Whole30 Sweeteners

   
whole30 sweeteners
FreeImages.com/CWMGary-51046, FreeImages.com/Leno4ka90-76076, Pexels, Pixabay

Whole30 sweeteners are a bit of a gray area.  Sweeteners are technically verboten: “Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial” but the rules also go on to say “[f]ruit juice as a sweetener” is an exception and dates are also an acceptable food with certain caveats.

       

I finished my sixth Whole30 last week and am already thinking about going back.  Why Whole30?  Because I love and hate it.  The strictness keeps me totally in line and the results (feeling better!) are mostly worth the (sometimes incredible and annoying) effort.  What I really need to make it through another round are some fresh food ideas and that’s what got me thinking about sweeteners.

I don’t really need sweet food and I’m not talking about trying to create “SWYPO” (sex with your pants on) type goodies, but good cooking requires layers of flavors and a depth that sometimes can’t be filled without a hint of sweetness.

So what can you use as Whole30 sweeteners?

Dates

In the form of whole dates, date paste, date sugar

I love dates.  Sweet, chewy little bites of natures candy, but also dangerous because of that.  Eating whole dates as a treat is a no-no, but eating dates as a part of a recipe should be okay (again, no “SWYPO”).  Dates work beautifully in sauces and other dishes that get pureed.  Not so much for other recipes due to their clumpy, sticky nature.  I haven’t found any magical conversion rate when using dates or date paste as a part of a recipe so I usually start small and taste as I go.

The mere mention of date sugar will probably send hard-core Whole30 militants into fits of rage, but whatever.  Date sugar is just the powdered form of very well dried dates.  I love the idea of a powdered form for measuring and mixing ease.  Will it work like sugar?  Nope, but it will give sauces or other recipes a nice kick of sweetness without forcing you to bust out the blender or food processor.

Be very careful if you buy date sugar for your Whole30 as I have seen at least one popular brand add oat flour to prevent clumping which makes it unsuitable for Whole30.

Apples

In the form of applesauce, apple juice

Applesauce is an easy addition to baked goods, soups, stews or sauces that need a little boost in the sweetness department.  I like to buy the little 6 packs of individual servings and use those to prevent waste.

Apple juice can also provide a nice bit of sweetness in those same dishes.  It also works like a charm in marinades.  I was totally stumped on how to make really flavorful beef jerky sans sugar until I realized apple juice made an excellent addition to the marinade.

Oranges

In the form of orange juice

Just like apple juice, orange juice can be a great addition to marinades.  Chicken and pork are especially good candidates for marinades with orange juice.  Cuban-style mojo is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of oranges and marinade.

Prunes

In the form of whole prunes, prune paste

Like dates, prunes are a bit candy-like and can be dangerous when eaten by themselves.  As a part of a recipe they offer a deeper, richer flavor than other sweetener options, but are best blended to incorporate them well.  The slight tartness of prunes can be a good match for meat dishes, stews and other bolder recipes.

Bananas

In the form of mash, the riper the sweeter

Mashed bananas are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness in baked and other goods.  If you have trouble with custards, sweet treats and the like you may want to avoid eating this type of stuff while on Whole30 though.  This pumpkin custard and banana pudding are nice examples of recipes where bananas add just the right amount of sugar.  Bananas are also great as the sweetening element in smoothies, though they are frowned upon on Whole30.

Using moderation is absolutely key with these sweeteners.  When doing Whole30 you are not trying to recreate your old way of eating, you’re trying something totally new and possibly very foreign.  Use these Whole30 sweeteners judiciously to enhance your new way of cooking, but don’t abuse them.  After 30 days you might be surprised to find that your desire for sweet stuff has greatly dimished anyway.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Nestle Splash Review

   

I received a complimentary product to facilitate my Nestle Splash review, but all opinions are my own.

       

nestle splash review

Nestle Splash is purified water with fruit flavoring and a hint of sweetness added.  There are no calories, sugars, artificial flavors or colors.  Nestle Splash comes in 5 flavors: wild berry, strawberry melon, açaí grape, mandarin orange and lemon, which was the flavor I sampled.  The water is sweetened with Sucralose and acesulfame potassium.  There is no fruit juice in Nestle Splash as the flavors come from “natural fruit flavor”.

