Trader Joe’s is dead to me; its low-salt products are gone

Trader Joe's high fiber cereal is my go-to breakfast choice every day, high in fiber, low in sugar and sodium.
Trader Joe’s high fiber cereal is gone, a very, very sad loss for people trying to eat healthy.

I’ve been eating Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal for breakfast for longer than I can remember, definitely longer than the 10 years since my first stent was put in. It was lower in sugar and salt than competitors and tastier too.

But I say was because it’s disappeared from Trader Joe shelves for the second time this year and I fear this time its gone for good. I visited three Trader Joe’s in Cook and Lake Counties, Illinois, recently and the cereal is nowhere to be found.

I also discovered that Trader Joe’s has dropped it’s no-salt-added salsa.

The two losses join a string of Trader Joe product disappearances. Here’s what I once bought regularly at Trader Joe’s:

Salt-free whole wheat bread

No-salt-added marinara sauce

No-salt added shrimp sauce

High fiber cereal

No-salt-added salsa

Trader Joe’s has decided to make it easier for Americans to continue eating more salt than is healthy for them.

I have no reason to shop there any longer so #traderjoesisdeadtome.

It’s very sad to see a food store abrogating its responsibility to offer at least some healthy offerings.

Unexplained listeria outbreak spreading across country

A recent listeria outbreak linked to deli meats and cheeses has spread to several states with no apparent source found as of Friday, Nov. 11.

Beware deli meats, a listeria outbreak traced to a New York supermarket deli counter is sickening people.

Most of those who have become sick are in New York and have been found to shop at the same local supermarket, which has closed its deli counter because of the outbreak.

But other people in Illinois, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, California and New Jersey also have become ill and there appears no link as yet between them and the New York store.

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” reports the Centers for Disease Control.

“In interviewing those sickened, CDC investigators found that five of the seven people in New York purchased sliced deli meat or cheese from at least one location of NetCost Market, a chain of stores selling international foods. However, that is not the only location of the illness, the CDC said, as people sickened in other states reported buying meats or cheeses from other delis,” CNN reports. A total of 16 people are known to have been infected so far.

Listeria is a nasty disease that is transmitted on food. One death already has been reported in this outbreak and another sickened person who was pregnant lost the baby she was carrying because of the listeria.

The first food predictions for 2023: complex heat, comfort food, street food will be in next year

I just saw the first of many food predictions for 2023, this from The Food Institute, a food news site, which predicts that complex heat, comfort foods and street foods will be in next year.

When I go off my post-angioplasty diet, I want it to be for amazing treats I love. Nathan's hot dogs fit that bill.
Street food anyone? When I’m in New York, I always head to Nathan’s for hot dogs.

“Spicy food has been gaining popularity over the last decade, but today’s consumers crave more than just heat—they want to learn about different peppers and the complexity of their flavors,” the Institute reports, citing a survey by Spoonshot.com which I couldn’t access directly from the link provided. This flavor trewnd, like the others, is being driven by Covid and its aftermath.

There are also cuisines that are trending, as consumers seek new experiences through food, where spice levels are more complex and at higher levels than U.S. consumers are generally used to—Indian, West African, etc.” Robyn Carter, founder and CEO of Jump Rope Innovation told The Food Institute. “As those cuisines continue to go mainstream in 2023, we’ll see more complex heat ahead.”

Nostalgia and the desire for comfort food that reminds you of happier times is a trend that has been around and will continue next year.

And consumers looking for new food experiences while trying to hold down their food costs will turn to street food, which also carries an air of authenticity for Gen Z consumers, the Institute article notes.

What will you be eating in 2023? We’d love to know, leave your comments here to tell us.

Think cereal is healthy? Think again when it comes to these not-so-magnificent seven

We blogged recently about proposed new food labeling requirements that would allow foods to be labeled “healthy” if they met certain criteria for salt, fat and sugar content, along with other requirements. Pundits already are looking at what those rules would mean for certain groups of products, like breakfast cereals.

CNBC.com recently reported that these seven cereals would not be considered healthy under the new rules:

“For a healthy stamp from the FDA, cereals have to contain three-fourth ounces of whole grains and no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium and 2.5 grams of added sugars,” CNBC reports.

These are only the tip of the unhealthy iceberg, expect a lot more processed foods to be called out if these new labeling rules get enacted.

Another spice to consider — Casa M Spice’s Cattle Drive packs a kick

I’m not sure why, but I seem to be hearing from a lot of new spice companies lately. I recently reviewed some offerings from Burn Pit and now I’m going to tell you a bit about Cattle Drive from Casa M Spice Co.

I asked to sample Casa M’s Cattle Drive because it’s marketed as low sodium. And it is, 30 mgs a serving. The company says of it, “Use to replace pepper on your table and add to anything you’d add black pepper to.”

Casa M’s Cattle Drive and its nutrition info.

The original formula, which I tried, is rated at two peppers, but it tasted more peppery, read hot peppers, to me than that.

Continue reading “Another spice to consider — Casa M Spice’s Cattle Drive packs a kick”

Burn Pit BBQ spices offer good flavor, kick in the hot offerings

Back in July, I received some spice samples from a Wisconsin company, Burn Pit BBQ. I’ve since had the opportunity to use them, and to get reviews of the spiciest ones from my formerly food-blogging daughter who loves hot sauces. We agreed all our experiences with the samples were positive. We can recommend these to spice lovers.

