Influenster: Slim Fast Bar, Crisps, and Shake VoxBox Review #ItsYourThing #Influenster

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Being part of the Influenster network, allows members to qualify for VoxBoxes. My latest one arrived in late December, which featured an array of Slim Fast branded products. Being the new year we all want to lose weight or at the very least get rid of that holiday poundage brought on by cookies and treats. I gained 6 pounds in the last week of December because I behaved from Thanksgiving to Christmas but once Santa came, he brought treats, candy, chocolates (I’m surprised I did not consume the stocking) and it seems I ate them all between Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

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I’m pretty good at restricting myself and believe with all the advancements in food today, that leaving food as it is, meaning less to zero processing allows us to eat pretty much anything (with portion control) and not suffer the consequences. I eat my weight in salads and I’m not even a fan of most dressings, as I think they tend to drown the freshness out of the produce as it is. I love avocados and find them to be nature’s dressing. They are creamy and never ruin a salad like a fake creamy dressing can. I have those days though where I am in a snacking mood or just running short on time, so I pick the brands I trust carefully. I look for meal replacement or snack products that are not full of fake sweeteners or loaded with sodium. Finding real ingredients is “my thing”, so let’s see how the Slim Fast VoxBox did.

The Slim Fast VoxBox included:

  • SlimFast® Advanced Ready to Drink Shake in Vanilla flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks in Sour Cream & Onion Baked Crisps flavor
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Meal Replacement Bars
  • SlimFast® Advanced Nutrition 100 Calorie Snacks Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl flavor

 

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First, I tried the items that were easy to munch on and that was the Sour Cream and Onion Baked Crisps to satisfy the salty urges and for the sweet cravings, I tried the Drizzled Crisps in Cinnamon Bun Swirl. First thing I noticed with both bagged products, was the large amount of “dustings” in the bag. I call that the powdery and broken up bits in a bag that barely resemble the whole product you see pictured in the front of the bag. Like the posters for drive-thru burgers, my product did not resemble the picture on the bag. The Sour Cream and Onion crisps had the higher amount of “dustings” that I wondered if I should just use the contents as a batter coating! I taste a pinch-full of what these crisps use to be and the flavor and texture resemble closely to those chips that come in a canister….but more broken up. The odd part was when you ate the product, it tasted good enough to satisfy a chip craving but when you drank water, you had an odd aftertaste that lingered. The taste was not like potato or the sour cream and onion coating, think more milk solids or dry milk and it was what it tasted closely too. Each bag is 100 calories and states it comes with 18 to 20 crisps. I am not kidding when if I say I got 4 whole ones and that is counting the ones that were 3/4 whole. The breakage takes away from the enjoyment and if you get past that, the aftertaste did me in. I did not finish the bag but I figured that means I consumed less calories!

 

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Next, came the Cinnamon Bun Swirl crisps. These were a little more in one piece but the drizzle on top was mostly on the bottom of the bag. The sweetness is not overwhelming and the cinnamon had a nice balance to it. Again, the odd aftertaste was present but you could overlook this one more. The crisps had a pleasant crunch and like some products on the market, these did not leave you with a cotton mouth after you ate them. I could actually see myself picking up a bag if a sweet craving hits me that is overwhelming because a bag is just 100 calories for 20 to 22 crisps. These were also 30% whole in the bag!

 

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SlimFast’s Ready to drink shake that comes in an easy to go bottle. The bottle idea I like because sometimes messing with powder and a scoop can be a pain, but I usually take a bottle water (or almond milk) and just scoop into a shaker bottle when I am on the go. I then combine the ingredients (wet/dry) when I am ready to consume them, so this way I don’t end up with chocolate powder that found it’s way out of a plastic baggy and went poof in my purse! I made sure to try the drink cold from the fridge and upon opening the bottle, the Vanilla scent is not very Vanilla like. I take a sip and the drink is about 4 out of ten when it comes to overall taste and flavor. I have had much better and this drink had an odd thickness to it. I made sure to shake it just in case and the thickness left a film in my mouth that was not very vanilla or real milk tasting, or even a nut milk flavor! It took away from the enjoyment and even with time, I could not get use to it. Being able to get 20 grams of protein on the go is a plus, but when I priced it out, weighed in the flavor/texture and the ingredients, I would still opt for a premium powder mix that is usually higher in protein. I did fix the flavor by adding part of a scoop of powdered Peanut Butter and Chocolate, and that is when I noticed that my PB and Chocolate powder had a better quality of chocolate and real flavor than what the Slim Fast drink.  I then felt I wasted a scoop of the “good stuff” on trying to make the not so good stuff better! I also noticed there is natural and artificial flavors but no where but the title of the drink says Vanilla.  It’s called Vanilla Creme but nowhere is Vanilla listed! I then stopped looking at the ingredients because they made my tummy rumble more.  😦

 

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Last but not least, the bar in Dark Chocolate and Sea salt. This is a meal replacement bar and has 10 grams of protein and 200 calories.  Ninety of those calories come from fat and the protein derives from Soy, not Whey. I look at the list and there are so many other bars on the market with better core ingredients and even protein impact, and with less fat! This bar is super sweet and off in taste, plus costs more than the better bars. The Dark Chocolate has a waxy texture and is of poor quality. I did not go past the one bite because my calories and fat matters. The bar is filled with syrups derived from everything from brown rice, tapioca and simple cane. They added Inulin as a source of fiber, plus Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil to hold it all together. Let me add the above comes before the Cocoa itself and Oats was still listed before the chocolate! They might as well called the flavored Sweet Oats-y. The only positive is that it has Almonds as a first ingredients but I felt they were ruined by the rest!

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Final Verdict:

I love the VoxBoxes and Influenster!  I am not so in love with Slim Fast.  I think back and they are a company that his been around a long time but I feel they are always playing catch up and still stuck in the motto of “portion control baggies”.  Most people that are serious about losing weight and/or managing their weight, can portion out an individual serving.  They sell containers to baggies to help you out that serve as a carrying vessel and probably keep the products in more decent shape.  You can use a scale or like I do, I still use a scale but I test myself first to see if I can visually guess-estimate on my own and then verify with the scale.  I notice I usually serve myself a little under the 1 serving a packaging lists.  I can do math, so I don’t need someone doing it for me.  Next, the ingredients used are “old school” but not in a good way.  Cheap sugars, bad oils, artificial flavors and dyes, and poor protein sources is not what I call healthy eating.  Yes, you get less calories but that is barely the entire picture when eating well.  You need good fats, a good source of protein and more to stay energized.  Yes, the Slim Fast products come with vitamins and minerals but again a multi-vitamin can do that for you if that is what you desire!  I looked at the products as a whole and asked myself is this a balanced diet?  Slim Fast does not state just eat our food solely but the 1 meal or 2 real meals you add in a day should not make-up for everything you did not get.  I want energy and I’m not even asking for a boost of it from products, just keep me going in the day.  If I started with a shake, ate a bar for lunch (maybe 1 or 2 crisp snacks) and then ate dinner…..well, when my body is suppose to be winding down is when my body got the better fuel.  Yeah, that did not sit well with me!  Then I saw the price points because convenience comes at a price and Slim Fast was more expensive than the “golden dietary products” on the market.  Um, I’m paying more to eat less better is what entered my head.  Yeah, I prefer paying the bills Santa brought and managing my weight with other products than paying for products that are sub-par both in how they were made and how they came out of a bag!

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Slim Fast and Influenster.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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Tryazon: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv™ Cinnamon Rolls #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

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I have always been a fan of frozen foods, like vegetables and fruit that go out of season but are readily available all year round. Sometimes even perfectly frozen blueberries will cost less that fresh ones and be in better shape, so the freezer aisle to me is not something I completely avoid. Even companies offer organic meals nowadays from the freezer aisle. I have picked up many “artisan style” breads that come frozen from a local bakery because you just pop them in the oven, bake and have fresh baked bread in 20 minute’s time! Simple ingredients I am fan of and being a cook and baker makes you become familiar as to what goes in what you are making/eating. The freezer aisle is only bad if you purchase ready made meals to baked goods that are more chemicals than real ingredients! This is where we get lost and it’s disappointing because convenience comes at a price and sometimes it’s not even that convenient in the first place.

I tried the microwaved cinnamon rolls before from Rhodes and reviewed them here. Not bad for a microwaved baked good. On the same trip I picked up a bag of the bread loaves, and a bag of the cinnamon (individual) rolls. Two items I bake at home from scratch, so I was looking forward in using them on a busy week. This week, was a very busy week!

 

Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls (Bake-N-Serv™) with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Preparation-

I open up the bag and notice that the individual cinnamon rolls are really partnered in twos and threes. I had a hard time at the store feeling the bags and was hoping I picked well enough because I noticed some were more blobs than others. I travel with two coolers (one for frozen goods and one for fresh), so things defrosting in the truck just does not happen. I can buy ice cream and still shop for 2 to 3 hours without it even it defrosting on the top! I try my best to seperate the rolls, but they seem very attached to their companion, so I do my best.

