Thursday, October 14, 2010

Raw Halloween Treats - Almond Butter Cups

Wednesday night Denise and I held our second raw living foods seminar at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester... And this time we served up raw almond butter cups and coconut crisps, yum! Of course, Denise and I are cleansing, so we couldn't eat the almond butter cups. Boo.

In the seminar, we shared all of the wonderful benefits of eating raw, as well as the abundance of amazing nutrients in one of those raw almond butter cups such as... protein, calcium, folate, iron, B2, fiber (and that's just the almond butter!), antioxidants, magnesium, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty acids (the cacao!)... Then we spoke at length about the MANY virtues of coconut oil. We couldn't cover all of the wonderful things about coconuts in this seminar, so we will have a separate seminar dedicated solely to the coconut.

There is one glaring myth about coconut oil, which I would like to dispel here. Coconut oil was wrongly given a bad reputation by the very producers of cooking oils, because tropical oils are expensive to produce in the United States. They wanted to switch the population over to cheap, easy to produce oils such as vegetable, canola, corn, etc. So, they started putting it out there that coconut oil is a saturated fat (which it is), and that it's therefore bad for you (which it's not). The truth is, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs are unique in that they are a form of saturated fat, but one which the body utilizes very differently. Their digestion is nearly effortless. Within moments of being consumed, MCTs are converted to energy by the liver instead of getting stored in the cells (like fat that does not contain MCTs). Because of these "direct burn" properties, coconut oil is THE oil of choice for maintaining a lean frame and optimal health. I can truly go on and on about this, but instead, I'll leave it for the next free seminar at Amoskeag all about the coconut.

We also spoke at length about fructose (sugar), because we used agave in the almond butter cup recipe. I will say this often, so don't expect it to change: sugar should be eaten in SMALL quantities and only on OCCASION. Definitely not every day. This is sugar in all it's forms - fructose, glucose, etc. Why, you might ask. Sugar is a drug that disrupts all sorts of delicate chemical balances within the human body, and is a direct cause of obesity in this country. Our daily fructose (sugar from plants) consumption should stay below 25 grams per day. That's the equivalent of 2 pears! That's it! Someone may think their eating really healthy having lots of fresh organic fruits every day, meanwhile they are consuming way too much sugar and spiking their insulin levels continuously. This is causing the mitochondria in their cells to starve, and therefore every cell in their body is screaming for them to 'eat more'. This is because although the cells are being fed, they are not being NUTRITIONALLY fed. Trust me, it's not the fat that's making Americans obese, it's the sugar.

What makes our raw almond butter cups a much better sweet treat than traditional peanut butter cups (aside from being organic, etc), is that the other ingredients are SO nutrient dense they slow the release of insulin into the blood and your cells can get some of the nutrients being made available to them. The recipe...

Mix together until smooth and creamy:
- 1C cacao powder
- 1C agave
- 1/2C melted coconut oil

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with wax paper, and pour half of the chocolate sauce in. Spread evenly and set in the freezer.

Mix together in a food processor:
- 1 jar organic, raw almond butter
- 1/2 to 3/4C agave (to your taste)
- 1/2C melted coconut oil
- 1T Celtic or Himalayan salt (not table salt!)

Layer this on top of the now solid first layer of chocolate, and return to the freezer. Wait 20-30 minutes before layering on the last layer of chocolate using the remaining half of the chocolate sauce. Return to the freezer to become solid, preferably overnight.

Once completely solid, pop it out of the dish (the wax paper makes this super easy) onto a cutting board. Cut it into serving size pieces, and then store in the freezer for a (mostly) healthy snack!


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