Friday, May 22, 2009

Vegan with a Peanut Allergy? Have I got a product for you...

While perusing the shelves of the grocery store near my work, I found myself in the 'raw food' section of the store.

Raw Food, you ask? What the monkey?!? Here's an explanation.

Here's the thing. I've been transitioning our diet at home into more of a vegetarian one (yes, me, the one who LOVES short ribs). Why? Lots of reasons. Health mainly. So there I was, in the raw section of the store, just checking things out. Living in Northern California certainly provides you with many opportunities to try new things, right there in the local grocery store (even at our local Safeway). And raw food is just another subset of the vegan lifestyle.

But as many of you out there have probably noticed, it seems that a vegetarian diet relies A LOT on nuts for protein and a vegan diet even more so.

So I'm NOT an expert on vegetarian/vegan diet so please don't blast me on this, it's just what I've observed in my limited research. I mean, check out this place in San Francisco: Cafe Gratitude. The menu looks amazing, but so many of the dishes have some sort of nut product in them: I wouldn't put B two feet near the place. They even have a disclaimer on their menu that anyone with a nut allergy should avoid eating there - which I actually appreciate, don't you?

So where was I? Oh yeah, the raw food section of the store. I was looking at all the 'bars' in the section, thinking that they would be good for me, but NONE of them would work for B as they'd be loaded with peanut butter, almonds, cashews - you name it.

But then, like a beacon, these appeared:
GoRaw Live 'Granola' Bars
  • 100% Gluten Free
  • 100% Nut Free
  • 100% Wheat Free
  • 100% Vegan (that means no milk or eggs!)
You can't really see it in this photo, but on the label, they say their production line/facility is 100% vegan, 100% certified gluten/wheat free, 100% nut free and 100% certified organic.

I bought one, but was skeptical about giving it to B in case there would be cross contamination issues. But an email to the company confirmed their claims (although they DO use coconut in their facility, which the FDA considers a tree nut, so if you're avoiding coconut many of their products wont work for you).

The ingredients are:
  • Buckwheat Groats
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Raisins
  • Dates
Again, be aware that the granola bar contains sesame seeds and sunflower seeds (I didn't ask how/where they source their sunflower seeds). B isn't allergic to either of these seeds, so I decided to try it out.

I didn't know if B would like it. It tastes really mild, but it's not like your usual Quaker Oats chocolate chip bars (not that she's had those - they have a peanut warning!). I gave her a little sliver, thinking she wouldn't want any more, but she ended up eating half the bar! She then proceeded to ask what other flavors they have? I bought a Banana Bread flax bar at Whole Foods yesterday, so we'll put that to the test over the weekend. You can check out their other flavors here.

The other product they have that I am in LOVE with are these:

Original Super Cookies
These little wafers of goodness (about the size of a quarter each) are SO addictive that I can't stop myself from gobbling them up! The ingredients are:
  • Organic Coconut
  • Sprouted Organic Sesame Seeds
  • Organic Date
The GoRaw product line includes all sorts of other products which you can see here. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan with a peanut allergy I would check their products out (they even have a store locator on their site - I input a few random zip codes and found them all over the USA).

Warning: these aren't the cheapest snacks out there - the bars are almost $3 a pop (ouch!) - but it's nice to find a product that fits our niche. I'll continue to buy them as long as B wants to eat them.

Even if you aren't vegetarian/vegan you might find a good snack bar for your child with non-peanut/tree nut protein in it that they can take along on a field trip or hike. I'm always looking for something non-sugary to take in my purse on an outing instead of chips or fruit leather (that gets boring every time) so I think the bars or super cookies will fit the bill. I'm thinking of grabbing a few bags of the cookies for our earthquake emergency kit.

So that's it. A little shout out for a local-to-me company making a tasty little product!

Finally I want to say that I was NOT asked to review these items, nor was I given them for free or anything like that. I found them on my own and wanted to let you guys know about them.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

p.s. how is it that you can still be vegetarian and eat eggs? i don't get it. it's still a chicken, isn't it?


seamaiden said...

Good question. An egg is generally not fertilized, so it does not have the chance to actually become a chicken. In my opinion, the only reason NOT to eat eggs is the quality of life of the chicken that creates the egg (or lack thereof), but that's more of a vegan argument than vegetarian. It's something to think about, but as a gluten-free vegetarian I have enough restrictions that I don't need to overly complicate things. (although I have experimented with veganism in the past for precisely the above concerns).


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Oh thanks for posting this!! With my newly gluten free status I have been struggling! These both look delish and even if the boy won't eat them, I will. I am not vegetarian, but I don't like meat and don't eat much of it and since we don't have nuts in the house it's hard to find protein in places other than beans (and too many beans just isn't pleasant) and tofu is fine but I haven't found too many recipes to jazz it up and I get bored easily. I'll be heading over to the natural foods store this weekend to pick up some ginger juice, so I'll see if they carry those here. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this! Great news! My son is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. However, we do eat coconut... all the time. I've read and have been told by my allergist that coconuts are not actually tree nuts and that they're in the "date" family. Their name is a misnomer. Hope that helps!
Thanks for all your posts! It means so much to the rest of us allergy moms!

alison - said...

I always see the Raw products and consider them, and then I see the price! Also, a lot of Raw products have nuts, so I usually steer clear, but I'm glad to know that you tried these. I will now try them for my daughter also! Thanks for writing about it -- sometimes these little pieces of information are so helpful!

Gab said...

Thanks for the comments everyone :)

Just to clarify since Anonymous mentioned it. The FDA classifies coconut as a tree nut (I'll update the post to link to their classification) so that's why they are called out in this post. Many avoid it (not me tho)!

Gab (aka Peanut Free Mama)

Sarah said...

Awesome - am going to check it out tomorrow!!