June 27, 2011

Big on Health - Low on Food Allergens: 'Green Energy Nutri Balls'

If you remember, I SERIOUSLY liked Jason Vale’s Veggie Juice in a Bar. Despite my initial reservations I found myself visiting the Hopsack, in Rathmines, repeatedly, for no reason other than getting another Veggie Juice Bar! I love the little dairy free, gluten free, vegan food allergy friendly super food bar... And then disaster struck... they ran out and didn’t seem to be restocking – Aghast! I think the actual problem was temporary and supplier related but whatever the reason I definitely felt the void.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I was following some Gut healing books such as ‘Gut Reaction’ and ‘Good Gut Healing’ which were making me think about my recent additional food allergies and my overall health outside of just eating ‘free from’, and the potential source of my problems. I began to make small changes to the way I eat and what I eat.

I wanted to introduce some form of Green Energy foods into my daily diet, now that I wasn’t getting my little ‘hit’ in the Veggie bars. I had tried 100% Spirulina in the past but found it hard to take outside of an elaborate smoothie to mask the taste and ‘slipperiness’ but I was hopeful of finding my perfect companion because my taste for ‘green’ had definitely matured in recent months.

After doing some research and seeking some advice on different products I opted for Pukka’s Clean Greens supplement in powder form. I liked the variety of greens, the added peppermint, fennel and ginger to aid digestion and the lack of any sweetener, including Stevia which seemed to pop up in most of the brands I was looking at (I have nothing against Stevia except that I personally dislike the flavour and don’t think that the inclusion is necessary). Much to my surprise I actually LOVE the taste of the Clean Greens. I love it so much that I haven’t even tried mixing it with water yet because I keep licking it right off of the spoon! F. says that its tastes like soup… or more specifically, a stock cube. I prefer to describe it as peppery!

However, my original idea was to try and make my own version of Jason Vale’s Veggie Juice in a Bar inspired partly by Jason Vale, partly by the popular Nakd bars and partly by the dairy rich ‘protein’ balls that I often see by the counter in health food shops. So despite, my new off-the-spoon love, I thought that I should try it out anyway…and try it out I did with modest success, I think. My Green Energy ‘Nutri’ Balls turned out to be
- Dairy free/Milk free
- Lactose free
- Gluten free
- Egg free
- Soya free
- Corn free
- Coconut free (if you stick to the almond topping & don’t use the optional topping)
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Free of refined sugar and added sugar

The major bonus is that they turned out to be super easy to make. The only problem was that my daily dose of Clean Greens were in two balls but I found it hard to stay out of the box!

Green Energy Nutri Balls
Makes 14

250g Dates
7 tbsp Ground Almonds
7 tbsp Ground Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds (any blend would do, but I ground these myself in a coffee grinder)
7 tsp Pukka Clean Greens
2 tbsp Flax Oil
Additional Water for blending if necessary (use sparingly)
50g Flaked Almonds (optional substitution: coconut shavings might be nice)

1. Roughly chop the dates first and then put the dates, ground almonds, ground pumpkin and sunflower seeds and the flax oil in a blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed and no chunks of date remain. You may require 1-2 tbsp of water to complete blending if the mixture gets too sticky but use moderately as you do not want a ‘wet’ mixture (note: I used a hand blender but nearly burnt out the motor with the thickness so be careful!)
2. Knead the mixture to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed. Form into a log and divide into 14 equal parts and roll each part into a ball in the palmss of your hands (your palms will get a bit ‘green’ but don’t worry, it washes off easily!)
3. Chop the flaked almonds into small ‘nibs’ and roll each ball firmly into the nuts to coat evenly.

And that’s it! Two balls give you a daily serving of Clean Greens and they make a perfect treat when you’re hankering for something sweet.

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