Ambronite Review (Alternatively: When You Forget To Eat)

Being a mom is challenging. Although our responsibilities and lifestyles vary, I’m sure that all mothers could agree on two things: we’re always busy and we’re always tired.

Before Baby M, I had a good bit of leisure time. I worked 8-5, but I could spend my evenings (and mornings, if I chose) as I pleased. Now, though, I’m scrambling to fit everything I need to do into 24 hours—including meals.

Enter: Ambronite.

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Ambronite is a powdered drink mix that’s marketed as “the world’s first drinkable supermeal.” It contains 100% plant-based, whole food ingredients—nothing synthetic—such as oats, nuts and seeds, and nutrient-packed herbs.

When first approached by Ambronite, I was a little hesitant. I tend to shy away from smoothies or shakes as a meal replacement because they don’t keep me satiated. I like to chew my food, but when I read the ingredient list, I was impressed and thought, “why not?”

The deciding factor, however, was the fact that I’d failed to make myself breakfast and had to rely on a snack bar twice in one week!

Just take a look at those healthful ingredients!

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And, as billed, the drinks are calorie-dense and comparable nutrient-wise to a well-rounded meal. Each packet is jam-packed with vitamins and minerals.

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But how does it taste?

Truthfully, I did not enjoy my first sip. I turned to my husband and said, “this tastes like sand!”

I realized, however, that I’d used lukewarm tap water, so I stuck my bottle in the refrigerator for a bit and gave it another good shake. As I sipped it on the way to work, it became much more palatable.

The mixture was still somewhat gritty after vigorous shaking, but the flavor improved; in fact, it tasted nutty and earthy, similar to a thicker version of almond milk.

I’d like to try blending the packet into a smoothie. Adding fruit, juice, etc. would take away from the ease of simply mixing with water, but I think the flavor and fullness factor would be taken to the next level.

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Would I continue using Ambronite?

I find the appearance and texture of food to be important, so I’m not sure I’d regularly drink Ambronite to replace meals. Plus, at $9.99 a pop, they’re kind of expensive for my budget.

Nevertheless, it’s a great option for those busy mornings when I don’t even have time for a bowl of cereal—and it did keep me full until lunch (as a habitual snacker, not being hungry until lunch is a huge deal for me).

If you travel often or spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, camping, etc., then I think Ambronite is a fantastic option to keep you fueled with natural, plant-based ingredients.

If you’d like to try your own drinkable supermeal, Ambronite is offering a 10% discount to foodiecology readers. Just use the code FOODIECOLOGY10 at checkout.

**I received an Ambronite sample free of charge in exchange for a review. I was not compensated for this blog post, and all opinions are my own.**

One Million Minutes: Week 5

Heeeelllllooooo lovelies!

I hope you’re well-rested and energized from your weekend. Can you even believe it’s almost August?!

August is a big deal for us because…WE REGISTERED BABY M FOR DAYCARE!

I’m simultaneously heart-broken and excited for him.

As I’ve mentioned, my mother injured her ankle and has a long recovery ahead of her, so my parents can no longer watch Luca. My in-laws have been filling in the entire month of July (seriously, we’re so blessed and grateful for their help; my mother-in-law has pretty much put her life on hold and my father-in-law has juggled work back home and weekends with us, and I know it’s not easy), but we had to figure a permanent solution out.

We thought we had a sitter lined up, but she had some unexpected family issues. Daycare was our last option. During the week, Mark and I e-mailed and phoned several places, and as luck would have it, there was an opening at a local Methodist church daycare.

A coworker and friend both have their sons there, and they seem to like it. I went by last week and had a brief tour, and because I was terrified the spot would fill, I gave them a deposit that morning. It’s a bit further from home/work than we’d like, but I feel good about it. This week will be full of supplies-shopping, acquiring immunization records, and ATTEMPTING to get Luca to nap in a crib.

With his fun-loving, sociable personality, he will adjust well. My only concern is the fact that he still naps in our arms or in bed with us. Hopefully those caretakers will wear him out enough so he crashes and sleeps anywhere!

Obviously last week was busy. I didn’t work out as much as planned (are you surprised?), but I tried!

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  • July 20: cardio barre
  • July 21: walked during lunch
  • July 22: walked during lunch
  • July 23: had every intention of taking a cardio barre class, but it was cancelled due to an event. Since I had only packed flip-flops and yoga socks, I couldn’t work out in the weight room (excuses!) and decided to compromise with a hot walk from my car to Mediterranean Sandwich Company to pick up dinner (walking IS exercise!)
  • July 24: walked during lunch
  • July 25: rest
  • July 26: rest

I’m not racking up minutes like I thought I would (my total so far is less than 500 hours), but I am learning that as long as I try to stay active during the day (I walk a ton), it’s ok if I don’t get to spend an hour at group fitness or find it too hot to do much else outside besides walking. I’m healthy and happy—that’s what matters.

I’ll figure this whole balance thing out one day. ☺

  • Do you have any plans for the remainder of the summer?
  • If you have kids—were/are they in daycare?
  • Tell me your favorite at-home workout

Weekly Links: 07.26.15

Amazingly, I’m sitting down to blog.

Per usual, this weekend flew by. Yesterday Mark, Luca, and I ran some errands and today we had some lunch at Jason’s Deli before visiting my parents to bring them some dinner (since my mom is still recovering from her surgery).

These reads are from last week and this week. Hope something catches your eye. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

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.Recipes.

Easy 10-Minute Lemon Butter Grouper Fish Tacos // Averie Cooks

I love fish—but we hardly ever cook it at home. These would be perfect to change things up during the week.

Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Burrata Salad on Grilled Garlic Toast // How Sweet It Is

Beautiful. This is making my mouth water, and I’m not even hungry at the moment. What a perfect way to showcase summer tomatoes, cliché or not.

Almond Joy Breakfast Bake // Running With Spoons

I’m always a fan of dessert for breakfast and coconut/almonds/chocolate is a winning combination.

The Ultimate Sugar Cookies // Platings and Pairings

No shame in using a boxed mix! These remind me of those (addicting) soft, frosted sugar cookies from the grocery store.

Strawberry Mint Spring Rolls // The Almond Eater

These are gorgeous…and could they be any simpler?

.Body Image & Fitness.

Getting Engaged Meant Facing My Anorexia Again // New York Magazine

It kills me to see women going on extreme diets/cleanses/exercise regimens before their wedding day. It’s one thing to want to look (and feel) your best in front of your loved ones, but it’s another to put yourself through absolute agony. This is especially important to think about if you have an ED history.

How Long Does It Really Take To Get Out Of Shape? // Greatist

This article is from March, but it’s relevant to me…because BABY. I was in awesome shape when I got pregnant, and I think I did a good job staying active. But postpartum? I lost a ton of strength, endurance, and flexibility because I was so sedentary. Slowly I’m getting it back, but this article puts a lot into perspective, especially since I STILL seem to think I should be able to do everything I did before.

.Health & Nutrition.

Prozac in the Yogurt Aisle: Can ‘Good’ Bacteria Chill Us Out? // NPR

I think there’s a lot of research to be done, but it makes perfect sense to me that a healthy gut = a healthy mind.

Almond Breeze Almond Milk Only Contains 2% Almonds, Claims False Advertising Lawsuit // Food Navigator

Only 2%? That’s disappointing. Obviously commercial (and homemade) almond milk contains water, but I would’ve thought the almond % would’ve been higher. I wonder how Silk (my personal favorite) compares, since it doesn’t contain carrageenan?

Healthy Eating On a Budget // Khushboo’s Blog

Great tips. I need to put these in practice, because sometimes my grocery bill makes my head explode.

Do You Feel Generally Healthy? // Fitting It All In

I contemplate this often, especially since I have family members with chronic illness/pain. I’m exhausted and stressed because I have a 9 month old, but even when I can’t go to the gym or feel as if I need a nap, I’m so incredibly blessed to have generally good health.

.Life Lessons & Parenting.

Defining Success // My Healthyish Life

I’ve had my own struggles with the “comparison trap” and this is a great reminder to enjoy our own achievements without envying those of others. Often easier said than done, but so important to living a fulfilling life.

