Supplement Sample Reviews

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Mens Vs Women’s Supplements

Last week I stopped by VitaminShoppe in search of the new VegaOne Bar. To my dismay, they are not selling in retail stores yet so I must wait longer since I refuse to pay $50 for a box 0f 12 without tasting one! And I LOVE Vega.

So I asked the cashier if he had anything else for sample, and he grabbed me a goodie bag of the stuff pictured above. As I sorted things out, I quickly realized the difference in the marketing, packaging, and names of the products. On the left there you can see things like “N.O. Explode, Energy, Hyper, ShotGun, Accel, C4, Concrete, Jitter, and Shred.” They are named after explosives and manly things, and are packaged in bright eye-catching colors. Men really need to be impressed with a package in order to buy something. Do they think the more radical the name, the brighter the color, the better it works? I hope they are smarter than that!

The women’s supplements are named, “Omega, Calm, Natural, Fat Loss, Healthy, Green.” I must admit, they are NOT sport supplements like the men’s obviously are. But still, notice the colors/names and make your own assumptions.

Now as you see on the right, a lot of white and light colors, minus the one black package which could have been sorted with the men’s, but because of it’s ingredients and stance, I sorted it with the women’s. So I usually don’t consume or buy anything that isn’t organic, holistic, or vegan, but since I got all this stuff for free, I was like, eh, why not? If I’m going to harshly judge them, I might as well give a few a shot, or even a taste.

I just want to make this point: Supplement companies pay a lot of money for their products to be marketed to specific types of people. Do the research on the ingredients. Find pure and organic sources. And don’t trust the claims!!! 

Astravar 2.0. Its main ingredient is beet root. Funny thing is, the day before I went to the Shoppe, I was researching the effects of pure organic beet juice (BeetIt) on Nitric Oxide. As you can see, even the capsule is beet red. The directions tell you to “stack” which in supplement language, means take with other supplements, for “full effect.” My first response was, “How do I know if it’s working if I’m stacking it on my usual routine that gives me PLENTY of energy?” Ugh. So I did as it said, tried it two days in a row, and didn’t notice or feel any different. I stacked it on my AminoClear (vegan BCAA) and big cup of water for working out. Noticed Nothing. Honestly, I think I’ll try real, pure, organic beet juice and see what that does! NEXT….—>

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Natural Calm This stuff rocks. Natural Calm Magnesium. A total of 0 calories, lots of flavor, and a true relaxing effect. It’s a magnesium supplement in the form of a drink. I usually sip on Airborne or Emergen-C, so this was right up my alley. It came in little powder packets and was easy to mix into hot or cold water. I used it one night as my hot tea since I was out, and honestly PASSED OUT. It really does calm you down! I researched magnesium and realized I do eat some foods where it is naturally found, but most people DO NOT get enough in their diet. I’d suggest it to anyone looking for a tasty drink, who needs some magnesium and a calm response. Go Nature!

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C4: Today I tried the C4 supplement for my HIIT workout. The taste was reminiscent of Kool-Aid as a child, fruit punch. Not too sweet, not too acidic. It’s called a pre-workout supplement, but I put it in my gym water for flavor, and drank it as I did my 35 minute HIIT routine on the elliptical. I liked the taste and it definitely gave a boost of energy. A huge downfall was that it made me itchy like crazy.

I would never take this again, and I only put half the sample in my 28oz Blender Bottle. Reviews online claim the itchiness and tingly sensations are normal and from the beta-alanine. Some say it pumps them up even more, but it made me just want to itch. I don’t like getting itchy. No Thanks!

N.O.Explode: Sunday night I put about a tsp of the N.O. Explode in some water, just to see the taste and what all the hype was about. I know people claim this is “the best” out there. It’s full of a bunch of stimulants, and honestly I felt it. I drank about a total teaspoon or two and felt the caffeine rush from this drink. Yes, it does taste like a blue raspberry pixy stick, but I wouldn’t buy it because of all the crap in it. I’ll stick to my organic supplements for energy.

I do admit, the caffeine is crazy quick and strong, but I’d rather not submit my body to that kind of thing daily. If I’m training un-fasted, I’ll use my natural Guarana, Matcha, or Vega Pre-Workout Lemon-Lime drink. 

