Three Things Thursday: The Health Collection

1. Back on MLK day I went to the orthodontist. Yes, it’s been a year since I had my braces removed, but I am in retainers for life! In fact I’ve been lucky enough to wear them mostly at night and by lucky I mean I’ve been ignoring all recommendations and wearing them at night. This in conjunction with not being able to get my crowns as scheduled (hoped) lead to a lil movement of the ol teethers. My top molars have started to come down too far to try and meet the bottoms (which are just a big open spot with posts). What does that mean? Well, it means my retainers have been upgraded to retainers v 2.0 and I now have rubber bands on the top part. I went the WHOLE braces experience without bands and now I have to wear them? Of course since my body can’t have me do anything the simple route, I have to have special latex free bands and this means they loosen more quickly and need changed more often. FML. These puppies are HURTING my mouth! I had a headache for a few days and they still hurt with each changing. I’ve been mostly good though. Only like 2 days did I forget to put them back in after lunch. Speaking of lunch. The first few days I couldn’t stand to eat everything hurt so badly, and this lead to me feeling sick, which lead to not so much with the working out.

2. ANOTHER stupid health thing to get in my way was my time of the month. Gawd if I’m not sexually active can we just all agree we know I’m not knocked up and NOT deal with the period of it all? And why are my cramps trying to kill me the last few months? On a more serious note, are any of you like me and find you skip work outs because of your period? Who wants to run on the treadmill with aches and pains and the chance of leakage? Almost half (53%) of women (according to a new Playtex Gentle Glide Play On Survey) blame their period for missing a workout. You can fix this problem by revamping your lifestyle with a tampon to match and Play On™ with the redesigned Playtex® Gentle Glide® 360°™ tampons. This upgraded line of tampons is defined by the latest Playtex innovation, Triple Layer Protection, design that custom fits a woman’s unique body and adjusts to her flow. Available in a variety of sizes and as scented or unscented. Don’t be one of the 22% of women who choose to be a couch-potato instead of a workout warrior during their period.


Personally, when I DO make myself go to the gym, I prefer to just stick to traditional pads, but water classes call for something more. Also, I can’t find the research, but I recall reading once where working out during that time also feels harder. Some type of perceived effort or something where even if you’re doing your standard workout it will feel like you’re pushing 5x harder. I tried to go to spinning the day before I started and nearly passed out on my bike. LOL.

3. I received one of the nicest notes from a reader on my Facebook fan page. She contacted me after watching my Tommie Copper review. She noticed a strange marking on my foot (it’s a mole/birth mark) and wanted to make sure I was keeping an eye on it due to risk factors for melanoma. Of course I’ve been aware of it my whole life and along with my doctor we keep an eye out for any changes or warning signs. This made me want to draw everyone’s attention to their own health though. Please visit the AAD and update yourself on information about ABCDE’s of melanoma as well as any other skin conditions.


Maybe I don’t mention it enough, but I really do support the idea of prevention being an essential aspect of health and wellness. Go to your yearly physicals, ask questions, get to be the #1 expert of your own body. I went to my annual “lady visit” today and even though I have been going for years I still have to remind them each time about my various allergies. It’s not their fault, I’m just as in charge of my health as they are and I think everyone should feel this way and strive to be as empowered as possible.

What about you other there readers? Any good word on the health front these days?

FTC Disclaimer: I was sent a variety box of Playtex tampons free of charge in exchange for a review/link.

belVita Breakfast Biscuits for a Good Morning and Energy

Many of you have probably noticed my increased mention of belVita breakfast biscuits on Twitter, Instgram, Pinterest, and yes even my day to day posts. It is true I was working on a campaign this month from FitFluential to help spread the word about belVita and how when paired with fruit and dairy it creates a quick, easy, and nutritious meal. However, my love for this product dates back longer than the arrival of every flavor on my door step.

#belVita Breakfast Biscuit US Flavors

I first tried belVita about a year or so ago, after falling in love with the quirky police commercial aired during the 2012 Super Bowl.

After doing a little research I found for me the pros (fiber content, whole grains, flavor, and ease of access) outweighed the cons (sugar content, tendency to break). I’m the kind of person who wants to sleep as long as possible. If I could sleep in my clothes without wrinkles then fall out of bed and into my car I would so be there! belVita plays to this side of me because I can grab a pack of breakfast biscuits, a piece of fruit, and a yogurt and be out the door. All these items are easy on my stomach so they’re wonderful before work or before a work out. I even used them to recover last week when I tossed a package in my gym bag along with my chocolate milk and an apple. Plus, they don’t have any nasty palm oil or palm kernel oil or coconut crap hidden in there making me cry. Haha.

I tried the blueberry at first and was instantly in love. When my local grocer ran specials such as 2 for $5 I also tried the apple cinnamon and again found a winner. For me the best part of working with FitFluential to spread the word was being able to try all 5 US flavors.

