Where’s the Beef?! (No Cow Bar Review)

Hey everyone!! Long time no blog!

It feels like an eternity since I last posted, life got pretty busy with competition prep, work, and grad school applications. But I’m back!! ūüôā

Competing in my first figure show was a whirlwind of an experience, I actually placed second in my class! It got me even more addicted to the sport of bodybuilding than I ever thought possible. I’m currently taking a long offseason to add some quality size to my frame…EAT ALL THE THINGS! ūüėÄ

58339-alexandra-burt-3_final

Since my diet isn’t as strict during offseason, I can fit some treats into my macros. Additionally, I¬†have two free meals a week that go untracked. So, when I stumbled across D’s Naturals¬†No Cow Bars towards the end of my prep, I made sure to bookmark their website to try out there stuff as soon as offseason began.

What makes No Cow Bars so unique? They have the macronutrient profile of many other high fiber protein bars on the market, but they’re made without milk products or whey protein! They’re soy free, dairy free, vegan, gluten free, and high fiber.¬†Perfect for plant-based, vegan¬†athletes or people just trying to grab a healthier snack.

I contacted the company and they graciously sent me samples of their three current flavors: blueberry cobbler, peanut butter cookie dough, and mint chocolate chip!

IMG_3787

So without further ado, here’s a taste review! ūüôā

(Note, I was not paid or endorsed to say anything about these bars. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.)

Taste: Blueberry Cobbler: I gave this bar to my mom as a snack for work (hence no picture). She said it tasted very fruity with major emphasis on the blueberry. The little freeze dried blueberries in the bar provided a lot of flavorful zing! 

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: Reminded me of the powdered peanut butter PB2 in flavor. Sweet but not overpowering, tiny chunks of chocolate and peanuts, more peanut buttery than chocolate.

IMG_3811 IMG_3815

Mint Chocolate Chip: IDENTICAL to a thin mint Girl Scout cookie. Little mint chunks in the bar really added to the overall flavor. I got kind of tired of the flavor by the time the bar was over though.

IMG_3829 IMG_3831

Texture: Each flavor was VERY soft, almost dough-like. The peanut butter cookie dough was a bit grainy, but not bad. The mint chocolate was probably the softest and best texture. All had tiny chunks of chocolate, fruit or nuts in them. I didn’t try them heated, but I bet they’d taste like fresh baked cookies.

Smell: Blueberry Cobbler: Grandma’s fresh pie ūüôā Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: A brand new jar of peanut butter or a Reese’s cup!¬†Mint Chocolate Chip: Thin mint cookies all the way!

Price: $29.99 per box (Store locator on their website, may be able to find them cheaper locally)

Nutrition: 20-21g of quality plant protein, 25g carbs (19 of which fiber), between 2.5-5g fat, 2g net sugar, and roughly 200mg sodium.

Ingredients: Blueberry Cobbler: 71BNi2mG2LL__SL1300_

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: 

71mHgyPiDGL__SX522_ 

Mint Chocolate Chip: 71wmnY10r0L__SX522_

Overall:¬†I probably would buy again and highly recommend them! The texture was a lot better than other high protein bars on the market and they digested well. The only thing I’m not a fan of is erythritol since it has the tendency to¬†upset my stomach, but I had no ill-effects from these.¬†I can’t wait to see what other flavors they come up with!

Thanks again D’s Naturals for allowing me to do this review!!

If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to check out D’s naturals’ website, Facebook page, or Instagram (@DsNaturals)

Advertisements

Breakfast Never Tasted So Good (Review)

When I say the word “oatmeal,” what pops into your head?

A¬†piping hot¬†bowl of delicious mush that greets you on a cold, winter morning? Grandma’s homemade oatmeal raisin cookies, fresh out of the oven? Tiny round grains sprinkled on top of yogurt or featured on the crust of your favorite bread?

Well, what if you could create your own flavor and ingredient combination to replicate your favorite form of oats?

Tada!¬†Lemme introduce you to… My Oatmeal!

After hearing about My Oatmeal from friends on Instagram, I contacted the company regarding blog reviews. Anthony, the founder, got back to me right away and GRACIOUSLY provided me with an opportunity to sample some of their products.

I was more excited than a dog chasing a squirrel.

My_Oatmeal My_Oatmeal_Creations

Before I begin though, I have to mention that I was not paid or influenced in any way for this review. The opinions I express are solely my own.

Onto the review!

Basically, this company rocks.

First off, the website was SO much fun to navigate. I loved being able to pick ingredients and see the nutritional information of your creation pop up on the sidebar. The ingredients were also arranged in easy-to-follow categories like fruits, nuts, sweeteners, flavors, and oat or PB lean type. And did I mention the copious amounts of flavors?! It was hard to decide! Red velvet cake, banana bread, sugar cookie, german chocolate cake…the list of exotic, unique flavors goes on and on! Another cool touch is that you can name your DIY’ed food goodie bag–perfect to mark your territory ermmm….I mean customize your creation.

So how did they measure up?

“Holy Baboons” Oatmeal– Gluten free quick oats with banana bread flavor and dates.

Banana Bread Dates Oatmeal

Taste: Tasted like fresh baked banana bread and just the right amount of sweetness. Really nice after flavor, too. Next time I’d get more dates though, there weren’t a whole lot in the mix. My mom said this was her absolute favorite!

Texture: Very smooth and soft, cooked great in the microwave.

Smell: Bananas!!

~~~~~

“Not Your Average Cookie” Oatmeal– Gluten free thick rolled oats with oatmeal cookie flavor,¬†honey flavor and organic cane juice crystals

Oatmeal Cookie Honey Oats

Taste: Identical to a true oatmeal cookie, and a little hint of honey. Super delicious! Totally want to use this in cookie batter one day.

Texture: Very grainy, I think I should cook it on the stove next time, it never got really soft.

Smell: Fresh baked oatmeal cookies, it made the kitchen smell amazing! Super inviting aroma.

~~~~~

“Gingerbread Goodum” PB Lean– light roasted, powdered peanut butter with gingerbread flavor and brown cane sugar

Gingerbread PB Lean

Taste: The peanut taste sorta overpowered the gingerbread when it was eaten alone. When I added powder to a smoothie, it blended well and gave a pleasant, peanutty flavor. Just wish there was a little more of a gingerbread flavor.

Texture: I added a little bit of water gradually and stirred until it had a creamy, paste-like consistency. AWESOME! It made smoothies thick, too.

