Friday, April 28, 2017

Tarte Pearly Girl Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen

For the past month or so, I’ve been using Tarte’s new Pearly Girl Vegan Teeth Whitening Pen and I have to say, not bad. :)

I’ve been applying it daily and I can’t say I’ve seen dramatic results, but my teeth have definitely lightened or rather my stains have decreased. I wasn’t expecting dramatic results (although that would have been awesome) because frankly this whitening pen doesn’t have all the chemical crap that traditional teeth whiteners have. That being said, I’m also not experiencing any of the sensitivity that is common with traditional whiteners, so I say that’s a win!

That lack of sensitivity is probably due to the fact that this pen is bleach-free and doesn’t contain parabens, mineral oil, phthalates or sodium lauryl sulfates. It also doesn’t have triclosan, soy or a synthetic fragrance. Bonus, it’s gluten-free and completely vegan!

This is what it does contain: water, glycerin, PEG-400, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, disodium EDTA, potassium nitrate, mentha pulegium and sodium saccharin. I will say that I am not happy about the sodium saccharin as I avoid all artificial sweeteners, so after this pen runs out, I won’t be buying again.  I am keeping my eye on this in hopes that Tarte sees the error of their ways and reformulates - fingers crossed.

Despite that, whitening pen is super easy to use, simply:

  • Twist at the base of the pen to dispense whitening gel onto the brush-on applicator. You may need to twist it multiple times with the first use for gel to appear.
  • Smile and brush onto front of all teeth and wait 30 seconds before closing your mouth.
  • Allow gel to penetrate for 15 minutes before eating or drinking.
  • Apply up to four times a day for best results.
  • Run brush under warm water to remove trace gel after each use.

Honestly, I don’t apply four times daily, I only do it once, right before bed. So maybe with more use, you’d get dramatic results.

Check it out!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Holistic Holiday At Sea

I just got back from a 7-day vacation in which I never stressed once about what I was eating!  That in and of itself is a real testimonial, considering all of my vacations start with a mandatory visit to to find vegan or vegan friendly restaurants as well as a trip to the grocery store to stock up on, “just in case” food.  I’m exhausted before I ever start my trip!

Dr. Michael Greger,
But Holistic Holiday At Sea changed all that this year.  HHS is a vegan cruise, to be more specific an oil-free (optional), gluten-free (optional) vacation paradise!  

And it gets better! 

The whole week is jammed pack with speakers, most notably Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neil Barnard and Dr. Michael Greger.  As well as additional speakers covering such topics as animal welfare, laughter as medicine and how to eat vegan.  In addition to the daily talks there are cooking demonstrations by well-known chefs in the plant-based movement like Christina Pirello from Christina Cooks (PBS) and exercise/meditation classes.   No matter where your interests lie, health, animal rights, fitness, cooking or mind, body & soul – there is something for everyone. 

Me in Jamaica!
The cruise still offers ports of call and the speaker schedule does slow down so you can get off the ship without feeling you are missing anything.  Now for the islands, I did hit to do some recon before I left and I’m so happy I did, because once on shore, I found that I had no cell service and the locals weren’t very familiar with the few vegan restaurants that were available.  Another option is to book vegan excursions through HHS, but don’t drag your feet, they book up fast.  However, I did find most of the people in our group stayed aboard and took advantage of the spa, salon, gym and pools while most of the ship debarked.  I think we were all exhausted from learning so much and just wanted to hang out and relax.

Did I mention that I lost 3 pounds!!!  Can’t say that with many vacations, let alone a cruise.  The food was good, I wouldn’t say amazing, but I was able to get oil-free and gluten-free at every meal without any hassle.  And every dish had the ingredients listed in case of  food allergies – many took a photo with their phone of the menus for easy reference.  Surprisingly, I was never hungry, each meal had four-courses, breakfast, lunch and dinner – 4 courses!  I never had to break into my emergency food stash while on board.  Oh, and you still get to have fun, there were pizza and ice cream socials almost every night.

This year there were 1,700 participants, we didn’t quite take over the 4,000 person cruise ship, but if things keep expanded like they are, a 100% cruise could be in our future!  It was so refreshing to meet so many like minded people, I made a ton of new friends.  Every meal I was meeting someone new and learning about their own unique vegan story as well as their life - people from all over the world and of all ages!

For those of you who like to mix business with pleasure, CME/CE credits are available for most classes. 

Next year is going to be a big year for HHS; it’s their 15th anniversary and as such they are extending the cruise to 10 days!  By moving it up to February 15-25, 2018, they are taking advantage of President’s Day, which many get the day off from work.  They already have the speakers lined up and it looks to be another fantastic offering and learning experience.  And check out these ports of call - Martinique; St. Kitts and Nevis; Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Freeport, Bahamas!

If you have trouble traveling vegan or as a healthy whole-food, plant-based, oil-free vegan, check out Holistic Holiday At Sea, this cruise will keep you on track and is the opportunity of a lifetime!

Keep it healthy!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hoff's Orange Rice (Instant Pot)

Hoff's Orange Rice (Instant Pot)
Yields: 3-4 Servings
meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, oil-free, soy-free, gluten-free

  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1 15 oz. can Mandarin Oranges in light syrup
  • 3 tbsp. chopped Cashews (optional)
  • Sea Salt
  1. Mix Juice & Rice together in IP
  2. Lock lid in place and make sure pressure release valve is closed
  3. Press "Manual" button & reduce time to 3 minutes
  4. When done, use manual release method
  5. Fluff Rice with fork
  6. Stir in Mandarin Oranges with Juice & Cashew pieces
  7. Season with Sea Salt

Hoff Thoughts: I don't actually chop my Cashews, I just throw them in a sandwich bag and bash them a bit with a heavy object, ah...Zen.  I also don't buy whole Cashews, too pricey!  Instead, I opt for their cheaper, yet still tasty alternative - Cashew pieces.  As I typically blend them to make sauces or break them into tiny pieces for a hit of crunch in dishes such as this, the cost effective pieces work out perfectly!