An Interesting View on Nationality

told you anything could happen on the weekends here on Hungry and Fit! My brother introduced me to this site, Quora, awhile ago and it always has fascinating topics and discussions I enjoy reading. A month or so ago, I got a Quora digest including the Question/Answer of the question, “Are Germans proud to be German?” Here’s what a German answered…

“Nobody in Germany (except Neo-Nazis) will say “I am proud to be German”. That is a big no-no and has cost several public figures their jobs. 

Many Germans will also argue that it is illogical to be proud of the accident of birth that could have just as easily placed you in Rwanda, or to be proud of your nation’s achievements when you haven’t done anything to create them.

That being said, you can sometimes find people who are paradoxically “proud of not being proud”. They (and I myself am tending more and more towards that view) are proud of Germany for being basically the only nation that has identified patriotism as the root of much evil and done away with it. Read more about this kind of pride in Navid Kermani’s recent speech on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the German constitution:http://understandinggermany.de/p… (3rd section)” -Judith Meyer, find the link to entire discussion here.

I simply thought this was an interesting and thought-evoking answer that we are all due to think about. I suppose, as a Philosophy major, I believe it’s always important to think about everything and not ignore painful questions (#thoughtfulsunday). I hope you all have a lovely Sunday and Labor Day if you’re in USA! And as always, stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: What do you think about the above answer to the question?
BONUS PUPPY PIC
Close-up!

Close-up!

Home Upper Body Workout (HIIT!)

You’re not always going to have a gym to go to. In fact, you may not even be subscribed to a gym right now! It’s important to have your own personal arsenal of home workouts and exercises. This is a great workout for everybody and anybody! Some people (women especially) choose to ignore strengthening their upper body. And why? We should keep our whole body strong! For this workout, all you need is a pair of light weights and a resistance band. Let’s do it. 

  • Boxing (with 5lb weights) for 1 min
Jamie, the star of our last guest blog post!

Jamie, the star of our last guest blog post!

  • Biceps Curls (with whichever weight you can do) for 1 min
  • Triceps Extensions (with whichever weight you can do) for 1 min
  • Boxing for 1 min
  • Rear Delt Flyes for 1 min
  • Shoulder Press (with whatever weight you can do) for 1 min
  • Boxing for 1 min
  • Push-ups for 1 min

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  • Dips for 1 min
  • Boxing for 1 min
  • Face pulls for 1 min
  • Reverse Curls (with whatever weight you can do) for 1 min

Now take a break for crying out loud! Our next and final “set” is going to be faster pace, shorter time, and increased intensity. Try going with some heavier weights than before since you will be doing it for half the time.

  • Boxing (same 5lb weight) for 30s
  • Biceps Curls for 30s
  • Jumping Jacks for 1 min
  • Triceps Extensions for 30s
  • Boxing for 30s
  • Rear delt flyes for 30s

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  • High knees for 1 min
  • Shoulder Press for 30s
  • Boxing for 30s
  • Push-ups for 30s
  • Quick toes for 1 min
  • Dips for 30s

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  • Boxing for 30s
  • Face Pulls for 30s
  • Jump Rope for 1min
  • Reverse Curls for 30s

And that, my friends, is a great upper body workout for your muscles and your heart! Jamie and I were sweating and aching by the end of it. This particular upper body workout took us around 40 minutes in total, but you can trim things down or buff them up how you’d like. Make sure you have a reliable timer nearby to count each segment. Try to push yourself through each part even though your muscles are screaming at you. Fight til the end! Do this upper body home workout to stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

Silly Sajah

Silly Sajah

Should I Eat Fish Skin?

(Yes, but be careful.

That sounds weird. Should I eat fish skin? Fortunately, it’s a relatively simple question to answer. You just need to ask yourself a few questions when that fish skin is sitting in front of you. Unfortunately, answering those questions can be quite a challenge. (I got your hopes up, didn’t I?)

(The skin is naturally good for you if it isn’t contaminated.)

