I’ve been feeding myself food. Of course, that may seem like an obvious statement but let me clarify that. Food is recognizable with few ingredients, preferrably whole foods that your great grandma would recognize if she could read the label. Clean food does not require a chemistry degree or learning a whole new language just to read the ingredient panel.
Enter in Food Processing magazine, one of many magazines that I subscribe to so that I can keep abreast of trends and issues as a food manufacturer. In Food Processing magazine, there is a section on Wellness Foods which I read with a rather jaundiced eye over the last few minutes. It certainly gave me enough fodder to come write this blog post.
Why? The entire section is about formulating kids food to be healthier. Sounds like a great plan, right? Well, some ideas are simple, worthwhile improvements but what if the idea of healthier food is about less, not more formulation? What if the world doesn’t need a hot dog bun that has microalgae in it or a chicken nugget with whole grain coating?
A healthier hot dog?
Maybe the question we should really be asking ourselves is whether we actually need to “formulate” such overly processed foods in the first place.
You might be asking how you’ll know the difference between the old packaging and the new. The answer is really simple: smiles and love.
Yes, smiles and love straight from our family to yours. The new packaging front has 2 new icons on it that you haven’t seen before: a green happy face and a dedicated facility red heart. Like this:
On the back of the packaging under the ingredients, you will see a new statement reading:
These delicious products are produced/packaged for you in our own dedicated facility that is free of the most common food allergens (peanut, tree nuts, dairy, egg, soy, wheat, sesame, shellfish, fish, and mustard), gluten, preservatives, colors, artificial flavors, and genetically modified ingredients.
In Canada, if the item has pure oats in it, it will say CF, Celiac Friendly instead. And, of course, have French writing as well.
Any questions? Please give us a call toll free at 1-866-714-5411.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted since I’ve been just doing quickie updates on Facebook. However, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been madly working up a storm.
You may have noticed that all chocolate chips and chunks are now being discontinued from our online store and are 25% off. This is because we’re heading into Phase II of the soy elimination program.
Phase I was taking soybeans off the production floor and it was completed March 31. Some finished Energy Explosion trail mix pouches (US) and snack packs (Canada) do remain in our warehouse and are being sold at 50% off until they’re gone.
Now we are eliminating our current chocolate chips and chunks since they contain soya lecithin as a fat emulsifier. Their final use on the production floor is May 24th although their sealed packages will remain in our warehouse until they are gone as well. We then go into a 10 day cleandown (is that a word?) mode with scouring the production facility from stem to stern and testing surfaces and equipment for soy contamination before introducing our new chocolate chips.
And what chips they are! Organic, made for us in a dedicated facility that only makes allergy friendly chocolate and coffee. No flavours, no soy lecithin, no dairy, no major allergens cross their door. The quality is fantastic with the way chocolate was meant to be made with just organic evaporated cane sugar, organic chocolate liquor (ground cocao beans liquidized by the heat from grinding them), and organic cocoa butter (you all know that’s the fat from the cocoa bean, not dairy). Melt in your mouth yumminess; we sure had fun taste testing!
I’ve laid out all of the phases of the soy elimination plan on our website at: http://www.nonuttin.com/shop/pages.php?pageid=67
Our whole team is just so pleased to be able to move in this direction. We hope you’ll join us!
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Here’s our press release from today. Look out Grammys, here we come!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GRAMMY STARS READY TO TAKE A BITE OF NONUTTIN’
DUNCAN, BC – What snacks would you feed hungry music stars at the Grammy Awards this Sunday? Organizers of the dressing room snacks were asking themselves this question while trying to juggle all of the special dietary needs that many artists require. To solve this dietary challenge, they gave Vancouver Island’s own Nonuttin’ Natural Foods a call.
