Great For Eating, Not Packaging

Rice cakes…bleh! If you have ever eaten one you probably think …styrofoam texture and no taste.Great for packaging, not eating.

Corn cakes however are another story. Real Foods company makes a product called Corn Thins. They look like a thinner version of a rice cake but the similarity ends there.

The kind folks are Real Foods were nice enough to send me a few free samples to try all the way from Australia.

Made from sun-ripened corn, they are extra crunchy and slightly salted. They are fantastic on their own but even better with a little almond butter and sliced banana or tomato and avocado. With only 23 calories and 4 grams of carbs per slice they are a great low cal/low carb treat. The flaxseed/soy, sesame,original and flavored corn thins are gluten free.  I had the pleasure of trying devouring an entire bag of the tasty cheese flavor. If you love a salty/cheesy flavored snack you will love these as much as I did.Oh, they are also GMO free and made with all natural ingredients. The cheese flavor are a little hard to find but so worth it if you do find them.  Highly recommended!

They also make a version of rice cakes. Because they are sliced thinner and use brown rice instead of white rice, they are also quite delicious and have a slightly nutty taste. Also highly recommended!!

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Gluten Free Baked Goods You Will love!

Taste of Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake and Shortbread cookie Mixes-

I love TOGF’s simple packaging. The mixes come in a bag with a pretty label on the front which includes a picture, instructions and ingredients (5 ingredients).  I was sent a free sample of their gluten free pumpkin cake and shortbread cookies to try. I first tried the pumpkin cake. It could not be simpler to make. You mix eggs, oil and a can of pumpkin and then add the dry ingredients and pour into a 9 inch greased pan. I baked it for about 25 minutes. I also made the recommended cream cheese frosting and spread it on top of the cake after it cooled. A friend and I tried it for dessert and loved it. The pumpkin taste is subtle and you also detect a hint of cinnamon.  Some gluten free cakes are not sweet enough for me but this was perfect. The cream cheese frosting was delicious as well and a really nice compliment to the cake. The next day I brought it into the office and it was really good the next day as well. Everyone who tried it thought it was delicious. Highly recommended!  The shortbread cookies require a little more effort than the cake because you mix the dough and then need to roll it out and cut the cookies with a cookie cutter. But we are talking maybe an extra 5 minutes. I could smell the cookies baking in the oven and could not wait to try them. After they cooled I sprinkled powdered sugar over the top. They are crunchy, buttery and delicious. I love shortbread cookies and these were the bomb. I brought leftovers into the office and everyone was surprised they were gluten free. I guess these days people expect gluten free to taste awful, but we have come a long way in that regard. I will definitely be making these cookies again. The company makes many other cake, cookie and bread mixes, all of which sound yummy. I can’t wait to try their fig cake recipe.

www.tasteofglutenfree.net

 Immaculate Baking Company Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies:

Immaculate Baking Company now has 2 certified gluten free products in their line. They are dairy free as well. I was sent a coupon to try one of their products and I tried their gluten free chocolate chunk cookies. The cookies come in a bag that you keep in the freezer. What I loved about these cookies is that they are ready to go into the oven. No mixing, no fuss. And if you want to be good and just make yourself one or two cookies at a time (so you don’t eat the whole bag) you can break off one or two.  They come 12 cookies to a bag. I tried baking about 4 to try and they are really good chocolate chip cookies. They are plump and gooey fresh out of the oven and very satisfying. The website suggested using the cookies to make ice cream sandwiches and I had some coconut ice cream in the fridge and decided to give that a try. The cookies really complimented the ice cream…what a delicious treat! They also make gluten free ready to bake brownies.

www.immaculatebaking.com

 Sof’ella  Gluten Free Cornbread:

The folks at Sof’ella sent me a free box of their cornbread mix to try. I LOVE cornbread but I can’t tell you how many times I have made it from scratch and it comes out thin and hard as a rock and too gritty. Their mix is really easy to prepare…a few wet ingredients and the mix and that’s it. Took about 5 minutes to prepare. My mouth was watering when it came out of the oven. Cornbread fresh out of the oven with a pat of butter…what could be better. And this is amazing cornbread! I was really surprised to see freeze dried corn kernels in the mix which, when baked, gives it a nice chewy texture. The cornbread is moist with the perfect texture…..soft and not gritty. It is on the sweet side as well which I like. It freezes well but I guarantee it won’t be around for long. I love this product and give it a big thumbs up. I look forward to trying their chocolate cake and all purpose baking mix as well. They have a recipe for gluten free cornbread stuffing mix and I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to try this.

http://www.sofellafoods.com

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Bad Medicine

No one would argue that we live in a pill popping society. Given the choice, most people prefer to pop a pill then to make major lifestyle or diet changes. I personally do not know a single person who is not on at least one prescription medication.  In the name of full disclosure, I am one of them. I occasionally need to take a prescription medicine for migraines. When I was younger migraines were a daily occurrence. Now, I have a migraine maybe 2-3 times a month and I attribute the improvement to my diet.

I do not advocate drugs for chronic conditions, but if someone is in pain, then by all means they need to do what is necessary so they can get through the day. I hope one day that my diet will correct whatever imbalance exists in my body so that I can  be completely drug free. I wish more people were willing to make diet and lifestyle changes in order to heal themselves. I feel this way especially when it comes to the issue of children with ADHD.

If you have a child with ADHD I urge you to read this article and consider eliminating any foods in your child’s diet that contain these ingredients:

http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/which-food-additives-make-children-behave-badly

And another eye-opening article to read in which the statistics have been obviously swept under the rug:

http://www.ritalindeath.com/Doping-Kids.htm

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Lip Smackin’ Good

I have been wearing make-up since I was about 18. Some women are naturally beautiful and can go out with nothing but a little Chapstick on their lips. Oh how I envy them. I unfortunately am not one of these women, which is why I almost never leave the house without, at the very least, a little lip-gloss.

Lately it has come to my attention that the stuff we put on our faces could be as dangerous and toxic as the stuff we put in out mouths if it is not safe and organic. So I started to do a little research and here is what I found.

An article that talks about lead in lipstick:

http://www.newschannel6now.com/story/18436965/lead-in-lipstick

An article about the possible link between breast cancer and make-up:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Cosmetics-and-Breast-Cancer:-Is-Beauty-Only-Skin-Deep?&id=6117451

They are finding traces of the harmful ingredients in most make-up in our body tissues so year and years or even decades, like me, of using make-up is cause for concern. And in my research I found an awesome company who came up with a formulation for lipstick that is not only safe…but gluten free!

The folks at Red Apple Lipstick were kind enough to send me a free sample of 2 of their lipsticks to try and I have been using them for the last few weeks.

Their lipsticks come in a cute little pouch and the lipsticks themselves come in a very cute little silver casing. I picked 2 shades from their website and when I received them they were very true to the picture color-wise so I made a good choice. I like bold colors so I picked the Reddy or Not and Berry Blast. The first thing I noticed was that they are almost scent-free. I am very sensitive to smells, especially in make-up, so this was important. The lipstick goes on very smooth and glossy and it barely feels like I am wearing any lipstick at all. When a lipstick is too thick it feels awful. I found that it stayed on for most of my day, even after 2 meals and a few cups of tea.

But the best part about using this lipstick is knowing that I am putting something on my face that is not toxic. They are gluten free, paraben free ,allergen free and contain vitamin E which is actually good for you. According to their web site, most cosmetic companies use parabens because they extend the shelf life of the make-up but parabens are one of the chemicals found in women’s breast tissue.

The lipsticks cost about the same as a department store lipstick (about $23.50) but if you send in a tube of your old lipstick they will send you a tube of their lipstick at a reduced price ($10.99). They also have a 100% money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose…except a little lead, paraben, red dyes etc……

http://www.redapplelipstick.com

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Bar None

I do not believe in skipping breakfast. Big mistake. Worst thing you can do. It’s important to start your day on a good note…it sets the tone for the rest of the day as far as how you eat. If you start off with a donut, I can almost guarantee, in a few hours after your blood sugar drops, you will be crazy hungry and craving more sugar and you will want to eat junk for the rest of the day.

I try to start off my day with a healthy breakfast usually involving yogurt and fruit or cottage cheese and fruit with fresh ground flax seeds. Some mornings I get a late start……usually thanks to Sienna who just refuses to do her business….and I am running late. On days like these I grab a bar…

I received free samples of the following protein bars for free for review:

Quest Natural Protein Bars– Quest Bars basically have 10 ingredients….their protein blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber), Almond Butter, Dry Roasted Almonds, Raw Almonds, Water, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Lo Han Guo, Sucralose. I have never seen Lo Han Guo used as a sweetener before. I did not notice any sweet taste out of the ordinary. The bars are very heavy, chewy and dense which I like because I can’t wolf it down. It takes a while to eat. You can see and taste the bits of crunchy nuts in the bars. I really liked the taste and texture. There are a whopping 11 different flavors to choose from. Each bar contains about 20 grams of protein and  20-24 grams of carb but they have 17-21 g of fiber which you can deduct from the carbs to get the net carbs. That makes these bars a great low carb choice.  I have yet to try all 11 flavors but I did try the lemon, chocolate brownie and peanut butter and jelly, all of which were very good but the lemon was my favorite.

http://questproteinbar.com/

Purefit bars do not contain dairy, wheat, or gluten. Each bar contains 18 Grams of soy protein and is non dairy.  Calorie-wise they contain about 210 calories. They are a little higher on the carb scale than other bars, weighing in at about 20-22 grams of carbs per bar. The texture is similar to the Quest bars, very chewy, but Purefit adds soy crisps, which gives it a crispiness which I really liked. Like the Quest bars these are to be eaten slowly because they are very chewy and very filling. They are based on the 40/30/30 principle to give you sustained energy

http://purefit.com/

Rise Bars– these bars pleasantly surprised me because they taste nothing like the majority of the bars on the market. First off they are dense, weighing in at almost 60g.  They are gluten free and come in a variety of flavors containing anywhere from 3-10 ingredients which are all natural. Here is an example- the coconut/acai flavor contains almonds, dates, coconut, raisins, brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, amaranth, acai and sea salt. They make 3 different kinds of bars….energy bars, protein bars and breakfast bars. The protein bars are high in protein, the energy bars are full of fiber and antioxidants and the breakfast bars are full of fruits and nuts to get you through the day. The protein bars contain whey protein, which is a high quality type of protein and the other bars contain mainly dates and nuts. I  love dates, I could eat them like candy and that is why I absolutely love these bars.  Most bars containing nuts overdo it IMO. These bars have just the right ratio of fruit to nuts.  The blueberry coconut and raspberry pomegranate were my favorites. I am looking forward to trying all of the flavors. They are really yummy.

http://risebar.com/products/energy/

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Chip Off The Old Block

Sometimes you just want a salty snack. A carrot just won’t do…you want something salty and crunchy. Maybe once a week I break down and eat a bag of chips……but I make sure they are the healthy version, like one of the chips I am reviewing below.

I received free samples of the following to review:

Kays Natural Protein chips- I love these chips. They come in small packs (34g) and the main ingredient is soy protein isolate. I tried the lemon-herb and the nacho chili cheese which are my favorites (and the most crunchy), but the other flavors are excellent as well. With 10g of protein per serving and not too many carbs, these make for a satisfying/healthy snack. Each 34 gram bag contains about 120 calories, 12 grams of  protein and  11 net carbs

http://shop.kaysnaturals.com/

R W Garcia Chips –These chips cover all the bases- they are thick, but not too thick, crunchy with excellent flavor and not too much salt. They hold up well when dipping into salsa as they do not break easily. Most chips on the market use GMO corn and contain a lot of trans fats. These are certified non GMO, contain no trans fat and are gluten free. If you are used to eating chips from the supermarket that are greasy and salty these will surprise you in a good way. They make a large variety of chips from yellow and blue corn to my favorites…the 3 seed curry and mango flavor Dippers. The Dippers all contain brown flaxseed and black sesame seeds which give them a unique flavor and crunch. If you are looking for a healthy version of tortilla chips these fit the bill nicely and are quite good.

