Recipes & DIY

I Bought a BlenderBottle For Protein Shakes... Then All This Happened

Thursday, June 19, 2014 by Anthony N.

Ben's BlenderBottle in a Koozie with Ice Water At Swanson, we absolutely love our BlenderBottles. At any meeting, you are likely to see 2-3 in the room - at minimum. They have become the go to water bottle for many of us - even if we aren't mixing anything and using the amazing powers of that little BlenderBall®.

One day as I was mixing my protein shake after a workout (Swanson has an excellent exercise room for employees - check out a pic here), I was talking with my coworker Archie about how I like to use my BlenderBottle for other things beyond mixing protein powder.

The BlenderBottle I have at home is basically just another kitchen utensil.  I use it to make scrambled eggs nearly every weekend. Beyond scrambled eggs, we use it for salad dressings, making gravy, mixing spices together for a spice rub and other similar uses. It's so versatile.

It also got me thinking, what do other people use their BlenderBottle for?

Ben keeps his BlenderBottle in a Koozie

 

Add, Shake and Pour

Using the blender bottle has a simple routine. Add, Shake and Pour. It's so simple and easy and can be used as a quick helper in so many recipes.

 

 

brilliant blender bottle recipes

 

My Personal Favorite Blender Bottle Recipes

 

blender bottle recipe for scrambled eggsScrambled Eggs

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour into pan and cook.

 

 

Chocolate Whey Protein Iced Coffee

coffee at room temp for iced coffeeblender bottle for iced coffeewhey protein for iced coffeewhey protein for iced coffee

  • 28 oz BlenderBottle
  • 1 Full Cup of Coffee that you forget about and reaches room temperature
  • Chocolate Whey Protein
  • Ice Cubes

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour into mouth.

 

balsamic vinaigrette blender bottle recipeBalsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup organic olive oil

The recipe I use above is from here.

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour on salad.

 

 

 

Additional Recipes from BlenderBottle.com

Chocolate Banana Nut

Banana Chocolate Avocado Blender Bottle Recipe
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

blender bottle recipe for buttermilk ranch
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Stir Fry Sauce

stir fry recipe using blenderbottle to mix
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Never Fail BlenderBottle Gravy

blenderbottle recipe for gravy - shaker bottle recipe
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Want More BlenderBottle Recipe Ideas? 

 

What awesome things do you make with your BlenderBottle?

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sunscreen, Sunburns, SPF, UVA, UVB... (Plus a Couple DIY Recipes)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by Amanda Hofland

It is that time of year again. The time when flip flops and shorts are pulled out, you take walks and bike rides in the park regularly, you sip a margarita on the patio, have cookouts with friends and family, and spend weekends at the beach or lake. Oh, and the time you often come home looking like a lobster.

Summer is glorious in so many ways, but painful sunburns are not so fun – not to mention harmful. So to help you stay safe in the summer sun this season, here’s everything you need to know about taking care of yourself.

 

What Is a Sunburn?

Basically, a sunburn is when there is visible damage to the skin as a result of too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

It doesn’t appear immediately though. A sunburn appears hours after exposure and is most painful 6 to 48 hours afterward. Skin begins to peel three to 10 days after the burn. If there is severe pain or blistering, you should see a physician.

Why It Matters

We all know by now that there are major dangers to too much sun exposure. The sun’s UV rays can damage skin cells and contribute to wrinkles, accelerated aging and skin damage, and some can even disrupt your body’s hormones.

 

What Does SPF Stand For?

Enter sunscreen to protect against those rays. Today, sunscreens bear a number called SPF, which stands for “sun protection factor.” This number refers to the level of protection against the sun’s UV rays, particularly UVB, which are the rays that cause skin to burn (notice that doesn’t include harmful UVA rays).

Generally, the higher the SPF number, the better. But don’t buy in to sky-high SPFs, which can give a false sense of security. You’d think that a SPF of 100 would give twice the protection of SPF 50, but that is not the case. The additional protection above 50 is actually marginal. It’s because of this that Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding products with a SPF higher than 50. Regardless the number on your bottle, it’s still very important you reapply any sunscreen often and follow all the other sun safety tips.

