Christmas “Bucket List”

No way. No way can it already be December!

I feel like I was just counting down the weeks until Thanksgiving dinner, but here we are, 25 days from Christmas!

Speaking of, how was your Thanksgiving? Ours was full of good food and was fairly quiet (we got our tree on Friday and Mark decorated Saturday!), but come Saturday night, I was struck with a really bad sore throat. Sunday was purely torturous, and it turns out I caught hand-foot-mouth disease from Baby M. Per the doctor’s orders, I stayed home from work yesterday. I’m feeling a little bit better, and now I’m just praying Mark doesn’t get it, too.

Anyway, since I did a fairly good job at tackling my Fall Bucket List (we never carved a jack-o-lantern and I’m still working on trying that homemade PSL), I thought I’d create another one for Christmas time.


We already took Bazooka Boy to the tree lighting (that’s the night Mark got sick!) and I’m so excited to visit the new seasonal Riverside Ice skating rink once it cools down again.

Except for last year (new baby, duh), we always visit Bellingrath Gardens—it’s one of the premier lights displays in the country. It’s special because that’s where Mark proposed to me 9 years ago!

New Orleans is stunning during the holidays, and we love to visit the Roosevelt Hotel to see the decorated lobby and enjoy a sazerac at the Sazerac Bar.

Above all, I want to focus on family and quality time (spent mostly in Christmas pajamas in front of the tree) this season. It’s not about stuff this year—although I’m sure the babe will get plenty of it!—but about making memories.

  • What’s one of your Christmas (or Hanukkah) traditions?
  • Are you a good ice skater? Back in the day I could skate backwards and do twirls!
  • What’s your favorite Christmas movie(s)? Mine is “Love Actually,” which isn’t a traditional Christmas movie at all.

Meal Enders Review + Giveaway

Confession time: desserts and I have a somewhat complicated relationship.


I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it here, but as a child, I suffered from food allergies. Not your typical peanut or shellfish allergy that warranted a sizeable EpiPen stock, but something that did disrupt our lives for at least a few years.

I had reactions to artificial food dyes, which meant almost everything delicious and colorful was forbidden.

Eventually I outgrew my “allergy,” but I think the appeal to once off-limits foods lingers, which is why I’ve made myself sick binge-eating candy more times than I’d care to admit.

This back story has a purpose, and I’m here to share an interesting tool to help satisfy your sweet tooth while also combating the urge to overeat: MealEnders.


As a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I had the opportunity to sample (and share—keep reading for details!) all four flavors of this unique “signaling lozenge.”

What are MealEnders? From their website:

MealEnders Signaling Lozenges are a revolutionary way to help beat overeating, master portion control and curb snacking by clearing cravings from the mouth and mind.  MealEnders combines the best of food science and behavioral psychology to offer a stimulant-free way to fight the urge to overindulge.


As someone who eats dessert with gusto and eschews dieting, I was skeptical at first.

However, after giving them a try, I realized that eating like the French (till I’m no longer hungry) is better for my health than stuffing myself silly just because the food is there.

Each lozenge features a creamy coating that is meant to be savored as the sweet ending to your meal. The interesting part, though, is the hard center, which gives a mild, but noticeable, tingling sensation meant to cleanse your palette. The tingling engages the trigeminal nerve, which allows the satiety process time to kick in.

What I like about MealEnders is that they’re a psychological tool, and they are virtually sketch-free unlike almost everything else on the market.

mealenders graphic

MealEnders are effective—if you are mindful in using them.

I almost always crave something sweet after I return to work from my lunch break. Before, this meant digging through my candy stash or visiting the vending machine. Now I pop a MealEnder lozenge and sometimes (they’re not fool-proof) give my sweet tooth exactly what it needs.

I enjoyed each flavor, but the cinnamon (the coating tastes exactly like cinnamon roll frosting!) and chocolate mint are my favorites.


