The founders of EPIC bars are on a mission to change the way you think about protein snacks
Husband-and-wife athletes Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest were training hard for upcoming marathons and competitions, following a well-meaning vegetarian diet but suffering from a myriad of ailments, from gastrointestinal issues to painful inflammation.
After trying a variety of food plans to relieve their symptoms, Taylor and Katie adopted a Paleo diet, based on food similar to what our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic era, like lean meats and other animal protein, leafy vegetables and nuts—and saw results, both in athletic performance and daily life.
But they soon became frustrated with the lack of conveniently packed, nutrient-dense protein snacks for their on-the-go lifestyle, and decided to create their own Paleo protein bars made from 100 % grass-fed meat, tangy fruits, salty seeds and crunchy nuts. Gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free, the protein bars, jerky-like bites and trail mixes are made from pasture-raised animals that are free from antibiotics, fed organic and treated humanely. The results are environmentally-friendly, low sugar, low-glycemic, “EPIC” protein product alternatives.
OSM: Is your demographic mainly athletes?
TC: Katie and I are athletes at heart, and have always been inspired by people living active lifestyles. Although we created EPIC to help fuel our own athletic endeavors, our core demographic are natural foodies who are looking for clean and convenient animal-based snacks.
OSM: What benefits of EPIC bars are not found in conventional protein bars?
TC: Because EPIC bars are created from 100 % grass-fed animal meat, consumers get the benefits of vitamins and minerals such as iron, omega-3, CLA, and B12. Unlike soy-based protein bars, our bars are not full of syrups or sweeteners to offset the chalky protein powders. The end result is a savory, low sugar, high protein bar that is consistent with the evolutionary diets of our ancestors.
OSM: We love that you mention the environmental advantages of using 100% grass-fed animals for your bars—are these eco-benefits superior to the environmental effects from soy-based protein bars?
TC: Most people don’t realize this, but agriculture is the most destructive industry in the history of the world. Soy in particular is at high risk for being GMO. However when livestock is managed appropriately it can actually heal and regenerate neglected and abused land! Ranchers practicing the techniques taught by Alan Savory and Joel Salatin [the Savory Institute] are effectively creating flourishing ecosystems, healthy soil and hearty pasture land. Grass is one of the most effective means to carbon dioxide sequestration and can help reverse the effects of global climate change.
OSM: Who do you receive your certification from?
TC: The ranchers that we partner with are responsible for maintaining their grass-fed certifications. Some partner with the American Grassfed Association and others have internal management techniques specific to their land and ranch.
OSM: What would you say to someone who is, perhaps, “turned-off” by the idea of meat protein bar?
TC: I would first ask people “Why is a meat bar is strange?” When I step back and look at the ingredient labels of other protein bars I think it is much stranger to eat highly processed soy and whey isolate powders along with sugar-laden syrups. I also like to challenge people by telling them that our bodies readily recognize high-quality animal protein and have evolved to digest it very effectively.
OSM: So, no cooking required, obviously…but before the meat gets packaged is it smoked? Dehydrated?
TC: Before packaged the bars are cooked in a USDA plant. Although they are great to eat right out of the bag, you can also chop them up and pan fry them with other hot foods like eggs!
OSM: Just out of curiosity—what is the texture of the bar like?
TC: The texture of an EPIC bar is more similar to a summer sausage than a jerky. We add dried fruits, nuts, and unique spice blends that help the product stay more moist than jerky.