Feb 28, 2016

Quick, Easy, Healthy, Frozen? Luvo Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Gourmet Frozen Entrees to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I try hard to eat healthy. I love to cook, so when I am cooking, it's easy to stay healthy. The problem comes when life is a little busier. Two kids, wife, crazy schedules, some days just need something easy. That's when things can tend to slide down the less healthy scale. The latest product I got to test helps to solve that problem: it's quick, it's easy, it's healthy, and most importantly tasty.

So what are they?

Luvo is more than just a frozen meal. Their philosophy is simple "We want to make it easy to make good choices by creating wholesome, nutritious meals that taste amazing."  That philosophy shows with their meals. They create well rounded meals, with less sugar and sodium, and use lean proteins and whole grains. They flash freeze the meals and then you steam them in their paper pouch in the microwave (or oven if you prefer). They also take care to look at where their ingredients come from, using anti-biotic free meat and non-GMO ingredients wherever possible from farmers with "people-, animal- and planet-friendly practices." Throw in their green packaging that includes 100% recycled paperboard, and their teaming with WhyHunger, and you have a company really making an effort for the environment and the community.

How do they taste?

I've had my fair share of microwaved meals in the past. Not all (or many) of them were healthy either. Why not all were bad, none were exactly sensational. When I look at these meals, however, they were all delicious. I think the combination of the ingredients, the combinations of foods, and the steaming. The steam pouch I think really helps it taste that much better than traditional frozen meals with the tray with the plastic on top. I was given a nice variety to try, so I'll give you a quick rundown.

Steel-cut Oatmeal

Let's start with breakfast and the steel-cut oatmeal with quinoa and mixed fruits. This meal was a good start to the day. I love a hot breakfast, but only usually have it on the weekends when I have more time to cook or during the week at most a bowl of oatmeal. My oatmeal never comes with some warm fruit like this, but at most some blueberries thrown in. This meal was a great variety for a breakfast. Simply but tasty. The fruit was great with the oatmeal, mixing bites with the cranberries, peaches and pears, while the quinoa helped make the oatmeal filling and unique. It was a great warm breakfast that was also quick and easy, even for a busy morning.

Farmer's Market Frittata

The Farmer's Market Frittata was an amazing breakfast complete with sweet potato and mango hash with a spicy garden salsa. One of my favorite things to cook on a weekend is an omelet and whatever I happen to have in the fridge. Some day's it's adventurous, and some days it amounts to adding cheese. One of my favorites to throw in some fresh peppers, cheese, and some other ingredients then top it off with some salsa. This made the frittata not only fun to say (arguably the most fun to say breakfast food) but also right up my alley. The salsa had a great zang to it, with the sweet potato mango hash was something I never would have thought of and greatly enjoyed. I don't use sweet potatoes much, but I do enjoy them. I was also surprisingly pleased with the eggs, which is really the most important part, really. I was a little unsure how the microwaved eggs would be, but the flash freezing and steaming made them turn out quite well. This was a fantastic breakfast that I will definitely look to have again.

Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta

Let's move along to dinner. We'll start with the Red Wine Braised Beef & Polenta served with roasted brussels sprouts, butternut squash and cranberries. Obviously, this one had a few ingredients in it. All together, those ingredients made up a tasty combination. The smell of this one cooking was fantastic, which was a good sign of what was to come. The beef had a great flavor to it. This was the first time I've had polenta, but I really enjoyed it. It's a great side that I may have to lear to make myself. The cranberries and butternut squash were a nice touch, and went well with the beef. I even ate the brussels sprouts. I have to say they weren't too bad, though I think they just aren't for me. I think it's the texture, or that they're really just mini cabbages and I don't really like cabbage either. This definitely made for a good dinner.

