Join the tribe
We are so stoked to announce that at the beginning of this year, we sealed many epic deals to take over the United States! While we are in many small stores across the country that we LOVE, Thunderbird-goodness will be coming to you via our Whole Foods regional expansion! If you live in the Rocky Mountains Region, the Northern California and Nevada Region, the Pacific Southwest Region, or the Midwest Region, Thunderbird WILL BE in your Whole Foods store! Check out a list of Whole Foods regions here.
This past week, I spent time in the cold land of Denver, Colorado (the helm of the Rocky Mountain's region), where I met many Thunderbird lovers and then converted the rest of the population! In all seriousness, the response to our bars was fantastic! Colorado is well-known as one of the core locations for natural product growth – and there's a solid reason for it. Coloradans (is that how you refer to people who live in Colorado?) know the true definition of natural. During demos, I had so many great customers loving us for our true nutrients – our ingredients, the true focus – rather than the nutrition facts. Yes, both are important, but when it comes to creating a raw product, our focus has always been to give people 100% real food that is from quality-sourced organic and non-GMO ingredients.
At each Whole Foods demonstration, the reception to our product was fantastic because the locals know the importance of our ingredient label! They also dug our compostable wrapper, which is also extremely important to us as a company. It's puzzling that we were the first energy bar company, or natural products company, to make that choice! Why would we use plastic when we have the option for a biodegradable source, one which not only has a negligible effect on the environment but actually gives back to the Earth. Plus, the highest-quality ingredients should always come in a high-quality package!
Hands down, people in Colorado were wonderful! Everyone I met was genuine and nice, especially those who went out of their way to help me into stores or find my way around Denver (I may have gotten lost every day…. shamefully). Overall, the biggest stores – Whole Foods Cherry Creek (Denver) and Whole Foods Pearl (Boulder) – were AMAZING! The Pearl store even rivals the Whole Foods Lamar store in terms of awesomeness! The view of the Rockies outside is also MEGA! Check it!
YET, I also had a chance to visit with the Lakewood store, where I met a few staff members who appreciated our product! Shirts will be coming at you guys, especially YOU Jeffrey, who can't stop telling people in the Whole Body section that our bars are the highest quality on the shelves!! And while in Boulder, I stopped into the small Ideal Market, which was taken over a few years ago by Whole Foods. It has the feel of a small co-op like Wheatsville, but it's location in Boulder on Alpine Ave. is absolutely picturesque. Check it!
Ideal was one of my favorites, but I also spent a Tuesday driving out to the Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak store, where I met an amazing Whole Foods Team Member named Kyle. If you see him, tell him he better be wearing his Thunderbird shirt! Anyways, Colorado Springs was SO HYPED on Thunderbird that I sold 4 boxes in 2 hours. That's not bad for a first-time product! The drive to and from the store was absolutely gorgeous. If I could go back, I'd definitely visit Colorado Springs again!
To celebrate the end of the most mega trip, I drove back to Lakewood, CO and ran Green Mountain. I ran into many friendly trail runners with their long beards (many had informed me this is the norm for Colorado guys), but the majority of my 4 mile run was perfectly quiet. I had time to think about all of the amazing people I'd come across the past few days and how blessed I was to be able to give out great food to so many stellar people – it's truly awesome to Feed Others as You Wish to be Fed!
What a way to end a beautiful trip – did I mention that the park around Green Mountain is a land that used to be roamed by buffalos?! I felt the spirit and dare I say… it made me run faster! If we didn't get a chance to meet you in Colorado, I hope that one of our new representatives will be able to feed you thunder!
Next stop: Expo West. Stay tuned.
Our brand ambassador program is quite possibly my favorite part of the job. Over the past year, we've had three epic gentlemen out of nowhere. They proclaimed their love for Thunderbird, some through poetry and others through interpretive dance, and I scheduled Skype sessions to ensure they weren't axe murderers (or undercover brothers, hehe). Our second brand ambassador, ever, is Clark Simcoe. While each of our ambassadors have amazing stories, Clark's is quite possibly one of the absolute BEST. Check it out:
In undergraduate I studied geology. This subject fit my personality perfectly and was able to support my love of outdoors, travel, exploration, and adventure. However, this does not mean I was in the best health physically, mentally, spiritually etc. During short periods in my college education I attempted to make positive fitness/health changes in my life. However, these were mostly short-lived and had no real direction or firm motivation.
In July 2011, shortly after my graduation from college, I decided to commit and make a change to get in better physical shape and in turn improve my health. At the moment, my definition of health was quite simplistic – not eating fast food, running more miles, and possibly doing more pull-ups and push-ups. To improve upon this definition of health and fitness I purchased and began the home exercise program P90X. As cheesy as this beginning may seem, I would not be where I am today if this stepping stone were not conquered. I lost weight, gained muscle tone, felt better…and could do pull-ups. At the time, this was a huge success and step to improving my health. For nearly one year I continued to be active in this manner – mostly cross training with weights and running. For the moment, my definition of positive health was fulfilled.
