When preparing for something that requires a lot of energy (physical or mental), the body needs the appropriate fuels to keep it going. While fats and proteins are essential for energy and building and maintaining a strong and healthy body, carbohydrates often provide the energy to make that possible. Good sources of carbohydrates primarily help muscles contract efficiently, and prevent all our protein stores from being used up for energy.
If the level of carbohydrates we consume isn’t ‘enough’, our stores of protein quickly get broken down. Protein molecules are the building blocks of muscles, so when they’re broken down, we lose the ability to build strong muscles, and often physical strength will decrease.
Of course, we hear a lot about how carbohydrates are ‘bad’ for us; and if your carbodhydrate sources come from white bread, fizzy drinks, sweets and other sugary, simple carbs then yes; the fructose and galactose sugars from these food sources that are converted into glucose via the liver, becomes stored in the liver and skeletal system as a glycogen and eventually body fat if we don’t use that energy.
If however, we need to use energy and we don’t have enouch glucose to provide that energy, our muscles won’t be able to contract properly, and muscle proteins become quickly depleted – leaving us more vulnerable to injury and wear-and-tear muscle damage, which isn’t fun for anyone….
Basically, most people who are active require carbohydrates; and I say this with full awareness of the popularity of the Atkins diet, Ketogenic diets, Paleo Diets and other low-carb-high-fat diets.
Although I’m all up for everyone listening to their unique bodies and providing them with what they truly need – whether that’s meat, eggs and cheese for breakfast or five bananas (see; high-carb-low-fat diets like the 80/10/10, and other raw, vegan and high-carb diets) there comes a point where we have to ask ourselves if what would benefit us the most, really, is just balance….
And so with that, here’s a recipe full of healthy, energy-boosting and delicious plant-based fats, carbs and proteins. Cashews are the nut highest in carbohydrate, while coconut oil provides undeniably wonderous benefits from its natural healthy saturated fat content. Dark chocolate and coffee play the roles of being controversially ‘good for us’, and so they’re used in this recipe because sometimes you need to stick two fingers up to the world and have coffee and chocolate on a weekday morning….
*Bonus: Cashews contain a large amount of copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and zinc, which all contribute to the health of bones and tissue, while also protecting the nervous system by encouraging relaxation. Cashews are often touted as natural anti depressants, as they have such a strong effect on the body’s tryptophan and serotonin levels (the hormone receptors for making us feel good). It’s controversial, but it is sometimes said that two handfuls of cashews has the same effects on a person’s mood as a prescription dose of Prozac. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure; cashews are good for you!
Ingredients (makes about 25 Chunks)
- 2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 ½ tbsp. date syrup
- 2 tbsp coffee granules
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt
For the coating:
Roughly 150g of dark chocolate, melted.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and pulse until everything is well combined and begins to bind together.
- Remove everything from the blender and form about 25 roughly shaped balls.
- Leave these in the fridge to set for half an hour to an hour.
- When you can’t wait any longer, melt the dark chocolate in a ban-marie or simply a Pyrex bowl set over hot simmering water. Make sure the chocolate is broken into small pieces and continuously stir until it’s all melted.
- Place a few of your ‘chunks’ into the melted chocolate at a time, and stir around to completely cover them.
- When coated, transfer to a tray, a sheet of foil or a box ready to store back in the fridge. Continue with this for all 25 of the cashew, cacao and coffee chunks, and then place them in the fridge for a few hours to set.
- Once set, make sure they don’t disappear too fast when everyone finds out that they’re not only pretty healthy, but they taste amazing too. Good Food = Good Mood