Monday, November 30, 2015

Whole30 Day 5-7 while on Vacation

*If you would like to read Why I started, go here. For Day 1, go here. For Days 2-4, go here
Day 5 Black Friday! This year I followed the REI challenge and did the #OptOutside instead of shopping. I have always chosen to not shop on this day. Instead, we decided it was best to go be active outside and spend the day off with what matters- each other. So, my pilot and I decided it was a good time to escape the city and venture out to another one: Augusta, GA. He and I flew down that morning to spend time with family and friends.

Meal 13- Breakfast. Since we had to leave super early, I had to do a grab-and-go. I got a bowl of mixed fruit, a bottle of water and a LaraBar. Surprisingly filling, this carried me over well into lunch.
Meal 14-Lunch. When we landed and finally got settled into our friends place, it was time to go to lunch. We were excited to get into exploring town but we needed to refuel before heading out. I had done my research well before leaving to search for places I could potentially eat at, and thankfully Augusta, GA has a few gems around town that have organic meats and menus I could adjust for my Whole30 meal options. Farmhaus Burgers was the spot. I had an organic ground turkey burger, lettuce wrapped, with tomatoes, grilled onions, pork belly confit (note I did ask the ingredients on the confit to ensure I could have it and it was approved) and avocados (which i smashed for my "mayo". With a bottle of water and sweet potato tots I was good to go!
Meal 15- Dinner. Sadly, I was starved after a full day of exploring and park hopping, so I was too busy eating to get a photo. We ended up visiting family and had dinner at their house. Grilling out, of course. I had two ground beef burgers, with tomatoes and grilled onions. With my meal, I had sweet potato fries and unsweet tea. It was a good meal and I rather enjoyed a duplicate from lunch. It was very filling!

Day 6 Saturday. We had filled our schedule with the rest of the spots we did not get to venture off to prior, so it was going to be a busy day. Since we were getting a head start, and wanted to grab something fast, I chose to hit up Whole Foods for breakfast - instead of a sit down spot. Besides, I knew I would find something really good. I had opted for another spot, but it is closed on Sat and Sun.

Meal 16- Breakfast. As luck would have it, I found a prosciutto I could have- without nitrates and sugar. The only two ingredients were pork and salt. Winner! Paired with a LaraBar (which I would have later as we hiked the park) and a Kombucha, I was very full after all was said and done. I have found LaraBars to be a great "meal" on their own, especially as I am more active throughout the day. As we were hiking and exploring, I needed the "pop" of energy and it was a perfect fill. I would not recommend on Whole30 using it as a full meal replacement, however, if you are hiking, this is perfect for energy if you are tired of trailmix.
Meal 17- Lunch. After my previous lunch at Farmhaus Burgers I knew I had to go back. Again, since I knew 100% I could eat there without issue, I again did the same meal as I had done before. My meal came with fries, but I gave those to my man as I did not want to eat so much fried foods. I stuck with my organic ground turkey burger, lettuce wrapped, with tomato, grilled onion and avocado. Again, i added the pork confit as it was a hearty protein addition, especially after all the walking we had already done and was about to do. The bottle of water proved to be perfect but I ended up grabbing a second bottle at a local gas station since I was so thirsty from all the hiking we had been doing.
Meal 18- Dinner. After all our walking around and whatnot, we were not anywhere near ready to go out to eat again. So, we hoped over to a local grocery store with out friends to grab some items for dinner. It was time to grill out. We had grilled chicken, pork chops and steak with roasted twice-baked sweet potatoes. I had half of a steak and was more than pleased with it and a sweet potato and a side salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, snow peas, carrots and topped with oil and vinegar. The most difficult part of this particular meal was the fact everyone was enjoying a drink except myself. I had a La Croix

Day 7 Sunday. It was time to go home. So, we got up way too early to shower, pack and prep for our trip home. I typically have in the past enjoyed a cup of coffee when waking up at 6:30a but opted for another La Croix before departing for the airport. Since it was chilly in the morning, I find I need that cup of warm comfort . Up until this point I had not had a drop of coffee but I figured I would have a cup at some point to see how it was all going to go. Honestly, I have never ever tried to drink a cup of black coffee, simply because I have always preferred my coffee to have creamer and sugar. But, it was time to change that.

