Category Archives: clean eating

Paleo Granola Bars

 

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

I love clean eating, but I also love granola bars. It’s so hard to buy them at the store, because most of them are loaded with all kinds of sugar and other random things…which kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? If you’re in a pinch, as I usually am when I travel, KIND makes great granola and granola bars with all ingredients you can pronounce and they come in just about every flavor you could imagine. But if you’re able to, making homemade granola bars is so much better. You know what is in them and you can add whatever you want! All these ingredients aren’t cheap, but I’ve found that I usually have enough to make at least 2 batches, so really, I can get about 30-35 granola bars out of them…in which case, it becomes really cheap. this recipe is pretty basic, so feel free to play around with it and add whatever sounds good.

Paleo Granola Bars

 

  • 3 cups assorted nuts (I used pecans, almonds, and pumpkin seeds)20140708-092626.jpg
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup raw honey
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment or wax paper
  2. Mix assorted nuts in a large bowl
  3. Take 1 cup of the nut/seed mixture and place on a cutting board. Chop the nuts/seeds into smaller pieces with a sharp knife.

    coarsely chop 1 cup of mixed nuts

    coarsely chop 1 cup of mixed nuts

  4. Place the remaining 2 cups of the nut/seed mixture into a food processor and pulse until they are chopped into much smaller pieces than the first cup.

    finely chop the remaining 2 cups of mixed nuts in a food processor

    finely chop the remaining 2 cups of mixed nuts in a food processor

  5. This assortment of sizes and textures will work well for the bars.
  6. Add all the nuts back into the bowl and stir to combine.
  7.  Add the dried cranberries and stir until well mixed.
  8. Add the shredded coconut and mix well.
  9. In a small saucepan, add the coconut oil, almond butter, honey, vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon and heat over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent burning/sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

    heat until melted, stirring constantly

    heat until melted, stirring constantly

  10. Pour the liquid mixture over the nut mixture and stir to combine, making sure the nut mixture is evenly coated.
  11. Pour the entire mix into the baking dish and use a second sheet of parchment or wax paper on top to firmly press and pack the ingredients together.
  12. Let the mixture set and settle on the counter at room temperature for 2 hours
  13. Cover and place in the freezer to set for 1 more hour
  14. Cut into whatever size bars you like and enjoy! I cut mine into a typical “granola bar” shape and size. This recipe makes 16 typical granola bars.
  15. I wrapped mine individually and put them all in a Ziploc bag and stored them in the refrigerator for freshness. 
  16. ENJOY!

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Live Like No One Else

stand-out-in-a-crowd-ten-top-tips-for-getting-an-it-job

“If it was easy, everyone would do it.”  Ever heard that expression before? I love that expression because it’s true in so many facets of life…whether it be your job, your workouts, your healthy lifestyle…it applies.  The truth of the matter is that nothing of great value just happens by accident…it’s the result of planning, dedication, and the refusal to let failure derail your progress.  A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency, especially one that is hard to give up.”  Wouldn’t it be amazing if, with some good old fashioned hard work, a boatload of determination, and some great support(that’s us!), you could make your habits things that made you healthy, happy, and productive? Here are a few things to remember as you start(or continue) your journey in that direction…

Do this for YOU.  At the end of the day, you have to know why you’re making these decisions…these sacrifices…these changes.  So that others will perceive you a certain way? So that you’ll be better than someone else? No way.  Because ultimately that motivation will fade.  Set your intentions and goals with reasons in mind that have personal meaning to you.  Feeling good in your own skin, being healthy for your family, setting a good example for others…now THOSE reasons keep you on track.

Shake the Haters off.  There will always be critics.  Always.  People who haven’t made choices that lead to them being their best selves.  People who have tried and failed and given up.  People who always need something to bitch about and some reason to complain.  They’ll do their best to sabotage your efforts simply to make themselves feel better.  IGNORE THEM.  And if you can’t, cut them out.  Minimize their influence in your life.  Sometimes making lifestyle changes means eliminating the negative influences in your life, as well.

Own your weaknesses.   We all know where we fall short.  You can sabotage your own efforts  by swearing to yourself that you’ll beat it this time…or you can ELIMINATE the temptation.  Trying to go gluten-free? Dairy-free? Eliminate processed foods?  PURGE your pantry.  Donate those boxes of crackers to a food bank.  Make your shopping list.  Challenge yourself to eat only foods with one ingredient.  Know where YOUR pitfalls lie and map your away around and away from them!

Tell the world.  Ok, maybe not the world.  But your friends that you trust, your family, your support system…tell them about the changes you’re making! Let them know what you expect of yourself.  Write down your goals and keep them somewhere that you can see them everyday.  And SHARE your success!!  Nothing fuels the fire more than encouragement and accountability!

The title of today’s post is from one of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey and refers to how we have to live somewhat counterculturally sometimes in order to succeed…he says, “Live like no one else, so that one day, you can live like no one else!”  What he means is, sometimes we’ve got to buck the norm and make decisions that aren’t necessarily easy or widely accepted in order to set up a great future for ourselves!  Make the decision to take charge of your life, your health, your well-being.  You won’t regret it.  And in fact, you’ll probably meet some pretty cool people on the road there.

