I’m not generally much of an in-between kind of girl. My hair is black, or it’s white. (Or, currently, it’s black and magenta, which is, again, kind of serious looking, in a really fun and unserious way.) Either I’m working 20 days in a row, or I’m twiddling my thumbs for equally as long. I’m in love with and deeply attracted to extremes, in all facets of life. In line with my character, I vacillate between making the most ridiculously complex food ever, and the simplest. Lucky for you, dear reader, today I came up with a granola bar that is stupid easy and also AMAZINGLY tasty. Better yet, it’s gluten free, grain free, paleo, high protein, and vegan. These would be good with any nut or seed butter, but the chocolate Nuttzo adds a killer dessert-y flavor, plus a bunch of nutrients and omegas via flax seeds.
To make these awesome little guys, throw all of the below in a bowl, stir until combined, pour in a pan, and put in the fridge or freezer. Get back to it in an hour, cut into bars, and knock yourself the hell out never buying granola bars again.
1 cup nuts (I used raw almonds), whole or broken, doesn’t matter
1 cup coconut flakes (exchange for dried fruit if you don’t like coconut)
1 cup sprouted dried buckwheat (buckwheat is a seed, not a grain, fyi, and it’s now delightfully inexpensive sprouted and dried in the bulk section of health food stores)
3/4 cup chocolate Nuttzo
3/4 cup date puree (puree dates, or buy dates pureed)
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup coconut nectar, honey, or maple syrup
3 scoops protein powder of choice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
Like I said: mix together until it’s all gloppy and uniform, spread in a pan, and refrigerate. That’s it. If you have no patience, like me, put them in the freezer and they’ll be ready in a half hour. If you have patience, put them in the fridge and it’ll be more like an hour or two. Keep them in the fridge so they stay hard until eaten, or keep frozen if you plan on having one as a grab-n-go snack later in the day.
The buckwheat gives these a Rice Krispie treat texture, so I wouldn’t omit that, but beyond that you can basically change out any ingredients here you want to keep flavors current. Add dried fruit, add more nuts, change the nuts, change the protein powder, add cocoa powder, do whatever you want because you’re not baking these so you’ve got nothing to worry about. What you see is what you’ll get when you make the batter, only it will firm up a bit once cold. If by some change you add too much stuff and the mixture isn’t spreadable, just add more nut butter until it is, and taste to make sure they’re still sweet and salty enough.
I tend to get complaints that I put a whole lot of different ingredients into the foods I make. The main reason I don’t consider this a problem, or much work, is of course bc I am the one who already has all these ingredients in my kitchen, on hand. Also, my way of cooking is to rapidly throw stuff together and hope it magically works (usually it does), and some people need more structure and time than that. For those people, I imagine my recipes look like a lot of effort, regardless of how many times I advise, “Just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl! It’ll be great!”
This week my VitaMix broke, and as I await replacement parts in the mail, life is weird, bc it’s something I use more days than not. My mom sent me a blender that goes with the mixer I have, and it arrived yesterday. Excited to make a smoothie this morning, I tried to fit the blender onto the base only to discover that they are not a match. This blender top may go with SOME mixer out there, but it isn’t mine. I was already geared up for a smoothie and am out of sprouted buckwheat, my other go-to breakfast (a new batch is in the dehydrator right now). I glanced from the freezer to my mini-Cuisinart, and decided to have some quick morning fun. The end result- and by END, I mean about 60 seconds later!- was delectable.
Easy Breakfast Porridge That Takes Longer to Detail Than It Does to Make:
2/3 cup frozen berries, blended on high for 30 seconds in mini food processor
1 scoop protein powder
2 tbls hemp seeds
3 tbls milk of your choice
1 tbls almond butter
dash of stevia if desired
Stir all ingredients together and enjoy! Crunchy, sweet, filling, and gorgeous.
Note: you can buy berries in season, toss them on a baking sheet, and freeze them individually. They last very well that way. When buying berries, ALWAYS choose organic! They have more pesticides per acre than any other food.
Just like my last juice fast, candida diets are beginning to feel like old news to me; I battled candida during Lyme for a long time a couple years ago, then had an unexpected bout return this past December. In the last month, it has come back again, which is not surprising now that we’ve found out we may have mold in our bedroom. We’ve had a LOT of health problems since moving across the hall in November, and tomorrow they are opening the offending wall and we will know for sure whether nastiness is growing in a spot under the window that sprang a leak shortly after we moved in. We are, of course, hoping that it IS moldy in there, because if it isn’t, our household has become randomly riddled with really odd ailments, for no apparent reason.
