Guilt Free Sweetness

You know when you are craving something sweet, but you don’t want to cave because you have been killing your nutrition game lately?! Or maybe you are just starting a new nutrition plan and are having a tough time kicking your sweet tooth. Either way, Feel Good Syrup is an amazing product that tastes great while providing you with some fantastic health benefits! Elderberries are known for their high antioxidant levels, which have been used to help aid in lowering cholesterol, improve vision, and boot the immune system. With the sniffle and flu season upon us, this is the perfect addition to your weekly routine to help ensure you stay healthy in time for the holidays!

With ingredients like organic elderberries, cinnamon, cloves, and local raw honey you know you can’t go wrong. I couldn’t decide if this tasted more like a summer or winter drink – but finally decided it is both! The sweetness would be the perfect thirst quenching drink on a hot summer day (with a fraction of the sugar compared to an iced tea or lemonade!!), and the spice from the cinnamon and cloves give me all the nostalgic warm fuzzies of the Christmas season. So far, I have only had the syrup mixed with water and thrown in a couple frozen berries – but I think this would be amazing with sparkling water or even warmed up for a cozy drink to sip on in front of a fire!

I love supporting local companies, and I am so excited to be working with Feel Good Syrup because they brew each batch right here in Alberta. They have a list of retailers here, where you can purchase their syrup, but if you are in Calgary you can pick some up for yourself or for a last minute Christmas present at Amaranth 4th Street Market!

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Spirulina Superfood

There are a lot of “superfoods” out there nowadays, and it can be hard to keep up with the latest and the greatest. After I hear about a new superfood, I tend to wait a few months before I try it. I don’t want to rush putting anything new into my body, and I like to give the health experts a chance to debunk any claims that are being said about it.

I first heard about Spirulina when I saw a picture of a beautiful smoothie bowl on Instagram. I was sure they must’ve just blended up some frozen bananas and added some artificial food colouring, because it was so beautiful! I was shocked to find out that the vibrant green came from some strange superfood, spirulina. I wanted to try it right away, but I waited about a year before creating my own super spirulina smoothie bowl.

Vital proteins recently came out with their Spirulina Capsules and I knew it was finally time for me to get my hands on some! These little green capsules contain absolutely nothing besides spiruina and the plant capsule that holds the powder. So, what’s spirulina and why should you be taking it? Spirulina is a nutrient dense algae (vegan!). It contains 80% of your daily Vitamin A, and is also a good source of Vitamin K and B. I found the B vitamins especially interesting as someone who is trying to eat less animal products, because usually vegans/vegetarians need to take a separate B vitamin supplement, as it does not naturally occur in most plant based foods!

If you want to just take your spirulina and be done with it, the capsules are great. They are flavorless and gets you what you need quickly and efficiently. As a smoothie lover, I prefer to break my capsules apart and dump the powder in my morning smoothie for a pop of colour! I’d love it if you shared your spirulina smoothie concoctions with me on Instagram, just tag me using @tanlines.and.training!

 

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Putting the “PRO” in Probiotic

IMG_4808Working night shifts has changed my life a lot. I get extra-long weekends, I get to shop at Costco when nobody else is there, and I get to discover all the joys of living life in a non-routine body. When I switched to nights, I noticed that I was almost always bloated. It got to a point where I felt ill every night shift and I knew something had to change. Since gut health seems to be a major buzz right now, I reached out to the social media world for advice and was given three main tips.

  1. Drink more water
  2. Eat and drink more foods like Greek yogurt and kombucha
  3. Take a probiotic

I was already drinking more than enough water throughout my shift, and adding yogurt to my diet wasn’t helping, so I started researching different probiotic brands. After researching what seemed like hundreds of probiotic brands, I found Silver Fern Brand. This company stood out to me because they used three probiotic strains that work to survive acidic environment in our stomachs, where most probiotics die. They are very transparent with what they are selling you, and their website is full of so much information (and links to actual studies that back them up), which I really appreciated. You can head over to https://www.silverfernbrand.com/products/ultimate-probiotic-supplement to read all of their information, but I decided to share what I thought was the most important below!

IMG_4810Most probiotics, especially those found in products such as Greek yogurt, die before they reach your intestines, which means you won’t benefit from any of the probiotics advertised in them. Silver Fern Brand has 100% guaranteed survivability, ensuring that you and your gut health gets all of the benefits of a top notch probiotic. So, what are these amazing benefits?

