Tag Archives: energy

  1. Benefits of MCT Oil – Why I Use It, How it Differs from Coconut Oil, Liquid MCT Oil vs Powder + More

    The list of health benefits of MCT Oil or medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat, includes fat loss, appetite suppression, increased energy, improved cognition, improved athletic performance, to name a few. Read on to see why I use it, how it differs from coconut oil, how to take it and more!

    Benefits of MCT Oil

    A balanced, nutrient-dense diet rich in healthy fats is essential to us being our very best! Every single cell in our body needs fat to function, most especially our brain cells. Our brain is actually the fattiest organ in our body at over 60% fat.  You already know my feelings on the importance of healthy fats in a well-balanced, nutrient-dense whole foods diet, but you can read more about the Benefits of Healthy Fats.

    At this point I have to imagine you’ve heard the buzz surrounding MCT Oil. One of the quickest sources of clean fuel for both the body and the brain, MCT oil is hands down one of the best ways to power up your performance or kick start a nutrition program.

    What is MCT Oil?

    “MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has many health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management. MCTs are a type of fat that can be readily used for energy by your body and do not have to be broken down before use. They are precursors to ketones and help your body burn fat instead of burning carbs. Ketones are one of the brain’s two primary fuel sources, and also a vital source of ATP energy for the body.  ATP energy is what allows every single muscle in your body to move. While ketones from fat, rather than glycogen from carbohydrates, are the primary source of fuel for those on a ketogenic diet, but you don’t have to fully go keto to benefit from MCT oil and ketones.

    MCTs get their name because of the length of their chemical structure. All types of fatty acids are made up of strings of connected carbon and hydrogen. Fats are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (like butyric acid) have fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats have between 6–12 carbons and long-chain fats (like omega-3s) have between 13–21.

    Most fats consumed are taken into your body then must be mixed with bile released from your gallbladder and acted on by pancreatic enzymes to break it down in your digestive system. Medium-chain fats are digested easily and once they reach your intestine they are sent via the bloodstream directly to your liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively alter your metabolism. MCTs even pass the blood-brain barrier to supply your brain with an instant boost of energy.  MCTs are absorbed more quickly than longer chain fats, as there is less work for the body to do, in breaking down the carbon bonds, meaning they can be used quicker as fuel, rather than being stored as fat.

    Medium-chain Fatty Acids May Help With:

    Read the rest of this entry »

  2. Simple Self Care

    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    I am excited to bring you the first post in an ongoing series from Brook Albrigo, a Shamanic Reiki Master and very dear friend of mine. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    When will the rollercoaster of emotions from the past few weeks stop?  The severe divisions, the resulting solidarity being shown in protests and by people vowing to stand up for one another, the complete shock of realizing how profoundly the beliefs of others can potentially affect us. If the current events have left you raw, breaking down crying at the grocery store, or fumbling for control of your anger or incredulousness perhaps what I have to share can help you get your bearings amidst absorbing other peoples’ emotions and amplifying this difficult time. The beauty of this is that we are all waking up to just how deeply connected we are to one another.

    In hindsight, as I was in Yosemite national park a week before election day, the powerful flow of the storm fed waterfalls and rivers were a premonition. I gathered strength from the waters, mountains and trees not knowing I was being prepared for the events that were to follow. As a shamanic healer I use a technique known as Nature divination- the practice of connecting to elements in nature to receive guidance. Messages come from particular nature spirits -like trees, plants, mountains or waterfalls.  We believe in shamanism that everything has a spirit living inside of it that we can communicate with if we learn how to listen. On my solo adventures on hiking trails, I gave attention to each rock, tree and animal; tuned to receive messages. Lucky for me, I was alone and spared the curiosity of fellow hikers wondering why I was talking to a tree!

