A Healthy Surprise
After my sad discovery about the closure of the healthy snack company Lollihop I was thrilled to find another snack delivery company out there called Healthy Surprise.
Not only was this little box was chock full of delicious goodies, Healthy Surprise really makes an effort to support organic, fair trade, green, and/or socially aware companies as well as expanding their reach each month to new brands and healthier, more diverse choices.
I was surprised by how small and sleek the box was, they do a great job with the package and there’s very little excess wrapping and packing materials, which is an eco-efficient approach that I especially like.
The contents were quite varied, the box included everything from bars and raw crackers to nuts and kale chips. I like trying new things and giving new flavors a go, which is one of the major reasons that I like these boxes (and CSAs) – They force you to get outside of your comfort zone and usual purchasing routines.
Apple Pecan Two Degrees Bar – The ingredient list for this bar are awesome. Vegan, gluten-free AND it containing quinoa, chia seeds, and millet. Oh, and it was absolutely scrumptious. Gooey, chewy, not too sweet, tangy, filling, and wholesome. Bonus? The company has a great program in place and for every Two Degrees bar you buy, they will donate a meal to a hungry child.
Seriously, does it get any better than this?
Apple Cinnamon Raw Revolution Bar – TASTY! I love Raw Revolution Bars, these organic live food bars have always been high on my list. The Chocolate Coconut flavor remains the reigning champion as far as I’m concerned, though the Apple Cinnamon was quite good. Side note – This bar was pretty small – it was gone in just a couple bites which is always sad.
That’s It Bar – “1 Apple + 10 Cherries in this fruit bar” is the tagline, which I think is great, more companies should approach their products this way. The ingredients are really just apples and cherries. Pure! 100 calories, 3 grams of protein and they’re gluten-free, kosher, vegan, and have zero fat. Quite the healthy little bar.
Livin’ Spoonful Coconut Curry Crackers – Gluten free, vegan, raw sprouted crackers. Don’t be intimidated by the name of this healthy snack, it’s DELICIOUS. Really light in flavor, with a great crunch and texture. Even the boyfriend happily enjoyed a few bites. To top it off, Livin’ Spoonful is a great little company focusing on healthy, gluten-free living and has the motto “a garden in every bite.”
Twin Cakes Cashew Coconut Biscotti – I mentioned my love of Twin Cakes (the North Carolina-based bakery run by the twins who write the Pure2Raw blog) when I discussed gluten-free products – Gluten: The Good, The Bad & The Itchy. I’ve ordered virtually everything that their site has to offer at one point or another and not a single product has disappointed. In the past I’ve especially loved their raw crackers and snack bites, however their biscotti is now my new favorite. So. Good. Very coconut-y and dense, but a little bit chewy. Delicious!
Alive & Radiant Foods Southwest Ranch Kale Krunch – Kale chips are a great snack, but an acquired taste for some. They’re baked greens so there’s not a ton of crunch, but they’re pretty satisfying nonetheless. I really enjoyed this flavor, I’ve only ever had a few vegan ranch flavored snacks that I’ve enjoyed, frequently they taste nothing like ranch and are a disappointment. Not these though!
Righteously Raw Chocolate Maca Bar – I wanted so badly to like this bar, the packaging is beautiful and the information on the bar is top-notch. Gluten-free, no refined sugar, soy & dairy free, contained over 55 phytonutrients, increases energy & vitality, and balances hormones & increases libido. It looks like a large Kit Kat bar but unfortunately I really didn’t enjoy the taste. I like maca and use it in smoothies regularly, but this bar was not to my liking.
Samba 99 Cupuacu – This “original antioxidant super fruit bar” contains organic cupuacu pulp, organic Brazil nuts, organic cane sugar, pectin, and citric acid. Not familiar with Cupuacu? This “super food” contains Omega 3 and 6, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, essential fatty acids and amino acids. It helps boost your immune system, and helps improve the health of your skin and hair. This chewy bar is a great pre-workout snack, a zing of sugar with a little protein, easy to digest and a great source of energy.
Hail Merry Orange-Rosemary Pecans – I don’t even like rosemary and I absolutely loved these nuts. Sweet and salty, and really satisfying. This snack is raw, vegan, and gluten-free and here’s what they have to say about their process: “Hail Merry first soaks her nuts to activate the living enzymes, which aid in proper digestion. We then dehydrate at very low temperatures to protect these enzymes as well as the delicate essential fatty acids.” Tasty and healthy, what more do you need in a snack?
I hope you find these reviews helpful, I really enjoyed my first box and I was thrilled with not on the variety of options Healthy Surprise provided, but also the types of companies they are choosing to support. Couldn’t have chosen better myself. So if you’re in the market for some healthy snacks, I highly recommend giving this company a chance!
Links You’ll Love
Did you watch the recent 60 Minutes piece Is Sugar Toxic? Raise your hand if that guy scared you a little! I consider myself very well-informed when it comes to health and nutrition, and I don’t consume much sugar, but that guy was still creepy intense. Doesn’t mean the message was wrong though, to be sure, let’s just try to hear it from a different, more palatable source. The Difference in How Fructose and Glucose Affect Your Body from Kimberly Snyder, Do We Need Better Advice About Eating Well? I Vote Yes from Marion Nestle, and The Sugar Blockers Diet from Prevention.com.
Need some healthy snack ideas? Obviously you should reach for fresh fruit & veggies, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit before anything packages & processed, but sometimes you just need to throw something in your purse or keep in your desk in case of a snacking emergency. Check out the Hungry Hungry Hippie‘s suggestions or my Lollihop review. I’ll also be reviewing my Healthy Surprise box soon!
Are you a fan of yoga? Since I’m going through physical therapy for a back injury and trying to strengthen my core and stay flexible, I’m going to give it another try. Here are some beginner and not-so-beginner yoga sessions to give a try:
- Get a Calorie-Burning Workout With This Yoga Flow Series
- 10 Yoga Poses for Health Problems
- 8-Minute Workout: Yoga for Better Sleep
Did you enjoy Part I and Part II of the Mark’s Daily Apple series called Why Fast? that I posted here? The next installment in this series is a great beginners guide to fasting – Why Fast? Part Six – Choosing a Method.
Healthy motivation to start your week off right tomorrow! 4 Great Ways To Use Chia Seeds from Canadian Living, professional triathlete and author Brendan Brazier’s favorite ingredientsfrom leafy greens to pseudograins, seeds and nuts, and In Defense of Fat: 7 Surprising Facts from The Huffington Post.
As we get ready for Spring why not take inspiration from the Aussie’s who are finishing up their warm weather dressing – Sydney Snaps: Street Style From Down Under.
I read lots of pieces on how to be a good hostess – from menus to glasses to centerpieces, but I was excited to read this article from Apartment Therapy on Hosting Overnight Guests Without A Guestroom. San Francisco is a city of apartment living and when a one bedroom is usually over $2000 a month, most people don’t have an unused bedroom, so this is incredibly relevant!
Nothing but fabulousness from the arrivals at the Gucci Fashion Show After-Party in Shanghai. If you need inspiration for a night out on the town these ladies are a great place to start!
A great look for Spring is a crisp button down shirt. You can pair it with cropped pants, a pleated mini, over a flowy maxi dress or even tucked into jeans. And why not mix up the classic white button down and try a Chambray shirt. Do A Little Chambray! from Eat Breath Fashion.
Whether you’re breaking out your Spring dresses for weekends or planning a shopping trip for your Summer wedding season, take inspiration from FabSugar’s Ultimate Spring Dress Guide!
Best of 2011
As I was doing my daily blog reading this morning I stumbled upon quite a few 2011 recap & “best of” type of posts. I found that they were really fun to read because it let me get the author’s opinion on things I may have missed over the course of the last year – which was especially fun when it came to the blogs that I only recently discovered.
So in that spirit I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites from 2011:
- Best Red Carpet Style – Zoe Saldana & Diane Kruger. Sorry, can’t narrow it down further, it goes against nature to pick between these two.
- Favorite Newcomer – Amber Heard & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. They share a certain poise and both favor glamorous, ladylike gowns on the red carpet, which I love. (And I am not at all upset or jealous that Rosie is dating Jason Statham. I swear.)
- Go-to Fashion Blog – I hate to narrow this down to a single site since I’ve discovered some really great ones this year, but I’d have to say that the most entertaining one I read is Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated. I’ve had to outlaw it at work because I can’t stop laughing at their commentary.
- Best Trend – Bright, minimalist Calvin Klein gowns
- Favorite Collaboration – Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s Impulse
- Favorite Blog – The Fitnessista is a great website with motivating posts & booty busting workouts, I’ve cited it a lot in my Gym Goddess series.
- Favorite Apparatus – Medicine balls! There are an endless number of great workouts that you can do to emphasize different muscle groups and you can even do them with limited space which is great if you don’t want an expensive gym membership or if you travel a lot.
- Best New Workout You Tried – I’m going to have to go with CrossFit. My boyfriend is an instructor so with some not-so-gentle urging I gave CrossFit a try, and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. If you haven’t taken an intro class I highly recommend it. It can be intimidating at first, but it’s challenging, intense and a great atmosphere if you’re competitive and like to push yourself.
- Best Magazine – I adore Women’s Health. They have creative ideas for workouts, pick great, inspirational women to feature and I love the fun little facts & cute workout gear they include every month.
- Favorite Recipe – Vegan Mac n’ Cheese made from butternut squash & ANY of Evan’s desserts over at The Wannabe Chef. Seriously, check out his site, he has any type of recipe you could want – vegan, paleo, gluten-free…
- Best New Ingredient – 2011 was the year of coconut milk! Not only is it high in phosphorus, potassium and iron, its delicious in everything from smoothies to veggies to curries. Yum. (Yes Sean, you were right)
- New Find – Lollihop (which I promise you a full post on in the next week or so!)
- Favorite Blog – Hungry Hungry Hippie & Oh She Glows
- Best Books – I can’t pick just one! The Kind Diet, Peas & Thank You, I Am Grateful and Clean were some of the bests though.
What are you favorite new finds of 2011?
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for more new and exciting in 2012! 🙂