So Delicious #savemysummer Winner and more…

So Delicious Save My Summer Contest Winner
I won a HUGE ‪#‎prize‬ from So Delicious Dairy Free in their ‪#‎savemysummer‬ ‪#‎contest‬ a few weeks ago! Just arrived full of ‪#‎coupons‬, two Contigo water bottles, plates, silerware, a cookbook AND 2 packs of the new cococcino products (plain latte and mocha)! All in a super nice wicker and leather basket that closes at the top! I am so excited to try the cococcino latte and find some new products to try with the ‪#‎dairyfree‬ #coupons… Especially now that their products are almost all carrageenan free!! Check out the message below from So Delicious!
So Delicious Save My Summer Contest Winner

“Hi Customer,
We are currently in the process of removing carrageenan from all of our products. We always like to remind our wonderful fans that we do have quite a few carrageenan free products already. Please visit Carrageenan Free to see a full list. Our goal is to offer a complete line of dairy-free products that are all carrageenan free. We will also be launching several exciting new products in 2014, and we’re happy to announce that from now on, every new product we release will be carrageenan-free. As a reminder, all of our products are Non-GMO Project Verified, often made with organic ingredients and never have artificial flavors or sweeteners. We work hard to make foods that you can be proud to serve. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at”

This is GREAT news for those of us avoiding carrageenan. For many people with celiac or gluten intolerances, carrageenan can cause similar symptoms as gluten when it enters the body. It is also linked to cancer!! Read more about it from the amazing Food Babe!
So Delicious Save My Summer Contest Winner

Even my kitty, Buddha, approves of the prize and the company! 🙂

Tips for a Vegan Newbie

The Vegan Experience: Top 10 Tips For a First-Time Vegan

So I am pretty much a #glutenfree #vegan (UPDATE: I did not mean to offend any true vegans. I have so much respect for those of you who truly are vegan. The technical term for my diet is Ovo-Pescatarian since I eat eggs and seafood. The dairy free and gluten free are in place due to intolerances. Hope this clears things up!! <3).

However, I think these tips can help anyone going #dairyfree or even just looking to eat #healthy and incorporate more fruits, veggies and plant based #protein into your #diet!

The Vegan Experience: Top 10 Tips For a First-Time Vegan
Source: Serious Eats


THE CHIA ‘CHEAT SHEET’ by Angela Stokes

I am sharing the below content directly from The Raw Reform website. The following is not original content but I don’t think I could have said it better myself!

What is Chia Seed?
Vegan Chai Chia PuddingChia seed is an ancient superfood that is currently experiencing a glorious renaissance 😉 It is a member of the sage family (Salvia Hispanica). The little black and white seeds were once a staple of the Incan, Mayan and Aztec cultures, along with the Native Americans of the southwest.

“Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength. The seeds were used by these ancient cultures as mega-energy food, especially for their running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it with them. Chia has been called ‘Indian Running Food’ and gives an incredibly ‘sustaining’ surge of energy.

Why would you want to eat Chia?
Chia seeds are said to have:

  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
  • 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that
    helps transfer calcium into your bones,
  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
  • 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
  • 3 times more iron than spinach
  • copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids…
  • They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre. 

Like flax, chia is highly ‘hydrophilic’ – the seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly – in under 10 minutes.Antioxidants
One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavour, odour or nutritional value. You can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.

Mild Taste
The taste of chia is very mild and pleasant. That means you can easily combine it with other foods without changing the taste dramatically. People add chia to their sauces, bread batters, puddings, smoothies and more. The flavour is retained, plus masses more nutrition is added 😉

The ‘Dieter’s Dream Food’
Chia has been called a dieter’s dream food because when added to foods, it bulks them up, displacing calories and fat without diluting the flavour. Thus, someone can eat a typical serving, yet only consume about half the calories they might have eaten, because the food has been bulked up with chia. PLUS, the eater gets a bellyful of nutrient-rich superfood goodness, which hydrates and sustains them – magic 😉

What are some other benefits of eating Chia? 

