Post 16 - Amazing Grass Chocolate Cherry

Brand: Amazing Grass (Yup, they still don’t have a website)

Product: Green Superfood Chocolate Cherry Almond

Weight: 2.1oz / 60g

Cost: $2.49/per, online (not from manufacturer)

Stats

Calories: 240

Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat 3g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 50mg

Potassium: 190mg

Total Carb: 33g

Fiber: 4g

Sugars: 20g

Protein: 10g

Protein per ounce: 4.76g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.25

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.3-1

Vit A: 30% DV

Vit B12: 6% DV

Vit C: 10% DV

Vit K: 10% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 10% DV

Organic, alkaline, gluten free, fair trade, non-GMO, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility.

Flavor:

I’m not sure if ‘Amazing Grass’ is meant to be a punny play-on-words for Amazing Grace, but there is absolutely nothing amazing or graceful about this bar. This thing tasted like stale spirulina covered in chocolate; at least it was covered in chocolate but that’s like putting a new paint job on the Titanic and calling it good. That is not going to cut when much better options exist for the same cost, or even lower cost per gram of protein, and when there are bars with a much better flavor. On that note, this bar had the most sugar out of any of the bars I have reviewed and still managed to taste awful; a lose-lose. If you’re going to have lots of sugar at least taste decent. Seriously, this bar is 7 grams of sugar away from a Snickers bar (Fun Fact: Snickers is the “protein bar” of candy bars, clocking in at 4 grams and 2.16g of protein per ounce). At least the last Amazing Grass bar I reviewed was merely “nothing spectacular or memorable,” if this one came even close to that I would be happy, instead I just want the bad taste out of my mouth.

This bar doesn’t even have the saving grace of being good for Burning Man; by being covered in chocolate it is the enemy in those kind of high-heat environments. By all measures, this bar is an utter failure. Save yourself $2.49 and pass on this one.

Post 15 - Pure Bar Chocolate Brownie

Brand: Pure Bar

Product: Chocolate Brownie Bar

Weight: 1.7oz / 48g

Cost: $2.19/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat 1g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 5mg

Potassium: 250mg

Total Carb: 26g

Fiber: 4g

Sugars: 18g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.53g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.37

Carb to Protein Ratio: 4.33-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 8% DV

Organic, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten free facility.

Flavor:

Sometimes labels can be deceiving, not the case here. I read chocolate brownie bar and I was worried it might taste like failure, but I could feel a brownie-like texture through the package and those fears dissipated. Honestly, it was so delicious I totally forgot to take a photo of it until after eating it. It tasted like a brownie and had the mouth feel of a brownie, but it had more nutrients than a brownie which was awesome. Like the Simple Squares, the Pure Bar has very few ingredients, clocking in at only 7. The ingredients were similar to the Kit’s Organic Bar I reviewed the other day, but with a much, much better taste.

The complete lack of meltable chocolate makes this an ideal bar for bringing along to Burning Man, especially since it manages to really taste like a chocolatey brownie. The protein ratio isn’t amzing, the price per protein isn’t amazing, but it has a good amount of potassium and besides, the flavor is AMAZING. I wouldn’t hesitate to say this might be the most delicious bar I have reviewed.

[100th Post] Hey everyone, this is my 100th post on this blog. Just wanted to thank you all for reading my blog! Here is looking at 100 more posts!

Post 14 - Kits Organic

Brand: CLIFBar

Product: Kit’s Organic Fruit + Nut Bar –  Peanut Butter

Weight: 1.8z / 50g

Cost: $1.50/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 200

Total Fat: 11g, Sat. Fat 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat 4g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 95mg

Potassium: 320mg

Total Carb: 25g

Fiber: 4g

Sugars: 15g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.33g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.25

Carb to Protein Ratio: 4.16-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 4% DV

Organic, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten free facility.

Flavor:

Much like the Simple Squares I reviewed for posts three and eleven, the Kit’s Organic bar is amazingly simple and manages to have even fewer ingredients. This bar is nothing but dates, peanuts, almonds, and sea salt. The peanuts and dates take over the front half of the flavor profile and the almonds and salt round it out and give this very simple bar a lot of complexity. While the protein wasn’t all that high compared to most of the bars I have reviewed it is well costed and comes from macrobiotic sources (though the product isn’t labeled as such). The Kit’s Organic bar has a high amount of potassium which is good for people like me who are prone to cramps and need lots of potassium in our diet, especially around working out.

I like CLIF bar because they tell you how much poly and monounsaturated fat is in the bar; most of the other bars I reviewed contained comparable amounts but few brands actually record it. Poly and monounsaturated fats are the so-called good fats, though there is some debate over how good a diet high in monounsaturated fat is; to simplify things, it depends on your lifestyle and demographics, talk to your doctor for a better description of the various types of fats.

This would be a great protein bar for bringing to Burning Man because it has nothing to melt and every ingredient is self-stable, meaning this will never need refrigeration ever, even in the crazy heats of the Black Rock Desert. While this bar itself isn’t anything terribly special it would make a great base recipe for making your own protein bars (a teaser of things to come on this blog).

 Post 13 - GoMacro Caramel Cashew

Brand: GoMacro

Product: Protein Paradise Cashew Caramel

Weight: 2.1oz / 60g

Cost: $2.89/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 260

Total Fat: 12g, Sat. Fat 3.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 10mg

Total Carb: 37g

Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 10g

Protein: 12g

Protein per ounce: 5.71g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.24

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.08-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 2% DV

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 15% DV

Organic, gluten free, non-GMO, sustainably sourced, macrobiotic, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten free facility.

Flavor:

Very similar mouth feel to the other GoMacro bar I reviewed, kind of like the texture of a Clif bar but a bit chewier. This did not have the chocolate chips that the last GoMacro bar did, which makes it kind of mediocre by comparison. I had expected more out of the caramel flavor which was barely noticeable. The whole bar tasted rather bland, nothing to write home about on the flavor front but nutritionally this bar was pretty decent. Like the other GoMacro bar, this one had a significant amount of iron making it good for people who are iron deficient. Past the iron and protein there really wasn’t much going on. The protein to gram ratio and the cost were middle of the road, neither particularly bad but neither exceptional either. I would sooner pay the extra 10 cents a bar to get a 22 Days Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bar, which is better in all ways compared to both GoMacro bars I reviewed.

This would be a great protein bar to bring to Burning Man because it has no chocolate in it or anything to get melty (no liquid caramel).

_MG_6676

Brand: 22 Days

Product: PB & Chocolate Chip Nirvana

Weight: 2.6oz / 75g

Cost: $2.99/per from manufacturer.

Stats

Calories: 280

Total Fat: 10g, Sat. Fat 2.5g, Poly Unsaturated 2.5g, Mono Unsat. 6.5%

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 0mg

Total Carb: 36g

Fiber: 10g

Sugars: 17g

Protein: 20g

Protein per ounce: 7.69g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.15

Carb to Protein Ratio: 1.8-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 2% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 35% DV

Fair Trade organic, plant based, vegan, non-GMO, soy free, gluten free, Natural Food Certified, Produced with Solar Energy.

Not made in gluten free facility.

Flavor:

You might look at this and think it will be your standard, boring, peanut butter chocolate protein bar. If you do think that prepare to be totally wrong. This is what CLIF bars wishes it tasted like and what Power Bar wishes it could power up to be. The texture did remind me a bit of a power bar, really chewy but with a pleasant mouth feel. It did not have a shred of the dreaded chalky taste that typifies cheap protein; one of the major reasons I love this brand is they are entirely plant based without and cheap whey, wheat, or soy protein as fillers. The importance of this point cannot be overstated as most protein bars on the market are loaded with cheap filler proteins from China. Outside of the protein, there was a ton of iron, at 35% DV this would be the most iron-rich bar I have reviewed making it good for people who are iron deficient.

As I made note of in my first review on 22 Days Daily Mocha Mantra, 22 Days has some organic protein bars that pack 20 grams of protein into each bar. While they are a bit heftier than other bars by about half an ounce they still pack in more protein per ounce than anything else I have reviewed, even more than the Squarebar. Amazingly, these bars also have the cheapest protein per gram cost at 15 cents a gram. For the great flavor and nutrient density at the best price, I may have found my new go-to protein bar; at least when I don’t want coffee with my protein. I would totally bring this to Burning Man as well, the chocolate was mixed into the peanut butter base and I would not expect this to get melty in the desert sun.

