Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: New Walden Farms Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread

Walden Farms has been slowly but surely increasing their product line this past year: reworking their formulas, changing their labels, and adding new twists and interesting flavors to their lineup (Honey Dijon mayo, chipotle mayo, pomegranate mayo!). 

Two of their newest products are the new Chocolate
Peanut Butter and Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Spreads. As I have mentioned several times on this blog, I use their products as a base, and then build on it depending on what flavor and consistency I want, and what I'm using it for. I have been mixing their Peanut Butter and Chocolate Dip for years now.

 I will review the Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter Spread in another post, and focus solely on the Chocolate variety today. Upon opening the jar, you immediately notice the slightly darker colored spread (cocoa) and the pleasant mild cocoa scent. As with all their products, this is calorie free, sugar free, fat free, gluten free, and kosher. Note that calorie free means less than 5 calories a serving and fat free means less than 0.5g a serving. If you want further explanation, please see my post on calorie counts. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email or leave a message in the comment section.

*Since there are 12 servings a jar, the most this entire jar could have (of digestible energy) would be 59 calories (4.9cal* 12 servings). 

The jar itself, and in fact all their new labels, look streamlined, modern, with a clear picture on the front depicting the spread slathered on a piece of toast. The product is nicely topped up in the jar, which is nice since their products are rather expensive for the size.

As I've mentioned numerous time before, I use their PB more as a pudding, and in many cooking and baking recipes (peanut satay, Thai and Asian inspired dishes, in pie crusts, shakes, desserts, yogurt, cottage cheese etc: I love mixing it with Bragg's Liquid Aminos, garlic, chili flakes, ginger and a few other items for a fantastic Asian marinade/dressing). That being said, I dove right in with a spoon to give it a taste. It is a little bit sour/bitter, and pretty much tastes exactly like if you had mixed a small amount of their Chocolate Dip or sauce and regular Peanut Butter Spread together.

I immediately (as I do with most of their sweet dips--chocolate, caramel, marshmallow, and peanut butter) added a packet of sweetener (I used the pink sweet'n'low, since it works the best to brighten up the flavor in these products), but you can add whatever you want. I think honey would work very well! I would like to add that I do not add the sweetener to make it sweeter per say; I add it to brighten up the flavor and make the flavor pop and be more noticeable and 'clear' if you will. I also added cinnamon, and tried a couple of flavor drops in it for fun. I also added some oat fiber and PGX granules for texture.

I cannot wait to use this in my baking, and between my cakes. This will work fabulously in my protein icing/frosting, in my pancake batter etc. For those not accustomed to their products, I don't recommend starting off with the peanut butter (their dressings/jams/BBQ/tomato basil pasta sauce/pancake syrup are great!), as the taste takes some getting used to. I'd recommend doing a half-and-half with either PB2/ FitNutz, or any regular nut butter. I cannot stress adding sweetener and cinnamon to this if you've never had it before! It makes a world of difference! Also try to incorporate it into your meals. 

 They have improved the consistency and flavor of the spread immensely from the first incarnation, making it thicker and have a more pronounced peanut flavor; make sure you get the black lids and NOT the green peanut butter jar if you are in a store, that is the old formula and most negative reviews are based on the old version. It should be noted that their peanut products do contain real peanut extract, so those with allergies or sensitivities, be warned. 

I'd love them to make an Almond Butter spread! I am going to add a TB of cocoa powder when I get another jar, and make truffles with it as well (using cereal or GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbread sprinkles). I was planning to attempt in making protein cake balls (using the PB, protein cupcake, cocoa, sweetener, oat flour, and some sugar free pancake or Davinci syrup), but ran out of peanut butter.

These products are extremely versatile if you use them as correctly and as a base. I love adding this as a ripple or ribbon in ice cream, with their caramel dip and chocolate dips. Their jams (blueberry, apricot, and strawberry especially) are fantastic, and work very well in recipes. I suggest mixing it in with sugar free refrigerated ready-to-eat pudding (like Jello Sugar free vanilla cups, or any flavor; Kozy Shack sugar free rice pudding and sugar free puddings).

It's WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT!! Add sweetener, thickener, or thin it out to use as a dressing (you can add nutritional yeast as well!). Add fruit to smoothies, protein powder, flavored coffee creamer, sugar free syrups; mush it up with bananas, or add it right to the banana bread or muffin batter. 

Overall, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread is an interesting addition to Walden Farms ever expanding line, and if used appropriately, can be a fun addition to your diet and in helping you reach your diet goals! Bottom line: it has potential! Much like house hunting, think of it as an investment that needs a few "fix ups", but you get great return on investment with all the calories you save! I like the regular peanut butter spread, and prefer adding my own chocolate so I can have control over the flavor. Adding protein powder (chocolate) is great as well.
Walden Farms Whipped Peanut Spread

Here is the chocolate pb with yogurt mixed in, and then the "PGX faux-rice pudding:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Are you accidentally making your home toxic?

Are there toxins in your products?

I wanted to share this list from Dr.Mercola's website (http://). We've all seen plenty of these lists, read articles, and seen news programs about additives/carcinogens/toxins in our products; however, it never hurts to be reminded every once in a while!

Ingredient Use Dangers
Parabens Heavily used preservatives in the cosmetic industry; used in an estimated 13,200 cosmetic and skin care products. Studies implicate their connection with cancer because their hormone-disrupting qualities mimic estrogen and could disrupt your body's endocrine system.
Mineral Oil, Paraffin, and Petrolatum These petroleum products coat the skin like plastic – clogging pores and creating a build-up of toxins. They can slow cellular development, creating earlier signs of aging. They're implicated as a suspected cause of cancer. Plus, they can disrupt hormonal activity. When you think about black oil pumped from deep underground, ask yourself why you'd want to put that kind of stuff on your skin…
Sodium laurel or lauryl sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) Found in over 90% of personal care products! They break down your skin's moisture barrier, potentially leading to dry skin with premature aging. And because they easily penetrate your skin, they can allow other chemicals easy access. SLS combined with other chemicals may become a "nitrosamine" – a potent carcinogen.
Acrylamide Found in many facial creams. Linked to mammary tumors.
Propylene glycol Common cosmetic moisturizer and carrier for fragrance oils. May cause dermatitis and skin irritation. May inhibit skin cell growth. Linked to kidney and liver problems.
Phenol carbolic acid Found in many lotions and skin creams. Can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma, and even death from respiratory failure.
Dioxane Hidden in ingredients such as PEG, polysorbates, laureth, ethoxylated alcohols. Very common in personal care products. These chemicals are often contaminated with high concentrations of highly volatile 1,4-dioxane that's easily absorbed through the skin. Its carcinogenicity was first reported in 1965, and later confirmed in studies including one from the National Cancer Institute in 1978. Nasal passages are considered extremely vulnerable, making it, in my opinion, a really bad idea to use these things on your face.
Toluene May be very poisonous! Made from petroleum and coal tar… found in most synthetic fragrances.

There are many alternatives you can use, from vinegar and baking soda, to natural store brought brands without added chemicals, with make keeping your home clean and chemical free easy and convenient!


Chronic exposure linked to anemia, lowered blood cell count, liver or kidney damage…May affect a developing fetus.