Orange Mango Chicken

This one was easily my favorite. The orange mango chicken was served with whole grains, broccoli and kale. It had a great combination of sweet from the mangos with just the right amount of spice in the sauce. I love a great pairing of sweet and spicy. The whole grains went well with the chicken (and the sauce). I even quite enjoyed the broccoli and kale. I've only ever had kale once before, in a failed recipe by myself. It even plated pretty nicely, which is something they say is an added benefit of the pouch if you slide it out just right. Highly recommend this one, and I will be looking in the store to get this one again.

The Takeaway

I tried several of Luvo's meals and enjoyed each one of them.  They're eco friendly from their packaging to their ingredients, quick and easy to prepare, and most importantly tasty. I liked the ones I tried, but they have some many more that they offer. They also span styles, everything from Chicken in BBQ Sauce, to Red Curry Chicken, to Spinach Riccotta Ravioli, over to Thai Style Green Curry Chicken and back to Turkey Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes. Have I piqued your interest yet? If you want to try these for yourself, they have a store locator just for you. I used it, and am happy to know the grocery store around the corner carries them. I really enjoyed them, and from the tastes my wife had, we'll be buying some more on our next trip to the grocery store. I know I could use some more easy healthy options in my life, to keep myself on track.

Let's be honest: are these better than a home cooked meal from fresh ingredients? No, but that's not the point. Are the a very tasty and healthy option that's incredibly quick and easy? Absolutely. File under "will eat again".

What do you do for quick, easy, and healthy? Is there a more fun to say breakfast food than frittata?


This week's upcoming bibchat will feature Luvo. Stop by on Tuesday, March 1st at 9pm EST to join in the fun of Bibchat. Interact with myself, other BibRavePros, and all the other like minded runners that participate each week. We'll be talking about "Healthy Eating" this week. I do recommend bringing a snack most weeks, but this week for sure because there will be plenty of food talk.. Or maybe just have a Luvo meal on standby for after.

Oh, and did I mention the great giveaway? Luvo is giving away two weeks worth of entrees to three winners! Don't miss out!

Feb 21, 2016

Boxes Full of Health: Bulu Box Review | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a 3 month subscription to Bulu Box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro, and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Subscription boxes are a very popular thing. There are some very cool ones out there as well. I received the opportunity to try one out for three months. I've received 2 of the 3 boxes so far, and have shared with you an unboxing of the December and the January box.

What's the box?

"Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best." When you break it down, that's a pretty clear way to put it. You get several samples each month, allowing you to try new health products to see if they work for you. It can range from snacks, to supplements, to even balm for dry cracked skin.

What's in the box?

I've received a good variety so far. Some I've greatly enjoyed, others have not been right for me. My first box, in December, was a large variety of snacks. One of my favorites was a protein brownie, a little chewy, good chocolatey taste, and just the right size. On the flip side, there was a smash pack of fruit and protein in a squeeze pouch, where the flavor was a little tart and the texture I just didn't quite go for.

My second box ended up being on the other end of the spectrum, with only one snack and the rest being "other" items, though many more weight loss specific items, which was the box I selected. One of the surprising things I enjoyed were the MealEnders. The idea is they're a small lozenge that you let dissolve in your mouth, where the outside is sweet, to simulate dessert to your brain and then has a center and tingles and clears the palette to signal your brain that the meal is over. The idea is to signal your brain natural to keep you from overeating. In my limited tests, they seemed to work fairly well. Again, not all in the box suited me. There was a mix, Almased, meant to help increase your metabolism that I just could not manage the flavor. Maybe if I could use it as part of a smoothie instead of on it's own, I could give it another go, but the first try just did not work out.

I do have one thing to add, a small issue I had. I've only had one experience like this, but I had a greatly tasty snack, the fru-licious snack, that had nothing more than the name and flavor on the packaging. I'd love to know more about it, but that was impossible without having to Google it. For a nutrition box, it seems counterintuitive to not include nutrition information handily.

