Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Food for the Long Haul: Salazon Chocolate Bar Review

I am solar and chocolate powered. That's no secret. I discovered Salazon Chocolate a couple years ago while working at a food co-op. The bars boast gorgeous mountain scenery on the wrappers as well as the logo's of conservation and trail alliances that they support with the proceeds. I bought one and was hooked...salty, delicous Dominican chocolate...that helps support the wild places I love. Sold!
2% of profits of their Trail Series flavors go to support the "big three" AT, PCT, CDT
A chance exchange with a friend got me in contact with Salazon and soon I had several cases of chocolate to give away to people I meet hiking and to fuel me on my hikes. Did you know that a bar of chocolate fuels about 1 hour of hiking? Now, an hour of every day on the trail is fueled by Salazon :)

One of the main differences between Salazon and other chocolates is that all of their bars are salted, but not overwhelmingly so. Just enough. I sprinkle just a dash of salt on my Coconut Bliss ice cream too because a tad of salt compliments sweetness incredibly. If you have never expereienced salted chocolate, especially when hiking, then you might not understand how amazing this is. Not to mention after a long day of sweating, salts and carbs are critical to replace. Hence, salted chocolate is truly the best recovery food you can imagine...!

Ok, so enough with the justifying of why I enjoy chocolate so much. Here's the basics about Salazon that I love:

Fair Trade

And all of those components inevitably lead to incredible flavor.

I haven't had a bad chocolate from them yet, but since I tend to like darker chocolate (I munch on raw nibs) these are my favorites: 72% with Almonds, Coffee, Cayenne

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Food for the Long Haul: Heath Warrior Chia Bar Review

I've been eating chia seeds for many years. Despite the tendency to get stuck in the teeth they are tasty, versatile, and nutritious. In my egg free days I used chia to bind my baked goods together. I also love to put it in smoothies, and make puddings from. 

Doling out bulk chia for PCT 2013

I remember a few years ago when I discovered HealthWarrior Chia Bars. They were delicious little bite sized bars of chia goodness. Unfortunately, they were far too pricey for me to afford.

Fast forward to a chance meeting with the HW reps at the Winter OR. I sampled some of their newest flavors and mentioned how much I loved their bars and that I'd eaten lots of chia on my PCT hike in 2013 (see pic above). Soon, I had an email offer to send me some HW chia bars for my AT hike.

I received a couple of cases of bars in the mail a few days before I was ready to tape the resupply boxes shut and mail them off. I was stoked to be able to add these treats to my supplies. I was even more thrilled to see a couple of cases of their new product–a chia protein bar–in there as well. I, of course, opened one and ate it on the spot. Two thumbs up!

One of the great things about the Health Warrior Chia bars is their compact nutrition and caloric density. In one .8 oz bar there are 100 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 6 grams of long burning fat fuel. Not to mention 1000mg omega 3's! The protein bars boast an additional 7 grams of protein derived from peas as well as ~200 calories all for 50 grams. The flavors are great too.

I mixed the regular and protein chia bars into the boxes fairly evenly. The 10g protein bars will be a nice change from the soy based ProBar Balance bars (reviewed below) and won't be too heavy to consume at once. Since I eat 200-300 calories per hour the 100 calorie Chia Bars are ideal to mix with Fuel Bites or some other small snack for variety.

My Favorite Flavors:

Chia Snack Bars: Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Acai Berry

Protein: Dark Chocolate Coconut Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Cacao, Lemon Goldenberry

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food for the Long Haul: Pro Bar Review

ProBars have been around for a long time. The orange wrappers are easily identifiable in nearly any hiker box or health food store. I tried one many years ago (probably the Original flavor) and was not impressed. It wasn't until I met Adam and he gave me a Coconut Chocolate one that I realized that these are pretty darn good for a bar! I subsequently tried many different flavors as well as their additional products Bolt Blocks, Fuel, Balance, and Bite bars.

I've been impressed by the flavor and obvious quality of the ingredients. As someone who will probably never be able to choke down a Clif bar again the ProBar lineup has given me a new way to supply my eat on the go methods. I like simplicity, and nothings much more simple than a meal in a wrapper that you can eat while hiking.

My daily food strategy consists of a ProBar Meal bar for breakfast. That's 390 calories weighing in at only 3 ounces. During the day I have a ProBar Balance (protein) bar that I will eat in portions. Too much protein at one time while hiking tends to give me a “gut bomb” which leaves me nauseous and sluggish for a while. The Balance bars have 20 grams of protein, 290 calories and weighs 2.46 ounces. This means that I can take a bite every few hours to help keep my macro nutrient balance intact without overwhelming my digestive system while I'm exercising. In addition, I have Fuel and Bite bars as well as Bolt Blocks thrown in to provide variety. I like the real fruit chunks and chia seeds in the Fuel Bars and the real fruit flavor of the Bolt Blocks.

Cons: I don't like that there is canola oil in ProBar products. I generally avoid canola in everything, but in this case I believe the benefits outweigh that detractor.

My Favorite Flavors:

Meal: Oatmeal Raisin, Strawberry, Koka Mocha
Fuel: Strawberry, Cherry, Cran-Raspberry
Bite: Peanut Butter Chocolate, Peanut Butter Crunch, Mixed Berry

Bolt: Raspberry, Strawberry (noticing a trend??)