April 26, 2006

Minute Maid All Natural Lemonade

It occurs to me that instead of shopping the natural section of the grocery store, that I needed to branch out and see how the wholesome foods and products market was permeating the other aisles. Wow, talk about your Promise Land! Now let's see how they start fulfilling their promises...

The first mainstream product purchased was Minute Maid All Natural Lemonade which came in 12 skinny juice boxes from Target. My husband sheepishly loaded it into the car while promising me that they were "all natural" with "real juice". Oh husband.

To begin with, the packaging is quick to point out that they have added calcium and vitamin C with 10% more calcium and 100% more vitamin C than the unfortified version. The second line in the package tells you that this drink is a good source for both of these nutritional additives.

There is 11% lemon juice in the drink. To be clear, just because a bottle or box indicates a percentage of juice, doesn't necessarily mean it is the juice of a certain fruit, or that it is not from concentrate. For it to be of a certain fruit (ie. lemon juice) then the package must specify that directly. Otherwise, when stated '100% juice', it could actually be any kind of juice, in any form. There is no regulation in how the word 'juice' is used. That said, this has 11% lemon juice from concentrate, not fresh juice.

In addition to the lemon juice and the added calcium citrate and vitamin C (asorbic acid), Minute Maid All Natural Lemonade contains pure filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and natural flavors. Can anyone tell me exactly why you would need natural flavors when creating an 'all natural' juice? Wouldn't the natural flavors already exist?

The taste seems palatable enough to my two year old. I drink lemon water all day and this tastes less like lemons to me and more like watered down crushed Smarties. But then that could be why the child sucks the box dry like she is a starving mosquito.

The lesson here: there is no rule when it comes to using words like 'all natural' on packaging. Read ingredients and decide for yourself.

Two things to note:
1. I did not add the clouds to the picture to make the lemonade seem more heavenly. This was compliments of the Minute Maid site. I maintained the integrity of the image to preserve Minute Maid's marketing influence and because floating lemonade is funny.
2. While you may reconsider purchasing this product when shopping for a wholesome juice for your child, it makes a wonderful mixer in a single serve margarita!

About the Minute Maid brand:

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April 21, 2006

Steaz Organic Green Tea Soda: Root Beer

Is it a horribly flat soda? Is it weirdly sweet tea? Those are the first thoughts that ran through my mind when I tried Steaz' Organic Green Tea Soda, Root Beer flavor. One thing's for sure: if you're expecting Barq's taste in an organic package, you'll be disappointed. There's a distinctive root beer flavor, but it's wrapped in a watery, decidedly un-bubbly package.

I suppose if you drink a ton of soda (or are worried about scurvy--Steaz adds 60% USDA of Vitamin C), it might be worth going for the organic brand. But if you're drinking a ton of soda, you're probably not too terribly concerned with your health in the first place. I'll give 'em credit for trying, but I don't think this product will make its way back into my grocery cart anytime soon. I'd say if you really want a root beer, go for the brands that are choc full of artificial crap. Life's too short!

To be fair, it's probably tough to make a green-tea based version of a soda that's been around for generations and with which people have strong pre-existing flavor expectations. I'd bet some of their less conventional flavors, like Key Lime and Raspberry, are probably quite tasty. If you try one and like it, leave a comment!

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April 14, 2006

Get the Latest Each Week from BlogPire Productions

Tvsnob 150 Macnn-1We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites and not just the one you visit everyday. We've provided below a list of all our sites and a short description along with a link for you to use if you'd like to receive news from any of those sites each Monday morning. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email. Thanks again for reading us and check out some of the other great news from BlogPire Productions.

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April 12, 2006

Who's Your Daddy?

Confused about which mega-corporation owns which natural food label? We are too. That's why this chart constructed by Phil Howard, a post doctoral researcher from The Center for Agroecoloty and Sustainable Food Systems comes in so handy! Print it out and bring it along on your next shopping trip!

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April 11, 2006

Stonyfield Farm Light Banana Berry Smoothie

With all of the downer stories we've been covering for the past few days, I thought I'd kick off Monday with something a little more cheerful. I've discovered a yummy on-the-go grown-up treat--Stonyfield Farm's Light smoothies. I picked it up the other day when rushing through the grocery store in a cold sweat with two screaming, overtired kids in tow. (Let's just put it this way, people were outright laughing at me.) My family is in the process of moving to a new house, and I think everyone's stress levels are at the boiling point. A little Pirate's Booty was enough to stop the kids' crying jags at least temporarily, and I snagged one of these smoothies--the Banana Berry flavor--for myself. The cool thing is that it's got 60% less sugar than regular smoothies (and half the calories) but it achieves this without using artificial sweeteners. Instead they use a blend of sugar and erythritol, a no-calorie naturally fermented sugar that is also found in some fruits. The taste is still sweet but definitely less cloying and more "grown up" than regular yogurt smoothies. I also liked that it's less thick and more refreshing than the non-light versions.

True, a gin-and-tonic might have been more what I needed at that point, but this smoothie was a decent (and healthier) substitute.

