With the public awakening to the health benefits of live foods (raw foods), a number of impressive new companies have emerged, sporting delicious new raw food bars that make the health food bars of just two years ago seem outdated.
Today, you can find food bars made with absolutely none of the "bad" stuff (refined sugars, etc.), but loaded with all the "good" stuff (raw nuts, agave nectar, berries, raw cacao, sesame, ginger, and so on). They're truly healthy food bars, and not just gimmicky "energy" bars loaded with high-fructose corn syrup or low-grade soy protein, for example.
When it comes to real food, these bars are the real McCoy. They're so good that I'm buying them by the box from Amazon.com and other online retailers. And in my opinion, they make most of the food bars found at retail (even at most health food stores) look like candy bars. Of course, it won't be long before these bars also appear in retail, so watch for them there!
None of these bars have any of the following unhealthful ingredients:
- Refined sugars
- Trans fats / hydrogenated oils
- Artificial additives, colors or preservatives
- Dairy or soy products
Here's the list: (Oh, by the way, in case you didn't already know, none of these companies paid me to be listed here. These are all independent, unsolicited reviews.)
Raw Revolution Bars
Sweeteners? Agave nectar
Flavors: Chocolate, coconut, cashew, raisin, hazelnut, raspberry and various combinations
Highlights: Great choice of sweetener, premium ingredients, rich taste, generous bar size and fair price
This is among my top recommendations for new food bars on the market. This bar really gets it right with organic ingredients, raw food goodness and the perfect choice for sweeteners: Agave nectar. The taste is perfectly balanced (unless you're expecting it to taste like a sugary candy bar, which it doesn't), and they're surprisingly affordable given the expensive ingredients found inside. The portions are also generous: The bars are 2.2 oz. of raw foods goodness vs. the 1.75 oz. that's typical of other raw food bars. So you simply get more health-enhancing food for your dollar.
This company is a great find! It was founded by a registered nurse (R.N.) / Natural Foods Chef named Alice Benedetto. Check their website (below) to read her full story.
I sure love these food bars. The brain-enhancing oils found in the raw nuts are good for everyone, but especially children who almost never get enough healthy oils. I'm ordering several boxes of these bars in various flavors so I can hand 'em out to friends. Five stars.
Learn more at: RawIndulgence.com
Buy at: www.Amazon.com or other health food retailers.
Sweeteners? Dates, agave nectar
Flavors: Chocolate brownie (Yum!), apple cinnamon (Oooh!), cherry cashew (Wow!)
Highlights: Simply pure, healthful ingredients. Tastes sinfully good. Slightly pricey but well justified due to quality ingredients.
I'm really impressed with the Pure Bar. Its slogan is, "Way too good to be this good," and I enthusiastically agree. This is a truly delightful raw food bar that's not just organic and raw, it's also vegan and certified Kosher. I took one bite of the Cherry Cashew flavor and immediately had a taste flashback to grandma's super-sweet cherry cobbler. Except in this case, there's no sugar, no refined grains, and none of the junk found in cherry pie recipes. Just pure ingredients in the Pure Bar.
The Apple Cinnamon bar tastes like apple pie. I'm not kidding. I think it's the addition of the brown rice protein (my top recommended plant-based protein source) that creates a pie crust taste. It's out of this world.
Pure Bar gets an enthusiastic five-star rating from me. Everything is right about this bar, and if I had the cash, I'd buy one for every person on the planet. Nobody should miss out on the pure goodness of this food bar marvel!
Information at: ThePureBar.com
Purchase at: Amazon.com or other health food retailer.
Smart Monkey Bars
Flavors: Trail mix, ginger snap, carob brownie, sesame snap, cacao cookie, pecan pie
Highlights: All bars are made entirely with fruit, nuts and seeds. Great variety of flavors available, wrapped in Eco-Logic packaging.
These pioneering raw food bars are really good for monkeys. As luck would have it, they're also great for people, too. Smart Monkey Foods has come up with some really creative raw foods recipes and managed to launch a whole series of enticing flavors like Ginger Snap and Cacao Cookie. Who can resist?
The company, its bars and logo are also memorable. Who can forget the words, "Smart Monkey?" Plus, it's accurate: The healthy oils from the nuts and seeds in these bars really do help build healthy brain function and nervous systems.
Some of the flavors from Smart Monkey simply can't be found anywhere else. The Sesame Snap and Ginger Snap flavors, for example, are truly unique. Stock up at Amazon or another retailer. The price is mid-range for raw food bars, but the taste experience is truly a cut above the rest. Five stars.
The only drawback I've found to these bars is that if you don't eat them quickly, they can mold. I lost a whole case of Sesame Snap bars to mold (inside the individual wrappers). I don't necessarily blame the company, though: It's very difficult to keep raw food from going bad, especially if you don't use chemical additives. So just remember that this is real food, and it doesn't have the shelf life of a Snickers bar or other dead, processed foods. When you buy live foods, remember to eat them before you lose 'em!
Information at: SmartMonkeyFoods.com
Purchase at: Amazon.com
Sweeteners? Dates, evaporated cane juice
Flavors: Cherry nut, chocolate coconut, apricot coconut, cashew pecan, cranberry apple, tropical nut
Highlights: Nice variety of flavors, wholesome organic ingredients, fair pricing. Slightly higher on the glycemic index than other bars mentioned here. Offers unique nuts like macadamias.
The Think! Organic line of bars is also based on whole foods goodness. I tasted these bars at a trade show, and they were rich with fruit and nuts, much like the other bars here. They're vegan, 100 percent organic, and have no dairy, soy or refined sugars. The only drawback is the use of evaporated cane juice in some bars. That's a sweetener I don't recommend due to its high glycemic index, but it's far healthier than refined sugar (and it's only used in very small amounts in these bars).
We have an interview with Think! Organic that will be posted on Google Video shortly. You can watch the interview to learn even more about the product.
Information at: www.ThinkProducts.com
Purchase at: Health food stores or www.ThinkProducts.com
It's not just your health that matters when purchasing food bars. It's also the fact that you vote with your dollars
. When you buy refined, sugar-laden candy bars (also called "energy bars"), you're actually supporting the continued production of those products. Food companies will produce whatever consumers buy, so when consumer demand shifts to healthier, raw food bars, that's what companies will gravitate towards! (Even the big food companies, too.)
By buying these raw food bars, you are supporting small, passionate companies that are offering genuine food. You're creating a marketplace that can have a positive impact on others due to the success of these raw food bars in the retail channel.
Plus, you're supporting companies who support organic farming. That has a huge impact on protecting the environment. By simply choosing organic food products rather than conventional, you're effectively reducing pesticide runoff by a specific measurable amount. Remember: Every food item you purchase is like an outward expanding ripple in a pond. Your actions impact the whole world, and something as simple as buying a food bar speaks volumes about who you are and what you believe (as well as the kind of future you wish to co-create for your children).
- Mike Adams