The majority of this blog has been dedicated to gluten-free and vegan recipes, but as a mom who works an average of a 45-hour work week, with a 45-minute commute each way, I can tell you that sometimes breaks are necessary. But even when you give yourself a break, you shouldn't be hurting yourself with foods that will make you sick. But we may need to cut corners to save time occasionally, or treat ourselves to a familiar "normal" food to deal with the huge amount of stress that surrounds us daily. That is why I am excited to announce that I am starting to highlight vegan and gluten-free product reviews on Radiate the Day! The first of which is a selection of Ener G Foods!
Most people who are long-time vegan or gluten-free may be familiar with this company, as they have been around since 1962. My first experience with them was with their Egg Replacer, which is a quick add-in for any vegan/ gluten-free baker. Ener G Foods had a slew of products which I had never tried. As a note, the company has split their products into Ener G and Ener G Select. The distinction between the two is that Ener G Select products have egg, so if that is not a part of your diet, please be aware and always read your labels.
I sampled 3 types of Ener G Foods' Pretzels (Original, Garlic, and Sesame), their Light Tapioca Loaf, and their Cinnamon Cookies. The 8 Grain Bread (pictured in the lower right corner) also looked amazing, but because it had egg in it I gave that as a gift to my very grateful co-worker.
While I enjoyed all of the products I sampled, I have to admit that my son was Ener G's greatest cheerleader. As my son has several learning disabilities, which seem to be altered greatly by diet choices, we have been very careful as to what he eats. It doesn't help that he is also naturally a very picky eater. Yesterday when I asked him if he wanted to try the pretzels he screamed, "YES!" and inhaled the entire bag of the original flavor. I was suddenly hit with a great wave of guilt in realizing it had been years (yes, YEARS) since my son had eaten pretzels. Pretzels are a staple of childhood in a lot of ways, but when we started eliminating wheat, dairy, egg, and soy from his diet we never found a suitable replacement. I think I will be buying these again, because my son definitely deserves them. And they taste exactly as I remember any "regular" pretzels tasting, so I am sure a room full of wheat-eaters would have no problem devouring a bowlful. I should warn that the garlic flavor, while delicious, may be a bit strong on your breath, so make sure you don't eat a bag before going on a first date!
The Light Tapioca Loaf was probably my favorite. I tried it plain, as well as toasted, grilled, and even made an attempt at french toast (which was a bit complicated without egg, but very close none the less). The bread is a soft, fluffy texture and not mealy like a few other gluten-free breads I have tried. Both my son and I appreciate toast in the mornings. He usually takes his plain, while I love covering mine in mashed avocado and a ripe tomato. Honestly, there are not many things you can use to fill the toast void, other than actually finding a bread that fits your dietary needs like this one. My husband relies on nut butter and jelly sandwiches to give him energy and focus while homeschooling our son, and this bread is one they can both enjoy. I also made a vegan grilled cheese with this bread and the texture held up beautifully. The sponginess absorbed the coconut oil I cooked it in and became crispy without breaking down into bits, which is a problem I have previously experienced with other brands.
The Cinnamon Cookies were a bit like sugar cookies, and a bit like a soft biscotti. They dissolve a bit as you bite into them, which make them a perfect accompaniment for tea or coffee. I enjoyed them along with a coconut milk chai. I shared these with some co-workers, and half the box was gone before I got even home.
All of the Ener G products I sampled were delicious, versatile, and useful. It is rare to find products which are so aware of allergens and make such clear guidelines to inform their customers of which products will be safe for them. The only alterations I would make on these products would be a few ingredients here and there (I try to avoid any cooked oil other than coconut oil, but with packaged foods this is hard to do). I would highly recommend these products to people transitioning to a gluten-free, soy-free, or vegan diet. Another benefit of these products is that they are easily enjoyed by others who don't share this diet, which means you can use them to cook for a family which may not eat the same way. The goal of Ener G Foods seems to be to make people who with specific diets feel that they can eat the same things as anyone else... what else could a company that sells gluten-free communion wafers be about! Whether you are Catholic or just looking for something to serve at your cook out, this company has the years of experience in creating products everyone can enjoy.