The Great Gorp Project – Interview with Colleen Dyck

April 3, 2013

At Generation Green we are always on the lookout for innovative, healthy food products, that also taste great!

Gorp Bars fit that bill perfectly, and the fact that they are made right here in Manitoba, was a bonus!image001

We had the pleasure of hosting creator, Colleen Dyck  while she did a food sampling for Gorp Bars.  When our time together ended, we were left feeling inspired, motivated, and ready for adventure!

We want everyone to know about Gorp Bars, so read on as we interview Colleen and learn even more about these little bars!

1.    What was your initial inspiration in wanting to create the GORP bar?

I actually came across this whole concept by pure necessity! I started doing triathlons 7 years ago and didn’t like what I found on the market for tasty AND healthy protein  bars. . .I had to train in the city and drive home 30 minutes, I wanted to get protein to my muscles within that 20 minute window after working out, and found myself going through the drive through way too often. . .not cool. Most other energy bars on the market at the time were filled with cheap ingredients, corn syrup and usually had a weird aftertaste. Plus, I wanted my protein and nutrients to come from REAL FOOD not over processed powders. So I started doing research. .. .LOTS OF READING. . .and came up with this recipe. . .I just wanted to use it for myself, but after my training partners, friends and family started demanding the bars. .. I thought I might actually have an opportunity here! After years of testing it at the Food Development Center and finding a formula that tasted good, wasn’t processed with enzyme killing high heat,  and had a shelf life without using preservatives, GORP bar was officially ready to take to market! I also wanted to use as many ingredients grown on our family farm as possible. 7 ingredients are locally grown, Manitoba super stars and the honey comes right off our own canola fields.

2.       What separates the GORP clean energy bar from other energy or granola bars you see on the market?

The biggest thing I concentrated on was filling this bar with high quality ingredients that really packed a nutritional punch, BUT I also wanted it to taste good! I find this combination hard to come by in the market. It seems like there are healthy bars that taste bad and great tasting bars that are bad for you. ..but very few with great ingredients and great taste! I also wanted to make a bar that gave people not only protein, but also fiber, antioxidants and omega 3, so they would get the most benefits possible from one single bar.

3.       What does GORP mean?

GORP is a backpacker acronym from the 1960’s for GOOD OLD RAISINS AND PEANUTS!

4.       Where did you source your ingredients from?

I source ingredients from as close to home as I could. 7 of the ingredients are grown right here in Manitoba and 5 of them we actually grow on our family farm.

5.       Why did you choose the ingredients that you did?

I wanted to support the local economy while also using ingredients that we literally grow in our own backyard. The fewer miles the ingredient has to travel to us the better. Plus, ingredients like flax, hemp, oats and honey which are grown/produced here in Manitoba are among the biggest news makers in the health food world because they provide so many amazing benefits.

6.       What should you look for in an energy bar, and when should you consume one?

Personally I try to stay away from fake and refined sugars, high heat processing, and anything overly fortified. So basically I tell people to search for something that contains as many whole foods as possible, and this might sound silly, but look for something that you actually want to eat! If it tastes bad or doesn’t satisfy your hunger you either won’t eat it, or will end up overeating later. . .which defeats the whole point! As for when to consume an energy bar, it seems to be a very personal decision based on how your body and mind work. I keep one in my car or purse at all times to keep me out of the drive through and to keep me from that ravenous bad snacking that tends to happen when I skip meals! As for exercise, I like to eat it after my workout, but many people prefer to eat it before or even during. It really depends on how you feel. The antioxidants are great for recovery and the slow digesting carbs are perfect for going the distance, so however you chose to use it, there will be a benefit!

7.       What makes your energy bar, “clean”?

I worked really hard to go the extra mile when it came to chosing ingredients. They are either in their whole state, or if that’s not possible then I searched for the companies that used the best processing practices. We thought long and hard and experimented countless times with different protein sources to use in Gorp bar. In the end we decided to go with our gut and use a sprouted brown rice protein called Oryzatein made by Axiom. Oryzatein is nutritionally complete and rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, iron and potassium.

This is where we are proud to say our EXTRA MILE INGREDIENT SOURCING POLICY shines bright. This protein is extremely high quality and made adhering to the highest standards.

Why we use Oryzatein whole grain sprouted brown rice protein instead of soy or whey:

 •It’s truly hypoallergenic

•Delivers a proven concentration compared to other rice proteins

•Is the perfect vegetable based protein — thanks to a complete, balanced amino acid profile

•Provides an allergy-free food option

•Fits a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle

•Easy to digest, an alternative for people who have reactions to soy and whey

•Has a natural time release quality

•Is a complete vegan protein source made using an all natural process that does not involve the use of chemical solvents.

8.       Any roadblocks you faced while developing the GORP bar?

Oh yes! Over and over again! It’s really quite a process to bring a food product to market, aside from the incredible amount of both time and money it takes to set up an inspected manufacturing facility there are so many things to learn about logistics, food safety, retailers, distributors and just business in general! To be honest, it’s the most daunting adventure of my life. . .but it’s also the most invigorating and exciting path I’ve ever chosen. . .I am passionate about GOOD HEALTHY FOOD. .. and feel incredibly blessed that I get to help meet a need in people’s lives that is making a difference in how they feed and fuel their own adventures 🙂

9.       I read on your website that 10% of your net profits go to third world agricultural initiatives and children’s aid programs, tell us a little more about this, or what was the inspiration behind giving back to this cause?

Since we are farmers, agriculture is obviously really close to our hearts. My husband and I believe it’s one of the most important jobs on the planet. If we can possibly have a hand in helping people learn to grow food for their communities and families then we wanted to be a part of it. For us, it’s about standing in solidarity with others and being part of processes that give dignity back to those whom it’s been stolen from.

10.   Any tips for us Generation Green folks on how to eat cleaner/healthier, and become more active?

Ha ha! I am always challenging (o.k. . .some may say peer pressuring;) people to find ADVENTURE. (For the record, it’s my favourite word) My philosophy is DO IT AFRAID. . .if you wait to become confident before you act, you will most likely never get off your butt or gut. . .whatever ails ya! Recognize that confidence comes through ACTION not before. So sign up for that race, event or walk and just take the first step out the door. . .the other foot will follow, I promise! This ties in directly to eating clean and making healthy choices, get active first and clean eating choices will be easier to make. The first thing I do when I find myself in an eating rut is to get active. When you get those endorphins flowing and blood pumping, it’s a lot harder to pick up junk, you will find yourself naturally reaching for whole, REAL food.

11.   So you’ve completed triathlons! What was your motivation behind completing such a vigorous event!?

It sounds too simple, but I just wanted to feel happy. Getting active, having goals and being part of a community of people who are pursuing their own customized adventure is exciting to me! When you look around during a race and see all the different people overcoming fears, pain, or disabilities it adds to my sense of community and pride in mankind.  It’s also so good for all of us as a culture and society in terms of both physical and mental health 🙂

12.   Any future plans for GORP?

I have ALL kinds of plans, from new flavours to new product offerings. . .but I have to really focus on making consistent, small steps at this very critical start-up phase. I can become easily distracted by the BIG PICTURE and can spend half a day planning a staff mission trip to go dig a well in Africa somewhere before I come back down to earth and remember that I better make my loan payment first;) But someday. . . .I have a feeling this company could do some really cool things. . . that’s my goal anyways 🙂

Thanks Colleen for this interview, and thanks for bringing us Gorp Bars!

If you haven’t had a chance to try a Gorp Bar, your missing out! Stop by Generation Green, we always have a full stock of all three flavours!

Here’s to your health!


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