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Sam Dobson Writes

Sunday, May 24, 2015

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Monday, April 13, 2015

My Favorite Cold Pressed Products

In this era of fitness and nutrition crazes, it can be hard to keep up or even to know which ones are worth keeping up with. Which ones are just crazy fads and which ones should I be making healthy habits? This, of course, requires a bit of research, at which point I usually loose curiosity and move on. Sometimes, I end up trying something, loving it, and find out later that's good for me. Recently, I've stumbled on the cold pressed bandwagon.

Juicing and juice cleanses have been all the rave for the past few years, but now there is a whole new type of juice to consider- cold pressed juice. Unlike juice made with a centrifugal juicer, cold pressed juices contain more vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes- produced from a process that allows the juice to retain the maximum amount of all this good stuff. Juice shops specializing in cold pressed juices, like Pressed Juicery, have become incredibly popular, primarily funded by yogis and cross fit enthusiasts. All joking aside, I do like Pressed Juicery in particular for their relatively bountiful selection. Aside from the multiple green varieties (which make me feel super healthy, even if only for a minute), they also offer a vanilla coffee recipe allows you to have your caffeine without the side of guilt. There are multiple locations throughout California or you can buy online and have them shipped.

Cold Pressed Juice
Photo Credit: Fashion blogger, @mychaneltaste.
Go follow her!

Cold pressed technology is no longer just for juicing. Many companies, like Raw Sugar Living, are embracing cold pressed technology in order to provide their customers with pure and natural products. Raw Sugar uses cold pressed technology to extract pure nutrients from natural ingredients (like grapefruit, cucumber, and coconut, to name a few), to create good-for-you soaps and body washes. The result is a line of products that make your skin feel super smooth and smell freaking amazing! When I use the Hard To Hold (lemon sugar formula) bar soap, my shower smells heavenly. I love that the bar soaps have massage bumps on one side, great for helping wash the stress away after a long day. The Awash In Expectation (vanilla bean and sugar formula) body wash makes my skin feel so smooth. I use it with a loofah so it gets extra sudsy, which I love. These products are made locally, here in Southern California, and are only sold at Target, in stores or online.

Raw Sugar Body Wash
My fav Raw Sugar products in my shower. 

These are a just a few of the many cold pressed products available today. If natural ingredients is something you look for when shopping, consider giving cold pressed products a try. Products made from cold pressed technology are not only good for consumption, but also for hydrating the skin. I can't wait to discover even more cold pressed goodies! Given the positive track record I've had so far, I'm definitely willing to try more. Do you have a favorite cold pressed product? Tell me about it so I can add to my stash.

**By the way, I was not given any products from Pressed Juicery and all opinions are my own. I do work for a company that represents Raw Sugar Living, but all opinions expressed here are solely my own. I would never recommend a product that I did not believe in.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

5 Dates That Are Always Budget Friendly

Any married couple can tell you how important it is to have quality date time. As busy adults, there just isn't enough time in the day to give your relationship the kind of attention it deserves. To make up for conflicting schedules and early nights, don't skimp on date nights. Making date night a regular occurrence can strengthen your relationship and alleviate the stresses of everyday life. Blake and I feel so connected and in love after a date, just the two of us. Date night really is a necessity for a good marriage. However, it can also be a costly practice that many people just can't afford.

Don't worry! There is a way you can go out for date night without breaking the bank. My little secret to keeping date night alive while staying on a budget- Groupon and LivingSocial! Okay, okay, I know this isn't some big revelation. Everyone knows about Groupon and LivingSocial, but how often do you utilize it? It's one of the most cost effective ways to go out on dates- aside from doing date night at home, in which case I've got you covered with 10 at-home date night ideas

For Christmas, I pre-planned 12 dates for Blake and I to go on throughout the new year. Many of these were deals I found on Groupon or LivingSocial. We've had such a good time going on these dates and we don't get plagued by buyers remorse. It's a win-win. True, there are many things on Groupon and LivingSocial that are seasonal, but there are many types of deals that are consistently rotated on these sites. Here are 5 date deals you can get at any given time on Groupon or LivingSocial. 

