Moms Meet: So Delicious Dairy Free Creamers #Review #SoDelicious

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Who doesn’t love coffee? I’m one of those where coffee not only tastes good but I have found it helps me with other health issues, by increasing my circulation and giving me a boost of much needed energy. Plus, the warmth of a cup helps when my joints ache. What I don’t like are creamers. I mean I love how they taste sometimes, but not when it comes to the chemicals and thickeners, which take the joy of having a cup of coffee that is now more a loaded cup of sugar. I have been hunting for an alternative and when Moms Meet featured So Delicious, this is the brand I have seen in stores but sort of walked by (shame on me).

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The campaign was mostly focused on the creamers So Delicious makes. You have two non-dairy bases to choose from, Coconut and Almond milk, with the former being the more extensive items to choose from:

  • Coconut Milk in Original
  • Coconut Milk Barista Style in Original and in French Vanilla
  • Coconut Milk in French Vanilla
  • Coconut Milk in Hazelnut

You can obtain the above in pints and quart sizes

  • Almond Milk in Original
  • Almond Milk in French Vanilla

You can obtain the above in only pint sizes

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Retail Price Point: Usually under $3 for the pint and if you get a coupon, this creamer can be easily obtained for $1.50 with a sale/coupon combination. I purchased the creamers at Von’s, Sprout’s Farmers Market and at Target.

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Verdict:
I was unsure what to expect and with about 25 calories per tablespoon with the Coconut variety and 15 calories with the Almond kind (i.e. comparing French Vanilla), you control what you want to put in your coffee. Not filled with sugars or artificial ingredients, plus soy free. Now, the taste matters. I love them. They taste better than the original creamers I used both in liquid and powder form. I’m getting a shot of flavor and creamer, all in one. I liked them so much, that I kept buying So Delicious. I am not branching out to other products. My friend that tried the creamer with us, has now raved about the ice cream……so look at So Delicious and change your routine. There is no getting bored here when it comes to flavors and all the wonderful products So Delicious makes!  Go on-line and connect with So Delicious because they over sweeten the deals (not your coffee) with the coupons they always offer.

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Connect with So Delicious at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Moms Meet and So Delicious. 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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Social Nature: Kim’s Simple Meals, Organic Macaroni Casserole #Review #TryNatural

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Next on the list, is Kim’s Simple Meals and this is their Organic Macaroni Casserole. The product again is easy to make and assemble. You simply boil the pasta, which is gluten free and made from organic brown rice. You then mix the contents with water, blend and add it to the cooked elbow shaped noodles. Mix and in the oven the casserole goes. The Mac is soy free and made with GMO free ingredients. Vegan friendly and Kosher too.

Ingredients: Gluten free brown rice elbow macaroni*, oat flour*, sea salt, sugar*, dehydrated vegetables* (onion*, garlic* & tomato*), yeast powder*, natural smoke Torula yeast, annatto powder* (annatto extract*, maltodextrin*), citric acid, lemon peel powder* and natural hickory smoke powder [potato maltodextrin, natural hickory smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)]. *Organic

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Verdict:

The instructions were simple and because I tend to like more bite in my pastas, I did not boil the noodles as long as they suggested. When I blended the “cheese sauce”, it was very watery in texture and had an odd smell that was smoky. Kim suggests you can add your own meatless based meats, like a veggie based bacon. This time I decided to just go as it comes but I can see even adding vegetables. Once the pasta was partially cooked, I added the sauce and it did not thicken. It was more like the texture of a thin juice, versus any bechamel sauce I have made to make a typical Macaroni and Cheese dish. There is no real cheese here but I did notice this box is not labeled dairy free like the burger version. Why not add milk? I have no idea and it was not listed as a suggestion. Not even a nut milk that is unsweetened was not suggested, or even soy milk if you have no issues with it. The burger box had soy…..but I went forward and was thankful walnuts were not suggested like the video shared for the home-style burgers, and no oats! The house smells like something is cooking but it’s not like any Macaroni and Cheese I have had before. Maybe a pasta kind of dish but not Mac and Cheese. It comes out of the oven and it’s like one solid mass. I noticed this in the video also, when the serving was cut. The liquid was absorbed and you still smell something smoky-ish but I could not put my finger on it. Maybe fake bacon bits and along that area. I taste it and it’s not cheese and I have eaten many cheeses in my lifetime. This pretender is more like a rice dish, where the rice is shaped like elbow pasta and a yellow sauce. The sauce creates a pasta cake but no cheese and gooey texture you associate with the original. It was not awful but definitely not super delicious. The only thing that came to mind, is it tasted like that mystery dish where the label fell off the platter, which sat in a buffet/cafeteria line. Surprise-a-Dish! If you like surprises, this may be for you and adding vegetables or other items might spruce it up and make it less surprise-ish casserole.

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Connect with Kim’s Simple Meals at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kim’s Simple Meals and Social Nature. 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.

 

Daiya Foods: Daiya Deliciously Dairy Free Pizzas #Review #DaiyaPizzas

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Even if we are a household without dietary restrictions, I still like to mix things up a bit. Eating the same way is just utterly boring no matter how good the food can be. To not get in a meal rut means I need to introduce new foods and start weeding out the things we want to take a break from.

