Paleo Bar Review: MyHealthyEats Cashew & Cocoa Bar

Hi, friends!

So, I finally had a chance to crack into that shipment of Paleo Bars sent to me by My Healthy Eats over the weekend!

I decided to try out the Cashew & Cocoa Bar first, because, well … CASHEWS ARE MY JAM and who doesn’t love chocolate?

At a hefty 289 calories per bar, I will point out that these babies should likely be considered a meal replacement versus a snack – unless you’re a much bigger person. As a 135 lb woman, 289 calories is a substantial chunk out of my day, so I decided to have the bar as my dinner on Tuesday night.

 

First and foremost: these bars are moist, thick, and LOOK LIKE REAL FOOD.

If you recall my experience with Julian Bakery’s Paleo Protein bars, this is a DRASTIC –and much appreciated– difference.

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Seriously, this actually looks really good. Big chunks of nuts, NO MOLD (again, see my review of Julian Bakery’s bars), and a pretty substantial-looking bar.

I was most impressed by the TEXTURE: it was soft, chewy (think brownie, not tootsie roll), and had a dessert-like flavor on first bite.

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Similar to a LaraBar or the RXBars, the main ingredient of these bars is dates. This is what gives it a sweetness and the moist, thick texture that is such a departure from the Julian Bakery bars.

My husband tried a bite and thought I was having a dessert bar; so that’s definitely a vote of confidence!

All in all, I liked these bars, but I probably wouldn’t have them daily.

Here’s my voting/opinion in summary:

TEXTURE: Perfect! Moist, chewy, and brownie-like.

FLAVOR: Good, but not much different than a LaraBar.

CALORIES: HIGH – 289 is a substantial snack!

SUGARS: The bar is marketed as a “low carb” option, but this is NOT THE CASE. While it doesn’t have added sugars, the first ingredient is “date paste,” which is very naturally sugar-dense. This bar packed a whopping 24g of sugar, which is more than I normally aim to eat in a day. I would strongly advise against these bars if you’re following a Ketogenic or low carb diet.

PROTEIN: The bars are marketed as high protein, but with only 8g of egg white protein –it’s literally the last ingredient– I would consider these to be more of an energy bar versus a protein bar. I told my husband I plan to use the bars as carb-supplements while doing my marathon training this Fall.

Overall, I found the bar tasty and a decent option for those following a Paleo, Primal, Whole30 or vegetarian eating plan. I wasn’t floored by it, but I did find it substantially better than Julian Bakery’s Paleo bars.

That being said, I doubt I’ll be ordering any for myself. At over $4 per bar (almost double what Quest Nutrition and RX Bars charges), it’s definitely not in my price range. On top of that, I aim to eat less than 25g sugars MAXIMUM per day (realistically, I try to avoid sugar fully, as I’m following a hybrid Keto-Paleo diet), so these don’t fit well into my Macros.

For someone not concerned about carbs/sugars and who has more money to burn, these could be a good option. They do taste good, and I’m sure they’d be a nice treat warmed up, but they’re not a viable option for me to consume daily, both from a financial and nutritional perspective.

MY HEALTHY EATS BARS IN REVIEW:

PROS:

  • Paleo/Primal/Whole30 compliant.
  • Vegetarian option!
  • Natural ingredients (not 100% sure if they were organic, but I didn’t research it).
  • No junk fillers.
  • Available on Amazon for easy/expedient delivery.

CONS:

  • Very high in sugar (24g of sugars alone in the bar I ate)
  • High calories (between 250 to 289 in the three flavors they offer)
  • Relatively low in protein (only 8g)
  • Very pricey: Almost $37 for 9 bars! (yikes)

I do plan to try the other flavors this weekend (planned for the days I do my LONGEST training runs for my upcoming marathon), so I’ll post again if I have any additional feedback about them!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Product Review Coming: MyHealthyEats Protein Bars

Over the last twelve months, I’ve discovered most newcomers to my blog are the result of one of two things:

  • ONE: they read my weight loss story on either The Huffington Post or Daily Mail (or stumbled across my homemade documentary on YouTube) and came here to commiserate/join me on the journey. Weight loss and good health is a lifelong struggle/ambition, and I use this blog to chronicle my daily wins, losses, and draws.

  • TWO:  they have experienced the HORRIFIC customer service that is Julian’s Bakery and/or they’re deeply disappointed in their Paleo Protein Bars and want to see if others have shared in the terrible experience. I’ve been quite vocal about my ridiculous arguments with Julian Bakery about their subpar products, and I think, and many others agree, that the company practices fraudulent product reviews/social media praise to entice new customers, because everyone I talk to is disgusted by the majority of their products.