“With artists from Sir Paul McCartney who is vegetarian to Lady Gaga who eats a gluten free diet, it’s not easy to provide food to the world’s greatest music stars. That’s where Nonuttin’ granola bars and trail mixes came to the rescue,” says Alana Elliott, President and Founder of Nonuttin’ Natural Foods. All Nonuttin’ products are free of 9 of the top 10 food allergens and are certified gluten free in the US.
Elliott sent over 500 granola bars and trail mix packs to the Staples Center in Los Angeles where Sunday’s Grammy Award Show will take place. With 50 dressing rooms and a green room, Nonuttin’ products will be available in all of the rooms whether they hold a single artist or a band and their entourage.
“My two daughters are the ones who are most impressed with our involvement in the Grammys,” laughs Elliott. “They thought their mom wasn’t up to date on the latest music trends. Now they can’t wait to see if their favourite artists, like Adele, will be enjoying our snacks.”
My husband and I watched a fascinating documentary on David Suzuki’s, The Nature of Things on CBC this weekend. It was about the latest in autism research that shows that gut health may be the link. Some parents are already putting this into action with gluten/dairy free diets for their autistic children.
This documentary also brings up illnesses in infants and the onset of autism with anecdotal information from different parents of autistic children. It is especially poignant for those whose children were developing normally and then autism took over.
Rob has always felt that our youngest daughter’s life-threatening food allergies were created by an unknown illness just before she turned 1 when she was in Pediatric Intensive Care in the Isolation Wing and she was dosed with massive amounts of antiobiotics. Her food allergic reactions showed up shortly after that. Watching this documentary just gave him even stronger feelings that he is correct.
Here is the link to watch the documentary online at CBC:
If you’ve been following our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nonuttin-Natural-Foods/159162014110203, you’ll see that I’m heading off next week to a trade show for a Canadian natural foods chain.
After the trade show, I get all of the owners and managers of those stores for an hour and a half to provide them with an overview of food allergies and gluten free diets, what the needs are for consumers and what they need to do to earn the confidence of those of us looking for special dietary foods.
I certainly know what gains my trust in a store. And putting the peanut butter alternative (ie. soybutter, sunbutter) smack dab in the middle of all of the peanut butter isn’t it. I don’t really expect any service or knowledge about food allergies when I go to a mass chain grocery store (even if they have a natural or gluten free section) but I certainly do when I go to a smaller natural foods store or health food store. But any major grocery chain that did come up with a better understanding of special diets, such as putting a dietician in their natural foods section, (as one of our clients in the Midwest, Hy-Vee does) would have my business in a heartbeat. And please, clean up the bulk sections so that potential allergens aren’t spilled all over the floor!
So what do you need? Special sections? Items placed throughout the store but with good signage? Special dietary tours with samples and coupons so you aren’t stuck in your same old rut? Would you prefer a trained specialist in the store? Do you appreciate contained bulk bins? Do you want the store to have product documentation on special diet products? How about demos – do you run from them when they’re in an aisle?
Anything that you share with me will be added to my presentation next week (without names of course) so that these store owners/managers can hear from the people that count. Food allergies and gluten free diets are here to stay; let’s begin the revolution with willing stores who want to serve you better.
An article published earlier this month indicated that a recent UK study shows that food allergic children and their families feel isolated, stigmatized and unfairly excluded. To read the total article, you can link here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/kids-nut-allergy-teased-excluded_n_929809.html
I would have to say that overall, we’ve been lucky not to have many issues happen with our allergic child but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been there. There was the time that a good buddy at school told our child that she couldn’t have her to her birthday party because her mom didn’t want to deal with her peanut allergy. It took all of my strength not to phone that mom and have a little discussion. I didn’t in the end since I didn’t really think it would change anything except mortify my child even further.
There was also the time that one child wiped his hands down all of the bus seats as he got on the bus, telling everyone that he’d just had peanut butter. We were really pleased with how that got handled by the students on the bus themselves, many who had been riding that bus with our daughter for years and were very protective of her. Every child on that bus turned on that young man and kicked him off until he spoke to the bus driver. We then let the principal know when our child got home and told us what happened but peer pressure really made the difference that day. He never tried anything like that again.
