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Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on the numbered item to see the answer.)

  1. We buy our agave syrup from a highly reputable supplier of certified organic ingredients who sources it directly from the manufacturer in Mexico. We have visited both the farms and manufacturing facilities in Jalisco, Mexico, and personally witnessed every aspect involved in the production of the agave syrup we use. We were extremely impressed with the integrity, purity, and simplicity of the process.

    See our blog posts from the trip to Jalisco, Mexico where we visited our Agave producers:



    Doug Visits Our Agave Farm Part 1

    Doug Visits Our Agave Farm Part 2

  2. As with almost everything in the realm of nutrition, there is controversy about the healthfulness of agave syrup, and many unfounded claims have been made. Our own research into the data (as well as our own personal experience) reassures us that agave syrup can be part of a healthy diet, and we continually receive wonderful emails from customers, many of whom have challenging conditions such as crohn’s disease, celiac disease, diabetes, or are the parents of autistic children, that affirm this. Following are links to articles that give a detailed response to the negative health claims that have been circulating about agave:

    Agave Syrup-What it is and what it is not (Fructose, Agave Syrup and Health)
    By Jim Mitchell

    Coconut Bliss: A Research-Based Review of the Health and Nutrition Benefits
    By Buck Levin, Ph.D., R.D.

  3. Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss is sweetened with agave syrup, which has the lowest glycemic index of any natural, caloric sweetener. (The glycemic index is a way of ranking carbohydrate-rich food that is based on the average increase it produces in blood glucose levels after the food is eaten.) Because of agave's low glycemic index, it is generally considered to be safe for people who have Type II, non-insulin dependent diabetes. It is important, though, to check with your doctor or health care professional if you are someone who needs to pay attention to your insulin levels and have not yet experimented with agave.

  4. Although an individual could be allergic to any food, there are eight common foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions. These are: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts (walnut, cashew, etc.), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat (according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: www.foodallergy.org. While a couple of our flavors contain tree nuts, most flavors of Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss contain none of these common allergens. If you know you have food allergies, be sure to read the label carefully to avoid flavors that contain foods that you are allergic to. In addition, some of us experience food sensitivities to any number of foods, including sugar, which is abundantly present in most desserts. People frequently write to us saying how grateful they are for Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss because it is the only dessert they can feel good about eating, and feel good after eating. Please click on the following link to learn more about food sensitivities: www.whfoods.com.

  5. Coconut Bliss products are made in a facility that also processes frozen desserts containing dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.  This is a very common situation for smaller companies which must rely on co-packing facilities in order to get their products manufactured.  We take the issues of cross-contamination very seriously and we do everything within our power to ensure that our products are free of undeclared allergens.  Our allergen control policies are based on two primary processes:  scheduling and training.  

    Coconut Bliss production days are restricted to only our products.  No dairy or egg ingredients are allowed in the production room on Coconut Bliss days.  The mix-making equipment is in a separate room, so we test for the presence of milk proteins in every batch of mix processed.  If milk proteins were ever to show up in the test results, we would dispose of that batch of mix and stop the mix-making process until the equipment has been thoroughly washed and tested again.  Happily, this has not happened to date.

    Whenever Coconut Bliss is run, we always schedule nut or peanut flavors last in the day.  After production the equipment is taken apart, thoroughly washed, and left to dry overnight. Protein swabs are used to detect trace amounts of protein on food contact surfaces.  Protein swab results must be negative before the cleaning process is considered complete. All pieces of equipment are inspected the following morning before reassembly and then sanitized and rinsed before the first flavor of the new day is started.
     
    We have taken great pains to train the production crews in the importance of handling allergens:  when allergenic ingredients are received they are labeled as such and are stored away from other ingredients. No allergens are allowed to be brought into the production room until the previous flavor has been completed and all materials and packaging have been sealed up and removed. 


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  6. Yes, it's completely gluten-free. Our ingredient suppliers have all sent us allergen statements verifying that there is no gluten in any of our ingredients.

  7. Our obstacle to tamper-free packaging at this time is that the equipment to apply the tamper-proof seals would require significant re-tooling of our production facility and is prohibitively costly. We are still a small company and we do not yet have the financial resources, nor the space in our current facility, to accomplish this. While we feel that it is ideal for the protection of consumers to use tamper-proof packaging, there are many products in natural food stores, including bulk foods, produce, and many packaged goods (including many brands of ice cream from much larger manufacturers), that do not have tamper protection. We've been in business since 2004 and have never received a single communication or complaint--from either a store or a customer--regarding an incident of tampering with our products.

  8. We import our coconut milk primarily from a certified organic grower in Thailand. Because of the tremendous growth in demand for Coconut Bliss and other coconut products over the last few years, we are now exploring additional sources from organic growers in Sri Lanka, The Philippines and Indonesia.

  9. There is a tiny amount of guar gum (less than .35%), added to the coconut milk to help maintain Coconut Bliss’s creamy texture. While this is the only ingredient in Coconut Bliss that you may not find in your kitchen, it is a natural and nutritious fiber-rich food that is made from the ground seeds of the Indian guar plant (also commonly called “cluster beans”). In India, fresh guar beans are eaten as a green vegetable, and it is an important crop because it is extremely drought-resistant and will grow in poor soils, and it also improves the soil by fixing nitrogen. While guar gum is a common ingredient in ice cream, it is also becoming more commonly used at home. It's sold in natural food stores for cooking and baking, as well as being sold in capsule form as a fiber supplement.
     

    Studies have shown that guar gum supports healthy bowel function and may reduce serum cholesterol levels. The emulsifying property of guar gum helps keep the coconut oil from separating out of the milk. It also retards the growth of ice crystals in finished Coconut Bliss. You may have noticed that when any ice cream is allowed to melt and then refreeze, the texture changes and it gets grainy or icy. This is because when it thaws, the water molecules refreeze into crystals. Since we are not able to control the way our products are stored or treated once they leave our warehouse, some slight thawing and refreezing may happen before your Coconut Bliss makes it to your mouth. The guar gum helps to minimize the chance of crystallization.

    (More about guar gum here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guar_gum)

  10. We are dedicated to making a pure and simple product, so we use only organic coconut milk and organic agave syrup as the base for all our flavors. To achieve the lower fat level, and probably also to reduce cost, the other brand uses less coconut milk and makes up the difference with chicory root extract, which is commonly used in the food industry as a filler and fat substitute. In addition, Coconut Bliss contains less air. A 1/2 cup serving of Dark Chocolate Coconut Bliss weighs 99 grams, while the same size serving of the other brand's chocolate flavor weighs only 85 grams. If you're eating 16% more air, there will be less of all nutrients in each serving (which is measured by volume, not weight).

    To put the fat level of Coconut Bliss in perspective, here are some other foods that contain about the same amount of fat as one serving of Coconut Bliss: one tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil or butter, one ounce of dark chocolate, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of avocado, one ounce of almonds or sunflower seeds, 1 1/2 ounces of potato chips (around 15 chips), 2 ounces of tortilla chips (around 20 chips). If you're concerned about your overall fat consumption, it makes sense to moderate your use of all these high fat foods.

  11. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is very different from the saturated fats in animal products which contain cholesterol and promote heart disease. Animal fats are composed of long chain fatty acids which are harder for our bodies to break down, making them more likely to lodge in our arteries or be stored as fat. For years, health experts erroneously lumped all saturated fats together and told us to stay far away from them, but coconut oil is different. It contains medium chain fatty acids, which our bodies can easily break down and use for energy. Because of this difference, studies show that coconut oil may actually reduce the risk of heart disease by raising "good" hdl cholesterol levels. See question #7 for more details on how our bodies metabolize coconut oil.

