Primal Kitchen Mayo

primal kitchen mayoPrimal Kitchen Mayo is fantastic! Not only is it 100% natural, but it simply tastes great. I am so disheartened by condiments, chips, snacks, and other foods these days that advertise themselves as being all-natural only to read on the label that the first ingredient contains canola oil or some other, unnatural, industrialized seed oil. When my wife brought home for the first time a jar of Primal Kitchen Mayo from our local Kroger Grocery store I was very skeptical to say the least. Primal Kitchen Mayo IngredientsBut, when I looked at the label, my skeptical at once turned into a very hopeful grin. Everything in this amazing condiment is 100% natural and healthy: Avocado Oil, Organic Cage-Free Eggs, Organic Egg Yolks, Organic Vinegar, Sea Salt, and Rosemary Extract. That’s it! Nothing less, nothing more.

I opened the jar, dipped a spoon into it and tasted it. To my delight, it was very tasty, tangy, and satisfying. Primal Kitchen Mayo simply tastes great. This all-natural, paleo mayonnaise has a very satisfying, rich and tangy taste that goes well on absolutely anything you can imagine.

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Healthy Low Fat Snacks

The other day, I was feeling hungry while shopping the aisle of my local grocery store. Yet, I refused to buy any of the snacks simply because of the disappointing claims that they contained less fat. You see, ‘low-fat’ doesn’t Low Fat Healthy Snacksmean the same thing to me as it does most of the world. Believe me, it used to. There was a time when I was a fanatic about all of these low-fat, health ideas. I was convinced that I would jeopardize my heart and life if I didn’t remove the fat from everything I ate. Before, I even delve into how and why that as all changed, let me just simply state the way I feel today:  The truth is, I want all of my food to contain good, saturated and natural fats, even my snacks.  So, when I read that the infamous package of Gardetto’ Snack Mix claimed to be reduced fat, I had no interest in buying it. The reason I was craving a snack in the first place was because my body was hungry for fat, oil and salt. Unfortunately, today’s food industry has removed all of the healthy, natural fats from their products.  For example, coconut oil and lard – these things are considered bad for us and nobody will touch them with a 10-foot pole.   Even the RF, Egg-Vermicelli Spaghetti my mom used to buy as a kid is no longer available because eggs contain cholesterol. Cholesterol is bad, right? Not really. Nobody has ever died from high cholesterol; nor has it made anyone more likely to have a heart attack. With some research of the data with a critical eye rather than one that accepts popular propaganda, we will eventually learn the truth: Low fat diets and lowering one’s cholesterol neither improves one’s health nor lower one’s weight.

The Misnomer of the so-called, Healthy Snack

If you are looking for healthy low fat snacks you are fighting a losing battle. Nothing that is labeled low-fat or less-fat is healthy. Believe me, nobody has ever become healthier by eating less fat … period. The problem is that we’ve been fed the big fat lie in our world that fat is a villain to be avoided like the plague. Fat, particularly animal fat, is what our body craves.  Snacks which claim to be made with ‘50% less fat’ or ‘low-fat’ are the ones we should avoid. Aside from the big-fat lie that fat is bad for our heart, has anyone lost one single pound because they bought foods at the grocery store which were labeled, ‘low-fat’? Unfortunately, the foods that use to be healthy have been loaded up with lots of sugar and starches to compensate for the lack of the flavor. There is overwhelming evidence that sugar and starch are the bigger cause of problems like heart disease, weight-gain and diabetes. Is it any coincidence that these three problems grew proportionately with the decrease of fat and increase of sugar in our diets?  Many people laugh at fried pork-rinds, but in reality, they are practically harmless compared to most snacks. Most fried pork rinds have only two ingredients. Fried-out Pork fat and salt. Neither of these ingredients are as harmful as sugar and trans-fats. In fact,  fried pork rinds will satisfy your hunger. 

Snacks need less sugar and more Natural Fats

We need to send a message to the food companies that it is not less fat we want in our snacks, but less sugar. These so-called, ‘healthy’ low-fat snacks are usually made with added sugars to compensate for the lack of flavor missing from low-fat foods. If snack foods just used lard, coconut oil, real butter, and/or other natural, saturated fats, there would be no problem with finding healthy snacks. Unfortunately, the good guys have been made the villains. The bad guys like sugar and starch are largely ignored or considered a minor obstacle in the mission to replace the sinful fats that kill us all.  

