Categories: Gluten Free

This post goes out to my gluten free friends who are sick and tired of trying gluten free pasta alternatives that ultimately, well, stink.  Fear  not, I come with solutions!!!

Explore Cuisine sent me 2 of their gluten free pasta varieties. The Organic Chickpea Fusilli, and Organic Black Bean Spaghetti.  Both of these options have more protein than your rice pasta varieties (or flour based!) and are NON-GMO verified.

Let’s start with the Organic Chickpea Fusilli. a 2 oz serving is 200 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs (5 fiber) and 11 grams of protein.  Pretty good stats if you ask me since it IS pasta.

NOW a caveat. I am NOT a pasta eater. Do I like pasta? Of course I like pasta. But it wreaks HAVOC on my blood sugars for hours, so I tend to stay away. So I had hopes that *maybe* these wouldn’t do me dirty like flour or rice based pasta does.

Ok, so let’s start with cooking, shall we?
This chickpea pasta was a real pain in the butt to cook. Once it was boiling, I lowered the heat a bit and it kept boiling over the sides with that “pasta foam”… hard to describe but it sure made a mess…several times. So PLEASE keep an eye on this and don’t turn your back (not that you should be far anyway when cooking!). I cooked it until the al dente texture.

 

I made it with some green beans and chicken in a light gravy. The pasta itself was great in terms of texture, it does NOT fall apart like rice based pasta would. It more or less had same consistency as flour based. It has a tiny bit of an aftertaste of chick peas, but overall very mild in flavor making it pretty versatile. It was particularly  yummy plain with some  butter and salt.

Moving on to the black bean spaghetti, this one was not a pain to cook at all, but It *does* look a little weird when it’s all cooked. Sort of like a bird’s nest. So eat with your mouth not your eyes in this case. Don’t judge it!!!

Because I actually like this one even better than the chickpea. Super mild in flavor, same texture and consistency as flour-based pasta, and went amazing with tomato sauce. The best part, at least for me, was NO EFFECT on my blood sugars. In fact, every time I ate it, my blood sugar went LOW after, and that is a diabetics dream. So I will 100% buy this in the future.

1 2 ounce serving is 215 calories, 2 grams of fat, 23 carbs, 12 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of PROTEIN!!!! Talk about AMAZING nutritional facts!!

Overall, very pleased with both of these products. I like the spaghetti more than the fusilli in terms of taste and texture, but I do wish that the black bean variety came in a fusilli or spiral type shape, as I prefer those noodles over spaghetti. But hey, cant be too choosy.

These get 4 1/2 stars from me. All my gluten free fans (and diabetics!!!) I think these are worth a shot!

 

I received these products for Free. This is an unbiased review. Please consult your doctor/RD first– remember I am not licensed professional.
25 Apr 2017, Comments (0)

Zaca Recovery Chewable

Author: Healthnuttxo

What is a recovery chewable? Zaca has come out with a product designed to help you “recover”… from stress related events, exercise, drinking, etc. According to the website, the chewables are intended to help hydration, enhance electrolytes, increase endurance, boost mental focus, and be a liver aid.

BEFORE we go any further… Let me give you a disclaimer. I am a skeptic. I don’t often buy supplements beyond BCAAs for the gym (which I am also convinced I am buying a powder and drinking expensive water but whatever, I like it), and I really do not believe much in homeopathic or osteopathic remedies when it comes to actual physiologic problems. In other words, NO your CINNAMON will NOT cure my Diabetes. So I am going into this as unbiased as I can be, but I have a medicine background and I am always going to be skeptical about supplements for improving health without scientific evidence.

Anyway, back to the review…. 😀

The chewables have Japanese raisin tree berry extract (claimed to help “liver detox”), l-alanyl-l-glutamine (claimed to enhance electrolyte and water absorption),, L-Glutathione which I know is big for antioxidant properties in the body, (but also claimed to help detox and for immune fortification), prickly pear leaf  (high in antioxidants and flavonoids), and some other things such as stevia and magnesium. They are gluten free, GMO free, sugar free, stimulant free.

Each pack comes with 2 tabs. They are crisp and sweet, with a pear and berry type of flavor. Sweet, mildly tart, kind of like a sweet tart but not quite as sweet or tart (lol, just trust me). I can definitely taste the xylitol type flavor and that stevia type sweetness as well. They’re good, and they’re easy to eat.

I took these after a night of drinking, and in the morning, as instructed on the package. I won’t lie, I wasn’t my usual nauseous self the morning after. But was that from the Zaca? or from the water I drank?  I can’t quite help my cynicism.

I took them again a few days, I work out hard, I work long hours, constantly on my feet, and maybe get 6 hours of sleep a night, sometimes less. So I am drained. I can tell you I did not get sick while consuming the tablets, so perhaps the L-Glutathione did help the immune system. I am not sure if they helped with recovery after workouts, I felt more or less the same. Mental focus? Mine is sort of crap unless I consume coffee so wouldn’t be fair to judge Zaca’s benefit for that. As for liver detox? Well. I am sorry I don’t entirely believe in any type of detox when it comes to your body. In my eyes, and in the eyes of science, your liver and kidney do all the detox you need. Plus how could I judge if my liver was detoxed or not?

Overall, it feels unjust to give this a numeric rating. Homeopathic and osteopathic medicinal and supplemental treatment is very user dependent, and if your skeptical like me, you may believe otherwise. However, I can just report the facts. The taste was good, they are easy to take with you and store in your gym bag. I did not get sick while taking them, and I did feel pretty good the morning after a night of drinking while taking Zaca with water. So the verdict? Give it a try. You may like it.

 

 

I received Zaca for free. This is an UNBIASED review.

11 Apr 2017, Comments (0)

B- free Stone Baked Gluten Free Pita bread

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

 

STOP!!! 🙂

Don’t be afraid of this post. I know. It says gluten free. & when people see gluten free/ wheat free…THEY RUN.
WHY?
years ago they definitely had some…questionable gluten free products… cereal that would fall apart, “mealy” consistency for bread…or just plain awful.
However, insert B Free products. A serious improvement on gluten free breads and products.

The company sent me some pita breads to try. A LOT actually (thanks guys!)

So I hooked my friends up with some and let my family try as well. And let me tell you…they were a hit.

 

I can’t take any credit for these beautiful photos. Taken by a friend with some serious photo skills (that I lack….sorry guys!)

 

Anyway, we tried these toasted, non toasted, with eggs, bacon, tuna fish, and cold cuts.
They are soft and did not taste “fake” at all. My mom is one of the biggest skeptics with gluten free bread, and she had NO CLUE they were gluten free. They actually do just remind me of a wheat pita bread.

The texture was spot on– not too doughy or chewy, and not so hard that it fell apart. It wasn’t dry, and relatively moist. Loved that it didn’t fall apart while eating it as well.

The taste is really subtle, it will remind you of a “wheat flavor”– without the wheat — but this is good because it makes the pita bread super versatile.

Overall, these were a hit with at least 5 people, so with that…these have to get a 5 star rating. I’m not a *huge* sandwich person, but I appreciate when a bread is not only gluten free with awesome texture and nutritional stats, but also one that is durable.

Allergy sensitive? Well you’re in luck because these are also nut free, soy free, wheat free, dairy free AND egg free.

Gluten sensitive? Or just want to try a new pita? Give these a shot!

 

I received these pita breads for free. This is an UNBIASED review.

6 Feb 2017, Comments (0)

Crispy Fruit Freeze Dried Fruit

Author: Healthnuttxo

Do you like the sweetness of fruit, but hate that you sometimes get a non-ripe (read: not sweet) piece? Or you take it to work and it gets all bruised in your bag? Well Crispy Fruit is the perfect solution to that. Freeze dried fruit, with nothing added, and comes in a ton of flavors.

I happen to be a fan of freeze dried fruit- it’s JUST fruit, but not as caloric as dried fruit. It’s puffy and soft but often sweet and flavorful. The portions are small, so this is good when you are craving something sweet that at 30-70 calories a bag or so, will not break your diet!

