Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Product Review: Quest Bars

Hey Friends!

This was one of my favourite reviews to complete yet because I got to try tons of flavours of a truly kick-ass product. Quest Bars are quite popular in the health and fitness world right now and I can see why. They are very high in protein, but low in calories and free of added sugars. An added bonus is that they are also high in fibre and gluten-free. Each bar has 20 grams of protein, 160-210 calories, 1-2 grams of sugar and 16-18 grams of fibre. Stats like that are hard to beat!

I also like the fact that they have 2 different lines to appeal to different tastes. One is their original line, made with sucralose and free of sugar alcohols for anyone who has an issues with them. Their all natural line uses stevia and erythritol, two natural sweeteners to make them taste great without adding carbs and sugar. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners when possible, so the natural line was great for me.

I also just want to point out that these are a traveler's dream! Whenever I have traveled to hot developing countries I have taken some kind of protein/energy bar with me in case I need a pick me up or I'm hungry and there is nowhere to get food. I have always taken PureFit Bars with me because they are high in protein and don't have a chocolate coating that can get squished and melted. Well Quest Bars are also great for traveling. They don't have any kind of coating that will get all melty and gross, and if they get squished in your backpack it's no biggie! Not to mention that they are super high in protein, so they are a good filling snack for a hungry traveler.

Original Line

Mixed Berry Bliss:

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this one. I'm not usually a big fan of berry flavours in protein bars or powders, as they tend to taste kind of artificial. It surprised me though; it was delicious! It kind of reminded me of a berry-flavoured cereal bar or granola bar, except it was denser and chewier, not a bad thing at all. I like that it had real dried berries spread throughout too.

Apple Pie:

This. Was. Delicious. I'm a much bigger fan of spicy cinnamon things than I am of fudgy, chocolately things and this really hit the spot. It had chunks of dried apple, lots of cinnamon and it totally could have passed for pie. Actually, that's silly, NOTHING can replace pie, but this was a pretty good protein-packed substitute.

Peanut Butter Supreme:

They aren't lying when they say this bar is supreme. It is full of chopped nuts and is chewy and decadent. I didn't love it quite as much as I thought I would given my peanut butter obsession, but it was still tasty. I think I am just so used to eating natural peanut butter right off of the spoon that this tasted a little bit artificial to me.

Vanilla Almond:

I love vanilla flavoured things, so I wasn't surprised to love this bar. It had a nice, smooth vanilla flavour and lots of nuts. That was probably one of my favourite things about it; it had big chunks of almond all the way through. 

Peanut Butter and Jelly:

This was another one of my favourites. For some reason, it had a better peanut butter flavour than the Peanut Butter Supreme kind. It definitely reminded me of PB and J sandwich. In fact, next time I eat one of these, I think I might slather a little bit of raspberry jam on there for an extra jammy kick :)

Chocolate Brownie:

This was rich, fudgy and tasty. I didn't try it warmed up, but I imagine that would have been good too. It did have a little bit of an artificial taste to it, so it wasn't my favourite, but if you are way into chocolate of any kind, you would probably love it.

All Natural Line

Lemon Cream Pie:

I'll start off by saying that I hate lemon meringue pie, lemon curd and most creamy lemon desserts in general, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this one. I was actually pleasantly surprised. The lemon flavour is very mild. It is mostly just creamy and chewy with a slight hint of lemon. Those of you  who are lemon fanatics may be disappointed with this one, but I thought it was delicious none the less.

Coconut Cashew:

I am a huge coconut fan so I kind of expected this one to be my favourite. While I actually preferred some of the other flavours, this one was still really good. It had a nice coconut flavour and it was super dense and chewy. The cashew flavour wasn't strong but I think it still added a nice element to it. I would love to see a coconut chocolate or or pina colada flavour. Mmmm...

Strawberry Cheesecake:

I actually hate cheesecake, so I knew this wouldn't be my favourite. However, I really didn't mind it. You could tell that it had a cheesecake flavour, but it wasn't that overpowering, heavy quality that regular cheesecake has. It was just kind of light and creamy with a hint of strawberry. Not my favourite, but I didn't dislike it either.

Banana Nut Muffin:

Whoa. It was like I was eating a banana nut muffin... but it wasn't a banana nut muffin... This one was so SO good! I think of all of the flavours, it probably tastes the most like the thing it was imitating. They totally captured that freshly baked muffin quality and it was full of nuts too. This was a definite winner!

