EPIC bars are an absolutely breakthrough food. They combine smoky meat, tangy fruits, crispy nuts, and deep spices masterfully, for a total umami thrill with each bite. And their texture is amazing: tender, perfectly chewy. They evoke good pulled pork or brisket; real BBQ that you’d eat happily and easily, savoring small nibbles and huge bites. The Bison Bacon EPIC bar is incredible — Tender bison, savory smoky bacon, and tart cranberries combine to create an EPIC tasting bar unlike anything you have experienced! Not only are EPIC bars delicious, they’re made with ingredients so clean that they put most other protein sources to shame. From field to shelf, Taylor and Katie (the epic creators of EPIC bars) have done absolutely everything right. ~
For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
Confession time: I used to be a junk food vegan during most of the 1990s. I thought it was the healthiest way to live. And I exercised a lot and didn’t cook much, so I went through an awful lot of energy bars. Power Bars, Cliff Bars, Luna Bars, Balance Bars, Mojo Bars — if it was tooth-achingly sweet and purportedly nutritious, I probably tried it.
As I learned more about nutrition, I stopped eating this sort of stuff. But the energy bar section at Whole Foods kept growing and growing, to the point where it now takes up an entire aisle in some stores. Most of these bars have a few issues. They’re full of high-glycemic sweeteners like brown rice syrup and tapioca syrup (primal pro tip: avoid sweeteners and oils from foods that don’t normally seem sweet or oily.) They’re generally loaded with dodgy processed proteins like hydrolyzed soy protein and rice protein concentrate. And they’re often plumped out with grains, generally non-sprouted. If they’ve got creamy coatings, they may well contain icky stuff like fractionated palm kernel oil. Even the nice pure raw organic ones with whole ingredients often contain so much sugar that they feel more like high-glycemic treats than like bona fide sustained energy sources.
On many a pre-road trip shopping expedition I stood in the energy bar aisle looking at label after label, emerging empty-handed, bemoaning the fact that nobody was making anything appropriate for my primal sensibilities. I didn’t want yet another cloyingly-sweet over-processed soy log. I wanted savory, hearty, meaty goodness, chock-full of healthy fat and protein and umami.
And then I discovered EPIC bars.
What if there was a whole foods snack bar that was high in nutrients, low in sugar, 100% grass-fed, like our ancestors ate? Wouldn't that be... EPIC!?
EPIC bars are an absolutely breakthrough food. They combine smoky meat, tangy fruits, crispy nuts, and deep spices masterfully, for a total umami thrill with each bite. And their texture is amazing: tender, perfectly chewy , not rubbery or too dense — unlike any jerky you’ve ever had. They evoke good pulled pork or brisket; real BBQ that you’d eat happily and easily, savoring small nibbles and huge bites. I love good jerky, but EPIC bars are something else altogether. They’re more like rustic charcuterie, primal sausages to be eaten nibble by nibble, no knives or napkins or toothpicks required. And not only are EPIC bars delicious, they’re made with ingredients so clean that they put most other protein sources to shame. From field to shelf, Taylor and Katie (the epic creators of EPIC bars) have done absolutely everything right. Primal athletes and systems thinkers, they’re committed to personal health, animal welfare, and planetary sustainability, and they’re obsessed with sourcing their meat from small-scale ranchers who are doing it right. Yeah, you might aspire to hunt and cure your own meat, creating your own little charcuterie stash, but if you’re like most of us, you probably have trouble even fitting exercise into your all-too-busy days. EPIC is here for all those moments when you want to eat something amazingly delicious and healthy, something savory and meal-like, but have absolutely zero time to do anything but open a wrapper. It’s not easy being a postmodern primal, but EPIC is here to help.
The amazing Bison Bacon Cranberry EPIC bar delivers a substantial serving of our two most favorite meats; 100% grass-fed and organic buffalo brilliantly combined with humanely certified uncured (nitrate-free) bacon! This unique, modern-day take on a Plains Indian staple food known as pemmican is sure to exceed your energy demands. Tender bison, savory bacon, and tart cranberries combine to create an EPIC tasting bar unlike anything you have experienced! Between the rich smoky umami bacony goodness and the tangy-sweet cranberries, this bar is so insanely delicious that I’ve already eaten three, just writing this review!
Fun fact about bison: This nutrient-dense, flavorful, and outrageously lean animal is an iconic symbol of North America. For the past 10,000 years, the American Bison has played a crucial role in shaping the Great Plains and nourishing the native tribes that inhabited them. As late as 1871, a single herd of bison could easily contain over 1 million animals and take a man 6 days to pass through!