    In the 1980s there was a campaign to discredit tropical oils. Eventually, research proved the claims against coconut oil to be unfounded. Dr. C. Everett Koop, the former surgeon general, called the tropical oil scare "Foolishness!" Many researchers, nutritionists, and physicians now believe that coconut oil is the healthiest fat for human consumption. There is a lot of information on the web about the health benefits of coconut. We have found this site: www.coconutresearchcenter.org to be extremely thorough, and a great place to start.

  12. We make no claims about the dietary effects of coconut oil. There is, however, lots of research that suggests that coconut oil can contribute to weight loss. Following is some very clear information about the mechanism for this, from Cherie Calbom's book 'The Coconut Diet' (Warner Books). While we feel excited about coconut oil, and include it as a staple in our own diets, we encourage you to do your own research, and even more importantly, experiment with it yourself and see how it works for you.

    "The weight loss secret is in the chain of molecules that make up the fat of coconut oil. These shorter chain fatty acids that dominate coconut oil are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). They burn up quickly in the body. They're a lot like adding kindling to a fire, rather than a big damp log...

    "Following rapid breakdown and absorption in the intestinal tract, MCTs are transported directly to the liver. Once there, they freely enter the mitochondria (the energy-producing elements of the cell) and are rapidly converted to ketones, which are almost immediately converted into energy. On the other hand, long chain triglycerides (LCTs), which comprise most other oils, are transported from the intestines as chylomicrons (relatively large fat droplets). They are eventually dumped into the bloodstream near the heart. These fat droplets must then be transported through the entire body before they reach the liver.

    "This difference in metabolism means that the body treats MCTs in a completely different manner than the way it deals with other fats. LCTs are slow to metabolize in the body, and as a result, are more easily stored as fat. MCTs, on the other hand, rapidly burn for energy use, thus are less likely to contribute to fat storage. If you consider your body's metabolism to be like an oil furnace, eating LCTs is like adding oil to the storage tank, whereas consuming MCTs is like pumping fuel from the delivery truck right into the furnace. Less is stored; more is burned.

    "Because the LCT molecule is so large, the body cannot process it very efficiently; it prefers to simply store it in adipose tissue (fat cells). On the other hand, MCTs can be rapidly converted into energy. Here's how it works: The body removes the carbon atoms two at a time and transforms them into ketones, which are high-energy molecules that pass easily back into the bloodstream and are carried quickly to the cells. Once in the cells, they can be rapidly turned into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy molecules of the body. Eating MCTs could be likened to putting premium fuel in the gas tank of your car-it burns more efficiently.

    "Thermogenesis is the rate at which the body burns fuel for energy. A very unique quality of MCTs is their ability to increase the rate at which the body burns fat for fuel. This could account for the trim, healthy constitution of most Pacific Islanders who eat a diet high in traditional fats that are primarily composed of MCTs."

    You may also want to look at the site for the book, which is here.

  13. No. Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss contains absolutely no cholesterol. The simple rule of cholesterol is that it is only produced in the bodies of animals (including humans). No plant foods contain cholesterol, regardless of what kinds of fat they may contain.

  14. Yes. All but 2 of our flavors, Chocolate Walnut Brownie and Ginger Cookie Caramel, are certified kosher pareve by Kehilla Kosher in Los Angeles. The reason that Chocolate Walnut Brownie and Ginger Cookie Caramel are not kosher certified is that we've had difficulty sourcing certified-kosher gluten-free cookies (in this case, brownies and ginger cookies). We are always looking for ways to make all our products kosher, and we are making progress.

  15. Yes, the xantham gum in our two cookie flavors (Ginger Cookie Caramel & Chocolate Walnut Brownie) is derived from corn. All our extracts are sugar cane alcohol based and corn free.

