40 MRP. 

 GU Salted Caramel Gel


GU is one of the most popular running fuels out there.  I like some of the other flavors like Salted Watermelon and Chocolate Outrage but Salted Caramel is my undisputed favorite. I discovered this flavor when I was training for my first marathon and it carried me through on race day. Each packet is 100 calories and 22g of carbs.   The only downside to GU is you really need to take it with some water for optimal absorption and because it is pretty sticky. I totally end up with GU all over my face when I'm eating these mid-run sometimes. Really super attractive. 

1 box of 24 GU Energy Gel runs $34.80 MRP. 

Gummy Candy or Chews 

 Ugh this photo sucks. I'm sorry, but I'm not a professional and it was the best of the bunch. 


A pretty simple go-to for me, especially when I'm not marathon training or practicing a specific fueling is just to take some gummy bears or Swedish Fish with me on a run. They are delicious and provide some simple sugars (aka carbs!). Plus I like that they are small so I pack some in a little baggie and eat them as needed. Or just eat the whole bag because they are delicious. A bonus is you can pretty much buy candy at any gas station or convenience store if I find myself in need of fuel in a hurry.   

I also really love the HoneyStinger Chews if I'm carrying a fuel chew.  This was the first HoneyStinger product I like because they just taste like gummies and are really soft and easy to eat.  My favorite flavors are the Cherry Blossom, Pink Lemonade, and caffeinated Cherry Cola chews.  For the Cherry Blossom organic and gluten-free chews, each packet is 160 calories and contains 39g of carbohydrates.  

1 bag of candy is going to be about $2. 1 box of 12 HoneyStinger Chew packets retails for $27 MRP. 

Disclaimer: Through my partnerships with nuun hydration and HoneyStinger I receive a discount on product. I totally loved these products and this is not a sponsored post. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

This post was linked up with Weekend SnapshotsMIMM, Wild Workout Wednesday

What do you eat for fuel mid-run? Do you use natural or store-bought products? 

April 8, 2016

Relay Foods MD Review: Healthy Groceries for Busy People

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Relay Foods. I received a complimentary $50 gift card  from Relay Foods MD in return for my review. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

The past couple of months have been ridiculously busy and kind of a mess as far as planning ahead goes, especially when it comes to packing lunches and making dinners! That means lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast or lunch (like at least one a day, most days) and throwing together whatever I can in 10 minutes for dinners.

I was really excited when Relay Foods MD reached out me to work together. 
Basically, Relay Foods is an online grocery store-they are allowing you to shop at your convenience from their stock of over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots around the city or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  There were plenty of spots in Baltimore City and county that I could've chose from, but I didn't have to go far and picked a spot right in my neighborhood!  

I love it because I don't have time to be driving to a bunch of different stores and seeking out all the fresh, healthy ingredients I want. I also love that there are local vendors that I haven't been aware of whom I can learn about and whose products I can order! 


I had ordered once from them a few years ago and just never happened to again.  They were one of the first places online nationally to stock Gundalow Juice so of course I was a fan! They have redone their website and it's so much cleaner-looking and more user friendly! On the website you can shop by item type, what's on sale, what's in season, featured products, organic products, or even specific meals. 

I also love that you can keep lists and add favorite items so ordering something again or at another time is made easy.  All of the prices are clearly labeled so you'll know how much you are spending. As a bonus, you can change your order by adding an item you might have forgotten up until midnight the night before your delivery!

You can get $20 off your first order with my Relay Foods link!
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