Bob Harper Biggest Loser TV Commercial for Quaker Oatmeal Squares Cereal

What’s up with Bob Harper endorsing processed cereal? He’s in a new TV ad for Quaker Oatmeal Squares, trying to convince America how wonderful this processed cereal is. I understand that a person needs to make a living, but it’s very disappointing that he would choose such a poor food product to promote. Shame on Bob Harper!

Take a closer look at Quaker Oatmeal Squares and how outright deceiving the advertising is (including Bob Harper’s enthusiast endorsement!)

The ad proudly states ONE serving has “96% of your minimum whole grain needs” – the small print on their web page states:

**Experts recommend eating at least three one-ounce equivalents of whole grains, or 48 grams daily, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Quaker Oatmeal Squares has 46 grams per serving.

What does 48 grams of whole grain exactly mean? Well, the total weight of one cup of Quaker Oat Squares is 55 grams. So, minus the sugar, sodium, and other assorted preservatives and chemicals, and you’ll find a net of 46 grams of whole grain.

But Bob Harper doesn’t mention that a bowl of this crap also provides 10 grams of sugar, which is about a third of the suggested refined sugar consumption (Did somebody say Fruit Loops?), along with some lovely BHT and fake food coloring. Don’tcha just love all those wonderful ingredients that you can’t pronounce!

Quaker Oatmeal Squares Ingredients:

WHOLE OAT FLOUR, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, BROWN SUGAR, SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT, MOLASSES, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, REDUCED IRON, SODIUM ASCORBATE, YELLOW 5, NIACINAMIDE*, ZINC OXIDE, BHT (A PRESERVATIVE), VITAMIN E ACETATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, YELLOW 6, THIAMIN MONONITRATE*, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE*, RIBOFLAVIN*, FOLIC ACID*.
*ONE OF THE B VITAMINS.

Compare Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal to REAL old fashioned steel cut oats from Bob’s Red Mill, which contains, hmm, say it with me… OATS!

One 1/4 cup (dry) of gives you just about the same amount of “whole grain” goodness @ 44 grams. Even when you add a tsp of sweetener and a pinch of salt, you still come up healthier with less calories, less sugar, and less sodium, compared to the Quaker Oatmeal Squares. And the bonus is you leave out the chemicals, preservatives, and other assorted ickyness that Bob Harper endorses.

Too bad Bob Harper didn’t choose a company like Bob’s Red Mill to support, but then again, they don’t have a huge marketing budget like Quaker and their parent company Pepsico!

Bob Harper is raking in the big bucks but, to me, he’s looking like the Biggest Loser!

Healthy Whole Wheat, Barley, Coconut Milk Pancakes

UPDATED: 2011-05-15 (see below for banana pancakes variation)
It’s always comforting to have pancakes on Sunday morning! I whipped up a batch of batter using whole wheat & barley flours, So Delicious coconut milk, and olive oil, and while I washed weekend dishes, my lovely DH cooked the pancakes!

He made 5 large pancakes. They’re very hearty and healthy, but not something I’d make every day. 1 and 1/2 pancakes filled me up, while DH ate 2 and 1/2 pancakes. I’m happy to have one left over for tomorrow’s breakfast.

whole wheat, barley, coconut milk & olive oil pancakes

I was inspired by a white flour pancake recipe I found at All Recipes, Here’s my healthy whole grain version:

Whole Grain Healthy Pancakes Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I love using King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup barley flour (or any other whole grain flour, a little cornmeal tastes yummy too)
  • 3.5 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sucanat sugar (or plain sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk (or almond milk, or dairy milk if that is what you like – you can also mix the milk with a little water)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 2 Tbsp olive oil

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Whisk all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, salt, sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Using a large glass measuring cup, measure the coconut milk, then mix in whole egg and olive oil.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix until just combined. It’s a thick batter. If you like a thinner batter, add more coconut milk.
  4. This is the only time I recommend using a non-stick pan, just because it’s a lot easier and there’s no need for additional oil. Cook pancakes to your desired size and shape. As I said, we made a total of 5 large ones, but you might like smaller or thinner pancakes.

Enjoy!

I ate them with my fingers, dipping pancake pieces into a small bowl of real maple syrup!

Nutritional Data

Makes 5 pancakes / One serving = 1 pancake

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on the total weight of the finished dish.

Calories: 237
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 3g (saturated fat from vegetable sources is not the same as animal fat sources)
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat: 6.5g
Trans: 0
Cholesterol: 42mg
Sodium: 551mg
Potassium: 79mg
Carbs: 27g
Fiber: 4g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 6g
Vitamin A: 4%
Calcium: 28%
Iron: 22%

UPDATE: 2011-03-20: Made pancakes again this morning. It’s becoming a nice tradition! I added a little bit of cornmeal to the barley flour, and instead of the non-stick pan, DH used our cast iron, with about 1 tsp of coconut oil. I don’t know if it was the added corn or the cast iron (or both) but these pancakes ROCKED! They had a slight crispy coating (which is probably from the cast iron) and I didn’t even need syrup. I ate them straight! They were delicious!

UPDATE: 2011-05-15: Made banana pancakes this morning in the cast iron. Yum. Tweaked the ingredients a little bit. Since I added 2 medium bananas (1 cup), I left out the sugar. I had previously noticed a slight ‘metallic’ taste so today, I tried reducing the baking powder to 2.5 tsp and the pancakes were equally light and fluffy. I also reduced the oil to 2 Tbsp.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

whole wheat rye sesame muffins

I haven’t been inspired (or had the time) to make any muffins or quick breads for months. But I’ve been craving desserts, so tonight, I decided to take to heart Michael Pollan’s Food Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Which muffin recipe to make? I thought about peanut butter chocolate chip, blueberry, and oat raisin, but decided I’d like to try something new.

I searched through my Evernote recipes and found a lovely sesame seed muffin recipe. I loved that the recipe included a good amount of sesame seeds, but I wanted more whole grains, so I adapted it to my needs.

Here’s my modifications:

Healthy Low Sugar Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp (approx) freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but almond milk would also work very well, as well as plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff, not imitation)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat & rye flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sesame seeds.
  3. Whisk oil and egg together in a small glass bowl or large glass measuring cup until slightly frothy
  4. Mix in molasses, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet mixture into dry flour bowl and stir to combine. Try not to over mix.
  6. Scoop into 12 muffin tins lined with paper and bake for 14-20 minutes.

whole wheat rye sesame muffins

Notes:

  • The mixture is firm, so it’s easy to pile the batter high in the tin.
  • I think I’ll add more spice next time. The cinnamon and nutmeg was fine, but I think it needs more ginger and maybe even a bit of anise or fennel seed.
  • It was easy to scoop the batter into tins using my Oxo Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop.
  • I slightly over-cooked the muffins, so next time I’ll bake for only 14 minutes. I bake in a counter-top convection oven.
  • These muffins are not sweet, so more sweetener can be added if that is what you like. We plan on topping with a dollop of jelly for tomorrow’s breakfast!
  • Raisins would be a great addition, as would some dark chocolate chips (leave out the spices).
  • The sesame seeds are yummy! I might increase the amount added next time. They add a touch of chewy sweetness to the muffin.

Nutritional Data

Each muffin is approximately 2 oz.

Calories: 165
Total Fat: 8.3g
Saturated: 1.7g
Polyunsaturated: .5g
Monounsaturated: 3.2g
Cholesterol: 16.3mg
Sodium: 225mg
Potassium: 53mg
Total Carbs: 17g
Fiber: 2.7g
Sugars: 4g
Calcium: 13.5%
Iron: 12.5%

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on the total weight of the finished dish.

UPDATE: For breakfast, we ended up melting some organic whipped butter on top of a sliced muffin. It was yummy. I’ll definitely add a bit more sweetener next time, or possibly some sweeter mix-ins like raisins or chocolate chunks, along with a bit more sesame seeds.

butter topped whole wheat rye sesame muffins

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Muffins – Recipe

I wanted to bake some muffins for my aunt when we visit next week, so I googled recipes for oatmeal raisin muffins, and found this recipe:

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/breakfast/recipe-quick-and-homey-oatmeal-raisin-muffins-126095

The author wrote that the recipe was adapted from the More-With-Less Cookbook so I rushed to put a copy on hold at the library to check it out. Reviews on Amazon are glowing, but there are a few negative reviews scattered as well, so it’s a great book to borrow before purchasing.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Raisin Muffin recipe

inspired by thekitchn.com – makes 10-12 muffins

whole wheat oatmeal raisin muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats – old fashioned or quick
  • 1/4 cup Wheat Germ (or additional oats)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 oz container yogurt
  • water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 tsp Sucanat or brown sugar (Optional for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Grease a muffin pan, or line with muffin papers
  3. Combine the flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
  4. Add in raisins and stir to coat with flour mixture
  5. In a large measuring cup, pour 1/4 cup molasses and container of plain yogurt and add enough water so all liquids total 1 cup. Mix very well with fork or whisk so all ingredients are combined.
  6. Whisk the large egg with olive oil, then stir together with the yogurt mixture.
  7. Pour all liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  8. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin and then optionally sprinkle a little bit of sucanat over each one.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for a minute or two. Then transfer each muffin to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

whole wheat oatmeal raisin muffins

My Notes:

  • Sodium is pretty high, I assume due to the large amount of baking powder. I think I’ll reduce that next time, possibly by half.
  • I think it would be difficult to divide the batter into 12 muffin tins. I got 10, and they were just the right size. I think 12 would be a bit on the small size. It could be because I used a package of instant oatmeal instead of the old fashioned oats. Play it by ear.

Nutritional Data:

Calories 186
Fat: 7g
Saturated: 1g
Monounsaturated: 4g
Cholesterol: 22mg
Sodium: 328mg
Potassium: 130mg
Carbs: 28g
Fiber: 3g
Sugar: 10g
Protein: 5g
Calcium: 16%
Iron: 10%

PediaSure SideKicks – Who Feeds This Stuff to Their Kids?

I saw a TV ad for PediaSure Sidekicks last night. I’m sure it’s been on a million times, but this time I really paid attention.

http://pediasure.com/kid-nutrition-products/sidekicks-commercial

Two moms were watching their kids play soccer on the field, and one mom says that her son is sluggish and maybe they shouldn’t have stopped off at the drive-thru before the game. He’s wearing a big French Fry costume, and the other mom says “Well kids are what they eat”

Then the Voiceover states:

Introducing great-tasting PediaSure SideKicks, from the #1 pediatrician recommended brand. With 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber in every bottle.

I found the ingredients list for PediaSure Sidekicks, and it ain’t pretty. In fact, it would seem that the other child drinking this crap should be dressed as big lolipop because it’s loaded with sugar. It’s basically water, milk and sugar with some chemicals and other nasties. Soy oil? soy protein isolate? soy lecithin? Who said it was good to add these to a something a child drinks?

Here’s the list of ingredients for PediaSure Sidekicks vanilla:

WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY OIL, SHORT-CHAIN FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: CELLULOSE GEL, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GUM, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, CARRAGEENAN, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, m-INOSITOL, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, TAURINE, FERROUS SULFATE, dl-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, L-CARNITINE, ZINC SULFATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, NIACINAMIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM IODIDE, SODIUM SELENATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, PHYLLOQUINONE, VITAMIN D3, AND CYANOCOBALAMIN.

Since when is it better to drink a meal instead of actually EATING a meal? How about some natural yogurt along with some scrambled eggs and a bowl of oatmeal. Hmm no, let’s just open up an 8 oz bottle of sugary milk instead. No, don’t worry, your kid won’t become obese later in life? Or get diabetes or heart disease! Ha. Makes me sick!

Edited to add actual nutritional data from their web site: (I mistakenly posted the nutritional data for Pediasure, not the “Sidekicks” – I’m sorry for any confusion this error might have caused. The nutritional data is now correct.)

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 bottle (8 fl oz)
Servings 1
Calories 150
Calories from Fat 45
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 5g 8%
Saturated Fat: 1g 5%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: <5mg <2% Sodium: 90mg 4% Potassium: 390mg 11% Total Carbohydrate: 21g 7% Dietary Fiber: 3g 12% Sugars: 17g Protein: 7g 14% Vitamin A 10% • Vitamin C 40% • Calcium 25% • Iron 15% • Vitamin D 40% • Vitamin E 20% • Vitamin K 20% • Thiamin 40% • Riboflavin 30% • Niacin 10% • Vitamin B6 30% • Folate 15% • Vitamin B12 25% • Biotin 15% • Pantothenic Acid 25% • Phosphorus 20% • Iodine 15% • Magnesium 10% • Zinc 10% • Selenium 10% • Copper 10% • Manganese 20% • Chromium 10% • Molybdenum 10% • Chloride 8% • Choline 15%

Green Valley Organic Lacose Free Yogurt

I’ve been buying Green Valley Organic Yogurt for a couple of weeks now, and I just love it.

First, most importantly, it’s delicious! I’ve tried the blueberry, strawberry, and honey. Honey is okay, but the fruit flavors are very good. I really need to buy some vanilla and create my own flavors with frozen berries, bananas, apples, pineapples, etc. It would be so much better for me too!