For The Foodies

There will always be restaurant deals on Groupon and LivingSocial. Going out to eat is a classic date night and these bargain retail sites offer a ton of variety. Enjoy an upscale steakhouse or a raw food eatery. Better yet, take a cooking class where you can be the chef and the hungry customer. If you like a little entertainment with your food, sit down for a dinner detective show or stand-up comedy. The options for a good dinner date deal are limitless. 

For The Thirsty

Blake and I on a wine tasting date at Rancho Los Lomas.
This deal was found on Groupon. 
Wine tasting always makes for a fun date. Head out to a local vineyard if you're lucky enough to live close to one, otherwise a nice wine bar will do just fine. If you rather not have to bother with a taxi ride home, bring the wine tasting to you with an in-home tasting party. If your prefer a different elixir, try craft beer tasting with a side of greasy bar food. 

For The Athletic

Nothing feels better than breaking a sweat with your significant other. If you're a water lover, take a paddle board out in the harbor or learn to surf. If you like to shake and groove, take a dance class. Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow or try your hand at skeet shooting. Feeling competitive? How about a paintball battle? For a more relaxing day, play a round of golf. 

For The Adventurous

There is no shortage of thrill-seeking activities on Groupon and LivingSocial. If you're really daring, jump out of a plane with nothing more than a parachute. For a more romantic adventure, pop a bottle champagne in a hot air balloon. Get scuba certified and explore the bottom of the ocean. A little excitement and a shared experience of adventure can help bring you closer together. 

For The Cultured

History buffs can take in a museum or join a local historic walking tour. Art lovers can enjoy a gallery, or take a graffiti or architecture walking tour. Get tickets to the theater or better yet, cirque du soleil- I love those shows. Go whale watching or visit a local wildlife sanctuary. Appreciate the finer things in life will make you appreciate each other. 

It's not difficult to find a good date deal, you just have to look. Don't neglect your quality time and don't settle for the same old date nights. Get creative, have fun, and love each other. 

Do you have a great date idea you'd like to share? Tell me about!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

People Food To Share With Your Dog

People food you can share with your dog.
Hades inspecting a carton of eggs. 
Enduring a little begging from soulful pleading eyes is just a normal part of being a dog mom. It can be too hard to ignore those big puppy dog eyes staring up at you and sometimes we succumb to those sweet faces and give in. The problem is that much of what we eat can be harmful or even toxic to our dogs' health. If you're a sucker like me and want to share the food wealth with Fido, go for a snack that won't hurt his tummy or better yet, go for one with added health benefits. Here are a few "people foods" you can share with your pup guilt-free.

Raw carrots are one of my go-to healthy snacks, for me and my pups. Carrots are jam packed with vitamin A along with a little bit of vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. Aside from the nutrients, carrots are also good for canine health. Those crunchy raw carrots help remove plaque build-up. These really are a guilt-free snack.

Yogurt is not only delicious, but it's loaded with good stuff like vitamins, protein, calcium, and potassium among other things. Added bonus: yogurt with active bacteria cultures can act as a probiotic to help with your dog's digestive system. Make sure you buy  plain yogurt with no added flavors or artificial sweeteners for Fido.

Sweet Potatoes
This super food is quickly becoming a popular dog treat and for good reason. This colorful veggie is a great source of fiber to help maintain a healthy GI tract. Sweet potatoes are also brimming with potassium, iron, calcium, and lots of vitamins. Peel and cook to mash up with your dog's kibble or slice and dehydrate to make healthy chews.

These neat little packages of protein can be helpful digestive boosters for dogs with sensitive stomachs. For easy feeding, hard boil the eggs and use as treats. Many raw feeders recommend supplementing your dog's meal with raw eggs, shell and all, for added nutrition. Consult with your vet before feeding raw eggs as some warn against it.

