Scoring sweet swag, reviewing awesome products and living the rad mom life.

Posts tagged ‘healthy living’

Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Review

Earlier this year, I attended the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF Expo) in San Diego and it did not disappoint! The GFAF Expo is a two-day gluten free and allergen friendly event that comes to cities all over the U.S.  I also had the opportunity to attend as an official blogger which meant I got a little extra swag. 😉

Processed with MOLDIV

It was held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds which would normally mean that there were some nice views, but it happened to be raining this day so everyone pretty much ran inside to dodge the rain.

IMG_1996

Since it was at the fairgrounds, there was plenty of close parking and I arrived early enough to avoid any traffic.

Before I get into the review, I will disclose that I do not have any food allergies myself.  However, when attending many get-togethers or playdates involving foods, coordinators will often ask for people to be considerate of others’ unique dietary needs when bringin snacks.  So I thought this would be a great opportunity to not only score some swag, but find out what types of tasty and allergen friendly foods were out there!

The morning started out with a free breakfast hosted by BFree Foods.  They talked about their company and offered us coffee, bagels, juice, and fruit.  We were then free to network with other bloggers and vendors before the expo officially opened.  Then they gave us our own swag bags and we were off to explore!

One cool thing about the expo is that each vendor has an information card on their table that lets you know if their product contains a particular sensitive ingredient.

IMG_2001

The event also featured authors and speakers that presented information all throughout the day.

There seemed to be a good attendance at these classes since I saw several people standing for the presentation as the chairs filled up.  I listened in on a couple of presentations and the presenters seemed enthusiastic and informative.

There were TONS of vendors at this event so I won’t be able to mention every single one, but you can go to the GFAF Expo website to learn more.  I will, however, touch on the ones that stood out to me!

Enjoy Life Foods  had a cute little set up, where you could score goodies along a maze-type structure.  I also think their products are super tasty, especially those chocolate chips!

IMG_2007

Garden Lites offered up some pretty sweet waffles and Namaste Foods gave out delicious cake samples!

One of my favorite vendors was Brazi Bites!  I love these little bread balls and I’m hoping they come out with a cinnamon flavor at some point.  You may have seen them on Shark Tank, but if not…definitely check them out in your freezer section!

IMG_2020

There were a couple of different Kombucha brands, but I enjoyed the ginger-lemon sample from Health-ade the most.  Sunbutter had a pretty big presence at the event and they were generous with their samples and also handed out some little coloring books for the kids.

Keli’s Hawaiian Sauces were pretty dope and I thought they would be great on all different types of foods. The folks over at RP’s Pasta were also very friendly and generous!

I enjoyed the flavors from Rise Buddy Snacks, but unfortunately my kids weren’t too thrilled with this snack.  Smart Flour Foods gave out yummy pizza samples and this also something that I would purchase in the future!

 

I tried an interesting sample from Natti Bar.  They’re basically bananas mashed into bars.  Personally, I would prefer just eating a regular banana but others may dig these little things.  Betsy’s Best offered samples of different types nut butters, but I just didn’t think it tasted much different than other brands.

Glutenberg Craft Beers were one of the gluten-free beers representing at this event.  I thought it tasted okay, but I’m also not big on craft beers so I’m sure others would enjoy this.  It also looked like many people were skipping over the beer booths so I’m not sure gluten-free beer is a super popular thing.

IMG_2065

Another vendor that I really enjoyed was Aleia’s Foods.  They offer a variety of gluten-free stuffing, bread crumbs, croutons, and cookies.  I almost devoured a whole box of chocolate chunk cookies by myself.  I couldn’t even tell they were missing any gluten!  And use code “GFAF17” to save $1.00 on your online purchase!

IMG_2052

Towards the end of the day, I got to try a decadent German chocolate brownie from Coronado’s Gluten Free Pantry.  I was also really drawn to their packaging so I definitely recommend checking out their products!

There were also some non-food exhibitors such as: Beautycounter; Hands for Life Ocean Beach (They gave me a demo and I was informed that I needed an adjustment); San Diego Meditation (which I probably need); and some massage people that wanted to sell me a $200 device that felt like a shock treatment.  The authors also had a few booths where they were selling their books.

