Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year, Healthier Snacks With Chomp



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Review of Chomp beef sticks, a healthier snack made from real ingredients


It's hard for me to express how different the food culture is in the United States from what it is in France. The food is the one thing that made my adjustment when I moved here the most difficult, and French food is the one thing I miss the most from home. I mean, junk food is fun for a while, and the 20 pounds I put on in the year after moving are a testimony to that. But once you've realized how bad it makes you feel in the long run, the healthy, high-quality, locally made, fresh options here are lacking.

Beyond the depressing offering in grocery stores, what struck me the most in the beginning is how different people's relationship to food here is. In France, although we eat rich foods and copious meals, restraint is a key value and wasting food is so frowned upon that a law was recently passed requiring supermarkets to donate unsold food. Food consumption is also very structured: you get your 3 meals a day at set hours, and maybe a snack in the afternoon if you can't wait for dinner, although "goûter", the 4PM snack, is mostly reserved to children. I discovered with much surprise that in the US many people are constantly snacking, and what they eat throughout the day would be enough to feed a family of 4 for dinner... You should have seen my face the first time I noticed my former co-workers eating nachos at 10 am! 

On the other hand, I've struggled to go through the day without snacking between meals at all (it's hard when the next cubicle smells like French fries), especially since I started running, and finding ready-to-eat snacks that are tasty and healthy has been a real challenge. Cereal bars? They're basically candy. Protein bars? They taste gross. Fruits or veggies? Sure, but let's be real, when I crave food in the middle of the afternoon, what I want is not an apple. I've done the test, I'll eat the apple, and 15 minutes later I'll be frantically going through my pantry looking for chocolate, or searching my pockets for small change to buy something more satisfying at the vending machine. 

No, if I'm being honest, what I crave is comfort food, not a kale salad. This is where it gets tricky: what satisfying food can I easily get that's healthy enough and not full of artificial crap? Well, I've recently come across a good answer to that question, and its name is Chomp. Here's what the company has to say about their snacks: 
"Chomps Snack Sticks are an awesome new health product made with 100% Non-GMO Grass-Fed Angus Beef which is sourced from New Zealand. The sticks contain no artificial ingredients (no nitrites, nitrates, MSG, colors, flavors) and are shelf stable for a year with the help of celery juice! Best of all, they taste AMAZING!
I should mention that they're compatible with paleo, gluten-free, low carb and Whole 30 diets - most are fads if you ask me, but if they make you feel good, why not (except that the Whole 30 people saying their diet helps with type 1 diabetes makes me want to scream, it's a chronic, incurable auto-immune disease FFS!). 

What's more important to me is that these beef sticks contain only real ingredients, as in things you can buy from the grocery store, and no substance that I can't pronounce. Here's the ingredients list for the Original flavor: 
100%Grass-Fed Beef, Water, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Celery Juice, Black Pepper, Red Pepper, Garlic Powder, Coriander, Stuffed in a Collagen Casing. (Citric acid is the thing that makes lemon taste acidic, so it's a completely natural ingredient) 
That's it! Pretty impressive I would say! 

In terms of nutritional value, they contain between 0 and 4 grams of carbs depending on the flavor (the Original has 0g) and they're worth 100 to 110 calories per stick. They also bring you 9 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fat (half of which is saturated): that's the beef for you. 

Now that's you've got all the facts, here's what I think about these snacks. 


I like 

- The complete absence of artificial ingredients. That's really, really important for me to know that these snacks are real food and not some petro-chemical byproducts (like "nacho cheese" in a can, just saying...). 

- They taste really good! The Original was my favorite, it's really flavorful thanks to the seasoning. I also liked the Hoppin' Jalapeno, it has just the right amount of heat. The Crankin' Cran flavor, on the other hand, was a little too spicy for me, plus I'm not a fan of cranberries in general. Their texture is perfect too, they remind me of sausage, so they're not at all dry and hard like beef jerky can be. 

- The size of these stick is just right, not so tiny that I'd want a second one, but not so big that I have a hard time finishing it. 

- The fact that they're portable makes them a good snack to take to work, or anywhere else really. I had some in the car on our road-trip for Christmas, and they were much appreciated! 

- They really satisfy my mid-afternoon comfort food cravings. They taste juicy and a little fat, and that's exactly what I need at that time of the day. 


Review of Chomp beef sticks, a healthier snack made from real ingredients


I don't like 

- As impressive as the ingredients list is, they remain an industrially processed food. So if you want to eat 100% whole, fresh foods, you'd have to make your own. I don't have time for that so I'll take the Chomps. 

- The packaging. Okay, so unless I'm really a moron, I didn't find a way to open the plastic sleeve that keeps the Chomps fresh without a pair of scissors or a similarly sharp object. That's a bit annoying for a snack that's otherwise perfect on the go. And the fact that the sticks are individually packaged also means that you're creating a lot of unnecessary plastic waste. 


Overall 

I really like the Chomps beef sticks, and I recommend them if you're looking for a comfort-food snack that was actually prepared from real foods, and not assembled by a chemist!


Where to buy: at Chomp's website. You may also find them at some health foods stores and gyms, and of course on Amazon.


The product featured in this review was provided by PR for consideration through Brandback. I received no compensation other than free samples to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.


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