Spoonful of Sugar Free http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com Registered Dietitian Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://i2.wp.com/www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-New-Logo.jpg?fit=32%2C32 Spoonful of Sugar Free http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com 32 32 32937722 Water-Based, Non-Toxic Nail Polish Review http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/06/16/water-based-non-toxic-nail-polish-review/ http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/06/16/water-based-non-toxic-nail-polish-review/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:57:37 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5577 I love painting my nails. Do you know what I don’t love? Chemicals! 

Traditional nail polishes contain some of the most toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, camphor, pthalate, and toluene:

  • Toluene, which is made from petroleum or coal tar. Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage, and may affect a developing fetus. In nail polish, toluene is used to give the polish a smooth finish.
  • Formaldehyde, a skin, eye, and respiratory irritant, and a known carcinogen (formaldehyde exposure has been associated with leukemia specifically). Formaldehyde is used in nail polish as a hardener and preservative. (source).

Many of the chemicals found in nail polish are known endocrine disrupters that can severely alter the hormone-producing glands. Check out this study’s findings:

Pubslished in..Environment International, found that all women had a metabolite of triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, in their bodies just 10 to 14 hours after painting their nails. Their levels of diphenyl phosphate or DPHP, which forms when the body metabolizes TPHP, had increased by nearly sevenfold. (source)

It is extremely alarming that even small amounts can effect the endocrine glands. Young children and pregnant women are at an even higher risk.

Thankfully, I’ve found a few new nail polish brands that are completely non-toxic, safe for both children and pregnant women to use, and water-based.

SOPHi

(From top right, clockwise: Pretty Shore About You, Snow More Cold Feet, Lost in London, Eiffel of Love, Mi Amore)

I love this nail polish! It’s a newer brand from the makers of Piggy Paint, and they have tons of fun colors. It glides on very smoothly and if applied correctly it lasts about a week for me with no chips. It’s also pretty inexpensive compared to most non-toxic nail polish brands for only $7.99 a bottle. It’s non-toxic and there’s no odor. You can read more about it here. I highly recommend also buying their Prime+Seal system and their nail polish remover to use with their color polishes. The colored polishes dry matte, so the Prime+Seal protects from chipping and adds shine. Also, the nail polish is near-impossible to get off without their remover (I’ll explain more about this below).

Keeki Pure & Simple

($9.99. Left: Glazed Donut, Right: Hot Cocoa. Nail polish remover, cuticle rejuvenator, chapstick)

Keeki Pure & Simple is another water-based brand I love. Completely non-toxic and safe for all ages. The company also owns the skincare line I reviewed a few weeks ago. The first thing I noticed about the nail polish is that it smells amazing! Instead of that awful, headache-inducing smell of normal nail polish, it smells like chocolate!! You could take this nail polish anywhere and paint your nails in public without having to worry about the smell. Again, I highly recommend you buy the base coat and top coat to use. The cuticle rejuvenator is also wonderful to use! I have pretty dry skin, so I lather this on daily. The nail polish remover is non-toxic, too, but it takes an extremely long time to take off the nail polish.

Tricks to using water-based nail polish: 

Water-based nail polish is wonderful because it is non-toxic and covers the nail well. It also drys and hardens extremely fast! However, there are a few tips and tricks to using it. This is how I prepare my nails:

  • Clean hands with soap and water, push back cuticles, use nail rejuvenator, and file.
  • I like to take a little bit of the Keeki Pure & Simple Nail polish remover and wipe over the nails to remove all oil. Can also use a bit of rubbing alcohol.
  • Apply all coats thinly and make sure each coat is completely dry before adding another. Dry with hair dryer between coats to help harden. Make sure to paint the tips of the nails, too.
  • Start with base coat.
  • Apply 2-3 coats of color.
  • Apply 2 coats of top coat.
  • Apply one more coat of base coat to seal.
  • Do not get nails wet for at least an hour after painting. I like to paint mine at night so it is ready to go the next day.
  • *Bonus! Soak nails in olive oil and a few drops of vitamin E after removing nail polish to nourish nails and help them grow.

One negative about water-based nail polish is that it takes forever to get off! The SOPHi brand nail polish remover probably works the best, but you will be spending more time than normal trying to get the nail polish off. However, it is still a non-toxic nail polish remover that I feel good about using.

