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Gluten-Free, Nut-Free All-Natural Chickpea Snacks (oh, and no GMOs)

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ALL-NATURAL ROASTED CHICKPEA SNACKS FROM THE GOOD BEAN

What it is: Crispy, crunchy all-natural chickpeas served either in a bag (pop ‘em in your mouth like popcorn) or in a bar-shape (looks like a granola bar’s close cousin). Regardless of how you eat them, you can be certain that they’re: 1) nut-free, 2) gluten-free, 3) full o’ fibre, and 4) good for you.

The Good Bean snacks come in an assortment of flavours. Craving salty? There’s Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili & Lime, Mesquite BBQ and more. For your sweet tooth, try Sweet Cinnamon or Chocolate. Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 2.23.36 PM

What You Might Not Know: Chickpea connoisseurs say that a quarter-cup of these rolly-polly snacking beans packs as much fibre as two cups of broccoli, as much folate as three cups of spinach and as much protein as an egg! Nutty little chickpea, you have such a nutritious range!

Feelin’ the Love: The good folks at The Good Bean sent me lots of flavors to try out, and they were all tasty. But the one I liked best was Sea Salt! (Yes, I like plain vanilla ice cream, too.)

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Don’t get me wrong – I also happily gobbled up the Cracked Pepper and Smoky Chili & Lime flavours. The Sweet Cinnamon was nice, but when it comes to munching away on chickpeas, I preferred the savoury angle. To me, this healthy food is a more satisfying substitute for less healthy food like, say, chips versus something sweet – like a cookie. I’d take chickpeas over chips (maybe because both are crunchy), but a cinnamony chickpea won’t easily fill a cookie void for me. You know?

Having said that, I see these all-natural roasted chickpeas as more than a swap-in for junk food. They’re an enjoyable way to snack “clean.”

The Good Bean’s version of a granola bar gets a thumbs-up as an option for people who can’t or don’t want to eat nuts or gluten. The best flavour for me (again!) was the simplest: Fruit & Seeds Trail Mix. chickpea

If I Could Change One Thing: These chickpea snacks grew on me quickly, but my first few mouthfuls felt a bit dry. For best results, I suggest breaking into a bag with a glass of water at arm’s reach.

Should You Buy It? If you like eating clean, then yes. The ingredients are simple, and there are no GMOs. Plus, these healthy snacks suit a variety of dietary needs. Pricing is similar to other snack foods; check TheGoodBean.com for stores near you that carry this product. I’ll be asking for them at Whole Foods.

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Fitness Pants That Aren’t See-Through!

Fitness Pants That Aren’t See-Through!

AMERICAN FITNESS COUTURE

What It Is: A line of fitness clothes, including pants, tights and capris that aren’t see-through in the butt when you squat, Down Dog and bend over! Hallelujah.

What You Might Not Know: The company name is a big tip-off that these clothes are Made in America; L.A. to be exact. And in true L.A. fashion, the company recycles fabric trimmings and sources locally and organically for an eco-friendly touch.

Feelin’ the Love: We’ve all stood behind that woman in a yoga or fitness class (or, eek, in Whole Foods!) who’s sporting the cutest-ever workout tights that also happen to be rather sheer in the rear. Or worse, you are that person.

I’ve ditched a pricey pair of fitness pants from a trendy brand (hi, Lululemon) because I just didn’t feel good about exposing an x-ray view of my thong underwear every time I bent over for a burpee.

I know, call me a prude.

Enter American Fitness Couture. Their fitness pants are made from a super-thick thread count, so, no, they don’t go all see-through when you bend over.  This was a real confidence-booster for me when teaching fitness classes up on a stage, basically under a spotlight. Inversions in yoga class felt a little more carefree, as well.

Another bonus: This fabric washes well as long as you skip the dryer. No fading, no pilling.

If I Could Change One Thing: For these fitness capris and pants to be as opaque as they are, they’ve got to be thicker than your average fitness fabric. It stands to reason, then, that they’re also hotter once you start working up a sweat. I did notice a difference. However, for some women, a little extra heat is a decent tradeoff for keeping their “privates” private.

If you’re ordering online, heads up that the pants might not be true to size (TTS). The capris I have are a size Small (XS or Small are my usual), but I would have appreciated a little more “give” in the thighs and butt. They’re a tad tight, folks. I think this is because the fabric feels a little less stretchy than other fitness pants I own. The label says: 45% cotton, 45% polyester, 10% spandex.

Perhaps I should have gone up a size, except the roll-down waist fits like a dream. The waistband on my 3/4 Length Capri Leggings can be flipped up for more “tummy” control (remember this fabric is thick, so it’s going to hold you in) or folded down if you’re a hipster. Worn either way, the waistband sits perfectly flat against my abs without sliding down or muffin-topping.

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Should You Buy It: Yes, give them a try. After all, wearing peek-a-boo pants is so last year. Cost: Fitness bottoms start at $69 USD; AmericanFitnessCouture.com

BTW, American Fitness Couture makes more than just pants. Their yoga tee ($44) is basically just a t-shirt, but the fabric feels like lovely, soft pajamas. And it’s TTS – my usual XS fits just right.

