Nut Free Bliss Balls

A while back I decided to play around with a home made sunflower seed butter recipe, I then had a lot of Sunflower Seed Butter and no real use for it (other than licking it off the spoon, mmm!) so I needed to turn it in to something. Hence the Nut Free Bliss Balls were born.

I wanted to create a bliss ball that was easy to make (OK they are all easy to make!) but didn’t use nuts as a base as I know there are plenty of people who are allergic to nuts and their price!

Crafted using sunflower seeds as the base to make this bliss ball nut free. I decided that a combination of cranberries and chocolate would go well together and oh boy they certainly do!

I was very pleasantly surprised when I tasted these nut free bliss balls for the first time as they were perfect! Just the right amount of sweetness with a hint of saltiness at the same time.

I made these bliss balls every weekend for a good month (you know, just to make sure they did taste good!) and I’m missing them dreadfully while I’m doing the Whole 30 which states no ‘treatlike’ foods even if they are made from whole ingredients – sad face!

nut free bliss balls 1024x768 Nut Free Bliss Balls If you have any allergies or intolerances there is a high likelihood that you will still be able to make these delightful little balls as these bliss balls are naturally gluten-free, paleo (if you use paleo chocolate), refined sugar-free, vegan (use vegan chocolate) and of course nut free.

If you’re a bit wary about the fact that these nut free bliss balls use sunflower seeds at the base, do not fret! I am not a seed person at all, I always used to believe that seeds were for birds, not humans! The sunflower seed butter is close in taste to peanut butter so please do give it a go! 

I would happily serve these nut free bliss balls up to anyone who wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in eating clean and I’m fairly certain they would enjoy them just as much as the clean eaters amongst us. 

Nut Free Bliss Balls
 
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Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Dates
  • 2.5 Cups Sunflower Seeds (1.5c made in to butter, 1c made in to flour)
  • ½ Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1.5 Cups Coconut (chips or shredded)
  • 1.5 Tablespoons LSA (Optional)
  • 4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • Shake of Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Boil the jug and pour the hot water over the dates to soften.
  2. Take 1.5cups of the Sunflower seeds and process them in your food processor (I use the Russell Hobbs Multi Food Processor) until they turn in to sunflower seed butter (or as close as your patience will take you to sunflower seed butter!).
  3. Pop the remainder of the ingredients in the food processor (excluding the cranberries and chocolate) and process until combined. I like to keep mine a little bit chunky.
  4. Add the cranberries and chocolate and pulse a few times until distributed throughout the mixture but not too broken up.
  5. Roll in to balls and keep in the fridge.
Notes
This made approx 20 deliciously good balls.
 What are your favourite bliss ball combinations? Do you like cranberries and chocolate together?




First week of the Whole 30

Last week I wrote about why I was starting a Whole 30. I thought it would be a good idea to show you what I have been eating for my first week of the Whole 30.

I began on a Sunday after a terrible nights sleep (not Whole 30 related) and felt pretty average all day to be honest. I really just wanted sweet food to fill that gap (one of the reasons I’m doing this Whole 30 – to stop these habits).

Day 1 Whole 30 First week of the Whole 30

Sunday – Day 1 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs with Spinach and coconut milk, chicken breast, avocado and some frozen vegetables.
L: Mango & prosciutto as a starter, home made pumpkin soup and buffalo wings.
D: De-constructed burgers – Beef Patties (Just beef and herbs and spices), topped with a fried egg (fried in coconut oil), avocado, pineapple and parsnip crisps with a side of kumara ‘fries’.
S: I didn’t snack in the morning (win!), but come 4pm I was so hungry it wasn’t funny! I had a cup of Red Seals Red Bush Tea which didn’t fill the gap so had a bit of almond butter – straight off the spoon (that stuff is AMAZING by the way!!) and a couple of teaspoons of home made no grain-ola to tide me over while cooking dinner.

Feeling: I felt tired all day and after a long walk to the travel expo and back I was pretty tired. I also had the feeling that I had a headache coming on the whole day. I’m fairly certain this was more to do with the crappy sleep than anything else.

