Welcome to Allergy Free & Cheap Like Me!

gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Feedback Friday: Gluten: Where to Find It


Gluten: Where to Find It!

I often get ask, what foods contain gluten? Here is a list of foods and ingredients that often contain gluten. You must become an excellent label reader, gluten is hidden in so many ingredients. 

The following are the grains and starches gluten is found in:
Wheat Germ
Wheat Grass
Graham Flour
Oat Bran*
Oat Fiber*

*Oats may contain gluten due to easy cross contamination. Oat fields frequently have wheat or rye growing in them and therefore most oats show gluten contamination when assayed. If contamination doesn't happen in the fields it often occurs in transport or at the manufacturing facility. You can find certified gluten free oats from a few companies. Bob's Red Mill, Creamhill Estates, and Gluten Free Oats.  Bob's being the most readily available. Bob's offers certified gluten free oats as well as oats that are not gluten free, so check the packaging to make sure you are getting the oats specifically stated as gluten free.

The following is a list of foods/ingredients that MAY containing gluten (check labels!):
Meat Balls
Self-Basting Poultry
Coating Mixes
Meat Loaf
Soup Bases
Communion Wafers
Meat Substitutes (Tofurky, etc…)
Soy-Based Veggie Burgers
Crab Cakes
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Soy Sauce
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein ("wheat")
Processed Meats
Textured Vegetable Protein ("wheat")
Imitation Bacon
Roux (common sauce base)
Imitation Seafood
Malt or Malt Flavoring, Malt Vinegar(usually from barely and corn)
Vital Wheat Gluten (found in imitation meat)
Caramel Coloring
Vinegars (often a derivative of gluten containing grains, especially distilled vinegar.)
Vegetable Gum
Rice Syrup
Blue Cheese (the mold usually originates on old bread)
Vitamins and Supplements

Beer is made from grains therefore it contains gluten. Alcohols such as scotch, rye, and vodkas, while made from grains that contain gluten, have been distilled removing the gluten, making them safe to consume. Keep in mind that alcohol when mixed with gluten in food seems to magnify the reaction of gluten and should be avoided. 

Soy has some negative characteristics. Soy foods are one of the most common sources of hidden gluten. Seitan and most soy-based veggies burgers contain "vital wheat gluten", the ingredient that gives those foods the texture and taste of meat. Despite being gluten free, soy beans often provoke digestive bloating, gas, and allergic symptoms. As a bean they contain the same lectins that grains have. 

You must become an excellent label reader. Many products say they are gluten free but contain ingredients such as oats, hemp, wheat grass, malt or wheat starch with may contain gluten. Also be wary of food additives labeled as "natural flavorings", "spices", or "extractives of…" If in doubt don't consume the product unless you have written the company or called to verify the product is indeed gluten free. Most companions are forthcoming about whether or not their product is gluten free. So do your research!

I hope this helps shed some light about the foods and ingredients gluten is in. Whether you are new to a gluten free diet or have been following one for a while it is always good to remind ourselves how many foods and ingredients do contain gluten and make sure we are reading our labels. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: New Product Thursday: Snyder's of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks


Snyder's of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks

I recently found pretzel sticks by Snyder's of Hanover. I couldn't wait to get them home to try them. The Snyder's of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks are GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization, a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)) certified, which means they are tested and certified to contain less than 10-ppm of gluten (5 ppm gliadin). They are also dairy-free, casein free, and egg free!

So, what's in them? Here are the ingredients as listed on the bag: 
  • Corn Starch
  • Potato Starch
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Palm Oil
  • Carboxymethycellulose
  • Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, mono-calcium phosphate)
  • Salt
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Citric Acid
  • Yeast
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Soda

How did I think they tasted? Great! The first thing I noticed was how crunchy they were. I know it has been a while since I have eaten gluten filled pretzels but If memory serves me correct, they tasted the same, if not better! I didn't notice any weird taste or after taste at all that you can sometimes get from gluten free products. They would make a great snack to eat by themselves or to dip in a sauce like pesto. So next time you are at your local grocery store pick up a bag of Synder's of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks! To find a store in your area that carries Synder's pretzel sticks click here. (I found mine at my local Whole Foods!)

