*** Visit my weight loss blog: Escape from Obesity ***

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Review of Plantain Chips: Inka vs. Turbana

This past summer while I was eating a grain free, gluten free diet and also cutting out things like potato chips and crackers, I missed having a snack with some crunch to it. Sure, carrot sticks and raw veggies are good. Even homemade kale chips are fine. But while I was travelling a lot, I wished there was something different that I could bring along and leave in a hot car all day that would still be tasty (and different from the plentiful raw veggies I was eating). Then I was introduced to plantain chips. These tasty snacks have the benefit of containing resistant starch, which is very good for gut bacteria.

I wanted to find a brand that contained palm olein, the palm oil that is from the palm fruit, because it is a "fat suitable for cooking" on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. Turns out I found two brands: Inka and Turbana.

Inka Chips, Turbana Plantain Chips

Both brands are made with the same ingredients (plantains, palm olein, and salt) and have a similar nutritional profile: 1 oz of Turbana chips contains 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein. while an ounce of Inka chips has 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber and less than 1 gram of protein.

Inka Plantain Chips, Turbana Plantain Chips compared

Pictured on the left are the Inka chips, which are a bit more yellowish/golden brown than the pale Turbana chips on the right. These chips taste almost identical to me, except that the Turbana chips are saltier. The big difference when comparing these plantain chips is the texture, which is a direct result of the thickness of the chips:

Inka plantain chips, Turbana plantain chips review

As you can see, Inka Chips are quite thick and hearty. I love the feel of these; they are not brittle but definitely crunchy. The super thin Turbana Chips on the right are almost as thin as potato chips and are very light and crispy. That, coupled with the extra saltiness, makes these literally addictive to me! I had a hard time stopping with these (a response similar to how I feel eating potato chips). You can just sit and much these by the handful, they are so good! But for me they turned out to be a trigger (for overeating), so my plantain chip of choice is Inka Chips. They're delicious too, but when I eat them I can tell I am eating thick crunchy slices of plantain, and I don't get pulled into a faux-potato-chip drive to eat.

I recommend both brands! Just decide what your goals are:
Healthier chip substitute that will easily replace your potato chips? Turbana.
Crunchy, lightly salty snack that is healthier than crackers? Inka.

Have you tried these or other brands of plantain chips? What are your thoughts?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

WonderSlim, BariWise, and Diet Direct Foods Review

*Scroll to the bottom for a discount code link.

A few months ago I was trying to find some variety in my Medifast plan and several people told me I should try some WonderSlim products from Diet Direct. I decided to give some new products a try, and I thought I'd do a little review of the ones I sampled. Note that I am not on the WonderSlim program, but just use their products as meal replacements and supplements on occasion. Many of them are lower in carbs than Medifast's, and some are tastier! I also tried some BariWise and other brand products from Diet Direct and liked several of them. Here's what I've tried:

Cinna Crunch'n Chocolate:
This is a small portion of crunchy little cinnamon rolls and chocolate covered crisp balls like Kix. Yummy, but more of a small snacky type food than a cereal.

cinna crunch n chocolate low carb snack from diet direct review

WonderSlim variety pack bars:

WonderSlim bars variety pack, low carb protein bars from Diet Direct

-Crispy Peanut: similar to a Medifast Crunch bar, but bigger, sort of mapley not very peanut-buttery, small amount of chocolate on the bottom, ok but not that good.

-Mint Cocoa: chewy, chocolate all the way through and dipped in chocolate. Has a mild mint flavor, top layer has crunchies in it. Very good.

-Dark Chocolate Marshmallow: soft chewy marshmallow cream top on a chewy, slightly crispy chocolate bottom. Dipped in chocolate. Sweet and very good.

WonderSlim dark chocolate marshmallow low carb protein bar from Diet Direct review

-Rich Chocolate Caramel: I was sad that there was no gooey caramel, just a soft layer on top like the marshmallow bar, sweet but not much caramel flavor. Chewy firm chocolate bottom. Too sweet, not enough flavor.

WonderSlim Classic Butterscotch pudding:
This is lumpy if just mixed with a spoon, so I used a whisk. Excellent mouth feel, smooth and creamy, thick. Flavor is similar to standard instant butterscotch pudding but not as sweet. Has a definite artificial sweetener taste but that fades after the first few bites. Quite filling, with 12 grams of protein and only 7 grams of carbs.

WonderSlim low carb butterscotch pudding diet review

Trioplex cookies, 2-pack:

-Chocolate/chocolate chip: just like a 2 pack of cookies you get in a convenience store. Soft, thick, a bit chewy. Sweet, with chocolate chips that are soft. Slightly fruity taste but very good.
-Peanut butter/chocolate chip: even better, perfect texture, chewy soft thick with big peanut chunks and milk chocolate chips, tastes just like a good peanut butter cookie to me. Perfect. Addictive, be careful!

tri-o-plex cookies review

Health Wise Protein Chips - Ranch Crunch:
Kind of ugly but very good. Thin, crisp, large. Good ranch flavor, not too salty, not overwhelming. The powder is very fine and abundant and a bit messy.

health wise Ranch low carb chips review

Ostrim Original meat stick snacks:
I was expecting jerky but it looked like a hot dog, fat and pale and soft, a bit greasy feeling, very salty. Not too spicy. I did not like these at all and gave them to my son.

