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Feingold Diet Tips Archives

May 9, 2008

Convenience Food is Not Always Junk Food

brotherscrisps.jpgMy seven year old son, "The Cat," is on The Feingold Diet. Without the diet, his difficulty with impulse-control and hyperactivity level rises. The same diet helped me when I was young. For those who are sensitive to the chemicals the diet eliminates, the change can be unbelievably dramatic.

Many parents may hear about the diet and others like it, but choose not to try it because they fear that it involves making everything from scratch. In today's day and age of organic produce and special attention towards "all natural" ingredients, there are more and more packaged products that are Feingold-safe. (Besides, it takes more effort to constantly deal with hyperactivity and impulsiveness issues than it does to make things from scratch, so I would hope that food preparation wouldn't become a barrier to trying the diet.)

I'm starting a new category here to mention and discuss some of the products out there that I use and love. While we still usually make cupcakes from scratch, there are a few mixes out there. And did you know that major fast food chains have Feingold-safe options? It is surprising, but true. Being on the Feingold diet does not mean being deprived.

The Feingold Diet in a nutshell: avoid trigger salycilates (berries, citrus fruit), all artificial colors, all artificial flavors, and all petroleum-based preservatives, such as BHA, BHT, and TBHQ.

Today I will profile what is considered a junk-food staple: the chip. I am pleased that I had the opportunity to try out Brothers NEW All-Natural Potato Crisp. I also received some of their existing Fruit Crisps, including Asian Pear, Banana, and Pineapple.

Continue reading "Convenience Food is Not Always Junk Food" »

May 22, 2008

Bring on the Lime Yogurt!

wallabylimeyogurt.jpgThe Cat is on a yogurt-kick. His food preference tends to go in cycles, and right now it is stuck on "yogurt."

When I was on the Feingold Diet as a kid, there were types of Dannon and Yoplait - two readily accessible brands - available. These days, the major chain grocery store versions are not Feingold-safe. Interestingly, Safeway's generic brand has a Feingold-safe flavor, but I have yet to find it in any of the Safeway stores I've visited.

Trader Joe's probably has some brands that are Feingold-safe, and both TJ's and Safeway carry Brown Cow yogurt. The Cat eats Brown Cow, but these days his favoite flavor is lime, and Brown Cow doesn't carry it.

Instead, we're Wallaby fans:

Continue reading "Bring on the Lime Yogurt!" »

June 30, 2008

Preserve-Recycline Toothbrush

preserve_toothbrush.jpgWhile I started shopping at Whole Foods and other "organic-health-conscious" stores to find Feingold-safe food, I've started to notice and purchase environmentally-conscious products from pine-pellet cat litter to natural pest control solutions. After all, being healthful isn't just in things one eats, it is also what one breathes, uses on the skin, or on one's teeth. And being "green" in ways other than buying local produce or all-natural, organic products is important.

My kids are into the eco-conscious action, too: the Cat remarked the other day after I filled up my gas tank, "Mom, you're hating on the world because you drive this van instead of a part-electric car like Daddy!" But I digress...

In the household product aisle, I've been drawn to the brightly-colored Preserve plastic cutlery. I bought a whole bunch of lime ones since the Cat's favorite color is green.

Well, it turns out that Preserve makes more than just tableware. Thanks to Mom Central, I had the opportunity to receive two free Preserve toothbrushes.

There are many things about this toothbrush that warrant mention:

1) The bristles are WHITE. This may not seem like a huge deal at first glance, but the majority of the brushes found in drugstores and major-chain grocery stores have dyes on the bristles. Some brands market this as an indicator that when the dye fades it is time to replace the brush. But of course, the dye is going into your mouth or the mouths of your children.

After I received a rare white-bristled child-sized brush from my dentist, I begged him to let me snag a few more. He gave me his final two, and told me that the other brushes he had were dyed. I copied down the manufacturer's information and purchased an enormous package of the white-bristled ones direct from the supplier. Thereafter, I received mail about "my dental practice."

preservetoothbrushes.jpgFortunately, I found some white-bristled toothbrushes at health-food stores, but I am very relieved to know that Preserve toothbrushes are available. Preserve Jr. has some models that include dye, but they also have some all-white bristled ones as well.

2) Preserve toothbrushes are made from recycled material, namely yogurt lids. The Sundance Channel published a video about this process. [edited 2/2009: The website has been revamped; below is a quote that appeared on the original site.]

"Since 2001, Preserve and Stonyfield Farm have partnered to keep (literally) tons of plastic out of landfills. We collect cups and scrap plastic from Stonyfield's manufacturing facility in nearby New Hampshire, as well as the used cups that people who have enjoyed Stonyfield Farm yogurt return to them. Then we turn these cups into Preserve Toothbrushes, Tongue Cleaners and Razors."

3) Preserve toothbrushes are themselves recyclable. Their website includes a postage-paid label that can be affixed to a package of used toothbrushes, razor handles, and tongue-cleaners.

4) It turns out that Preserve products are not just sold at expensive health-stores. Preserve toothbrushes are available at Target stores nationwide for only $2.04! Plus, here is a printable coupon! [no longer available.]

Thank you Mom Central for letting me know about this fantastic company, and thank you Preserve for creating products out of old plastic that we can use and then recycle yet again!

July 2, 2008

365 Sandwich Cookies = Oreos

One of the staples of childhood is the Oreo cookie. Do you twist the lid off and lick the frosting, do you just bite into it straight, or do you set the filling on the side for a final treat after the chocolatey-cookie part is gone?

I used to save as much filling as possible before chomping the now slightly off-colored-white ball. Of course it was sugary-shortening with a waxy taste, but it was supposed to be the best part, yes?

007.JPGBut, since I was on the Feingold Diet, Oreos were a no-no. The only times I had them were when I was "cheating" on the diet, or after I had gone through puberty and was no longer having trouble with impulse-control and other behavioral issues that led my parents to put me on the diet in the first place.

Fortunately, there were "imitation" Oreos that were actually anything but "imitation;" instead, they were all-natural. Called "Hydrox," they were made by the Sunshine company. According to the Wikipedia entry, Hydrox came out before Oreos and it appears that they are coming back in August of this year, but under the Keebler/Kellogg label. Still, I can't say whether the reinvented Hydrox will be Feingold-safe; when Sunshine was sold to Keebler, my beloved vanilla wafer suddenly had vanillan in it instead of pure vanilla.

When we put the Cat on the Feingold Diet when he was around three, we discovered that although Hydrox were no longer around, Whole Foods' generic brand 365 carries both vanilla and chocolate sandwich cookies that are on the diet. Ever since, we've had a stash in our cupboard.

When the Cat pulls out a bag of chocolate sandwich cookies, his friends likely believe he is eating "just Oreos." Fortunately, more families are into organic and natural food these days, so even if the cookies had a distinctive look it probably wouldn't be a big deal, but for those who are brand-conscious, these 365 cookies look just like "the real thing" even though they are literally more "real" than the artificial-flavored popular brand.

As for taste, the 365 cookies taste wonderful. I can't say with certainty whether they taste like a "real" Oreo because it has been so long since I've had the latter. I know the 365 cookies tend to become stale faster than their brand-name counterparts, but only because they don't contain the petroleum-based preservatives that we avoid. I'd rather have a fresh cookie anyway.

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Whole Foods has not sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

July 4, 2008

Fourth of July the Feingold Way

Ghost FlagHolidays can be tough for Feingold Families. Cousins, friends, and neighbors have appealing-looking artificially-colored cupcakes and tasty-looking hot dogs. Fortunately, there are products out there that provide decent substitutes.

The ol' Fourth of July red-white-and-blue salad with strawberries and blueberries might turn into something a bit more Christmasy when you substitute kiwi for strawberry and forget about those salycilate-containing berries. But kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and pineapple make a tasty (red, yellow, and green) fruit salad. Add some mango or passionfruit and you've got quite a variety of tastes.

One of my favorite salads is ambrosia, but maraschino-cherries are the epitome of NON-Feingold-safe food. Marshmallows are not out of the question, though, as I will reveal later...

Most Fourth celebrations include a BBQ. Regular meat for hamburgers is fine (I really like turkey-burgers although Husband just made a red meat-onion-garlic burger that is so divine) but the hot-dogs can be tricky with all those nitrate/nitrite containing brands. Similarly, the hamburger buns and hot-dog buns can be a challenge since many breads contain BHA and/or BHT to keep them fresh.

We use Wellshire Farms hot dogs (and are also big fans of their deli-sliced ham; it comes in several types of which the Turkey-Ham is our most frequently-bought.) For buns, we've used both Rudi's and the Whole Foods Market-made brand. Oroweat also has Feingold-safe breads and these are available at traditional grocery stores.

What do most folks put on their dogs or burgers?

Ketchup.

And what is in ketchup?

Tomato. Which is unfortunately a salycilate, and one of the Cat's biggest triggers, at least when he was younger.

Fortunately, Feingold has an "Un-Tomato Sauce" recipe and an associated "Un-Ketchup" recipe. See the end of this entry for both.

What about dessert?

Many holidays have festively-shaped chocolates associated with them. The Fourth is not one of them, but I imagine the summer atmosphere might inspire some s'mores. Either way, I'd like to mention an excellent site that is my source for candy and baking needs: The Squirrel's Nest.

Nancy of the Squirrel's Nest (please read her history; she's the real deal) creates Feingold-safe candies for nearly every holiday. I've gotten some adorable white-chocolate ghosts and dark-chocolate cats for Halloween. I've purchased chocolate Christmas Trees and Stars for Christmas (she also has Hanukkah candy.) The Cat has gobbled up maple-sugar leaves and beautiful sugar-sticks, both from the Squirrel's Nest.

Through the website I've purchased the India Tree sprinkles that are Feingold-safe (not all of them are,) and the Let's Do Organics "Sprinklez" (in chocolate and rainbow colors.) These baking products look just like their artificial counterparts, but they are all-natural. Amazingly, there are candy canes that have RED stripes, yet don't contain that horrid "FDA-approved" red dye found so prevalently in children's food. (The "FA1" on the listing indicates that it is safe for Feingold Stage 1.)

When a classmate has a birthday party, I can easily create a rainbow-sprinkled cupcake for the Cat (although our school district has a wellness policy, so that whole cupcake-notion is hypothetical, though it wasn't in our old district.) For the holidays, I can easily hand the Cat a Feingold-safe candy cane, and nobody can tell the difference. Time and time again, I've created homemade food that "looks store-bought" for the purposes of "blending in." (When the Cat is older and his friends are chewing gum, fear not, I know where to get Feingold-safe gum!)

The Squirrel's Nest also sells Feingold-safe marshmallows (including some chocolate-dipped ones, YUM!) This is so useful. Yes, I have a serious love of marshmallows, but really they are the basis of some great things: homemade fudge, "Rice Krispie" treats (we use EnviroKidz Organic Koala Crisp Cereal,) and the aforementioned s'mores. Do not underestimate the power of having Feingold-safe mini-marshmallows around the house! (Or pack 'em away to camp where you know the s'more making will be a-plenty!)

Similarly, Sunspire makes a pretty convincing M&M substitute, "Sun Drops." Pull out just the red ones (there are no blue) and you could have at least a red-and-white sundae for the Fourth!

We use Trader Joe's Midnight Moo as our chocolate syrup of choice for sundaes or chocolate-milk-making, although we've also used AH!Laska Organic Chocolate Syrup (which also makes a Feingold-safe hot-chocolate mix: again, a good summer camp staple!)

Last but not least, the Squirrel's Nest also has various food colorings. Since the Cat doesn't really like the "Un-Kechup," I made him "green sauce" which was really green food coloring in mayonnaise. Yes, I know I shouldn't encourage him to eat mayo, but when he was younger we used the "green sauce" to help him try new foods. (Green is his favorite color.) These days, he prefers his food without the "green sauce," though.

Most of the time I use the food colorings for cookies or to color frosting, although with the festive colored organic all-natural sprinkles, it has become less of an issue that the base frosting or cookie is white. I've admittedly gotten lazy about trying different colors there. Also, my favorite food coloring, made by Dancing Deer, is hard to find. Some Whole Foods stores carry it, but apparently the market was not strong enough to keep much in stock. As the food coloring is perishable, this is a tricky proposition. (I had purchased tons awhile ago, but it went bad) Such is the downside of wanting by definition preservative-free foods!

Homemade food-coloring is possible: spinach for green, tumeric for yellow, cabbage for purple, beets for red. Refrigerate the colored frosting overnight to depend the color. Small amounts of these ingredients don't really alter the flavor, but these colors should be used for decorating rather than frosting the entire cake! (White base, colored lettering / designs.)

In sum, there are many products out there, particularly through The Squirrel's Nest, that can create a great holiday treat.

Oh, did I hear you say you wanted some beer?

Sam Adams is Feingold-safe. How do you feel 'bout that?

Anyway, it is possible to have a BBQ and associated festive cupcake on the Feingold Diet!