*The opinions in this post are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything and I have benefited in no way by this review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Guest Blogger Wednesday: Food and Pet Allergies and Behavior of School Age Children


This month as we start getting ready to send our kids back to school, I couldn't think of a better guest blogger for this month than my dad, Dane Way. He has been an educator in the public school sector for over 35 years and has seen it all. In his post he highlights how important it is to include allergy testing as part of your child's medical workup. He has also included a number of great links to check out if you think your child may be suffering from allergies, an intolerance or a food sensitivity. The articles discuss how food can have an effect on your child's behavior and are a must read for any parent! I hope you enjoy!

Food and Pet Allergies and Behavior of School Age Children by Dane Way

As an educator in the public school sector for over 35 years, and someone that has dealt with allergies all my life, I am elated when I hear that the parents of a youngster having trouble in school include allergy tests as a part of their efforts to help their child.

If you are the parent of a child that is having trouble settling down or staying on task or focussing on an activity for any length of time, I would suggest that you do some research on your local area physicians and naturopaths and find one that will include allergy testing as part of their workup of your child.  Although family practitioners are getting better at including allergy tests when dealing with child behavior issues, many times your normal family doctor is not trained to think about allergies or to find the best solutions when allergies are indicated.

It is in your child's best interest if you take the time to find a doctor that isn't going to make a snap decision to quickly throw drugs at the problem.  Don't get me wrong, I have seen situations where the correct drug with the correct dosage has turned a child's life around.  But for as many of those success stories there are as many that didn't work out.

There are simple blood tests that can show allergy tendencies as well as scratch tests.  I tend to put more weight in the accuracies of the blood tests over the scratch tests, but you can make that decison when talking to the physician of your choice.

I have included a few links that will hopefully give you food for thought and more information to help you make the best informed decisions for your son or daughter.

Elizabeth's thoughts; I hope you enjoyed this post and found it informative. If your child is having difficulty with behavioral problems in school this might be a good, inexpensive option for you to check into and discuss with your physician. And remember since allergies tend to be a genetic thing maybe as a parent you can get tested along with your child to ease some of your child's fears about getting tested. Who knows it might just turn into a bonding experience for your whole family! Do you have a school aged child with allergies?  Have you noticed a difference in behavior in school since finding out? I would love to hear your stories, as always, please feel free to comment and share with your fellow readers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Cheap Tip Tuesday: Coupons!

Healthy Crumb: Cheap Tip Tuesday

My Cheap Tip Tuesday this month is all about couponing. Many people hate using coupons, and I completely understand. The world of couponing can be overwhelming at first. Most people think it takes too much time to find them, cut them all out, organize them, and then remember to use them at the store before they expire. I get that and honestly some of the time I completely agree. But when I see all the savings coupons can bring it reminds me how much it really is worth it. Especially when the money saved by using coupons can be used for something fun like family vacations and trips. 
The two things to remember about couponing are to buy low and stock up. Pretty simple. You want to buy at the lowest price possible for the products you need. Once they reach rock bottom price, you simply stock up to last until the next sale! Add a coupon to the mix and it gets even cheaper!
My first tip is to start off slow. A lot of people want to dive right in, but end up getting burnt out quickly because they spend way too much time at it in the beginning. You don't need to find and get every deal every week. Start of by just seeing if you can find coupons for the items you already buy on a regular basis. Then you can gradually dive in further.
Where do you find coupons? Check out manufacturer websites, the weekly Sunday papers, websites of your favorite stores, coupon codes online for online stores, and coupon websites such as, coupon cabin, mambo sprouts, smart source, and red plum for coupons. 
The next step after actually finding the coupons on products you use regularly is to know when to use them. This requires you to know your prices. This is key to getting the best deal possible. Start out by paying close attention to the prices at your local grocery stores for a few weeks on the top items your family buys, everything from cereal to pasta, and try to get a general idea of when prices are at their lowest. This will help you save whether you are couponing or not. You might be surprised at how much prices fluctuate. And always remember just because it is "on-sale" doesn't mean it is at it's cheapest. For example last week at Fred Meyer I noticed Freschetta Pizza was on sale for $4.99. This week Freschetta Pizza is also on sale but for $7.99. Both weeks it was advertised as a sale but obviously one week the sale was much better. When you see something you use regularly hit its lowest price, buy a little extra to get you through to the next sale, most likely every 4 weeks or so.

