Protein Bar Taste Test

Protein Bar Taste Test

To The Roof of Africa!

8.12.2010 | 3 Comments

On January 1st, 2010 I started my journey with this blog entry:

I am going to climb a mountain. Well, I’m going to walk up one, anyway.

I haven’t done anything like this before. In fact, I can probably count the number of times I’ve gone hiking, and I know I haven’t been camping more than half a dozen times. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’m getting into. I’ve watched videos about climbing this mountain. I’ve submitted questions about the climbing of this mountain to semi-popular websites. I have bought (although not yet read) books about this mountain. I feel about as prepared as someone who listens to a song on the radio and then starts hiring roadies to prepare for a world tour.

In August of 2010, I am going to fly to Tanzania, Africa and climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a way to raise money for the Delta Hospice. The Hospice holds a very special place in my heart, and it is my absolute honour to take on this journey to fund raise on their behalf. But this will be no simple journey. Oh no, this will be a flat-out epic.

Aside from the parent-induced membership in Brownies and Girl Guides, I have managed to avoid the outdoors quite sufficiently for about 30 years. I am the anti-camper. I do not like being cold. The sound of rain drops falling on a tent is nearly trauma-inducing. I would rather be in prison than a sleeping bag. (Some of you more astute readers may be able to pick up the subtle hints I am dropping in regards to my views on outdoor life). To climb Mount Kilimanjaro means that I will need to… oh, man… camp for 10 days.

And so, purely for your entertainment, I am going to allow you into my world as I train for this adventure. For the next seven months, I will allow parts of my life to become an open book, and permit you to laugh, cry and shake your head in total disbelief as I attempt to turn myself from Robyn the Indoor Princess, into Robyn the Sobbing Mess of Outdoorsy Semi-Competence.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!

And today, on August 12th, 2010, I am boarding that flight to Tanzania, Africa knowing that $10,000 $11, 850 has been raised (so far!) for the Delta Hospice Society.

I hiked once, twice, three times and four, five times, six times, and seven

I trained

I attempted to camp

I ate, ate, ate, and ate, and ate, ate, and happily ate, and ate, and ate, shamefully ate, ate, ate and attempted to explain sarcasm, ate, and ate, and ate, and tried to avoid eating, and thought about what to eat, and ate.

I fundraised, and had help with fundraising

I was sponsored and sponsored again

I was humbled

I remembered.

This has been an incredible journey on the way to having an incredible journey. I learned a lot about myself in these past eight months, and I learned a great deal about the power of human nature and the strength of community kindness. This whole experience has left me awed. And I am grateful for it. Thank you for letting me share it all with you. This became such a personal blog, and I’ve met some very wonderful people because of it.

And so today, I leave this blog in the capable hands of Chris, who will update it as often as he hears from me. I’m not sure how or when I’ll be able to make contact, but please know that it’s a priority for me to be able to keep you posted.

I want to thank you all so very, very much for following me and for reading this blog. It means more to me than I could ever express to know that I’m carrying your support and kindness in my heart as I scale that mountain.

And guess what?

I’m crying.

And so it begins…

Bring it on, Kilimanjaro!



Protein Bar Taste Test – number bazgillion and four.

7.23.2010 | 3 Comments

You’d think I would have learned by now…

*rolls eyes*

Brand: ProBar

Flavour: Kettle Corn -and- Cherry Pretzel (yes, I tasted two different ones)

Tag Line: The Whole Food Bar

First Ingredient: Organic Peanut Butter

It’s not my fault. I’m a sucker for packaging. And these bars have GREAT packaging. I mean, these bars looked AWESOME while I was pondering them in the aisle at London Drugs. But, much like those jeans that fit perfectly in The Gap changing room, once I got them home, I was sorely disappointed with my purchase.

After tearing open the delicious, delicious wrapper, I was a little shocked by the appearance of these bars. Where I was expecting some chocolate-coated almond/popcorn confection, I was exposed to what can best be described as a hand-mashed, bird-barf, suet bar that has been left out on the sun. And then left out in the cold. And then left in the sun again. Aaaaaand once more in the cold.

