Favorite Things: January Edition

by | Jan 11, 2018 | Living Well

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I came across a friend’s post prompting readers to “ Name five favorite things you’ve discovered this year”, an ode to Oprah, if you will. Being the Health and Wellness consumer that I am, I had a lot to contribute to this topic, so I began typing away. It got me thinking that I should elaborate in a blog post for my readers, since I completely love and believe in these wonderful and healing products.

I will start by telling you that I have no affiliation whatsoever with anyone of these products and receive zero compensation for the referral of them. But if you know of anyway to fix that, please let me know because I would be proud to be a brand ambassador for anyone of these amazing things.

#1 Mayan Sweet Stevia


 Stevia has recently become a popular sugar substitute and is often touted as the healthiest sugar alternative. Stevia Rebaudiana is a plant native to South America. Its leaves, which are MUCH sweeter than sugar, have been ground and used as a natural sweetener for hundreds of years in places like Japan and Brazil. With science finally highlighting the negative effects of refined sugar, Stevia’s use and popularity have grown in the US, as well. But is Stevia good for you? While studies are still inconclusive, it has been proposed that stevia is non-cariogenic (it doesn’t cause tooth decay), might have anticancer properties, could improve cholesterol, and may lower blood pressure. More studies need to be done to verify these claims.

The white stuff and liquid drops you get in the supermarkets are generally far from Stevia’s natural form. Just like sugar, they have been processed to remove any valuable nutrients and are often mixed with other types of sweeteners to adjust the flavor. The infographic below from draxe.com provides a great visual for the different types of stevia available. BOTTOM LINE: You want green Stevia powder. Green stevia is essentially the dried stevia leaf, ground up. No added sweeteners or chemicals! Mayan Sweet Stevia was the first green stevia I stumbled across and I love the natural earthy flavor. It hails from Mexico, is 100% organic, and comes in a 40g jar of loose powder or box of 50 individual packets to keep in your purse or wallet. How cool is that?

#2 Coconut Yogurt from Edible Alchemy


I was strolling through my local farmers market one day when a spotted some brightly colored kombucha sitting on a table. Gravity pulling me toward the stand, I sampled the different orange and pink filled dixie cups and grabbed a large glass jar full of fermented goodness to place in my reusable shopping tote. “It’s 2 for $15” the attendant shared. “You can get 2 kombuchas or 1 kombucha and 1 coconut yogurt”. Coconut yogurt?!!? My ears perked up and my eyes widened. I am always looking for great dairy alternatives to add to my weekly menu so I grabbed a container, gave the gentleman my money, and headed home. The next morning I chopped some fruit and fished the coconut yogurt from out my fridge.

Digging my spoon into the white, shiney lushessness, my first thought was how thick it was. It had the consistency of ice cream. You could almost stand a spoon up in it. Almost. I slapped a couple tablespoons on top of my chopped fruit, sprinkled some slivered almonds and chia seeds on top of that, and dived in. YUM! Though Edible Alchemy adds NO sugar to its yogurt, there was a slight natural sweetness from the coconut that really complemented this breakfast concoction. The texture was thick and velvety, like that of a full fat or cream top dairy yogurt. I was in love.

Edible Alchemy’s coconut yogurt is vegan and gluten-free, as well as free from any soy, preservatives, GMOs, and artificial sweeteners. Additionally, it contains a few probiotic strains that we know are beneficial for gut health. I am a HUGE fan of eating probiotics as well as taking supplements to obtain greater diversity of gut microbiota species. In addition to this beautiful coconut yogurt, the company has an impressive list of products ranging from sauerkrauts and kombuchas to mushroom tinctures and soaps. Check them out at farmers markets and local food stores throughout the San Diego area OR order online here. They ship nationwide!

#3 The Honest Kitchen Pet Food


Our furry friends benefit from well-made food, too. Unfortunately for them, many sources of kibble and canned food are far from healthy. I mean, just take a whiff next time you crack open a can. What is that smell? Thankfully, The Honest Kitchen based in San Diego has created a dog-food that, get this, actually smells like real food. In fact, they’ve taken it one step further by applying for the “Human-grade” label with the FDA.

And while technically humans can eat the dehydrated stew that smells a lot like Christmas dinner, they advise that humans refrain from doing so because…it’s for dogs and cats, not humans. Duh. Dogfoodadvisor.com gives The Honest Kitchen a 4 Star rating, withholding the 5th star for lower meat/animal protein content. The recipe contains a “moderate” amount as opposed to a “high” amount of animal protein and makes up for its protein content with quinoa and other plant based ingredients like sweet potatoes, spinach, and parsley.