Sun's UV Rays

Current Sunscreen Regulations

Very Emollient Sunscreen - Fragrance Free - SPF 30

The FDA announced new sunscreen regulations in 2011, including banning “waterproof” claims on labels, the sale of towelettes and powders, and allowing the term “broad spectrum protection” on products that meet their criteria, which implies both UVA and UVB protection.

Critics are saying that these changes did little to actually improve sunscreen products and that “broad protection” criteria are too loose. In Europe, much stricter EU standards have been set, and the EWG estimates that half of the U.S. sunscreens wouldn’t even make it on shelves there.

The EWG assessed hundreds of sunscreen items on the market in 2014, and many fell short. Only 149 products met their criteria. On the good list were items from brands you can find in the Swanson store, including All Terrain, Alba Botanica, Badger, California Baby, Kiss My Face and Nature’s Gate.

The EWG also assessed moisturizers with SPF, and 62 products made the good list. Some of those items include Avalon Organics Vitamin C Moisture Plus Lotion, Andalou Naturals Brightening BB All-In-One Beauty Balm Sheer Tint, Mineral Fusion Facial Moisturizer, and MyChelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield Unscented.

 

Dangers of Sunscreen

Now, the downside to blocking the sun’s rays is that you’re not only blocking the bad, but you’re also blocking the good. Vitamin D, commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin” is manufactured in our bodies in response to sun exposure. We need vitamin D for healthy bones, optimal calcium absorption and healthy immune response. By slathering on the sunscreen, your body cannot make enough vitamin D on its own.

In fact, even before sunscreen, many experts are saying most Americans don’t get enough of this vitamin in their daily lives. Even then, it’s hard to estimate how much time you’d need in the sun to get your vitamin D allotment from sun alone. Factors such as your skin type, how much skin is exposed, time of day and time of year all play a role. An approximate estimation is just 10-15 minutes a day for lighter-skinned people between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

How can you get this essential vitamin but still be safe? Hint hint: we sell it. You got it – supplements! Most vitamin D supplements deliver 400-10,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the form your body produces from natural sunlight. You can also monitor your diet to deliver vitamin D through food, though that can be difficult to reach the right amount as well.

Another downside to many sunscreens is the inclusion of chemicals and bad-for-you ingredients in many store-bought products. See the words “paraben,” “oxybenzone” or “retinyl palmitate” on your label? That’s bad.

The good news is that there are some sunscreen products on the market that are natural and don’t contain harmful ingredients—a handful of those are mentioned in the above section on regulations.

 

How To Choose a Sunscreen (What to Look For)

 

Tips for Preventing and Treating Sunburns

  • Apply moisturizers and lip balms with SPF daily, even if just going outside for a brief period of time
  • Wear protective clothing, included brimmed hats and sunglasses
  • Choose shaded areas instead of direct sunlight
  • Frequently apply sunscreen with a high SPF
  • Limit your exposure to short periods of time
  • Avoid the sun when the rays are strongest (approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
  • Eat tomatoes to get the antioxidant lycopene, as well as dark green, red and yellow fruits and veggies to promote skin health
  • Take vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements for further antioxidant power
  • Apply aloe to soothe burns (and store it in the fridge for extra cooling!)

 

Natural Alternatives at Home

It’s also really easy to make your own sun care remedies right at home using safe, natural ingredients. The easiest way to make sunscreen is to simply mix plain zinc oxide ointment with your favorite lotion, and voila! To treat a sunburn, try a cool compress or cool oatmeal bath. Even a half cup of baking soda in a tub of water provides relief. Here are a few additional DIY recipes you can try at home to avoid toxic chemicals:

Homemade Sunblock Lotion, approx SPF 20, via homemadetoast.com

You’ll need:

  • 2 ounces shea butter
  • 2 ounces coconut oil
  • 1 ounce zinc oxide
  • Approx 8 drops of tea tree (or your favorite essential) oil

Directions:

  1. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil together. You can use a double boiler or a Pyrex measuring cup set in a saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in zinc oxide (careful to not inhale the particles in this step!). Pour into desired container.
  3. Cool completely before use. Store at room temperature and avoid direct sun exposure.

