Posts tagged review

Paleonola – 100% grain free granola for those that want their ‘cereal’ back


A few weeks ago I was on Twitter and saw a tweet come across from @Paleonola. Since going mostly Paleo, I miss cereal — plain and simple. I sent them a message asking if they are available anywhere local and if not, do they send samples because I would love to try it. I have tried all sorts of ‘paleo’ snack mixes and have been disappointed by most of them. Not only are they expensive, but they taste like cardboard.

Going paleo needs to be approached with the understanding that it may cost you more to buy food, but in the long run, that really isn’t the case and simply put, it’s better for you. Eating real food wins over processed any day of the week.   So a few weeks later, I get a package of samples from Paleonola. They sent me samples of the different flavors they offer –Original, Chocolate Fix, Maple Syrup, Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie.  With names like that, what’s not to love?

Now in all honesty, I did not eat them as a cereal. I ate them right out of the bag as more of a snack mix. I started with the original and ended with the Maple Pancake. So what did I think? I LOVED THEM. My least favorite was the maple pancake but it wasn’t because I didn’t like it – I just didn’t prefer the flavor of maple syrup but it was good. And yes, the Apple and Pumpkin Pie really did taste like Apple and Pumpkin, so how can that be wrong? The mixes were fresh too – which was a nice surprise because I have found that many of the mixes you buy at local stores tend to be dry.

Would I buy these combos? You bet! When you eat Paleo, you are always looking for healthy options on the go that taste good and this definitely would fit the bill. It gives you a feeling of eating a ‘cheat” but it’s not! It’s 100% grain free granola created by people who started off creating it for themselves.

Paleonola products are “made with hearty nuts, unsweetened coconut and real cranberries.”

• Always All Natural
• No High Fructose Corn Syrup
• No Trans Fats
• No Artificial Flavors
• No Cholesterol
• No Hydrogenated Oils
• No Preservatives
• No Soy
• Gluten & Vegan Friendly


The Paleonola folks are just starting out, so you can get their products directly from their website – and they ship out USPS. For those looking for Paleo snack options or want your cereal back, give Paleonola a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Safeway’s Simple Nutrition Shelf Tags – A Review


A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Safeway to do a review of their new healthy options label system they were rolling out in their stores.  In their words: Safeway understands that shoppers want to make better nutrition for themselves and their families. But they also understand reading nutrition labels and wading through all the different sources of nutrition information can be time consuming and confusing. Fortunately, SimpleNutrition is here to help! SimpleNutrition is a new ‘at the shelf’ program that simplifies and personalizes grocery shopping so you feel confident about making informed food choices.

They offered me a gift card as a thank you for taking the time to visit their store and give my honest thoughts about it. Other than knowing there was a new label system they were using, I didn’t find out any more information, thinking it would be a better experience to go in ‘blindly’ and see if I could figure it out. Also, I am not familiar with this particular Safeway either, so it was a double blind experience. Here are my thoughts —

Here’s the Safeway in Ashburn, VA that I visited on a Friday late afternoon.  I walked into the store and headed to the produce area –which coincidentally, seems to be in the front of every grocery store if you haven’t noticed before. Anyone know why? Hmmm…

As I was going through the produce area, I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in terms of labels of the food.  Looked completely regular to me — so I headed on down a few aisles, again, nothing stuck out. I was beginning to think that maybe this particular Safeway was not using the new label system. So as I pushed the cart down a few more aisles and went to the frozen food section.

Now that my son, Nate is eating gluten free foods, I have had to become familiar with frozen breakfast items that he can eat and figured, maybe I will see these new healthy option labels there.  What I saw was a clearly marked ‘Organic’ label which I thought was great, but hardly a stand out. (See picture to the right)

I continued on through the aisle and came upon them – FINALLY! They look like little tabs hanging off the edge & right below the food item. They color-coded them along with its related word.  I saw Organic, Gluten Free, Low Sodium, All Natural & More! Once I got the hang of it and noticed them – I realized how much help they really were.  It helped me quickly identify the gluten-free items instead of having to look through and carefully make sure that the product I am getting is indeed what I think it is.

What I have been finding is that many brands have a healthy, organic version AND a healthy, organic but Gluten free option and other than a small little label on it – that says it’s Gluten Free, it’s hard to tell. This really did make it easy!

