Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review & Giveaway Time: Vega One Nutrition Bars

Hey friends!

So a while back I was contacted by Vega and asked if I'd like to be part of their new Team Vega! Um, do you think I even needed to think about it ---- I have been a long-time lover of the Vega products, so I immediately said YES!!!!

In a nutshell, Team Vega is a community of like-minded athletes, health and fitness leaders across North America who are passionate about Vega products, and understand how clean plant-based nutrition can help transform overall health and performance.  I am so honoured to be part of this team <3!!!!

Y'all know that I've been really focussed on maintaining a clean diet and I have to say that I whole-heartedly agree with Vega's guiding principles for plant-based nutrition. Eating a well-balance, clean, plant-based diet leaves me feeling energized and refreshed. I sleep better, I rarely have mid-afternoon lulls and I never experience that heavy bloated feeling I used to get after eating a big meal. Dare I say my body's starting to look a heck of alot better as well?!

If you`ve thought about making the leap to clean eating and/or vegetarianism or veganism and you want to learn more about the benefits, you should definitely check out Brendan Brazier`s Thrive Forward program. It`s a free, personalized program to help you transform your health and performance through plant-based nutrition. I joined up for this program when it first was launched and there is so much valuable information that you are given access to.

Eating well and taking proper care of your health impacts

One of the perks of being part of this fabulous team is that I get the opportunity to try out and review new products and I recently had the pleasure of trying out the Vega One Nutrition Bars.

Do you love receiving surprise packages in the mail as much as I do?! I was so excited to receive these!!

These new bars hit the shelves in mid-March and come in 3 delicious flavours: Double Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry and Chocolate Almond.

"They're made from natural, plant-based, whole food ingredients, and packed with vitamins and minerals, 15g protein, 6g fiber, 1.5g Omega-3, plus antioxidants, probiotics and greens. They're gluten-free and contain no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners"....and most importantly, they're dipped in CHOCOLATE!!!

One thing that I absolutely LOVE about the Vega One bars are that you can actually see the whole ingredients within the bar: different seeds, chunks of's all there so you can SEE what you're eating and feel confident that you are getting the best quality nutrition in every bite.

To say that these bars taste good would be an understatement. I loved all 3 flavours!! They're quite dense, which makes them very satisfying, and they have a perfect amount of sweetness and a little crunch too! If I had to choose a favourite, I'd have to say the Chocolate Almond, although the other flavours came in a very close second. I have enjoyed these for breakfast on mornings when I'm running late and need to eat on the fly and I've also enjoyed them when I'm on my way from work straight to the gym and need some fuel to tide me over until I get home for dinner.

Because I loved these bars so much and I think they are a great way to stay on track with your clean and healthy eating when life gets hectic, I thought that YOU, my fabulous readers, should have a chance to try them for yourselves. SO, I have decided to offer a giveaway for one lucky reader to receive 3 Vega One bars (one in each flavour).

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what flavour you most want to try. To earn a second entry, tweet about the giveaway and then leave a second comment telling me that you did (make sure you include your Twitter handle please!). Your tweet could go a little somethin' like this:

I just entered a giveaway for a pack of the new #VegaOne Nutrition bars from @Vegvacious. #ThriveFwd

Contest is open to residents of Canada and the USA. The contest shall remain open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Saturday and the winner will be announced in Monday's post. Good Luck!!!

Have a great day!


*Vega provided me with these bars free of charge, but this review and all opinions contained herein are completely my own. The products offered in this giveaway have been purchased by me.*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts & Prayers with Boston Today

There are no words for what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon. It didn't seem right to continue on with regularly scheduled posting ~ the victims of yesterday's violent attack need to know that we love and support them through this difficult time.

Sending my thoughts, love and prayers to Boston today.
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Strawberry Vanilla Protein Oats (Slow Cooker Style)

So is it Spring or isn't it?! Mother Nature is seeming a little confused these days. One day it's warm and sunny and the next it's gray and frigid. We had some glimpses of Springtime weather on Tuesday morning and since then have pretty much been experiencing a monsoon.....okay, so maybe I'm being a wee bit dramatic, but we've had some crazy thunder, rainy downpours and the weatherman is calling for a chance of wet snow or freezing rain today today. AWESOME {enter sarcasm here} I think we can all agree that we are done with winter and want the snow to take a hike, but it just doesn't seem to want to let us go. I bought a couple {read: five} new pairs of flats that I'm dying to wear, but I made an attempt with them yesterday and my feet received a royal soaking. Today, I'm back to boots.

My cravings have been all over the board because of this weather too. One day I'm craving fresh green salads with lots of veggies and my favourite honey dijon dressing and the next day I'm thinking about making a crockpot full of veggie stew.

