Tag Archives: food

Dr. Wilda Reviews: Johnsonville Naturals Sausage

6 Dec

Moi was contacted by a representative for Johnsonville Naturals Sausage to provide a review of a new product entering the Seattle market. The reasons moi agreed to write the review are moi has used Johnsonville products for years and was familiar with the company as well as she was curious about the product. This is a compensated review. Here is a bit about moi’s lifestyle which makes this review relevant to many folk. She is a busy blogger and researcher and often has little time to cook gourmet meals. Often it is look in the fridge and throw together a meal from what is on hand. Given that meals have to be quick, moi attempts to have balanced meals from the various food groups.

Over the years, moi has used the following Johnsonville products:

Butcher Shop Style Smoked Bratwurst

Johnsonville Butcher Shop Style Smoked Bratwurst will transport you to a time when hearty flavor and generous portions were the hallmarks of quality craftsmanship. This sausage is made with premium all natural pork and a natural casing that delivers a “snap” that any butcher would be proud of!

Butcher Shop Style Cheddar Cheese & Bacon

Take flavor to the next level with Johnsonville Butcher Shop Style Cheddar Cheese & Bacon Sausage! This big link blends a perfect flavor pairing of creamy cheddar cheese chunks with delicious smoky bacon… mmm!

Butcher Shop Style Andouille

This Butcher Shop Style Andouille Sausage is packed with authentic Cajun taste and only premium all natural pork. Let this BIG link transport you right to the heart of the BIG EASY with its BIG flavor and natural casing “snap!”

http://www.johnsonville.com/lines/smoked.html

According to the package ingredients, there are ingredients like “potassium lactate, corn syrup, dextrose, monosodium, glutamate, sodium phosphate, sodium diacete, maltodextrin and collagen casing.” Until moi wrote this review, she never noticed the ingredients. The reasons the products were purchased by moi in the past were the Johnsonville name, product taste and the fact that Safeway has frequent specials and moi stocks up.

Like many folk, moi has become concerned about processed meat. Atli Arnarson wrote in the Business Insider article, Why processed meat is bad for you:

Processed meat is generally considered unhealthy.

It has been linked with diseases like cancer and heart disease in numerous studies….

There is no doubt that processed meat contains many harmful chemicals that are not naturally present in fresh meat….

What is Processed Meat?

Processed meat is meat that has been preserved by curing, salting, smoking, drying or canning.

Food products categorized as processed meat include:

  • Sausages, hot dogs, salami.
  • Bacon, ham.
  • Salted and cured meat, corned beef.
  • Smoked meat.
  • Dried meat, beef jerky.
  • Canned meat.

On the other hand, meat that has been frozen or undergone mechanical processing like cutting and slicing is still considered unprocessed….

Nevertheless, studies consistently find strong links between processed meat consumption and various chronic diseases.

These include: High blood pressure, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bowel and stomach cancer.

The studies on processed meat consumption in humans are all observational in nature.

They can show that people who eat processed meat are more likely to get these diseases, but they can not prove that the processed meat caused them….                                                                               http://www.businessinsider.com/why-processed-meat-is-bad-for-you-2015-7

When given the opportunity to preview a product which purported to be more natural, moi jumped at the chance.

The Johnsonville Naturals Line has four products:

Original Brats

A delicious brat recipe made with 100% all natural ingredients. Sure to be a favorite at picnics, barbecues or any occasion.

Mild Italian Sausage

Made with all natural ingredients and the perfect blend of Italian herbs and spices for an authentic flavor in any recipe or on the grill.

Original Breakfast Sausage

Our one-of-a-kind original breakfast sausage recipe made with 100% all natural ingredients that will bring family and friends to the table.

Maple Breakfast Sausage

Made with real Vermont maple syrup and other all natural ingredients for a sweet and savory breakfast taste.

http://www.johnsonville.com/lines/naturals.html

According to the label of the Original Bratwurst, the ingredients are “Pork, water and less than 2% of the following: salt, butter flavor (maltodextrin, anhydrous milk fat, mpmfat milk solids, natural flavors, sugar, natural flavors, contains milk.” The Mild Italian Sausage ingredients are “Pork, water and less than 2% of the following: salt, natural sugar, spice, paprika, natural flavors.”

