Super Kids Vibrance Fudgy Banana Pops

Super Kids Vibrance Fudgy Banana Pops

These pops are so easy to make, even your kids can make them! They're super duper tasty too, without the added sugar like most fudge pops have. Have your kids give them a try today! 

Ingredients 

1 scoop of Super Kids Vibrance, cool chocolate

4 oz of almond Milk

1 cup of bananas

Directions: In an electric blender, combine all ingredients until smooth and pour mixture into popsicle molds. Insert popsicle sticks. Place popsicle molds in freezer for at least 3 hours. Enjoy!

The Green Monster

Revitalize with this Green Monster Smoothie! 

The Green Monster

Ingredients 

  • 1 Cup Almond/Coconut Milk

  • 2 Scoops of Green Vibrance

  • 1/2 Cup Pineapple (Canned or fresh)

  • 1/4 Cup Spinach (Fresh or Frozen)

  • 1/2 Avocado

  • 1/2 Orange

  • 8 Ice Cubes

Directions: 

1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smoothe. Enjoy! 

Road Tripping: Safe and Comfortable Travel with Your Four-Legged Friend

Travel adventures are always more fun with your BFF. But when your BFF has four legs instead of two, a road trip may seem daunting. Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to be unsafe or inconvenient. Here’s how to ensure a safe and comfortable trip for your four-legged friend.

Take Your Pet to the Vet Before Traveling

You’ll want to make sure that your pet is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations before traveling, so a trip to the vet is in order. If your pet is likely to be around other animals at your destination, it’s a good idea to ask for a kennel cough (Bordetella) vaccine. This vaccine is also required by many boarding kennels and dog sitters, so if there’s even a slight chance that you may have to enlist the services of a boarding kennel or doggy daycare service while you’re away, you’ll be prepared.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Before a Lengthy Car Ride

Dogs are prone to motion sickness, so filling up your pup’s belly right before heading out on the road can lead to a smelly mess if your dog gets sick. Plus, a full belly means that your dog will need to relieve himself sooner rather than later, making it necessary for you to find a pit stop with a grassy area so that your pup can find the perfect spot to do his business.

Take Comfort Items to Reduce Anxiety

If your dog isn’t used to being in the car, he may experience anxiety during the trip. Taking some comfort items, such as a favorite stuffed animal, toy, or bone, can provide some entertainment for the trip and ease your dog’s nerves. If your dog is prone to anxiety in unfamiliar or stressful situations, try using a ThunderShirt to help her relax.

Use Safety Measures for Car Travel

Some pet parents crate their pets for long car rides to prevent them from moving freely around inside the vehicle, which can be dangerous for both people and pets. An alternative to crating your dog is a dog seat belt, which keeps your pet restrained so that they aren’t a distraction for the driver and also prevents your dog from becoming a projectile in the event of an accident.

Book Pet-Friendly Hotels

For long road trips, you might want to book a hotel room for a night to get some rest partway to your destination. Not all hotels have pet-friendly accommodations, so this requires a bit of preemptive research. Some hotels offer pet-friendly rooms for an additional fee. Some websites, such as BringFido.com and Pet Friendly Hotels, make it easy to find pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and more near you.

Follow the Rules for Air Travel

The rules are a bit different for pets traveling by air. In some cases, your dog can fly with you in the cabin, while other airlines may prohibit pets in the cabin outside of therapy animals and service dogs. Find out what your airline’s rules are ahead of time to avoid surprises at the gate. Some airlines have size, age, and breed restrictions on which pets are permitted in the cabin, and all airlines will require a health certificate, particularly for international flights.

You don’t have to leave your best friend behind for your next adventure, provided you’re prepared to do the legwork to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for travel, taking steps to ensure your pet’s safety on the road or in the skies, and finding accommodations that are pet-friendly. After you take these precautions, you and your dog are prepared to enjoy the travel adventure of a lifetime.

About the Author

Jessica is a dog lover and creator of OurBestFriends.net, which highlights photos of our furry pals!

 

 

Image via Pixabay by AndreaHegel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude

5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude #lawofattraction #gratitude #health

The holidays often prompt us to revisit and think about what we're thankful for. And while we can always use a reminder, this "attitude of gratitude" is usually short lived. Come January, many have forgotten to make gratitude a part of their daily lives. We've slipped back into our daily routines and that "gratitude" quickly dissipates.  