Namaste.  Or whatever. 😉

Audrey

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Secret

secret
Y’all want to know my secret? My secret is that there is no secret. If you want to stop feeling like garbage, you have stop putting garbage in your body. It won’t be easy. Giving up processed food and wheat products isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s not the hardest either. I will be up front and tell you that the first 2 weeks are the worst. I had headaches, I wanted to eat an entire loaf of bread in one sitting, and I wanted to punch anyone who even mentioned something about a cookie. I swear there was one day that all I wanted was cereal and doughnuts. Withdrawal was especially fun the week I was traveling and everywhere we went out to eat, all of my coworkers were like, “This bread is amazing…did you try it? Oh…sorry”. What I said was, “No, that’s totally fine. I’m glad you liked it.” What I was thinking was, “I hate you.” So, yeah, those first couple weeks are going to be miserable, and you are going to have to make a conscious decision every minute of the day not to eat garbage. Trust me…if I can do it during 7 days at my parents’ house after my grandmother died (at one point I counted almost 20 desserts in their dining room), you can too. I’ve always found that the key to overcoming any obstacle is understanding it, and the more I learn about gluten, the more I understand what it does to me and the more I don’t want it in my body.
First, what is gluten? Well, in Latin, it means “glue” (first warning sign). Gluten is found in wheat products and processed foods and it gives them their shape and structure. I feel it’s also worth noting that gluten can be found in cosmetics, hair products, and some dermatologic preparations (getting more concerned). But here’s the real kicker. When gluten is digested, it produces exorphins (like endorphins but from a source outside the body). If you’ve ever gotten a runner’s high, then you are familiar with the effects of endorphins. Well, exorphins do the same thing. You know what else does the same thing? Opiates. Yep, eating products containing gluten produces the same effect as taking heroin or morphine (major alarms going off now), which really explains a lot, especially for those of us who are emotional eaters. This is why when you’re sad or upset or have had a terrible day, you don’t crave carrot sticks and hummus, you crave cookies and cake and comfort food. Some studies have actually shown that gluten can be just as addicting as heroin (yikes). You know how they say a drug addict is constantly trying to reproduce that first high? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve eaten a piece of cake or something and gotten done and thought, “that wasn’t even that good after the first couple bites”. I’ve always known that I had a small addiction to these types of food, but this really puts it into perspective.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to cut gluten and processed foods out of their diet. I know plenty of people (who are apparently not predisposed to unhealthy addictions) who can eat processed foods every once in a while with no problems. I am not one of those people. So, I made the decision to cut out gluten and most processed foods. Here’s what I noticed: I have like 100 times more energy, and I feel alert, not like a zombie going through the motions, which may be related to the fact that I am sleeping amazingly. I can focus on what I’m doing. I would never have called myself ADD, but I am kind of known by my coworkers as always doing 5 things at once…having one conversation and still listening to another while on a conference call and working on a document. Sometimes I love the rush of doing all of that at once, but that can really take a toll on the brain. But now, if I’m working on something, I can focus directly on what I’m doing without my mind wandering to a million different places…although I’ll admit I’m watching March Madness and checking twitter at the same time I’m writing this…something about a tiger and its stripes, I guess. My favorite things I’ve noticed, though, are how flat my stomach is (I literally look like I have a food baby when I eat processed crap) and the fact that my joints don’t ache nearly as much. I was trying to think of how to describe it, and the best I can do is just to say, I feel great and happy and motivated. Is that because gluten was making me depressed? Or is it because those changes I’ve noticed are rewarding? Maybe a little of both, but it doesn’t really matter as long as I feel great.
How do I stick to it? I give myself ONE day to eat whatever I want…typically Sunday (Sunday Funday is my favorite day of the week). The funny thing is, that I might eat something flour and gluten filled and processed at one meal that day, but I usually don’t finish it, and once I’ve eaten it, I don’t really crave anymore that day. As a matter of fact, I tend to start craving “real” food like fruits and veggies after indulging. Probably knowing that Sunday comes every week keeps me from feeling the need to eat like it’s my last meal on earth. So, what’s my message, my secret? Knowledge is power. Put whatever you want in your body, but know what it is and how it affects you and your body. Learn your body and how it reacts to different things and make decisions that make you feel your best. Know that just because something says “gluten free” does not mean it is “healthy”. Read ingredients. Know what is in the food that you are eating and know that just because gluten isn’t on that list, does not mean that it’s not a processed food. When in doubt, eat real food. Use the 80/20 rule and make at least 80% of your intake real food. No one’s perfect, but make an effort to be pretty damn close. I am in no way a dietary or gluten expert, and I am only speaking from my own personal experiences. Being physical therapists, Audrey and I have a natural predisposition for wanting to help others be their best selves, so let us know your thoughts or questions. We hope to do a post on some of our favorite foods and products that help us eat clean soon. We also love helpful tips…we are always still learning just like you, and we don’t ever want to stop learning.
Namaste…or whatever.
XO, Cassie

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