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Aug 6, 2014

Cashew Cookie Bites {dairy, egg + gluten free}

#glutenfree #dairyfree #eggfree #snacks

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try the Whole 30 Challenge. Basically it is a 30-day challenge to eat whole foods, eliminating all grains, dairy, soy, legumes, sugar, alcohol (I'm probably missing something) from your diet to help your body essentially "reset" itself. The book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig from Whole9Life  outlines the science behind the "diet." 

When I quit eating gluten in March of 2013, I also quit eating fast food, drinking pop, and eating much processed foods at all. I bring lunch and snacks from home every day without fail. I used to read labels just when I was buying foods my milk-allergic son would eat, but now I read them for all of us. We started our own garden this summer and have tons of fresh, organic veggies on hand. I had motivation to start running again and get to the gym almost every day. Changing my eating habits has had significant effects on my life. My thyroid condition is finally under control after 8 years, my energy levels have increased exponentially, I haven't had a migraine in 18 months (hallelujah!), and mysterious aches and pains I used to have are now non-existent. 

The subject of gluten-free lifestyles is a controversial one. Yes, going gluten-free is the only treatment for Celiac Disease. No, gluten and gluten-containing grains may not be bad for everyone (but they may not be good for everyone either...). Gluten-free is clearly also a "fad diet" as well. The reason a person may choose to avoid gluten, or any other food for that matter, is not important. If eliminating that food helps relieve a medical condition, or just plain helps you feel better, I applaud you for making that decision for yourself! 

Personally, I had learned to live with debilitating migraines and other things, resolving to have to take pills for the rest of my life to endure them. At 32 years old, I am hoping I have many, many, many more years ahead of me and I refuse to just live with it!  After only a month of avoiding gluten, when I hadn't had a migraine, I knew it would be a permanent change. I get asked several times a week if I want to have something (a cookie, donut, etc.) and when I say no, I often get pressured to eat it anyway. "Just one won't hurt, will it?"  You know what? Just one may not hurt. But it also may, and the risk of all of the issues I previously had returning is SO not worth it. I remember what I felt like 18 months ago. I also know how much better I have felt since then. And THAT is worth it!

Anyway...I digress. Back to the Whole 30. I'm two weeks in and I am definitely seeing results. I don't have cravings for particular foods, and even when I think something sounds good, I have no problem saying no and finding a healthy alternative instead. I love coming up with creative new recipes and making them Whole 30 compliant is a fun challenge for me. Now... I have to admit that this recipe is not quite Whole 30 compliant, because it is what is referred to as "SWYPO." Google it. Or read It Starts With Food and you'll understand. However, in my defense, it is essentially like I am creating my own version of a Larabar, which for all intents and purposes, are usually compliant. So...While I am following the plan as closely as I can, I have made this type of minor modification on occasion (not even daily) and I am okay with it. Any diet or lifestyle change should work this way in my opinion. Adapt it to fit your needs or else you will probably end up failing anyway. ;) 

So, without further ado... here are my Cashew Cookie Bites. While they don't really taste like cookies, they are reminiscent of No-Bakes. So even if you're not doing Whole 30, I promise you will enjoy them!

Cashew Cookie Bites  {dairy, egg + gluten free}

Makes 8-10 bites

  • 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • 15 pitted dates
  • ¼ cup natural almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted

In a blender or food processor, blend cashews until finely chopped. Add dates, almond butter, chia seeds and cocoa. Blend until mixture begins to pull together. Gradually pour in coconut oil until mixture forms a ball.

Scoop mixture by the tablespoon into the wells of a cupcake pan. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or until set. Gently loosen the edges of the bites from the pan with a butter knife. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

#dairyfree #glutenfree #eggfree #snacks

#glutenfree #dairyfree #eggfree #snacks

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