I sat down with my friend, personal trainer and entrepreneur Ariana Parvin to learn about how her struggle with digestive issues and food allergies led her to create super tasty and healthy "energy bites" that are popping up in some of San Francisco's best markets. Hear her story and find out where you can get some to fuel your body and tickle your taste buds!
Q. Tell me about your bites, Ariana’s Energy Bites. What's in them? And why did you create them?
I was experimenting with food elimination to figure out why I was having digestive issues. This experiment brought me to my energy bites as a go-to snack. The "diet" had to be whole foods - meats, fruits, nuts, and dried fruits. I was running out of ideas for snacks that would keep me full without over indulging. During that time, my roommate brought home some nut bites and I thought it was such a simple, tasty solution to healthy snacking. That is when I began to recreate the recipe making it my own.
Almonds, cashews, walnuts, dates, coconut oil, and coconut shreds: These simple ingredients provide vitamins such as B2, B3, E, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. These natural sources are also naturally high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can improve blood cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease. The addition of dates (a naturally occurring sugar for sweetness) helps bind the bite, as does coconut oil which helps increase good cholesterol in this tasty bite!
Q. Is there an ideal time to eat Ariana’s Energy Bites? Before a workout? After? As a snack?
The best part about this snack - it is great if you are not a "breakfast person" and it keeps you sustained before or after your work out. As a road biker, these are a burst of energy on longer rides. The ingredients are enough to provide you a boost of energy without the heavy feeling from a full meal. This energy feeling is derived from the balance of nutrients and is about 113 calories per bite.
Q. Where can I get them and how much do they cost?
Currently they are available only in San Francisco at both Bi Rite locations (18th Street, and Divisadero Street) and Vinyl Coffee and Wine Bar also on Divisadero. They are $4.50 per bag. Check out my website for updates on where to find them.
Q. What makes these bites different from other products?
Because of my battle with food allergies, my personal training background, and the help of my nutrition certification, I have deliberately chosen specific ingredients that are tasty, satisfying, and healthy. I strive for balance in my life and my bites are a direct reflection of the balance I seek. They are homemade with no preservatives, nothing harmful. Pure goodness.
Q. Have you always loved cooking? What's your personal background?
I am lucky enough to have grown up with amazing homemade meals. It was not until I was on my own in college, when I started experimenting with meal prep. I started cooking for myself, and I fell in love with it. There is something so satisfying about knowing exactly what is fueling your body. Making my own food creations and tweaking little bits and pieces for the next time is a pleasure of mine and also relaxing. It is a creative outlet!