The Dogs days of Summer

daisy enjoying dogsters

Can’t believe how fast this summer is passing! What happened to June and July?! It has definitely been a hot summer but before school and traffic starts and we get back to our routines, we had to enjoy a last minute family gathering. All we needed was good food and good company. Our good company included our three dogs along with lots of hungry friends. And wanted to end the summer on a good note so our Good Food included healthy ice cream treats this time.

I definitely have to tell you all about Dogster because I never knew that there was ice cream for dogs. I’m not talking about having your dog lick your ice cream bowl when you’re done but real ice cream dedicated for dogs.  Dogsters are small cups of ice cream that come in Mint and Peanut Butter and Cheese flavors. We were so excited to have our dogs try these treats out and we weren’t disappointed – they loved it! We had a box of the Mint ice cream and all 3 dogs took their cups and started licking away. We removed the paper lid and put the ice cream cups inside their food bowl so it wouldn’t be too messy but there was not even a drop left by the time they finished. The oldest dog took her cup to a corner and licked her cup non-stop in record time until there was no more. She cleaned it up so well that I almost thought she was going to eat the cup too. I’m sure if they were to write a review they would give Dogsters Ice Cream 10 stars! The box states it’s all natural and there are no added sugar, no milk, and no artificial flavors/colors so that was a major plus!

We didn’t forget the humans at the party either as we had our own version of healthy treats. I was skeptical at first as I am a die-hard chocolate lover but there was no chocolate in sight here and I was in for a sweet surprise. We served Whole Fruit Fruit Bars in Coconut and Raspberry, Whole fruit Sorbet in Mango and Raspberry and Whole Fruit Frozen Juice.  The Mango flavored sorbet was the most popular flavor. After all, you can’t go wrong with Mango. My favorite was the Coconut Fruit Bars ( I love anything coconut). Both the Mango and Raspberry sorbet can go well by itself or as an addition to another treat such as Key Lime Pie. These bars were only 70 calories each and the frozen fruits juices were 60 calories each which made this the perfect treat after a big barbecue.

Overall, it was a successful gathering of family, friends and dogs. We had great food and our sweets didn’t break any diets either but more importantly I feel this is what summer is all about. Hope you all got a chance to celebrate the season with the ones you care – humans and non-humans.

Disclosure: I was provided with Dogster and Whole Fruit coupons, free of charge for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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Healthy made delicious

desiree-rodriguez

It’s a new year and I am sure that some of you probably had “eating healthy” on your list as one of your new year’s resolution. I know I did and broke it the next day but don’t worry as I want to introduce you to one of my good friends, Desiree Rodriguez. Not only does she inspire people to eat healthier but she has a list of amazing plant-based recipes that anyone can make. Desiree loves incorporating her Puertorican roots into her dishes and you will be amazed how easy and delicious they are to make. Her collection of original and Latin inspired plant-based recipes along with her blog will definitely motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle. We sat down to have a quick chat with her and her future plans. Don’t forget to visit her website at www.ricanvegan.com to learn more about her and her amazing recipes.

Can you please explain what consists of a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet consists of eating only real whole foods that are nutrient dense such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts. This way of eating does not include eating any meat, fish or animal byproducts such as cheese, eggs, or cows milk. Also, processed foods containing chemical preservatives, excess sugar, salt and oil are avoided.

Who is your favorite role model?

My favorite role model is Oprah Winfrey because she is very inspirational and she inspired me to find what I love to do and make it my job. My blog is the combination of my love for creating recipes and helping people and without Oprah helping me realize it I would have never started it.

Any tips and advice you can share to help us start making healthier choices in our busy schedules?

Planning and making your meals in advance can help ensure that you will always have a healthy meal available to eat when you have a busy week ahead of you. Preparing double batches of your meals also saves you time because you would only need to cook once and can eat twice. I would also recommend carrying healthy snacks with you where ever you go so if you get hungry you can eat one of your snacks and avoid buying something unhealthy.

Any future collaborations in the works?

