Product Review: The Perfect Protein Bar Really Does Exist... it's Called 'Papa Steve's No Junk Raw Protein Bars'
(NaturalNews) Call me a food geek, but I get excited about really clean, high quality food and superfood products. Sadly, the protein bar category you typically see at the grocery store (or even the health food store) is almost entirely pure garbage.
They're filled with soy protein, chemical sweeteners, GMO and
corn-derived materials. Even a lot of the so-called "natural" or
"organic" protein bars are made with cheap, low-grade rice protein that
we've found to be contaminated with lead and cadmium (because it's from
So for years, I've been on the lookout for truly clean and healthy protein bars that avoid all the junk found in other protein bars. A few weeks back, I stumbled across "Papa Steve's No Junk Raw Protein Bars." The primary protein is pea protein, which has consistently tested very clean in my heavy metals lab. So I tried their "Peanut Butter Choco Chip" variety and it was awesome. It's clearly hand-made and ugly as all get out from an aesthetic point of view, but I'm not looking for factory-made foods, you see. I want hand-crafted food that looks the same way my own food would look if I made it in my own kitchen. And most of the food I make isn't going to win any contests on the good looks side. (I eat for nutrition, not for aesthetics...)
Papa Steve's raw protein bars tested cleanAll the ingredients are raw, non-GMO and vegan, and I've actually tested a couple of their bars in my lab and they tested very clean for heavy metals. I haven't done pesticide tests yet, but they're made almost entirely with organic ingredients even though they don't appear to be certified organic yet. My guess is that pesticide levels will be very low if they show up at all.
Curious to know who was behind these innovative bars, I checked out the website: PapaSteves.com. It turns out the bars were conceived by a healthy-looking fitness guy named Steven Diebold. He seems to be about my age and has a similar story of health transformation. From his website page:
I grew up like most kids in the 80’s – full of processed, convenient foods. When I went to college, I decided that it was time for a change. I wanted to look good and feel good about my body. I started working out but I was not aware of what I should or should not be eating. It took me years of eating to find out that the “healthy” foods I was eating were just junk in disguise, full of sugar and artificial ingredients.
So I spent an enormous amount of time researching about nutrition, talking to dietitians and looking for a protein bar free of junk. I could not find any. I learned quite a bit about the way most of the food in the US is produced and processed --- and what I learned was pretty grim. Pigs are raised in stark confinement, produce is grown on vast factory farms with little or no regard for the environment, and so on.
But I also learned that there is a better way. I met ranchers and farmers dedicated to raising livestock and growing produce using responsible, respectful, and sustainable techniques. By partnering with these producers we figured we could make a difference in the world of food. After seeing how things could be done, I decided to start making my own protein bar with raw nuts, seeds, fruits and superfoods. After a few trials and errors, I shared my creation with a few workout buddies and they loved the real taste of it and how the bars made them feel good about what they were eating!
Curious to learn more about Steve and his vision for these revolutionary protein bars, I called him up. He told me that all the bars were made by hand and that it was a huge amount of work. "Everything is done in small batches," he said, "because we don't ever want to make food like the food factories do."
Short shelf life but high nutritionSteve says he tested his protein bars at local gyms, and the feedback was hugely positive. Then he started distributing to Whole Foods and other health food retailers. Now, you can find the bars all over Southern California. I've been buying them on Amazon.com, and it's unlikely that we will be able to carry them in our own store due to the relatively short shelf life of these raw ingredients (they last just 45 days at room temperature).
Nevertheless, I buy them and freeze them. Then I thaw them out when I want one. I've been eating these for several weeks now and they've been really fantastic in terms of providing me with lasting energy and peak performance nutrition. I especially like the fact that they contain healthy fats like the peanut butter in the Peanut Butter Choco Chip variety. (Finding good fats in protein bars is a rare thing...)
The only downside to these bars is that they're expensive as you might expect. Then again, if you want to eat cheap crap, there's always other factory-made garbage protein bars made from genetically modified soy protein (usually extracted with explosive hexane chemicals, by the way).
Papa Steve has nailed it... but don't sell out to General Mills!I think Papa Steve's is really onto something revolutionary with these bars: Real food, no junk, low heavy metals, high grade nutrition... it's almost exactly the kind of food bars I would make if I were in the food bar making business.
My only hope is that when Papa Steve turns this into a $100 million a year business, he doesn't sell out the brand to General Mills like Larabar did. The pro-Monsanto food giants like General Mills are buying up all the natural and organic food companies, then cheapening their ingredients and turning them into factory foods. It seems like every successful new food bar or juice drink gets gobbled up by some evil food giant, then twisted into a mere shadow of what it used to be.
So my message to Steve Diebold is simply this: You've got something awesome here. Grow it and kick ass, but don't sell out or your brand will be watered down and exploited by the food giants to sell your customers the same garbage you're trying to avoid!
I would hate to lose the Papa Steve's brand, because then I'd have to go through the trouble of making these myself. And I'm pretty sure my own kitchen creations would be even uglier than Steve's!
Where to get these bars? Get 'em at PapaSteves.com
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