What are your thoughts on regular vs. non-toxic nail polishes? Do you have favorite brands, tips, and tricks? 

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KPS Essentials Product Review http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/05/10/kps-essentials-product-review/ Thu, 11 May 2017 01:20:35 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5569 I spend a lot of time talking about digestive health on Spoonful of Sugar Free because it is such an extremely important organ in the body. However, did you know that the largest organ in the body is actually our skin? Not only is it extremely important that we are conscious of what we put inside our bodies, but we also must be conscious of what we put on our bodies because our skin absorbs 64-100%* of what we put on it! Think of all the skincare product, nail polish, hair product, makeup, perfume, and lotion you use-at least 64% of that product is being absorbed through your pores and into your body.

Check the label of your beauty products-do you recognize any of the ingredients on the list? Most of these products are comprised of harmful chemicals and substances that are considered neurotoxins. I encourage you to check out EWG.com and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to read more about what these chemicals do to the body. EWG even has a huge database ranking the safety of thousands of beauty products.

For the last few years I have been researching and cleaning up my beauty routine as much as possible to include only organic and non-toxic products. I feel so much better using products that I know are made safely and organically, and I can tell an immediate difference from using certain all-natural products compared to their conventional counterparts (especially in regards to migraines!). Therefore, for the next few posts I’ll be sharing some of my favorite all-natural beauty brands.

To begin, I’ll start with a rather new-to-me skincare product line, KPS Essentials. Natalie, the creator, has such a wonderful story to share that I can’t help re-sharing! She is also super sweet to talk to, so I feel comfortable buying from someone who has such a passion for all-natural living like me. Here’s how KPS started:

In 1987, Natalie was selling cosmetics for Nordstrom when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook the city. She expected to find a mess when she stepped into the stockroom later that day. What she discovered was far worse: the “high-end” products had eaten through the carpet and pad, exposing the concrete subfloor beneath. It was impossible for her to imagine what this would do to a person’s skin.

Their skincare line contains only organic, food-grade ingredients. You can literally eat the lotion, the ingredients are that safe.

My review: I really love this line. I don’t normally use a lot of face products since I’ve been blessed with pretty good skin, but I do have somewhat dry skin, dark under-eye bags, and some fine lines. I can definitely tell a difference in my skin’s hydration and complexion immediately after applying. My face seems more radiant and even-toned, and it appears to have reduced my dark under-eye bags. I also love, love, love the ingredients. It uses organic blends of oils and essential oils as well as antioxidants from CoQ10, green tea, vitamin E, and vitamin C. The overall product smells amazing!

Natalie left me a great explanation of how to use the product:

  1. Apply Aromatherapy Cleansing Oil all over face–this was my absolute favorite product out of all the products. It smells great and is a great way to cleanse the skin naturally through oils.
  2. Dab Probiotic Toner on face with a cotton pad–I wasn’t a huge fan of this toner because I like certain witch hazels more, but it did do a good job at toning my skin. It smells like kombucha/apple cider vinegar.
  3. Mix together Renu C+ Serum and Antioxidant Repair Serum and apply all over face–I like to concentrate these on my under eye bags and forehead creases.
  4. Voila! Beautiful, great-smelling skin.

KPS also has some really interesting looking “DermaNu” technology that is supposed to heal scars and hyper-pigmentation. You can read about that here, but since I do not have these problems I cannot personally comment on the effectiveness from my experience. If you do have these problems and have used KPS before, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks to KPS Essentials for letting me try their products! Please note that I received these products complimentary, but the review and thoughts are completely my own, honest opinion.

What are your thoughts on conventional vs. organic skincare products? Are there certain products/companies you prefer? 

 

*References

Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479–484.

Kasting and Kretsos.Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74.

Robinson et al. The Importance of Exposure Estimation in the Assessment of Skin Sensitization risk. Contact Dermatitis 2000; 42:251-259.

https://www.kpsessentials.com/our-story.php#

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Chicago Gluten-Free Expo Ticket Giveaway http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/03/25/chicago-gluten-free-expo-ticket-giveaway/ http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/03/25/chicago-gluten-free-expo-ticket-giveaway/#comments Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:09:26 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5555

Hi everyone! I’ll be attending the annual Gluten-Free Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois April 22nd-23rd. I’m so excited to be a member of this year’s blogger team and to try all the awesome goodies from companies like Udi’s, Fresh Thyme, Glutino, and dozens more. There will also be some great speakers and classes dedicated to all things gluten-free and allergy friendly. Check out the official website to learn more.