ProtiDiet Chocolate Dream bars:
These protein rich "candy" bars are very solid, firmer than regular chocolate. There are crisps covering the bottom like a Crunch bar. Very good, less intense and more "waxy" than real chocolate. It tastes better as it melts in your mouth... sweeter and more chocolatey. Very good, but high in fat.

ProtiDiet chocolate dream bars low carb chocolate bar review

BariWise bars, variety pack. Flavors:

-Rockie Road: this is great! marshmallow middle surrounded by chocolate with some crisp stuff on top. Tastes like a candy bar! Looks like a thin brownie on the bottom. These are mostly whey based.

-Caramel Crunch: good, with chocolate and crisps over caramel and a chewy bottom. Pretty decent, very sweet, but not as good as Rockie Road. Too sweet and I liked it less as I ate it and wouldn't want again.

-Peanut Butter: This one is okay, with Reeses type peanut butter on top (but not enough of it). Chocolate coating and chewy bottom. Not really a fan.

-Strawberry Cheesecake: lovely texture, like strawberry jam on a chewy bar dipped in white chocolate. Super sweet though. I like this okay, but it has a slightly metallic/odd aftertaste. Not really any cheesecake flavor that I could detect.

-Double Peanut Butter: chewy peanut butter bar on the bottom, gooey caramel type stuff on top, dipped in peanut butter coating. Very sweet, tastes good at first but don't like the aftertaste. Messy/melty.

-Caramel Brownie: chewy brownie bottom with gooey caramel on top, dipped in white chocolate. Very sticky/messy, bad for travel. Very sweet and good tasting but has a weird aftertaste.

WonderSlim Snack O's, sour cream and onion:
lots and lots of litte O's the size of Fruit Loops. Crunchy, and the taste and texture reminds me of Funyuns but not quite as salty. There are a LOT in the package, very good for a snacky mood. These taste good and last a long time.

WonderSlim Apple n' Cinnamon Oatmeal:
This is my favorite! After years of eating Medifast soy-based oatmeal, it was wonderful to have an oatmeal based on actual oats, with NO soy. The texture is perfect and the flavor is delicious. This is the best bowl of low carb oatmeal I have found, with 130 calories, 12 g protein, 19 g carbs and 5 g fiber.

BariWise Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows:
tasty, smooth, with cute little marshmallows but they dissolve rather quickly. Tastes good with a mild chocolate flavor. Not quite as good as the Medifast hot cocoa, but far fewer carbs (4 grams!) and 15 grams of protein.

BariWise high protein diet hot cocoa chocolate with marshmallows review

BariWise Cereal, Coco O's:
these are the size of Cheerios, but are harder/crunchier even in milk; did not get soggy. Tastes similar to Cocoa Puffs but not as sweet or chocolatey, and they hold up with more texture. Turns almond milk chocolatey. Good, but only 5/box. Soy based.

WonderSlim Cheddar Crunchers:
these are so good, almost addictive! Super crunchy with cheese powder coating. Lots in the bag. Great plain, but even better with a bowl of salsa and a tablespoon of sour cream. I love these. Soy based.

WonderSlim Hot Cakes:
 I got these as a sample (another nice thing about Diet Direct: they often include free samples in your order!) and they are SO good! I love how thick and fluffy these are! Way, way better than the thin Medifast pancakes I got used to, and you don't have to add anything to the WonderSlim Cakes except water to get the fluffiness. They taste like regular pancakes to me. Yummy.

WonderSlim diet review, hot cakes

WonderSlim high protein low carb pancakes diet review

BariWise Dill Pickle Protein Krinkles:
These are wonderful. They're little crunchy things that are salty and a bit like vinegar chips with a dill flavor. They really do taste like dill pickles. There are lots of them in a bag and they're great when you need a salty crunch. They are good dipped in a bit of light sour cream, too.

That's all my reviews for now. I have more products to try still in boxes so I will add them here as I try them. I'll come back and add more photos, too. If you've tried WonderSlim, BariWise, or other high protein diet products from Diet Direct, please leave a review and let me know which ones you liked or didn't like.

*I purchased these meals myself and was not asked to review them by the company. If you'd like to try some of them yourself, you can order through this link: Diet Direct discount and you'll get $20 off your first order, and I'll get a $20 credit on my next order, too! Then you can refer your friends and get another $20 credit for each friend who orders. Good deal!

Diet Direct Coupon Code 2013