These chocolate orange hemp balls are super nutritious and soft but also lower in sugar than regular energy balls as they use just 1 ripe fresh banana to sweeten them rather than dried fruit, this keeps them lovely and soft but means you need to eat them fast, preferably within 2/3 days (but it won’t be a challenge, trust me!)
They require a bit of setting time to firm up so make them in advance, they make a good afternoon pick me up or prepped the night before for a breakfast snack before a morning gym workout or on your way to work.
Activate those nuts!
I’ve used Linwoods activated walnuts here as I’m trying to use more activated nuts where possible in my cooking due to the process of activating making the nuts more nutritious but also easier on digestion, plus if you just want to eat them straight it also gives the nuts a lovely crispiness. Walnuts are one of the nuts highest in phytic acid which holds onto nutrients making it harder for your body to extract which is why they’re one of the nuts that you should try to eat soaked/activated whenever possible.
Another reason why I love walnuts and hemp is because they have a good balance of healthy fats which the standard Western diet tends to be lower in and instead, higher in omega 6 fats which when too high can be pro-inflammatory, so eating a variety of omega 3 fats to balance this out is something to keep in mind.
This combination of creamy coconut, hot harissa and sweet pops of pomegranate seeds on these chickpea pancakes is a dream mixture and great plant based meal full of goodness. There’s antioxidants in the pomegranate seeds, good medium chain, easily digestible fats in the coconut, spices in the harissa paste and fibre and protein in the chickpea flour (which you can get in the supermarket btw).
I really like this meal when I’m craving something different from the usual dinners and flavours you typically rely on and gives you a way to consume more pomegranate seeds which are packed full of Polyphenols which some people probably aren’t getting enough of.
Cooking with chickpea/gram flour
If you’ve never made chickpea flour pancakes/mixtures before, just note that it’s slightly different from usual flour so it won’t be as light but is great for savoury meals and provides a good thick texture to the recipe. They also need to be cooked out a bit longer than regular pancakes, they don’t brown quickly so don’t worry about them burning easily. Check out my veggie slices made with chickpea flour for another idea on how to use it.
TIP: for best digestion if you have time to soak the flour and water together for an hour/up to a few hours then this enhances digestibility and nutrition
These are by far one of the best things I’ve made in ages, they’re little chocolatey, peanut butter stuffed bites of Heaven!
They make a nice post workout treat as they contain a good mix of antioxidants, protein & healthy fats, particularly if you choose high oleic peanut butter (explained more below).
Go on, treat yo self!
So delicious it’s unreal!
I combined peanut butter and pea protein together to create a “fudge” filling which compliments the dark chocolate perfectly, there’s no added sugar in the filling meaning depending on what percentage choc you choose you can make these quite low sugar or even sugar free by making and sweetening the chocolate yourself as I’ve done in the past.
Pea protein power
I’ve begun using fermented pea protein for better digestibility and nutrition. The brand I used here is Revolution foods which adds digestive herbs and electrolytes which are great for people who workout regularly, it also contains probiotics, adaptogens and piperine to help with nutrient absorption. They’re also completely free from contaminants as well as gluten, soy, dairy etc so very suitable for anyone who is allergen prone or just wants a really high quality protein.
Recipe (makes 6 cups)
-100g dark chocolate of choice
-2 heaped tsp coconut oil
-30g runny peanut butter (I like the high oleic kind)*
-20g pea protein (I used Revolution foods toffee fudge)
-1 to 2 Tbsp hot water, as needed
*Tip: try to use the runny top part of your nut butter and I recommend high oleic PB as it has more monounsaturated fats than regular PB which is more beneficial for you (UK brands include Manilife and Pip & nut).
*I also like to use a pinch of coarse salt in the chocolate which helps cut through the richness and really contrasts with the filling to accentuate the flavour
First make the filling by mixing together the PB, protein and water, start with 1 Tbsp water then add another if the mix looks too dry/crumbly, you want it to hold together when lightly pressed, shape 6 coins of filling using the palms of your hands, they should be slightly bigger than a two pound coin, set aside.
Next break the chocolate into small bits into a bowl, then add in the coconut oil and melt over a simmering pot of water, stirring frequently until melted
Spoon 1 Tbsp of chocolate into the bun cases, then add the filling then top with more chocolate until the mix is used up
Set into the fridge to firm up for approx 1 hour before devouring!
I bet you’re thinking how can these be “cream” when they’re dairy free?