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And here are the "Un-Tomato" recipes (which I prefer in recipes like meatloaf rather than as a stand-alone sauce or condiment, but try it out to your taste!) These recipes are from The Feingold Association:

1 1-pound can beets, drained well
2 1-pound cans carrots, drained
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 C. water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp sugar

Puree completely in processor or blender (no chunks of carrot left.) Let sit for several hours in the refrigerator for flavors to blend. Onion, garlic, spices, mushrooms, and cooked hamburger may be added to taste for spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, etc.

For Un-Ketchup:

1 recipe Un-Tomato Sauce
2 sticks celery, diced fine
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 C. onion chopped
1/2 C. Heinz white vinegar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 tsp. sugar

Add all ingredients to pan and boil until reduced and thick. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. This usually takes about one hour. Strain sauce. Freeze whatever will not be used within one week. Makes about 3 cups.

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None of the products mentioned here have sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

(And NO, the Feingold Association has not paid me to say great things about them, either; after all, it was Dr. Feingold's Diet that made such a difference in my life so many years ago that really I don't need any official compensation because I've already gained so much... both for my life and for the Cat's.)


July 5, 2008

Lucky Duckies: A Feingold-Safe Alternative to Goldfish Cheddar Crackers

luckyduckies.jpgKids love cheddar-flavored crackers. So do adults. In fact, Husband has several little fish under his desk right now.

But Goldfish aren't Feingold-safe. (They used to be, but they changed their ingredients; and then there are those brightly-colored ones that are a no-way! for those of us trying to avoid artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives)

Fortunately, Healthy Handfuls Organic Lucky Duckies Crackers are Feingold-safe. Healthy Handfuls also makes Lemon Vanilla Koala Krackers, crackers which really taste more "cookie" than "cracker," and yet are made with organic whole wheat flour. (Sure, there is some cane juice in there, so it isn't like it is totally sugar-free, but still!)

Although I've linked to the product through Amazon (and my first purchase was a case from them,) I've found the crackers in my local grocery store. Initially I could only find the individually packaged boxes. These were handy to put in lunches, but the box was a bit big: the Cat only needed about half of the amount in the package. I've since found larger boxes where I can dole out my own portions for the boys' lunches.

During the Cat's Kindergarten year, the students took turns bringing snacks for the whole class. I used the Healthy Handfuls crackers every time it was the Cat's turn. They were a big hit! Similarly, when the Cat brought the crackers to playgroups, the other moms wanted to know what they were and where I got them.

Just like the "popular brand" of cheddar animals, Lucky Duckies taste cheesy and are easy for toddlers (and older people) to eat by the handful. They are a more healthful alternative than other crackers, although all crackers aren't by definition the healthiest snack foods. Still, I'll take organic whole wheat flour over processed who-knows-what any day!

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Healthy Handfuls has not sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

July 6, 2008

Where Oh Where Did My Beloved [Cleaning Products] Go?

glassplus.jpgI love Glass Plus. While Windex and other high-profile glass cleaners tout their "no-ammonia" formula, to be honest Glass Plus has been the only glass cleaner that has worked well for me. I've tried some of the eco-friendly brands like Seventh Generation and random orange-based things that I've found around Whole Foods. But, they didn't work as well on a variety of tasks as Glass Plus did. (But wait...)

I've been without Glass Plus for awhile. Our local grocery store stopped carrying it, as did a major-chain multipurpose store (no, not Walmart - how dare you think I'd set my foot in there!? Harumph!) Whole Foods and other upscale stores have the more natural, eco-friendly stuff, which given my experience, I thought didn't work. I have found all the cleaning products under the sun, but no Glass Plus.

I thought perhaps the company had gone out of business, but it still has a website and I see I can order it online. But, in my desperation to actually have a clean house, I tried Seventh Generation again. This time, I purchased their Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner with ruby-grapefruit and herb. Previously I had used their Free & Clear glass cleaner (since I LOVE the Free & Clear dishwashing formula.) I found it in the discount aisle of Whole Foods.

I have since determined that the product I purchased on clearance must have actually been water poured into the container. After all, why would it have been on clearance when all other Seventh Generation products were priced normally, and why would it have essentially cleaned like just cold water? (Honestly, for a lot of cleaning tasks I've started using hot water, a clean slightly-but-not-super-abrasive sponge, and my arm muscles. But sprayed room-temperature water wouldn't do it.)

seventhgeneration.jpgIn other words, by purchasing a full-price Seventh Generation product, I purchased a product that actually works. Fancy that! Sure, it could be pure psychology at work, but I don't think so. I cleaned up a rather gross mess that Splig created this morning with no problems.

My one hesitation about the product thus far is the smell. Grapefruit with herb is an odd combination. I saw a lemongrass version right next to it on the store shelf; perhaps I'd prefer that smell. Or, I'll get used to this one; it isn't unpleasant, just not expected. Surely breathing in this particular combo is much better for my health than Glass Plus' ammonia. Also, I should note that the smell is only around during the actual cleaning process. I sprayed a ton to clean Splig's mess, but I cannot smell it at all anymore. If I really don't want to smell my cleaning, I may try Free & Clear again, but just not in a discounted-state in case such things are a bum-batch or expired or something.

By the way, cleaning products do matter on the Feingold Diet! Laundry detergent especially is important since you breathe in the scent of your clothes. We use any "free and clear" type formula. Seventh Generation has this, but so do Tide, All, and the Kirkland/CostCo brand; fortunately a lot of companies recognize that people don't want their clothes to smell, so there are many no-dyes, no-fragrances formulas out there now.

(This was the one point that many of us bloggers found hard to convince the Johnson & Johnson folks of during Camp Baby: we recognize the price-point is different for these types of products, but combined with recyclable "retro-packaging" a whole lot of new moms and my-generation folks purchasing baby gifts would be tickled to purchase a J&J gift basket, even if it costs more. A trusted company but with a modern upgrade? Absolutely! I do happily pay more money for products that are all-natural, dye-free, fragrance-free, organic, eco-conscious, recyclable, or all of the above. Most importantly, I think that more and more folks are willing to pay more, too. Don't make a "New Coke" mistake by completely eliminating the "traditional stuff" but provide choices and see what comes out on top moving forward.)

Strangely, dishwasher detergent is less of an issue, even though you may think otherwise. (Like I mentioned before, I use Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid for our hand-washed dishes, but I actually use regular ol' Cascade for the dishwashing machine.) What does matter though, is something like Jet-Dry because this actually remains on your dishes. It took us awhile one summer to realize that the Cat's sudden regressions during a period of time of absolutely no dietary changes may have been related to our sudden desire to use Jet-Dry in our washer. Duuuuuh. After stopping that, the Cat came back.