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Clif BuildersI’ve been reading a ton of literature on training, muscles, and recovery. Last night I saw this Clif Builders bar suggested to people on vegan diets to supplement their protein. With my 3-4x week weight lifting and High Intensity Interval Training sessions, I should be taking in about 1g/lb of body weight in protein daily. That’s roughly 100-110 grams! That’s a lot for me, since I do intermittent fasting and eat in an 8hr time frame.

Anyway, I picked up this bar to have after my workout. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. I give it props for being vegan and having 20g of protein, even if it is from soy protein isolate. I’d rather it be from a mixed source like quinoa, brown rice, or pea, but those aren’t quite out yet…or that I know of. (I will be on the search though!) It did not taste like an oreo, had a weird protein bar after-taste, and eventually was hard to digest (tummy ache). It packs a whopping 270 calories in the bar. This was great today since I had been fasted 18+ hours and needed some energy after an intense workout. But on any other given day that was not similar to today, this will be hard to accept. (I’m used to eating my 180 calorie Luna Bars, even though they only have about 9grams of protein.) 

Other Simple Notes

 *I tried the HealthyBody fiber and it blended well into my yogurt. I didn’t taste anything, and I didn’t feel any effect of the fiber.

*I tasted the OmegaOrange supplement marketed towards kids/moms as a yummy omega 3, and it tasted GROSS like fish. Ew.

*I tried a tablet of the AminoEnergy and they tasted like baby aspirin. They contain caffeine, so I’m sure they give a kick, but the aminos in them aren’t even BCAA. Lame.

*My boyfriend tasted the AccelGel and said it was pretty tasty; he didn’t consume the whole supplement, nor was interested in doing so.

Question: What supplements do you take? What are you interested in trying and why? Do you think they are all a gimmick?

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How To Have A Good-Health Day


Start with alkaline.

First things first. Drink some water. Not just plain water, but a water that will alkalize your body, readying it for nutrients. Add the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water, warmed if possible. Add an herbal tea bag or some dried Goji berries to go the extra flavor mile.
Why? Alkalinity is related to Ph balance. Your digestive system is the main center of your immune system. When your body is alkaline, bacteria, viruses, indigestion, and pain have a hard time surviving. The more alkaline you are, the healthier you are. Lemon may seem acidic, but it actually turns alkaline in your body. Anything that is fresh and plant-based is alkalizing to your body. Processed foods, junk foods, and sugar are acidic. Avoid at all costs! 

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Hit the road with protein.    

The best way to get your hunger under control is to start the day with some plant-based protein. Protein takes longer to digest, and increases your satiety (fullness factor). I suggest a VegaOne shake or smoothie. VegaOne has 50% of your vitamins and minerals, 15g of protein, 6grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega 3’s, Antioxidants, Probiotics, and greens. Plus, it has the super foods chlorella and maca! You won’t only feel full until lunch, but energized and happy. Blend half a frozen banana, one scoop VegaOne, and 12oz unsweetened almond milk or water. If you’re in a rush, you can simply mix a scoop of VegaOne and 8oz water in a to-go BlenderBottle. (Do this at night for a grab-n-go.) The berry flavor of VegaOne is best mixed with water -and nothing else. Vanilla Chai and Chocolate are great with water, or the banana and non-dairy milk.   

Why? A mid-morning munchie attack before lunch time can sabotage your calorie count and weight loss efforts. It can also mean snacking on vending machine junk or the cake in the back office. Sound familiar? Candy-dish diving is just going to make you hungrier and grumpier. Be sure to get a smoothie.
Why plant-based? Whey protein digests very quickly and can bloat you. Many people have dairy-sensitivities, which is where whey comes from.  VegaOne doesn’t only provide you with protein and satiety- you get most of the greens, vitamins, probiotics, and minerals you need for the rest of the day. Now that’s a good start! 

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Pack security

You may have forgot to pack a lunch. You may be invited to go out to a staff lunch. And you will be tempted with that staff pizza party. If you want to be free from guilt, and health-insured, pack some security. I suggest a home-made trail mix, piece of fruit+raw almonds, or non-dairy greek yogurt. Bananas, oranges, and apples are year round fruits that are very purse-friendly. Raw almonds are full of fiber and protein; only a handful will sustain your hunger until you get home. When fruit and almonds are paired together, you will get a healthy dose of carbs, good fats, and protein.  Non-dairy greek yogurt, made from coconut milk (Delicious!) is also full of protein and fibers. Plus, it tastes sinful but is actually very good for you.

