weight loss

Briefly, a bit of background for those of you who haven’t read my blog before: I cannot eat refined sugar. Well, I can eat it, it just makes me feel terrible so I choose not to. Generally, I can tell when something has sugar in it because when I eat sugar, it feels kind of like someone’s stabbing the inside of my mouth with a million tiny pin pricks. I’m not sure if I’m allergic or intolerant, but so much as one tablespoon of jam is enough to make my tongue itch. Even if sugar weren’t an issue for me, though, as someone trying to get fit, eating regular ice cream is out of the question most of the time because of the amount of empty calories in it. Although ice cream was my favorite food as a kid, the process of becoming vegan, ditching sugar because I realized it was making me sick, and trying to get in shape has pretty much meant I’ve had to give up ice cream entirely. I can think of a handful of times that I’ve eaten it in the past 10 years.

But you know what, this entry’s not going to be me whining about what I can’t eat, it’s going to be about WINK!

Wink Frozen Dessert is a vegan, soy free, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, nut-free, non-GMO frozen confection. It is basically ice cream, though there’s no cream in it. At a mere 25 calories per serving, it’s a fitness freak’s dream, as you can eat an entire container of it and still only consume 100 calories.

I found Wink Frozen Desserts after they followed me on Tumblr. I post a lot in the vegan and sugarfree tags unsurprisingly, since my Instagram photos get cross posted to Tumblr and 98% of the stuff I post is food related. I took one look at their website and realized I needed to try their products ASAP.

As of this posting, their products are only sold in the NY and Philly areas, so as I mentioned in my previous post, when I traveled to Philly from Massachusetts a couple weeks ago to attend DS9 Con, I made it a mission to acquire some.

Currently, Wink offers four flavors: Iced Latte, Cocoa Dough, Cinnamon Bun, and Cake Batter. The shop we found in Philly only had three of the four flavors (they were missing Cake Batter, no doubt because they were sold out of it). Luckily, Wink was able to send me 2 pints of Cake Batter so I could review it too.

When we were in Philly, I wanted to make sure no one else in our hotel room accidentally (or “accidentally” ;) ) ate my ice cream so I put my name on it:

I had similar feelings about the pints of cake batter I got in the mail:


…But how does it taste?!?




Ok ok hold on a sec. Before you start…

One thing I will suggest about eating this ice cream (and all vegan ice cream, for that matter): let it get just a little bit soft and melty before you dig in. I realize this is extremely difficult because it requires restraint, and vegan sugar free ice cream is JUST SO EXCITING that you want to eat it straight out the freezer, but it tastes a lot better when it’s given a chance to defrost a tiny bit. I believe this is something you should do for ALL ice cream (that’s why soft serve exists, right?), but it’s especially true for Wink. This is partially due to how cold affects the taste receptors on your tongue, but it also might be because of the sugar free nature of Wink.

Now that I’ve explained that, allow me to break it down flavor by flavor.

Cocoa Dough: I started with this flavor, because growing up, cookie dough was always my favorite. Though it lacks the chunks of cookie that so enthralled me as a child (which I admit disappointed me at first, but it’s probably for the best), it is still delicious. At first, I found this flavor to be a little “ice-y”, but after sampling it a few more times, I think I was stuffing my face with it too fast. Like I said above, this flavor definitely tastes better if you let it defrost for a couple minutes. Then your tongue can taste the cocoa a little more and it’s just so so so good.

Iced Latte: This is a coffee flavor, as the name suggests. When I had my first lick of this, I’m pretty sure I was instantly transported back to my childhood, where my mom was ordering a coffee ice cream for me at a local park on my Birthday and I was trying it for the first time ever (Salem Willows is the park, if you know it). I’m being serious. It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve had coffee ice cream, and that’s immediately what I thought of. I really missed this flavor! I felt the exact same excitement now as I did when I was a kid, like, “holy cow this is freaking delicious”.

Cinnamon Bun: There must be some kind of voodoo magic in this flavor, because it tastes exactly as the name suggests. And I should know, I am an expert on Cinnamon Buns (remember my pumpkin cinnamon bun recipe)? I’ve personally never seen a Cinnamon Bun ice cream before, so sorry if this is not news to you, but it is to me. This flavor rules. It’s really hard for me to choose a favorite, but this might be it. It was the most popular with my DS9 Con friends as well (though, to be fair, they didn’t get to try the next one).

Cake Batter: Eating this was my first foray into the world of Cake Batter ice cream, because I’m pretty sure it didn’t exist when I was a kid. I can see why Palm Tree Gourmet was sold out of this – it might be the best one. I dunno, though, I really like Cinnamon Bun too… and Cocoa Dough… Anyways! The texture of the cake batter is slightly creamier than the other flavors, closer to traditional ice cream. It tastes just like the yellow cake of birthday party fame. It doesn’t have sprinkles in it like most cake batter ice cream apparently does (I base this knowledge solely on pictures I’ve seen, having never eaten it before), but I don’t care. It is so good!

How does it compare to traditional ice cream? I can’t say for sure, as I haven’t eaten “real” ice cream in forever. Is it the same as regular ice cream? Obviously not. Eating a pint of it doesn’t fill you up quite the same way eating regular ice cream does, due to the lack of fat and sugar which might normally be sitting in your stomach like a brick. I don’t consider this a bad thing. I personally think Wink is better than regular ice cream, because I can eat it without feeling miserable afterwards. You may not agree.

Generally, I think that if you have spoiled taste buds from eating sugar and junk all the time, Wink may not taste that good to you, nor would most other healthy food. If, like me, you’re definitely NOT a sugar junkie, or you only eat it every once in a while, it is 100 calories of pure heaven. Who knows, though – the friends who I ate it with at DS9 con all eat sugar and they liked it too!

How does it compare to other sugar free ice cream? Most sugar free frozen desserts contain artificial sweeteners and aren’t vegan, so I’ve never tried any of them. The closest thing that I’ve seen (other than inSpiral’s raw vegan ice cream that I got when I lived in London and no longer have access to for obvious reasons) is the So Delicious brand of no sugar added coconut milk based ice cream. While the So Delicious stuff is good, it is still quite high in calories and is obviously not low fat, being made of coconut (which a lot of people are allergic to). It also has a coconut flavor that underscores the actual flavor of the ice cream, which not everyone is crazy about, though it doesn’t bother me. It also only comes in chocolate and vanilla, plus a mint chip one (supposedly they make two other flavors, but I’ve never seen them anywhere). The variety of flavors that Wink sells is a real treat in comparison. Like I said about Iced Latte above, being able to eat coffee flavored ice cream after ten+ years of not having it was fantastic. This, combined with the simpler ingredients in Wink, and the lack of fat, make me prefer Wink over So Delicious.

Price: Wink costs $8 a pint right now. Some people may say this is a lot, I think it’s pretty par for the course for specialty ice cream. Furthermore, I’ve said this millions of times but I’m gonna say it again – it is worth it to spend more on food that is better for you!

My only criticism of it is that it’s not organic (though the cocoa powder they use is) – however, it is Non-GMO which is the most important thing.

Actually, I have one other criticism – it’s not sold in the Boston area yet!! Wink have suggested on Facebook that expansion into my home state is happening soon, but for me, it can’t happen soon enough!

The only thing that might make Wink Frozen Desserts even better was if I could enjoy it out of a sugar free, vegan cone. ;) Maybe someday. In the mean time, I’ve enjoyed it on waffles…

And in a “root beer float” (featuring ginger root Zevia):

Next up I wanna try making a banana split with it! I’ve never had one before, so I’ll let you know how it goes! :D

In conclusion, my feelings about Wink Frozen Desserts can be summed up in the following tweets:

I predict that Wink Frozen Desserts is going to be very popular. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with. My BFF Kate (Ell of The Farthest Star) said that the Wink mascot being a bean shaped scoop of ice cream made them wish Wink mochi ice cream existed – how awesome would that be?!? In the meantime, I’m just so grateful I can enjoy ice cream again.

Follow Wink Frozen Desserts on Twitter

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Love and light -

Xxxxxxx

adorpheus

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I was going to make a “yearly goals” post last month, but I changed my mind because nobody really gives a frak about reading my goals on my blog (including me because I review my goals literally every week)… And if for some reason you are curious, I post about them regularly on my lifestream. My only resolution for the year is to express myself more – especially here on my blog. Which for me means more sharing, more writing, and more music!

So instead I’m going to share my favourite things (mostly personal development related) of 2011. Most bloggers have some kind of weekly post where they talk about all the cool things they’ve found on the web. I’ve considered doing that in the past, but I don’t often come across anything post worthy. And I don’t want to just post cool things like everyone else does, I wanna post things that are actually gonna help y’all.

These ten resources (some of them websites/blogs, books, etc) were absolutely crucial to bringing me closer to my health and personal goals for the past year. If you’re serious about changing your life or living the best life you can, I encourage you to look at this list and learn more about the sites that stand out to you! I’m crazy about this kind of stuff so of course I just devoured everything here, but feel free to visit the sources you like and ignore the ones that don’t speak to you.

In no particular order.

