Beyond Honey: Eating Bee Pollen and Bee Bread

Photo Credit: SXC
Last summer as I was browsing my local farmer's market, I spotted the honey table.

I just love our local honey producers and all the wonderful things they create from the honey-making process including beeswax lip balms and decorative candles, to whipped honey spreads and beeswax lotion bars.

Bee Pollen is Edible
Then I spotted the bottle of bee pollen. What? You can eat bee pollen?

The seller explained its great for people with outdoor allergies to eat locally produced bee pollen to help build up a resistance to local allergens. Also, bee pollen is chock full of vitamins.

So, I had to investigate. According to the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association bee pollen is a natural:
  • anti-inflammatory food
  • boosts the immune system
  • contains complete proteins
I've been adding the small granules to my yogurt, cereal and smoothies. Bee pollen has a distinctly earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness. It doesn't remind me of honey at all.

Discovering Bee Bread
Recently I was chatting about bee pollen on Twitter, and the friendly folks at Bee Healthy Farms in Missouri asked if I wanted to try its Api-Nuggetz Organic Bee Bread product. Sure! They claim the bread is nature's superfood made from wildflower pollen collected by wild bees.

According to the company's website:

"Bee bread contains practically all the essential amino acids for humans - (phenylalanine, leucine, valine, isoleucine, arginine, histidine, lysine, methionine, proline, threonine, tryptophan), vitamins - (A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, biotin, folic acid, rutin) and minerals - (calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium). The major components of pollen are proteins, amino acid, lipids (fats, oils or their derivatives) and sugars. Enzymes (proteins) are also present but some, like glucose oxidase, have been added by the bees. This enzyme is therefore more abundant in bee bread than in fresh pollen pellets."

So, how was the bee bread? First of all, it's not bread, as in a loaf or a roll. The product resembles small pebbles, ranging in size from a small pea to a raisin. The pieces are made from a blend of wildflower pollen, honey and nectar.

The instructions say to chew the bread thoroughly or let it dissolve in your mouth. They feel like chewing a soft jelly bean initially, then they dissolve easily. The first flavor I noticed was a hint of orange. Then a hint of chamomile. Bee bread is definitely more sweet than bee pollen alone and has a more palatable flavor. Interestingly, each nugget had a slightly different flavor. I suppose that depends on where the pollen was sourced.

Have you ever eaten bee pollen or bee bread? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below! And don't forget to sign up for email updates each time I add a new blog post. The sign-up box is in the left margin, at the top of this page!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The Api-Nuggetz Organic Bee Bread mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge from Bee Healthy Farms for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. ~Angela

Healthy Candy Canes? Say It Isn't So!

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is the food. Unfortunately, the desserts always lure me in. But this year I'm being much better and limiting myself to just a few favorite treats. When I stumbled upon a box of candy canes made with natural flavoring and natural dyes, I was in love!

For just under $3 a box (12 canes), I picked up SweetNature candy canes at my local Fareway grocery store. Although the candy is made with sugar and corn syrup, the red coloring comes from vegetable juice and the peppermint goodness from natural flavorings. As a bonus, these candies are allergen friendly for people who cannot consume peanuts, tree nuts, milk, shellfish, eggs, fish, wheat and gluten.

The flavor of these candy canes is a bit more mild than some peppermint candies, but still delicious. The only major difference I can tell between these and other canes is the color. The insides are a natural off-white color, not the usual snow white.

So, what "healthy sweets" have you been munching on this holiday season? Please share in the comments below and have a wonderful holiday!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Healthy Panties? I'll Try Those!

Photo Credit: Knix Wear

A week doesn't go by without kicking up my heels to a Zumba class, stretching my muscles with yoga or burning some calories in a water aerobics class.

Of course I try to pick out cute workout clothes, including colorful sneakers and comfortable swim wear.

But one bit of clothing I've never really given much thought to was my underwear. Sure, I own several sports bras, but what about workout panties?