The directions were simple and opted to go by the one that resembled closest to the time it takes to bake them from scratch. My cinnamon rolls take 1 hour for the dough to rise, you make the roll and cut, then another 30 to 40 minutes for them to rise again, plus bake for 20 minutes! Simple and easy. I put the frozen cinnamon rolls from Rhodes in the oven, which was pre-warmed to 170 degrees. The directions stated it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes for the rolls to proof and double in size. I’m 2 hours in and watching these frozen rolls more than I do those made from scratch and they are oozing larger in size but not rising. My oven is less than a year old and I check the temperature. Holding at 95 degrees and no change when it comes to rising…..just oozing bigger. I take them out and they are technically double in size (flat wise), so I warm the oven to bake the rolls.

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Baking-

In they go and use convection mode and set the oven to 325 degrees. Directions are clear about not over baking and leaving them in for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are light brown in color.

My house smells bread-y but not that yeast dough you associate with cinnamon rolls. I look in the oven and the rolls look like they are swimming in yellow oil, so I go and look at the ingredients. I shouldn’t have! You have a chemical concoction that makes the cinnamon rolls out of tubes look like saints. You have everything from oils, corn syrups, sugars in every way they can be made down to margarine and so forth. I just don’t see the waiting time worth it when I saw what was in these rolls. I remind myself I ate onion flavored puffy ring chips yesterday, so sometimes chemicals taste good 🙂 .  I allow the cinnamon rolls to bake 25 minutes to get a light brown color and notice the dough has pockets that resemble bread, not the ribbon texture you associate with yeast dough, but I’m committed and now it’s too late to bake anything since I have to start dinner.

This is after "incorporating" the bag's contents more, as they like to separate.

This is after “incorporating” the bag’s contents more, as they like to separate.

Frosting-

I allow the cinnamon rolls to cool and get a baggy of the frosting. It’s yellow in color and not just a faint hue, it’s yellow. I turn over the bag and I recalled right, it states cream cheese but this is not like any cream cheese frosting I have ever seen. The directions state to incorporate the icing and I do the “smashy thing” but it still looks undesirable. I cut the tip off the bag and I taste it……..it’s so sweet and the texture of cupcake icing, not at all like what you put on a roll. Also, cream cheese is there in words but your taste buds just does not pick it up.

Taste Test-

I serve us each a roll and even my Husband says the icing is just so wrong. I take a bite and this is one oily roll that is dry at the same time and you see and smell cinnamon, but you really don’t taste it. I did not finish my roll. Not worth the calories and my Husband does not either. I use to buy the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerated section when we dated. They were fine but never like the bakery, so I began learning to bake and trying recipe after recipe. My Husband will at times even pick-up a tray from the grocery store’s bakery and they are edible and a nice treat for those days I was too tired or busy to bake. The Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls were not unfortunately, not worth the effort and I just don’t get why they are frozen to just be a disappointment.  I also don’t understand the amount of poor ingredients that I can respect chemicals to produce let’s say a Spicy chip that tastes like a taco or something.  You get your junk food fix and you will crave a bag in 3 to 6 months time again.  These cinnamon rolls did not even satisfy a craving as such!  Sad…….very sad because in this house we do think sweet goods are worth the calories and fat, but rule #1, it needs to taste good!

 

I dislike having to give a negative review but honesty comes first and when the cinnamon rolls in a tube taste better and you can find better (i.e. real butter, ect.) ingredients in brands like Trader Joe’s to even the giggling doughy guy, I just can’t say at least these were easy to bake, so you should get them.  Taste matters and I don’t expect to get nutrition out of cinnamon rolls, but my taste buds need to be happy and cinnamon rolls are the type of food you eat with a smile.  These=no smiles :(.  The Rhodes microwave variety were passable and I would have never imagined since these required more time and came from an oven.

 

Connect with Rhodes at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Rhodes.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Purina One SmartBlend® True Instinct Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food, Turkey and Venison #Review #ONEdifference

 

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When it comes to dog food, my dog is usually great about consuming the dry kind but will sometimes wait us out in case I add any extra protein to enhance her meal. I try to always add a little extra chicken and have switched her foods to grain free formulas that seem to be more easily digested. She eats less and remains a healthy weight at the age of 13. Like humans, she gets bored eating the same flavors day after day and I notice she loses interest, so we developed “mix-ins”, pretty much something from fish (she loves Tilapia) to meats and even sometimes a spoonful of sweet potatoes. Keeps the dog interested in her food and I feel less guilty for serving her “dry cereal”, which is what we call her dog food.

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In comes Purina One, with a new grain-free formula added to their line called SmartBlend, which they added the title “True Instinct” to the blend. What is True Instinct? It’s what I call adding marshmallows to the dry cereal and these bits are what the dogs go crazy over. The jerky style bits have a different texture and not only enhance the meal, but deliver more real meat to the grain-free base. You also have other positive differences like using Turkey as the first meat ingredient, versus chicken like other blends of this kind. A Glucosamine supplement has been added to the food and I look for this, especially with a dog that some have referred to as a Senior or the golden word one Vet Tech called her, Geriatric. Don’t tell our dog this because she is as active as she has always been from spending days getting in out of the pool, jumping, wrestling, to out running anyone who tries to race her (always has to be first through the door). Purina One’s Smartblend also has added Omega-6 Fatty Acids to keep our pet’s fur shiny and healthy, along with an Antioxidant Blend, which includes Vitamin A and Vitamin E. It’s finally a dog food that you feel good about feeding your pet.

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Verdict:
So, why did I call the bits of jerky-style meats marshmallows before? It’s not for health reasons, but my dog turns out to be the dog that eats all the “marshmallows” out of the dog food first, leaving her “cereal” to eat last. That is how much she loves the new SmartBlend True Instinct formula from Purina One. The minute we pour the food, she starts nosing the food and you can hear her hunt for the chewy bits until she claims every last one of them. We purchased the Turkey and Venison blend and I even checked labels in the store. There is actual Venison and our dog loves this meat. From Duck to odd varieties like Swordfish, this dog is always eager for the wilder kind of meats. Our dog had surgery a little over a month ago and I thought I would have to worry about getting her to want to eat her normal dog food, but once I started mixing the Smartblend grain-free formula, that worry vaporized as did the food. She ate, gained back the 8 pounds she lost prior to having the surgery and it’s muscle mass she was able to regain. I was worried prior to surgery, as she lost muscle mass around the legs and neck area, to even going down a notch size on her collar. She was able to get that all back, plus we noticed she is full of energy to the point we are having a hard time keeping up with her. Our dog has us on a schedule now that she eats her dinner and then wants play, play, and more play. We actually get tired of playing tug-a-war with her and I now can’t even tug the plush away and run off like a bandit. I have to actually cheat and say, “let go or drop”, and then run with the plush but she always catches me! What you feed your pets really makes the difference and like reading labels for the food we eat ourselves, pick-up a bag of SmartBlend from Purina One and compare the True Instinct grain-free to the other brands. Fillers is not something this feed is full of and we saw the difference it made in our pet when she needed a good blend that not only she enjoyed eating, but aided in her recovery. Grab a bag and take the 28-Day Challenge today!

Connect and find the Purina One’s Smartblend True Instinct Grain-Free Formula that suits your pet at:

 

Turkey and Venison Dog Food

Turkey and Venison Dog Food

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Purina One.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Tryazon: Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls, Microwave and ready in 60 Seconds #Review #Tryazon #RhodesBread

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Oh, what a title can say in just a few words can illicit a person to salivate instantly. That is exactly what occurred when I received first notice that this event was up for grabs. When I was accepted, it was a mix of drooling and happiness at the same time.

Rhodes is known for their Bake-n-Serve breads. This company is one of the first brands that made me feel comfortable with an oven. Fresh baked breads are always a crowd pleaser but sometime the pleaser is short on time and/or energy. It does not mean I love my family any less and this is why sometimes I need an “emergency stash”. Yes, we have emergency situations when an unplanned event or even the clock got the best of me and I have no after dinner treat. When you are the baker in the family and you have to share you did not bake anything for that day……oh, those eyes you get can just break your heart. My Husband has yet mastered the oven but is an expert at grilling and smoking meats. He also mastered the art of using a microwave and failed in patience class, so 60 seconds of wait time was made for him.

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Cinnamon rolls is something I make at home but it takes time, so I probably do not bake them as often as would liked. Also, there are days where someone is in a cinnamon-y mood while another person has a fruit craving. I make fruit based rolls too but I’m not making 2 batches to satisfy every craving, and don’t even get me started on who eats what type of a nut and the other person doesn’t. I need an out! A form of salvation for the sweet little monsters in my life!

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Rhodes created the answer and a 60 second promise for a product that is often seen in stores cold, laying in a silver colored tray, and usually dry. Rhodes took everything everyone wants in a cinnamon roll, a warm gooey roll all your own and when you want it. Magic!

