Monthly Archives: May 2009

Yogi Tea Green Tea Kombucha & Peach Detox

YogiI’ve always had luck with Yogi Teas. I remember back in the days, before it got all popular, they run for about $2-$3 at my local health store. Didn’t know I was getting a good deal until it went away. Nowadays, these teas run about $4-$5 a box. Lately, this Synergy Kombucha drink has been taking over the blogging world by storm. As much as I would like to try it out, $3.99 a pop is a very steep price to pay for a one time enjoyment. What is Kombucha anyways? After doing a little internet searching, I came to the conclusion that Kombucha is a fermented shroom that results into a live culture drink that is suppose to be really healthy for you and taste like vinegar. Just like Goji berries and Acai berries, products with those words tend to SELL (usually at a premium price). I guess kombucha is the next health trend so it comes to no surprise to me when Yogi had its very own version of kombucha to cash in on the latest trend. When I saw this Yogi Green Tea Kombucha, I decided to give it a try. Green Tea Kombucha is suppose to help fight fatigue, sooth an upset stomach, and boost your immune system. The blend contains organic green tea, organic lemon grass, organic spearmint leaf and kombucha extract . Taste very natural (no vinegar taste) and the tinge of spearmint is very soothing. The things is, with kombucha in a dry form, I don’t know if you are getting the same benefits of the live culture liquid form. Other than that, I like this tea.

Another Yogi Tea picked up is the Peach Detox Cleansing Tonic made with organic dandelions. What I needed a detox tea for I do not know, the word DETOX just drew me to it. This particular blend is suppose to promote healthy kidney and liver functions and I did notice that I went to the bathroom more frequent after I drank this tea. I thought this would have a peachy taste, but I cannot detect any hint of peach flavor in this tea at all. Prominent notes include, pepper, dandelion, and ginger. I went crazy at a bag of salted soy crisps that Newman’s Organics sent over (review coming soon), and I thought for sure that the scale would reflect the water retention the next morning. Surprisingly, the scale did not reflect any water retention at all. I credit it all to this Yogi Peach Detox tea. Nice to keep around when I have those high sodium days. Or for special events where having a bloated tummy is not an option. There are so many teas to choose from that it can get mind boggling sometimes. Depending on your mood, taste, or the benefits you are looking for, Yogi’s website can offer you some recommendations.

P.S: The little words of wisdom on the tea tags are always fun to read.

Retails: $4.99 online @ Yogi
My Cost: $4.99
Calories: 0
WW: 0

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Filed under Tea, WW: 0

Nonni’s Cioccolati Biscotti

NonniBiscottiI never thought I would be a biscotti lover. I’ve picked up a bag from Trader Joe’s in the past, the ones in the white “lunch bag” type packaging, and was unimpressed. Nonni’s has turned me into a biscotti fanatic. As much as I like to break them apart and eat it by themselves, biscottis are truly meant for dunking in a good cup of coffee. They are individually wrapped to maintain freshness and the size is just perfect. There were so many varieties to choose from, but I settled for the Cioccolati. The biscotti itself is crunchy without begin too hard, with bits of almond embedded and a light layer of chocolate on the bottom. Once you dunk the biscotti in your coffee, you can see it soaking up the drink. The biscotti becomes soft to the bite without being soggy and the temperature of the drink melts the bottom layer of chocolate just perfectly. It was so delicious I did not want it to end. Just a quick dunk is all that is needed to soften the biscotti. One biscotti is 110 calories, 2 WW, 4.5 grams of fat (2 gram saturated), 20 milligram of cholesterol, 70 milligram of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. I’ll have to admit that these are not the best thing for you nutritionally, but they are too good to give up. If you guy know of a “better-for-you” biscotti out there, please let me know.

Retails: $3.00 on sale @ Ralphs
My Cost: $2.00 w/ coupon
Calories: 110 each
WW: 2

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Filed under Chocolate, Snacks, WW: 2

GNU Flavor & Fiber Bars

GNUThanks to the lovely Robyn, I got to try out some Flavor & Fiber GNU bars. The first thing that caught my eye on the packaging is the whopping 12 grams of fiber. That is nearly 50% of a person’s daily fiber requirement. I assume that these would be the standard 200 calorie bars, but to my surprise, these GNU bars ranges from 130 to 140 calories. The texture of the bar is like a less dense Clif bar, with a lot gritty texture from the unique GNU blend, especially from the flax seed and millet. I had high hopes for these to keep my hunger at bay because of the high fiber content and they did not disappoint. One GNU bar can keep me satiated for a good few hours.  I drink a lot of water when eating these bars and it does an extra good job at keeping me full. When I get the munchies at night, I break off a chunk for a snack and it keeps me satisfied for the rest of the night. Could this be the cure for my late night snacking tendencies?