Meal 19- Breakfast. Since we had to leave so early we didn't have time to grab breakfast but luckily I had stashed a couple mini-containers of mixed nuts prior to this trip to ensure if this happened, I would be set. With my bottle of water in hand, LaraBar on standby (another purchase before leaving home) i was okay to go.
Meal 20- Lunch. Once we had landed, and put the plane away It was pretty much time for lunch. And, we were starved - too starved to go straight home. Thankfully, since we were in our city, it was super easy to find a place to enjoy getting a "brunchy" lunch. One of my favorite Sunday brunch spots is Kitchen 64 and it does not disappoint. My steak (prime rib) and poached eggs were so filling. I opted to not eat the home fries, but did enjoy the grilled onions with my eggs. With a side of black coffee (yes, I did drink 1/2 cup) it ended up being a very good choice. I was super excited to be home and be back to our kitchen to round up our weekend with an at-home meal!
Meal 21- Dinner. When we had gone to the local butcher when I first began Whole30, we had grabbed Duck Breast. Now, mind you, this is not exactly the cheapest meat to buy but I really wanted to try a really great recipe I had found so we decided to splurge a bit. As much as I was excited about the recipe, we decided to skip the sauce (as I thought it might be too sweet for me). Instead, we patted it dry, added salt, pepper, paprika and fine herbs blend on the bottom. Top fatcap was the same, except we added some roasted garlic to that. Once it was cooked in the cast iron on medium heat for 4 mins per side, and placed in the 400 degree oven for about 3 minutes, it was ready. I added this recipe for crispy green bean "fries" and a LaCroix to drink. Absolute heaven!
WOW!! Week 1 completed!! 7 days so far....While day 1 was easiest for me, day 2-3 did show withdrawal symptoms like headaches, day 4 was the "irritated" day where I did feel very irritable a lot easier than normal. Unlike most, the last few days I have had nothing but energy so with all these changes going on, I feel i can continue quite easily with the remainder of this. 1 week down; 3 weeks to go!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Whole30 Day 2-4 Meals and Thoughts on the Holidays

Time for a loooooooong post! I think I am starting to get in the groove of this. While it is not like my previous 10 days without sugar (after watching the amazing FED UP documentary) I did about two months ago, this is actually not too bad. I have been doing without some of these foods for awhile now so maybe this is the start of something new? We will see after 30 days! So let's get right into this! *If you would like to read Why I started, go here. For Day 1, go here. 

Day 2: (Whole30 Meal 4-6)
Meal 4- Breakfast was a repeat of Day 1 lunch. Since I liked it so much, I made it again. I have so many sweet potatoes in the pantry it makes for an easy staple. Sweet potato is such a versatile starchy veggie; it makes for a great base and with tons of Vitamin A, an essential building block for the body, and it is super filling.

Again, I cubed and sauteed the sweet potato in my cast iron skillet with coconut oil and then with the remaining oil left in the pan, I used it to cook my egg. Adding a smidgen of salt and pepper and it was an easy start to the day. I had a cup of pomegranate oolong tea with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Meal 5- Lunch. I had been eyeing this recipe for quite some time now so I was really excited to try it out and I knew it was finally the time to make it. I did tweak the recipe to make it more Whole30 compliant but I think it turned out really well! It does take a bit of time to prep -so if you are in a hurry, this may not be the best recipe for lunch!

I started by chopping the stalks off of rainbow chard and blanching its leaves in boiling water. Remove when soften and set aside. In a separate skillet without oil, I cooked 1 ground beef patty and added a 1 tsp each of roasted garlic powder and minced onion. Once finished,  it is assembly time. I placed the ground beef mix into the bottom of the chard (at the leaf/stalk base), a tsp of pizza sauce and began rolling up (much like a burrito or egg roll) and spooned about 3/4c of pizza sauce on top of roll-ups (i only had two). Placed in 400 degree oven for about 7 mins to warm the sauce. Once removed, sprinkle Nutritional Yeast on top (optional) and serve. And, it was amazing. I was so full after the first one I had to save the second. I had a la croix melon pomelo to drink.
Meal 6- Dinner. By this time I can feel the lack of sugar in my system. Headache. Hunger pains. I can see myself avoiding any food-related online post. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving is slowly creeping up and all I can think about is trying to focus on other things. Time to grab a book!

Dinner was actually pretty amazing really. I cubed more sweet potatoes, placed them in a small ramekin and seasoned them with a little clarified butter, onion, and roasted garlic powder. They went into my 425 degree oven for about 10 mins to cook. Meanwhile, I started my green beans in a small saute pan with EVOO and shallots (these go far so you only need a few). And, I prepped my steak (from the local butcher) with paprika and fine herbs. I placed the steak into my cast iron with a light spritz of avocado oil spray. After searing each side for about a minute each, it went straight into the oven for about 2 minutes - and on top i placed 1 tsp of butter. Half way through, I flipped the steak on the opposite side and placed it back in the oven. Once the steak was done, i removed it and placed it on a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Let me tell you there is nothing quite so delicious as a grass-fed steak. Perfection! And, another La Croix to drink with dinner.
I did grab a few of organic Turkish dried apricots for a late evening snack. It hit the spot and curved my craving for dessert. I am really having a great deal of craving for sweets at night - more than normal when I was eating them. I have had to abstain from watching food-related shows in the evenings. I have to keep my mind occupied with other thoughts. Time to re-train the brain!

Day 3 (Whole30 Meal 7-9)
Meal 7- Breakfast. I woke up feeling really good this morning. On the eve of Thanksgiving, you would have no idea that I am actually dreading this part of the challenge. I come from a southern family; we use bacon grease, butter, sugar, and we love to eat, especially bread. In true tradition, we have enjoyed this favorite past time for many, many years. But, regardless of it all, it is time to get into Day 3!

Breakfast was fairly quick to make this morning. I heated coconut oil in the cast iron skillet and lightly cooked two eggs. After they finished, I sprinkled about 1 tsp 21 seasons and a about 2 drops of Franks Hot Sauce on top. Paired it with a slice of turkey and a warm cup of green tea.
Meal 8- Lunch was pretty filling. Since I had a leftover beef patty from yesterday's lunch, I made an actual burger for lunch this day. I added 1 tsp each of paprika and 21 seasonings and reformed the patty. I already had pre-chopped purple onion, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini and yellow squash so i grabbed a handful and placed that in the cast iron with a spritz of avocado oil spray. While these veggies are idea for skewers, they are also a great side for lunch or dinner and they pair well with a lot of meats and seafood. I sauteed the veggie on high heat and then turned the pan down to medium to cook my burger; the equivalent of two small sliders. After slicing up a half of an apple, lunch was served! I enjoyed another La Croix with lunch and will be saving the other half of my apple for an afternoon snack.
Meal 9- Dinner. I was really happy about dinner prior to one of the biggest food holidays of the year. It was really "clean" eating and happened to be more unique than any of my other meals I had previously made. Dinner was rockfish grilled with a homemade dijon sauce and a spice rub grilled in the pan with the other half of my apple from lunch and a mini sauteed chopped chard salad with EVOO and shallots. I placed the fish on top of the salad to mix the dijon marinade into the salad and it was amazing. I loved trying fish a new way and having some apple slices was a great end to the meal - minus the fishy taste.

Day 4  (Meal 10-12) Happy Thanksgiving! I started off by saying "This day is surely going to be a struggle!" I love Thanksgiving and spending time with family and friends - but it makes the option of "cheating" on Whole30 another dynamic in the day. When you are at home in your own kitchen, you can control what you make and put into each dish. As you visit relatives, who do not follow the same guidelines as you do for meal prep, it makes for a more challenging meal.

Meal 10- Breakfast. I knew we would be eating somewhat heavy this day so I wanted to make a pretty dense meal nutrition-wise but without being overly filling. I had sauteed chopped sweet potatoes and a over-medium egg. I had considered making sausage but decided against it as I felt that would be too much.
Meal 11/12- Lunch/Dinner. Since Thanksgiving is always so filling I went for an easier approach. Since we were eating late (but the turkey was done early, I opted my "lunch" to be a few slices of turkey with mustard. It tied me over until dinner and was still compliant with Whole30- a win-win in my book.  Once the rest of the meal was ready, and everyone showed up, it was time for dinner.