I picked up a couple of trial cups at my local pet food store to see if my dogs were fans. The loose powder comes in a cup-o-soup type tub so that consumers don’t have to commit to a large box before they know if Fido and Kitty are actually going to eat it. Just mix with warm water, wait a few minutes for the food to reconstitute, and serve.

My dogs love it and I love that I don’t have to deal with the gross canned stuff, anymore. The Honest Kitchen’s full product line includes the dehydrated dog and cat food mentioned here, Popper Toppers, treats, and supplements. They are available in pet stores nationwide as well as online through amazon, or their website.

I picked up a couple of trial cups at my local pet food store to see if my dogs were fans. The loose powder comes in a cup-o-soup type tub so that consumers don’t have to commit to a large box before they know if Fido and Kitty are actually going to eat it. Just mix with warm water, wait a few minutes for the food to reconstitute, and serve.

#4 Zum Clean Laundry Soap in Frankincense and Myrrh


I was waiting in line at Sprouts one day when I remembered that I was out of laundry detergent. I had been using the free and clear version from the more common “natural” companies when I saw this purple label staring back at me. Frankincense and Myrrh sounded perfectly “Hippie” and right up my ally, so I grabbed a bottle, ran back into line (with an annoyed glance from the patron behind me) and went home to tackle the mountains of laundry waiting for me. I can’t put into words how therapeutic this Zum Clean laundry soap smells. It literally is Aromatherapy, which, let’s be honest, is quite nice when the sight of 5 loads of laundry is stressing you out. Indigo Wild, the company behind the Zum line, is located in St. Louis, Missouri and prides itself on its natural products. In an effort to be fully transparent, they include all of their ingredients on the website. Zum Clean Laundry Soap is made of just 4: Sodium cocoate (saponifed 100% coconut oil), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), essential oils and glycerin (vegetable). In addition, their product line is cruelty-free, vegan or vegetarian, gluten-free and handmade in the USA. But their awesomeness doesn’t end there! Indigo Wild is committed to giving back and contributes a portion of their proceeds to charities benefiting Breast Cancer warriors and Sheltie Rescues. Theirs is a company you can absolutely feel good about supporting and using. This liquid laundry heaven is available at stores across the United States. Check out Indigo Wild’s store locator, buy directly from their website, or order through Amazon.

#5 Four Sigmatic Mushroom Anything


 Mushroom whaaaa? I know. It sounded weird to me too when I first heard the strangely paired words in one of my nutrition classes. We were discussing a classmate’s client that was having a hard time giving up coffee but needed to cut back on caffeine due to anxiety and other symptoms. Someone mentioned “Mushroom Coffee” as a nice way to wean off of the hard stuff and it prompted me to do what I do best. Research!

The biggest question is Why? Why combine mushrooms and coffee? For starters, we aren’t talking about culinary mushrooms, here. The types of mushrooms used in mushroom coffee are medicinal mushrooms and go by names like Reishi, Turkey Tail, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane.

Each has its own benefits when consumed and adding medicinal mushrooms to coffee is said to have a more balanced effect on the drinker, providing the benefits of waking you up, without the major crash later in the day. The Four Sigmatic instant coffee packets have half the caffeine as a regular cup of coffee and while that might sound like a deterrent to those that rely on their morning speedball to move the limbs and do the things, the mushrooms themselves have stimulating properties (minus the jitters) with the added benefits of antioxidants to support the immune system, and adaptogenic properties that support the adrenal glands. Plus is tastes like regular coffee and makes a quick addition to a keto/bulletproof cup-o-joe!

Google Mushroom Coffee and Four Sigmatic dominates the page. There are other companies that make mushroom coffee and supplements but, according to Nootropedia, these products are subpar because they harvest their mushrooms from the Mycelium (the roots) as opposed to the fruiting body (the actual mushroom). This results in little to no medicinal value, says Nootropedia (Four Sigmatic Review, 2017). While I haven’t been able to find any literature to support this claim, I like that Four Sigmatic sources their mushrooms from the wild or grows their mushrooms in real wood, just as they would grow in the wild. They are committed to providing the most bioavailable products which include their Mushroom Coffees, Hot Cacaos, Elixirs, Mushroom Matcha, and Superfood Blends. Shop directly on their website here, look for them at your local market, or head over to trusty ole Amazon to get a taste.

Want to try Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee for Free? Subscribe to this blog, like, and share this post, and your name will be entered into a drawing! Ten lucky winners will be mailed an instant packet of Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee to sample for themselves!

Amberly Rowland

Integrative Nutritionist

I’m Amberly, a Clinical & Integrative Nutritionist. I help women who’ve had cancer go from just “surviving” to THRIVING by amping up their nutrition, reducing stress, and teaching them how to be in the present moment.

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