DIY Homemade Sunblock Lotion

 

Homemade Overnight Sunburn Remedy (use in place of aloe) via livinginanotherlanguage.com

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 100% pure coconut oil
  • A spray bottle (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pour the ACV into the spray bottle, adding a cup of cold water on top of that. Shake well and spray liberally over burnt skin. Have a towel on hand to blot up any excess that drips. Let dry.
  2. (Or if you don’t have a spray bottle, simply dab the mixture gently with a cloth.)
  3. Gently rub your skin with the coconut oil. Put on a loose shirt so you don’t get your sheets oily and go to bed. The burn should decrease significantly overnight.

DIY Homemade Sunburn Remedy

 

Tanning without the Sun

If you’re looking to get a golden glow safely sans sun, there are plenty of alternatives that don’t involve going outside at all.

  • Apply self tanning lotions (I personally use the Alba Botanica Sunless Tanner and love the subtle color and great scent it gives my skin)
  • Use bronzing makeup powders to sweep some color on easily

For any tanning lotion, to prevent looking orange and streaky, make sure to exfoliate well prior to use, and read reviews of the product so you can be confident in the reputation of what you’re using. And especially if you have sensitive skin, always do a patch test first so you don’t have a bad reaction all over your body.

These simple tips can ensure that you and your family can have fun outdoors this summer while staying safe.

 

Sources:

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/health-library/healthnotes/assets/health-condition/sunburn/quality-of-life

http://www.ewg.org/sunsafety/tips-practice-smart-sun.php

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/health-tips-2/avoid-chemicals-by-using-natural-sunscreen

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/health-tips-2/stay-safe-in-the-summer-sun

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/vitamin-D-sunlight.aspx

http://www.homemadetoast.com/2013/07/the-truth-about-homemade-sunscreen.html

http://livinginanotherlanguage.com/blog/2014/05/18/sunburn-remedy-instant-pain-relief-overnight-healing/

“Take Care of Yourself” by Donald M. Vickery, M.D. and James F. Fries, M.D.

Egg Substitutes: The "Why" and the "How" of Replacing Eggs in Your Favorite Recipes

Thursday, June 5, 2014 by Kaitlin W

Egg Substitute: How to Replace Eggs in Your Recipes

First we brought you Food Replacement Hacks and then Sugar Swaps. Now we want to continue with our efforts to expose the simplicity and “how to” of how to make the chosen (or necessary) swaps in your diet for commonplace staples. So let’s take a look at what to do with eggs.

 

Why Would You Substitute Eggs?

There are many reasons people choose to eliminate eggs from their diet: they’ve chosen to lead a more plant-based lifestyle (veganism and some forms of vegetarianism), concerns with environmental and human contaminations, conditions chickens are raised in, cholesterol concerns, or allergies. Regardless, we’re here to help make sense of how to replace eggs in your recipes.

But first let’s examine exactly what an egg does.

 

What Role Does the Egg Play in Your Recipes?

In a typical recipe for baked goods, eggs play the role of a binder or a leavening agent. A binder helps hold the recipe together, while a leavening agent helps your baked goodies to rise. And as you can probably guess, in a lot of recipes the eggs play both the role of the binder and the leavening agent. (Is it starting to make sense why people are wary of replacing them?) And let’s just be straightforward and say that if a recipe calls for a lot of eggs (like 3 or more) a replacement is going to be very difficult to find because the consistency of the finished product can come out pretty poorly. I bet you thought we didn’t have a solution! Oh, we do.

 

Replace Eggs Using the "Silken Tofu Method"

Purée that tofu! Tofu is great for egg substitutions in recipes that call for a lot of eggs, like quiches or custards. To replace one egg in a recipe, purée 1/4 cup soft tofu. So if you’re replacing, say, three eggs, puree 3/4 cup soft tofu! It is important to keep in mind that although tofu doesn’t fluff up like eggs, it does create a texture that is perfectly “eggy.”

 

Top 7 (Vegan) Egg Substitutions:

All of the substitutions below replace one egg. (Double, triple, quadruple, etc., if necessary to follow your recipe.)

  1. Ground Flaxseeds - Mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flax with 3 Tablespoons of water. Stir with a fork until mixture is thick, creamy and egg-like.

  2. Chia Seeds - Put 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/3 cup of water. Stir and then let sit for 15 minutes, until it becomes gelatinous. 

