We are so excited to be sharing a blog post with you this week by Cattie Khoury, the founder of Toodaloo, a new superfood trail mix that we love here at Trash Panda. We had the opportunity to interview Cattie about the ingredients typically found in trail mix, how Toodaloo is different, and what the deal is with all those adaptogens we keep hearing about. She also shares some tips on sustainability and how to find the best quality ingredients. She is a wealth of information, and we hope you enjoy learning from her as much as we have!
You can also purchase Toodaloo products on their website.
What questionable ingredients should we be looking out for in trail mix? How is Toodaloo different from other trail mixes out there?
Cheap, inflammatory peanuts:
Most of the time when people think of trail mix, they think of peanuts and raisins - and that’s because most trail mixes are filled with peanuts! This is because they are cheaply produced, but the downside is that they contain anti-nutrients like lectins that make them difficult to digest and are often contaminated with a species of mold that produces aflatoxin.
Refined oils like canola, palm, corn & soybean
Something we noticed about most conventional trail mixes or other snack nut products is that they are often coated in cheap, hydrogenated vegetable oils. The oils are often made from GMO crops, highly refined, and can wreak havoc on our bodies. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and are extremely high in Omega 6 fats, which, when consumed in excess, lead to inflammation and disease. The high-temperature refining process of these oils makes them rancid, prone to oxidation, and destroys their micronutrients.
Many so-called healthy trail mixes are often filled with refined sugars, artificial dyes and flavoring and even refined dairy products. Here are some examples from common trail mixes:
Modified Corn Starch: A frankenstein ingredient that is used as a thickening agent. It is very difficult for your body to process modified corn starch. Sometimes it is used to lengthen or shorten gelatinization time, making the product more “shelf stable”.
Xanthan Gum: This is an emulsifier which is often used to bind substances together and give them a desired consistency. Because it is considered gluten free, it is used often in a lot of “healthy” processed products to increase its shelf life and make the food more sticky.
Red 40: This particular dye is a petroleum based substance and it’s the most common food dye in America. However, it has been linked to many health concerns. There’s a strong connection between Red 40 and ADHD, and suggested connections with hostility and aggressiveness, learning impairments, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. It has even been suggested to be a possible carcinogen.
Processed sugars: The body breaks down refined sugar rapidly, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full after you’re done eating, no matter how many calories you consumed.
Can you explain a little more about the benefits of the adaptogenic herbs you use in your products?
Adaptogenic herbs are essentially plant sorcery. They have been used for centuries in Oriental Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicines for thousands of years and have recently gained popularity in the States. They have both mental and physical health benefits, are nontoxic and non-addictive. What’s fascinating about them is that they have the incredible ability to adapt to your body’s particular needs and provide support in achieving balance. Some herbs are better at providing support in particular areas, but all have the ability to flex to your body’s needs. In every one of our flavors, we grouped together a series of adaptogenic herbs to support a particular function.
Turning Heads (Skin Health):
A rich, chewy, cacao blend of raw & sprouted almonds, cashews, organic super fruits including coconut chips, cranberries and raisins coated in an adaptogenic tonic of hibiscus flower, sea buckthorn, white rose & goji berry tonic to support skin health and holistic balance.
Sea Buckthorn, grown on the bushes in some of the most desertous ecosystems. It provides hydration and nourishment to those that consume it. Called the “Holy Fruit of the Himalayas”, this adaptogen is known as one of the world’s richest sources of plant-based omega-7s, which supports the body’s promotion of healthy hair, skin and nails.
Hot to Trot (Gut Health):
A spicy lemon-lime blend of raw & sprouted cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chickpeas and organic super fruits like pineapple, apples, golden berries, sultana raisins that are coated in an herbal tonic of chili powder, turmeric, jalapeno, cayenne & ginger to support gut health.
The group of adaptogens and other herbs in this formula were chosen because these herbs have been used for centuries to aid in digestion.
Turmeric: This “golden spice” has been treasured worldwide from Indian gurus to Buddhist monks for purifying the body and promoting longevity.
Ginger: Originating from Southeast Asia, it has been used for 5000 years to support better digestion and to stoke the “agni,” which is Sanskrit for digestive fire.
Cayenne: Eastern Medicines have been using cayenne to support digestion and the circulatory system for over 9,000 years. Native American tribes used it to ward off bad energy.
Slow Your Roll (Relaxation):
A maple brittle with raw & sprouted cashews, walnuts, and organic super fruits like coconut chips, mulberries and cashew butter infused with the adaptogenic herbs ashwagandha, reishi and mucuna to support relaxation.
Ashwagandha: From the deserts of Northern India, this wild herb is considered a “rejuvenating” herb to support the harmonious balance of mind, body and spirit.
Reishi: Chinese healers say this calming mushroom, from the Chanbai Mountains, nourishes the spirit and supports a balanced mental state.
Mucuna Pruriens: Is a legume native to Africa where it’s classified as a spiritual and consciousness-enhancing plant, high in a natural source of dopamine which supports brain health.
Smoke Show (Low Carb):
A low-carb, barbeque mix of raw & sprouted almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted chickpeas coated in lemon peel, chilies, cumin, smokey spices and infused with cordyceps and chaga to support a feisty mood.
Chaga: It’s known as the “King of Herbs” and a “Gift from God” or “The Third Eye Opener”. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for nearly 4,000 years to enhance spiritual awakening and increase energy flow, endurance and stamina. It is also one of the highest sources of antioxidants in the world, which helps to strengthen and protect many of our body’s health systems - check out the comparison below! Antioxidant comparisons: Chaga - 36,557 Acai Berries - 800 Goji Berries - 400 Blueberries - 24.5
Cordyceps: Traditional healers considered Cordyceps a “universal tonic” for body, mind and soul. In traditional Tibetan medicine, local healers used cordyceps for the treatment of over 21 diseases. It was used to improve energy, suppress appetite, support strength and endurance. Modern day studies have demonstrated positive effects on inflammation, blood cholesterol levels, adrenal glands and cellular oxygen use.
How do you source your ingredients to ensure the best quality?
Sourcing is something we look at with the highest of intention. Each partner goes through a vetting process to ensure they meet our high standards for ethics and quality. We aim to use as many organic adaptogenic herbs, superfruits and sprouted nuts & seeds as we can. When we cannot source organic, we often source ingredients from transitional farmers who are in the process of converting their conventional farms to organic farms.
What’s one thing everyone can do to help contribute to environmental sustainability?
One of the easiest things everyone can do is to be cognizant of your power. The choices you make matter. Climate change is often talked about in a way that makes us feel so insignificant, like our actions could never make a difference one way or the other. This causes us to become paralyzed, living in a sleep state. We need to know that we matter and learn how to exert the power we have.
Our power is in what we choose to purchase and how we choose to consume it. One thing everyone can do is to shop local and support brands who actually prioritize a healthy sustainable future for us all. Swap megacorp brands and prime delivery for sustainable brands and shopping at local farmers markets. When we support brands that heal, that are local and mindful of their footprint, we push a righteous agenda and can truly save our planet. When we sit back in fear, forget our power, and mindlessly consume harmful products, we forfeit our autonomy.