7 ‘Shrooms You Should Be Eating For Major Health Benefits

The selection of mushrooms in produce aisles everywhere has been expanding lately, and for good reason. Mushrooms are loaded with nutritional value, while being low in calories—yet many people overlook them because, well, they’re a little weird.

Yes, a mushroom is a fungus. Sure, that doesn’t sound too appealing, but we’re not talking about toe fungus here! If there’s a type of fungus you do want in your life, it’s mushrooms. Consider this: Mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D you’ll find in the produce aisle, and unless you drink fortified milk or eat cod liver oil, it’s pretty hard to get in your diet. They also contain some fiber—about a gram per cup. While that might not sound like much, the type of fiber is beta-glucan, which is beneficial for blood sugar and cholesterol management. Oh, and did I mention a cup of mushrooms is only 20 calories?

Also, mushrooms tantalize your tastebuds with something called ‘umami’ (pronounced o’o-MAH-mee’), which is the fifth element of taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Mushrooms are dynamic because they’re savory, with a hearty flavor that comes to life even more when they’re cooked. They taste almost meaty, but without the fat and cholesterol found in many animal proteins.

Not sure what variety to pick up on your next grocery run? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular types of mushrooms—and what makes each so great:

White button mushrooms: Also known as ‘crimini mushrooms,’ these are probably the most common type of mushrooms you’ll see at salad bars and supermarkets. These guys contain selenium, a trace mineral that’s important for cognitive function and a healthy immune system—and supports prostate health.

Portobello mushrooms: Portobellos are an excellent source of riboflavin (also known as vitamin B2), a vitamin that is important for energy production because it helps the body break down carbohydrates into sugar for fuel. Portobellos are also a good source of selenium.

Porcini mushrooms: Many of us don’t seem to get enough potassium—but luckily porcini mushrooms are a good source of this mineral, which keeps your brain, heart, and muscles functioning properly. Porcinis also contain ergosterol, a compound needed to make vitamin D3. Finally, these mushrooms possess antioxidant properties that may help the body ward off damage from free radicals.

Related: What Makes Antioxidants So Good For You, Anyway?

Reishi mushrooms: This variety is trendy right now for its potential immune system and cardiovascular benefits. These ‘shrooms pack beta-glucan, that type of fiber I mentioned earlier, which also helps activate and support the function of immune cells. Reishi mushrooms also contain ganoderic acid, a substance that is said to support healthy cholesterol levels.

Shiitake mushrooms: Shiitakes are a good source of soluble fiber, which supports healthy cholesterol levels. They also contain those beta-glucans found in reishi mushrooms. Plus, shiitakes contain a compound called lentinan, which helps to strengthen the immune system.

Enoki mushrooms: These ‘shrooms are rich in B vitamins, particularly niacin (vitamin B3), which promote cardiovascular health and are key for energy production.

Maitake or ‘Hen of the Woods’ mushrooms: These mushrooms actually resemble the feathers of a fluffed chicken and are a popular ingredient in dietary supplements and powders. Preliminary animal studies suggest these funky-looking mushrooms may promote a healthy insulin response and support healthy blood sugar levels.

You can probably find many of these mushrooms fresh in the produce section of the supermarket, but you can also buy them canned.

Cleaning fresh mushrooms can be a little tricky: They’re all dirty but you’re not supposed to wash them! (Trust me, they get slimy and lose flavor.) Instead, try wiping your mushrooms off with a damp paper towel before prepping and cooking them.

Ready to make these tasty fungi a more regular part of your grub? Try sautéing mushrooms with other veggies and folding them into an omelet or adding them to your next stir fry. You can even mix diced mushrooms into ground meat or poultry when making burgers—their flavor and texture fit right in.

One of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms is simple: I sauté a variety of mushrooms with olive oil and garlic. Fragrant and flavorful!

Related: Pack ‘shrooms into smoothies and more with a supplement.

Your refrigerator guide to fungi: 

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Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., C.D.N., is an award-winning author, spokesperson, speaker, consultant, and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. She has been featured on TV, radio, and print, as well as in digital media, including Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Women’s Health, and U.S. News & World Report. She is a recipient of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Media Excellence Award.

