Gluten Free Fitness

product reviews

PureFit Gluten and Dairy Free Nutrition Bars Review

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No Wheat, No Gluten, No Dairy

Such is the tagline for PureFit Nutrition Bars.  I was contacted by Robb Dorf, owner and creator of the Pure Fit line, to take a look at the bars and give them a taste.  Robb graciously provided samples of the bars for this review.

First, a bit about what is in, and not in, these bars.

PureFit definitely gets points for being aware of food sensitive consumers.  The bars are:

Kosher-certified and vegan-approved… do not contain dairy, wheat, or gluten, and will not melt in their packaging. PureFit works diligently to provide high-quality, award-winning nutrition bars without artificial ingredients, sugar alcohols or common allergens, including milk, wheat or gluten.

However, they have one big ingredient which many are sensitive to-and that is soy.

Ingredients

The ingredient list for the Berry Almond crunch Bar: Soy protein isolate, ground almonds, brown rice syrup, Energy Smart™ (fruit juice, natural grain dextrins), Energy Blend (fructose, natural extract of chicory, dextrose) soy crisp (soy protein isolate, rice flour, calcium carbonate), agave nectar, soynuts, soy flour, textured soy flour, natural raspberry flavored fruit [(sugar, raspberry juice, raspberry extract) cranberries], almonds, inulin, raspberries, natural flavors. Manufactured in a plant that ALSO processes milk, egg and peanuts.

Too much concentrated soy?

Not a horrific ingredient list, in fact, not bad at all.  However, I am concerned about the amount of concentrated soy products.  I personally am sensitive to concentrated soy.  (To complete this review I spared my stomach and simply took a couple small bites of each flavor, spreading the testing out over an extended period of time.)

However, I can tolerate naturally occurring soy (think edamame, and gluten free tamari) just fine.  The amount of actual soy ingested from those items is significantly less that what you would find in a soy milk or soy protein product.  This is definitely an area where your mileage may vary.

Concentrated soy is quite the controversial ingredient.  You can find many instances of soy lovers and soy haters.

As was indicated in the allergen statement, the bars are processed on shared equipment, but not with gluten containing items.

Let’s move on to the taste.

Robb sent me a sample kit, which is also available for purchase if you want to give the flavors a try.  The flavors are: Granola Crunch, Peanut Butter Crunch, Berry Almond Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, and Almond Crunch.  Believe it or not, the one I liked the least was Brownie Crunch.  Shocking, I know, as I am a confessed chocoholic.  All the flavors were a bit chalky in texture.  The Peanut Butter Crunch was the one I liked the most, and the Almond Crunch and Granola shared a very close second.  The Berry and Brownie just had too much of an artificial flavor for me to really get around.  They all required a hefty sip of water to chew and swallow.  They did have a nice crunch and chew texture.

Overall, I think these are a decent option.  The fact that they do not melt makes them good for “emergency” stash, like in your car glove compartment or in a natural disaster preparedness kit.  For that same reason they would be good fuel for outdoor sports.

However, for me personally these will not become part of my ordinary rotation.  Soy protein does not have a place in my diet.  It’s certainly a personal opinion, preference, and tolerance level.  My friend Kim at Gluten Free is Life also reviewed these bars, and she and her family were fans.  Just goes to show, what will work for one of us will not work for all of us, so keep an open mind whenever reading reviews of products.

Wish list

If there is a nutritional supplement company out there listening, here is my wish list for a protein bar:

  • Gluten free
  • Uses whey protein in some bars, and a gemma or rice protein in others for a dairy free option
  • Uses chicory root and/or stevia to sweeten
  • No sugar alcohols, no soy, no artificial sweeteners
  • At least 20 grams of protein per bar
  • Fat source of coconut
  • Low to moderate carbohydrate count

I know, a tall order.  So far the closest I’ve seen is in the Quest Bar. I’ll do a full review of them in the future.  I am very curious to see what their new flavor will be.  In the meantime, you can always make your own protein bars and control the ingredients and nutrition profile completely.

And if you want more, Gluten Free and Fit 101 has a lot more reading on living healthy and gluten free.

If you have tried the Pure Fit bars, I’d love to hear your feedback!  Also, if you’d like to weigh in on the soy controversy, feel free to comment below!


Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Review

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Have you noticed I’ve done a few chocolate chip cookie recipes?

Well, even if you haven’t noticed, I have.  I seem to have a bit of an obsession with chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies are just such a soothing, all-American treat.  When I was a kid pre-celiac diagnosis, I had a chocolate chip cookie obsession then too.  Soft Batch cookies, remember them?  Oh, yeah.  Heated up for just a few seconds until the chips were all mice and melty…heaven in a bite.

Now that I’m a bit older, gluten free, and aware of nutrition, I try to have some redeeming qualities in my treats for the most part.

As a part of designing my diet to provide maximal quality and nutrients, I try to use coconut products on a regular basis.  Coconut is not a miracle cure for anything, and please run screaming from anyone who tries to tell you so.  However, it is a food that has some very interesting and unique properties.  And, it tastes pretty darn yummy.

Funny random fact about me: I like coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut flour, and coconut flavor in general.  However, I don’t like actual coconut.  Like, the shredded kind.  I hate macaroons.  I think it’s a texture thing.  But I digress.

Coconut oil is also not the devil as opponents to saturated fat may try to state.  Actually, saturated fat itself is not the devil.  Saturated fat in combination with refined carbohydrate may in fact, be the devil.  But again, I digress.

I feel compelled to say that coconut products contain calories.
Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate

Tropical Traditions Coconut Cream Concentrate

This seems obvious, but I have heard stories of people adding large amounts of calorie dense coconut products to their diet and expecting the laws of thermodynamics to no longer apply.  As much as that would be fabulous, it is in fact false.  If you add calories in, you have to take some out from somewhere, or you will gain weight.

Tropical Traditions is where I get my coconut flour and coconut oil.  I saw they had a product called coconut cream concentrate, which I had never heard of/tried before.  They very kindly supplied me with a complimentary sample to try.

Coconut Cream Concentrate is pretty cool stuff.

From the Tropical Traditions website:

Coconut Cream Concentrate is certified organic whole coconut meat in concentrated form. It contains no additives* (not even water). The dried coconut meat is ground very finely, giving it a creamy consistency due to its high fat content. Since it is 70% fat, it is a rich source of pure coconut oil. Note: this is a food, not a cooking oil.

It reminded me a lot of natural nut butter, how the oil separates and comes to the top?  Same gig.

I highly recommend watching the video provided by Tropical Traditions on how to prepare your concentrate to use.  Me being me, I skipped that part thinking I could stir it like nut butter.  No, you can’t.  Warm it first.  What’s really cool about this product in my opinion, is that you could theoretically pour off the top coconut oil and use that, and then use the meat part to make coconut milk (they recommend a couple teaspoons per 16 ounces of water, and it will be “grainy” due to the fiber in the coconut.)  It’s pretty darn versatile.  I mixed up a couple tablespoons in a quart jar with water and use it in my coffee.

Here is my coconut cream chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Have you used coconut cream concentrate?  What’s your favorite way to use coconut?  Hit it up in the comments!

“Want” to Lose Weight but “Can’t?” Read This Book…

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I recently had to travel for work, and pulled out this little book that had been sitting on my bookshelf.  I had bought it from Amazon.  It was on my “recommended for you” list, and it looked good.  (They do a pretty good job with those, don’t they?  I don’t know what the algorithm is, but it’s pretty impressive.)  I’m writing it up now, before months go by like they did for my review of Generation Gluten Free.

The book was my plane reading, and it kept me both engrossed and entertained.

It will do the same for you, whether you are celiac and on a gluten free diet, living gluten free for other reasons, (like gluten intolerance, or avoidance of lectins-which by the way I will be touching on in a post next week) or not gluten free at all.  It really doesn’t matter.

If you are human, and you eat food, and you wonder if your eating is spurred by more than just physical hunger, you need to read this book.

It’s called Hungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin by Allen Zadoff.

The longer I’m in this game of nutrition and fitness the more I see that weight issues are very rarely just about the physical aspect of eating.

Eating is so tied into emotions for us.  Eating is celebration, eating is family, eating is love, eating is sorrow.

I’ve learned through my experiences in both the fitness industry and in “real life” that sometimes those individuals who look like they have the perfect body, the perfect life, are sometimes the most messed up of all.

In “Hungry,” Allen explores his journey in losing, regaining, and finally losing again, weight over a 28 year period.  In his journey he finds that life is not perfect when you are thin, and that there so many issues to deal with when it comes to food.  Although we all have our own personal journey, his story is very relateable.

He shares his discoveries of what helped him lose, and helps him maintain, his weight.  Here’s a hint-it’s not necessarily about counting calories.  You’ll have to read the book.

“Hungry” is an exploration of the psychological issues with eating and overeating; the awareness, recognition, and finally success over them.

You may not go through the same exact issues as Allen did, but I’m sure you can find tidbits where you can relate.

With Allen, you travel through despair, hopelessness, resignation, determination, reflection, and finally motivation and success.

Read this book, and take from it what will help you on your journey.

Even with a better handle on the psychology of weight loss, weight gain and overeating, you still need strategies for the physical aspects.

For that, you can check out Gluten Free and Fit 101.

I’m curious to hear-what psychological issues with food have surprised you, either in yourself, or what you’ve seen in others?

Gluten Free Protein Powder Reviews

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Gluten Free Protein Powder Reviews and Recommendations (or not!)

Protein powder. It can be so useful, so tasty, so convenient! It can also be completely vile tasting, or worse, make us sick due to cross-contact or hidden gluten. This page is for us all to share our experiences with protein powders, so we can learn from each other and hopefully spare ourselves from wasting money on a product that is nasty.

Please, please be aware that reformulations do occur, so always check labels prior to ingesting any product. If in doubt, contact the company directly.

Here’s what to do
  • Leave a comment below indicating the brand of protein, flavor, and quick summary of the nutrition facts if you have the label handy. Please also indicate the gluten status-if you’ve contacted the company please include that information, if there’s a gluten free label, no gluten containing ingredients, etc. Whatever is applicable.
  • Add your review: How was the flavor, the consistency, the mixability? Would you purchase it again? Feel free to use a 1-10 scale if you would like.

Of course, taste is individual, and what one person finds delicious another may find revolting-but I’m hoping that this will give us a good starting point.

Here are a couple I’ve done

Bring the reviews! I will be adding more as well. 🙂

Zing Bars: Gluten Free Protein Bar Review

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Shockingly, the time has come…

There is actually a nutrition bar that has a quality ingredient list, positive nutritional profile, and really good taste. Did I mention how good they taste?

It’s AmaZing! (That’s actually part of the compant tagline, I can’t take credit for being that creative.)

Zing bars were created by a team of nutritionists who were unable to find a bar they liked enough to recommend to their patients. So, they created their own. I am so glad they did that!

From the Zing Bar website

We could create our own all-natural nutrition bar. Our take on the perfect snack. A bar with everything we wanted it to have, and nothing we didn’t. A healthy balance of carbs, protein and beneficial fats, but no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. No trans fats, synthetic vitamins, or allergy-aggravating gluten, wheat or soy protein.

The Zing Bars come in 5 flavors: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cranberry Orange, Almond Blueberry, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. All flavors are gluten free, and the peanut butter chocolate chip and cranberry orange flavors are also dairy free.

Nutrition

Protein sources in the bars are rice protein, whey (in the bars which contain dairy) and a bit from nut butters and nuts.

The fats come primarily from the aforementioned nuts and nut butters. Carbohydrate sources (dependent on flavor) are from fruits (blueberry, cranberry, apples,) brown rice crisps, gluten free oats, Fruitrim, and agave or brown rice syrup.

Fruitrim (R) is a liquid, carbohydrate-based ingredient formed from fruit juice and dextrin is helps the bars retain moisture and extends shelf life. The bars also contain inulin/chicory root for a bit of added fiber.

The nutritional profile is similar for all flavors, but does vary a bit, so here’s a basic idea:

1 bar contains:

  • 210 calories
  • 25 grams of carbohydrate which includes 4 grams of fiber
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 11 grams of protein
The taste

I was admittedly floored when I tasted these. They are moist, have chunks of whatever is appropriate to the flavor (blueberries, almonds, chocolate, etc.) and are plenty sweet without being overly sweet. The Chocolate peanut butter flavor has a chocolate coating, which was a pleasant surprise. Given that, this is the one flavor that has melting potential, so keep that in mind if you leave one or two in your glove box for “emergencies.” (Yes, I do that. I get really irritated when I get hungry, and having something available is best for everyone in the state.)

