Categories: Gluten Free

 

Theraplex sent me some skin products to try– normally I am hesitant to try new skin products. I have terribly sensitive skin, everything makes my skin blotchy or break out, but I was told these products are dermatologist recommended and accepted by the National Eczema Association, so I was definitely more on board to give them a try.

Let’s begin:

Hydrolotion Daily Skin Moisturizer– this one is hypoallergenic, preservative, paragon, lanolin, gluten and fragrance free. The retail price is $16.50 for one bottle. It is intended to be gentle and ideal for normal-dry, sensitive skin, or skin that may be prone to eczema.

I liked this product for it’s versatility, I used it on my face right after the shower, but then also on my arms, abdomen, legs. It isn’t super thick, but rather light weight and non-greasy. My legs tend to be dry, so I think it was lacking a tiny bit in the moisture department, as I felt I needed to apply more than I would normally with my other lotion. However, no skin reactions, breakouts, nothing. I think it’s great for face and arms, but for my hands/feet/legs I would need something a little stronger.

ClearLotion Moisturizer- and that’s where this product comes in! Again, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, preservative/paraben/lanolin/gluten/steroid/fragrance free. This is an emollient oil moisturizer that comes in a spray bottle. It is best applied to damp skin after the shower to lock in moisture. The retail value is $18.50 for one 8 oz spray pump bottle.

When used alone, I thought it was decent, but feels a little odd to be applying oil to my skin after the shower. It may feel “oily” (obviously) for 10-15 minutes, but then that feeling resolves and skin is left soft. What I did was spray my legs/arms with it immediately post shower, let it dry for a few minutes, then add a few pumps of the daily skin moisturizer, and was soft and moisturized all day.

Emollient Moisturizer- now for the severely dry skin, in comes a super rich moisturizer. This one can be used for psoriasis, eczema, ichthyosis and xerosis, as well as those super dry areas like elbows and heels. Retail value is $21.00. Again, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, preservative/paraben/lanolin/gluten/steroid/fragrance free. My advice is to use LESS than you think you need. It is SUPER rich, and you only need a tiny dab of it for both of your hands. You just need to really work it in and let it dry, using too much will leave a greasy/sticky feel. However, it was great for those cracked knuckles or rough heels.

lastly, the Gentle Cleanser. I really liked this! It is recommended for sensitive skin, and it is an everyday cleanser that leaves skin feeling fresh without being dry. It is paraben/lanolin/steroid and gluten free, and costs about $12.00 a bottle. It left my skin feeling clean and did not dry it out. My face is very acne prone, and I noticed NO new breakouts, and actually got a compliment that my skin was looking better just yesterday 🙂

Overall, I am a fan of these products.  I will not lie, I went and purchased 2 bottles of the cleanser and hydrolotion online because I am running out of product and like the way it was gentle yet effective on my skin. I definitely recommend these if you have sensitive skin, are acne prone, eczema prone, or just looking for a new cleanser/skin products that aren’t filled with a ton of chemicals. A solid 4.5 stars across the board from me.

 

DISCLAIMER: I received these products to try for free. This is an unbiased review.

Pasta is definitely a fan favorite- versatile, comforting, and well…delicious. However, as we all know, pasta is not diabetic friendly, figure friendly or macro friendly for that matter, as it is loaded with carbs and lacks in the  protein and fiber department (unless you get whole grain). For that reason, I tend to stay away from pasta entirely. It wreaks havoc on my blood sugars for hours. However, the nice people over at Explore Cuisine sent me some plant-based protein filled pastas made with black bean, edamame, red lentil and chick pea.

Each pasta ranges from 180-200 calories per 2 oz serving (a box has 4 servings), with 1-3.5g of fat, 19-35g of carbs, 3-13 grams of fiber, and 11-25 grams of protein.

 

Let’s Start!

The Red Lentil pasta was super mild in flavor. Relatively easy to cook, however, of the 4 I cooked this one seemed to absorb a ton of water and I actually ended up burning the bottom of my pot, so make sure to keep a close eye on it and add extra water. It was bland in flavor, but smelled great while cooking. The texture was identical to al dente spaghetti. I served it with ground turkey, broccoli, and (unpictured) tomato sauce.

The good thing about this one is it looks almost identical to flour based pasta…you could probably try to fool your friends 🙂  — granted they are not allergic to any of the ingredients!!!

 

Next up, BLACK BEAN pasta.

This one is a little weird…and you’ll definitely get some looks when you eat it. I had someone ask me if I was eating squid… but it’s worth it!

I served it with grilled chicken and some butter and I actually really enjoyed this one. It’s not my favorite to eat plain, and definitely requires some flavor. It was a little more chewy than the other varieties, but it still relatively mild in flavor and went well with chicken. This one was highest in protein and fiber and I found I needed no insulin to eat! In fact, both times I took insulin for this dish, my blood sugar tanked. I had a mild rise after I ate and then went back to baseline so I decided this one was definitely a hit for me and my blood sugars!

 

Next up, CHICK PEA  pasta

I loved this one! I added some turkey gravy to it and it was just a tad more chewy than al dente flour based pasta, with a hint of chick pea flavor. Again, super mild in flavor so very versatile and you can probably pair it with anything.  I found the chick pea pasta to be more filling than the other varieties.

 

Lastly, the EDAMAME based pasta.

This one was probably my least favorite of the 4, but still pretty good. It had a sweet undertone to it, and was softer in consistency than the other varieties. It had more of a dominant flavor than the other varieties, but again, still pretty mild. I think it paired well with chicken and some butter and salt.

 

Overall, these are a hit and I will definitely be buying them when I see them in store. Each box had 4 servings, but I stretched it out to 6 because I added vegetables and protein to each, and still had a decent serving. All of them had minimal affect on my blood sugars, which was a big bonus for me. ALL flavors are GLUTEN FREE and VEGAN as well, making them friendly to our pasta lovers who cannot tolerate flour based products. Overall, 4 1/2 stars from me.

 

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS AN UNBIASED REVIEW. I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS TO TRY FOR FREE FROM THE COMPANY.

 

source

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.

 

 

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