Vegan While Traveling

Vegan While Traveling

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Many people think that maintaining a vegan lifestyle while traveling is difficult, but honestly it doesn’t have to be.   Today I’m going to share a few tips on being vegan while traveling!

When You’re at the Airport

Ok this is probably the hardest part of traveling while vegan.  Many airports are not vegan friendly and if they are, the food can be pretty expensive.   Typically when I’m traveling I like  to bring my own snacks to eat while I’m at the airport and on the plane.  I’ll bring things like an oatmeal cup from Trader Joe’s and I’ll ask the flight attendant for hot water or I’ll stop by a cafe in the terminal and get some hot water so I can have my breakfast on the go.   I also try to pack things like bars, crackers, trail mix and chips.

Vegan.com is an excellent resource for all things vegan.  They even have a post about the most vegan friendly airports in the US.  Now, it hasn’t been updated since 2014 but it is still a good tidbit of information.   Caitlyn Shoemaker (one of my favorite YouTuber’s) also has a few videos on how eat at airports and how to pack snacks as a vegan.  Checkout my Vegan While Traveling playlist on YouTube!

While You’re on the Plane

If you’re flying domestically, airlines like Delta and American airlines offer Biscoff Cookies which are vegan friendly.  You can also call your airline ahead of time to let them know that you are vegan and sometimes they will make accommodations.  Please don’t try this with Spirit, they will laugh and hang up on you (I’m lying… I’m just bitter from that stunt Spirit tried with me back in May.   If your airline doesn’t have any accommodations check out Oh She Glows post on vegan travel snacks for your flight.

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Vegan goodies I took on the plane, cuz Spirit Airlines is WHACK!!!! – Cancun 2018

If you are traveling internationally on a flight that is more than 5 hours,  most likely you will be offered meals and snacks on your flight.  You can contact your airline and let them know your dietary restrictions and they will accommodate.   I’ll be traveling internationally later this month on Ethiopian Airlines and I was floored when I saw all of the meal options they had.  They had options for every type of dietary restriction like pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, low sodium etc.  Airplane food usually isn’t the best, but it’s always nice to know you have options available.

When You Get to Your Destination

While traveling abroad, I have yet to have difficulty with finding food to eat as a vegan.  Honestly I feel like finding vegan eats in the US is a lot harder than it is around the globe.

Here are a few tips:

  • Download apps like Happy Cow and Vanilla Bean.  These apps are kind of like FourSquare and Yelp, but for vegans and vegetarians.  You can look up restaurants around the world and see what food spots fellow vegans like and don’t like.
  • Look up hashtags on social media such as #veganinbangkok or #veganinlondon to see what other vegans in those countries are eating.  You can also reach out to other vegans on social media for insight on where to eat.  When I traveled to Iceland last year, I reached out to several local vegans to see what their favorite spots were.
  • Research the area you are traveling to.  There are a ton of of vegan travel blogs out there like The Nomadic Vegan that share food chronicles for fellow vegan wanderlusters.
  • Chat with your friends that have already visited the places you are going.  When I went to Sydney two years ago, it really helped that the friends I was visiting were vegan because they knew everywhere to eat, plus all of the restaurants there had a plethora of vegan options (Dear America, please take notes!!!)
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Me looking like proud mama with my lentil burger – Sydney 2016

Honestly, I’ve never had any vegan food I didn’t like internationally.  Oh wait, I’m lying!!!  While Amsterdam had a smorgasbord of vegan options, the food was GROSS and flavorless!  I told someone that the best food I had was french fries because everything else was edible but super bland.

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This coconut yogurt bowl I had was flavorless- Amsterdam 2018

While traveling domestically, I’ve experienced a little bit of difficulty but I have found that websites like Spoon University and Veganuary make it easy to find vegan food wherever you are.   Last year, YouTuber Sweet Potato Soul traveled from New York to California and stopped at a ton of amazing vegan friendly restaurants across the US. She documented her journey and spotlighted several amazing vegan friendly spots.    I’ve actually had the opportunity to try a few of them, so I know you won’t be disappointed.

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Breakfast at The Southern V – Nashville, TN 2017

Websites like Veg News have information on the most vegan friendly restaurants in the US and abroad.  Veg News also provides frequent updates on restaurants that are offering more vegan options.   I like to save their posts on Instagram when they post about new restaurants and new menu options just in case my travels take me to those areas so that I know exactly where to go.

See, it really can be easy to maintain your vegan lifestyle while traveling both internationally and domestically.  I’ll be sure to document great food places I try during my adventures.  I’m actually heading out-of-town this weekend so, if I find any cool food spots I’ll be sure to share!

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The Southern V

The Southern V

Over the  Summer I pretty much stalked Jenne’ of Sweet Potato Soul during her road trip from New York to California.  During her trip she stopped at some amazing vegan restaurants.  I made a list of some of the ones she mentioned so that I could try them out for myself if I had the opportunity.

One of the places she stopped at that caught my eye was The Southern V in Nasvhille, Tennessee.  The Southern V caught my eye because of their Hot Chik’n Biscuit.  I loooooooooooved the Hot Chicken and Fish in Nashville prior to me changing my eating habits.  I didn’t think I’d find a vegan alternative and then behold… THE SOUTHERN V! Every year for Thanksgiving I travel to Nashville to spend the holiday with my family so I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to stop by.

The Southern V is a to-go style restaurant that offers amazing southern inspired dishes for breakfast and dinner. I went during breakfast just shortly after they opened and the line was quite long.   There were so many delectable options to choose from on the menu and it was reasonably priced!

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After much deliberation I finally decided to get a combination of things.  I got the Hot Chik’n Biscuit, Veggie Scramble, and Potato Casserole.  Everything was delightful…  well I didn’t really like the Veggie Scramble by itself, but once I mixed it with the Potato Casserole it was BOMB I wish i knew the recipe because I’d make the potato casserole for breakfast weekly!  The Chik’n Biscuit definitely was my favorite part of the meal!  It reminded me of the hot chicken I would get from my favorite spot in Nasvhille.  It had a good amount of heat to it.  But of course…  I grabbed my trusty dusty ghost pepper from my purse and spiced it up a bit.

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I probably should have shown what the chick’n looked like… but I was hungry!

I also got a Waffle, for breakfast the next day. They use cinnamon in their batter which made it really good.

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The next morning  I chopped up some berries and topped it with the new Coconut Whipped Cream from Whole Foods…. I forgot to snap a pic, but it was pretty delightful!

Side note: the young lady that was taking orders was so super cute, and her hair… GOALS!

Things to Keep in Mind if You Plan to Visit The Southern V

They are only open on Saturdays and Sundays

Food is only available while supplies last….

There is a 4 donut limit for each customer.

Be prepared to answer the question of the week.  Last week’s question was “What’s something you hope to accomplish this week?”  I thought this was a cute touch, and reminded me of the goals I had set for myself that week and how much progress I had made.

There is no indoor seating, but they do have cute little benches and tables for outdoor eating.

There is no indoor seating, but they do have cute little benches and tables for outdoor eating. e prepared to wait. Their service is pretty fast, but there seems to always be a bit of a line.  But, I recently heard that they are moving to a larger location due to their popularity (I hope it has the cute outdoor seating).

 

I seriously can’t wait to get back to Nashville in the spring  so that I can go to the Southern V again… next time I’m going for dinner and I’m getting dessert!

Special shout out to my cousin Wynona for being more than accommodating during my visit to Nashville, she made sure that I didn’t miss out on anything during my first vegan Thanksgiving.  Oh and another shout out to my cousin Adrianna who insisted on putting bunny ears behind my head in every picture I took.

