Product/Service Reviews

The Glow Up: A Pre-Wedding Cryo Facial

CryoBar Bucktown Chicago shed for the wed

Did you guys know that Austin Powers is on Netflix? Honestly, it still holds up! Such a gem of a mooovie. Lol! So I watched it this week and was inspired to get cryogenically frozen myself! So I booked my first cryo toning facial at the CryoBar in Bucktown. I was not sure what to expect– I had been wanting to head to CryoBar for a while now, but the full body services are not prego-approved. When I found out the facial is A-OK– I was pumped.

It’s different from a typical facial- no extractions, and it’s quick: in and out. You can start 6-8 weeks before wedding, quite different from the 6 months before wedding with a standard facial (extractions, etc need a longer lead time to make sure you aren’t having a break out pre wed!).

Touted Benefits

Skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, and increased collagen production! Hello, sign me up! Who doesn’t want that?! 

The experience

The girls working there were very welcoming and nice, especially with my pregnancy brain (my birthday was in their system wrong twice? How? Why? I couldn’t tell ya).

You head into a room with a standard facial table with a blanket. You can have light make up on, but need to take off jewelry.

They take a machine emitting cold vapor steam and run it over your scalp, face, and neck. At first it feels really cold and weird, but then it starts to feel so good.  It was almost kind of addicting. It felt amazing! I typically hate cold–but I loved the sensation. I can only imagine how great it feels on a hot summer day!

The best part? It only takes 10 minutes. I loved that for fitting it in, but definitely not a full spa-like experience.

Cost

It cost me 20 ClassPass credits (on my plan that equals about $36) + tip. At CryoBar they price by “the chill”. For one “chill” (which could be the cryo toning facial, full body, or localized treatment) it cost $65. They have packages at discounted rates as well. First time client special is $40. I did see some better rates at other cryo spas (but can’t speak to the experience), so doesn’t hurt to shop around! Don’t forget to factor in tip, too (always go off of the full price of the service!).

Results

Afterwards, the rest of the day my skin felt tight, and good! I felt like I was glowing. To see a real difference I think I would need to see a built up response. I will definitely be heading back there soon!

Do it before the wedding?

If you are looking for wrinkle reduction and skin tightening, and it’s in your budget– 100% go for it! There doesn’t seem to be any reason that this would be problematic to do before the wedding! I would just make sure you start 6 weeks before the wedding, just in case you have an unanticipated adverse reaction! Also, if you are more concerned about skin clarity, I would recommend sticking with a standard facial.


Have you tried cryotherapy? I would love to hear what results you have seen! Leave me a note below or on social media!

Granola Butter, Sweet Potato Gnocchi, and Brussel Sprout Sauté Kit Review

This week I tried 3 new products. I shared them with you guys on Instagram, and there was quite a bit of interest in each so I wanted to share some more in depth thoughts on them! While I loved the flavor of all of products, they are not all #shedapproved, so have a read for the deets!

kween and co granola butter review

Original Granola Butter with collagen peptides by Kween & Co

I’m late to this party. I’ve been eyeing this granola butter since it came out in 2018– but with a $12 price tag for a small container of what is essentially a “topper” it just fell low on my list of priorities. I will fully admit this was a mistake because after 4 days it has completely rocked my world. This is an awesome way to add “treat yo self” to your Shedding life! I’ve been able to use it in so many ways I’m going to run out soon if I’m not careful! Scroll to the bottom for a fun oatmeal recipe featuring tha buttah!

Cons

  • $12 a jar

  • Addicting 😂



Pros

  • Low sugar and no refined sugar

  • Added collagen peptides (pasture raised to boot) for a bonus protein boost

  • Tastes like cookie butter

Verdict: Shed Approved for both months 1 and 2 of the program if used according to serving size daily. Side note: if you aren’t into collagen there is a vegan version that is shed approved too!

Some of the many ways I used the granola butter this week! Also links to my amazon affiliate page if you click the photos above! (If you buy through there I receive a small commission!)


Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Trader Joe’s

Sooooo a lot of you have tried this and everyone was surprisingly impressed. It definitely tastes amazing and is very easy for a quick weeknight dinner. The bigger question is it Shed Approved? Welp, unfortunately I think we have to give it a no go. It contains wheat flour, white potatoes, butter sauce, and cheese. Dairy, wheat, and white potatoes are not included in the Shed program. It’s just too much inflammation and high GI.

Cons

  • Gluten and dairy (aka inflammation)

  • High in calories (don’t obsess over this, but when something is packaged, its something to be more mindful of)

Pros

  • Delicious

  • Literally takes less than 10 minutes to make

  • Shed for the Preg approved (lol the only rule there is that there are no rules!)

Verdict: Not Shed approved, but enjoy it on occasion post-shedding!


Brussels Sprouts Sauté Kit from Trader Joe’s

Again a lot of you had tried this! It absolutely tasted fantastic. And while there are quite a few ingredients, they seem to be high quality. This is a nice quick option for weeknights! My biggest qualm is that there quite a bit of cheese in there, and to be shed approved it would have to be a garnish sized amount. I made this for my step-dad who isn’t a fan of brussels sprouts at all and he loved it!

Cons:

  • Too much cheese (that dairy will get ya!)

  • More sugar in the dressing than I would like

Pros:

  • Super delicious

  • Fast

  • Getting your greens in!

Verdict: If you use only half of the cheese, or just truly treat it as a garnish, it is Month 1 Shed Approved. If you aren’t shedding it’s a nice occasionally side for a weekday din!


Cherry Vanilla Oats with Granola Butter

cherry vanilla oatmeal recipe with kween granola butter

Ingredients

  • 3/4 c gf oats 

  • 1/3 c vegan vanilla protein powder 

  • 1/2 c macadamia milk 

  • Splash of water to cover remaining oats 

  • 8 frozen cherries 

  • A drizzle of granola butter


Instructions

Mix oats, protein, milk and water in a bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir it up. Add cherries and granola butter and stir it up before you eat! The juice from the frozen cherries melting mixes in and gives it extra oomph! 

A (last minute) Gift Guide for the Bride-to-Be

Looking for a gift for your fave bride-to-be, but aren’t looking for a standard bride gift? Well this is the list for you! No bride-to-be mugs or ring dishes on this list! These gifts your gal will love today or long into her marriage! These are all products I use and love myself.

Disclaimer- this post includes some affiliate links which I may receive a commission from.

Mizu Aura Crystal Water Bottle

Mizu Aura Crystal Quartz Water bottle Shed for the Wed

One of my biggest health challenges is drinking enough water. I absolutely adore my clear quartz water bottle. It inspires me to keep chugging all day, and I swear the crystal gives the water a pure taste. I chose clear quartz because of the benefits: “Natural Clear Quartz Crystal helps to break through mental and emotional blocks, opening up the heart and mind to insight and higher guidance.” They also offer rose quartz “to create connection, encouraging unconditional love and attracting new or stronger relationships” - my pick for the bride in your life. They also have amethyst and smoky quartz!

Use promo code: SHEDFORTHEWED for $15 off your first order!

a high quality Spiralizer

For the health conscious bride, a spiralizer will take you far! The easy, cost efficient way to make veggie noodles apart of the weekly dinner repertoire! This is the most updated version of the spiralizer I use at home! I use the Paderno brand. This version has more blade options! Fancy, huh?!




Shed for the wed program

Shed for the Wed Cookbook ipad image

Give the gift of health this Christmas! Heading into the new year, we all could use an extra health boost! Help the bride and bridesmaids in your life to start the year off with healthy eats and recipes. Use code CHRISTMAS18 for 20% off ANY order including coaching with me!! Say wha?! Also, it’s all digital, so no worries about receiving a package in time!

Shop Novaa - Clothing, jewelry, and accessories

Hello, ethical, sustainable fashion! Buy your bride a cozy sweater or a piece of cool jewelry and support a local midwest start up dedicated to shopping sweatshop free! Use promo code: Shed15 for 15% off entire order! AND they are doing free 2-day shipping to get your gifts in before Christmas!

Still drooling over this wrap dress. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Still drooling over this wrap dress. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Yeah, I’m a sucker for stripes. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Yeah, I’m a sucker for stripes. (click to shop!) Photo from NOVAA

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner 2019 goal setting new years resolution

I have been using Erin Condren life planners for the past 4 years. There are so many planners out there- but this one really has the perfect formula. Monthly views, and weekly page views help for plotting the big picture and the nitty gritty details- perfect when you are planning a wedding! Bonus points- the covers are customizable and interchangeable! And do you see that rose gold?! 😍😍😍 They also have a beautiful wedding planner option if your bride doesn’t have one yet!

