I often get asked why I don’t eat gluten. Some people assume that I have a gluten allergy or intolerance, but I don’t…at least not that I’m aware of. The truth is that I don’t think gluten is healthy. I don’t think it belongs in the human diet, at least not the way gluten-containing grains are grown and manufactured today.
Full disclaimer: I’m not a dietitian, nutritionist, doctor, health coach or anything of the sort; I have no formal education in any area of health or nutrition but I have done a lot of my own research. I’m [obviously] fond of the Paleo lifestyle and so that does have a large influence on my health beliefs but I also use myself as a guinea pig to determine whether or not certain foods work with my body.
Gluten, sugar, alcohol and highly processed foods don’t work with my body. I feel sluggish, retain water, my face gets puffy, my sleep suffers, my digestion is off and my hormones just feel out of whack when I eat these foods. Now, that’s not saying I eat “perfectly”. I will consume sugar, alcohol and processed foods from time to time but gluten is something I really try to avoid. I never crave it, and these days there are so many gluten-free options that I never feel deprived. (If you’ve been following my blog or Instagram for a while you know that I love my gluten free treats 😉 )
I’ve read many books, blogs and articles and listened to quite a few podcasts that talk about gluten and it’s affects on your health. In my opinion, there is enough research supporting the idea that gluten is unhealthy. Now, do I think it’s going to kill you if you eat it? No. But I DO think that it contributes to many health issues such as: hormone imbalance, gut/digestion issues, poor nutrient absorption, weight problems, skin issues… But hey, I’m not going to judge anyone for eating it. If you think it’s working for you, then by all means go for it! I’m just giving you a brief explanation of why I don’t consume gluten.
A few of my favorite books that discuss gluten and overall wellness include:
Your Personal Paleo Code, by Chris Kresser
Perfect Health Diet, by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet
Wheat Belly by William Davis
I’ve read and own each of these books. Chris Kresser does have a newer edition of his book out, but I haven’t read that one. I also enjoy the following blogs for general health/wellness information: Mark’s Daily Apple, Wellness Mama, Robb Wolf (specifically his podcast), Chris Kresser.
Aaaaand, that’s that! Now on to these Cinnamon Sugar Collagen Bars. I love protein bars, so much so that I don’t always have them stocked in my house because I eat them too frequently when I do! I created these one afternoon when I had a craving for something sweet, but wanted a treat that was high in protein and not so high in sugar. These collagen bars are Paleo friendly and can be made vegan by substituting the collagen for a plant based protein powder.
Cinnamon Sugar Collagen Bars
- 1/2 Cup dry roasted almonds
- 1/2 Cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 Cup ground flax seed
- 2 scoops Collagen Peptides*
- 2 Tbsp Monkfruit Sweetener**
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp pink salt
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (room temp)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In food processor, combine almonds and pumpkin seeds. Blend to a course flour.
- Add in remaining dry ingredients. Blend well.
- Add in wet ingredients, blend well.
- Press dough into 8″ x 4″ lined baking pan (plastic wrap works well) and place in freezer for at least one hour to set.
- Remove from freezer and cut into bars (8 bars).
- Optional: drizzle with coconut butter.
- Store in air-tight container in freezer.
Recipe makes 8 bars
*May substitute with protein powder of choice
**May substitute with coconut sugar
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been experimenting with monk fruit sweetener in quite a few of my recipes lately. I really love the Lakanto classic and golden granular monk fruit sweeteners. I don’t think they have an aftertaste (unlike many sweeteners) and they work at a 1:1 ratio for sugar replacement. If you are looking for a sugar replacement, I highly suggest giving this alternative a try.
I drizzled this batch with coconut butter, but the drizzle is totally optional 😉