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You Don’t Have to Go Broke to Be Vegan (Budget Friendly Grocery Haul feat. Aldi)

You Don’t Have to Go Broke to Be Vegan (Budget Friendly Grocery Haul feat. Aldi)

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As many of you know, this year I switched to a plant-based diet.  A lot of times when veganism comes up in conversation, people always mention how expensive it must be for me to be vegan.  This couldn’t be further from the truth, I actually spend less money on food being vegan than I did when I wasn’t.  So, to debunk the myth I decided to share what I purchased during my latest grocery trip.

Since I’m balling on a budget, I tend to shop at more economical stores like Aldi.  Occasionally when I need something specific like vegan cheese, vegan yogurt, Larabars or tahini I may stop by Trader Joes (Subsidiary of Aldi) or Whole Foods, but for the most part Aldi is my go to grocery store.  If you’re a YouTube junkie like me, just look up cheap vegan hauls.  Vegan YouTubers like Caitlin Shoemaker, TheChicNatural and More Salt Please frequently post videos on eating plant-based without breaking the bank.

This past Saturday I decided to do my weekly grocery shopping. Typically when I grocery shop, I only shop for enough food for the week.  However, this time I made the mistake of going to the store hungry and without a grocery list, so I came out with a little more than I planned and I had to get really creative to make meals out of what I got.

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Here’s what I got:

2 Bags of Carrots  $2.98
Organic Kale $3.49
Quick Grits $1.29
Fresh Strawberries $1.39
Frozen Peaches $2.09
Taco Seasoning $0.49
Hot Dog Bugs $0.85
Steak Sauce $1.19
10lb Bag of Russet Potatoes $3.99
Organic Fare Trade Raw Sugar $2.89
Organic Olive Oil $3.99
Chipotle Black Bean Veggie Burgers $2.49
Cinnamon Apple Straws $1.99
Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa $1.69
12 pk Belle Vie Seltzer Water $2.99
Onion Powder $1.19
Fresh Pineapple $0.99
Bag of Lemons $3.49
2 Cantaloupes $2.18
Cauliflower $2.49
Cilantro $0.89
2 Packs of Blackberries $1.98
2 Cucumbers $1.18
Total Spent $48.19

I really feel like $48 is pretty inexpensive, but I also went overboard in the store.  Usually, my grocery bill at Aldi is right around $30 a week.

I’m sure by looking at my grocery list, you may be wondering how I’m going to make meals with just the items on the list.

Here is the menu for this week:

Breakfast
Fruit Smoothies
Fruit Bowls
Grits

Lunch
Southwestern Quinoa Bowls
Greek Salad

Dinner
Cauliflower Wings w/ Roasted Potatoes
Veggie Burgers w/ Fries

Dessert
Carrot Souffle
Peach Icecream

Snacks
Apple Sticks
Fruit
Kale Chips

Weekend Meals
Carrot Hotdogs

Note: several ingredients required for my meals I already have in my home

And there you have it, one weeks worth of groceries and I didn’t break the bank.   I’ll be sure to do another grocery haul when I actually stay within my budget.

Until Next Time…
@myproductaddiction

Online Grocery Shopping? My thoughts on Amazon Fresh

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Modern technology makes everything so much easier for people, I mean you don’t have to leave your house for anything these days.  You can have just about anything delivered to you thanks to companies like Go Puff, Uber Eats and Amazon.

Recently I received an Amazon gift card in the mail, and since there wasn’t really anything I needed to buy, I decided I would use it to try out AmazonFresh.  AmazonFresh, is a grocery delivery subsidiary of Amazon.  Its been around since 2007, first in beta and then it slowly spread across the country.  I first heard about it during a segment on some national news broadcast back in 2012 but of course it wasn’t available in my area so I had long forgotten about it.  Then recently I noticed my neighbors receiving deliveries, and a few people I follow on social media were trying it too so I was excited to see that it had finally made its way into the DC area.  I’m the typical busy millennial so I’m always willing to try anything that will make life a little easier.