I didn’t get to try the Cranberry Orange-I handed it to Jeff, because he’s big fan of that flavor combo. He tried it, said “Wow. This is really good.” And ate the whole thing. His feedback was-“really moist, and lots of flavor, lots of cranberries.” This is from a gluten-eater. I am a chocolate hound, as you guys have heard me say before, and the Almond Blueberry I liked just as much as the chocolate flavors. They are that good.

This would make a good between meal snack, something convenient to keep in a purse or backpack in case hunger strikes. (I also give some other ideas in my Top 10 portable gluten free snacks post.) It would even make for a good pre or post workout snack, although the fat is a tad high for that purpose. These would be perfect to keep on hand for your kids-a much healthier choice than a couple of cookies. I will be taking them on our road trip to Tennessee, and out with us when we go hiking-the mix of protein, carbs and fat is perfect for giving some sustained release of nutrition.

These are a great option. Thank you to Stacey for sending me each flavor to sample.

Let me know your thoughts on the bars in the comments below. Have you tried them? Favorite flavor?

True Protein Gemma and Rice Protein Powders: Review

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Ah, protein powder. The words that polarize, the food product that can be a sweet treat, or a necessary evil. I have used many different brands and flavors of protein powder over the years, with varying results. Some have been great, others have had me struggling to reach the bottom of the canister. (Yet I refuse to throw it away. The stuff can be expensive!)

Dairy issues

Personally, I am a celiac without dairy issues. So I have used whey and casein protein powders. Whey is generally considered the standard as far as peri-workout nutrition. It is quickly digested and has a high level of amino acids which assist in the recovery process. Casein is used as a slower digesting protein that can be used in conjunction with whey, or by itself, many times prior to bed (think cottage cheese.)

However, I know many of you cannot tolerate dairy, or choose to follow a vegan diet. And off I went in an attempt to find some protein powders that fit the bill.

5 types of non-dairy protein powder

There are 5 main types of non-dairy protein powder options that I am aware of. Egg/egg white, soy, hemp, rice, and gemma (pea.) In my previous post Gluten Free Dairy Free Protein Powders 101, I covered some of the characteristics of each of these.

True protein

When I last ordered from True Protein, I ordered tubs of rice protein and gemma to try. There are several companies that produce these protein powders. Jay Robb seems to be a popular maker of rice and egg protein, Sunwarrior makes a sprouted rice protein powder, Nutribiotics, Olympian Labs makes a pea protein, and Nutiva a hemp. This is just a sampling, I am sure there are more-if you are aware or have a favorite, shoot a comment below.

True Protein is a company that allows you to create custom protein mixes, and they also sell pre-made protein mixes,and various vitamins and supplements. From their website:

Our Goal… To create a following and customer base in the athletic, fitness, bodybuilding and health world not on fancy marketing schemes but purely on a reputation as the company to go to, to find the highest quality nutritional supplements known to the public.

I have ordered from True Protein for several years and have been very pleased with their products and services in the past. They do not have fancy labels or packaging, everything is very simply marked with black and white labels, and minimally packaged. In fact you can have your powders sent in a food grade bag if you already have a canister to put it in. (Although transferring the powder can be a bit of a nightmare-but that’s another story for another day.) When it came time to try these new proteins (new to me) I chose to purchase them from True Protein. They also do carry the egg white, soy, and hemp protein powder. The rice and gemma powders that I tried are non-GMO.

From the True Protein FAQ:

Q. I am allergic to Wheat Gluten. Which of your products contain Wheat or Wheat Gluten?

A. None of our protein, carbohydrate, or flavoring materials will contain any form of wheat or wheat gluten. The only product that contains wheat gluten will be our Glutamine Peptides, which is maintained in an isolated storage unit within our clean oom facility to remove any risk of cross-contamination. Wheat gluten products are manufactured within our facility.