Peanut Butter GNU Bar: The peanut butter flavor was not strong. Tasted a lot better when I put some REAL peanut butter on top to eat it with. I thought I would like this flavor the best because I love anything and everything peanut butter. Unfortunately, I felt that this flavor was just alright.

Banana Walnut: The banana flavor went really well with the walnuts. Tasted like a banana nut muffin with a lot of gritty texture to it. Like all the GNU bars, it requires extensive chewing because it has so many different texture in it. My favorite GNU bar of the bunch.

Chocolate Brownie: Expect chocolate flavor, but not necessarily a chocolate brownie.

Orange Cranberry: The orange essence is really prominent when I first opened the package. Although the cranberries are big and plump, I feel that the orange essence overpowers everything else which makes this my least favorite flavor. The texture is very moist,chewy and gritty as usual.

Cinnamon Raisin: Taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Given the texture of GNU bars, this flavor shines among the pack.

These are not the best tasting bars out there, but they do a really good job at keeping me full without a plethora of calories. With that being said, GNU bars do not taste bad either. Of all the bars that I have tried thus far, GNU bars has the longest staying power. Banana walnut and cinnamon raisin ranks the highest with me. I’d keep these around to help with my late night munching.

Retails: $1.69 @ Trader Joes (limited availabilty)
My Cost: Free
Calories: 130 to 140 each
WW: 2

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Filed under Bars, Fiber, Snacks, Trader Joe's, WW: 2

Ak-Mak 100% Whole Wheat Crackers

akmakAk-maks are whole wheat crackers that are made with 100% organically-grown stone ground whole wheat flour, clover honey, sesame oil, real butter, sesame seeds, yeast and salt. These thin stone-ground crackers are super light crispy with a great nutty flavor from the sesame seed. Enjoyable by itself, but goes amazing with everything and anything. Some suggestions include hummus, laughing cow cheese, and nut butters. Crumble it up a bit and you have yourself a nice salad or soup topper. My current obsession is Ak-mak with laughing cow cheese. So incredibly delicious. One serving of 5 crackers are 115 calories, 2 grams of fat (<0.5 saturated), no cholesterol, 220 milligram of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 0.6 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Ak-mak are no small 1″ by 1″ crackers. They are actually a decent size, about 2″ by 5″ which is a good size to spread your topping of choice. They are awesome and cheap at Trader Joes too!! I was surprise that they run for the same price at Whole Foods too. Ak-mak is simplicity at its best. No preservatives. No artificial flavors. No chemicals. One of the best tasting healthy crackers out there on the market. One of my favorite finds of 2009!!

Retails: $1.39 per box @ Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $1.39
Calories: 115 per serving (5 crackers)
WW: 2

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Filed under Crackers, Organic, Snacks, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, WW: 2

Trader Joe’s Egg White Salad with Chives

05-19-09_2008Trader Joe’s egg white salad with chives. The whole tub is only 100 calories!! Makes for a wonderful low calorie dip and spread for sandwiches. Pretty pricey for what it is, but worth it for the convenience. I spread 2 tablespoons on a piece of whole wheat bread, some hot Dijon mustard, a little bit of alfalfa sprouts and a couple slices of smoked salmon and made myself a scrumptious, waistline friendly lunch. Delicious. I love putting this egg white salad in my La Tortilla wraps too!!  The egg salad by itself is a little on the bland side, but if it is used in a component in a sandwich or wrap, the mustard I add gives the egg white salad a huge boost in flavor. Another thing I like to do is add a little tabasco sauce in it if I am using this as a dip for chips or flat breads. Let’s see if I can make a budget friendlier version at home. The ingredients on the back is simple enough that I am semi confident that I can recreate this at home. Now that I have my Nordic ware Microwave Egg Cooker, making hard-boiled eggs is a sintch. One serving is 1/2 the tub and it has 50 calories, 1 WW, 2 grams of fat, 300 milligram of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates,  no fiber and 7 grams of protein. Trader Joe’s also has the Egg Salad in the Spicy Ranchero variety that has similar nutritional facts. Can’t wait to try that one out next time.  BTW, did you guys know that the FDA put out a warning of salmonella contamination on alfalfa sprouts late April 2009? I had no idea and just ate a ton of it raw BEFORE I found out. Oh well, I’m still kicking. Just to be safe, after I finish this batch I will be sproutless for a while.

