Tag Archives: health

Think Thin Bars…think again

Happy Friday,

Snack bars, especially ones marketed as healthy, are hard to resist.  Super convenient, easy to bring anywhere and don’t go bad for months.  Seems like a no-brainer.  C’mon, every body’s doing it.  So why shouldn’t you?

This post is not about why you should avoid all snack bar products.  That is extreme and there are some decent ones on the market.  This post is about one brand of bars, the Think Thin protein bars.  With a great brand name and terrific marketing plastered on the bars’ wrappers exuding the health benefits of their protein bars, how could you not be tempted to try Think Thin?  “Gluten-free, 0 sugar, low glycemic” – sounds good, right?

I became a loyal customer to their brownie crunch and chunky peanut butter bars years ago and I must say I fell hard for them.  The bars became a daily staple in my diet.  I may have had even more than 1 bar some days.  They tasted good and had high protein without carb overload.  But, these convenient protein snacks were not doing me any favors.  It took months for me to figure out that the bars were actually causing my body harm as the ingredients were not healthful or beneficial for me.  All I had to do was read the long list of ingredients to understand why I was not feeling as good as I usually did.

Let’s have a look at the Brownie Crunch Think Thin protein bar.  To begin, Think Thin does not make it simple for you to locate the ingredients online.  Go ahead – take a look at their product details page on their website.  Can you find the list of ingredients?  I found the nutrition panel, but no ingredients.  Here’s a screenshot of what you will see on the company’s website.

Brownie Crunch

And here is something I find very deceiving.  I clicked on “Learn More” as I thought this is where I could locate the ingredient list of the brownie crunch bar.  This is what I found:

learn more

learn more 2

Let’s go through their list.  High protein – yes, there is 20 grams of protein per bar, but let’s look at the source.  You can find the ingredients listed on a bar.  The protein comes from soy.  Overly processed, most likely genetically modified soy.  You will actually find the word “soy” listed in the ingredients 4 times!  Go ahead – count for yourself.

brownie crunch ingredients

Let’s move on to the 2nd item listed under “Learn More” about the brownie crunch bar – No Refined Sugar.  What you find in this bar is REFINED SUGAR ALCOHOLS, so technically not refined sugar.  The maltitol, which is listed twice in the ingredients, and glycerin are both sugar alcohols that are known to cause digestive upset.  Maltitol, which is a very common highly processed sugar alcohol used in sugar free foods, is mostly derived from corn.  Another big genetically modified crop.

Next is Gluten-Free.  Fine, the product is gluten-free, but that does not mean healthy.  Please understand what gluten is and gluten-free foods can be very unhealthy.  Potato chips and many ice creams are gluten-free.

Good Source of Fiber.  The brownie crunch bar has 2 grams of fiber.  That does not qualify as a good source of fiber for a 230 calorie snack.

Non-GMO Ingredients.  Please read this closely because the brownie crunch bar does contain genetically modified ingredients.  You will notice the company has listed they strive to source Non-GMO ingredients and only their Crunch Mixed Nut Bars do not contain genetically modified ingredients!  Ha!  They rely on us consumers being too busy and rushed to read the fine print.

Low Glycemic Index.  These bars have 25 grams of carbohydrates and only 2 grams of fiber.  It’s decent, but not great.

Dairy Free.  Well, brownie crunch bars are not dairy free as they contain milk fat and casein.  Here’s some information about casein: most allergic reactions to milk and cheese are because of casein.  When casein is broken down by the body, the peptide that it is broken down into acts as a histamine releaser.  This has been shown to aggravate autism symptoms.

Vegan.  Same as above – the brownie crunch and all their protein bars contain several animal-based ingredients.

This business practice of trying to fool the consumer is something that truly gets to me.  Think Thin did fool me once, but never again.

Let’s take another look at that ingredient list:

brownie crunch ingredients

There are 3 ingredients listed above that I believe are healthy and can be within a “healthy” snack product.  Those are water, almonds and sea salt.  All the other ingredients demonstrate how overly processed and fake this product is.  Natural flavors, which is listed twice, is a big no-no as it can be ANYTHING.  No joke – here is the definition of natural flavors by the FDA:

natural flavors

So yes, it can be anything.  Including monosodium glutamate (MSG).

I am not going to go through each ingredient and tell you my thoughts, as I know you are smart enough to see these Think Thin protein bars clearly for what they are.  But, here is a former post about another brand of snack bars where I do go through each ingredient.  Not surprisingly, you will see a ton of overlap in ingredients.

Read Your Ingredients!

 

 

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Special Order – Last Day to Purchase!