Daiya Foods Pizzas, is a leap of many kinds for us. For one, we rarely eat frozen prepared meals and/or side dishes. I do freeze meats in raw form and that is as frozen as we get, along with frozen veggies and fruits. You just can’t grab something from the freezer and nuke it……yeah, that comes back and bites me, so I made some tamales and the such for those days I want to actually use the microwave beyond just softening butter in it. Secondly, I have tried gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, to meatless but never really ventured into non-dairy, unless it’s a fruit based gelato or some kind of sweet treat. This means Daiya foods is eating a way for us that is entirely new because it’s taking everything we have tried before, but all in one dish and at the same time. I’m game!

I was offered to try out the pizzas and no one had ever tried anything from Daiya Foods, except for a faux cream cheese style spread. Some of my group admitted to seeing the cheezes in the dairy alternative aisle at Sprout’s, but never actually tried it. Okay, this is now an entire new experience for us all.

Daiya Foods makes 6 Pizzas to choose from and they all sound delicious and tempting:

  • Supreme Pizza, which includes a meatless sausage topping from Beyond Meat
  • Pizza Bianca Pizza, featuring a white bean sauce that has mushrooms and spinach toppings
  • Cheeze Lover’s Pizza, a simpler non-topping pizza, which features Daiya’s version of cheezes, like Mozzarella and Cheddar
  • Margherita Pizza, a traditional twist on a classic and comes with tomato chunks and basil
  • Fire-Roasted Vegetables Pizza, Daiya did not skimp and you have three bell pepper varieties, onions, garlic, tomatoes and even a dash of basil
  • Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza, even when it comes to mushrooms, Daiya makes sure you get something beyond the button kind.  You have shiitake and crimini in a blanket of roasted garlic and all nestled on their tomato sauce

I purchased two of the selections available, the Supreme and the Fire-Roasted Vegetable to try out.  This was what was available at Sprout’s and they were redoing that section when I was shopping and I grabbed the ones that looked more tempting.  I grabbed to of the veggies kind and one of the supreme.  First, one up to cook and see how well it is received is the Fire-Roasted Vegetable:

The pizza was easy to cook and even though the instructions stated to cook directly on the rack, I just got a new range and it’s less than a week old.  A few of the cheeze shreds were dangling off the crust, which I like when eating but not when cooking, so I opted to cook the pizza on my pizza stone just like I would any pizza.

The pizza was cooked and ready in 13.5 minutes!  You have the option to use the standard bake and convection instructions were listed, so I went with that cooking option.

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Verdict:

By the seven minute mark, you could smell the vegetables and they smell as good as they look.  Daiya did not skimp on toppings and that is always a plus in our book.  The crust is crisp and upon slicing, you hear it cut just like a normal pizza crust would.  The dough has a darker tint that can be described as almost wheat-like in color.  It also tastes like a wheat crust but a good one!  Daiya nailed it when it came to how the crust tasted, broke apart when eaten and this made the eating of the pizza enjoyable.  The vegetables are out of this world.  We all agreed the freshness and texture makes you wish Daiya sold the veggies by the bagful.  They are roasted but not soft and a mushy mess from being frozen.  There is still texture and they are so good, plus the tang you get from the tomato sauce provides a nice balance of flavors.  The sauce is light and not super sweet, you just taste fresh tomatoes and a touch of basil.  Now, the only small negative is the cheeze.  The browned portions we all agreed tasted better than the whiter ones, so toasted on top is the way to cook the pizza if you desire this flavor profile.  The cheese does not melt and or string apart like normal dairy versions, it’s almost a little too soft in texture and one guest felt it was like sour cream in taste.  I did not feel the sour notes were present but I can see where the comparison in texture can be made.  This was the only downer but because the crust and everything else was top-notch, it would not prevent me from buying it.  It’s a pizza that I would say has that “rustic” taste but think of it more as a flat-bread pizza with superb toppings and cooks in 15 minutes or less!

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The other positive is that 2 pizzas and I had boneless chicken wings to pair with it, filled us!  I still had dessert to serve and when it came to putting the third pizza in the oven (The Supreme), we were full.  I thought that is a good thing because 8 people were fed very well and we were satisfied with what we ate, so we opted to give the third pizza to the guest that is always late.  She also brought a third extra guest, so she could enjoy the pizza for dinner (versus lunch) when she got home.  Okay, I’m thinking if I give free meals away, people will start showing up late now 🙂 I’m also eye-ing those cheezecakes they sell and they have a Key Lime one……oh’ yummers!

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Connect with Daiya Foods and enjoy their products at:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Daiya Foods.  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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutraplex: Megaberry Bar #Review #Nutraplex

 

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We are always hunting for new nutrition, energy, supplement……well, you name it type of bars. I like to not only eat bars when I am busy but I actually enjoy eating them when they are done well. That latter part is where many companies seem to forget and it use to be because it was hard to jam real nutrition into bars.  Nowadays, that is not that difficult with so many ingredients coming in powder to liquid form without compromising their nutrition value. You can really amp a bar up without skipping in real nutrition but so many bars out there are what I call fakers! Bars that call themselves nutritional but offer nothing new than being a multi-vitamin disguised in a sugary concoction. I expect more and especially if the company is asking for more price wise.

Nutraplex is a company, which carries a variety of bars that offer energy and nutrition. Their flavors are:

  • Megaberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Pomegranate Cherry
  • Mango Strawberry

I was sent the Megaberry one to try out. Nutraplex describes their product as a, “balanced macro-nutrient ratio, plenty of omegas and fiber”.

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Ingredients: Dates, Chia Seeds, Cranberry (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Cashews, Pea Protein, Honey, Raisins, Safflower Oil, Blueberries (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Strawberries, Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Raspberries, Acai Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Mixed Tocopherols, and Citric Acid.