Use this referral link for $10 off your purchase!


That’s it for my last minute gifts! What are you most looking forward to this holiday? Wishing you a cozy, happy, love filled Christmas! -AHS

Should you switch to natural deodorant before your wedding? A breakdown of transitioning to natural deodorant

Natural deodorant has been around for years, but I've noticed a huge uptick recently in people ready to make the shift! It has been on my mind for a while, and for a while I mean about 13 years. My step-mom is a breast cancer survivor and since she went through the experience, natural deodorant has been on my to-do list (continue reading for the "why").  But when is the right time to make the switch? Would it be okay to do before your wedding? This post walks you through my experience switching to natural deodorant and my recommendation for when to make the switch.

Why to switch

I'm not a super smelly or sweaty person.... or so I thought. I had been using a regular solid antiperspirant stick for years. It worked very well, but, the main active ingredient was aluminum

Why do regular antiperspirants use aluminum? It blocks the sweat glands, preventing sweat from coming out. [Sweat itself doesn't smell, but when it interacts with bacteria on the body, it can create an odor. This is why depending on who you are- you may be more or less smelly. Different types of bacteria thrive on different skin types. This is also why good hygiene is key. Shower, people!] But what is the issue with aluminum? From Cancer.org: 

"Some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects.
Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. In addition, it has been suggested that aluminum may have direct activity in breast tissue." 

That being said, it is important to note that no studies have confirmed that aluminum could increase breast cancer risks. Another doozy that has been associated with aluminum products - Alzheimers! Again, there has been no scientific evidence proving there is any link. However, the way I see it is science is fickle, studies are often flawed (anyone who has ever paid attention to nutrition studies are super aware of this!), and there is always new data emerging. I would rather be safe than sorry! Thus the search for the perfect natural deodorant commenced. 


My experience 

First, let's talk about the fact that everyone is different, and my experience may be different than yours. But, switching to natural deodorant has been a bit of a struggle for me. 

So far I have tried 3 different varieties of natural deodorant. And the key operating word is deodorant - not to be confused with antiperspirant. As stated above, antiperspirants block the sweat from coming out, deodorant just masks the smell. And that is a big change to get used to.

Option 1: Life Stinks

life stinks natural deodorant what to expect when you transition to natural deodorant

The first has been in my beauty bag for years. It's called Life Stinks by the Duggan Sisters. They are a small, local (yay!), Chicago business. It comes in a powder that smells like lavender or cedar. You can also purchase a "Stink Stick" that you put on first if you are a heavy sweater. I tried it for awhile years ago, but couldn't make the commitment. Mostly, I felt like I sweat much more compared to my normal antiperspirant (which isn't a knock on them, just the nature of the beast). I gave it a shot again recently when I started testing out natural deodorants.  At the end of the day, I'm just not into the powder, but it is purely personal preference. I throw it in my gym bag and will put it on post sweat to help absorb the moisture, but not for daily use. I like the feeling of putting on a stick. It is closer to my original routine and is an easier transition. Ingredients: aluminum free sodium bicarbonate, tea tree oil and lavender or cedarwood oil

Option 2: Dear Me

Dear Me Organic Deodorant

The second try was Dear Me Natural Organic Deodorant. I found them on Instagram and I decided to give it a shot. As of right now they have one scent blend called, "Make My Day". It smells great. This was really my first hardcore attempt at switching. I started with it at the beginning of March. It worked beautifully for the first month. I wasn't particularly sweaty or smelly! Success! Then at the end of April I brought it with me on my trip to South Africa. Let's just say my body had not transitioned to a warmer climate and neither did the deodorant. I was stinky. And it was a challenge. I returned home from the trip to warmer weather in Chicago, and the problem persisted. I was showering twice a day just to keep the pits stink-free. That being said, it definitely could've been the "detox" time period I had read about- when your body is expelling toxins and smelliness is increased for a while. I did also get some mild irritation and redness when I first switched, too. It went away though. BUT–I used it the entire time I was in yoga teacher training–and I felt like it held its own! 

