Gluten Free Fitness

Jessica’s Natural Foods Gluten Free Granola: Product Review

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Jay at the Gluten Free Post was kind enough to refer Jessica to me. As a lover of food and health, they thought it would be appropriate to give this a go. Jessica sent me samples of all 3 flavors to try. And they are GOOD! But allow me to step back a bit…

Gluten free granola
Jessica's Natural Foods Gluten Free Granola

Jessica’s Natural Foods Gluten Free Granola

Jessica’s Natural Foods offers 3 flavors of gluten free granola. They are made with certified gluten free oats and oat flour, and other naturally gluten free foods such as ground flax, coconut, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, and nuts, dried cherries, and chocolate chips.

The products are baked in a designated gluten free area using dedicated gluten-free equipment. They are manufactured in a facility that processes eggs, soy, dairy, peanuts and tree nuts.

The vanilla maple and almond cherry flavors contain tree nuts, and the chocolate chip flavor contains tree nuts and soy ingredients. There are no artificial flavors/colors/trans fats.


Looking at the ingredient list on all the flavors, there are all words you will understand and your great great grandma would have recognized as food. The nutrition facts are essentially similar and quite good for all 3 flavors. For 1 serving, which is 30 grams or 1/4 cup:

  • 130 calories
  • 6-7 grams of fat
  • 16 grams of carbohydrate, 2 of which are fiber and 4-5 of which are sugar
  • 3 grams of protein.

This could be a nice topping to some greek yogurt for breakfast, or even some egg whites (they can be sweet as well as savory, you know.) They also can be eaten out of hand as a snack, or in rice/moo cow/goat/soy/almond whatever milk suits your fancy. I would definitely recommend NOT eating directly from the bag. This is fairly nutrient dense, and 1/4 cup is not a lot.

This tastes so good, it would be very easy to eat 5-6 servings without thinking twice about it. And then you’re looking at 600 calories you weren’t expecting. That’s a big whoops. So eat and enjoy, just be mindful of you portion size.

Now to the good stuff.

The taste. The flavor. The textures.chocolate-chip-granola-hire

Chocolate Chip:
This one is my favorite because anything with chocolate generally wins in my book. The chips are plentiful, but not to where they overpower the rest of the granola. There are great chunks of granola, well incorporated with all the ingredients.almond-cherry-granola-hires

Cherry Almond:
I love cherries, and I admit that I went spelunking in the bag to retrieve some the the dried cherries. There are chunks of almond as well, and good spicing with cinnamon.vanilla-maple-granola-hires

Vanilla Maple:
Love the maple flavor. This was really well balanced, the maple flavor was forward but not overwhelming.

All 3 of these flavors were winners and I will buy them in the future. The granola does have some chunkiness to it, which was a plus for me. I don’t like the granolas that are all broken up in dust.

Nutritionally these are a sound addition to your diet repetiore, and provide some healthy fats and complex carbs with minimal sugars.

I would add a protein source to create a complete snack or meal. And definitely, as I mentioned, measure out your portion. If you don’t think measuring is important, take a look at this video.

Let me know your feedback in the comments!

Get crunching!

Top 10 Gluten Free Healthy and Portable Snacks


Ah, snack foods. The land of high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats and excessive packaging. The land of oversized bags, tempting you to stick your hand in just one more time, for one more handful.


Options and awareness

There are lots of better options out there. It does take a little pre-planning, but we are used to that eating gluten free. As I mentioned in “preparing ahead for healthy gluten free eating success,” celiac disease makes us automatically more aware of what we put in our mouths in order to not get sick.

So let’s take it a step further to make choices that can impact our health, energy, and potentially our body composition (fatness vs not fatness) in a positive manner. You could very easily just have a smaller version of what you might have for another meal. A snack of some chicken breast, green beans and a little olive or macadamia oil is very common for me. It depends on what your resources are, how portable you need your food to be, and if you have refrigeration or a cooler. A small soft sided cooler with an ice pack is a great thing to keep with you, and then you’re never caught absolutely starving and headed for the closest crap food to dive into.

Snack composition

A general rule of thumb I like to follow is to try to include a fruit or vegetable source in the snack, a protein source, and possibly a healthy fat. (Side note-Some people consider nuts and nut butters to be a protein source. Me, not so much. If you look at the nutrition facts for lets say 2 TBSP of Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter. There are 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein.

So yes, there is some protein, but there’s twice as much fat as protein. See what I mean? It’s fine, it’s a good healthy fat source, but I wouldn’t consider it a bunch of protein.) This way you get a snack that helps you get a larger amount of produce in your day, and gives you some lasting energy.

10 gluten free healthy and portable snacks

These are in no particular order, by the way.