Two products were tested by moi in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes. For breakfast, moi used the Original Bratwurst in a scramble. She sliced the bratwurst into thin slices, browned them and added to an egg scramble of mushrooms, red, orange and yellow peppers, with onion. This scramble was topped with shredded cheddar cheese and paired with hash browns. A splash of hot sauce was the final touch. The difference between the original brats and the naturals was the seasoning. The subtle, but noticeable seasoning of the naturals made the scramble more flavorful. For lunch, the brats were used again. Again they were sliced and browned. Moi took some green onions and the brats and added them to a can of loaded potato soup which was microwaved. The soup was paired with a small salad and Ciabatta roll. The dinner test involved moi’s favorite pasta dish. Take spinach or kale and add peppers, mushrooms, onions, and olives along with the browned sliced Italian sausage and mix with either fettucine or linguini topped with shredded cheese. The taste of the Italian sausage was a noticeable, but not an overpowering, seasoned taste which complemented the vegetables. When sliced and broiled, the Italian sausage also makes a good snack. Place a broiled Italian Naturals slice on a French bread round, topped with a quarter sized cheese slice and melt under the broiler. An olive slice makes the perfect garnish and glass of wine the perfect complement. All of the recipes used by moi involve no formal culinary training, used food probably in most fridges, and took no longer than 15 minutes.

The Johnsonville Naturals line is at a higher price point than the original line and the key question for the consumer is whether the higher price is worth switching to the Naturals Sausage. Most consumers will probably decide on whether they will become regular consumers based upon price because the product taste and quality is superior. Moi is guessing most consumers don’t read the product labels. They will either eat processed meat or they won’t eat processed meat based upon concerns other than product label. The reason moi will be making the switch is a simpler ingredient list, a more flavorful product and the price differential is not that great. Since moi is not a dietitian she cannot comment about what the natural claim means. She is like most consumers and when she does read the labels, she noticed the Naturals label was simpler. The product test convinced moi to spend the extra money on the Naturals line because of taste and convenience.

Dr. Wilda gives the Johnsonville Naturals line definite thumbs up.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews snacks: ‘Harvest Snacks’

22 Sep

Moi received a complimentary selection of the following Calbee Harvest products for a review:

Snapea Crisps Lightly Salted

Snapea Crisps Caesar

Snapea Crisps Black Pepper

Snapea Crisps Wasabi Ranch

Lentil Snaps Tomato Basil

Lentil Snaps Onion Thyme

Before proceeding, moi reviewed this product as a consumer since she does not have training in nutrition or dietary evaluation. The nutritional value of the product is beyond moi’s expertise.

Here is a bit about Calbee North America:

It Starts With Passion

Meet Calbee North America

You might think we’re a little pea-brained, but at Calbee North America, we don’t think great taste should be compromised. You see, our mission is as simple as our products: delicious, natural and good for you. Our passion is to offer you something wholesome and tasty, so you can enjoy snacking the way it should it be. Because to us, a snack is more than just a bag with a name. It’s a privilege you should celebrate every day, anywhere with anyone! So the next time you’re crunching at a soccer game, nervously munching during a thrilling movie, or opening up a bag “just because,” we want you know we think you’re snacking the right way, the Harvest Snaps way.

How We Got Here

We were one of the first Japanese food manufacturers in North America when we began selling our Saya and Shrimp Chip brands in the early 1970’s. We have a company culture that is built on new product development and our leadership is committed to innovation in everything we do.

We stand by our claim: “Harvest the Power of Nature.”

We build our brands and innovative snacks around taste, fun, and wholesome ingredients.

We recognized the need for wholesome snacking in North America and launched the Snapea Crisp brand in 1999. Since their inception, Snapea Crisps have had a loyal and growing fan base. We also recognized the opportunity to expand in North America would need local partners. In 2012, we agreed with RDO to create Calbee North America. Like every pea has its pod, we credit our snacking virtues to our parent companies, Calbee Inc. and RDO.

RDO already has a firm and steady relationship with Callbee and has been processing and supplying potatoes to Calbee for years. The relationship makes a lot of sense because RDO is one of the largest agricultural / farming companies in North America. RDO has vertically integrated its business model to include: growing, selling and processing potatoes; distributing farm equipment, dairy farming, and farming other agricultural products. They bring knowledge and trust to the business partnership and the two companies together are aiming for long term future growth in North America.

About Calbee Inc.

Headquartered in Tokyo Japan, Calbee Inc. has been committed to harnessing the great taste of nature and promoting healthy living for more than 63 years and is known for it’s global prowess. In fact, Calbee Inc. is the second-largest snack food company in the world. Calbee Inc. has strategic partnership with Pepsico Inc.

About RDO

Founded in the United States, RDO is now one of the biggest potato farm and farm equipment companies in the country. The company was founded by entrepreneur Ron Offutt who started his business from just a 40 acre farm to achieve an ultimate American Dream by his own hand in just one generation. RDO owns our sister company, Idahoan, a leading potato flake brand.

Other Great Calbee Products

Shrimp Chips

Accented by a mild taste of fresh shrimp and sprinkled with a delicate pinch of salt, our Shrimp Chips have an airy texture that’s as light as an ocean breeze but still satisfyingly crunchy. Dive into classic Original flavor, turn up the heat with Wasabi or go bold with Hot Garlic.

Saya

How does one describe Saya? Two words: Simply. Delectable. That delicate snow pea taste is perfectly infused with Japan’s traditional Dashi for Umami flavor, making for a crispy, guilt-free treat that’s sure to please any snack lover.

Potato Chips

Leave it to Calbee to put a new twist on an old favorite. Calbee Seaweed & Salt Potato Chips blend the essence of the sea with a super-crispy, thin-sliced chip….

http://harvestsnaps.com/calbee

Here is information about the history of Calbee http://www.calbee.co.jp/english/about/history.php

Here is Calbee’s profile:

Marunouchi Trust Tower Main, 22nd Floor

1-8-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005, JAPAN

Telephone : +81(0)3-5220-6222

April 30, 1949

Akira Matsumoto

Shuji Ito

11,586 million yen (As of Mar 31, 2013)

Consolidated sales 179.4billion yen (Ended March 2013)

3,352 on a consolidated basis and 1,519 on a parent basis (as of March 31, 2013)

Production and sale of snacks and other foods

Hokkaido, East Japan, Central Japan, West Japan

Chitose, Shin-Utsunomiya, kiyohara, R&D Group, Shimotsuma,

Kakamigahara, Ayabe, Konan, Hiroshima East Wing, Hiroshiima West Wing, Kagoshima

Calbee Potato, Hokkaido foods, Potato Foods,

Sapporo, Utsunomiya, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, etc.

Chitose, Utsunomiya, Higashi-Matsuyama, Kakamigahara, Shiga, Hiroshima, Kagoshima

Utsunomiya

http://www.calbee.co.jp/english/about/profile.php

The question consumers must decide for themselves is whether Harvest Snacks are healthy snacks?

The YMCA of Silicon Valley defines healthy snacks:

YMCA of Silicon Valley Healthy Snacks Definition and Implementation Practices

The guidelines below are compiled from YUSA and the Harvard Project, California Nutrition Network and the Center for Disease Control.

Please use these guidelines when planning snacks to meet our ‘healthy’ snacks requirement. Included in this document are best practices for implementing the healthy snack guidelines.

What is a ‘healthy’ snack?

      No trans fats

 No sugar sweetened beverages

 Fruit or vegetables daily – fresh preferred (as opposed to canned)

 Water is the primary drink available and is served at the snack table (not just at a water fountain)

 Low fat milk /100% fruit juice are served as alternatives to water

 Foods high in fats, salts and sugars are limited consistent with Harvard guidelines

 A balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins is served….

http://www.banpac.org/toolkit_HFBPE/section4/4-YMCA_SV_Healthy_Snacks.pdf

Whether one views Harvest Snacks as a healthy alternative will, frankly depend on their personal lifestyle choices.

There are Factors Affecting Food Selection:

Social

The cultures or societies that people live in, along with the type of contact that individuals have with one another (social factors), influence food choices. The importance of beliefs, traditions and taboos was discussed earlier in this chapter and we have observed that the media, as part of everyday life, influence us to make certain food choices. The type of lifestyle, job and education, size of the family and the importance of hospitality within the social group are also important when we make food choices.

Culture and traditions

Traditions are customs that are repeated at specific times by members of a group or society. Many traditions relating to special occasions involve food. Festive and social occasions always involve food to some degree, and the meal is often the focus of the event. Family traditions often revolve around food, as do major social and cultural customs in most societies, for example:

• Easter — a time of giving and receiving painted hard­ boiled eggs, or confectionery and chocolate eggs

•Chinese New Year — celebration with displays of special foods such as rice cakes

Lifestyle

In general, lifestyle factors that influence food selection relate to:

•Employment- What you choose to eat may depend on the physical demands of your job. For example, construction work requires more energy than working in a video store does. Active jobs require the worker to eat more carbohydrate­ rich foods for energy, while people who do sedentary work (a task that requires little bodily movement) need to be careful not to overeat.

•Education- Obviously, wiser choices come from having more information about the options.People also become better informed about nutrition and food choices through government programs, reading magazines, watching various television shows, food store hand­ outs and fast food brochures. The better informed a person is about the nutrient content of foods, dietary requirements and food preparation, the greater the likelihood of wiser food selections.

•Geographic location-the staple food of a country will most likely depend on whether it can be grown given the geography and climatic conditions. If the climate is tropical, then growing sugar cane, pineapples, bananas and coconuts is perfect and these foods will be cheaper, more plentiful and often used in a variety of culinary ways.Climate affects not only the types of food grown in an area but also the food choices people make. Summer brings the desire for bright, fresh, light foods — fresh fruit salads, juices and smoothies, cold quiches and crispy salads, ice­ creams and barbecues. Winter is the season of porridge and thick soups, meat pies and lunchtime pastas, warm drinks and hot desserts.

•Travel and interests-Most countries are now open to tourists; the internet allows us to make purchases from faraway places; and trade agreements between nations have meant that major events in one part of the world can be felt throughout the rest of the world. When traveling, we experience a wide range of foods, some of which we like and seek out upon returning home. Personal interests and the interests of close personal friends can also influence food choices.

•Household structures and roles-The make­up of the family unit determines the variety, quality and quantity of food consumed in a meal. For example, young children who have very sensitive taste buds prefer less spicy foods, while elderly people may have a reduced sense of taste and often like more heavily flavored (especially salty and sweet) foods. Personal likes and dis­ likes are often the most important factor in food selection within a household.Catering to different dietary needs within the family may mean that more care needs to be taken to prepare food in an attractive and enjoyable way.

Social interaction

Food has long been a symbol of friendship and hospitality. When friends enter your home one of the first things you do is offer them something to eat and drink.Food helps to create a relaxed atmosphere in which even a shy person can be part of the group by busying themselves with preparing or serving food.

Media

In an affluent country like Australia, the media play a big role in the food selections we make. Advertising of food is everywhere, each day we are exposed to thousands of advertising text, images and sounds from magazines, bill­ boards, the radio, cinemas, the internet and television.Much of the food advertised through the media is lower in nutritional value than its unprocessed or less refined alternatives. However, these products are presented as if they are the very basis of a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Peer group

An individual’s peers are people in roughly the same age group with the same social status.The influence of the peer group is strongest during adolescence. The need for acceptance makes teenagers eat what and when their friends eat rather than what their parents think they should eat and what is nutritionally sound. Trying new things is safer in a peer group, and sharing food is a good way to get to know people and cement friendships.

Hospitality at home

Family entertaining in the home environment is becoming more informal and less frequent. People’s lives are busier and, with the increasing range of takeaway food outlets and restaurants, it is often easier to have others do the cooking. Working parents do not have the time to shop and cook for a dinner party; it is easier to use takeaway meals or go to a restaurant where the washing up is done by others. http://factorsaffectingfoodselection.weebly.com/social.html

There are some purists who will only eat locally sourced raw food or have vegan diets. The question is what is healthy for the average consumer who eats a product in moderation.

Moi really loved the Harvest Snack products. Generally, she favored the varieties with a strong definite taste like Black Pepper and Onion Thyme. The Wasabi Ranch needed more of the Wasabi influence. Since moi tends to eat in moderation, the question of whether Harvest Snacks are a healthy choice is not an issue. She liked the product better than potato chips.

The principal critic seems to be Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD who posts in the article, Update on Snapea Crisps: Are They Healthy Yet?

Last year I published a post about Snapea Crisps entitled, Food Labeling Lies: Are Snapea Crisps Healthy?  Interestingly, it has been one of my most popular posts. Since Calbee—the company that created Snapea Crisps—has made some changes, I wanted to post an update on the product.

Calbee has changed their packaging, their website, and the amount of fat, carbohydrate, and sodium their product contains. They also came out with different flavors for Snapea Crisps such as Caesar, Black Pepper, and Wasabi Ranch. And they now have Lentil Snaps.

But does that make Snapea Crisps healthier? The short answer is no. Here’s why.

Snapea Crisps now have:

  • 120 calories per ounce instead of 150
  • 6 grams of fat instead of 8
  • 80 mg of sodium instead of 125
  • 15 grams of carbohydrate instead of 14

But, they are still ground up peas, ground up white rice, corn oil, and salt formed into a pea shape and baked and not puffed peas. The bottom line is this product is still a highly processed food!

http://healthyeatingrocks.com/2013/06/11/update-on-snapea-crisps-are-they-healthy-yet/

As a very tasty snack, moi gives Harvest Snacks a thumbs up and highly recommend.

Other Reviews:

Harvest Snaps Healthy Snacks Review

http://www.allbeautifulmommies.com/blog/entry/3696633/harvest-snaps-healthy-snacks-review

Update on Snapea Crisps: Are They Healthy Yet?

http://healthyeatingrocks.com/2013/06/11/update-on-snapea-crisps-are-they-healthy-yet/

Food Labeling Lies: Are Snapea Crisps Healthy?

http://healthyeatingrocks.com/2012/08/15/food-labeling-lies/

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Review of Darigold’s magazine ‘FRESH’

21 Oct

Moi gets many press releases and offers to review books and other items. Darigold’s magazine, “FRESH” really appealed to moi because Darigold is a local cooperative and moi supports the local food movement. See, http://www.localharvest.org/ According to the letter sent to moi by Kristen Hamilton:

FRESH is produced and created by Darigold. You may already know us for our milk, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese and other dairy products found at your local grocers. What many people don’t know, is that we’re also one of America’s largest dairy co-ops, in operation and farmer owned since 1918.

We represent more than 500 family farms throughout the Northwest to bring Seattle residents the delicious world of dairy. We look forward to sharing our story with you through FRESH magazine, and we plan to send you complimentary issues as they are launched throughout the year.

Here is some information about Darigold:

FAQs:

How are Darigold Ingredient products packaged?
All Powder products are available in 25kg bags except for the MPC 70 (20kg). Cheese is packed in a 40 pound box. Butter (Salted) is available in 68 pound and 25kg cubes . Butter (Unsalted) is available in 25kg cubes

Are Darigold Ingredient products rbST free?
Beginning January 1, 2009 all Darigold products will be produced with milk from cows not treated with rbST

Are Darigold Ingredient plants USDA approved?
Yes

Are Darigold Ingredient products Kosher?
All products (except Cheese) are Kehilla Kosher approved and recognized by the Orthodox Union.

Are Darigold Ingredient products Halal approved?
Yes

Are Darigold Ingredient products European Union (EU) approved?
Darigold Ingredient plants are registered as approved exporters to the EU.

What type of coding does Darigold use for their Ingredient products?
All Darigold Ingredient products are coded with production plant identification, Julian code date and calendar date of manufacturing.

How can I obtain more information about a specific Darigold Ingredient product?
Please click on the “Contact Us” button (located on the navigation sidebar) for information requests. http://ingredients.darigold.com/faqs.aspx

The particular issue of FRESH sent to moi is glossy with beautiful pictures and great recipes.

The issue begins with stories about the cows describing the nature of the cows, grooming, and how they eat their food. This is really interesting stuff. Believe it or not, there is a fascinating discussion about cottage cheese and how it is made. Next, the issue provides portraits of the families involved in dairy farming. There is also a great piece about the Nelscott Cafe in Lincoln City, Oregon and the fabulous pancakes and French toast.

The magazine opens with stories about the cows, farmers, and restaurant to build to the conclusion of recipes. The food is not only beautifully photographed, but for a foodie will make one salivate just reading the ingredients. There are coupons in the back of the magazine for tasty Darigold products. You can order FRESH by clicking this link http://consumer.darigold.com/pdf/Order_Fresh_Vol3.pdf

Dr. Wilda gives a thumbs up to FRESH Magazine

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