LWF Exclusive: Black Friday Mineral Fusion Sale @ Princeton Whole Foods

Yesterday Princeton Whole Foods gave me some exclusive information on their upcoming Black Friday sale. Mineral Fusion currently has a demo booth across from the haba sections in the store, and as long as they’re there, everything at the booth is 40% off. On Black Friday, not only will you get the 40% discount, you’ll also get 25% off on top of it! You won’t hear about this anywhere else, so get online and start planning what you’re going to buy!

Not sure if you’re interested in Mineral Fusion’s products? First of all, keep in mind that their products are gluten free, not tested on animals, and free of loads of things like talc, parabens, and artificial colors. Second, check out my haul video that includes lipstick and chubby stick tests here: http://youtu.be/EeD__3w-uKs. I couldn’t even wait for the Black Friday sale…I hauled ahead of time because I couldn’t wait to try these beauties:

Mineral Fusion haul

Pictured above, from left to right:

- lipstick in Tempting
- glitter nail polish in Shimmering Shale
- nail polish in Slate
- shine-free blotting tissues
- eye pencil in Coal

I’ll keep you updated on what I think of these products, but I can already say that Mineral Fusion’s nail polish is top notch, especially their top coat, and their lipstick is also superb. Let me know in the comments if you try any of their products and what you think of them.

Keep on living the wheat free life!

Living the Wheat Free Life on YouTube!

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT! Living the Wheat Free Life is now making videos on YouTube – everything from gluten free hauls to makeup to cooking. The first one is up! See what I got from the Gluten Free Allergy Expo – there are bound to be some great things you’ve never heard of!

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 11.13.26 PM

Subscribe, like, and leave a comment for what food/products you’ve tried. Let me know what kinds of videos you’d like to see next!

Enjoy!

What is it: Extract, Flavor, and “Type” Flavor

We commonly see extracts in baking, like vanilla extract and almond extract. I always check the label very carefully to see what exactly the extract is made of, and I’ve been extremely disappointed with some of them, especially coconut extract. I’ve found gluten free vanilla and almond extracts from McCormick and Simply Organic (respectively) with only two to three ingredients, but coconut extract still evades me because it always has at least one strange ingredient that is either a preservative or something seemingly unnecessary that I really don’t want to ingest.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot at a local grocery store when I saw this:

 

wall of flavors and extracts

 

I was sure there would be a coconut extract I could have in this large assortment. Well, I didn’t find what I wanted, but I did discover a whole new frightening distinction in baking flavorings that I never knew existed: extracts, flavors, and “type” flavors. Examples: vanilla extract, butter flavor, and açai type flavor.

butter flavor

 

So what do these distinctions mean?

Extract: Merriam-Webster defines flavor extracts like vanilla and almond as, “a product (as an essence or concentrate) prepared by extracting; especially: a solution (as in alcohol) of essential constituents of a complex material (as meat or an aromatic plant)”. In other words, you take real vanilla and take the flavor right out of it through a process. The point here is that you’re using the real thing: vanilla bean.

Flavor: This is something that needs extra help to taste like whatever flavor is chosen and cannot just be extracted, which is why most flavors have “natural flavor” as an ingredient. In other words, flavors depend heavily on additives, artificial flavors, and natural flavors (watch out, these can all have gluten) to taste like what their labels suggest. However, they do include the ingredient itself in some form most of the time. For example, butter flavor has “butter oil clarified” in it.

“Type” Flavor: This is a completely artificial substance that doesn’t include any of the ingredient itself but rather is “characteristic” of the flavor. For example, açai type flavor is a berry type of taste as opposed to something that actually tastes of açai berries themselves. “Type” flavors are more like things that are reminiscent of or similar to the flavor of something natural.

Here’s a final example to connect all these definitions. Coconut extract has actual coconut milk in it. Coconut flavor has no coconut, but it does specifically have natural flavor that includes coconut in it, meaning not any part of the physical coconut itself but flavoring of it. Coconut type flavor has no coconut and won’t taste exactly like coconut. Instead, it’s generally similar to coconut or has a coconutty sort of flavor.

