WHOOSH! – Product Review

Have you ever wondered how to clean your cell phone, iPad and other devices without the use of harsh chemicals?  Did you know that your phone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet?  Just do a Google search for “tech hygiene + dirty phones.” You will be surprised at the amount of germs that exist on devices!

As a food and product blogger, my hands are constantly touching food and other things.  H and I were at a Japanese buffet recently, and I can’t tell you how many times I had to use fragrance-free wipes.  For every dish, we had to reposition the food, snap dozens of photos, then wipe our hands to eat, and repeat!  While the wipes were okay in a pinch, they don’t work well on grease and fingerprints.

Our other options were a light spray of diluted vinegar/water or eyeglass cleaners. I wasn’t sure if they would fade the design on our cases, or harm our devices.  I searched for a safe and chemical-free product for years, and was quite impressed when a manager at our local Apple store told us about WHOOSH!  Yes, Apple stores use WHOOSH! to clean their devices!

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Calderone at MacSources.

I went home and read about the products on WHOOSH’s website.  Jason Greenspan the CEO, started making non-toxic cleaners for auto-detailing and accidentally spilled some on his iPad, and noticed how clean it was.  Hence the start of WHOOSH!

I read all the reviews available on the Internet, but was still hesitant.  I had many questions, so I contacted Jason.  I found it very refreshing that Jason was so accessible and approachable, appreciated my interest, and took the time to address all my concerns.   He answered all my questions; well all but one – the chemical composition is a trade secret … lol

I tried the screen shine cleaner on my iPhone first.  I have to say, I try to keep all my devices super clean, but I wasn’t prepared for how shiny my phone looked.  It already had a high-end tempered glass screen protector on it, which provided amazing clarity, but now it was even shinier.

The screen on my iPhone looked exactly like I just took it out of the box; sleek, shiny and new.  I even tilted my iPhone at different angles and it was spotless.

I also cleaned and polished the case and cut outs.  I kept looking for some discoloration or damage to our cases, covers and screen protectors, but I found none.  Note:  it’s very important that you use the products correctly.  Do not spray WHOOSH! directly on your devices, but on the microfiber cloth that is included.

WHOOSH! Screen Shine cleaners are safe, non-toxic, ammonia and alcohol free (which is very important to us), and resists fingerprints.

The screen cleaner is available in numerous sized pump spray bottles.  I personally think the 3.4 oz. + 0.3 oz. kit and the Big Deal kit are good choices since they contain various sizes.

All of the items include a bright orange antimicrobial microfiber W! cloth.  I found the cloths to be the perfect size as well.

The 3-pack Awesome Tech Cleaning Cloths are really cute and colorful.  They are indeed super soft and I like that they are treated with antimicrobial agents.  The orange textured side is used to clean your devices, then simply flip over and polish with the designed side.

You can read all about WHOOSH! cleaners and find a retailer close to you on their website.

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product/s.  Please read the FAQ’s located under SUPPORT.

Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of WHOOSH!  This is not a paid advertisement.

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Almond Flour by Grain-Free JK Gourmet – Product Review

Almond flour, also known as almond meal is made from whole blanched almonds without the skins. It’s gluten-free, has no trans fats and is a good source of fibre, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E. Just ¼ cup of almond flour = 3 grams of fibre, 6 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar!

I get a lot of inquiries regarding what brand of almond flour I use. When I first started my macaron craze, I tried a brand that was easily found in supermarkets. It was a bit coarse and I always had a good amount of leftover almond flour, even after a whirl in my food processor and sifting several times.

I even tried making my own almond flour, which is possible, but so much work! What a mess my kitchen was in. To make your own almond flour, you must combine blanched almonds with icing sugar in your food processor; otherwise you’ll end up with almond butter. You can also use unsalted almonds with skins, and I find it adds a nice speckle to macarons.

Pressed for time, I started searching for superfine almond flour and found one by Grain-Free JK Gourmet at my local health food store. It really is the finest ground almond flour I’ve used. Forget about your food processor, it isn’t necessary. If you were to pass it through a sieve, the residual amount is minimal.

Keep in mind, almond flour is not just for making macarons, it’s very common in a lot of baked goods, especially French pastries and cakes. You can substitute a portion of regular flour with almond flour for extra nutrition and for really moist results, but be careful. I would not recommend a 1:1 ratio as almond flour has a completely different moisture content as well as added fat. I normally use ¼ cup as a swap, so for 1 cup of flour, I would use ¾ cup flour + ¼ cup almond flour.

Almond flour can also be frozen to ensure freshness. Just be sure to leave it out at room temperature the day before, to allow any moisture to evaporate before using for macarons.

You can purchase this super fine almond flour directly from Grain-Free JK Gourmet’s website, or find a store near you here.

Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Grain-Free JK Gourmet. This is not a paid advertisement.

Coconut Palm Sugar – Product Review


I heard about coconut palm sugar a while back but it wasn’t until I saw the product on Dr. Oz that I took an interest.

Being a dessert lover, of course I’m concerned about the amount of sugar my family consumes, so I was really excited to try coconut palm sugar. This sugar is also known as coconut sugar and is produced from the sap of flower buds from a coconut palm. It’s been around for thousands of years but we seem to be hearing about it more often, perhaps as we take a vested interest in our health and the foods we consume.

Coconut palm sugar is more commonly available as a granule, much like turbinado sugar, only darker in color.   Here are some benefits of coconut palm sugar:

  • Is considered safe for diabetics (please see disclaimer below)
  • Can help stabilize glucose levels
  • Rates low on the glycemic index
  • Very high in mineral content

The taste is similar to brown sugar with caramel overtones.  It can be used in place of regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio, and in my testing, it did very well except when caramelizing crème brulee, where white sugar would already be the best choice.

Coconut Palm Sugar

There are a lot of brands on the market so the choices can be overwhelming. What I like about this one from Xylitol Canada is that it is certified organic and available at a great price, even better when purchased in bulk.

It was not a difficult transition for us and we barely tasted any difference in our morning tea and coffee.  We used the exact same amount that we normally did with regular sugar or turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw).  The only problem we encountered was when we ran out and went back to regular white sugar.  It tasted soooo sweet!!!  We immediately purchased more coconut palm sugar; this time in bulk!

Coconut Palm Sugar from Xylitol Canada

You can also purchase products from their location (call ahead of time):

Xylitol Canada
41 Lesmill Road
Toronto, ON, M3B 2T3
Telephone: (1) 416-288-1019
Toll Free: (1) 866-995-9952

Note:
Keep in mind that coconut palm sugar is still a sugar, and should be used sparingly.

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Xylitol Gum and Mints – Aspartame Free – Product Review

XYLITOL GUM

Just like I’m addicted to desserts, the same goes for gum. I have packets of them everywhere, and buy them in bulk!

I started to worry about the amount of aspartame my family consumes and my naturopathic doctor, who I rely on for all our health matters suggested a gum made with xylitol.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s formulated into a white crystalline granule that is low-calorie, low-carb, and safe for diabetics. It also has fewer calories than other sweeteners.

After reading up on xylitol, we tried several brands of gum. Our favorite one is from Xylitol Canada; it’s made with 100% xylitol from North American grown hardwood trees, is non-GMO and contains no artificial sweeteners.

While I feel much better about cutting aspartame out of our diet, I’d like to point out that all gums made with xylitol will not be as super sweet or juicy as regular gum. It took a while for us to get used to this, especially H, but the health benefits far outweigh the consumption of aspartame.

The gums are available in cinnamon, fruit punch, spearmint and peppermint. Our favorite flavour is peppermint!

XYLITOL MINTS

Xylitol Mints These cute mints come in environmentally friendly and reusable metal tins.

They are made from the same quality xylitol and one little mint will last a long time. They are available in a lot of unique flavors such as cocoa mint, fruit punch, lemon lime, licorice, peppermint and wintermint!

Xylitol Mints

For more information on these products, visit Xylitol Canada.  Here is a store listing.

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above products. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads – Product Review

I’m so excited to share our absolute favorite spreads with you! Crofter’s Organic Spreads are not your average jellies, jams or preserves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a product called “jelly” to contain at least 65% water-soluble solids (sugar), and must be made with concentrates or fruit juices. “Preserves” and “jams” must contain at least 55% sugar and 45% fruit. Crofter’s Fruit Spreads have only 44% sugar, so they are named spreads!

For the past eight years, we’ve been enjoying Crofter’s Organic Spreads and refused to buy any other brand. It took us a while to adjust our taste buds; after all, we were used to consuming sugary jams and jellies that didn’t have any true fruit flavor. Even the less sweet or “all fruit” jams can’t compare to Crofter’s!

Crofter’s Spreads are Non-GMO Project Certified, and certified organic.  We’re extremely concerned with pesticides! Their products are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and the pectin is made from apples (not chemically modified). Crofter’s packaging is glass with BPA-free metal caps! Amazing!!!

The “Premium Spreads” are made with fair-trade cane sugar and have 30% less sugar than regular jams. The taste is truly delicious! We’re so hooked on the products that we’re very disappointed when we dine out and see other “jams” served. Once you try Crofter’s Organic Spreads, you’ll see what I mean, and you will “love” the pure, clean, fresh fruit flavor with a lot less sugar!

We crave them so much that we often give them as hostess gifts or part of gift bags for the holidays!

The Premium Spreads come in apricot, blackberry, blood orange, concord grape, four fruit (strawberries, raspberries, red currants and morello cherries), mango, morello cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, wild blueberry and biodynamic blueberry. That’s a lot of flavors!!! My favorites are blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and wild blueberry. H loves strawberry!

Are you craving Crofter’s Organic Spreads???  You can read more about Crofter’s Organic products here.


Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of Crofter’s Organic. This is not a paid advertisement.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans – Product Review

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans from Vanilla Food Company

I have been baking with Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans for quite some time, so I’m really excited to review and share an excellent source for purchasing this product.

Vanilla beans are pods or fruits from the vanilla orchid (Vanilla planifolia)). They are pricey, yet so fragrant and a staple among home bakers and professional chefs. Vanilla bean pods are very labor-intensive to produce and are thus the second most expensive spice, the first being Saffron.

While there are many varieties of vanilla beans, Tahitian and Madagascar Bourbon are quite common. The vanilla orchids come from many countries, including Tahiti, Mexico, India and Comoro; however, the majority of them originate from the island of Madagascar.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans range from grade A to C, are long (up to 15 cm or more) and have a very rich aroma. They should be pliable, with a slightly oily surface, and not dry. Tahitian Vanilla beans are shorter and contain more water and oil. They also have fewer seeds, and the flavor can be fruity. I find they taste more floral. You can try both types and see which one you prefer.

Vanilla beans from the Vanilla Food Company are of the highest quality and a real pleasure to bake with! Try them in recipes where the flavor will really shine through, and can be seen, like this delicious recipe for Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée!

To order and find other great products, visit Vanilla Food Company.

Disclosure:
Product courtesy of Vanilla Food Company.  This is not a paid advertisement.

NutraSea – Product Review

Are you taking your omega-3’s?

Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good” fats that can be found in foods such as fish, nuts, canola and sunflower oil. Our bodies are not able to produce omega-3, and you’d have to consume an enormous amount of these foods to obtain the optimal dosage.

Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) supplements can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Their benefits are numerous and include reducing inflammation, improving mental health and boosting your immune system. Omega-3 is also great for your hair, skin and vision!

It’s important to do your research when searching for omega-3 supplements. There are 3 forms of omega-3: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Supplements will have different ratios according to what your needs are.

Omega-3 supplements should be mercury-free without the fishy taste, or the burping up of fish oil. Purity is extremely important to us. We tried some samples of omega-3 capsules from different companies, and even though we took them with food, we couldn’t get over the burping! This was clearly a sign of an inferior product! Never again!

Which brings me to NutraSea products by Ascenta … I’m excited to share our favorite omega-3 supplement, which was highly recommended by our Naturopathic Doctor, and we’ve been taking it every single day for over eight years.

We take regular NutraSea, which comes in lemon and mango flavors. Both flavors are great, and the oil has a clean and slightly flavored taste. We usually buy the lemon flavor as it comes in a 500 ml bottle which is more economical. One teaspoon contains a total of 1500 mg of total omega-3 fatty acids. 1250 mg is guaranteed to absorb into our bodies. NutraSea | Ascenta has different omega-3 products.

Visit NutraSea to read more and find one that is right for you and your family. I am sure you will love and trust their products as much as we do!  More importantly, Ascenta products are third-party tested and certified for quality and purity.   You can even enter the lot number of your NutraSea product on Ascenta’s website to obtain a quality test result!

Notes:

Some people may think of omegas as omega 3-6-9.  The important omegas are omega-3 and omega-6 (6 in moderation).

