Saturday, June 24, 2017

Flavor Your Life with European Extra Virgin Olive Oil Review

FTC Disclosure: Product received at no charge from Moms Meet to use and facilitate an honest opinion. Compensation for this post was received and post may contain affiliate links.





I made the switch to using olive oil several years ago and have never looked back. When I discovered I was lactose intolerant, I cut out butter in cooking and replaced it with olive oil. Honestly, I've never put much thought into which olive oil I purchase. It usually depends on which one is the cheapest or the bottle size I need. Little did I know, I've been missing out on taste by not looking for the best in olive oil. 

I'm embarrassed to admit that I never really knew the difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil until now. I'm glad I got a chance to participate in Flavor Your Life and to get a chance to taste the difference.



I put my regular brand of olive oil to the test in comparison with my new bottle of European Extra Virgin Olive Oil. What I discovered is that my regular brand tastes almost rancid and has a definite oily taste. The European brand has a fruity taste and definitely changed my basic pasta salad in a good way.

Besides the obvious difference in taste, I got a chance to find out more about olive oil.











What exactly is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
  • It is the fresh pressed juice of olives from cold pressing without heat and chemicals.
  • It must have a peroxide level below 20 milliequivalents of oxygen which indicates the amount of aging occurring from exposure to light or oxygen.
  • The acidity or amount of fatty acid must be below 0.8%.
  • Must pass a panel of expert tasters trained through the International Oil Council who taste for fruitiness, spiciness, and bitterness.
As a consumer, it's nice to learn something new and I love all of the information on the Flavor Your Life website. 

Why Choose European?

With so many different brands of olive oil to choose from, it's hard to know what to even look for. The olive tree has been revered in Europe since antiquity and there are literally hundreds of varieties of olive trees.
That means that the taste of the oil can very depending on the region and the time of year the olives are harvested. For example, olives harvested early in the season (late August) are underripe and produce greener oils which are more bitter and pungent. Olives harvested later in the season (November - December) are over-ripe with a mild to buttery taste. 

Some other regional tastes to keep in mind.

  • Spanish olive oil is usually golden yellow and has a  fruity, nutty flavor.
  • Italian olive oil is often dark green with an herbal aroma and a grassy flavor
  • Greek olive oil has a strong flavor and green color.   
  • French olive oil has a mild flavor with a pale color.
Tuna seared in olive oil.
I was lucky enough to get to try an olive oil from Italy. Zucchi, the brand I received and tried in several meals, is a 200 year old company run by the same family for seven generations. The company sources from the top olive oil growers while blending their oils in an artisan manner. I loved the artisan feel and taste of my bottle of olive oil. It makes me happy to know it came from a family owned business as my own business is a family owned business.

I am not a top chef nor do I even consider myself a foodie. I simply enjoy home cooked meals both basic and fancy. I honestly didn't think I would be able to tell the difference between the olive oil I usually use and the new brand. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fresher the Zucchi brand of European Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasted compared to my brand. It also has a sweeter taste than I'm use to.

I am glad I got a chance to be part of the Flavor Your Life Mission which aims to educate North American consumers such as myself about extra virgin olive oil. I can't wait to try some of the new recipes I found on their website but before I try any new recipes, I'm glad I used my new olive oil on my simple pasta salad first. That way I could really tell the difference. From now on, I'm going to pay more attention to the olive oil I buy. In fact, I am going to buy a few bottles from different European regions so I can start adding a variety of tastes to my meals.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Restore Gut Health Supplement Review

 I received this product at no charge from Moms Meet to sample and  give my honest opinion. Compensation was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

I don't always accept all supplements for review but when it comes to my gut health, I'm willing to try a variety of different things. The last few weeks, I added the Restore Gut Health Supplement to my daily regimen which also includes the use of probiotics. I like that the Restore is not a replacement for the probiotics but an enhancement. In fact, according to the company, Restore acts as a communication network that allows our bodies the support through our own bacterial ecosystem. Restore is supposed to boost gut biome diversity which in turn is supposed to boost immunity.*


I have two things I love about Restore. One is that it is made from naturally occurring minerals and does not have added sweeteners or flavors. This means it really has little taste and I don't have to worry about unhealthy ingredients. The other thing I like is that it is a liquid form. I have mentioned in other posts that as I'm getting older, I'm having a harder time swallowing pills. I'm always on the lookout for supplements that I can swallow and easily digest. Restore makes digestion and swallowing easy. For those who worry about the taste, it does have a trace taste of minerals but it is palatable and much better than a sweet syrupy taste.

As far as how I feel when taking Restore. I notice that my stomach doesn't get as gassy since I have been using it with my probiotic. I also don't feel as bloated after eating. I do think it's making a small difference in my digestive health but that is impossible to really measure.


I also got a chance to try the Restore Saline Spray. My nasal passages are always dry which leads to the corners of my nose cracking. I also hate the dust I get in my nose when trail running. I've been using the saline spray after my trail runs and bike rides and it is really helping my nose stay moisturized. I haven't noticed anything else with the saline spray but I'm really happy with what it has done for my dry nose so far.

I'm satisfied with the product and would consider purchasing it again although I am more likely to continue using the gut supplement than I am the nasal spray. 

Discount Code

Want to try Restore? 
My readers will receive a 20% discount off their first order by visiting 
and using the code B7X66JY 
Hurry, code expires July 16, 2017.

Restore is also available for purchase at GNC, health food stores and on Amazon.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Intro to Canyoneering: Yankee Doodle Canyon in Utah

Post contains affiliate links.

I've always wanted to try canyoneering. I already rock climb and hike but the slot canyons in southern Utah have always alluded me. Since it's not an activity I could or should do alone, I had to wait until my husband go with me. He graciously agreed to take me and his sister in a the short Yankee Doodle Canyon near St. George, Utah.

Getting There

The parking area isn't hard to find but the trail is a little tricky. Take I-15 to the town of Leeds and exit off 22. Travel north on Main Street through Leeds. At about 1.5 miles go left on Silver Reef Road and follow it for just over another 1.5 miles. At the end of the pavement, stay right at the fork. At the next fork, at about 1.5 miles, stay left. It's another 6 miles on the dirt road to the small parking area. We parked on the right. The trail is on the left. A pile of cairns marks the trail but we somehow missed them and wouldn't have found the canyon had we not stumbled upon someone to show us.
1st descent.

I've done enough rappelling and felt confident I could help teach my sister-in-law. After a lesson on how to set up the ropes and how to use the rescue 8 for rappelling, I verbally walked down the wall so I could explain how it's done. I know how scary the first time is when you're looking from the top. We used a 150 ft. rope for the first rappel. The second rappel needed a longer rope. Luckily we hadn't gone far and found a way to climb out as we had to send someone back to exchange ropes. We needed the 70 meter (229 ft.) rope for the second descent. This is the longest rappel and we didn't need to use the long rope again.

Top of 2nd rappel
Looking up at 2nd rappel

At the second rappel, the biggest challenge was getting over the boulder at the top. Once I maneuvered around, I had no problem getting down the wall.



After the second rappel, there are numerous down climbs. Some of these were trickier than the rappels. We were glad we brought a shorter, lighter rope with us. There are anchors near the down climbs and though they could be navigated without a rope, I didn't feel comfortable enough to try. 

The water in some of the spots came to my waist and was cold. I brought a wetsuit but the canyon is short enough that the burden of carrying the wetsuit wasn't worth it. For me, the worst part consisted of something alive and wet landing on my arm. It ended up being a little frog but with my reaction, it might as well been a huge snake. 



Down climb with smaller rope
The canyon has a nice mix of narrow slots and hiking areas. While Yankee Doodle Canyon is short, I would still plan about two hours to complete it. One of the biggest challenges with the canyon is knowing where to exit. After the last down climb and pool, a rock slab on the left marks the way out. A tree sits along the wall. Along the left, an arĂȘte or ridge and tree roots make it easier to climb. It can be navigated without climbing ropes since the wall sits at an angle. However, we saw a family using a safety rope anchored to the tree with webbing. After about the first 40 feet, the wall gets a a bit steeper but there are carved steps that make the ascent easier. Once off the wall, there is a steep but well traveled trail that leads to the top near the road. At the road, we turned left and walked less than a quarter mile back to the car.



We had a great time and even got a chance to see a cactus in spring bloom. I've spent enough time in the desert to know how little time the cacti actually have flowers.

WARNING:

Do NOT attempt this canyon or any canyons in the area if raining or even raining near by. Flash flooding is common and cause injury or death to those trapped in the canyon.

