Love Freely, Laugh Genuinely, Eat Colorfully

Chocolate (Dairy Free/Vegan/Plant-based)!

Chocolate!  It had been years since I had eaten chocolate.  I am lactose intolerant and it was difficult to give up one of my favorite foods at a young age, but once you give it up you never crave it.  I started to eat clean at a young age due to many dietary issues.  It wasn’t until last year that I discovered a guilt free chocolate that I could actually incorporate back into my diet without getting horribly sick.  I discovered Eating Evolved via social media and decided to look into the ingredients.  It was all real food that I had already been eating (no dairy).  I had been playing around in the kitchen while baking and looking for other ways to incorporate other ingredients into my recipes.  So I ended up ordering their chocolate and got hooked.  I use it in smoothies, as a snack on its own, I bake with it, and love to use the midnight chocolate melted on my organic apple slices!  Since I have switched to a plant-based lifestyle, I look for brands that I can incorporate with my lifestyle choices, and brands that do not harm animals in the making of their products.


You can enjoy food, without all the dangerous ingredients.  Always read the labels before purchasing food items and make sure you know what the ingredients are and if you can tolerate them. 


Who loves vegan chocolate?



Breakfast? Snack? …….Granola, who loves it?  I like Granola, but ones I used to buy I had to stop eating because it contained high fructose syrup and hydrogenated oils, which my stomach could not tolerate (I also no longer wanted to put those ingredients in my body that served no purpose).  I was at Whole Foods shopping one day searching through the granola isle trying to see if there was an option I could have or if I should just give it up completely.  I found a brand called Purely Elizabeth, I liked her story as she is an IIN graduate like myself.  So I started to look into the product a little more and appreciated that it was gluten-free and organic, that utilized all real ingredients.  Two of my favorite flavors are the Original and the Pumpkin, yummy!  I eat it by itself, topped on my smoothies or chia pudding, or sometimes as a cereal with my homemade organic nut milks!


Anyone try this product before?  If so, what is your favorite flava?




Avocado Oil

I love olive oil so much, but a new yummy oil I discovered is Olivado’s Organic Avocado Oil.  I use it to cook, bake, and mix it in my homemade salad dressings.  Avocados provide a healthy fat for our body (the good fat).  I use the organic unrefined option to prevent any nutrients from being lost like highly processed hydrogenated oils. 


Do you love avocados as much as me? (I used to be grossed out by avocados, even though I never even tried them—they were green and creamy; but once I ACTUALLY tried it I was hooked.  Once I learn the an item offers, that’s all I need).




Hemp Seed Oil

Eating a plant based diet, I am often asked how do I get my protein? And healthy fats?  Plants, nuts, and seeds!  I love salads so much and always make my own dressing and recently started using Hemp Seed Oil.  Nutiva makes a great Organic Cold-Pressed Hemp Seed Oil I use to top on my salads.  I love this brand, I purchase a lot of their porducts, but really love this hemp seed oil.  It provides me omega 3 healthy fats! (The healthy fats, yay!)

I also pour it over my homemade hummus.  It has a soft subtle taste and goes great with salads.  Who has tried it and enjoys it?





Raw. Organic.

I love nut buttas, hummus, and smoothies, so one of my favorite brands is Artisana Organics.  I love the raw organic almond butta and walnut butta.  I use the tahini for my homemade hummus and the coconut butta for baking and smoothies.  ( I make some yummy vegan cookies with that coconut butta).


I use raw ingredients so that they are not processed and I get to absorb the nutrients that the product offers.  What is your favorite type of nut butta and how do you use it?




Dry hands?

As I mentioned in some previous posts, my hands get so dry sometimes, especially in the winter months.  I used to have to sleep with lotion and gloves on my hands at night to soothe and calm the skin.  I have switched a lot of the products I use in my home and one of the products I swapped out is the type of hand soap I use.  I would go to different stores and buy soaps that smelled really good not realizing that all of those smell good fragrances were totally drying my hands out and putting many harsh chemicals in my body.  Mrs. Meyers hand soaps are one of my favorite options to use now.  Swapping out the old with the new options have helped my hands stay hydrated and I barley have to use lotion on my hands (and I am in the kitchen cooking a lot and always washing dishes).  My favorite scent is the lavender, it just smells so fresh and so clean clean.




