Gluten Free Fitness

product reviews

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.

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!