Are you surprised to see me? I don’t usually post on Thursdays, but I’m experimenting with something to see what you think. Let me back up … I’ve been reading blogs for several years now, and one thing that often baffles me is the polarizing nature of product reviews. Some people seem to be so offended that bloggers are getting products for free, and feel that the reviews dilute the content of the blog. Others seem super excited about (honest) product reviews and giveaways, and ask for more. I personally love reading (again, honest) product reviews so I can learn about what options are out there and what others think. I love doing product reviews because I really enjoy experimenting with new products … but I certainly don’t want to annoy those of you who don’t like them. (picture source)
So, I’ve been thinking … I’m going to try to add a new day to my blog schedule for the weeks when I have a product to review, and those of you who want to read it can keep following along, while the others can just ignore Thursday posts. Sound good? Of course, I’m always eager to hear your feedback – so let me know in the comments below or by sending me an email.
ENERGYbits Review + Giveaway!
OK, if you’re still with me, I’d like to tell you my history with ENERGYbits. I first heard of the amazing nutritional powers of spirulina from our guest lecturer David Wolfe, while I was studying at IIN. I tried adding spirulina powder to my smoothies, but it tastes and smells quite … strong and I just couldn’t bear to ruin the taste of my delicious smoothies.
Fast forward a few months, and reviews for ENERGYbits started popping up all over blogland. What really sold me is that Ben Greenfield mentioned the benefits several times on his podcast (which I love). I still didn’t try them, though, until I won a giveaway! I was excited to try the Bits, but I wanted to make them last … so I took 1 or 2 at a time. When the company followed up with me to see if I had enjoyed the sample and wanted to do a giveaway on my own blog, I turned down the opportunity because (honestly) I didn’t feel any difference from the Bits. Jonathan, the Brand Manager at ENERGYbits (who I’ll mention shortly), was kind enough to explain that the serving size was 30 Bits, and offer me a second tin to sample – the “right” way this time. So today you’ll hear the results of my second attempt at ENERGYbits! (As always, although ENERGYbits sent me two samples to try and review for free, they are not sponsoring me in any way and all opinions are my own!)
- ENERGYbits contain 100% organically-grown spirulina algae
- Spirulina is the substance with the highest naturally-occuring protein content in the world (64% protein, or 5g per 30-calorie serving)
- ENERGYbits have no chemicals or additives (so important when it comes to supplements!), no sugar, no caffeine, and are vegan, non-GMO, raw, and organic
- EnergyBits contain 40 vitamins and minerals, that increase your mental and physical energy, and can improve endurance
- A serving of ENERGYbits meets most of your daily nutritional requirements (this is from the ENERGYbits flyer – I’m not sure how they define or calculate this), and provides your brain and body with a steady supply of nourishment
- NASA gives algae to its astronauts, saying “1 kg of algae has the nutritional equivalent of 1,000 kg of fruits and vegetables”
- You know I love protein, antioxidants from vegetable sources, and anything that provides energy, so the nutrition stats are right up my alley.
- I first swallowed the Bits during a long day at the office, and expected to feel an energy jolt as if I had had a cup of coffee. I didn’t feel anything. However, Jonathan reminded me that I was supposed to feel a slow stream of sustained energy and fatigue reduction, so I tried again. The several other times I have tried, I do feel a bit less fatigued (I think). It’s NOT a noticeable burst of energy, but that’s not what it’s supposed to be.
- I’ve also taken the Bits right before a run, and the effect I feel is slightly more noticeable there. Again, it’s sustained energy, so it’s not a big burst, but I do think that if I take 15 or so Bits before a run, I tend to feel stronger throughout the run.
- Even though the impact I felt was less than I expected, I still wholeheartedly believe in the nutritional benefits of spirulina, and I also believe that the quality of spirulina from ENERGYbits is top-notch – they explained to me via Instagram that they did several years of research before taking the product to market, and use extreme quality control measures.
