Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Supplement Sampler

A few month ago, Swanson's Vitamins, sent me a nice little package of products to try out. Now, that I have had time to properly test out everything I'd like to share my thoughts on them. Lets get right down to it:

Prior to using this blend of digestive enzyme I was using Now Food's Super Enzyme (as recommended by Robb Wolf). I was extremely satisfied with how that product made me feel. I tried to tell the difference between these two, but I couldn't. I had already been using Now Foods for a few months, so when I started using Garden of Life, the results were not as dramatic. When I started using a digestive enzyme (Now Foods) I felt like a totally different person. It felt like I was finally getting the nutrition I needed. For anyone who has digestive problems (see my story), or someone looking into Probiotics for gut health, this is the other side of the equation. I'd recommend the NOW Foods Super Enzyme, it works just as well (for me) and it is a lot cheaper.

The Very Finest Fish Oil

I have been taking fish oil for a couple years now. It's the supplement I take most regularly, since I stopped taking a multi-vitamin. I can notice a difference when I stop taking them. I feel generally happier and clear minded when I take fish oil, so I'm going to continue to do so. Most people who try it complain about one thing - the fish-burp. This really hasn't been a big problem for me. Yes it happens, but the benefits clearly out weight that negative. Plus there are ways to combat the issue - like these delicious lemon flavored capsules. When you burp it really tastes like lemon Starburst. For anyone looking to add this supplement to their diet but is worried about the burp - fear not, with this product. It is a little pricier than some fish oil. But Carlson's oil is sourced from a very unpolluted part of the world making it a premium oil. I'm a big fan of Carlson's and I've bought the big jug of 360 capsules before. Definitely recommended!

MethylCobalamin Cherry

I'm torn on this product. Initially I liked the rush of energy it gave me. But it makes me a little frenetic, and I feel a flushed in the face (like you would from a Niacin rush). I suppose it depends what you want to use this for. It certainly will give you a jolt, because it's the same vitamin that is in the now ubiquitous 5-Hour Energy. I took it at work a few times (I work in a cubicle), and it made me want to get up and run around. Unfortunately, my job does not allow that during working hours. So, I remained fidgety at my desk. This product CAN work if your goal is to give you a little kick in the butt to get your day started, but I would prefer to get my B12 from natural sources like meat or eggs. 

Melatonin Peppermint

I do not have a problem sleeping (usually). I bought a crappy window A/C unit so I could get my room to about 72 degrees every night. I also have black out curtains. That combined with proper diet, exercise, I'd say I sleep pretty well. But it's just so tempting to want more! Its human nature to demand better and better, so I tried these Melatonin Supplements. They were very effective at putting me to sleep. I slipped one under my tongue and was out in about 10 minutes, which is a little less than normal. It feels kind of like pain pills, where you are wrapped up in a weird fuzzy yet comfortable feeling. They definitely work, but in the morning I was waking up groggy. This is a similar problem to when I tried a magnesium supplement. Maybe it worked too well. Personally, I can not recommend this product, but my dad has had success using this to aid in sleep. Maybe I'll stick with the good old stand by, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Thanks again to Swanson for the samples, and props for having such an active twitter team. Anyone who hasn't checked out Swanson for Vitamins yet, you should. I've been buying from them for a few years, because they have great customer service, prices, and most importantly plenty of reviews (which is a huge deciding factor for me in any purchase). 

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Fond Farewell

"You never know how much you'll miss them until they are gone"

I have recently lost something very special in my life. Last night, at approximately 10 pm, my crock pot was destroyed. It was broken in two pieces, by the very person that loved it most - me. I was desperately trying to make a quick meal after getting home late, and I smashed two frozen pork ribs on the bottom of the pot. In an attempt to split the two pork ribs in half I instead split the crock pot in half. I stood for a few minutes in disbelief. What will I do with out a fresh batch of BBQ ribs for breakfast? Or a nice warm bowl of chili before I go to work?

I realized, that I never gave this device enough credit. With out a crock pot I would be unable to eat the way that I do. I don't have time to make amazing meals every day. But the crock pot does.

I don't understand why I was so intimidated by the crock pot before. It's painfully simple. One knob that you can turn on medium or high. Add your ingredients and wait the specified time. It's so simple. But better than that. It makes mouthwatering meals. The meat get insanely tender.

Here is a chili recipe that is ridiculously easy and delicious

1 lb ground meat
8oz can tomato sauce
8oz ounce jar of salsa

Add veggies if you want, but if you get a good salsa it will have veggies and spices. I used this a ton. At night time I would toss everything in the pot, turn it on, and in the morning I would have a delicious meal with no work on my part.

I suppose, I would just like everyone to know, who hasn't use a crock pot before, that they shouldn't be intimidated by it. It's fast, easy, and delicious. I have already purchased another one. But I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite cooking device of all time (sorry Magic Bullet).