Chocolate Peanut Butter:

Well, it wasn't quite like a Reese cup, but it was still really good. It was dense and fudgy with a peanuty taste. I tend to like chocolate peanut butter things more when the two components are separated instead of being all mixed together, so that would be the only suggestion I have for this one. This bar is also excellent after 10 seconds in the microwave. Mmm....

Cinnamon Roll:

Seeing as I am obsessed with cinnamon and cinnamon buns, I knew this one would be a winner and I was not disappointed. I tend to dump about 1/2 cup of cinnamon on everything I eat, so I actually found the flavour of this one to be quite mild, but it was delicious none the less.

Quest Cravings

Protein Peanut Butter Cups:

Okay, this was the only product I was a little disappointed in. All the reviews I have seen so far say it is exactly like a Reese cup. It looks exactly like a Reese cup. It even smells like a Reese cup. It does not taste like a Reese cup. The chocolate was a bit chalky, the inside was dry and it had a distinctly artificial taste. I'm sorry Quest. I had very high hopes for this one, but when you expect something to taste like a delicious, silky, sweet peanut butter cup and your hopes are dashed, it kind of puts a damper on your evening...

Overall? I had a delicious, delicious time testing out these bars. They were some of the best protein bars I have ever had. Flavour-wise, they caught me off guard. Many of the ones I was expecting to love the most weren't as good as I had predicted and some of the ones I hadn't thought I would like blew me out of the water.

In general, I liked the All Natural line better. I found that some of the Original line tasted a little bit artificial. So, how do they rank? Well the standout winner is...




Banana Nut Muffin!!

I would eat this one all day everyday if I could. However, special mention goes to Apple Pie, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Lemon Cream Pie and Cinnamon Roll. Man, that was one tasty review, I wish I could do it over...

Have a good one!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

WIAW: A Little on the Random Side...

Hi Friends, 

So the fact is, I just could not get it together to put together a fabulously interesting WIAW post today. But Devon! That's what you said LAST week!! Yes, that is also true. You have probably noticed that I have been a little inconsistent with my posting this past week. School is starting to get crazy and unfortunately, blogging has to take a bit of a back seat to academics these days. 

Life has been fairly good though! I had a great birthday celebration weekend and spent time with good friends. I also found out about something exciting that I won't tell you about yet, but if all goes well on Friday, I may have some very good news!

Now, here are just some random things I managed to take pictures of in the last few days. As I said, nothing exciting, but everyone reading healthy living blogs seems to like looking at pictures of food, so here they are!

I have been starting my mornings (as always) with big bowls of steaming hot oat bran. My favourite lately? Apple pie oats, with lots of cinnamon and ground ginger :)

A big spoonful of peanut butter was added after this was taken

Lunched, as always, have been random. Lots of peanut stir-fries and lots of strange egg concoctions. This was one of my strange-but-good creations:

Egg scrambled with spinach, mushrooms and spaghetti squash (weird!),
topped with baba ganoush, salsa and antipasto. A big bowl of goodness :)

You will never guess what I made for dinner one (actually several) night(s)...

Roasted buttercup squash and sesame shrimp! Wow, what a surprise! Even more surprising?

More squash! Get right out of town! Devon, you are so unpredictable and spontaneous...

Of course, I still have approximately 20 snacks per day, and lately they have been consisting of a lot of fruit.

The other day I have a big bowl of frozen mango chunks and blueberries.

Bananas have been a big part of my life too.

Peanut butter banana ice cream. All it is is frozen bananas blended with a big
scoop of PB
This next one was inspired by Heather, who has been taunting me with it on instagram. This is peanut flour "soup" (just thinned peanut flour) with frozen banana slices. 

I am in love with this! The frozen bananas make the peanut flour get kind of cold and thick like ice cream. Mmmm....

Last, but certainly not least, my German exchange student sent me some milk chocolate all the way from Deutschland. I wish I could say that it lasted longer than about 6 hours, but I did share with my mum and my roommates, so don't judge me!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! I know I will. My brother is playing a show in Guelph tonight and it is going to be fabulous as always :)

Monday, 28 January 2013

MIMM: It's Monday Again?

Happy Monday Folks,

I really can't believe it's already Monday. I had quite the weekend with birthday celebrations, etc. and I'm not quite ready to get back to the grind. Although, the grind is back, so I might as well make the most of Monday!

Let's take a look at some of the marvelous out there shall we?

Experimenting is Marvelous...

My roommate and I had a kind of joint birthday party on Saturday and before the event, I got to have a little fun in the kitchen bar and cross another item off of my 2013 Bucket List. I made Sangria! Now, I went into the experiment with a very clear, self-made recipe in mind. However, that only filled up my roommate's punch bowl to about a third of the way, so I grabbed more wine, brandy, juice, soda and went to town.

In the end, it contained: 2.5 bottles of [mismatched] wine, 1/2 cup brandy, 1 cup pomegranate liqueur, 2 litres of blood orange soda and some club soda. It really was delicious, and it was a huge hit at the party! For fruit, I threw in an apple, pomegranate arils and frozen blueberries. Yum...

Releasing control is Marvelous...

Apart from my sangria being a hit, I had a great night. We decorated our whole house with a heaven and hell theme that turned out really well. Upstairs was filled with white streamers and balloons, and downstairs was covered in red streamers and balloons. We even put red tissue on all the lights downstairs so it had a creepy glow.

I also felt really relaxed and just enjoyed myself. For the first time in years, I drank without worrying about calories (maybe a little too much), had a few handfuls of party snacks without going overboard and even finished off the night (or morning, since it was 4:30am) with a couple of slices of pizza without feeling guilty and disgusting and bingeing out of self-loathing. That is what parties are really supposed to be like.

Family time is Marvelous...

One of the best surprises I got last week was that my brother and his girlfriend were going to coming to my birthday party and staying over. I hardly ever get to spend quality time with my bro, so I was very excited. We had a great time chillin' as Big Bro and Lil' Bro (yes, I'm Lil' Bro).

Surprise packages are Marvelous...

My mum wound up passing through town yesterday so she took me out for dinner and gave me this package that arrived at our house recently!

It's my Christmas package from my German exchange student! Isn't she pretty? We always send each other Christmas presents, but they often don't get there until after the day because the mail system tends to be slow. This one was filled with chocolate and other goodies. Yes, the chocolate is already gone, and yes, I shared with my roommates. 

New PRs are Marvelous...

Remember how one of my bucket list items was to do a 5 minute plank and I did it? Well, I didn't stop there! I have continued planking and I set a new PR on Saturday!

That's right! I can't believe I am over 6 minutes now! I used to collapse in pain after 3 minutes and now and can go more than twice as long before I collapse in pain. Anyway, I am pretty proud of myself, so I thought it was worthy of sharing on such a marvelous Monday.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Product Review: FitNutz

Hello Everyone,

I wanted to share a review of a new-to-me product that I tried recently: FitNutz peanut butter mix! 

I am a big fan of PB2 and peanut flour, so I was excited to try a new brand. Their peanut butter mixes come in a bunch of different varieties: Regular, Chunky, Pro, Sugar Free (both regular and chunky) and now Raspberry Jam! That last one sounds unreal so I might have to track it down at some point.

I tried their Pro variety as well as the Sugar Free Chunky.

All their products are relatively low in fat and calories and high in protein. I love my peanut butter and I would never give it up. Healthy fats are great for you! However, the nice thing about PB mixes like FitNutz is that they have a high protein content and are very customizable. I love that I can mix them to any consistency, add flavours or add them a ton of different recipes. Although, my usual method of consumption is reconstituted and eaten off of the spoon :)


I found the pro a little bit dark for my liking. It tasted like the peanuts had been roasted quite a bit, and I prefer a lighter flavour. However, since it's so versatile, I still managed to make good use of it!

I tried it first all mixed up on a spoon and wasn't a fan of the flavour...

However, I loved it in my stir-fry! I just sauteed all of my ingredients with garlic and some soy sauce, added water to the PB mix until it was nice and runny, poured it over the whole thing and continued cooking it until it thickened up! It was super delicious, filling and creamy. I would definitely recommend trying it.

Sugar Free Chunky:

I was very excited to try this one, because I love crunchy peanut butter. This one was also nice because it was sugar free, which is good if you are watching your sugar intake. It is sweetened with erythritol, which I personally love because I try to avoid artificial sweeteners. It just gave it that little hint of sweetness, without tasting sugary.