What Forgiveness Really Looks Like, And Why It Matters // Verily

I’ve held onto grudges in the past, and they really are toxic. Gratefully I’ve never dealt with a true trauma for which I’d have to go to great lengths to offer forgiveness, but this is still a great read.

8 Ways We Make Parenting Harder (Than It Already Is) // We Are That Family

Very reasonable thoughts. Even though my little man is only 9 months old, I already feel the overwhelming desire to shield him from anything sad/painful/difficult/frustrating/etc. But doing that will NOT allow him to grow into the person he needs to become.

Can I Remember My Pre-Baby Life? // The Lunchbox Diaries

I think every mother feels this way.

#1MillionMinutes: Week 4

Hi! Why is it Monday already?

This past week and weekend were quite busy: visited my mom at the hospital on Tuesday, took Luca to his well check after work on Wednesday (long visit…the doctor was running behind!), and relaxed (well, as much as possible) Thursday and Friday evenings.
Saturday we (the hubs, father-in-law, baby, and I) ran errands and had lunch at Moe’s Barbecue downtown. While the boys were at home, I went over to a friend’s house for dinner and drinks (Mexican!) to celebrate her first home sale as a realtor. It was a lot of fun…I desperately needed girl time!

Last night was interesting because the thunderstorm knocked down a tree nearby, leaving us without electricity for a few hours. We survived…but Luca got to bed late and we were all hot, cranky, and exhausted by bedtime. At least our steak dinner was delicious!

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Needless to say, I only managed to do my short daily walks last week. Sure, I could’ve done some at-home circuits or even tried running (haha, not in this humidity!), but life is busier right now. Unless something changes, I’m planning to take a cardio barre class tonight.

We’ll see how it goes…

Baby M: 9 Months

Happy Monday, folks!

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I’m super late, but the Saturday before last was Baby M’s 9 month “birthday.” We had some professional photos taken, and they turned out fantastic. Luca was not in the greatest mood (photo shoot was scheduled during nap time), but he did well despite his crankiness and the heat.

I feel like SO MUCH has changed since last month’s update.

For starters, we have a CRAWLER. Oh, boy, is he fast. I swear it just happened over night, too; one day he was just rocking back and forth on his hands/knees, the next, he’d shimmied down the hall, diving at Iggy’s water bowl.

His crawl is so cute because he kind of kicks with his right foot instead of strictly moving on his knees. Maybe the hard floor hurts? Or maybe he just moves even more quickly this way.

Regardless, we’re beginning to baby proof!

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So…sleep. It’s not the best. I absolutely tried not to take Luca’s naturally amazing sleeping habits for granted because I know so many parents struggle. Well, it’s like we hit the 8-month sleep regression and never passed go. It’s our turn, I guess.

I’ll usually nurse Luca to sleep, and he’ll often go down in his crib. But 30-minutes to 2 hours later, he’s awake, crying or wanting to laugh and play. He usually spends the rest of the night in our bed. It’s tough! I don’t know WHAT this kid dreams about, but he is constantly moving in his sleep. My hair gets pulled, my ribs get kicked, and my nose and mouth have all sorts of baby fingers in them!

Please, God, let this be a phase.

Luca is still eating really well. He loves pretty much any puree we put in front of him, and he enjoys snacking on his puffs.

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A couple weeks ago we tried giving him some finger foods—some of daddy’s spaghetti and meatballs, shredded chicken, green beans, meatloaf, and, yesterday, some bits of broccoli casserole, macaroni and cheese, and pulled pork from Moe’s. He enjoyed it all!

I think we’re going to let him self-feed more often, now. I mean he’s got 6 teeth—he may as well use them! He often grabs the spoon from us, so I think he wants more control.

In addition to crawling, he’s so good at pulling up and standing. I think he’ll be cruising soon. He sits down with so much control, and he’s even stood on his own a few times!

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He must be teething, because I’ve been feeling like a human pacifier lately. Nursing is going pretty well, except that he seems to want comfort nurse while napping—making it extremely difficult to move him.

Luca hasn’t managed to form any “dada” or “mama” words, but he’s a babbling fool. This kid loves to “talk,” and some of the sounds he makes are just too funny. It sounds like he says “whoa!” and “Iggy.”

Speaking of Iggy—I think he and Baby M are on the same team. Iggy was in “time out” the other day for barking, and when Gigi sat down in the chair, Iggy just appeared at her side. Luca had opened the dog crate and set him free!

Apparently we have a mischievous little boy on our hands.

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//photo by Emily Bass Photography//

Every day it seems like Luca is growing and changing. It’s so amazing to watch, but it’s also heart-breaking because I miss my helpless newborn! No matter how exhausted I am (which is very), every day is so unbelievably worth it.

Happy 9 months, little man. We love you so much!

If you’re catching up, you can find Baby M’s other monthly updates on my Baby page.

Thinking Out Loud 07.16.15

1. I wanted to pop in yesterday for a What I Ate Wednesday post (I even photographed all my meals Tuesday—except for dinner), but since I got home late Tuesday (visiting my mom in the hospital after her surgery) and yesterday (Luca’s 9-month well check), I just didn’t feel like staring at the computer again. So here I am today, traditional Thinking Out Loud style.

2. I’m exhausted. I read something recently that mentioned the average “sleep debt” for new parents in the first year is around 700 hours. For somebody who thrived on 8-9 hours and managed on 7, that reality has hit me hard. We were so lucky that Luca has been a naturally awesome sleeper, but around 8 months, he started waking up during the night again and struggling to stay asleep. Thus, he’s usually in our bed. I’m chalking it up to a normal “sleep regression” around this time, but I would seriously do almost ANYTHING for a restful night’s sleep.

3. Tonight we MUST take Luca’s 9-month pictures so I can post his monthly update. I still can’t believe that, in 3 short months (well, a little less now), he will be ONE YEAR OLD. It’s cliché and cheesy, but TIME FLIES. I’ve noticed this just in the last few years as I’ve gotten older, but with a child? IT SERIOUSLY FLIES. It’s not possible to enjoy every single minute (teething. sleepless nights. tantrums. wishing to get out of the house. etc.), but since his birth, I’ve been trying to soak up as much as I can while he’s little. I’m not opposed to the idea of another kid, but I’m also aware that this could be my ONLY experience with an infant of my own. I’m already nostalgic for my pregnancy, the experience of labor and childbirth (seriously—it was painful and stressful but I’d do it again), and even the struggles of learning to nurse, change a diaper (without wasting half a package), etc. It’s just strange. One minute I wasn’t a mom, and the next, I was. So much is the same, but so much is completely different.

4. Oops, I had no intention of making this post so “baby-centric.” We write what we know, I guess.

5. Have any of you tried the new (I think they’re new) La Croix flavors—passion fruit and mango? I love the passion fruit but am disappointed in the mango. Mango is one of my absolute favorite fruits, but I barely got even a hint of flavor.

6. I’m in a bit of a funk this week. I really wanted to get back into my groove at the gym, but I haven’t made it to a single class yet. So much for my lofty fitness goals. Although I want to get my money’s worth of my Y membership, I’m beginning to realize that it’s OK if I don’t have a traditional workout. I love group fitness classes, but I really should focus more on quick, at-home circuits. Or go for a short (20 minutes or less!) jog—if I can handle the heat/humidity. As long as I’m moving throughout the day, it’s not the end of the world.

7. When I say it’s been hot, I mean it. The heat index has been over 100 every day this week. It’s miserable. I say the same thing every year, but I swear it gets harder and harder to just walk outside! How did I survive a summer pregnancy again?…

8. After I fulfill a few commitments I’ve already made, I’m thinking about taking a blog/social media break. I feel like I have no creativity right now, and I don’t want to post only baby-related things on a FOOD blog. Actually, I’m contemplating whether I want to change my blog completely—although I know that’s a ton of work that I probably don’t have time for. Plus, even though like 4 of you read this regularly, I’m proud of my tiny following and what I’ve created. One thing I do know is I still enjoy writing when the inspiration hits, and I don’t intend to give that up.

9. One more baby-related thought: I’m so anxious to see the proofs from Luca’s 9-month photo shoot this past Saturday. He wasn’t in the best of moods (it was naptime, bad scheduling on mommy’s part!), but I’m sure our photographer got some awesome shots.

10. On that note, I’m wrapping things up. It’s time to get back to work (yep, I’m posting this on my lunch break).

Thinking-Out-Loud

Happy Thursday!

Trying Essential Oils

I’m not a stranger to holistic and natural healing. I know yoga has helped me with anxiety, I swear by apple cider vinegar and raw honey to ward off colds, and I believe a host of modern ailments can be healed or prevented with diet rather than pills.

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Nevertheless, I’ve always run from the you-know-there’s-an-oil-for-that crowd.

I don’t like being a bandwagoner, and frankly, much of their exuberance for marketing and selling oils scares me.

It wasn’t until a week ago when Baby M was simultaneously teething and struggling with sinus congestion (whether it was a cold or allergies, I’m not sure) that I decided it was time to bite the bullet.

Yes, friends, I’ve officially climbed aboard the Essential Oil Train.

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On a whim, I bought the introductory kit from doTerra. It contains 5 ml bottles of lavender, lemon, and peppermint—3 of the most popular oils in the collection.

Now, this might be coincidence, but on that first evening when I applied lavender topically to the bottoms of my feet and onto my pillow, I slept like a rock.

A day later, Mark had a bad headache that he’d developed at work. At my recommendation, he applied peppermint and lavender (just a drop or two) under his eyes and on his temples. Not long after, his headache improved considerably, although he had also taken tylenol.

Since I really wanted to take advantage of my oils at work, I purchased a bottle of organic fractionated coconut oil and some glass roller bottles. My sinuses had uncharacteristically begun acting up, so I desperately needed to relieve my watery eyes and runny nose.

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To my roller ball, I added 20 drops each of lavender, peppermint, and lemon and topped off with the coconut carrier oil. That morning, I gargled with a mixture of water, lemon, and peppermint. Later at work, I applied the roller ball under my eyes, under my nose, and sniffed it periodically. The day before I could barely work due to my near-constant sneezing and nose-blowing, but that next day, I breathed infinitely better and blew my nose just once. I didn’t take any other medication, so placebo or not—I felt great!

I’m still researching the various oil companies out there, and I’ve reached out to a few friends to hear their personal experiences. I know Young Living is considered the “gold standard,” and I’m intrigued by their “seed to seal” guarantee. I’m not a fan of the multilevel marketing strategy, however, although I might consider becoming a member simply for the 24% discount.

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Price is a huge factor for me; I know you get what you pay for, but with doTERRA’s similarly high prices, I’m not sure if I will increase my collection with their oils. I’m pleased so far with my starter kit, but I’m exploring other options, too.

One company that intrigues me is Eden’s Garden. It’s sold through the company’s website, but the pricing seems almost too good to be true. I’ve also read that “pure therapeutic grade” can mean a range of things, so I’m not entirely sure about their quality.

With all that said, I’m interested in expanding my collection and discovering new uses, whether it’s for household cleaning, first-aid applications, or stress relief. I’m not expecting any miracles, but I am open to discovering natural methods of keeping my family healthy and happy.

**Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, and these statements are based on my own experience only.**

  • Do you use essential oils?
  • Which brand(s) do you recommend?
  • Which is your favorite or most-used application (diffusing, ingesting, etc.)?
  • Which scents—singles or blends—could you NEVER live without?

#1MillionMinutes: Week 3

Oh heeeeyyy there.

Truth be told, I forgot all about this update until I got to work this morning. And then I got too busy to actually post it.

Last week started off on the right foot, but since I apparently came down with a crazy allergy attack (watery eyes and a runny, sneezy nose that rendered me 98% useless on Wednesday and Thursday), I decided to skip Body Pump on Thursday night in favor of rest.

It was a good call.

So at risk of sounding like a broken record, my workouts were lacking last week.