I only attended on Saturday, but I was able to hit up pretty much every booth.  The place got pretty packed throughout the day, but I didn’t have to wait at the booths for very long.

IMG_2099

So what was the SWAG?!

Every attendee was given an Enjoy Life reusable bag with some samples and coupons when they first walked in the door.  Sprouts Farmers Market also gave out reusable bags with some greek yogurt samples as well as fresh fruit.  I also received the BFree swag bag that included full-size bread samples, coupons, an infuser bottle, and a selfie stick!  And because I was an official blogger, many of the vendors gave me some extra swag as well as their business cards for future networking.

And here are the goodies that I collected…

IMG_2459

Yep, it was a pretty large haul!  So much that I could barely fit it all in one picture!  I also scored a huge stack of coupons for discounted or free items so that definitely added to the value.

Overall, I really enjoyed this event!  I learned about a lot of new brands and I was introduced to some interesting food items.  However,  I did feel that one genre of brands was missing.  And that was cleaning products!  I was really surprised that I didn’t see any natural cleaning product brands represented at this event.  I also think they should have put our blogger names or social media handles on our badges since that’s what most of us go by in the blogger world.

I recommend this event to anyone with a food allergy or that has a family member/friend with a food allergy.  I also recommend this event to anyone that just wants to learn about new products or about healthier living in general!

If you are planning to attend this event in your city, I do have a few tips!

  1.  Arrive early!  There are so many booths that it can seem overwhelming so give yourself enough time to get through most of the expo and catch a couple of presentations.  Even better if you can attend both days!
  2. Come hungry!  I literally just ate samples all day and I was full for the whole day.  I even had to turn some samples down at the end because I was pretty stuffed.
  3. Bring water!  There were only a few beverage vendors along with some water fountains at this particular venue.  Bring enough water to get you through the whole day because you will be tasting lots of yummy foods.

Be sure to check out http://gfafexpo.com/ to see if this event is coming to a city near you!  Tickets run about $5-$35 which is totally worth it for what you get at this event.  The price does not include parking so make sure to check your venue for parking details.  You can also get involved by volunteering, blogging, or presenting at this event so be sure to check out the website for more info.

I really enjoyed blogging for this event!  I was able to connect with some other local bloggers as well as network with some pretty amazing brands.  I would definitely attend this event in the future.  You can also follow @gfafexpo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!  And thanks again to all of the sponsors! 🙂

IMG_2101

 

Did you attend the GFAF Expo this year?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

***Note: I was provided free admission to the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo in San Diego as part of being an official member of the 2017 GFAF Expo Blogger Team.  All opinions are my own.

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

Advertisements

The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo

Do you have a food allergy?

Do you enjoy eating healthy foods?

Do you enjoy learning about new products?

Do you like networking with bloggers and authors?

Do you LOVE scoring SWAG?!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you won’t want to miss the upcoming Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo (GFAF) in San Diego!

gf_expo2

The event will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on February 11-12, 2017.  More details about the time, location, and parking can be found here.

I am really excited to attend this event not only to score SWAG, but to also learn more about healthier food choices and to network with other health-minded individuals.  There will be tons of samples as well as classes and presentations!  Check out the schedule here.

As a bonus, the event is being held in a beautiful location! The Del Mar Fairgrounds offer great views and are located within walking distance to the beach!  So snag a hotel and check out the sights after the Expo.  It would make for a pleasant weekend getaway!


So what should you expect from this event?

  • You will get to explore over 100 vendors and brands!
  • Samples and Coupons!
  • Discounted items to purchase at the expo!
  • Classes and presentations about living a more gluten-free and allergen-friendly lifestyle!
  • Free bag to carry all of your SWAG!
  • An opportunity to meet authors and bloggers!

This will be an amazing event that you won’t want to miss!  I hope to see you there!

Tickets cost between $5-$35 and you can purchase them here!

And the sooner you purchase, the more you save! Use code “ADVANCE” to save 20%!


As an added Bonus, I will be giving away tickets this month on my Instagram so make sure you are following me (@theswagmama) so you don’t miss your chance to win!

***Note: I am receiving complimentary admission to the Gluten Free Allergen Friendly Expo in exchange for participation in the blogger program.  I am also associated with the affiliate program for ticket sales.