Mandatory Equipment:

200 ft. (70m) rope
Helmet
Canyoneering or climbing harness
Smaller 30 ft. rope or webbing for down climbs
Water and Food
Grippy shoes that can get wet (NO FLIP FLOPS)
Figure 8 rappeling device
Locking carabiners

Optional Equipment:

Wetsuit




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hikes for the Adventurous: Kanarraville Falls, Utah

Post contains affiliate links.
Slide past first two falls.

I'm always game to try new trails, hoping I will find that next hidden gem. Kanarraville Falls near St. George Utah is definitely a gem but definitely NOT hidden. In fact, the holiday weekend I hiked the trail was so busy, I had to wait to get around people. However, the family friendly hike is spectacular and a must see if in the area.


Getting There

We traveled north on I-15 from St. George and took exit 42, turning right off the freeway. A left at the stop sign leads north into the town of Kanarraville. At 100 North, turn right and head east to the end of the road. The parking lot is on the left.

From south I-15, take exit 51 past Cedar City and travel 4.9 miles south to Kanarraville. Turn left at 100 North and follow to parking lot.

Pay the required  $10.00 fee to park at the self pay post. The lot contains porta potties and fresh water to fill up bottles or water bladders.

Climb the stairs next to the information sign and follow the trail. 





More like a road, the first part of the trail makes a gradual climb toward Kanarraville Creek. We walked in our trail shoes past the first creek crossing and changed into our water shoes at the second crossing. 


Follow the footpath along the river until it disappears. Here the fun begins and it becomes necessary to hike in the river. I can't stress how important it is to have the right shoes. Flip flops are a disaster waiting to happen on the slippery rocks. Wear secure water shoes, preferably with a closed toe. I used my Chaco sandals and still managed to grab my toe on a rock.

The first waterfall sits about 1.75 miles up the canyon. A step ladder with a rope along the side makes getting up this waterfall easy enough for children and timid adults. The glare from the sun made it hard to get a good picture of this ladder. On a busy day, expect to wait up to 30 minutes to take a turn. We started the hike before 10:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend and didn't have to wait long to get up but had quite a wait to get back down.

The second waterfall creates a bigger challenge to get up. Luckily, I had a gracious man let me use his arm to pull myself up. It works best to go up the smaller fall on the right and not attempt the one on the left.


Continuing up the canyon requires constantly walking in the water. My feet ached from the frigid water. Wet socks would have made it a much more pleasant experience and I would suggest them for anyone doing the hike in spring or early summer.









The canyon widens at a point known as the slide. The higher water level kept the crowd from sliding down the mossy slide but on later in the season, it's not uncommon for children and adults to slide down into the pool below. This area also makes a nice stop for snacks or lunch. Also make sure to drink plenty of water. Most hikers turn around at this point but we hiked about another half mile through a narrow slot canyon.



The water gets deeper in this area and a bit swifter. I don't recommend taking younger children up this but those over twelve would probably do okay. I slipped off a boulder and fell, drenching myself. I was grateful I wore lightweight clothing that dries quickly. At the end of the slot canyonsits another waterfall with a ladder for safer passage. At the top, the area opens up but we turned around at this point. We were well over two miles into the hike when we turned around. Most trail informational guides set the hike at 3.5 miles round trip making the slides the turn around point.

A few things worth mentioning. A recent article by Bree Burkitt in the Spectrum notes that the popularity of the hike puts the town's drinking water at risk as the water comes from a spring near the falls. The article mentions that dogs are not allowed on the trail. I did not see signs stating that rule and would encourage the town to post a NO DOGS ALLOWED sign. I saw several hikers with their beloved pets. Please do not allow children and pets to urinate in the water. The townspeople have a right to be concerned about their water supply and those not respecting the area will cause restrictions   much like the lotteries and permits in required Zion Narrows and other National Parks.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

NOW Women's Probiotic 20 Billion Review and Giveaway

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.



I want to be ready for whatever adventure life brings me. 
Nothing is worse than traveling to my favorite vacation spots and then feeling too crummy to get out hiking or biking. It's especially hard being lactose intolerant. No matter how hard I try not to eat dairy, it still finds a way to creep into my diet which leaves me bloated and gassy.

Many years ago, I discovered probiotics. As long as I am faithful about using a good probiotic every day, my digestive issues are nearly non-existant* which leaves me feeling good enough to summit the next peak. 