Nestle Splash Review

Taste

The thing that hint my tongue first above any flavor was the abundant sweetness.  While it is definitely sweet there was no trace of any fake sweetener aftertaste which I thought was pretty positive given that sucralose is usually a loser for me.  The lemon Nestle Splash has a hint of lemon flavor, but none of the kick of citric acid you might expect to find in something labeled lemon.  It’s more like an incredibly faint touch of lemon oil paired with other fruity, but indiscernible notes.  There is a hint of a plasticky after-taste which may come from the flavoring or may come from the plastic bottle, but I’m not sure which.

Overall Experience with Nestle Splash

The Good

  • It’s easy to drink.  The lemon flavor was not particularly amazing, but it was definitely an upgrade when you’re bored with plain water.
  • There are no calories, artificial colors or flavors in Nestle Splash.
  • It comes in 16.9 oz bottles which are the perfect size for purse, car, work, or on the go.

The not so Good

  • I’m not a huge fan of Sucralose because it can leave a bad aftertaste.  I didn’t notice it when drinking my sample,
  • While I am all for “natural fruit flavor” I’d like a little more info as to what that means.  Are they oils, is the flavoring derived from fruit or is it a chemical compound, etc.  I know this info is rarely something you get on a nutrition label, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested to know more.

Overall, I think Nestle Splash could be a refreshing option over plain water if you’re looking for something a little different.  The better I eat the less interested I become in artificially sweetened beverages, but if I was looking for a change of pace I could see myself grabbing a Nestle Splash.  I’d also be interested in trying the other flavors just to see how they taste.

Full disclosure: I was provided with a free samples of Nestle Splash for review. The opinions and views presented here are solely my own.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

RECOVERYbits Review

   

I received complimentary product to facilitate my review, but all opinions within are my own.

       

When I was offered a chance to do a RECOVERYbits review I was excited to give them a try.  I previously tried ENERGYbits and really liked them so I was interested to see if I noted any difference in these two products.

recoverybits review

About RECOVERYbits

RECOVERYbits are 100% natural, organic chlorella algae.  They contain 40 vitamins and minerals.  The tablets are 60% protein which I find pretty impressive for a vegan protein source.  They contain no soy, dairy, sugar, gluten or caffeine.  In my opinion, they are pretty perfect from a nutritional standpoint.  Lots of things that are good and pretty much nothing that’s objectionable no matter what diet you follow.   RECOVERYbits are best for recovery, detox , immune system, digestion and anti-aging per the info on the package.

recoverybits review

The Tablets

The package says you can swallow them or chew them.  The package warns they taste “green” if you go the chewing route and I distinctly remember a very green taste when chewing the ENERGYbits.   The little pills even have a green smell too.  Not offensive at all, just clearly very vegetal.  Mown hay maybe?

The Good

  • These little tablets are nutritional powerhouses.  Four grams of protein in just 30 tablets is impressive all by itself.  Consider all the other goodies packed into a small serving and they really become something special.
  • I tried my bits on an empty stomach and had no issues.   I have a very sensitive stomach so this was a big plus.
  • RECOVERYbits are easy to transport.  Whether it’s due to travel or you’re just on the go RECOVERYbits are easy to take with you.  You don’t have to worry about measuring powders or packing liquids, you simply count them out and go.  The tablets are also very sturdy so they aren’t likely to get crushed up when you’re on the move.

The not so Good

  • It’s a lot to swallow.  If you chew them you get smacked in the mouth with a big green flavor, but if you swallow them like the package suggests, one serving is too many to go down at once.  I broke them into stacks of five, but even then that was six swallows to get them all down.  To be honest, around batch 4 or 5 I did gag a bit.  I truly didn’t mind the flavor of the RECOVERYbits, but trying to swallow a copious quantity of tablets wasn’t appealing at all.
  • The price.  I did sample these bits for free, but to buy them through the ENERGYbits website you’ll pay $115 for a bag of 1,000.  At 30 tabs per serving it will cost you roughly $2.80 per serving and you’ll get 33 servings a bag.  The website does point out that the price is comparable to other bars or drinks you might purchase instead and I don’t disagree with that.  You may be getting a lot of nutritional bang for your buck if you can afford it, but RECOVERYbits definitely feel like more of a luxury item than a necessity at that price.

recoverybits review

Overall, I think RECOVERYbits are a great addition you to your routine if you are looking for a boost of nutrients.  I like the idea of using a product that is specifically meant to target recovery.  In my own routine I think I would add them in on an as-needed basis for use after intense workouts or times when my immune system might need a bit of extra support.  I don’t think I got the same boost from these as I remember from the ENERGYbits, but I like that there are different products you can use depending on your specific needs.

If you’d like to try RECOVERYbits or ENERGYbits for yourself checkout using code “BLOG” at www.energybits.com and receive 20% off!

Full disclosure: I was provided with a free sample to do this RECOVERYbits review. The opinions and views presented here are solely my own.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Whole30 on the Go: Traveling on Whole30

   
Traveling on Whole30
Pexels

Traveling on Whole30 wasn’t something I ever envisioned having to do, but smack in the middle of my current Whole30 (number 6!) I found myself hitting the road for work.  This was totally new territory for me.  All my previous Whole30 rounds were completed in the comfort of a very controlled home environment.  At first I was worried, but after some research and pre-trip planning I think I got a handle on traveling on Whole30.

       

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #1 – No Kitchen

I stayed at a place with no kitchen.  There was only a mini fridge and microwave.  The options with this arrangement weren’t spectacular, but they were definitely better than nothing.  The ability to store and heat food allowed more flexibility with what I could buy and eat.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #2 – Limited Restaurants

My favorite Whole30-friendly restaurant is Chipotle and luckily there was one within walking distance.  Other options included Salad and Go and a burger joint.  These are probably not ideal places, but based on their menus I could come up with some customized meals that will work.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #3 – Limited Shopping Potential

I was traveling in an area off the beaten path.  Without wheels Wal-Mart was my only outlet for shopping.  At first I was really down about this, but after some research on what to buy there during Whole30 I realized that I wasn’t as limited as I first thought.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #4 – Office Food

I have the extreme luxury of not working in an office.  While there are tons of benefits to this: no commute, no dress code, etc., one of the major benefits is not having to deal with office food.  No bagels, no donuts, no vending machines, no candy bowls, no catered lunches or brought in pizzas, the list could go on and on.  I had to fend off all offerings related to office food to stay on plan.

Traveling on Whole30 Challenge #5 – Is it Worth it?

Was all the effort worth it?  I asked myself that while worrying about how I would handle this trip.  Part of me feels it seems silly to put this much thought and effort into eating.  Part of me gets really angry about why you to have to fight so hard to not eat crap.  Another part of me says yes, it is worth it because you really have to take care of yourself.

The Results

So what did I end up eating?  A quick trip to the store yielded cherry tomatoes, bananas, tuna packets, Aidells chicken sausages, green olives and smashed avocados.  This supplemented what I brought with me: Larabars, pumpkin seeds and raisins.

I further supplemented my meals with some offerings from the hotel food selection.  The meals they served were not even close to compliant, but I was able to snag bits and pieces. I found mixed spring greens, baked potatoes, mustard and other condiments for dinner and scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast.   Unfortunately I was on the fence about the scrambled eggs so I only ate a very small portion one morning.  The server indicated they did not contain any dairy, but I have a feeling there were some mystery ingredients hiding in there.

In the end it actually wasn’t as hard to stay compliant while traveling on Whole30 as I thought it might be.  One of the benefits of travel can be experiencing new and different cuisine and this Whole30 pretty much sucked the joy right out of that.  Aside from that issue it wasn’t too bad.  Would I travel on Whole30 again?  Yes, if I had to I definitely could do it, but I probably wouldn’t if there was a way to avoid it.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Build a Great Home Gym Without Breaking the Bank

   

Today’s article on how to build a home gym was written by guest author Harry Wilson. If you’d like to get in touch with Harry please check out his contact info at the end of the article.

       
home gym
Pixabay

Everyone leads such busy lives in today’s wired world.