Although the differences may seem negligible between these three flavorings, there is a huge difference not only in the flavor itself but in the ingredients used to produce that flavor. The most important thing to realize is the more fake something is, the more likely it is to have trace amounts of gluten, if not full on gluten (or any allergen, for that matter). This happens because the further something is processed and the fewer whole and natural ingredients there are, the easier it is for companies to not really know what exactly is in their own product. Such is the case with lactic acid. Some lactic acid has no dairy in it while some does. It completely depends on what the original bacteria feeds on to become lactic acid, but companies are just now realizing they may need to look that far into lactic acid to find out if it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to it.

Always check the ingredients, and a good rule of thumb is if you can’t identify an ingredient, don’t eat it. It could be anything and could have come from anywhere - almost literally anything from anywhere. So be careful out there. Food shopping is an art form, and if you learn and stay consistent with positive habits, your body will benefit greatly.

Keep on living the wheat free life!

Food Allergy Safe Trick or Treating

If your child (or you!) have food allergies, trick or treating is hard. Almost all candy has gluten or dairy, and if your child can’t have preservatives, dyes, or artificial/natural flavor, forget it. So how can you and your kid go trick or treating and still have fun?

The Teal Pumpkin Project.

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either. A friend passed along the information, which I found really clear and useful. The basic idea is to put out a sign with a teal pumpkin to indicate that you have non-candy treats for children with food allergies. The site even suggests some food alternatives to hand out like bracelets, vampire fangs, and glow sticks. I, for one, am absolutely going to get a pumpkin, paint it teal, and get some fun non-food things to hand out!

Pass the word on through your blog, social media, and word of mouth. Help kids suffering from allergies enjoy Halloween too!

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-2

Keep on living the wheat free life!

 

Seapoint Farms Gluten Free Dry Roasted Edamame – Spicy Wasabi

Health Values: Gluten free, wheat free, no GMOs

I like edamame. A lot. But it’s usually relatively expensive both in grocery stores and restaurants. It never feels worth it to me because it’s always served plain or lightly salted. So when I saw Seapoint Farms’ Gluten Free Dry Roasted Edamame in my goodie bag after the Seashore Celiacs’ picnic this summer, I was excited. A free edamame snack I could try? I’m in.

Dry Roasted Spicy Wasabi Edamame

Seapoint Farms has a few kinds of dry roasted edamame. The one I got was Spicy Wasabi, something I rarely eat but do enjoy. The ingredients were few with only one thing I normally wouldn’t eat: dextrin. It’s a thickening agent, but it can be made from a lot of different things like corn or tapioca, so you never know if you could be allergic or sensitive to what it’s made from. I gave it a shot anyway just for the sake of this review.

Dry Roasted Wasabi Edamame Ingredients

I really liked this snack because it was crunchy and tasted great. When the wasabi was present, it was REALLY present, very spicy and enjoyable. But it was not evenly coated, and while that would have been okay, I got some pieces that seemed to have nothing on them at all. Just plain edamame. So that was disappointing. If that doesn’t bother you, then this is a great snack for you to try. If, however, you like consistency in your spicy snacks, this one’s not for you.

In terms of what other Seapoint Farms products are gluten/wheat free, they say on their website: “All of our Frozen and Dry Roasted Edamame product lines are wheat free and gluten free.” I looked at how to buy their snacks and found out that some of their products are sold in regular supermarkets and natural food stores while others are sold in bulk on Amazon.

4-okays

Keep on living the wheat free life!

Two Moms in the Raw Gluten Free Goji Berry Nut Bar

Health Values: Gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, refined sugar free, no added oils, raw, vegan, organic

Have you ever heard of the brand Two Moms in the Raw? I hadn’t until I got a sample of their Goji Berry Nut Bar from the Seashore Celiacs’ Gluten Free Picnic.

Two Moms in the Raw Gluten Free Goji Berry Bar

Although it’s called a bar, it’s actually broken down pieces of what were probably multiple bars made of just nuts, goji berries, agave, spices, and sea salt. And it’s all organic!

Gogji Nut Bar Ingredients

I really like anything high on protein that I can snack on, something that can help fill me up and give me energy but also tastes good. It’s hard for me to find pre-made food like that because I have so many other allergies and intolerances other than gluten and dairy. If it doesn’t have gluten and dairy, it has tapioca. If it doesn’t have tapioca, it has sesame seeds. You know how it goes.

I was so happy to see a nut bar I could have – and it’s really good!