  3. Soy Protein - Mix 1 Tablespoon of soy protein powder with 3 Tablespoons of water. Mix thoroughly. 

  4. Agar Agar Flakes - Mix 1 Tablespoon of agar agar with 3 Tablespoons of water.

  5. Ripe Bananas - Take 1/2 of a ripe banana and mash with a fork.

  6. Applesauce - Measure out 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.

  7. Peanut Butter - Use 3 Tablespoons of organic peanut butter.

7 Vegan Egg Substitutions

 

VIDEO: How to Replace Eggs in Your Recipes

 

Not in a DYI Mood? Try These Popular Egg Replacers "In a Box"

Don’t worry, there are commercial egg replacement products (that we sell, of course!) which are especially simple and really geared toward vegetarians and vegans, as opposed to people who are allergic to eggs. These will work as a binder, or leavening agent.  Try these popular egg replacements: Bob’s Red Mill All Natural Egg Replacer and Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer

 

Be Smart With Your Egg Substitutions

It’s important to note a lot of these replacements will need to be experimented with to ensure you’re choosing the right replacement for the right recipe. For example, unsweetened applesauce and mashed bananas may be the perfect egg replacers in your sweet baked goods, but those may not be the best choice for your more savory recipes.

 

Sources:

http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=104
http://www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/TypesofTofu.htm
http://www.egglesscooking.com/egg-substitutes
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/egg-replacers

50 Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Better Your Life

Thursday, May 29, 2014 by Anthony N.

 

Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut oil usesScientific research on coconut oil has revealed health benefits that affect your entire body, inside and out. You've heard good things about it and now you have a tub of it sitting in your pantry. So how do you use coconut oil?
 

We asked our Facebook fans and coworkers how they use coconut oil. Here are some of the numerous ways coconut oil is used. If you'd like to participate in conversations about coconut oil or other natural health topics, I definitely recommend you connect with our Facebook page by clicking the like button below.

This post lists 50 different ways to use coconut oil and it also links out to a bunch of DIY coconut oil recipes to help you try the different uses. I hope you find it valuable.

If you read the entire post and decide you want to try coconut oil, you can buy some right here at SwansonVitamins.com. We're family owned since 1969, have extremely low prices, great reviews, offer free return shipping - it basically amounts to no risk shopping. It's why those 150k+ people up above 'Like' us on Facebook. Interested in buying?

Click Here to Buy Our Top-Rated Coconut Oil 
(Over 280 customer reviews rate it 4.9/5!)

 

Cooking and Eating

1) Cooking at High Heat - Some oils are unsafe to cook with at high temperatures, coconut oil is a great alternative. Check out our Guide to Cooking Oils to find  healthy cooking oils for whatever meal you are creating.
 
2) On Toast Instead of Butter - Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.
 
3) Eat it by the Spoonful - Coconut oil is that delicious and healthful. Enjoy one spoonful each morning.
 
4) Smoothies - Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's MCTs. Check out this post for the Top Smoothie Ingredients.
 
5) Fry Eggs - Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface and delicious eggs.
 
6) Popping Popcorn - A sweet twist on a classic snack! To make stovetop popcorn, you need a heavy-bottomed pan. First, add the coconut oil and popcorn to the pot. Coat the area of the pot with the oil, and use just enough popcorn to make a single layer over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a little shake to make sure all of the kernels are coated with oil. Next, place the pot over medium heat. Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly open so that steam can escape. It should take about five minutes for the popcorn to pop completely.
 
7) Popcorn Topping - Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn. Then sprinkle lightly with Himalayan crystal salt.
 
8) Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes to about 1/8” thick.  Place slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown.  Add salt to taste, and serve with salsa or dip. (Or just eat them plain – either way they’re delicious!)
 
9) Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking - Next time you make your favorite brownie recipe, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Your friends will be begging you for the recipe.
 
10) Pan Frying - Next time you fry up a batch of sweet potato fries or a piece of chicken, use coconut oil.
 
11) Grilled Cheese with Coconut Oil - No need for butter the next time you are making a grilled cheese sandwich. 
 
12) Coconut Oil Coffee - Adding a spoonful to your coffee is a delicious way to start your day with a huge energy boost! Here is a great recipe for coconut oil coffee.
 
13) Homemade Granola - Check out this delicious recipe for coconut granola.
 
14) A Spoonful in Tea - Allow some coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of tea. 
 
15) Salad Dressings - A simple recipe for a salad dressing with coconut oil can be found here.
 
