De-stress with Organic India Tea: Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received free samples of Organic India Tea in exchange for a review.

Stress. No matter how many downward dogs, deep breaths, or meditation chants I do, stress always finds a way back into my life. It’s kind of just the age we live in; life is chaotic. Cell phones buzzing, emails pinging… the constant connection, though delightful, can also add up. When you think about a de-stressing beverage, you probably think of beer or wine. Oh yes; a nice buzz can sometimes be a great way to de-stress. But! If you’re seeking a de-stressing beverage that is appropriate for the work day, or one you can consume while in a moving vehicle, I think I have a solution.  ORGANIC INDIA has over 18 different flavors of its signature organic Tulsi, Holy Basil herb, that helps reduce stress, aid in digestion, balance metabolism, support anti-aging and overall immune system.

I was sent three types of tea to try; Original Tulsi Teabags, Raspberry Peach Tulsi Loose-Leaf, and Moringa Tulsi Teabags. First of all, I love that these teas are organic, because I recently learned that some big-name tea companies cover their tea with all sorts of pesticides (that sucks – but Organic India doesn’t). Holy Basil itself has a slightly peppery taste to it with a sweetness I really like, and don’t worry — it doesn’t taste like the classic Italian pesto, so you’re not going to feel like you’re sipping a mug of pesto. The Raspberry Peach was my favorite out of this batch, tastewise, for its fruity undertones. However, Moringa takes the cake for the coolest attributes — “Tulsi (Holy Basil) and Moringa (Moringa oleifera) are two of the most unique herbs to come out of India, and together they offer a myriad of health benefits. Tulsi is well known in the west for its adaptogenic benefits and uses in combating stress. The antioxidant activity in Moringa is extremely high, and the easiest way for your body to assimilate them is in tea form. There is one antioxidant in particular that Moringa contains called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which is twice as powerful resveratrol, one of the most popular anti-aging antioxidant supplements on the market. EGCG has been shown to help maintain healthy LDL cholesterol levels and protect cardiovascular health.” I try and drink a cup of tea daily anyways; can you imagine if I replaced my daily breakfast tea with this one? Cashing in on the health benefits!

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The concept behind Tulsi that I love, besides the organic, non-GMO, sustainible farming side, is that you’re taking the very relaxing act of drinking a cup of tea and turning it into even more of a “chill” moment by using an herb that’s shown to be a mood lifter. Some people think that herbal remedies are hocus pocus, but having had my own garden for years and seeing how cats take to catnip and how aloe soothes burns and how peppermint can cure a gnarly stomach has proven to me that herbs are powerful forms of medicine. One note about Tulsi Looseleaf that’s just good to know: it is a smaller brew of leaf product, so you’ll end up with some sediment at the bottom of your mug (shown above). It won’t harm ya, and you’ll barely notice it, but if you’re a super picky tea drinker, you can brew through a coffee filter or use a french press.

Because I’d rather show you than tell you, let’s get to the good stuff! One lucky reader will win a nice starter pack of Tulsi Teas, in Pomegranate Green tea, Original Tulsi, and India Breakfast. Please use the rafflecopter to enter to win, and note all the extra ways you can score entries! This contest will run until Thursday, July 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Winner must be 18 years or older and live in the United States. GOOD LUCK!
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I’m Friday’s Featured Female!

Hi Friends!

Today, I’m honored to be the Friday Featured Female over on my friend Melissa’s blog, The Valentine RD. I first met Melissa at Fitbloggin’ in 2013, and realized not only do I live near this lady, but she’s super sweet, super smart about all things food, and in general, that person that everybody just loves! It’s an honor to be on her blog today, so please go check it out. I’m sharing a little bit about my “A-ha!” moment when I realized I needed to let go of binge-eating. Hope you have a wonderful day!

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Obese, morbidly.

 

Greetings, readers! I’m back with my attempt to blog at least once a week and this week I want to talk about something that I’ve known but never really thought too much about. I visited the doctor this week and we did a check-up on my blood work  with my discovery of food allergies and such. My blood ended up being just fine but there was something that came up on my lab reports that disturbed me.

