Categories: Gluten Free

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Did someone say…Hazelnut spread??

Okay, so I know almost everyone likes “chocolate” hazelnut butter…. & if you don’t, well…I’m  not sure what to say actually because I have never encountered anyone who hasn’t.

While I’ve had plenty of the typical brands on the shelves, I have yet to see this brand, Rigoni di Asiago. Now that’s probably from one of a few things. 1. I am in the ZONE when I shop. I need xyz brand and I don’t look at other brands. 2. I am oblivious sometimes or 3. perhaps the store actually doesn’t have it. However, there is a little specialty store by my house that I have a feeling will definitely carry this product, and I  100% want to buy it after trying it.

This product is a product of Italy, gluten free, made without palm oil, non-GMO,  organic, and does NOT contain hydrogenated fats (yay!), or artificial colors, flavors or other additives. According to the pamphlet I got, the hazelnuts are selected by the Rigoni family…which I think is both amazing quality assurance and…well…adorable.

Now this is not a health food by any means, BUT, it is a much better alternative to a more processed version of hazelnut spread, because we all need our sweet fix every now and then.

Here are the nutritional facts:

note…the jar is empty…oops. Perhaps I *inhaled* this jar? + my family found this jar and decided they were going to inhale it as well. Le sigh.

Anyway, this is well worth the “cheat”. Smooth, creamy and sweet. It is definitely on the sweeter side, but in a way that is a good thing, because it’s hard to eat a lot of something when it is su indulgent. The jar is pretty small… so make it last!

The saturated fat isn’t terrible, I’ve seen much worse in other hazelnut spreads which I am contributing to the fact they didn’t use palm oil. Which I also like- because it didn’t have that “oily residue” on top that I’ve seen before.

I was also sent a pamphlet for recipes, and here is one of them

UNFORTUNATELY, my family got to this jar before I could make the recipe. But, if anyone gives it a try let me know! Otherwise, this is a hit in my book. In moderation, of course 🙂

4 star

DISCLAIMER: This is an unbiased review. I received this product for free.
5 Oct 2017, Comments (0)

Simple Mills Gluten Free Cookies

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

Who doesn’t like COOKIES!!! Well…. to be honest I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like at least some form of a cookie. But what about those who cannot enjoy your every day cookie from the bakery, due to gluten intolerance, vegan lifestyle, soy allergies, dairy allergies?

Simple Mills has a cookie for ya! They have a line of products for those who are gluten intolerant, as well as those with other special dietary needs. The cookies they sent me come in 4 varieties, Toasted pecan, Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate. All of them are gluten free, paleo friendly, dairy free, vegan and soy free. They are all relatively low in sugar as well (see ingredients and nutritional information below for the double chocolate variety), and made with non-GMO ingredients.

But how do they taste?

Toasted Pecan– I was super pumped for this one. Pecans are my favorite nut, and usually one of my favorite flavored things. But these cookies fell….flat. They were relatively bland, not sweet, and just had a weird taste to them. The pecan flavor was lacking. On the bright side, the texture was pretty good– crumbly and crunchy. These would be good perhaps with a cup of coffee or tea, but not by itself. 2 stars.

Cinnamon- these were okay. The cinnamon flavor was mild, and really needed more of a punch. Mildly sweet again, but crunchy and the texture was good (this is important, especially in gluten free products which I have seen time and time again fall apart). While the flavor was good, it was just weak and really needed something to amp it up. 3 stars

Chocolate Chip– oooh. now we are talking! These were yummy. I know they were yummy because once I opened them, the box was nearly gone (thanks to my cookie monster brother). We both agreed they tasted very similar to “Famous Amos” cookies. Sweeter than the other varieties, mild vanilla flavor, crunchy, and the milk chocolate flavored chips were sweet and added a nice touch. Definitely my favorite of the 4 —  4 stars

Double Chocolate- these were also very good. Crunchy and sweeter, a nice chocolate flavor throughout, and the mini chocolate chips were sweet and melted in your mouth. There was a mild vanilla flavor as well. Really wanted to smear some peanut butter on these and inhale but…self restraint! 3.5 stars

 

Overall, not too bad. I think that they are relatively NOT sweet cookies- so you might be shocked if you are used to sweeter conventional varieties of cookies. However, I think they are a good alternative, especially if you like cookies that aren’t packed with sugar. The double chocolate variety for example, has only 4 grams of sugar for 3 cookies, which is almost unheard of for cookies. The BAD is that they are a little on the bland side, and saturated fat will run you almost 4 grams for 3 cookies, which I feel like is a lot, but guessing it’s from the coconut oil.

The One Smart Cookie plate was also a super cute touch.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: I received these cookies for free. This is an unbiased review.
17 Aug 2017, Comments (0)

Thunderbird Real Food Bar

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

WELL sorry it’s been a while guys…life got a little hectic the past month but I’m back, never fear 8)

Coming at you with some Real Food Bars by Thunderbird. They sent me 4 varieties to try, all vegan, no added sugar, and grain/gluten free. They are nut, seed and date based. As an added benefit, they are also paleo certified. (NOTE: This applies to the bars I got from the company, if you check the website they have several flavors to pick from and details may vary!)

So let’s get started:

As I said above, all of them more or less have the same texture, nutty/seedy with a fruity, date base. The date flavor was there in all 4 bars.

Hazelnut + Coffee + Maca

Coming from a coffee lover, this was not my favorite. It was…gritty. Like I would take a bite of the bar and then grit.  WHAT IS THAT?!?! I checked the ingredients, and it seems it could have been the coffee beans or chia seeds, not entirely sure, but not entirely a fan. The coffee flavor was definitely strong, but overpowered the hazelnut component because I did not taste that too much. The date was sweet and strong as well…If I had to rename this bar it would be like “A Date with Coffee”…because it really just tasted like dates and coffee.

2 stars.

Cashew + Fig + Carrot

Alrighty, moving on. This one was okay. As a whole, it was entirely too sweet without much of another component to balance it out– needed more crunch, or something even slightly salty, etc. The Fig + Carrot together gave it a sweet potato vibe. & like I said, this one was lacking on the crunch factor, a cashew is a pretty soft nut to begin with so it was kind of lost in this bar. Overall, too sweet, too fruity, needs something else. Maybe almond would have been a better choice.

2.5 stars

Peach Pecan Vanilla 

In this bar, the peach and date flavor really shine through. The vanilla flavor is somewhat lost. It’s a sweet bar, but not overly sweet, and almost gives off an apricot type of flavor. Chewy, dense and nutty, and the pecans add a nice crunch. I almost taste a bit of cashew in this one. Overall, this one was pretty good, I’m a fan.

3.5 stars

Texas Maple Pecan

Well, well, well, moving on to the star. This one was kind of like pecan pie 🙂 Chewy and dense, sweet but not overly so, huge chunks of pecan and a nice cinnamon flavor. It goes well with the date because it reminds me of the condensed milk, etc. they use to make pecan pie. The maple flavor is subtle,  but delicious. There is some type of “zing” to the bar, and I can’t quite figure out what it is–perhaps the cinnamon– but I like it. Basically if you’re like me and will eat the topping of a pecan pie, you’ll like this bar.

4 stars.

OVERALL, I like the idea of these bars. Gluten free, paleo, minimal ingredients, no added sugar. I think some need a tad bit of tweaking, BUT you have to also consider the minimal ingredient component. I would definitely try the Pecan based flavors, and I would be interested in trying the other flavors (like ummm they have this cool Pecan Goji Pistachio flavor!!) Thunderbird has to offer.

Check them out!

 

DISCLAIMER: I received these bars for free from the company. This is an unbiased review.

 

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

HO_family shot closeup

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

IMG_9014
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.

IMG_9016

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.

IMG_9015

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. 

 

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