Never say never. I am becoming the person I said I never would. You just never know I guess!? I always thought I’d never be giving in to eating chia seeds or using coconut oil. I get kind of annoyed at the hype behind these so-called health foods and uses. But, now I am that person. Oh well! I was lucky enough to be gifted with a $50 gift card to Swanson Health Products (thank you!!), so I wanted to share a little bit about that company and what I purchased for $50 AND a few ideas on how to use the products I purchased.
I have been using the protein powder I talk about below for the past few months. I had been ordering it from Amazon but I saw it was shipped from Swanson’s. So I thought why don’t I just go to their website and use them instead of Amazon? Swanson’s has quick and cheap shipping. They are primarily an online company but they do have a small store in downtown Fargo as well.
Swanson Health Products is a huge company. Have you ever heard of it? My husband actually used to work there when we lived in Fargo. But, the whole time he worked there I never bought a single item from them. It’s kind of crazy really. I wasn’t as much into health and fitness then and thought all the vitamins they sold was just a bunch of hype. Ummm, whoops. Kind of regret that now. Ha.
Swanson Health Products (SHP) – you can learn all about their history here, but here is a quick rundown:
- Swanson’s is family owned since its beginning in 1969.
- Swanson’s is a strong corporate citizen and supports many activities in the Fargo-Moorhead area, such as the Fargo Marathon and Special Olympics.
- Dedicated to customer service.
- They offer low prices on items because they are able to offer products direct.
- Guarantees – SHP guarantees 100% satisfaction, money back guarantee and price matching.
- Not mentioned online, but SHP employs probably around 400 people of many different nationalities.
- I love the website – easy to see nutritional facts, product descriptions, and customer rating and reviews. Kind of similar to Amazon.
Pictured above is what I purchased – I describe each product below and how I’m using it.
- Ideal source of protein and branched chain amino acids for muscle development
- Provides important immune factors for wellness
- Ultrafiltered under low temperatures
I am trying to grow my muscles (it’s going very slow) and I like to take this extra protein at breakfast. I love meat and getting protein from meat, but not at breakfast. I like this mixed with yogurt or fruit, or in a smoothie. Some protein powders are super spendy and high in calories, I like the stats on this and it mixes in very well/smooth with food or drink. I also use them in pancakes. I believe there are some people out there who think cooking or baking with the powder makes it ineffective but I’m not one of those people. I mean I’m not exactly an Olympian so I’m not too worried about it.
Organic ground flaxseed – Badia brand – $4.99 for 16 oz, 30 servings. From the website:
Here’s an easy and convenient way to add omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to your daily diet. Badia Ground Flax Seed is certified gluten free and organic, making it suitable for most dietary needs. Flax has been widely used for over 100 years due to it being a strong, natural source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Use it to make breads or other baked goods, sprinkle it over yogurt or salads or add it to your daily smoothie. It’s a great source of fiber, too!
So far I have added this to my “healthy” cookies I bake almost every week. I can’t really tell a difference in them when adding the flax, maybe a slightly nutty taste? It’s quite mild.
- 1 cup oats
- 2-3 ripe bananas
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
Mash your bananas and add in other ingredients. Scoop into tablespoon cookies and bake on a Silpat at 350 for 15 minutes. Store in fridge.
I like to grab these for a quick snack or after a workout. They are really good sandwiched together with some peanut butter too. Also, unlike “real” cookies, these are not good out of the oven in my opinion. I prefer them after they are cooled off and refrigerated.
White Chia Seeds – Healthy Origins brand – $9.98 for 16 oz., 30 servings. From the website:
Chia was cultivated by the ancient Aztecs and was recognized as a “superfood.” Healthy Origins 100% Natural White Chia Seed is a whole food with a neutral flavor that blends with any food while adding a punch of omega-3s, fiber, calcium, antioxidants and much more. Add to cereal, sprinkle on salads, or even hydrate into jelly!
So far I have added this to my morning yogurt (see below) and smoothies. I love how it gels up and make the yogurt super thick. I’ve seen a few recipes for homemade chia jam and I definitely want to try that out.
Bonus – if you are vegan or allergic to eggs (or don’t have any), you can make a “chia egg” or “flax egg” by grinding up flax or chia and then adding 1 Tablespoon of chia or flax to 3 Tablespoons of water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to gel together and you can use it for baking.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Swanson’s Organic brand – $21.89 for 3 lbs., 109 servings. From the website:
Our Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is minimally processed to bring you the flavor and aroma of fresh coconuts while retaining all of the oil’s natural nutritional goodness.
This versatile oil can be added to smoothies, used to sauté vegetables or to replace butter in baking—even on toast! Take it out of the kitchen and use coconut oil in place of lotion or shaving cream.
Swanson’s also has a blog and lists 50 ways to use coconut oil here.
I have used this to sauté veggies. I love the way it smells and can’t wait to bake with it. Like any oil, it is super high in fat so use it sparingly.
Another way I have been using coconut oil is by using a bit (a little goes a long way) as oil for my protein pancakes. I love these cakes!
Protein Pancakes – make 3 servings
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- a few drops of lemon juice
- 3 scoops Jarrow Whey Protein Powder, French vanilla flavor
- Coconut oil to grease pan
Whisk together the first 5 ingredients very well. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Add powder and whisk together. It will be slightly lumpy, that’s OK. If you need to thin out the batter, add another egg or milk. Heat skillet over medium/low heat and add 1 tsp. oil to pan. My recipe generally makes 6 pancakes using 3/4 cup of batter per cake. I add oil to the pan every other cake. These store well in the fridge and reheat in the microwave to toaster. I like mine with syrup or peanut butter. Or both.
Chocolate Almond Milk – Blue Diamond brand – $2.99 for 32 oz., 4 servings. I ordered 2 of these. From the website:
If you need a dairy free alternative to cow’s milk, try Almond Breeze Almondmilk from Blue Diamond. This unsweetened chocolate almond milk is rich and satisfying and only 45 calories per serving. The American Heart Association has even certified this almond milk as a “heart-healthy food.”
I have nothing against dairy milk but I don’t drink a lot of any sort of milk. I like this since it lasts much longer than dairy milk. I use this in my smoothies.
I know another thing I could make using some of these products are the Energy Bites or Protein Balls that I’ve seen posted seemingly everywhere on the blog world. I feel like they could probably be called cookies? I mean most have nut butter, some sort of honey and oats. They are healthier than cookies but, really. I’ll probably whip some up using some chia seeds and flax. It’s nice to have those when in a rush or when I am hangry.
I’m already planning my next purchase from Swanson’s. I urge you to check them out. They have so many products, not just vitamins. I’ll probably be trying out some more of those hyped up foods like almond flour, brown rice syrup, trail mix, nuts or try out Swanson’s own Peak Performance line of protein powders and pre-workout.