Will lard make you fat?

18 Nov

Growing up, the word lard was synonymous with everything glutinous! Pure fat. You only ate it if you were disgusting. How times have changed! Now I only use either coconut oil or lard to cook with. Doesn’t that sound glutinous and counter-intuitive to being healthy? Shouldn’t I be using something healthy like olive, canola or seed oil?

Picture of lard advertisement

Here’s why you probably shouldn’t be using anything but stable fats like coconut oil or lard (or even BUTTER) for cooking: oxidation.

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I cringe when I think about the cheap-o vegetable oil in the plastic container I used to buy from Wal-Mart to cook with. AHhhhhhh! You should never buy oils that are in plastic containers. Not to mention trans fats are poisoning our country one french fry at a time. You should never consume them under any circumstances. Thank God the FDA is going to ban them!

See, oils that are not stable (solid at room temp) are sensitive to things like light and heat. These things cause them to oxidize. When you consume them, they cause things like free radicals and inflammation in your body. Inflammation can lead to TONS of chronic diseases in the body. I’m not expert on this, so if you want to know more, look here. Basically since cheap oils are packaged in plastic, so sitting in your cupboard makes them oxidize even more. If you’re going to buy olive oil, make sure it is high quality and in a dark, glass container to protect it from the elements and minimize oxidation.

When you cook with these oils, heat damages them even more! Since in America, we fry everything in vegetable oil or peanut oil, we are day by day contributing to inflammation in our bodies and putting our Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio out of whack….further contributing to the health epidemic.

Which brings me to why you SHOULD be cooking with lard, coconut oil and even BUTTER (if you tolerate dairy…make sure it is high quality).  Lard from pastured pork has actually been known to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol since it contains stearic acid. It also contains the good stuff that everyone keeps pushing olive oil for….oleic acid.

These fats are stable to high temperatures and do not get damaged when baking, roasting or heating up food. Thus, our body recognizes them as real good and doesn’t try to fight back when we eat them. Butter is making a come back!

 

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As far as olive oil, it is a healthy choice, but use it for things like light sautéing or finishing oil. Mark Sisson did a piece defending using olive oil in cooking, and I’ll agree. He says that as long as you have a good quality olive oil (dark glass container and reputable brand), cooking, baking or roasting with it isn’t that bad. I’ll take it. But don’t buy the $5.00 plastic container olive oil from Wal-Mart to cook your french fries in. Anyone who has ever tasted the pure heaven that are sweet potato french fries cooked in lard would NEVER!!!

 

***Most of my sources are cited, but I also referenced this article:

Krasner, Deborah. “All You Need to Know about Good Meat.” Mother Earth News. June/July 2012, I.252. 

 

What oils do you cook with?

What’s your favorite brand of coconut oil?

21 Day Sugar Detox Sweet Potato Waffles

16 Nov

Breakfast for dinner!!! It’s one of my favorites. Perfect for a lazy night where I don’t feel like dirtying a bunch of dishes. Not. I dirty 50 dishes every time I enter the kitchen. I am a never ending dirty dish producer. Even having a dishwasher doesn’t help. It puts a mild dent in the situation.

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As you know, I’ve been following the 21 Day Sugar Detox for the past two weeks. Last time I reported, I felt great. Yesterday, however, I hit a slump. I felt exhausted and had a headache…I never have headaches. I’ve been working out about 4 days a week but I never consider my workouts high intensity so I haven’t been supplementing with sweet potatoes, as the program suggests. When I read the daily email from Balanced Bites, it said to reevaluate your workout plan and if you’re suffering from fatigue to add in sweet potatoes. Bingo! I thought that I wouldn’t need extra carbs from working out, but it turns out I probably do. Plus I did quite a strenuous strength training workout Wednesday….I probably should have paid more attention to it all.

Sweet potato waffles to the rescue!!! They turned out amazing for my BRINNER ….I thought I’d share

Sweet Potato Waffles: 21 Day Sugar Detox Approved!!

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Makes two large waffles

1/2 of a large sweet potato, baked and mashed (around 3/4 cup) I cooked mine in the microwave

2 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon coconut milk

1 tablespoon sun butter or almond butter

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)

For the topping:

1 tablespoon coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon sun butter

2 drops of vanilla

dash of cinnamon

crushed pecans

1. Whip your egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks.

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2. After cooking your sweet potato, mash it up and add it to the egg whites with the sunbutter. Mix until incorporated. Don’t over mix or the whites will flop.

3. Add your egg yolks, vanilla and coconut milk and mix until just combined.

4. Fold in dry ingredients.

5. Place half of the mixture in a sprayed/greased waffle iron. Cook until done!

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6. For topping: Mix together everything but the pecans and microwave for 45 seconds. Pour on top of waffle with pecans. If you’re not on the sugar detox top that baby with maple syrup!!

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7 . Eat that deliciousness!!!

Do you love breakfast for dinner?

Favorite waffle/pancake toppings: GO!

Are you working for the weekend?

15 Nov

The world of education lately can be pretty discouraging. I see daily posts from teachers and parents who are struggling with changes none of us can control. And it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re all in this for: the kids. I think a lot about my choice to become a teacher and how it may or may not be what I thought it was going to be. Regardless, it’s what I do, and I have to find ways to return to the reasons I chose it. If you don’t like you situation, you can sit there, complain, do nothing about it and blame others (which is what most people do), or you can choose to live your life a different way.

The negativity in education is almost overwhelming. I can’t even walk into the doors of my school without another teacher jokingly saying on the way in “Is it Friday yet!? Heheh!” I don’t want to live every week just waiting for Friday. Isn’t it weird that complaining and negativity just tend to seep into your pores as soon as the other person opens her mouth? That doesn’t mean I’m upset about Friday rolling around and taking the time to relax after working all week, but I truly want to find ways to enjoy each day and find happiness in little things instead of getting bogged down in all the complaining and negativity. I’ve decided to compile a list of things I LOVE about my job and my kids this year, and brainstorm ways I can capitalize and focus on the things I love instead of focusing on the negative which too many of us do.

Inspirational Quotes

1. I love the how fun, quirky and unique every single one of my kids is.

This year I am gifted with the most amazing, individual and fun students I’ve EVER had. The funny thing is was all last year, the teachers kept warning us about how ‘bad’ this class was and how we were going to have a terrible year next year. I just tried to block it out and it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I absolutely am overwhelmed with the amount of fun I have with these kids. Everyone has such an individual personality, and everyone of them is accepting of one another’s differences. When I was in middle school it was all about being ‘popular’ and ‘cool’. There IS no “popular” group in this class because they all just let their individuality shine and I love it. And they are also some of the most caring, self-less kids I have ever met.

2. I love being able to have deep conversations about literature with my students.

Many people are complaining about the “common core” and how it’s so horrible. When in fact, some of the standards regarding literature are asking me to have discussions with students about literature that I would never have dreamed we would be having because I thought it was ‘too advanced’. I never thought my 8th graders would be analyzing literature. That’s something I did in college. Believe it or not, I LOVE analyzing literature and it’s one of the reasons I became an English teacher. So being able to pass my passion on to my students makes me happy.  I thought getting 8th graders to understand symbolism was a thing of the past. I’m happy to bring it back!

and i'll feel sorry for the students who are forced to read my book and write essays on it :( pin by kay

3. I love designing lessons that will excite and engage my students.

I want to branch out and not do the same thing all the time. With the prescribed lessons that NYS is distributing to us, it’s quite easy to follow along to the lesson without deviating. However, that’s boring. What I like is bringing new things to the table that I know will interest and excite my own students. I love just trying something crazy that I know is completely impractical. Many times I think of creative projects that I’m scared to do because it takes up “test prep time”. However in the back of my mind I know how much my students will enjoy it and how much fun we’ll have doing it.  I try to do at least one of these big projects a year. Last year, we rehearsed and filmed scenes from Anne Frank’s Diary. The year before, we created graphic novels based on unrequited love for the Romeo and Juliet unit. A lot of times I’ll have a crazy idea and I know it will be fun but take a lot of work. I do it anyway.