But it’s also the incidents that aren’t so easy to quantify; when everybody else gets the birthday treat in the classroom or someone’s sharing candy with all of their friends but my child can’t take it. It’s definitely isolating, even when there is no evil intent. All kids need to learn (often the hard way) that life isn’t fair and sometimes bad things do happen to good people but there are plenty of opportunities to learn that out there without the added exclusion that food allergies can certainly bring.
After last week’s voluntary recall for possible sesame in our 5 new products (see explanation on our Allergen Declarations Page)we wanted to provide you with a follow up to let you know what the sesame testing verification showed and what next steps are being taken.
We have now received the results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA):
CFIA Testing Shows ALL Negative Results
Since sesame is a top 10 declared food allergen here in Canada, all samples went to a CFIA lab that is specifically accredited for sesame testing.
Rob and I decided on the voluntary recall last Saturday before verification could be made because we felt it was in the best interest of all of our customers to err on the side of caution. Even though these results are negative, we would take the same action again based on the information we had to go on at that time.
We are going to continue with both the voluntary recall and labelling with May contain sesame for 2 reasons
1. The information that is communicated out there right now is that anyone with sesame allergies should be looking for a “May contain sesame” warning on the label of those 5 products. This information will continue to live on the Internet for a very long time and would just be too confusing as to what label is correct if we don’t have the warning on those 5 products listed in the press releases.
2. We want to monitor and verify sesame testing over a long period of time to ensure that we keep getting negative results before we remove the May contain sesame warning.
We are asking all of those with sesame allergies to heed the May contain sesame labels until further notice.
Thank you so much for the outpouring of support that we have received from so many customers. It helped us get through a very stressful time for both our team and our family.
Alana and Rob Elliott, Founders, Nonuttin’ Foods Inc.
Did you know that this week is Food Allergy Awareness Week? Because of this, you may find that your inbox is inundated by information about the prevalence of food allergy, the latest in treating food allergies and more.
I like to think of this week as an opportunity to review how we handle food allergies in our family and to fight against getting complacent. I’ve found over the years that it can be easy to get complacent without realizing it, especially when you’ve been doing everything right and you haven’t had any emergencies.
So think of this as an annual reminder to review your approach to food allergies, just like we use the time change to upgrade our smoke detector batteries. Here are my 3 Rs for Food Allergies as follows:
REMIND your family and your child’s caregivers about the signs of anaphylaxis
REFRESH your skills and those caring for your allergic family member for using the epi-pen and;
RESOLVE to educate more people about the very real and growing threat of food allergies
Simple, right? It’s time to get started right now!
I learned something new today about probiotics that I thought was important to share, particularly with those who have milk or soy allergies.
Probiotics are the new wonder product in our society these days as science begins to address our gut health. Many scientists now recognize that what happens in our intestines affects all of our body functions and has a role to play in autoimmune disorders including Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. Many health professionals recommend the use of probiotics, gut friendly bacteria that helps intestinal health, along with prebiotic heavy foods that feed the probiotics and keep them healthy (i.e. oats, soybeans and inulin).
The amount of natural foods products that contain probiotics has exploded, primarily in the yogurt category. But for those that can’t eat yogurt, taking the probiotics in capsule format has become very popular.
Unfortunately, probiotics need to grow in a protein rich culture which may be milk or soy based, a fact that I was not aware of until today. While most of that culture is removed when the probiotics are freeze dried, there is potential for trace amounts of that culture to remain, potentially causing anaphylaxis for those with milk and soy allergies.
Health Canada issued a recall of 2 products today that may have this issue (no one to date has had a reaction) but they also included an advisory as part of that recall that explains about the cultures used for manufacturing probiotics. This is rare for Health Canada and therefore should be shared with anybody you know with either milk or soy allergies.
To link directly to the recall/advisory, see this link: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/advisories-avis/_2011/2011_53-eng.php