Valentine’s Day Special Available for 1 more day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Mind Your Muffin Co. has a Valentine Day special of a combination half-dozen of decadent chocolate and vanilla muffins available to be shipped anywhere in the country, and it ends today!  All orders placed today will be shipped on Monday, February 17th (except if you arrange pickup or local delivery).  So get yourself, or be selfless and give the combination pack of 2 of our best selling flavors.  We are including a muffin carrier bag with each Valentine’s Day Special ordered as well!  Order hereImage

Just want to add a friendly reminder that it is easy to take any of our products with you on the go with our convenient reusable carrier bag.  Simply throw a muffin or a few cave bites into a carrier bag, seal and throw it in your purse or gym bag to ensure you will have your superfood snack with you when in need!  
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Have a terrific weekend,

Gina

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My background in food, nutrition and health

In February 2007, my health began to decline.  You may ask, “Well, where was your health at this point?”  Great question.  I was a young 20-something with a constant flow of energy who ate anything she wanted and never got sick.  My health allowed me to play many sports and pull all nighters without the use of caffeine or stimulants when necessary (I was a procrastinator and would leave term papers until the very end).  This is where my health was the beginning of 2007.

So my taken-for-granted health began it’s decline in February 2007.  My health continued this downward spiral almost taking my life.  No doctor could save me.  I saw over 26 doctors, including specialists in infectious disease, rheumatoid arthritis, neurology, dermatology, endocrinology , acupuncture, chiropractic medicine and integrative internal medicine.  I saw these specialists and more in a 2 year period that spanned several states, and not one of them could pinpoint what was going on.  They all agreed something was wrong and that it was only worsening with various pill treatments, and various therapies did not seem to help.  During this time I lost most of my friends, became distant from my family as I was unable to communicate what was going on, mainly due to embarrassment.  I lost my ability to keep up with any of my hobbies, sports and exercise.

I was in denial of my illness for quite sometime.  I continued working until I no longer could trust that my legs would not give out from under me without warning, or that my mind would not go “black” and within a few seconds I would no longer recognize where I was or what I was doing.  I would act like I was extremely busy to friends and family so they wouldn’t judge me perhaps thinking I was a hypochondriac.  I would then wonder to myself, “Am I crazy?  Is this all mental?  Am I imaging the layers of skin peeling from my body and my piercing blue lips in the mirror?”

I would go from being so cold trying to hide my  blue lips and piling on mounds of winter clothing in 80 degree temperatures, and then later that day being so hot that filling my bathtub with ice and lying in it seemed like the only way to cool down.  There were times when I would begin to stand up after being seated and fall right to the floor as my legs gave out.  There were periods of blackness where my eyesight would fade to a blackish-grey color not allowing me to see.  Every moment of my life was filled with pain and uncertainty.

During these trying times I gave everything I had to stay positive.  I decided I would stop pounding on doctors doors for answers only to leave their offices in tears of frustration.  I would turn to myself and my body for answers.  I would devote every morsel of energy I had to change the path my health was on.

I spent most of my time researching how to fix the multitude of problems I was experiencing that were leaving my body and mind crippled.   After 3 years of research, trial and error experimentation with alternative therapies/treatments and a complete diet adjustment, I was seeing great results.  I am a true believer that food is your lifeblood.  If we feed our bodies garbage, this will filter through all our bodily systems and wreak havoc upon our bodies and minds, eventually bringing us to our demise.

Learning the inner workings of how the human body digests and utilizes food, along with nutritional knowledge of foods, herbs and spices, has given me the ability to heal myself.  This knowledge is something so powerful, important and vital to each and every one of us; I want to share it to make everyone aware they can take their health into their own hands.

Over the last 3 years, I have coached dozens of people to understanding how food affects their health.  I have helped those looking to lose weight, diabetics, people with food allergies and people who just do not feel right.  These people have been able to take this information to achieve the best (happiest, healthiest) person they can be.  This coaching has allowed me to help many people.  But I want to help more.  I want the average American to know about the intertwining of food and health.  I want everyone to know a healthy breakfast is not Starbucks oatmeal, a bagel with cream cheese, an english muffin with peanut butter or pop tarts.  I want everyone to know that a bagel with cream cheese will impact how well he/she will function throughout the day and there is a domino-like effect of bad food choices.

In trying to help as many people as possible, I asked myself, “What is one of the worst foods the average person eats regularly?”  My answer: desserts.  Many people love their desserts.  Whether the dessert is the flour-less chocolate cake after dinner, the blueberry muffin at Starbucks with the 2pm pick-me-up or the fruit snack snagged from the vending machine, these foods are all less than ideal for you!

That is when I hit the kitchen and began experimenting with real foods to create real desserts.  I use only the purest ingredients, meaning no artificial anything, no preservatives, no fillers, no additives, no genetically modified foods (GMOs), no ingredients containing MSG and I use organic whenever possible.  During my research, testing and experience, I have noticed that many people feel much better without dairy in their diets.  Therefore, you will not find dairy in any of the desserts I bake.  I do not use any animal products or by-products in my baking, so no eggs, cheese, butter, gelatin, honey, etc.

Through research, my personal experience and clients’ experiences I have realized sugar is a food to steer clear of.  Yes, even unrefined, unprocessed, all natural sugar.  This includes agave nectar, honey, molasses, unrefined cane sugar, brown rice syrup and pure maple syrup.  Of course, you will have sugars present in your diet, but my concern is with eliminating sugars from the dessert portion of the diet.  This also includes all artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols and food additives, such as maltodextrin (Stevia in the Raw) and dextrose (PureVia) .   All of these artificial sweeteners are commonly used to sweeten sugar-free foods or no sugar-added foods.  Sugar alcohols, such as maltitol, sorbitol, erythritol (Truvia) and xylitol cause gastrointestinal distress with cramping, diarrhea and flatulence.  Food additives such as maltodextrin and dextrose are derived via partial hydrolysis from starch (corn) and are absorbed as rapidly as glucose.  Since none of these are appealing to me and I stick to the “pure” ingredient guideline, I do not use any of these in my baking.

My journey to find the most pure ingredients to use in my baking has taken me to local farms, farmers markets and to the Natural Products Expo in Baltimore.  Yes, I have developed many recipes and baked goods that I am very content with, but I continue to research the latest health/nutritional developments so I may incorporate my findings into my recipes.  My goal is to deliver a variety of delicious healthy muffins that will make you feel great and not feel a moment of guilt afterwards (well, unless you eat a dozen muffins in a sitting…).

RealFoodsLady

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Have you been able to find the perfect dessert?

The reason I ask you to think about your perfect dessert is because this may not be something you have ever thought about.   No seriously.  You may never have COMPLETELY thought about your ideal dessert in its entirety.  I’m talking about including not only the taste and other sensory aspects, but also the nutritional components.  You may never have idealized this food because it simply does not exist.  For example, there is not a gooey, chocolatey, crunchy, no sugar, decent amount of fiber and protein, artificial and preservative-free, not going to widen my waistline dessert which is made from pure unadulterated ingredients.   Look around bakeries and grocery stores – the only sugar free items are filled with artificial sweeteners, or (my favorite) the “natural” sugar alcohols that cramp your digestive tract and send you running to the bathroom.  Perhaps this is why you have never mentally created your perfect treat – because it is simply not possible.

Well after 10 years of searching out an ideal dessert for myself that I could indulge in without feeling guilty afterwards (or feeling sick), I was beyond fed up.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having fruit as a snack.  But fruit does not fulfill this craving I speak of.  At this point in my life (about  2 years ago), I had enough motivation and drive behind me to begin my journey into producing my ideal dessert.

Obviously what I want is going to be different from the next Suzie-Q.  But see, I have several food intolerances therefore, if I make a dessert that is great and I am able to eat, most likely you will be able to enjoy it as well.

My tall order was as such: real food ingredients, nothing artificial, preservative-free, dairy-free, egg-free, 2 grams of sugar or less per item, no sugar alcohols, no additives, non-GMO ingredients, no animal products or by-products.  When I was able to produce delicious muffins, cookies, cakes and cupcakes that fit these guidelines, I challenged myself to including desserts that were gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and raw.

This feat was accomplished over the last 2 years through diligent research of health and medical journals, cooking and baking books, trial and error experimentation and taste-testing groups.  I am very pleased that I am able to produce these fantastic, healthy  and nutritious desserts!  Just because it doesn’t exist does not mean it cannot exist.  You can either hope and dream that one day you will be able to enjoy what you really want, or you can accept the challenge and dive in.

After my success, I wanted to share what I thought to be truly unbelievable treats!  I began giving friends, family and colleagues desserts as gifts.  One thing led to another and soon enough I was receiving requests for various desserts.  These desserts are particularly perfect for diabetics.  The sweetener I use is the stevia plant.  Unlike Truvia, Stevia in the Raw and many other stevia-blended sweeteners, the stevia extract I use has no additives or artificial ingredients.  There is no MSG – yep I said MSG, but that is a topic for another post.  You see, during the processing of many food products MSG is added along the line.  Well, not in my food.

So I will leave you with this question – what is your ideal dessert?  Please let me know!

Real Foods Lady

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