A few years ago I would’ve thought nothing of tucking into a chocolate bar as a snack when I was feeling a bit peckish or needed a quick pick me up. That was before I understood the perils of swamping my body with glucose infused chocolate bars or snacks, most of which have never even seen a cocoa bean! It makes me wonder if the reason some well known chocolate bars have such astronomical names is because they send your blood sugar rocketing, with no apologies for the crash landing.
Growing up in the 1980’s & 90’s, it was perfectly acceptable to snack on what is now considered to be ‘junk’ food. This term has taken on a new meaning for me since learning a little about nutrition. It’s not just about that nagging motherly voice ringing in my mind ‘you’ll rot your teeth eating that’, but more that the effects of eating a wholesome balanced diet have entirely changed my life.
Not so long ago, in total despair at my perpetual weariness, crankiness, lack of energy, motivation and unbalanced hormones I begged my GP to refer me to a nutritionist who prescribed me a low GI diet. I had spent years eating almost exclusively wheat based meals, and had become intolerant. The nutritionist explained that the yeast, refined sugar and wheat in my starchy diet had pretty much zero nutritional value and were causing huge problems to my general health and wellbeing.
So I trawled through recipe books and researched online in a bid to completely overhaul my diet. However, I rapidly discovered there was no quick fix solution to eating healthily; I would have to start cooking all my meals from scratch as it became abundantly clear that the only way I was going to avoid wheat without eating the cardboard alternatives on offer, was to create my own meals. This became easier with time as I experimented with different foods and my health began to improve.
Nevertheless, one problem remained. Even though I was eating three healthy meals a day, I would still long for a snack, or look for an energy boost before a dance lesson. Fruit alone can be high in sugar; nuts can be high in fat if portions aren’t regulated. Even so called ‘healthy snack bars' are often packed full of sugar or chemical nasties. So it was apparent I’d either have to live with the 11am hunger pangs, or succumb to inviting the local bird population to my desk each morning as I tucked into my box of seeds… That was until one happy day at my local supermarket when I discovered, the Nakd bar. There they were, sitting on the top shelf in the whole foods section. I scanned the list of ingredients and couldn’t believe my eyes, fruit, nuts and some natural flavourings, no guilt, no rubbish. And then I tried one, and my snacking habits were changed forever.
My diet overhaul really has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve rediscovered my childhood love for cooking and baking. I’ve slimmed down due to eating a wholesome balanced, natural diet. On the odd occasion I will have something ready made or processed, but the difference is I know that the convenience of the meal is not worth feeling like a slug. The benefits of healthy eating far outweigh the drawbacks (although personally I struggle to find any). My mental and physical health has improved a hundred fold, depression lessened, self confidence gained and my increased energy levels I have exposed a love for exercise to the extent that I have trained as a Zumba instructor and hope to extend this into other fitness and wellness coaching in the future.
If more healthy snacks tasted as good as Nakd bars do, then more surely people would be less inclined to eat traditional ‘junky’ snacks? With the combination of carbohydrate and protein in Nakd bars, you know that the energy is from a natural source that will balance out any energy dips on the go. Wouldn’t it be amazing if children were actually educated about nutrition at school so they grew up with the knowledge of the differences between processed and ‘real’ natural food.
Perhaps its idealistic to think that they would choose healthy options over what is in the school vending machine? It must be confusing with the media sending conflicting messages bombarding us with latest trend of the do’s and don’ts of healthy living that are potentially damaging if we don’t fully understand the science behind them. Then again, in the past the choice to eat ‘bad for you’ snacks has probably been made due to convenience and flavours of the snacks on offer. If healthy snacks are also conveniently wrapped and actually taste good too, then maybe there is some hope for the future…
The tables do seem to be turning slightly. It is becoming a little more socially acceptable to eat ‘healthy’ snacks such as the wonderful Nakd bars. This is great for ‘freak’s like me, (because apparently caring about what you put into your body is just ‘like, so uncool’). I no longer need to worry about turning up to the office like I am about to host a Tupperware party for a group of squirrels. I can easily stash an array of Nakd bar flavours into my handbag, gym bag or even my coat pocket for that matter and I’ve always got the excitement a tasty snack just waiting for me around the corner, without the need for any of guilty, negative self talk to go hand in hand. In fact, the very knowledge that my little snack has vitamins and nutrients packed inside it is enough to get me Zumba-ing around the room!
So this Christmas, rather than tucking into a mountain of sugary chocolate, that you didn’t even ask for, why not grab one of the Cocoa flavoured Nakd bars as a healthy holiday snack. They taste just as good (well actually, better) than your favourite chocolate bar, and you can be as smug as you like about enjoying it, because won’t have to worry about working any of it off in the New Year!