  • Provides energy
  • Boosts strength
  • Bolsters endurance
  • Levels blood sugar
  • Induces weight loss
  • Aids intestinal regularity

Sugar AbsorptionVegan Chai Chia Pudding
Chia slows the impact of sugars on the system, if eaten together. Chia gel creates a physical barrierbetween carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, which slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. That means the energy from the food is released steadily, resulting in more endurance. This is clearly of great benefit to diabetics in particular. It also means that I can combine chia with super-sweet tastes like apple juice and not get super-spiked 😉

Absorb and Retain Water
Due to the exceptional water-absorption quality of chia, it can help you prolong hydration and retainelectrolytes, especially during exertion.

Easy to Digest
Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested and absorbed. Their tiny dinosaur-egg-like shells break down quickly. They feel light in the body, yet energising. Their nutrients can be quickly assimilatedinto the body.Intestinal Broom
Chia seeds bulk up, then work like an incredible digestive broom, sweeping through your intestinal tract, helping to dislodge and eliminate old accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia.

Chia is a very reasonably priced, concentrated food. Our 1lb bags cost $8. 1/3 cup of dry chia seeds (2 ounces) makes about 17 ounces of chia gel. This costs about $1. Depending on how much gel you use, those 17oz will likely last, on average, about four days. That is about 25cents a day. 

Chia can be used in so many kinds of recipes – savoury, sweet – it works with anything. You might want to try them in salad dressings, cookie mixtures, smoothies, crackers, ice creams, juices and so on.

Chia seed protein contains no gluten. This makes it ideal for anyone with a gluten sensitivity or simply wanting to find a replacement for gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats.

Which medical conditions can Chia help relieve or support?
Chia is reported to be beneficial for a vast range of issues, for example:

  • weight loss/balance
  • thyroid conditions
  • hypo-glycaemia
  • diabetes
  • IBS
  • celiac disease
  • acid reflux
  • lowering cholesterol

In the traditional cultures that consumed chia, like the Aztecs, chia was also regarded as a medicine. It was used in myriad ways – from cleaning the eyes to helping heal wounds, topically, to relieving joint pain and so on. It was considered extremely valuable for healing.

Chia aids rapid development of tissue, due to its incredible nutrient profile and easy assimilation. It can be very beneficial for those healing from injuries, people like bodybuilders who are always re-forming tissues and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How do you use Chia?Vegan Chai Chia Pudding
The most common way to eat chia is to first soak the seeds. They can very rapidly absorb a large amount of liquid – between 9-12 times their volume, in under 10 minutes.

The Basic Gel
To make a basic chia gel, simply add 1/3 cup of seeds (2oz) to 2 cups of water. Stir the mixture well, to avoid clumping, then leave it in your fridge, in a sealed jar. This will yield around 17oz of chia gel. You can begin to eat the gel almost immediately if you like. Just 10 minutes is enough time for the gel to be formed. More of the nutrients will be easily accessible after a few hours however, so many people like to make up a batch like this and leave it in the fridge. It will stay good for about three weeks. Then you can just reach into the fridge and take out some of the ready-made gel whenever you need it. You might add it to smoothies, mix it with salad dressings, puddings or granola, or simply take it by the spoonful.

Beyond Water…
As mentioned above, chia will absorb anything – it doesn’t have to soak in water. We like soaking it in things like apple juice for example. That way, the intense sweetness of the apple juice is also offset by the chia and it tastes yummy ;). We also often blend fruits – for example bananas and persimmons, then stir the chia into that mixture. Again, the longer the seeds are left to soak, the more their nutrients will be readily available to you, yet you could easily eat a meal like this 10 minutes or less after preparing it.

Whole Seeds
You can also sprinkle the dry seeds onto salads or add them to granola mixes. You may also want to experiment with grinding them first in a coffee grinder, to make a ‘chia flour’ you can then add to smoothies, soups and so on.

HURRY!! Blogs To Help You Coupon Like a Pro!!

How to Coupon Like a Pro

Got your attention huh!! I am about to spill my secrets on the world of couponing with you! I might be a blogger and pride myself on my couponing skills, but I have a confession… NONE of it would be possible with out the amazing talent of some of my favorite bloggers. Honestly, I was so inspired by their dedication and time devoted to their passion and their hard work that they played a huge part in me starting my own blog.

I regularly follow about 20 blogs. I subscribe to most of them… as you should do for my blog 🙂 (on the right hand column, below my About Me blurb, is a field to enter your email. If you do that and hit Subscribe, you will be sent an activation email to confirm.) That simple! That way you will never miss a post and I promise the emails are totally spam free!!

The blogs a follow are a combination of healthy recipes blogs, yoga blogs, gluten free blogs, dairy free blogs, and local St. Augustine blogs … but the ones I want to tell you about today are my favorite coupon blogs.

CONFESSION: They are my homepage. Yes. All of them.

Coupons.comUpromise - Join NowMy browser takes several minutes to load every time I turn my computer on and hit Firefox, but I swear it is worth it… for me at least. My wallet thanks me for the few extra minutes every time I go to the grocery store! Coupon blogs are a little different than most other blogs you probably follow. Other than news feed type blogs, most bloggers post 1-4 times a week (in my experience). Coupon bloggers post 5-20 times a day, the good ones at least ;)! In the world of couponing, minutes count! Some deals are only good for a few hours (flash sales) and some coupons only last a few minutes before they are “sold/printed out”!

This might seem crazy but it will start to seem normal after a few weeks of immersing yourself in the coupon world. Tag lines to coupon blog posts often read: RUN! HURRY! STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! PRINT THIS NOW! TODAY ONLY! LIMITED TIME OFFER! And these are not gimmicks to get you to do what they are telling you. Many of the deals are seriously only available for a very short time and IMHO the bloggers genuinely want you to get the best deal possible! The more I save based on their suggestions, the more likely I am to go back… right?!

ibotta app

The following is a list of my FAVORITE coupon blogs, mobile coupon sites, printable coupon sites and store printable coupons. I often visit others when I am searching for special sales, coupons or promotions, but these sites save me money every single day. LOTS of money! THOUSANDS of dollars a year kinda money! You might see a $0.50 coupon and think what a waste, but I PROMISE if you learn the in’s and out’s of couponing you will never see a coupon that way again. You will see it as the ONLY LEGAL WAY TO PRINT MONEY!! Seriously the newspaper companies will deliver money to your doorstep every Sunday… if you take the initiative to ask for it!


I hope these sites help you save as much money as they have helped me to save. Couponing has given me the ability to enjoy so many more extra activities in my life because i have more spending money in my pocket. Once you discover how easy it is you will be hooked.

I am so happy to help anytime!

DISCLAIMER: Some of these sites, such as the ones for Publix, offer regional sales and coupons but there are TONS of other similar sites around the country that offer regional sales in places other than the South East. Also, don’t forget to check your favorite store and brand sites for coupons that they offer!!

Sleep Deprived? It’s Worse Than You Think

How many hours of sleep do you get on an average night? Make sure you are getting enough for you mind and body!

I suffer on and off from severe insomnia and have had periods of total mental meltdown from lack of sleep. It’s horrible. The effects of lack of sleep are not only immediate but can be long term as shown in this great info graphic.


Happy Monday!


Health Benefits Of Multi-Colored Fruits & Veggies

I know it’s Monday and it’s back to the grind at work and school and errands and cleaning, but don’t forget to take the time to include fresh fruits and veggies in your diet. Not only will the variety of colors, flavors and textures help replace other foods your might be craving like chips, candy and cookies, but the extra vitamins and nutrients will give you just the energy boost you need to make it through another week!

If you take one hour (or less!) each week to wash and pre-cut your favorite fruits and veggies you will be less likely to grab the unhealthy snack of convenience out of your pantry! You will be well stocked all week with perfect size packs of multi-colored snacks!

My favorite way to store all this deliciousness is in BPA FREE Tuperware or super fun Mason Jars! ps. Get the wide mouth ones!! I PROMISE they are worth the extra buck or two to save your sanity getting things in and out!! JUST TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!

You can use anything you like but I recommend at least making sure your containers are BPA FREE. If you are trying to avoid plastic, the mason jars are a great way to store anything from fruit and veggies to cereal, sugars and flour. I love being able to see what I have in my fridge and pantry. I even use them for smoothies when I am feeling fancy! 😉

*I need to find an awesome picture I took of all my whole grains (gluten free of course) when I first got all my mason jars. Stay tuned!*

Until then, make sure to TASTE all the COLORS of the RAINBOW for optimum health!! Have a great week!

Photo credit: TryFoodLovers

Bikram Yoga for Back Pain

Bikram Yogis what do you think about this?

Bikram Yoga for Back Pain

bikram yoga for back pain

I swear by yoga for back pain and completely agree that the more I practice the better I feel.
I don’t think it is a cure all but I think it’s benefits are amazing!

