Get your chocolate fix

Looking for a chocolate fix? Go Dr. No.

I (virtually) met Amale, the woman behind this amazing chocolate, last year. We chatted via email a bit and I learned that she wants to help people suffering from cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses live happier lives. She really wants to make a difference in our world and has a heart of gold. And really, what better way to spread the happiness than with good-for-you chocolate?

What makes it different?

How cute is this stamp?

Dr. No Chocolate is 75% cocoa and organic with a rich and smooth taste. It makes a perfect treat for diabetics or those eating low carb because it’s sugar-free and void of artificial sweeteners. It’s also gluten free and doesn’t contain artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

The chocolate comes in three delicious flavors: Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Seed & Sea Salt (my favorite!), and Almonds. I love the salty-savory combination that the pumpkin seeds and sea salt add to the sweet chocolate – such a unique and delicious treat! If you have a HUGE sweet tooth, I recommend the variety pack so you can try one of each and pick your favorite!

Great for gifts, baking, or snacking when you’re craving something sweet. You won’t believe it’s sugar-free!

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Dr. No Chocolate. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Grab ’em and go

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What do you grab when you’re in a hurry? If you’re like most people, it’s junk. I can remember walking to the corner store armed with a pocket full of change and a desire to check off everything on my list – Laffy Taffy, Hot Fries, Slim Jims, and Blow Pops. My 10-year-old self was shining in the glory of it. Why? Because it tasted good, was convenient, and the packaging screamed: “EAT ME, NOW!”

Flash forward almost two decades, and I still revel in all things easy and convenient, but I pride myself on making better food choices.

That’s why I love Bricks Bars. The ingredients are clean and sustainable, and the on-the-go packaging suits my busy – at times, hectic – lifestyle.  Great for hiking, biking, traveling. Just throw them in your bag, and you’re good to go.

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Bricks organic meal bars are paleo and soy, gluten, and antibiotic free. The company uses grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced GMO-free veggies, fruit, and seeds. Now, that’s something I can stand behind.

My favorite is the organic beef, uncured bacon, cranberry, and sunflower seed bar. Such a unique combination of flavors that makes your senses go wild with adventure. There’s something about the salty-sweet blend that gets me every time.

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Runner up is the organic turkey, sweet potato, cranberry, and pumpkin seed bar reminds me of Thanksgiving. Actually, if I’m honest, it reminds me of Willy Wonka’s factory. Anyone remember the 3-course meal in a stick of chewing gum? I always wondered what that would be like. You get the yummy, savory main course, the side dishes, and pie at the close. What nostalgia attached to this!

Don’t just take my word for it. To taste just how delicious these bars really are, head over to bricksbars.com. You can get a variety sample 3-pack of Bricks Bars for $8.99 and FREE shipping.

Happy Snacking!

 

DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Bricks. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

#FightForIt

The other day someone mentioned that I was really fit. Of course my first reaction was “who, me?” I’ve never really considered myself fit. Thin, at times, but never fit. I guess, when you think about it, working out regularly will get you there, a nd Icredit Core de Force for getting me there.

This Beachbody workout is for you if you want to work your ass off (literally), want that bikini body, have a lot of pent up anger and need an outlet to release it, enjoy hard work, and/or aren’t afraid of looking like a fool (at first anyway). It’s labeled intermediate, but it’s hard. You really have to work for it to get results – that means no wimpy punches or baby kicks. You need to put in all the effort “until the bell.”

Core de Force lasts 30 days without a rest day. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. The last day of the week is as close as you’ll come to resting – give your body a break with Active Recovery. You’re still working, but you’re loosening up those muscles and preparing for another week of tough work. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster – some of these focus on toning the bum (aka MMA Kick Butt).

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Core de Force. I hate the push-ups, but I love the MMA workouts. Dynamic Strength is my absolute worst enemy – if you take the challenge, you’ll see why. What’s enticing about this program is that it’s only 30 days and you can do anything for a month. You definitely feel like you’re working out, but the trainers are great and help you get through it. There is also a modifier who does – you guessed it! – less intense, but still powerful, versions of the exercises. Routines are upwards of 30 minutes. Some days you’ll have two, which could bring the time up to an hour. It’s really not bad when you plan for it. Even if you don’t usually sweat (like me), you’ll be drenched by the end, and I mean hair soaking wet. It feels good.

You may be wondering why I love it if it sounds so…bad? hard? Well, you get results. Fast. Plus, the workouts really are fun. You have 3-minute rounds where you go all out, a  quick opportunity for a water break in between, and then go full force again. When you’re doing it, you hate yourself, you’re cursing the trainers, and you literally just want it to be over. Then, when it is over, you want more. That’s why I’m currently in my second round.

