I kind of worship the folks at Enjoy Life. I think I've said it a few times before on my blog, but I feel like the company is somehow a good friend of mine due to the way I mention it often in casual conversation. "But there is a soy-free chocolate that bakes well. Have you tried Enjoy Life?" "No, there's a totally safe allergen-free trail mix. Have you tried Enjoy Life." I speak of Enjoy Life the same way that other women my age casually mention their significant others or their children. I however in no way have any intention of dating, marrying, or reproducing with an allergy-free institution. Go ahead, call me pathetic. But before you do, have you tried Enjoy Life?
I don't have to rattle off my list of allergies and diet restrictions for you readers as they're on the right-hand side of the page, but those of you who read my blog with any regularity know that I've got a lot going on. Finding a portable breakfast food easily assembled at the office that requires no special cooking surfaces or equipment is a challenge. When I knew I had to jump off corn, there went my cornflakes. When I decided I wanted my one serving of complex carbs a day to be at lunch or dinner, I had to chuck my wonderful rice cereal in the morning. After being told by my doc that I had a high bad cholesterol (thanks cheese) and that I needed more fiber in my diet, I did some research about Flax. Flax is a seed, it is approved for low carb diets, it and does not naturally have a significant amount of vitamin C. Okay, 3 good things. Then I saw some articles saying for some it's a little difficult to digest (boo) and heard that the flavor was an acquired, sometimes overwhelming taste (that sounded ew to me.)
Then I started to see a lot of press (traditional + bloggers and tweets) that Enjoy Life had re-packaged/re-named one of their products: a Flax cereal that I may never have considered eating before so many restrictions were in place. I thought, What the hell, I love Enjoy Life, let's find this cereal.
I found the box at the Venice Whole Foods, and looked at the cover. Perky's Crunchy Flax. I love the word "crunchy" on products. Unfortunately for many allergy-free products, that claim tends to fall soft (pardon the pun.) Did I dare to dream? Then I read some of the nutritional details: 6g dietary fiber, 7g protein and 425mg Omega-3's per serving. This is a coup for someone like me who can only get her protein through meat, cheese, and the occasional quinoa. Such a high content of dietary fiber, and it's Gluten-Free? And Omega-3's for all that fish I'm not eating. The label passed the test with flying colors.
I was still a little nervous when I got it home. I know I eat a lot of healthy foods, but I've never been way into the super-food movement and to be honest, I thought of Flax as a possible gross health food. There I said it. I, who have very few choices, was judging a food before I tried it. What an uber-snob I was being! So I poured a small amount of the cereal into a bowl. The little balls reminded me of grape nuts. I know this is going to sound weird, but the cereal looks cute. I cut up a banana on top of it; I thought it would cut the Flaxy flavor I was bracing for. I added a splash of Lactaid milk for just a bit of moisture. The spoon rose to my mouth, my lips parted, my eyes closed, and I silently prayed for a foodgasm.
Success! Where's this awful acquired taste I'm supposed to be afraid of? It's not here. The balls are mild and have a slight positive aftertaste that reminds me of when I was a child eating dried chow mein noodles out of bowls in Chinese restaurants. The banana matched the small sense of nuttiness perfectly with its smooth flavor and texture. And was the cereal crunchy? Hell, yes. Even when the milk tenderized it a bit, the texture was still on the crispier side and really made me feel like I was chewing my food instead of just squishing it around in my mouth. The best part? Because of the fiber and nutrition packed into the cereal, my stomach didn't start growling an hour before lunch like it usually does. This kept me full until I was supposed to eat again.
So once again I find myself saying, I love you Enjoy Life. You make an allergic girl facing the world happier product by product. And even better, now I have a non-complex carb alternative to use when making portable snacks like cereal bars. Keep testing, creating, and putting out new products. I'm a greedy bastard ;)
17 hours ago