5 Amino Acids All Gym Lovers Should Know About

Amino acids, the molecules that make up protein, help build everything from our hair to our skin to our eyes (and more!). They’re also crucial for a type of tissue we hold particularly dear—our muscle.

Five aminos have earned some extra spotlight for their muscle-boosting benefits, and may be particularly important for anyone who hits the gym and goes hard on the reg. Whether you’re considering adding an amino acid supplement to your fitness routine, don’t know much about the one you’re already taking, or just want to understand the magic that happens inside your muscles—we’ve got all the amino info you need.

The best-known—and perhaps most important—amino acids are the three branched-chain amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These aminos, called BCAAs, are found in food protein sources like meat and dairy, explains Brian Tanzer, M.S., nutritionist and manager of scientific affairs for The Vitamin Shoppe. “These amino acids work to protect lean body mass—a.k.a. your muscle,” he says.

The importance of branched-chain aminos for our muscles has been well-researched, with one review (published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology) concluding that the BCAAs—especially leucine—“enhance protein synthesis.” They’re often found in a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine-isoleucine-valine—both in natural food sources and supplements. All three work together, but each has a slightly different function.

Leucine

The first BCAA is an all-star when it comes to muscle-building. Leucine plays a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis (the process in which muscle is repaired and built) and in the production of growth hormones, which also support muscle mass, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). “Leucine also protects muscle tissue from breaking down when under stress, like vigorous strength-training,” adds Tanzer.

Since leucine is also an essential amino acid, meaning our body can’t produce it, we have to get it from food or supplements.

Isoleucine

The second BCAA, ‘isoleucine,’ might sound a lot like ‘leucine,’ but the magic it works in your muscles is a bit different. This BCAA can be converted to glucose and used as an energy source by your muscles when you’re working out, Tanzer says. In addition to regulating energy levels, isoleucine also regulates blood sugar and stimulates hormone production and immune function, according to NCBI.

Valine

Like isoleucine, our third BCAA can also be used as an energy source by the muscle when you’re on your grind. But it also supports your workouts in another, unexpected way. “When you exercise, your body’s serotonin (its feel-good hormone) goes up, which can make you feel a little drowsy after a while,” says Tanzer. “Valine actually blocks the uptake of serotonin in your brain, which can help prevent that drowsy, fatigued feeling.” (This is known as the ‘central fatigue theory,’ in case you want to drop some science knowledge on your gym buddies.)

How To Benefit From BCAAs

To get the max benefits from these BCAAs, you’ll want to get between five and 10 grams into your system both before and after a workout, recommends Tanzer. This can be tough to pull off with food alone, since your body needs to digest the food, absorb the amino acids, and process them in the liver before it can transport them to the muscles through the blood.

That’s where a supplement comes in: “With an amino acid supplement, you skip the breakdown process and can send those BCAAs straight into the bloodstream and to the muscles,” Tanzer says.

You can start sipping on a BCAA supp—most are in powder form—a half-hour or so before your workout and keep on sipping as you sweat. (And since isoleucine and valine can both be used for energy, getting your BCAAs in before the gym can be especially beneficial if you haven’t eaten in a while.) Shake another scoop or two into your water bottle for post-sweat recovery, too.

Related: 4 Possible Reasons Why You’re Still Feeling Wrecked Days After A Workout

In addition to the three ever-important BCAAs, there are two other aminos you may want to keep in mind—and possibly in your shaker cup.

Glutamine

This amino acid plays a role in your post-workout recovery—and just so happens to be the most abundant amino in the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Glutamine supports your immune function, which takes a hit whenever your body is under stress—including when you work out, says Tanzer. “Your immune system might pull glutamine from your muscle tissue, leading to gradual muscle breakdown, so replacing that glutamine post-workout can help preserve your muscle mass,” he explains.

One study published in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness found that glutamine helped active men preserve muscle strength—and avoid soreness—following strength-training tests.

Tanzer recommends mixing five to 10 grams of glutamine into your post-workout BCAA drink. More bang for every sip!

Citrulline

The last noteworthy amino might be in another supplement you already take: your preworkout. “Citrulline is a precursor to nitric oxide synthesis, which helps relax the blood vessels and boost circulation to your working muscle tissue,” explains Tanzer. Better circulation to your muscles benefits both your workout performance—and later recovery.

Because of its effect on blood vessels, you’ll also find citrulline in some ‘pump’ supps. (You’ll probably also see a similar amino acid, arginine, in these products—but citrulline appears to be the more effective of the two because it is better absorbed, according to Tanzer.)

Along with boosting blood-flow, the nitric oxide produced by citrulline can also boost the muscle’s ability to use energy, according to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. The researchers found that cyclists performed better on a time trial and reported feeling less fatigued after taking citrulline regularly.

Citrulline may also help remove ammonia and lactic acid (which build up throughout exercise) from the muscles, and may help you grind on without that muscle ‘burn’ feeling, says Tanzer.

Somewhere around six grams of citrulline pre-workout is ideal, says Tanzer, though you’ll still benefit from the lower doses found in many preworkout formulas. You can add extra to your usual preworkout before you hit the gym, and add some to your recovery drink, as well, he says.

Just check with your doc before taking citrulline if you have any kidney issues, Tanzer recommends. The ammonia citrulline helps pull from the muscles has to go through the kidneys before leaving the body.

Related: Check out a wide variety of amino acid supplements.

The 10 Most Masterful Meal Preppers On Instagram

Few things mesmerize us more than scrolling through countless symmetrical arrangements of Tupperware packed with proteins and veggies. Call us crazy, but considering there are 5,361,719 photos on Instagram tagged #mealprep (and that’s just as of 11:13 P.M. on May 26, 2017), it’s safe to say we aren’t the only meal prep lovers out there.

We spent hours staring at bowls of hard-boiled eggs, entire sheets of roasted veggies, and grills filled with chicken breasts, to identify the Insta-meal-preppers that do it best. Consider their feeds all the inspiration you need to go ahead and order that 20-pack of food containers

@kaleandcarrotsticks

Seven types of veggies, one photo. Feast your eyes on an endless variety of produce and cinnamon-y sweet potatoes. Shots of beautiful avocado toast and eggs will leave you looking like the heart-eyes emoji.

It's that mealprep Sunday for a lot of you. In case you were looking for some ideas or motivation hopefully this can help a little. 1. Crustless egg quiche (see previous post for the recipe) 2. Overnight oats with strawberries 3. Veggie burger with roasted asparagus, zucchini and carrots 4. Lentil and bean chili 5. Protein almond butter balls 6. Fresh veggies, hummus and bean for salads 7. Post workout shake with a banana 8. Dark chocolate and pecan covered pineapple treats (see previous posts) 9. Lemons for my water #mealprepsunday #foodporn #mealplan #mealprep #macros #fitspo #nutrition #diet #mealprepideas #whole30 #fitspiration #eatright #wholefoods #healthy #iifym  #fitnessmeals  #dieta #fitfood #cleaneating #cleaneats #mealprepmonday  #mealprepping #mealplanning #foodprep  #weightloss #healthyfood #mealprepdaily  #mealprepmondays

A post shared by Marek (@marekfitness) on

@marekfitness

With every meal, snack, and sweet treat accounted for, this is the ultimate day of healthy, balanced eating. Check out the feed for crustless quiche and oatmeal bake recipes that’ll last all week long.

Here's what each day looks like this week. Quick tip if you wanna shred lbs after the holidays… don't eat any sugar or carbs before your workout… hit that fat burning zone on nothing but BCAAs and a little protein and fat (like a handful of nuts), and the energy will be derived from burned fat rather than the sugar in your blood. Easiest to do this is the AM. 🍽 Pre-Workout (6:30am): Cashews, BCAAs, MCT oil, Whey Protein Isolate, * Breakfast/Post Workout (9:00am): 4 Soft boiled Eggs, half Avocado, Blueberries * Lunch (12:00pm): Rosemary & Thyme Chicken, Steamed Asparagus & Broccoli, Baked Sweet Potatoes * Snack (3:00pm): Protein Pancake, 4 Soft-Boiled Eggs, half Avocado, Homemade Kombucha * Dinner (6:00pm): Tex-Mex Salad – Spinach, Ground Turkey (spicy seasoning), Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Black Beans, Corn, Hemp Seeds * Snack (9:00pm): Bell Pepper, BCAAs, Casein Protein

