Deceptive Thanksgiving Dessert Advertising – Mary’s Gone Crackers Gone Wrong

Despite the snow, my Thanksgiving was not half bad. My clan was supposed to see extended family down in New York and it was very disenchanting when we learned we couldn’t go because of impossible road conditions. Obviously though, we made the best of the situation. I really can’t complain, heck, I got to see a 4-D version of the Polar Express. Anytime you can go beyond your normal dimensions, it’s a pretty cool experience :P. I mean, dude, I got to actually smell the hot co-co they were serving on Polar Express; if that’s not flipping amazing, I don’t know what is. Although I will say that getting punched in the back of our seats when the train came to a sudden halt wasn’t fun and unnecessary. My Mom was the lucky spared one who’s seat was defective.

While Thanksgiving 2014 was filled with joyful, 4-D memories, it also had its vexations. In particular, I am not very satisfied with the gluten-free company Mary’s Gone Crackers right now. What is Mary’s Gone Crackers, you might ask? They are the ones that make the seeded flax crackers that look wicked disgusting, but actually taste really delicious. Additionally, they also make desserts. Well, right before Turkey Day, my Mom found ginger snap cookies baked by Mary’s Gone Cracker’s that, supposedly, had a dairy-free cream in the middle. I was thrilled! I was so excited to finally have a cookie that had a filling as this is SO HARD to find being both gluten and dairy-free. I also have to limit the amount of soy I eat, which makes this conquest even more arduous. I just could not wait to crack the cookie open and find that ooey-gooey cream in the center as it looked like in the picture on the box. However, when it was time for dessert and the first bite was taken, I could only taste gingerbread. “Hmmm….this is quite peculiar, that cream has got to be in there somewhere“, I thought.  Therefore, I took the largest bite I could and still, …nothing. Could my cookie be the odd one of the bunch? Did they forget to put cream in my cookie? I then asked my Mom to take a bite of her’s to see if she had the same situation which she did. It then occurred to us that Mary the Cracker Lady was a LIAR! That cookie on the cover clearly had cream in it; or so we thought. After investigating the cover more closely, we both realized that what appeared to be cream in the middle were actually sprinklings of ginger. My Mom and I were astounded that both of us had missed this, as the two of us are usually overly observant people. *Sigh*, I guess that I still need to be on the hunt for gf/df cookies with a creamy filling. Or maybe I should try and make my own batter? Who knows?

Would you guys have been deceived by the cover?

Yours in a Current Agitated Spirit,

-Alexandra Spund

P.S. The cookies were absolutely delectable just to let you know. They tasted like actual, glutenous ginger snaps!! I was just mightily disappointed that there was no mouth-watering cream :(.

 

So I’m Actually Doing This Workout Thing

I’ve always had trouble motivating myself to exercise. I don’t know, I guess I’ve just always been more of an artistic/intellectual type of person rather than someone who didn’t mind sliding into the mud in order to score that goal. When I was a kid, I was so nonathletic it was almost laughable. I’d be that poor kid scored low on the “pacer test” because they’d be huffing and puffing for air, struggled with swinging a ball off of their bat, and didn’t know what to do with a soccer ball once I had it. By the third grade, it became pretty evident to me that my legs belonged to a snail in a past life. Fortunately, I did not remain a hopeless athlete for ever as a little thing called gymnastics saved my physical sanity. However, after I stopped doing gymnastics at age thirteen, I unfortunately stopped exercising all together. I learned how to become a pretty decent ice skater when I was a freshman in high school so that I could eventually learn how to play ice hockey (my Dad really wanted me to play the sport because he loved it so much). While I was pretty good at ice skating, there were a few problems.

A.) You had to bend at the knees to keep balance for ice hockey which absolutley KILLED my back.

B.) The puck didn’t really like me.

C.) This is probably the number one reason I was bad at ice hockey – I didn’t want to voluntarily crash into someone (a.k.a. I was not the aggressive type – good thing I’m not living in the caveman era)

So therefore, I quit. Ice hockey was just not going to happen. Ever.  While I really enjoyed ice skating, I’d always find excuses not to go to the rink (it’s too cold out, I’d rather do something else today, blah, blah, blah) which in turn kept me from exercising.

I was always telling myself that I would get around to doing it, tomorrow would be the start of a new exercise era, etc. But dude, I just did not want to move my body; I was happy being a couch potato.

Recently though, I’ve decided that I am done with excuses. No more Alex, no more! I’m throwing them inside of an invisible trash can right now **gleefully watches them plummet**.

You might be wondering, what inspired me to start working out more and kick this bad habit to the curb? This lovely lady from YouTube named Cassey Ho.

Lots of you have probably have heard of her before, but if you haven’t, she is best known for her YouTube channel Blogilates. Basically, she teaches various Pilate exercises, each of them targeting different areas of the body (some of them total body though). Recently, I decided to follow her beginner’s workout calender to shed some pounds, tone my body, hopefully develop some muscle (I don’t know how effective Pilates is at doing this though), and de-stress.

I have currently completed four days of the calender and haven’t noticed any huge changes yet, but the one thing I did notice is that my lower spine felt less curved (its called lordosis – it’s like scoliosis, except only your lower spine is curved and no brace can fix it 😦 ). And it makes me look bloated and hurts my back sometimes) and after the second workout, I was actually able to press my lower back into the ground. I do know that one of the benefits of Pilates and exercise in general is that you can align your spine better because it can strengthen the muscles. I really hope that Pilates can continue to do this for me :). In addition to this, Pilates has a whole host of other benefits such as improving your flexibility, posture, balance, and can treat back pain. I always try to think of these benefits whenever my thighs or abs are burning, ha-ha :P.

So far I’m really enjoying the workouts and I especially love Cassey’s fun personality. Her energy is just so contagious! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone so enthusiastic about exercising in my life.  She has inspired me to make exercise apart of the healthy lifestyle that I currently live. In fact, I’m pretty amazed that I’ve been able to maintain the weight and shape I have thus far, because when I think about it, we were born to move, our ancestors were moving around constantly, and the fact that I have been barely moving at all is pretty scary.

I’m going to continue to blog about my experiences with blogilates and other exercises I might do in the future. I wonder what I’ll be writing six months from now about this??? :O

Have any of you guys done Blogilates before and if not, what exercises do you currently do to stay in shape?

-Alexandra Spund

Sh*t Never To Say To Someone With Food Allergies

You want to know what amazes me? When people think that they are experts on things that they’ve never experienced first hand. Seriously dude, it’s like saying stay away from Indian food or don’t read Divergent because it’s just a rip off of the Hunger Games if you’ve never read/tried it before. Ludicrous! And do you want to know what really gets on my nerves? When people try to give me medical advice about my diet and what I should be eating, even though they are not a certified doctor or nutritionist. I have gotten this from people that are and are not related to (sans my immediate family of course) and it bugs me so much! Honestly, unless I seem unhealthy or unhappy, should you really be trying to toy with something that doesn’t even effect you? Do your research first before passing judgments. Since I’m in a ranting mood today, I’ve decided to compile a list of sh*it never to say to someone with food allergies:

Drum roll please…………………………..

🙂

SH*T YOU SHOULD JUST KEEP TO YA SELF!

1.) Don’t people go on the gluten-free diet to lose weight? You’re in such good shape!

While many people go on a gluten-free diet to lose weight, I did not eliminate gluten from my diet in order to lose weight. Throughout my teen years, I’ve never been slim, but I’ve most certainly never been overweight. I went gluten-free/dairy-free because my doctor discovered that I had an allergy after having medical problems that were chronic and would not go away. The long and the short of things is that it helped me and I’ve never been healthier than I’ve been now! Besides, if someone decides that they want to shed some pounds and think that going gluten-free might help, should you really be harassing them for eating a certain way that effects no one but themselves? As long as their diet is not turning into some type of eating disorder, is that really your business? Nope! 

2.) Those types of foods are expensive! Why would you spend so much money on that?

Yes, I am well aware that eating foods free of allergens is terrifyingly more expensive than the food you’d get at your grocery store and this is a problem that bothers me, but I can’t control it. Unfortunately, it’s the highly processed , pesticide infested crap-ola that is the cheapest because they are the least expensive to produce. But it’s costing us our health and environment, which affects our future and planet greatly! I could go on and on about this topic, but I will save this for another day. Anyways, I’m aware that my foods are more expensive, and yes, I hate that, but don’t imply that my family is being irresponsible for taking care of our health. We are not wealthy, like a lot of people who think that citizens who eat healthy are. Since we are middle class, we have to make certain cutbacks in order to afford to eat this way, but it’s totally worth it! Why? Because I’m feeling good y’all :). Oh and by the way, going natural and eating healthy doesn’t have to be ALL expensive. We do a lot of our shopping at Trader Joe’s, who’s prices are comparable with larger chain food markets. 

4.) What can you eat?

I eat dirt and grass. So pure and healthy! Just kidding, just kidding. But when people ask me this question in an insulting manner, that’s what it feel likes they’re implying at times. I eat lots of amazing foods! Ever tried quinoa? It is seriously the best thing ever, you can pretty much put anything in it (berries, nuts, etc.) and BAM, you have yourself a meal! It’s loaded with protein too! :P. In addition to using several different grain substitutes, I like to advantage of foods that are naturally gluten-free such as vegetables, fruit, and meat. There is more to food than just gluten and dairy peoplez!

