Will you take the Juti Challenge with me?

Juti Bars

“Juti” is Sanskrit for “Energy”

Late last year I connected with Matt Zembruski, the creator of Juti Bars, and we immediately hit it off. We’re both geeks about health, fitness, and internet technology… which makes for very long phone calls!

Although Juti bars are a relative newcomer on the energy bar scene, Matt’s been developing them (and eating them himself) for nearly a decade. Each batch is hand-made to order, and they’re actually perishable, unlike most packaged energy bars, which means they need to stay in the fridge or freezer. It also means they’re a vibrant, fresh, whole food. Oh yeah, and they’re vegan, gluten-free, and 100% organic.

After our first conversation, Matt graciously sent me a few (free) Juti Bars to try out. I have to say, I was impressed. They’re somehow simultaneously dense, moist, and slightly chewy–a nice combo–and have just enough chocolatey-sweetness to make them feel rich and decadent. I think they’re really best as a meal replacement; they’re both satisfying and filling enough to hold up to that goal (eat one with a tall glass of water!). A quick look at the ingredients list also helps explain why I became an instant fan:

Organic unsweetened applesauce, Organic peanut butter, Organic gluten-free rolled oats, Organic hemp protein powder, Organic vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (Fair Trade), Organic raw blue agave nectar, Organic sunflower seeds (raw), Organic chia seeds, Organic garbanzo bean flour, Organic vanilla extract, Organic cinnamon.

What’s missing?  Anything that fails my Kitchen Test: Preservatives, gums, stabilizers, or “natural” flavors (which so many supposedly healthy bars are adding these days, to my dismay).

The Juti Challenge

Okay, so why am I writing about these energy bars?  Matt has just issued the very first Juti Bar Challenge, and I’m super-excited to join in (and hope you will too)!

The concept is simple: Eat one Juti Bar a day for 30 days, and see what happens. (Okay, so it’s less of a challenge and more of an informal experiment, but it just sounds so much better to call it a challenge!).

The first one will run from February 1 to March 1, and it’s limited to the first 100 people who sign up. If you accept the challenge, you’ll get 30 Juti Bars shipped to you at the end of January (they need to be shipped just-in-time, and then most of them should be frozen so they’ll last for the month).

There will be a health/nutrition assessment before and after from Registered Dietitian Elise Curley, along with live weekly conference calls with Elise and other challengers (optional, of course). And upon completion, you’ll get a bonus “mystery reward” (I have no idea what that is, but I’m intrigued!).

I’ve signed up for the challenge, and hope you will join me, so click on through and check it out!

An Update on the Price

Jan 13, 2012: When I first published this post, I was remiss not to include the price of the challenge, and some people have had some “sticker shock” at the cost. So here ya go:  It’s $119 for the challenge (plus about $10 for shipping), which includes 30 Juti Bars and the aforementioned support network (health assessment, conference calls, etc.). That comes to about $4 per bar.  As Matt says in his FAQ section:

Unlike most every other bar on the market, each Juti Bar is handmade and fresh baked in our commercial kitchen. Great care, attention, and Love go into each bar that we make for you. Each ingredient is also very carefully chosen and purchased from the highest quality locations throughout the US and the world. Our ingredient and labor costs alone are higher than the retail costs of many of the mainstream bars today.

Yes, that’s more expensive than most “energy bars” out there. However, you’re also getting a higher quality product. I find that Juti bars are filling and satisfying enough to be a meal replacement (not just a snack) — so that may offset the extra cost for you. Additionally, you’ll be supporting a small startup business with ethical business practices, rather than a large corporation whose only goal is profits. I’ve spoken with Matt on the phone numerous times now, and I believe in what he’s doing — and that his motivations and goals are absolutely sincere and praise-worthy.

By the way, I’ve written before about my philosophy on Cost vs. Value — which I encourage you to read as well.

I’ve signed up for the challenge, and hope you will join me, so click on through and check it out!

Full disclosure: I paid with my own money to participate in the Juti challenge; it’s something I’m genuinely interested in, and think will be good for my health and an interesting experiment. If you sign up for the challenge using my affiliate links above, I’ll earn a commission from the sale (it won’t cost you any extra). I thank you in advance for your support!

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22 Responses to Will you take the Juti Challenge with me?

  1. Kellie Hill February 6, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    I’m a bit concerned about the use of agave nectar. Current research is showing this to be overly processed. Any consideration of using raw honey in the future?

  2. Rebecca January 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Why did I think there was going to be a great recipe I could try?
    I hope your challenge goes well, and if you have a great energy/protein bar recipe I could try, I’m all over it…my kitchen has loads of Bob’s Red Mill ingredients.