Smell: Mostly peanut butter, with a tiny hint of gingerbread.

~~~~~

Overall: I will definitely be purchasing from My Oatmeal again, five stars! Not only do they have a ton of options, but the oatmeal is high quality and delicious. I’m considering using the oats in cookies one day, can you imagine the deliciousness?!

Thanks again so much Anthony, and everyone at My Oatmeal, for the opportunity to try your product! My family and I are hooked! ūüėÄ

ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bar

ANSI Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bars

20131212_143703 I heard about these new bars on Instagram the other day and¬†was immediately drawn to them because of the flavor¬†choices and the stats. Here’s some facts about the bars from their website:

  • 20 grams of Isolate Protein
  • 100% All Natural
  • Gluten Free
  • High Fiber (17-19g)
  • Stevia¬†Sweetened
  • No Soy Protein
  • No Gelatin
  • No Sugar Alcohol
  • No Hormones¬†rBST & rBGH
  • Less Sodium (under 90mg)
  • Low Net Carbs

Similar macros to that of a Quest bar but claiming to be softer and more delicious?¬†You KNOW I had to try them. I contacted the company and they kindly sent me a free bar to review! I got the “Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake” version. 20131224_181709 Taste:¬†Initially, the bar’s taste¬†was bursting with strawberry flavor but¬†had a bizarre, and somewhat lingering, chemical aftertaste.¬†

Texture: The bars were chewy but semi-chalky. Like a microwaved Quest bar but not as dense.

Smell: Smelled just like a strawberry cheesecake. Very appetizing! 20131224_181635 Gluten-filled counterpart: A strawberry cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory but with a cough medicine-y aftertaste. 

Price: $28.99 per box

Nutrition: 20g of quality protein, lots of fiber, lower fat than a Quest bar, and much lower sodium than a Quest bar. More ingredients than Quest bars, but all quality and healthy. Nothing bad to say here! 20131212_143721 Ingredients: rBST/rBGH Free Isolate Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Corn and/or Tapioca Fiber, Inulin, Honey, Almonds, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Strawberries, Yogurt Powder (Whey Protein Concentrate, Nonfat Dry Milk, Yogurt Cultures), Natural Flavors, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Stevia Extract (Reb A), Monk Fruit Extract.

Overall:¬†I probably wouldn’t buy this bar again. Although it had similar nutritional stats to a Quest bar and had an enticing smell, the aftertaste and price were subpar.¬†amazing texture. I did like that they are handmade each week, so it makes it a bit more worth it. The other flavors may be better, so I can’t say I’m not a fan of them all. These Gourmet Cheesecake Protein Bars come in three delicious flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake, Strawberry Supreme Cheesecake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake.

Krave Protein Bars

Krave Protein Bars

I’m a Quest bar addict, I admit it. But whenever I see new bars that compare nutritionally and claim to be better than Quest bars, I HAVE to try them.

After hearing about¬†Pure¬†Fitness’¬†new high fiber Krave¬†protein bars on Instagram, I contacted the company and they graciously sent me two free samples to review. I got Banana Nut¬†Chocolate Chip and Raw Cookie Dough. Let’s just say these took me by surprise! ūüėÄ

20131128_182418

Before I start the review, here’s Krave’s mission statement and a few facts about the bars themselves:

Our Krave Natural Protein Bars are freshly made each week in our kitchen in Lantana, FL with healthy natural ingredients, giving them an impeccable nutritional profile. Each bar has 20 grams of protein, no more than 7g of non-fiber carbs, and they all are gluten free! The most important features of our bars are their delectable taste, unique soft texture, and chewy feel, unrivaled by all protein bars. Our Krave natural protein bars are a new enjoyable experience from the first to last bite, we guarantee!

20131128_104705

Taste: The banana nut chocolate chip had the flavor of a banana split–nuts, chocolate, and banana all combined into one bite. I thought I was¬†eating a hot fudge sundae or one of those frozen chocolate dipped bananas! The cookie dough was different than I was expecting; sort of chemically tasting, but not bad. I think I may still like the Quest chocolate chip cookie dough better.

Texture: THIS is what won me over. The bars were SO SOFT. Like a microwaved Quest bar without being microwaved. Krave definitely knocked this out of the park. The pliable, almost gooey texture made me want to go back for more. The raw cookie dough had flecks of real milk chocolate dispersed throughout, and the banana nut chocolate chip had banana chips, too.

bars

Smell: The banana nut chocolate chip bar didn’t really have a strong smell, but the cookie dough smelled like the real thing. I had to do a double take and make sure it wasn’t real cookie dough!

Gluten-filled counterpart: Three Musketeer’s Bar in texture

Price: $28.99 a box

20131128_182350

Nutrition: These bars boast a whopping 20g of protein and 16-17g fiber, leaving 4g-7g non fiber carbs. They’re a bit high on sodium at around 250mg per bar, but not bad compared to other protein bars on the market. They’re gluten free, vegan, low sugar,¬†and have no preservatives, too.

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough: Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Blue Agave Inulin (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber), All Natural Peanut Butter, Purified Water, Unsweetened Chocolate Chips, Erythritol. Contains 1% of less of: Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Sucralose.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip: Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate), Blue Agave Inulin (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber), All Natural Peanut Butter, Purified Water, Unsweetened Chocolate Chips, Dried Banana Chips, Erythritol. Contains 1% of less of: Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Sucralose.

20131128_182301

Overall:¬†I would definitely buy these again. Out of all the Quest competitors, these give them the most run for their money. With similar nutritional stats, amazing texture, they’re amazing. While their price is higher (although cheaper than Quest if you consider shipping), they are handmade each week, so it makes it a bit more worth it. They have a lot of other flavors that sound AMAZING: French Toast, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Baked Apple Pie, Peanut¬†Butter Chocolate¬†Crunch…you can check them all out here.¬†I can’t wait to try them!

The GF Equivalent of Cloud Nine

Today, I thought I’d change things up and post a review of one of my favorite new-to-me products. I guess I have to live up to the “Gluten Free” chunk of this blog every once in awhile ūüėČ

So I found some of these Glutino Blueberry bars newly on sale at my local grocery store…

20131004_143640

Ever since my Celiac-onset, I’ve been on the hunt for a gluten-free replacement to quell my cravings for a Nutrigrain bar. Those things are straight up heaven, am I right? These looked extremely promising, so I decided to bite the bullet and buy a box. Best decision EVER.

bar

Taste: Identical, and I mean identical to a Nutrigrain bar. The blueberry flavor is spot on, just like fresh picked berries or homemade blueberry jam!

Texture: The fruit filling was creamy and soft and the bar itself is reminiscient of a fresh baked cookie–very soft and doughy. It isn’t crumbly or cardboard-y in the least, like most other gluten free attempts at breakfast items.

Smell: Fresh blueberries! AMAZING! When heated, it smelled like oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven!

Gluten-filled counterpart: Nutrigrain Cereal Bars

Price: $4.50-$5.00 a box

Nutrition: Low fat (only 2 grams per bar) and not too shabby on the fiber for a gluten free product (3g). The sugars are a bit high at 17g per bar, even if some are from the berries themselves, but besides that, they’re¬†a pretty healthy option for an on-the-go snack.

bar2

Ingredients: BLUEBERRY FILLING (SUGAR, APPLE POWDER [DRIED APPLES, CALCIUM STEARATE], WHITE GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE, GLYCERIN, BLUEBERRIES, WATER, CORN STARCH, CANOLA OIL, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM ALGINATE, MALIC ACID, DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, DRIED CITRUS PULP, SODIUM CITRATE, CARROT AND BLUEBERRY JUICE, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE, NATURAL FLAVOR), CHICK PEA FLOUR, POTATO STARCH, FRUCTOSE, PEAR JUICE CONCENTRATE, RAISIN PASTE, INULIN, CANOLA OIL, TAPIOCA STARCH, WHITE RICE FLOUR, WATER, SODIUM BICARBONATE.

Overall: Delicious! While a bit pricy, I have definitely made these a staple in my pantry. As an athlete looking for gluten free sources of carbs, I find this to be a wonderful option that not only meets those requirements, but tastes superb! You’ve knocked it out of the ballpark with this one, Glutino!

20130925_204819

Have you ever tried these bars? What’s your favorite flavor of Nutrigrain bar?

DISCLAIMER: All reviews are solely my opinion. I was not paid or compensated in any way to speak of the products featured, unless otherwise noted. All reviews are objective and for general information purposes only. The thoughts and opinions expressed are intended to help and inform people looking for information on vacation locations and gluten free food items.