If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know by now that I have an intense passion for baking cookies. And, we are not talking about “healthy” cookies here with gluten-free flours and sugar substitutes…but, the good old-fashioned kind with flour, butter, eggs, sugar, & chocolate. You know, the kind you used to eat when you were a little girl before you were taught to worry about all this health-conscious, new age, special diet stuff.
Now, if you have allergies or intolerances to certain foods, that is a different story. But, if you are generally healthy and have no problems with digestion, I’m a big fan of including as much variety in your diet as possible, including the not-so-healthy stuff from time to time. This has two purposes:
- The practice of occasionally treating yourself to foods that are conventionally considered off limits ensures that they don’t become “forbidden” foods that you can never have. Labeling something as “forbidden” leads to unnecessary torture and restriction…which can then lead to binging (not to mention plain old misery!).
- It allows your gut to “practice” digesting certain foods. There is a lot of science coming out now about the good kinds of gut bacteria and their role in digesting food. The population of these bacteria varies depending on the kinds of food you eat. If you avoid specific foods for a while, the bacteria that digest that food will dwindle down and maybe even die off if not needed. Then, when you eat that food again, you might not be able to digest it well without the bacteria to break it down. So, by avoiding certain foods for long periods of time, you can actually end up creating intolerances to them.
I don’t know about you, but I like knowing I can eat whatever I want, when I want. Not that I do…obviously there’s a time for everything. When I’m cutting for a photo shoot or other event, obviously cookies are off limits for the time being. But, I’d rather my digestive system be robust than picky and intolerant of certain things. I apparently have a gut of steel and can digest anything…and I’d like to keep it that way. So, I give my digestive system “practice” at digesting as large of a variety of foods as possible…so as not to create intolerances.
And, I certainly don’t want to unnecessarily torture myself and never indulge in foods I take pleasure in. Fueling those pleasure receptors is a huge part of your happiness and fulfillment in life. Not that I’m prescribing a cookie-a-day strategy, but, when it’s time for me to indulge…I indulge. No guilt required. Because it is a planned indulgence that is necessary for my health and vibrancy, I can enjoy my treats 100% to the max. There's a reason I call myself a #pleasureseeker ;)
All that being said, sometimes I do like to make healthy treats that aren’t pure indulgences but that pack a little more power and nutrients to fuel performances and intense rehearsal periods. I tried this new recipe for my performances over the weekend and LOVED it!
These cookies are an awesome pre-performance snack because they pack a lot of power with minimal bulk. The dates tend to be good for de-bloating purposes and contain natural sugars and tons of vitamins to help you feel vibrant and energetic. The cashews and coconut oil are super satiating to help prevent blood sugar spikes and “pre-performance shakes” (you know, when you start shaking uncontrollably either from nerves or not enough nourishment before you hit the stage). Plus…special bonus…they are freakin’ DELICIOUS!!!
Here’s the recipe so you can try it out for yourself. If you do, let me know what you think and what you used your Peak Performance Cookies for (rehearsals, performance fuel, sweet treat, etc.)!
Peak Performance Cookies
Yields: 16-20 cookies
Level of difficulty: super easy
Level of deliciousness: super high
1) Toss the following ingredients in a food processor:
- 1.5 cups roasted, salted cashews
- 16 medjool dates, pitted (soak in warm water for 5 minutes & then drain if they are not soft)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
These "Peak Performance Cookies" are adapted from Half Baked Harvest's 6 Ingredient No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can check out the original recipe through the button below, or follow along with the tweaks I made for my version above. Either way, I doubt you'll be disappointed;)