EPIC source of
- Vitamin B12
- Low glycemic
- Gluten free
EPIC's story, in their own words
The roots of EPIC were planted 5 years ago, when Katie and I decided to become vegetarians. While driving through rural New Mexico on one of our epic outdoor adventures, we witnessed the horrors of an industrial cattle feedlot off the side of an isolated country road. For the first time, we became increasingly aware of the large-scale industrial animal factories that supply the world's meat, but we never connected the dots to the animals that we consumed everyday. Immediately, we reconsidered our own consumption of meat to protest the unnatural and inhumane raising of animals.
As vegetarians, Katie and I continued our pursuit of epic adventure to new extremes. We raced marathons, trained for Ironman triathlons, and frequently entered the wild where we pushed our bodies and spirits to previously unimaginable limits. Sometimes we would be out for so long that we had to sleep in fields just to find the energy to drag our bodies the final few miles home.
Shortly after, we reached a point in which we were becoming increasingly fatigued, losing muscle mass, and suffering from symptoms of overtraining. Over time, we discovered that the problem was that Katie and I could not consume enough nutrient-rich protein and vitamins to keep up with our constantly recovering bodies. We both felt a sense that we were missing a fundamental element to our diets and we instinctively began reintroducing animal protein that we purchased from our local farmers market. At the time, this was the only available outlet for humanely- treated organic and grass-fed meats.
Once again omnivores, we were consuming well- balanced diets of plant-based whole foods, with the addition of grass-fed and organic meat. We also recognized that we were eating how our human ancestors ate for over the past 250,000 years! Almost instantly, we experienced improved recovery, performance, and exuberance towards the foods we ate. As a result, we were having more epically glorious days!
Here's a cool video(and well-shot!) featuring Katie and Taylor and their thinking on Ancestral diet and health, and the genesis of EPIC bars.
We quickly discovered there is a lack of conveniently packaged grass-fed and organic animal protein in the market. This problem peaked when we would spend long days training or in the backcountry seeking adventure. In order to continue eating animal protein on the go, we were forced to choose between conventionally raised animal jerky and canned meats filled with preservatives. We refused to eat either and set out to create what would evolve into the modern day EPIC bar.
Due to an ingredient label unlike anything else, EPIC epitomizes REAL food. Based on our deep-rooted evolutionary biology, EPIC specializes in creating nutrient-dense animal based protein products for people on the go. EPIC foods will always be humane, pasture centered, and most importantly, delicious. May you fill your life with epic adventure and epic health!
EPIC's commitment to happy healthy animals
EPIC foods begin with a living animal. We set the industry standards by sourcing our meats from ranchers that we deem EPIC. We mandate proof of certifications, which validate that our animals receive the utmost humane treatment. We believe that EPIC animals should always live pasture-centered lives where turkeys forage, pigs wallow, and buffalo roam. This is the way nature intended animals to be and we see ourselves as leaders in recognizing the value of sustainable and responsible animal welfare practices.
EPIC cattle: The Global Animal Partnership 5-step Animal Welfare Program has rated our cattle a Step 4. This ensures that every EPIC cow has had continuous and unconfined access to pasture throughout its life cycle. Additionally, our beef is certified NOP 100% organic.
EPIC pigs: Our pigs are certified by the Humane Farm Animal Care Program standards. This ensures they are raised with shelter, resting areas, and sufficient space to engage in natural behaviors!
EPIC turkey: All our turkeys are raised on small family farms that are 3rd-party audited. Our turkey farmers are all approved by Whole Foods Market and meticulously track each bird throughout its life cycle. Although they are not 100% grass fed, they are fed a nutrient dense diet that is relatively low in corn when compared to other turkey farms. Additionally, our turkeys are provided shelter and sufficient space to engage in natural gobbling behaviors! It is our goal to find a steady source of 100% pastured turkeys within the next year.
EPIC buffalo: Our bison are 100% grass fed on land that is free of synthetic chemical sprays throughout their entire life cycle. Both the bison and the land they graze are certified organic by CCOF.
