Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come on my health journey. I can clearly recall the day when I thought eating organic macaroni and cheese was healthy, adding spinach to a smoothie was only something I’d seen on Oprah, yoga was sort of “out there,” shopping at a food co-op was something only hippies did, drinking coconut water and fermented tea was nothing short of crazy, and spending nearly $100 on gluten-free baking supplies was even crazier.
Oh, how far I’ve come!
Who would have thought that I’d be a kale chomping, coconut water guzzling, co-op-shopping, gluten-free baking, and yoga loving food blogger (and editor, author, and cooking class instructor) with a passion for leafy greens and chia seeds?
If I were to list all of the books, websites, classes, people, and experiences that led me from those days of chowing down on the “healthy macaroni” to where I am now, it would take far more than one blog post. I’ve been positively influenced in so many ways through so many different vessels that it would be impossible for me to recall every one of them. But what I can tell you is this: no matter where you are in your health journey, it’s never ever ever too late to start changing the status quo.
I don’t know how this blog—this little thread in the huge tapestry we call the web—influences you, but I hope that what you find here encourages and inspires you to take the next step, the next leap, the next daily bite that will ultimately lead you to where you want to be in regards to your health, relationship with food, and overall well-being. I scratch my head and think, can a simple recipe or a few thoughts on juicing really make a difference in someone’s life? It seems pretty small when you think about it.
But it’s the small steps, the subtle influences, the gentle nudges that create the biggest changes. Had I never met that person in the grocery store, picked up that book in Barnes & Noble, taken that cooking class, met that farmer, browsed that blog, emailed that author, or tried that new food, I may never have reached the point where I am today. Small choices—what I call daily bites—stack up to big results.
Early on in my health journey, I remember making a recipe from the Whole Foods Market cookbook for little bites called “earth balls.” They were a no-bake cookie of sorts made with peanut butter, nuts and seeds, honey, and probably a lot of stuff that I’m forgetting. They weren’t anything gourmet and they weren’t intimidating. I didn’t need a Vitamix or a nut milk bag to make them, which—at the beginning—meant a lot to me. (Now I have both and use them all the time. Again, how times have changed.)
I decided to take a trip down memory lane and recreate what I remembered of the earth balls, adding a few twists. Sunflower seed butter, for one, was never around when I began eating healthier. And I don’t think hemp seeds were easy to find either. The natural food scene has changed in dozens of ways over the years, not the least of which is simply the accessibility of natural ingredients in markets nationwide.
I came up with these Coconut Hemp Earth Balls. They’re everything a healthy treat should be: a little sweet, a little savory, and packed with nutrition. It doesn’t take an Iron Chef to make a great recipe, guys. I’m living proof. Simple food is often the tastiest and—in my opinion—the healthiest.
So enjoy these treats in good spirits knowing that they’re as good for you as they are delicious. Maybe these will become your Oreo replacement or your go-to alternative to that evening bowl of ice cream. Or perhaps they’ll just be an addition to your already super healthy repertoire of snack recipes. Enjoy every morsel, knowing that those small changes—those daily bites—can amount to some pretty major stuff.
Take it from me, the mac-n-cheese-turned-kale-lover. It can happen to anyone. It can happen to you.
- 1 cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter)
- ¼ cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries (fruit sweetened) or raisins
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ½ cup raw hemp seeds, for rolling
- In a large bowl, mix together the sunflower seed butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Add the coconut, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. Mix well.
- Roll the dough into 1-1/2 inch balls. (If the mixture is too soft to form with your hands, refrigerate it for 30 minutes or so.) Roll the balls in the hemp seeds to coat.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.