McCormick Pure Lemon Extract $2.99
Review: Great for lemon cakes, homemade from fresh lemons. This extract is also great for fish. Fish is a big part of my regular diet, and using a half cup of water and a couple drops of lemon extract, is great for baking fish. I also add several Italian, garlic, and onion seasonings.
I was very impressed by the smell, tastes, and ingredient list. This goes great with enhancing the flavors of natural lemon juice.
McCormick Organic Cinnamon Sticks $4.99
Pure Vanilla Extract Large Bottle $4.99
Pure Almond Extract $2.99
I absolutely love these extracts. The almond pairs well with vanilla extract and cinnamon, and is added to most of my baking recipes. This is my go to combination for pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
McCormick Mint Extract......................................................................... $2.99
McCormick Mint Flakes ......................................................................... $3.99
Mint is a great flavor to add to many different baking and cooking recopies. Also great when paired with Lemon.
McCormick Imitation Hazelnut Extract $2.99
Review: First let me say buying imitation was a mistake. A lot of the pure extracts have imitation versions. Surprisingly all McCormick extracts were the same price. Whether they were imitation or pure. I am unsure if pure hazelnut was available at the time. It was tricky as I almost bought imitation almond extract, but then found the real extract. I'm looking forward to using this extract, possibly with cloves, when I make my next stove top air freshener. I'm also making nut cookies. The packaging suggest using to flavor coffee, or chocolate cake frosting. Imitation Hazelnut has no real hazelnut but instead has natural flavoring listed as an ingredient. I'm curious to know what that natural flavoring is, and more research is required.
Personally I feel extracts are great for cooking and adding flavor. And can be used in place of over using sugar. I look for and extract without unnecessary ingredients, and try to avoid imitation products. The grocery store didn't have that many healthy options to choose from. I might be able to find better options online. The McCormick brand pure extracts have only a three ingredients, and no additives.
Organic Tomatoes USDA Organic from Canada Biologique @ 1.66 a pound Total= $3.30
Review: These tomatoes taste like they came right from the garden. I love any kind of tomato fresh from the garden. They're not mushy with the odd texture and they taste amazing. I've found that organic tomatoes are easier to cut, and in my opinion stay fresher for longer. I've also tried Heirloom Organic green house tomatoes. They were the first organic tomatoes I've ever tried. Now I will only purchase organic tomatoes because the difference is very noticeable. Tomatoes are my favorite!
Organic Foxy Romaine Lettuce Hearts USDA Organic Certified $3.99
Compared to the alternative Romaine Lettuce priced at $2.99
Review: There is no weird after taste when eating this lettuce. This lettuce I like to pair up with baby spinach, in salads.
Baby Spinach priced at $2.99 a bag. I'm still looking for organic baby spinach.
Organic Bell Peppers $4.99 a pound
1 Red Medium Bell Pepper $2.54
1 Green Smaller Bell Pepper $1.17
Review: I wasn't happy with the price, but it's not very often I can find organic bell peppers. Being selective on amount and size will make controlling spending easier. I find it strange that a bag of non organic peppers can cost the same amount of one medium organic bell pepper. The organic bell peppers do look amazing.
Organic Sleeve Celery $2.99
Review: By looking at the difference organic celery is smaller, and the tips with leaves are already cut off. The packaging was impressive and the difference in price was about a dollar.
Organic 16oz Strawberries $2.99
Strawberries can be rather expensive. Organic strawberries in the summer time are about the same as non-organic strawberries in the off season. I suggest buying in season, and freezing for longer use.
Organic Lemons 3 for $3.64 Verse 1 regular lemon for $0.79
Review: I decided against buying the organic lemons and only bought one regular lemon. I haven't used lemons in a long time. I plan on using them to cook, more often. Then next time I'll buy the organic lemons instead. That way I'll be able to make better observations on their differences.
Aloe Leaf 1 for $0.99
Review: This leaf is huge, pointy, and full of juicy goodness. I'm looking forward to using this in home-made sunscreen. I was very pleasantly surprised to find this in the vegetable isle at the grocery store. My aloe house plant is still a baby, and isn't ready to be harvest yet.
