Category: Product Review

dr. Praeger’s Gametime Buffalo Chick’n Tenders Review

wp-15906829006663761461596629422958.jpg

WOW!

I was pleasantly surprised by this Vegan offering! I am a carnivore. I eat a lot of meat, chicken and fish and am not easily impressed by vegetarian foods that mimic meat. This one had me at first bite.

Preparation

You can either prepare these in the oven or in a skillet. The “Preferred Method” is the oven so I went with that, wanting to give this product the best chance of a good review. You preheat the oven to 450 F, place the tenders in an ungreased baking dish and allow then to bake for 7 minutes on each side. When they came out of the oven they were a golden brown and wonderfully aromatic. The smell made me hungry, but I was still quite skeptical.

Crunch Time!

As soon as the tenders were cool enough to taste, I gingerly took a nibble just around the edge. The crunch was fantastic,  just hard enough for that perfect crunch. The first flavor note was a bit salty like authentic buffalo flavors that always tend to be a bit salty to me. The saltiness immediately dissipated into a mild to medium heat. The heat is mild to begin with but as you continue crunching away, it intensifies a little. It never gets too hot. The heat is perfect. The flavor is typical buffalo, again, perfectly done.

wp-1590683079569117229111947416945.jpg

Texture

This is where it got really interesting. Being a hard core carnivore, I truly expected a weird, soft, slightly yucky texture. Was I ever wrong! If I had not known that this was a plant-based food, I would have easily thought that it was a regular chicken tender. It’s appearance is darker than chicken tenders but the taste and texture was excellent, much better than some popular chicken nuggets that you can buy in some fast food restaurants. While I ate these without sauce for the sake of this review, with any of the commonly used sauces that people add to buffalo chicken tenders, it will easily surpass many other processed chicken products. I simply could not find anything wrong with this product.

wp-15906849925384057692762692142350.jpg

Nutrition

A serving is 3 tenders for 210 calories, 14 Net Grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fat and 17 grams of protein. The label says there is NO ADDED SUGAR, which is excellent. Dextrose is listed in the ingredient list after salt, which means that there’s less dextrose than salt and since there’s 0 grams added sugars in the entire box, it’s not enough to measure. The only problem here is that as good as these things are, you might better plan on the nutrition for the whole box. You just might eat it. There’s 2 1/2 servings per box.

wp-15906829505507175492336275924301.jpg

Availability

I bought these for $4.00 at Publix Grocery which is a common grocery chain in the South. They are owned by Kroger like Ralph’s, Dillons, Smith’s, King Snooper’s, City Market, Fry’s, QFC and Harris Teeter. You should be able to find them almost anywhere in the U.S. ,  because these stores span 35 states. At $4.00 for 2 1/2 servings, you can also afford them. I think price is critical because no matter how good a food is, if you can’t afford it, it’s useless. dr. Praeger’s has produced a quality vegan offering at an affordable price.

Responsibility

It’s always fun to do a positive review, but we can’t always do that. We are as honest and as critical as we can be so that you can depend on us. You may find something wrong with these tenders, but I can’t. They are obviously a processed food and do not seem like a freshly prepared, home made chicken tender, but they are good. The taste, texture and price is great and that crunch is wonderful. dr. Praeger’s makes other products that I fully intend to investigate. If this is representative of their other products, I may get to do more positive reviews than I ever thought possible. 🙂

Advertisements

Enlightened Keto Collection Mint Chocolate Chip

wp-1590510264762457736008650285720.jpg

Good Product!

I love to find a product that will enable me to do a positive review. This was a joy! I simply can’t find anything wrong with this product. From the first taste, it was a winner.

Availability

I purchased these bars at Publix Grocery for $5.99. There’s four in the box so the price is good. I believe that you can find these wherever Enlightened products are sold because Enlightened products have been around for a while. I used to buy them at a Winn Dixie nearby that didn’t carry nearly as much variety as Publix.

Taste and Texture

The moment that I popped that bar in my mouth, I said “Oh, my goodness!” You instantly get a delicate rush of creamy mint. The bar is thick and satisfying. It feels like a sinful indulgence rather than something that you can work into a weight management program. The no sugar added chocolate chips are just present enough to give you a contrast of textures that’s sure to delight your senses. The chocolate chips do taste sweet and chocolaty, unlike some “chocolate” offerings in some “diet” products. They are very small and crunchy unless you let the bar melt a lot, and then they will begin to soften along with the ice cream.

wp-15905106833163381206813523051176.jpg

Notice the creaminess of the bar!

No Lost Ice Cream!

I loved the fact that I opened this bar in a hot car and took a few minutes to eat it and it still didn’t fall off of the stick. I don’t know how they managed that, but it enables you to make your treat last as long as you want, lingering over each creamy, sweet, cold lick. That quality alone turns these bars into a sensual experience. They appeal to every desire that we tend to associate with ice cream, flavor, texture and lingering moments of sheer bliss.

Fun Time

Ice cream is almost always associated with fun. Memories of childhood moments of abandon, before we became so conscious of every bite that went into our mouths and memories of escape from daily stress are frequently associated with this magical concoction. Enlightened builds on this idea with amusing messages written on the wrapper of each bar. While this may seem frivolous to some people, it is definitely in the spirit of ice cream! It sets the tone for eating the bar and helps you to realize that this is purely a treat, intended for joy without any guilt.

wp-15905119450048567643359330782091.jpg

 

Check out their happy messages. This alone will make this treat a child-friendly experience, teaching them that eating healthy can be fun and tasty.

Nutrition

Regardless of the quality of the product, if the nutrition was off, I would not recommend it. At 180 calories, 1 Net Gram of carbohydrates (Total Carbs-Fiber-Sugar Alcohols=Net Carbs) and 2 grams of protein, I see this as an acceptable treat. The sweeteners, erythritol and monk fruit extract are not known to cause gastric distress like some other sweeteners. The protein is low, but for a treat, that is just fine. I believe that Enlightened set out to create foods that will give us a sweet indulgence that won’t blow our program and I believe that they have done just that.

ZenBurger Street Taco Review

In most of America we have a narrow view of how tacos should be made. Usually, the American idea of a taco is a fried corn tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef and topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and taco sauce. You will find many people who are averse to trying anything different in how their tacos are prepared. Thankfully, I was turned onto the special treat of fish tacos several years ago down in Ensenada Mexico, and then I had a good friend who had grown up in Mexico City who taught me that there is a very wide array of ingredients to be used in taco preparations that we Americans never consider. Potatoes, and just about any type of meat including bologna for example. When I saw these ZenBurger Street Tacos in my grocery store refrigerator section I thought they certainly looked worthy of a try for a little something different for my lunch. For one who grew up a picky eater, I actually have a pretty open mind about trying different foods…

Reading the box, there is three ways to prepare these street tacos. You can heat them on a cookie sheet in a 450* oven, brown them in a little oil in a skillet, or you can microwave them. I chose the stove top skillet method with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Being thawed, they browned pretty quickly, in about two minutes per side over a medium heat.

Once they were browned I opened one up to discover the filling looks nothing like the tacos on the box. As you can see from the top picture, the filling resembles vegetarian ground beef crumbles. In reality, the filling was like a paste that you can make up your own mind as to what it looks like…

To be honest, it took having a genuine open mind for me to take that first bite. This was not an appetizing visual to me at all.

To my surprise and pleasure, the taste of these street tacos was not too bad at all despite the pasty texture of the filling. These tacos are a product of Carla Lee’s Nut Burgers and taste very similar to their nut burgers. For me, the taste is largely a blend of sunflower seed, cashew and spices. Very similar to their nut burgers but for the additional spice and pasty texture. While I did not find these street tacos to be all that appealing, I would just as soon have these at home over getting my tacos from Taco Bell. At least these did not give me an upset stomach as Taco Bell tacos are prone to do.

Sitting down to do this review, things got a little weird for me. I could find nothing on the internet that lists this product and their nutritional information. Thankfully I kept the box.

These street tacos are a product of Carla Lee’s NutBurgers, and the ingredients and nutrition are almost identical to their line of Nut Tacos. However, the street tacos are not listed in their line of products on their website. I went to the ZenBurger website which is given on the box and found this:

I then went to my grocery store website and there was nothing that came up for this product being in their inventory either. Maybe it is too new or something, I do not know. I just find it odd that a product is in a grocery refrigerator aisle and I cannot find anything about the product online.

As you can see from the ingredient list, there is nothing unhealthy listed.

Nutritionally, these street tacos are satisfactory. There is a fair amount of protein and fiber, the net carbs are not too high. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals too. I find that I can neither recommend nor not recommend these street tacos. If you are close minded about how you believe a taco should be made, you will want to skip them. If you are open minded, you might thoroughly enjoy them. Taste is all subjective to the individual. I will say that four of these tacos filled me up far better than four tacos from any fast food restaurant ever has.

 

daiya (plant based) TEX-MEX BURRITO Review

wp-1590351804457336452996064330738.jpg

Convenience!

While we strongly encourage you to eat whole foods that you prepare at home, we are realistic in that we know that in our busy world, sometimes you might want to reach for a convenience food. With a renewed interest in plant-based foods, this burrito appears to fit the bill. There are a few details about this Tex-Mex offering that you need to know, however.

Preparation

You heat this burrito on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds in your microwave and then flip it over and do it again, anywhere from 1 minute, 15 seconds to 1 minute, 45 seconds and then crisp it on a griddle or in a frying pan. I heated it for 1 minute, 30 seconds on the second side and then sprayed a cast iron skillet with olive oil and crisped it up. It took a few minutes and it was nice and crispy, somewhat convenient and easy to prepare.

wp-15903503702661591259498637362680.jpg

Taste and Texture

If you don’t crisp this burrito, it will be very different from this one that I crisped. It had a very nice crunch and then a chewy, satisfying filling of pinto beans, brown rice, salsa with green onions, red bell peppers and jalapeno peppers along with “daiya Cutting Board Cheddar Style Shreds”. It is Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Soy Free and NON GMO Verified. While it has a nice heat, just a touch, it is a bit bland otherwise. It does fill that craving for a burrito, if you get those, but it could use an extra bit of seasoning for my liking. I also had my 26 year old son try this burrito and he also said that it “really didn’t taste like anything.” If it were not for the heat, I might not have finished it. I did eat the whole thing because I was hungry and the satiety factor of the burrito is actually pretty good, while you’re eating it. It gives you the illusion that it will fill you up.

wp-15903505302231860747605749659190.jpg

Nutrition

Ah, now here’s where I parted company with the burrito. It contains 410 calories, only 8 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and a whopping 62 Net Grams of Carbohydrates (67 grams -5 grams of fiber). Oh, my goodness! I normally get my carbs from oats and sweet or white potatoes, or apples. Oats, apples and potatoes are good whole foods that nourish and fuel my body for a long time. This burrito is a processed food that actually left me a bit hungry and I had just “spent” 62 Net Grams of Carbs. I will never buy this again. For 480 calories and only 23 Net Grams of Carbs and a nourishing 46 grams of protein, I could have a half pound, lean ground beef steak and a 5 ounce baked potato and be satisfied and prepped for a good workout. Processed foods are almost never a good nutritional bargain and this one is no exception.

wp-15903507224548687024678693323915.jpg

Price

I bought this at Publix grocery store for $3.59. Again, for that price I could have fixed a hamburger steak dinner at home in a flash. There’s nothing much quicker than searing a hamburger steak and popping a potato in the microwave. Since I had to crisp this burrito for it to be palatable, the prep time would be about the same. We think that a “convenience” food is always quicker to prepare but that is sometimes an illusion. The price is acceptable until you consider the extra prep time of crisping and the glaring lack of protein. If I can buy 46 grams of protein for about the same price, I always will. When you consider that you probably won’t be satisfied after eating this thing, then the price goes up again as you plunder around, looking for some real food.

Overall

While this burrito is palatable, it’s not really good. It requires extra prep time to even be palatable. The lack of adequate protein and exorbitantly high carbs are a real problem for some of us and is not a good idea for almost anyone. You may like this Tex-Mex offering, I don’t. If you choose to eat it, you might want to add an additional protein source, especially if you are athletic. If you dressed it up with some extra salsa, it might help the taste, but for a review, I tried it as it comes, plain and lacking in the nutrition that I need on a daily basis. I can’t recommend this to anyone.

Enlightened Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Review

I do not like consuming foods that do not bring any nutritional benefit to my body. Therefore, I avoid all foods with added, refined sugars as a rule. Most foods that contain refined sugars are calorically dense while being nutritionally poor in nature. They are a waste of calories to fuel the body with. However, this does not mean that I never enjoy a small indulgence on occasion. If you take the time to look, there are several products available at most grocery stores to have as a special treat. Some are better than others as with all food products, and then, some are simply excellent. I find Enlightened Vanilla Bean ice cream to be an excellent choice over the other sugar free, or low carb ice creams I have tried in the past. If you are on Keto, or practicing any type of low carb dieting, then this ice cream is for you!

The first thing besides the taste that I enjoy about Enlightened Vanilla Bean is the truly creamy texture. While Halo Top and Rebel keto friendly ice creams are popular with many people, I find their textures to be strange for ice cream. While the Rebel ice creams taste far superior to Halo Top, they both kind of crumble when you eat them. Ice cream should never be crumbly, especially after letting it sit out to soften for a bit. What you will find when you put a spoonful of Enlightened in your mouth is a truly creamy ice cream as it should be. This ice cream has a delicious vanilla flavor and a creaminess to satisfy any ice cream lover while also being free of added sugars and low in carbs. The carbs are low enough that even those who are practicing Keto could enjoy a serving on occasion. I firmly believe that if you are going to treat yourself, then treat yourself with something that you are going to actually enjoy instead of a product that leaves you wanting.

NUTRITION

When looking at ingredients, you need to know what you are looking at in order to actually know the contents. Then you need to scan the nutritional label to determine if there is enough of a less desirable ingredient listed to make you place the item back on the shelf. Enlightened contains tapioca syrup, which is not as bad as refined sugars, it is still less than desirable for me. If you’re regularly sweetening your meals with organic tapioca syrup, thinking it’s healthier than sugar, it’s time to scale back. If you are going to eat it, your total added sugar intake – which includes sweeteners you add to foods, as well as added sugar already found in processed and packaged foods – should not exceed 9 teaspoons for men daily and 6 for women. People who eat more added sugar face a higher risk of obesity and heart disease, and those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages have a greater risk of type-2 diabetes.

Here is why you also need to scan the nutrition labels:

When you look at the label, there is nothing inherently bad about this products nutrition. It is low in calories per serving, contains protein, is low in carbs and serves up a nice amount of fiber and erythritol (sugar alcohol) to offset the carbohydrates:

14g Carbs – 4g Fiber-6g Sugar Alcohol = 4g Net Carbs

At 4g net carbs, even those on Keto could enjoy this ice cream.

I like erythritol and use it quite frequently in baking and other foods. But, it seems many people do not know anything about this sugar alcohol.

What is erythritol?

Erythritol belongs to a class of compounds called sugar alcohols. Many different sugar alcohols are used by food producers. These include xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol. Most of these function as low-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free or low-sugar products.

Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables. The way these molecules are structured gives them the ability to stimulate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue.

Erythritol appears to be quite different from the other sugar alcohols. To begin with, it contains much fewer calories:

Table sugar: 4 calories per gram

Xylitol: 2.4 calories per gram

Erythritol: 0.24 calories per gram

With only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still contains 70% of the sweetness.

There is one major issue with most sugar alcohols that is not found with erythritol — they can cause digestive issues. Due to their unique chemical structure, your body can’t digest them, and they pass unchanged through most of your digestive system, or until they reach the colon. In the colon, they are fermented by the resident bacteria, which produce gas as a side product. Consequently, eating high amounts of sugar alcohols may cause bloating and digestive upset. that you are not going to enjoy. However, what makes erythritol different than the other sugar alcohols is that it gets absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the colon. Erythritol circulates in the blood for a while, until it is eventually excreted unchanged in the urine. About 90% of erythritol is excreted this way

Overall, erythritol is an excellent sweetener.

It contains almost no calories.

It has 70% of the sweetness of sugar.

It doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

Health-conscious people might choose to sweeten their food with stevia or honey. However, honey contains calories and fructose, and many people don’t appreciate the aftertaste of stevia. Erythritol appears to offer the best of both worlds.

Harbinger Ab Carver Pro Review

 

 

wp-15897654130341925229232606506464.png

Keep It Simple

I’m a purist when it comes to my exercise equipment. I don’t buy into the latest fads that seem to be sold to make getting a great body easy because that can’t happen. If any product is touted as a quick and easy, painless way to get ripped and sculpted, buyer beware! I bought this gadget about 1 1/2 years ago and I have been well-pleased with the contribution  that I believe that it has made to my overall fitness.

Convenience

One of the best features of this little dynamo, for me, is the fact that it is almost a total body workout. If I am traveling with one piece of equipment, this gadget would compete with my kettle bell. Since I am a weight trainer, I do like some heavy weight but the kettle bell is heavy to transport. This ab trainer is lightweight and travels easily. The handles are removable,u so you can fit it in almost anywhere. If you have a short trip, you can carry this wheel with you and add a little walking for a pretty thorough workout. As you stretch out to extend your reach, you will feel almost every muscle in your body working. As you ascend, I almost guarantee that you will either feel all of them working, or you will swear that you did. It’s a great workout.

New and Improved!

There are more narrow versions around but this newer design enables better side-to-side motion. I believe that this feature has helped me sculpt better oblique muscles in my abdomen. I do a bit of work directed towards my obliques and this wheel is an integral piece of that puzzle.

Spring Assist?

When I first bought this particular model, there was some question about the spring assist function possibly helping too much. Ha. That spring assist enables you to put in more time under tension which is integral to sculpting the abdomen. You can use the old, narrow wheel if you like, but you won’t put in as much time or get the extended range -of-motion that you get with the Harbinger Ab Carver Pro. I have used one of the original wheels but I would never go back to that narrow path of travel or the shorter duration that is inevitable with those wheels.

Ease of Use

The handles are shaped and mounted in an ergonomically-friendly fashion that enables you to focus on your workout, instead of constantly having to reposition your hands and start over. I really like the smooth action that these handles provide. Along with the spring-assist, they smooth out the bumps and allow you to focus on the business at hand instead of the gadget itself. You will only be thinking about getting back up, not fighting with your equipment all the way down and back up. It works with you.

Availability and Price

You can but this wheel at Dick’s Sporting Goods for only $34.99 which is much cheaper than many rip-off gadgets that don’t do what they’re sold to do. This little wheel will do what it says. You can also buy it on their website. You must remember, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” No workout or gadget is going to give you 6-pack abs if they are covered with a layer of fat. If you mind your nutrition and utilize this wheel into your regular workouts, I believe that you will be pleased with your purchase. It’s incredibly durable so I believe that if you make this small investment,  this is something that you will use for years to come with good results. I know that this has been my experience.

Happy rolling!

 

Activ5 Fitness Package Review

I’m seriously thinking about creating a section on my website that would be dedicated entirely to worthless fitness equipment. There are tons of places where you can find great home workout equipment, but how many are there who will tell those new to the idea of physical fitness what to not waste their hard earned money on? Have you ever heard the old adage;

A fool and his money are soon parted.

If you have considered incorporating physical fitness into your lifestyle, this of course would be a wise decision on your part, you are not a fool. The problem is, there are a multitude of unscrupulous business people who see you as a gullible fool. They would not market worthless contraptions if they were not extracting money from the pockets of hard working people, now would they? I have no problem with businesses making good profits for worthy products and or services. My problem only lies with modern day “Snake Oil” salesmen who will take complete advantage of those who may not know any better.

Damn, just look at that add. For $109.90 US you can get everything you need to “start building real strength in a few minutes a day”. You are going to do this with their phone stand and the contraption that will be linked to your phone. They claim this is the “ideal way to get started”!

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Simply put, you are going to squeeze the contraption between the palms of your hands for an isometric hold.

From the Activ5 website:

Using your max power as a baseline, the Activ5 training app will dynamically creates a “coaching curve” for each exercise.

Your goal is to apply just enough pressure, while holding the described pose, to keep the dot on the line. Apply more or less force to move the dot up and down.

Please, do not feel the need to buy a high dollar device for isometric holds. If you feel compelled to do isometric holds with an object, there should be plenty of items you could find around your home such as a deck of cards, a small ball etc…

Do not believe this lie!

From Activ5 website:

Get great results in a fraction of the time

All you need is 5 minutes, your Activ5 and your phone to see and feel a difference.

Want to look great?

Build confidence and get the look you’ve been dreaming of.

 Build lean, toned muscle by using your own body as the resistance
 Strengthen the weak muscles that cause poor posture
 Finish your workouts with Activ5 to promote maximum muscle growth

I do not want you to think isometric exercises are bad, to the contrary they can be helpful. What I am opposed to is an unscrupulous business selling you a worthless device to do them with for far too much money.

In case you do not know what isometric exercises are:

Isometric exercises are when you contract a particular muscle or group of muscles. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn’t noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn’t move. You contract your muscles and then hold that contraction for a period of time. Isometric exercises can help to build and maintain strength, but not so effectively. If you are going to exercise at all, I always preach that you need to make the best use of your time.

Because isometric exercises are done in one position without movement, they’ll improve strength in only one particular position. It is necessary  to do a variety of isometric exercises through your limb’s whole range of motion to improve muscle strength across the range. In addition, since isometric exercises are done in a static position, they won’t help improve speed or athletic performance. They can be useful for enhancing stabilization, but not much else. You are not going to find yourself going from being overweight and out of shape to being fit and trim unless you are diligent about your nutritional habits first and foremost.  I believe that once you come to the realization that your money could have been better spent, you will find this contraption to be boring. Before you plunk down your dough on the Activ5, go to the wall and press against it for a few sets. You will find it’s kind of like standing in the corner during elementary school. You must enjoy something to maintain consistency at it, and it is only a few who could truly say they enjoy Isometric exercises.

If you are wanting to get into better physical condition through nutrition and exercise, then check out my article Beginning Diet and Fitness by clicking this link. You can also join our other subscribers to receive each and every new article straight to your email. Subscriptions are, and always will be, free and easy to all.

Stealth Core Trainer Review

Please, if you have money that you can just throw away, throw a little bit my way instead of wasting it on completely worthless contraptions that only serve to gather dust after emptying your pockets. The price range on these worthless contraptions go as high as $299.00 US!

But David, this will make doing planks fun!

NO, IT WON”T!

But, they say it will!

AND THEY PROVE IT!

If you are one who easily falls for this type of deceptive advertising, I have some ocean front property I can sell to you for just a nominal cost right here in the middle of the country.  I will be happy to accept cash.

Why would this be a bad purchase?

Simply put, planks are just not all that fun, and you are not going to really make them fun even with a game console. Even if you can hold a plank for a long enough duration to get into playing a video game, there are far better things you could be doing with your time to benefit your core. Once you’re able to hold a plank for 30 to 60 seconds, there’s no need to learn to hold for extremely long durations. Holding a plank for 5 or 10 minutes–while very impressive–isn’t necessarily going to have increasingly beneficial returns. There are truly no additional benefits to holding the pose for extended periods of time except to show off.

But they tell me I can plank and play in order to get ripped abs!

Many people desire the shredded six pack look, and there is nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, planks alone will never get you there. The visibility of abdominals is associated with body fat percentage, and the size of the underlying muscle. What you need to understand is this simple truth:

“Abs are made in the kitchen!”

You will never be able to see your abs — unless a healthy diet is part of the equation.

The Western Diet that surrounds all of us is working against our health all the time, and if you’re not making a conscious effort to do better for yourself and your family you’re losing ground. It has become too easy to sit on your butt while thinking about lunch and debating if you should take the healthy route or cave in and grab a sandwich and fries from the local fast food drive through. These kinds of poor nutritional habits will never allow you to have visible abdominal muscles no matter how much fun you might find your new fangled ab workout contraption to be. The truth is most of us will sadly, never be capable of out-exercising a bad diet, regardless of how many workouts we might cram into a week, nor how much we can wish this to be true.

In fitness, planks indeed are a legit ab exercise. But there’s no need to treat them as the “one ab exercise to rule them all.” You will be  better off by doing push-ups, which are basically leveled-up planks with more muscle recruitment of the upper body. Instead of mindlessly holding a plank for a few minutes, why not try to bang out push-ups for the same amount of time instead? You get the same core work while also building some strength, burning more calories, increasing mental toughness and creating the confidence that comes along with it at the same time.

I recommend you save your money and not buy this Stealth Core workout contraption. If you are going to throw away hard earned cash on fitness equipment that will soon go unused, then at least get something you can hang your clean laundry from.

 

Bug Out Bar Chocolate Brownie Review

Would you care to share a serving of crickets with me?

Have you ever been taking a stroll through the great outdoors, listening to the sounds of crickets chirping away and wondered what they might taste like?

Yeah, me neither.

If you have ever seen how lizards and amphibians seem to devour them with great affection, you might have at least been curious if there was anything you could do to enjoy them too.

Or, maybe not.

Unless you are the folks at Bug Out Bars.

In most of western society, we have become averse to the consumption of crickets, or bugs of any type. Yet, in many developing countries, at least two billion people in parts of Asia and Africa consume more than 1,900 species of edible insects, with beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and crickets being the most common. In America, we have become quite spoiled to always being able to buy fresh meats and have never needed to resort to the consumption of insects. But as we can now see with many meat processing plants being shuttered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we might need to change our way of thinking. Whether from a perspective of developing or developed countries, the entire global population is in need of alternative food sources. You might consider my thoughts on this to be crazy, but did you ever expect to see such a run on toilet paper products over a virus before? Did you ever imagine that with America’s strongest economy in many decades, we would abruptly shut everything down to the point of destroying many large and small businesses? We will likely never run truly out of meat, but it is refreshing to see so many startups who are now marketing tasty and healthy meat alternatives that fulfill our nutritional needs to live healthy lives.

Why eat crickets?

From Bug Out Bar’s website:

As an early adopter of edible insects, a lot of folks will ask you, “Why eat crickets?” You may even be wondering that yourself. The short answer is that they are a sustainable and nutrient-dense food. The longer answer is below.

Nutrient Density

Crickets are packed with protein and nutrients, making it a nutritional powerhouse. You can see for yourself in the points below.

Nutrition per 100g of cricket flour:

2x the protein of beef 

6x the B12 of wild salmon 

More omega-3 fatty acids than wild salmon 

Omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 2:1, closer to an ancestral diet 

Iron in similar amounts to beef 

Probiotic fiber from exoskeletons which may improve gut health and reduce inflammation 

All 9 essential amino acids 

Sustainability

Perhaps the strongest argument for eating crickets is their potential as a sustainable source of protein and nutrients. Crickets require less inputs than other animal protein sources to produce an equivalent amount of nutrition. A major reason for this is the fact that crickets are cold-blooded, which means that they do not use the food they consume to generate body heat and therefore are able to use a higher proportion of their energy towards growth.

Land use could be reduced by 10x

Crickets can be farmed vertically in small containers or even skyscrapers, making them perhaps the only animal protein able to be farmed effectively in urban environments. This would allow for raising local animal protein sources near population centers and perhaps protect wild land from being converted to agricultural land.

Feed requirements could be 12x less

Because crickets are cold-blooded they do not use calories from food to generate heat. This is believed to be the reason that less feed is required to produce edible weight for crickets than for other animals (namely, mammals, who are warm-blooded).

Edible insects actually contain several nutritional benefits. They offer plenty of calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals, depending on their species, metamorphic stage, and diet. Even so, the ‘yuck’ or ‘disgust’ factor is not so easily eliminated from today’s western culture. Despite the health benefits, many westerners are going to reject the concept of bug consumption. The incorporation of this “obscure” food source through the utilization of insect flours can help mitigate the repulsion many might feel. The folks at Bug Out Bars just may have accomplished this feat with their cricket flour.

AS you can see, these cricket brownie bars look appealing enough, no legs, wings or anything else weird or anything to be seen. The bit of glistening you can see on the plate would be from the healthy coconut oil that is a part of the ingredients. Don’t worry, they are not greasy despite leaving a little film on my plate.

I did not know what to expect in regards to flavor and texture when I first sank my teeth into this brownie bar. Although I was relatively sure they would taste good, I was still a little apprehensive. I have tried many other foods that were supposed to be good that turned me off entirely.