I tried this one in a stir-fry as well and like it, but my favourite way to eat it was just mixed with water and licked off the spoon. The little peanut bits just gave it that little extra something. So good!

So there you have it! I like this stuff a little more than regular peanut flour, just because it's a bit more interesting. Overall, I didn't like it as much as PB2, but then again, PB2 doesn't have a chunky variety or raspberry jam flavour. I even saw on Sabrina's blog that they now have a cookies n' cream flavour which I am dying to try!

Happy mixing!

Do you like peanut butter mixes?

What is your favourite brand?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

WIAW and Recaps

Hello Friends!

I am going to blend my WIAW post with a few recaps, because I don't have a lot of food pictures to show you guys. Don't worry, I'll make up for it next week! It will be food porn galore!

I will start with my appointment with my dietician last Friday that I realize I forgot to tell you about. My main concern going in was that I gained weight over Christmas, my clothes don't fit well right now and as a result, I haven't met the daily calorie goal that she had set for me. I wanted to ask her how I could get to the healthy and happy size that I was before Christmas without getting into a "weight loss" mentality and bringing back ED tendencies.

Well, I guess I should have seen it coming and I really couldn't argue with her answer. She said that there was no way I should even be thinking about my weight when I am still having disordered thoughts and not eating as much as I should be for my activity level. Really, I shouldn't have expected her to say anything different. There is no way that any health professional in their right mind would tell someone with an ED who is on the lower end of a healthy weight range that it was okay for them to try to lose weight.

I totally get it. By me "just trying to fit back into my jeans", I could send myself into a downward spiral, and after yesterday's post, you all know that I do NOT want to go in that direction. Instead of seeing how skinny I can get, I am going to see how strong I can get. I have already upped my intake a bit since that appointment and it's amazing what a different small increases can make.

Mentally, eating more is terrifying, but it is also far more delicious :) Not to mention the energy increases I have had! I used to feel like I had been hit by a truck after 15 minutes at the gym, but now I could go all day! Okay, maybe not ALL day...

Speaking of working out, I have also been working away at my planks and I have been setting new PRs left, right and centre! My latest time?

5 minutes and 41 seconds! Of course, my whole body was burning at that point, but it's a hell of a lot longer than I used to be able to plank! I'm thanking the extra food ;)


Now, since Tuesday was my birthday, I'll give you a quick little WIAOMB (What I Ate On My Birthday) post.

I made a couple of delicious meals yesterday. They weren't anything fancy, but they were exactly what I was craving. I started the morning with carrot cake oats topped with a scoop of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter. 

I can't even describe to you how good this combination was. I took carrot cake and made it even carrot-cakier! That's a word, right?

For lunch, I wasn't really feeling vegetables. Actually, my fridge was pretty bare, so I didn't have much of an option, but I was craving something sweet. Enter apple pie omelette. 

I microwaved finely-chopped apples with cinnamon and ground ginger, mixed them with egg whites, vanilla and more cinnamon and then [over]cooked (oops!) the whole thing in a pan. Then I topped it with thinned peanut flour, natural almond butter and more cinnamon. Delish :)

I didn't take any pictures of dinner (I'm still self-conscious about snapping foodie pics at restaurants). My parents drove down to take me out for a birthday meal. We went to an amazing Indian place and we all got thalis with different curries. That is, after we devoured a plate of calamari...

The meal was amazing, I was so full I couldn't even finish plate. However, that didn't stop our server (who is a good friend of mine) from bringing me a piece of cake on the house and singing to me. It was cheesecake - which I actually don't like - but it was the thought that counted, and you better believe I ate it anyway! It was actually a pretty fine piece of cake :)

Of course, the indulgence didn't stop there. As per tradition in my house, my roommates had this waiting for me when I got home...

Yup! They are the best ever! I had a small piece because I was about to burst, but I wasn't about to turn down a cake so beautifully made with love. Hey, double the cake, double the fun! Besides, I turned 22 on the 22nd, so I had to have 2 of something else!

What do you eat on your birthday?

Is anyone else self-conscious about PDF (public displays of foodie-ness)?

Monday, 21 January 2013

freEDom: Not Wasting Another Year

I thought it was quite fitting that my birthday should fall on a Tuesday, which is why I wanted to write a special post for Sloane's freEDom campaign.

Strength in Freedom

I have spoken a lot lately about how choosing to give up my ED has given me a lot of things: more energy, less guilt, good food, the freedom to listen to my body, this blog, new friends... The list is endless.

