After a lifetime of no sweets, a little boy with Type 1 diabetes tastes Jonathan Heine’s chocolate fudge for the first time. He turns to his mother and tells her he feels so loved. And so the name for You Are Loved Foods is born.
We at The Tasteful Pantry discovered You Are Loved Foods at Expowest last month and were so excited to learn they are also based here in Los Angeles! We were even more excited to taste their delicious treats with the knowledge that they were gluten-free, paleo, low glycemic and vegan. Actually, we had to taste them multiple times because we couldn’t believe how good they were at first. After all, chocolatey fudge like that usually at least contains dairy or sugar. We even tested You Are Loved Foods treats on some diabetic family and friends (thanks Dad!) and asked them to test their blood sugar levels after eating them – they didn’t go up! Even Lea, The Tasteful Pantry’s Registered Dietitian (and diabetes expert) was impressed!
For those looking for ‘free-from’ foods that are a perfect match for their flavor and health goals, the Tasteful Pantry does the research and the taste-testing on a variety of foods in the marketplace. We then summarize our findings in our “easily digestible” Product Reviews. We rate each product on a scale of 1-5 (1 being least, 5 being most) and provide our personal notes on the aspects of the product that we love (or don’t love). Here’s a key to the factors we rate:
Natural Factor: Not all ‘free-from’ foods (or any foods for that matter) are healthy or natural. This ranking tells you if the product is full of non-natural ingredients and is highly processed (a low rating), or is made from simple organic minimally-processed ingredients (a high rating).
Taste Factor: We admit it, we’re foodies. And we apply our foodie taste buds to tasting the foods we review. Too many ‘free-from’ foods out there resemble cardboard in taste and texture, but there are some really good ones too. We rank products for flavor and texture, and if the product meets our high standards for yumminess and leaves us drooling for more, it will get a high ranking!
Fullness Factor: Sometimes you want a snack that will fill you up and hold you over for a while. Sometimes you just want the taste of something yummy in your mouth but don’t want to fill up. This factor measures how filling one serving of the product is, whether it’s a snack or a meal item. We use a scientific approach (analyzing the ingredients and nutrients) and an experiential one (how full we felt after eating one serving) to provide you with a balanced opinion. 5 is super full, 1 is no impact on our stomach capacity.
Overall Rating: We take all the factors above into consideration, as well as our overall experience with the product, and synthesize it into this one number. 5 is we absolutely LOVED the product and could eat it all day, 1 is we wouldn’t touch it again with a 10-foot pole.
Macros: The 3 macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates and fat are the 3 main components of food, and what we need in large amounts for our bodies to function normally. These are also energy-yielding nutrients, meaning these nutrients provide calories. Depending on your diet and health goals, you may want to maintain a specific balance of macros (e.g. if you’re trying to build lean body mass you’ll want more protein), so we provide those numbers in our reviews for you right up front.
Gluten-Free (GF): Gluten-Free, per the FDA’s gluten-free labeling standards (<20ppm), or certified gluten-free by a third party organization.
Dairy-Free (DF): No dairy ingredients
Vegan (V): Contains no animal products including honey
Soy-Free (SF): No soy ingredients
Nut-Free (NF): Free from peanuts and tree nuts and produced in a nut-free facility, as communicated to us by the manufacturer. May contain coconuts.