I’ve used a little trick which I think is pretty clever, which is to soak some cashews in water for a few hours to soften them, then I blend them with water or plant milk until smooth. It makes the best creamy sauce which pairs really well with the strawberries and some vanilla, plus you get more fibre too, you have to try it!
I’ve also kept these quite low sugar with most of the flavour coming from the fresh berries and only 1 tablespoon of added sweetness so that they still taste good but without a ton of sugar, retraining your taste buds to adjust to natural sweetness from fruit will really benefit you in the long run and you’ll appreciate flavours so much more, just give yourself time.
You’re also getting good nutrition all while using the normal ingredients you’d use for porridge, totally means they’re okay to have for breakfast as it’s like having porridge in bun form!
Getting the most from your berry bites
I had a little think while developing the recipe for these and tried my best to come up with a combination of ingredients that really provided benefits and complemented the other ingredients.
For example, did you know that although most berries are packed full of antioxidants, some components in dairy products actually bind to them and prevent their absorption, therefore by using a dairy free recipe you are getting the max antioxidants. Furthermore, the vitamin C in the berries can help absorption of iron from the cashews and oats. You also get a source of copper and magnesium from the cashews plus healthy soluble fibre from the oats which your gut loves!
Super easy healthy wholemeal bread that doesn’t require any yeast or kneading, basically no skill required as I’m a very lazy baker so I use this as a cheat so I can still have bread without the fillers or preservatives and with minimal effort!
Bloat free bread
If you’ve ever struggled with digesting typical store bought bread then I highly recommend trying this just once. You can bake it right away if you’re short on time but using the cultured buttermilk/kefir (see notes below) and allowing the flour to activate/ferment for a few hours (optional) will help with digestion. Plus you don’t get any added sugars, emulsifiers or preservatives that can affect your gut. Adding this to your eating plan means you still get your bread fix and easy meal prep but in a much healthier way.
Toasted with eggs
I’ve used this for both sweet and savoury recipes, it works great with either. It’s also lovely when lightly toasted. One of my fav recipes for it which isn’t pictured here is some grated apple, cinnamon and nut butter <3
It also goes really well with my Hulk dip or green shamrock spread
This indulgent creamy chocolate chia pudding with avocado which gives it more bulk and richness is the type of breakfast that will make you WANT to get out of bed for.
As the avo is blended into the chia pudding and topped with fresh fruit you get at least 2/5 a day plus a whole host of other goodness including fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C, good fats and a happy tummy afterwards.
This sneaky dish is also a good way to get some green stuff into little ones or any family members that say they don’t like avocado, top it with their favourite fruit and toppings then let them eat it first before telling them anything.
Years ago I never paid much attention to manuka honey because there wasn’t much known about it, however the research has really developed and we now know more about its benefits.
This honey comes from the manuka bush found only in New Zealand and some parts of Australia (one of the reasons it’s so expensive) and contains unique compounds, some are hydrogen peroxide based others are non peroxide based. One of the main reasons (but not only one, see below) why manuka is so antibacterial, is due to MGO (methylglyoxal), the higher the level of the MGO in the honey (indicated on the jar by the number/score) the more antibacterial it is. There is even medical grade manuka honey which is the strongest and is used in hospitals to treat infections that haven’t responded to other treatments. Manuka can also be scored by UMF (unique manuka factors) which include MGO and other compounds.
high strength manuka
I’ve started to use it myself to help treat my digestive issues and heal the gut as this antibacterial activity has been shown to reduce the number of bad bacteria linked to gut issues, whilst leaving the good bacteria intact. It also contains a type of prebiotic that encourages the growth of good gut microbes which make it a more gut friendly sweetener option compared to refined sugar, yes it does still impact blood sugar so don’t go mental but regarding gut health it’s a better option which is why not all types of sugar are the same in my opinion.
Furthermore, it can help coat the stomach and gut lining (which can already be compromised in people with gut issues) so that the gastric acids won’t be able to damage it as much and has been shown to reduce colonic inflammation.
Although it’s very early days, there’s even evidence that antibacterial compounds in high strength manuka can kill off bad gum bacteria that lead to gum disease such as gingivitis.
To maximise the benefits, try to use it raw, when heated, some of the compounds and the enzymes will be destroyed, but not all, it will still retain benefits as the MGO is more heat stable than other compounds.
If you simply can’t afford it then raw local honey from your region is also a good option especially for hayfever sufferers as the local pollen and microbes in it teach your immune system to tolerate local allergens and also has a degree of antibacterial activity.