Day 2 Whole 30 meals 1024x1024 First week of the Whole 30

Monday – Day 2 Whole 30
B: 1 Beef Pattie, 2 Fried Eggs, Avocado, Frozen Vegetables and a few pieces of mango.
L: Home made pumpkin soup and chicken breast with a hot lemon drink and some coconut cream mixed with a little bit of home-made no grain-ola.
D: Chicken Tenders and Kumara Fries. 
S: 1 Pear and 1 Carrot, snack of almond butter and a teaspoon of no grain-ola with a couple of dates. 

Feeling: I felt pretty alert all day despite having an average sleep (again), although I was really busy at work so I didn’t have time to get that afternoon slump. From about 2pm I was ridiculously hungry and wanted to eat anything in sight! I held out for 3pm and had the pear and was hungry again 30 minutes later, I finished my bottle of water and had my carrot sticks at 4.30pm.

I was then stupidly hungry again at 5.00 and new I wouldn’t make it through a netball game without anything so grabbed a couple of dates dipped in Almond Butter (holey crap this is good!) and a teaspoon of no grain-ola.

I then faced my first issue of dining out – not at a restaurant! We dined at Burger Fuel and I had the chicken tenders (just chicken breast with garlic and herbs!) which were amazing although overpriced and the kumara fries (which I then felt like a failure but I didn’t have a lot of other options going on, however they are cooked in canola oil which is not ideal but technically ok when dining out for the Whole 30. Fries however are not OK but I’m okay with it given it was either that or two lots of chicken tenders which would not have filled me up, cost me $16(!) and my issue isn’t with savoury food which I can take or leave.).  I have kumara shaped into fries at home as well and I put a lot of thought into my decision and came back to the fact I was doing what I could with the options in front of me and am at peace with that decision. 

 Day 3 Whole 30 Meals 1024x1024 First week of the Whole 30

Tuesday – Day 3 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs with coconut oil, chicken breast, avocado and frozen vegetables. 
L:Chicken Breast, Coconut Cream and Frozen Vegetables.
D: Pina Colada Chicken with roast vegetables.
S: 1 Pear,1 Carrot, few dates dipped in Almond butter and 2 teaspoons home-made no grain-ola.

Feeling: Still super hungry in the afternoons despite the big lunch I had and I tried to add a decent amount of good fats to lunch to keep me going through the afternoon too. I felt a bit ill after eating lunch due to all the fat in it and the sheer size of the meal. 

day 4 whole 30 First week of the Whole 30

Wednesday – Day 4 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs in coconut oil, chicken breast and frozen vegetables.
L: Leftover Pina Colada chicken and frozen vegetables with an apple and almond butter.
D: Salmon, roast vegetables and frozen vegetables. 
S: Few tablespoons of no grain-ola and a couple of dates dipped in almond butter. 

Feeling: Alert all day, super hungry in the afternoon (again!) but had meetings and was busy at work so didn’t snack until I got home as I was heading to the gym and wouldn’t have made it with nothing in the tank. 

day 5 whole 30 meals 1024x1024 First week of the Whole 30

Thursday – Day 5 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs in coconut oil, chicken breast and frozen vegetables.
L: Steak and fried egg with frozen vegetables, coconut cream with some no grain-ola.
D: Crock pot beef (with a tin of tomatoes, garlic, ginger and some chilli powder) with some roast vegetables and frozen vegetables.
S: 1 apple,  1 Carrot & a few tablespoons of no grain-ola. 

Feeling: Slept really well which was nice although by 10.30am I was feeling drained and tired (I believe this was work related as I had what I frequently refer to as a ‘shit storm’ waiting for me this morning.). Subsequent to the looming ‘shit storm’ I had all the sugar cravings in the world and If I wasn’t doing the whole 30 and writing what I have eaten here to be accountable I WOULD have brought a slice of something almost 100% sugar. I had an apple for morning tea as there is no way I would have made it to lunch time (first day eating morning tea since the start of the whole 30 which is big for me!). 

 Day 6 Whole 30 1024x1024 First week of the Whole 30

Friday – Day 6 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs with prosciutto, couple of bits of leftover dinner meat, vegetables a few pieces of mango and bit of almond butter. 
L: Leftover crock pot beef, coconut cream and mango. 
D: Salmon, Roast Vegetables and frozen vegetables. 
S: 1 Apple, Cup of Peppermint Tea, 1 Carrot, bit of no grain-ola. 

Feeling: I could have just stayed in bed and kept sleeping this morning, nothing to do with the Whole 30 and everything to do with this thing called work. I am generally feeling pretty alert throughout the whole day though which is good. 

Day 7 Whole 30 1024x1024 First week of the Whole 30Saturday – Day 7 Whole 30
B: Scrambled eggs, chicken tenderloins, vegetables, almond butter and 1 Red Bush Rooibos Tea 
L: Home made crumbed chicken tenderloins, coconut cream and vegetables. 
D: Burger patties, egg, roast vegetables and spinach. 
S: 1 Pear, Red Bush Tea, Coconut Water, Bit of Hazelnut Spread & Creamed Coconut. 

Feeling: Feeling awake in the morning, slept really well. Was tired around lunch time after going to the gym and then felt like I was going to throw up for an hour or so. It was really weird and nothing came of it but I had a nap and slowly came right and was fine the rest of the day. 

So there we have it, my first week of meals for the Whole 30.  I was lucky that I didn’t have any real side effects from the change in diet, which I imagine is due to the fact that we were eating a fairly paleo diet prior to beginning to Whole 30 anyway. I am finding the thought of eating out to be more hassle than it’s worth generally speaking. It’s a lot easier to just grab something at home as I know how it is prepared and that there isn’t any added sugar or anything. I do know that I could a few events coming up over the next few weeks that will require me to be smart with my choices to ensure my meals are Whole 30 compliant. Bring it on icon wink First week of the Whole 30

What I’m missing?
I knew that doing a Whole 30 would be hard as I love my paleo treats I have been making. I have really missed my nut free bliss balls which I have been having for morning tea during the week prior to starting the Whole 30.  To be honest I have not missed my almost daily quest bar and I have realised that I can go until lunchtime without having morning tea sometimes. The other thing I have really wanted is a milky chai tea! Chai without the milk or sweetener is just not the same! 

I have only been craving sweet slices, chocolate and what not on the days I have been stressed at work, and that is solely an emotional eating issue which is linked to work. It has been good (although hard!) being able to just say NO to myself when I get that voice in my head telling me to go and buy a nice caramel slice from one of the cafes down the road. 

7 days down, 23 to go! 

What do you think you would miss the most if you did a Whole 30?




Inspiring People Interview – Kate from Kori Kita

Next in our Inspiring People interviews we have the Lovely Kate who is an Iron(wo)man and designer of sports skirts for the active women, you can find out more about the Kori Kita range on Kate’s website.  Kate speaks to us about her journey to completing the Ironman as well as the development of her sports skirts. 

inspiring people kate 768x1024 Inspiring People Interview – Kate from Kori Kita

Hi I’m Kate. I have recently given up a steady life long career job to go out on my own to set up my own sportswear company. I worked as a high school technology teacher, I am mega obsessed about exercise and a healthy lifestyle and my business just grew from there.

Tell me about your journey to living a healthy lifestyle…
Back as a student at University I remember going out mountain biking, snowboarding and a bit of climbing. I don’t really remember doing it to keep fit – it was all about fun and the social side.

I moved to NZ (from the UK) about 13 years ago. The snowboarding stayed and I got into surfing. At 30 I had a bit of a mid-life crisis and realised I was actually unfit.

I started running. My first run was appalling. From then it snowballed into a half marathon, a couple of multi-sport events, adventure racing, orienteering, a marathon, mountain biking and a cycle round the lake.

In 2009 I moved to Taupo – the home of Ironman NZ. I could not swim at the time but somehow a year later I was there on the start line in 2010 and again in 2011. From there mountaineering and ultra-distance trail running took over my life. I can say now that exercise is a major part of my life now.

Tell us about Kori Kita and how you came to design the skirts?
Kori Kita came to me literally after a bad day at work in late 2011. I went home and started sketching on scrappy lined paper. I had been teaching product development and fabric technology in school (and over the years business studies, maths, food and computing) so I had a good understanding of what was involved to develop a product.

Also I was spending every single day in exercise gear. Sometimes 3 sets a day. It just seemed logical that sportswear would be it. My favourite thing to wear was skirts. I bought them on-line as they were not available in stores. I loved them but I started to feel a bit like a “little girl” running down the street in a pink or flowery skirt.

I started looking for colours and fabrics that were just not available to me and figured to get what I wanted I needed to make it myself. My colours came from the Tongariro National Park. I had spent a lot of time there and it is a special place to me. I took inspiration from what I gained there into my colours and designs.

What’s your approach to balance & moderation in life (and/or food)
I’m not sure if I am very good at balance and moderation. I tend to throw myself into projects or training for events with 100% passion. I think you have to if you want to do big things. Last year was a struggle mentally when I knew I was quitting my full time job and was trying to build my business.

I exercise every day of the week. At the moment that means a run or the gym or a walk with my dog. I’m very lucky with food – nothing I want is off limits to me. A lot of rich, fatty, sweet or bad food I find my body can just not cope with so I just don’t crave it.

What is your favourite form of exercise to do?
Running Trails. Plain and Simple. icon smile Inspiring People Interview – Kate from Kori Kita

inspiring people kate interview 633x1024 Inspiring People Interview – Kate from Kori Kita

What is your most memorable exercise moment?
Totally has to be crossing the finishing line of Ironman and having Mike Riley say on the microphone “Kate Townsley you are an Ironman” then to my surprise have a friend I work with at the time put a medal around my neck and a towel around my shoulders and hug me (thanks Christine if you read this).

Believe it or not – Ironman is not actually that hard to do. The year or training before hand is. The tears, injuries, punctures, frosty mornings and the sickness are. Ironman is your reward for the year of hard training.

What is your favourite healthy food/recipe?
I’m so boring – pain oats. I could eat them for every meal. I don’t actually. I find my body responds so well to them as an energy source.

I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian but I love the recipes on No Meat Athlete.

What is your number one tip for those who want to live a healthier life?
Allocate time to yourself every day and be active. Anything that makes you happy.

Another is don’t keep poor food choices in your house. If it is not Ok for you to eat it is not OK for your kids. Good eating is for life. Train your kids young.

What is one piece of workout equipment or tool that you swear by (other than your Kori Kita Skirts of course ;))?
Yes it is very rare that I leave the house without a skirt on these days – however I would have to say my back pack and a rain jacket. I see far too many people out in the elements under prepared. For the safety of those who might possibly have to rescue you – always be over prepared.

What are your favourite healthy living blogs/websites or tools?
Health Yeah
Brendan Brazier

Thank you Kate, what an amazing story! Good luck with your business I’m sure you’re going to do amazing things!

You can find Kate:
On her Kori Kita Website
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Feel free to check out some of our other inspiring people interviews:
Nicole Joy – Why it is perfectly acceptable to eat desert for Breakfast
Lucia Oles – Optimum Nutrition Sponsored Fitness Competitor
Jane from KettleBells and Cookies
Laura from KettleBells and Cookies
Emma from Static Era
Leah from Naturally Leah
Emma from Embracing It
Lauren SAHM
 

Do you have (or know someone with) an inspiring health and fitness story that you would like to share? Get in Touch!




No Grain-ola Recipe – Paleo Granola

I have made a few batches of granola (muesli) recently but this time I wanted to try a no-grain version for something different. I set about creating a no grain-ola recipe on a wintery weekend morning, it left the apartment smelling divine!

The beauty of this recipe is that you can swap out or add in anything you like, don’t like walnuts – replace them with more cashews. Pumpkin seeds make you want to gag? Replace them with more sunflower seeds.

Essentially you want two cups of nuts and 1 cup of seeds – how you make these up is completely up to you, your pantry and your taste buds.

no grain ola recipe paleo granola 1024x614 No Grain ola Recipe   Paleo Granola

I really wanted to add some hazelnuts to the no grain-ola recipe as I absolutely love hazelnuts! I made sure we purchased some in our shopping the day before.

Handy Hint: The small pams packets of nuts in the baking aisle (they definitely have them at pak n save, you may need to check other supermarkets) that are 70g are exactly half a cup! Grab any four packets any your good to go.

I really enjoyed this no grain-ola recipe, it was super easy to make and was nice and crunchy. For me there is nothing worse than having soggy muesli, I just can’t get excited about it at all no matter how nice it looks.

To make it a little bit more decadent you could add a few dark chocolate chips to your ramekin of no grain-ola icon wink No Grain ola Recipe   Paleo Granola I did and it was incredible!

