Tennis Stars Partner Up for Gluten-Free ArrowBar

ArrowBar 1

Tennis fans already know the names John Isner and Stevie Johnson, as well as former ATP pros James Blake and Michael Russell. But in addition to working up a sweat on the court, they’ve also played an integral role in developing ArrowBar, a new gluten-free energy bar. The all-natural, high-performance bar, developed by athletes for athletes and active people, quickly provides a 200-calorie boost of long-lasting energy.

“Many people know me as a pro tennis player but most don’t know that I am an avid golfer, basketball player and fisherman who loves to be active,” said Isner. “No matter what my days call for, there’s one thing I always lean on to keep my energy level high—ArrowBar. I truly believe that anyone who is active and cares about what they put in their body will love the long-lasting energy and great taste of ArrowBars.”

“The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day,” enthuses Blake. “It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”

Currently available in chocolate chip and cinnamon honey oat, the bars contain organic crispy rice, organic quick oats, natural almond butter, organic honey and organic brown rice syrup as a few of the core ingredients that blend simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates.

Blake and Russell played key roles in the initial creation of the bar. Russell, who played on the ATP World Tour until age 37, was known for his fitness and diet regimen. He personally consulted on the nutritional composition of ArrowBar, testing it in practice and competition at the end of his ATP career. “Whether I am deep in the fifth set, crushing a gym workout or just looking for a nutritious, great-tasting snack, ArrowBar provides the energy and nutrients my body needs,” raves Russell, who says he tried every nutrition bar imaginable during his 17-year professional tennis career.

Blake also took part in the early testing, eating it while training for and running the 2015 New York City Marathon. “I wish the ArrowBar had been developed sooner because I trust the process with which it is made. The ingredients are natural and beneficial to any athlete or anyone looking for nutrients to help get them through the day. It helps me still when I work out, play tennis, play golf, or just run around with my kids. It’s not a bar that I feel like I’m forcing down either. The taste makes it so easy to eat the bars on a daily basis.”

The ArrowBar team aimed to meet several objectives with their new bar. “The goal was to create a product that was easy to eat, that wouldn’t fall apart or melt in your bag, and that wouldn’t be tough to digest and sticky on your hands,” says founding partner and former collegiate tennis player Andrew Golub. “We accomplished all of those things with ArrowBar and kept the label extremely clean. As a team, we are all very proud to bring this bar to the market and we know this is a need for all active people.”

ArrowBar is available for purchase online at

Tastings from Natural Food Products Expo West, 2011

The Anaheim Convention Center was home to thousands of natural food products March 11-13, 2011. No matter how tired my feet were at the end of two days racing around to different booths, I left with a renewed sense of optimism on the direction of the food industry and a real sense of commitment to make smart food choices for me and my family.

One overall movement at this year’s show was the awareness and growth of non-GMO foods. “GMO’s (or genetically modified organisms) are organisms that have been created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE).” New species, that do not naturally occur, are created by science using merged DNA. They are bred to withstand disease or herbicide application but there is a growing concern that GMO’s are linked to health problems and environmental damage. Please visit the Non GMO Project for more information. I summed up their brochure very quickly here!

The other major food theme, which is no surprise at a natural product expo, is organic foods. There is so much emphasis on “clean food” and food that isn’t over processed. I find the innovation and the tastes to be really something special.

Of course, gluten-free food was one of the hottest buzz words on the floor. Two years ago, gluten free was called “trend.” Now, every break out session I attended said that gluten free was here to stay and growing. Panelists did not think gluten free would ever be as large a category as organic, but there is major growth supported by an ever growing number of consumers.

What I noticed about the new gluten-free products introduced at expo were the rich variety of gluten-free flours and the presence of whole grains! More producers were choosing millet, amaranth and quinoa flours than ever before. Mixes had coconut and almond flours and there were products that had the whole grain seal on them! This is a big change from the tapioca and potato starches and rice flour blends from the past. New mixes and products have really upped the nutrition.

So what did I enjoy tasting? Some of these products were new to me, but might not be new on store shelves.

In no particular order, here goes—
Feel Good Foods offered tastings of their GF Handmade Asian Style Dumplings with GF dipping sauce. OMG, they were just like the dumplings that I have missed so much. There are chicken, pork, vegetable and shrimp dumplings.

Starfish introduced frozen, oven ready GF Italian breaded sole and GF crispy battered cod, haddock and halibut. I have wanted this for a very long time, a quick frozen fish dish that works so well on an evening fill with baseball and lacrosse practices!

Kim & Scott’s Gourmet GF Pretzel bakes up hot and chewy with a salt packet on the side for garnishing to taste. They actually have 5g of whole grains per pretzel.

Riega Foods introduced a whole line of cheese sauces, white cheddar, yellow cheddar cheese, pepper jack and alfredo cheese sauces. These are going to be a busy mom lifesaver.

Solterra Foods has a huge gluten free line that includes gnocchi, pasta and baking mixes but their pizza with “bake in bag” technology is pretty exciting. The bag helps avoid cross contamination in ovens and margharita pizza was delish!

Usually, I am not a big fan of vegetarian burgers but I tasted Sol Cuisine Spicy Black Bean Burger and Original Burger and I liked both very much. I am definitely going to keep these in my freezer.

Barney Butter is my new sandwich spread! Their creamy almond butter was smooth and rich in nutty flavor and they are introducing a packet size, 90 calorie, portion that is supremely portable!

