Apr 24

Gluten Free Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods

Ramen Noodles. Oh how I’ve missed you. In college you got me through many a late nights studying and cramming for my exams. But when I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in 2009 I had to stop eating ramen. I knew I would never eat ramen noodles again. Those deliciously, unhealthy, super cheap, readily available, and easy to make noodles were never to be a part of my life again. Or so I thought.

Ramen is no longer out of bounds for those of us on gluten free diets! Lotus Foods, a California based company that specializes in exotic rice, has introduced a rice-based gluten free ramen.

Traditionally, ramen, a Japanese-style noodle, is made from wheat, but Lotus Foods has found a way to make this noddle from rice instead.

The Rice Ramen is:

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Rice Ramen is available in three flavors: Forbidden Rice® Ramen; Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen; and Millet & Brown Rice Ramen. You have a choice of buying individual ramen cakes with savory reduced-sodium miso soup flavor packets to make an instant bowl of nourishing noodle soup, or a package of four ramen noodle cakes packaged together without any flavor packets. The later is great for making your own soup. Try adding shrimp, scallions and sweet onions to vegetable broth to make a satisfying soup, or top ramen noodles with Asian styled stir fried vegetables and chicken.

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Not only are the noodles easy to make, and in 4 minutes no less, but they provide a convenient bowl of flavorful and nourishing soup. Lotus Foods Rice Ramen is much healthier than the leading brands of ramen you typically see on store shelves. With less fat and sodium, and more nutritious, they are enjoyable even for those who do not have to avoid gluten.

The Forbidden Rice® Ramen is made from heirloom black rice. In addition to being gluten free, Forbidden Rice® is one of the most nutritious ancient grains, and a good source of antioxidants.

The noodles are very dark purple, almost black in color and have a delicious nutty and earthy flavor. This is one of my favorite varietals of rice.

The broth was a very light white miso with mushrooms and tamari, and 33% less sodium than regular Ramen soups. The rice gave the broth strong purple hues.

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The Jade Pearl is a green organic ramen infused with chlorophyll-rich bamboo extract. The main ingredient is Jade Pearl rice. I didn’t know anything about this rice, but according to Lotus Foods,

When cooked, this beautiful jade-colored rice produces the aroma of a bamboo forest, a light vanilla taste, and an explosion of health-giving nutrients. Our Organic Jade Pearl Rice makes an especially pretty plate presentation, sushi, Asian style risotto and dessert pudding.”

The noodles are really interesting with an earthy flavor and great texture.

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Millet and brown rice are two if the most nutritious and easily digestible grains. The Millet and Brown Rice Ramen comes with a savory red miso broth packet. The noodles, on their own, have a wholesome nutty taste.

For a complete meal, add your favorite vegetables and proteins to any of the miso soups.

Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been sourcing fair-trade ingredients from small family farmers around the world who are growing rice sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. The company’s objective is not only to help rice farmers earn a living wage but to bring healthier rice choices to consumers. Lotus Foods line of products include nine organic rice varieties, whole grain rice, heat and eat rice bowls, cookbooks, rice cookers, and more.

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The Rice Ramen Miso Soup retails for $2.29 ( 2.8 oz. pouch) or a 10 pack for $19.90. The Rice Ramen noodles retail for $6.59 (10 oz. bag) or $35.54 for a 6 pack. Available online and in most natural food and co-op stores, gourmet/specialty markets, and chain grocery stores. I have seen some of their products at the Whole Foods Charles River Plaza location.

Stay tuned for more delicious rice products from Lotus Foods coming soon!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

 

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This entry was posted in dairy free, Kosher, Noodles, organic, Product Review, Rice, Soup, Vegan and tagged , , , , , , , on 24 April, 2014.

Apr 23

Product Review: Adovia Purifying Mud Mask

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I recently tried the Adovia Purifying DMud Mask, with Pure Dead Sea Mud, Aloe Vera and Vitamin C. I haven’t used a facemask product since I was in high school and my girlfriends and I had “spa days’’.

I’m always looking for products that help my skin feel and look better; especially after this bitter winter we had, it did a number on my skin.  I prefer products with natural ingredients, although I don’t always stick to this rule.  I was super excited when ADOVIA asked me to review their Purifying Mud Mask.

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The Purifying Mud Mask is made with pure Dead Sea mud, Aloe Vera, and Vitamin C, for all skin types.

ADOVIA’s unique Purifying Mud Mask is formulated with Dead Sea Black Mud, Beeswax and a deeply moisturizing combination of Jojoba Oil, Evening Primrose Oil and Olive Oil.  This natural mask boosts cell renewal and revitalizes your skin, while tightening your pores.  As the mask dries, it gently pulls out toxins and impurities known to clog pores and cause visible signs of aging. The presence of Dead Sea mud infuses your skin with needed minerals while firming it and improving elasticity. Aloe Vera and Chamomile extracts soothe and calm your skin while Vitamins A and C leave it looking fresh and renewed.

I was impressed by the size of the product; a 150ml tube contains enough mask for about 30 treatments!  That works out to only $1 per treatment.