I tried, people, I really did. I had a small taste of both bars, and that small taste was more than enough. Maybe I’m weak, I don’t know, and maybe I gave up too quickly, but I just couldn’t do it.

So I made Chris try them, too.

I left him alone in the kitchen to try these  barf bars delightful treats while I went to check my email. I didn’t hear any gagging or cursing from him, so I assumed that all was well and that I was just too damn sensitive.

For shame me, for shame.   *shakes head*

And then, as I was emailing Michael (from Open Space Yoga, of course) about the Old Spice Guy, Chris walked up behind me and said, “I’d rather resort to cannibalizing Ali than eat those bars”, and then walked away.


Perhaps I should have just eaten the wrappers.



6.29.2010 | 5 Comments

I had a horrible thought yesterday…

What if my climbing team and I get lost on the mountain, wander around aimlessly, go all snow crazy and wind up resorting to cannibalism?  What a horrible, horrible scenario! I couldn’t help thinking about how tragic this would be. I mean, I’m a vegetarian! What the hell would I do!?

And then I got to thinking about who to eat first. Obviously the first choice would be the guide. I mean, not like we’d need him anymore, right? Besides, he got us lost in the first place, so a fitting punishment may very well be to turn him into mountain tapas.

But then I wondered if maybe *I* should be the one to get nommed first. That would really solve my ‘I-don’t-eat-flesh’ dilemma. It would also save me from having to choose which one of my friends I’d have to bonk over the head with a frozen hiking boot. I’m also not very good at making fires, so by being the one to be eaten first, it would save me the potentially debilitating humiliation of failing in front of my friends as I cry my teeny flame out.

Then I started thinking about my teammates (who should all probably stop reading this now), and who I think would make the best meal. Seems easy enough, but if I ate Ali for example (she has very tasty looking calves), then I’d be deprived of her company. If I ate Amanda, then I’d lose out on her level-headed intelligence. But if I ate Christopher… well, he’s pretty thin, so I’d have to end up eating Amanda after him, anyway. And then I’d probably be too full to move, and would then be a prime target for Ali, who I wouldn’t be able to fight off given my logey friend-full belly. But then again, maybe Ali would be too weak to fight! I mean, if I didn’t share, then she would slowly weaken, right? It would take all her strength to strike me down with a ski pole, so if she didn’t get me on first try, she’d be done for.

Cannibalism is apparently quite scientific. It’s not like I can just off any random friend, you know! I have to really think about this. And to make matters worse, I have a fairly small team to choose from! It’s not like I have a whole South American rugby team that I’m climbing with (not that I would mind… hmmmm, now wouldn’t THAT make for interesting blog entries!


Oh, right. Blog. I forgot….

Kind of went somewhere for a minute there…)

Ok, so here it is: if the team gets lost, I am putting it out there now that I wish to be eaten first. Given the lack of vegetable matter on a human body, I’d be forced to eat meat and that would totally make my tummy feel all icky. I don’t want to have an icky-feeling tummy! That would be just SO uncomfortable. AND I don’t want to have to choose which friend I have to chow on, so by being the first cooked I’d deftly avoid that scenario. AND I am probably a terrible cook when it comes to meat, so I’d most likely give myself ptomaine poisoning after an incorrect buddy-bake. This too would lead to an icky tummy, so really, it’s lose-lose isn’t it?


All this thinking is making me hungry! Shame I don’t have time to eat – I’m late for my psyichatrist appointment…


Oh, Brother…

5.18.2010 | 1 Comment

My younger brother Cameron is in the Air Cadets, and when he heard of my trip to Kili he wanted to help. Being a younger brother, his version of “help” is basically torturing me solely for his own amusement.


I think Cam has taken a particular interest in my Protein Bar Taste Test, and most likely because he can see how it tortures me so, and just how rotten tasting some of these bars have been. My abused stomach causes him much delight, I am sure.

Cam is a good kid though, really he is. He’s got a great imagination, and has a very wonderful sense of compassion. So when he found a way to help me out, he went above and beyond.

This is what Cam has given me…

What is in this bag, you ask?


Yes, those are what you think they are – MREs. That stands for “Meal, Ready-To-Eat”, and they are the rations given to armed forces personnel. Cam thought that it would be oh-so-amusing for me to use some of these things on my hike up Kili. Why? Because they’re disgusting, that’s why. Thanks Cam.

So, I rooted through the bag, and look what I found!

A new contender for my on-going, not-fun-anymore Protein Bar Taste Test!

What else have we got in here? Hmmmm…. let’s see…

Ok. Looks normal enough…

No problems there…


Oh, geez…


For some reason, this frightens me most of all. Well, until I looked at the drinks…

I have a feeling that the ingredients and product descriptions were very carefully worded, specifically to avoid lawsuits.

What in the WORLD am I going to do with this stuff?! EAT IT!? Pfffft… not bloody likely!

…OK! OK! I’ll eat it!  But this is just for Cam’s sake, because I know that HE has to eat this stuff from time to time, or else he’ll starve. From the looks of some of the “nutritional” ingredients and product descriptions, I’m thinking I’d choose starvation.

SO… I am going to take these MREs camping this weekend! That’s right, it’ll be me, Ali, Black Tusk, and a backpack laden with this horrendous, horrendous “food”. I have no idea what to expect (aside from some seriously amusing photos of my reactions when I eat this stuff… and most likely some sort of immodium-necessitated issue), but what the heck. Why not, right?

But before I decided to throw caution to the wind (and my taste buds into the great beyond), I figured that I needed to ask Cam for advice. This is the answer he gave me:  “always have lots and lots and lots of water when you eat those things! belch!!! with the jam, try to warm it up or something or else it just comes out like jello. oh and close your eyes when you eat the meals and try to imagine what the real food would taste like if you had it.”

Gotta’ love that kid, eh?

Thanks Cam!!  xo


Gym Floor Foam-Knife Bar

5.01.2010 | 1 Comment

Welcome to the Protein Bar Taste Test once again! This would be entry #14. FOURTEEN. If I think about it, I’ve spent 16 weeks and $50 subjecting my poor taste buds to this project. I’m kind of glad this taste test is all but finished. I think its affected my brain. Anyway, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go…


Brand: FitSmart

Flavour: Delicious Lemon Poppy

Tag Line: Gluten free, soy free, non-GMO, cold-pressed, Kosher, no added sugar, no preservatives

First Ingredient: Dates

I opened this bar on April 5th and took a small bite of it. I then got distracted and wasn’t able to do a taste-test entry. I figured I would do it the next day.

The FitSmart bar has now been sitting on my desk for 25 days.

I have completely forgotten what it tasted like, but since it’s been sitting on my desk for 25 days, (in an open wrapper), it’s pretty much an inedible brick by now. If I threw this at someone, it could cause some serious damage. So, I really don’t want to compromise my dental work in order to take another bite.

But I’ll be honest with you… I’m kind of tempted.

I’m so gross. That’s just vile. I’d NEVER do that. EVER.

…ok! Ok! I’ll do it! I’ll take another bite of this edible weapon just for you!

*opens wrapper a little more*

*sniffs at FitSmart bar*

Holy crap! It smells like an elementary school gymnasium floor! And come on, we’ve ALL fallen on our faces in the gym, so you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about people.

Now I’m really thinking twice about taking this second bite. I mean really, I could just toss the thing in the trash and pretend like I took a bite. I could ‘GAK!’ and ‘Ewww!’ and stick my tongue out while pretending to choke myself. I could make this really theatrical. This could become like a Protein Bar Taste Test conduced by a pro soccer player! I could even grab my knee and fall down for authenticity!

But no. Not me. I’M accountable. I refuse to sink to such a level. I will truly take another bite of the FitSmart bar. Just for YOU.

*holds breath, removes bar from wrapper*

Huh. For a bar with “no preservatives”, it still looks surprisingly like it did when I first opened it. It’s just knock-knock hard and dangerously poke-y. Yah, that’s it! It has a more ‘stabability’ quality now. I could really hurt someone with this thing. I could probably slay a lion! I don’t want to eat it – I’m TOTALLY taking this thing with me to Tanzania!

I’m stalling.

*takes bite*

…not bad, actually. I guess it’s alright…


The first bite was good: nutty flavour, decent texture, fresh lemony goodness… but in mere seconds it turned from ‘it’s ok’ to ‘dear god who would make chewing gum out of poppy seeds?!’ NOW I remember why I so happily got distracted last time I tried this bar. It has a texture that reminds me of the many times I bit into those foam swimming pool lane markers. Yes, I did do this. A lot. Stop asking questions!

Ooof. This is not a tasty treat, my friends. Its like a pressed-melted-gum log sprinkled with microscopic, annoying crunchy bits. No one wants that! No one wants a knife-esque, too-long-in-your-pocket Hubba Bubba, annoying-things-that-get-stuck-in-your-teeth-to-humiliate-you-when-you-see-the-man-of-your-dreams-and-smile-at-him laden edible boat float!

The FitSmart is essentially a semi-edible adjective thesaurus in a crinkly wrapper.

This is not the bar for me. As much as I appreciate how it allowed me to explore an entirely descriptive literary moment, I can’t see myself enjoying it on a culinary level. However, if I ever win the lottery and buy myself a nice boat, I’ll know exactly what to purchase for a dock float. Thanks FitSmart!


Protein Bar Taste Test # 13

4.22.2010 | 1 Comment

Number 13?! Really? I’ve eaten more than a dozen of these things already? Well, some of them I just took little bites from, but there was a reason for that…

Brand: Extreme Protein (by Weider)

Flavour: Chocolate Supreme

Tag Line: “Amazing Taste!”

First Ingredient: (are you ready for this?) High Fructose Corn Syrup

High Fructose Corn Syrup. The pinnacle of health according to Weider Nutrition Group. But wait,  maybe I’m being too judgmental here. Let’s give them another chance and have a look at the second ingredient…

Oh, dude. Seriously?

The second ingredient is coating. COATING. That’s not an ingredient! That’s a noun. And a verb! And what is this “coating” made of? Maltitol, modified palm kernel oil, skim milk powder, cocoa powder, soy lecithin, salt, natural flavour…

I am finding it difficult to believe that this bar is made by a company ‘committed to helping you achieve physical greatness’. A company that states on its website, “Our family-owned business has been built on a pledge to use only the finest materials in every product we sell. We are proud of the fact our products contain no chemicals or drugs.”

So, high fructose corn syrup, “a toxic chemical concoction which contributes to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions” is a ‘fine material’.

Huh. Interesting.

I’m going to be honest with you here: I only took one very small bite from this bar, because I just didn’t want to eat it. And it didn’t taste “amazing” to me. The Clif Bar was amazing. The Power Bar was amazing. Weider’s Extreme Protein Bar was a huge disappointment. In fact, instead of eating the Weider bar, I’d rather eat any of the other protein bars I’ve already tested. Including the Toilet Paper Coconut Booze Bar!

…but maybe not the Bumble Bar.

How can a company whose name is pretty much synonymous with fitness and weight-lifting feel that it’s perfectly ok to have high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient in their edible products?

The only good thing about this bar was that it made so upset that I was able to build up a decent amount of energy in order to rage about their product to my readers.  Huh. Weider Rage. Go figure…

And so, my final word on the Extreme Protein Bar: Booooooooooo Weider. Boooooooooooooooooooo.


Oh Taste Test!

4.12.2010 | 1 Comment

Brand: Oh Yeah! (seriously)

Flavour: Chocolate and caramel (oh yeah!)

Tag Line: Rich in natural essential fats (ummm… this is a selling point?)

First Ingredient: Peanuts

 Although I laughed at the name of this bar (and I’ll be honest, the silliness of the name nearly made me resist purchasing it), the picture on the wrapper was a very good selling point. It shows this bar looking EXACTLY like an Oh Henry! chocolate bar. No kidding. However, upon opening the wrapper, I saw that the Oh Yeah! bar looks… EXACTLY like an Oh Henry! chocolate bar. And the taste? Like the morning after Halloween, when you sneak in a bite-sized candy bar before breakfast – so wonderfully wicked. Woo hoo! Trademark infringement never tasted so good!

