Ample Review

Ample Review

My family and I went to the Zoo the other day with another family friend. In the middle of feeding parakeets and walking all the way to see the tigers, my buddy and I got into a conversation about meal replacement drinks (totally normal, right?). My buddy was telling me about one that he was going to try called Huel. I told him how funny because the other day I was thinking about Soylet and I wondered if there was some sort of Primal alternative to the Soylent type drink.

Zoo
Thanks to my Google Clips for capturing this moment

After we got home from the zoo I took a look at the one my buddy was talking about. Turns out it looks pretty good compared to Soylent, considering it’s not using soy for the protein source. Huel actually uses oats for it’s protein source. Now oats are definitely better than soy in terms of paleo/primal, but I wanted to look for something that truly caters to the paleo/primal crowd. After some googling I found this reddit post where people were talking about a product called Ample. I headed over to their site and read up on their ingredients and approach a little bit. As it turns out, Ample seems like the perfect paleo/primal option for a meal replacement type drink in the same vein as Soylent or Huel. So I reached out to the Ample team and they were more than willing to send me samples of their standard drink Ample and their Ample K geared towards Keto folks. So today we will be reviewing Ample and Ample K.

Ample Review

This review took some time (sorry Ample!) but I really wanted to approach both the Ample and Ample K as a true meal replacement and see how it fit into my daily routine. I’ll describe more below what I mean by that and compare this product to what I eat in a typical day. Therefore as always, we will be reviewing these drinks for: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional Profile

Ample Review
This product really reminds me of the guys that put together IQ Bars because the folks behind Ample really get nutrition and they put a ton of thought into their product. Ample started out on Indigogo in 2016 where they raised almost $400k to bring this dream into reality. They finished out as the #1 most funded Indiegogo food campaign of all time. Check out this video below describing how Ample came to be:

Now I could go on and list all their ingredients and whatnot but this other video they put together really tells the story on why they chose the ingredients they did for their product.

The ingredients Ample chose to use in their product are right in line with my primal goals. They use a real animal protein source, they aren’t afraid of fats and they keep the carbs relatively low – and even lower in their Ample K drink.

Ample Review

So how does this all actually fit in my lifestyle? A typical day day for me is as follows: I typically skip breakfast and carry over a fast from the night before until lunch around noon, then I eat dinner around 6:30–7pm. My first meal throughout the day is “lunch” (I put that in quotes because if I work from home that’s normally bacon and eggs – whereas when I’m in the office I don’t have the luxury of cooking bacon and eggs). My lunch at work though is normally a big salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar, a can of sardines, an avocado and some nori strips. So I wanted to compare the nutrition profile of my typical meal I eat at lunch with the Ample shake I’m replacing that meal with. Let’s take a look at how Ample compares to my typical lunch:

My Typical Lunch
Total Fat: 73g
Total Carbohydrate: 44g (Dietary Fiber 25g, Sugars 11g)
Protein: 35g
Ingredients: 1 container Wild Pacific Sardines In EVOO, 1 Avocado, 1 container Sweet Kale Salad No Dressing, 1 pack Roasted Seasoned Seaweed, 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Ample (400 Calorie)
Total Fat: 21g
Total Carbohydrate: 25g (Dietary Fiber 10g, Sugars 4g)
Protein: 27g
Ingredients: Grass-fed whey protein concentrate, coconut oil, tapioca dextrin, macadamia nut oil, pea protein, organic psyllium husk, grass-fed hydrolyzed collagen protein, dried honey, organic sweet potato powder, acacia fiber, sunflower lectin, chicory root fiber, Zuvii green banana powder, organic wheatgrass, sea salt, organic cocoa powder, organic barley grass, natural flavor, omega–3 Chia seed extract, lemon juice powder, probiotic blend (L. Acidophilus, L. Paracasei, B. Lactis, B. Infantis, L. Rhamnosus, Bacillus Coagulans), cinnamon, organic chlorella, monk fruit extract, Stevia extract

Now I’m totally assuming the myfitnesspal.com database has all those numbers for my lunch correct. I’ve never taken the time to add up my typical lunch so it’s kinda surprising that I basically eat a 1000 calorie lunch with 70g fat and 19g net carbs. Who knew?! So comparing what I typically eat to the Ample 400 calorie shake is surprising because I would probably feel more full if I did the 600 calorie shake, which is an option. For the purpose of this review I drank this shake instead of my typical lunch to see how hungry I felt by my typical dinner time and how I generally felt in the afternoon.

Ample Review

What were the results? Well I started out the first week with the regular Ample, then I switched to the Ample K the following week. The first week with the regular Ample instead of my typical lunch was completely normal and fine. It kept me full on the days I swam in the morning before work and on the days I didn’t swim and did strength training instead. The only difference was on the days I swam I found myself hungry around 5pm and was ready to start cooking dinner. Whereas typically I eat around 6–7pm but only because my family needs to eat – not particularly because I’m starving.

