KIND Bars: Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants

ImageBrand Background:
KIND is the type of brand that I aim to purchase when I’m shopping. The high quality of ingredients and general brand philosophy are exactly what I like in a snack food. I like to vote with my money and my money votes for non-GMO, healthy, delicious snacks.

KIND is unlike the typical granola/protein/snack bars. Their website states “For us ‘being KIND,’ means to ‘Be KIND to your body, your taste buds, and the world.’®” And in my experience, they truly do follow through with this philosophy. They emphasize their use of ingredients that the everyday person could pronounce. You don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand what you’re eating.

KIND is Non-GMO Project Verified according to nongmoproject.org. (For those of you who don’t know, GMO means Genetically Modified Organisms.) I find this to be very important, considering all the progress with GMOs recently. With Proposition 37 up for vote in California, now more than ever it is important to support the brands that don’t use GMOs. What better way for those of us not in California to voice our opinions than to stop buying from companies that are opposing Proposition 37.

KIND also has started the KIND Movement, which encourages individuals to make a difference in their own community. They have KIND Food Trucks that travel across the country to give out healthy snacks as an effort to “spread kindness across the country.’ To read more about their movement visit their website.

Nutrition:
Ingredients:Almonds, dark chocolate (sugar, palm kernel oil, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, milk powder), cherries, cranberries, cashews, peanuts, raisins, honey, non GMO glucose, crisp rice, chicory fiber, soy lecithin.
Vitamins: Vitamin A Acetate, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), D-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E).

Vitamins and Minerals:Vitamin A (50% DV), Vitamin C (50% DV), Calcium (4% DV), Iron (6% DV), Vitamin E (50% DV), Vitamin B1 (2% DV), Vitamin B3 (4% DV), Phosphorus (8% DV), Magnesium (10% DV), Zinc (4% DV).

One bar contains 180 calories. It has 14 grams of sugars, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber. It has a variety of vitamins and minerals and not a single ingredient that can’t be pronounced.

My Impressions:
Chewy and crunchy. Sweet but not too sweet. Healthy but a treat. As you look at the bar, you see the ingredients themselves. The bar has a chocolate coating along the bottom and a drizzle of chocolate along the top. The bars are absolutely beautiful. It’s so pretty to see the ingredients in their natural state!

This bar was so good! I couldn’t stop eating it, but I didn’t want to finish it either. It kept me full between classes and it satisfied my craving for something sweet. This bar was really even better than I expected and I had high expectations. There’s not much more I can say.

I think that this is a high quality brand. The ingredients are all natural; the brand encourages individual charity work and does community events across the nation. KIND is also non-GMO. This brand is one of a few mass-produced, high-quality brands. I do not have a single complaint about anything.

The bars cost about $1.50 each, depending on your location. I found boxes of four at Walmart for a little over $4, so that is a much better deal. Image

Recommendation:
I loved this bar! I’m excited to try all the different flavors. They may be a little expensive, but the quality of the product is totally worth the money spent. Buying them in boxes will reduce the price a little. Honestly, I think they are completely worth the money.

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How to Eat Clean in a College: Surviving the Cafeteria

ImageEating in a college cafeteria can be intimidating, especially if you wish to eat organic or if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or have any other food allergy. In reality, the majority of the food is geared towards the typical meat-eating, starch-loving young adults of today’s American culture.

However, you’re not going to starve. You can and will find things that are both healthy and delicious without eating something you’re morally against or allergic to. It will just take a little planning.

Surviving the Cafeteria:
As I enter the cafeteria, what do I see? French fries, hamburgers, mystery meat, caviar. (Yeah, my school is crazy.) The salad bar is full of wilted lettuce and floppy cucumber slices. The sandwich line is full of full-fat mayo and lunch meat. What will I eat?!

1. The Sandwich Line is Your Friend.

Nothing else to eat? Make yourself a sandwich! Whole grain bread will provide you with complex carbs and fiber to keep you full longer. If you’re looking for some protein in your meal add some chicken or turkey to your sandwich. Don’t forget to include your vegetables! Dark leafy greens and tomatoes are my personal favorites. Some other great veggies for on sandwiches include peppers, mushrooms or avocado (if your cafeteria has them).

Don’t forget to add some fresh or steamed vegetables and fresh fruit to your meal!

2. DIY Veggie Pasta

A great way to get a delicious meal out of your cafeteria is to get a little crafty, and combine dishes to create your own unique meal. Take whole wheat pasta from one part of the cafeteria, add steamed vegetables to the mix then put your favorite, healthy sauce on top. My favorite combos include roasted zucchini and tomato sauce or steamed broccoli and olive oil. (You may be able to find olive oil by the salad bar!) Add chicken, ham, or turkey if you’re interested in incorporating some protein into your meal.