McDonald’s was Healthier in the Olden Days

I remember when McDonald’s stopped using beef fat in their fries to make them ‘healthier’. Instead of lard, they went to trans-fats which are considered deadly and even banned in some places. Now that trans-fats are considered the world’s biggest health villains they are no longer used either. However, the new vegetable oils don’t taste as good and still not considered, ‘healthy’ by many experts. The beef fat fries were so much tastier, more natural and healthier. Haven’t we heard, “You can’t fool mother nature?” And now we’re supposed to believe the so-called health experts who pressured these changes upon food chains like McDonald’s that we’re better off with bad-tasting fats like, canola oil? I am simply amazed at how firmly the false ideas on low-fat and cholesterol have been etched in our minds. Would any snack or food company dare advertise that their products are made from real, natural, saturated fats and contain less sugar? If only we could get back to these real, natural, fatty foods, we’d be a healthier, happier lot of people. I would love to taste those old McDonald’s fries once again!

Who’s to blame? In all honesty, how can you fault consumers for doing what they think is best for their family and themselves? I’ve peaked into the grocery carts of some pretty obese people at the grocery store and I see things like, low-fat  cottage cheese, cholesterol-free pasta, fat-free this, that and the other thing. On top of that are breads and loads of other foods rich in starchy carbs – and yes, soda pop..both sugar and sugar-free. It’s like we are trying to fake our bodies into thinking they don’t need what they naturally want? You want real cheese, but you can’t have it? So, load up on the fake cheese? Or load up on the chips and dips with more sugar and less, natural saturated fats. Does that really make sense? The ingredients of the shopping cart of the average, obese person is right in line with the popularly accepted diet in America and most of the world because this is the low-fat fraud we’ve all had shoved down our mouths for 40 years or so. Yet, parents are failing both themselves and their kids on these high-starch, low-fat diets. It’s not their fault. This is what they have been told to do. The fact that it isn’t working must mean they are hopeless, right? It’s really pretty sad.

How to find Healthy Snacks

The key to a healthy snack is one with less sugar and refined carbs and more of the fats that were once considered, natural and not unhealthy. These fats include Coconut Oil, Lard, Butter and Palm Oil. Good luck finding something like this at your typical grocery store. In fact, most of the so-called, health food stores still don’t understand this. Our bodies crave coconut oil, butter, animal fats and salt. The carbohydrates won’t hurt us if we eat them in moderation. If your body craves something crunchy with oil and salt, your best bet is to make it yourself. When it comes to snacking, however, I realize that nothing beats the convenience of something you can pick-up at your grocery aisle that is ready for you to munch at a moment’s notice. Though they are few and far between, there has got to be a few healthy and delicious choices out there for us to choose. Please leave your comments about healthy snacks you’ve been able to buy and enjoy.

 

Great Value Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

Great Value Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

Spicy Salsa-flavored Great Value Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips have unexpectedly become one of my favorite snacks. I realize the front lines of Walmart are chalk full of bargain-priced, junk-food snacks and I am usually hesitant to try any of them. But, for some reason, the image on the bag of rolled, spicy salsa corn chips caught my eye on this particular Sunday and I threw them into our shopping cart as an impulsive, after-thought to our week’s worth of groceries.  I don’t like to make a habit of snacks that are full of seasoning and preservatives, but for some reason, my instincts told me that these might taste pretty darn good. As it turns out, my premonition was spot-on. 

Just before cocktail hour, I was feeling hungry and so I ripped open the bag of the Great Value Rolled Corn Chips and immediately loved them. These crispy treats have an amazing crunch and texture. They are pretty well seasoned and salty, but not so much that you’ll want to stop eating them after one or two. The corn texture is very thick, crunchy and firm. In fact, they are nearly as crunchy as Corn Nuts. The robust, firm texture in Great Value rolled corn tortilla chips is what sets them apart from other, lesser snacks in my opinion. Is there anything more important than texture when it comes to enjoying a snack?

