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I’m one of those “you’re not you when you’re hungry” people the Snickers commercials are always talking about. Once my blood sugar drops below a certain level, give me two minutes tops before my head is doing 360º spins, Exorcist style. Luckily for me, this issue is a very solvable one: just keep snacks on you at all times, right? Sounds simple enough.
I have yet to actually apply this solution consistently –– partially due to laziness and persistent lack of foresight, but mainly because I have yet to find a travel snack that I enjoy enough to crave, buy, and put in my bag every morning. I have something called SIBO, which OG TQE fans may have learned about from Tatiana a while back, and which essentially requires me to stick to an incredibly restrictive diet when it is flaring up.
I’ll spare you the grocery list, but after cutting out the ingredients I’m supposed to avoid, I’m left with very few options for on-the-go snacking. It is often incredibly difficult for me to find something that is healthy, tasty, and won’t upset my sensitive stomach. I often decide it’s not worth the headache, much to the chagrin of whoever’s around me that has to feel my wrath until I find my way to a piece of salami or something. Recently, I came across Toodaloo: a brand of trail mixes each filled with a blend of adaptogenic herbs.
What’s All This Adaptogen Stuff I’ve Been Hearing About?
Okay, let me back up. I’ve been hearing “adaptogen” thrown around at an increasing rate over the past couple of years, particularly in the DTC space, and have yet to actually sit down and look into what that even means. So, what are they?
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that are said to help the body resist physical, chemical, and biological stressors. Adaptogenic herbs and roots have been used for centuries, particularly in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, but are having a moment of resurgence today in the health food and wellness industries. Herbs like ginseng, maca, and ashwagandha are making their way into countless products, each promising their own unique boost –– be it energy, libido, focus, or any multitude of things that are known for their precarity. It can sound either too good to be true or like hogwash, depending on who you are. But I’m a rather optimistic consumer, so I’d figure I’d finally bite the bullet and give them a try. Toodaloo’s fun, vibrant message and unique ingredient blends made them a perfect vehicle for me to see what the adaptogen craze is all about.
Blazing A New Trail
The initial seeds for Toodaloo were planted when founder Cattie Khoury was in college, where she was studying Environmental Sustainability and climate change. The second push came from the classic “looking on the back of the packaging” that terrifies many founders into starting health food companies. After gorging on bulk-ordered trail mix, Khoury realized that this purportedly “healthy” snack was a total sham. So she decided to read up on superfoods and herbs, and get to making a snack that would be healthy for our bodies and the planet.
Hungry as I am, I got the variety pack ($48.75) and was able to try all five flavors (which you can also try for $9.75 per bag). Here are my rankings:
Smokeshow: I am not the biggest fan of sweets, so this low carb, BBQ-flavored mix was my favorite, hands-down. It contains raw and sprouted almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, roasted chickpeas, lemon peel, chilies, cumin, and smokey spices. The adaptogens included are chaga and cordyceps, to “support a feisty mood.” I can't tell how much the mushrooms affect my mood, perhaps because I'm already feeling a bit feisty by the time I'm hungry enough to reach for them. Either way, Smokeshow is the winner for me in terms of texture and flavor. Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein that don’t upset my stomach, so I can munch on this bag throughout the day without any cramping or bloating.
Hot to Trot: This one was pretty polarizing amongst friends. The distinct flavor of the spicy citrus blend is definitely not for everyone, but I was really into it. This one has raw and sprouted cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, pineapple, apples, golden berries, sultana raisins, and chilies, seasoned with turmeric, jalapeno, cayenne, and ginger to support gut health. Unlike Smokeshow, the flavor of this one is a bit too strong for me to want to eat large quantities of it, but a little handful here and there is a really enjoyable burst of flavor when I’m out for long periods of time.
Deja Brew: This coffee blend is perfect for when I'm working from home (i.e. leaving my computer to snack every 20 minutes). Raw walnuts, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, fair-trade coffee beans, dates, plus adaptogens maca and lion’s mane to support mental focus and energy flow. The coffee beans actually keep me relatively alert and focused, while the rest of the protein-filled mix leaves me satiated as well. This one has its own spot on my desk.
Slow Your Roll: A blend of maple brittle, raw & sprouted cashews, walnuts, coconut chips, cashew butter, mulberries, ashwagandha, reishi and mucuna herbs to support relaxation. I’m personally not too fond of sweet snacks, so I did not enjoy this one all that much, but it was a unanimous favorite amongst my friends and my father.
Turning Heads: Cacao, raw & sprouted almonds, cashews, coconut chips, blueberries, and an adaptogenic mix of hibiscus flower, sea buckthorn, white rose and goji berries to support skin health. This is definitely the prettiest sounding ingredient list of the bunch, which is on-theme with its focus on skin. Again, I’m not a fan of sweet mixes, so this one happened to be my least favorite.
The Munchies, But Make It Healthy
The couple of weeks that I was carrying Toodaloo mixes in my bag were the most peaceful and even-keeled I’ve had in a while. Before I got too hungry to think, speak, or communicate effectively, I was able to reach for one of these cutely-packaged mixes and grab a handful. It was a comfort to know that everything I was putting in my body was natural and good for my gut. It is rare that I can snack mindlessly without subconsciously preparing for the painful consequences, but Toodaloo gave me the wonderful opportunity to gorge without feeling stuffed or irritated. It came with me in my bag, on my desk, during long walks or right after the gym.
Though the only flavor I can see myself buying again is Smokeshow, the ingredient lists and flavor profiles are varied enough that many can find a blend that works for them. As for the adaptogens, my results are quite honestly inconclusive. I definitely felt good after eating each one, but the post-snack feeling was not specific enough after each bag to be able to differentiate between the adaptogen effect and the bliss of feeding yourself when needed. Either way, it saved me from snapping at anyone who looks at me, and that’s good enough for me. And anyone who looks at me.
5 More Reasons to Love Toodaloo:
- Women-owned! Enough said.
- Diet-friendly: Plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, no processed sugars, no refined oils
- According to the website, every Toodaloo purchase helps regenerate 100 square feet of polluted farmland.
- The packaging is plastic-neutral, meaning that for every amount of plastic created, the company recovers and removes an equivalent amount from the environment.
- Fan favorite! Toodaloo is co-signed by celebs like Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicole Scherzinger, and Spencer Pratt.