Will MealEnders replace ice cream or chocolate cake? No. But they are a tasty tool to combat boredom eating and something I’ll keep stashed at my desk for those extra-snacky afternoons! And while I do not have plans to deprive myself of holiday treats, they will come in handy when I’m tempted to overdo it on the candy, cookies, and cakes that appear from now until January.

And now you can win 4 packages (1 of each flavor) of your own!

Giveaway is open to US residents only*

Entry Methods:

  • Visit MealEnders on Facebook
  • Share the giveaway on Facebook and tag MealEnders
  • Follow @MealEnders on Twitter and Instagram
  • Tweet about the giveaway using @MealEnders #FitHolidays @FitApproach #SweatPink

Please leave a separate comment below for each entry you submit.

*One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from MealEnders through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so another winner can be chosen.

Giveaway is open from today until Friday, December 4. A winner will be emailed the following week.

Additionally, MealEnders is offering 20% off online orders. Just use the code FitHolidays20 at checkout.

** I received a free sample from MealEnders as a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

Happy Thanksgiving


I hope all of you American readers are surrounded by family and friends, good wine, and an epic spread of delicious food.

As you laugh around the table, inevitably eat too much, and test the stretch-factor of your “Thanksgiving pants,” please take time to share gratitude for the blessings in your lives and remember those who are suffering.

A few things I’m thankful for this year (thinking out loud style)…



The world is sometimes a scary place, but I’m grateful to live in a town—in a country—where I am not persecuted and feel protected and secure behind my doors and out on the street.

An income that pays for shelter and food

…and the ever-increasing medical bills that are arriving in the mail lately.

Good health

This year has seen its ups and downs. My mother breaking her ankle at the end of June and enduring several months of (ongoing) recovery. Lab work and an outpatient surgery (and hand, foot and mouth disease this week) for our sweet Bazooka Babe—who I swear is going to get the last laugh now that his test results have come back negative and his official diagnoses is probably going to be: tiny. Mark dealing with some weird flu-like sickness this past week. I’m just grateful to be mostly healthy.

The generosity and empathy of humanity as a whole

I’m quick to retreat to my bubble of isolation when annoyed or overwhelmed with others, but how lucky I am to be surrounded by kind, passionate, intelligent, and helpful friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. Though there is evil in the world, there’s no doubt in my mind that the people in our lives—even the strangers we encounter briefly—make life worth living.

Have a blessed day! We’ll be missing my in-laws this year, but we’ll make it up soon. I’ll be spending the next few days Christmas tree shopping, leftovers-grazing, trying to sleep in, and relaxing. See you next week.

5 Ways I Practice Self Care as a New(ish) Mom

This is probably a given, but I’ll say it anyway: motherhood is hard.

There are, of course, the physical demands: gaining 25+ pounds, healing from childbirth, watching our breasts transform before our eyes (even if you don’t breastfeed, I presume you experience a brief period of engorgement), and a rush of hormones so severe that we seriously question our sanity and parenting abilities.

Even once you get past those first few weeks, there are “hiccups” such as growth spurts, teething, ear infections, feeding troubles, sleep changes, separation anxiety, and myriad other joys of raising an infant.

If a mother is to survive, she must find a way to care for herself. Whether it’s taking a steamy 10-minute shower or dropping off the kiddo at Mom’s Day Out for the morning, you have to practice self care is some form or fashion.

Since I work outside the home and don’t have a flexible schedule, it’s tough for me to find time for myself. Nevertheless, I’ve found 5 ways to ensure that I practice self-care as often as possible.


1. Finding a creative outlet

Obviously my blog is my outlet. I don’t get to post as frequently as I’d like, but when time permits, I write my little heart out. I also enjoy the interaction from commenting on other blogs—even if these folks are just “virtual friends.”

