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Botan Non-GMO Pea Protein Drink Review

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Botan

Overall Rating: 3.5 STARS

About Botan:

There’s nothing like a bottle of BOTAN.

BOTAN Protein Drink is an innovative plant-based beverage that delivers 12 grams of soluble vegetable protein and vitamin goodness, with just 110 slim calories, in every bottle. At BOTAN, we believe that plant-based nutrition is the key to health—for your body and for the planet. BOTAN beverages provide sustainable protein and vitamins—nature’s powerhouses that won’t weigh you down, are easy for your body to assimilate, and will leave you feeling refreshed and satisfied.

Our Mission and Vision.

We believe plant-based nutrition is the sustainable choice for the future—for the future of our food, the planet, and for more than 7 billion inhabitants. Our vision was to create the ultimate plant-based beverage designed to deliver the highest quality soluble vegetable protein to everyone who cares about their health and the health of the planet—and we’ve done just that with BOTAN. So whether you’re a surfer, cyclist, or yoga enthusiast looking for a pre- or post-workout performance drink, or a busy person on the go who wants clean fuel for your body, choose BOTAN—it’s the pure choice. Our mission is to provide the finest nutritional plant protein beverages unlike any other—beverages that are delicious and refreshing, without compromising on our commitment to your health or to the health of the planet.

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What’s in the Bottle?

First, notice the glass bottle. More expensive than plastic, but it’s sustainable and it won’t contaminate the nutrients or flavor of our BOTAN beverages. We never compromise, and we don’t think you should have to, either. Our unique formulation makes BOTAN’s patented plant protein 100% soluble. We blend this vital plant goodness with essential vitamins B-6, B-12, and C, in three tasty flavor combinations: Strawberry Cucumber, Cherry Tomato, and Pineapple Coconut. GMOs, soy, whey, dairy, gluten, artificial flavors, and preservatives? Never! At BOTAN, quality is in our DNA. Our distinctive beverages combine the best natural ingredients to quench your thirst, refuel you after a workout, and give you a nourishing boost of protein to keep you energized throughout the day. Our proprietary formula makes BOTAN the first and only ready-to-go nutritional beverage to use soluble vegetable protein. Great for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone who wants a healthy alternative to beverages made from ingredients that are hard to pronounce. BOTAN offers hydration, nutrition, and botanical protein as pure and delicious as nature herself—BOTAN, Healthy…by Nature®

Our Commitment to Sustainability.

We believe that the future of health and the future of food go hand-in-hand. We are doing our
part to ensure that our future is a sustainable one and this is one of the many reasons we chose plant-based nutrition for BOTAN. In addition, we chose glass for our bottles—it’s clean, renewable, recyclable, and reusable—and it will not change the flavor of BOTAN’s delicious protein beverage. The future of our world is dependent upon clean food, air, and water and at BOTAN, we believe plant-based nutrition is the only sustainable option. As a conscious consumer, we know you share these values, too. That’s why we offer you the finest plant-based protein beverage in convenient glass bottles—it’s nutrition as nature intended.

Ingredients:

Filtered water, Organic Apple Juice, Concentrate Pea Protein Powder, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Organic Fruit and Vegetable Juice (Color), Stevia Extract, Monk Fruit Extract, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamine B12 (Cyanocobalamin).”

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My Thoughts:

Though these may seem like any ol’ drink, Botan drinks are actually pretty unique. It’s a drink that has a juice like consistency, yet has a significant protein content (via pea protein).

The taste of Botan drinks is definitely unique and unexpected. Pea protein (to me) has a pretty pronounced flavor–and you can taste that it’s in there. The Strawberry Cucumber takes the crown in terms of flavor, with Pineapple Coconut in second place and Mini Tomato in third.

I like the fact that you can drink one of these and not feeling like you just guzzled loads of sugar. It’s got a balanced amount of carbohydrates and protein, and that’s not always easy to find in a drink.

I also dig on the fact that they’ve chosen to bottle in glass. That’s how I’d do it!

