First off, if you haven't read my post from last week on Sprouts, STOP AND GO NOW.
Seriously, if you live in the Ellicott City/Baltimore/ surrounding area this news is a life changer. Sprouts is opening their first Maryland location in Ellicott City and they have just about everything you could ask for when it comes to catering to dietary restrictions, trying to eat healthy, or just putting delicious food on the table for your family. Oh, and its ALL super cost effective and in one place. Very efficient. I am already a fan.
As if I wasn't already excited enough about Sprouts coming to the area they totally HOOKED IT UP and sent me some delicious (all gluten free) Sprouts brand products to try. Can I just say…. They pretty much read my mind/taste buds/ stalked my Instagram or they are just super lucky and got it right with all of my favorite things. Not only did they send me some tried and try essentials: dijon mustard, almond butter, olive oil cooking spray, honey; but they also sent me some delicious snacks to try that were right up my alley.
A few of my favorites were:
Chocolate Coconut Rolls - They're a great gluten free sweet treat that’s light and easy to pack as a snack for work or on the go. I also am a real big coconut advocate so that played a lot into my love for these.
Organic Popcorn with Himalayan Sea Salt and Coconut Oil- Popcorn is one of those things that once I start eating I literally cannot stop. Like it is a problem. Its one of my favorite snacks and sometimes the only way to keep myself awake during a movie. Not kidding with that one. This stuff actually has a movie theater popcorn taste without all of the butter and stomach aches.
Organic Ghost Pepper Salsa- I love spicy things, I love Mexican food. I love salsa of any and all types. When I was in Key West years ago I insisted on going to a hot sauce tasting so I could try ghost pepper sauce. Very spicy. And I loved it. This salsa is probably one of the best salsas I have tasted and definitely the best one I've had not in a restaurant. It isn't so spicy that it burns your mouth but it has a great kick at the end that. I cannot wait to try this on taco salads to add some heat and I will most definitely be serving this at my next game night.
On top of the staples and yummy new snacks they sent me some of the Sprouts body wash and hand soap to try. They are both lavender scented which is super calming. Both are non drying and even my husband approved.
This last product is a MUST HAVE in my household. I literally use it for everything so when I got a new jar I danced around my kitchen. Seriously. COCONUT OIL. Not only do I use it every time I cook, I also use it as part of my daily beauty routine. This is a whole other post in and of itself but I use it for wiping off my makeup, moisturizing my skin, and cleaning/moisturizing my lash extensions. I always like to have a jar in the kitchen and on my makeup table 24/7. This needs to be your first purchase when you walk into Sprouts if you aren't on the coconut oil train yet. Then the Ghost Pepper Salsa….
Let me go on the record here and say, you will find no shortage of Sprouts Brand products (there are over 2,000 different kinds) and they are always adding new items to try. The best part is they have a ton of options that are natural and organic, as well as gluten free, vegan, and non- GMO.
As I experiment more with these products I will share some more of my favorites and recipes but for now you can find recipes and tips at SproutsBrand.com.
So I know I started this post talking about how not only great but also affordable Sprouts is. I have got you covered on even more deals so you have literally no excuse not to try all of the deliciousness that they have to offer.
First off, the Grand Opening deals at Sprouts Ellicott City are going to be out of control. On March 14th (opening day) the first 200 shoppers to checkout will receive 20% off of their total purchase, every 15th shopper will receive a coupon book, plus there will be samples and free reusable bag available to all shoppers!
If you can't make it in for the Grand Opening you still have time to save during the opening weekend. On Saturday (3/17) the first 200 customers to checkout will receive coupons for five free deli items. On Sunday (3/18) upon checkout, every 15th customer will receive $5 off their next purchase of $15 or more.
The Grand Opening isn't the only time you can save, which I am super thankful for since I probably will be there at least twice a week. More than a third of the store is rumored to be on promotion at any given time so you are already set up for budget success.
Three of the ways that I will be keeping up with promotions are:
Sprouts Mobile App - With the app you can clip coupons on your phone and easily scan your custom barcode during checkout to apply them.
Deals of the Month- You can access this flyer easily online. It highlights all of the 2,000 plus products that are on sale so you can proactively plan your grocery list/ meals for the week based on what deals are going on before you get to the store!
Weekly E-Circular- You can subscribe to this online to hear about the weekly deals and sign up for the eNewsletter to be the first to hear about special sales and promotions going on at the Ellicott City location.
If were being honest, usually specialty food stores are not cost effective so the fact that Sprouts actually focuses on providing these great savings is so refreshing. No matter what your budget is, everyone deserves to be able to eat good quality food that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
I am so excited for Sprouts to open in my area so I can continue trying their products and sharing my favorite finds with ya'll. I also have the pleasure of checking out the new location for their Grand Opening Party next week so I will be sharing all of the details and giving you the inside scoop.
If you are in an area where you are lucky enough to already have a Sprouts, let me know all of your favorite things and things I should try. If not, let me know which of the products I mentioned you are looking forward to trying.
In the podcast this week my mom and I opened up about our ongoing struggles with eating disorders and recovery. We thought it was fitting because it is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. First off, if you haven't listened to this week's episode, stop and go listen ASAP (HERE!).
In the podcast we didn't go too far into our backstories but focused more on a real time update and the continued struggles we've experienced. After the podcast went live I had quite a few people who were curious about how we got to this point and our experience when we were in the darkest parts of our experience.
So I figured why not create a post answering those questions....You can hear/read about my entire story in this post and on The F- Word podcast (episode 15). I also dive into some coping tools and a recovery focused book that I love in this post.
My mom has just recently become a huge part of Crohnically Blonde so has not yet had the chance to share her full story. Diane shared a bit about her past struggles with anorexia and how her struggles and then recovery evolved through having children and then combating Crohn's.
I hope ya'll enjoy what she has to share and I am so excited for her to continue to share her experiences and wisdom with us!
I began my issues with Anorexia in early high school, didn’t seem to have issues in college, resumed my issues after college and seemingly moved beyond my issues a few years after my second daughter was born. While in high school, Anorexia was recognized, but not discussed much and according to what I knew, not many people knew how to deal with it. My best friend was concerned and talked to my parents. I vaguely remember my parents addressing it with me and my dad trying to convince me to eat ice cream.
After college when I got married, I resumed my anorexia. I don’t remember during any of this time anyone ever telling me that I was fat or too big. It was all me. Why? Was there a gene involved? Was it a product of my apparently not so happy childhood? Was it society? Yes. No. I don’t know. I just knew that I had to carefully watch what I ate, make sure I exercised a lot and never got above a certain weight that I had determined was my healthy weight according to my perception of how I looked. And this was a full time job as I thought about it constantly. There were a couple of times that I allowed myself to gain some weight. When I was trying to get pregnant. Because at the lower weight, I didn’t have my period. During this time of trying to get pregnant, being pregnant and after the births during breast feeding, I was still very obsessed about what I ate and how much I exercised. Actually, I weighed my least amount ever when my second daughter was one.
What happened next? I don’t know exactly, but about two years later I sought help for what was diagnosed as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Besides medication, I saw a counselor that helped me through some issues that I didn’t realize I had. I am very good at shutting off parts of my life. Then I didn’t seem to have Anorexia any more.
Really? Okay maybe not Anorexia, but I still had body image issues which I didn’t fully acknowledge for many more years. I raised my girls knowing I had had an eating disorder so was very careful not to let my vocabulary and behavior show this or affect them. I thought I did a good job with that. Well, no I didn’t.
Today, I still have body image issues and now I have Crohns.
This is where in my story Michelle and I pick up to discuss the issues-do you mentally ever get past an eating disorder? How does it evolve as you get older? What about other health issues on top of it? What about social media?"
I have been down and out for the past few days because I have come down with the, much dreaded, flu. I got my flu shot early this year but being immunosuppressed and all those vaccinations don't always do the trick. I've been laying in bed for, I kid you not, the last four days. I've been feeling absolutely miserable for one, but on top of that, I'm getting very stir crazy. This has been the first few hours that I have been up to even looking at a computer screen (besides from answering critical emails because I can never totally unplug....) and of course I needed to get a new post out to bring me back in touch with the living world that is not on Netflix, Hulu, or On Demand.
I figured what more relevant that to share with y'all some at home (and most of them natural) remedies that have helped me deal with the flu this season. These can really be applied to any time you are feeling under the weather which I know is unfortunately all to common with some readers. Especially with the flu being so bad this season and so many of us being immunosuppressed (or even if you're not), I highly recommend you stock up on these supplies just in case. Anyway, you know the logic of the world, if you are prepared for something then it won't happen right? FULL DISCLOSURE ** THIS DID NOT REPLACE REGULAR MEDICINE - I like to handle things naturally when I can but messing with the flu and a subpar immune system is not cool. Tamiflu was needed. These tips are meant to supplement not replace what your doctor recommends. And in case you need reminding I am not a medical professional so always run these things by your doctor before trying.
Here we go!
First up on my list is....
I use Young Living (I'm not a rep and I don't get anything if you purchase these oils so rest assured) but I just started with these and got hooked. I mix 4 drops of Thieves, 7 drop of Eucalyptus, and 9 drops of Lavender in my diffuser and keep it going 24/7 in my bedroom while I'm sick. These past few days specifically but overall this whole season I have been seriously struggling with my sinuses and this has been one of the only things that truly has helped.
The lavender is calming and helps to relax me (and to be honest when I'm sick anything that can help me doze off is much appreciated). The thieves is known to help with respiratory health and can help to lower fevers. The eucalyptus is my personal favorite touch in this combo because it is extremely refreshing and helps the make your sinuses feel clearer. Like I said, I've kept these going most of the day and I feel like they have really helped.
I have usual combos that I like to use for bedtime put I'm going to do a whole separate post about all of the other oils I've been experimenting with.
For the past month or so I've been all about CBD oil. I've been taking it to help with anxiety, help with insomnia, and help reduce my muscle and joint pain (especially around Remicade infusions). Another whole post is coming about this too so I'm telling you for now to just trust me because you can get so many more benefits out of this stuff besides just when you are sick.
While I've been under the weather I've been using it to help with my body aches mainly. I take two droplets twice a day and it has made a night and day difference. It doesn't get you high or anything which is the most common question I have gotten but it does give and overall calming effect and help to reduce anxiety. Anxiety is already something I struggle with so it is not helpful in anyway when I am cooped up at home especially feeling sick. Thank you CBD!
You can really get any kind of these but the ones I usually like are these, just $5 generic Target brand. Usually I don't take melatonin to sleep because it actually works too well and I will be out for way longer than the time I have to sleep on a regular night. When I'm sick though, it is a different story. This time around my head hurt so bad I couldn't even watch TV or read so what else was there to do? Sleeping through the worst of it was the answer. I took two gummies and within 20 minutes I was feeling ready to snooze despite the headaches and sinus pain that was keeping me up before.
For me personally I can't recommend these as a nightly thing (I much prefer the aforementioned CBD oil) but when you have 12 hours to sleep then I give it two thumbs up.
I feel like the only time most people have drank Pedialyte is when they were toddlers or when they had some seriously hungover Sunday mornings in college. Thanks to Crohn's Pedialyte has been a must have in my household for the past many years of adulthood. I never think to drink it unless I am having a GI related situation going on but my husband insisted I was going to get dehydrated even though I don't have the stomach flu. I seriously doubted him because I was religiously sipping my water next to my bed. I hate to admit it but of course he was right. Through sweating and sleeping so much it slowed my usual water intake no matter who conscientious I was, I definitely got very dehydrated. I took swigs of Pedialyte when I could and this helped decrease my headaches as well and help me feel a bit more energetic.
You can pick up Pedialyte at pretty much and drugstore or of course, you can use it as an excuse to go to Target.
Hopefully everyone is staying well and ya'll had a way better weekend than I did! I love sharing fun tips with you but I also like to keep it real with the not so fun stuff, ie. being sick with the flu. I can only hope that even if you are not sick, you stock up your home with these essentials because they make your recovery a whole lot smoother.
Also, huge thanks to everyone who reached out via social media to wish me a quick recovery and provide me with a plethora of Netflix suggestions.
I will leave you with this as a little reminder that even if you aren't chronically ill or sick right now, we all need to recharge sometimes.
Blonde babe. Maryland native. Crohn's crushing puppy mother to two sweet rescues.