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Sunday, June 23, 2013

TastyKake Kandy Bar Kakes: Best of Both Worlds, and Out of This World!


I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster!

I'm from Pennsylvania, born and raised, and TastyKake is a part of my childhood, especially the Butterscotch Krimpets and the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. I was relieved when I was able to find them in grocery stores when I moved to Virginia.

To get back on topic, I was so thrilled that the sweet treat in my Spring Fever VoxBox from Influenster was the Reeses Kandy Bar Kake from my old friend TastyKake. I had been meaning to pick some up, and now all reticence flew out the window.

My first mistake was leaving it alone. I came back to this:


I did manage to sneak a few bites, and POW. Soooo delicious. I had high expectations, being a true TastyKake fan,  and it did not disappoint.

The shape is great...it really gives you that candy bar feel. But when you bite into it, the chocolate "enrobing" (I love that description!) gives way to soft, rich chocolate cake and that AWESOME Reeses peanut butter flavored creme. I had to have more.

Luckily, there's three flavors: The Reeses, Peppermint Patty and S'Mores.

I picked up a box of the Peppermint Patty flavor, and the experience was just as wonderful.  The same rich chocolate cake, but infused with a mint creme. Just sweet enough for complete decadence.

I plan to try the S'Mores flavor next...I'm seriously looking forward to it. My love for TastyKake will continue, and I strongly suggest you try them yourself. They're a wonderful companion to everything from a glass of milk to iced coffee, and your taste buds will thank you. One hint...you may want to buy multiple bozes, especially if you have kids. Or THIS might be what you find.



Monday, June 3, 2013

The Fast Metabolism Diet By Haylie Pomroy: This Mom's Review

I was given the opportunity by SheSpeaks to try the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy in exchange for my review. Cool cover, eh?


Straight up.....fad diets never work for me. I tried Atkins, and I did lose weight, but I was a miserable person to be around. Ditto with South Beach, and the Comfort Food Diet. I always wanted whatever the diet said I couldn't, and I would end up "snapping" and going right back to the beginning.

I read through The Fast Metabolism Diet, and I was intrigued. Overview: You eat in three Phases, all three every week. First Phase fruit and grains, second protein and veggies, third healthy fats, grains, veggies and fruit. You must eat at proper times, and stick to each Phase.

As with all diets, the no-nos: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, gluten, no dairy, no fat during Phase 1 and 2, only certain items in each Phase. You can us Stevia or other natural sugar-free sweeteners. VERY healthy options...all the veggies you want. You only do certain exercises during certain Phases.

Issues:

1. It is very complex...I had to keep referring back to the book. There is an app available that lets you keep track of things a bit easier.Unfortunately, there were discrepancies between the app and the book, mainly in what food was allowed in which Phase. The author keeps a very active Facebook page and Twitter feed to help bridge the gap. You do need to be committed, though. My book pages got grungy from my kitchen references: (.:



2. The food required can be pretty pricey. I have three kids and a limited budget, and $11 for a jar of Almond Butter and $6 for a small loaf of gluten-free bread are way outside my financial comfort zone. You can find the occasional sale or coupon, but it's still pretty up there.I had to fudge some of the items.

3. I'm used to eating after the two little ones are fed, so the schedule posed some concerns. She does offer snack bars, smoothies and other easy products on her website if you have that issue.

But I went for it, and completed the whole 28-day cycle. Positives:

1. I didn't feel hungry.  Unlike most diets, this one encourages generous portion sizes to "feed" your metabolism. The range of foods allowed also made cravings less painful. Phase 2 was the hardest (only protein and veggies), but it's only two days a week, and there are some great recipes to help you out.

2. It worked as a great jumpstart/detox process, because Phase 1 let me have my sweet fruit and grains, which eased me into the release of carbs and caffeine. I was a hardcore coffee drinker, and after one day with a miserable headache, I was over it. Gluten is out, but gluten-free options are allowed, and some are just plain delish. Schar's white bread was a fave.

3. It encouraged me to try healthier foods and choose options I wouldn't have otherwise. I discovered that I do like brown rice and quinoa, and I even made a simple vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar and lime juice that's wonderful. I also found that vegetables can really be tasty. She has lots of recipes both in the book and on her site, and posts new ones on her social media.

4. My digestive issues disappeared. I've had all sorts of chronic symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, pain and gas...all stopped after two days on the diet.

5. She included techniques to use before parties and such, where you know you're going to pig out, and they alleviate the damage. They worked fabulously over Memorial Day.

And the bit you're all waiting for...did I lose weight?

Yes.

First week, 5.5 pounds. It did slow down a bit after that. Total weight loss at the end of the 28 days: 12.5 pounds. I thought that was pretty good, considering I didn't do a lot of exercising.

I chose not to continue, mainly due to the cost of the required food items. However, I still practice a lot of the behaviors and eat much better than I used to. It's amazing how much better I feel. Now I have coffee when I want a treat, not because I think I need it to survive. Veggies are a bigger part of my life, and I eat a lot of them.

I feel that not only is this an excellent diet that works, but even if you don't have the gumption - or in my case, the budget - to continue, you will still reap multiple benefits. I am amazed at how alert and healthy I still feel. It would be an excellent choice to kickstart weight loss, or even as a great detox method, since the wide range of foods and sizeable portions make it fairly painless, and most of the foods that trigger digestive upset are eliminated. It's opened my mind to a whole new range of foods, and better eating habits.

I heartily recommend this diet, and have told many of my family and friends about it. I think it's excellent for just about anyone, as long as they're committed to change.