Stryyk is a drinks brand founded by entrepreneur Alex Carlton who first founded Funkin Cocktails back in 1999. Carlton successfully sold this business in 2015 and set his sights on a new venture: alcohol-free spirits such as zero-proof rum and gin. We were lucky enough to be able to try Stryyk's 'Not Rum' drink and give our verdict.
Stryyk is a drinks brand for those who might be tee-total for health reasons or simply because they are the designated driver that day. Stryyk aims to allow those who aren't drinking traditional alcoholic drinks and cocktails to still enjoy their outing just as much as their friends. One idea that Stryyk is working on is to encourage bars and venues to denote drinks that work with Stryyk gin or rum with an 'S' on the drinks menu, in the same way a 'V' on a restaurant menu denotes a vegetarian dish. The idea is that patrons can choose to 'stryyk' the alcohol and still enjoy a delicious, balanced drink.
Founder Carlton generally believes that "a mocktail menu is typically quite sweet, which is not sessionable." He believes that those who don't drink alcohol should be able to enjoy a premium, quality cocktail instead of having to opt for a plain orange juice or other sugary soft drink.
As a health and fitness brand, here at Sundried we certainly champion those who choose not to drink alcohol for health reasons but might still want to go out and enjoy an evening with friends. Being able to 'stryyk' the alcohol out of your drink allows you to not make a fuss about not drinking alcohol which we think is a big bonus.
When we were sent our bottle of Stryyk Not Rum, we were advised that it pairs excellently with ginger beer as well as lime. Classic rum-based cocktails such as a Mojito are always a winner, so we started with that. We muddled lime, mint, and sugar into a glass, added ice, and then poured over the Stryyk Not Rum to complete the cocktail. A Mojito is traditionally made with white rum where Stryyk's is golden, but as this is just an added colouring we figured it shouldn't matter too much! We also made a traditional Mojito with 'real' rum to compare notes.
As soon as you open the bottle of Stryyk's Not Rum, you're greeted with a delightful, spicy aroma which makes your mouth water instantly. The flavour is light and fruity thanks to the grapefruit while the clove helps it stay robust and flavourful. The Not Rum tasted fantastic mixed into the Mojito and actually tasted better than the 'real' Mojito made with traditional rum!
When drunk neat on the rocks, this spirit is quite the stand-out and is very delicious. It pairs wonderfully with ginger beer and drives the flavour through the roof. To think that it is perfectly healthy, there's no risk of hangover, and you can drink it all day, we think it's an absolute winner!
Stryyk Zero-Proof spirits are available from their website www.stryyk.com
Kate Percy's Go Bites are a natural snack perfect for taking on-the-go or using as pre- or post-workout fuel. We had the pleasure of trying the exciting new fruity flavours and giving our verdict.
Boost: Raspberry & Cacao
I absolutely love the appearance of the new products by Kate Percy. The vibrant colours are very enticing and my mouth was watering before I even popped one in my mouth. The raspberry and cacao was my favourite flavour as it was so indulgent and flavourful – the perfect treat to look forward to during a tough marathon training run.
As with the original Go Bites, you get 3 balls in a pack and they are perfectly sized and portioned to have before, during, or after a workout. The texture is dense enough to be satisfying without being too chewy so as to hurt your mouth or be a chore to chew. Not only this, they're very handy and easy to store and so are my absolute go-to mid-run fuel for these reasons.
Refuel: Strawberry & Cashew
All of these Go Bites are made to Kate Percy's original recipe and promote the idea that real food fuels you better, which I am a huge proponent of. I find that a packet of Go Bites is the perfect running fuel and stops me from hitting the wall far better than any gel or other goo. Not only this, as they are made from 100% natural ingredients and free from gluten, wheat, and dairy, they are very easy on the stomach and you are unlikely to suffer any gastric issues when fuelling with them.
I had my strawberry and cashew Go Bites after a winter warmer duathlon at the Lee Valley VeloPark. It was a tough race and so having these tasty little bites in my bag to eat afterwards and refuel was absolutely perfect. The taste is awesome – the authentic, natural ingredients taste amazing and the texture is perfect. They're very satisfying and they really sorted me out after the race.
Recover: Blackcurrant & Blueberry
The blackcurrant and blueberry bites are made with rice protein and so give a well needed protein hit after a workout. They contain no added sugar and so are a super healthy food to snack on – whether you're training or not!
This flavour is really delicious, just like the others, and is perfect as a grab-and-go snack. The flavours are so authentic and the serving size is perfectly satisfying.
I absolutely cannot fault these delicious treats! They are unarguably healthy and are absolutely perfect for working out whether you have them before, during, or after. I really support Kate Percy's mantra that 'real food fuels you better' and these balls prove that point perfectly!
Mindful Bites is a health food brand specialising in the promotion of mindful eating. Their flagship products are delicious organic nut butters in a variety of flavours, but their newest product is even more exciting. We were lucky enough to try their new Crunchy Bites and give our verdict.
I really love the branding on this product as it's bright and vibrant while staying simple and powerful. Each product is colour coded to co-ordinate with the relevant nut butter flavour, so if you're a loyal Mindful Bites customer you'll quickly and easily be able to identify your favourite flavours.
Each packet comes with two long sticks which is easy to open and store and perfect for taking on a long run or to throw in your gym bag as a post-workout refuel.
The texture of the Crunchy Bites is really quite exciting. This snack consists of a crunchy gluten-free wafer stick filled with gooey delicious nut butter, meaning it has a crisp outside and a soft, melting middle. I love the contrast of textures between soft and crunchy, it makes the snack really interesting and makes it feel quite indulgent.
I absolutely love the taste of these Crunchy Bites. The product is available in four different flavours: cashew & baobab, almond & maca, hazelnut & berries, and brazil nuts & cacao nibs. Having already tried all of Mindful Bites' nut butter flavours for a review which you can read here, I knew that the pocket of nut butter in the centre was going to be delicious. Whether you're craving a savoury or sweet snack, these bites will satisfy that craving and they are just as good as a naughty snack – without any of the guilt! They're perfect for keeping hunger at bay while at work or for between meals on the weekend.
The nutritional info on these snacks is brilliant – the nut butter boosts the protein content and the exotic ingredients all have their own health benefits. For example, baobab is good for digestive health and and promotes radiant skin while maca is said to relieve symptoms of the menopause and improve mood.
I absolutely love the Crispy Bites as they are so moreish and tasty but packed with health benefits and nothing nasty. They're perfect as a grab-and-go snack and would even be great to put in a child's lunchbox for school. It's a 10 from me!
Zoot Foods was founded a few years ago when a group of friends realised there was no off-the-shelf snack bar with no nasty surprises at a reasonable price. They decided to get to work creating their own range with no added sugar, salt, or fat and thus Zoot Foods was born! I was lucky enough to be able to try their exciting bars and give my verdict.
Zoot Zero Range
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my box from Zoot and found some chocolate bars in there! Usually, health food brands stick to fruit and nut bars as they are naturally healthier, however Zoot specialise in no added sugar chocolate bars and I couldn't wait to try them.
The chocolate bars are part of the ZOOT ZERO range, a premium-tasting chocolate range featuring four bars: Smooth Dark, Zesty Orange, Creamy Milk, and Hint of Mint. All bars are twin packs featuring 2 x 20g bars giving you the healthy option of eating one and saving one for later!
Zoot utilise the increasingly popular sugar alternatives Stevia and Maltitol meaning the ZOOT ZERO range of chocolate has all the taste of premium chocolate with fewer calories. Stevia, a natural sweetener derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, is grown in Paraguay and Brazil and does not affect blood sugar levels (unlike artificial sweeteners). Maltitol is also a sugar substitute with 75-90% of the sweetness of sugar. Created from hydrogenating maltose, a natural sugar created from corn starch, and with a little over half the calories of sugar, it does not have the same blood sugar impact as refined sugar and both Stevia and Maltitol do not cause tooth decay.
The bars are suitable for vegetarians as well as being gluten free for our coeliac friends. With only 0.9g of sugar per bar I was seriously impressed at how healthy this chocolate bar really is. So, how about the taste? Well, upon discovering that the natural mint extract from Black Mitcham peppermint used in ZOOT ZERO Hint of Mint chocolate is from Summerdown Mint in Hampshire and has been developed by Sir Michael Coleman from the Coleman mustard empire I was pretty impressed! I don't usually like dark chocolate, but I absolutely loved this bar. The mint flavour floats in the background while the chocolate melts in your mouth. Knowing that there's less than 1g of sugar in this bar makes it a totally guilt-free treat!
The milk chocolate bar is actually quite sweet thanks to the sweeteners and the texture is reminscent of advent calendar chocolate. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide!
Zoot Natural Range
The ZOOT NATURAL range of fruit, nut, and seed bars are made with a blend of dates, sultanas, and currants with the distinctive flavour of each bar provided by the inclusion of a variety of nuts and seeds. All ZOOT NATURAL bars are dairy free, a source of protein, and 3 of the 4 bars have a high fibre content. The ZOOT NATURAL bars are also vegan and gluten free meaning they are suitable for a wide range of people. Each bar also boasts an average of 5g of protein which is very good for a bar that doesn't claim to be 'high protein'.
ZOOT ZERO and ZOOT NATURAL are both free from added sugar and are certified ‘free from added sugar’ by Sugarwise (the new kite mark showing that products have been independently assessed and guaranteed to be low in free sugars.
I'm really impressed by the Zoot brand and their chocolate bars will now be my go-to when I have a chocolate craving! It's a 10/10 from me.
Chia Charge is a British sports nutrition brand founded by Tim Taylor in 2012 after he found that other sports nutrition brands lacked flavour in their products and he felt that energy products should be more than just fuel to keep the body going. We were lucky enough to be able to taste test a selection of Chia Charge products and give our verdict.
Salted Caramel Chia Seed Flapjack
The ingredients in this bar are all natural and are foods you would find in your own kitchen so there are no nasty surprises. The bar is packed with chia seeds and this comes with a whole host of health benefits. Chia seeds are high in protein and also high fibre. They are very nutrient dense for a small amount of calories as well as being high in antioxidants, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and one study even suggests that chia seeds can improve sports performance. This means they are perfect for a sports nutrition bar like this and add a great boost to your daily diet!
The bar smells wonderful as you open the packet and you can see the chia seeds packed into the oats. It tastes very rich and indulgent with all the butter and sugar. The salt isn't overpowering and adds a great depth of flavour and really lives up to the 'salted caramel' name. It's not too crumbly so you could easily take it on a run with you and it'd be a really delicious way of fuelling. It's also not dry which is perfect when you are running and have a dry mouth. It's absolutely delicious and tastes very decadent, but the 50g bar is small enough that you don't feel like you've overindulged or ruined your healthy eating. This small bar has a lot of health benefits and would be perfect as pre-, during, or post-exercise fuel.
Chia Seed Flapjack with Peanut Butter
This 50g bar contains 246 calories, 11g of fat, 24g of carbs, 11g of sugar, and 6g of protein. These are very decent nutritional stats for such a delicious bar which will definitely provide you with all the fuel you need for an endurance training session or race. The elevated protein content is particularly impressive as there are no chemicals or additives in the bar, proving the worthiness of chia seeds as an ingredient.
The bar tastes really indulgent and lots of peanut butter comes through as soon as you take your first bite. The added sea salt flakes are really tasty and add a tangy edge in the background of the thick peanut butter. Beware though, it's so moreish! With only 11g of sugar it can certainly be classed as 'healthy', especially with its 6g of protein, which is more than a lot of 'protein bars' on the market today contain.
Gingerbread Chia Seed Flapjack
I was really excited to try this flavour bar because I'm a huge fan of gingerbread. I was pleasantly surprised that the potentially overpowering flavour of ginger was not too strong but was definitely there. The balance of flavours is perfect and the gingerbread flavour is delicious!
Cashew Karma Bar
The brand's Karma Bar range is a low-carb option for when you need more of a protein hit and less carbohydrates. These bars are all low sugar and feature lots of nuts like cashews. The bars are fairly small and light at only 35g and contain few calories, roughly 150 calories in each bar, which means they make for a perfect grab-and-go healthy snack. If all that wasn't enough, they're also wheat- and dairy-free and 100% vegan meaning they're perfect for people on a free-from diet.
Cocoa Karma Bar
I wasn't sure what to expect when I was about to open this bar because the name 'Cocoa Karma' doesn't give too much away, so I was pleasantly surprised by how chocolatey it was! This raw fruit bar has a very subtle flavour but is suitably moreish and indulgent.
I've had bars before whose main ingredient is dates (which is the case for this bar) and they've always been far too sweet and sickly, but this bar hits the nail right on the head and gets the balance just right. It is devilishly chocolatey and rich considering the only chocolate-based ingredient is cocoa powder, but I think the peanut butter perhaps has a part to play in that. I really enjoyed this bar and its nutritional values are great, containing only 146 calories and packing 5g of protein. I'd love to see this bar re-imagined using cacao instead of cocoa as this would just take it to new levels!
I'm really impressed with this brand as the food tastes very authentic and is really delicious! It's perfect for fuelling pre-, during, and post-exercise and the fact that the bars come in both small and regular sizes means they're excellent as low calorie snacks.