Today’s post is a little special- this is NOT Nora posting, but the OTHER HALF of the Running Duo (aka her mom!)
As runners, Nora and I are always looking for that perfect refueling bar, something that amuses my husband, who always kids us about our “candy bars”. So, a few months ago, he found an article about an unusual kind of bar and sent it to me: the article was about Chapul Bars, and the unusual thing about Chapul Bars? Well, that would be that they are made with crickets, or rather finely ground cricket flour. He thought I would laugh or be grossed out, but actually, I was pretty intrigued!
First, I researched a bit about the company. The founder of Chapul Bars is Pat Crowley, an avid white water rafter who grew up exploring the great Colorado River. After visiting Central and South America and studying the water shortage problems there, he returned home and set about obtaining a master’s in hydrology. With 92% of most industrialized nation’s water going to agriculture, Pat began to wonder how such use could be reduced so that the production of protein, vital to our daily diets, could be less of a drain (no pun intended! ) on our water resources. As a white water rafter and guide on the Colorado River, he could see the strain on the river first hand. After watching a TED talk by Doctor Marcel Dicke about the use of insects as a source of food, Pat Crowley and some friends began to talk, explore and experiment and, eventually, developed some recipes! At that point, Chapul Bars was born. (The cricket flour they developed provides the protein usually provided by soy or whey protein in other bars.)
When I told Nora about my interest in Chapul Bars (and what they were made of) she looked at me funny and said, “You go ahead, but I’m not eating bugs.” Not an uncommon reaction, but one that the company is hoping will change with time.
Chapul makes three kinds of bars:
- The Chaco Bar (the original flavor) made of dates, chocolate and peanuts, and flax and walnuts.
- The Aztec Bar, a nut free bar made of dates, cocoa, coffee beans, and cayenne pepper.
- The Thai Bar consisting of dates, almond butter, and cashews, flavored with coconut, ginger and lime.
Sounds pretty good, right?!
After much deliberation, I decided on the Aztec Bars and ordered a box of twelve. (Somehow I missed seeing that Chapul offers a sample pack of all three, oops! )
When the bars arrived in their simple brown box with a picture of a cricket on one side, and the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River on the other, I told Nora again about my plan to try the bars, and she once again, voiced her skepticism. Despite my enthusiasm, I put off actually trying one. Whenever we returned from a run, I would have the usual protein shake, or a piece of whole wheat bread with almond butter. I was a little nervous, too. So for several days my “buggy bars” remained unopened.
But this morning I did it. After returning from my four mile run, I told my husband this was it! I drank some more water, got myself a second cup of coffee, then opened one of the Aztec Bars.
(I like that the packaging is simple and recyclable, unlike so many companies that over-box and over-package things to make you think you are getting more for your money!) Freed of its wrapping, the bar looked like a small brownie, very dark, with a slightly oily sheen. I took a bite as my husband watched.
And the taste? Well, it does taste a little bit like a cappuccino brownie, with the coffee beans lending some crunch – and then you get the spiciness of the cayenne. But there was no need to be nervous. Nary a taste of crickets at all – not that I would know what a cricket would taste like! The bar was moist and delicious and tasted great with my coffee!
So, bars with a “mission” and great taste! I don’t know if I’ll be able to convince the other half of this running duo to try these, but I’m a believer and I plan to pass them around to our running-club friends when we run the Lake Winnipesauke Relay in a few days. (I’m sure I will make some converts to cricket consumption.)
Would you be willing to try a protein bar made using crickets?