Brands to Help You Kick Off a Happy and Healthy 2019

Brands to Help You Kick Off a Happy and Healthy 2019

Adios 2018! Another year is in the rearview mirror and now you’re cruising through January with plenty of opportunities to make the most out of a fresh 365 days. Lucky for you, Giving Assistant is here to help you save money on brands that’ll help get you closer to enjoying a happier, healthier New Year.

Through the month of January, shop The Home Depot and Academy Sports + Outdoor to earn cash back on items that’ll help shape the ‘new you’ in 2019.

A few suggestions to get you started are listed below.

The Home Depot

Eliminate Excess and Declutter with the ClosetMaid White Wire Steel Closet System

The Home Depot Closets

In the New Year, get rid of or donate the unnecessary and unused things in your life.

Clearing out your closets (especially minimizing your wardrobe) is one of the most popular ways to declutter. It’s time to let go of crop tops that no longer fit, decades-old fashion trends, and sentimental T-shirts dotted with ink stains and holes.

After decluttering, keep your prized possessions within easy reach by using organization solutions, like the ClosetMaid White Wire Steel Closet System. Create customized storage spaces for bedroom closets, laundry rooms and basements with this DIY project kit. Arrange the adjustable parts just the way you like it to accommodate a 5-foot to 8-foot space.

Time to Organize with the Hampton Bay Wardrobe Cabinet

The Home Depot Cabinet Espresso

Getting organized not only saves time, but also increases productivity.

Your goal is to create an uncomplicated system of storage that gives more breathing room to the items you use, need and love the most. Free-standing cabinets are pretty good for maximizing closet space and especially helpful when addressing your wardrobe needs. They also provide a stylish way to elevate your functional room décor.

The European-style, classic espresso Hampton Bay Wardrobe Cabinet comes with one fixed shelf and one hanging rail that are easy to assemble. Use the cabinet to organize your most absolute favorite threads or make seasonal must-haves easier to find.

Academy Sports + Outdoor

1. Out with the Old, In with the New Nike Women’s Funnel-Neck Fleece Hoodie

Academy Sports + Outdoors Nike

Cleared-out closets make room for a new sense of style to take over, including fashion statements that promote healthy habits.

Cozy, ultra-comfortable and fashion-forward, the Nike Women’s Funnel-Neck Fleece Hoodie is an every-day, activewear choice that’s ideal for morning runs, as well as weekend trips to the grocery store. Brushed-back fleece provides warmth with a paneled funnel-neck hood that further enhances coverage. Available in pink or white with gold metallic accents, Academy also carries a colorful range of funnel-neck hoodies that feature the smaller, embroidered Nike logo.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Adidas

2. Sporty Yet Casual—Essentials Cotton Fleece 3S (‘3 Stripes’) Over Head Hoodie

You love activewear but you don’t always love how it looks and fits? We get it. Luckily, ladies, you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort and movability with Adidas’ activewear.

Ladies can also slay the sporty-casual look this year with Adidas’ iconic ‘3-Stripes’ design running down the sleeves of the Essentials Cotton Fleece 3S Over Head Hoodie

3. Stay Warm and Light On Your Feet with Nike Fleece Jogger Pants and the Dry Training Hoodie

Academy Nike Pants

A pair of men’s Nike Fleece Jogger Pants made with snug-fitting leg cuffs helps runners stay warmer and lighter on their feet.

And, thanks to sweat-wicking Nike Dry technology, the camo-patterned Dry Training Hoodie keeps men more comfortable during intense workouts.

4. Conquer Those Chilly Days with the Under Armour Big Logo Fleece Hoodie

Under Armour Fleece Hoodie

And, don’t let the weather slow your progress! Conquer chilly days with the men’s Under Armour Big Logo Fleece Hoodie, an online exclusive that’s warm yet lightweight and flexible. 

Put Some Pep in Your Step

Make good on a plan to stay physically fit in the New Year by moving in the right direction with increased activity. Hitting the pavement, court or treadmill in style is an excellent way to stay motivated in whatever you choose to do to get fit. Whether you’re taking it slow at the gym or training for a marathon, wearing the right attire that fits your needs can make all the difference.

Another way to maximize your health and happiness in 2019 is to keep saving all year round on the brands that’ll help crush your goals in the New Year. Download our Giving Assistant Button and you’ll also unlock constant savings and promo codes on much more than just your favorite must-haves.

6 Things to Do to Make this Your Healthiest Year Ever

6 Things to Do to Make this Your Healthiest Year Ever

Want to enjoy a longer, happier life? Making just a few tweaks in your daily routine and a couple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in successfully transforming into the healthiest version of yourself. Paying attention to both the health of your body and mind is essential, and below we’ll introduce 6 ways on how to improve yourself across the board!

1. Move that body…and stay motivated

From stress reduction to a healthier heart, the benefits of exercise are undeniable. Losing just 5-10 pounds can have a significant effect on your overall well-being. You can definitely work it all out on your own, but what fun would that be? You have a better chance of staying motivated when you surround yourself with people trying to achieve some of the same goals as you. Sign up for a studio fitness class, like the small groups led by instructors from Class Pass, which offer inspiring spaces for workouts in strength training, cycling, barre, yoga, and even rock climbing.

2. Get colorful with your meals

One of the best ways to increase the amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that a healthy body needs to function at full capacity is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself to add foods that represent the five main color groups (as identified by the American Heart Association): red & pink; blue & purple; yellow & orange; green; white & brown. And, when you’re running low on time to shop for and plan meals that motivate, let a delivery service like Hello Fresh do the work. They provide easy-to-follow recipes with healthy ingredients that include meat, fish, grains, plant-based proteins, and seasonal produce.

3. Power up with superfoods

Healthy food swaps provide that extra boost you need when you’re trying to lose weight, get or stay fit, and feel more energized. Add superfoods to your diet to get a mega dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other benefits for the body. This is why you’ll see online shops, like Puritan’s Pride, stocked with goji berries, acai, cacao powder, chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds, maca powder, quinoa, coconut oil, turmeric, raw honey, and matcha green tea.

4. Take time to pamper yourself

To melt away the negative effects of stress on the mind and body, forget a trip to the spa and instead, choose in-home pampering with specific bath and body care, skincare, and scented products. Set a calming scene with aromatherapy candles, L’Occitane diffusers, and other rejuvenating home fragrances. Soak in a bubble bath filled with essential oils that promote relaxation, like lavender, which also helps you sleep. Other scents to note: rose (soothes and uplifts your spirits), ylang ylang (calms the mind), mandarin (eases anxiety), and vanilla, cherry blossom, and jasmine to elevate your mood.

5. Take your daily dose of ‘D’

If you don’t get enough of any kind of vitamin, you run the risk of developing a deficiency and unwanted medical conditions that you can avoid. Vitamin D is a disease-fighting, mood-improving, immune system-boosting powerhouse also linked to appetite control, weight loss, and having an active metabolism. We get vitamin D from sunlight and eating tuna, salmon and mackerel. But, that’s not enough because nearly 75 percent of Americans are vitamin-D deficient. Supplements, like the ones sold at the Vitamin Shoppe, can provide that daily dose of ‘D’ you need to stay on the go and healthy.

6. Add color to your wardrobe

Treating yourself to a new piece of clothing not only has a positive effect on your mood, but also contributes to shaping a healthier self-image. Did you know that wearing just the right color can make you look 10 years younger or 10 pounds lighter? To achieve a slimming effect, use bright, bold colors to accentuate your favorite assets. Also, incorporate colorful accessories for a more vibrant look, like eyewear with lively frames, patterned scarves, and jewelry from Gilt in bold hues that add youthful pops of color to an outfit.

Lastly, if you’re looking for more products and services that make it easier to achieve your get-healthy goals, download our Giving Assistant Button to keep up with the latest ways to save money and give back to good causes.

Top 12 Vegetables to ALWAYS Buy Organic

Top 12 Vegetables to ALWAYS Buy Organic

We here at The Good Life are avid organic food enthusiasts. The truth about non-organic veggies is downright scary:

  • They are sprayed with insecticides, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides in order to reduce crop damage due to bugs and pests.
  • Rinsing and scrubbing the vegetables doesn’t remove the residue.

