Protein Up! with Silk Soymilk

Throughout marathon training I had a real problem with runger. I just felt hungry all… the… time! I thought it was due to the big miles I was running, and that probably contributed. But I’m still feeling pretty ravenous and I haven’t run since the race. My body needs fuel to heal and rebuild all the little microtearing that happens from running a marathon, but also to just function in daily life. And here’s what I’m realizing… I’m still skimping on protein! I need to increase that more, it will help me feel fuller and more satisfied.

I used to be really good about making meals that were “balanced” and contained a wide variety of food groups and nutrients. And then I got busier. Life happens! Work obligations, being a mom, taking care of a household… And with time limited I got in the habit of shoveling a bowl of cereal in my face each morning. Cereal is great, but just making a simple switch from an almond/cashew milk to soy milk on my cereal each morning I’m introducing more protein with hardly any effort.

Silk Soymilk has 8 grams of plant-protein per serving, the same as dairy milk! Since it comes from plants, there is no cholesterol and it is low in saturated fat. Plus it just tastes good!

For my upcoming half marathon training, I’m going to try to get back into the habit of consuming more smoothies to get a range of nutrients from fruits & veggies and to increase my protein intake. While I usually like yogurt in them, I do prefer a plant-based “milk” for the liquid. Soy milk is awesome for boosting the protein and creaminess factor in a smoothie.

But smoothies do take a little more time to make, so that’s why just incorporating it in simple ways will make a difference too. Topping my cereal with Soymilk is a fast and effortless change and I feel like every second counts these days, especially in the mornings! I’m trying to re-bank some of the sleep I lost over the past several months! (Wishful thinking!)

However, this is deliciousness worth a few extra minutes:

  • orange juice
  • banana
  • ​Silk Soymilk
  • blueberries
  • yogurt and/or plant-based protein powder
  • optional add-ins: spinach, any fruit you can think of, carrots, chia seeds, oats

And it’s easy to sip while sitting at a desk… or maybe if you’re commuting to work or school… or just sitting on the couch and watching TV!

Whether you’re already a fan of Silk Soymilk or looking to try it, I encourage you to visit silk.com/lovesoymilk for a coupon to save on your next purchase.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Clif Organic Energy Food

So… a little while back I was sent some pouches of the latest and greatest(?) from Clif – their Organic Energy Food pouches.

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The ingredient list impressed me… nice simple food ingredients. The flavors intrigued me… the fruit ones sounded decent enough and well… Pizza Margherita is definitely unique and deserves some kind of attention, right?

Let’s get to the fruit ones first, okay? I thought those were great. They tasted wonderful, they went down easily and they stayed down. The problem is the size of the pouch. It’s actually convenient so you can carry it and sip on it a little bit while running without worrying about it getting all over as much as a gel pouch might. But… it’s just big. And the cap is big. And the whole thing makes for a bulky bit of cargo. And it would be really annoying to try to haul multiple packs in a waist belt. (And seeing as how I’m running Boston soon and no back packs are allowed on course, I had to stick with a waist pack.)

This was consumed on my run today, I REALLY liked it! @clifbarcompany #organicenergyfood

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

So onto the other flavors… I admit, I was both excited and terrified to try these. The positive: they contain nice ingredients.

Now for the negatives… The pouch is even bigger than the fruit flavors. They contain a lot of fat which could be harder to digest, provided you get them down. Which I didn’t. On two separate long runs I took one of the savory flavors with me. On each occasion I tried them around the 15-mile mark. Each time I got one sip (bite) and promptly spat it into the rocks.

Soooooooo baaaaaaaaaad…….

I’m sorry Clif. I love you, I think you’re swell and I like many of your products. My daughter thinks your Clif Kids Zfruit+Veggie are candy. But these Clif Organic Energy Food pouches… I can’t even! (That’s what they say these days right? “I can’t even!”)

Apparently NPR can’t even either.

 

No Cow Bars

I was really excited when I was offered the chance to try these new No Cow bars by D’s Naturals.

