This weekend I was pleased to be part of the blogger team for the GF&AF Expo held in Worcester, Massachusetts. This expo brought together consumers, brands, authors, and speakers for a fun filled day in learning about food allergies, celiac disease, and auto immune diseases.
My mission was to find new and healthy dairy free products. Let’s face it, just because a product is food allergy friendly and/or dairy free, that doesn’t mean it, is healthy. I consider a dairy free food healthy when it is made from organic and non-GMO ingredients, contain little or no added sugar, is low in sodium and is mostly preservative and additive free. Not everything fell into this category but many products did get my love and approval.
Here are my top healthy, dairy free finds that I hope you look for in your local grocery store. And if you can’t find these products, talk to your store manager and request the store start stocking these items.
OVERALL WINNER-BEST IN SHOW FOR TOP, HEALTHY, DAIRY FREE FIND-
Massel, based out of Australia, produces by far the best vegan soup stock I’ve tasted. If you’ve followed me long enough you know I advocate making your own vegetable stock. However, after tasting the Massel products I can give the ok to buy stock, but if it’s Massel. The Vegan broth comes in Vegetable, including salt reduced, “Chicken” and “Beef.” All of the stocks are of course dairy free, gluten free, lactose free, Trans fat and cholesterol free and contain no MSG. The sodium content is also very low, even in the non-salt reduced verities. My favorites are the low salt vegetable and “chicken.” The broth is rich and satisfying, warming and comforting. Not only would I use this product in many cooking varieties, but on a cold day it would be nice to have a pot of it available simply for sipping, just like a cup of tea. Massel make its stock available in cubes, liquid pouches and powder form. Massel is my top winner from the expo because it is healthy and dairy free but also portable, and the most versatile of all the products I sampled. It could easily be taken on trips, especially if you will have cooking facilities at your destination. Of course it can be made into soup, but also used in stews and chili, as a base for a sauce, used to mash potatoes or other root veggies, and the powder could be easily sprinkled over roasted vegetables or popcorn. I could go on and on but these are a few of the many uses for the Massel products. My husband came along on this trip and was a good resource to have since he has no food allergies and can eat anything. He thought the Massel broths were outstanding and tasted like something his grandmother made. He also loved the rich taste of the Vegan Chicken flavor and said no one would know it wasn’t actually chicken stock.
PERRENIAL FAVORITE- Enjoy Life Foods
I know I’ve said it before, but I love Enjoy Life Foods. So it was great to catch up with Katie at the Expo. The Enjoy Life Booth was swarmed the entire day and it’s easy to see why. All of its products are free of the top 8 allergens. I especially love Plentils which is a healthy chip made from lentils, and the company’s line of granola bars. Most exciting is its new line of baking mixes which of course are also Top 8 Free. I can smell the brownies baking now!
BEST SNACKS- Hope Bars, Rhythm Superfoods, Superseedz
I don’t regularly eat between meals or a lot of snacks in general, since I find most are empty calories. However, I do like keeping snack items in my car, purse, and gym bag for the times I am out, hungry, and need something quick. Here are some new dairy free finds that I got my love and approval:
Hope Bars are a delicious and healthy granola bar that is portable enough to carry in your purse, keep in your car or travel with. These bars are dairy free, gluten free, organic and non-GMO, contain no trans fat, and are wheat and rice free. And if this were not enough to make you want one right now, the bars are also high in fiber, protein and antioxidants while being low in sugar. The bars come in a variety of flavors and it was truly hard to pick a favorite since they are all equally delicious.
Kale is an all-around health food and Rhythm Superfoods has found a way to make a healthy snack out of kale. Kale chips are made by tossing fresh, organic kale with a variety of organic seeds, herbs, spices, and vegetable powder. The chips are gently air crisped under low heat to retain nutrients and health benefits and are packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The Kale Chips come in a variety of flavors, mine being the Mango Habanero, and are excellent for stashing in your car so you always have a healthy, dairy free snack, tossing in your purse, topping soups and salads or eating right out of the bag. Kale has never tasted so good!
SuperSeedz bills itself as a “tasty twist on one of nature’s healthiest snacks.” Yes we’re talking about pumpkin seeds. Containing no messy shells and full of plant based protein, iron, and zinc, the seeds are Vegan and Non-GMO verified , gluten free, peanut and tree nut free. I gave my love and approval to the entire line but especially to the Maple Superseedz. Try some and let me know which is your favorite.
Best Granola- Bakery On Main
If you haven’t tried Bakery on Main products you are missing out. Most granolas either are high in fat or contain dairy. Bakery on Main has neither. In fact, its products are dairy and Casein free, gluten and wheat free, low is salt and fat and non-GMO. Try a bag(actually several), either from your local grocery store or through the company’s online store. My favorite is the Cranberry Orange Cashew. Be sure to check out the Bakery on Main website and join its email club to get coupons and other savings.
Best Innovative Dairy Free Find – Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
Have you heard of Cassava Flour? Maybe you know it better as Yuca, a delicious root vegetable. When dried and ground into flour, this root is a perfect alternative to wheat and can be substituted 1 for 1 in most recipes. It contains no additives and is dairy free, gluten free and nut free- yet not free of flavor and texture! Treat your taste buds to something new and check out Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour!
Best Cheese Alternative – Daiya
I’ve been a longtime fan of Daiya Cheese so it was great to see it at the Expo. The dairy-free, soy-free and gluten free “cheese” that actually melts and stretches is a mainstay in my house. Get familiar with the many varieties of Daiya cheese and also new products coming from this company including cheesecake and Mac and Cheese.
Best Most Surprising Dairy Free Find – Munk Pack
Generally I don’t like foods that come in a squeeze tube. For some reason they all remind me of squeezable yogurt which reminds me of being sick from days before I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. However, I can now say I am very pleased to give DairyFreeGina Approval to Munk Pack, a mix of whole grain rolled oats, flax and fruit in a squeeze tube. Munk Pack products are gluten free oats, non-GMO and vegan. Munk Pack is the perfect, portable on the go food that’s perfect to fuel a workout, hike/camping adventure, or for a quick breakfast or snack.
What are some healthy, dairy free foods you’ve recently discovered? Which of my finds sounds the best to you? Share in our comment section.