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April 9, 2006

Tom's of Maine Turns Around

Tom's of Maine, the purveyor of natural and organic body care products, has accepted an offer from the Colgate-Palmolive Company for $100 million dollars. This is a change of opinion since in previous years, Tom's of Maine has made negative comments regarding the use of artificial ingredients in the products created by their future parent company. Founder Tom Chappell claims "We have a commitment from Colgate that our formulas won't be tampered with."

Read more about it in this article on the Boston Globe's website.

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April 7, 2006

The Best of the Blogpire

ThumbnailApril is going to be a great month but we musn't forget how amazing March 2006 was as well. Check out the monthly round ups from the following Blogpire blogs: Liquor Snob Monthly Roundup: March 2006, Critical Gamers March '06 Roundup, GPS Lodge: Monthly Round Up for March 2006, Shirt Snob Monthly Round Up-March, March 2006 Monthly Roundup for TVSnob, March Monthly Roundup for Shaving Stuff, Monthly Roundup for Kitchen Contraptions, and March 2006 Monthly Roundup for Single Serve Coffee.

Critical Gamers
Magic TG: Guildpact Draft Strategies Part Two

"Carcasonne: The Tower" Ships April 12th

Really Natural
Beet Borscht and Oatmeal Bread Recipe/Review
My favorite low-fat mid-morning snack: Yogurt, granola and raisins

Liquor Snob
It's All About The Heinekens, Baby
Will Generate Page Views For Beer

The Cooking News
Recipe News: Recipe ideas for Easter dinner
Food News: Doggie Dining

GPS Lodge
Wayfinder GPS for the Mobile Phone
NOVOGO Launches First Voice-Command GPS Navigators - NOVOGO V

Shirt Snob
Design for the American Red Cross, and New Threadless Tees!
Extra 20% off at Bluefly

TV Snob
How to Buy a Plasma TV
DirecTV Announces 750GB HD DVR - Yowza!

Shaving Stuff
Electric Razor Deals at Amazon
Free Brut Aftershave

Kitchen Contraptions
Intelliscanner Kitchen Companion
Peppermill with Light

Single Serve Coffee
Review: Senseo Cappuccino Coffee Pods from Single Serve Coffee
Limited Edition Bourbon Amarelo Espresso Capsules from Nespresso

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April 5, 2006

Some Dagoba chocolates recalled due to lead contamination

Here's a disturbing little tidbit I ran across: Oregon-based Dagoba has issued a recall on some of its chocolate products due to high levels of lead. You can read the news here, and see what the company has to say here. It seems like they are on top of the problem. Still, between the lead in lunchboxes scandal, the recent tragic death of a child due to a lead-contaminated piece of toy jewelry, and now this, it's enough to make you want to bubble-wrap your kids. Then again, as someone who lives in a very old house, and will very soon be moving to an even older house (1854!), I am highly lead paranoid due to all of the ancient paint we live with. My poor kids look like little pin cushions from all the times I've gotten them tested "just to make sure." Roll up those sleeves, kiddos, if I read any more stories like this mommy might need another test just to put her mind at ease.

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April 4, 2006

Beet Borscht and Oatmeal Bread Recipe/Review

Geraldine Hartman, who has written the cookbook, Not Just For Vegetarians invited us to try some recipes out of her book. I stepped up to the challenge and even agreed to cook something I've never even eaten: beet borscht with a quickie oatmeal bread.

Here's what I've found:
1. Beet borscht is basically a beet chili
2. I like beet borscht
3. Even screwing up the recipes makes for good eating

I really enjoyed this soup and bread combo. I cook a lot but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm skilled, so I rate recipes on how well the dish turns out, ease of the preparation, and how badly I can screw it up and it still turns out well. If the beet borscht and quickie oatmeal bread recipes are any indication, Not Just For Vegetarians is a whole book of opportunities for me to look like a star despite my ineptitudes!

Here are the recipes:

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April 3, 2006

My favorite low-fat mid-morning snack: Yogurt, granola and raisins

If you're looking for little something to tide you over between meals, but don't want something with too much fat or sugar, I've got the solution for you. My favorite mid-morning snack of late has been a simple mix of Stonyfield Farm's plain fat-free yogurt, Nature's Path Organic Raspberry Heritage Granola, and Earthbound Farm's organic jumbo flame seedless raisins. If you're used to flavored yogurt, it can be an adjustment to switch to plain. Try mixing in a very small amount of no-sugar-added fruit preserves if you can't handle it. The granola isn't the tastiest--it has a pretty plain taste and the texture, like most low-fat granolas, doesn't invite one to snack on it straight from the box. But on the plus side it only has 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of sugar per serving, and tastes just fine when mixed in with the yogurt. The Earthbound Farm raisins are awesome--plump and juicy. They're not kidding when they call them "jumbo." Very different from the shriveled up little nuggets I've eaten in the past. Just go easy on them as they obviously add quite a bit of sugar.

As always, don't be scared by my picture! I swear it tastes better than it looks!

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