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California trip: Costco product review (part 2 of 2)

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Oct 22, 2009

Today I’m talking about a product review / comparison of Trio Bars and Bora Bora bars at Costco, both of which I love. I wish they hadn’t discontinued Lara Bars, but such it is. (I met Lara about 6 years ago, and she’s a raw foodist who “walks the walk.”)

Bora Bora bars are 180 – 200 calories (48 grams), three varieties, and cost $1 each and are the higher quality of the two brands, because they have sprouted flax seed and all organic ingredients. I love Trio bars, too, because they taste so yummy and are made from nuts, seeds, and fruits. Trio bars are four different varieties, 230 calories (40 grams), and cost $0.80 each. The price is much better than similar bars. I would buy these over virtually any “protein” bar I’ve ever seen, since the proteins are almost always fractionated versions of soy or whey, both ingredients to avoid. Occasionally at a health food store you can find hemp protein bars, which are preferable if you are really insist on eating bars that force protein to be a bigger macronutrient than normally found in nature.

Occasionally someone writes to me that they’re eating whole foods and mostly raw, without losing weight. I’d be amazed if that’s the case for anyone who undertakes the lifestyle for any extended period of time. I always immediately wonder about thyroid issues. But one thing to look at is the question of how much you are eating of high-fat nuts and seeds. They are good for you, but an ounce or two a day is sufficient. A Trio bar takes the edge off my hunger, but I’ll be hungry an hour or two later. Low-calorie, high-micronutrient food like what is in green smoothies is a very important part of a mostly raw, whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. It is unlikely but possible to be overweight eating nothing but raw plant food, if you’re overindulging in nuts/seeds/unrefined oils.

I like how Costco has more and more organic, whole-food options. However, be careful with your selections. Some of the stuff Costco sells is what I call “feel good” food, which is radically different than “good-for-you” food. They have whole-grain pasta, which is good, and Rice Dream, and lots of organics (produce as well as boxed and other foods). But a lady was handing out samples of “organic” PopTarts recently at my Costco in Orem, Utah (different brand name than PopTart, same concept) and literally shouting about how the product is “so good for you.” Cane juice crystals, the main ingredient, are a very marginal improvement over refined sugar (still a concentrated sweetener). And the white flour was organic. Big deal. Beware of junk food masquerading as nutritious food, which is in fact only about 5% better than the typical junk food.

San Diego class at Windmill Farms Market: lots of long-time readers there, loved it! Ed, you are just THE BEST. Thanks for printing directions to our next class and for being so kind and helpful. Russell, your bringing your book The Green Smoothies Diet and telling everyone you’ve read it three times made my day. I think **I** haven’t even read it three times. Other readers with whom I’ve chatted via email over the past two years, it was so fun to put your faces to your names! It’s kind of weird to have a job where you don’t interact face-to-face very much–mostly email–so I always love to do a class where I meet real, live 12 Steppers and GSG readers. It means a lot to me.

Fullerton class at Christy Funk’s cute natural baby/childbirth store BellySprout was wonderful. I’m soooo sorry to those who came and couldn’t find a place to stand. Half the attendees at both classes learned of the events through the GSG newsletter/blog. You are busy and I am honored that you spent your evening with me.

Thanks for your support, for reading my book, for making my daughters feel like rock stars.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Books, Events, Robyn Recommends, Uncategorized, Whole Food

14 thoughts on “California trip: Costco product review (part 2 of 2)”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i totally shop at costco for their great prices on organic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would love it if some of you would share what great organic products you are buying at Costco!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, do you know anything about Lakanto & coconut sugars? Are they low on the glycemic list? Are they both good to use for sugar substitutes? I know that Lakanto sugar is from Japan & that it is a plant. I would like some more info how it effects your blood sugars.