Secondly, it’s a lot lower in sugar grams than other yogurts. 16 grams in their blueberry and strawberry flavors. Only 9 grams for vanilla. That’s a big difference to Stonyfield (20g) and Wallaby (22g)

I love that it’s organic and their dairy comes from farms that are certified humane. Not that that “label” really means anything, but at least it’s a start. No anti-biotic or growth hormone usage, and I like to think their cows aren’t hooked up to milking machines all day long.

I’m interested in trying their Kefir as well. I used to love love love the bottles of Stonyfield yogurt smoothies, but they were so extremely high in sugar, I gave them up! Green Valley offers plain plus a Blueberry Pom Açaí flavor that has 20 grams of sugar. Looks like each bottle is 32 oz, so that’s 4 servings of 8 oz each. The yogurts are 6 oz servings at 16g of sugar, so it breaks down to roughly the same amount of sugar per ounce.

It doesn’t look like it’s available in any other stores in my area, except Whole Foods, but that is a good thing. The more “mainstream” a small company becomes, the more they change. Less care goes into the product. I like that they are a small business. I hope they don’t get bought out by one of the big food companies like Stonyfield did.

Anyway, Green Valley Organic yogurt is definitely my yogurt of choice! I hope they don’t mind that I used one of their product photos for my post!

Green Valley Organic bottles and cups

Recipe: Ginger Lemon Muffins (Made with Fresh Ginger)

UPDATED 2011-05-11

These ginger lemon muffins were a big hit! They are light, healthy, and bursting with fresh zesty ginger flavor! The fresh ginger requires a bit more work, but it’s worth it!

ginger lemon muffins made with fresh ginger

Continue reading “Recipe: Ginger Lemon Muffins (Made with Fresh Ginger)”

Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Sunday Bacon

I admit, I love bacon. No, it’s not something that I eat every day, but hey, once every week or two, it’s a savory splurge!

I never buy cured bacon, with the added nitrates, so I always look for a natural uncured brand.

I’ve tried the Whole Foods 365 brand, which was good, but I picked up a package of Applegate Farms uncured organic Sunday bacon, and it was fantastic. It cooks nicely in my cast iron pan, and even when over-cooked, it doesn’t shrivel down to tiny pieces. The flavor is superb, and I could probably eat the whole pound in one sitting!

applegate farms uncured organic sunday bacon

I made a batch of Boston Baked Beans with it, and I couldn’t stop myself from frying up a couple of slices for breakfast the next morning! We finished the package for Sunday morning brunch yesterday morning. Aaaah, it was heaven!

The best thing about Applegate Farms bacon is that it’s made from truly natural organic ingredients. There aren’t any unpronounceable ingredients in this bacon:

Organic Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Celery Powder.

I found this package of Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Sunday Bacon at Market Basket grocery. I don’t know if they sell it at Whole Foods, I will have to check! I will certainly be purchasing this bacon again!

Kashi Go Lean Cereal Offers as Much Protein as Egg

I’ve been constantly seeing the new commercial from Kashi bragging that their cereal offers as much protein as an egg.

Come on! Do people really believe that the “soy protein concentrate” in Kashi cereal would be equal in quality to the protein in real food like an egg?

Since Kashi is owned by Kellogg’s, somehow I doubt that they have our best interests at heart. Big food companies need profits, so they’re always trying to find a new way to manipulate the public into buying more of their products. And I’m sure the public will fall for it, like they always do. It’s easier to pour a bowl of processed cereal than it is to scramble up an egg for breakfast. But is it healthier? No way!

Sure, eggs might have saturated fat and cholesterol, but it’s been proven over and over again that eggs are not the enemy! In moderation, they can be part of a healthy balanced diet. I love eating a scrambled egg sandwich with cheese & whole wheat/grain bread for breakfast.

People need to stop eating processed food disguised as health food!

ETA (November 7, 2011) I feel it’s necessary to mention (thanks to comments from “veloved”) that while I promote eggs, I do not agree with the current way that egg-laying hens are treated in “factory farms” – the healthiest eggs will not be found at most grocery stores. Even the ones marketed as “free-range” or “organic” are not necessarily humanely raised.

Check the Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard for details on eggs found at the grocery store; it’s surprising that most store brands are rated very low.

If you want the freshest, healthiest eggs, look for a small farm selling them in your neighborhood or local farmers market. Or better yet, start raising them yourself!