Giveaway

Giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

I have two single day pass tickets to giveaway to two lucky readers courtesy of the GF expo. To enter simply do the following:

  1. For one entry, comment below with who you’ll take and why you would like to attend the expo.
  2. For additional entries subscribe to Spoonful of Sugar Free (button on the sidebar of my page), like me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Pinterest and comment below saying you did so. Each social media follow is an extra entry.

Good luck! Giveaway ends April 1st. In the meantime you can also buy tickets here and use code ‘ADVANCE’ for 20% off your ticket purchase. I’m excited to see you at the Expo! If you’re already planning on going, be sure to stop by the blogger booth and say hi!

In honor of gluten-free goodies, here are a few of my favorite gluten-free recipes from Spoonful of Sugar Free:

Coconut Flour Vanilla Cake
Homemade Spring Rolls
Grain-free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beet Superfood Salad http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/03/01/beet-superfood-salad/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:58:34 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5549 I am in love with beets lately! The dark red color gives it so many enriching health properties, so I made a quick salad that makes it easy to get an extra serving of beets.

Beet Superfood Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Beet Superfood Salad

Gluten-free, paleo, vegan, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, egg-free, and sugar-free.

Ingredients

  • Salad:
  • 1 large cooked beet
  • 1 small orange
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 green onion
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop beet, orange, and avocado into bite-sized pieces, and thinly slice green onion.
  2. Place chopped kale in a bowl and toss with green onion.
  3. Layer chopped beets, orange, avocado, and quinoa over kale.
  4. Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a separate mixing bowl and drizzle over salad.
  5. Enjoy all the tasty antioxidants!
http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/03/01/beet-superfood-salad/

This salad would also taste good with this orange-berry dressing recipe! Also, I bought these beets already cooked in a air-tight package from Costco-much easier to use than raw beets.

Health Benefits:

Beets: The rich red color of beets shows the wonderful antioxidant content that helps the body fight free radicals. They contain betaine, the same substance that is used in certain treatments of depression. It also contains L tryptophan, which relaxes the mind and creates a sense of well-being, and they can lower your blood pressure.

Orange: The common benefit of this citrus, vitamin C, helps prevent cold and flu viruses. They are also good sources of beta-carotene, vitamin A and B, pectin, and potassium. An orange contains over 170 different phytonutrients and more than 60 flavonoids, many of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and blood clot inhibiting properties.

Kale: This leafy green contains a whole host of nutrients to keep you healthy. One cup of kale contains 5 grams of fiber, 15%  daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. It is also a great source of calcium, much better than any dairy product.

Avocado: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that help the skin stay clear and protect your brain. It is also a good source of the carotenoid lutein. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

Quinoa: A superfood grain full of protein (8g protein per 1 cup), vitamins and minerals. High in manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and fiber.

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Valentine’s Day Recipes for the Healthy Foodie {Free Download!} http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2017/02/08/valentines-day-recipes-for-the-healthy-foodie-free-download/ Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:11:21 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5531 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and instead of buying expensive flowers and chocolates try some of these fun recipes! There’s also a free downloadable Valentine’s Day “foodie” card at the end of this post using my new logo (yay!).

My favorite Valentine’s Day recipes:

For breakfast in bed:

Bitter Chocolate Waffles

For a non-alcohol alternative to wine:

Strawberry Lemonade Sparkler

For all chocolate lovers:

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Paleo Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cake for One (or Two!)
Healthy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Check out this cute downloadable Valentine’s Day card! Perfect for all foodies and lovers of healthy foods! Click here to download the pdf.

Print as many copies as you like, each page has 2 cards. Simply cut on the dotted line and fold in half. The beet is part of my new logo and redesign of my site. What do you think?

I hope you love it, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Superfood Smoothie Bowls http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/04/27/chocolate-superfood-smoothie-bowls/ Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:26:41 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5346 This is my very first recipe video that I am so excited to share on my site with special thanks to my collaborators for making this possible!

