Tag Archives: almond

Squarebar Organic, Gluten-Free, Protein Bar Review

IMG_8877.JPG

SquareBar

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About SquareBar:

“Squarebar began in the San Francisco kitchen of husband and wife Sarah & Andrew Gordon. After battling asthma most all her life, Sarah discovered that eliminating inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy, and processed sugars freed her from medication. It’s been more than five years since her last attack, and she no longer keeps an inhaler in the house.

Squarebar launched March 2012 at Natural Products Expo West and is now nationally distributed… growth built on our belief that Ingredients Matter Most . We source only the most nutrient-dense organic and non-gmo foods, and work directly with farmers to ensure an ethical path from crop to bar.

That way the most important ingredient of all [you] can feel good about the food you eat.

  • Organic & Non-GMO Project Verified  
  • 12g of Complete Protein
  • Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Corn-Free
  • Coconut Nectar Sweetened (Low Glycemic)
  • No Added “Natural Flavors”
  • Real Chocolate Coated
  • Vegan.”

________________________________

Cocoa Almond

About:

“Chunks of almond, with just a hint of cinnamon for spice, coated in antioxidant-rich dark chocolate. Our favorite morning bar to pair with a cup of tea or coffee, with 12g of plant-based protein to keep you full all the way to lunchtime!

Ingredients:

Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Whole Grain Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Cocoa Butter), Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Gluten Free Oats, Organic Almonds, Organic Cocoa Liquor, Sunflower Lecithin, Organic Cinnamon, Sea Salt.”

Cocoa Coconut

About:

“Coconut and chocolate… a match made in snacker island paradise. Shredded coconut and extra virgin coconut oil make for a creamy coconut flavor. And with 11g of protein, your appetite and taste buds will be left feeling satisfied!

Ingredients:

Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Whole Grain Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Cocoa Butter), Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Coconut, Organic Gluten Free Oats, Organic Cocoa Liquor, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt.”

Cocoa Crunch

About:

“Our neutral flavor that is anything but! The most chocolately of the three, with 12g of complete plant-based protein, and brown rice crispies for a ‘crunch.’ Consider your chocolate and hunger fix fixed!

Ingredients:

Organic Coconut Nectar, Organic Whole Grain Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Cocoa Butter), Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Gluten Free Oats, Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Brown Rice Crisps (Organic Brown Rice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Sea Salt), Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt.”

________________________________

Use code “runonorganic” to get 20% off + free domestic shipping on your Squarebars order!

________________________________

My Thoughts:

There are some nutrition bars that taste like nutrition bars, then there are nutrition bars that taste like superpowered, healthy candy bars. Squarebars are the latter. These bars are simply amongst the very, very best you can buy as far as nutrition bars go. They taste insanely delish (all three flavors do), they’re certified organic, non-gmo certified, gluten free and also free of common food allergens like dairy, soy, peanuts and corn. Ipso facto, they rock!

They are perfectly satisfying on their own–but I’ve found them to be an absolute splendor when coupled with a cup of coffee. You can also chop them up and throw them atop a bowl of coconut ice cream for a healthy, protein-loaded dessert!

So, it took me about .5 seconds of reading the label to distinguish that these bars are atmospheres above average. The other thing that can really put a nutrition bar over the top for me is: “How much of it is raw”” In other words, how much of the ingredients are providing their maximum output of nutrition? (when cooked, plants become less nutritious)–I learned from the beautiful co-founder of SquareBar, Sarah Gordon, that about 70% of their ingredients are raw. That’s pretty awesome stuff!

If you ever wonder what the big deal is about foods being raw, digest this: raw cacao powder contains at least 4 times more antioxidants than cooked cacao powder. This is significant! Thus, in addition to a bar or food being organic, I’d like to see that it’s raw, too. This means I’m getting as big a nutrient load as I can in the bar I’m eating. With that percentage being so high in Squarebars, it’s obvious that they value raw ingredients as well.

Sarah at SquareBar is a radiant, passionate family woman whose enthusiasm for healthy living has infiltrated her protein packed bars. You can tell these bars were made with love. I am so happy to back her brand and tell all of you that these bars will make your body smile! 🙂

Advertisements

Califia Farms Review

20140327-164449.jpg

Califia Farms

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

About Califia Farms:

“We’re Califia Farms (Califia, pronounced like California), the better beverage company that squeezes and presses fruits and nuts from the orchards of the San Joaquin Valley to bring you beautifully bottled goodness – all proudly boasting the Non-GMO Project Verified Label. Led by industry veteran Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms has changed the game in the alternative dairy industry, introducing a line of Almond milks in chic, modern carafes reminiscent of classic milk bottles. Califia Farms’ instantly iconic packaging now symbolizes quality, great-tasting alternatives to traditional dairy, translated stylishly and deliciously into our Iced Coffees with Almondmilk. Our California Citrus Juices come in 48-ounce carafes of refreshing Orange Juice, Lemonade, and Lemon-Limeade.

We’re a California-Company through and through, with our Bottling Plant and Operations based in Bakersfield, and our Sales and Marketing Teams working out of our Headquarters in Pasadena. Our name comes from the Spanish legend of  warrior queen Califia who ruled over a kingdom on the mythical island of California. Spanish conquistadors believed they had discovered Califia’s bountiful island when they first explored California.”

prod-am-unsweet

Unsweetened Almond Milk

About:

“Fresh from the fields of Califia comes the purest and tastiest Almondmilk you’ll ever have.  As a grower-owned company we use only varietal almonds from California, picked at the peak of their flavor.

Our simple recipe gives you what you want and leaves out what you don’t – it’s all love at the breakfast table.

Made from non-genetically engineered almonds.

Ingredients: Almondmilk (Filtered Water, Almonds).

__________________________

prod-citrus-oj3

Orange Juice

About:

“Can you feel the sun on your face?  Close your eyes. Take a sip of our Premium Pure Squeezed Orange Juice. Follow your taste buds into our delicious blend of Valencia Oranges and other California varietals. This is the fresh taste of the heart of California, right from our family farm, squeezed smack in the middle of our groves.  Califia brings you the best, freshest, tastiest and most true… and we do it all with love.

Ingredients: California Orange Juice With Orange Juice From Concentrate.”

 __________________________

prod-citrus-lemon

Lemonade

 About:

“You have a work of art in your hands. Our Pure Squeezed California Meyer Lemonade is artfully balanced and perfectly refreshing. The Meyer Lemon is the muse to our craft: its sweetness inspires us; its zip makes us feel alive; it lights up our senses with an intoxicating aroma. Califia brings you the Meyer lemon’s beauty in a bottle. We pick our fruit at the height of its season, capturing the taste of summer for you to sip and savor. Enjoy this true Southern Californian treasure, from Califia to you with love.

Ingredients: Water, Lemon Juice, Pure Cane Sugar, Natural Flavors.”

 __________________________

prod-citrus-lemlime

Lemon Limeade

About: 

“You have a gift from the sun in your hands. Our Pure Squeezed California Lemon-Limeade is a heavenly fusion of two citrus varietals. We pick our fruit at the height of its season, bringing you the sweet and tangy taste of summer in a bottle. Take a refreshing sip… let the summer linger a little longer. Your body will thank you. Enjoy this true Southern Californian treasure, from Califia to you with love.

Ingredients: Water, Lemon Juice, Pure Cane Sugar, Lime Juice From Concentrate, Ginger Juice, Natural Flavors, Monk Fruit Extract.”

 __________________________

My Thoughts:

I had yet to try any Califia Farms products before receiving these generous coupons from the brand. I typically seek out organic juices and milk. Since Califia Farms is not organic, it was not on my radar, so to speak. However, don’t write them off completely. If you generally buy your citrus juices from a big box grocery store, chances are that Califia Farms juices are higher quality than those. This is because Califia Farms products are all certified non-gmo, which not all juices and plant-based milks can claim.

Obviously, non-gmo AND organic is the goal. These products are most of the way there, with their simple ingredient lists. My only scrutiny is the use of the phrase (natural flavors). I’m someone that would like to know precisely what those are.

Taste-wise, these juices and milks I tried are delicious-with the orange juice and unsweetened almond milk being my favorites. They are also very versatile. I love using the almond milk (I prefer unsweetened because I like to to limit extra sugar) in smoothies, protein drinks and in fruit bowls. The orange, lemon and lemon-limeade juices are great by themselves, or mixed into a frozen, sorbet type of drink (juice + ice then blend).

In conclusion, I think Califia Farms products are good (not great) in that they boast a non-gmo label. I look forward, though, to seeing organic ingredients. In that case, I would become a regular customer, as my local Whole Foods always has plenty available for purchase.

 

Paleo, Grain-Free Bread Squares Recipe

d85f918aa6f711e3a04a12011bcf227e_8

Paleo, Grain-Free Bread Squares

I have been looking for a way to incorporate some “baked goods” without consuming traditional bread. I put some similar ingredients together that I’ve used to make homemade protein balls/cookies, and came up with these bread squares! They truly are hearty and delicious–you don’t miss the grains one bit.

Ingredients:

-1 egg

-2 tablespoons of coconut oil or ghee (unclarified butter)

-2 cups of almond meal or flour (they are the same thing)

-1 cup of coconut flour

-1 cup of coconut or almond milk

-2 teaspoons baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Instructions:

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

-Mix together the egg, coconut milk and coconut oil.

-Once mixed, add in the dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder.

-Pour into desired pan and bake for 35 minutes.

ENJOY!

Justin’s Nut Butter Review

20140207-151950.jpg

Justin’s Nut Butters

Overall Rating: images

About Justin’s:

Making the foods we love extraordinary, with an uncompromised spirit of innovation, sustainability and community.

We at Justin’s hereby decree that all of our nut butters will be made in small batches to preserve premium quality standards and our fresh taste.

We will only use the highest quality natural and organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested and found as locally as possible.

We will be mindful with all of our business practices by working toward reducing our environmental footprint on the natural environment. We will remain excellent community and global citizens and will only do business with those who pledge to do the same.

We will continue to produce and promote fresh nut butters that will always be simple, delicious and nutritious.”

classic-ab-jar-2

Classic Almond Butter

Justin’s Description:

“Introducing the World’s first ever Almond Butter. Wait, what? We’re not? Okay, scratch that. Introducing the World’s first ever incredibly delicious, all-natural, made with real California almonds and a secret nut grinding technique that we’re positive no one else in the World uses since we invented it ourselves, Almond Butter.

Ingredients:

Dry Roasted Almonds, Palm Fruit Oil*.

*sustainably sourced palm fruit oil

All Natural.”

dk-choc-cups-double

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Justin’s Description:

“Think of your favorite peanut butter cup. Next, magnify that feeling by a gazillion – that’s ours. Nuts? Yes. Crazy? No. Just imagine what happens when I take the best tasting organic peanut butter in the world and delicately place it into the highest quality, organic and fair-trade chocolate available. Yup. Peanut butter cup perfection!

Organic Dark Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Chocolate Liquor*, Organic Cocoa Butter*, Organic Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla), Organic Peanuts, Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Palm Fruit Oil**, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Sea Salt.

*Rainforest Alliance Certified™ **sustainably sourced palm fruit oil

Organic.”

maple-ab-1-15-pack

Maple Almond Butter Squeeze Pack

Justin’s Description:

“People always ask me, what’s your favorite flavor? And I think they expect me to give some P.C. answer that I love them all the same, but I don’t because that would be stupid. Nuts can’t read, so whose feelings am I going to hurt? You’re holding what I consider to be the most perfect tasting nut butter on the planet, and I’m not afraid to say it.

Ingredients:

Dry Roasted Almonds, Maple Sugar, Palm Fruit Oil*, Sea Salt.

*sustainably sourced palm fruit oil

All Natural.”

My Description & Thoughts:

Talk about rich and decadent–all of these Justin’s products are absolute treats! (We fight over them in our house! ) 🙂

I love making homemade Almond milk with the almond butter (just a scoop of almond butter into a blender full of water & blend!) It’s incredibly rich, dense and full of almond-y yumminess. It’s great on an apple slice, a piece of bread, mixed into a smoothie in homemade baked goods and by the spoonful! I appreciate that the palm fruit oil is sustainably sourced, but I wish that the almonds were organic.

The maple almond butter squeeze pack is a dessert in itself–the maple sweetness along with the almonds is an unreal combination. It’s hard to stop eating! The size of the pouch is perfect to keep in my purse for a quick snack or indulgence. Love the simple ingredients–wish the almonds were organic.

It’s almost pointless to comment on the peanut butter cups–because they are obviously, supremely AWESOME! These little guys are so delicious & even better than the one’s you’ve probably been eating for years. They contain the good stuff and you can tell when you eat them. They are a treat you can feel good about having around–and they’re the perfect size for a little something sweet and salty. I love all of the organic ingredients in these peanut butter cups.

