Monday, August 17, 2020

Elevation by Millville Pure & Simple Apple Pie Bar (Aldi)

Ingredients: apples, wood chips, dirt.
I’m going to go ahead and warn people now: take this review with a grain of salt. I always like to do that at the beginning of reviews for products that I’m not typically into, whether I enjoy it or not, just to warn people that it’s not something I would typically eat. In the case of Elevation’s Apple Pie bar, I don't think I ever would have tried it if my wife didn't pick it up to have on hand as a healthy snack...and then promptly forgot about them. It was during one of my frequent early morning scrambles—where I was desperately looking for a snack to get me through the work day—that I laid eyes on it, and decided to give it a try.

Well, I certainly don't have any doubts that these are vegan, like the packaging states: it looks like little bits of apple crushed up into a rectangle made of dirt. I'll admit that I don’t typically like these kinds of bars, and appearances like this don’t help: I'm already hesitant to want to eat the thing, so the least these companies could do is trick me into wanting to eat it. And dirt apple bars just ain't doing it for me.

Taking it a step further, even the aroma is off-putting: it smells kinda like a car tire made of apples. There are some notes of a rubbery material, mixed in with a dash of apple sweetness…let’s just say it’s about as appealing as it sounds. Between that and the appearance, I wanted to eat it less than I initially did, and I already didn’t want to eat it at all. But hey, only one thing matters, right? The taste, and I'm sure that...

...oh God, how do people even eat these? This is going to be a slow slog, and I’m literally only one bite in. It’s like my body is rejecting it…it's just sitting in my mouth, while my brain is firing off the same signals you'd get if you put, say, a penny in your mouth. It’s very grainy, for one, and while I can taste the apples, they are just a very small consolation for everything that surrounds it. The “rubbery” parts in the scent have a taste resembling prunes, while the oats chime in by adding a texture akin to chewing on wood chips.

The second bite doesn't get any easier: I feel like I'm a guinea pig in a twisted science experiment to test the limits of what constitutes “eating healthy”. And that second bite turns out to be my limit, as I throw in the towel, pitching the rest of the bar in the trash—something that I think is actually a first for me. No matter how disgusted I am by something, I can usually at least force it down, but it's like this combination of ingredients is just a perfect storm for my brain, which is desperately urging me to spit it out and throw it away. No way I can eat this thing in its entirety; if you can, congratulations: you’re probably healthy!

You gotta draw the line somewhere, and this represents something that's solidly on the other side of that line; that line constituting how far I would go to eat something “healthy”. This just tastes like garbage, with a flavor that doesn’t even resemble real food. It's like the ingredients were sourced from the dumpster of a vegan grocery store and recycled into bars.

Next time I want something "pure and simple", I’ll just cut up some apples, mix it in with some tree bark, and then “glue” it all together with some mud; maybe I'll add some leaves or some shit for a change in texture to offset the bark. I mean, why not? That would be even more all natural, easy to source, taste pretty much the same, and really save me some money! Money to the tune of $4.19 (for five 1.6 oz. bars), which is probably a good deal compared to the national brand, but not a good deal in the way that it’s revolting and virtually inedible.

Now, in this political climate, I feel the sudden need to remind everyone that this is obviously just my opinion: I'm not slagging on anyone that personally enjoys these; in fact, part of me is a little bit jealous. I wish I had the stomach for things like this to help me pull away from my largely unhealthy diet and lifestyle (although I don't think it's as bad as my reviews might make it seem; I'm at least active thanks to my work and our son). So if you enjoy these bars, feel free to provide a counterpoint in the comments, but don't take this as any sort of personal attack on your lifestyle or eating habits. 

Overall: 1/10. I know there’s a market for these, and I’m sure the price is great compared to the national brands, but come on: you have to draw the line somewhere in life, and I think this is where I personally draw the line for “healthy” bars. These are gross. Like, so gross that I can’t even force myself to finish one, and I can finish almost anything. Dip a turd in white chocolate and I'd have a better chance of making it through that than another one of these. The texture is grainy, with the oats giving off a “wood chip” vibe, and while the apple flavor does pop through, it’s feels as though every other ingredient was counter-engineered to eliminate any trace of deliciousness possible; like they're trying to punish you for wanting to eat right and become a better person. If this is your thing, great, but personally, I think I'll just stick to Elevation's protein bars and meal replacement shakes.

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