Another random consideration, the first ingredient in Dear Me is coconut oil, which means at warmer temperatures it will melt. You can store in the fridge and get a refreshing cool feeling when you apply in the morning, but don't leave it in your beach bag. I really did like this deodorant a lot and it lasted me for about 4 months. I would definitely consider bringing it back for the colder months. Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Beeswax, High Quality Baking Soda, Arrow Root Powder, Peppermint Essential Oil, Palmarosa Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil

Option 3: Native

native natural deodorant switching to natural deodorant
Native natural deodorant ingredients aluminum free paraben free

For the last month I have been using Native deodorant. It is another stick blend. There are actually quite a few scents available- I opted for the seasonal blend, Rosé (duh). I also purchased a little mini of their bestseller, coconut & vanilla. It's a bit harder (doesn't use as much every application) than Dear Me, so I think it will last awhile. So far I really have liked it.  There are quite a few more ingredients in it- but it really works very well. I still am a lil' stinkier at the end of the day, so I reapply (and really scent is truly gone- it doesn't feel like I'm covering it up with perfume or something) or I shower before bed. Honestly, this is the first time I feel like life is business as usual since I switched to natural deodorant this winter. What I found super interesting is that they have a probiotic in their ingredients - L. acidophilus! I'm curious to know if by adding that bacteria it changes the dynamic of the smell. If any of you know the answer, please share! <3 Bonus- if you decide to try Native and use this link we both get a free mini-deodorant. Yes, pls! Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Arrowroot Powder, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Shea Fruit Butter, Coconut Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax, Jojoba Esters, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), L. acidophilus, Dextrose, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Fragrance

The Outcome

My conclusion - there isn't a simple answer. The effectiveness appears to go up with the number of ingredients in the deodorant, but I would prefer a simpler blend. As of right now I am happy with Native, but I haven't ruled out trying the others again, or trying new blends. It's interesting because we all have different bacteria that thrives on our skin- so there is not one answer that works best for everyone! I would recommend trying out any of the options above to see how they work for you. I feel like I've finally become comfortable with using natural deodorant- my next mission is to get my husband to try it too! 


What to expect when you switch from a normal antiperspirant to a natural deodorant

Helpful tips for switching from Native!&nbsp;

Helpful tips for switching from Native! 

  1. It's not business as usual. Things will feel different under there. It takes time to get used to an increased level of perspiration. 
  2. You may be stinkier for a period of time while you detoxify- or not. Some recommend doing an armpit detox mask. I didn't try, but perhaps would help eliminate the toxin stink period. 
  3. Some natural deodorants may stain your clothes. I didn't notice this more so than my previous anti-perspirant, but it's good to be aware of. 
  4. Shave your pits the night before to prevent irritation. 
  5. Reapplying is your friend. 

 


The Verdict?

So when is the right time to switch to natural deodorant? I don't believe there ever really is going to be a good time, but I would wait until after your wedding! Maybe even wait until you get home from the honeymoon. If you are ready to take the plunge, I would start at least 6 months before wedding. I think there are too many X factors. Pit stains on a white dress? Worrying about lifting your arms when dancing on your big day? Detox stink kicking in on your honeymoon? I would stick to what has worked for you in the past. Don't change anything up unless its not working! After the wedding passes you have your whole life to test out what works for you and your bod!


Have you tried natural deodorant? Did you make the switch before the wedding? Any brand recommendations to try? I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a note here or on Insta/FB. - AHS

Update: Brain Octane Oil and Bulletproof Coffee Trial

So if you read my post from two weeks ago, you will know that I had been reading and learning about the differences on Brain Octane Oil, MCT oil, and Bulletproof coffee – but I hadn't really tried it out yet. I decided to pursue testing Brain Octane Oil and Bulletproof Coffee. 

bulletproofcoffee1

I started drinking Brain Octane Oil in my coffee around 2 weeks ago but took a couple days off because I wasn't at home. I immediately became obsessed with the frothy goodness. I love the richness it added to my daily cup o' joe. I realize what almond milk (alone) was lacking was FAT! It isn't quite as satisfying as regular milk, but I had gotten so used to it, I didn't realize what I had been missing. The days that I had coffee out of the house, I seriously missed the oil! 

After a few days with just the oil, and seeing how much I loved it, I decided to give Bulletproof coffee a try. (Reminder: Bulletproof coffee is some type of MCT oil, in this case, Brain Octane, plus 1-2 tbsp of grass-fed, unsalted butter.) Guys, it became even richer and frothier! I was in heaven. All of the froth and richness. With this change, my morning cuppa became a sheer delight (and if you haven't realized already, I'm pretty obsessed with my morning cup). That being said, I am not going to add butter every day, just because I know from past experience my body does better with less dairy. 

