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 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***

Superfood Profile : Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an amazing superfood, especially for athletes. As athletes, we strive to achieve optimal endurance and strength, proper hydration, and muscle building and repair.  Chia seeds can help you attain all of these.

The tiny black and white seeds come from an ancient plant used for its nutritional benefits and medicinal uses.  The seeds were used by the Incans, Mayans and Aztecs and were considered a magical seed, providing strength and stamina over long periods of times.  The running messengers relied heavily on them, carrying a small pouch around to provide sustainable energy on their long journeys. The word “Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength.

As scientists and researchers are realizing the lack of certain key nutrients in the Standard American Diet (SAD), they are turning to history for natural solutions.  There has been much research over the past few years on the powerful nutritional benefits of the chia seed.

Chia seeds are rich in trace minerals, vitamins, fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more. They have a rich concentration of essential fatty acids, with an almost perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 for healthy tissue and muscle maintenance and repair. Chia seeds are considered to be hydrophilic, meaning they absorb large amounts of water quickly (10x their weight). Thus, they are great enhancers of hydration, as well as promoters of electrolyte balance-  key elements for peak  performance.  Chia seeds are a great pre-workout superfood for the obvious endurance and hydrating benefits.

In addition, they contain large amounts of calcium, potassium and iron. These are essential vitamins and minerals that are lost through sweat and muscle contraction, making chia seeds a great post- workout and restorative snack as well. They are easily absorbed and digested, resulting in quick transportation and utilization of the tissues and cells. Chia seeds also contain protein, also essential for post-workout recovery –  aiding in muscle building and repair.

I’ve touched most of the benefits this powerful little seed has to offer. You can see why these are a great addition to any diet – especially for athletes and those looking to improve stamina and performance.  Try for yourself first hand and start reaping the benefits of this mighty little seed!

How to incorporate chia seeds:

  • Put 1 tsp in glass of water and stir. Allow to sit for about ten minutes. Sip pre- or post- workout.
  • In a seal tight container, add ¼ cup chia seeds to 1 cup water. Refrigerate overnight. This will form chia ‘gel’ which is great for smoothies and yogurt parfaits.
  • Add to any of your favorite granola, granola bar, or overnight oats recipes.
  • Make chia seed pudding (recipe below).

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 Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2-3 cups almond milk (could also use coconut milk or soy milk)
¾ cup chia seeds
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. maple syrup or agave

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
  • Stir for about 1-2 minutes or until the mixture begins to thicken
  • Stir every 5-10 minutes over an hour
  • Can be stored in the fridge or eaten immediately
  • Serve plain or topped with fruit and whipped cream