Archive for July 2016

Review: Gluten Free Protein Shakes


As a busy mom I sometimes need a quick mini-meal or something I can take on the go.  I try to choose things that have 10+ grams of protein to keep me feeling satiated for several hours.  I recently came across two new-to-me brands of protein shakes and I thought I would give them a try.

First, I tried Svelte organic vanilla protein shake.  I had scored this ready-to-drink free sample at the Gluten Free Expo this year.  They were being handed out by Wegman’s and I was excited to try it since I had seen it at the store but never had purchased it.  I had only seen it in 4 packs and protein shakes can be tasty or very, very bad and I didn’t want to take the risk.  This is why I love free samples!


  •  2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein, though I wish it had a bit more protein
  •  6 grams of sugar – reasonable since a lot of protein shakes and other “healthy” drinks can be sugar bombs
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • I’m not a fan of the taste of stevia; however, I couldn’t taste it.
  • Smooth and not chalky at all!
  • Organic – a bonus!
  • Also comes in chocolate and cappuccino, which I have not tried but would love to.


  • Too sweet
  • Unappealing brown color – possibly from vanilla extract?  Not a deal breaker though.
  • Soy protein – while it’s a pro that it was organic protein I’m still on the fence over soy.  One day I read that it’s great for you, the next I read that it’s not.  For this reason I try to limit my exposure as much as possible and when I consume it, I shoot for organic.


Although there a lot of pros I probably wouldn’t buy it because it was just too sweet for me.  If I found myself at a convenience store and needed something quick I might consider buying a single serving in a pinch.

I also tried the Orgain organic vanilla protein shake.  This was in powder form and you could add your own milk or water.  I chose to mix mine with organic skim milk.  I got the free sample about a month ago when Orgain was offering it on their website (which it doesn’t look like they are any longer.)


  • Only 150 calories
  • 21 grams of filling protein
  • 5 grams of fiber
  • No added sugar
  • Organic – a bonus!


  • Sugar alcohol (erythritol)
  • Horrible aftertaste – probably from the erythritol
  • Too sweet
  • Very chalky


FAIL! (Sorry Orgain.)  I literally couldn’t drink it. I tried adding crushed ice to “water it down”/make it less sweet, but turned into ice cream of sorts.  It actually looked a lot like frozen banana ice cream if you’ve ever made that.  This made it taste less sweet but it still had a terrible aftertaste.  It was not as chalky, but still was chalky enough to deem it undrinkable.  Good thing it was free!

If you are still interested in seeing for yourself, even after my glowing review (hah!), their Facebook page is currently offering coupons.  I don’t know…maybe erythritol doesn’t bother you as much as me?

I had to eat something afterwards to get rid of the aftertaste.  I happened to choose a gluten free cookie.  Oopsie!  Even after that I could still kind of taste it.  Not worth it!  I had been excited to try it because it had pea protein and I’ve heard good things about that.  I hope this was not the reason it was chalky!

Has anyone else tried something with pea protein?  Was it chalky?

What are your thoughts on soy?

What brand is your favorite protein shake?  Powder or pre-made?


Most Helpful Gluten Free Website


One of the most frustrating things when I became gluten free was not understanding that gluten can be hidden in many ingredients. Just to give you an idea here is a LIST from of the foods that MAY OR MAY NOT contain gluten, depending on how/where they’re sourced:

“The following items may or may not contain gluten depending on where and how they are made, and it is sometimes necessary to check with the manufacturer to find out:

Artificial Color4
baking powder4
Caramel Color1, 3
Caramel Flavoring1, 3
Clarifying Agents4
Dry Roasted Nuts4
Fat Replacer4
food Starch1, 4
Food Starch Modified1, 4
Glucose Syrup4
Gravy Cubes4
Ground Spices4
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein4
Hydrolyzed Protein4
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein4
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate4
Hydroxypropylated Starch4
Mixed Tocopherols4
Modified Food Starch1, 4
Modified Starch1, 4
Natural Flavoring6
Natural Flavors6
Natural Juices4
Non-dairy Creamer4
Pregelatinized Starch4
Protein Hydrolysates4
Seafood Analogs4
Smoke Flavoring4
Soba Noodles4
Soy Sauce4
Soy Sauce Solids4
Starch1, 4
Stock Cubes4
Vegetable Broth4
Vegetable Gum4
Vegetable Protein4
Vegetable Starch4
Wheat Starch5

1) If this ingredient is made in North America it is likely to be gluten-free.

3) The problem with caramel color is it may or may not contain gluten depending on how it is manufactured. In the USA caramel color must conform with the FDA standard of identity from 21CFR CH.1. This statute says: the color additive caramel is the dark-brown liquid or solid material resulting from the carefully controlled heat treatment of the following food-grade carbohydrates: Dextrose (corn sugar), invert sugar, lactose (milk sugar), malt syrup (usually from barley malt), molasses (from cane), starch hydrolysates and fractions thereof (can include wheat), sucrose (cane or beet). Also, acids, alkalis and salts are listed as additives which may be employed to assist the caramelization process.

4) Can utilize a gluten-containing grain or by-product in the manufacturing process, or as an ingredient.

5) Most celiac organizations in the USA and Canada do not believe that wheat starch is safe for celiacs. In Europe, however, Codex Alimentarius Quality wheat starch is considered acceptable in the celiac diet by most doctors and celiac organizations. This is a higher quality of wheat starch than is generally available in the USA or Canada.