The following week when I used Ample K (K for Keto) it kept me full just the same or maybe even fuller. I typically eat pretty high fat so the higher fat in the keto drink helped me out a bit. My diet swings from low carb primal to keto every now and then with the variation being that I eat more protein some days and other days not – the only constant is that I always eat high fat and low carb. So the only effect these very specific keto drinks had on me was that I found myself hungry around 6–7pm probably because of the keto amount of lowish protein. Just a theory and no data behind that since I swing with more protein some days and lower protein other days. Overall though the regular Ample and the Ample K sustained me through my normal morning fast, to being my lunch then all the way to dinner.

All in all the ingredients and nutritional profile of these shakes are pretty great. They contain quality animal proteins, low carbs, high fat, probiotics and prebiotics and just the right amount of sweetness. I really do like these shakes as an optional meal replacement, whatever meal that might be for you. I would just recommend that you take a look at what you typically eat to see if the 400 calorie or 600 calorie is right for you – and what’s better for your diet goals: the Ample or Ample K.

Affordability

Ample Review
This is where things get a little interesting. Why? because I’m not quite sure what to compare this to. Do you compare the affordability to my typical meal or to the other shakes or to McDonalds? Really it comes down to what you’re using Ample for. Are you trying to save money by drinking these instead of packing your own lunch everyday? Are you trying to use Ample as a convenience so you don’t have to make your lunch? The reason you’re using Ample will determine how affordable you think the product actually is. So let’s look at those two reasons: saving money and convenience.

My Typical Lunch
1 container Wild Pacific Sardines In EVOO ($1.88), 1 Avocado ($1), 1 container Sweet Kale Salad No Dressing ($1.50), 1 pack Roasted Seasoned Seaweed ($.75), 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil ($.25), 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar ($.25)
Estimated Total: $5.63

Ample (400 Calorie)
Price per bottle: $5.26 (subscription)
Price per 30 bottle quantity: $157.95 (subscription)
Link

Soylent Drink (400 Calorie)
Price per bottle: $2.69 (subscription)
Price per 36 bottles: $111.15 (subscription)
Link

Huel Powder (500 Calorie)
Price per meal: $2.12 (subscription)
Price per 28 meals (2 pouches): $59.40 (subscription)
Link

Drumroll! Let’s take a look at the results. At first glance of these numbers it’s like any price comparison I do between junk ingredients and real ingredients. Cheap ingredients mean a cheaper product (nutritionally and cost) and quality ingredients mean a more expensive product. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that my real food typical lunch and Ample are roughly the same cost, but drastically more expensive to products that are made with oats and soy. Why such a big price difference? Soy and oats are cheap to produce – and I should probably add that the fat these alternatives are using are cheap to produce too: sunflower oil and canola oil. Compare that to Ample where they use real animal protein and macadamia nut oil and coconut oil! It’s no wonder why Soylent is cheap and why Ample is almost $6.

Now the question comes down to like I said earlier: Are you trying to save money or are you trying to use Ample as a convenience? In my situation I wouldn’t be saving money by switching to Ample instead of my typical lunch – but I would be switching for convenience. Since I know I’m paying roughly the same amount for these bottles, albeit only 400 kcal compared to my typical lunch of 1000 kcal, I could see myself using Ample on those days that I’m literally too lazy to eat or if I’m too busy to eat my typical lunch. Totally an option that I would consider, however I would probably jump for the 600 kcal bottle so that it’s a little more in line with what I eat in a typical day.

Taste

Ample Review
Now onto how these powdered drinks taste. Drinking your lunch may not sound that appetizing but both of these Ample drinks tasted great overall and the experience was not that big of a deal. If you’re used to drinking protein shakes then you’ll have no problem drinking these – they’re just slightly thinker than a typical scoop of Primal Fuel.

Ample
I mixed this with water. It was slightly sweet and nutty. The sweetness I sense comes from the stevia. I described this to my friend that it sorta tastes like pancake batter. I know that sounds funny but it’s thick, sweet and kinda grainy. Overall it’s a pleasant taste though. I don’t mind drinking it and it’s not something that’s hard to drink because it tastes bad. With all the ingredients in this I give the makers props for making something that’s palatable to drink.

Ample K
Tastes pretty much the same as the regular Ample but slightly less sweet – understandably. It tastes a little more cinnamon flavored too. But again this is super easy to drink and isn’t nasty tasting. You don’t have to force yourself to drink it either. It’s just a super thick and foamy shake and also kinda tastes milky even though I’m not using milk.

Conclusion

I’m super stoked I found these guys and I really look forward to seeing this company grow and compete with the likes of Soylent and Huel. I love seeing products out there that use real animal protein and real fats – so thank you Ample for making such a great primal/paleo meal replacement drink!

Click here to order some Ample drinks for yourself

Sens Bar Review

Sens Bar

I have a weakness. It’s a weird weakness. Probably not one that a lot of people have. The weakness is that I love cricket flour protein bars. Ever since I first tried Exo and Chapul, I got hooked. Now there are all different brands popping up because apparently crickets are the future. The most recent brand I came across on Instagram was Sens Bars. I took a look at their products and man they looked tasty – and they offer 2 different kinds of cricket bars – we’ll get more into that in the review below.

But nevertheless, today I’d like to do another cricket bar review for you, brought to you by the good folks at Sens Bars. I reached out to them when I saw their products scrolling across my Instagram and they were more than willing to hook me up with some product to review (they actually sent me a ton of stuff, even this cool poster and tote!)

Sens Bar Poster

Sens Bar Tote

As always we will be reviewing these bars for: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional Profile

Sens Bar
What first caught my eye about these bars was the fact that they’re cricket flour based – yes – but then I checked out the nutritional facts and saw that they had 20g of protein (!) and a relatively low carb count! After I read a little further I realized that was exactly what they were trying to offer – a high protein, low carb bar and a bar that has lower protein with a little more sugar. This photo describes it well:

Sens Bar

So that’s exactly what they’re going for – Protein bars and Energy bars. Genius! Well let’s see how they stack up:

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Total Fat: 21.9g
Total Carbohydrate: 10.3g (Dietary Fiber 2.9g, Sugars 4.4g)
Protein: 20g
Ingredients: sesame (27 %), chocolate (21 %) (cacao powder 52%, cacao butter 48 %), cricket flour (Acheta Domestica) (20 %), hemp protein, agave nectar, sesame oil (4 %).

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
Total Fat: 8.7g
Total Carbohydrate: 21g (Dietary Fiber 5.3g, Sugars 17.2g)
Protein: 7.7g
Ingredients: dates, cashews, chocolate (16 %) (cacao mass 69 %, cacao powder 31 %), cricket flour (Acheta Domestica) (10 %), psyllium, orange peel (2 %), orange essential oil (0.9 %)

Dare I say that the “Protein Bar” is the perfect combination of fat, carbs and protein?! Well it is pretty close. Both bars have pretty impressive macros actually, before we dive into the ingredients, let’s look at how these stack up against my favorite cricket protein bar Exo:

Exo Cocoa Nut
Total Fat: 20g
Total Carbohydrate: 23g (Dietary Fiber 7g, Sugars 13g)
Protein: 10g
Ingredients: Almonds, Dates, Coconut, Honey, Cricket Flour (Acheta Domesticus), Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Ground Flaxseeds, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt.

Sens Bar

Alright, now that we got all that laid out, let’s see what’s going on with the Sens Bar Protein Bar. The Protein Bar has a great amount of fat and DOUBLE the protein of Exo and HALF the carbs of Exo. That’s a pretty impressive nutritional profile. The only fault I would have (but isn’t even really a thing) is the little bit of sweetener they use in this bar is agave nectar. I would have preferred them use a tad of raw honey instead considering the benefits – but this is such a low amount of agave you’ll probably not even have any of the negative impacts of agave. Mark’s Daily Apple says this about agave nectar: “Agave nectar is insanely high in fructose. Of the sugar present, up to 92% of it is pure, unadulterated fructose. That’s considerably more than table sugar, most honey, and even high-fructose corn syrup. If we want to avoid fructose, agave nectar must also be avoided.”

Sens Bar

Just my two cents about the sweetener. The protein in this bar is obviously cricket flour, but then they use hemp protein to get it up to that 20g level. This is a great idea because hemp protein is a great plant based protein that’s pretty neutral in flavor and 20g of protein from the cricket flour alone may be a little much. The blend of different protein sources is a great idea to get it up to that 20g level.

The Sens Bar Energy bars are lower in protein and higher in carbs yes, but I think they’re a great alternative when you just need an afternoon pick up. And I do have to say, these bars taste way better than the Protein bars – which is obvious since the energy bars have more dates. I really really liked the Dark chocolate & orange Energy bar. These bars nutritionally are like a Larabar – but with protein – which I think is a pretty great idea. I always loved how Larabars taste but wished they they had something other than just a bunch of sugar. Sens bars hit the nail on the head with these bars by using the dates and nuts – but then adding the protein.

I really like what Sens bars did with these two bars: Protein bars and Energy bars. They offer you the choice of a bar that’s good for after a workout or for when you want to keep your carb count down, and the option of something more sweet if that’s what you’re looking for.

Affordability

Sens Bar
Now lets take a look at what these bars will cost you. The price on the Protein bar and the Energy bar are slightly different. Let’s take a look and see how their price compares to others.

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Price per bar: $3.17 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $37.99 (subscription)
Sens Bar Link

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
Price per bar: $2.37 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $28.49 (subscription)
Sens Bar Link

Exo Cocoa Nut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Exo Link

So these bars are right there in that sweet spot compared to Exo or other brands. Though the Protein bar is slightly higher price per bar I would consider it a steal when you consider that this is a true meal replacement for only $3. That beats trying to drink some Soylent as a meal replacement in my opinion – and Soylent is roughly the same cost, but you know… made with soy.

Sens Bar

As I’ve said before in regards to the price of these kinds of bars. You really get what you’re paying for. Sure you can eat a Nutrigrain bar for $1 or less thats filled with junk and sugar, or you can eat a whole food packed with Omega 3s for slightly more money. I prefer the whole food Omega 3 option. At $2.50-$3 I consider Sens bars a great option and price point.

Taste

Sens Bar
Now to the taste! This is where it all comes together, or falls apart. Overall I liked the taste of the Energy bars more than the Protein bars. Let’s see how each one tasted specifically:

Sens Bar

PROTEIN BAR Dark chocolate & sesame
Slightly dry and crumbly and a very dark chocolate taste. Hint of sesame. This is the first bar I tasted where I can slightly distinguish the taste of the cricket flour. Their packaging says cricket flour isn’t something you can taste, but because I’ve eaten straight cricket flour before – the taste was familiar to me. I wouldn’t consider that a bad thing necessarily considering you’re getting 20g of protein. It’s a necessary part of this high protein low carb cricket bar.

PROTEIN BAR Peanut butter & cinnamon
I like the flavor of this higher protein bar more than the dark chocolate one. The cinnamon really helps balance out the cricket flour/non sweet taste. I really think of these two bars as a functional supplement protein – meaning I wouldn’t necessarily grab for it when I’m kinda hungry and want a snack. I would grab for it when I want a true meal replacement and 20g of protein. It does the job but the other two bars are a more pleasant taste and experience.

ENERGY BAR Dark chocolate & orange
This bar is amazing! Just enough sweetness. Just the right texture. I love things with orange and orange peel so this bar was right on. By far my most favorite bar. I like having the option of being able to pick a high protein bar or another bar that’s slightly sweeter and less protein for more of a snack. I will be ordering more of these bars.

ENERGY BAR Pineapple & coconut
This bar was great too. It really reminded me of the coconut cream Larabar with a pineapple taste. Very good texture and great coconut taste. Very satisfying for that afternoon pickup or snack at Disneyland. I really liked the flavor of this bar too.

I like having the option of the snack via the energy bar or a meal replacement via the protein bar. Very cool concept and I think they execute it very well. The only suggestion I would have to improve the taste with the protein bars is by making them sweeter. I know this sounds counterintuitive since we’re trying to keep the carbs down but this can be accomplished by using stevia or erythritol or something. Just a little ever so slightly more sweeter would help balance out the taste in my opinion. Still though I love all the bars and will be ordering more.

Conclusion

Sens Bar
Thank you Sens bars for sending me samples! I thoroughly enjoyed them and the other goodies. I love that there are growing options for alternative protein bars out there. We need more of this kind of thinking and products being introduced since the shelves at the stores are filled with high sugar high carb junk – and because crickets are the future. I encourage you to go buy some Sens bars right now and see for yourself how you like them. Thanks for reading!

For 20% off use this discount code: PRIMALSENS
Click here to order some Sens bars

10 No Brainer Primal Dinner Ideas

10 No Brainer Primal Dinner Ideas

Awhile ago I wrote a post about 10 on the go primal breakfast ideas. It’s one of my more popular posts which hopefully means it was helpful to you all, so I thought I should do a similar post about 10 No Brainer Primal Dinner Ideas.

The reality is meals can be hard and as you get busier, more tired and add kids in the mix – dinner can often feel like a chore. If you absolutely don’t feel like cooking you should check out my Freshly review which is as easy as it comes, with only a few downsides it’s a great option for the tired and overworked. But if you can muster up some energy to put dinner together but you’re pressed for time or ideas, check out some of my go to options for dinner that not only feeds me but also feeds my family of 5 – myself, my wife and 3 kids.

1. Rotisserie chicken and roasted veggies

This is a staple in our home. Normally I do this the days I go grocery shopping because I can grab a chicken that’s all ready to go. Leaving me with just having to roast some veggies when I get home from the store. Get your oven up to 425. Toss a tray or two full of frozen or fresh veggies (broccoli is my favorite) mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until brown – 25–45 minutes. Then while that’s roasting and gettin near the end, 10 min or so, cut up your chicken. Don’t be intimidated by the whole bird. Once you figure out how to cut it up, it’s no big deal. My dad showed me how to cut up a whole chicken but this video can help too.

2. Spaghetti squash and meat sauce

This sounds more complicated than it really is. All you need is a couple jars of spaghetti sauce, ground beef and a spaghetti squash. Look for a spaghetti sauce with olive oil and no industrial seed oils (ie canola oil, soybean oil, etc…) and no added sugar. This post runs through this idea a little more. Roast the spaghetti squash cut in half on a baking tray with a few tablespoons of water at 375 for 35 minutes. While it’s roasting cook the ground beef and break it up. In another pot warm up the sauce on low heat and mix the two together once the meat’s brown and done cooking. When the spaghetti squash is done just shred the inside with a fork and serve with the meat sauce.

3. Eggs and bacon

Dead simple. Bake your bacon. Cook up some eggs. Scrambled, fried, hardboiled – however you like. Just because it’s dinner doesn’t mean you can’t have a “breakfast” food. It’s all just food.

4. Kalua pork on a potato

I follow Nom Nom Paleo’s recipe for this kalua pork. All you do is slow cook the pork shoulder overnight and during the next day. When it’s ready and you’re ready to eat just microwave a couple potatoes (or steam cauliflower if you keto’ers so wish) and top the potatoes (or cauliflower) with the pork. If you do dairy, throw on some cheese and sour cream – but don’t leave out chopped chives!

5. Pork chop and a salad

Get a couple pork chops. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and then grill over high heat for 5 min on each side, or until the internal temp is 145. While these are grilling toss some mixed greens with blue cheese, walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In 10 minutes you’ll have a deliciously primal dinner.

6. Big bag salad

Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. Grad a bag of salad. This one is my favorite. Toss the salad with your own salad dressing since the included dressing has some bad seed oils. I just toss my salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add meat if you like or go without. Then enjoy!

7. Taco bowl

This one sounds intimidating too, but I promise it’s not. All you really need is ground beef, chopped romaine and precut cauliflower rice. The Domestic Man’s recipe is what I follow for the taco seasoning and everything else. Then you can follow my recipe for cilantro cauliflower rice. Once everything is cooked, assemble your bowl and add your toppings. My favorite are avocado, black olives, cheese and chipotle salad dressing.

8. Burger and fries

Buy premade burger patties or use frozen burger patties. Now I know I’m normally down on seed oils but this Alexia brand tastes great and comes in handy. One batch of fries cooked in this oil won’t kill you. Just toss the fries on a tray for 25 min in a 425 oven. While they’re cooking, grill your burgers. When they’re done assemble your burgers with some romaine, tomatoes, onions and avocados. As an added treat I like to eat my fries with this mayonnaise!

9. Pick up a pizza

Some days you just have to do it. One unhealthy meal won’t make you unhealthy just as one healthy meal won’t make you healthy. And if you must – most places have gluten free options too, making this unhealthy meal slightly more healthy.

10. Your own body fat

I’m echoing my breakfast post with this one: Now I’m not talking about cannibalism, I’m suggesting that you practice intermittent fasting from time to time. You don’t always have to eat dinner. If you’re body is a fat adapted, your body can switch to using stored body fat for energy instead of relying on sugar (carbs). It’s a common misconception that we need to eat 3 meals a day. Eat when you’re hungry, and if you’re not hungry at dinner – don’t eat!


That’s it guys. I hope some of these ideas will work for you and your family – or in the very least maybe sparked some no brainer primal dinner ideas of your own. If you have some no brainer primal dinners that you and your family love to eat, please leave a note in the comments. Take care!

IQ Bar Review

IQ Bar Review

I’m always on the lookout for a good energy bar. I’ve written about many great bars I’ve found over the last couple years ranging from cricket protein bars like Exo or Chapul, or egg white protein bars like RXBARs, or even typical animal protein bars like Wilde. There are so many bars coming out nowadays that are geared towards Whole30/Paleo/Primal people and it can be pretty exhausting to decide on which bar to spend your money on. The most recent bar I saw when I was on Instagram was actually for a crowdfunding campaign for a bar call IQ Bar.

IQ Bar Review

The image and description grabbed my attention so I quickly went over to their page to read all about these new bars. What I read really intrigued me so I immediately reached out to the owner to see if I could do a review of their bars and he was more than willing!

As always we will be reviewing these bars for: Nutritional Profile, Affordability, Taste. Let’s get to it!

Nutritional Profile

IQ Bar Review
Now when it comes to what these bars are composed of, these guys really get it. I can’t even attempt to go into the science of exactly how great these bars myself, because their crowdfunding page really breaks down the nutritional information for each of these bars and what their goals were. In a nutshell it’s this: too many bars are full of sugar that lead you to a sugar crash not too long after you eat them – but IQ Bars are low carb/high fat (YES!) that will provide you with enough energy without the sugar crash to follow. Please turn your attention to their video that explains their bars and goals in more detail:

So these bars sound pretty great right? That’s because they are. The problem I have with all the Larabar or Nutri-Grain type bars is that there is just way too much sugar and not enough fat! We need more fat, and that’s what these bars provide – more fat and less sugar. One thing to notice about these particular bars that’s different from the rest of the bars I’ve reviewed is that they’re not “protein” bars. That’s ok though because that’s not their market – their market is to go against what I just mentioned was the high carb/low fat bars. So if you’re in need of protein in addition to these bars maybe hit up a hard boiled egg or something.