Just to be certain, I contacted Carl at True Protein. This was his response (within 24 hours of when the email was sent):

The only item we carry that will contain even trace elements of Gluten will be the Glutamine Peptides and any custom product selected using that ingredient. We follow strict GMPs that have been designed using ISO9001 guidelines, with 0% chance for cross contamination within our facility. Thanks again and please dont hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or requests. (Erin’s note: GMP=good manufacturing practices)

OK, on to the taste review!

I bought the premium dutch chocolate fudge flavor in both the rice and gemma, as I have had this flavor in whey isolate and thus a baseline for comparison. I mixed just with cold water in a shaker bottle. Keeping in mind that everyone’s tastes a bit different-here are my thoughts:

Gemma

  • Mixes easily
  • Thicker in consistency-you may need to use a bit more water. I liked it, because making protein powder into a pudding” is a favorite way of mine to combat the sweet tooth. Especially at night time. Blending half a scoop of this with some cottage cheese, stevia and cacao powder gives me my “chocolate pudding” fix
  • Slight nutty flavor, not unpleasant at all

Rice

  • Slightly tougher to mix, takes some vigorous shaking
  • A bit chalky in texture-feels like it coats your teeth a bit
  • Thinner consistency, more like whey isolate

One comment about the appearance of both-the brown is kind of a light brownish, not terrible visually appealing. Don’t let that fool you though, the chocolate flavor is definitely there.

Overall, both of these are very pleasant and will be in my protein powder rotation.

If you would like to order from True Protein, feel free to get 5% off using coupon code ENE038. If you buy using this code, it also adds points to my account and eventually I can earn free protein. Of course you can also order without using that code.

Have you tried any of these proteins? What has been your experience, good or bad? Specific brands and/or flavors you like? Share ’em!! Leave a comment below!

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.

Ingredients

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!

Gluten Free Sports Supplements: Labrada Nutrition

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I contacted Labrada Nutrition to find out about their gluten free products. Now I will say that this means, in this context, that the products are not certified gluten free, but that there are no gluten containing ingredients, and that best manufacturing principles have been followed. This does not mean that dedicated equipment has been used. So-as I always say, get the facts, then make an informed decision for yourself.

Having said that, the representative I corresponded with were wonderful. Dave Ramirez answered all of my many questions, and provided me with products to review.

There are a few Labrada products that DO contain gluten. The ones that contain gluten are:

  • Lean Body Breakfast Shake
  • All bars (see, another reason to make homemade bars)
  • GlutaLean Plus
    (This was my decision to add this one. It contains glutamine peptides, which are derived from wheat. I have had adverse reactions in the past to these, so I added this product to the glutinous list. They also have a product which is GlutaLean (not Plus) which contains only L-glutamine, not glutamine peptides, and would be safe. I will be doing an article on glutamine soon, as it can have some gut-health benefits but seems to be a bit controversial.)

I received 3 products to review:

  • Carb Watchers Lean Body protein shake in Peanut Butter Chocolate
  • Elasti-Joint Joint Support Formula
  • Pro V-60 multipurpose protein blend in Chocolate Ice Cream
Carb Watchers Lean Body

This comes in premeasured packets, so it’s convenient to take with you if you’re on the run, or even leave a few in your car or in your purse “in case of emergency.”

Nutrition wise, one packet contains 250 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate (4 of fiber), and 40 grams of protein. For me, I only used half a packet at at time. The protein source is a blend of whey and soy proteins. The fat comes from sunflower, MCT, and flaxseed oil. The carbohydrates from Fibersol Fiber, oat flour and rice bran.

Here’s a concern. There could have been cross-contamination there, in the ingredients before they even got to Labrada. I can tell you that I had no apparent adverse reaction-but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Sweetener is acesulfame potassium and sucralose, which I can handle OK in small doses. Really the only place I get sweeteners other than stevia is in my protein powders. Obvious allergens are soy and milk.

Taste-wise, it was very sweet. That’s OK for me, because generally I use protein powders to help satisfy my sweet tooth. For this flavor, the peanut butter was very subtle. The flavor was primarily chocolate. The texture was good, a little thicker than a straight up isolate due to the protein blend, carbs and fat added.

Overall, I have concerns about this truly being gluten free and would proceed with caution. I need to look into a device to test for gluten-isn’t that out there somewhere? However, setting that aside, this is a good general purpose use product that tastes good.

