Cleanse Excitement, Product Review, and Gratitude

by Gena on January 7, 2010

spark-logo Thank you to all the lovely ladies who participated in last night’s Spark! Wellness + Choosing Raw Cleanse teleclass! Hadley, Andrea and I were blown away by the intelligent questions and comments you all threw out, from “how do I explain the cleanse to my husband?” to “how much exercise is recommended while you’re cleansing?” Hopefully we helped to clear up some of these issues. For those of you who are already signed up for the cleanse, the call was recorded and is available for listening; details here.

For those of you who are still considering signing up for the cleanse, which was just featured in VegNews magazine, the deadline has been extended to this Sunday, January 10th, which is the day on which cleanse materials (including meal plans, recipes, and tips) will be sent out to participants. I, for one, can’t wait to lead the program and to follow it along with my cleansers. The level 3 forum is already abuzz with wonderful conversation about the cleansers goals and intentions, and I’m looking forward to more dialogue with these smart and motivated women!

On to food. It’s been a while since I did a product review, so I thought I’d share with you all my latest taste test. The lovely folks at Divine Foods were kind enough to send me samples of their Boomi and SuperCharger PranaBars!

002-375x500 I’ve been hoping to sample PranaBars for a long time. They’re certified organic and gluten-free, sweetened with organic agave nectar, and (this is my favorite part) the nuts are slow cooked at low temperatures to denature their enzyme inhibitors, making them slightly more digestible than other nut based bars. The new SuperCharger line is infused with so-called superfoods: maca, goji berries, acai, and the like.

Now, you guys know that I’m a devoted fan of LaraBars. But I will confess, I was excited to add some variety to my bar options. And overall, these guys hit the spot!

The pros: Flavor! So far, I’ve tried the Raspberry Pomegranate and Goldenberry Goji flavors. Like  LaraBars and Clif Nectar bars, they taste simple and clean. But their flavor is slightly more complex and rich than LaraBars; the Goldenberry Goji flavor, for example, tasted of fresh vanilla. It was delicious! These guys are sweeter than some other bars I’ve tried, so I’d suggest them for when you’re in the mood for a dessert-like snack. I sampled by bar along with a large tahini-romaine salad (pictured here–nothing shouts “scenic photo op!” more than a desk lunch), and found that the bar held my hunger nicely all afternoon—a big plus!

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The cons: The bars all contain puffed amaranth in addition to nuts, which means that they’re miscombined. In fairness, they didn’t upset my stomach in the slightest, and amaranth is absolutely one of my favorite grains, so I was psyched to see it on the ingredient label. That said, it’s present in a very small amount, so part of me wishes they’d leave it out altogether, for a well-combined treat.

The mix of grains and nuts was more evident in the Boomi Bar, which contains crisp rice. I didn’t love this bar as much, to be honest. It was mostly a question of texture: I enjoyed the density of the PranaBar more than the crunch of the Boomi Bar (I also see on the company website that some Boomi Bars–not the flavor that was sent to me–contain Whey Protein Isolate, which I’m not a fan of, primarily because it’s not vegan, and secondarily because protein isolates are highly processed and some are suspected carcinogens).

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My other quibble here is that I tend to cringe at too much hype about “superfoods”—I think it’s a highly misleading label for foods that are simply nutrient-dense (like many other foods). Goji berries are not going to save your life, and the effects of such plants as maca still demand more study before they can be considered conclusive. I have no problem with people enjoying superfoods; certainly, they’re far more nourishing and tasty than many other foods that our society has deemed health-promoting! But I think our obsession with superfoods is a part of our search for quick fixes–foods or supplements that will magically serve as cure alls for weight loss, sickness, and low energy–rather than doing what we should be doing, which is to eat a clean, balanced, plant based diet every single day.

The cult of superfoods, though, is not the issue here. The issue is, how did Gena ultimately like her PranaBars? And the answer is, a lot! I’m not a BoomiBar convert, but I am a big fan of the PranaBars, and encourage you to give them a shot. They’re delicious, healthy, made with great integrity, and (from what I experienced) highly digestive-friendly.

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Thumbs up.

Speaking of products, there is a stevia giveaway going on here. And speaking of delicious snacks, I’m sending a giant hug to my dear friend Nelly, who made me chocolate peppermint donut holes for Christmas!

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I’ve been enjoying these treats all week, Nel: thank you so much! May everyone have friends as thoughtful and culinarily gifted as Ms. Nelly: attorney, crusader, ultimate Frisbee champ, vegetarian, hottie, and newly-initiated food processor addict.

On that note, I wish you all a great night :-)

xo

P.S. It’s Thursday. Everyone check out my friend Katie’s awesome Vegan Thursday Challenge!

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Jordan @ Salt Sweat Sugar January 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Nomnomnom. Those look uhhhh-mazing. I wanna try making the regular donut holes.

I really need to start making some of your recipes. I realllllly want to make that banana soft serve. I just need to get some sort of kitchen tool to do so with. I wonder if my craptastic bobo blender will work?

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Gena January 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Oooh, I’m afraid that a normal blender won’t cut it!! Food processor or vitamix only :-(

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Danielle (Coffee Run) January 7, 2010 at 7:57 pm

You ate something that wasn’t vegan?!? Gassspppp ;)
I’ve seen those bars in stores- thanks for the review!
I agree with you on the superfood craze. I have fallen victim to some of the hype but soon realized that spending that much $$ is sooo not necessary to get nutrients!

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Gena January 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm

No, Danielle! I wouldn’t eat a non-vegan food. I ate the flavor that WAS vegan, but I was saying that it bothered me that some of the flavors are NOT vegan.

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Danielle (Coffee Run) January 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Ohh lol thanks for clarifying. I was thinking “I hope she doesn’t get too much crap for this…”

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Jessica @ How Sweet It Is January 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Those bars look delicious – they almost look like the inside of a fig to me. :)

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Daria @ Daria Can Cook January 7, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I couldn’t agree more about the issue of “superfoods.” If we concentrated on eating a wide variety of whole foods rather than on what extracts and miracle foods will cure us, we’d be in much better shape.

I’ve also heard that in the case of goji berries, overharvesting has left indigenous people with a shortage of one of their staple foods. It’s good to think hard about where our food comes from before we pop it in our mouths!

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Nanna January 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm

I’m so glad to see this! I’ve seen those bars but not gone ahead and tried them. This helps!

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Elizabeth January 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Now you have a nice non-corporate alternative to Lara Bars, which you may not know were recently purchased by General Mills. You’d never know from the website, as all these corporate adoptees go to great lengths to hide their new corporate parents. I must admit prefer the simpler taste of the Lara Bars (two or three ingredients only in my favorites), but I hate eating corporate food, probably as much as you hate eating non vegan food.

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BroccoliHut January 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I think I’ve tried those PranaBars once before, and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the additional info!
PS I am so jealous of your chocolate peppermint donut holes…

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Leslie @LaMamaNaturale January 7, 2010 at 10:44 pm

p.s. those chocolate peppermint donut holes look delish!

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melissa January 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

amazing! where is the forum? I am excited to put myself in your lovely hands!

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Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Gena, glad you got to sample the Prana bars! I know when I reviewed one a few weeks back you commented on it and glad you scored some..yay!

The choc peppermint donut holes..I wonder what recipe/who’s/ingredients your friend used?! I commented on her site. I am of course super curious and would love to see how other people make them as I have my own recipe but am always learning, always a student, always absorbing raw dessert vibes!!!!

Best of luck on the cleanse, I know you’re gonna rock it out with people!

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Ameena January 7, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Those donut holes look amazing!! Thanks for the prana info, I haven’t tried them before but they look worth trying!

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Julia January 8, 2010 at 12:13 am

Yay! I love product reviews from you. I absolutely love larabars and I’ve been looking to branch out and read all the ingredient labels of all the bunches they have in the WF but you just saved me a lot of time! The pranabars sound great.

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) January 8, 2010 at 6:30 am

Hmm, I’ve always given Pranabars the side-eye when I’ve seen them, since I’m pretty devoted to Laras myself, but hey if you’re coming from the same place then I guess I owe Pranas a try. Their flavor combos are certainly exciting!

What I really need right now are coconuts though. Momma gots a cold and the nearest place to buy one is Manhattan. Boo. Bonobos needs to open in my hood. Or in my kitchen.

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Chocolate Covered Katie January 8, 2010 at 6:36 am

Prana Bars, huh? I’ve never had one, but I trust you. After all, you are the one who made “banana soft-serve” into an everyday term :).
I’ll look for them next time at Whole Foods.
And the doughnut holes sound so good! Like Wild Bars! Makes me wonder why I haven’t put mint extract in my fudge babies yet. Your friend really is super-sweet. But then again, you deserve no less!

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Lindsay January 8, 2010 at 6:48 am

I’ve never seen PranaBars in stores before.. I may have to hunt some down, they sound really good!

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kim January 8, 2010 at 6:59 am

Can you combine avocado and hummus? This combination is very confusing ^_^

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Lauren January 8, 2010 at 7:11 am

Looks like I am going to have to pick of a few of those bars at Whole Foods today! Thanks for the review! Have a lovely weekend, dear Gena! See you in a week! YAY! :)

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Tammy January 8, 2010 at 8:15 am

I have never tried the Prana bars and LaraBars are NOT a fav…have you tried the Bora Bora bars? I really like them, but they are expensive here…

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Gena January 8, 2010 at 8:18 am

Hey Tammy,

I have to admit, I don’t LOVE the ingredient labels for Bora Bora bars — they’re a little more sweetened than I’d like, and a few contain peanuts (of which I am not a fan). But they look tasty!

Gena

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing January 8, 2010 at 8:35 am

I totally agree with your take on Superfoods. Reminds me a lot of what Michael Pollan said in “In Defense of Food”. While focusing on health is a great thing, narrowing healthy choices down to a few nutrient dense foods is a bit misguided!

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Missy Maintains January 8, 2010 at 9:56 am

I was eating a Prana bar when I came onto your blog haha. They are delicious! Nice review.

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Laura C January 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Gena, does your comment about protein isolates apply to plant sources like hemp protein, also? I’ve been adding hemp seeds to salads and smoothies recently- is that preferable to hemp protein powder, which I have also considered? (Aside from the general general protein debate?) I assume the whole food is always better- do you think there is a big difference?
I’ve tried pranabars too and I think they’re great!

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Bianca- Vegan Crunk January 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I saw those Prana bars at grocery store but didn’t buy any. They had one flavor, Coconut Acai, marked down because it’d be discontinued…but sadly, that meant the box of bars was empty. I’ll have to buy some.

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celia January 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

i love those bars, i just had the pear ginsing one today, it was delicioussss!

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Kenzie (Healthy Purpose) January 8, 2010 at 3:50 pm

This is good info! Sometimes it’s nice to have something sweet available (with no effort). The ingredient labels/ health claims/prices scattered throughout the “health bar” section at whole foods can be daunting. Prana looks like a safe bet once in a while. Thanks!

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Jessica (Fit and Clean) January 8, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while but never written in. I was wondering if you could tell me more about they whey protein isolate comment? I had never heard anything bad about it, I’m a workout fanatic, and of course everyone and their brother at the gym drinks it. If it’s that bad for you, I would want to avoid it, but what other alternatives (that are clean) are there? Just wondering what your take on it is.

Thanks!
Jessica

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candice January 9, 2010 at 7:36 am

I love PranaBars, too, even though I’ve only tried two flavors. Apricot almond (or goji? I can’t remember!) is my favorite. :)

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Earth Mother – In The Raw January 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

Just a few more reasons why I love you so…

Funny: …nothing shouts “scenic photo op!” more than a desk lunch.

Honest: …some Boomi Bars–not the flavor that was sent to me–contain Whey Protein Isolate, which I’m not a fan of, primarily because it’s not vegan, and secondarily because protein isolates are highly processed and some are suspected carcinogens.

Real: I think our obsession with superfoods is a part of our search for quick fixes–foods or supplements that will magically serve as cure alls for weight loss, sickness, and low energy–rather than doing what we should be doing, which is to eat a clean, balanced, plant based diet every single day.

xo!
EM

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Vegan Conspiracy January 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm

amaranth! amaranth! amaranth! Love the stuff!

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Tiffany @ Le Pantry January 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Hi Gena,

A little irrelevant but… just wanted to tell you what a yummy treat your juice pulp crackers are! I made them for the first time today and I’m obsessed with them! Thanks so much :)

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Brandon January 12, 2010 at 7:06 am

Hi, love your stuff, and great article. I love Pranabars! I was wondering, as a nutritionist and as a vegan, have you tried Raw Revolution bars? http://www.rawindulgence.com/
What is your opinion of them? I have developed a mild obsession with the spirulina and cashew flavor.

Thanks!

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Annie January 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm

yumm….looks so good!

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Jack June 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Cleanse Excitement, Product Review, and Gratitude adler@gigemail.net

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Kitty June 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Cleanse Excitement, Product Review, and Gratitude adley@gigemail.net

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pacober December 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

“Reminds me a lot of what Michael Pollan said in “In Defense of Food”.”
You can see more?

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