This flavorful fruit is not only tasty but very nutritious with loads of amino acids, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Your pup won't be able to resist this sweet treat. Bananas make an easy and healthy snack for you and your pup.

Pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber and can relieve many of your dog's digestive issues including diarrhea and constipation. Pumpkin can also be used as a supplement to help your dog maintain a healthy weight. If you choose to go the easy route and buy pumpkin puree, just make sure it's not pie filling as many brands contain artificial sweeteners and other additives. To read more about the health benefits of pumpkin for your dog, click here

Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has long been a canine favorite and is chocked full of vitamin B, vitamin E, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and is a good source of protein. Let your pup lick a spoonful of peanut butter clean or fill a Kong with it to keep your puppy busy.

Okay, I'll admit that this one is just for fun. I'm a popcorn addict and with my air popper, I can keep it light and healthy. My dogs have come to love popcorn too, because I can't resist those ridiculous yearning faces. Make sure to skip the butter and salt for your pup and don't overdo it (a few popped pieces will do) as too much could upset your pup's diet.

* Just like people, some dogs have sensitive stomachs or food allergies and may not be able to tolerate certain foods. As you should when introducing any new food source into your dog's diet, consult with your vet before sharing snacks.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Health Benefits Of Lemon Water

I love coffee, so much so that on any given weekday I'd easily drink a few cups a day. A normal morning consisted of one cup while I got ready for work and then another two to three cups once I got to work. I know, I know, that's a lot of coffee. All that coffee never did much to make me feel any more energized. I'm convinced the cravings were all in my head, it was all mental. Recently I started to cut back on the coffee.

That's right, I've cut down to just one cup in the morning while I get ready for work. What?! I'm not quitting altogether. After all, I'm only human. One cup is a good balance, it's doable. Instead of sipping on coffee all morning long, I've been drinking lemon water. I've always enjoyed a cold glass of lemon water but it was never a daily habit, until now. It may be all psychological, but I feel a little more energized than I used to. I've always heard that lemon water is good for you but I never put much thought into it. Turns out, my new citrus habit has loads of health benefits.

Health benefits of lemon water

Flushes Out The Toxins

Lemon juice can help cleanse your system (liver, kidneys, and gallbladder) by enhancing enzymes and stimulating your liver. In fact, the liver can make more enzymes out of lemon than any other food. Time to start treating your liver right, now that those partying-college days are behind you.

Boosts Your Immune System 

Lemons are chocked full of vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C will give your immune system a little boost and may even help relieve the effects of stress. Who couldn't use a little stress reliever during a hard day's work? Oh, and potassium helps produce red blood cells, reduce free radicals, control blood pressure, and stimulates brain and nerve function.

Fights Viral Infections

My husband always loads up on lemons when one of us is feeling under the weather. Warm lemon water can help fight sooth soar throats and other viral infections. Plus, I just pointed out how lemon juice can boost your immune system. Seems like a no-brainer.

Decreases Inflammation

Lemon water can help reduce acidity in your body, mainly uric acid in your joints, which is the main cause for inflammation. People suffering from inflammatory conditions such as asthma or arthritis can benefit from adding lemon water to their daily diet.

Improves Skin Condition

Lemon water can help prevent wrinkles (promotes collagen production), decrease blemishes, and keeps the skin refreshingly hydrated all thanks to the loads of vitamin C in that lemon juice. Seeing a pattern yet?

Helps You, Um, Stay Regular

That's right, lemon water can help you poop when your tummy isn't quite right. Lemon juice can help flush your digestive track and encourage the production of bile. This can alleviate an upset stomach due to constipation and help keep you regular.

Promotes Overall Wellness

Many experts agree that drinking lemon water can keep you feeling energetic, hydrated, and refreshed. Use this citrus as a tool to help curb your caffeine habit and your appetite when trying to maintain a healthy weight.

health benefits of lemon water

Side note: Lemon is a citrus and citrus can break down the enamel on your teeth over time. If you are drinking lemon water frequently with high amounts of lemon juice, rinse or brush after drinking. 

