Powered By Bits {Product Review & Giveaway}

Earlier this year, ENERGYbits sent me a sample of their bits to try out for fueling options.  My friend, and fellow 2013 SFM Ambassador Chris, had introduced me to the idea via twitter and at a race expo, and so I reached out to the brand for a sample to try {and review}.  Well, life got in the way (qualifying for PhD candidacy, a trip to Peru, moving cross country and starting law school), and I never got around to reviewing the bits…until now!

photo(1){While ENERGYbits provided me with the sample, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post}

What are EnergyBits?

According to the EnergyBits website, they are “[m]ade from 100% organicallly grown spirulina algae and loaded with 40 nutrients, ENERGYbits® algae tabs have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64%) all for just one calorie per tab.”  Basically, they’re little tiny pill sized tabs of compressed spirulina algae.

Why spirulina alage?

“Endorsed by the United Nations as the most nutritious food on earth, spirulina algae has been a favorite of Olympic gold medalists for decades and is a super food in every sense of the word, delivering instant and enduring energy to your brain and body.”

~EnergyBits website

Antioxidant ChartIn additional to the antioxidant benefits, ENERGYbits can be used for:

  • Increasing Energy
  • Increasing Endurance
  • Increasing Mental Vitality
  • High Protein Snack
  • Curbing Hunger
  • Meal Replacement
  • Balancing Blood Sugar
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
  • Reducing Fatigue

I mean let’s be honest — those all sound good to me, right?!  While I’m not sure of the majority of the effects, as I probably didn’t take them long enough or frequently enough, I did definitely experience increased energy, curbing of hunger and reduced fatigue – at least while running.  (Wait, you don’t normally get ridiculously hungry in the middle of a run normally and start planning your next mean?  Huh.  Maybe that’s just me…)

So what were they like?

While I will admit they do not sound like the most appetizing source of energy in the world, they were surprisingly fairly tasteless (you just swallow them with water).  And they went down easy and were definitely easy on the stomach (something very important to me as the woman with the weakest stomach in the world).  I also feel like there was a definite boost in energy when taken pre-run/race.  Whether it was a placebo effect of my mind knowing the intended effects or the ENERGYbits working, I am definitely on the hook, and have plans to incorporate them into my training and fueling for my next endurance event (a marathon in March).  I mean at the very least they definitely aren’t hurting me, and as I go for a new PR, I’m taking all the help I can get!

My one gripe with the ENERGYbits?  They’re expensive!  And as a law student/PhD student, they’re not really budget-friendly.  However, there ambassadors out there who can hook you up with a discount which makes the price a little bit easier to handle.

Additionally, ENERGYbits claims that “one of the additional benefits is that once you’re taking bits daily (or most days) it can replace just about all other vitamins due to the wide nutritional profile, so it can even reduce some other costs!”  So that is something I am definitely considering and looking into…maybe spending more money in one place can save money over all?  The economist in me is dying to find out…

ENERGYbits are only available at ENERGYbits.com, and Jonathan (their Brand Manager) has shared with me that he’d be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits – you can email him at jlevitt@energybits.com.

But before you have to decide to buy…first you can enter to win a tin to try!

The Giveaway!

Enter to win a prize pack that includes a tin of ENERGYbits to try them out for yourself!

In order to enter you must leave a comment on this post answering how do you normally fuel while you run??

Additional entries for

(1) liking ENERGYBits on Facebook
(2) following ENERGYbits on Twitter
(3) liking PhDStrides on Facebook
(4) following PhDStrides on Twitter
(5) Tweeting about the giveaway with “Enter to win a free sample of @EnergyBits from @PhDStrides http://wp.me/pVOD1-1os #poweredbybits”.

***Just leave an additional comment for each additional entry (stating which one it is).***

Giveaway ends 10/6/2013 at 11:59 PST and winner will be randomly selected and announced on 10/7/2013.  ENERGYbits will then send out the prize pack.  Limited to USA addresses only (sorry if you’re abroad!).

{UPDATE: Winner of the ENERGYbits giveaway is Comment 11: Theresa M! – email me phdstrides{at}gmail{dot}com with your name and address and I will forward it to ENERGYbits so you can get your prize pack!}

California Walnut’s Virtual Dinner Party {& Giveaway}

A few weeks ago I was contacted by California Walnuts, a group I connected with a few years ago when I was more of a healthy living/food blogger.  I have now kind of stepped away from the food blogging, but when they offered me the opportunity to join a virtual dinner party and make a dish with their walnuts from one of 4 amazing chefs, I jumped at the opportunity.

