What Happened When 6 Whey Lovers Did A Blind Plant Protein Taste Test

We know what you’re thinking: Plant-based proteins taste like dirt. Ten years ago (um, okay, maybe five) that may have been true, but today’s plant proteins are smoother and tastier than ever—so good, in fact, that whey has some serious competition.

Whether dairy bothers your stomach, you live the vegan life, or your morning smoothie is itching for an upgrade, plant protein is just waiting to win you over. (And select tubs are 20 percent off until 2/25, if you need a little extra motivation to make the switch.)

We put a bunch of whey devotees in a room to prove once and for all that plant protein is seriously good—and we’re willing to bet that their three favorite picks from our blind taste test will make converts out of you, too.

 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein

With 24 grams of protein, four grams of BCAAs and four grams of glutamine, Optimum Nutrition pulls out all the stops in making sure their plant protein is as muscle-friendly as their whey. Made with a variety of plant-based proteins—from peas, brown rice, sacha inchi nuts, quinoa, and chia—and naturally flavored and sweetened, Optimum Nutrition’s plant protein was the across-the-board favorite of our taste-testers. The vanilla’s pleasant ‘note of cinnamon’ and the chocolate’s ‘mocha-y vibe’ make these proteins delicious when mixed with plain ol’ water. Once you’re hooked, try the berry flavor.

 

Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

One of the OGs in plant protein game, Orgain has mastered the texture and flavor of their brown rice-, chia-, hemp-, and pea-based proteins. A two-scoop serving offers 21 grams of protein and five grams of fiber for just one gram of sugar. (It’s sweetened with a variety of ingredients, like erythritol, stevia, and monkfruit.) Multiple taste-testers identified it as the closest to whey, thanks to its thick, creamy texture. In addition to creamy chocolate fudge and sweet vanilla bean, the peanut butter and iced matcha latte flavors are also scrumptious with every sip.

 

Garden Of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein

One of our testers loved Garden of Life Sport’s plant protein so much she now swears she’ll never take another protein home. This buzzy protein packs everything the most active us could need from a protein supplement, including 30 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, five grams of glutamine, probiotics, tart cherry, and turmeric. The chocolate and vanilla flavors are simple and un-messed-with; our taste-testers said they’d drink them both with H20 and in smoothies.

Blind Taste Test: Which Natural Proteins Reigned Supreme?

The clean eating trend is no longer just for hippies and health nuts. And if you’re looking for a cleaner, meaner whey protein supplement, you’ve got plenty of options. But can a shake really exude the spirit of a chocolate fudge brownie or vanilla ice cream without artificial flavors and sweeteners? Yes, friends. Yes, it can.

We gathered a bunch of whey lovers in one room to taste test shake after shake (chocolate and vanilla), and pit the latest and greatest natural proteins against each other.

Here were their top picks.

 

Garden Of Life Organic Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Garden of Life has finally gifted us all with a line of organic whey proteins. Our expectations of the latest product from the leader in super-clean, natural supplements were high, but we weren’t disappointed: Both the chocolate cacao and vanilla flavors were crowd favorites. The vanilla had a ‘buttery vanilla flavor’ that our taste-testers compared to vanilla pudding, and said they could sip on all day. Meanwhile, the chocolate boasted a ‘pleasant, genuine cocoa flavor.’ Garden of Life uses ingredients like organic cacao, organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, and organic stevia for flavor that’s rich (but real!) and a serving packs 21 grams of protein.

Want to mix things up? Try the strawberry or peanut butter flavors.

 

Optimum Nutrition Naturally-Flavored Gold Standard 100% Whey

It was only a matter of time before protein giant Optimum Nutrition launched a natural whey protein—and no surprise that it was another taste test winner. With 24 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of BCAAs, it packs all the muscle-building power of your favorite Gold Standard, but swaps out artificial sweeteners for good ol’ sugar (just four grams a serving, don’t worry). Taste-testers loved the smooth, subtly sweet flavor of the vanilla and compared the chocolate to hot cocoa.

 

Isopure Natural Whey Protein Isolate

With just three grams of carbs and a solid 25 grams of protein per scoop, Isopure’s natural protein also swaps artificial flavors and sweeteners for sugar. The testers’ taste buds loved Isopure’s slightly thicker consistency, along with the caramel vibe of the vanilla flavor.

Isopure also packs added vitamins and minerals—including B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium—for a more nutritionally-balanced refuel. Win win!

13 Fun Protein Snacks For When You’re Bored Of Bars

Protein bars help us reach our daily protein needs, satisfy our appetites, and squash sugar cravings when we don’t have time to sit down for a meal. But like any other routine, at some point your usual bar gets kind of, well, stale.

Switching things up can keep your taste buds entertained and your fitness results on track, and there are tons of fun and portable high-protein eats out there to help you do it. Here are 13 of our favorites—cookies, popcorn, chips, and brownies all included.

 

1. Buff Bake Protein Sandwich Cookies

Whether you bite straight into sandwich cookies or twist to eat the icing first, you’ll be satisfied by Buff Bake’s new cleaned-up version of this sweet classic. Made with ingredients you can recognize, like dry-roasted peanuts, whey protein, gluten-free oat flour, whole eggs, and organic cane sugar, Buff Bake’s sandwich cookies are guilt-free as can be. If PB isn’t your style, try Snickerdoodle or Double Chocolate.

 

2. Quest Protein Cookies

You already love their bars, and you’re going to love their cookies. Quest’s new Oatmeal Raisin, Double Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip protein cookies pack 15 grams of protein and nine grams of fiber but less than one gram of sugar. They’re soft, chewy, and gluten-free.

 

3. Power Crunch Wafer Cookie Protein Bars

These may look like bars on the outside, but take a bite of any one of Power Crunch’s 10 dessert-worthy flavors (including Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Fudge) and you’ll become a believer in their layers of wafer cookie and creamy filling. With 14 grams of protein and just five grams of sugar per bar, they’re basically a Kit Kat’s older, more ripped sibling.

 

4. Nuts ‘N More High-Protein Cookie Butter Spread

Whether you’re topping rice cakes or apple slices, or just dunking your spoon in the jar, this protein-loaded (12 grams a serving) cookie butter spread will be your new go-to. After all, it contains about six grams of sugar less than your average cookie butter.

 

5. ProSupps MyCookie Protein Cookies

Raw cookie dough lovers will dig the soft, chewy texture of ProSupps’ MyCookies. The cookies’ seven flavors include Carrot Cake and Iced Lemon Pound Cake in addition to the usual crowd-pleasers so you can satisfy every craving under the sun (and muscle up with 18 grams of protein).

 

6. ThinkThin Protein Cakes

No sweet tooth can get in the way of your weight-loss goals with these low-sugar, high-protein cakes from ThinkThin on your side. The two bite-sized, chocolate-covered cakes make for a great afternoon pick-me-up or dessert.

 

7. Bhu Fit Protein Cookies

Plant-based eaters and carnivores alike will appreciate these vegan protein cookies. Made with organic cashews, plant protein, and sweetened with monk fruit and stevia, these cookies are perfectly crumbly and clean as can be—and they’re loaded with nine grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein.

 

8. Lenny & Larry’s Muscle Brownies

Already a fan of Lenny & Larry’s protein cookies? You’re going to want to try their brownies. Whether you go for Triple Chocolate, Peanut Butter, or Cookies and Cream, you’ll load up on 10 grams of protein while enjoying the rich flavor and texture of those homemade box mix brownies.

 

9. Quest Sour Cream And Onion Protein Chips

When you’re craving salt but need to hit your protein goals, swap your usual dessert-inspired bar for something crunchy, savory, and equally macro-friendly: protein chips. Quest’s sour cream and onion chips are just 120 calories and contain a whopping 21 grams of protein, with just five grams of carbs, zero fat, and all the eye-watering sour cream and onion flavor you could ever want.

