A Blog Launch and Giveaway

Ever since I can remember I’ve always been “That Healthy Friend.” The one that made the work break room smell like pickles or chicken curry salad (and on occasion, tuna fish!)  making peoples heads turn and ask, “What the heck are you eating today?!” With my girlfriends, I was the one who’s birthday parties were filled with dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free foods. You know the friend, the one who everyone thinks their food looks like rabbit’s food…YEP! That’s always been me. It used to bother me that my body was “different” and that my digestion hated gluten and dairy. Now though, because I’ve taken the time to understand my body and creating yummy foods is a sinch, I shrug the comments off and laugh! If they only knew what my stomach felt like after eating certain foods, they’d totally understand. It’s not personal, it’s just a lack of understanding!

So, now that I’m comfortable in my own body. I no longer just want to be known as That Healthy Friend that brings weird foods for lunch or parties hard on almond flour cupcakes. I also want to be That Healthy Friend who helps educate others on how YUMMY a lifestyle going “without” really can be and what these health changes have helped do for my body and what I hope they can do for others as well. I want to share my personal tips and tricks for living as toxin-free as possible on a tight budget and how wholistic living can be fun while also beneficial to your health. So, it’s with GREAT excitement that I’m launching my new blog – That Healthy Friend!

I would LOVE for you to follow along with me at my new webpage, www.thathealthyfriend.com and on my Instagram account _thathealthyfriend_ where I’ll be updating daily and weekly!

As a way to celebrate, I will be hosting my first Instagram GIVEAWAY this evening, so please go like and follow me there so you can participate! I know you won’t regret it!

 

XO,

Laura
My fb photo

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How to Make the Frothiest Non-Dairy Coffee At Home

One of my favorite morning routines, after I’ve worked out, is to sip on a cup of coffee – whether it’s a cozy pour over or some crisp toddy. I know a coffee purist would say a dash of cream or any additive ruins a well-poured cup, but I beg to differ! Today I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite ways to make a frothy creamy cup of morning goodness – what I put in it, how I get it frothy on top, and some of my favorite coffee brands/roasters.

  1. Make sure you have some high-quality grass-fed collagen peptides to start with. Recently I made the switch from using Vital Proteins, which I still love, to Perfect Hydrolyzed Collagen for the cost saving benefits. So far I’ve been just as happy with the Perfect brand of collagen and plan to continue purchasing the same brand. When buying collagen, grass-fed is important since it will be more nutrient dense. Healthier cows mean healthier collagen. Adding collagen to your morning coffee will not only give you a boost of protein, it’ll also aid in getting your coffee nice and frothy just like they would at a coffee shop.
  2. Cashew milk to make it nice and creamy will become your best friend. Alternative milk for those of us staying away from dairy can be disappointing, at least it was for me when I cut out milk. Milk made from cashews has been the best substitute by far – mild flavor, less watery, and gives the needed boost to help your coffee have foam. When I found out how easy it was to make my own cashew milk, I haven’t looked back. If making your own nut milk isn’t your thing then I would highly suggest you looking into Nut Pods. These were a staple in my home before making my own.
  3. Hot or cold coffee – preferably made from quality coffee beans and roasted by a brand that knows their stuff. I guarantee you’ll notice a striking difference from your normal Folgers or Starbucks when you make the switch to a well-roasted bean. My husband’s father roasts his own coffee and usually, that’s what you’ll find in our cupboard. If not that, then our favorite brand of beans are either Onyx Coffee Roasters or Oddly Correct. Their flavor profiles are spot on.

coffee outside in the summer

What I Do

In my Vitamix blender, I place one scoop of collagen peptides, about 10 oz of coffee, and 4-6 TBSP(depending on how creamy I want it) of non-dairy milk. I then blend on high – 1.5  minute for cold coffee and 2 minutes for hot. I then pour into my desired mug for hot coffee or glass filled halfway with ice for the cold brew.

frothy creamy foamy cold brew coffee made in blender

Favorite Coffee Beans

Picking a favorite coffee roaster can be just as difficult as choosing the right presidential candidate to vote for was in our last election. Everyone roasts their beans differently, sources them from different growers, and can charge a broad range of prices. Our two favorites come from Oddly Correct and Onyx Coffee Roaster. I hope you enjoy, and let me know if you get the chance to try any of these coffees! Both of them are well bodied and sure to make your taste buds dance!