 

Seriously, CLICK HERE if you want to read some of the trauma I went through with Julian’s Bakery over a case of their protein bars that arrived moldy, rock hard, and with misrepresented calorie information.

That being said, I’ve made quite a few friends from fellow Paleo-advocates who’ve stumbled across my blog while looking for product reviews, or those who’ve also had bad experiences with the same company.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by Mr. Paul Easton, the producer of a NEW type of Paleo Protein Bar, who told me he planned to compete against Julian’s Bakery. Per Paul, his company, MyHealthyEats, would not only offer a superior product (anything beats the rock-hard, mold covered bars they sent, but I’m being silly), but that he would stand behind it 100% with a money back guarantee. In fact, he was so confident about the high quality of his bars, he offered to send me a sampler pack to try out and review on my website. I decided to take him up on his offer, letting him know I would provide a  100% honest review -not accepting any incentive or money to inflate my opinions- and he agreed.

Well, guess what arrived in the mail today?!

I already ate dinner (and a snack – whoops!) today, so I can’t dig into a bar right now, but wanted to let you know I’m SUPER excited to try these Paleo Protein Bars (the flavors sound awesome) and I’ll be posting a review for each flavor this week!

Keep an eye out, fellow yo-yos, and I’ll also give some life-updates this week, too!

Hope everyone is doing well! Bon appetit, friends!

~ Tori

Meal Delivery, Week One

On Sunday, I began my quest to regain control of my eating disorder (and return to a healthy body image and weight) by utilizing a meal delivery service.

I selected Dine N Ditch, a locally-based company that caters to athletes and busy, working-adults who care about clean eating and overall wellness.

I signed up for the 6oz meal plan, which consists of five meals per day, six days per week (30 total), with one day scheduled for “normal eating.”

Dine N Ditch delivers every Saturday morning (between 9am and 12pm) and Wednesday afternoon (free of charge), right to your house.

One of my main issues with meal-planning is the repetition, but I have to admit right off the bat that this will not be an issue with Dine & Ditch. Every three days I’m provided with a totally different menu and never have to repeat the same meal more than three times in three days.

For example, this was my menu for Sunday-Tuesday:

  • Crustless Egg Quiches (mini-muffins) with turkey sausage and herbs.
  • Grilled Mexican Chicken with carrots and fresh pico de gallo.
  • Roasted chicken with homemade pesto and sauteed zucchini.
  • Baked cod with cream sauce and sauteed green beans.
  • Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots with mushroom gravy.

Every dish is gluten-free and they’re a pork free (and shellfish free) kitchen! As someone with a pork allergy, this is a big deal to me. I never have to worry about cross-contamination with Dine N Ditch, which is a huge worry off of my plate.

And did I mention the food is incredible?

Not too shabby!

Each meal is between 250-350 calories, has 25-35g protein, and is under 25g carbs (maximum).

But here’s the real kicker: the meals are so filling and satisfying, I haven’t been able to eat all five in a day! In fact, I’ve managed to save one meal each day since Sunday, so I actually won’t need to worry about taking a “cheat day,” as I still have three meals leftover that I’ve frozen to use later.

With eating four meals per day (roughly 1000 calories), I’ve given myself a 200 calorie allowance to be human – which I’m using daily with a piece of raw chocolate (under 50 calories) and a spoon or two of almond butter (between 90-180 calories) so I don’t go crazy and binge later.

So, how am I doing so far?

Monday, 4/25 Weight: 143.6

Today (Wednesday, 4/27): 141.0.

Already 2.6 lbs down in two days? Not too shabby.

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori

Dining at Disney: Cinderella’s Royal Table

For those of you who didn’t know, my husband and I are DISNEY JUNKIES.

Seriously, we’re at the parks almost every weekend. Epcot is our favorite – especially during the Food & Wine or Flower & Garden festivals – but we’ve been recently rediscovering the cuisine of Magic Kingdom and I have to admit we’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Last week was our ninth wedding anniversary (cue the “Awwwwws!”), so I surprised him with reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, located in the beautiful castle the park is so famous for!

Let it be known, Cinderella’s Royal Table is not something you can do impulsively: you have to book reservations MONTHS in advance, and even then you can’t guarantee you’ll get an ideal time slot. I booked almost three months in advance, and managed to get a 10:15pm reservation for dinner. Not ideal dining time, but beggars can’t be choosers.

