We recently stumbled upon a snack food product by Paleo People (www.paleopeople.com), and I’d like to share my thoughts on it. Paleo People (formerly Paleo Women) has come up with a solution to Paleo eaters’ granola needs. The founder, Laura Keenan, is a chef and CrossFitter and has put those two aspects of her life together with her four flavors of granola.
When I think of granola, I think of something I can’t eat, since the name implies the presence of oats, and thus gluten and grains. I gave up on things called granola a long time ago. So while the products aren’t technically “granola,” they embody the crunchy, sweet, salty, satisfying medley that granola is. In other words, I like them. Before I go singing the praises of these products (and I will in a minute), I need to point out a few issues I have with them:
Here are the ingredients of my favorite flavor, Cacao Nut Granola:
Not bad, right? Pre-tty Paleo. My gripes are that I want the ingredients to be organic, there’s some questionably Paleo ingredients in a couple of them, and I’d rather not see “natural flavors” in anything I eat; I’d like to see actual foods that provide flavors, instead.
Let’s go through these little issues, though. First, organic? That’d be great, but I doubt you would buy them if they were, since 5 oz already costs between $4.46 and $7.82 (until they get into Whole Foods, etc., which she’s working on). If the ingredients were organic, the price would probably be about 1.5 to 2 times that. It’s up to you how many pesticides you want to put in your body.
By the way, as far as the price goes, the only thing I can think to compare this product with is a Lara Bar, which are also not organic. For a 1.7 ounce bar (and considerably more sugar and fewer beneficial ingredients), you pay about $1.50, depending on where you are. So that’s about $.89/oz as opposed to $1.59/oz for the Paleo People granola.
The questionably Paleo ingredients are the sugar that’s in the cranberries and banana chips and the sunflower oil that’s in the dried cranberries. They’re minor, but I’m into nutritional minutia. There’s also the honey, a major ingredient. Loren Cordain says it’s among the foods “you should try to avoid most of the time.” But even our ancestors got it sometimes, when they decided that negotiating a hive of bees was worth it…
And the natural flavors? When I asked Laura about this, she replied, “We chose some natural extracts and spices to help bring the flavors through. Apple, chocolate & banana. My co-packer, Key Lime West, Inc. sources from the most natural sources out there so they are very pure.” So the flavorings are derived from actual apples, chocolate, and bananas, but I don’t know what exactly the flavorists, as they’re called, did to those foods to make the flavors.
Other than that, I would just be mindful of how much of the stuff you eat because one ounce, or 1/4 cup, contains 150-160 calories and 8 or 9 gms of sugar, depending on which kind you’re eating. I could easily sit down and eat about 3 cups of any of the flavors in some almond milk, which would equal about 2,000 calories – more than I usually eat in a day. I’m just saying that if you’re watching your weight, don’t overdo it with these products.
And you could, because they taste really good. They’re all sweet and salty, crispy but somehow chewy, flavorful and satiating… They’re chunky like granola, so you don’t just get a nut here and a piece of dried fruit there. It’s all mixed together somehow, which means every bite is a delicious morphing of flavors. There’s a little hint of bitter cacao powder in all of them that’s mellowed out by the honey. You can eat it plain or you can eat it like cereal – yesterday I put two ounces in a little cup with some almond milk, coconut milk, cinnamon and blueberries. Yum. As my afternoon snack, it filled me up for a couple of hours. It doesn’t give me the crazy sugar buzz that agave and some other sugars do, so I was grateful for her choice of honey. It’s also very portable. Paleo People granola is what I have been trying to find in the gluten-free snack section at Whole Foods for a long time.
All in all, except for my little gripes above, there are certain things in this modern Paleo life that I’d rather not withhold from myself, and granola is one of them, so I think I’ll keep this on my own menu.