Raw Coconut Almond Oat Bites

We've all been there. The 2pm slump. Do you ever eat a salad and realize an hour later it just didn't fill you up the way you thought it would? I'm not talking about shots of espresso...I used to be that girl who drank her coffee in the morning and afternoon. For years, I seriously struggled with effects of afternoon caffeine. My high would not only hurt my adrenals but also caused major mood swings. Yikes.

oat date pops

Fortunately, I've come to the understanding of how coffee affects my body and at what times of day. I know that if I'm looking for some energy, afternoon coffee is going to have unwanted consequences (i.e. irritability, feeling strung out, poor quality of sleep the night of, dehydration, anxiety, stress). The solution for my busy, busy life when I need fuel on the go: yummy, sweet, sustainable energy bites that you can just pop into your mouth.

These Coconut Almond Oat Bites were something I created when I was feeling The Afternoon Slump and needed an energy boost before dinner. I was craving something sweet and a little salty. At the last minute I added in some chia seeds because I wanted to feel fuller longer (hint: chia seeds expand when they are in contact with fluid, which will help your tummy feel fuller!)  Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup organic oats (old fashioned rolled)
  • 1/4 cup raw organic almond butter
  • 2 tbsp raw organic local honey
  • about 10 dates, pitted and chopped or blended in food processor
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • dash of cinnamon (optional, helps regulate blood sugar levels & tastes so good)
  • dash of salt to taste (depending on whether you get salted almond butter or not, you may want to leave this out)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix everything together in a large bowl and roll into bite sized balls. I like to put mine in a plastic bag and save them in the freezer so that whenever I need some energy and sweetness, I'll throw some in my bag or leave them in the fridge at work for a quick snack.

 

Enjoy!

who says you have to eat every last bite?

Chances are you're a grown ass human, and your mommy isn't around to tell you to finish your salad, honey. So why do you eat every last bite?

You could probably list tons of reasons:

  • I don't want to waste it.
  • I feel bad for the starving kids in Africa.
  • I'd rather get the instant gratification of those last few bites of my burrito bowl in my mouth and feel uncomfortable later than deprive myself of its yumminess.
  • It's a habit. I might not even realize I do this.

....You get the point.

muffin.jpg

 

Here's my story:

Today, I prepared myself a salad with the expectation that I was going to eat it all. Every last bite. I was hungry. About 3/4 into my salad eating experience, my body told me to stop.

How did I know my body was telling me this? Why would anyone want to talk to their body?

Your body doesn't lie. It gives you signs and cues to communicate important messages to you about what's up. One of those signals is designed to tell you when you're hungry and when you're not. Unfortunately, most people these days have completely shut this voice up, ignored it completely and are shoving cupcakes in their faces, or they hear it but are on the schedule of the societal norm (breakfast, lunch and dinner) whether they are hungry for it or not.

I've developed a healthy, communicative relationship with my body and it's taken me years. We've had some rocky times together (my body has digested many things it did not want, and let me tell you, it was NOT happy), but we've also learned to become friends. Now I listen to my body. I've learned that it talks to me all the time.

The more I listen, the better I feel.

One way I've developed a beautiful relationship with my body is by simply being willing to be aware of it's signals. More likely than not, you or someone you know was raised to eat everything off their plate. There would be feelings of guilt and anxiety if you didn't eat the last brussel sprout. But guess what? I'm telling you that you DON'T HAVE TO. Don't finish everything off your plate, and most importantly, don't feel bad about it!

Wow, what a revolutionary idea. When I listen to my body's subtle signals, I feel really good. And when I don't, I feel overly stuffed, like I'm gonna explode, or a develop a slew of digestive issues. Bottom line: it's not cute when you fart in yoga class.

How am I supposed to know when I'm hungry/satisfied? How do I eat to avoid bloating/gas?

Check in with your body. Close your eyes and breathe. Become aware of your body - do a mental scan of your body and relax from head to toe. Chances are, your stomach is tight, your jaw is clenched, and you're hunched over your food. Sit up straight and roll your shoulders back down your spine. You may realize you're not even hungry. Learn how to recognize your cravings and why you're having them. Cravings are an amazing way to determine what your body is lacking (salt, sugar, hot, cold, wet, dry, etc.)

Eat slowly with no distractions. This means no TV, iPhone, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, newspaper, music, anxiety causing situations, people, or places. Don't eat in your car. Don't eat while doing anything! Just relax and eat! You'll realize how boring eating can be after each bite, and you will definitely eat less. Ideally, you're eating in a calm, relaxed environment with soothing people to be around and have let go of any tension or anxiety you're holding onto. Giving yourself this space will allow your body to speak to you so that you will clearly receive its important messages.

Aim to eat 5 ingredients or less. You've been there before: you load up a salad with 14 ingredients and you're uncomfortable, full, bloated, and your tummy is gurgling for the rest of the day. Not fun. Trust me, the less ingredients, the easier it is on the digestive system. Your body will say "thank you" in it's own special way.

Eat slowly. Don't forget to breathe. Give yourself enough time for your body to tell you when it's time to stop eating. Inhaling your food is shutting your body up from what it's trying to tell you. Putting down the fork in between bites helps. Chewing until liquid helps. Breathing helps. When you breathe you are giving your body vital oxygen to your organs for proper digestion. The slower you eat, the more space you are giving your body to tell you what it needs or doesn't need.

Listen when your body subtly taps you on the shoulder and says, "that's enough". Respect and honor your body when you just start to feel satisfied. This is truly an art form. Have patience and take some time to learn how to develop this practice.

 

If you've reached this point in your relationship with your body, congrats! If not, let me know what's holding you back from having an incredible relationship with your body. What kind of relationship do you have with your body, and/or what relationship do you want to create?