2. Putting effort into my appearance

If finances permitted, I’d probably treat myself to a mani-pedi once a month. However, we currently reside in the poor house, so the best I can do is spend a few minutes each morning putting on makeup and fixing my hair. I enjoy the quiet (well, when Iggy’s not barking) and slight pampering. Slightly concealing my under-eye circles makes me feel less like a zombie.

3. Going to the gym

Since I only have time (right now) to work out after work, I’m limited to just one night a week. Even so, I look forward to my fitness class all week long—and it refreshes me for the rest of the week. Hooray for endorphins!

4. Quiet time during the day

My co-workers and I enjoy talking to one another when time permits, but one thing I do daily is enjoy my lunch in solitude. I eat really quickly (probably a bad habit) so I can take a 20+ minute walk off the facility. It breaks up the day and gives me a much-needed change of scenery while allowing me to just be in my own thoughts.

5. Alone time with my husband

Let me explain. Although we’re individuals, our relationship means we’re a team. When we’re individually at our best then we’re our best together. We’re trying to implement periodic date nights (it’s easier said than done) and put Bazooka Boy to bed earlier so we can have our own time together. This is not something we’ve perfected; in fact, it’s very much a work in progress.

I obviously would love to have more time to care for myself—endless money for spa days, weekend trips with girlfriends, working out every day, etc.—but this is what I’ve got right now.


[linking up for thinking out loud]

  • How do you practice self-care?
  • What do you find most challenging about being a working mom (or SAHM/WAHM/)?

A Lesson In Perspective

I feel like my mind has been pulled in all sorts of directions lately.

Feeling like a huge failure of a mother because my child’s weight gain is still poor (poor enough, in fact, to have officially earned him the label “failure to thrive” at his September GI appointment, which will forever be etched into his medical record despite his abundant energy, contagious laughter, and markedly normal development in every other aspect of his life).

Feeling like I never have time for myself (or for my spouse), yet carrying a weighty guilt every time I do devote just a fraction of the day (or week) to self-care. (Which, by the way, isn’t selfish—thanks for the reminder.)

Feeling overwhelmed with a lack of patience, irritability that won’t go away, and frustration at the fact that my husband and I are both intelligent, hard-working people, whose incomes don’t seem to reflect all of that.

Uncertainty about what role I will have in my company now that the program I’ve worked on for 8 years is ending (I will have a job, so that’s the important thing!). And a wish that I could have a do-over of my college years so I could take advantage of career resources and make something of my passions.

We all have our stuff, right?

It never fails, though, that whenever I feel like I’m being suffocated by a blanket of “why me?” that I’m knocked right into the wall—and down a flight of stairs—by one thing: perspective.


I live a ridiculously charmed life. I’m blessed and privileged and have experienced so little suffering and loss that it’s almost silly.

Last week I finished reading Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (yes, I’m a few years late to the game). How incredible to have had your dignity (the thing that makes us truly human) all but stripped away from your (almost literal) bare bones and spend the rest of your life giving to others and forgiving your abusers!

And let’s not forget that last month, a college friend (not a close friend, but someone whom I respect and care for) lost her baby boy—just days shy of his 2nd birthday.

Or just last week, a high school acquaintance, whose 3-year-old lost a battle with hepatoblastoma.

And then there are stories in the media—generations of people who lose their lives to despair and addiction.

And continual heart-breaking stories of refugees fleeing their homes because possible death by sea is a better, safer option than staying.

The world can be really f***ing cruel.

change in perspective


All of our feelings of sadness, regret, pity, and anger are valid—but we cannot let those feeling define our existence.

It’s ok to have a bad day—to want nothing more than to pull the covers over our heads and sleep until the afternoon.

It’s ok to cry. To yell. To punch (bags—I wouldn’t recommend punching loved ones or pets or even walls).

There will always be pain—and feeling it makes us stronger—but we have to find a silver lining (whether doing so requires a few good laughs, a day of pampering, months of therapy, or medication).

We have to find empathy and realize that we’re in this together. There is always something beautiful in life—even on the bleakest, darkest days.

There is always, always good to be found. And we should share it with one another freely.

I’m not sure how to conclude this, except to say that I will acknowledge my feelings, I will offer empathy and support to those whom I encounter in my day-to-day life, I will laugh at myself when I overreact or do/say something silly or foolish, I will be more mindful of how my actions/words affect others, and I will cherish the light and happy moments that are surely present in each day, even the bad ones.

And I will wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.


[linking up for thinking out loud]

Breast Cancer Awareness: Why Stop at October?

Happy Wednesday to you!

I’d wager that all, or at least most, of you know that October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With community events like Breast Cancer Awareness walks or golf tournaments or watching football players in the NFL decked out in hot pink accessories, it’s hard to miss.

Just because it’s November—a time of turkey, giving thanks, and diving head-first into the holiday season—that doesn’t mean that women’s health issues should be placed on the back-burner.

In light of that, today I’m teaming up with my friends at Bankers Healthcare Group (who provided the helpful graphic below) to share some facts and tips on understanding breast cancer and what you can do to educate your loved ones and reduce your own risk.

In case you’re unfamiliar, BHG is a company that provides loan services to physicians, enabling doctors to do anything from expanding their practice to purchasing a car.

BHG_BCA_month_optimized_v02 (1)

I’m grateful that breast cancer doesn’t seem to run in my family (my mother has never been diagnosed, nor had either one of my grandmothers—although genetics isn’t the only factor), but that doesn’t mean that I take my health lightly.

These are some of the things I do personally to maintain my health and lower my risk of developing breast cancer.

I’m physically active

As noted in the above graphic, a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for breast cancer (as well as a host of other ailments).

I try to eat well

My diet isn’t perfect, but I try to eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, grains, and legumes. I do not drink alcohol in excess, and I do not smoke cigarettes.

I breastfed my son for 12+ months

Of course some breastfeeding women do develop breast cancer (and women who solely formula feed may not), but studies have shown that you can reduce your risk by breastfeeding [source]. Since I thoroughly enjoyed our nursing relationship, even a slight chance of reducing my risk was a win-win.

I pay attention to my body

I do not “self-test” every day or even every week, but while showering, I do often check my breasts for any lumps or abnormalities.

I make sure to visit my OB/GYN annually

…and I communicate with her. Similarly, when I am of the recommended age, I will schedule regular mammograms.


The bottom line: breast cancer can be deadly and it can’t always be prevented, but with healthy choices, early intervention, up-to-date knowledge, and quality care/treatment, you can lower your risk.

Be mindful of what you put into and onto your body and make choices that empower you as a woman. If you’re currently diagnosed and undergoing treatment or if you’re a breast cancer survivor, share your story. The more we know, the better we can care for ourselves and the women in our lives.

Meal Plan Monday 11.09.15

Monday, Monday—we meet again. And so quickly, too.

How was your weekend? Ours was wonderful—and needed. Saturday morning I ran (and walked!) the Senior Bowl Charity Run. I did better than I thought I would and finished 1:10:45. It was fun but so incredibly muggy!

Afterward, we picked up my mother-in-law (from a hotel) who had tagged along with her friend for a conference. We went to lunch at Jason’s Deli (free ice cream for the win!) and just spent some time around the house before dropping her back off.

Sunday was lazy, and boy did I appreciate it! We slept “late” (woke up at 6:30 to briefly nurse Baby M and then we all went back to sleep in our bed until almost 9:00). With the rain gently falling outside, it was so hard to move!

The rest of the day was spent cleaning, planning, and watching football.

Now it’s time for another week of meals. I’d planned to share last week, but life got in the way. Since I did remember to make note of last week’s meals, I’ll make today’s plan a 2-for-1. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I really need to sync my phone so I can delete some (read: all that I’ve ever taken) of the photos of Bazooka Boy. How, just how, do I pick my favorites?!!!!


