The words ‘whole food’ are not just reserved for the name of a grocery chain, but is a term referring to food that is eaten in its purest, unprocessed form. Without ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, or many of the chemicals that we can barely pronounce, the body can digest whole foods much easier than those containing processed ingredients. As a bonus, whole foods often taste much better than their processed counterparts and are much easier to stomach during a physical activity lasting several hours.
There are many solid, whole food type of energy bars on the market that can be carried easily in a pack or cycling jersey pocket. There are even unprocessed drink options. But when it comes to gels, there are not many choices for those wanting a compact, easy to carry, quick energy boast. While strolling the floor at Interbike this year, I was able to sample a number of different flavors of the whole food type of energy ‘gel’, PocketFuel, a 100% all natural energy product.
Based in Hood River, Oregon, PocketFuel currently produces seven flavors of their “all-natural nut-butter concoctions” with flavors including Crunchy Banana Blueberry, Chocolate Haze, Chocolate Espresso, and Chia Goji & Honey. PocketFuel isn’t really a ‘gel’ as most of us might be accustomed to using, it has a consistency more like that of Adams Peanut Butter. In fact, since PocketFuel is an all-natural, unprocessed product, the makers recommend that users should “Squish & Squeeze to Blend” the packet before consuming to remix any ingredients that might have separated – just like remixing the oil back into the jar of Adams Peanut Butter.
On the show floor, the founder of PocketFuel, Mark Ribkoff, was spooning out samples of his nutty concoctions and highlighting the benefits of his creations. The ingredients are truly simple – hazelnuts, sea salt, coca powder, blueberries, and organic evaporated cane syrup to name a few. The short ingredient list on each packet contain no unprocessed ingredients.
As for the taste, each scoop was a treat! For example, the Crunchy Banana Blueberry flavor has the feel of natural peanut butter on the tongue and the taste of almond butter is not over powered by the banana and blueberries. The Chocolate Haze reminded me of chocolate covered coffee beans. If you are familiar with the chalk feel when eating the chocolate dipped beans, Chocolate Haze has the same feel in the mouth – very good taste, just not the smooth feel of other gels on the market.
Each flavor is available in a resealable 1.8-ounce or 3-ounce packet priced at $2.49 and $3.99 respectively. The nutritional value varies with the flavor. Most full 1.8-ounce packets have over 250 calories, over 250-milligrams of potassium, and over 7-grams of protein along with varying amounts of sodium, fiber, sugars, carbs, and vitamins. The amounts are all on par with other similar types of products on the market. The fat content is much higher than others on the market, but that is due to the nut base used for each flavor.
If you energy bars, chews, and gels during your activities, PocketFuel offers a nutty, natural option for quick energy. These whole food concoctions should be easier to digest for most and certainly a welcome taste during any training or racing session after hours of using the more processed ‘energy’ products on the market.