Sunday, September 8, 2013

Omega Bars


Whenever I whip up a batch of energy bars, I tend to use the same ingredients... Lots of nuts and seeds (or nut and seed butters), something sweet like dates or raw honey, raw cacao nibs, superfoods like spirulina, goji berries or maca and shredded coconut or coconut oil. 
Energy bars are something that should deliver what the name implies: ENERGY!  Unfortunately a lot of so called energy bars in grocery stores are filled with lots of sugar and unrecognizable ingredients. I used to rely on these bars a lot in college or as a pre- workout snack, but they didn't really give me anymore of a boost that a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit.

These here bars are chocked full of all sorts of goodies that are high in protein (walnuts, hemp, flax and chia seeds, pumpkin seeds) antioxidants (raw cacao) natural sugars (dates and raisins), and healthy fats (coconut oil). A couple of these washed down with a cup of coffee in the morning will give you a serious boost, no doubt.

You're probably wondering about the name: Omega Bars.

O.K. Let's talk about it....

Three Words:

Essential. Fatty. Acids.

You've no doubt heard the term thrown around these days.. Maybe Omega 3 fatty acids rings a bell?

Omega 3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids because they are necessary for human health. But.....your body is incapable of producing them on their own, so you have to get them from food. EFA's play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development. They may help reduce the risk of heart disease and have been known to help fight inflammation and may lower the risk of chronic infections like heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Symptoms of a deficiency (which is quite common in the standard American diet) may include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, mood swings, and depression and circulatory problems.
Whenever any of those symptoms start to surface in my life, because let's be real, I suffer from mood swings AND fatigue AND circulatory problems, I take a look at my diet and see if I'm getting enough EFA's.
Fortunately, there are lots of foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids like fish (salmon, sardines, tuna are your best bets). If you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet, walnuts, flax seed, chia seed and hemp seed, cauliflower, sesame seeds and Brussels sprouts are also great sources as well.,

An easy way to incorporate some of these foods into your diet is through these energy bars.  Not only do they make you feel great, they can also make your skin glow and be less likely at lashing out at your husband for leaving an empty jar of peanut butter in the cabinet.

Omega Bars (makes 15 bars)
From This Rawsome Vegan Life

1 c. walnuts
1/3 c. chia seeds
1/3 c. ground flax seeds
1/3 c. hemp seeds
1/4 c. cacao nibs
1/4 c. shredded coconut
3/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. raisins
1 c. dates
1-2 T. coconut oil, if needed

Throw all of the ingredients (reserve a small bit of each ingredient, about 1/2 c. total) into a food processor. Pulse to break down a bit then add raisins. With the motor running, add dates, one at a time until everything comes together. If it's a little dry, add a bit of coconut oil. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the reserved ingredients with your hands. Press into a 9 by 9 inch pan lined with parchment paper and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Lift the parchment out of the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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