If you are feeling the holiday bulge approaching, check this out: A treat is a treat is a treat, and we all need to remind ourselves of that. Just because every time you turn around there is another sweet right in front of your eyes, doesn't mean you have to act on it! Trust me, I used to have a sweet tooth that would turn evil around the holidays...red and green m&ms, giant Toblerone bars on Christmas morning, Hershey's miniatures and chocolate kisses covering that one nourishing little tangerine at the bottom of my stocking and of course my very own personalized Christmas cookie tin filled to the brim with an assortment of colorful treats just to make sure I had enough to last me till New Years.
How, oh how do I say no now? Well, if you have ever felt the effects of those bad, sugar-eating bacteria in your gut--the uncontrollable cravings for more sweets--you know how dangerous sugar can be. Feeding those little buggers is like pouring gasoline on a fire! Believe me, they are doing a happy dance down there every time you pop a cookie in your mouth. This is not to say don't have treats, because life is full of treats, and let's face it, it's fun to have sweets. But remember: A treat is a sweet is a treat, no matter how you slice it.
If you find you need an alternative to the white flour-white sugar combo, try this delicious recipe below. It's a sweet treat with honey or dates. But its healthy fats--from sprouted nuts and coconut oil--will modulate your body's response to the natural sugars. Bring these to a party and, I am telling you, people will be thrilled to have a feel good healthy alternative. Dress them up with a holiday napkin underneath or perhaps a festive sprinkle of goji berries or cranberries, and you are good to go!
Natural Nutty Energy Bars
2.5 cups sprouted nuts (use a variety, like walnuts, cashew and pecans)
1.5 cups sprouted seeds (use a variety like sesame, sunflower and pumpkin)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut or coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 -1/2 cup raw honey, or 6 dates soaked and pureed
2 tsp vanilla extract
Homemade chocolate sauce for drizzling on top (recipe follows)
Place the nuts, seeds, chia, shredded coconut, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp sea salt in food processor, and pulse to a coarse consistency. Depending on your preference, you can also process more finely. Place a sauce-pan over medium low heat, and lightly melt the coconut oil. Turn off the heat, and add the honey (or dates), pinch of salt, and vanilla to incorporate. Add the shredded coconut mixture to the pot, and fold to incorporate. Place in a parchment-lined or well-greased pan. Grease your hands with a little coconut oil, and press the mixture evenly through the pan. Drizzle with Chocolate Sauce. Cool in the fridge for 30 mines to an hour. Cut into bars and serve.
Homemade Chocolate Sauce
2-3 TBS coconut oil
1 bar unsweetened dark chocolate
Pinch of sea salt
1 TBS raw honey
Melt all of ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat. Store in a glass container.
This sauce is also great over ice cream. It is almost like a healthy version of Magic Shell.
*For additional cookie recipes, Homemade Lara Bars and Carrot Cake Cookies shown above, look to pages 263-264 in The Heal Your Gut Cookbook