My second tip is just because you have a coupon, it doesn't mean you have to use it. Don't buy something you never buy just because there is a coupon for it, that is not saving money, it's spending extra money. Only buy things you need and use. I see so many people stocking up on a product they never use, because they have a coupon, and end up with 50 boxes that sit on the pantry shelf and expire. That is a waste of both money and food. Yes, it may be a good deal, but it doesn't mean it is a good deal for you. Know what you eat and the quantity you eat, there is no use for a product to go to waste because you couldn't eat it before it expired.

Here are a few allergen free product coupons to help get you started couponing!
Manufacturer coupons from their websites:
Mambo Sprouts has coupons on all kinds of natural products you can download and print out to use at any store, they change regularly so check back often!
Also check out the Whole Foods websites for coupons if you shop there, they change regularly and can save you money when shopping at Whole Foods!
For more tips on how to save money on an allergen free diet check out my earlier Cheap Tip Tuesday blogpost; Saving on the Cost of an Allergen Free Diet!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Mindful Monday: What's in Your Water?

Healthy Crumb: Mindful Monday

What’s in Your Water?

Did you know, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), testing  done by water utilities found there to be 315 pollutants in the tap water Americans drink daily. If that is not bad enough more than half of the chemicals detected are not subject to health or safety regulations and can be legally present in any amount in our tap water. The government has not set a single new drinking water standard since 2001. Because it has not, the EWG launched a 3-year project to create the largest drinking water quality database in existence. It contains 48,000 communities in 45 states and the District of Columbia. 
I was curious how my water stacked up. I live in a dry cabin, in Fairbanks, Alaska, meaning I don’t have running water. I was disappointed to find the company we haul our water from was not listed as being tested by the EWG. However, I was still curious to see how the town of Fairbanks local water utility stacked up as well as the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Here are my findings. 
First up, Golden Heart Utilities: Fairbanks, Alaska: 13 different contaminates were detected. 8 chemicals exceeded health guidelines while no chemicals where over the legal limit. The chemicals found included, Barium (Industrial Pollutants), Chromium (Industrial Pollutant), Bromochloromethane (Industrial Pollutant), Dibromoacetic Acid, Bromochloroacetic Acid, Arsenic (which is an agricultural, industrial, sprawl and urban pollutant by pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms, road runoff, lawn pesticides, and human waste.) Dicholoracetic Acid, Trichloroacetic Acid, Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), (the last six are all from water treatment and distribution byproducts, i.e.: pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts) and Benzene (Industrial Pollutant, sprawl and urban pollutant). The EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tap-water for both Bromochloromethane, and Bromochloroacetic acid. They also had one EPA violation in monitoring.
Next up, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska: 16 different contaminants were found, 10 chemicals were over the health guidelines and 3 chemicals where over the health standard LEGAL limits. The chemicals found where, Trihalomethanes, chloroform, arsenic (these first three being the ones over the legal limit), bromodichloromethane, haloacetic acids (HAAs), dubrinicgkirinetgabem dichloroacetic acid, benzene, trichloroacetic acid, bromoform, monochloroacetic acid, nitrate, monbromoacetic acid, dichlorobenzene, dibromoacetic acid and xylenes. They also had 9 EPA violations, 5 in MCL and treatment, 2 in reporting and 2 in monitoring. 
Was I happy with what I found? No, not really. At first I thought well, these two sources don’t really affect me since we get our water from another source. But the more I thought about it the more I started to consider different scenarios. For example, I don’t usually drink water from the tap while I am out and about in the town of Fairbanks at drinking fountains etc. but, I do order water an awful lot when I go to restaurants and if they are using tap water, well, I guess now I know what I’m drinking! Also, I use the gym at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to both work-out at and shower (since I live in a dry cabin), so I both drink and bathe with the water provided from them. I wonder how much I am ingesting by showering, it's been found that 60% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream, that must count for water too, right?  No, now that I think about it, I am not happy at ALL!