So... if I see Glass Plus on the shelves again, will I buy it? Well, for the time being, no. I'm happy with my Seventh Generation glass cleaner and my hot water supply, at least until the drought cuts that off too.

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Seventh Generation has not sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

July 7, 2008

Balance Bars and Z Bars are the Bars

balancebar.jpgInitially people laugh, "What is the Cat eating?"

They chuckle a bit more, "Did you just give him a chocolate bar for breakfast!?"

Well, yeah.

The Cat is addicted to chocolate Balance Bars.

Now, don't get so fussy. They aren't as bad as they sound. Sure, the Cat pretty much doesn't need an "energy bar" since he has plenty of energy, but the low-glycemic index and high protein are great for him. He isn't a cereal-guy and in the morning doesn't want to drink much milk. He'll drink a few sips, but then want a Balance bar.

(Many kids on the spectrum are on the gluten-free, casein-free diets; although we do not go completely casein-free, avoiding too much milk is a good thing for us.)

Later in the day he'll drink milk galore and will be more likely to try other foods, but first-thing in the morning, the Balance bar wins. The only thing that might trump a Balance bar is pancakes, but before school or summer soccer practice (which is much too early in the morning) that is a rarity.

The other bar that gains great support in our household is Clif Z-bars. There are several types that are Feingold-safe, including peanut butter, chocolate chip, and honey-graham. Splig is a Z-bar fan, frequently bringing them in his lunch (along with his tofu, heart-sandwiches, and carrots.)

Splig is a great eater, so I am less concerned with his nutrition because he already does well, but knowing I can shove a healthful bar at the Cat is a good thing. Of course, for many people, these "all in one" bars can be a diet-disaster; but the Cat is slim and very picky. For our family, jamming as much (good quality, vitamin-rich) food as possible into him is a priority.

In "my day" my mom packed me a Tiger's Milk Bar for lunch. (Some people think carob is gross; I really like it.) I must have had the same dietary urges as the Cat, for I completely craved the bar. Typically I'd eat it at homeroom time ("snack") instead of waiting for lunch. The full-sugar chocolate bars really didn't hold appeal; I wanted the "health bar" even if some would argue that it isn't really healthful. Still, I'd like to cling to my belief that a "health-food" is better than grabbing something out of the candy aisle.

Alas, Tiger's Milk no longer appears on the Feingold list, so I haven't introduced it to my sons. But really, they are content with the Balance bars and the Z-bars, so there is no need to add to their bar-obsessions!

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Balance Bar and Clif Foods / Z-Bars have not sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

July 8, 2008

Ian's Natural Foods All the Way

IansCookies.jpgNo discussion about Feingold-safe food would be complete without mentioning Ian's Natural Foods.

They are the end-all, be-all of Feingold-safe and Gluten-free/Casein-free food. They are the type of food that if you only read the label, you'd think it would taste like cardboard because of all the things it isn't. It is so allergen-free that really, you'd expect tastelessness.

But NO.

Ian's is tasty. It is so tasty!

Now, not all Ian's products are completely allergen-free; however, their labeling system is very clear. Upfront, the consumer knows that their bread crumbs contain both wheat and dairy, for example. It is easy to know at a glance whether a product is appropriate for a consumer's particular needs.

Fortunately, many of the Ian's products are a-OK with us. The aforementioned bread crumbs are perfect for various recipes, from Breaded Chicken to Eggplant Parmesan. One concern people just starting out on the Feingold diet have is whether their "family recipes" can be translated appropriately. Ian's steps in for some of those ingredients that otherwise might be tough to replicate without using the (highly processed, petroleum-based-preservative-containing) "common brands" our grandmothers used in their dinners.

My boys' favorite Ian's product is their SuperTots, french fries in the shape of the alphabet, created from potato, peas, carrots, and cauliflower. They are quick to make, and also quick to disappear into my kids' tummies. Ditto for the French Toast Sticks. Mmmmmm. French Toast Sticks!

Surprisingly, the boys haven't gotten into the chicken nuggets (they prefer actual grilled chicken,) although they give the fish sticks a thumbs-up. Both these products are good substitutions for the artificial deep-fried variety if your child is interested in those foods deemed by the public-at-large (literally) as "kid-friendly" that actually aren't. Ian's kids' stuff is healthful, though.

I am an onion-ring addict, so I think I'd better try Ian's version, especially because they are apparently okay to go in the microwave. You know, in case I am just too darn impatient to wait for the oven...

Ian's also has tons of other kid-friendly organic, all-natural, wheat-free, gluten-free food like cheeseburgers, meatballs, and pizza. I haven't explored these yet, but I expect I will.

Really, Ian's is worth a look if you are looking for all-natural, preservative-free food. Plus, they have a whole series of wheat-free/gluten-free products (which in many cases are casein-free as well.)

See, "convenience food" need not be complete junk!

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Ian's has not sent me any free samples, paid me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encouraged me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

July 9, 2008

Hansen's Soda: A Natural Alternative

hansensoda.jpgSure, the dentist has that little dish of cola with a tooth in it to show his patients what happens when we drink the sugary-stuff. Sure, the world tells us to drink fewer cans of soda. But for those of us who are addicted to carbonation, isn't it better to have an all-natural soda than some of those completely chemical-laden beverages?

Also, the key to a great-looking and tasting fruit salad is to splash on a little lemon-lime soda. Yes, your mother told you lemon juice keeps the banana from turning brown, but too much lemon creates that sour taste; easier to just douse with soda that contains the lemon plus suuuugar! Really, if you use a slotted spoon to serve the salad, not much of the soda ends up in your tummy anyway.

When I was a kid, the "other kids" may have been sipping Coke, but I preferred Hansen's Key Lime Twist (which has lemon in it too) or Grapefruit. As it turns out, 7-up ended up being Feingold-safe, but then they changed their recipe. They - and Sprite - have gone back and forth with their recipes, so although I generally believe both of these commonly-found lemon-lime sodas to be "safe" (and actually Coke is safe, too, depending on your child's particular sensitivities,) I know that Hansen's is safe.

Hansen's sodas are 100% natural and do not contain any preservatives, caffeine, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors.

Also, Hansen's was one of the first soda companies to have "unique" flavors beyond just those found at the corner fast food joint. These days, you can find sodas like Izze if you want your blueberry juice with a little sparkle, but Hansen's always had flavors like black cherry and mandarin-lime (technically both contain salycilates, but I could tolerate it. Once you have a favorable reaction to Feingold Stage I, you can move on to Stage II to try out some of the salycilates to see which are fine and which are triggers)

From their website: "In 1935, Hubert Hansen's simple motto 'only the best will do' earned him a loyal following among Hollywood movie studios who clamored for his all-natural fresh juices. From these humble beginnings, a star was born."

Their root beer was the only type I could have as a kid: extra-important for those root-beer floats! Their root-beer ingredients are: pure triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural spices of wintergreen, birch, anise, sassafras, tahitian vanilla extract, and citric acid. Nope, not high-fructose corn syrup-made!

Their ginger ale is similar to the grocery-store type rather than that type that has the huge "bite." There were several "crunchy" soda companies that had those "bite-type" sodas, but I wanted the more mellow variety. (Yes, that goes against everything else in my "got-to-have-spice!" menu preferences, but I guess I need subtlety in my drinks.)

These days, Hansen's has a new line of sodas described as "sparkling water with flavor from pure fruit." I like the dragonfruit and pomegranate-blueberry varieties the best. These are less caloric (90 calories per 10.5 oz) than the regular sodas (140-160 depending on the flavor, for a standard 12 oz can) and similarly do not contain high-fructose corn syrup, sodium, or any of the nasty artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Plus, one can of dragonfruit soda is 25% of the US RDA of Vitamin-C! They produce no-sugar varieties (using sucralose) of these "Sparkling Sleek" varieties, too, but I haven't found them at my local store. (I would buy these for me, but wouldn't give the Cat products containing artificial sweetener.)

It is the original soda line that is attractive to my kids. The Cat likes the key lime twist soda the best, saying that the grapefruit variety is too "spicy." I think he might like the vanilla-cola variety; I should pick some up to see what he thinks. (He likes the Whole Foods 365-brand cola and adores vanilla, so we'll see.) I have to look for their Sparkling Green Tea Sleek products, too. It seems that while I've been a Hansen's fan for years there are many products they carry with which I am not yet familiar!

Truthfully, the Cat is more of a vanilla-shake, water, and milk guy than a soda-guy, but on occasion he wants a soda. Fortunately, whether it is a lemon-lime, cola, ginger ale, or root beer craving, we can find Feingold-safe alternatives through Hansen's (and Whole Foods' 365.)

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Hansen's and/or Whole Foods/365 did not sent me any free samples, pay me to say anything nice about the product, or otherwise encourage me to write about their product. Similarly, the majority of other products I mention in the "Feingold Tips" section are simply those which our family happens to use. I share them here just as information to other families interested in the Feingold Diet and all-natural alternatives to "popular" brands.

October 21, 2008

'Tis the Season for Squirrel's Nest Candy

I forgot to order Halloween candy.

No worries on the stuff we'll give out at the door (although I'm trying to lean more towards the "trinkets" than the "treats,") but I typically like to have some nice Cat-safe candy around the house for "trading" on Halloween night. Thankfully, my boys' experience last year was more about the chase than the chowing, but plenty of wrappers were emptied over the next week or so.

Over on the Karianna Spectrum I lament my error.

Yes, the blogs have traded places temporarily: I talked product over there instead of keeping my endorsements here.

My go-to place for Feingold-safe chocolate is The Squirrel's Nest - but today was the last day to order the Halloween candy. Luckily, I've got the Thanksgiving and Christmas deadlines on my calendar.

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Find out more about the Squirrel's Nest over on the Karianna Spectrum... and then stay tuned right here, too: that LeapFrog Leapster 2 -- VTech Cyber Pocket Smackdown is coming later on today!

April 17, 2009

Take Five and Enjoy Pure Delicious Haagen-Dazs Ice-Cream

Ice-cream unplugged. Sounds kind of dangerous, doesn't it? But that is the tagline for Haagen-Dazs' new five-ingredient ice-cream, titled five.

When Mom Central told me about five, I seriously could not contain my excitement. You see, Haagen-Dazs and I go way back...

As many loyal readers know, I was on the Feingold Diet when I was younger. It helped with impulse-control. Since my oldest son has similar impulse-control problems with hyperactivity, we put him on Feingold and have seen success.

Dry Ice - and Ice Cream Haagen-Dazs is one of the few widely-available ice-cream brands that is Feingold-safe. Certainly people can make their own, but the convenience of being able to pop over to the local grocery store is truly priceless. Haagen-Dazs is at the corner market, not only sold in high-end specialty stores. Their product, however, tastes as though it would be in only exclusive upscale markets.

One of the number one concerns people admit when they question me about hyperactivity elimination diets is the worry that with the "elimination" all the convenience and fun will be taken out of eating. Fortunately, there are plenty of all-natural brands that are completely fine. Haagen-Dazs is one of these brands, and with the addition of the five line, the number of acceptable ice-creams has gotten larger.

Let's face it: the "creative" ice-cream flavors typically aren't the ones that are all-natural. To obtain those exotic flavors, most companies use artificial flavoring (along with artificial coloring.)

five is plenty creative, but maintains its purity.

The concept behind Haggen-Dazs five, is that it has only five ingredients: milk, cream, sugar, eggs, and then one "hero" ingredient. These flavors are: vanilla bean, milk chocolate, mint, ginger, coffee, passion fruit, and brown sugar.

My first motivation for trying five was that it is all-natural, as I was eager to give my son some additional dessert options. But I soon learned that using just five pure and simple ingredients naturally lends itself to an ice cream with one-third less fat. Less fat is certainly something I can get behind. And then the flavors themselves are not common. I would have thought "strawberry" would be a shoo-in, but instead the five fruit is passion fruit. Flavors like brown sugar and ginger are quite unique, and exceptionally tasty.

I was very excited when the package arrived = dry ice!

Haagen_Dazs_Five_Brown_Sugar.jpgI was even more excited when my boys and I got to sit down to taste the ice-cream contained within. I am not a food blogger, so forgive the clumsy language, but here are my impressions of the four flavors I received:

Passion Fruit: This reminds me of a dragonfruit soda that I really enjoy. It is definitely a unique flavor, both spicy and fruity at the same time. It is smooth, as all of the five flavors are, and the passion fruit is subtle enough so that it doesn't overwhelm. This sort of exotic flavor is great to entice kids to try new foods. Haagen-Dazs recommends serving this flavor with pieces of tropical fruit on top - yum! [clicking link downloads a PDF]

Ginger: Of course this reminded me of Chinese food, so no doubt this ice-cream would be great paired with a fortune cookie or other vanilla-orange type cookie or cake. Ginger typically is associated with heat, but this ice-cream is refreshing. It is spicy and soothing all in one.