As I said, once I noticed them – that’s how I finished my shopping trip. Looking for these little tabs all over the store. They were up and down the rice & pasta aisle and I was able to find them in the frozen food area. I was able to scan this wall of mac & cheese options and find the ones that are gluten free quickly and easily.  That made me very very very happy!

The way this Safeway is laid out – the healthier options are integrated with all of the food — so I can see how these labels would really help shoppers quickly identify healthier options. Even the lower sodium spaghetti sauce had a healthy options label to help you find it easier.

So what are my overall thoughts about Safeway Simple Nutrition Shelf Tags?  Anything that helps people make better nutrition choices for themselves and their families is a step in the right direction in my book! I really liked how these tags stood out and were very readable.  So, for those shoppers already looking for healthier options — this makes it easy. One wish?  I wish it had the magic power to convince people to make a conscience choice to buy them…..


Please know that although Safeway did provide me with gift cards to thank me for my time, the opinions shared above are my own & were in no way influenced by them. They did not encourage me to write any particular review of my experience.


Car full of Groceries from Safeway!

Review of Tropical Traditions: Coconut Oil


I have read about the benefits of coconut oil for a while & how some only cook with it instead of olive oil. I am not a huge fan of coconuts –never was one to like the Mounds or Almond Joy candy bars, don’t like coconut flakes on anything, nor do I like coconut cream pie! Don’t like Coconut — period! So I was hesitant to try anything with it as the main ingredient — but then I tried Coconut Water, then Coconut Milk, then Coconut Milk Dairy Treat/Ice Cream and they were all pretty darn good. A faint coconut flavor but not overpowering — dare I say it’s pretty good!

The nice folks at Tropical Traditions recently sent me a jar of Coconut Oil to try. I decided to pan grill up some chicken thighs with veggies as my first experience!

I added a small spoon full to pre-heated grill pan, then added a bunch of veggies — yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic with some garlic salt. I let them saute a bit and then added the boneless chicken thighs. . The Coconut Oil adds a light flavor to the dish — and I gotta say – It was so delicious. Thumbs Up!

I made a similar version a few days later, but cooked chicken thighs in olive oil and another batch with the coconut oil. You are probably thinking that that was an odd thing to do — but I was making  a dish for the kids, and then another batch for a few day’s worth to add to my lunch salads.  So my batch was in coconut oil.  I didn’t mention it while I was cooking and Scotty had the overall kids meal and then unknowingly had some of the chicken cooked in coconut oil.  After dinner, he mentioned how delicious and better tasting the 2nd batch was! Thumbs Up from both of us!

Based on those 2 meals – I would heartily recommend giving Coconut Oil a try! I plan to use it regularly  thanks to Tropical Traditions!

So you are probably asking–

What exactly is Coconut Oil? Read some info from Tropical Traditions about how coconut oil is made and it’s a pretty interesting process.

Why use Coconut Oil? It’s not only good to cook with you can use it on your skin! There are so many benefits of Coconut Oil (it’s a long list) –so be warned!

You can also bake with coconut oil — has a good collection of recipes to get you started, including Gluten Free Chunky Monkey Muffins! With stuff like that to try — there is no excuse!

I’m going to try some other recommended recipes and uses and will share those experiences as they happen as a follow up!

If you have never tried Coconut Oil, give it a try and let me know what you think —

For those that have, share your favorite recipe!

Thanks to Tropical Traditions for sending me a jar to try. Even though I received it for Free, there was no expectation on their part to influence my review. My opinions here are my own  – I am now a fan of Coconut Oil.

How Diet Affects Cancer by Dr Keith Block, M.D.


After our battle with colon cancer, I have become increasingly more aware and more sensitive to cancer related research and advice. I was recently sent this book directly from the publisher to read  and review.  I’ve just started to read it and will do a complete review when I am through.  But, so far, I like what Dr. Block has to say.  For my regular followers, you know I talk a lot about nutrition and being aware of the foods you eat. And how the foods you eat can make the difference in getting cancer and how your body reacts and fights it.  Here is a informative excerpt from the book Life Over Cancer that speaks to just that.

How Diet Affects Cancer
By Keith I. Block, M.D.,
Author of Life Over Cancer: The Block Center Program for Integrative Cancer Treatment

Diet affects cancer both directly and indirectly. Nutrients directly impact the mechanisms by which cancer cells grow and spread. They indirectly help control the cancer by changing the surrounding biochemical conditions that either encourage or discourage the progression of malignant disease. The bottom line is that what you eat can spell the difference between conquering your disease and having it rage out of control.

Here are some examples of findings from recent studies that support the importance of diet in fighting cancer:

  • Diets high in fat and refined carbohydrates make you more likely to become overweight, which in turn increases your risk of tumor recurrences.8 Obese men are at significantly greater risk of developing more aggressive prostate cancer.9
  • Dietary fats can impair the body’s anti-cancer defenses by depressing the activity of natural killer (NK) cells, while a low-fat diet markedly increases NK activity.10,11,12 Natural killer cells play a key role in preventing metastasis.
  • Obese breast cancer patients are two to four times more likely to experience a recurrence than women of normal weight.13
  • For every additional 10 percentage points of calories derived from fat in the diet of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients — by going from 25 percent to 35 percent of calories from fat — the risk of recurrence approximately doubles.14 An increase of 10 percentage points is alarmingly easy: just add 4 ounces of beef, 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese (about the size of three 9-volt batteries), a cup of ice cream, or four pats of butter to your daily intake and you’re there.
  • High intake of many dietary fats is linked with higher rates of cancer recurrence, lower rates of survival, or both.15 At the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in 2005, I listened to a stunning presentation of a randomized controlled study of 2,400 breast cancer patients. It found that those who adopted a diet in which 20 percent of the calories came from fat (the U.S. norm is more like 35 percent) had a 24 percent lower rate of relapse. The lowered risk of relapse was particularly great for the 42 percent of women with the more dangerous estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancers. Because these women have fewer good conventional options, this is an especially important finding.16

Despite this overwhelming evidence for the benefits of a healthy diet when you are fighting cancer, that is not what mainstream medicine recommends. Yes, when it comes to cancer prevention, the American Cancer Society recommends a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins while restricting unhealthy fats, refined carbs, and fatty red meats. So far, so good. Yet the standard advice for patients with cancer — that is, those for whom prevention didn’t work — is “all you can eat.”17 Cancer patients are told to get all the calories they can, from butter, margarine, high-fat dairy products, mayonnaise, eggs, meat, hard and soft cheese, ice cream, and peanut butter. The rationale is that a fat- and calorie-packed diet prevents or combats cachexia, the “starvation response” seen in cancer patients. It does not. But this response is hardly universal; only some patients become cachectic, and only at certain points in their treatment. The reality is that there are far more patients for whom “all you can eat” is exactly the wrong prescription: it makes them fill their plates with animal protein, saturated fats, unhealthful omega-6 fats, and refined carbohydrates, all of which have tumor-promoting properties.18 In fact, a 2007 study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that stage III colon cancer patients who ate the least meat, fat, refined grains, and desserts had half the mortality risk of those who ate the most of these foods.19

I don’t want to pick on mainstream cancer groups — in my five years as vice president of the uptown Chicago chapter of the American Cancer Society (ACS), I saw firsthand the good intentions of everyone involved. Nonetheless, the disconnect between the ACS’s cancer-prevention dietary advice and its cancer-fighting dietary advice is hard to justify. Even laypeople can see that. A number of my patients have said to me, “My doctor used to advise that I should eat fruits and vegetables and avoid too much meat and fat so I wouldn’t get cancer. Now that I got a diagnosis of cancer, I’m supposed to eat cheesecake, milk shakes, and cream sauce. That doesn’t make sense.” They’re right: it strains credulity to think that the very foods you are told to minimize in order to reduce your risk of developing cancer should be dietary staples once you have cancer. The cheesecake-and-cream-sauce advice also ignores the growing scientific evidence of the tumor-promoting potential of the standard American diet. To a great extent, the foods recommended for cancer prevention are also the foods that seem to suppress cancer after it’s diagnosed. In most cases it is reasonable to use prevention studies as a guide for how patients should eat, especially in cancers where healthy diets reduce risk.

For those of you that are beginning or in the midst of your cancer battle, the Life Over Cancer website also includes updated resources to support the Life Over Cancer program.

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