I've tried many different brands so I was excited to try the NOW Women's Probiotic 20 Billion. I currently use NOW products and consider them high quality. The Women's Probiotic did not disappoint. When I look for a probiotic, I always check out the strains of bacteria to make sure I get the ones that work best. The Now Women's Probiotic contain the Lactobacillus Rhamnosus HN001 strain and the Lactobacillus Acidophilus LA-14 strain which help colonize and maintain a healthy PH in the vaginal tract.* The probiotics also contain Bifidobacterium Lactis H9019 which supports GI regularity and reduces bloating.* I always look for probiotics with 20 billion CFU which stands for Colony-Forming units. Now Women's Probitics has the CFU's I want and need. While I know supplements are not evaluated by the FDA and don't work for everyone, the Now Women's Probiotic worked for me in preventing bloating associated with my diet.


When trying the Women's Probiotic, I paired them with the NOW Super Enzymes and it was a great combination. I could rest at ease with my digestive system working the way I wanted it to. I didn't have any bloating or digestive issues the entire two weeks I tried the products for my review. I didn't have any abdominal pain getting in the way of enjoying an active lifestyle. I already have age slowing me down, I don't need health issues getting in the way too. Besides the fact the I feel better when I use the NOW Probiotics, I like that the pills are not too big. I have a hard time swallowing some supplements because of the pill size. The Now Probiotics are easy for me to swallow for two reasons:  One, the pill size is small enough that I don't get it caught in my throat and two, it is made out of an easier to swallow capsule.


Besides the fact that NOW Probiotics work for me, I'm impressed that NOW is one of the few supplement companies that use DNA fingerprinting technology to guarantee the identity, purity and potency of the bacterial strains used in their products and to identify possible contaminants prior to production. Since the FDA doesn't regulate the products, I'm glad to know that NOW cares enough about their customers to self regulate their products. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Giveaway Details

Now Foods has generously offered to give one of my lucky readers one free bottle of Women's Probiotic 20 Billion with a MSRP of $33.99. Please use the Rafflecopter to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Giveaway ends 5/25/2017 at 11:59 EST

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Super Soft PACT® Organic Clothing Review

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com), May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own. No monetary compensation received.




I spend a lot of my waking hours in workout clothes. My mornings consist of running, hiking, or going to the gym and inevitably running errands afterwards. I want comfortable workout clothes that wear well and look good. Since I sweat a lot, I want my workout clothes and athleisure wear to wash well and not hold the sweat smell I despise.

I've tried athleisure wear made from organic cotton before but this is the first time I've tried PACT® Organic Clothing. I fell in love with it as soon as I took it out of the box. The first thing I noticed is how soft all of the fabric feels. Regular cotton always seem heavy or stiff. Not PACT Organic Clothing. The cotton is super soft, breathable and lightweight.



I especially appreciate the breathability of the cotton in the undergarments. The sports bra and camisole fit well and dried fast while running errands. I like the underwear so well, I'm planning on ordering more by the end of the week. Not only are they soft, but they are thin enough that they dry quickly. They also don't leave obvious panty lines when I wear them with the leggings.


The hoodie works perfect for running errands on cooler spring days. While I never work out in a hoodie, it's nice to have it when I'm finished with my workouts or runs when  I'm wet from sweat but don't have time to go home. The leggings are comfortable and fit tight the way I like them for working out. I could wear the PACT clothing all day and not feel bad.

With so many things to like about PACT Organic, one of the best things is that the company works hard to make sure their products are ethically produced. I had no idea that conventional cotton is one of the world's dirtiest crops. It uses 16% of the world's insecticides and 7% of the world's pesticides. PACT Organic wants to change that. By using natural processes rather than artificial additions to grow cotton, the crops don't cause as much damage to the soil and the drinking water around it.


It's important to me that PACT Organic partners with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to make sure that farmers and textile workers are paid a living wage and that child labor is NOT used in producing their products. Social responsibility and comfortable products make PACT Organic a company I feel good about recommending to my readers.


Special Offer For My Readers

Pact Organic is offering my readers a 25% discount on their first order. You must use this link with promo code 
AdventureGals25
when checking out. Expires 8/31/17.

Be sure to leave a comment telling me what you think of PACT Organic or something you want to try.







Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Leather Wrap Bracelets Giveaway


Leather wrap bracelets have outdoor enthusiast written all over them. That's why we sell them on our blog. We also carry sterling silver jewelry for those who want to take it up a notch. My favorite is our Take a Hike Bracelet. It's how I feel most days.

Take a Hike Bracelet for Sal

Check out our products page to see our jewelry for the outdoor enthusiast. 