ElastiJoint Joint Support Formula

If you have read my About page, you know I’ve had multiple knee surgeries on both sides. (4 on the left and 2 on the right, to be exact.) I am always trying to find a good joint support formula.

I had read great reviews about this product, and was very excited to try it. I gave it 3 weeks of use. I also want to preface this by saying I have used glucosamine and chondroitin products in the past without benefit. I may be a non-responder, but I wanted to give this a shot because it did also contain MSM, Vitamin C and gelatin. Worth a whirl.

I am sorry to report that I did not notice a benefit. Again-this may be me, and others may find differently. The product contains 2000 mg of MSM, 5000 mg of gelatin, 1500 mg of glucosamine sulfate, and 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate. The glucosamine is derived from shellfish. This is also processed on equipment that also processes wheat, peanut, tree nut, sesame, and shellfish. Again-good manufacturing processes with cleaning equipment-but caveat emptor.

The taste was drinkable, it was fruit punch, and I would recommend not sipping it, just drink it.

Pro V60 Protein Blend-Chocolate Ice Cream

This is good stuff. It does not have added carbohydrate ot fat sources like the Carb Watchers Lean Body shake, just the tagalongs that occur in the proteins. It uses a 5 protein blend-whey protein concentrate, egg protein, calcium caseinate, and 2 types of filtered whey protein isolate. Allergens are milk, egg and soy (lecithin.) Sweeteners are acesulfame potassium and sucralose again.

Nutrition wise, 1 scoop contains 160 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrate, and 30 grams of protein. Due to the protein blend, this would be a more slowly digesting protein source as opposed to like a whey isolate.

I also findprotein blends tend to bake better, like to use in homemade protein bars. The taste of this protein is phenomenal-even my incredibly picky fiance likes it. It has a nice consistency, is again pretty sweet, and has a rich flavor. Last night I mixed it with enough water to make a brownie batter consistency and nuked it for 40 seconds. Voila-protein brownie. Great way to curb the sweet tooth and keep it healthy.

Overall, Labrada was very helpful and responded quickly to my questions, so thank you very much.

For more information on Labrada products, please visit them at their website www.labrada.com.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below. Go forth and have a healthy day!

Purely Elizabeth Ultimate Cacao Muffin Mix

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Purely Elizabeth Ultimate Cacao Muffin Mix

Purely Elizabeth Ultimate Cacao Muffin Mix

The Purely Elizabeth baking mix line was recently launched, and offers a healthier choice for individuals with food intolerances including celiac disease. The mixes are free of sugar, dairy, wheat and gluten. Eizabeth Stein is a holistic nutrition counselor. She was very kind and had sent me the Apple Spice muffin mix which you can find the review here, the cacao muffin mix, and the pancake mix which is calling my name from the cabinet, but I have not yet tried.

I made these this morning as a kickoff to what should be a fun weekend. Chocolate on A Saturday morning-can life get any better?

Still no nutritional info on the package

As I mentioned in my previous review, it would be my preference to have the nutrition facts printed on the package instead of having to go to the site. Also, the nutrition facts given are for the mix only, not the muffin as prepared, so be aware. I believe the labeling may be addressed in the future as this is only the beginning of what I think is a company with great potential in the future.

Ingredients

The ingredients in the mix are:

Millet Flour, Corn Flour, Almond Flour, Organic Raw Cacao Powder, Flax Seed, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Chia Seed, Aluminum Free Baking Powder, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt.

So far, so good. Stuff you can recognize as actual food, and pronounce.

The instructions recommend adding agave syrup, rice milk, one egg, olive oil and vanilla.

Here I took a few liberties. I added 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips (had to be done,), used moo juice instead of rice milk (no dairy probelms here and didn’t have rice milk,) substituted 1.5 TBSP coconut oil and 1/2 cup applesauce for the olive oil (personal preference,) cut the agave syrup amount in half and added a bit of stevia (personal preference again to keep caloried slightly lower, especially since I was adding in the chocolate chips-you have to give a little to get a little, you get me? Make the calories even out.)

I also kept the baking time slightly lower to 18 minutes as I have a convection oven. The smell while they were baking was absolutely heavenly.

