Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.


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The Simply Bar Review.

Good morning!

Today’s post is all about The Simply Bar, who graciously sent me their products in exchange for an honest review. Founder Cathy Richards (who suffers from Crohn’s Disease) wanted to create a snack that was easy to digest, so she created bars that were:

  • high protein (16 grams)
  • gluten free 
  • kosher
  • vegan
  • non-dairy
  • low sugar (made with brown rice syrup, and no artificial sweeteners)
  • low calorie
  • 4 grams of fibre
  • made with a short list of non-GMO ingredients.

The company has recently expanded to include two new product lines: Simply Whey bars and Simply Protein Chips.

So first up: the traditional Simply Bar. The bars are made with soy protein crisps, so they’ve got a good crunchy texture to them. The overall flavours were good, if not a little mild; the low sugar count made them not quite sweet enough for my palate. I found that I usually needed to throw a bit of nut butter on top to make them calorically dense enough to satisfy me – but really, doesn’t nut butter improve everything?

Caramel Peanut: I didn’t really get the caramel, but I loved how it had big peanut chunks scattered throughout. One of the better flavours for sure.

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Cocoa with Raspberry: I’ve never been a huge raspberry fan – I like them fresh, but freeze-dried (which this bar had) or frozen don’t do it for me. I did enjoy the cocoa flavouring though.

Cocoa Coffee: Somehow, my hatred of coffee does not extend to coffee-flavoured things – I liked this flavour a lot! Strong taste of coffee, without being overbearing.

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Lemon Coconut: Probably my least favourite of the bunch. I’m picky about lemon-flavoured things (lemon bars and lemon meringue pie are the only ones I really like) and I found that the lemon really overpowered the coconut.

Cinnamon Pecan: Considering my tendency to dump cinnamon over everything, clearly I loved this flavour. The big chunks of pecan definitely helped too!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate: This is where my Reese’s addiction fails me – this bar was not sweet enough or peanut-buttery enough for me. Good as a snack, but wouldn’t do it for peanut butter and chocolate cravings.

Simply Whey Bars:

Unlike the regular Simply Bars, the whey bars are nut-free and made without soy or tree nuts. So, these babies are safe for my nut-free people!

Coconut: really simple, subtle coconut flavour. Really liked it!

Apple Cinnamon: the unexpected favourite! The cinnamon flavour was right on, and I adored the apple chunks throughout. I’m definitely going to be hunting for these in the future.

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Simply Protein Chips

Even though I’m not typically a savoury snack kind of girl, I was very intrigued by these. Made with pea protein, these chips are gluten, dairy and soy free. And 15 grams of protein – what other chips can say that?

Texture wise, these were closer to Fritos or Hickory sticks than they were to traditional potato chips. They had an awesome crunch to them, but without the greasiness of traditional chips. Of course, they were best when dip of some sort was added to the picture.

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They offer two different kids: Herb and Chili. Both were good, but I preferred the chili flavour – they had a hint of a sweet spice to them. Like the bars, the flavours were good, but a bit on the mild side. I think the chips are such an interesting idea; I haven’t seen them in stores around me yet, but I’ll be on the lookout.

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Overall, these were some tasty snacks! The Apple Cinnamon Whey bar, the Chili Protein chips, and the Cocoa Coffee Simply Bar won out for me – I’ll definitely be looking for them in the future. Have a great day!

<— Have you tried any of the Simply Bar products? Do you want to?

<— Favourite portable snack?

 

Disclaimer: although I was provided with the products free of charge, I was not compensated for my review. All opinions are my own.


48 Comments

WIAW: Brunch and Linner.

Hi there!

Yup, it’s Wednesday already.

(Thanks for hosting, Jenn!) Anyone else kind of surprised by that? This week is definitely flying by.

So I’m going to be showcasing my eats from Monday. It was Family Day around these parts, so Eric had the day off as well. And because I’m not going home at for my reading week, my parents came up to visit and treat us for dinner. Always happy to see them!

