Tag Archives: milk

Organic Valley Protein Milk Drinks Review

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Organic Valley

Overall Rating: 3.5 STARS

About Organic Valley:

Always Organic & Farmer-Owned since 1988

If a company is going to make a difference in today’s world, it’s going to have to think differently. At Organic Valley, our philosophy and decisions are based on the health and welfare of people, animals and the earth. We’re a mission-driven cooperative, owned by family farmers, and we’ve been leaders in organic agriculture from the very beginning.

The Roots Support the Crown

Our story starts back in January of 1988—a time when family farms were on the brink of extinction. We were a handful of farmers in Southwestern Wisconsin’s coulee region and we shared a love of the land. We also shared the belief that a new, sustainable approach to agriculture could help family farms and rural communities survive. With a small poster inviting area farmers to join our current CEIEIO, George Siemon, for an informational meeting regarding the formation of the Coulee Region Organic Produce Pool (CROPP) at the county courthouse, we created enough momentum to carry us to this day.

Folks back then, just like you today, were concerned with food quality and environmental issues. They were looking for more natural, nutritious food—food grown without synthetic and potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. We began by growing organic vegetables, and soon added organic dairy products. When we found the demand we anticipated was real, we created the Organic Valley brand name and expanded our product line.

The Cream Has Risen

Our co-op, through the Organic Valley™ brand, soon became the number one source of organic milk in the nation. Once pioneers of organic agriculture, we’re now an established leader. Organic is all we do. We remain driven by our mission to promote regional farm diversity and economic stability by the means of organic agricultural methods and the sale of certified organic products. We maintain integrity through our commitment to consumer education and delivering the highest quality, strictly organic products to consumers, schools, and a variety of manufacturers looking for organic ingredients.

At our helm is one of our original seven farmers, George Siemon, our Chief Executive Officer. George prefers the title C-E-I-E-I-O. A lifelong farmer, he and his family have operated an organic farm in the Bad Axe River valley of Wisconsin’s driftless area since 1977. With his unique combination of having a hand in the soil as well as being able to see the big picture, George has been a leader in the campaign to establish effective national standards for organic certification.

We are committed to organic agriculture and building a future for sustainable family farming in America. Organic. It’s all we do.”

Organic Fuel

About:

Your motivation isn’t synthetic. Your recovery shake shouldn’t be either.

You work hard to push yourself to the next level – and so do we. Introducing Organic Fuel. It’s a game-changing, organic recovery shake packed with 26 grams of high-quality milk protein to help get your body to its absolute peak.

Ingredients

Organic Filtered Skim Milk, Water, Organic Fair Trade Unrefined Cane Sugar, Organic Cream, Organic Fair Trade Dutch Cocoa, Organic Chocolate Extract, Lactase Enzyme, Gellan Gum, Vitamin D3.”

Organic Balance

About:

Nutritious, wholesome ingredients to power you through your day.

At Organic Valley, we believe in keeping things simple. Use what you need, and leave out what you don’t. That’s how our family farmers have operated every day since 1988.

This belief is brought to life with Organic Balance, which consists of only 9 high-quality ingredients, 16g of organic milk protein and 50% of your recommended daily intake of calcium.

Like all Organic Valley products, Organic Balance is made without the use of GMOs, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or artificial sweeteners.

Ingredients

Organic Lowfat Milk, Organic Filtered Skim Milk, Organic Fair Trade Unrefined Cane Sugar, Organic Fair Trade Dutch Cocoa, Organic Dark Chocolate Flavor, Lactase Enzyme, Gellan Gum, Organic Stevia, Vitamin D3.”

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My Thoughts:

My interaction with Organic Valley has been nothing short of pleasant, and I had a wonderful time contributing to the Rock the Lunchbox campaign that helps inspire ideas and generate momentum for making children’s lunches healthier.