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Let’s Break the above down:
The word “macronutrient” just means nutrition that the body needs in a large dose, so Nutraplex bars give you all your nutritional needs in what is really a small portion, which is a good thing. Feel full and have energy but you don’t need to amp calories and/or portions. The Megaberry has protein, which is derived from peas, so it at least breaks away from the soy enriched world so many bars have become. Once source of fiber comes from dates, which you can see from the picture is what makes up a lot of the bar and the word bar is it’s shape, but not exactly it’s consistency. Think of it more as a “soft bar shaped patty”. You have Chia seeds that are great for energy and also expand when wet, so you do feel full. You have acai in powder form, blueberries and strawberries to fill the antioxidant portion of the bar. Mixed Tocopherols and it’s really just an organic compound that helps preserve the bar and it’s oils. Many seeds and the oils they have tend to oxidize with air and light, so this is just Vitamin E used to help prevent (or at least slow down) this natural occurrence.

Retail Price Point: $2.99 per bar via Nutraplex’s site or $44.85 for a carton of 15 bars. I checked with Amazon and they have a price point of $39.45 for the carton.

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Final Verdict:
Yes, the bar is free of gluten and non-gmo ingredients, but I did not see a non-gmo certification listed on the site. Free of high fructose corn syrup, soy and dairy free. You have no dyes or artificial ingredients, plus it’s kosher. The price point is high for ingredients that are not of high value but I am still making the leap that Nutraplex is using higher grades here. Trust me not all Chia seeds are created equal! Even with that in mind, the taste and texture matter. Really matter! You are dealing with simple ingredients and I value that, just not $3 a bar that is not even organic certified. Like I mentioned the bar is in it’s shape and not so much in it’s texture. I opened it and it flops a bit because it’s just ingredients compacted to form a patty…..sort resembles a seed disc for birds. Very soft and chewy and you taste berry seeds but not a burst of berry fruit notes. Think of raspberry seeds, strawberry seeds, the chia seeds and so forth but packed into a date and maybe some raisin batter. I did not find it pleasing and I’m all for the “naked bars” out there. I don’t need a coating of faux chocolate or a oat/granola filling to respect the bar but if you say berry, I expect well a berry slap of flavor. This was too date-y for me and I like dates but when you mush, grind, pulverize and so forth…….the individual flavors start to get muted and I like energy and nutrition, but I still believe you should like what you are eating to some degree other than it’s just good for you. I would walk out with a berry bag of dried (unsweetened) fruit with the same ingredients in cluster form versus the mashed-up form any day. I only tasted the berry one and maybe the other flavors will be better at covering the the date and raisin base. I just think 190 calories (70 from fat) and at only 6 grams of protein, is not worth the exchange or will equate a bunch of energy. You also have 21 grams of sugars and the vitamin content is low with none from vitamin A, 4% of Vitamin C, 10% of calcium and 10% of iron. Sunflower oil is used in the product and with all the fats to choose from in today’s market, I was surprised and again when looking at the list……maybe my idea of “macro-nutrition” means something else because Nutraplex’s bar did not (in my opinion) offer enough macro in their Megaberry bar!  It has nutrition but pretty low for energy and the nutritional facts say it all.  I just don’t understand the price tag when so much is missing.

 

Connect with Nutraplex at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nutraplex.  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.

 

QSpeed Nutritionals CoQ10 Fast Melt Tablets Review #QSpeedCoQ10

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I’m always looking for a way to boost my body naturally. But I want things that have been proven to work. Not the latest “flash in the pan” fad supplement that some talking head on TV claims is a miracle pill or will cure all that ails me overnight. So about a year ago, when I turned 30-*mumbles* years old, I started taking CoQ10. It is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body, but tends to decrease with age. But taking a handful of supplements every morning and night gets…tiresome to say the least. Enter QSpeed’s Fast Melt CoQ10 200mg tablets.

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Used for years now to aid or combat everything from blood pressure and heart disease to even asthma, chronic fatigue, and high cholesterol. The jury is still out as to whether it aids at all in exercise performance, fatigue or diabetes. In fact, it’s been all but disproven to be effective against things like Alzheimer’s disease. So if you temper your expectations, QSpeed’s CoQ10 can become an indispensable tool in maintaining your overall health and wellness.

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A novel approach to getting your daily dose of healthy stuff is gummies. Or fast-melt tablets. I’ve already reviewed the former a while back, but now it’s time for the latter. QSpeed’s novel approach to a healthier lifestyle is their naturally-orange-flavored 200mg CoQ10 fast melt tablets. Coming in a 40 count blister pack, and lacking that usual chalky mouth feel, it’s even sugar free (though it does have mannitol and sorbitol), gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, soy, milk, dairy, corn, sodium, preservatives, and uses non-GMO ingredients. No preservatives or artificial flavors. Just what you want, none of what you don’t, quick, easy and simple. The taste is actually pretty good too. QSpeed has hit a lot of good metrics here, but for me, it missed the boat in one: Price.

The 40 tablets are currently priced at about $25. The recommended dose is one to two tablets per day. You can find comparable products for much less, as long as your OK with taking a pill the old fashioned way. So what it comes down to is convenience versus price. If you hate pills, or are just tired of taking them, then this is your huckleberry.

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Connect with QSpeed Nutritionals:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Speed Nutritionals.  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.

BzzAgent: Purina Beyond Natural and Grain Free Dog Food in Adventure, Tuna and Egg Recipe #Review

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My dog eats like a cat!