EPIC's commitment to planetary health
Not only do humanely-treated grass-fed animals live better, more natural lives but they place less stress on the land they inhabit. Our animals live on EPIC lands. When properly managed, grass-fed animals can produce a net benefit to the environment. Pasture grazing requires significantly less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet consisting of corn, soy, antibiotics, and hormones. Pastured animals fertilize the land they graze on, which eliminates the fossil fuels required by conventional fertilizing practices. Lastly, grass-filled fields not only hold on to topsoil and moisture but also more effectively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than any other use of land!
EPIC's commitment to human health
We believe that epic foods should inspire epic health. For that reason, our ingredients are sourced exclusively from farmers and ranchers that we deem epic.
All EPIC bars are soy free, dairy free, no added nitrates or nitrites, low glycemic. All epic animals are vegetarial fed, humanely treated, hormone-free, antibiotic-free.
Perhaps the most compelling argument for consuming grass-fed meats comes from the EPIC nutrition that is passed on from animal to human. The brilliance of this nutrient transfer is based on how the animals are raised. Grass-fed animals are loaded with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for both cardiovascular health and contain anti-inflammatory properties. They also have significantly higher values of vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants.
For athletes, grass-fed meat is particularly favorable in that it contains up to twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which promotes the development of lean muscle tissue and lowers the risk for a myriad of other health problems.
EPIC's commitment to deliciousness
By combining delicious tasting and lightly smoked animal protein with savory nuts and dehydrated fruits, EPIC foods taste amazing! EPIC foods are unique in the sense that they are more savory, tender, and flavor-forward than jerky without the high carbohydrate and sugar load of other bars. Reconnect with your ancestral diets and enjoy every bite of it!
EPIC's answers to all your questions
Why is the turkey bar 100% natural instead of 100% grass fed?
It is our goal to sell 100% grass fed animal protein, however, at this point in time we are unable to find a reliable and high quality supplier of 100% pastured turkey. As a result, we sourced a 100% natural turkey rancher that exceeds our high standards for animal welfare. We will continue to search for 100% pastured turkey, which will eventually become the norm once society acknowledges it’s value for humans and animals alike. Additionally, turkeys are omnivores and thereby should not be labeled “100%“ grass-fed. They love eating insects and worms!
Who should eat these bars?
EPIC is for everyone! Long lasting satiety comes easily with EPIC's nutrient-dense protein content and the absence of grains. This makes EPIC a great option for on-the-go healthy snacking.
Additionally, EPIC bars are loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3's, muscle-building CLAs, and antioxidant-rich vitamins A and E, thus also making EPIC a perfect fuel for athletes.
Lastly, the low-glycemic nature of EPIC creates the perfect snacking option for diabetics, Paleolithic eaters, and others looking for a pure form of protein, just the way nature intended.
How do athletes use EPIC?
The high protein and CLA content of EPIC makes our bars the perfect post-workout recovery meal for athletes. However, it is worth noting that a growing number of endurance athletes are experimenting and thriving with low carbohydrate fuel sources. Due to a uniquely low-glycemic index, our bars promote fat oxidation (your bodies ability to burn fat as fuel). As a result, EPIC is a great fuel source when doing low to moderate level exercise (>70% VO2max). Additionally, EPIC can be consumed pre-workout to top off energy stores and avoid a spike in insulin levels!
Venables MC, Achten J: Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise in healthy men and women: a cross-sectional study. J Appl Physiol 2005, 98 (1):160-167.
Goedecke JH, St Clair Givson A, Grobler L: Determinants of the variability in respiratory exchange ratio at rest and during exercise in trained athletes. Am J Physiol Endorinol Metab 2000, 279 (6):E1325-1334.
Achten J, Gleeson M: Determination of the exercise intensity that elicits maximal fat oxidation. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002, 34 (1):92-97.
If athletes do a low-carbohydrate diet, how do they fuel their exercise?
Fat is the ideal energy source for life's daily activities; whether walking, working, or running a 100-mile trail race, our bodies prefer to utilize fat as an energy source. Carbohydrates only come into play when you're doing repeated bouts of high intensity exercise like sprints or intervals. In those situations, it is helpful to supplement with a high carbohydrate drink or bar.
If interested in learning more about fat oxidation and low carbohydrate exercise we suggest reading the following book:
Volek, J. Phinney, S. (2012) The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Lexington, KY: Beyond Obesity LLC
How do EPIC bars differ from other protein bars?
EPIC is 100% animal-based whole protein. It is minimally processed and contains all essential amino acids. Additionally, EPIC bars are much easier for your body to digest when compared to other bars. This results in superior protein utilization.