Last night, I decided that I needed to make a crockpot full of steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. I decided to try a new strawberry vanilla combo, so I could get a little Springtime with the berries while at the same time getting the warm and cozy comfort of the oatmeal. This combo turned out to be delicious!

I also decided to add some protein powder to my oats, which is something I've never done before. I recently became a member of Team Vega {an entire post dedicated to this amazing company and their equally amazing products will be coming very soon} and they provided me with a sample pack of products to try - I decided that their Vega One French Vanilla Nutritional Shake powder would be a perfect compliment to my strawberry oats. This flavour is the bomb-digity of protein powders!!!!!

What I ended up with was an amazing new oatmeal that I insist you've got to try. It's Springtime meets comfort food and it is SO.GOOD!!!!!

Strawberry Vanilla Slow Cooker Protein Oats
Serves 2

1/2 c steel cut oats
1 c unsweetened original almond milk (or milk of your choice)
3/4 c water
1 package vanilla-flavoured protein powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c frozen sliced strawberries (fresh would probably work)

Optional Toppings: favourite nut butter, maple syrup, coconut or chopped pecans

Note: I used my small hot dip slow cooker for this recipe. It works perfectly or you could use Janetha's instructions here for using a larger sized slow cooker.

Grease your slow cooker with coconut oil or non-stick spray.

Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well to combine.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve and enjoy. Sometimes I like to add a spoonful of plain non-fat Greek yogourt to my oats and sometimes I eat them topped with chopped fruit, a drizzle of syrup (perfect way to add more sweetness for all you sweet lovers out there) or a big glob of melty nut butter. Either way will rock your socks off!

I prepare my oatmeal in the evening and let the slow cooker simmer away all night long. When I get up in the morning, I open my bedroom door to the mouthwatering aroma of freshly made oatmeal. It's such a nice way to start your day!

Are you craving fresh produce and all foods associated with Spring or are you still enjoy all the comfort foods of winter?

Have a great day!!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Fancy Up Your Water + My Plan for the Week

Hi guys! I have missed you SOOOO much!

Derek and I had an awesome vacation away in Nashville and then at my parents for an extended Easter holiday! (I'm hoping to do a great big photo dump for you from our time away ----stay tuned!!)

As much as I love vacationing, it's always good to be home ----- we love going away but we always miss the dogs so much and my body always thanks me for getting back into a normal food and workout routine.

When we got home, our refrigerator was E-M-P-T-Y. I didn't have time to get groceries until Saturday, so we lived on egg white scrambles, cottage cheese and any other scrap of food we could find. As you know, I have a weakness for groceries and hate having an empty fridge, so on Friday night, I worked out our menu for this week and I was up and at 'em first thing on Saturday morning, to rectify our food situation. I think it's safe to say that we are replenished. We can't fit a single thing in the fridge right now; especially after we had a family birthday dinner last night, which resulted in lots and lots of leftovers for Derek.

I've planned out a week of healthy clean meals --- here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday - Leftovers from Sunday's dinner (Derek) - Asparagus & Swiss Egg White Omlet (Me) 

Tuesday - Caprese-style Crustless Quiche (recipe on its way y'all) & Mixed Greens

Wednesday - Mixed Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato, Pepitas & Goat Cheese (me) - Stuffed Chicken & Baked Potatoes (Derek)

Thursday - Out for Derek's Birthday!!! xoxoxoxo

Friday - BBQ Tofu with Roasted Turnip & Sauteed Greens

In addition to my clean eating goals, I'm also going to focus on my water intake this week. As you know, I constantly struggle with this, so I'm going to try "fancying up" my water with some fruits and herbs in an attempt to tickle my tastebuds with a little more of the wet stuff. My yoga instructor recently posted this cleansing combo on her facebook page, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Combine 3L of water with 2 sliced lemons, 1/2 a cucumber and 10 - 12 fresh mint leaves. Infuse overnight and then drink up! Today is the first time I'll be trying this combo, so I'll let you know how it goes.

With respect to this week's workouts, I'm planning to try some new lunchtime classes because my evenings are busy. My workout schedule's going to go a little somethin' like this:

Monday - Zumba

Tuesday - Trying a new lunchtime spin class

Wednesday - Trying a new lunchtime yoga class

Thursday - Zumba

Friday - I'm going to try a new lunchtime bootcamp class

Saturday - Kundalini Yoga

I'm really hoping that I'll like the lunchtime workouts because it's so nice to have the evenings free in the summer. It's also nice to switch things up once in a while to keep my workouts interesting.

What do you have on your schedule this week?

Do you ever infuse your water? If you do, please share your favourite flavour combos.

Have a great Monday my friends!!