Raspberry Almond Butter Smoothie with Vital Proteins Collagen

Order your Vital Proteins, here! 

If you have followed me for a while… or even for just a few weeks… you’ll know that I. LOVE. SMOOTHIES. All of my smoothies are different, too! I use a creative mix of fats, proteins, and veggies to make my delicious masterpieces. Well there is ONE thing my smoothies have in common… I use Vital Proteins Collagen as my protein source! The vanilla coconut is my go-to when I want a little vanilla, but when I want classic I love using the marine collagen! Check out the making of this bad boy on my Instagram! Full recipe below…

Vital Proteins

What You Will Need:
1-1.5 Cup Unsweetened Nut Milk
1 Serving Vital Proteins Marine Collagen
2T Almond Butter
1 T Chia Seeds
Handful of Spinach
1/4 Cup Raspberries

What You Will Do:
Add all ingredients to a nutribullet or Vitamix, starting with your liquid base. Blend on high until thoroughly mixed. (Add ice if you want a colder, thicker smoother). Serve and enjoy!

Order your Vital Proteins, here! 

More on “Why I Take Vital Proteins Religiously” 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan, apple, blueberry, PUMPKIN pie… I want them all! But after making this gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin rendition, it’s clear that Pumpkin will the chosen one for this year’s Thanksgiving dessert. Enjoy!

What You Will Need:

1 Gluten-free Pie Crust (store bought, or recipe to make your own, here!)
1 15oz can of Pumpkin Puree
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Dairy-Free Milk (I used Almond)
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon and Salt
Handful of Pecans

What You Will Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add pumpkin puree, almond milk, and vanilla. MIX.
Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Mix until mixture is totally smooth.
Pour mixture into a pie crust, and add decorative pecans!
Bake in an oven for 50 minutes to one hour (Mine cooked for roughly 55 minutes). **Cook until the pumpkin filling is firm, but still with some softness/looseness in the center of the pie.
Let it cool before serving!

Roasted Thanksgiving Vegetables

Yes Thanksgiving is all about the heavy (#glutenfree) stuffing, pies, and bread… but it is also the one holiday that features all of my favorite VEGETABLES!! Brussels sprouts, carrots, and butternut squash, OH MY! Today I am making my go-to Thanksgiving veggies and roasting them to utter Thanksgiving perfection.

What You Will Need:

5 Organic Long Carrots
½ lb brussels sprouts
1 lb cubed butternut squash
1/4 Cup coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ Cup pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries
Salt, pepper, CINNAMON

What You Will Do:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Prepare vegetables as follows: Carrots – peel, then cut in half lengthwise. Cut into shorter lengths if you would like! Brussels sprouts – trim the stem end and remove the outermost leaves and cut in half. Butternut Squash- buy cubes, and cut into smaller cubes (better for cooking).

Add veggies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top with coconut oil and ONE T maple syrup. Cook at 400 for 20 minutes and flip. Add your second tablespoon of maple syrup, pecans, cranberries, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 more mins. TASTE. Add more maple, cinnamon, etc IF YOU WOULD LIKE.  Cook for 5 more mins.

Serve!

Cornbread

Thanksgiving staples: turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato something, and CORNBREAD. Ironically, I was never the biggest cornbread fan growing up! However, since perfecting my gluten-free cornbread recipe, I’ve become a cornbread fiend. Simple, tasty, and delicious; my fellow gluten-free need to whip up this dish this Thanksgiving!

Shoutout to Califia Farms… this recipe is dairy-free, too!

What You Will Do:
1 cup plus 2T gluten-free all-purpose flour

1  cup plus 2T gluten-free cornmeal
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1  cup Califia Farms almond milk
¼ cup dairy-free butter

What You Will Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a alrge bowl, GF All Purpose flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Add melted dairy-free butter, almond milk, and honey.
Pour liquid bowl into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients. Mix until fully incorporated.


