Monday, October 22, 2018

You Can Be MORE Dairy Free

Is it possible? Is this an actual thing that someone can do- be MORE dairy free? Yes. Absolutely. And you can do it with more pizazz than you thought, with more tantalizing foods than you thought and even more education than you thought. How did this begin? Let's take a tiny step back to 2016 when I reviewed the first Go Dairy Free book written by Alisa Fleming. I adored this book, truly! I never lie, I never extend the truth because their is no need to do so. Life is short, you should love your foods (even with food allergies) so why tell people about crappy products and information. I don't. Her book made me identify with the passion to help on so many levels. With so much information, I knew that she was trying to jam pack so much into one book so that whoever was reading it would know that living a dairy free life is not a negative thing. It's just a new thing. And that life as a dairy free person should mean that it's time to take a look at your foods because your body is telling you to do so.

Flash forward to now, 2018 when I have the second edition of Go Dairy Free in my hands. The same amazing information but MORE. Because being dairy free and having food allergies has changed and improved so much over the past few years, why not share more? This may be a silly, non existent thing to some but I love the new cover. I am admittedly visual so the fresh new look with an undertone of muted teal looks inviting but  empowering at the same time. No, a book cover does not mean every book is what you need but it's a darn good start when you have just been diagnosed and need some reassurance that your foods will not break you.


So, I have both editions... what do I think? Let's get right to down to it.

Size Does Matter It's true. Knowledge is power and having 467 pages versus 288 pages means you automatically have 179 more pages of what you need to direct yourself to where you need to begin. When anyone is newly diagnosed with any type of food allergy, they need MORE. Sadly, physicians are limited on what they can give their patients to start out with. Alisa's book is not just a cookbook but it's also "the ultimate guide". Go Dairy Free is like a dairy free manual that everyone should receive with their diagnosis. And when people are diagnosed, yes they can Google information until their ears bleed but they don't want too. They want someone to just hand them one thing and say "This is all that you need to begin." 

Same Chapters, Updated Lingo I noted that the original chapters are still included but Alisa updated them with some new wording. Was that necessary? I believe so. Times change, people change and our attention span gets smaller and harder to captivate so yes, I feel the slightly revised chapter descriptions were just enough for the new edition. I mean, if you already had the first book and you got the second book, you would be looking for a reason to have the second book in hand, yes? This includes new words so readers understand that the original ideas are intact but improved.

MORE Recipes! What I did notice was the expanded recipe section. As I mentioned above, more information means more knowledge and more power. I am willing to bet that with the selection of ideas all captured here, the person picking up this book will be smiling. Not only are there recipes, but there are detailed charts of items that are also labeled with the page number and if they are also Vegan, egg free, gluten free, nut free, peanut free and soy free. In essence, this newest edition of Go Dairy Free is a surprise within a surprise. It's not just dairy free- it's more. There are even recipes that tell you how to make your own dairy free milk (and if you don't want too, there are plenty of suggestions on what you can purchase right off the shelf). 

And, My Continued Personal Pet Peeve STILL, no pictures!!! If you follow Go Dairy Free you know that the pages share brilliant, amazing, delicious looking dairy free photos every single day. So why are they not in the book? Or, perhaps even one photo per chapter? So much pride was taken in this book, so why not flaunt your photography skills as well? And, again, most people are visual creatures so why not entice them when they are flipping through your book? Alisa, you work hard and the people want to see what the recipes look like before they make them. Come one....


Please take a moment to check out all of the Go Dairy Free pages (yes, it's more than just a book!). You can visit on the web, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn. Thank you Alisa for sending me an updated copy of your book Go Dairy Free and for being super patient (I know, you sent it off to me weeks ago but I didn't forget about you!). Don't forget, with the holidays coming, this book would make a wonderful holiday gift as well! 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Plant Powered Gone Awesome

"Hey Tracy, I have this new product do you want to try it?" 
I love these emails! 


Food allergies. It's been a journey for me both with my son and myself. So why not get excited about new products? Foods have changed so much over the past 17 years since my son was born. People should love their foods, even with food allergies. But what I have also learned is that what you eat needs to be healthier, in more of it's purest form and your body will thank you for it. Do I eat this way always? No. But I do my best to continue to find products that fit into my lifestyle that are also a better product.