Now, I wish my microwave could deliver. I did experience some difficulties in locating the product and Rhodes does have a store locator, down to what product is offered in each store near you. The only obstacle was that the New Microwave rolls were not a product option you could select from the drop-down menu. I finally started hitting stores and located the rolls (one bag) 20 miles away and when I arrived at the Neighborhood Walmart Store, they had more items than what the product locator reflected. I called stores at the end to avoid wasting gas too and I highly suggest in doing so. Just kindly ask for the “freezer” department when calling and that you are looking for the Microwave Rhodes Cinnamon rolls. Not to be confused with the Ready to Bake Anytime cinnamon rolls. The new Rhodes Microwave Cinnamon Rolls come in a bag (not a tray) and the bag is brown-orange in color with a large 60 number on the front of the bag.

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Verdict:
I found literally the last bag they had and always check the back of the freezer. I reached until I got a frozen paw but that bag had my name on it. I always see low stock on a product as a good sign. It’s popular and probably well liked, and that tends to make me want to try them. Each bag holds a count of 6 cinnamon rolls, so even though my weekend get-together had more people, we figured we share (it’s a new diet we are trying 😉 ). We had only one roll in the bag that had stuck to another but all the cinnamon were in a nice shape and intact. We played it safe and microwaved one roll at a time and I put toppings out, to even a separate type of frosting (cream cheese) with soft caramel swirls in case someone wanted a different topping versus the icing it came with. You can toast pecans and add that too, to even fruit that is fresh or from a jar. Customization is really easy to do. Everyone tasted the frosting and except for one person, they were the only one that opted to use the icing the rolls came with, so I was happy to have both options available. Once you microwave the product, the roll does increase in size a little bit about 25% larger, however the cinnamon roll is fair in size overall. Feedback was 50/50 when it came to how the product tasted and texture. The roll is soft and gooey, but for some it was a little to gummy while others felt the cinnamon roll begins to dry out (not harden thankfully) a little to quick for them as it cools down. The sweet factor was a little high for some and others felt the cinnamon was not strong enough, but agreed when I mentioned the idea of sprinkling a dash on top of the icing/frosting could fix that. My cream cheese based frosting was very liked and that seem to make up for what I consider to be small short comings for a roll that is ready to enjoy in 1 minute’s time. You may have to eat it a little faster if you worry about the dough drying out but I can share one thing that does have some value, everyone ate their serving!  So even those that did not consider this to be their favorite cinnamon roll did not feel it was not edible, it was just not like others they have had. I myself have had worse from bakeries but for a product with no time constraints and no mess other than the plate you are eating it from, I think Rhodes did as well as you can do with microwave dishes. Nothing will be as good as from the oven but this little cinnamon roll satisfied my sweet tooth!  I fought for my 1 bag of cinnamon rolls, so that meant I had 2 more coupons left when it came to trying Rhodes products and I picked out 2 different ones.  So, stay tuned because I will be reviewing and sharing those with you too.

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Tryazon and Rhodes.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Smiley360: Nutrition Now™ MultiVites; Women’s Gummy Vitamins #Review

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I am always looking to improve my health and nutrition needs. Being able to pop a gummy and then go about my day not only is easy, but sort of hard to forget. So many supplements in the market are made to fit the needs of both males and females, even though their needs differ greatly. Men require more caloric intake than a female would, so we already eat differently! Why take the same vitamins? I prefer always having to choose something that is tailored to me and will help when it comes to my hair’s appearance and nails…..something most guys don’t have at the forefront of their mind 🙂

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Nutrition Now MultiVites not only come in gummy form and I’m not oppose to taking a pill, but why not take something that I can enjoy too. Their dietary supplement provides a blend of essential vitamins and minerals, that may help improve your hair, nails and skin’s health. You also get energy and metabolism support. What’s not to love? You add supporting bone health and great berry flavor combinations, that it makes having an excuse to not take your vitamins on a daily basis non-existent.

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Retail Price Point: $7.39 via Amazon was the best price point I could locate, however the vitamins are carried at Vitamin Shoppe and other retailers like Walgreens too.

