HealthCorps Announces a New Partnership
Encouraging Kids Nationwide to Eat Smart!
-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach
Power Crunch just announced that they are partnering with HealthCorps, sponsoring the HealthCorps program in Southern California’s Valley High School in Santa Ana, and sharing its important research on protein and micronutrients with HealthCorps’ curriculum team. We decided to chat with Power Crunch CEO Kevin Lawrence to learn more about this maverick, his company and his vision.
You were a body-builder and you may still have a certain level of commitment. What nutrition principles did you embrace (and discard) as an exercise competitor?
As a competitor I followed an extremely strict low-carb, high protein diet. It was very boring and repetitive from a taste perspective. It allowed me to consistently keep my muscle mass high and my body fat extremely low, since I was performing on stage and in front of cameras year round. Clearly I had to stay in top condition. I already had a healthy, sound diet when I started competing, so it didn’t require a significant revision. Basically, you count and record all your calories every day, and your whole diet is really a dynamic work of art, supporting my body physique and sustaining my energy levels. I consumed a very sound diet, getting my daily protein needs from lean meats, fish and chicken (mostly boiled – boring!). I also ate fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables every day.
What lifestyle principles guide your life now and how have they changed (have they?) since your bodybuilding years?
I have a personal relationship with a higher power (God to me), and I see myself and everything as a part of that domain. I strive to make known the unknown on a wide perspective, and look to give and enjoy love, affection, and being of service, while constantly evolving. The activities of life are the tools – they are the art of my lifestyle and personal evolution. Little has changed and much has changed (for me) since the mid-eighties. The basic principles I live by, are always adapting and being fine-tuned, but they haven’t changed much. The knowledge, wisdom, and levels of fulfillment are all growing and changing daily.
Specifically when discussing diet, I have made some major changes since I left the competitive life of body building almost 30 years ago. I never consumed protein powders then, meeting all my protein needs with some type of food format. I didn’t feel there were any protein powders then that were worth using. Today I live on Power Crunch Proto Whey and Blast drinks, and they supply the bulk of my protein needs. I do also eat high quality protein foods (fish, poultry, beef, dairy, eggs, among others), usually one meal a day. I also consume an apple, banana, and blueberries every day. I eat almost no grains or grain products (bread, pasta, cereals, oats, rice, among others), and I eat green leafy and cruciferous vegetables daily – both raw and cooked. I absolutely practice what I preach. Yet I also believe in occasional indulgence in the form of ice cream, wine, beer, and certain baked goodies. You have to indulge in life and enjoy healthy pleasures, or you aren’t really fully experiencing life.
How do you feel physically for your age? Do you think your lifestyle efforts have paid off and continue to pay off? Do you currently have any ongoing fitness goals?
The first question – that’s not a question I really know how to answer. I just know how I feel day-to-day. Life really is a stream of events, but I believe it’s only the present that truly matters. I do feel really great, despite some genetic health issues that I cope with daily. I guess I would say that I feel as good now as at any time in my life. As far as goals, I don’t really set goals. That practice has always seemed like a limitation to me. I prefer to see life as pure possibility and as such, there is no end, and really no stopping point for measuring. I just want to be present in an expanding consciousness. That being said, I certainly want to feel unlimited as far as my energy levels and optimal performance, and I do want to feel strong and relevant 24/7 as long as I am alive. And yes, life is rewarding me constantly. I do recognize that when that perception falters, that is the real challenge and the clue to change things, see what is next, and evolve.
Do you think nutrition bars are a good replacement for meals or snacks, or how do you believe they should configure with the necessary goals of nutrition (and weight challenges) for most consumers?
Nutrition bars can provide a variety of solutions which are totally dependent upon a bar’s individual nutrition profile. Some bars are predominantly carbohydrate bars, with little to no protein and/or fiber. I personally don’t think these bars have any real (nutritive) purpose in a healthy diet, except maybe as a less optimal occasional snack, pretty much similar to traditional candy and cookies (except with a much higher price tag!) Bars that offer 10 or more grams of protein, some carbohydrates and some fats, would qualify as a meal replacement once daily, but again that depends on the individual’s needs, and only if they were getting adequate nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber) from their other daily (food-based)meals. Typically nutrition bars are used as a better snack item than the tradition sugar-laden protein-deficient junk food alternatives. This use could be more than once-a-day, but it still requires sensibilities to overall nutritional (and calorie) needs. And all of the discussion depends upon the goals of the consumer, especially to weight management, which has its own set of needs. Power Crunch protein/energy bars are designed to be a perfect snack or in-between meal option, or even an occasional meal replacement, in the context of the above discussion. Power Crunch Proto Whey and Blast are designed to supply a perfect protein meal for daily use, before or after exercise (again depending on your personalized calorie needs).
Can you give a short genesis of the company, from your first offering, Prescription One to Proto Whey, and now to the full line of Power Crunch products?
In 1992, Kevin Lawrence founded BioNutritional Research Group, Inc. as a research affiliate to Metaphysique. BNRG continued the development of protein substrates based on the formula that had cured his son three years earlier and began incorporating them into new bioengineered foods. Over the next three years Kevin successfully formulated and tested Proto Whey protein, the flagship of a new line of nutritional supplements which was introduced to the market in 1995. At that time there were some pill/capsule products as well and the line was called Prescription One.
