Races and Stories

Rick's All-Natural 40/30/30 Bars


3/4 cup Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Chips (coffee-flavored is a nice touch)

1 cup Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter (avoid commercial brands)

1-1/3 cup Brown Rice Syrup (one whole 20 oz. bottle)

4 Tbl. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 cup Rolled Oats (NOT instant Oatmeal)

1-1/3 cup Vanilla-flavored Soy Protein Powder

2 tsp. Freeze-Dried Coffee (Use ground espresso if you used regular chocolate)

Mix all ingredients except oats in a microwavable bowl until moderately well mixed. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir. Microwave on high for another minute. Stir.

Spread out rolled oats in a jelly roll pan or glass baking dish. Toast in broiler or toaster oven until browned and until toasted smell is obvious.

Mix toasted oats with other mixture as thoroughly as possible. Spread mixture evenly in a glass baking dish that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cool in a refrigerator for 30 minutes. Cut into 22 equal bars.

Nutrition Facts for each bar:

Serving Size: 1 Bar (approx. 2.0 oz.)
Calories: 200
Calories from Fat: 58 (29%)
Total Fat: 6g.
Monounsaturated Fat: 5g.
Saturated Fat: <1g.
Total Carbohydrates: 20g.
Sugars: 5g.
Protein: 15g.

Two Blocks in the Barry Sears Zone Diet, but you don’t have to follow that diet to enjoy them.

Ingredients: Espresso-Flavored Chocolate Chips (unrefined cane juice crystals, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, tofu, lecithin, vanilla bean oil, french-roasted ground espresso beans), Brown Rice Syrup (brown rice, water, natural fungal enzymes), Natural Peanut Butter (ground roasted peanuts), Cocoa, Rolled Oats, Protein Powder (soy protein isolate, di-methionine [amino acid supplement], natural vanilla flavor), freeze-dried coffee.

Notes: Don’t use commercial peanut butter. Most regular brands remove the expensive natural peanut oil, sell it separately, and replace it with hydrogenated vegetable oils. The natural peanut oil is monounsaturated and therefore cholesterol-safe. These bars have no preservatives or any other bad things. They are shelf stable, and will keep when wrapped as long as you’d expect a candy bar to. But they sure taste good when chilled in the fridge.

The brown rice syrup has a moderate glycemic index. It is much more quickly absorbed than fructose, which must percolate in the liver before it can be converted into absorbable glucose. But the maltoses are slower than glucose. Table sugar breaks down into glucose and fructose—it has a quick initial effect on blood sugar followed by a long, slow release. Maltose is slower to begin with, but gets into the blood more completely within a relative short time. That makes these bars good for exercise replenishment—they give a sustained boost without a sugar high and resulting crash. The fat also slows absorption and makes them seem filling. But they should not be used for repeated meal replacement.

The soy protein powder has a reasonable amount of salts and electrolytes, including potassium, and, when taken with water, will replenish these chemicals lost in sweat very effectively.

Toasting the oats is optional. Those who don’t want to do even that amount of work can skip it. But toasting the oats adds a flavor and texture needed by these unbaked bars. Use slow-cooking oats because they provide a much more sustained release of carbohydrate, and the oat bran is still intact. Instant oats don’t provide these benefits.

The Cocoa Powder mixes with the peanut oil to form cocoa butter, which is also included in the chocolate chips. But it seems to round out the chocolate flavor and helps with the consistency.

The taste, appearance, and texture of these bars closely matches the PR Ironman Chocolate Brownie flavor, including the tendency to get sticky when hot. The Ironman has some vitamin and mineral supplements. These don’t. That seems to be all you get for the extra buck and a half. I think these taste better.

The only drawback (if you think of it thus) is the caffeine from the coffee and chocolate. The quantities are quite low, and you can substitute decaf if you want.

All the protein comes from readily absorbable sources in the peanuts and soy isolates. Get your soluble fiber somewhere else, though.