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Honey Stinger Energy Chews and Protein Bars

At the moment I have over 40 boxes of carbohydrate gels, chews, blocks and bars in the kitchen cabinet (out of the goodness of her heart my wife gave me one cabinet to call my own). You can save a lot of money by buying in bulk and I usually order six or more boxes at a time—and since I use 30 to 40 packs a week they don’t have time to expire. While I use several different brands of carbohydrate gels, the majority of the boxes in my cabinet are from Honey Stinger—I take some of their products with me on every single ride I take! A few weeks ago the folks at Honey Stinger were kind enough to send me a few samples of two of their new flavors and I thought this would be a perfect time to tell you about some of their products.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews and Protein Bars

Honey Stinger Energy Chews and Protein Bars

One of the new flavors they’ve introduced is the Cherry Cola Honey Stinger Energy Chews. At first, I was a bit hesitant to try this flavor because the Cherry Cola flavor is hard to achieve—several companies have tried cola flavors but most of them have been rather disappointing. However, Honey Stinger hit the mark with this one. Even if you were blindfolded, just one bite and you would know what the flavor was supposed to be. The individual  “chews” are fairly small (about the size of a stack of three nickles) and are 95% to 100% organic. There are ten pieces per package and one package has 160 calorie and has 39 grams of carbohydrates, 100% of the RDA of vitamin C, and a small dose of electrolytes. These chews are gluten-free, dairy free and contain no trans-fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Honey Stinger sells these energy chews in several other flavors, including Cherry Blossom (my favorite), Orange Blossom, Fruit Smoothie, and Pomegranate Passion Fruit, and Lime-Ade. The Cherry Cola and the Lime-Ade flavors have 30mg of caffeine per serving.

While I keep several brands of carbohydrate products on my shelves, you will only find one brand of protein bars there for after a ride—Honey Stinger Protein Bars! Cyclists often eat protein bars immediately after a ride to aid in muscle recovery. The problem is that most protein bars are simply dreadful! However, the Honey Stinger Protein Bars are so delicious you will find yourself craving them—and they contain 10g of whey protein per bar. When I am running late in the morning I eat these bars for breakfast, and they are my favorite snack at the movies. One warning: the chocolate layer on the outside of these bars has a low melting point, so don’t leave them in a hot car or the chocolate will melt (it will still taste good though).

The Honey Stinger Protein Bars are available in five flavors: Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond, Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond, Dark Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Coated Peanut Butta, and their newest flavor, a caffeinated Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry. I am not a coffee drinker so the Dark Chocolate Mocha Cherry didn’t really appeal to me—I tried it and it has a mild coffee flavor that would not be my first choice. I gave a bar to two coffee drinkers and they both loved it. So, if you are not a coffee drinker, try the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond bar—it is simply awesome (and the only flavor I buy anymore).

The ingredients for each of these protein bars varies slightly, so I will just give the ingredients list for the Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond: Semisweet Dark Chocolate [Evaporated Cane Juice, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Soya Lecithin, and Vanilla]; Organic Honey; Whey Protein Isolate; Almond Butter; Dried Sour Cherries (Cherries, Apple Juice, Sunflower Oil); Almonds; Vitamins & Minerals [Dicalcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Ascorbic Acid (Vit C), Alpha-tocopherol Acetate (Vit E), Biotin, Zinc Oxide, Niacin, Ferrous Fumarate (Iron), Molybdenum Glycinate, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper, Manganese, Beta Carotene (Vit A), Selenium, Pyridoxine (B6), Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1), Chromium, Cyanocobolamin (B12), Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide]; and Natural Flavor.

Honey Stinger also makes two of my other favorite cycling products, the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels (I love the Acai & Pomegranate flavor) and the Honey Stinger Organic Waffles (chocolate is my favorite here). I am not a tofu-eating vegetarian. However, when given a choice, I will choose organic food every time. This is especially true when it comes to the food I eat while cycling. I’ve found that natural ingredients are easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body. Energy gels that contain a lot of chemicals make me feel uncomfortable while cycling.

Honey Stinger products are available in many sporting good stores, such as R.E.I., Dick’s Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority and from the Honey Stinger website. I’ve also purchased them at several grocery stores, but they often do not carry all the flavors. Bon appetit.

 

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Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

Cyclists burn a lot of carbohydrates during a long ride and if you want to finish under your own power you need to replace some of those carbs during the ride. Honey is my favorite source of carbohydrates since it offers a perfect blend of both simple and complex carbs which prevents the energy “spike, crash and burn” that you get from most “energy gels.”

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels

The folks at Honey Stinger recently sent me a few packages of their new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels. I am not a tofu-eating vegetarian. However, when given a choice, I will choose organic food every time. This is especially true when it comes to the food I eat while cycling. I’ve found that natural ingredients are easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body. Energy gels that contain a lot of chemicals make me feel uncomfortable while cycling.

The new Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels are available in three flavors (Vanilla, Fruit Smoothie, and Acai & Pomegranate). The Fruit Smoothie has a mild strawberry flavor. The Vanilla gel has a strong, but not overpowering, vanilla flavor, and the Acai & Pomegranate tastes like fresh Acai berries, but I couldn’t really taste the Pomegranate. However, the Acai & Pomegranate is my favorite flavor and after eating just one package of it I ordered an entire box of these gels.

The ingredients list for the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels is about as simple as you can get: Organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, water, potassium citrate, natural flavor, citric acid, and sodium chloride. Each one-ounce (32g) package provides 100 calories with 23g of carbohydrates. Each serving also has 50mg of sodium and 50mg of potassium—the essential electrolytes that cyclists need during a ride. This product is made with 95% USDA-certified organic ingredients and they are also gluten-free.

Honey Stinger has offered Energy Gels for several years and the original flavors of those gels are still available and are now referred to as their Classic Energy Gels. The classic flavors (Gold, Ginsting, Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry) are made with pure honey, along with sodium, potassium, B complex vitamins and all-natural flavors. The Strawberry and Ginsting flavors contain natural caffeine. I like all the original flavors and usually order them in a box of 24 assorted flavor gels.

Can you really tell the difference between the Classic Energy Gels and the new Organic Energy Gels? Yes, but the difference in taste has nothing to do with the organic ingredients—the tapioca syrup in the new gels make for a much smoother product. As much as I like the Honey Stinger gels, they are never going to be my only source of food while on a long ride. However, I do take them with me on every ride. These gels are absorbed quickly into the body and just a few minutes after ingestion it feels like someone kicked on the afterburners.

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gels retail for $1.35 per package, or $32.40 for a box of 24. If your local bike does not carry these gels yet they would be glad to order them for you. I’ve found that most local bike shops are willing to give you a decent discount if you buy three boxes of nutritional products at the same time—and you won’t have to pay for shipping! These gels are also available from R.E.I. and from the Honey Stinger Website.

 

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Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

I would not normally write a review for a nutritional product just because the company that makes it came out with a new flavor. However, I am going to make an exception because the new Honey Stinger Strawberry Waffles are simply awesome.

Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

Honey Stinger Strawberry Organic Waffles

I’ve taken Honey Stinger Waffles with me on nearly every bike ride I’ve taken this year and can’t imagine cycling without them. Honey Stinger introduced their original honey flavored waffles a little over a year ago and they instantly became my favorite source of carbs on bike rides. Earlier this year they came out with a vanilla waffle, and more recently they started selling the strawberry waffles. To call these waffles addictive would be a gross understatement.

Each one-ounce strawberry waffle has 160 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. Two packages of waffles take up about the same amount of room in your jersey pocket as a single Clif Bar.

These waffles contain 100% USDA Certified Organic Ingredients and are also certified Kosher. If you are interested in the ingredients list, here it is: organic wheat flour, organic palm fruit oil, organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic whole wheat flour, organic soy flour, sea salt, natural flavor, organic soy lecithin, organic spices, and baking soda.

As the outside temperature drops these waffles become brittle. The best way to keep the waffles soft is to put them in a jersey pocket under your cycling jacket. When the temperature drops to below 20 degrees (which is most of the time in the winter) I put these waffles in my jacket pocket along with a chemical hand warmer. These waffles taste great at room temperature, but when you are riding on a snowy day and pull one out of your jacket that has been warmed up, well, you have a treat fit for a king!

Honey Stinger Waffles are available at Amazon.com for around $26 for a pack of 16 (that’s about $1.62 per waffle). I have noticed that a lot of bike shops have started selling these waffles as well, but buying them by the box will save you a lot of money.

 

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Clif Bar Seasonal Flavors Are Back!

One of the greatest things about fall is the arrival of seasonal Clif Bars. For the past few weeks every time my wife went to the grocery store she looked for the seasonal Clif Bars and last week they finally arrived! In addition to Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread, this year Clif introduced the new Peppermint Stick flavored bars. If you want to try these delicious bars you had better hurry because they are only available until the end of December (or until they run out).

Clif Bar Seasonal Flavors

Clif Bar Seasonal Flavors

I have been an avid consumer of Clif Bars for nearly ten years. During my first year of cycling I tried to eat PowerBar Energy Gels on my rides, but those things always tasted like a high school chemistry experiment gone bad. The first time I tried a Clif Bar was the day I quit buying anything from PowerBar.

Clif Bars come is sixteen regular flavors plus the three seasonal flavors. The Iced Gingerbread is my favorite seasonal flavor and the Black Cherry Almond is my favorite during the rest of the year. Each bar has between 230 and 250 calories and they average around 44 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein each. And, if you are interested, Clif Bars are also Kosher and vegan approved.

Clif Bars are made with 70% organic ingredients. However, I am more impressed by what they do not contain. Clif Bars are made without high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or artificial flavors, sweeteners and preservatives.

I am not going to try to list the ingredients in every flavor of Clif Bar, but I think you can get a general idea by looking at the ingredient list for the Iced Gingerbread Clif Bar: Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Toasted Oats (Organic Oats, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice), Organic Molasses, Soy White Chocolate (Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Cocoa Butter, Soy Flour, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors), Safflower Oil Roasted Pecans, ClifCrunch (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin [Chicory Extract], Organic Milled Flaxseed, Organic Oat Bran, Psyllium), Crystallized Ginger (Ginger, Cane Sugar), Organic Soy Butter, Organic Raisins, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Spices.

Clif Bars retail for around $1.50 at the grocery stores in my area, and they are cheaper if you buy them in a 12 pack. The best I can tell, fresh-baked Clif Bars have about a nine month shelf life. The grocery store where we shop has a high turnover rate on their Clif Bars, so I have never had a stale bar. However, Amazon.com has a terrible reputation for sending out expired or short-dated Clif Bars, so I think you would be better off finding them from a local store than buying them online.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Product Reviews, Sports Nutrition

 

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HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flask

Distance cycling and other endurance sports burn large amounts of carbohydrates, and for most of us that means ingesting a lot of carbohydrate gels or blocks. Prepackaged carbohydrate gels are manufactured by several companies and I actually enjoy several different brands (like Clif and Honey Stinger), but most gels contain a lot of chemicals that I try to avoid. Until recently I had never considered making my own carbohydrate gel, but when Brian Dinkins, president of HomeGOO, sent me a couple of goo flasks I decided to give it a shot.

HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flask

HomeGOO Flexible Reusable GOO Flasks

HomeGOO sells two different reusable flasks. The five-ounce Goo Flask is a 5.5 inch tall BPA free plastic container with a leak proof, push-pull valve. The flexible six-ounce Goo Flask is made from ultra-lightweight BPA free plastic and collapses as you consume the gel. It also has a push/pull drink spout with removable cap, though the cap really isn’t necessary. These bottles are easy to wash by hand and are dishwasher safe.

A small tag on each bottle has a great recipe for making your own carbohydrate gel. The recipe calls for four ounces of raw honey, one tablespoon organic blackstrap molasses, 1/8 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, and one or two tablespoons of water. Honey is a perfect source of carbohydrates for cyclists since it has both fructose and sucrose and provides a “slow and steady” release of energy. In case you are unaware, raw honey is not the same thing as the filtered and pasteurized honey that comes in a plastic bear-shaped container at the grocery store (for more information see “What Is Raw Honey?”). Blackstrap molasses not only adds flavor to this recipe, but is a good source of potassium as well. I have found that using warm water when making this recipe helps the ingredients mix smoothly.

In my area of the country raw honey sells for around fifty cents an ounce, which is about half the price of prepackaged gels. In addition, raw honey has nearly twice as many calories per ounce as prepackaged gels, so you will not need as much of it to get the same effect. As an added benefit, homemade gels are all organic and contain no artificial ingredients. Because homemade gels are made of honey and molasses they never have to be refrigerated and they won’t go bad while sitting on the shelf. Whatever you don’t use on one ride can be saved for the next without any problem.

Now let’s go back to the HomeGOO flasks. I’ve used prepackaged carbohydrate gels for about 10 years and wasn’t sure how using a flask would work out. On the first ride I realized these flasks are fantastic! You can pop open the valve with your thumb and get a quick shot of the gel faster than with the prepackaged variety, then close the valve with your thumb and put it back in your jersey pocket. Among my many known weaknesses is the fact that I normally slow down a bit when I consume gels on my bike, but with the HomeGOO flask my cadence didn’t change a bit and I was able to keep one hand on the handlebar (and I didn’t have to use my teeth to open the flask!).

HomeGOO sells the five ounce flask for $3, which means that if you only used in one time you still saved money over the cost of buying prepackaged gels. The six-ounce flask sells for $9 and should last a very long time. If you are into endurance sports you owe it to yourself to try these flasks!

 

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Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

About ten years ago I quit consuming any product that contained high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and as a result I had to give up products like Gatorade. Since I couldn’t drink Gatorade I started drinking Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink while cycling and was very happy with it. Last year Gatorade dropped the use of HFCS and is now sweetened with a sucrose-dextrose combination. Since Gatorade is a lot cheaper than the Clif Shot Electrolyte Drink I decided to do a little comparison shopping and thought you might like to know the results.

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

Gatorade vs. Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink

In this post I am going to compare Gatorade powder mix (not the far more expensive bottles) against Clif Shot Electrolyte powder. Since I do not work in a laboratory I am going to have to round off a few numbers, but I think I’ll be close enough for you to draw some reasonable conclusions on your own. Gatorade powder sells for $4 for an 18.4-ounce tub and will make about thirteen 20-ounce bottles. Clif Shot Electrolyte powder comes in 2-pound containers and will make about fourteen 20-ounce bottles.

A 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade has 130 calories and 34 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 270mg of sodium and 80mg of potassium. When made from powder Gatorade costs only .31¢ for a 20-ounce bottle.

A 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte has 260 calories and 62 grams of carbohydrates. Each bottle also has 650mg of sodium and 162mg of potassium. The cost for this 20-ounce bottle is $1.57.

Aside from the differences in price, there are a couple other things to consider. Every cyclist is different, but based upon my size and average speed I burn around 1050 calories an hour while riding and I like to consume between 250 and 300 calories per hour. If I drink a 20-ounce bottle of Clif Shot Electrolyte every hour while cycling I would not need to consume anything else to meet my needed intake of calories. This is not a bad thing, but I like to consume a bit of food while on the bike. However, on days when the heat index is over 100 I don’t usually feel like eating anyway and the extra sodium and potassium in Clif Shot Electrolyte is really needed.

In my opinion Gatorade and Clif Shot Electrolyte taste a lot alike. In fact, I don’t think I could tell the difference between them in a blind taste test. I like both of these products (and both companies) so I will probably continue to use both of them.

 

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Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews

As an avid cyclist I am used to a bit of suffering. I suffer in the winter on rides when the wind chill factor hits 20 degrees below zero. I suffer through summer rides when the heat index passes 105 degrees. Some cyclists suffer by their food choices (you PowerBar users know who you are). Here is where I draw the line—I don’t mind a bit of suffering when I don’t have a choice, but when it comes to carbohydrate products cyclists do have a choice! If you want to stop your self-imposed suffering then pick up a package of great tasting Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews.

Honey Stinger Organic Carbohydrate Energy Chews

Honey Stinger Organic Carbohydrate Energy Chews

When I started cycling I bought PowerBar Energy Gels because that was the only brand of carbohydrate gels the bike shop I used carried. Eating PowerBar products reminded me a bit of high school. I thought PowerBar Protein Bars had the taste and texture of the sawdust from my shop class, and PowerBar Energy Gels tasted like chemicals from a high school chemistry project! Folks, there is a better way to replenish your energy stores and Honey Stinger has provided the way!

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews are fairly small (about the size of a stack of three nickles). These chews are 95% organic and each package has ten chews (two servings). Every 160 calorie serving contains 39 grams of carbohydrates, 100% of the RDA of vitamin C, and a dose of electrolytes. These chews are gluten-free, dairy free and contain no trans-fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Honey Stinger sells these energy chews in several flavors, including Cherry Blossom (my favorite), Orange Blossom, Fruit Smoothie, and Pomegranate Passion Fruit. They have also recently introduced a caffeinated Lime-Ade flavor, but I’ve not been able to find them in the store yet.

I am not a tofu-eating vegetarian environmentalist. However, when I have a choice I will choose organic food every time. This is especially true when it comes to the food I eat while cycling. I’ve found that natural ingredients are easily digested and quickly absorbed into the body. Energy gels that contain a lot of chemicals just make me feel uncomfortable while cycling. If the two cycling computers I use can be trusted, I burn around 1050 calories an hour when I ride. I like to replace around a third of these calories every hour, so I consume one whole package of Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews an hour (three pieces every 20 minutes).

Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews are available in many sporting good stores, such as R.E.I., Dick’s Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority. I’ve also purchased them at several grocery stores, but they often do not carry all the flavors. Each two-serving package costs around $2. Bon appetit.

 

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