5.0 from 1 reviews
No Grain-ola - Paleo Granola
 
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A delicious grain free granola (muesli), perfect for those who can not tolerate grains or are following a Paleo lifestyle.
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Almonds
  • ½ Cup Cashews
  • ½ Cup Walnuts
  • ½ Cup Hazlenuts
  • ½ Cup Sunflower Seeds
  • ¼ Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • ¼ Cup Seasame Seeds
  • 1.5 Cups Shredded Coconut (or Coconut Chips)
  • ¼ Cup LSA (Optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1 cap vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Turn the oven on to approx 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat the honey, coconut oil and vanilla essence slowly on the stove.
  3. Add all your nuts to a bag and crush lightly to break up a bit (or blitz for a few seconds in the food processor).
  4. Add the nuts and all the other ingredients to an oven tray - or two.
  5. Pour over the coconut oil/honey mixture and mix through the nut/seed mixture.
  6. Pop the trays into the oven for 10 minutes - keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't brown up too much and burn (will depend on your oven).
  7. Take out of the oven and let it cool before popping into a container.
Notes
You can use any type of nuts you like just make it up to two cups, I like having a variety but you might just want cashews for example or only two different choices of nuts.
Note: This no grain-ola recipe is full of nuts and seeds as well as coconut which are all very high in fat. You will only need a small serving to fill you up!

This no grain-ola recipe is grain free, refined sugar free, paleo and vegan (sub the honey for agave nectar) so most people can eat this with no issues! #Winning

Have you tried a no grain-ola before?



Starting a Whole 30

On Sunday I officially started my first Whole 30. I was planning to start a Whole 30 on Monday and then realised that there was no reason I couldn’t start on Sunday – what was I waiting for?

starting a whole 30 Starting a Whole 30

What is the Whole 30?

The Whole 30 is a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food. You follow the plan for 30 days without any cheats. 

Certain food groups (like sugar, grains, dairy and legumes) could be having a negative impact on your health and fitness without you even realising it.

 Are your energy levels inconsistent or non-existent? Do you have aches and pains that can’t be explained by over-use or injury? Are you having a hard time losing weight no matter how hard you try? 

The Whole 30 cuts out all the inflammatory, gut-disrupting, calorie-dense but nutritionally sparse food groups for a full 30 days. 

startingawhole30 Starting a Whole 30

Why am I starting the Whole 30?

I have been interested in the impacts of what you put in your mouth for a while now. Last year I read It Starts With Food, which really resonated with me.  It took me a while to get around to doing a Whole 30 as it is quite strict and eliminates a lot of food groups and you need to make sure you read the labels of any packaged food you plan to eat to make sure there are no nasty additives. 

While for the majority of meals I don’t think I will have too many issues as we have been eating  largely paleo for quite a while now, I will need to ditch the paleo treats such as the Clean Bounty Bars which I have been having. 

While the Whole 30 and Paleo are very similar there is one large difference and that is that you are not allowed to make paleo treats even if they use whole ingredients! 

The point of this ‘rule’ is to break the emotional ties we have with food and to cut out psychologically unhealthy foods, allowing us to push the “Reset” button on our metabolism. This is the major reason I wanted to start a whole 30 – to drop my habits with sweet foods and snacking. 

What am I nervous about?

I think it’s natural to be a bit nervous about starting a Whole 30 as it is quite strict. I am nervous about trying to minimize my snacks as my tummy growls at me if I don’t eat every couple of hours and has always been like this AND I only eat when I’m hungry! 

I am nervous about comfort eating (which is one of the reasons I am doing the Whole 30) as occasionally I stress at work and find myself getting a sweet treat (hey we’re all human!). 

I am nervous about finding something to eat when out at a restaurant  or having to say no to social occasions, which is largely silly however looking at some of the menu’s for places I may be going too this week I have VERY limited options and even then need to ask for things to be taken off my meals!  

What am I going to eat during the Whole 30?

I have had a good look on pinterest and written down a few recipes which tickled my fancy including;

  • Pina Colada Chicken (say what!)
  • Crispy Coconut Chicken
  • Bunless Burgers (we have had these already, they were good!).

 My goals for my first Whole 30:

  • Stabilise my energy levels – eliminate the 3.30itis. 
  • Change my habits and cravings surrounding sweet foods. 
  • Have clearer skin (I’m not sure that I can be saved with this as I believe my Jadelle Implant affects this!)

I will keep you up to date with what I am eating and how I am feeling as I work my way through my first Whole 30.  

I’m looking for inspiration – What are your favourite lunch and dinner meals??

 

pixel Starting a Whole 30


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