Homemade Fat-Burning Bars with Calendula
I know what you’re thinking… calendula… in an energy bar?
Yes, calendula is that pretty yellow flower that makes the most heavenly skin-soothing serums, oils, and creams.
But I bet you didn’t know that calendula can be a part of your fitness routine.
These delicious and healthy granola bars are vegan, gluten-free, processed sugar-free, and high in protein and fiber. Plus, they only contain real food ingredients that are proven to help boost metabolism, burn fat and keep you running on all cylinders. These bars are great for on-the-go mornings, in between meals, or as a post-workout snack.
Calendula, also known as English Marigold or Pot Marigold, has been adored for eternity for its healing potential. You hear of calendula being used more topically because it’s so wholesome for the skin.
It has reparative properties and soothes inflammation while at the same time killing bacteria and viruses.
Calendula is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs). It also contains 15 of 22 essential amino acids, including alanine, arginine, aspartic acid, asparagines, valine, histidine, glutamic acid, leucine, lysine, proline, serine, tyrosine, threonine, methionine, and phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are used by the body to build muscles and cellular structure and for hormone synthesis and production of neurotransmitters.
The natural chemicals in calendula are also powerful anti-inflammatories that can help decrease the swelling and fatigue that often comes along with exercise. Calendula is likewise known to reduce oxidative stress and muscle damage caused by exercise and can even improve exercise performance.
Studies have shown that the capsaicin contained in cayenne pepper can help prevent blood clots and clear lipids from arteries, which are known causes of heart attacks. Many people swear cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack in its tracks. However, there isn’t enough scientific research specifically on capsaicin use during heart attacks to validate that claim.
Capsaicin can also help reduce body weight through a process known as thermogenesis, which basically drives the body to burn fat faster.
And if you don’t already have enough reason to add cayenne to your fat-burning routine or at least your fat-burning bars, you should know that cayenne pepper can help reduce appetite and control hunger too.
Besides its fat-burning abilities, cayenne pepper adds the perfect amount of pep to these bars. It really plays nice with the energizing apple and cinnamon.
Try reducing or skipping the cayenne altogether if you are more sensitive to pepper spices.
Cinnamon may seem like a simple and everyday ingredient, but its supportive properties are often underappreciated.
The polyphenols in cinnamon can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels; boosting metabolism and weight loss.
Cinnamon has also been shown to improve lipid metabolism, blood flow, and circulation in human and animal studies.
And like many warming spices, cinnamon can help lessen inflammation which helps relax tired muscles and calm aches and pains.
Most of us have heard that apples are high in fiber but they are also high in prebiotics, which are the food that feeds probiotics; helping to regulate digestive processes.
Apples are also very high in antioxidants and a major source of polyphenols, dietary fiber, carotenoids, and other nutrients. Studies show that fruit rich in these polyphenols promote anti-obesity effects and wield their beneficial effects through scavenging free radicals, regulating gene expression, and modifying signal transduction in target cells and tissues, especially fat tissues
Apples are also great for weight loss because their fiber content helps you feel full while still remaining low in calories. They are also a great way to sweeten dishes without the addition of sugar, which you will definitely find out when you make these fat-burning bars.
Cranberries are an antioxidant rich super-food full of micronutrients. Adding these tart little berries to your fat-burning bars can help increase lipid metabolism and fat metabolism. Additionally, clinical studies reveal cranberries are anti-inflammatory and great for the cardiovascular system; lowering bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol.
I bet you didn’t know that it can be a part of your fitness routine.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are not only full of protein but often contain vital fats and nutrients. These bars were made using an omega-3-rich mixture of walnuts and pumpkin seeds— both great sources of prebiotics and important minerals that will not only help build muscle but keep you fuller longer. Pumpkin seeds in particular can also have a detoxifying effect on the body.
Oats have been shown to reduce blood glucose levels and significantly improve lipid profiles improving insulin resistance, cholesterol levels, and body weight.
Certain studies conclude that eating oats consistently for at least eight weeks can also treat and even prevent metabolic disorders.
Oats are rich in fiber, prebiotics, and protein and they make up the base of these delicious bars.
Now… it’s time to make some delicious Calendula Cranberry and Apple Spice Fat Burning Energy Bars!
Fat-Burning Bars with Calendula – Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
(Or 1 ½ cups raw and organic omega-3 trail mix)
- ½ cup dried apple slices
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 ½ cups oats
- ¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 cup dried calendula petals
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) while you gather all of your ingredients together.
Step 2. Place the dried apples into the food processor and pulse until chopped into small chunks. Then remove the apples from the processor and set them aside. Do the same for the cranberries, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
Step 3. Place the dates into the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the dried fruit and nuts back into the food processor along with the calendula petals, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Pulse again until well-integrated but still crumbly.Step 4. Place the new mixture into a large bowl and add the honey and oats. Mix well.Step 5. Prepare a 9 x 13 cake pan by lining it with parchment paper all the way up the sides.Step 6. Add the mixture to the cake pan and press down HARD to pack it down. You can use another pan to press the mixture into the corners and make it flat.Step 7. Carefully pre-cut the mixture into bars before baking. They get a little dense as they cool, making them harder to cut. Place them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.Step 8. Remove the bars from the oven and re-cut them in the same places you cut them before baking. Let them cool for at least an hour.Enjoy! You can keep these fat-burning bars in an air-tight container for up to a week outside of refrigeration and in the freezer for 1-2 months.
Calendula is a member of the Asteraceae family. Some people are hypersensitive or allergic to Asteraceae plants (ragweed, chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, etc.) and should use caution when trying calendula for the first time. This recipe also contains cayenne pepper, a well-known nightshade that should be avoided by those sensitive to nightshades.
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