In a meeting with one of my health coaching clients this week, the subject of craving and eating more sugar in the winter months came up. She was struggling to resists processed carbs and sugar. She said that eating something sweet felt very comforting to her. This instigated a conversation around how to curb sweet cravings and why we have them. It is normal to crave sweet foods in the winter. Winter is when we tend to feel depleted, and cold. It seems to take a lot more energy to get us through our days. This is because of the shorter days, longer nights, colder temperatures and lack of adequate sunlight. If we didn’t need to conform to these crazy schedules that society imposes on us, we’d be slowing way down in the winter. Sleeping more and actually putting a little insulation on us in the way of a few extra pounds, to keep us warm. We also crave sweets because they signal that we are eating something safe. In the beginnings of time, when we were more primitive, a sweet taste told us that food was safe to eat, as opposed to the bitter flavor indicating poison. We also associate sweetness with nourishment, because mother’s milk is slightly sweet, so our first association in life with the sweet flavor is through breast milk, which is the most nourishing food we could eat. Sweet tastes can make us feel safe, the way we felt in our mother’s arms. Sweet stuff typically has sugar in it as well, which our bodies know that sugar is the quickest way to get energy…albeit unsustained. So I say, don’t ignore that sweet craving. Instead, honor what your body needs by substituting that cookie for something that is sweet AND nourishing. This way, you get what you need, weather it’s energy or nourishment, you satiate your craving, and you feel satiated with less because your are not eating empty calories.
The following recipe fits the bill nicely. Not only is it packed full of healthy fat, vitamins and protein, but it also contains Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that is known for it’s ability to nourish the deep tissues (bone, nervous tissue, reproductive tissue) and help the body cope with stress. Because of it’s warming energy, it is a great addition to your fall and winter recipe repertoire. You can purchase it here at Jean’s Greens. Jean’s Greens is a wonderful resource for ordering the highest quality dried herbs, ayurvedic powders and spices.
I came across this recipe in the cookbook, The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, written by Kate O’Donnell. I bought this cookbook a couple of months ago and am in love! It seems like each recipe I try is even better then the last. I highly recommend purchasing it for your library. You can find it here.
makes about 12
Sun Butter Filling
2 tsp melted coconut oil
1/2 cup sunflower butter
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
2 tsp Ashwagandha (optional)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp + 2 tsp raw cacao powder
shredded coconut for decoration (optional)
Melt the coconut oil by standing the jar in hot water. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tsp melted coconut oil, sunflower butter, honey, and vanilla. Add the almond meal, sprinkle with cinnamon and ashwagandha, and stir to combine. Cover and place in freezer for 45 minutes.
Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Meanwhile, make the chocolate coating in a small bowl by whisking with a fork the remaining 3 tbsp coconut oil with the maple syrup and cacao powder. Prepare it for dipping by placing the bowl inside a larger bowl of warm water. This will keep the coating from solidifying while you work. Take care not to get any water inside the chocolate.
With the chilled sunflower butter mixture, shape 1-inch balls and drop them, one at a time, into the chocolate. Using two spoons, roll the ball until it is totally coated, then lift it out and lay it on the papered cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle coconut over the top before coating hardens.
Keep refrigerated until serving
Yours in health,
Certified Holistic Health Coach