In February, I noticed my pants were tight.
Actually, they fit in the morning, but by the end of the day, they were tight. There were a couple times I actually unbuttoned my pants in order to stay comfortable on my drive home.
I needed to do something.
The answer was definitely not exercise. I currently train, on average, about 8-15 hours a week, depending on where I am in a training plan. I do strength work and cardio as part of that plan. It wasn’t exercise – it was my eating habits.
I have had luck in the past tracking my calories through the MyFitnessPal app, but I didn’t want to this time – mostly because I can be somewhat OCD and even borderline disordered about hitting calorie numbers. And by the end of my time on MFP, I was CONSTANTLY hungry. Always, always hungry.
So, after some research, I decided to do the Whole30 program. And I recruited Jeff to join me so I wasn’t doing it alone.
It’s pretty intense. You give up alcohol, dairy, grains, legumes, soy (*gasp* – NO PEANUT BUTTER?), added sugars – including agave and maple syrup. It’s meant to help reset your body a bit and help you bust through bad habits.
And – the reason I liked it? There’s no calorie counting. You can eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. And since my mother has a number of food intolerances, I was drawn to the idea of eliminating foods for 30 days, then reintroducing them slowly to see if they caused a reaction.
I ended up losing about 6lbs on the program, which was exactly what I was hoping to lose.
I missed wine and chocolate the most, I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t until late into the program that I discovered these amazing brownie bites. They are paleo and Whole30 compliant, vegan, and raw.
And best of all, they are tiny balls of decadent chocolaty love.
They were perfect solution when I needed a chocolate fix.
And yes, I know that I am not a food blogger, but it would be a tragedy to keep this recipe to myself. So I’m sharing with you all.
MEXICAN RAW BROWNIE BITES
adapted from The Lucky Penny
Makes 8-12 brownie bites
2/3 cups whole or pecan pieces
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used a combination of Ghirardelli and Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 heaping cup pitted medjool dates, softened in warm water for ~10 minutes and drained
2oz espresso or coffee, slightly cooled
1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk
1/3 – 2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
coconut flour (for thickening), approximately 2-3 teaspoons
- In a food processor, pulse the coconut for 30 seconds to form crumbs; remove and set aside.
- Add unsweetened pecans, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to food processor and blend until the pecans become crumbs, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add dates to food processor and blend. The mixture will be sticky and might not fully combine until you add the coconut milk and espresso.
- Add espresso and coconut milk, then blend again until combined. Dough might still be runny and sticky; if so, add coconut flour teaspoon by teaspoon until the dough combines into a ball in the center of the food processor.
- Remove and put into bowl; cover and refrigerated for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
- Put the coconut crumbs made earlier into a shallow bowl or rounded plate. Scoop heaping tablespoons of chilled dough and roll into balls with your hands. Drop into coconut crumbs, pressing slightly and covering entire ball with crumb mixture. Continue until you use all the dough.
- Store uneaten brownie bites in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. They keep in the fridge for a week or more and freeze (and thaw!) really well.