Friday, July 31, 2015

Tropical Berry Mint Protein Smoothie {+Gnarly Protein Powder Review and Giveaway}

I've got a great new-to-me product to tell you about today!

I was introduced to Gnarly brand protein powder at Blend this year. Kindal was there representing Gnarly while simultaneously torchering us leading a fun bootcamp workout.  :)

I'll say right up front that I'm not a big fan of protein powders- my boyfriend on the other hand goes through many containers every year- but me? I don't use them too often except for adding them to our smoothies. 

I would just rather get my nutrients from food. Whole, clean foods. Most protein powders on the market either have questionable ingredient lists or are clean and plant based but the texture is not my favorite. There's a few out there that I like, but not to drink straight up. 

Gnarly, though, is different! I was really intrigued when learning the whey is sourced from grass fed cows in New Zealand. A major plus in my eyes! And something I would much rather my powerlifting, protein drinking boyfriend be fueling his body with rather than some other powders in the cupboard. 

The taste is great and the texture even better! I can mix this  with water and ice, shake it up and sip away. No weird taste, no chalky texture. I was actually really surprised at how smooth the texture was.  Really easy to get down and enjoyable to drink!

Here are my other half's thoughts: 

"Took approximately 2 scoops of protein after an intense workout in the afternoon.

First I mixed the protein with low calorie cold almond milk. (1.5 scoops and approximately 14-16 ounces of milk).

I didn't use a blender because I wanted to see how well it would mix in a regular shaker bottle. The protein mixed very well after shaking for one minute. I put a few pieces of crushed ice to help the protein mix better.

After mixing for one minute, I stopped mixing and took a sip of the protein. The consistency was very good as it mixed well and tasted smooth. The actual taste was pleasing. The protein had a naturally semi sweet taste. Very faint sweetness but enough to be pleasing when drinking. The protein did not taste grainy or overpowering in any way. I have frequently mixed most different proteins with fruit in order overcome the raw taste of the protein powder. I didn't have to in this case. Although taste wasn't overly bland, it did have a faint sweet taste in which taste perfectly fine by itself.

After about 20-30 minutes of drinking, I felt the drink take hold a bit. Felt more replenished. The protein has approximately 5.5 grams of amino acids and 4 grams of glutamine.  The "replenished" feeling is mainly due to the amount amino acids in comparison with the amount of protein per serving.

In comparison with other proteins I have taken, this protein mixes a lot better. The taste is above average. The amount of amino acids per servings is actually competitive to pricey, higher end protein powders one could find at your local nutrition shop. Usually the amount of amino acids is where most cheaper protein makers skimp to save money.

Overall this is a very good natural protein. A very good alternative to the leading nutrition shop brands with a much more natural composition. In order to give the protein more of fuller taste, I would suggest adding a half cup of natural vanilla Greek yogurt. Vanilla flavor will help amplify taste of the protein without changing how it tastes.

Would definitely recommend buying again."

He's a fan! Yay! Maybe he'll want to keep using this brand full of the good stuff and drop other brands he's used in the past! For him, getting enough protein is so important and he's so busy so a powder is a good option for him. But he ingests so much of it, I want it to be a high quality product. Gnarly fits the bill! He also mentioned this brand didn't upset his stomach at all. Some can and will. Protein can be hard to digest, especially if you are picking a lower quality option. This left both of us feeling just fine as far as digestion. 

My favorite smoothie recipe that I've put together using the Gnarly vanilla protein powder is one using lime and mint. So nice and refreshing for this time of year! My mint plant has really been thriving this spring and summer so I'm putting it to good use!

I attended a lunch and learn at my job this month focusing on smoothie making and it really helped to jumpstart me on the smoothie train again. And I'm loving the creation I'm sharing with you today! A fun blend of fruits, juices, and a couple other easy add-in's.

The recipe isn't precise at all but that's what's nice about smoothies. They're easily able to be customized and no need to follow strict measurements. Just make sure you have enough liquid to get all your ingredients blended up well.

Tropical Berry Mint Protein Smoothie

Juice from half a lime
Handful of mint leaves
Small handful frozen cherries
Handful of frozen strawberries
Handful frozen pineapple
Couple splashes lemonade
Few splashes coconut water
2 tsp (or more) of vanilla Gnarly Nutrition protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Add all ingredients to blender and blend well until all fruit is all crushed up and mixed well.

Want to try Gnarly protein powder for yourself?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with Gnarly products in return for e an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad {+ NOW Foods Giveaway!}

Have you tried anything from NOW Foods?

If not, definitely check out their website! There is so much to choose from! So much more than just food products. NOW Foods has been around for more than six decades; a family owned company that strives to provide high-quality, affordable, natural health and nutrition products to people all around the world.

A few other products I like from NOW or want to try is the vegetable glycerin. I have this to make my own essential oil bug spray. And the almond oil is on my to-buy list to make more homemade lip balms at home. I've used coconut oil in the past but want to try with almond oil, also. 

And at the end of this post I have the chance for you to get lucky and win a huge prize pack with everything pictured above! 

I put the avocado oil to good use with a fresh summery salad featuring some seasonal favorites: fresh sweet corn, zucchini, and fresh herbs straight from my patio.

Fresh Corn and Zucchini Salad

6 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob
1/2 large zucchini, chopped
1/4 medium red onion, chopped
chives, 1 handful, chopped
basil, 1 large handful, chiffonade
2 tbsp avocado oil
few dashes of smoked paprika
fresh cracked sea salt, to taste
fresh cracked pepper, to taste

1. Cut and chop all veggies and herbs and add to a large bowl.
2. Add avocado oil and mix well.
3. Add a few dashes of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

A few of my favorite things in the package that I'm loving or stuck out to me:

Tis the season to soak yourself in bug spray for those mosquito filled evenings. And even better that it's not filled with toxins. I really hate bug bites, but I think I hate the thought of covering myself and my family in nasty chemical-laden sprays even more.

And I've heard great things about Vitamin D cream. This will come in handy in the winter.

This bag of goodies, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds and raisins has become my afternoon at work some days. A great option for a little something in the afternoon but still getting lots of nutrients. I feel good reaching for this bag rather than other trashy snacks.

Coconut oil? Yes! Coconut oil with garlic?? YES!! This will be a great addition to our stir fries I make occasionally.

I love to throw hemp seeds into yogurt or smoothies. Now I've got a good supply!

I'm loving this avocado oil. A mild taste and so versatile. And a great oil to use for cooking as it stands up to high temperatures.

Who wants to win this whole package of goodies?!? Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway