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April 2012

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This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

I’m a big fan of natural energy/granola bars, but I’m not a fan of paying high prices for them. The ones I like the best—the ones that are the healthiest and taste the best, seem to be so pricey at the store! Especially when you eat one every day. $3-4 a day for an energy bar? No, thank you. So I decided to start making my own. I can now control the ingredients and the specific amounts of those ingredients, really making these bars something that I think are delicious, while providing my body the nutrients it needs for pre- and post-workout snacks. All without spending a bajillion dollars!

I was paying $3-4 per bar when I purchased them at the store. By making my own, I now spend less than $1 per bar. Much better! I even started cutting them into bite-sized pieces, making them last even longer! I have several different versions of these bars—this is the first of many!

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: ~8 bars (depending on size)
  • Prep Time: ~10 minutes
  • Notes: Feel free to experiment with ingredients

Ingredients

  • ~18 organic Medjool dates, pitted
  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • 1 Tbsp raw almond butter
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • ⅛ cup sunflower seeds (raw, hulled)
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp brown rice syrup (or agave nectar)
  • ¼ cup organic raisins

Preparation

  1. Remove pits from dates, add to food processor.
  2. Add rolled oats, and process for just a few seconds to combine the ingredients without over-processing.
  3. Add walnuts and almonds, process for a few seconds.
  4. Add almond butter and coconut oil, process for a few seconds.
  5. Add ground flaxseed (yay for fiber and omega 3s!), almond meal and coconut flakes, process.
  6. If “dough” seems dry, feel free to add in additional almond butter or brown rice syrup/agave nectar.
  7. Stir in raisins by hand.
  8. Remove “dough” from food processor and flatten by hand (or use wooden roller) onto a cutting board. Cut the bars into desired size (either “bars” or bite-sized pieces), and store refrigerated in tupperware container. Wax paper can be used to separate layers of bars inside the tupperware, to keep them from sticking together while refrigerated.

I hope you enjoy these energy bars! They will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, but feel free to store them in the freezer as well! I prefer to eat them when they’re a bit softer, so I’ll take them out of the refrigerator in the morning, leave them out during the day and eat them before my evening workout! They’re also great for breakfast, or for a quick pick-me-up snack during the day! Heck, they even make a good dessert! They are rich in natural sugars, protein, fiber and omega 3s. Enjoy!

As a Group Exercise Instructor, one of the excuses I hear most often for not coming to class is “I have to get in shape before I come to your class.” Um… color me confused, isn’t that what class is FOR? It is indeed. There are numerous people I can think of who have fed me this excuse…. years ago. They’re still not in any better shape than they were the day they spoke those words to me. If they had just come to class instead of procrastinating, who knows, they might be in a better place than they are today. As with everything in this world, you have to WANT to make a change before it will ever happen. You have to want to come to class yourself, I cannot force you. You have to want to lose weight for yourself, get healthy, make changes, etc. Although I wish these things for many people, unfortunately I cannot do anything for them if they don’t want to help themselves first.

The excuses for not coming to class got me thinking, and I realized they all have one thing in common. They are all some form of a procrastination. “I have to get in shape first”, “I have (insert obligation here) tonight”, “I’m tired today,” etc. In all of these instances, people seem to be waiting for the perfect conditions to exist before they make a change, in this case, trying a group exercise class. This theory can be applied to anything, really. Trying a new class, changing jobs, going back to school, having children, etc. In all instances, people always seem to be waiting for the stars to align. Sadly, this is never going to happen. Although if it does, will someone please call me? 🙂

Once you realize that these perfect conditions you are waiting for never exist, you have cleared a huge obstacle. A class member and friend of mine recently experienced a chain of frustrating events, where she could easily have skipped her workout with VERY good reason—but she did not. I absolutely love this story and had to share. Here is her message to me:

You will be so proud to know that it is midnight here in Milan, after only about 5-6 hours of on/off sleep in the last 24 hours, one of Joe’s bags still MIA from the airport (where is tennies are), me with the worst case of IBS, we did 30 min NTC app our skinnies in the hotel room!! Lol…pure dedication to fitness!

That is the perfect example of someone who wanted something to happen, so they put all excuses aside and just made it happen—plain and simple. It’s perfect.

The truth is, you will never have enough time, money, this or that to do anything if you don’t REALLY want to do it. So ask yourself what the true reason is that you are procrastinating, and be honest with yourself. If you are not coming to class because you “want to get in shape first”, ask yourself “why?” Why do you want to get in shape before coming to class? You will get in shape IN CLASS, I assure you. So is that you are afraid that you will be tired during class? Won’t make it through class? Who cares?! If you don’t try, you will never know! Maybe you are embarrassed about being out of shape—no problem, I know the perfect place to help remedy that! I can also guarantee you that you will lose more weight if you just come to class TODAY rather than taking a month or two or twelve to “get in shape” before you do come to class.

Take a moment to think about the things you have been putting off lately, and make a promise to yourself to complete the first thing on your list. Then move to the second, etc. But quit waiting for those perfect conditions to arrive and just do it!

For my current group exercise teaching schedule, visit the “about” section on my Facebook page.

Peace, love and motivation,

Melissa