Milking It: LiveActive Nut Harvest Crunch

LiveActive Nut Harvest Crunch Post Rating: Two-and-a-half spoons out of four

Cereal descripton: Considering that I tend to prefer cereals with cartoon mascots, it's no surprise that the look of this stuff struck me as pretty scary. After all, the rough-hewn, light brown flakes are jumbled together with a random mash of nut shards, some of which wind up in coagulated lumps. But even more frightening is the ingredient list. The first two items -- whole grain wheat and (yes!) sugar, didn't bother me a bit. But number three is "inulin (a prebiotic fiber)," whose name suggests something that should be injected with the use of a hypodermic needle, not eaten off a spoon. I'm afraid. Very afraid.

Box description: The art design is hardly reassuring. The LiveActive logo, colored a bold (and not terribly appetizing) green, is accompanied by the slogan "For Digestive Health" -- meaning that its principal selling point involves easy bowel movements, not whether the average person will be able to choke it down. Moreover, there aren't any boasts about great flavor below, either: just a utilitarian description ("Whole grain flakes with lightly sweetened crunchy clusters, almonds, pecans & walnuts") plus a small pile of nuts beside a bowl with nut pieces far more prominent than those inside the container. Shocking. The side panel opposite the terrifying nutrition information at least uses the word "delicious" -- but the display as a whole is mainly interested in promoting other LiveActive products, such as cottage cheese, cheese sticks and cubes, and on-the-go drink mixes. Clearly, Post is trying to create Weight Watchers-type brand identity, which probably isn't going too well, since I picked up my box of cereal on discount at Big Lots. The back cover, meanwhile, is devoted to text crowing about how the fiber in LiveActive is designed to "naturally regulate your digestive system." True, it concludes with the line, "The best part? Tastes great!" But this pitch struck me as too little too late.

Taste: Fortunately, the cereal speaks for itself. I actually felt myself wince before taking my first bite, fearing that I was about to experience breakfast distress of the sort visited upon me by the Honey Bunches of Oats variation reviewed in this space in January. Instead, I was caught off-guard by the pleasant flavor -- sweet, if not quite sweet enough by my standards, with nutty highlights. Even better, the taste intensified as I made my way to the bottom of the bowl, leaving me feeling strangely satisfied by the end. Don't get me wrong: There's nothing spectacular about Nut Harvest Crunch, and it's in no danger of displacing Count Chocula from the top of my personal hit parade. Still, it's quite edible and even kinda/sorta enjoyable. Really.

Conclusion: Good for your large intestine -- and not bad for your tongue.

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