The things I do not like about this drink are:

-The use of “natural flavors”–I have an aversion to seeing that on a label. What the heck is it? Label it accordingly! Tell me what it REALLY is.

-How all of the ingredients are not organic

-None of the ingredients appear to be raw (meaning less nutritional value)

I truly love the idea of this product, the taste is pretty good (though to be honest, it may an acquired taste), but I’d like to see all raw & organic ingredients for me to be a regular customer.

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Amrita Endurance Bar Review

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Amrita Endurance Bars

Overall Rating: images

About Amrita:

“Arshad grew up in India where eating fresh fruits and vegetables was a way of life. After coming to the United States, Arshad became a serious cyclist but when he took six years off active racing he gave up vegetarianism and gained weight. Meanwhile, Arshad’s son was diagnosed with autism and severe gastrointestinal issues.

In order to get their son on track Arshad and his wife started their son on an aggressive gluten-free and dairy-free nutrition program. The nutritional changes helped heal his gastrointestinal issues, allowing for better nutrition absorption, making it easier for him to focus on the other therapies. Now, Ayaan is in a regular classroom doing well academically.

Based on his son’s nutritionally based autism and gastrointestinal recovery and his own drop in cholesterol and weight by following a similar allergy-friendly diet, Arshad became convinced that plant-based nutrition was the right approach for managing inflammation. The significance of reducing one’s allergen load to help the body recover from daily stresses (such as consumption of gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, oils, preservatives, and chemical-containing non-organic foods) became apparent. As a result, he sought to develop snacksfree of these damaging ingredients

During Arshad’s preliminary research of “natural” energy bars on the market, he became concerned about the pervasive use of whey and soy protein, both highly acidic foods. Whey is a byproduct of the cheese-making process and has been shown to cause digestion problems. Soy protein isolate has also been shown to adversely affect thyroids, fertility, hormones, and digestion. Arshad decide to use raw vegan brown rice protein, which boasts a complete amino acid profile exceptionally high in glutamine, argentine, lysine, leucine, and branched-chain amino acids.

Arshad realized that using brown rice protein and dried fruts—such as tropical mangoes, pineapples, and Mejdool dates—together with a rich blend of raw sunflower seeds and sesame seeds would provide essential proteins and fats without the added allergens from nuts, dairy, and soy. As an added bonus, his kids could also take them as part of their peanut-free school lunches!

Arshad launched “Amrita”  in 2012 while working full-time with 3 young kids.  Based on the rapid positive response from farmers markets and stores, Arshad went into Amrita full time in July of 2013.  Amrita in sanskrit means “nectar”.  To really separate Amrita from other energy bars on the market, Arshad packed each bar full of superfoods, such as chia seeds, maca, unsweetened coconut, with delicious hints of vanilla and Himalayan Pink salt for taste and flavor balance.

When making Amrita bars, Arshad ensured ingredients were rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s, with a good dose of fiber and heaps of easily digestible protein. Of course every ingredient is Non-GMO.  Most importantly, they had to taste amazing, which was easy to deliver based on having  3 picky kids in the house and all their peers as test kitchens.

On average, approximately 70% of the ingredients used to make Amrita bars are organic.

Apricot Strawberry

About:

“Tangy moist apricot with sweet chunks of baby strawberries brings your taste buds alive! Yum!

Nutrition: Calorie: 235 (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 36g Carbohydrates + 7g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia Seeds.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

Apple Cinnamon

About:

“As American as it gets –  Big chunks of dried apples, juicy dates and fresh cinnamon.

Nutrition: Calorie: 228 (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 36g Carbohydrates + 7g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia seeds.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

Chocolate Maca

About:

“Big chunks of cacao, with tons of superfood rich raw maca and 15gm of organic brown rice protein

Nutrition: Calorie: 284 (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 30g Carbohydrates + 15g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

Cranberry Raisin

About:

“A perfect blend of tangy cranberries dancing with sweet raisins, chia seeds, and loaded with brown rice protein.

