Thursday, March 28, 2013

eco-friendly conscious box giveaway

I have very exciting news!!

Yesterday I learned about a home delivery service from Conscious Box, a monthly subscription service with natural, sustainable products.

Photo via Conscious Box

Each box comes packed with samples of natural products ranging from organic food to vegan beauty products to home products meant to lighten your footprint - something for just about every facet of your life.  Conscious Box is a supporter of jobs in the US, hiring American workers and paying a fair wage.  They also include ideas on how to reuse the box, use inks made from veggies, wind power, and BPA-free labels.  Each month, the package has a theme -- for example, "This Year Belongs to You" in January, "All You Need Is Love" in February -- and April's will be Earth Day.

They work with 1% for the Planet to make sure every purchase goes to a cause and also support businesses that care about the planet.  You can check out some of those brands here.  If you find an item you just adore, you can buy a full-size version through their shop.  They also have a neat point system in the works that will allow you to buy items at a discount.

Conscious Box has three package options: Classic, Certified Vegan, and Gluten-Free --- a new addition!  The founder has Celiac, so they know what they're doing :)

From there, you can choose from a variety of subscriptions: 1 month, 3, 6, or 12 (a baker's dozen because a 13th month is free).

So here's the best part: Conscious Box is offering one of my lucky readers a free three-month Conscious Box subscription!  It's a $59 value, so enter now!  (Due to shipping, the winner must be in the United States.)  The giveaway entry period will run from 12:00 am 3/29/13 to 12:00 am 4/5/13.

Also, they're giving each of you a 25% off discount code that's good on any Conscious Box subscription.  Use code: LOVELIFE

At only $19.95 -- basically $12 for the box, $7.95 USPS Priority shipping -- it seems like a great deal to at least try!  I'll be sure to follow-up with a review when I receive my first package.

Interested in further information before you jump in?  Here are several reviews from others: November 2011, October 2012 (here and here), December 2012, January 2013 (here & here), and February 2013.

Happy eating, and GOOD LUCK!!


  • Log in with Facebook or your email address (so I can contact you if you win)
  • Enter up to 15 times with super-easy tasks (Ex: "like" Conscious Box and/or this blog on Facebook)
  • Someone will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter next Friday to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

easter candy and chocolates list

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and have released the 2013 gluten free Easter candy and chocolates list!!

As always, be sure to double-check the packaging, as ingredients can change. has a 10-page print out of candies & chocolates and a 4-page list of jellybeans specifically for the US.

If you only use one list as a reference, use the one linked here. also has one, but it is riddled with inaccuracies!

Happy eating -- and Happy Easter!

(And, without embarrassing him too much, happy birthday to my daddy!) 

Monday, March 25, 2013

march to fitness muscle up mondays: protein shakes

My two favorite gluten-free protein shakes are Pro7ein Synthesis and Tera'sWhey.

Pro7ein (or Pro-Seven) has 34 grams of protein per serving and is free of gluten & sugar.  It has a nice flavor - I go for the chocolate - without feeling too heavy.  It was recommend by a friend at Nutrishop.  His wife is gluten intolerant, so he really understands.

I tried Tera'sWhey at the Arnold Classic earlier this month and really enjoyed it.  It's smoother than most proteins, less chalky.  It's USDA Organic with 20 grams of protein per serving.  The flavor I tried (and have since purchased) is Fair Trade Organic Dark Chocolate.  Yep, the chocolate is Fair Trade Certified.  The whey protein is certified hormone free.  The products are made in a green plant in Wisconsin with whey from local artisan cheese makers and family farms.  The products are available in Organic Whey, Goat Whey, and rBGH Free Whey.  They're also on Facebook.

Forza Pro is one that my boyfriend really enjoys.  It's gluten free.  He sticks to the Chocolate flavor.  The Mint Chocolate was tasty, but it was overly sweet for me.

I have not personally tried these yet, but here are others:

Core Power - This is ready-to-drink (RTD), gluten free, and available in five flavors made from real milk and honey.  Fair Oaks Farms Brands hold themselves to a Code of Responsibility that includes Sustainability, Traceability, Transparency, and Animal Care & Comfort.

Hemp Protein Powder - This is available from Navitas Naturals.  It's certified organic, kosher, gluten-free, raw, and vegan.  The source is grown on small family farms in Canada.

