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NatureBox | Healthy Snacking

When you love both snacking and nutrition – Sometimes you have trouble finding products that meet all of your daily needs. Enter NatureBox.

It’s a wholesale, membership-based snack company. You create an account online and your monthly $5 fee goes towards your snack picks each month and rolls over if you don’t shop.

So what do they have?

Everything!

And what do they not have? Artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, MSG, or corn syrup. Just clean, wholesome, delicious snacks, minus unnecessary added chemicals, sugars, or processed garbage.

When they reached out and asked if I’d be interested in trying out some of their products, I couldn’t wait.

The website is super easy to use and you can sort by what you’re looking for, what you don’t want in your food, or your specific diet – Vegan, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, etc.

So what did I try out?

NatureBox Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Snacking Snacks

  • Garlic Plantains
  • Big Island Pineapple
  • Raw Almonds
  • Raw Walnuts
  • Sea Salt Cassava Chips

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you guys! Stay tuned and I’ll be doing a giveaway with NatureBox next week. You’re going to LOVE it!

What would YOU try first?

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The Balance Cleanse | Interview with Nutritionist Molly Alliman

If you’ve following MCLV for any length of time, you’ll be painfully aware that I’m a huge nutrition nerd. I love fitness, but nutrition is my passion. I see food as medicine and I don’t think that you can have a truly healthy life without thoughtful eating habits. That doesn’t necessarily mean time-consuming, it just means making better choices whenever you can.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to join the MNT Challenge and take the 10 Day Balance Cleanse with Molly during the program.

In case you needed yet another reason to visit MNT Studio, Miss Molly Alliman is that reason. She’s their in-house nutritionist, and you can find her on Instragram with the adorable handle ShakeThatMarshmallow, or online at The Balance Cleanse.

Since we’re heading into the hectic, food-and-booze-filled holiday season, I thought it was the perfect time to sit down for a chat with Molly and get some tips for how we can all approach the holidays more healthfully.

Molly Alliman Nutritionist Detox Cleanse MNT Studio San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Breakfast: Best healthy start to a busy day?

Always a smoothie! I tend to make mine very veggie forward with zucchini, cauliflower, or spinach and lately steamed and frozen butternut squash for winter. I use nutmilk as my base, adding ½ banana or berries and protein from nut butter or collagen peptides. Adding in some fat from avocado, hemp seeds or ground flax seeds.

Dinnertime: What’s your favorite quick and easy dinner when you’re home on a busy evening?

I have two. The first is breakfast for dinner. Breakfast tacos with fluffy scrambled eggs, nitrate-free bacon, fresh corn tortillas, black beans, sliced avocado and tomatillo salsa hits the spot. I also love making meatballs. They are so easy to make in 15 minutes, using ground turkey, chicken or grass-fed beef or lamb. I cook quinoa or brown rice pasta at the same time they cook, adding a boiled vegetable like asparagus or broccoli and drizzling with tahini on quinoa and pre-made pesto on the pasta.

Buffet: When you’re looking at a table of desserts and snacks at an event, what should you start with and/or avoid?

I always go for the meat and cheese first. I go for the sheep and the goat cheese wrapped in prosciutto hold the cracker. Go for it with the olives and nuts. Guac and chips are amazing. For desserts go for what is homemade, sugar and white flour are always best when made with love. If you are known to be tempted for seconds, put one slice or two cookies on your plate and then fill the rest with berries to continue to snack on the sweet. Depending on the event, I have been know to bring a chocolate RX bar with me to parties so I have my version of dessert with me 😉

Cocktail Time: With an endless stream of cocktail parties, events, and celebrations this time of year, what’s the best order at the bar?

I tell my clients to do one of the following:

  • Stay away from mixers with added sugar and instead stick to fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and soda water with a squeeze of lime. I like vodka or tequila.
  • If ordering beer, choose a local craft beer to get the benefits of fermentation. Commercial beers are pasteurized and therefore kill off all the good bacteria.
  • If you don’t want to drink and want to appear that you are, ask the bartender with a wink to give you soda water with lime in a cocktail glass.

Hydration: Any tips to encourage water drinking?

The trick is to actually trick yourself! I had a client who had a difficult time drinking water in the morning. She was always in a hurry to get out the door and rarely remembered. But she does take a shower every morning, so I had her set her alarm at night to remind her to place a full bottle of water in her shower. That way, when she woke up and got in the shower first thing… there was her water to drink! The morning is the most important time to drink water when your body is most dehydrated.

Molly Alliman Nutritionist Detox Cleanse MNT Studio San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Supplements: Is there a good supplement or vitamin that’s helpful for supporting the immune system during a travel-heavy season?

A good probiotic is most important for immunity, make sure you are buying one with at least 5 billion strains. I also love as taking Astragalus in the winter, it’s one of the most powerful immune boosting plants with a long list of benefits.

Eating Out: Do you have any tips for making better choices at restaurants?

I rarely order dishes with dairy when I go out to eat, unless I know where it comes from. To serve a large amount of people, most restaurants use pre-packaged or pre-shredded cheese that is processed and contains silicon dioxide as a separator. Instead order guacamole in place of cheese, avocado on your chili and also avocado on your bagel instead of cream cheese.

If you’re interested in doing your very own 10 day detox, there are a few fun options with Molly coming up. Check out The Balance Cleanse website and see whether the Winter Cleanse or New Year’s Detox will fit your schedule!

If YOU had a nutritionist at your beck and call – What would your first question be?

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DAO Labs | Chinese Herbs + Discount Code

I’m a huge fan of Eastern remedies and when DAO Labs reached out with an opportunity to try out their modern take on traditional Chinese herbs, I was excited.

