For a long time I envied everyone making Kodiak Cakes, (David…), a low carb-high protein pancake. The variety that Walmart sells contains gluten and I avoid gluten. One day in Walmart, still checking to see if they might be stocking the gluten free variety, I happened upon Birch Benders Keto Pancake and Waffle Mix. I just had to give it a try because it’s also gluten free. There are other varieties of Birch Benders, but I eat a low carb diet and the Keto variety is the only one that I use. Let me clarify here, I don’t do Keto. I eat low carb but not Keto. This mix is low in carbohydrates so it fits nicely into my menus.
Birch Benders Keto has 160 calories, 9 grams of protein and 5 grams of net carbs per 2 4-inch pancakes. Due to the almond flour and coconut in the mix, there is a slightly chewy texture to the cakes, which I like. It keeps them from having that “simple carb” feel. Paired with Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Pancake Syrup, they are a sweet delight. This syrup is superior to other sugar free syrups because it has a true maple flavor. The pancakes have a mild, buttery taste and I like to cook them in coconut oil which smokes easily so you have to brown them slowly to a rich golden brown for the best flavor and texture. Cooking them slowly gets them plenty done inside and builds a slightly crunchy crust.
When you cut into the cake, the crust will crunch a bit if you built that crust right. Awaiting inside is a fluffy, slightly creamy, almost sweet, textured center. Cooking in coconut oil enhances their “melt in your mouth” quality. When you add the maple syrup on top paired with either bacon, yes real bacon, or maybe turkey sausage if you don’t eat pork, and eggs they will satisfy any type of craving that you might have. While sugar based syrups and refined grain pancakes give you terrible cravings, this sugar free syrup and almond based pancake mix does not. I was a little anxious that I might start craving sugar after eating this scrumptious meal but they give you no cravings whatsoever.
The only drawback to these wonderful cakes is that two are hardly enough! Although these are a healthy treat, you still need to count your calories. Since there are 160 calories in two, plus the calories in the syrup, bacon or sausage and eggs, proceed with caution! You will definitely be wanting more. 😋
Although we at David’s Way always encourage you to eat whole, unprocessed foods, we are realists. There are times when convenience is paramount and a quick, healthy snack can really help see us through until our next meal. Quite often we go for a protein bar. They’re everywhere but they are not created equally. Some are horrific masses of vitamin flavored, syrupy sweet, mealy textured substitutes for food. Some, however, can give you a protein boost and tie you over for a while with pleasure. For me, the ONE bars are an acceptable choice.
ONE bars come in many flavors and to be fair to the product, I will review them separately. I have not tried all of them so this review is limited, but as I sample them I will write about the new flavors that I try.
“Almond Bliss” is the first ONE bar that I tried. I’ve got to tell you that at first, I totally agreed with the name. It was pure bliss. If you like an Almond Joy candy bar, this protein bar is for you. It’s tastes a lot like an Almond Joy. It’s chewy and chocolatey and smells wonderful. You can buy a box of 12 from one1brands.com for $23.76 or a box of 4 at Walmart for $7.12. They will cost you about $2.31 for a single in most places. Like I said, at first I thought that I had found a treasure. While they are really good, I tired of them pretty quickly as I tried other flavors. Although this is a good bar with 20 grams of protein and just 1 gram of sugar, all of the bars seemed to taste a little alike and the Almond Bliss lost it’s edge. It’s loaded with almonds and coconut and did fill me up for about two hours. Overall, it’s good in a pinch. Eating them too often can become a habit and they don’t seem as good after a while. Reaching for any processed food habitually will eventually encourage you to overeat because they are processed, or the equivalent of partially digested. I choose to eat protein bars infrequently and fill up on whole foods to keep myself full and satisfied. This bar has 230 calories.
Ahhh…”Birthday Cake”… I thought that I had found Nirvana with this one. It’s a true Birthday Cake flavor and at first bite, it melts in your mouth. While the “Almond Bliss” remained good for me for the duration of the bar, this one did not. I have tried more than one of these over the course of a year or so and every one that I have tried has had a slightly mealy texture and seemed almost too sweet. They are so sweet that the sweetness becomes the “flavor”. The creamy, dreamy vanilla smoothness of the traditional birthday cake flavor gets lost in an overabundance of a sugary onslaught of white “frosting” and sprinkles. This one was irksome about halfway through. The price is the same as the Almond Bliss and again, it has 20 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar. Walmart carries these single or in the box. You can have a taste of birthday cake for 210 calories.
I really liked this bar and have bought it more than once. It’s a bit sweeter than I like almost immediately but the slight tartness of the blueberry flavor balances the sweetness nicely. Before I finish one of these however, it still seems too sweet. The novelty of the “Bluberry Cobbler” flavor is pleasant but after buying a few of these, I don’t buy them very often at all anymore. It has a good chewy texture and the coating is creamy and sweet. If you miss blueberry cobbler, you will be charmed by this bar at first. It has 20 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar for 220 calories. You can buy these at Walmart.
I liked this bar with coffee. The only place that I’ve ever found these is at GNC. It does have that “sameness” that all of these ONE bars have and it is very sweet. The main sweetener in these bars, Maltitol, can cause GI upset for some people, so don’t overdo it. Although I liked this one the best, the sweetness was a bit overpowering. The bitterness of the coffee took some of the edge off of the sweetness and left the cinnamon taste behind. It’s a novel flavor and is very interesting at first. I would not recommend buying a box of any of these bars until you try a couple of singles. The slightly warm cinnamon flavor is crowded by the sugary aftertaste. Like the others, it has 20 grams of protein and 1 gram of sugar.
Now… this “Peanut Butter Pie” offering is not too sweet. If you like a really sweet bar, you may not like it. For longevity, I do. Although this bar has that same “whey” taste that all of these bars have, since it’s only slightly sweet, it’s pretty good to the end of the bar. It has a nice, chewy texture and is satisfying because it has that protein punch of 20 grams with only 1 gram of sugar for 220 calories. The peanut butter flavor is authentic and not overpowered by too much sweetener. I have bought these several times.
I have tried other flavors and I will review them in the weeks to come. If I buy a protein bar, this is the ONE that I seek. They are not always easy to find but are far superior to some of those convenience store sugar and calorie bombs. Some of the so-called “protein bars” are merely candy bars with protein added. If you need a quick snack, you may want to try ONE the next time you’re late for a meal. It may help you avoid binging with the 20 grams of protein, while keeping your caloric intake low and avoiding most sugar. Never allow yourself to get and stay too hungry for too long. At David’s Way, we know that the best way to avoid empty calories is to fill up on good ones, full of nutrition. These bars can help with that on occasion.
Friends, as a bonafide, meat loving carnivore, I must say there are a few vegetarian/vegan friendly foods on the market I enjoy for a variety of reasons. The first thing I want to know is if the product tastes good. If it is a vegetarian product, I do not care if it really tastes like the meat it is supposed to be replacing. I just want to know if it tastes good.
Next, I want to know if the product is any healthier than the actual meat product it is replacing. For example, I have tried Morning Star Vegetarian Corn Dogs, and while I found them to taste real similar to actual corn dogs, I did not find them to be any healthier once I looked at the ingredients.
The next thing I want to know about the product is if they are handy to use in place of cooking actual meat.
I have found Boca Crumbles to satisfy all that I look for in a vegetarian meat substitute. Boca Crumbles represent ground beef quite well, and can be used in any dish in which you might use ground beef without anyone knowing the difference. The crumbles look and taste like ground beef and are a delicious addition to chili, spaghetti sauce, beans, and even Sloppy Joe sandwiches. I personally really enjoy mixing them with pinto beans, salsa, chili lime seasoning and habanero hot sauce for a hearty and satisfying meal. If you or a family member has health issues where you are not allowed to consume beef any longer, you will find Boca Crumbles to be a worthy substitute.
I consider myself to be nothing even close to being a vegetarian or vegan. I am a carnivore at heart, yet I do often enjoy vegan friendly foods such as vege-burgers. Not that I expect them to actually taste like a ground beef hamburger, I just happen to enjoy them because many of them are pleasing to my palate. If I am in the mood for a sandwich that is a little different, a Morning Star Southwest Black Bean Burger can hardly be beat as an alternative to ground beef. I have been seeing advertisements for a few months for Beyond Meat’s products and became intrigued with their Beyond Burger. I had no idea they also produced a vegan friendly hot Italian Sausage and Brats until I found their Beyond Burger in my local Dillon’s grocery store. I have now eaten the burgers and Italian sausages and once I try the Brats, I will do a review on them as well.
The picture on the left is from an advertisement for Beyond Burger, the picture on the right is one I snapped of the actual product. As you can see, the advertised picture appears to resemble ground beef patties much better than how the product actually appears. This reminded me of days gone by where hamburgers advertised for sell at movie concession stands appeared significantly better than the limp patty and soggy bun you actually received if you bought one. Curiosity still had me so I made my purchase despite the deception of the pictures I had seen in a multitude of adds.
What is a Beyond Burger?
From Beyond Meats website:
The Beyond Burger is the world’s first plant based burger that looks, cooks and satisfies like beef. It has all the juicy, meaty deliciousness of a traditional burger, but comes with the upside of a plant based meal. The Beyond Burger packs 20g of plant based protein and has no GMOs, soy or gluten.
Can this be true? And what is in them?
This might be spooky as the vegan meat substitute is advertised to even bleed out the same as a ground beef hamburger when you cook it. I’m not sure I get why a vegan friendly burger that seeps blood would ever appeal to a vegan though. But, here are the ingredients and nutritional values for a burger:
Pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color)
270 calories per burger
20g fat 5g sat)
Just because of the difference of appearance between the advertisement and actual product, I was skeptical about if I would enjoy these burgers. I opened the package and instead of being red in color, the burgers were more of a brown color with specks of solid coconut oil interspersed to resemble beef fat. Instead of resembling beef patties, my initial impression from sight and smell was the patties appeared and smelled more akin to something resembling canned dog food, only not as strong in smell.
However, at $6.00 US and given the fact I have lived on worse food concoctions within military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), I was going to cook them and at least taste them despite the fact I damn near chucked them into my kitchen trash can. I sprayed a little olive oil into a non-stick skillet over medium heat and began browning them. This is the point where my mind began wondering if they might actually be good after all. The coconut oil specks began to dissolve, and low and behold, there appeared a liquid that resembled blood seeping from the burgers. As they browned, that vague smell of canned dog food was replaced by an odor that more closely resembled that of frying beef. My brother in law who lives with us, came into the kitchen and thought from the smell that I had changed my mind and was actually cooking beef. The trial is beginning to look up now.
Once I had browned the burgers on both sides (about 3 minutes per side) I served them up to my brother in law and myself. I had told Howard that if they were no good to not feel bad about chucking it into the trash if he did not care to finish his burger. (He is kind of picky and had turned his nose up about vege-burgers)
Howard had his on bread with ketchup and mustard, mine was on a low carbohydrate, high fiber tortilla with Heinz 57 sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the first bite. The burger had a taste and texture remarkably like actual lean ground beef. The taste was such that I believe you could feed someone one of these burgers and they would never realize it was entirely vegetarian, it was that realistic. The burgers browned nicely and looked just like ground beef once cooked.
Will I try them again? Yes, the package in the picture is my second purchase. At first, Howard only said they were alright in a non-committed way. About an hour later, he fessed up that he also thought they were pretty darn good too.
Beyond Sausage, Hot Itallian
From Beyond Meat web site: The worlds first plant based sausage that looks, sizzles and satisfies like pork. Nope, I’m going to disagree, but it is not all bad.
Beyond Sausage Ingredients:
water, pea protein isolate, refined coconut oil, Sunflower oil, natural flavors, Contains 2% or less of: Rice protein, Faba Bean protein, potato starch, salt, fruit juice for color, vegetable juice for color, apple fiber, methlycellulose, citrus extract, calcium alginate casing
230 mg potassium
5g total carbohydrate
Well, I actually enjoyed the hot Italian sausages, yet I did not think they even remotely resembled a pork sausage during the cooking process. I sprayed a skillet with olive oil and began browning them all around. Being as there was no casing from an animal source, they did not brown the same as a sausage made from meat. In fact, they left the vege-casing material a little bit stuck in my frying pan. While their smell during cooking was pleasing to me, I never smelled anything resembling pork. There was a smell of spice and something else I could not describe as anything I ever cooked, yet it was certainly not a bad odor.
Once I had my sausage fully cooked, I was ready to taste it. I sliced into it with a knife and I was not disappointed to not see a bunch of fat pour out. It was almost like they were made with lean meat in the same way as the burger. The sausage was firm and not greasy at all. The taste was good, however, I thought it tasted much closer to that of a very mild Mexican Chorizo than Italian sausage. They are advertised as being hot, yet I did not think they were the least bit spicy. But be warned, I also go through a bottle of habanero pepper hot sauce about every two weeks.
While I did not find them to taste much like pork, I thoroughly enjoyed the Italian sausage as a sandwich. At $6.00 US for 4 links, I enjoyed them enough to try them again and look forward to trying Beyond Meat’s Brat product in the near future. I will do a review on them too.
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