This week can be filled with fun festivities, but it can also be accompanied by time & financial pressures.
Acute or chronic stress activates our adrenal glands, triggering secretions in adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones up-regulate our metabolism, and our organs start working overtime (our heart beats faster, our lungs expand and contract more rapidly, brain neurons fire more rapidly, etc.). Consequently, our cells and organs require more of their petrol (glucose) to function at such a pace. Our demand for carbs increases, triggering an insatiable desire for sugar-rich foods & drinks (e.g. cookies, alcohol, etc.)
These ‘stress balls’ provide much needed unprocessed ‘healthy’ carbohydrates, helping prevent snack-attacks for processed ‘unhealthy’ sugar & saturated fat-rich foods & drinks such as chocolate, cake, pastries and lattes. The more HEALTHY glucose you provide your brain and neurons with, the better your nervous system can function and the calmer & more grounded you’ll feel.
Natural glucose and fructose in dates help fuel your brain and cells preventing mental and physical fatigue, brain fog and irritability that so often plague us in demanding situations.
Their high potassium and magnesium content can provide electrolytes, helping to regulate
blood pressure (which can surge when we're under pressure!).
A 2015 animal study found that mice fed food mixed with dates had significantly better memory and learning ability, as well as less anxiety-related behaviour. It concluded that the polyphenolic antioxidant compounds in dates had a 'neuroprotective' effect (protects nerves from injury or degeneration). The authors concluded a diet of 4% dates may have ‘beneficial effects in lowering the risk, delaying the onset or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease’ (stress is a major contributing factor to AD).
If you can take time out from gift wrapping, turkey stuffing, etc. keep your carb-cravings under control with this super simple sensational 'stress-slamming' salubrious snack:).
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup almonds
3 Tbsp. shredded coconut
1 1/3 cups pitted Medjool dates (if they’re not super fresh, you may need to soak them in warm water to soften them so they blend easier with the other ingredients)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp Rude Health Hazelnut or almond milk, or water
Date ball ‘dusting’: Shredded coconut, Turmeric powder, Spirulina, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger or cardamom
Place the pecans, almonds and shredded coconut in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped.
Add the dates, vanilla extract, pinch of salt and plant milk to the mixture and pulse until well combined into a dough like mixture. Chill the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to make it easier to roll the balls
Use your hands to scoop the mixture out and roll into bite-sized balls.
Place the shredded coconut, spirulina, turmeric (or any of the above suggestions) on a small plate and gently roll the balls in the coatings. Tap the balls lightly on the plate to remove any excess powder or coconut.
Sit back, put your feet up, enjoy your date ball, feel your energy levels surge and hear your nervous system shout ‘Thank you!’ for its much needed sugar snack:)
PS: These can also make great after-dinner snacks. It’s completely normal to feel hungry late at night if you tend to eat around 7/7.30pm and don’t go to bed until around 10pm. Most people will experience a drop in blood glucose approx.1.5-2hrs after their meal (depending upon the size of a meal and its carbohydrate content). If the amount of glucose in your blood drops (because your cells have taken up the sugars from your last meal or snack), your brain will naturally cry out for more fuel (glucose). DON'T ignore your hunger signals - they're a sign your body needs filling up with more petrol! (HEALTHY carbs).