So what can we do? There are a few things we can all do to help minimize our exposure to these chemicals through our water. One easy way is to use a water filter in our homes. There are many kinds, from ones that fasten right to the sink facet, to a filtered pitcher you keep in your fridge, to a newer refrigerator with a filtered water dispenser built right in. Choose a filter that is certified to remove contaminants found in your water. To find the best filters go to  www.ewg.org/tap-water/getwaterfilter. There are many different kinds of filters but the most common type of filter is a carbon filter (pitcher or sink mounted). Carbon filters are affordable and reduce many common water contaminants, like lead and byproducts of the disinfection process used to treat municipal tap water. You can also choose a whole house filter, which filters water as it enters the house for a wide range of uses including, tooth-brushing, showering, and other uses missed by just a standard kitchen filter. Whichever filter you choose make sure you change your filter on time. Old filters aren’t safe, they can harbor bacteria and let contaminants through. 

When you are on the go, carry stainless steel or other BPA-free bottles. Don’t reuse bottled water bottles. The plastic can harbor bacteria and break down to release plastics chemicals. Hard plastic bottles (#7 plastic) can leach a harmful plastics chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) into water.

A note on bottled water, you can read the bottle label, but you still won’t know if the water is pure and natural, or just processed, polluted, packaged tap water. EWG found 38 contaminants in 10 popular brands. Many popular brands are nothing more than bottled tap water, tainted with the same pollutants.  The huge growth of the bottled water market has increased the nation’s solid waste stream with vast amounts of plastic, causing phenomenon's like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, if you haven't heard of it, please read about it in my previous blog post here, everyone needs to be aware of what is happening in our oceans!
So now are you curious to find out what’s in your water?
Go to www.ewg.org/tap-water/whats-in-yourwater to find out how your local water stacks up.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Feedback Friday: Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Healthy Crumb: Feedback Friday

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance
I often get asked the question, what's the difference between having a food allergy and having a food intolerance?  A lot of times these two terms seem to get used interchangeably. Hopefully I will be able to help clear up any discrepancies you or others may have about food allergies vs. intolerances.  
The word “allergy” is frequently overused and misused to include any irritating or uncomfortable symptoms after eating. However, the term "allergy" should only be used for the symptoms which develop after eating certain foods that are part of the body's immune response. In an allergic reaction, the body’s immune system mistakenly believes the food is harmful and tries to protect itself. In doing so it overreacts and produces, harmful antibodies, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), and other chemicals such as histamines to fight the food “allergens”. This type of reaction can cause reactions, sometimes severe, that affect the skin, breathing, gut, and heart. IgE antibodies can also “cross react“ with other allergens, causing a person to become allergic to a related allergen. For example, a person with a birch pollen allergy can suddenly become allergic to apples or kiwi fruits. Also overexposure to certain foods can also cause a cross reaction, for example, a person could acquire a wheat allergy after working in a bakery. Food allergies often run in families, suggesting that the condition can be inherited. Food allergies can be triggered by even a small amount food and occur every time the food is consumed. 
Symptoms of a food allergy include:
  • rash or hives
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • itchy skin
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • swelling of the airways to the lungs
  • anaphylaxis
An intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. An intolerance occurs when something in a food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown a food. Symptoms of a food intolerance can be similar to food allergy symptoms, but are generally less severe, which is one reason the two are so commonly confused. An intolerance is much less likely to be life-threatening than a true food allergy. People with food intolerances may not have symptoms unless they eat a large portion of the food or eat the food frequently.
Symptoms of a food intolerance include:
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • gas
  • cramps or bloating
  • vomiting
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • irritability or nervousness
Hopefully this helps show the differences between food allergies and food intolerances. Whether you have a food allergy or intolerance neither one is much fun, can cause many unwanted symptoms, and be overwhelming when you first learn you have them. But fortunately there are many great resources out there to help you along the way. Here are links to a few I have found helpful along the way.
Do you have any resources you have found helpful in your food allergy/intolerance journey?  Please feel free to share them with your fellow readers in the comments section!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: New Product Thursday: New Genius Bread by Glutino!

Healthy Crumb: New Product Thursday

New Genius Bread by Glutino!
I am very excited to share with you the new Genius Bread by Glutino!  I was lucky enough to be able to sample this wonderful new bread by Glutino before it hits U.S. shelves.  Glutino has partnered with the UK"s popular Genius Gluten-Free to add a delicious bread to Glutino's already overflowing gluten-free portfolio. Genius by Glutino is a sandwich-ready loaf of bread that is available in both White and Multigrain Sandwich varieties. It becomes available nationwide beginning in August. 

What is in the new Genius Bread by Glutino?
The White Sandwich Bread ingredients are: Water, potato starch, corn starch, canola oil, tapioca starch, dried egg whites, rice bran, cellulose powder, yeast, inverted sugar, sugar, salt, modified cellulose, xanthan gum, calcium sulfate, and enzymes.
The Multigrain Sandwich Bread ingredient are: Water, potato starch, canola oil, corn starch, tapioca starch, dried egg whites, rice bran, molasses, cellulose powder, yeast, inverted sugar, sugar, modified cellulose, sugar beet fibre, salt, xanthan gum, calcium sulfate, and enzymes. 
So what did I think of the new Genius Bread? It tastes absolutely wonderful!  It comes in a pre-cut, normal sized loaf. Yes, that's right, I said normal sized. Each slice is the size of a normal glutinous loaf of bread! I was able to try the White Sandwich Bread variety and it tasted so yummy. I tried it multiple ways, not toasted, toasted, as sandwich bread, as cinnamon toasted bread, as garlic bread…there are so many possibilities; the options are endless! It tasted great every way I tried it. I can only imagine the multigrain variety will taste just as delicious. The White Sandwich Bread I tried made a normal sized sandwich any gluten eating person would be jealous of, including my husband. I am pretty sure I could have passed it off as regular bread and no one would have been the wiser. Yep, it's that good!
So come August, run, not walk, to your local grocery store and try the new Genius bread by Glutino. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. To locate a store near you that carries Glutino brand products click here.
As a side note, for those of you who are allergic to eggs this bread DOES contain dried egg whites.
*The opinions in this post are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything and I have benefited in no way by this review.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Guest Blogger Wednesday: Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Bars!

Healthy Crumb: Guest Blogger Wednesday
A very good friend of mine makes these delicious Chocolate Raspberry Bars. She has made them on several occasions and they are always so yummy I end up eating almost the entire pan myself!  The best part is they are gluten, dairy, and egg free! I asked her if she would be willing to share her recipe and be my guest blogger this month. She happily accepted, but wanted to remain anonymous so we will just call her Claire. She is shy like that, but it's one of the reasons why I love her so much! Not to mention she made an entire recipe just for me! Claire lives with her husband and three very cute dogs. I hope you enjoy! 

Gluten Free Chocolate Raspberry Bars
I first started making these bars when Elizabeth found out she was gluten, dairy, and egg intolerant.  She and her husband were coming over for dinner and I didn't want her to feel left out when the rest of us had my very non allergy friendly cherry cheesecake. So I came up with this little recipe and decided to try it out on her. To my utter surprise, she loved it! I was a bit skeptical and hadn't even tried it myself, but to my surprise it ended up getting eaten faster than my cheesecake and has fast become a favorite even among all of my non allergic friends. So thank you Elizabeth for getting us all to try what has become one of our absolute favorite desserts. :)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer mix together:
  2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend* (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix)
  1 cup almond flour
  1 cup sugar
  *3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if not already included in GF flour blend)