 

10. MHP Chocolate High-Protein Pudding

Satisfy your inner-child and fuel your fit lifestyle with MHP’s protein pudding. This ready-to-eat treat offers 30 grams of protein (for zero sugar) and is thick and creamy enough to keep you satisfied. It’s a welcome change of pace when you’ve been chomping on bars day in and day out.

 

11. Icon Meals Protein Popcorn

Sweet, salty, and crunchy all at once, you’d swear this protein popcorn belongs in the candy aisle. And while Icon Meals’ extravagantly-flavored popcorns are a little more indulgent (they’re sweetened with real sugar), you can treat yourself knowing you’re also scoring an extra 10 grams of protein. Your taste buds will also go berserk for the Banana Split, Chocolate Mint, and Canadian Maple flavors.

 

12. Optimum Nutrition Protein Cake Bites

ON’s protein cake bites (they pack 20 grams of protein) are the perfect fitness-focused treat when cake pops and coffee shop baked goods are calling your name. Available in flavors like Birthday Cake, Chocolate Frosted Donut, and Red Velvet, these truffle-like bites have a satisfying, chewy texture—and they’re just plain fun to eat.

 

13. Enlightened Marshmallow Treats

Few vending machine temptations even come close to competing with the appeal of sticky, sweet marshmallow treats. With 15 grams of protein, nine grams of fiber, and nine grams of sugar, Enlightened Foods’ take on crispy marshmallow treats offers a more balanced alternative than what’s lurking in your office vending machine.

Have Your Cake And Eat It Too With These 3 Protein Cake Pop Recipes

It’s a universal truth that sweets in mini, bite-sized form are more fun. And that certainly includes cake.

Still, small as they may be, cake pops are still typically just itty-bitty carb bombs. That’s where protein comes to the rescue. Bake a fun-flavored protein into cake pops and you can whip up cute, more macro-friendly treats for the next time cravings strike.

Get your red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, or cookies and cream fix with these recipes from Andréa Marchese of Andréa’s Protein Cakery. You’ll never spend six bucks on a coffee shop pop again.

1. Cookies & Cream Protein Cake Pops

These sandwich cookie-inspired pops are made with BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24 Cookies and Cream protein, unsweetened almond milk, almond flour, baking powder, stevia powder, and Newman-O sandwich cookies. 

 

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cake Pops

Satisfy your PB cup cravings with these pops, made with BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24 Vanilla proteinsmooth peanut buttersemi-sweet chocolate chipsunsweetened almond milk, almond flour, baking powder, and stevia powder.

 

3. Red Velvet Protein Cake Pops

Your sweet tooth will thank you for these velvety treats, made with BodyTech Whey Tech Pro 24 Red Velvet proteinunsweetened almond milk, almond flour, baking powder, and stevia powder.

More Of Our Favorite Proteins

Try This Skin-Loving DIY Charcoal And Turmeric Face Mask

You’ve got a lot going on this holiday season, from office parties to New Year’s celebrations—so why not treat yourself to a facial with this decadent DIY mask? It’s got all the natural ingredients you know and love, like apple cider vinegar (which can tone your skin), turmeric (which can soothe your skin), and tea tree oil (which can cleanse your skin). Plus, it includes two buzzy beauty products everyone should have in their arsenal: Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay and Ancient Earth Secrets’ Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder. 

You’ll need:

Ready for healthy, glowing skin? Watch this video for step-by-step instructions:

Snacking Stuffers For Everyone In Your Life

Flowers and concert tickets are always welcome, but the true way to anyone’s heart is by way of delicious snacks. This year, skip the snowman-shaped mugs, corny key-chains, and patterned socks, and stuff everyone’s stockings with eats and treats, instead.

Everyone from your gym-junkie brother to your eco-conscious sister-in-law will be overjoyed as they sink their teeth into these out-of-the-box snacks. Our top 12 snacking stuffers will satisfy every sweet, salty, and crunchy craving—all without compromising waistlines.

1. Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Kettle Corn, $3.99

Cuddle up with a classic movie or get the party started with this sweet and salty holiday snack. Since Angie’s popcorn is made with simple, real ingredients like cane sugar and cocoa powder, you can feel good about licking every last bit of that chocolate-marshmallow drizzle off your fingers.

2. Kettle Bran Moscow Mule Potato Chips, $3.39

We know what you’re thinking, but trust us when we say that one of these crunchy, thick-cut chips will make you a believer that cocktail-flavored snacks can be a good idea. Every bite is such a perfect explosion of salt, lime, and ginger that you won’t even miss the vodka.

3. Barnana Organic Chocolate Chewy Banana Bites, $53.99 for 12 bags

This potassium-packed snack is a great sweet tooth-satisfier for candy lovers and health nuts alike. Okay, these bites may not count as a serving of fruit, but they sure are a high-quality alternative to our usual chocolatey sweet treats.

4. Quest Cheddar And Sour Cream Protein Chips, $19.99 for 8 bags

For a salty, cheesy snack that doesn’t totally wreck the day’s macros, fit-focused eaters need look no further than Quest’s iconic protein chips. For 120 calories, a bag contains a whopping 21 grams of protein, with just two grams of fat and five grams of carbs. Good luck finding anything in the snack aisle that even comes close!

5. No Cow Vanilla Maple Frosting Almond Fluffbutter, $12.79

No Cow’s fluffbutter makes the perfect addition to any nut butter enthusiast’s collection. Two tablespoons offer 11 grams of protein thanks to a little boost from pea protein, and the vanilla maple frosting flavor is every bit as decadent as it sounds—all for just one gram of sugar!

6. Ostrim Beef Elk Habanero Sticks, $18.99 for 10

When high-protein is high-priority, supplements aren’t your only on-the-go option. Ostrim’s beef and elk sticks are hearty, flavorful, and tender—and easy to stash in your backpack, briefcase, or gym bag. Plus, each 90-calorie stick packs 14 grams of protein.

7. Endangered Species Chocolate Company Extreme Dark Chocolate, $29.99 for 12 bars

This 88-percent cocoa bar is the ultimate pick for dark chocolate lovers—and comes with a purpose. Endangered Species Chocolate Co. uses ethically-traded cacao and donates 10 percent of profits to support endangered animals and their habitats. It’s a do-good, taste-good power combo.

8. Nuts ‘N More Birthday Cake High-Protein Peanut Butter, $11.99

Have your cake and eat it, too, with this sprinkle-filled nut butter. At 14 grams of protein per serving (but the same number of calories as your average PB), Nuts ‘N More’s birthday cake spread is a fun addition to any smoothie or slice of toast—but we usually eat ours straight out of the jar with a spoon.

9. Enlightened Sweet Cinnamon Bean Crisps, $2.99

Add crunch, protein, and sweetness to oatmeal, yogurt, or homemade trail mix with Enlightened’s bean crisps. Made from roasted fava beans, these bad boys are coated in just enough cocoa, cane sugar, and sea salt, and offer seven grams of protein and a solid six grams of fiber per serving. Crunch on that!

10. FlapJacked Double Chocolate Mighty Muffin, $3.19

Baking is hard—unless you’re stirring water into a FlapJacked Mighty Muffin cup, popping it in the microwave, and enjoying a warm, gooey muffin just minutes later. Every 220-calorie muffin comes with 20 grams of protein, six grams of fiber, and a dose of probiotics—so go ahead and spread the joy of baked goods this season!

11. Icon Meals Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Protein Popcorn, $9.99

Chocolate-covered popcorn is one of the most beautiful sweet-and-salty combos out there. Icon Meals’ protein popcorns make this treat a little more balanced by adding 10 grams of protein to every sticky, candy-coated serving. Set this stuff out in the party bowl and it’ll disappear in five minutes flat.