However, this feeling changed in May 2012, when my wife and I adopted a plant-based vegan diet. This change was made in an effort to further improve our health and wellness. I would not realize until after making the change that it would jump start and explode my athletic/fitness goals. With this change in nutrition, my physical performance and all-around health and wellness went through the roof! I felt amazing and I felt able to conquer any goal and challenge. During this past six month period I developed and fine-tuned my passion for nutrition and dietetics. This passion for balanced and wholesome diet/lifestyle has helped enormously in the improvement and enjoyment of all my physical activities.
When I interviewed Clark, he was in Houston on business for the engineering firm he was working for at that time. He told me how he lost over 80 lbs going on a plant-based diet and the struggles of being a 23-year-old college graduate who has a passion in nutrition. For the first time, I related to someone my age! It was awesome. I knew that I had to pick him for our program. Since then, he has quit his job and gone back to school in New Orleans and he's studying to be get a degree in Nutrition. He and his wife are dedicated to one day combining her medical degree and his nutrition degree to form a private practice. Knowing Clark, I have no doubt that he will go to great lengths to fullfill his dreams! He's so passionate about Thunderbird, he won't let us pay him to construct demonstrations in-store at Whole Foods. Last Saturday, he stayed at the Whole Foods Arabella Station and demo'd our product for 7 hours. I have done many 7 hour demonstrations and they are hardcore. Standing on your feet for 4 hours is hard enough and it leaves you extremely depleted for the rest of that day – 7 hour demos are a whole new experience. To do it unpaid is absolutely nuts! I guess we know how to pick our ambassadors.
It's Valentine's Day and we can't ignore it. You might be sitting at home, alone, glaring bitterly at this post or you might happen to be smiling widely, because you love love and you love your lover and you cannot wait to celebrate. Yes, Valentine's Day might be a fabrication of consumer industries, where companies like Hallmark and flower-shops and the many chocolatiers of the world profit! Or, you may cite this "holiday" as a true celebration of St. Valentine. No matter how you see this day, we cannot escape that it is a celebration of love.
There are many kinds of love! It's not exclusive to lovers! There's the love between two people who have chosen to share their lives together; the love between a man and his faithful dog; the love between close friends; the love among family members, and the love you may have for your Apple products. Love can be new, scary and exciting or old, familiar and repetitious. Irregardless, it is a strong bond that we share with other people (or sometimes towards other things, if you're reading this on your precious iPhone) that we should celebrate at least one day a year. Taking time out from your day today to appreciate another person, especially if you have taken that person for granted, is a special action that shouldn't be neglected.
We all have different ideas of what love means or what love truly is… many cite Corinthians or famous poets like Khalil Gibran, Shakespeare or Pablo Neruda. Maybe you're a sucker for a good romantic comedy and see Chandler and Monica or Ross and Rachel (see Friends) as the embodiment of loving relationships. Maybe you've grown up with two parents who have known each other since they were in 2nd grade or grandparents who are renewing their vows on their 50th anniversary. I know that I personally get to see love everyday, by working with the two founders of our company: Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins. To me, no two individuals better exemplify selfless, strong love.
Together, these two champions of love (yes, champions of love because they WIN at love), have built Thunderbird Energetica from the tiny kitchens of Daily Juice to our huge kitchen in north Austin. As our company rapidly expands, they're the strong force behind every decision. Once they created the original Cherry Walnut Crunch, Katie and Taylor brainstormed together to form more flavors to expand the Thunderbird line. Our Cashew Fig Carrot bar was inspired by their love and therefore contains ALL of nature's best aphrodisiacs: Organic cashews, Organic figs, Organic carrots, Organic dates, Organic nutmeg and Organic vanilla. What is a better product by two endurance athletes in love than an energy bar with aphrodisiacs?! (Energy + Aphrodisiacs = Enerogesiac!)
To celebrate the spirit of love, we've placed our enerogesiac bar © on sale for the entire month of February! It is 25% off when you order through our online store! No code necessary!
AND YET, IT DOESN'T END THERE! IN THE SPIRIT OF THUNDERBIRD LOVE, WE ARE HOSTING AN EPIC LOVERS GIVEAWAY!
Anyone who is reading this post will only have to do three amazing things in order to be entered to win!
FIRST: You MUST like us on Facebook! Then, you must then SHARE us with your friends! Put in the top writing line what you love about Thunderbird! (LIKE + SHARE ON FACEBOOK = 1 ENTRY); you may already be following us on Facebook and if so, you're a champion! All you have to do is SHARE!