Mrs. Meyers

Cleaning products, every household needs them, right?  I am a HUGE germaphobe.  I always bought super powerful cleaning products to destroy any germs, but soon came to realize that frequent use of those types of products are dangerous in many ways and also kill off good bacteria.  We need our bodies to build up a tolerance but also be able to keep our good bacteria alive to kill off invaders when necessary.  I started to slowly transition the type of cleaning products that I used with less harsh chemicals and incorporated ones with organic ingredients and essential oils.  It still gets the job done in a safer way.  You can also make your own, which was my intention, but sometimes there is not enough time in the day so I try to find products that are already made that work for my household.  One of my favorite brands is Mrs. Meyers, they offer different products for laundry, hand soaps,lotions, etc. and the ingredients are 97% plant-derived (as stated on their website).


Have you tried any of their products?




Neti Pot

My sinuses have bothered me for years.  I have taken a number of over the counter drugs to help, and used to get a lot of sinus infections in the past.  I have done a few natural things to improve those issues over the year, one of those includes using my neti pot.  The first time I saw a neti pot I had no idea what it was and what you were supposed to do with it.  When I heard it was good for your sinuses I wasn’t interested in putting this in my nose, it just sounded too weird for me.  Then the more I looked into the benefits it offered such as helping to clean out your nasal passages in a safe way, I was hooked.  It has become part of my morning routine.  I use a little salt and distilled water for the mixture and clean out eat nostril.  It has for sure helped clean out my nasal passages and helps with post nasal drip (super gross).  I use a ceramic one because I always try to stay away from plastic items because they often have hormone disruptors.  The ceramic one is very easy to clean and looks pretty.  Be sure to clean it after each use!


Have you used a neti pot?


Eminence Skin Care Products

There are so many skincare products on the market which makes it almost impossible to decide what to choose and why.  For me, I got hooked on Eminence products from a good friend of mine, Danielle who owns Lotus Skin Care here in Pittsburgh.  The all Natural and Organic Skincare line provides an array of products for different skin types.  I always talk about the importance of what we eat, but it is just as important to be aware of what we put on our skin because it gets absorbed into our bloodstream. 


As we get older too, it is important to take care of our skin, so I have a daily regimen each morning and night.  Danielle helped me to find the right products for my skin type.  I have tried a number of products in the past, from different Dermatologists and Drug stores.  We often get mislead with marketing information on the packaging, and I didn’t realize how many dangerous chemicals I was putting on my skin and in my body from these other products that I was using.  Just like with anything, I was looking for a solution for my skin, not something that masks the issues.  I started to become more aware of what was in each of the products that I was using and decided to find cleaner versions that would be safer for my body.


I use a combination of a face wash, (gentle) exfoliator, under eye cream, face masks, and lip care items from Eminence.  If interested in trying, Eminence offers a variety of products and it may be difficult to choose which is best for you, so consult with a skincare expert to help you make the best choice.

[Keep in mind, diet of course has a lot to do with skin issues.]



Lip Balm

Where is the Spring and Summer?!


I cannot wait to see the sun all the time and feel the warmth, how about you?  Our skin tends to get dry during these winter months and sometimes during the summer months.  During the upcoming summer, as much as we love the sun (I am obsessed), it is important to protect our skin from the Suns UV Rays.  Eminence, one of my favorite skin care lines, offers one of my favorite lip care items.  The Rosehip & Lemongrass Lip Balm SPF 15.  It’s creamy, smells good, and protects my lips.  How cool is that?  It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and it looks fancy (which I love).  It feels good to make healthy choices.  It is a pricier lip balm for sure, but I try to use it as needed.  It’s important to spend money our money wisely and make decisions that are good for our future.