Posts tagged product review

Product Review: Enjoy Life Snack Bars

It has been awhile since my last post! Anyway, here I am!

With the deadline for my thesis quickly approaching, I have not had the energy or time for culinary experimentation. In an attempt to break the monotony of my diet and to find a quick energy fix (not an easy task when  living with a myriad of food allergies!), I picked up some Enjoy Life Snack Bars.

Enjoy Life Foods is a company dedicated to making products free of the most common U.S. food allergens (gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish). As a result, their products are also vegan-friendly. (Looking for allergy-safe and vegan friendly chocolate chips? Look no further! Available in Ottawa at Market Organics.) Unfortunately Enjoy Life products do tend to be a bit pricey – I was partially motivated to give the snack bars a chance because they were on sale.

Back to the snack bars! I tried out the “cocoa loco” and “sunbutter crunch” flavours.

barsunbutterko_smallThe sunbutter crunch bars are as “buttery” and rich as the name suggests. I would no’t call them crunchy though, especially in comparison to the granola bars I used to eat as a child. The texture was very chewy and quite enjoyable. The bars are more sweet than salty, which is alright with me! They have about 4 g’s of sugar per bar and more importantly, 3 g’s of protein.  They also have some B-vitamins, which may be lacking in a vegan diet without adequate supplementation. I found these bars more satisfying to eat after a workout than the chocolate ones.

cocoa_loco_sm1

The cocoa loco bars had a slightly grainier feel to them and were not as rich or “buttery” as the sunbutter crunch bars. I was slightly disappointed with them as they were not as chocolatey or sweet as I had expected based on the name and quantity of sugar (9 g’s per bar!). They also have less protein than the sunbutter flavour with only 2 g’s per bar. (The vitamin and mineral content are comparable.) I did not find them as satisfying or filling as the sunbutter crunch bars – this could be a  result of the slightly lower caloric and fat content, but I imagine it had more to do with the insufficient amount of chocolate.

The lack of pre-made snack bars out there for vegan food-allergy sufferers makes these bars seem absolutely fantastic! They are an extremely convenient and portable addition to any allergy-sufferer’s lunch bag (the bars are individually wrapped). I am not sure if they would satisfy someone with a larger appetite than mine though, as they are quite small (28 g per bar at 7 cm x 2.5 cm x 1.5 cm). Although I would recommend these to anyone with severe food allergies, I am not sure that these would be a valuable investment for everyone else due to their high cost and small size.

– Aly

Update: A vegetarian restaurant called “The Green Earth” opened in mid-February. The menu is supposedly 98% vegan.

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Food crises: global and personal (with product review)

In case you have been locked in an ivory tower and have not noticed rising food prices at home or food riots around the world, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently announced that billions of dollars are needed to boost agricultural industries in order to deal with global food shortages which are resulting in substantial increases in the cost of food. The UN World Food Programme states that the problem is a result of “increased energy costs, rising demand from economic growth in emerging economies, the growth of biofuels and increasing climatic shocks such as droughts and floods“. The issue is obviously more complex than that, and I am certainly not claiming to have a good grasp of the situation. Although I may not be completely informed, I still feel that increased agricultural production is not an adequate solution as it does not consider the detrimental effects of intensive and unsustainable agriculture on the environment. The CBC has two websites (here and here) dedicated to the world food crisis that I would recommend if you are interested in learning more.

I have been having a food “crisis” of my own lately, which seems particularly banal to write about in context of current world issues, but I was feeling some pressure from my lovely co-author to pick up the blogging slack. As some of you may or may not know, I have a tree nut allergy along with an associated sensitivity to a million and one fruits and vegetables. Not all tree nut allergy sufferers are allergic to peanuts, which are a legume. However, it is incredibly difficult to guarantee that peanut products have not been cross-contaminated with tree nuts. In spite of this knowledge, I have continued to eat peanut butter, as it is one of my favourite foods. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear that my body is no longer capable of consuming my beloved PB. In a desperate bid to find a substitute, I shelled out over 9$ (DISGUSTING in comparison to the price of PB) to try out a soynut butter (soynuts are roasted soy beans).

I purchased Selecta Peabutter (made in Montreal) from the Herb and Spice on Bank St. Aside from being produced in a nut-free facility, it is also gluten free. It approximated the texture and taste of PB fairly well, although the taste is distinctly that of a soynut product. I think it will do as a fine replacement for PB in times of desperation. The only problem with this stuff is that it is ridiculously expensive, which may sway my decision to purchase it again.

– Aly

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