It has a nice earthly smell, not stinky. The mask went on smoothly and took about 15 minutes to dry. The mask came off easily with a warm washcloth and although I did not notice a drastic change it did leave my skin feeling baby soft. Now this was only after one use, so I’m not sure what it my skin will feel or look like after a few more uses.
About the product:

ADOVIA is a unique skin care line, combing natural ingredients with modern science to formulate an effective blend of minerals and the finest herbal ingredients nature has to offer. If you are looking to improve your skin for a reasonable price, then this is a great product you should try!

Covered in mud, Dead Sea, Israel 2011

Covered in mud, Dead Sea, Israel 2011

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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This entry was posted in Product Review and tagged on 23 April, 2014.

Apr 22

Product Review: Good Boy Organics Organicasaurus Baked Organic Corn Snacks

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Founded in 2012, Good Boy Organics is a company dedicated to providing delicious, healthy products that are USDA Certified Organic and verified by the Non-GMO Project.  They carry a line of baked organic potato snacks (BOPS), baked organic corn snacks (Organicasaurus), and organic sauces.  I am all about trying healthy organic foods, so I was thrilled when the company sent me samples of their Organicasaurus to try.

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Organicasaurus Dinosaur-shaped Baked Organic Corn Snacks are the only cheese corn puff on the market that can say it’s USDA Organic.Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 4.42.39 PM

They come in three flavors: Cheddar Cheese, Tangy Tomato, and Sea Salty.

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The Sea Salty – I love that this flavor is not greasy, not heavy salted, and not heavily coated with flavor. I also love the fact these snacks provide me with the crunch I desire, but not the calories.

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The Cheddar Cheese flavor is light and crispy—with just the right amount of real cheese. I really loved the shape of these snacks—who doesn’t love dinosaur shaped snacks?— and how they did not have an overpowering cheesy/salty flavor or leave cheese residue all over my fingers. Fun-shaped for kids and delicious for adults; it’s a win-win.

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The Tangy Tomato was my least favorite.  I did not like the taste very much.

They are oven baked, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, and contain 40% less fat than regular cheese corn puffs.  At only 140 calories per serving, equivalent to 14 puffs, it’s a snack you can feel good about eating.

Good Boy Organics products are available at grocery stores and specialty food stores across the country, with over 30 locations in Massachusetts.

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Has really good, really healthy food ever been this fun?

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

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This entry was posted in organic, Product Review, Snack and tagged , , on 22 April, 2014.

Apr 21

Bulu Box Review & 50% off code

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Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Help reach your health and fitness goals with monthly motivation from Bulu Box! Bulu Box is the best way to discover health, wellness, nutrition, and weight loss products. Each monthly sample box is filled with 4 to 5 premium products selected to help you feel your best. Look forward to a new mix monthly for both women and men that include: vitamins, weight loss, energy, protein, digestion, sleep support, fitness DVDs, healthy food utensils and more.

Bulu Box memberships are just $10 a month. Monthly plans can be canceled any time. If you sign up for a year subscription you get 1 month free!

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The box

They do their best to put items in your Bulu Box that match your account profile. However, at a basic level they offer two box types to choose from:

Bulu Box: This box provides a well-rounded sampling of all health and nutrition products. Each box contains 4 to 5 premium samples plus lifestyle extras like gym gift cards or DVDs from time to time. Every box is a feel good discovery.

Bulu Box Weight Loss: As the first and only weight loss subscription box, this box was designed specifically to help you lose weight! Each box contains 4 to 5 premium weight loss items such as vitamin and supplement samples, fitness gear and healthy eating tools. Discover products to help you succeed with weight loss.

Bulu Box may include samples that contain nuts. Please refer to individual sample product pages and/or packaging for allergy information. If you would like to know about the products in your box prior to receiving it, just email Hello@BuluBox.com and they’ll provide information on each sample. If you are unable to use a particular sample, they’ll do their best to replace it with something you can use!

I was sent a Bulu Box to review.

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Here’s what was inside….

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Tapaz 2 Go Crackers and Hummus – This single serve pouch of lentil crackers is paired with protein-rich hummus. The convenient gluten free non-GMO mini-meal with satisfy a hunger craving or make for a great afternoon or on-the-go, snack.

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Body Glove Surge Energy Gel – Go the extra mile…or two. Surge Energy gel is the first all-natural energy gel specially designed to extend endurance and give you lasting entering so you can maximize every workout.

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Unlike other energy products that contain a combination of caffeine and other chemicals, some of which have been shown to be harmful, the secret of Body Glove SURGE is a proprietary combination of green tea, protein, coconut water, natural energy‐rich carbohydrates, and powerful antioxidants from fruits and berries, and has 30% less caffeine than 5-hour Energy. Body Glove Surge shots contain milk, soy and tree nuts.

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Rootology – A blend of concentrated herbal extracts that support nasal, sinus and eye health for dramatic seasonal allergy relief. None of the ingredients contain gluten. However, they do not analyze the gluten content so cannot claim it is gluten free.

