Gluten Free Product Review | Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time then you know that I love Enjoy Life Foods and their products. From baking mixes, to crackers, cookies, and granola bars since 2001 Enjoy Life has been committed to creating allergen free convenience products for those of us living without.

With an ever increasing product line, Enjoy Life Foods  continues to push the envelope with tasty snacks and products that are free from the most common food allergens. A Brand Ambassador since 2013, it has been my job to taste test products and provide honest feedback so the company can create products that are better and healthier than the competitors. Their newest flavors of their Baked Chewy Bars came to my doorstep earlier this summer and I’m finally able to share my thoughts with you.

About Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars

The Baked Chewy Bars launched a few years ago with three flavors (cocoa loco, caramel apple, sunseed crunch) and just recently Enjoy Life released three new flavors:

  • Caramel Blondie
  • Carrot Cake
  • Lemon Blueberry Poppyseed

The new flavors follow their predecessors pattern of packing a lot of natural flavor in a small bar using pure and simple ingredients, featuring real inclusions and a proprietary Pure Life Balanced Dry Blend™ of (hulled sunflower kernels, cassava flour, white pearled-grain sorghum flour, quinoa flakes). As with all Enjoy Life products, the new bars are made in a dedicated nut-free and gluten-free bakery, are Certified Gluten Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher and Halal Certified, and are free-from the top eight common food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy.

Real Flavor | Less Sugar

What I like most about the Baked Chewy Bars is that they actually taste like the flavors they are named after. The carrot cake evokes the flavor of real carrot so much so that it is hard not to feel like you shredded the carrots yourself. The Lemon Blueberry is easily my favorite and has the bright essence of lemon zest and poppyseed. The lemon poppsyeed only has 5 grams of sugar so those looking to watch their sugar intake need not worry. On the flip side, if you are looking for a super sweet snack to replace dessert; these bars are not that. More like a quick pre-workout snack or afternoon pick me up with the addition of a low fat cheese stick. Add a low-sugar greek yogurt and you could have yourself a light breakfast.

Always Free All The Time

What makes Enjoy Life Food the #1 free from brand is that the baked bars like all of  their products are free from not only gluten but:

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Peanut
  • Tree Nut
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Casein
  • Sesame
  • Sulfites
  • Potato

and prepared in a facility that is free from contamination as well which means you eat exactly what the ingredient list says and nothing more.

Final Words

Overall these new baked chewy bars are a great addition to an already dynamic product list and give me just what I expect from Enjoy Life | good taste free from what I can’t have yet full of the natural goodness that I need.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received products for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my personal experience with the products.

 

Do Vegans Sleep Better Than Meat Eaters? | Vegan Commentary

As a society we are becoming more demanding of food producers, brands and manufacturers to be more transparent and up front as to how our food is being produced, grown, manufactured and sourced. This has not only been the case in the gluten free industry but in all industries. More and more we are seeing and hearing seeing buzz words like fair trade, non-gmo, organic and more. The meat production industry has not been immune from these discussions.

In fact, advocates for a vegan lifestyle are seeing the tides change with more individuals learning and understanding  the benefits of going vegan and the dire conditions that have long plagued meat production in the United States. Here on the gluten free chef blog, I have been open about my journey through veganism and advocating a whole foods mainly plant based lifestyle. Many of my recipes are vegan and or vegetarian and contain ingredients that are whole and processed as minimally as possible. The gluten free chef blog, has never touted itself to be a vegan food site but has always spoke highly of the benefits of holistic and plant based living in all areas of life.

A simple Google search will give you a seemingly endless list of the benefits of incorporating more whole foods into your diet and how you can improve your overall healthy by striving to be more plant based. From lower blood pressure, to weightloss and healthier skin; eating more fruits and veggies is one of the easiest ways to impove overall health including our sleep health.

What on earth is sleep health?

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

“Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping”

Everyone knows all to well the headache that lack of sleep can induce and when lack of sleep becomes a chronic issue, a whole host of biological issues can be impacted. Our friends over at The Sleep Advisor created a wonderful infographic article that further details the importance of quality sleep here https://www.sleepadvisor.org/importance-of-healthy-sleep/

Since how we eat and what we eat plays a huge impact into our body and living functions it would only make sense to deduce that what we eat, can and does impact how we sleep…another way to ask is?

Do Vegans Sleep Better Than Meat Eaters?

We all know that certain foods like (coffee) caffeine can inhibit sleep and also trigger restful. The primary diet of vegans are vegetable and there are a few known veggies that can actually impact restful sleep

Veggies to Avoid Before Bed

Broccoli/cauliflower – Packed full of healthy nutrients, the downside of these veggies is the high amount of fiber that can keep the digestive system working overtime while you try to get shut-eye.
Avocados – We love all things avocado but they’re chocked full of fats (good fats) at 21 grams per serving. They’re good for your body but before bed they take longer to digest.

Veggies to Eat for Better Sleep

Sweet potatoes – A sleepers dream. They promote sleep-friendly carbs and contain potassium, which helps relax muscles.If you do eat meat have you ever asked yourself why? Meat is a good source of protein but should we be eating a steak before bed?

Why Avoid Meat Before Bed?

Meats like steak and other red meat are very high in protein but also high in fat. High fat foods like red meat have been linked to sleep apnea, which can lead to a whole host of health issues over time. Chicken can backfill the digestive system during sleep.

So Do Vegans Sleep Better?

The answer may surprise you (and frustrate) you – there’s no definite answer if vegetarians or meat eaters sleep better. Studies have shown that vegan friendly foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cashew butter, peanut butter, avocados, kale, almonds, walnuts, spinach, and squash all contain vitamin B6, trytophan, and magnesium, which ensure a healthy sleep cycle.  There are also many anecdotal studies that show that those adopting a vegan diet have more energy, better digestion, and in turn better quality sleep.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take the 30 Day Vegan Challenge and see for yourself if you sleep better adopting a vegan diet. Also be sure to learn more about the importance of sleep and how to get more of it courtesy of The Sleep Advisor.

Photo credit: Jon Butterworth  | Sources: One Green Planet |Restonic

 

Vegan Blueberry Curly Kale Smoothie | Guest Post by Shell Harris of Smoothieweb.com

Many feel intimidated putting vegetables like kale or spinach (or broccoli) in their smoothies because it seems like a strange thing to drink…Well, I think this smoothie will change your mind! The delicious blueberry flavors completely mask the taste of the kale and even the avocado, which means if you close your eyes, you would not even notice all the nutritional goodness that is in there!

Give it a go and I guarantee you will be throwing vegetables in your smoothies left right and center.

Blueberry Curly Kale Smoothie

Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup Kale
  • ½ Cup Frozen Blueberries
  •  ¾ Cup Coconut Water
  • ½ Avocado
  • ¼ Cup Ice

Preparation

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and mix on a pulsating high speed until completely mixed and thick.

*You may need to remove thick kale stalks before adding to your blender!

Why These Ingredients

Using ice in this smoothie helps to thin down the consistency as the kale and avocado act as thickeners and using ice in addition to frozen blueberries helps to chill it to the perfect drinking temperature for a better flavor (trust me). Also, using coconut water in this smoothie removes the lactose from conventional recipes and makes it suitable for those with intolerances or living a vegan/dairy-free lifestyle.

Nutritional Info

Calories: 230 | Fat: 7g | Protein: 6g | Sodium: 40mg | Sugar: 31g | Fiber: 9g

Benefits

  • Vitamin K is for kale! Ok maybe not, but it does contain a large amount that can reduce the risks of some cancers and has even been linked to the reduction of suffering for those with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to this, kale is high in iron and is recommended by nutritionists to treat those who suffer from deficiencies and their effects.
  • Avocados actually have a high potassium content than bananas but many don’t realize! Potassium can help to reduce your likelihood of having a stroke, heart attack and even kidney failure.
  • In addition potassium can contribute to reducing high blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart. In addition, the “flesh” of an avocado is high in healthy protein and monounsaturated (healthy) fats, which can be particularly beneficial for vegetarians or those who are looking to increase their protein consumption without the aid of meat.

Shell Harris is the founder of http://www.SmoothieWeb.com, the web’s largest resource for smoothie recipes. His first book, 101 Skinny Smoothies for Weight Loss and Detox is his first book supporting one of his passions (smoothies). His other interests include top 10 lists at http://www.Toptenz.net – and vintage posters and jack russell dogs.You can find more delicious and healthy recipes at smoothieweb.com

Debunking The 6 Most Common Arguments Against Veganism | Guest Post by David

There are many excuses people use to continue eating meat. For example, they may use the excuse “Vegans don’t get enough protein?” or “Vegans don’t actually live longer”. However, as you know, these arguments are weak and not backed by peer-reviewed research. In this post, we’re going to debunk the 6 most common arguments against veganism.

