I ran across Redd chocolate brownie energy bars in, of all places, an ice cream shop. Redd’s nutrient-dense, grab-bag list of ingredients looks like something that would be on Michael Phelps’ training menu: 50 mg goji berry, 350 mg maca root, 500 mg yerba mate, 1,000 mg chia seed and 1,575 mg omega 3 + 6. Not only that, these superfood brownies are plant-based, ethically sourced, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, and any other kind of free you can think of. They are to an elite athlete what a Valrhona bar is to a chocoholic.

Redd is billed as a protein bar/energy shot/multivitamin, all in one. It’s made in Brunswick but is getting much wider exposure, having caught the attention of Outside magazine and Gearjunkie.com. I bought two, at $3 each, and ripped open the first one on an afternoon when I was – where else? – behind my computer, working on a story. It was that time of day – after lunch – when all the blood has gone to your stomach and the nap fairy comes calling. Normally, I would grab a cup of coffee. Instead, I ate a Redd bar and waited. And waited.

The 2.5-ounce bars contain about 50 mg of caffeine, less than what’s found in an 8-ounce cup of coffee. That probably explains why I didn’t get an immediate boost. It took a couple of hours, but I did get a nice recharge later in the afternoon – maybe it’s all the complex carbohydrates? The second time I tried the bar, I really didn’t notice any energy boost, but I felt good about eating it instead of something from the vending machine.

The bar tastes fairly bland. Though it has chocolate chips, the overall taste does not say “chocolate” to me. Still, it was pleasant enough. Some energy bars taste like cardboard, but you don’t have to worry about that here.

Find these brownie bars all over southern Maine, including at Whole Foods, Coffee By Design, Vespucci’s, City Center News, Maine Beer & Beverage, Joe’s Smoke Shop and the Big Apple, Pat’s Meat Market. For a complete list, go to reddbar.com/

You can also order them online, 14 bars for $30.