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.

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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?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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