 

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*some of the above links are affiliate links – meaning, I get a small kick back if you click through and make a purchase.

Dermaplaning At Home with the Tinkle Razor

I’m no skincare professional and am definitely not an avid makeup connoisseur, but I do like clean healthy skin and have worked towards being acne free since my puberty years. I can definitely say my skin has improved leaps and bounds by using quality makeup and a more natural and gentle skin care routine (currently using Beauty Counter products). One thing I never thought I’d be doing though was shaving my face. Yet, here I am, tell you about my experience and how to do it yourself!

Even though my skin has improved, I still notice it looks dry and flaky once I put makeup on. Almost as if the foundation is sitting on top of my face rather than directly on the skin. No amount of moisturizing, exfoliating, or foundation changes made a difference. It wasn’t until I saw an Instagrammer I follow who sells makeup talk about her one big tip for getting the foundation to sit directly on her face. Here enters the Tinkle Razor! With a catchy, slightly awkward name like that, it’s hard to take it seriously. But, with a review from someone more makeup savvy than myself that spoke directly to my issue, I immediately went and purchased a pack off of Amazon for surprisingly great price.

size of tinkle razor

What is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a physical procedure that helps remove the topmost layer of dead skin and baby fine hairs that are present. Because the hairs that are being shaved are vellus hairs (think peach fuzz) rather than the thick terminal hairs we usually associate with shaving (think men’s beards or women’s leg hair), they will not grow back in thicker or darker. This is good news for those of us looking for a chemical free option to smooth out our facial skin! Commonly done in salons for a hefty price tag, Tinkle Razors are a great at-home-option that won’t break the bank. Safe, easy, and effective, I’m pretty confident in saying these will be a new bathroom staple!

Cute RazorsWomens Facial Razor

The Tinkle Razor Difference

Traditionally, dermaplaning is done at a salon with a scalpel. The Tinkle Razor, which is as cute and tiny as its name is eyebrow-raisingly odd-silly-catchy, is a tiny safety razor that safely shaves the top layer of skin and peach fuzz without fear of giving yourself a major cut or taking a chunk of skin as it goes. You still need to exercise caution and make sure to keep the movements slow – you are still using a razor, albeit a cute one!  Keep in mind, just using a normal razor won’t give you the same effect and you’ll more than likely walk away with a piece of tissue plastered to your face because you’ve knicked yourself – and lets be honest, nobody wants to see that! My suggestion is to stick with this nifty tool specifically designed for this task.

I have acne prone skin and I’m still figuring out how it will affect the overall health of my skin as time goes on. So far, after my first week, I did notice my skin was slightly aggravated after the first use but I’ve read that’s completely normal and you have to give your skin time to adjust. After a day, my skin returned back to normal and is now silky smooth. I was actually quite surprised at the amount of peach fuzz that came off my face. I ever looked close enough or paid much attention. Now my makeup doesn’t look nearly as cakey or dry and it definitely sits on my skin rather than on top of the fine hairs that once were there.

ladies beauty razor

hand holding a razor

Here’s What You Should Know Before You Start Shaving Your Face

  • Shave your face AFTER you’ve cleansed your face
  • Do it at night so your skin can breathe before putting makeup on
  • Pull skin taught then use small downward motions and light pressure making sure to go slow
  • Great for sideburns, cheeks, upper lip, and chin areas. Be very gently on the forehead.
  • Moisturize after your done
  • Here’s a great video tutorial if you have more questions

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*The products that I referenced are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Poolside Peanut Butter Banana “Oatmeal” Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m always in search of a quick and easy treat recipe. These slightly sweet low sugar grain-free cookies are just the thing! Easily made in just one bowl, you’ll never want to go back to the days of mixing the dry ingredients separate from the wet. These are great for those summer excursions to the pool or park and give a healthy pick me up after burning your energy with summer activities. If you wanted to boost them with some protein, you could even add a couple scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

INGREDIENTS

Wet Ingredients

2 medium bananas, ripened

½ cup natural, unsalted creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup ground walnuts

1/2 cup ground pumpkin seeds 

2 cups coconut flakes

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup Lily’s chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease baking sheet. Set aside.

In a stand mixer add peeled bananas and blend until smooth. Add the remaining wet ingredients. Blend until well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and blend till combined. Stir in chocolate chips last. 

Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, drop dough onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy! 

