Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kellogg's FiberPlus Bars--What a Treat!

First off, know that this is not a "paid" endorsement. Two months ago I was given an opportunity to beta-test a new product from Kellogg's. Their FiberPlus Bars. I was contacted by a very nice saleswoman, Martha, who asked if I was willing to participate in this product launch since I was a "frugal" mom and had my own blog. Wow! "Cool!" I thought, free product and an opportunity to voice my opinion to people who want it." How fun is that? (Can you tell I'm used to teenagers?)

Anyhow, I received in the mail a week later a nice little lunch bag complete with three FiberPlus Bars:

Chocolate Chip
Dark Chocolate Almond (Turned out to be my favorite of the three)
Chocolatey Peanut Butter

It just so happened that I was doing a lot of traveling during this time so I quickly stuffed the free bars into my bags and literally ran out the door to make sure I wouldn't be late for the plane.

You know me, I'm not one that really "does" prepared food. I usually cook from scratch and the only time I buy processed stuff is when I am on-the-road. And even with that I don't stop off at fast-food places. I stop off at grocery stores and buy from their deli counters. Not only do I save money with this, but I get food that is a bit better for my digestion. (And the kids each get exactly what they want, did I mention I have four kids? LOL!)

Well, dear reader, I have to admit. I was really surprised at how good these bars were. I mean, come on, "FIBERPLUS" Bars? The name doesn't even ring like a good thing for me. It is not an item I would have reached for on my grocer's shelf! However, they tasted great as I was flying over the Rocky Mountains headed for San Diego. As I was given my beverage by the airline, I munched happily on the Chocolatey Peanut Butter Bar. It was the perfect snack for this trip since I was unable to grab breakfast before I left for the airport.

Data: Being trained as a bench chemist (in my pre-mom life), you know how I love my data so here you go:

Calories for a FiberPlus Bar (Dark Chocolate Almond) relative to leading name-brand dark chocolate bar that I adore and has nuts and caramel.

130 calories to FiberPlus whereas 271 calories for my chocolate bar (ouch!)
FiberPlus 5 grams fat; 13.6 for chocolate bar (Oh, man, really?)
FiberPlus 24 grams carbs; 34 grams for chocolate bar (I'm starting to really whimper here!)
FiberPlus 7 grams sugar; 29 grams for chocolate bar (I'm feel'n pain.)
FiberPlus 2 grams protein; 4 grams for chocolate bar (of course.)

Now, this is far from a scientific study, but for me I had only one complaint with the bar. It was a tad too sweet for my taste. That's because I make a lot of my own food and I really cut down on sugar. Even in cakes and cookies, I'll use 1/3 to 1/2 less the sugar in the recipes. Because of this, to me, the bars were too sweet.

However, as much as I dislike processed food, I have to admit that the next time I'm traveling and need a quick snack, I'll be reaching for these silly bars from Kellogg's. Grrrr! Why?

  1. The calories are less than my favorite chocolate bar (Dark chocolate with almonds and caramel!)
  2. The sugar content is WAY, WAY less. sigh.
  3. Those dratted FiberPlus bars kept me "full" filling far longer than my other bar does.
  4. It took longer for me to chew them then my chocolate bar and hence I felt like I "had" more to eat then my alternative snack treat. Psychological tricks that worked.
Bummer, it looks like, yet again, I'll have to make a change in the way I eat. So, there you go, dear one, I totally thought I would dislike this processed food (Talk to Martha the salesperson for Kellogg, I actually told her I wasn't suited for her demographic!) However, I have to eat crow here and say that under certain situations, I'll be reaching for one of these bars over other treats.

Dang it! I hate it when that happens!
Have a great summer everyone.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Becoming Rich with Tiny Steps each Day!

This week I read two things that so inspired me, I just had to share them with you. The first one was a quote that I saw from Helen Keller.

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. the world is moved not only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker."

I laughed when I read this quote because my thought was, "Oh my gosh, she's NAILED the basic principle to all of success!" In this simple statement Helen Keller has basically given all you need to be wealthy, powerful and successful in any endeavor you choose to take on. Sure all of us want to do something that is great before we die. I'm right there with her. I want to do something this is truly grand and noble. A work that will live long after I am dust in the earth. What we have to remember is that we accomplish such a work by daily decisions that move us along the path in a steady, methodical way!

The next day I was reading a story of a Hindu saint who was attending a sacred ceremony in his beloved India. He was mulling over all the thousands of people surrounding him and how few seemed to be focused on the spiritual goals of the event rather than the money that could be made from the attendees. He then came to be in the company of a guru and was told simply this...

"for the faults of the many, judge not the whole. Everything on earth is of mixed character, like a mingling of sand and sugar. Be like the wise ant that seizes only the sugar, and leaves the sand untouched."

How does this help you with your monetary situation? Simply this. What are you doing each day that is moving you toward your financial goals? Are you tracking your expenses? That is the single most valuable activity that you can do to understand where your money is going. At the end of each week or month review your expenses and make adjustments on how you are spending your hard-earned cash.

What other activities are you performing each day that move you along physically, emotionally and spiritually. Your attitude and focus determine the reality that you will experience. So if you focus on your expenses and focus your attention on activities and behaviors that are nourishing to you, you will find over time that you are becoming less agitated, angry and irritated with life. You will discover a hidden talent (or many) that had never had a chance of expression because you are now living a purposeful existence rather than just going along with everyone else.

So, here is your homework for the next week or two.

1-If you aren't already doing this, track your expenses...this will solve a multitude of ills financially.
2-every day take a few minutes before you fall into bed to determine if the use of your time was a benefit to you or a hindrance to your purpose filled life.
3-Lastly, write down the things you want to do before you die. Even if you don't know how you will ever travel to Australia, the point is, start making plans to go even before the money arrives, that way when it does, you will be able to go!

My hope for you is that you will be that smart, little ant that carefully picks the pieces of sugar from the sand of life. Focus on the sugar not the sand and you will watch your life go from irritating to sweet! Good luck and stay in touch.