If you like surprises, an EcoCentric Mom Box is just the thing for you. Every month, this box full of eco-goodies shows up at my door and I have no idea what's going to be inside. I hate to admit it, but I always hope there will be some new food try, and generally there is. But I'm also likely to find new cosmetics, some new kind of soap, coupons that offer significant discounts for e-stores I didn't know existed and lately, perfume. This month's box contained all that and more. The biggest surprise was a $50 gift card to itrain.com, an online source for downloadable workout programs, music, and HD videos.
I decided to use the gift card when I would need it most: after I snarfed down the food.
Nature's Bakery Fig Bars – These are not your normal gummy Fig Newtons! The actual cookie (see photo) is made from stone ground whole wheat flour; yes, it tastes "healthy" – but it's delicious, too. The filling is thick,
hearty and flavorful. Fig filling is what you expect for a fig bar, of course. But the raspberry-filled bar was just as tasty. Other benefits: these bars are dairy free, contain zero transfats, are kosher, and are made in the USA. Definitely something I'd put in my or my kids' lunch or take to the gym with me instead of a power bar.
Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar - I was expecting this crunchy snack to taste, well, icky. But it's light, flavorful, and the faint banana taste might make it very popular with kids. PLUS: it's free – as in gluten, wheat, nut and GMO free. Organic, too.
EBoost - Here's an alternative to the powdered sugary energy drinks you might be mixing up. EBoost is sugar-free, contains no artificial flavors, and has only 5 calories per serving. Add it to still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink.
Amazing Grass Kidz Wild Berry – This is another drink powder, particularly developed for kids. Let them make their own concoctions, and get them out of the habit of drinking soda pop before they even start!
Snikkidy Eat Your Vegetables Snack Chips – You're not going to believe it, but these veggie snacks actually taste like … veggies. Maybe that's because they contain no GMOs, artifical colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or MSG. They're certified gluten and wheat free, too. Yum!
Whew! After all that food, I need a workout. With the iTrain $50 gift card, I can download any number of video and audio routines, including dance numbers, body building, abs toning, strength building, and high-intensity workouts to burn calories.
Of course, after my workout, I'll need to clean up a bit. This month's Treefort Naturals Hemp Lemongrass Soap, made by hand in the USA, smells absolutely heavenly.
So do the samples from Heaven's Alchemy Exquisite Perfumes. To tell the truth, I'm generally not into fragrances, at least the conventional kind. They're usually full of phthalates and other synthetic ingredients that usually give me a big headache. But the perfumes that come in EcoCentric Mom boxes are free of toxic ingredients, have never been tested on animals, and impart their scent without overpowering the senses. Check out their website for a variety of scents you can try.
While you're primping, take a look at Mineral Hygienics. You can use the enclosed $15 gift card to try any of their foundations, lipsticks, concealers, eyeshadow, or a sample box. If you have any rough or raw patches of skin, try a little Waxelene: The Petroleum Jelly Alternative. It's good for diaper rash and as an after-shave, too, in case you want to share the wealth with others in your household.
Then relax with Mama Willow Tree Green Tea Herbal Eye Balm – The herbal extracts in this balm help cool tired puffy eyes and maybe even reduce the appearance of dark circles.
If you have trouble sleeping, try sprinkling Essence of Vali's Sleep on your pillow. This blend of lavender, marjoram, cedarwood and ylang/ylang can be as mild or intense as you need to relax and head off to dreamland.
Also for kids: A $10 gift card from Sprout San Francisco, a natural and organic children's boutique. Looking for clothes, furniture, or toys? Check out Sprout San Francisco.
Last but not least, this month's box included some very informative lifestyle suggestions from experts Alysa Bajenaru and Kathy Scoleri. Alysa, a dietitian and personal trainer, offered several quick and tasty recipes that will make skipping breakfast seem like a ridiculous idea! Kathy reminded me that what I store my food in is almost as important as the food I eat. She recommends using glass, stainless steel or bamboo storage options.
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