Omega-6 – for a list of dietary sources
Omega-9 – to learn more about omega-9

Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product/s. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products as they may conflict with your medications, and/or if you have any health concerns.

Disclosure:
Products are courtesy of NutraSea | Ascenta Health Ltd. This is not a paid advertisement.

Ceylon Cinnamon – Health Benefits, Recipes and Product Review

While there are several varieties of cinnamon, “Cassia” also known as Chinese or Saigon cinnamon is the least expensive, is darker in color and readily found in North America. It’s what you would normally purchase in your supermarket. Cassia has a very strong smell and intense taste … think of cinnamon rolls!

Cassia is native to Burma and also grown in China and Vietnam. It contains coumarin, and at high levels can cause liver damage and have a blood-thinning effect. Use caution when taking Cassia cinnamon with prescription medications. It should not be consumed in large amounts; use sparingly. It is an ideal cinnamon for recipes that require a stronger depth of flavor.

I had just found out about Ceylon cinnamon recently. Before that, I used only Saigon cinnamon (Cassia). I personally don’t like a lot of cinnamon in baked goods and normally when baking or cooking, I’ll reduce the amount. That is, until I came across Ceylon cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, is widely known as “true cinnamon.” It is more expensive, lighter in color and has a very delicate taste. It has a low level of coumarin and is commonly used in Europe and Mexico. Since Ceylon cinnamon has a very subtle taste, its best not to use in recipes where other ingredients would overwhelm it, or where you require a stronger flavor. It can definitely be used in place of Cassia, but keep in mind the results, and more importantly, the health benefits.

When I made cinnamon tea for the first time, just looking at it, I thought it might be too spicy, but to my surprise, the tea was mild, mellow, very delicious and comforting. It had a delicate flavor, and the tea didn’t need a lot of honey. Thankfully, I only added a ½ teaspoon.

Ceylon cinnamon is excellent in whipped cream, in puddings, custards or cream cheese frosting. You can also add some to regular sugar and make homemade cinnamon sugar. The sticks are great in curries and sauces. The possibilities are endless. Ceylon is definitely a premium cinnamon!

In stick form, Cassia looks like one continuous layer, and is thicker and darker in color. Ceylon has many layers and is thinner, much like parchment paper and breaks easily.   You can see the difference between Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon here.

While both are known to have health benefits and there is a great deal of controversy over each one, I definitely prefer Ceylon due to the subtle flavor and lower coumarin content.

Ceylon cinnamon is known to have many health benefits with diabetes, blood sugar regulation, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and is also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.

When purchasing cinnamon in powder form, there may be no way of telling where the cinnamon originated if it isn’t labeled. It would most likely be Cassia.  It’s advisable to purchase Ceylon cinnamon from a reputable source such as Vanilla Food Company.

Ceylon Cinnamon Recipes

Cinnamon Spread

  • 1 cup warm honey
  • ¼ cup Ceylon cinnamon powder

Stir and keep in an air tight container at room temperature

You can cut this recipe in half to make less

  • ½ cup warm honey
  • 2 tbsp Ceylon cinnamon

Notes:

  • Do not feed honey to children under the age of 1
  • Do not refrigerate or it won’t be spreadable
  • Excellent on toast, English muffins, crumpets, bagels, croissants, pancakes, etc.

Ceylon Cinnamon Tea – with sticks

Place 1 cinnamon stick (about 5 inch) in a small pot with 1-1/2 cups of water and simmer for 10 -12 minutes.

Ceylon Cinnamon Tea – with powder

Place ½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon in a mug. Add a small amount of boiling water and honey and stir, then top up with more boiling water. Cover and let steep for 10 – 15 minutes.

Healthy Breakfast Mix by Dr. Oz

  • Ceylon cinnamon
  • Dried granulated orange peel
  • Ground white or black Chia seeds

Combine equal parts Ceylon cinnamon, dried granulated orange peel and ground Chia seeds in a shaker.  Sprinkle over morning oatmeal.  This recipe is an excellent source of fiber and tastes great on top of oatmeal with berries as well.

Note:

  • When making tea, you can strain the cinnamon mixture if desired


Disclaimer:
This review is based solely on my usage of the above product. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.


Disclosure:
Product is courtesy of Vanilla Food Company. This is not a paid advertisement.