One of my favourite past-times is baking sweet treats which are coeliac, diabetic and paleo friendly, and testing them out on the GJO team – thankfully most are met with resounding success! The reason I want to share these recipes with you is that Diabetes is a big enemy of healthy eyes and is frequently first diagnosed in adults when small changes are seen in the retinal blood vessels during a routine eye exam. There’s mounting evidence of the link between sugar consumption and diabetes across populations (Basu S et al, PLOS ONE 2013), so while we each have different tolerances, it makes sense to reduce sugar consumption. But thankfully your taste buds don’t have to miss out – give this recipe a try!
If you’ve been into my consultation room lately you’ll probably remember seeing my running event medals hanging in amongst my ‘wall of nerd’ framed academic certificates. I like to think that these medals make me appear to be a well rounded person, not just a nerd, but the truth is I’m quite a mediocre runner, a plodder, but I really enjoy it and I love the chance to finish an event where I’m rewarded with a medal. Pictured above are Paul and I with our spoils after the 14km Brisbane City2South in June this year, where Paul scored a massive PB (on his birthday!), and then had to wait another 18 minutes for me to finish! If you look closely at the ‘RUN’ sign, taken in Olympic Park in London on a visit in 2013, you’ll see examples of some terrible running form. The bottom right picture is the result of this recipe!
Paul and I are now training for the New York Marathon on 1st November 2015. The last time we trained for a marathon, two years ago, we were necking high sugar energy gels on our long runs, but neither of us tolerated them well. This time I was keen to find an alternative made from real food – my ‘running balls’ are an adaptation of a rum ball recipe I first tried at Christmas and can be made into the latter through the addition of 1 tbsp of rum – I used the delicious Bundaberg Royal Liquer (chocolate and coffee flavour) for mine. Roll them in dessicated coconut once you’ve formed them for extra Christmas cheer.
These running balls are gluten, grain and dairy free and low-ish in sugar. They’re packed full of good fats with the macadamia nuts and coconut oil for slow burn energy. If you’re more tolerant of sugar than me (which is probably most people), you’ll like them as a snack with your morning coffee. I munch on one of these before a long run and have another every 7-8km along the way, instead of the energy gels I used to eat. By the time I get to the third one, though, they’re getting pretty mushy in the Brisbane heat!
1 cup macadamia
1 cup pitted dates
2 cups shredded coconut
1 heaped tbsp cacao powder
50g melted coconut oil
Stevia to taste (I use 1-2 tbsp as the dates are sweet enough)
Throw everything into your food processor and process until well combined. Spoon out a dessert spoon sized volume of the mixture into your hands and form into tight balls with some decent squeeze pressure – you should make around 16. Pop into the fridge when you’re done.
These will get melty and soft if out of the fridge for longer than an hour, depending on the temperature, so could work as a morning tea lunchbox treat. I’m happy to report that they are teenager approved as well.