If your dreams dont scare you they aren't big enough

4. Every class, every day, every year is different.

I cannot fathom how people go to work at desk job day after day, year after year. No offense if you do and you love it. I’ll admit there are some days when I think “why can’t I just go sit at a desk all day??”. But the truth is I would HATE it every day. Every day to me just flies by without even thinking about it. I blink and its 3pm. I’m busy up to the minute I leave. And every day is a new challenge, a different experience. Even from class to class- one lesson can go poorly and the same exact lesson can go great. That happened today! My lesson in the morning was very rocky and I got discouraged (actually why I thought of writing this post lol) and then the same lesson was amazing in another class! I love trying to figure out who my students are and what will work best for each class. I love noticing what went well and why and how I can improve it the next time. Every lesson I get to do 5 times since I have five sections of 8th grade. So by the fifth time you can bet I’ve made some tweaks. And it definitely keeps it interesting. And who else has a job where every September you get to start over?!? Like you get a new reputation. It’s like changing towns and nobody knows who you are and what you’re like and you can change things about the way you teach and no one will ever know!

I challenge you to start noticing what went well in your day. The good things. Instead of focusing on all the negatives. Whether it be in your job or just life in general. What are you grateful for and how can you focus on it to make each day count and stop living for the weekend? Seeing the good in every day truly makes a difference in your overall happiness.

Favorite Posts

14 Nov

I guess I should acknowledge that my blog turned a year old the other day! Happy Birthday Pencils and Pancakes! It’s weird that I’ve more or less been documenting my life on the internet for a year. Sometimes I feel self conscious. A lot of people who have never heard of what a blog is or are unfamiliar with it don’t understand why anyone would want to do post their life on the internet, or constantly be taking pictures of food to post….but all I know is I enjoy blogging, reading others’ blogs, and writing. So I’ll keep doing it for now!!! I know…you were worried 😉

Since my blog is a year old I though I’d run down some of my favorite and most popular posts from the last year:

School-

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Sometimes I doubt if I should continue blogging about teaching, since I feel like the blog has morphed into more of a food blog, but teaching posts continue to be what people searching come for. So I’ll be happy to throw up a couple teaching related posts a month.

How to teach counterclaim

Book unit on Micheal Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma

Food-

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Over the past year I have been experimenting with the Paleo diet. I love how it makes me feel! Although I don’t stick to it 100% of the time. Here are some of my favorite recipes from the past year (not all of them are Paleo).

Paleo Cereal

Butternut Squash and Chicken Curry over Coconut Cauliflower Rice

Spinach and Garlic Pizza

Grilled banana and peanut butter stuffed french toast

Spicy Roasted Carrot Fries <<I make these at least once a week

Game Day Treats: Roasted red pepper poppers

Reviews-

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Quest Bar Review

Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant Review

Wedding-

pro 10

Pros and Cons of planning a wedding on Pinterest

Rustic Wedding Crafts

Bachelorette Party

Ceremony and Bridal Party

Miscellaneous Favorite Posts

What to buy organic

How to grocery shop on a budget using coupons

Working out in the morning: pros and cons

How to change your mindset and become happier

 

WOW it’s kind of fun to look at all the posts and reflect over the past year. I haven’t really taken the time to re-read much of my blog. Anyways, for the 2-3 people that might read this blog 2 of which include my husband and mother, thanks for reading! Next goal is trying to get this baby self hosted. It scares me whenever I think about it…any tips?

Do you ever go back and read your own blog posts?

How hard is going to self hosted? BE HONEST!!!

21 Day Sugar Detox Recipes

12 Nov

I thought I’d share some of the awesome food that I’ve been eating this week due to Diane Sanfilippo and her new book 21 Day Sugar Detox. I’ve been sharing some on Instagram and people seem interested in recipes to make during the 21 Day Sugar Detox and what exactly it is.

As I’ve mentioned, Practical Paleo is basically my food bible. So even thought I wasn’t particularly interested in doing a sugar ‘detox’ I pretty much ordered the book for the recipes. And she’s coming out with more recipes and another book in December! I’m like her personal sales-person over here.

When you hear the word “detox”, it conjures up images of green bile-like smoothies and lemon water and cayenne pepper drinks for 7 days. This is not in any way what this is. It’s basically just eating Paleo, except you have to cut out most fruit and sweeteners like honey and maple syrup for 21 days.

I have a SERIOUS sugar addiction, and Paleo/natural or not, eating massive amount of fruits, Paleo baked goods and in my case dried fruit just makes my cravings worse and worse until I am an uncontrollable sweet craving eating machine. I talked about how since my wedding I’m experiencing a lack of motivation when it comes to healthy eating. It pretty much just carried over into the fall and I’ve found it hard to stay on track. I know that sweet things are my downfall, and it’s SO hard to stop eating them once I start. The hardest part is the more I eat sweet things the more I crave, so it’s just this big gigantic cycle.

I started the sugar detox on November 4th with a large group of online support. It’s hard to make the first step on cutting out sugar and fruit because …. it’s soooo good and addicting. It’s been 8 days and I feel AMAZING!!! I can’t even describe it. I’m just in such a great mood and feel so good. It’s like this “I CAN DO AALLLLLL THE THINGSSS” kind of feeling. See I just tried to describe it and I failed.

The other day I had this for breakfast and went 6 hours before even being hungry. SIX HOURS!

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It was a hash of carrots, parsnips, sausage and eggs.  Not my usual pancakes but kept me fuller. That’s what’s so hard..I crave sweet things in the morning and it’s so hard to say not to that. But when I do say no I stay fuller longer and feel so much better. It’s quite the conundrum.

Some of the recipes I’ve made include:

Savory Herb Drop Biscuits

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So good.

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

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Haven’t had one of these yet, but I nibbled off the top of one when it came out of the oven and it was good. And they smell wonderful.

Shrimp Pad Thai

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I subbed spaghetti squash for the zucchini. This was ah-ma-zing! So unique and delicious flavors.

I also made the beef and broccoli stir fry, but didn’t take a picture.

I also made this faux pumpkin banana ice cream last night to satisfy the sweet tooth. I just used a green-tipped banana and did not put any honey in it.

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So overall I feel great but I know that when I go home for Thanksgiving and indulge I am going to start craving sweet things more and more. Once you start you can’t stop! I also might end the 21 day sugar detox a little early since the day I go home is day 20 (?) and we literally haven’t been home since Labor day. I’m not going to not have fun with people I haven’t seen in months because of the detox. I plan to just play it by ear and if I feel like eating something, I will. If the opportunity doesn’t arise I will try to do the 21 days. No big deal. I will return to this way of eating after Thanksgiving. It’s hard to STOP the sweet stuff, but the more you eat the more you crave, so I just have to remember how GREAT I feel right now. This was a great reset for my body right before the holidays! I highly recommend the book.

Have you tried the 21 day Sugar Detox?

How do you feel about going on a “diet”? Does it make you more stressed out than necessary or do you like having rules?

Oven Roasted Romanesco

11 Nov

I  love when I see a new, interesting vegetable in the grocery store. I also consider it perfectly normal to drive to a town 40 minutes away so I can go to Wegmans (a fancy foodie grocery store in Upstate New York). So this Saturday, right when I entered the paradise that is Wegmans I saw a veggie I’ve been dying to try but have never seen in the grocery store I regularly go to: Romanesco. Heard of it?

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It’s kind of a weird cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It just looks cool, so that means I had to get it. And I thought I’d share with you directions for roasting romanesco if it scares you! The cashier was stumped. This regularly happens to me with vegetables I buy. Things like spaghetti squash, plantains, kale…no matter what it is I feel like once a week I get a weird look and a “Um what is this?” from the grocery cashier. Does that happen to you? Moving on…

I decided to treat it just like I would cauliflower or broccoli- roast it! I love roasting veggies…. it brings such rich flavor and I can add whatever spices or fat I want.

For the romanesco,  I just cut it up like I would a regular cauliflower or broccoli and placed in a large roasting pan.

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I poured over the top of it about 1/4 cup of coconut oil. You could use olive oil, butter, lard, etc.