Collaborators: Kelsie Abolt, Tracy Dennis, Erin Sutherland

Music: Casey Dennis

This is also my all-time favorite smoothie recipe! It has tons of superfoods to give you nutrients all day long. I’m so obsessed with it that I’ve had it for breakfast every morning for the past two weeks. Obsessive? Maybe, but it’s just that good!

Sometimes I’ll mix it up and swap out the almond milk for coconut water or add a scoop of protein powder if I’m in the mood. The avocado makes it extra thick and creamy-perfect for layering toppings and making it into an art project worthy of intagram. I also love the smoothie bowl concept because I like eating smoothies with a spoon and getting the extra crunch on top from granola, cacao nibs, or anything your heart desires!

Breakfast is my favorite time to make this because I am such a chocoholic, and it keeps me full and energized for the day without weighing me down. I’ve been in the habit of getting up and doing some yoga first-thing and then making one of these smoothie bowls. I found a new yoga youtube channel I love from Heather called Yoga with Adriene. I especially love her “yoga for weight loss” series if you are looking for some strengthening yoga workouts from home. Now that the weather is getting nicer I’ll take my matt and laptop to the local park and do some sun salutations outside!

Chocolate Superfood Smoothie Bowls

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 2-3 servings

Chocolate Superfood Smoothie Bowls

Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, paleo, corn-free, and sugar-free.

Ingredients

    Smoothie Ingredients
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or coconut water)
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • Optional Toppings:
  • chia seeds
  • fresh sliced fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, etc)
  • granola
  • shredded coconut
  • ground flax
  • chopped nuts
  • cacao nibs
  • goji berries
  • dried fruit
  • peanut butter/almond butter
  • The possibilities are endless!

Instructions

  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into bowls and top with desired toppings, and serve!
http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/04/27/chocolate-superfood-smoothie-bowls/

IMG_20160410_095405

Health Benefits:

This smoothie has so many great nutrients in it making it a complete meal! One serving has 7 grams of fiber, 100% your daily value of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and even some iron. This doesn’t even include all the great healthy toppings you add to it!

  • Banana: Rich in potassium, bananas help the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps maintain a regular heartbeat and a proper balance of water in the body. It also contains tryptophan to help relax you and lift your spirits!
  • Chocolate: Click Here for a post I wrote about the benefits of chocolate.
  • Avocado: Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats that help the skin stay clear and protect your brain. It is also a good source of the carotenoid lutein. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases. Avocado, like olive oil, is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.
  • Pumpkin: One cup of pumpkin has 7 grams fiber, 2650 IU Vitamin A, 564 mg potassium. It also boasts a truckload of antioxidants like Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene.
  • Dates: A laxative food with a high-fiber content, so it can help those suffering from constipation. They are digested quite easily and are great for when you need quick energy. Also, regular consumption of dates has been found to help the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
  • Kale: This leafy green contains a whole host of nutrients to keep you healthy. One cup of kale contains 5 grams of fiber, 15%  daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds. It is also a great source of calcium, much better than any dairy product.
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Vanilla Coconut Flour Cake with Chocolate Frosting http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/04/23/vanilla-coconut-flour-cake-with-chocolate-frosting/ http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/04/23/vanilla-coconut-flour-cake-with-chocolate-frosting/#comments Sat, 23 Apr 2016 19:54:20 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5306 I’ve been dying to make a good, fluffy vanilla cake recipe to top with my favorite Chocolate Buttercream, and I think I finally found it!

IMG_1882

When developing this recipe, I knew I wanted something lighter than my favorite chocolate cake because it is too rich and chocolate-y on its own. That recipe is made out of denser almonds, and my fluffier chocolate cake recipe is made out of coconut flour. So I thought-why not combine the two flours and make a hybrid cake?

I’m so excited for the outcome! This is going to be a new go-to birthday cake recipe at my house. There is definitely a slight coconut taste, that I love, but if you aren’t a fan of coconut you may not like it. Use a refined coconut oil if you don’t like the taste of coconut as much, and use a virgin coconut oil if you (like me!) love coconut. Also, feel free to mix up the kinds of frosting that you use. It would be great with peanut butter frosting, coconut frosting, or even a simple coconut whipped cream with fresh berries.