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All of my friends know that I love Asian cultures, but when I went to school in South Korea I was exposed to tons of cultural quirks that I never learned about before. One time I was eating dinner in Seoul with some of my students (seems wrong, right?) and they teased me when I left the skin from my mackerel on my plate. They told me that all of the old women would always fight over the skin because it was the best part of the fish. I thought of the protein content of the meat, but they didn’t care about that.

(It is an amazing source of omega fatty acids so don’t waste it!)

It was amazing to get the feeling that the mackerel skin (or any other fish rich in omegas) was as valuable as gold or jewels. After thinking it over and not being one to waste food, I decided that I would always eat my fish skin and everyone else’s fish skin for that matter! Be cautious because even though the skin of just about any fish (especially those served in restaurants and available at fish markets) have amazing health benefits in an ideal world, the contaminants and pollutants in a lot of the heavily fished oceans/fish farms in the world, can present unwelcome health risks. In many cases, the risk outweighs the reward

(The contaminants and pollutants don’t always make it to your mouth but know they were often there!)

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You can avoid this by buying fish responsibly. Due to Alana’s eating habits, we always ask our food servers if they know the source of their fish. This usually isn’t a problem at fish markets,where they tell you if the fish is farmed or wild caught, and where its point of origin is. Once you find a respectable fish market and do the proper research, you don’t have to do it again… just get what you know!

I hope this didn’t confuse you too much and led you in the right direction. It’s not like chicken where there are almost no health benefits unless you’re looking for more fat and calories. So the final answer is yes–eat the skin–but be careful and do your research! As always, stay hungry and fit!

BONUS PUPPY PIC

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Wake Up with a Salutation to Health

Too often we roll out of bed a few minutes too late only to start rushing here and there–barely remembering to brush our teeth after shoving the last bit of toast down our throats–and run out the door. This does not set up the day very well. This manic morning routine leaves you feeling rushed, anxious, and stressed. It should be the opposite! There are easy ways to make your morning feel calm, enjoyable, and rejuvenating–and they don’t take a day at the spa!

If I begin my day like how I pictured above, I’m not going to be in a great mood. It’s important me to start the day out right. I know this can be tough (I have a partner, two cats, a dog, and a snake–imagine kids!), but all it takes is a few minutes to begin your day on a healthy note. Sometimes I meditate–lots of breathing exercises to clear my mind and set my intention for the day.

Other times, I do a sun salutation. This is a yoga routine I try to do in the mornings or when I am feeling stiff. Many of you know my inflexible nature so this yoga routine is important for me to do at least once a day. This yoga routine is a beautiful way to start the day and will spur mental and physical wellness. We often just focus on our physical fitness, but our mental wellness is just as important, too. I’m no yoga master, but I do what I can (my poses aren’t always so pretty).

Let’s go through that routine:

  • Stand with your feet together and reach high with your hand and tilt slightly backwards

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  • Sweep your arms downwards in a swan dive and reach for your toes
  • Put your hands on your legs and look forward

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  • Reach back down towards your toes
  • Plant your hands down and bring your right leg back into a lunge

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  • Bring your left leg back into a plank

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  • Slowly lower, coming up into cobra or upward facing dog

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  • Turn the toes and come into downward facing dog

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  • Put your right foot forward into a lunge, and then your left to meet it
  • Slowly rise up, one vertebrae at a time, reaching for the sky

This takes 1-3 minutes, depending on how slow or fast you go. Try doing this sun salutation three times in succession. You can do them at different speeds, the same speed–whatever feels right to you that morning. This is a wonderful way to capture that physical and mental wellness spur that will keep you feeling lively and healthy for the rest of the day.

This goes along with my day-to-day routine of drinking Silk Soymilk. I usually go with Vanilla or Plain, but it keeps me healthy and helps my day get started. Silk is all about physical and mental wellness routines. Silk Soymilk has plant-based protein (6g per serving!) which I appreciate and it also helps me to keep fuller longer if I only have time for cereal in the morning (before my sun salutations, of course). They are all about creating products that make you feel better and healthier throughout your busy day.

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For me, it makes sense to partner with Silk because we share the same values of natural food (non-GMOs) and leading a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. If you want to learn more about their products, click here. They also have an awesome Facebook page where you can learn about fantastic giveaways, healthy yummy recipes, and fitness hacks. I hope you begin (or continue) your morning practice of sun salutations or meditation to start a mentally and physically healthy day. As always, stay hungry and fit!

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Seasoning Your Food: Heat vs Spice

Don’t worry, this will not be a rant! Although it could be, I am going to take it the other way and use it as an opportunity to educate people about preparing food properly. Nowadays, with the rising popularity of genetically modified peppers and the presence of Sriracha on every table in the United States, it’s obvious that the average adult and young adult’s palette favors spiciness.

People want heat. Furious Pete and other food enthusiasts eat Moruga Scorpions and Ghost Peppers whole while millions watch. Those are multiple times spicier than the habanero you’ve probably heard of at some point in time. Some might think it’s insane, but it’s reality and the gourmet world has been affected as well. So here are some important tips to remember when you are making your own food or ordering it from someone else.

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1. There is spice and there is spice. Some use spice to refer to heat, Scoville units, etc. Spices are used to preserve, color, and FLAVOR food. They can be roots, seeds, leaves, and many other items that are used for their ability to enhance food. There are over 300 spices that are used in the culinary arts and they all have unique properties. Don’t just rely on a few and go outside the box.

2. Don’t settle for heat. Sometimes when people fail to develop proper flavor in a dish, they just cover it in hot sauce. (I put hot sauce on my egg whites when I eat them in bulk.) If you’re trying to create a dish with a rich and deep flavor profile, keep experimenting until you get that level of near perfection. Don’t just throw hot sauce on it… don’t give up!

3. Heat and spice can create amazing flavors. Ever had Thai or Indian food? Ethiopian? (We could go on for hours.) When chefs can merge extreme heat and still retain the flavor development of less dominant spices, it shows incredible skill and the results are amazing. When that same chef can alter the level of heat without changing the presence of the other flavors, it’s mastery.

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So there you have it, a few things to remember when seasoning your food. Eventually, we might have some more posts about specific spices. Remember, don’t settle for that hot sauce. Keep trying different ratios of spices and preparations (toasting) so that you can cook your own meals at home that you love. Restaurants are a nice treat but no one knows what you want more than you do! As always, stay hungry and fit!

BONUS KITTY PIC

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Our Past Few Weeks in Pictures

Lots of beach time and beautiful sunsets

Lots of beach time and beautiful sunsets

Good workouts

Good workouts

Cute kittens

Cute kittens

Awesome shirts

Awesome shirts

Found an apartment we like!

Found an apartment we like!

Found an AWESOME donut place (review coming)

Found an AWESOME donut place (review coming)

Gold's Gym!

Gold’s Gym!

Good eats

Good eats

Good runs with cute dogs

Good runs with cute dogs

More good eats

More good eats

Friends and dogs

Friends and dogs

MORE good eats

MORE good eats

Workouts

Workouts

Fish tacos ^.^

Fish tacos ^.^

Lots of yard time for Noke

Lots of yard time for Noke

Keeping it fresh

Keeping it fresh

The Mecca – Gold’s Venice – Not Just a Bodybuilding Gym?

While the fitness industry is growing at an incredible rate, there has been an unfortunate amount of negative energy between different communities. In the past, athletes got along really well and were considered a clique (in high school, college, etc.) but now people can’t even agree over who is an athlete and what is a sport. Different kinds of athletes (Olympic/sport, martial arts, strongman, powerlifting, endurance, CrossFit, etc.) have all become increasingly hostile and instead of supporting other groups, they put others down in order to lift themselves higher. Since there is no clear competitive comparison of any of the different communities, it all comes down to subjectivity and trash talking. It’s a shame since everyone working towards a healthier lifestyle should continue to motivate one another. While I won’t get into anything in-depth about the can of worms I just opened, I will get back to the topic at hand. Let’s talk about (arguably) the most famous gym in the world.

Gold’s Gym – The MECCA of Bodybuilding – Venice Beach, CA – Since 1965

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These are various pictures of me wearing Gold’s apparel…the gym’s in the background are NOT of Gold’s

Ever seen Pumping Iron starring Arnold and Lou Ferrigno? A lot of that footage was shot at Gold’s and Muscle Beach. (Lou was in NYC) Watch Mike O’Hearn‘s YouTube videos? Mostly at Gold’s yet again. Pictures from your favorite bodybuilders on Instagram? Venice! The Mecca has always been the place to be for bodybuilding and it has become even more popular than it was when Pumping Iron came out, despite the rise in competition. (I’ve been to a lot of good gyms across the world and I am sure you have too!) There is no question that the weather, members, posters on the wall, and equipment scream “come here to be a pro bodybuilder” but let me approach this with a different angle. Is Gold’s not just a bodybuilding gym? 

When we moved (back) to L.A. (Santa Monica) recently, I told myself I need to join a new gym because I cancelled my YMCA and 24 Hour Fitness memberships. That gym needed to be 1) open late, 2) have amazing equipment, and 3) be able to motivate me in some way. Well, Gold’s was open until midnight, had dumbbells up to 200 lbs, and was full of extremely hard-working and passionate people. Whether they were big or small, strong or weak, natural or not, these people were giving it their all and I love that drive, since I DO NOT HAVE IT. But we all know one thing… I am NOT a bodybuilder! So the final question was, is this gym good for someone like myself? Someone who does not have any concrete goals but just works out because he/she enjoys it. Someone who has participated in sports and martial arts their whole life, using concepts and exercises from every community to become the best athlete possible. And that is precisely why I ended up a member at Gold’s. Because of the following that make it NOT JUST a bodybuilding gym.

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(The following is a random list of things that I love at Gold’s, that a bodybuilding gym does not NEED, but this one has them anyway!)

1. Jacobs Ladder – Not one, but two! These are amazing machines and some of the only cardio equipment that I use. Jack up the speed to work on your eye-hand-foot coordination. It helps you maintain relative strength while you build absolute strength.

2. Plyo-Boxes – One that is actually tall. 48” and A TON of them. Different models with one that is just insanely tall. This is one gym where I don’t have to stack boxes on top of each other dangerously to get those high box jumps.

3. Sleds – Multiple sleds in their outdoor workout area. With a countless number of plates to load onto them. Amazing way to build explosive speed and strength in your lower body, while elevating that heart rate. 

4. Endless Rope Machine – There are very few gyms in the world where I have seen one of these. It helps you get a full upper body workout, while working on rope climbing turnover technique, grip strength, and elevating your heart rate. And it’s fun!

5. 200 lb dumbbells – And everything in between. If you are a strongman or powerlifter, heavier weights are necessary for your workouts. You can’t do singles, doubles, and triples with 100 lb dumbbells if you want to make it to the top of the mountain!

6. Cambered Squat Bar – I’m impressed when gyms have 100 olympic barbells. Even more so when they have multiple model hex bars. But when you throw a rackable cambered squat bar into the mix, that makes my day. I love the little things!

7. Olympic Platform – It’s often locked up, but it’s a full Olympic platform with bumper plates, chalk, and no mirror! Olympic lifts are not recommended for bodybuilding so for them to have this platform means this gym is for other athletes too!

8. Kettlebells – Oh, we’re not talking about 12 lb ones. They have 40 kg kettlebells… matching! So you can do your front squats, snatches, and walking lunges with a heavier load! They’re outside too so you can throw up in peace!

9. Punching Bag – Or full body striking bags. Heavy ones. That hang. And 4 of them, at least. These aren’t cheap bags either. Don’t tell anyone but I was testing these out the other night and they took a good beating from my legs.