12. Buff Bake Snickerdoodle Almond Butter, $12.99

If our favorite cinnamon-y cookie and go-to nut butter had a baby, it’d be Buff Bake’s Snickerdoodle spread. The high-protein nut butta’ (13 grams per serving) is made with just a few simple ingredients: roasted almonds, whey protein, coconut palm sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil, chia seeds, and flax seeds. We’re so obsessed, we spread it on everything—even snickerdoodle cookies themselves.

Shop stockings-worth of yummy snacks. 

This 5-Move Kettlebell Circuit Works Every Muscle

What’s super-time efficient, challenges your entire body, and requires just one piece of equipment? This kettlebell workout from Nike trainer Kara Liotta!

Here’s what you do: Grab a ‘bell, perform each of the five moves below, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat. Churn out three or four rounds total and, voila, you’re done. This circuit fires up everything from your arms to your core to your legs, sky-rockets your heart rate, and leaves you dripping with sweat.

 

Boost Your Workout With A Performance Supplement

Gifts For The People Who Make Your Life Easier

You know those people who keep your life running when you can’t get your to-do lists straight? Whether it’s your on-the-ball assistant, motivating fitness trainer, or hair colorist who doubles as your therapist, these special folks warrant a special gift that says I value you. Here are a few to choose from.

1. Evolution Salt Co’s Himilayan Salt Lamp, $13.79


For the person who always has your back, this gift offers warm, radiating light for their own self-care. Perfect for creating a relaxing, subdued ambience in their office, bedroom, or living room, salt lamp lovers swear by their ability to cleanse the air of pollutants—which you can read all about right here.

2. Evolution Salt Co’s Himalayan Crystal Fire Bowl Salt Lamp, $35.99


If your recipient already has a salt lamp—and many people do, because they’re awesome!—why not give them their first salt lamp bowl? These pretty crystalline lamps can be used at the office or even as a nightlight. Bonus: They can be left on 24 hours a day without skyrocketing your electricity bill.

3. Now Foods Lavender Essential Oil, $26.99


Lavender oil is known for its relaxing, soothing, and calming qualities—perfect for that someone who always keeps your head on straight when things get crazy. If you’re unsure about essential oils, you can read all about them right here—from how to use them to what they actually do.

4. Nubian Heritage African Black Soap, $4.29


Treat someone special to a pampering skin experience. Used to detox and purify the skin, this natural soap is made with shea butter, oats, vitamin E, papaya, and other goodies. It exfoliates the skin without stripping it of its oils, which is key—especially during the harsh winter months.

5. Soi Company’s Soy Lavender Candle, $26.95


Give the gift of relaxation with this lavender-scented candle. It boasts a whopping 140 hours of burn-time, which means your gift will go the distance. Plus, lavender is a soothing scent, perfect for those after-work downtime hours or lazy weekends.

6. Aiya America’s Ceremonial Matcha Gift Set, $69.99


For the person who makes your life simpler, easier, and happier, why not give them some matcha love? With this tea set, they’ll get a tin of matcha tea (packed with antioxidants!), bowl for drinking, whisk, scoop, tea tin, and ceremonial tea-making instructional DVD. Each bowl is handcrafted in Japan.

7. Desert Essence Jojoba Oil, $9.89


This gloriously-hydrating oil is a hit with all beauty junkies. Made from natural plant extracts, it can be used as post-shower body oil, makeup remover, hair mask, or even as a scalp moisturizer. Plus, it’s got no synthetic or gross ingredients. A little goes a long way.

8. Takeya Thermoflask, $24.29

This is the sleekest, most well-designed bottle out there—perfect for anyone who works out, travels, or is always on the run. So, you know, just about everyone. With its leak-proof lid and easy-to-drink spout, it’s perfect for carrying or hanging off a bag.

Shop the full selection of gifts for people who make your life easier at VitaminShoppe.com.

Gifts For The Hipsters In Your Life

We all have that friend—the one with the trendy but laid-back wardrobe, who listens to the cool new bands and bakes vegan chocolate cookies. Whoever this person is—your brother, sister, co-worker—they deserve a thoughtful, unique gift that reflects their creative, independent spirit. Here’s your very own hipster-approved, totally hand-curated gift list. It’s, like, super bespoke, you guys.

1. SheaMoisture Beard Softener & Skin Protector, 10.99


This one’s for the coolest guy you know, with his flowing facial hair and a serious dedication to keeping it looking effortlessly good. A small price to pay for the envy he’ll draw.

2. Badger’s Beard Grooming Kit, $29.99


Let’s say your hipster buddy wants to crank his facial hair maintenance up a notch. This grooming kit is for the gent who also wants to keep those stray hairs in check. First he’ll apply the leave-in oil to his beard, followed by the balm (about a pea-sized dollop) in order to give it shape and hold. Bonus: Its pocket size means it’s travel friendly!

3. Evolution Salt Co.’s Himalayan Salt Lamp, $13.79


For the hipster who likes to work or play in a relaxing, inspired environment, a salt lamp is key. Enthusiasts of these decorative lamps say they also offer health-boosting perks, like cleansing the air and providing a respite from the damaging blue light of our phones and computers. Mostly, though, they’re just really pretty.

4. The Dirt’s Oil Pulling Mouthwash, $18.99


Why only brush your teeth when you can also promote extra mouth cleanliness with oil pulling? If you’ve not heard of this oral health trend, rest assured your hipster friend has. It keeps your breath fresh, your lips soft, and it may reduce germs, too. And, it’s full of wonderfully-scented essential oils, like pepperminttea tree, and rose.

5. Green Foods Organic Matcha Green Tea, $14.99


Perfect for the hipster who gave up coffee or who simply wants to dial up their intake of health-boosting antioxidants, this soy-, dairy-, gluten- and GMO-free green tea is the perfect mixture of tasty and rejuvenating. Just mix with six-eight ounces of cold or hot water—and voila! You’ve got a super-delicious treat. P.S. It can be used to make smoothies, cookies, and puddings, too.

6. SpaRoom’s Aromaharmony Diffuser, $59.99

Prepare to give your best gift ever. This brilliant machine blends music and fragrance (yep, you heard that correctly) for an ultra-sensory, totally relaxing experience. The AromaHarmony speaker works alongside a diffuser so you can chill out to instrumental guitar while surrounded by calming scents. Folk rock and lavender, anyone?

7. Takeya’s Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, $23.79


Cold brew is the newest (and coolest) coffee craze, no matter the season. Most people like their coffee hot or cold—as long as it’s strong. And cold brew leaves behind a potent, clean coffee without the bitter, acidic flavors you tend to get when brewing normally.

8. Nutribiotic Rice Protein, $33.59


Not everyone eats meat or drinks dairy, so it can be hard to get all the protein necessary to feel strong, mentally alert, and ready for the day. With this vegan and gluten-free rice protein, you can gift someone a supplement that keeps them healthy and happy—while tasting delicious, thanks to its vanilla flavoring.

9. Orgain’s Smooth Chocolate, $37.99 for 12 drinks


We’ve got the chocolate lovers out there covered, too. With Orgain’s high-protein vegan nutritional shake, you’ll gift someone plant protein (16 grams per drink) galore. It’s made with organic brown rice, hemp, chia, and pea protein, ingredients sure to get any hipster excited. Yum!

10. D’s Naturals No Cow Bars, $29.99 for 12 bars


Everyone—not just hipsters—loves healthy food that also tastes great. After all, you shouldn’t have to skimp on flavor in order to eat well. With this yummy lemon meringue bar, you’ll get 22 grams of plant protein with only one gram of sugar. It’s also got probiotics in there, so your gut can feel good, too. Perfect as a post-run snack or during a concert in the park.