Looking at Organic Valley as a whole brand, I truly appreciate that they offer organic dairy products to the everyday consumer. These products are available in most of my local health food stores, thus I’d say they are readily accessible to most.

Both of these drinks are delicious. I definitely prefer the vanilla flavors in both the “Fuel” and “Balance” drinks; though the chocolate flavors are delicious in their own right. Though they are “protein shakes,” they were sweet enough to me to be a tasty dessert. They taste like melted ice cream (THAT yummy). The Organic Fuel shake has a higher protein content (and higher caloric content), thus is the more filling and satisfying drink of the two. The Organic Balance drink has a macro balanced nutritional profile with adequate amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates–and is a lighter option compared to the Fuel drink.

In regards to quality, these drinks are amongst the very best you can find in your local store, as they’re organic, non-gmo, free of hormones and antibiotics. However, I take issue (in general) with pasteurization, both in milk products and juice. Heat denatures protein and diminishes most of the product’s nutritional value. Pasteurizing increases the shelf life of milk and juice, making it a widely used method (unfortunately). To make up for this deficit, many milks have vitamins added. I also understand that raw milk is not legal in most states–thus, pasteurized milk is the norm. Without turning this whole post into pasteurization, I’ll just say: The whole process is something that I’m just not a fan of.

I want to drink and eat real food, close to the source. I understand this isn’t the reality 100% of the time–but, when I’m deciphering which products I’ll continuously come back to, they are the high quality, organic products that have been minimally processed, and if possible, raw.

When compared to other dairy options, Organic Valley products are a better alternative to most dairy that you’ll find in your local market. Not all dairy products are organic, non-mo and free of antibiotics & hormones. These Organic Valley drinks are delicious, convenient are an upgrade from most dairy products.

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Life Equals Supplements (KC Local) Review

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Life Equals Vitamins

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

About Life Equals:

“At Life Equals, we think vitamins and supplements are like anything: you should love them! If every other product has a guarantee associated with it, why not vitamins and supplements as well? 

That’s why all of our products, including our apparel, are a part of our Love Your Health Guarantee. That means, if you have any questions, concerns or issues with any of our Daily Essentials, Specialty Supplements or apparel, we want to hear from you. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, exchange products (well, apparel that is — difficult to exchange an open bottle of vitamins!) or offer a refund up to 60 days after your date of purchase for both our apparel and vitamins. In short, we want you to love your health!
Thanks so much for being a part of our Buy Health Give Health movement where every purchase donates an equal amount of children’s multivitamins to an undernourished child through the Life=Life Project.

Did you know —

In the world today, 2 billion people, or 1 out of every three, lack essential nutrients.

And worldwide, 1 in 3 children die due to undernutiriton. This lack of nutrients is a greater cause of childhood death than AIDS, malaria, and parasitic infections combined.

This crisis facing the world’s children is THE #1 most addressable issue of humanity today.
That is why we started Life Equals, a one-for-one vitamin company. One-for-one? Meaning for every vitamin you buy, we give another children’s multivitamin to undernourished children in 44 countries worldwide and 33 states here in america.”

In regards to the word “organic,” I learned this about Life Equals ingredients:

“Life Equals makes premium quality products by sourcing the best ingredients from quality growers and producers. All of our products have increased bioavailability, improved absorption and are 100% Made in the USA in facilities that exceed FDA regulations and Good Manufacturing Practices.

The LIFE= Prental, Men’s and Women’s Multivitamins all utilize the natural supplementation power of whole foods to increase absorption and make them naturally gentle on the stomach. Life Equals specifically avoids GMO ingredients and is currently seeking Organic certification on their Whole Food Blend to ensure the utmost quality. 
LIFE= CoQ10 already utilizes Certified Organic Flaxseed oil as the binder to assist in the absorption of the coenzyme.  
LIFE= Vitamin D3 was specifically designed with a non-GMO oil binder to create the cleanest D3 product possible. Seeking Organic Certification will be the next step for this product as well. 
It is our mission at Life Equals to bring quality products to the market that not only better the lives of our customers, but the lives of children across the world.  We are striving to expand that holistic commitment to our environment by working towards Organic, non-GMO status for all of our products. Stay tuned to the Life Equals movement as we grow and make our products even better and help more children live healthy, productive lives!”
Life Equals also does a pretty nifty subscription program, where they auto-ship it every month. Every month you get 15% off + free shipping, but your first month you get 75% off the products! It’s no-obligation, cancel any time.

