Why Can’t Natural Food Taste. . . Good?

– Posted in: Food, Green Living, This is Supposed to be Helpful, Worst Mom Reviews

So I’m a cereal fiend. Connoisseur. Addict. I practically live on the stuff. A lot of the medication I take kinda sorta makes me not want to eat, so without cereal, I would probably waste away into one of those scary people you see on the anorexia sites. Or these folks:

Photo by dsc.discovery.com

Anyway, I’ve been trying to buy food that’s good for both me and the planet (oh, and the kids…), so I’ve been going more organic (yes, despite the recent hoo ha about how “Organics are a waste of your time,” I tend to agree more with this lady and this guy — I suspect it’ll come out that the researchers worked for Monsanto or something). I’m just not that jazzed when my food is brighter and lasts longer than most children’s toys. But don’t get me wrong — I’m not above knocking back a gooey plate of fake cheese nachos at a baseball game or a dozen Otter Pops on a hot summer day. Everybody has their weaknesses…

But back to the cereal. The girl-child has been bugging me to buy her some Fruit Loops. I’ve basically blown her off because we generally have enough junk to eat in the house, so the last thing we need is red dye number whatever cereal.

Then the other day at Whole Foods, I found “good for you” Fruit Loops — all natural “Tropico’s” by Freedom Foods. “Free from gluten, wheat, nuts, soy, lactose, dairy, and egg.” I was starting to wonder what the hell they actually used to make it…

So I got the cereal, brought it home, showed a very unimpressed child, and then, since the child was unimpressed, this morning I busted into them myself. Now I ask you — do these look anything like the picture on the front of the box?

Funny, since the slogan from Freedom Foods is “Honest, Nutritious, and Free.” But soldiering on, I poured my milk, dug in, and SWEET BABY JEBUS! Could anything taste that bad?! I did get the puppy to eat a couple, but considering he ate a piece of horse manure on our walk yesterday, I wouldn’t list him as the most reliable food critic.

I ended up opening a box of 365 Frosted Wheat Squares, but they turned out to be the worst of any I’ve ever had in that genre. So I was left wondering: why can’t the natural foods industry make food that doesn’t suck? This happens to me all the time. I WANT to support them. I WANT to like their food. I WANT to get behind the smaller companies. But for the love of all that’s tasty and doesn’t make you gag, can’t they please help a girl out here?

I suspect I’ll be caving soon and buying the damn Fruit Loops. If not for the kid, then for me. Because if I don’t get the natural taste of Tropico’s out of my head soon, I may go loopy.


Got any good “natural food” trauma stories?

18 Comments… add one

Kelly O'Sullivan (HILWD) September 13, 2012, 6:10 am

Our palates have been tainted by years of Captain Crunch and Fruit Roll-Ups (oh, those were great years) and I admit it probably takes time and effort to acclimate to the real flavor of real food but who wants to make eating a course in “Guess the Fibrous Material?”. Conservatively speaking 75% of my friends have banned gluten, dairy, and sugar from their lives. I am guessing fun, laughter, and Santa Claus are next!

OK, eating healthier foods has merit but I’d rather shave off a few years (and stop taking four hours to shop for groceries because I’m having to read every label) and just enjoy my gluten-dairy-sugar-FULL croissant. It’s delicious.

Eat whole foods (gluten and all), indulge in a damn Twinkie once in a while and life will be good.
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Tammy September 13, 2012, 11:04 am

The thing is, good food shouldn’t taste, well, bad. It’s like vegetables. When I was growing up, we ate a lot of them “midwestern, Eastern European style.” You know, cooked until they’re unrecognizable. Fortunately we also did stir fry, so at least I had that going for me. But I think some of us didn’t have many good “good food” experiences. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case now, but I keep running into it, and it just blows my mind.

Dave September 13, 2012, 6:23 am

Kathy says try Nature’s Path Blueberry Cinnamon Flax with Blue Diamond almond milk (vanilla). She gets it at Raley’s. And toss some raspberries in it.

