Brandless: The Organic And Vegan $3 Grocery Store

shop organic from brandies for just $3

You might have heard about Brandless, the organic and vegan $3 grocery store. Or maybe not.

If you haven’t, let me introduce you!

Brandless, this is my Awesome CHL Reader.

Awesome CHL Reader, this is Brandless.

Brandless is an online retailer that sells everything for $3. They can do this because they are “brandless” – aka, they don’t have to pay the “brand tax” that comes with carrying big name brands. Because of this, they can offer higher quality items at lower prices. They have loads of vegan, organic/non-gmo, and environmentally conscious products, sometimes in bundle packs, and everything is $3 (or less, if you buy the bundle packs).

Also, for every order placed, they donate a meal through Feeding America, a non-profit network of food banks across the country. You know how much I love supporting companies that support even greater missions, so I am even more excited when I restock my pantry!

I’ve tried a wide variety of their items and today I want to share what I find to be the highest value and healthiest products available.

Honey

Organic honey can be expensive, but I really enjoy a bit of honey in my morning Superhero Coffee drink. This little bottle, while small, is still less expensive than most honey bears at the store, plus it’s organic.

Coconut Oil

If you don’t use coconut oil for much more than sautéing your veggies (or a morning Superhero coffee), this is a great value, especially for being cold pressed, unrefined, and organic. If you want to do any baking or oil pulling with coconut oil, this might not last very long for you.

Peanut Butter

I can’t stop raving about this peanut butter. Organic, and only two ingredients: peanuts and sea salt. This peanut butter is so creamy, so rich, and so yummy, I eat it directly from the jar (it’s a good thing I’m the only one who likes peanut butter in my family).

You can tell it’s natural because it requires stirring before you can use it. I can’t stress enough just how delicious it is.

Lentils

I’ve seen pouches this size of green lentils for more than $3 at Walmart, and they were definitely not organic. Lentils are a great source of protein and fiber, and a good way to stretch or replace ground meat in recipes (especially tacos!). Lentils cook up quickly and take on the flavor of whatever you are making. I like to mix mine into my curried chickpeas and rice recipe for an extra texture and another kick of plant protein.

Garbanzo Beans

As my diet has transitioned to becoming more plant-based, my intake of garbanzo beans has steadily risen. For $3, Brandless carries a 3-pack of organic garbanzo beans – definitely a good deal! I use garbanzo beans my super easy curried chickpeas and rice (a vegan meal prep staple) and in my favorite snack, chickpea cookie dough.

Teriyaki Sauce

Another meal prep staple in my GYST days is a batch of teriyaki chicken and rice. This sauce is organic and vegan and sooooo yummy. After I sauté my chicken (or chickpeas, or tofu, depending on if I’m vegan that week or not) with some onions and peppers, I pour in some sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. Pour the mixture over rice and you’re all set.

I eat this with chopsticks from Ikea – a package of 4 sets of bamboo chopsticks is only $0.99!

Back to the food – this sauce is flavorful without being too spicy. I love ethnic foods for the richness of flavors, and this does not disappoint.

Note: It does contain wheat products, so I don’t give it to Tristan since he’s gluten-free.

Body Wash

One area of my life I am working to improve is the matter of self care. It is a priority to me to find bath products that I enjoy using, just to add a bit of sparkle to my daily routine. It’s been difficult to find bath products that are both healthy and inexpensive, but I have to tell you: this green tea and aloe shower gel is a new staple in my house. Free of sulfates and phthalates, this body wash is very lightly scented and gentle on my sensitive skin. It has a light lather, and cleans well without leaving my skin feeling dried out.

Face Wash

Another great find was the grapefruit face wash. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean, but not dry. I had gotten out of the habit of washing my face daily (I know, I know, that’s terrible), but this face wash smells so good, I actually look forward to washing my face every day.

See, the good thing about self care is that it makes “have tos” feel like “get tos” and it makes each day a bit brighter.

One miss I will say is the pack of dark chocolate and peanut butter bars. They tasted alright, but I just wasn’t a big fan.

This could be entirely because my favorite brand of snack bars is Larabars and I will always and forever compare every other bar to them.

Sorry, other brands. It’s not you. It’s just that you’re not Larabars, and that’s not your fault.

Now, topping some IKEA dark chocolate squares with a dollop of Brandless organic peanut butter? That is a divine experience and highly recommended.

Brandless Details:

Shipping is $5 flat rate, unless you order over $39. They also have a membership program, where for $36 a year you have free shipping on unlimited orders. Brandless will also donate 10 meals through Feeding America with your initial membership fee, as well as 2 meals with every order (instead of 1 that occurs with every non-membership order).

If you plan on ordering regularly, the membership sounds like a great idea to me.

I was apprehensive to order from Brandless when I first heard about it. After all, organic products for only $3? But after experiencing the quality, I am a dedicated customer for life.

They have all sorts of other products for your home and office, including cleaning supplies, snack items, and even fair-trade coffee (that you know I’ll be sampling soon). I love that they have some of their most popular items in “bundle” options (7 items for $19.50, for example), for easier shopping and even more savings.

Ready to try the Brandless $3 grocery store for yourself? Use this link to get 2 items free from me!

If you loved learning about Brandless and want to remember to save money without sacrificing quality, be sure to save this post for future reference!

shop brandless products for $3 or less

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Quick and Healthy Keto-Friendly Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This morning, around 12:30am, I submitted my manuscript to my publishers, and the process of turning my thoughts into a New York Times Bestseller has officially begun (that’s not quippy, that’s my goal – and it’s scary to actually write it out!). I reached out to some blogging friends of mine from the Billionaire Blog Club, asking for some guest posts to continue sharing awesome information with you all while I work on my book. Dan and Erika from Have Butter Will Travel reached out with this amazing recipe for keto-friendly vegan pumpkin pie smoothie and I am so excited to share it today!

Side note: Joining the Billionaire Blog Club is the best thing I ever did to grow my blog, and if you’re on my blogging email list, you saw in my email that by following the steps for proper keywords, my Laundry Without Hookups post is now on page 1 of Google! BBC opens again this Friday for a limited time, so be sure to sign up for the free 12-day bootcamp and start learning all the best blogging tips! 

Without further ado, meet Dan and Erika:

We love smoothies at Have Butter will Travel and wanted to create a keto vegan smoothie that will keep you full all day. We love the flavours of pumpkin pie and wanted to include this with some healthy fats into a delicious smoothie.

It can also be a little tricky to find good keto recipes that are also vegan, so we wanted to share this one for our keto vegan friends. This smoothie is a quick and easy breakfast or an excellent mid afternoon snack.

Who are we at Have Butter will Travel?

Hi, we are Dan and Erika the creators of Have Butter will Travel!

We met and fell in love in 2006 and have been exploring the world together ever since. We have both struggled with our weight for most of our lives and have tried every weight loss diet plan around without finding long lasting success.

In July 2016, we started on yet another weight loss attempt, but this time it was a success and we have since lost over 95kgs (210lbs) between us! Click on the links to find out more about Dan’s story and Erika’s story. Following a ketogenic/LCHF way of eating has changed our lives in so many positive ways, aside from the weight loss, and is the new ‘normal’ for us now.

We started Have Butter will Travel so we can share our two passions – low carb eating and travelling. When we started out with low carb eating we struggled to find information out there specifically for Australians, so we hope we can provide some helpful resources to get people started and set them up for success.

What is Keto/LCHF?

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate way of eating that changes your body from using carbohydrates as its main fuel source to using fat. In addition to being low carbohydrate, the ketogenic diet is also moderate in protein and high in fat.

Low carb high fat (LCHF) is the overarching term, which includes the ketogenic diet, where carbohydrates are more limited. As a general rule, the macronutrient ratio for a ketogenic diet would be 5% of your diet from carbohydrates, 15%-25% from protein and 70%-80% from fat. This varies depending on your individual health conditions and activity level.