Our Facebook page is HERE.
SECOND: You MUST like our amazing friends at the Daily Juice! This amazing Austin-based juice company is who we love this month! To show our love and appreciation of all that the Daily Juice has done for us, we would love if YOU like them on FACEBOOK and then SHARE them as well! (They're also running a promo this month so check it out!)
Their Facebook page is HERE.
THIRD: You MUST comment either here on the blog OR on Facebook what you love about Thunderbird! It could be one of our values, a particular bar flavor or a certain ingredient. It could be our logo! Whatever YOU want! As long as you complete all three of these steps, you're entered to win the giveaway!!
What is this fabulous giveaway?! It's the EPIC ULTIMATE PRIZE PACK OF LOVE! You will win a box of our Cashew Fig Carrot bar, two red thunderbird t-shirts (one for you and your lover!), stickers, and other romantic items such as aromatherapy candles and dark raw chocolate! There will even be a few epic surprises for you and that special someone.
Single?! DON'T FRET! This prize-pack will bring the lovers to your door! (You can still ENTER!!)
For any questions, please feel free to comment here or on our Facebook Page! This Giveaway is for YOU, our most beloved customers – we appreciate you and hope that you appreciate us. To show our love, we will allow entries until one week from today – February 21st at 12:00 Midnight, Central Time!
Have a happy Valentines' Day lovers,
As the face of the Thunderbird tribe, I spend most of my time in conversation with people. I say 'people' rather than 'customers,' because not everyone purchases our bars. I meet many who scoff at our lack of protein content and the supposed high carbohydrates (We will get back to this point later). At each in-store demonstration, I am met with many questions from puzzled faces and curious minds. I am always happy to answer anything and to speak with anyone as long as they'd like, as I am truly hyped on Thunderbird. How hyped? About 9 months ago, I demanded that Katie Thunder and Taylor Thunder interview me. They posted on Twitter that they were heading in the corporate jet to the Campus2Careers Intern fair here in Austin, Tx. I wouldn't have them wasting their time with such frivolties as no one was a bigger fangirl than myself, and I replied to their tweet saying, "Hey! You should just skip that and come hire me." Thus the legend of Blanca Panthera began after a long, grueling interview on the roof of the Whole Foods Headquarters.
At that interview, I told Katie and Taylor that I wanted to educate people on our product. Having struggled with my diagnoses of Celiac Disease, I wanted to share with others what I'd recently discovered about nutrition and health. My constant research into how food affects the mind and body led me to adopt a food philosophy: Eat real food. By avoiding anything processed, my life completely changed. My hair grew faster, my nails became stronger, and my running was fueled by nutrient-dense sugars, rather than chemical-laden gels that destroyed my gut lining. My mental health improved, my daily stomach aches dissappeared, and life was far more enjoyable. When I met Katie and Taylor for the first time, I told them about my food philosophy. We discussed eating natural foods, the adverse affects of GMOs, and the truth about Organic foods. Simply stated, I'd met my food soulmates.
In promoting Thunderbird, I'm doing more than pushing the sales of a company. I'm talking to people about my own knowledge of nutrition and advocating the consumption of real food. There is a reason our ingredients are 100% natural, non-GMO and organic. We wouldn't feed ourselves chemicals or processed syrups or added sweeteners and therefore, we won't feed it to you. "Feed others as you wish to be fed," is serious business around here. The typical "nutrition bar" or "energy bar" has created a pseudo-health foods-world where consumers believe what they're eating is healthy and real. Many bar companies may state that they have no added sugars, but their first ingredient is brown rice syrup or agave, both of which are highly processed. Others want you to believe that they're wholesome and nutritious, but they're packed full of thickeners like tapicoa starch or corn starch. The majority of them use Soy Lecithin as a binder, placing it in small print at the bottom of their ingredient list. Not many people know that this is a double-processed version of soy, which has been extracted from the soy bean using hexane gas. Since soy is so cheap, these companies can use it as a binder for their bars. It is an emulsifier, keeping it together. Will it kill you? Who knows. Probably in the long run. Is is real food? Never. In a Thunderbird bar, you will never see anything but real food.
Shockingly, I'm only rarely asked about soy. With the increase in awareness about GMOs, I am hoping this question becomes more frequent. In the mean time, there are many questions that I am asked about our product and I'm going to address the most frequently asked question here, so that everyone knows why we use the ingredients that we do and why we are so committed to being a raw food energy bar and not a protein bar.
This is why I'm here, writing, right now. It's time to address the most frequently asked question at my in-store demonstrations: Why isn't there more protein?
