Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You Bar Review, a Great Deal and "Tag" Questions Answered!

I'm kind of on a health kick. Remember those adorable little pumpkin cupcakes? I only had one. I know, weird. Especially for me.

I know I've told you all before that I am fairly good about my eating, but I know you don't care what was in my sandwich at lunch (peanut butter and honey, turkey and avocado, mozzarella in spinach, if you must know). You also know I'm a trainer. I love helping people get le fit, and I believe that diet is the cake, exercise is just the icing. (Like how I made a foodie reference?)

A lot of people I work with ask me about nutrition this and supplement that. Protein poweder is like crack in my gym... they're all on it! I don't really use it. I tried Muscle Milk but I prefer to chew than sip my calories. No offence you muscle milk heads, you.

I, on the other hand, am a nutriton bar fiend. Love them. LOVE! But, with all the choices out there, it can be a bit hard to navigate. What better way than for me to try them for you? So health nuts, tune in as I go through some brands you may know, and some you may not!

Review #1: You Bar
Okay, so You Bar was one of those products that looked super inticing to me. The premise they have is "you choose the ingredients; you name the bar; you enjoy it." Sounds good to me.

If you go on their website, you will find that this company is all about you (no pun intended). Between the You Bar, You Shake, You Trail Mix and even You Cereal, there are tons of possibilities to try for any sort of snack you could imagine.

For the bars, you a base of nut butters and/or dates. Recommended is the date and almond butter combo, and I definintely loved the date-based ones I had. You then can choose a protein powder, nuts and seeds, dried fruits and berries, sweeteners, seasonings, chocolates, grains, and even infusions. Like I said, the possibilites = endless! Then, on the side of the screen you can see the nutrition label for your specific bar, down to every last addition. Awesome.

Then, then... you can also customize your own trail mix. I mean, c'mon! How great is that?! Talk about going nuts on nuts... you can add up to five from a big list of cashews to pistachios to walnuts. You can also pic for less nuts, more nuts or "normal" nuts. Talk about specific.

Then you scroll down and throw a mini party when you see that you can add sun drops candies, chocolate covered raisins, espresso beans and any dried fruit you can think of.

Once you pick your ingredients you name your bar, order as many as you'd like and before you know it, your completely customized box will arrive.
How cool is that? So, how did these products stack up?

Well, I tried four bars and two of the trail mixes.
This one is the Honey Cashew. It has the consistency of a short bread cookie, which I loved, but the flavor (almost) of peanut butter crackers. It was a bit crumbly, but definitely filling. It sort of has that stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth thing going on, which is exaclty what I love about nut butters (cashew butter, in this sense). There were only four ingredients in this... clean and simple: Cashew Butter, Whey Protein, Nutty Rice Cereal, Organic Honey
Here we have the Great Date With Chocolate (above and below). This one was awesome popped in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. It tasted like a brownie but obviously was way healthier. The sweetness of the dates really complimented the chocolate nicely. It was chewy, a little sticky and satisfying with a glass of cold milk.
Brownies for snacks? OKAY! Definintely my favorite of the bars. Ingredient list? Short and sweet:  Organic Dates, Whey Protein Isolate, Organic Honey, Cocoa.
This little guy is the Goji Macadamia. I've never had this combination before... In fact, I've never had gogi in general. This bar was definitely not as sweet as the previous, which is great if you are more of a salty person. Me, I tend to like sugar sugar sugar! I mean, just a bit won't hurt me, right? I love that you can see all the different ingredients here!!
Lastly is the Breakfast Bar. This one is a lot like the Great Date With Chocolate, but less caloric. I wish I had thought to pop this one in the microwave but alas, I had it room temp. Still good. Again, the dates make for this chewy consistancy that is great. I love love love the subtle hint of coffee and cinnamon. It made for a really nice mix of flavors. Made with Dates, Egg white powder, Honey, Cocoa Powder, Instant Coffee Crystals (caffeinated), Cinnamon.
Next I tried the trail mix. This one, Chocolate Trails, was easily my favorite. I love the sweet and salt combinations and the fact that their nuts are raw. Sodium can really be cranked up by salted nuts. The mix consisted of Pecans, Dried Cherries, Peanuts, Milk Chocolate Raisins, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Mini Pretzels, and it kept me satisfied for about three hours-- yum!

Lastly I tried The Best Trail Mix, which I think would be a hit around the board. I loved everything except the walnuts, and that's just a personal preference. The sweetened berries and the crunchy nuts and the chocolate were a great mix. I had this while driving through the Virginia country side, and without a lunch, this was able to keep me full until dinner time. Can't beat that. Made with: Almonds, Organic Cashews, Walnuts, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Dried Sweetened Blueberries, Sweetened Cranberries, Sun Drops Original Chocolate Candies.