I was recently approached by Knix Wear to try out a pair of the company's FitKnix boyshort high performance athletic underwear. They're supposed to help keep you dry and reduce odors when you're exercising. The panties are made of 75% nylon and 25% spandex with a 100% cotton liner padded with an anti-microbial gusset and leak resistant seal.

Time to Sweat!
I'm always up for a challenge, so I put the panties through one of my most grueling Zumba workouts. By the end of the hour, I was dripping sweat and reaching for my water bottle.

So, how did the FitKnix panties do?

The fit was surprisingly comfortable, despite the extra padding in the crotch. I didn't get any annoying wedgies or ride-ups. As a bonus, I couldn't see any panty lines when I peeked at my yoga pants in the mirror.

The panties are very lightweight, soft and flexible. They had no trouble keeping up with my moves. Even through they were the boyshort cut, they didn't roll up my near by thighs like other boyshorts have in the past.

When it was time to hit the shower, I was surprised when the panties slipped off easily. My everyday cotton underwear usually stick to my skin from sweating.

Yay or Nay?
Overall, I highly recommend these workout panties. Knix Wear also offers everyday undergarments in thong, bikini, boyshort and high rise brief cuts. There's even a line of lacy panties that are both cute and great at absorbing moisture.

Finally, there's cute undergarments ready to keep you dry and comfortable when you sweat, laugh a little too hard or get a surprise visit from your menstrual cycle.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The pair of Knix Wear panties mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge from Knix Wear for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. This article was also published on Yahoo! Voices. ~Angela

I Drank Chewy Sour Milk On Purpose

Homemade kefir. Photo Credit: David Niergarth/Flickr
As a foodie, I'm always willing to try something new. Usually the goodies are appetizing, colorful and well, palatable.

Last week a friend lovingly shared her decades old recipe for kefir. This fermented dairy drink is completely new to me. When she offered a sample, in a pretty glass jar, I wasn't excited.

It was lumpy, thick and smelled like sweaty socks. Knowing she wouldn't be pulling a fast one on me, she really did want me to drink this stuff. I graciously accepted her "treat" and took it home to try later.

I looked into that glass and wondered what I was getting into. It looked like watery cottage cheese. How was I supposed to drink that?

As I Googled information about kefir, I glanced back and forth between my computer monitor and that pretty little glass of lumpy milk. Finally, I decided to just go for it. I took a drink.

Sour. Chewy. Tangy. Tart.

I kept reminding myself of the wonderful healthy benefits everyone lists online. Kefir contains:
  • beneficial bacteria for digestive health
  • immunity boosting properties
  • calcium for strong bones and teeth
  • protein without a high fat content
  • B vitamins to nourish the blood and nervous system
Then I took another drink/bite. I had to give it a chance. But the sour odor made me start to feel queasy, so I put the glass in the refrigerator. I had enough. Unfortunately, the kefir's next stop was the garbage disposal.

So, fellow foodies, tell me, do you like kefir? Was I supposed to eat the chewy kefir grains or just drink the liquid? Was it supposed to be so sour? Although I'm not a huge fan of sour flavors, I enjoy pickles and sauerkraut, but this type of sour just seemed off to me.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

The Magic of B-12 Supplements

I'm a huge advocate of absorbing essential vitamins and minerals from food. Taking powdered nutrition shakes and vitamins in pill form always seemed like an excuse to avoid eating your fruits and vegetables, in my opinion.
I love having the energy to go hiking with my pups!

But, little did I know starting a regimen of B-12 supplements would make me feel so much healthier.

I'm a vegetarian, which means I only get B-12 from plant sources and fortified grains, such as cereal. When my doctor recommended I start taking B-12 supplements I assured him I'm a "good vegetarian" who eats a balanced diet. Well, I still wasn't getting enough B-12.

After taking a B-12 supplement for over a year, I decided I had more energy, strength and productive days. So, I stopped taking the pills. I didn't think I needed them any longer. Within a few weeks I was lethargic, fatigued and in a general state of exhaustion more often than not.

Those darn B-12 supplements make my life much better. I take them daily now.

A few weeks ago I was asked to review B-12 supplements from Puritan's Pride. I was happy to find out this company's formula is vegetarian. It's also free of fish, soy, milk, sugar, wheat, gluten and sodium.

If you're vegan, vegetarian or simply don't eat animal products often, talk with your physician about adding B-12 to your daily routine. The formula from Puritan's Pride is also free of artificial colors, flavoring or preservatives, making it the perfect addition to your whole foods living lifestyle.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The Puritan's Pride B-12 supplements mentioned in this blog post were provided free of charge from Puritan's Pride for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. ~Angela

Skin Care Review: Perfectly Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

A few years ago, I vowed to make my beauty routine as healthy as my meal planning. Artificial colors, fragrances and fillers simply no longer had a place in my makeup bag. Little by little I've been replacing my skin care, hair care and makeup products with healthier options.
Photo by Angela Tague

Today I'm here to share a 100% vegetarian skin care product from Perfectly Pure. This line's new Hyaluronic Acid Serum helps facial skin retain moisture. In turn, you enjoy more supple, full skin that's soft and hydrated. Bonus!

I love the thick, creamy texture and the easy-to-use pump on the little glass bottle. I can easily apply the serum with my finger after washing and exfoliating my face. The serum isn't oily or heavy, so it absorbs fully, leaving my skin moisturized and feeling wonderful.

Perfectly Pure's Hyaluronic Acid Serum is also made without:

• Parabens
• Petroleum
• SLS
• Artificial Color
• Artificial Fragrance

Have you tried using hyaluronic acid serum? Let me know what you think of this type of skin care product in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The Perfectly Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge from Puritan's Pride and Perfectly Pure for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. ~Angela

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Surviving Holiday Stress and Staying Healthy!

Photo by Angela Tague
I'm not sure what it is about a fresh blanket of snow, warm cup of cocoa or twinkling Christmas tree lights that makes the holidays so darn stressful.

Wait. It's none of that.

It's the extra cleaning, shopping, planning, travel, communicating with unpleasant relatives, spending more than you can afford and having no energy to do any of it after a long day of work, right? Got it!

The past few months I've been writing several articles about surviving the holidays and stressful times in general and thought it might be fun to take today to share!
So, what's your number one way to survive the chaos of the season? My top three are sneaking in a water aerobics class, baking something just for me in the kitchen or taking a mid-day nap with no regrets.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

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Review: Perfectly Pure Rose & Witch Hazel Skin Toner

Photo Credit: SXC
When I was a young girl, I spent most summer days at my grandparent's house. I loved learning to cook with my grandma and how to fly a kite with grandpa.

But oddly enough, one of the things I remember most was taking long hot baths in their cotton candy pink bathroom. The smell of rose oil-infused skin care products filled the room, instantly making me feel relaxed.

When I opened a bottle of Perfectly Pure Rose & Witch Hazel Toner, I was transported back to those fond memories. This alcohol-free skin care product made with aloe vera, rose oil and witch hazel cleanses, moisturizes and refreshes the skin.

It's a perfect fit for my dearest Whole Foods Living Readers because this skin toner:
  • is alcohol-free
  • is made without parabens, petroleum or SLS
  • doesn't contain any artificial colors
  • isn't tested on animals
  • is 100% vegetarian
For the last several weeks I've been applying the toner to my face using a cotton ball. When I use this product after swimming in a chlorinated pool the tight, itchy feeling disappears from my skin. I also use it after showering to give my skin extra hydration during these windy, pre-winter days.

Perfectly Pure Rose & Witch Hazel Toner makes my skin feel soft and hydrated. Although I have sensitive skin, this product has not caused any skin irritation. And my favorite part? The lingering rose oil scent.

Do you have a favorite scent that takes you back to your childhood? Tell me about it in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The Perfectly Pure Rose & Witch Hazel Toner mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge from Puritan's Pride and Perfectly Pure for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. ~Angela

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