Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin UCAN 'Fudge Bar'

Anyone who knows me well knows I love pumpkin.  I also love baking, yet my goal with this concoction was to make a raw (non-bake) bar and of course, incorporate some pumpkin!  I’ve also been experimenting lately with using chickpeas, chickpea flour, or aquafaba in a variety of recipes such as pancakes, smoothies, and breads.  So, why not try a raw bar with pumpkin and chickpeas together and add in UCAN superstarch to provide another trustworthy source of slow-releasing, energy-stabilizing carbohydrate?  I’m game.


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c pitted deglet noor dates (about 9)
  • 1/2 c raw almonds
  • 1/2 c chickpeas, from can (drained)
  • 1/2 c natural cashew butter
  • 2.5 scoops plain UCAN Superstarch (~62 grams)
  • 3/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp coconut nectar
Yield: 12 servings (~155 calories each)

Add all ingredients to a food processor (using S-blade) and blend well. Stir a few times to be sure all ingredients are mixed well.  The “dough” will be thick and a bit sticky.  Evenly spread the mixture into a 8” x 8” pan (lined with parchment paper) and freeze for 1 hour.  You can then cut and keep frozen until you are ready to nibble, or put a few pieces in the refrigerator for consumption later.
Pumpkin UCAN Fudge Bar
Since I wasn’t following a recipe and don’t have extensive experience with raw bars (especially using these type of ingredients) , I wasn’t sure how the bar would come together.  I actually really like the creamy texture with a subtle pumpkin flavor all in a fudge-like consistency that is not overwhelmingly sweet. Additionally, if you like frozen bars (and pumpkin!), you can certainly eat this partially frozen to get your fix!

By the way, you'd never know this bar contains chickpeas! (Shhh...) 

Happy Halloween!

-Dina

Monday, October 10, 2016

What's the price tag of your health?

“I can’t afford it.”

Perhaps you are an athlete or fitness enthusiast who has had this thought when contemplating whether to pursue one-on-one nutrition coaching in pursuit of improved health or athletic performance.  (fyi - if you are a new reader here, then you should know I work in the sports nutrition coaching realm)

And so, a short babble related to money, spending, cost, value, investment :

On the surface, the cost of nutrition coaching appears to be a barrier.  But how do you really weigh the cost versus the investment?  And short-term versus long-term benefits? 

It is estimated that triathletes can easily spend over $10,000 per year to support their training and racing goals.  Even if you’re not a triathlete, think about areas where you spend your money:  coaching-related services (training coach, swim coach, personal training, private lessons), gear (shoes, bike, apparel, swimwear/wetsuits, heart rate monitors, power meters, and other accessories), memberships, books/magazines, body work services (massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga), travel (to races, workshops, camps), sports nutrition products, and the list goes on.  It adds up fast.

How do you prioritize this spending and how do your investments support your training and competition goals?

Many will respond with something like “I spend money on the things that make me faster, stronger, and get me towards new PBs or enjoying the sport more.”  That’s all groovy, but not when the importance of health is overlooked.  You know health is the foundation for athletic performance, right?  (unless you are a pro athlete and wanting to burn yourself out fast for the gains of your short-lived athletic career… and worry about health later)

Unfortunately, the majority of us don’t fully realize the benefits of investing in nutritional health until the onset of illness or disease, DNFs or racing hardships, or some other “surprise” that makes us think twice.  Then, there’s also the cost of time.  I know individuals who will spend hours every week reading through social media posts, blogs, magazines, etc in pursuit of the answers to their health-related goals or problems only to find themselves in a world of confusion and controversy.  It's difficult to put a price tag on this time, but I'm guessing most would rather use it doing something else.

Perhaps it’s a matter of how we perceive a cost and an investment?
Cost =  an amount that has to be paid or spent to buy or obtain something
vs.
Investment = a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future

I encourage you to consider that "thing worth buying" an investment in you and your health.  Believe you are worth it. And find a legitimate support team that also values you and your goals.

“… cuz, your health, man, is your wealth. And you’re a long time dead”
-John Butler Trio