Pour into a 9” x 9” bread/brownie pan, and cook for 23 minutes.
Let your bread cool, and top with honey for serving! I added a little peanut butter and walnuts, too!

CBD

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! My LONG awaited post on CBD!! I have been talking for at least 2-3 months now about my obsession with CBD and its game-changing benefits, and my inbox has been flooded with questions about it. Why do I love it so much? What are my favorite brands? Do I eat it or take it in a dropper? The questions go on! I’ve also been asked… WHEN ARE YOU PUBLISHING YOUR POST?!! WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG!!?

The reason why this post took me so long to write is because CBD is confusing AF, and I have tried SO many products and different forms of CBD that I wanted to properly experience all of the products before featuring them.

Let’s start with the basics! WTF is CBD?!

CBD stands for cannabidiol (the most famous cannabinoid is THC). Both CBD and THC come from cannabis, but only THC gets you high. Think of CBD as THC’s cute lil cousin.

It’s tough to give one standard definition of CBD, because it does something different for everyone. CBD is commonly used to provide pain and anxiety relief, help with insomnia and digestion, and act as an anti-inflammatory. It has also been used to treat a range of conditions including arthritis, cancer, and seizures!

According to Dr. Jonathan Leary, Concierge Wellness Doctor, “our internal system (endocannabinoid) is responsible for regulating homeostasis in our body. Think of this as our balance system. CBD enhances this system and it helps regulate balance more efficiently! When your body is more balanced it is less stressed (hence calming you down and helping you sleep) and it puts you in a more optimal healing state. Ideally, in the future I see people taking this every day, (almost like a multi vitamin) because of [how] powerful it is to have your body more in that eased state. Furthermore, one last huge benefit is that your body doesn’t adapt to the dosage… meaning if you take it every day you won’t have to keep increasing dosages like you would have to do with pain meds, for example.”

Dr. Leary couldn’t have summed it up better! CBD puts your body back in homeostasis (or keeps it there), and your body doesn’t build up a tolerance to its amazing benefits.

CBD can be taken as a concentrated oil, cream, in food and drinks, as pills, in vapes, shampoos and more! Creams and balms can be rubbed directly on the skin (great for pain relief) and CBD oils are ingested orally.

Is it legal!? Most states allow CBD products in some form, usually for medical purposes. States that have legalized marijuana view CBD products as legal, too, and there are only four states that consider all cannabis-derived products, including CBD, to be illegal: Kansas, Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

What has MY personal experience with CBD been like? The two biggest areas I’ve noticed the direct impact of taking CBD are on my anxiety and my digestion. After my first ever CBD experience, I immediately went to the bathroom. LIKE WHAT?! Literally within 30 minutes of taking it. And we all know digestion is my biggest issue. I have long struggled with anxiety, too. My heart races and I am agitated/full of brain fog. I used to be a HUGE weed girl to calm my anxiety, and the way people joke “I need a drink,” I believed “I need a hit.” Since starting CBD I haven’t touched weed. I feel chill and calm and my anxiety has significantly improved.

People always say to me, “if it helps with sleep, why do you take it in the morning? Doesn’t it make you drowsy?” To which I reference what Dr. Leary said earlier. CBD brings your body back into homeostasis, so if you are having trouble sleeping, it is because you are out of homeostasis. CBD brings you back to a state where your body functions better and therefore when you go to sleep at night, your body is capable of having a better night sleep. There is NO component in the drug (for lack of better word) that will give you a drowsy side effect, unless the CBD is paired with a calming agent like ashwaganda etc.

Brands I’ve been vibing:

CURED: TOP PICK ALERT ** Full-spectrum CBD nibbles, tinctures, and treats! Each product is tested 3 times to verify its cannabinoid profile and ensure the absence of pesticides and heavy metals. Cured makes a Classic Mint Oil, Cookie Dough, Full Spectrum Raw Oil, Spices, and CANINE TREATS! Yes, not only is their CBD safe for humans, but it is safe for your pups! The cookie dough… holy WOW!

Cured ships to all fifty states… Click HERE and use code NOBREAD for 15% Off

Plant People: Started by my friend and Chef, Gabe Kennedy, I knew this brand would be one of my top CBD pick’s! In addition to a tincture, Plant People has an everyday pill, CBD infused Olive oil, a balm and a pilled called ‘calm.’ Calm is my FAVORITE. It provides a  beneficial blend of full-spectrum CBD and clinical strength adaptogenic and nervine herbs. It supports your body’s ability to manage and deal with stress, promotes present awareness, and boosts body and brain function.

** OBSESSED WITH EACH PP PRODUCY

Green Roads: The first ever brand of CBD that I tried! I had ABSOLUTELY no idea what to expect when trying Green Roads, and little did I know I would fall in love at first droplet. Their oils only have two ingredients: their CBD oil and vegetable glycerin so they are vegan, gluten-free, and are non-GMO. Because it was my first run at CBD, I was totally taken aback by the taste (ALL CBD tinctures have a taste!) but after my first couple of doses I fell in LOVE. Like so in LOVE that I went on social media proclaiming my love, and that is what led to this blog post. I immediately noticed changes in my digestion and anxiety! They also have TheraGreen, a muscle/joint cream which is great for topical treatments. All of the ingredients used in this are natural and include the following: CBD, lavender oil, chamomile extract, vitamin E, cucumber extract and menthol.

OMAX: Two Small Softgels. One Big Breakthrough in CBD. OMAX is more than CBD, it gives you a better body for life. Because the first few brands of CBD I tried were tinctures, I kinda put it in my head that taking CBD as capsules wouldn’t be as effective as the tinctures. Well… I was WRONG! The Phyto-Max Stress Remedy is an innovative, triple-action CBD fusion supplement that helps calm the body, relieve anxious feelings, support optimal inflammatory response, and support overall mind and body wellness. Unlike other CBD products, the secret is the patent-pending blend of these three therapeutic ingredients, that puts your body in the ultimate bliss zone, with no THC and no high!

*Super into this brand!

Beekeeper’s Naturals: Superfood’s from the hive! Beekeeper’s products have been UNREAL for my health; so when I found out they had CBD products I was clearly in heaven. According to Founder, Carly Stein, “honey on its own is great for supporting sleep since it allows amino acids like tryptophan to cross the blood brain barrier. It is also high in enzymes and helps stock the liver glycogen stores which help you sleep through the night.” Their honey products WITH CBD are a highly bioavailable source of chill, and use all natural compounds that support balance, rest, and recovery. They use a unique emulsion formulated with MCT and sunflower lecithin, which is designed to naturally maximize bioavailability and absorption to increase the effectiveness of the CBD/hemp oil.

Vital You Bath Bombs: CBD in your bath… ABSOLUTELY! According to Founder, Jenna, who started Vital You because she couldn’t stand the long list of ingredients and chemicals in bath bombs, she “add(s) blends of flower essences to work with the emotional body, therapeutic grade essentail oils, organic coconut oil, epsom salts, and blends of herbs. Each bath bomb has their own unique ‘personality’ and intention behind it. Whether it’s to relax, invigorate or to ease sore muscles, there’s a bomb for all. I also only use the most natural colorants possible, such as organic blueberry & beetroot powder. So even though the bombs don’t create bath art as some do, you can feel good about what you’re soaking in! We recommend starting out with one of our 50mg bombs to feel the effects of CBD in your own body. We also recommend soaking with the bomb in the tub for at least 15 minutes to allow the magic of the CBD, flower essences, herbs and essential oils to fully work their magic into your body.”

Tonic: Founder, Brittany, created her blends to make integrative, adaptogenic plant based wellness solutions that take the powers of CBD to the next level. It started when she combined Ashwagandha + CBD, and the results changed her life! This blend is called the OG. From there she developed other blends and started experimenting with other ingredients until she developed the formulations you see today. Their best seller is the Chill Tonic which has CBD, Ashwagandha, Lemon Balm & Passion Flower – amazing for anxiety/winding down for the evening. All doses have the base of broad spectrum hemp extract, MCT oil, and Black Seed Oil (amazing for enhancing the anti-inflammatory, immune- boosting effects of CBD). And they even have a pure maple syrup (only 3mL per 30mL bottle) sourced locally from a maple farm down the street from their hemp farm! I love the creative use of adaptogens with the CBD, and I’ve use each of the Tonic products!

Hemp Farmacy: The newest brand of CBD I have tried! Their ultimate mission is to support local communities while providing a fair marketplace for farmers. The first Hemp Farmacy opened 2 years ago and was the first Hemp & CBD Dispensary on the East Coast. They now have 7 locations and an online store. All Hemp Farmacy products pass a rigorous vetting process before entering stores; they are all US grown & manufactured, are tested in a 3rd party lab and are examined for consistency/quality by their expert staff. I use their tincture!

Medterrafully compliant CBD products extracted from US grown industrial hemp. Every plant is extracted under the strict guidelines of the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and then third party tested and guaranteed to be free of contaminants. They utilize a CO2 extraction that allows them to draw the CBD from the plant material and filter out unnatural substances, maximizing pure CBD concentration with 0% THC, guaranteed.

Physician’s Preferred: I use their Full Spectrum Everyday Wellness Tinctures in 1000mg. Its great for your immune system as well as the rest of your body. In addition to this, they make sleep aids (very popular) and  menstrual relief tinctures and pain creams!

ICEHOTEL

A few weeks ago I was asked to go on the most epic adventure with Under Armour, and told I would be staying at the WORLD FAMOUS ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

“Cool,” I thought. I’ve always wanted to go to Stockholm, and I’ve seen pictures of the exotic and unique ICEHOTEL! With just days until my trip, I did some research on ICEHOTEL and its surrounding town/city, as I do whenever I travel.

“Oh boy.”

  1. ICEHOTEL is NOT in Stockholm
  2. It is a 1.5 hour flight north of Stockholm… and north of the Arctic Circle!
  3. Those amazing ice sculptures I was seeing in pictures of the hotel rooms? ACTUAL ICE. And the white walls? Again, ICE. The white carpet? Not carpet. You guessed it… ICE!

And so began THE wildest hotel experience of my LIFE.

The ICEHOTEL is a world famous hotel and an art exhibition made of ice and snow. Founded in 1989, it is reborn in a new guise every winter. The hotel consists of cold rooms and warm rooms; the cold rooms are absolutely fascinating… and -5 degrees Celsius!! No that isn’t a typo- negative FIVE degrees celsius.

“How in the world am I going to sleep?! Or SURVIVE?!”

Equipped with Under Armour’s ColdGear apparel, I set off on my adventure.

The COLD Rooms

These pictures don’t do the rooms justice… nothing will do the room’s justice. They are S-P-E-C-T-A-C-U-L-A-R! As is the entire hotel. From my bedrooms steps, to the walls, to the bed frame, everything was made out of ice. On top of my bed frame was a fur blanket and a sleeping bag… so yeah… I was a little nervous! But my nerves quickly faded and I had one of the coolest (literally) night sleeps of my life!

To sleep, I wore UnderArmour Recovery wear. The fabric returns infrared energy to your body, boosting localized blood flow & increasing the amount of oxygen reaching your muscles to restore your muscles faster. It’s insulating properties kept me SO warm during the night. I thought I was going to have to wear layers on layers! My sleeping bag was insulating, too, up to -20 degrees C, so negative 5 degrees was a breeze (okay I’ll stop with the puns).

Before I make myself out to sound like a tough-girl who had no issues in the room, I have to tell you what the best part of the room was. THE HEATED BATHROOM. So yes, I totally hid in the bathroom before going to bed, and during the night I totally got up to use the bathroom, regroup, and go back out into the cold. The bathroom also has a sauna! I didn’t use mine, but definitely was tempted to. In the morning you are woken up by the Hotel with a warm juice 🙂 I truly had such a deep, relaxing sleep!

The WARM Rooms

After my one night stay in the cold room, I was READY for the warm room! If you are like me and think a warm room means 70-75 degrees F, then this room wasn’t THAT warm. I’d give it a solid 65 degrees F… so it was still a little chilly but WAY better than -5 celsius! The rooms are simple and adorable… they do the trick!

The FOOD

The ICEHOTEL is in a pretty remote area, so no need to research local eateries… you will end up having all of your meals onsite at their restaurant. I totally went to town at the breakfast buffet- bacon, sausage, deli meets, a (GF) granola bar, a gluten-free bread basket, and fresh veggies/fruit are several of the gluten-free options.

The staff at the hotel and restaurant couldn’t have been more accommodating when it came to dietary restrictions. For instance, the tray of scrambled eggs contained dairy, so the chef made me my own dairy-free omelette!

The restaurant served the most delicious dinner, too! To start, the salmon appetizer is cornflake crusted and dipped in soy, so NOT gluten-free, but they made me a gluten-free, dairy-free version every night. It was AMAZING! I also ordered the beef tartar appetizer with fries and the asparagus and totally recommend both. For mains, the reindeer stew was gluten-free. Yes… REINDEER stew. I tried a bite… but there was something about having a REINDEER stew that I didn’t vibe with so I didn’t order my own. The steak is another gluten-free option, but I ordered the Arctic Char entree EVERY. NIGHT. It was SOO good! Why does fish (and just everything) taste better in Europe!? The dish came with potatoes and veggies… so filling and such a dream!

I commented to my friends that I was going to leave the trip five pounds heavier or five pounds lighter. I was eating like a truck driver!! Snacks, GF bread; I wanted ALL the carbs. Well I came back way lighter… my body was working in overdrive to keep me warm and burning SO many calories!

Activities:

It goes without saying, if you go to the northern most point in Sweden, you must go see the Northern lights!! In the winter months, these lights dance across the sky in fascinating colors and shapes. We went on the ICEHOTEL’s Northern Lights Tour, and it was a truly amazing experience. Our guide led us on a hike, the only lights coming from our headlights, and we ended at a remote cabin alongside a frozen river.

Looking up at the sky, I saw faint green lines whisk across the sky. Given it was November, we were a month or two early for prime Northern Lights, but I am so happy I was able to see them! I will note… the pictures you see online of Northern Lights… those are NOT from a viewer’s cell phone, ha! What our photographer was able to capture through his veryyy professional lens was astonishing, mind-blowing, incredible… I’ll stop there! The Northern Lights are a must!

Other activities at ICEHOTEL include ice sculpting, a wilderness dinner, dog-sledding, snow-mobiling, and more!

Under Armour ColdGear:

How did I survive this freezing cold experience? No joke, Under Armour’s ColdGear is a SAVIOR! Sleeping in my ice room I wore the UA Recovery Gear. One thin layer literally did the trick, and its insulating abilities kept me so warm and comfortable all night! Pictures 2 and 4 below are of the ColdGear Hybrid Jacket. This jacket is SO light, yet so insulating that I was totally warm in it! In picture number one I am wearing the Balaclava hoodie which is UNREAL for running! It goes over your chin and lips, and has air holes for your mouth so you can run and breath properly without the chill!

THANK YOU UNDER ARMOUR FOR THIS EPIC ADVENTURE. I pushed myself to limits I didn’t know I could push to, and stayed warm and fashionable along the way. If you have the chance to go to the ICEHOTEL in your life you absolutely should. BUCKET LIST, CHECKED!!

xx, Nicole