Everything you've been asking
about Olympic Granola!

The statements below represent the opinions of Karissa Johnson, and not necessarily those of Olympic Granola.
1. Is this a meal replacement bar?
"Meal Replacement" does not have an official definition that is agreed upon across the board, but I question any product that makes this claim without a balanced selection of raw foods including plenty of vegetables. Instead of being concerned with what exactly constitutes a meal replacement, think for a minute and be honest with yourself - do you have veggies with every meal? Are there times when you're in such a hurry you skip a meal altogether or make the choice to go through a drive-thru? Here is your much more balanced choice. Not many granola products contain the fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids that are present in this bar.
2. Should this replace my protein bar?
Yes - but only because you should not eat protein bars! There are very few exceptions to this, where certain companies I trust choose clean sources of protein and process it in healthy ways. The majority of protein bars contain MSG as a byproduct of protein processing. In addition to the numerous health and neurological effects of MSG, it causes us to STORE FAT on our bodies. There are especially high amounts of MSG typically in soy protein isolate, the most common form in today's bars. There are other negative health effects to unfermented soy that one should consider as well. Whey Protein Isolates have their own breed of problems from today's commercial dairy cows and also create MSG. In addition, many bars add MSG in some form (contact me for names on labels to watch out for) for flavor enhancement, and contain a host of other synthetic ingredients including artificial sweeteners, which should be avoided at all costs. A little tangent - Check out www.zevia.com if you are still looking to break your diet soda habit!
3. 390 calories! Isn't that too many?
This is a common question before one realizes how filling they are. This number most certainly will stand out to you if you are used to reading a grocery store granola label. It will not stand out to you if you are consciously aware of what you usually consume throughout the day, and what your usual snack or meal consumption is. It may seem high on a label since most snacks of this size involve several food items and several labels. The solution to answer this question is to TRY a bar. See how satisfying it is and how long it lasts you. I can almost guarantee you your total daily caloric intake will be lower! Nutrient density is a better way to judge foods - the amount of nutrition provided in those calories. These bars give you a lot of bang for your calorie buck.
4. Are you crazy?! 49-50 grams of carbohydrates?
Almost every meal you eat has this many or more, you just don't usually read and add up labels like you do when you are handed a brand new product! Carbohydrates are the most common nutrient in our diet, even usually in those who claim to be on low-carb diets. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of most foods and are necessary to survival. Low carb regimes involve the breakdown of muscle to produce the glucose needed by the brain in order to function. Only carbs can fuel the brain. If you have tried a low-carb diet and felt foggy-headed, now you know why! I do feel the American diet is too high in carbohydrates, but those sourced from whole grains, fruit and even honey due to its health benefits are not the ones to cut out. I do encourage those concerned with the sugar content to choose the non-chocolate flavors. If you really eat NO SUGAR in your diet, good for you! The only refined sugars are in the chocolate, and my favorite indulgence of the almond chocolate bar is pretty much the extent of sugar in my diet. The company uses organic chocolate whenever possible, which contains a less refined sugar. Inconsistencies in supply prevent this from being guaranteed with every bar.  If you are concerned with the sugar content outside of the chocolate, the sugar comes from honey, rice syrup and raisin concentrate.  These natural sugars are a part of a healthy diet and do not have the negative health consequences associated with processed sugar.  If you were to read a nutritional label for a banana, it would say 21 grams of sugar.  “Sugar” as a component of natural foods and “sugar” as added to a product on the ingredients list are a whole different ball game
5. What about the saturated fat?
Saturated fat is actually a necessary nutrient in our diets that is vital for healthy skin and lungs among other things. To understand the assumed connection with heart disease you need to consider that the majority of saturated fats in the typical diet are consumed in combination with plenty of trans fats (think fast food) or are from processed dairy products, which means they are homogenized. It's those homogenized saturated fats that are clogging our arteries. The saturated fats in these bars are from chocolate and coconut, which makes them medium-chained fatty acids vs. long, and sources of lauric acid, very good for our immune systems. For more on my views about saturated fat, please review this excellent article written by a local holistic nutritionist:
http://www.jennette-turner.com/publications.cfm?id=1
6. Can this bar be a part of my weight loss program?
Did you know that 90-95% of dieters regain all the weight they lose and MORE? I share this scary statistic to motivate you to take a very different approach than the popular methods and especially be weary of quick weight loss claims, and to instead make a variety of sustainable lifestyle changes. I am not opposed to low-carb diets for the short-term in certain periods of a weight loss program. For the long term, every weight management program needs to include a healthy assortment of complex carbohydrates. Olympic Granola can provide you with a good source of these carbs while also including protein and fiber to help stabilize your blood sugar levels and create satiety. For most women I do not recommend having a whole bar as a snack, but as a "meal on the go." We certainly have those moments of need! Should you choose your bar as a snack I recommend snacking on only half a bar at a time mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon. Have a full one and you will not be hungry for supper! Keep track of your caloric intake for a few days before and after adding the bars to your routine. Pay attention for satiety; deprivation diets will never work.
7. Are these bars gluten-free?
The wheat-free label certainly lends to this question! The bars at this time are not completely gluten free, or at least can't be guaranteed to be, simply because the oats may have been processed in a plant that also processes wheat products. It is a priority in the future of the company  to secure a source of certified gluten free oats and pursue the certification process to put "gluten free" on the bars.
8. Who are you to tell me this is a healthy option?
(Okay, nobody really asks me this one!)
Researching nutrition has been a top priority and passion of mine these past few years. Although I have a good foundational understanding of nutrition through my college education, I have learned so much more since then than I ever did in school. Personally I feel college nutrition curriculum tends to line up very much with FDA politics, and the past few years has taught me to look beyond the surface and seek the truth about what our modern processed foods are doing to the state of our nation's health today. I soon will be pursuing some additional certifications to give credentials to my ideas. Until then, you should know that the average college health and fitness course of study contains more nutrition classes in 4 years than an MD gets in 8! Medical Doctors are experts at many, many things but in general preventative nutrition is not one of them (I'm positive there are exceptions to this among doctors with specialized training).
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