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Natural products fit for a fourteener

When climbing Colorado's fabled fourteeners, one must take the necessary fuel up the mountain. Here, I offer picks that brought me up to 14,000 feet and back.

As a relatively new Colorado resident, I deemed it a right of passage to climb a fourteener—a mountain that rises to at least 14,000 feet in elevation. True, this is a tall order (pun intended) for a Connecticut native, who has spent most of her life at sea level. But I was confident that by doing this hike, I would be embracing the ethos of my new, outdoorsy state.

Justin's Maple Almond ButterHiking a fourteener is no small task: You must wake at an excruciatingly early hour (4 a.m.) to be on the summit before the oft-inevitable afternoon storms. The thin altitude makes what would normally be a tough hike, even harder. This past weekend I hiked four of these behemoths: Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Cameron, and Mt. Bross.

Knowing beforehand that I would be having a long, tiring day, I stocked up on a bevy of products from my natural foods store, along with a few samples swiped from the New Hope Natural Media offices.

Here are the best products that brought me up to 14,000 feet and back.

Mix1 Lean Performance Orange-Twist Protein Shake
Unlike most protein shakes that are loaded with fat, Mix1 has lean options containing a reasonable 90 calories and 9 grams of protein. My appetite was next to none at 4 a.m., so this easily digestible drink provided much-needed energy right from the start.

Clif Crunch Honey Oat Granola Bar
An hour from the summit, I could tell that my blood sugar was low, and the altitude was disturbing my performance. Filled with healthy carbohydrates like organic barley flakes and natural sweeteners like honey and evaporated cane juice, this tasty, crunchy granola bar certainly brought me back to life.

Justin’s Nut Butter Maple Almond Squeeze Pack
Justin’s offers handy squeeze packs of its delicious nut butters, which are perfect for ripping open and eating straight from the package. The Maple Almond flavor is ideal for hiking, because both long-burning nuts and short-term maple sugar energy is provided. The company also takes great pride in making an ecologically responsible product, so future generations can climb mountains, too.

Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites
I am not a huge fan of eating candy during endurance activities because I want to avoid a sugar crash as much as possible. But at only .35 ounces and 70 percent dark chocolate, Bug Bites are a perfect post-hike treat.

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