Prenatal Multivitamin

About:

“Multivitamin/Multimineral
LIFE= Prenatal is formulated to promote healthy fetal development while also supporting the mother’s nutrition and energy. Patented mineral amino acid chelates by Albion Labs combine minerals in an organic molecule that the body can readily assimilate – avoiding constipation and discomfort. The Whole Food and Herbal Blend promotes the absorption of vitamins and minerals and the digestion of co-nutrients. The Digestive Enzyme Complex provides the final step to maximum absorption and nutrient availability with plant-based enzymes that support healthy digestion and further reduce stomach discomfort. 

Why LIFE= Prenatal?

  • Gentle on the stomach
  • Naturally Energizing
  • Mineral–Amino Acid Chelates for Better Absorption
  • Plant Based Enzymes for Improved Digestion
  • Non-Constipating Iron.”

Probiotic

About:

“LIFE= Probiotic is formulated to help support and replenish natural healthy bacteria levels in the body. By combining multiple probiotic strains, a more effective formula is created. Each different strain thrives in separate parts of the digestive tract and offers different benefits – together they create a more holistic solution. LIFE= Probiotic strains have natural acid bio-resistance enabling them to withstand low stomach pH and thrive upon arrival in the intestinal tract.* 

Why LIFE= Probiotic?

  • 6 Probiotic Strains for Holistic Benefits
  • FOS Prebiotic for Increased Effectiveness
  • Helps Manage Food Allergies*
  • Supports Nutrient Absorption*
  • Aids Vitamin Synthesis*.”

CoQ10

About:

Multivitamin/Multimineral
LIFE= CoQ10, in easy to swallow softgels, uses only 100% natural CoQ10 blended with natural vitamin E and organic flaxseed oil to ensure the best absorption and availability without the need to accompany with food. CoQ10 has been intensely studied for over 40 years and has been shown to support a healthy cardiovascular system, slow the effects of age-related diseases, promote healthy gums and aid energy production on a cellular level.* 

Why LIFE= CoQ10?

  • Blended with Organic Flaxseed Oil
  • Supports Heart Health*
  • Powerful Antioxidant*
  • Naturally Energizing
  • Promotes Immune Function*.”

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My Thoughts:

Most importantly, this local to Kansas City brand has me impressed and mesmerized by their commitment to provide a dose of nutrients to children in need, all over the world. I was not aware that malnutrition was a cause of so many children’s deaths each year. What a sad reality. I am inspired by the fact that they are making strides to tackle this issue. Thus, when you become a customer of Life Equals, you are helping a child in need get the nutrition their body requires–good things!

I was interested in taking these three supplements because:

1. I believe a good multivitamin can help “cover your bases” in making sure you are getting enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. I have been taking a prenatal vitamin for about a year, as suggested by my OBGYN, as I hope to be expecting some time in the semi-near future 🙂

2. Probiotics are important because they promote healthy digestion. Digestion is important because it allows your body to effectively absorb all of the nutrients you are taking in. With poor digestion and a gut that is not full of the necessary bacterias, your body won’t reap all of the benefits of the healthy food you’re eating. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are important to maintaining a healthy gut. Thus, I don’t believe you should take a probiotic hoping that it will outweigh the bad eating you’re doing.