What I Got fullsizeoutput_7

For my first order, I got bananas (a little brown here because I took this pic a few days after ordering), a case of LaCroix sparking water, a bag of cuties, almond milk chocolate pudding, strawberries, bell peppers, avocados, Larabars, blackberries, basil, vegan cheese and broccoli florets.  My total came to about $40, I’ll talk more about that later.

There were definitely pros and cons to using AmazonFresh, so here’s what I think:

Pros

I placed my order late Wednesday night, unlike many grocery delivery services AmazonFresh let me schedule my delivery for the very next day… I thought I would have to wait a few days for my delivery.

They give you the option of scheduling an Attended Delivery so you can be home when your groceries arrive, or you can just have your groceries left on your doorstep.  I chose to have my groceries left in the parcel locker in the basement of my building.

I scheduled my delivery to arrive between 4pm and 8pm and at 4:30 my phone was ringing letting me know my delivery had arrived.

You don’t have to worry about your food spoiling if your delivery arrives and you’re not home.   Your AmazonFresh delivery comes in refrigerated bags, and they can be left out for a few hours.  I didn’t arrive home until 4 hours after my delivery arrived and all of my items were still cold.

Refrigerated Bags

While a few items were a little on the pricey side, I was able to snag some really good deals like a 3 pound bag of cuties for only $0.25.  I thought it was a mistake but sure enough I got the whole bag for TWENTY FIVE CENTS!

Cons

Even with Amazon Prime, you still have to pay $14.99 a month to use the AmazonFresh service.  Amazon Prime is already $99 a year, I really don’t think people should have to pay an additional fee.  They do offer a free 30 day trial though, just like they do with Amazon Prime.

While some of the products were pretty cheap, I do feel like I didn’t get $40 worth of groceries.  The price for their organic produce was a bit more expensive than what I usually buy and a lot smaller.

I still found myself going to the grocery store because they didn’t have certain things I needed as far as seasonings, specific produce and condiments.

Oh, how could I forget?  If you don’t spend $40 guess what… you have to pay $9.99 for shipping.  If this is a benefit of being an AmazonPrime member… why isn’t shipping free???

Would I Use AmazonFresh Again?

The pros do out weigh the cons for AmazonFresh, but because of the $14.99 fee and the cost of shipping  I don’t think I’ll be using it monthly, because the way my budget is setup…

 If I’m ever sick or I have an extremely hectic week, I may consider using it because of the convenience.

Have you tried AmazonFresh?  What do you think about it?

until next time…

@myproductaddiction

My Favorite Trader Joe’s Items

Around this time last year, my obsession with natural grocery stores like Trader Joe’s started.  Before last year, I only shopped at these types of stores whenever I happened to be near one since they’ve always been in places that weren’t really close to where I lived.  When I moved last summer, I found myself being close to two Trader Joe’s locations and it has totally changed my life!

I shop at Trader Joe’s every Saturday morning, I always think its funny when I get in my car and my phone alerts me that it will only take me 5 minutes to get to my closest Trader Joe’s location.  I try to get there right when they open so that I can beat the crowd. I love that the employees are always super happy and they have a policy that if you don’t like what you bought, bring it back and they’ll refund you your money! No receipt needed!!

I always find the best stuff at Trader Joe’s.  Their unique product selection allows me to get super creative with my meals which is necessary since not eating meat can be so mundane.

Here are few of my favorite’s:

Cookie Butter

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I love love love the cookie butter! It’s pretty much the same as Biscoff Spread, but Trader Joe’s offers different varieties of it like cocoa, cookies & creme and pumpkin (during the fall).  I love putting it on their Butter Waffle Cookies.

Butter Waffle Cookies

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And speaking of Butter Waffle Cookies… these things here are crack! Easy dessert recipe: spread cookie butter on a cookie, top with a strawberry and whipped cream… SO BOMB!!!

