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Picky Bars Review and Giveaway!

What is Picky Bars?

The stars (yes, they are all actually stars) behind Picky Bars are Stephanie Rothstein, Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas. It all started with Lauren wanting to find the perfect bar to fuel her husband Jesse. They were looking for a good and smart balanced gluten and dairy free bar. There were many to choose from on the market, but none of the existing ones hit the spot for the two athletes. So Lauren who knew exactly what she wanted set out to create her own bar for her husband in training.

“I wanted a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, slow releasing carbs for level blood sugar, minimal soy content, and healthy fats making up  25% of the calories.  Oh yeah, and it needed to taste amazing.  No big deal, right?” – Lauren Fleshman

It just so happened that Lauren and Stephanie, Laurens training buddy, were both injured and had time to kill (and knowing how being injured felt for me, I kind of get a feeling it was a good way to stay sane – a project to keep them occupied!) so they spent countless hours experimenting until they had a perfect balanced AND perfectly tasty bar in front of them. This was the start Picky Bars, and since then they’ve released three other bars and they are also just now in the end of July releasing a fifth flavor!

PickyBars and Evelin

The day I got the sample pack of Picky Bars I immediately wanted to go for a run, so that I could justify having one of the bars. Yes, that’s how excited I was about getting to try these bars out! You probably already know that I like snacks that are as clean and natural as possible, and Picky Bars definitely hit the spot for me!

I received a sample pack to try out. This included one of each of the flavors:

  • Smooth Caffeinator – Hazelnut Mocha Madness
  • All-In Almond – Agave Sweetened Awesomesauce
  • The Need for Seed – Sunflower Butter Sensation
  • Lauren’s Mega Nuts – Peanut Butter Booyah

picky

I loved every single bite I took from these bars (and wish I would’ve been able to make them last longer). I used them as fuel before a run, as a recovery snack post-run and as a snack while being out hiking and.. Yes I admit, one of them might have just served as an awesome treat, just like that, with a cup of iced coffee. The bars all filled me up just enough, to that point where you get some energy without the “food coma” part. I have to admit I always get pretty nervous when trying something new before a run or a hike, but just as great as the bars tasted as great did I feel being fueled by them out running and hiking!

PickyBars served as a totally awesome snack while out hiking on the lava!

PickyBars served as a totally awesome snack while out hiking on the lava!

Even though I’m a serious coffee drinker I usually stay away from caffeinated bars, gels etc. before heading out for my runs. No matter how used to caffein my body is I just can’t get away from the fact that my belly tend to get sensitive while running. BUT, the Smooth Caffeinator was actually the bar I tried before heading out for a run and I had no problems at all! In fact, I went for my longest run post-injury being fueled by that Picky Bars! (I’ve smashed that distance by now though!). My favorite..  Do I have to pick one, really? I don’t think so – they all are great! But I guess I’d go for the Smooth Caffeinator. Or All-In Almond (if you are following me on Twitter you might have noticed my obsession with almonds – I eat them daily AND always use almond oil instead of body lotion)..

Let’s have a look at the ingredients in one of the bars? Let’s do the Smooth Caffeinator, just because.. I like coffee?

  • 100% Vegan
  • Gluten & Dairy Free
  • 100% Non-GMO
  • 61% Organic
  • 25mg caffein (1/3 cup of coffee)
  • 200 Calories (8g Fat, 28g Carbohydrates, 7g Protein)
  • Ingredients: Organic Dates, Hazelnut Butter, Organic Agave Nectar, Rice Protein (Protein from Whole Grain Sprouted Brown Rice), Organic Crispy Brown Rice Cereal, Hazelnuts, Organic Chocolate Chips (Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Soy Lecithin (non-GMO), Organic Vanilla Extract), Cranberries (Cranberries, Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Organic Apricots (Organic Apricots, Organic Rice Flour), Fair Trade Organic Coffee, Sea Salt, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Safflower Oil, Natural Vitamin E (to preserve freshness).

Looks great to me! And it sure tastes great too!

picky4

Looks pretty darn tasty to me!

I don’t just like the taste and how well the bars treated me, I also like the visual concept and the playful wording Picky Bars use – love the look of the packaging, the names etc. I agree, it IS freaking science dude! And wait, there’s more! There’s a Picky Club, where you can sign up to get a Picky t-shirt, the chance to try new flavors, a discount etc and best of all: you get sent 18 delicious bars monthly! All that for $37/month! Oh and there is a new bar coming out soon, one that would LOVE to get my hands on ASAP! Runners High – Blueberry Vanilla Hemp Hustlin’, how wonderful doesn’t that one sound?! Gotta love the runners high, and I’m pretty sure as a runner you are really hustlin’!

