November 29, 2015

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

Well, well, well, you'd think I didn't own this little blog here as often as I post lately. (At least there was pumpkin pie. :)) Life has been...well, interesting. After spending about 5 years being sick and unfortunately not knowing why, my life has changed significantly. More recently, I've been dealing with mold exposure that forced me to move. It's been...well, exhausting and unfortunately my health has suffered a setback. It has required me to focus on my health and sleep (which cuts my blogging time down). But that's a story for another time. Today, I'm so excited to finally share this project with you that I worked on for several months over the summer.

I was putting together a care package for a friend and I decided that I wanted to do something bigger. With many people out there suffering from Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity or those that simply have a number of issues when they eat gluten, I decided to put together a strictly gluten-free military care package. As a veteran that now knows I can't eat gluten, I would have been so happy to receive one of these when deployed. My goal was to have the packages align with the paleo lifestyle as well, so a majority of the packages were also paleo-friendly (with Justin's peanut butter being the only non-paleo item in the paleo boxes).

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

I was quite overwhelmed with all of the companies that donated product for this project. I am very grateful for their help in making this happen. I was able to send out 14 really nice packages of gluten free, real food products. I received a couple very nice emails back from family members of those that received a box (thank you for that!) and am very happy that I was able to to do this. The help and happiness that I brought to others brings me great joy. So, I wanted to share this here to give you ideas for products to include in a real food or gluten-free military care package. When you are deployed, you are limited food options and it can be difficult to maintain a gluten-free diet without a bit of help. That is my purpose for this. To help. To provide these packages for those that need them and to help others put together packages as well.

Below is a list of the companies that generously donated their product so I could put these care packages together. Along with them, I am also including several companies that were unable to donate at the time, but I believe would be other great options for a care package. Following the products, I'll show you the packages I put together and shipped out.

The products

Disclosure: Many, many generous companies donated products for this project and without them this wouldn't have been possible. (I paid for shipping costs of the packages)  However, I am not affiliated with any of the companies. The only thing I received from some of the companies was samples of their product. I did not ask for compensation and was not compensated in any other way except for one lovely company surprising me with a couple of t-shirts.

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

1. Artisan Tropic - Plantain Strips and Baked Fruit Thins. The plantain strips are one of my favorite snacks! I purchased these before Artisan Tropic generously donated their products for this. Amazing company and amazing products. P.S. They also have cassava chips which are delicious as well. [Find on Amazon]

2. Bacon's Heir - Pork Clouds. Puffy clouds of delicious pork skin. Need I say more? The rosemary (which is also AIP) and the black pepper are my favorites. [Find on Amazon]

3. DRINKmaple - pure maple water. I never had maple water before, but the taste is quite good. Check out their website to find out more about maple water. I know the deployed men and women will love to have these on hand. [Find on Amazon]

4. EPIC bar - Beef, Bison, Turkey, and Chicken meat bars. My favorite EPIC bar product is actually not listed here. Their liver bars. I know it sounds gross and weird, but I really enjoy them. The bison/cranberry bars are my second favorite. Honestly, I haven't found another kind I really enjoy, but I'm happy eating all the bison and liver bars. (Sadly, I recently found out the liver bars were only temporary and I can no longer get them. So sad.) [Find on Amazon]

5. Exo - Protein bars (with cricket flour). Yes, cricket flour. I get that it is a bit odd. But the apples ones are quite delicious. I'm not really scared to try most things - now crickets included. :) Great source of protein for deployed folks. [Find on Amazon]

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

6. Hail Merry - Grawnola and Royal Blend nuts. I was already a big fan of their tarts. I even made an AIP version of my own. The grawnola and nut mix are so good! The nuts blend was my fav! [Find their macaroons on Amazon]

7. Justin's - peanut butter with honey  (They also have almond butter.) We all love Justin's, right? They donated TONS of small packets of their honey peanut butter for the troops. Great company. [Find on Amazon]

8. Nick's Sticks - grass-fed beef and free range turkey sticks. Good, good, good! And you'll see below how this company blew me away with their generosity. [Find on Amazon]

9. Omnibar - endurance bars. I have to be honest - these weren't my favorite. But they are chocked full of nutrients that are perfect to providing endurance for the troops. Plus,they use grass-fed beef!  [Find on Amazon]