What is Ketosis?

When you restrict your carbohydrates and increase the fat in your diet, over time your body will move into the state of ketosis. Being in ketosis will switch your main fuel source from glucose to ketones, which is fat-burning mode!

These are some of the awesome benefits we personally have experienced from being in ketosis –

  • Fat loss
  • Dramatic decrease in hunger
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy
  • Improvement in mental clarity
  • Elimination of joint pain
  • No more snoring
  • Less headaches
  • Improvement in blood sugar readings
  • Improved blood pressure
  • More balanced emotional state
  • Regulation of menstrual cycles

Is it possible to be Vegan and Keto?

Yes, of course! We are not vegan, but know of people that have successfully incorporated keto into their vegan lifestyle. It may be more difficult to increase the healthy fats in your diet, as the options are more limited, and your carbs may need to be slightly higher as you will need to eat more vegetables.

Great vegan keto food choices are nuts and seeds, healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil, leafy green vegetables, berries, nut butters and products like dairy free cheese and yoghurt.

Some of our favourite keto vegan recipes are:

Chia Pudding

Making keto chia pudding is one of the easiest and yet most rewarding things to do in the kitchen! Such minimal effort and ingredients for a delicious and portable breakfast, snack or lunch. We like to use coconut milk as it gives a really creamy pudding.

Nut and Seed Granola

Finding store bought granola without dried fruits and grains can be tough, and if you do find one it is usually pretty expensive. We prefer to make our own so we know exactly what is in it and also we can adjust the sweetness to our preference. Our recipe includes butter, but you can easily swap this for coconut oil for a vegan option.

Guacamole

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats on a vegan ketogenic diet. Having some guacamole on hand is so handy as you can pop it on top of a salad to add extra flavour and creaminess or on the side of some grilled vegetables. We also love to serve it with some seed crackers when we are craving a crunchy snack.

Keto doesn’t have to be all bacon and eggs. Our mantra at Have Butter will Travel is finding the keto that works for you, if keto vegan works for you, that’s awesome.

Keto-Friendly Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This smoothie is like a pumpkin pie in a glass, just minus all the sugars and carbs. It’s really easy to make for breakfast on the go or a quick snack. It is packed full of healthy fats and will keep you going all day long.

Keto-Friendly Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

 Prep Time 5 minutes

 Servings 1

 Calories 342 kcal

Ingredients

  • 0.25 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 0.5 cup Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Almond butter
  • 5 drops Liquid Stevia
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
  • 4-6 Ice cubes

 

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-power blender and blend on high until smooth and combined. 
  2. Pour into your favourite glass to serve and sprinkle some ground cinnamon on top. 
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 297
Total Fat 33g
Saturated Fat 22g
Sodium 18mg
Potassium 491mg
Total Carbohydrates 11g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 1g
Protein 6g

If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to save it for future reference, and share with your friends!

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10 Healthy Meal Planning Tips For The Whole Family

family-friendly and healthy meal planning tips

Guest Post by Peter Minkoff

Whether you’re looking to eat healthier as a family, or just avoid going on a shopping binge every time you walk into a grocery store, meal planning can go a long way in helping you cut your costs, save time, and stay healthy. Let’s see what you can do to keep the process as simple as possible and check at least this one parental worry off your list!

Plan to plan

Much can go wrong if you constantly keep your meal-planning time flexible. Make a commitment to spend an hour or two at a specific time during the week and stick to your little family appointment. For example, Saturday at noon should be reserved for planning your next week of meals, later that day, at 5pm, you can go grocery shopping, and Sunday morning can be reserved for making the meals ahead.

Make your little cookbook

No matter the size of your family, every member has their own favorite dish. You’ll want to make a list of meals they love, and then see how many of them you can make your main meals. Categorize them according to the type of recipe and the complexity of ingredients, so that you can swap and mix when the need arises.