For some people, gratitude is a long-term practice. And those people, according to research from the University of Indiana, have greater psychological benefits. From my personal experience, I know when I focus on feeling grateful, it is harder to feel sad or depressed. And when I do find myself feeling low, making a conscious choice to focus on the good pulls me out of those depths faster than anything else. 

In short, this research shows that practicing gratitude exercises can reduce depression and increase feelings of well-being, and these feelings linger well after you have finished the exercises. And the more you practice it, the stronger that gratitude muscle gets, and the more aware of it you become. If you can become consistent with gratitude practices even for a month, you'll feel the benefits of it for weeks to come. 

5 Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude 

  1. Place sticky notes with the word “Gratitude” written on them around your house and at your work desk. These can serve as reminders throughout the day to take a moment to think about something you are thankful for. 
  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Before bed every night or when you wake in the morning, write down three things you are grateful for.  
  1. Start your morning with gratitude. When you wake up, think about five things you’re grateful for. Try, “I’m so grateful for being able to wake up this morning and take these energizing deep breaths.” Think about something that works for you.  It can set a positive tone for the day. 
  1. Express your gratitude and positivity. Watch what you say and put out into the world. When you're feeling blah, you put that energy out there and it attracts that same type of energy. Sometimes I will wake up and do my gratitude exercise only to discover morning road rage on my way to work. I take a deep breath and tell myself I'm hitting a "reset" button for my day. That's not the energy I want to put out there for the day! 
  1. Turn a negative into a positive. If you perceive something negative is happening, ask yourself, "What am I supposed to learn from this? What lesson is it teaching me?" Often, you can see how the situation may be helping you without even realizing it. 

We can’t control everything that happens in our lives but we can certainly control our outlook or reaction to it. Feeling gratitude is the best way to bring inner peace. And if you believe in the Law of Attraction, a way to bring positive things into your life. So why not make this a daily practice instead of a holiday practice?

Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando.

 

Thanksgiving Desserts – Keeping It “Clean”

Paleo Pumpkin Pecan Pie #paleo #pecan #recipe #yum

Last year, after my 30-day clean eating stint, I didn’t want to mess it all up with unhealthy holiday pigging out. My clothes were finally fitting again and I felt great so I was determined not to gain back the 20 pounds I’d lost.

My stepdad was hosting Thanksgiving at his house in Tampa and was also on a clean eating kick, so I scoured the internet for “clean” and “Paleo” dishes. I didn’t want to feel deprived. Thanksgiving food has always been some of my favorite!

I was in charge of two side dishes and the desserts. I don’t bother sharing recipes that didn’t turn out well or that I didn’t love. And because dessert is top of mind for me at the moment, I’m sharing these recipes for a pumpkin pie (borrowed from MyNaturalFamily.com) and pecan pie (borrowed from FeelGreatin8.com) that are Paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. They are definitely on the menu again this year.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Crust

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1-15oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 eggs

Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix almond flour and salt (I did this by hand but the recipe called for a food processor).
  3. Add coconut oil and egg (maybe I should have used a food processor?) and mix until it comes together in large crumbles.
  4. Pat the dough into a pie pan evenly and firmly, around the bottom and sides.
  5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven.

Filling

  1. Mix pumpkin puree, honey, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice, coconut milk, and eggs in a large mixing bowl until smooth.
  2. Pour into pre-baked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes, or until top if firmly set.
  3. Remove and let cool completely. Then refrigerate.

The pumpkin pie recipe also had directions for a whipped cream using honey and coconut cream but I just didn’t have time for that. If you decide to make it and it’s delicious, let me know.

Paleo Pecan Pie

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • sea salt (1/4 tsp. used in crust and ¼ tsp. used in mixture)
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ cup unrefined coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp. butter or ghee
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup pecan halves
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in lower-middle of oven.
  2. Mix ¼ tsp. salt and almond flour (again, they say in a food processor). Add coconut oil and one egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball. Press into a pie dish on bottom and sides.
  3. Heat maple syrup in a sauce pan on medium heat until it simmers (about 10 minutes). In the meantime, put coconut sugar and butter or ghee in a metal mixing bowl. Add simmering maple syrup to the bowl and let sit for one minute before whisking everything together. Then whisk in three eggs, vanilla, ¼ tsp. of sea salt.
  4. Pour mixture into pie crust and top with pecans. Cover pie pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  5. The pie will set as it cools. Serve at room temperature or warm.

