Munchies that won't make your face fatter in three months

No more giant sodas this week, New Yorkers. I think it's safe to say that nobody ever needs soda to begin with, let alone more than 16 ounces at a time, but go ahead and be pissy. As for those of us who still make an effort to sustain a nutritional diet, here are some kick ass munchies with real ingredients: 

1. Chips from Food Should Taste Good

This company has not only created a flavor of chip for every mood or occasion, but the ingredient lists don't sound like instructions from a Dr. Dreadful playset. Hatch Chili, Toasted Sesame and even Hemp for those of you feeling extra munchie. The Hemp is actually tasty — a very earthy flavor with rugged crunch. My boyfriend loves Ruffles and Lay's, so he describes my Hemps as "yuck," but if you're adventurous check them out. Food Should Taste Good wins 100 cool points from me because when they say "natural" they mean it. Check out the ingredients for the Sweet Potato chips: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt. Yeah. That's it. And get this — Food Should Taste Good even rolls out Chocolate and Kettle Corn tortilla chips. Chocolate is the perfect flavor imitation of those mini chocolate donuts you could eat by the sleeve, with the perfect mix of salty sweet. Try dipping both kinds of dessert chips in some homemade vanilla ice cream (from your local mom-and-pop ice cream shop, because you're a lazy bastard like me) or even organic peanut butter. But let's face it, homemade ice cream is where it's at because that mass produced crap tastes like chocolate cancer. 

2. Primal Strips: Meatless Vegan Jerky

No, I'm not vegan, but I fear not the soybean. I find that some of my best healthy snack discoveries occur in the checkout lane where I'm impulse-buying like a mad man. Primal Strips were last week's find. I tend to shy away from "meatless" foods that parade around as meat because I don't like their attitude, but these looked just plain awesome: 

The guy in front of me was just about to evacuate the debit card machine area, so I went for it with the Mesquite Lime. The packaging is ridiculously hard to tear open, so use them teeth. Or get primal, if you will (had to). Luckily, the plastic force field is only a tool to lock in the juicy juices with what tastes, feels and looks like pulled pork. I've had Jack Links Beef Jerky, Slim Jims and even my own homemade jerky, but the fact that there is not a trace of meat in these things is amazing. You could rip it out of the plastic sleeve and slap it between bread because it's so moist, tender and flavorful, just like the pulled pork at Sonny's BBQ. I've since gone back to try the Thai Peanut which kicks an equal number of asses. It's got an Asian zing with a peanut sauce that I usually have with Pad Thai or lettuce wraps from Chili's. If you're not vegan, great! You'll like these anyway. If you are vegan, great! Just please don't tell me about it more than once. 

3. Organic Z Fruit Ropes: Clif Bar & Company

While most organic snack bars are still trying to live up to the legacy of the Clif Bar, this company has already pounced into the fruit realm. I call them my organic fruit twisties because I'm five years old, but these Clif Fruit Ropes totally flatten Fruit Roll-Ups. Well... you know what I mean. 

The chewy, gel-like consistency similar to Gushers and Fruit By The Foot proves that looks can be deceiving— the Clif Fruit Ropes are USDA Certified Organic. The grape ones actually taste like grape instead of an artificial grape flavor base and corn syrup. 

Get the fuck off my fruit twisties.

4. Newman's Own Organics: Family Recipe Cookies

I'm pretty sure these are not certified, but they're fucking delicious and contain... mostly legit ingredients. You can't really expect much when it comes to packaged cookies, but they are better than most of what's out there. I decided to try these one day on a whim (no, they weren't near the register) and the Orange Chocolate Chip totally melted my face off. The cookies are bite-sized which makes it easy to eat the entire bag is an assembly line fashion if you have no self-control, so beware of that. As for the ingredients, I'm a bit iffy: Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Organic Sugar, Chocolate Chips (Unsweetened Chocolate, Sugar, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Egg Whites, Oats, Organic Orange Oil, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate. I could do without a couple of these, but being that they are packaged cookies, it's not really surprising. But are they worse than mainstream cookies? Check out the ingredients for chocolate Teddy Grahams: 


You be the judge.


As a cereal connoisseur, Barbara's Puffins are where it's at. Peanut Butter, Cinnamon and even Peanut Butter & Chocolate are worth every cent. The pieces of Peanut Butter cereal look like yellow Cap'n Crunch after a shot of steroids and a protein shake, yet lighter and crispier.

The ingredient list is short and sweet, nothing too scary. As far as the nutrition facts go, most cereals only show minor discrepancies when you really get down to it, but I find that Barbara's Puffins pack more protein and less sugar than most mainstream brands. But don't stop at the cereal - try Barbara's cheese puffs, granola bars and animal crackers. Nom. 


These Apples are Totally Cray: How America is exterminating human tastebuds

One lucky day I will be moving out of this country, but until then I have to live with the fact that America has started producing whole apples with flavor inside of them. 

Just because the FDA allows the existence of natural flavorings, does that mean we should pump them into everything we ingest? I'm not sure what Crazy Apples, Inc. could be thinking; I'm sure it's far too busy selling apples that are "naturally" flavored like bubblegum, anyway. 

I'm having a hard time figuring out why we need to disguise fruit as candy. Is plain fruit scary? Too boring? Do we want kids to view the essence of a plain, nutritious apple the same way they instill the reputation of Hubba Bubba? 

Crazy Apples Inc. is prepared with other apple flavors like Pomegranate Grape and Tropical Blast. Yeah. The apples taste like different fruits [shoot me], while injecting a wholesome apple with a manufactured fruit taste like Capri Sun and other processed, sugary drinks. 

I'm not sure if fruit — a food that we need 2-4 times daily — should taste like the fats, oils and sweets we are instructed to use sparingly. Yes, I understand that nobody ingests gum regularly, but it's safe to say that the general flavor of pink bubblegum tastes like candy. 

The Crazy Apples Inc. website claims the natural bubblegum flavor is made with dozens of "mixed natural flavor notes." A google search for "natural flavor notes" shows the Crazy Apples website as the third result. You so crazy, Crazy Apples.

According to the FDA:
"The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional." 

So they're natural, but not nutritional. Thank you. That was just as deceiving as the quotes on the Crazy Apples Inc. website that are attributed to absolutely no one. 

I'd prefer my future children to know the difference between candy and fruit and know when to avoid disgusting lab experiment crap like this. I don't want my kids to need a blue raspberry flavor added to their ice cubes in order to tolerate them; I never want them to throw an apple back at me because "it's just a regular one." I'll immediately regurgitate in the middle of Publix when I see carrots with pink and green polka dots. If a company wants to market Blue Super Sugar Pops with chemicals, go nuts, but do us a solid and stay the fuck away from the foods we need to live. 

Regardless of everything that's been said and done, the fact remains that we're still living in a world where bubblegum can be considered a "natural flavor." And that, my friends, is the utterly terrifying tip of the iceberg (with natural ice flavor). 

Other naturally unnatural apple products: http://www.grapplefruits.com/process.html (For when eating grapes and apples separately is just so unbearably boring).

Interesting insight about cancer and chemicals the United States wants us to eat: http://cancercompass.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/artificial-colors-flavors-additives-and-preservatives/


The impending doom of Americans and why McDonald's treats us like idiots.

It was the billboard that did it for me. The double-sided billboard on the highway. Side one: the McDonald's logo with a fruit smoothie. The second side? McDonald's and apples. 

Come on. 

McDonald's can't sit here and tell me that people think apples when they think of McDonald's. I would interview the first person who said, "hey dude, let's hit up Micky D's because I'm stoned and craving apples," if I knew where to find people who never existed. Should you even consider McDonald's apples to be real fruit? Does real fruit contain more than one ingredient? I enjoy my apple when it contains apple, not apple with calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin C to maintain color).

Let's not forget about the silly page on the McDonald's website about the Ready Pac recall for those tasty apples. The apples were delivered to certain states and may have possibly been tainted with Listeria. But don't worry, McDonald's will do nothing to inform you about the Listeria part — you'll have to seek out that information beyond the online arches. 

And fruit smoothies? I'll come back to writing this in an hour so I have time to stop laughing. 

Dear McDonald's, your ingredient list mistakenly has "Strawberry Banana Fruit Base" in the spot where "Strawberries, Bananas" is supposed to go. Oh ok, it wasn't a mistake and you're just gross. Got it. 

All of the fruit smoothies start with some kind of "base" but no actual, wholesome fruit. Mango Pineapple Fruit Base. Wild Berry Fruit Base. Cherry Berry Flavored Juice Blend Base. A juice base blend? Sounds apocalyptic. Let's get into the ingredients of the ingredients. Here is the Wild Berry Fruit Base, beginning to death:

"Strawberry puree, water, blackberry puree, blueberry puree, grape juice concentrate, clarified demineralized pineapple juice..." Hold the phone. Let's Google "demineralized pineapple juice" so we can giggle together real quick. 

The second and third links post-search already pertain to McDonald's. Searching for "demineralized juice" brings you some great info about how your body can be demineralized and how it's a bad thing. Go America for letting companies eject nutrients right out of ingredients, giving the human body not even the slightest chance to absorb anything beneficial. Continue.

"Sugar, pineapple juice concentrate, contains less than 1% of the following: natural (botanical source - oh em gee, it grew once!) and artificial flavors, cellulose powder, peach juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, xanthan gum, pectin, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, citric acid."

Coolio. When I make a smoothie I use a banana, strawberries, almond milk and some organic honey. But that's just me and I'm all picky about not wanting cancer when I'm 40 and shit. 

For your first horrified laugh of the day, check out all of the ingredients used in everything McDonald's (Warning: not suitable for humans): 

Neat link about cancer and things the U.S. government lets people eat: http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/chemicals-linked-to-breast-cancer/food/