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Reasons to be impressed:

  • Things that are not included: Dairy, GMOs, Gluten, Sugars, Artificial Sweeteners, Soy
  • Fun Flavors: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: Mint Chocolate Chip, Blueberry Cobbler, Chocolate Pecan Pie
  • High protein: 20 or 21g of protein per bar
  • A story: The founder/CEO is an 18-year-old … that is pretty remarkable!

I was very intrigued when I read most of those stats… and when I got the bars I was pleased when the first bite had really good flavor for most flavors. The blueberry was kind of “meh” for me.

So… are you getting the impression that there is a BUT here? Cause there is one small caveat. But it’s also kind of a big caveat too.

The texture.

Even with a good flavor, I found the texture undesirable. It just felt dry and laborious to muster a will to want to keep chewing.

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I prefer my food-in-bar-form to remind me of actual food. I like seeing visual cues of familiar items like nuts and fruits and oats. So overall, these were not a success for me.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Marathon Training Last Week

My training for the Boston Marathon last week was powered hindered diminished by:

Mucinex Mucus character

That’s that creepy little Mucinex character from commercials… I never knew mucus needed a cartooning, but that’s handy for a blog post. So…. thanks Mucinex, for that ugly little cretin that describes the problem and for the handy-dandy meds that help one find relief.

On a more positive side… my life was fueled by:

I’ve got new @clifbarcompany bar flavors! #NutsAndSeeds #BerryPomegranateChia

A photo posted by Jill (@jillwillrun) on

For a couple of days I was hanging out very close to the kiddo to catch any upchuck. She wanted to eat, but I didn’t want more food to come up all over… so we were both kind of avoiding regular meals. Me – because I didn’t want her to feel bad as I ate and she – because she didn’t need to have more in her stomach to spew. These new Clif bars were easy for me to grab and eat (too) quickly so I had energy to continue with my mom duties.

(Dear Clif… I’m sorry I talked about your delicious new flavors in a post about disgusting stuff. But thank you for these new flavors… they are now going to be my new go-to flavor for Clif bar consumption before races. I greatly prefer flavors without chocolate for pre-race, usually sticking to the blueberry. But I really liked these ones! I think I will eat one of these and a banana the morning of the Boston Marathon and then drink some Generation UCAN about 45 minutes before race start.)

The good news is that today… I’m feeling pretty decent. Not perfect, but much better than the past 5 days. I’m hopeful that I will be able to pick up my training tomorrow with a lunch hour run. And #AwesomeA is great too! She’s been feeling better for a few days, aside from a little bit of overly dramatic toddler reactions to random things at random times lately. But if that’s an illness… well, every kid that age is afflicted and apparently they outgrow it.

Sweet Calcium

Taking a supplement in pill form seems so passé these days. You can get so many in a gummy format these days, even fiber… which seems very odd to me. But you know what is an even better way to get it? In chocolate form.

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I was sent a couple of bags of Adora calcium supplements to try and I decided it’s kind of fun to get calcium in a chocolate flavor… and not in those chewy, faux-chocolate chunks like other varieties. These even come in a milk or dark chocolate variety depending upon your tastes.

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I think I actually preferred the dark flavor over the milk chocolate, although both were good. These aren’t going to be knock-your-socks-off, “Did you visit a chocolatier for these?” morsels, but they’re tasty and make a nice post-meal treat. If you’re a real chocolate connaisseur, you’ll still want your splurge favorites. (BTW – got a favorite kind of fancy chocolate?)

Plus, it’s nice to know you’re getting some additional nutrients in with them. An average adult would need 2-3 disks a day to get the RDA and they also contain Vitamin D3 to help the body absorb the calcium. Each disk is 30 calories with 2g fat and 2-3g carbs, depending on the variety. They’re non-GMO, gluten-free, and made with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ cocoa.

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You can pick these up via Amazon, the Adora store, or look for a retailer near you.

The one issue I have with the candification* of supplements/meds is that it makes them seem like treats and something to snack on more than some kind of specific fuel for your body when you may be lacking in a nutrient due to dietary difficulties/deficiencies. And it makes kids want to snack on them more… back in the day the kids vitamins were made to be flavored, but there was still a medicinal aspect to them.

* I totally made up the word candification, but I kind of like it!

