Saturday, February 21, 2009

Horrible Product of the Month: Smart Start Strong Heart

Don't skip breakfast. It gives you lots of nutrients.

I made a terrible mistake. I got to work and hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I ran inside oh-so-glam Rite Aid across the street from my office and snagged a box of cereal. I saw “strong heart” and strawberry and oats and thought, “gee, that sounds yummy and healthy and I love strawberries and oats are so good and it’s on sale for $2.50 so I will buy it.” That was my mistake.

There are so many gross things about this product, I don’t know where to begin. But let me lay them out for you.

Lookin' mighty tasty.

Yep, there’s Splenda in this shit. After my first bite of the cereal, amply filling an ugly blue bowl (God knows who it belongs to, but it was in the office kitchen so I used it) and dousing it with fat-free Berkeley Farms milk, also purchased from Rite Aid, I took my plastic spoon (I know, it’s very environmentally unfriendly to use the plastic spoons in our office when we have freshly cleaned stainless steel spoons, but I was already feeling sort of cheap and dirty with my Rite Aid cereal, so I figured the spoon would complete the package), and dug into the bowl and plopped two or three of the little cereal squares into my mouth with a splash of slightly pink milk (more on that later). I took a bite and crunched it around my mouth. I felt the spiky strings of hearty oats mixing with the fresh aroma of strawberries, chewed it up, and swallowed. I noticed a mildly unpleasant aftertaste immediately – it was overly sweet but didn’t taste natural at all. And that’s when I saw my arch enemy had filled this crap with toxic, sucralose (aka Splenda). I suddenly broke out in a rash up and down my arms and legs, and my throat closed up and I started to gasp for air – in my mind. Fortunately, none of that happened and I thought to myself, “We’ll I’m hungry, so I’m going to finish the bowl of this terrible crappy Smart Start cereal.”

Fresh ingredients in every bite! Kellogg's!

There’s also High Fructose Corn Syrup. I love those advertisements by the High Fructose Corn Syrup people telling us how high fructose corn syrup is sweet and natural just like honey and sugar and maple syrup. Yeah, we’ve heard that before: from those evil Splenda tale-tellers. Well, Kellogg’s managed not only to shove Splenda particles into this healthy cereal, but also managed to make corn syrup the fifth ingredient in here. It sort of reminds me of when Burger King changed their recipe to include “real mayonnaise” on their Whoppers instead of the less expensive synthetic mayonnaise they had used for many years to save money. It sounds like Kellogg’s cereal creators are torn between the bad sweetener lobbyists.

Here I will interject that I don’t really have any respect for Kellogg’s. Many years ago, my friend Anne, who lived in Battle Creek at the time, and I went to a terrible indoor Kellogg’s museum and theme park. We entered the vast gift shop of Snap, Crackle and Pop beanie babies and plastic “Toucan Sam” mugs and Sugar Pops cowboy sheets and more. It looked like a bad idea all around, and a $15 per person charge at the door made us turn around and walk right back out into that very large but very empty parking lot.

Strawberry Crunchlets. I love cereals that put freeze dried strawberries into them. I love them so much that I dig through the flakes and pull out the strawberries and eat them by themselves. In fact, a few years ago, I decided I should look into ordering the freeze dried strawberries by themselves and found a creepy Mormon survivalist store in Utah that sold huge cans of them for cheap via the Internet. I downed several 10-gallon cans and decided it was time to start eating fresh things again and to stop peeing in red streams. Anyway, I thought that this cereal-like product would have those same tasty strawberries, but not until I had tasted that Splenda-Corn Syrup flavor did I notice that this cereal offered eaters “real strawberry flavor” in the form of “strawberry flavored crunchlets” made of sugar, corn cereal, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, soybean oil, citric acid, glycerin, natural and artificial flavor, and red and blue food coloring. That’s cruchlets, mama. That’s what Kellogg’s puts in healthy adult cereal.

These are strawberry crunchlets on a piece dissected.

Mmm. The milk reminds me of childhood. The wonderful thing about this adult product is that it does everything it can to be as crappy as a child’s sweetened cereal, but in disguise. But you get your full childhood treat at the end of the meal. After you take that last, now soggy, puff of slimy glycerin packed goo, and you peer into your bowl, guess what you see? Pink! Pretty pink. Just like that revolting Nestle Quick strawberry-flavored milk you guzzled as a child because you liked strawberry better than chocolate. I took the bait and swigged the milk. My mouth filled with a pink bismuth-colored swell of Splenda and corn syrup, a few squishy remnants of the cereal, and an acknowledgment of manufactured health food to the highest degree.

Do not eat Kellogg's Smart Start Strong Heart. Unless you like to torture your internal organs.

Pretty pink after-milk from a pink medicated cow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's so great and sooo gross. Thanks for the advice. Demand a refund.

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