Wednesday, February 8, 2017

No-Bake Pick-Your-Flavor Protein Bars

Compensation was provided by LÄRABAR. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of LÄRABAR.

Ooooh, boy, do I have a delicious, nutritious, and EASY recipe for you guys! It’s no-bake and only requires FOUR ingredients, so you can quite literally whip it up in a matter of minutes!

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I actually had my Designed to Fit Nutrition clients in mind when I developed this recipe. A number of them eat breakfast on-the-go, either in the car or at their desk at work, so I wanted to create a recipe that was both travel-friendly and satisfying at the same time. These No-Bake Pick-Your-Flavor Protein Bars—with 15 grams of protein, 26 carbohydrates, and 10 grams of fat per serving—are basically breakfast in bar form and perfect for busy mornings. I also love these bars as a pre- or post-workout snack since they’re quite balanced in the macronutrient department and great for fueling/recovering from my sweat sessions.

And THE BEST part about these protein bars is that you can totally customize them to your own taste preferences. They’re made with rolled oats, creamy almond butter, LÄRABARS, and protein powder, which means you have ENDLESS flavor options. LÄRABAR makes more than 20 different flavors and just about any protein powder will work in this recipe, so you can really get creative. You can even switch up the nut butter variety! 🙂 I hope you LOVE these bars as much as we do!

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Ingredients:

  • 5 LÄRABARS of your choice
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 cup protein powder of your choice

Directions:

Unwrap LÄRABARS and break them into pieces as you place them into your food processor.

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FYI: I used all Pecan Pie LÄRABARS + vanilla protein powder, but, of course, you could totally mix and match the LÄRABARS flavors and protein powder to your liking.

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Add oats, protein powder, and almond butter to your food processor.

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Combine ingredients until a thick batter forms.

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Remove batter from food processor. Line an 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper and spread batter evenly inside. Firmly flatten batter with a spatula or your fingers. Be sure to push the batter to edges and into the corners of the pan. Refrigerate overnight or until firm to the touch.

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Remove dish from refrigerator, pull out parchment paper/bars, and place on a cutting board. Trim edges with a knife and then cut into 8 bars. Store bars in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

Photo Feb 07, 11 36 39 AM

Since LÄRABAR was the star ingredient of this recipe, I wanted to share a special promotion with you guys!!

LÄRABAR is participating in Amazon’s “New Year. New You.” campaign, running now through February 14th, which means you can get 25% off many of your favorite varieties!! How awesome is that!? I mean, if you already love LÄRABAR and Amazon, THIS is the deal for you!! Hop on it, people! 🙂

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Just a quick heads-up about the promo: The discount only applies to one item and the lowest priced item, so I encourage you to buy at least one box of bars since the discount will apply to that product versus ordering only a few bars. Just want you to get the most bang for your buck! 🙂

LÄRABAR is the perfect bar to fit into the new year with its real, simple ingredients, especially if you’re looking to stock up on nutritious snacks to meet your new year’s resolutions and new diets, including Whole30, Vegan, and Paleo. (FYI: For those of you doing a Whole30 program, the following LÄRABAR flavors are Whole30 compliant: Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Cashew Cookie, Cherry Pie, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bar, Pecan Pie, and Pumpkin Pie.) LÄRABAR products are made from 100% real, minimally processed ingredients, and all of the “core” bars have just 2-9 simple ingredients. Everything LÄRABAR makes is gluten-free, Kosher and non-GMO, with many vegan, dairy-free and soy-free options, so they fit into just about everyone’s diets!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite flavor of LÄRABAR?

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The Problem with Self-Improvement Culture (and What To Do About It)

Inline_Self-developmentWe’re a little more than a month out from New Year’s, and most people have abandoned their resolution efforts. Gyms are emptying out; the squat rack is free again. Cars are piling up in the drive-thrus, the farmer’s markets are noticeably emptier. Was it all for naught? Are the grand visions, the big plans, the lofty resolutions really going to culminate in a sad sputter…a fizzle? Will one-time optimists resign themselves to just another personal failing, another reason to slink back into despair? If January is about hope and ambition, what’s the lesson for February?

I’m not surprised. It happens every time, and it’s caused by our dysfunctional relationship to self-improvement.

Wait, what? Isn’t self-improvement a good thing?

Sure. Improving your health, happiness, life purpose, fitness, body composition, business, and/or relationships is undeniably a good thing. And there are dozens of reputable sources of information to help you make right changes—and make them stick. There’s a lot of good advice and inspiration out there.

In fact, there are now so many life coaches, dietary gurus, lifestyle designers, and other self-improvement professionals that you could probably sign up for a free introductory half-hour coaching session every single day for the rest of your life and never run out.

How many of us are actually heeding the advice from the experts and applying it to our own lives, though? If self-improvement seems like such an obvious virtue, why isn’t everyone doing it all the time?

It’s hard, for one. It often involves discomfort and requires that we relinquish our grip on convenience.

It means placing our immediate desires on hold for future rewards. It’s declining the cake today for the visible abs next month.

