You’ve probably heard about one of the latest diet trends, the paleo (paleolithic) diet. There are lots of interpretations of what it is and, of course, a lot of misconceptions. Some people seem to think of it as just eating lots of meat. Others believe that it’s an attempt to eat only what our pre-agrarian caveman ancestors ate. Some follow it by avoiding all packaged foods. Most do agree though that the diet excludes grains, legumes, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), dairy, and refined sugar.
My Accidental Introduction To Paleo
I stumbled into the paleo style of eating via a Whole30 challenge. I started on the 30-day program knowing almost nothing about it. I wanted to exclude grains for my husband’s sake (he’s intolerant of gluten and dairy, and he does better avoiding all grains) and to improve my energy levels. The program’s meal template specifies one to two palm-sized portions of protein, one two to thumb-sized portions of fat, and the rest of the plate filled with vegetables.
Along with helping me change my eating habits, the diet did improve my health, mood, and energy. An additional benefit was that I was able to reach a healthy body mass index, which I had been unsuccessful at for years. And, in continuing to follow most of the guidelines, I’ve been able to keep the weight off with no special effort. Many have had this result and other positive benefits.
A Nutritious Energy Snack
Although I broke the habit of eating desserts and sweets during the 30 days, then and now I still want a treat or need a quick energy boost.
I found the inspiration for these apricot-lavender-almond balls at Irey’s Kitchen, the website of Australian Irena Macri. (Her cookbook, Eat Drink Paleo is now on my wish list! The book also has more information about the paleo diet.)
This is a nutty, savory-tasting snack, but the chopped dried apricots provide little bursts of sweetness. The lavender flavor is subtle and makes these bites just a little elegant.
For the lavender, if you don’t have lavender in your garden, or if yours, like mine, is at the end of its cycle, use dried lavender flowers.
|Apricot-Lavender-Almond Balls|| |
- 2 cups almond meal/almond flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lavender flowers)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod)
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds (preferably sprouted or soaked and dehydrated)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 4 tablespoons macaroon coconut (also called desiccated coconut; or use larger-flaked unsweetened coconut that has been finely chopped in a food processor)
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place almond meal/flour, coconut oil, lavender flowers, salt, and vanilla. Pulse a few times until combined and crumbly.
- Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add chopped apricots and almonds. Mix with your hands until well-combined. Add the 2 tablespoons water and mix until combined. Dough will be slightly wet and should hold together when pressed.
- Place coconut in a small bowl. Scoop dough by level tablespoons (use measuring spoon for uniform size). Roll into balls, and then roll in coconut to coat.
- Refrigerate approximately 1 hour before eating. Best within 3 to 5 days. Can be frozen for longer storage.
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