For more information:

Plant Protein:
Snack Security:


Clean Eating: Grocery Shopping

When you decide to start eating healthy, you have to tackle the monster of grocery shopping. It is daunting with all the fat-free, sugar-free, low-cal, and diet foods. Which vegetable do I pick? And how do I even use it? Well I’m here to help you out! First off, I’d like to say you can always email me from my contact page and I’ll give you free advice and answer your questions to my best ability. And if I don’t know the answer, I’ll research it and get back to you. My main goal is to be a helpful resource for weight loss, fitness, wellness, and overall health. Mind. Body. Soul. Now let’s tackle that shopping cart mess.

I’ll show you what my grocery shopping loot looked like today. Hint: I used the Thrive Forward Food Staples list as a guide. Don’t mind my blurry phone pic. :/

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I shop mostly at Trader Joe’s and go to my local health food store for my specialty items. I don’t have a local farmer’s market so I do the best I can with the budget I have. The list goes as follows, just in case you want to eat exactly what I’m eating haha.

  • Organic Kale 
  • Organic Baby Spinach
  • Organic Avocados (4)
  • Organic Cucumbers (2)
  • Organic Fuji Apples (2lbs)
  • Organic Tri-Color Peppers
  • Organic Naval Oranges
  • Organic Button Mushrooms
  • Organic Meyer Lemons (2)
  • Organic Grape Tomatoes (1lb)
  • Organic Raw Almonds (1lb)
  • Organic Unsulfered Unsweetened Mango
  • Organic Unsulfured Unsweetened Tart Cherries
  • Organic Bananas (3 Bunches) (Ripen and Freeze for Smoothies)
  • Chia Seeds
  • Organic Hummus
  • Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus
  • Reduced-Fat Veganaise
  • Organic Popcorn
  • Silken Tofu (3)
  • Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries (Craving these, not normally on the list)
  • Organic Roasted Vegetable Pizza (Vegan, Again, not normally on the list.)
  • Nutritional Yeast, Fortified (Buy once a month or two months, depending on usage)
  • Organic Green Tea (For Kombucha Home Brewing)
  • Organic Vanilla (Will last 1-2 months, for Chia Cereal/Pudding)
  • Gardein Orange Chicken
  • Gardein Buffalo Wings
  • One bottle Probiotic Coconut Pomegranate Elixir (Special treat)
  • 3 Cartons Silk Unsweetened Non-Gmo Almond Milk (30/Calories/Cup) -I forgot my almond milk, which I buy from Wal-mart because it’s the cheapest there.

And that’s the gist of it. This will last about two weeks for two people, except for the things like almonds, chia seeds, yeast, mayo, vanilla, and bread. Those will last up to a month or more. The produce will be gone and I’ll eat the frozen stuff and then go shopping again. Total cost was $123.12. So averaging out to under $5/day of organic food for two people. Who says healthy is expensive? Not me!

What Do You Make? I’ll make salads, scrambled tofu, dip the cucumbers in the hummus, snack on the tomatoes, carrots, almonds, and dried fruit. I’ll eat the apples and juice apples/oranges/spinach. I usually roast/grill my bell peppers and put them in a sandwich, wrap (still in the fridge from last shopping trip!), or my salads. I also dip them in hummus. The mushrooms will be grilled up. And that’s about it. Most of my meals are smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps, or appetizer plates of raw veggies and hummus! And when I’m feeling junky, I go for the Roasted Veggie Pizza, but even that WHOLE pizza is 750 calories, with very little fat (good fats!). I’m simple. Once in a while I’ll make some crazy recipe, but most of the time I’ll fail at that. I like to just snack on raw veggies, make dinners in under 10 minutes, and use my time wisely on other things. . . like helping You.