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  • July 6: a very sweaty 45 minutes of cardio barre + a 20-minute walk at lunch
  • July 7: 20-minute walk
  • July 8: 20-minute walk
  • July 9: meh…I walked for maybe 10 minutes at lunch, but it was sweltering!
  • July 10: another very short walk
  • July 11: rest
  • July 12: rest

I think that brings my grand total of minutes to around 290. Not where I want to be, and I’m sure this week is going to be busy. My mom is having her (hopefully) final ankle surgery tomorrow, and after work I’ll want to visit her. Then Wednesday is probably out because I’m taking Luca to his 9-month well check. I’m not making any grand plans, but hopefully Thursday I can visit the gym after work.

Thinking Out Loud: Mommy Guilt

Let’s have some real talk today.

As Baby M approaches his 9 month birthday this Saturday, I’ve been reflecting on my new life as “mommy.”

Motherhood is more rewarding and fulfilling than I ever imagined. On days where I’m exhausted from late nights or stressed from a busy week at work, nothing makes me feel happier or more loved and needed than my sweet baby falling asleep on my chest or smiling up at me with his wide, gap-toothed grin.

On the other hand, motherhood comes with its challenges. I knew when I found out I was pregnant that my life was going to change. I knew that, in order to be a good mother, I would have to put a vast majority of my selfishness aside and become selfless instead. That’s not to say I would never take time for me or ignore my own needs, but I would never have the freedom—that I totally took for granted—that I did before.

At almost 9 months, my husband and I have adjusted pretty well to our new lives, and we can’t wait to watch Luca grow and experience new things. But one thing I struggle with, particularly lately, is guilt.

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Mommy Guilt.

If you’re a mom, don’t act like you haven’t felt it.

I feel guilty on those exasperation-filled evenings when I just want to pour myself a huge glass of wine and watch mindless TV instead of wash bottles and pump parts, fold baby laundry, or soothe an over-tired and teething little one.

I feel guilty for coming home late twice a week in order to work out at the gym, even though I feel refreshed and invigorated when I exercise.

I feel guilty for giving my husband an evil glare when he touches me because I’m so dang tired that I just want to build a bubble around myself, emblazoned with a sign that reads, “MINE!”

It’s tough—finding balance, knowing you love your child with every fiber of your being but occasionally wishing he wouldn’t steal so much of your time.

Some days I’d do anything short of committing a crime just to have 24-hours to myself or one blessed night of uninterrupted sleep!

It’s tough, but I know it will get easier different. I’m sure this guilt will never completely go away, but I’m going to continue carving out a little time for myself.

I want to feel my best, and I hope to be an example of healthy living to him. And I can’t do that if I don’t take care of myself—mentally and physically.

So for now, I’ll take a couple hours a week for the gym. And when I get home, I’ll soak up each and every baby snuggle and giggle that I can—because parenting is full of fleeting moments and phases that seem to end just as quickly as they begin.

Thinking-Out-Loud

[linking up for thinking out loud]

  • If you have kids, what’s the toughest adjustment you’ve had to make?
  • Kids or not—what do you do for “me time?”

#1MillionMinutes: Week 2

Hi there! Hope your Fourth of July was safe and fun. Ours was nontraditional, but the muffulettas we ate were pretty darn tasty.

Last week was a heckuva week. Needless to say, my exercise plans got derailed a bit. I didn’t even make it to the gym once.

My mother (who watches Baby M during the work week along with my dad) broke her ankle pretty severely Monday afternoon, so I spent evenings after work at the hospital visiting her. She had surgery on Tuesday to stabilize the bones (the rods in her foot look like the scaffolding on a building!), and in a couple weeks, she should be having a surgery to permanently fix the breaks (all 3 of them!) with screws/plates.

My in-laws are in town to help watch Baby M, and hopefully we hear about daycare openings sooner rather than later. We’d planned to put him in daycare at least part time someday soon, but we thought we’d have a little bit more advance planning!

I’m hoping to get in some good sweat sessions this week to make up for this past one (I need to get those endorphins going!). At least I got in a few good walks on the days I worked (I took off Thursday to stay home with the babe and was off Friday).

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  • June 29: 20-minute walk
  • June 30: 20-minute walk
  • July 1: 20-minute walk
  • July 2: rest
  • July 3: rest
  • July 4: rest
  • July 5: rest

Tonight I’m planning to take a cardio barre class. Here’s hoping I’m not too sore from talking a week+ off…