New Year. New You. New Fuel! {Product Review}

So…you might’ve noticed something different about the calendar by now.¬†Hint: the date no longer reads “2015.” (Of course, I can never get my years straight, so if you cashed a check from me recently, just scribble out that “15” part. Sorry, Mom.)

But enough about my haphazard record keeping skills. 2016 has officially taken up residence for the next 52 weeks, which — for most people — signals¬†that dreaded New Year’s Resolution season.

Based on The Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 66% of resolution makers center their goals around fitness and nutrition. However, 73% will soon fall victim to burnout.

The take-away? Don’t become another statistic.

Whether you’re¬†planning a dietary overhaul or just¬†curbing a junk food fetish,¬†Manitoba Harvest¬†has the ideal¬†snack time solution. Your¬†2016 self-improvement¬†list¬†never tasted more delectable.

Introducing (drumroll, please)…

manitoba harvest fueled by hemp

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

Fuel this year with the natural protein power of hemp, and healthy eating will become a no-brainer!

These conveniently portioned nibbles support your active lifestyle with nutritious fuel anytime of day. From a portable office snack to a workout energy boost to an after-dinner treat, hemp heart bars offer on-the-go versatility to balance out that busy schedule.

Behold, the health benefits of¬†each 45-gram serving…

The Breakdown:

10 grams Plant-Based Protein

10 grams Omega Fatty Acids

> 10 grams Sugar

Vegan & Non-GMO


The Flavor Profile:

chocolate hemp bar flavor

CHOCOLATE

240 Calories Per Bar — I’m generally not a proponent of calorie counting, but in case you wanna know,¬†there’s your answer.

Natural Ingredients — hemp hearts, organic brown rice syrup, organic coconut palm sugar, organic cocoa mass, organic dutch-process cocoa, organic chocolate flavor, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — All the buttery richness I expect¬†from a chocolate cravings crusher. No complaints from this choco-holic!

apple cinnamon hemp bar flavor

APPLE CINNAMON

230 Calories Per Bar — Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard my calorie counting spiel, so I’ll leave this here for curiosity’s sake.

Natural Ingredients — ¬†hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, dried apple, cinnamon, organic apple flavor, organic brown rice syrup, pectin, organic sunflower oil, organic caramel flavor, rosemary extract

My Verdict — I’m just not ready to kiss fall flavors goodbye,¬†and this delivers all the spicy seasonal warmth ¬†of a classic apple pie. Seconds, please!

vanilla hemp bar flavor

VANILLA

240 Calories Per Bar — Yeah…I’ll get off my soapbox now. It’s packed with nutrients, that’s all you gotta¬†know.

Natural Ingredients —¬†hemp hearts, organic coconut palm sugar, organic brown rice syrup, organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, pectin, organic sunflower oil, rosemary extract

My Verdict — Distinctly floral and aromatic with a hint of earthiness. The consummate sweet tooth satisfier, in my taste bud’s opinion!


 

Wanna try this deliciousness for free? Then, enter the “Fueled By Hemp” social media photo contest! Tag #sweatpink #hempheartbar #fueledbyhemp @manitobaharvest @fitapproach¬†for a chance to win your favorite flavor.¬†The posts¬†don’t need to include Manitoba Harvest products, but of course, it‚Äôs fabulous if they do!

Check out the full contest details here.¬†Open to U.S. and Canada residents. Or, if you need instant hemp gratification¬†(which…understandable!), order online using the discount code¬†hhbarlaunch1016¬†for 15% off your purchase¬†(Expires 3/31/2016).

manitoba harvest hemp heart bars

image courtesy of Manitoba Harvest

 

10 Ingenious Ingredient Hacks that Equal Smoothie Perfection

Yeaaaah. I’m that girl, who’s best friends with her blender and thinks smoothie-making should be considered the ultimate in culinary expertise.

And, therefore, I don’t just limit myself to the standard, predictable “fruity fare.” Not that I don’t love a classic strawberry-banana combo, but experimenting with unusual flavor profiles is what keeps luring me back to the kitchen.

That’s why no liquid concoction in my repertoire would be complete without the following add-ins. Once blended all together, you might not even notice their subtle, sublime presence; nevertheless, these “superfood” ingredients boost your diet with natural, (mostly) plant-based nutrition without compromising the velvety texture and refreshing taste that you expect from a perfectly-pureed smoothie.

1. Hemp Hearts

hemp hearts

image courtesy of babble.com

 These crisp and nutty seeds are loaded with protein, iron, Vitamin E, whole grains, and Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, metabolic, reproductive, and anti-inflammatory health.

2. Rolled Oats

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

image courtesy of keeperofthehome.org

This hearty and filling cereal is loaded with fiber, protein, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin E, whole grains, and antioxidants (polyphenols, carotenoids & flavonoids) for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, and digestive health.

3. Almond Butter

almond butter

image courtesy of amyshealthybaking.com

 This thick and creamy spread is loaded with protein, calcium, copper, fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol musculoskeletal, neurological, nervous, and digestive health.   

4. Leafy Greens

leafy greens

image courtesy of busterbucks.hubpages.com

These fresh and nutrient-dense veggies are loaded with potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamins A, C & K, folate, magnesium, and antioxidants for cardiovascular, circulatory, immune, and respiratory health (serving suggestions: spinach, kale, chard, collards & watercress).

5. Chia Seeds

chia seeds

image courtesy of mindbodygreen.com

These crunchy and micro-sized seedlings are loaded with protein, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B, potassium, and Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular, immune, anti-aging, energy endurance, and metabolic health.

6. Green Tea

green tea

image courtesy of webhealthjournal.com

This light and invigorating beverage is loaded with antioxidants (catechins & flavonoids) and natural caffeine for  cardiovascular, immune, dental metabolic, energy endurance, neurological, and circulatory health (serving suggestion: matcha, or finely powdered green tea).

7. Coconut Water

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

image courtesy of coconutwaterlife.com

This tangy and hydrating beverage is loaded with fiber, electrolytes, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, bio-active enzymes, Vitamin B, and natural sugar (glucose) for digestive, circulatory, anti-aging, and gastrointestinal health.

8. Raw Cacao

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

image courtesy of iquitsugar.com

This tart and chocolatey powder is rich in antioxidants (polyphenols & flavonoids), fiber, digestive enzymes, Vitamins A, B, C & E, chromium, magnesium, zinc, iron, sulphur, manganese, and Omega-fatty acids for cardiovascular, cholesterol, immune, circulatory, and neurological health.

9. Greek Yogurt

image courtesy of leanitup.com

This rich and satisfying dairy product is loaded with protein, calcium, iodine, potassium, Vitamin B, and probiotics for musculoskeletal, energy endurance, gastrointestinal, metabolic, and neurological health (serving suggestion: unsweetened variety).

10. Avocados

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

image courtesy of iwashyoudry.com

 These indulgent and buttery fruits are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, potassium, zinc, copper, iron, phosphorus, folate, and Vitamins A, B, C, E & K for cardiovascular, cholesterol, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and circulatory health.

So, yeah. That’s my arsenal of secret smoothie superbness. Got any of your own faves worth adding to the list? Share in the comments below!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts: Lots of Love to Go Around {Product Review}

I’ve recently had the privilege of participating in my very first product review through the Sweat Pink Ambassador community. So, here’s a quick¬†shout-out to the fabulous SPA founder¬†Alyse¬†for this opportunity. Much appreciated!

Now, onto the real business. Today, I’ll be reviewing hemp hearts¬†from Manitoba Harvest, a sustainable manufacturer of hemp-only foods, based in Winnipeg, Canada.

Confession Time:¬†Until about 20 minutes ago, I’d never tried hemp hearts before. Scratch that, I’d never tried hemp anything before. I thought hemp was just rope material that middle-schoolers use to make friendship bracelets. So, let’s just say…prior to receiving my free sample in the mail this morning,¬†I was a hemp virgin.

But, nevertheless, they arrived to put the breaks on my virginity, and I eagerly tore into the packaging.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

First Impressions:¬†Okay, they’re all natural: check. Each serving has 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegs-3s: check, check.

Moving right along, then…

*opens bag*

Well, they’re not exactly what I’d expected. To be honest, I’m not even sure what I was expecting, — maybe granola pieces in the shape of a heart? I don’t know! — but these disc-like things resemble lentils more than seeds. Hmm…intriguing!

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Seeds

The Taste Test: Nutty. Buttery. Tender. Just a slight crunch. Yep, I can get on-board with these little guys!

So far, hemp hearts get an A+ rating.

And that concludes our preliminary round. Time for the finals.

This company website features several tantalizing recipes, so component number 2 of this product review is to experiment with hemp hearts in one of these recipes.

I’m a sucker for superfood smoothies, so I chose to blend up my own twist on Manitoba Harvest’s¬†Cinna-Butter Bliss Smoothie. The original recipe has been copied below for your convenience:

  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 tbsp. Almond Butter
  2. 1 tbsp. Hemp Hearts
  3. 1 Banana*
  4. 1 Date*
  5. 1/2 tbsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1 cup Hemp Bliss Organic Beverage*
  • Preparation:¬†
  1. Combine all these ingredients together in a blender.
  2. Pulse until the mixture is thoroughly smooth (yields 1 serving).

* Notes:¬†I don’t particularly care for bananas, so I substituted roughly 1/3 cup frozen mangoes. I didn’t have any dates on-hand, so I omitted that ingredient altogether (although I’m sure dates would add tons of flavor). Instead of Hemp Bliss,¬†– because, if I barely knew what hemp hearts were, why would I just happen to have drinkable hemp lying around?! – I substituted coconut milk.*

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Smoothie Ingredients

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts SmoothieDespite these variations, the smoothie still tasted absolutely incredible. In fact, I can see it becoming my standard post-workout recovery fuel.

And now, for the overarching question: Do I recommend purchasing Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts?

110% YES!

This product has earned my seal of approval and exceeded whatever preconceived notions I had about hemp (which, by the way, is so much more than just a pre-teen fashion statement!).

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Seal of Approval

So, sprinkle the deliciousness on top of salads, oatmeal or yogurt. Toss them into a protein shake or smoothie, like I did. Cook or bake with them in your favorite dishes (or try a brand new recipe, like those displayed on the website). You can even enjoy a handful straight from the bag, as a nutritious and satisfying snack.

Sold, yet? Well, maybe this will persuade you:

During the months of October and November, you can score 20% off all products at ManitobaHarvest.com.

Use the promo code HHSweatPink14 before check-out (and send a cyber thank-you to the awesome folks over at Sweat Pink and Manitoba Harvest for making this special offer possible!).

* Reminder: This promotional discount will expire November 30, 2014. *