Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Knowledge is HEALTH

I'm working my way through all those protein bars and taking notes. There will be a review post soon!

Meanwhile, I'd like to share a link to a scary article about chicken. 
 7 Horrifying Truths About Your Chicken Dinner 

What are you reading these days? I'm about 40% through My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn. It's a quick read, with many diverse reasons to cut meat and animal products out of your diet. There are health and environmental reasons, all backed up with scientific evidence. While I agree with much of what the author says, I have found one "beef" of my own. While he recommends breast feeding infants for as long as possible, he also advocates soy-based formula for infants that must be weaned or can't nurse and tofu as an introductory solid food. WUT I do NOT agree. He also hates all plant oils, calling them overly processed, prone to rancidity, empty calories, and referring to them as snake oil. He also points out just how many olives it takes to make one 32 oz bottle of EVOO. It takes 1,375. It strikes me as contradictory that he is against processed oils, but not processed, fermented soy. Otherwise, I'd say that I've gleaned a lot of great information from the book so far. 

Yesterday I went to the local chain supermarket. I just needed one item, but I though I'd browse around. I was reminded why I hardly ever shop there anymore. The aisles are chock full of processed, chemical-laden, factory-made food. Much of the produce looked less-than-fresh, and I couldn't even find organic vanilla yogurt for my daughter (were not ready to go full vegan yet) that didn't contain questionable chemicals. Mainstream food in America: made in a factory, or on a factory farm, and shipped hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to a big box grocer. 

A little research could change your life. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is HEALTH. 

Sure it takes a little more effort to feed yourself and your family at first, but just like anything else, a little practice makes perfect, and you'll soon it will become second nature...just like opening a bag of chips in front of the TV used to be!  Just remember, any small change, applied consistently over time, will bring results. The more small changes you can add, the more benefits you will see!

Today is Farmers' Market day in my city. Yay! I get my CSA box every other week, and this is my in-between week, so I won't get much. My plan is to pick up some organic strawberries and heirloom tomatoes, and meet a friend for a glass of wine at a local wine bar that happens to have outdoor seating on the same block as the market. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Quest for Vegan, Non-soy, Non-GMO, Protein Bars

Since it took me a couple of hours of googling, I decided to put all this research into a blog post.

IF I would have been keeping up with my blogging, you would all know that I've been on a fitness quest and have lost about 65 pounds over the last couple of years. More importantly than the weight loss, I've also made great improvements in general health and fitness through exercise and gradually changing my diet.
In case you missed this on Facebook, Twitter and G+
This is me on the left in January 2012 and on the right in October 2013

I'm not a vegetarian...yet...but my daughter is, and so I've been cooking and eating a lot of new plant-strong meals. While she is mainly a vegetarian for moral reasons, I have researched a lot about the health benefits of cutting out animal based foods from our diet.

While I have occasional meat, I feel less enthused about it and really don't crave it at all. It's mostly a matter of convenience: we still have a full-on carnivore living with us in the Alien. Treklet is by no means a vegan. She eats organic yogurt and eggs and cheese, but I'd like to steer away from dairy for various reasons which I will save for another post. (Steer away...see what I did there?)

I eat a lot of protein bars. They are convenient to keep in my car for snacks when I'm out and hungry. They help me fill in that protein serving that I'm usually short on by the end of the day because I still kinda suck at this vegetarian thing. I really love Quest Bars. I've been a big fan of them for a couple of years now. I need to replace them, though, because their main ingredient is isolated whey protein.

So my project today was to find vegan, non-soy, non-GMO, and, hopefully, organic protein bars. Here is what I found. They all have higher calories than Quest bars ( did I mention I LOVE QUEST BARS?) but Quest has isolated whey protein and isolated milk protein, which I'm not crazy about these days. I’m ordering the ones I haven’t tried before and will update later on my preferences. (I suck at blogging, too, so that's not exactly a promise)

I love Perfect Food Bars, which you can buy at Costco. They must be refrigerated, and they are high fat due to them being full of nut butters. The light bars are lower in calories and fat, but also only have 10 gm protein. 

22 Days has a protein and energy bars. You can save quite a bit by buying the Mocha Mantra bars via Amazon Subscribe and Save. I don’t see the Peanut Butter and Chocolate available for Subscribe and Save, though, and they have the highest protein. Again, these bars are high calorie at 290 with 20 gm protein, but they are lower in fat (10%) than the Perfect Food Bars. 

Dr. Mercola’s Pure Power Protein Bars are only available online in boxes of 12. They offer free shipping, but they are $1 cheaper on Amazon, also with free shipping. Their website has a lot of information on ingredients found in other protein bars, such as soy, whey isolate, casein, sweeteners, and on their own ingredients (brown rice protein, pea protein, tapioca syrup). They have 14 gm. protein, but I can’t find the full nutrition facts for a calorie and fat count. I can update when I receive my order. 

Organic Food Bar Protein has 22 grams protein and 300 calories. They have several other varieties, including raw varieties, but they are all around 300 calories, with varying amounts of protein from 8-14 grams. It’s about $11 cheaper to buy a box through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. I would have liked to try a variety pack, but that isn’t available on Amazon. Besides, for the same calories, I’ll take the extra protein. It just works better for my metabolism.

Dale’s Raw Protein Bar boasts a whopping 22 gm. protein with 280 calories. They boast that they’re the only raw food bar with 22 g protein. Um, OK…  they have lots of yummy-sounding flavors.If you sign up for their mailing list you can get discount codes via email periodically. They are not available on Amazon! You have to spend $150 for free shipping on their site, and they offer no variety packs.
Dale’s also offers Raw Reduced Carb Protein Bars http://www.dalesrawfoods.com/reduced-carb-protein-bars

Vega Sport Bars are available as a Recovery Protein Bar. They come in 2 flavors, and are available at Jimbo’s and Sprouts. They contain 15 gm protein and 230 calories with 7 gm fat.  They also make an Endurance Bar with only 8 gm. protein and 180 calories.

Square Bars are “rectangle free” and a combo pack is available! They are a little low on protein at 12 gm., but they also have only 200 calories. I’m trying they, because… no rectangles. If you like them on Facebook you’ll get an instant 10% code and they are offering free shipping.

Go Macro Protein Pleasure Bar offers 12 gm. protein in a 290 calorie bar. It boasts fair trade chocolate chips. Available through Amazon Subscribe and Save

Good On Ya bars have too little protein for me, but they are probably a good snack for a bike ride or something, when you need more carbs. They are a San Diego company, so I’ll support them here, as an energy bar.  Also, they are available at Jimbos. ;-)

Zing Bars look like a well balanced bar at 200 calories and 10 gm protein and 7 gm fat. Not as much protein as I'd prefer, but again, a good balanced and clean snack after exercise or mid-ride. I love that they have a vegan variety pack. Amazon's price matches the website, with no Subscribe and Save option, but if you have Prime, you could save on the shipping there.

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