Chad's All Natural Protein Bars
Introducing The Bulldog Bar
From the Dog Father himself, I am so excited to share Chad's All Natural Protein Bar recipe with you! For those who don't know, Chad Nasci is the founder, owner, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist behind Nashdog Training here in Youngstown. He also happens to be my best friend, partner in crime, and love of my life! Okay, no more gushy stuff, I just want to give him a proper intro, you know?!
From qualifying as a state champion swimmer in his adolescence to becoming a nationally ranked powerlifter in the United States Powerlifting Association, and now training to complete his first Iron Man, Chad understands what it takes to perform and feel your best as an athlete. As I mentioned, he is the owner of Nashdog Training, where he coaches top level high school, collegiate, and professional athletes. Through both his personal training and private training facility, Chad has to make sure that both he and his athletes are keeping up with proper nutrition to get to the next level.
You can find more about and from Chad through his website and social media(s) below!
I, of course, do everything I can to keep up and follow suit. As many of you know, I am a Nutritionist by trade, food blogger by heart, and athlete wannabe when I'm feeling up to it. I have always had a passion for recipe development and understanding nutrition, especially in the world of athletics. I love creating healthy recipes, understanding what it takes to properly nourish the body, and finding alternatives that make me feel my best, especially since dealing with an unforeseen and unwanted food allergy.
It was around this time last year when I first started noticing small bumps along my jawline. I didn’t think much of it; I’ve never experienced acne beyond the occasional hormonal/too much sugar breakout, but I thought it was a new phase my skin was going through. After going with it for nearly three months, I began to realize that the “breakout” was worse after I ate or did certain things. At first I didn’t know what the true culprit was; I thought it could be a gluten or grain allergy, preservatives on fresh produce, or perhaps fillers in certain breads and cereals. As someone who has never really suffered from major allergies and consistently eats a pretty “clean” diet, having to eliminate foods to decipher between what was safe and what would cause a reaction, was not easy.
I began having a reaction every single day and no amount of Benadryl could do the trick. I thought I thought of everything; I stopped taking all of my vitamins, probiotics, and supplements, I avoided heavily processed grains and gluten, and I tried to stick to a handful of healthy foods. And still, the hives would keep showing up. I finally saw an allergist in hopes of getting some answers. I had a panel of common allergies tested and much to my surprise; I wasn’t allergic to anything that I had been tested for. I left that appointment feeling incredibly disappointed. I don’t love wearing make up, I don’t even like wearing make up, especially to cover hives; I don’t like avoiding my favorite foods or even foods that I know should be good for me, and I don’t like having a loss of control over my body and my digestion. Regardless of the doctor’s results and recommendations (he suggested I had Rosacea and prescribed me a four-hundred dollar cream *I wish I was joking), I was determined to figure out what was going on with my body.
During this time, Chad and I began trying a few different brands of whey protein, typically something that was on sale or inexpensive to begin with. Of course I knew it wasn’t the healthiest, cleanest, or smartest idea, but when you’re on a budget, you do what you think you have to do. During these few months of trying to figure out what was causing the hives, I began to notice that they were increasingly worse after eating the cheap and overly processed protein and protein bars. My face would get very hot and inflamed, and later, the hives or “small bumps” would begin to appear. I try and have always tried to eat real food before any supplementation, but it never occurred to me that it could be something within the protein such as a filler, thickener, dye or additive. I didn’t make the connection until having a “low fat” salad dressing (also containing fillers, thickeners, and additives), and watching a young boy’s face completely break out in hives ten minutes after having the exact same dressing. It occurred to me that it might not be a single food, but chemicals on or within those foods that could be causing the reaction.
Nearly a year later, and I still have to watch what I eat and take the occasional Benadryl when I feel a reaction coming on. I don’t know exactly how or why my body began rejecting certain things, but I try to manage it as much as I can by carefully reading my labels and only choosing items with pure ingredients. I’m not always perfect and I still enjoy plenty of not so great ingredients, and believe me, my skin will remind me of that! But for the most part, we’ve had to change and adapt our way of eating around these reactions. Luckily, Chad is the most supportive and encouraging person when it comes to sticking with foods that work for us. I’m like the devil on your shoulder, “Just buy the gross synthetic protein cookies - just do it” and he’s the angel, reminding me that hives with a swollen left jawline is not my favorite look.
He won’t admit it, but we both know that he often knows what I need more than I know what I need. I call these bars, Chad’s All Natural Protein Bars, because without his research and recommendations, I wouldn’t have put them together. I will take credit for the (refined sugar free) chocolate layer that I’ve added on top of the bars. He doesn’t love sweets as much as I do, and that’s okay, I’m willing to eat enough for the both of us!
The base of the protein bar is made from wholesome ingredients, healthy fats, and simply sweetened with raw honey. We like to add our favorite whey protein into the mix, but feel free to choose a protein powder that works best for your body. A few that I recommend include a plant-based or naturally derived protein such as pea protein, brown rice protein, or egg white protein powder. The chocolate topping is completely optional; I just love chocolate and I can’t pass up a healthy chocolate “ganache!" As always, we hope you love this recipe as much as we do. Be sure to use the hashtag #thehealthiestme or tag me @thehealthiest_me if you decide to give them a try!
All Natural Protein Bars
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