10. A huge dirty wall – That’s right! A huge dirty wall in back. That way you can do wall assisted handstand push ups without having to take your shoes off, or getting yelled at for taking your shoes off, or getting yelled at for putting your shoes on the wall, etc. You can also do flips off the wall, or use the wall for assisted pullups, etc!

As you can tell, I can go on forever. But I will stop here and tell ALL ATHLETES that visit Los Angeles to stop by Gold’s Venice for a day and get a workout in not just for the equipment but more for the culture. It’s an experience you won’t forget. Plus, you might get to see some real monsters there.

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Disclaimer: Chris KING Tucci and Hungry & Fit LLC have NO AFFILIATION, personal, or professional relationship with Gold’s Gym Venice, Gold’s Gym, or any of its employees. This was written because I wanted to write it to get a few points across. As always, stay hungry & fit.

Easy Hummus Recipe

 Please enjoy our guest blogger, Jamie, and her wonderful hummus recipe. 

Jamie’s passion for food and cooking began as a young girl, while watching her Italian mother in the kitchen.  During her time studying at UC Santa Cruz, she came to love the process of cooking and experimenting in her own kitchen.  Her curiosity has pushed her to learn how to make a lot of her own products from scratch instead of buying it at the market like hummus, granola, yogurt, pickles, and much more. As the Alternative Food Chef at a Yosemite summer camp, Jamie cooked for campers and staff with dietary restrictions.  This challenged her to use unconventional ingredients to create hearty and healthy comfort food.  Jamie is currently studying to become an Occupational Therapist and would love to incorporate cooking into her practice one day.

jamie bio

Chickpeas are a type of legume also known as garbanzo beans. In Arabic, the word for chickpea is hummus, which we know as a creamy, garlic-y spread made from chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed paste). You can find all different types of hummus at your local grocery store, but often times store-bought hummus is chock full of unnecessary additives and preservatives that you can’t pronounce. Luckily, it is incredibly easy to make!

Since I ran out of tahini, I decided to spice up my hummus by adding roasted red bell pepper and garlic, but if you have tahini, I would recommend using it. Also, I used chickpeas that I cooked from scratch, which takes longer since you have to let them soak overnight, so feel free to make the hummus using canned chickpeas instead.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus

Ingredients:

  • ¾ C chickpeas (dry) or 1 can cooked chickpeas
  • 3-5 Cardamom Pods (optional)
  • ½ Red Bell Pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ lemon
  • 2-3 T Olive oil
  • S and P to taste
  • 2 t Paprika or Chipotle Powder
  • ¼ C Tahini

Directions:

  1. Sort through Chickpeas and pick out any off-color or shriveled ones. Soak Chickpeas in water overnight. If using canned beans skip to step 3chick pea
  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place in large pot and cover with a couple of inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and cardamom pods or any other fresh herb you like (adds a nice aroma and subtle flavor to chickpeas). Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 60-90 min or until tender. chick pea cooking
  1. While the chickpeas are cooking, place bell pepper and two cloves of garlic (skin on) in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the foil pouch in toaster oven or oven at 350 degrees F for about 45 minbell pep
  1. Once chickpeas are tender and the bell pepper and garlic are roasted, place in food processor or blender, adding a few tablespoons of the water that the chickpeas were cooked in. Make sure to take the skin off the garlic.
  2. Roughly chop the other two cloves of garlic and add it to food processor along with the juice of half a lemon (or a little more to taste), olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika or chipotle powder.
  1. Blend until smooth, top with drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika, and enjoy!
Yum!

Yum!

Hummus is loaded with protein and fiber and will help you to stay hungry and fit!

16-Minute Core Workout

Happy Workout Wednesday! As many of you know, I love “timed abs.” What are timed abs? It’s basically core exercises non-stop, so that your core muscles are seizing up and burning to oblivion. I usually do them 30 seconds each. Here is an awesome workout I did this week and my core is still sore from top to bottom and all around. My favorite kind of burn! There really are no excuses–especially when a workout only takes 16 minutes. And if you don’t even have that–try 8 minutes!