My family was surprised to find I was not opting for stuffing or pie. Since we made mashed parsnips, it ended up working out really well for me (since my aunt tends to add milk and butter to her mashed potato recipe). Our turkey was made with just seasoning of dried herbs and drippings from the bird itself so it made for an easy protein. I had green beans and a cup of poms (instead of cranberries) and my meal was perfection. I had made it past without a problem. My family was surprised I decided to start Whole30 before the holiday's but I explained to them this was something I had decided on after my birthday and I could not turn back simply because of a simple holiday.
Surviving the holday's can be done on Whole30 with just a few adjustments. First, I made sure I brought at least one item I could eat - just incase. Second, I had to ask my family members their 'secrets' on how they made each item I was unsure about. Thirdly, some items I just had to clearly steer away from. It was not too difficult, but it was a challenge I faced pretty well. While I do not recommend anyone starting their Whole30 prior to the holiday season, I found it to be a challenge I succeeded.  While week 1 is still very much in the green, I am worried about my upcoming trip to Georgia. We will see how this goes!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Whole30 Meal Planning and Day 1

Whole30 as I said before is removing a lot of items from your normal eating routine. For the next 30 days (or 90 meals), the program eliminates what becomes a lot of issues for people. I must say I have gone a week without sugar previous, however 30 days might prove to be a challenge with some of the other items on this list.
What I have found to be the biggest issue people have with Whole30 is the meal planning. It takes a great deal of work to actually sit out a meal plan since a lot of prep is involved in making this program work. In their book, they provide a lot of meals to help you out with that process. Additionally, a lot of people have also paved the way for helping you out with meal planning. I went seeking what other fellow program users had done on Pinterest. And, I was not disappointed. So many people have done the Whole30 program, and with great success, created a lot of amazing meals. After finding a great deal I really like, I decided I would start making a few myself.

This day proved to be a a bit challenging as we had gone grocery shopping prior to dinner to get all the essentials we needed, since our pantry had to be "reorganized" to remove some of the items we had been using before. Our local butcher proved to be an excellent source of grass-fed beef from a local farm. And, we have another local organic grocery store which had sustainable wild caught fish. However, our chain stores proved a tad more tricky. Reading labels is essential in this process and I could not believe how much sugar is in everything! Typically we use sauces to flavor meats and create our own sauces, but this also proved difficult as almost all  (even organic ones) included some form of sugar. I also found a lot of starch filler in drinks like almond milk and even soy as a filler in almost ever sauce or non-dairy item. So, the real test for me will be creating new flavors without certain kitchen staples I have been used to using.
Day 1: 
As the first day, I don't believe I felt any sort of "missing out". Here are my meals! (Breakfast not included as I woke up later than normal.) Meal 1 - 3 cups of organic green tea and pomegranate seeds for flavor.

Meal 2- Lunch was Sweet Potatoes cubed and sauteed in my cast iron skillet with coconut oil. I also cooked an egg in the leftover coconut oil. Added salt and pepper and lunch was made. This was delicious! I drank a cup of pomegranate oolong tea- no sweetener.
Meal 3- Dinner was Swordfish seasoned with Old Bay, Shallots and a homemade Dijon marinade (Dijon mustard, shallots, lemon juice, and garlic powder) sauteed in a pan. In another pan I had sauteed green beans cooking over avocado oil and roasted garlic seasoning. I used the leftover Dijon marinade and EVOO to make a salad dressing for my side salad of 50/50 salad blend. I did place the fish on top for a warm salad and i found the fish flavored the salad perfectly. Water to drink with lemon for dinner.
So day 1 was a success - 3 meals done! I did not miss sugar or sweeteners at all. I do think making your own sauces is the way to go on flavoring meats. We are starting to use more spices as rubs (like with the swordfish) and less with basic bottled marinades to create new flavor profiles. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November Birchbox

So, I decided after the failure of Conscious/Bestowed Box, I would try my hand with Birchbox. I have heard a lot of great things about Birchbox, with the exception of the fact not all products are organic or gluten-free. As that is a main factor in my choice to use a product or not, I was hoping that maybe with a few tweaks, I could curate the boxes more toward those types of products. And, November did not turn out too bad. 