- I have a very sensitive stomach, so the thought of taking 20-30 Bits scared me. (The company is strongly convicted that these are not “pills” but little bits of food). However, I have never felt any discomfort from taking these, even when running!
- When you first open the tin, the smell is a bit … fishy. Honestly, it didn’t bother me at all. I just swallowed the Bits and closed the tin back up, but I’ve read several reviews where the person was so turned off that they couldn’t swallow the Bit. Not sure what that says about me!
- Some of the literature suggests that the Bits will “fill you up like a meal.” I’m a generally hungry person, but I can promise you that I won’t be skipping any meals for Bits! They might have taken the edge off of my snacking urge, but they did not fill me up.
- The biggest downfall for me are that the Bits are not cheap. They run about $3.25 per serving (30 Bits). However, the company points out that if you’re comparing this to an energy drink, energy shot, or other supplement, it’s in line with (or cheaper than) other options. And cheaper spirulina options can come with scary additives that it’s best to avoid.
- The ENERGYbits website has a TON more information and is really well done, so check it out if you want more details!
So, are you ready to try ENERGYbits yourself? The easiest way to do so is to enter my giveaway using the Rafflecopter plug-in below (US residents only, sorry! Open until 11:59pm CT on 12/8/13). If you don’t win, though, ENERGYbits are only available at ENERGYbits.com, and Jonathan has shared with me that he’d be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits – you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do have to say that Jonathan has been SO patient with me – I questioned the product so many times, and he was kind and understanding with his explanation every time. He also put up with incredibly long email response times from me!
So tell me in the comments … have you every tried spirulina? Have you ever tried ENERGYbits? What gives you energy? Any thoughts on hosting reviews/ giveaways on a separate day?
And to respond to your last comment, I’m not following a training plan this time around for the marathon. I’m kinda building my own for this one. and if I tank, i’ll follow one for a fall marathon haha. 🙂
Ha – I’m doing the same thing! Well, I AM following a plan (I always do!), but it’s a plan I made myself. I’m confident in it, so we’ll see how it goes!
They had sent me a sample too and I was also freaked out about taking 30 “bits.” I kept thinking I was overdosing or something. I’m curious as to why they can’t make just a couple pills but bigger. I like them, but as a person on a tight budget, it’s out of my price range.
I felt the same way at first, Tonya, but got used to it for the most part!
Thank you for sharing your reviews! I tried a protein powder from Central Market with spirulina that was pretty good. But, one ingredient products are even better.
That’s great to hear, Christy! After trying the plain spirulina powder, I wasn’t sure there was any powder out there that would taste OK. I’ll give it another shot!
I would love to try these!
I haven’t tried either. A lot of times I’ll have a protein bar before a workout or a big spoonful of peanut butter.
A spoonful of peanut butter is such a delicious treat, Barbie :).
I have done game and music reviews formally for more than 15 years, and before then informally back before there were blogs or websites and these things happened on USENET. So … not only do I not have a problem with bloggers doing reviews, I really don’t understand the backlash some experience.
Actually that is only somewhat true – I just got a product to review that was released a few months ago (putting me in the ‘second wave’ of reviewers). But when I was having a problem and decided to search it out, I found a number of blog ‘reviews’ that made me question whether or not the person had even USED the product! You know what I mean? Straight PR stuff.
To me it is all about integrity – because the moment you talk about a product on your blog, you are attaching your brand to that review. You had a bunch of unanswered questions, which in a supplement is a very honest and natural experience. You tend to eat well (LOVED your ‘eat the rainbow’ Instagram), so I wonder how THAT impacts how this works? It is hard to measure the impact of a supplement – because it is often about ‘avoiding the negative’. If you are less fatigued, is it the supplement or that you rested and ate better? Hard to tell.
For me, the cost is a major factor – and I remember seeing some of the reviews like you mentioned and thinking THIRTY?!? And that was before I knew the cost. I don’t use gimmicky supplements or buy expensive take-out coffee much at all, and certainly no icky-sweet energy drinks … so this expense is something that immediately puts me into ROI mode 😉
Thanks for the review – probably not going to enter, because on the off chance I won I’d rather leave these for another reader to try out. 🙂
Thank you so much for your honest feedback, Michael. I can assure you that I will never review a product that I haven’t tried, and I will always share my honest opinion. If I could ask you a favor, please do let me know if they ever rub you the wrong way – you seem to be someone that is comfortable being honest, and I would appreciate the honesty!
Thanks for the comment on my eating the rainbow Instagram! That was a fun one! I did think about the fact that I (generally) eat a healthy and balanced diet. I don’t have any research to back this up, but I would imagine that the impact might be lesser for someone who does eat a healthy diet. (My idea is that if your body is not used to antioxidants and nutrients from vegetables and whole foods regularly, a powerful inflow of nutrients from spirulina might seem like a bigger boost). Again, this part is JUST my thoughts, no research. Agree with you on the cost – I can totally see how it may be worth it for some people, but I can also totally see how $3.25 per day really adds up!!!
Were you able to find the ingredients list anywhere? I got a product similar to these in a sample box I receive each month, but I had to throw them away because of one of the ingredients (I can’t remember what it was). These sound neat, but I couldn’t find the ingredients on their website and would hate to buy them and throw them out!!
Hey Rachel! You probably couldn’t find the ingredients list anywhere, because there’s just one! ENERGYbits are literally 100% spirulina algae, no preservatives, nothing artificial. Literally nothing else. That’s why I like this brand over others, so you don’t get the scary stuff. Feel free to enter the giveaway if you haven’t already – there’s nothing like trying a product for free the first time before spending your money on it!
Green smoothies 🙂
Yum, I love them too, Kellie!
I like honest reviews too – thanks for adding a few.
BUT…… I know I would NEVER get beyond any hint of fishy smell, and I don’t want to have to eat 30 bits/bites of anything that I don’t love. As Mark Cuban would say, “and for that reason, I’m out.”
Oh, Mom, you and your “eating with your eyes” (or nose). You’re right, you probably couldn’t do these :).
Thanks so much for sharing your honest opinion! I actually turned down a review from them because I was going through a bunch of food sensitivities at the time and I was really worried about consuming so many pills. But that’s great to know you didn’t feel any discomfort!
I don’t mind product reviews so as long as they are honest, products that seem to relate or fall under the blogger’s ‘theme’, and don’t take over the blog!
Ugh, I’m sorry that you were going through food sensitivities!! I know what a pain it is to have an upset and unpredictable stomach :(. But yes, happy to report that my stomach felt no different while taking the Bits! Thanks for your opinion on product reviews – please feel free to let me know if it ever changes.
I love this review because it seems honest and really thorough. I don’t mind when bloggers do reviews. It’s annoying when they happen every day, but honestly, I feel like I choose which blogs to read, and if I find that one has been inundated with reviews, I just stop reading. I’m always hesitant to try energy shots/drinks/blocks/whatever. I knew I was going to have to incorporate them into running but now that isn’t an issue. Do you feel like this could be an option for running fuel, or is it too difficult trying to eat 30 of these to notice a difference?
Thank you for your thoughts, Amy – much appreciated! If you ever feel like I’m doing too many reviews, please let me know. And you KNOW you will be back to running soon enough, so fueling is still something you have to think about :). I don’t think that eating 30 of these would be difficult on the run (as long as you have water – I’ve swallowed 10 at a time with no problem). So, if you have eaten a meal a few hours before, or if you’re just using these as fuel/ fatigue reduction for a shorter run, I think these would be great. I have used them before runs as my only fuel when the run is 60 minutes or shorter. I personally would not recommend them as fuel for longer runs (unless taken with something else) – even though they are really good for you, your body still needs calories when you’re doing really long runs, and 30 calories won’t be enough to sustain you.