Raw Vegan Cacao Date Balls

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-1-13-04-pmWhether you’re vegan, gluten-free, fully raw or just aiming to pack your diet with nutrient rich superfoods, you will surely love this healthy treat! I wanted to make this recipe more minimal and simple, so I used only Dates, Cacao, Coconut Oil and Coconut Shreds. The recipe could even be made without the coconut shreds, but they are a nice touch for the outside layer of the balls.Many people like to add almonds or cashews to the mix. Of course you can add more ingredients and experiment to your heart’s desire!

Recipe:

5-7  Dates

1 1/2 Tbsp. Cacao Powder

1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Coconut shreds

*Make sure to purchase Cacao powder rather than “Cocoa”. The brands that I like to use are Natierra or Navitas Naturals.

  1. Make sure to get pitted dates, or take the pits out yourself if you prefer.
  2. Place all of these ingredients into your food processor and blend.
  3. Blend until it becomes  smooth & dough like.
  4. Take it out and roll into balls (any size you like!)
  5. You can roll them in the extra coconut shreds, or roll them in cacao for the outside coating.

Enjoy!

Depending on how decadent you want them to be, you can experiment with the Cacao to Date ratio. In the ratio I listed above,  they came out tasting like a gourmet dessert. If you always loved licking the brownie batter as a kid, then you might like to add more cacao!  If you want them to taste more like a snack, you can add less cacao and more dates. Regardless of the amount you use, it recommended to consume no more than 40 grams or four teaspoons in a day.

The benefits of cacao are abundant. Containing the “bliss molecule” anandamide, cacao is a safe way to increase bliss and euphoria in your daily life! In fact, the name of the cacao tree is Theobroma, which comes from the greek roots Theo (God) and Broma (food) or “Food of the Gods”.

In a 1 oz. (28 gram) serving Cacao contains:

  • Antioxidants
  • Magnesium
  • Iron- 10% Daily Value
  • Calcium- 4% Daily Value
  • Fiber- 10g, 40% Daily Value
  • Protein- 8g, 16% Daily Value

For some more detailed information on the benefits of cacao, you can visit Daily Superfood Love!

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Renew Week Superfood Day 4: Coconut Oil

Today’s superfood: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an amazing superfood filled with so many health benefits and nutrients. It contains antioxidants, helps to absorb nutrients and vitamins, has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, (which are attributed to the laric, capric, and caprylic acid specific to coconut oil). It is made up of mostly Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs), which unlike Long Chain Fatty Acids, are sent straight to the liver for energy production. It also kills candida growth, helps with hypothyroidism, and helps speed metabolism. Diets high in MCFAs are known to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCFs.  Although it is high in saturated fat, the lauric acid found in coconut oil allows for it to not raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and is actually known to improve heart health.

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

coconut-oil

– Increases metabolism

– Aids in digestion

– Improves healthy hair and nails

– Improves heart health

-Aids in weight loss

-Strengthens immune system

-Maintains healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels

– Improves bone health

-Aids in healthy functioning of thyroid and endocrine system

-Kills candida growth

It is important to look for unrefined, pure, and/or virgin coconut oil when purchasing. This maintains the integrity of the oil, allowing you to gain all of the benefits the natural oil has to offer. Coconut oil is also great to cook with,as it is not damaged by high heat levels (as olive oil and other medium heat oils can be). You will find coconut oil is solid in room temperature, however it is easily blended when added to a smoothie.

Note: it is important to make sure you add a healthy fat to your smoothies, to properly absorb all of the benefits of the veggies and fruits added. Coconut oil also gives smoothies a nice creamy texture and a subtle tropical taste. It’s a smoothie superfood staple in our household, I highly recommend it for everyone!

Renew Week Superfood Day 3: Maca Root

Today’s superfood : Maca Powder

This superfood has been a staple in the Peruvian Andes for thousands of years. In fact, it is still called “theimages-2 food of the gods” in many cultures because of the wide variety of health benefits this superfood contains.

The Maca root resembles a very large radish, however for convenience and potency levels it is mostly taken in the powder form. Maca has an extensive and vast variety of health benefits. It is known to increase energy, endurance, strength, immunity, circulation, fertility, and libido. One serving of dried Maca powder contains more than 10% protein, nearly 20 amino acids, including 7 essential amino acids.  The Maca root contains more than 50 phyto-chemicals including many vitamins such as B1, B2, B12, Vitamin C, and zinc. It also contains calcium, phosphorous, protein and fiber.

images-1Maca is also known for thyroid regulation, helps to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels, and enhance memory. Feeling stressed? This superfood helps to relieve stress by reducing the effects of cortisol on the adrenal glands. Maca not only helps relax your nervous system and reduce stress, it also give you a boost of natural energy. This root vegetable contains energy producing properties, but unlike caffeine, it does not adversely affect your nervous system. Essentially, it gives you a non-jittery boost without the crash.

As with all concentrated superfoods, Maca should be taken in recommended doses. Start by adding a dose each day to your smoothie, you will almost immediately begin to feel the benefits of this powerful root.

*Maca should not be consumed if you are pregnant or lactating

Renew Week Superfood Day 2 : Goji Berries

Goji Berries

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years, Goji berries are regarded as a longevity, strengthimages-building and immune boosting food. They are also the most nutritionally dense fruit on earth. This superfood contains 18 kinds of amino acids, including all 8 essential amino acids, up to 21 trace minerals, iron, polysaccharides, B & E vitamins, and many other nutrients. Goji berries have a very high amount of antioxidants and also contain beta carotene, which is great for healthy skin. They also contain astaxanthin, an anti-oxidant that protects against harmful UV rays, and even helps reverse skin damage.

The Goji berry contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial compounds. This nutritional powerhouse actually contains the highest concentration of protein of any fruit and more than 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium and zinc.

imgresWhether you incorporate Goji powder in your smoothies or snack on these tart berries in their true form, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Consumption of Goji berries have shown large improvements in overall health – in boosting your immune system, gaining energy and an overall increase in vitality and well being. When taken regularly, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Goji berries can increase your mood, energy levels, quality of sleep, eye health and digestion. They are also known to reduce stress levels, depression, and fatigue. These berries may help lower blood pressure, lower the “bad” cholesterol, and help with diabetes, liver disease, and depression.

So simply start incorporating these impressive berries in your diet today and get one step closer to reaching your optimal well-being. You’re worth it! Invest in your health – your body and mind will thank you 🙂

***If you are taking medication for diabetes, or blood pressure, or take the blood thinner please consult your doctor before consuming***