Shop the full selection of gifts for hipsters at VitaminShoppe.com.

Gifts For The Beauty Junkies In Your Life

Whether you’re seeking a few items for your vegan sister, who uses all-natural products exclusively, or your mom, who’s constantly on the search for the best hydrating facial crème, you’re in luck. This holiday season, get the beauty junkie in your life some thoughtful, top-quality, and inexpensive products that are praised by bloggers and flying off The Vitamin Shoppe shelves.

1. Aztec Secret Bentonite Aztec Healing Clay, $8.79

A.k.a. “the world’s most powerful facial,” as it claims on the packaging. Made with 100 percent natural calcium bentonite clay, which is thought to absorb excess oils and dirt from the skin, you’ll literally feel your face pulsating as the stuff does its work. Mix it with equal parts raw apple cider vinegar (we recommend Braggs—see below) or water for the perfect mask.

2. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, $6.99

Whether you’ll be purchasing this as a set (along with the Aztec Secret Bentonite Aztec Healing Clay) or on its own, you really can’t ever go wrong with ACV. This natural, inexpensive elixir of life is beloved by health and beauty enthusiasts worldwide, since it contains plenty of vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants. (Here’s everything you can do with it to support good health (and good looks!).

3. Reviva’s Alpha-Lipoic Acid cream, $18.99

This miracle cream is loaded with antioxidants alpha lipoic acid and vitamin C, which can help keep skin looking firm, healthy, and supple. It’s blended with Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, which boosts its anti-aging magic, too, by decreasing the appearance of those pesky fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Derma E’s Hydrating Night Cream, $29.99

What did your grandmother always tell you? Yep, that’s it: “Don’t skip your night cream!” She was right, since the stuff keeps your face looking oh-so hydrated and glow-y. Derma E’s Hydrating Night Cream feeds the skin hyaluronic acid (a natural substance that supports hydration), vitamins, and aloe.

5. Vital Proteins’ Lavender Lemon Collagen Beauty Water, $49.99

This one’s for your most dutiful skin-care buff. Made with marine collagen peptides, which help to keep our skin supple, organic ingredients (like lavender, lemon, beets, and honey), probiotics, and hyaluronic acid, this powder packs a serious beauty punch. All you’ve got to do is mix it with eight ounces of water, and you’re fast on your way to glorious skin.

6. Zuze Luxe’s Truth or Dare Lipstick, $7.74

Forget lipsticks made with gross ingredients. This Natural Products Association-certified, vegan, and gluten-free lipstick comes in a daring shade of kiss-me pink, perfect for anyone who wants to get glam in an ethical, clean way.

7. Life-Flo’s Replenishing and Renewing Rosehip Seed Oil, $7.19

Move over, argan oil—you’ve got some competition. Packed with rosehips and retinol (vitamin A), this heavenly-scented oil is perfect for anyone who wants to give their skin some dewy, natural (and sweet-smelling) love.

8. My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste, $8.99

Why settle for boring old toothpaste when you can hop on the activated charcoal train? Sure, the idea might sound a little weird—but for anyone interested in naturally effective ways of cleansing the mouth and brightening the chompers, this is a steal. Plus, it tastes like peppermint!

9. SanMedica SeroVital-hgh Liquid Concentrate, $98.99 (on Sale for $78.99 in December!)

This one’s for anyone interested in feeling and looking better (so, you know, all of us). Made with a human growth hormone (HGH), secretagogue, this unique product promotes the increase of HGH levels—potentially leading to improved mood, higher sex drive, and more energy.

10. Jason Natural Cosmetics’ Vitamin E Oil, $8.79

For natural body-care lovers out there, this is a gift that can’t go wrong. Made with vitamin E to nourish and moisturize the skin, it also stars almond, apricot, avocado, and wheat germ oils—a treasure trove of skin-loving goodies designed to promote the appearance of glowing, elastic, wrinkle-free skin.

Shop the full selection of gifts for beauty lovers at VitaminShoppe.com.

Gifts For The Fitness Fanatics In Your Life

The good feeling a solid sweat leaves you with is a gift in itself, but if you spend your free time pounding the pavement, tearing it up in spin class, or loading up a barbell, chances are your wish list is chock-full of gear, supplements, and goodies to make your workouts feel even better. After all, living a fit lifestyle is about much more than just the time we spend moving.

Here are the products we trust to help us work hard, restore our bodies, and feel fitter and stronger than ever. Treat your gym buddy—or yourself!—to a routine upgrade or two, and power into the New Year on your a-game!

1. Cellucor Cherry Limeade C4 Ripped, $39.99 for 30 servings

You probably know that your workout routine starts before you even step foot into the weight room—about a half-hour before, to be exact. Cellucor’s C4 Ripped preworkout formula boosts your workouts and your efforts to get shredded with ingredients to support energy and weight management, like caffeine (150 milligrams), B vitamins, green coffee bean extract, and cayenne extract. Consider it classic C4’s shredded twin.

2. Optimum Nutrition Fruit Punch Gold Standard Pre-Workout, $29.99 for 30 servings

This tried-and-true preworkout is perfect for the gym-goer looking to build muscle. Optimum Nutrition’s formula packs 175 milligrams of caffeine, three grams of creatine, and 1.5 grams of beta alanine. A scoop also offers a slew of B vitamins, plus citrulline for a little extra pump. Your workouts—and muscle gains—will thank you.

3. Classic Black 28 Oz Blender Bottle, $9.99

If you’re still using a smelly shaker cup from three years ago or trying to pour your supplements into plastic water bottle without making a mess, consider this your invitation to cut that out. Treat yourself to a new Blender Bottle for easier shakes than ever, wherever you are. C’mon, a 28-ounce bottle is BPA-free and fits in your cup holder.

4. Optimum Nutrition Vanilla Ice Cream Gold Standard 100% Whey, $29.99 for 32 servings

Whether you mix it up plain with water, blend it into a smoothie, or stir it into your oatmeal, whey protein is practically its own food group for fitness lovers. With 24 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids, and just three grams of carbs, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard whey is an absolute staple. A 32-serving tub ($29.99) helps keep your stomach satisfied and your muscles growing—and the vanilla ice cream flavor is as versatile as it gets.

5. BodyTech Rich Chocolate WheyTech Pro 24, $49.99 for 74 servings

If chocolate protein is more your speed (who doesn’t love chocolate milk, after all?), BodyTech’s WheyTech Pro 24 is a fan favorite. The rich, chocolate-y whey packs 24 grams of protein, just three grams of carbs, and costs only 67 cents a serving! We love baking it into protein cookies, rolling it into truffles, or mixing it into fudge.

6. Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bar, $24.99 for 12

Ultra-portable and available in flavors that taste like dessert, protein bars come in handy when you’re on the go, at work, in the car, or just don’t feel like whipping up a snack. Quest’s chocolate chip cookie dough bar is low-carb (just four grams of net carbs), low-sugar (less than a gram), and high protein (21 grams). Plus, with 14 grams of fiber, it’ll keep you feeling satisfied until your next chow-down. We stash them everywhere from the office to our gym bag.

8. Lenny & Larry’s Double Chocolate Complete Cookie, $19.99 for 12

Treat yourself and load up on protein at the same time with one of Lenny & Larry’s best. These vegan cookies contain nothing artificial and pack eight grams of protein and three grams of fiber per serving, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth guilt-free. So why not make your desserts do double duty? These will make all your chocolatey dreams come true.

8. Scivation Strawberry Kiwi Xtend BCAAs, $23.99 for 30 servings

If you down your preworkout before the gym and shake up your protein after but don’t give much thought to what you’re sipping during your workout, you might be missing an opportunity to level up your fitness. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) support your muscles and boost recovery. Scivation’s Xtend BCAAs contain seven grams of the good stuff per serving, at the ideal muscle-building ratio of 2:1:1, leucine to isoleucine to valine. And, as a bonus, this supp also includes an electrolyte blend for hydration and performance, along with citrulline for pump.

