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The Surprising Reason This Energy Bar Contains Sweet Potatoes

energy bar with sweet potato

Ally Stacher, former professional cyclist and founder of Ally’s Bar, writes this guest blog post about how she got the clever idea to make energy bars out of sweet potatoes and why that’s the ultimate fuel for your body. Ally’s Bar Original was selected to be included in the August 2017 Trailfoody.

Knowing Where Your Food Comes From

I grew up in the wild and rugged mountains of far northern California. My family always hunted, fished and grew a garden. When I was 11, I worked on a watermelon farm with my twin sister. We picked watermelons in the summer mornings then worked in an ice cream shop in the afternoons. At 12 I killed my first buck, making my Dad so proud; it was a rite of passage in my family.

My Grandparents were also big influencers in my early years. They owned a large pond filled with bass, catfish, blue gale, ducks and other critters. That’s where we spent a lot of time fishing. I remember Grandpa fueling us up for a day of adventure with left-over potatoes and beer in our pancakes for breakfast. It was delicious.

Falling in Love with Cycling

I fell in love with the sport of cycling when I was a senior in high school. I did a research project on endurance sports with an emphasis on bike racing. I found people that rode bikes and learned everything I could. While I wrestled during my first year of college, I still rode my bike for fun. Eventually I jumped into a couple local bike races and was hooked.

Ally Stacher (Specialized – lululemon)

My timing with getting into the sport was perfect. At that time a small North Carolina college was growing their cycling program and was offering cycling scholarships. They had sent out a letter to almost every racer under 23 years old. I got the letter, made the trip to check out the campus and happily accepted a small scholarship and moved to the mountains of North Carolina.

I went from never racing on the track or cyclocross to being a part of a national championship team. Cycling became my obsession. In 2009 I was invited to race with the US National Team and signed for my first professional cycling team in 2010. In 2011, I got an offer to race for one of the top international racing teams in the world.

Cycling–The Proving Ground for Fueling the Body

I was eager and willing to work hard to be my very best. I made sure that all aspects of my life were dialed. My boyfriend (now my husband) was racing as well so we both knew the value of nutrition. I honed in on our diets and made everything from scratch. I made sure all of my ingredients had a purpose. I was making home made bars in my kitchen because I wanted to know exactly what was in the food we were eating. I wanted our fuel for our bodies for maximum performance.

The Inspiration for Using Sweet Potatoes

The idea of adding sweet potatoes to the bar came from two inspirations. One from my Grandpa who put potatoes in our pancakes. But the other inspiration came from our soigneur when she gave me a cup of food to eat on my way to a race. It was a longer day with challenging hills and wind. Beth was like “Ally eat this for your race”. I literally had one of my best days ever. I think my performance was owed to the sweet potato goodness before the race.

In December of 2012 I took a bag full of my sweet potato bars to a 2-week team training camp in Portugal. The bars were a huge success. This is where the idea to launch Ally’s Bar was born.

I went from making bars in my kitchen, then moved into a commercial kitchen. Demand continued to grow, but I was racing full time as well. For us to hit our goals we needed to move to a manufacturer. We launched our Original Sweet Potato Bar in October of 2014. We added 2 new flavors in the summer of 2016 increase our shelf presence by 200%. Our growths have been exciting and we’re just getting started. My husband John is still a pro cyclist and I’m a new Mom. We’re eager and excited to spread the love our delicious sweet potato bars. Coming soon to a store near you AND available today online at allysbar.com.

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Energy Bar Review: Fourpoints Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut

Four Points Bar Downslope

If you’re a lover of dark chocolate and coconut, you must give this bar a try. Fourpoints’s Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut bar is quite literally packed with the stuff!

Chewy with a slight crunch, the dark chocolate and dried plums mix well with the raw cashews and almonds to create the perfect texture and taste. And with just a hint of toasted coconut, the dark chocolate truly makes this bar’s rich and chewy goodness pop.

Added bonus: it’s made to stay soft even in cold temperatures, so it’s equally perfect for winter or summer!