Simplified Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I love a good pizza. My first job was actually at a pizza joint that had some of the best pizza in town. I worked front of the house and salad bar. I can still remember those delicious garlic buttery bread sticks and chicken, bacon, with white sauce pizza. Mama Mia!!

Alas, after switching my diet up to work on health and weight loss, I started moving away from gluten and dairy. What I found to replace it was something rather unique – a pizza crust made out of cauliflower. Cauliflower on its own has little flavor and if cooked right can take on several forms: Faux rice, morning “oats”, mashed potatoes, shawarma steaks, creamy cauliflower morning smoothies. The list is seemingly endless.

Over the last several year I’ve experimented with different crusts made from cauliflower, and to be honest, the best ones have been made with cheese. I promise that SOON I will be posting a recipe made without dairy products, because I know several of you will be asking for an alternative, and I wholeheartedly understand! Dairy isn’t my best friend either, so a dairy-free version will be my next quest!

But First, Let’s Chat About Wheat

In a vein of complete transparency, I still occasionally indulge in a real slice of pizza topped with amazingness, but that’s very rare – maybe twice a year…maybe. I have also found that I can eat cheese/some dairy in small amounts occasionally, as long as I’m eating clean with everything else. It’s always a little splurge. One resource I would highly suggest if you’re wanting more info on the effect modern grains have on your health and body is the book Wheat Belly by William Davis. It will open up a whole new world of  America’s focus on GMO farming as well as the sad facts related to diets founded upon grains.

As an example of how wheat specifically can make me feel, I used to wake up and upon taking my first step out of bed would experience a sharp pain and ache in the joints of my ankles and feet. It was miserable. I felt like an 80 year old in a 20 year old’s body. After staying away from products made with wheat, I no longer woke with these pains and once again felt my age. Amazing! All I can say is that I stand in awe of how our bodies work and how seemingly little things can affect them.

Glycemic Index

glycemic-index-chart-1

Because most gluten-free flours are still high in carbs and can have a glycemic index  worse than their counterpart wheat, I began nixing them out of my diet as well. If your body struggles with blood sugar regulation, bloat, inflammation, unwanted weight centered around you mid section/gut, or a feeling of energy highs followed by energy lows, I would suggest experimenting with a low glycemic index diet for a few weeks. Once I did I not only began experiencing weight loss but I felt better overall.

If your curious about what the glycemic index is, start by looking at the photo above and checking out the links I’ve referenced. In essence, the closer the number is to 100 the higher the glycemic index and the more that food will spike your blood sugar levels. 55 and below is considered low glycemic while anything above that number is considered high glycemic. Once you understand how the foods you are putting into your body affect your blood sugars you’ll be better armed to eat a diet that will help you lose weight and regulate those feelings of spiked energy followed by a crash (think your afternoon 2 o’clock exhaustion).

Since we’re talking about cauliflower pizza crusts, here’s some perspective on where it lies on the glycemic scale with a tad more information that should be helpful.

“There is some discrepancy as to the glycemic index of cauliflower, although most sources list it between 0 and 15. This makes cauliflower a low-glycemic index food. To put this in perspective, peanuts have a glycemic index of 14 and a baked potato has a glycemic index of 85. Pure sugar, in the form of glucose, is considered the reference point to which all foods are compared and has a glycemic index of 100. ” – Live Strong

My Cauliflower Pizza Crust

A quick search will show you that most people who follow a paleo/low glycemic diet have found out ways to convert cauliflower florets into pizza crusts. Not only do I want to share with you the recipe we are currently loving but also some tips and tricks to make the process a whole lot easier.

For Ease of Making Have On Hand

  • Cauliflower pearls – I get mine at Sam’s Club, but I’ve seen them at Trader Joe’s as well. Look in both the fresh section and freezer isle.
  • Cheese cloth of thin dish towel
  • I’ve used goat cheese in place of the mozarella
  • Wax paper
  • Round pizza pan

 

What I Do

  • 1 32 oz Bag Riced Cauliflower or Cauliflower Pearls
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, can be a heaping 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup coconut flower/tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. Place cauiflower pearls in microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and place into microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened; let cool.
  3. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain cauliflower completely, removing as much water as possible.
  4. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl. Stir in eggs, mozzarella, Parmesan and Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Spread cauliflower mixture into round pizza pan that’s been covered in wax paper. (can sometimes be made into two pizza crusts) Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown.
  6. Top with pizza sauce, cheeses and pepperoni minis. Place into oven and bake until the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately, sprinkled with basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.

