Protein bars. Energy bars. Granola bars. When we think of these things, we usually think of those packaged ‘healthy’ snacks that take up half an isle. When we need a boost of energy or feel those 3pm hunger pangs kick in, or when we had just worked out and need to refuel, much of western culture buys processed, sugar-laced crack in a neatly shaped bar, wrapped with loud and bright logos. To our dismay, these can even deceive the most trained and passionate athletic gurus into thinking that they are healthy. Those protein bars packed with sugar and a bunch of ingredients we can’t even begin to pronounce are not good for you in any way, shape, or form. Sadly, what manufactured companies advertise as healthy usually isn’t the case. They’re packaged to solicit healthy-lifestyle and workout junkies; however, they aren’t nourishing to your body. Yeah sure, they’ll give you an energetic high. That’s because of all the sugar in them! And yes, protein is good for you, but in manufactured form…not so much. Not even close. Not only that, they charge 4-6 bucks a pop, basically ripping money out of the hands of folks desiring to lead a healthy lifestyle.
According to an article I found on The Globe and Mail, many protein bars contain these horrid ingredients: soy protein isolate, high-fructose corn syrup (HSCS), fractioned/hydrogenated palm kernel oil, artificial sweeteners, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), and natural flavourings (which are not natural!). Without making my blog post too entirely long, I didn’t include the descriptions or what they do to your body [please do research!]. But, they aren’t good for you, and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to shed light on them and help encourage another way.
Before I go on any further, I’ll be the first to admit that I will splurge on candy, chocolates, and when my mom lays out a beautiful german chocolate cake in front of me, I won’t say no. Haha. But my argument here is that these bars are packaged to endorse a healthy lifestyle and are geared towards those trying to be healthy. When I eat chocolate cake, I know that it’s a splurge. But I wouldn’t want to eat something I think is healthy and nourishing yet it be anything but that.
I can tell you that it breaks God’s heart to see people deceived and caught up in the advertising and sale schemes of big money-hungry companies, and the people behind them.
Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. James 1:16
Just because it’s packaged as healthy, doesn’t mean it is. In fact, these corporations don’t even slightly care about your health. They want your money.
Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life. Proverbs 1:19
God doesn’t want the precious human beings that He created to fall into this advertisement, passivity haze. Jesus Christ is the all-powerful, Almighty God, but He also feels so deeply. More deeply than human beings can fully grasp. And His heart breaks when He sees His people nutrition-deprived, especially when he gifts us with an abundance of food that comes from the earth. This goes way beyond packaged bars. It’s the fast-paced convenience-centered culture in which we live. The kingdom of consumerism as an entity spills out into every facet of our lifestyle, and greatly effects our culture, society, and way of living as a whole. It goes deeper, but for the sake of this post, I’m only going to discuss packaged protein bars. The good news is that with the right knowledge, we can go against the grain! We can open our eyes, become purposeful in our well-being, and walk in a different direction.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
God doesn’t want us to blend in with this world. Let Him give you wisdom and insight on how you should take care for yourself and live this ever-so-difficult and pressing life.
Now, I’m not saying all protein bars are bad for you! Nor am I saying you should never eat them. Some bars on the market are clean and whole and good for you, albeit being expensive. Whether you love protein bars or hate ’em, that’s up to you. But, I’d like to provide insight on them because I believe there are so many different possibilities – ways that invest nutritiously into bettering your mind, body, and overall health. Ways that give you natural energy and satisfy your hunger.
What’s important is fueling the body with real, natural, whole foods.
It’s easy (and fun!) and almost sickeningly quick to make, and for pennies on the dollar of those sugary monstrosities.
Did I mention they are oh-so good? I mean, those manufactured bars ain’t got nothin’ on the homemade whole food versions!
You can really be creative when you make your own energy bars. That’s the beauty of it! Recently, I made move to rid of all things in bags and packaged and put everything into jars. (Okay, I’m kinda obsessed with jars. Once you start, you won’t stop.) I made a huge trip to bulk barn, bought raisins, craisins, dates, nuts, seeds, chia seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds and more. My heart literally gets excited at filling all of my jars with various foods.You name it, it’s probably in my cupboard. Haha.
Here, I made energy bars that came out so yummy, filling, and healthy. They are like the homemade version of larabars. Fruit, nuts, dates = yumminess and energy at my fingertips. I made two different kinds! The first batch, I threw in….
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1-2 tbs. almond butter or any nut butter (use at your discretion – used to hold everything together!)
- 1 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
- dash of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (for good measure, of course!)
- flax seed
- chia seeds
- unsweetened coconut
Put it all in the food processor, mix it all together, then form it into a glass dish! Put in fridge to further seal it all together, and it’ll be ready for you to cut into squares. Batch number two was the same, except I omitted the unsweetened cocoa and chocolate chips, and added a bit more dried fruit almond butter.
Here’s some energy balls I made as well:
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter! Yum!)
- 1/3 cup honey, warmed
- 1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
- 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup flax seeds
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbs chia seeds
In a large mixing bowl, put all ingredients except honey. Pour warmed honey over everything, and mix with a wooden spoon (or your hands!) form into balls, and place in fridge to harden.
They’re amazing squares and balls of goodness! And the best part is sharing them with a friend! There’s a great deal of joy to be said about receiving that text saying, “your bars are so delicious! Thanks!”. Ah, the little things in life that touch the heart. :’)
I hope you enjoy making these. I’d love to hear your feedback on them!