Soy Chorizo

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You seriously cannot tell this isn’t really meat! Its great when mixed into scrambled eggs.  I always pair it with cilantro eggs and fried habanero potatoes…. nom nom nom! It’s also really good with the Red Split Lentils from TJ’s

Lobster Ravioli

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These are really easy to make and taste really good too! Although the instructions say to boil them first, I put mine in a baking dish; cover with sauce; add fresh whole mozzerella and a little basil and season with garlic salt.  Bake until golden bubbly at 400 degrees and BAM that’s dinner for a few days (if you’re single).

Cinnamon Apple Sticks

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These are perfect for kids and adults!  They really taste like apple jacks.  Look inside my purse or lunchbox and I guarantee you’ll see a sandwich bag filled with these.

Cheddar & Horse Radish Chips

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If you don’t like spice, then these aren’t for you!  These chips are made with aged cheddar and horseradish and they are amazing! I love pairing mine with a good vegetarian BLT… Yummers!

Mango Lemonade

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I’m not a big juice person, but this juice is so awesome.  It’s really good when paired with wine.  I’ve even made a mango kiwi sangria with it a few times.

Almond Creek Almond Sparkling Wine

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Think about if an Amaretto Sour ran into a bottle of sparkling wine and that’s what you have here.  This makes excellent mimosas or it can just be drank on its own.  Either way, its a staple in my home and the first thing I volunteer to bring if someone hosts a brunch!

This isn’t even half of the products I love at Trader Joe’s, I could seriously go on and one about what I like from there.  What are some of your favorite products from Trader Joe’s?

Until next time…

 

Fake Olive Oil?

It’s funny how as you get older the gifts you get for Christmas become so simple, yet they bring the most enjoyment.  Yesterday, I exchanged Christmas gifts (late I know) with a group of my girlfriends. It was a white elephant Christmas so, of course you never know what you are going to get.  This year, I got 100% extra virgin olive oil!  Now, I know you’re probably like WTH what kind of gift is that? But, this is actually a really awesome gift.

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Did you know that 70% of olive oil that is purchased by consumers is actually not really 100% olive oil?  The majority of the olive oil on the market today has actually been cut with low grade oils from other plants.

The crazy thing about this fact is that its almost impossible to tell whether or not your olive oil is the real thing.  Multiple tests have been conducted to determine if you can tell, and the truth is you really can’t tell.

Solid as a Rock

Some researchers say that you can tell by putting your olive oil in the refrigerator and if it becomes solid then its real.  LIES!  Even if the olive oil is cut with other oils, it will still solidify when cold… NEXT!!!!

Burn Baby Burn

It has been said that if you dip a piece of wick in olive oil and then burn it, the wick will  stay lit and burn without producing any noticeable smoke.  However, there are numerous oils that can keep wick lit just as well as 100% olive oil.  So, if the olive oil is cut with a good burning oil then… you get the picture.

Smells Tasty

100% olive oil should have a grassy smell to it, or so they say.  But to me, all olive oil smells the same… LIKE NOTHING.  When you taste 100% olive oil, it is supposed to leave you with a peppery taste towards the back of your tongue.  Again, all olive oil tastes the same to me.  Whether its real or fake I get the same end result when it comes to taste.  So, we’ve stumbled yet again on an unreliable EVOO test.

How to Get the Real Deal

So how can you get the real deal when it comes to olive oil?  Honestly, your best bet is to buy your olive oil from a local farmer.  If you can’t find a local farmer that sells olive oil, there are still other options to be sure you are getting the real thing.  Just like Birchbox and Club W, there are subscription services that will deliver 100% EVOO to your door.  Fresh Pressed Olive Oil will deliver 3 large bottles of Supreme Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your home for $124 or 3 small bottles for $87 per quarter.  While that may seem expensive to some (definitely too rich for me) people, it is actually a good value and you also know exactly what you are putting into your body.

So what do I think?  I think I will be buying this Robust Olive Oil from Walmart $68 for a pack of six.  Its 100% olive oil and it wont break my pockets.  In the future, I will definitely be paying more attention to the label when I go to buy olive oil from other stores.

