The Girl Scouts have taken over. I can’t go anywhere these days without seeing adorable eight and nine year-old girls waving colorful boxes of cookies and alluring the sugar-addicted masses to support their (worthy and important) programs. I take a deep breath before I write this, because I don’t want to come off as a total cynic, but have you taken a peek at the nutrition labels on those bad boys lately? Yikes! How do those tiny treats pack such a harsh punch? Here’s what I found on the Girl Scouts website for the Samoas variety:
140 calories per serving, 70 calories from fat. Total fat 7g, Saturated fat 5g. Sugar 10g. Ingredients: Sugar, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil and cottonseed oil, soybean and palm oil, enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), coconut, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, sorbitol, glycerin, invert sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, cornstarch, salt, carmelized sugar, dextrose, soy lecithin, carrageenan, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor.
Red flag! Cottonseed Oil! Last year I read an excerpt from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Eight Weeks to Optimum Health that asked readers to go through their pantry and throw out anything made with cottonseed oil. He considers it “unhealthy because it’s too high in saturated fat, but even more, it is notorious for containing natural toxins and unacceptably high levels of pesticide residues… cotton is not actually classified as a food crop, and farmers use many agrichemicals when growing it.” But cottonseed oil isn’t the only offender, try artificial food dyes, hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, GMO Soy products, GMO corn products, and artificial flavors to boot.
There are ways to enjoy a little coconut-y chocolate-y goodness without all the processed gunk. It’s been a while since I’ve consumed an original Girl Scout confection but from what I’ve heard “on the street,” cookie season just leaves people feeling guilty and unhappy. A cookie is still a cookie… it’s pretty hard to turn it into a “health” food, but we can strip it of unnecessary additives and use wholesome ingredients that treat your body with the tenderness and respect it deserves!
Try this renovation on the classic Samoas and I dare you to tell me it’s not heavenly…