Think Thin Bites — White Chocolate Raspberry

On January 31, 2010, in Protein, Reviews, by Andrea

White Chocolate Raspberry Bites

thinkThin™ bites are 100 calorie, sugar-free snacks for portion control snacking on the go. Having one thinkThin™ bites counts for just 2 Weight Watchers points. thinkThin™ bites have 5-8g of protein, 0g of sugar, no gluten and are high in calcium. thinkThin™ bites are perfect for consumers looking for healthy snacking solutions any time of day.

thinkThin™ bites bars offer a wide range of benefits:

  • 0g Sugar
  • 5g-8g Protein
  • 100 calories per bar
  • 2 point value per bar
  • Gluten Free
  • High in calcium
  • Portion control for weight loss
  • Fortified with 17 Essential Vitamins & Minerals
One of my favorite stores to just look around is Whole Foods.  Well, it was before they unveiled their new Employee Incentive program.  I’m still thinking about my shopping at Whole Foods — especially since I have alternatives like Trader Joe’s and Earth Fare within the same city as my Whole Foods — it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to change stores.  But I digress.
Anyway, one day I was perusing the “Energy Bar Wall” as I come to call it at my Whole Foods and found this line of products by ThinkProducts.  A ton of new bars and things that I can’t wait to sample — including these little bites.  In fact, looking at the website, there are several flavors that I did not see at my store that I’m quite put out about missing out on.  I’ll have to keep looking for them or look into finding them somewhere else.
The bite —
The bites themselves aren’t a horrible size.  They are a good size for a pouch – I’d say a bit small for a normal human, a bit small for a mature pouch (I could easily eat two), and a good size for a baby pouch.  Not too sweet, either — which would have been a wonderful delight shortly post-op for me when all of my protein things were SOOO overly sweet that I gagged.  If it had “protein” in the name I think they had added a cup of artificial sweetner to cover the icky taste of the protein.  This isn’t the case here.  A nice subtle sweetness.
Deconstructed..
These are raspberry flavored — but you don’t see massive raspberry in them.  There isn’t red stuff gooing out of every bite, which is nice.  You know it’s real raspberry, though, because I do have raspberry seeds stuck in my teeth afterwards.  It’s a bit annoying, but is nice to know that this is REAL and not artificially flavored like so many other bars are out on the market these days.
So looking at all of this, you’re thinking it’s got crappy stats — right?
NOPE.  I like these stats.  And I have to wonder — Where was this company before, and what’s the catch?
Stats
INGREDIENTS:

Protein blend (whey protein isolate, soy protein isolate, calcium caseinate), glycerin, maltitol syrup, coating (maltitol, palm kernel oil, sodium caseinate, dairy oil, soya lecithin, and natural flavors), peanut butter, crisp rice (rice flour, rice bran, rosemary extract), water, canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, natural flavors, raspberries, lecithin, inulin, citric acid. Vitamins and Minerals: ascorbic acid, d-alpha tocopherol, niacinamide, zinc oxide, vitamin A palmitate, electrolytic iron, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, copper gluconate, riboflavin, thiamin mononitrate, biotin, potassium iodide, vitamin B12. Contains milk, soy, peanuts.

ALLERGY INFORMATION: Manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts, nutmeats, soy, milk, eggs, and fish products.

Carbs in thinkThin and thinkThin Bites

A lot of you are interested in the carbohydrate count in our bars, and many of you have written to ask us what percent of the total carbs in our bars are actually “fiber-carbs” or “sugar-alcohol” carbs.

To make it easier for you to calculate carbs in our bars, we will be changing our nutritional panel on our wrapper and boxes to identify how much sugar alcohol and fiber our products contain. You will then be able to quickly calculate how many remaining carbs there are (that are not fiber or sugar alcohol).

Now, this wonderful tasting product does have malitol in it — most sugar-free things that don’t taste like ass do.  It’s one of those things that one has to accept in the sugar-free world.  But it’s not the first ingredient, so if you aren’t overly sensitive, then perhaps it’s worth a shot for you to try these out for a snack — or for a sweet-tooth fix.

