Review: Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels

Dr Zak's protein bagel

It’s not very often I’ll eat bread at lunchtime – I’m more often to be seen drinking soup or munching a salad and, more recently, enjoying tapas-style lunches with tofu, sundried tomatoes, stuffed vine leaves, olives and hummus (you can see such a lunch over on my vegetarian blog). However, there are the odd occasions when I fancy something more substantial, although I know I’m risking the mid-afternoon slump that usually follows me eating bread at lunchtime.

So, because I’d – shock, horror – run out of tofu and stuffed vine leaves, after peeking in the fridge and freezer foraging for food, I remembered the Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels that had been sent to me a few weeks ago.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels are high in protein, low in carbs

High in protein, low in carbs

As you’d imagine, these bagels are high in protein, with each bagel containing 24g of the stuff. The packet also states each bagel also has 40% less carbohydrate but 40% less than what, I don’t know.

But, yeah yeah yeah, that’s all well and good, but there’s no point being high in protein if they ming in a big way, resulting in me taking one bite, and throwing the rest in the bin.

Dr Zak's High Protein Bagels

I toasted one of the bagels and filled it with Violife vegan cheese, homemade hummus, spinach, tomato and cucumber and while it was perfectly edible and didn’t ming, it was a bit dry and dense but didn’t taste weird at all, which had been my main concern.

Dr Zak’s High Protein Bagels don’t appear to be widely available in the shops (on looking at the store locator on the website, it said my nearest stockist was 40 miles away) but they do have a list of where you can buy them online. I had a look at the first website in the list and the bagels are being sold on there for £3.25 for a pack of 4. That sounds like a lot of money for a pack of bagels to me but if high protein is your thing, you might want to give them a go.

For more information about the bagels, to see the other products Dr Zak’s make and a list of stockists, visit the Dr Zak’s website.

Review: Quest Protein Bars by Predator Nutrition

Quest Protein Bars

I might have eaten one before taking this photo

Quest Protein Bars come in about a billion different flavours. This might be a slight exaggeration but they do come in a lot of flavours and Predator Nutrition sent me 8 of them to try: mint chocolate chunk, cinnamon roll, white chocolate raspberry, cookies & cream, mixed berry bliss, chocolate brownie, chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter supreme.


I say ‘yum’ after trying them because, to be honest, the packaging made them look like those chemically-tasting bars you find next to the muscle-gaining stuff in Holland & Barrett and, last time I tried one of those, I only had one bite before binning the rest and since then I’ve stuck to natural bars such as Trek Bars. So, I was a little apprehensive about trying these but hey, free food, yeah?

The first one I tried was the mixed berry bliss flavour, which I had after a 40 mile bike ride on Sunday. Sorry for the lack of photo but I was more interested in eating than taking photos but from what I remember it was a kind of beige colour. I do remember it didn’t taste of much but it wasn’t unpleasant and the bar was dense and filling, which was exactly what I needed at the time as I was in danger of eating everything I could find, possibly even the cat. Okay, not the cat.

Cookies & Cream Quest Bar

Cookies & Cream Quest Bar

Today, after a run, hunger/greed kicked in and I thought, ‘Aha, I can have a protein bar because runners need protein, innit?’ and gave the cookies & cream flavour a go.

Cookies & Cream Quest Bar

Cookies & Cream Quest Bar

Mmm, this was nice! It was sweet, contained crunchy bits of biscuit and, like the mixed berries flavour, it was dense and filling.

Technical bit

As with all these types of protein bars, they come with technical blurb about protein and carb content and stuff so, in case you’re interested in that kind of thing, here it is:

Quest Protein Bars are high in protein (20g), low carb, gluten-free, have no added sugar (they’re sweetened with Sucralose – I have no idea if this is a good thing or not) and contain around 200 calories per bar.


I had no idea of the price of these until this morning and nearly had a heart attack when I looked on the Predator Nutrition website and saw that they’re £2.79 each. Yes, I said each. Gulp. However, it is possible to buy a box of 12 which works out cheaper and, even cheaper still, you can buy a box with a short expiry date which works out at just £1 per bar. They’re also available at a discounted price on Amazon.

To sum up then, Quest Protein Bars are tasty, filling protein bars perfect for those post-workout munchies but a bit on the pricey side. I wouldn’t pay £2.79 for one bar but I’d happily buy a box of 12 for around £12.

Giveaway: Win a Case of DCOCO Coconut Water

DCOCO coconut water
DCOCO coconut water

Win a case of DCOCO 100% natural young coconut water

Coconut water has been touted as a good sports recovery drink for many years now and I’ve had cartons of it in race goody bags but, to be honest, I haven’t liked it much. But when DCOCO asked me if I wanted to try their 100% natural young coconut water, I thought I’d give it another go. Plus, as I’ve been making a lot of smoothies lately, I thought if I didn’t like it on its own, I could blend it with some fruit. I’d imagine it’d be great with some pineapple and strawberry. Or sod the strawberry and stick some rum in it and make a piña colada instead.

As it happened, I found DCOCO coconut water perfectly nice to drink after a visit to the gym. I haven’t tried it in a smoothie yet but I have, however, used it in a recipe for raw chilli crackers (which you can see on my Planet Veggie blog).

Dehydrated raw crackers

Raw chilli crackers

What makes DCOCO unique to other coconut water brands is that it’s the UK’s first 100%  natural young coconut water and never uses concentrates, preservatives or mature coconuts.

The only downside really is that the bottles are made of glass, so you probably won’t want to carry them around with you in case they break and you end up with coconut-aroma’d kit (although, let’s face it, that would be preferable to Powerade-aroma’d kit). On the upside though, at least being glass means they’re easy to recycle.

DCOCO coconut water

Giveaway: Win a case of 12 bottles of DCOCO 100% Natural Young Coconut Water 

If you’d like to win a case of 12 x 210ml bottles of DCOCO, simply leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner after the closing date of Midnight, Saturday 16 May 2015.

UK entries only.


Food for Fuel: Quorn and Red Onion Bolognaise


It’s become something of a tradition for me to eat spaghetti bolognaise the evening before a race. Not that I – in my usual place at the back of the pack – think it’s going to help me go faster but just because it’s become part of the lead up to standing on the start line.

Last Sunday I took part in the Pilgrims Hospice Cycle Challenge – a 45 mile hilly route looping around Ashford and Canterbury. Despite this not actually being a race, it involved getting up early on a Sunday and wearing a number (well, actually, it was my bike that wore the number) and therefore spaghetti bolognaise was required the evening before. Unfortunately, Shaun had been at work all day and didn’t get back until 8pm, so it was too late to go to the supermarket for ingredients and start cooking. Yes, I could have been organised and gone myself earlier in the day but… I don’t know, I was probably pissing about on Facebook or something.

Still, had I had my traditional pre-race spag bol, it would have been along the lines of this one, using Quorn instead of cow, what with me being a vegetarian and that.

Quorn and Red Onion Bolognaise (serves 4)
(Taken from Leith’s Vegetarian Bible)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 leek, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
300g/11oz Quorn mince
1 x 400g/14oz can tomatoes
290ml/1/2 pint vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons mushroom ketchup

To serve

340g/12oz spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan-style cheese

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, pepper, carrots and leek. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the Quorn mince to the vegetables and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.  Increase the heat and allow the Quorn to colour slightly.
  3. Add the tomatoes (these can be liquidized for a smoother consistency, if liked), stock, tomato puree and mushroom ketchup.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the liquid is well reduced.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, bring  a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.  Add the spaghetti and cook, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes until al dente.  Drain thoroughly and rinse the spaghetti under hot running water.  Drain well.
  5. Place the spaghetti in a warmed serving dish and pour over the Quorn bolognaise sauce.
  6. Serve with Parmesan-style cheese sprinkled on top of the sauce or handed separately.