3. CoQ10 is a supplement that I first heard about in trying to discover products that would help clear my hormonal acne. Since your skin is a reflection of your overall health, I figured that incorporating an antioxidant supplement could only help. CoQ10, in Life Equals’ words: “supports a healthy cardiovascular system, slow the effects of age-related diseases, promote healthy gums and aid energy production on a cellular level.” As a strong antioxidant, it essentially does several great things for the body and your overall health.

In regards to quality, these supplements are way above average, with each of the products being free of common allergens:

-Prenatal: free of  yeast, wheat, milk, milk derivatives, lactose, sugar, preservatives, artificial flavor, sodium.

-Probiotic: free of iron, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk, egg, preservatives.

-CoQ10: free of yeast, wheat, milk, milk derivatives, lactose, sugar, preservatives, artificial flavor, sodium.

In regards to how I’ve felt taking these supplements: my stomach has never been upset after taking them, my digestion is regular, my overall vitality is up and I’m feeling healthy. I have taken these during the final weeks of my marathon training and found them to be a great, added boost to my daily intake of healthy, nutrient dense meals. I believe that supplements don’t replace nutritious, organic food–but they can give you a bit of an athletic “edge.”

Life Equals uses some ingredients that are organic and non-gmo. I’ve learned that they are making efforts to include more and more certified organic ingredients to insure the quality of their products. I look forward to this transition into a super-high quality line of products. So far, so good–but I look forward to “so great!” I’ve been enjoying rocking my Life Equals T-Shirt and look forward to recommending these supplements to more individuals as the prevalence of organic ingredients increases in their products.

Califia Farms Review

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Califia Farms

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

About Califia Farms:

“We’re Califia Farms (Califia, pronounced like California), the better beverage company that squeezes and presses fruits and nuts from the orchards of the San Joaquin Valley to bring you beautifully bottled goodness – all proudly boasting the Non-GMO Project Verified Label. Led by industry veteran Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms has changed the game in the alternative dairy industry, introducing a line of Almond milks in chic, modern carafes reminiscent of classic milk bottles. Califia Farms’ instantly iconic packaging now symbolizes quality, great-tasting alternatives to traditional dairy, translated stylishly and deliciously into our Iced Coffees with Almondmilk. Our California Citrus Juices come in 48-ounce carafes of refreshing Orange Juice, Lemonade, and Lemon-Limeade.

We’re a California-Company through and through, with our Bottling Plant and Operations based in Bakersfield, and our Sales and Marketing Teams working out of our Headquarters in Pasadena. Our name comes from the Spanish legend of  warrior queen Califia who ruled over a kingdom on the mythical island of California. Spanish conquistadors believed they had discovered Califia’s bountiful island when they first explored California.”

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Unsweetened Almond Milk

About:

“Fresh from the fields of Califia comes the purest and tastiest Almondmilk you’ll ever have.  As a grower-owned company we use only varietal almonds from California, picked at the peak of their flavor.

Our simple recipe gives you what you want and leaves out what you don’t – it’s all love at the breakfast table.

Made from non-genetically engineered almonds.

Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds).

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Orange Juice

About:

“Can you feel the sun on your face?  Close your eyes. Take a sip of our Premium Pure Squeezed Orange Juice. Follow your taste buds into our delicious blend of Valencia Oranges and other California varietals. This is the fresh taste of the heart of California, right from our family farm, squeezed smack in the middle of our groves.  Califia brings you the best, freshest, tastiest and most true… and we do it all with love.

Ingredients: California Orange Juice With Orange Juice From Concentrate.”

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Lemonade

 About:

“You have a work of art in your hands. Our Pure Squeezed California Meyer Lemonade is artfully balanced and perfectly refreshing. The Meyer Lemon is the muse to our craft: its sweetness inspires us; its zip makes us feel alive; it lights up our senses with an intoxicating aroma. Califia brings you the Meyer lemon’s beauty in a bottle. We pick our fruit at the height of its season, capturing the taste of summer for you to sip and savor. Enjoy this true Southern Californian treasure, from Califia to you with love.

Ingredients: Water, Lemon Juice, Pure Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors.”

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Lemon Limeade

About: 

“You have a gift from the sun in your hands. Our Pure Squeezed California Lemon-Limeade is a heavenly fusion of two citrus varietals. We pick our fruit at the height of its season, bringing you the sweet and tangy taste of summer in a bottle. Take a refreshing sip… let the summer linger a little longer. Your body will thank you. Enjoy this true Southern Californian treasure, from Califia to you with love.

Ingredients: Water, Lemon Juice, Pure Cane Sugar, Lime Juice From Concentrate, Ginger Juice, Natural Flavors, Monk Fruit Extract.”

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My Thoughts:

I had yet to try any Califia Farms products before receiving these generous coupons from the brand. I typically seek out organic juices and milk. Since Califia Farms is not organic, it was not on my radar, so to speak. However, don’t write them off completely. If you generally buy your citrus juices from a big box grocery store, chances are that Califia Farms juices are higher quality than those. This is because Califia Farms products are all certified non-gmo, which not all juices and plant-based milks can claim.

Obviously, non-gmo AND organic is the goal. These products are most of the way there, with their simple ingredient lists. My only scrutiny is the use of the phrase (natural flavors). I’m someone that would like to know precisely what those are.

Taste-wise, these juices and milks I tried are delicious-with the orange juice and unsweetened almond milk being my favorites. They are also very versatile. I love using the almond milk (I prefer unsweetened because I like to to limit extra sugar) in smoothies, protein drinks and in fruit bowls. The orange, lemon and lemon-limeade juices are great by themselves, or mixed into a frozen, sorbet type of drink (juice + ice then blend).

In conclusion, I think Califia Farms products are good (not great) in that they boast a non-gmo label. I look forward, though, to seeing organic ingredients. In that case, I would become a regular customer, as my local Whole Foods always has plenty available for purchase.

 

Paleo, Grain-Free Bread Squares Recipe

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Paleo, Grain-Free Bread Squares

I have been looking for a way to incorporate some “baked goods” without consuming traditional bread. I put some similar ingredients together that I’ve used to make homemade protein balls/cookies, and came up with these bread squares! They truly are hearty and delicious–you don’t miss the grains one bit.

Ingredients:

-1 egg

-2 tablespoons of coconut oil or ghee (unclarified butter)

-2 cups of almond meal or flour (they are the same thing)

-1 cup of coconut flour

-1 cup of coconut or almond milk

-2 teaspoons baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Instructions:

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

-Mix together the egg, coconut milk and coconut oil.

-Once mixed, add in the dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder.

-Pour into desired pan and bake for 35 minutes.

ENJOY!

How I’m Curing My Hormonal, Cystic Acne

This is a post that I am writing on a whim about my cystic, hormonal acne. It has been a long time coming and I’m excited to finally share. I’ve worked for years on how to get rid of my acne and have found success with Estroblock.

There’s nothing pretty, glamorous, or healthy feeling about having acne; it’s something we all ignore in conversations because to an extent, it’s embarrassing. It is also especially frustrating for me to struggle with mild acne at this point amidst all of my efforts to put good things onto and into my body. You’d think that exercising regularly, eating a mostly organic diet and using only organic skin products would be the fix, right? Well, I am here to tell you that for me, it has not quite done the trick.

Food & Acne

I came to this conclusion after doing several things dietarily, to no avail. You name it—I’ve done juice cleanses, segments of time without gluten/bread and dairy, limiting sugar, and drinking ALL KINDS of homemade elixir concoctions, omitted and added countless numbers of foods in hopes of seeing some progress in my acne healing. Though I have seen slight improvements, these changes have not cleared up my skin.

