A young woman from Breckenridge has channeled her recovery from a serious knee injury into a series of post-workout, anti-inflammatory nutrition bars called “CARLbars.”
Created by Carly Davis, CARLbar is a nutrition bar without any added sugars or sweeteners. They’re gluten free and contain no genetically modified organisms, soy, nuts or dairy. At 1.79 ounces, each bar is high in fiber and protein and comes with 15 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD, but there’s no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives users the high.
“They’re definitely unique,” Davis said of CARLbar. “It’s been interesting seeing the feedback. Some people absolutely hate them, but some people absolutely love them. Because there’s no added sugar, it’s a specific population that appreciates the nutrition bars for what they are.”
Additionally, Davis’ CARLbars contain turmeric, a flowering plant from the ginger family that’s known for its alleged anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric has been used in cooking and for medicinal properties for generations.
Notably, turmeric contains compounds called “curcuminoids,” and the most important of those is curcumin, the primary active ingredient in turmeric. Davis boasts that CARLbar uses “whole spectrum turmeric,” which essentially means the bars contain the whole root.
Many people who take turmeric will mix it with black pepper, for example, to aid absorption into the body, but Davis said that’s unnecessary with CARLbars, as whole spectrum turmeric already contains substances that do this.
Naturally, Davis is hoping to capitalize on “a huge rave” across the country, in which more and more people are being increasingly conscientious about the foods they eat. Davis herself is no nutritionist, nor does she claim to be, but the 27-year-old woman loves nutrition and believes that diet plays an important role in how the body performs.
CARLbars might not have ever come into existence had Davis not seriously hurt her knee “jumping off a cliff” while skiing with friends at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area about four years ago, blowing out her ACL and tearing her meniscus.
“I like literally tried everything — all kinds of different procedures — everything, and I was wondering if I could help (my knee heal) through my diet,” she recalled.
That’s ultimately what led Davis to start researching different types of diets, she said. She quickly gravitated toward foods with anti-inflammatory properties and, as a result, ended up making “a ton of green smoothies.”
But Davis also soon realized there wasn’t anything out there that made for a quick, on-the-go option and followed the diet she wanted for herself.
“That’s where we get the CARLbar,” Davis said. “It’s been quite the journey through it all, but they’re just like the coolest nutrition bar on the market. They’re super good for you. There’s spinach in them, and sweet potato, and the hemp-derived CBD aids in that anti-inflammatory purpose of the whole thing, but it can also help with anxiety, sleep and mood.”
Davis began making CARLbars by dehydrating fruit and vegetables, and mixing them with turmeric powder, before trying to press the ingredients into bars, she said.
“They tasted terrible,” Davis admitted of her early attempts. “So I found these food scientists (at Small Batch Consulting) in Denver, who helped me with the recipe, and they found the manufacturer.”
CARLbars are being made and packaged by a company in Georgia. Davis started selling them in October, both in bar form and in bags containing 14 bite-sized morsels with 70 milligrams of CBD per bag.
She’s recently got the website BodyAidBars.com up and running, and her products are being carried at select locations in Summit and Eagle counties, including Cool River Coffee House, The Crown Coffee Bar and Lounge, Mom’s Baking Co., Breckenridge Mountain Massage, Mountain River Naturopathic, Hovey and Harrison, and Village Bagel.
The apothecary manager at Mountain River Naturopathic in Frisco, Della Elich, said that CARLbar is the only nutrition bar the store carries because so many other chocolate and energy bars are high in sugar, other additives and just weren’t helping the store’s customers.
“We tend to sell more internal, high potency CBD extracts, and it’s been nice to have a quick, therapeutic snack option for people coming in,” Elich said of CARLbar, adding that Summit County tourists looking for something high in CBDs have also been buying them up.
Davis said sales have been “pretty good” since the launch, and she’s now trying to get word out about CARLbar by targeting social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram with @eatcarlbars. Online, a three-bar variety pack costs $ 21 and a box of a dozen goes for $ 63.
After the 2018 Farm Bill passed by Congress removed hemp from being a schedule I controlled substance, Davis said she can ship her bars out of state.
Davis sees athletes as her biggest potential pool of customers because “turmeric and CBD are awesome for post-exercise support and muscle recovery.” However, she also thinks anyone looking to get some solid nutrients could benefit from her products because, as Davis put it, CARLbars are “the best nutrition bar on the market.”