Nutrience Grain Free Dry Food- Dog Days

This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Network and Nutrience. All opinions are my own.

I was very excited to be approached to review the new Nutrience Grain Free dry dog food line, as we actually just adopted my cousin’s poochie and I am incredibly proud of our gorgeous girl. Our black lab now has a boxer buddy, helping to keep her young and healthy.

Man, does this pup ever eat though! Boxers are known to have some GI tract issues and it’s imperative that Keila, which is our new pup’s name, be given food that is satiating enough in a small quantity that she doesn’t want to eat a ton at a time. This will help prevent bloat and we can make certain our pup’s frequent meals are leaving her full, happy and providing all nutrients that she needs by making sure that her food includes good, quality ingredients. Isn’t that important for all pets though, really?

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Anyway, for this particular endeavor I wanted to give Keila the Nutrience Grain Free pork, lamb and venison combo that can be found on their site here. I figured that, if I were a dog, I would probably be happy to have the variety of meat proteins and, with the same thought in my head, I would appreciate the quality. Afterall, as Nutrience touts, you “Nourish the body. Feed the spirit” and we want to make certain that our fur baby receives all of the nourishment she requires, especially during this stage of her growth.

As you can see, she was so ready to be the guinea pig gorgeous dog for this review;

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Looking at a picture of herself, in logo form.

 

I was surprised to note that coconut oil is included in the food, which I absolutely love using for pretty much anything and actually feel a little closer to my dogs, as they’re ingesting it regularly too. Awh, the whole fam is in on the coconut craze now! I assume this is for their hair and skin, although (if the quantity is large enough) I’m betting it would help with immune support, keeping them regular and cleaning their teeth. Unlike my husband, Keila took her coconut oil without fuss…

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The only ingredient that I’m not sure about is “yeast extract”, which can be a broad group of ingredients and the label is unclear about the type of extract that’s included in this food. Some are used for supplementation, some are just flavor enhancers. I wish there were more specifications regarding this, or it wasn’t in there at all (glutamic acid derivatives are blamed for a slew of issues in humans), but this food additive is designated as safe by the FDA and has been for decades.

What I love about Nutrience pet food is that this particular line is good for both a mature dog and a puppy, which saves us from having to buy different food for Shirley Schmidt (our 3 year old lab who, yes, has two names) and Keila (who is only four months old and came with the name… or she’d be a Denny Crane). This is incredibly convenient and preferable, considering I know they would both eat the other’s food anyways, since we now only have to worry about serving sizes.

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Now THESE are puppy dog eyes. #boystakenote #heartmelt

I trust sites like Dog Food Advisor, which has given the Nutrience brand a 5 star rating, and feel that this is a fairly affordable, quality pet food that my boxer beauty seems to enjoy. If you’re interested in checking into the Nutrience Grain Free line, they carry food for dogs as well as cats and you can link up with them here;

Twitter: @Nutrience_

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If you want to keep up to date, you can even sign up for their newsletter here;

http://www.nutrience.ca/#news-letter-form

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I Met My Matcha

I was very excited to receive some complimentary Steeped Tea from my friend Erin,  which came in a gorgeous, blue package that I quickly tore open. I have a love for matcha tea due to its health benefits but am always on the hunt for a more tasty option. The Steeped Tea company offers a wide variety of flavours, as well as an interesting #meetyourmatcha challenge and corresponding bundle. How awesome is this kit?!
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I was most definitely up for the #meetyourmatcha challenge, due to my fairly recent discovery of this fantastic dietary option. The health benefits of matcha tea area numerous, some of which include the massive antioxidant punch (137 times more than standard green tea), disease prevention, lowering cholesterol, natural detoxification, age-fighting, it boosts metabolism and there are a slew of excellent vitamins, amino acids and minerals in the tea as well. When standard tea is made, we only get the nutrients that come out in the steeping process but, in order to reap the full benefits of green tea, we would actually have to consume the entire leaf. That would be pretty gross, chomping on a soggy tea leaf, but matcha tea powder provides us with that option, sans the cow-like chewing. I’m a big fan of the cancer-fighting catechins (a class of antioxidant) and matcha tea, according to Brunswick Labs, actually has the highest concentration of antioxidants than any other “superfood” out there today. Even if I didn’t enjoy the tea, I would still drink it after that!
When I opened this particular box, I found a cute measuring spoon and four different blends of matcha green tea powder inside; melon ball, sweet strawberry, original and pineapple.
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I was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful bundle, as it’s full of some interesting flavour combinations and ideas for your own matcha recipes on this great reference card;

