Your initial reaction may be, what does this have to do with recumbent bikes? Did you think the only ones who use energy bars are CAT 1 bikers? If you’ve done a Century or two, you know that’s wrong. So enjoy a slight deviation from bikes to some info on the “sweet” side of things.
Energy bars, smenergy bars! You can get away with calling almost anything an energy bar these days. While there might be a few that actually create some energy from something other than plain sugar, or just being loaded with calories, most seem to be over-rated and over-priced!
The June issue of Consumer Reports has an article you should read about energy bars. It says pretty much the same thing. Nutrition experts echo these opinions as well. Energy/Power bar makers don’t want you to know that healthy seems to be just an advertising word.
Healthy food like cold rolled oats, sesame seeds, wheat germ, peanut butter, dried cranberries, dried apricots, walnuts and raisins are used to make these bars. It sounds like a healthy and nutritious product. It should be. Well…when was the last time you looked at what’s in a bar. Better yet, what about the nutrition facts printed on the label?
But that is only the tip of the iceberg! For years the so-called “tree huggers,” who many would claim are left-overs from another time, have cried out about the real food value of the things you eat in the first place. Besides calories, carbs, fats, and sugars you get from food, there is a lack of those things called vitamins and minerals that are needed to help your body work right.
The vitamin and mineral content of your food has diminished for the last 60 years. The big red tomato you see at the grocery looks real good and the flavor seems fine. The same goes for that Red Delicious apple or that big head of lettuce. The flavor seems alright, until compared with those grown under organic conditions! But more than flavor is missing.
Organic foods, simply defined, are those grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or any type of exposure to these things. That also means any contact by these chemicals from the surrounding area by air, water runoff and the like. A buffer zone has to exist to avoid any contact. Crop rotation to restore nutrients to the soil is a must, because it’s those nutrients that end up in the food.
While this is not an ad for organic foods, it is an attempt to point out the ridged effort to produce foods free of those things that would damage or reduce the nutrient value. The key word here is nutrients. That should be important to you and everyone. Consider the quality of food in one of these bars.
Look out now, because I’m headed for some white water rapids ahead! At this point you may be asking yourself where am I going with this. Didn’t I start talking about PowerBars and all that stuff? Hang in there with me and you’ll get there.
For those of you who are looking for ways to stay fit, healthy, control weight, or replace needed energy after extreme exercise, the multitude of choices offered by the “energy bar” seemed great. Well, it is…for the industry that will see sales of 1.4 billion dollars this year!
There’s a funny thing that happens when money gets in the mix. To begin with, in order to package these things so they will last on the grocers shelf there are chemicals added. So that some of the foods used will combine well when mixed together there are other chemicals used. And don’t even ask if the “cream of the crop” is selected. Remember, it’s about profit!
These companies aren’t responsible for what you eat! Just ask them. They are only responsible for making something that can be passed off on the public as edible. When a fruit juice product that contains 10% or less of real fruit juice can legally be called “all natural” or any form of “natural,” what do you think they can do to one of these so called “energy bars?”
No amount of artificial flavor can make some of these bars taste good. Throw in food that has lost most of is flavor and nutrient value. Add to that chemically reproduced vitamins and minerals to make it sound healthy. Now ask yourself, how much energy, power, nutrition or anything could you get from something like that?
But people would rather ignore the truth, because it means they would have to change routines they are used to. It’s all about easy. It’s just too easy to snatch up one of those bars at the check out and brainwash your mind into believing you are doing yourself some good.
OK! If you’ve gotten this far it means you’re willing to consider what’s being said is true. So let me bring this to a final point.
Not only will you get more from a salad and half a turkey sandwich than you will most energy bars, you’ll enjoy it more. Change that salad and turkey to food grown under organic conditions, and you have just hit the jackpot! Now you’re talking flavor plus the food value.
If you think that organic food is just for “tree hugger” types, check out the “mainstream” supermarket shelves. Commercial food producers are getting the message when they have to give up shelf space for organic food items.
There is a serious effort to force the FDA to soften what defines ”organic” so big companies can begin to sell the “stuff” they continue to call food as organic. If the food industry has their way, as they have in the past, organic will become anything but organic! So far, the groups that have been in place for decades and defined what “organic” is, have won out.
There are health food stores and lots of them. The prices for organic products have gone way down over the last 10 years. You’ll find organic growers and food makers you rarely see in grocery stores. So you can now find “natural” products to make your energy bars at prices you can afford. Bars that will actually be healthy, and provide some real energy!
So what about energy bars? Is there hope? There is if you make them yourself…using organic products! OK! So you get your hands a little messy and it takes away some TV time. Are you really serious about health and fitness? If nothing changes…nothing changes! For some of the food items you can use in your bars, consider these.
Honey, is sweeter than refined sugar so less is required. It is also more easily absorbed by the body. Organic honey also contains benefits that sugar does not. Organic sesame seeds, peanuts, multi-grain and whole wheat flours, raisins, dried cranberries, apricots, prunes, bananas, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, oat and wheat brans, can all be used.
Get creative and try a variety or pick your favorite fruit or nut.
Now you can make some real energy/power bars with food items like those above. Just keep in mind this is to replace energy from a strenuous workout, or you may find what you’re replacing can be found around your waistline!
copyright© Alan W. Jarrett 2003-2017