Yuck! We’d really prefer not to ingest these sneaky, unwanted chemicals. We know we can always trust organic veggies to be clean and safe. Certified organic vegetables must meet a list of requirements, including:

  • They cannot be sprayed with any type of chemical.
  • The use of human waste as fertilizer is forbidden.
  • The crop cannot be GMO.
  • The land must not have been sprayed with any pesticides, herbicides, insecticides or fungicides for at least three years.

Still, sometimes it just isn’t possible to be 100% perfect. That’s why we are simplifying your organic shopping checklist by bringing you the 12 most important vegetables to buy organic. If you fall off the wagon a bit on the others, so be it!

Buying Organic Veggies Doesn’t Have to Cost You a Fortune

How to make organic grocery shopping affordable:

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of high grocery bills. Major super stores, such as Walmart and Target, now offer a selection of organic produce. No one should sacrifice his or her health due to lack of funds. Lower prices mean everyone can afford to make optimal nutrition a priority.

12 Vegetables To Always Purchase Organic

organic celery

1) Celery

  • More than 90 %  of all non-organic celery stalks contain 60 or more different types of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
  • These include: 13 chemicals that are known to cause cancer, 31 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 14 chemicals known to cause reproductive or developmental problems.

2) Cucumbers

  • Non-organic cucumbers can contain as many as 35 different chemicals.
  • It is not known how many of those chemicals penetrate beyond the skin, which means peeling may not remove all the residue.
  • Popular chemicals include Endosulfan Sulfate, o-Phenylphenol and Methamidophos.

3) Green Beans

Non-organic green beans can contain this toxic residue:

  • 8 known carcinogens
  • 22 hormone disrupting chemicals
  • 11 different neurotoxins
  • Even after multiple rinses, these chemicals do not completely wash off.

Tip: to find organic canned green beans, try Amazon.

4) Hot Peppers

  • Hot peppers are susceptible to blister beetles, cutworms and tomato hornworms.
  • To keep pests away from hot pepper plants, traditional farmers spray multiple powerful insecticides. 
  • These chemicals can remain on the pepper even after performing a triple-wash.
organic cherry tomatoes

5) Cherry Tomatoes

  • Non-organic cherry tomatoes are one of the 10 dirtiest foods available in grocery stores.
  • Non-organic farmers use a variety of chemicals to increase crop yields and prevent pest damage.
  • Chemicals remain on the skin of the tomatoes even after processing and shipping.

Tip: you can find organic cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods.

6) Imported Snap Peas

  • Imported non-organic  snap peas rank in the top 10 of the most chemically-laden vegetables.
  • Local snap peas contain fewer chemicals, but to avoid pesticide residue entirely, it’s best to purchase organic snap peas.

7) Kale

  • Traditionally grown, non-organic kale contains several different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides (in spite of being naturally pest resistant).

Luckily, it is very easy to find an organic version. Walmart has several organic kale options.

8) Lettuce

  • All types of traditionally grown, non-organic lettuce contain pesticides to deter cutworms, snails, and slugs.
  • Tests have identified up to 50 different chemicals on lettuce leaves
  • These include: 12 carcinogens, 29 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 10 toxins that interfere with reproduction and human development.

 Tip: you can buy organic lettuce at Target.

organic potatoes

9) Potatoes

  • Potatoes are susceptible to leaf-hoppers, potato beetles, cutworms and grubs.
  • In order to deter these pests, non-organic farmers spray up to 35 different chemicals onto the leaves, stems, and surrounding soil.
  • Pesticides remain on the potato even after commercial processing, packaging, and home washing.

10) Spinach

  • All forms of non-organic spinach, except canned, can contain up to 50 different chemicals.
  • These include: 8 chemicals known to cause cancer, 25 hormone disrupting chemicals, and 8 neurotoxins.

11) Squash (Summer and Winter)

  • Summer and winter squash can contain up to 41 different chemicals.
  • These  include: Endosulfan Sulfate, Dieldrin, and Phenylphenol.
  • Each of these is known to cause cancer, disrupt hormones, and damage baby and child development.

 
12) Sweet/Bell Peppers

  • Bell peppers can contain as many as 50 different pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
  •  These include: 11 known carcinogens, 26 hormone disruptors, and 13 neurotoxins.

