Friday, September 24, 2010

Wild Creations Frog Eco-Aquarium

Want to make a smashing hit with your children?  Just bring this Eco Aquarium from Wild Creations into the house and watch the fun.  My son couldn't have been more excited when this arrived via Fed Ex all contained in a small box--items to set up the aquarium and two live frogs.  Live frogs!  There is nothing more exciting to a five year old boy.  I was big on frogs when I was a little girl, so I think it could be just as exciting for a girl, they're very cute.

The whole thing is really cute and adds a splash of color and life to your space.  It's easy to put together, takes just a few minutes and does not make a mess, all you need to have on hand is spring water.  the food that is included lasts a whole year and you only have to feed the frogs twice a week and clean the aquarium every three months which is also a very simple process.

Your child learns about the eco system since all parts act synergistically to create a balanced habitat.   It's perfect for parents who want their kids to have the thrill and responsibility of a pet but without a lot of maintenance.

I think this would be wonderful at a birthday party situation, both for the birthday-kid, or to bring as a gift.  It's also perfect for a classroom.  Wild Creations is an eco-minded company who promotes love and respect of nature.  Highly recommended!  Find it HERE.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Garden of Life VITAMIN CODE Raw Vegan Vitamins

I'm not a big fan of supplements in general.  I believe we should get our nutrients from our food--by eating nutrient dense organic foods.  Very simple.  Sometimes I think people delude themselves that they can eat the standard American diet and pop some vitamins and be okay.  Not a great idea.  There is no better way in my opinion to get your vitamins than eating nutrient rich fresh food.  And by this, I mean consuming a lot of organic vegetables and greens.

There are a couple of exceptions.  Therapeutic use of supplements, and supplementation of vitamins you might have no way of getting through food.  For me, there are three vitamins I take with regularity:  Vitamin D (because of my geography and I have tested deficient twice now), Vitamin B12 (because of my vegan diet, although I have never tested low on this even prior to supplementation), and iron (for just a few days of the month, otherwise I can run anemic).

Recently I discovered a brand of vitamin that I'm in love with -- VITAMIN CODE RAW vitamins made by Garden of Life.  These vitamins are completely different from most vitamins on the market.

They are made with raw organic plant based ingredients.  Fabulous! The idea is that your body recognizes the nutrients and is able to absorb them readily.  Sounds obvious, right?  But so many vitamins are not made with quality ingredients, or are synthetic and I believe, worthless. Vitamin Code, on the other hand, appear to be the gold standard in vitamins.  They are certainly the best I've ever had.  These are also the first vitamins I have ever been able to take on an empty stomach.  Other supplements make me incredibly nauseous.

Vitamin D3 is a great supplement for winter, and I think year round seeing as a huge portion of the country is deficient.  It can help your immune system fend off winter colds and flu as well as a host of other benefits.  Since sun exposure is waning with the end of summer, this is a great time to beef up your immune system with starting a vitamin D3 regime.

They come in glass bottles which I think is great, though I wish they were filled more than a third of the way--I'd be happy to pay more to get a full bottle and avoid that waste. If you haven't tried Vitamin Code yet, I highly recommend this brand.  Find them HERE.  Tip:  You can find them at a discount at online shops like Luckyvitamin and Vitacost as well as subscribe to regular shipments at a discount on Amazon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

RAW FOOD ESSENTIALS: Ani's best book yet

I like all of Ani Phyo's books, but her latest effort is the best yet.  Ani's RAW FOOD ESSENTIALS is a  hard bound raw food cookbook sure to be a classic tome on every healthy kitchen shelf.

ARFE is well organized and fun to read.  Ani's tone is upbeat, conversational, and you can see how passionate she is about this lifestyle.  It's an all encompassing lifestyle, embracing chemical free living, reducing our carbon footprint, in addition to eating a healthy organic (as local as possible) diet.

I really appreciate the little icons at the beginning of each recipie so you can see what you need for food prep during a pre-dinner thumb-through.  There are shadowboxes throughout with various tips and information, and several tanalizing color photos in the center of the book, with black and white photos throughout.

Ani's recipes are known for being accessible.   What I like is that she still manages to keep the flavors interesting and complex while keeping the work to a minimum.  The noodle dishes are a great example.  I can whip up a raw noodle dish with complex Thai undertones in a matter of a few minutes.

Being a big fan of the noodle bowl, I was excited to see several raw noodle recipes as I'm always interested in new variations.  Carrot Angel Hair With Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cheddar Cheeze Sauce is a great example--I would have never thought of making carrot noodles and combining them with sun dried tomatoes, arugula, and a cheeze sauce---Yum.

I also love the way she gives you the basics and then lets you run with it--basic salad dressing, basic cake, etc.  You get a solid foundation and then are encouraged to come up with your own variations.

You do need the basics--high speed blender, food processor, and dehydrator.  Ani recommends the Excalibur, but I suggest the TSM dehydrator instead if you have a little extra to spend.  This may seem like a big expense to some, but I use my equipment daily and consider it an investment in my health and well being.  There are enough recipes here that do not require the dehydrator, but the first two items are really essential.

This is a perfect book for people just starting out with raw foods, people who have been at it for a while, and just for anyone looking to amp up their nutritional value and taste of their meals and snacks.  There are a ton of wonderful recipes for pretty much every occasion.  It's a classic, highly recommended!
Find it HERE. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

KEEN Weidler Backpack

Keen is one of my very favorite shoe and bag companies.  Their stuff is buy-it-once quality, is super functional and well thought out, uses recycled content, and looks cool to boot.

Check out this new Weidler Backpack.  This is something new for me as it has a side opening/closure, making it easy to access contents while still on your shoulder.  The compartments are an electronic device junkie's dream with plenty of spaces for your camera, ipod, phone, and a padded separate compartment for your laptop.  There's a chest strap for heavier loads, and recycled metal hardware.

Normally I like my gear as plain and logo-free as possible.  A prominent logo could potentially be a deal breaker for me.  For some reason the Keen logo just makes me smile.  It looks kind of like a big toothy grin, it's a happy logo and one of the few that I really love.  The big Keen logo on this pack makes it look even cooler and also makes it easy to spot for traveling purposes.

I think this would be a great pack for cycling or any type of commuting to work.  The recycled rubber on the bottom makes it nice for setting down on the bus or train and the reflector on the bottom makes you a little more visible on your bike.  There are handles both on the top and the side so you can grab it from any angle, and the zippers glide smoothly.

It might be a little better for guys (or taller females) for daily commuting.  I'm 5'5 with a medium frame and the bag hits me below my hips.  It's a little big for me for quickie trips but would be wonderful on the plane or for longer excursions.  It would be great for a weekend (or week-long) adventure.  There's plenty of room for clothes, books, snacks, extra shoes, small blanket, etc.  The Weidler is a great multipurpose bag, find it HERE.