Gluten Free Fitness

product reviews

Gluten Free Sports Supplements Update: BSN and Gaspari Nutrition

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Sometimes deciphering whether a supplement contains gluten can be a daunting task. I have been emailing different companies in an attempt to compile a list of gluten free supplements, and have found that some companies certainly appear more aware than others. The list will be a work in progress, and will be constantly changing as product lines are modified and change. So I give you this information with a VERY strong encouragement to check labels yourself as well.
Having said that, here’s some information, some more helpful than others.

BSN

BSN

Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc.

After contacting the company BSN (Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc.) and requesting a list of gluten free products, this was the email response I received:
“Our labels are continually being updated due to formula or ingredient alterations. Please continue to check the labels for the latest information. BSN products may or may not indirectly contain gluten due to the possibility of cross contact with manufacturing equipment.”

Given that-I will not be risking it. I have not used their products in the past. I see now that they have also updated the label on the Lean Dessert Protein powder (which I’m bummed about because I heard it tasted really good) that the glutamine peptides it contains are sourced from wheat. Bigtime bummer. Thank you to BSN for being forthright however, and revealing that their products may not be safe. If you are interested in their other products, definitely check labels. You can check into BSN here.

Gaspari Nutrition
Gaspari Sports Nutrition Supplements

Gaspari Sports Nutrition Supplements

I also contacted Gaspari Nutrition. In response to my email requesting a gluten free product list, I got an excellent response! Patrick the customer service manager replied:

All products besides Sizeon Powder and Realmass are 100% gluten free.

Whoohoo! I have tried Gaspari’s Myofusion Protein powder which I liked quite a bit. It’s a thicker consistency when mixed, and sometimes I like to mix protein powder with a small amount of water and pretend it’s pudding. (I told you I have a sweet tooth that won’t quit.) This protein powder works very well for that.

Also, I’ve used the preworkout supplement SuperPump 250. SuperPump has some caffeine and stimulants, as well as creatine monohydrate, a few adaptogen herbs and some B vitamins, and some other “pump” inducing ingredients. I liked it and had no problems stomach wise. I also can handle a lot of caffeine, so your mileage may vary. I was please with Gaspari’s quick response to my email and customer service. I plan on trying more of their products in the future, and will keep you posted. You can check out more about Gaspari here.

Have you tried any of these products? What sports supplements do you like or would like me to check into? Let me know! Post your comments below! (Wow-that was a weak rhyme 😉

Purely Elizabeth Apple Spice Muffin Mix: Gluten Free Product Review

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Purely Elizabeth Apple Spice Muffin Mix

Purely Elizabeth Apple Spice Muffin Mix

I was very pleased when I read about this new line of gluten free baking mixes. They are dairy, sugar and gluten free. Rejoice! They also are made with nutrition in mind-incorporating whole grains instead of highly processed rice flour, which is very common in gluten free mixes. Also included are omega 3 containing flax, hemp and chia seeds.

Elizabeth was kind enough to send me samples of the apple spice muffin mix, the cacao muffin mix, and the pancake mix. I tried the apple muffin mix today.

No nutritional info on the packet

One thing I noticed immediately, that personally I would like to see as far as packaging goes: The nutrition facts are not printed on the mix package itself. You can find the nutrition facts (which are for the non-prepared dry mix only) on the website. I would like to see that on the actual package as well. I realize that it is a nit-picky detail though.

Substitutions

I also have to say I did not prepare the mix exactly as directed, so I violated a cardinal rule. I made two substitutions. I have nothing against healthy fats, but today I wanted to keep my fat intake lower and carbohydrates higher. Instead of 1/2 cup of olive oil, I used 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce plus 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. I also used 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of sugar free pancake syrup (which was sweetened with Splenda.)

Ingredients

The ingredients in the mix are:

  • Millet Flour
  • Corn flour
  • Almond Flour
  • Organic Coconut Flour
  • Flax Seed
  • Organic Hemp Seed
  • Organic Chia Seed
  • Aluminum Free Baking Powder
  • Organic Cinnamon
  • Organic Nutmeg
  • Sea Salt

I like that. A lot. Nothing that is not real food, unpronouncable, or has more that 4 syllables.