http://www.rwgarcia.com/

Enjoy Life- Plentils (crunchy lentil chips). Potato, soy, sweet potato and now……lentils! And why not! These are down-right addictive. I tried their margherita pizza, dill and sour cream, garlic and parmesan and light sea salt.  I brought them to a get together with friends the other day and everyone wanted to know what they were because they wanted to buy them. They are really good eaten right out of the bag because they are light and extremely crunchy, lighter than most chips on the market. The margherita pizza flavor is very authentic and satisfied my craving for pizza. I especially like the fact that they are relatively low in calories…..31 pieces contain 130 calories and that’s a lot of chips. So no guilt here! This is the 3rd Enjoy Life product I have tried and they have a winner once again. All of their products are free of the 8 known allergens, contain no artificial or GMO ingredients.

http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/plentils/

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Drink Your Medicine

Protein supplements used to be all the rage with body builders and still are. However these days they are more mainstream and used by folks who are vegetarian or dieting and feel they need extra protein in their diets.

I recently received the following protein supplements for free so that I could do a review.

Orgain is a nutritional shake that was designed by a doctor. They use organic ingredients such as organic whey protein, organic brown rice, omega-3’s, fiber, organic green tea and pomegranate extracts as well as 24 vitamins and minerals. Orgain Organic Protein Blend contains Organic Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Milk Protein Concentrate and fruits and vegetables which gives it a very high anti-oxidant value. There is currently a product on the market that is given to very sick people who are unable to eat. If you read the ingredient list for that product you would be disgusted. It is loaded with sugar and oil. Why anyone would feed this to someone who is sick is beyond me. I would definitely use this product instead.   The company says it has the antioxidant  of 10 servings of fruits and veggies.  It comes packaged in a re-cylcable packaging which is nice and like a little juice box, it can be taken to school or on a hike in your back pack. I tried the sweet vanilla bean. It tastes a little like litely sweetened skim milk to me. The packaging is re-cylcable and just very convenient to carry in your bag when you need a little boost of energy. I have tried it before a work-out and it was perfect because it gave me energy and did not upset my stomach. It also comes in creamy chocolate fudge flavor which I have not yet tried. I would imagine you could also use this product as a base for a smoothie instead of milk for an added protein boost.

Sun Warrior sent me free samples of their Protein Raw Vegan mix in chocolate and vanilla and their Warrior Blend in chocolate and vanilla. The raw vegan powder is made from bio-fermented raw sprouted whole grain brown rice, not soy protein isolates which is a cheaper form of protein that most companies use. The ingredient list is small: the rice protein, cocoa, natural flavor, stevia, xanthan gum and pectin. I serving (21 g) contains only 80 calories and has 16 grams of protein, 60 mg of calcium and only 3 net carbs. I tried it mixed with coconut milk, a little ice and a banana in a blender for breakfast. I have been using stevia for years and love the taste so I was happy to see they use stevia as a sweetener. The texture was smooth and the taste was delicious! I worked out right after I drank the smoothie and it did not upset my tummy at all and I found I was not hungry again until lunch time.  I feel good about recommending this protein supplement because they use quality ingredients and it tastes good. The product is also gluten free, non GMO and hypo-allergenic. The Warrior Blend contains pea, cranberry and hemp protein and has 84 calories per 21 g and 15 grams of protein. The texture is a little smoother and also tastes delicious when blended into a smoothie. Both products gave me energy and kept me feeling full for hours. It would just be a matter of choosing the protein source to your liking…..rice protein or plant based protein.

 

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