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

Egg White Chips – Protein snack food

Remember I said I was going to try to eat more protein this year? (If you don’t, it doesn’t matter… here’s an update: I’d like to try eating more protein this year.) Anywho… I was excited about the possibility of trying a chip made out of egg whites. Sounds kind of weird, huh? But that’s exactly what ips All Natural chips are made from! (ips = rhymes with chips = intelligent protein snacks)

ips All Natural Chips

These egg white chips come in four flavors and each bag has 130 calories and 6 grams of protein. They don’t have much fiber, all of them have less than one gram. They are non-gmo, preservative/artificial color-free and gluten-free.

I liked the story about how they came to be: The founder, Sean Olson, makes breakfast for his kids and they always liked the crispy edges of fried eggs.  So he thought he would try to make a healthy snack that incorporated that good source of protein.

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All of those aspects made me want to love them… but I didn’t love every flavor. I found the Sea Salt and Black Pepper flavor to be too peppery for my taste buds. And the cheese flavor was just so-so. My daughter ate a couple of those and then stopped and told me to “Put them away.” The BBQ is decent and the Cinnamon Sugar flavor was my favorite. And even though they have “sugar” in the flavor name, there are only 3g of sugar so it’s not like they’re super sugary.

You can look for them in a store near you (they’re at a lot of Vitamin Shoppe stores in Vegas) or you can order online.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.

GU Brew Reformulated

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Earlier this fall, GU reformulated their GU Brew to put the focus first and foremost on the athletes hydration and electrolytes. This means it has fewer calories and carbohydrates and an even lighter taste profile than the previously light taste. Now the flavor is “ultralight”!

The new flavors are:

  • Lemon Lime
  • Orange
  • Lemon Tea (caffeinated, 20mg)
  • Blueberry Pomegranate (double sodium)
  • Watermelon
  • Tastefully Nude

The new formulation has 70 calories and 19 grams of carbohydrates per serving, with 250mg of sodium and 30mg of potassium (except Blueberry Pomegranate, 2x sodium – 500mg sodium!)  The carbohydrate source combines complex carbohydrates (in the form of maltodextrin, a glucose polymer) with simple carbs (as fructose) in a 50-50 balance, to make it easily digested while still providing lasting energy. The idea is that it can be used for shorter workouts, or in combination with gels or Chomps for longer duration.

I have been drinking it PRIOR to runs without any digestive distress. It mixes up easily in a water bottle, dissolving almost instantly so there is no wait time, clumping or built-up fizzy pressure. It comes in canisters, as well as single-serve packets which could easily be shoved in a belt/pack for midrun mixing.

I am impressed with the flavors as well, none of them have been particularly horrible and I was surprised at the fact that Watermelon ended up being my favorite. I usually hate watermelon-flavored things… other than actual watermelon! :-) I didn’t have any “Tastefully Nude” to try, but that’s a fun name!

GU is also being pretty innovative with their gel flavors of late… ever craved a Root Beer Float midrun? Well… neither had I, truthfully, but it’s pretty tasty! I found the Caramel Macchiato loathesome, but I don’t like many coffee-flavored things.

Lastly they have Roctane electrolyte capsules, for runners who want to get extra electrolytes in without the flavored drink.

GU is doing some great things and it’s fascinating to hear their process. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, an elite runner AND the Director of Research for GU Energy Labs did an interesting podcast for Another Mother Runner on nutrition, which you can listen to online.

A New Nut “Milk” in my Fridge – Silk Cashewmilk

I haven’t had regular cow’s milk* in about… (hang on, I’m getting older, let me do the math…) 23 years. At least. To go along with that… I’m a cereal-eater, that’s been my go-to breakfast since I was small. So when you eliminate dairy, you need something to put on your cereal. (Trust me, water or juice isn’t going to cut it. Just yuck…)

* I do eat yogurt… the live active cultures and all make it easier to consume.

So in the early days of milk removal, it was hard to find a substitute that would work. These days I’m very lucky, and Silk is one of my go-to brands for cereal-topping. Almond milk, coconut milk, almond-coconut milk… all in regular rotation at my house. Then I received the news that they had just released a new variety… Silk Cashewmilk!