  16. It is clear from the research that we have examined that GMOs are potentially extremely dangerous to humans and other living organisms. To ensure that our products are GMO-free, we use only USDA certified organic ingredients. The current USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs. We also have received a certification from the Non-GMO Project, with a list of our products(updated 5/2/2011). If you'd like to learn more about GMOs, a good place to start is the website www.saynotogmos.org.

  17. We are committed to fair trade principles and have secured certified fair trade sources for our cocoa, dark chocolate, and coffee. We have visited our organic agave farms and processing plants (in Jalisco, Mexico), along with a coconut farm in Thailand and it's facility where the coconut is made into coconut milk. We are very impressed with the quality and sanitation standards of all these facilities, the integrity of the owners, and the working conditions there. To learn more, read parts one and two of our blog post about our visit.

  18. Yes. 
    Our products have been tested by a certified lab for the presence of BPA. These tests showed that BPA was not detected in our coconut milk or our finished products. The most sensitive lab assays test down to the level of 2 ppb (parts per billion). (One part per billion denotes one part per 1,000,000,000 or 0.0000001%. This is equivalent to one drop of water diluted into 250 forty-four gallon drums, or about three seconds out of a century).  If test results were positive at 2 ppb, we would not state that our products are BPA-free.

  19. No. At the current scale of our production, we are required to pasteurize our mix (to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit) before we freeze it. While Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss definitely does not qualify as a raw food, we have heard from many raw food enthusiasts that they still enjoy Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss from time to time with only minor pangs of guilt.

  20. Yes. Our containers are made from paper that is bleached without chlorine, coated in polyethylene, and printed with food safe inks. They are recyclable by any community recycling program that accepts juice and milk cartons. The containers should be rinsed before recycling.

  21. Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss is now available in thousands of natural food stores and supermarkets throughout the United States and Canada. If you can't find it in your local natural foods store yet, don't despair! There is something you can do about it! Just print out this convenient petition form, have your friends and family join you in signing it, and bring it to your local store manager. This will make a big impact! We have found that most stores will bring in a new product if even just a handful of people request it. But we want to help too, so send us the names of your local stores, and we'll contact them also. (Click here to email us store names.) Together we can bring Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss to everyone who yearns for it!

  22. In most natural food stores (especially the smaller ones), the freezer space is very tight, and the frozen food managers have a tough job trying to fit all the products that people want into that limited freezer space. But this is where your voice can make a difference! Next time you’re shopping, find the frozen food manager or the store manager and let them know that you’d like to see a bigger selection of Coconut Bliss, or tell them the specific flavors you want. You may also want to print out this convenient petition form to bring to your store manager. One or two requests from customers is all that it takes in most stores—they want to please you!

  23. We are dedicated to using the highest quality certified organic ingredients that we can find, and we use several certified fair trade ingredients, including cocoa, chocolate, and coffee. These ingredients are costly. We realize that the price of Coconut Bliss is higher than people are generally accustomed to paying for a frozen dessert, but we have found that more and more people are recognizing the health, environmental, and social impacts of their food choices and are willing to spend more for products that are in alignment with their values.

  24. We are continually receiving suggestions for flavors, and maybe someday we'll make them all, but practical necessity requires us to limit our selection. We are open to suggestions, however, and like to try new things, so please keep sending us your ideas.

  25. Only two flavors that we are currently making, Mint Galactica and Salted Caramel & Chocolate contain a small amount of organic cane sugar. This sugar is in the chocolate that we use for the flakes. We are looking for a supplier of chocolate that is sweetened with agave, but have not found a source yet. The amount of cane sugar in these flavors is very small - less than 2.5 grams per serving.

  26. Our cacao is grown by a fair trade certified cooperative comprised of a group of 9,500 small scale cacao farmers in the Dominican Republic. The cacao is organically grown under the shade canopy of fruit producing trees. The cooperative ensures that the farmers are paid fairly and that the working conditions are good. In addition, the cooperative provides assistance to its members in the areas of financial support, export assistance, rural infrastructure, health care, education, and quality improvement.