9. True Athlete ZMA With Theanine, $29.99 for 180 capsules

Sure, your workouts are huge for growing stronger and fitter and seeing your body change—but in order to see those results, your body has to recover. True Athlete’s ZMA supplement combines zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, and theanine to support rest and recovery—all while you snooze.

10. Universal Animal Pak, $31.99 for 44 packets

When you’re hardcore about the gym, you need a hardcore supplement regimen to support your training. Universal’s Animal Pak is basically your supplemental foundation, and covers all of your bases—from key vitamins and minerals to important amino acids to adaptogenic herbs to antioxidants to digestive enzymes. This training supplement is the go-to of heavy-lifters and bodybuilders alike.

11. 6 Pack Fitness Innovator 300 Stealth Meal Bag, $79.99

Solid nutrition ensures all your hard work in the gym pays off—but keeping your eats consistent and tune into your goals can be tricky, especially when you’re busy or traveling. That’s where this cooler-than-a-lunchbox meal bag comes in. Stash a full day’s-worth of meals, snacks, and supplements in this bag and you’ll have quick access to healthy meals no matter where you are.

12. Accufitness MyoTape, $6.92

Whether your goal is to bulk up or slim down, taking body measurements is a reliable way to track your progress over time. Accufitness’ looped measuring tape adjusts to fit around any body part you want to measure—whether your waist, biceps, chest, or thighs—for accurate measurements. At $6.92, it’s much cheaper—and more helpful—than a scale!

Shop the full selection of fitness-friendly gifts at VitaminShoppe.com. 

Your Guide To Surviving Black Friday

There’s nothing more exciting than splurging on mega-discounted must-haves at the end of the year. That flat screen you’ve been eyeing? Two, please. That sofa sectional? Haul it onto the truck. But when you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on your way to the mall—or when you’re getting pushed and shoved in the cash register line—stamina is key.

This Black Friday, keep your energy high and your tummy full of healthy, on-the-go eats. Consider these snacks and stress-fighting items your best friends—and you’ll be ready to shop ‘til you drop.

Trace Minerals’ Electrolyte Stamina Tablets, $31.72 for 300 tablets


Black Friday shopping is basically a race—a race to the store, a race for a parking spot, and a race to the register. If you’re running on empty, you may end up walking off that 40-person line and heading straight to the nearest donut chain for a sugar rush. Instead, up that energy the healthy way with Trace Minerals’ Electrolyte Stamina Tablets. Pop up to four of these and replenish those lost electrolytes!

Three Jerks’ Original Filet Mignon Jerky, $8.49


Ain’t got no time to stop for a sit-down lunch. When hunger strikes midday, chew on this tender, savory snack, which packs 12 grams of protein. No preservatives, MSG, or nasty nitrates—just delicious, healthy beef.

Marley Coffee’s One Drop Mocha Coffee Drink, $2.49


You need your java fix—we get it. With this ice-cold bevvie you’ll get no artificial sweeteners and you’ll enjoy the rich flavor of chocolate blended with Marley’s Jamaican coffee. Inspired by Bob Marley himself, a single can of this stuff will have you feelin’ irie while you scan those aisles.

VPX’s Bang Peach Mango, $25.99 for 12 cans


Coffee’s not your thing—but you never turn down caffeine? We’ve got you covered. With VPX’s Bang Peach Mango (an exclusive flavor to The Vitamin Shoppe), you’ll get a strong energy rush with 0 calories. It’s got branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, and caffeine (357 mg of it, to be exact). Start your happy dance!

Celsius Stick Packs, $14.29 for 14 packs


If you’re gonna be guzzling water all day—and you’ll need to!—you might want to try adding Celsius’ orange-flavored pack to your agua. The pre-workout formula (filled with vitamins, taurine, and guarana extract) actually kicks up your metabolism, helping to burn calories and boost energy. SCORE!

Amazing Grass Green SuperFood, $26.99 for 30 servings


With its fresh, lemon-lime flavor, you’ll want to start your shopping day off with this good-for-you powder. Made entirely with organic green, raw, and gluten-free foods, you’ll enjoy a natural flavor (matcha and yerba mate teas) and an energy kick (hello, 85 mg of plant-based caffeine). Filled with probiotics and enzymes, your tummy will be ready to take on the day

ONE Brand’s One Bar in Birthday Cake, $27.99 for one box


In the mood for something sweet? Of course you are. Before heading to the mall, grab a gluten-free ONE Bar and go, go, go! You’ll not only indulge in the yummy flavor of birthday cake, you’ll get 20 grams of protein. You’ll also be supporting your appetite and helping to promote healthy muscle—which you’ll need when you’re fighting strangers for the last Paw Patrol Sea Patroller.

Sunfood Superfood’s Mango Slices, $13.95


Need a second wind? These delicious mango slices will help you refuel when the late-afternoon slump attacks. With vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, fiber, you’ll get a quick dose of nutrients when you need them the most. Plus, they’re non-GMO, organic, and totally raw—with only six grams of sugar.

Zenify’s Zero Sugar Natural Stress, $21.99 for a box


If you dig drinking your supplements, you’ll love Zenify’s Stress Relief concoction. With zero sugar or caffeine (yep, you read that correctly), tons of B vitamins, vitamin C, and 250mg of L-theanine, you’ll de-stress and feel good. Because when you’re running around like crazy, you want to feel relaxed—but not sleepy. This healthy drink will keep your mind sharp so you can finish your holiday shopping without losing your marbles.

FitAid’s Recovery Blend, $10.99 for four cans


After a long day of shopping, carrying giant bags and boxes to your car, and standing on line, you’ll undoubtedly be zonked. Speed up your recovery by swigging some of this yummy stuff. Packed with lots of good-for-you ingredients like turmeric, coQ10, omega 3s, and vitamins C, you’ll be feeling less like a frenzied shopper and more like yourself in no time.

Your Guide To Surviving Holiday Calories

There are so many reasons to get excited about the holiday season: friends, family, delicious meals, office parties, classic movies, colorful decorations, and more. Not on the list, though: all those extra calories packed into a steady flow of wine, homemade stuffing, pie, and peppermint bark.

The endless eating and drinking that continues through November and December can be pretty anxiety-inducing—especially if you’ve been busting your you-know-what to eat your veggies and keep your body in tip-top shape.

With a little will-power and strategy—along with help from products designed to conquer cravings, manage your appetite, and support a healthy weight—that once-daunting ugly sweater party transforms into an opportunity to blissfully bust a move to Mariah Carey.

Consider these 12 supplements just the reinforcements you need to keep your healthy habits going strong this holiday season.

1. Crave Crush Spearmint Lozenges, $7.99 for a 15-pack

When turning down that second (or third) piece of pie seems downright impossible, Crave Crush will stop your sweet tooth in its tracks. By blocking the sweet taste buds on your tongue, these minty suckers can help you enjoy your favorite holiday flavors without spiraling yourself into a food coma. Sail through all the parties and cookie exchanges on your calendar with these bad-boys.

2. Garden Of Life Vanilla Raw Organic Fit Meal, $33.59 for 10 servings

With all the hustle and bustle—and never-ending supply of sweets and treats—during the holiday season, having quick and portable healthy snacks can make the difference between making it to January feeling fit and healthy and falling off the bandwagon. Garden of Life’s Fit Meal packs 28 grams of raw, organic plant-based protein, six grams of fiber, and 20 vitamins and minerals—all for just 190 calories.

3. Ultimate 10 Probiotic 13 Billion, $19.99 for 100 capsules

Probiotics, a.k.a the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your gut, help support good digestion, regularity, and immune function. And having a healthy population of these critters is extra important when your diet includes more cookies and cocktails than normal—and when gift shopping season stress skyrockets. The Vitamin Shoppe’s Ultimate 10 Probiotic in 13 Billion strength can help re-colonize that good bacteria for smooth sailing all season long.

4. Sports Research Sweet Sweat Stick, $29.99

A little too much holiday spirit? Maybe you need a good sweat. Make Sweet Sweat your gym buddy and you’re guaranteed to have a sweatier, more satisfying workout. (One of our never-sweaty staffers put this stuff to the test and dripped like she’d never dripped before!) Sweet Sweat has a fresh, clean scent so you can crush your workouts worry-free.

5. Tonalin CLA 1,000mg, $24.89 for 180 softgels

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that can reduce how much of the fat you consume gets stored. This well-researched fatty acid has even been shown to have a small, but legit, impact on body composition (how much of your fat comes from lean mass like muscle versus fat). Supplement with 1,000 milligrams three times a day.

6. Atkins Advantage Café Caramel Shake, $5.99 for a four-pack

As much as we may want to indulge from Thanksgiving straight on until the New Year, sometimes we just have to tell our sweet tooth ‘no’—or do we? With 15 grams of protein, two grams of net carbs, just one gram of sugar, and 180 calories per shake, Atkins Advantage’s Café Caramel shakes are a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth and fuel your body. Four-shake packs are just $5.99 and easy to stash at work or at home.

7. Green Coffee Bean Extract, $31.49 for 180 capsules

Green coffee bean extract contains antioxidants that help maintain our body’s defense system against damage from free radicals. Plus, one of these antioxidants, called chlorogenic acid, has been shown to support healthy blood sugar and fat metabolism. The Vitamin Shoppe’s green coffee bean extract can be taken up to three times a day.

George’s 100% Aloe Vera, $29.99 a gallon

Soothing aloe vera does your digestive system good and can help keep you regular—two things we all cherish when our eating habits (and bathroom habits) get all out of whack during the holidays. Sip down those soothing benefits with George’s aloe.

9. Healthy Delights Naturals Appetite Control Soft Chews, $19.99 a bag

These natural acai berry chews taste like candy and may actually keep you from destroying half the batch of cookies you were supposed to bring to Grandma’s house. Made with ingredients like garcinia cambogia, green coffee bean extract, l-carnitine, and green tea extract, these chews may be helpful before big meals and nights out.

10. Sports Research MCT Oil, $29.99 for 32 ounces

MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) aren’t your average fats. MCTs can be used as an energy source and boost our metabolism more than many other fats—and they’re also less likely to be stored as fat. Sports Research’s unflavored MCT oil can be the way you’d use some other oils (like in salad dressings) or added to smoothies or coffee for lasting energy.

11. Enzymedica Digest Gold, $79.49 for 240 capsules

If your digestive system isn’t partaking in the holiday cheer this time of year, a digestive enzyme can help your body better break down all that gingerbread and Santa-shaped chocolate. Enzymedica’s Digest Gold formula contains digestive enzymes to help your system conquer everything from protein to fat to carbohydrates to fiber. Survive every rich, belly-busting meal with a 240-capsule bottle, $79.49.

Check out more holiday-friendly, weight-management products at VitaminShoppe.com, all 15% off!

Your Guide To Surviving Holiday Stress

It’s OK to admit it: Your favorite warm and cozy season is also a little, well, stressful. After all, you’re planning big get togethers, getting trampled at the mall, and maybe even flying cross-country to see relatives, who all have LOTS of questions.

If you’re feeling the heat, the good news is that you’ve got options—so take a breath, armor up, and get back into the swing of things with this holiday season stress-reduction arsenal.

1. TwinLab’s Stress B-Complex Caps, $14.35 for 100 capsules


Before all the craziness begins, consider taking two of these capsules each day, preferably with a meal. B vitamins play a critical role in modulating our responses to stress. Protect yourself now so it’ll be smooth-sailing by Cyber Monday.

2. Yogi Tea’s Calming Tea, $4.49 FOR A BOX

Kick back and take a load off with a delicious, steaming cup of Yogi Tea’s finest. It’s filled with good stuff like chamomile and lemongrass—and a nice licorice kick for a dose of sweetness.

3. Boiron’s Sedalia, $11.79 for 60 tablets


So you’ve been cooking all day, or your mother-in-law is notoriously hard to shop for, or you’re in charge of the company party. Take a deep breath and turn to Sedalia, a nerves-calming product that works naturally with your body. First off, it’s homeopathic, so it won’t leave you feeling out of it.You’ll want to take two tablets three times a day.

4. The Vitamin Shoppe’s Super Stress With Vitamin C, $27.99 for 300 capsules


You know that vitamin C is essential for good health. But you can’t just drink OJ all day, can you? Instead, buck up your immune system—and give yourself a dose of natural energy—by popping this antioxidant twice a day with a meal. Especially around the holidays, when you’re feeling run-down (and when cold season comes back with a vengeance), you’ll want to get all the help you need.

6. plnt’s Ashwagandha, $15.29 for 90 capsules

Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb known as an adaptogen, a type of plant extract known to promote a healthy stress response in our bodies. Used to help us deal with everyday anxiety, you’ll want to pop one capsule twice a day.

7. The Vitamin Shoppe’s Essential Oil – Lavender, $23.89 for 4oz


The use of lavender oil as a soothing and rest-promoting remedy has long been established, so when you need to step away from the festivities for a moment to take a breather—consider bringing it with you. Not sure how to use essential oils? Here’s where we break it all down. Basically, you can inhale it or apply right to your skin using a dilution method (like a cream or carrier oil, such as coconut oil). It smells delightful, you’ll get a moment to yourself, and you’ll be flooding your senses with something that isn’t holiday stress.

8. Organic India’s Holy Basil, $23.89 for 90 capsules


Holy wha? Stick with us for a minute. Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi) has been nicknamed “Queen of the Herbs,” and with good reason: It’s used to boost immunity, help promote energy, and it keeps you feeling revitalized. You’ll want to take one-two capsules twice a day.

9. ProBioCare’s Stress Support, $43.99 for 90 capsules


Holiday season is filled with all the goodies—chocolates and cakes and liqueurs and carbs a plenty. A little indulgence is bound to happen—and that’s totally okay! To help your stomach make it through the many holiday parties and family dinners and  office snack-fests, take this two-in-one probiotic and ashwagandha capsule, which will support your digestive system and promote a healthy stress response.

10. Hylands’ Calm Tablets, $7.99 for 100 tablets

Having a hard time sleeping? Could it be because your to-do list is reaaaaally long? You’ve got to make dinner, get presents, wrap presents, and make it through a few company parties—and who knows what else! To help fight those anxiety-wracked sleepless nights, these calm tablets will come in handy. They’re non-habit forming, totally natural, and made with a homeopathic formula. You’ll need one to three tablets about an hour and a half before bed.

11. The Vitamin Shoppe’s Rhodiola Rosea, $23.99 for 60 capsules

First of all, if you can’t pronounce Rhodiola, no worries. We’ve got you covered. Second, it’s an adaptogen, which is a compound found in herbs and natural substances that help the body adapt to stress. Sounds enticing, right? With this supplement, you’ll take one capsule twice a day with a meal to boost energy, vitality, and the feeling of, yes, I can handle this!

Check out more holiday stress-support products on VitaminShoppe.com, all 15% off!

 

Your Guide To Surviving Holiday Indigestion

The holiday season is all about friends, family, and—perhaps most importantly—food.  But as much as we love the pumpkin bread, office potlucks, and cookie exchanges, it’s a miracle our stomachs survive ‘til the New Year.

Unless, of course, you and your tummy head into the holidays armed with a healthy plan. Whether it’s a soothing tea or herbal remedy, we’ve hand-picked products that will keep you in the holiday spirit (i.e. out of the bathroom) while you enjoy every last bite of stuffing and pie.

1. Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, $6.99 for 32 ounces

This golden liquid is a must-have for any health enthusiast, but it’s especially handy when you’re waist-deep in seasonally-obligatory mashed potatoes, gooey cookies, and all the pies in the book. ACV has been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels, with research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association even finding that it can lessen the impact of a high-carb meal on blood sugar levels.

2. Prince Of Peace Natural Ginger Candy, $1.99 for 31 pieces

Here’s a candy your belly can really get behind. The warm and spicy ginger root has been known throughout history for its stomach-soothing properties. These just-sweet-enough candies are a natural way to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your tummy calm.

3. Licorice Root, $5.99 for 100 capsules

Centuries ago, licorice root was used to ease stomach issues, and the herbal remedy remains a popular supplement for digestive issues today. Try licorice for yourself with The Vitamin Shoppe’s 450mg supplement.

4. Lily Of The Desert Whole-Leaf Aloe Vera Juice, $25.99 for 64 servings

Gooey green aloe vera is just as good for your insides as it is for your skin. In fact, the funky plant can be beneficial for your digestive tract and support regularity—and we all know that’s an issue when most of the color in your diet is coming from the icing on holiday cookies. While we’re not quite sure if it counts as a serving of veggies, it’ll definitely do your sugar-coated digestive system some good.

5. Dynamic Health Tart Cherry, Turmeric, And Ginger Tonic, $17.00 for 32 ounces

Whether you blend it into a smoothie, stir it into seltzer, or drink it straight, this tonic is a soothing way to end any night of eating and drinking. Tart cherry contains sleep-supporting melatonin, while turmeric and ginger both offer their own antioxidant and soothing powers. This tonic will be there for you all holiday season long!

6. King Bio Indigestion Relief, $16.49 for two ounces

A friend’s or family member’s dinner party is the last place we want to be rocked by discomfort, but we’ve all found ourselves slouched on someone else’s couch waiting for our stomach to settle down. That’s where a stash of King Bio’s natural medicine formula comes in. Just a few sprays and you’ll be ready to get back to rocking around the coffee table.

7. Solaray Lemon Balm, $10.49 for 100 capsules

Lemon balm dates back to the Middle Ages, when its calming and soothing properties were used to help with everything from trouble sleeping to digestive issues. Set your mind and body up for a relaxed, indigestion-free holiday season with Solaray’s 350 milligram supplement.

8. Alvita Organic Fennel Tea, $5.99 for 24 bags

Traditionally used to ease occasional bloating and gas, fennel seeds have a slightly sweet, licorice-like flavor. Alvita’s fennel tea is the perfect sweet tooth-satisfying follow-up to any meal that leaves you feeling not-so-great.

9. Boiron Nux Vomica, $6.99 for 80 pellets

Homeopathy to the rescue! Nux Vomica is just what you need after eating four chocolate truffles too many. Keep a sleeve handy to nix any stomach upset the holidays send your way.

10. Alvita Organic Peppermint Leaf Tea, $5.99 for 24 bags

When it comes to tackling stomach issues in an all-natural (and delicious) way, the more tea the merrier! Peppermint tea’s refreshing, invigorating flavor is almost as impressive as its belly-soothing powers. When you need a mind-body pick-me-up, peppermint is the brew for you.

11. Milk Thistle Extract, $29.99 for 200 capsules

Let’s face it: The holidays are chock-full of sugar and booze—and your liver has to take the hit. Show your body’s detox center some love with The Vitamin Shoppe’s Milk Thistle Extract ($29.99 for 200 capsules) and pass the spiked cider, please!

Shop the full digestion guide on VitaminShoppe.com

5 Plant-Based Holiday Recipes Your Guests Will Devour

‘Tis the season for pies and pumpkins and potlucks—and tons of time spent searching for crowd-pleasing recipes that are as good for you as they are good.

Whether you’re in charge of a side dish or dessert, look no further than these healthy takes on rustic classics, all made with simple, wholesome ingredients. (And did we mention they put nutrient-rich plants front and center?)

Serve up any (or all) of these five dishes this holiday season, and celebrate knowing your body is as well-nourished as your belly is full.

1. Honey Almond Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This shout-worthy sprout side dish is made with Brussels sprouts, plnt raw honey, plnt coconut oil, sliced almonds, sea salt, and pepper. 

2. Sweet And Tangy Quinoa Bowl

This nutrient-packed grain bowl is made with quinoa, butternut squash, green apple, celery, olive oil, lemon juice, plnt raw honey, and plnt chia seeds

3. Apple Pie Crumble Tarts

A classic dessert gets a healthy makeover using just all-purpose flour, plnt raw honey, plnt coconut oil, red apples, lemon juice, and apple pie spice. 

4. Pumpkin Banana Bread

Fall-flavored banana bread is perfect for the holidays, and made with almond milk, apple cider vinegar, bananas, pumpkin puree, oats, vanilla plnt protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon

5. Cranberry Almond Protein Bark

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this low-sugar, protein-packed treat, made with plnt coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla plnt protein powder, plnt liquid stevia, maple syrup, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. 

Your Guide to Surviving Holiday Travel

The holiday season is jam-packed with fun festivities, mouth-watering treats, and family get-togethers. And then there are the airports.

There might actually be nothing worse than traveling on Thanksgiving. On top of the delays, long lines, and crabby strangers, air travel breeds bad eating, sleep deprivation, and disorganization.

This year, make your life a little easier by treating yourself to the below items, which will help keep you healthy, satiated, and ready to rock.

1. Boiron’s Jet Lag Relief, $13.49 for 80 pellets

If you’ve got family on another coast—or another continent—you’re probably super-familiar with that extra-special brand of exhaustion that comes with holiday travel. After all the holiday parties, shopping extravaganzas, and travel delays, you might find yourself sleepless. Enter Jet Lag Relief. You want to actually enjoy the holidays—without passing out face first into your English aunt’s roast dinner, so pop five pellets the day before you travel and then five more on the day of to promote restful sleep.

2. The Vitamin Shoppe’s Melatonin Gummies, $9.99 for 60 gummies

Let’s say you’ve tried everything you can think of to get a good night’s sleep— you’ve hit the gym, had a mug full of warm milk, meditated—and still, nothing. What about taking a melatonin supplement? Melatonin modulates our sleep and wake cycles, and can help support successful snoozing. Take two gummies 30 minutes before bedtime, and prepare for slumber bliss.

3. BlueAvocado Travel Bag, $6.79

When you cram all your toiletries into different tiny suitcase compartments, it makes finding any of it impossible later on—and easy for TSA agents to single your bag out for unidentifiable random objects. Why not get a roomy travel bag that reduces waste, is eco-friendly and TSA-compliant, and even machine-washable?

4. Quest Nutrition’s Protein Vanilla Milkshake Packets, $26.99 for 12 packets

We know what you’re thinking—milkshakes and planes don’t mix. But that’s not totally true. You can have all the creamy goodness of a milkshake—plus a proper dose of protein (23g!)—by mixing one pouch into 16 oz of water. Plus, there’s less than one gram of sugar per serving so you won’t, er, crash at your destination.

5. Nature’s Way Zinc Lozenges, $3.99 for 60 lozenges

We truly hope you don’t come down with a bug, but let’s be honest—buses, trains, and planes are basically petri dishes filled with germs. To promote strong health during the icky cold and flu season, pop one of these berry-flavored, vitamin C- and Echinacea-filled lozenges every two hours (up to six lozenges per day).