In a separate bowl whisk together with a fork:
  8 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread (or similar butter substitute)
  4 ounces applesauce
  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly mixing on low speed until thoroughly combined.
Remove about one cup of the dough and set aside.
Add to the remaining dough that is still in the mixing bowl:
  1/3 cup cocoa powder
  1/4 cup allergen free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips)
Mix on low, scraping the sides frequently until the cocoa and chips are blended in. (You could also do this by hand but I am lazy :))
Line a 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper or grease lightly with a little oil. Press the chocolate dough into the bottom of the pan and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool a few minutes. Spread out over the cake to about 1/4 inch from the sides:
  1 cup raspberry (or any favorite berry) jam
Dot the whole thing with the remaining vanilla dough, dropping in small chunks over the raspberry jam.
Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
Cool thoroughly. Remove from the pan and cut into bars.

Elizabeth's thoughts; I hope you guys enjoy this recipe, you really must try them they are absolutely delicious!  I must confess I have never actually made them myself because, well frankly, she makes them so well I don't want to ruin a good thing! But she says they are super easy to make and after reading the recipe, I agree, so I will have to give them a try very soon! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Cheap Tip Tuesday: Healing Herbs

Healthy Crumb: Cheap Tip Tuesday

Healing Herbs
Plant a healing herb garden in your kitchen windowsill and save money by making these home remedies for common ailments.

  • Foggy head, try a rosemary bath. Rosemary clears out phlegm with invigorating, muscle-relaxing camphor. Crush leaves from three or four rosemary sprigs, then place in the toe of an old hosiery or muslin bag. Throw into a warm tub and soak for 20 minutes, squeezing to release additional oils. 
  • Sore throat, try a sage tea gargle. Sage is anti-inflammatory. Create a strong tea by adding 2 teaspoons of crushed fresh sage leaves in 8 ounces of hot water. After steeping for 20 minutes, strain the tea and stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Gargle for 30 seconds then spit. Repeat several time per day.
  • Clogged sinuses, try a thyme steam inhalation. Thyme’s anti-bacterial thymol can help unplug sinuses. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of crushed fresh leaves in a medium bowl. Place your face above the fragrant water, close your eyes, and breathe in deeply. For best results, cover your head with a towel to hold the healing vapors in.
  • Stomach cramps: try peppermint tea. Peppermints cooling menthol will help ease stomach cramps from an intestinal bug. Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of crushed peppermint leaves. Steep for 30 minutes, strain, and drink.

By following these home remedies you can make at home you may be able to save hundreds of dollars on over the counter medicines and doctor's visits a year. And they are often times just as effective or even better than traditional medicines. Remember as with any remedy, natural or otherwise, be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner if you are pregnant or have other health concerns.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthy Crumbs Week: Mindful Monday: Natural Health Tips

Healthy Crumb: Mindful Monday

Most of us know and have heard of all the general healthy living tips, but how many of us actually follow them daily?  Here is a list to use as a quick reminder of the natural health recommendations we should all be following daily. 

Natural Heath Tips to Follow Daily
  • Eat 5-8 cups of vegetables daily
  • Eat 1-3 card-deck sized lean protein servings daily
  • Chew your food to a liquid state and do not drink anything while eating. If you need to drink while you are eating, you are already dehydrated!
  • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. (So if you weigh 150 pounds you should be drinking 75 ounces of water daily!) Drink throughout the day and stop drinking by 7pm.
  • Dry skin brushing: Stimulate circulation by a thorough gentle brushing of all your skin. Use short, very light, frequent strokes from fingertips & toes towards the heart for 2-4 minutes. Best done on dry skin before a morning shower. Use a vegetable fiber brush, natural brush or loofah sponge. 
  • Hydrotherapy: End your warm shower with a cool to cold spray, starting with the extremities and finishing with the lower back, for 15-20 seconds to return blood flow to your internal organs.
  • Deep Breathing: For your lungs, do a minimum of 10 deep belly breaths daily! 
  • Exercise: Move your muscles daily. Walk a minimum of 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week. 
  • Sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night and awaken at the same time every morning. Avoid TV before bed. Good sleep improves memory, helps balance hormones, and aids weight loss. 
  • Laugh: Take time in your day to laugh with family, friends, coworkers and at yourself!
  • Clutter: Get rid of extra clutter in your life, identify it, address it, get rid of it!
Follow these daily healthy recommendations and I promise you, you will feel better, have more energy and improve your overall health!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mambo Sprouts Mystery Giveaway!