Retails: $2.69 at Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $2.69
Calories: 50 calories per 1/2 tub
WW: 1

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Filed under Appetizer, Salad, Trader Joe's, WW: 1

Ito En Oi Ocha Japanese Green Tea

Ito EnWhen I am at Mitsuwa or Nijiya (they have an awesome food court), I always pick up one of my favorite bottled green tea — Ito En Oi Ocha. I’ve enjoyed this tea for ages and now I have noticed that Whole Foods started carrying the 16.9 fl oz bottles for $1.99. Except for 20 milligram of sodium and 140% vitamin C (based on a 2,000 calories diet), the rest of the stats are zero across the board because this is genuinely an iced green tea that is crap free. So glad that one of my favorite iced tea is getting the spotlight in one of my favorite magazines. Everyday with Rachel Ray (June/July) did a feature on the best bottled green tea (page 56), and It En Oi Ocha came out on top as the best green tea. The judges describe this tea as “rich yet clean and bright”  with a perfect balance of “pleasant toastiness.” I couldn’t agree with them more. BTW, the Japanese markets,  carries the larger 2 liter bottles for $3.99 ($2.99 when on sale). And Costco carries a Kirkland/Ito En green tea bags as well. 100 tea bags for about $12 bucks. What a steal!! Although not the same as the Oi Ocha line, the tea from the tea bags taste great as well.

Retails: $1.69 (16.9 fl oz) at Mitsuwa
My Cost: $1.69
Calories: 0
WW: 0

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Filed under Drinks, Tea, WW: 0

Better Whey of Life Non-fat Yogurt

Better%20Whey%20Of%20LifeBetter Whey of Life is such a cute name for this product! The play on words is cute. Better Whey of life offers 5 flavors, plain, peach mango, french vanilla, acai mix berry, and strawberry banana. All of them are enhanced with whey protein, contains 30% less sugar than regular yogurts, contains FIBER, probiotics, and made with nonfat milk w/ no added growth hormones. I had the pleasure of trying out 2 of the flavors.

French Vanilla: Since this is a non-Greek yogurt, I expected it to be watery and runny. I was pleasantly surprised that it was thicker than I expected, but not as thick as normal Greek yogurt. The vanilla flavor tasted natural, which I like, and the yogurt has a tart and tangy taste. One 6 oz cup is 145 calories, 2 WW, 0.5 grams of fat, 5 milligram of cholesterol, 80 milligram of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. The protein content in here is 3x as much as normal yogurts, but about the same  as Greek yogurt. Compared to traditional sugary yogurts, Better Whey of Life has 2/3 the amount of sugar which is a plus by my standards, but some may complain that the yogurt taste too tart. Fiber in yogurt is rare to comeby so kudos to them!!

Strawberry Banana: Taste like a tart and tangy strawberry banana smoothie. I ate this on top of a Kashi blueberry waffle along with some frozen fruits. It was a very delicious and filling breakfast that lasted me a good couple of hours. Taste great by itself so I can only imagine how great and filling it would be if I incorporate this in a smoothie or freeze and make my own fro-yo. The nutritional facts are pretty much the same for all the flavored varieties. The plain variety has a little less sugar and calories and a little higher in the protein department.

I think Better Whey of Life is a great way to incorporate protein in your diet if it is lacking. I can see myself eating this post workout to help build my lean muscles instead of busting out the blender to make a protein shake since it is a pain to clean. As a breakfast item, mixed with high fiber cereal and fruits galore or on top of a Kashi waffle with fruits, it keeps me full for a long time. Great staying power. Love the high protein, fiber, and less sugar content of Better Whey of Life yogurts. My only complaint is that the expiration date on the cups smudge and wipes of very easily. One of the yogurts I picked up had the expiration date rubbed off completely and my other one had a partial rub off, but I could see it expires in June, so it was safe to eat. Plus, I got this at Whole Foods which I trust whole-heartily. Check out their website for $2.00 off 3 coupon. With the coupon, it comes out to be around $1.00 per 6 oz cup which is not too shabby if you want to try it out. If you find that the taste is too tart for you, don’t let a good thing go to waste, dump it into a blender with some naturally sweet fruits and make yourself a protein packed smoothie.

Retails: $1.69 @ Whole Foods
My Cost: Free w/ Coupon
Calories: 130 to 145 per 6 oz cup
WW: 2

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Filed under Dessert, Whole Foods, WW: 2, Yogurt