Your typical snack balls just got taken up a notch with the addition of energizing adaptogens – maca, ashwagandha,, and reishi. (If you’re not familiar with adaptogens, I have a brief overview below!) These snack balls (energy balls, bliss balls, or whatever you like to call them!) are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and protein, making them a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Unlike other snack balls which are typically heavy on the dates, this recipe calls for only four pitted medjool dates. The smaller amount of dates provide a light sweetness and significantly cuts back on the number of carbohydrates and sugar (quick energy) in these snack bites. Don’t get me wrong, carbohydrates are important (I did a whole series on carbohydrates!) but when I want sustained energy, I’m looking for a snack that is higher in fat and protein.
These nourishing snack balls are made with a combination of almonds and cashews to provide a variety of healthy fats and a more complex flavor. The addition of the hemp seeds provides a good amount of omega-3s, which are essential for out body and have been linked to reducing inflammation, promoting heart health, and numerous brain benefits like decreased risk of depression and increasing cognition and memory. The sweet, nutty flavor of these snack balls is enhanced with vanilla and a pinch of salt. But what makes these snack bites really special are the energizing adaptogens – maca, ashwagandha, and reishi.
Adaptogens are substances, such as herbs and mushrooms, that increase the body’s ability to cope with stress and fatigue. They’ve been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and are now becoming a more mainstream as a natural way to help manage stress and fatigue. They work by strengthening and stabilizing our adrenal glands, which when we are stressed pumps out adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones naturally raise our blood sugar and increase our heart rate. This is great if the stress is short-lived, but in reality, we tend to be faced with constant stress. This constant stress leads to a consistent output of stress hormones which can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and chronic disease. Adaptogens respond to our body’s systems, helping us restore balance, manage stress and keep our hormones in check. While there is no specific formula for what adaptogens you should incorporate, many of the adaptogens have research supporting their effectiveness. Below is a list of the more common adaptogens:
- Holy Basil
- He Shou Wu
- Pine Pollen
- Schisandra Berry
If you want to learn more about adaptogens be sure to check out my Medicinal Mushroom Latte, where I cover the different variety of adaptogenic mushrooms and why I love them. Also, stay tuned for my Adaptogen 101 post, where I’ll cover this topic in more detail!
I feel it is necessary to note that some adaptogens can interact with certain medications. I recommend consulting with your doctor or pharmacist for possible interactions as well as if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. I also recommend getting your adaptogens from a very reliable source, since herbs and supplements are not regulated by the USDA or FDA.
Recipe Notes: This recipe uses both cashews and almonds but you can use 1 cup of either almonds or cashews if your prefer. I prefer my nuts lightly roasted and unsalted, but raw and sprouted nuts will work fine as well. If you don’t have any or all of the adaptogen powders, you can make the balls with what you have on hand or simply leave them out. BUT I highly recommend investing in some adaptogens and incorporating them into your diet.
Adaptogen Snack Balls
Grain-free snack balls made with almonds, cashews, hemp hearts and powerful adaptogens, maca, ashwaganda and reshi. Naturally sweetened with dates.
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoon maca powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon reishi (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 soft pitted dates
- hemp seeds, maca, cocao, etc. for rolling, (optional)
In a food processor fitted with a metal "s" blade, pulse the almonds, cashews, hemp hearts, maca, ashwagandha (optional), reishi (optional), and salt until the nuts are finely ground in flour. Add the dates, pulse until the mixture comes together in a sticky swirling ball. If the mixture is crumbly and not forming a ball, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time to bind the dough.
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1 tablespoon measure, scoop the dough to form about 15 balls and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet. If rolling the balls in additional hemp hearts or adaptogens, roll them now while they are still sticky. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Shop this Recipe: Hemp seeds dry-roasted unsalted almonds, dry-roasted unsalted cashews, maca powder, ashwagandha powder, reishi powder, medjool dates.
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