Saturday, March 13, 2010

Put your money where your mouth is

More rambling about the Natural Foods Expo: We tasted some delicious Vita Coco coconut water being imported from Brazil. Aseptically packaged in foil tetrapacks using flash pasteurization for 2 seconds at 120 degrees , the nuances of flavor are preserved. When we were traveling in Sri Lanka we were told that coconut water cures everything from hair loss to cancer and the Vita Coco people told us that coconut water was used in IV solutions during the Vietnam war.  Many of our roadside refreshment stops in Sri Lanka were made specifically for coconut water, cleverly packaged IN THE COCONUT. They punch a hole and insert a straw; delicious, refreshing and totally recyclable packaging. No exaggerated claims were being made by the Vita Coco people - just good taste and electrolytes which they boast are present in more quantity than in sports beverages like Gator-Aid.

Shredded money can be purchased from the US mint and online from various EBay sellers. We saw
toothbrush handles made out of the shredded stuff being sold by a very enthusiastic and engaging young woman in the Radius booth. One variety of their brush has a timer built in so you are told when 2 minutes is up and there's another alarm that indicates when three months have gone by and you need a new head for the brush. The brushes were quite wide and soft - they claim to have three times the bristles of a regular toothbrush. Many different handles were available including the one made of shredded money  - real inspiration to get out there and earn during the day. I thought they should call that brush, "put your money where your mouth is". Oddly, these brushes were designed by a couple of architects - no dentists involved.

A show stopper on the Korean aisle was a display of  beautiful and delicate candy/treat boxes. Instead of traditional candy, so sweet, most of these items were less sweet but very flavorful such as  dried apple strips fashioned into roses, cakes made of seeds with lovely garnishes  - all beautiful, delicate and restrained - so different from our hulking, gooey, excessive chocolate boxes. These Korean treats are based on very old traditional goods from ceremonies, now presented on special occasions to honored guests, prized customers, or on the occasion of great accomplishment.  They are meant to be savored with the eyes and enjoyed with all the senses - not just gorged as we are wont to do with chocolates.

There were hundreds of forgettable weight loss products, most of which we ignored. Somehow we got pulled into a booth where a Swiss weight loss product was being sold. The hook of the diet is a chewy piece of material, like Bazooka bubblegum, nicely flavored and full of dietary fiber. You chew it at strategic times during the day accompanied by a glass of water and you can achieve a silhouette as in picture :). The fiber swells in the gut and the idea is that a signal of fullness will be sent to the brain, dulling appetite. Satiagrams  - something unique to this diet, map your waxing and waning appetite and purportedly educate the user sufficiently to change eating habits. Shari remembers a similar diet craze in the US many years ago.

Accompanying the product is a slick little booklet with the photo of a handsome Swiss doctor on it and, guess what?? A suggested diet of 1500 calories of day, a calorie chart and an exercise program. Most of these diet schemes are the same - ultimately it's the calorie restriction and increased exercise that causes the weight loss; the rest of the bells and whistles may provide some psychological help but what works is EATING LESS and EXERCISING MORE.

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