As part of making progress on my health goals, I've designed a plan to help remove certain aspects of my diet, and make healthier choices. In a later blog, I will clarify how to see how the body reacts to different foods, and to determine if a specific food group is effecting the body, as an allergen. Being lactose intolerant, having severe IBS, possibly having Chromes Disease, and coming terms with the fact that I was addicted to sugar, I am making health a priority. All babies need healthy parents, to lead by example and pass along the valuable knowledge of healthy living. Organic food isn't always an easy choice to make. Some will say that to buy organic is just plain silly because its "way more expensive". Well I wanted to get some extra research in, while changing the majority of my diet to organic. How much more does it really cost to provide our family with healthy organic products, compared to processed, and GMO-Food?
I was generally surprised by some of the results. Taking a look at spending habits, many people spend money on bad habits regularly, make frequent trips to fast food restaurant's instead of cooking, or drink their calorie intake and excel past recommended amounts of sugar with coffee or other sugar filled beverages. Instead of spending 5 dollars for a coffee everyday, or on grease filled junk food, eating healthier can actually save money. By reducing the bad eating habits, and spending money on food that is actually considered real food, it will come together easier then imagined! There is no use in spending 20-30$ on ordering food from a restaurant, and saying organic produce is too expensive. The more people that support organic agriculture by purchasing USDA Organic, and NON-GMO Project verified food at the grocery store, the lower organic food prices will become as well as, more readily available in stores.
The truth is, organic food is expensive. I saved my recite after our family's trip to the grocery store, to compare organic food prices to what we would usually pay. Listed below are different either healthier options, or completely organic products. Also provided is my personal review on products I've tried, and their prices. I shop at Market Basket. I went to a Market Basket about and hour and fifteen minutes away, to find better organic variety, and lower prices. These prices are subject to change, and may be different depending on your area. Also I choose to buy in bulk, to save money in the long run. Organic nuts, oils, and organic fruits that can be frozen is a part of the game plan to make organic food more reasonable, and last longer.
Coconut Oil: I searched high and low to find anything Market Basket sold with anything to do with coconut. They have coconut milk, coconuts, coconut syrup, coconut oil, and everything else coconut. I noticed that there are a lot of imposters. Many brands that I am personally trying to stay away from have coconut products. These brands can come hidden by another name, while still being owned by a junk food brand. Not all coconut products are made equal. The main mission was to find coconut oil. I wasn't sure what it looked like, what kind of coconut oil would be available, or if a good choice was sold in stores. I didn't even know what coconut oil looked like. I asked around to find the coconut oil, and to determine if it was sold at Market Basket, and it was! There was many different varieties, and it was rather confusing. If there was one thing I was sure of is, I was going to get what I paid for. The cheaper the product, the cheaper the ingredients and quality. Coconut oil is something I think one should be picky about. The whole point of using this particular oil is for the health benefits.
Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil, Certified USDA Organic (29 fluid OZ) Expeller Pressed, and Refined . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12.99
Review: Overall I am very satisfied with the Spectrum Coconut Oil. This product was one of the larger, and more expensive alternatives at the grocery store. Expeller Pressed and Refined, results in an odorless alternative, that doesn't taste like coconut. This was the one I wanted to try first because while I love the smell of coconut, I do not enjoy the taste of coconut. The best thing about the 29 Fluid Oz large sized jar, is how long it will last. Next time I buy coconut oil, I may order online, or try a health food store. The next oil will be Extra-Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, that is unrefined, and the brand is undecided. The goal is to buy the alternative kind of coconut oil before I run out of the Spectrum coconut oil. This way they both will last longer, and I can use one for self care products, and one for cooking. I can also rotate between which one is used depending on the results I'm seeking. There will be another review on the next coconut oil after it's been bought and tested.
Nuts: Healthy snack options should include a variety of nuts. I have been wanting to add raw nuts to my diet, and I finally made the leap! Nuts can be expensive, and there are a lot of different kinds of nuts available. I found some good options for less money, and some more expensive, bigger quantity options to choose from.
