(Originally Published in Exposure Magazine 2018.)
Protein bars are great for people on the go. Are they good for you? This is a common question. With contradictory opinions on every food, diet, lifestyle etc., we encounter, the noise is deafening. Unfortunately, it leaves us in position of feeling confused, rather than confident.
Perhaps a better question to ask is “why” we are eating them. Ae we using them for a meal substitute, or as a better option than a candy bar, or as a boost after a hard work out? Deciding what your needs are will help you better decide which bars are right for you. For most people, the top concerns are calories and sugar. When choosing a bar that fits your needs, think about what your purpose is. If it’s to cut calories and sugar, be aware that the ones that taste better to you may not serve that need. Be aware that certain elements of protein bars can cause uncomfortable digestive issues as well. Once again, asking why one wants to ingest them is a valid question.
Marketers work to lure you with names that remind you of things we already love but are diet wreckers. Stick to reading ingredients and look for natural ingredients that are as whole as possible. You can easily avoid all chemicals and artificial ingredients by going to the internet and making your own protein balls, bites, and granola bars. You can control the sugar and the ingredients. You don’t have to make the bars to last for weeks on a shelf by using preservatives. There are many reviews on line; you can weed through them, and then taste test them for yourself.
I encourage you to take control of this particular type of food in your diet and create one you love with whole ingredients that serves your needs, your body, and your lifestyle. Be your own chef; it may save you dollars, your stomach comfort, and your health!
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine December 20, 2017).
Recently while I was in Kansas City, MO for business, my friend suggested we meet at lunch at Trago Bar & Tapas. I took the opportunity to learn a bit about the place, the owner, and its origins. It was such a unique experience, I decided to do a review and share.
Trago is in a busy shopping area, so it’s convenient for those who might be multitasking. The appearance outside is rather unassuming and basic. The inside, however, is very inviting, warm, and welcoming. I was greeted by the owner, founder and Chef Kandi Kerns. The décor, the food and the atmosphere are just like Kandi: warm, friendly, open, and inviting. It’s understandable that the place is packed on the weekends, including the outdoor patio area.
Sherri: This is a very interesting space, Kandi. How did you arrive at the idea of this kind of establishment?
Kandi: It was inspired by my late grandmother. Her name was Anna Maria Rosa Carlota Urrutia Evans. All the recipes are inspired by her recipes in some way. I was going to start with a food truck, but then suddenly I found myself in this almost 2500 square foot building due to some unexpected financial help.
Sherri: What is your mission with Trago Bar &Tapas?
Kandi: When I returned to Kansas City, I was so welcomed into this community. I knew I wanted to create something that promoted community and made people feel welcome and connected. I wanted to incorporate parts of the community into it, also. We made the bar from repurposed materials, and much of it coming from the Habitat for Humanity store. The tile, the construction, everything is a little part of this community. We have local musicians play every Wednesday evening, which is ladies night.
Sherri: Who is your target customer or patron?
Kandi: (Chuckles) Myself! I strive to put together a place where friends and family could gather in an upscale, yet comfortable place with friends and family, and experience custom drinks and fine dining. A place where memories are made. It’s more than just food and drinks, but an experience people never forget!
Sherri: What do you see as your long-range goals having just celebrated your one-year anniversary on Halloween?
Kandi: I would love to see us within 5 years also in a free standing 2 story building, which would allow more events, live music and entertaining!
Kandi then asked what I chose to eat. Because I knew I wanted to sample a few things, I ordered 3 items to sample and share (which is what Tapas means- shareable plates- usually paired with drinks). I ordered Albóndigas en Salsa de Tomate (Spanish meatballs), Tacos Hinchados (Puffy Tacos), and Pan Plano con Brie (flat-bread with brie). It was so delicious. Fresh ingredients, and a very unique presentation to each dish as well. Palette appealing as well as beautiful to look at. We had fabulous service by Jessica, and I learned so much. Too bad I was driving, because the drink menu is stellar! Be sure to stop in at the Trago Bar & Tapas if you are in Kansas City. You can visit them online at TragoKC.com, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/tragokc or stop in at 9261 NE 83rd Terrace, Kansas City Mo. I absolutely give Trago Bar& Tapas thumbs up, a 10, a 5 star rating or whatever measure you prefer. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss. Order the Puffy Tacos!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."