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Recently I was out shopping and found myself quite short of energy. Normally I carry a snack in my handbag, but on this occasion I had forgotten to replenish one I had the previous week, so I popped into Holland and Barrett to see if I could find something to bridge the gap between breakfast, and what was going to be a very late lunch.
I saw a cereal bar called 9 Bar original, and having never tried this before decided to buy one, which retailed for 79p. Luckily there was a buy one get one half price offer on, so it was a good buy as I purchased a Trek Bar at the same time, which is always my favourite snack.
9 Bars are made by a firm called Wholebake, which was set up in the 80s. Their basic idea was to incorporate seeds into a healthy snack bar, recognising the health benefits of seeds, yet also accepting that humans are not birds, and that they do not want to drop crumbs everywhere, making their floors resemble those of bird cages!
Now my daughter is a vegan and her life involves a healthy relationship with many seeds, and she is always telling me how nutritious they are. Crammed full of essential amino and fatty acids, seeds are a complete protein.
The 9Bar original contains sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame and hemp seeds, and they also make a version which has added flax, which itself contains 20 amino acids including the 9 which are essential. The bar has a good combination of protein and complex carbohydrates, and is great for keeping you going, without that rush of energy and subsequent crash you can get with sweet snacks.
Seeds also contain phytosterols, which are known to reduce cholesterol, and are full of vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, selenium, zinc and vitamin B1. Poppy seeds are a great source of calcium too, and vitamin E is also present in many seeds making them a powerhouse of nutrients!
If I am tempting you pop along to www.9-bar.co.uk where they will be delighted to send you a free sample!
So to my experience when eating this delicious bar!
The bar is made from the mixed seeds I mentioned, and is coated with a delicious carob topping. The appearance is decidedly like a bird treat, except for the coating you might be forgiven for thinking it was destined for a budgie cage, but don't let that put you off. Despite being essentially a healthy wholefood, it does have some naughty ingredients including vegetable fat, sugar and honey, so it isn't lacking in taste or appeal, and personally I thought it was utterly delicious. It is an extremely satisfying snack. The seeds are clearly visible in the bar, but are fused together by the other ingredients into a chewy, flapjack which is bursting with flavour. I enjoyed this so much that I bought several more; in fact I even had one for breakfast today as I was going out and in a rush. It filled me up until lunch with no problem.
The company based in Wales also make bars in nutty, pumpkin, flax and organic versions, and you can mail order these from the website. This version is ideal for vegetarians and is gluten, dairy and wheat free. Not suitable for vegans though due to the honey content.
In many ways the philosophy of this company mirrors that of Natural Balance Foods who make Nak'd and Trek bars, in that they use a cold pressing method to ensure that the bars are as healthy as they can be. They are however high in fat, good fat though, at 20g per bar, and 277 calories means I would eat them with caution, especially if you are trying to lose weight. I actually find half a bar is sufficient to curb hunger, and I love the fact that the seeds are so nutritious.
The website has a sampler pack which is beautifully gift boxed at £3.50 and it contains one of each of the bars which are in the collection. I think this would make a great gift for a student, or even just for yourself to try them out maybe for the first time.
You can actually buy these in all the major supermarkets, so it is well worth looking for them.
This review is also posted on Ciao under my user name Violet1278.