A post shared by Chris Rocchio (@chris.rocchio_fit) on

@chris.rocchio_fit

These meal prep pics take all of the guess-work out of what a day of healthy eating looks like. Rosemary and thyme chicken with steamed asparagus and broccoli and baked sweet potatoes for lunch, anyone? Some posts even include the macros for these healthy meals.

Related: What Is The ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ Diet—And Should You Try It?

@pbfingers

Short on time but still trying to pull off a quick meal prep? One-pan meals to the rescue! Expect bright, colorful recipes with a side of adorable toddler pics from this meal-prepper.

So whilst we all tuck into our tupps I thought I'd share what's in mine this week (I'm actually on the tube but I'll be having mine soon). . Top row we have overnight oats as modelled by me this morning 💁🏻and some pork shoulder on a bed of pearl barley with courgette and shrooms. . Middle row: layered chicken, turmeric rice and veggies; steak with cabbage, peas, peppers and carrots; and some hard-boiled eggs for snacking. . Bottom row: turmeric basa on a bed of quinoa and red onion with a little tub of houmous; some veggies to go with my fish – I couldn't fit it in the tub; and some protein pancakes with chia, tahini and bloobs. . All set for my four day working week 🤗🍱 . #mealprep #mondaymotivation #foodprep #tupperware #food #pork #stew #veggies #steak #eggs #pancakes #chicken #rice #oats #glutenfree #brofood #gainz #fatloss #macros #protein #carbs #healthychoices #fitness #fitfood #bodybuilding #healthyeating #healthyfoodporn #nutritious #foodporn #foodstagram

A post shared by Danny Andrea (@dannysfitfood) on

@dannysfitfood

This fit chick proves that healthy eating can be packed with flavor—and pretty dang photogenic. When you’re sick of chicken breast, you’ll find plenty of other protein options here, including venison, trout, and hake fish.

Related: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

@foodprepprincess

The symmetry in this arrangement of meal containers, bags of veggies, and pieces of fruit is almost museum-worthy. And look out for the occasional healthy sweet treat recipe! We’re currently drooling over a shot of PB and chocolate protein squares…

@theleangreenbean

Who says healthy baked goods can’t be a part of meal prep? Sweet potato cookies, waffle French toast, and banana pancakes for the win. This Crossfit®-loving mama is all about enjoying healthy food and nailing box jumps.

@zsofkaa

This Hungarian fit chick’s produce pics will make you want to hop in the car and drive right toward your local farmer’s market. We may not speak the same language, but our bellies hear the call of those smoothie bowls and produce-packed snacks loud and clear.

@michellevodrazka  

Let it be known that meal prep can totally involve cinnamon buns. Cinnamon bun-flavored protein bars, that is. This feed is perfect for all the gluten and dairy-free preppers out there.

Related: Find a protein bar to post in your own meal-prep pics.

14 Ways To Get Your Matcha Fix—Other Than Making Tea

Matcha, a powder made from green tea leaves, has taken over lattes and Instagram feeds everywhere. Considering it’s chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants, as well as a natural source of caffeine, we’re not complaining.

But if a mug of piping hot matcha doesn’t appeal on warm-weather days—or if you’re new to the slightly-bitter flavor—you can enjoy the benefits of this green super-powder in baked goods, energy bites, smoothies, and more.

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photo: Epic Matcha

Matcha Limeade

Why not enjoy a nice dose of antioxidants in that refreshing glass of limeade? Epic Matcha’s recipe takes matcha straight into the summer.

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photo: Oh, How Civilized

Matcha Banana Nice Cream

With a couple of frozen bananas and a good blender or food processor, you’re never more than a minute or two away from a healthy ice cream alternative. Swap out your usual flavor add-ins for matcha powder to create a delightfully green frozen treat, courtesy of Oh, How Civilized. (Sub in coconut milk for the condensed milk for a dairy-free option.)

