Great-tasting hydration and fuel? It’s about time

The Seattle Times February 2007

Forget the chalky drink powders and tooth breaking “energy bars” of yesteryear. 21st century athletes and outdoor adventurers who want to stay energized and hydrated can enjoy great taste in their supplements, without worrying about chemical additives and artificial ingredients. One of the newest innovations comes in the hydration market. Forget sugary powders filled with pseudo-fruit flavors. The newest hydrating drink for outdoor enthusiasts comes in the form of a tablet. At first glance, the Nuun hydration tabs look and act like Alka-Seltzer tablets. Packaged in a slim plastic tube, the tablets are about the size of two quarters stacked together. To use, simply pop a pair of the tablets into a quart water bottle and watch it work. The tablets fizz and bubble just like those old Alka-Seltzers. But instead of curing heartburn, the Nuun tabs quench your thirst.

Nuun developers specifically state their product is not an energy drink. The Nuun tabs provide electrolyte replacement for athletes and active outdoor recreationists. The product contains no sugar – no carbohydrates of any kind, in fact. Just a mild flavor (three varieties available: citrus-fruit, lemon-lime and tri-berry) and four essential electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

The tabs are sold in tubes containing 12 tabs – enough for 1.5 gallons of water (two tabs per quart). The Nuun tabs sell for $19.50 for a 3-tube pack. More information: www.nuun.com.

On the solid fuel side of the equation, PROBAR® offers an all-natural energy bar to keep you going on the trail. In fact, the PROBAR® is not only all-natural, it is all whole, raw foods. The bars are 100 percent certified vegan. The bars use fruit, fruit juice and pressed-grain syrups (barley and brown rice) for sweeteners, with lots of seeds, nuts and grains as the protein and carb sources for energy and endurance.

PROBARs come in six flavors: Original Blend (basic trail-mix flavors), Whole Berry Blast, Nutty Banana Boom, Apple Cinnamon Crunch, Cran-Lemon Twister and – my favorite – Koka Moka, a coffee and chocolate (carob, actually) flavored treat.

As a dedicated carnivore, the vegan label does nothing for me. But the lack of refined sugars, heavy corn syrups and chemical preservatives makes the PROBAR® an attractive alternative to other highly-refined energy bars. It’s the taste and texture that elevates them to all-time favorite snack in my pack. The 3-ounce bars sell for $2.95 each. See www.theprobar.com.

– Dan A. Nelson, special to The Seattle Times