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Inka Corn

Inka Corn
– A Corny Review

Original Inka CornCorn Nuts. People either love ’em or they hate ’em. I know people who say they cannot even stand the smell of corn nuts and loathe to even have someone in their near vicinity crunching on them. Personally, I love them. I enjoy the oil, crunch and salt.  Inka Corn is different.  Manufactured by Inka Crops S.A. in Lima, Peru, original Inka Corn is a similar snack with an appreciably different texture and size. As with most things I buy on impulse, I spotted a 4-oz bag at Vitamin Cottage as I was at the cash register. Still feeling hungry after a light lunch, I decided to give these healthy snacks a try.

Inka Corn Compared to Corn Nuts

Like Corn Nuts, but  Lighter, Bigger and Less Salty

I didn’t know if it was because I was hungry or if they really are delicious, but I devoured half the bag as I was driving in the car. Each Inka kernel is about 50% larger than the Corn Nuts brand corn. They are less salty and not as oily. Being that I love the oily, saltiness of corn nuts, I didn’t think I liked the Inka as well at first, but gradually came around to truly enjoying them. There seems to be just enough salt and the oil is enough without being overpowering. Perhaps my favorite part about the Inca Corn is the freshness and light crunch. They are not nearly as hard on your teeth as corn nuts and they are big enough that you can enjoy the light-texture as they gently explode in your mouth.

Ingredients

Inka corn appears to be a healthier snack than corn nuts. There are three and only three ingredients: Corn, palm olein and sea salt. Fabulous. Palm olein is the liquid form of palm oil, which many consider to be very healthy. High in saturated fat, palm oil is an excellent alternative to canola, soy and hydrogenated oils. The American Palm Oil council claims it is full of antioxidants. From my own personal experience, it is much tastier than other oils. Inka comes in a variety of flavors: Inka Flavors. If you enjoy eating Inca Corn as much as I did, you can feel good about the ingredients and nutrition and decide to never go back to corn nuts.
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Where to Buy Them

Health food stores nearly always carry Inka Corn.

Brookside Dark Chocolate

Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai with BlueberryIf you like dark chocolate or chocolate covered berries, try the 2lb bag of Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai Blueberry sold at most Costco stores. Actually, since this brand is Brookside and not Kirkland, you can probably find it at quite a few places. Costco is notorious for sweet and/or salty snacks that come in big bags. I’ll admit that I am a sucker for some of these Costco treats, but I am very leery of any product that bills itself as a, ‘healthy snack’. I don’t agree with much of what is considered healthy in today’s world – it usually means it is devoid of saturated fats. I could care less about saturated fats – it’s the fake fats and oils and artificial sweeteners that I care about. Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai and blueberry isn’t entirely bad.

Is Chocolate Healthy?

No where on the bag of Brookside Chocolate covered acai blueberries is the word, healthy, actually mentioned. What is specifically noted on the top of the bag is, “Natural Source of Flavanol Antioxidants.” Supposedly, chocolate has some of these so-called, ‘healthy anti-oxidants and Brookside’s ingredients do list ‘dark chocolate or (Real Cocoa mixed with sugar) as the number one ingredient. So, I suppose if you consider chocolate healthy, then Brookside at least has that much going for them. On to the next question:

Are Blueberries Healthy?

According to the Blueberry Nutrition Council, blueberries are also packed with anti-oxidants and just one 14MG serving will give you 25% of your daily recommended requirement of vitamin-c. Additionally, they say blueberries are high in fiber. So, we’ve got good healthy chocolate and good, healthy blueberries, right? Not so fast. Might want to look at the rest of the ingredients and decide if there is too much sugar, and/or other fake-o ingredients you might not like, such as canola oil.

Ingredients

Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai with Blueberry Not bad, but should we really be judging a snack by whether or not it is considered, ‘healthy’?

Verdict on Brookside Dark Chocolate

Chocolate covered blueberries are really quite delicious. The dark chocolate tastes fresh and melts in your mouth, leaving your mouth with a semi-sweet/sour blueberry which is rather refreshing. I found myself craving the next bite of chocolate every time I devoured the previous blueberry. The texture of the chocolate covered acai blueberries is very appealing. It really is a pretty darn addictive treat. Too addictive – I discovered, perhaps, another problem which is probably unique to only a few of us, but true with most all chocolates.
I think I’ve proven that at least for me, chocolate does indeed cause headaches. Over the course of a few days, having a couple of handfuls of these chocolate treats, I had experienced one headache after another the very next morning. The headaches were rather intense and lasted all day long. When I thought about what habit I was engaging in that could be causing these headaches, the only thing I could think of was chocolate. I’ve experienced headaches in the past from chocolate pudding and other forms of chocolate. Sadly, I’ve stopped enjoying the delicious brookside snack. I’d gladly sacrifice chocolate to remain headache free as I have been since giving up the Brookside Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries.

What do you think of Brookside Dark Chocolate and Berries?


Fried Pork Rinds

What are the Best Fried Pork Rinds?

How do you rate Macs Pork Rinds? 

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macs pork rindsIf you like pork cracklins, there is only one choice: Macs fried pork rinds are simply the best. Most pork rinds, pork skins or pork cracklins are very dry, airy and light. They taste pretty good, but they stick in your throat and with out lots of water can literally be dangerous. And have you ever noticed that with your typical bag of pork rinds, you’re always hunting in the bag, for that special, greasier, dark piece of crackling that is crisper and juicier than the rest? Well, that’s what you’ll love about Macs Pork Skins – literally every cracklin’ bite has those attributes. If you truly judge the best pork rinds by taste and are not worried about what some might say is healthy, you’ll definitely think Macs pork rinds are the best. Speaking of healthy snacks, how do pork skins measure up?

Are Fried Pork Rinds Healthy?

Sometimes its not the ingredients in the food that makes a snack healthy, but what is not in the snack. Macs pork skins are healthy by virtue of what is not in them. There are no carbs and no trans-fats or other fake-o oils like canola. Unless you’re one of those old-fashioned type who still believe the age-old myth that saturated fats and cholesterol are unhealthy, there really isn’t much reason not to eat a few pork skins or cracklings between meals. They are essentially fried-out fat with a little bit of sodium, saturated fats and cholestero. None of these nutritional ingredients in fried pork skins have proven to be the least bit dangerous to our health, though some popular, outdated advice insists on telling us otherwise. While Macs do contain a decent amount of sodium, that is another thing that is completely harmless for most of us. See here: Attack on Salt. The main, nutritious advantage to fried pork rinds is that they taste good and satisfy our natural appetite for fat and salt in between meals. If you’re interested in the actual ingredients, here is the nutritional information on the Macs Fried Crackling Curls bag:

Fried Pork Rinds Nutrition

pork rinds nutrition
Push the label to see exactly what ingredients are in Macs Fried Pork Skins. Don’t let the saturated fats and salt scare you. That’s what we want in a satisfying snack, It’s what our body craves.

Pork Cracklins vs Pork Rinds

You might hear the term, pork cracklins associated with cooking recipes. In Mexican cuisine, they call them, Chicharrones. Chicharrones are simply fried pork skins and they taste very good with pinto beans or inside your bean burrito. They are typically smaller, richer and less dry than most fried pork rinds in the bag that you buy at the grocery store. But, the Mac pork rinds are a different story. Is one better than the other? Homemade Chicharrones and Macs Pork Rinds are similar – both of them are delicious.

Microwavable Pork Rinds

Another popular fad is to put un-fried pork skins in the microwave until they fill up with air and pop. This might sound like a fun thing to do, but I’d rather have Mac pork rinds. You’ll never make your microwaved pork skins taste as good as Macs!

Guilt-Free Snacking

They taste great and they aren’t nearly as unhealthy as you’ve been told. In fact, eating pork rinds might even help you lose weight by satisfying your cravings and helping you cut out carbs, cookies and other starches.

Snapea Crisps

Snapea Crisps
Calbee

Snapea Crisps are yet another attempt at taking a supposed healthy, green vegetable and making it into a delicious and crispy snack. Most people agreed with me that Veggie Straws were a great tasting snack, but not everyone agreed on the health and nutrition part of my review. I immediately though of Veggie Straws when I first opened a bag of them by Calbee. For some reason, I am a sucker for these kinds of snacks. I enjoy the texture of crunchy, salty, crispy, tasty and unusual snacks and as long as they are not chalk full of transfats, they’re healthy enough for me. But what about a snack that really goes the extra mile and is made from real vegetables? Can it actually taste good and be healthy, too? Let’s face it, we don’t all agree on what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy, but can’t we be a bit more lenient with our snacks and at least get some reasonable sense of the difference between junk food and real food? Perhaps, not as my readers of the veggie straw article might point out. So, let’s begin by examining Snapea Crisps solely from their taste and then we shall examine the ingredients and leave the healthy part up for debate.   Let’s start by reviewing the taste of these Crispy snacks by Calbee.

Snappea Crisps (Snap Pea Crisps) look, feel and smell exactly as their name implies: They are indeed exactly how you would imagine Snap Pea Crisps to be; light, airy, crispy and from first appearance are exactly like snap peas. They are also pretty much the very same size and shape as snap peas and even have a bit of an embossed texture where you imagine the peas might be located. There is nothing better than eating a snack that looks like a crispy, airy and light version of the real thing, right? Calbee Snapea Crisps do not disappoint the look-and-feel test, so how do they taste? Delicious and I by that I mean snapea crisps are really, really good. Even if you are not a Snap Pea lover (which I am not), don’t sell them short. They have enough of the flavor of real snap peas without the overpowering bitterness and tough texture. Snapea Crisps, like veggie straws, are light, crisp and airy, but they taste better. They are very lightly salted – just enough, but not too much. But don’t take my word for it – there are dozens of user popular opinions; ranging from 4 to 5 stars. Making Snap Peas crisp are a matter of good taste and Calbee has done them just right. Now, shall we talk about how healthy they are? Well, okay – if we must.

Are they Healthy?

If you believe Snap peas are healthy than you’ve gotta believe they are pretty nutritious. The number one ingredient is Snap Peas. One ingredient that some might find slightly offensive is the corn oil. I can’t see how anyone could be too critical of the health value of this delicious snack. After all, it is a snack and not part of one’s daily nutrition allowance.  Snapea Crisps are one of the tastiest and most innovative snacks I’ve ever tried. I’ll be buying another bag and soon which brings up the next question: Where do you buy these crispy critters?

Where to Buy

Many standard grocers carry Snapea Crisps. The health stores almost always carry them and you can always find them online. Check your grocery store today.

Dehydrated Okra

Dehydrated OkraDehydrated Okra by Davis Lewis Orchards is almost as tasty as it is fun to eat. My appreciation of Veggie Straws comes to mind. Other okra brands are often sliced into coin sized bites. This takes a great deal of fun out of the snack and defeats the purpose of dehydrated okra in my opinion.

The fun and mystique of this very peculiar snack stems from the fact that it retains it’s shape and size after the Okra is dehydrated. Only the texture of the vegetable is changed. (Or is it a fruit?) Whatever it is, Davis Lewis orchards do a masterful job of preserving the snack in the deyhdrating process so it retains it’s original form and shape after it’s dried. What does change is what every okra hater will appreciate about dehydrated okra over the real thing. Davis Lewis Orchards takes a stringy, slimy vegetable and transforms it into a perfectly preserved crispy, light, hollow, tasty snack. The oil on the outside gives the dehydrated okra a shiny, appetizing appearance. Okay, one thing to note, here: You know you like a snack when you keep opening up the bag to grab another bite. That’s how good this stuff is. However, the dehydrated okra probably doesn’t taste quite as delicious as it could. Let’s talk about why.

How Dehydrated Okra Could be Better

If only Davis Lewis Orchards had chosen another type of oil instead of Canola, I’d give their snack a supreme rating. As I’ve described in other, healthy snack reviews, canola oil makes things taste a tad fishy or like oil paints. Peanut oil, sunflower oil or palm oil would all be much tastier choices for these types of snacks, not to mention, healthier. Don’t let my aversion to canola oil dissuade you from this light, crispy snack. Understand this: I am not an okra lover, but the texture of Davis Lewis Orchard’s dehydrated version of this peculiar vegetable makes all the difference in the world. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.

Veggie Straws and the Veggie Tale Twist

Veggie Straws
a Review

Update on Veggie Straws – April 4 – 2017

I have knocked this product down a notch because I know longer believe sunflower oil is a healthy oil. For the most part, I try to avoid industrial seed oils. I would still prefer sunflower to canola. However, if you look at the ingredients, you might find that sunflower oil and canola oil are used interchangeably. I will avoid Veggie Straws until they wise up and start cooking them in coconut oil.

Are Veggies Straws Healthy?

Do they Taste too Good to be Healthy?

Veggie Straws Veggie Tale Twist
Veggie Tale Veggie Straws

Mark Veggie Straws down in my never ending search for healthy delicious snacks. I often find so-called healthy snacks taste more healthy than delicious. The ironic thing is that the less delicious they taste the more suspicious I become about how ‘healthy’ they really are. If you’re as old or older than me, you remember how much better McDonald’s French Fries tasted when they were deep fried in Beef Tallow. Unfortunately, our nation’s health experts came up with the mistaken notion that saturated fats caused heart disease and flavorful healthy eating have never been one in the same. These very same nutrition geniuses that told us saturated fats and cholesterol were going to kill us were the same ones who spurned the invention of the one thing that really is dangerous to eat: Trans-Fats. When McDonald’s started cooking their French fries in vegetable oils they not only tasted worse, but it turns out they weren’t so healthy after all. In fact, they were loaded with these deadly trans-fats. So, now we have McDonald’s French Fries cooked in Canola or some other oil that supposedly is void of any trans fats OR saturated fats. Well, I’m here to tell ya – it still tastes fishy to me, and I mean that literally. If you’ve ever tasted any type of oily, crisp snack and wondered what that fishy taste is, you can be sure it’s the result of the canola and vegetable oils which are being used in place of saturated fats. I once watched a potato chip taste test where an entire audience rated one product, “dead-last” because it tasted like fish oil. The culprit was canola oil. The winner of the taste test was the product that was cooked in sunflower oil. There is a reason our grandparents, great grand parents and beyond, used meat fats for cooking oil. It tastes better, it cooks better and it really IS healthier for you. I no longer rely on what is considered to be ‘healthy’. I rely on my taste buds. What tastes natural and good to me, is what I consider healthy. I stay away from fake-oil fried chips and I wish so badly that the burger joints would start making their fries the old way again. As I discussed earlier in my article, “How To Lower Cholesterol Fears”, this whole notion about dietary fast, cholesterol and heart disease is a dangerous and unfortunate myth. Does anyone think the nation has lost weight since the low-fat diet became popular?

Garden Veggie Straws really do taste good and they are fun to eat. These light crunchy snacks are made from real vegetables like carrots, spinach and potatoes. I guess you could compare their shape and crunch somewhat to Cheetos, but they are hollow inside – thus the reason they are called, Veggie Straws. They are made from whole grains (corn flour, rice flour, oat flour), sea salt, sugar, salt, baking soda… but one problem; it has the dreaded canola oil. This may be the first time that I’ve enjoyed a snack made with canola oil. My conclusion is that the oil must be light and sparse enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor with that fishy taste of other snacks cooked with canola. Obviously, one of the reasons Garden-Brand Veggie Straws taste so good is that they are made with Sunflower Oil instead of Canola Oil, unlike some of the other inferior products that call themselves, veggie straws. . My favorite equation: Better Taste = Healthier is proven true once again. When I’m eager for a snack, the fat is part of what my body is craving and there just is no substitute for that. Why do we insist on redefining the healthy snack? Since society began this perverse quest to take fat out of our diets, the result has been snacks which are less satisfying and people that are fatter, more obsessed and paranoid about eating the natural food our bodies need. Veggie Straws by Garden is a healthy snack because it tastes good.

The Veggie Tale Verdict

The Veggie Tale is that not all Veggie Straws are created equal. I’ve looked at some of the other products called, Veggie Straws and have duly noted that they contain the evil villain, Canola Oil rather than Sunflower Oil. I fully endorse Garden Veggie Straws (You can buy them at Costco) as a healthy and tasty snack, deliciously cooked in sunflower oil. They are low on calories, have a reasonable amount of fiber and are just crunchy and salty enough to solve your craving between meals.

Veggie Straws Nutrition and Calories in 1OZ Serving

veggie straws
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