Back to candida– and by candida, I am referring to the kind in your gut, not other areas, just to throw that out there for the record. It’s back, it’s got me STARVING CONSTANTLY, and in turn I have of course put on all the weight I’d lost since the hormone situation (which, if there is mold in the wall, explains why all that got so bad too). While just a month ago I was back to my normal skinny pants, those are again a lost cause. I spent a minute (err, couple weeks) thinking, “Fuck it,” because I knew I had to wait until the wall situation was fully dealt with, and that has involved numerous inspections, tests, etc. I didn’t go crazy and eat yeasted bread or anything, but I had wine close to nightly and what the average person may consider a slightly obscene amount of chocolate. Now that the wall is being handled, it’s time to handle me, too, so I ordered Renew Life Enterprises “CandiGone,” will bust out the Rife machine every few days, and began a joyous standard candida diet. Only, being me and having lofty goals, I decided to also cut out foods that I know I have been consuming way too much of, that are typically allowed. Read: Ace has staged numerous nut-interventions on me lately, and I’ve come to realize that they are just too big a part of my diet. So although the candida diet says they are ok as long as they’re roasted, I’ve decided to cut nuts and seeds out entirely for a short while.
The easiest way, for me, to not feel completely deprived of specific foods, is to remove myself completely from food and do a juice fast. But since I just did that a month or so ago, and since I am STARVING CONSTANTLY, that sounds very not fun right now. Instead, I’ve decided to switch up my normal eating life as much as possible so that I don’t notice what I am missing as badly as I usually would. My tips for a candida cleanse overlap with those for a juice fast, but I think there are several important things that can help you get through any restricted period of time, so I am including them again here.
1. Buy a plethora of snackable green produce. I kid you not, I have eaten an entire head of celery as a snack lately. Candida hunger is like the munchies from smoking pot exaggerated to the millionth degree, only without any laughter or fulfillment. Know that you will still be hungry for awhile, and plan accordingly with things you could eat all day and not have to worry about. My two favorites for this are Persian cucumbers and celery. Broccoli stalks also work.
2. Don’t try to substitute. If you love, say, regular pizza, don’t think you’ll be fooled and satiated instantly by gluten free crust and Daiya cheese and pesto sauce. Forget about pizza for a minute, and try making, say, an Indian food dish you’ve never had but have been curious to try.
3. Since you have added a bunch of new rules, release some of your standard ones. Personally, I am mostly raw and I rarely buy products with ingredients. So for me, buying brown rice cakes (I never buy rice cakes because puffing grains at high temps denatures them and renders them nutritionally void) is a huge treat. What’s in my cabinet right now? Brown rice cakes!! What’s my treat for eating a raw greens salad with probiotic onion dressing for lunch? Brown rice cakes!! I also have roasted seaweed snacks, and So Delicious sugar-free coconut milk and ice cream. (Seaweed and coconut are in the “top ten foods to eat” while getting ridding of candida, btw.) This all helps me to feel like there are tons of “guilty” treats waiting for me, and eases the focus off the fact that I can’t currently have any fruit, chocolate, nuts, wine, etc.
4. Protein- what’s a non-meat eater to do on a diet that usually stresses meat? I am huge on listening to one’s body, and have actually had several times throughout my adulthood where my body said, specifically, “feed me poultry.” I listened, gave it chicken a couple times, and it shut up about that for another couple years. For reasons like that, I eschew labeling myself as anything other than a raw foodist, even though my diet is at least 90-95% plant based and I think I eat a lot more veggies than the average vegan. (I also tried eating liver twice at the recommendation of several different alternative health practitioners, but that didn’t go over well in the slightest, and I plan pretty solidly to never try it again.) On the regular, I consume a small amount of raw dairy in the form of raw cheese, which is, of course, not allowed on a candida diet. To solve this issue, I prefer protein shakes. Currently I have Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, which is brown rice protein with spirulina, greens, and herbs for energy (thanks to the health issues I’ve got lethargy, malaise, and ennui written all over me lately). I wish it was all organic, but at least some of the ingredients are.