10. Paleonola - paleo granola. Oh my goodness, this was good. They selflessly provided large bags for the packages and a few for me to try as well. This stuff is sooooo good! [Find on Amazon]

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

11. Rickaroons - coconut macaroons. While they were unable to donated, they did provide some samples and they were divine. I know I would have loved receiving these when I was deployed. [Find on Amazon]

12. RX Bar - whole foods protein bar. Surprisingly good! I'm excited to try their newer chocolate sea salt bars. These are perfect for on-the-go protein. [Find on Amazon]

13. Sustainapak -  jerky packs. I was unable to get donations, but did get a few samples to test. These are truly perfect for a military care package. The packs include jerky bites, nuts, and dried fruit.

14. Tanka - grassfed bison sticks. They sent tons of packs of mini sticks. The cranberry orange were quite delicious! Wonderful company. [Find on Amazon]

15. That's it - fruit bars. Fruit plus fruit! Simple and delicious. [Find on Amazon]

16. The YES bar - quality snack bar. Taste like a cookie. A delicious cookie. It's full of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and other deliciousness. Seriously, perfect little snack for deployed troops.

17. WB Kitchen - cookies and bars. Delicious! They have cookies like Brownie and Maple Pecan and bars including Mocha Java and Honey Nut. They use honey for sweetener and all natural products. [Find on Amazon]

You can find these products directly on their website using the links above. Or find many of them at the following websites: AmazonVitacost, or (my new favorite) Thrive Market.

Before I get to the packages, I want to give a special shout out to two companies...

First, Tanka Bar. They sent me a package last minute (due to email issues), but sent two large boxes of their Tanka sticks Power Packs. Such a wonderful company with really great products. Thank you, Tanka Bar!

Second, Nick's Sticks. This company is AMAZING! They repackage the ends of their regular sticks into packs of ends. They sent me a huge box for the first shipping. But since then, they have sent me two more boxes of ends to ship to deployed military folks. Thanks so much to Nick's Sticks!

I was a bit overwhelmed with the last shipment of Nick's Sticks and am still working on getting them to people. I will be shipping boxes of only Nick's Sticks to deployed troops for Christmas, so any donations I receive [here or button on right side of blog] will be used to ship them.

The Packages

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

Paleo Care Packages

Paleonola grain-free granola, Artisan Tropic plantain strips, Hail Merry grain-free granola and seasoned raw nuts, DRINKmaple water, YES Bar macadamia chocolate chip cookies, WB Kitchen cookies/brownies and gluten-free bars, That's It fruit barsBacon Heir pork clouds (pork rinds), RXBar protein bars, Exo protein bars with cricket flour, EPIC bars, Nick's Sticks beef and turkey sticks. Not pictured: Tanka buffalo meat sticks

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

Gluten-free Care Packages

Paleonola grain-free granola, Artisan Tropic plantain strips and baked fruit thins, Hail Merry grain-free granola and seasoned raw nuts, DRINKmaple water, YES Bar macadamia chocolate chip cookiesJustin's honey peanut butter, WB Kitchen cookies/brownies and gluten-free bars, That's It fruit barsOmnibar, Bacon Heir pork clouds (pork rinds), RXBar protein bars, Exo protein bars with cricket flour, EPIC bars, Nick's Sticks beef and turkey sticks. Not pictured: Tanka buffalo meat sticks

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) Care Packages

Artisan Tropic plantain strips, Bacon Heir pork clouds (pork rinds): rosemary and sea salt, EPIC bison, bacon, and cranberry bar, DRINKmaple water, That's It fruit barsNot pictured (other options): Artisana coconut butter, Dang coconut chips

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

The top two photos show the types of packages I put together to ship. The AIP package is for ideas for those that may need it. Click on the product name in the product list to link directly to their website. Following the list, you will find links to Amazon or other online options you may find these products. You can also find many of them at the following websites: AmazonVitacost, or (my new favorite) Thrive Market.

Thanks again to all the companies that donated for the care packages! 

I hope that this will help you if you decide to put together your own care package or on the search for items to ship to your friends and family. Hopefully, I'll be back soon with an update or new recipe. I'm still active on social media, so be sure to follow me on Facebook or Instagram for food pics and more. Happy Holidays! 

Gluten Free Military Care Packages: Paleo, Gluten-free, and AIP options

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