I’m often asked what are some of my favorite products that I use in my home that make life easier and better. Well, here is a short list of those that I’ve found in 2011 and would love to send some gratitude and love to these hard-working companies. Please note that no one listed here has sent me anything, nor paid to be included in this list. This is honest-to-goodness stuff that I buy when I go to the store and personally use.
Ancient Grain Granola – Purely Elizabeth
After trying so many different types of gluten-free granolas out there, Purely Elizabeth’s has consistently come out on top this year. Incredibly tasty, perfectly crunchy (for both breakfast or a snack), and made with real ingredients, Ancient Grain Granola is a staple in my home. You can check out a review I wrote about it here. Sweetened with coconut palm sugar, it offers the right hint of sweetness from an unrefined, mineral-rich, low glycemic sweetener. Yum!!
Gluten Free Oatmeal – Holly’s Oatmeal
If you need to whip up some ‘instant’ gluten-free oats in the morning, then you better check out Holly’s Oatmeal. I found it by accident in the grocery store and have fallen in love with the fact that I can cook up a hot cereal in about 3 minutes. This product has a good amount of fiber and is easily adaptable – these days I add some cut up apple, pumpkin pie spice, nut butter and raisins! (Please not that not ALL her oatmeals are gluten-free.)
Sparkling Water – Dr. Ayala’s Herbal Water
I ♥ sparkling water and the herb-infused sparkling water from Dr. Ayala’s Herbal Water has become a wonderful treat on my table. You can check out a review I posted earlier in the year if you want to know more about these awesome beverage choices. My personal obsession is with the Sparkling Lemongrass Mint Vanilla lately.
Plus, Dr. Ayala is from my hometown, Philly – so happy to see a local health-conscious company extending their reach to the broader markets. Your non-alcohol drinking friends will LOVE this as a sparkling NYE toasting option!
Single Serving GF Tamari packets – San-J
I found out about these single serving packets back in September when I was JUST starting to get into eating avocado rolls. Now that they’ve become one of my favorite things to get when we eat out, I carry a few packets of these gluten-free tamari packets in my handbag so that I can feel like I’m eating just like everyone else at the sushi restaurant (sans gluten, of course!). A box of these packets are sold along side where I normal buy tamari.
Just a word to the wise – they don’t have a lower sodium variety so please just use one packet at a meal to keep your sodium intake to a more reasonable level.
Gluten Free Pizza Dough Mix – Bob’s Red Mill
I never thought that I’d enjoy making my own pizza crust, especially since I couldn’t add any eggs. When I found the GF version from Bob’s Red Mill that also offered the option to sub out the eggs, I was thrilled! The crust is awesome and you’ll end up with enough to make two decent sized pies that are probably about 16-inches around. If you do sub out the eggs, I personally have gotten into the habit of using chia seeds over flax (seems to have more of a binding effect), but flax works fine too if that’s all you have around the house. A nice treat when you occasionally feel like some pizza!
Coconut Manna – Nutriva
Personally I love coconut and never imagined that you could eat something so simple and tasty spread across anything your heart desires until my friend introduced me to Coconut Manna. Completely creamy at any temperature and totally low maintenance (you don’t need to refrigerate this), Coconut Manna has the consistency similar to peanut butter, but the rich, lightly sweet taste of coconut. It’s totally worth trying if you love coconut!
In the Kitchen
I’m honestly committed to getting out as much processed stuff from my diet as possible AND reduce the amount of waste that my household produces. Those tetrapaks from buying almond milk do not breakdown nor can be recycled. So, I took the plunge this Autumn and began making my own almond milk. My husband loves the homemade almond milk (he would only drink sweetened rice milk before) and there’s no waste since you can save the pulp leftover from the process to bake with.
If you want to get one (they’re super cheap and reusable!), head on over to the GFS store and look under Kitchen Supplies for the one that I have. It has the recipe that I follow printed on the packaging so you can get started right away!
Castille Soap – Dr. Bronner’s
You may have seen these in the store and ignored them as I did for years! Dr. Bronner’s soap is the most wonderful thing I’ve found this year for my skin. I had terrible problems in the past with my skin drying out after a shower from soap. Now, those are completely gone. I use the liquid soap which goes a long way! Only natural ingredients are used and all products are gluten-free.
Organic Sesame Oil – Banyan Botanicals
Yes, sesame oil. No, not the stuff you cook with! I use sesame oil that’s a suitable grade to place on my skin post-shower (especially!) and whenever I need an extra boost of moisture in the colder months. Sesame oil is a warming oil which means that it helps to bring warmth into your skin and body (thus I do not use it in the warmer months).
Totally natural, it’s the best stuff for your skin hands down. All those nasty body lotions out there loaded with ingredients you can’t even pronounce aren’t helping your dry skin. If anything, they can cause it to dry out faster and irritate cracked areas. Sesame oil is soothing, warming and just lovely stuff to nourish your skin in the wintertime.
Toothpaste (Flouride-free) – Jasön
A more natural gluten-free alternative, Jasön offers some good Flouride-free alternatives. Though you may never have thought about it, flouride (despite what your dentist will tell you) is actually VERY toxic. If you turn your toothpaste or mouthwash over, chances are you’ll find a warning from poison control on the back. Even though this stuff might just go in your mouth, I frankly find using something with a poison warning on it disturbing.
I stopped using flouride toothpaste about 3 years ago and haven’t had any oral issues (still no cavities!). This year, I found Jasön toothpaste and it meets many of my criteria – a flouride-free (note: some of their products do contain flouride, so you need to read the packaging before purchase) natural blend as well as gluten-free and cost-effective.