Easy Chocolate Hemp Protein Balls — Cook & Hook
It’s okay to give yourself a break.
This is something I’ve been reminded of over and over again since the beginning of the year. In a recent newsletter, I shared my struggles with injury and overtraining and opened up about why I decided to take a big old exercise break starting in January 2018. It felt so wrong to do that at the start of a brand new year, let me tell you! I was so nervous to send that newsletter issue out, but the response was fantastic, and many of you said you’d been going through something similar. It never ceases to amaze me how supportive this community is!
The themes of my year have been self-care, healing, and gentle movement while I work through some ongoing health issues, and so far I’ve been sticking with them. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not doing “enough”, as it’s easy to get caught up in fitspo or the latest workout fads on Instagram. It seems like others are always working harder or in better shape. Same goes for career stuff. It’s just too easy to get sucked into that mindset of feeling like there are always 10 things I could fix, or that I’m always 10 steps behind where I “should” be. Hello, rat race! And I’ve realized that buying into that means that I’ll never be happy with where I am. It’s awesome to have goals, but feeling like I’m always behind (especially when I’m trying to make positive changes in other areas in my life) isn’t a relaxing way to live.
A lovely reader named Amanda commented recently, saying, “…part of the reason I’ve always loved your blog is because you’re not a robot who just pumps out recipes…you tell us a bit about what’s going on in your life.” I could’ve cried reading Amanda’s note, as it was just what I needed to hear that day after feeling so much guilt about how the year had gone so far. Sometimes we just need the reminder that we’re allowed to have weeks, months, or years that just feel off, but the bright side is that they make us hungrier for those weeks, months, and years that feel GOOD. It’s the best kind of motivation once you get that wake-up call.
I’ve always been an all-or-nothing type of gal, and it’s something I have to be mindful of all the time…it’s in my nature to go big or go home. It’s not in my nature to approach things in a gentle (sane) manner! I am a Taurean bull, afterall—charging, stubborn, determined to accomplish my goals at almost any cost. But often that cost tends to be my emotional or physical health. I charge ahead with my eyes set on the goal and I’m usually okay with the collateral damage if it’s “just me” that takes a hit. I’m strong and can handle a lot, so for most of my life that’s how things have worked.
Eventually something has to give though…it always does! My health issues this past year (see this post and comments) have been a huge red flag. And for once, I’m listening closely even though I don’t quite understand the root of it yet. I’m taking time for me. I’m trying to heal myself. I’m going to doctors appointments. I’m on a temporary allergy elimination diet (hence the lack of recipes lately!) and I’m getting long overdue tests done. I’m not burning myself out.
The silver lining is that setbacks, whether health or otherwise, do eventually force us to stop and examine everything. I know the other side will hold a deeper appreciation for feeling like myself again. And when I get back into my beloved sweaty workouts (which I actually do love), I’ll strive for more balance and patience rather than seeing how many classes I can cram into one week. I will continue to follow social media accounts that build me up with positive inspiration and avoid the others like the plague. I’ll be okay with where I am and respect the journey rather than feeling like I’m failing.
So yes, it’s okay to give yourself a break.
You don’t always have to be in go-go-go mode.
You don’t have to feel behind everyone else.
Where you are right now is exactly where you are supposed to be—even if it’s uncomfortable.
Well, that’s this week’s reminder for anyone who needs it. 🙂 Sort of a thought dump going on today! I’d love to hear if you’ve ever been through something similar, or maybe you’ve been working through things this year too?
Unrelated but definitely worth mentioning: these rich and fudgy balls are FANTASTIC and we can’t stop making them!!! Haha. I hope you love them too.
6 large or 12 small balls
For the balls:
- 1 cup (160 g) lightly packed pitted Medjool dates*
- 6 tablespoons (55 g) hemp hearts
- 3 tablespoons (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons (11 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons (30 g) chopped dark chocolate (optional)
- 1 to 3 teaspoons (5 to 15 mL) water, if needed
- Shredded coconut
- Hemp hearts
- Unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- Melted dark chocolate
- Place the pitted dates in a food processor and process until a ball forms.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the processor (hemp hearts, cocoa/cacao powder, coconut, coconut oil, salt, and chocolate, if using) and process until thoroughly combined and almost smooth. The dough should be sticky and shouldn’t be crumbly when you form a ball. If it’s not sticky enough, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of water a bit at a time, processing after each addition.
- Line a plate with parchment paper. Lightly wetting your hands if needed, shape the dough into balls and place them on the lined plate. Roll each ball into your desired topping(s) until completely coated (if needed, lightly wet the ball before rolling so the toppings stick).
- Freeze the balls for 20 minutes until firm or simply enjoy right away!
- Store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for a quick burst of energy whenever you need one (seriously, that would be all the time in this house!). The balls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for 4 to 8 weeks.
Saturated Fat 4 grams | Sodium 85 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 23 grams
Fiber 4 grams | Sugar 18 grams | Protein 4 grams
Nutritional info does not include the optional dark chocolate or toppings. If making 12 small balls instead of 6 large balls, the nutritional info is as follows for 1 of 12 balls: 85 cals, 4 g fat, 2 g sat. fat, 43 mg sodium, 11.5 g carbs, 2 g fibre, 9 g sugar, 2 g protein.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.
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