Recognizing the need for a better tasting nutritional bar product which would please consumers of all ages, Kevin developed a delicious creme filled wafer cookie and filled it with Proto Whey protein. With a fraction of the sugar found in most bar products, Power Crunch began shipping to stores in November, 2002. In 2005, Power Crunch Choklat was launched. In 2013 both the Power Crunch Crisp bar and the Blast ready-to-drink lines were launched completing a trifecta of offerings to cover all snack food formats, bars, powders, drinks.
In your nutrition bars you use hydrolyzed whey protein – and you do a great job on the Power Crunch website explaining your reasoning for that particular protein source choice – Have you recently considered any of the newer protein sources like pea protein?
Let’s be clear about this issue from my perspective. There’s nothing new about pea protein, or any other vegetable or grain-based protein. They’ve all been around, available as powders for decades. They were never used much in protein supplements because it was well known that they were inferior to milk proteins when discussing human nutrition. However milk proteins have become more expensive, and so the marketplace now has companies that are attempting to convince consumers (in my opinion using non-science-based research and claims) that somehow these various plant proteins are now as good as milk or other animal-sourced proteins. So consumers now see a wide selection of pea, rice, soy, other bean ingredients, even hemp. If you can believe it, a Russian scientist recently wrote a paper on rat milk protein, and I’ve been approached by vendors now selling the latest ingredient, cricket protein. Consumers should realize that just because there’s (some kind of) protein in a product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s beneficial to human nutrition (in my opinion). And from a science perspective, that isn’t really going to change unless we change our DNA (not likely). I do believe this is mostly a monetary issue, plain and simple, or maybe it’s also an effort to appeal to vegans. And because of limited options, vegans may be especially vulnerable. My position is buyer, beware.
In my opinion, there are critical key differences in the construction of plant proteins versus animal-based proteins. So no, I don’t consider the alternate proteins for possible use in Power Crunch products. I’m interested in using the most optimal ingredients. Another important point is the allergen issue that some people may have with certain sourced proteins – another great reason to use the Power Crunch products. Our product line uses high-dh whey hydrolysates which are hypoallergenic. In fact, that’s also why they ‘e used in baby formulas categorized as non-allergenic infant formulas. Finally, the protein we use has superior protein absorption.
You reference Albert Einstein a lot on your website – in fact, there’s a tag line, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Can you elaborate.
Albert Einstein is now a legendary character that represents accessible and totally human genius. He was known to be a hyper-intellect but was loved by all for his great human qualities – humor, total accessibility, great concern for the human race, and just plain, genuine lovability. What better figure to spearhead the Power Crunch protein offerings since they offer these very qualities as well – genius protein delivery, totally accessible formats (bars, powders, drinks) with the best taste and textures in the industry, and a company whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of all individuals, by raising performance, energy, and overall wellness through what I call super-nutrition.
Can you describe the different nutrition bar products (I think there are 3) and their target use?
Power Crunch Original is a crème filled wafer cookie, known in the industry as a waffle creme. Power Crunch Crisp is more of a true bar product composed of our famous high-dh hydrolysate crisps in a traditional rice crispy bar type format. I already discussed how they figure into a balanced diet. The Power Crunch Choklat is a bit different. It was designed specifically as a much-better-for-you chocolate bar for that moment when you have a real chocolate craving and you want to eat a premium chocolate, but without all the guilt! Power Crunch Choklat, is a premium chocolate stuffed with our proprietary high-dh hydrolysate protein crisps, creating a really decadent chocolate crunch bar, superior to those candy bars we typically grab.
In this crowded market of nutrition bars and powders , what makes a consumer choose yours?
Since all Power Crunch products are found in the nutrition section of the store, consumers who shop that area already expect a product that delivers excellent protein nutrition, so in addition to that expectation being filled, I believe that it’s the unique taste, texture, and decadent flavor offerings of Power Crunch that attract the first purchase. After that first time, consumers just want more of the incredibly unique Power Crunch experience. Our goal now is to educate our consumers about the superior protein nutrition that all Power Crunch products deliver.
Are there any new flavors or products releasing in coming months?
There are 2 new flavors each for the Original and Crisp lines, releasing in the first two quarters of 2015, and a new Blast flavor and an additional Original flavor, releasing later in 2015. I could tell you what the decadent new flavors are but then……… well you know the story. I will give out one though, a Salted Caramel in the Original wafer line that will knock your socks off coming out first quarter next year!
What are the ongoing new target goals for your company?
We don’t really set traditional goals, because we feel they can be as they can be quite limiting. We prefer to shoot for maximum exposure and customer satisfaction, fulfilling our mission as fully as possible each and every day.
Why made you decide to forge a partnership with HealthCorps?
There is no question that obesity, with all its related health and personal issues, is the biggest challenge our country, and especially our youth, currently face. It is an avalanche that is building up a massive force that will threaten so many of us, in all aspects of life. The financial burden alone will be staggering if we don’t get some new thinking and action in motion. But this isn’t just about nutrition and exercise. It must start with how we THINK about this challenging epidemic, and that really does begin with our daily thoughts. I had been searching for years for an organization to partner with, that addressed obesity with these principles, and had pretty much decided I would have to create something myself. Just one year ago, my friends David Gumner and James Ferguson introduced me to Michelle Bouchard and HealthCorps, and so the journey began. Power Crunch is now sponsoring (a coordinator at) Valley High School in Santa Ana, CA, and creating a Power Crunch Scholarship. Let it be known, we are just getting started!