Category Archives: Reviews

Product Review (of Sorts)- Nuts ‘n More Fortified Nut Butters

So, true confession time:

My name is Katie, and I’m kind of a peanut butter addict. While delicious, I am also the first to admit it is not the healthiest food out there: it’s sort of in the middle of the food spectrum, not terrible for you, but not terribly great either.

I stopped by my local GNC recently and noticed this Nuts ‘n More fortified nut butter (and legumes! Because, peanuts) spread, and decided to try their chocolate peanut butter version.

choco-peanut-butter

 

I glanced over their nutritional information before purchasing: first and foremost, while the product is low in sugar, there’s no sucralose, which is a big plus in my book. After ingesting the stuff for years, taking a break from all artificial sweeteners, then trying it again, I noticed sucralose made me feel out of sorts- more forgetful, sort of in a brain fog. Also, I started to notice a bitter undertone to the sweetness- so, since then I’ve cut pretty much all sucralose out of my diet. While the Nuts ‘n  More brand does use artificial sweeteners, they use xylitol which according to Wikipedia is derived from fruits, vegetables, corn husks and hardwoods (mm, is that an oak undertone I’m picking up in my fake sugar?) (bad joke, sorry). And, apparently it doesn’t assist in the development of cavities, due to the fact that xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol, and therefore cannot act as food for bacteria. Hooray!

Here are all the other nutritional facts, if you would like to take a look. In addition to the xylitol, the company has also put in flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids, and whey protein…

…which didn’t hurt my stomach.

If you may recall (which if you don’t, that’s totally fine, I probably wouldn’t either) in a previous post I explained how I was under the impression that I could no longer consume whey protein due to the stabbing stomach pains I would experience afterwards. But, I ate an entire jar of this stuff and at least for now I have not experienced any discomfort.

The (sort of) cons to this product: I am focusing on the xylitol aspect because a) it’s not sucralose, but also b) there were very visible crystals of the sweetener that sunk to the bottom of the jar. Personally, not a deal breaker, and it does state on the label to stir with each use, but it was a little odd. Second was the price, which is really not that big of a deal unless you seriously walk in and expect to purchase a jar of this stuff for approximately the same amount you would spend for an average jar of peanut butter. So, basically you’ll be fine as long as you don’t start off with the expectation you are purchasing a normal jar of peanut butter.

Also, they have more flavors, and they also offer several almond butter spreads- almond butter and milk tend to make the back of my throat itch, but if you don’t have any reactions to the stuff, go for it and let me know what you think.

So, will I purchase more jars of this stuff? Especially since I found there’s a pumpkin spice peanut butter version you can purchase on Amazon?

oh_yes_creepy_loki

And guys… Real talk, for anyone that went to Pans this year and visited the açai bowl tent- remember how they offered peanut butter on top of your acai? What if they offered these peanut/almond butters instead?

47d9c92134daba9635fd92e639edbbac

 

 

Just wanted to share with you guys: have a great day everyone! 

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Evernote vs SpringPad- Thoughts?

So heads up, this really has nothing to do with jiu jitsu. Or maybe it does, if you think hard enough about it, since it sort of has to do with nutrition.

I really like cooking and baking: I think it’s pretty fun, to be perfectly honest. And lately I’ve been looking up recipes that appear to be both tasty and healthy. My big issue with this though is I save these recipes like, everywhere: bookmarks in my web browser, bookmarks on feedly, even sometimes emails to myself. I was thinking over the weekend it would be great to have an app, a virtual recipe box if you will, that I could save all of this stuff, and could categorize with different tags depending on what I would like to make.

So far the two best apps/sites I have found are Evernote and SpringPad. I have primarily been using both on my phone, and they both have their pros and cons. I’m going to list them here- granted I’ve only been playing with both apps for about a day or two, so there is a very good chance you know of some feature of these that I am just not aware of. Anyway, here we go!

Evernote: 

Pros-

1. You can email a recipe or post from feedly or whatever site you are on directly into your Evernote notebook.

2. Notebooks that can easily be sorted through tags

3. Evernote Food: save a bunch of notes on a variety of subjects, but just want your recipes? There’s an app for that! Evernote has a sort of subapp called evernote food that syncs with your main Evernote account so your recipes can all be found in one place, along with any other food related stuff (restaurants you want to go to, pictures of food you made, etc.)

Cons-

1. While you can email from feedly to Evernote, the formatting gets a little wonky, and sometimes all you get is a link, which you then have to open through the evernote app, to then finally get the option to save as a sort of web clip, rather than having the option set up in your quick action menu…I think that’s what you call it.

2. Limited customization options- maybe it’s just hidden somewhere that I can’t see, but you really don’t have the option to change any color schemes, backgrounds, etc.

