New in Review: Nails & Noshes

Hey look, I didn’t totally give up on my new series! I’m going to try to get these up every other week so I hope y’all like them as much as I do!

This week features a couple nail-related beauty products as well as plenty of food items…

  • Veggie-Go’s (sweet potato pie)

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I’ve actually had these before but I never did a formal review on them. They’re anything but your basic fruit strip, because they include veggies (!) and have no added sugar. This flavor in particular tastes like a dessert, but it’s only got 2 grams of sugar, from the sweet potatoes and apples. They’re just fruit, veggies and spices — perfect if you’re like me and prefer your food to be as simple as possible.

Pros: extremely tasty, perfect for a quick 1/2 serving each of fruit & veggies

Cons: a little expensive for the size (~$1.25 per strip)

Where to buy: Whole Foods, their site

  • Sally Hansen Kwik Off Moisturizing Nail Polish Remover

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Has anyone else ever been intrigued by those little containers you dip your fingers in to get nail polish off? My friend had one and it worked magic, so I thought I’d buy one instead of the usual messy nail polish remover liquid. This stuff works like a charm, and it doesn’t smell all chemical-y or get all over the place. I will never buy acetone remover again!

Pros: inexpensive, easy to use, no lingering smell

Cons: honestly, none!

Where to Buy: Target, Sephora, drug stores (CVS and Walgreens probably have them)

  • Dr. in the Kitchen Flackers raw flax crackers

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Another cheat (I first started buying them like 2 years ago), but I started recently buying them more often now that the Whole Foods nearest me carries them. I’ve tried the dill, rosemary, sun dried tomato & basil and cinnamon & currants flavors (basically all of them but the savory flavor) and I love them all except the cinnamon and currants. That one gets a bit too chewy from the currants and the flavor is weirdly sour. But all the others are tasty, not too salty and have stellar nutritionals. 6-7 grams of fiber, raw, gluten free and 4-5 grams of protein per serving. Freakin’ delicious on a snack plate with some olives or raw cashew cheez.

Pros: really healthy, good flavors

Cons: a bit expensive, hard to find

Where to Buy: Whole Foods (not all carry them), natural foods stores, Amazon

  • Honest Fizz (root beer)

Y’all know Zevia has my heart. I mean, sure it costs a lot more than your typical diet soda but it’s so much better for you. If you drink soda, you really need to switch to Zevia.

But Honest Fizz is another great alternative that is a little cheaper. Currently, they only have 4 flavors but I’m hoping they’re successful so maybe they’ll add more. Fingers crossed they (or Zevia) make a watermelon soda. Obsessed. Anyways, the root beer is pretty spot on. I actually prefer the Zevia root beer only because it has a kick from the ginger, but the Honest Fizz was less filling (I don’t drink Zevias too often because I hate being filled up with soda, even if it’s zero calorie) which I like. And I think it would make a pretty good healthy root beer float!

Pros: cheaper than Zevia, less filling

Cons: not many flavor options

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, possibly Sprouts

  •  Broadway Nails imPress press-on manicure

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I’ve gotten into the habit of constantly having my nails painted. The problem is I hate constantly touching up and redoing my nails every few days after they inevitably chip. Enter the fake nails! This is my first time using them, and I can honestly say I am imPressed 😉

These go on really quickly and easily. You press them down for a few minutes and after an hour they’re completely good to go. My nails were fairly short at the time I applied these, so even the ‘short’ length had to be trimmed down a bit, but they look natural. Best of all, no chipping!

Pros: easier than nail polish, look natural

Cons: more expensive per use than nail polish, only get 1-2 uses out of each pack

Where to Buy: Target, CVS, Walgreens

  • Living Intentions superfood cereal (hemp & greens)

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I first discovered this granola at the Whole Foods in my college town. They started stocking it in the bulk bins last spring and once I saw it, I had to give it a try. Of course, being a sprouted, superfood-y type thing, it’s expensive. About $12 per pound! But if you only get a little bit at a time like I do, it’s a lot less expensive. Some stores only sell it prepackaged so you can’t buy only what you need, but if your Whole Foods sells it in the bulk area, BUY IT!

I’ve tried a few of the flavors, but my favorite by far is the hemp & greens. This one isn’t sweetened with agave like some of the others, which I like. It’s got a bit of a ‘green’ flavor from the added spirulina, chlorella, spinach, alfalfa and dandelion — what other cereal can boast those ingredients? It’s grain free (made from buckwheat), low sugar, high protein…basically the healthiest granola ever. It’s perfectly crunchy and just a bit sweet and pairs well with almond milk. I also love it as a topping for my protein puddings.

Pros: one of the healthiest cereals ever, great ingredients

Cons: expensive, I love it so much I keep buying it 😉

Where to Buy: Whole Foods, Sprouts, Nuts.com

What new products have you tried lately? 

Cuckoo for Cacao

Ever wondered what’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Up until about a year ago, I had only heard of and used cocoa powder but as I’ve gotten more into experimenting with raw foods, I learned about cacao and it’s many health benefits.

First, both products come from the cacao bean, grown in South American, and where we get chocolate from. Cocoa is usually ground up, sometimes dutch-processed and can include a bit of cacao butter in it to enhance the flavor. Cacao, on the other hand, is completely raw, sugar free and full of antioxidants.

When I used to use cocoa powder, I’d always buy the Hershey’s Special Dark variety, since it was fuller in flavor than the regular version. But it was made from a mix of dutched and naturals cocoas, so it wasn’t quite as unprocessed as it could be, plus it wasn’t raw.

I discovered truly raw cacao powder after I had started making raw desserts. I’m obviously not 100% raw, so often my raw desserts aren’t completely raw, but I figured that switching to raw cacao would be beneficial. And I ended up liking the taste more. It was richer, more complex and actually sweeter, despite having no added sugar. It worked just as well in raw recipes, so I decided to switch to just using that, despite the slightly higher price tag (and I also was having a hard time finding the dark cocoa powder), because it has more iron and antioxidants than plain cocoa.

Cacao nibs are also a favorite of mine. I love the Navitas Naturals brand (I get the cacao sweet nibs which are lightly sweetened with organic cane juice) because they’re fairly inexpensive and are a healthier alternative to dark chocolate chips. I eat them straight-up, in nut butter stuffed dates and use them in raw recipes.

If you need a chocolate or granola fix, but are looking for something that fits into your clean eating or raw diet, I’ve got the perfect option for you…Crunchy Cacao Buckwheat Rawnola. It’s easy to make (you don’t even need a dehydrator if you don’t own one), has only 4 simple and healthy ingredients and is perfect for those chocolate and cereal cravings. Buckwheat is another superfood, and is actually not related to wheat at all. It’s gluten free, and not really a grain but a seed (like quinoa) so it has a higher protein and fiber content than many other grains. 1/4 cup of raw buckwheat groats has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which makes it a great option for vegetarians and vegans who want to bump up their protein content. The best part about this rawnola is that it’s oil-free and only has a bit of added sugar in the form of maple syrup, which is a lot better than most granola brands on the market. And you make it yourself, so you get to control what goes in it. So you can definitely change up the flavor profile, but having the raw cacao powder in there means more antioxidants and who doesn’t love chocolate?

cacao buckwheat rawnola

Crunchy Cacao Buckwheat Rawnola (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw)

1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats, soaked overnight 

1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1-2 tsp maple syrup (for raw option, use raw honey or agave)

stevia, to taste

Drain water off groats and dry with a towel. Place soaked groats in a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. The groats should be wet enough to soak in the cacao powder. Spoon cacao groats onto dehydrator trays (alternatively, you can put them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door open for a few hours) and let dehydrate at 115 degrees overnight, or at least 6 hours. Enjoy the rawnola with almond milk, over fruit or just plain. Makes 2 servings. 

What is your favorite ‘superfood’? Have you ever made granola with something other than oats?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #44 and Raw Food Thursdays.