So let’s get started:

Banana 

Crunchy and sweet…but NOT to be confused with banana chip. It had the exact sweetness of a ripe banana, but as a caveat, will get stuck in your teeth. However it is super yummy, and a decent portion in a bag. 4 stars

Cantaloupe

Some fruit should just not be freeze dried and this might be one of the. It was sweet but almost had a salty taste to it…which was rather offputting to me. It had a very light crunch, and dissolved in my mouth. However, it was VERY ripe in taste (which I do not like even in fresh Cantaloupe) so, NOT my favorite. 

2 star

Asian pear

This one was Mild in flavor, easily melted in my mouth, and was lightly sweet. Again, tastes like very ripe pear due to sweetness level, and was overall enjoyable. 

3.5 star

***

Pineapple

Easily my favorite, big chunks, that are super sweet and crunch. They were not tart at all, and Honestly I wish there was more. Tastes like perfectly ripe pineapple 

4.5 stars

Apple

Apple chunks were super “light” and “crunchy” but “soft” if that makes sense. They had the sweetness of dried apple, but a bit more mild. Not my favorite, and apples generally are my favorite fruit, but just didn’t have any strong flavor to them that I was craving.

3 stars

Mango

This one was great! Big chunks of mango, sweet and crispy with a nice little crunch. Sometimes when you buy mango, you get a really unripe or sour one, and that just ruins the whole experience. This freeze dried version provides all of the sweetness without the mess or sour aspect mango can sometimes have. Really liked this one.

4 stars

Tangerine

I’ll be honest, Tangerine was the last one I tried because I thought I would hate it, but it was actually amazing. It came in wedges, just like you would eat with a tangerine, and was really light and crispy. One of the reasons I don’t like Tangerines is because of the pulp issue, but obviously not a concern here. These were amazingly sweet with just a hint of tang. Definitely liked these.

4 stars

So that just about sums it up. Clearly, I enjoyed (almost) all of these. The portions were great for a snack, and sweet enough to fix a sweet tooth craving without any added sugar. They are all natural, gluten free and NON-GMO verified.

DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free. This is an unbiased review.

 

 

24 Jun 2016, Comments (0)

Heavenly Organics Chocolate Honey Patties

Author: Healthnuttxo

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Hi!

I got some awesome goodies from Heavenly Organics. They created these chocolate honey patties in a few varieties, with minimal and sustainable ingredients.  The chocolate shell is made from 100% cocoa and raw Himalayan honey. They are gluten, dairy, and soy free, with no additional sugar added (aside from using the honey).  The honey is 100% organic, obtained from free roaming beehives.  The bees are in areas that are not near pesticides or pollutants, which is awesome, because then that stuff won’t get into YOUR body!

They come in a bunch of flavors. I got the Ginger Chocolate Honey Pattie, Mint Chocolate Honey Pattie, Almond Chocolate Honey Pattie, DOUBLE Dark Chocolate Honey Pattie, Pomegranate Chocolate Honey Pattie, and the Peanut Chocolate Honey Pattie!  Here’s what they looked like up close. IMG_3064

bitten into, of course!

The chocolate shells all taste the same. The chocolate is relatively bitter, not that smooth, but the honey flavor definitely shines through. I am not a huge fan of the chocolate, as it breaks like a shell would on ice cream (that hard chocolate shell you put on and it freezes), but I also prefer a smooth milk chocolate over a dark chocolate. The shell reminds me more of a bitter dark chocolate.

Each pattie has an inside filling. The Pomegranate is super sweet and supple, tasted like pure, silky honey with the sweetness of pomegranate juice. The Double Chocolate is exactly what it sounds like, more of a dark chocolate flavor, with honey. It is creamy and sweet, but again, the outside shell ruined it a bit for me. The Peanut Chocolate pattie inside is very good. Reminds me of a traditional peanut butter cup, but with a nice honey twist. I loved the inside, wanted to eat it by itself. The Mint Chocolate honey pattie is the dark chocolate shell, with honey completely oozing out the middle. There is a hint of mint as well. I didn’t really care for this one, as the chocolate is very bitter and the mint made it more bitter. However, the honey is excellent, and incredibly smooth and creamy. The Almond Chocolate Honey Pattie is pretty good, it has that almond joy type of almond flavor, like almond extract or a toasted almond, alongside the chocolate and honey. It goes well with the honey flavor in my opinion. Lastly, the Ginger Chocolate Honey Pattie. I actually really liked this one, but you have to enjoy ginger. I used to eat ginger chews as a kid, so I love candied, dry ginger. It mellows out the bitterness of the chocolate, and goes wonderfully with the honey.