Organic Veggies for Chemical-Free Bellies

No one wants a belly full of chemicals and toxins. We aren’t meant to consume such high levels of these poisons. If pesticides are tough enough to kill off masses of insects, you can bet they’re tough enough to hurt your body.  With these 12 must-be organic vegetables in your grocery cart, you’re sure to fill up in the healthiest, cleanest way.

Juicing vs. Blending: Battle of the Health Nuts

Juicing vs. Blending: Battle of the Health Nuts

Blending, juicing, peeling, chopping. Is it just us, or are fruits and veggies slightly high maintenance? These days, it seems like most health enthusiasts are walking versions of either juices or smoothies. You know the phrase: you are what you eat. 

Intrigued, we sorted through the conflicting reports our fellow health nuts have shared on the virtues and pitfalls of juicing and blending.

Enough of this war, already. We all want the same thing: quick supplies of energy and immunity boosting macro and micro-nutrients.

Here, we’ll give you the down-low on the pros and cons of juicing and blending.

Juicing: Fast Vitamin Boost or Sugary Fake?

Definition= the process of extracting the water from the fruit or vegetable.

Credible, unbiased information about juicing can be hard to find. We’ll do our best to give it to you straight.

Most citrus fruits can be juiced using a manual juicer, including oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits. Nearly everything else requires a custom juicer in order to extract the water. 

There are 2 types of juicers:

  • Centrifugal juicers: operate at high speeds. They spin the juice away from the pulp and into a glass or bowl. The pulp, skins, and seeds are launched into a separate waste container.
  • Masticating juicers: grind and squeeze the juice from the fruits and vegetables and are much more efficient than centrifugal juicers.
young woman juicing

 Benefits of Juicing

1. Provides a high quantity of vitamins and minerals without being high calorie.

  • Calorie Comparison: 1 medium orange contains 62 calories. Juicing that same orange reduces the calorie content by 23 calories.
  • Advocates claim they’ve had success with juicing for weight loss.

2. Smooth Digestion:

  • If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, or another type of stomach or intestinal ailment that affects the way you absorb nutrients, juicing will allow you to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs without aggravating your digestive system.
  • How does this work? Juicing eliminates the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. High fiber foods can be harder for your stomach to digest.

Drawbacks of Juicing

1. It actually depletes most of the fruit and veggie nutrients you seek.

  • The majority of vital nutrients in fruits and vegetables reside in the skin and pulp (both eliminated when juiced).
  • By juicing them, you are only extracting vitamins and minerals that are water soluble (and losing the rest).

2. Juices are extremely high in sugar.

  • Critics of juicing point out that people are essentially drinking sugar water, because these beverages can reach the sugar content of candy bars!
  • Juicing significantly decreases the amount of fiber in fruit, so you increase your risk of hunger and a blood sugar crash later in the day.

3. You miss out on the healthy fruits and veggies that cannot be juiced:

  • Avocados, bananas, and eggplants, to name a few.
  • These have very little juice content, so attempting to juice them would clog your juicer.
Blending and Juicing Smoothie

Blending: Convenient Meal or High Calorie Ordeal?

Definition = putting fruits and vegetables into a blender and grating or chopping them until they are smooth and creamy.

Blenders are significantly less expensive than juicers. Smoothies make excellent meal replacements for breakfast and lunch.

Benefits of Blending

1. Increases your fiber intake and allows you to consume ALL available vitamins and minerals.

  • Fiber helps slow digestion, which means less hunger throughout the day (often leading to fewer calories consumed later on. Hello, weight loss!).

2. Blending offers more variety.

  • Bananas, avocados, and eggplant can all be put into a blender.
  • Blending leafy green vegetables provides more nutrients than juicing.

3. You can add protein powders, milk, and wheat germ.

  • An increase in protein means more energy.

Drawbacks of Blending

1. Calorie Comparison:

  • If not done carefully, blending can create very high calories drinks.
  • Example = a smoothie that includes 1 banana, 16 ounces of strawberries, 8 ounces of blueberries and 2 large carrots is 437 calories (or roughly the same amount of calories as two pieces of dry toast and two scrambled eggs cooked in a tablespoon of butter).

2. Getting the right consistency is a tricky business.

  • Too much water or ice can turn the smoothie into something that resembles a pulpy juice.
  • Too little water can result in blending difficulties and a drink that resembles a chunky paste.

Helpful Blending tips:

  • cut back on calories in smoothies by using coconut water instead of milk.
  • Finding the right consistency can be a matter of trial and error, but once you have it done, you’re set for life!
  • Try looking up smoothie recipes on Pinterest or the Whole Foods website for inspiration.

Looking for the perfect juicer or blender?

  • Reasonably priced, high functioning juicers: available at Walmart and Amazon.
  • Affordable, popular brands of blenders: at Target and Kmart.
juicing and blending drinks

Gold Medal Winner?

We tend to lean toward blending over juicing, because smoothies are richer in fiber, protein, and nutrients. They make a safer daily meal.

Still, people who are juicing and blending all strive for the same positive goal: cleaner, healthier bodies. A vitamin packed juice may bring you the quick energy kick you need.

IN THE END: your decision depends on your personal goals. If you seek a healthy meal replacement, blending is ideal.  If you want a low-calorie, easily digestible drink, juicing may be for you.

10-Minute Quinoa, Kale, and Poached Egg Recipe

10-Minute Quinoa, Kale, and Poached Egg Recipe

We’re bringing you a mouth-watering, money-saving quinoa recipe that will score you gourmet chef status in 10 minutes!

Raising a family sure does cost a hefty chunk of cash these days: soccer leagues, ballet classes, back-to-school clothes, doctor visits, 3 college tuitions, and even vet visits for that time Milo stepped on a thorn at the family picnic. Are we forgetting anything? Oh yes, daily meals. To make your life easier (and bank account steadier), we have a quick, affordable Quinoa dish so yummy you’ll have the whole family rushing to the table (and Milo sniffing underneath it).

Recommended Uses:

This dish is excellent as a standalone item. However, it offers a versatile enough flavor for a buffet-style menu.

You can modify the dish and add the finished product to lettuce or spinach salads that call for cooked eggs. Also, consider using the leftovers for a nutritious, fast breakfast dish.

Where to buy Quinoa?

You can find all the ingredients you’ll need for our  “10-Minute Quinoa, Kale, & Poached Egg Recipe” at your local grocery store or online at Target.

Ingredient List:

  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup baby kale (optional: organic greens)
  • Olive oil (optional: garlic-infused olive oil)
  • Ground lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (optional: apple cider instead of white)
  • 1 to 2 pinches ground coarse sea salt and pepper
Kale Quinoa Egg Dinner

Quinoa Dinner Preparation Instructions:

1. Boil water in a small saucepan. While waiting for your water to heat up, sauté the kale and cooked quinoa in olive oil. For extra flavor, try garlic-infused oil.

Once complete, follow these steps:

  • Cover the greens after cooking.
  • Turn off heat and let the kale/quinoa mixture stand until it wilts.
  • Scoop the cooked greens onto an attractive plate.
  • Don’t forget about your boiling water!

2. Turn boiling water heat to low, stir in vinegar and add cracked eggs. When adding the vinegar, stir the substance rapidly in a circular motion. This will create a whirlpool funnel. Quickly drop the cracked egg into it. Slide eggs into the center of the whirlpool.

3. Let the egg simmer for 3-4 minutes. Keep the egg in the water until the whites appear cooked. This poaching process will usually leave the yoke a little runny. However, if you prefer a firmer yoke, you could let it cook a minute or two longer. Be careful not to overcook it, which could leave it rubbery.

4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked eggs from the water. Place the eggs on top of the kale/quinoa greens you prepared just minutes ago. Grind some lemon peel and sprinkle the zest over the top of the dish. Then, spread a few pinches of ground sea salt and crushed black pepper over it. You want just enough salt and pepper to flavor the dish, but not overpower it.

Quinoa Recipe in 10 Minutes

Estimated Preparation Time

This recipe takes only 10 minutes to prepare: an ideal choice for busy parents who have hungry mouths to feed. It is easy to double or triple the batch when you need to cook dinner for your whole family.

Like This Quinoa Dish?

To discover similar quinoa dishes, browse Whole Foods or check out the 10 Best Quinoa Recipes from Bon Appetit.

Bon Appetit!

We know what we’re having for dinner tonight – quinoa! Until next time, gourmet girls.