No, not cat food but loves things that cat’s like when it comes to foods and even toys. I still don’t walk into the Pet Store where she found joy with that feather toy made for cats because to see a 55 pound dog playing with it made her the only thing people were staring at when all I did was come in for treats.

She also loves Salmon, Sword Fish and shrimps to crab so when this dog food, which was sent as part of BzzAgent campaign said Tuna and Egg…..it was made for her. She loves it and I love that she is happy and no feathers were hurt 🙂 The food is reasonably priced for being a “no grain” variety and that makes me love it more. I find she goes potty less, less gas, and just more pure energy that sometimes I miss the dog that thinks everyday is a lounge day. She plays more and that is worth it in my book, when you see results!

What is in this no-grain Dog Food:

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The Three No-Nos that keep Purina Beyond Dog Food above the rest:

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I believe a picture speaks for itself and this dog at 11 + years of age is not slowing down one bit!

 

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The Guaranteed Analysis, so you know what your pet is getting:

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How Much to feed when it comes to to a no-grain food:

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Actual Results:

I witnessed our dog getting a shiner coat that is not oily like with other feeds that have added fats that deliver shine, but leaves your poor pet so greasy that you cringe petting them.  Our dog did get a slight fishy breath after eating her meal but not so bad and it did lessen as time passes.  I noticed the energy level went up and we actually had to slow her down in these hot Summer days we have been experiencing but that usually means a dip in the pool for her.  No stomach problems and eating grass is a thing she does not engage in as often as before, so I think her meals settle better.  I recommend trying one bag for yourself and see the difference for yourself!  A version for cats is also made so the kitties did not get left out on the fun 🙂

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Available In:

  • Dry Dog Foods
  • Dry & Wet Cat Foods
  • Grain-Free Recipes
  • Superfood Blends

 

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Connect with Purina and see what the new Beyond feed can do for your pet:

  • On-line– https://www.purina.com/products/beyond
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/BeyondPetFood
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/BeyondPetFood
  • Coupons from Purina- https://www.purina.com/coupons

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from BzzAgent and Purina.  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.

 

“MELT”ed Chocolate? Yes, Please!

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I’ve been able to try every single kind of Rich & Creamy Melt Organic spread they make (feel free to take a gander at my review from a while back), and I have yet to find one I dislike, even a little bit. From the Original, the Honey, and now, the Chocolate. Oh, the chocolate. How do I love thee?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let’s start with, it’s chocolate.                                   Not that fake, weirdly sweet, waxy, sugary, nasty pseudo-chocolate that everyone seems to like to 3480use. No, I’m talking the real deal. To quote their website, it’s a: “velvety blend of rich organic cocoa”. Boy, howdy is it. It also adds wildflower honey to the mix, along with the Melt Organic to make a truly good and good for you spread. With just 1 gram of sugar per serving and being dairy free, vanillin free, and nut free,everyone can enjoy it. Each square of Chocolate MELT Organic is certified organic, non-GMO (Non-GMO Project Verified), kosher and made with Fair Trade Fair for Life certified virgin coconut oil and Rainforest Alliance certified palm fruit oil. Chocolate Melt is also soy free, gluten free, dairy free and trans fat free. Each serving of Chocolate Melt is a rich source of the ‘good fats‘ with an ideal balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ALA (that are optimally metabolized with virgin coconut oil), and has 425 mg of Omega-3 ALA (or 26% RDA) and Vitamin E (or 15% RDA). Now that’s a mouthful, and a darn good one, too.

The best part is, since it’s good food that’s good for you, you can truly enjoy it any time, breakfast to dessert. Want to enjoy it on some toast? Aces. Want it with some fruit? Pile it high and deep. Want to bake with it? You had to know I was going to go there, and oh…I went there. But that’s for another post. 😉 Icings, filling, just drizzled on a slice of warm panetone bread. It’s something I can’t recommend enough that you try immediately. They even have coupons to print right from the website. It’s like it’s meant to be!! You really should dip a finger into their butter 2.0, it’s something you’ll wonder how you did without.

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Connect with Melt Organic!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I received the above product(s) free of charge from MELT Organic. 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.

Healthy Surprise: Subscription Snack Box filled with goodies and delivered right to your door

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Healthy Surprise is a company, which delivers snack filled boxes to your door on a monthly basis. The company also offers specialty themed boxes, like their Chocolate Box that is filled with anything and everything having to do with that cacao bean we all love. You also have different box levels and they just get fuller and fuller as you go up the scale:

  • Starter Box- $40.00 a month and filled with snacks for 1 to 2 people. Each box has 11+ full sized snacks to enjoy.
  • Big Box– $60.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 1 to 4 people. This box comes with 16+ full sized snacks to indulge in.
  • Combo Box– $95.00 a month and filled with snacks to satisfy 2 to 6 people. The Combo Box is huge and filled with 27+ full sized snacks that will satisfy any taste-bud and then some.

All treats are soy free, gluten free, natural to vegan. Snacks are corn free and even plant based. I also found they research very carefully what they offer in their boxes from products not made in China to the ingredients used. You won’t find MSG to High Fructose Corn Syrup. Worried about allergies? Healthy Surprise hunts for dairy free, peanut free, shellfish free, no artificial flavors, dyes, color, to even no artificial sweeteners used in their health friendly boxes. No Partially Hydrogenated oils or yeast extracts to upset your taste buds! It’s munching but at a higher level of quality and some can same say less guilt. I’m always for feeling better and less guilty about snacking!