Ingredients: Glucose Syrup , Sucrose , Gelatin , Natural Flavors , ColorsPurple Carrot Juice Concentrate, Blueberry & Carrot Concentrate , Citric Acid , Lactic Acid , Fractionated Coconut Oil , Beeswax

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Verdict:
I took the gummy vitamins by Nutrition Now on a daily basis for 25 days. The indications are for two gummy bites a day and one bottle comes with 70 gummy vitamins, so you get a little over a month’s worth. Nutrition Now made sure to give you a little cushion when it comes to those extra few days in case you forget when you need to buy more and I always appreciate that versus other companies that like to play the game of only giving you 28 days worth of product. Each gummy is only 15 calories and I can’t think of a better way in getting 30 calories a day packed with all your nutritional needs. I never had an upset stomach or an awful aftertaste. It was sort of too good to be true and I liked that if I had a sweet tooth that day, the gummy aided in nipping it…..so it was sort of like a treat. I did not notice significant changes because I do try to eat as clean as possible and at the same time get more than the amount of required vegetables and fruit in a day, but I did not break a nail! I always chip a nail at least once a month with all my crafts and baking, however I did not and you know it was not because I was careful. I think Nutrition Now is the better tasting when it comes to the gummy world of vitamins and for once it’s called berry flavor and actually contains blueberry. The product is gluten free and also free of dyes/artificial coloring because they use real ingredients like purple carrot juice as coloring. Easy to take and actually enjoy, so I would at least give Nutrition Now gummy vitamins a consideration because they are full of the “good stuff” and have none of the “bad stuff” that I usually have to look up to even know what is.

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Connect with Nutrition Now:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nutrition Now and Smiley360.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Sari Foods Company: Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Vitamin C from Acerola Cherries and Spirulina Powder #Review

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It’s not just because I told myself in 2014 that in 2015 I want to eat better, a la New Year’s resolution, but I have been looking for ways to add nutrition to my diet via super foods. The only way to know if the “buzz” is real, is to get out there and try it.

Super Foods and what makes them super duper is really in the eye of the beholder, however the general rule is a product that is naturally fortified with an enormous amount of vitamins, minerals, omegas, and/or antioxidants, and so forth. As I ventured down the super foods rabbit hole, I literally realized that I needed to go beyond the Goji and Acai berries I was so comfortable with already eating and drinking. I needed to go old school and give Spirulina powder a try, to the ultimate cherries called Acerolas. Yeast flakes is new to me and when the package stated it tastes like cheese, I know I love cheeses but unsure if a yeast flake had the “moo flavor” I was looking for. Time to get out of my comfort zone!

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Spirulina Powder– Sari Food’s provides you with a 100% purely organic powder, so that is a positive beginning. Spirulina is not new to the world of super foods that even the Aztecs consumed such a gem. The plant grows and thrives in water beds/lakes and is magical on it’s own, where it even creates it’s own feed so it can thrive. I was already intrigued by the idea of something creating nutrients for itself and to me that was like have an endless supply of energy bars in your purse! The protein level is insane when you look at the amount of product that delivers such a high content. Sarii Food’s Spirulina has 6.5 grams of protein for every 10 grams of servings, that equates to one heaping tablespoon, and it does not stop there:

You have Iron and 6.0 mg, which is 33% of your D.V.
Vitamin A 27 mg, so you get 1800% of your D.V. and we are still on 1 tablespoon’s worth.
Vitamin B12 15mcg., giving you 250% of your D.V.
Vitamin B2 comes at 450 mcg., and 28% of your D.V.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is 350 mcg., and provides 25% of your D.V.
Niacin, known as Vitamin B3 is 3 mg and 15% of your D.V,
Magnesium is 48 mg, and 12% of your D.V.
Vitamin K is 40 mg and a generous 50% of your D.V,
Folic Acid is an astonishing 450 mcg, and comes to 113% of your D.V.
Plus, Total Carotenoids at 30 mg
Chlorophyll at 60 mg
Phycocyanin at 800 mg
Gamma-Linolenic Acid
DHA at 70 mg (Docosahexaenoic acid) which helps with brain function and is an Omega-3 fatty acid, comes at 70 mg

Retail Price Point: $23.95 via Amazon for a 16 ounce package, which provides 45 servings .

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That is a lot in just 1 heaping tablespoon. I tried the product by adding it to smoothies and to my morning power breakfast, which is mixed with fruit, yogurt and granola. The taste did not affect my breakfast in a negative way and by week one, I did notice I felt better but I did not stop taking my daily supplements, so Sari Foods’s Spirulina really filled the void that was missing and/or needed in my daily nutrition intake. The protein is plant based and is even rated better than what you get from legumes and without the bloating effects or feeling too full from eating beans. Studies wise I found very little when it came to having a negative impact from Spirulina and because I can’t beat the boost of energy I have been experiencing, I am addicted to feeling better so will continue it’s use.