Vanilla Coconut Flour Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 9-12 servings

Vanilla Coconut Flour Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, corn-free, soy-free, and sugar-free

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup packed, pitted dates
  • 2 droppers-full liquid stevia
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe of Chocolate Buttercream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and lightly grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine the coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt until well-mixed and set aside.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend the almond milk, coconut oil, dates, stevia, and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs to mix and stir until well-blended.
  4. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool at least 15 minutes before frosting with Chocolate Buttercream
http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/04/23/vanilla-coconut-flour-cake-with-chocolate-frosting/

IMG_1897

Health Benefits:

  • Coconut: Coconut is widely misunderstood because of it’s high fat content; however, coconut’s saturated fat is made up of medium-chain fatty acids. These medium-chains are easy to absorb and digest, and are converted quickly into energy. This means that the body has no opportunity to store the medium-chain as fat. Coconut is also a great source of dietary fiber with a whopping 5 grams per oz.!
  • Almonds: Almonds are a major superfood, and they are full of monounsaturated, good-for-you fats. It contains many nutrients that benefit the brain, and regulate cholesterol. The monounsaturated fats and vitamin E reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Dates:  A laxative food with a high-fiber content, so it can help those suffering from constipation. They are digested quite easily and are great for when you need quick energy. Also, regular consumption of dates has been found to help the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
  • Chocolate: Click Here for a post I wrote about the benefits of chocolate.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Full of fiber to keep you full. One of the best sources of Beta-Carotene. This pre-vitamin to vitamin A prevent night blindness and other eye problems, skin disorders, enhance immunity, protects against toxins and cancer formations, colds, flu, and infections. It is an antioxidant and protector of the cells while slowing the aging process.

 

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SNAP Challenge and Eating Healthy on a Budget http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/03/31/snap-challenge-and-eating-healthy-on-a-budget/ http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/03/31/snap-challenge-and-eating-healthy-on-a-budget/#comments Fri, 01 Apr 2016 02:17:10 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5311 Everyone always tells me: eating healthy is impossible on a budget!

I am very blessed to have never been hungry and to always have food on the table when I need it. As a college student, though, I am always looking for ways to eat healthy on a budget. I took part in the SNAP Hunger Challenge to see if I could survive off of $4.50 a day, $31.50 a week, and here’s what I ate:

1

23

4

Was it easy?

It really wasn’t that bad, but I only did the challenge for a week. Eating out would be almost impossible on this budget; and while I don’t eat out at restaurants too often, I do like the occasional treat. One dinner and a drink at some of my favorite restaurants would practically blow the whole week’s budget (or at least half). However, it is definitely do-able to eat healthy on about $30 a week. I applaud all those who make it work.

What did I find?

  • I ate a lot of the same meals and food items. I do this a lot anyway, but there were certain items I found that worked with the budget better. Foods like bananas, oats, rice, beans, peanut butter, eggs, and potatoes were consumed a lot.
  • Meat is expensive. Even chicken, a relatively cheaper meat compared to seafood and beef, was expense because it was approximately half a days food cost. Protein like eggs, beans, and sliced meats were cheaper.
  • I snacked less. Usually I am a huge snacker/grazer. I like to eat lots of snacks throughout the day, even if I probably don’t need them. This allowed me to cut way back on my snacking habits because my budget didn’t allow for the extra foods.
  • I avoided certain expensive foods. Like meat, foods that I usually consume like chia, protein powders, dried fruit, and gluten free crackers were too expensive to include on this budget. However, kale and canned pumpkin are awesome inexpensive superfoods to include on a budget! They provide lots of vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Foods from scratch are (usually) always less expensive. Making your own pancake mix, using dried beans, and cooking meals instead of buying them pre-made is definitely less expensive.

Your Basic Brown Rice Stir Fry

While I may not try to eat under $30 a week every week, I am always looking for new ways to save on my monthly budget. Groupon Coupons is a new online shopping tool I’ve been using to make purchases with. There are thousands of stores listed nationwide that gives free coupons to use-how great is that?

I love shopping on Vitacost because of all the great healthy foods and beauty products I buy, and Groupon Coupons currently has 35 coupons ready to use! Like this coupon for $30 off an order!  I also like ordering in bulk from Amazon and Costco when there are good coupons to those stores. Lastly, Athleta is one of my favorite stores for cute workout clothes, but a bit out of my budget without a good discount.

What are some of your favorite ways to save money on groceries? Any tips or recipes?

