6 Wholesome Facts About Kashi

Kashi GOLEAN waffles
Kashi GOLEAN waffles
Mr.TinDC, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0 (cropped)

Since 1984, Kashi has sold plant-based foods made primarily from whole grains and seeds. The company is best known for its cereal products (such as the various GOLEAN flavors), but Kashi also makes crackers, snack bars and bites, cookies, waffles, and frozen entrees.

  1. Kashi was founded by Philip and Gayle Tauber.

In the early 1980s, Philip and Gayle Tauber were living in Southern California. They had worked together in business ventures devoted to bodybuilding, and indoor foliage, but wanted to start a company to help people eat more healthfully. They thought about naming their company “Gold'n Grains” and “Graino” before settling on Kashi. Bankers didn't exactly love their natural foods business concept, though, so the couple invested their life savings of $25,000 to get the business off the ground.

  1. The name Kashi is actually a portmanteau ...

Kashi is named after a fusion of the words Kashruth and Kushi. Kashruth refers to Jewish religious dietary laws, or the state of being kosher. Kushi refers to the last name of Michio Kushi, a Japanese teacher who shared his knowledge about the macrobiotic diet with Americans starting back in the 1960s.

  1. Kashi owes a little of its success to the Olympics.

In October 1983, the company launched its first product, Kashi Pilaf, a breakfast blend of seven whole grains and sesame seeds. But the pilaf had to be cooked for more than 25 minutes before eating—longer than most consumers had the patience for—and initial sales were disappointing. However, Kashi helped turned their fortunes around when they became one of the first companies to offer product samples at sporting events during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The samples helped the company develop a small, but loyal, following among athletes and other health-conscious types.

  1. In 2000, the Kellogg company bought Kashi, surprising some food purists.

The cereal behemoth Kellogg’s purchased Kashi in 2000 for $32 million, an acquisition that some people criticized because Kellogg’s food products sometimes contain artificial ingredients and refined grains (Pop-Tarts, anyone?). With the acquisition came a move to Kellogg's headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, although Kashi later moved back to California, a spot seemingly more in keeping with its brand ethos.

  1. Kashi's use of the term natural has attracted controversy …

Because the FDA does not regulate use of the term natural, food companies can use the term without actually defining what that means. In 2012, a grocery store owner in Rhode Island decided to stop selling Kashi products after he learned that Kashi used genetically modified soybeans and non-organic ingredients. He posted a note in his store explaining his decision, and photos of the note went viral on social media. According to USAToday, some consumers believed that the word natural on Kashi packaging implied the cereal was organic and GMO-free. The company later agreed to pay several million dollars in class action lawsuits to consumers who felt their use of the term natural was misleading, and agreed to remove the phrases "all natural" and "nothing artificial" from their products. (Today, all Kashi products are Non-GMO Project Verified.)

  1. Kashi has created a new protocol to support organic farmers.

In 2016, Kashi announced a collaborative effort to support farmers who are in the (time-consuming and expensive) process of transitioning their fields from conventional to organic agriculture. Working with the organic certifier Quality Assurance International (QAI), Kashi developed a new protocol called Certified Transitional, and then purchased the first crop of Certified Transitional ingredients—a hard red winter wheat. The result was their Dark Cocoa Karma Shredded Wheat Biscuits cereal [PDF]. After a successful launch, the company's portfolio now includes eight other Certified Transitional products, and farmers have received more than $1 million to support transitioning their fields as of February 2018 [PDF].

12 Strange-But-Real Ice Cream Flavors

ipekata/iStock via Getty Images
ipekata/iStock via Getty Images

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … horse flesh ice cream? Okay, so maybe “we all" don’t. But some people do. A lot of people, in fact. Lobster, foie gras, and ghost pepper, too. Next time you’re craving an ice-cold cone, why not step out of your vanilla/chocolate comfort zone to try one of these 12 strange-but-real ice cream flavors.

1. Horse Flesh

There are two dozen attractions within Tokyo’s indoor amusement park, Namja Town, but it would be easy to spend all of your time there pondering the many out-there flavors at Ice Cream City, where Raw Horse Flesh, Cow Tongue, Salt, Yakisoba, Octopus, and Squid are among the flavors that have tickled (or strangled) visitors' taste buds.

2. Pickled Mango

As one of the country’s most decorated ice cream makers, Jeni Britton Bauer—proprietor of Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams—is constantly pushing the boundaries of unique treats, as evidenced by her lineup of limited edition flavors, including last summer's Pickled Mango (a cream cheese-based ice cream with a slightly spicy mango sauce made of white balsamic vinegar, white pepper, allspice, and clove) and this year's Goat Cheese With Red Cherries.

3. Corn on the Cob

Since opening Max & Mina’s in Queens, New York in 1998, brothers/owners Bruce and Mark Becker have created more than 5000 one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors, many of them adapted from their grandfather’s original recipes. Daily flavor experiments mean that the menu is ever-changing, but Corn on the Cob (a summer favorite), Horseradish, Garlic, Pizza, Lox, and Jalapeño have all made the lineup.

4. Foie Gras

New York City's OddFellows takes the "odd" in its name seriously, and has become synonymous with experimental flavors. Since opening their doors in 2013, they've concocted more than 300 different kinds of the cold stuff—including a Foie Gras varietal.

5. Pear and Blue Cheese

“Salty-sweet” is the preferred palette at Portland, Oregon-based Salt & Straw, where sugar and spice blend together nicely with flavors like Strawberry Honey Balsamic Strawberry With Cracked Pepper and Pear With Blue Cheese, a well-balanced mix of sweet Oregon Trail Bartlett Pears mixed with crumbles of Rogue Creamery's award-winning Crater Lake Blue Cheese. Yum?

6. Ghost Pepper

“Traditional” isn’t the word you’d choose to describe any of the 100 ice cream varieties at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. They don’t have vanilla, they have African Vanilla or Madagascar Vanilla Bean. But things only get wilder from there, and the shop’s proprietors clearly have a penchant for the spicy stuff. In addition to their Devil's Breath Carolina Reaper Pepper Ice Cream—a bright red vanilla ice cream mixed with cinnamon and a Carolina Reaper pepper mash—there's also the classic Ghost Pepper Ice Cream, which was featured in a Ripley's Believe It or Not book in 2016. Just be warned: you'll have to sign a waiver if you plan to order either flavor.

7. Bourbon and Corn Flake

You never know exactly which flavors will appear as part of the daily-changing lineup at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe, but they always make room for the signature Secret Breakfast. Made with bourbon and Corn Flakes, you’d better get there early if you want to try it; it sells out quickly and on a daily basis.

8. Fig and Fresh Brown Turkey

The sweet-toothed scientists at New York City’s Il Laboratorio del Gelato have never met a flavor they didn’t like—or want to turn into an ice cream. How else would one explain the popularity of their Fig & Fresh Brown Turkey gelato, a popular selection among the hundreds flavors they have created thus far. (Beet and Cucumber are just two of their other fascinating flavors.)

9. Lobster

Don’t let the “chocolate” in the title fool you: Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine makes the most of The Pine Tree State’s most famous delicacy with its signature Lobster Ice Cream, a butter ice cream-based treat with fresh (again buttered) lobster folded into each bite.

10. Creole Tomato

The philosophy at New Orleans’ Creole Creamery is simple: “Eat ice cream. Be happy.” What’s not as easy is choosing from among their dozens of rotating ice creams, sorbets, sherbets and ices. But only the most daring of diners might want to swap out a sweet indulgence for something that sounds more like a salad, as it the case with the Creole Tomato.

11. Eskimo Ice Cream

If you happen to find yourself in an ice cream shop in Juneau, remember this: Eskimo ice cream—also known as Akutag—is not the same thing as an Eskimo Pie, that chocolate-covered ice cream bar you’ll find in just about any grocery store. Though the statewide delicacy has usually got enough fresh berries mixed in to satisfy one’s sweet tooth, its base is actually animal fat (reindeer, caribou, possibly even whale).

12. Cheetos

Big Gay Ice Cream started out as an experimental ice cream truck and morphed into one of New York City’s most swoon-worthy ice cream shops, where the toppings make for an inimitable indulgence. One of their most unique culinary inventions? A Cheetos-inspired cone, where vanilla and cheese ice cream is dipped in Cheetos dust.

Why Do People Get Ice Cream Headaches?

CharlieAJA, istock/getty images plus
CharlieAJA, istock/getty images plus

Reader Susann writes in to ask, "What exactly is the cause of brain freeze?"

You may know an ice cream headache by one of its other names: brain freeze, a cold-stimulus headache, or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia ("nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion"). But no matter what you call it, it hurts like hell.

Brain freeze is brought on by the speedy consumption of cold beverages or food. According to Dr. Joseph Hulihan—a principal at Paradigm Neuroscience and former associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the Temple University Health Sciences Center, ice cream is a very common cause of head pain, with about one third of a randomly selected population succumbing to ice cream headaches.

What Causes That Pain?

As far back as the late 1960s, researchers pinned the blame on the same vascular mechanisms—rapid constriction and dilation of blood vessels—that were responsible for the aura and pulsatile pain phases of migraine headaches. When something cold like ice cream touches the roof of your mouth, there is a rapid cooling of the blood vessels there, causing them to constrict. When the blood vessels warm up again, they experience rebound dilation. The dilation is sensed by pain receptors and pain signals are sent to the brain via the trigeminal nerve. This nerve (also called the fifth cranial nerve, the fifth nerve, or just V) is responsible for sensation in the face, so when the pain signals are received, the brain often interprets them as coming from the forehead and we perceive a headache.

With brain freeze, we're perceiving pain in an area of the body that's at a distance from the site of the actual injury or reception of painful stimulus. This is a quirk of the body known as referred pain, and it's the reason people often feel pain in their neck, shoulders, and/or back instead of their chest during a heart attack.

To prevent brain freeze, try the following:

• Slow down. Eating or drinking cold food slowly allows one's mouth to get used to the temperature.

• Hold cold food or drink in the front part of your mouth and allow it to warm up before swallowing.

• Head north. Brain freeze requires a warm ambient temperature to occur, so it's almost impossible for it to happen if you're already cold.

This story has been updated for 2019.

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