Mambo Sprouts is offering a mystery giveaway!  Mambo Sprouts is giving away a mystery prize daily for the next 20 days!  To enter all you have to do is "like" Mambo Sprouts on Facebook! Good luck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Novak Djokovic Wins Wimbledon!

On July 3rd, 2011, Novak Djokovic made history by winning the 125th Wimbledon mens singles title, underlining his new status as the world's top tennis player. Becoming the No. 1 player in the world is an outstanding accomplishment, especially for Djokovic, who is playing in one of the most competitive eras in men’s tennis.

And if you haven't heard Novak Djokovic attributes his sky-rocketing success this year to living gluten-free! His streak of wins during 2011 is being credited to his nutritionist’s determination last year that he was allergic to gluten. Last year, Djokovic's nutritionist discovered that Djokovic is allergic to gluten, the protein found in common flours. Djokovic banished it from his diet and now says he now feels much better on the court.

A gluten-free diet can have implications far beyond the physical, especially in tennis, which taxes the mind like few other sports. The season is 11 months long, matches are grueling and can last for hours, and the slightest dip in a player's confidence can derail months of hard work. There's never anyone else to blame for a match gone awry. And living in a "gluten fog" - like so many of us have experienced, can't help the mental game.

Whether Djokovic's recent winning streak is truly due to eliminating gluten, increased confidence in his performance, or a combination of both, it is exciting to watch him play and win. Having a champion athlete like Djokovic helps increase awareness of gluten allergies and the benefits that a gluten free diet can provide and that is always exciting!

To learn more about Novak Djokovic check out his website here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ZEVIA All Natural Soda

Okay, to be honest, when I was asked by Mambo Sprouts to participate in a product review for ZEVIA All Natural Soda I was a bit spectacle. Honestly, I don't drink soda except on a very rare occasion, because, let's be honest, soda is not all that great for us. So how is ZEVIA All Natural Soda any different? That's what I wanted to find out. ZEVIA uses stevia, a 100% natural sweetener. Stevia is an herb in the sunflower family primarily found in subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. The extract from the stevia leaf has no calories, no effect on blood sugar levels, and is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. ZEVIA contains none of the chemically processed artificial sugar substitutes nor any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives found in other sodas. ZEVIA is 100% natural, has zero calories, zero net carbs, zero fat, and very little sodium. ZEVIA comes in 12 varieties, Cola, Ginger Root Beer, Dr. Zevia, Twist, Ginger Ale, Black Cherry, Orange, Grape, Cream Soda, Caffeine Free Cola, Mountain Zevia, and Grapefruit Citrus.

Recently, I was able to try 6 of the varieties: Cola, Caffeine Free Cola, Mountain Zevia, Grape, Grapefruit Citrus, and Cream Soda.

Ingredients for each ZEVIA variety I tried:
  • Cola: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, carmel color, tartaric acid, fumaric acid, caffeine (45mg/12fl), and natural flavors.
  • Caffeine Free Cola: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, carmel color, tartaric acid, turmeric acid, and natural flavors.
  • Mountain Zevia: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, citric acid, beta carotene, and caffeine (55mg/12fl).
  • Grape: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, citric acid, and white grape juice concentrate.
  • Grapefruit Citrus: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, citric acid, natural flavors, and medium chain triglycerides. 
  • Cream Soda: carbonated water, stevia, erythritol, citric acid, caramel color, and natural flavors.

