I must admit, I’ve never been a coffee fan, which is weird, since I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, land of coffee…I have an occasional cup of tea, but nothing daily. This year my daughter joined a synchronized figure skating team, and we are up at 3:45am a few days a week to get to practice by 5am. I must admit, by 3pm-4pm, I’m done!
More and more has been researched and written about coffee and caffeine in the last few years, and I’ve been paying attention. I’ve always known about the “bad” of caffeine; it can increase anxiety, insomnia, it can be addictive, and most commonly, it can mess up your stomach (even decaf!).
Move over wine! Recent studies have shown, pretty convincingly, that there are some long term benefits from caffeine. It has been shown to decrease the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, of strokes, oral cancers and even suicide. Even short term, caffeine has been shown to improve energy levels, memory, mood, reaction times, physical performance and even cognitive function. And I must admit that during that late afternoon slump, I frequently say to myself: “I really wish I liked coffee.” Then I found Ritual Energy.
From the company website: “RITUAL is caffeine-infused nutrition for people on the go. Green tea caffeine provides improved performance, laser focus, and sustained energy that can get you through any task. The caffeine is paired with a delicious chocolate hazelnut flavor thanks to 6 pure and simple ingredients.” I decided to try it and I must say, I LOVE it!
This “caffeine infused disc,” as the company calls it, is made of six simple ingredients: hazelnuts, dates, cacao, honey, vanilla and green tea extract (source of caffeine). One of these little bars contains 150 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of an average cup of coffee. A bar provides 200 calories, 1 gram of saturated fat, 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar (most from dates) and 4 grams of protein. It also contains a small amount of calcium and iron. The box sells for $39.00 for 10 bars online. Some suggestions from the website include adding in small pieces to oatmeal for a satisfying breakfast with a punch, or add a dollop of peanut butter for a yummy snack (tried this, so so good!) My daughter tried it (she only had 1/2 a bar), and said it tasted like a “Nutella bar.”
OK, even though I am pretty in love with this bar, I must address the issue of caffeine and young athletes. I have always had a “no way, no how” opinion on this, mostly because of the addictive properties of caffeine and the fact that I can’t get most young athletes to stay hydrated and caffeine can be very dehydrating. With that said, I must admit this bar has made me rethink things. For my older athletes, those teens who are at Starbucks constantly drinking those fluffy drinks full of calories, sugar, fat and chemicals, I would absolutely recommend this bar as a healthy, whole foods snack with a moderate amount of caffeine.
So if you’re like me, just don’t like coffee, too sensitive to caffeine or coffee wreaks havoc on your stomach, Ritual Energy might just be your new ritual…it certainly has become mine!
For more information and online store, go to Ritualenergy.com