Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Snack Time!

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been a few days, I have been busy studying for my upcoming test---YIKES! 

Hope your holiday weekend was a great one, the weather was sure to please!  I wasn't able to make it to the beach but nonetheless I enjoyed some good times with my boyfriend and his friends, picked up my new car and had a Memorial Day BBQ :) (new recipes soon to come). 

For now, I wanted to share with you all two of my favorite energy/food bars, Raw Revolution's Organic Live Food Bar (Spirulina & Cashew Flavor) and Greens + Chia Energy Chocolate Bar.  

I came across the Raw Revolution bar at my local Stop and Shop.  I was attracted to it rather than the 30 other bars on the shelf because it's made with all organic and live foods.  The ingredients include dates, cashews, sunflower seeds, spirulina, and sprouted flax seeds among others.  

One of my favorite ingredients is the spirulina due partly to its high protein content.  Spirulina is a complete protein, which means it has an adequate amount of all nine essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs.  Spirulina is packed with essential fatty acids, as well as number of B, C, D & E Vitamins.  Regular spirulina intake has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure and also be effective in reducing allergic rhinitis, which can often lead to chronic sinusitis.  

I'm also a big fan of flax seeds, which are in the Raw food bar as well.  Flax seeds can be found in a number of foods today--bars, chips, crackers, granola and almond butter (amongst others).  Flax seeds have numerous components which them beneficial to your health, but the three items which outshine the rest are their Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, Lignans and Fiber.  

As many of you may already know, Omega 3 Fatty Acids are the "good" fats we should all be consuming to keep our hearts healthy.  Flax seeds contain more lignans than any other plant food.  These lignans contain many antioxidant qualities.  Lastly, diets rich in fiber help regulate your digestive system and satisfy cravings.  

Now that you know some of the chemistry that makes up the Raw food bar, how does it taste? Surely it cannot taste great if it's THAT great if it's that healthy for you is what you're probably thinking.  Well, in my opinion, it's not molten chocolate lava cake, but it is pretty good.  The texture is rather "soft/mushy" but it's not too gritty and the cashew and other nut flavors dominate any plant taste one might expect from the spirulina.  At only $1 and change at local supermarkets, this fully organic, no sugar added bar is definitely one of your best bets.  I pack one in my purse at all times and whenever I need a pick me up, or just feel hungry, I munch on one. 

Now, the second bar I mentioned, Greens + Chia was actually given to me as a gift.  I received a box during the holidays from a friend and was apprehensive to try them.  Boy was I wrong!  If you're looking for taste AND nutrition, this is your choice.  The one I prefer is the chocolate energy bar.  This bar is packed with super-foods and coated with chocolate... what's there not to like?  The ingredients are too voluminous to name individually, but I will definitely point out some pros of this bar. 
First, contains no processed sugar, salt, corn syrup, hydrogenated oil, synthetic sweeteners, preservatives, or genetically-modified foods of any kind.  High fructose corn syrup, as well as added sugars in general, have been shown to cause adverse side effects--weight gain, cavities and even higher triglyceride levels making you at greater risk for heart attacks.  High fructose corn syrup has also been shown to be addictive which explains why people become so dependent on certain foods to lift their moods and make them feel satisfied.  Making sure the bars/snacks you choose are free of corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners is crucial. A little thing to watch out for when reading nutrition labels is "corn sugar."  Many companies have decided to remove the term "high fructose corn syrup" from their labels because educated consumers began thwarting products which contained HFCS.  People who read "corn sugar" may be tricked into thinking the item contains the vegetable "corn" & natural "sugar".  This isn't the case, and is just a fancy way companies are attempting to market their less than healthy items. 
 Next, because the bar does not contain any hydrogenated oils, your cholesterol levels are not at risk.  Foods containing hydrogenated oils (margarine, fried foods, processed foods & commercially baked goods to name a few) contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease and even memory loss.  My goal here is to show you that this bar is made from the most organic, raw foods around and has nothing in it that will harm your body.  It's a flavorful, filling snack (or meal replacement if two bars are consumed) that will give your body energy and nutrients to push through a workout or even simply beat the afternoon blues at work until the clock strikes 5pm.

In a later post, I will include a how-to on homemade protein bars.  I've ventured down this path once and the results were pretty good.  Next time I make them, I will document the process and detail the recipe and steps so you can give it try for yourself!

Have a great (short) week everyone :)        



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