1. Chalene Johnson’s 30 Day Challenge

Chalene Johnson is a fitness expert, lifestyle coach, and entrepreneur. I stumbled upon Chalene’s 30 Day Challenge randomly near the last half of 2011. I seriously wish I could remember who’s blog I got the link from because I’m forever grateful to them for introducing me to Chalene! She’s become my #1 inspiration and idol. Her 30 Day Challenge is a free course that helps you get organized and enable you to achieve your goals. The concepts were so new to me that I admit I really struggled with it the first time I did it all the way through, but I learned so much extremely valuable information. Around a month after I did the free version of the course, Chalene released a book called Push, which is sort of like a premium version of the 30 Day Challenge. It’s a little more in depth and includes a lot of fitness help as well. Of course I jumped on the chance to get it, and I’m so so so grateful I did, because I did so much better on the course the second time through.

I used to be the kind of person who would scribble a to-do list on a piece of paper at the beginning of the day, lose track of the paper, lose track of time doing something that I didn’t actually care about that much (or that someone else wanted me to do), and then at the end of the day I’d be mad at myself for having accomplished barely any of what I wanted. The productivity and goal setting skills I learned in the course and in Chalene’s book Push have put a stop to that completely. They are valuable tools that I’ve incorporated into my daily routine, I’m amazed every day at the goals I’m able to accomplish more and more.

And the fitness advice in Push was exactly the kind of no-nonsense advice I’ve been looking for. Before I read the book, my weight loss was super slow and I could never figure out whether what I was doing was really working or not. Now I know exactly what I’m doing and the results have been awesome! I’ll have to make a post about it at some point.

2. Goddess Leonie / Goddess Guidebook.com

I found Leonie from one of her guest posts on ProBlogger, and I’m super happy I did! Her blog posts have been something I look forward to in google reader every day. I love the free meditation mp3 she offers for signing up to her email list, I have it on my iPod, and it’s one I use whenever I want to do a short meditation.

What really inspired me to put her on this list is when I got her 2012 Goddess Calendar/Planner. Although my (crappy) printer mangled the first 20 pages or so, I’m in love with the colourful art and inspirational tools inside. I thought I had the year planned out already, but doing the workbook gave me so many more ideas on how to make this year the best ever. I love the calendar pages the most. At the beginning of each month, I put one on my vision board along with the goals I have for the month.

Leonie recently released a book called 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know, which I got a copy of for Christmas but haven’t read yet! I have a whole bunch of books I’m working my way through at the moment, haha, but I will update as soon as I get to Leonie’s to let you guys know how it is!

I hope someday I can join her Goddess Circle too.


3. Living in the Light (and other books by Shakti Gawain).

Shakti’s books should be required reading for anyone into spirituality or the law of attraction. I don’t really have much to say other than you need to get them immediately, especially if you’ve been using other personal development tools like vision boards and visualization with minimal results. And if you’re new to this stuff, her books are a way better primer than “The Secret”. Why the hell aren’t her books more well known? Generally, I think most personal development material isn’t easy to understand without significant practice and introspection (even basic advice like “follow your bliss” and all that), and a lot of books give you the basic idea of how to live life deliberately but fall short of giving enough detail. I didn’t feel that way about Shakti’s books at all.

I was given Living in the Light as a gift, and as soon as I finished it I bought Creative Visualization and The Creative Visualization Workbook, since I had heard such great things about them. When I read Living in the Light it was like I had finally found the spirituality book I was looking for after lifetimes of digging through fluff. I’m in the middle of Creative Visualization now and it’s crazy what I’ve already managed to manifest with the skills I’ve gained.

My Fitness Pal

4. My Fitness Pal

One of the things Chalene mentions in her book PUSH is that it’s essential to count calories if you want to lose weight. To clarify, you have to count the calories you burn (via exercise) and the calories you intake (via food). This is something that I had tried to do in the past but found way way too cumbersome to keep up. But with MyFitnessPal, doing this way way easier! A lot of the recipes from the cookbooks I use (like Appetite for Reduction,Veganomicon, etc) are in the food database already, but even when something I’m making isn’t in there, I just enter the ingredients manually and it calculates the calories for you. There’s also a MyFitnessPal phone app which works even on my crappy old Blackberry and comes in super handy.

MyFitnessPal has totally changed the way I eat, and has accelerated my weight loss maybe a zillion percent. I was eating way too much before and I didn’t even know it! Now that I keep track of what I eat I feel like my body’s adjusted and I can feel more intuitively whether or not I’m eating too much. And although it can be time consuming, knowing for sure that what I’m doing is going to work saves me a lot of time in the long run because I’m no longer making diet mistakes and unknowingly preventing myself from losing weight.