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One thing I dislike about monthly subscription boxes is the wait. You miss that delivery window and you are waiting 30+ days to get anything. Not with Healthy Surprise!  They even have a count down and I ordered one day in the early hours and I am not kidding, I was opening up my box within 48 hours. Healthy Surprise is a California based company, so I got quick delivery and so can you, as they ship for free anywhere in the U.S. You can also set when you want a box shipped and I like that level of control when ordering.

Now to the box we go! I received the smaller box called the Starter Box and calling it small is an understatement, with 13 items but does it live up to it’s price tag? Let’s see….

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  • Hail Merry Macaroons Blonde– The bag comes with 1.75 of puck shaped macaroons. They are small but packed with flavor and no skimping on the coconut. I loved these and ate them with fruit, then dipped some in chocolate and two macaroons swam in an almost empty jar of Fleur de Sel Caramel that was too good to waste. Love these and they are addicting. The product is gluten free and Vegan friendly. Hail Merry uses top notch ingredients from organic maple syrup, shredded coconut, extra virgin coconut oil to raw almond flour. You add vanilla and sea salt and that makes up the entire list of contents. Simple and delicious and I’m a fan. A bag this size retails for about $4 to $5.

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  • Gorge Delights, Just Fruit Bar in Apple Cherry 100% grown U.S. fruit, this bar is sort of like the “fruit leather” you find at Trader Joe’s. A little thicker and it’s made of apple puree, apple concentrate, and cherry concentrate. The bar is simple but delivers more of an apple punch than a cherry one. Due to it’s ultra minced texture, the bar is a little on the gummy side but not satisfying in texture like a gummy bear is. It’s more gummy and smashed. Was not a fan of the bar and stopped at two bites because the cherry was just not there for me and it started to taste like fermented fruit. I really wanted to like this bar because it does satisfy 2 fruit servings of your daily requirements and I would try it again but in another flavor. This bar retails for about $1.16 when purchased in bulk sizes (for retail).

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  • Oloves in Basil and Garlic These are natural green pitted olives and they have a touch of salt, sunflower oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, and acidifiers listed as lactic and citric acid. The pouch weighs 1.1. ounces and safely keeps the green olives intact. No broken or smashed ones and I added them to a salad, which made my dinner look like a beauty and my taste buds were 100% satisfied when it came to the flavor and texture. You get a nice brine that is not over loaded with acids or too high in flavor when it comes to the marinade. Oloves found the perfect balance where the other flavors compliment versus taking away from the olive. A bag this size retails for a little over a $1.00.

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  • Hail Merry Grawnola in Orange and Cranberry– Another hit for the Hail Merry family and this raw nut and fruit blend is packed with flavor that is perfectly balanced. Many orange flavored items are over powered with a poor tasting juice that smells better than it tastes, but not here. You get the hints of citrus and the granola is crunchy and not coated with that honey/orange juice glaze that gives you sticky fingers. You have ingredients like raw almonds, maple syrup, buckwheat groats, fresh orange juice, dried apples, raw pecans, and cranberries. The blend continues with raw sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and salt. Perfect and craveable, plus energy packed. Most ingredients are organic and this product is gluten free, Vegan friendly, grain free and packed with Raw Omegas. Hail Merry products make you look at the label twice and it’s not a trust issue, it’s that you can’t believe something so good is not doused in sugars and bad stuff! This 1.5 ounce bag retails for between $2.50 and $3.00.

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  • Buddy Fruits in Mango Passion & Banana– The drink comes in a resealable container and Buddy Fruits is simple in the ingredient list. You have pure blended fruit derived from Mango. Apple, Banana, and Passion Fruit juice…..that is all. The pouch delivers a taste just like you would imagine the fruit combination would be. Great product to drink as it is or even add to smoothies. I semi-froze mine to enjoy on a hot day and it got a nice slush consistency that made me wish I had 2 of these in my box. The 3.2 ounce pouch retails for about a $1.00 to $1.25.

 

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  • Freshly Wild Super Foods, Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard– Healthy surprise sent me another thing I’ve been dying to try, kale chips. Because let’s face it, everyone gets “munchy” from time to time, but potato chips are all kinds of unhealthy and bad for any diet in excess. From Freshly Wild, a small Portland, Oregon-based health food company, comes Kale Joy in Jazzy Sweet Mustard flavor. Not just your average dehydrated kale chip, these are handcrafted and carefully dehydrated in a small kitchen “powered by renewable wind energy”. Cool. Gluten-free, non GMO, and vegan, three things that are quite popular right now. Using “… only the best juices, nuts, seeds and spices”, this little guy is coated in crunch and flavor, with little bits of nut and seasoning all over. Neat-o. In a resealable .75 ounce package to boot. Crispy without being crumbly, and a satisfying crunch that fills that “munchy” feeling I mentioned earlier. Tangy and sweet. Two things jump out at me: 1 is that unfortunately, a lot of the chips became “shards” at the bottom of the bag. And 2 is that for only an ounce, you’d be paying between $4.50 and $6.00 a bag. Yowza. Fortunately, a little bit goes along way.

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  • Snip Chips in Dill Pickle– This is a Parsnip and Coconut snack mix. I have never even sniffed a blend like this or much less had one but I’m a try it all and then decide type of gal. The product is parsnips, raw coconut, raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic and lemon, plus a touch of chipotle, mustard seed, and Himalayan crystal salt. I dive in and it’s not crispy but more of a dehydrated like texture, I have seen these at my local Sprout’s Market and they come in other flavors. I like dill pickles and found myself puzzled by the blend as I knew it.  I did go back for a second and third piece. The verdict is still out on this one for me as much as I tried to make-up my mind about it. I guess I’m in the middle about it, I don’t love them or dislike them but unsure if I will be having more. Sun Chips does have other flavors and maybe the cheesy one would be better. This bag at a weight of 2 ounces retails between $5.49 and $5.99.

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The Daily Crave Veggie Chips– Remember that “munchy” feeling I mentioned? The one that comes between meals and runs diets? Yeah, that one. Here’s another product that should make you feel a little less guilty about munching. Note that I said “should”. I’ll explain that in a minute. The Daily Crave is a snack food company that boasts on their website:

*100% All Natural
*100% Vegan
*No Artificial Ingredients
*No Dairy
*Non GMO
*No Artificial flavors
*No Artificial coloring
*No Hydrogenated Fats
*Perfect for Dipping

That’s a mouthful. And it’s got a neat package, a good price, clever marketing, what’s not to love? Well, a close look at the ingredient list reveals that these are not all that different from, say, those chips in a tube shaped can that stack so nicely. Potato flour, potato star hotel, and oil are the first 3 ingredients. And while there is salt and sugar, it’s thankfully in very small amounts. Almost as small as the amounts of actual veggies in these veggie chips. Now, that’s not to say they aren’t tasty, because they are. But for all they got right, they also got quite a bit wrong. Snazzy packaging and trendy buzzwords do not a great product make. A small filled bag at just 1 ounce retails for $1.33 (retail bulk price).

  • Snapz Premium Grilled Zucchini Crunch & Snapz Premium Pineapple Crunch– I hate being a snack buzzkill, so let me mention a couple of yummers that I loved. Snapz Crisps makes an entire line of gently dehydrated fruit and veggie crisps, so there’s something for everyone. They are a “Brand leader for non fried fruit and vegetable crisps, 100 % natural, not fried or baked. Using unique technology to ensure the products are very crisp (?) they combine the fun and enjoyment of crisps with the goodness of fruit and vegetables. Appealing to all ages groups — young and old alike.” I got to try both sweet and savory with their Premium Pineapple and Grilled Zucchini flavors. While I appreciated the subtle flavors of the grilled zucchini, a little touch of sea salt would have really livened it up. But the pineapple crisps were a hit all around. Too often there are added oils and sugars in dried fruit that completely drown out the flavors of the fruit, but not here. I love the one item ingredient list: Pineapple. Winner! Tasty, crunchy, tangy. Not oily, not overly sweet. What’s not to love? Fat free, gluten free, nut free, GMO free, sugar free, salt free, preservative free…can it be true? It is, but I came crashing down to earth when I went to buy some more: 12 bags (0.46 oz each) were over $17 plus tax and shipping at Amazon. That stings. I really hate that the closer you get to real foods the more it costs, but that’s the reality in America anymore. I will say I really, really enjoyed these and will be on the lookout for them when next I darken the market’s doorstep.

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  • Righteously Raw Chocolates in Mint, Rose, and Dark chocolate– The Dark has a nice creamy and intense cacao notes. It’s not perfume-y, just chocolate satisfaction all the way through at 83% pure cacao you can believe it’s good and no bitter notes at all. It’s the espresso of chocolates! The Mint version has 82% cacoa and it’s not your typical mint that is creamy, think more of a “dry mint” taste where your mint is derived from peppermint so you get the sharp notes combined with the dark chocolate. A good combination and I liked that it was different than the typical mint flavors I have tried before. Then comes the Rose. I love roses and have even indulged in pastries that contain rose water……I took a bite and the flavor was so off, that I quickly chewed and opened the Dark version for salvation. It tasted like something bad had been infused and not like any rose I have eaten or even smelled. The tricky part is the bar smells like just dark chocolate but when you bite, something bitter and sour just takes over your mouth. It says red raspberry powder, brown rice protein powder to red beet are mixed in with the chocolate. Rose hips is last on the list and maybe it’s the flavor combination but it’s a no-go on the Rose and I love chocolate and have even continued to eat chocolate that when asked how it is, I reply “ummm, it’s okay”, but continue munching. Could not do that with the Rose. Righteously Raw did well with the Dark and surprised me nicely with the Mint, so go there when buying this one. The 3 chocolates I received are considered “bite-size”, so finding a price point was a bit difficult but buying in bulk of a bag of dark was 16 pieces for $22.99 via Amazon, making it under $0.70 per bite size bar.

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  • A $25.00 gift card– was also included and can be used towards the purchase of a Healthy Surprise box, making the smaller one more than 50% off. Good company when it comes to continuing patronage with their customers.

I liked being able to try some brands I had never heard of, brands that I have seen but knew nothing about, and seeing the familiar ones like Hail Merry but trying new items from a company I know and purchase products from. Exploring is fun and The Healthy Surprise Company does the hunting while you do the munching. I believe every subscription company should at the very least be tried once and to get a good idea, try it a second time. I did feel some items were overly priced by companies but that is not Healthy Surprises’ fault. It did let me adjust my shopping list by making sure to add some companies to my list and knowing what products to just walk away from. If you are into exploring new items and new flavors, but in a “better for you” way, try Healthy Surprise. I found a great link you can use, which is via Groupon. For a limited time you can get the $60 box for $30!!!

Visit Healthy Surprise and get the Groupon deal at:

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I received the above product free of charge from Healthy Surprise. 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.