3. Grilled Instead of Fried

Fried chicken not your style? Ask the cafeteria employees if they’ll make you a grilled version instead. They can usually meet these requests; you just have to be willing to ask!

4. Spice Up Your Salad

Tired of the typical lettuce/cucumber/carrot/dressing combination? I am too! Look for dark leafy greens instead of the iceberg lettuce to get the most nutrition out of your salad. Add your favorite toppings from the salad bar, but don’t be afraid to mix in some ingredients from other parts of the cafeteria! Add some grilled chicken for protein or look for mushrooms or peppers from other sections of the cafeteria. Look for fruits like fresh grapes or cubed pineapple to add a sweet side to your salad. And avoid the creamy dressings! The vinaigrettes are just as delicious but healthier.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!

Don’t see something you want? Speak up! Fill out a comment card; get other students to fill them out as well. Send an email to the food service department. Make sure your email is well worded and you effectively ask for what you want and explain why it will be beneficial to have it in the cafeteria. Do your research, don’t just sit there paying for food you don’t enjoy. The worst they can do is turn you down. The best situation is you end up with a cafeteria full of food you can actually enjoy that is good for you as well!

Review: Lush Herbalism Facial Cleanser

ImageMy Experience With Acne:
Throughout high school I had nearly perfect skin. I had maybe one or two pimples a month, and they were generally small and unnoticeable.

THEN I WENT TO COLLEGE and everything changed. My personal theory was that I was dehydrated and had a very limited diet with few fruits or vegetables to keep my skin healthy. Also, college classes brought on a whole new level of stress that I wasn’t used to. All of a sudden I had acne all down the sides of my face and along my chin. Nothing I did would get rid of it. I tried salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and even gentle cleansers like Purpose. Nothing really worked.

My face is not oily. It’s not dry. I have normal skin, so most acne products are not aimed towards someone like me.

My Experience with Herbalism:
I really enjoyed this product. There are a few things that really stand out to me.

  1. This product contains all natural ingredients including ground almonds, nettle, rosemary, rice vinegar extract, rice bran, rose absolute etc. It is vegan, meaning that it does not contain any animal products.
  2. It does have an expiration date. It only lasts three months from the time it was made. That makes me feel better, knowing it’s not full of preservatives and nasty chemicals.
  3. It exfoliates, cleans, and really helps with my acne without drying out my skin, unlike many other face washes aimed towards oily, acne-prone skin.

The only downside is the price. I got a .19 pound slice and it cost me $9.88. However, knowing that this product came from a cruelty-free brand with all natural ingredients, I feel like it was definitely worth every penny. If you’re lucky enough to have a store near you, you can have the employees cut you a slice within your price point. If not, you can purchase it online in two different sized tubs at two different price points.

Scent:
As you would expect, Herbalism has a very herbal smell as well as a hint of vinegar. Some people may not enjoy the scent, but I like it. The vinegar smell fades quickly after washing and I cannot really smell the face wash once I’ve rinsed it off.

As much as I enjoy this product, I know that the scent can greatly affect how each person individually views a product. If you cannot stand the smell, then you might not be able to use this product.

How To/Texture:
Herbalism starts out with the consistency of moist clay. It’s solid but not hard. Start by taking a pea sized amount in your hand. Next you add warm water, drop by drop, until you can form a paste. Apply the paste to a wet face. I like to apply the paste in globs on my face and then blend it all together. I like to rub the face wash in a circular motion all over my face. It contains ground almonds that make this product a very gentle yet effective exfoliator. When you’re finished, just rinse and pat dry. It leaves your face feeling very smooth and fresh, and I personally feel extra special because I know everything in the face wash was all natural.Image

Brand Background:
Lush is a fantastic brand for many different reasons.

They use “fresh, organic fruits and vegetables,” few preservatives and simple packaging. One hundred percent of their products are vegetarian and they have a large variety of vegan products as well. They focus on ethically sourcing their ingredients, so that the product is not only good for your skin, body, or hair but the workers who harvest the ingredients are also being treated fairly.

Lush is a cruelty-free company that does not test any of their products on animals. They also have products in “charity pots” that gives every cent of the price, including the tax, to the charity labeled on the pot.

They include great little details that make the products feel really special and luxurious. Each product is handmade and contains a sticker with the face and name of the person who personally made your product.

For me, all these little details make this brand worth the extra money. Knowing that I’m getting a quality product made with love by a person, not a machine means that even a cheap college student like me can see the value in spending a little more money on it.

Recommendation:
If you have problematic acne-prone skin, give this a try! It’s from a great company with fantastic morals and all natural ingredients. It has really helped my skin and exfoliates wonderfully. It was worth every penny I spent on it and when I finish mine at the end of this month, I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

And if this product isn’t for you, check out some of their other products. They’re all just as natural and amazing!