There are some caveats to keep in mind with dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table:

  • You pre-pay for dinner. It’s roughly $75 per person, but that covers a soft drink, appetizer, entree, and dessert, plus tax and gratuity.
  • It’s a pre-fix menu, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • If you don’t like being visited by Disney princesses in full costume throughout your meal, this is not the place for you.
  • NO ALCOHOL. (boooo)

That being said, I was very impressed by the food quality, presentation, and overall experience!

The Menu at Cinderella's Royal Table

The Menu at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The appetizer selection was a bit small – but the cheese tray was scrumptious and my husband said his sea-scallop compote was very nicely plated and surprisingly flavorful.

The dinner entrees, however, were STELLAR. We both enjoyed the filet and shrimp and, though again small portions, they were perfectly cooked and the tenderness of the steak was downright impressive.

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Seriously, this may be small, but it packed a ton of flavor. And the shrimp is almost as wide as the steak!

I was so tickled to see how many gluten-free and allergy-sensitive options they had! They offered vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and diet conscious choices, which was honestly very impressive.

Of course, since we were celebrating our anniversary, we didn’t really follow our normal diets (we both stick closely to Paleo), but rather we enjoyed the bread basket (so delicious!), and got whatever dessert sounded best.

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Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

I tried the flourless chocolate cake (I can’t resist chocolate) and he tried the seasonal dessert, which turned out to be a delicious strawberry cheesecake I ate too quickly to take a picture of – whoops!

All in all, I would definitely recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table to anyone looking for some fine-dining on Disney property with all the fun of a character meet-and-greet. The food was worth the expense (unlike some of the other dining options, which are egregiously overpriced), and the ambiance was lovely.

Naturally, we took lots and lots of photos with the princesses.

 

P.S. It’s probably not a surprise (based on these photos), but we did enjoy a few drinks at Epcot before heading over. Hey, we were celebrating, so it’s 100% acceptable.

On that note… bon appetit, my friends!

Tori

February 1-29: It’s DietBet Time!

You guys know I love using technology for tracking my health and fitness. I use MyFitnessPal to log my meals, RunKeeper to track my mileage, Jawbone Up to track my steps, and multiple Paleo apps to search for recipes and ingredients list for new dishes. So, it’s only natural that I would start using Instagram for health and wellness, too!

Now, I try to keep my account on Instagram pretty loose, in then sense that I do not want my profile associated with any one topic. So, instead of using my account to talk about my weight loss or workouts, I tend to post pictures of my puppy, funny gym shirts, and whatever delicious food I’m about to scarf down. However, I absolutely LOVE following people who are dedicated to their journeys, and that’s how I came across @AmyDown100!

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She’s this super cool chick who has managed to shed 100 lbs through healthy diet, exercise, and positive thought. She’s very real: she talks about the good days and the bad, just like I try to do on here. She recently underwent surgery for excess skin removal and, since the recovery period severely limited her exercise, she admits she gained a few pounds back. It’s human, and I love the fact that instead of getting upset or depressed about it, she’s taking charge. How?

With DietBet!

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DietBet is basically the real-life version of putting your money where you mouth is. You pay in $30 to join a pool of other dieters. Ultimately, the goal is to lose 4% (or more) of your body weight in four weeks.

Here’s the best part: it’s not like a tournament where only the top losers win (sounds oxymoronic, but you know what I mean). ANYONE who loses at least 4% of their money back is guaranteed to get back their initial investment ($30), and then they split the “winnings” — aka, the $30 investments of everyone who didn’t lose 4% — with their teammates!

I’ve seen people making $20-30 per DietBet they join — the investment keeps them motivated ($30 is a nice dinner out), and so they follow through with their exercise and healthy eating plans. You’re not limited to being in one DietBet at a time, either. You can join dozens, if you want to, as long as your willing to pay the $30 to get started per bet and you’re committed to working your butt off to ensure you don’t miss your 4% weight loss goal, since you’ll lose the investment for all bets simultaneously!

Amy’s trying to get herself refocused and shed those couple extra pounds that creeped up over the holidays and after her surgery, so she’s hosting her own DietBet challenge, starting February 1st through the 29th!

If you’re already struggling on your resolutions or just need a little extra umph to get you going through the cold months, I strongly suggest you join us on DietBet!

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s lose this winter weight together, and make money while doing it!

Bon appetit!

Tori

Meal Prep and Real Life!

Today is officially my last day of “vacation.” Yes, I’m technically still off for the weekend, but today ends the last of my holiday vacation time.

While I had a blast in NYC from 12/28-1/3, I found this week extremely challenging. I was no longer in “chill mode” (aka: eat whatever, do whatever), but wasn’t back to my regimen, either. To be honest, I really didn’t know what to do with myself.

So, like any good yoyo dieter, I decided to use the week to “transition” myself back into the real world.

