What is healthy for my body? Who should I trust with my health? Do I know what digests cleanly through my system? Do I have any allergies or sensitivities that I am unaware of? How can I decipher between naturally-nourishing and no-nutrient foods?
These questions (and many more) were the catalyst for creating our Happy Dough. I needed to learn more. I wanted to know the why behind the what. My curiosity and passion for health and nutrition guided me (thanks to my pals at Vega) to the Sports Nutrition and Elite Sports Nutrition Certifications by renowned Matthew Kenney Culinary. After completing these plant-based online programs, I felt fully empowered in making my own crazy healthy yet superbly tasty meals from scratch. And yes, they were plant-based and mostly raw! This is a way of eating I never thought I would be into. Especially as an athlete, I always figured I needed the extra protein from eating animal products. Well, I can say I don’t agree with that statement anymore.
I have to admit, I have never felt so energized and healthy as I did during those Sports Nutrition weeks of training. I even stopped drinking my daily coffee, something I pretty much swore to myself I would never do (what can I say, I love the ritual of getting my cafe). What I learned and how I felt during this training has carried over into my current lifestyle…and if you’re reading this (and eating our Happy Dough), a passion and curiosity for clean nutrition has carried over into your own life.
So here I am, creating my own healthy snacks, meals and energy bars. Yet everywhere I look, from the youth to professional athletes I train to fitness studios I teach in, I see processed foods being sold (and eaten). If you haven’t read my Global Goods on Dairy, this is a relevant piece to check out. How can we recover from a workout or game (a physical form of stress) if we’re simply increasing our nutritional stress?
Simply put by the super handy-dandy resources of Thrive Forward, “Nutritional stress is created EITHER by not getting enough healthy, nutrient dense foods, or by consuming too much heavily processed foods with unhealthy characteristics.”
I hate to say it, but the more Matt and I looked into current products for athletes and active folk, the more we were let down. We find it disturbing (understatement) that many sports foods and drinks tout health benefits or the endorsement of a professional athlete, while their ingredients list contains refined, highly acidic and / or overly-sugary items.
Well just as our AYT Philosophy to Proactive Living says, JUST BECAUSE IT IS, DOESN’T MEAN IT SHOULD BE (Recognize the line? What can I say, the movie Australia starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, gets me every time. Is it weird that I picture a life like that, but in New Zealand? Without the World War, ideally).
Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be. You do not have to eat processed, nutrient-void foods just because you’re busy, out-and-about, training or working all day long, or living a hectic lifestyle. You CAN make the choice to eat well. With this simple (yet mindful and dedicated) choice, I know you will achieve your other goals, from competition to weight to skin clarity. I mention these goals because as much as it hurts to admit it, they are things we, as humans in our current culture, dedicate way too much time towards. From personal experience, let me just say, if you start eating and moving like a real human being needs to, you’ll find that your various goals will naturally be met.
On a daily nutrient dense walk (get off the pavement) around Orange County, California, I declared, EUREKA! Why the hell don’t we create our own awesomely healthy foods for peeps to eat? Voila! Happy Dough was born. We created Happy Dough because we want to eat GOOD food. We want YOU to eat good food. As I like to say…
Make Happy Dough. Share Happy Dough. Eat Happy Dough.
It makes me Happy, Dough.
When it comes to creating our Happy Dough, we knew we had to get down to the nitty gritty. We wanted to concoct a top quality food product that the human body recognizes, absorbs, and digests. Simply put – Happy Dough is organic, non-GMO, plant-based, unrefined, dairy/gluten/soy free, and free of common allergens (minus tree nuts and peanuts because we can’t deny the health benefits and taste of them!).
There you have it, folks. Happy Dough is your clean, easily digestible energy bites to fuel your sport, travel & proactive lifestyle. Read on for all the refreshing ingredients and benefits…
Here’s the nitty gritty on what we use and why we use it…
ALMONDS (Raw, Unpasteurized, Soaked)
- Good source of Calcium, Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Iron.
- Of all other nuts, Almonds are the most packed with nutrients and beneficial components.
- Good “brain food”
- Regulates cholesterol
- Great for bone health, teeth health, inflammation, immune system strength, regulation of blood pressure and helps boost energy.