For the month of November, you had a choice to select the GlamLifeGuru box with items you know you were getting or a normal Birchbox where they selected your products for you. I chose the GlamLifeGuru box.
  1. Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Serum $36 - Avene actually is a product line that started in France. Their new skincare line migrated to the US and became popular quickly for its good ingredients and minerals to help rejuvenate skin. This sample actually gave you a good amount for testing. I was really impressed with it. I applied it only to parts of my face which are very dry and i have noticed how hydrating this serum really is. I had never really used serums prior to this product, but I think I may have to broaden my skincare routine to include them. While this product is quite expensive, it is actually a good investment as you really do not need a lot of product per use.
  2. Jouer Lip Enhancer $16 - With ingredients like castor oil and jojoba oil, this I was really excited about. The formula looks like a gloss upon application and I really do say it has helped with dryness of my lips. I typically put this on prior to putting on lipstick and it tends to moisturize really well beforehand. It is a little tacky for a matte lipstick but if you are using a more cream-based lip product, this is a good pre-treatment. 
  3. Living proof. Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo $22 - I have to confess this was not my first time using Living Proof dry shampoo. It has actually become on of my favorite hair product lines and this is literally my favorite dry shampoo out on the market currently. I love the fact a little bit of product goes a long way. It is super easy to use, and sets really well. And, since I am an almost daily user to dry shampoo, this product packs a punch! The sample size is actually perfect for traveling so I am excited to be using that over these holiday travel days!
  4. LOC One & Done Shadow Stick in Day Trip $10 - LOC is a new product line collaboration with blogger and vloggers like GlamLifeGuru and Birchbox to create great products. Their shadow sticks are cruelty-free and boasts a lot of beautiful colors. Day trip is a really wonderful color for day time and really nice for a lighter color for a nighttime smokey eye. The product is super easy to use and its creamy texture allows for easy application. And, the price tag is a real treat for those who are budget conscious as well.
  5. Shiseido ULTIMUNE EYE Power Infusing Eye Concentrate $65 - I have been a tried and true ROC fan for awhile now. I was quite disappointed with the amount of product sample they gave but with the normal price tag being above $50, I can see why. Just like with typical eye creams, you do not need a lot, just about 2-3 drops should do it, and it was pretty nice. I did not see a change in my dark circle nor any beginning stages of wrinkles and sun damage with this product. I am about 1/2 through the sample after constant use. While I will not be purchasing this product, 15ml is not a lot to me, I think those with far more eye issues may benefit from this. I will say with my current eye creams I am using.
Well, November has been rounded up and these are the products I chose. Anyone had any luck with these? Or, if you have found any amazing new products, send my way. I would love to try some out!

Whole30 Program

If you are not familiar with the Whole30 Program, you can find out more about it here. I decided after speaking with my doctor, this is something I believe might be a helpful start to my reaching my health goals. So, after a lot of thinking about such a drastic life change and researching a lot more on the Whole30 program, I am starting just after my birthday.
Before - 11/23 - 139 lbs.
I know the next couple of weeks are going to not be ideal in starting (hello Thanksgiving). But, there is no better time than now to do something life-changing. After having such a monumental birthday I had a sort of epiphany and realized it was time for a change: I am not happy being unhealthy. While I have been healthy in the past, as I have started getting older, I realized I have created some habits I am not proud of. I realized eating healthy is only part of my problem. So, I want to take you all on this journey with me. This is not as easy as one would think. I have admitted for years I have an addiction to sugar. I want that to change. I am taking you on this journey with me since I feel sugar is the real enemy.  But, sugar is only part of the problem. Hitting the reset button is only going to start a domino-effect of change. The Whole30 Program is a life choice, and something I feel would benefit me.

The Whole30 program is not easy. It is not just a "diet"; it is a lifestyle change. Here are the list of No-No's:
  • No Sugar at all of any kind (real or artificial)
  • No Alcohol
  • No Grains
  • No Legumes
  • No Dairy
  • No MSG, Sulfites, or Carrageenan
  • No re-creating recipes with "approved ingredients"
  • No stepping on the scale
It is noted that if you "cheat" and eat any of the no-no's, you will have to start over. So, if you are really dedicated to doing Whole30, just realize after 90 meals you can have them if you want. If temptation is in your house, move those items out of your reach or place them where other family members will get them first. As I like to say "out of sight, out of mind".  I believe the hardest part of this whole process (which will be the true challenge) for me will be during the holiday's, where temptation is highest.
While Whole30 does not specify hitting the gym as a necessity, I feel it is essential to my overall health to do so in addition to these dietary changes. The great thing about needing to get physically fit is that you really do not need an actual gym to do so. YouTube has provided you with a free opportunity to have a fitness instructor in your own home. I personally like the PopSugar Fitness channel and would recommend them, as I enjoy those videos myself. 

