Core Foods Raw Almond Raisin Protein Bar Review
I’ve been training at the Mecca of Bodybuilding — Gold’s Gym Venice — for the past two years and during that time, my allotment of free samples from neighboring supplement stores — GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Power Nutrition, MaxMuscle and all my other neighbors here in LA — has allowed me to taste more protein bars than any human being should ever be forced to endure.
Certain moments in my protein bar tasting history stand out for me: The first time I ever choked down a disgusting, original sawdust MetRx bar; my first bite of a delicious Cookies n Cream Promax bar that had me inspecting the ingredient list for the word ‘protein’; my brief but torrid love affair with the original Labrada Nutrition PBJ bar (later cancelled); and more recently, my positive experience with Oh Yeah!
But those protein highlights are darkened by a myriad of nameless, faceless one-night stands with protein bars neither memorable or exotic enough to inspire a second date. And despite my addiction to ProMax’s amazingly tasty protein bars, I could never shake the feeling that I was eating CANDY and not FOOD.
So imagine my excitement last week when I saw an attractive young woman standing outside Gold’s Gym offering samples of three different flavors of a new type of protein bar. And by ‘new’, I mean one that wasn’t loaded with words I couldn’t pronounce and colors I couldn’t see and artificial sweeteners that I wished I couldn’t taste.
Before diving in to the Almond Raisin protein cube in front of me, I took a moment to inspect the packaging. It was WHITE. And not glossy, shiny, reflective, make-my-pupils-dilate-white. RECYCLED WHITE. Hmmmm…I thought, how will they compete with the day-glo oranges, shimmery blues, neon reds and glow-in-the-dark green labels that seem to permeate the industry in an attempt to differentiate themselves? I was further impressed by the label which contained the word ‘FOOD’ instead of claims of increasing muscle mass by 3286%. Honesty: A novel concept. I knew immediately from experience that this product would have to stand on its own merit and garner word-of-mouth to be able to grab some shelf space in the crowded supplement aisles.
I dropped the Raw Almond Raisin cube in my mouth and it practically melted. It was like a moist drop of fresh steel-cut oats covered in almonds and raisins. No weird flavors detected. No after-taste. I quickly grabbed a bar and flipped it over to the ingredient list:
Whole Oats, Almonds, Raisins, Whey Protein (Milk), Ground Spices.
That’s it! No Xylitol. No Carageenan. No Witch’s Mole or Eye of Newt. Just REAL FOOD.
I was more than a little impressed. And then I looked at the Nutrient Facts: 18g of protein. WOW!
Deep down inside, I’ve always felt the difference between having a REAL bowl of oatmeal and fresh fruit in the morning vs. downing a protein bar, but finally, it seemed, the two worlds had merged into one.
I skipped the Cacao flavor (personal preference) and dove right in to the Raw Walnut Banana. Whoa! My tastebuds jumped up, did two flips, a 360 flying roundhouse kick, and nailed a perfect 10.0 landing. Ingredients: Whole Oats, Walnuts, Whey Protein (Milk), Raisins, Bananas, Ground Spices. I proceeded to distract the demo lady while surreptitiously swiping and eating all of the remaining cubes on her tray.
I was blown away by the flavor, texture and ‘whole foodiness’ of these. It was just way too ‘fresh’ to be possible. Or was it?
I asked the rep how they could use fresh ingredients without preservatives and that’s when I knew I had stumbled on the ‘next big thing’ — she told me the bars must be eaten within about a WEEK of production or else it has to be REFRIGERATED!! You know, like REAL FOOD!
Holy Cow! Fresh food. Real food. Amazing taste. No fillers. No chemicals. No preservatives. No junk.
It was like Moses parting the Red Sea while Jesus was walking on top of it — Two Miracles in One Bar!
Priced around $4/bar and available via either mail order or at your local Whole Foods, it’s worth every red cent.