Orchard Valley Harvest Nuts, NON-GMO Project Verified (2.5 Oz) snack sized bags . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 bags for $5.00
Review: I love that these little bags are convenient and NON_GMO project Verified! There was quite a few different options of nuts to choose from for a good price. We bought; 2 bags of pistachio's roasted and salted; dark chocolate covered almonds; and also an almond, cashew, and dried cranberry trail mix. All together 10 Oz's of a variety of nuts for only 5$. They are also delicious, and the girls love them!
Whole Salt Free Cashews, No additives or preservatives, Store Brand Market Basket (9oz bag) ... . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4.99
Almonds Salt Free, No additives or preservatives, Store Brand, Market Basket (9oz bag). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . $4.99
Review: While these nuts are not NON-GMO verified, they are unsalted, and only contain two ingredients. The ingredients include, the nut itself, and Roasted in Organic Sunflower Oil. Both of these options are my favorites. They came in a resalable bag, and enough to buy in bulk.
Drew's Organic Caesar Dressing, USDA Organic Certified ......... $2.99
Review: This is the best Caesar Dressing for salads, I have ever had! This was the first time I've tried any kind of organic salad dressing. There was a couple really expensive brands but this is a cost effective option and it tastes amazing! It is also USDA Organic Certified, meaning no worries of direct pesticide use, and no GMO ingredients! Very happy with this product.
Be on the look out for part 2!
So this is what it comes down too. After six months of actively trying to live and lead a more positive life, a mission to unlock my intuition by practicing self care, I am handling situations, a little easier. I can honestly say I am happy with where I am in life. I am more capiable of recognizing everything that I am thankful for, everyday. I am truly blessed with my babies. I'm not worrying about "the later" by taking action in "the now". I want to continue to actively work on my positive life style. I feel like in some aspects it will get easier in the next six months, but I will always work on myself as a person. I am very thankful for all the happy moments, and when looking for the good, you're really seeing the great. I've gotten better at determining what is a good habit, like eating out is really harmful for my body, and due to IBS my diet should be quite restricted. I've learned how to remove the negative, not just know I should. I enjoy focusing on the positive, and in return that has helped me to move forward. I plan on continuing on my journey of self growth and I am happy right here, right now. I hope you all are too!
(Disclaimer: I get really personal in this blog, I would love to hear all the accomplishments you all personally have worked so hard for. Remember, the journey to self discovery is one everyone must work on alone, but we can be in it together!)
Here are some different problems I've found solutions for, along my journey. Also in bold I will state how in the next six months I would like to improve even more.
1. Ever heard " When your hungry, your not yourself." (via Divas from the Snickers commercial) This statement couldn't be closer to the truth. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to feed yourself, while remembering to feed everyone else. Babies get cranky when their hungry, and a hungry mommy can be just as cranky. So remembering to feed myself has diffidently helped.
I would like to start prepping healthy meals and snacks in advance, and really experience new foods, and get my children more involved in the cooking process.
2. Eating better, not the best. I have completely switched up my diet in the last 6 months. I care more about what I'm eating, how I eat, and when I eat. I used to eat very fast, and always eating out. Now we actually eat mostly organic foods, and I've learned about Genetically Modified Organisms, pesticides, and why choosing grass-fed meat is not only important but crucial to living a healthy less-fatigued lifestyle.
I would like to eat even better, by completely cutting dairy ( a known allergen I have) out of my diet. I also believe it would be beneficial to add more raw eating to my daily diet.
3. Having a fitness routine, is not something I have. Being active is something, I very much am however. I would like to have a self-care and a fitness plan, and follow it. By practice of yoga, meditation, and aerobic work-outs, I tend to have more energy and connect happiness with exercise now, instead of dreading being active. I look at exercise as a way to experience the whole moment. Living in the now instead of the when.
I want to have a set fitness plan, and self-care plan. I want to design a plan myself to meet my own needs, and help others discover how self-care helps aid in giving others great care.