Post 11 - Simple Square Ginger

Brand: Simple Squares

Product: Nuts, Ginger, and Honey Organic Snack Bar

Weight: 1.6oz / 45g

Cost: $2.49/per from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 230

Total Fat: 17g, Sat. Fat 5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 95mg

Total Carb: 16g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 10g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.75g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.41

Carb to Protein Ratio: 2.6-1

Vit A: 0% DV

Vit C: 0% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 10% DV

Organic, gluten free, kosher, no refined sugars, soy and dairy free.

Not made in a gluten free facility.

Flavor:

It’s been a couple weeks since I last reviewed a Simple Square so it is time for another go, this time with the ginger flavor. The ginger one is just like the coconut Simple Square, but with added ginger which, as a fan of ginger, I thought I would like but I actually found it kind of off-putting. I love the Simple Square for it’s simplicity, even though this one is slightly less simple with seven ingredients. The flavor wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was best described as mediocre. Maybe I had my standards set too high after the coconut Simple Square, but this one was a real let down, especially compared to the Squarebar. I would say the major selling point here is that it is kosher, which I imagine is a huge win for people who keep a kosher diet but I don’t so it’s not relevant to me.

Just like the last Simple Square reviewed, this one has nothing to get melted in high heat situations, which makes it great for Burning Man. Personally, I would still opt for the coconut one over this ginger one.

_MG_6672

Brand: NuGo Organic

Product: Dark Chocolate Almond

Weight: 1.76oz / 50g

Cost: $1.83/per  from manufacturer

Stats

Calories: 190

Total Fat: 5g, Sat. Fat 3.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 60mg

Total Carb: 26g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 13g

Protein: 10g

Protein per ounce: 5.68g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.18

Carb to Protein Ratio: 2.6-1

Calcium: 2% DV

Iron: 4% DV

Organic, low fat, non-GMO, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility.

Flavor:

It had chocolate and almonds and was kind of chewy, but mostly a mess of nuts inside of a chocolate shell. It should have been tasty, it had potential, but it was really quite dry and that was rather unfortunate. It could be that this particular bar just wasn’t that good, which is why I have another flavor of NuGo bar picked out for another review later on down the road. It was low fat, which is nice if that is a concern for you. It also was pretty high in protein compared to most other bars I have reviewed so far, but it didn’t come close to the Squarebar Cocoa Crunch in terms of protein per ounce. The only saving grace was that this had the cheapest protein cost out of any bar reviewed so far, making this the budget option. Otherwise, it was mediocre compared to the Squarebar and 22Days in all ways possible. Outside of protein, the NuGo Organic bar had pretty much no nutrients; no vitamins, and only trace amounts of calcium and iron (on par with a bottle of mineral water). I doubt I will ever get this brand again after this review, but perhaps the second NuGo bar will wow me.

 

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Like that sign said 6 years ago at a protest in San Jose, this is not over and we will win. In fact, right before Pride weekend, we did win and the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, that, for the first time in America’s history, homosexual couples can get married in all fifty states and all states must recognize other state’s gay marriages.

While this is great news for all supporters of marriage equality, and it is time to celebrate as Chief Justice Roberts has said,  I fear it could be just a moment of celebration before a potential onslaught of adversity against gay and lesbian couples. While liberty and justice have gotten a win for the short term, this narrow victory will likely incense conservatives for years to come.

49

25

Let me unpack Supreme Court voting a bit for anyone not familiar with it. While you only need a 5-person majority to make a decision and pass laws that is seen as something to avoid at all costs, especially when core civil liberties or civil rights are on the line. Usually, the majority strives for at least a 6-7 person vote in favor, ideally a unanimous vote if the issue is seen as very important and/or hotly contested.

The best analogies I can give to illustrate what I mean are the desegregation of schools and creation of abortion rights. When Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, desegregation did not have wide support across the country like it did today, it was hotly contested because it dealt with highly important civil rights and civil liberty issues. Desegregation was so important that Chief Justice Warren did everything he could to get a unanimous 9-0 decision, including pulling a justice back to the bench for the vote, even though he had just suffered a heart attack and was on medical leave. Want to know why Brown v. Board of Education was never challenged? That is why.