The other part of staring Whole30 is the books, which will guide you through your experience. You are supposed to start with this book and then use this book for recipes and additional guidebook. While this purchase is completely up to you, It may be a necessity if you want to flag certain items of interest. 
So, time to get started. If you have any questions about the program, and you want to pursue this after consulting your doctor, Whole30 does have a blog for support and other questions. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Conscious Box (now Bestowed Box) September and October Reviews

Hey Everyone! It has been so super busy here that I have not been able to post this until now. Sorry Guys and Gals!!

I decided I was unhappy with Ipsy and their lack of organic and eco-conscious products I made the switch to Conscious Box (which as of October, is now Bestowed Box). I wanted to give my review on these item since I was hopeful a new box would provide better options. I had done some research in looking for subscription boxes which were more organic and eco-friendly. Sadly, there really is not a good selection of choices. Conscious Box is a monthly subscription box geared toward vegan and cruelty-free products. They do note they offer gluten-free and organic options, however my boxes did not have that many choices in those categories of items. Here is my breakdown.
Conscious Box - September

  1. Saffron Road (Harissa Sauce Pouch) $3/pouch - While I typically try to buy sauces in glass jars, I was interested in how well these would taste. I have always heard pouch products (like tuna) was better preserved in a pouch over a can so I wanted to see how this stood up. I really did enjoy the flavor or this sauce, but I still prefer their Curry over Harissa. It is a tad too spicy for my palette. 
  2. Ips Chips (Sea Salt & Black Pepper) $2/bag - I really liked these. They reminded me a lot of pop chips. They are quite addictive and they provide a great source of energy when you need a boost throughout the day. I had these in my lunch for one of my hikes and it is a quick and easy snack to grab. With the 6 grams of protein, they are filling alone on their own to help curve your appetite between meals. 
  3. Energizer (Eco Advanced AAA Batteries) $9/4pk - I was a bit surprised to get batteries in a wellness box but I really love the concept Energizer used behind these. They used recycled batteries to recreate another set of batteries, and they last quite awhile. They are still in use and I am happy with them. If i find them in the store, I would not hesitate to purchase these!
  4. Beafield Snacks (Barbecue) $2.50/bag - I really, really loved these. I think this was one of my favorite items in the box. I took these apple picking during the long car ride and they were the perfect snack. I love they are gluten-free and have tons of protein and are actually a healthy chip. I like the BBQ flavor, but it did not taste so much as a typicall BBQ chip I used to purchase with all those chemical additives. These are a great snack. Next time I get these, I will probably have them with Salsa. They are the perfect dip chip!
  5. Smarty Pants (Sour 2/pk & Kids 2/pk) $15/bottle - I was surprised to find an actual chewable vitamin with ingredients I could have. Typically, companies use fake sugars or HFCS to add a sweetner but Smarty Pants didn't. I even had the sour adult ones and I really liked those as well - even though I would not have normally picked these up at the store. A tad more pricey compared to other store brands but I like the cleaner ingredients, so that is a plus for mom's looking to keep harmful chemicals out of their children. 
  6. Crystal Towelettes (1 towelette) $8.50/box -This was a bit more difficult for me to really like. I typically like a deodorant stick or roller ball. While I have used their rollerball products previously, I was unfamiliar with their towelettes. I actually think this is quite a clever idea for travel or hiking/camping. It is very purse friendly and does not take up space at all!
  7. Your Tea ( Sleep Tea Sachel, Energy Tea Sachel) $35/box -  When I found out the price of this tea, I was immediate unimpressed. The tea was okay. With the energy tea, I did not notice a boost of energy at work and the sleep tea did not make me unwind or get tired. While I think this is a good tasting tea, I did not find the teas stood up to the types of teas they were attempting to be. Since I have found you can only purchase this on their website, I doubt I will purchase this in the future. I'll stick to my organic green tea!
  8. William Roam (Sense Shampoo) $22/bottle - I am someone who has a great deal of issues with my hair. My hair is not easily swayed by a new product to behave. It tends to be unruly. Sense is a really great shampoo. This particular sample size allowed me to get multiple uses, which is a good test to see how it handles in your hair. And, I was impressed. It smelled like warm oatmeal. As it did not specify hair type, I am not sure how this will hold up for other hair types, but my fine and oily hair type took well to this particular product. 
As much as I was excited to try Conscious Box, I was not fully impressed with all the products I was given. I was really unhappy with how long this box took to receive. My box was supposed to ship on September 23rd, but I did not get any notification until October 12th that it was finally shipped. And, by the time I received by September box, my payment for October box was being submitted. So, already I was unhappy with the overall management of the box. And, after checking various sites, I was not the only one. Many complained about the lack of customer service. I decided to give it one more try. 