The Takeaway

I really love the idea behind most subscription boxes. This one in particular, is great because you get to try new snacks and products to stay healthy with, which is perfect for someone like me. I am always looking for new things to try, but it's not always easy to get in small amounts to try first. So far, my experience has been good with two of the three boxes, but I have had some small issues. First, I would rather have a better mix of snacks to other items. If you took my December box and January box, split them and put them back together, it would be perfect. I'm excited to see what I get for my February box, and will be sure to share an unboxing and review just as soon as I can.

Do you subscribe to any boxes? What is your go to healthy snack that I should try?

Feb 17, 2016

Take Charge of Your Heart Health

February is National Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer of men and women across the world. According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 there were 17.5 million deaths due to cardiovascular disease, that's 3 in every 10 deaths. This month is all about raising awareness and leading people to take charge of their health. The key is that, while this is a large killer, a sizeable portion of it may be prevented through education and action.

Personally, this is a topic close to home for me. I come from a family that has a history of heart problems, so I know I need to do my part. I try to eat healthy, I don't smoke, and as you can tell from reading this blog, in the past couple of years I've done a much better job of being active. I do love to run. I run for myself and for my family. I run for my health. Every mile is motivated by leading a longer, stronger life with my family.

I'd like to share with you an infographic from the Bankers Healthcare Group and their Take Charge Initiative. It will give you some of the statistics, the symptoms, and most importantly, some of the things you can do to help prevent cardiovascular disease.

What do you do to stay heart healthy?

Feb 10, 2016

Run / Walk 26.2? Believe It | Jeff Galloway

I am a big supporter and believer of the Jeff Galloway's Run Walk Run Method. It's how I found a love of running, how I finished my first half marathon, and how I've run all my races. As a member of the Jeff Galloway Blogger Program, I'm given great information from the man himself to share with you. In the latest, Jeff talks about using the run walk method for a full marathon. Think it's not realistic? Think again and read on!

By Olympian Jeff Galloway

How can runners, even Boston Qualifiers, run faster by taking walk breaks? 
I know, it's counter-intuitive but in numerous surveys I've found that former non-walk-break runners improve an average of more than 13 minutes when they walk early and often.

How does it work?
Those who have a strategy almost always do better than those who just get out there and see what happens.  A muscle, etc., that is used constantly will fatigue and break down more quickly.  By taking scheduled walk breaks, the muscles stay strong and resilient to  the finish.  The principle behind walk breaks is “Conservation of energy”.

How can you run a faster marathon with walk breaks?  
Almost everyone who runs continuously experiences a slowdown during the last 3-6 miles. Runners who use strategic walk breaks from the beginning tend to either speed up at the end or at least avoid slowing down.

Can you actually set a PR with the run/walk method?
I hear from thousands every year who set Personal Records by using the method.

How does the run/walk method protect you against injury?
Each runner has certain “weak links” that ache more and are common injury sites. Continuous use of the muscle will first cause the muscle to fatigue early, reducing muscle performance.  Continuing to run run under increasing fatigue will cause muscle, tendon and joint damage.  Walk breaks stop the abuse of a weak link, allowing the tissue to adapt, significantly reducing aches, injuries and recovery time.

How does the run/walk method affect your day-to-day recovery?
Because there is less damage to repair after a run, the legs, knees, etc., feel better, sooner.  Many report that by using my run-walk-run method they can run the next day after a marathon. Some injured runners have been able to train for and run marathons while the injury gradually healed.  Walk breaks can keep  one below the threshold of further irritation.

Feb 3, 2016

Bulu Box January Unboxing Video | BibRavePro

Disclaimer: I received a 3 month subscription to Bulu Box to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador, tell them I sent you), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

You may have seen my first unboxing video for the December Bulu Box or my various Instagram mini reviews. I've received the second of my Bulu Box Weight Loss. The January box has a good variety of weigh loss centric products. Obviously, my editing was a little slow, as it is no longer January, but enjoy anyway.

I've done this unboxing so you can see what I've received. To see what I think about what's in the box, follow me on Twitter and Instagram or come back here for the full review.

Do you subscribe to any boxes? How do you try new samples?