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ProBar Organic, Gluten Free Nutrition Bar Review: Part 2

Pro Bar

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

I immensely enjoyed sampling Pro Bar’s “Bite” bars prior to this goodie bundle. You can check out my thoughts on those bars here: Bite Bar Review. They are incredibly delicious! I also appreciate that Pro Bars are 70% raw, as well as organic.

My eyes got really big when I opened this assorted box of Pro Bar awesomeness. I especially go bonkers for their Base protein bars. They taste good, they’re more macro balanced than most nutrition bars and they pack a good punch of protein.

I see the Fuel bars as more of an intra-workout snack boost for when I need a source of carbohydrates that my body can quickly tap into. I

The Meal bars are perfect to pack in my gym bag when I need a well-rounded, convenient “meal” at my fingertips when I’m leaving the gym. They’re satisfying and make me feel like I’ve ingested enough to tide me over until I get home and have the kitchen to prepare in.

The Bolt energy chews are not something that I see as a necessity in my daily routine, but I did recently find them super handy to hand out to the players on my 12-year-old elite volleyball team mid-tournament. They loved that they resembled candy (except they’re worlds healthier in reality), gave them a boost and tasted yummy. I can see myself taking these with me for a mid-run refuel for a longer race (at least half marathon length), I just don’t do that as often as I used to. I’m more often in the gym lifting and doing higher intensity circuits to stay lean and strong. These chews would combat the fact that I try to limit extra sugar, so I would only consume them as needed during a grueling, endurance workout or race.

I totally dig on the tee & water bottle they threw in! I’m impressed with their range of products and suggest you give them a try if you are apprehensive about bars–the flavor & quality will get you on board!

 

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ClifBar Organic Energy Food Fuel Packs Review

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Clif Bar Organic Energy Food Fuel Packs

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

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My Thoughts:

Clif Bar is a brand that I continually work with & have always had gratitude for–as they’re committed to using organic ingredients. Our little blondie adores the kid’s clif bars and we see them as a go-to to satisfy her need for quick fuel and replenishment on the go.

I was so intriued by these fuel packs when they came out! Having healthy fuel that I can take with me was important in the last several months as I was traveling frequently coaching volleyball–and has continued to be important as I commute to and from work everyday & always bring my own snacks & shakes to supplement the green juice or salad I buy for lunch at a local spot. I don’t believe you have to give up healthy & sensible eating altogether when you’re traveling–it just requires a little bit of preparation.

The idea of these packs is excellent–as they truly taste like real mini-meals. All of them taste delectable in their own right. The pizza margherita was particularly interesting, & I enjoyed having the pizza flavor in baby food form (surprisingly).

I love the organic ingredients, the portability and the flavor of Clif Bar’s new Organic Energy Food Fuel Packs. My only scrutiny is that they’re not raw. Raw food doesn’t have as long of a shelf life–I get it from a profit standpoint. However, I’m exponentially more interested in supporting and buying products that put the nutrition aspect as top priority. Fueling my body the best way I know how will always be the major focus of my self-care. To me, that means as much organic & raw food as possible.

They’re off to a fantastic start by using non-gmo, organic ingredients. But, my enthusiasm will be elevated if Clif Bar comes out with some raw fuel. Maybe organic, raw, plant based protein? I’d do a cartwheel for sure 🙂

Oh! & I thought it was major cool that they included organic oregano, basil & tomato seeds from High Mowing seeds–just in time for the start of spring gardening!

Nektar Naturals Honey Crystals Review

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Nektar Honey Crystals

Overall Rating: 3.5 STARS

About Nektar Honey Crystals:

Our “Beenominal” Story

Nektar Honey Crystals™ come from bumble, sorry, I mean humble beginnings. As a serious tea guy, I was tired of the sticky honey bottles and jars that we have all become accustomed to. After a particularly bad honey-spill, I knew there had to be a better way to carry and use honey. With a little research, entrepreneurial spirit, and honey all over my hands, Nektar Honey Crystals™ were born. I’ve been proud to watch us grow from packing our first boxes by hand at home, to seeing our product on store shelves. Today, you can find Nektar Honey Crystals™ at many fine grocery stores, online retailers, and in resorts and spas. We’re growing each and every day and couldn’t be happier to see the positive buzz from across the foodie blog-o-sphere. We hope you love our Nektar Honey Crystals™ just as much as we do.