Something I really like about these is that they have a WONDERFUL mix of vitamins and nutrients in them.  While we don’t absorb 100% from food and while I don’t advocate not taking your vitamins — I think any snack that gives us a good complement of vitamins — including some of the more obscure ones like copper and phosphorus — is a great thing to add to our day.  It’s hard enough to get everything in — especially when we are early out — all of our liquids, our vitamins, our protein — so if we can combine somethings together then that’s quite a shiny win.

All-in-all a nice little snack that gives a good little bit of protein in the mix as well.  I’ll be getting some more of these for me — and will be looking forward to doing more reviews of this company.

I got this box at Whole Foods — box of 5 — for 6.39, making them 1.28 plus tax each.

You can get them directly from the company for a bit over $1 each after discounts.

Heal thyself.

On January 28, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

I’m pretty easy going.  Most of the time.

But one of my biggest pet peeves is pure, utter, sheer stupidity.

I mean — stupidity for the complete lack of reasoning stupidity — I cannot get it.

And when faced with a certain level of sheer, utter stupidity, I just want to bang my head against the wall.  Over and over and over again.

This type of person is why I will stop helping people ultimately.  This type of person will be why I will give up on the human race.  This type of person will be why I decide computers are better than people.  This type of person will be why I decide to become the crazy frog lady.  (Hey, they ARE cute!)

Baby Froggie

If you are sick — go to the doctor.

If you go to the doctor and don’t get answers — demand them.

If you still do not get answers — go to a different doctor.

If you still can’t get answers — start reading, researching, learning.  ABOUT EVERYTHING.

Then go back and ask very pointed questions that cannot be ignored.

If you are ignored — go somewhere else until you aren’t anymore.

I know — “But Andrea!  You’ve not been there!”  Yes, yes I have.  Maybe not with WLS, but I have with my kids.  I HAVE been there.  I’m dealing with something with both of my kids in a way that sucks really really badly.  And if you want to know how badly, take a look at your food products for the rest of the day and imagine cutting out anything with soy and lactose completely.  Just for fun.  See how long you could survive without that whosit or whatsit in the cabinet over yonder.  No eating out, no boxed meals, no packaged meals — cause soy’s in it all.  And it was a fight to get this far and we haven’t got it all down yet.  So yes, I know of what I speak.

Also — if you are in need of help, and someone offers it?  TAKE IT.  For God’s sakes, don’t bitch and moan about how horrible your life is over and over again, and ignore the help that is offered to you over and over again.  Cause eventually that well goes dry.

There is a vast difference between stupid and ignorance.  Ignorance is a lack of knowledge — and that easily can be fixed.  Stupid can’t be fixed — except with some hemlock.  Or maybe a sledge hammer.  (Ooh.  Cardio AND weights!)

You have to be willing to help yourself.  You cannot expect your doctor to do it all.  You cannot expect your nutritionist to do it all.  You cannot expect strangers on the internet to do it all.  And to have people even willing to help?  That’s pretty damned amazing, actually.  I’ve seen some amazing acts of kindness by complete strangers on the ‘net — and I’ve been the recipient of some of them.  But there’s a point in which people can only do so much to help — and then it’s up to yourself.

Stupid — it’s blinding sometimes.  And I have a headache.

Why no, my husband doesn’t hit me.

On January 27, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

I just bruise easily.

No, really, I do.  And have since surgery.

The latest.

Yeah, when you have to decide what you wear based on how your bruises will show, that’s not a good thing.

That one?  Have no clue how I got it.  That’s the same with 95% of all of my bruises.  And it came up this afternoon.  Want to know what we did today?  I slept off a headache with the kids.  No kidding.  I spent about 75% of the day curled up on the couch watching childrens’ television with one or both of them asleep with me… and for at least 3 hours of it, I was asleep as well.

At some point, I started the already loaded dishwasher, I fished a dead frog (RIP, Fwog.. I will miss you terribly) out of the new tank and fed the tank, took the dogs out to pee, and loaded the clothes washer.

THAT was my day — nothing bruise-worthy in sight.  Yet — that mark is what I got today.

And so yes, now the peanut gallery is saying “Andrea, have you had labs drawn?”

And I’m going to look at you for a moment until you remember to whom you are asking.

OF COURSE I had labs drawn!  My bleeding time is milliseconds slow.  As in “yes, it’s low, but not enough that you should get that kind of deep purple bruising by sleeping with kids on a couch” low.  In fact, one of the bleeding time tests was NORMAL.  Bzah?  Wha?  So as soon as my package from Vitalady gets here, of course I’ll be starting on some K.

Husband and I used to do martial arts.  We used to practice Aikido — the one where people wear these black skirt looking things and would throw each other around hard onto the mats.  We enjoyed it — it was wonderful, and peaceful.  It’s one of the truly defensive martial arts — and it’s one in which you use your enemies’ aggression and momentum against them — so you have to actually be thinking.

But I bruised.  Badly.

In the art, we would practice arm holds.  And some people would grab my forearms enough to really hurt.  Each night I’d go home and ice my forearms — and every day after, I’d be bruised.  At the time, I didn’t realize it was because I was taking crap vitamins at the behest of my surgeon, was in the rapid weight loss phase so in poor health anyway, etc.  But it was embarrassing, because people would tell me I needed to leave my abusive relationship.

And then, one night, husband hurt his neck with a throw and we ended up in the ER around 4am.  His neck, combined with my arms (that, being young and stupid, did not get covered up) got us counseled about abusive relationships.  They assumed he was hurting me, and I retaliated and that’s why he was in the ER — and of course, we were denying everything.

And now, I’m bruising.  Again.  And it’s bad.  Again.

So if you see me in long sleeves, don’t assume it’s cause my husband is beating on me — just ask me if I’m taking my vitamin K and iron.

Endorsements.

On January 27, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

I’ve sat on something for a few days, and quite honestly, I’m still not sure how to address it.  I’m not going to get into specifics because I’m trying to keep this from blowing up in my face — which it probably still will — but I’m trying, here.

Almost daily, I will get messages asking me to endorse certain vitamins — and I really hesitate to do so.  I hate doing so because I feel that I lose credibility if I were to align myself with a company and that company later turns out to be of questionable character, does something weird, etc.  There are a few things I don’t mind stating — flinstones are for kids, Tums are not the correct calcium for people who don’t have a full complement of stomach acid, etc.  But I don’t want to say “Bariatric Advantage is THE vitamin to buy” because what happens if something comes down the line that puts BA in a negative light and then my word as well?  Or if I change my mind and then BA puts a big ole knife in my back?

I like my back knife-free, thanks.  I get enough enemies without adding more.

So there are precious few companies I will recommend whole-heartedly.  Vitalady is one of them — Michelle will bend over backwards to help us out because she’s one of us and as a retailer, has had that knife firmly placed between her shoulder blades and knows where I am sitting right now.

I don’t mind doing reviews — as long as the company understands that I will do honest reviews.  I don’t sell my positive words for anything.  And if you read what I write, you’ll see that I write positive AND negative reviews.  I’ve yet to be asked to do one or the other — so this is good.

I’m now sitting in an untenable position — one that I’m very uncomfortable in.  This is a well-known WLS company that is very good at one market in the WLS world — and has decided to try another share.  And they suck at the 2nd line.  Absolutely suck at it.  And now, I’m being faced with having to explain this to someone who is very good at one end of the spectrum, but absolutely blows at the other end.

And let’s face it — the product WILL sell if placed in a doc’s office.  Because, well, we’ve seen it.  We’ve seen crap-ass products sell like hotcakes because docs put it in their offices.  So that’s not the problem.

So companies — don’t ask me for an endorsement.  Because I do not like to give them.  Even if your product is the best thing since sliced bread.  Because I don’t give them often — and it takes a very, very long time to earn my trust.  This one company has been around the block for a very long time, and I TRUSTED them.  But now, they have obliterated that trust with this new crap product and now I have to wonder about their other product — if they are marketing this really crap-ass product to the bariatric market without doing better research, really should I trust their other product?

Better, hope for a decent review.  Cause that might be the best you can hope for.  Cultivate a long friendship.  And then, don’t muck it up with continued emails begging for discussions about your new line because after awhile, it just gets pathetic.

Lo Carb vs Diet/Drug Combo

On January 26, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

In the world of non-surgical weight loss (and let’s face it, we’ve all been there), there’s a new study out that proves that medications raise BP.  Especially in light that Meridia should not be used in heart patients, here’s even more proof that low carb diets are better for one’s heart health than medication and diet combos.

From Medscape:

Same Weight Loss, Better BP With Low-Carb Diet vs Drug/Diet Combo

Shelley Wood

January 25, 2010 (Durham, North Carolina) — A new randomized trial comparing a low-carbohydrate diet with a low-fat diet in combination with the weight-loss drug orlistat has found that both strategies produced meaningful weight loss among hospital outpatients over a one-year period [1]. Strikingly, however, the low-carb diet appeared to produce significant improvements in blood pressure.

According to Dr William S Yancy Jr (Duke University, Durham, NC), lead author on the study, this is the first time the low-carb diet has been pitted against a diet drug in combination with a different diet. It is also one of the first studies to compare weight-loss strategies in patients who also have other known medical problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, etc.

Yancy et al’s findings are published in the January 25, 2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Almost 10% Weight Loss at One Year

Yancy et al’s study randomized 146 overweight or obese outpatients (mean age 52, mean body-mass index [BMI] 39.3) to either a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, or to orlistat (120 mg, three times daily) and a low-fat diet over 48 weeks, with regular group meetings to boost diet adherence. At the end of the study period, weight loss was similar in both groups, at roughly 10% (approximately 20 to 25 pounds). Of note, almost 80% of the low-carb group and almost 90% of the orlistat/low-fat group completed the full 48-week follow-up.

Improvements in HDL and triglycerides were seen in both groups, LDL levels improved in the orlistat/low-fat diet group only, while glucose, insulin, and HbA1c levels improved in the low-carb group only, although none of these differences were statistically meaningful. By contrast, both systolic and diastolic blood-pressure levels declined in the low-carb group only, a statistically significant difference between weight-loss groups.

“It’s not surprising that the blood pressure improved,” Yancy told heartwire , adding that improvements in blood pressure are common in weight-loss trials. “But it was surprising that, with similar weight loss, blood pressure would improve more in one group than the other.”

While there are a number of explanations for the blood-pressure differences between weight-loss strategies, Yancy speculated that it might be related to the known diuretic effect of low-carb diets.

“We’ve looked at that in the past, and it seems to occur in the first couple weeks of the diet and doesn’t seem to be a big factor after that, but that could contribute to the differences seen here. The other thing is that low-carb diets are thought to reduce insulin levels more so than a high-carb diet. There are several different mechanisms that insulin has with the vascular system that might cause increased blood pressure, so if you decrease insulin your blood pressure might decrease as well.”

No Significant Differences in Lipid Changes

Other low-carb diet studies have also reported improvements in lipid parameters compared with low-fat diets: something that was not seen in the current study to a statistically significant degree. Yancy attributes this in part to an aggressive attempt on the part of investigators to include as many patients as possible at the 48-week follow-up.

“A big criticism of other weight-loss trials is there are a lot of lost or missing data,” he explained. “We tried to avoid that as much as possible, and as a result, some of these folks who came back for their final measurements who hadn’t really been following their diets kind of watered down the results.”

For example, in the paper, the authors report differences in heart-disease risk factors at interim time points and note that, out to 36 weeks, the two interventions “appeared to have differential effects on fasting serum lipid and lipoprotein levels over the first 36 weeks,” but that “these differences converged by 48 weeks.”

In another important finding, Yancy et al point out that while a small number of study participants initiated hypertension or diabetes medications over the course of the study in both diet groups, a much higher number actually decreased or discontinued their dosages, with a higher proportion of patients discontinuing or lowering their dosages in the low-carb group.

Referring to the blood-pressure effects of the low-carb diet, Yancy pointed out that investigators “don’t really know the full effect of the diet intervention because patients were actually taking less medication.”

Options for Patients

The key message from the paper is not that one diet is superior to another, Yancy concluded. “Different interventions appeal to different people,” he told heartwire . “We have a big weight problem in our society, and this study gives us two different options, both of which worked quite well. And if you happen to have blood-pressure problems and you are trying to kill two birds with one stone, the low-carb option might be a better option than the orlistat option.”

Of note, he added, orlistat is not associated with increases blood pressure, although other diet drugs are, including sibutramine, for which the FDA recently released an updated warning on CVD risks.

Yancy, as well as second author Dr Eric C Westman (Duke University Medical Center) disclosed having received clinical research grants from the Robert C Atkins Foundation.

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