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So repeat the above workout twice if you can. Rest in between sets, but when you’re in the middle of these exercises, try not to take a break. It will burn, it will scream, but push on. It’s an easy workout to throw in your day that you will be feeling for a few days after. Use a timer of some sort to count each 30 seconds–I used my phone timer. Please comment below if you have any questions about the exercises above. 

There are always ways to pull out excuses, but this is a workout that can combat that ugly voice in your head trying to sucker you out of exercising today. Fight it! And fight on! Use this workout to stay hungry and fit! 

*Question of the Day: What’s your favorite core exercise?

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sleepy babies

Sleepy babies

The Spice Lab at UncommonGoods

11 Pyrex test tubes. 1 custom wood holder. 1 tasting spoon. 1 passport to the world of SALT. All of this tucked snugly in the perfect sized box as an amazing gift idea for the right person.

This gourmet collection of eleven of the finest salts that the United States has to offer provides a grand variety of flavor, color, and texture. If you are color-blind, then you’re a bit out of luck, but if you can, see all the colors of the rainbow and more. Then the small card that comes with the set tells you what the salts pair nicely with: vegetables, chicken, red meat, fish, sauces & soup. It also tells you if they work for finishing, cooking, and/or table. 

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It gets maximum points for appearance and design, so let’s talk about the product and why someone would want such a collection of salts.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a PROFESSIONAL chef been sent home on Chopped or any other competitive cooking show for a lack of seasoning. More than any other offense, that lack of season comes from using little or no salt. Salt really is an amazing thing in the culinary and gourmet world. It can seem so simple but can augment the complexities of flavors that other ingredients offer. It’s not just about adding salt to water before cooking pasta, it’s also about using salt to FINISH dishes right before they hit the table. 

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Here is a break down of my favorite salts in the collection and why they can make your dishes taste THAT much better without any negative health effects. (SALT is healthy, and soon Hungry & Fit will tell you why!

Best Taste: Carolina Hickory. The amount of flavor that they managed to pack into each grain of salt in this tube is unbelievable. It’s as potent as some of the best BBQ that I have ever had.

Best Fragrance: Apple Wood Smoked. Simply, an explosion of smell when you open the test tube. These larger pieces of salt have quite the abundant fragrance and with the popularity surge of bacon in recent years, everyone would love this smell.

Best Texture: Seneca Salt Flakes. Hailing from New York, these pieces of salt have the most majestic form. They remind me of large snow flakes from Quebec. Absolutely gorgeous and with their plain white color, they are the perfect finishing salt for look.

Best Overall: Vintage Merlot Infused. A beautiful purple color. A subtle salty aroma. A delicate flavor that brings out the best in other ingredients. This California Sea Salt is versatile and show stopping. 

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All of this is not to say that the other salts are lacking, they just have a more specific duty. The variety offers something for everyone, but we will make good use of all the sea salts.

This present will be perfect for anyone involved in nutrition or the culinary arts. A mother or father that enjoys cooking for the family or a professional chef can appreciate this. As an inspiring chef when I was just a child, I would have loved to experiment with these different flavors. And this isn’t the only salt collection or culinary delight that can be found at UncommonGoods.

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This unique company has a lot to offer: putting artists first with amazing hand-crafted goods, being a B Corp to use their business to try to solve social and environmental issues, and a big heart. For every item you purchase, UncommonGoods donates $1 to the non-profit of your choice–now that’s something we can get behind! There are many more cool products just like this one at UncommonGoods. Click here for ideas for gifts for women and click here for gift ideas for that special, unique someone. I know I could spend days looking through their stuff…well, I may already have. Just visit the website and have fun exploring all of the amazing gifts, for others or yourself, since the holiday season is just around the corner! And as always, stay hungry and fit!