As for counting the calories you burn, Chalene recommends the Fitbit or bodybugg (for my UK brethren, the UK version of the bodybugg is called the Ki Fit). Those gadgets are probably amazing but until I can afford that fancy shit, I got a cheap knock off calorie counting watch (this one, if you care). While the accuracy of the watch I have is probably nowhere near as good as the “real” calorie counting devices, it is extremely helpful to get an idea of how many calories I’m burning during the workout.

ARealChange

5. Sandi Krakowski / ARealChange.com

I found Sandi’s blog from Chalene Johnson’s Twitter. Although not all of her business tips apply to me, I did her free blog training and it gave me so many great ideas for my blogs. I think what I like the most about Sandi though is her passion for inspiring people to pursue their dreams and stop procrastinating. Whenever I’m feeling run down I go and read one of her blogs and it never fails to give me a boost. If you’re looking for marketing tips for your business, look know further than the treasure trove of knowledge Sandi provides on her website.

I also have a copy of her book Read Their Mind, but like Leonie’s book, I haven’t got a chance to read it yet! If it’s anything like her blog, though, I’m sure it’ll be awesome.

Empowered Soul

6. Andrea Hess / Empowered Soul

I’ve been following Empowered Soul for a while. Recently Andrea added a free video training called “The Spiritual Path to Six Figures” which I thought was awesome! She frequently sends out free meditations and guides to people who are signed up to her mailing list (which I love!), but the video series is definitely the best free tool she’s released yet. Watching it has helped me identify a ton of stuff I’ve been doing wrong professionally, which is great because now I can fix those things. What I love most about Andrea’s blog and video series is her emphasis on taking inspired action – I feel like most people ignore doing this because it’s outside of their comfort zone, but if you want to see changes, you need to take action.

7. Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is a vegan dessert blog dedicated to healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy desserts. Hers is probably my favourite food blog ever. Unlike most food blogs (even vegan ones), Katie usually includes gluten- and sugar-free versions of all her recipes, and usually lists the caloric content as well. Since I started reading her blog I eat chocolate practically every day without feeling like garbage or cheating on my diet.

There are way too many amazing recipes for me to list here but I’ll say that the Cake Batter Doughnuts (pictured above!!) might be the greatest thing I’ve ever made, but I also love her Brownie Batter Dip, and Fudge Babies. There’s nothing else to say about this blog, it’s amazing and the recipes speak for themselves.

Jillian Michaels

8. Jillian Michaels Workout DVDs

When I moved from Bath to London I had to leave my gym membership there too. Unable to find a gym near where I moved, I decided to try working out at home with DVDs as an alternative. I started with the 30 Day Shred. I don’t know why I didn’t start doing this sooner. Working out is sooo much easier when you can get it out of the way early in the day at home and don’t have to drive to the gym! But what I like the best is how much more intense her workouts are than what I was doing at the gym before.

My favourite of hers is Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism, which is what I do (almost) every day. When I want a shorter workout I go back to 30 Day Shred, or if I want a less intense workout on a rest day I might do Yoga Meltdown. I also have Killer Buns & Thighs and No More Trouble Zones, which I use less often but are still great!

Leechblock / Chrome Nanny

9. Chrome Nanny / Leechblock

In Chalene’s book Push, she mentions that you have to identify the time wasting and procrastination activities that prevent you from achieving your goals and cut back on them. I have a lot to say about this topic, but until then, I’ll just say that if this is something you have trouble with, browser plugins like Leechblock (for Firefox) and Nanny for Chrome can be really helpful. You enter the sites that you want to avoid into the plugins and set the time of the day you want them to be blocked (for example, from 9 to 5 if that’s your work day, or whatever time frame applies to you). If you try to go to those sites you won’t be able to access them and a “get back to work” message will be displayed instead.

I hate (hate!) when I go to a social networking site or similar to just do one thing and end up getting carried away wasting 15-60 minutes there. I originally installed this plugin for the sole purpose of blocking facebook, but using the plugin has helped me identify other sites I don’t want to waste time on. Facebook is one of those sites that I never actually want to go to but end up on all the time anyways either from clicking other people’s links or going there to “check my messages”. Personally, I use Chrome and I have a list of 16 sites that I block between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am every day of the week. I love it because I no longer have to think or worry about ending up on one of these sites, and I am able to focus so much more on the important stuff.

DoAsOne

10. Do As One

Meditation is a great way to get inspiration flowing when you want to (rather than waiting for it to hit you). I meditate every day and Do As One makes that so easy. No lame music, no distracting talking, just breathing. You can also add background noise (like running water or whatever) if you want. What I like best though is that you can time your meditations and a bell will ring when time’s up. They also have an iPhone app which I can only assume is as great as the website.

It’s up to you.

These resources will give you a big boost, but ultimately you need to put the work in if you want to make all your dreams come true. No one can do it for you!

Love and light,

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