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As I have to whisk the tea, I decided to make it in a bowl and you typically add 1/2 of a teaspoon to a full teaspoon of the powder, depending on your taste. After a year of experience with this powdered beverage, I typically prefer the thinner option because it is not chalky on the palate.
This is the bamboo whisk that I use to whip up all of my concoctions, along with the stand it sits upon. Cute, isn’t it?!
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See how beautifully green it is? Compared to other teas like this, it is far more vibrant than the ones I have come across previously- this means that they used quality leaves and it hasn’t been blended with too many stalks or garbage-y bits.
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Now, when you start out on your own matcha tea experience it is absolutely imperative that you first mix the powder with only a bit of water. You make a paste, then add the rest of your water, or you’re going to end up with a very clumpy and unpleasant tea. Most people don’t know this so matcha gets a bad name.

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You whisk everything in a zig-zag motion and are doing well if you get quite a few bubbles. I took the below picture after the froth had dissipated a bit but it only takes about 15 seconds or so to get an ideal amount of foam to it. If you do things properly, you’ll end up with a few more bubbles than this.
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If you are not a fan of green tea, the original kind probably is not the beverage for you. It’s exceptionally earthy and tastes of vegetation. It is not astringent and reminds me a bit of alfalfa sprouts, kale or similar tastes. The sweet pea-like finish makes one go back for more and I find this beverage to be incredibly soothing but my husband, on the other hand, hates the stuff.
Morning matcha in my moccasins;
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For the past couple of weeks now, Steeped Tea has been my go-to option as part of my morning routine and I’ve found myself partial to the melonball option, personally. It tastes like a watery honeydew, or at least I think so, and doesn’t leave you with a cloyingly sweet or fake taste in your mouth. It does more for me than espresso and I find that an evening cup helps to prevent me from crashing right after dinner. It saves from exhaustion and saved my poor family members from an exhausted me, which can be rather unpleasant if I’ve got a list of chores to knock off and am fighting the Sand Man. An average serving of matcha tea, according to Matcha Source, contains around 35mg of caffeine but studies have shown that the natural combination of everything else that the beverage offers actually causes the energy jolt, with none of the typical caffeine jitters that one might experience from coffee. This also means that, much to my enjoyment, I don’t have the post-coffee crash either.
The pricing per serving comes out to less than buying coffee or tea for the day and far more healthy for you, as an added perk.
I’m a big fan of the versatility and, to name a couple of things you can do with this as an ingredient, it can be added to puddings, rice dishes, icing, muffins, curries, salad dressing, as part of cake (although I’m not partial to that and I matchafailed on that one), any sort of smoothie recipe you would like, as a crust on meat, to soups and mixed in with cream cheese. Here were a few more of my #meetyourmatcha endeavors;
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If you’re not a huge fan of the taste, one of the best ways to sneak matcha tea into your diet would be to include it in eggs because the taste is masked quite well. I’m  not a fan of green eggs as a visual so I didn’t include anything in liquid form. For my quiche, pictured above, I tossed some in with the cheese prior to blending everything into my egg mixture. I found it paired really well as part of a spinach dish, sharing similar tastes, so we actually didn’t notice it a great deal as part of this dinner and the cheese absorbed all of the matcha goodness.
I was actually absolutely thrilled with this lunch;
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I mixed a serving of matcha into my avocado for atop of my goat cheese and found that this sandwich, on rye, quickly became a hit. I’ve actually eaten one of these tasty, little morsels for lunch every day this week! #newfave
The website has a wide variety of recipes for cooking and other uses, such as matcha smoothies like this one, although I am partial to all of them in liquid form. I also like making mine with more than just berries and have found that peaches pair incredibly well with this flavoured stuff, especially if you’re using any of the melon matchas as part of your drink. My husband, however, likes his blended with vanilla icecream but, thankfully for him,drinking this tea can also more than double the body’s own rate of thermogenesis (fat-burning) so he can afford this pleasant beverage. The pineapple one is my husband’s pick, appealing to his sweet tooth, and this is actually the only type of matcha he will drink. As such, I’m a customer for life! I found the strawberry one to be most pleasing where scent was concerned but, with icecream, anything goes!
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And, on the subject of green tea sexy, why don’t we go typical mojito but just crush a bit of the matcha powder along with the lime and mint? Hands down (and bottoms up), it’s got my vote!
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I’ve seen the #meetyourmatcha challenge done so many ways, with suggestions made about face masks or using matcha in massage oil. Although that’s all well and good for some, I definitely prefer to gain all of the benefits of ingesting this tea and, as a matter of taste, I really do enjoy keeping it simple and drinking it as part of a daily ritual. If you want to go slightly more fancy than a standard cup of tea, you could always sweeten it with some honey, froth some milk and make it a latte. The tea-world is your oyster!
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Here is Erin’s contact info, or visit her Facebook page by clicking here, as I know you’re now ready to #meetyourmatcha!
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Probiotics- SUPERFOOD!