4. Taking time to communicate with those I love. Getting how I feel out without fearing disapproval or becoming defensive. I've never been one to judge, but the feeling of being judged is always there. In my opinion, no one has the right to judge another person, for anything besides malicious behavior. Just because I chose to practice a non-judgmental lifestyle, doesn't mean everyone else sees life that way. When you truly love who you are, and are confident in who you are, someone else's judgments doesn't matter.
My goal for the next six months is to become more open to communication, by speaking up, and really finding my voice. To not use the phrases, never mind, I'm just tired (unless I am just tired), don't worry about it., and I don't care. Also, to communicate in a compassionate way that really shows how much I do care.
5. Confidence is not something I would ever have thought, I would struggle with. However, a major reason for starting this positive journey was my confidence was shot. For the first time in my life, I felt like I wasn't enough. The people I was friends with had a lot to do with that. Ultimately, I have realized, that I am responsible for the feelings I have, and it is not any of my business what people thought of me.
I want to be able to get dressed in the morning, put on my favorite make-up and feel completly comfortable in my own skin. I don't remember where I heard this saying "Don't ever let anyone dim your shine." I hear myself reminding me this when I get dressed in the morning.
6. I've let go of past relationships that were holding me back. It came to be the same routine. I let someone in, based on memories, and not remembering why I stopped talking to people who continued to bring me down. Therefore, releasing a nasty cycle of on again, off again, relationships. I'm very proud of myself for this alone. I've always been a social person, and I love helping others. I loved long relationships, more than the friendships themselves. I've had too many friends to count that, I've grown apart from, for one reason or another. Feeling hurt, and confused, I decided to work on myself. Even the new friends I made, seemed to fit the same type of friendship. I found myself able to say, I can't be around this kind of negativity, and if we can't have a positive friendship, then I still love you, but we just can't be friends.
Build more friendships, with people that actually share the same interest as I do.
7. Intuition and Empathy are two very strong personal strengths I wish to connect more with. Before anxiety was ever an issue, I was so in touch with myself and the vibes put off into the universe by others. After years of manipulative friends, and some rough life experience, my readings were all off. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't feel when someone's mood changed, or didn't have the social abilities that I once had. After these last six months, I felt my intuition come back. It felt surreal. I had a clear mind, and all of a sudden, my intuition came back. The feeling was recognizable, but I didn't realize just how noticeable to others it was. I would have to say, even my writing has benefitted from this little yet big, accomplishment.
Now that I am starting to connect with my inner goddess again, I want to embrace her, help her grow, and never stop learning every chance I get. To keep reading, and writing about what innovates me. I want to write an E-Book about something I am absolutely, authentically, enthusiastic about.
I hope the people who read this page, have learned more about themselves, and are living a happier life style because of it. This journey is one that must be done alone, but together we can keep moving forward and know that no one is alone in this world. We have all had different disasters hit home, and sometimes people can feel like they can't take it anymore. Please don't give depression control over your life, for yourself more importantly but also for those who love you . Depression can creep up on you before you even notice. Grieving is different for everyone, and depression is something that can be experienced by anyone at anytime, but if you feel like you need to talk to someone, find someone. Counseling can do wonders! I am not saying that every councilor will work for every person, but don't stop looking for the right one! =) . I am by no means a councilor or have any medical accomplishments. (If you don't count child birth) I do know it is good for everyone, to have someone to talk to. There are support groups for almost every borderline cause for depression. We can be in this together! Don't forget to smile, and just be happy! P.S. My Birthday Is in 4 Days =)
Below I've provided a link to stop the Monsanto taking over our food industry, and to fight for real, natural food. It's for the babies, please sign.
Sign this petition to charge Monsanto with violations against human rights!
We Love The Babies
This page is to bring you along my journey to find positivity and harmony. Its started as a 30 day challenge to learn more about ones self and how to truly take care of yourself. To take care of others, you have to be able to take care of yourself. Instead of a 30 day challenge I'm turning this into a year of positivity and the journey we venture to find what truly matters in this world. It is important as a mother to show children positivity can be found everywhere and anywhere. It starts with right now, and right here!