3. Evernote Food: While it’s great for people who use Evernote for lots of different things, for someone like me who is pretty much only using the main app only to store recipes, it’s sort of double the work.

SpringPad

Pros-

1. Phone WebClipper: You can set up SpringPad on your phone to clip a recipe from a the safari browser and save into a notebook, which was one of the major drawbacks in my opinion with Evernote.

2. Customization of Notebook Icons: when they say notebooks, they actually have icons of notebooks that you can choose a background and color accents for: which may seem superfluous to a lot of people, but for a visual person like me, it’s pretty great.

3. Social Option: You have the ability to share notebooks with friends who also have Springpad notebooks, which is pretty cool in my opinion.

Cons-

1. No way (that I can tell) to email your SpringPad account.

2. Sometimes the recipe section tries to be a little too helpful and tries to push recipes on you from other notebooks (I guess?) that others have uploaded.

3. Erm… I thought I had another one, but I can’t think of it at the moment.

Again, I haven’t messed around with the desktop versions of either of these, so the jury’s still out on which one I will end up using. Do you guys have a way of organizing recipes online? Do you save recipes from online? Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!

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Jay Robb’s Egg Protein Powder

So I’m pretty sure this guy made a deal with the devil, and I am shamelessly reaping the benefits of this infernal pact.

I’ve been having issues with consuming whey protein powders, even brands that I have used successfully in the past, such as Optimum Nutrition’s Hydro Whey, and a quick google search reveals that a lot of people seem to have the same issue. The main difference it seems is while I decided to stop consuming things that make me feel like I accidentally swallowed shards of glass, or something dead-set on stabbing its way out of my stomach, a lot of people decide to “suck it up” and deal with the bloating and stomach pains. And the curling into the fetal position and wishing to die. Or maybe that’s just me.

 

Anyway, I guess I should also note I have been avoiding artificial sweeteners and while searching the internet I found this guy’s line of products. No aspartame, no sucralose, low carb (which is also something I aim for), sweetened with stevia and erythitol- sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

I bought a bag of the vanilla flavor from GNC and took it home. I was a little leery because vanilla flavored protein powders can have a pretty off-putting smell and taste, but I figured I could put enough instant coffee in the mix to make it palatable.

Guys, I opened the bag and no joke, it smelled like cake mix.

I’ve used it two or three times so far, and in addition to tasting a lot better than a lot of other brands that I have tried, most importantly, there have been no issues that I had previously which is awesome.

And so the next logical conclusion is this guy has made a deal with some sort of demon. I’m hoping it was a relatively small price to pay in return, like constantly losing his left sock, or having a flock of birds poop on his car every Tuesday.

Anyway, if you are shopping around for a protein powder and you’re down with trying egg protein, I would say give this one a try.

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BJJ: Offering the Community Others Crave

A while back I started using the app Fitocracy on my phone- the general premise behind it is you put in whatever exercise you have been doing, and in return you are given points for those activities. You can complete ‘quests’ and ‘level up’ as you go along. There is also an option to pay for the service and engage in ‘duels’ with fellow members to see who can gain the most points for a specific activity, or just a free for all (I think, I’m a little sketchy on those details as I haven’t opted for the paid membership).

Admittedly I’ve been pretty intermittent with plugging activities since I signed up: recently I’ve been making an effort to add activities and attempting to engage in their online community. I’m not doing very well in regards to that latter part, but hey, I’m trying. I’ve also been using myfitnesspal recently, which I will definitely talk about in a later post.

I’ve noticed some of the other BJJ people that I have friended, or followed on the app/site have also been absent from the site. There are one or two I still see plugging in activities on my feed, and of course there’s taking into account people getting busy with life, as well as just plain old natural attrition, but I began to wonder if it had something to do with community.

I think Fitocracy is excellent particularly for people who are engaged in exercise where continued interaction with others is completely voluntary: running, weight lifting, rock climbing. Sure, you can ask someone to spot you, but there’s no obligation on either side to continue conversation or any sort of interaction. I’ve been a member at what would be considered more standard gyms, and to be perfectly honest it’s a hard environment to break into, especially if you are just starting out- at least that’s how I felt. Sure, no one stopped me from using equipment, but no one seemed particularly keen on saying “hello” either. And to be perfectly honest you don’t want to be “that guy”, the one that is an annoyance when someone is trying to focus on their workout. At least that’s how I felt: so you do what everyone else does- you put in your headphones, keep your head down, and only talk to people when it’s absolutely necessary. Of course there are exceptions, this is just my experiences in multiple traditional gym settings- you know, with free weights, cardio equipment, some of those assisted weight machines like Nautilus, etc.