#1. Vegan Diets Are Dangerous For Children

Why it’s False: Many people think that vegan diets are somehow “dangerous” for children. Some even go as far as to say that vegan parents are bad for not feeding their children meat. However, there’s no evidence to support this myth. In fact, the American Dietetic Association has publicly stated that vegan diets are “nutritionally adequate” for any stage of life (including children and infants). Also, let’s not forget that that approximately 33% of children in the United States are overweight or obese. If more children were vegan, this number would likely be a lot lower.

#2: Vegan Diets Lack Protein

Why it’s False: The average adult needs a minimum of 45 grams of protein per day to stay healthy and maintain their muscle mass. Fortunately, vegan diets easily surpass this number. For example, look at the amount of protein in black beans. A single cup of black beans contains a whopping 39 grams of protein. That’s nearly all your recommended daily intake in a single serving of food. It’s incredibly easy to meet your protein needs on a vegan diet. Even foods like broccoli and bananas contain protein.

#3: Vegan Diets Lack Flavor and Variety

Why it’s False: Some people don’t want to go vegan because they don’t want to give up their favorite foods. They think that vegan diets are boring and lack flavor. But if you’re a vegan, you know that this is far from the truth! Today, vegan restaurants are more abundant than ever. There are also many YouTube channels dedicated to teaching people how to cook vegan meals. It’s a myth that vegan diets lack flavor and variety. To prove it, here’s a list of tasty vegan recipes without oil.

#4: Eating Vegan is Too Expensive

Why it’s False: Despite popular belief, being a vegan isn’t any more expensive than being a meat eater. If anything, it’s cheaper since you’re cutting out meat (which is one of the most expensive food items at grocery stores). The cheapest foods at grocery stores are vegan-friendly: rice, beans, oats, legumes, potatoes, etc. You can easily meet all your caloric and nutritional needs for as little as $5/day. Also, vegan directs indirectly save you money because you won’t spend as much on medical bills over the long run compared to the average meat eater.

#5: It’s Impossible to Build Muscle on a Vegan Diet

Why it’s False: Patrik Baboumian is a German strongman competitor who holds various records in powerlifting. And guess what? His diet is 100% plant-based. This automatically debunks the notion that vegans can’t build muscle. If you consume protein-rich foods like beans, oats, and brown rice, you can build just as much muscle as someone who eats meat. You could even argue that building muscle on a vegan diet is healthier since you’re avoiding dangerous saturated fat and cholesterol.

#6: Vegan Diets Lack Calcium

Why it’s False: The final myth that we’re going to debunk is the myth that vegans don’t get enough calcium. Today’s society has an unhealthy obsession with cow’s milk. They believe that cow’s milk is the best and only source of calcium. But if you look at your options objectively, you’ll see that cow’s milk is a poor source of calcium. For example, a single cup of cow’s milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium (of which only 30% is absorbed by the body). A single cup of almond milk contains 50% more calcium and has the added benefit of containing no saturated fat or cholesterol. Obviously, if you want to be healthy, vegan calcium sources are the way to go.

Conclusion

As you can see, all the major arguments against veganism aren’t backed any real evidence. There are thousands of peer-reviewed, evidence-based research papers showing how vegan diets are healthier than animal-based diets in every way. The next time a meat eater presents one of these arguments to you, politely refer them to this article.

Oven Fried Garlic-Chive Potatoes (VEGAN)

These crispy crunchy oven fried potatoes were all the rage at last month’s Vegan Meet & Mingle Dinner at 540WMain Community Learning Academy. They are so simple and easy to make and make a great healthy alternative to deep fried potatoes. What’s even better is that they will satisfy your crunchy salty cravings without doing damage to your caloric intake. Get into the recipe below:

Oven Fried Garlic-Chive Potatoes

Ingredients

5 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, washed and cut into wedges
4 tablespoons chives finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons F. Oliver’s Garlic Infused Olive Oil 

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  1. Leaving peel on, cut the potatoes into 6 lengthwise to make long wedges, about 3/4-inch to 1-inch wide.
  2. Add potatoes to large stock pot and cover with warm water until just covered. Add vinegar. Soak for 2-3 hours.
  3. Drain potatoes
  4. Combine the potatoes, oil, salt, garlic and chives on the baking sheet and toss to combine. (1 less bowl to wash) Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer, so a cut side is in contact with the pan, but evenly spaced so the potatoes aren’t touching each other.
  5. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Slip a spatula under the potatoes to turn them over and cook for 5 minutes more.Transfer potatoes to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Photo credit: Café Delites