It has been one long hot summer around here, which makes me thankful that blogging allows me to remain in an air conditioned home for the most part! This month I’m chatting about some food extremes: healthy food making people sick, and food that is traditionally not that good for you trying to be a little healthier. And of course there will be a heaping helping of my personal opinion because, well, what else is this blog for? Just kidding (but not very much.) So read on about the recent food headlines that got my attention in August…
So here’s a fun one; I guess Gatorade now has an organic option? After lots and lots of feedback from consumers – including professional athletes – they have released three flavors to the market, the first of their kind in the US. The Pepsi-owned company has taken the ingredient list from twelve down to seven that are slightly better for you and actually pronounceable. But don’t fret, they didn’t take out any of the sugar. So maybe it’s not quite as good for you as it could be, but it still tastes good, right? My take on the situation is probably a little simplistic, but that’s just me: if this is a drink that was supposed to be healthy, something athletes (and everyone else) would want to put into their bodies, shouldn’t it have been organic the entire time? (Grub Street)
If you live in Virginia or the surrounding areas, you probably heard about the kerfuffle with Tropical Smoothie Café and people getting sick at the beginning of this month. Over 40 people got Hepatitis A, a serious liver infection that can span anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months, after drinking smoothies from the company. The trouble stemmed from frozen strawberries (which were discovered to have been imported from Egypt – random, I know), and despite the number of people affected, the Virginia Department of Health didn’t publicly announce it for almost two weeks. Their reasoning? They “needed time to gather all the facts.” Sounds great, except for one small hang-up; there is a post-exposure vaccination for Hep A, but it has to be given within two weeks of exposure. Hmm. Ah bureaucracy. For their part, Tropical Smoothie Café has changed their strawberry supplier and seems to have been entirely compliant in the investigation process. (Eater)
It is that time of year again, and depending on what team you’re on, you are either eagerly anticipating the onset of Pumpkin Spice Mania, or (like me) you are in a state of mortal dread to discover what companies are offering the public this year to mutilate the once-sacred autumn flavor. Well here it is; it’s still hot outside, and I’m already reading about – and seeing in person – the onslaught that is to come. Some of it I can handle; Pumpkin Spice Cheerios? Ok, understood, it’s Cheerios, it’s a pretty flexible canvas that allows for some flavor experimentation. Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts? Hmmm, a bit of a stretch, but I would still try it, although I don’t know about the Caramel Apple ones. And I’ve already had the Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies, which you can read about here – pretty tasty stuff. So I’ll give them that. I guess if you’re a Twizzler fan, you may be interested in the new Caramel Apple flavor, although it makes me a bit nervous. Pumpkin Spice Peeps? Eeww. Just eeww. Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes from Keebler? Why Keebler, why? Why would you want to fix something that isn’t broken?! And White Chocolate Butterscotch M&Ms? I’m sorry…”BOO-tterscotch” M&Ms? Not only do I not get the concept, I don’t know how such a small item can carry a flavor combination like that. I think maybe it will just taste like white chocolate. But enough of my ranting, everyone has different tastes, and you should probably just go out and try these items for yourself. (Refinery29)
Now as much as I attempt to be healthy, I do have a couple of “acceptable” fast food locations that I somehow rationalize in my own head as being ok. One of these is Chik Fil A. I just love Chik Fil A. I probably only go there about twice a year (like I said, I try to be healthy), but their OG grilled chicken sandwich? And the mini chikn biscuits for breakfast? Somebody stop me. So I was happy to hear that they have been making strides to offer some healthier options on their menu, but the latest ones sounded really exciting. They are currently testing out Grain Bowls. Beginning in four cities around the country, they are offering the Harvest Kale and Grains Bowl and the Egg White Grill Grains Bowl for breakfast. These and other items will include ingredients like kale, quinoa, butternut squash, nuts, berries and farro (a hearty grain). The bowls start at around $8, and if they test successfully, will be available nationwide in a couple of years. I hope it works out; they both sound amazing and I would be more likely to increase my visits with options like that. (Eater)
And in other fast food news – from the folks who asked us to suspend belief and accept other absurd food concepts, Burger King came out with the Whopperito. Yeah, I know. If perchance you haven’t heard of it, it’s exactly what it sounds like; a Burger King Whopper, made into a burrito. And it’s not as though it’s some horrid idea that’s going to be the downfall of humanity. It’s just that…why?! What’s the point? Pizza Hut doesn’t sell tacos. Papa John’s doesn’t do French fries. I understand that many other companies are attempting to expand to meet their customers’ every desire but for the love of Pete, why can’t you all just be good at the one thing you’re supposed to be good at?!! Why can’t you all just make an amazing, flame-grilled burger that people can get topped off however they want? That used to be good enough. Sometimes, competition is not a good thing. #endrant (NBC)
So that’s my point of view on the goings-on of August. You may agree or disagree, but either way, I’d love to hear your opinion on some of these things. Also, if there are any other food-related goodies I overlooked, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy eating!