Sustainability

We strive to be a sustainable company, one that recognizes its responsibilities towards the environment, our employees and the people who make our products. This is attained in part by a conscious effort to use recycled, eco-friendly materials in the manufacturing, packaging and distribution of our products whenever possible. Furthermore to this we recognize the factors contributing to a decline in the bee population in the United States and the dangers to our environment that this entails. As a company, Nektar Naturals Fine Foods supports the efforts of those working to research and stop this decline.”

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Honey Crystals

About:

“Honey is the tastiest, most natural way to sweeten.
We just made it easier!

Your days of squeezing the sticky belly of a honey bear are over. Introducing Nektar Honey Crystals™, honey without the sticky mess! These tasty, little 100% natural crystals now make it easier to carry honey with you on the go. Our convenient packets can fit in your purse, pocket, or between the pages of a book without sticking together. We are proud to say that we’ve kept all of  the good, with none of the goo.”

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 My Thoughts:

Raw honey is my all time favorite sweetener. Not only is it a unique gift from nature, but it also boasts a plethora of healing benefits for the body. Raw, organic honey is becoming increasingly easier to find at your local healthy food store.

Nektar Crystals are not raw honey, but I do appreciate that they have taken the goodness of honey and made it more convenient to tote around, consume and keep tidy. The convenience of stocking these in an office, desk or car for easy use is particularly nice.

I’ve learned that no chemicals are used in the process of making these crystals. Nektar Naturals is not certified organic, and do not claim to be “organic” because of that. I’m not well versed in the world of cultivating honey and what normal protocol is in regards to doing it organically. I, myself, would certainly appreciate a more thorough description of how these honey crystals are made–that way, it’s more transparent to the consumer and a gal like me doesn’t have to wonder. Not having this info readily available on their site steers me away from a 5-star review. I don’t require an organic certification, but I do require transparency in regards to organic practices.

Taste-wise, they don’t taste similar to honey, they taste AS honey does. Because they are honey–that’s the idea, right? I don’t use much sweetener in my beverages normally; when I take honey (raw & organic), I just eat it by the spoonful for the health benefits and energy boost.

“Eating Consciously…It’s A Journey” by Kari Klinkenborg Anderson: Former Florida Gator VB Player, Actress & Model!

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Kari Klinkenborg Anderson is a former Florida Gator Volleyball player, Actress, Model and all-around super woman. She is also the founder of Feeding Soles, an organization which provides new shoes and socks to children in need.

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“Some people eat to live, and other’s live to eat.   I, myself, would be the latter.  Food is my love, my passion. People laugh when they hear me talk about food; it truly makes me come alive, and I often find myself thinking of my next meal before finishing what I’m currently eating.

Growing up as a competitive athlete, this was fine. However, as I’ve matured and no longer train 3-5 hours a day, I’ve had to face the harsh reality that my metabolism has changed.  I’ve heard it since I was a kid, “Oh honey, you’re so lucky, wait till you’re 25.” Inside I just laughed, I thought oh please, I’ll always be blessed w the ability to eat what I want, look good, and feel great.  Turns out, as with many things in life, you end up eating your own words, or in this case, I guess my own thoughts.  Allow me to explain…

Some of my earliest and fondest memories revolve around food – whether one of my favorite meals my mom or Grandma made, or simply deciding which box of cereal I was going to devour at 10pm when I finally made it home from practice. I can’t begin to adequately describe how I feel after I enjoy a fantastic meal, demolish a cheese plate, bake a delicious dessert, or have a great cup of coffee or wine after a long day.  Okay, yes, wine isn’t exactly food, but you get my gist, food is truly my happy place.  Food transcends time. It brings up memories. It’s exciting. You can have different meals based on the weather, region you live in, or the country you are visiting.  In fact, my ultimate goal is to own a coffee shop/cafe in a little town where everyone knows your name and you can eat healthy, yet indulge at the same time.

Healthy?   Did I just throw that in there?   Okay, after all that babble, I’m going to try and focus here.
 Growing up I was somewhat conscious of the foods I was eating, but I thought low-fat packaged foods were healthy and one pop tart versus two was exercising great self-control.  Ignorance truly is bliss.  I never knew what gluten was until I moved to LA, and I thought a Vegan was a fancy, more modern term for a vegetarian.  I’m happy to report that I now know what each of those are, however, I don’t adhere to either.  Not because I think they’re wrong, but because I’ve learned, and am continuing to learn, what works for me and my body.

First and foremost I have to admit, it is hard. It is very, very hard for me to consume less than I did when I was a competitive athlete burning thousands of calories per day.  I like to eat. Food tastes good. It is exciting, comforting, and downright satisfying.  However, I’ve learned the hard way that instant gratification is just that, instant.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed so many fabulous meals, yet I haven’t felt so great after I’ve consumed them. I always equated feeling bad with a rich meal or possibly (most likely) consuming way too much of the meal I was having.  When I was an athlete, cheat days were everyday.  No lie, I used to have people comment on a daily basis on how impressed they were with the amount of food I could consume.  I almost wore it as a badge of honor that I could maintain a decent frame and still eat what I wanted. It wasn’t until this year that I started realizing that maybe feeling sick after a meal, and actually wanting to vomit, meant more than I was just full or overindulged on my cheat day.    I wasn’t just uncomfortable, I was miserable. I was waking up with terrible stomachaches no matter how many hours had passed between finishing my meal and going to bed.  Of course I’d heard about “clean eating” and it changing peoples lives and blah blah, but that just wasn’t for me. I simply wasn’t going to put that much time, effort, and thought into what I was having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

After sitting through a business dinner with very well respected individuals in the fitness industry, I started wondering if what they were saying about processed foods and hormones in our food could actually be true. The claims they were making seemed so ridiculous. If all of these things were so harmful for us, how were they allowed to be in our foods? Now I was interested, so when I got home that night, I hit Google University.

I started researching exactly what was going into the foods I was consuming on a daily basis.  Mind you, at this point, I’m not even sure I was aware of what processed food actually were.    Not only was I unaware of the junk I was constantly putting in my body (which tasted so delicious), but the research and studies were downright concerning.   I was truly floored when I researched the impact of red and yellow food coloring, and astonished at the amount of garbage (literally garbage) the FDA allows humans to consume. I would love to say that all of this knowledge allowed me to quit eating processed food and junk immediately, but it didn’t.

I started small. In fact, I decided to start by trying to be dairy-free for a week. I thought this would be so difficult because I love half and half in my coffee and I love cheese. Actually, I more than love cheese! But I had noticed that every time I consumed dairy I would start to experience the same symptoms. I just kind of thought I woke up with dull headaches and runny noses year round. But after my research, I had the feeling that maybe I had a dairy intolerance or allergy, hence my weeklong challenge to go without dairy. Yikes!

Even though I am competitive, I didn’t think I’d last more than 2 days without some form of dairy products. Turns out I went 10 days with absolutely zero dairy, zero. I couldn’t believe how much better I was feeling in the mornings. I wasn’t feeling congested immediately after my first cup of coffee, and I didn’t have a sore throat for the first half of every day. Pretty amazing, but I was not totally convinced. I was pretty proud to have kicked my half and half habit though. On day 10 a friend of mine was moving, so we decided to celebrate by going out for ice cream. Not fro-yo, but the real deal, full dairy, full fat, delicious stuff. It was so tasty and satisfying, but within 3 minutes of the first bite, I was sick. I mean pounding headache, nose running, sinuses hurting, needing to run to the restroom kind of sick. This was the day that I realized I had a severe dairy intolerance. I was pretty depressed because I knew this meant I was going to have to change my diet, and for more than just 10 days. But, it was also exciting to realize that I had found a simple answer as to why I hadn’t been feeling well off and on for years!

I did not give up dairy entirely; I have just learned what works best for my body. I can still enjoy cheese, I just try having it less often. When I do allow myself cheese, I’ve found the raw variety cause very little, if any, discomfort. I’ve learned that certain brands of coconut milk make my overnight breakfast oats taste way better than yogurt ever did, and for the days I’m craving yogurt, I opt for the coconut milk version. I think I was so overwhelmed with all the foods I’d be missing out on if I decided to scale back or go non dairy that I just decided that dairy didn’t negatively affect me, even though I knew it did. It turns out that there are so many delicious alternatives to most dairy products, and that having an allergy doesn’t mean that you have to limit yourself by eating boring foods, or limit what restaurants you go to.

After my dairy experiment I decided to try another one…no processed foods. This was very tough, because it meant I basically had to stay away from my cabinets. I’m always on the go, so I find myself stocking up on pre packaged food – mainly because it has a long shelf life and it’s easy to toss something in my purse and walk out the door. Well, if it can sit in a cabinet for years, what was it doing to my body? Again, I made excuses as to why I wasn’t going to be able to kick processed foods, mainly because I love the taste and I like carbs. I don’t like healthy carbs like oranges and sweet potatoes; I like crackers, chips, granola bars, cereal etc.

I decided I would eat zero processed food for a minimum of 5 days. I again think I lasted about 10, and it was pretty amazing because at first all I wanted was crackers and bread. After about 3 days, my body started craving the things I was giving it. It wanted more arugula salads, kale or mashed cauliflower, juicy watermelon (which I previously never liked), or crisp green grapes.

The hardest part of eating no processed foods for me is constantly having to grocery shop. Fresh food spoils so I only get the amount I can eat within the week so I won’t waste food. Aside from being at the grocery store 3 times a week, and it being more expensive to eat healthy, real foods, I have to say; there is nothing like the feeling of your body running at it’s best. I can truly tell you that my body has NEVER felt as good as it does when I am eating “clean.” I never wanted to be that girl who follows the fads, and I thought that clean eating and no dairy were just that. It turns out that everyone raves about it for a reason. It is a game changer.

Everything I do when I am eating clean seems easier. I’ve been able to do yoga poses that I never in a million years thought I’d achieve, or even want to. I can run further and faster without getting tired, and I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to eat a healthy meal and start my day. My skin looks better. My body feels better. My mind is clearer. The benefits of eating a clean healthy diet and consuming a lot of water are truly indescribable.

This is not to say that I don’t still enjoy a juicy burger and fries or a big piece of cake or hit the candy bins. I still do all of that but I do it in moderation and I try and eat a juicy burger from a restaurant and eat organic beef instead of fast food. Like I said, my body has stopped craving junk the more I cut it out, and sometimes when I indulge in my old favorites, I literally get sick because my body is not used to that stuff anymore. Now, more often than not, I crave dark chocolate, and I’ve never been a chocolate person before. The more real foods you eat, the more your taste buds change and you start appreciating REAL flavors.

My advice to anyone looking to change his or her eating habits or start living a healthier lifestyle is to start small. Make a realistic goal like cutting out sugar or fried foods or dairy for a few days. You want to set yourself up for success. If you’re like me, and you suspect something may be upsetting your body, try eliminating that first and go from there. One of the biggest changes I’ve made is shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Other than canned beans or tomatoes, peanut butters, Lara bars, or occasionally some crackers, I do not buy anything from the middle of the store. It is basically all processed junk. Buy organic when you can even though it’s a little more expensive. When using veggies and fruits to juice, it’s important that you’re not giving pesticides a fast track to your digestive system. I always buy organic meats if they’re available. This is one food item where I can absolutely tell a difference in the quality and taste. Try sticking to natural sugars. Real maple syrup, local organic honey, agave; they’re all delicious and a little goes a long way.

Find what works for you, and trust your body. Our bodies can tell us a lot if we are willing to listen and adjust accordingly. And don’t beat yourself up. If you want to eat something, do it. Just do it in moderation. It is okay to indulge. It is okay to have a cheat day or two. I usually eat something sweet at least once a day because I know if I don’t I will most likely binge eat. However, I now try and eat a piece of toast with honey and peanut butter, a piece of dark chocolate or an apple with almond butter.

I still live to eat, I just now do it more consciously.”

Author Bio:

Kari grew up the middle child of 5 girls.  A self-proclaimed tomboy, she grew up in Iowa, California and Denver, allowing her to fall in love with the city life while appreciating her country roots.   Kari played multiple sports during her middle school years in Iowa but realizing how much she loved volleyball she made the decision to move back to Colorado when she was recruited by one of the elite volleyball clubs in the country.   Kari competed with her high school track team and was captain of the volleyball team.  After earning All State and All American honors Kari was offered a scholarship to play volleyball for the #2 ranked Florida Gators.  While at Florida Kari was part of three SEC championship teams and lead the SEC in regular season hitting percentage in 2005.   Kari suffered a career ending injury after her junior season but continued to pursue her love of sports and entertaining while earning a Bachelor of Science in Communications, hoping to one day pursue sports broadcasting.  While at Florida Kari hosted a weekly sports show entitled “GatorZone” highlighting all the Gator Athletes and upcoming events.   This solidified her desire to pursue a career in entertainment.   Upon graduating Kari moved to Los Angeles where she founded a charity called Feeding Soles aiming to provide new shoes and socks for underprivileged men, women and children in the Los Angeles area each Christmas.  Kari has pursued acting for the past 4 years, appearing in several national commercials, TV shows and recently shot two feature films.  In her down time, Kari loves being with her family, her puppy Major, being outdoors, being active and traveling the world.

I am so thrilled to have Kari’s thoughts on story on ROO! Isn’t she incredible? I’m so grateful that she was willing to write a piece about healthy eating. Go Gators!

Joulebody Cleanse Review

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JouleBody

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

About Joulebody:

“Joulebody was created to support the founder’s, Yvette Rose’s philosophy based on the concept of RADICAL BALANCE. In Yvette’s words, “You can still have chips and a cocktail if you eat your greens and move your body. Treat your body like an investment and it will reward you greatly.”

Energize: Acai Berry Juice

About:

WHY WE LOVE IT: We needed to make something sweet yet beneficial to your body as you explore the idea of juice cleansing. Filled with anti-oxidents, this juice is great as a morning “healthy option” drink. A smoothie filled with berries, greens, chia seeds and of course our signature Joulebody Cleanse Mixture. Our juices are different because they are infused with herbs like turmeric and cayenne as well as blended seeds and whole food veggies, for a full balanced liquidized meal!

BENEFITS:

  • A great meal replacement in the AM to help start your day with the right nutrients
  • Blueberries and strawberries research studies show improved antioxidant defenses in body systems
  • A University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study in mice showed that the polyphenols found in blueberries can break down belly fat
  • Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting nutrients.
  • Leafy greens are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger
  • Add in the chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds and get even more fiber and protein the body needs to help remove toxins in the body

WHAT’S INCLUDED: 16oz of Juice

HOW IT’S PACKAGED: PET, BPA Free plant based plastic bottles

GOOD FOR: Antioxidants is what we need if we want to fight any kind of disease. These ingredients are said to be filled with just that so drink up!”

Citrus Juice

About:

WHY WE LOVE IT: Drink up! With our signature juice. Made with a combination of Turmeric, Cayenne, Mint, lemon, Grapefruit, and maple syrup our version of the “Master Cleanse” is sure to have you feeling like you just took an energy shot. Great to drink whether you are cleansing or not.

BENEFITS:

  • A strong antioxidant, lemon juice is also a mild diuretic so by adding lemons to your water it can help support your liver and kidneys in their natural job of flushing out toxins
  • Lemon juice contains high levels of potassium and vitamin C
  • Cayenne has “capsaicin”, which has been proven effective against pain.
  • According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, can be used to relieve pain, for psoriasis, and weight loss

WHAT’S INCLUDED: 16oz of Juice

HOW IT’S PACKAGED: PET, BPA Free plant based plastic bottles

GOOD FOR: ZING! Right to your blood. A little bit of cayenne, a little natural sweetener and a whole lot of vitamins to suppress your appetite while replenishing the body.”

Green Juice

About:

WHY WE LOVE IT: With a combination of leafy greens such as collard, kale, swiss chard and chlorella, you can consider yourself good on getting your daily dose of greens.

BENEFITS:

  • Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting nutrients.
  • Leafy greens are rich in fiber, an important nutrient for weight loss because it keeps you feeling full and helps control your hunger
  • Add in the chia, flax, hemp, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds and get even more fiber and protein the body needs to help remove toxins in the body
  • Studies show kale has cancer fighting phytonutrients

WHAT’S INCLUDED: 16oz of Juice

HOW IT’S PACKAGED: PET, BPA Free plant based plastic bottles

GOOD FOR: Greens are just that, powerful! And this is filled with all sorts of greens and chlorophyll for a detoxifying feeling.”

Ginger Bar

About:

WHY WE LOVE IT: Our detox meal replacement bars have enough calories to replace a meal, ton’s of fiber and natural plant based protein. All ingredients we’ve chosen in our meal replacement bars help supplement a healthy, anti-inflammatory, and weight loss regime. All of these ingredients have been studied by innovative doctors and said to help our bodies heal at the cellular level. Now has 1 year shelf life. Flavors are robust because we don’t use preservatives – ALL NATURAL

WHAT’S INCLUDED: 6 Ginger Bars

HOW IT’S PACKAGED: Joulebody Bar Box

GOOD FOR: Ginger has been scientifically studied to help lose excess weight. Also help regenerate radiant skin with the anti-inflammatory ingredients of cayenne and turmeric.
No Wheat. No Gluten. Vegan. All Natural.

INGREDIENTS: buckwheat Flour, goji berries, chia seeds, flax seeds, Joulebody Cleanse Mix, Himalayan salt, organic raw sugar, ginger, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil, water.”

Watermelon Gazpacho

About:

(No info found on website)

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My Thoughts:

My interaction with Joulebody has been so pleasant–I’m inspired by the founder’s story (Yvette) and the generous woman I’ve communicated with (Yelena) has been very kind and helpful. I also love the mantra and ideals behind JouleBody: “Yvette Rose’s philosophy based on the concept of RADICAL BALANCE. In Yvette’s words, “You can still have chips and a cocktail if you eat your greens and move your body. Treat your body like an investment and it will reward you greatly.”

Incredibly complex and unique is how I would describe these juices, bar and gazpacho. There are so many different flavors going on (all of them so healthy and beneficial to wellbeing). Taste-wise, the flavors are a bit robust and are not overly sweet. I have a pretty accepting palette for all sorts of flavors, but I’d imagine some people might find the flavors interesting. For me, I can tolerate the lack of sweetness knowing that it’s better that my body is getting more nutrients, sans the excess sugar. The gazpacho was particularly awesome in taste–I had a hard time not eating the whole batch in one sitting; it’s fresh, zippy, delicious and a great use of fresh veggies and fruit!

For example, the Acai Berry juice contains berries, greens and a variety of fibrous seeds (like chia, hemp, flax and pumpkin) that truly make these juices a complete, balanced meal. The citrus juice is the one of these three that is a bit lighter, and it meant to be more of a true, detoxifying liquid detox, as it contains lemon, grapefruit and the healing benefits of turmeric. All of them make fantastic additions to your diet and can help you to reach optimum health. I am a huge proponent of plants to heal and nourish the body. I love that my beliefs align with JouleBody’s.

In regards to quality, I was told that the ingredients used in JouleBody are “mostly all organic.” This is good to hear, but I wish that was a bit more transparent on the labeling if that’s the case. As a consumer, transparency is refreshing and I love when a company states, up front, what you’re about to eat/drink. I appreciate that they use mostly organic ingredients, I’d just like to see that confirmed on the label. I love the BPA free bottling–kudos for that. One more thought on the ingredients; an actual ingredient list for each product was hard to find on the website. If I’m someone buying Joulebody drinks for the first time, I’m going to want to see the full ingredient list, since I won’t have the product in hand.

I’d recommend these products to someone needing a healthy reboot. Since the ingredients are mostly organic, JouleBody is above average int he cleanse & detox department. They also offer programs and full meal programs for those interested in incorporating more than just juice and bars into their detox strategy.