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Choffy…That’s What’s Up!

June 10, 2014

A friend of mine gave me some Choffy to try for fun, and I jumped at the offer!  I’ve always wanted to try it ever since reading it on Tina’s blog and now that I’m pregnant, it is even more appealing.  So, down to the nuts and bolts of the product.

Choffy is a great bedtime beverage because of its calming properties and pairs excellently with dark chocolate. Here I’m having a late night snack of Choffy and a banana with almond butter, TJ’s dark chocolate and local honey. Delish!

Choffy is a low caffeine alternative to coffee and is made from 100% premium roasted cacao beans.  It is chock full of antioxidants and a nice trade in for caffeine laden drink.  Because it is made from cacao, it has some natural caffeine in it, but it is extremely low by comparison.  It essentially has the same amount of caffeine as a chocolate bar.

I did not feel that Choffy provided a pick-me-up, but rather a serious dose of relaxation and sleepiness. It has become a perfect bedtime drink.  It is also fun to make because you can use a French Press.  The ritual of making Choffy has become very soothing in itself.  Hubby LOVES Choffy and drinks it even more than I do 🙂

As far as taste goes, I would say that it is subtle, almost like watered down coffee?  But the smell is completely intoxicating.  It smells like drinking chocolate!

Pros:

– Choffy is pretty tasty and a nice caffeine “free” alternative

– Choffy is good to help with relaxation and sleep!  At least for me it works 🙂

– Choffy is chock full of antioxidants…good stuff

Cons:

– Choffy is NOT readily available anywhere.  You must buy it online from a distributor.

– Choffy operates like a pyramid structured sales company, similar to Avon, Mary Kay or doTERRA.  This sometimes makes it difficult to know whether or not the project is actually as good as they say it is or whether or not you’re being upsold.  Unfortunately, you have to try it for yourself to make that decision!

– It is a little pricy, but if you drink it sparingly then it is a nice treat to have on hand.

As a nice treat for one of my lucky readers, my friends who sell Choffy are hosting a giveaway through my blog!  You could win your own free bag to try for yourself 🙂  Just be sure you do the following:

– Leave a comment about which Choffy variety you want to try!  Be sure to visit the website to read about them.

– Post about this giveaway on either Facebook, Twitter or another blog with “Check out the awesome Choffy giveaway over at http://www.glutenfreemuse.com!”

– Be sure you enter by Friday, June 13th!

Have you ever tried Choffy?  Do you drink coffee or standard amounts of caffeine while pregnant?  **Note, I don’t think there is anything wrong with drinking caffeine while pregnant, but I’ve been nervous to drink a full cup of caffeinated coffee!  I’m just looking to hear how different people handle different aspects of pregnancy.  We all have our methods, and none are right or wrong (except for excessive alcohol consumption and drug usage…I draw the line there!!!)**

Where on Earth Have I Been??

June 2, 2014

Lots of places is the answer here people!!  I apologize for ditching my regular posts on the blog back in October, but I always find that when life gets busy, the blog is the first place to take the back seat.  I am going to try to get better at staying consistent, and that might be one post a week or two, or that might mean daily.  So, bear with me as I find my “balance” with blogging…and life.

So, what is going on with Alyssa?

– I’ve been on a roller coaster ride trying to figure out what on earth is going on with my body.  Caution, when I do get around to posting about this, it will be classified as TMI (although, by my standards it would not be, but I’ll talk to nearly anyone about ANYTHING).

– I’ve applied for an in-residence Masters Degree Program

– I’ve BEEN ACCEPTED to a full time in-residence Masters Degree Program (and the Air Force is letting me go to school as a full time job)

– I competed in my first CrossFit competition

– I played on an extremely fun indoor soccer team

– I switched CrossFit gyms and programming options (more on this too)

– The hubs and I got a second dog!!!  I’ll definitely post more about Benny, our sweet little addition. He’s on the bottom left in the below family photo.

– We planned and took our Babymoon to Greece (Athens and Santorini)

– And if you didn’t pick up on it in the last item…I’M PREGNANT!!!!!!

So yes, a LOT has been going on in my life and I feel as if I can hardly keep up with the constant change.  If it has taught me anything, it is to be flexible and to appreciate and embrace the change.  I won’t lie, there have been times where I have felt so stressed and broken down to cry just to release the pent up anxiety and tension, but one of my good friends Andrea always reminds me that everything happens for a reason and we are never tested beyond what we are capable of handling.  It is certainly nice to have the hubs there to help calm me down too.

