The Low Down on Salsa

Salsa is an important staple in our house. Finding the right one makes everything taste just that much better. I checked how my favorite app, Fooducate, rates various brands. Here’s what I found.

Green Mountain Grino SalsoaGreen Mountain Gringo Salsa (mild, medium or hot) is a big winner. It’s a non-GMO product, is always tasty with good texture, and scores an A for nutritional content. It can be a little hard to find. Sometimes it’s in the natural section instead of with the larger selection of salsas.

Another winner is Trader Joes’ Fresh Salsa. Like all of their store brand products, it contains no GMO ingredients. It’s a top, fresh, refrigerated option.

Looking at a few of the brands that seems to dominate supermarket shelves, I found that all Pace’s salsas rate a C+. Tostitos brand gets a C and is at the bottom of the  category. The downfall of both brands is that they contain zero Vitamin C. Since tomatoes are a natural source of Vitamin C, how does this happen? Well Fooducate offers a few possibilities on what might be plaguing their tomatoes:

– Grown in nutrient-poor soil
– Picked while green, then ripened using ethylene gas
– Use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides

Yet Tostitos Chunky salsa contains 6 mgs of Vitamin C which bumps the grade to a B+. Whatever the difference may be, when buying Tostitos brand, make sure it’s chunky.

I want to share what I found out about my former go-to brand, Kirkland Signature Organic Salsa (Costco brand). I must have stopped at the word “organic” and assumed it was a great choice. But like Pace and Tostitos, it’s devoid of Vitamin C and so scores a C+.

I found a few organic salsa that  get an A. Some aren’t available in my area, but I’m going to check out a few that are.

natures place organic salsaFull Circle Organic Salsa

505 Southwestern Organic Salsa

Field Day Organic Salsa

Nature’s Place Organic Salsa (Hannaford)

Buying salsa at farmer’s markets is another great option. Making your own can be fun too. Please leave a comment below if you have some other favorite, healthy brands. You can also read what I shared about Peanut Butters in an earlier blog.


Pantry Staples: Peanut Butter

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m a devoted Fooducate user. This app (and website) is so incredibly handy when it comes to making smart food choices.

At the suggestion of one of my clients (also an avid Fooducate user) I plan to do a series of posts about pantry basics that get a top score on the app and high taste ratings in my household. If you’re not familiar with the app, it uses letter grades (D through A+), to score all sorts of foods – including fresh, processed, restaurant and fast food options. Full nutritional information is listed along with pros and cons. My favorite feature is the “alternatives” list. So when you find out your favorite peanut butter is packed with added sugar and oil, you can find a better option quickly.

Availability of certain brands will vary by location, so if these suggestions aren’t familiar, check out the app for equally smart choices available near you.


Look for brands that contain peanuts only, plus maybe some salt. Stay away from brands that add oil and sugar.

My top favorites:

Krema peanut butter

Krema Peanut Butter, Natural, Smooth and Creamy Fooducate gives it an A

woodstock pb

Woodstock Smooth Organic Classic Peanut Butter Fooducate gives it a B+

Kirkland peanut butter

Kirkland Signature Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Fooducate gives it a B+

All four brands are minimally processed and contain more than 12% recommended daily fiber. You can check out what users say about the taste, spreadability, etc.

As far as the standby brand many of us grew up with,

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter


Jif Creamy Peanut Butter gets a C.

Why? It contains fully hydrogenated oil, is highly processed, and uses GMO ingredients.

Three strikes, you’re out!

What are your favorites? How do they score on Fooducate?

Check back soon for recommendations on salsa!

Thoughts on Finding Your Purpose – Keep it Simple

There’s a lot of pressure these days to “find your purpose.” People hire life coaches, consult psychics, do soul searching to determine exactly why we’ve been placed on this earth.

There seems to be some urgency to find that THING you’re really good at; the talents and skills that set us apart. We may even feel unfulfilled, guilty, or somehow lacking if we don’t have a meaningful and important agenda in our lives.

But what if your purpose is elegantly simple?
What if you are here to be you?

The Two Most Important days of your life are the day you are born and theday you figure out why - Mark TwainThere are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and I’m afraid you are just another one of them. You are a stitch in the fabric of humanity. This doesn’t mean you are not unique, as you most certainly are. But if you’re holding onto the idea that you are meant to change the world or leave your mark on mankind, do yourself a favor and let go of that notion. Only the tiniest fraction of humans walk that path.

Being the best at what you already are is ultimately more important and more fulfilling than creating a purpose outside of yourself. What if your purpose is simply to love and support someone else (your child); to be a partner (your spouse), or to offer friendship, a listening ear, and maybe laughter (your pals)? Contributions like these – being present, supportive, loving, or authentic – are undeniably priceless. Where would the others in your life be without you?

Maybe it’s because I’ve reached middle age, but when I finally realized this, it really took the pressure off. I breathe a little easier knowing I don’t have to find some way to make my life meaningful. My purpose and its meaning are already here. All I have to do is focus my energies on trying to be the best version of myself.

  • Instead of comparing yourself to others, develop and become comfortable with your individuality.
  • Stop chasing after physical perfection. Focus on your health and wellbeing, and your natural and age-appropriate beauty will shine.
  • Define your personal success on the quality of relationships in your life instead of the amount of money in your bank account.

Finally, this post is not meant to diminish the importance of defining a purpose for your life. On the contrary, purpose brings meaning to our lives, protects us from disease and increases our longevity. It reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and greatly enhances our ability to reach our goals.

In fact, Marie José Shaar, author of Smarts and Stamina: The Busy Person’s Guide to Optimal Health and Performance, recently blogged on the importance of honing in on a purpose when we undertake goals related to wellness. In her words, purpose “motivates us to accomplish feats we’d never consider otherwise.”

Happier and Healthier: Balancing Sleep, Food, Mood & Exercise for Optimal LivingGoing on a “diet” with the goal of losing a few pounds, will rarely be as successful as deciding to change your eating habits so as to have more energy, look better in your clothes, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

My upcoming workshop, Happier & Healthier: Balancing Sleep, Food, Mood and Exercise for Optimal Living, is based on the Smarts and Stamina book mentioned above. In the first week participants each create and share a sentence that articulates their motivation for being a part of the course. It’s not about what they want to change, but specifically, why the change(s) matter? The exercise helps us look a little deeper, and the result just might be the ticket to success.

Workshop detail are available here. Sign up soon as early bird prices are only available through August 15th.