I am working on a much longer, more in-depth article about my experience with yoga and Bikram and all the amazing benefits it has brought to my life! Until then, enjoy this article 🙂

This is where I practice: Bikram Yoga St. Augustine

Bikram Yoga St. Augustine

LIKE = Yoga has changed your life! SHARE = Excited to see more changes in the future!

Oil Pulling: Transform Your Health — Maybe?

Oil Pulling: Transform Your Health... Maybe?

I can’t scroll through my Facebook news feed without seeing an article about oil pulling. For months I have had friends emailing me links, texting me links or bringing it up over lunch. I have skimmed most of the articles and listened intently and intrigued as my friends described their experiences.

However, until today, I had never tried this “magic cure all” for myself. I admit, I was very skeptical… and a little grossed out by the thought of swishing anything in my mouth for 20 minutes, never mind oil!

First Thoughts:

I am totally sold! I swear my mouth has never felt so clean! It’s been 12 hours since I spent 10 minutes swishing and “pulling” coconut oil through my mouth and my teeth still feel smooth and fresh!

Pearly Whites!

While I can not personally attest (yet!) to the supposedly amazing benefits of oil pulling, it is hard to argue with thousands of years of Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic system of medicine that developed 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. Oil pulling’s roots are found in this ancient Indian medicine, where it’s practitioners used oil pulling, chewing sticks and herbal tree leaves, to keep their mouths clean and healthy, according to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. Today, advocates of the practice claim oil pulling can cure everything from gingivitis, hangovers, diabetes, acne and…. cancer??

According to numerous sources, benefits of oil pulling may include:

  • Helping to cleanse the mouth of harmful bacteria reducing the amount of fungal growth
  • Helping to reduce the germ count which is found in the mouth saliva and teeth plaque
  • Helping to strengthen the gums, jaws and teeth
  • Helping to prevent gum disease, cavities and even gingivitis
  • Helping to prevent bad breath
  • Provide a holistic method and remedy for dealing with bleeding gums
  • Helping to prevent dryness of the mouth, throat and the lips
  • Helping to prevent general soreness around the area of the jaw

Michelle Hurlbutt, RDH, MSDH, an associate professor of dental hygiene at Loma Linda University in Southern California, told The Huffington Post that:

“…while dental hygienists would never recommend oil pulling as a comprehensive dental hygiene regimen, it can be a good way to supplement recommended practices like tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. … [Oil pulling] should not be used to treat oral disease such as gum disease or tooth decay,” Hurlbutt told The Huffington Post. “It’s more of a preventive rinse that could be used adjunctively with your regular mouthcare routine.”

Many believe that the benefits of oil pulling go far beyond the mouth:

  • Relief for migraines and headaches
  • Reducing arthritic inflammation
  • Helping to reduce the signs of eczema
  • Helping to reduce insomnia
  • Reducing the effects of a hangover after consuming too much alcohol
  • Helping to support the normal function of the kidneys
  • Helping to reduce the symptoms of bronchitis
  • May help to reduce pain
  • Some oil pullers have even reported that it helped to improve their vision

Unfortunately, there is little scientific evidence to back these claims up. Nonetheless, the internet is infiltrated with blogs, news articles, and tv spotlights featuring oil pulling. There are hundreds of testimonials online from people who experienced many of the benefits listed above as well as help with arthritis, asthma, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems and more. At least one study has shown oil pulling does significantly reduces the strep mutans bacteria in plaque and saliva that causes cavities.

That being said, the logic behind oil pulling is that the oral health affects everything! An interview conducted with Dr. Sanda Moldovan, a periodontist in Beverly Hills and a certified nutritionist (with a Masters in oral biology) who teaches at UCLA’s dental school, found that:

Coconut Oil - Everything is Connected“When we improve oral health, we improve so many other things in the body… People with bad oral hygiene have higher incidence for cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and strokes, and a higher incidence for pneumonia. Men with periodontal disease have a greater risk of erectile dysfunction. Even with diabetes, improved oral health can help control problems in diabetic patients. Also, pregnant women with gum disease have lower birth-weight babies. Yes — everything is connected.”

So can we just brush better and get down and dirty with our floss… like the dentist always told us to do??

