Shake it up, or results will be mixed

Eating Well

January 27, 1998|By Colleen Pierre | Colleen Pierre,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I meet lots of people who think they're getting a 500 mg calcium jolt by switching to calcium-fortified Skim Delux milk. If they're doing the shake, they're OK. If not, that extra calcium is going into the trash with the carton.

Ted and I have been drinking Skim Delux for several months now. We love it, because it contains some soluble fiber that creates a mouth-feel more like 2 percent or whole, which is what got Ted hooked. And the big bonus is the added calcium. Just two 8-ounce servings daily get us quickly to the recommended 1,000 mg.

When we first started using Skim Delux, we bought half-gallon paperboard cartons, and we'd just open and pour. As our usage increased, we switched to the plastic gallon. Now we could see through the container. Low and behold, that extra calcium was sitting on the bottom! So I shook and shook and shook until I couldn't see white on the bottom any more. It took a good two minutes.

A call to 800-642-9321, the number posted on the carton, put me in touch with the folks who supply the calcium to the dairy. The nice lady on the phone said it's true, it is impossible to get the added calcium to stay suspended in the milk. "That's why the label says, 'Shake Well,' " she added.

What? Where? I scoured the label on my paperboard carton. I looked high and low, and finally found it hidden on the tucked-in triangle of the pyramid top, not near the spout, which is what I look at when I'm pouring. When I visited my daughter, Bobbi, we checked out her label. She had bought the half-gallon plastic jug with the tiny pasted-on label. Sure enough, down in the corner, in letters an eighth of an inch high, were the instructions, "Shake Well."

So I've been shaking a lot, and also trying to come up with a way to be sure the calcium ends up in my glass. I went back to half-gallon paperboard cartons because they are easier to handle. Some have to be torn open. They are then impossible to shake, because they can't be reclosed tightly enough. When I shake, I spill.

Then I started buying paperboard cartons with a screw cap. I could reclose the cap and shake, shake, shake. Then I stored the carton upside down in the door, so when the calcium settled, it landed at the TOP of the carton. Then when I poured, I poured through the calcium. This was great.

Until the cartons started leaking.

So I had a phone chat with Donald Eipp, executive vice president of Richfoods. He meets regularly with reps from all the dairies, and will share these problems with them. He said I'm not the first to call.

I sure hope they get these problems solved quickly. Ted and I need our calcium, and we like getting it from Skim Delux.

Pub Date: 1/27/98

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