My favorites were the Ginger, Pomegranate, and Peanut patties. But as a whole, these are pretty good, but you have to be a fan of bitter/dark chocolate. I wish they had a milk chocolate version 8)

Each patties is roughly 50 calories, which isn’t too shabby! Especially when you need a luxurious sweet treat.

Overall, 3 1/2 stars.

9 Jan 2016, Comments (0)

Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit

Author: Healthnuttxo

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I LOVE freeze dried fruit! Especially when there is no sugar or flavorings added, and you get to enjoy the goodness of fruit, with just a crunchy twist!

I was sent a few bags of freeze dried fruit from Crunchies.  These snacks are gluten free, NON-GMO certified, and have NOTHING added, just the fruit! Each bag comes with a zipper to keep fresh, and each bag contains about 3 servings of fruit. They come in Strawberry, Grape, Raspberry, Mixed Fruit, Blueberry, Pineapple, Strawberry Banana, and Cinnamon Apple.

The bags are delicious. I inhaled a bag per day when sampling these, all too easy. Since some of these are repeats (example: the mixed fruit contains banana, apple, strawberry, and blueberry), I am going to write how each fruit tasted.

Starting with my favorite, the Grapes. These were beyond delicious. SO sweet, but in a good way, and crunchy. They almost tasted candied! They were the purple grapes, and since freeze dried, also gave off a little bit of a raisin feel.

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Next up, my second favorite, the Pineapple. Again, super crunchy, and large chunks of triangular shaped pineapple. Bursting with sweetness, and slight tartness, these were just so good right out of the bag. Imagine fresh, sweet pineapple…without the juice!

Next up, my third favorite, the Cinnamon Apples. Ohhh so so good! Light and airy, not as “crispy” as the other fruits, but sweet nonetheless. The cinnamon was a perfect accompaniment, and helped bring out the sweetness. I love apples, but every now and then you get a sour one. Not with these! They were super sweet, just like I like them, almost like a Gala apple.

Next up, the Blueberries. These I wasn’t crazy about, but was still pretty good. Blueberries can be hit or miss to me, sometimes sour, sometimes sweet, sometimes flavorless. These were mild in flavor, and a bit tart. I think they would be good in a plain yogurt or a cereal.

Next up, the Strawberries. These were too tart for me to eat by themselves. They came alone in a bag, and then also with Banana. The banana was sweet and mild in flavor, with a slight crunch, and it balanced out the tartness of the strawberries. Eaten together, I liked the mixture. Eaten apart, I loved the bananas, but didn’t care for the strawberries as they were too tart. I think they would be better in some cold cereal with milk.

Lastly, the raspberries. I am not a huge raspberry fan to begin with, and these are essentially identical to fresh raspberries, but without the juiciness. They were too tart for me, and didn’t provide much natural sweetness. I like rasperry flavored things more than I enjoy actual raspberries.

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My only complaint was that for the mixed fruit and the strawberry banana bags, the strawberries were rather dominant over the other fruit.

Each bag had about 40 calories per serving with 1/4-1/2 cup serving each.

One caveat is that even though there is a zipper seal, they will go soft on you within a week or so. So eat em quick! Although I don’t see that as being a problem. Another drawback is that these are on the expensive side… 6 -1.2 oz bags (3 servings) costs about $30. I can easily inhale these so that is out of my price range :'(

Overall, pretty tasty! I would love to get more, especially of the pineapple, the apples, and the grapes!!

 

I received this product for free. This is an unbiased review. 

 

29 Nov 2015, Comments (0)

BFree Wheat and Gluten Free Foods

Author: Healthnuttxo

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A company that just expanded to the East Coast, I got some yummy bread samples from from BFree! They create products that are gluten free, wheat free, nut free, dairy free, soy free, no sugar added, Non GMO, and more. They can appeal to anyone with special dietary needs, especially those with severe allergies.