DATES (Medjool, Soaked)
- High glycemic carb = immediate release of glucose into bloodstream. The liver is able to convert this glucose into glycogen, the primary source of energy for endurance athletes.
- Strengths: Simple carb energy from glucose, contains some minerals, such as iron and potassium.
COCONUT OIL (Unrefined, Virgin, Cold-pressed)
- Primarily a (good) saturated fat, it burns similar to a carb in your body due to Medium Chain Triglyceride (MCT) content. MCT’s have several health benefits.
- Unlike other fats, your body digest MCT’s nearly effortlessly. Quickly metabolize into your liver within moments of consumption. This makes coconut oil AMAZING for pre / mid / post workout!
FLAX MEAL (in-house ground flaxseed)
- Contain beneficial phytonutrients, fiber and essential fatty acids.
- Lignans (phytonutrients in flaxseeds) support your body by offering free-radical protection. Combined with omega-3’s, help fight inflammation.
- Flax meal (aka ground flaxseeds) contains full nutritional benefits of omega-3’s, fiber and other nutrients.
- Essential fat
PEANUT BUTTER (Unblanched)
- High in protein & fiber, making you feel fuller for longer.
- Rich in monounsaturated fats.
- Good source potassium.
- Vitamin E, B-6, Magnesium and Calcium.
ROLLED OATS (Gluten-free)
- Helps lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure.
- Good soluble fiber that helps control blood sugar.
- High in protein and healthy fats.
- Low in carbs compared to other grains.
- High in calcium, potassium and magnesium.
CACAO (Raw; not to be confused with the processed counterpart, Cocoa)
- One of nature’s most potent antioxidant food. Over 300 chemical constituents, some include:
- Fiber – keeps weight under control, digestion.
- Essential Fats with omega-6.
- Endorphins – energy rush, natural pain reliever.
- Seratonin – natural anti-depressant, mood elevator.
- Magnesium – important in balancing brain chemistry, associated with happiness and strong bones.
CACAO NIBS (Raw, Fermented; the sugarless stimulant)
- Cacao contains the highest concentration of magnesium and antioxidants of any food on the planet.
- High in Fiber, Antioxidants, Protein.
- Essential Fats with omega-6.
- Great source of Magnesium, Potassium
MAPLE SYRUP (Grade A Dark color, Robust taste; formerly Grade B)
- Antioxidant properties
- Grade B = darker and richer in minerals
- Zinc & Manganese – both help with male reproductive health and support immune system function by contributing to cell growth and maintaining healthy levels of white blood cells.
- Good for digestion and the circulatory system.
- Contains fewer calories than most natural sweeteners.
CHIA SEEDS (the Ancient Energizer)
- Packed with trace minerals, vitamins and essential fats
- Rich in omega-3
- Great fiber source. Has more beneficial soluble and insoluble fiber than any other natural source.
- Essential fat (omega-3 plus omega-6)…body can’t make it on its own.
- Significant nutritional value, high in protein
- Complete protein, containing over 20 essential amino acids + 10 essential amino acids your body must acquire through diet.
- A well balanced amino acid profile of plant-based proteins.
- A plentiful of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids to help minimize inflammation in your body and lubricate joints.
- Easily digestible and nutrient-rich in its natural state.
- Highly sustainable crop that hasn’t seen genetic modifications (an eco-friendly “wonder-crop”)
- Ideal for post-workout food to support recovery and assist in building muscle tissues.
- Regulates Blood Sugar
- Increases Muscle Thickness
- Supports a Healthy Heart
- Aids in Weight Loss
- Full of fiber, vitamins and minerals
CHLORELLA (Broken cell wall)
- Vitamin D (helps body absorb calcium, build strong bones, and effectively contract muscles).
- Contains chlorophyll, an alkaline-promoting powerhouse. More than any other plant.
- Great vitamin and mineral supplement.
- A complete protein.
- Known for its cleansing and detoxifying abilities. Has antioxidants, electrolytes, EFA’s, phytonutrients.
- *Make sure to label it as “cracked cell walls” in ingredients (easier to digest than normal chlorella).