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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gluten Free (and Good) Roadtrippin' ☆Nugo Bars☆

Here we go! This is the start of my Roadtrippin' series! It's significantly later than I had originally planned due to a concussion I sustained (click here for those clumsy deets) when we got back from our trip....I opted to wait a couple of weeks until I could think straight again! With this being the first post in the series, it will be a bit more wordy than the others.....but make sure you read all the way through (The good stuff is down below....)
First, let me give a little history. I'm an avid roadtripper. I feel like road trips are a piece of history and a huge nostalgic part of Americana. I've been going on decent length road trips since I can remember. We used to do the holiday pilgrimage to the grandparents which would entail living in the car for what seemed like 10 days, but was really only about 10 hours. I was a sickly kid so I usually just slept or threw up when we were driving. I know you want to travel with me now, right?

As I got older I lived in places that made road trips a necessity. From living in a small town in the high desert of Eastern Oregon to moving 600 miles away from everyone I knew to start over in a new place. Going home on weekends or holidays became another opportunity for a road trip adventure.

Now, think for a moment about what makes the road trip an adventure? What makes it different then just a drive to the store? A road trip is an experience. It's a chance to step out of the mundane daily life that we get used to. No matter how exciting your life is, a road trip always begs for excitement and adventure! It's also a chance to eat some GOOD (but not always good for you) road trippin' grub!

In Feb of 2013 I officially went gluten free because of medical issues. I'm an unconfirmed celiac with severe allergies to wheat, fin fish and strawberries. I also have a few mild allergies that are a pain but that's a story for another day. Why do I mention this? Because being gluten free/celiac has affected every aspect of my life....right down to the road trips. Growing up, jerky was always a huge part of my road trip snack stash. Do you know what I found out when I went gf? Most normal jerky brands that you can buy in a regular store contain wheat. I assume it's used in the marinade but it really saddened me to see my favorite snack food was no longer an option. Even a lot of chocolates, candy bars, etc are all riddled with wheat as a filler or ingredient (that probably isn't necessary).

When I was planning on going on this road trip I scoured the internet looking for gluten free snacks that would keep, travel well and be easy to access while on the road. I would have a cooler available but didn't want anything that would need to be frozen. Chilled sure.....so the hunt was on.

I stumbled upon something called NuGo bars (they're vegan!). I searched for them, nothing. I looked up the stores listed online and the only one around that had the gluten free bars had just shut down. I was out of hope. I emailed the company and basically begged them for a sample for my road trip. You know what? They were so awesome and sent me some of the gluten free samples. The only problem with the samples was that all of the flavors sounded delicious and I wanted to eat them all!

Now, please know that I had some GREAT pictures of all of the bars but my camera took a turn on me and a bunch of my pictures disappeared. I was so upset. However I did have this picture (above) from during the actual road trip. This was taken on the way back on the grapevine. I was starving and needed something so I had one of the boys grab this out of the cooler for me! It was SO GOOD. I believe this flavor was the peanut butter pretzel. If you're not gluten free they have many other varieties to choose from, but their gluten free line doesn't taste "Gluten Free"....if you know what I mean? The gluten free community has made strides over the years but these bars are FANTASTIC!

I shouldn't admit this, but I was going to save one or two to add into the giveaway I'm going to host later this month....but they were that good. They all went into my belly!

What did I think of NuGo? Well, obviously if I ate them all I didn't think poorly of them! Was I impressed with the fact that they are vegan, gluten free and FULL of protein? You bet I was! They have a crunchy texture inside, and are coated with chocolate (NOT chocolatey stuff, it's the real dark chocolate deal!) They also have a fantastic flavor! No part of the bar is overpowering and there isn't any weird aftertaste that you get with some bars. I really didn't find any part of the bar that I didn't like. Well, maybe their addictive qualities!

NuGo bars are made with quality ingredients. No junk!

You can find more about what goes into each bar here. (When I was looking up that link I saw that there are some NuGo Slim bars that are gluten free and I'm going to have to find those!) It's so hot here I don't want to order them via internet but I'm having a super hard time finding anything except for the ones that are NOT gluten free. So, I'll keep looking. The bars that I sampled are amazing and I've been emailing my Costco to see if they can get them in! I'd buy a case FOR SURE!!!

The one thing to remember about NuGo is that they are covered with chocolate so they can't be left in a hot car. I kept mine in a cooler while we were on the road. Then just kept them in our hotel rooms along the way. They made it through the trip just fine and none of them were even melty.

These bars are also pretty filling and will keep you going for hours. I had one and wasn't hungry for quite some time. I didn't get jittery like I do sometimes when I eat something somewhat small. They sustained my appetite. I had one during out running around at Legoland and I was able to keep up with the kiddos with no problem! I was also able to eat one and drive most of the way home with just that in my belly!

If you're lucky enough to have a store around that carries NuGo...by all means.....GO BUY SOME! NuGo bars are available at many stores nationwide including Whole Foods! If you can't find them locally you can find them online or ask your local store to carry them. If they hear from enough people they'll get them in. Power in numbers! 

Don't forget, just because this post if aimed at the gluten free community, NuGo has something for everyone!

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