(October 26-30)

Monday: Black beans (spiced up with onion, green bell pepper, garlic, and dried cilantro) and rice. Simple and cheap, but satisfying and tasty, with plenty of leftovers for lunch. We did learn a lesson,, though: just because the baby likes eating beans does not mean they will agree with his tummy. Nobody slept Monday night! :-(

Tuesday: Meat loaf and roasted Brussels sprouts. Not our best one, which was probably due to the frozen/thawed meat we used. Baby M ate some, though, and didn’t complain!

Wednesday: We had planned to throw together a slow-cooker vegetable soup, but my mom dropped off a big pot of vegetable soup and cornbread that she made. One of the perks of having parents who live close by (and have a key to your house). :-)

Thursday: Baked potatoes (topped with slightly-burned bacon, grated cheese, and butter; we forgot to pick up chives, so nothing green!) and a chopped salad. For some reason, a loaded baked potato just sounded good to me on Sunday when we were meal planning.

Friday: We went out to dinner at Wintzell’s for one of Mark’s colleague’s going-away dinner. We split a platter of fried oysters and fried shrimp (with cheese grits and fries—hello beige+carby foods!) and it was just ok and over-priced. Wintzell’s used to be family-owned/operated and the place you recommended to visitors, but after opening way too many franchise locations, their quality went downhill (read: questionable frozen seafood).

(November 2-6)

Monday: Crockpot pulled pork sandwiches with a simple homemade slaw—they were pretty tasty.

Tuesday: Gnocchi with marinara, plus sides of cucumber/tomato/onion salad, corn, and garlic bread.

Wednesday: Cannellini bean soup (seasoned with garlic and sage) with grilled cheese. Classic and comforting.

Thursday: Our go-to “fried” rice. It’s not 100% traditional (made in the wok), but it’s yummy with loads of frozen veggies and scrambled egg. Extra Sriracha is not optional.

Friday: We didn’t really plan for this one, so to make us feel better after a stressful couple of days, I picked us up a mixed grill pita and vegetable gyro to split from Mediterranean Sandwich Co. They were underwhelming this time, despite our love for that place.

So…last week was severely lacking in the veggie department. This week should be better!

  • What was the best thing you ate this week?
  • What’s something on the menu for this week?

Thinking Out Loud 11.05.15

Hi there! I hope everybody is having a fine Thursday. Normally I try to take today as an opportunity to share something reflective, but to be totally honest, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block these last few days.

Last week I had a bunch of ideas (some of which became drafts) swirling around my brain, but I just never finished them or didn’t feel like sharing at the moment.

So, I’m going old school with this stream of thinking out loud.


1. Today started off bright (literally, thanks to the time change) and early—we had a 6:30 appointment at the surgery center for Baby M to have tubes put into his ears. He’s had an ongoing ear infection that 3 rounds of antibiotics haven’t tackled, so, with that in mind, and the fact that both my husband and I had loads of ear infections as kids, too, we figured it was inevitable. Better to do it now than during winter, when ALL the germs are at daycare. Everything went fine (seriously—the surgery was THREE minutes—it’s robbery how they can charge SO MUCH for such little time/work) but he SCREAMED from the minute they took the anesthesia off (they used a Styrofoam cup, I kid you not, as the “mask”—I’d love to see the itemized bill for that!) until we got into the car and drove away. I felt like mother of the year, I tell you.

2. To make me feel even worse, I went into to work. Of course my boss was home sick—so why did I abandon my confused, hurting child again? At least I can preserve some of my vacation leave while daddy and baby got some quality time together.

3. Because I’m completely nuts, I registered for a 10K on Saturday morning! I picked up my packet this morning (that is why I went into work—it was on the way). Why am I nuts? Because I haven’t really run since March—the last time I just “decided” to run another 10K. I’m pretty sure there will be a ton of walking mixed in there, too. I just couldn’t pass up the race—it’s usually nice weather, an easy route, and it was on my fall bucket list.

4. I don’t know if it’s due to our “attempts” at weaning from nursing, but I’ve been so anxious/moody/irritable/you-name-it lately. I feel like I snap at everybody. I’m really hoping this is just hormonal and that my body is adjusting, trying to find “normal” again.

5. I’m really excited for the holidays, but I’m having a hard time believing it’s actually November because of the weather. It’s been so HOT this week! I think a cold front is supposed to pass this weekend, so days without 80-degree highs will be welcomed.

6. Speaking of the holidays—the city is setting up a temporary ice skating rink! I’m so flipping excited. The last time I went ice skating, I was probably in middle school. I was actually pretty good (if you count twirling and skating backwards as “good”), so hopefully I’ve retained a few skills. Date night, here we come!

7. I was going to devote a whole post to my spending fast/clutter purge update, but I feel like that would be boring. So, in a nut shell, here’s my progress for October. I’ve done fairly well regarding spending (very little “extras” except for a couple shirts on Zulily [←referral]—it’s like a black hole!) but somehow our money keeps disappearing! (I blame it on doctor co-pays and co-insurance (took me until this year to learn the difference between those!), unexpected expenses (fixing the air conditioner), and probably buying too much beer/wine (if that’s possible). As for de-cluttering, well, I’ve really failed. I haven’t done anything. I still have piles of clothes to donate, but I need to go through even more. I’m just not motivated right now.

8. I can’t stop eating Halloween candy. No further explanation needed.

9. If you haven’t done so already, you should enter my Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts giveaway. I loved hemp seeds as a yogurt and salad topper before this campaign, but I’m also a big fan of my hummus now, too.

10. Let’s end this on an even number and hope that the inspiration fairy decides to visit me soon so I can write something blog-worthy instead of rambling.

See you all soon! Have a lovely Friday & weekend! :-)

The “Dark” Side of Blogging: 5 Types of Blogging Abusers to Avoid

Ever since my high school days of Live Journal (yes, I realize how much that reference ages me!), I’ve loved blogging/online journaling. Writing has been a creative outlet of mine for as long as I can remember.

I realize for many, blogging is business—it’s a full-time job for the big names out there—but for me, blogging is (currently) just a hobby. I occasionally have companies offer me products in exchange for a review and I do try to use my limited knowledge of social media to my advantage, but nothing infuriates me more than the disingenuous blogger.

These are the types of bloggers I try to avoid—you know who I’m talking about!


There’s the “nothing-but-sponsored-content” blogger.

I get it. Working with sponsors and advertisers is necessary to keep your blog running, but it gets old if 90% of your content is a product review or promotion. I don’t mind reading sponsored posts—there are some great bloggers who interlace interesting and funny personal stories with product promotion—but I will stop reading if that’s all you post.

Edited to add: I realize the irony of yesterday’s post being a review/giveaway of freebies. But hopefully my disclosure was evident and I came across as sincere, because I really do like hemp seeds!

Or the “OMG, nice post! Check out my blog!” commenter.

There’s nothing wrong with commenting on other blogs to put your name out and hopefully attract readers. In fact, most blog tutorials recommend this. But it’s one thing to comment on a blog with a well-thought comment indicating you’ve read the author’s content, and it’s another to blatantly skip over their post and shamelessly plug yourself. Show respect and take interest; eventually, other readers and bloggers will do the same.

We all know the “My life is 100% rainbows and sunshine” blogger.

I’ve found myself rejoicing right along with other bloggers when something positive happens in their lives (pregnancies after years of infertility, promotions, publishing gigs, etc.), but I appreciate when bloggers share some of the “ugly” as well. I’ve actually unsubscribed to bloggers who seem phony—as in, all they share is rainbows and sunshine.

Yet we sometimes encounter the “Negative Nelly.”