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk

There are two varieties available: Original and Unsweetened. I usually go with Unsweetened options, so that’s what I picked up. (Side note… I had to make a special trip to Walmart to buy this. It was the only store near me on the Silk store locator that carried Cashewmilk. I don’t like shopping at Walmart… it’s always so crowded and it makes my blood pressure skyrocket. So apparently I was dedicated to trying this! LOL! But I will be happy when I see it in my regular grocery stores too.)

Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk nutrition panel

There’s not a lot of cooking going on at my house right now. I was in a bit of cooking funk, and then our kitchen remodel got underway. So I don’t have countertops… or a sink… it makes for a strange environment for cooking, probably not all that hygienic. But I do have paper bowls and spoons and the use of my refrigerator, so I can have a bowl of cereal!

I wish I could serve cereal for every meal. How do I make that a balanced approach? Because it literally takes no time and I don’t have to worry about living with a picky spouse or a toddler who might or might not be eating at that moment. There’s a cereal for everyone!

Did you know that if you microwave shredded wheat sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with nut milk and drizzle it with honey or maple syrup and add frozen (or fresh/defrosted) berries it makes a wonderful hot breakfast? I’ve been doing this for years and thought I was particularly brilliant in coming up with this… yet my most recent box of shredded wheat actually suggests to do this! I will just claim I elevated it with cinnamon and berries.

Shredded Wheat Cashewmilk Hot Cereal

But I have successfully used Almondmilk in place of regular milk in a wide variety of recipes, so I assume Cashewmilk would work the same. I do know that Almondmilk does not work in instant pudding, it never thickens. I wonder if Cashewmilk is the same, hmmm…. Of course, I kind of want to try this recipe for Creamy Cashew Pudding and use Cashewmilk instead of the almond milk it recommends. That’s a much more wholesome recipe than a boxed pudding!

Signing up for the Silk e-newsletter will let you know when they release new products and also give you an instant coupon code. They also encourage a dialog on the Silk Facebook page about what people think about products.

Do you drink nut “milks” and would you try Silk Cashewmilk? Why or why not?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Enjoying nature with my favorite snack

Thanks to LÄRABAR for sponsoring today’s discussion

The first time I ever tried a LÄRABAR was at a marathon expo in 2008. I was amazed at how much wonderful flavor was packed into a bar with so few ingredients and I was immediately sold. I have been eating them ever since and I pretty much always have a LÄRABAR or two in my bag at all times. My 2-year-old has loved them since before she was one! Due to my introduction to LÄRABAR, I will forever associate them a little bit with physical activity, but I will still eat them at my desk!

So it’s no surprise that LÄRABAR has its roots in physical fitness. In 2000, founder Lara Merriken was on a hike and inspired to create a product that combined wholesome ingredients, but was also fun, enjoyable and good for you. LÄRABAR offers a variety of products to fit your needs and now offers 19 flavors in its Original Fruit and Nut Bar™. The brand has expanded to include eight flavors of LÄRABAR® über®, six flavors of LÄRABAR® ALT®, four flavors of LÄRABAR® Jŏcalat® and a new grain free granola called LÄRABAR® RENOLA™. Everything LÄRABAR offers is gluten-free, non-GMO and Kosher, with the majority of the products being soy-free, dairy-free and vegan.

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This weekend I hit the trails, not for a hike, but to run. They were groomed trails in a state park not hardcore single track, but it was still running on dirt nonetheless. I love running out in the dirt, there’s something about that experience that feels so free and relaxing. I just don’t get to do it much and I definitely don’t get to drive to far off trails now, life is too time-crunched. But it’s nice to have some trails in the city limits!

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I was sent a LÄRAbag full of bars and RENOLA as part of this campaign. It was nice to be re-introduced to some flavors I haven’t had in a long time like Key Lime.

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Let’s talk RENOLA for a minute… I knew I wanted to try it because I have enjoyed everything LÄRABAR makes so far. But when I read it was a grain-free granola and seemed to be a mix of seeds/nuts/fruit… I admit, I was a little concerned. I mean, that mix of ingredients is great, but it just doesn’t speak to me as a “granola”. I was wrong… somehow they’ve made something retains the texture of granola but doesn’t have the grains. It is amazing. Try it!