    • Andrew January 23, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Rebecca — Sorry for the unintentional misdirection! I’ve been tinkering with an energy bar recipe… stay tuned! 🙂

  3. Fabiola Figueroa January 20, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    I would like to add my opinion as a current consumer of the Juti Bar. I have known Matt for almost 2 years now and have been enjoying the bar ever since. It is the only bar I know that has all natural, all vegan, all organic ingredients, 100%. As an athlete, it’s important to have the right fuel when training and nothing has given me the satisfaction as the Juti Bar has. It provides me with the right nutrients and it keeps me fueled for those long hours of training. In addition to its nutritional value, it tastes great too. I warm it up and it tastes like a delicious warm brownie. The price may initially appear high to some. I used to think that way also. However, Matt’s prior points are legitimate. All organic, all vegan, all natural ingredients, and handmade are hard to come by in the current market. If you go to Whole Foods, looking for a high quality bar will also present itself as quite handsomely priced. It’s understandable people have many questions and certain hesitations. And that’s to be expected when a new product is being introduced to the market. That’s what makes us smart consumers. The more you inquire, the more you learn. And soon it will be learned that the Juti Bar is genuinely the highest contender to date as an energy bar for ultimate athletic performance, a supplement to a healthy diet, and a tasty snack.

  4. Matt Zembruski January 18, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Everyone,

    Since many worthwhile comments and concerns have been shared on this blog in the last several days, I want to weigh in from my perspective on things. I originally created the Juti Bar as the ultimate on-the-go breakfast for myself, and believe it or not, I’ve had one for breakfast just about everyday for the past 8 years. This breakfast habit has made a significant difference for my health and it provides me with the best steady stream of energy I have found over the years. It’s the only “bar” that I’ve tried that I enthusiastically look forward to eating everyday. I won’t bore you with the details of my story, as you can read all that on our website. But I do want to address a few comments that have been voiced here (in no particular order):

    1) I apologize for any confusion that has come about from my choosing to use the word “challenge” in the program we put together. It was not intended to be simply marketing hype to try to sell more Juti Bars. I founded this company because I believe in helping individuals raise their energy in an organic, sustainable way so they can feel better throughout the day — and so they can bring that something extra to their workouts. The Juti Bar has helped me and others to do just that for ourselves and I want more people to have the chance to experience the benefits too. As you know, we humans are all creatures of habit, and the reason I chose the word “challenge” is that I know that for most people it is challenging to follow through on creating a new habit. And even though it may seem easy to eat a Juti Bar each day for 30 days in a row, it’s still a conscious choice that an individual needs to make and it will require discipline (and support) to consistently follow through. Think for a moment about your #1 health goal right now. What if incorporating the Juti Bar into your routine as one of your meals or your pre-workout fuel could help you toward achieving your goal? Wouldn’t it be worth a try?

    2) We chose to bring a registered dietitian on board in order to both educate and support people throughout the Juti Challenge and beyond. Over the years, we have seen individuals elevate their health and quality of life to new levels based on information they have learned. A great example of this is Andrew’s blog that you’ve chosen to read. I’m sure it has made a positive difference in your life. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. 🙂
    We’re using the Juti Challenge as an opportunity to launch a newsletter/blog and audio interview series that is dedicated to the basic premise that drives most of our nutritional choices today: Good stuff in yields good stuff out. We believe the Juti Bar is “great stuff” and that it is truly a premium product in the marketplace.

    3) Each Juti Bar is made with the best of the best organic, gluten-free, and vegan ingredients — which are sourced from all over the world. This results in a very high ingredient cost per bar. We also make and package each Juti Bar by hand today in our commercial kitchen, which results in a high labor and facilities cost. Believe it or not, these factors alone make our cost to produce a Juti Bar significantly higher than the retail price of many mainstream bars today. So the price of $119 (for 30 bars) we chose is not about trying to squeeze out massive profits. Instead it is about covering our costs while allowing for a fair margin to enable the company to grow.
    If you feel the price is too high, here’s another way for you to think about it…..how much time and money do you currently spend on your breakfast each day? And how does your body feel for the next several hours after breakfast? If you’re very happy with what you’re doing today, then keep doing it. If you want to try the Juti Bar for $3.97 a day to see if that can improve things for you, then the Juti Challenge is great way to do that.

