It's no secret that consumers have started caring more and more about what's going into their food. What may be more of a secret is whether we can really trust labels to say what they mean and mean what they say. Luckily, some companies are willing to be completely open, not only about what's in their products, but about the reasons behind those choices. Smooth Oats, a brand-new nondairy protein drink option, is one such company.
Helena Lumme, one of the founders of " target="_blank">Smooth Oats, was keen to share the ins and outs of this new product with Organic Authority.
1. The Natural Power of Oats
Smooth Oat is a vegan milk that harnesses the power of oats, which Helena calls a "miracle grain."
"The soluble fiber in oat, called beta glucan, has the power to curb hunger and balance the blood sugar, naturally, without having to use any type of chemicals," she says.
Beta glucans have been proven to help boost the immune system and improve heart health as well, and while there are several producers of beta glucans in pill forms, most doctors agree that the best way to get in your vitamins and minerals is through diet: all good reasons to eat oats.
"I wanted to develop a drink where I harnessed this natural power of oats and combined with the cleanest possible pea protein," Helena says. "And of course, it had to be delicious!"
2. A GMO-Free, European Outlook
When it came to developing a completely clean vegan protein drink, one of the main worries Helena had was with GMOs. She and cofounder Mika are activists within the GMO-Free movement, even going so far as to organize the GMO-Free Finland Summit at the Finnish Parliament in 2013.
It's perhaps no surprise, then, that Smooth Oats is entirely GMO-free. But people who are well-informed on GMO policies won't actually find this all that confounding... for two reasons.
The first is that oats are GMO-free all over the world -- there's no such thing as GMO oats (good news for frequent oatmeal eaters!)
The second is that in Finland, where the Smooth Oats ingredients come from, there is no GMO farming. And what's more, the European Food Safety Authority published a recent report on the pesticide content of food sold in Europe, showing that Finnish food is the cleanest in Europe.
While obviously not all European food adheres to the same standards as in Finland, there are a few differences between the food industries in Europe and in the US that makes this GMO-free standard easier to adhere to. For example, canola oil -- known as rapeseed oil elsewhere in the world -- is nearly all GMO in the US, whereas since 2001, virtually all EU rapeseed oil production has been GMO-free.
While enormous strides have been made in the US to restore farming to its more natural roots, in European countries, there was never a large-scale switch to industrial farming -- and the prevention of this switch is one of the oldest EU policies to date. By using European farmers to source the ingredients for this drink, it's far easier to avoid GMOs than it would be in the US.
Smooth Oats is working with the Non-GMO Project for the certification of their product.
3. Looking Past Labels - It's All About What's Not in it
The resulting product is GMO-free, it's true, but that's not all. In looking past the labels we're so keen to search for in the supermarket shelves, an even more progressive product is revealed.
For Smooth Oats, this means trying to be as "clean" as possible, devoid also of whey protein, which is dairy-based, so not appropriate for a vegan diet.
Some other ingredients that the producers of Smooth Oats chose to exclude were carrageenan and gums, often used as a binder in vegan milks and yogurts, and tricalcium phosphate, a frequent source of calcium. While studies have shown no adverse effects for human consumption of tricalcium phosphate, Helena explains that they chose to leave it out of the final recipe.
"We don't want to scare people away with a ingredient list that sounds 'chemical,'" she says.
Which means that the final, GMO-free ingredients list is as follows: water, pea protein, whole grain oats, agave nectar, rapeseed oil, demerara sugar, beta glucan and salt.
Where to Find It
If it sounds too good to be true, it is... for now.
The unfortunate news is that you can't find Smooth Oats in stores -- not yet, anyway. Helena is using a " target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness for this protein drink and hopefully make it available soon. The Kickstarter campaign ends on the 25th, which means that you still have a bit of time to help and make sure that this product will soon be available in your supermarket.
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Image care of Smooth Oats