This is the second program I’ve purchased digitally from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. Now you can purchase a monthly subscription for less than $9 and that gives you access to ALL the Beachbody programs available!

Note: I used to stream on the Amazon Firestick, but have since upgraded to the Apple TV and it was so worth it. The menus are better and so is the display. Highly recommend it. The only downside is that it’s not as portable.

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Watch the move breakdown videos; trust me – they will come in handy.

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like sweet potato hash and eggs. I’m a fan of eating non-traditional breakfasts. Sweet potato chocolate chili, anyone?

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot  for this and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 3 filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you. The included recipe booklet has fun meals such as BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza and Energy Trail Mix.

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns. (NOTE: These will be updating soon to make it a little easier to convert recipes.) It makes it super easy to stay on top of your nutrition as you move through the programs. Use a simple formula to figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet: 4Red (protein), 3Green (veggies), 2Purple (fruits), 2Yellow (carbs), 1Blue (healthy fats), 1Orange (nuts and seeds), and 2Teaspoons (oils). This turns out to be plenty of food, but if you’re still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red. This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

The Portion Fix Containers help you eat just the right amount.

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Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Hydrate into your routine.

My favorite way to keep hydrated is with my healthy human water bottle.

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Optional Equipment

  • Yoga Mat / Towel for elbow planks (the first round I got rug burn!)
  • Agility Ladder (Deluxe workouts only)

The Workouts

Workouts are switched up throughout the four weeks. Each varies from 6-12 three-minute rounds. You might not get them down right away, but you will as you repeat them. Again, the move breakdown videos are helpful.

Each week ends with a 21-minute Active Recovery (described above). Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with 5 Minute Core on the Floor and 16-minute Core Kinetics. Both are tough, but will get you where you need to be. If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, there is a Relief workout that can be done each night – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainers

Joel Freeman – Elite personal trainer and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

Jericho McMatthews – Self-proclaimed “fitness chameleon,” new mommy (to the cutest baby!), and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

The Results

Right now this is the newest program (but not for long!) and it has a lot of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. I read a ton of positive reviews online. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. This is my favorite program. I may whine about it, but I still look forward to my workouts every day. Overall, I lost 4.6 pounds and 4 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength and definition. Nothing compares to feeling confident in your own skin.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this to all of my friends and family. Try it out for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? If you decide it’s not really your thing, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

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Seriously, the comfiest shirt I own!

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

Cookie Heaven

If you love coconut, you have to try Rickaroons, and I mean HAVE TO! They are healthy desserts that your taste buds will crave. I mean, how often can you call a cookie an “energizing snack” that is vegan, gluten free, 100% organic, non-GMO, Paleo, soy free AND totally delicious? Answer: not often.

The Rickaroon Team is run by the father-son partnership of Rick and Grant LeBeau. Would you believe that the idea for these cookies started with love? Intrigued? Read the full story here.

Rickaroons come in several yummy flavors: Mocha, Chocolate Blonde, Mint to Be, Megaroon (with chia seeds and Cacao Nibs), and Rick-Or-Treat (Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate). Other healthy ingredients include coconut (of course!) espresso beans, coconut palm nectar, and almond butter.

Treat yourself (or a friend)

All of the Rickaroons are reasonably priced at $25 a dozen, $26 for a dozen variety pack, and $12 for 4-pack sampler (Rick-Or-Treat not included).

Are you a BIG fan? You can even get Rickeroons delivered right to your door each month at a 10% discount. You’ll never run out – how awesome is that?

For more information and to purchase, visit rickaroons.com

 

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Rickeroons. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Tastes like sunshine

Move over PB, there’s a new jar of goodness in town!

I love peanut butter – on toast, in cookies, straight from the jar – you name it. So the first time I encountered SunButter, I quickly dismissed it. Nothing could replace my beloved PB.

But a couple of months ago I thought I would give it another shot (well, actually try it). It’s like the Heavens opened up and angels were singing – this stuff is amazing.

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Creamy SunButter makes the BEST cookies!

Flavors: natural, creamy, natural crunch, no sugar added, and organic. The organic is Whole30 approved (I’m super excited about that). The creamy also comes in on-the-go packs (great for kid – or adult – lunches).