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Vitamin C powder from Acerola Cherries– Sari Food’s again provides us with a 100% USDA certified, Organic product. The package states that just 1 Acerola Cherry gives you the vitamin C of 65 oranges. Okay, you got my attention! The Acerola cherry tree is found in many regions like Brazil, where so many super foods derive from to California, Florida, Texas and certain regions in South America. The fruit tends to deteriorate quickly once ripe, so cultivation and process is key in making sure you get the most out of every red little gem the tree produces. When I stated quickly deteriorating, think of when you cut into an apple or potato and the Acerola cherry comes near that. Within 4 hours from just harvesting, a negative impact in appearance and in texture is already visible. That is one delicate little cherry but not when it comes to nutrition:

I mentioned the orange versus acerola statement above but to put it into perspective, this cherry juice gives you 13 times more Vitamin C than one glass of O.J.  Sari Food’s has made the impact even better by just 1 teaspoon giving you 500 mg, that is 833% of your D.V. The only other ingredient in their powder is organic and non-gmo Maltodextrin, so nothing gets between you and your Vitamin C!

Retail Price Point: $29.95 via Amazon for a 6 ounce package, which provides you with 58 servings.

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I found many benefits on-line upon reading and we already know what Vitamin C does for the body and protecting our immune system.  Some studies suggested aid with asthma, allergies, regulating blood sugar, shortening colds, helping with the aging impact of free radicals, to reducing cholesterol and heart disease.  The claims were broad and some with clinical back-up and some just anecdotal.  I gave the powder a try for 3.5  weeks and the one thing I was able to attribute to it’s intake, was better skin.  The month of February was the best looking clear skin I have had.  The powder is tart to sour like you would expect from a Vitamin C powder but the package suggested just a touch of coconut sugar would help if that was an issue.  I went with nectarines and once chopped, I added the powder and it actually improved the taste of my fruit versus needing to fix anything with the powder.  I will be taking this when stress is coming my way, which in my world is on a weekly basis!

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Nutritional Yeast FlakesSari Food’s gives you a Vegan product that is Non-GMO and Gluten Free.  Yeast flakes provide everything from Potassium, Iron and a multitude of vitamins and minerals.  You have also a great amount of fiber, so it fills you up without the guilt!  Yeast is consumed for many reasons and used to amp up a dish’s nutritional value to some people who enjoy the flavor the product provides.

Retail Price Point: $12.95 via Amazon for a 8 ounce package, which provides 14 servings.

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The yeast flake product from Sari Food’s in non-fortified, meaning you get a natural product that is nourished from natural sources.  No fake vitamins or anything created in a lab to increase what is derived naturally!  The yeast has a whopping 18 amino acids and everything from Biotin, which helps with hair and nail growth to 352.0% of your D.V. of B5 Vitamin.  You just take 2 heaping tablespoons and add it to “almost” any dish.  I will say the scent of the product really in my opinion is more geared towards savory dishes.  The only yogurt based spread I could think of that would be pleasurable in taste, was when I made Gyros and combined the yeast flakes with Feta cheese.  We liked the change and especially on potatoes.  It really does amp up the protein content to 8.32 grams, which breaks down to 16.6% of your D.V., so I kept this in mind when cooking with proteins.  I know protein and especially clean protein is good for you but I also want only so much of it.  The fiber content makes digesting easy and especially if you are attempting to lose or just maintain a healthy weight.  This product may have limited me towards the savory dishes but then again everything else is geared towards sweetness in the diet and nutrition world, that I found it welcoming to have something I could add with most dinners.  The Yeast flakes in salads was another boost of flavor I was able to enjoy and especially on avocados!

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Get acquainted with the above products and with Sari Foods Company at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sari Foods Company.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Smiley360: 5 Hour Energy Drink in Pink Lemonade #5HourGoesPink #Review

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I got an offer from Smiley360 recently. It was for a 5-Hour Energy shot. Um…yes please! Are you kidding me? This time of year? I’m dragging my tired little butt around trying to put things together for the holidays, for the home, for hubby, for the dog. Oh yeah, and if I have a spare second or two, a moment for myself. I quick pick me up, and pink lemonade flavored to boot? My only complaint at the time was I only got two.

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Now, I’ve tried 5-Hour Energy before. Let’s just say I wasn’t their biggest cheerleader. The flavor was…not great. Very bitter, hard to swallow. In fact, I couldn’t. Neither could hubby.We haven’t been back to it since. I had high hopes for the new push and new flavor. And while it was better, it was also still bitter, but not to the point of being unable to finish it. So it’s flavor grade is a solid “B”.

