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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Day 4… did somebody say chocolate?

Yum. Today’s smoothie is packed with a ton of health benefits and anti-oxidants from the mix of berries and raw cacao powder. Cranberries are highlighted in this smoothie, not only are they in season and deliciously tart, they contain loads of detoxifying properties!

Super Antioxidant Berry and Cacao Smoothie

3/4 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1/4 avocado, optional (I included to add more protein and healthy fat, also helps to keep you fuller, longer)
1 slice green apple, optional
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbs raw, organic cacao powder (or more to taste)

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Health Benefits

Cranberries – they contain one of the highest count of antioxidants of all berries. They also contain high amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. These phytonutrients give cranberries their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, In fact, cranberries have been shown to provide crucial anti-inflammatory benefits for the cardiovascular system and for many parts of the digestive tract (including the mouth and gums, stomach, and colon). Cranberries help to balance out the good and bad bacteria in our stomach and are proven to reduce the risk of urinary track infections (because they contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which fight certain ‘bad’ bacteria, including E.coli). They help to keep the kidney functioning well and flush out unwanted waste and bacteria.

Raw Cacao Powder – (another superfood!) is high in magnesium and iron content, and contains other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese. It is loaded with antioxidants, protecting and neutralizing against free radicals and contains heart-healthy fat  oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.  Cacao improves digestion, stimulating the body’s production of digestive enzymes, helping with elimination (essential for a detox).
Certain components of cacao powder help to stimulate the central nervous system and dilate blood vessels, causing you to experience elevated energy boosts. Also, certain chemicals, referred to as “bliss” chemicals,  improve circulation, increasing the amount of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps to improve mood and fight depression.

Berries  – in general berries contain the highest amount of antioxidants of fruits. Specifically blueberries and cranberries.   They contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, as well cancer fighting components. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber, which as we know is great for eliminating during a detox. The high fiber and other components of berries help cardiovascular health and decrease the LDL levels of cholesterol.

You can find the health benefits of apples and avocados from our Day 1 smoothie recipe this week.

Who knew raw cacao and the taste of chocolaty goodness had so many amazing health benefits. Add it to smoothies and desserts for the added health benefits and decadent taste.

Enjoy!