With pregnancy especially, I don’t know if there are other mamas out there that felt like the weight of the world was upon their shoulders as they were going through all of their life changes, but I have certainly felt that at times.  By now, at 19 weeks pregnant, the anxiety has almost completely diminished and I feel confident that I can be a mother and a good one at that.  I know my life will change, but I have a feeling it will change for the better.  I can’t say that with certainty, because I’ve obviously never been a mother before, but I really don’t think anything compares when it comes to creating new life and then watching that new life grow and develop before your eyes.

I am already, at times,  moved to tears with how many of my thoughts and feelings are consumed by the little baby growing in my tummy.  I tell the baby that I love him/her every night when I go to bed (and hubs has started too…so precious!), and the majority of my thoughts are consumed by the baby during the day.  It is amazing how much you can love someone/something you don’t even know.

So with that being said, this blog will MOST LIKELY turn into a parenting/pregnancy/baby-rearing/lifestyle blog.  Of course I will include my workouts and eats and day to day activities, but if my mind is already being commandeered by baby, I know it won’t get any better once he/she actually arrives!  So you’ve received your fair warning 😉  I want to document how I’m able to navigate healthy living, working full time and having a wee one grow up amidst it all.  Most importantly, I really want to be able to watch my baby grow and be able to go back and look at how he/she has changed over the months, years, etc.

I hope you will stay with me through this journey!!  And don’t worry, we should still have lots of fun stuff coming through 🙂

What have you been up to?  Where has your life taken you?

xoxo

Alyssa

Cheribundi: Product Review and GIVEAWAY!!

October 4, 2013

Do you ever have a hard workout that just takes you out for the rest of the week?  Do you ever feel like your recovery time is just not where it should be?  Or do you just feel pooped and need a pick-me-up?  Well, say hello to Cheribundi!

source

Cheribundi was kind enough to send me some of their juices for Hubby and I to sample and provide a product review.  I must say, I’m not a huge juice drinker (I like to limit my sugar in take), but this juice is FANTASTIC!  You may be a bit apprehensive when you see the word “tart” on the front of the bottle, but they aren’t tart at all.  They are perfectly sweetened…not too sweet, and with a little bit of tartness at the finish.

Now, why would drinking cherry juice help you with muscle recovery??

What’s Inside

Fifty Cherries: Our Tru Cherry™ juice packs fifty cherries into a short 8oz bottle. (We know because we counted them.) From there we add just enough water and apple juice to make it palate-perfect. Of course, to create the benefits of Skinny Cherry™ we decrease the cherries slightly and sweeten with natural Stevia. To get the benefits of Whey Cherry™ into a bottle, we add whey protein.

Freshness: Our cherry juice is freshly pressed from whole cherries. Other cherry juices are made from concentrate once a year and then stored for months before being turned back into juice. Not cheribundi™, though. Cherries in the morning – great tasting juice in the bottle that same afternoon! That’s why it tastes so darn fresh.

Phytonutrients: These are the building blocks in fruits and vegetables, so they’re good for you. They help plants grow and regenerate cells properly and they just may help regulate physiological functions in human, too. Cherries have a powerful combination of these nutrients, which provides more benefits than any other fruit or other good-for-you foods like tea, wine and other juices. Whether you’re looking for anthocyanins, melatonin, phenolic acids, flavanoids/flavonols/flavanols (however you say or spell them), science is starting to show that many of these phytonutrients may have special properties. Some may reduce oxidative stress and fight free radicals while others may act like anti-inflammatories and yet others may hold a promise for better heart health. Of course, all the claims in the world wouldn’t be as convincing as if you tried our juice and experienced the benefits for yourself!

Vitamins and Minerals: Your mom was right, you need vitamins and minerals. But not because she said so. You need them because they are the foundation to a strong immune system and enhance metabolic processes. In cheribundi™ you’ll find Vitamin A, Potassium, Iron, Calcium and, in Whey Cherry™, muscle-growing B-Vitamins!

High ORAC Rating: The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity rating for cheribundi™ is higher than other juices – that means our juice has a better ability to absorb and neutralize free radicals. Whether you’re exercising or resting, cheribundi™ is working hard for you! (source)

source

I started my tasting with the Tart Cherry Relax juice.  This juice is blended with L-Theanine which aids in helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep!  This juice worked like a charm.  I drank it about 30 minutes before getting ready for bed and promptly fell asleep…without moving…for the next 8 hours.  It. Was. Awesome.

The next juice I sampled was the standard Tart Cherry Juice.  I brought several bottles to work with me for my co-workers to sample (we are all doing a Whole Life Challenge together and I thought this would help them with their healthy life changes) and right around 3PM, I hit the wall!  I was exhausted and didn’t think I was going to make it to CrossFit after work.  I was THAT tired.  I figured it was time to have a few swigs of Tart Cherry and within minutes, I had enough energy to power through!  Everyone at work loved the taste.  It is like you are eating 50 cherries, but without the work of spitting out pits or the mess.

