In EPIC Proportions – Eating like our Ancestors

Most people may not know that during the week, I eat mostly Whole 30/Paleo friendly. It started when my friend and I did a Whole 30 challenge and I realized that I have a dairy intolerance (my skin breaks out into a red rash, and I suffer from severe GI issues – TMI, I know). When I ingest grains, my stomach distends and I feel exhausted. (Don’t get me wrong – on the weekends I love a slice of pizza or bowl of cereal; I just know I will not feel optimal.) That’s why, I eat a Hunter and Gatherer diet most days of the week consisting of grass fed meats, wild caught fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When I saw EPIC in my local ShopRite, I was intrigued. Grass fed? Gluten free? Wild caught? Bars, Strips, and BONE BROTH? I cook my bone broth for 48 hours; now I can BUY it? Score! You could only imagine how I felt when EPIC sent me a box full of goodies to review…

About EPIC

  • EPIC supports improving animal welfare so all animals eat and roam free outdoors.
  • 100% Grass Fed, 100% Wild Caught, Ducks are cage free.
  • 100% Animal Based Protein
  • Paleo
  • Gluten Free
  • Made in the USA

Reviewed Products

  • EPIC Strips
    • Wagyu Beef
    • Venison Steak
    • Turkey
    • Salmon Fillet

All I can say is Thank God EPIC sent me the sampler pack of strips because as soon as my husband saw these, he grabbed one of each and shoved them in his work backpack. (Funny how I do all the blogging and he reaps a lot of the benefits…) Since we both work professions where lunch is usually on the go, these are fantastic! They are low in sugar, high in protein, gluten free, 100% natural, and easy to eat quickly. They give us the stamina to get through our shifts. What I like is that the Wagyu Beef is tender, and the Venison Steak is super lean with the right amount of salt. The Turkey is flavorful and the Salmon helps fills my fish quota for the week. There is no BS in any of these strips! You want meat or salmon? You have meat or salmon! My husband’s favorite was the Wagyu Beef, while mine was the Venison Steak.

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  • EPIC Salmon Smoked Maple Bar
    • Wild caught
    • 120 calories
    • Salmon is my favorite fish. EPIC’s Salmon Smoked Maple Bar is perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up. If I can’t sit down to have an actual lunch, but know I will be home in a few hours, this is the perfect snack. The taste of the maple mixed with salmon is perfect; and the texture couldn’t be better – it’s not too soft, and not too hard. I would absolutely purchase this again.
  • EPIC Bison Apple Cider Bone Broth
    • 14 fluid ounces
    • 8g protein per serving
    • Hand crafted, small-batch
    • 100% pasture raised bison
    • I was making my own bone broth. It took 48 hours in a slow cooker. It was exhausting. Buy everything at the supermarket, prep the bones and vegetables, try to make everything fit in the slow cooker, let it cook for 48 hours, let it cool, strain everything, put it in the refrigerator to let the fat harden, skim the fat with a large spoon…ugh. Who has time for that? EPIC’s ready to heat Bison Apple Cider Bone Broth is a time saver. It is also delicious. I heat a cup in the morning, and sip on it until when I leave for work. I love getting natural vitamins and minerals and not being dependent on coffee. It has awesome flavor. I don’t eat bison frequently, but I prefer it over beef since it is naturally sweeter. You taste the sweetness, then the smooth tart flavor of the apple cider, making EPIC’s Bison Apple Cider Bone Broth very easy to drink. Bone broth is great to give your immune system a boost.

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I am happy to have had the opportunity to try and review EPIC’s strips, bar, and bone broth. I love that EPIC makes sustainability and careful selection of sourcing of their products a priority. I enjoy looking at the pictures on their website, which consist of people being active and alive in nature. So many processed items are on the shelves…and so many people live sedentary lifestyles. EPIC is a part of a solution to the problem. They provide products that can change lives – starting with the rancher who raises the livestock to the blogger behind the computer. You are what you eat – and I try to eat foods created by companies like EPIC that are sourced responsibly, taste great, and give me a natural source of energy to power me through a day of work.

Visit EPICBAR.com to shop or to find a store near you.

Follow EPIC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Disclosure: I received EPIC products in return for a featured post on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. All opinions and views within are authentic. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started. 

Namaste.

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Best Bully Sticks – GIVEAWAY!

*This post contains affiliate links and sponsored items. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission to help support this blog.

Bailey is my two and a half year old rescue dog. We became best friends the day my husband and I adopted her. Bailey is my confidant, my side-kick, my running partner, and my little realm of happiness in this crazy world. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day at work to see her excitement that I am home. I cherish my walks with her every morning and night. Bailey is a beautiful dog; she is energetic, fast, and mobile, which we attribute to her clean diet and exercise routine. Bailey is just like her mom; she LOVES her snacks! Her mom, however, always makes sure that she eats well and gives her the finest of treats.

