Archive for July, 2010

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Cereal Breakdown

July 27, 2010
How do you start off your morning? Personally, I like to hit alot of buttons…the power button to the tv, the power button to my laptop, the “on” switch to my coffee maker… Obviously, we are in a technologically advanced era; but that’s no secret. While listening to the morning news and checking to see if my pink plaid umbrella needs to make its way into the passengers seat, sorting through an inbox that is bursting at the seams and listening to the sweet sound of coffee brewing (drop by drop), I contemplate what to feed my rumbling stomach.

My morning brew

 Oh boy. The possibilities are endless, but cereal is a tried and true stand-by. 

The magic word!

 My culprit this morning was none other than the NEW Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Red Berry Crunch Cereal

 

The lengthy name and promise of Omega-3’s on the cover has me quite intrigued as to just exactly what is in this aesthetically appealing red box adorned with a giant spoonful of crunchy goodness. If you find a giant cereal spoon, send it my way.

The Ingreeds. Organic, no less.

 Well, you’ve got the “whole” in conjunction with the “wheat”, so that’s a great start (Hello, fiber, vitamins and all other goodness that whole grains provide!). Overall,  The  ingredient list is pretty self explanatory and is nothing to be ashamed of. Nature’s Path knows this and uses it to their advantage. 

 Exhibit A…the back of the box: 

The way of the future.  I have spotted More and More and MORE companies using this concept. Thus far, products featuring the breakdown of indredients in this manner, describing the benefits that they provide in nourishing your body, tend to translate into delicious and nutritious products. Companies who take pride in their wholesome ingredients like to showcase them and you, as a consumer, should definitely take notice. 

Let’s do just that… 

 The stuff that non-foodies would probably mistake for bird seed... 

 Flax. Oh flax…where should I start? Many people look at flax and are confused. Bird food? Hippie food? Used by health nuts for fiber? A flavorless way to add healthy fats and omega-3’s to your food? No, No and No. Okay, so maybe some of those accusations are partly true, but none of them tell the whole story. Studies on flax have led to a whole array of conclusions, with flax being touted as something capable of reducing inflammation, augmenting the immune system, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, etc, etc. These are all great things, but let’s get down to the nitty, gritty. WHAT IS FLAX? I turned to www.flaxmatters.com for a legit answer: 

 Flax, properly known as Linum usitatissimum, has been cultivated since ancient times as a source of food or fiber. The plant grows to be about 3 feet high, has small blue flowers and thrives in cold, northern climates. Each flower produces 7 to 10 flaxseeds, which are slightly larger than sesame seeds, with hard, shiny husks that range in color from amber to reddish brown, depending on whether the flax plant is of the golden or brown variety. Nutritionally, there is no difference between the two varieties. 

Interesting, no? It also has a nutty flavor. I’m a fan. Are you?  

Dried strawberries in cereal is as common as a sandwich with PB&J in a 5 year old's lunchbox (or a 20 year old's).

Freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries make up the “red” portion of this cereal. The pieces are smaller than what you would usually expect to find nestled within a crunchy cereal, but they add  some nice color and a bit of sweetness and tartness, so I’m all for it. Not to mention, as we all know, fruit is a nutritional powerhouse. Eat up! 

Strawberries are so 5 minutes ago.

The oats provide a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber that works to keep you fuller longer. Research has been done to link these famous whole grains to a plethora of intriguing benefits, such as reducing blood lipid levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and body weight (source). Oats are dubbed as “healthy”, we all know that. However, if you are not a fan of the hot and chewy version, you can get the benefits in a polar opposite way with Nature’s Path’s cereal.

Sustained Energy? Sign me up!

This cereal was the perfect combination of sizes and shapes that softened slightly within the milk and came together in my mouth in perfectly crunchy proportions. 

Wait, you don't eat your cereal out of a Campbell's Soup mug? Weird.

You don't eat your cereal out of a Campbell's Soup mug? Weird.

 What other companies have you seen that display a breakdown of ingredients somewhere on their packaging? What other companies do you think should take advantage of this educational approach due to their wholesome ingredients? I have seen Kashi and California Almonds boasting the attributes of their products in this manner. I think that many companies should jump on this trendy train, which aids the average consumer in becoming more interested about what is in their food and leading them to make more diligent food choices. Amy’s Kitchen, Fage Greek Yogurt, Earth Grains… All Aboard! 

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The Fruits of Our Labor

July 25, 2010

What comes to mind when you think of summer? Vacations…no school…heat exhaustion…poolside lounging?

I am a big fan of summer (Don’t get me wrong…winter and the coolness that it brings is well received too!). One thing that comes to mind when summer pops into my head is the bright yellow ball way up high in the sky beating down upon the wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables that people are eagerly growing.

Yes, Mr. Sun...I'm talking about you!

Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Magic Word

July 24, 2010

As you stroll down the supermarket aisle, you are guaranteed to be distracted by a number of different products. Look a little bit closer and consider what they all have in common. I can guarantee you that a big chunk of those select items have a magic little word printed somewhere on the front of the aesthetically appealing box: NEW! When we, as consumers, see this exciting word touting products among the sea of supermarket shelves, something is triggered. Combine that with a tried and true favorite brand name and the chances that the product at hand will make it into your cart is about the same as that of a kid in a candy store walking out with some form of sugary goodness. Marketers love this part. They work extra hard to create a sleek and appealing design that will lure you in and stand out from among the many.

Have you ever stopped to consider all that goes into each and every product that is available to you on those grocery store shelves? Read the rest of this entry ?