  1. Apple and string cheese-my go-to snack. Very portable, easy, and tasty. I like Fuji’s, and I like the 2% string cheese. Personal preference.
  2. Celery sticks and natural peanut butter with a small container of cottage cheese or greek yogurt. Try to get the plain kind-the flavors add A LOT of sugar. You can generally find the Greek yogurt Fage or Oikos brands in many regular supermarkets. They are thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, with a higher protein content.
  3. Deli turkey slices (make sure it’s gluten free, Boar’s Head brand is very common and gluten free) wrapped around baby carrots, and/or wrapped around pickles.
  4. A small handful of almonds with a piece of fruit, and a hard boiled egg or three.
  5. Sliced bell peppers dipped in homemade bean dip (seriously-can’t be easier-open, drain and rinse a can of white or garbanzo beans, throw ’em in the Magic Bullet or a food processor with some garlic, thyme and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt, add some cayenne if you like or whatever spices. Voila) or store bought hummus-again and as always check labels.
  6. Small pop top or packet of canned tuna, and celery or carrot sticks, small handful of nuts.
  7. Plain Greek yogurt with some berries, and sliced almonds or crushed walnuts.
  8. Cottage cheese with a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies. You can also make this like a “ranch” type dip by adding some seasonings and blending until smooth.
  9. Ostrim jerky-ONLY THE NATURAL FLAVOR IS GLUTEN FREE!! But it’s tasty, doesn’t require refrigeration, dairy free, and high in protein. Add an apple and you’re set.
  10. A protein shake and a handful of almonds with an apple. Protein powder you can keep in your car, won’t go bad, and all you have to do is have a secure bottle and some water to shake it up and you’re good to go.
    I know, I said 10, but if the guys in Spinal Tap can take it to 11 so can I. A couple ounces of chicken breast left over from dinner the night before, some green beans and slivered almonds. Yum. I’m a big fan of cooking in bulk, and having leftovers to have either as snacks or as entire meals. Why cook 2 chicken breasts when you can cook 10? Save time, save energy, and have great healthy food ready to grab.

So no excuses as you’re running about this holiday season-the siren song of the food court will not affect you when you have these handy snacks ready to go!

What are your favorite snacks? Let me know in the comments-there’s always room for more great ideas!

Gratitude, Awareness and Prevention: Living a Healthy Gluten Free Bountiful Life

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This is going to be a bit of a one-off blog post: consider this my “op-ed” section. We all as individuals have developed our own opinions and outlooks that are shaped by our own unique experiences. I hope some of you will share your outlook in the comments.

Attitude of gratitude

I like to think I live my life, for the most part, with an “attitude of gratitude.” Just like everyone else, I certainly have my fair share of days where I forget my overall outlook and succumb to a “poor me” day, or get annoyed with things that I really shouldn’t let bother me. In general though, I try to take just a few minutes each day to mentally review all of the wonderful things in my life. (Usually in the shower. Seriously. It’s a guaranteed 10 minutes of quiet time daily.)

Tessa the Queen dog on her couch-throne

Tessa the Queen dog on her couch-throne

As some of you may have read in my previous post, I consider the fact that I have celiac disease to be a blessing in disguise. I work in health care, which is a very stable line of work even in an uncertain economy. I have a family that loves me with all my imperfections. I have a very cool dog. And I have my health. And this is where I hope to share a bit of awareness and hopefully, a bit of prevention.

Metabolic syndrome

In 2007, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a paper showing that at that point in time, 47 million Americans (25%) had metabolic syndrome, and I’m quite certain the numbers have grown since that date.

Metabolic syndrome is a term used to describe a collection of health problems that linked with higher incidences of heart disease and other medical problems such as diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

It’s preventable

For the most part, the causes of metabolic syndrome are PREVENTABLE. Some are not, such as genetics, and aging. However, the preventable causes are a large waist circumference, which goes hand in hand with another risk factor, being overweight/obese. Lack of physical activity is another preventable risk factor.

Now before you tune me out, remember that I am not here to preach or judge. I am simply providing information for you to then go and make your independent informed choices. At the end of this article I am going to provide you with some links you can visit for additional information on metabolic syndrome.

Making changes

So what can we do to reverse or prevent metabolic syndrome? (Which will then lower our chances of developing one of these preventable diseases.) Well, it’s simple, but it’s not easy. It will take perhaps a change of perspective, and definitely a change in habit. But it is certainly achievable, and within everyone’s reach.

  1. Weight loss. As little as a 7-10% reduction of body weight will help-I’m not saying you have to be a bikini model. (Although you can certainly do that of you wish!) This will take a combination of eating less, easting smarter, and moving more. It does not mean deprivation or hours upon hours of exercise. What it does take it time, dedication, and consistency. One of my favorite quotes from Lyle McDonald is “Time+consistency+ass busting work=results.” It’s that simple. (not easy-simple.)
  2. A healthy eating plan. This will help with weight loss! And frankly, celiacs have an advantage here as far as I’m concerned. As I mentioned in the “blessing in disguise” post, we already have to be hyper-aware of what goes into our mouths. Naturally gluten free foods can be very nutrient rich and satiating given the right choices. So take it a step further, and use that as a springboard to a weight loss plan. For more specifics on this, please sign up to download the nutrition guide which you will see at the end of this post.
  3. Increase physical activity. Again-will help with weight loss. It doesn’t take hours of extremely intense activity. Start by walking more. As much as possible more. Start with down to the corner if you have to, and gradually progress. Remember, the road to health is not a sprint-this sucker is an ultra-marathon. Start with some, and increase to more, and your progress stalls-increase again. Don’t over complicate it. Walk if you can stand, stand instead of sit, you get the idea.
  4. Quit smoking. Just do it. That’s all I can really say about that. (channeling Forrest Gump.)

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, you may be wondering why I am choosing to make this post today-to make you feel guilty about eating some goodies tomorrow?

Absolutely not. A handful of holidays a year is not going to make or break your health. It’s the other 359 days that you need to be concerned about.

So go ahead and eat mindfully and with joy. Make smart choices as I mentioned in my holiday season post. But remember this is about the long haul-not one meal. I am writing
because upon reflecting on my gratitude-I am thankful that I have this platform to assist in educating others, and hopefully making their lives better and healthier.

I am very fortunate to have learned about living healthfully and fully early in my life, and sometimes I know I may skip over stuff because it is second nature to me. So call me on it. Ask me to explain something if I’m not clear. My goal is to make information about living well easy to understand and implement. In the words of Jerry Maguire-“help me help you!”

Have a fabulous holiday!

Links for more information on metabolic syndrome
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