The thing that I love most about fig bars is how simple they are. As a professional athlete as well as a recent nutrition graduate from the University of Nevada Reno, I have a first hand appreciation for simplicity when it comes to what I eat. This is because whole, natural, and real food is simple, and it's also the best source of fuel for your body.
Unfortunately, even the simplest of foods become rather complex when a gluten free version is created. This is because most companies try to simply remove the wheat from their current recipes in order to create the GF version. In order to do this in a cost-effective manner while maintaining some resemblance to the original product, corners are usually cut and a variety of, for lack of a better term, junk is thrown into the recipe. Don't believe me? Grab the cheapest loaf of gluten free bread you can find at a grocery store and try to pronounce even a third of the ingredients listed on the bag. Don't worry, I can't do it either.
Nature's Bakery didn't take this route with their new Gluten Free Fig Bars. Instead, they completely re-designed a new product using a variety of the highest quality and most nutritious gluten free grains available. With the same soft, delicious fig center, the finished product is almost identical to its Stone Ground Whole Wheat counterpart from a nutritional standpoint, but these new bars have their own unique flavor and texture to go along with their new recipe that anyone can love, not just those who are allergic to gluten.
Let's take a closer look at the gluten free grains used in this new recipe:
Tapioca Flour - This carbohydrate source actually isn't a grain at all. It comes from a root (from the the cassava plant to be specific) and therefore can be easily broken down and absorbed by the body with limited risk of GI stress. On top of this, it's an excellent source of iron and an immediate energy source.
Teff Flour - Teff is one of the most famous grains out there right now, being hailed as a "superfood." It is very nutrient dense, has a low glycemic index for sustained energy, and a relatively high amount of protein with a whopping 8 essential amino acids (which is A LOT for a grain).
Sorghum Flour - Sorghum is one of the most popular gluten free grains and for good reason. It's great for baking and is known for it's desirable taste and texture – but it's also good for you! Sorghum is packed with copper and magnesium, and is also rich in metabolism-boosting vitamin B3.
Amaranth Flour - Technically a seed, amaranth was actually a staple of the Aztecs many years ago. Now known as a "super grain," amaranth is packed with nutrients, protein, and the oil in the seed has actually been linked to lowering cholesterol in several studies.
Rest assured, no corners were cut in the design of these new Gluten Free Fig Bars. They've been fueling my training and racing since the start of the year and I couldn't be happier with them. Regardless of your gluten preferences, if you like fig bars you have to try one of these and see what you think!