 
 
diy coconut oil recipesCoconut Oil Skin Care
 
16) Cheekbone Highlighter - Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.
 
17) Shaving Lotion - Close shave and a moisturizer at the same time.
 
18) Facial Scrub - Combine coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt and apply to face each night. Washing it off is optional.
 
19) Body Scrub - Combine coconut oil and sugar. Check out this DIY Sugar Scrub recipe.
 
20) Makeup Remover - Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!
 
21) Homemade Deodorant - You only need a few ingredients in addition to coconut oil to make this simple deodorant recipe.
 
22) Homemade Lip Balm or Lip Gloss - Apply directly or create a flavored version with this simple lip balm recipe.
 
23) Diaper Rash Cream - Apply regularly to the baby's bottom to improve skin health.
 
24) Sexual Lubricant - Our Facebook fans swear by this one :)
 
25) Stretch Mark Preventer During Pregnancy - This safe, healthy oil can be applied multiple times each day to help moisturize your stretching skin.
 
26) Nipple Cream During Breastfeeding - Coconut oil is a popular choice for nursing mothers because it is a natural safe product.
 
27) Massage Oil - Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Not too greasy and with a relaxing scent.
 
28) Body Moisturizer - Apply directly after showering. 
 
29) Fade Age Spots - Rub on hands or other areas daily.
 
30) Sunburn Care - A great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.
 
31) Facial Moisturizer - After you wash your face, massage a light layer on your skin.
 
32) Mix in Bath Water - Melt about 1/4 cup in the microwave and add it to your bath water and soak.
 
33) Tanning Oil - Put in a spray bottle and bring to beach. Spray on to keep skin moisturized.
 
34) Dry Feet Treatment - Mix with salt to form a foot scrub.
 
35) Elbow Rub - Helps manage the dry skin on your elbows.
 
coconut oil cooking vs other oils
 
Coconut Oil Hair Care
 
36) Leave-in Overnight Conditioner - Looking for a deep conditioning hair treatment? Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed, and wash out in the morning.
 
37) Hair Flyaway Tamer - Use very sparingly on ends or areas with flyaways.
 
38) Defrizzer of Split Ends - Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.
 
39) Static Reducer - Rub your hands together with a little bit of coconut oil on them and run them through your static-y hair.

 

Other Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

40) Homemade Toothpaste - Combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Sweeten with stevia and flavor with your favorite essential oil.

coconut oil in jar41) Aromatherapy - Whether you like coconut or not, the soothing aroma of coconut oil is pleasing to us all and can help us wind down after a long, stressful day. Read The Beginner's Guide to Aromatherapy.

42) Wound Care - Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.

43) Metabolism Booster - 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.

44) Thyroid Supporter - Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.

45) Energizer - 1 teaspoon can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.

46) Oil Pulling - Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes before brushing. Read next: Oil Pulling: Health Benefits or Healthy Hype?

 

Using Coconut Oil Around The House

47) Season a Cast Iron Pan - Here is a nice explanation of how to season a cast iron pan with coconut oil.

48) Use it as a lubricant on small motors/electronics - One Facebook fan uses it to keep his juicer's motor in top working condition.

 

Coconut Oil for Animals

49) Feed it to your Dog or Cat - Coconut oil isn't just healthy for humans. Here is some good info on the benefits for dogs and cats.

50) Put It On Your Cat's Paw - Put half a teaspoon on your kitty's paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hairballs.


buy organic extra virgin coconut oil cold-pressedWhat Kind of Coconut Oil Should You Buy?

We always recommend you buy a Coconut Oil that meets these guidelines.

  • Organic
  • Extra Virgin
  • Cold-Pressed
  • Non-Hydrogenated

The image on the right is the bottle of our 54 oz Organic Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It is our best seller and of course meets all of the recommendations above.

Other popular brands (of course they are a bit more expensive than Swanson) include:

 

10 Out-of-the-Box Uses for Coconut Oil Infographic

Embed this image by simply copying and pasting the provided code below.

This post was written by , with the help of our awesome Facebook community. It was originally published in March 2013, and has since been republished with updated information. Last update was on: May 29, 2014.

 

These are some of the most popular ways to use coconut oil. There are hundreds of ways to use coconut oil.

How do you use coconut oil?