Today started off early as usual with a sweat session! I did a combo of biking and rowing for cardio and a leg workout featuring moves from Tone it Up and Kelsey Lee of XHit, without any wake ups from baby Rosemary! Having a baby comes with so many cool (and challenging) changes, and I’ve grown to love that, now that I get up at 3 AM to exercise before the baby is awake, I can work out side by side with my husband. He has been an extra early riser ever since we moved to Temecula so that he can finish his exercise before his long commute to San Diego for work. Embrace changes with an open mind!
After I completed my workout, showered, feasted on my favorite bowl of overnight oats, and did a much-needed load of laundry, the princess began to stir around her usual time at 6:45. We read this adorable story which she loved! It amazes me how intrigued she is by the stories I read to her.
I managed to get in a boatload of cooking this morning. After some tweaking, I perfected my favorite Peanut Butter Date Balls Recipe.
During my first clinic shift at acupuncture school, a senior intern advised me to integrate dates into my diet since, at the time, I was a raw vegan. He explained that, according to Middle Eastern medicine, dates nourish the blood. When I heard him mention blood, I immediately became interested because I had been experiencing signs of B12 deficiency. As many vegans have heard and experienced firsthand, vegan diets lack sufficient B12, a nutrient essential to the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. This can lead to symptoms like weakness, fatigue, lightheadedness/dizziness, and shortness of breath. If you are vegan, try taking sublingual B12 tablets along with a few dates every day for prevention! I was able to reverse my B12 deficiency symptoms by making these changes.
“Nourish the blood” is how ancient healers attempted to convey that the blood is enriched with more nutrients and disease-fighting powers. While this sounds a bit vague, Western Medicine has proven the efficacy of dates in enriching the blood, evidenced by this NIH study concluding that dates have an antiatherogenic effect, which is a fancy medical way of saying that they prevent the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries. Also, dates are full of B6, which is essential to cognitive function (read more here ). Pretty cool, huh?
It doesn’t hurt that dates are absolutely delicious. That being said, the key with date consumption is to be mindful. They pack a hefty punch of sugar which means the caloric cost is pretty high. The good thing is that one to two dates is pretty great at satisfying the palate, unlike most processed sweets. I mean, how many of us have downed handfuls of store-bought granola…or a donut…only to be left feeling a bit disappointed? Exactly. My favorite cure for sugar cravings (besides these date balls) is smothering a date in nut butter. Yum.
Peanut Butter Date Balls (makes 7 balls)
- One cup old-fashioned oatmeal
- Half cup dates
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon Baker’s Blend from Old Town Spice and Tea Merchants
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup almond milk
Instructions: I use a Vitamix but you could also use a food processor. Blend the oats and dates until they form a fairly uniform mass (you can test by pinching together the batter; if it easily forms a ball then you’re good to go). I don’t like testing the limits of my beloved Vitamix so I always chop dates into small pieces before blending. Next, add the peanut butter, almond milk and spices (I highly recommend the Baker’s Blend but you could easily use cinnamon instead). Once everything is incorporated, form the batter into bite-sized balls and then sprinkle with sea salt! Delicious. Believe me, if my meat and potatoes Arkansan husband devoured these for dessert instead of his favorite chocolate coconut cookies, you KNOW IT’S GOOD STUFF!
Here’s a close-up for an idea of the wonderful, chewy, oaty texture.
I had a fantastic audience.