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I believe that for most people, following a Mediterranean-style diet with a wide variety of foods, in appropriate amounts, is enough to provide you with all of the nutrients you need. That said, there are those who are likely to need to take supplements to ensure adequate nutrition, such as pregnant persons or vegans. Functional foods, in that context, make sense, but the idea of "functional" foods that are designed to, say, improve your brain power, or increase your energy, are too often based on minimal science or rely on misleading the public (such as including caffeine in an "energy" drink but implying that it's other ingredients that give you that boost of energy). Needless to say, barring those with specific needs I think such things are likely to be a waste of your time and money and I won't bother reviewing them.
I'm making an exception for Sweet Earth Natural Foods' "Functional Burritos." Not because I think their purported function, whether it's improving digestion or improving mental acuity, doesn't hold up to scientific scrutiny (they don't), but because their numbers are good and they might taste good. That's it.
The first burrito we tested from their "Functional Burritos" line is their Get Cultured! burrito, with 260 calories, 550 milligrams of sodium, and an impressive 8 grams of fiber. Wow!. The package claims, "Contains probiotic cultures to support digestive health.*" Note the asterisk, which leads you to the small print: "*As part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle."
"Digestive health" aside, how does it taste?
As we were microwaving this burrito, a panelist remarked, "It smells like Chinese food."
"No," another corrected, "It smells like mu shu pork."
And so it does - and tastes, according to the panelists. This burrito comes in the same tender flaxseed wrap that all of the Sweet Earth burritos share, and like all their burritos, has an impressively high filling-to-wrap ratio. If you cut into the burrito (as we do for tasting) you'll see whole edamame (soybeans), chunks of diced carrot, what looks like spinach sliced thinly, and chunks of Sweet Earth Natural Foods' proprietary seitan mixture. There's no actual pork in this burrito (all of Sweet Earth Natural Foods products are vegetarian, if not vegan), but the cabbage, tofu, spinach, and red peppers combine with garlic, ginger and sesame flavors to yield... "Mu shu pork in a burrito." (The panel was quite insistent.) Digestive health aside, eat this for the flavor alone - if you like mu shu pork.
Their Get Focused! burrito is a bit more pedestrian (320 calories, 540 mg sodium, 7 g fiber), being described as a "functional breakfast burrito" with eggs, potatos, cheese, and greenery in the form of kale, peas, and parsley. It smells much more typically "breakfasty", with notes of sage, fennel, and rosemary, although I could detect a slightly chemical-y undertone. The same flaxseed wrap, the same high filling-to-wrap ratio, but the fact that the filling is almost exactly the same color as the (grayish brown) wrap is a little offputting. In terms of flavor this runs high to sausage-like with egg and even the smoked gouda taking a back seat. There's some crunch from added pumpkin seeds and big chunks of Sweet Earth Natural Foods' "Tuscan Savory Grounds" (flavored seitan) to add umami. All in all, not quite as engaging as the Get Cultured! burrito, but good just the same.
Reviewed: February 10, 2017