  • Improves digestion and food tolerance
  • Reduces gas, bloating and digestive discomfort
  • Aids in recovery of the flora after antibiotic use
  • Supports nutrient absorption
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves favorable immune response and supports the reduction of allergies and asthma
  • Improves regularity of bowel movements
  • Acidifies the digestive tract to support the growth of good bacteria

 

If you are struggling with bloating or any other “gut issues”, I highly recommend you give these guys a try. I started noticing a major difference in just a couple weeks of taking this probiotic, and now I can’t imagine nightshift without it. This probiotic is affordable, works ridiculously fast, and has the science to prove why they are the true pros of probiotics.

 

TANLINES SAFETY 101

When you associate yourself with the word tanlines, I think it is necessary to touch on skin health awareness. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and chances are you aren’t doing everything you can to prevent yourself from getting it. As my name suggests, I LOVE laying out in the sun and soaking up those vitamin D rays. As someone who rarely burns, I have ignored the crucial steps of skin cancer prevention in the past, but as I get older it seems more and more people I know are getting that God awful C word news because they stayed out in the sun without any protection. This summer (and the months following) I have pledged to take better care of my skin by using sun care products!

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I chose to switch from regular sunscreen to Boo Bamboo for two main reasons. First, they are an all-natural, vegan, and cruelty free product. Second, they are Canadian brand and their products are made in Canada, which I love! I have been using the Natural Sunscreen Spray (30SPF) & two different after-sun products. They also have a 40SPF natural sunscreen, but unfortunately it’s not quite hot enough for that up here in Canada….yet!!

This is the first spray on sunscreen that I have used that makes me and my skin feel great. Unlike other spray on sunscreens, this sprays on almost like a light foam. It actually feels GOOD to put on, it absorbs quickly, and it makes your skin feel so soft! It also comes in a mini bottle which is perfect to throw in your purse in case you end up exposed in sun unexpectedly (patio drinks, anyone?). This sunscreen is also waterproof for up to 40 minutes, which is perfect for if you want to take a dip to cool off or if you are doing an activity that makes you sweat! So many people fail to realize that you definitely need waterproof sunscreen when running, playing beach volleyball, or any other activity in the sun when you are sweating!

The other two sprays that I have been using are for after you’re done in the sun! There is an intense after-sun moisture mist and a cooling after-sun body lotion spray. Nothing dries your skin out like an afternoon (p)laying in the sun, and one of the worst feelings is that inevitable itchy dry skin. Not only does the moisture spray help soothe sunburns if you played a little too long in the sun, but it helps prolong your tan, which you know I’m all over! (Blogger tip: I actually started using this spray at the end of winter, because I thought it would also help with my dry skin recover after swimming lanes in salt water and it felt amazing!) The cooling after-sun spray is for that darn sunburn that we will all get at some point or another this summer. Life happens, and sometimes we get caught up with what we are doing and forget to reapply. Give yourself a quick spray with this lotion to help immediately soothe the burn & help reduce the risk of peeling!File_005.jpeg

I have never been more excited about sun care products, and because I love them so much I actually think it will be easy to remember to use this summer! All of these products are available online and in stores, including Shoppers Drug Mart, and if head over to my Instagram page, you might be able to win some for yourself!

 

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ŪNICO Nutrition (with discount!)

I feel like I need to start by saying that I am a ŪNICO Athlete, which may make me a little biased. But believe me when I say I love, love, love this stuff! Instead of writing a blog post about each individual product, I thought it would save everyone some time if I combined it all into one!

ATHENA (pre-workout): Prior to ŪNICO, I thought all pre-workout either tasted like a chemically sweetened gritty powder OR ended up making me feel like I was on drugs with the shakes they gave me (can I say that? :p). ATHENA is that perfectly balanced pre-workout. It tastes great, gives you that extra boost without the creepy crawly jittery feeling. If you have a sweet tooth I would definitely recommend the Watermelon Wave, although my personal favourite is the Cherry Limeade!

 

APOLLO (protein): I can honestly say I’ve struggled in finding a protein that fits my needs. I have been searching for something that tastes great, is low cal (I don’t use my protein as a meal replacement), high in protein, and low in carbs and sugar. I have tried all the flavours of APOLLO and wasn’t disappointed by any, my favourite would either be the vanilla milkshake, gooey frosted cinnamon roll, or molten chocolate lava shake. The main breakdown (per serving) is as follows:

kcals: 120

Protein: 25 g

Fat: 1 g

Carb: 5 g

Sugar: 1 g

 

Fun Fact: If you love making protein pancakes as much as the next fitchick but hate ruining the “healthy alternative” with syrup, you can mix a little protein powder with milk/water to make an icing to top those flapjacks! Yum!

 

YUMINO: It says it right in the name, YUM! ŪNICO BCAA’s can be taken during your workout to enhance your workout, or after to help with muscle recovery. I like to switch it up when I take mine, but I have definitely noticed a difference since I introduced them into my supplement regime! If I decide to take it post-workout, I usually hold off until right before bedtime so the glutamine can work to aid in my muscle recovery over night! I’ve only tried the Blue Frost flavour as of now, but it is  d e l i c i o u s!

 

VULCAN: Now I don’t want anyone to see this as a “fat burning pill that can solve all my problems”. ŪNICO is very straightforward with their motto: “Our supplements don’t work, you do”. A mix of amino acids and caffeine, this supplement can HELP with fat burning, but please remember…you have to put the work in!

 

DISCOUNT: If you want to see for yourself how great these products are, head over to http://uniconutrition.com/shop/ and use the discount code TANLINES for 20% off your entire order! Let me know what you think!

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Squarebar (with discount!)

I have been on a hunt for some time looking for the perfect protein bar. I look for a bar t

Processed with MOLDIV

hat is high in protein, low in sugar, and generally low in carbs. That usually doesn’t leave me much to work with and I end up eating bars that taste somewhere between a cardboard box and artificial sweetener. When I first stumbled across Squarebars on Instagram, I was immediately drawn to their fun packaging and chocolate (!!) coating I was seeing in so many pictures! I did a little research and found out that most of these little squares had around 210 kcals, 12g protein, 9g fat, 23g carb, and 11g sugar. Although the sugar and carbs are a little higher than I would prefer, I figured I would still give them a shot – and I am so glad I did! These are the best tasting protein bars I have had to date, and work perfectly as a pre or post workout snack, a little something to get you through the day when your hangry symptoms are getting the best of you, or as a special treat or dessert! All of the Squarebars are made without processed sugars (the sugars in the nutrition come from ingredients such as organic coconut nectar and organic cane syrup), soy, dairy, and gluten. These bars are also all NON GMO certified and 100% organic! My top three picks would have to be the Chocolate Coated Mint, Chocolate Coated Crunch, and Chocolate Coated Coconut! Another close favourite is the Chocolate Covered Almond Spice!! My favourite thing about this company isn’t the actual bars though; Square Organics makes a quarterly contribution, based on their net sales, to nonprofit Not For Sale – an organization that creates education, housing, and workforce training projects to help abolish sex trafficking and slavery around the world. If you want to give these bad boys a try and help fight human trafficking, feel free to use the discount code: tanlines.and.training for 20% off!

 

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Dona Jo Leggings (with discount!)

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First off, I love the story behind these leggings. The faces behind Dona Jo met and fell in love in university, named the company after his Grandma, and
now design all the leggings and have them made in his home country, Brazil. HOW SWEET IS THAT! Ok, ok, now for the actual review. One thing I immediately liked about the website was how many options there are – all the leggings are absolutely beautiful and they release new styles every week! They are also super easy to pick a size because there are only three sizes – size 1, which fits a regular 0-8; size 2, which fits a regular size 10-14; and size 3, which fits size 16-20. I went with a size 1 (I am regularly around a size 1-3, depending on where I shop) and they fit great! They are very stretchy and honestly feel like I don’t have anything on when I wear them!

Generally I have three tests for good leggings.

  1. Do I squeal when I see them because they are so cute? Check.
  2. Are they thin enough, yet good quality, so that I won’t die of heat stroke during a workout? Check.
  3. Can I run in them without them constantly falling down? Check!

These leggings are definitely a 10/10 and are perfect for the summer! If you head over to www.donajofitwear.com and find something you love, feel free to use the discount code TANLINES20 for 20% off!!

 

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The Prickly Pranamat (with discount!)

 

I saw a few people posting about a “Pranamat” on Instagram and at first it really confused me. WHY would somebody voluntarily lie on a super sharp mat, even if it is super cute? As the posts about Pranamat were becoming more frequent on my Instagram feed, I figured I better go check out the website and see what all the hype is about. It was that website and online reviews that got me intrigued and I knew I had to try one for myself. I’ve had a “Pranamat ECO” for just over three weeks now, and I am in love.

So, what is a Pranamat? Pranamat ECO is a therapeutic self-massage acupressure mat that helps relieve muscle aches and pains. The mat has dozens of little flowers that have tiny spikes that put pressure on wherever your problem areas are to help relieve pain. Think “bed of nails” but in a beautiful, relaxing way. I did a little research and discovered that yogis have been using acupressure techniques for thousands of years during meditation and healing. Acupressure mats are the safe, new, modern way for yogis, athletes, and anybody else to reap the benefits of acupressure. These benefits include increased blood circulation, decreased stress and anxiety, increased relaxation, relieved muscle pain and aches, improve sleep, and more.

Ok that’s cool, but will it hurt? Yes. It will hurt, but for a very short period of time. When you first get your Pranamat, it is suggested you try it with a light t-shirt on or placing it on a soft surface, such as a bed, to reduce the pressure from the lotus flowers. I decided to go all out when I got mine and stripped down and eased my bare back onto the mat. The initial pain lasted about three minutes before I started to feel relaxed. After the initial pain, you will be in a mellow state of relaxation until it’s time to get up, then you feel a different pain. When I peeled myself off of the mat after about half an hour, my back felt warm, tingly, and almost a little sunburnt. As weird as it sounds, I liked that because it made me feel like the mat was actually doing something. After a few days of using the mat consistently I was waking up in the morning completely free of back pain.

I like this mat for two main reasons: I really think it acts as a natural aid in relieving my muscle pains and when I am on it I DO NOT move. I sit or lay perfectly still (because when you move the spikes hurt) and the pressure of the flowers put me into such a relaxed state of mind. For example, the other night I went to go use my mat for 40 minutes and I woke up two hours later because I had fallen asleep!

Drawbacks? It’s quite expensive. The last time I checked, a Pranamat ECO cost $175 CAD on their website, www.pranamat.com. Do not let the price dissuade you; these mats come with a 30-day money back guarantee and a standard five-year warranty. What are you paying for that makes it worth the money? These mats are made to last upwards of ten years. That’s ten years of pain-free relaxation, great sleeps, and quick sports recovery times. You are also paying for quality. These mats are made out of environmentally friendly products and are free of harsh chemicals. The mats themselves are made out of natural linen, cotton, and coconut fibre and the lotus flowers are made from surgical-grade plastic. Even with all the great benefits of a Pranamat ECO, I can’t let you pay full-price for one of these babies, so feel free to take 10% off your order on their website and use the this link http://go.pranamat.org/j for a discount! If you are thinking about purchasing one, I don’t think you’ll regret it!IMG_6516

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Swoob Sports Bra

A few months ago, one of my friends told me about a sports bra with pockets. It was something I haven’t heard of before, so I was intrigued! I love running, but finding a place for my cell phone is often an issue. Either my headphones get tangled up and pulled out when I put it in my shorts pocket or my phone doesn’t stay put and I’m constantly readjusting it in my sports bra. Then Swoob changed my life! Running is so much more enjoyable when I canswoob blog wear a supportive bra and not think about my phone.

The material is super soft
and I have had zero issues with the comfort of these bras (the longest distance I’ve ran in one was 22km – no chafing!). My phone, an iPhone 5s, fits nice and snug in the pocket and I forget it’s even there! Some of the bras also have smaller pockets that I use to put my keys in. Life is so much easier now that I can listen to my music and run comfortably, plus they have so many super cute colours to choose from!
As a university student I am always hesitant to try new products because, well, spending money sucks. BUT Swoob bras are so affordable that it was definitely worth trying, and once I had one I was hooked! The last time I checked their website, http://www.swoob.com, they had bras starting at $20. That’s like Walmart prices for unbelievable quality, ladies.

On a serious note, Swoob bras have also made running a lot safer for me. I used to get annoyed with dealing with my phone while running and end up leaving it at home. If I ever tripped and fell, or God forbid something worse happened, I wouldn’t have been able to call for help. Now I never leave without a fully charged phone and definitely feel more at ease knowing I am only a call away from help if I ever need it.

Lastly, some people have contacted me in regards to radiation and breast cancer from having my cell phone so close to my body. Swoob is the only company that I know of that uses radiation resistant fabric. The whole “does cell phones in sports bras cause breast cancer” is not a debate I want to get into, but if I am going to have a cell phone in my bra while I run anyways, why not take the safest bet and use bras with radiation resistant fabric?! Seems like a no brainer. If you aren’t into running with a phone, these bras are still amazing and the pockets can be used to hold credit cards, keys, etc.!

As of right now I own the “Piranha” cross-strap bra, “Idona” racerback bra, and the “Malibu” sports bra (pictured). They are definitely my favourite bras to run in, and I can’t wait to order my next one! 

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