The feeling of tension between eating for nutrition and eating for pleasure is something Phoebe Lapine, author of The Wellness Project understands well. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in her twenties, Phoebe went searching for a way to feel better naturally — her book chronicles her year-long self-experiment with finding a liveable balance between good for you and just plain good.
Wellness is not about deprivation — an idea we come back to again and again, especially around this festive time of year. As the temptation to indulge with abandon amps up, it becomes key to arm ourselves with wholesome recipes that still hit the spot. We asked Phoebe to share a recipe that we’ve been casually dreaming about since she first mentioned it as her go-to snack in her In My Fridge interview here. The raw coconut ginger cookie balls below are perfect for keeping on hand when your holiday sweet tooth strikes, or to give as an edible gift to friends and fam…
Raw energy balls (the artist formerly known as vegan truffles) have swept the food and wellness blogosphere in recent years. And who am I not to join the party? This version is one of my favorites. They taste like a ginger cookie but are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats thanks to skin superstars like sesame seeds, almond butter, and flax meal. Store them in the fridge for any time you need a sweet bite that won’t throw your blood sugar into turmoil.
HEALTHY HEDONIST TIPS | What you’ve been told about chocolate causing pimples is a myth. It’s really the sugar! (Duh.) The hedonist in me feels compelled to say that if you added ½ cup of dark chocolate chips, these bites wouldn’t taste terrible. Choose bittersweet (60 percent cacao or higher), or go the healthy route and just add cacao nibs.
MARKET SWAPS |Trade the spices for a few teaspoons of cocoa powder to make these full-fledged raw chocolate “cookies.” You can also substitute or add maca powder, which helps fine-tune TRH and TSH messages that impact how many hormones the thyroid produces and is packed with B vitamins, which thyroid peeps tend to be deficient in. This recipe uses a modest amount of maple syrup, which not only gives the balls their requisite sweetness but also holds them together. Raw honey is a great option, as are ⅓ cup chopped Medjool dates. Just puree them in the bowl of a food processor along with the almond butter and add the resulting paste to the bowl.
Raw Gingerbread Cookie Beauty Balls
Makes 2 dozen balls
¾ cup almond butter
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
½ cup ground flaxseed meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir until the mixture is incorporated and sticky. Place bowl in refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until firm.
With damp hands, take 1 Tbsp of dough and shape it into a compact 1-inch ball and place it on a plate. (Keep a bowl of water by your side, since the mixture is easier to handle with damp hands.) Repeat with the remaining batter. Chill the balls until ready to serve, or up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer until you remember they’re in there.
Snag another addictively delicious yet totally clean recipe from Phoebe here: a sesame soba zoodle bowl with pickled veggies.