Based out of Colorado, Fourpoints stands by its mission to bring you energy bars that are nutritious and delicious. Each of their bars contain raw ingredients that ensure sustained energy and are non-GMO, gluten free, and completely natural.

This particular bar provides 11 grams of protein, 6 grams of dietary fiber, and 31 grams of total carbs, making it a good choice for when you’ve been working hard.

It’s a great bar to snack on when hiking, backpacking, and bike riding!

Fourpoints’s Downslope Dark Chocolate Coconut bar is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Drink Mix Review: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder

Ultima hydration mix

Looking to mix adventure with some serious flavor? Try Ultima’s new Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder during your next water break!

With bold hints of cherry, citrus, and pomegranate, this unique mix blends tangy and sweet to create a refreshing flavor that’s worth taking a break for. We simply couldn’t resist stopping for a few sips while out on the trail.

“Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup!”

Each of Ultima’s mixes contain the perfect blend of all six electrolytes and have zero calories, carbs, or sugars. They’re also non-GMO, gluten free, and contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Most importantly, though, this incredibly clean drink mix contains no high fructose corn syrup! It’s sweetened naturally with Stevia leaf instead of sugar.

On the Go Hydration

Simply add one packet to 16 fluid ounces of water depending on your taste preference, shake well, and enjoy! We were impressed with how quickly Ultima’s mix dissolved, providing a flavorful drink that was easy and ready to go!

We recommend trying your first sip today!

Ultima’s Cherry Pomegranate Electrolyte Powder is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Energy Bar Review: Probar Meal Superberry & Greens

Probar Superberry & Greens energy bar

With a whopping 360 calories, this “meal” bar lives up to its name. Just tear open the wrapper and enjoy this nutty, fruity bar for a fast, convenient way to refuel your engine.

Nutritionally, this ProBar has 50g of carbohydrates (WOW!) to quickly give you the energy you need for strenuous, outdoor activity, and it will keep your motor humming for sure. Plus, it has 8g of protein to help repair muscles.

Fruity and Nutty

We love the taste, too. Its sweetness comes from a medley of fruits, with notes of raisins, dates, blueberries and pineapple being the most prominent fruity flavors. Combined with that is the satisfying richness of cashew butter and sunflower seeds.

And the texture of the bar is soft and chewy—a plus.

ProBar Superberry & Greens energy barHealthy, Too

The real bonus here is the healthy greens and fiber. These ingredients read like they came from a must-have list of items you might find in the healthy aisle at the health food store:  spinach, broccoli, carrot, green tea, rose hips, maca root, spirulina (a superfood full of anitoxidants and vitamins), and alfalfa. On top of that, this bar is filled with both pre- and pro-biotics to keep your digestive system working at its best.

It’s also vegan and gluten-free.

The ProBar Superberry & Greens Meal bar was featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Trail Mix Review: Happy Healthy Human’s “Motivation”

Happy Healthy Human Motivation trail mix

There’s a saying that you are what you eat. But, with Happy Healthy Human’s trail mixes, your mood is what you eat. Nutritionist Samantha Attard, founder of Happy Healthy Human, designed a family of healthy, tasty snack mixes that can influence your mood.

Choose Your Own Adventure Mood

There are four to choose from:  Calm, Balance, Relief, and Motivation. The Trailfoody Fam can always use an extra kick to battle the switchbacks on the way to the summit, so naturally, we opted to feature Motivation in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

“Goodbye sluggish, hello excitement,” is what it says on the front of the bag, and we agree. After munching on this mix, we did notice a get-up-and-go feeling.

Healthy Ingredients

What’s the secret to this Motivation mix? Roasted, organic chickpeas; organic pumpkin seeds; organic, dried cranberries; plus, a little salt; olive oil; and smoked pimentón. Pimentón, or paprika, is made from ground red chile peppers, and is what gives this mix such a rich, robust flavor.

What did the Trailfoody Tasters say about Motivation?

“I like to save this stuff for the crux of the climb when I need to be in the right frame of mind. Ultralighters will appreciate that it’s calorie dense, with 200 calories in only 1.5 ounces.”

Grif Steele
Super Famous Outdoor Guy

“The subtle smokiness from the pimentón gives a rich depth to the flavor. You’ll get a small kick of spiciness that’s well balanced with the nuttiness of the pumpkin seeds and the crisp sweetness of the dried cranberries.”

Britt Foodlove
Trailmix Mix Master

“[Whines]” Translation:  I’m jealous that I didn’t get any.

Gracie
Wannabe Taster

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Trailfood Review: Vega Chocolate Caramel Protein+ Snack Bar

Rich, chewy, and undeniably sweet. That’s what came to mind upon biting into Vega’s Chocolate Caramel Protein+ Snack Bar. The dark chocolate and caramel flavors blend together perfectly to create a bar that’s worth saving for dessert.

But don’t let the sweetness fool you, this bar is packed with nutrition. Containing 11 grams of protein, a mix of veggies and greens, vitamins, 4 grams of fiber, and only 200 calories, we couldn’t believe we were eating something so deliciously rich!

And what’s more, this bar is made entirely with real plant-based food ingredients. It’s also vegan, non-GMO, and completely gluten free.

However, when it comes down to it, the chewy goodness is what’s really important, right?

Well, this bar seems to melt into your mouth with every bite. The dark chocolate gives a softer, more refined texture while the almonds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds create a subtle chew that’s entirely satisfying.

Trust us, you’re gonna have to try it!

Vega’s Chocolate Caramel Protein+ Snack Bar is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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This is How to Recharge for Your Next Adventure

how to recharge after hike

You’ve just finished your five and a half mile run around town, and you’re feeling great. Tomorrow, you’ll be heading out with some friends to hike a lengthy portion of the Appalachian Trail up to McAfee Knob, but how can you make sure you’ll have enough pep in your step to get you to the top? 

Loading Up on Carbs

Carbohydrates are the key.

According to the second edition of Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise and Nutrition for Every Body, the replacement of body glycogen stores is important if you have been involved in intense exercise lasting for more than an hour or if you have been engaging in endurance activities that often last for more than a few hours.

Glycogen replacement can be quickly achieved if extra carbohydrates are consumed as soon as possible after exercising. This will ensure a quick recovery, especially if you avoid significant activity for at least eight hours following said exercise.

The sooner you refuel, the faster you’ll recover. Thus, eating within 30 minutes of exercising is ideal. And, as is noted in one of our previous blogs, you’ll want to refuel with at least 15 grams of carbs.

However, you can also continue to replenish glycogen during endurance and outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking by eating snacks and meals with a moderate to high glycemic index after a  workout.

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Get a Free Taste of Trailfoody

Just Pay $4 shipping

Will you like Trailfoody? Find out by getting a Trailfoody Taste, which includes 3 sample trailfoods, plus the Trailfoody stuff sack. It’s valued at over $13.

How Trailfoody Can Help

Trailfoody can help when it comes to recharging for your next adventure. We provide new, healthy trailfoods each month that are packed with the carbs necessary for both long- and short-term energy.

The kind of energy that you may need for hiking to McAfee Knob the very next day! 

Learn more here about how you can sign up for Trailfoody today and have yours shipped right to your doorstep.

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The Secret Behind This Dried Fruit That’s Juicy

Fruit Bliss Organic Turkish Figs

Fruit Bliss makes dried fruit that is actually quite juicy. Fruit Bliss’ own Susan Leone writes this guest blog post about the secrets behind how they get their dried fruit to be so juicy.

What makes Fruit Bliss the perfect trailfood? Fruit Bliss’ deliciously juicy fruit doesn’t add any sulfites or other added preservatives, making it a great healthy, organic snack.

A Unique Process Brought to the U.S.

Fruit Bliss is a very unique snacking experience. We choose our organic whole fruits from the best orchards around the world – Agen plums from France and apricots and figs from Turkey, for example. All of our fruit is picked when it’s perfectly ripe, sun dried and then the magic happens. We say our fruit is “dried fruit reinvented” because all of our fruit gets a steam bath to make it super juicy again. The flavor, texture and taste are all enhanced by water infusion. Once the process is complete, you can bite into a juicy Fruit Bliss fig and almost taste the intense Aegean sunshine that helped to grow this luscious organic fruit.

Shelf Stable, But No Preservatives

Each pouch of Fruit Bliss is shelf stable, so you can take it on-the-go for any hiking, biking or canoeing trip without having to worry about refrigeration or the delicate nature of fresh fruit. We never use any preservatives or added sugar in any of our fruits such as potassium sorbate and sulfur dioxide (chemicals commonly used to preserve the shelf life and color of conventional dried fruit). All of our organic dried fruit oxidizes, or turns brown, since this is the natural color of dried fruit. It may not be as pretty, but it sure is a much healthier snacking experience!

Try This Great Trailfood Recipe

Fruit Bliss is also a great addition to many recipes. One of our favorites for hitting the trail is our Fruit Bliss Fig Bites. This is a simple mix of pureed Fruit Bliss Figs, any nut butter, coconut oil and flax seed. These crunchy and energy packed treats will keep you going on the trail from early morning until dusk.

Fruit Bliss is sure to be a great addition to your fanny pack of goodies when you hit the trail, wherever you are!

Fruit Bliss was founded by Susan Leone, a mom who wanted to bring this European idea of rehydrated fruit stateside. She believes that providing a simple, clean snacking experience is key to a healthy lifestyle.

Fruit Bliss’ Organic Turkish Figs were selected to be in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

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Trailfood Review: Mediterra Black Olives & Walnuts Bar

Mediterra Black Olive Walnut bar

Hailing from Greece, Mediterra’s Telemaque Lavidas was inspired by his memories of unique, delicious, and healthy Mediterranean meals shared with family and friends to blend the traditional Mediterranean diet with modern-day, nutritional energy bars.

The result? Savory snacks that give you the gourmet taste of the Mediterranean and the nutrition necessary for the nonstop pace of modern life.

Chewy, delectable, and undeniably savory, the Mediterra bar featuring black olives and walnuts that we tried was different from other energy bars.

The combination of extra virgin olive oil, green pepper, pea crisps, sea salt, and chives provided a chewy yet crispy texture while the black olives and walnuts combined to create a refined, nutty flavor that was uniquely Mediterranean. Blended together, these ingredients equated to a balanced meal, making it perfect for a day’s adventure.

While each of Mediterra’s bars are all-natural, non-GMO, and gluten free, this particular bar came packed with 5 grams of protein and another 5 grams of fiber, providing an excellent source of sustained energy.

This bar is a no-brainer, especially if you’re looking for something different that’s savory instead of sweet. Because of this, it’s the perfect bar for a midday lunch break.

Mediterra’s Black Olives & Walnuts bar is featured in the July 2017 Trailfoody.

“Since it’s a savory bar, it was perfect for my halfway-there lunch break. It was such a refreshing change from the usually sweet energy bars.”

Grif Steele
World Champion Car Rack Loader

“Befitting this month’s Mediterrnean themed Trailfoody, I love how the walnuts and olives impart a satisfying, salty earthiness. It pairs well with the Turkish figs.”

Britt Foodlove
Goat Cheese Goader

“I saw the people tear open the wrapper, but it was gone before I knew it.”

Gracie
Stand Up Doggie Paddler

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Workout Nutrition 101: How to Eat for Your Best Performance and Recovery

trailrunning

Founder of Happy Healthy Human and nutrition PhD Samantha Attard writes this guest blog post for Trailfoody with some valuable tips for performance and recovery. She has a unique approach to her trail mixes that we love:  they’re tailored to affect your mood, and that’s why we were so excited to feature the Motivation mix. It’ll give you the extra kick you need to reach the summit!

After some workouts or outdoor excursions, you feel on top of the world. Your energy is good and you feel strong. After other workouts…you’re a little less king of the mountain. The worst is when you feel so crappy mid-workout you have to stop early.

Why do some workouts feel so good?

It turns out that a huge predictor of how you feel when you work out actually has to do with what you eat before, during, and after that workout. With a little bit of planning, you’ll start to feel and perform better more often. And lucky for you, eating for a great workout can be easy and delicious.

Because nutrition (and exercise nutrition) can be very confusing, let’s be clear about what sort of workout/activity we’re talking about today. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume your workout is about a 2 hour run, hike, bike ride or rock climbing session. You’re working up a sweat, but you can still breathe/talk to your neighbor. For short or longer workouts, I’ll provide some extra tips at the end.

Before Your Workout

About an hour before your workout, get some carbs and fat into your body. Your carbs will fill up with glycogen, priming your muscles for your activity, while the fats will provide you more sustained energy for your entire workout. Don’t overdo it on the fat (about 10 g or less should be sufficient), or else you’ll go into your workout feeling over-full and not ready to move.

Great choices: Banana and peanut butter, Kind Bar, carrots and hummus.

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Get a Free Taste of Trailfoody

Just Pay $4 shipping

Will you like Trailfoody? Find out by getting a Trailfoody Taste, which includes 3 sample trailfoods, plus the Trailfoody stuff sack. It’s valued at over $13.

During Your Workout

The most important thing to remember during your workout is hydration. Water is a major key to giving you enough energy and stamina throughout your workouts. This is true particularly if you’re eating dried fruit, bars, or jerkies. Because these foods have such a low water content, you actually have to rehydrate them in your body so they can be digested. That means you need extra water to keep your hydration in balance.

electrolyte hydration mixParticularly for these longer cardio workouts, include simple carbohydrates (sugar) and electrolytes for better stamina and long-term performance. Grab an electrolyte powder like PowerPak or Enduralytes to put in your water. Make sure to snack on some fruit (fresh or dried) or lower-fat energy bars to keep your activity level at your peak.

Note that I generally recommend adding food during your workout if you’re working out for longer than 75 minutes. If it’s less time, you should be fine with water and electrolytes.

For your electrolytes, I love Trace MineralsSkratch, or Enduralytes for your electrolytes. For carbohydrates:  add some delicious fruit!

After Your Workout

After you complete your workout, it’s time to refuel. This is the time to get a generous helping of protein and carbs (fat is good, too!). We often focus on getting protein after a workout, but if you don’t have enough carbohydrates to refill the glycogen in your muscles, that protein is burned for energy instead of being used to repair and build muscle.

Happy Healthy Human

As soon as possible after your workout, refuel with at least 10g protein and ~15g carbs. But getting a full meal within 2 hours of your workout is another way to time your post-workout food.

Great Choices: High protein bar or shake, Happy Healthy Human Organic Trail Mix, or a huge, beautiful salad!

Your Post-workout food is one of the main determinants for how long it takes you to recover from your workout, so take it seriously! The faster you get fuel back into your body, the quicker you’ll recover and the better you’ll feel.

How to adapt this for shorter exercise:

If you’re working out for less than an hour, it’s less important that you eat directly before your workout. In fact, some people prefer to work out on an empty stomach! However, take time to notice how you feel when you do or don’t eat before your workouts, and find the right balance for you.

How to adapt this for longer exercise:

The longer you workout, the more important it is that you fuel during your workout with enough carbs and water. Researchers have found that it’s basically impossible to eat too much when you’re running or biking. The most important thing is to not only drink water but to include electrolytes while you fuel as well.

Find out what works for you

What I’ve laid out here is a guideline. You may find that your body feels better with slightly more or less food, or that you prefer sweeter or more savory meals. That’s why things like Trailfoody are so great! You can experiment with different meal choices until you figure out what works best in your unique body!

Enjoy the feeling of having your best workouts every time!

Samantha AttardAbout the author

Samantha Attard is a nutrition PhD and founder of Happy Healthy Human, a company dedicated to helping people eat, move, and live with intention. Her line of organic trail mixes are meant to help you personalize your diet and can be found in our July Trailfoody box. Stay up to date with her yoga events and workshops, or contact her for one-on-one coaching at BeHappyHealthyHuman.com