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If you haven’t tried the products before or you already love them, snag this coupon to get $0.50 off purchase of any LÄRABAR. Locate a retailer near you!

LÄRABAR is encouraging everyone to get outdoors in celebration of National Take a Hike Day on 11/17/14 and share their experiences using the dedicated hashtags (#eatclean and #getoutside) on various social media. I think I’ll try to get out with the dog and the toddler (the hubby can come along too!) the day before to celebrate.

Want to Win Some LÄRABAR?

Win your own LÄRABAR assortment of 16 LÄRABARs and RENOLA to try. Just leave a comment:
tell me what flavor of each you would like to try and why you’re interested in that
OR
you can tell me your own favorite #getoutside story and how a healthy snack like LÄRABAR would play a role in that.

I’ll draw a winner on November 3. Winner must be a US resident and at least 18 years of age.

WINNER: Susan – comment #6

This post was sponsored by LÄRABAR by my love of the outdoors and their bars is completely true.

Hüma Gels: Blueberries and Mangoes

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I was sent two packets of Hüma Gel for review, one in each new flavor. Thoughts are always my own.

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I reviewed Hüma Gel on my site a year ago, their original two flavors. They recently launched two new flavors: Blueberries and Mangoes. (Yes… there is only one pictured up there. I consumed it before taking a picture. Just picture that one with a yellow package and it says “Mangoes” instead, aiiiight?)

Since I already reviewed Hüma Gel once before, I just want to say the new flavors are tasty. I think I’m going to give Blueberries the edge in these two… but the original Apple Cinnamon is still my favorite in their lineup. Their gels are all natural ingredients; you can actually read the list and understand it, so I feel good about recommending these.

A while ago I started to do some research on “premium gels” and why they cost so much. And well… life got in the way of actually getting it posted. But one of the gels in my premium list was Hüma Gel, and I had reached out to them to get some details about why it costs so much (about $2.25 per packet). Here’s what they had to say:

  1. Ingredients. How concerned is the person about the ingredients they consume? I know many athletes aren’t concerned at all (men in particular); they just want something cheap that works. However, for the athlete whose primary concern is health and fitness, ingredients are important. These people are spending hours upon hours of sweat and pain to be healthy, so they want to make sure the ingredients they’re ingesting support that goal rather than detract from it. Huma could save a lot of money by using ingredients like maltodextrin, potassium sorbate, or sodium benzoate…but that’s not what our customers want, so we only use 100% all-natural, real food ingredients whose names you can pronounce. Of course, there are side benefits to only using 100% all-natural, real food ingredients: smooth, easy to swallow consistency, no weird aftertaste, and zero stomach problems!
  2. Cutting Edge Performance Research. Some of the energy gel companies have been using basically the same formula for 20+ years. Obviously, the human body doesn’t evolve very quickly, but our understanding of it has grown tremendously. Huma Gel takes the best of past research and combines it with the latest studies to bring you the best performance gel on the market. To top it off, all our citations are publicly available on PubMed for consumers to verify on their own!
  3. Great Taste. Seriously. One of our top priorities was great taste, and we cut no corners in making that happen. Having a legitimately great taste is probably the biggest reason we’ve expanded so quickly.

Read their Energy Gel 101 for the science on gels and how to best use them.

A couple other factoids:

Q: Where did the name “Hüma ” come from?
A: Hüma is based on the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. Unfortunately, using “Tarahumara” as a name would have been far too long for our gel package, so we chopped it down to “Hüma ”.

Q: How is Hüma pronounced?
A: Hüma is pronounced “Hoo-mah” (not “Hew-mah”, though German speakers will fight on this one). The umlauts mean absolutely nothing except to make a smiley face. Hüma is happy gel!

Q: Will the fiber content in Hüma gels cause me to do a porta-potty dash?
A: No. Chia constitutes only about 1/8 of the ingredients, which is little enough to not cause GI distress. In fact, Hüma gels have a fantastic history of being stomach-problem free.

Disclaimer: All reviews are my own opinion, this product was provided free for the purpose of review.