Your favorite grocery store is now open!

**If you haven’t already, enter to win a $25 gift card in my instagram post today!

The day is finally here! Sprouts in Philly is now open, every day from 7am-10pm. Check out more about Sprouts in my last two posts here and here (what Sprouts is all about and how to $ave the most money when you shop!)

I also have to mention that I went to Expo East (a large tradeshow for natural foods) last weekend and every brand I hadn’t heard of yet, but was super interested in, told me they are in Sprouts! HOW ABOUT THAT.

Now, I had the opportunity to check out the store before they opened, yesterday. Being among the first to walk into a new building is really amazing. In addition to the obvious benefits, like seeing everything first, I’m also a weirdo and love how clean and pristine and less germy new places are (why I needed to renovate our current home - so I could be the first in my kitchen aka no outstanding crumbs, and the first to use toilets…).

A few of us Philly health-people got to see a cooking demo using Sprouts products, and have a tour around the store. Like I said before, it kind of reminds me of a farmer’s market because the products are just so … abundant, and open, and fresh! Yet, you still get the benefits of having a complete grocery store, with bath and body and packaged goods as well.

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(also, the building is stunning in itself)

Here are my favorite things / products / moments from the store:

The bulk section. I am so excited to be able to literally buy a tsp of something if that’s all I need. They have over 300 items in bulk including nuts, seeds, and spices.

The produce is CHEAPER than I am used to. I bought massive blueberries the size of grapes and I’m so excited to share them with the kids.

Speaking of - they have a kids section with food, diapers, wipes - and the brands I like too - like Earth’s Best, Honest and Little Duck. I picked up some quinoa crackers that looked interesting for PJ.

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The frozen section rivals Trader Joe’s. Except it is way better. I picked up two Caulipower pizzas (margherita and vegetable). (They also have a few plain gluten-free crusts that looked interesting) I also got gluten-free waffles made from cassava flour (fun!) and chicken tenders for Carmen. Also, this is like…an entire section of cauliflower rice and other veggie noodles.

Oh wow - look at those crab legs. Their meat and seafood department is abundant! And the meat is never frozen - always fresh. They have an entire section for cheese, prepared foods, and rotisserie chickens are $6.99.

They also have almond milk, oat milk and a cooler made just for fermented foods. Also around this area, I found a better-for-you snickers bar and mounds bar. Had to get.

They have a massive pumpkin display outside. I asked if they will be locked away at night and was told “no”. I am curious to see how many are left in the days to come. Lol

Look at this supplement aisle. I am pretty sure anything you need can be found here. You can also ask an associate to crack open ANY of these to see them or try them. Wild.

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Key things to remember, if I have explained anything well over the last 3 weeks:

  1. Read my past posts here and here for full run-downs on what to expect and how to save money

  2. Be sure to download the Sprouts app for exclusive mobile coupons and to see what’s on sale each week.  

  3. If you are ever curious about a product - the team at Sprouts is trained to be top-notch to help you find what you need (like, they are actually interested) - and you can even sample products right on the spot!

  4. This is not just a raw, or gluten-free, or vegan store - they offer a FULL grocery store for all of your needs, no matter your diet (including The Butcher Shop, The Fish Market, a full-service deli with convenient and high-quality prepared foods, bulk foods where you can purchase as little as you need or as much as you want, an extensive selection of vitamins and supplements, dairy, tons of raw/organic/vegan/gluten-free items, bakery, beer and wine and more)

  5. This is THE place to shop if you want to live an affordable healthy lifestyle. They deeply discount their products, create their own private label offerings for less, have a massive bulk section, and offer products you often can’t find in other stores!

FYI This post is sponsored, but all opinions are my own.










BTS tips on how to save at sprouts market

In my last post, I gave you the full rundown of what Sprouts is and why you should be super-excited for them to open on Wednesday, September 19th. (Broad and Washington!)

Since we last connected, I had the chance to try some of the store-brand products, which are really tasty. They make their own coconut oil spray (coconut oil is the only ingredient) for cooking, raw honey, bath and body items, and probably my most favorite item are these little coconut cookies made with coconut flour and sugar - similar in texture to pirouettes that you eat with coffee.

Have you had them? Well now you need to try this new variety.

IN THIS POST, I’m going to help you save the most money possible. Not only are the prices at Sprouts already legit, but they offer so many ways to save even more, using their App, Weekly Ad, Deals of the Month and more.

And keep in mind: don’t be afraid to try new things. Sprouts offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

First - and most importantly - GRAND OPENING deals.

On September 19th (Wednesday):

  • The first 200 shoppers in line will receive 20% off their initial total purchase (doors open at 7AM so my advice is to go for a morning run to Sprouts, get in line, and eat/drink your breakfast while you shop, before work)

  • At checkout, every 15th shopper will receive a coupon book featuring Sprouts savings AND every customer will get a free reusable bag

On September 22nd (Saturday):

  • The first 200 customers to make a purchase will receive a coupon booklet for five free deli items

On September 23rd (Sunday):

  • At checkout, every 15th customer will receive a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $15+ to use on their next visit

Here’s how to save outside of opening weekend.

  1. SO MUCH IS ALWAYS ON SALE. More than one-third of the store is on sale ALWAYS. ONE-THIRD! Check out the Deals of the Month flyer in the store, or online!  

  2. PRODUCE - CHEAP! Farm-fresh (remember, this place is basically a farmer’s market) produce is priced (on average) 20-25% below supermarket prices. And you will find more than apples and oranges - star fruit, lychee and other unique produce compliments this section beautifully. You can also SAMPLE anything you are unsure of (just as a team member); WILD.

  3. DOUBLE AD WEDNESDAYS. There are weekly ad prices. These ads will overlap on Wednesdays which means you end up with a Double Ad Wednesday - double the deals - shop on Wednesday!

  4. APP + MOBILE COUPONS. Sprouts has an app where you can clip mobile coupons, then scan your custom barcode at checkout to use the savings.

  5. BULK SAVINGS. Sprouts has a huge bulk section where you can save on nuts, seeds, beans, grains, and spices. I personally use bulk when I know I need just a little bit of something. I can spend cents on a spice like Harissa that I know I will only need for a specific recipe.

  6. WINE. There are even more ways to save but I don’t want to lose you in this post. The last and maybe most important is that if you buy 6 bottles+ of wine, you save 10%. LOL.

Check out my last post to learn even more about Sprouts and why everyone in Philly should be stoked for its arrival. It’s inexpensive, you can find any kind of product you are looking for to fit your dietary restrictions (raw, gluten-free, vegan), and Sprouts' buyers look far and wide to find and try new products, including everyday grocery essentials and unique, seasonal items. It is going to be amazing!

Have you been to a Sprouts? Are you looking forward to it? Check them out here, or on IG @sprouts.

They open on September 19th (2018) at 1100 South Broad Street. I will keep you posted as I continue to cover the opening!

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FYI This post is sponsored, but all opinions are my own.

Your new favorite grocery store - Sprouts Farmers market

There are two reasons my grocery life feels (almost) complete. One - I used to live right down the street from the construction at Broad and Washington. I wanted to wait to sell our house there, in fact, until the construction was done - so the value of our sale would be higher (ha! We didn’t wait...). I had been wondering for years what would go in there!

Two - Through my GOOD Fest, and Health Coach Philly work - I am constantly meeting new people. A lot of the time, the conversations have something to do with an aspect of wellness, and within the last year I’ve heard a lot about Sprouts.

“You don’t have a Sprouts in Philly?!”

We have WF’s, we have TJ’s, we have specialty health-focused stores, but what is Sprouts? I kid you not, as soon as I started hearing about it (which felt like weekly at this point), I saw the sign pop up on Broad Street.

Huh - we are getting one! So of course I started looking into it. It basically looks like a farmer’s market (fresh! abundant! open! colorful!) within a beautiful, clean space...with registers and usual grocery-store stuff.  

OK, so. I am guilty of spending most of my money on food. I don’t really buy clothes (I wear yoga pants), nor vacations (I have 2 kids), so I get my kicks from healthy fresh food.

The thing I love most about Sprouts Farmers Market is that the prices are reasonable. You aren’t going to spend all of your money here, and you are still going to get organic, raw, farm-fresh, whatever you want - food. I feel like I am going to save a good chunk of cash each week and still get all of the specialty food I want.

Some KEY things to know about this healthy grocery store:

  1. They offer fresh, natural and organic foods at GOOD PRICES

  2. It has everything you would get at the grocery store - fresh produce, meat and seafood, bulk foods, vitamins and supplements, packaged groceries, baked goods, dairy products, frozen foods, natural body care and household items

  3. An average store stocks about 4,000 gluten-free, 3,000 organic, 3,000 non-GMO and 500 raw items, just to name a few.  

OK, maybe the most exciting thing for me is that they have Caulipowered pizza in the frozen section and we literally survived on this during our last retreat in the Berkshires while we were cooking for our guests. It is SO GOOD and I haven’t found it / had it since!

Have you been to a Sprouts? Are you looking forward to it? Check them out here, or on IG @sprouts.

They open on September 19th (2018) at 1100 South Broad Street. I will keep you posted as I continue to cover the opening!

 

 

FYI This post is sponsored, but all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Cucumber Wild Rice Salad

It’s so hot outside. I want substantial meals but truly am just craving a cool crunch. You feel me? This recipe is a great option for a side or a main dish. We’re balancing textures (soft tomatoes and rice to crunchy seeds and cucumbres) and flavors (sweet, salty, acidic and fatty). Make a big batch and store in the fridge for up to 5 days so you don’t have to continue cooking all week.

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, diced

  • ½ red onion, diced

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained REALLY WELL

  • Feta, goat cheese, or vegan Kite Hill cream cheese made into little balls (to taste)

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted if you’d like!

  • 1 cup wild rice, prepared to package directions

Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp. raw honey

  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

I feel silly giving you directions for this one, but here they are. :)

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender and blend, or to a bowl and whisk.

Add all salad components to a big bowl and mix in dressing to coat. I personally think it tastes better as it sits in the dressing, so I wouldn’t worry about keeping this for a few days. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Are you using the right Ashwagandha?

Adaptogens! Ashwagandha! Buzz words!

Yes.

But, truthfully, they can work for you if you are looking to de-stress a bit. Before writing this post, I had the opportunity to work with KSM66 Ashwagandha by Fresh Healthcare I tried their product for 60 days while I was researching and writing this post, because I wanted to experience the benefits of less stress first-hand. Also I had NO idea that there is a ton of BS ashwagandha on the market. NO IDEA. (read more about them here)

So what is all the recent buzz around these so called ‘adaptogens’? An adaptogen meaning that, when consumed, can 'adapt' and adjust to individual bodies differently to combat different types of stress that are put on the body. They vary in their level or type of support - they can calm or stimulate the central nervous system or do both simultaneously. They can have an amazing effect on focus, stress and in general - the quality of mental work we get done.

Some examples of adaptogens include:

  • Ashwagandha - a soothing nervine (not stimulating usually), and great for anxiety, stress, insomnia and fatigue

  • Eleuthero - a support for those working in extremely stressful jobs, long hours or crazy schedules

  • Rhodiola - increases mental stamina and sleep quality, used in Russia as an antidepressant

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil tea) - good for mental fog and positive mood

  • Schisandra (berry) - calming, generally, but can also be stimulating - can help to soothe anxiety and provide mental focus

Let’s talk about ashwagandha! This particular adaptogen has gotten lots of attention recently, mainly for its effect on stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is an herb that originated in india and has been used for centuries. According to University Health News a recent study examined 64 adults in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Researchers gave half the participants a placebo and half 300 mg of ashwagandha extract twice a day for 60 days. All of the adults had a history of chronic stress. The results were posted in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine and stated that the individuals who were administered the 300 mg had cortisol levels 28% lower than those in the placebo group. Not only did their cortisol levels drop (the stress hormone), but the participants who took the adaptogen also scored 72% lower on a General Health Questionnaire and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale. (These two tests are administered to evaluate stress, anxiety and overall well-being, the lower the score the less stressed out you are.)

The participants also experienced significant reductions in depression, anxiety, social dysfunction, physical symptoms, and insomnia.

I also want to mention that with any adaptogen, it’s important to consume it for at least 60 days before making a judgment call on how it worked for you. These herbs take time to do their magic!

Despite all of the benefits, we need to be smart when choosing an ashwagandha product in order to properly reap the rewards. Not all are created equal, so here are some things to look for when choosing your ashwagandha!

  1. Withanolides - this is one of the root’s active ingredients and we want to be looking on the ingredient list and checking the levels. Look for ashwagandha root powder extracts that contain at least 5% to 8% withanolides.

  2. Withaferin A - it is important to know that not all withanolides are created equal. Withaferin A is a withanolide that is cytotoxic (toxic to living cells), and we don’t want to have it in high concentrations in our ashwagandha extract. This component can be extremely dangerous at high levels and is usually a result of the manufacturer using the ashwagandha leaves rather than just the roots.

  3. Extraction - (water vs. chemicals) - some ashwagandha products products extract the herb with water and some are extracted with chemicals. Of course, we want to consume the type that is extracted with water!

  4. Roots vs. Leaves - Some manufacturers use the roots and the leaves of the herb and some use the root only. We want to look for ashwagandha that uses the root only method. By choosing products that use this method we are at less of a risk of consuming high levels of Withaferin A, (the cytotoxic withanolide that can be dangerous at high levels as mentioned above).

  5. Black Pepper - Pepper aids in the bioavailability of the ashwagandha, which means it is better absorbed within and used by the body when it is consumed with pepper.

Bottom line: We want to look for an ashwagandha supplement that contains active ingredients, in a clean way. In this case we are looking for withanolides, saponins and alkaloids. These are the ingredients that are coming from the root and how we are going to get the most benefits. When looking at the withanolide concentration we are looking for a supplement with the highest percentage (currently we want to look for a concentration of 5-8%). The standard recommended amount of ashwagandha is 300mg twice a day for at least 2 months. Before writing this post, I tested KSM66 Ashwaghanda for 60 days while doing my research, and it hits all of the marks mentioned above!

I also want to leave you with a killer "coffee replacement" using ashwaganda (the herb, not the capsule) -or- you can add this to your coffee if you want a little of both. If you add this to your coffee, don't add the water. Let me know what you think!

  • 1 teaspoon cacao
  • 1/4 teaspoon maca

  • 1/4 teaspoon ashwagandha

  • 1/4 reishi mushroom

  • 1/4 teaspoon cordyceps

  • blend with 1 cup hot water

  • add maple syrup to sweeten and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon tocos on top

 

This post is sponsored by KSM66 Ashwagandha by Fresh Healthcare, but all research, thoughts and opinions are my own. In fact, I would have had no idea about any of this if they didn't tell me to research it! 

House Renovation Reveal - Part 1 - Master Bed + Bath!

6 months later - we are finally in our new home! We decided to move into something new when I found out I was pregnant with Perry. We wanted to have an extra bedroom for her so she didn't have to share with Carmen (or be in our room long-term). John found this house on Zillow and it's the only house we saw. I saw potential in it right away. Just had that feeling, you know?

Also - it had been on the market for nearly a year. 

Well, we know why. :-P 

It needed all-new-everything! And was priced too high. We came in under asking price and took on a project. New electric, plumbing, AC, walls, brick, windows, etc....

Uh, I don't know how to renovate - so YES we had a contractor!

We like simple. As you know from my wardrobe - I wear only neutral. Everything in this house would be black and white if John let me. We compromised on some gray :)

Here's the master bed and bath!

When we started chipping away at the walls, we decided to keep the brick exposed. It was already exposed in the bathroom, and part of the bedroom, and really added character to the master without having to add much wall art. Our painter encouraged us to whitewash it and I think this softens it nicely. I AM probably going to add a plant in here and hang a moroccan wedding blanket.

We got these FAB black windows for the whole front of the house. I mean, I just can't with these WINDOWS.

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Also so important for the design of this room? BEDDING.

I worked with a brand that I really wanted to try: Boll & Branch, because everything is ORGANIC, in neutral colors, and beautiful

Here you can see I opted for all-gray, all-white because...duh.

I wanted a BIT of drama so I lined the back of my bed with 3 hemmed euro shams, followed by 2 hemmed king shams - all in white (also, side note: you have to buy the insides to shams - LOL I'm not all "with it" when it comes to interior design, CLEARLY. I got them on amazon...)

I have, what I believe to be, the softest sheets in history - the hemmed sheet set (also in white). With a pewter gray hemmed duvet cover.

It feels heavenly each night I get into bed. We spend half our lives sleeping - so I find the sheets to be a worthy investment. AND no more cats allowed in our bedroom so a total WIN there for me. hehehe... Yes, the baby has pooped on them (shocker). Put them right in the wash and no problems! 

We also got a fancy new mattress from Tomorrow Sleep. IT IS SO COMFORTABLE and bonus: tracks your sleep!

Moving on to the bathroom!

Yooooo, this bath was a HOT mess. Like, the toilet was on an actual stage.

(Check it out in the BEFORE pics below.)

We gutted this thing, and my sis drew us up a new plan. She is a woman of many talents. She also makes furniture. And works in insurance by day.

We have a (probably bigger than needed...) massive walk-in shower with (faux) marble tile, a Cement Tile Shop pattern on the floor, and more of that exposed brick.

There's also a closet in here, but right now it is full of boxes. You don't need to see that! BTW, I need a new shower rug - any ideas?!

I love how the massive drawers on this vanity allow me to hide EVERYTHING. All that's out is toothbrush, soap and lotion. And I could hide that too if I want.

Sooooo what do you think? Check out the before shots below!!