Cocomama Foods: The Easiest and Tastiest way to start your morning with Quinoa Cereal #Review

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Cocomama Foods was kind enough to send me a sampler pack, which featured their 4 different varieties of Quinoa cereal. I indulge in the morning and usually want to start with a nice energy filled meal. Getting anything at the store that comes from a box may energize a hummingbird with the amounts of sugar added, however I can’t flap that fast. I’m seeking energy that lasts so I can keep going at a normal pace and Cocomama Quinoa based cereals fit that perfectly.

Got milk? No worries, their pouch form servings are perfect and ready to eat. No need for a stove or even watts from a microwave. You can enjoy the cereal heated or at room temperature. I love the ease of customization because sometimes I want to add fruit and especially when I buy more strawberries than a family of 2 can eat. What can I say, the sales get to me and I have plans at the store that do not always come to fruition at home. I also love the no excuses approach to starting your day in a more healthier way. You seriously can grab a spoon and eat from the pouch on the go, or be a little more civilized if you did not hit the snooze button twice that morning and enjoy it in a bowl, warmed up with a drizzle of honey and fresh fruit.

Cocomama has a Quinoa Cereal to satisfy any craving and avoid breakfast boredom:

  • Honey Almond
  • Banana Cinnamon
  • Wild Bluberry
  • Orange Cranberry

 

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Each flavor has real fruit and the shortest ingredient list I have seen in a pre-packaged cereal. You have water and coconut cream that creates the perfect base, followed by organic quinoa, a touch of sea salt and then whatever the variety is. For example, the Banana Cinnamon flavor has the aforementioned and then maple syrup, banana puree, natural flavors and cinnamon…….told you Cocomama is real food with no codes and abbreviations for stuff you hope you are guessing right when it comes to ingredients. I tried finding a simple cereal like this and could not at my local market. I would have to make it from scratch!  All cereals are dairy free, soy free, gluten free, all natural, vegetarian friendly, great source of protein and fiber and let’s not overlook the 9 essential amino acids you get in every serving.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Wild Blueberry– This is the happiest blue colored bowl that puts a smile on your face. Made with wild blueberry powder, there is no hunting for blueberries to taste them! You get a blueberry burst of flavor and the smell immiting from the bowl is intense as well. If you want to pretend you are in a blueberry patch minus the thorns from picking them, this is the bowl for you. I enjoyed a nice “patriotic bowl” by adding fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries, plus some yogurt chips. One filling pouch is just 220 calories, which deliver 4 grams of protein, 8% of your daily value of Vitamin C and Iron, plus 4% of Calcium.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Honey Almond I always craved the maple and brown sugar oatmeal that was pictured on the box but my oatmeal never looked like the picture or even satisfied my taste buds. If you seek that flavor, this is the variety for you! You have sweet delicious honey and a small hint of Almond. Want more almond? Add them and I have but this base is better than any oatmeal you can make and that is even if you opted for milk versus water. This version also has kaniwa, a ancient super grain/super food that is less bitter and resembles almost red quinoa. Think of a naked quinoa grain because kaniwa is missing the saponins, the outter coating you find on quinoa. It has a more mild flavor but still that great texture. That is another thing you will enjoy, like pasta, grains must be rinsed and cooked properly to achieve the best texture we all seek and Cocomama does just that. A Honey Almond bowl is only 240 calories and you get 5 grams of protein per serving, 8% of your daily value of Iron and 2% of Calcium.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Banana Cinnamon– I love bananas and especially bread but only myself and the dog eats them, so I rarely make banana anything. Now I can have my “nanner” fix and be happy. Want a super banana taste? Use a fork and mash a small banana and then nicely fold in this Cocomama cereal and heat for 25 seconds in a microwave…….the smell alone is insanely good but wait for it to cool before taking a bite. My taste-buds took control of my brain one morning and they got the best of me or to be more exact, my tongue. The wait will be worth it and you will be in what I call “nanner heaven”. I also seek a more mild cinnamon spice flavor, so this made the bowl perfection for me……think of a deconstructed banana bread slice.

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  • Cocomama Quinoa Cereal in Orange Cranberry– I wish this combination of flavors was more popular than just during the holidays. I can find even cranberry sauce and muffins during December but then the party is over, the year flips and I see no Cran-Orange anything. Now I can party all year because whoever said this is just a Winter treat knows nothing! You have moist cranberries floating in sea of orange juice plumped quinoa. Again, every bite delivers the flavor and the scent is just citrus-y and happy. I was so excited when I saw this combo in the sampler pack because it’s what I seek to not get into that breakfast rut. I was naughty and added just a teaspoon of mini dark chocolate chips…….it’s like having an oatmeal cookie without those disappointing raisins. Oatmeal cookies should be made like this and trust me they would sell……..makes me wonder if adding a little rice flour and honey would probably make this pouch into one pretty yummy cookie (hint, hint).
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Bowl filled with Cocomama’s Banana Cinnamon Quinoa Cereal

As if Cocomama Foods needed to add more to their breakfast or late night meal arsenal, they have come out with a brand-new product…..Crunched Out! I can’t wait to try it and from the pictures below, you can see something like Fudgy Chocolate and I see a Vanilla Nut flavor and yes, I would even put it on my coconut sorbet….eating good sometimes makes me feel guilty because for some, eating good is seen as a punishment. Well, you are not doing it right then! Eating good is full of flavor and I eat everything but it’s just real and natural, with a mix of organic even. Real food delivers the entire fruit, grain……what gives your body energy and fuel to run on. Start your morning with Cocomama and your body will be running on happy!

