The Primal Kitchen is a new British range of snack/energy bars designed to conform to the Paleo diet that is becoming increasingly popular amongst triathletes and athletes alike.
I had the opportunity to eat my way through the full range in order to provide a quick review of the performance (and taste of course) of these intriguing bars. Before moving on to the range itself I should give a very brief overview of the Paleo philosophy (or diet). In short, the idea is if a caveman couldn’t eat it then neither can you! It sounds simple, but the idea is that processed food is off the menu as are most grains and dairy products. Meat and vegetables are fair game as are dishes containing eggs, nuts and seeds etc. The idea has become particularly popular due to its simplicity and ease use. Many also follow the principle as, by default, it often conforms with a gluten-free lifestyle. A downside (for most of us with a sweet tooth) is that refined sugars, sweets, chocolate and most packaged foods are completely out.
For an idea of what is and isn’t allowed you can discover more information on the Paleo lifestyle here or there is a very handy iOS app called ‘Paleo Central’ which you should find in the Apple App Store.
Here you can see that the there are currently four flavours available: Almond & Cashew; Brazil Nut & Cherry; Coconut & Macadamia and Hazel Nut & Cashew. Each bar is 45g.
I decided to use the Primal Kitchen Bars as I would any other energy bar during my training regime. On two occasions I used them as a pre-workout snack, once during training and also a recovery snack.
Almond & Cashew (197 kcals)
As with all of the bars, when you open the packaging you get the impression of a sort of home-made bar. There is more of crumbly texture and it isn’t too sweet at all. Lots of nuts in this one and plenty of taste coming through. Is was unsurprisingly moreish and, unlike some similar bars, it was easy to chew (so went down pretty quick!).
Brazil Nut & Cherry (195 kcals)
This one was the one that I thought would be my least favourite. Again, however, the texture brought the flavours to life and it was not overly sweet. It actually tasted of natural cherry rather than the processed type often found. As it is held together with dates and almond oil those flavours came through too, but complimented the nut and cherries well.
Coconut & Macadamia (221 kcals)
There were masses of nuts in this one! How it held together a bar I don’t know, but it really tasted good. It felt pretty filing but like the others was really easy to chew and polish off.
Hazel Nut & Cocoa (192 kcals)
Although I’ve listed it last it was the first I ate and easily my favourite. It’s not chocolate but cocoa mixed with hazel nut gives the right balance, which combined with the texture, gives a similar satisfaction. Again is feels home-made and is really easy to eat.
I really liked the natural philosophy and I can see that the use of real food ingredients is a major selling point for the Primal Kitchen range. I enjoyed the convenience of a the snacks and when I ate them there were so easy to ingest and also tasted really good. I definitely see a continuing use of these bars as part of a training regime simply because they are so easy to get on with and don’t take an age to chew. The bars provided energy in a convenient form and left no unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth.
I had already been a vague follower of the Paleo lifestyle and have found it to be such a flexible diet that you can adopt it to what ever extent you choose. Whilst I cannot claim to be a true follower, I do generally attempt to use the principles to cook main meals from scratch (at home) with natural ingredients. My downfall though is I occasionally need to eat convenience foods (and I enjoy eating in restaurants). The point is, whether you are into Paleo or not these bars can be used to complement that lifestyle or in their own right as a method of obtaining energy in a well thought out, natural form.
This is a range that really appeals to me and I guess the best credit I can give is that I’ve gone out bought more of my own since finishing off the initial sample. Of course, if you are an ‘orthodox’ Paleo and eat nothing packaged then it’s quite possible you may take issue, but how many ingredients can you buy these days that don’t come in some form of packaging? For me, I’m pleased to discover a range that will compliment the quality natural foods that many athletes may strive to fuel their body with as part of their main means. This range can help carry that through to your training requirements.
Further information and online ordering is available at the Primal Kitchen website.