Dr. Bronner’s Skin, Hair & Body Care Review

dr bronners skin hair organic

Dr. Bronner’s

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

About Dr. Bronner’s:

“Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are synonymous with Old-World quality and time-honored simplicity, which can be traced back to the family’s German-Jewish soapmaking tradition. Born in 1908 to a Jewish family that had been making soap since 1858, Emanuel Bronner was the third generation certified as a master-soapmaker under the guild system of the time. In 1929, he brought his formulas for high-quality liquid and bar soaps to America, starting Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in its current form in 1948.

Renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendliness, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps enjoyed a small but loyal following in the early years. In the late 1960s, however, soap sales started to explode, due to the unsurpassed ecological quality combined with Dr. Bronner’s urgent message to realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides. Word-of-mouth soon made Dr. Bronner’s the iconic soap of that era, and in the decades that followed the soaps spread into every health food store in the U.S. and then into the mainstream as well — winning over fans from all walks of life on the way to becoming the number-one-selling natural brand of soap in North America.

The 4th and 5th generations of the Bronner family who run the company today continue to make our unsurpassed soaps with care and integrity. 2008 marks both the 60th anniversary of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps in America and the 150th anniversary of our family’s first soapmaking activity in southern Germany. We strive to honor our heritage with progressive business practices, while devoting profits to worthwhile causes and charities worldwide.”

I have tried several different brands in my organic ventures. That said, it’s reasonable to think that only some of them spend ample time in my shower waiting to be used. Dr. Bronner’s products are one of those brands. These products are a staple in our household & I was happy to try three more products from their line that I had yet to experience.

SD0405

Lemongrass Lime Shaving Gel

Dr. Bronner’s Description:

“DESCRIPTION:

Certified by the same National Organic Program that certifies food, our shaving gels are smooth and effective without any synthetic ingredients. Organic Shikakai comes from the seed pods of the small South Asian tree Acacia Concinna. Extracted in organic sucrose and grape juice it provides soothing moisturizing glide. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Baby Mild Soap provides superior hair lift and wetting. Sold in a 7 oz. tube.

INGREDIENTS:

Organic Sucrose*, Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Shikakai Powder, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Corn Starch, Organic Lemongrass Oil, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Lime Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol.”

My Description & Thoughts:

Dr. Bronner’s shave gels are probably the best shave gels (all other brands of gels & creams included) that I’ve ever used. Though I prefer the peppermint scent over this lemongrass lime, I find both of them (regardless of scent) to be incredibly moisturizing on skin. They prevent skin from becoming dried out after being shaved, and leave a fragrant scent on skin.

Some shaving gels and creams are obviously mostly water, which becomes evident when skin is begging for moisture after shaving with them. This gel is extremely dense with oils, making it the ideal barrier to have between skin and a razor. I just can’t say enough good things about Dr. Bronner’s shaving gels.

After trying both this lemongrass lime and the peppermint (have had it in my shower for several months prior to now), I definitely prefer the peppermint, as I have an unmistakable affinity for all things minty. However, if you typically prefer a light, zesty punch of citrus, than this lemongrass lime just might be your favorite. It leaves a nice, fresh scent on your skin and hydrates skin just as well as the peppermint.

I’d recommend these to men and women for the entire body! I guarantee you will love this product. It is very reasonably priced, especially considering all of the organic ingredients. I’d also recommend to men: ditch that junky shaving cream you got at the drug store and buy a bottle of this! I’d be willing to bet that any irritation or razor burn would go away after substituting with Dr. Bronner’s.

OBAL05

Hemp-Almond Pure Castile Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Description:

“DESCRIPTION:

Nothing brings the warmth and coziness of home and hearth into your shower like Dr. Bronner’s heavenly almond scent. All oils and essential oils are certified organic to the National Organic Standards Program. Wrapped in 10% hemp-flax / 90% post-consumer recycled paper from Living Tree Paper Co.

INGREDIENTS:

Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Palm Oil*, Sodium Hydroxide**, Water, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Natural Almond Fragrance, Salt, Citric Acid, Tocopherol

* CERTIFIED FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS 

** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin.”

My Description & Thoughts:

This soap is simple, clarifying, effective and smelling of almond goodness. I’ve tried many other Dr. Bronner bar soaps before and have loved them all. They are perfect to keep by the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and in the shower. The ratio of oils to sodium hydroxide (also known as lye–used the create “soap”, and like mentioned above, is obsolete when the soap is formed) is perfect, as it gets skin completely clean, but does not strip it of all moisture and natural body oils.