Not to mention, I’m NOT perfect and I enjoy eating out with my family on a somewhat regular basis as well as enjoying pizza, greasy foods, cheesy foods and sugary foods. There is something about being uptight about food that is off-putting to me. Coming from an organic fanatic, that might be surprising. Something that I can tell you about me is that I do not advocate having an unhealthy relationship with food. Eating organic 80% of the time does not mean you have to be a crazy, neurotic, obsessed individual who can’t live freely in regards to food. It’s truly about achieving balance.

Food Causing Stress

If you are SO stressed about what you are eating all of the time, then you might as well flush all of your efforts down the toilet. Seriously. No really, seriously. The trauma that your body endures when it is stressed causes all of your vital body functions to take a back seat and effects you negatively on the cellular level. This means that your body is not performing like it should be because of this undue stress; which is why stress is the cause of so many ailments and illnesses.

Worrying about food shouldn’t be a badge of honor. It doesn’t make you more responsible or accountable, it just makes you increasingly sicker.

Perhaps the KEY is to find balance. Achieve that balance. Live that balance. Remind yourself of that balance. Write “balance” on your refrigerator to keep your mind healthy about food, because it’s all the little reminders that add up to big change.

True Causes of Acne

What makes the most sense to me is that acne is the result of imbalances within our bodies. You are not SUPPOSED to have acne. It’s not something that you are supposed to live with and endure. It’s a sign that something is off. That’s not to say that it is always easy to figure out WHAT is off. However, it seems there are some common themes in regards to what is at the root of acne:

-Hormone Imbalances (sometimes caused by prior or current birth control use)

Taking a supplement called Estroblock helps. It targets “bad” estrogen, is non-gmo and I recommend the Triple-Strength for acne-sufferers. Also, Chaste Tree Berry (also called Vitex Berry) helps regulate progesterone. Having an imbalance of these two hormones in your body will often result in acne.

-Digestive issues that are causing bad bacteria to effect your skin

Ingesting Apple Cider Vinegar, a Probiotic supplement and Pau D’Arco bark. You can find all three of these at most health food stores like Whole Foods.

-Liver Malfunction

Taking these supplements: Burdock Root, Milk Thistle, or Liv-Tox (can be taken in place of the other two).

-Ingesting too much sugar and/or processed foods

Look to good fats & protein for fuel. Excess sugar causes an increase in internal acity (acne is one results of an acidic body.)

-Over-washing & over-moisturizing your face (this is one that many do wrong–I have been guilty of it)

Give your skin a break! Get past the need to wash your face several times a day and let your skin do what it knows how to. Your skin knows how to regulate itself. I even suggest using minimal products. 

Currently I only use baking soda, bentonite clay and pure oils (like hemp or jojoba) on my skin. I use a baking soda/bentonite clay mixture to gently exfoliate my skin and clean the makeup off my skin. I follow up the oil as a moisturizer.

It might sound crazy if you’re been religiously practicing your skin routine for years. If you are still reading this, though, chances are that routine has not cured your acne. Give this new routine a try and you will be surprised at how your skin improves.

-Too much stress!

Exercising (running, yoga, resistance training), and make some time for YOU helps. You + nature – cell phone is even better. Remind yourself to not focus and dwell on your current acne. Accept it as the beginning of a healing process.

Keep in mind

If you start to take these supplements, BE PATIENT. Your body will take time to recalibrate and rebalance itself. It is undoing several years of imbalance and damage that your body and skin have endured. I, myself, have been taking Estroblock, Vitex Berry, Burdock Root, Milk Thistle and Pau D’Arco root for almost a month now. I am about to start taking LivTox in place of the Burdock Root & Milk Thistle.

I’ll keep all of you posted on my progress after a few more months of using these supplements. Check out Tracy’s blog, TheLoveVitamin.com for a ton more in depth posts about acne and healing it. Here is one of my favorite posts and where I have learned about these awesome supplements.

Here are my recent before/after shots:

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Check out this link to shop for my favorite acne supplement, Estroblock:

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