Life's Basics Plant Protein - This powder is gluten free and suitable for vegetarians.  The site didn't mention whether it's appropriate for vegans.  The product is primarily made from peas, rice, hemp, and chia.

Muscle Milk - This RTD product from CytoSport is gluten and lactose free.  It's available in five flavors.

Nectar - Made by Syntrax (and I'm not a big fan of the site), this powder has no carbs or fat.  It's also gluten and lactose free.  The 9 flavors are like fruit juice cocktails -- with names like Caribbean Cooler, Twisted Cherry, and Fuzzy Navel.

Rice Protein - This product from NutriBiotic claims to be the #1 vegan protein for those with allergies to whey and soy.  They have a variety of flavors made from whole grain brown rice.

Protein Energizer - From Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems, it's 100% natural and gluten-free.  It contains ginger, so I can't try it.

True Athlete - Made by The Vitamin Shoppe and is free of gluten, artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners

I'm sure there are more out there, but I didn't find others that identified themselves as gluten free protein shakes/mixes.  If you'd like additional ideas, be sure to visit a nutrition shop in your area.

Happy eating!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

untreated gluten sensitivity

April over at Gluten Is My Bitch wrote a succinct, heartfelt post about the very real, outright terrifying effects of untreated gluten sensitivity -- brain damage, vision problems, dementia.

If you are gluten intolerant or have Celiac disease, PLEASE encourage your relatives to be tested themselves. Gluten ataxia is not something to take lightly.

Thank you, and happy eating!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

march to fitness muscle up mondays: protein bars

I'm proud to announce that there are several protein shakes and bars that are gluten-free.  Due to the sheer number of items, I'm only covering protein bars in this post, and they're listed in alphabetical order.  Most of these photos were taken at the Arnold Classic with my iPhone.


Good Greens

I met a few representatives from Good Greens at the Arnold Classic.  I tried a couple samples and really enjoyed them.  Yesterday at Jungle Jim's Eastgate, I picked up a chocolate raspberry bar.  It's chocolate covered and tasty...but grainy.  This particular bar has Omega 3's, 10 grams of protein, 3 probiotics (think the happy bacteria in yogurt), 40 antioxidants, and 100% of your daily fruits and vegetables.

From their site, "Good Greens is a delicious, raw, vegan, and gluten-free protein bar that promotes a healthy, socially conscious lifestyle."
Unfortunately I didn't realize that the final ingredient under the Nutrition Facts where the Good Greens Z52 Superfood Powder list is has ginger root - one of my allergens - so I'm popping a couple Benadryls as I draft this....

I've been familiar with Larabar for quite a while and am a pretty big fan.  I like that there is variety in taste and texture but with simplicity.  Larabar's self-description sums it up: "Produces healthy energy bars made from minimal, pure ingredients."  They're one of my go-to snacks to pack in my purse and available at a number of stores.

I've had the Larabar (with no more than 9 ingredients), Uber, and Jocalat (with Fair Trade Certified chocolate).  ALT is the company's new alternative protein bar, which I learned about while researching for this post.  Those are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

Bonus: they'll recycle & upcycle your old Larabar wrappers.

If you're gluten-free, you're probably familiar with Elizabeth Hasselbeck's gluten-free line NoGii and her books.  This was actually the first time I tried it.  I grabbed the Peanut Butter & Chocolate High Protein Bar at Walgreens.  It kind of looks like a peanut butter Rice Krispie treat drizzled with a little chocolate and atop a thin layer of chocolate.  It has a nice crunch.  It has 20 grams of protein and 10% each of calcium & iron.

NuGo Dark is the only company to make real dark chocolate-coated protein bars.  These are non-dairy and vegan.  I tried the Mint Chocolate Chip -- think Girl Scout cookie! -- and Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt -- it's a gluten-free pretzel!! -- at the Arnold Classic and absolutely had to take some home with me.  They're at some Kroger locations (check the candy aisle), Whole Foods, and Jungle Jim's.  Mmm.
Of note, the company has started an online petition at asking the FDA to set a standard for dark chocolate, since standards exist for both milk and white chocolates.

