Thanks AquaHydrate, POM, & Olivia's Organics... Mm Mm Mmm!

Right up front I must say (reminiscent of Martin Short on SNL) that I have been gifted with so many generous products over the summer and have not reviewed or mentioned many of them on the blog.  So here we go...  The Healthy Loser Gal Gratitude post! : )

Back in the spring Stefan Pinto (that gorgeous smiling guy on Twitter who is a weightloss success story!) messaged me and asked if I would like to try out AquaHydrate since he sees me tweeting about drinking water and reminding friends to drink up the H2o!  I said, sure & thank you, and within a week there was a case of AquaHydrate on my front porch waiting for me! :)  Now, I usually think that water is just water... it replenishes you after working out, keeps your skin clear, your body functioning well... but AquaHydrate is one of the 'enhanced' waters:
AquaHydrate, the first high-performance sports water, is specially engineered to support optimal hydration, performance, and recovery. AquaHydrate is made through a proprietary, multi-step process in which water is purified to some of the most rigorous standards in the industry, raised to an alkaline pH of 9+, and then supplemented with electrolytes and natural trace minerals.
Having used SmartWater over the years and liking it, believing it had a bit of an edge, I was not the skeptical user some may be.  So I began to use AquaHydrate on Saturday mornings after working out and - maybe it was because I knew Mark Walberg was a part owner and wanted to be cool like him - or maybe it was because it truly works, but I did seem to recover after my Saturday morning workouts with Parker at the YMCA in Waltham faster than just drinking my Brita cleansed H2o!*  And Parker, whom I consider my source for what is real and what isn't in working out, endorsed it, too! : )  AquaHydrate is on Twitter @AquaHydrate, too, if you want to follow them.  Thank you for the freebie, Stefan, and AquaHydrate!

Next I received a box of POM after having been contacted by Ryan from PomWonderful after he read the blog.  POM is 100% pomegranates juice and, to my first taste, kind of bitter and strong.  But - I soon learned - it is an aquired taste and pomegranates are very good for your health!  So, with my little POM bottles in hand I set out to find some way to use the freebies I'd happily received.  My son was home this summer and was suddenly filling his water bottle with half pom and half water for drinking while playing basketball.  I shared a few bottles with my trainer, Parker, and he said he LOVED them and was sharing them with his family, too.  : ) 
My favorite use, to be honest, was in Pom Smoothies which, after measuring and calculating, comes out to be approx. 180-200 cals per 12 oz.  The recipe (from their site) is below and this is delicious and cooling:

2 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
6 oz. fat-free blueberry yogurt, frozen
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup non-fat milk
Handful of crushed ice
Blend them all together 'til smooth and enjoy (measures out to approx. 8-12 oz.)

OH! And "Pomtinis" are delicious, too! :)  You can follow them on Twitter @POMonline.  Thank you, Pom Wonderful and Ryan, for thinking of me and the Healthy Loser Gal blog!

In August I received a really generous offer to sample Olivia's Organics salads.  I'll be honest and admit I'd walked past the square plastic containers of Olivia's Organics at local markets and grocery stores in the past, but no more and let me tell you why! 

Olivia's Organics is a family operation and local to Massachusetts (although they now sell in stores up and down the East Coast).  They are organic farmers. Each box is hand picked and hand washed which means that you can go into the store, add other ingredients to your salad and you're good to go.  :)  That is VERY cool for a busy gal like me! (Not to mention that the company products are now packaged in earth-friendly containers.) Additionally, the mix of salad ingredients in the mixed selections are delicious! One of the three salads I received was the Asian Mix salad and my son & I enjoyed this with fresh tomatoes, oil and vinegar and fresh corn one summer evening... heaven!  

The Olivia's Organic slogan is "Eat Healthy. Have Fun. Give Back."  The 'eat healthy' is pretty easy to understand, but when I looked into the "Have Fun" I was directed to the section of their website which is aimed toward kids eating healthy and having fun!  LOVE THAT!!

And the 'give back'?  A percentage of all the sales goes to charities and the community... such as Make A Wish Foundation and the Joselin Diabetes Center.
I have probably purchased a dozen of the Olivia Organics salads over the past few months and every one of them has been fresh & delicious.  While they may cost a little more than the store brand packaged salads around them, to my mind - they're worth the extra change.  This is a family operation that I can happily endorse and purchase and do! :)   Thanks to Rachel, the PR gal for Olivia's Organics, for sending me the product... you can send them to me any ole time you want!! Oh, Olivia's is on Facebook and Twitter as @OliviasOrganics, too. ; )

Here's to our health & fitness, friends!

Jan / Healthy Loser Gal

                     *I feel abit like Biggest Loser with all the product mentions today! lol

Thank You, Subway, for my Healthy Breakfast Break!

A few weeks ago I was excited to learn that I'd won a gift card to Subway in the BlogtoLose Breakfast Blogger Break Giveaway.  This morning, rainy and grey in the Boston suburbs, I set off to try my first Eat Fresh Breakfast sandwich and I'm happy to report:  it was great!  Heck, it brightened my day! :)

I decided to get the Egg White Muffin Melt which is a whole wheat english muffin, american cheese (or your choice of another cheese), black forest ham, and egg whites (hence the name! lol).  My server at the Waltham Main Street Subway location was so friendly and helpful... which I find rare in customer service these days, sadly.  She pointed out the different options for breakfast, told me what many customers ordered in the morning, and even showed me Subway's frequent visitor Points program (this isn't offered in all Subway locations she explained).  I also was happily surprised that - because Subway now serves breakfast - they also have fat free and low fat milk and juice in their cases to purchase. 

My Egg White Muffin Melt was only 160 calories and contained only 4 grams of fat!  Being that I count fat grams and calories daily (thanks, Vtrim!) , this is an excellent advantage over the McD's Egg McMuffin as they have 300 calories and 12 grams of fat! I think I'm a morning sandwich convert, folks! :)

You guys know I am a Biggest Loser fan and they often feature trips for the contestants to Subway but I hadn't ventured into a Subway in years. Now  I've found out on the Subway Facebook page that they're also holding a Commit to Fit sweepstakes with giveaways of $26,000 total ($1K for each marathon mile that Jared runs) and additional gift cards. How cool is that?!  Check out the rules by following the link above! 

Thanks so much to Roni for the great giveaways and challenges on her BlogToLose site.  If you haven't checked out the blog, please do... it is always worth a visit and will encourage you in your weightloss and fitness journey!

Here's to our health! : )

Jan / Healthy Loser Gal

One year later! Making Strides : )

I was so happy to participate in yesterday's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in my hometown of Salem, NY... and really happy to show up this year some 60+ lbs. lighter than I was last year when walking! :)