5.) Your diet is such an inconvenience!

Well that makes me feel good! If my diet is such an inconvenience for you than don’t hang or eat out with me! Thanks! Also, if my diet is SUCH an inconvenience to you for one night, than I’d sure as hell love to put you in my shoes and see how inconvenienced you feel now!

6.) Gluten/Dairy-Free, your food must taste disgusting!

Yeah, I just love consuming gross food! The highlight of my day is when I get to eat my crumbly, cardboard tasting sandwich for lunch. Bland really is better! Nah dude, do you really think I’d put up with deplorable food 24/7? No way! Like I said before, gluten and dairy are not the only foods that taste palatable on this planet. Gosh!

7.) That looks disgusting!

Well you’re very rude Miss/Mr! Didn’t your mother ever teach you manners? But besides the obvious, do you want to know what I think is disgusting? The chemically drenched, genetically engineered meals you’re consuming that barely legally qualifies as food. 

8.) Weren’t you supposed to outgrow your food allergies?

Apparently, but I was not one of the lucky ones that suddenly discovered they could eat Mike’s Pastries again. Boo :(. I still have a reaction to when I eat gluten and/or dairy (especially dairy, the reaction is EXTREMELY STRONG), so yes I’m still an allergic person.

9.) Are you sure that you’re allergic to gluten and dairy?

Yes……why would I say that I have allergies when I don’t? And why do you care so much about me “double checking” when no one is shoving gluten-free/dairy-free foods down your throat? I’d like to know!

While not everyone is like this and don’t always mean to be rude, it can get soooo annoying and I’d appreciate if people would ask me about my diet in a more of an inquisitive manner rather than a judgmental one. Thanks y’all!

For all of you allergic folks out there, what is the most annoying sh*t you’ve gotten from someone about the foods you eat?

xoxo

Alexandra Spund

#GlutenFreeProbs

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Can you spot what’s wrong with this picture? I can! There is a gluten-free beer that’s name is Glutenberg! Wanna know what’s even funnier? My Dad speaks German and says that berg in German means mountain. So the brand of this gluten-free beer is named gluten mountain??? Say, whatttt?!?! Life is so ironic and plain silly sometimes!

Oneka Elements Shampoo and Conditioner Review in Goldenseal and Citrus (Non-Toxic)

If there is a such thing out there as a miracle shampoo and conditioner out there for oily, flat, and dandruff-prone hair, Oneka Elements would be it!

Not only is this  brand UBER AMAZING but they use incredible, wholesome ingredients and are by far the least toxic company I’ve used for hair care.  This shampoo has literally transformed me from having borderline bad hair to looking like I just came out of the salon every time I washed it. Here is a before and after picture of my hair pre and post Oneka Elements.

BeforeBefore

AfterAfter

Even though I washed my hair almost everyday, it was still looking extremely oily .  I tried a numerous number of shampoos/conditioners out there on the market and kept on feeling discouraged after each one failed me . However, you can never give up hope! After trying Oneka Elements out with low expectations, my hair became voluminous and did not have a speck of oiliness. Besides using a new shampoo and conditioner, I also found that blow drying my hair with my head upside down really helped  as well.

As mentioned above, this company also has extraordinary ingredients in their products such as  burdock root (helps detoxify the body) and nettle leaves (improves durability of hair, gives it a nice glow, helps with allergies, and all in all, just plain good for you). These two ingredients are in all of their shampoos and conditioners. Also, its highlighted ingredients in the specific products I use, such as goldenseal and citrus, help with dandruff, oiliness, and make your hair soft and voluminous.  This company also has other shampoos and conditioners in lavender /angelica, cedar/sage, and unscented. They also have other products that I have not tried yet such as body washes, lotions, styling creams, face creams, and soaps. The only downside of Oneka Elements is that there products are expensive (a whopping $14 a bottle!) but they last a wicked long time so it’s well worth it! I highly recommend giving Oneka Elements a try! Now tell me, what shampoo have you found has helped you the best with your hair problems?

xoxo

Alexandra Spund

Gluten-Free/Dairy Free on the Go and Newfound Desire to Cook More

Tonight I’m going to share with you all a quick delicious lunch that is gluten-free and healthy. Last weekend, I had a late afternoon Saturday workshop session for an art program I am currently doing, so I had to make a concoction at the speed of a honey badger. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but point is I did not have a lot of time. It shames me to say this, but I don’t really cook as much as I should being an allergic person, so therefore, I wind up eating a lot of food from boxes that you just pop in the microwave. Now, don’t get me wrong, these gf foods that are packaged are not NEARLY as bad as packaged foods that are from your mainstream supermarkets, but still, these foods are processed at some degree and are often very grain based. While gluten-free grains are very beneficial for you, I don’t believe I get enough balance of fruits, vegetables, and protein in my daily diet. So therefore, I made an extremely, supremely late New Year’s resolution to  cook more and eat more veggies/protein. With this new resolve in my mind, I decided that instead of popping something inside the microwave, I would make a meal with my own two hands :). Here is what I made in like 7 minutes!