  • Apple Cinnamon
  • Golden Oat
  • Blueberry
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon Brown Sugar

In my morning experiments such as the parfait I created, I started figuring out which flavors I liked paired with each fruit or dairy. The apple cinnamon of course was great with an actual apple, the golden oat makes a good yogurt crumble, blueberry was a pleasant combo with an orange, chocolate (let’s be honest) is good any time and has become a go-to snack, but on a serious note I ate those with bananas, and the cinnamon brown sugar was another tasty crumble or really was an all purpose flavor. Most of us can figure out what types of fruit we like, but what about the dairy aspect? Try them with a glass of milk, a latte, yogurt, cottage cheese, or even a serving of regular cheese!

#belVita Breakfast Biscuits meal ideas

If you’re a fan of the Elvis Duran Morning show, you’ve been hearing him and Danielle gush over these very biscuits for a few weeks now. They keep mentioning a contest belVita is running where each day you can enter to win FREE belVita biscuits and/or $100 to help make your morning great, with the belVita All Morning Challenge! I know I’ve entered a few times myself. Just use your email and tell ’em what you did to make your morning that much better. My first entry went in weeks ago and I have not seen a single piece of spam, so I think you’re good to go on that aspect.

Information you may or may not know about belVita Breakfast Biscuits:

  • Each individual package of 4 crunchy biscuits is portioned for breakfast and provides 18-20 grams of whole grains, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein
    • When I took my nutrition classes last spring we were taught to look for product with at least 3 grams of fiber. These make the cut and think of the added protein and/or fiber from the other items you pair with it!
  • belVita Breakfast biscuits are specially baked to release energy regularly and continuously, giving you nutritious sustained energy all morning.
    • I know for me, I don’t always get to do the ideal “eat every 2-3 hours” situation. Often I eat breakfast 700ish as I run out the door and am driving to work. I don’t eat again until 1230. Whenever I have belVita for breakfast I don’t get the “starving” feeling by lunch. This is why I started eating them last year and stuck with it. All other facts aside, I need something to keep me happy for all those hours!
  • belVita Breakfast is now in 23 countries including France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, the United Kingdom and Brazil.
    • Do a search on Instagram for #belVita or even a Google Images search and look at the amazing flavors available to some of our overseas friends! I think it’s the UK where they have a version blended with yogurt! Yum!
  • You can find belVita Breakfast Biscuits in the cookie/cracker aisle of your local grocery store at a suggested retail price of $3.69 per box.
    • I think previously my local stores would do the 2 for $5 special, but lately I see more the 2 for $6. Still nearly a dollar off per box based on MSRP.

For the social media lovers out there, belVita has a following on Twitter as well as Facebook. When posting to Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram use the hashtag #belVita to follow the conversation for great recipe ideas or clever pairings you may want to try.

Now tell me. Have any of you tried belVita Breakfast Biscuits? What’s holding you back?

FTC Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.

Friday Food : Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread. Doesn’t the concept make you wanna scroll down to see the recipe? Does it make you wish you had thought of it first? Do you worry it involved nuts or yeast or long hours in the kitchen? Because it doesn’t involve ANY of those last few things.

Something you may have noticed about me…I don’t always follow recipes. I tend to think of them as suggestions or guides and march to the beat of my own drum. Hello REPUBLIC OF JULIE aka my own lil world. The other week I decided to try and be nice to my friends the bananas. I tell my Mom constantly they’re jerks who turn black way too quickly. Recently, I learned this could be because I keep them in a small space with my apples.

Another thing I do with fruits and veggies is throw whatever amount and type I have on hand into my creation. This lead to my finding of a fun way to make bread from those pesky ‘nanas

Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread

What you need:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F
  2. Grease a standard loaf pan
  3. In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in s stand-mixer using the paddle/flat attachment mash the banana together
  4. Blend with the butter and vanilla, then add brown sugar and cinnamon, Greek yogurt and raisins, add the baking soda and flour last
  5. Pour the mixture into your loaf pan topping with additional brown sugar and cinnamon if desired
  6. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool before serving

makes 1 loaf

Photos & Comments:

Sliced Cinnamon Raisin Banana Bread

I made this bread twice in the past week. The first time I was just throwing things in the mixer and baked it to see what might happen. I was so pleased with it and gave so much away, to many happy people, I had to make it again!

In the past b-bread wasn’t my thing because I thought it was too sweet. Most recipes call for a full cup of white sugar. I reduced mine A LOT and still wondered if it was too sweet. I think the raisins really help to bring out a variety of sweetness.

The yogurt really adds some calcium and protein and keeps it super moist. My pieces held together, but were really soft. IMHO there is no way you need butter or anything else to top this treat.

In my first version I used AP flour, in my second batch I used wheat. The wheat does make things heavier in a lot of recipes, but I didn’t notice an issue with this version.

What are your favorite ways to jazz up your recipes?