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I was given product for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Dialysis patients like my mom need more proteins in their diet. Protein keeps wastes from building up, so it’s an essential element for those who cannot remove waste conventionally. My mom has trouble eating meats, so it’s hard to get protein in her diet.

So that’s what I was looking for when I tried Summit Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate powder. I got the Vanilla flavor – which I like because mom 1) doesn’t care for chocolate shakes, and 2) I could add it to the foods that she likes.

Instead of making shakes out of the powder, I would use one packet throughout the day. I sneaked it into a milkshake for Mom. I stirred it in cinnamon applesauce. I added it to her coffee as a creamer. It was great (although it did not melt in the coffee; I suggested she put it in her cup before adding the coffee.)

One packet of the stuff contains a whopping 26g of protein, and also has zero fat, cholesterol or sugar. All of these are also important for my mom’s diet, because her kidney failure is related to her diabetes.

This product is geared toward those looking for sports nutrition supplements, but I think I have found something that I can give mom on days when it is all she can take to chew on something, and when she needs protein. I’m really glad this is around, and I hope more dialysis patients look to whey protein products like those from Summit Nutrition to help their diets.

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I was given product in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

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I have been using Peppermint Oil for about a decade. It’s great to add to baths if I need to wake up, and it’s also really good for helping clear my sinuses if I’m congested or experiencing allergies.

Adovia 100% Pure Peppermint Essential Oil comes in a HUGE 4-oz bottle, and because it is so strong, it must be diluted before it is used. Tonight, my mother was having COPD symptoms, and to help aid her breathing, I applied some diluted peppermint oil to her chest using a rag. After doing this and helping her use her prescription inhaler, she went from taking short, panicked breaths and asking to go to the emergency room, to breathing normally. Did the Peppermint Oil help medicinally? That’s inconclusive, but I know my mom felt a bit easier with the strong but pleasant scent.

I cannot stress how much this needs to be diluted. It can either be combined with a carrier oil or with water. Trust me, open this bottle and you will understand the importance of the dilution! In fact, I have a glass of peppermint oil diluted in about a cup of water sitting in my bathroom right now and it is minty fresh!

I cannot make any confirmation to the claims that peppermint oil eases stomach discomfort or anxiety – I rarely am queasy, and when I am anxious I prefer calming sources that include prescription medication and more soothing oils like lavender. I also firmly trust the physicians who have saved my mother’s life and will always recommend you seek a doctor’s help first when starting any home remedies.

When I first started purchasing essential oils, I would buy small one-ounce bottles at chain boutiques for about $10. At $11.89, this Adovia oil is a great bargain and is guaranteed to last for an extremely long time.

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I was given product for this review. All opinions are my own.

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People like my mom have to limit their liquids. Mom is in kidney failure, and because her kidneys do not function, she cannot process liquids normally. She cannot drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, but rather sip to get along. As a result, her skin is extremely dry and becomes extremely itchy. There have been many times when I have found scabbing all over her back from where she has scratched her dry skin.

It’s really sad to see her in this state if internal and external dehydration. But one thing that has helped ease her difficulties is rosehip oil, like this Foxbrim Organic Rosehip Seed Oil.

I have used other Rosehip oil on mom before, but what I really like about this oil is that it is dispensed with a pump. Most essential oils are dispensed with a dropper, and if you are trying to use it to moisturize, it can get pretty messy when trying to use it on a large area of skin. With this, there is a lot less mess to deal with, and there’s easy application.

Mom loves how soothing it feels, and whenever I apply it, her skin stops itching. Now, I can’t be behind mom every second of the day for rosehip oil duty, but this does make things a bit easier on her.

I am always looking for ways to make my mom’s life better as her caregiver. This is highly recommended, and if it can help my mother’s illness-related, extremely dry skin, it might be able to help your dry, itchy skin as well.

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Sebastian tries Paw Choice Probiotic Chews

I was given product in exchange for an honest review.

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I’ve said this recently and I will say it again: As a petsitter, I see a lot of what goes into dogs, and a lot of what comes out of them. You can definitely tell the quality of a dog’s diet just by seeing how hard it is to clean up after him. For an otherwise healthy dog, the harder it is to clean up, the less quality his diet is. So I pay a lot of attention to my dog’s digestive health, as well as that of my clients’ dogs. Diarrhea, scooting and constipation are all issues to keep on the lookout for in your pooch. Sebastian has had giardia twice – that’s an easily obtainable bug that a dog can get from standing water, and it causes horrible diarrhea.

So, while I can make no scientific claims about the necessity or lackthereof of probiotics for your dog, I don’t see how they could hurt your dog. Their effectiveness is still being studied, although preliminary studies have shown improvement in GI health for dogs.

Paw Choice Probiotic Chews come in a small-sized, chewy treat. They are supposedly filled with “good” bacteria that should aid in his overall wellness. I know that’s a general term, but that’s what the advertising for this product says.

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One chew is all my 18-pound dog needs each day. Sebastian, always the great product tester, tried these out.  Let’s see how he likes ‘em.

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He likes ‘em!!!

I think it’s a bit early to determine whether or not this will help Sebastian out. Sebastian’s diet changes often as he is given new and exciting foods and treats to try out. But my hope is that with these chews, I will see a dog who shows how healthy he is by what comes out of him. I will update this post eventually as I see how or if the chews make a difference.

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I received product for this review. All opinions are my own. 

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Big fan of meal replacements here. Really just looking for items that are filling, great as snacks, portable, and a great way to get some nutrients in me in between meals. (I don’t look at meal replacement bars or shakes as actual meals, but rather supplements to a balanced diet.)

Nutraplex sent me a couple of bars to try out – their Megaberry and Pineapple Coconut varieties. These bars are kind of a grown-up fruit roll-up or snack – they’re really sweet, fruity, but also are definitely full of goodies that those sugary snacks targeted at kids don’t have. It’s also very good for those with food allergies and special diets. It’s Gluten-Free, Soy-free, Dairy-Free, Kosher, Vegetarian, and also has antioxidants and fiber.

The Megaberry bar is pretty dang amazing. It has acai berries, blueberries cranberries, raspberries and strawberries. That is a lot of berry in one bar! As someone who is allergic to stone fruits like cherries and plums, I loved that I could eat this without any allergic reactions.

The Pineapple-Coconut bar is kind of – eh. Don’t get me wrong, I love tropical flavors. But somehow, when they’re in the form of this concentrated bar, they just don’t seem right. I also didn’t care too much for the texture of the coconut, which amazes me since I love coconuts. But if you’re a fan of that texture and of tropical flavors, and also want something that is a bit different than the standard fruit bar, I’d recommend this.

These bars are pretty small, so again, I wouldn’t eat one as an entire meal. But take one when hiking, put one in your desk at work, keep some on hand at home for when you’re having cravings. definitely worth having on hand.

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