~SM

Go With Your Gut

In case you’re not familiar with probiotics, they are basically “good bacteria” that benefit your digestive system or all that junk in your gut.  You can find it in the form of pills, powders or certain foods, like yogurt.  I was excited to try Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotic Powder Packets since I’m not really good with taking pills and I kind of get burnt out on yogurt.

I was even more excited to receive my package because it came with…you guessed it…SWAG!

fullsizerender

The SWAG included a tote bag, a shaker cup, and Dr. Mercola’s own health magazine.

I was a little worried that the taste of the powder would be too grainy or fake, but I was surprised that it tasted like raspberry Kool-Aid!

I definitely recommend taking advantage of the shaker cup because if you just stir up the powder with water, there might be some tiny clumps.  You can also add it into juice, but I think it’s sweet enough to just add to water.

I didn’t really have any digestive health problems prior to trying Dr. Mercola’s packets, but I was interested to see if I would feel any different after taking them.  I took a packet each morning and after a couple of weeks, I definitely felt less bloated, which is pretty awesome since I tried these during the week of Thanksgiving.

Then, I let my daughter try the Kid’s version!  The main difference between the adults and kids packets is that the adult probiotic contains 270 mg of the active ingredients and the kids probiotic contains only 33 mg of the active ingredients.

fullsizerender2

I have a pretty picky four-year-old so I wasn’t really expecting her to be interested in this new beverage.  But she proved me wrong by guzzling down her “raspberry drink” and then asking for more!  So I’m looking forward to adding this to her daily diet!

fullsizerender3

In addition to testing out the probiotics, I also read the magazine that came along with the packets.  There was some interesting information including lots of tips and guidelines for healthy eating.

fullsizerender5fullsizerender4fullsizerender6

I had heard of some of the information before from other sources, but some of it was new to me.  Like the recommendation of occasionally skipping breakfast? And the Emotional Freedom Technique.  Overall, It was a pretty interesting read and even included a couple of worksheets.

As my first time really trying a probiotic supplement, I would say this is something that  I would continue to use in the future.  I like that the packets are easy to throw in a purse without the worry of refrigeration.  I liked the taste and I liked that there is a version for kids.  Dr. Mercola also gets extra points because my daughter actually approved of the taste as well! They are also soy-free and gluten-free which is great for people with allergies. You can learn more about Dr. Mercola on his website and also read more health related articles as well as shop for other products.

The Complete Probiotics Powder Packets for Adults (30 packets per box) retails for $41.97.

The Complete Probiotics Powder Packets for Kids (30 packets per box) retails for $29.87.

*Note: I received this product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer.  As a Moms Meet Blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog.  The opinions posted are my own.

What do you think of probiotics?!

~SM

Homestyle Ragu Sauce

My latest review comes courtesy of the Moms Meet Blogger program.  I am able to receive certain products for free in exchange for an honest review. It’s a great website to discover new and healthy products that can benefit the whole family!

This time, I was selected to try Ragu Homestyle Pasta Sauce.  I received free coupons to purchase the product on my own as well as a recipe to go along with the sauce.

sauceblog

I didn’t care for the supplied recipe, so I just made spaghetti with vegetables along with the sauce all in the crockpot (because the crockpot is the only thing in my house that doesn’t need my undivided attention.)

img_9507

The sauce is available in five different varieties, but I went to a small Vons near my house in Southern California and only found these two flavors.  I did also look for this sauce at my military commissary, but they didn’t have it in stock.  So with a little chopping and mixing and simmering, a pretty easy dinner was in the works.

The sauce had an Italian aroma and a fairly thick and chunky consistency. I was really excited about this sauce because it is supposed to be healthier than other sauces. I like that it doesn’t contain artificial colors or high fructose corn syrup and it is only 100 calories per half-cup serving.  So another hour passed by and BAM – spaghetti!

img_9512

Then it was the moment of truth!  Was this new sauce everything that my dreams were made of?  Healthy sauce in a jar?  Could it be? Welllll….yes and no.  I liked everything about it, except I wasn’t quite sold on the taste.  It almost had too much Italian flavor, to the point that it took away from the vegetables and sauciness of the meal.  I typically add in my own spices and flavors when making spaghetti so I wasn’t quite ready to relinquish control of my spice levels to this new sauce in town.  But my one-year-old felt differently and totally embraced it all.

