Building a Better Nutrition Bar

September 30, 2018

Energy bars, nutrition bars, snack bars – no matter what you call them – can be essential elements in balancing a firefighter’s daily diet. For post-workout nutrition, a healthy snack on the go, or a convenient meal replacement when you don’t have a lot of choices, nothing beats a bar.

The best bar is one that has just a few, real food ingredients and is sourced from suppliers with true integrity. You should look for organic ingredients that are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, GMO’s, or ionizing radiation. Avoid those bars that contain dairy, soy, gluten, lecithins, natural or artificial flavorings and other chemical additives.

So what ingredients should you look for if you’re trying to improve your health and state of mind? Here are five “real foods” found in bars that are among the most nutritious and beneficial for burning fat, preventing disease, and creating positive changes in your body.

Stone Ground Organic Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are full of nutrients, crucial vitamins and minerals. The best and most complete way to eat nuts and seeds is in their raw, unaltered state. All nuts and seeds should be organic due to the high amounts of chemicals used on conventional crops. When someone has a nut or seed allergy, it could be related to the chemicals used on the crop, rather than the nut or seed itself.

Enter stone ground butters. Stone grinding is a gentle, massaging process that breaks down the cell walls at a low temperature, which maintains the complete nutrition of the ingredient as it is consumed. Stone grinding ingredients has been recognized as the most suitable method to consistently deliver the highest quality nutrition, especially with nuts and seeds.

Almonds are a protein powerhouse, rich in many nutrients to arm you for your next challenge. Almonds are the only nut that is alkaline forming, which allows your body to naturally balance its pH levels. Almonds can lower bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease, provide protection against diabetes, promote healthy weight, prevent gallstones and help with energy production.

The cashew is a very balanced nut that provides a healthy supply of protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep you steady throughout the day. Cashews are very good for energy, recovery and repairing muscles and bones. They utilize four very important minerals – magnesium, copper, manganese and phosphorous – to help build, maintain and repair the muscle and bone tissue by creating collagen, reducing inflammation and keeping the production of calcium in the bones intact.

Pecans are extraordinary for energy, containing high amounts of healthy fats to pulverize your workouts and extraneous adventures. Pecans also contain many antioxidants and minerals for fighting and protecting against illnesses and various diseases. They are very rich with vitamin E, zinc, manganese and ellagic acid which all protect the inner cells of the body and help in maintaining the overall wellbeing of your skin.

Flaxseeds are an amazing superfood, but the whole seeds are almost undigestible. This is why they should always be stone ground into a meal so you can properly digest and reap the rewards of their amazing health benefits. These include high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and powerful antioxidants called lignans that help regulate hormones in the body, protect against free radicals and cellular regenerating effects.

A Styrian Pumpkin seed are not your average, everyday pumpkin seed. These seeds originated in the small town of Styria, Austria. They don’t have a shell and produce a much darker, richer oil that has a plethora of health benefits such as higher protein, magnesium, antioxidants, both tocopherol forms of vitamin E, alkalizing chlorophyll, eye-protecting lutein and hormone balancing lignans like zeaxanthin.

Organic, wild, raw honey
Many commercial honeys on the market today come from bee farms, where the bees are controlled within a small area and get their pollen from one kind of flower. Typically, these flowers are treated with pesticides and fertilizers. Commercial honey is usually pasteurized in high heat and then filtered, which removes most of the beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Organic, raw, and wild honey is so important because it is not heated or filtered, nor are the bees subject to any harmful chemicals or just one type of flower. Wild, raw honey contains the live yeast, pollen, propolis and enzymes that are so crucial for the immune system to thrive. Truly raw honey doesn’t even have an expiration date, but like a fine wine, continues to age and develop more complex flavor profiles.

Organic Dates
Dates are a B-vitamin extravaganza and contain high amounts of potassium to reduce muscle cramping during exercise. These little fruits contain tons of fiber, which promotes proper digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer. They are also a natural binder in foods which eliminates the idea of using synthetic additives or emulsifiers.

Himalayan Salt
The type of salt you consume has a drastic impact on your health. Most table salt has dangerous chemicals that can damage your vital organs and cells. Himalayan Crystal Salt is more than 250 million years old and has 84 naturally occurring minerals. It’s known to be the purest salt on earth, free from all toxins and contaminants.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is great for your body, both inside and out. As a food, it’s a wonderful source of heart-healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides, which support brain health and keeps you feeling full and satisfied. It’s also packed with antioxidants like lauric acid, which is antiviral and antifungal, helping you lower cholesterol. You should always look for cold-pressed, raw, and organic coconut to avoid additives and over heating the essential nutrients that coconuts provide.

Justin Wilson and Mike Russo are co-founders of Symmetree Bar. You can find Symmetree bars in the refrigerated section at Erewhon, Lassens, Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms and soon Whole Foods markets. Or visit www.symmetreebar.com and receive 25% off your first order with the code LAFD25

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