 

*These freeze GREAT! Place on a large dinner plate, wrap with plastic wrap then put into large zip loc bag. When you want to use, pull out and let thaw for 30 mins before garnishing with toppings. 

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Where I Shop for Groceries + What’s On My Grocery List at Each Place

Health conscious grocery stores are on the rise. When I moved to a small town in the midwestern state of Missouri I quickly found two locally owned markets specializing in health products with another chain grocery store being built just down the road from our home. This surprised me since the Midwest stereotypically isn’t known for being up on health trends, but it also testified to the fact that the way Americans view food is slowly beginning to change. Hallelujah!

The stores I frequent range from places in town where you’ll see me on a weekly basis to places in larger cities that require me to stock up on certain items while visiting. Recently I’ve even been ordering online and have LOVED the prices you can find, especially when you shop the sales. For example, the last few days VitaCost had a 20% off coupon of $50 or more. Today they started a sale of BOGO half off of certain items. Those can add up to amazing savings, you just have to keep your eye out. I’ve signed up for their email alerts so I know when a good sale might be happening.

Another way I keep track of what I need to buy is by making a simple grocery list. This is usually a running list of things we either run out of or might need in the weeks to come. I have a list for the stores we visit when out-of-town, usually on my phone, as well as a list for the stores where we live on a piece of paper. These lists help keep me on track with a budget as well it’s a reminder that we might not actually NEED that random item I pull off the shelf just because it looks good.

Don’t get overwhelmed, healthy grocery shopping habits take time to form. My advice to start is it simply make a list in the notes section of your phone and overtime as you realize you need an item type it in. Right before you go shopping, scan the list and add any items you forgot or realize you need. There you have it, your first step to an organized more budget friendly shopping trip.

So, Why a Post On Grocery Stores?

When I first started moving towards a healthier lifestyle, I wondered where people shopped for groceries and what they bought. Yeah sure, you could find heathy foods at a normal store, but weren’t there places that either sold a bigger selection of certain items and maybe for cheaper? I began exploring stores in the cities I visited and quickly fell in love with the local co-op type grocery outlets and wanted to share that passion with you. So, if your just starting your health journey or just wanting to mix it up with the stores you shop at, here’s some places to try and, as a bonus, I’m letting you in on what’s in my shopping cart at each place!

Quick disclaimer: because of the location where I currently live, the store below are what I have available to me. Yes, Wallmart is on the list, but in order to shop at a co-op grocery market I’d have to drive at least an hour one way. Since that’s not an option, I do the best with what I have. I think you’ll be surprised just how many options are out there even if you don’t have a Whole Food’s or more wholistic grocer.

Large Chain Stores

Sams club

What’s On My Grocery List:
◊ Frozen chicken breasts
◊ Turkey bacon
◊  Raw almonds
◊  Strawberries
◊  Almond Flour
◊  Guacamole
◊  Mini Peppers
◊ Green Peppers
◊  Steaks (when on sale – bring ’em home and throw them in the freezer!)
◊  Eggs (if farm fresh are out)
◊  Kiwis
◊ Garlic Bulbs
◊  Grass Fed Ground Beef (As needed)
◊  Cauliflower Pearls
◊  Bananas
◊  Pepperoni
◊  Medjool Dates
◊ Cherry Tomatoes

 

 

Walmart

◊  Cabbage
◊  Chicken Sausages
◊  Bacon
◊  Sausage
◊  All our condiments
◊  Sweet Potatoes
◊  Onions
◊  LaCroix
◊  Coconut Flour
◊ Tomatoes
◊Golden Beets

TJ

◊ Turmeric Powder
◊ Canned Green Chilis
◊ Taco Seasoning
◊ Canned Coconut Milk
◊ Coconut Cream
◊ Black Bean Corn Chips
◊ Canned Green Chilis
◊ Hatch Valley Green Salsa
◊  Salsa Authentica
◊  Decaffeinated Irish Breakfast Tea
◊  Spiced Chai
◊  Peppermint Tea
◊  Shelled Edamame
◊  Raw Sauerkraut with Pickled Persian Cucumbers
◊  Green Goddess Salad Dressing
◊  Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing
◊  Creamy Salted Peanut Butter
◊  Montezuma’s 100% Cocoa Solids Dark Chocolate
◊  Golden Raisins
◊  Olive Tapenade

