Use less environmental energy and gain better quality food energy.
That’s the theme for the next few posts.
Lately I have gotten extremely interested in biking. Nowadays it’s not uncommon for me to ride the 20 or so mile round trip to the nearest town (where the natural food store is ;)), in addition to my usual commuting around town. All this exercise makes you, well, hungry.
I am not a big fan of the energy, fitness, and “nutrition” bars and smoothie powders, touted as being optimal and almost necessary for anyone who considers themselves a fitness enthusiast. The problem I find with these products, promoted as boosting your performance as an athlete, is that they do not tend to have ingredients suitable for human anatomy. Soy protein isolate? Dairy? Eggs? Preservatives? These companies pump the “food” full of chemicals to make them artificially irresistible.
Sure there are some notable bars worthy of nutritional consideration – among them are Larabars, some types of Clifbars (most are not GF, however), and others – but the reason they are “healthy” and “nutritious” is because they are comprised of recognizable ingredients. Furthermore, they are ingredients that you have probably eaten before, and that are available in the store you’re purchasing this bar from!
Furthermore, all these “healthy” bars are sold in single serving wrapped in packaging disastrous to our environment. And though there is something to be said of the eco-friendliness of the ingredients themselves, there is no getting around the fact that it is plastic, foil, etc. Also, remember how water in plastic bottles leaches the chemicals out of the plastic for our drinking delight? I wouldn’t be surprised if the same were true for food wrapped in the stuff. This goes for both non-recyclable and recyclable packaging. Plastic is plastic. Trees are trees. One in necessary for human survival (the trees) and the other should have never been created (plastic). Even recycled plastic is never going to break down and will be hanging around long after mankind destroys himself.
So I vote for making your own food. Sure, in a pinch a Larabar is a lifesaver (I’m thinking back to my NYC trip, when I practically had zilch to eat, when I first discovered Larabars). However, chances are you are planning ahead enough to buy the bars, so how about you switch out the plastic mother lode for some ingredients that will enable you to make your own?
A word about the ingredients you buy: I strongly suggest you go for the packing free alternative when possible (such as bulk buying with your own bags, not the plastic ones provided), but it is sometimes unavoidable, especially in this day and age. Paper is definitely preferable over plastic, as is breaks down when discarded. But if I am forced to purchase food with plastic packaging (whether by lack of options or lack of money), I try to get the one with the least plastic and the most food. For instance, my local natural food store sells bulk dates for $11/lb or a different variety in plastic containers for half the price. You see my dilemma as a teen with limited funds?
In the next few posts, I’ll talk about the top ingredients for tasty bars and recipes to make your own (super easily, I might add!).
Today’s question: Do you buy nutrition bars? If so, what kinds?