Not Shown Here; But I eat daily: For supplements I use Vega One, Vega Sport Protein, Pre-Performance Drink, Maca (starting tomorrow!), and Orange Dreamsicle Super Greens. I try and drink a VegaOne shake each day, either mixed into my breakfast/dinner smoothie or as dessert before bed. It has all the vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to get your digestion going and your body feeling great. I have 3 flavors now but always stay stocked on at least one. I use the protein powder after my intense workouts that last over an hour, or just as a snack to feel full before a meal or going out to eat. I’m starting my Maca powder routine tomorrow, adding it into my smoothie. I drink a smoothie either for breakfast or dinner, depending on how I feel. I attempt to drink one serving of the Orange Dreamsicle greens (seriously this stuff tastes amazing for a wheatgrass/chlorella/etc. blend) every night, but don’t always make it.

If it has a commercial, it’s probably not great for you. Have you seen any of these products in a commercial? No. They don’t need a commercial. You see them and know they are healthy. Kale doesn’t need a low-cal label. Oranges don’t need a “100% Vitamin C in Every Serving” ad. And bananas don’t need a big sign on them saying “great for smoothies and snacking.” They sell themselves, rightfully so.

Thrive Forward: Now if this is all too much to read and you’re feeling really lazy. Just look at the pictures and watch this video.

Busting Protein Myths in a Plant-Based Diet

Clean Eating 101
Busting Myths About Plant-based Protein

You know what really grinds my gears? When people tell me I’m not getting enough protein because I don’t eat meat. They assume I’m not getting enough vitamins, minerals, or iron. They challenge my diet and look down on me because I’m eating a huge plate of vegetables instead of the sausage and potatoes, pepperoni pizza,  or burgers and hot dogs. Little do they know, I’m eating a better protein source that has more vitamins and minerals than their plate!

If you’re debating going vegetarian or vegan this year, keep in mind the following truths:

Plants have plenty of protein. In fact, it’s better to get protein from plants than meat.  Why? Thrive Forward explains:

  • Low in saturated fat
  • Free of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in animal proteins
  • Alkaline-forming
  • Easy to digest
  • Better for the environment

Contrary to common belief, there are complete protein sources from plants, such as quinoa, soybeans, and Savi Seeds. Most of the time (but not always) you can eat a variety of plants to get a complete protein. (A complete protein means it contains essential amino acids. This just means your body can’t produce these amino acids on its own.) When you eat an assortment of foods, you don’t only get a variety of amino acids, but a ton of different vitamins and minerals. This helps you stay nourished, energized, and healthy. It is better for your body to get a rainbow of vegetables. Your arteries do not get clogged. Your fat level stays low. And your plasma stays clear.

“But I’m an athlete. I need 7lbs of chicken a day to build muscle.” This is entirely false. The leader of Thrive and Vega, Brendan Brazier, is an Ironman Triathlete AND a vegan.  You can build plenty of muscle using plant-based carbs, fats, and proteins. Look up vegan body builders; they are a whole culture of people who go against this belief.

Apply It–>Show Me How You’re Thriving 

I’m challenging you to replace your next meal with a plant-based protein source instead of the animal-protein. Try black beans, quinoa, brown rice, mushrooms, kale, spinach, hummus (chickpeas + sesame seeds), or even a Gardein product.  Don’t just take out the meat you’re using and consider that a veggie meal. Replace it with something delicious! Get creative! Take a pic and post a link below.

I love to make a sprouted grain bread sandwich, with hummus, sprouts, and grilled/roasted veggies. Use some fresh avocado or Chipotle Veganaise. Have some chopped raw veggies on the side, like baby carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

Clean Eating: Good Fats and Carbs

I woke up to this beautiful display this morning:

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I was inspired to make my own trail mix after seeing an easy how-to chart on Thrive Forward. The Maca and Cacao powder are for my super smoothies and other recipes (which I will feature here later) but the berries and savi-seeds were going in the mix! Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of trail mix, but knowing I could make it a mix that I enjoyed every part of, I was in. (Usually I have to pick out my favorite parts and the bag is left with all the nasty parts.) Here is the motivating chart to help you make your own mix:

snack mix chart
Choose Your Favies!
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What I Chose
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My Current Selection
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Bag up in small portions and add your coconut flakes.
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Admire and share your “hard” work.

This took all of about 5 minutes, including taking the photos. So order some up, or head to your local health food store that has bins, and mix and match your favorite super foods. You can bring these to work, keep some baggies in your car,  put one in your purse, or hand it to a hungry friend trying to be healthier! No more excuses of running to the vending machine for chips, crackers, or candy. You’ve got a healthy snack right in your purse or desk.


Good Fats and Carbs

It’s important to get the right kinds of carbohydrates and fats in your diet. This means getting whole grains and plant-based fats. You may think that cutting out carbs and fats will make you lose weight. WRONG! Eating packaged and bottled fat-free foods and low/no-carb stuff is not healthy. Those are packed with sugar, chemicals, and preservatives to give them proper taste.  It’s healthier to eat full-fat avocado than a processed fat-free dressing. A good way to start eating cleaner is to look at this Thrive Forward Food Pyramid. (The order in which the items are placed are not by importance, but by suggested portion.)

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A Great Food Pyramid

Figure out your favorite versions of each category and incorporate them into your meals. Click on the pyramid, read the “Reference: Thrive Staple Foods,” and get your health into a better situation today. Throw out or donate all the junk food in your house. Organize your cupboards with healthy foods so that it’s a joy to enter the kitchen and eat healthy, not a hassle or hard task. Make your shelves look pretty by putting brown rice, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in big, glass, mason jars. (You can get them at Wal-Mart for cheap!) Wouldn’t you love your kitchen to look more like a cooking show than a pre-packaged mess?


It’s important to stay hydrated through out the day. Every action your body does, from digesting food to cleaning your blood, requires water. Without a proper amount, you will feel fatigued, hungry, and uninspired.  I like to keep a big bottle of fruit-flavored water or herbal tea around at all times.

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Fresh lemon will help your body stay at a good Ph level, which is important for a variety of things. Fresh Ginger root will assist your intestinal tract with proper digestion and decrease the chance of inflammation throughout your body. This is especially important if you plan on exercising, since it will prohibit your soft tissues from becoming over inflamed. The frozen fruit you choose will flavor your water and keep it cool. And when you’re done you get to enjoy a sweet treat. 🙂

I suggest frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and mango. You can also place a tea bag in, like a green tea or yerba mate. (Just take off the string and paper part if it has one.) Fresh lemon is best, but if you don’t have local organic ones around, buy a bottle of organic lemon juice and keep it in your fridge. Ginger root is sold at most grocery stores, so go pick one up and start grating!

Answer This!

What is your favorite trail mix?

Do you tend to get the ones with more candy or healthier stuff?

How do you stay hydrated through out the day? 

A Simple Answer to Protein Needs

Many people are clueless when it come to macronutrients needs. I’ll give you one simple sentence that will help you always remember how much protein you need:

Divide your weight in half and that’s how many grams of protein you need per day.

So if you are 100 pounds, you need 50 grams. If you are 150, you need 75 grams. Check nutrition labels to see how many grams are in each serving of your chosen food.

Tip: A 4-oz serving (little bigger than a deck of cards) of chicken provides 31 grams of protein, so 3 servings the size of your palm should suffice most people’s protein needs.

Gaining Muscle

If you’re an avid exerciser looking to build lean muscle, or body building, you will require about twice that. So just use your weight as your guideline for how much protein you need.

Facts for ALREADY LEAN PEOPLE looking to gain muscle:

  • Skeletal muscle is approximately 72% water, 22% protein, and 6% fat, glycogen, and  minerals, and 1 pound of muscle tissue contains approximately 100 g of  protein.
  • Theoretically, an athlete would have to ingest an extra 14 g of protein per day. Although, most experts believe the single most important factor in gaining lean mass (along with resistance training, of course) is consuming adequate calories.
  • Therefore, to ensure the body has sufficient energy for lean mass accretion, consume an additional 200 to 400 calories daily above maintenance requirements in addition to consuming a little extra protein (approximately 2 ounces of lean meat).


As you can see from the image above (which I love), vegetarians can get plenty of protein from plant sources. Personally, I don’t eat meat and get my protein from various sources. (Although…I do eat sushi and partake in that once a month or so.) My favorites are quinoa, grilled tofu, lentils, almonds, tempeh, spirulina (shake), hemp seeds, black beans, hummus, kale, spinach, brown rice and seitan (wheat meat). Oh! And you can’t forget peanut butter. Mmm!