6) According to 21 C.F.R. S 101,22(a)(3): [t]he terns natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

7) Dextrin is an incompletely hydrolyzed starch. It is prepared by dry heating corn, waxy maize, waxy milo, potato, arrowroot, WHEAT, rice, tapioca, or sago starches, or by dry heating the starches after: (1) Treatment with safe and suitable alkalis, acids, or pH control agents and (2) drying the acid or alkali treated starch. (1) Therefore, unless you know the source, you must avoid dextrin.”

Just a little light reading for you 😉 So this just gives you can idea of all of the places gluten can be hiding.  It’s super fun to try to figure out, isn’t it?  Four and a half years ago, foods were not labeled “gluten free” as readily as they are now, although some foods are still lacking.  I would have to read through the ingredient list and if I found something from the “may/may not list” I would just put it back on the shelf because I didn’t want to risk making myself sick.  Then I found GF Overflow, my go-to website when I need to figure out if something is gluten free. You can even search by category or brand.  For example, you could search “BBQ sauce” if you’re trying to decide which brand to buy at the grocery store or you could search “Newman’s Own” if you’re at a picnic and you know what brand the host used.

I have even referred my non-gluten free friends and family to this website when they’re nice enough to prepare me something and want to make sure it’s safe for me to eat.  They can search their ingredients to make sure what they’re buying is gluten free.

While it doesn’t list every gluten free food on the planet, it does have over 10,000 products in its database.  In the event that I can’t find a specific brand/product here I just Google it alongside “gluten free” which can sometimes, but not always, answer my question if something is gluten free or not.  Using GF Overflow is definitely a lot quicker and easier though! They also offer an app for iPhone and iPad for only $2.99.  Personally, I don’t have it because I just open the website in Safari, but it got a 5/5 star review and the reviewers said the app is faster than Safari.GFO appAlso, it’s important to note that they use the manufacturer’s information to determine if a product is gluten free or not.  With that being said, while GF Overflow tries to be as accurate as possible with this information, manufacturers can change ingredients at any time so it’s always best to double-check your labels.  I will say that in the 4+ years I have been using this website I never ate anything listed that ended up not being gluten free.  So, for me, it has been accurate.

This was not a sponsored post.  This is just me sharing something I find super useful with the gluten free community in hopes it will help you too!

What is your favorite gluten free website?



Four Ways to Save Money When Eating Gluten Free

Hoping everyone had an enjoyable holiday weekend!  Sorry for the late post, but we were celebrating 🙂


It’s probably no secret that eating gluten free can be expensive.  Gluten free foods tend to cost more and it can be a hang up for people who may be considering this dietary change.  Fear not!  Here are my top four ways I save money when eating gluten free:

  1. Use coupons – I try to save money when buying gluten free foods (and grocery shopping in general) by using coupons. There are several websites available that have coupons for gluten free products such as Mambo Sprouts, Common Kindness, and Green Moms Meet.  I also use because they will usually have a few gluten free items I buy.  Also, try searching “gluten free” or for your favorite products on the For the Mamas coupon database.  You can also sign up for coupons via email on company’s websites.  Just Google your favorite companies and see if they have coupons posted and/or have an email list so you can be notified when new coupons are released. Similarly, you can check company’s Facebook pages which will sometimes have coupons.  Just as an example, I recently reached out to Turkey Hill via Facebook message asking for coupons.  My mom had success in calling their customer service and asking for coupons (which you could do as well) and they were happy to oblige.  I thought it might be quicker to try Facebook and they sent me $10 in coupons within a few days!  (Turkey Hill is not a “gluten free” company but they have lots of gluten free options you can search here.) IMG_6670
  2. Ask for samples – One of the philosophies I believe in is “it never hurts to ask”.  What’s the worst that could happen?  They say “no” and you’re no worse off than if you never asked in the first place. So, I also reached out to KIND via Facebook message and asked for coupons and/or samples.  They told me they didn’t have any coupons right now but they could send me some samples. Within a few days this lovely box arrived with samples of 12, YES 12, different bars!!  These bars retail for well over $1.25 each! Stay tuned for a review post on each of those!IMG_6711 IMG_6773
  3. Rebate apps for Smartphone users – I love to use ibotta (<—my referral link – I get $5 and you will get $10 once you sign up and redeem a rebate within 2 weeks if you decide it’s something you want to try.)  It’s quite easy to use.  Choose one of 80+ grocery stores and that store will have hundreds of ever-changing rebates for items purchased.  A lot of times they will have generic items (produce, salad dressing, cereal, etc.) listed and sometimes gluten free items too.  Even if you can’t find any gluten free stuff, you can still save on other items on your grocery bill.  One way to look at it is that you can then put that money towards your gluten free items.  Once you look through the list of rebates available you will either just click it to open rebate/add to your list, answer a question, or watch a 15 second video.  Then once you buy the item at said store you scan the bar code (I do it as I’m unloading my groceries), take a photo of receipt, and boom you get $ back.  (I am probably making it sound harder than it is.)  You can “cash in” once you reach $20.  I have gotten at LEAST $70-90 so far (I forget how many times I’ve cashed in!) and I am ready to cash in soon again.IMG_4109
  4. Shop the perimeter – Some of you have probably heard before that it’s healthier to shop the perimeter of the store (produce, meats, and diary) versus the middle aisles where all of the processed food is located. While it is important and true, it’s also where a lot of the “naturally” gluten free foods are. There’s no gluten in fruits and veggies, folks! Really, I feel most of the expense of gluten free shopping comes in when buying processed foods, which I try to limit for health reasons anyway.

How do you save money when shopping gluten free?  Share in the comments below!