  • It’s free from the top 8 allergens (including nuts and soy), which makes it a good alternative for those allergic to nuts.
  • It’s school safe. If you don’t have kids this might not seem like a huge deal, but it totally is. Did you know that many schools are banning PB from lunchboxes? We never had to worry about that when I was in elementary school – 75% of kids brought in either PB&J of Fluffernutters. Now there are extra precautions to limit exposure. Better to be safe than sorry! For more information on this, check out the website.
  • It has 7 grams of protein per serving (2Tbsp). This is good for picky little eaters – make them ants on a log and know that they are getting in some extra protein in with their snacks. You can even add a scoop to a chocolate shake for breakfast – yum!

Fun Fact: It takes 3 pounds of sunflower seeds to make one jar of SunButter. Wow! (credit: SunButter.com)

How awesome is this pen?!

Use it just like PB

I swapped out the PB in my favorite peanut butter cookies and not only were they good – they were better with SunButter! I’ve tried several of the recipes online too.  It really is wonderful.

For more fun  ideas, visit SunButter.com

 

This post is sponsored by SunButter. Thank you for supporting the companies that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

 

Bottoms up!

A couple of weeks ago I brought an assortment of drinking vinegars and a handful of shot glasses over to my mom’s house and a few of us did rounds of tasting. It was definitely different, but we had a lot of fun finding our favorites and imagining what foods we could pair with them.

I first heard of vinegar shots a couple of years ago while attending a garlic festival. I was skeptical at first, but, to my surprise, they were quite good.

Recently I stumbled upon a delicious group of drinking vinegars or “shrubs” produced by Detroit-based company, McClary Bros. The genius behind this creative company, Jess McClary originally started a home-based bakery that sold goods made with locally sourced produce, but then decided to make healthier products that incorporated many of the same herbs, fruits, and veggies.

That’s when McClary Bros. – the company named for her twin boys Jack and Ben – was born. McClary Bros. has since been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and in Midwest Living and Cooking Light.

What exactly is a McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegar?

A combination of organic, unpasteurized ACV (apple cider vinegar) mingled with fresh ingredients and organic cane sugar. Each sip is a delightful punch of flavor.

My Favorites

Lemon & Ginger – It’s sweet, tangy, and delicious. Think of it as a spiced lemonade! This would go great with a little seltzer water and a slice of lemon.

Michigan Beet & Carrot – Reminds me of the pickled beets my great-granny used to serve for dinner. Perfectly sweet, sour, and fun! Would pair perfectly with a little EVOO and some arugula.

Michigan Saskatoon – Sweet and summery. Makes a nice, refreshing cocktail! Just pour in over frozen dark cherries and top off with La Croix sparkling water – berry bliss in a cup.

Michigan Saskatoon with frozen dark cherries and a splash of fizz! 

Mix ’em up

Don’t like the thought of drinking vinegar straight from the bottle? No problem! These taste great in sauces, salad dressings, and even cocktails. Check out the website for culinary and cocktail & craft soda recipes. So much fun!

Prices are very affordable, but vary – visit the site for details. While you’re there, check out the cool gifts and extras in the online store including ice ball molds and t-shirts.

 

DISCLAIMER: This post was sponsored by McClary Bros. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.

Cut those cravings 

Talking about your…*cough*…time of the month…*cough*…used to be really taboo. It was kind of like discussing your salary – something you kept private and maybe only shared with one or two people close to you. Now there are products and commercials galore related to women’s health, including everything from vitamins and pain reducers to all things feminine hygiene.

But what about those brutal cravings? You know, the ones that hit you when you’re just minding your own business watching Netflix? Suddenly, chocolate covered sea salt and vinegar kettle chips with a side of strawberry cheesecake ice cream sounds like the best idea EVER. The guilt, the shame, the horror.

Well, ladies (and guys who have rollercoaster PMSing ladies at home) your prayers have been answered.

PMS Bites is a company founded by Boston entrepreneur Tania Green. The idea for her healthier chocolate treats developed from her own desire to curb PMS cravings, or better yet, satisfy the feeling without the guilt. Tania’s products have been featured on Shark Tank and in the Huffington Post and Allure.

PMS Bites are gluten free, vegan, all, natural, and great-tasting. They also contain herbs (chamomile, Siberian Ginseng, dandelion root) that are used to ease PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and mood swings. One PMS Bite (Plain Crazy) is only 70 calories and contains just 7 grams of sugar. It’s a satisfying and healthier option – one you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Bites are affordably priced at $9.99 for a six pack and shipping is FREE! There are three flavors: Coco-Nutty (rolled in coconut), Plain Crazy (dusted with coco powder and coconut palm sugar), and All Kinds of Nuts (made with yummy pecans). If you want to try them all, you’re in luck – just go with the variety pack and try two of each.

For more information or to purchase a pack for yourself or a special someone, visit pmsbites.com.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PMS Bites. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.