Gluten Free Fitness

Product reviews

Zing Bars: Gluten Free Protein Bar Review

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Shockingly, the time has come…

There is actually a nutrition bar that has a quality ingredient list, positive nutritional profile, and really good taste. Did I mention how good they taste?

It’s AmaZing! (That’s actually part of the compant tagline, I can’t take credit for being that creative.)

Zing bars were created by a team of nutritionists who were unable to find a bar they liked enough to recommend to their patients. So, they created their own. I am so glad they did that!

From the Zing Bar website

We could create our own all-natural nutrition bar. Our take on the perfect snack. A bar with everything we wanted it to have, and nothing we didn’t. A healthy balance of carbs, protein and beneficial fats, but no artificial sweeteners, colors or preservatives. No trans fats, synthetic vitamins, or allergy-aggravating gluten, wheat or soy protein.

The Zing Bars come in 5 flavors: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cranberry Orange, Almond Blueberry, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. All flavors are gluten free, and the peanut butter chocolate chip and cranberry orange flavors are also dairy free.

Nutrition

Protein sources in the bars are rice protein, whey (in the bars which contain dairy) and a bit from nut butters and nuts.

The fats come primarily from the aforementioned nuts and nut butters. Carbohydrate sources (dependent on flavor) are from fruits (blueberry, cranberry, apples,) brown rice crisps, gluten free oats, Fruitrim, and agave or brown rice syrup.

Fruitrim (R) is a liquid, carbohydrate-based ingredient formed from fruit juice and dextrin is helps the bars retain moisture and extends shelf life. The bars also contain inulin/chicory root for a bit of added fiber.

The nutritional profile is similar for all flavors, but does vary a bit, so here’s a basic idea:

1 bar contains:

  • 210 calories
  • 25 grams of carbohydrate which includes 4 grams of fiber
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 11 grams of protein
The taste

I was admittedly floored when I tasted these. They are moist, have chunks of whatever is appropriate to the flavor (blueberries, almonds, chocolate, etc.) and are plenty sweet without being overly sweet. The Chocolate peanut butter flavor has a chocolate coating, which was a pleasant surprise. Given that, this is the one flavor that has melting potential, so keep that in mind if you leave one or two in your glove box for “emergencies.” (Yes, I do that. I get really irritated when I get hungry, and having something available is best for everyone in the state.)

I didn’t get to try the Cranberry Orange-I handed it to Jeff, because he’s big fan of that flavor combo. He tried it, said “Wow. This is really good.” And ate the whole thing. His feedback was-“really moist, and lots of flavor, lots of cranberries.” This is from a gluten-eater. I am a chocolate hound, as you guys have heard me say before, and the Almond Blueberry I liked just as much as the chocolate flavors. They are that good.

This would make a good between meal snack, something convenient to keep in a purse or backpack in case hunger strikes. (I also give some other ideas in my Top 10 portable gluten free snacks post.) It would even make for a good pre or post workout snack, although the fat is a tad high for that purpose. These would be perfect to keep on hand for your kids-a much healthier choice than a couple of cookies. I will be taking them on our road trip to Tennessee, and out with us when we go hiking-the mix of protein, carbs and fat is perfect for giving some sustained release of nutrition.

These are a great option. Thank you to Stacey for sending me each flavor to sample.

Let me know your thoughts on the bars in the comments below. Have you tried them? Favorite flavor?

True Protein Gemma and Rice Protein Powders: Review

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Ah, protein powder. The words that polarize, the food product that can be a sweet treat, or a necessary evil. I have used many different brands and flavors of protein powder over the years, with varying results. Some have been great, others have had me struggling to reach the bottom of the canister. (Yet I refuse to throw it away. The stuff can be expensive!)

Dairy issues

Personally, I am a celiac without dairy issues. So I have used whey and casein protein powders. Whey is generally considered the standard as far as peri-workout nutrition. It is quickly digested and has a high level of amino acids which assist in the recovery process. Casein is used as a slower digesting protein that can be used in conjunction with whey, or by itself, many times prior to bed (think cottage cheese.)

However, I know many of you cannot tolerate dairy, or choose to follow a vegan diet. And off I went in an attempt to find some protein powders that fit the bill.

5 types of non-dairy protein powder

There are 5 main types of non-dairy protein powder options that I am aware of. Egg/egg white, soy, hemp, rice, and gemma (pea.) In my previous post Gluten Free Dairy Free Protein Powders 101, I covered some of the characteristics of each of these.

True protein

When I last ordered from True Protein, I ordered tubs of rice protein and gemma to try. There are several companies that produce these protein powders. Jay Robb seems to be a popular maker of rice and egg protein, Sunwarrior makes a sprouted rice protein powder, Nutribiotics, Olympian Labs makes a pea protein, and Nutiva a hemp. This is just a sampling, I am sure there are more-if you are aware or have a favorite, shoot a comment below.

True Protein is a company that allows you to create custom protein mixes, and they also sell pre-made protein mixes,and various vitamins and supplements. From their website:

Our Goal… To create a following and customer base in the athletic, fitness, bodybuilding and health world not on fancy marketing schemes but purely on a reputation as the company to go to, to find the highest quality nutritional supplements known to the public.

I have ordered from True Protein for several years and have been very pleased with their products and services in the past. They do not have fancy labels or packaging, everything is very simply marked with black and white labels, and minimally packaged. In fact you can have your powders sent in a food grade bag if you already have a canister to put it in. (Although transferring the powder can be a bit of a nightmare-but that’s another story for another day.) When it came time to try these new proteins (new to me) I chose to purchase them from True Protein. They also do carry the egg white, soy, and hemp protein powder. The rice and gemma powders that I tried are non-GMO.

From the True Protein FAQ:

Q. I am allergic to Wheat Gluten. Which of your products contain Wheat or Wheat Gluten?

A. None of our protein, carbohydrate, or flavoring materials will contain any form of wheat or wheat gluten. The only product that contains wheat gluten will be our Glutamine Peptides, which is maintained in an isolated storage unit within our clean oom facility to remove any risk of cross-contamination. Wheat gluten products are manufactured within our facility.

Just to be certain, I contacted Carl at True Protein. This was his response (within 24 hours of when the email was sent):

The only item we carry that will contain even trace elements of Gluten will be the Glutamine Peptides and any custom product selected using that ingredient. We follow strict GMPs that have been designed using ISO9001 guidelines, with 0% chance for cross contamination within our facility. Thanks again and please dont hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or requests. (Erin’s note: GMP=good manufacturing practices)

OK, on to the taste review!

I bought the premium dutch chocolate fudge flavor in both the rice and gemma, as I have had this flavor in whey isolate and thus a baseline for comparison. I mixed just with cold water in a shaker bottle. Keeping in mind that everyone’s tastes a bit different-here are my thoughts:

Gemma

  • Mixes easily
  • Thicker in consistency-you may need to use a bit more water. I liked it, because making protein powder into a pudding” is a favorite way of mine to combat the sweet tooth. Especially at night time. Blending half a scoop of this with some cottage cheese, stevia and cacao powder gives me my “chocolate pudding” fix
  • Slight nutty flavor, not unpleasant at all

Rice

  • Slightly tougher to mix, takes some vigorous shaking
  • A bit chalky in texture-feels like it coats your teeth a bit
  • Thinner consistency, more like whey isolate

One comment about the appearance of both-the brown is kind of a light brownish, not terrible visually appealing. Don’t let that fool you though, the chocolate flavor is definitely there.

Overall, both of these are very pleasant and will be in my protein powder rotation.

If you would like to order from True Protein, feel free to get 5% off using coupon code ENE038. If you buy using this code, it also adds points to my account and eventually I can earn free protein. Of course you can also order without using that code.

Have you tried any of these proteins? What has been your experience, good or bad? Specific brands and/or flavors you like? Share ’em!! Leave a comment below!