Peanut Butter & Coconut Granola Bars

How do you raise a healthy family in an unhealthy world? Toxic substances are all over our environment and our food chain. Pesticides sprayed on food, artificial additives and preservatives found in food products, chemicals found in personal care and cleaning products, cigarette smoke, trans fats, and radiation. They all cause free radical damage and deplete our body of important disease fighting ability by damaging cell DNA. Damaged cells then grow and reproduce abnormally, and this what leads to disease. You probably already know that the best way to flush out all these environmental toxins naturally is by regularly consuming fruits and vegetables which contain antioxidants. But what other simple measures can you take to remove environmental toxins from your daily routine?

Among the most obvious, practice regular exercise and stress reduction techniques such as meditation and yoga, stand barefoot on the earth, grass, dirt, and sand, and try to avoid food products that come in a cardboard box. I’m a huge fan of trading your store-bought, packaged granola bar for a homemade version. Most folks think granola bars are a healthy snack, but in actuality, many contain far too much oil, sugar, and artificial preservatives that you can’t pronounce. Here is a simple recipe for one that should satisfy both your need for a snack-on-the-go, as well as something healthy!

Tip: Make sure to read the ingredient label of the coconut that you’re buying. There should only be one ingredient: unsulphured coconut. If the package has any other ingredient listed, pass and move on to another brand. Sulfur dioxide is used to help extend shelf life, which is why you may see this “artificial preservative” listed on ingredient label of dried fruit. Even a small amount of sulfite can wreak havoc on your health if you’re sensitive to it.

Peanut Butter, Coconut, Chocolate Granola Bars

½ cup natural peanut butter (I use Smuckers Natural Creamy)
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 ½ cup rolled oats
½ cup oat bran (oat flour)
½ cup natural coconut flakes (make sure the ingredient list says only “coconut”)
½ cup chocolate chips or cacao chips

Preparation Instructions
Toast the 1 ½ cup of rolled oats (on parchment paper) at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Whisk peanut butter and about 1/3 of a cup of maple syrup together in a bowl. Once combined, add the oat bran to the mixture. This thickens the mixture, then add the remaining maple syrup (another 1/3 cup). Use a spatula to fold the toasted oats, coconut and chocolate into the peanut butter bowl. It will be sticky. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and then press the mixture into the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

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