Whey Finance

Identity crisis of protein bars – la Chronique

Although I am a second year student, I still don’t have an answer to “What is your specialty?” – the question that sparks as much fear in my heart as packing burritos on the line at Chipotle, albeit for another column.

However, I think the reason deciding on a major is so terrifying for me is that I feel like I am deciding on a key part of my college journey. Am I challenging myself with something quantitative? Am I focusing on more qualitative topics that I already appreciate? Will my peers, my teachers, my future employers perceive me differently depending on what I choose? So many questions, so few answers.

If a protein bar were a person, I wonder if they would feel the same as I do about my identities: in conflict.

The supplement aisle of any Safeway or Harris Teeter looks like a dystopian bakery-themed modern art installation. There are colorful wrappers and computer-generated images of melting double-chunk chocolate brownies, and pastel scoops of mint-chip ice cream. Inside these colorful wrappers is a gummy, rubbery mass of mummified Edens carpet-colored nuggets in a layer of protein frosting.

That said, it’s not a complete hit on protein bars. Protein bars are a staple of my diet because they are so quick and convenient. I don’t like the metallic aftertaste of sugar spirits in a Barebells bar, nor do I like washing dishes covered with leftover cement from a microwave Quest bar. But I love that they have 20g of protein in a bar and help me meet my daily protein goals.

Instead, I don’t understand why the supplement companies and other bars try so hard to market themselves as an indulgent treat. In doing so, protein bars position themselves in the purgatory between delicious “junk food” and “healthy” whole foods – they do not have the soft crumb of a chocolate cake, nor the crunchy and refreshing sweetness of a slice. watermelon. A Lara Bar ‘cashew cookie’ is NOTHING like a butter cookie sprinkled with crispy candied cashews. It smells like chilled dates and looks like sticky almonds and cashews getting stuck in your back teeth. They have the stigma of a “diet” food like purifying juices, the expectations of a dessert, and neither the sinful pleasure of a dessert nor the feeling of well-being and nature of a fruit. They are caught in the worst of both worlds.

Instead of calling it a Blueberry Muffin Quest bar, why not just call it a Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Bar? This describes much better the fillings of dried blueberries and sugar-free white chocolate chips and graham cracker chunks. Leveling such high expectations on a blend of whey protein and almonds only sets these products up not for failure, but rather for disappointment due to a mismatch of expectations and disenchantment with what to do. a “healthy” lifestyle is meant to look and taste.

Protein bars and other “healthy” on-the-go items are a lesson in trying to please everyone, but in fact not appealing to anyone. No dessert blogger would feature a protein bar that looks like contraband 3-Musketeers; no whole food nut could recommend eating protein bars too frequently either – the fiber would justify A LOT too many trips to the bathroom.

Protein bars, as well as EVERYONE who does not fit perfectly in one box (therefore everyone) must adopt their own identity. Why mold yourself in a dessert pan, when you pack a dose of protein that a brookie never could? Protein bars don’t fit perfectly into either category of traditional junk food, or traditional “healthy” foods like cottage cheese, apples or hard-boiled eggs. Likewise, as students, we should embrace all aspects of our academic and personal strengths instead of erasing them to better match the archetype of the pre-med student, engineer, or financial brother. Thinking of protein bars in such black and white terms (healthy or unhealthy) may describe them as a Franeknfood, but broadening our perspective to understand that in the 21st century, foods can look like a lot of different things, and can still adapt. in a healthy and modern diet too.

Jessica is a first year of Trinity. His column is generally broadcast every other Wednesday.