ImageImage

Looks yummy, huh?!? I made romaine lettuce hummus pineapple/mango salsa rolls :P.

Here are the specific products I used:
Trader Joe’s Original Garlic Hummus

Trader Joe’s Organic Romaine Lettuce (romaine is my favorite type of lettuce!)

Trader Joe’s Tropical Pineapple Mango Salsa 

Good for Life Foods Caraway Rolls (featured in this post https://believeinyou24.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/secret-awesome-gluten-freedairy-free-artisan-breads-where-to-find-them/) 

It was very simple to make and tasted ABSOLUTELY  DELECTABLE!!!! I would highly recommend that you guys try making this quick as a finger snap lunch using these ingredients, or even ones that are similar to what I mentioned! If you guys do try and make this (or something similar), please let me know how it taste!

I will say that I entered the blogosphere at the exact right time because there are A LOT of **uh-maz-iiing** gluten-free/dairy-free food bloggers out there that’s inspired me to become more of a cook. If any of you have delicious gluten-free/dairy-free(it also can be just a scrumptious recipe in general, I just have to be able to modify it) recipes to share, feel free to post them in the comment box below  :)!

What is your go-to healthy gluten-free lunch? Have any of you guys tried the products I listed above before?

xoxo

Alexandra Spund

Ulta Beauty Mini – Haul (Natural)

Ulta Beauty is basically a playground for women who love makeup/hair styling/skin care products. However, if you mostly shop for natural beauty products, shopping at an Ulta can be somewhat cumbersome. Fortunately for me, Ulta is so large that there is something there for everyone, you just need to be careful at checking ingredients. Recently, I’ve been looking for a natural nail polish brand. Since learning about the harsh chemicals that can be in nail polishes, I’ve tried out about 3-4 different natural nail polish brands and all of them chipped and did not glide on easily. This was very discouraging and I was pretty much ready to give up the ship since I’m  pretty natural in my food and beauty products already. However, I continued to Google search for natural nail polishes and found Zoya. I perused their website and found out that they had an ABUNDANCE of stunning nail polish colors; they even had some that were duo-chromatic which I love. Also, Zoya was one of the first natural nail polish brands to come on the market and is also a 5-free (i.e. camphor, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate), not 3-free lacquer. After reading all of this great information about Zoya,  I knew I had to give it a try! I was going to order it online until I got a coupon book from Ulta where they listed that they had a new line of Zoya nail polishes that came out.  I got so excited (no online shipping charges wooo-hooo!!!!) it was ridiculous! Anddddd….to top it all off, I got a 20% off of my purchase discount in the mail. When I got to the store I picked out two nail polishes which were named Cassedy (metallic silver) and Julie (lavender).

Zoya Nail Polishes and EOS lip balm

I decided to try the  “Julie” first since Valentine’s Day was coming up and I thought lavender would be a good color for the season :). The nail polish glided on fairly easy and although it took a little bit longer to dry it, was fairly quick for a natural nail polish. However, what I got ecstatic about was the end result! The color was sooo pretty and did not look like a kinder-gardener painted my nails, unlike the previous nail polishes I have tried. Although the chipping occurs sooner than with a non-natural nail polish, it has stayed on very nicely and does not come off in big clumps. I highly recommend trying Zoya nail polish!

The Final Result

The Final Result

In addition to the nail polish, I also purchased an EOS lip balm. I have heard many people (even those who do not purchase natural beauty products) rave about this lip balm and I had to see what the hype was all about. This lip balm is very inexpensive (I think it was like 4 dollars or something?!) and is 95% organic. Ulta had a whole array of EOS lip balm flavors, so making a decision was difficult (when you come to know me, you’ll know that I am the absolute worst at making decisions/choosing favorites).  After probably taking like 10-15 minutes to decide, I went  with the “Smooth Sphere Honeysuckle Honeydew Lip Balm”.  I have to say that so far I really like it. The honey dew flavor is quite rich and it also does a good job of moistening my lips,  which is important, because I get really dry lips during the winter time. Anyone who is looking for a great natural lip balm for winter time should give this brand a shot!

Have any of you guys tried zoya nail polish before? If not, have you tried other natural nail polishes and what has your experiences been with them? Also, if you have tried the EOS lip balm, what is your favorite flavor?

xoxo

Alexandra Spund