My Latest Food and Beauty Haul: Old Stand-Bys and New Favorites

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Yipeeee!  It’s so exciting getting a package in the mail, don’t you agree? It feels like Christmas when I finally get to tear into my order and lovingly unwrap each item. Especially when said package is from my favorite online health and beauty shop, Vitacost. I’ve sung the praises of this amazing “everything under the sun” virtual health food store in past posts. Every few months, I like to catch one of their fabulous sales and reorder some of my food and natural beauty care staples, and try a couple new products while I’m at it. The prices are awesome (especially when there are special sales), they’re known for their friendly service, and there’s free shipping for orders over $49 (shipping is also free if you spend $25 in Vitacost brands). Most of the goodies I buy would cost me up to twice as much at one of our local health food stores. While I still like to shop locally for many items, Vitacost is great for those spendier and specialty products. For the record, I’m not affiliated with Vitacost, just a huge fan of much-cheaper health and beauty. Today I thought I’d share some of my recent fun finds, and how I like to use some of these products.

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1. Acure Argan Oil

I’d been wanting to replenish one of my favorite oils, argan oil, for some time, but couldn’t stand spending upwards of $13 (or more) a bottle. Imagine my excitement when I found this little beaut on sale at Vitacost for only $6.99!  It’s Acure brand, which I’m already a big fan of, so I was pretty confident that it would be a high quality oil. And I was right! I’m loving it. It isn’t as thick and viscous as some of the other argan oils I’ve tried. Instead, it’s silky, easily smoothed over my skin, and absorbs quickly. It’s also organic. Other uses for argan oil: rub a few pumps into the ends of your hair, or throughout the entire length, and leave on for as long as possible before shampooing out (sometimes I leave it on overnight), it also makes a great cuticle repair oil, and is great for the extra dry skin on elbows and heels. This 100% pure argan oil is “Incredibly rich in Vitamin E, Essential Fatty Acids, and Proteins, Argan Oil helps fight lines, repair imperfections, minimize scars + stretch marks; all while restoring texture, elasticity and tone. Lightweight and easily absorbed! This oil is often referred to as “liquid gold” so get yourself some beauty bling!” SOLD! I just checked and it’s still on sale while supplies last, so get going!

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2. Desert Essence Organic Hand and Body Lotion

I love Desert Essence brand beauty products! They are made with natural ingredients, are cruelty free, and many are organic as well. Best of all, they are affordable, especially on Vitacost.  I nabbed this lovely moisturizer for just $4.76!  I tried a new scent this time, the Sweet Almond. It is a subtle and light aroma, and not too noticeable, which is fine with me. I’ve also tried the Coconut scent, which is quite lovely and a tad more aromatic. I’ve used this a few times after a shower and it has a nice rich consistency, very moisturizing, with no greasy feel.  In addition to this lotion, I also reordered my favorite Desert Essences coconut shampoo, since it was still on sale for just $3.97!

???????????????????????????????3. Simply Organic Vanilla Extract                                                                                                                                                                                                            I seem to go through a lot of vanilla extract. I use it in healthy baked goods and homemade sweet treats, oatmeal, smoothies, and warm drinks. Since I was running out, I decided to give this brand a try. It was on sale for $4.49, a pretty good deal compared with the 2 oz size bottles of organic vanilla at the health food store.

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Vitacost has a great variety of noodles and pastas, both whole grain and gluten-free. I love soba noodles and I was excited to give these organic, non-gmo, wheat and buckwheat noodles a try. At just $2.49 a package and no minimum purchase, I happily added them to my online shopping cart. I don’t shun all wheat products, (fortunately our family has no sensitivity or allergies to gluten) but I do like to buy organic when possible. We like to serve noodles with our weekly stir fry instead of rice, for a nice change of pace. They are a great time saver too, cooking up in just 5 minutes.

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5. Vitacost Certified Organic Pure Matcha Green Tea Powder                                                                                                

I have had my eyes on this product for a while now! Before now, it was either not on sale or on sale but out of stock. After reading about the health benefits of matcha powder and seeing it featured in many yummy looking recipes, I was extremely excited to finally get to try it. Matcha is a bright green powder ground from green tea leaves, specially grown in the shade and harvested young to retain the most beneficial antioxidents (in this case, catechins, the most powerful flavonoids found in green tea). A popular hot drink in Japan, matcha can be simply stirred into hot water and enjoyed. I’m excited to try it with hot non-dairy milk for a creamy green matcha latte, added to my smoothies, and I’m particularly itching to make some dairy-free green tea ice cream (one of my husband’s favorites). A quick perusal of Pinterest or Foodgawker can give you about 3 gazillion more ideas for using this green tea powder. (Pssst… I just looked and it’s buy one get one 50% off on Vitacost, plus they’re on sale at $7.99 each).

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6. Nutrex Hawaii Pure Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica   

Next up, another green super-power powdered food, spirulina!  I first tried spirulina about 6 months ago, when I saw it in my health food store as a sample sized bulk item. Spirulina is one of those super healthy “vegan” foods that many see as hype-y or hippie.  While I don’t think you NEED to eat spirulina to be healthy, it does boast some pretty amazing attributes. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that offers “protein, valine, leucine, isoleucine, omega-6, omega-3, vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin B2, iron, beta carotene, manganese, copper, and many other nutrients” [source] in a very concentrated form. It might seem like a new trend, but spirulina has been consumed by many different cultures since ancient times. The story goes that Cortez and his Spanish Conquistadors first “discovered” it in 1519, being served and eaten at the Aztec dinner table. Spirulina may help boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, improve eye health, and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes when consumed regularly. Spirulina is 50-70% protein by weight, even higher than that of red meat (which is about 25% protein by weight). Furthermore, it contains all of the essential amino acids, and the protein is of a highly digestible type. It is currently being studied as a possible solution to the enormous and devastating issue of malnourishment in impoverished countries. I’m not gonna lie, it smells a bit like fish food, but if used creatively, it is barely detectable. My favorite way to use it so far is in Kathy’s Sprirulina Shake, it is delicious! This spirulina, in my opinion, doesn’t have as strong of a taste as the other kinds I’ve tried, and it is on sale for a great price on Vitacost.  Score!

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7.  Vitacost Certified Organic Hemp Seed Shelled and Raw

These organic hemp seeds are an old stand by that I always like to keep on hand.  They are another plant-based protein power house. Just 3 tablespoons provides 10 grams of protein, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and a slew of essential minerals including iron and calcium.   I like to sprinkle it over salads, add it to smoothies, make non-dairy milk, and use it in recipes. I find the Vitacost brand to be some of the highest quality and least expensive hemp seeds I’ve seen.

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8. Woodstock Farms Raw Unsalted Almond Butter  

Last but not least, my favorite almond butter of all time!  This was the first raw almond butter I ever tired and I will always consider it the gold-standard of almond butter.  It’s drippy and yummy and oh so heavenly.  I like to drizzle it over oatmeal, apples, toast, pancakes, or just eat it by the spoonful!  I use it in a lot of recipes, in my smoothies, and you can even make a quick almond milk by adding a tablespoon and a cup of water to your blender and giving it a whirl. This lovely item is MUCH more expensive at my favorite health food store, so I like to order it online every so often. It’s still a little pricey, especially considering the rate at which I plow through a jar , so this is just a once in a while treat. Sometimes Vitacost has great buy one get one 50% off deals and sale prices, and then I’ll get a couple jars at a time.

Please Share!  Where do you find the best health food and natural beauty deals and steals?!                                                                                                           

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