Category: Reviews

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Review and Giveaway

Note: I was given a 2 oz bag of Hemp Hearts through a Sweat Pink campaign in exchange for reviewing them. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

I like trying new food, especially if it’s healthy, so I was excited when Sweat Pink offered the opportunity to try Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts. I had seen them at Costco before but wasn’t sure if I would use the big bag that Costco sells, especially since I had not tried them.

Here’s a pic of the front and back of the sample I received.

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Here’s the back of the package the sample came in, which has great info:

IMG_8837.JPGHemp Hearts are packed with nutrition. Each 30g Serving has 10g of plant based protein and 10g of Omega 3 & 6. They have less carbs and more protein and omegas than the same serving of chia or flax. Also, they are raw, vegan-friendly and Non-GMO.

The first time I tried them, I sprinkled them on my Greek yogurt. It tasted pretty good! Hemp Hearts taste nutty and added a great flavor to my yogurt!

IMG_8891.JPGBesides adding Hemp Hearts to my yogurt, I’ve also added them to my Shakeology  shakes which I drink each day. I think Hemp Hearts are a great addition to all different kinds of food to make them healthier. You can add them to salad, cereal & yogurt, and smoothies. They taste fine right from the bag too! I know I’ll be buying more once my sample runs out.

You can check out Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts on their website. If you would like to try them, Sweat Pink and Manitoba Harvest are offering 20% off everything at ManitobaHarvest.com with code HHSweatPink14, which expires November 30, 2014.

There’s also a contest going on now. Manitoba Harvest is giving away a 5 lb bag of Hemp Hearts (yes, 5 LBS) to one lucky winner.  To enter, get creative in the kitchen and tag @manitobaharvest, use #hemphearts, and #sweatpink in your Instagram and/or Twitter posts and you’ll be automatically entered. The contest runs until November 30, 2014.

In addition, I’m giving away a 2 oz. package of Manitoba Harvest’s Hemp Hearts for a lucky reader to try! This giveaway is open to US residents and Canada. It will end on October 28. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE!

Have you tried Manitoba Harvest products? If so, which is your favorite?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My giveaway runs 10/19/14 to 10/28/14 12:00 A.M. PST.  No purchase necessary. One winner will be selected via the Rafflecopter widget. Open to US residents 18 years of age or older. Must have a non P.O. Box mailing address.   Winner will be notified, and will have 48 business hours to claim prize. If original winner does not claim prize within 48 business hours an alternate winner will be selected. Contestants must enter on the Rafflecopter in order to win. All winning entries will be verified. If a winning entry cannot be verified as completed, a new winner will be drawn. Winner will be provided the product directly from Manitoba Harvest.

Jackfruit chips – a great snack. Have you tried them?

While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I noticed a new item, Crispy Crunchy Jackfruit Chips. I have had jackfruit chips before, but had always got them at Asian stores, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them at Trader Joe’s.

IMG_8644I don’t think I have ever tasted a raw jackfruit. I looked up more info on jackfruit and found that the fruit is native to South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India. Thailand and Vietnam are major producers of jackfruit. The fruit is made of soft, easily digestible flesh bulbs.

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For the chips, the flesh bulbs are somehow dried to make crispy chips. I love the taste of them! They are sweet and crunchy. A tropical taste, it’s hard to explain. Some describe it as a mix of mango and banana. All I know is that I like it! They’re addicting. My kids like the chips too! I think it’s a great snack!

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The bag is filled about half way. I wish there was more in it…lol.
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Looking at the label, there’s only two ingredients, which is nice! Jackfruit and rice bran oil. I wasn’t sure what rice bran oil was and found out from wikipedia that it is the oil extracted from the hard outer brown layer of rice after chaff (rice husk) and can be good for your cholesterol. There is a lot of sugar but there’s no added sugar. Half the total fat is saturated fat but at least the serving size is the whole bag. There is no Trans Fat, which is good.IMG_8664.JPG

I think this is a great snack that everyone can enjoy. Jackfruit chips are also available at Asian stores but the Trader Joe’s chips are good too! 🙂

Have you tried jackfruit chips or raw jackfruit? What’d you think?

ENERGYbits…have you tried these?

I had first heard about ENERGYbits from my sister who had sampled them. She seemed to like them but she said they were too pricey for her. I saw them once and I wasn’t too intrigued about swallowing the recommended thirty to forty bits, which is a serving. They also looked like pills and smelled funny. A couple months later, since I was following ENERGYbits on Twitter, they asked how my training was going and one thing led to another and they offered me a sample to try. I was eager to try them since I kept hearing great things about them on social media. A big thing to note is that they are not pills or a supplement. They are bits of real green food (algae that is harvested and air dried).

