By Melody Hord, Guest Writer
Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around delicious sweet treats. Most of the time when my dad arrived home from work in the evening, I would ask him, “What did you bring me, Daddy?” Many times he had brought me something delectably sweet, like a Milky Way or Three Musketeers Bar. Gooey, nuggety, doughy, delicious!
One evening my daddy stopped by a donut shop before coming home. He worked out a super deal with the night manager to purchase every single donut they had left in the store that day. When he pulled up with his car seats loaded with boxes full of donuts, my brother and I were ecstatic. That delicious booty pretty much filled up our entire Frigidaire freezer. For many a week, our after school snacks were a sugary homerun and big hit in the neighborhood.
Over the years, however, I have learned the perils of eating too much sugar, especially refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
Now I enjoy natural forms of sweetness such as my favorite fruits like raspberries and strawberries. They contain fiber and nutrients that are very healthy when consumed mindfully.
But the one thing that has really taken the place of all those nuggety chewy, doughy, thick, fudgy candy bars, is home-made “nut balls”! In addition to my love for juicing and BarleyMax, nut balls are one of the greatest gifts the Hallelujah Diet has taught me.
Nut balls are primarily nuts and seeds or nuts butters mixed with dried fruit and/or honey. More importantly, they taste as good as any candy bar Dad ever brought me, doughy, coconutty, chewy, scrumptious, but with no hydrogenated oils or refined sugar and filled with natural fiber!
Please find several recipes below. You can use any variety of nuts or seeds you choose, so feel free to mix it up. In other words, if the recipe calls for almonds and all you have are hazelnuts and pumpkins seeds, then use what you have!
For many years in the health food world, we have been taught to soak our nuts, seeds, grains and beans overnight or up to 24 hours before using them. This starts the germination process and causes them to release phytates. Phytates are found in all whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. The theory has been that phytates may block nutrient absorption.
New studies have shown that phytates are actually beneficial to the body. They have proven to inhibit human cancer cell growth in petri-dish studies, including colon, breast, cervix, prostate, liver, pancreas and skin cancers.1 Furthermore, in his book, How Not to Die, Michael Greger, MD with Gene Stone explains that, “phytates have been found to boost the activity of natural killer cells, which are white blood cells that form your first line of defense by hunting down and disposing of cancer cells. Phytates can also play a role in your last line of defense, which involves starving tumors of their blood supply.”2
So, we see, soaked AND un-soaked nuts are both healthy!
Nuts and Seeds are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many seeds and nuts contain around 4 to 8 grams of protein per quarter cup. That’s why some people call nut balls- “Protein Balls”.
A study by Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that the “people who ate nuts seven or more times a week, in fact, enjoyed a 20% lower death rate after four years than individuals who did not eat nuts.”3 This study also found that regular nut consumers were inclined to be leaner.
The PREDIMED study reported that eating nuts daily reduced heart attack risk by 30%.4
Nuts and seeds may help lower LDL cholesterol and raise good HDL cholesterol.5
So when I get a hankering for something sweet, one of my choices is nut balls. Sure they have some natural sugar. But with the healthy fat and protein from the nuts, one or two balls provides instant satisfaction.
Having healthy snacks like nut balls on-hand is a blessing to yourself that keeps you faithful to a whole food diet. Nut balls have rescued me from grabbing processed sweets many a time. I keep them on hand, usually in the freezer or refrigerator, as Rhonda Malkmus does for George. Who knows, nut balls may be my ticket to a longer life, leaner waistline and less chance for heart disease. So for all you dads who have a sweet-tooth that have not discovered nut balls, may you get rescued with these life-enhancing nutty sweet treats.
Basic Nut Balls
Makes about 16 Balls
1 cup walnuts soaked overnight
1/8 tsp unrefined salt
4 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1 tsp vanilla
Process all ingredients in a food processor with the S-blade. Roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Store in freezer or refrigerator.
Optional: Add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice for a lemon flavor.
from Rhonda’s Culinary Creations from Simple to Gourmet by Rhonda Malkmus
Yield: approximately 20 balls
1 cup pecans
20 dried figs
1 cup organic raisins
6 Tbsp. almond butter
¾ cup shredded coconut
½ cup crushed almonds (optional)
Place pecans into food processor with an S-blade and chop nuts to fine consistency. Remove to bowl. Leaving S-blade in place, add figs and raisins and process until creamy. Pour into bowl with nuts and fold in almond butter and coconut and mix well. Spoon out with a tsp, roll into a ball, and then roll in crushed almonds. Continue making balls until all ingredients are used.
Carob Coconut Candy Balls – No Food Processor Needed
By Melody Hord
Yield: Approximately 20 balls
1 ½ cups almond butter
⅓ cup raw honey
4 Tbsp. Hallelujah Diet Raw Carob powder
1 – 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut shreds
Stir first 3 ingredients until well blended. Add coconut and integrate again. Use hands if desired. Roll into balls.
Option: Leave out coconut and add extra carob powder to desired thickness.
- How Not to Die, Michael Greger, MD with Gene Stone, Flatiron Books, 2015 p. 67
- Eat Fat, Get Thin, Mark Hyman, MD, Little Brown and Company, 2016 p.157
- Becoming Raw by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD with Ryan Berry, Book Publishing Company,2010, p.135