Overall, I wouldn’t proclaim this new product as awesome-sauce (get it?) But, I like where Ragu is going with this new line and perhaps the recipe could be slightly tweaked.  I would be even more excited if they came out with a less-flavored version of this healthy sauce.  I can’t wait to see if this new Ragu gains popularity!  What do you think of the new sauce?  Have you tried it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Can’t wait to try out the next product! *As a reminder, I was given this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

~SM

 

 

Host a Healthy Baby Home Party from 7th Generation!

Apply to become a Healthy Baby Home Party Host Today!  It’s all free courtesy of  Seventh Generation’s Generation Good program!  Hang with your peeps and learn about maintaining a safe and healthy environment for you and your family!  Seventh Generation has provided the deets below:

What is a Healthy Baby Home Party?

Seventh Generation’s home parties are powered by people like you who are focused on creating a healthy environment for the next generation. Developed with input from non-profit partner, Healthy Child Healthy World, they are a great way to get together with friends, share helpful information, and make an impact!

Healthy Baby Home Party kits are provided to all selected hosts and are filled with educational info about our environment, helpful tips, a fun game, and samples and coupons from Seventh Generation and other favorite family-friendly brands like bobble, Plum Organics and Zarbee’s Naturals.

What is the Application Process?

  • Sign up at  www.seventhgeneration.com to join the Generation Good community, or log in if already a member.
  • Accept the Healthy Baby Home Party Application offer on your Generation Good dashboard and complete the application.
  • Applicants will be notified by end of March if they have been selected to host a party, via an email to the email address assigned to their Generation Good member profile.
  • All selected applicants will then need to confirm their participation by accepting the Healthy Baby Home Party Mission in Generation Good and confirming their shipping address.
  • 1,900 FREE Party Kits will be distributed in this round.
  • Hosting spots are open to US residents only at this time. Canadian parties are planned for later in 2016!
  • Full terms and conditions are available within Generation Good in the “Healthy Baby Home Party Application” offer.

And score all of this SWAG for you and your party guests!  Apply Today!

~SM  *As a member of Generation Good, I receive free samples in exchange for reviews.  Dope, right?

seventhgenpic

Thrive Market

So I finally decided to cash in on my free Thrive Market membership that I received through Blue Star Families (thanks again by the way).  It’s basically like a Whole Foods, but even more awesome because instead of having to drive allll the way to the store and wait in line with a bunch of other crunchy folks, you can just have everything delivered right to your door!  Who doesn’t like receiving packages?  It’s like Christmas everyday! And to make things even awesomer…the items are closer to wholeSALE prices rather than Whole Foods prices. Double boom.  Now, I will say that it is normally $59.95 per year for a membership, but it’s totally worth it because there are not only food items and baby items to choose from, but lots of health and beauty stuff too.  And did I mention that it’s all delivered to you?  Like you don’t actually have to leave your house…which is super amazing when you have tiny people that don’t always have patience when you are trying to compare prices or compare brands.  I will also note that you can cancel your membership at any point; however, a low-income family is sponsored with every membership.  See! There is good happening, too!  So here is what I received in my first package…

blog3

Sweet, right?!  Lemme break down what exactly came in the order and what I paid for everything.  Now again,  I did get a discount through Blue Star Families.  Check ’em out if you haven’t.   And this particular day, Thrive Market was running a free shipping promotion so I took advantage of that.  They were also giving free jars of coconut oil with first time orders so that wasn’t included in the final price.  They sometimes will include a different promotional gift with a first time order so be on the lookout for that so that you can maximize your savings.  And they also include a catalog with each order so you can take a looksee at some of the upcoming new items that are offered each season.  Okay here’s the breakdown…

blogblog2

So the grand total was $23.31!  Yes, that’s it!  Awesome stuff for a low price and it was delivered within a week.  Score.  And everything in the order has either been consumed or is currently being used so I would say that it is all baby/toddler approved.  Go checkout Thrive Market today and as they say, “thrive on!” 😉

~SM

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: