Sunday, October 25, 2009
Baws (Boston for "Bars")
As far as bars go, I mainly stick with KIND bars. They are full of nuts and a little dried fruit. They are not super high in protein like most bars, only 5 grams, but they make a very balanced and low glycemic snack because of their combination of healthy fats, carbs, and protein. Low glycemic means the sugars enter your bloodstream slowly, providing sustained energy. They fit in a gym bag or a purse and will not melt in the sun. Delicious flavors include the above fruit and nut, nut delight, almond coconut, almond and cashew, cranberry almond, and a ton more. Some are fortified with antioxidants (great for repair of cells after a workout), others with calcium or B vitamins (for energy and metabolism). I will eat the fruit and nut pre- or post-run because of the dried fruit and chewy consistency. I like the nut delight paired with Greek yogurt for a mid-morning snack. I'll chomp on the almond coconut to shake things up a bit.
Why do I prefer KIND over other bars? Most other bars main protein source is soy. Not whole soy, but a very processed form of soy. Labels might read soy protein isolates or soy protein concentrate. The soybean has gone through heat processing and extraction, and what is left is a chemical-like bar. Soy is a phytoestrogen, meaning it mimics estrogen and can change hormone levels in both males and females. Men naturally have low levels of estrogen, which helps support bone density, but these levels should remain low. Women need to maintain a balance between progesterone and estrogen to keep a healthy cycle.
To keep estrogen levels balanced, stick with soy-free bars and protein supplements for the most part. Another bar to look for is Larabars, which are yummy chocolate flavored and made from dates (1 serving of fruit in each bar) and nuts. My go-to flavor is chocolate coconut. I like to include coconut into my diet once in a while for its multitude of benefits. Coconut has the same component as breast that provides immune enhancing properties, lauric acid. Coconut is a vary stable fat, meaning its chemical bonds can withstand high temperatures without being damaged. Once a fat changes structure, it creates inflammation in our bodies. Coconut is also very good for digestion since it is a medium chain triglyceride, a fat that is absorbed easily because of its structure. You can cook with coconut oil, add unsweetened coconut to cereal or a trail mix, or stir fry or blend light coconut milk in a smoothie.