Ah, post-competition life. Super depressing, I’ll tell you that much! I wish I could afford to do more competitions but my work life and bank account could not manage any longer.
Plus, I’m trying to move out of the old home nest, if you know what I mean!
Anyways, my fave Aussie Skye recently wrote a post on protein bars and their nutritional value.
SPOILER ALERT: Most of the time, they’re just “over-glorified chocolate bars.”
Like Skye mentions in her post, I’m also a sucker for protein bars. Most of the time, they taste so delicious and you get that feel-good feeling about being healthy and your super jam-packed Hulk-size intake of protein – HULK SMASH!
But in actual fact, you are indeed better off not touching those protein bars. Do you know what the first six ingredients are in those protein bars? More important, can you pronounce them?
This should be a general rule of thumb when choosing what to fuel your body with: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your mouth.
Unfortunately this leaves us perusing the fresh produce and meat aisles – boooring. (With the exception of bulk, unsalted nuts and some canned items, like legumes.)
Anyways, since I’m not training for a competition right now, I’ve been much less strict on my nutrition – I eat fairly clean (no bread, no pasta, tryiiiing not to eat wheat – but dang you Starbucks and your delicious scones!)
Disclaimer: I’ve had a little bit of a weak streak with my training and eating as you can see from my nights out at Mexican and Southern BBQ restaurants. But as I’ve recently seen pictures of myself in a bikini from last summer, I have been successfully shocked into getting back on that gravy (free) train. Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I have to morph into Bridget Jones, thank you very much.
So I have a severe sweet tooth and now that I’m not training, I’m pretty lax with it — hitting up the bulk section of the grocery store near my office is not a good time. I generally stick with small portions of dark chocolate almonds …and perhaps some sour jujubes. But today, I’m doing the no-sweets-except-once-a-week plan that I had pre-competition about post-competition. (You follow?)
So as I’m perusing the organic section, I see some protein bars: Lara, Clif, Power, KIND, etc. Thankfully my competition training has taught me to read the labels on all of my packaged foods (which means a 97% rejection rate for the poor souls.)
You ever see how much sugar is in those babies? A LOT.
If I’m going to consume a packaged product, I (aim) to purchase products with ~10g of sugar (not from fiber). It’s nice to have a rule and gives you a sense of control over what you put into your body.
None of these protein bars fulfilled this personal requirement (reflective of my love life?! I THINK SO.)
Anyways, I decided to check out the Vega bars. The Vega Vibrancy Bar in Chocolate Decadence caught my eye as it boasted ‘raw and sprouted ingredients’ and it was gluten-free. I checked the label and sure enough, it wasn’t too bad:
Fat: 7g (1g saturated; 2g Omega-6, 1g Omega-3)
Carbohydrates: 24g (Fibre: 10g; Sugar: 10g)
Ingredients: Sprouted whole grain brown rice (from chicory root), dates, organic agave nectar, raw almonds, sprouted buckwheat, almond butter, chocolate chips, hemp seeds, cocoa powder, Vega SaviSeed (sacha inch) oil, white chia seeds, brown rice crisps, natural chocolate flavor, sea salt.
If you are going to choose to consume a packaged protein bar, I’d have to suggest this one. Unfortunately, I’m a Sweet Tooth Snob, so this bar didn’t taste as good as I thought it would – but that’s what happens when you’re eating “healthy junk.” Personally, I think it’s pretty neat that the bar has Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats in them, because those are the good fats that our body rarely gets (especially those vegetarians/vegans that Vega is marketed towards.)
Drawbacks: kind of tiny and it was pricey at $2.99/bar, but what do you expect? “Luxury” health food ain’t cheap.
So if you really have an itch for some kind of sweet serenity, try the Vega bar. Your body will thank you for not choosing that Snickers/PowerBar/LaraBar.
*This is not a sponsored post. BUT IT SHOULD BE. (I’m trying to break into the fitness PR-Marketing industry. Help a gal out!)
On that note, later days.