Nutrition: Calorie: 243  (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 38g Carbohydrates + 7g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

Mango Coconut

About:

“Tropical juicy mango with sweet coconut – saving you a trip to Thailand!

Nutrition: Calorie: 219 (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 32g Carbohydrates + 7g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

Pineapple Chia

About:

“Sun ripened sweet pineapple chunks with superfood chia seeds – straight from tropical South America.

Nutrition: Calorie: 235 (50gm/1.8oz) = 7g Fat + 36g C
arbohydrates + 7g Protein. 4g Fiber and 1000mg Chia.

Raw, Plant-Based, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free*, Soy-Free, Non-GMO, Kosher.

*Contains Coconut.”

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My Thoughts:

The first thing that stands out to me with these Amrita Endurance bars is how pleasant my interaction has been with the founder, Arshad. He has been very helpful, informative and generous in working with me and R.O.O. I really appreciate that aspect of this brand and it will certainly play a role in driving me to continue to support Amrita.

They bars are pretty darn close to 100% awesome. Since they are 70% organic, I’d say that they are 70% awesome. 🙂 In all seriousness, I truly appreciate the fact that Amrita states that they do not use any GMO ingredients. They are refreshingly transparent in admitting that their bars are 70% organic, whereas some brands tend to throw in a small percentage of organic ingredients and then put “organic” in big fat letters on the label. Amrita has recognizable, easy to follow ingredient lists that clearly state which ingredients are organic. As always, entirely organic is the goal. I feel that Amrita is in a very high percentile when compared to other health bars (in regards to quality). In addition to being 70% organic, these bars boast labels that read “raw, plant-based, dairy free, nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, non-gmo, kosher.” I am concerned about nuts being in my bars (in fact, I prefer them) but I think the main advantage of these bars being free of those foods is that it makes them available to individuals and kids who have food allergies or sensitivities.

Speaking of taste, these bars taste REAL. They taste like their are made of whole food ingredients, because they are. You can pick out the flavors here and there as you eat them. Amrita has nailed a few of their flavor combinations in the Mango Coconut, Pineapple Chia and Apricot Strawberry. All of the flavors are very enjoyable, respectively, but those 3 were the ones I enjoyed most. I love that Amrita makes a bar with Maca. Maca is a superfood (in this case, in powder form) that helps balance and improve hormone production in the body. As someone who has suffered with intense periods and hormonal skin breakouts, I am always looking to eat plant based foods that help address that.

These bars are good when you really need a punch of energy and nutrients. Since all of these bars have a relatively high sugar content (from fruits and natural sources), I wouldn’t recommend them to someone trying to minimize their sugar intake. Or, for those individuals, I’d recommend just sticking to eating these bars only after an intense workout, not regularly throughout the day. I’d imagine these bars would appeal most to active individuals who believe in a plant-based, non-gmo, mostly organic approach to fueling up. These are some of the best tasting and highest quality you can buy and their range of flavors is sure to please any palate or list of dietary restrictions.

Get 15% off your order of Amrita Bars using the coupon code “thanks” !

Zevia Stevia Soda Review

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Zevia Stevia-Sweetened Soda

Overall Rating: 3 Stars

About Zevia:

“In 2007, amidst the rainy backdrop of Seattle, Zevia Zero Calorie Soda was born. Sharing our first flavors, naturally sweetened ColaLemon Lime Twist and Orange soda with the world became our mission, and we were welcomed with open arms; the good soda love was spreading as people made it clear they were ready for smarter choices.

Zevia was embraced by people all around the world but none we knew better than our fans in the Pacific Northwest, as it was home. However, cold soda & hot sun seemed like a perfect fit so we up and moved to Los Angeles! Southern California became our new home, but a big part of our heart is still in Seattle. Our family of soda loving people has grown right along with the world’s passion for Zevia. So what to do when you have more Z team members? Make more soda, of course!