But there are also two other more pernicious impediments to our self-improvement that you might not be aware of. If we want to make any real changes, we have to address them.

Imagine you’re scrolling your Twitter feed, “liking” every inspirational quote that hits you just so, redirecting every book recommendation from trusted personalities into an Amazon wish-list you’ll never actually buy anything from, emailing yourself a particularly poignant TEDx talk that, at the time, you swear will change the way you look at the world.

Or maybe you’re listening to the latest episode of a guru’s podcast and the guest discusses her daily morning routine. You’re touched, you’re moved, you text a quick summary to a friend, and you resolve to adopt elements of it yourself. You jot down the gist, shove it into your “Things to Ponder” Evernote notebook, and promptly forget it ever existed.

Most people treat self-improvement like a spectator sport. They enjoy the feeling of being energized and excited about the prospect of real change and real improvements. When they’re reading the books, listening to the podcasts, scrolling through the Twitter feeds, watching the TED talks, consuming the content, they feel like they’re taking the first step toward self-improvement. It feels like a victory, and whenever we feel like we won or achieved something, we get a hit of dopamine. Dopamine perpetuates the action that initially triggered its secretion, which is why we can get addicted to dopaminergic drugs like caffeine, tobacco, and cocaine. But if we never take the second, third, fourth, or fiftieth steps, we never go anywhere real.

Consuming self-improvement content sure does feel productive. It tricks you into thinking you’ve just accomplished something. You have to keep going. Most don’t.

It’s totally normal to fail at self-improvements. Setbacks happen. And they’re not very fun, especially compared to that initial burst of inspiration when the dopamine is flowing and you’re imagining all the improvements you’ll make, all the work you’ll get done, all the productivity barriers you’ll hurdle. For a moment, you’re in the promised land. You’re doing things. That feels good. When it’s gone, replaced by the harsh reality that you failed to take the next step, it feels extra bad. That’s why self-help books are so popular, and new ones keep being published: when people read one and it doesn’t work, they move on to the next one. And there’s always a next one.

Which brings me to the second major problem: they react poorly to their initial failure. They give up. Instead of using the setback as motivation to never let it happen again, they just get down on themselves—”I’m a failure, and I’ll never be anything else,” For Grok’s sake, how about showing some compassion for yourself?

This is called self-compassion. It sounds fluffy. New-agey. But it works.

  • In one recent study, scientists found that coaching subjects to accept, confront, and show compassion to themselves for their failures increased subsequent willingness to improve their weaknesses. Compared to students practicing self-esteem, subjects who practiced self-compassion were more compelled to make amends after moral transgressions, spend more time studying for a hard test they’d already failed, and improve upon their weaknesses.
  • Another study found that practicing self-compassion led people to make healthier food choices.
  • Self-compassion mitigated the stultifying effects of regret.
  • Self-compassion promoted more self-improvement. Self-esteem promoted less.

This makes perfect sense. You accept your mistakes and move forward, because where else can you go? Self-esteem meanwhile feels artificial and forced, probably because it is. Esteem should emerge from estimable acts and successes, not be tacked on to failures.

According to the researcher who discovered the power of self-compassion, we’re really dealing with three main points:

  • Self-kindness: Being as nice and understanding to yourself as you would to someone else.
  • Common humanity: We’re all in this together, and everyone else either is hurting or has been hurt. You’re not alone.
  • Mindfulness: Observing reality without judgement.

In other words, talk to yourself the way you’d talk to any friend, loved one, or child who was also hurting. What would you say—literally? Say it to yourself, too.

Self-compassion isn’t about lulling us into stagnancy. It allows us to continually come at life—and our goals—from a place of intactness. Why give energy to a denigrating voice? It only divides you against yourself—a waste if you ask me. Self-compassion reintegrates us. We’re stronger, more solid, and maybe more patient as a result.

Then we’re able to bring real resilience to our self-development aims. We’re not dependent on the string of motivational fixes from outside sources. We’re not moved to abandon an effort when we lose our footing. We accept the process insomuch as we accept ourselves in it. And that’s the real starting point for success.

Thanks for reading, everybody. Share your thoughts, and have a great day.

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Where The Sky Meets The Sea

After 13 hours of travel, I made it home from St. Lucia at 2 a.m. last night. I can’t wait to tell you about our trip, but I need a day to unpack and step back into life. Check Instagram for a sneak peek!

I cannot wait to cover my little boy with kisses!! He had a great visit with Grammie and Pea while I was gone and spent time with his dad.

Speaking of littles, have you seen the movie Moana yet? It’s Disney’s newest film and it’s FABULOUS! I saw it with Mazen just before this trip (he’s seen it three times!), and the whole time I was in St. Lucia I kept thinking about the movie. If you aren’t able to take a tropical vacation this year, it will have you feeling like you’re on an island. And the soundtrack is amazing! It’s why I keep referencing that sky/sea line in my posts : )

I have always felt called to the ocean (although I prefer to stay on the beach and surf that attempt brave travels on the high seas!) This trip sure filled up my soul with ocean air and sunshine <3

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