Got Raw Balls? Maybe you should!

Product Review - Simply Dara's Raw Balls are an excellent all natural, vegan, gluten free, organic and "raw food" snack for cyclists.

Nutrition has been a hot topic in the cycling community lately and there seems to be a trend towards "real foods", think Allen Lim and the Feed Zone Cookbook. There also seems to be more and more cyclists going vegan or gluten free. In that vain, we've noticed a new product out of Boulder, Simply Dara's Raw Balls, that seems to fit right in with this trend, so we thought we'd give them a try.

How do they taste?
To me this is the most important criteria because if they don't taste good, you'll never want to eat them. The good news is they taste great, far superior to your typical energy bar. There are three different flavors available, so I decided to do a taste test with parents, children and teachers at a local Safe Routes to School event in Boulder. Here are the results:

Original Cacao - Definitely the most popular flavor with children, we ran out of this sample first.

Apricot Oat - My personal favorite, the apricots make them sweet and chewy, this was the second favorite flavor with our testers.

Dark Chocolate Chile - It's got a slight kick to it, so it's not for the spice wimps. The spice of the chile can also help fight migraine and sinus headaches, which made them very popular with the teachers and parents who tried them!

Raw Balls definitely taste best chilled. They can be frozen for up to six months and stored in the fridge for two months. But they don't need to be refrigerated, they can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, so it's safe to take them out on a ride or pack them for work or school without using a cooler.

What are they made from?
Some really healthy stuff:
Organic Raw Unheated Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts and Cashews), Organic Raw Sun-dried Dates and Apricots, Organic Raw Cacao, Organic Raw Agave, Organic Certified Gluten-Free Oats, Natural Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, A special blend of Raw Organic Wildcrafted Flavors and Spices

Raw Balls are Gluten Free, Vegan, Soy Free and Raw, so they fit with many dietary restrictions with the exception of people with nut allergies.

Where can you get Dara's Raw Balls?
They are available at several front range Whole Foods and from her website

So, Why Raw?
Here is what Dara says on her website

Raw Food Benefit #1: More Energy

One of the biggest raw food benefits is having more energy and feeling younger. Raw food contains simple sugars, enzymes, nutrients, and minerals that our bodies need in an easily digestible form. Since less energy is needed for digestion, you have more energy available for other tasks—such as working, playing, exercise, or anything else you want to do. Which brings us to raw food benefit number two…

Raw Food Benefit #2: Easier & Faster Digestion

Raw foods contain living enzymes that help your body digest food quickly and easily. These enzymes are destroyed when food is cooked above 118 degrees Fahrenheit. When you eat a big cooked meal, a large amount of energy is required to digest the meal. This explains why you feel tired and sleepy after a big Thanksgiving dinner (or any large cooked-food meal). With raw food, digestion & elimination are quick and easy.

Raw Food Benefit #3: Lots of Fiber and Naturally Detoxes Your Body

Raw food assists in naturally detoxing your body. When you eat plenty of raw foods, you’re getting lots of fiber, allowing your body to release mucus, toxins, and accumulated waste. When you eat clean food (fresh fruits and veggies), your body can focus on detoxing—instead of having to focus on digesting unhealthy, artificially processed, dead, and packaged foods. Good health requires good elimination—and fiber assists in that process.

Raw Food Benefit #4: Rapid Weight Loss

Another fantastic benefit is raw food weight loss. When you eat a raw food diet, you’ll probably lose weight. Why? Because raw food is pure – it doesn’t contain junk food, harmful additives, hydrogenated oils, or lots of empty calories. Raw food provides maximum nutrition for minimum calories. Plus, fruits and veggies are naturally low in fat.

Raw Food Benefit #5: More Nutritional Value than Cooked Foods

Foods cooked above 118F° will lose enzymes, nutrients, minerals and vitamins. You can compare the energy that surrounds living food to the energy that surrounds cooked/dead food using Kirlian photography. Living foods have more energy, which can be seen with Kirlian photography.

Raw Food Benefit #6: Feeling More Rested & Possibly Needing Less Sleep

Among other raw food benefits, you might experience the need for less sleep. When we eat large amounts of cooked food, the energy required for digestion taxes our bodies. As a result, we need to sleep more to recover. Many people report feeling more rested, and needing less sleep on a raw food diet.

Raw Food Benefit #7: Anti-Aging Benefits

Raw food contains anti-oxidants, which play a big role in reducing the signs of aging. Researchers have concluded that free radical damage causes oxidation — and this is the central process of aging.

Free radicals are created as a side-effect of natural metabolism. They are also caused by drugs, environmental poisons and pollutants. The antioxidants and micronutrients in raw foods (fresh fruits & vegetables) reduce free radical damage, and help prevent the signs of aging.

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