Other protein bars typically source either soy or whey protein isolates. These highly processed ingredients undergo toxic chemical treatments to create a protein source that is difficult for your body to recognize. Additionally, other bars have to rely on syrups and/or sweeteners to counterbalance the chalky flavor of protein powders. This results in an unavoidable and often unfavorable high sugar/carbohydrate load that is seen in every other protein bar on the market.
What is more important to buy? 100% grass fed or 100% organic animals?
We believe that 100% grass-fed animals are beyond organic. 100% grass fed animals eat a nutrient rich, diverse diet of pasture, which creates a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients when compared to other forms of animal rearing. Keep in mind that current USDA regulations permit 100% organic animals to be feed a diet primarily consisting of only corn, soy, and other cheap fillers. These organic feeds lower the amount of omega-3's, CLA, and vitamin E in the animal. Additionally, there is no guarantee that a 100% organic animal did not live the majority of its life in a confined space.
To read more on farm animal welfare we suggest:
Friend, C. (2008) The Compassionate Carnivore. Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press
Salatin, J. (2011) Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People and a Better World. New York, NY: Hachette Book Group
Why do the Beef and Bison bars have so much fat? I thought fat was bad for you.
Contrary to popular belief, fats are vital for optimal health. The fats present in EPIC bars are dense in omega-3 fatty acids, which are arguably some of the most nutritious foods in existence. Without fat in your meals, your body tends to avoid absorbing all the nutrients found present in other foods. Fats get a bad wrap, but are essential elements to our diets.
Taubes, G: Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It: Alfred A. Knopf; 2011.
Taubes, G: Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, And The Controversial Science Of Diet And Health: First Anchor Books; Sept 2008.
Volek JS, Phinney SD: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: Beyond Obesity; May 2011.
What is the connection between saturated fat intake and heart disease?
This is yet another myth that is often propagated by outdated medical dogma. In fact, most recent studies have concluded that saturated fat intake likely has no relation to heart disease! Here are some peer reviewed medical journals to reference:
Kuipers RS, de Graaf DJ, Luxwolda MF. (2011.) Saturated fat, carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. Netherland Journal of Medicine, 9;11.
Kazumasa Yamagishi, Hiroyasu Iso, Hiroshi Yatsuya. (2010.) Dietary intake of saturated fatty acids and mortality from cardiovascular disease in Japanese: the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 8; 10.
Patty W Siri-Tarino, Qi Sun, Frank B Hu. (2010.) Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1;10.
Doesn't eating dietary fat make us fat?
NO. Fat is very satiating, especially when paired with other low carbohydrate foods. By staying full longer, we inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiation or satisfaction! Additionally, when fat is consumed together with a low carbohydrate source, similar to EPIC, your body improves its own ability to access stored body fat and burn it as fuel. This actually aides in fat loss.
Volek JS, Phinney SD: The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: Beyond Obesity; May 2011.
Forsythe CE, Phinney SD: Comparison of low fat and low carbohydrate diets on circulating fatty acid composition and markers of inflammation. Lipids 2008, 43 (1):65-77.
Volek JS, Quann EE: Low carbohydrate diets promote a more favorable body composition than low fat diets. Strenth and Conditioning Journal2010, 32 (1):42-47.
What is organic cultured dextrose and why is it in my EPIC bar?
Organic Cultured Dextrose is a naturally derived ingredient used to help maximize the freshness of EPIC bars. It is created in a fermentation process (similar to kombucha) in which live microorganisms are allowed to consume fruit sugar. The byproduct is a QAI certified organic ingredient that is free of soy, dairy, and gluten. By utilizing the simple fermentation process that naturally occurs throughout nature, cultured dextrose is as clean and simple as the rest of our EPIC ingredients.
What is lactic acid started culture and what is it doing in my EPIC bar?Lactic Acid Starter Culture is a natural ingredient used to cure meat. The starter culture is derived from vegetables and is dairy free. By using a combination of age-old preservation methods with the addition of Lactic Acid Starter Culture, we can produce a high quality shelf stable product without any harsh preservatives!
Are these bars paleo?
Yes! As a matter of fact, EPIC produces the most Paleo-friendly protein bar available in the market!
Do you have any scientific support as to the benefits of grass fed animal protein?
There are numerous high quality peer reviewed research articles that confirm the health benefits of grass fed animals vs. grain fed animals. Here is an all-encompassing study from California State University that we enjoy referencing:C.A.Daley, K.Harrison, P. Doyle, A. Abbott . (2010.) A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9:10.