Another core civil liberty is one’s right to be sovereign over their own body, including your right to an abortion should you choose to do so. When the issue first went before the Supreme Court back in 1973, they did not present the same united front that they had with Brown. When it came to abortion rights, the court could only muster up a 7-2 vote in Roe v. Wade, thus beginning more than a forty year onslaught on women’s reproductive rights that continues to this day. Notice the difference those two votes makes? Now ask yourself how confident you feel about Friday’s 5-4 decision. Then ask yourself how confident you feel about the fact that the legal precedent it builds on, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was decided not on the merits of the case but by standing alone. In Hollingsworth, the Court looked at who was the plaintiff in the case, felt they had no business to bring that suit, and said, effectively, ‘you can’t stand in this court room, get the hell out of here;’ without any care to the legality of marriage equality. That is being decided on standing.

Right now, marriage equality is legal because of a 5-4 decision that builds off a technical foul, and of course decades of other cases like Lawrence v. Texas, Bowers v. Hardwick, and the aptly named Loving v. Virginia. A 5-4 decision is better than a 4-5, it is better than nothing – but it is the next-best thing to nothing and historically in America that is a recipe for decades of legal battles.

17

Well said, who is next?

I hope this explains why I may be celebrating less than other pride revelers. I worry about what is to come and the vitriol spawned by a divisive 5-4 decision. Still, 5-4 is the best we could hope for this with current court as it is the most conservative in US history. If that trend continues then I am *very* worried for the future of marriage equality.

 

 

Post 9 - Amazing Grass Savory Almond

Brand: Amazing Grass (They don’t have a website)

Product: Green Superfood Sweet and Savory Almond

Weight: 1.6oz / 45g

Cost: $2.49/per, online (not from manufacturer)

Stats

Calories: 220

Total Fat: 13g, Sat. Fat 2.5g

Cholesterol: 0g

Sodium: 120mg

Potassium: 260mg

Total Carb: 21g

Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 12g

Protein: 6g

Protein per ounce: 3.75g

Protein, Cost per gram: $0.42

Carb to Protein Ratio: 3.5-1

Vit A: 10% DV

Vit B12: 2% DV

Vit C: 6% DV

Vit K: 6% DV

Calcium: 4% DV

Iron: 10% DV

Organic, cold processed, gluten free, non-GMO, and vegan.

Not made in a gluten-free facility.

Flavor:

Pretty tasty, better than most protein bars but nothing spectacular or memorable. The bar is a mass of nuts and chocolate chips mashed together with a superfood greens blend, it’s got rose hips, maca, acai, spirulina, and tons of other really healthy and tasty things in it…albeit in very small amounts. While this advertises being a superfood bar the only benefit it has over anything else I have reviewed so far is being cold processed. There really wasn’t anything remarkable about this bar but it would be pretty good for Burning Man since it isn’t a chocolate-heavy bar. I was pretty impressed that the company that makes this bar has no website of any sort for any of their products, it is all sold through third parties. Maybe I am weird but that makes me a bit skeptical of Amazing Grass and any other company that doesn’t have a website to provide information about them and their products.

This piece originally ran on April 21st, 2015, in The Leaf Online as, “Nip it in the Bud: Cannabis Farming Is Not Causing California’s Drought.” It was picked up and ran by AlterNet on April 22nd, with the title, “Weed and Water in California: Pot Isn’t The Problem.” All photos were taken by me, while visiting family in the Central Valley in 2009.

Nip in the bud” To break a bad habit before it forms.

There’s nothing new about bad cannabis science, but now in the days of cannabis policy reform it often seems that new examples are cropping up every day, hoping to mislead the public into believing the ‘virtue’ of prohibition.

Time to nip them in the bud.

Nip it In The Bud 2 - Drought - Dead Orchard Img 46

California has been in a drought for the past four years. Most of the state has received under 10 inches of rain, meeting the criteria to be labeled a desert. This conundrum has made California a testing ground for a battle over water rights, where cannabis growers are being unjustly scapegoated as the culprits behind the worst drought the state has seen in over a millennium.

It all started when a recent study conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlifefound that illegal and unregulated cannabis growing could potentially be a threat to sensitive wildlife and their habitat. The researchers use many qualifying words in their study, because many of the facts aren’t sufficiently well-known to properly say how big of a threat cannabis growing could be to endangered species like the Coho salmon. Regrettably, most journalists reported on this uncertainty with headlines like “Pot is Making California’s Epic Drought Worse” and “California is in One of its Worst-Ever Droughts Because People Are Growing Too Much Weed.”

David Downs, with SFGate’s Smell the Truth, is one of the only journalists to get it right, properly recognizing that cannabis growing is a “tiny sliver of water use in the state.” The study estimates that the average cannabis plant takes 6 gallons of water every day. Chris Van Hook, founder of the Clean Green organic cannabis certification program, estimates that while plants begin taking about a gallon of water a month they can end up consuming nearly 15 gallons a day. Chris estimates that all the growing in Mendocino county consumes about 32 million gallons at the height of growing season.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife study found that,“In California, irrigated agriculture is the single largest consumer of water, taking 70–80% of stored surface water and pumping great volumes of groundwater.” Almonds alone consume 3 billion gallons per day, out of the 30 billion gallons used by agriculture every day in California; 10% of the total agricultural water use and 100 times as much water as Mendocino uses for cannabis growing.

17

Notice the blue sign that says “Almonds.” This *was* an almond field, now it lays fallow.

California grows much more than just almonds. You may be wondering, just how much food does California grow? According to the California Department of Water Resources, California is the only state with the right climate to grow almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, raisins, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pistachios, prunes and walnuts. California also produces over 250 types of crops, leading the country in 75 of those.

With the current drought, it is hard to see California continuing to keep up its same rate of food production, which may further drive up prices. The drought has created a state of emergency and has led to state-wide water rationing. The April snowpack, which should be at its peak, is actually the lowest it has been recorded since 1950; a record low of 5% of average.  2014 was the third driest year in over a hundred years and the warmest year on record.

Before this current drought California saw another drought from 2009-2010. This previous drought wasn’t caused by natural causes or climate change so much as it was caused by short-sighted politics. A federal ruling to protect the endangered Delta Smelt caused water to be diverted from thousands of acres of farmland in the Central Valley. This led to entire orchards being left for dead or laid fallow, including precious almond trees like those shown above, which take over three years just to produce fruit.

12 (Dustbowl Orchard)

These may have been almond trees, before the ‘Congress created dust bowl’ came and turned off their water supply.

Unfortunately, almond trees are not cannabis plants and don’t have a three month growth cycle. When those trees were killed by politics five years ago, the new ones planted to replace them didn’t even begin to produce almonds until the current drought was in full swing and water rationing was imposed. While endangered species like the Delta Smelt and Coho Salmon need to be protected, preservation must be balanced against the humanity’s need for water. As water gets increasingly scarce the political calculus at play will need to be re-evaluated. If better decisions aren’t made during this natural drought than during the self-inflicted one, those almond trees may never get a chance to fruit.

40 (The Dead Orchard #2)

If better decisions aren’t made to confront the current drought then dead orchards like this will be an all too common sight.

In response to the Reefer Madness panic over the minuscule amount of water being used for cannabis growing the legislature has released two bills, AB 243 and a similar bill in the Senate,SB 165. Both laws would strengthen existing laws governing cannabis farming and other illicit activities on public and private lands. The patient advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, opposes both bills as they currently stand and feel patients are being unfairly scapegoated. ASA makes a good point considering other groups, like Nestle, are allowed to skirt legality to bottle millions of gallons of groundwater every year to sell bottled water back to the same people they took it from.

The real culprit behind the California drought isn’t outdoor cannabis growers, as much as it is every person who drives a car, everyone who doesn’t buy local or sustainable products, or indoor cannabis growers. In short, everyone who has ever contributed to climate change in any way. Indoor growing has a massive carbon footprint and greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions; in California, it is “responsible for about 3% of all electricity use.” Outdoor growing can be done in a sustainable way that uses closed loop systems, creating minimal environmental harms with relatively little carbon footprint.

Scientists have identified a new climate trend for California, and all other coastal areas like it, where they will get more erratic temperatures, less predictable seasons, and generally colder temperatures. This phenomenon is known as “Coastal Cooling;” it is even more intense in urban areas. Despite current warming, it appears that cooler and wetter weather could be in the future for California. As climate change intensifies, the West Coast will see more erratic weather and it is hard to say what it could mean for California’s farmers and everyone else who calls the Golden State home.