The Gift of Giving

 
gift of giving
 

The Gift of Giving

I'm sitting here, the Monday before Thanksgiving, working on this post at my local Whole Foods, and already being bombarded with Holiday shopping ads, black Friday specials, and Christmas carols galore! The holiday season is supposed to be about hope, joy, love, and giving... when did it turn into this display of excess, selfishness, and stress? When did we lose the "gift of giving?"

What is the "gift of giving?"

So, what do I mean by the "gift of giving?" I mean the very idea that the opportunity to give gifts is in fact a gift in and of itself. Getting to see the joy on our friends and family's faces, getting to bless people who otherwise can't afford to bless themselves in the same way, getting to give gifts with a purpose and intention. Realizing that giving gifts goes beyond what the actual gift is, I thought I wanted to do a little something different this year. I wanted to help people give intentional and thoughtful gifts. 

Let's all promise to resist the urge to buy gifts just for the sake of buying gifts, this holiday season. Let's put some intention and some thought back into our gift giving. Let's think about why we even exchange gifts in the first place... because I guarantee you it isn't so your aunt can return that sweater she doesn't even like come December 26th. 

Don't you love the feeling you get when you see someone's face light up after opening a gift you gave them? (Or after you've done something incredibly thoughtful and kind for them? .. because gifts don't have to be something physical they open.)

With that in mind, I give you my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide... designed to help you be more thoughtful and more purposeful in your gift giving this year. Look through these things I've selected and think about the people in your life. Who would enjoy these? Who would benefit from these? Who will be blessed by these? 


*Some of the links and discount codes contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will make a commission if you decide to purchase something. I only recommend products and services I have used myself and truly believe in! Thank you for your support!

gift of giving

The Natural Citizen

Perfect for the foodie, healthy athlete, and mom on the go. With every product that you purchase, they cover the cost of three meals through donations to reputable charities. Click here to purchase.

Discount code: MILKANDHONEY for 15% off

For more information about my thoughts on all The Natural Citizen products, download my Smoothie Guide here. I love to use The Natural Citizen: in smoothies, pancakes, baked goods, oatmeal, etc.

Why I love it: Each of their products is free from additives, sweeteners, and preservatives. Just quality nutrition. Instead of a tea or coffee basket, give a gift basket filled with one of each of the four Natural Citizen products. 


Square Organics

Protein bars and Protein Popcorn for the athlete, chocolate lover, and foodie. A portion of each sale is donated to Not For Sale, a non-profit fighting human trafficking. Click here to purchase.

Discount Code: milknhoneynutrition for 20% off

Think about the last box of chocolates you got, or the food-filled gift basket from the office... did you eat all of it? Was it filled with novelty junk food? Odds are, yes. Instead of candy, give your friends and family an assorted box of the best chocolate bars around... chocolate covered Square Organics bars! My husband's favorite is the Chocolate Covered Cookie Dough, and I'm obsessed with the Chocolate Coated Mint bar. Trust me, a box of these will go over a lot better than a box of chocolate candy.  


American Medical ID

Whether it's for an allergy or a chronic health condition, odds are you know someone who should be wearing a medical ID. Medical IDs save lives. Click here to purchase.

Discount code: MILKNHONEY for 10% off.

I'm a type 1 diabetic and I have a penicillin allergy. Both of these things are critical information for emergency personnel and doctors to know before treating me. Read more about my experience here, and why I'm a big advocate for medical IDs! With so many fashionable and functional options, it's like giving jewelry with a greater purpose!


Meal Plans

Whether they're single or feeding a large family, everyone could use a little help with healthy meal planning. Choose from an anti-inflammatory plan subscription or a one time 21-day real food cleanse

I've partnered with a team of credentialed nutrition professionals and culinary facilitators, to create these meal plans to help you get started with meeting your health goals. You will have access to recipes for three meals per day plus snacks – all with easy-to-follow directions for people of all cooking levels. You customize your plans to feed any number of people, generate custom grocery lists, and access the easy to use mobile app from Gathered Table. 

The 21-Day Real Food Cleanse: A great way to get your metabolism humming and jump-start your health before following my Anti-inflammatory Plan. It contains selected low-glycemic recipes aimed at stabilizing blood sugar, maintaining healthy weight, normalizing hormones, promoting healthy digestion, and reducing inflammation associated with many chronic diseases.

Anti-inflammatory Plan: Also contains low-glycemic recipes aimed at stabilizing blood sugar, maintaining healthy weight, normalizing hormones, promoting healthy digestion, and reducing inflammation. You will receive a weekly anti-inflammatory meal plan that emphasizes the preparation of whole, plant-based foods. Research suggests that these life-giving foods should make up at least 75% of your plate. The other 25%? That’s easy… We’ll suggest high-quality proteins that can be simply prepared.


Fish Fixe.

Perfectly portioned premium seafood, delivered straight to your door. A Fish Fixe box  gives you SIXTEEN 6oz. portions of freshly frozen quality seafood. Click here to purchase.

Eating seafood can be tricky.  At Fish Fixe they want to make it convenient for you to thrive on seafood.  That’s why they hand-select premium, nutrient dense proteins, portion them to make meal-prep easy, blast freeze the portions to seal in the “off the boat” freshness and deliver them to your door. Quick to thaw, easy to prepare and quality and freshness you can trust. I use Fish Fixe seafood regularly in my own kitchen (see the picture above for an example)... it's been years since I've prepared seafood regularly, but that is changing thanks to Fish Fixe!


Costco Card

The gift that keeps on giving. Costco memberships start as low as $55/year and can easily save members 3-4 times that in the first few months alone. Click here to purchase. 

*Image source: http://livetheorganicdream.com/costco-buying-thousand-acres-land-local-farmers-grow-organic-produce/

If you've followed my social media channels or blog for any length of time, you know I am OBSESSED with Costco. To the point that I know most of the employees at my local warehouse by name and they know my kids by name too, ha! Their in house brand, Kirkland, offers hundreds of quality products, along with warehouse prices on premium brand name products as well. For a complete list of my favorite Costco finds, sign up for my email list here


gift of giving

Snacks

Because who doesn't love a good snack basket?! Some of my favorites include: Biena Foods Chickpea Snacks, Rhythm Superfoods Beet Chips, Crazy Richards Cashew Butter, and Natural Delights Medjool Dates

Like I said above, no one needs yet another basket or box of chocolate or over processed holiday-packaged junk food. Why not put together a basket filled with thoughtful, healthy (and fun!) snacks. I've suggested some of my favorites above, but have a little fun with it. Hop on over to AmazonPantry and get to shopping! No need to fight the crowds at specialty grocery stores ;-)


Chosen Foods Avocado Oil

The perfect hostess gift! Premium, quality avocado oil and avocado oil spray. Also great for the foodie, amateur chef, and health conscious friend in your life. 

How often do you resort to a bottle of wine as a hostess gift? That used to me... until I thought, "why don't I give my friends something I really LOVE and I know they will too?"... instead of gambling on a bottle of wine that they may or may not drink. A bottle of Chosen Foods avocado oil costs about the same as a decent bottle of wine, and you can package it up the exact same way! Just grab one of those cute little wine bags you see this time of year. I promise it's a hostess gift they'll never forget! Use the code 'milknhoney20' for 20% off on ChosenFoods.com or buy directly off Amazon!


The Viral Content Summit

For any entrepreneur in your life... this online summit will kickstart a year of entrepreneurial success.  Click here to purchase a ticket

I attended last year (read more about my experience here) and can't wait to attend again this year! This year, the Viral Content Summit is 18 Masterclasses teaching you how to bring traffic to your blog or business online PLUS how to better serve your audience and make an income from your traffic and campaigns! Sign up here! (PS- I've been told there will be some awesome Black Friday pricing options too!)


Canon Rebel T6

 

Great for both personal or professional use everyone from your mom to an aspiring food photographer can use and love this camera! Click here to purchase.  

This camera has been like my third arm this last year... It's completely intuitive to use, and has brought out a skill and passion for (food) photography I didn't even know I had. My favorite feature though is the built in wi-fi. I can wirelessly transmit photos to my phone (or other mobile device) or my computer at the click of a button, and almost instantly share photos with friends and family. No more waiting to upload pictures. Makes life so simple! And as an added bonus, get this lens for some AMAZING food photos.


gift of giving

6 shocking things I realized at FNCE 2017

If you followed along on Instagram, you know I recently got back from a four day trip to Chicago for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE). I could tell you the trip was great, inspiring, encouraging, invigorating, motivating, and all around awesome… but I wouldn’t be doing it justice. So, instead… I’ll tell you the top 6 shocking things I realized at FNCE 2017.

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How I quadrupled my income and became a legit food blogger in 2017

Lately, a lot of people have been asking how I’ve grown my reach and influence online so quickly; or how I “do it all” with two kids at home. So, I’m ready to spill the beans and tell you how I quadrupled my income and became a legit food blogger in 2017.

I’m sitting here typing this with three days left in October, and as of today I’ve already made more than FOUR times the amount of money in 2017 than I did in 2016. I knew I was having a great year, but didn’t quite realize just how great until now. But, for you to really understand how I’ve grown my business, a little background is necessary…

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A playroom that won't make you cringe

 
Image credits: (1, 2, 3, 4)

Image credits: (1234)

 

A playroom that won't make you cringe

brought to you by the always stylish mamas of Mamafix.com

Note: some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. 

Before having kids you probably had dreams of keeping your house organized when a little one showed up on the scene... you dream big! You certainly wouldn't be one of those moms with toys EVERYWHERE. But then your friends threw you a baby shower, and your kid had a few birthday parties and all of a sudden your minimalist home is over run with primary colors. Every year more toys seem to show up and you panic a little more (or a lot more if you are anything like us, we own our anxiety!)

We can tell you 10 things to get rid of to help make things not so chaotic but if having a playroom fits into your floor plan then give those kids a room of their own and ban the toys from your chic living room (you didn't really need an office anyway...) Organizing a playroom doesn't have to be hard or require you to buy much more than you already have at home. 

We recommend starting with a neutral palette that will grow with your kiddos - they hate purple today but will be begging you to paint the whole room next month. Throw in a few places to sit and LOTS of bins and baskets - they make clean up time so much easier.

Here are a few of our favorite playroom essentials to get you started. We have no doubt your kids will handle adding the toys!

Bins // Lamp // Table and Chairs // Pin Board // Chair // Bins // Pillow // Mat

 
the perfect playroom
 

The mamas behind Mama Fix

Hayley Simmons is a Nashville based wife and mama to baby girls Scout and Talley. She spends her time writing, pretending to be a nutritionist, cultivating irrational worries and trying to make it out of the toddler years alive.

Allison Kupperman is a social butterfly based in New Orleans. She is mama to Ellie, dog mom to Cooper and wife to her college sweetheart, Shane. Allison can be found working out all over town, traveling or cheering on the Pelicans.

Jillian Greenberg is a New Orleans based wife and mama to her baby girl Margot. Jillian is obsessed with aesthetics, never not taking pictures and is constantly redecorating her home.

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How to host the perfect dinner party

I’m excited to be guest posting for Mary Ellen! When she asked me to write about dinner parties and hosting, I was excited because this is one of my favorite things to do. I love inviting people over, feeding them, andenjoying their company.  Noticethatlastpart. Istronglybelieveinstress-free dinner parties and actually getting to ENJOY my guests, not strictly SERVING my guests. This has everything to do with planning. From making sure I have enough food, to planning for finicky eaters; the most important part about hosting is in the moments leading up to the  party.

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How to break up with ADDED sugar

 
how to break up with added sugar
 

How to break up with ADDED sugar

how to break up with added sugar

Added sugars are found all over our food supply: breads, crackers, pretzels, salad dressings… and I could keep going. If you're eating processed foods, you'll start to see that sugar is everywhere, and if it's not somewhere already, then we typically add it in ourselves. Taking an added #sugarhiatus will not only teach you how to spot these added sugars in your food, but also how to prepare foods without added sugars that still taste deliciously sweet! 

So, keep reading to learn how you can make the ultimate break up with added sugar. At the end of this article, there's a link to a complete Sugar Swap Guidebook with 55 pages of instructions, tips, facts... and 20 out of this world added-sugar-free recipes!!

The many names of sugar

Sugar comes in many forms, so it’s important to know a few popular ones that may show up in your processed foods. Before we can eliminate added sugar, we need to know what we’re looking for. Did you know there are over 61 different names for added sugar?! That’s a lot! Some of the names for sugar are more obvious, like:

how to break up with added sugar
  • Sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Sucrose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses

But there are some that aren’t as obvious, and you need to watch out for:

  • Barley malt
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Cane juice
  • Dextrin
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Mannose
  • Maltose
  • Muscovado
  • Panocha
  • Saccharose
  • Sweet sorghum
  • Treacle

These different names for added sugar can be found in 74% of packaged foods!

Before starting your break up from added sugar, try to plan ahead and do some research. Start taking notice of where sugar is in your diet before diving in. This will help you gain perspective before starting, which in turn will allow for a more successful experience.

Because I know you’ll ask, here are the “rules”…

how to break up with added sugar
  1. Be kind to yourself. This break up with added sugar isn’t about legalism, or following a set of rules. It’s about creating awareness around the foods we eat, and specifically the added sugars we may or may not be aware of. It’s an awareness exercise, keep that in mind and remember, a healthy diet is all about balance.
  2. Naturally occurring sugars are ok. So, that means fruit, medjool dates, dairy, etc. are a-ok in their natural forms.
  3. Cut out as many added sugars as you can… of any form, regardless of how “healthy” they are. Coconut sugar, table sugar, agave nectar etc… not ok.
  4. Take your time. This is meant as an awareness exercise. Go through each topic and activity, and do what you can.  This is a no pressure zone. You do you.
  5. Pick a date to start, circle it on the calendar, and start counting down (or up). With every day that goes by, it gets easier and you'll start to be more aware and feel better. Think of this as a challenge, not as a dietary restriction. Having this mindset will help you get through the process.  If you can, try to recruit a friend of relative to do this with you so that you can check in on each other or even complain to (because you are both in the same boat). So if you can convince someone, anyone, to do it with you, major props to you—that’s one more person taking the challenge toward better health.
  6. Try to be mindful during this process and take note of any physical and mental changes. Embrace the challenge. Ready, set, go!

So, are you ready?? I think you are! Take the next step and download the Sugar Swap Guidebook I wrote with Dana Harrison, MS (Owner and Nutritionist at Eats2Know); and join our #sugarhiatus community over on instagram!

Reducing your cancer risk: The other kind of smoke you need to worry about

We all know smoking can significantly increase your risk for developing cancer, and you may have heard that smoked meats can also increase your cancer risk… but did you know there’s another kind of smoke you may need to pay attention to, to help reduce your risk of developing cancer?

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4 ways to eat what you want... and still stay healthy

It usually happens to me about once/week. Someone will ask what I do (read more about that here)… I tell them I’m a dietitian… and then they act all shocked and shaken when I pop a French fry in my mouth! Or they want to know exactly what I eat so they can do the same.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I’m definitely held to a higher standard… I’m sure people think I eat grass-fed, organic, non-GMO plant-based wheat grass all day long. And when they see me enjoying a juicy hamburger or a fat chocolate chip cookie (gasp!), they act like their world has just been turned upside down.

So, how do I do it? How do I stay healthy and satisfied with what I’m eating, but not eat tree bark all day long? Here are 4 ways I eat what I want, while still staying healthy.

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Why it's ok to reward your kids (and yourself) with food

Not the headline you were expecting from a dietitian, right? I know. It’s not the typical viewpoint for someone like me. But let me explain.

Prior to having kids, I likely would have told you some boring unrealistic textbook strategies for getting your kids to eat healthy…with no earthly idea of just how frustrating it is to feed those demanding, tiny little humans I love so much.

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