The goal is to stay healthy, body and mind. If you feel healthy physically, you feel happy mentally. Lemon water may be an effect aid in getting yourself to that point. Whether you use it fight a cold or to stay hydrated, the many benefits of lemon water can give you a wellness boost.

Do you drink lemon water? What sort of health benefits do you notice when consuming this citrus water on the regular?


Sunday, March 15, 2015

How To Choose Healthy Dog Treats

I'm a picky dog mom and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I won't feed just anything to my dogs and I would never be caught dead giving them those fake bacon strip treats. I'm just as choosy with treats as I am with dog food and for good reason! My boxer has always had a very sensitive stomach. Let's just say she's susceptible to offensive gas and bad diarrhea after eating anything of poor quality. Yes, I will admit that on occasion I have used Hades's sensitive tummy as validation for being a crazy dog mom. However, I would argue that I don't really need to.

As I said, I'm a picky mom and that's okay. I wish more dog moms were aware of what they were feeding their pups. Just as you should care what your toddler eats, so should you care what your dog eats. Similar to dog food, dog treats come in many shapes, sizes, and qualities. Unfortunately, there are plenty of well known treats out there that are terrible for your dog's health. Many popular treat products on the shelves of the local market are extremely processed with a laundry list of ingredients that I can't even begin to pronounce. So, what kinds of treats have my dog snob approval?

How to choose healthy dog treats

First things first, flip over that package and check out those ingredients. The simpler, the better. For example, each flavor of Riley's Organics Dog Treats contains just 5 to 6 ingredients and guess what, I am very familiar with every single ingredient! There are no crazy chemicals or unnecessary preservatives.

How to choose healthy dog treats
The ingredient list for Riley's Organics Sweet Potato Recipe.

The ingredients themselves are also important to me. Different ingredients have different health benefits, so I opt for treats with certain ingredients. Pumpkin is a favorite of mine and my dogs. Pumpkin can help regulate the digestive system, maintain a healthy weight, and are loaded with lots of important vitamins and minerals. Another fan favorite is coconut oil, which improves skin and coat conditions, aids in fighting infections, and even promotes healthy thyroid function.

More healthy and tasty ingredients to look for include sweet potatoes, apples, and peanut butter. Sweet potatoes are an expert-agreed super food with tons of helpful vitamins and minerals and a great source of fiber. Apples are another great source of fiber and are chock-full of vitamins A and C. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and heart healthy fats; plus it's fun to give your dog a mouthful and watch him lick the air in happiness.

I also try to choose treats that are grain free. If your dog has a sensitive stomach or suffers from itchy allergies, chances are that he may be allergic to grains. The first thing I did when I noticed my terrier was super itchy and my boxer had soft stool was switch to a grain free food. To compliment my dogs' grain free diet, I try to always choose grain free treats.

Finally, you'll want to search the packaging for those tiny little words "Made in..." If the treats in question are not made in the USA, proceed with caution. While we are on the subject, if the treats are labeled as "USDA Organic", it's a slam dunk.

How to choose healthy dog treats
My dogs enjoying a Riley's Organics treat on our trail walk. 

It may seem daunting to try to find treats of this quality, but don't be discouraged. There are actually plenty of nutritious and healthy treats out there. Riley's Organics, as I briefly mentioned above, fit's the bill with all of my criteria (including recipes with all of the ingredients mentioned). I would never promote a product that I would not give to my own dogs. In fact, my dogs have been munching on Riley's Organics like it's their job! But I understand that every dog is unique and what may work for mine may not work for yours. The most important thing is to provide your dogs with a healthy diet- and to give them lots of belly rubs!

As always, consult your veterinarian should you have any questions regarding your dog's diet and nutrition.

*This post was sponsored by Riley's Organics.