I am actually getting ready to film a recipe demonstration video with another blogger who makes vegan dishes. We are collaborating on a dessert recipe that consists of making ice cream from frozen bananas instead of milk. That video will be posted on my blog and YouTube channel. I am working on a cookbook that will be available on my blog later on in the year. I have The Spark Program which is my 6 week plant-based coaching program where I work one on one with people helping them properly transition to eating a plant-based diet.

Vegan-Chocolate-Chip-Banana-Nice-Cream-Sandwiches

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Refresh yourself with Peppermint

herbs

The decision to use a hint of peppermint in my lip balm was pretty easy. The uses of peppermint oil are numerous and with all the benefits it produces, no wonder it is a staple found in most homes. Yet this is something that you can also use in the office or when you travel. The scent of peppermint is known to be minty and have a refreshing aroma which makes it ideal to use throughout your busy day. Have a long day full of meetings? Don’t stress – inhale this scent by rubbing a drop or two of peppermint oil under your nose to help perk you up and increase your mental clarity and concentration. Going to the gym? Whether you are going at the beginning or at the end of the day, you can apply a dab on the back of your neck and shoulders to keep your energy and mood up so that you can complete your workout.

Definitely going to keep peppermint oil in the office but you can also use this when you travel. While backpacking thru Southeast Asia I did a lot of walking and stair-climbing and more walking so my legs and feet were pretty sore. I was lucky to have five dollar massages available at every corner but in case you are not near this small luxury in your travels no need to worry. Peppermint oil contains anti-inflammatory properties so it can be used to calm your muscle soreness and/or cramps by massaging it to your tired muscles. Have a bug bite while traveling? You can also rub a dab of peppermint to get rid of the itchiness. Remember that everyone’s skin reacts differently to peppermint oil so be mindful of this when trying these benefits out.

With all these benefits, including a hint of peppermint oil in my lip balm was a no brainer. How do you incorporate peppermint oil in your daily routine?

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Mother and Daughter Health Journey

mother and daughter

“…I take life one day at a time and always push through no matter what it is I face.” – Mary-Ann

This mother and daughter duo have gone thru some very difficult times but with a lot of love and a lot of support from their family and friends they were able to overcome this long journey.

“Everything was going well, I was 20 years old and I had just been accepted into Pharmacy School. About a week later the news came – my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember being so afraid when I first heard it. From then on we started taking care of her as much as possible and preparing for her mastectomy.

During that time I went to see my doctor for my regular checkup and that is when the nurse practitioner felt a lump on my throat. She gave me an order for a sonogram and that is when the results showed there was a mass on my thyroid. I was sent to get a biopsy, and I went to my doctor to review the results the day before my mom mastectomy was scheduled. The doctor then told me I had thyroid cancer and that I needed to remove my thyroid as soon as possible. I would also need radioactive iodine treatment, intended to kill any of the remaining thyroid cells.

Moving now to my mom, the doctors were able to able to remove all of the cancer cells from my mom and was able to go home after two days in the hospital. They sent her oral medications to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back but thankfully she wouldn’t need any radiation or chemotherapy. Once she recovered a bit more we gave her the news of my thyroid cancer.

We immediately started looking for a surgeon who specialized in thyroid cancer and found on that many had recommended. Exactly two weeks after my mom recovered I went into surgery. The surgery went well as they were able to remove everything that had to be eliminated including some lymph nodes around it that it spread to. I spent about three days in the hospital before I went home.

About a month and a half later I went back for my radiation treatment, under which had to stay isolated in a hospital room for 24 hours. Once that was over I had a pet scan done which showed that my body was finally clear of any cancerous cells. I was given a pill to take very morning to substitute the function of my thyroid gland.

About a month later, I started pharmacy school. The first semester was really tough, especially since it was so different from what I had been used to in school before and I was still felling strong symptoms from my treatments. But I got through it. I just finished my second year of pharmacy school and both my mom and I have been in remission for two years. There are still days when I don’t feel very well, but I take life one day at a time and always push through no matter what it is I face.”

I personally know Marry-Ann and am so happy for her and her mother. I admire how strong they were during the whole process from the initial consultations to the final procedures. Just learning you or a loved one has been diagnosed with something is scary but it is important to think positively. I know that she will strive in Pharmacy school and will demolish her goals!

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