Another downer for me was I was provided a vast array of products but I was hoping for more beauty and less food/household goods so I waited for my October box. When I received my October box, it had a new welcome letter stating that Conscious Box was under new management by Bestowed Box. I started looking over their past boxes and I became hopeful my products would improve. 
Conscious/Bestowed Box - October
  1. Simply7 (Hummus Chips - Sea Salt) $2.50/lg bag - These were like the Ips Chips I had in the previous box. These were pretty good as well. I liked these a lot more and I really am curious about their other flavors. These are addictive and I really like how crisp they are. These would be perfect alone or dipped in roasted red pepper hummus!
  2. Beanfields Snacks (Nacho) $2.50/bag - Just like the previous box, I got another bag of Beanfields, this time in Nacho. I really liked these a lot better and they were really delicious on their own. I really love their chips line and next time I am at the store, I will be grabbing a bag of these!
  3. Nektar Naturals (1 pk Honey Crystals) $4/jar - I actually used this with the tea pack they sent me. I was really impressed with a crystallized form of honey and i really liked how i only needed one pack to sweeten my cup of tea. While I am trying to lower my sugar intake, I did like finding an alternative to stevia and these are great for on-the-go travel, purse or desk. 
  4. NoGii (Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar) $27/box -  I am really picky about my protein bars. I really do not like a chalky taste and I feel most tend to pack protein and sacrifice flavor. This one tasted really well, but was overly sweet. As awesome as it is to have a gluten-free bar, I found it more of a dessert-type treat than a workout snack. And, with the price tag so steep for a box, I find it better to stick with options like a LaraBar instead.  
  5. Numi Organic Tea (Chocolate Chai) $6/box - I really love chocolate chia teas as it is so I was very pleased to see this in the box. I had never tried this tea before but I really enjoyed it. As it begins to get colder here, I tend to move from lighter teas to heavier ones like chai and this is perfect for a season change. They have other flavors and I was happy to find how inexpensive this tea really is for organic! I actually saw it in Walmart so it is easily available for most consumers. 
  6. Natralia (Heel Balm) $10/tube - This is an odd addition to the box. While I do not have issues with the heels of my feet, I was curious to see how it worked. So, i slathered the sample on before bed- slipped a pair of socks on and slept. I was really happy with how soft my feet felt, but this is not a product I would typically use. I did, however, like trying a product I would not normally have. This company is out of Australia, so if I ever travel there, I could always grab a product off their skincare line. 
  7. Mrs. Myers Clean Day (dish soap - lemon verbena) $4/bottle - I love Mrs. Myers products so I was very pleased to see this little sample in my box. I have used this product previously and I really like their entire cleaning product line so I will continue to buy this one. For this particular sample, I gave it to my other half so he could wash some of his lunch dishes at the office. It is a perfect on-the-go item for the office or camping. The smell is amazing and they use great ingredients so i recommend this line to anyone that would ask.
Overall, as much as I liked some of the Conscious/Bestowed box products, I felt the $10/month did not warrant a renewal past two months since I was looking for more beauty products than food and household items. If you are looking at eco-friendly and cruelty-free items for your home, this box is an affordable option. However, if you are looking for beauty and makeup-related items, this box will not be for you. If you have any subscription boxes you like and would like to share, please leave a comment and let me know! I am always looking for great products and options!