But, I wonder… how similar are the Brothers Oh! ? Let’s find out!

                                     Oh Yeah!                   Oh Henry!

Weight:                      3oz (85g)                    2oz (57g)

Calories                     380                              263

Sugars                        8g                                26.3g

Total Fat                    19g                              13.1g

Sodium                      130mg                       110mg

Total Carbs                31g                              37.3g

Cholesterol                5mg                            4mg

Protein                       26g                              4.4g

Huh. Aside from the sugar content, it’s essentially the same bar, isn’t it? Oh BOY! But really, that’s not a good thing, is it? Sadly, I’ll be leaving the Oh Yeah! Bar at Oh Base Camp! Now… after all that sugar, where did I put the celery?


The Protein Bar Taste Test Continues!

4.07.2010 | 2 Comments

Brand: Phytoberry Protein

Flavour:  …phytoberry I guess. What’s a phytoberry?

Tag Line: Protein and Fruit Energy Bar

First Ingredient: Protein Blend (There are FAR too many ingredients in this to list.)

I know what a blueberry is. I know what a raspberry is. I’m confident in my knowledge of blackberries. All of these berries are proudly displayed in a tantalizing picture on the wrapper of the phytoberry bar. This could prove to be tasty!

This bar is about 45 grams. After taste-testing it two weeks ago, I have approximately 43.5 grams of it left over.

I don’t know what a phytoberry is, but I don’t like it. Apparently a phytoberry is purple, though. And a phytoberry tastes like cereal. In fact, the phytoberry may be the secret ingredient in Boo Berry cereal, because the phytoberry bar has an eerily similar taste to Boo Berry cereal. Unfortunately, it is NOT Boo Berry cereal. If it were, I would have gladly eaten it.

The phytoberry bar is essentially Boo Berry jam mashed together with Rice Krispies. This bar isn’t sure if it’s a bar, a fruit or a cereal. I guess that’s to be expected when one calls oneself ‘phytoberry’. What the hell is a phytoberry!? It’s something with an identity crisis, that’s for sure.

Although the phytoberry bar is NOT Boo Berry cereal, I still find that I am being haunted by it. I think that has something to do with the fact that I spent $3.88 (before tax) on the dumb thing, and only ate about 45 cents worth of it before my gag reflex kicked in.

I’m going to have to go eat some Lucky Charms to wash the taste away once and for all. Pffft… Phytoberry. You’re not even a berry, you liar!



Wait, what?

3.26.2010 | 1 Comment

And once again, I joyfully bring you another installment of:


I believe this is installment #7. For something new and exciting, I thought I’d rock on down to the health food store and see what they had in the way of protein bars. Chock-full of nutritious and healthy goodness, I was sure to find something to please my discernible palate. And there, I stumbled across three new bars! And heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go!

Brand: Healthy Addictions (this is starting off well!)
Tagline: “Raw Health Bar” (Meh.)
Flavour: Coco Bliss (this just got better!)
First Ingredient: Organic raw coconut

This little bar is a wee jumble of fun packed into an edible slab the size of my palm. It’s small, it’s colourful, it’s almost adorable! (I am SUCH a girl!). It also cost me $4.79, so it had better be damn good for that price. Actually, I’m secretly hoping that it’s terrible so that I don’t really get ‘addicted’ and eventually be forced to sell my possessions to keep myself in a perpetual state of Coco Bliss.

I open the wrapper (fairly easy to open, so that’s always good), and look into the little cellophane cavern to see the wondrous view before me: it looks exactly like a Nanaimo Bar! Oh heaven of heavens! Could this be true?! Why am I wasting so much time staring at this thing when I could be happily devouring it in the name of science? Life is too short! Eat! Eat!

I take a bite – a small one, mind you, so as not to overwhelm myself with the glory that is… that is…

Ok seriously? It tastes like booze! No wait… wait… let me ummm “savour” it a bit longer to see if I can get this taste right…

Nope. I was right. It tastes like booze. Booze-y little bits of coconut in chewy form. No, no… ‘chewy’ isn’t the word I need here. It’s isn’t chewy. Nor is it melt-in-your-mouth. It is neither crunchy, nor crispy. Neither creamy, nor chunky. What IS this texture!?

It’s not really bar-like. It’s not necessarily a solid. Definitely not a liquid. It’s so weird! I take a bite, chew a few times, and then it sort of disappears. It’s the strangest thing. I can’t quite place this texture, although I am certain I’ve had something like it before. Something accidental somehow, something I didn’t exactly enjoy, something… oh god. I know *exactly* what the texture is!

You know how sometimes when you bring a tissue up to your nose, and accidentally inhale a small piece of it, and it lands on your tongue, totally grossing you out? THAT is what the Coco Bliss bar texture is.

That’s right, the Coco Bliss Bar tastes kind of like eating a booze-soaked wad of clean facial tissue wrapped around a chunk of shredded coconut. How on earth did they manage to pull that off?! I mean, that takes a special kind of talent, right there. It almost deserves some sort of peer recognition. An award, maybe! The Holy Crap, You Guys Are Phenomenally BAD At Texture Award. Now that’s an awards-show dinner I’d probably skip.

Toilet paper coconut booze bar. Huh. You know, I’ve gotta’ say, that really isn’t the taste I’m going for either 19,000 feet up, nor at sea level. Bizarre!

These Healthy Addictions bars are enough to drive a woman to drink.



2.25.2010 | 1 Comment


So the other night I was feeling a little sin-snacky, and decided that the best course of action for me to take would be find the worst (best!) snack that I could find, in order to satisfy my
logic-defying craving. It was late at night, so I was hoping that a little trip into Ladner to purchase a very bad idea would go undetected.

And so, as I’m rooting around in the ice cream case at Johnny’s store (where, incidentally, they sell THE best flowers), trying to decide between the Haagen Dazs Chocolate Almond bar and the Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia bar, I hear a voice behind me say

“Heeeey, those aren’t Power Bars!”

I turn, and look into the face of a handsome gentleman who has totally caught me snarfing a fat-fest after reading my blog about taste-testing protein bars for my climb up Kilimanjaro.



Darwin’s Power Bar

2.22.2010 | 1 Comment

Oh yes, one more time: The Protein Bar Taste Test! (insert ominous, yet enjoyable music here)

Brand: Power Bar Recovery
Flavour: Peanut Butter Caramel Crisp
Tag Line: “Rebuilds muscles”
First Ingredient: Chocolatey coating (sugar, fractionated palm kernel oil, cocoa, whey powder, skim milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla flavour)

Oh man, do I really have to eat this? I haven’t even taken the wrapper off and I’m already grossed out. I remember Power Bars from many years ago; they were thin little bricks of tooth-shattering blah. I really hope they’ve changed things. I have terrible memories of trying to chew and swallow bite-sized pieces of these flavoured rock lumps. No matter how much water I drank, I couldn’t ever seem to move that lump down my gullet in a timely manner. In fact, I may still have Power Bar stuck in my throat from 12 years ago.

Aw, man! Seriously?! “Chocolatey” isn’t even a word and it’s their first ingredient! That’s it, I’m taking marks off simply for irrational spelling! Oh, Power Bar, why do you hate me so?

I may as well just get it over with…

*unwraps Power Bar Recovery*

Oh Power Bar! My, how you’ve changed! This is even better than the Isoflex bar! In fact, you’re giving Clif a serious run for the money, my friend. You know all those mean, nasty things I said about you, Power Bar? Well, I totally don’t take them back, because really you did used to be quite horrid. However, it seems as though you have new Darwin-esque employees on your staff, and so have adapted your bar to better suit the environment. You’ve become edible, little bar! Awwww…. *sniff* that’s so beautiful. You’ve worked so hard, and it really has paid off. I’m so proud of you, little guy!

*lightly punches Power Bar in the shoulder*