National Oatmeal Day

I kind of love how there seems to be a celebratory day for everything nowadays. Why not celebrate the little things in life, right!?

Like oatmeal…

The top five reasons I love oats:

  1. Gluten-free oats exist – thank goodness!
  2. Oats make the best desserts – I love crumbles and crisps.
  3. Granola is one of my favourite foods. I like it with yogurt, on top of salad (try it!), as a dessert and straight from the bag as a ‘trail mix’.
  4. Overnight oats…they’re the best breakfast creation!
  5. Oatmeal is one of my favourite comfort foods. The smell is very nostalgic and reminds me of my grandparents house in the morning – they love their oatmeal!

I used to love Quaker Oats Chewy Oatmeal Bars…but sadly they aren’t gluten free. I always carried them around in my bag in case I needed a snack and I didn’t think they were too sweet or too crunchy. They were just the perfect combination of everything.

I had tried many different gluten free granola bars looking for the similar tastes and textures of my favourite Quaker Chewy Bars but it wasn’t until I stumbled across No Nuttin’ Granola Bars by Libre Naturals and found the gluten free equivalent (that was a great day).

They may not be exactly the same as Quaker, but they’re very close.

I just love them. They’re chewy, flavourful and similar in size.

The flavours include: Raisin, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Chip. Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip are my favourite. YUM – I am craving these as I type this review.

Gluten Free Granola Bars

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The unfortunate part is that they’re not very accessible. I have had a hard time tracking these bars down!

Many health food/specialty stores have them, but they’re not in the big grocery store chains yet.

Check out their store locator to find a store near you

I usually buy mine at FEAST on Queen St. W, but I’ve also found them at The Specialty Food Shop located in SickKids.

Not only are these bars gluten/wheat free, they’re also free of the top ten allergens. No eggs, fish, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, sesame seeds, shellfish, soy, or sulphites. Pretty great eh? You would think without any of these ingredients they may be tasteless, but they are the total opposite – they’re amazing.

The only thing I would love is if they were sold in boxes of five or six – I’ve only found them to be sold individually.

Libre Naturals also makes amazing oatmeal to go. Pop off the lid and follow the instructions – which includes pouring in boiled water and letting it sit for a few minutes with the lid on – and voila, your breakfast is ready. The flavours are delicious and the oatmeal is nice and filling.

Gluten free oatmeal
Happy National Oatmeal Day, oatmeal lovers! What is/are your favourite thing(s) about oats?

A healthy couch potato

There’s no doubt about it, we all love to snack. A bowl of salty, crunchy chips with some salsa in front of the TV is a great way to be mindless. Too bad potato chips aren’t very healthy though….

Until now! Have you heard of Way Better Snacks? They are sprouted ingredient chips and are a wonderful alternative to plain-Jane potato chips. When ingredients are sprouted (or germinated), the vitamins and minerals become more bio-available to the body. Sprouted ingredients increase the amount of vitamins and minerals, increase digestibility and they increase nutrient absorption. Sounds a little too healthy for a snack food, doesn’t it?

I was very happy to be able to review these healthy chips. Some chip companies claim to be a healthy alternative, but they have no real nutrients to them. Way Better Snacks contain ingredients such as flax, quinoa, radish seeds, black beans, brown rice, broccoli seeds and chia seeds. With all of these healthy seeds, beens and sprouts, you would think they would make a better salad than a chip. Wrong. They are a delicious chip and have the flavour of both corn tortillas and SunChips. Each serving contains 420mg of omega 3 fatty acids, which is almost half of the daily requirements for omega 3s/day, according to the Dieticians of Canada website.

 

 

Flavour profiles:
 
Sweet Chili: I found the Sweet Chili to be more ‘chili’ than ‘sweet’. It had a bit of a kick to it, which added some nice flavour. I found them to be very rich though, which swayed me away from eating half the bag in one sitting!
Unbeatable Blues: These were a simple, blue-corn-based (non GMO) chip that had just a touch of pure sea salt and offered a lovely crunch. I liked these ones and they were great dipped in salsa.
Black Bean: The colour of these chips set me off a bit, they look a bit grey, which is due to the sprouted black beans. You could definitely taste the black beans in these chips as well. I liked them, but they weren’t my favourite out of the bunch.
Multi-Grain: I liked these ones the best. The taste was very reminiscent of SunChips and the variety of grains added a lot of crunch. There was a bit of a nutty flavour to these and they were awesome dipped in hummus.

 

I would highly recommend these chips if you’re in the mood for a snack. Although they are super healthy, they won’t make you feel guilty if you “indulge” a bit. If you are in the mood for a lazy day, grab a bag and be a “healthy” couch potato!

Back to School Essentials

We are almost into October, the first month back to school is coming to an end. Whether you started a new school year, have children in school, or you work at a school, the first few weeks of a new routine with school are always rewarding.

I have been very busy with my first month at a new school in a post graduate degree studying public relations. It has been an amazing few weeks and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings. I thought I would share my favourite back to school items that have made (and make) my time at school less stressful and more organized. I also have a fun, colourful contest giveaway for you…so read on!

1. Germs Away Mist – Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature: It’s pretty amazing how many toxic ingredients are in everyday skin care and beauty products, especially chemical-laden hand sanitizer. If something smells so harsh (like hand sanitizer) why should we be rubbing it into our skin? The Mist is a fantastic alternative and great to carry around in your school bag to exterminate any germs. Spray it around your lunch area before eating, spray into your hands, use to freshen up your locker and freshen your knapsack. It’s made with all natural ingredients and essential oils to create a fresh smell. The bonus is that it’s also Canadian!

2. Essie Good to Go – I absolutely love Essie’s Good To Go Top Coat. It is the best top coat I have found hands down. It helps to dry polish quicker than normal and it creates a beautiful fresh, hard shine. It makes my nails look like I visited the salon. It’s about $11.99 and helps to save a bundle on manicure visits.

3. Blu Dot Beverages – No GMO’s, no artificial ingredients, gluten free, 12g of protein, 6g of fibre and low in sugar. How good does that sound? It’s a tea based drink that fills you up. Crazy right!? I love this because it’s an easy alternative to a smoothie or protein powder and it tastes like a delicious tea. It’s the perfect snack or addition to a meal and is the perfect drink to throw in your bag if you are rushed in the morning to make breakfast. The protein in it is derived from New Zealand whey, and trust me, it actually does fill you up.

4. enerjive SKINNY Quinoa Crackers – A chocolate cracker…sounds different right? enerjive SKINNY Quinoa Crackers in FIX Chocolate are my favourite flavour from this amazing gluten free Canadian brand. enerjive comes in 5 flavours and they are “crackers with benefits”. The benefits are that they contain high quality gluten free grains, they are low in the glycemic index, great for metabolism, full of protein and low in calories. They also taste delicious and are another perfect snack to keep you satisfied until lunch or dinner. I keep these in my backpack at all times in case hunger strikes in-between meals.

5. pur gum – I just thought I would throw in this new find of mine. Pur gum is aspartame free and sweetened with xylitol, a natural occurring sugar alcohol that makes a great alternative to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. I just love the fact that this gum is pure – it’s gluten free, vegan, nut free, diabetic friendly and dairy free. I like the spearmint flavour. Mmmmm.

6. Poppin Notebook – I’m a sucker for a fresh new notebook. Clean pages, the smell of fresh paper and a place to make fresh looking notes. I know, pretty nerdy right? I really love this new find. I found Poppin school supplies at Indigo and loved how reasonably priced they were. I’m a huge fan of the Moleskin notebooks, but $20 for a bunch of blank pages bound together is a bit pricey. Poppin notebooks are affordable ($9 for a 5×8 book with 192 pages), come in fun colours and they resemble Moleskins. They also have a nice ribbon bookmark attached to easily find the page you left off. I’ve been using my lime green notebook to keep track of daily to-do lists. I just love making lists.

7. Crystal Light Liquid Drink Mix – A great, quick, zero calorie juice alternative is Crystal Light Liquid Drink Mix. They’re small and compact so you can easily throw one in your backpack or purse. Just add a couple drops to your water bottle and let your water magically transform into a yummy flavoured juice. There are four flavours…’Strawberry Lemonbabe’, ‘Mango Passionate’, ‘Iced Tease Me’ and ‘Blueberry Raz’. My favourites are the ‘Mango Passionate’ and ‘Iced Tease Me’.

8. Poppin Pens – I didn’t just walk out of Indigo with a Poppin notebook, I also bought a 12 pack box of Poppin Signature Pens for $12. I thought my notebook would want a new pen…not that I needed anymore though! I was obviously drawn to the sleek look and colour of these pens, but I also was quite impressed with the flow of the ink. They write very easily. I think they’re my new favourite pen.

….So now for the giveaway. The lovely people from Crystal Light Canada will send one lucky Canadian winner a Crystal Light prize pack. All you have to do is:

1. Comment below mentioning your favourite back to school essential and what Crystal Light flavour you would like to try. AND

2. Follow @gutgazette on Twitter and mention that you entered to win the Crystal Light prize pack. Be sure to include @gutgazette and @CrystalLightCA in your tweet.

*Only open to Canadian residents.

The draw will take place October 7, 2013 at 7pm. Good luck!