If you are excited about trying the Picky Bars, head on over to their website and order yourself some goodness. They are also sold in several locations, where of REI is one of the places. If you want to see where you can get Picky Bars in your town there’s a store locator on Picky Bars website.

PICKY BARS GIVEAWAY!

As excited I was to try out the Picky Bars as excited (or even more) am I to give you, my friends, the chance to try them too. Picky Bars are giving one of you the chance to win a sample pack of bars PLUS Picky SWAG! How great is that?! Yup, pretty darn great if you ask me!

Head on over to Rafflecopter now and enter for your chance to win, I promise you it’s worth it!

Picky Giveaway

The giveaway is open July 14th 12am(HST) to July 22nd 12am(HST). I will randomly pick a winner and let you know who the lucky one is in a blogpost.

Disclaimer: I was given a sample pack of Picky Bars for free to try and review on my blog, I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions in this blogpost are mine and mine alone and they have not been controlled or influenced by Picky Bars or anyone else. 


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SunRype Review – A Delicious Snack

I LOVE fruit for snacks and when I read about SunRype and their products I got super excited. As my husband and I are active and very spontaneous at times it happens way too often that we run out of the house before even thinking of preparing a meal to go or have a snack before we leave. We absolutely love being able to have healthy and nutritious snacks easy to grab and go. SunRype’s products seemed like one of those things we would love to have around.

SunRype1

SunRype happened to be very generous and sent me a bunch of their products to try. I received the product 100% Fruit Strips in two different flavors and FruitSource in the flavor Mango Mangosteen. Just seeing mangosteen being used made me jump of joy – I LOVE mangosteen but hardly ever find it except for when traveling. Actually the last time I had it before trying the FruitSource was during a three day jungle trek in Sumatra, Indonesia (it was pure luxury to sit down in the jungle, watch orangutans and eat fresh mangosteen).

I’ve mentioned before that I am all in when it comes to natural products and try to really stick to eating things that are good for me, not just tasty. These 100% Fruit Strips and the FruitSource “bars” turned out to be a BIG hit! They are not just tasty but also provides the qualities I’m looking for when it comes to snacks/food in general. That is: they contain no added color, no artificial flavors and no added sugar that isn’t coming from fruit!

SunRypeUSA FruitStrips

The flavors of the 100% Fruit Strips I got were Strawberry/Watermelon and Raspberry and are both new products. And they are both absolutely great! The texture is perfect, they are not too sweet and most important of all – they taste like REAL fruits/berries! My favorite was the Strawberry Watermelon, which I just couldn’t get enough off and I actually got really grumpy when my husband got the last one.. Sometimes my precious food becomes a little bit too precious maybe? Poor husband! But he really enjoyed these strips too, so I really was happy to share. At least some of it..

SunRypeUSA FruitSource

Then there was my favorite of the three different products/flavors, as you might have figured out from my mangosteen story above.. The Mango Mangosteen FruitSource bar! This bar is sweet, tastes a lot and is filling me up enough to be ready for a run, hike, swim etc. I liked this fruit bar so much I actually rushed to SafeWay to get more of them. They just hit the market and I love that they are easy to find (both the FruitSource and Fruit Strips) in stores. SunRype has a great selection of fruit snacks, such as the Fruit Strips, FruitSource and Just Fruit & Grains which all come in a variety of flavors.

One thing I haven’t tried yet, but love to see, is that SunRype is providing some recipes including their products on their website. I love this idea and I am definitely planning on trying some of those recipes out in the future. How tasty doesn’t the “FruitSource Chocolate Truffle Energy Bites” sound? Yum!

And with this I have found a tasty natural alternative for a fruit snack, which keeps me floating (and smiling) in between meals and/or while out and about! Keep an eye out for SunRypeUSA in your store. They are delicious! Oh! And another GREAT thing with these products is that my husband, who usually often both crave and buy candy now have replaced the (according to me pretty nasty) artificial gummies with SunRype 100% Fruit Strips. Got to love that!

Q: Do you have a favorite fruit? Do you eat straight up fruits or do you like to mix it up with products like/similar to SunRypeUSA’s products? 

I was sent these products for free to try and review, however all above opinions are my own. 


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Hüma Love

I’m spreading love all around me this week and I’m loving it.

You might have seen the review and giveaway I had featuring the natural energy gels Hüma? I’ve continued my love story with these gels and really think they’re worth looking up if you’re into fueling for or during your runs with something more natural and food like than the normal more or less artificial gels out there on the market. One of the many reasons I first fell in love with these gels was that I had zero problems with my stomach when using them. I usually have some kind of war going on in my belly when it comes to fueling for my runs, but none of that with the Hüma Gels. If you’re anything like me (having a crazy sensitive belly that is) maybe you’ll fall madly in love with the gels too after not having to deal with an upset belly during/post your run?