With Celiac’s Disease and gluten intolerance on the rise, it’s important to have companies that care to replace bread or pasta products in people’s diets that are allergy friendly, and also I think it’s great these products are also nut and dairy free, because more often than not, you find people have Celiac’s AND another allergy/intolerance to dairy or nuts. The GI tract is connected, so it makes sense!

Anyway, moving onward. I received a plethora of samples from BFree, including wraps, dinner rolls, bread, and bagels. Let’s get to it!

First up, Soft White Sandwich Loaf.

Here’s what it looked like toasted:

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And with some PB&J

 

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The sandwich loaf bread crisped up nice in the toaster oven. It had a nice crunch but was relatively bland on it’s own. The texture and consistency are good, chewy and soft underneath a crusty exterior. It doesn’t have much flavor, so it’s perfect for eating with toppings, just not alone. It doesn’t mask flavors either, so it went well with the PB&J. I think toasting is necessary. 3 stars

Next up, the Brown Seeded Sandwich Loaf. 

Here it is, toasted.

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This one, as you can see I also had with some peanut butter and one with butter, since plain and toasted is relatively flavorless. I noticed this one (and the white) take a while to toast in comparison to the bread I usually have. I didn’t really like the one with the butter…becuase the flavor of the bread isn’t masked. Alone, the bread has an odd seedy kind of rye bread flavor. With the peanut butter, the flavor is masked, and it is a crunchy piece of bread with a soft interior, that doesn’t affect the flavor of the peanut butter. So again, this bread is good if you have a spread you like on top. 2 1/2 

 

Next up, the bagels! First, the multi-seed bagel. 

Here it is toasted with some butter. Right off the bat, I am kind of annoyed because these aren’t pre sliced..HAH. I guess I am spoiled and used to pre-cut bagels.

This one toasted wasn’t bad. The texture isn’t 100% like a gluten filled bagel, since the dense chewiness comes from wheat gluten. But, this is pretty darn good for a gluten free bagel. It is chewy in a different way, and fluffy. It had the consistency of the chewiness of the bread but thicker since it it a bagel. The flavor again is really not there, very bland, and the seeds didn’t provide much flavor. I think all of these previous breads need a touch of salt or something to help bring out flavor. However, I think it would be good with butter and jam, or butter and a fried egg 🙂  3 1/2 stars
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Next up, the white/ Plain Bagel.

This one we toasted and put cream cheese on!

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This one was not really a hit. I also let my brother try this one (it was his cream cheese after all…) and he was not a fan. It was very bland, airy, and didn’t have that chew like the seeded bagel did. Even after toasted the inside of the bagel didn’t change color much, so I couldn’t really tell when it was done. Just not a fan, it almost took away the flavor from the cream cheese, and the consistency not as good as the seeded bagel. 2 stars

Next up, the Quinoa and Chia Seed Wrap.

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Made a turkey and cheese wrap with lettuce on this one.
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This one I am iffy about… I liked it at first, then as I made more wraps with it and continued to eat it, I grew to dislike it. One problem with the wrap for starters is that after you defrost it, it is WET. You need to really get the moisture out with a paper towel unless you will have a soggy wrap. I am used to having frozen then fresh wraps, and usually you just wipe off the little bit of condensation, but this one you need to really blot or toast to get some of the water out. I assume that is because it is made with rice, which holds onto water.

Anyway, this wrap doesn’t offer much flavor other than the seeds, so if you like a seedy flavor, you may like it. However, the consistency got semi- mealy after I continued to eat it. Not really a fan. It ripped really easy and isn’t chewy like a wrap normally is for me, and is a bit stiff. 2 stars

Lastly, the dinner rolls! Brown Seeded and Soft White. 
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These we heat up slightly in the oven and then cut open and put pats of butter on them.  The Brown roll was earthy and nutty tasting… it reminded me of a granola bar almost with some pumpkin seed flavor. It was pretty bland otherwise and needed some salt. The texture was chewy and a little dense which I actually kind of liked. 2 1/2 stars

The white roll was pretty good.