Pre-Workout

Because my parents were going to be coming by in the early afternoon, I decided to head to the gym first thing, rather than waiting until late morning like I usually do. I downed some BCAA’s and a SimplyWhey Apple Cinnamon Bar (look for my review tomorrow!) about 45 minutes after I woke up, and headed off.

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My usual gym (at the university) was closed on Family Day, but I had heard that the YMCA a few blocks away offers two free guest passes per person, so people get a chance to check it out before committing. So, the Y it was.

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Monday was an upper body day, followed by 15 minutes of intervals on the treadmill. Overall, it was a decent gym – the locker rooms were nice and the equipment was in good shape. It was a little crowded, but I think that had more to do with the fact that it was a holiday than anything else. I liked it, but I don’t think I liked it enough that I would switch from my current (free) gym. I was glad I got the opportunity to go though, and I’m sure I’ll use up the other free pass in the near future.

Brunch

By the time I got home and put breakfast together, it was almost 11:00. So…brunch?

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I mixed about 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder with about 1/2 cup 2% Oikos Greek yogurt in vanilla, then plopped it on two toasted Nature’s Path Apple Cinnamon waffles. Made me happy.

I’m So Disorganized.

I always go back and forth on what to do on holidays (especially a random one, like Family Day). Take the time to relax, or take the time to get shit done? I went with the latter, and tackled something I have been putting off for a LONG time.

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I’m pretty sure I can hear the collective shudders.

In my apartment, the couch is pushed up against the stairs, making under the stairs the perfect spot for storage. When we moved here, we would toss random stuff back there in an attempt to get it out of the way (notice empty wine bottles, boxes, dumbbells, my yoga mat…) and we have just kept it up for the last 6 months. So Monday I finally got it done:

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Still not beautiful, but a vast improvement. (And Eric decided to bottle wine for the first time. Hence, the massive amounts of wine bottles).

I needed something to munch on after that:

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Bigger than a snack, not quite a meal. A piece of slow cooker banana bread with almond butter, baby carrots, grapes, and shaved ham. I went back for more carrots and another piece of banana bread.

My parents showed up around 3, so we hung around and chatted for a bit. We also watched the first episode of Downton Abbey so my mom could see it – she loves anything to do with historical fiction and Coronation Street (anyone/anyone’s parents watch that show? My mom’s been watching it for decades) so I knew she would love it. Of course, now she’s asking for the rest of the season!

 

PSA

I need to mention something here – while we were watching Downton, we suddenly heard a loud bang, and the screeching sound of metal on metal. Of course, we rushed outside and saw that there was a bad accident at the end of my street. The scariest part was that a child in the back (looked like about 12-13, a passerby who walked by us later told us) had not been wearing a seatbelt. When the car was t-boned, he spilled out the side door onto the street. He was conscious, but he couldn’t stand up. I haven’t heard any updates on the story since, but I sincerely hope he’s doing ok.

I felt the need to add this in here as a plea to PLEASE wear your seatbelt! When I was 16, we lost a family friend in an accident (she was 17 at the time) because she hadn’t been wearing one. Just do it – there is absolutely no excuse not to.

Linner

So, back to the food.

My mom has been wanting to try the Moose Winooski’s in Brantford, so we headed there for an early dinner. Moose Winooski’s is a strictly Canadian, but nonetheless typical chain restaurant.

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Spinach and artichoke dip with chips and baked pita triangles to share – it’s kinda green, so that means there’s more than 2% spinach in there, right?

I decided to order the chicken fajitas for dinner. You know how when you’re trying to decide between two options on a menu, you pick one, and then as soon as the waitress walks away, you regret it? Yup…that was me. I was looking at the Thai lettuce wraps, I should have gone with those.

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Sizzling plate of onion, pepper strips and chicken.

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The tortillas and the fixings (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa, cheese). I also had guacamole in there (although the waitress did not inform me that the guac was an extra charge…grr).