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Bailey with 2 of the 3 items from BestBullySticks

This week, BestBullySticks was kind enough to send me three items to review:

  • Bully Snack Bar & Training Treats
    • These are beefy treats suitable for dogs of all life stages. These could be broken up easily to be used for training. They are softer and chewy. Approximately 20 treats come in the bag.
    • Price: $6.39 USD
    • Thoughts: This was Bailey’s FAVORITE! She LOVED these! I posted an Instagram video (@realmofvibes) of my princess eating the Bully Snack Bars. I would absolutely purchase these because she scarfed them down! They don’t stand a chance in my house!bullysnack
  • Two – 12″ Thick Odor Free Bully Sticks
    • These sticks are 30-50% wider than BestBullySticks standard bully stick. My husband liked these in comparison to other bully sticks I have purchased because they do not have a horrid smell. Bailey is selective when she decides to indulge in these, but it took her close to two hours to chew from 12″ to 3.” I like that these are free of chemicals, preservatives, and additives. This is a fantastic choice for aggressive chewers.
    • Price: $4.99 USD a stick, but can be less expensive if you enroll in Auto-Ship
    • Thoughts: When Bailey decided to chew on these, she was a very happy dog. She laid on her dog bed like a primadonna and licked and chewed until her hearts content. I would purchase these in the future. The foster dogs would go CRAZY over them and they would be a great time occupier. bully
  • Ear Variety Pack for Dogs
    • This big bag contained 3 lamb ears, 3 pig ears, and 3 cow ears. The lamb and cow ears are lighter in color than the pig ears. These are for light to average chewers and contain no preservatives, additives, chemicals or hormones.
    • Price: $8.99 USD
    • Thoughts: Unfortunately, Bailey only liked the pig ears. She would lick and chew the pig ears instantaneously, but she would just carry around the lamb and cow ears in her mouth and drop them into her toy crate. Now – I donated the lamb and cow ears to the rescue. Dogs are similar to humans in the fact that we don’t like every food option in the world, right? Whatever you do, don’t throw anything out – please donate it to your local shelter. There will be a dog that likes what your dog does not.

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BestBullySticks has a lot to offer. Their website is loaded with different bully sticks, dog chews and treats, bones, food, supplies, toys, dental treats. They also have products made in the USA and an extensive sale section. One thing I feel that BestBullySticks could improve upon is the quality of the packaging. The seal doesn’t work well and the Ear Variety pack bag ripped on the side. I wound up putting all of the treats and chews into large freezer bags. On the website, in small fine print, is says to put the treats in the freezer or refrigerator because they don’t contain preservatives. I would make the print bigger on your website and add this to the packaging. I like how all of the treats are 100% natural, approved by the USDA, and 100% digestible. BestBullySticks is located in Richmond, VA. I would absolutely purchase from BestBullySticks in the future. They have so many great products that Bailey would love to try!
BestBullySticks.com

 

BestBullySticks is offering a giveaway to TWO lucky winners. Each winner will receive the three items listed above. Contest begins on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 12:oo AM and will end Friday, April 7, 2017 at 12:00 AM. Contest is open to continental USA residents ages 18 years or older. Winners will be selected through Random.org. The winners have 24 hours to respond via e-mail or another winner will be selected.

ENTER THE BestBullySticks

GIVEAWAY HERE

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Disclaimer: I reviewed items from BestBullySticks in return for a review and posts on social media platforms. All views within are authentic and my own. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started.  Always supervise your dog when giving any chew or treat as they can become a choking hazard. 
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Lili Aromatherapy Body Scrubs – GIVEAWAY!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and sponsored products. All opinions within are authentic and my own.

Showers are sacred. Besides my bed, it is the one place where I can just relax. I don’t have the dogs and cats begging for attention, my husband asking me what’s for dinner, or text message pings alerting me to the twenty million things on my to-do list.

Once a week, I perform a full body scrub. I like the feeling of exfoliating; I scrub my day or week away — all that “stuff”, down the drain. I was honored to write a review on Lili Aromatherapy’s body scrubs, which are from Sri Lanka, 100% vegan, and not tested on animals.

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About Lili Aromatherapy

Lili Aromatherapy was created by Rasha, who was been born and raised in America. She moved to Sri Lanka when she was a teenager and fell in love with the country. Sri Lanka is known for is their high quality essential oils that the natives use in beauty treatments. Rasha started Lili Aromatherapy the goal of sharing Sri Lankan essential oils with the world. She wanted all of her products to be of spa quality, convenient and easy to use. All ingredients are sourced from the tropical Island of Sri Lanka. Women from impoverished areas of Sri Lanka hand pack all of Lili Aromatherapy’s products.

