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5th Element Energy Bars { Fort Smith, Arkansas }

 5th Element is local based business built around raw , organic energy bars and cookies. Sylvia and Ed are business parters that have a kitchen in Barling where they make their products.  You can find their products at Olde Fashioned Foods, Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville and Carrot Dirt Organics to name a few! You can also buy their products online and they will ship globally! To order online or browse their site and blog, visit them here: . They can also be found on Facebook at . 


 Kala Rath Photography - Live Beautifully
1) You provide fun and healthy alternatives to the common snack, is this something you incorporate into your own lifestyle? 
Ed eats extremely clean. He is what I would call an extremist. lol I donʼt know if he can remember the last time he ate outside of his home or non organic or the health  food store. I on the other hand, am what I would label as “the norm”. Unfortunately, I  used to love all kinds of food. Sometimes, the junkier the better. Processed didnʼt used to be a bad word. lol Since meeting Ed a little over 4 years ago, Iʼve drastically  changed my eating habits. In the past, I would eat well just when I needed to shed a  few pounds. Now that Iʼm more educated about real food and itʼs whole body benefits, I eat clean more often than not because I love how I look and feel. My energy level is up, my hair, skin, and nails are much healthier, I sleep better, and now my body craves the good stuff. Iʼm not going to never ever eat something that a lot of people would consider a cheat, processed or unclean, but when I do……boy……I feel like crap!
2) What is your definition of healthy?
To be really healthy I think you have to take into consideration more than just what food you put into your body. Itʼs about complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being. As far as eating, I thinks itʼs all about moderation and making good food choices more often than not.
3) Do your products make any accommodations to specific diets? 
We have 2 vegan bars: Luscious Lemon Coconut Blast and A Hot Date With Ginger. All of our bars are organic, raw, low-glycemic, wheat & gluten free, and contain no soy. All 8 of our bars contain one common ingredient…..LOVE! From the beginning, Ed insisted on adding love to the end of the ingredient list. He has been involved in the health food business for the last 20 years. He really cares about peopleʼs health and wants to make a difference. Nothing makes Ed feel more fulfilled than when a customer tells him that 5th Element bars have changed their eating lives.  Whether itʼs helping to stabilize their blood sugars, give them sustain mental and physical energy or loosing weight by eating them as a healthy meal substitute.  Success stories from our customers are inspiring!
4) Why did you decide to take the leap from just making your products at home to actually starting a business?
We didnʼt start out as a business. Ed made a bar for us because we wanted something different than we were finding. I think most bars that are truly healthy donʼt have a good taste or texture, and the ones that do taste really good usually arenʼt good for you and contain a lot of hidden sugars or some other unhealthy ingredients. We wanted a bar that tasted good, had clean healthy raw ingredients, and gave sustained energy without a crash and burn later. Based on the feedback from others, our love of the bars and the change in how we felt when we ate them, we decided to start 5th Element. Itʼs really been a two family effort. Ed sweet wife, Lolly, spends hours each week putting labels on our packaging. My youngest son, Ridge (11), is an awesome bag sealer and people love him at demos. He and my  middle son, Connor (20), are quite the salesman. We would have been up a creek without help from Reed, my oldest (21). He set up everything on the computer and made all our initial labels and logo.
5) Why did you choose to start a business of this kind in a market that has less demand for organic products?
Originally Ed wanted to open a healthy restaurant here is town. He has years of experience working in restaurant kitchens and managing a health food store. Neither one of us had ever managed a restaurant and it scared me. After he started making bars for our personal use, some friends found out about them and asked if they could try them. They loved them! So, I went to Ed and asked if he could make more flavors. Our idea took on a new direction after that. We knew there had to be other people that felt the same way about most energy bars. In fact, I really hate to call them just energy bars. What we make are “nutritional” energy bars.
6) How do you come up with your recipe ideas? 
When it comes to recipe ideas itʼs all Ed. He loves to experiment and come up with new creations. Right now weʼve been working on some vegan hi-protein energy cookies that contain around 100 calories. Itʼs the perfect snack. Weʼve been testing them locally and so far the reaction is awesome. Customer feedback is our biggest consideration when deciding what to sell. We always end up making some changes based on their feedback before we put a 5th Element label on something and offer it for sale.
7) What do you hope your customers will gain from your products?
We want 5th Element bars to be thought of as truly delicious and totally nutritious. We want people to be able to taste and recognize the ingredients. If customers are eating them as a healthy meal on-the-go, before a physical activity or as part of their exercise recovery, we hope they feel that eating well can taste really good too. I love to do store demos because itʼs so satisfying when people who donʼt think they are going to like them and curl their nose up at the ingredients end up loving them and buying several. I makes me giggle.
8) What pointers do you have for anyone who is considering making a transition to a healthy/organic lifestyle?
Donʼt go cold turkey! Itʼs so unrealistic and you feel like a total failure when you slip up. If you educate yourself on good raw ingredients then I think you wonʼt feel like eating clean is a punishment. Itʼs not a diet. Itʼs a lifestyle change. Do the best you can and study up on what your putting into your body. When you start to feel better, look better and sleep better it becomes easy to maintain. Make a few changes at first and slowly give up processed foods, sugars etc. Your withdrawals wonʼt be as bad that way and your more likely to make permanent changes.

Kala Rath Photography - Live Beautifully

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