Think seasonal thoughts

A significant part of keeping your meals as healthy as possible is using fresh, locally-grown ingredients that are available during the year. Your yearly meal-planning can be focused on dishes that contain items currently in season, so there’s another idea as to how you can make your family cookbook even more organized! Also, you probably don’t want to spend your summers next to a hot stove, so you can keep your recipes practical and weather-friendly, as well.

Ready-to-eat options

No, this has nothing to do with those canned meals and microwave dinners, on the contrary, the idea of meal planning serves to help you use as little processed food as possible, and go for fresh, whole food to make your own meals. However, if you don’t have the time or the know-how to make brilliant dishes, you can use ready-made healthy meal plans put together by people who specialize in healthy nutrition and can create a plan perfect for you and your family.

Get organized

If your kitchen is a mess, you won’t be able to put your plan into action. Get rid of all expired products, and items you’d like to banish from your diet, such as those candy bars, chips, and soda. Instead, use the first grocery day to supply your kitchen with fresh produce and go-to essentials, such as spices, healthy snacks, and containers in which you can store and freeze your meals.

No meal left behind

For families that often end up throwing out leftover dinners and lunches, it’s time to use your meal-planning to make the most of your cooking. Make one evening each week a “leftover” night, when you’ll repurpose, eat, or freeze the meals that would otherwise go bad and end up in the trash.

Plan around your life

As the famous saying goes, life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans – take this into account even for this simple aspect of your life. Some weeks at work will be more hectic than others, while your kids might be away for a school trip for a few days on some other week. Make your meal plans work for you, and schedule, prep, and cook based on your availability and the rest of your schedule.

All meals matter

It’s too easy to skip breakfast when you’re in a hurry to prepare for a job interview or drive your kids to school, but planning ahead should help you keep track of all main meals of the day. When there’s no time to make breakfast, there should be some Greek yogurt, dried fruit, nuts and seeds waiting, so it only takes a few stirs and your breakfast is ready. Using leftovers will also help, since you can repurpose meals from the day before for your next day’s dinner.

Delegate

Even if you’re the foodie expert in your family, that’s no excuse for the rest of the gang not to take part in the process, especially when it’s time to pitch new ideas, keep track of the food calendar, and thaw the food when the schedule says its time.

Plan your snacks

These sneaky little buggers are often the key culprit of weight gain and various health issues, but you can prevent them by always having some healthy options at hand. Fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are always better than a sugar-loaded muffin from the store.

 

With a diverse menu on your hands and some practice, you’ll quickly master the art of meal planning and make your cooking sessions a much easier process both on your time and your wallet.

 

Peter is a frugal living and lifestyle writer for Voice Boks magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.

If you enjoyed this content and found it helpful, please share so I can help others!

family-friendly and healthy meal planning tips

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How to Make Supermom Coffee at Home

Have you ever wished there was a magical coffee drink that burned fat, was low in sugar, and made the caffeine last throughout the day instead of requiring multiple cups of coffee to stay awake? What about a cup of coffee that put you in calm control of your emotions instead of making you jittery, anxious, or stressed-out?

My friends, today is the day I bring you that magical cup.

I introduce you to (pause for dramatic effect) The Supermom Coffee drink (aka, homemade keto coffee).

Bulletproof coffee has been around for a couple years, and is especially popular with the paleo community. Featuring the addition of butter and coconut oil (or MCT oil) to your coffee, blending these ingredients with hot coffee creates a latte-esque foam at the top, similar to what you would experience from a latte at any coffee shop.

The butter and coconut oil contain high fats, which bind the caffeine molecules. This slows down the absorption of the caffeine into the bloodstream, which means the effects are extended throughout the day instead of a peak and crash.

As for hormone support? Hormones are actually specially-built fats. So a diet with quality fats like grass-fed butter and coconut oil are beneficial for building quality hormones. Quality hormones = a better control on emotions. This is generally a plus if you’re going to be a Supermom (or Super-person, whichever you prefer).