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Immediately when I was making my decision on which chef to choose, Aida Mollenkamp stood out to me.  She had a number of recipes that were already gluten free and dairy free friendly, and when I saw the Kale, Apple, Pancetta, and Walnut Salad with Creamy Walnut Dressing I knew I had to make it for the Virtual Dinner Party.

For the most part I followed the recipe above, but I made a few substitutions based on what I had in the house, and what I could find at the local grocery store: (1) I couldn’t find endvies, so I subbed in sunflower sprouts, (2) I didn’t have white wine vinegar, so I subbed in rice vinegar, (3) I couldn’t find pancetta, so I used bacon.  I do wish I could’ve tried it with the endives, since I’ve never had them, but sometimes you have to make do and adjust.

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The recipe came together so quickly — the longest portion was the frying of the bacon (which took all of five minutes), and it was a delicious, fairly healthy meal that filled me up.  The only requirement is that you have a food processor for the salad dressing, but if you don’t mind it a little chunky, and more of a ‘spread’ I think a blender might work in a pinch.  And speaking of the creamy walnut dressing, I can’t wait to use on other salads, and possibly even as a dressing for meats!  Soooo good!

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Aida Mollenkamp and California Walnuts for the win, that’s for sure!

I am so happy I had the opportunity to join the virtual dinner party — check out some of the other food bloggers who joined Aida’s Virtual Dinner Party here.  It felt great to get back in the kitchen and do some cooking again!  Thanks California Walnuts for this fantastic opportunity!

As a part of the Virtual Dinner Party, and on behalf of California Walnuts, I was also sent TWO copies of Aida Mollenkamp’s recipe book: Keys to the Kitchen.  What does that mean?  That I have ONE copy to giveaway to one of you!

Although I was disappointed the recipe I made wasn’t in the cookbook, I still loved Keys to the Kitchen at first glance.

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Its got a great set of recipes, a number of which I’m really excited to make, but one of its greatest aspects I think is the informational and instructional information the first two chapters have.  And it has photos, which is always a bonus in my book.

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It gives you great instructions on mastering grocery stores, knife skills, and etc, before diving into the delicious looking recipes.  I mean, if the Kale, Apple, Pancetta and Walnut salad I made says anything about what’s in her cookbook, it should be pretty fabulous.

The Giveaway

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Aida Mollenkamp’s Keys to the Kitchen.  The giveaway will be open through Friday, March 8 at noon PST, and I will announce the winner later that afternoon, and get the cookbook sent out asap.

How to enter?

You must do one of the following to enter:

(1) Take a look at Aida Mollenkamps’s recipes used for the Virtual Dinner Party and leave a comment on which recipe (from the Winter or Spring menus) you’d like to try.

OR

(2) Leave a comment telling me about your favorite way to eat walnuts (in a recipe, raw, candied…etc).

For an extra entry:

(3) Tweet about the giveaway, and leave a comment back here saying that you did so.  example tweet: “I just entered to win an @aidamollenkamp cookbook from @phdstrides virtual dinner party giveaway http://wp.me/pVOD1-1k5″

*California Walnuts provided me with the walnuts for this recipe and the cookbook for the giveaway.  However, all opinions are my own.

Surfer’s Path Race: A Winner

I had meant to do a post recapping my two half marathons the past two weekends, but then the internets decided to eat them…so, I figured.  Let’s just get on with the real business — and what you want to know anyway!  Which lucky runner will be **for sure** joining me at Surfer’s Path on May 20th?

***DRUMROLL PLEASE***

Using http://www.random.org, I randomly generated a number between 1-28 (the number of totaly entries between twitter, facebook, and comments).  The lucky number is:

Lucky number 8!  And who was number 8?  Carrie!

Congratulations, girl!  So glad its going to work perfectly for you, and help you train for that full!  Please email me at phdstries (at) gmail (dot) com with your full name, email and I’ll pass it on to the race director so you can get your free half marathon entry!!!  Can’t wait to see you out there!

If you didn’t win, there’s still time to enter!  Hurry over before time runs out!  Or, if you’re in town and you still want to participate, email me at phdstrides (at) gmail (dot) com if you’d like to be a part of the race as a volunteer!  The race committee is looking for course monitors, aid station volunteers and such.  Let me know if you’d like to get involved and help make this inaugural race even better!