Don't talk with your mouth full

Don't talk with your mouth full

This article was published in the Terrace Standard mobile edition on May 24, 2011

“Holy Crap”, once a meaningless filler tossed indiscriminately into conversations by adults, children and TV sitcoms along with “like”, “you know”, “I mean” and “awesome”, is now appearing on grocery shelves as a brand of dry breakfast cereal packaged by an entrepreneurial couple in Sechelt, BC.

The couple, Brian and Corin Mullins, blended organic raisins, cranberries, apple bits, cinnamon, hulled hemp hearts, buckwheat and chia seeds to produce a product high in dietary fibre and iron, gluten-free, lactose-free, and richer in omega-3 than fish oil or flaxseed. Chia has more protein, lipids, energy and fiber – but fewer carbs – than rice, barley, oats, wheat or corn.

Thus it is an excellent food for diabetics. It is also low in sodium – perfect for people battling high blood pressure – while a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.

Available locally for some time or ordered via internet from HapiFoods Group, the product was introduced to the wider world on Dragons’ Den, a TV show I watch occasionally. I just happened to catch this one. Dragons’ Den is the TV program “where aspiring entrepreneurs in need of funding to grow their enterprises pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls who have the cash and the know-how to make it happen”.

Entrepreneurs with product ideas ranging from sane to off-the-wall  demonstrate their concepts looking for financial backing and support for their whiz-kid notions. The moguls tell it like it is, having themselves struggled to develop a profitable product. When they ruthlessly slap down someone who has spent years attempting to launch  their unique idea, all the while bleeding money,  yet still convinced their idea will pay off big down the road despite their failure so far, I wince.

At first sight of this dry cereal, Holy Crap would seem to be a wild idea. It looks like fertilizer or bird seed. The tiny chia seeds – the same seeds used to grow fluffy afro animals in clay pots – only l mm. in diameter, range from mottled white, gray, and brown to black. The seeds are hydrophilic – like Pampers, they absorb moisture up to nine times their own weight in less than 10 minutes. As the seeds absorb moisture, they swell into a tapioca-like jelly which is 42 per cent fibre, reduces cholesterol, slows digestion, makes a person feel full longer, and also aids elimination.

Chia grows three feet tall with clusters of purple or white flowers on spikes at the ends of stems. Native to Central America, chia is an annual herb of the mint family grown for 3000 years by Aztecs. Ancient Aztec warriors prized Chia as an endurance-promoting Superfood, eating it in bread just before battle, and drinking it in water before running long distances on foot.

Mixed in lemonade or fruit juice (known as chia fresca) Omega3 Chia seed quickly becomes a refreshing, performance-enhancing energy drink.

When the Mullins began marketing their cereal, after testing the product many purchasers emailed comments, often beginning “Holy crap!” before going on to laud its qualities.

As a joke, the Mullins re-labelled their packages Holy Crap. In three weeks their sales increased by 400 per cent. In 51 days their sales reached $65,000.

The Dragons were served a sample of Holy Crap and after munching two teaspoonfuls Jim jumped to invest $120,000 for 20 per cent of the Sechelt business. One tablespoon has 120 calories. A serving is two tablespoonfuls.

The company was awarded the Best New Business Concept 2011 by Small Business BC. In Terrace, the product is available at Dynamic Health Service.

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