6. New Wave Enviro Products’ Bottle Gallon, $8.79

Have a particularly long road trip ahead of you? You’re gonna want to stay hydrated without having to shell out cash for bottled H20 at every other service stop. Pick up this easy-grip, BPA-free  gallon bottle and make your drive that much easier. (Port-A-Potty not included.)

7. Building Better Solutions’ Pill Bag, $5.79

You wouldn’t dare dream of traveling without your meds and supps, right? Trade in your cumbersome pillboxes for easy-to-use, 3×2 resealable plastic bags that make storing all your capsules super-easy. Plus, they’re moisture-resistant (unlike most pill boxes), lightweight, small enough to fit into your pocket, and easily disposable.

8. Quest Bar’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar, 1 box for $24.99

When you’re on the road, there are a lot of temptations along the way: fast food, warm hot chocolate from those not-so-trustworthy vending machines, gas station candy, and so on. Instead, reach for a chocolate chip cookie dough bar that’s sure to give your taste buds a treat without putting your waistline or blood sugar at risk. They’re gluten-free, have less than one gram of sugar, and they offer a solid 21 grams of protein.

9. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm, $2.89

You already know that Dr. Bronner makes incredible all-natural, 100 percent vegan, skin-friendly, heavenly-scented products. But while you might use the all-purpose soap on the regular, you’ll want to also keep this soothing lip balm in your pocket to help your lips stay chap-free during the wintry weather.

10. SheaMoisture’s Virgin Coconut Oil, $11.49

Whether you’re stuck fending off eight hours worth of stale, dry airplane air—or are just visiting a relative in a particularly dry climate, you’re going to want to keep your thirsty skin happy. Cue SheaMoisture’s 100 percent coconut oil, which treats your skin to all-natural, fair-trade ingredients like coconut milk and Acacia Senegal (known to promote skin health). At three fluid ounces, you’ll be able to pack it into your carry on.

Shop the full travel guide on VitaminShoppe.com. 

3 Healthified Halloween Treats You Can DIY

Halloween is a sweets-lover’s best friend and biggest enemy. All the chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and sugar-coated sourness you could ever want—and more calories, plastic wrappers, and sugar comas than you could ever need.

Don’t get us wrong: We’ll definitely be digging into the trick-or-treater candy stash and polishing off our fair share of mini Milky Ways. But we’ll also never pass up an opportunity to find healthier ways to satisfy our biggest cravings.

With these three guilt-free candy recipes, developed exclusively for The Vitamin Shoppe by The Coconut Diaries, you can eat your fill of creamy chocolate-peanut butter, chewy fruit gummies, and sweet and salty snack mix well past October 31st.

Have at it!

 

Satisfy Your Cravings

4 Drool-Worthy Superfood Desserts Featuring Maca

Even if you haven’t been sprinkling maca powder into your smoothie every morning, you’ve probably heard of the trendy superfood. Health nuts are all over maca root because it supports energy, vitality, and our ability to adapt to stress.

You can use the powder—which can be found in standard yellow, red, and black varieties—to give all sorts of recipes an extra nutritional punch. (In addition to its vitality-boosting benefits, maca also provides some vitamin C, amino acids, essential fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc.)

Get some more maca in your life and satisfy your sweet tooth with these indulgent (and nutritious!) desserts, developed for What’s Good by The Coconut Diaries.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Black Maca Is So Popular Right Now

1. Maca Mocha Brownies

*makes eight brownies

Calories:  163 • Carbohydrate: 15g • Fat: 12g • Protein: 4g • Sugar: 5g • Fiber: 4g

Ingredients:
½ cup oat flour
½ cup almond flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ Tbsp plnt gelatinized maca powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
3 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp almond milk
¼ cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the oat flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, maca powder, and espresso powder in a bowl. Then stir in the maple syrup and almond milk, followed by the melted coconut oil. Evenly spread the batter into a nine-by-four inch baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the brownies crisps. Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into eight pieces and enjoy!

 

2. Red Maca Cinnamon Oat Muffins

*makes three muffins

Calories: 203 • Carbohydrate: 39g • Fat: 3g • Protein: 7g • Sugar: 11g • Fiber: 6g

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups oats (1 cup of ground oats, ½ cup of whole oats)
1 ½ Tbsp Sunfood Superfoods raw organic red maca powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ground oats, whole oats, red maca powder, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl. Then fold in the applesauce, almond milk, and maple syrup and mix until well combined. Pour the batter into a muffin or cupcake tray to make three muffins. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Related: Shops all sorts of superfoods to support your health.

 

3. Black Maca Coconut Bites

*makes 18 bites

Calories: 79 • Carbohydrate: 8g • Fat: 5g • Protein: 2g • Sugar: 4g • Fiber: 2g

Ingredients:
1 cup cashews
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup pitted dates (80 g)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ Tbsp Sunfood Superfoods raw organic black maca powder
2 Tbsp coconut water (or other liquid)

Combine the cashews, coconut, and dates in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely ground. Add the cocoa powder, black maca powder, and coconut water. Blend on low for one to two minutes until the texture becomes more fine and uniform. Scrape down the sides with a spatula or spoon and blend on high for  another one to two minutes until you have a thick, creamy texture. Spoon out tablespoon-sized portions of the mixture to roll into 18 individual balls. If desired, coat the balls in more shredded coconut. Enjoy!

 

4. Mini Maca Superfood Cheesecakes

*makes seven mini cheesecakes

Calories: 331 • Carbohydrate: 28g • Fat: 23g • Protein: 5g • Sugar: 19g • Fiber: 3g

Ingredients:

For the crust:
½ cup pitted dates (80 g)
½ cup pecans
1 Tbsp plnt gelatinized maca powder
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds

For the cheesecake filling:
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours or more
1 cup canned coconut milk, chilled
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

For topping:
¼ cup mixed berries

In a food processor, blend together the crust ingredients (dates, pecans, maca, flax seeds) on high until a fine, sticky mixture is formed. Line a cupcake tray with seven cupcake liners and press the crust mixture into the liners. Strain the cashews and add them to the food processor. Remove the canned coconut milk from the fridge and scoop out only the thick, top portion. Add the coconut milk and maple syrup to the food processor and blend for two to three minutes until the mixture is smooth. Add the melted coconut oil and blend again another one or two minutes, until creamy. Pour the cheesecake cream on top of the crusts in the cupcake liners. Stash in the fridge for one to two hours so the cheesecakes can set and thicken. Top each with berries and enjoy! (Keep these stored in the fridge so they stay firm.)

4 Satisfying Snacks That Taste Like Cheating

The perfect snack is quick, healthy, satisfying enough to get you through to your next meal, and delicious enough to keep you from sneaking off to the vending machine.

So when baby carrots and unsalted nuts just aren’t doing it for you, these four treats—waffles and donuts included—most certainly will. (You read that right: waffles and donuts.) They’re all packed with good-for-you ingredients, protein, and fiber to keep you full and happy as a clam.

Consider your cravings crushed.

Nutty Coconut Chocolate Donuts

 

Ingredients: oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, Next Step Swiss Chocolate Fit N’ Full shake mix, stevia, baking powder, coconut oil, and water. 

Berry Chia Pudding Parfait

 

Ingredients: chia seeds, almond milk, Next Step AppeFIT mixed berry powder, Greek yogurt, mixed berries, granola, and stevia

Sweet ‘N’ Vanilla Waffle

 

Ingredients: oats, egg whites, Next Step French Vanilla Fit ‘N Full powder, baking powder, sliced strawberries and blueberries, and water. 

No-Bake Apple Pie Protein Bars

 

Ingredients: oats, Next Step French Vanilla Fit ‘N Full powder, Next Step AppeFIT apple punch powder, almond butter, maple syrup, and apple pie spice (or cinnamon).