Since I had all day off while my husband was back at work, I used the free time to rack up a few hours at the gym, buy my school books, and catch up on some personal reading. I should’ve gotten ahead on school reading, of course, but that’s what my panic-induced Sunday cram sessions are for.

Today, though, I decided it was crucial I do something proactive for the upcoming week, as I will be back to full time work AND graduate school starting Monday.

I decided to invite my best friend Delonna, who has to follow a restrictive ketogenic and allergen-free diet, over to my house to do some healthy prep cooking for the week!

After three hours of laughing, making a mess, and “quality assurance testing” our goodies, here’s what I ended up with in my freezer:

3 individual turkey meatloaves (267 calories, 51g protein each)

3 individual beef meatloaves (288 calories each, 35g protein)

12 lamb meatballs (80 calories each, 7g protein)

12 chicken veggie muffins (72 calories each, 10g protein)

18 grain-free Italian muffins (98 calories each, 6g protein)

I’ll be making veggie egg muffins and grain-free cookies Sunday evening so there’s really no excuse to deviate from a healthy diet. Preparation is key to living (and maintaining control despite temptation) with a busy schedule. School and work are back full time on Monday!!

So, on that note, it’s time for a run and a little wine!

Bon appetit, my friends!

– Tori

RX Bars: Best Customer Service!

So, I’m sure all of you remember the horrific debacle I dealt with a few weeks back with Julian’s Bakery regarding their moldy, nasty Paleo protein bars, right? It was an all-around terrible experience: their customer service led me in circles, insisted I mail back their product, and told me I’d be responsible for shipping costs – all while I dealt with a product that was literally slimy with white mold. Needless to say, when I finally got my money back, I vowed to never order from them again.

While I absolutely love Quest Bars, though, I knew I needed to find a Paleo-approved substitute to use in my regular diet. Quest Bars are made with corn fiber and dairy/whey, which is a big no-no for most primal diets. So, while they are good for the occasional cheat, they definitely shouldn’t play a prominent role in your daily nutrition.

That being said, I did a bit of research and discovered the RX Bar company!

RX Bars are 100% natural: they contain fruit, nuts, and egg whites. The end.

And, with each RX Bar boasting 12g of protein and lots of fiber, they’re the perfect breakfast-on-the go for Paleo and non-Paleo people alike!

I had ordered three cases back in July and kept them in my pantry, where they were unfortunately forgotten for about three months. When I rediscovered them last week, I was thrilled to dive back in and enjoy them. I did notice, though, that two of the bars I opened had a tiny spot of mold on them. I checked the expiration date and the product should have been OK, but I did note the wrappers were thin, so I likely had damaged/ripped them when I put them away.

Fearful for a repeat of the terror Julian’s Bakery, I sent a request through the “Contact Us” form on the RX Bar’s website, praying to just get a coupon or something for the product so I could order more.

But I got so, so much more.

About an hour after my request was submitted (noting the mold on the bar, the expiration date, and the fact that I believed the wrapper could have been damaged by me or in transport), they had a customer service representative call me personally.

What?! A call from a real human being?! What sorcery is this?

The young lady was SUPER sweet, verifying the details I put on my request form and just asking for the bar code from the packaging so she could check to see if there was any history or issue with that particular batch of bars. She was never accusatory or defensive (see my conversations with Julian’s Bakery to see the OPPOSITE of this behavior), and she apologized several times for any inconvenience this caused me. She immediately told me that they’d redesigned their packaging to avoid this issue several months ago, and also changed the recipe slightly to bring down the moisture (switched from dates to cashews), so she was positive I’d have a better experience in the future. She also confirmed I didn’t have any allergies (seriously, how courteous is that?) and then offered to replace the bars – a full 12-pack! – as an apology and a means of rectifying the situation.

WHAT?!

So, not only did she offer an apology for a slight issue with the product, but she also replaced it – with free shipping! – by 1200%!

****LOOK****

THEY ARE SO CONFIDENT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THEIR BARS, THEY GUARANTEE THEM RIGHT ON THEIR WEBSITE!

This is LIGHTYEAR’S beyond how the customer service department at Julian’s Bakery treated me, and far beyond my expectations for excellent customer service. I already loved RX Bars for their delicious product, but now their incredible customer service has now solidified a life-long relationship with me.

If you’re on a Paleo, Whole30, Primal, or nutrition-focused diet — or just love real, healthy food — you definitely need to pick up a few packs of these bars! I love the Coffee Cacao and Blueberry, but ALL of the flavors are truly amazing!

Bon appetit, my friends!

~ Tori