 

My doctor had officially noted me as obese, morbidly. I was well aware of what the medical world calls people with high weights but I like to live in my happy bubble where I can just consider myself as an obese person working towards better health. Unfortunately the medical way to describe my weight, specifically with the use of the word “morbid”, makes it seem like I’ve got one foot on the gas and one foot in the grave. I just don’t agree with the word morbid. Obese, fine. Fat, whatever. But morbid? It makes me feel like I should start dressing like Morticia Addams and never smile again. Why not just call it, “super obese?” Like, you’re fat, but you’re also SUPER! It’s bad enough to just BE obese, but why does it still have to sound so harsh? It’s like the only expression that hasn’t been sugar-coated over the past few decades.

I know the amount of fat on my body isn’t healthy but I don’t feel like I’m one more soda away from immediate death. The doctor also tested all sorts of things like cholesterol, calcium, sodium, thyroid, potassium, and glucose levels. Everything was perfectly in the normal range. I also was weighed and had lost seven pounds since I found out about the food allergies. I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself. I’ve been walking more at night and forcing myself to attempt to jog. I set up little goals of amount of blocks and it’s been pretty cool to see how quickly I’ve improved over the past couple of weeks.

According to my training walk schedule, I’m a few miles short of the suggested amount I should be doing every week to prepare for the 60-mile walk. I have been thinking about ways I could fund raise as I still have $1,800 to go and am stoked that I’ll be getting the pink in my hair done today! I still want to do a “Brews for BOObs” event so I hope I can do that to help raise money. I also have been thinking of a way to craft together a promised “training walk sponsorship” where maybe I could ask people to “sponsor” my training walks – They give me a goal for a month during my pre-training, say 50 miles – and they’ll promise to donate $50 when I achieve it. I log all my walks on a fabulous app called Runtastic so it would be legitimate to track my progress… and hopefully everyone who promises to donate will follow through.  What do you all think of that idea? Would any of YOU sponsor my training walks?  ;)

I hope you all have a super spiffy Thursday and if you’re looking for some good laughs, check out my hidden link coated in sugar.

Bye bye!

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

Click my picture to get to my 3-day page!

Please click my picture to get to my 3-day page!

What’s up, Wednesday?

Hey guys! How is it Wednesday already? Time is just flying by over here lately. I had a really awesome busy weekend — saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on Friday night, saw my two wonderful friends get married on Saturday, and then went and saw New Order and La Roux on Sunday night. I also get to see Tori Amos next Wednesday! I used to be a band nerd, did you guys know that? I played the flute, and then eventually learned how to play the guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, and dabbled in the french horn and cello. I really miss music in my life; I think I should get back into it — it was an awesome creative release!

We have a winner for the Sweet Leaf Cola Drops giveaway! Congratulations to Stephanie! If you didn’t win, don’t worry; we have a giveaway coming soon for some delicious Organic India stress relieving tea.

My California Avocado prizes arrived today! Once I have everything unpacked I’ll show you some photos and also share what I’m planning to purchase from Williams Sonoma. I’m so grateful to them and Fitbloggin for hosting the contest… it’s been such a bright spot this summer! Last week, my shipment of beautiful, ripe avocados arrived, and I’ve been eating a TON of avocado. Avocado caprese salad, avocado toast, guacamole, and my favorite — avocado egg sandwiches. Look at this beauty! (I know that to some people it may not look yummy, especially if you don’t like dippy eggs, but I think it’s darn good, so there.) I also made avocado fudgsicles with honey, coconut milk, vanilla, and avocado, and they’re SO good. I’ll share a picture next time I have my camera handy in the kitchen.

I’ve been feeling a little bit sluggish this week as my stomach has been acting up, so I haven’t been as active as I like, I’m hoping I start feeling better tomorrow so I can get back into my walk training schedule. This weekend I’ll be traveling up to Northern California and I’m hoping I might also be able to squeeze in a nice long walk while I’m up there. How are your weeks going so far?

Fitbloggin’ 2014: It’s all about the people.

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since Fitbloggin’! I had the most amazing time exploring Savannah, but it wasn’t the beautiful dangling moss, delicious cheese board at Alligator Soul, or cushy soft bed at the Hyatt that made it so great; it was the people! My first Fitbloggin, I let my nerves control me, and I was too shy to strike up conversation with “famous” people like the wonderfully talented and kind founder of Fitbloggin, Roni, or Carla, an awesome tattooed lady blogger with some bad-ass perspectives on life. I had a good time, but I didn’t really throw myself in. So the next year, in Portland, I threw myself in, and I left a changed person; full of excitement and a renewed sense of endurance towards this lifelong path to health. My first Fitbloggin, I worried I’d be the only fat person, or I’d be too much of a “baby blogger”, or that my hair would be too blonde, or whatever. Nerves can tell you strange things, but they’re just fears, that’s it. So if you’re thinking about coming to Fitbloggin – come. So you don’t have a blog yet or haven’t started one? There’s still something for you. So you’ve gained weight, not lost? I was in this boat in 2013 and all was A-OK, and helped me get back on track. So you have anxiety and prefer hiding in your bedroom? Come. Lots of people at Fitbloggin’ are introverts, too.

I know I’ll inevitably miss someone, and for that, I’m sorry (I’m going off the photos I have), but please take a few minutes to check out my friends below. I could gush on and on about each person, but I’m instead going to share a short and possibly random snippet of who I perceived them to be. (Don’t worry, I’ll reserve my judgements about their fashion sense, breath, and hair styles for myself. KIDDING. I’m not a mean girl. (only to myself).

From Left to Right:

1) Emily of Big Life, Little Blog. Sweet, smart, my generous chauffeur from Atlanta to Savannah. Makes me laugh all the time!
2) Matt and Sam. Funny, welcoming, awesome zumba king and queen along with Sue.
3) Brooke of Brooke Not On a Diet. Inspirational, took on a fluffy woman’s mag, knows good beer.
4) Sarah of Losing Weight and Having Fun. Makes a mean cuppa tea, hilarious. My 4 a.m. insomniac texting buddy.
5) Paula of Runnin Paola. My neighbor (no, seriously – she lives like 10 mins away), great smile, smart, likes ghosts.
6) Nik of Bariatric Foodie. My 1st Fitbloggin friend, pro blogger (FOR REAL), always bright and bubbly. Loser of lots of weight!

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7) Liz of Prior Fat Girl. Fellow 3-Day walker (Hooray!), lovely, friendly, welcoming Minnesotan with irresistible E2.
8) Heather of Yummy Sushi PJ’s. Yoga star, open, honest, sweet.
9) Kay of Weight Chronicles. Reads my blog! Fun person to talk to. Positive, happy, kind.
10) Emily (You know her now!) and Dani from Starting at the Middle. Dani: true Southern hospitality. Great perspective on life. Gettin’ hitched!
11) June of Simply June Bug. Old skool Fitcation friend. Birds of a feather. Poetic, honest, brave.
12) Deanna. Smart cookie, awesome person to sit next to a drag show. Good dancer.

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13) Martinus of 300 pounds and running. Enthusiastic. Bow-ties. Makes me want to try running (again).
14) Melissa of The Valentine RD. All around awesome lady. Registered Dietitian. Lover of Duran Duran!
15) Margo of Brooklyn Fit Chick. Cat lady, like me. (We’re showing off our cat stickers in this pic.) Welcoming, bubbly.
16) Emily of Fit & Free with Emily. Selfless, generous, inspirational, some have said she could be my Fitbloggin twin.
17) Heather of Divas Run for Bling. Great smile, happy, fun! Must pick her brain about compression socks!
18) Sam and Heather. You know them already ;)

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19) Leah of Mamavation. Fearless, leader, nurturing. So-Cal girl, throws great parties. Founder of Fitcation and Shiftcon. (Want to go to another amazing health oriented conference? Go to Shiftcon in October in Los Angeles! April will be there!)
20) Kris of Kris Gets Healthy. Lost 120 pounds! Brave, sharp-witted, sweet fellow Minnesotan (Midwestern love!).
21) Denise of Almasdays. Awesome live blogger (she covered Avocado session!), sweet, bubbly, bright.
22) Nik, Dre of Mission Meltdown. He’s insanely talented at photography, videography, and even rapping! Super welcoming.
23) Kenlie of All the Weigh. One of the first bloggers who ever replied to me! Warm, smart cookie, amazing baker!
24) Dani, Emily, and Emmie of Authentically Emmie. Visionary, funny, wardrobe I wanna steal. Inspirational.

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And for 25, my sweet Fitbloggin’ roomie, Kelly of No Thanks to Cake! Kelly and I met at last year’s uber emotional Fitbloggin’ session, where I ugly cried about all the jerks in Thailand who wanted to tell me what a cow I was. (Actually, it was elephant, and it sucks that it happened, but it IS one of my most highly read blog posts, so ya know, there’s that…) Kelly is one of those people that lights up a room wherever she goes, and our room was certainly mega watts brighter with her beautiful smile in it. We called ourselves the Avocado room, because Kelly was also a winner! Kelly’s home base is in Colorado, where Fitbloggin 2015 will be! I can’t wait to have a personal tour of Colorado with the expert herself.

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And #26… the awesome ROBBY of Fat Girl Vs. World! I met her in Baltimore, and have always loved her brave, fearless writing on her blog. We took a pretty amazing photo in Baltimore that was meant to be a kickboxing pose, but it just looked like I was pooping, so I won’t share that again… but you know. She’s rad. and huggable. and inspiring!

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and #27… the Fitbloggin Famous Alan! Alan is seriously one of the most upbeat, positive, inspirational peeps ever. He and I occasionally text, and he always finds a way to brighten my day. Do you know he’s lost a TON of weight and does triathlons? Rockstar status, achieved.

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I know there’s no way I’ve recapped every amazing person I met, but these were the pictures I had. If I met you and you want my elevator pitch of how I’d describe you, chime in below! I can promise you – Fitbloggin’ is an amazing community. You’ll notice many of the words I used to describe people were the same: kind, welcoming, happy, bright, inspiring, brave. This community is a tribe of good-hearted people who all care about the health and happiness of YOU — and that’s a wonderful thing. <3

Trying new foods!

Traditionally, I have never been great at trying new foods. I tend to be pretty plain in both the fruit and vegetable world and it wasn’t until my family moved to California, nineteen years ago this month (!) , that I even knew there were fruits like the dragon fruit, the star fruit, and the lychee.

This past week at Weight Watchers (where I was up .8) we were challenged to try something new this week that we didn’t think we would like… to try something new. Immediately I thought to myself that I was unlikely to actually do this challenge since I just suck at trying new fruits and vegetables. However, over the weekend an opportunity arose in the strangest fashion.

I was relaxing on this awesome futon when I noticed a kid coming to the door, probably about ten years old. After he knocked, I greeted him, unaware that I was in for a full on sales presentation. The kid spouted off a bunch of words the basically consisted of, “Do you want to try this here mango I hold in my hand?” Since I didn’t want to just say no to this mango master, I said yes and watched him as he skillfully sliced off a wedge of the mango like an Iron Chef with no cutting board.

It was amazing. His cutting skills and the mango wedge itself.

But not amazing enough for the $10 he then pitched to me for a box of them. Sure, that mango slice tasted great at the moment but I knew I just wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment to them.

The point is that I tried the mango. It may not seem like some crazy fruit but to me, it is. I’ve tried it in salsas and it was ok, but I think this attempt was enough to make me consider buying one.

The experience also inspired me to try papaya a few days later too, thanks to my buddy Melody leaving her fruit tray in my cooler.

What kinds of foods have you tried lately? How brave are you when it comes to trying new things? I know Alyssa is definitely brave with her bug eating experience! Have you guys seen that video? If not, you gotta check it out! (Click on this!)

Have an awesome Tuesday!

AprilSignatur