These bar soaps are gentle enough for young skin and are a better option that merely all generic soaps that are “formulated” for youngsters. Funny enough, those products are often full of harsh chemicals. So, tell me, how is that specially formulated for toddlers? Anyways, my point is that THESE bars are fantastic for the entire family. You could mix it up and please everyone’s preferences by putting a different scent of Dr. Bronner’s soap in each bathroom!

SD0304

Lavender Coconut Lotion

Dr. Bronner’s Description:

“DESCRIPTION:

Certified to National Organic Standards our lotions are based on pure organic oils free of petrochemically modified ingredients and preservatives. Organic jojoba oil moisturizes dry skin exceptionally well due to its unique similarity to the skin’s natural oil. Organic coconut oil assists absorption while organic hemp and avocado oils help keep skin smooth and supple. Organic grain alcohol (ethanol) is used as a natural preservative at a level that helps absorption without being drying. Only the finest organic essential oils are used for fragrance. Sold in an 8 oz. bottle.

INGREDIENTS:

Aqua, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Ethanol, Organic Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Organic Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Organic Quillaja Saponaria Extract, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil – (* Certified Fair Trade by IMO).”

My Description & Thoughts:

Who would have thought that lavender and coconut would make a good combination? The calming scent of the lavender and the exotic scent of the coconut combine to make an interesting, unique and suprisingly refreshing duo in this lotion. Its flowery and summery notes make it pleasant and relaxing.

The the texture of the lotion itself lends itself to going a long way on skin. It is a bit “runnier” than a lot of lotions. However, this is not because it has a high water content. On the contrary, I believe it is more liquidy than most because of the organic oils that it is comprised of. A small amount of this in the palm of your hand will completely cover an entire one of my legs (which is a lot of skin–I’m 5’9!). I love that about this lotion because it makes you feel like your money is stretching farther. It has great staying power on skin–soaks in enough to leave skin smooth, yet keeps the moisture barrier on skin solid enough to last all day without a dry skin spell occuring.

It’s essentially the ideal lotion. I’d recommend those interested to check out all of the scents that Dr. Bronner’s has to offer before choosing one. There is surely a scent to please everyone. My favorite is the Peppermint lotion!

SD0802

Peppermint Leave-In Conditioner and Hair Styling Creme

Dr. Bronner’s Description:

“DESCRIPTION:

Certified by the same National Organic program that certifies organic food, our conditioning & styling crème provides light styling hold while making hair silky soft without any synthetic ingredients. Organic virgin coconut oil makes hair shiny & luxurious, organic jojoba oil imparts excellent manageability and feel, while the organic hemp oil moisturizes and softens hair.

INGREDIENTS:

Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Organic Ethanol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Peppermint Oil, Organic Quillaja Saponaria Extract, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol.”

My Description & Thoughts:

I have long hair that tangles easily often needs a moisture boost at the ends, since I shower daily after workouts. I’ve found that a lot of leave in conditioners are not only full of junky ingredients, but they add gunk and goop to hair instead of just adding healthy moisture. Because so many leave in conditioners fall short, I didn’t ever regularly use such a product.

THIS product solved that problem for me. It’s so easy for me to rave about Dr. Bronner’s products because they boast everything you’d want in a product: effectiveness, great ingredients, and great smells!

My hair length is about half way down my back, so in using this product, I only apply it from my ears down (approzimately the bottom 2/3 of hair). Adding leave in conditioner too close to the roots can cause hair to get dirty and greasy earlier than you’d want. Adding it only to the bottom portion of hair will encourage hair to stay tangle free and will add just the right amount of moisture to your tresses so that hair looks healthy, shiney and fresh.

I’ve been using this product daily and thoroughly enjoy using it. I love the peppermint fragrance that is left on my hair after applying. I’d recommend this product to anyone with long, tangly, or dry hair. This conditioner, as you can see on the bottle, also doubles as a styling creme. It would be great or women or men that have short hair and are looking for a bit of texture and moisture. I feel confident that anyone who experiences Dr Bronner’s products, especially the peppermint scented ones, will be hooked.

*These complimentary products have been generously provided to me for the purpose of trying them in order to write a review on my experience.