The other juice I sampled was the Tart Cherry Rebuild.  This one is made with whey protein and is perfect for a post workout beverage!  I shared it with Hubby after our CrossFit class last night and boy did we need it!

WOD

5 rounds total, every 3 min

Overhead Squat 4-6 reps (I only did 35# because we were supposed to focus on locking out our shoulders)

Powell Raise 4-6 reps (5# to focus on contracting your lats only)

Then 5 rounds

8 Weighted Step Ups (24 inch box, 35#)

250m row

30 sec plank hold right side

30 sec plank hold left side

8 thrusters

This was our first Crossfit workout after our vacation and it kicked our butts!  After drinking the Rebuild juice, we both felt like we were instantly replenished.  The perfect combo of carbs and protein.

Now here is the good part…YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN YOUR OWN CHERIBUNDI SAMPLE!

How to enter:

1.  Visit the website and leave a comment telling me which juice you would like to taste most and why.

2.  Like Cheribundi on Facebook!

3.  Comment about this giveaway on another blog.

**You’ll get one extra entry for each of these tasks you complete!**

The winner will be selected on Monday…good luck!!

xoxo

Alyssa

Gluten-Free Awareness Tour is Coming to Cincinnati!

October 3, 2013

If any of my readers are from Ohio, the Gluten Free Awareness Tour is on the move and it is headed to Cincinnati! I’m so proud to be a member of the Gluten Free Awareness Blogger Team and to promote this event.  I love knowing that our nation is taking steps in the right direction to protect and promote gluten free products and increase the knowledge of the gluten free diet around the country. 

Debbie Goulding, Executive Chef with Kroger Company, will be presenting at the Gluten-Free Awareness Tour stop in Cincinnati on Saturday, October 5th at 11:00 am.

Debbie has earned a BA in Therapeutic Dietetics from The University of Iowa, an AAS degree at the Culinary Institute of America, a BS degree in Horticulture from the University of New Hampshire, and a Master Gardener Certification in Herbs and Specialty Produce.  Debbie is also the President of The American Culinary Federation of Greater Cincinnati and serves on the board of directors.

Chef Goulding will give a cooking demonstration at the Gluten-Free Awareness Tour stop in Cincinnati on October 5th at Cintas Center/Schiff Conference & Banquet Center at Xavier University.  Goulding’s presentation will be geared specifically to gluten-free cooking.  The event will be held from 9 am-2 pm.  Adult admission is $10 and children under 12 are admitted free.

The event should also have different gluten free booths, so swing by and check it out!

Hope you can make it!  If you don’t live in Ohio, be sure to check out the website…they may be in your neck of the woods soon too!  Hey Mom, want to check it out with me this weekend?? 🙂

xoxo

Alyssa

energybits and a GIVEAWAY!!!

September 6, 2013

A few weeks ago, I was the lucky recipient of some ENERGYBITS!

I was contacted by the company to do a review of their product since they knew I was a fitness fanatic, so I used the energybits just for what they were intended for!  I have to admit, I was a little bit skeptical of these little miracle tablets, so I did my research, and here is what I found:

– These bits have no sugar, caffeine or chemicals and are barely ONE CALORIE per tab

– The Energybits are made from 100% organically grown spirulina algae

– These tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%), 40 vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants, electrolytes and Omega 3

So I gave these little guys a try.  The first thing I found to be crazy was HOW MANY TABS you have to take!  30 tabs is the serving size, so I popped all 30 in my mouth and it was overwhelming.

It was overwhelming because these little guys STINK! That is why the company recommends that you swallow them and NOT CHEW.  I honestly don’t know why anyone would try to chew them…I guess if you don’t like swallowing pills??

It actually wasn’t too bad to swallow these pills and I took them with water.  I loved the cute tin that they sent me too.  It comes with every order so you can put 2 servings of the energybits in there and pop them in your purse, pocket, gym bag, whatever!

I have to admit, I felt a serious rush of fresh energy the first time I took them before my afternoon Crossfit workout.  I felt great, invigorated and strong.  I tried them again the next morning before my long run, and unfortunately did not feel much of anything then.  I took a few more later in the afternoon and felt like I had some good energy again, but wasn’t sure if I finally woke up, if it was the spirulina, or if it was something else.  So I’d say my experience with these was good, but I’d need to be using them consistently before I could really feel a difference.

Lucky for you, YOU COULD WIN A TIN FOR YOURSELF!!!  How to Enter?