A GF fig newton? I tasted it and I loved it! Jovial Foods has a fig cookie that had me returning for a third and fourth cookie. They are imported from Italy and WOW!

There was a lot going on in the GF Bread category. First and foremost, Udi’s and Rudi’s have created hot dog and hamburger buns…amen! Glutino introduced Genius Gluten Free Bread which I predict will be a big success for them because the texture and flavor is very good.

Canyon Bakehouse is the one to watch. They have a large product line that includes hamburger buns, white bread, 7-grain bread, cinnamon raisin and rosemary-thyme foccaccia. They have included some interesting GF grains in their blend-millet, amaranth and sorghum to name a few. I am really excited about the taste and the whole grain seal!

Two mix companies caught my eye, The Pure Pantry’s dark chocolate cake mix was so good and the flour blend included quinoa flour! It was very rich and moist. Her entire product line was organic and three of her mixes were wholegrain (chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal spice cookie and the dark chocolate cake).

The XO Baking Co. launched a huge selection of GF baking mixes using coconut flour in her blend! Her sell sheet said that coconut flour is full of dietary fiber and is known to improve digestion and support thyroid function. I tried the banana bread mix and it was full of great banana flavor with a moist texture to the bread.

I tasted some great new biscotti from Ener-G and from Coffaro’s Baking Co!

It gave me great pleasure to see two cookie vendors that I have known since their start up days showing their goodies for the first time at Expo West, Caveman Cookies and Glow Gluten Free. I hope they both had a great show!

Lastly, some of the well known GF brands were showing off their new packaging. Chebe Foods and Nature’s Path Organic Foods both look sharp in their new boxes!

This is really only the tip of the iceberg…the take away message for me is that gluten-free food is more delicious than ever and that just about any type of food can be made gluten free.

Gluten-free Pierogi triggers memories

There are few foods I’m more emotionally attached to than pierogi.
So I took notice right away when I read that Conte’s Pasta Company is going to feature gluten-free pierogi at the upcoming All Things Organic conference.
In my family just the mention of pierogi triggers strong craving and even stronger memories.

When I was growing up, the first sign that my grandmother was about to make this traditional stuffed Polish dumpling came when a sturdy, white station wagon pulled up in front of her small yellow brick house on hilly Tenth Avenue in a steel mill town 20 miles from Pittsburgh.

A woman we called “the Farmer Lady” drove the station wagon and she was delivering – yes delivering – raw milk from her farm. My grandmother, my mother and sometimes her sisters would use the milk to make what we called “Farmer Lady Cheese.”

The process was a bit of a smelly mystery to me, but I know in the end there was always a tasty mound of white cheese swaddled in gauzy cheese cloth.
Once the cheese was done, my grandmother mixed it by hand with salt and pepper, egg and green onion in a big ceramic bowl.

Then dough was made from scratch by mixing flour, egg and sour cream. The team work in my grandmother’s tiny kitchen really began when super-ball-sized pieces of the dough were rolled into thin little pancakes. Some of my grandmother’s friends rolled all the dough out at once and cut circles with a glass, but my family always preferred to roll each pierogi individually. My mother and aunts got the dough so thin it was almost translucent. A dollop of the cheese mix was plopped in the middle and the pancake folded over to make a half-moon pocket. Then the seam was pinched tight.

Next the pierogi were boiled, though this was only a preliminary cooking step. The finish came later, when we sizzled butter in a frying in pan, then sautéed a precious pierogi or two until it was golden brown – ok so maybe it was usually three. Frying the pierogi gave the dough a little crunch along with a little color and the smell that filled the kitchen could bring all my grandmother’s grandchildren running.
You don’t have to go back too many years to find food far removed from the processed and packaged items we use so prolifically today. But pierogi-making was so labor intense that it occurred only a few times a year. The pierogi were divvied up among my grandmother’s children, and they then divided them among their children and grandchildren.

We each tallied and guarded our shares carefully. Woe be unto anyone who left theirs in the refrigerator where my younger brother could find them. When it came to pierogi, he did not respect any boundaries. Once I grew up and moved out-of-state, my portion was hidden in the freezer until I could come home and get it.
Whenever the subject of pierogi comes up – as it did recently at a gathering of my Baltimore neighbors of Polish and Slovak descent – the farmer’s cheese filling is see as an oddity, since most pierogi are filled with sauerkraut or mashed potato and cheese. From the time I was a kid, I always thought it made ours taste best.
But my own daughter, born into my Polish family as a fourth generation girl, never had a chance to taste one of these wonderful creations. Amanda was diagnosed with celiac disease right after her second birthday and since the dough was made from wheat flour, pierogi were off-limits.

So I thought the Conte’s pierogi, though they are filled with potato and onion, might at least provide Amanda an introduction to a food that carries so much meaning for me. I’m encouraged that the ingredient list includes egg in the dough, which is made with rice flour and cornstarch, since my mother says egg was an important ingredient in my grandmother’s original recipe. (You can order online at or

My grandmother died 10 years ago and each of her daughters has had health concerns in recent years so it has been a really long time since I’ve had a homemade pierogi. When I started to crave one after talking about them with my neighbors, I bought Mrs. T’s brand for myself (They are not gluten free). I have to admit they were about close to my families’ recipe as instant coffee is to Starbucks.
So it might seem backward to think packaged gluten-free pierogi would be the best way to introduce them to Amanda. But even their existence has me thinking we might be able to make a gluten-free version of the taste and smell and tradition that I remember. We could start slow, try the packaged ones and then tackle my grandmother’s original recipe.

I’ll keep you posted.