I sprinkled with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then I roasted them in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes or until they got that nice golden brown roasted color on the top.

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Yum! The taste was more like cauliflower with an almost lemony tang to it. You should definitely try roasting romanesco if you see it at your grocery store!

What weird vegetables do you love to eat?

What things stump your cashier?

Have you ever been to Wegmans?

Majestic Elegance Punta Cana

7 Nov

I am finally getting around to sharing my honeymoon! Really I just want to look at pictures while re-living it…but I thought it would be cool to share some of the food, sights and things to do at Majestic Elegance Punta Cana. We went there at the suggestion of my sister in law, who is a travel agent. Check out her site for more recommendations!

The resort is in the Dominican Republic. This was my first time going to an all inclusive resort, or to the Caribbean at all. It was beautiful! We had a Jacuzzi suite and the pool with a swim up bar was right outside out doorstep. You literally went out the sliding grass door and the pool was right in our “back yard”. That was probably my favorite part of it all.

 

 

Jacuzzi in the room!

We had butlered service, but it really didn’t end up amounting to much. Our butler had “vacation” for most of the time we were there, and even when he was there, we didn’t really feel the need to bother him with little things like getting us towels or reserving us a beach spot. Most days there were plenty of sun beds available at the pools or on the beach. At Majestic Elegance there were two private pools available to the Elegance Club members only, then there was a main group pool with a wet bar. We stuck to the private pools.

Sun Beds on the beach

Sun Beds at the pool

We stayed at Majestic Elegance which is the adults only section of the resort. In the same vicinity is the Majestic Colonial which is a more family friendly option. I seriously got lost and couldn’t tell the difference between the two of them until one day we got kicked out of the buffet because we were on the wrong side. Whoops!

Which brings me to the food….not my favorite part, unfortunately. Obviously, you know I like food. And recently, I’ve become educated regarding where my food comes from and making sure I not only eat healthy but from good sources. An all inclusive resort is not the best place to me when you’re worried about the sources and quality of your food. Just saying. Some people are fine with it. Some people don’t go on vacation to eat. Generally, I do. So the food situation did not make me happy, but we made do.

There were seven restaurants categorized into generic, American-ized versions of Italian, Japanese, Steak House (so corny and cliche), French, Seafood and 2 buffets. I would say the best food was at the Italian or French. But best pretty much means mediocre. It screamed generic and un-authentic.

One of the best things I ate- tiramisu from the Italian place. I don’t even have any other pictures of food- that’s how bad it was!! And you know I like taking pictures of my food.

Oh well, the food was only one part of it. Some of the best food we actually ate was when we went on an excursion to a private island and had some authentic Dominican BBQ pork and rice. After complaining all week I wanted a drink out of a coconut, got ripped off by some guy selling them. $5 for extra rum!

 

The island was beautiful. And so was the resort.

 

 

 

Have you ever been to an all inclusive resort? How was the food?

How important is food to you on vacation?

Character Trait Anchor Chart

5 Nov

Checking in to share some of the stuff I’ve been doing in my classroom. Today we learned about mood and tone. This is always a difficult concept for students to grasp. I feel like every English teacher teaches it and the students then forget it.every.year.

Last year I came up with a special hand motion trick for how to get students to remember mood and tone.

MOOD= MOVES (how it moves you)- Wiggle your arms

TONE= TELL (how the narrator tells it)- Put hands to mouth in a megaphone style.

The students laugh at me wiggling my arms around and think it’s goofy. Hand motions and auditory techniques really work for memory so I am hoping it gets them to remember it a little better. I also made an anchor chart so they can reference it in the classroom when I ask them what the tone/mood of a particular piece is.

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The purpose of an anchor chart is to give the students the support they need while learning a concept. They might know what mood is but struggle coming up with a word to describe it. All year they can look on this chart. Then when they get to the test *hopefully* one will pop in their heads.

Character Trait Anchor Chart

Another thing students struggle with is finding words to describe characters. I need students to come up with words other than “happy” and “sad” to describe a character. So after a lesson the other day where students were having trouble thinking of words, I made this to hang up:

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I separated the words into “positive” words (happy face) and negative words (sad face).

Hopefully this helps students think of some better 8th grade words to use when describing characters.

What are some useful anchor charts you have in your classroom?

WIAW: Easy Dinner Sides

30 Oct

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

I know that I really only do sporadic WIAW posts…however sometimes I end up with a bunch of pictures of food on my phone that I feel the need to awkwardly take…so might as well do something with them! If you haven’t checked out Jen’s blog yet- go now!  I don’t really have a full day of food to share, but looking through my pictures got me thinking about easy dinner sides that I frequently make.

Generally for dinner, I have a central “meat” and unless it’s a stir fry or curry, 2-3 sides I make to go along with it. I have a semi-picky husband…who so far I’ve really had to train in order to eat some veggies…but there are still some that he won’t eat. So therefore I generally have to make three sides for a dinner: one crossover one we’ll both eat and then another one for me and him respectively (not the most convenient thing but I love to cook so I don’t mind). It’s generally white potatoes or boxed mac and cheese I make for him and another veggie for me I make. Other sides include:

Sautéed or roasted cabbage

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Roasted broccoli

roasted broccoli

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Roasted cauliflower with cocoa and chili powder

Green beans with onions and garlic

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Mashed cauliflower

Carrot Fries **we have these weekly!

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Sweet potato rounds (or fries)

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Roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts

Really the possibilities are endless. I never understand why people say they don’t like vegetables….obviously they’re doing it wrong! It never occurred to me to put recipes up for any of these since a lot are pretty simple but I guess looking at them now I will. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the sides until then!

What are your go-to dinner sides?

What creative ways do you like to cook vegetables? I put cinnamon on everything!!

EPIC bar review

29 Oct

****UPDATE: The amazing people at EPIC have given me and my followers a special promo code for 10%  anything you order- with FREE SHIPPING!!! So now you  have a reason to try them out! Just use this promo code: PENCILSANDPANCAKESAREEPIC

Happy Shopping!

I have a ton of amazing and quality products that I have on the burner to do reviews for, so I might as well start. But before I do, if you haven’t, you should definitely head on over to my Pencils and Pancakes Facebook Page and like it!! I am almost at 100. For some unexplainable reason I will be really happy when I have 100 followers.  Humor me, please!?!?

Anyways….First up: Epic Bars.

 

From the website:

The EPIC bar is a 100% grass fed animal based protein bar designed as nature intended. Paleo friendly, gluten free, and low in sugar, we believe that EPIC foods should inspire EPIC health.

I’ve seen them in the Paleo blogosphere so I was thrilled when I was able to get some free samples. When I Instagrammed this picture, everyone was like “what!?!? a meat protein bar?!?!?” And basically yeah- that’s how I would mostly describe it: a cross between a protein bar and beef jerky.

Turkey

There are three flavors:

Turkey Almond Cranberry

Beef Habenero Cherry

Bison Bacon Cranberry

The taste is like a sweetened beef jerky, the texture is that of a mushy protein bar. Softer and less chewy than jerky. My favorite was by far the bison.

bison

I won’t lie…have I had better tasting, sweeter, more addicting protein bars? Yes. Did said protein bars have un-pronounceable, sugary additives? Yes. If the quality of the ingredients is a high priority, and you’re an athlete or someone looking to get some quality protein after a workout I would recommend these over any other sugar/crap laden bar or protein shake. By far.

To me, just knowing it is a lean source of quality protein is enough to make them a winner. In the words of Cave Girl Eats…this bar says “B*tch…I’m a protein bar”. LOL

So..if you’re looking for a quality source of protein after your workout and don’t want to fall victim to the latest sugar-trap protein shake concoction…you should try these out! Or just order them and try them out regardless ‘cause you’re addicted to online food shopping like me!!

What are your favorite protein bars??

Do you ever eat beef jerky?

The Domestic Man

Gluten-free recipes, inspired by traditional & international cuisines.

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

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Marketing Consultant by day || Lover of food, fashion, fitness, & living life to the fullest || Running around, attempting to balance it all 🤷🏻‍♀️

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