Ever wonder what it would be like to live with a food allergy or a strict dietary restriction? My daughter is severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I remember back to when we found out, how I had to do a complete inventory and overhaul of everything that was coming into our house, and coming near her, how upsetting, scary and overwhelming it was. An allergy not only affects your diet, but also personal care ingredients and affects places you go, family relationships and friendships.

Once you start reading ingredient labels (and get over the disgust of what’s in some of the things we just buy without knowing what’s in them), you realize how life changing having an allergy can be. After cleaning out our  kitchen, bathrooms and home and learning how to use epipens, and how to teach others how to use them, I went into research mode to seek out and source ingredients and products that would meet my new defined ingredient criteria: nut-free, vegan, non-gmo and organic –  plus I wanted to understand what I was eating! At the same time, I started making and cooking and baking more –  it was, and still is, the best way for me to manage what my entire family is eating , plus, it turns out, it’s delicious, easier and way healthier, and the best part…my family loves it.

As a mother of 3, who works full time (read overtime), it’s not always easy to make everything (plus I happen to be an awful baker, since it requires following instructions, which is consequently not one of my strongest qualities), so I choose to rely on companies that I trust, making great products.  I have been, and my kids most certainly have been thrilled with Sweets from the Earth. We always have at least one of their nut-free, vegan, boxed cakes or loaves in our freezer for “emergency” treats and celebrations, and their cookies in our cupboard. My friends and family, who are often hesitant about “my” vegan food being served, have constantly been thrilled, and often surprised by how incredible the Sweets from the Earth creations are.

Birthday Parties can be a scary place for people with nut allergies – or any allergy, and ordering Sweets from the Earth cupcakes (or cakes) (https://twitpic.com/7dnx2j) for our celebrations ensures that ALL of the kids are getting a yummy and safe treat (that I approve of) –  without all of those toxic, fake colours, flavours and other ingredients. Extra green birthday party tip: If you are serving cake outside of your home (school, birthday party venue etc), choose their cupcakes…no need to cut anything, or waste money on plates and forks that too quickly become waste!

 

Lisa Borden, owner of Borden Communications (www.bordencom.com) takes a unique approach to holistically marketing eco-intelligent living and working. Some of her favourite titles (from a long list) (www.lisabordenworks.com) include: Catalyst for Change, Enthusiastic Philanthropist, Inspiration Agent, Strategist + Catalyst, Mother of 3 and Wannabe Organic Farmer.

 


Candice Schreiber (https://thehealthyherbivore.com/) is a plant based nutritionist, avid writer, and passionate educator.  She enjoys helping others learn about the benefits of a plant based diet and helping them transition to healthier lifestyle. In addition to her love for all things whole foods and plant based, Candice is an outspoken supporter of organic, non-GMO foods as well as animal welfare.  

 1. What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? And why?My favorite SFTE product is hands down the Peppermint Nanaimo bar! Chocolate and peppermint is my favorite combination of flavors in desserts. I love the Nanaimo bar because it’s indulgent and decadent but still gluten free and vegan. Win! 

2. When do you indulge and eat your Sweets – Morning/Afternoon/Night?    Usually I indulge in sweets at night. I love having some organic caffeine free tea and a treat to unwind.

3. If you weren’t a plant-based nutritionist, what career would you be in, instead?A forensic pathologist, like CSI! When I was in younger I used to love crime scene investigations shows. I was really intrigued about how they were able to solve mysterious crimes using only small pieces of evidence. Fascinating!

 4. What’s the hardest thing about your job? 

The hardest thing about my job is hearing people describe their struggles with their health or a chronic illness. I want to be able to make them better with a snap of my fingers! Conversely the best thing about my job is empowering people to take control of their health through diet.

5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Disney Pixar movies. I love movies like Up and Wall-E. When I was studying for my MCATs my “off days” were always spent watching a Disney Pixar movie. They always have loveable characters, comic relief, and an uplifting message. Not to mention adorable characters. Wall-E is my favorite! Icanhascheeseburger.com is also another one. It features pictures of cute cats with funny captions. I could spend hours on the site!

6. Do you follow any special diets?

I am vegan and eat mostly raw and gluten free. 

7.       If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and what would you say to them?

So many it’s hard to choose one! I would have to pick Charles Darwin. His studies on evolution were the whole reason I perused the sciences in school. I’d have a bazillion questions but I would want his thoughts on the evolution of diet and what his thoughts are on what the optimal diet for humans is. I’d also ask him to sign my copy of The Origin of Species 

 8.  What motivates you on a day –to-day basis?

Hearing stories about people taking their health into their own hands and recovering from illness or chronic disease using only natural methods ie; diet, herbs, etc. It takes cojones to leave the traditional medicine path and follow a holistic approach to healing. I find the stories inspirational and motivational.  Also my husband. He never compromises and leads by example. Also he is very patient when I am not!

 

 


Tracie Wagman is the co-owner of Help We’ve Got Kids (www.helpwevegotkids.com) . In addition to raising her 2 children, volunteering on several non-profit boards and trying to keep the business running, Tracie is on a never ending quest for balance and sanity…..can it even exist?

1.       What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? And why?
Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip loaf – it is so delicious but I pretend it’s almost healthy because it has bananas in it!

 2.       When do you indulge and eat your Sweets – Morning/Afternoon/Night?
Afternoon. Right after lunch I crave something indulgent and sweet.

 3.       Do you follow any special diets?
I’m pretty particular about how and what I eat. I’m a vegetarian and limit closely the amount of dairy I eat. I try to eat organic, local and natural as often as I can.

 4.       If you had to choose your last meal on Earth, what would it be?
French fries. A bucket full.  And a giant salad (honestly, it’s true).

 5.       If you weren’t doing Help! We’ve got Kids… what would you be doing?
I’d be writing a book and working full time raising money and awareness for several non profit organizations.

6.       What is your guilty pleasure?
See question 4: French fries.

7.       If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
 Lara Croft

 8.       Your favourite place to grab a couple of drinks and hang out where everybody knows your name?   
My kitchen


As naturopaths, we centre our treatment plans around optimal nutrition using whole foods and limiting preservatives, chemicals and other additives.   No matter how many supplements, acupuncture treatments or botanical remedies our patients are willing to take, real healing comes once the diet is balanced and optimized consistently. 

 An integral component of our diagnostic tools is testing for IgG allergies which presents like a food sensitivity.    We see how much it helps our patients once we help to identify and eliminate food allergens.  It’s such a relief for our patients to pinpoint which foods are contributing to their symptoms, especially when it is related to major food groups such as gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how diligent the patient is, there will ultimately be low compliance to their new elimination diets if they can’t find substitutes to the foods they eat and enjoy every day.

This is especially true when it comes to treats.  Squares, cookies, cakes…we don’t eat these foods for nutrition…we eat them because they are sinfully delicious and provide a sweet escape from our day.  Taking away someone’s dessert is far beyond just a “health conscious decision”. We feel like we’re actually taking away a piece of their happiness!

Thank heavens for companies like Sweets from the Earth.  When we tell our patients that they do not have to give up cheesecake after revealing their dairy allergens, they are surprised.  When we tell them that Sweets from the Earth dairy-free cheesecake is absolutely delicious…and not “naturopathic” delicious (read: “although it may taste like soggy cardboard topped with drywall compound, eat it because it is good for you!”) they look at us in disbelief. 

It is always great to have options to offer to patients (as well as friends/family) – and of course, ourselves – that are health-friendly and most importantly, taste great. We do not hesitate to recommend SFTE products because we know that the flavour and texture will not disappoint, and because there are many products to choose from.

Additionally, the SFTE line of nut-free products is a bonus since the majority of health food treats do contain some type of nut (or at least traces of nuts) and the availability of a nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, but not taste-free treat is a great option for sensitive folks who have nut allergies, which can range from mild to anaphylactic.

Thanks, SFTE, for providing a great line of delectable healthy products and keep pumping out more delicious treat options for us and our patients to enjoy!  