    Simple Self Care

    I was intensely concerned with the violence and conflict at Standing Rock in North Dakota and while the guidance I sought was regarding that situation, I found it to be relevant to what we are experiencing today as a human collective and have felt comforted by receiving this knowledge. When we feel helpless, sometimes that is a sign that we need to re-center and remember that we are part of a higher calling, a bigger picture, and we should listen to our guides that are right in front of us everyday. This is how I was able to maintain the past week and be of assistance to others.
    I realized the tools and techniques needed to ground and care for ourselves may get lost in the daily shuffle of life but they are always there and I have created a simple list of self-care rituals to help us all through. We just need to decide our well being is worth making the time for and be willing to get a little bit out of our comfort zones.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  3. Boosted Coffee

    Boosted Coffee

    Boosted Coffee

    By now we’ve all seen the trendy boosted coffees. Coffees with butter and other oils. I believe Bulletproof Coffee was the first to really put it on the radar of the public eye. This trend has truly blown up in recent years, Bulletproof and Dave Asprey have built an entire diet, lifestyle and brand surrounding their coffee. We have also all heard the varying reports, one day we read research that says coffee is good for us, the next day we read it’s bad! I truly hate the demonizing of whole foods, so rarely is it so cut and dry. Well, of course this is said with exceptions, hydrogenated oils and shit tons of sugar – those (and a few obvious others) deserve demonizing. But well-meaning coffee, let’s just all agree that the answer to “Is coffee good for me?” – should simply be “it depends!” I can say that when I choose to drink coffee, which isn’t necessarily daily, I opt for this boosted version, to maximize my morning brew’s full potential.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. Sprouted Super Seed Bars with Puffed Rice and Dark Chocolate (Nut-free)

    Sprouted Super Seed Bars with Puffed Rice and Dark Chocolate (Nut-free)

    Sprouted Super Seed Bars with Puffed Rice and Dark Chocolate (Nut-free)

    As a self-professed perfectionist/crazy person, this recipe nearly didn’t make it to the website today. In some ways I am actually cringing that it did. I made these bars over the weekend, a recipe I had been dreaming of after being inspired and finally made the time to make them. They are SOOO crazy delicious, you guys. But, after spending the time creating them, after melting the chocolate, carefully sprinkling the coconut and giving the bars time to chill, when it came time to cut the bars, I was doing too many things at once. I was photographing another recipe, I was trying to keep the dog out of the food photo set up on the floor and I let myself get flustered. The sharp chef’s knife came out, I laid the bars on a cutting board and with the first cut I saw that I simply wasn’t present. I was somewhere else. With each cut thereafter it only got worse. Then the sun came out after the first so many photos were taken, so the lighting was changing. Things were just not going my way.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  5. How Stress, Energy and the Subtle Body Can All Play a Role in Your Healing

    I’m very excited that as Tasty Yummies evolves in 2016 and a brand new website is on the horizon, to be bringing you more content, beyond food, to support your individual healing journeys. I hope you enjoy.

    How Stress, Energy and the Subtle Body Can All Play a Role in Your Healing

    How Stress, Energy and the Subtle Body Can All Play a Role in Your Healing

    Over this past year my ongoing healing journey has taken on many different faces and the path has very much evolved along the way. I have shared bits and pieces here on the blog, but so much of this past year was so up in the air and very changing, that most of the time this was something I chose to keep to myself.

    Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune form of kidney disease late in 2014, my main goal in 2015 was to figure out what I needed to do to get this disease into remission. At the start of the journey, the biggest struggle for me to overcome, was the fact that I seemed to have no real outward or debilitating symptoms of the kidney disease, it was only discovered through a routine life insurance physical the year prior. However, after a brief time where my fear got the better of me and went the western medical route, including several rounds of varying pharmaceuticals, slowly this symptom-free girl found herself with a lot more issues. In turn, I had also found myself overcome by fear and feelings of helplessness.

