Hi friends! Ahhh, the weekend has arrived!
Since I haven’t finished my ‘about me’ section yet, most of you don’t know what I do for a living. Well, I’m a nurse! I work on a spinal cord injury unit at a physical rehabilitation hospital. It’s beyond rewarding and I (usually) adore my patient population.
I also work night shift. Which means my life is pretty much super fun always. Missing out on
get-togethers pretty much anything that happens in the evening or on weekends. Never seeing family or friends. Getting weird looks when your loved ones don’t understand why you can’t just “take a nap” after work and be up for brunch at 1100. Yeahhhh.
But there IS a benefit to working 12 hour shifts and being able to schedule yourself: you can take “vacation” time without using up any vacation hours. Wooo!
I just came off a NINE DAY stretch of no-work bliss (and used just one vacation day, can I get an Amen?!). And let me tell you. It was pure, sweet bliss. If for no other reason than that I got to sleep when other people sleep for once. But all good things must come to an end, right? So I’m back home now after my first night back. Who needs a Friday night off, anyway?
So despite having just come off a vacation of spring break-length proportions, I usually do average >40 hour work weeks. I’ve been picking up a lot of extra shifts (you know, because of student loans and such), and whenever I cram a ton of hours into my workweek I find it hard to stick to my regular health/fitness routine. Dont’ you? We all know how working long hours takes a toll both mentally and physically, so it somehow inevitably becomes my magical excuse to forego my workout or treat myself to something sugary to “reward” myself for all my hard work.
Can we talk about that for a minute? For all of you who are super in tune with your bodies and the awful side effects sugar induces within, why on EARTH do we reward ourselves with sugary junk? When I indulge in crappy desserts, I can feel it almost immediately. I get a stomach ache. I become lethargic. I get cranky (ask my patient boyfriend). And beyond that, I become disappointed in myself, because I know better!
I’ve been practicing reminding myself of the negative effects of sugar lately; really visualizing and remembering what it does to my body and how it makes me feel afterward (note: like crap), and that’s really helped to curb my cravings. I also remind myself that when I stay away from sugar and junk, I’m far more productive, energetic, and likely to hit my fitness/work/relationship goals on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. By regularly reminding myself of these things, it’s really been doing wonders to keep me from giving in to cravings just because I have them. In fact, the longer I go without sugar, the smaller and fewer my cravings are. Win-win!
On that note, there’s nothing like a little sweet treat that’s actually good for you, though, is there??? Mint-chocolate is one of my favorite dessert flavor combos, so it was a no-brainer to come up with these raw mint-chocolate bars to keep in the freezer when cravings hit!
These creamy, dreamy bars perfectly satisfy my sweet tooth (which is the size of Texas), but leave me feeling light and good after indulging. I wouldn’t even call it indulging. You might as well eat these for breakfast they’re so non-threatening. Well. Maybe not.
An almond base teams up with superfoods cacao powder and coconut oil to create the perfect raw base, lightly sweetened for good effect.
But the real sneaky chef ingredient in these bars is avocadoes! Sweetened with pure maple syrup, ramped up with coconut oil, and flavored with peppermint extract, you’d never know! And these bars are topped off with a yummy chocolate coating to seal the deal. I used semi-sweet for this batch, but feel free to try dark chocolate instead. Are you ready for all this goodness??
Raw Mint-Chocolate Bars
Makes 12 large bars