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DIY Bikinis & Swimsuits For Active Women: Made to Your Own Measurements & Style

DIY Bikinis & Swimsuits For Active Women: Made to Your Own Measurements & Style

NAYAD AQUA SPORTSWEAR – BIKINIS & SWIMSUITS MADE FOR ACTIVE WOMEN

What It Is: Based out of the U.S. Virgin Islands, NAYAD makes custom-ordered swimsuits for women with active outdoor lifestyles. Here’s how it works: You head to the NAYAD website and select the style of swimsuit you want – there are bikini tops and bottoms, sports tanks, full-coverage aqua shorts, aqua skirts/skorts (also good for tennis) and more.

Next, you choose the fabric combinations you like from dozens of pretty solids and patterns. Finally, take your measurements, complete NAYAD’s online order form and wait for your custom-designed swimsuit to arrive in the mail!

What You Might Not Know: You won’t find any potentially chafe-inducing clasps, wires, buckles, knots or other hardware in these streamlined bikinis and swimsuits.

Feelin’ the Love: I have never had a bikini bottom fit me so well. Being able to order these swimsuits to your own measurements means you no longer have to face body-bulging where you don’t want it from waistbands that are too snug or bum coverage that’s simply not generous enough. I appreciated being able to select the look that I knew would work best for my body type and personal style.

NAYADThe design choices are also all cute and fully functional for activity. The stitching on my suit seems quite durable.

I noticed from the NAYAD website that some women take on CrossFit in their NAYAD aqua sportswear! While I’m not ready to jump into a bikini-clad WOD, I did test-drive my two-piece in the pool while taking my daughter for a swim.

Frolicking in the shallow end, doing laps in the deep end and chilling in the hot tub, I felt confident that there wouldn’t be the kind of wardrobe malfunction that could occur with other water-logged bikinis.

If I Could Change One Thing:  For those of us whose bosoms aren’t all that, ahem, bosom-y, I’d like to see an option where you could request lightly padded removable boob inserts for the bikini tops.

Also, I needed the DIY design support that has only just become available for NAYAD customers.

If you were to ever spot me in a store struggling to make buying decisions (Wedge sandals or heels? Black or navy cardigan?), you’d realize just how befuddled I get when pressed to select between two or more similar scenarios.

Imagine me, then, fixated on my Mac’s screen, wrestling to imagine if the Arabian Blue might be better than the Turquoise and which one would best match with a Merlot bikini bottom (or maybe neither matches?!). Then again, the Soar peacock-feather pattern is lovely … that would go beautifully with Lilac … but would Lilac blend in too much against my pale skin? My head was spinning.

Despite cheerful and encouraging emails from Kate at NAYAD, I had a hard time imagining what my suit would look like (the one I eventually settled on is pictured below). I would have benefitted from the NAYAD Visualizer, which – good news for all future NAYAD customers – was recently added to the website. This brilliant and essential web tool for DIY designs helps you “see” your swimsuit before you buy, including how the colors complement your skin tone. Love it!

NAYAD DIY Tool

 

Should You Buy One: Yes, if you love the idea of designing your own sporty swimsuit – whether you rely on your own talent for matching colors and styles, or seek the help of the NAYAD Visualizer.

These made-to-your-measurements bikinis and tankinis are also a boon for any woman who has sworn to banish bathing suit shopping altogether because finding a flattering fit – in a suit that’s also cute – feels almost impossible. Kudos to NAYAD for solving this struggle.

Cost: $118-$140 USD    NAYADSwimGym.com

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Washing Stinky Activewear? No Sweat

Washing Stinky Activewear? No Sweat

NO SWEAT LAUNDRY DETERGENT

What It Is: High-potency, eco-friendly laundry detergent specifically for your workout clothes and activewear. Promises to banish B.O. from your fine fitness fabrics while protecting clothing from pilling or colour-fading.

What You Might Not Know: No Sweat is the only “green” laundry wash for fitness and sportswear that’s also certified as environmentally friendly. A little is all you need – they recommend 1 oz. per load. And in addition to laundry detergent, there’s a yoga-mat spritz cleaner, allowing you to enjoy wafts of freesia during Down Dog.

Feelin’ the Love: I dig this product, but it took me a load or two to clue in that I didn’t know what a 1 oz. application looks like (2 Tablespoons). Even with my high-efficiency washing machine, I was being too stingy on soap. Still, my clothes came out smelling really pretty, either like Sweet Freesia (my favourite) or refreshing Citrus Rush.

Ready to get personal? Truth be told, my fitness clothes generally smell OK even after a major sweatfest. For me, sudsing up my lycra with No Sweat is about getting them clean and fresh for my next workout.

Odor aside, what I love best about this product is how it makes my clothes feel. Yes, feel. No Sweat promises to treat your fitness clothes well in the wash. And it does. I never put exercise garments in the dryer, so as I’m hanging them on the clothes rack post-wash, I take a moment to appreciate how soft – almost luxurious – they feel compared to when I use a standard laundry detergent.

If I Could Change One Thing: Well, my dog sheds and his fur sticks stubbornly to the No Sweat plastic bottle sitting on the floor of my laundry cupboard. It’s strange, but no fault of the No Sweat company.

If I could change one other thing, I’d want to correct the typos I spotted on the product bottles.

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Should You Buy It: Yes. It costs a little more than some other laundry detergent, so you have to really love laundry. Which I do.

Other reasons to buy No Sweat: You care about the environment. You care about keeping your pricey fitness clothes looking and feeling like new. You care about smelling nice at the gym.

Cost: $36.99 will get you 4X 500ML/16-load bottles; prices vary according to product size; www.NoSweatLaundry.com

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