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American Nutella (sadly) is riddled wit GMO ingredients. My quest to find an alternative.

Because I grew up eating Nutella quite literally every single day, learning that the American version had GMO’s in it (among other unhealthy oils) broke my heart. Because the spread is such a huge part of my life, I plan on eventually buying an 11 pound jar of Nutella direct from Ferraro in Italy once my smaller imported jar is finished. No. I’m not kidding. You can get one here if your family is a devout too, here. (While you’re there, read some reviews! They’re fantastic.)

Anyway, learning this horror has brought me to trying some other spreads in the meantime. Below is a list of all the other spreads I’ve tried and my honest opinions of them. I hope you find this to be useful in finding healthy and tasty alternatives to a not so healthy snack. Remember. I’ve been a diehard Nutella fan since I was 2, so I’m going to start by saying that there is NO equal alternative. It’s true. The European one is not only Non-GMO, its actually nutritionally healthier than its American counterpart. The best of both worlds.

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Key: Green means I plan to buy them again. Orange means that the taste was OK. Yellow means that they have questionable ingredients or origins. Red means it was horrible.

European Nutella [Middle] might not be the healthiest of all the choices, but I still cannot replace my childhood spread.

Barney Butter [Green bottle] tastes like peanut butter, to be honest. It’s really nice spread for a lunch sandwich with jelly. Not so great alone; though it isn’t bad! Just not something you could eat daily all by itself.

Barefoot & Chocolate Hazelnut Spread [Mmmm] by far was the best Nutella alternative. It tasted great and was GMO free. Ingredient wise, it pretty much across the board beats even the European Nutella. It has less sugar, fat, sodium; everything than Nutella did but I simply cannot give up Nutella just yet. Either way, this spread is something I will definitely buy again.

Brunette [Sold at Le Pain Quotidien] is actually a product I’m now greatly skeptical of. It tastes great. It has its own unique taste and it’s even edible on its own. However… There’s one ingredient that raises my brow: soy lecithin. Chances are, that’s GMO too. It even has a nice * to tell us that it’s not organic. I’d try it again if I could get the EU version.

“Imported” Hazelnut Spread [Pretend Italian Spread] from Gristedes is distributed by a company in New Jersey but an unknown company in Italy. That’s all I have to say about that. Assuming it’s actually from Italy and subsequently non GMO, it was a decent tasting spread. But that only raises my concerns.

Creamy Nuttzo [Colorful Upside Down Jar] was not bad. But it wasn’t good. It was one of those foods where you can eat it, but you’re not crazy over it. It’s certainly not sweet.

Justin’s Almond Butter [Packet] was eh. It wasn’t sweet and it was mildly good.

Rawtella [Not pictured because I refuse to buy it again] was absolutely horrendous when I tried it. In essence, it’s probably the most healthy of them all.

Now if I could only get my hands on this cookie spread.

Report: Long Island’s Cleanest Restaurants 2012

Long Island may not have the grade system based health department reports on each restaurant’s door like in New York City, but there is another surefire way to tell if a restaurant cares about its storefront, kitchen, dining room and garbage areas: Their maintenance contracts.

Now, it just so happens that my dad owns one of the largest pressure cleaning companies on the eastern seaboard, American Dream Pressure Cleaning, used by a multitude of restaurants across long island and the surrounding states. His company cleans nearly every chain restaurant on the island, including Chili’s, Carrabba’s, Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Friday’s, Red Robin, Famous Daves, Outback Steakhouse and the list goes on. Here’s where the ratings start to become clear.

These restaurants, all mapped here, are under contract with American Dream to be cleaned based on their volume. They are guaranteed to have cleaner dining rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and garbage areas in comparison to the many chains on the island that neglect to even clean their floors with more than a mop.

I’m going to be as clear as possible when I say that I’m not trying to promote his company, I simply want to open up a bridge between the restaurants that actually care for their store on the Island and those who neglect to. We need a way to have some fluidity between the kitchen and the customer – something people in NYC take for granted with their rating system. I know by means of personal accounts, business owner reactions and outright customer satisfaction that the stores American Dream encompasses are ones that I’d feel confident bringing my family, especially as a person who has seen the kitchens beforehand himself.

There have been stores I’ve tagged along to that had never before been cleaned by American Dream that had potatoes spread about the floor and grease caking the floor enough to skate across.  Companies who do not step up to the plate so they can save a few bucks should be ashamed of themselves for letting their restaurant remain as unsanitary as they are.

This is why I want to give you the list of clean restaurants. This list may not point out every restaurant that’s doing the right thing and cleaning their store using a commercial company, but it’s a starting point for other companies to do the same.

http://www.americandreampressurecleaning.com/see-our-stores-yourself/

European Fanta Vs. American Fanta: HUGE difference

On my trip to Italy, I realized the fanta (still made by the Coke company) tasted MUCH better than the American version. Since no one believed me, I vowed to prove it when I returned. So I took the product information label off a bottle of Fanta to see how different the SAME drink may be, when it is produced in different countries. Here’s what I found.

Italian Version:
Senza aggiunta di conservanti = No preservatives
Senza coloranti = No dyes
Aromi naturali = Natural flavors (This is the only one that they have in common!)
di aranciata al 12% di succo di arancia si è preparato con il SUCCO di ARANCE= 12% of orange juice to orange juice is made with orange juice. (What that means is beyond me.)

“Non-alcoholic Orange juice.” I really enjoy that sentence.

What’s green is not found in the American version.

Ingredients:

Water. orange juice. carbon dioxide.acidifier citric acid, natural flavors. stabilizing gum acacia. antioxidant ascorbic acid.”Store in a cool, dry, clean and odor-free, away from sunlight and heat sources.

Informazioni nutrizionali per 100 ml: (Nutrition information per 100 ml:)
Valore energetico (Calories) 48 kcal, 202 kj
Protiene: (Protien) 0g
carboidrati (carbohydrates AKA sugar) 11.7 g
Grassi: (Fat) 0g
fibre alimentari: (dietary fiber) 0g
Sodio(Sodium) 0mg
Now for the American Version:
“Contains No Juice”
100% Natural Flavors
What’s red is the different ingredients not found in the Italian version.
Ingredients:

Carbonated Water, High fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate (To protect taste (AKA PRESERVATIVES), Natural flavors, Modified food starch, Sodium phosphates, glycerol ester of rosin, yellow 6, brominated vegitable oil, red 40.”Low Sodium”

Per 100 ml (Did some math here)
Sodium: 16.4mg
Fat: 0g
Total Carbs: 13.1g
Sugar: 13.1g
Protein: 0g.

To sum up the Nutritional Facts:
The Italian version has less Sodium, Sugar and Carbs.

To sum up the ingredients:
Look up. I think it’s clear.

To sum up the taste:
There is no comparison to the taste of the Italian version of Fanta.