5. Make simple things special. Examples of this are having a shake or juice in a fancy glass, mixing a salad in a beautiful bowl, or breaking out nice dinnerware for a regular weeknight meal. You are doing a candida cleanse for YOU, because your body is important and you want to help it rebalance itself. However, the more we focus on what we are missing/can’t have, the more stressed we get, and the worse we in turn make our bodies feel. Reward yourself in every possible way!
Protein shake/faux milkshake with So Delicious sugar-free milk and ice cream, Rainbow Light Protein Energizer, coconut oil, and toffee flavored stevia. I usually add greens to my smoothies, but this was meant to feel/taste like a dessert treat- and it did. =)
Question: what looks like candy, tastes like candy, has three scrumptious layers that even chew like candy, but is a raw vegan protein powerhouse of nutrients?
It doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t thought of one, but I LOVE IT LIKE CRAZY. I’d been wanting to make a raw candy bar for awhile, but was hesitant to just throw a bunch of nuts, sweetener, and coconut oil together and go to town. Instead, I decided to make something unique: a candy that would act like a normal, cooked, terrible-for-you treat while nourishing your body instead of damaging it. I’ve made two versions so far, since the first version was a little crumbly, but I think I actually like the first version better and am going to give a recipe that combines both experiments.
There are three layers to this delectable delight: a base with dried sprouted buckwheat as its main ingredient– hello, low-fat low-calorie crunchiness that’s remarkably similar in taste and texture to crisped rice!, a caramel-ish nutty/creamy middle layer, and a chocolate topping. There is also a DIRTY LITTLE SECRET in the base that I am almost ashamed to share because I am such a health food nutcase: I used flavored stevia in it. I resisted the temptation to buy flavored stevia for ages, but once I saw that both Jason Wrobel (a raw chef who makes super personality-filled uncooking videos) AND Whitney the “Eco-Vegan Gal” use it, I was like, what the hell, let’s take a walk on the wild side. Aside about my wild side: yes, flavored stevia is totally walking on the wild side to me. I generally eschew anything with natural flavors, and only use powdered stevia extract. I really am that phobic of processed food.
Keep in mind that even though there are oils and nuts in each layer of this, they are minimal compared to other raw candies, they are balanced by a lot of protein, omegas, and lack of sugar, and they are pretty much the healthiest, most nutritious oils and nuts you could– and SHOULD– eat. Please don’t be daunted by the sheer magnitude of ingredients; this takes about 1/2 an hour in total to make, you mostly just throw things into a bowl, and you can always leave some ingredients out if it seems overwhelming.
Recipe for the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made (please use organic ingredients!)
Base: (all dry, non-seasoning ingredients except buckwheat can be omitted for anything else you prefer)
1 cup dried sprouted buckwheat
1/2 cup cacao nibs
3 tbls chia seeds
1/3 cup cococeps (you could sub cacao powder for this, but the mushrooms are good for you and you can’t taste em)
3/4 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder (hemp, brown rice, pea, whey, whatever your favorite is)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbls cinnamon
3/4 tsp Himalayan salt
Mix the above together, then add:
1 tsp vanilla (powder or extract)
2 tbls hemp oil
2 droppers toffee flavored stevia
3 tbls coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Mix again until it forms a crumbly batter- it will not get totally cohesive. If you want it totally cohesive and pasty, add more sweetener, nut butter or oil. Otherwise, mix until it sticks into clumps when you press on it, then press it into a baking pan (eight inch square or nine inch rectangular) and refrigerate. The next layer can be made as this layer cools.
Nutty/Creamy Middle Layer:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Mix until uniform, then pour and spread over base layer. Base does not need to be totally cold. Make the top layer as this cools.
Chocolate Top Layer:
Have a mother who gives you scads of healthy chocolate every time you visit her, and cheat by melting some of the tasty nut-filled chocolate bark she gives you. In the event that you are unable to cultivate said parent whilst reading this recipe, the following will suffice:
1 cup melted cacao butter
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1 tsp powdered stevia
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Whisk until combined thoroughly, or put all ingredients except chopped nuts into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour atop other layers (they don’t have to be completely cold), let solidify, and refrigerate until hard.
Slice into any size chunks you’d like (I like 1-2 inch squares), and beware that unless you are out giving it to friends, you are probably going to eat this entire batch in about a week. Thankfully you won’t have to feel badly about it, because it’s made of whole raw foods, lots of protein, and a pretty modest amount of fats and sugars. Take that, Snickers. This tastes better, and it wouldn’t even dream of giving you diabetes.