Point Of Purchase: PowerBar Carbo-gel

First installment in a series enumerating the highs and lows of last minute impulse buys.

PowerBar Gel, "concentrated, carbohydrate gel that delivers immediate energy for the endurance athlete." Oooh, mmmmm, you had me at "gel." This goop is primarily sodium and sugar, to be taken every 20 to 45 minutes during activity.

So seriously, who needs this stuff? What percentage of the average Big 5 Sporting Goods shoppers are endurance athletes? Must be a high enough % to put this goop next to the register, huh? Are there that many Lance-wannabes out there? I chose the vanilla gel, but had immediate buyers remorse in the car. Green apple was the other flavor option, and if that doesn't scream carbo-gel I don't know what does. I'm so stupid, gawd!

So I went for a leisurely sport walk to Lincoln park, just me, my shuffle, and my PowerBar Gel. I consider myself a few notches below "endurance athlete" and figured doing laps at the Colman pool is the closest I'll ever get to being bi- or tri- or endurance or whatever. The gel tasted exactly like those fluoride treatments from the dentist. I had to stop at Thriftway for something to get the cloying taste out of my mouth. But even the eye-squinting refreshment that is Limonata could not scrub away the memory of that odd, unctuous trinity of artificial vanilla flavoring, backyard salt lick, and fouled bath water.

Verdict: There is nothing I have ever done in my whole life, not any back country mega-hike, not cross country in high school, nothing--nor will there ever be--that would require me to suck this stuff down ever again. Plus! It ruined all desire for my favorite sugary beverage. (Though PowerBar Gel just may make a sinister, late night pick me up, a perverse sort of upside down shot with Jack or something. I mean, if you're sucking down this stuff, Red Bull must be so far back in your rear view mirror.)

If this is the future of food--food as base, profane energy, then that's it. I'm canceling my contract with the cryogenics lab right now. I will not live in a world filled with goo!

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