Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cranberry Almond Chia Bars



This is another simple, raw, vegan, nutrient packed power bar that's being served down at Shakti Rock Gym.  The almonds require a few hours of soaking time, and it's good to chill the whole batch before cutting it into bars, but putting this recipe together only takes about five minutes.  They store well in the freezer and make for easy access to energy boosting snacks.  They're just so much better than what you'll find on the market; completely free of preservatives, additives, or excessive packaging.


For those of you who are new to chia, you can find it in most grocery stores that have a "natural foods" section.  (Don't get me started on the term "natural foods," how did so much of what we eat get to be UN-natural?!)  Chia seeds are reported to have been used in the diets of Central and South Americans for centuries.  Aztec warriors are said to have survived on them, and the Tarahumara, a running tribe from Mexico, are known to have eaten them on their hundred plus mile runs on sandalled feet through the desert.  They recently got a lot of press in Born to Run, a book I very much enjoyed and which totally changed my view of running.

Now again, I'm no expert on nutrition, and I haven't conducted any studies.  But a lot of sources say that chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids, that they're loaded with antioxidants, fibre, iron, calcium, and protein, and that they're a great endurance food.  They're not too expensive, they provide a nice crunch, and they make delicious tapioca-like puddings when soaked in liquid, so I'm adding them to my diet.  If I start running faster and jumping higher I'll be sure to let you know.  In the mean time, I hope you enjoy these bars!  Feel free to make substitution willy nilly.



INGREDIENTS

2 cups dry, raw almonds
1 cup dried cranberries, sweetened naturally (Look for ones sweetened with apple or orange juice)
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
4 T coconut oil
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger (optional)

  • Place the almonds in a medium bowl, cover with water, and soak for four or more hours.  Drain and rinse. 
  • In a food processor, process the soaked almonds, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds until everything is coarsely chopped.
  • Stir in the chia seeds, coconut oil and spices, and mix well to incorporate.
  • Press the mixture into a pan - I've used loaf pans or 9X9 baking pans - cover and place in freezer to chill for an hour or so.
  • Turn the giant bar out onto a cutting board and cut into mini bars.  Makes about 15 to 18. 
  • Take them with you!  Don't be caught without a snack in this crazy world, lest you get stuck spending too much on something that neither you nor your body really want.  

3 comments:

  1. Looks good enough to eat, but where do you get chai seeds?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Bobbie! Did you ever find the Chia seeds? You should be able to find them in the "health food" section of just about any store. Or, if you really wanna, you could order them from iherb: http://www.iherb.com/search?kw=chia%20seeds

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  2. Whole foods in the bulk section or Trader Joes.

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