Vegan Hemp Protein Bars
If you’ve followed my blogging journey from the start, you’ll probably remember that I used to use whey protein powder in a lot of my desserts and baking. It was a fun way to add protein and flavour into recipes while keeping the calories low. I could get all kinds of wonderful flavours from chocolate, banana, strawberry cream to more unusual yet intriguing flavours like rhubarb & custard, tiramisu and sticky toffee pudding. Because they’re already sweetened (if you’ve tried a flavoured whey protein powder you’ll know how sweet they are!), using them in desserts and baking meant I didn’t have to add much sweetener resulting in a sweet treat that’s much lower in calories.
How learning about nutrition changed how I view food
My diet and recipes have changed a lot since I started blogging. Learning about nutrition has changed my view on things like dairy and sugar-free sweeteners. I try to avoid them both as much as possible. I would rather sweeten something with dates any day over a sugar-free sweetener (although dates don’t always work in recipes). True dates have calories and sugar-free sweeteners don’t thus they must be ‘more fattening’, but the truth is the long-term effect of consuming sweeteners is not yet known. Dates are a natural, whole fruit that’s full of fibre, minerals and nutrients and it guaranteed not to haram you (as long as you don’t eat an unreasonable amount!). So yes, I will always choose dates over sugar-free sweeteners.
I used to look at how healthy a food is by looking at its fat and calorie content. So to me, I would rather eat a rice cracker that had 50 calories than a banana that had over a 100 calories. To me that made sense because less calories meant I won’t put on weight. But weight doesn’t equal health and weight loss alone is not the only reason you should re-think what you eat. Sadly, this is how so many people view food and health.
Animal protein vs plant protein
Anyway, back to protein! There is no denying that protein is an essential part of our diet and that it makes up the building blocks in our bodies, so ensuring you consume an adequate amount is crucial for maintaining good health. Too much protein however is not good, especially animal protein. Animal protein contains IGF-1, a cancer promoting growth hormone. One of the main reasons individuals who train eat a lot of protein, which is usually happens to be from an animal source, and take protein supplements is because it contains this growth hormone which promotes fast muscle growth, but it also promotes cancer cell growth. So the more you eat of it the higher your chances of developing cancer. Plus research has shown that even if you exercise a lot, if you’re not an athlete training hours on end a day, you really don’t need to consume that much more protein.
Dairy and inflammation
Dairy is also pro-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is another cancer trigger. To top it all off, the sweeteners found in many whey proteins are only adding fuel to the fire. For these reasons I chose to stop consuming whey protein. Plant protein doesn’t have the same health concerns associated with it and it doesn’t strain the kidneys the way animal protein does.
Where I get my protein from
I usually make sure I get my protein from whole foods like beans, pulses and tofu as well as other foods you wouldn’t usually associate with having much protein like oats and vegetables. It all adds up! But every now and then I like to add protein powder to my diet to make sure I’m meeting my daily requirements. Hemp or rice protein is usually what I would go for.
These bars vegan hemp protein bars may not be super high in protein, especially when compared to your average shop bought protein bar, but they have a good amount as a snack and they would make a good post-workout snack since they also have a good amount of good carbs to help your body recover. You always have the option of adding more hemp protein and less oat flour if you like. Just be warned that hemp protein does have quite a strong flavour.
- 6 tbsp hemp protein
- 3/4 cup (90g) oat flour (use gluten-free if you're intolerant)
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (125g) peanut butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 80g 70-80% dark chocolate or chocolate of choice
- Mix together the protein, oat flour and pinch of salt in a large bowl.
- Add the maple syrup, peanut butter and vanilla extract.
- Press into a cake tin covered with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate and pour on top.
- Leave to chill in the fridge until set.
- Nutritional information (estimated per serving)
- Calories: 163 kcal
- Protein: 6 g
- Fat: 9.2 g
- Carbs: 16.9 g
- Fibre: 3 g
If you liked this vegan hemp protein bars recipe you may also like my Healthy Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie