I just finished up my eight week course in Weight Management, which means I’ll actually have a Summer this year! At the end of each course, we have a potluck to share all of our healthy recipes we have up our sleeves. This go-around, I brought what I like to call, Energy Bombs! They’re loaded with healthy fats, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, and they’re sweet enough to satisfy even the biggest sweet tooth!
I’ve done two case studies now and both of them clearly had some sugar addiction going on. You hear people joke about being a sugar addict or having a huge sweet tooth, but the reality is that it’s an all too valid thing. Which makes it even more important for me, a budding nutritionist, to find sweet alternatives that are healthy, delicious and most importantly don’t cause adverse health effects.
Okay, so now for me to nerd out. When normal amounts of sugar are eaten, such as that in fruit or in certain vegetables, our blood sugar slowly rises, but is easily brought back to normal thanks to the hormone insulin. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas, pulls the sugar from the blood and into the cells so it can be used as fuel or stored as glycogen for later use. It’s this synergistic eb and flow that happens all day everyday to keep the body in a perfect homeostasis. When simple sugars are eaten in high amounts, such as baked goods, white pasta, sodas, etc, it causes blood sugar to rapidly spike, which means that the pancreas has to secrete even more insulin to accommodate. Because there is so much sugar in the blood the insulin has to get the majority out quickly. This is when the crash happens. We’ve all experienced it; light-headedness, shakiness, sometimes dizzy. That’s when people reach for another soda or candy bar because it makes them feel “normal” again. Next thing you know you’re on this rollercoaster that becomes a vicious cycle that can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease and more.
Not only does sugar effect this part of the body, it also acts as an opioid in the brain.
When simple sugars in the form of pasta, bread, cookies, and energy drinks are consumed, it releases neurotransmitters in the brain called
serotonin, the “feel good” chemical. Studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine, lighting up the same reward centers in the brain, which makes sense why people really are addicted to this sweetness. I don’t have a sweet tooth, never have, so for me it was always so hard to understand why people couldn’t just say no to a cookie. But after looking at the science behind it all, it makes sense and has made me begin to understand sugar addiction much more and be able to effectively help someone in this situation.
So you might be thinking, ‘but dates are high in sugar, why would she be telling us to eat these?’ This is very true, they are high in sugar, but in combination with fat and protein, the release of sugar in to the blood stream is much more slow and steady, allowing the body to use it for fuel and eliminate the rollercoaster. Instead of reaching for that mid-day soda or candy bar for a boost of energy, grab one of these little guys, you’ll get your boost, won’t experience a crash, and can feel good knowing these gems are super nutritious!
- 5-7 large pitted dates
- 3/4 cup organic walnuts
- 1/2-3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4-1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 2 tbsp coco powder (optional-I did not use in these)
- Combine all ingredients, except coconut oil into a food processor and pulse until mixture becomes crumbly
- Slowly begin to add the coconut oil until mixture is beginning to look like a butter
- Once its all combine, roll out 1 inch balls
- Place on a plate lined with parchment paper
- Put in the fridge covered for at least an hour before serving