Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Enjoy Life Foods Double Chocolate Crunch Granola

As some of you may know, I often get a lot of samples. And as many of you have probably figured out by now, I will often write very honestly about my opinions about samples and other products, particularly gluten free foods. I'm not afraid to say that I like something and I'm not afraid to say that I hate something either.

So when I decided to get more into my blogging and start heading toward getting more blogging experience which will keep up my journalism skills and help me find paid opportunities eventually, I started to contact a few companies.

I started with a company that I really love and inquired if they had media kits that I could utilize in my blogging. Often media kits provide more information about a company and for bloggers, they can include buttons that link back to the company website.

The company Enjoy Life Foods actually did something better than I expected and offered to send me two of their newest full size products to try out and review. One of those is the Double Chocolate Crunch Granola.

I hesitated about the granola. I've never really been a big fan of granola. It tends to be dry. And the idea of chocolate granola kind of freaked me out a little bit. The first thing I noticed about the packaging was the statement: "Handful of chocolate in every bite!"

My first impression agreed that this granola does pack a lot of chocolate in every bite. But alas, my disdain for granola was still at play. So, I decided to try it as a cereal with some vanilla almond milk. After all, they do make granola cereal, right? And I LOVED it!

Another thing about the packaging of this granola is that it claims to be in a stay fresh package. Sure enough, the package got moved and I left it alone for a couple of days. I came back to it and it was still as good as the day I opened it!

Now, about Enjoy Life Foods. I choose Enjoy Life Foods because with my recent wheat allergy, I have gone on a predominantly gluten free diet. Wheat makes my food allergy count somewhere around ten. I'm allergic to strawberries, raspberries, onions, plums, mushrooms, peanuts, chickpeas, dairy, wheat, and chicken. I'm lactose intolerant, high fructose corn syrup sensitive, and allergic to something called sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. I have to cut back on soy due to an underactive thyroid. And foods that have any cross-reactivity with grass, birch or latex (like avocados) could potentially cause an allergic reaction.

So with all of my food allergies and intolerances imagine how hard it is to find food I can not only eat but actually enjoy and like!

There are only three companies I know of so far that meets most of my special needs dietary restrictions. Enjoy Life Foods is one of those companies. The most familiar food item they have is their line of these super soft and chewy cookies. So when they offered to send me a package of the granola, I was excited to try it out!

How does Enjoy Life Foods meet my dietary needs? All of their products are free of gluten and the top eight allergies. The top eight allergies are those that the Food and Drug Administration deemed as the most frequent allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. Most of their products are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites and casein.

Founded in 2001, Enjoy Life Foods has been gluten-free certified, kosher-certified and halal-certified. As with many other companies that make gluten free foods, they are free of artificial ingredients, trans fats, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They have been featured on Food Network's Unwrapped, Plant Green's Emeril Green with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and ABC 7 Chicago's segment of Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids.

They can be found in many grocery stores and natural food stores in the United States and Canada and in over 15 online retailers. In the Birmingham, Ala. area, the Pelham Wal-Mart Supercenter, Whole Foods, Publix, Organic Harvest and Winn-Dixie have some of their products and they have been found in the commissary at Ft. Rucker in south Alabama.

My final verdict of this granola is that it takes a little bit of getting used to, but in the final analysis, I would definitely buy more of it once every other month as an instant snack and a quick bite.