Excited to present a recipe from the Functional Feed, an online functional medicine & nutrition subscription presented by Julie Foucher, MD; Dani Urcuyo, MD and myself. The Functional Feed has all the latest recipes, science, support and resources for you to live the healthiest life imaginable. Ditch those high sugar afternoon snack/protein bars that leave you feeling tired and constantly hungry. As we know, a high consumption of added sugars (like honey, cane syrup, molasses, maple syrup, etc.) leads to blood sugar fluctuations. Blood sugar highs and lows are associated with fatigue, an increased risk of early death, weight gain and inflammation. The good news is that all of this is preventable. Throw a few of these bliss balls from the Functional Feed into your lunch bag for a low glycemic afternoon pick-me-up.
Insulin Resistance & Weight Gain
Insulin is a fat-storing, pro-inflammatory hormone that gets released after eating foods high in sugar. Insulin resistance means that you become less sensitive to the insulin produced by your body which adds pounds to your abdominal area like you’ve never thought possible. A higher glycemic diet and sedentary lifestyle can become the perfect storm for insulin resistance. The classic signs? Fatigue, weight gain around your abdominal area, difficulty losing weight, cravings, hot flashes, energy fluctuations, blood sugar dips, depression, and more.
Insulin resistance is essentially like pre-pre-diabetes. It can happen before a doctor will detect pre-diabetes because insulin levels may start to go up before your blood glucose levels do. That’s because the body tries to compensate for as long as possible by producing more insulin as your cells become less sensitive to the insulin that you are producing. Eventually blood glucose levels start to rise. The beauty is that if you can catch insulin resistance early then it is easier to reverse and less likely to lead to other symptoms.
This is where your diet comes into play and this is exactly why these nut balls are so amazing! Eating a low glycemic diet is critical for reducing insulin levels. Often times when I work with my clients and transition them to a low glycemic diet they lose weight fairly quickly. That’s because their history of calorie counting was not helping to reduce their insulin levels but a low glycemic diet does the trick. These bliss balls are stacked with healthy fats from the cashew butter, chia seeds and almonds plus plant-based protein that helps reduce blood sugar fluctuations and decreases your need for insulin.
The Functional Feed
This recipe is a sneak peak from the Functional Feed which is a functional medicine and functional nutrition subscription that was created by myself, Julie Foucher, MD and Dani Urcuyo, MD. Each month the Functional Feed includes low glycemic, nutrient-dense recipes, a week of meal plans and shopping lists that I create. This helps you to not only eat lower in the glycemic index and reduce risk of weight gain, insulin resistance, and fatigue but it also helps provide nutrient-dense meal options. All recipes from the Functional Feed are designed to be low allergenicity (gluten-free & dairy-free), low glycemic index, anti-inflammatory, high in phytonutrients, and varied with new ingredients. It takes hours out of the meal planning process and helps to promote more variety in your diet, which is essential for a healthy gut and lack of boredom.
Each month Julie and Dani (aka the doctors) provide evidence-based functional medicine articles on the latest topics in the field. They also write about the various benefits of physical activity and movement and provide example workouts each month. In addition to their amazing contributions, we also have a facebook group that serves as a support for our Functional Feed community. The power of the community is huge and it’s amazing to tap into like minded people who are on the same journey towards better health. I hope you enjoy the recipe below and hope that you checkout the Functional Feed.
Cacao Coconut Bliss Balls
By Brigid Titgemeier, MS, RDN, LD
- 10-11 medjool dates, pitted
- 3/4 cup cashew butter
- 3/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 pinches Himalayan salt
- Combine dates and shredded coconut in the food processor. Pulse ingredients until smooth.
- Add cashew butter, almonds, chia seeds, cacao powder, and salt to food processor.
- Continue to pulse the ingredients for about 30-45 seconds, until the batter is smooth.
- Use your hands to roll small round balls.
- Store the bliss balls in the refrigerator.