Verdict

These ROCK!!!

I am a chocolate freak, I admit that. When it comes to ice cream, I always will have chocolate or a variation thereof. So I am biased toward anything chocolate. These were very good-lots of chocolate flavor. The hemp, flax and chia seeds add a nice crunch to counter the sweetness. They are sweet without being overly sweet, really a nice balance. Taste I give these a 9/10.

Nutritionally, far better than any other chocolate muffin you may find. Ingredient list is great. As I prepared them, here is the nutritional breakdown per muffin (makes 12.)

  • 137 calories
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 23 grams of carbohydrate, 4 from fiber
  • 3 grams of protein.
For breakfast or a snack

The Purely Elizabeth Cacao muffins would be great to have along with a protein source for breakfast or a snack. You could have some greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs or egg white omelette. (For more information about setting up a healthy nutrition plan, sign up for the free guideline at the end of this post or the top right hand part of the page.)

The trick is eating just one. I may freeze them individually and remove one at a time. Otherwise I could easily eat them all, like now.

For more information on Purely Elizabeth and to order click here.

All in all, highly recommended. Give them a shot! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Gluten Free Sports Supplements: Muscle Milk

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Protein shakes abound these days. You can choose ready to drink (RTD), powders, whey isolate, whey concentrate, a blend, micellar casein, milk isolate-and for our dairy sensitive brethern and sisters we have gemma (pea) protein, rice protein, hemp protein-even beef isolate. (I have to admit I have not tried that and am not likely too-just seems weird to have something derived from beef taste like chocolate or fruit punch. But I digress.)

Muscle milk

Muscle Milk is yummy.

Muscle Milk is yummy.

A very popular brand of protein is the Muscle Milk family, which includes Muscle Milk light. These generally have slightly or significantly higher calorie content as they do include some fats. Not necessarily a bad thing at all, just as always check your labels, and make sure it fits into your nutrition plan for the day. (If you want more information on setting up a nutrition plan, sign up for the free guideline at the bottom of this post or the top right hand side of the home page.)

I have to admit I have only tried the chocolate flavor of Muscle Milk Light. I’m a chocolate girl, what can I tell you. The Muscle Milk powder is available in these flavors:

Bananas N’ Creme, Blueberries N’ Creme, Brownie Batter, Cake Batter, Chocolate, Chocolate Banana Crunch, Chocolate Caramel Pecan, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Mint Chip, Cookies and Creme, Dark Chocolate, Mocha Latte, Orange Creme, Peach Mango, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberries and Creme, Strawberry Banana, Vanilla Creme, and White Chocolate Mousse. Whew!

Muscle Milk Light comes in Banana Creme, Chocolate Milk, Chocolate Mint, Cookies N Creme, Creme Brulee, Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, Strawberry Milkshake and Vanilla Creme.

(BOLDED FLAVORS ARE NOT GLUTEN FREE!)

I contacted Muscle Milk regarding gluten free status, and Jeff gave me this reply:

Our Muscle Milk and Muscle Milk Light pre-mixed Ready-to-Drink shakes are gluten free (all flavors).

Our Muscle Milk and Muscle Milk Light powders are gluten free except for the following flavors: cookies ‘n crème, chocolate malt, and chocolate banana crunch.

Whoohoo!!!

That’s a lot of yummy sounding flavors to try, people! As always, double check labels, read the nutrition facts and make it fit into your nutrition plan.

Shakes and powders can be a convenient and portable snack making it easy to get in some nutrition. Add an apple, carrots and some almonds and you have a portable, on the go meal.
Have you had any of these-if so what did you think? Any other gluten free protein shakes you enjoy?

Let me know!


UPDATE: 7/17/12: From Rex, a reader:

Hi -Thanks for taking the time to put information on the web. I stumbled across your page by accident and saw your GF Muscle Milk review. I called CytoSport directly to verify the GF information (date on the page was 2009) and was told by customer assistance that the entire line of powders is now gluten free (except the chocolate malt flavor which they are discontinuing soon.) I specifically asked about cookies and cream and was told they use gluten free cookies. As always please verify the information for yourself, but I’m in the process of ordering a couple of flavors, for further testing.