I made myself two fajitas with everything, and then proceeded to throw some toppings on the sizzling plate and eat the rest of the chicken, peppers and some of the onions with a fork.

Overall…meh. It was a typical chain restaurant experience – the hot stuff for the fajitas were oily and greasy as all hell, and the dip (and my dad’s potato soup) were lukewarm. Serves as a reminder as to why I prefer locally owned, at least! Not my worst dining experience, but still pretty subpar. The company was good, so that’s the important part.

Snack

The before bed snack:

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Cottage cheese, almond butter, strawberry jam. I wasn’t really starving before bed, but if I didn’t eat I knew I’d wake up about 4 hours later feeling pretty ravenous. Before bed snack = necessity.

Today is more thesis reading (I’m almost through my pile of books though!) and heading over to the gym for a bit. Hope you have a great day!

<— Ever do the ‘immediate regret’ thing right after ordering at a restaurant? I blame my indecisiveness.

<— Had a less-than-ideal dining experience lately?


39 Comments

WIAW: Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Good morning! 3 things before I get on with it:

1. Thank you so much for all your comments on yesterday’s post. I always feel a little nervous and vulnerable posting stuff like that, but you guys remind me why I love this community so damn much. Thank for all your support!

2. A huge shoutout to my cousin Adam and his wife Melissa on the birth of their first baby! A boy born Saturday night – I can’t wait to meet the little guy.

3. I have my stats midterm today. Send me good vibes!

Yup – it’s that time of the week again!

So last week was Eating Disorders Awareness Week in Canada. This week, it’s in the States. Considering my own history, it’s no surprise that I do my best to spread awareness and offer support to those who suffer with ED’s.

London is home to Hope’s Garden, the only eating disorder resource centre in the area. It runs solely off of volunteers and donations – they don’t get any government funding whatsoever. Every year during EDAW, they host a breakfast at the Hilton Hotel to raise funds. Of course, I went last year and enjoyed it, so my mom and I purchased tickets again.

After getting up at a somewhat ungodly hour (registration started at 6:30 am) my Mom and I headed down to the Hilton. We checked in and we immediately headed over to look at the silent auction and draws.

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I was really hoping to win the Chil Froyo gift card, but no luck there (we will still hit it up sometime, Chelsea!)

It was planned so that the breakfast would occur before the speakers, so we headed over to the buffet tables. It was a fairly typical (but still delicious) fancy hotel breakfast spread – frittata, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fruit, pastries and cheese.

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I helped myself to bacon, the veggie frittata, fruit, and cheese (I have no idea what kind of cheese that was, but it looked intriguing. It was pretty good!). My mom and I also split a croissant. After breakfast and some opening remarks, it was time for the keynote speakers.

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First up was Julie Rochefort, with a talk entitled: ‘Becoming a Body Image Warrior’. Julie is a Registered Dietitian who focuses on obesity and weight discrimination. She talked about how the science concerning ‘healthy weight’ is flawed, and how weight isn’t the best predictor of health.

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The fact that this book exists (and is aimed at 6-12 year olds) is so, so shameful for our society. “Maggie” is bullied at school, loses weight by eating ‘better’ and exercising for hours, and becomes super-popular and a star soccer player. I had heard of the book before, but not in that much detail – WHY does this exist?! And really, what kind of lesson does this book teach kids?

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At the end of her presentation, Julie left us with this message, and I love it. I feel like most people approach RD’s because in their mind, getting healthier = losing weight. I loved hearing Julie’s mindset that we need to take ownership of our bodies the way they are supposed to be. She invited us to take a pledge to celebrate both our bodies and the bodies of those around us – real bodies, real people, no unrealistic expectations.

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Of course, my name is on there Smile (And oh my god, how do people walk in pencil skirts?! I felt like I could barely move my knees all morning).

The second speaker was Jan Pryde, who is on the Board of Directors at Hope’s.