However, in the past 8 years, my ED has taken a lot away from me and I think it is important [even if it is difficult] to take a look at some of these things once in a while so I know what I am fighting to leave behind.


I knew for a long time that my ED was breaking down my friendships. Missing out on social gatherings was just one of the issues. I also realized at a certain point that by always refusing any food that wasn't "clean" or constantly talking about health and working out, I came off as self-righteous and judgmental. I can't blame people for not wanting to be around me in the past. Who wants to go out to eat with the girl who orders a salad and stares down the pasta and burgers even though she "doesn't eat that stuff", or more likely just won't show up? That is not going to be me anymore.


I am not blaming my perpetual single status on my eating disorder. However, I think that I most likely scared away a lot of people due to my uptight nature and lack of confidence. Even though I always tried to come across as fun and confident, when people got to know me, they could see through the facade I put on and realized that I had no love for myself. They say that you don't let people truly love you until you love yourself, and I can see now more than ever that that is true.

My job success...

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had worked a job doing field research with honey bees this past summer, and while I know now that I am not the biggest fan of bees, I am ashamed of how much that job defeated me on every level.

I have always done well at my jobs in the past because I work hard and it is important to me to make a good impression. However, with the physical demands of my job last summer, I did not end up making a good impression at all. Although working long hours in the heat and lifting heavy things was tough on everyone, I would have done exponentially better had I been fueling myself properly. At the time, I was eating a very low caloric intake while working strenuous 12 hour days and working out on top of that.

I remember days where I would be standing in the field, about to pass out from exhaustion and hunger and refusing to eat because it was not the right time. I was often grumpy, I complained endlessly and I was not able to meet the demands of the job. Looking back on that experience, I swore I would never let this ED take me down to that level again.

My bones...

My dad's side of the family has phenomenal bone density. Example: at 75-years-old, my granny was told she had the bone density of a 30-year-old. Since I have my granny's build, I always assumed that I would have great bones. However, I know now that years of caloric restriction can put you at severe risk for osteoporosis. I am on the birth control pill, so I get a period, but if I weren't on oral contraceptives, I don't think I would be getting a natural period. On top of that, my granny on my mum's side had osteoporosis and my mum has osteopenia.

Unfortunately, I may have shot myself in the foot with this one already, but I am not going to put myself at any more risk than I already have. It just isn't worth it.


Those are only a few things that my ED has taken away from me in the past, but this year I am not going to let it stand in the way of my health and well-being. I am not going to waste a minute of my 23rd year letting it take away the things that are important to me. This year is going to be different. This year I am going to be free.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

MIMM: A Marvelous Year

Well, tomorrow is my 22nd birthday.

I thought it would be appropriate, given that it is Marvelous Monday, to reflect on some of the marvelous things that have happened in the past year and look forward to all the marvelous things that could happen for me in the coming year.

This post will be fairly short, as I am currently drowning in [not so marvelous] class readings.

In the past year I...

Spent a glorious semester studying in India and traveling across the country...

I can hardly believe that 1 year ago today, I was staying on an organic rainforest plantation in the Western Ghats of south India...

My semester in India was followed by more traveling in northern Thailand...

And a fabulous month hopping around to 7 different European countries, visiting friends and seeing the sights...

I got some great job experience in the summer, working on a research project with honey bees...

It was not my favourite job of all time... Just a tip, if you have never been stung by a bee, don't sign on to work with them all summer if you don't know how you will react to stings.

One of the most important things I did in the last year was decide once and for all that I was sick of living with an ED and being weak, hungry, tired and obsessive.

I finally opened up to friends and family, went to see a counsellor and a dietician and started this blog :)

I ate all kinds of things I never would have dreamed of eating without guilt.

I still have a long way to go, but I am proud of the progress I have made and look forward to this coming year being even better than the last (minus the 5 months of travel, which I will miss deeply).

This year I look forward to meeting more new friends. In fact, if all goes as planned, I will be meeting one of my favourite blends in just a couple of weeks!

I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone in many different ways...

I look forward to enjoying food, drinks and company without guilt or anxiety...

I look forward to living in a new city for the summer (I haven't been hired anywhere yet, but it looks as though no matter what job I get I will have to move). Change is good!

Who knows what else this year will have in store for me, I can't wait to find out :)