I am so excited about this review, as this is a product that I am truly in love with, interested in and I know I will continue to use it on a daily basis.
We all heard about the benefits of probiotics, right? Or at least you know they’re good for you- but do you know how good for you they actually are? Miessence InLiven Probiotic Superfood, which I was provided at no cost in exchange for an honest review, is genuinely one of the best products that you can get on the market if upping the intake is your goal. You can’t really know exactly what you’re getting within a serving of food so go with a straight source. Forget Jamie Lee Curtis and her yogurt/poop talks!

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Probiotics are healthy bacteria and yeasts that assist with digestive health, as well as slew of other bodily issues and functions, as that silver fox on TV told us. There are various types that are better than others for specific problems, although Miessence InLiven Probiotic Superfood actually covers all 13 strains of the Lactobacillus family, is certified organic and the bacteria used is produced from fruits and vegetables. Did you know that some suppliers fast-track this step in fecal matter? So, Jamie Lee, maybe we ought to have a poop talk after all.

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This is also safe for babies and you can give 1/4 teaspoon to children, typically started around the age of two but my youngest is a year and a half and she started on hers this past couple of weeks. It assists with creating good gut flora, which ups your immune system, so I figured it was practical to start giving her probiotics with all of the ridiculous measles hype running rampant. Grown men at my husband’s workplace are running in to receive the live attenuated virus vaccines and, although I’m not worried about the virus, Chicky is a bit young to have it just now. In order to give their little immune systems an added boost, I have started mixing probiotics in with a small amount of fresh squeezed orange juice. This is a treat for my children so we have no problem getting either of the girls to take them. I am also happy to report that we are very rarely sick in this household and I attribute that, in part, to our regular use of probiotics.

It’s fantastic for babies or if you’re having a baby as well, due to the fact that researchers have found that women who took probiotics during pregnancy had a 30% reduction in the instance of giving birth to a child who would suffer from eczema, an early warning sign for allergies. More on that can be read here.

If you’re attempting to lose weight, Stanford University came out with a study that suggests one benefit of probiotics is that they’re responsible for assisting in lowering waist circumference in postpartum women. The study was reported by the Huffington Post, here. You can’t see this but that point itself is causing me to happy dance as I type.

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As you can see by the consistency, it’s fairly easy to mix in with any food or liquid. I take mine with my morning shake or any beverage throughout the day. I take 3tsp daily and, although it doesn’t look lovely- it is a bacteria, after all- I truly can’t taste anything when I take them.

