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Gift yourself time and health with two ‘fast’ foods

What I hope you share in common with Norwegian billionaire Torstein Hagen is not wealth but a philosophy. A philosophy about time.

The CEO for Viking Cruises expresses it in a commercial I saw at least 20 times while watching season one of “Annika” on Masterpiece Theater. (If you like the sea, stunning scenery, Scottish and British accents, clever dialogue, literary allusions, and likable detectives, find a way to watch all six episodes. They’re top-notch.)

In the commercial, Hagen calls time the “only truly scarce commodity” and says it’s important to spend yours wisely.

Not exactly a unique observation I grant you. But one that’s important to hear during the holiday season when it’s easy to focus on giving and getting material things rather than the one that’s intangible, invisible, and always in short supply during the holiday season.


In fact, your lack of it may keep you from following another philosophy I hope you generally hold: To spend some of it making “slow,” good-for-you foods instead of seemingly saving time by investing in the sorts of fast foods that yield the wrong returns.

Such as, brain fog. Bad energy. Big bellies. Bum health.

Conversely, and provided they’re a small portion of your food portfolio, an investment in the right sorts of “fast” foods can yield decent dividends. Like Dirt Kitchen Snack’s Air Dried Carrot Crisps with Smoky Barbecue Seasoning.

After trying the sample of them I received through Jessica Prah at Paramount Public Relations, my first thought was not that the crisps are surprisingly good. Though they most certainly are.

It’s that the normal negative found with similar snacks - that once you start, it’s hard to stop - becomes a positive in this case.

After all, it’s more than likely you’d benefit from increasing your intake of orange-colored vegetables, isn’t it? And when compared to typical potato chips, one ounce of these air dried carrot crisps contains 55 fewer calories, 8.5 fewer grams of fat, and 30 percent more fiber.

Now you know me as a health nut whose taste buds have been altered (some might even say perverted) from 35-plus years of strict eating. My praise of a food’s taste may ring shallow as a result, so consider my brother’s response after he ate a handful.

“If I had gotten these from a snack bowl at a party, I’d never suspect they’re healthy - and I probably would’ve had half the bowl.”

The crisps are about the size of a penny, almost as crunchy as hard pretzels, and contain a subtle hint of sweet potato along with a more dominant smoky barbecue taste. While not yet available at local supermarkets, you can buy them - along with a number of other good-for-you “fast” foods - at Dirtkitchensnacks.com.

Another set of products not yet available at local supermarkets but certainly worth an internet search and a purchase are three plant-based spreads produced by Growee Foods and available at their website or Amazon.com.

Time for full disclosure, and it’s not solely that I received samples from Lacy Gambee, Senior Publicist at Orca Communications Unlimited on behalf of Growee Foods, gratis. It’s that when I looked at the ingredients and the Nutrition Facts a second time after I accepted the samples, I wondered why I had agreed to try them.

I’ve never really enjoyed the taste of curry, zucchini, and especially mango, yet two of the three spreads feature those. (The available flavors are Three Pepper, Curry Zucchini, and Spiced Mango.)

Moreover, the diet I’ve ascribed to for nearly 40 years to promote good health as well as optimize athletic performance is very low in all dietary fat, even the “good” ones. All three varieties, however, are between 45 percent and 56 percent fat by calories.

But am I ever glad I tried all three types.

For years, I’ve been eating two different brands of low-carb, high-fiber wraps instead of whole-wheat bread, and almost always plain. No lettuce, no mayo, no salsa, no guacamole, not even fat-free cheese.

But I was beginning to lose my taste for the wraps’ relative lack of it and was considering going back to eating whole-wheat bread. Until I added these spreads to them.

Now I relish eating wraps again.

Better still, just using only 1 tablespoon instead of the 2 tablespoons given as a serving size on the Nutrition Facts labels adds plenty of flavor to a slightly toasted wrap - and obviously cuts the amount of fat I’m ingesting in half.

And everything else I’m ingesting is totally natural. None of those actually unnatural, natural flavorings some other health-food producers use.

While the spreads are plant-based, your diet certainly doesn’t have to be for you to enjoy them, and here’s why I’m confident of that. Though I didn’t have my carnivorous brother taste test the spreads, the judges at the Expo East 2022 NEXTY Awards did.

And they declared Growee Food’s Curry Zucchini Spread the Editor’s Choice Winner.