Directions are to add 1/2 maple syrup, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup of diced baking apple (I shredded mine with a grater instead of chopping,) 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 egg. Also easy to pronounce. NICE!

The smell of the mix was quite strongly spicy, in a good cinnamin-y way. The smell in the house when they were baking was really wonderful.

With the substitutions I mentioned above, here is the nutrition (macronutrient-see definition here) breakdown per muffin, with making 12 muffins.

Nutritional info
  • 110 calories
  • 5 grams of fat
  • 16 grams of carbs (4 of which are fiber)
  • 2 grams of protein
Results

The muffins came out with a nice crusty muffin top, but the inside was moist.

The seeds in the mix add a nice little crunch which I liked. We had 3 testers in the house. Myself, my non-celiac Dunkin-Donut muffin loving fiance, and our dog Tess.

Reviews

Nice crunch on the top, good texture with the seeds and apple, good level of moisture. Not terribly sweet. (a good thing.) 1 muffin left me wanting a second. Not so good for me, but a good reflection on the product.

My fiance liked the crunchy top and the flavor. Thought the texture was a bit off-probably tasted too healthy to him, since it wasn’t bleached white flour 😉

Tess the dog didn’t eat her piece. She likes glutinous pizzza crusts though, so her taste is suspect.

Conclusion

Overall, I give the entire product a 6-7/10. I think for celiacs this is a wonderful option. For non-celiacs they may still notice the different texture. The nutritional profile is quite stellar for a baked good which is really a treat. Since I did not prepare it exactly as directed, it may be slightly different. Bottom line is that this is a great addition to the gluten free baking mix fray, with quality ingredients and nutrition.

Give them a try yourself and post your experience below! You can find more information at Purely Elizabeth.

Supplement Review: Boundless Nutrition Oatmega 3 bars

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The Boundless Nutrition Oatmega 3 Wellness Bars have a lot of positive attributes. However, I must tell you straight off that the bars themselves are not certified gluten free.

I contacted the company directly, as there were no apparent gluten containing ingredients. Trevor (the founder and CEO) was very prompt and friendly in responding to my inquiry. He stated:

To answer your question the bars do not contain gluten (we even use the gluten free oats), but they are processed on the same line as bars made with wheat. We do make sure the line is cleaned very well before our bars are made, but we cannot claim they are gluten free unless they made on a line dedicated to non-wheat products.

So there you go. Caveat emptor. Having said that, I have eaten all flavors on various occasions over the past year or so with no outward effects.

OK, on to the reviews.

Ingredients: 8/10

I give these a 8/10. They do contain milk and nut ingredients for those with intolerances in those areas. Many of the ingredients are organic if that is of interest to you. The protein source is a whey/casein blend, which is highly bioavailable and more friendly to my tummy personally than a soy protein. Carbohydrates in the form of the aforementioned oats. It has added inulin which is a natural chicory root fiber source, and fish oil (you can’t taste it I promise) and uses a natural sweetner called Lou Han Guo. Really the only significant improvement I would make is the ability to make it on dedicated equipment to assure gluten free status.

Nutrition Facts: 9/10

Per bar, 190 calories. 6 grams of fat (300 mg EPA/DHA from fish oil), 23 grams of carbs, 5 of which are fiber. 14 grams of protein. I give this a 9/10. Really good. Personally I’d like to see a tad more protein, but this is really good as compared to most on the market.

Flavors/Taste/Texture: 7/10

These come is 3 flavors. Dark Chocolate Peanut, Chocolate Mint and Mocha. Obviously personal preference is going to play in here. You DO NOT taste the fish oil. The peanut/coffee/mint flavors are not overpowering. The texture is not great, kind of like the classic Power Bar. They’re flattish, a little chewy. It’s a little hard to me to tell because the ones I had recently were melted and reformed. (I live in South Florida. Enough said.) 7/10.