The nature of jiu jitsu almost (I say almost, again, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule somewhere out there) forces, or at least strongly encourages continued interaction with your partners and teammates, which in turn promotes the sense of community. It’s nice to have a supportive online community like Fitocracy and other sites like it, but it is not nearly as essential for jiu jitsu students as it may be for participants in other sports and activities. I’m not putting down the site: if anything I would still encourage people to try it out, especially if you find your routine is getting a little boring and would like some ideas on how to change it up. But for jiu jitsu people I just don’t think they will find the community aspect as important as some others might.

Anyway, those are my thoughts- have a great weekend everyone!

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Google+ Clark Gracie Seminar Review

Google Plus

 

Due to a series of events, I wasn’t able to go to class, BUT I did have the opportunity to watch the Clark Gracie seminar on Google +

Before viewing I hoped my reaction would be a whole lot of this:

The Skirt Impressed

…That’s an impressed and intrigued look, btw. Hooray for webcams! 

and very little this:

The skirt, not impressed

Definitely not impressed. 

For the most part the webinar succeeded: the “Google Hangout” was a little delayed, and the interview bit in the beginning was a little long, as it took up nearly half of the seminar. It wasn’t that the conversation wasn’t interesting: truth be told I know very little of Clark Gracie, but I am also aware how sometimes a technique can take some time to describe.

The moves looked fun, but as someone who needs to watch and then do a particular technique to truly understand, that’s really all it was, fun. It looks like it’s going to become a regular thing with Graciemag, so if you have Google+ account and some free time on your hands on a Wednesday, I would say check out one of them.

In the meantime if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the Google+ science community, reading articles and geeking out. Oh yeah!

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Side Note: 750words.com

This has little to do with Jiu jitsu, and everything with writing: for anyone that has been having trouble staying consistent on the creative writing side of things, I have been trying out a site called 750words.com. You just write whatever comes up, put it down and the site saves it for you. It will also tracked how many times you became distracted from the site and went somewhere else, how quickly you wrote those pages, and has a think with what words you used the most often and compare them to a site average.

Check it out!

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Gi Commercial Review

There’s a new commercial for a gi company, Mata Leon, that’s been posted around Facebook -which means I am probably the last person to watch/comment on it, but whatever. Here it is:

Kind of an interesting concept, and I like the fact they chose a woman, rather then just go straight to marketing for dudes. I kind of expected that last shot, but all in all pretty good.

Funny enough, the main thing I noticed was her hair cut, and how she seemed to solve the problem of having those side pieces from being ripped out: she just shaved the sides off. If my hair wasn’t so curly, that would be extremely tempting.

What do you think of the video?

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Links around the Internet

Here are what some other people are talking about on the internetz…

Georgette explains the ABC’s of the latest Presidential debate.

David from the Jiu Jitsu Laboratory Offers a more in depth review and critique of the Metamoris fights.

Julia talks about her goals and methodology for a new project: Operation Tattered Belt– And references both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so of course I highly recommend reading this blog post.

Rick from Middle Age BJJ got his purple belt!

And last but cetainly not least, Lapelchoke.com has a nice highlight video of Xande and Saulo during Masters & Seniors World Championship

 

Check them out!

 

 

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IsoPure Low Carb Protein Powder

A quick report: while my stomach seems to handle their RTD beverages just fine, my stomach and IsoPure’s low carb protein powder are currently in a tussle. I’ll have a full report tomorrow-ish.

Oye.

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Muscle Pharm Assault Pre-Workout Supplement

So Max got a bunch of supplement samples at work from a GNC rep and brought them home to try. One of the samples that happen to catch my eye was a pre-workout supplement from Muscle Pharm called Assault. I decided to give it a try and possibly give you all a review.

The intended purpose of this supplement is to help you “train like an unchained beast”. And by that, the company means this supplement is intended to provide you with energy and supplements to help preserve muscular endurance as well as assist in muscle recovery.

First there is the look of the product itself. Other than the fitness keywords/buzzwords plastered all over the product (high performance! Anti-fatigue! STRENGTH DOMINATION) (btw I am totally not making this up, these are actually on the package) it’s pretty par for the course, geared toward males who either train hard, or think they train hard.

They come in different flavors that I can’t think of off the top of my head at the moment, but I tried the fruit punch flavor. The box we had contained separate single serve packets with a variety of flavors. The directions advise you to mix one full packet into 8-16 oz of water 20-30 minutes before working out. I took a packet with me to work, and decided to give it a try an hour before working in case there were any adverse effects.

Half of the packet into about 6 to 8 oz of cold water and stirred. The water turned a bright watermelon hue and didn’t completely mix, even after a couple of tries stirring, whisking even, if that’s possible with a small plastic coffee straw.

The taste was overly sweet, and was pretty off putting in that regard. I pushed through and waited for some sort of effect. As far as I could tell I didn’t feel much of a difference, but maybe it was because I only took half of the recommended amount.

It may be for some, especially for those with a raging sweet tooth, but not really for me. A photo of my mixing efforts:

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