New Vegan, Gluten-Free Product Reviews, Part 1
I have been making a genuine effort to mix up my eats a bit. As you know, I have been feeling off in the stomach department lately, and my mind is swirling with all kinds of theories as to what is making me feel so heavy and bloated all of the time. One thing I am considering is that perhaps I eat too much fiber. Of course, fiber is great for you, but as with anything, too much is no bueno. I eat an extremely fruit and veggie heavy diet and probably take in twice the amount of fiber than the recommended amount based on loose estimates. So. . . maybe I need to cut back a bit? The other thing I am trying to do is up my protein and fat intake. It’s no secret my diet is carb-heavy– perhaps more fat and protein will help my gut heal. Who knows though. . . these are just some of the things I have been thinking about lately. In the spirit of trying new things, I have a few new product reviews to share with you today (and a few more to share with you in the next day or two as well). Fortunately for me, the few new foods I have tried lately have been major wins!
First up– a new to me sunflower seed butter. I love sunflower seed butter but don’t buy it often because the most commonly found brands contain added sugars. I don’t typically do nut or seed butters with added sugar (added salt or oil are fine for me though), so when I crave sunflower seed butter with no added sugar, I have to order it online. The one brand I have enjoyed in the past is the Maranatha brand, as it just consists of roasted sunflower seeds and salt.
A few weeks ago, I was browsing at a local health food store and I spotted this Once Again sugar and salt-free sunflower seed butter. Needless to say, I was intrigued! Of course, I was also plagued by the worry it would be bland, as the only ingredients were sunflower seeds and sunflower seed oil. As soon as I finished the jar of peanut butter I was working on, I cracked into this jar, eager with anticipation.
After a good stir to distribute the oils, I gave it a taste (and then added it into my morning oats). The verdict? It was delicious on so many levels! First, have no fear– it was not bland at all. I didn’t even miss the salt because it had a natural sweetness from the seeds that was really appealing. More importantly, the texture was amazing–silky smooth and creamy with an incredible mouth feel. I honestly was surprised at how tasty this seed butter was! It just goes to show sometimes simple is best! I will definitely pick up another jar next time I visit that health food store.
On Friday, I was plagued with the worst stomach ache. I had gotten up and ate my usual granola breakfast, followed by a trip to the gym to run. During the run, I started to feel icky– my stomach was just not happy. For the rest of the day, a dull ache resided in my gut and it definitely impacted my appetite.
When lunchtime came around, I knew I needed to eat, but my usual fruits and veggies were not sounding appealing. When I have that sort of stomach ache, I always think fibrous and watery foods would probably just make me feel worse. So, for the first time in a long time, nothing I usually make for lunch sounded good. I then realized it was the perfect opportunity to try these Core Defender bars I ordered from Vegan Cuts a while back, as they are essentially meal replacement bars.
This Core Defender bar sounded perfect– it was caloric enough for a light lunch, but light enough so as not to further upset my tummy.
As the packaging touts, it contains the same nutrition as a bowl of oats! In case you’re wondering, it is 350 calories, 11 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat and I think 6 grams of fiber.
The ingredient list is simple, clean, all raw, vegan and gluten-free with no added sugar.
It is a pretty sizeable bar too. As you can see, the texture is firm yet chewy– in other words, it was perfect. I loved that there were dark chocolate chips throughout the bar (my guess is they are 100 percent dark chocolate chips because I couldn’t detect any sweetness whatsoever in those chips). While the bar wasn’t very sweet, it was sweet enough from the raisins which seemed to be blended into the bar. All in all, I savored every bite, and once I was done, I felt satisfied, but not full or uncomfortable. I am glad I bought a bunch of these bars, as they truly are great meal replacements. I kept me going for a good three hours until I was ready for another snack!
Like I said, I have a few more reviews for you coming soon. I hope you have a great day!
Are there any new vegan or gluten-free products you have tried recently and loved? Do tell!