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Smarty Pants Adult Multi Vitamins – This tasty all-in-one gummy vitamin for adults contains added Omenga-3’d and Vitamin D.  Smarty Pants Adult Vitamins are gluten and casein free and made with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

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NeoCell Beauty Bursts – Beauty Bursts deliver high absorption beauty nutrients in delectable soft chews. Beauty Bursts contain collagen type 1 and 3 to firm and smooth skin while also improving hair and nails. Beauty Bursts are all natural, gluten free and soy free, and contain no artificial flavorings. One serving size (2 soft chews) contains only 40 calories.

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BSN N.O.-XPLODE – This supplement is said to product maximum energy and efficiency during workouts. The packaging shows no sign of any ingredients containing gluten, however it does have an allergen warning stating: “Manufactured on equipment which processes products containing milk, egg, soybeans, shellfish, wheat, and tree nuts.”

Earn 50 points ($5) or more each month by reviewing, sharing and completing short surveys. Use your Reward Points to purchase full-size version of the products that work best for you!

Bulu Box gave me two 50% off codes to share with my readers:

1. Purchase a 3-month subscription and get your first Bulu Box FREE with code: JUMPONIT3 ($15)
2. Purchase a 6-month subscription and get your first 3 months FREE with code: JUMPONIT6 ($30)

Join the discovery and find a healthier you!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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This entry was posted in fitness, Product Review and tagged , on 21 April, 2014.

Apr 19

Instacart – Grocery Delivery comes to Boston!

You can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99. Sounds too good to be true, right?

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Well thanks to Instacart, a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour, this is actually possible. Instacart, a website and an app where you order your groceries from your favorite stores, recently launched in Boston and connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores. In Boston, this includes Whole Foods, Shaw’s, Market Basket and Costco. Instacart is not affiliated with these stores, but it makes shopping there so much easier.

I have a busy life and getting to the grocery store is not always easy, nor is it on the top of my “favorite things to do” list. I mean who likes going to the grocery store at 5pm? The lines are long, the people are moody, and I’m usually hungry. And lets face it, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to go to the grocery store.

Eating a gluten free diet makes this even more of a chore. I shop at multiple food stores because each one offers different gluten free items or significantly different prices for the same product. Instacart lets you mix and match from various stores. So rather than having to run all over the city to different grocery stores, someone else can do the schlepping for me!

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With delivery prices as low as $3.99, and free for orders $35 or more this is a no brainer. I can definitely spend $35 in one shopping trip, thanks to the high prices of gluten free items. The minimum order is $10. Deliveries can be made in less than two hours but can also be scheduled for specific times or days when you’ll be home. The company says its fastest delivery was made in 12 minutes. Instacart also offers a service similar to Amazon Prime: for $99 a year, all under two hour deliveries over $35 are free.

I placed my first order at 5pm today. I ordered items from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods. It was easy to browse items by aisle, as you would in a grocery store, and I could filter by brand and/or dietary preferences including gluten free, organic, kosher, and vegan. This was a huge time saver. I was impressed with the number of gluten free products on the site. It’s not like food delivery/take out sites that don’t always list the gluten free options- you know what I mean, we’ve all been there.

Can’t find what you are looking for? It’s impossible to list every single item a grocery store carries. Luckily there is an option to Add a Special Request/Custom Item. All you have to do is include a description of what you are looking for the, the more specific the better, and you can even add a photo, which I did to make it easier for the shopper.

What happens if something is out of stock? When something is out of stock at the store Instacart will do their best to replace it with something similar. During checkout, you can choose specific replacements for any item, or ask for no replacement of an item. If you allow it, your shopper will call from the store to confirm replacement items.

You can view the status of your order and make changes and if the Shopper has not started working on your order, you can add to, modify or cancel your order very easily.

My first order:

Placing my order was super easy. I ordered food from both Shaw’s and Whole Foods.

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Photo Courtesy of Instacart, this was not my actual order.

My shopper called me because an item I wanted wasn’t in stock, but they had another flavor, so I told her that was ok. She also told me she was having a hard time finding the special request item I had added to my order. That didn’t surprise me because I know that not all Whole Foods carry that very new item. A few minutes later I received a text message with an estimated delivery time. My shopper actually arrived 15 minutes before the estimated time, I can’t complain about that!

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I was impressed with the quality or service and communication. I also really liked the convenience and ease of the entire processes.

Prices are set by Instacart and may vary from what you may see in your store or your sales flyer. However, you will see the price for each item when selecting your grocery list. I found that the prices were very similar, if not the same, as what I typically pay for my groceries. For example a carton of Almond Breeze Almond Milk at Whole Foods cost $1.99 in the store and on Instacart. There were some items that seemed a bit high to me, Barbara’s Bakery Puffins at Whole Foods sell for $3.99 and a bit more at Shaw’s, about $5.99-$6.99. On Instacart the price at Whole Foods was also $3.99 but at Shaw’s the Puffins cost $7.99.

After your order(s) is delivered you receive both a text and e-mail. If any replacements had been made the e-mail will show this as well as the adjusted price. You are also asked to rate and tip your shopper. Tipping is not required but shoppers appreciate recognition of their hard work. You can tip in cash or using your credit card during checkout or after delivery.

Instacart is available in and around Boston 7 days/week from 9am-midnight, depending on local store hours.