Maybe try the SNAP challenge to see if you could survey off of $30 a week!

*This post contains sponsored links, but as always the views and opinions are my own.

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Keeping up with Sugar Free Alex http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/02/06/keeping-up-with-sugar-free-alex/ http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2016/02/06/keeping-up-with-sugar-free-alex/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 20:01:37 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5278 Thanks for being such loyal readers of Spoonful of Sugar Free. As many of you know, I’m in the process of learning to be a Registered Dietitian. This keeps my life pretty busy and as much as I’d love to keep posting recipes weekly, it is difficult to fit into my schedule. My thesis on sugar is coming along nicely, and I’m currently applying for Dietetic Internships. I’ll graduate this spring with my degree and will hopefully be a Dietitian around this time next year (fingers crossed!). Hopefully once my schedule opens back up again, I’ll have lots more time to recipe test, take pictures, and share recipes with you all!

I’ll keep posting from time to time, but in the meantime follow me on instagram where I post my daily eats and healthy activities! I post recipes and meal ideas, along with some of my favorite restaurant spots.

Follow me @SugarFreeAlex on Instagram to keep up to date with me!

You can also find me on twitter and facebook, but instagram is my favorite because of all the pictures.

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Hydrating Pina Colada Smoothie http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2015/11/08/hydrating-pina-colada-smoothie/ Mon, 09 Nov 2015 02:13:06 +0000 http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/?p=5270 This past weekend I’ve really felt the start of winter with a sharp dip in temperatures overnight. The day is getting shorter and darker. I really miss this:

palm trees

For now I’ll just pretend I’m sitting on a beach and sipping Piña Coladas. Only these Piña Coladas are healthy, hydrating, alcohol-free, and can be a whole meal. I’ve made this for breakfast every single morning this past week, and I am not tired of it yet! It tastes so yummy and tropical. Beware, it is high in fiber so I usually have to go to the bathroom right after drinking it!

Pina Colada Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Pina Colada Smoothie

~Sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, corn-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 2 Tablespoons full-fat coconut milk or cream
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • optional: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powdered blender and blend on high until completely smooth.
  2. Optional: top with more fresh fruit, shredded coconut, or a tiki umbrella 🙂
http://www.spoonfulofsugarfree.com/2015/11/08/hydrating-pina-colada-smoothie/

The ingredients don’t have to be exact. I usually just throw it all into my Ninja individual cup blender and make sure there is enough liquid for it to blend smoothly. Don’t be afraid of adding the spinach! You won’t taste it at all and you get your serving of vegetables in. This smoothie is ultra-hydrating from the coconut water, banana, and chia seed. Perfect for a post-workout snack or if you had too many real Piña Coladas with rum the night before.

Pina Colada(without the spinach)

Health Benefits

  • Pineapple: I wanted to make this smoothie when I had a cold, and I looked at the nutrition facts of my frozen pineapple bag and to my surprise one serving of pineapple has 130% your daily value of vitamin C! This also acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals that can cause cancer in the body. It’s been thought to help inflammation in the joints and muscles, particularly those with arthritis.
  • Banana: Rich in potassium, bananas help the body’s circulatory system deliver oxygen to the brain. This also helps maintain a regular heartbeat and a proper balance of water in the body. It also contains tryptophan to help relax you and lift your spirits!
  • Coconut Milk: Coconut is widely misunderstood because of it’s high fat content; however, coconut’s saturated fat is made up of medium-chain fatty acids. These medium-chains are easy to absorb and digest, and are converted quickly into energy. This means that the body is less likely to store the medium-chain as fat. Coconut is also a great source of dietary fiber with a whopping 5 grams per oz!
  • Coconut Water: I use coconut water as a substitute for Gatorade when I exercise because it naturally contains high levels of potassium and electrolytes without the added sugar. It can help with high blood pressure, and keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
  • Chia Seeds: Chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times it’s weight in water, so it is also a great hydrator. Chia seed is also a great source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It can also help balance blood-sugar levels, so it is great for diabetics. It helps blood sugar levels by slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. Read more here.
  • Spinach: A nutritional powerhouse that contains very high levels of vitamin A and K. This phytonutrients in spinach have certain anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. In a study, spinach extracts were shown to slow cell division in stomach cancer. Another study showed increased spinach consumption to lower the rate of breast cancer in women.
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