Like many of you, I have no idea what these ingredients were when I first read the side of the soda can, so I did some research and found out what they were.

Ingredient descriptions as found on the  ZEVIA website: 
  • Carbonated Water: ZEVIA uses triple filtered carbonated water for all sodas.
  • Stevia: Stevia is a natural botanical native to South and Central America. For centuries, Native Americans of Paraguay and Brazil called it "sweet leaf" and used it to sweeten native foods. Stevia is used as a food additive in China, Japan, all of South America, and in the United States. The extract from the stevia leaf has no calories, no effect on blood sugar levels, and is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. It's a perfect sweetener for diet soda. 
  • Erythritol: Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol found in fruits and vegetables, has no calories, and has no effect on blood sugar levels. 
  • Citric Acid: Citric Acid is naturally concentrated in oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, lemons and limes and a perfect complement to the taste buds and personal diet. Natural citric acid adds to the refreshing flavor to any soda.
  • Caramel Color: Natural caramel color that makes it look as delicious as it tastes. 
  • Tartaric Acid: Tartaric acid occurs naturally in many plants, particularly grapes, bananas, and tamarinds; it is also found in wine. Most colas use cheap, harmful phosphoric acid for flavor. Phosphoric acid is used in fertilizers and detergents. It erodes tooth enamel and has been linked to depletion of calcium, a contributing factor in osteoporosis. Safe, natural tartaric acid enhances the soda's zesty, tangy flavor.
  • Fumaric Acid: Fumaric acid occurs naturally in flowers and mushrooms. It contributes to the soda's flavor.
  • Caffeine: Most diet sodas use artificially produced caffeine, but the natural caffeine in ZEVIA comes from coffee and tea. 
  • Natural Flavors: Lime, Lemon, Cassia and Nutmeg oils are used in the colas, while grapefruit, lime, lemon and orange oils are found in the grapefruit flavor soda.
  • Beta Carotene: A natural compound in many fruits and vegetables. 
  • Medium Chain Triglycerides (MTCs): MTCs are found in milk fat, palm oil and coconut oil. MCTs provide quick energy as well, but since they are a fat and not a carb, they don't stimulate insulin, and you don't have the problem with weight gain. MCTs do stimulate thermogenesis, which is the process where your body produces heat by increased burning of fat. This is a good thing for people who are trying to lose fat. People who suffer from epileptic seizures have been shown to benefit from a diet high in MCTs. They also tend to lower blood sugar slightly, which may be beneficial for some diabetics. They have been shown to be antioxidants and have anti-coagulative effects, which can help with heart disease.

Two ingredients immediately caught my attention and brought up a red flag for me, "caramel color" and "natural flavors". Both of these ingredients are ingredients that may contain gluten in them. So I contacted the company to find out if their sodas are indeed gluten-free. I got this friendly response back from them in a matter of minutes! 

"We're excited about your interest in Zevia!
We take great care in choosing ingredients that are the healthiest for all of our consumers, especially those who have special diets.  You'll be happy to know that, since we began in 2007, all Zevia soda’s are gluten free. Including the caramel color in some Zevia flavors, [which] does not come from corn [and] is vegan, wheat and gluten-free."

So there you have it, ZEVIA sodas are vegan and gluten-free!

Now, how does ZEVIA taste?  All of the six flavors I tried tasted great. ZEVIA flavors have their own spin on your favorite versions from other big name brand sodas, but are light and crisp, not at all syrupy tasting. Since I don't drink soda very often, I did take notice of a unique after taste when drinking the soda; perhaps my palette wasn't use to the exotic Stevia sweetener taste or the flavor combinations and carbonization used in Zevia's sodas. Let me know what you think! So next time you find yourself needing a soda fix, why not reach for a healthier alternative, ZEVIA.  To find where ZEVIA is sold near you, click here. And right now if you "like" ZEVIA's Facebook fan page you can get a coupon for $1 off a six pack of ZEVIA!

*The opinions in this post are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything and I have benefited in no way by this review.
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