 

Makoto Trotter, ND & Aileen Lim-Trotter, ND are a husband & wife licensed Naturopathic Doctor team. They founded Zen-tai Wellness Centre (https://www.zen-tai.com), a multidisciplinary holistic health clinic located in downtown Toronto at the end of 2006. Makoto’s practice has a special focus on helping his patients with digestive concerns and hormone conditions, while Aileen’s practice focuses on dermatology and pediatrics. They have an eclectic approach to treatment, with an emphasis on diet & nutrition, but also employ herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling.

They both enjoy educating others on how to live and practice a healthy lifestyle, but are realistic in their approach and are open with patients about their own journey to achieving balance in their own lives.


Sweets from the Earth Interview Questions – Ashley Gibson

Ashley Gibson (https://maintenancewithashley.blogspot.com/) is a Toronto based singer, actor, executive assistant and healthy living blogger who is always in a dress and laughs a lot. Her blog, dancing through life, chronicles her journey as a 20-something gluten free vegan with Crohn’s Disease. 

1.       What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? And why?

It all goes back to the cashew cookie for me! It’s the main reason I started to love SFTE products. It’s just so delicious and unique and an amazing cookie, not just because it’s gluten free and vegan. I also love that it only has a few ingredients and I know what they all are. The walnut brownie is a close second. It’s so rich and fudgy and delicious. The rest of the gluten free vegan line is also pretty amazing, so I could probably go on talking about every product and why I love it!

2.       How many of that product do you think you could eat in one sitting?

I think part of the reason that I love the cashew cookie is that one is super satisfying. It is so rich that you don’t need much more than that. The walnut brownie might be a whole different story…   

3.       When do you indulge and eat your Sweets – Morning/Afternoon/Night?

I definitely like to have something sweet after a meal (lunch or dinner). Dessert is key!

4.       Do you follow any special diets?

I’ve been following a gluten free, dairy free, egg free diet for almost 3 years and I’ve been gluten free and vegan for 2.5

5.       If you had to choose your last meal on Earth, what would it be?

That’s such a tough call! It would likely have a lot of courses, so I could enjoy many things that I loved. It would probably involve some sort of amazing kale salad to start with some sort of comfort food for the main (maybe a curry over rice or some sort of delicious pasta) and there would definitely be a whole lot of dessert. So. Much. Dessert.

6.       What do you normally think about right before falling asleep

Often all the things I need to do the next day.

7.       Your favourite place to grab a couple of drinks and hang out where everybody knows your name?

I love Butler’s Pantry in the Annex. I don’t know that anyone there knows my name, but it’s definitely my favourite spot for a yummy meal and a glass of wine, especially if I can be sitting in one of the giant window booths.

8.       What is your guilty pleasure?

Pop music from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I was a HUGE teeny bopper growing up and there’s still a big part of me that gets really excited when I hear the Spice Girls or Hanson. 

 


Martha was born in Toronto and grew up in the country in Owen Sound, Ontario. She attended the University of Toronto where she obtained her degree in Psychology and Art History. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, baking, photography, reading, Muay Thai kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu. She is currently working at Sweets From the Earth (www.sweetsfromtheearth.com) in both the Gluten Free and Nut Free bakeries.

 1.       What is your favourite Sweets from the Earth product? And why?

My favourite product both to eat and to make are the Chocolate Pecan Caramel Bars. I enjoy working with the tempered chocolate and our recipe for vegan caramel is delicious. I also really liked the S’mores Cupcakes we had this summer.

 2.       When do you indulge and eat your Sweets – Morning/Afternoon/Night?

Pretty much any time. Some of our stuff can be pretty indulgent, so I’m glad we’ve got the muffins and loaves that are a little less rich for daytime snacks.

 3.       What is your position at Sweets from the Earth?

I work at the Gluten Free facility where I’m responsible for packaging most of the products and sending out daily orders, as well as doing the tempered chocolate work. I also work one day a week at the Nut Free bakery decorating cakes.

 4.       Do you follow any special diets?

I’ve been vegetarian since birth, vegan for the last seven years.

 5.       What do you like best about working for S.F.T.E?

I like working for a company that reflects my commitment to a vegan lifestyle and knowing that through our products, people see how delicious and accessible vegan food can be.

 6.     If you had enough money to retire right now, what would you do?

Travel the world visiting art galleries and trying out different restaurants

7.       If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?

My ipod, my dog Weetabix, and Ozzy from Survivor. 


There are very few things that I love more in life than sweet, delicious tasting snacks. I have a serious sweet tooth that I just can’t argue with (it wins every time).  The types of snacks that I’m referring to aren’t your typical sugar-filled chocolate bar with crunchy wafer or marshmallow stuffed cookie with some kind of weird, oozing red jam in the center. The types of snacks that I prefer are made with wholesome, natural ingredients that not only taste delicious, but are also really good for us.

 As a Holistic Nutritionist, health enthusiast, nut allergy sufferer, and avid snack eater, I prefer to make my own snacks at home, in my own kitchen, where I can see exactly what is going into my food. I use pure, natural ingredients in my snack recipes such as oats, whole grain flours, raw seeds, and pure dark chocolate.

I always opt for a good homemade treat, however sometimes with busy schedules and barely enough time to make the bed in the morning, making my own snacks is simply not an option. So how does a nutritionist like myself choose which store bought snacks to buy, you ask?  I look very closely at the ingredients!

If the ingredient label includes refined sugar, GMOs, artificial flavours and colouring, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or high fructose corn syrup, I simply put it down and move on to the next. Refined sugar is heavily processed, meaning that it has been stripped of all its nutrients.  It causes spikes in blood sugar, causes mood swings and energy crashes, and contributes to diabetes and obesity. MSG is another no-no when it comes to choosing a product. This chemical can lead to stomach upset, increased heart rate, nausea, migraines and a long list of other symptoms – not fun for anyone.

Many snack foods today are labeled with fancy “healthy for you” slogans, but are generally not be as healthy as they appear. So what products can we trust?

The fine people of Sweets From the Earth Bakery take the guesswork out of choosing snack foods. All of their products are made with natural, organic ingredients, and are also lactose, trans fat and GMO free. They are free of refined sugar, artificial colours and flavours, and most are peanut/nut free, as well as gluten and wheat free. You never have to worry with Sweets From the Earth, and you are never left feeling sluggish, irritable, or bloated, which makes snack time that much more enjoyable.

My weapon of choice is their mouth watering chocolate chip cookies, although I have a hard time avoiding the date squares, chocolate and carrot cakes, cheesecakes, pies and tarts as I quickly walk (fine, slowly tiptoe) past them in the store. Somehow, they remove themselves from the shelves, jump into my cart and end up in my kitchen (give me a break, I’m only human). You can’t go wrong with any of their amazing snacks and desserts and you can always rest assured that you are receiving the healthiest, highest quality, most delicious tasting food.

Not only do they offer delicious snacks, but the faces behind the Sweets from the Earth brand are some of the most generous and kind people I know. I have had the opportunity to include them and their amazing cookies as part of my company’s membership program gift bag. They were so incredibly generous for donating boxes of their chocolate chips cookies for my members to enjoy.  They care about the quality of food they produce and about the health of their customers. They have incredibly high standards for their products and choose only the best quality ingredients when making their delicious snacks.  It is important to support good people who do good things, and that is why I shake my pom poms and do a little dance for Sweets from the Earth.

 

Shannon Kadlovski (www.shannonkadlovski.com) is a Certified Nutritionist and Healthy Lifestyle Specialist. She is the owner and chief nutritionist at BareNaked Nutrition in Richmond Hill, where she helps her clients look and feel their best. She consults one-on-one, as well as with groups, helping individuals achieve their health goals. She offers hands-on cooking classes, healthy living workshops and a variety of fun and educational online wellness programs. She leads corporate nutrition programs and is the creator of “BareNaked at Work” workshops for businesses across the GTA. Shannon is a monthly guest expert on “In the Know” as well as “Daytime” on Rogers TV, sharing healthy living tips and recipes. She also writes health and wellness articles for TONIC and Naturally Savvy magazines.