Just grabbing the time to travel to and from the gym is often excuse enough to postpone the session. That’s before you’ve even thought about working out!

More and more people want to build a home gym on a budget.

We’ll give you some handy hints on creating a suitable exercise environment at home without the need for fancy equipment like inversion tables or recumbent bikes.

First Thing’s First

Before heading off to buy anything at all, there are 5 simple pointers to think about.

  • Motivation: Home gyms are not for everyone. Some people need the discipline of an organized schedule or they lose interest and momentum. If you embrace a healthy, active lifestyle and have plenty of motivation, a home gym is cost-effective and saves you time. Be honest with yourself. Is this you?
  • It’s Not A Race: Assembling a worthwhile home gym can take years. Start methodically with the essentials. Build as you progress.
  • Reasons For Training: Analyze why you are working out. Is it for general cardio, weight loss or strength training? Perhaps it’s a combination or maybe some resistance training? Be clear about what you want.
  • Space: You’ll ideally find a dedicated space or room in your house. As long as you have space for your equipment and a full-length mirror, you’re good to go.
  • Budget: Work out how much you can afford to spend initially and stick to your budget. You can buy more equipment over time.

Equipment

1) Weight Bench, Olympic Barbell, Weight Plates

The trusty bench and barbell should be the staple of any home gym if you want to lift weights.

This is heavy and bulky so buying this equipment online is a wise idea.

When using a barbell alone always be extremely careful not to overdo it. It’s always best to have someone close by to spot you.

2) Dumbbells

If you want to use free weights, a good set of dumbbells is a sound investment.

Dumbbells are incredibly versatile. You can use them with or without the bench. For superb strength training, use these weights either individually or paired up.

You can choose from hundreds of exercises and target all muscles.

Boredom is the enemy of progress when you’re working out so mix it up with a good pair of dumbbells. Keep your muscles guessing and growing.

3) Kettlebell

A third option for weights is a kettlebell.

Made from cast metal, this resembles a cannonball with a handle grip.

The traditional Russian version weighs 16kg. If you are ready to lift some serious weights, kettlebells are fantastic for squats, swings and other ballistic movements.

4) Rack

With all these weights, you’ll need a solid rack if you work out hard.

Seek out a rack which takes attachments so you can add on a pull-up bar and get more bang for your buck while saving space too.

5) Punch Bag

In addition to promoting high-intensity workouts, punch bags are a wonderful way to vent the stresses of modern life.

Put your body through its paces while also clearing your mind.

6) Rowing Machine

If you want a great cardio session that will benefit your arms, legs and torso, a rowing machine is a smart choice.

As well as the health benefits, rowing machines are generally lightweight and easy to fold up so they make a great addition to any home gym.

7) Elliptical Machine

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a mansion, space will invariably be an issue in most home gyms.

Rather than opting for a straight exercise bike, why not choose an elliptical machine instead?

Whether you want to tone up or lose weight, ellipticals offer a full-body workout and a fantastic burst of cardio.

8) Stability Ball

A stability ball, often known as a Swiss ball, looks like an oversized, reinforced beach ball.

These are great for really testing your abs, improving balance and stability.

An added bonus is that stability balls help with rehabilitation of hip, back or knee injuries.

9) Ab Wheel

These inexpensive and ingenious devices merit a place in any home gym.

An ab wheel is great for fully body tension exercises alongside its intended purpose of honing your six-pack.

This really will be ten dollars very well spent.

10) Mirror

Last but by no means least is that full-length mirror.

This is not a question of vanity. Form is everything when you are training.

Pick yourself up a mirror and make sure that, rather than rushing through your reps, you watch yourself closely. Perform each move slowly, deliberately and to the best of your ability rather than obsessing about numbers.

Wrap-Up

OK, you now have the makings of a highly respectable home gym.

Remember, don’t think you need to accumulate all of the above equipment at once…

Go slowly, focus on what you need most and enjoy!

Harry WilsonAuthor Bio

My name is Harry Wilson. I’m the author of www.goodhealthplanning.com. Whether it’s workout routines, diet ideas or a guide to the equipment you need, we’ll help you get in the best shape possible. Follow my twitter: @ghealthplanning