Alid

What’s On My Grocery List:
◊  Bagged Pre-chopped Kale
◊ Spinach
◊  Onions
◊  Lettuce
◊  Avocados
◊  Kerry Gold Grass Fed Butter
◊  Raw Cashews
◊  Freeze Dried Fruit (Strawberries, pears, or apples)
◊  Baby Bella Mushrooms
◊  Asparagus
◊  Various Cheeses (for my cheese loving hubby)
◊  Cauliflower
◊  Sweet Potatoes
◊  Onions
◊  Lemon Juice
◊ Kombucha

Local Stop and Shops

 

naturalgrocerslogo

What’s On My Grocery List:
◊  Kefir
◊  CoYo plain coconut yogurt
◊  Organic Chopped Dates
◊  Kombucha
◊ Raisins
◊ Walnuts

ear local


◊  Farm fresh eggs when available
◊  Duck Eggs when available
◊  Raw Milk
◊  Lettuce when in season
◊ Heirloom Tomatoes when in season
◊  Local farmers market veggies when in season

Online Shopping

Zaycon

◊  Chicken Breasts
◊  Grass Fed Ground Beef
◊  Bacon

  Vita Cost

◊  Hemp Seeds
◊  Shredded Coconut
◊  Olive Oil
◊  Avocado Oil
◊  Avocado Oil Chips
◊  Probiotics
◊ Coconut Oil

 

amazon

◊ Matcha
-Kiss Me Organics Ceremonial Grade Matcha
◊ Vitamin Code Women’s daily vitamin by Garden of Life

   Sun Potion

◊  Matcha
◊  Adaptogens

Carotec

Supplements
◊ Krill Oil
◊ Eye Nourish Plus

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Simply Creamy Cashew Milk

Cashew milk has greatly transformed my view of non-dairy milks. Not just any cashew milk either – specifically, homemade. The ease of making this beverage comes from the fact that unlike most other nut milks that have to be strained, cashews blend up fine enough without leaving a gritty coating in your mouth.

I used to think that only half and half could do the job in my cup of joe or morning tea. I was proven wrong the morning cashew milk walked into my life. Stick-to-the-side-of-your-glass creamy and refreshingly nutty, I don’t even feel like calling it a dairy “substitute” does it justice. This mildly nutty milk leaves no aftertaste and is the most similar to real milk compared to any other substitute I’ve had. Most non-dairy milks you purchase at the store have an ingredient list that makes your brain hurt because of the additives and thickeners. It has replaced my go to coffee creamer  and saved me a chunk of change in doing so.

Perks of making your own

  • The ingredient list is all whole foods. No additives. You KNOW what’s going into your body.
  • Easy easy easy. Just soak and blend. No straining required like most other nut milks.
  • Over the top creamy.
  • Better flavor with lots of depth.
  • Can be used to make homemade yogurt, unlike store-bought non-dairy milk.
  • Ability to leave the pulp, adding a higher fiber content.

Health Benefits of Cashew Milk

Putting flavor aside, cashew milk also hosts a list of health benefits. Since giving up dairy milk, I’ve noticed a dramatic difference in my skin and less redness and acne, as well as a happier tummy and better digestion. Nuts, in general, have a wealth of nutritional benefits, but specifically on cashews Dr. Axe gives a great perspective:

Beyond its taste and versatility, cashew milk is super healthy. Cashews nutrition includes being rich in unsaturated fatty acids and plant-based protein, plus dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants. Their healthy fatcontent has been linked to reducing risk for coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. They can even help maintain bone health because they contain lots of vitamin K, which can help prevent fractures and naturally treat osteoporosis. Kinda gives a milk mustache a whole new meaning, doesn’t it?” – Dr. Axe 

What I Do

  • 1 cup mylk cashews, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Optional: 1 tsp vanilla, 1-2 medjool dates or 1 dried fig
  • Blend ingredients in Vitamix or blender of choice on high for 1-2 minutes

 

Creamy Blender Cashew Milk Recipe

Interesting Alternative Milk Articles

The Best Creamy, Froth-Friendly Plant Milks

Plant Based ‘Milk in My Coffee Challenge 

What You Need to Know About Cashew Milk

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*Post Contains Affiliate Links