A sampling of Burn Pit BBQ offerings we tried.

I particularly enjoyed the garlic seasoning, called Ground Pounder, on my steaks. My daughter tried the hot sauce and found it flavorful with a hint of cajun seasoning. We both tried the Fire in the Hole mixture and found it hot but not overwhelming, a plus for someone like me who avoids the hottest of the hot.

Keep in mind these are not salt-free mixtures, but can be considered low-salt (the garlic mixture, for example, has 110 mgs of sodium in half a teaspoon; Fire in the Hole has 95 mgs). Nutrition information for each offering is viewable on the company website.

Continue reading “Burn Pit BBQ spices offer good flavor, kick in the hot offerings”

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is Back on Store Shelves!

After weeks away, Trade Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is back on store shelves in my Chicago north suburban store. I stocked up on eight boxes Sept. 1 after trying a variety of alternatives during the weeks the TJ’s cereal was not available.

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is back on store shelves, thankfully.

The shopping trip reminded me of a lot of reasons I prefer the Trader Joe’s to other high fiber cereals. Not the least of those factors is the price, $2.99 a box. For alternatives, I paid $6.99 for Fiber One, $4.99 for All Bran on sale and $4.99 for Buds on sale (each was $1.80 off their regular prices).

Given that I eat a box a week for breakfast, the savings over a year are substantial — $208 compared with Fiber One, $156 with All Bran or Buds (assuming I get those for the sale price all year).

I’m thankful that TJ’s high fiber cereal has not joined all the other low-salt, low-sugar products Trader Joe’s has cut in recent years, such as salt-free shrimp sauce, salt-free whole-wheat bread and no-salt-added marinara sauce.

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal Remains MIA — Here Are Some Alternatives

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal has been missing from TJ outlets in the Chicago area for two weeks now and I’m becoming more and more convinced it is being discontinued. Store managers have consistently told me it would be in the next day only to not have any that day. This is a food disaster for me since that cereal has been my breakfast go-to for the decade since my first stent went it. I’ve written about how it is relatively low in salt and sugar compared with other breakfast cereals.

Nutrition information for three alternatives to Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal, which is gone from TJ stores in my area north of Chicago.

But facing the harsh reality that it may join a long list of low-salt Trader Joe’s products that have been dropped in recent years, I decided to see what alternatives are available on supermarket shelves.

I bought boxes of General Mills Fiber One, Kellogg’s All Bran Original and Kellogg’s All Bran Buds. A friendly woman in the store suggested the Buds to me, saying they are her husband’s favorite. Maybe he enjoys the added salt and added sugars. Buds has 300 mgs of salt and 12 mgs of sugar, highest among the three. Eating a cup of them left me extremely gasey as well, not a pleasant feeling to go through the day with.

Fiber One looks a bit like TJ’s except the strings are darker and a but thicker. It has very little taste but at least the nutrition numbers are;t bad, 140 mgs of salt and no sugar. The original All bRan has the least salt per serving, although the numbers are skewed a but because it and Fiber One considers a serving as two-thirds of a cup while the infamous Buds calls half-a-cup a serving.

All of these cost more than TJs, by the way. I paid $6.99 for Fiber One, $4.99 for All Bran on sale and $4.99 for Buds on sale (each was $1.80 off their regular prices). I’m going to keep an eye out for General Mills coupons for Fiber One.

I’ll be visiting the New York City area shortly, I’m planning to check there to see if TJ has in fact stopped selling the one item that would regularly draw me to its stores.


July 4th’s gone, but Labor Day is jsuta round the corner — here are some Labor Day side dish ideas

You can tell I’ve been holding onto this piece for a few months, 4th of July Sides from CookingLight.com. It’s early August as I write this and Labor Day is looming at the next big family cookout day, so why not take a look at some of these for that meal?

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.
A simple side dish, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

As always, be careful about salt, fat and sugar content. Just because a dish makes it into a magazine that’s talking about “light” cooking, whatever that is, does not mean it is watching salt, fat or sugar content.

A recipe like Creamy Black Pepper Coleslaw has fat and salt in it. Not a lot you might say. But think of it as one part of your larger meal, the salt and fat can add up fast at a traditional American cookout.

I’m more likely to make sides with things I’ve grown during the summer, like tomatoes and green beans. Check out these side dishes I’ve written about in the past.

Don’t open that freezer door — not for these four foods you that should never freeze

Ever try freezing raw veggies? Don’t.

Freezing foods we buy on sale can be an economical way to stock up on deals, especially during these inflationary times. I’ve posted about that, just click here to read it. But not every food can be frozen. Just take a look at 4 Foods You Should Never Put in the Freezer from Myrecipes.com.

I’ll end the suspense for you, the four are whole eggs, soft cheeses, raw vegetables and milk/yogurt (ok, that’s really five but whose counting? Not Myrecipes.com apparently).

“To be clear, it (freezing) doesn’t make the milk or yogurt unsafe, but generally it will separate into thick chunky pieces suspended in watery stuff and is super unappetizing,” the article states.

When it comes to veggies, “if you freeze a raw vegetable, the process will expand the water in its cell structure and burst the cells. The result: soggy, thawed produce that will feel like its overcooked. For better results, blanch your vegetables for about a minute in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking,” the piece advises.

That said, the same site did say it’s ok to freeze tomatoes, I blogged about that but have not tried it yet. I suppose maybe it knows tomatoes are actually fruit?

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