You can get more information on the bars at Boundless Nutrition

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Gluten Free Sports Supplement Review-Think Thin™ Bars

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Yes, I know these aren’t really sports supplements per se. They are more like a meal replacement or snack bar. I’ve had quite a few people ask me about gluten free protein bars, so this will be the first in a series of reviews. Keep in mind as with any review, the taste bit is obviously my opinion only, so your opinion may be different. I will do my best as be as descriptive as possible. The label/nutrition facts part will be much more objective.

So off we go!

According to an email response I received from Diane Hammer at thinkproducts, Inc:

All of our nutrtion bars are certified wheat & gluten free and are processed in a wheat free facility.

They are also labeled as gluten free. We’re off to a good start.

Think! Products have several different varieties of nutrition bars, I will be focusing on the Think Thin bars.

First impressions

At first inspection the Think Thin nutrition facts look pretty good. It’s labeled as sugar free, has about 240 calories give or take depending on the flavor, 20 grams of protein, 7-8 grams of fat, and 26 grams of carbs, 1 gram of which is fiber. However, it also has 10-13 grams of sugar alcohols. This is where it gets interesting.

Sugar alcohols – strike 1

A quick primer on sugar alcohols. Some of you may already be uncomfortably familiar with sugar alcohols. I know I am. Sugar alcohols, commonly seen as malitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and lactitol, are frequently used in items marketed as “sugar free.” They are sweeteners, and not fully absorbed into the small intestine. (Alert!Alert!) What is not absorbed by the small intestine is converted into a short chained fatty acid in the large intestine.

Sugar alcohols DO HAVE CALORIES! Approximately 2-3 calories per gram, whereas a “regular” carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram. So when you see labels that subtract out sugar alcohols from carbohydrate grams to give you a “net carb” count-that’s not strictly true.

Sugar alcohols do tend to not affect blood sugar as much as glucose, or sugar. So they’re not a “free food.” OK, now here’s the bad part. Sugar alcohols, due to the whole absorption thing, can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and gas. Our celiac tummies seem to be a bit more susceptible than your average Joe or Jane. I know mine is. Strike 1.

Soy protein – strike 2

So now a closer look at the rest of the ingredients. First ingredient is a protein blend, OK great, but wait. It has soy protein as a second ingredient in the blend. Strike 2 for me. I can tolerate some natural soy foods, like edamame, but not concentrated into supplements. Then the sugar alcohols next. More soy in “crisps.” The rest of the ingredients appear “mostly harmless” (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference ) and vary dependent on the flavor. They contain 25% of RDA for calcium and Vitamin C, A, B12, B6, and thiamin, 30% for iron, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Nothing crazy, nice to have those in there though.

Flavor review – strike 3?

  • Brownie Crunch-tied as my favorite flavor with Chunky Peanut Butter. Had a good chocolate flavor with the “soy crisps” providing the crunch. A little aftertaste. Pretty dry.
  • Chunky Peanut Butter-ties with the above. Strong peanut flavor, which to me was good. Also dry.
  • Chocolate Mudslide-a “mocha-esque” flavor. If you don’t like coffee you won’t like it. Dry-see a pattern?
  • White Chocolate Chip-this was just flat out bad. The others had a fake milk chocolate coating, this one had a fake white chocolate coating that was way too sweet. The bar itself had no good flavor and was like cardboard. ‘Nuff said.

After I ate the first one I only had bites of the others, because my stomach was NOT happy. I do get the side effects of sugar alcohols, so for the sake of myself, my dog, my fiance and anyone else I may come in contact with I minimized the intake.

As with anything, your mileage may vary, and only you know how you respond. Quite frankly, the macronutrient profile (protein/carb/fat) is good, I’m just not crazy about the ingredients. If you are OK with sugar alcohols and soy, this would be a good, portable option to have for a safe snack or small meal replacement.

As far as cost, I got them at Whole Foods for $1.25 each on sale, and Amazon carries thinkThin™

Have you tried these? What did you think? Leave your comments below!