Thursday, September 08, 2005

So Good or So What?

Last month I was gluten-free to see if that would improve things in the plumbing department but it didn't make an ant's bum hair of a difference. This month, it's the turn of lactose and dairy foods (in any form) to be shunned as stringently as Jude Law at a Nanny Care recruitment drive.

The fridge is now stocked with fresh soy milk which has proved to be reasonably palatable for cereals and for whitening my morning coffee. However the other day I was strolling down the health food aisle at Coles, feeling smug that I no longer needed to buy soya corn flour or those inedible rocks optimistically called 'Gluten-free blueberry cookies' when I laid eyes on some long-life Soyaccinos on sale.

Now this will come as a huge surprise to the readers who know me but despite chocolate having milk in it (mostly known as 'milk solids', or, to my basic brain, powdered milk), I am coping with its absence in my life. At least for this month. Pick your bottom jaw up off the floor because there's a reason for this uncharacteristically strong avoidance of my favourite food bar none. Our good old South Australian great, Haigh's chocolates, has several varieties of dark choccies with no milk in them. Yee hah - frogs, nougats, courveture, ginger bars and sickly marzipans all coated in the heavenly stuff. God bless their sweet hearts because the lovely serving lady also gave me a generous handful of non-milk dark chocolate scorched almonds to scoff on the bus home as well.

Whilst it is marvellous that chocolate can continue as the sixth (and most important) food group in my stream of consciousness, I am yearning - no aching - for my Farmers' Union Feel Good iced coffee. The 600ml carton is normally poured down my cakehole several mornings a week with unalloyed pleasure, only bettered by a good session with Love Chunks or if accompanied by a Chunky Caramel Kit Kat in king size.

Therefore, after eight days of no Feel Goods, the So Good Soyaccino was looking mighty attractive. I bought three and eagerly put them in the fridge to chill. Today, after:

  • Waking up at 6am to stagger around the local school oval like an arthritic crab in order for Milly the dog to have her 6km run;
  • Getting my six year old out of bed; dressed and making her lunch;
  • Yanking the blackened toast of our unpredictable toaster, hurling it outside and wildly bashing at the ear-piercing smoke alarm with the mop handle;
  • Cleaning up the orange juice that my daughter had spilled all over the table and floor in her shock at the sudden noise;
  • Running half naked out of the bathroom to again whack the alarm into silence;
  • Walking the little one to school and enduring many "Phew, what's that horrible burning smell?" questions as we passed by; and
  • Doing the grocery shopping and packing it all away....

....I felt as though I deserved an ice-cold So Good Soyaccino and a dark chocolate frog chaser. Or three. The frog = sublime. Soyaccino = YUCK. What a total disappointment. It was like sucking down a throatful of vacuum cleaner dust. The innocent little daisy bush near my deckchair was sprayed with the spat-out, rejected liquid that Sanitarium was cheeky enough to call 'So Good.'

What on earth was it made of? The ingredients were numerous and took me a good five minutes to squint through as I wiped the chocolate frog stains from my mouth. Filtered water (great, so that's the first ingredient which therefore comprises the most of the drink), 3.5% soy protein, cane sugar, corn maltodextrin, sunflower oil containing antioxidant Vitamin E, fructose (just another sly way of slipping in more sugar), Minerals (phosphates of calcium, potassium and magnesium, Flavour (you could have fooled me), Food Acid 332, Caramel colour (should have been caramel flavour instead), Vitamins B1, B2, A and B12 and Ascorbic acid.

Yum, yum, what an enticing mix. I wonder what the 'flavour' was and why was it so far down the ingredients that are legally bound to be listed in order of volume? Still, there was some very small comfort in finding out from the nutritional panel that I'd had only 4.5 grams of fat, no cholesterol, 45% of my daily calcium needs and a whopping 30% of my recommended daily allowance of riboflavin.

Perhaps I should have felt encouraged by Sanitarium's confident message on the side of their carton: 'If you are not completely satisfied with the quality of this product please contact one of our customer relations consultants.' However, after my previous article (, mocking those sad farts who actually do bother to ring those 1800 phone numbers on the side of packets I didn't feel as though I wanted to join their peculiar little hobby group just yet.

No, instead I'll just try to make myself enjoy the benefits of an additional 16% of Vitamin A that I've just ingested and hope like hell that Milly won't mind having the rest of it poured over her doggy breakfast of weetbix tomorrow morning.....

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