Again, a little bland, needed some salt, but tasted pretty close to a gluten filled white bread roll. Chewy and the thickness of the roll went well with the warm butter and dinner. I would eat this one again. 3 1/2 stars

Overall, BFree Foods has some hits and some misses in my book. HOWEVER, these are definitely some of the better gluten free products I have tried. Due to the nature of rice, a lot of GF products end up being piecey in consistency, or fall apart in your mouth, and just plain awful. These products, while a tad bland, were versatile and textures were honestly pretty good. The wrap was my least favorite, and I think the more “bread-y” products did better. I think these are definitely worth a try, especially if you have allergies.

BFree is on FACEBOOK here.
BFree is on TWITTER here. 

 

I received these products free from the company. This is an unbiased review.

 

 

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I got some yummy Perky Fruit Bodies to try! What is that, you say? These are organic, raw, vegan, gluten free, and kosher “fruit leathers”.

Let’s get to it! ^-^

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Coconut Banana– this one is squished!

IMG_7576The color and appearance isn’t appetizing, but we always go beyond that for food reviews! The flavor is OK. Banana and coconut flavor is strong, the banana provides the natural sweetness, and tastes like an over-ripened banana. It is dry, and a bit flaky. It is not “sticky” like you would picture a “fruit roll up”, and is more like a natural fruit leather, but still on the drier side. It’s alright. 2 1/2 stars

Strawberry Banana– this one is good!

IMG_7578Tangy from the strawberries, and sweet from the banana. Tastes like a strawberry banana smoothie in fruit leather form. It is a bit chewier than the Coconut Banana, and more held together, which I like. It has a bit of a “rip” to it when you bite it. I would eat this one again. 4 star

Cacao Banana Coconut-  this one I also like.

IMG_7577The cacao flavor is pretty strong, but it gives a chocolate covered banana flavor to it. Good amount of sweetness. The Cacao gives almost a dark chocolate feel as well. The coconut flavor is very mild, and lacking, but I don’t mind because I think it tastes good the way it is. Chewy and has a nice “rip” to it…I like this one! 4 star

Overall, not bad! They run 60-130 calories each, ranging from 14-18 carbs and 0-7 grams of fat depending on the flavor. I think they would go great as a pre workout snack, as you are getting a boost of energy from the sugars from the fruits, and they are light enough where they will not make you feel sluggish during a workout. I also like how they are individually wrapped and easy to bring with you on the go. You can view nutritional information below.

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I received this product to try for free from the company. This is an unbiased review.

 

 

 

 

 

12 Oct 2015, Comments (0)

Culturelle Advanced Immune Defense

Author: Healthnuttxo

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Well, this product couldn’t have come at a more perfect timing. Everyone knows the scenario…Fall comes around and all of a sudden, everyone is SICK!! Like out of no where, germs fly all over the place and suddenly everyone around you either has a cold, Strep or the big one…the FLU!!!

I was offered to try this product by Culturelle, a supplement for immunity support. It contains a probiotic, Vitamin C, Zinc, and antioxidants.  We are advised to take one per day, for adults and children 12 years and up. This product is free of gluten, dairy, lactose, wheat, soy and preservatives.

I have taken probiotics before and took them before trying this 10 day trial. When starting any new product there may be some bloating or side effects.

These pills are harder than I imagined, most of my other probiotics were in softer, more flexible capsules. They aren’t too large, and they are easy to swallow. I was just getting over a cold when I started taking these. I noticed no change in recovery time, but this is immune DEFENSE so I didn’t expect it to help an already existing cold.

I was a little bloated and gassy on this supplement. I had some mild nausea. I do not think the nausea was from the pill. I have nausea daily and I need a strong probiotic to keep in under control. The probiotic part of this pill was not strong enough for me, and the bloating was consistent throughout the 10 days.

At the end of my 10 day trial, I contracted another cold. I work at a gym, I workout at a gym, and I go to class in public places with sick people. This is not expected to be a miracle pill. but I found it ironic I took a immunity defense pill and I got another cold a week after recovering from one. 
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Overall, I probably wouldn’t use this in the future. I need a stronger probiotic (this one claims to have 2.5 Billion CFUs of Lactobacillus GG) and the immune part either was ineffective, or a 10 day trial wasn’t long enough to see real results. Overall… I like the idea of this supplement, but the effectiveness…It’s OK… 2 1/2 stars

 

 

 

I was sent this product to review for free. This is an unbiased review.

 

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