AMAZING GRASS ENERGY BARS
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
INITIAL REPORT - April 08, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT - July 21, 2009
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week-long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and hiking poles.
April 8, 2009
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Photos courtesy of Amazing Grass website|
Manufacturer: Amazing Grass
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.amazinggrass.com
MSRP: $35.99 US per 12 bar case for 1-2 cases $31.99 US per 12 bar case for 3 or more cases
Listed Weight: 60 g (2.1 oz)
Measured Weight: 61 g (2.2 oz) for Original and 57 g (2.0 oz) for Chocolate
Measured Dimensions: 6 x 1.75 x 0.75 in (15 x 4.5 x 2 cm) as packaged
4 x 1.3 x 0.6 in (10 x 3.3 x 1.5 cm) original bar only
3.6 x 1.3 x 0.6 in (9 x 3.3 x 1.5 cm) chocolate bar only
Flavors tested: Original and Chocolate (No other flavors available)
Expiration date on wrapper: 07 2010
Made in Canada
|Courtesy of Amazing Grass website|
Organic Dates, Organic Agave Nectar, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry, Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Adidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Almonds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Dried Cranberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Coconut and Organic Vanilla Extract. Allergy Information: Contains Almonds and Cashews
Organic Dates, Organic Dark Chocolate Coating (Cane Sugar, Unsweetened Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Non-GMO Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Flavor), Organic Agave Nectar, Amazing Grass Green SuperFood (Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Alfalfa, Organic Spirulina, Organic Spinach, Organic Chlorella, Organic Broccoli, Organic Acai, Organic Maca, Organic Carrot, Organic Beet, Raspberry, Organic Rose Hips, Pineapple, Green Tea, Organic Flax Lignans, L. Adidophilus, Alpha and Beta Amylase, Protease, Lipase, Lactase, Cellulase, Organic Peppermint), Organic Cashews, Organic Almond Butter, Organic Almonds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Organic Dried Cranberries, Organic Cacao Nibs, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Dried Coconut and Organic Vanilla Extract. Allergy Information: Contains Almonds and Cashews
The Organic Green SuperFood Energy bar is a healthy whole food energy bar which comes in two flavors: original and chocolate. There are 12 bars in each case of product. The chocolate version is essentially the same as the original flavor but with a dark chocolate coating.
These bars feature organic whole food ingredients with no added sugars and no trans fats. The fats are healthy omega fats. Both versions are raw, cold processed, alkaline, gluten free, dairy free and vegan. The original flavor is also soy free with no sugar added. In addition, they include green foods like wheat grass, alfalfa and spirulina and also a wide array of antioxidants like acai, maca, carrot, beet and green tea. They include fiber, digestive enzymes, active culture and an energizing herb blend. Now that's a lot to include in one little bar!
The Amazing Grass website has detailed information about the value of all of these ingredients. The main idea is that we don't all get our needed 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day and these bars help to fulfill that need. I have to say that I do pretty well on non-trail days because I love fruits and veggies and make an effort to include lots of them in our meals. However, being on the trail is a completely different story. I create my own custom healthy meals by dehydrating organic vegetables and beans and I always pack dried fruits. However, I still come off of the trail craving a big salad. Okay, a juicy burger usually sounds good too.
Their website also talks about why their grasses are superior including their harvesting methods, soils and storage temperatures. Apparently they use organic field grown cereal grasses which haven't been exposed to pesticides or herbicides. Suffice it to say that they seem to be experts on the green foods subject and have lots of information to support their claims.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING THEM OUT
The bars are slightly larger and have slightly more calories than my typical bar choice. They are a size that is in between what I would normally eat in one sitting and one that I would split in half. I am interested to see how they fill me up and whether I prefer to finish a whole one or split them.
At first glance the wrapper appears to be a brown paper wrapper due to its color, but it is a typical thin plastic wrapper which is sealed at both ends and down the middle of the length. The wrapper seems to be a good fit for the bar and is not overly large as some wrappers are. There is little excess air in the wrapper to concern me that they'll come open if stuffed into a pack. The wrapper opens easily. It is easy to open it neatly such that I can leave half for later and feel that it is adequately covered. The outside of the bar doesn't have a wet or sticky feeling and slides easily out of the wrapper.
Upon opening the package, I tried to get a sense of the aroma. The original flavor bar has a slightly sweet smell with earthy undertones. The aroma is pleasing enough and made me want to taste one. The chocolate version simply smells like chocolate. The bars are a distinct dark green color throughout.
The texture is somewhat pliable but the bar separated when I bent it to approximately 30 degrees. So, they are less pliable than say a chewy granola bar. When I bent the chocolate version, the coating cracked but still remained attached to the bar for the most part. A little chocolate did fall off at the edges.
So, how did they taste? I started with the original flavor and found it to be quite pleasant. They taste like I am eating something healthy and not like a candy bar. The natural whole ingredients are appealing but I can clearly taste the green ingredients like the wheat grass and alfalfa. The primary flavor is dates with the nuts also being very noticeable. I'm quite pleased with the flavor because my past experience with green powders is that they taste grainy and very grass-like even when added to sweet fruit juices. I have not tried them before in a bar. The chocolate version is exactly the same but with a very nice dark chocolate coating. It kind of reminds me of something a parent would do to get their kids to eat something healthy...coat it with chocolate. I, for one, appreciate the effort. The chocolate tastes like a high quality dark chocolate. My only concern is that since the coating is real chocolate, it may melt easily on the trail. It did melt in my fingers a little bit when I held the bar for a short time while trying to measure its size.
The texture in my mouth was similar to that of a chewy granola bar. I didn't find it to be grainy or dry or stick to my teeth. I felt pretty full after eating an entire bar although I didn't have any bloated feeling in my stomach at all. The energy I felt afterwards was more subtle and sustained like complex carbohydrates offer versus a quick high from something with more simple carbohydrates.
I found another brand of superfood bar in the local outdoor store. Their superfood bar simply has spirulina added to the other natural ingredients which in no way comes close to what Amazing Grass calls SuperFood. I also noticed another brand of superfood bar which actually contains Amazing Grass SuperFood as an ingredient.
The Amazing Grass Energy Bars seem to be a nice attempt to get healthy green superfoods into a simple to use, easy to carry, tasty package. I am anxious to see how much I like the taste, energy provided and nutrition of these bars while backpacking.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
As stated in the Initial Report I tasted one bar of each flavor when they arrived while just hanging around the house. Since then I have only eaten the bars for outdoor athletic activity. At first, I purposely did not drink anything with the bars except water or eat anything else with them. This way I could more accurately describe the effects of the bars while knowing that other things hadn't contributed. Later in the test I sometimes ate them with other food such as half of an apple or with other drinks such as an electrolyte beverage.
I used the bars during and after backpacking, hiking and mountain biking. Overall, I ate them on 5 mountain bike rides, 6 day hikes and during 10 days of backpacking.
La Verkin Creek Trail, Zion National Park (Utah): 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 5,413 to 6,070 ft (1,650 to 1,850 m); 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C); sunny conditions
Hunters Trail, Sierra Nevada (California): 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 3,500 to 5,000 ft (1,067 to 1,524 m); 48 to 70 F (9 to 21 C); light rain to sunny conditions; 22 lb (10 kg) pack
Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Nevada (California): 4 days; 29 mi (47 km); 7,820 to 9,000 ft (2,384 to 2,743 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C); sunny conditions; 25 lb (11 kg) pack
Cronan Ranch, Sierra Nevada Foothills (California); 3 mi (5 km); 743 to 1,262 ft (226 to 385 m); 60 F (15 C)
Taylor Creek Canyon, Zion National Park (Utah): 5.4 mi (8.7 km); 5,500 to 5,950 ft (1,676 to 1,814 m); 65 F (18 C)
Bassi Creek, Sierra Nevada (California): 6 miles (10 km); 6,200 ft (1900 m) elevation; 70 F (21 C)
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The most obvious thing that I noticed was how much better the bars tasted during and immediately after athletic activity versus my first ones eaten while I was sitting on the couch. They still taste healthy and have the distinctive flavor but they were much better as needed energy than as a sweet snack at home.
Generally speaking I found it preferable to eat 1/2 to 2/3 of a bar at any one time. This seemed to sit best in my stomach. An entire bar made me pretty full. However, even after eating a full bar, my stomach did not feel any discomfort. Multiple times, I exercised vigorously immediately after eating a full or partial bar and never felt any digestive discomfort.
The bars seem to provide a sustained moderate level of energy. There is no sugar high or crash. I'm not a fan of sugary snacks on the trail such as candy because they cause a high and crash for me and usually lead to stomach discomfort afterwards and at times headaches. I didn't experience any adverse effects from these bars and felt good benefit.
From a taste standpoint only, I prefer the chocolate covered bar but I like the original bar also. The original bar is my warm-weather favorite because it does not melt in summer temperatures. On the Zion backpacking trip, I carried a zippered plastic bag with the original flavor, the chocolate flavor and with a few other chocolate covered energy bars for my husband. All of the bars were without their wrappers in order to save space and weight. At approximately 75 F (24 C), we stopped for a snack. The other energy bars were melting and had melted onto the chocolate Amazing Grass bar. However, the Amazing Grass bar was not melting at all. On another warmer trip, I could feel that the chocolate Amazing Grass bar had melted in its wrapper, so I did not open it. When it had cooled, it was nearly like new. The chocolate was intact on the bar and was not stuck to the wrapper.
I experimented with freezing the bars and put one of each into the freezer. After about 12 days, I took a bite of each one. Both of them were hard, but with my teeth I was able to bend a portion of bar that soon broke off and was easily chewable. There was no sign of freezer burn. I then let them both thaw at room temperature and tasted them again. They tasted just like they do without freezing, so I didn't see any degradation in taste due to the freezing and thawing cycle.
I found the Amazing Grass Energy Bars to be a nice way to add healthy foods to my backpacking diet. The bars contain a lot of nutrition in a small package and are palatable enough for me.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Nutrition in a portable package
Reasonable taste - chocolate coating is really good
Sustained moderate energy level provided
Definite flavor of green ingredients like wheat grass and spirulina
Chocolate melts in warm temperatures
This concludes my report and the test series for the Amazing Grass Energy Bars.
I would like to thank Amazing Grass and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith