coco’nuts’ about these products

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blueberry banana bread bars featuring fair trade coconut oil

Who else likes to check these boxes?

✅saving money
✅buying food that’s good for you
✅giving a hand up to those who need it by buying fair trade
✅sharing the secret with others

Today, I was able to do all four when I bought two of my favorite pantry essentials from Vitacost: Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos and Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Fair Trade & Organic Coconut Oil.

Yes, these are more expensive than similar products, but there are times when I feel it’s important to “vote with my fork” and pay the extra money for a good cause.

Here’s the skinny on why I shell out the few extra pesos:

coconut aminos

coconut oil

So where does the saving money part come in?

Glad you asked. 😉

These two products are available at through Vitacost.com for a better price than I can find them in local stores and are priced better or competitively with other online suppliers.

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Leng’s salad featuring coconut aminos

And here’s where saving you money comes in…if you click on this link which takes you to the Vitacost site, you will receive $10 off your first order of $30 or more. Free shipping happens when you spend $49.

What I usually do is plan in my grocery budget to make a bulk purchase so I can save on shipping. So today I placed an order for six Coconut Aminos and two jars of Coconut Oil which brought be a hair over the $49 mark. Since these are shelf stable, I won’t need to order again for several months.

Want to give it a try to make a difference in someone’s life and fuel your body with better ingredients?

Head on over to Vitacost. Then come back here and tell me what you put in your cart.

*I participate in Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program. If you click the link and make a purchase from them, you will get $10 off on your order of $30 or more and I will also get a $10 credit. All my opinions are my own.

Celebrating Success…#LowSugarNaturally

Today I’m excited to share a #lowsugarnaturally success story with you since we are just completing the first week of the free Sugar Pretox Challenge. I met Stephanie through a Facebook group when I shared about this article I wrote for our local paper. I asked her to share her story and she graciously agreed…

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Tell me about yourself…

I am a stay-at-home mom to my five-year old daughter McKenna! My husband and I will be married for six years on May 15th! I love crafts and spending time with family and friends. Laughing as much as I can, and making others laugh too- sort of the class clown! I like to cook and decorate and honestly do a little of this, a little of that!

Why did you decide to cut sugar from your diet?

I have always struggled with my weight, especially after having my daughter when I topped out at around 380 lbs. I tried random diets and counting calories, I added walking with my daughter to my weekly routines….nothing helped.

One of my friends suggested I try cutting carbs and sugar from my diet. So on January 6th, 2014 I decided to stop eating sugar, processed foods and most carbs. The weight melted off and within about a month I felt the best I can remember. I was sleeping better, my skin improved, had more energy, and of course lost weight at a pretty steady pace.

In about a year and a half I had dropped 125 lbs. But then I hit a plateau and didn’t lose much after that year and a half.

This past November, I was frustrated and decided for the holidays to go ahead and add sugar back in my diet…..horrible idea! I gained about 25 lbs super fast and felt like garbage! So, after the new year, I went right back to no sugar and low carbs and have already lost 15 lbs.

It was a good reminder of how I used to feel and how I never want to feel again!

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Any other benefits? My blood pressure and cholesterol levels also have improved.

What was the hardest part of cutting out sugar for you? The first 2 weeks. It feels like you have the flu as you go through withdrawal. Plus, being around tons of sweets at parties and holidays and the fact that people don’t “get it” and can’t seem to see why I won’t just have the cake or some cookies, etc.

How can you encourage others in trying to go sugar-free? Keep at it for 3 weeks, no matter how you feel. It may not be fun or easy at first but it gets better! I’ve also found that foods with processed sugar crap don’t even taste good to me at all anymore! It coats your mouth with this weird taste and immediately feels like a brick in my stomach! I also try to encourage people through my low-card Instagram account: Lowcarb_stephaknee

Favorite recipe?

My Brussel sprouts that I get great compliments on:

1.5 lbs of halved Brussel sprouts
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
2 teaspoons stevia
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 to 3 cloves garlic, minced.
Splash of apple cider vinegar.

Add the butter and Brussels to a pan and keep on medium heat, stirring every few min.

Add the rest of the ingredients to a sauce pan and whisk up (sometimes I add more stevia, sometimes more mustard….I do it to taste). Keep both on medium heat stirring occasionally. Once the Brussels are cooked to your liking, and the sauce has thickened a bit pour the sauce over the Brussels and keep on low heat for a few min. These are like a sweet and sour glazed Brussel sprouts…I make them 1 to 3 Times a week and there’s never leftovers!!!

Thanks, Stephanie!

If you are interested in learning more about the Sugar Pretox/Detox Challenge and would like to take this on yourself, please visit this blog post. If you would like to join the #lowsugarnaturally community, please follow this link to my #lowsugarnaturally facebook group.

food journaling

FBhead3This week marks the first full week of the Sugar Pretox Challenge.

As part of the challenge, I’m asking participants to keep a food journal and record everything they eat and drink (with the exception of pure water) for five days.

Why start here?

Because I believe we all underestimate the amount of fat, calories, processed foods, and sugar we actually are putting into our bodies. The only way to be sure if our perceptions match with our food reality is if we take the time to record what we eat – every meal, every snack, every little tiny nibble.

According to this article in The Huffington Post, it’s also important to record items like how you were feeling, portion sizes, time of day and even location, especially if your goal is to lose weight. For the Sugar Pretox Challenge, I’m modifying that list slightly since the focus is on creating awareness around the amount of sugary items we eat.

You can see a sample of the food journal page we’ll be using. If you’d like to take on this challenge yourself – either keeping a 5-day food journal or the free Sugar Pretox Challenge – please, go to this post to submit your contact information so I can add you to our group and provide access to the food journal pages.

And if you’ve had experience keeping a food journal, I would love to hear about your findings…did it help? What surprised you most? How did it help you modify your diet?

Food Journal record page