BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Stress Snacking

19 Comments

After a fitful summer hibernation, the monster that is structured education has awoken once more, rising swiftly and ferociously back to full intensity. My fall semester may have only just begun yesterday, but already the pressure is on. Taking on an extra class was a woefully bad idea; even one class feels like too much, too soon. As a self-admitted stress snacker, this is bad news for my eating habits- Already the cravings for all things hand-held and satisfyingly junky are coming on strong. This time, though, I was prepared, thanks to a serendipitously timed package from YogaEarth, filled to the top with healthy treats.

Purveyors of various “super foods,” natural beauty products, and various supplements, their main claim to fame are the appropriately titled Keen-Wah Decadence Bars. Though it may just sound like cute hyperbole on paper, the name turned out to be stunningly accurate. Rather than the standard crunchy-granola nutrition brick, these bars are enrobed in chocolate like actual candy bars. Soft and fudgy no doubt from the heat, that coating at first overwhelms the whole package, but slowly melts to allow other flavors through, lending much needed sweetness through each bite. While the interior yields a subtly earthy, slightly salty flavor, that chocolate exterior effectively tricks the tongue into believing that this is a fully-fledged treat. Rich and satisfying, that high fiber count definitely gives it more staying power than your average chocolate snack, without imparting a gritty texture. Rather, it feels almost like biting into a soft baked cookie.

Plain is the most “healthy” tasting, with fewer additions to jazz things up. A surprising raisin-like sweetness accents the dark, woodsy cacao, which cuts the decadence factor in a pleasing way. Cayenne Cinnamon effectively spices things up, leading with the comforting, familiar warmth of cinnamon, slowly escalating to the smoldering burn of cayenne. It won’t burn your mouth off, but this invigorating combination certainly satisfies one’s inner heat seeker. The last option of the trio, the Coconut Almond, is most likely to appeal to the widest audience. A fresh, raw coconut flavor hits immediately after the initial taste of chocolate subsides, but there’s no dried or dessicated coconut here. Impossibly capturing the essence of a whole young coconut, the pieces do add a more fibrous texture, but this can be forgiven for such a clean, bright taste. Chunks of raw almonds are scattered throughout, adding a nice periodic crunch. Picking between the three bars would be a tricky task, but all said, these are definitely some of the tastiest meal supplements I’ve had.

Another noteworthy snacking option are the Chocolate-Covered Goji Berries. Who needs raisins or sweetened cranberries when you can have a fruit that really packs a punch? A deep, dark, and intense cocoa scent hints at their smoky, bitter edge, almost like espresso. Their mesmerizing shine is hard to resist, but luckily, that strong flavor satisfies with just one modest handful.

For an option that’s slightly less decadent but just as healthy, their Meridian Trail Mix is one that stands out amongst the pack. Rather than weighing down the blend with filler like oily, cheap peanuts, every ingredient adds something noteworthy to the party. Touted as “cacao-cashew-berry-crunch,” that description sells the mix short, as it contains expected nuts like almonds and cashews, but also more exotic additions such as goji berries, mulberries, and cacao nibs. This is one trail mix that actually makes me want to hit the trail, if only as an excuse to munch on another serving!

Stress may drive me to the comfort of snack food, but at least I have healthy options from YogaEarth on hand that will power my educational exploits, rather than impair them.

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

19 thoughts on “Stress Snacking

  1. I normally skip reading promotional posts, but your writing is so lovely; I couldn’t help but read it all : )
    …I also hadn’t realized you were a (grad?) student, too! (Or a teacher?) What do you study/teach?

    • Why thank you! That’s the best compliment I could hope for on a review post. :)
      Just a regular college student, taking a very slow approach to earning a degree. I usually take about half of the “standard” course load to accommodate for cookbook writing and freelance jobs, so it will still probably be another 3 – 4 years before I graduate. Sure wish I was a teacher though- It would make more sense to be in such basic classes then! Ha, the joys of prerequisites…

      • That’s so awesome that you are still gradually working your way through those pesky prerequisites when you’ve already entered the world of cookbook deals and freelance jobs! I’m in a PhD program in linguistics (just got my master’s degree), but I’m really wanting to move away from academia and into freelance (or not) editing and translation. (So believe me when I say that I would gladly trade places with you; I would drop everything for a full-time writing or editing job if it were related to food!)

      • Oh, I just realized I didn’t fully answer your question! I’m working towards a BFA in commercial photography. Compared to something as serious and demanding as a PhD in linguistics, I should hardly complain!

      • Oh nonsense, everyone gets to complain! (And I’d be complaining a lot less if I were still as interested in pursuing linguistics research as when I began my program 5 years ago…) My girlfriend is working towards her Nursing/BA degree (not sure what it’s called exactly) by slowly taking ONE prerequisite at a time in the evenings– while she works full-time– so I have nothing to complain about compared to her, but sometimes that doesn’t stop me. :)

  2. I am totally a stress snacker also so these would be a godsend! Healthy and chocolate-covered. Perfect snack food.

  3. I’ve tried a couple of the bars, but oooooh, I so want to try the chocolate-covered gojis and trail mix!! Good luck with this semester at school; I know you’ll thrive.

  4. I’ll admit that I too am a stress snacker and recently a gluten-free one so I’ll be looking into these for more info.

  5. Happy to learn about these products. Thanks for the tips.

  6. I think this is one very delicious snack my friend – I hate my junk cravings while I study :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Chocoloate covered goji berries..now that’s my kinda snack :) My 2 year old would devour them!

  8. It’s rare for me to find an energy bar I can eat since I can’t have peanuts or cashew, but I can have all the ingredients in these YogaEarth bars. They look good, I’ll have to keep an eye out for them at my food co-op.

  9. Again…where are these delicious things in Australia?!!! If you want to make a fortune Hannah, start an export business for we poor long suffering vegans in Australia who don’t get anything like this. If we want it, it will come! ;) as a fellow student I comiserate with the stress snacking. Working together with Steve and with us both being like chalk and cheese (he got the cheese so that makes me “chalk”) makes it a highly stressful event on occasions. I might have to just make myself some of those chocolate covered gogi berries in the near future and mainline them with my hands over my ears when we go back after our break “I CAN’T HEAR YOU… (Nom Nom NOM)…I CAN’T HEAR YOU”! ;)

  10. I could really use some of those healthy snacks right now as my frustration and stress levels have been on peak height since saturday morning due to all my sites being offline for three days now! This does look totally delicious!

  11. I’ve never seen those, but they look great! I’m a stress snacker too. I’m also a bored snacker :)

  12. Yum yum yum! And lovely photos as usual. Speaking of which…what amazing photographer took my username photo?!? Love and snuggles, sushi soon!

  13. These are some awesome recommendations—I love trying new snacks so will definitely be looking into these!!

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