I hope you and your family enjoy these recipes as much as I did. No, they’re not fat free. But I certainly feel better about the ingredients in these recipes than any store-bought pies! Happy Thanksgiving!

Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando. 

Remember to Savor the Moment

Slow down & enjoy the fleeting moments #backtoschool #parenting #motherhood #mindfulness

Summer is coming to a fast end here in Central Florida and we’re already several weeks into the school year. I think I’m like most moms who were secretly counting down the days until school started. Don’t get me wrong…summer is great. Evenings are pretty much stress free because we’re not dealing with piles of homework, cooking dinner, walking the dog, and getting showered and ready for bed before 9:30 p.m. Though I've loved every second of those stress-free nights, I always look forward to being back on a schedule (my Type A personality just reared its ugly head in that sentence).

But as I secretly counted down the days, I also became painfully aware of how quickly time is flying by, how fast my daughter is growing up, how few summers I have left with her before she goes off to college. It's during these moments of realization that I pause my thoughts and breathe. And remember to savor every moment I have with her — whether it's chaotic or relaxing. Being present with her, learning to be present in life in general, can sometimes be a daily lesson.

We're all running around at warp speed, caught up in a myriad of daily tasks and activities outside of school and work as we rush from here to there. Most of us live in a near constant state of stress. I remember when that stress felt normal to me, almost like I thrived on it. It's when you're caught up in that state of mind that you are NOT present. You're in survival mode. And when you're just trying to survive, do you really stop to smell the roses? Do you slow down long enough to notice that your kid no longer calls you “mommy” or she outgrew that cute little speech impediment that made certain words sound so cute?

I think any time we let stress consume us, we miss out. When I’m stressed, worrying, and feeling anxiety, I have to remember to hit pause. I’ve also had to rethink what I’m actually stressed about. If I’m stressed at work, I leave it there. If I’m stressed about being overbooked with activities, I decide to cut some things out. For me, controlling all those stress factors (Type A!) helps me stay present, less distracted, and enjoy the fleeting moments more.

A Workout that is Fast, Effective and FUN!

Quick and easy workout for #fitnessfriday #health #fit #exercise #stayvibrant

What's your workout of choice for the weekend? A couple of us at Vibrant Health head quarters got in a quick workout at home this morning. You don't need very much equipment to get in a good workout. Try this quick one if you're ever in a bind and just need 12 minutes to yourself #FitnessFriday

20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest (8 rounds) 4x

Jump rope 
Squat and press

20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest (8 rounds) 4x

Jump rope 
DB jump squats

20 seconds on/10 seconds rest (8 rounds) 4x

Jumprope 
Towel plank jacks

Keeping Your Kids Healthy

What do you do to ensure you kids eat right? Do you hide vegetables in your recipes? Do you supplement? #superkidsvibrance #health #nutrition #kids #children

When it comes to our children's health, we want to ensure we're giving them healthy foods, taking them for their annual doctor check ups, and making sure they get enough exercise and sleep. Some of those things may be harder to enforce than others (memories of pulling my hair out over bed time are now flooding back to me).

I've been so blessed in the food arena with my daughter. Her drink of choice? Water. She rarely drinks anything else. She's an adventurous eater, too. She'll try anything at least once and loves to dip foods in sriracha sauce. And she generally eats everything I do — "clean," unprocessed foods 90 percent of the time. Of course I'll supplement some of her meals with the occasional mac 'n cheese or something else I wouldn't dare eat (I'm gluten free), because who wants to be a complete wet blanket? Teaching our kids to make healthy choices, and to understand "everything in moderation" is a huge part of good parenting. But I digress…

Even with "pretty good eating" around me, I can't control everything my daughter eats all the time. I pack her lunches for school and summer camp but, in all honesty, those lunches are sometimes filled with more convenient items than healthy ones. We adults understand that a healthy immune system goes hand-in-hand with good gut health — which is compromised by diets high in sugar, fat, and processed foods — but how do you explain that to the vast majority of kids who refuse to eat vegetables and insist on surviving on mac 'n cheese?

To help fill in the gaps in my daughter's diet, I started adding in Vibrant Health's Super Kids Vibrance about three years ago. Her favorite is the chocolate flavor and she prefers it in smoothies in the morning for breakfast or after dinner as "dessert." Before chocolate came around, we mixed the apple flavor with yogurt in the mornings before rushing out the door to school. Not only does it have the nutrients I'm afraid she's missing out on during the day, but it also has lots and lots of probiotics.

What do you do to ensure you kids eat right? Do you hide vegetables in your recipes? Do you supplement like I do? What are some of your favorite ways to sneak healthy in so your kids are none the wiser? Please share with us so other parents can benefit from your genius!

Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando.

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude is a practice. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life and forget to be grateful. And when that happens, it's easier to be bogged down by the negative, the worrying, the stress, the bad, icky stuff. #gratitude #freedom #health #abundance #orlando

I live in Orlando, FL. I was born and raised here (minus about 10 years in Washington, D.C.). My daughter was born and is being raised here. Unless you have made a choice to completely cut yourself off from the news in every form and social media (and you wouldn't be reading this blog post), you know what happened here in the early morning hours of June 12. This beautiful city and all its people are still feeling raw and emotional over the deaths of 49 individuals who were taken away from their friends and families too soon. Any one of my friends could have been in that nightclub. Even I could have been there. I am thankful they weren't but my heart breaks for the victims who were at the Pulse nightclub that night.

When we see these tragedies on the news, it's often not right in our own backyards. It's in some OTHER place, and though we're saddened by what we see, we're not as affected as the community in which it happened. So many people have come together here, with so much love, in the weeks following the shootings. It has sparked conversations among my friends about how quickly a life can be taken, how short life can be, and how we need to live as if it could be our last day on this Earth.

I've already felt like 2016 has been a learning journey for me. Trying to change my outlook on things has been a daily practice. And the events of June 12 have reinforced my thoughts about gratitude. Above all else, when I focus on that, it makes me happy. It makes me feel alive. It makes my heart swell. Gratitude can change so much. It can turn any negative thought into a positive thought. Any negative feeling into a positive feeling. When you are struggling with something, gratitude can help you let it go. Years ago, a friend of mine put this on Facebook (and it's continued to be one of my favorites – thanks, Bob Kodzis!):

If it won't help you today, and it won't help you tomorrow…let it go. At worst, it's hurting you. At best, it's extra baggage. Let it go. And breathe easier.

Gratitude is a practice. It is so easy to get caught up in daily life and forget to be grateful. And when that happens, it's easier to be bogged down by the negative, the worrying, the stress, the bad, icky stuff. We hold on to the icky stuff when we forget to be grateful. So I encourage everyone to keep a daily gratitude journal. Write down five things you were grateful for that day. Focus on the positive and see how much lighter you feel. How much better you feel, how free you feel. How much more you appreciate this one life you get.

Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando.

Changing Your Language

"Instead of saying “I don't have time” try saying “it's not a priority,” and see how that feels." #changeyourlanguage #changeyourlife #priorities #fitness #health #lifestyle #crossfit

A few months ago, just after returning from Asheville for Spring Break with my daughter, and still figuring out how to fit in a regular workout schedule (I had only been doing drop-in classes at my CrossFit gym one or two days a week), I saw a post on Instagram from Melissa Hartwig, one of the founders of the Whole30. I follow a lot of health-related and inspiring people and friends, of course, but this post resonated with me. I took a screenshot of the pulled quote from an article of Laura Vanderkam's in The Wall Street Journal, “Are You As Busy As You Think?” I still have that screenshot and have probably become annoying to my friends when I listen to them talk about how they want to do something or incorporate something, but they just don’t have the time or [fill in any number of excuses here] and then I pull out this quote and read it aloud.

Instead of saying “I don't have time” try saying “it's not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

After digesting this, and deciding that getting fit is a priority for me, I upped the number of drop-in days at the CrossFit gym. Then I got even more serious about it and joined. Now, I manage three days a week and plan to up that to four or five days a week this summer. Sometimes my daughter tags along, sometimes she doesn’t. But at least she sees that it’s a priority for me. And she’s learning that fitness and health should be a priority for her.

So, I’ll keep the screenshot because I’ll undoubtedly need to remind myself of this from time to time. It’s an awesome reminder that everything is a choice.

Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando.