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This Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie is a delicious and easy way to nourish your body any time of the day!
Need I say more? But seriously, this classic combination of flavors is super satisfying, and beyond simple to whip together. Odds are, you have all of these pantry staples on hand already, so you’re free to enjoy this easy peanut butter banana smoothie whenever the mood strikes!
The star of this recipe is peanut butter, and here’s why: it has protein, potassium, and fiber, making it a nutrient-rich addition to any meal or a tasty snack.
We all know peanut butter for its protein content — 2 tablespoons will give you about 8g of protein. Protein is especially important because it’s involved in digestive health, rebuilding tissue and muscle, energy, hormonal production, immune health as antibodies, enzymes, structure, and storage/transportation of other molecules. Protein is part of every single cell in our body.
Peanut butter is a good source of both types of fiber — soluble and insoluble. Fiber is important for so many reasons. Digestive health, lowered cholesterol, lowered risk of heart disease and diabetes, and even prevention of some cancer.
Banana is a great source of potassium, an important mineral in the human body that regulates a healthy balance of fluids in the body. It’s also an important mineral in having a healthy heart as it helps you maintain healthy blood pressure.
Like with all smoothies, boost the protein content by adding your favorite plant-based protein powder. Here, chocolate is my go-to.
If you make this healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, I want to see how it turns out! Submit your photo directly on this post in the comments section below, and share on Instagram by tagging @nutritionstripped #nutritionstripped. Happy blending!
The ketogenic diet, colloquially called the keto diet, is a popular diet containing high amounts of fats, adequate protein and low carbohydrate. It is also referred to as a Low Carb-High Fat (LCHF) diet and a low carbohydrate diet.
It was primarily formulated for the treatment of epilepsy that did not respond to medications for the disease.
The diet was originally published in 1921 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Wilder discovered that putting epileptic patients on a fast helped to reduce the frequency of the symptoms. At the time of its publication, there were few other options available for the treatment of epilepsy.
The ketogenic diet was widely used for the next several decades in treating epilepsy both in children and adults. In several epilepsy studies, about 50% of patients reported having at least 50% reduction in seizures.
However, the arrival of anticonvulsant drugs in the 1940s and afterward relegated the ketogenic diet to an “alternative” medicine. Most health care givers as well as patients, found it a lot easier to use the pills compared to adhering to the strict ketogenic diet. It was subsequently ignored in the treatment of epilepsy by most specialists.
In 1993, a renewed interest in the ketogenic diet was sparked by Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams. Abraham had his 2 years old son, Charlie, brought to the Johns Hopkins Hospital for epilepsy treatment. Charlie experienced rapid seizure control within days of using the ketogenic diet.
Jim Abrahams created the Charlie Foundation in 1994 which helped to revive research efforts. His production of the TV movie called “First Do No Harm” starring Meryl Streep also helped to greatly promote the ketogenic diet.
The meals were designed to provide the body with the right amount of protein it needs for growth and repair. The calculation of the amount of consumed calories was done to provide adequate amounts that will be able to support and maintain the proper weight necessary for the child’s height and weight.
Underlying Concepts of the Ketogenic Diet
The classic ketogenic diet has a “fat” to a “combination of protein and carbohydrates” ratio of 4:1.
The general daily calorie breakdown of the ketogenic diet is as follows:
- 60-80% of calories from fat
- 20-25% from proteins
- 5-10% from carbohydrates
The ratio of the foods in a ketogenic diet is formulated to help the body induce and maintain a state of ketosis.
However, the ketogenic landscape has expanded considerably both in its application and implementation. While the classical ketogenic diet is still extensively used today, it has now formed the basis for the development of several alternative ketogenic protocols.
Ketogenic diets basically encourage the intake of about 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Protein consumption is moderate and mostly depends on factors such as the gender, height and activity levels of the individual. Essentially, the overall calorie of the diet is balanced primarily based on the amount of consumed fat.
The Fat and Protein Ratios in a Ketogenic Diet
Increased healthy fat consumption is the main focus of the ketogenic diet. Also, the purpose is to maintain the state of ketosis at all times thus allowing your body to use more body fat for fuel.
The body digests fat and protein differently. Fat is arguably the body’s best source of energy and in a state of ketosis, the body can make use of body fat and dietary fat equally well.
In general, fats have very limited effect on blood sugar levels and insulin production in your body. However, protein affects both of these levels if consumed in large amounts beyond what your body requires.
About 56% of the excess ingested protein is converted to sugar. This has the effect of upsetting the ketosis state of far burning as a result of the body reacting to the glucose created from the protein breakdown.
Depending on the type and source of ingested fats, a high fat diet can be much healthier. Reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing your consumption of more saturated fats from mostly medium-chain fatty acids will greatly improve your body’s fat profile.
The ketogenic diet increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels while at the same time reduces triglyceride levels. These two factors are the main markers for heart disease.
A ratio of less than 2.0 in your Triglyceride-to-HDL ratio means that you are doing well. However, the closer this ratio is to 1.0 or lower, the healthier your heart.
This kind of fat profile is associated with increased protection against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Consumption of increased lean protein in the absence of adequate of amounts of fats in the diet can cause “rabbit starvation.” Rabbit starvation is a condition where there is an insufficient amount of fats. This condition is seen in diets that mostly consist of lean proteins.
One of the major symptoms of rabbit starvation is diarrhea. The diarrhea can often become serious and may lead to death. This often occurs within the first 3 days to one week of pure lean protein diets. If adequate amounts of fats are not consumed in the succeeding days, the diarrhea can worsen and may lead to dehydration and possible death.
Tea is one of the most versatile and well-loved beverages out there! It can help us kickstart a sleepy morning, or it can keep us company on a cold winter day. In the 4000-plus years since its origin, tea has become one of the most popular beverages in the world (second only to water). And, it just so happens that tea is just as health promoting as it is delicious!
“True” tea—opposed to herbal infusions we sometimes call tea (such as chamomile tea or rooibos tea)—is made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, an evergreen shrub native to China and Southeast Asia. Depending on how these leaves are harvested and processed, we end up with one of five different types of tea:
- White tea, which is made from young tea leaves and unopened buds that are picked and allowed to naturally dry.
- Green tea, which is made from leaves that are picked, withered, heat-treated (steaming or firing) to prevent oxidation, and rolled.
- Oolong tea, which is made from leaves that are repeatedly rolled and oxidized many times over the course of hours or even days.
- Black tea, which is made similarly to oolong tea but is allowed to oxidize more completely.
- Pu-erh tea, which is made from leaves that have been prepared similarly to green tea, but also fermented and aged.
Would you believe that it takes about 2,000 tea leaves just to create one pound of finished tea?!
While green tea and black tea have been the most extensively studied, research has shown beyond a doubt that tea supports our health. For example, green tea consumption is associated with lower all-cause mortality and potentially weight loss, and both green and black tea have been associated with LDL cholesterol reduction, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of stroke and heart disease, potential reduction in dental plaque formation, and even a lower risk of certain cancers. And unlike coffee which benefits some people but causes inflammation in others (see Coffee and Autoimmune Disease and Coffee as a Mediator of Health & Longevity), all types of tea offer unique benefits across the board!
Tea owes many of its effects to its phenolic composition, which varies depending on the type of tea (see also Polyphenols: Magic Bullet or Health Hype? and The Amazing World of Plant Phytochemicals: Why a diet rich in veggies is so important!). The main benefits of green tea, for example, are attributed to its catechins—in particular the well-studied epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is the most abundant and active compound in green tea, as well as epicatechin (EC), epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin (EGC). Green tea is so rich in these catechins that it’s between 20 and 45% polyphenols by weight!
Research has found numerous benefits associated with EGCG. For example, EGCG has been shown to exert anti-cancer properties by regulating enzymes involved in the cell cycle, resulting in inhibited cell proliferation, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. This catechin also has antimicrobial activity against pathogens via a variety of mechanisms—including damaging the cell walls of bacteria by interacting with surface proteins, causing oxidative stress to Gram-negative bacteria by producing hydrogen peroxide, and binding directly to exposed peptidoglycan layers in Gram-positive bacteria (see also What Is the Gut Microbiome? And Why Should We Care About It?). Studies have shown that EGCG prevents the cytotoxicity of Shiga-like toxin 1 from E. coli, and also inhibits the growth of E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella enteritidis, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus. EGCG also has high antioxidant activity, protecting against oxidative damage in cells and tissue by inhibiting pro-oxidant enzymes like cyclooxygenase, xanthine oxidase, lipoxygenase, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. It’s been studied for a potential role in treating rheumatoid arthritis due to its strong anti-inflammatory properties. And, EGCG has been shown to have neuroprotective effects, including for Alzheimer’s disease and HIV-associated dementia.
Although green tea tends to steal the spotlight due to its EGCG, black and oolong teas have some unique components of their own! Both of these teas contain theaflavins, which are antioxidant polyphenols that get formed during the oxidation of tea leaves (more specifically, from the condensation of flavan-3-ols contained in those leaves). One study compared the theaflavins in black tea to the catechins in green tea and found that theaflavin-3,3’-digallate had even higher antioxidant activity than any of the green tea catechins, and other theaflavins were likewise comparable to green tea catechins in their antioxidant potency.
Given the above, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that theaflavins have been associated with many of the same health benefits as EGCG—including protection against cardiovascular disease and cancer, reduction in blood pressure, and reduction in LDL cholesterol. However, it’s also worth noting that even if catechins and theaflavins have similar effects in studies, the phenolic content of green tea is overall higher than in black or oolong teas—giving green tea a leg up in terms of benefits on a per-cup basis.
Tea is also rich in a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which has been shown to modulate some aspects of human brain function and promote calmness—particularly by affecting neurotransmitters (see also How Stress Undermines Health). For example, L-theanine has a similar structure to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamic acid, and is able to both blockade glutamate receptors and inhibit glutamate reuptake. L-theanine is also associated with higher concentrations and release of dopamine concentrations, increased GABA concentrations, decreased norepinephrine levels, and suppression of the general release of serotonin.
Research has shown that the amount of L-theanine found in just two cups of black tea (about 50 mg) is enough to increase brain activity in the alpha frequency band, indicating relaxation without drowsiness. (It only takes about 30 minutes for L-theanine to cross the blood-brain barrier and start influencing the central nervous system, and reaches maximum levels at about five hours after ingestion—explaining the long-lasting soothing effect we feel after drinking tea!) And, it appears that L-theanine can help counteract some of the effects of caffeine (another component of tea)! One study found that combining L-theanine with caffeine (in amounts and ratios similar to a cup or two of tea) eliminated both the behavioral effects and blood-pressure-raising effects of caffeine. On the whole, it seems theanine in tea may play a beneficial role in cognitive performance (due to increasing monoamines), anxiety (due to its effects on serotonin and GABA), and neurological health (due to antagonizing the effects of glutamate).
But, L-theanine has other potential benefits as well! One in vitro study found that L-theanine was able to attenuate or prevent a number of effects of the neurotoxicants rotenone and dieldrin, including DNA fragmentation, apoptotic death, the upregulation of heme oxygenase-1, the down-regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 phosphorylation, and the down-regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor. All of this suggests that L-theanine may be neuroprotective, including against toxins related to Parkinson’s disease, and may help explain tea’s apparent protective effects against this disease.
And it doesn’t end there. Theanine has been shown to alleviate some of the toxic side effects of anticancer drugs, suppress elevated cholesterol levels (by increasing bile acid excretion and helping eliminate cholesterol from the body), inhibit tumor growth (by targeting several growth factor receptor signaling pathways), improve memory, protect cardiovascular health (by increasing the production of nitric oxide and enhancing artery vasodilation), reduce alcohol-induced liver injury (by increasing the activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase and lowering cytochrome P450 CYP 2E1), and improving immunity in certain circumstances (especially when combined with L-cystine, which together enhance levels of serum IgG and antigen specific IgM, as well as protects against extreme exercise-induced alterations in immune response). Is it any wonder that drinking tea is associated with so many health improvements?!
Tea and the Gut Microbiome
Another way tea benefits us is through its impact on the gut microbiota (see What Is the Gut Microbiome? And Why Should We Care About It?). Because the polyphenols in tea aren’t completely absorbed in the GI tract, they can reach the microbiota in the colon and get metabolized by bacteria there, leading to the release of important metabolites. Along with antimicrobial activity against the previously mentioned pathogens, tea polyphenols and their metabolites have been shown to selectively repress the growth of Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, and some species of Bacteroides—all while sparing beneficial commensals such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. (What’s more, green tea has been shown to actually increase the proportion of Bifidobacterium in the microbiota!) This suggests that tea polyphenols can help modulate the gut bacteria through their prebiotic activity.
In a study of mice, both green and black tea polyphenols altered the ratio of obesity-associated bacteria to leanness-associated bacteria, indicating prebiotic activity with potential benefits for weight regulation. Black tea polyphenols, specifically, also appear to be less readily absorbed than the polyphenols in green tea, allowing them to spend more time in the GI tract (where they can interact with the resident microbes!). Research has shown that black tea polyphenols increase the abundance of the Pseudobutyrivibrio (which is associated with energy metabolism) as well as the formation of beneficial short-chain fatty acids, helping explain the mechanism behind black tea’s health and weight loss benefits.
In mice fed high-fat diets, supplementation with green tea powder along with a single probiotic strain (Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 15313) dramatically increased the diversity of the gut microbiota, and more specifically helped the Lactobacillus strain flourish compared to mice given the probiotic but no green tea powder. This suggests a fascinating relationship between tea and beneficial microbes, with tea potentially enhancing the proliferation of probiotics we ingest from elsewhere!
In a mouse model of colitis, supplementation with the tea polyphenol EGCG not only inhibited carcinogenesis in the mice’s colons, but also counteracted other cancer-related changes in the microbiota profile. In particular, EGCG prevented the rise of potentially carcinogenic bacteria (including some members of Bacteroides) while also counteracting the decrease in beneficial butyrate producers such as Clostridiaceae and Ruminococcus. And, in rats, long-term consumption of green tea polyphenols was able to increase levels of Bacteroidetes and Oscillospira (which have been linked to the “lean” phenotype in both animal models and humans) and deplete levels of Peptostreptococcaceae (which has been linked to a colorectal-cancer-prone phenotype)—all in a dose-dependent manner.
And, what about in humans? Tea is no less beneficial for our gut health than it is for lab animals! One trial tested the effects of 10 days of green tea consumption on human fecal microbiota, and found that the tea increased the proportion of Bifidobacterium, one of the most well-studied probiotic groups. Using in vitro experiments with human gut bacteria, tea polyphenols have also been shown to enhance the production of SCFAs, inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic members of Bacteroides-Prevotella and Clostridium, and encourage the growth of beneficial species. A similar study looking at growth responses of human gut bacteria to green tea extracts found that the green tea selectively inhibited some species of Clostridium, including C. difficile, C. perfringens, and C. paraputrificum.
Although teas other than green and black have been less thoroughly researched, we still have plenty of evidence for their benefits, too! For example, oolong and Pu-erh tea have both been shown to increase microbial diversity in the gut and reduce the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. When obese mice were fed an extract of ripened Pu-erh tea, they experienced reduced weight gain, lower adipose inflammation, less fat accumulation, and reduced endotoxin levels in the blood. And, when feces from Pu-erh treated mice was transplanted into recipient mice, it protected against metabolic syndrome and weight gain—suggesting an anti-obesity effect from microbiota-modulating compounds in Pu-erh tea. Likewise, polyphenols in Pu-erh tea have been shown to promote the growth of Akkermansia muciniphila, a potential probiotic that can improve metabolic health and immunity.
All of these findings point in a remarkably consistent direction: tea, regardless of the type, can help improve our gut health by enhancing populations of beneficial microbes and suppressing some potential pathogens—leading to benefits for our entire body.
The Impact of Brew Method and Steep Time
One study looked at eight different black tea brands steeped for up to 30 minutes, and found that the teas generally had an increase in total phenolic compounds (including catechin, gallic acid, propyl gallate, and rutin) until 5 minutes of infusion time, followed by stabilized or decreased phenolic compound levels until the 7.5 minute mark, followed by another increase until 15 minutes of infusion time. This unusual pattern was due to the way the water temperature affected the solubilization of tea compounds as it cooled down from its initial 100°C. And, what that means for us is that when we make tea, we can maximize the good stuff it contains by steeping it for either five minutes or for longer than 7.5 minutes—at least when it comes to black tea!
But, hot versus cold brewing matters, too. In one study, cold white tea infusions (infused at room temperature water for two hours) were shown to have higher antioxidant activity than hot infusions as well as a greater content of phenols, flavonoids, and catechins.
One study also tested hot steeping (75 – 90°C for 3 – 4 minutes), cold steeping (4°C for 720 minutes), and an unconventional method combining both: brief hot infusions followed by the addition of ice to speed up the cooling process. For green and black tea, the hot-cold method resulted in the highest overall extraction of compounds (caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, and gallic acid), followed by cold infusion, and with hot infusion yielding the least. By contrast, for oolong tea, cold infusion yielded the highest level of total compounds—a difference that was due to the shape and dimension of oolong tea leaves: the longer exposure to water (720 minutes for cold steeping opposed to 4 minutes for hot and ice) caused the oolong tea leaves to unroll and expose greater surface area, allowing for more migration of their compounds into the water. In general, the lower levels of compounds in the hot-steeped tea compared to other methods may be due to high heat exposure degrading those compounds.
Another study tested five loose tea samples made with hot infusion (90°C for 7 minutes) or cold infusion (room temperature for 2 hours) and found that cold-steeped teas were better inhibitors of in vitro formation of LDL conjungated dienes, and in the case of white tea (but not other teas) also led to higher antioxidant activity.
What does this mean for us? If we’ve got the time, and if maximum phytonutrient intake is our goal, cold steeping is superior to hot steeping our tea. And if we don’t have time, we can add some ice to initially hot-steeped tea to prevent important compounds from degrading! Studies have also shown that cold water steeping has the added benefit of providing lower caffeine levels, higher aroma, and reduced bitterness.
How Much Tea to Drink
So, how much tea should we drink to reap its rewards? Although there’s no exact answer, even one cup has been shown to offer benefits in some studies, and drinking five or six cups (or more) has fairly consistent benefits for a variety of health conditions. In observational studies, consuming three cups of tea daily has been associated with a 11% reduced risk of heart attack, with some studies showing up to a 70% reduction in risk for the same quantity of tea; drinking at least two cups of tea per day has been associated with a 30% lower risk of ovarian cancer in women; drinking more than four cups of tea per day is linked to significant increases in bone mineral density; consuming at least four cups of tea daily has been associated with reduced risk of depression; drinking more than three cups of green tea each day is associated with reduced risk of recurring breast cancer in women; drinking at least six cups of green tea per day is associated with a 33% reduction in diabetes risk; drinking at least five cups of green tea per day may reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men; and drinking at least three cups of tea per day may lower risk of stroke and heart attack.
Taken together, it’s a safe bet that three or more cups of tea each day could bring significant benefits!
Looking for a specific recommendation? My preference is the Numi loose-leaf teas (my favorites are Jasmine Pearls, Oolong, and Breakfast Blend], which I brew in a teapot with a stainless steel infuser insert for tea leaves. I also have a small stainless steel tea ball infuser for when I want to make a single cup!
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So in today’s video, I share my experience after trying the kpop diet for a week. I didn’t do the extreme diets that these kpop stars did, but instead I made a few …
A diet that consists mostly of soup, cereal and salads could definitely help someone to lose weight.
Here’s a sample of a Soup, Cereal and Salad diet:
Breakfast: Cereal with fruit
Snack: Fruit or cereal bar
Lunch: Soup and Salad
Snack: Raw Vegetables
Dinner: Soup and Salad
Late night snack: Raw fruit, vegetables, cereal bar or bowl of cereal
This type of diet could produce some great results but if you follow it for too long, it could result in problems because you need enough calories and the right nutrients to be healthy and a healthy body has a fast working metabolism as well as healthy digestive system. You also want to choose healthful soups, salads and cereal or this diet could be counterproductive.
If you wanted to follow this type of diet for a week it could provide some fast results. Here are some tips to make it a little bit safer and more nutritious:
Hearty, Healthy Soups
Change the soup recipe regularly to ensure it has enough vitamins and protein and not too much sodium. Soups with meat and beans are a great idea. Stews are also a good option for a dinner time meal.
Lots of Colour in your Salad
A salad that’s made of mostly lettuce won’t be all that nutritious or filling. The more colour, the more nutrients. Don’t hesitate to add grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs and beans to the salad as well.
Vary your Cereals
Try some high protein, healthy Kashi or multigrain cereals and don’t forget to add fruit or nuts to the cereal for extra nutrients and satiety.
A soup, cereal and salad diet could definitely help you with weight loss goals for a short term and if you do it right you could end up with a lot of variety and nutrition in this diet.
Let’s face it, choosing a diet is a daunting task with so many options available out there. So instead, try this philosophy instead. Read through the diets with an open mind. Look for the kinds of diets that have desirable traits that you can stick to. Remember, this is about you and success. If you cannot commit to the diet you select, then you have already failed.
Let’s look at some dieting myths before you make your decision.
Myth #1- Some sugars are worse than other sugars. Fact, sugar is sugar; the carbohydrates in these sugars still spike insulin and increase your blood sugar levels resulting in appetite increase.
Myth #2- Fat is bad. Wrong. Your body requires fat to maintain metabolism and energy. Go for fats from avocados, nuts, and fish and olive oil. Shun red meat, butter and processed foods.
Myth #3- Carbs make you gain weight. This may not be completely true. But acquaint yourself with the glycemic index and select carbs from the lower end of the index. This way you can more easily stick to your selected diet and steadily lose weight.
Myth #4- Low fat foods help you lose weight. It’s calories that help you lose weight. One pound of weight is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. So there is room to maneuver on your diet.
Myth #5- Eating in the evening packs on pounds. It’s what you eat like buttered popcorn, snack cakes, potato chips and pizza bite that pack on the pounds. So be aware of what you are consuming.
Next up in selecting a diet that is right for you is going to require some work from you and that work is research. Compare those diets, and review the strategies behind them. Every diet has a list of do’s and don’ts, a food list and a strategy to follow. These are the soup to nuts of a sound diet. Check out the physical requirements that go along with the diet. Honestly, exercise is synonymous with diet instead of the phrase “diet and exercise.”
Look into the menu and select three to four diets to zero in on and research deeper. Do they have the snacks you enjoy or could enjoy? Is your comfort food listed? Do they modify recipes of your favorite foods to include them in this diet? Make a list of the reservations you have, because these are where you make your diet selection.
Lastly, acquaint yourself with the issues diets don’t address. Issues like the amounts of sugars in carbonated beverages, wheat and its damaging effect to diets. Take a strong look at potatoes and the appetite spikes that can result. Many dieters blame the diet when weight doesn’t come off, yet there are many other hidden factors are culprits as well.
Now narrow down your contenders, adjust your pantries accordingly and set a date to begin. With proper research and self-education you should have every expectation of a successful diet. Here’s weight loss to you.
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Our favorite cookie made into a bar. Soft, chewy and peanut buttery – these Monster Cookie Bars are studded with chocolate chips and candy-coated pieces. They make for a delightful treat when you’re craving something sweet and they’re perfect for sharing with a friend or family member, bringing to the cabin or on a camping trip or sharing at a grill out or potluck. They’re gluten-free, dairy-free and freezer-friendly.
Monster Cookie Bars are made with no flour, are gluten-free and made all in one bowl. A recipe that everyone will love!
One of our most favorite cookie recipes on the blog is our Monster Cookies! One day as I was making them I decided to make a lazy version of these scrumptious cookies, skip the scooping and instead turn them into a bar. I did have to tweak and test the recipe a couple of times to make sure the recipe made enough dough to fill a 9 x 13 pan but they’re equally delicious. Like the cookie version, these Monster Cookie Bars are made with just a few ingredient, no flour, are gluten-free and made all in one bowl. A recipe that combines ‘can’t beat combo’ of peanut butter and chocolate and one everyone will love!
Ingredients needed to make Monster Cookie Bars
- Rolled oats – also known as old-fashioned rolled oats. You may also sub quick oats if that’s what you have on hand.
- Brown sugar – I like to sub coconut sugar for a refined sugar-free option.
- Baking soda
- Natural crunchy or creamy peanut butter – may sub any nut or seed butter of choice. For a nut-free version, use sunflower seed butter.
- Melted butter – may also sub melted coconut oil for dairy-free
- Whole eggs
- Pure vanilla extract
- Candy-coated pieces – for a dye free version use Unreal, Little Secrets or Trader Joe’s.
- Chocolate chips – we like Enjoy Life for an allergy-friendly option.
How to make Monster Cookie Bars
Gather your ingredients plus one bowl, one pan, measuring spoons and cups and a 9×13 pan.
- Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. We like to use parchement paper so that it’s easy to remove the bars from the pan and slice into squares.
- Step 2: In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and candy-coated pieces. Stir to combine. Then fold in the the chocolate chips and candy-coated pieces.
- Step 3: Transfer dough the 9×13 pan, oil hands and spread the dough out evenly in the pan.
- Step 4: Bake for about 18 minutes or until lightly golden brown and center is set.
- Step 5: The hardest part – allow to cool before cutting into bars.
How to store Monster Cookie Bars
Once cooled, I like to store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. They don’t need to be stored in the fridge but if you have access I recommend it.
How to freezer Monster Cookie Bars
Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container and divide each layer of the bar with parchments paper to prevent them from sticking together. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Other Cookie and Bar Recipes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan or dish with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the candy-coated pieces and chocolate chips. Stir to combine well. May use a standup mixer or hand mixer.
- Gently fold in candy-coated pieces and chocolate chips.
- Transfer dough to prepared 9×13 pan.
- Oil hands and spread dough out evenly into the pan.
- Bake in the oven for 17-19 minutes or until lightly golden brown and center is set. Baking time will vary depending on if using a baking pan or glass dish. Start checking at the 17 minute mark.
- For best results, cool completely before cutting into 20-24 bars.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one week. May also freeze for later.
Bars hold together better after they are cooled. Like any cookie or bar they are pretty ooey gooey in the middle until after they cool for a bit.
- Serving Size: 1 bar of 24
- Calories: 210
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 150 mg
- Fat: 12 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Carbohydrates: 22 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 6 g
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
Stand in line in a local store and glance at the person in front of you, then the person directly behind you. Statistically speaking, one of you is obese. A growing epidemic in the U.S., obesity rates are soaring not only in adults, but in children as well. Miracle pills, hormone therapy, special shakes, and others have helped some people, but overall, we are a larger unhealthier country than we were a generation ago. Examining healthy detoxification diets as well as brief modifications in lifestyle can help aid weight loss for people who are categorized as “obese.”
Obesity has various definitions, but a simple way to define it is that it is when your body weight is 20% more than your ideal weight. Between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled amongst adults. About 60 million adults, or 30% of the adult population, are now obese. Since 1980, overweight rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents. This is largely due to poor diets and lack of exercise, which are contributing significantly to joint problems, diabetes, and the onset of various other health issues. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. This is the equivalent of almost three jumbo jets filled with people crashing every day!
More than 50% of American adults do not get the recommended amount of physical activity to provide health benefits. I hear it all the time: “Dr. Laurence, I don’t have time to exercise”, or, “I don’t like to exercise”, or “The weather is bad outside.” You can start by simply walking. Walk every day; outside, inside, in the local department store or mall (Just don’t bring your wallet!). Walking can gradually turn into jogging. If you have bad knees, then try swimming or a water aerobics class. Weight loss occurs when fat cells shrink. During Liposuction, fat cells are removed in one part of the body, only to find that fat will deposit in a different part of the body. Therefore, the only way to truly achieve weight loss is to exercise and modify your eating habits.
A healthy diet is essential to losing weight. This doesn’t mean that you have to starve yourself. Eating larger meals earlier in the day instead of later in the day will help keep pounds off. While asleep, your metabolism lowers. Eating a large meal late in the day will only cause weight to gain. Try eating smaller meals. Research shows that only 25% of U.S. adults eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. More people are eating convenient, sugar-laden, processed foods that lack vitamins and minerals essential for health. Over a life time, this can contribute to other more serious health risks, such as arthritis, joint replacements, asthma, and other degenerative diseases.
Where should you start? Try removing all sodas and sugary drinks from your diet. Replace them with organic juices and water. Start reading labels for hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, and other malnutritious ingredients. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Below is a Diet that I am recommending to you for three weeks, and, as always, first be sure that you consult your doctor, nutritionist, or chiropractor before beginning, to see if it is right for you. It is meant to be temporary.
Foods Allowed: poultry, seafood, eggs, butter, whole nuts (except peanuts), all vegetables, including asparagus, cucumber, celery, green peas, onion, broccoli, lettuce, okra, carrots, etc., all salads, beans, ginger root, and low sugar fruits including all type of berries, pears, green apples, unripe bananas, and grapefruit. Only use small quantities of high quality oils if necessary, such as olive, sunflower, canola, fish oils, flax oil, and borage oils. Spices are ok; ginger and turmeric are highly anti-inflammatory.
Restricted Foods: all grains, bread, pasta, cereals, rice, sweet fruits, juices, sweets, candy, cake, corn, potatoes, starches, chips, and crackers, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar. No alcohol. No Carbohydrates for three weeks.
Things to be Mindful of: Make sure that you drink plenty of water, and prepare your meals. This can be done in conjunction with a healthy exercise program. When you are finished with the three weeks, it is still very important to eat less starch and processed sugars, as these items in particular contribute to weight gain.
Again, this is a guide, and should be followed closely with your health care practitioner. It can be quite challenging, but you will see results. By being proactive now, you are insuring your most valuable asset: YOU! As the famous saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
By: Dr. Chad Laurence