Learning how to read labels and why it’s important to do so has been eye opening and sometimes disgusting. Do you know how many hidden chemicals are in your food?  How much sugar is in your favorite foods?

Well, that excludes me. I buy sugar free food and health bars.

Wrong.

Let’s take a look at this nutrition label:

nutrition label-2

A few years ago, I was following this crazy diet that included eating these “nutritional” bars. First off, this bar and so many so called health bars, are full of genetically modified ingredients, i.e. fake food. Second, do you see how much sugar this has?

The offenders:

1. Glucose syrup: It is a syrup modified from corn starch. Why? Because it’s cheap and easy to manufacture.

2. Fructose: It’s in everything processed! Fructose (again, we’re talking gmo’s, not fructose found in fruit), aren’t easily digested in the liver. In fact, it’s pretty useless for our bodies as our cells can’t use it. When the liver takes in fructose, it creates fat. Fructose does the same damage to your liver as alcohol does.

3. Sugar

4. Honey: Unless the label specifies it is organic raw honey, you betcha you’re getting more highly processed sugar.

Now take a look at the Nutrition Facts. See where it tells you how much sugar this ONE bar has? 18 grams! The American Heart Association says that the MAX allowance of  sugar per day for men is 37.5g and women, 25g.

So ditch those so called health bars and eat real food! If you’re looking for a healthy bar to have when on the run, check out this recipe:

  • 1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
  • 1 cup almonds, raw and unsalted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or chocolate chips for some fun)
  • 2 1/4 cup dates 
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (not quick oats!! Very important! 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (mix it up one time and try 1/2tbs vanilla, 1/2 tbs almond extract)
  • 1 tablespoon organic brown rice syrup

Prep:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

  1.  Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with water and soak for 1 hour.
  2. Cover the dates with hotwater and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and pit the dates (or save time and buy them pitted)
  3. Place the oats in a food processor and grind to a powder. Place in a separate large bowl.
  4. Drain the water off the nuts, place on a towel to remove excess water. Place the nuts in a food processor with the dried cranberries (chocolate chips) and pulse until nuts are in small pieces.
  5. Place the nuts in the bowl with the oats.
  6. Place the dates, vanilla and brown rice syrup in food processor and pulse until it makes a puree.
  7. Place the date mixture with the oat mixture and thoroughly combine all the ingredients (mixture will be thick and sticky).
  8. Place the date nut mixture on a silpat on a cookie sheet. Spread out evenly.
  9. Shape into a long rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and measuring about 10X13 inches. Make sure the rectangle is flat and even.*
  10. Bake for 4.5-5 hours or until it’s firm, but not hard.
  11. Cool, cut into bars and wrap individually.

Challenge: Go into your pantry and find something that’s labeled “natural” or  “sugar free,” and do some research on the ingredients. Chances are, if you can’t pronounce it, it’s not something you should be putting into your body.

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