Sunday, February 7, 2010

Food Bar Reviews

After Zumba fitness and a weight lifting class at the gym last Wednesday, my sister and I headed over to a local supermarket I like to frequent, Smith's Marketplace, perusing the health food aisles in search of vegan protein bars.  Eating "protein" after a workout is very important to my sister.  And eating vegan is very important to me.  So we tried to meld the two needs and discover if there was a perfect vegan protein bar option out there. 

Well, we found vegan bars alright!  Delicious, yummy, enticing vegan snacks a-plenty!  I don't know if they were particularly great sources of "protein" though, and my sister seemed rather unimpressed by the calorie counts of the products we reviewed.  In the end, even though she wasn't really enticed by anything, she treated me to a few bars of my choice!  It was very kind of her!  She is always doing nice things for me like that!  Thanks, Marcy!

It seems that the best way to find ideal vegan products and foods is to try out a large variety and determine which of them best meet your needs and which are the most enjoyable.  It is simply trial and error.  I thought it would be fun to document my "trials" and my "errors" here on my food blog!  It could be quite informative.  At least, it should be interesting!  :)

The first item I tasted was the 2.4 ounce Organic Food Bar "Vegan".  I shared it with Marcy on the drive home.  I liked it a lot!  She did not!  In her words: "I'm glad I didn't buy a box of those!"   :)  This product boasts organic credentials, plus 90% raw ingredients: almond butter, dates, agave nectar, brown rice protein, flax sprouts, demeter raisins, quinoa sprouts, and sesame seeds.  It was a light brown, nut-like bar, very dense and very filling.  But it oughta be for 300 calories!  It was admittedly delicious, in a healthy sort of way.  At least, that's what I thought!  :)  I would purchase this bar again.

The next day, I opened up another one--the Clif Bar--Energy Bar "Carrot Cake".  I cut this 2.4 ounce vegan treat into bite-size pieces and shared the experience with my mother and with my hubby, Jordan.  We all liked it!  It was cinnamon spicy like a real carrot cake would be.  It had somewhat of a crispy, puffed rice texture, which I enjoy.  It even had a little bit of a white frosting on the top!  It was kind of like eating a cookie, I thought.  It was much more dessertish than the Organic Food Bar "Vegan".  In spite of that, this bar's calorie count was 240.  That's 60 calories less than the other.  Interesting.  It has 70% organic ingredients but is not raw.  And there are a lot more ingredients to this bar.  I don't want to type them all out here.  But you can follow the link for exact information if you want it.  My mom, Jordan, and I each liked this bar very much!  I'd guess you would too!  I hope to buy this taste treat again!

We also tried another vegan variation on the same--the Clif Bar--Energy Bar "Chocolate Brownie"!  This one was also delicious, much like a dessert!  But I guess the name, alone, implies that sort of experience.  The three of us again concurred affirmatively regarding this bar: tasty!  The calories are the same as the other Clif Bar.  So is the organic content-- 70%.  But the ingredients do differ slightly.  Again, you can follow the specific link.  This "Brownie" is definitely grocery list worthy!

The next day I shared the last vegan Clif Bar with Jordan and Mom, the Clif Bar--Nectar, Organic Fruit and Nut Bar "lemon, vanilla, and cashew".  It was a small size compared to all the others, at a mere 1.6 ounces.  But it was good, in a weird sort of way.  My mom exclaimed after the first bite, "This reminds me of fruitcake!"   My mom LOVES fruitcake!  I like it too, but not as much as my mom does.  :)  Jordan agreed that he also liked it, except he couldn't taste the vanilla.  Even though this bar isn't raw, its calorie count is only 160, it's totally organic, and it has very simple ingredients, a quality I appreciate in a product: dates, cashews, goji berries, lemon juice concentrate, and vanilla.  Even the packaging's very cute!  In spite of all the thumbs-up, I don't know if I'd personally buy this bar again, but it was worth tasting at least once, for the experience. 

Yesterday, we sampled the final remaining nutrition bar--the 1.8 ounce LaraBar "Chocolate Coconut Chew".  At 220 calories for the serving, this bar's wrapper extols what hides inside: "No added sugar. Unprocessed.  90% raw.  Non-GMO.  Gluten free.  Dairy free.  Soy free.  Vegan.  Kosher.  Fair Trade Certified."  Although it's not organic, there's only five ingredients: dates, almonds, walnuts, cocoa powder, and coconut.  Yet for all the fantastic facts, it could never make up for the lack of fantastic taste.  It was very chalky and bitter, to me.  I shared this bar with Jordan and Mommy, too, just like with the others, except I don't remember anybody coming back for seconds this time.  They also couldn't approve.  I didn't even want to finish it, but I did.  I don't know why.  I should have just discarded it.  Sadly, this bar just didn't appeal to us at all.  I would not buy it again.  But perhaps the other varieties of LaraBars are much more palatable?  I'll have to try them and see!


cc said...

I used to eat the first option (organic food bars) all the time after a workout and as a meal replacement. I love 'em (but my favorite is the Belgium Chocolate one - probably not vegan)

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi CC!

I am glad to have found someone else who likes "Organic Food Bars"! Especially after my sister's horrible review! I liked it a lot! What's the matter with her? :)

Love you! And thanks for coming to see me at my blogs! I love reading your comments!

Veg is Sexy said...

Hey Valerie! That's so funny you just reviewed this too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought they tasted weird - but I do love the Clif bars, both the regular and the nectar!

Vegan Valerie said...

Hi Andria (Veg Is Sexy)!

That was a fun coincidence, huh!

And yes the Clif Bars were soooo good!

Thanks for coming to see me at my blog! I love hearing from you! :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

i had no idea those clif bars were vegan. i confess to not being the strictest of all vegans with trace dairy that creeps into bars...and it's nice to know im not sinning or anything with those cliff's :)

Vegan Valerie said...


Yes, these Clif bars are vegan. But I don't think all Clif varieties are. Darn. But it is nice to know we're not "sinning" with these few! :D

Vegan Epicurean said...

You aren't alone on the Lara Bars. I know people rave about them but I wasn't impressed either.

Great bar review, thanks for sharing!


Vegan Valerie said...

Hi Alicia!

Thanks for coming by! It was fun to type up "reviews". I'd never really thought about doing that until I was inspired by my friend Andria and her blog "Veg Is Sexy". She's great! But so are you!

Hey, at least there's more than just LaraBars out there, huh?! But I really should give a different flavor a chance. (I feel kind of bad that I didn't enjoy it. But we all prefer different tastes, don't we.)

Love ya! :)

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat said...

I love Larabars but definitely prefer some flavors to others. Keep trying them :)

Vegan Valerie said...

Sarah, you are wise!

I definitely haven't written LaraBars out of my life forever. I'll be sure to try some of the other flavors. I bet I'll end up liking quite a few! :)

And thanks again for stopping by to say hello! It's wonderful to get comments, isn't it?!