Epic Review

Epic Review

When I first went Primal, I was always on the lookout for Primal snacks. It was tough shifting from burning carbs for energy to burning fat for energy at first. I would get super hungry between lunch and dinner on the way home from work. So I searched online for what would be a good Primal snack. As it turns out, jerky and nuts are a great source of protein and fat to hold you over until dinner. During that time I came across something called Pemmican. I so badly wanted to try making some but I was just too lazy. Then I came across Epic. They were basically a modern take on Pemmican, they had meat, berries and fat in the form of nuts. I had to order some.

I ordered a box of the Turkey Almond Cranberry bars and they were the perfect snack for in between meals, or hikes or camping. Perfectly Primal. Then not too long after that I noticed that Epic started branching out to jerky and trail mix packs. First of all, I was super interested to check out these new jerky and nut packs because they just looked so cool. Once again, being that I’m a designer by trade, I got enticed with all this amazing branding and package design. So I reached out to Epic to see if I could review some of their newer products since I was already familiar with their Pemmican-esque bars that you can check out here. Epic was kind enough to send me some of their Bites and one of their Hunt & Harvest packs. So as with any review I wanted to check out the three main categories: Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

Nutritional Profile

Epic has a bunch of different products and they just keep expanding. So Like I said I started with their bars, then they created some bites and bits, trail mix packs – and now they’re branching out to selling pastured cooking fats and bone broth. What we’re looking at today is their Bites and their Hunt & Harvest packs.

Epic Bacon Bites
Bacon Bites
Total Fat: 7g
Total Carbohydrate: 0g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 0g)
Protein: 10g
Ingredients: Uncured Bacon (Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Vinegar, Celery Powder), Natural Pork

What? Zero Carbs? Whats not to love about the nutritional profile of these. The way they get away with that is because there is no sugar used for curing or added sugar after the jerky is made. If you’re looking for a perfectly Primal snack, you can’t go wrong with these. Packing some fat and protein and zero carbs. You’re on your way to becoming a fat burning beast.

Chicken Sesame BBQ
Chicken Sesame BBQ Bites
Total Fat: 2.5g
Total Carbohydrate: 8g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 6g)
Protein: 9g
Ingredients: Natural Chicken, Organic Currants, Sea Salt, Garlic, Onion, Sesame Seeds, Sesame Oil, Ginger, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Red Pepper

This chicken jerky comes in with a little more carbs and less fat, but it’s still a low sugar snack and perfectly Primal.

Epic Honest Harvest
Honest Harvest
Total Fat: 8g
Total Carbohydrate: 4g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 3g)
Protein: 9g
Ingredients: Jerky (grass fed organic beef, wildflower honey, water, salt, organic apple cider vinegar, yeast extract, organic black pepper, celery powder, organic garlic powder). Nut Mix (roasted almonds, roasted pecans, roasted Brazil nuts, pistachios).

This is such a great little package. Packing just the right amount of fat and protein for a snack or on the go meal. Low sugar and real whole ingredients with grass fed beef.

All of these products have an impressive nutritional profile. Epic really focuses on high quality ingredients, pastured raised meats leading to high omega–3 & CLA, gluten free, soy free and low glycemic, paleo friendly snacks. So it’s without a doubt that not just these but any of Epic’s products have an amazing nutritional profile. With their products you don’t have to worry about high fructose corn syrup or other weird ingredients that you don’t know how to pronounce. It’s all real ingredients, not something some scientist invented in a lab.

Affordability

Now this is where things get a little dicey. I love Epics products, but they can be a little pricey. It’s all about comparison though. If you compare this chicken or pork jerky with other jerky you find in the grocery store or gas station it will be filled with sugar and soy – cheap ingredients no doubt. So what happens when you remove the cheap ingredients and use high quality pastured raised meats? The product becomes more expensive, thus we have Epic coming in as follows:

Bacon & Chicken Bites
Price per pack: $6.25
Price per box of 8: $50

Honest Harvest
Price per pack: $3.88
Price per box of 8: $31

Oberto Bacon Jerky
Price per pack: $4.68

Now I put the price of a sorta comparable Oberto Bacon Jerky up there to compare and see that yea Epic is slightly more expensive for a comparable product and size (2.5 oz bag) but the difference is in the ingredients. Oberto’s Bacon Jerky is cured pork with sugar, unlike Epic’s which is uncured. So if uncured pork is a big thing for you, I would say Epic is the way to go if you’re willing to pay the extra money, otherwise Oberto isn’t necessarily a bad option if you’re not concerned with the quality of your protein, as I assume Oberto’s pork is CAFO.

