The latest bar to grace my “hippie approved” stash came to by way of my family back home in Canada, who love to send me news stories on interesting Canadians, Manitobans and/or Winnipeggers—especially if they have to do with triathlon, running, or food. I received this article, on startup energy bar company GORP, in my inbox twice.
Named after the trail mix abbreviation “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts,” GORP Clean Energy Bars have rebranded the goofy term with a go-get-’em, outdoorsy look.
But the best news was learning that I actually know the brains (and beauty) behind GORP bars personally. I worked with Colleen Dyck years ago at Mountain Equipment Co-op, and I remember her as one of my favorite colleagues, and a budding triathlete. She may, in fact, be one of the first people to put the tri bug in my ear, when I was just an innocent hiking/bike commuting hippie.
Colleen now lives on a farm in a small community in Manitoba with her husband Grant and four children, and in 2005, she gave birth to her “fifth” child, an energy bar born out of dissatisfaction with other products on the market. When training buddies started begging for them, she knew she’d hit on something. This year, the Winnipeg Jets hockey team adopted them as their preferred training fuel. Sounds like success to me!
GORP bars are handmade by Dyck and a small crew who roll out the dough themselves. As with anything, this type of craftsmanship ensures that the bars’ taste and texture stays out of the Quaker-Nestle-Kraft realm. The result is a satisfyingly firm yet chewy bar with just the right amount of subtle crunch.
Following the philosophy “local first, then organic,” the bars include Manitoba-grown oats, sunflower seeds, flax, and honey from the bees that pollinate the Dycks’ own canola fields. Pea fibre, coconut, green coffee bean extract, and sprouted brown rice protein give them an earthy taste and texture.
Every GORP bar also contains two full teaspoons of hemp seed, a Manitoba-grown “super seed” that’s showing up in everything from body lotions to tortilla chips. Hemp helps satisfy the body’s need for healthy fat and protein, and contributes essential fatty acids for energy and improved digestion. The fatty acids in hemp can also shorten the time required for muscles to recover after exercise—making it the perfect addition to a snack food like this.
GORP comes in three flavors: Peanut Butter & Apple, Peanut Butter & Raspberry, and my favorite bar far, Cocoa, Hemp & Almond. Each wrapper features a resealable sticker so that you can save half for later—surely pointless for something you’ll want to gobble down all in one sitting.
Or if you’re training for Ironman, in hour one of your Saturday long ride.
In closing, here’s a bit more on Colleen, the Manitoba mama that I got to know through my love of the outdoors, then was recently reunited with through our mutual love of triathlon. Look for these bars next time you’re north of the 49th, or until they’re available in the U.S., visit their website to purchase.
Founder, GORP Clean Energy Bars
Childhood ambition: Become a marine biologist.
Perfect day: Playing outside with my family, hiking and jumping in the lake.
Hidden talent: I don’t have many talents, but I don’t quit easily (that’s a talent right?)
First job: At the local hardware store
Biggest challenge: Overcoming my shyness
Proudest moment: Birthing my four awesome kids
Athletic crush: Mark Stuart (#5 defenseman for the Winnipeg Jets)
Why she invented GORP: I wanted something that had high quality protein, was a good source of fiber, Omega 3’s and antioxidants for recovery, but that didn’t bloat me. It’s hard to find something that tastes good and isn’t crammed with fillers and preservatives!