How to Eat Organic on a Budget

People are often wrong when they assume that I spend tons and tons of money on my groceries.  The truth is I’m Frugal Fanny as some would call it.  I dont like to spend a lot of money.  Especially on groceries, but I also dont like to eat foods that have been genetically modified.

As many of you know, I switched to an organic non GMO eating lifestyle over the summer.  At first it was certainly an adjustment, I was spending like $600 a month on food between Whole Foods and Trader Joes…  Yea that got old real quick because I dont have the budget for that.  Many people shy away from eating organic because of the cost. I totally get that, however our health is extremely important and our bodies are temples and we should treat them as such.  While eating junk is ok on occaision (everything in moderation) we want to be sure we are putting healthy and non GMO/organic foods into our bodies to prevent having bad health and expensive health care in the future.




I have so many followers that tell me they can’t afford to eat organic but, guess what?  It doesn’t always have to be expensive to shop organic/non GMO.  Here are a few tips for changing your eating habits.

1. Do Your Research

Many grocery stores are taking notice of consumers wanting to eat more organic and non GMO foods.  Due to this, they are offering frequent sales and discounts on organic products.  Check the weekly circulars for your local grocery for promotional offers on organic and non GMO foods.

Look for coupons online for your favorite brands of organic products. Many companies offer downloadable and printable coupons for organic foods
Go to YouTube to get ideas for recipes and DIY snacks, which can also save you money because many of the snacks can be made with staple items you have in your home.

2. Travel For Food

When I grocery shop i go to numerous places on grocery day.   I Go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Fresh World (International Grocery Store) and sometimes I even go to other chain grocery stores like Shoppers and Giant.  

Many international grocery stores offer grass fed and organic meats at a lower cost.  Be sure to read the label to see whether or not these meats are indeed organic.  When shopping at these markets, you can find inexpensive cuts of meat and poultry for low prices.  A few weeks ago I got a whole chicken for less than $3 and it was organic!

 Stores like Whole Foods often have sales and discounts on their meats, check with the butcher to see if they have any meats that are close to their expiration date for even more of a discount.

3.  Only buy what you need

Because organic products are not treated with any kind of preservatives they go bad quickly.   I recommend shopping weekly and only for the foods that you need for the week.  That way you are not over shopping and you are only buying what you need for the meals you have planned.  Which leads me to number 4.

4. Meal Plan!

Each week before I go to the grocery store, I make a list of the meals I plan to eat for the week.  I typically only make three meals each week and I make two servings of each meal so that I have enough for both lunch and dinner that week.  This keeps me from over buying food, stay on budget and it helps me to stay organized for my week since I

am extremely busy  I cook my meals on Sundays so that they are ready for me to grab and go for the week.

5.  Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

I’ve never been a picky eater but there are certain foods that I’ve never cared like even before having tried them.  When I modified my eating habits to eating organic, I was forced to try things I never thought of before like lentils.  I hated lentils previously, but after trying them I actually liked them especially when I pair it with spicy sausages.  

Many of the cheaper organic products like legumes (beans) and quinoa will have you step outside of your comfort zone and try out new things.  I’ve tried sweet potato hummus, taro chips, yucca and many other items because they were on sale and fit into my budget for that week.  Normally I probably would never have eaten those items but in order for me to maintain my lifestyle change I had to step outside of my comfort zone and try new things.

6. Find Local Farmers Markets


Local Farmers markets are an excellent way to stock up on your organic fruits and vegetables.  The USDA has a Farmers Market Directory which makes it easy to find markets in your area.

If you are in the DC/MD/VA area there are several Amish Markets in the area that provide organic meats and veggies.  My Favorite is the Dutch Village Market in Burtonsville.  Check out their ice cream pudding… thanks me later.

As I’ve stated before there are many benefits to eating organic.  Its definitely a lifestyle change but its so worth it. Of course if you have any questions about changing your lifestyle you can always reach out to me (myproductaddiction@gmail.com) and I would be glad to share what I know
 

Until next time lovies…