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photo: Living Well Mom

Matcha Energy Bites

Five simple ingredients come together for these chewy and sweet bites from Living Well Mom. Matcha newbies can add slightly more maple syrup for a little extra sweetness.

Related: Is Matcha Really A Miracle-Worker?

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photo: The Grateful Grazer

Coconut Matcha Energy Bars

Making energy bars at home can save major cash—on top of the added sugar many bars are packed with! Swap sugar for antioxidants with this recipe from The Grateful Grazer. They’re also loaded with healthy fats from almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, and coconut.

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photo: Salu Salo Recipes

White Chocolate Matcha Cookies

The ultimate gateway matcha recipe, these matcha cookies play off your favorite traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. Salu Salo Recipes mixes matcha into the dough and swaps your usual chocolate chips for white chocolate. Soft and chewy—and party-friendly.

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photo: Desserts With Benefits

Matcha Overnight Oats

This easy make-ahead breakfast is the perfect canvas for different flavor combinations. Desserts With Benefits sweetens up these matcha overnight oats with vanilla and almond extracts. Plus, you can always add your favorite vanilla protein to give your oats a boost.

Related: 8 Overnight Oats Recipes That Make Breakfast Taste Like Dessert

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photo: Pastry Affair

Coconut Matcha Chia Pudding

No instant pudding packets here! Soaking chia seeds in coconut milk creates the perfect creamy, slurp-worthy pudding texture you’ll want to spoon up for breakfast, snack-time, and dessert. Top this treat from Pastry Affair with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and you’re golden.

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photo: Fearless Dining

Matcha Banana Bread

Starting to realize you can add matcha to just about any baked good your heart desires? Fearless Dining’s classic banana bread recipe packs a bunch of our favorite healthy baking ingredients, like coconut oil, almond flour, and almond milk.

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photo: Becomingness!

Raw Matcha Brownies

No baking required for these ooey-gooey matcha brownies by Becomingness! Cacao powder, pecans, dates, and vanilla extract come together to make these fudgy brownies, while cacao butter, matcha, and a sweetener like honey or maple syrup create a creamy layer of matcha goodness.

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photo: Milly’s Kitchen

Matcha White Chocolate Bark With Coconut And Raspberries

Chocolate bark isn’t just for the holidays—this colorful matcha white chocolate bark screams springtime. With just four simple ingredients, it’s easy to make and sinfully sweet. Tweak this recipe from Milly’s Kitchen by swapping in different toppings for the raspberries and coconut.

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photo: Goodness Is Gorgeous

Matcha Pistachio Ice Pops

Since you’re not about to be sipping hot matcha poolside, these frozen matcha pistachio pops are the ultimate summer antioxidant boost. Get your ice pop molds ready for Goodness Is Gorgeous’s recipe!

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photo: Living Well Mom

Matcha Fudge

Coconut butter, coconut cream, and coconut oil make the most delightful base for this light and sweet fudge by Living Well Mom. Plus it’s free of the refined sugar in most fudge—and sweetened with pure maple syrup and vanilla extract instead.

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photo: Sarah Hearts

Matcha Rice Krispie Treats

Because six-year-olds and full-grown adults alike can appreciate a good rice krispie treat (or four), why not add matcha to the crunchy, marshmallowy mix? Swap coconut oil in for butter to make Sarah Hearts’ recipe dairy-free.

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photo: My Life Cookbook

Mango Matcha Green Smoothie

This summery smoothie from My Life Cookbook packs all sorts of greens, including matcha, spinach, and (our personal favorite) avocado. Mango naturally sweetens up the blend for a tasty, nutrient-packed drink.

Related: Shop matcha products, including powders, tea bags, and whisks.

I Drank Kombucha Every Day For Two Weeks—Here’s What My Gut Had To Say

I’ll just come right out and say it: My stomach has always been trouble. Fried food usually leaves me curled up on the couch for hours. Anything loaded with carbs or sugar? Cramp city. The older I get, the more sensitive my stomach becomes.