Enter Frooze Balls So I got this adorable box that had six varieties of Frooze Balls. My initial thought was "These are some tiny packages". There are five in each bag and as a mom whose children eat non stop, I couldn't help but be just a bit hesitant. Yet, nothing is better than eating my own words, literally. I have to say, just one of these plant-powered guys is filling! Brace yourself for my thoughts on their Peanut Butter variety (yes, my son is allergic and yes, I ate them then proceeded to wipe everything down including myself). Why? Because my son is 16 and he knows not to touch his allergic foods. I have learned that this should not limit me from trying products that I like or that may be liked by others as long as I am careful. The taste- a mild hint of peanut butter. It's hearty and what I initially thought was sugar was actually coconut.

Because Frooze Balls also contains fruit, most of the flavors are (in my opinion) mild. The size of the product is good- not so big that you feel as if you might choke on it if you eat the entire thing..which I may or may not have (snicker). The consistency is good- not dry or chalky and no weird aftertaste as sometimes can be found in some products. As far as the Salted Maple ..oh my! when you open up the bag, it smells like pancakes (well, to me at least). Although I noticed that I mainly tasted the raisin versus the maple. Still tasty but I had hoped for more maple... I guess that would also mean more sugar, which would defeat the purpose of the product.

STOP right here! 
The Salted Maple inspired a new recipe that takes a forever-favorite snack and ramps it up with extra protein.

Recipe Here

The flavor of the Salted Maple mixed with the cream cheese reminds me of the date nut bread my grandmother used to top with cream cheese.... there must be something with Frooze Balls and my childhood. You can use any of the Frooze Balls products for this snack but this was my choice.

The Fudgetastic was something that I brought to work with me one day. I've gotten into the bad habit of needing something sweet so I thought this would be better than my current sweets. I paired them with some apple slices and yes, my fudge craving was met with a lot less calories and sugar.

When you were little, did your mom ever get you those mini lemon pies? Or make lemon chiffon pie? Yes, those mass-produced, most likely GMO filled pies that had the gooey lemon center? UGH I loved them!!!! So when I got to the Lemon Cheesecake Frooze Balls, I was torn. On one hand, I was like "Oh yeah, lemon!" but then I was like "Hmm, lemon and all of these other flavors? I dunno". Opening the bag was like taking a whiff of my childhood... is it the way they make the bags maybe? I see a pattern here of when I open the bag. Whatever works, right? I am happy to report that the flavors did not overpower each other as expected.

Dark Forest...let's talk about this one for a minute. I think this may have been my personal favorite. These smell and taste like the most decadent chocolate ever with a hint of cherries. Only the cherry flavor doesn't hit you for a minute to two. It's like a bonus tasting. Either way, still a little piece of yumminess and something that I would eat again. I mean come on, chocolate!

In the midst of all of these sweeter tasting products, Frooze Balls also has a Mint & Cacao flavor (quick quiz- do you know how to pronounce cacao?). This was like tasting your favorite chocolate covered mint cookie or breaking open that little chocolate and green candy. Although very minty, it still wasn't overboard on the flavor.This is a definite possibility for when you need something a little on the lighter side or even to both curb your sweet tooth but also soothe your stomach.




Ingredients
ALL of the Frooze Balls contain dates, raisins or sultanas (it's a white, oval seedless grape... I Googled it), sunflower seeds, coconut and Himalayan salt. Depending upon the variety, there are some that contain peanut, cashew, almonds, cacao, lemon, mint, etc. I typically don't review products that contain nuts but as I stated above, I am looking at items for me as well (time for mama to see what is safe for her too).

Suggestions
I am super grateful for Frooze Balls sending me all of these goodies. In my true fashion of honest product reviews, I have some things that I would like to suggest as a consumer. Obviously, my suggestions may not be the same as other consumer suggestions but I always share them. One of the ingredients mentioned is "natural flavor" please be specific as to what this is. Natural flavor can mean anything and transparency always gives a product extra points with the consumers. Not to mention that something as simple as this may mean a huge something to a person who is allergic to that natural flavor.

Second suggestion (and bear with me because this may seem so trivial) - the tear on your packages pulls downward. This means that the likelihood of a consumer spilling all of your product on the floor and wasting it (or, using the 5 second rule) is very high. Maybe consider having it pull across the top which would more likely leave your Frooze Balls safe and sound until they are ready to be eaten.

All in all, these are a hearty little snack and I am thankful that Frooze Balls asked me to try them out. You can also find a 6 pack variety on their website at FroozeBalls.com and you can visit them on Instagram and Facebook. Give them a try and tell them you heard about them here (I just get a nice thank you). Because at the end of the day, it's all about food and sharing ~