Friday, May 30, 2014

Go Raw Bars & Fed Up Documentary

In a recent swap, I was given a Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar. I didn't eat it for a while because I had tried Go Raw's cookies before and wasn't a fan at all, so I wasn't too excited about trying it.  Then I did one day & since then I've been hooked. Yes it's green which might weird some people out but I really love the taste.  It's very crunchy.   I love it as a pre-workout or post-workout snack or a snack on the go.  I love that there's only 5 ingredients in it.  I recently decided to try 2 of their other bars: the Banana Bread Flax Bar and the Granola Bar.  The Banana Bar only has 4 ingredients! and the Granola Bar has 6.  The last two I mentioned are softer than the Spirulina Bar. I also wound up buying their granola cereal, which has the same ingredients as the bar.  As for the bars, the Spirulina one remains my favorite.

I love that these bars have such few ingredients and that they're healthy! They are high in calories and fat but it's healthy fats.

I haven't tried the Apricot Bar or the Pumpkin Bar because they both have agave in them, which brings me to my next topic.. the documentary Fed Up

I first heard about this movie several weeks ago, through a woman I know, whose daughter was one of the producers. Since I am into health & nutrition, I wanted to see it.  After seeing it, I can say , it's a movie EVERYONE NEEDS TO SEE! It's all about the sugar industry and what it's doing to children and our society. It's very sad; children who are 13 and weigh 400 pounds, the lunches they give kids in schools these days etc..

At the end of the movie they suggest going on a 10 day "Fed Up Challenge" which is giving up all sugar & all sweeteners for 10 days.   I've gone without sweets before, once for 2 weeks, but have never given up sugar completely.   It's crazy sugar really is in EVERYTHING!  Here are some other names sugar goes by that you may not be familiar with:

In my opinion, sugar should be left for things like cookies, cakes, ice cream etc.  It shouldn't be in the food we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner & it's kind of maddening how it really is in everything.  "Found in 80% of the 600,000 food products found on American shelves." An Odwalla juice contains almost as much sugar as Coke. Three Oreo cookies contain the same amount of sugar as a Luna Bar.  For a while (though not in several years), I did drink Odwalla and eat tons of Luna Bars thinking I was eating & drinking healthy.

I recently bought the new (or new to me..I've never seen it before) Pacific Foods Unsalted Vegetable Stock which has a lovely 6 healthy ingredients, whereas before, I had been buying the 365 Low Sodium Vegetable Stock, which has more than 6 ingredients, one being cane sugar!! Why would one add sugar to vegetable stock?!  Before seeing this movie, I did look at ingredients, but now that I'm doing this challenge, I'm thinking about it in a different way. I would avoid foods that were high in sugar, but now it makes me angry! 

The Go Raw bars for instance, do have on average 12-14g of sugar, but the sugar is from dates and bananas and our bodies don't process natural sugar the same way as added sugar.

The movie isn't going after the desserts we eat, but about how the industry adds sugar to all these food products.  My parents thought they were eating healthy by eating fruit from a can (which I've always been against them doing & they would tell me it's just the fruit and the juice from the fruit).  However, upon inspecting their cans..95% of them had added sugar! [After they're done with what they have, they said they won't buy them anymore]  

Even so called healthy places like the chain Juice Generation add sugar to everything.  Some of their smoothies have bananas, dates AND agave.  There was a period where I was going almost daily and would always say "no dates or agave" and the smoothies with just bananas and other fruits were still SO sweet.  I thought to myself "can bananas really make a drink this sweet?" and I finally asked them why their smoothies are so sweet.   Turns out they use sweetened almond milk AND sweetened acai! Ridiculous.  I found this so maddening.  I thought I was being healthy (& of course I still was in retrospect to other things I could have been eating/drinking) but it was upsetting to know how much sugar is added.  I've asked other smoothie places & almost all use sweetened almond milk or soy milk.  When I asked why they' ve told me people didn't like it when they used unsweetened.  

Conclusion is of course it's better to make your own smoothies & food which I have been doing a lot of this year.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar a day..of course how can you know how many teaspoons you're eating because everything is listed in grams, well I have this handy formula:

Some candy bars have 24g on their own! so this is a really good equation to think about.

I highly recommend just going and seeing this movie & reading labels & trying to avoid sugar/sweeteners in your every day meals. Look at your pasta sauces, breads (I'm a big fan of Ezekiel Bread), your drinks, your protein bars,  yogurts, dressings, cereals, veggie burgers and other boxed food, etc)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vegan Protein Shakes

I recently found out about the vegan protein shakes, Svelte. They have apparently been around since 2009, but I am only now seeing them. They are soy based so I was a bit apprehensive about trying it (my body doesn't always like soy!), but I decided to give it a try.

They have 5 flavors: French Vanilla, Spiced Chai, Chocolate, Cappuccino and the new Banana Creme.  I'm not into coffee so I don't really have any interest in trying the Cappuccino, but I have become in love with the Spiced Chai and the French Vanilla! & best of all, my body seems totally fine with it! yay!  The chocolate tastes just like chocolate milk.  I'm not drawn to really drink chocolate milk often & it's heavy, so I've only had this one once.  I  wasn't a fan of the banana creme (they're the only protein shake on the market that uses real bananas, according to their website). I think this is a personal preference though, and not something wrong with this flavor.  The vanilla though is SO good, it is so creamy, really just love the taste. Love the spiced chai as well, the spices are perfect.  It is how I always want chai to be. I just bought a 6 pack in Vitamin Shoppe (they were on sale, a 6 pack for $9.99! They always have coupons on their site & if you buy them at Westerly in NY they come with a $1.00 off coupon on the container) All of the flavors are smooth and creamy. I've been having them on my busy days in between meals and they help keep me full until the next meal. I recently had one for breakfast with my oatmeal and it kept me full for a long time! I haven't tried to use them as a full meal replacement or after a workout but I'm sure I will drink them that way at some point.

All their products are 260 calories, 11g of protein and only 6g of sugar.  There is also B12 and Vitamin D in it, as well as calcium.

Interestingly, while looking for Svelte one day in Whole Foods, I discovered new vegan protein shakes by Orgain.  Orgain has been around since 2008 and until very recently, have only had dairy protein shakes.  They have now come out with 2 vegan protein shakes.  These are brand new!

I was pretty excited to try these .  Not only are there 16g of protein, but the protein comes from brown rice, hemp, chia seeds, and flax seeds  (on the back it says there is also pea protein but that wasn't listed in the ingredients..)  They also have fewer calories: 220,  and less fat.  (Slightly more sugar, 9g &slightly less calcium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D)  I was also excited about them because they both have 10 certified organic fruits and veggies (kale, beets, spinach, carrots, tomato, blueberries, banana, acai, apple and raspberry.) As well as 21 vitamins and minerals! Sounds pretty awesome, right?

However...the taste...not so great.  I'm not really sure what these tasted like...the vanilla bean had no vanilla flavor and actually there is no vanilla listed in the ingredients list, so that is a bit strange. I am a bit puzzled by that fact. I keep re-reading the ingredients to see if I somehow missed "vanilla" as an ingredient, but nope, no vanilla in the vanilla bean.  I really can't describe what the taste was like, there was no recognizable flavor, it was just strange.  The chocolate you could taste the chocolate so it was better than the vanilla, but still had an odd taste.   The consistency is not as creamy as Svelte, whereas Svelte reminds me of a shake, Orgain is a lot thinner.

What's better though?  Taste or ingredient list?  I have been drinking a lot of Svelte, but am thinking maybe I should try Orgain again because I'm a bigger fan of what's inside them.  I also did read that if you put them in the freezer and drink them ice cold they are apparently a lot better...

Interested in hearing other people's reviews of these products!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

So Delicious, Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt!

Shortly after my first post about So Delicious Greek Yogurt,  my friend told me they just came out with 2 unsweetened coconut yogurts! Plain and vanilla! How exciting! She had bought both & we sampled them and they tasted like pudding!  The next day I went to buy one of each.

 The Unsweetened Vanilla has 60 calories & the plain has 10 less. The plain has 4g of fat and vanilla 3.5(not sure how that's less?) and the plain has 6g carbs and the vanilla has 7.  Other than that, they have the same nutrition. Same exact ingredients, except for the vanilla of course, having a vanilla flavor. Just like the greek yogurts, they both have Vitamin D2 and Vitamin B12.

I was getting both and switching between them, but I think I've decided I like the vanilla slightly more.  I have eaten it plain and I like it a lot, but I started dipping strawberries in it recently and I can't believe how amazing it tastes! It's like dessert!  I also don't feel the coconut flavor is too strong for those who are not into coconut. The texture is very creamy, I love it.

Recently I decided to make a yogurt bowl for breakfast:

strawberries, granola, flax seeds, mulberries, goji berries and hemp seeds. You can't see the yogurt, but it's under there! & everything tasted so delicious together.

I really love this product and eat it often. I highly recommend it and am so happy that they came out with a sugar free one! If you want to up your probiotics and/or have a yummy snack or a healthy dessert, or have it for breakfast, like I did, I really recommend trying this.