  4. Anonymous says:

    cheleen, i buy or have bought- peanut butter, almond butter, spaghetti sauce, rice dream, diced tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, pasta, rice, some spices, olive oil, juice, crackers, animal crackers, agave nectar, honey, cereal, coffee, chips, frozen fruit, fresh strawberries, raspberries, spinach, carrots, lettuce & apples, frozen brocolli, frozen green beans, frozen mixed vegetables, frozen corn, hard candy, all organic, and im sure ive forgotten some stuff. they also have organic chicken, eggs, butter and milk if you buy that. their prices for organic are really good, like the BIG thing of fresh organic spinach for smoothies is $3.59. i have heard that you can share a membership and it doesnt have to be with family.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was at Christy’s class and you had mentioned using coconut oil as a moistuizer, I went out and got some and have been using it and my acne is clearing up super fast, I’m so glad you mentioned coconut oil in your lecture!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can I ask which pasta are you buying? I must be missing something! 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    Robyn – I love your advice and really appreciate all of your ideas on raising children with a whole-foods, high raw diet. I have been reading a book by Udo Erasmus called “Fats that Heal and Fats that Kill”. In it, he says that roasted nuts and seeds are damaging for your health because heating the nuts/seeds changes the healthy fatty acids into rancid fatty acids. I used to occasionally eat Trio bars and occasionally some roasted nuts (although mostly I consumed raw), until I read his book. What are your thoughts?

  8. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

    Maybe they don’t have whole-grain pasta at all Costcos. I don’t buy it there because I keep a lot of it that I get through group buys, in my storage. But I see it there!

    Coconut sugar: much lower glycemic index, and I’m just starting to experiment with it. Don’t know about Lakanto sugar.

    Udo Erasmus makes great oils. Raw is virtually always nutritionally better than cooked. I eat the Trio bars and let my kids have one after their green smoothie for an after-school snack, but mostly stick with the raw almonds and other nuts like what we’re getting in the group buy right now.

  9. Anonymous says:


    Thank you! I will keep my eyes open next Costco trip. I have never seen agave there. What isle do you say it may be on??? Next to what stuff?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just saw the agave at the end of one of the food isles the other day. I’d never seen it there before.

  11. Anonymous says:

    my costco just started carrying agave, the blue agave brand i think, so right now it is on the end cap thing. 2 bottles for about $7, i saw a single bottle for that at my natural food store. if it doesnt sell well they probably wont keep it. they stopped selling rice milk for awhile and now it is back. oh yeh, my costco is in duncanville, TX, close to dallas. there is a request type thing near the front of the store where you can request stuff you want and i think they really do respond, cuz the rice milk showed back up.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Chris, I found agave at Costco today!!! It was on the end Isle and I can’t believe how cheap it was………….. 7.59 for 2 bottles. I am so happy!!!!! half price in comparision to where I was buying it.

  13. Hey Robyn,

    I just read your review of Bora Bora bars and I’m happy to hear your experience with our product was a positive one! While our bars are 100% organic, we actually just got some more great feedback from a blog covering gluten-free products.

    You can also now purchase Bora Bora bars directly online from our new website.

    Check it out and let us know what you think!


  14. Anonymous says:


    I know this blog is old, but it’s what came up when I searched for rice bran oil. I do have a couple of things I’ve been wondering about. One is Sucanat vs. Rapadura. Your list of whole food sweeteners doesn’t include Rapadura, but I have a friend who keeps telling me that Rapadura is healthier than Sucanat. I searched it online, but am still not clear on the differences and I’ve never heard you mention Rapadura. This is what one search brought up, but I don’t know how creditable it is:

    “My understanding is that Sucanat (SUgar CAne NATural) is the brand name of the whole, unrefined, unseparated cane sugar first sold in the US (in modern times, anyway), but then they changed their manufacturing process so that the molasses was removed and then some added back in later, hence it was no longer “whole” (and possibly missing some of the nutrients). Then along came Rapadura (from Rapunzel, a European company), which is never separated from the molasses, has the full complement of minerals, etc., so the WAPF started recommending that instead of Sucanat However, now I’ve read that the company that makes Sucanat has gone back to the same kind of processing they used before and that Rapadura uses, so it’s “okay” again. Both are now in the WAPF shopping guide, in the “best” category for sweeteners. Personally, I like Rapadura better because it’s more finely ground. Sucanat is so coarse that I find it difficult to dissolve or get distributed evenly in a recipe, and it seems to me to also have a more bitter flavor.”

    Also, I’ve recently been introduced to rice bran oil. It has a higher smoke point (490) than coconut oil (350) and is supposedly less expensive. The nutritional benefits that I’ve looked up are good, but don’t sound as good as coconut oil. I’m trying to figure out if the nutritional value when used for cooking is even a good trade off for coconut oil, since you don’t risk loosing value in heating. I too use coconut oil on my acne, like Deirdre. It has been the best thing for my skin, so I wouldn’t do away with coconut oil all together, but am just always trying to figure out the most cost effective and nutritional way to utilize expensive foods. I’ve just not heard a lot about rice bran oil.

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