And the winner of the Tropical Traditions All Purpose Cleaner is… Michelle! Congratulations, Michelle; e-mail me your mailing address and I’ll make sure you get your cleaning product. Who knows, maybe it’ll work against the cat puke 😉
Fueling Your Body
Exercising and nutrition go hand in hand. You can’t operate at peak performance if you aren’t properly nourishing your body. Finding the right snack to eat before a workout can be tricky; you want it to be big enough that it provides fuel, but small enough that it doesn’t fill you up (because working out on a full stomach – or even a partially full stomach – is no fun at all!). It takes me about 30 minutes to drive from my home to the Aspire Fitness gym. My class is at 6am, so my alarm is set for about 5:10am. That gives me enough time to grab a pre-workout snack, get into my workout gear, and heat up the kettle to take tea with me for the drive.
Half of a banana or half of an apple with a couple tablespoons of PB2 (powdered low-fat, high-protein peanut butter) is perfect. Another great snack I like having about half an hour before my 6am HITT workout is half of an apple with a couple slices of cheese. My favourite is either high-protein, low-fat Allegro brand jalapeno cheese, or a low-fat cheddar. Some people (like HEAB!) work well on foods high in fat, but I find that my body really prefers a lower-fat diet.
The first time I had HITT at 6am, I had a couple slices of watermelon and a small handful dry-roasted almonds beforehand. For some reason, it did not sit well in my stomach. Perhaps fruits that are less watery work better for me? At any rate, I’m glad I’ve found the fruit-with-PB2-or-cheese combo, because it works for me.
Product Review: Kardea Nutrition Bars
Of course, one of the first things that people think of when discussion comes up about foods to fuel a workout is nutrition or energy bars. I’m not a big fan of energy bars. Most of them are filled with crap. Bars tend to be highly processed with nasty artificial ingredients and lots of added sugar. Plus, lots of them don’t taste very good.
I’ve never been able to get on the Larabar bandwagon. I’ve tried a few different types of Larabars and I just don’t enjoy them very much. But if you do enjoy them (and can shell out the money for the pricey bars!), then they are a great choice because they only contain fruit and nuts. I don’t like the way SoyJoy bars taste. I like Luna bars, but they have a ton of different ingredients and I often feel like I’m eating a kid’s snack when I indulge in one of them. Ditto for Kashi chewy bars.
Kardea recently sent me one nutrition bar each of their four flavours*. Each bar clocks in at a reasonable size of 38 grams for 140 calories per bar (side note: most bars are tiny and yet are often easily 200 calories or more a piece). Kardea nutrition bars have 7 grams each protein and fibre. What I really like about Kardea nutrition bars is the ratio between carbs, protein, and fat: 21 grams carbs, 5 grams fat, and 7 grams protein. It’s an ideal ratio for these three macronutrients. Seven grams of protein is also a good amount to have in a bar – most have two or three times as much as that, but we often really do not need that much protein.
And what about the ingredients? Well, sadly, the first ingredient in Kardea bars is brown rice syrup. Each bar has 8 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent to 2 tsp of sugar. It’s still quite a bit, but most bars have twice that much (and most cereals easily have that amount, too). Although it would be nice if sugar weren’t the first ingredient on the list, at least there is no more than 8 grams of it in the entire bar. If you watch your sugar intake otherwise, then having one of these bars every once in a while isn’t going to set you back too badly.
Other than the sugar (there are a couple other names for sugar later on in the list, like agave nectar), I’m pretty pleased with the ingredients. They are all things like “cranberries” or “brown rice protein concentrate” or “rolled oats”: ingredients that just about anyone can recognize. These bars are also kosher and vegan.
Finally, the taste: Oh. My. Lord. These bars are delicious. They are hands down the best bars I’ve ever had. They actually taste good enough that I’m thinking about getting more. Most of the time if I do a product review, I might like the product and would want to have it again, but I don’t necessarily go out of my way to actively get it myself. These bars, I would be willing to go out and get myself, no question.
The flavours were Banana Nut, Chai Spice, Cranberry Almond, and Lemon Ginger. I liked Chai Spice the best, although to be honest the flavours are all very similar with just subtle taste differences. I usually don’t like banana-flavoured things, but the Banana Nut was surprisingly delicious too. I really enjoyed every single flavour – they taste natural. These are also chewy bars. If you put the bar in the refrigerator, it will be a bit tough to munch on when it’s straight from the fridge but if you leave it just for 5 minutes to warm to room temperature, it will return to a delightfully chewy texture once again.
As a pre-workout snack, the bar is great. The ratio of carbs, protein, and fat really fueled me for a great workout. The bar also works as a nice dessert or midday treat. It’s not a stick-to-your-ribs type of bar, but it’s good for when you’re in a hurry and need a little bit of energy to keep going.
What do you like to eat to fuel your body for a workout?
*Disclaimer: I received Kardea nutrition bar samples for free and did not receive any other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.