The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Vitacost.
As I sit down and write this post it occurs to me that I have just eaten about a cup of ice cream, right after having enjoyed some yummy game day food with great friends. Not so much the healthy diet that I try to achieve most days, although I will say that it’s good for me to be able to splurge like that from time to time. BUT while I don’t think it’s the end of the world I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that I feel not-so-hot at the moment.
Last month I had so much focus on completing my 31-day dare that I didn’t pay as much attention to what I was eating and in what quantities. We strive to take care of our bodies around our house, working out and eating right most of the time, but the month of October was a hard one. Turns out I’m an emotional eater – not really news to me – and with all of the emotions rolling around in my head I hardly paid any attention to food other than just to cook it.
This month, as well as the rest of the year/next year/life, I want to focus on taking care of my body from the inside out. Don’t get me wrong, I want to splurge a little on Thanksgiving DAY – just not the entire month. And I’ll be honest here: in my line of work it can be really hard. So much of the holiday season is devoted to food (really really really good food), and if I’m not careful I can easily fall into the trap of “I’ve worked so hard, I deserve this” or “It’s the holidays, I’ll eat better after January 1.” Then there’s the ever-present pressure as a food blogger to outdo the standard holiday recipes, usually adding more butter/cheese/cream/salt.
My reality though is that I can’t give myself a few months of wiggle room and still be able to feel good in my clothes or feel healthy. I don’t think it’s productive to work out as hard as I do and then devour huge quantities of food. But I DO think it’s a good thing to create healthier and more whole-food based recipes – not just for you guys who want to put good food in, but for me since my family is the one who eats these original creations!
Have you guys read this article about Whole Foods by the way? To be frank there’s a little bit of language, so don’t read it if you’d be highly offended by that, but it’s a hilarious-because-it’s-true article I’m convinced is specifically about the Whole Foods that I used to frequent when we lived in Boulder. And the pregnant lady she’s talking about at the beginning that almost gets hit by a Prius bearing a “namaste” sticker? Yeah, that may have been me. Those green-savvy shoppers are in a hurry and don’t care who knows it… (also, please read it with a sense of humor as it’s intended. I certainly am not out to offend anyone!)
Anyway, I have nothing against Whole
Paycheck Foods except for the fact that I can rarely afford to shop there. I’m a pretty normal gal, but when I want to focus on good food that you can’t just pick up in a random local grocery store I want to make sure it’s the good stuff. When I was contacted about trying VitaCost I got really excited about the idea of having things that I love whole foods-wise delivered right to my doorstep, immediately cutting out an extra shopping trip and helping me save a little bit of money.
As a foodie I was really excited to try out some raw honey and cacao nibs, two key ingredients in this fabulous and health-friendly recipe at the end of the post, but I also got a box filled with other goodies as well: KIND bars (mini-sized!), a super cacao bar with mandarin, organic vanilla extract, Bob’s Red Mill 13 bean soup mix, Yogi Positive Energy tea and more. All of it is delicious and good for me, which I love.
I have to admit that while I’m a little worried about not indulging too much this holiday season, this incredibly easy coconut bark is going to help me through the hardest of times. It’s subtly sweet, very coconut-y, with hits of chocolate flavor from the cacao nibs. I used dried cranberries in these photos, but have also used dried cherries and dried blueberries in other batches I’ve made. Let your mind go wild!
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 2 Tbsp raw cacao nibs
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (dried cherries work great too)
- Place the coconut in a food processor and process until it becomes coconut butter, about 10-15 minutes. You will want to stop the processor and scrape down the sides a few times to keep the texture consistent.
- When the coconut butter is complete, gently warm the honey until it becomes very thin, then stir in to the coconut butter.
- Pour the combination onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Immediately sprinkle the cacao nibs and dried fruit on top, gently pressing into the coconut butter.
- Refrigerate until completely hardened, then break apart to bite-size pieces.
- Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.