Lili Aromatherapy scrubs come with 4 individual sachets (3.5 oz., 100 g, of product in each sachet) and cost $40 USD. Each pack is designed for one full body scrub experience. If used once a week, each purchase could last for one month. I always appreciate a company that sends a handwritten note and has awesome packaging. Each cloth drawstring packet is wrapped in clear plastic and contain four sachets. The sachets are waterproof, see-through and have a floral design with clear labels. I smelled the scrubs through the DHL bag!

Directions:

Rub small amounts of scrub onto moist skin, rubbing towards your heart to improve circulation. Once finished, wash off the remaining scrub with warm water. For best results, use once a week.

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The Lili Aromatherapy body scrubs include:

  • An Affair Amongst Jasmines
    • Amazing for glowing skin, helps reduce blemishes and scars, and soothes troubled skin. Recommended before a hot date or event.
    • My thoughts: I could smell the jasmine and sandalwood through the packaging. Holy. Moly. Amazing. The scrub has an orange/pinkish tint, and is finer than the other two scrubs. My skin is sensitive, and this scrub was especially soothing and left my skin soft and glowing. This was my favorite scrub; the smell was truly unbelievable and my skin was left soft from the essential oils.
  • Meditation Amongst Lotuses
    • Reduces anxiety and stress, tones and tightens skin, reduces fine lines and is purported to have anti-aging effects. Good to use after a stressful week or when you feel worn out or ragged.
    • My thoughts: Oh. My. Goodness. I have never heard of or used blue lotus essential oil but I am really glad I had the opportunity to experience it through Lili Aromatherapy’s scrubs. The Meditation Amongst Lotuses scrub smells like the biggest and best bouquet of flowers you have ever received. My skin was left smelling like floral notes. Very refreshing!
  • Serenity Amongst Lavender Fields
    • Perfect for reducing cellulite, reduces aches and muscle pains, and has a strong calming effect. This is a staple after the gym or an intense yoga class.
    • My thoughts: I love lavender. This is super relaxing. I smell the rosemary and sage, too. I used this after hot yoga class, before bedtime, and it put me in a very calm state. My skin felt fantastic; super soft and left smelling like lavender.

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The Lili Aromatherapy scrubs have made my shower experience more relaxing and enjoyable. The scents are unreal, the textures of the scrubs are perfect, and they really exfoliate my skin without any irritation. My skin is left soft from the essential oils. I feel like I am taken away to Sri Lanka when using Lili Aromatherapy scrubs. I felt like one sachet was the perfect amount for two showers. Realm of Vibes strongly recommends Lili Aromatherapy scrubs to help you look and feel amazing.

Lili Aromatherapy is giving THREE lucky winners a sample pack of scrubs (valued at $30 USD). Contest will begin on March 10, 2017 at 12:00 AM EST and run until March 24, 2017 12:00 AM EST. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Winners must be from the continental USA. No purchase required. Winners will be chosen using random.org. Winners must be able to provide name, address, and phone number for shipping. Winners have 24 hours to respond to e-mail or another winner will be selected.

ENTER THE LILI AROMATHERAPY GIVEAWAY HERE

Visit Lili Aromatherapy on Facebook and Instagram.

Namaste.

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In a Nutshell

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I grew up on bars. All kinds, really, – granola, nut, fruit…My mom would buy them in bulk at Costco and pack them into our lunch bags and backpacks. She would have several in her handbag, and store them in the glove compartment of all our cars. “You never want to be cold or hungry,” she would say as my sister and I were running out the door to meet with friends or rushing to arrive at the next extracurricular activity.

I also grew up wanting to be a food critic. I used to read restaurant and product reviews on new places and food items and think, “Why can’t I do that?” So thanks, Nutshell, for making my dream come true and making my mom happy that I have followed in her footsteps by stuffing your nut bars into every pocket, purse and facet of my life.

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This week Realm of Vibes has had the pleasure of reviewing  Nutshell bars. They are hand-crafted in Connecticut and are sold in bakeries, cafes, and farmer’s markets. Nutshell bars are also sold online (shipped to your door in 2-3 days) by packs of 12. Here is the  Nutshell nitty gritty:

  • All bars are: Organic, Gluten-Free, Vegan
  • Eco-friendly packaging: fully compostable cellulose material
  • Each bar is 2.3 oz (65g)
  • 5 flavors: Java, Devil’s Detox, Peanut Butter & Banana, Big Fig, Chipotle
  • Best kept in the refrigerator for optimal freshness
  • Motto: Fresh, Nutritious, Delicious

Nutshell bars have complemented my morning coffee as I blog on the weekend, are awesome to take as a pick-me-up on a long hike, and are an excellent meal replacement when taking a lunch isn’t a reality. Nutritional information is located on the website – each bar is approximately 320 calories.