IQ Bar Review

Let’s take a look at the highlights of these bars nutritional breakdown as listed on their site:

IQ Bars are the first and only nutrition bars optimized for the brain. They’re drastically different than other bars for three main reasons:

  1. IQ Bars are low in net carbs (~8g/bar), high in healthy fats, and packed with 5 brain-critical nutrients.
  2. Our ingredient list is short, and contains 100% all-natural inputs. No ingredients that start with “X”!
  3. IQ Bars comply with vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, low-carb, and kosher diets, and have ZERO grains, gluten, GMO’s, dairy, soy, or added sugar.

Now these are just the highlights of the nutrition in these bars, they have even more complex science on their indiegogo page that goes way more into detail of why low carb/high fat is the preferred nutritional profile for our bodies. I’ve written about how this fits into my primal lifestyle here as well.

IQ Bar Review

Let’s look at IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut compared to say a Larabar and something even worse like a Nutri-Grain bar:

IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut
Total Fat: 14g
Total Carbohydrate: 21g (Dietary Fiber 12g, Sugars 8g)
Protein: 4g
Ingredients: Blueberries, Walnuts, Coconut Flakes, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Dates, Cacao Nibs, Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds, Chicory Root Fiber, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Larabar Blueberry Muffin
Total Fat: 8g
Total Carbohydrate: 26g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 17g)
Protein: 4g
Ingredients: Dates, Cashews, Unsweetened Blueberries, Blueberry Juice Concentrate, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Vanilla Extract.

Nutri-Grain Blueberry
Total Fat: 3g
Total Carbohydrate: 24g (Dietary Fiber 3g, Sugars 12g)
Protein: 2g
Ingredients: Filling (High Fructose Corn Syrup, Blueberry Preserves [High Fructose Corn Syrup, Blueberries], Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Fructose, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Water, Natural and Artificial Blueberry Flavor, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Alginate, Calcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Modified Cellulose, Sodium Citrate, Malic Acid, Red No. 40, Blue No. 1), Enriched Wheat Flour, Whole Oats, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrose, Nonfat Dry Milk, Wheat Bran, Salt, Cellulose Gum, Leavening (Potassium Bicarbonate), Natural and Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Zinc Oxide, Reduced Iron, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1) and Folic Acid.

Now looking at just those labels really tells a story. What do we see? Well, we see IQ Bars are far superior nutritionally to the alternatives. Larabars have one thing going for them and that’s that they use real food and their ingredients aren’t weird, but they will still leave you possibly with a sugar crash after you have one. Then if you look at the Nutri-Grain bar it’s absolutely embarrassing. They’re just full of sugar, a ton of ingredients and low fat. Their own website even prides themselves on how low fat they are: Kellogg’s nutri-grain cereal bars, blueberry is made up of low fat, whole grain oats, naturally and artificially flavored. All that really means is “these bars will leave you with a sugar crash after eating this low fat snack bar”.

To really sum it up for the nutritional aspect of these bars is that they’re far superior to anything sold in the stores today on the “energy bar” shelves and I can’t wait to see these in stores all over the country (or world).

Affordability

IQ Bars
Now I normally compare products to one another based on their affordability but that’s kinda hard to do this time around because these bars are only available on their crowdfunding pages. I will list the prices here just for consistency with the other reviews I’ve done, but maybe once these bars are more commercially available (hopefully!) I’ll come back and update this section.

IQ Bar Blueberry Walnut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Ingiegogo Link

Larabar Blueberry Muffin
Price per bar: $0.99
Price per 16 bar box: $15.99
Amazon Link

Nutri-Grain Blueberry
Price per bar: $0.25
Price per 48 bar box: $12.00
Amazon Link

Ok now obviously the alternative is going to be cheaper but you know what? The 12 bar box price of the IQ Bars is exactly the same as my favorite protein bars Exo:

Exo Cocoa Nut
Price per bar: $2.66 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $32.00 (subscription)
Exo Link

Sooo, that gives me hope that when the IQ Bars are commercially available I’ll have no problem justifying the cost since I’m already acustom to paying that much for a quality product that will sustain me for hours on end.

Why are the other bars so cheap you might ask? Good question and one I’ve answered in other reviews but it’s simple really – you’re paying for quality, real, whole food ingredients. Nutri-Grain bars are cheap because they use grains and corn syrup. Larabars are getting down there in cost even though they use great ingredients because they’re more widely available, driving cost down I’m sure, and because their ingredients aren’t particularly expensive either. Albeit Larabars’ ingredients aren’t as inexpensive as Nutri-Grain’s ingredients – their ingredients are the cheap of the cheap.

