a bean-made cereal with no gluten
Sampling Strawberry Power O’s for Breakfast

In my quest for better health and more easily digested fiber in my diet I decided to try a new cereal I found out our local food co-op.

(If your local co-op doesn’t sell them, you can grab a box -or three- of Love Grown Foods Power O’s Cereal here*.)

Although I am not on a gluten-free diet, I try to limit my intake due to health condition I have. I’ve also been adding beans to my diet and found that my energy has improved, as well as my digestive health.

Beans are seriously underrated when it comes to nutrition and cooking. They’re versatile — you can mash them, wrap them up with other ingredients, add them to soups and side dishes — and now, organic food brands are transforming them into “noodles” and breakfast cereals.

My only question is why beans hadn’t been utilized in such a fashion earlier. Beans carry so many nutrients (depending on type, and, often color!) that the FDA has quietly decided to added legumes to the “vegetable” portion of their nutritional guidelines:

“Because of their high nutrient content, consuming beans and peas is recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA Food Patterns classify beans and peas as a subgroup of the Vegetable Group. The USDA Food Patterns also indicate that beans and peas may be counted as part of the Protein Foods Group. Individuals can count beans and peas as either a vegetable or a protein food. Green peas, green lima beans, and green (string) beans are not considered to be part of the beans and peas subgroup. “

I’ve always been leery of vegetables, because I have a very loud “inner child” that turns up her nose and whines about the smell of canned spinach and the taste of diced vegetables in a can. The only vegetables I remember ever liking as a child were corn and broccoli, two convenient foods that tasted mysteriously 100 times better than any veggie dumped out of a can. Frozen and canned foods were literally the only vegetables I’d ever experienced until I moved out of my parents home at age 23. I’ve only been cooking and experimenting with fresh vegetables willingly in the past few years as an adult.

What a difference fresh foods make!

Beans have changed my life. I could (and probably will) write a dozen postings on beans, their uses, and all the varieties there are out there, but let me just say — they’re essential, more versatile than you can image, and packed full of nutrients and digestible fiber for sore and sensitive stomachs that can’t handle our processed-food world.

Deconstructing Power O’s

When I set my sights on Strawberry Power O’s at the co-op, I instantly knew I had to try it. The box has a bright, strawberry red color that stands out among the usual natural-food brands, which, of course, triggered my inner kid to impulse-buy it. (The fact that they boast it’s love-grown also tugged at me — because I always tell my significant other that things that don’t turn out 100% perfect — but still manage to taste pretty good — are cooked “with love.”)

Power O’s are made from navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans and a few other natural food ingredients. They contain about the same amount of calories as the average cereal, but they manage to be low in sugar — as far as cereals go. (9 grams of sugar in a serving, while you’ll find many other cereals have upwards of 18 grams as well as “hidden” sugar  byproducts and artificial sweeteners. Yuck. The World Health Organization recommends roughly  6 teaspoons — or 25 grams — of sugar per day for adults. So if you drink just one soda, you’re basically out of luck to meet this goal. And relatively speaking — this cereal’s  9 grams still manages to be a huge chunk of that intake.)

Because Power O’s are made from beans, they’re packed with protein — 11% of what you need daily. If you drink with real milk, you can enjoy the benefits of lean protein power breakfast.

What Power O’s Taste Like

I tried them with my favorite milk substitute — vanilla flavored Rice Dream — so beware, your experience may be different than mine.

I’m not going to lie. The first thought I had when I tasted Power O’s was “this is weird..”

No, it didn’t taste like beans — and it wasn’t too sweet.

The texture seemed perfectly cereal-like, but the instead of popping in my mouth, the strawberry flavor kind of had a semisweet zing! to it that is probably attributable to the purple carrot color or one of the other natural ingredients. Maybe the citric acid?

It was admittedly similar to the disappointment I suffered with all the fruity cereals I tried in my childhood. As a kid, I repeatedly tried all those brights and sugar-infused cereals only to think “this tastes weird” and end up in a minute only pretty much tasting a mouthful of food colored sugar. (This disappointment was similar – you can almost taste the sugar trying to glue the flavor together.)

In this case, I let the Power O’s sit in the vanilla-flavored rice milk for another a minute — making a huge difference — and the disappointment was fleeting.

The milk worked magic — but the cereal shed its bright pink color and transferred to the milk.

The Verdict: A Darn Good Gluten, Dairy-Free Breakfast

Once it sat about 2 minutes — enough time to pour and stir cream into a cup of coffee – the cereal was not too sweet and not weird, it had a nice sweet-honey-flavored taste to it with just a hint of strawberry flavoring.

With proper time to absorb the milk, suddenly the Power O’s were a pretty darn good cereal. (But pink cereal remains weird – it never tastes like you’re expecting.)

As far as Power O’s go, I’ll be picking up the honey-flavored box next time, although I think a box of it cost about $5.50 — so I will need to scrounge for coupons first.

All in all, my “inner kid” liked this cereal, but I don’t know if your in-real-life kids will enjoy it.

If you have a kid with gluten allergies or milk, I’d say try the other flavors first because they may be more “true to taste”. Chopping up some bananas or some other fruit into the cereal (like the box cover) may have made the taste “less weird.”

On the whole, I look forward to seeing more of this brand on store shelves and experimenting with new flavors.

You can learn more about Love Grown Foods and Power O’s at the company’s website.

*Affiliate link