Yes and no. People tend to be lazy. How many times have you gone to the dentist and been told you have been totally missing one section of your teeth? How often do you actually floss… morning and night?! Do you clean your tongue? Do you swish regularly with an antiseptic mouth wash? If you are anything like me, your answer is probably no. So why not ensure your mouth is extra clean even when you forget the extras you know you are supposed to do and swish away with some oil while taking a shower or folding laundry or preparing breakfast. In twenty minutes you can have a mouth that is essentially scrubbed clean from the “soap like” action of the oil pulling. The results are worth it!

“When there is a healthier mouth, there is less inflammation in the body, and overall then everything can heal, the skin is better, you’re in a better mood, you have more energy, because gum disease — if you have all this infection in the mouth, your body is constantly trying to fight this bacteria to keep it from entering your body,” Moldovan said. “That is stressful for us. That chronic infection in the mouth, once it improves because we have better oral hygiene, we feel better and look better.”

Final Results:

Based on my personal experience and research, I plan to continue oil pulling as often as possible. I will probably continue to use Coconut Oil versus Sesame Oil (only use organic oils! preferably unrefined!) but only because of my flavor preference. Olive oil can also be used but for some reason this completely weirds me out. I already use coconut oil on everything and believe in its health benefits, so for me it makes the most sense. I also love that it is naturally anti-microbial so that even if all of the oil pulling hype turns out to be just that, at least I know my mouth will be clean!

I am excited to report back in a few weeks to let you know if my teeth are whiter, my breath is fresh and my mouth feels cleaner!

Wanna try oil pulling for your self?

Follow the five easy steps below and then comment to let me know what you thought!

How to Do Oil Pulling:

Simply take a tablespoon of whatever vegetable based oil you choose (Coconut, Sesame or olive) and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Do not swallow it! Work it between your teeth and swish it against your cheeks similar to how you would with mouth wash. You can easily carry on your morning routine: shower, laundry, preparing breakfast, etc, as you do your daily oil pulling. Morning is generally considered the best time to do this, preferably before eating or drinking anything, to achieve maximum benefits.

  1. Put 1 tablespoon of oil into the mouth. (I used 1/2 tablespoon of Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil for my first time)
  2. Swish for 20 minutes. “Apparently the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy, as this is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but not long enough that the body starts re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria. The oil will get thicker and milky as it mixed with saliva during this time and it should be creamy-white when spit out.” – Wellnessmama
  3. Spit oil into the trash can. Don’t spit into the sink! And definitely DO NOT swallow the oil as it is hopefully full of bacteria and toxins that are now not in you mouth!
  4. Rinse well with warm water.
  5. Brush well. Preferably with a natural toothpaste or one with an added sensitivity compound.

Recommended Products to use for Oil Pulling

Spectrum Coconut Oil Spectrum Sesame Oil

Spectrum Coconut Oil Unrefined Spectrum Unrefined Sesame Oil


  • Are you a long time oil puller? First timer?
  • What oil did you use?
  • Did you see any immediate results?
  • What do you think about all the health claims for this practice?

Note: As always, you should talk to your doctor before trying new remedies or supplements.


Non-Dairy Milk Alternatives

You have probably all heard of Meatless Mondays… since I already have no meat in my diet, I decided to start a Monday tradition of my own: NO MILK MONDAYS! Imagine how amazing it would be if this went as viral as Meatless Mondays!?

This is how it will work:

  • Each week I will post some of my favorite:
    • dairy free alternative products and recipes
    • nutrition tips
    • ideas for going dairy free easily
    • and anything else you guys request!

I would love all of you to join in on the posts each week with ideas, questions, recipes, your experiences, favorite products and any advice you might have for people struggling to give up dairy.

Looking for a great reason to join in NO MILK MONDAYS?!

Check out these links:

While can not claim to be dairy free all the time, I do believe my health would benefit from removing it from my diet completely. I try to consume it in limited amounts (honestly ice cream and cottage cheese are my downfalls!) I know there are so many wonderful alternatives out there. My sister is a Paleo fanatic, as are so many of my friends, and I know so many people, both vegan and carnivore, that have removed dairy from their diets with amazing results. I am hoping that by starting these NO MILK MONDAYS I will also be able to cut more… or all, dairy out of my life.

COMMENT HERE or on Facebook to join the move towards dairy free!

Dairy Free Alternatives

SHARE this post on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook so we have all the people possible to help each other out!

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