Finally, bulletproof coffee is generally popular among the paleo crowd because the good fats stimulate the metabolism to burn off fat. Sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true!

So it’s a metabolism-boosting, hormone-regulating, energy-prolonging drink. If that’s not worthy of the Supermom designation, I don’t know what is.

BUT WAIT, it gets better! I add some extra goodness to this drink to make it truly a Supermom drink:

  • A teaspoon of raw honey helps add natural sweetness, while also providing immune support and allergy relief.
  • A scoop of powdered collagen adds protein, as well as joint-lubricant and connective tissue-strengthening benefits.
  • A 1/4 tsp cinnamon provides a warm, comforting layer of delicious, as well as aiding in blood sugar stabilization.

I told you, it’s Supermom coffee. Was I right or was I right?


Here’s how to make it:

Put all non-coffee ingredients in blender cup (I use my single-serve Ninja blender cup), and pour in coffee to the fill line. Blend 10-20 seconds. Enjoy!

I love making specialty coffee at home. Thankfully, this recipe is easily made in the blender, however, we currently lack the ability to make other specialty drinks. I’m very much looking forward to getting this incredible coffee bar system for Christmas. Visiting coffee houses is fun, but I can’t wait to be able to enjoy all these features!

Are you ready to be a Supermom? Share this post with a tired mom!

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Urban Gardening Wish List

I am a firm believer that “to grow your own food is to print your own money.” Imagine the amount of money that would immediately open up to you if your grocery budget was significantly decreased! Thanks to the Urban Gardening movement, it is now completely possible to grow your own food, even in small spaces.

I’ve been combing through Amazon, putting together my wish list of urban gardening supplies. We are renting, so even though we have a small front yard (no back yard), I doubt my landlord would be too thrilled if I tore up the grass to plant a garden. Some precious friends with a huge farm have graciously offered to let us use a portion of their land for a garden, and I am equal parts humbled and thrilled, which is a very difficult mix of emotions to convey through words. Picture me jumping up and down squealing but also flabbergasted, and that would probably be pretty accurate.

I know many people are in the same sort of renting living situation, so I wanted to share this list and show you how possible it is to have a garden in small spaces, or without the whole plowing and tilling process. Here are some great products that will help you create the urban farm of your dreams:

1. Envirocycle compact compost bin

These are created with small spaces in mind. It comes in two sizes, the 35-gallon (pictured) and the 16-gallon. They sit on the ground and spin easily. Every garden should have at least two (since you need one to fill while the other one “brews” for 6 weeks or so). These guys are even BPA-free! I think they look like snails.

2. Tower Garden

I can’t say enough about these powerhouse growing systems. They are aeroponic growing systems, self-watering, and grow tons of food in 5 weeks or less. No weeding. It’s planting and harvesting, and that’s about it. You can purchase one at a time or a family pack in sets of 3. These can even be brought inside and continue your harvest year-round! To grow in here: lettuce, kale, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, strawberries, and possibly a melon or two.

3. 20 gallon fabric growing pots

Sometimes, you just need dirt. These pots are made of a sturdy fabric to allow for better drainage and easier air flow to the roots. To grow in these: sweet potatoes (check out this post on growing sweet potatoes in buckets), beets, garlic, and raspberries.

Other items on my wish list for our garden:

Urban apple trees (they are a hybrid that can stay planted in pots!)

Kitchen compost bin.This particular bin is great for under the counter storage. I used to have a countertop storage system and even though I kept up with it, it had an odor. With this, I can lock the  container closed and keep it under a cabinet. Less odor = happier family.

Harvesting Bushel Tote bag – to bring in all your delicious fresh produce!

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden – Absolutely, positively cramped for space? This little guy can even fit anywhere!

I am so excited to get my garden this year!

Want even more tips for gardening and DIY? Get access to ebooks, webinars, printables, and more with the  Ultimate Herbs and Essential Oils

Thank you for reading! If this post has helped you, please share and download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!

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