    As my state of mind shifted, so did my health. I began seeing a naturopathic doctor in January 2015 and we began the slow and arduous process of healing my body, first by approaching what could be (and for most people usually is) the underlying problem, my digestion. After the several rounds of prescriptions drugs for my kidneys, my gut was quite unhappy and the rest of my body also began suffering because of it. My naturopathic doctor suspected leaky gut, among other possibilities and this began the shift in my focus towards gut healing.

    I spent the better part of the year trying out various protocols, elimination diets, supplements and so on. There were periods of great relief where I had felt better than I had in a very long time, as well as many stretches where I felt terrible, my body likely responding as it does, to the healing process. In the times of struggle it was hard for me to keep a positive mind. When I felt like I was doing absolutely everything I could, life began feeling limited because of the various protocols and plans I had committed to and my healing became, at times, at the center of my consciousness – my life truly felt like it was in a holding pattern because of it. I began to identify as someone being imperfect and I put things, goals, on hold until I “felt better”. It is inevitable that I hit my breaking point in the later part of last year.


    For me, the true realization that my healing goes beyond physical, began as I chose to honor myself more deeply and recognize unhealthy habits, that I was inadvertently choosing to ignore. My amazing naturopathic doctor often asked at the start of my appointments what my stress levels were and most times I exclaimed “Oh, me? I have no stress, I am good! Life is great”. I have news for you, just because you are positive person, if you choose not to acknowledge or dwell on stress or emotional distress, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t there doing harm, deep in the darkest depths of your soul. It’s there wreaking havoc, I can almost promise you. Ironically, the realization came for me during one of my school lessons in the Nutritional Therapy Program I am currently enrolled in. As we covered the digestion module, we talked at length about the need for our bodies to be in a parasympathetic state when eating. Our digestion works best when we are in a rest and restore/digest state vs the very common sympathetic fight or flight mode.

    I realized how often I was actually eating meals under stress. While cleaning up the kitchen from a long day of recipe development, while reading, watching TV or standing over the kitchen counter cooking another recipe or some other unnecessary task that had my mind preoccupied. In doing so, my body wasn’t truly acknowledging, honoring or respecting the fuel I was feeding it. Even on a physical level, you chew less and quicker, swallowing larger bites and giving your digestion even more work. This for me, was step one in realizing that healing my body required so much more than taking a few supplements and changing my diet. Any healing protocol needs to be multi-layered approach, to be effective.

    Just in this single realization alone, honoring the body’s need to be in a more relaxed state for proper function, I saw instant results in my digestion and I also began to acknowledge other areas of my life I was holding onto stress and other stagnant emotions. I am not saying this solved my underlying problems or cured me for good, but it was a small first step in a large overall problem and I was happy to see that a small change, could make such a large improvement. Stress can manifest itself in many different ways for all of us, but recognizing it’s presence, acknowledging the source and taking steps to lessen it, are vital in the healing journey.

    How Stress, Energy and the Subtle Body Can All Play a Role in Your Healing


    As a yoga teacher, I was already very aware the roles that the subtle body plays in our health and vitality. Yoga, meditation, exercise, these have all played a big role over the years, in my choice for a more mindful lifestyle. All bringing a deeper awareness of the flow of subtle energies in and around the body, I have always honored the role that these subtle energies play into my health and vitality. If we can look to our life force energy as a source for our overall balance, health or ease, then we can assume it’s lack is the cause of imbalance, illness or dis-ease.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  6. Orange Matcha Smoothie

    Orange Matcha Smoothie // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    As someone who rarely drinks coffee, I do love the occasional morning pick-me-up. Enter matcha! Matcha is finely ground green tea, that comes in the form of a powder. Matcha’s benefits far outweigh your typical mug of steamy green tea, as you are ingesting the whole leaf, not just water brewed from it. When it comes to nutritional value and antioxidants, I have read that just one serving of matcha is equivalent to 10 servings of regular green tea! Matcha boasts a very long list of benefits, including increased energy levels, boosting memory, it’s also been known to help to burn calories and detoxify the body. Additionally, matcha has also been shown to improve cholesterol and fortify the immune system, with a long list of vitamins and antioxidants show to have antibiotic properties know to promote overall health.

    Orange Matcha Smoothie // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    Not only do I enjoy matcha as I do any traditional hot teas, simply with boiled water poured over (whisked to make a frothy hot beverage), I especially enjoy it in a latte, with steamy coconut and/or almond milk. However, adding matcha to my morning green smoothies has quickly become my favorite ways to find a boost of energy for the day!

    Read the rest of this entry »

  7. Energizing Green Smoothie – Gluten-free and Vegan

    Energizing Mocha Green Smoothie

    I am not one for coffee much anymore, now-a-days I only have it when I am craving it, when we have an insanely early morning of travel or when I am somewhere with an exceptional brew – but generally that’s only about once or twice a month, at most. I used to drink it regularly, an every morning ritual type of thing. It was more of a habit than anything. Though, I really didn’t like feeling like a slave to my habit, getting a headache if I just wasn’t in the mood to drink it. These days, I prefer to start my days with a mug of warm lemon water, usually followed by a hot tea with my breakfast, after my morning yoga.

    Last month during my yoga teacher training, by around the second week – the 3 hours of driving to and from Venice Beach during rush hours and the 12+ hour days of being gone, then getting home to cook dinner, study, and get my work done – started really taking their toll on me. It was wildly different than my usual days of working from home, staying in my PJs until 2pm, if I chose. I was trying to take hot tea with me on the drives in the morning, but I realized we didn’t have any good travel mugs and I find drinking scalding hot liquid from glass jars while driving in heavy traffic to be insanely stressful. Since I was also making a smoothie every day for breakfast and drinking that on my drives,  I decided to combine everything into one. An energizing green smoothie to help get my day started right. A little boost of caffeine before our daily 3 hour morning yoga practice and our 6 hours of lectures, was just what I needed.

    Energizing Mocha Green Smoothie

    Read the rest of this entry »

  8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free

    Some of you may recall seeing this recipe before, I shared it in the spring of last year during one of our busiest travel seasons. After sharing my tips for traveling with a restricted diet last week on the Free People Blog BLDG 25, I thought it would be great to share one of my favorite recipes for traveling with the readers over there. These Road Trip Energy Bars are one of my go-to treats to make and bring along on every trip. They travel well and they are super simple to make. Read the rest of this entry »

  9. 10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

    10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning // www.tasty-yummies.com

    Something that has been very important for my body during this 7-Day Spring Cleanse, but has also been a part of my daily routine for a few months now, is drinking warm lemon water. I have started (almost) every day with a glass of warm lemon water and it has made a huge differences for me. Warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day.  According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.

    10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

    There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.


    You should be using purified water and it should be lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.

    BONUS: try adding freshly grated ginger or a little cayenne for a boost.

    10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

    10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning

    1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.

    2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.

    3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds.  They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

    4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

    5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.

    6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.

    7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.

    8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have  been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.

    9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.

    10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster. I personally find myself making better choices throughout the day, if I start my day off right, by making a health conscious choice to drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.


    Do you drink warm lemon water every morning? What are your favorite benefits?

    I always zest my lemons before I juice them for my daily warm lemon water. I keep a container in the freezer and I just keep adding to it. It’s great to toss into pasta dishes, in salad dressings, etc.

    Photo Fun Day Friday


  10. Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free

    We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for our big road trip to Austin, Texas for SXSW and Flatstock 33, where we will be selling our (Hero Design Studio) handmade goods and wares for 4 days in the convention center. Since I do my very best to maintain my eating lifestyle no matter where I am, I have packed a ton of food for the trip, both for the road trip down and maybe for the first few days we are there, depending how much eating happens in the car, then I plan to hit Whole Foods once we get there to stock up for the trip back. I have some almond milk and honey packed up, since I know those will both come in handy along the way. I also packed a few bottles of my homemade kombucha and to snack on, I have some nut and dried-fruit trail mix, stove-top popped butter-free spicy popcorn, gluten-free vegan jerky from Primal Spirit Foods and I made these delicious road trip energy bars. It is absolutely imperative that I have some type of chocolate available to me when I am on a road trip. For whatever reason, I always crave chocolate on very long drives. Who knows!

    These energy bars were super easy to make. To be completely honest, I quickly wrote up a rough idea for a recipe, headed to the kitchen and just winged it, I assumed I would just figure it out as I went along. What I love most about these bars are how easily you could tweak them to make them your own. If you don’t want chocolate, leave out the cocoa and chocolate chips, maybe adding in some raisins or dried cranberries and some cinnamon instead. You can add whatever your favorite nuts or seeds are. The possibilities are really endless. I have made a few notes below with additional suggestions.

    These bars are almost a bit sinful, with that addicting combo of peanut butter and chocolate. How can you resist? The car is gonna smell amazing. With just one bite of these chewy snacks, you will fall in love. My hubby, Mark, absolutely LOVES coffee and although I rarely drink a cup anymore, I do love the flavor and the smell of good coffee beans. So, I thought that would be a fun addition to these bars. Feel free to leave it out or substitute caffeine-free coffee if you can’t handle caffeine. I think the smell alone that the espresso powder gave these bars is worth it. I really cannot wait to bust into one of these tomorrow, I am sure I will be indulging in one before we even hit the Pennsylvania border.

    Although I will be away from tomorrow until March 21, I have a wonderful group of amazingly talented guest bloggers to hold down the fort while I am away. They have some lovely guest posts and tons of great recipes to share with all of you, so I do hope you check back often to see what they have up their sleeves. I hope you like it and I cannot wait to get home and start cooking again.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars - Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free

    [print_this]Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free
    Makes 8 bars (you can also cut them into smaller squares to 16 or more)

    • 1 ripe organic banana, mashed (try adding a second or third banana if you wish to make these sugar-free)
    • 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
    • 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour (or just process some gluten-free rolled oats into a fine powder)
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, dairy free (I like Enjoy Life brand mini-chocolate chips)
    • 1/4 – 1/2 cup maple syrup (you could also use honey, coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, etc or skip and add extra bananas)
    • 1/2 cup organic natural peanut butter, chunky or creamy, (or any other nut or seed butter)
    • 2 tablespoons organic baking cocoa
    • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, (you could also use flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc)
    • 1/4 cup almond slivers (or any other nut of your choice)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 – 2 tablespoons espresso powder (optional)
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    * Note – Remember, you can easily make these energy bars your own, by adding, substituting and skipping ingredients as you’d like. To make these sugar-free replace the syrup with stevia or another banana. They could also easily be made nut-free by skipping the almonds and using sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. If you don’t like coffee, skip the espresso powder. Have fun with this recipe.

    Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan very well, or line it with foil, leaving some overhang on two of the sides so you can easily pull it out of the pan to make cutting even easier (this is what I did).

    In a large mixing bowl, add all of your ingredients. Mix and mash up very well until it is all well combined. Get your hands in there if you really want to.

    Press the mixture firmly and evenly into your pan. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if the bars seem a bit soft, they will firm up as they cool. After it has completely cooled, either lift the entire thing out of the pan and cut into bars or squares, or cut while it is in the pan.

    These can be stored individually in the fridge or freezer. Since I made these two days ago, I stored them in the fridge and then wrapped each one individually in a little piece of parchment paper and a sandwich bag for easy eating in the car.


  11. No-Bake Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Vegan and Gluten-free)

    No-Bake Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Vegan and Gluten-free)

    So yeh, that name is definitely a mouthful, but I promise you, it is a very tasty mouthful! I have been craving a little something sweet for the last day or two, but for the last two weeks I have been laying off sugar, caffeine, dairy and all that stuff, attempting to give my digestion a bit of a break.

    Today marks two weeks, I have no more pains, I feel less bloated, I am full of energy and I have dropped about 10lbs! I am attributing most of this to removing dairy from my diet, since that is what I believe to have caused the upset in the first place. So for now, I am continuing on this path of no dairy! I am actually quite excited about this discovery and revelation, I think my body has probably been trying to tell me this for sometime now. I really wasn’t consuming much dairy before all of this, but probably when I did have even the littlest amount, it was just too much for me. Ironically this month also marks the 7-year anniversary since I went gluten-free, so I suppose it is fitting that I make another huge dietary change. Why not, right?

    So I decided as a little treat to myself to celebrate the two weeks and my new discovery and as a treat to my amazing hubby, Mark, who has been a trooper though all of this, we needed a healthy mid-day energy-boosting sweet. Who wouldn’t love that?

    Since I have avoided chocolate for the last two weeks to give my tummy a break (caffeine is a stimulant and can be a bit rough on an already upset digestive tract), I wanted just the littlest taste today! I didn’t wanna go hog wild and get myself sick, so I thought adding them to a cookie ball like this, in the smallest amount possible, would be perfect. I have made many versions of these cookie balls, but I rarely measure and I usually just make do with what ingredients I have in the pantry and go with what I am craving. Since I knew I wanted to feature this recipe, I decided to measure this time. However, I still find that with a recipe like this, it is best to eye-ball it and go with texture. Some dates can be a bit drier than others, so you may have to soak yours first or add some water to get the consistency just right. I added about 2 tablespoons of water to my dough since I didn’t soak mine, but I could tell when the texture was just right for rolling. If you are ever unsure, just take a glob of the dough in your hands and feel it. You will know if it is too crumbly and dry or if it is too wet and goopy. Adjust your ingredients accordingly.

    I added in chia seeds this time, but you could certainly leave them out if you don’t have them or don’t want them. I like the crunchiness that they bring and I also love that chia is a power-food known for being high in fiber and great for digestion. Chia seeds also increase your energy levels, so these cookie bites are the perfect afternoon pick me up. I love that these little treats are naturally vegan and sugar-free, they are gluten-free if you make sure to use gluten-free rolled oats and they are the perfect treat to get you through the middle of the day! Have fun with this recipe, I have made these with raisins or dried cranberries before, you can add banana and peanut butter, cocoa power, nuts, coconut, etc. These have become my go to treat when I want something sweet but I don’t want sugar and other junk.

    What is your favorite mid-day snack?


    No-Bake Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Vegan and Gluten-free)
    [print_this]No-Bake Oatmeal Chia Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls (Vegan and Gluten-free)
    makes about 15 cookie balls

    1/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 5 dates – soak if they are very dry)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (you can use regular rolled oats if you aren’t gluten intolerant)
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 – 2 tablespoons water (you could need more, you could need less, just go by how your dough feels)
    1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

    Add the medjool dates and vanilla to a food processor or high powered blender (like a Vitamix). Process until a thick paste forms, you may want to add some water here if it is too dry. You will also want to take a spatula and scrape down the edges. Add in 1 cup of the rolled oats and the chia seeds, process until the oats are no longer whole and it all comes together into a thick dough. Again, add water if it is super dry (just don’t add too much water). Add in the remaining 1/4 cup of oats and the chocolate chips and pulse just a few times to bring it all together. Take a small amount of the dough into your hands to make sure it will roll and stay together. If the dough is crumbling a bit, add more water, if it is too goopy and wet, add more oats.

    Taking 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time, roll the dough, in the palm of your hands, into about 15 balls. Set on a plate and place it into the fridge for about 15 minutes to all them to chill. Then enjoy!


    This recipe is featured in the Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love.

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