Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bulu Box Review!

One of the MANY perks of being a #SweatPink Ambassador for Fit Approach is that I am often given opportunities to review products or services, and share discounts (or even giveaways!) with my readers and followers. This month, I was notified that I was selected to participate in a campaign with Bulu Box!

You're probably wondering what Bulu Box is. To be honest, I hadn't heard too much about the company myself before this campaign (which is another reason why Fit Approach is so awesome...I've learned about so many great companies from them!). For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Ipsy, consider Bulu Box to be a similar service geared toward those interested in fitness and/or weight loss. The company describes itself as "the best way to discover the health, nutrition and weight loss products that are right for YOU!"

Here's how it works:
  1. Try Samples: Each month, Bulu Box will send you 4-5 samples to try based on your profile before buying full-size so you don’t waste your money.
  2. Earn Points: Each month you can earn up to 100 Rewards Points (that’s $10!) just for subscribing and sharing your thoughts. Log in to your account to fill out your sample surveys about the products you just tried.
  3. Cash Out: Once you’ve earned Rewards Points you can use them like actual cash towards a full-size purchase of your new favorite product. Some Bulugans even get their order completely free! 
About 2 weeks ago, I received a Bulu Box of my very own to review! Here's what was inside:

RUNA Tea: Runa (which means "fully alive") is a tea that "offers clear, focused energy by balancing as much caffeine as one cup of coffee with twice the antioxidants of green tea." I tried this tea before my morning (about 5am) 4-miler this week, and it definitely helped wake me up. I liked that this tea was a hybrid of two of my favorite drinks (coffee and green tea), but I generally only drink (caffeine free) tea at night. I have tried to cut down on my coffee consumption, but I think I'll stick to my morning joe pre-run. This tea did what it promised to do, but I wasn't too crazy about the taste.

Shapeology Garcinia Cambogia: I definitely had to fight with Autocorrect while typing that product name out! Each Garcinia Cambogia capsule supports weight loss, and serves as a "dual action fat-fighter that help burn and block fat without leaving you feeling jittery." As instructed, I took one capsule 30-60 minutes before eating. As promised, I didn't experience any jitters, and the capsules were pretty easy to swallow. I'd have to try the product for an extended period of time to report how functional it is.

Movit Energy Gummies: These dummies use power-boosting ingredients like guarantee, CoQ10, and folic acid to combat fatigue and help you perform your best. I stuffed a few of the gummies in the pocket of my running shorts for last Sunday's 10-miler, and consumed 2 about every 30-45 minutes. In the past, I have used Clif Blox, and these gummies serve the same purpose. I liked that the dummies were small because it made them easier to both store and consume, but I've recently switched to dates to eat on my run in my effort to eat all or mostly whole foods.

Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream: THIS CREAM WORKS WONDERS. The package states that the product will relieve pain and itching associated with skin irritations such as poison ivy, sunburn, and minor cuts and scrapes. I have some skin irritation on my ankle (probably caused by running/sweating) that gets super itchy at night. Like I've had to sleep in high wool socks just to prevent myself from scratching it. Each night, I rubbed a small amount of this cream on the affected area and the itching stopped immediately. It even lessened each night! I would definitely buy a full-size jar of this product!

Quest Protein Powder: I was reluctant to try Quest protein powder, as I am trying to eliminate dairy from my diet completely (Quest contains whey), and I only use plant-based protein powder. However, there were several reasons why I decided to try it:

  1. I do consume Quest bars from time to time, and they are incredible (especially when microwaved for 15 seconds).
  2. For the sake of this review. I had a feeling I would have a positive experience with the product, and since most people I know like Quest bars, I thought they might be interested in trying the protein powder.
  3. The back of the bag revealed that I could find recipes at the following link: I typed the URL into my web browser and was SO impressed with some of the things that I saw! Did you know you could bake a loaf of bread using a Quest bar??? There was even a recipe for Cookies 'n' Cream Crusted Chicken! Now that's not something I would personally eat, so I decided to browse the site for something I *would* eat.
That "something I *would* eat" turned out to be Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. I chose this recipe for a few reasons.
  2. I had all of the other ingredients in my kitchen, or at least things that I could use as substitutions.
  3. Fall marathons are approaching, and many runners I know enjoy pancakes post-long run. I thought this would be a good thing to share here on the blog!
I would definitely recommend this protein powder to anyone who does not mind that it contains whey. For now, I'll stick to my beloved Vega.

Interested in trying Bulu Box for yourself? Use discount code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3-month subscription!

What are your thoughts on Bulu Box? Which of the above products would YOU try?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Freekeh Foods Review & GIVEAWAY!

Remember when I said I wouldn't go another two weeks without updating?

So that didn't happen.

I tried my best. I really did!

Well TODAY I am pairing up with my friends at Freekeh Foods to share a favorite recipe and provide YOU with a chance to score your own bag of freekeh!

A lot of you are probably asking yourselves, "WHAT IS FREEKEH?!"

Freekeh Foods describes freekeh as "a process which means 'to rub' in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up, and 'Eureka!' Freekeh was created." Freekeh Foods offers the grain in three flavors: Original, Rosemary Sage, and Tamari.

When I gave up meat almost three years ago, I began searching for new foods to eat that were nutrient-dense and contained protein. Freekeh became one of my favorite ancient grains because not only does it contain more nutrients than other grains like wheat and rice, but it's absolutely delicious! As a busy plant-based athlete, I'm always looking for recipes that I can make ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer so that I don't have to cook every night. This week, I used my Original Freekeh to make Roasted Sweet Potato Stew with Kale and Freekeh, a recipe straight from the Freekeh Food's website!

Sweet Potato Stew with Kale and Freekeh

1 8-ounce package cracked freekeh, any variety (I used Original)
3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of fresh Lacinato kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 12-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, diced

Scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil on them. Bake in 375° oven for about 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside. While the potatoes are cooking, pour all ingredients into a large pot on top of the stove over high heat. Stir with a spoon and heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add roasted sweet potatoes. Cover partially and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Check occasionally and give a stir.

Continue to cook longer for richer flavor, adding water or more broth if desired.

  • Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top for a “parmesan cheese” flavor without the fat.
  • Try using roasted pumpkin or butternut squash instead of sweet potato for a delicious twist.

Want to get your freekeh on??? Leave me a comment telling me which flavor of freekeh YOU would like to try (Original, Rosemary Sage, or Tamari) for your chance to win a bag of your own! Contest ends Friday, August 14th at 11:59PM EST. Winner will be announced Monday, August 17th!