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Here are the highlights of the four Nutshell bars I received:

Java

Crunchy with intense cinnamon flavor. Loved getting the pop of espresso bean and the hint of coconut with the almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews. Perfectly salted. Not too sweet, and perfect with my morning coffee. Hands down my favorite Nutshell bar.

Devil’s Detox

The cashews and cranberries really stand out in this one; I wish it had a thicker layer of chocolate spread (you can never have too much chocolate). I like how this includes flax seed, the ultimate detox ingredient.

Peanut Butter & Banana

I love peanut butter. It’s second best, only to chocolate. Whenever I make a protein shake, I add a scoop of peanut butter and a banana. This was incredibly delicious, softer than the other bars, but still firm and crunchy. This was absolutely fabulous, and Bailey smelled the goodness as soon as I took the Nutshell bar out of the fridge.

Big Fig

This bar made me feel nostalgic. My Nonno has many fig trees and my Nonna always made sure that when I left her house, I would leave with a big bag of figs. This bar was crunchy, had nice chunks of sweet fig that blended well with the cashews, almonds, and walnuts. Yum!

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In a Nutshell:

  • Absolutely delicious; whether on the go or for a sit-down breakfast the taste is unbeatable
  • I wish the nutritional information was on the packaging.
  • With shipping, Nutshell bars costs approximately $4 each. My health is paramount. I fuel my body with fresh, nutritious ingredients. The Nutshell bars serve as my meal replacement and give me the energy to sustain my lifestyle.
  • I love the compostable packaging and support companies that are environmentally friendly. (I compost and recycle!)
  • The flavor combinations and texture are on fleek. Nutshell bars don’t crumble and taste great a little cold from the fridge or at room temperature. You could also crumble your Nutshell bar on top of yogurt.

Nutshell, you get 5 stars, hands down! Be sure to shop small, and live large. Visit  Nutshell, follow them on Facebook and Instagram!

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Disclosure: I received a sample pack from Nutshell in return for a featured post on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. All opinions and views within are authentic. Have you considered featuring your business or service on Realm of Vibes? Please visit my Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started. 

FEATURED POST: Handmade Collars, Leashes & More by Just Dog Gone Cute

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Every foster parent and rescue organization knows the importance of taking good pictures of dogs that are available for adoption. It’s similar to online dating. Adopters scan websites to search for the perfect canine companion. What’s the first thing they notice? Fido’s picture. Kelly Andrews, owner of Etsy shop, Just Dog Gone Cute, kindly donated ADOPT ME collars to Caring Canine Connections. Thank you, Kelly! We know these collars will bring many happy adoptions!

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Bailey, not for adoption, but a great model!

Just Dog Gone Cute has over 450 items for sale including dog and cat collars, leashes, flower head bands and hats. You can find a collar or leash for any special need or occasion, like “Do Not Pet” or a “Happy Birthday” collar. The assortment is extensive, including holiday, wedding, patriotic and seasonal items. I was immediately drawn to the Adopt Me/Rescue/Blessed section as we want potential adopters to know that the dog is available, especially at adoption events and in public places like the pet store or park. These ADOPT ME collars help our foster dogs stand out in the crowd.

Just Dog Gone Cute’s collars arrived in adorable packaging. Each collar was individually wrapped in paw print tissue paper. A hand-written message was included, adding a personalized touch. The ADOPT ME buckle collars are so bright and fun! They are easy to adjust (remember to leave at least a two-finger width in between your pet’s neck and collar). They feel very study, but are soft against their skin. I feel confident that I could hand wash or put these in the washer (in a mesh bag on delicate) and they will stay intact. (Bailey and my foster dogs love to play in the dirt, so a washable collar is important.) Heath, my foster dog, was show stopping in the green collar. It really stood out against his shiny black coat.

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Heath, in a green ADOPT ME collar

I love how Just Dog Gone Cute has a variety of color options: yellow, pink, red, orange, light and dark purple, green, and blue. There are a wide range of collars (extra small through large), buckle, martingales (fabric or chain), and leashes (four through six feet, one sided or double sided). You could also purchase a ribbon collar or just the ribbon only.

An English idiom says it best, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Realm of Vibes and Caring Canine Connections thank Kelly for donating the super cute ADOPT ME collars. They are giving a fresh, lively look to the foster dogs in our care. In addition to shopping at Just Dog Gone Cute on Etsy, make sure you like Just Dog Gone Cute on Facebook!

Would your business or service like to be featured on Realm of Vibes? Please visit the Collaborate page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started.

Disclosure: In return for donating collars to Caring Canine Connections, Just Dog Gone Cute is featured on Realm of Vibes and social media platforms. Although collars were received complimentary and as a donation, all opinions within this post are honest and authentic. Caring Canine Connections could benefit from donations to aid in the care of our foster dogs. Please support artists, small businesses, and rescue organizations. Make the world a happier place! Namaste.