Huma AppCinn Pouch stick edit

I find the taste and texture of these gels really great. I feel like I’m eating something real that are good for me while they give me the energy I need to keep on going with my running. The ingredients are all pronounceable and appeal to me way more than most other gels which I can hardly pronounce half of the ingredients. How great is it to actually KNOW exactly what you’re putting in your body instead of just trusting the ingredients to be good, or at least not too bad for you?! I love it.

Huma Strawberries SmallThe flavors of Hüma Chia Energy Gel are Apples & Cinnamon and Strawberries. I really like them both but surprisingly enough, since I’m usually not a huge fan of apple/cinnamon, the Apples & Cinnamon might be my favorite of them both.

The great people over at Hüma were kind enough to let me share a great deal with my readers – you get 10% off  purchase made from their website with the promotion code EVELINRUNS2. They sell 5 pack Sample Packs (you can choose mixed or go for just one of the flavors) and Boxes of 24 gels containing either Strawberries or Apples & Cinnamon gels.

The code EVELINRUNS2 is good for one purchase per customer and is valid until April 16th. I’d say go for it – they’re definitely worth a try! Just watch out, you might just fall in love with them like I did..


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Hüma Chia Energy Gel Giveaway Winners & A Good Deal

Thanks to all of you who entered the Hüma Chia Energy Gel Giveaway! It was interesting to see what you currently use to fuel with and I’m happy so many of you are curious about these gels. To me these gels are definitely worth the money as they offer not only great taste, but also (and this is probably more important) natural and pronounceable ingredients. Natural equals win in my opinion!

hüma straw

Here are the three lucky winners (picked out with help of random.org):

Jen

elleroos

Julie M.

Congratulations! Send me an email to evelinruns[at]gmail[dot]com with your address and I’ll forward this to Hüma. Hope you’ll enjoy these lovely gels as much as I do!

Ian over at Hüma offered my followers to try the gels out at a good price. With the code EVELINRUNS you’ll get free shipping when ordering the Hüma Chia Energy Gel Sample PackI’m super excited about this as I hope as many as possible will fall in love with and use these chia powered natural gels. Head on over to their site and get your sample pack!

This promotion code is good to go for free shipping in the Continental US and lasts until March 31st.


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Hüma Chia Energy Gel Review and Giveaway

A little while ago I got in contact with Ian, the man behind the Hüma Energy Gels, and he gave me the chance to review his product which made me more than happy.

hüma straw + eve

I received a Mixed Sample Pack (two Strawberry and two Apple Cinnamon gels) and I really couldn’t wait to try them out. As I’m just now coming back from injury I haven’t been able to bring the gels out for any long runs, but I’ve been using them as a pre-run fuel before heading out on my runs.

This is my thoughts about the gels:

  • Great taste! Both gels taste REAL, it quickly becomes obvious to me that there are no artificial ingredients here. And a plus – it even SMELLS like real strawberry and apple/cinnamon. To be honest I’m usually not the one to pick apple/cinnamon flavored things, but this surprised me with actually being my favorite of the two.
  • Texture is perfect – not too gooey, not to runny. It’s like a puree and this makes it easy to swallow (I’ve been having a problem with when it comes to other gels).
  • The packaging is nice to look at and it’s also very easy to open. I have a hard time seeing the opening of the gels as a problem when actually using them on the go.
  • The few, natural and REAL ingredients (see below).
  • No problems WHAT SO EVER with my stomach. This is something I’ve been looking for when it comes to gels, and I’m so happy to know that there are actually products out there which won’t mess with me!
  • Chi-chi-chia seeds! I’ve grown to love chia seeds and try to add it to most things I’m eating nowadays. The seeds are ground and adds a little bit to the puree-y texture. Love it! The chia seeds are also a real super food full of Omega-3, protein, antioxidants and soluble fiber.
  • What should be mentioned too, is that these gels are Gluten Free which I always think is a great thing.

hüma straw

Straw Nutrition Facts

hüma apples

AppCinn Nutrition Facts

As you can see above there are only a few ingredients in the gels (7 in the Strawberry Gel and 8 in the Apple/Cinnamon Gel), and they are all ingredients I can pronounce (which says A LOT with me being just a silly little Swede with English as 3rd language)! This is something I’m totally stoked about, and shouldn’t we all be considering all the JUNK that’s mixed into so many food products out there nowadays?!

I am so thankful for getting the chance to try these gels, I’ve been looking for something like this for months and now, finally, I can stop my search. This is what I’d like to bring for fuel on my long runs in the future!

hüma apples + eve

And now for the GIVEAWAY…

Are you curious about the all natural Hüma Chia Energy Gel? Ian at Hüma gave me the chance to host a giveaway where 3 of you can win a Sample Pack each. Everyone who enters the giveaway will also receive a promotion code.

To enter the giveaway follow the instructions below:

1. Tell me in a comment how you are currently fueling for runs/workouts?

2. Follow @humagel on Twitter

3. Follow @evelinruns on Twitter

4. Tweet about the giveaway, example: “Enter to win all natural Hüma Chia Energy Gel via @humagel and @evelinruns! #giveaway https://evelinruns.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/huma-chia-energy-gel-review-and-giveaway/” 

5. Like Hüma Chia Energy Gel on Facebook

That leaves you with a total of five possible chances to win! You choose which of the above you want to do, just make sure to leave a separate comment here for each way you chose to enter the giveaway.

Good luck!

This giveaway is now over, but you can read more and get 10% off or just order your Hüma Chia Energy Gel Sample Pack here.

Giveaway information: The giveaway starts 3/6/13 at 12pm (HST) and closes 3/14/13 at 12am (HST) and is open to US residents. I will randomly pick 3 winners (using random.org). The winners will be posted on the blog 3/15/13.

Disclaimer: The product was given to me for free and I haven’t been compensated in any other way by the company. The review is straight up based on my opinions on the product and it has not been controlled or affected by the company mentioned in any way.


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How Am I Doing with My 2013 Goals?

March is already here and I wanted to do a little recap of the start of the year and how I’m doing with my goals for 2013.

1. Run 1300k in 2013

As I’ve been injured and resting from running for more than 7 weeks this year has obviously not started in a good way when it comes to any of my running goals. I’ve only been able to run … times this year and two of them was while being injured and not ready to start running again. I ran the first time post injury Feb 18th (1.4 “glorious” miles which you can read about here) and have been getting a few more short and easy runs after that. My foot is better, and even though I feel it when running I feel positive about me coming back to running again. In a month from now I’m hoping to get some more miles in and be able to start looking forward to and train for some races.

2. Finish my first Half Marathon

Didn’t happen as planned. March 17th is out of the question. But I’ll get another Half done, hopefully during the summer and at least before 2013 is over.

3. Get a Drivers License

I didn’t study much at all before I hit the written test on a whim. And I passed! So now I have my Learners Permit and is good to go when it comes to practicing driving. My husband is a great teacher and I’m going to work hard to get that real license in my hand during the spring.

contigo

4. Drink more water

We bought some awesome Contigo water bottles at Costco and since then I’ve been doing really well with my water drinking. I usually drink around 70 to 85 oz per day which is A LOT better than I did during 2012. Actually, pretty much the only things I drink now is water and coffee. If there’s fancy drink offered to dinner or so I go for the water. 9.5 times out of 10. I’m pretty proud and amazed by myself actually!

strength

5. Work my physical strength up

I started out the year with getting going on some serious strength training at home (we lived and still live pretty far from a gym, so I’m happy with working out at home), and I’m still going hard on it. I try to get in between 3-5 workouts per week and because of the no-running situation I’ve had tons of energy to use when it comes to this. I also jumped on the #AbsByApril Challenge started by Megan and this definitely helps me stay motivated and going strong. Unfortunately my abs are pretty much invisible so far, not being running have me hungry. And I mean HUNGRY. Someone told me it makes perfect sense that I’m feeling more hungry when not running at all, and wether it’s true or not I can’t tell you I’m stoked about the few extra lbs I’m carrying. Anyways, I’m stronger! I do way more reps and sets now than I did when I first started working on this. And I love the burning muscles post workout!

 

 

6. Get better with staying in contact with family and friends

I’ve been trying, but this is a little hard… As much as I want to talk to m family and friends, it just makes me sooo homesick and I tend to escape from calling them all (which of course makes me feel bad anyways). But I have been Skypeing and texted through Viber with grandparents, parents and brothers. Love them! And really CAN NOT wait until I get to see them again.

 

 

 

 

food

7. Eat better

This turned out to be easier than I though. As we moved to a new place and have a better kitchen (more space, both for cooking and storing food) I’ve been eating healthier and more regular. I’m thinking of going towards a clean diet but I know myself well enough to realize that it probably won’t last very long. Especially if I can’t convince my husband to do it with me, I tend to get jealous of whatever he’s eating and say “what the hell, one pizza won’t hurt!” or something like that.. We’ll see what happens! I am happy with my eating habits, but am always struggling with a little bit of a.. Problem belly.

 

 

8. Choose JOY

When I got injured I was worried about my mood and I made the decision to really do my best to stay positive and NOT let this setback hit me too hard. I managed to stay happy, smile and find energy even though the running didn’t happen as I wanted to. I’ve been doing good. Of course, I’ve had some bad days (don’t we all?!) but I’ve been letting them go, recharged and started over with new energy and focus the next day. Choose joy is one of my main goals in life in general, simply because that darkness I’ve dealt with earlier in my life is not welcome back.

 

 

9. Run as many races as possible

On hold until I’m back to normal with my running. I just signed up for Run with Jess‘ Virtual Race The Jelly Bean 5k. I thought it would be a good way to start getting back into doing races post injury.

 

 

10. Read books in English

Success! I might just have read one book so far, but I did it good. And such a good first book I chose. “Born to run” by Christopher McDougall. I enjoyed this book so much I cruised on through it and even had some sessions when I read out loud to my husband. Interesting book! Brought on some smiles, tears and a lot of AHA!’s and new knowledge. I’m going to keep on going on the running theme when it comes to coming books to read. I already started with Haruki Murakami’s book “What I Talk About When I talk About Running”.

 

 

Q: How are you doing with your 2013 goals? Are you happy with the first couple of months of the year?


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Homesickness and My Cure For It

As you probably know by now, I’m Swedish. I left my home country in June 2012 and I haven’t been able to go home since then. I have had terrible homesickness off and on since the summer. I most of all miss my brothers and my parents. They are such important people in my life and sometimes it hurts physically being apart from them. I know, I took the decision to move here myself but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss the reality I had back home. I was 1 hour flight away from my family and I had friends all around me in town (Stockholm). That has drastically changed and as I’m loving it here in Hawaii I sure wish I could just move Sweden (and my other home country Norway) just a little bit closer to be able to see my loved ones more often.

So how do I cope with my homesickness?

1. I use the apps Viber and Skype to text and talk to my family.

2. I have photos of my loved ones nearby and it always make me happy (and sometimes more homesick, I admit) to see them.

3. I read Swedish online magazines.

4. I listen to a lot of Swedish/Norwegian music. Not necessarily always songs with Swedish lyrics but that sure makes me feel good. I sing along (not sure my husband enjoys this, but I do it anyways) loud with the Swedish lyrics!

5. I talk to myself and the cat in Swedish.

6. I eat whatever Swedish/Norwegian stuff I can get a hold of.

7. I read books in Swedish. Mom sent some books with my husband for me to have here in Hawaii and read whenever I felt the urge to get some Swedish reading in.

treats from home

Speaking of #6 – there are some specific Swedish/Norwegian eatable things I try to get a hold of as often as possible or miss like crazy, here goes:

Lingonberries in any shape or form – straight up berries, jam, cookies, cakes. Bring it on. Lingonberries have been one of my favorite berries since I was a teeny little kid. I’m dreaming of going to visit my grandparents in their mountain cabin in Norway and go out in the forest to pick those delicious red berries and make jam out of them.

Brunost (“brown cheese” in Norwegian), or Ski Queen as it’s called when sold at Safeway here in the US. This is something I’ve never had in other places than at my grandparents. But at the other hand, when spending time at their place I eat… Let’s say A LOT of it. It is one of those things which my husband have been working on acquiring a taste for.. Very different, but OH so tasty in my opinion.

Köttbullar, Swedish meatballs. It might not be one of my favorite foods when in Sweden, but my husband makes some awesome meatballs, and they remind me of home in a good way. They (and the gravy) should of course include some lingonberries.

Swedish bulk candy. Oh dear, does Sweden know how to make candy. There’s sooo many amazing sorts of candy back home and I especially miss the sour candy and the licorice (Djungelvrål…). Check out the store Sockerbit in NYC or online and have a look at some awesome (and maybe not super healthy) treats.

Pannkaka, the thin Swedish style pancake. Every time I make these I feel like I’m at home with my family having dad amazing pancakes.. Eat them with some whipped cream and jam or fresh berries and you’re in heaven.

Kladdkaka, as I mentioned in an earlier post kladdkaka is one of my favorite cakes and it is SO easy to whip together! I normally eat it with whipped cream or just as it is. Greatness in the shape of a chocolate cake!

The list could be looong, but these are some of my top cravings or treatments to my homesickness. The though was that I’d get to go back home in March but as it is now it’s not going to work out because of our job and money situation. Bummer! But I’ll get there later this year, I HAVE to.

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