Tammy September 13, 2012, 11:04 am

Okay, I trust Kathy. You, not so much.;)

Ludicrous Mama September 13, 2012, 8:24 pm

Oh! I LOVE Target’s Archer Farms Blueberry Granola with Flax Seeds! ANd Trader Joe’s Berry Granola. And I was a DIE HARD Lucky Charms eater before! We switched my daughter to all-natural foods, since the petrol in the artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives affect her behavior (uncontrollable screaming fits, where she was trapped inside her body unable to respond or stop, plus night terrors.) But I kept my Lucky Charms stashed behind the other boxes on the fridge, and would throw (dye-free) gummy bears at her to distract her so she wouldn’t know I was “cheating” on her.
But I’m loving these granolas. Just these ones though. I’m only SLIGHTLY crunchy!
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Tammy September 15, 2012, 4:56 pm

Okay, slightly crunchy girl, I’ll try your crunchy cereal. I do luvs me my Target.

Erika September 13, 2012, 11:38 am

Hey, for what it’s worth, the Fruity Cheerios are pretty good and a decent substitute for Froot Loops. My boys eat them (and like them!) and they have less sugar than Froot Loops. Probably not as healthy as those gross-tasting ones you got at Whole Foods, but not as bad as Froot Loops. 🙂

Tammy September 15, 2012, 4:54 pm

Well, hey, if they aren’t as healthy as the gross-tasting ones, then I’m just not buying them…

Andrea September 13, 2012, 2:04 pm

The organic reduced sugar juice boxes I bought to start lunches out right this school year were received like acid by my daughter. I tried them…not bad, jus slightly flavorless! Can you. Pass off the fruit Cheerios as front loops? I can send you the empty box to put them in!
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Tammy September 15, 2012, 4:55 pm

I’ve tried those, too. One kid will deal, the other won’t. Of course.

Ludicrous Mama September 13, 2012, 8:21 pm

Is there a Trader Joe’s near you? They have a Froot Loops version. Can’t tell you if it’s any good though. But the Enviro Kids Gorilla Ballz (or whatever they really call them) are pretty darned tasty. Not garishly colored, though.
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Tammy September 15, 2012, 4:55 pm

Huh huh. You said Gorilla balls…

Alexandra September 18, 2012, 7:12 am



A few weeks ago, I tried whole wheat flour baking.

My kids reaction? “Hold me while I eat this, mama, it’s that bad.”

Back to mixing in half white flour…

Tammy October 12, 2012, 12:00 am

All whole wheat is SO hard. We tried that with pasta once.


Heather Lambie ( September 28, 2012, 3:12 am

When I was younger and my parents only bought less-sugary cereals, I would sweeten them up by pouring apple juice (a.k.a. sugar water) on them instead of milk. That *sometimes* helps but negates the “good for you” factor. It’s a balancing act.

My battle right now is to try to get off the sodas. I don’t drink that much–probably 3-4 cokes a week–but still. Not great for you. Yesterday I tried my first Hansen’s Sugar Free Sodium Free Black Cherry “soda.” It tasted like Triaminic Cough & Cold Cherry. Blech. Where is the payoff? I will take my chances with the teeth- and gut-rotting good ole Coca Cola.

~This is my first visit to your blog (which I love!) and after reading a few posts I’m feeling much better about my “5 Mommy Daughter Dates” satire post. Nice to have a kindred spirit out there! I’ll be back!~
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Tammy October 12, 2012, 12:02 am

I can taste “sugar free” a mile away. They could use me like one of those drug sniffing dogs (if that were of any use).

I’m so glad you stopped by! I’ll go check out your blog. As you can probably see, I’ve been a little busy around here lately. So sorry. Just catching up.:(

Madeline October 2, 2012, 5:08 pm

We’re on a crazy restricted diet that doesn’t allow things like sugar and processed foods. However, we use to eat the GF gorilla munch that some one else mentioned. It was a decent cereal — although I preferred to eat it without milk. That might have made a difference.

But it does seem that everything healthy is blech or so full of sugar that it ceases to be healthy!
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Tammy October 12, 2012, 12:05 am

We eat almost all our cereal without milk. Actually, Elfie drinks soy milk and Newt doesn’t touch the stuff.

And crazy restricted diets? Been there. That sucks.

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