We’re extremely lucky this day in age to have access to medicine and remedies from around the world – All at the click of a button. {Thanks Amazon!}

But just because you can order a product, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Especially when it comes to supplements, which aren’t regulated by the FDA, or any other supervisory bodies. No one is monitoring ingredients or regulating how products are labeled or calling out companies for pushing unsubstantiated health claims.

When it comes to supplements – You need to do your own research. You need to read labels, you need to check ingredients. Otherwise you don’t really know what you’re getting.

D'Ao Labs Chinese Herbs Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Paleo San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

So what does DAO Labs offer?

  • Natural herbs with no artificial flavors or GMOs
  • Products tested and packaged in the USA
  • A commitment to using sustainable practices throughout the supply chain, including obtaining herbs through Good Agriculture Practice farms
  • A partnership with WildAid, an organization that’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade

They have four concoctions, all of which are an effervescent powder that you mix with cold water. The flavors are fairly light, mostly smelling stronger than they taste.

Digestive Harmony – Not only was this the one I was most looking forward to trying, but it also turned out to be my favorite flavor.

Restore your natural rhythm and free yourself from bloating, indigestion and nausea with our soothing, yet effective, orange-chai blend.”

Women’s Formula – Midol may be a thing of the past, but there is lots of research on various natural remedies being effective in helping with cramps, PMS, and all the other lovely things that go along with being a woman.

“Harmonize your hormones, increase energy naturally and transform your cycle with a balance of sweet raspberry and spicy black pepper.”

Emotional Balance – This is the anti-stress specialty blend, something that I feel like I need on a daily basis. Perfect for a midday boost or if you’re expecting an especially stressful or trying day.

“Ease tension, anxiety and restore your focus with the delightful taste of crisp apple and refreshing cucumber.”

Immunity Support – While all the wild claims about Vitamin C and Echinacea over the years may have been debunked, there’s no denying that a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is the best way to keep your body healthy and fighting off illness. This product uses a traditional Chinese remedy for immune support including Astragalus Root, Astractylodes Stem, and Siler Root.

“Guard yourself with comforting pear, warming ginger and a touch of rosemary.”

Finally, I’m super excited to be able to offer you a discount!! Use the code MCLV25 at checkout on the DAO Labs website and you’ll get 25% off through year-end!

Note: These products contain honey and are therefore not 100% vegan

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The Balance Cleanse | #MNT10 Challenge

After enthusiastically signing up for MNT Studio’s #MNT10 Challenge – 10 classes in 14 days – I decided to maximize my results by also joining the 10 day balance cleanse.

I just LOVE that MNT knows the value of nutrition when it comes to building better habits and a healthier lifestyle. One of my favorite sayings is: “You can’t out train a bad diet.” So MNT is setting you up for success by having a nutritionist available onsite.

Meet – Molly from BALANCE with Molly.

Cleanse Detox MNT Studio Challenge San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian

The Cleanse:

This is not a juice cleanse, don’t worry, there’s plenty of food on the menu. Smoothies, supplements, and clean, healthy food.

This was similar to a 10 day elimination diet or the Whole30 – Cutting out sugar, alcohol, caffeine, soy, peanuts, nightshades, gluten, dairy, and heavily processed foods for the duration.

The Results::

My diet is pretty clean to begin with, but it is NEVER easy to cut things out of your diet. It’s even harder to cut “essentials” out. I try to cut out caffeine and processed sugar once a quarter, but I was definitely feeling this on days 1 and 2.

I’m going to be real with you – I didn’t wake up feeling amazing every day and I wasn’t filled to the brim with energy and excitement.

At first.

Day one was all about the headaches and nausea. It wasn’t pretty. People asked if I was sick.

But it got better.

For me, the hardest part was reducing my daily protein intake since I wasn’t consuming bars or my higher protein powders due to their ingredients. But what it did do was challenge me to create higher protein whole food meals, which was really fun. Lots of rice and beans, quinoa, cooked leafy greens, and everything was sprinkled with hemp seeds, sesame seeds, or chia seeds.

Once my headache disappeared, it was smooth sailing. My digestive system was super happy, my energy levels didn’t dip throughout the day, and most noticeably, I fell into bed and straight to sleep every night. I kid you not, I think I was asleep between 7:30pm-8pm every night of the challenge.

The Aftermath:

I’ve done challenges before, I’ve followed food plans, and I’ve tracked macros. I love trying new programs and seeing what works best for my body.

But not as much as I love having a nutritionist to pepper with questions!!

I absolutely adored the personal touch for this challenge. Having an email where I could reach out with questions and a Facebook page to get inspiration and see how everyone else was handling things, was amazing.

If you’re interested in doing your very own 10 day detox, there are a few fun options with Molly coming up. Check out The Balance Cleanse website and see whether the Winter Cleanse or New Year’s Detox will fit your schedule!

Have YOU ever tried a cleanse? If so – What did you think? If not – Why doesn’t it appeal to you?

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Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

These healthy Thanksgiving recipes will really help you enjoy the holidays to the fullest. There are some delicious options for appetizers and sides, some entrees, and even desserts. All healthy and allergen-friendly, with plenty of vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly options for you to enjoy!

Sweet Potato Stuffing Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Paleo Thanksgiving San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipes

Appetizers & Sides:

Entrees:

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake Sweet Potato Stuffing Vegan Vegetarian Gluten-Free Paleo Thanksgiving San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger Recipes

Desserts:

Do YOU have favorite Thanksgiving recipes you make every year? Or do you like to try new recipes?

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