Month: January 2014

Relax with Tea: Traditional Medicinals Review + Giveaway

When I think of home, I see my mom sitting in her favorite old brown chair reading a book with a steaming mug of tea on the table next to her. From the time I was little, my mom would give me chamomile tea before bed to help me fall asleep. I am not embarrassed to say that I still ask her to make for me when I’m home (usually in a whiny, childish voice. No shame).We are a big tea family.

Drinking tea is something I continue to do nearly every night, not only because it is comforting but also because I do find that it does aide in my sleep patterns. Recently, I heard that some tea companies were putting some pretty yucky things in their tea. So, when Traditional Medicinals reached out to me asking if I wanted to try their Relaxation Kit, I was intrigued. After doing a bit of research and realizing that the kit included a nighttime chamomile tea made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, I knew I wanted to give the brand try. My mom also helped me test the teas!
TraditionalMedicinals

Organic Easy Now

Benefits: This tea claims to help relieve tension and stress.* According to the company’s website, it will act “like your mellow best friend who tells you, ‘Easy now, tiger, everything’s going to be all right…'” I kind of love that description.

Herbal ingredients: The main notes of the tea are said to be chamomile, lavender, passionflower and catnip (<< I laughed at the catnip, to be honest!). I had no idea that different herbs had classifications, but the company notes that these herbs are called “nervines” because they’re said to help calm the nervous system.*

Taste: “A delightful blend of complex herbal tastes – floral, apple-like, and minty!”

EasyNow

What I Thought: Overall, I really enjoyed the Easy Now tea. The taste had a definite hint of mint, which I love in my teas. I could also taste the chamomile. I couldn’t taste the “apple-like” hints that it was supposed to have, but I don’t think that took away from the flavor at all. Sipping the tea did help me relax – but to be fair, most teas do that, unless they have caffeine (this one does not, which I love). My mom actually didn’t love this tea. She said that the mint was a bit overpowering for her and that she felt that flavor did the opposite of relax her. If you don’t prefer mint teas, this probably isn’t the one for you.

Would I Buy It? Yes.
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Organic Chamomile with Lavender

Benefits: This tea claims to help calm the digestive and nervous systems*, especially when they are under stress. It’s there to “stand by you,” per the website description.

Herbal ingredients: This tea combines lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender, among other ingredients like ginger root (<< I have heard good things about ginger + digestion) and roasted dandelion root. The main trio of ingredients comes together to hopefully help you to “slow down” and calm down.*

Taste: “Fragrantly floral and bittersweet!”

ChamomileLav

What I Thought: I drank this tea after lunch several times. I can attest that I felt calmer both digestively and mentally after drinking the tea, but honestly it wasn’t my favorite. I thought that the taste was more bitter than bittersweet – I think that everything overpowered the chamomile taste. Interestingly, my mom thought that it just tasted like regular chamomile tea.

Would I Buy It? Maybe, but it’s not my first choice.
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Organic Nighty Night

Benefits: This tea is supposed to help you relax in the name of a good night’s rest.*

Herbal ingredients: Passionflower is the main ingredient, which surprised me. I expected it to be chamomile, though chamomile is a part of the tea anyway. The other main herbs are linden flower and hops. All of these ingredients combine to “promote rest and relaxation.”*

Taste: “Minty, mildly bitter and sweet, with notes of citrus and spice.”

NightyNight

What I Thought: I loved this tea. I don’t think that I can go back to my old night time tea! I found this to taste nearly exactly like its description – I tasted definite hints of mint and a little spice, but it was balanced out by a slight bitterness. My mom also loved the tea and said that she liked it better than any “sleepy” variety of tea she’d had before.

Would I Buy It? Absolutely.

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I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to try these teas. I can guaran”tea” (haha) that Nighty Night will be making more appearances in my nightly ritual from now on. Do you want the chance to try these teas, too? Well you’re in luck because Traditional Medicinals has offered to send one of my readers a Relaxation Kit to try!

Here’s how to enter (due to shipping restrictions, this giveaway is open only to U.S. residents… I’m sorry international friends!):

Mandatory: Leave a comment telling me how you like to relax before you go to sleep.

Optional (leave a separate comment for each way of entering telling me you did so):

One Nutty for Life reader will win a Relaxation Kit. The giveaway is open until 11:59 PM on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.The winner will be drawn using Random.org and will be announced next Wednesday, February 5, 2014.
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*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Disclaimer: I received the Relaxation Kit from Traditional Medicinals free of charge. I chose to do the review of my own accord. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this post. Also, any physical benefits I felt from these teas are unique to me, and you may not have the same experience with them.

Question of the Day:
>> How do you like to relax before you go to sleep?

What’s In A Name [Thinking Out Loud #4]

What’s up, friends? I just woke up from a really restful sleep. I wanted to write my post last night before bed, but I had work in the lab from 6 to 10 pm. With the extreme cold, the temps in the buildings are really weird as of late, and it was definitely no warmer than 60 degrees (F) in there. It was so cold for a building. I wore my winter coat the entire time! When I got home, my feet were actually defrosting, I kid you not. I think the cold made me very sleepy, so right to bed it was. I didn’t even watch the American Horror Story finale!

Since it’s Thursday, it’s time once again for  Thinking Out Loud. This is quickly becoming my favorite link-up because I can just be random… but for a reason.

1. I was thinking about names this week because Amanda actually wrote in a survey post how she got her name. I thought I’d share that with you about mine! My name is Angela Marie. The name Angela means “messenger of God” or “Angel.” My mom always loved the name Angela. It’s cool because her name is actually Marie Angela. Cute right? She also wanted a name that people would always use the full version of… but I don’t think she got that one quite right since basically everyone calls me Ang, and I actually prefer that!

2. Head over to Amy’s blog today to see a really cool post about raw beauty. She asked for people to send her pictures of themselves with no filter, no editing, and no makeup if you wanted. Below is the picture I sent her. In the spirit of being honest, this is in the morning not long after I woke up. I’m not wearing makeup and my hair hasn’t been brushed. Keep it real! And go give Amy’s post some love. She worked hard on it. (Also, to be clear, I’m not looking for compliments by posting this, I just wanted to support a friend.)

Angela

3. I just finished a book called Muckers yesterday for my YA Lit class. I didn’t love it, mostly because there were really drawn out descriptions of football game. The story itself pulled me in but then lost me every few chapters.

4. I’m going to show you a picture of my toes and my toe ring. It’s my favorite piece of jewelry. I haven’t taken it off for … 4 years. Is that gross? Maybe. Sorry if you don’t like feet.

IMG_3054

5. I just looked at the temperature. It’s 0 degrees. Please tell me how I am supposed to walk to class without becoming a permanent Athens snow fixture.

6. This week I got to go to the yoga studio twice for hot yoga! I usually work during the time of the Tuesday class, so I can only go on Mondays. This week, since the university was closed Tuesday, I didn’t have to work, so to yoga I went! We did a lot of chair poses on both days. Yesterday my thighs were KILLING me. Killing. But in good way? I haven’t felt that much sensation for a while.

7. A Trader Joe’s trip is possibly in my future. I couldn’t be more excited. You know how I am about grocery shopping (okay, and if you don’t – I LOVE IT).

Questions of the Day:
>>Guy or girl, answer me this: Do you prefer the makeup or no makeup look on women? Do you yourself live by that answer? I think anyone is beautiful in their natural state. However, I love to wear mascara and lip balm every day at the very least. It makes me feel put together.
>>Have you read Muckers?
>>What’s one new thing I should buy at TJ’s?

Homemade Coconut Butter

Whew. Yesterday was an incredibly busy day. I had so much to do between waking up, going to class…

Oh. Just kidding. I didn’t have class thanks to the snow day, so yesterday wasn’t busy at all.

In between watching all of my morning talk shows and hot yoga at night (I cried for the first time ever during savasana, does that make me weird or cool?), I made you some coconut butter! Aren’t I kind?

After I posted last week about making my own coconut butter, I got a few inquiries asking how I made it. It’s really super simple, and since I conveniently ran out of it over the weekend, I thought I’d devote a quick little post to this food of the tropical gods.

As an aside: Sorry the photo is so crappy for this. It’s kind of difficult to make nut butter look cute without a mason jar, especially when it’s just kind of a white cream. Plus, with the color and consistency, I ran the risk of making the pics look R-rated, so a bowl and a knife it was.

Homemade Coconut Butter – Nutty for Life

Homemade Coconut Butter
Makes about two cups

Ingredients

  • 5 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large food processor, grind down the coconut until it starts to clump to the sides.
  2. Add in melted coconut oil.
  3. Continue to process, scraping down sides when necessary.
  4. Once smooth*, add in vanilla extract and process to combine.

*It takes about 10 minutes total (or longer) to get the coconut into a smooth state. Don’t get frustrated, because just when you’re about to give up, the coconut magically becomes smooth. It takes a little while to come together, but once it does, it’s oh so worth it and definitely better than the usual coconut butter price tag.

You know how there’s that saying that good things come to those who wait? Like love or the perfect job, this recipe is once of those instances. And until I find love or my perfect job, I have this coconut butter as a quicker fix to keep me sat.is.fied. 😉

Questions of the Day:
>> How often do you pull out your food processor?
>> Do you have a favorite coconut butter brand?