Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eat this, not that

Some time back, I was introduced to Earndit, a site that offers rewards for working out. Most of these are just discounts that bring outrageously-priced gimmicky fitness-related goods in line with normal human prices, but said discounts might give you the idea to try out some products you wouldn't have otherwise considered.
I recently used some of my Earndit points to order a couple brands of nutrition bars to snack on at work, since the bars I usually snack on tend to be of the Snickers variety. One brand is Rise Bar. I ordered a few variety boxes that, in sum, contain all 12 different flavors. So far I've tasted about half of them and I've yet to find one I dislike (I pre-emptively offered my wife the Blueberry Coconut bars since I don't do blueberry).

Rise markets three different kinds of bars -- breakfast, energy and protein -- and has a whole bit about how they're very specifically formulated to be eaten at certain times of the day. For instance, the Crunchy Honey Walnut bar is presented thusly: "Honey—a quick start for hour one. Fruit—big chunks to digest slower for hour two. Nuts—sustained energy for hour three."

The likelihood of 160 calories sustaining me for 3 hours is zero. But I appreciate how these bars aren't junked up with a bunch of crap. The entire ingredient list for this flavor, for instance, is dates, walnuts, honey, raisins, crisp rice, organic amaranth, and salt. All the flavors are gluten free and most are vegan (I don't care about either of these things, but maybe you do).

Rise Bars will probably appeal to fans of simple, all-natural products like Larabar. They're available online or at Sprouts or Whole Foods so yes, you will pay more for these... unless you get them like I did.

The other brand I ordered is called Journey. These bars are also all-natural and all that business, but the angle here is that they are made only in 5 non-traditional flavors: Parmesan Romano, Coconut Curry, Pizza Marinara, Rosemary and Hickory Barbecue. It's an odd concept, but I figured what the hell, I like pizza.

These were -- well, I should say "this was" since I only ate one -- disgusting. The blend of grains comprising the bar give it a dry consistency that is made worse by the blend of spices used to give the marinara flavor. I had a hard time washing the taste out of my mouth, and that aftertaste, combined with the bar settling in my gut over time, made me feel sick to my stomach. It sat in my belly like a brick and, 5 hours after eating it, I still couldn't go for the run I wanted. Yes, I'm a little bitter that this thing cost me 8 miles.

Fortunately, Journey bars are not widely available -- only 5 widely-scattered locations in all of Texas according to their website. Or you can order them online, if you dare.

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