Em’s Power Cookies – $4.95
I’m not a huge believer in the power of specialist power bars, to be honest. Yes, they are a conveniently-sized source of fuel for your body, but they’re pretty much all the same, aren’t they? And you might as well buy a box of muesli bars from the supermarket, no? Well, that depends. Sure, a bog-standard cereal bar is a whole lot better than nothing, but properly formulated energy food can make a noticeable difference in performance, and the sugar high and subsequent crash of jelly snakes is definitely not a good idea during an intensive all-day activity.
Emily Miazga is a Kiwi athlete who has won the famous Speight’s Coast to Coast adventure race three times. She’s super-fit and actually looks a lot like the cartoon character on the cookie packaging. Well, she has an outfit just like that one, with lightning bolts and everything, and is a welcome sight at promotional events, I can tell you!
Anyway, in 2004 Em decided she could do better than what was then available and came up with her recipe for Power Cookies. Made with all natural ingredients they are designed to provide a sustained energy release during your chosen activity, and are available in the full 85-gram portion or as a smaller Power Bite. All very good, but the first thing that impressed me was the taste – it’s really nice! The soft dough and big chunks of dark chocolate pretty much won me over straightaway. Em also makes a range of more traditional Power Bars which are compressed blocks of energy but they are not as tasty in my opinion, although gluten free options are useful if you need that.
Anyway, onto testing. I have used Em’s for both hiking and trail running and I do find that as a big, soft cookie it can crumble to bits in your pack if you’re not careful, although this doesn’t bother me. Often it is hard to gauge whether your nutrition is having an effect or not. I remember one long-distance trail race in which I ran out of puff so suddenly that I just stopped dead (otherwise known as ‘bonking’!) I could barely find the energy to open the wrapper of my energy bar, never mind continue running. The first couple of bites were a struggle to chew and swallow but they gave me the strength to finish the bar, and when that took effect I came back to life like a Duracell bunny and continued running for another couple of hours. It was quite incredible.
Fortunately this didn’t happen in my last event – a 70-kilometre run around a remote Pacific island. Runners don’t have time to be fiddling with foil packaging so I crumbled three Power Cookies into a ziploc bag which I kept in my hip belt pocket, and I ate a handful every hour or so. Apart from a couple of bananas, some Clif Shot Blocks and a healthy dose of Pure Electrolytes Hydration, this was all I consumed for the 11 hours I was running. And it worked. Well, I finished the event and I’d say my choice of nutrition played a big part in that. So next time you’re grabbing a box of Coles muesli bars, maybe try a couple of Em’s Power Cookies instead.