We want our readers to have a chance to win one each of our leather wrap bracelets so we're giving away all four styles to two lucky readers. Check out the four bracelets and enter for your chance to win all four. Want to order gifts for the holidays? All orders over $12.00 placed between now and April 15, 2017 will receive the Tree of Life (bottom left corner) free with their order. All orders must be placed through Paypal.
Giveaway Details:
Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. By entering, you acknowledge you have read the terms on the form and agree to them. Contest ends April 15, 2017 at 11:59 EST. Retail value of prize is $49.46. Giveaway sponsored by blog owner.

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

10 Tips for Staying Safe While Solo Hiking



Post contains affiliate links



If I had to wait to hike until I found somebody to go with, I would never end up on the trail. Besides for an introvert, hiking solo is truly a piece of heaven. 

Before I get started with safety tips, for ultimate safety, it's always best to hike with a buddy. 

Pack plenty of water: I have a friend who volunteers with our local search and rescue. He told me they do more rescues for people who have become dehydrated on the trail than for any other reason. One bottle is not enough and sometimes I don't know I'm getting dehydrated until it's too late. I recommend a 1.5 to 2 liter hydration pack for a three hour day hike under normal circumstances. In very hot weather, pack even more. You can never have too much. It's easier to dump water toward the end of the hike than finding it. I also recommend some type of electrolyte replacement. 

Know the area: I have a large amount of hiking trails close to home. I know the area well and know that I can often get cell phone service depending on how close I stay to the valley. Venturing deep into the backcountry far from familiar areas is not a good idea.


Choose a well marked trail and heavily traveled trail: Where I hike, any trail with a trailhead sign is usually easy to follow. Also, the marked trails are popular enough that even on a weekday, I always see other people. I know even if I get hurt on one of these trails, I won't have to wait long before somebody comes by.        


©Trudy Zufelt

Stay on the trail:

It's hard to get lost if you stay on an obvious trail. But I've known people taking longer than they anticipated on a hike and veering off the trail into what they think is a short cut. Even a smaller trail might not lead to where you think it does. My son did this once in winter and ended up running into a group of lost teens. If my husband and daughter hadn't gone after him, I don't even want to think of what could have happened.




Tell somebody where you plan to hike: I always text my husband or daughter my my planned hiking trail for the day. Even if they forget where I tell them, they can look back at their texts if I don't return home.


©Trudy Zufelt
Stay away from the wildlife

This is especially important for visiting tourists. I have a friend who works summers at a local ski resort. She told me stories of tourists who try to approach the moose. I have encountered moose many times hiking and know I need to stay far away. And yes, I was far away when I took my photo of the two moose. These animals aren't as harmless as they look. A moose will charge when it feels threatened and if you're alone, you probably won't make it off the trail.




Just last summer, I nearly stepped on what looked like a harmless garter snake. After I jumped out of the way and watched it scurry off, I was able to get a photo from a distance. To my surprise, when I cropped the photo, I discovered it wasn't a harmless snake but a poisonous baby rattle snake. These can be even more deadly than a fully grown rattlesnake and because their rattles haven't developed, they don't leave a "verbal" warning. That is why I would never bend down and try to pick up a snake.


Pack extra gear and clothing:
At a minimum, I carry an extra jacket, a small pair of gloves, an extra pair of socks in all seasons. The weather may abruptly change. I've been caught in unexpected thunderstorms more than once and have always been grateful for dry clothes. As far as gear, I always keep my microspikes in my bag during winter hikes or carry a hiking pole. It's always a good idea to carry a multi-tool knife and a set of waterproof matches in case I get stuck overnight.

Pack extra food: I like to carry enough bars or other food so if I get stuck on the trail overnight, I will have enough calories to sustain myself until I can get help.

Carry a cell phone AND a charger: Even if you hike a trail with no cell phone service, it still helps to carry a cell phone. Many of the trails I hike have cell phone service in spots. However, it doesn't do  any good if your battery dies. I carry a small solar charger that I fully charge before I leave, That way, I have a back up if my battery dies and a way to charge the charger again.



Know your limits: That fourteen mile round trip hike to Mt. Timpanogos sounds amazing but if the most I've ever hiked is five miles, I save the longer hike for a day when I can bring someone with. It also might be tempting to hike that peak on a snowy day but I make sure I'm capable of getting up and back before dark.





©Trudy Zufelt

This world is amazing. Don't miss it waiting for others. It's okay to explore on your own but please play it safe.