Alright people; it’s time. iHerb.com has been generous enough to give us three things: a $50 shopping spree for me, a $50 shopping spree for one of you, and a coupon code (RAZ652) that anyone can use to get $5 off his or her first purchase.
So, here’s the deal with iHerb. They’re an online health-food-slash-supplement store. One look at their homepage should tell you that they’re a little different — no photos, fancy logos and graphics, or other distractions. (This is also the approach taken by another company you might have heard of, called “Googol” or “Google” or something.)
Actually, iHerb is like Google in another way: They make it really easy for you to find information. Everything is sorted by product and brand, so for example, it’s easy to see all Vega products or all meal replacement shakes for comparison. My favorite feature, though, is that iHerb.com is connected to an online health library — when you’re shopping in, say, the “digestive enzyme” category, you’ll see links to relevant articles to help you decide whether you really need digestive enzymes or whether they’re the snake oil of the 2010′s.
So that’s why I like iHerb, not to mention ease of checkout and free shipping for orders over 40 dollars. If you need more reasons, take a look at their Top 10 Reasons to Shop at iHerb. Or check out their free samples page.
For my shopping spree, I wanted to have a theme. You, the NMA reader, expect more than a random hodgepodge of products, right? In the spirit of the new book I’m reading, and to accompany my recent sprouting exploits, I went with a Thrive and Thrive Fitness theme: I ordered lots of the ingredients from the super-recipes in Thrive (and some from Thrive Fitness) that I had never gotten around to purchasing in the past, either because I couldn’t find them or due to budget constraints.
Here’s what I got:
White chia seeds (salba) – A while back, I wrote a post about chia seeds and their legendary ability to revive Aztec warriors (and now, runners). Well, according to Brendan Brazier in Thrive Fitness, the heirloom variety called white chia is actually the one that the legendary fighters drank for endurance while getting their battle on. It’s high in protein, antioxidants, and omega-3′s. Brendan uses it in pre- and post-run smoothies; so far I’ve only tried it in chia fresca. It gels just like regular chia, and tastes the same. But now I have this inexplicable urge to pilage and plunder a nearby village.
Maca root – Another ancient superfood, this one Incan. Maca is a root that’s ground into a fine powder, suitable for adding to smoothies. It’s known as an adaptogen, which seems to mean “something that helps the body adapt to stresses with no negative side effects.” Maca has so many supposed benefits, especially for the adrenal system, that I can’t believe it’s not as trendy as acai and gogi berries. And it has a pleasant smell and taste. Bonus — it’s a purported libido enhancer! Cue the bass guitar lick, and watch out, Erin!
Cacao nibs – As we continue our tour of the superfoods of South and Central American tribes, we turn to the Mayan cacao. A raw, vegan alternative to chocolate, cacao is really just cocoa; it’s the powder that comes from grinding cocoa beans. Brendan uses it in smoothies and energy bars. On its own without sweetener, it tastes like a combination of dirt and coffee bean. Yum!
Chlorella – Chlorella is a freshwater algae, somehow made into a deep green powder for diet supplementation. It’s loaded with protein, antioxidants, and vitamin B12, which is difficult to find in non-animal products. I’ve been adding it to smoothies. It actually does impart a little bit of a seaweed taste, which was always my least favorite part of eating sushi. But somehow, it’s not gross in the smoothie.
Dulse powder – Apparently, the term “seaweed” is offensive, so now we use the P.C. term “sea vegetable.” Sea vegetables are packed with nutrients and ten times the calcium of cow’s milk! Dulse is a sea veggie, ground into a powder that can be used as a substitute for salt because of its flavor and electrolyte content, and is what’s actually called for in some of the Thive recipes for natural sports drink and raw energy gels. (I’ve always just used salt.) To me, dulse has a stronger seaweed taste than chlorella, and I have serious trouble stomaching it. Perhaps it’ll grow on me, or maybe the taste will be covered up in the sports drink or gels.
Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat is neither a buck nor a wheat — discuss. It’s actually a seed, and as a rule, seeds are better than wheats (or bucks). A lot of Brendan’s recipes call for sprouted or cooked buckwheat; I made the mistake of getting it already ground into a flour, so I won’t be able to sprout it. But I’ll still be able to use it in buckwheat pancakes and as the base for the new energy drinks from Thrive Fitness.
And now it’s your chance to win your own $50 shopping spree at iHerb! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling me what you’d buy with 50 bucks at iHerb. Boo to contests requiring tweets or links! (Through they’re always appreciated.) Get your comments in by next Monday, January 25th, and then I’ll choose the winner at random.
And don’t forget, anyone can use my coupon code RAZ652 at checkout to get $5 off your first purchase at iHerb!
Last thing, of particular interest to bloggers but possibly to others as well: once you buy something at iHerb, they’ll give your own coupon code you can share with your readers (or Facebook friends, or Twitter followers, or even real people). They’ll get $5 off; you’ll get commissions on sales using your code, and everyone makes out! Plus, the rewards program is tiered, so you’ll earn credit on sales of sales of sales. For more, check out the rewards program details.
Fine print: The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, and the winner must register at iHerb.com to claim their prize (don’t worry, it’s easy and free and they won’t spam you).