Sugarfree Zevia Protein Muffins, with beets! (and other options)

As promised, here is a fun Zevia muffin or bread recipe from www.zevia.com! The original recipe on their website used Cola, but since I prefer Dr. Zevia, that’s what I used.  Adding the cola to the ingredients makes a fizzy “concoction” in your mixing bowl, that my 8 year old son thought was WONDERFUL! The recipe suggests opening the soda early, so it’s not so fizzy, but all that fizzy action was the fun part for us!:) We had a great time making this. Go to the link above for the ingredients and directions, and here are my suggestions and what I used:

I prefer to make grain-free recipes if possible, so I used almond meal that I buy at Trader Joes. Almond flour or another gluten free flour may have given it a slightly better texture, but they were still good with almond meal.

I did not have enough protein powder at the time, and they still turned out fine. I used a stevia-sweetened vanilla whey powder.

We made both bread and muffins, and I think the muffins turned out slightly better. Only, don’t use cheap paper baking cups like I did, because they stuck to the bread, which ashamedly, did NOT prevent us from eating every bite (yes, we scraped the paper to get every last bite, I admit it.)

BEST PART: I had an organic beet I wanted to use up, and since the recipe offered that as an ingredient option, I said “heck yeah, we’re usin that beet!”

Well, that’s what makes this the perfect Halloween baking experiment for all of you mad scientists out there! It turned the ingredients a beautiful dark red, (like blood, Halloween, get it?) and when we added the fizzy soda, it was a bubbling cauldron of bloody red goo (insert evil laugh here)! Look at all that awesomeness below!

Now, that bloody red color changes as it bakes (unfortunately), but it was fun while it lasted! So, here’s my full confession: while the beet made it super fun and a really cool color, it wasn’t sweet enough, so I would suggest using the applesauce or banana OR you could add frosting like I did in the picture below! (it was stevia sweetened cream cheese frosting). If you don’t have ingredients (or time) for frosting, you could always add honey on top instead. I especially love www.cloisturehoney.com ‘s whipped cinnamon honey! O MY Amazing!

My last bit of advice would be to make sure you chop/process your beets small enough, if that’s what you use for this. I left a few chunks, and it wasn’t my most favorite bite when I found them:) If you are a huge beet lover, then by all means, leave the beets chunky!

I loved the way this recipe offered so many options, so it has the potential to taste many different ways, depending on what you use. Chocolate chips and pecans would be a nice addition, if that works for your family. If you try this, I hope you have as much fun as we did making it! And please let me know how it turns out, since there are so many varieties possible! Happy Halloween! Enjoy!

Please go to this post  to enter the GiveAway for FREE Zevia! They generously offered TWO free 6packs to the winner, so you can drink some and cook with some! Check out the Zevia website for all kinds of recipes for no sugar foods and drinks.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

How Zevia Changed My Life: raving product review and GiVe-AwAy!

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED, BUT PLEASE READ ALL THE INSPIRING HEALTHY LIFE-CHANGE STORIES IN THE COMMENTS, AND TELL US YOUR STORY EVEN THOUGH THE CONTEST IS OVER! 10-22-12

I know. I know. That title sounds a little dramatic and over-the-top, but hear me out! First of all, it wasn’t the ONLY thing that changed my life, but it was one of the things that changed my life. In my old life, I used to love a certain soft drink, which shall remain nameless, but it has the letters D and P in it. In my twenties, I loved it way too much, having at least one or two every day. Then I got the news that my blood sugar levels were a little high, but that didn’t make me want to change anything (boy was I stupid!). Years went by, I had gestational diabetes which forced me to stop the soda (temporarily), I probably picked it back up after pregnancies were over, I can’t remember,  blah blah blah… and I reached my 40s at about 1-2 cans (sometimes more) per week. Improvement, but far from ideal health. Then the contest that changed everything. Of course those extra calories (not to mention health issues!) had to go during the fitness contest! But oh how I wanted that cold, sweet, fizzy goodness on the back of my parched throat! I didn’t realize how addicted I really was. I was having major withdrawal symptoms, and it was not fun, and there were few alternatives. And then I found Zevia, Dr. Zevia to be exact. That discovery changed everything. I could still satisfy that oh-so-powerful craving for the fizzy, but because it was sweetened with stevia, there were no calories and no insulin spikes! Perfect. Well, almost.  I had never been a fan of diet sodas, so I had to get used to the “diet flavor” first. But I did, and it became the perfect transition drink to get me “off” sugar sodas. For good. For real. Haven’t had one in well over a year now (cheers and applause here!). It enabled me to completely detox off soda, and for that I am forever grateful! No more unwanted empty calories, but more importantly, no sugar addiction and insulin spikes that my body could not handle, and that were causing a long list of problems for me.  I had no idea my issues really were health problems and warning signs. I thought those things were “normal”, until I detoxed off the sugar and grains, and realized all the problems I was NOT having any more! It was so eye-opening for me! Zevia was a game-changer for me, that beat an addiction I didn’t even know I had, and certainly didn’t understand! I know better now, and for all of these things I am very grateful! Zevia, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

When I met the wonderful Zevia people at Expo East this year, I actually got choked up trying to tell them how much I appreciated their product and what it had done for me. And I wanted to be able to share the opportunity for YOU to beat the sugar soda habit too! They generously offered TWO free 6 packs to the lucky winner of this, my FIRST give away! YAY!!! It’s a big day for Organic Eater! I asked them for two because I want you to be able to drink some and COOK WITH some. Yep, they have recipes at www.zevia.com, so you can cook sugar-free as well, and my next post will show you a fun Halloween-ish recipe I made! Your kids will love it! I hope to post the recipe by Saturday…

So, it’s my first give away, and you’re not going to have to “LIKE” anything.  I don’t want you to “like” my blog because of free stuff. I want you to like and follow my blog because you think there is helpful and encouraging information here! I’d LOVE for you to follow the blog, but I don’t want to make it a requirement to enter a giveaway. Here’s what we’re doing instead: leave a comment here on the blog (see comment “balloon/bubble” at top) telling us HOW Zevia has changed your life (or at least helped!) if you have already tried it, OR tell us how you may WANT/NEED to change your soda-life with Zevia. That’s it. Contest closes at midnight Monday, Oct 22, and I’ll pick my favorite answer on Tuesday! (It will likely be Tuesday evening before I announce the winner, since I just remembered I’m doing a demo at Whole Foods that day!)  Keep your answer brief, let’s say a 100 word MAX.  You are encouraged to follow this blog, follow OrganicEater on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, but I’m not requiring it. I would also like to ask you to RETWEET, reblog, etc. this contest on all your social media platforms. If you tweet or Instagram, be sure to include @zevia and @organiceater, so we can see who’s tweeting it up! It’s important people realize they do have an alternative to sugar sodas, and I want to help spread the word! Thanks guys! I appreciate you all so much. Thanks for being a part of this first GiveAway ever on Organic Eater, and I look forward to hearing from you!! To leave a comment, look for the little  “bubble” at the top of this post. 

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Disclaimers: OrganicEater is not telling you to drink a Zevia every day of your life to be healthy. I’m telling you it can help reduce the sugar intake from sugar sodas you are currently drinking, and that is a great thing to do! If you drink diet sodas, I highly recommend changing from articificial sweeteners to this more naturally sweetened soda. This can be part of an overall #lowcrapdiet that I endorse, not a magic pill to make you healthy. If you need more reason to cut the sugar in your diet, please read here.  Zevia will be mailing coupons to the winner, so please check www.zevia.com to see if it’s available in your area. It is only open to US and Canadian residents.

Second Half of My Top 10 at Expo East (kinda)

Well, friends, it’s clear I’m not going to be able to only do a “top 10” from Expo East. I loved too many things there! So, I’ll finish out this second half of the Top 10 list, and the others will be written about in their own posts. So, here is the second half of my (still not finished) Top 10 List of products from Expo East 2012:

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REED’S ORGANIC KOMBUCHA: this is only the second store-bought kombucha that I really loved the taste of. They are organic (bonus!) and low sugar. Fantastic. I need not say more. Love me some ‘bucha! www.reedsinc.com for a store locator. IF you have a ginger allergy like my sister, you are out of luck here, since every kombucha flavor has ginger in it.

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INBAR: I hope to do a full product review on this new bar, so I’ll keep it brief for now. Great taste and low sugar. Made especially for people with diabetes, and everyone else too. Brand new product just launched, so you may not be able to find it in stores yet, but I’m sure it won’t take long since it fills a great niche! www.inbalancehealthcorp.com

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THE ORANGE OWL: all natural body products made in Vermont. The owner of The Orange Owl, Akshata,  gave me a cinnamon & spice lip balm that I have loved. It smells like autumn every time I wear it! This is also a new company, and you will probably need to order from www.theorangeowlshop.com for now. Besides being an “all natural 100% chemical free” line, they use green packaging, and the owl is too cute!