Mint: Most people think "mint chocolate chip" when they hear "mint ice-cream" and of course most people picture that neon green color. Haagen-Dazs is definitely not green: instead it is a natural white. The texture is completely smooth without chunks of chocolate. Although chocolate is certainly a great pair for mint (so this ice-cream would be fabulous over a rich chocolate cake) the mint on its own is so pure and subtly sweet that it doesn't need a companion. This is a sweet mint, not the biting mint of a mojito. Haagen-Dazs recommends pairing the ginger ice-cream with cardamom-honey roasted peaches. [clicking link downloads a PDF] I think pear would also work well.

Brown Sugar: My sons love milkshakes. Traditionally they have vanilla or mint chocolate-chip, but they have since had several brown sugar shakes. This flavor was absolutely my favorite. It calls to mind gingerbread men and a cozy gathering. I suppose now we can have our holiday memories during the summer, thanks to this spicy-yet-cool ice-cream. Recipe: Häagen-Dazs Five™ Brown Sugar Ice Cream with Warm Apple Cinnamon Blossoms [downloads a PDF]

I will definitely be purchasing five for my family in the future - tastes good, less fat, all natural. It is truly a fantastic five.

Fittingly, I have FIVE coupons for free ice-cream to give away to you loyal readers. Simply post a comment telling me what flavor five you are most interested in trying. (Check out the Haagen-Dazs five website to find all the five flavors - and yes, there are more than 5 flavors...) I'll give you until April 30th to enter. Good Luck! If you don't win, consider picking up five at your local store: you won't regret it.

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Wooo! You all won! Send me your mailing address to karianna at this domain name (see my header) and I'll get the coupons out to you!

July 17, 2009

Feingold Diet Cookbook!

You readers notice I have a "Feingold" category in the sidebar. I don't talk about it much, per se, but on occasion I like to do a little shout-out.

In short, the Feingold Program is an elimination diet I tried at age 5. I went from having "F"s in behavior (with my name on the board day after day) to getting "A"s. No joke. I was a hyper kid who settled down markedly after going on Feingold. Since it worked for me, we put my oldest son on the diet once it was clear he is also a "live wire." It has made a big difference for him, although he is definitely still a high-energy, quirky kid.

Feingold.jpgI know elimination diets and other "alternative" treatments for autism, hyperactivity, ADD, and the like are considered "controversial" but I'd implore you to consider how dietary changes in Celiac disease and diabetes are considered completely "acceptable." Likewise, there are various food allergies that cause physical problems (hives, anaphylactic shock) why not behavioral problems?

And so, every so often I like to plead my case while also insisting that I don't claim this is a "cure all" situation.

With that in mind, I just learned of two things that I really want to share:

1) Feingold has a little intro (split into two parts) on YouTube. For those of you who don't like wading through the written word (such as on the Feingold website) you might appreciate the videos I embedded below. Just listen in the background if you like. (I find this progression into YouTube funny because in my shed I have a bunch of old-time cassette tapes bound together with multiple rubber bands: these are the old Feingold materials from the 70's that my mom got from the Association back when she tried the diet with me.)

2) A Feingold Cookbook: People making dietary changes worry that cooking will be hard or that they'll have to make everything from scratch. They are worried that the process of eliminating various foods from their diet will be "too difficult."

Well, the Feingold Association list tells you which foods are safe for "Stage One" and "Stage Two." These companies fill out an ingredient list for the Association so that they can be included as being "safe." There are definitely convenience foods that are both kid-friendly and Feingold-safe: hot dogs, oreo-like cookies, and string cheese, to name a few. There is even a fast food list that includes items like McDonalds hamburgers and Noah's bagels. (Of course, I am not advocating fast food all the time, but it is nice to know there are all-natural convenience food options out there.)

With membership, subscribers are given a little recipe list with things like tomato-less ketchup and other things that can be used as substitutions in recipes. Well - now there is a whole cookbook. "Feingold Family Favorites" is a collection of the best recipes from members, family and friends of the Feingold Association. Apparently it contains 300 recipes including appetizers, main dishes, desserts and more. Each recipe is marked Stage One or Stage Two.

I'm ordering mine right now (and perhaps will report on it later) but I thought I'd pass on the news now in case some of you are interested. Just go to the Feingold shopping page, select your country, and scroll down for the cookbook. While you're at it, purchasing the membership materials won't hurt if you are curious - information is power.

As I watched these videos, here are the thoughts that come to mind:

- The "foodless foods" concept is similar to what Jillian Michaels (and probably many other fitness experts and physicians) discusses in Master Your Metabolism (You DID read my review of Master Your Metabolism on the Shredheads site, right?)

- Additives may save money upfront, but cost much more down the line both economically and psychologically: gym memberships, medications, tutors, time spent disciplining, and so forth. (This is assuming both weight and behavior issues from these sorts of food.)

- Obesity is increasing and behavioral problems are increasing in the United States. Similarly, consumption of these cheap "non-foods" is on the rise. Coincidence?

Just like with the vaccine issue, I don't claim that food additives "cause" autism. Rather, if a child is sensitive to such things (be it petroleum, salycilates, other substances) then exposure to those things in increasing numbers can create problems.

Many kids have had astonishing behavioral transformations once they've eliminated the foods on Feingold. Other kids have found success with gluten-free/casein-free diets (particularly those who have celiac in addition to an autistic spectrum disorder; the existence of both together is common - coincidence?)

Please listen to or watch the below videos. One thing that is great is that Feingold Association National Director Jane Hersey does a direct comparison of foods not acceptable on Feingold with those that are, but she uses the exact same brands. For example, Duncan Hines' "Devil's Food" cake mix is not Feingold-safe, but Duncan Hines' "Dark Chocolate Fudge" cake mix is Feingold-safe. Kraft's regular "Mac N' Cheese" is artificial, but their "Premium White Cheddar" is not. Even Cheetos has a Feingold-safe option! (Pretty-please do a natural option, Crystal Light?)

Behold, the videos:

Disclaimer: The Feingold Association did not pay me to write about their program. They didn't send me the information about the videos or the cookbook because they thought I was going to publicize it. Rather, I received the email from them because I am a Feingold Member. My mom learned about the diet from Kaiser - ironically enough, since they are now such a poor advocate for autism treatment aside from "just medicate them into oblivion. (If Kaiser would again recommend trying dietary change, they might save a lot of money down the road in regards treatment relating to both behavioral and obesity related conditions.) I blog about Feingold from time to time because it is something that helped me, and now my son. I will be happy to answer any questions about our particular experience - my email address is in my header.

December 15, 2009

Tom's of Maine All-Natural Toothpaste Creates Silly Smiles

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Tom's of Maine.