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According to energybits.com:

 ENERGYbits® have just ONE ingredient – organically grown NON GMO spirulina algae – a super food endorsed by the United Nations and NASA as the most nutritionally dense food in the world. Spirulina has been a favorite of gold medalists for decades. They are made from 100% organicallly grown, NON GMO spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients. The tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab.

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ENERGYbits® Health Benefits

  • Helps improve physical energy
  • Helps improve endurance
  • Helps reduce fatigue
  • Helps speed athletic recovery
  • Helps reduce brain fog
  • Helps build muscle
  • Helps improve mental focus
  • Helps reduce hunger
  • Provides natural nitric oxide
  • Provides a replacement for greens 
  • Provides a replacement for  protein
  • Helps fight free radicals with high concentration of antioxidants
  • Helps balances body functions and is100% alkaline
  • Helps improve skin, hair, nails, bones and eye health
  • Helps improve mood
  • Healthy snack on the run
  • Raw food, great for vegans or those who hate greens
  • Safe nutrition for anyone of any age, from children to seniors

Nutritional highlights of Spirulina:

  • Ten times the amount of bio-available protein as steak
  • Contains 64% protein compared to meat (22%)
  • More beta carotene than carrots
  • 48 times more iron than raw spinach
  • 12 times more iron than beef liver
  • Richest source of antioxidants – necessary for health, and anti-aging
  • Richest source of vitamin A (which helps your eyesight)
  • Richest plant source of GLA (an Essential Fatty Acid similar to Omega 3)

Below is the sample size I received. It’s about 2.5 servings. The picture on the right shows a serving of thirty tabs in the front tin.

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So the first time I tried them, I took thirty bits about fifteen minutes before I went for an eleven mile run. They weren’t too bad to swallow. I just took a few at a time and followed them with water. You can chew them but I didn’t want to. I’ve read about people chewing them and having green teeth lol. They do smell fishy but it doesn’t taste like anything when you swallow, so I would recommend swallowing them. I felt good throughout the run and my energy was great. But for some reason I got a side stitch around mile 8. I don’t think it was due to the ENERGYbits. I had been getting them lately. But I still got a great time on my 11 mile run. I felt like my energy was good during the run despite the side stitch but was eager to see how I’d do using the bits on another run.

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Then the next time I took the ENERGYbits was last Saturday, for the Oregon Half Marathon. I took thirty bits about twenty minutes before the race started. I felt great especially at the beginning through the middle of the run. It wasn’t until after mile eleven when I started losing steam. I think if I had used more bits throughout the race, I wouldn’t have felt like my legs were tiring. But I felt good and energized for most of the run. It wasn’t like a burst of energy but was just steady. I was running fast and it didn’t even feel like it. It wasn’t until towards the end, when my legs felt heavy that I knew I was running slower. But I PR’d on my half time!! My previous record was 1:53:00 and I got 1:51:10. IMG_8216.JPGMy experience with ENERGYbits has been great overall. I think I’ll be buying a bag. I want to experiment more with running with just bits. I used gels during the race too, but I’m thinking the bits are a lot better, especially since they are all natural. There are no chemicals, fillers or artificial ingredients. The only downside to ENERGYbits is the cost. They are expensive. A bag of 1000 bits costs $115. Ambassadors have codes that you can use for 30% off, so would be $80.50 per bag or $2.44 per serving if you use thirty bits as a serving. The price isn’t too bad if you consider how much some gels are and other types of fuel.

What do you think? Have you tried ENERGYbits or Spirulina algae?

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Disclaimer: I did receive a complimentary sample to try but my opinions are my own.

Simple Hydration Water Bottle Review

I don’t think many runners have heard of this nifty water bottle from Simple Hydration. I first saw this at my local Mom’s Run This Town Spring Social and thought it was an interesting looking water bottle but didn’t think much of it. Then maybe a month later or so, I believe there was a post about the bottle being on sale, a buy one get one free sale. I’m all about sales. 🙂 It was getting hotter out and my runs were getting longer. I wasn’t happy about my current hydration system and thought it would be cool to try, so I decided to purchase one bottle since I would get one free due to the sale.

My previous hydration system was a running belt with two small bottles by Profile Design. It’s a more bulky system and I remember one of the bottles came out once while running. I probably didn’t put it in right but I don’t like the feeling when running with a water belt. There’s the jiggle and you have to make sure you put the bottle back in correctly or it might fall out. So I was excited to try the Simple Hydration Water Bottle.

I received the bottles in the beginning of June. Here’s the pamphlet it came with:IMG_7965.JPG

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I love how simple and easy it is to use! All you do is stick it on the back of your shorts or belt. I have a FlipBelt and it works really well with it. I can easily place it on my back with the FlipBelt because it has a hook design. It holds 13 oz of liquid and is so easy to grip. Here’s a pic of the packaging it came with:

IMG_7969.JPGIMG_7971.JPGThe packaging says, “Designed for runners or anyone on the go. Slides into your waistband, race belt, pocket, life!”

It’s also BPA free and made in the USA.

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I really like running with it on my long runs. I think the longest run I’ve ran with it is 12 miles so far. Getting fluids is important on long runs especially when it’s hot out and this bottle delivers. I love the grip and it’s so easy to hold and drink with while running! It just fits so comfortably in my hand. It’s really well designed. I just flip the top up, drink, and then place it behind me where I can slip it or hook it on to my FlipBelt. It takes a little time to get used to the process, but I like it. It’s not that noticeable to me, unlike wearing a belt with the bottles. It fits nice and snug because I use it with the FlipBelt. The bottle stays put, doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall out, and it hasn’t dropped on me. I’ve had it for about three months now. It’s remarkably simple and I love it! I’ve used it a lot since it’s been so hot out and I’m running longer runs.

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Here’s a picture of me wearing the Simple Hydration Bottle:IMG_7880.JPG

The Simple Hydration Bottle is so easy to use and works great! I just thought I’d throw it out there as an option for those who may not have heard about it. It retails for $19.99 at http://www.simplehydration.com/. It is also available on Amazon.com – Simple Hydration Water Bottle – 13 oz.

What do you use to hydrate when running long?

I’m linking up with Workout Wednesday (WOW) Link Up! 

This one is brought to you by Diatta Harris at Femme Fitale Fit Club and Sheila Simmons at The Frugal Exerciser and Co-hostesses Amanda | Eat Hard Work Hard and Jenn | Comeback Momma

Femme Fitale Fit Club

Benefits of Water and Free Water Tracker Apps

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We all know that water is good for us. It makes up most of our body and is vital to our being.

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It does a lot for our body!
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Many people don’t drink enough water though. They say that we should be drinking at least half our body weight in ounces to stay hydrated. If you’re active, you should be drinking even more water. It’s hard for me to keep track of drinking enough water so I started looking into apps that would help me. I found two free apps that I like, Plant Nanny and Waterlogged.

Plant Nanny is a cute and fun app. If you’re not into cute apps, this isn’t for you lol. It will calculate how much water you need to drink by your weight and activity level. Then you log your water by clicking the cup on the lower right and holding it until it fills. Each time you log your water, it feeds the plant that you choose. In order to keep your plant alive and help it grow you need to give it water. I think it’s a fun way to keep track of how much water you’re drinking. You can set up reminders and there’s a a bunch of different flowers you can grow once you have enough seeds. I already have two plants and am working on my third :).

Here are my plants:

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It’s a really cute app and makes water tracking fun lol.

The second free app is called Waterlogged. It’s a nice and simple app. In this one you have to click on the bottle and then hit the record glass button. There’s an extra step compared to the other app since you have to click twice to log your water. But it’s no biggie. You can even take pictures of your own cup or water bottle that you use for water. What I really like about the app besides that it tracks how much water you drink, is that you can sync it to your fitbit account.

Here are some screenshots of Waterlogged:20140804-202346-73426675.jpg

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I’ve mostly been using Plant Nanny since it’s fun to grow the cute plants :P, but I think Waterlogged is a good one too if you like a basic water tracker that can also sync to fitbit. After using a water tracker, I’ve realized how much water I was lacking before since it’s made me up my water intake. It’s a great tool.

Do you use something to track how much water you drink?

Flipbelt – An Awesome Belt for Running

I was first introduced to the FlipBelt when I was at the Portland Rock’n’Roll Expo. I was going to run the Portland Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon the next day. I thought, that looks like a nice idea for a belt but at the time I was thinking I don’t need this, I already have a belt. Little did I know, it would’ve been nice to have the FlipBelt for that race. For some reason, during the race, the belt I already had, my Spibelt, kept bothering me. It was loose and I had to keep moving it down. I’m not sure if it was the extra Gu I put or what, but it bothered me during my race. I didn’t check if it was tightened enough I guess and I didn’t want to stop  during the race to figure out what was up. I probably should have since it annoyed me but I didn’t. I just kept pushing it down while running. Because of that race, I decided to look at different possibilities to hold my phone and Gu.

There was a lot of new stuff like the FlipBelt that intrigued me besides the Spibelt. Someone on one of my Facebook groups mentioned the HipsSister. I looked at it but didn’t really like the way it looked. I thought the band looked to high. The height of the band on the body is higher than the FlipBelt. It’s like five inches whereas the FlipBelt is three inches. Here’s a picture of the HipSsister and then one of me wearing my FlipBelt:

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I like how the FlipBelt is a lot smaller but still can fit what I need to carry.