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VERMONT Soap ORGANICS: this family owned organic company has many different wonderful organic products and I hope to do a full post on them. They were mentioned in LivingMaxwell’s blog for his Top 5 non-food products from Expo East, so you know they’re the real deal! We have tried their body soap and toothbrush sanitizer and have enjoyed them both. You can see a full list of products and where to buy them at www.vermontsoap.com

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THREE TWINS ICECREAM: Wow! Was this a yummy treat! And organic, even better! I think they gave me a coupon (I really need to go look through that pile of paperwork!), so when I use it, I can write a post with more specifics. All I remember is that is tasted amazing and they had very unusual flavors! From the response I got from you guys on InstaGram, you love this product too!  www.threetwinsicecream.com

So, there it is! The second (and last) half of my “Top 10 at Expo East 2012”, but I will post SEVERAL other great products (which are also in my “top 10”) later. They will receive their own individual product review and maybe even a few give-aways! So, I guess I really will end up with more like a Top 20 list, but that’s OK! There were thousands of great products at Expo East! If there is something you are specifically looking for, let me know!

Lastly, I want to include some trends I noticed at the Expo, and I will just bullet point these quickly:

gluten free is huge, and will probably only increase in the years to come. I have met so many people who have recently been diagnosed celiac, so I am sure there will be a large enough demand for these companies  to increase their product lines.

coconut oil is hot hot hot! The world is opening its eyes to the nutrition and safe cooking aspects of coconut oil (stable at high heat), and it’s only going to get bigger. I saw flavored coconut oils, and flavored liquid options, and some refined products that will not have the coconut flavor that some just can’t tolerate. Also, it’s used in beauty products and other foods as well. I am so happy to see it expand in many ways!

nuts and seeds were huge too! Quinoa, hemp, and chia seeds were sprouting up everywhere (hehe), and nuts covered in everything from chocolate to spicy seasonings.

labeling is important and consumers are educating themselves on reading labels & ingredients, and looking for “organic”, “kosher”, “GMO free”, and others. If nothing else, consumers want ingredients they can read and know what’s in there. We (in America anyway) are starting to wake up to reading ingredients and paying attention to what we’re eating and giving our children to eat. I applaud every minute of it! I believe this trend is here to stay, and will only improve the quality of foods offered by manufacturers and farmers.

organic is expanding in EVERYthing and I couldn’t be happier!!:) Of course! Not only at the end-product, but even at the manufacturing plant itself. There are companies going to extremes to be cleaner and greener and organically certified in their buildings. Organic cleaning products, foods, clothing, body products, tea, energy drinks, protein powders, supplements, and the list goes on and on. I hope to introduce you to many of the organic product lines coming out soon. This was the highlight of my Expo trends! (not that something HAS to be certified organic for me to like it, but it’s always a nice bonus!)

If you try any of these amazing products, be sure to let me know. Many of you already have, and I appreciate it so much! Even more importantly, let these companies know how you heard about them and what you like about their product line. Let’s cast our vote at the cash registers and let farmers and manufacturers know we want more truly natural and organic and GMO-free products! They keep making/selling what we keep buying. It’s simple economics: Supply and Demand.

Encouraging Health,

Organic Eater

Organic Eater’s Top 10 at Expo East (in two Top 5s!)

I had so wanted to get this post out earlier, but a friend called with an unexpected trip to a gorgeous beach house, for FREE, so I had to get all my beach preparations taken care of before I could blog. (Blogging is not a paying gig for me, so I had to prioritize. I love y’all, but you don’t pay me to do this. hehe) So you are getting the first installment of 5 of my favorites, with another 5 coming soon.

Here are a few of my awesome finds from my Expo East 2012 experience! And my Top 10 is NOT in any order because it’s too hard for me to do that!! I loved them all!!

OUTTA THE PARK BBQ SAUCE:  

This little gem of a sauce comes in original/mild, which is spicy enough for me, and a hot (and vegan) version too! They use clean ingredients, nothing fake. There is organic sugar in it, so I have to watch my portions, but the flavor is so amazing I don’t need much anyway! My 8-year-old was persuaded to try some new vegetables because he was allowed to have this sauce with them! He loves this stuff! Heck, we ALL do! It’s delicious and although it isn’t USDA Organic, they use mostly organic ingredients, and I have spent enough time with the owners to know they care about clean ingredients in their sauce! You can find them in Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Healthy Home Market, and many other stores. You can also find them on the web to order at www.outtatheparksauce.com, and their website has a “where to buy” link of each state and store they’re in, so it’s easy to get! Go now!