Over the years I’ve tried just about every gut remedy out there. My desk at work is well-stocked with ginger tea, I faithfully take a probiotic every day, I guzzle water, and I eat a lot of fiber. Still, though, my stomach doesn’t always cooperate. (I’ll spare you the details, but you know what I mean.)

The latest gut-friendly trend to make its way onto my to-do list: kombucha. The fizzy fermented drink—made by adding sugar, yeast, and bacteria to tea—has invaded the refrigerated section of even the most basic grocery store after winning over my fellow health nuts with its funky flavors and promise of probiotics. (These good bacteria live in our gut and help us digest food, destroy harmful microorganism, and produce vitamins, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.)

A sucker for trendy health foods, I was already a fan of other probiotic-packed fermented foods like kimchi, and I’d splurged on a bottle of kombucha here and there—but it wasn’t until after a belly-decimating, cheese and pastry-filled trip to Europe that I was ready to really commit to drinking it regularly. My gut needed some serious TLC.

Since I’d recently cut out dairy (yep, even my morning Greek yogurt got the boot), I wondered if it was time I find myself another fermented food to replace it with—and kombucha seemed like an easy way to bump up my daily probiotic intake. I mean, I wasn’t about to commit to eating kimchi every day, but I was already used to drinking lots of water, so why not throw some kombucha into my daily sips? Easy peasy.

So I stopped by the East Rutherford, New Jersey, The Vitamin Shoppe to stock up on kombucha. (Complete with eight kegs of Aqua ViTea kombucha and refillable glass bottles and growlers, this place is like a Health Enthusiast heaven.) I filled a growler with a mix of the ginger and turmeric flavors and headed home, ready to rock my gut’s world.

Related: 8 Foods And Drinks For When You Just Can’t Go To The Bathroom

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The Experiment

To find out if drinking this effervescent beverage on the reg would really make a difference, I decided to have a glass every morning for the next two weeks. (Aqua ViTea’s website recommended starting with four to six ounces a day, so I stuck with a small glassful.)

My first morning of the experiment, as I sipped my way through a glass of the bubbly tea while checking my email, I noticed that I felt super-full—but not in a heavy, just-ate-a-cheeseburger kind of way. Simply sated.

And I had a second realization: Kombucha could really get things moving. Not in a frightening Bridesmaids-movie-scene kind of way, but whoa.

The same pattern continued through the rest of the work week. I drank my glass of kombucha about a half-hour or so after breakfast, hit the bathroom sometime around mid-morning, and felt awake and satisfied until lunch. After a few days, I also noticed that I felt more awake and alert as I went about my morning routine. Placebo effect or not, I didn’t mind. (My kombucha was made from a blend of black and green tea—but I learned that very little of the caffeine in those teas survives the fermentation process. Kombucha does contain some B vitamins, which we associate with energy, though.)

I rationed out my 64-ounce growler so it’d last me the full week, and refilled it with my turmeric-ginger mix for week two. By then, I looked forward to my fizzy sips each morning, especially because my stomach felt so great.

As my gut got used to the daily bubbles, I didn’t feel quite as full after drinking them. Somewhere in the middle of week two, I started drinking a second glass around mid-afternoon, when an itch for something sweet and a dip in energy hit. I felt revitalized—and you know that slightly groggy, sloth-like feeling of a meal lingering in your stomach? (I call this the ‘after-lunch blahs’.) Gone.

I was becoming a kombucha-holic—with less than a third of my second growler left with four more days to go in my kombucha streak—so I started diluting my bubbly beverage in a little sparkling water to avoid yet another growler refill. My growler lasted through the end of week two, though just barely.

kombucha selfie

The Verdict

After two full weeks of kombucha-drinking, my toilet time was more regular than it’d been in a while and I felt like my stomach was moving and grooving—no gas, no bloating. A major win in my book, considering I was used to feeling like there was a balloon in my stomach at any point of the day.

I also no longer felt the need to brew up a double mug of green tea for a caffeine boost around lunchtime; my mind was clear and my focus steady. A splash of kombucha in plain bubbly water kept my taste buds happy (and made it much easier to stay hydrated) all day long.

I’ll definitely continue to hit up the kombucha bar at The Vitamin Shoppe for my weekly growler fill-up, and may even get myself a second growler to stash at home. Yeah, I love it that much.

Related: Shop a variety of drinks, from sparkling waters to teas to energy-boosters.

5 Protein Powder Flavors That Are Anything But Ordinary

Whether you’re trying to slim down or hoping to bulk up, getting more protein is probably on your radar. Foods (and beverages) high in protein can help curb your hunger, making it easier to eat fewer calories and stay fuller longer. And post-workout protein is key to encouraging potential muscle repair and swift recovery time.

Protein powder is an easy, simple, and delicious way to get more protein in your diet (the average 130-pound person needs 48 grams of protein per day, although that number changes according to your goals). But too often people find themselves in a rut of drinking the same ol’ chocolate or vanilla protein shake each day.

Why stick to the basics when there are so many new and amazing flavors out there? Try switching things up a bit by adding a few of these into your daily protein regimen.

1.      Mocha CappuccinoON Whey mocha capp

The Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein by Optimum Nutrition offers up 24 grams of protein in a single scoop. Since their protein powder only has two grams of sugar per serving, it’s a great choice for those who want to keep their sugar intake low. And if you’re a Starbucks aficionado, try ON’s Mocha Cappuccino Powder.

Take it to the next level: Blend a scoop of powder with six ounces of cold brew coffee, six ounces of milk or a milk substitute, and one cup of ice for a Frappuccino-inspired drink.

Related: Shop whey protein to boost your protein intake.

2.      Cinnamon Bun

dymatize cinnamon bunWith 25 grams of protein and less than a gram of sugar, ISO 100 Protein Powder by Dymatize Nutrition gives you the protein boost you need in your diet without the added carbohydrates. This powder is also hydrolyzed, which means that it’s faster to digest. And if you’ve got a thing for breakfast pastry, Dymatize Nutrition Cinnamon Bun is the flavor for you.

Take it to the next level: Combine one scoop of protein powder, an apple, eight ounces of milk or a milk substitute, and a cup of ice in a blender. Puree away! Top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg, and enjoy your new favorite post-workout meal.

Related: 12 Ways To Make A Delicious Breakfast With Protein Powder

3.      Fuzzy Navelnectar

Syntrax creates truly unexpected Nectar Protein Powder flavors, like Fuzzy Navel. All of their powders are high in protein (this one contains 23 grams of protein in a single scoop) and low in carbohydrates. They’re also lactose-free.

Take it to the next level: Mix up a scoop of Fuzzy Navel Nectar with 8 ounces of cold water—or if you’re feeling peachy, turn it into a high-protein ice cream. Blend one cup of frozen peaches, one cup of milk, ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum, and a scoop of protein powder in your blender. Add this mixture to your ice cream maker, turn it on, and leave it be for 15 minutes until it turns into a thick and frozen treat. Enjoy!

4.      Orange Dreamsicle

orange dreamsicleThe Orange Dreamsicle ISO 100 Protein Powder has the same benefits of the other protein powders by Dymatize Nutrition, but with a fruity twist.

Take it to the next level: Blend a scoop of protein powder with one cup of milk or a milk substitute, two teaspoons of vanilla extract, ½ cup of orange juice, and one cup of ice for a refreshing, filling treat. Perfect for those hot summer months.

Related: Shop plant protein for all your vegetarian and vegan needs.

5.      Birthday Cake

birthday cakeThe brand-new (but limited edition—sad face) BodyTech Whey Tech Birthday Cake Powder is loaded up with 24 grams of protein in one scoop, with only one gram of sugar. Now you really can have your cake and eat it too!

Take it to the next level: Throw one cup of raw oats, one scoop of BodyTech Birthday Cake protein powder, three egg whites, ¼ cup of milk or milk substitute, and 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder into a blender. Once the ingredients are thoroughly blended, cook in a hot skillet or on a griddle like you would a typical pancake. Top with a dash of maple syrup or your favorite fresh fruit.

Related: 8 Tasty Ways To Combine Your Morning Coffee With Your Morning Protein Powder