This is the second side to being a “real” blogger. When a blogger shares a struggle (job loss, struggles to conceive, etc.), it triggers empathy in the reader and shows us that, yes, bloggers are real people with real emotions. If all you do is complain, though, you will alienate your readers who don’t need extra negativity in their lives!

Let’s not forget the “Link-up Abuser.”

All (most?) of us want people to read our blog and interact with us, but we shouldn’t take advantage of others by abusing their hard work and time. I’ve noticed many people posting months-old content to weekly link-ups or including several link-ups in one post—most of which have nothing to do with the content/theme of their writing. If you’re a food or healthy living blogger, you’re probably aware of the What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) controversy. Jen, a hardworking blogger and mother, was up to her ears in frustration because people were abusing her link-up; she even had to enlist the help of others to keep this much-loved link party going. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you your blog exposure!

I’m sure there are more—perhaps “the recipe thief” (posting another’s recipe as their own and refusing to link back to the original), or the so-called “expert” who has no qualifications (registered dietician, personal trainer, health coach, etc.) yet passes off their “advice” as empirical truth—but these 5 really rub me the wrong way.

Like I said, I love blogging, and I love the amazing perspectives I’ve encountered, the endless healthy recipes I’ve made or bookmarked, and the personal (and professional) connections that sometimes arise. Like with everything in life, integrity is of the utmost importance when it comes to blogging. In other words, don’t abuse a good thing!

  • Do you have a blog?
  • Did I leave any “blog abusers” out?
  • Sponsored content: tell me the truth, do you read it or skip it?

Protein-Packed Hemp & Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus + A Giveaway! {Closed}

If you’re active in the fitness or healthy living world, you’re probably well aware of the importance of protein.

photo 3-34

Protein is more than just another macronutrient that you obtain from a giant piece of chicken or bowl full of beans.

In fact, proteins—or the thousands of smaller units called amino acids of which they’re composed—are the building blocks of the body. Proteins have many critical functions and are a necessary component of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Unlike fat or carbohydrates, our bodies do not store protein, so it’s especially important that we consume an adequate amount each and every day. [source]

What if I told you that you could find the perfect protein—one that contains all 20 essential amino acids—in a tiny seed?

Well, you can!


As a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I received a sample of hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest.

Hemp hearts are simply raw, hulled hemp seeds.

These tiny powerhouses contain a whopping 10 grams each of protein and Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids (in a 30 gram serving).

photo 1-58

I like to use hemp hearts as I would other seeds or nuts. They have a nutty, earthy taste—similar to a pine nut—and are delicious sprinkled on top of salads or mixed into yogurt bowls. And they don’t get stuck in your teeth like those pesky chia seeds tend to do!

Manitoba Harvest has an awesome list of recipes on their site, but I chose to keep things simple with this protein-packed sun-dried tomato hemp hummus.

It’s full of flavor thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes, and it’s the perfect post-workout snack to help you refuel and recover.

Hemp + Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Protein-packed Hemp & Sun-dried Tomato Hummus


  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (with liquid reserved)
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 3 Tbsp hemp seeds (+ more for garnish)
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (I used the herb-flavored oil from the sun-dried tomato jar)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste


  1. Add all of your ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse (I alternated between “high” and “low”) until combined. You may have to scrape down the sides as needed.
  2. Once blended, taste and add any additional seasonings, if desired. To thin, add 1-2 Tbsp of reserved liquid at a time (I added about 4 total) until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Serve immediately. Garnish with hemp hearts and serve with toasted pita, baby carrots, crackers, celery sticks, etc.

Slightly adapted from Cooking Classy.

photo 5-14

But wait—there’s more! You can win your own sample of hemp hearts by following the prompts below.

Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.*

Please leave a separate comment below for each entry you submit.

*One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so another winner can be chosen.

Giveaway is open from today until Friday, November 13, and I will randomly select a winner on Monday, November 16.

** I received a free sample of hemp hearts from Manitoba Harvest as a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**