When I first started eating a ketogenic diet, all I wanted from my fat balls (or fatbombs, if you like), was for them to fill me up and satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking the “carb bank”.
But as the months went by, I started to move away from obsessing over my macros to looking more closely at the nutrients that I was and WASN’T getting from my food.
I soon realized that, despite my best efforts to incorporate plenty of low-carb veggies into my diet, I was failing to get enough minerals and antioxidants in, both of which are essential for brain, hormonal and liver health.
So I decided that I wanted to create some fat balls that didn’t just taste good and were filling, but were also SO loaded with nutrients, that they’d essentially function as a treat AND a supplement!
And VOILA! I present you with my brain-boosting, gut-healing, hormone-balancing, delicious pick-me-up Cacao-Spirulina Energy Balls!
Scroll down for the recipe, or check out my list of main ingredients and the health benefits of each:
- cacao: a true superfood filled with antioxidants, iron, magnesium, calcium, and mood-boosting neurotransmitters. Helps improve memory, reduce heart disease, regulate hunger, increase immunity, and boost energy. Look for organic, minimally processed powder and raw cacao nibs for maximum benefits.
- spirulina: blue-green algae that is rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Contains essential nutrients, including B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid). Supports brain health, reduces inflammation and helps lower blood sugar and blood pressure. Has also been shown to help with candida overgrowth and with fighting liver disease.
- hemp hearts: rich in essential fatty acids, plant-based protein, vitamins (incl. A, B1, B2, D and E), calcium and iron. Also a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Good for the gut, for curbing hunger and for skin/hair health.
- coconut oil: great source of healthy fats (it’s the richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk). Good for heart and hormonal health, mental clarity and, potentially, weight loss. Also has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support.
- blueberries: high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and phytonutrients (most notably resveratrol). Excellent for memory, cancer prevention, managing cholesterol and reducing chronic inflammation.
- tahini: rich in minerals (esp. iron), B vitamins like methionine (aids in liver detoxification), vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Promotes heart, hormonal and skin health.
- ashwagandha: one of the most versatile adaptogenic herbs with both calming and rejuvenating properties. Supports the thyroid and adrenal glands, increases mitochondrial function, calms the nervous systen and supports sleep.
- reishi: anti-inflammatory medicinal mushroom that reduces stress, improves sleep and supports healthy neurological function overall.
- shatavari: adaptogenic herb used primarily to balance hormones and treat conditions affecting the female reproductive system. Known to alleviate menstrual cramps and PMS, help treat amenorrhea, improve libido and balance Pitta/Vata imbalances (but can increase Kapha because of its heavy nature.)
- collagen peptides: improves skin and hair health, reduces joint paint and helps heal leaky gut syndrome.
A note about adaptogens:
I selected adaptogens that I have found particularly useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, adrenal “fatigue” and low libido, which are some of the chronic issues I am dealing with. I also made an effort to pick herbs that I think are versatile and beneficial for a number of conditions (not just my own).
It is always helpful to know your own constitution and imbalances when working with adaptogenic herbs in order not to aggravate existing issues. If you are unfamiliar with adaptogens, this post about them is a good place to start.
Feel free to replace the adaptogens that I’m suggesting with others that have worked for you. You can also omit them completely – this won’t affect the taste of the snack balls and you’ll still get plenty of health-promoting benefits from the rest of the ingredients!
7-9 energy balls
Click on the links to see what products I used
- 2 tsp organic spirulina powder
- 4 tbsp cacao powder (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1/4 and 1tbsp hemp hearts (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1/4 and 1 tbsp coconut flakes (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 tbsp tahini (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 scoop collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptides (optional – omit for vegan)
- 1 tbsp coconut butter or creamed coconut
- 3 tbsp coconut oil (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 tsp ashwagandha powder
- 1 tsp reishi powder
- 1 tsp shatavari powder
- 2-3 tbsp freeze-dried blueberries (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 4-8 drops liquid stevia (or 1 tbsp raw honey)
- 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs (or more, as needed)
- Mix all ingredients except cacao nibs in a medium bowl.
- Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until mixture begins to harden.
- Take out of the fridge and roll into bite-sized balls.
- Roll each ball in cacao nibs.
- Place on a tray and transfer tray to fridge until balls are hard.
- Transfer to a glass-container and store in the fridge for at least 3-4 weeks.