Finding a comparable product for the Hunt & Harvest pack is kinda difficult as there really isn’t any other product out there marketed like this. Sure you could go buy some grass fed jerky yourself and some nuts and come in less expensive, but you’re paying for convenience with this pack. It’s about having a nice little snack for when a craving hits or when you’re on the go – hiking, camping, running from meeting to meeting. For the price I think it’s a great deal to have for when that craving hits.

Taste

I’ve never really been a fan of sweet jerky or really tough jerky and that’s where Epics jerky really shines. They’re all low sugar and very moist so win win. Let’s take a closer look at all the flavors they sent me:

Epic Bacon Bites
Bacon Bites
Soft. Salty. Pork. Expect nothing else and expect nothing more. If you like salty you’ll love this. I really liked these bacon bites. Not tough at all and not sweet at all which is what I like. Pretty great.

Epic Chicken Sesame BBQ Bites
Chicken Sesame BBQ Bites
I normally am not a fan of chicken jerky but I really liked this one. It was just the right amount of sweet from the currants and has a pleasant sesame taste to the jerky. Both of these jerkys aren’t just straight dehydrated muscle meat. They’re sorta ground up and turned into strips and cut up. Sounds gross but it actually works for both of these jerkys.

Epic Honest Harvest
Honest Harvest
Now this is a cool little idea. There are two sides to this pack that have jerky on one side and mixed nuts on the other side. When you open the ziplock you open the divider as well and mix it all together.

Epic Hunt Harvest
Jerky and nuts separated for freshness

Mix Contents
Instructions on how to mix after you open up the bag

Mixed together
Voila, you have a nice little grass fed trail mix

The jerky is traditional grass fed muscle meat dehydrated and the nuts are simply mixed dry roasted nuts. Both of these together had a great trail mix salty taste. The jerky is much tougher than the other stuff but the flavor is nice and salty and peppery. Not sweet at all. I really like the idea of this pack and suggest having a few on hand just for emergency hikes or if you’re strapped for time and need some quick protein and fat.


Conclusion

Epic is onto some great things. They’re a promising company with some pretty amazing products and I look forward to trying out all their new stuff like their cooking fats and bone broth. I’m glad there are companies like Epic out there dedicated to making whole food snacks, with fat and high quality protein. Feel free to share in the comments what your favorite Epic products are. Thanks for reading.

Buy some for yourself:

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bar Review

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

I seem to be in search of the perfect Primal energy bar. I’ve already looked at Exo (my favorite), Chapul and RXBAR. Exo and RXBAR are great options for those that want a whole food source, crickets and whey protein respectively, and carry a good dose of fat also. So after I reviewed those bars I thought I was set with my two perfect options for a quick breakfast or snack at Disneyland. Then scrolling on Instagram one day I came across all these Paleo folk saying they got sneak peaks of this new bar out of Primal Kitchen: Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar.

I immediately got in touch with the people at Primal Kitchen and asked if they could send some bars for me to review and they told me they sold out almost instantly of all these bars but they had a couple still lying around that they were willing to send to me for review. Man was I excited. These bars are different. They meet every requirement of a great Primal energy bar, and as you’ll read below, they seem to be superior to every other bar out there. Let’s take a look at our three categories: Nutritional Profile, Affordability, Taste.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Nutritional Profile

Now this is really what separates these bars from the pack. My main focus on finding a great Primal energy bar is to make sure it’s not loaded with sugar, has a good amount of fat for energy and has a real whole food protein source. Considering all three of these categories like we did for Exo and RXBAR- these Primal Kitchen bars blow everyone else out of the water.

See some people maybe have a problem with Exo and RXBAR because they use crickets and whey. Not everyone loves crickets and whey. Primal Kitchen on the other hand uses collagen. Collagen you say? Yes. Check out the FAQs from their own site:

Q: WHAT THE HECK IS COLLAGEN?

A: Collagen is the protein that holds everything in your body together. It makes up about 30% of all the protein in the human body, and is found in your bones, tendons, ligaments, connective tissues and skin, and plays various roles in your overall health. Collagen production naturally declines with age, reducing the structural integrity of the skin and instigating the weakening of cartilage in joints. You can help make up for decreased collagen production by eating collagen sourced from grass-fed bovines pasture-raised in Brazil.

Q: WHY SHOULD I EAT COLLAGEN?

A: The collagen protein used in Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars is collagen hydrolysate from grass-fed cows, which is broken down into individual amino acids and easier to absorb and digest, so it’s a preferable alternative to taking collagen in, say, capsule form. Furthermore, it’s 100% protein, and we all know the benefits of ingesting clean protein.

Collagen is such a great option for protein bars and it’s something I haven’t seen packaged quite like this before. This may be a great option for you if the idea of crickets is weird to you or if you don’t do whey protein. I’m pretty sure every Paleo and Primal person should do collagen.

Let’s take a look at how the rest of the bar breaks down:

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Total Fat: 15g
Total Carbohydrate: 14g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 3g)
Protein: 15g
Ingredients: Almonds, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Grass-Fed Collagen, Isomalto-Oli – gosaccharides (Cassava Root), Water, Coconut Flakes, Honey, Natural Flavors, Coconut Oil, Bitter Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Himalayan Pink Salt, Monk Fruit Extract, Tocopherols (Vitamin E)

Now there’s no way to look at that and every other bar out there (including my favorites Exo and RXBAR) and not determine that this bar is superior. It has more fat than the rest, less sugar than the rest and more real protein than the rest. I would consider that superior.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Affordability

Well ok you may say, ok Randall you say these bars are superior but how much will it cost me?

Primal Kitchen Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Price per bar: $2.99
Price per 12 bar box: $35.95

At about $3 a bar that’s a steal in my opinion. You can look at my review regarding Paleo granola and realize that you’ll have to pay more for better food. Sure you could spend less on a sugar laden soy bar or you could spend slightly more and eat a superior protein bar.

If you look at these bars as what they are, real food, it’s a great deal to have something on hand that has such a great breakdown of fat, carbs and protein. Not to mention that there’s no way I would go out of my way to buy all these ingredients and try to make this bar myself at home, I’d rather have a 12 bar box on hand and grab one when I need some real whole food that’s gonna fill me up and give me energy in a pinch.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Taste

Man are these bars good. Their taste is a really pleasant dark chocolate taste. Not too sweet but just the right amount of sweet for me. The only part that was a little tough was the texture to these bars. They are really chewy, not sure if all of them will be that chewy or if it was just the ones sent to me. The crunch to these bars was just perfect though to break up all the chewiness.

As for the collagen – didn’t even taste it. Don’t think you’re gonna bite into these bars and taste a cup of bone broth. Not happening. Just know that you will taste a pleasant dark chocolate nutty, slightly sweet bar that has 15g of collagen packed protein into it.

Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar

Conclusion

I think I found my new favorite protein bar. I will definitely be alternating between these and my Exo subscription. The only problem is that these bars have been out of stock on their site since they were announced. So keep checking back on their page to see when they’re back in stock and grab a box of 12 for yourself. If you buy them and don’t like the rest of the box feel free to contact me and I’ll eat them for you.

Thanks Primal Kitchen for making the perfect primal energy bar!

Get your Primal Kitchen’s Dark Chocolate Almond Bar Here

RXBAR Review

RXBAR Review

So maybe crickets aren’t your thing. The idea of eating crickets for breakfast freaks you out a bit. Well, we’re still not left with many “real” food options for breakfast/energy bars. The hardest part for these energy whole food bars to figure out is what protein source to use. Larabar has one that uses pea protein. Quest makes this low carb one that uses whey protein. Then there are these amazing ones that use cricket flour. Then one day as I was browsing on Instagram I came across Melissa Hartwig (Whole30 co-creator) showing off RXBARs.

 

A photo posted by Melissa Hartwig (@melissa_hartwig) on

I’ll admit the first thing I was drawn to, being that I’m a designer by day, was the package design. The minimalist package design was right up my alley so I tapped the Instagram account of RXBAR and read a little bit and saw that their protein source was egg whites. That’s a perfect alternative for people who are put off by cricket flour, whey, pea or brown rice protein.

RXBAR

Egg whites are a real food. So naturally I was excited to try out these bars. I reached out to RXBAR and they sent me one of each of their flavors. It took awhile to get this review out because I wanted to eat one across the span of a week or so. Eating a bar after swimming and working out and to see how I felt after. I didn’t want to just nibble on each bar and tell you how they tasted, though I’ll cover that, I wanted to see how well they held me over and worked as a meal replacement/addition. As we do with all product reviews here we’ll be talking about the Nutritional Profile, Affordability and Taste.

RXBARs are Whole 30

Nutritional Profile

RXBAR has a total of 7 flavors with 3 core ingredients: Egg Whites, Fruits & Nuts. Each bar has pretty much the same nutritional profile (more or less), so for this we’re only gonna look at my favorite flavor: Coconut Chocolate. All of their bars are Paleo and Whole30 compliant except for the peanut butter since peanut butter isn’t actually from nuts, its from peanuts which are legumes. Nevertheless, I ate the one they sent me and it was delicious. A little peanut butter never hurt anybody (unless of course you’re allergic to peanuts).

RXBAR Coconut Chocolate
Total Fat: 9g
Total Carbohydrate: 22g (Dietary Fiber 4g, Sugars 13g)
Protein: 12g
Ingredients: Dates, Egg Whites, Almonds, Cashews, Cacao, Coconut, Sea Salt, Natural Coconut Flavor

What we see here is pretty amazing. These bars pack 12g of protein. That’s slightly more than the Exo bars I love so dearly. Where they come up short in comparison to Exo bars is how much fat is in the bars. 9g isn’t as much as Exo’s 20g of fat. Don’t get me wrong though, this is still more fat than Chapul or other grain filled breakfast bars. I’m just pointing out it isn’t as much as Exo’s because that’s ultimately what makes Exo a little more sustaining. What RXBARs really are is a Larabar with egg whites. Larabars have about 10g fat (Coconut Cream Flavor) and no protein other than that naturally occurring in the nuts.

These are still a great option for a quick breakfast on the go because they will hold you over longer than Chapul and Larabars but not as long as an Exo bar would. Remember fat is your friend. It’s the body’s preferred source of fuel. Don’t fear the fat and shun these just because they aren’t ultra low fat. They’re like mid fat. I’d prefer them to have a little more coconut. If you compare this to another whole food breakfast it would be something like 2 scrambled eggs in 1/2T butter (12g fat, 2 carb, 12g protein) and a small banana (.3g fat, 23g carb, 1g protein). Not a bad way to start off your day. All in all these bars have an impressive nutritional profile, are a whole food and are quick & easy. These are a winner in my book when compared to the rest of the junk out there.

RXBAR Review

Affordability

RXBARs (All Flavors)
Price per bar: $2.05 (subscription)
Price per 12 bar box: $24.69 (subscription)

The price point of these actually lands in a good range. They’re a whole food bar, like I’ve been saying over and over, and they break down to only about $2 a bar. That’s great! Compare that to Exo bars at about $3 a bar – that’s more expensive yes, but you are paying for a slightly more sustaining bar. But then if you look at these Larabar ALT bars they come out to about $1.25 a bar, which is pretty cheap, but they have 30g carbs and they use pea protein for their protein source which may cause gut irritation for some people.

My point is, there is always a give and take. Cheap breakfast bars are filled with junk, whereas expensive breakfast bars are filled with amazing crickets and coconut (things good for you). RXBARs I feel land in a great spot at $2 because their price is middle of the road compared to the cheap and expensive alternatives – but you don’t have to give up quality.

Cinnamon Apple RXBAR

Taste

These flavors all had the same underlying taste of dates and figs but the differences came out in the nuances of the additional ingredients in each of the flavors. I’m glad I got to check all of them out (even the Peanut Butter).

Chocolate Sea Salt
This was the second least chewy of all the bars. It has a very noticeable salt flavor at first that’s followed by the deep chocolate flavor that left a lingering after taste. There isn’t too much crunch in this bar. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll love this bar.

Pumpkin Spice
This one reminds me of a gingerbread cookie. Nice and soft texture with the perfect amount of crunch. This bar was also not too sweet, I like that. Perfect Fall flavors in this bar.

Chocolate Coconut
This bar was my favorite. Still not too sweet and just the right amount of coconut flavor. Just the right amount of crunch from the nuts and cocoa nibs. The chocolate flavor was subtle and not overpowering.

Peanut Butter
This one had softest texture of all of them. Very straight peanut butter taste to the bar. It reminded me a lot of Tiger Milk bars, minus the chocolate. I used to eat those when I was a kid but not any more. If you like peanut butter and if peanuts don’t give you gas, and if you’re not Paleo this is a great protein bar.

Blueberry
Lots of texture from the nuts and dried berries in this bar. If you like blueberry, you’ll love this bar because it’s very blueberry tasting. I happen to like blueberries amongst all other berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries – so this bar was right up my alley. Not too acidic or tart flavored either, very mild tasting.

Apple Cinnamon
This totally reminds me of those instant apple cinnamon oatmeals. They hit the nail on the head with this one. Not very chewy, just the right texture for me and not too sweet. The crunch is nice too just like the rest of them.

Coffee Chocolate
This was the first bar I tasted actually and it was very very chewy. It almost made my jaw hurt. Not sure what impacted the bar in that way because not all of them were this hard. Maybe I should’ve set it in the sun for a few minutes. There was a nice subtle and pleasant coffee taste. Not too sweet. Just the right amount of crunch. I really liked the coffee flavor, not bitter at all.

Bye Bye RXBAR

Conclusion

Like I’ve already said if crickets aren’t your thing, this is the next best thing. At $2 a bar, 12g protein and great flavor options these bars are clear winners.

Buy some samples and decide for yourself:*
Get $5 off your first RXBAR order!
RXBAR Sampler Pack
*After you figure out which flavor of RXBAR you like I suggest you sign up for a subscription.