I didn't immediately notice any cognitive benefits that you are supposed to see with the oil (with the exception of my morning meditation struggling because I couldn't tame the thoughts! Or was that the caffeine?... Tough to say). Then I realized that I had been not using the full dosage. I had started using 1 tsp, had worked my way up to 2. Well, I was supposed to be using 1 tsp, working my way up to 2 TBSP. So, makes sense I wasn't seeing the level of results I was anticipating.

bulletproofcoffee2

With the adjustment (I landed at 1.5 tbsp) I did see vast improvement. I didn't notice any difference in results with Brain Octane Oil or proper Bulletproof Coffee, though. One of the benefits of adding butter is that it should supply steady, long-lasting energy, which may have happened, but I ate breakfast most days because I was hungry (the Bulletproof guys make it a meal replacement). So it's tricky to say if it was tied to the my morning drink. They say you won't get hungry, but I did. I kept it light: either a green smoothie or an egg with a slice of sprouted grain toast. 

Without further ado, here are my observations: 

  • I felt less brain fog than usual. I felt sharper in whatever I was thinking, writing, or saying. It mayyyyy have increased my ability to focus - hard to say. I'm very ADD (with an actual diagnosis) so I think I saw an improvement, but not really sure. 
  • I drank my coffee faster than usual to avoid oil separation, which did lead to stomach aches a couple times. I like drinking my coffee slowly: I end up drinking less that way. So I would consider this a negative. 
  • Relating to stomach... adjusting to the oil initially made my poop a bit looser than usual. Not bad though. (Apologies if that's TMI, but thought you should know if you are experiencing that while taking the oil, it's normal! ;))
  • One of the biggest surprises was when I added a tbsp to my lunch smoothie. Normally, I do my best work in the morning - no matter what. By drinking it in my afternoon smoothie it kept my brain sharp all afternoon, when I typically struggle the most! 
  • I also noticed that by the evenings I was absolutely famished, which is not common for me. It may have increased my metabolic rate! I have lost a little bit of weight, but I have also been following Shed guidelines this month to start the year on a good note. So could be a combination of the two. 
  • One other negative, I have noticed an increase in heartburn. As I've mentioned, I've been eating very clean, so I am wondering if the oil/butter are having an impact. It could be unrelated though. (If anyone knows anything about heartburn, help a sister out! #thisis30) You all now know way too much about me. 
brainoctanecoffee1

In sum, I will definitely keep Brain Octane Oil as a part of my routine. I may split up 2 tablespoons - 1 in the am, 1 at lunch. The cognitive benefits were really noticeable when I increased my intake. It really upped my morning coffee game. I clearly am obsessed with the frothy yumminess. Adding butter to my coffee has really been a treat, I will probably keep using it several days a week. Although, I may try removing it for awhile though to see if helps my heartburn situation (cue *tears of laughter and of sadness at the same time*). 😂 😭 🤦🏻‍♀️

Have you guys tried Brain Octane Oil or Bulletproof coffee? I would love to hear what you think of it! Leave a comment below or on insta. Bottoms up! -AHS

So what's up with collagen?

If you have followed any wellness gurus or influencers at all for at least the past 6 months, you will know that drinking collagen has been a hot topic. I woke up one day and the only thing I saw was collagen, everywhere! On my insta feed, every wellness 'grammer was posting about it. I went to the Cubs game, they were sponsored by Vital Proteins. An athlete friend of mine was all of a suddenly repping them. I couldn't escape! 

Then I began to think, "Is this stuff magical? Could it change my life? Is this something brides should be into? Eh, probs just an excellent marketing team." Either way, it was worth trying. 

So what is collagen? Why should we drink it? What are the supposed benefits? It seems like there are a million products out there, which one do I try? Where does it come from? I'll try to catch you up on my learnings. 

What is collagen and why should i take it? 

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Why take it? Because the intake of collagen ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of skin, hair, tendon, cartilage, bones and joints. It has been proven to: 

  1. Promote younger looking skin
  2. Improve skin moisture level and suppleness
  3. Improve skin smoothness
  4. Prevent the formation of deep wrinkles
  5. Help protect connective tissues & restore muscles
  6. Replenish moisture levels in hair
  7. Support nail growth
  8. Aid in gut health (digestion, healing the gut lining, and more!)

Um, this stuff is sounding very intriguing to me. As I turned 30 this year, I have become a bit obsessed with my skin. This is honestly my primary motivation in trying collagen. Is this going to make me glow? I'm also super into the gut health perks. 

Which product to try and where it comes from

I decided to try Vital Proteins. They seem to be the industry front runner (and from Chi! holla!)  and while also being up to my animal product standards. They are sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised bovine hides from Brazil. The pasture size for each animal is one animal per 2.67 acres which is in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership 5-step animal welfare rating standards.

I try to make my life easier not harder- the product fit the specs on my first try- I didn't see the need to keep searching. There are definitely other collagens out there, but I have not tried them, so cannot speak to their qualities. I'm sure there are a lot of other great options and would love to hear about any other brands you have tried! 

My personal experience

I ended up buying the 10oz canister of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to test it out. The canister lasted me about a month. I put one scoop in my coffee every day. Technically, the serving is two scoops, but one seemed enough initially. I tend to slowly work my way to the full amounts suggested. It dissolves beautifully into warm liquid. You can mix it in hot, cold, or even put it in sauces or baked goods. I haven't tried anything but my coffee.

I have a really hard time eating immediately when I wake up, and it's a really easy way to get my first dose of protein in before I even eat breakfast. When I ran out, I actually missed it in my coffee. For an addition that is flavorless, I was a bit perplexed by that observation. I think it just added a more satiating component by adding protein with the coffee. Maybe I should try bulletproof coffee next?  

My nails and hair are growing awkwardly fast. I've always had really strong nails, but I'm actually having to cut them all the time. My hair is the same (the ROOTS! :() My skin has been looking really good, and dare I say, "supple"?  (Sans an awful stress pimple on my left cheek of course.) Did I achieve a "glow"? Eh, I'm going to say that is a stretch. Did I notice a change in my digestive health? Not really. Overall though, I could see and feel a difference. 

So who knows, is it placebo? Could be. Did I miss taking it when I ran out? Yeah, I did. Would I say I recommend it? Yep, I would. 

In fact, because I liked taking it so much, I decided to become an affiliate for Vital Proteins. That means that if you click on any of the links (affiliate links) in this post, at no cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. But to be clear, this review was not paid for by Vital Proteins and my opinions are all my own. 

Conclusion

I'm really into the idea of collagen. My skin obsession is just getting worse with age, and I like being able to fight the aging process from the inside out. I personally noticed improvements to my skin, nails, and hair. It is an easy addition to my routine without any fuss. I would give it a 9/10. It would get a 10/10 if it was slightly more economically accessible. 

I've only tried the original collagen peptides but I'm really excited about trying the matcha and the creamers. What do you guys think? Will you give it a shot?  I would love to hear what you think of it! Leave me a note in the comments or on insta!

To learn more or to buy click here.


Other thoughts

When doing Shed I encourage plant based protein powders. Why are collagen peptides okay and other non plant-based protein powders aren't #shedapproved? 

I encourage plant-based proteins because the more we source our foods from plants, the better we all will be. That being said, I am not currently a vegan. My body does not thrive when I eat exclusively plant-based foods. Also, one of the more common form of protein powders is whey protein. I do not encourage taking whey protein because whey is a form of dairy and dairy causes inflammation in the body. While collagen peptides are definitively animal products- they are not dairy. 

I tried Eat Purely for the first time, here's what happened.

eatpurelycubansteak

Y'all know I find lots of joy in cooking. But cooking every day is exhausting. Meal prepping in advance is great in theory, but does not play out as often as I would like. Make enough for leftovers? Yes, great idea until your husband eats it all in one sitting (love you, boo). Then what? You don't necessarily want to blow your healthy eating on some indulgent carryout. You still want to keep "living the lifestyle" but you don't want to cook right now, dammit. Where can I get healthy delivery for dinner?

Does anyone remember Sprig? It was in Chicago a couple years ago and I was OBSESSED. It was super healthy, organic meals delivered. But they closed down in Chicago, and I cried. I don't know how it is possible they closed because I was probably single-handedly keeping them in business. I'm still so sad I still haven't deleted the app off my phone. Pathetic. I have been looking for a replacement since they closed down. Cue: Eat Purely. 

I had heard about the service a bit and I had been meaning to try it for awhile. Last week, the perfect opportunity arose. It had been a busy productive day, but no time to grocery shop. I was tired. I didn't want to go anywhere. But it was a weeknight- aka "you need to keep it clean, Alexandra". Then boom! Epiphany- I could try Eat Purely. 

Okay so what exactly is Eat Purely? From their website: "artisan chefs use fresh, seasonal ingredients to create a diverse range of restaurant-quality meals and sides. Select from a daily rotating menu of locally-sourced meals. Order on demand or schedule up to a week in advance. Meals arrived chilled so everything stays fresh. A few minutes in your oven or microwave and dinner is piping hot when you're ready to eat.

Okay so that sounds great but is it healthy? 

"Our chefs create food that never relies on excess salt, fat, or refined sugars to taste great. We’d rather let our locally-sourced ingredients do the talking... Our vegetables are fresh and seasonal. Our animal proteins are raised, not grown. Our meals are made without chemicals, preservatives, or GMOs."

Hmmm... well this sound good theoretically. Seasonal and locally-sourced is important for produce. Interesting that they don't use the term "organic" if everything is made without chemicals or GMOs. It's great that animal proteins are "raised" but what are they really committing to? It's hard to say because I couldn't find any further information on the website. :/

At the end of the day, this information was good enough for me. Why? Because this sounds about equal to the standard I hold myself to. I try to make sure that my animal proteins are grass-fed, no hormones added, and raised humanely- but even at Whole Foods this is hard to accomplish sometimes. You do the best you can for where you are at. And its helluva lot better than most carryout. 

I went on the app and instantly found a #shedapproved* meal - an incredible looking Coconut Glazed Salmon- but alas- sold out. 

eatpurelysalmon1
eatpurelysalmonnutrition

I was looking through for another option that would be comparable. I landed on the Cuban Steak. It looked great- gluten free, dairy free, grass-fed meat! And if you follow me at all- you probably know I'm obsessed with sweet potatoes. So this meal is looking pretty fantastic. Unfortunately, when I looked at the nutrition facts, it has more sugar than I would've liked. 15 grams- but sweet potatoes add sugar. The key distinction was the addition of brown sugar. Brown sugar is not #shedapproved and is in the middle of the ingredients list. Bummer. The was rice was tricky too- it seemed by the look of the photo to be brown rice- but the ingredient list said it was "long grain"- which could be both white or brown! What a conundrum. 

eatpurelycubansteak
eatpurelycubansteaknutrition

I order it anyway because I was very hangry (no time- for debating) and it comes incredibly fast. I think it was 15 minutes. I set the oven for 350 degrees per the "heat and eat" directions. I put foil on the top of the container and put it in the oven. I followed the directed amount of time (8-12 mins) but it wasn't hot enough. So I put it in the microwave (no aluminum foil! lol) for a minute and that did the trick.

It came in this pretty container.&nbsp;

It came in this pretty container. 

Straight out of the box, still has pretty presentation! #impressed

Straight out of the box, still has pretty presentation! #impressed

It was realllllly tasty and was super satisfying. I loved that there was a variety of veggies. I really was "eating the rainbow": from the sweet potatoes, salsa verde, black beans, to the parsley and pickled onion salad- we got quite a few colors/nutrients in there. By flavor alone I would definitely order again. It is definitely healthier than 95% of most takeout (please don't take that stat seriously). 

Conclusion? While I love the service and the quality of the ingredients- it is not the easiest to eat #shedapproved meals. You still have to be vigilant checking the ingredient list to see if you are eating within the elimination guidelines. It IS possible to find great healthy options, but don't just order anything off the menu. I also support this for Shed maintenance meals 100%! 

In the end, it tasted like brown rice to me, so I'm going to stick with that for now. :) 

If you do decide to give Eat Purely a try-  use my promo code for a $20 credit for you and for me! :) Promo code: ALEXANDRAS21

Hmmm looks like white rice in this photo!&nbsp;

Hmmm looks like white rice in this photo! 

*(It was month 1 approved- soy has gluten- which makes it a month 2 nono)

**LEGIT - No one paid me to write this. I wish they did, though.**