Taste

IQ Bar Review
I’m so stoked that Will was able to send me some samples so I could really get a taste of what these bars have to offer. There are two things about IQ Bars that really stuck out and that I love: They’re not too sweet and they’re satiating. Which is the whole point. The perfect dose of fat to get you through an afternoon or morning, and low enough carbs to not give you a sugar crash. Now onto the taste!

Matcha Hazelnut
IQ Bar Matcha Hazelnut
Very strong coconut flavor at the beginning. Then you get used to it and start noticing the other flavors. Super chewy and didn’t hurt my jaw. Thank you God. I love RXBARs but literally my jaw is sore after I eat them. Not with these though. The texture was on point and the flavor was subtle but pleasant. Not too sweet but just enough little hint of sweetness for me. A little matcha at the end lingers in your mouth. Nice random chunks of hazelnut too that gave the bar a nice crunch.

Almond Cacao
IQ Bar Almond Cacao
Very nice chocolatey taste. Good texture with larger random almond chunks. Not too sweet, just the right amount of sweetness for me. Reminded me of just a really good chocolate cookie that was barely sweetened. Definitely left me feeling full after eating it. Subtle coconut flavor too in there.

Blueberry Walnut
IQ Bar Blueberry walnut
This one was probably my favorite. It has a very strong blueberry flavor, obviously. But not too overpowering. All these bars have the same level of sweetness, which I love. The flavor actually really reminded me of the flavor of the blueberry Exo bar albeit less sweet and less crickety flour taste. This bar really was satiating.

Conclusion

Conclusion
I see a near future where my pantry is full of boxes of my favorite protein bar Exo and my new next favorite energy bar IQ Bars. Allowing me the option of getting a more rounded meal replacement with Exo or allowing me to get a dose of long lasting energy via IQ Bars. I suggest you go back these IQ Bars right now while you still have the chance and like I’ve said multiple times I can’t wait until I can pick a giant pack of these up at Costco. Thanks Will for giving me a sneak peek at these amazing energy bars!

Click here to order some IQ Bars

That’s So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide – Family Edition

That's So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide - Family Edition

Christmas is now upon us! When I thought about putting together a Christmas gift guide – I looked around my house and my kitchen and thought “Wow, we should actually have a garage sale instead of buy more stuff!” So with the help of my wife we put together That’s So Primal 2017 Christmas Gift Guide – Family Edition.

Really my lists of years past have primal related items that are still GREAT gift ideas – you can check those out here and here. But for this year I wanted to put together a list of practical things that has just made our life (with 3 kids 3 and under) easier and maybe some of these would be a better gift than a toy you’ll sell in a year at your yard sale. I had my wife help me put this list together, so this post has a little bit of her creative gift giving touch while looking forward through the lens real life day of a mom!

This years list takes you a little bit out of the kitchen, I hope that’s ok! And since my wife helped, I have a lot of kid focused gifts listed.

Wake up time

Wake Light
Wake up lightAmazon
This is a PERFECT gift for a toddler when you want to give something practical. We got this when our daughter transitioned out of a crib. It is like a reverse alarm clock. So we tell her “don’t get out of bed until the green light comes on!” It buys us an extra 30 minutes at least. It also sets a nap light, you can set it for however long to make sure you get that afternoon break from your kid(s) even if they are just playing in their room.

Door Latches
Door latchesAmazon
Our handles are horizontal so we had to select this kind, if you have round handles you’d pick this other kind. We needed these to make sure the early riser didn’t go into the baby’s room and to keep the kids out of rooms. This is a practical gift with a capital “P”!

Closet Latches
Closet latchesAmazon
Same idea, we hide stuff in the closets and when my daughter is no longer trapped in a crib, I really really really don’t want her pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet when she wakes up and then while her sister is also asleep still. You may have to be creative in how you gift these but they will be the most used thing ever!

Breakfast time

Paleonola Original
Paleonola GranolaPaleonola
Let’s get real, we all like food! Any family member or friend would love a bag of this! This is an especially good idea for anyone who is in the camp of “I’m interested in your primal diet but it’s just too hard…” It’s not too hard – see try this! Delicious! You can see my review of their stuff here.

Contigo
Contigo kids sippy cupsAmazon
Any parent wishes their kid just never drank anything ever because NO sippy cup is perfect. Most are very far from perfect but we have found these Contigo bottles to be the best we’ve found yet!!!!

HaaKaa
HaaKaa PumpAmazon
The newborn has to eat too. This is only for new or expecting mommies – I WISH we learned about this 4 years ago when we were pregnant with our first daughter! So this is for my wife – and would only be for a breastfeeding mom… the younger the baby the better! This is especially a great gift for an expecting mom who plans on breastfeeding. While they nurse the baby on one side they attach this on the other side, it’s just a flexible bottle with a flange and it creates a suction that pumps out milk. The sooner you start using it the better! Our friend started when her baby was 3 days old and she is storing up like 5+ bags of breast milk with over 5oz per bag PER DAY! My wife started using it when our newest baby was 9 weeks old and she’s been storing at least one bag of milk per day. Storing up pumped milk is a battle and this makes it effortless! And it runs around $23 – you should spend the few extra dollars for the one with the base on the bottom so it would be less likely to spill.

Daytime stuff

Felt Board
Felt letterboardAmazon
Sometimes you just need your dose of daily motivation! These are pretty “in” right now. I bought my wife one from letterfolk for her birthday but Amazon has smaller more reasonably priced ones. Really anyone would love one of these!

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo DotAmazon
The Echo Dot plays a big role in getting us through each day. This should be your go to gift if someone doesn’t yet have one! Great price point – as low as $30 on Black Friday. In our house we use a few functions more than others: timers, shopping lists, and playing music from Spotify. (If you need a louder speaker you can buy the more expensive Echo… but the Echo Dot is loud enough for our needs) This is a product too where someone can totally have a few in their house, especially if their home isn’t single story.

Spotify
Spotify SubscriptionSpotify
Our lives have been changed by Spotify!! You can sign up on an individual or family plan. This is how we do music… and we love it! For like $14 a month you have access to like almost all music. For the person who spends time at the gym to the person who spends time in their car commuting … and for anyone in between – this is a great gift!

Exo
Exo barsAmazon
These are my favorite primal bars… and their protein source is from crickets. I’ve written about them a bunch of times. Gift these to someone and don’t tell them their made from crickets and I bet you they wouldn’t even know – they taste so good! Sometimes for a busy person lunch (or breakfast) get skipped. These bars are a fantastic option for that meal skipper you know.

Dinner time

Braised Rosemary Pork
Freshly SubscriptionFreshly
I just did a post on how we are loving our subscription to Freshly. This would make a great gift, especially if you can get a promo price. It’s a little tricky to gift this though, because they don’t have gift cards, but it can be done! It would make a great gift for a husband to give his wife (or vice versa) to relieve a week or two of cooking. We gifted it to my mother in law for 2 weeks and my wife had to do it with her own email and select the meals with her mom on the phone… it took a little bit of work but she loved getting it as a gift.

Wipes
WipesAmazon
Dinnertime is a messy time in our house. So if you are like us with more than 1 kid… the new baby has lots of hand me down stuff already… So chances are any mom and dad would appreciate receiving wipes. A kid uses wipes for their first few years, and we still use them on hands and faces for our oldest. A 3 year old won’t like opening wipes but their parents may love you for it!

Bedtime

Bedtime Stories

Well after all we wouldn’t have CHRISTmas without Jesus Christ right… we have chosen to be intentional to read bible books with our kids and we wanted to take a minute to share our top books:

Jesus Calling Bible StorybookAmazon
This one has become our favorite… our 3 and a half year old really is into it. It goes through many bible stories and at the end of each story there is a verse and a section where it is a statement as if Jesus were “calling” (or talking) saying how that story relates to real life. If someone has a younger baby this version could also be a good option.

I AmAmazon
This is our second favorite Storybook bible! This one may be more fitting for even older kids but each section is about one of the names of God and it goes through bible stories through that lens.

9 Fruits AliveAmazon
If I look in my amazon shopping history it exposes that my wife has bought like 15+ copies of this book. Whenever we have a kids birthday party or a shower to go to she seems to “have a copy on hand”. This book covers each fruit of the spirit and encourages children about Love, Joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, & self control.

The Christmas PromiseAmazon
This is an awesome Christmas book. This series is awesome! We have all of them: The One O’Clock Miracle, The Storm that Stopped, The Garden Curtain and the Cross (the best easter book), and the new one God’s Very Good Idea (we just got this one to give our daughter for Christmas.) Our 3 year old totally understands these book, but these are probably actually great stuff for older children.

Post Bedtime

Apple TV
Apple TVApple
This gets used all day long… but once we get the kids in bed we catch up on our programs. The Apple TV just makes life easier. Like the phone, you have all your apps and you access them on your tv. We use Netflix and Hulu mostly. (Also great subscription gift ideas.) You can also pick up a Amazon Fire TV Stick for cheaper and it does pretty much the same things.

Pill Case
Daily pill caseAmazon
For anyone who takes vitamins or regular medicines! So we take about 5 pills each night and to open each bottle it’s like unnecessary work… having a case we just have a pill night once a week and fill ’er up! This is a great add on gift since the price point is super low.

Halo Top
Halo topAmazon
Now this is not Primal and it has to stay frozen. But what a great amazing awesome delicious treat it is!

Book Light
Book lightAmazon
For the person who still reads paper books. A nice new book light is a great idea. Not quite so primal to be staying up late but my wife often fits in her reading once everyone else has gone to bed. A kindle may be a good gift option too for any readers!

Thanks for reading! Hopefully you found some thoughtful gift ideas recommended above. Most importantly though, enjoy time with your family, remember why we celebrate CHRISTmas and make every moment count! Merry Christmas!