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Jan is extremely passionate about the fight against eating disorders, because she has been watching her 26 year old daughter struggle for twelve years. She talked about the experiences she’s had with her daughter, climaxing when Jan carried her daughter threw hospital doors last June, at less than 60 pounds and blood pressure that was barely registering on the scale (I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was something like 48/20). By some miracle, her daughter survived.

Jan was an amazing speaker, letting her passion for the fight against ED’s flow through her words. She discussed how eating disorders leave scars and battle wounds on our hearts, and how eating disorders become a battleground between the sufferer and the disease.

It was one of the most heart-wrenching, inspiring talks I’ve ever witnessed. Of course, she received a standing ovation, and when she brought her daughter up with her on stage…yup. Any chance of me getting out of there with my mascara intact was gone.

While I do not consider myself lucky for my own struggle with anorexia, I am extremely grateful that I was able to pull back when I did, as opposed to letting my anorexia continue to dig it’s claws deeper. Listening to Jan was a reminder that I am one of the lucky ones in the sense that I’ve escaped my struggles, but I need to keep fighting the battle on behalf of everyone who comes in contact with this horrible, harrowing disease.

Hope’s Garden does truly amazing work with ED patients – I know, because I reached out to them when I was ready for my own recovery. I attended their group meetings for the better part of a year, and through them found my fantastic therapist, who was absolutely vital in the process of my self-discovery. I don’t exactly have a lot of extra funds available for donating to charity (grad student problems) but I will always be happy to help out Hope’s Garden with my time, support and money. And of course, if you are in the area and you are (or know someone) who is struggling, I completely recommend turning to them – it was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made.

Of course, Jan’s talk brought to mind how extremely grateful I am for my parent’s support in my recovery – therapy ain’t cheap, and I can only imagine how scary it must have been to watch their daughter slowly wasting away, unable to understand why or how to make it stop. I love you guys and I will be forever thankful for all the love and support that you’ve always shown me, whether in my recovery, my education, my goals, and every other aspect of my life.

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And my mom makes a fantastic breakfast date Smile

 

But now that I’ve managed to make myself tear up…moving on.

Although I didn’t win the froyo gift cards, we cleaned up pretty nicely with the draws Open-mouthed smile

Prizes

That fig balsamic vinegar I’ve been using on my spinach salads lately? Courtesy of a gift basket from Olive-Me & Co, a specialty olive oil and balsamic store in North London. The balsamics I won are: fig , chili, and an 18 year old traditional. The olive oils: citrus habanero, Italian herb, and sundried tomato parmesan and garlic. I’ve tried most of them, and I have yet to be disappointed! I think I need to get a really good french loaf this weekend to really enjoy them. The prize also came with that cookbook, but I don’t use quinoa too often and I already have a similar one. So I forwarded it on to an aunt of mine.

We also got a HUGE giftbasket full of 3M stuff – tape dispensers, band aids, page dividers…

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And post-its…so many post its. (Amanda, I know you’re jealous Smile with tongue out)

So this post is already pretty massive, so a quick speed through the rest of the day’s meals:

Lunch

Lunch

Salad – romaine, bell pepper, chopped baby carrots, tomato, blackberries and chicken, topped with a tzatziki yogurt dressing. A slice of multigrain toast with butter on the side.

A small bowl of my mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup.

Snack

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The Simply Bar in Cocoa Coffee – so I like coffee in dessert and in bar form, but just not in drink form? I think this needs to be my strategy to get myself to like coffee…

Dinner

For dinner, I was feeling inspired by Chelsea’s Turkey Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup. I followed her recipe, but I subbed kidney beans for the white beans and spinach for the kale. I also threw in a bit of dried basil.

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It’s pretty damn fabulous – I ate it for lunch every day afterwards Smile

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Palate cleanser…

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And a nighttime snack of cottage cheese, cinnamon raisin swirl PB, and chocolate chips.

So…wow, epically long. Hopefully you plowed through it!

<— Had you heard of “Maggie Goes on a Diet” before? Does it piss you off as much as it does me?

<— Tell me someone you’re grateful for.