Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And now a word from our sponsors.......

Oh, we don’t have any sponsors. It’s just that before the end of this post I’ll be mentioning some brand names. That prompts my thoughts to tv shows that have brand name sponsors. It also makes me think of the TV show “Betwitched” and of two of its’ characters-- Larry Tate and Darren Stephens-- and how they might view mention of their clients on a blog if they were practicing marketing in 2010 instead of TVLand circa early 1970s. They would probably go out for martinis, those mad men. But…I digress and I haven’t even begun.

I have the pleasure of teaching some movement classes a few times a week, mostly yoga, in a sweet studio in the town over from where I live. The proprietor keeps energy bars around for clients who, I suppose, want a quick pick me up between working out and doing the rest of their lives. When I’m in this studio space I’m a movement teacher and not a nutrition/wellness counselor. So my impulse to pick the basket of bars up and toss them right out the door needs to be restrained. Though the other day I could barely stop myself. I took one. It’s sitting right here next to me all smug and happy, thinking that it got me and I’m actually planning on consuming it. Ha! I admit I want to smash it to smithereens.

Instead I am going to out it. It is a Special K bar from those folks at Kellogg who want you to believe that you can control your weight, even lose some, by eating their products. As you have heard me mention before, my platform is whole foods eating. This means that for the most part the food is fresh, does not contain many ingredients—if packaged at all, perhaps five to seven—and all of them are able to be pronounced and recognized. Most of the time whole foods do not come in a box or package. So, this—and most “energy bars”-- drive me crazy because they are laden with not whole, clean ingredients. And the consumer is being sold a bill of goods that is as phony as the artificial coloring put in them. The Special K bar, that is the bane of my existence in this blog post, has nearly an inch–long listing of ingredients with various forms of (refined) sugar noted throughout with some crummy oils thrown in too. I started to list them here for you but I got so bored that I lost interest and didn’t wish to read what I had written. So, the likelihood that you would wish to do so was pretty much slim to none. You are welcome.

So this concept of an energy bar as a snack that will take you forward is something that, for the most part, I don’t buy….literally or figuratively. In my opinion, here’s why:

1) If you want long-lasting sustainable energy the way to get it is to eat a whole food—something that doesn’t come in a box or a package. Something with five to seven ingredients in it where all of the ingredients are whole, complete, easy to pronounce, spell and define. If you are struggling through the ingredient list imagine how your body feels trying to digest it.

2) You really don’t want sugar to be a part of the ingredient list of the foods you are consuming if you are making an attempt at eating healthily. And, if there is a sweetener, having a natural one (i.e maple syrup, honey) not something white/refined is the ticket. Also, if there is a sweetener, you’d ideally like it to be at the end of the ingredient list because ingredients are named based on the most content found in the product, first, and the least product in the content, second.

3) Eating bars like this commercially sold one do absolutely nothing positive for your body. The amount of sugars and not great quality oils alone will slow your metabolism down, sink your energy (after an initial sugar high), possibly bring your spirit/mood down and make you want to eat more because of the addictiveness of the ingredients.

So what’s a gal or fellow to do here? Well, on the run foods that work well run the gamut from bananas, raw nuts, and baked sweet potatoes to hard boiled eggs, roasted chicken breasts and olives, hummus, guacamole and raw/cooked vegetables to dip too. Try them and see how you do. It all travels well. I know because I often travel with some, if not all, of the above noted items.

But let’s say you’re traveling by plane, wanting to keep something other than nuts in your bag or the glove compartment of your car and every so often just want the “treat” of a bar.
Well, hold on to your hats, folks. If you managed to follow along this far you will be surprised and possibly shocked that I’m actually going to recommend two versions of energy/protein bars here Yes, even after everything just written. I know, I know. You didn’t know that was coming. Surprise! .I LOVE BOTH OF THEM because they are truly products that will keep your energy sustainable, assist in keeping blood sugar levels even, provide solid nutrients , satisfy hunger and snack attacks and they taste great too.

The first, if you are in the New York City/five borough area, is an amazing product called NOSHIES. It was started by a fellow nutrition/wellness counselor, who is also a top notch personal trainer. She was determined to come up with a version of an “energy bar” that really filled the bill on all levels, NOSHIES ingredients are organic, nutritionally balanced, and taste beyond delicious. And, to boot, creator of NOSHIES—Deb Duby—believes that our health and also that the health of the environment are mutually dependent on one another, so packaging that is PCB free and recyclable. Some of it is biodegradable.

NOSHIES are rich in protein, complex carbs, omega 3 fats, fiber and antioxidants. They are also wheat free, soy free, flour free, refined sugar free, artificial sugar, color and flavor free, preservative free AND three flavors are nut free . There are seven flavors and all I’ll say is my favorite is peanut butter chocolate chip. They come in round truffle-like, bite-size balls. So, saying that eating them truly IS a ball, is not out of context here! Orders can be taken by contacting Debra Duby, 917-968-8288, I bet if you can’t get to Brooklyn or Manhattan she’ll ship to you. Tell her I sent you.

The second recommendation , YOU BAR, lets you create (and name!) your own bar. I get a silly kick out of this because growing up with the name Mela I didn’t often see key chains, kiddie bicycle license plates or stickers with my name on it. So the idea of a Mela Bar of sorts tickles me. I do like seeing my name on the wrapper.

YOU BAR was borne in 2006 by mother-son founders, Ava Bise and Anthony Flynn. They had been making their own “protein bars” at home to meet their taste, health and allergy needs. They loved eating their own bars so much that they took a chance that there was a market of folks out there who would appreciate clean, high quality bars that customers’ could customize according to their own taste/needs. YOU BAR provides ingredient choices that are whole, clean, many organic and quite nutrient-dense . As you order via their website, they provide you with an opportunity to know both the caloric intent and (way more important to note, folks) the nutrition value of the bar before placing your order. Each individually wrapped bar also reiterates all of this nutrition information. The company has expanded into shakes, cookies and trail mixes too. However their original product of the “energy” bars are where I’d like you to place your effort at this point. Like NOSHIES they, too, are hand-made, fresh-to-order.
And to conclude, thank you Kellog for providing me with a platform to mention true food products that really serve the consumers health and well being. Take note, will ya? Maybe hang around Deb, Ava and Anthony for awhile and take note how it’s really done. That’s the ticket.

My nutrition/counseling work covers healthy snacking and eating on the go among other areas that folks usually in need of getting some support with. My work is in person in the New York area and by phone everywhere else on the globe. You can contact me via my website:, via this blog or by e mailing