Protein powders or syrups that are used in bars are chemically based and highly processed. The majority of protein powders are created by using hexane gas. Recently, some powders have been released that use enzymes rather than hexane and are therefore a better alternative. However, protein powders are still processed. They aren't real food and we believe that protein should be sourced from real food. Whether you're a vegetarian, vegan or a strong-believer in the Paleo Diet, we are committed to providing you with a food bar that is made from 100% real ingredients. Placing a protein powder in a bar goes against what we believe as a company.
You might be wondering about the Pea Protein listed in two of our bars. Around six months ago, we removed the Pea Protein from our bars after we realized that it went against our food philosophy. Yes, both the Almond Cookie and the Sweet Lemon have 7g of protein, but it is now 100% from quinoa and not from a protein powder. Our new packaging should be in soon and will then clarify all of our true ingredients. Both of those bars no longer contain coconut sap as well. (Note: nothing has changed in any other bar and if you have any questions, please email us).
A recent concern from one of our vendors prompted us to address this question. When they asked why we didn't place more protein in our bars, our founder, Katie Thunder, gave this stellar answer:
Our bars are lower in protein than typical "protein bars" – yet, we dont claim to be a protein bar. This is a problem that we run into all of the time with our products…in order to keep in line with the Thunderbird food philosophy, it is nearly impossible to create a product high in protein without compensating with additional fat. The reason typical bars have so much protein in them is that they are adding additional laboratory created substances, protein powders and isolates – and I promise you, all of these things require the addition of a syrup (which has no nutritional value, only a cheap and often harmful filler). So… to keep in line with a whole-food philosophy, we have to stick to our guns on this one. Thunderbird will likely never have a protein bar in its Thunderbird Energetica brand.
While this answer may make many consumers place our bars back on the shelf, we hope that one day they can be encouraged to purchase our bars rather than those which contain these harmful fillers. This takes education and awareness. We know that our bars are the purest form of conveniently packaged whole foods on the shelves. If you're reading this, you know it as well. It's easier to put a T-BIRD bar in your purse than a bag of cherries or a pineapple or a banana which will rot without sunlight. For people trying to eat healthy on the go or to maintain a nutrient-dense or allergen-free diet, nothing on the market beats this. Protein, in my opinion, should be whole food based, not processed junk. We encourage people to make healthy choices when picking foods. If it is a whole ingredient, it is a wise choice. The conversation needs to shift away from the Nutrition Facts panel and instead to the ingredient label.
If anyone has any questions, comments or concerns regarding this post, please email email@example.com for more discussion, any research you would like provided, or addition questions.
A few months ago, we unofficially launched a Thunderbird Brand Ambassador program! It began with an email, from one champion named Matthew Lovitt, who happened to fuel his muscles with our delicious raw bars! After Katie and I stalked him relentlessly on Facebook, Twitter and his blog, we felt that Matthew was a huge asset to Thunderbird and would represent the Tribe with only the greatest excitement, stamina and goodwill! Since that time, Matthew has promoted Thunderbird through the great deserted plains of El Paso, TX! His connections are vast and his love of raw, plant-based energy bars runs deep through his veins! Here's Matt's story:
A burgeoning messenger of nutritional wisdom, Matthew spends the majority of
his time on a quest to demystify the complex relationship between food and fitness.
Through the study of holistic nutrition and pushing the limits of human endurance,
he ultimately hopes to channel the nutritional life force provided by Mother Earth
to educate and fuel the legions of health and fitness warriors that strive for super
Unfortunately, Matthew’s journey towards nutritional and physical enlightenment
has been tumultuous, as the engineered energy foods that have become a fixture
in the pockets of endurance athletes everywhere often place a heavy burden upon
his body and spirit. After a barrage of bonks and hours lost to stomach distress,
the energy dilemma was lifted and he was guided to Thunderbird to unlock the
potential of real food in mindfully fueling his body.
Like a phoenix born from ash, Matthew and Thunderbird Energetica have now
come together to champion the movement towards the organic, whole, and real
ingredients that properly fuel the body and nurture the spirit. Matthew’s mission
and Thunderbird’s commitment to only the highest quality fitness foods form the an
unstoppable alliance in building a community that utilizes the power of the Earth’s
bounty to help athletes of every caliber achieve their goals.
When Matthew is not consumed by the relentless pursuit of higher education or
tenaciously spreading the word on nutrition and performance, he can often be
found shredding the West Texas highways, whipping up a mean batch of his power
pancakes, or simply admiring the stars of the endless Texas skies.
There you have it, Thunderbird lovers! Matthew Lovitt, extraordinare. Not only is he an epic triathlete, but a gifted writer. Check out his blog, Veggie Feed, here.
For more information about our Brand Ambassador program, please email Leslie@thunderbirdenergetica.com.