Basically- probiotics are good for your immune system, digestive system, urinary health, women’s health, it’s great if you’re pregnant, not pregnant or maybe you just look a wee bit pregnant (like me). These healthy, little bacteria truly put the “super” in Miessence InLiven Probiotic Superfood and I suggest you get some. You can check out the business page by following the link in the top of this post, the Miessence Facebook page can be found hereor you can follow them on Pinterest here, if you would like.

What are you waiting for?!

 

 

 

 

Slow Food For Fast Lives

I recently had such an unexpected, unique experience with a plain, old granola bar that I figured I would share. This is Slow Food For Fast Lives and they carry a few surprising flavors that you may want to check out; 

The company objective is to create innovative, delicious and nutritious options for people on the go, setting themselves apart from the standard, sugary or chocolate covered energy bars that are so widely available. As each of the three founders wears a variety of titles and has their hands in other companies, it’s no wonder they needed something quick and satisfying to boost their energy stores. Slow Food For Fast lives was born in the kitchen of an imaginative, healthy, home-cooking Mama and every bar is made around a central theme, such as “Thai” or “California”. 
Speaking of, I will tell you a bit about my experiences with each type. 
The first option that I tried was the Moroccan, the original bar. 

I have to admit, if you go into this thinking “granola bar” then you’re going to become quickly alarmed by the assault to the tastebuds. I did and did not initially enjoy the experience, as I am so accustomed to the chocolate drenched, chewy, Quaker-like “granola” bars that offer no comparable nutritional value. These do offer the same mouth feel, with added chunks of real nuts or whole pieces of ingredients. I was not a fan of the ginger in this, although I really (and surprisingly) enjoyed the way the carrot sneaks up in this snack. I took a few bites and shared this one with my daughter, who devoured it in it’s entirety quite quickly. I asked her what she thought and my little lady replied, “It’s yummy! Delicious.” Clearly, by the fact that my child who eats like a bird ate the rest of it, she approved. As a parent, I like the idea that she was eating something that offered diverse, new tastes while being full of nutritional value. 

My least favourite of the package was this one, Indian; 

I will start by saying that I absolutely love Indian food. In fact, if I was to choose any one regional cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, I would choose the culinary options native to India and I am extremely familiar with such dishes. I would not have chosen to combine these options in one palette for a snack bar, personally, and couldn’t get over the cauliflower, coconut and cumin combination. It just was not for me and the scent of the cauliflower, as well as it’s taste, was not my preferred ingredient. I think each component could have made for a unique bar but combined was not the best way to go. If coconut was being used then possibly cinnamon or cardamom instead of cumin and then rice, rather than cauliflower, may have been nice. Even a dessert bar inspired by India would have been delicious but not overly sweet, in keeping with the company theme. I don’t know, this one was just not for me but I like the concept and it may be of interest for others. 
The California bar and I have a love-hate relationship; 
I am a huge quinoa fan and I will eat it mixed into dishes or even on it’s own. I also love kale, almonds are a daily snack for me and pomegranates are something I enjoy immensely. All good things. The taste of this bar is especially great when you get a bit of fruit in there, or a whole chunk of almond. I asked my hubby to take a bite though and he could not get over the way it smells. Admittedly, it smells quite a lot like rabbit pellets and, as taste and smell are definitely linked, I feel that this is something that could be improved upon. After he mentioned it, I noticed the scent more so and became fixated to the point that it dampened my overall experience. 
This little bar here, the Thai, was like sitting down to dinner; 

I was very surprised by the complexity of flavor and how much I enjoyed this. The peanut is more peanut buttery but it melds nicely with the other notes and there is a hint of lime in there, just perfectly mixed in with the pepper as a citrus undertone. I think, of all of them, I enjoyed this one the most.
Overall, I think Slow Food For Fast lives definitely lives up to the company name- each bar provides an experience that is worth savoring and taking some time out to reflect upon. Check out their website here and their Facebook can be found via this link
They are definitely not something that you will have come across before and I recommend them for those who wish to branch out of their comfort zone.