NuGo Slim is another gluten-free line available from the company.  These have low-sugar, high protein, and high fiber.  At Jungle Jim's, I picked up the Raspberry Truffle, which is dipped in dark chocolate.  There is no maltitol and no artificial sweeteners.  The texture is harder, but the flavor of the freeze-dried raspberries inside make up for it.  I also tried the Brownie Crunch flavor at the Classic.
Most but not all NuGo bars are gluten-free.  If you're looking at the NuGo Dark, FREE, Slim, 10 bars, or Crispy Cat Candy Bars, you should be in GF territory.  You can also get one of their seven reasonably-priced sample packs on the NuGo site!

I remember the first time I had a PowerBar; I was rappelling in the Hocking Hills.  When I was diagnosed with this gluten intolerance, I thought my time as a PowerBar consumer was over.  However, these new PowerBar Performance Energy Blends caught my eye tonight at Kroger in the Natural Food section.  They're a "fruit-based energy food" and GF.  I picked up the Apple Mango Strawberry flavor.  Surprisingly, the in-store signage mentioned the gluten-free status, and it's on the packaging, but it isn't mentioned on their website.

Premier Protein Crisp
I tried these at the Arnold Classic.  Premier Protein also makes another line that is not gluten-free; be sure to get the Crisp!  I tried the Honey Caramel and Chocolate Mint.  Although I wouldn't have thought to combine honey and caramel, yummy!!  The Chocolate Mint was good too.  (But if you're wanting something like a Thin Mint, I'd stick with NuGo.)

I picked a Pure Organic Banana Coconut bar up at GNC.  It's Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic, gluten-free, and vegan.  It has a nice flavor but is very dry.  The chunks of walnuts - rich in antioxidants - are about the size of my fingernail.  I'd really like to try the Cherry Cashew flavor.

Bonus: the company supports The Lunchbox Fund's efforts to feed impoverished children.

I grabbed a PureFit Berry Almond Crunch bar at Jungle Jim's yesterday.  It's gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, Kosher-certified, high in protein (18 grams), no hydrogenated oils or artificial sweeteners, and won't melt.  It's like dry, thick peanut butter with a nice hint of berry.  The packaging indicates that it is award-winning, and I was able to find on the website that they were named by BIKE Magazine as Nutrition Bar of the Year.

Bonus: the company encourage pet adoption.

This is another company that was represented at the Arnold Classic.  The website sounds like all of the Quest Nutrition Protein Bars are gluten-free.   They have two lines: 99.95% Natural and 100% Natural.

I have QuestBar Protein Bars in Apple Pie and Mixed Berry Bliss (99.95% natural) as well as a QuestBar Natural Protein Bar in Cinnamon Roll (100% natural).  The carbs in the bars are from nuts rather than from sugar.

The first two 99.95% natural bars I tried were dry, thick nut butter-like bars.  The Cinnamon Roll bar, however, totally tasted and smelled like a cinnamon roll.  (The texture is still like thick nut butter.)  They also have a high-protein peanut butter cup.

Others not reviewed here but available and gluten free:

I sincerely hope my taste-testing helps!  Happy eating! :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

march to fitness muscle up mondays: pre-workout supplements

Many -- but not all! -- pre-workout supplements are gluten-free.  Here are some products I have found.  My personal favorites are C4, Platinum Pre-, and FitMiss.  (If it weren't for the time change, this would have been posted on Monday ;) )

Keep in mind that these products are dietary supplements and not subject to evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  

Cellucor C4 Extreme
Gluten-free status: According to a forum response from Cellucor, C4 and all current Cellucor products are gluten-free.
Available flavors:

  • Fruit Punch
  • Green Apple
  • Icy Blue Razz
  • Orange
  • Pineapple
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Strawberry Margarita
  • Watermelon

I tried: Fruit Punch and Icy Blue Razz (Scott's favorite)

Serving Size   1 scoop
Servings Per Container  60
Amount Per Serving% DV
Calories   5.00   
Calcium   1.00 mg  0% 
Total Carbohydrates   1.00 g  0% 
Sugars   1.00 g   
Vitamin C   250.00 mg  417% 
Folate   250.00 mcg  63% 
Vitamin B12   34.00 mcg  567% 
Beta Alanine   1500.00 mg  ** 
Creatine Nitrate   1000.00 mg  ** 
Arginine AKG   1000.00 mg  ** 
Explosive Energy Blend   594.00 mg  ** 
 ** Daily Value (DV) not established

Silicon dioxide, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, artificial color (contains FD&C yellow #6), malic acid, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)

Gluten-free status: Packaging states that it is gluten-free.
Available flavors:

  • Blue Razz
  • Orange
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Watermelon

I tried: None.  I came across it while writing this post.  However, the reviews I found at were very positive.

Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre-
Gluten-free status: Packaging does not state, but I was informed by ON staffers at the Arnold Classic that this is a gluten-free product.
Available flavors:
  • Fruit Punch
  • Raspberry Lemonade
  • SuperFruit
I tried: Fruit Punch and Raspberry Lemonade.  Delish!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Scoop
Servings Per Container: 30
1 SCOOP (8g)Amount
Per Serving
% Daily
Total Calories
Sodium (as sodium chloride)60 mg3%   
Potassium (as potassium chloride)70 mg2%   
Total Carbohydratesg<1%   
Protein<1 g1%   
Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid, acerola extract)100 mg167%   
L-Citrulline (1 Scoop) (as micronized l-citrulline, PepForm® citrulline peptides [l-citrulline, hydrolyzed whey isolate])g
L-Citrulline (2 Scoops) (as micronized l-citrulline, PepForm® citrulline peptides [l-citrulline, hydrolyzed whey isolate])g
CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine (1 Scoop)1.6 g
CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine (2 Scoops)3.2 g
DMAE Bitartrate (1 Scoop)250 mg
DMAE Bitartrate (2 Scoops)500 mg
Phyto Blend (1 Scoop) (beet juice powder, grape seed extract [vitis vinifera] [seeds], MegaNatural® red wine grape extract [vitis vinifera] [seeds], citrus bioflavonoids)250 mg
Phyto Blend (2 Scoops) (beet juice powder, grape seed extract [vitis vinifera] [seeds], MegaNatural® red wine grape extract [vitis vinifera] [seeds], citrus bioflavonoids)500 mg
Caffeine (1 Scoop)200 mg
Caffeine (2 Scoops)400 mg
Capsimax® Capsicum Extract (1 Scoop) ([capsicum annuum] [fruit] [standardized for capsaicinoids])125 mcg
Capsimax® Capsicum Extract (2 Scoops) ([capsicum annuum] [fruit] [standardized for capsaicinoids])250 mg
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Contains 200mg of caffeine per scoop. This product contains 100mg, 167% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Other Ingredients: citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, malic acid, tartaric acid, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, lecithin, sucralose, acesulfame potassium.
Recommended Use: Mix each scoop with 6-10 oz of cold water (to desired sweetness) and consume immediately. Start with 1 scoop or less to assess your tolerance. Do not exceed more than 2 servings per day.
Warning: KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. ALLERGEN INFORMATION:Contains milk and soy (lecithin) ingredients. Not for use with pre-existing medical conditions or those taking any medications, those under the age of 18 or over 50, women that are pregnant, contemplating pregnancy or nursing, or those that are caffeine or beta-alanine sensitive. Do not consume caffeine/stimulants from other sources or within 4 hours of bedtime.
Before beginning any program of weight loss, consult your health care practitioner. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


MusclePharm FitMiss Ignite
Gluten-free status: The allergen warning does not mention possible contamination with wheat, but I also cannot find any statement online or on the packaging that indicates either way.  However, I tried it and had no reaction.  Use your best judgment.
Available flavors:
FitMiss Ignite™: Nutritional Information

I tried: Grape - it smells and tastes like Grape Kool Aid!

MusclePharm Assault
Gluten-free status: According to a Facebook response from MusclePharm, Assault is gluten-free.
Available flavors:
  • Blue arctic raspberry
  • Fruit punch
  • Green apple
  • Orange mango
  • Raspberry lemonade
  • Watermelon
I tried: None...yet.   

Gluten-free status: The allergen warning does mention possible contamination with wheat.  Use your best judgment!
Available flavors:
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Tropical Orange
I tried: None.  I haven't, but Scott looooves the pink lemonade.  It smells yummy!

Not happy with the choices? lists 16 additional gluten-free pre-workout options that I have not seen in my area nutrition shops or at the Arnold Classic.  

Happy eating!