Rhonda’s Cooking


Archive for January, 2011

The verdict is still out about the Walmart Health Initiative

Posted by rhondascooking on January 22, 2011

First, I’ll start by saying that I am excited that Americans are finally taking an interest in becoming healthier by eating whole foods and increasing physical activity.  Second, thanks to First Lady Michelle and the Let’s Move Initiative, for continuing to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and working to help promote a movement of change in the public health policies.  This week First Lady Michelle announced a new health program in conjunction with Walmart to offer more healthy food options in its stores.   According to Just-Food.com, Walmart plans to reduce sodium by 25% in a broad range of grocery items, including grain products, luncheon meats, salad dressings and frozen entrees; lower added sugars by 10% in dairy items, sauces and fruit drinks; and remove all remaining industrially-produced trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats and oils) in all packaged food products.  It was also reported that Walmart is committed to lowering the costs of fruits and vegetables through  a variety of tweaks throughout its supply chain, which will reduce the overall product costs.

photo credit: just-food.com

How do I feel about this new initiative?  In all honesty, I wish there were a ban on “meal in a box” food options that contained over 10 ingredients, preservatives, artificial flavorings and food engineered items that consumers cannot pronounce!  Though I know that this may not hold up in court, overall, I think that Walmart’s new health initiative is a good first step–but not the final solution– for many people who plan their family meals based on these packaged meals (likely due to time and costs).  The down side to this new program is that this “reformulation” will likely replace some ingredients with more  that may not be healthy for the body!  As for reducing the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, I’m on the fence with this one because if the company lowers the price of fruit, then this will likely impact small farm suppliers.  Instead, I think that the reverse should happen; I think that Walmart should raise the prices of the unhealthy foods or stop offering sales such as burritos 5 for $1 or R amen Noodles 10 for $1!

Many times in rural areas, there aren’t any options for grocery shopping besides Walmart, so I plan to  keep watching this health initiative to see how things will progress and I encourage you to do the same!

For more information, visit the following sites:





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Save the Date: Greater Phoenix 2011 Gluten-free Expo!

Posted by rhondascooking on January 21, 2011


The Celiac Disease Foundation: Greater Phoenix Chapter will host its 3rd Annual Greater Phoenix Gluten-Free Expo on Saturday, April 16, 2011. This event is open to the public and gives people challenged with Celiac Disease, or those interested in transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle, an opportunity to learn more about gluten-free products and where to purchase those products, as well as learning about local restaurants offering gluten-free menus. In 2010, over 600 attendees and 37 vendors participated in the expo. This year promises to be even bigger, with an expected 800 guests and 50 vendors.

The expo will be held between 10 am and 2 pm at the following location:

Sheraton Crescent Hotel
2620 West Dunlap Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021

In keeping with the intent of sharing information on a wide array of products now available to the gluten-free community, a variety of vendors nationwide have been invited. There will be a plethora of products for attendees to sample and purchase. The Celiac Disease Foundation: Greater Phoenix Chapter will hold a gluten-free raffle and all attendees will receive free samples to guarantee no one leaves empty-handed.

Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 are free. Cash only will be accepted at the door. Upon entry, each attendee will be presented with a bag and a vendor list. The proceeds from this event will help further the group’s goals of supporting the gluten-free community and raising awareness about Celiac Disease. For full expo details and to pre-register for the event please visit https://sites.google.com/site/gfexpo/. For additional information regarding the Celiac Disease Foundation: Greater Phoenix Chapter, please visit http://www.phoenixceliac.org.

About Celiac Disease Foundation: Greater Phoenix Chapter: One in 133 people has Celiac Disease and doesn’t even know it. Those already diagnosed know the only treatment for this autoimmune disorder is a lifelong commitment to a gluten-free diet. The purpose of the chapter is to support those with Celiac Disease and to increase community awareness.

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Sifting through the fruit bar madness!

Posted by rhondascooking on January 19, 2011

As I was browsing through the grocery store over lunch, I arrived at the granola and healthy food bar aisle and immediately felt a sense of overwhelming confusion! There were so many of those little 2oz bars that it took me about 30 minutes to figure out which bar was truly healthy, made with whole grains and fruits without unnecessary additives! I quickly saw that not all bars are created equal! There had to be over 30 different brands from The Cliff Bar to the LaraBar and prices ranging from $1.49 up to $1.89. Because there was a sale going on for gluten-free products (25% off), I spent the time sifting through all of the varieties and brands. I can only imagine what this experience is like for people who aren’t as patient as I am or what this experience is like for new healthy eaters.

So in an effort to assist you, just in case you wanted to know the best, gluten-free, vegan, healthy fruit/snack bars to try, check out my list below. Because there are so many, I may have missed a few, so feel free to add to my list. The product must meet the following criteria to make my list: Gluten-free, vegan, 100% whole grains, whole fruit with no preservatives.

  • Pure bar (5 varieties, all organic, main ingredients made with nuts, dates, agave nectar, rice protein)
  • Clif bar (6 varieties, main ingredients made with nuts, dates, agave nectar)
  • Bora Bora Organic Wellness Bar (7 varieties, all organic, main ingredients nuts, raisins, brown rice syrup)
  • Larabar (24 varieties, main ingredients made with nuts, dates)
  • Boomi Bar (10+ varieties, all organic, main ingredients made with nuts, dates, honey, whole grains)
  • Prana Bar (10+ varieties, all organic, main ingredients made with nuts, dates, honey, whole grains)

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