The packaging of the FlipBelt was simple. It gives you some key points of the belt. There’s also some small pictures showing how you can flip the belt to lock the items. I felt while running with it that there’s no need to flip the belt to lock items. My phone and Gu fit snug enough and did not fall out at all while running.

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The FlipBelt is made of 92% Polyester and 8% Spandex. It feels very durable to me and of great quality. On the packaging, you also see the sizing chart. Sizing is very important!!

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I did not get the right size at first and I could tell because it was riding up my waist while I was running. Not a good thing. But they have an awesome return and exchange policy. Below is what it says on their website:

Returns Policy:

We have a 100% customer satisfaction gaurantee policy!  We are that flipping confident you will love the FlipBelt.  If you are in any way unhappy with our product, please return it to us within 30 days of purchase.  Simply request a return on your account page or request a return on our site.  Once we receive your return request, we will email you a return label.

We will email you as soon as we receive your return.  Expect to receive a credit within a week or two after.

Easy Exchanges:

We understand that online shopping and sizes do not mix.  If you are having issues with size or color, simply order a new one online and return the old one within 30 days.  See above for returns.

I ordered the smaller size, an extra small, and was able to get it pretty quick. I took it on a ten mile run and it was awesome! I could hardly feel it on me. I carried my iphone 5 in it and it felt snug against my belly. The belt did not ride up on me this time. I did not have to adjust it during my run. It was great! It was just like part of my clothes, my waistband. I also liked how I was able to just slip my phone in and out through the slit. I did not have to worry about any zippers, just had to open the slit a little and slide my phone right in. It’s nice!

The next run I ran with the FlipBelt, I put a packet of Gu in the back slit to test if it would stay. I ran five miles that day and the Gu stayed there the whole way and did not bother me at all. I thought pretty cool! This works great! I didn’t have to flip the belt at all to lock the items. This belt totally solved my problem of not having to adjust it during my runs, which I did with the Spibelt.

Here’s a comparison of the Spibelt. As you can see in the picture below, the Spibelt does stretch a lot more, so may be able to fit more. I use an iphone 5 and it fits fine but the FlipBelt does claim to fit all phones comfortably with the exception of the Note 2. While running with the Spibelt I did feel a little jiggle in the second pocket with the two Gu I put in during the race. With the FlipBelt, it was snug enough I couldn’t even feel the Gu. I had to check and feel if it was still there on my run. The Spibelt is nice but if you don’t have it adjusted right like on my race, which I didn’t think to check it can be an annoyance. With the Flipbelt, it’s snug just how it is. You don’t have to tighten the belt at all, so you don’t have to worry about adjusting. It’s awesome!

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Below is a photo of what it looks like with my phone. I have easy access to slip my phone in and out to take pictures. When I would put my phone in my Spibelt I had to mess with zipping and unzipping, not anymore. 🙂20140605-220437-79477653.jpg

I also like how it’s inconspicuous. You can’t even see it since my shirt usually covers it. For the pictures above, I had to lift up my shirt.

So I gotta say I love the FlipBelt! It has now replaced my Spibelt. If you’re looking for something to store items easily while running, walking, or whatever, try the FlipBelt!

I’m part of the Moms Run This Town group and they have a discount code. Use code MRNTHSTWN for 10% off!

What do you think? What do you use to store items while running?

 

OMG, these are good! barkTHINS snacking chocolate

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Have you tried these? I got this bag of barkTHINS snacking chocolate with fruit from Costco. It’s the Blueberry Quinoa flavor with agave. These are so good! I had a couple of pieces after my dinner and it makes for a great dessert. The quinoa makes it crispy and sort of reminds me of a Crunch bar, and the blueberries add to the flavor of the dark chocolate. It’s so yummy!

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I like how it’s made with natural ingredients. I didn’t know what Fair Trade Certified means, but the dark chocolate is Fair Trade.  I decided to look up what the Fair Trade dark chocolate meant on their website and found this:

A Fair trade chocolate label guarantees consumers that the farmers who grow the cocoa beans we use in our chocolate are getting paid a fair price. It also means that they are following good agricultural practices and are investing in their farms and communities. Under Fair trade, farmers can increase their incomes and gain access to better education and healthcare for their families. All of our Dark Chocolate flavors are certified by the Fair Trade USA organization. To learn more, please visit their website.www.fairtradeusa.org

It’s nice to know that the farmers are getting paid at a fair price and are following good agricultural practices. It seems it benefits both farmers and consumers.

But with all sweets, these aren’t that healthy. There’s a lot of saturated fat – 5g which is 26% of daily value and lots of sugar -20g. I think everything is fine in moderation though :).20140509-172710.jpg

Have you tried these or a different flavor? What’s your favorite chocolate snack?

Like, comment, and share. 🙂