When I was in Kindergarten, I was put on the Feingold Program, a diet that eliminated artificial flavors and artificial colors, as well as other food additives that can cause behavioral problems in sensitive children. One of the first substitutions my parents made was to get rid of that brightly colored, highly flavored toothpaste that most kids use. Instead, they gave me Tom's of Maine natural toothpaste. Cinnamint became my favorite flavor.

When my son went on the Feingold Program, I was surprised and happy to see that Tom's of Maine had expanded its line to include more flavors and types than those selections available when I was young. (They even have natural mouthwash that doesn't taste like some of those other all-natural products out there.) I was especially excited when BlogHer contacted me recently to ask if my kids might want to try Silly Strawberry Children's Toothpaste.

Silly Strawberry. The name makes me think of kids' toothpaste, definitely. It makes me think of bright red color and artificial flavor. It makes me think of something that kids would think was great, but might not be great for them. But since it comes from Tom's of Maine, I know that it is NOT bright red. It is NOT artificial. Tom's of Maine's Silly Strawberry toothbrush uses calcium and silica to strengthen and polish teeth.Tom's has made a toothpaste that sounds kid-like, but without those crazy things that usually attract kids.

But what matters is what the kids think:

Continue reading "Tom's of Maine All-Natural Toothpaste Creates Silly Smiles" »

May 6, 2010

Eat. Blog. Run. Thank. Sponsors.

GMCeatblogrun 018.jpgThis past weekend I went on an amazing whirlwind of an adventure in the form of participating in The Relay, a 199-mile run from Calistoga to Davenport (near Santa Cruz.)

Thanks to the fabulous connections of several members of my Eat Blog. Run team, we ended up with some pretty spiffy sponsors who made our trip that much sweeter. Thanks to them, we had transportation, nourishment, and rest.

therelay_arcadia_GM_vans.gifOur big sponsor was GM, who graciously provided us two "red jewel" Acadias for our trek. Three fabulous GM reps took us out to dinner the night before the race to carb-load and to learn more about both the Acadia and slightly-smaller-but-packed-with-features Terrain. Our team was easily the snazziest on the road. Most of those other teams rented white vans. Our team was definitely visible in our "red jewel tintcoat." Of course our crossovers were even more visible as we drew all over them, giving shouts out to our sponsors and providing tally marks for important things like U-turns, bathroom breaks, and number of compliments we received on our sparkle skirts.

Continue reading "Eat. Blog. Run. Thank. Sponsors." »

August 2, 2010

Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy IS Dreamy!

breyers_all_natural_ice_cream_logo.gifI love Breyers. I was introduced to them in my youth when my mom sought out all-natural, no-preservatives food for me. Many of the ice-creams and various frozen products contained varying degrees of "artificial." (Check it out - most "vanilla" products have "vanillan" instead - what a villain!) Breyers did not.

Breyer's has been a staple in my freezer from childhood up through when I started my own family. In fact, I think I only had Breyer's in my freezer and maybe some Diet Coke in my fridge when I was a grad student. (I only needed to attend nightime "special lectures" to chow down on free pizza - though the fabulous convenience and plethora of options for New York City delivery meant I had some pretty exotic take-out boxes spending time in that studio apartment as well.) These days, we purchase three or four cartons of Breyer's all at once. We use it in shakes, smoothies, and of course for sundaes or a plain ol' bowl of ice-cream.

Imagine my glee when I learned about Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy ice-cream bars and sandwiches! Oh, the excitement!

Continue reading "Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy IS Dreamy!" »

November 6, 2010

Natural Candy for Autumn and Winter Holidays

dark_chocolate_covered_marshmallows.JPGI've mentioned the Squirrel's Nest before, because it is a favorite source of mine for Feingold-safe baking supplies and treats. But, it is worth a mention again, because we're gearing up for a season-of-treats.

The whole organic and all-natural food movement lately has meant that I have local stores in which I can purchase some of the baking supplies that I used to only order online, but I still go to the Squirrel's Nest for things like dark-chocolate covered marshmallows or chocolate solids, like this crispy pumpkin candy that is a fantastic all-natural, no-preservatives substitute for those nestle crunch lovers in your household. Most of the cute Santas, Chanukah Gelt, and Thanksgiving turkeys and other such things in the grocery stores are mass-produced and have things like BHA, BHT, TBHQ, and vanillian in them. But Nancy's confections at the Squirrel's Nest are free of these preservatives and artificial ingredients. (Can you resist these adorable chocolate mini ears of corn?)

Continue reading "Natural Candy for Autumn and Winter Holidays" »

June 17, 2011

Stonyfield Organic Family Love Fest

Stonyfield_Organic_Family_Love_Fest.gifYesterday I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous Stonyfield Organic event, featuring Robyn O'Brien of AllergyKids, author of The Unhealthy Truth. During that event, I met some other pioneers in the organic and eco-friendly food movements, such as Coco from Opera Girl Cooks (whose site I've now bookmarked since so many of her recipes make my mouth water), Michelle Stern (I just bought a bunch of ingredients to try out some recipes from her new book The Whole Family Cookbook), and Dina of Be Food Smart, which is a super-useful food additive database that I am sure I'll refer to frequently.

A big portion of yesterday's luncheon was to talk about the challenges of eating well, from the economics to the convenience. From health care to behavior to environmental concerns, food's role is huge. Treatment of animals, livelihood of farmers, and the well-being of those closest to us are all at stake. It is such a complex balance of factors, but it is reassuring to be part of a group of people who are making an effort to improve our eating situation. I am surely not perfect, but being with people who have made a difference fuels my own enthusiasm for eating well.

Of course it is refreshing to hear that Stonyfield Organic is ahead of the curve in terms of healthful eating, but I already knew that. In fact, you already knew that, because last autumn I sang the praises of their chocolate Greek yogurt, plus other terrific yummy varieties of their product.

If you happen to be in the San Francisco area tomorrow and/or Sunday, consider attending the North Beach Festival for the Stonyfield Organic Family Love Fest. Come to Vallejo Street between Grant and Columbus between 10am-6pm on 6/18 and 6/19 for FREE organic yogurt, cooking demos, and more. I won't be able to make it because I'm putting on a bridal shower for my brother's fiancee, so that's a different type of love. But, I look forward to looking through Stonyfield's Yogurt Cookbook to see how I might add a bit of their yogurt to my cooking. But eating it just straight suits me fine, too.

(If you aren't in San Francisco, don't fret. Check out Stonyfield Organic's community events to see if they will be near you.)