Goji Nut Bar

 

The agave and sea salt don’t overpower the nuts – it wasn’t too sweet or too salty. Instead, both ingredients balance the flavors to give it a taste that appeals to all your cravings: sweet, salty, and nutty. The goji berries are a little sweet, but not overly so, which I like. I could really eat half a bag of these at a time, even though I’d be overly full – that’s how good they are! They’re extremely snackable, so take them on your next road trip or even to the mall for a power snack. You can find them at Whole Foods. That’s the only place I’ve seen them so far.

5-okays

Keep on living the wheat free life!

 

Worst, Better, Best Hot Apple Ciders!

Continuing on our spice binge for fall, let’s talk about good and bad hot apple ciders. Most people seem to opt for instant, but how many ingredients can you even understand on the box? I’m taking the liberty of comparing not only the ingredients, but the amount of work involved in making three kinds of apple cider.

Three types of hot apple cider

On the left is Mott’s instant Hot Spiced Cider in Red Delicious (as in the apple). Mott’s has a collection of instant hot spiced ciders, and each one is inspired by a different kind of apple – Red Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, etc. But the ultimate flavor, the one that used to be my favorite – was Hot Apple Pie. YUM. That was the first one of the collection to disappear. You can find these at Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Shoprite, and similar places.

In the center is a spiced cider mix you’d most likely find in country shops that sell handmade Christmas ornaments (I know we’re not up to that holiday yet!) and always have that lovely spiced candle scent. Autumn Harvest Spiced Cider Mix is actually a spice bag that you would steep in heated apple juice, so it’s not really an instant “mix” as it might sound.

On the right, last and far from least, is R.W. Knudsen’s Organic Mulling Spices. This is also a teabag of mulling spices you’d steep in hot apple juice.

So which would you pick? Well, of course the instant Mott’s would be easiest. Just add hot water and voila! But the other two aren’t much more difficult. Just heat up your favorite apple juice and steep. Picking one of these three based on how long they take to make isn’t the best way to go. Let’s check out the ingredients.

apple cider ingredients

On the left is Mott’s instant hot cider. As you can see, there’s very little you can feel good about in there. It starts with sugar, which isn’t a great sign – usually that means the flavor relies on sweetness rather than…well…flavor. We actually don’t get to any kind of apple ingredient until we get to the 5th ingredient on the list! The apple puree powder (powder…ugh) is surrounded by artificial flavors and malic acid, not to mention the twice occurring maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, and caramel coloring among other things. I don’t even see any spices on the list of ingredients, which means the spice flavor is coming from the artificial flavors ingredient. Judging by the lack of real, clean ingredients, this is not something I would buy anymore.

On the right is Autumn Harvest Spiced Cider. Again, the ingredients start with sugar, which means that if your apple juice already has sugar, you are increasing that amount by 10g per serving. After the sugar, there are a bunch of real spices, which is great. The last ingredient, however, would keep me from drinking this: calcium silicate. What is calcium silicate? Well, for one, it’s used in a product called Pro Silicate, which is a solution used on plants to alter their pH level. I can’t say I want to put that into my body. The second thing to note is that it’s listed on the CDC’s site as something to watch out for because it targets your eyes, skin, and respiratory system.  To me, that’s just frightening. There’s no way I’m ingesting something the CDC says you should immediately wash off your skin or eyes OR BREATHE FRESH AIR IF YOU’VE INHALED IT. Very frightening.

R.W. Knudsen's mulling spices

Finally, we’ve made it to something human body-friendly! All organic spices with not a single preservative. Whew! This is the only thing I trust when it comes to drinking apple cider. I get myself my favorite apple juice – 365 brand organic Honeycrisp apple juice (no preservatives, no sugar, just organic Honeycrisp apples) – heat it up and steep the spice bag in it. It taste SO good. You may feel like you’ve never tasted real apple cider until you have this. And believe me, once you have this, you won’t be able to drink Mott’s mix without tasting the sugar and the chemicals. At least that was my experience.

There you have it! In order of worst ingredients to best ingredients: Mott’s instant Hot Spiced Cider, Autumn Harvest Spiced Cider Mix, and, taking #1, R.W. Knudsen’s Organic Mulling Spices.

What is your favorite apple cider mix/mulling spice mix? What do you think of the ingredients we talked about?

Keep on living the wheat free life!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 700 other followers