NOURISH skin care:  I fell in love with their “look” as soon as I saw them, and then they told me they were USDA certified organic and I knew it was true love. Then they BLEW ME AWAY when they told me their price point of less than $10. I literally said, “What??!!! Get OUT!!” when the CEO of the company told me that. You can find them at www.nourishusda.com, they’re in lots of stores too. Can’t rave enough about them because when I find organic and affordable, I’m all about it! And they smell really good too!:)

HARVEST BAY COCONUT WATER:

I’m gonna be straight with you and admit that I’m not crazy about the taste of coconut water. I mean I WASN’T crazy about the taste of coconut water, until I found this one! If ever an Oh my! was appropriate, it’s here. Oh my! I can’t explain it, except that possibly where they’re sourced makes a difference. I can’t remember where she told me they come from. And if their coconut water is this good, I’m praying I can find their coconut oil asap! (where is that business card I got from them anyway???!!!) They are at www.harvest-bay.com and in many stores, easy to find. No idea what the price point is, it wouldn’t matter anyway. Yes, that good. Sersly.
FLAX SEASONING:
If you follow me on Instagram, you already know my love for this organic seasoned salt since finding it at Expo East. I add it on everything that I can’t use the BBQ sauce for, haha! Just kidding, but it really is “clean” and oh so tasty!! Again, I used it to coerce the boy to eat some more roasted veggies. It worked. This stuff has just stayed on the kitchen table (for easy access) since I brought it home from the Expo. It is now a staple of the OE kitchen. I’m even including a back-view picture of it, so you can see the list of organic ingredients in it. The also have a salt free seasoning, and a sweet maple that I have yet to try, but maybe Darren (the owner) will see this post and send me some! It’s just recently in Whole Foods (congrats Darren!), but other stores carry it too, so go to their website to find it. www.flaxseasoning.com
and last (only for this post, but not least by any means)……
IF YOU CARE kitchen products:
Green products galore! Love what the company’s about, and don’t know of another company quite like them. They have unique products to help your kitchen be more environmentally responsible, as well as healthier for YOU! Their parchment paper is the ONLY one I ever use because it’s not covered with chemicals or waxes that could easily be getting in your food when you bake. Ew. You can find them at many natural food stores and on-line at www.ifyoucare.com  If you care, go to their site to read more about their unbleached paper and other unique qualities (oh, you know I had to do that!). I heart them for caring.
OK, that HAS to be it for now! It’s so late and I’ve got so much to do! I can see now, there’s no way I’ll be able to do only 10 of these. I love too much!:) If you buy any of these products, please let me know, and more importantly, let the owners and/or marketing departments of these companies know where you heard about their great produts!! More next week my friends, so make sure you’re following the blog so you don’t miss it!
Encouraging Health,
Organic Eater
(I have no idea why the “enter” key is not making those lines “go down” where they’re supposed to be above. I like spaces, and this is not giving me spaces. Grrr)

Kombucha recipe from Anna’s Favorite Things

Note from OrganicEater: If you are in the Charlotte area, the blog post above is by a Charlotte blogger, so you can get cultures from her! If you follow my Instagram account, you know I love me some kombucha. Reed’s Kombucha is my very favorite store bought brand! I am so excited to have found a site that will teach me how to make kombucha (and other healthy fermented goodies). I’m posting this to share the goodness with you guys too!! Let me know if you try this!

Here are a couple others that have great kombucha making information and videos:

Kombuchakamp.com

Culturesforhealth.com

thehealthyhomeeconomist.com and she is on YouTube with videos that are helpful

Get your kombucha brewin’,

OrganicEater

Anna's Favorite Things

I love ferments!  Our gut has anywhere from 600-1000 different microbials working to keep us healthy.   We tend to do a lot of things that negatively impact these microbials – diet is one and antibiotics is another.   I don’t do antibiotics any more and am grateful that my youngest (12) has never had them and my oldest (14) hasn’t had them since we got her out of the hospital!!

But many of us have taken them over the years and they effect our gut balance for YEARS, some any say generations as we pass our gut issues on to our babies.

One thing we can do to help is to consume a variety of ferments.  There is NO need for expensive store bought probiotics.  Not only are they unnecessary and expensive but really don’t do the job.   Most store bought probiotics only have a few strains and that just…

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