1. Leave  a comment telling me how you would use the Energybits

2. Tweet the following:  @ENERGYbits Giveaway over @glutenfreemuse!! (earn an extra point)

3. Post on another blog about this giveaway!

**All readers are also able to receive a 10% discount code if you want to try Energybits yourself!  Just enter “BLOG” into the coupon box when checking out**

xoxo

Alyssa

BulletProof Coffee and A Pressed Juicery Giveaway!

August 28, 2013

This morning, I tried something new…BulletProof Coffee.  Ever heard of it?  Well, it is all the rage right now in the Paleo/Primal/CrossFit world and I’ve been having a really tough time getting my butt out of bed in the mornings, so I decided “Why not??”

BP Coffee

I didn’t get fancy with this stuff because it was my first time trying and I am one to approach things scientifically.  I decided that I needed to try it a few times before I become completely obsessed 🙂  Now, I usually don’t drink much coffee as is:  example–I make a cup of coffee in my Keurig, and because K-cups are so damn expensive, I can’t bring myself to toss the half cup or more of coffee that I don’t drink!  So, I put it back in the fridge and on average, it takes me about 3 days to finish an 8 oz cup of coffee 🙂

My First Impressions of BP Coffee:

1.  I drink my coffee black and obviously in small quantities.  This was a very CREAMY consistency and a bit to get used to, but ultimately, I didn’t find it difficult to drink.

2.  I began noticing after only a few sips that I was breathing much better than normal.  Full nasal passageway clearance, cool and clean breaths of air.  This in itself made me feel more invigorated.

3.  I had the coffee 4 hours ago and I’m still feeling clear and energetic.  I’ve also swam 500m and led another group workout session between then and now.  Still chugging along!

4.  I’ll be interested to see if the BP Coffee lets me down easily or if I crash and burn at a certain point.  That would be less than ideal.

All in all…I’m kinda sold.  A few more trial runs will show me whether or not this stuff is for real!

Daily Workouts:

500m swim

**My first triathlon (only a sprint) is on Sunday so I’m starting to lower my swim distances.  Don’t get me wrong, I never worked up past 1100m (the event is only 750m), but I feel I need to keep swimming so I don’t lose my confidence before the big day!**

Group Workout

**I led a modified CrossFit workout because I find that these are the easiest to do in a larger group and allow people to really push themselves or to half-ass it if they wish**

Strength/Skill Portion

6 min EMOM (every minute on the minute)

3 Power Cleans (I used 70#)

3 Hand Stand Push Ups or Wall Walks

(I tried to work on my kip but experienced some shoulder pain so I switched to Wall Walks, which I see marked improvement on!!)

**We split into 2 groups, one group started on PC and the other on HSPU.  Do 3 reps and then switch exercises for the next minute until 6 minutes are up.  You should do 9 reps total of each exercise)

METCON Portion

3 rounds for time:

8 Turkish Get-Ups (20# then 15#)

8 Hand-Release Push-Ups

8 Jumping lunges

8 Hollow Rocks

600 m run

**From the TGU through the Run is 1 round.  Repeat 3 times.  We were going to go for 4 but we were all feeling this workout and running out of time.  Butt-kicker for sure!**

For breakfast I tried the newest Love Grown Foods product!! Shhh, it’s a secret 🙂 I’ll have a product review posted for you later 😉  Needless to say, I love that company and I LOVE their products!!

love grown oats

And finally, there is an AWESOME giveaway on Roost Blog, check it out!

Have you ever tried a craze diet or food type?  What was it?  Did it live up to its legend?

xoxo
Alyssa

Date Night at Meadowlark

August 26, 2013

I’ve been studying pretty diligently for the GRE (my previous scores expired) and to celebrate taking the exam and doing well, Hubby took me on a date!  My parents gave us a gift card to Meadowlark for my birthday so we decided to put it to good use.

First, Hubby picked out my outfit…I had no idea what I was going to look like…and I was nervous.

I wanted to wear strappy sandals, but he wanted me to wear my white TOMS…I decided not to argue 🙂

We started with some appetizers, and we weren’t holding back because we had a good chunk of money to spend!  We started with the Garlic Frites with two dipping sauces and the Local Oyster Mushrooms on Grilled Polenta.  They were fantastic!

The frites had a delicious truffle seasoning on them as well.  I ate them like it was my job…and I was darn good at my job!

This dish was wonderful as well.  The mushrooms had a fantastic natural flavor coming through.

For dinner, I ordered the ricotta enchiladas with basmati rice and refried beans.  The enchiladas tasted like an Italian twist on a Mexican dish.  We shared this and a Vietnamese Noodle Salad.  So good!

The steak was cooked to perfection.

This meal was wonderful and I can’t wait to go again!

Where is the best place you’ve eaten lately?  Meadowlark is on the top of my list, but we are trying a new restaurant next week…maybe it will edge it out of the top spot???

xoxo

Alyssa

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