Nothing says “refreshing dessert” quite like kale, right? OK, maybe not. But one state company is hoping to change that with its new line of ice pops.
“Kale is the hottest buzzword going right now, but it’s kind of disgusting,” said Marty Sands, founder and CEO of Paleo Passion Pops, of Greenwich. “But we made kale delicious with our pops. Yes, it took about eight months to do, but it is delicious.”
Sands and his wife, Kim, launched their company a year ago in an effort to create more healthy options for consumers; they recently began selling the pops in Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport.
“We got into this from the consumer side,” said Sands, who has a long history of running businesses. “We’re consumers, and this has evolved just from us being people seeking a healthier lifestyle. Not just a healthier pop, but something with no added sugars that can refresh you after a workout.”
His kale pop lists eight simple ingredients: filtered water, peach puree concentrate, pear juice concentrate, pineapple juice, spinach powder, kale powder, guar gum and green tea powder. The recipes for this pop — as well as the six others in the line — align with the ever-growing paleo movement, which models its diet after what cavemen would’ve have eaten following hunting and gathering exhibitions during the Paleolithic period.
And now is a pretty sweet time to get involved in the paleo movement.
“Paleo is growing really quickly,” said Karen Pendergrass, founder of the California-based Paleo Foundation. Back in 2009, her foundation had a couple hundred members. These days, the numbers are upwards of 15,000, as she said the movement has grown in step with the CrossFit craze.
With all seven flavors, which include orange mango, blueberry pomegranate, the kale-heavy green passion and others, Sands avoided adding extra sweeteners, relying solely on natural products to boost flavors in the dessert.
“We don’t add any sugars, and we don’t add any chemicals,” Kim Sands said. “Every single ingredient in the product is a food-based ingredient from a natural source. There are no food dyes to come up with beautiful colors, which is important.”
That’s what’s responsible for the pops’ color palette, which is more akin to an autumnal harvest basket than a box of markers.
“Right now our food supply in this country is a train wreck,” said Marty Sands, who added that he wanted to “create products that take the natural sugars that come from God” and put them to use in an effort to “battle the epidemic of diabetes.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of diabetes is growing at a rapid pace, with 42 states seeing an increase of at least 50 percent between 1995 and 2010. Currently, the CDC estimates 29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in adults during 2012.
“We’re not just not adding sugar. We’re attacking sugar. We’re addressing sugar,” Sands said. “We’re saying we love sweets as a species, but we have to get this under control.”