These did not turn me off in the least.

Upon biting into my brownie bar, I found the flavor to be quite similar to Little Debbie brand brownies but with a slightly different texture and no frosting.

The flavor tasted like a good fudge brownie, I found the texture to be nice and chewy despite feeling a tad bit mealy. I would say this mealiness would likely be from the cricket flour. In my opinion, these Bug Out Bars would be easy to get used to having on a regular basis but for a couple factors:

At $12.00 US for three bars, they are too expensive!

The other downside is they do contain added sugars which I do not normally eat as a rule. However, at 9 grams of fiber per bar, there is little to worry about in regards to blood sugar and insulin spikes.

While I may never buy these Bug Out Bars again, I would be interested in sampling any new flavors should they ever market any. I like the forward thinking of this company by bringing a healthy alternative food source into the American mainstream. Crickets represent an amazing opportunity as a novel food source while providing amazing nutritional density. With cricket flour readily available through internet sales, I might have to get creative and invent my high protein cricket brownie recipe that is entirely sugar free.

 

 

thinkThin Birthday Cake Protein Cakes Review

wp-15893304061497555384575725940963.png

Flashback!

When Birthday Cake goodies first got popular, I loved the flavor. What’s not to like, right? Sweet vanilla, creaminess and sprinkles…yum. In a pretty short period of time, this flavor was over utilized and slammed together with some of the most awful sweetners and other ingredients that I have ever tasted and the innocent Birthday Cake became a sickenly sweet imitation of what birthday cake should taste like. To tell you the truth, that’s what I expected from these cakes. It’s not what I got! This Birthday Cake flavor is about perfectly done.

Nutrition

The first thing that I noticed when I bit into the first cake was the excellent, chewy texture. It is nice and satisfying with just the right elasticity to the chewy cake. It does seem a little more like a candy than a cake, a nougat, but it is instantly filling. It has 12 grams of protein and 170 calories for the two cakes in the package. While I really like these dainty little treats, there are 11 grams of sugar alcohol in them and that sugar alcohol is maltitol. I usually avoid maltitol because it can cause gastric distress. The single package that I ate did  not cause me to have any symptoms but if you are particularly sensitive to maltitol, you need to take note. There is a syrup blend in them and they contain 1 gram of sugar. While the sugar is not labeled as “Added Sugars”, the syrup blend definantly adds sugar to this product. It is  minimal and is probably insignificant but I avoid all added sugars normally. You never know where that threshold is that will trigger the sugar craving.

wp-15893298181546760171866351923023.jpg

Overall Presentation

One of the most pleasant things about these cakes is the creamy coating with multi-colored sprinkles. It adds a decadent note to the cakes. If you love Birthday Cake flavored goodies then you will most likely really go for these little snack cakes. The foil packaging gives you the feeling of opening a special treat so if you are choosing to eat these as a rare indulgence, they just might fill the bill nicely.

Availability

These cakes appear to be in limited supply. I paid only $2.59 for the single package that I bought at a local Walgreen’s. I live in Alabama and have been able to buy these cakes here for quite some time. From what I understand, they are not available everywhere. You might want to check your local Walgreen’s if you’re interested in trying them. Every time that I have bought them over the last year or so, I found them at Walgreen’s. I don’t think that I have ever seen them anywhere else. Originally they came in Birthday Cake, Chocolate and Red Velvet. I have tried the Chocolate and the Birthday Cake and like them enough that if I ever see the Red Velvet again, I will give them a try.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a little something on occasion to treat yourself, these may be just fine. I don’t believe that there is enough sugar in them to spur a sugar craving. The drawback to these for me is that they are 170 calories of a processed food that is made almost entirely as a treat. The 12 grams of protein would be better gleaned from whole foods. You may be able to fit these into your program seamlessly but I try to spend my calories wisely, gettin the most nutritional bang for my buck. While they seem innocent enough and they’re good, unless I find the Red Velvet flavor, I’ll probably not buy them again. I do believe that they are better than a regular snack cake, but only marginally so. For pure enjoyment, they’re great, but I perceive food as fuel and for my 170 calories, I want more.

wp-15893305068587321258850604821659.png