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Check out Crunched Out:

  • Support Cocomama on Kickstarter- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cocomamafoods/get-crunched-out

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Stay tuned for the Crunched Out reviews and I will be releasing the crunch monster in me, it’s sort of like the kraken but I’m friendlier 🙂

Get you Cocomama fix at:

  • On-line- https://www.cocomamafoods.com/
  • Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/CocomamaFoods
  • Twitter- https://twitter.com/cocomamafoods
  • Linkedin- http://www.linkedin.com/company/cocomama-foods?trk=fc_badge
  • Blog- https://www.cocomamafoods.com/blog/

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I received the above product free of charge from Cocomama.  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.

 

 

 

Smiley: Nature’s Bounty / Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies #Review

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I’m always a supporter of finding ways to improve my skin’s health to my hair and nails. Smiley and Nature’s Bounty sent me a free bottle of their gummies, which contain Biotin and other supplements that feed your beauty. I was also sent samples to distribute with coupon cards to give away, a few beauty related items, like a compact and nail file, plus a couple of hair bands.

What’s in it:
This is for a serving of 2 gummies with a Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 caloric daily intake diet.

  • Biotin– 2, 500 mg (833% of your DV) > Biotin is usually found in our intestinal’s bacteria and our bodies usually produce more naturally than what our body requires (DV). Biotin is what our cells need to be able to grow, produce Fatty Acids and aid with metabolizing fats and Amino Acids. Now, there are people who may have metabolic disorders, in which enough Biotin is not produced. You will also find people that have a issues producing enough gastric acid be low on Biotin, as patients who are elderly, people who consume alcohol and/or smoke. Another cause is a Immune System disorders. Another culprit that may make a person deficient in Biotin is consumption of egg whites in their raw form and on a daily basis (functional Avidin). Avidin is destroyed by cooking. Symptoms of a deficiency is hair loss, skin disorders to even neurological disorders like depression, fatigue, lethargy to hallucinations.
  • Vitamin C– 15 mg (25% of your DV) > Ascorbic Acid, which is the source listed has been proven to help with oxidative stress. Being that it is classified as an antioxidant, people may see benefits in cardiovascular disease to even those who suffer from inflammation. Vitamin C also helps the immune system and is a natural antihistamine, so you will also find benefits when it comes to allergies.
  • Vitamin E– 15 IU (50% of your DV) > You have probably noticed Vitamin E in many beauty products and I personally use the vitamin in oil form to hydrate and protect the skin around my eyes. Vitamin E is another antioxidant and can help with protecting lipids, neurological function, to even reducing oxidative stress.

Other Ingredients listed- Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dicalcium Phosphate, Grape juice color concentrate, Gelatin, Modified Food Starch, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Natural Strawberry flavor, Black Carrot juice color concentrate, Maltodextrin, Fractionated Coconut oil, Carnauba wax, Beeswax and Silica.

Dosage: For adults, Nature’s Bounty recommends a serving of 2 gummies once or twice on a daily basis. They suggest taking them with a meal. A full size bottle comes with 80 gummies in total, so you will run short on a 30-day supply if you go beyond the minimum requirement (once daily).

The Flavor/Taste Test:
The gummies are Strawberry flavored and sweet, with almost a corn starch after-taste. Not your usually clear looking gummy but a more cloudy and waxy consistency.

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Overall Performance/Results:
I took the product until I finished the bottle and I must admit I did not like being short on a 30-day supply if I took the product twice daily (total of 4 gummies). It’s just not convenient and not a manner I usually buy or take supplements. I like the amount of Biotin and Vitamin C and E found in the blend. I found taking 1 gummy in the morning and 1 gummy in the afternoon worked best for me because 833% of a my Biotin daily value in one dose is really just going to purge out with the amount of water I tend to drink through out the day. I prefer absorbing my supplements a little through out the day versus flooding my system with higher (mega) doses. I noticed changes mostly in my nails and the growth cycle did speed up. My hair grows quickly as it is, so I could not comment there but I did not notice any significance when it came to changes in my skin. I did not have fewer or more breakouts.

A few things I did find negative when it came to this supplement was the corn syrup as first ingredient, then more sugar, to the clear window where you can see the gummies from. Vitamin C oxidizes and becomes useless when exposed to light and this is why you always see the supplement stored in dark/solid colored bottles. I know people like to view products when buying but not at the cost of potentially losing a benefit when you are seeking to better your health. I know I m not Biotin deficient and could not locate studies where a person who produces, or in our case naturally produce more than needed; needed a mega-dose on top of that to see results in skin, hair, or nails. I have been drinking more water so I know that helps with the aforementioned, and it comes at a lower cost per unit, plus you don’t get shortened on a 30-day supply there 🙂

Price Point: 80 gummy count bottle retails for $5.79 to $7.99. I found the lower price point at Walmart, with Amazon being $0.10 more and Walgreen’s being the most expensive at $7.99.

You can save by signing-up to their Newsletter- $1.00 off coupon http://www.naturesbounty.com/signup/

You can also try the product and if it does not provide you with satisfied results; get your money back here:

I am glad I tried the gummies because I do believe in working from within to improve our outside. With the coupon and guarantee, I personally feel that it may be something you wish to try and see if you get results. It’s a win/win in my book!

To find more information on Nature’s Bounty and the above product, please visit them here:

 

I received the above product free of charge from Smiley and Nature’s Bounty/Optimal Solutions.  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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