When I was 14, my best friend Sheridan and I attended Barbizon Modeling School. We had big dreams of being famous. She wanted to be an actress, and I just wanted attention (modeling, acting, whatever would get me seen). Yea, I was a bit of a fame whore.
Well, Barbizon didn't do much for us, except drain our parents' bank accounts. Oh, and we learned some very 1980s makeup tricks (and this was 1994, mind you). But it was fun. And it made us feel special and important. I remember this one instructor who told us that ladies never chew gum in public. Never one for following rules or doing anything lady-like, I silently scoffed. I'd chew gum wherever I damn well pleased.
Fast forward to today: I still love gum, and I'm still as far from lady-like as can be. But as a semi-health-conscious vegan, it's hard to find a gum that's both animal-free and free of nasty aspertame. There are a few brands out there, and some are better than others. Enter PUR Gum.
The makers of PUR sent me samples of their aspertame-free, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, nut-free, dairy-free, diabetic-friendly gum. There's pomegranate-mint, wintergreen, spearmint, and peppermint.
The gum is sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring alcohol found in some fruits and veggies. There is a little controversy over xylitol, but I don't typically buy all the anti-this-or-that-hype. I eat soy. I use agave. And although I try to avoid GMOs and white bread, I don't make it a religion. So I'm fine with chewing a little xylitol gum.
These are the small candy-coated Chiclet-style squares. When you first pop one into your mouth, there's a burst of flavor and a slight crunch through the hard shell. The flavor is intense and perfect for coating your garlic breath ... for about one minute. And the it starts to die away. And then the gum gets a little waxy and hard to chew. Luckily, that's sufficient time for masking bad breath.
To be fair, I've had similar experiences with just about every candy-coated gum. Only the soft sticks (which are almost always from brands that are either not vegan or loaded with artificial sweeteners) have long-lasting flavor.
My mom has more patience with gum, and she tried a piece as well. She says the PUR gum softens up again once you've chewed for awhile. I believe her. That woman has the patience and perseverance of a saint.
Always a fan of fruity gums, I thought the pomegranate-mint gum had the best flavor of the bunch, but the mintier flavors were better breath fresheners.
Although the gum's long-lastingness could use a little work, I'd still say that PUR Gum is one of the tastiest "healthy" gums that I've had. I'd buy it if I saw it at Whole Foods. I don't care what that instructor from Barbizon has to say about it.