My Favorite Things: December 2017
Originally, I was thinking of trying to compile a list of Christmas gift ideas. But, who are we kidding? I'm the worst at buying presents! I totally stress over getting the "perfect" gift, and I usually have no earthly idea what to get people. I love reading other's shopping list ideas, but I'm certainly not the one to offer such advice. So instead, I'll stick with the theme of providing you a list of my current "favorite things". One tip though ... if you have someone in your life like me who stresses over shopping, do them a favor and give them a list of gift ideas. It makes life oh so much simpler! Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you get what you want for Christmas.
1) Essential Oil Diffuser
I LOVE when my house smells fresh and clean. I also love the smell of burning candles, but I don't love the potential that carcinogenic chemicals are being released into the air. So a great alternative is an essential oil diffuser. For my birthday, my sister sent me the ArtNaturals Aromatherapy Diffuser (pictured above) along with an 8-piece oil sample kit. This particular one lights up, and you can select the option of having one continuous light or alternating between 7 different LED lights. (My boys love that option.) It can also run constantly, or you can set a timer for one hour or three hours. My favorite scent is lavender. It's so calming and great to run before bedtime. The diffuser also functions as a humidifier, so it would be great in a bedroom during those winter months when we often have colds and our noses and skin may become dry.
2) Soma Pajamas
These are, hands down, the best PJs I've ever worn. They are so comfortable. They keep you warm but not too warm. They wash well. AND they come in a bunch of really cute patterns. The PJs shown above are the ones my husband bought me for my most recent birthday (minus the risqué lace bra underneath). I adore them! The top is called the Embraceable Long Sleeve Notch Collar Pajama Top in Delicate Plaid Gem Green. The bottoms are sold separately but are also Embraceable and have the same pattern name. Now, they aren't cheap, but Soma always runs deals on their sleepwear and other intimates. I own 3 pairs of long sleeved PJs and also a few pairs of short sleeved ones for the summer. These would be a great gift for any woman in your life. In fact, I bought Soma PJs for my sister for her December birthday. If you want to check them out, here is a link to Soma. (I have no affiliation with this company. I'm just a fan.)
I use my NutriBullet every single day! Each morning for breakfast, I make a smoothie. (It consists of spinach or kale, a banana, almond butter, 1/2 avocado, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, water, collagen powder, Himalayan sea salt, and a Paleo protein powder ... just in case you were interested in the "recipe.") This is not the most expensive high-speed blender on the market. It's not "top-of-the-line", but it sure does the trick! It effortlessly blends up my shake into a creamy consistency without chunks or much residue. And it takes only seconds to mix. I recommend it to everyone who wants to try making smoothies. It's also good for frozen cocktails, too! This model comes with a handbook of recipes, too. In my house, we actually own two NutriBullets ... one for me and one for my husband. It was becoming too time consuming for him to wash it out each morning before work just to have it ready for me, so the answer was to purchase his own!
4) Collagen Powder
The proper name for powdered collagen is "hydrolyzed collagen" or "collagen hydrolysate." Great Lakes, the brand pictured above, is the one I use daily. (I put 2 tablespoons in my morning smoothie.) Why would someone want to consume collagen, you ask? There are a myriad of reasons. I wrote a lengthy article about the benefits of collagen hydrolysate that you can read HERE, but I'll also sum up a few of the reasons in this post. Collagen is a protein derived from the bones or cartilage of certain animals which is ground up and dehydrated. The resultant powder is the collagen that can then be used for consumption.
Hydrolyzed collagen is so beneficial because it is rich with amino acids. It is easily absorbed to form building blocks of new collagen in the body. Collagen, as the foundation for building connective tissue, when consumed can help reverse problems with bones, hair, skin, joints, cartilage, muscles, organs, digestion, thyroid, hormones, and much more. I will tell you that, personally, since I started supplementing with collagen, my hair has thickened immensely and has returned to its naturally wavy state. My fingernails grow like crazy too. Also, my knees, which once cracked and popped each time I bent them, no longer make those sounds.
Collagen is also very healing for the bowel (or "leaky gut"). It is thought that "leaky gut" or intestinal permeability contributes to various autoimmune diseases by allowing undigested and irritating food particles, bacteria, and toxins through the gut wall and into the bloodstream. Instead of just attacking these foreign substances, our bodies can mistake our own tissue for these substances and attack itself instead. Thus, collagen may even help reverse autoimmune disease. This stuff is legit and so, so healing.
5) Riced Cauliflower
I'm sure you've heard of this, but I am so newly in love with riced cauliflower. It is such an easy, quick way to get in vegetables and is an awesome substitute for plain white rice. Plus, it doesn't have the blood sugar and insulin-spiking carbohydrate load of regular rice, and it's super low calorie. I'm all about "one pot" meals, and riced cauliflower is a great base for those. You can add salsa, black beans, and diced chicken to it for a Mexican meal. You can add eggs, some peas and carrots or other chopped veggies, and some soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari) to it to make a quick "fried rice." Honestly, you can just use it instead of rice in any dish!
My absolute favorite way to eat cauliflower rice right now is to add some pesto to it. Plain and simple. I just buy the microwaveable steam bags of the cauliflower. Heat it for the designated time, and when it's done, dump it into a bowl. Then I take probably 4-5 tablespoons of pesto and mix it into the cauliflower rice, and voila! That's it! So easy! I think you could easily add some cooked ground beef, turkey or even egg into it for extra protein, too. If you don't like cauliflower, don't worry. This takes on the flavor of whatever you're adding to it. It truly is delicious and nutritious!
Thanks for reading the December edition of "My Favorite Things." Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season!
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