Friday, May 05, 2017

Raw Rev Vegan Bars

I'm going to admit something from the start.  I had no intention of liking these bars.  I went into trying one assuming I'd hate it.  Yet of course I still tried it, because someone gave me one, and I figured if nothing else it would make a good review, and my blog regularly features assorted nutrition bars.

Raw Rev is another maker of healthy nutrition bars, gluten-free, non-GMO.  But their products go even further, in that they are raw and they are vegan.  Not that I have anything against raw and vegan, but, the results aren't usually very tasty to me.  Oh, and some of the bars are high protein too.  They just didn't sound possibly good.

Let me back up and talk about Raw Rev a bit though.  The company was started by a nurse who cared about nutrition.  She makes two product lines: organic bars and Glo bars.

Organic bars are available in 6 flavors (Chocolate Crave, Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Coconut Bliss, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Golden Cashew, and Spirulina Dream).  These are standard size bars, made up of fruits, nuts, and seeds, dubbed "superfood bars".  They have a moderate amount of protein (4-7grams) and moderate amount of calories (~230).  The ingredients are things like peanuts and cashews, chia, flax, and sunflower seeds, plus dates and agave for sweetness.   Nothing really scary in the ingredients list.

Glo bars are available in 7, far more tempting, flavors: Dark Chocolate Espresso Crunch, Mixed Nuts, Caramel & Sea Salt, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Cashew & Mint, Crunchy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt, Creamy Peanut Butter & Sea Salt, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  The bars are a bit smaller, and are also the protein packed bars, ranging from 10-15 grams.  Of course, this means the ingredients list is a bit less pure, and the base of each is the "Raw Rev Basic Superfood Blend", made of cashews, pea protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein, coconut oil, chia seeds, and flax seeds.  Yes, still raw vegan ingredients, but not quite as wholesome.  They tend to be high fiber and low sugar.

My biggest issue with most nutrition bars, particularly protein bars, is that they usually use soy or whey protein isolate.  Not only do I think whey protein isolate tastes gross, but it also always makes my stomach feel bad.  Like, really bad.  I no longer eat products with it, and I was happy to see that Raw Rev does not use whey protein.

So I tried a Glo bar, and, uh, I liked it?
Glo Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate, & Sea Salt.
"A creamy, delicious taste with rich dark chocolate includes nutritious raw ingredients with omega-rich superfoods to keep you glowing from the inside out!"

Sure, the name of this product sounded great:  Peanut Butter!  Dark Chocolate!  Sea Salt!  I like those things.  But, how many nutrition bars ever live up to the promise their dessert-worthy names imply? (Yes, I'm looking at you Clif and LUNA bars!)  Very, very few.

I opened the wrapper, and extracted the bar.  It looked just as awful as I assumed it would.  Yup, strange looking texture, no chocolate coating.  Strangely shiny.  Broken in half (ok, that was probably my fault).  I took my requisite bite.  And then I was confused.

I tasted lots of peanut butter, and a creamy pocket of chocolate.  I almost tasted a peanut butter cup.  I immediately took another bite.  This was not awful.  I turned the wrapper over to read the ingredients: yup, rice protein, hemp protein, chia seeds, flax seeds ... all things I don't usually like.  Where were they?  Honestly, I didn't taste the bitterness nor the funk usually associated with those ingredients.  I did taste the peanuts, and, it really was decent peanut butter flavor.  The strange texture of the bar kinda worked if you think about it as eating slightly firmer peanut butter.  Peanut butter, with pockets of chocolate that is.  I was really shocked by the chocolate, it wasn't chocolate chips as I assumed it would be, but instead, creamy, soft, areas of "organic Italian dark chocolate".  The chocolate was good, and, um, chocolate and peanut butter is always a good combination.  I did taste the pea protein, but I actually like pea protein (I know, a bit odd, but it really is tasty.  Have you tried Ripple Milk?  I really like it!)

So, yes, this was actually pretty good.  Was it as good as a peanut butter cup?  Obviously not.  As good as a fresh baked good?  Obviously not.  But far better than your average nutrition bar.  Strange texture, but, good flavor.  And really, quite amazing for the protein content, and in particular, one without whey protein isolate.  I'd have another.
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