While our team has almost doubled in the last year, so has our commitment to our incredibly loyal and vocal customers. For us, this means listening to the most important people to our company – you! In early 2013, we heard you loud and clear, and the call for glass bottles was answered with great enthusiasm! Cherry Cola,ColaCream SodaGinger AleGrape and Ginger Root Beer can now be enjoyed in a classic glass bottle, in addition to cans.

Our momentum hasn’t slowed. In fact, 2013 has been our biggest year yet! In the second quarter of 2013, we broke our own records, selling an astonishing 17 million cans throughout April, May and June! That’s a lot of soda, and tons of sugar grams avoided! What’s more, we were ranked 17th amongst 20 diet soda brands and were the only independent brand among them! You might say 17 is our new lucky number!

With a commitment to continuous improvement and natural sweetener innovation, we have now “cracked the code” on something truly special!  We’ve added Monk Fruit to our sodas to make them even better tasting!  We call this winning combination of natural sweeteners, SweetSmart. While Stevia still provides most of the sweetness you taste in Zevia, the addition of Monk Fruit to our existing formulas complements our Stevia and enhances our soda’s overall sweetness while reducing any of that Stevia aftertaste you may have noticed before. Still zero calories and zero glycemic index, just a little smarter!  Make the jump to read more about SweetSmart, you smarty pants…

WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT ZEVIA?

With natural products, being healthy isn’t enough – a product has to taste great, and also be healthy, to really be a compelling alternative. At Zevia, we really believe that we’ve created a better soda.

And we’re fortunate that our fans are vocal. Every day, we receive letters, emails and calls from folks who have just discovered Zevia, and are thrilled to have a product they can feel good about consuming every day.

One of the most fun things about working at Zevia is sharing our products with people who used to drink soda and stopped, or in some cases always avoided soda for health reasons. Kids are the most fun of all – we meet lots of kids who’ve never had soda in their lives, because it was banned in their household, and to watch their faces when they try Zevia for the first time is priceless.

Similarly, people with diabetes, people seeking to lose weight or control their weight, or people who just want to live a healthier life really light up when they discover our product.

We don’t think that soda should be a “four-letter word,” and we’re out to change the way people think about soda by providing a healthy option that tastes great.”

My main interest in every food or supplement I try is the ingredient list. Sure, taste is great, but I won’t be eating/drinking it regularly if I don’t believe in the ingredients. Here is a little bit more information on a few less-recognizable ingredients in Zevia Soda:

WHAT IS NATURAL?

In our opinion, natural means nothing fake, phony or artificial. No artificial sweeteners, colors, junk. Only the good soda stuff. None of the bad. We use only the best ingredients to make our beverages. So you can drink this diet soda knowing it’s been made with love and care.

WHAT IS ERYTHRITOL?

While only 3% percent of the sweetness you taste in Zevia is from Erythritol, this natural sweetener plays an important role in SweetSmart, our next generation sweetening system. Erythritol is one of those ingredients that we love but shouldn’t judge by its overly scientific sounding name. A natural component of fruits, vegetables and grains, Erythritol is classified as a sugar alcohol, even though it is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is derived from fruits and vegetables through a natural fermentation process, much like that of yogurt and has absolutely no calories and no effect on blood glucose levels.

WHAT IS ZEVIA?

Soda. Pretty plain and simply, Zevia is soda but smarter. Zevia was created with the miracle ingredient, stevia, which makes it all natural and zero calories. Never any sugar or artificial sweeteners mean it’s a healthier soda for you and those that you love.

WHAT IS STEVIA?

A miracle plant. We think so anyway. Stevia is a little green plant from the sunflower family and originally native to South America. The stevia leaf is up to 200x sweeter than sugar but has no caloric value or effect on blood sugar levels. Natural and zero calories? Yep! Smarter sweetener? You betcha. Worthy of a trophy? We think so.”

My Thoughts:

Traditional soda is one of the very first things I stopped consuming several years ago (when I was in middle school) when I made a conscious effort to fuel my body like a serious athlete. However, Zevia is a step in the right direction with this soda-drinking epidemic. This is a much better alternative to both traditional soda and diet soda–both of which are rich in JUNK.

The flavors that I enjoyed the most were the Cream Soda and the Black Cherry, and my husband is a fan of the Cola and Ginger Ale.

I truly appreciate the usage of stevia (a plant-based sweetener) in Zevia. My scrutinies of the product simple lie within the fact that none of these ingredients are organic. The reason this is significant is because I can go to the store and purchase a Kombucha (my effervescent drink of choice that is completely organic). For that reason, Zevia would not be my choice as I’m strolling through the grocery store.

I’m also aware that there are a TON of people out there that are actively searching for a healthier option to replace their traditional soda habit. Zevia is a good product for those people to take a step in the right direction, and I would recommend Zevia to those individuals. Zevia is ingredient conscious and obviously pays more attention to what goes into their soda than other big-box soda brands do. I also love that they offer their soda in glass bottles (BPA-free) as an alternative to the metal cans. I look forward to the day when Zevia releases an organic line!

How to Analyze Beauty Product Ingredient Lists

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This post is completely and entirely based upon my own experience in shopping for organic beauty products. It’s not an exact science, and I’m not an expert–just a seasoned organic product user.

However, I do have a “method” to deciding which products are acceptable or not and I’d like to share it with all of you. Thank you Bonnie for suggesting the idea of doing this post!

If you are shopping online, this task is a lot easier, as you have access to the brand’s website and information. When in the store, you are left with referring to their packaging to decifer the quality. I suggest doing this when inquiring about a brand via their website:

1. Go to the “About” or “Our Philosophy” portion of the site and read about the company.

-You can learn a lot in a hurry by doing this. You can also find out right away how transparent a company is in divulging the source of their ingredients and the standards they hold their products and ingredients to.

2. Go to a specific product on their website and see if they display an ingredient list.

-If a company doesn’t now display an ingredient list with a product on their site, that is often not a good sign! From my experience, if companies use high quality, organic ingredients, they want their customers to know that and they will make it a point to make that evident. The same goes for packaging in stores. You WANT the products that have ingredient lists displayed. You want to look for lots of organic ingredients (often have an asterisk by them, like this “evening primrose oil*”) and be cautioned if you see a long ingredient list with ingredients that you do not recognize.

Here is a great example:

EXCEPTIONAL!

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Beware, this is an ingredient list you won’t see often! 🙂 This is the ingredient list of the Black Clay Facial Soap by Osmia Organics. If that brand sounds new to you, go aquaint yourself. This brand is the best brand I have ever discovered, hands down.

As you can see on this ingredient list, all of the proper plant names are specified in parenthesis and there are asterisks gallore (organic par-tayy!). Osmia Organics ingredient lists are the gold standard.

Opposite from the great, you have the lousy, as you see in this anonymous beauty product ingredient list:

Abysmal!

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Mind you, these are ingredients that are intended for your FACE. Hopefully it is obvious to you that this ingredient list is shocking. There are nearly 40 ingredients and very few of them are recognizable. In comparing this list to the Osmia list above, you should ingrain in your mind: This List: BAD, Osmia list: GREAT.

3. Scrutinize the ingredient list and be mindful of how recognizable they are.

-If you can’t pronounce it, perhaps you shouldn’t be comfortable applying it to your skin.

4. Here are some key ingredients to always avoid:

-Propylene Glycol, Parabens, Parfum, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Triclosan, Phthalates, Benzoyl Peroxide, and ingredients ending in “-methicone” or “-siloxane” or containing “eth.”

5. Look for the brands that display things on their packaging like “paraben-free” or “SLS free” or “93% organic.”

-This will let you know that the brand is ingredient conscious and is making an effort to make this clear to you, the consumer. Checking out the ingredient list is still important even on products that have those phrases on display.

I hope this helps any of you have a little bit more clarity on what is important when it comes to picking beauty and skin care products. If you have any additional questions that I did not cover, please feel free to ask in a comment!