    At the end of the day, I just want to help more people consistently enjoy a better quality of life. The better quality of life you have, the better you feel, the better your relationships, the better your everything. I’m not saying that the Juti Bar is the only solution, but it’s certainly worth considering. And yes, I am a bit biased in this area. 😉

    It’s about putting the best nutrition into your body (in the most convenient way possible) so you can enjoy the best quality of life.

    Great Stuff In = Great Stuff Out

    To Your Highest Health!
    Matt Zembruski

  5. Evilcyber January 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    $129 for 30 days worth of energy bars? You got to be kidding, Andrew, and selling them under the pretense of a “challenge” involving a dietitian measuring “energy levels” actually makes things worse.

  6. debbie T January 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Andrew, I’d like to clarify, that I don’t mind spending more for better quality products. I think it’s totally possible to eat healthy while not spending a fortune. I don’t believe in “cheap” food.

    I think what really shocked me was you were involved in the promotion of “challenge” that initially seemed to be legit, but in reality, was just a ploy to sell a large amount of snack bars.

    If Matt wants to prove that his products affect a person’s energy or health, then it might be advisable to go about it in a different way.

    The whole thing seems very “late night infomercial”-ish to me, and it was surprising that you were involved, promoting it. Sorry…

    • Andrew January 13, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      Hi Debbie. Fair enough, and your point is well taken. Sorry it came across as infomercial-ish; that doesn’t sit well with me either.

      I think this challenge (or whatever we want to call it) is both legitimate and a way to promote Juti Bars. They’re not mutually-exclusive; just because Matt is trying to sell his product doesn’t necessarily invalidate the rest of it. But again, I see your point and it causes me a great deal of concern.

      This really illustrates the difficult line many of us have to walk when trying to balance promotion of a product with our ethics and mission. It’s the same reason why I’m extremely careful about the advertising on Eating Rules. Unfortunately, that also makes it significantly harder for me to pay for the time and expenses that go into it. I can’t use the larger ad networks, which would pay out more with much less effort, since I’d end up with ads for junk food… Which I think is far worse than partnerships such as the Juti Challenge.

      I’m curious to know what other ways you might suggest for Matt to showcase that his bars affect people’s energy and health? I’m not saying that sarcastically; I’m genuinely curious. I’m sure Matt would love to hear your suggestions!

      Thanks again,

  7. debbie T January 13, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Hmm, this is disappointing. Seems like one big advertisement to me.

    I would rather make my own snack bars, thank you. And I am really surprised that you didn’t disclose how much it actually would cost. For us trying to eat healthy on a budget, this is way out of line.

    • Andrew January 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Hi Debbie,

      Sorry for any disappointment; obviously that’s not my intent. I try to present a wide range of ideas and opportunities for my readers. As such, not everything is going to be a good fit for everyone all the time.

      I certainly encourage you to make your own bars, but not everyone has the time, inclination, or ability to do so. Similarly, not everyone is concerned about budget.

      Having said all of that, you’re right that I should have mentioned the cost before asking you to click through (you’re not the first person with “sticker-shock,” as you can see in the above comments). After I leave this reply I’ll revise the post to correct my mistake.

      Thanks very much,

  8. Andee January 12, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    I just signed up! I’m super excited to participate. More energy? I could use that with the chaos that is planned for the next two months.

    • Andrew January 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Yay! Hope your upcoming chaos isn’t too crazy! 🙂

  9. Adrian January 12, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Good luck with the challenge everyone!

  10. carrie @plums in the icebox January 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    this sounds really interesting, but i wish you had disclosed that the cost of this challenge is $119. that’s about $3.80 per day, which is a lot for an energy bar.

    • Andrew January 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

      Hi Carrie. Sorry, didn’t meant to surprise you with the price tag!

      I agree that at first blush these seem pretty pricey, especially when compared with other, mass-produced bars. However, considering the quality and source of ingredients (all organic!), as well as the fact that they’re hand-made in small batches, I think it’s reasonable. This is consistent with with my Twice as expensive, three times as good philosophy.

      Perhaps most important: If you have one of these as a meal replacement and not as an energy bar “snack,” the price doesn’t seem quite as high. Hope that helps! 🙂

  11. Velva January 11, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    Is there a dairy free version? Semi-sweet choc chips have milk in them.

    • Andrew January 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      The chocolate chips Matt uses are vegan. I actually asked him for the ingredients of the chips earlier today — when he gets back to his desk he’s going to send ’em over, and I’ll report back.

    • Andrew January 12, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      Hi Velva – Quick update: The chocolate chips are just three ingredients (no milk): Organic chocolate, organic sugar, and organic vanilla.

  12. rene January 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I am interested. Sign me up.

  13. Stephanie S January 11, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Just signed up!

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