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As for the most important feature, the energy boost. With 200 mg of caffeine, as well as nearly 1700 mgs of other proprietary energy ingredients, and 540 mgs of B vitamins, you’d think it could send someone up the walls and hanging off the ceiling. However, that wasn’t the case for me. Maybe my tolerances are higher, maybe I just was expecting to have some jitters or shakes. Neither was the case, and if anything I was disappointed in not having that “superman” feeling where I flit around the house getting everything accomplished like The Flash. Oh well.

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5-Hour Energy also partnered with Living Beyond Breast Cancer to donate 5 cents from every bottle sold to LBBC, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people with trusted breast cancer information and community support. Just look for the bottle with the pink ribbon to help out, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $200,000. Not too shabby.

Connect with 5-Hour Energy on:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Smiley360 and 5-Hour Energy.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smiley360: Centrum Flavor Burst Multivitamin/Multiminerals Chews Review

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Being a Smiley360 member has it’s perks and one is being able to try new products. I was recently sent the Centrum Flavor Burst Vitamin and Mineral Chews, in Pineapple and Wild Grape flavors. I’m always about finding new ways to nourish the body because quite frankly, I get bored doing the same thing day after day. Variety is really what I seek and I have taken the gummy vitamins in the past, but not liking the idea of having gummy pieces stuck to my teeth right after I brushed them in the morning.

What a product is made of and how it tastes matters, especially if you will be taking something daily or several times through out the day. I do think in today’s market of supplements, just settling is not something you have to do anymore. There are so many products from drinks, chews, pills, to even infused chocolates….so I was eager to see what Centrum had to offer in this world of Vitamin and Minerals.

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Centrum Flavor Burst Chews come in several flavors and range in cost from $9.97 at Amazon for a bottle of 120 chews to Walmart’s price point of $7.97 for a 60 count bottle. The highest price point was at CVS for $12.49 for 120 chews, followed closely by Walgreens at $11.79 for the same count, so I suggest price matching and seeking the lowest cost before you buy because they vary greatly.

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I brought up the count because the suggested serving amount for an adult is 4 chews daily…sort of makes the bottle not last as long when most chews of this kind are formulated for 2 a day. The bottle will be disappearing at a fast rate but you can also adjust your intake by your needs and even adjust through out the day.

A Centrum Flavor Burst adult serving has the following daily values (4 Chews Count):

  • Vitamin A 2000 IU, providing 40% of your Daily Value
  • Vitamin C 60 mg, 100% DV
  • Vitamin D 800 IU, 200% DV
  • Vitamin E40 IU, 133% DV
  • Vitamin B6 2mg, 100% DV
  • Folic Acid 400 mcg, 100% DV
  • Vitamin B12 10mcg, 167% DV
  • Biotin 150 mcg, 50% DV
  • Pantothenic Acid 10 mg, 100% DV
  • Iodine 80 mcg, 53% DV
  • Zinc 5 mg, 33% DV

DV based on a 2,000 caloric diet

You can see with the above values that with most you meet or exceed the 100% suggested daily intake, so this is why I opted to adjust my serving by my nutritional needs and Centrum does facilitate that by breaking up the serving by 4 a day.

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Wild Grape Flavor:
This was my least favorite flavor because I picked up more of the vitamin taste and the aftertaste was just not pleasant. I also looked at the ingredient list and this particular flavor has Blue 2 Lake food coloring, while the other flavor I tested did not, so that turned me off on top of it being the worst tasting. I tried by day 3 chewing another and I met my limit with what this flavor had to offer…so not wild about it!

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Pineapple:
The Pineapple has a nice tropical taste and does not list any artificial food dyes. The dyes listed are derived from Annatto, which is a food dye derived from the seeds of the achiote tree and Beta-Carotene. Keeping it natural is what I seek so I liked this, plus like I mentioned the flavor is pleasant.

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Quick Note on the Pros: No water needed and you can adjust your intake on a daily basis because the adult serving is broken up into 4 chews. Pineapple was good tasting and the percentages on a daily values scale was not unfavorable. It’s more like a “Skittle’s” candy when it comes to texture, so no candy or gummy residue is left on your teeth after you chew.

Quick Note on the Cons: Both flavors I tasted contain Corn Syrup, Maltodextrin and Sucrose. I know Maltodextrin can be derived from barley and wheat, so this can be an issue for Celiac disease suffers. The Grape contains an artificial dye, plus it’s taste was unpleasant. Watch where you buy because the price fluctuates greatly and keep note of the count per bottle when comparing price points.

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I do have a coupon to share that saves you $2.00, so that is always a great start:

If you would like further information on Centrum Flavor Burst Multivitamin Chews, please visit them at:

I received the above product free of charge from Smiley360 and Centrum. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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