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Disclaimer: I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you purchase something through one of those links, I'll get a few cents. Yesterday Stonyfield paid for my delicious lunch and gave me some free product, plus a cookbook and a rubber spatula. I was a Stonyfield customer long ago, so my enthusiasm for their product came before they gave me any free stuff.

November 1, 2011

Conscious Box

144.JPGI'm a big fan of the cool "tasting" or "sampler" box subscriptions that have popped up recently. What better way to try new products and learn about companies with which I'm not yet familiar? I'm especially impressed when these services focus on small businesses and eco-conscious ventures.

I was thrilled to learn about Conscious Box, a monthly taste (or feel) for pure, sustainable products from planet-friendly businesses. This isn't a greenwashed situation; Conscious Box states that it actively seeks out organizations that provide fair wages and ethical business practices as well as a quality product. They strive to be zero-waste, creating their encouraged-to-be-upcycled boxes from recycled materials and soy-based inks.

I was fortunate enough to receive a November box from them. Included in this month's shipment are: a full-sized Kind bar (one of my favorites!), Honest Kids' Appley-Ever-After juice, Mary's Gone Crackers double-chocolate wheat-free gluen-free vegan cookies, Funky Monkey pink pineapple freeze-dried fruit, CocoaWell "true energy" capsules, tiny packs of Glee gum (both mint and lemon-lime,) samples of two products from Pharmacopia (verbena body lotion and body wash,) samples of two 100% Pure products (vanilla bean body cream and green apple body cream,) and a small pack of Living Nutz vegan bodacious banana bread walnuts. What a stash!

It used to be tricky to find all-natural food or cosmetics without artificial chemical additives. I am thankful for companies like Conscious Box who are finding such products to introduce to people like me. Although I can browse the aisles of my local grocery store to buy things without requiring the postage to my doorstep, I like knowing that someone has done the research to know whether an "all-natural" product truly is "natural" or if a company behind an excellent-looking product isn't actually as wonderful behind-the-scenes. I'm glad Conscious Box is on the lookout for the real deal.

Thank you Conscious Box for sending me the November box to test. I'm definitely enthusiastic about your service and look forward to learning more about the trusted products and companies.

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Conscious Box sent me their November box for free. I will receive no other compensation. The words and opinions above are my own.

UPDATE: The Conscious Box folks were kind enough to send me their December Conscious Box, too!

December 19, 2011

A Super Surprise from Fresh & Easy

The FedEx dude came to my house Friday to deliver some items I had bought using 2-day shipping since I must have this one particular item for a gift exchange happening tonight. Well, all items arrived except the one for the gift exchange. So I am sad.

But then on our front porch was another package - big and heavy! This made me happy!

I opened it up to discover delicious treasure inside:
fresh_and_easy_holiday_items_yummy.jpg

The first thing that I saw was the chocolate truffles. And then I saw the vanilla maple syrup and nearly had a heart-attack with joy. Vanilla! Maple! Syrup! I'm a big cranberry fan, so the nut & cranberry squares sound delish, and I can always use a bottle of wine! And then I had another happy heart-attack when I saw the pumpkin bread mix. My son and I are both of the mind that pumpkin added to just about anything makes it divine.

This wonderful stash came from Fresh & Easy, along with a festive reusable grocery bag.

fresh_and_easy_logo.jpgI'm going to hang my head in shame to say I've never been to a Fresh & Easy store, although my friends rave about it. At first I thought there were none near my place - and since we have 5 grocery stores in less than a mile or so from our home, I seldom venture farther - but en route to a birthday party I discovered the location of our closest Fresh & Easy!

The friends who live close to the Fresh & Easy confess that they pick up a lot of their meals from there because the food is fresh and the effort required to prepare is easy. (You saw that coming, didn't you?)

But Fresh & Easy is much more than just convenience. I checked out thier snazzy Who We Are video and learned that they create an economically-friendly experience while still providing foods with no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no added trans-fats. Their stores are designed to save energy, money, and time.

So I'm thrilled to report that I've discovered three Fresh & Easy stores in shopping centers I pass nearly daily. Hooray!

I'm eager to try out the goodies I received in my care package, but I'm now pretty excited about giving the actual store a try, too!

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Disclaimer: Fresh & Easy sent me some products for free! I was happy to receive this unexpected gift, so wanted to give them a shout-out.

June 21, 2012

Truly UNREAL! Natural, Preservative-Free Candy for the Same Price as that Artificial Crud

unreal_natural_preservative_free_candy.jpgI wish I had UNREAL's "unjunked" candy when I was a kid. You see, back in the early 70's, the super-bright colored sugar was "in" along with that swirly polyester clothing. Of course the 80's were no better with all that neon.

When I was a young hyperactive kindergartner, the majority of the candy on the shelf was filled with artificial crud. And so, when my mom put me on The Feingold Program, I was forced to eat carob chips and other very basic items from health-food stores for a treat. Yes, we could find natural chocolate, but not combined with anything else. "Candy" was just maple sugar formed into various shapes. Halloween was not very fun, nor were birthday parties with piñatas. We later discovered that a few big-brands had some limited all-natural offerings, but many of them were special-order only. Sadly, most of those brands have since given up on being all-natural.

Meanwhile, although there is definitely a drive towards cleaner food, many of these foods end up being pretty expensive. I'm willing to spend more money for special occasions, but I admit that I wouldn't fill up my Halloween bowl with specialty chocolates.

But this coming Halloween, I'll gladly purchase UNREAL. Amazingly, UNREAL candies are the same price as the artificial crud AND have the same shelf life. UNREAL candy is made with pure cane sugar, no corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils, no artificial colors or flavors, and no GMOs. It has more fiber and protein, and fewer calories than those "leading brands."

It sounds completely "unreal" doesn't it? I'd be skeptical, thinking maybe there was some sort of catch... how does it taste?

Continue reading "Truly UNREAL! Natural, Preservative-Free Candy for the Same Price as that Artificial Crud" »

July 10, 2012

PopCorners All-Natural, Gluten-Free Popped Corn Chips

popcorners_cheesy_jalapeno_all_natural_gluten_free_popcorn_popped_corn_chips.pngOver at my main blog, I'm raving about PopCorners, a chip I happened upon while in the hospital for one of my pre-op appointments. I admit it is rare that inspiration strikes me in a vending machine, but this find excited me enough that I wanted to share it!

The PopCorners folks didn't clue me into their awesomeness ahead of time, nor did they send me wads of cash or free samples to try. I just happened upon them. One taste made me into a fan.

Not that I'm eager to go back to the hospital, but at least I know that when I do, there is a treat in the vending machine waiting for me.

About Feingold Diet Tips

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Spectrum of Reviews in the Feingold Diet Tips category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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