So, bottom line? I would recommend You Bars. Customization is key for this company, and if you make something you don't like, you can get a refund.  And guess what, because you're a reader of my blog, all you have to do is use the code "themessiekitchen" in your order and you get 10% off!

This would be a thoughtful gift for your health concoius colleague, or even your picky friend. Again, the possibilities are endless, so there's no doubt you will find something you love!!

On a side note, I was tagged by Jason from Ancient Fire Wine Blog to answer a few questions about myself and then to pass it on to fellow bloggers. Here are the nitty gritty details about yours truly...

1. Desert island dish. You are on a desert island, what dish will you take to survive?
Oh geez this is a tough one. There are so many foods that I would crave all the time but if I were limited to just ONE thing, I would probably have to bring a really great loaf of bread and hunk of cheese. And from there the options would be endless... panini over the fire, fondue seasoned with sea salt. A deserted island might not be that bad...!

2. What kitchen utensil explains your food personality the best?
Hmm... I'm having a hard time deciding between an ice cream scoop and a kitchen scale. I have a really serious and particular side of me (anal?), but that only really comes into play when I need it to. For the most part, I'm looking to scoop the fun out of life. Can I get any lamer? No.

3. When you were younger, you pick how long ago, how hard would you have laughed if someone told you this is what you would be doing right now?
Absolutely! I've always loved food. I mean, basically a month into my life I was a tubbo. Not just a chubby baby but a seriously-big. My little old grandmother was appalled one time when she saw how fat I was. Little known fact. I have, however, very much changed my palate. Just three short years ago, the only vegetables I ate were iceburg lettuce drowned in ranch, corn soaked in butter or potatos fried in oil. So, if you were to tell me I ate portobello mushrooms, polenta, plain yogurt and soy... I'd die.

4. What is the nastiest, grossest, most detestable food you have ever had?
Easy, olives. I hate olives. I hate them on my pizza. I hate them in my martini (well, I don't drink martinis, but I would imagine). No olives. Never.

5. What is your favorite food you don’t make and how far would you travel for it?
Hmm... I've really tried to recreate all the food that I love, but I think my answer would be pizza. I do make it, but I've yet to make one that can top Regina Pizza in the North End in Boston, and if I do, I'll sell you the recipe. I'd travel far far distances for good pizza. Cheese and bread and marinara sauce? Basically my favorite thing ever. (See desert island answer)

6. Who is the best person to have in the kitchen with you, and why?
I love to cook with my friend Amie because we really balance each other out in the kitchen. She loves rich creamy food and I love stuff not as heavy. We can meet in the middle and make something slammin'. Also, have you seen the desserts we've made? I mean, c'mon! There is something therapeutic about cooking with a friend. We can chat the whole time or not say a word, and either way it was a good time.

7. First alcoholic beverage you ever had.
Dry gin. God, I know. Awful choice. That's what happens when you sneak it from your next door neighbors grandparent's liqour cabinet.

8. What is your biggest food blog challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
There are two. The first is that there are not enough hours in a day to take good photos, eat good food, write about it, and do all those other things in life like school, work, social life... I struggle to keep up with my blog in the busy summer and fall. During the summer, The Messie Kitchen was booming! Something a little more mentally challenging is as a blogger, you always compare yourself to your peers. I've gotten a lot of inspiration from other bloggers and I've seen my own writing rub off on others--so strange! But all that mutual territory makes you wonder, why is someone getting more hits than you, why aren't your readers commenting, yadda yadda. And I think here it is important to remember, that as much as I love my blog, the people I've "met" on the journey, and the stories I read, there is always life outside of the internet, and it doesn't care if my pictures are a little blurry.

Well, I am at work and I definitely need to get back to fitness assisting--oops! So I will admit I'm not "tagging" anyone new, but hopefully you will see many of your favorite bloggers answering some of your favorite questions!

Take care, and enjoy the Virginia rain!


Astrid said...

I like the ice cream scoop answer!! I actually own neither a kitchen scale nor an ice cream scoop. I can be pretty minima in my utensils and appliances, but if they are given to me for free, I will take and try anything!
I want to try a You Bar, too! Care to send one my way?

Anonymous said...

I don't like to sip my cals either... so I'm not a big fan of muscle milk or other protein drinks. The You Bars sound great though!

Loved reading more about you!

Unknown said...

Am I the only one that thinks that that breakfast bar looks like a big poop? (Yes, I have a 4 year-old so my mindset has shifted from adult things to the juvenile.)

Dry gin??? I'd be a teetotaler for sure!

Monet said...

You and I are so very much alike! There were so many answers that made me say amen! I hate olives and I would definitely ask for a loaf of bread and cheese if I was going to be left on an island...You are great, and I'm glad that I got to learn a bit more about you!