Our energy balls are made with whole food ingredients and are so rich and chocolatey. We use cacao powder to ensure that these little energy bites are as good for you as possible. Make a batch and keep them in your refrigerator so you can eat one whenever you need a little pick me up.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Don't judge a book by its cover. The camera adds 10 pounds. Love yourself. Perfection doesn't exist.
I made these energy balls last week because I really needed something to keep me going. I was stressed, and when I'm stressed, I crave chocolate like nobody's business.
If you didn't know, Alex and I wrote our first cookbook last year and our publisher released it in March. Since then, we've contributed to a second book, had a book signing, have scheduled events coming up, and we just had our first television appearance to promote the book.
To say that we were nervous about being on TV would be a huge understatement. We were terrified.
Now, I won't speak for Alex, because she was nervous for different reasons than I was. This post is about me and my insecurities. I'm going to be completely open and honest with you. Some of you will relate, and some of you won't. If you're not interested, then click the Jump To Recipe button above or scroll down. If you are interested in my story, be kind. Please and thank you.
JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU LIKE HOW YOU LOOK, LIFE THROWS YOU A CURVE BALL
Growing up, I never liked how I looked. From what I've gathered, I'm not unique. I always compared myself to others and would pick myself apart. I hated my nose, I hated my hair, I hated my body. It was so sad, because when I look back at pictures of myself I was actually a pretty girl.
Things changed a little bit when I was in high school.
I was 5' 8" and had a long and lanky body and a girl next door face that attracted the attention of a modeling agency. I did a lot of runway jobs and some print work that boosted my confidence. However, there was always that damn self doubt in the back of my mind. It was constantly telling me that I wasn't good enough and that all of the other girls were so much prettier than I was.
It didn't matter how many compliments I got from others, what my family said, or what my boyfriend (now my husband) said, I never believed that I was pretty enough.
Now, this may sound shallow, it certainly does to me, but let's be honest, society puts a whole lot of emphasis on how people look, and it would be dishonest to say that it doesn't. This plays a big role in how we, especially women, see ourselves, feel about ourselves, and treat ourselves. It sucks, but it's the truth.
Let me just back peddle a bit and say that my mom and dad had nothing to do with my self doubt. They didn't focus on looks, but they also made me feel like I was good enough. I couldn't have asked for a better support team.
However, there were some other people in my teen years and beyond who really took me down when it came to my looks. People who I looked up to, even wanted to be like at one point, who almost seemed to make it a priority to point out my flaws, or what I perceived to be my flaws. I trusted them and voiced my vulnerabilities to them, and they used them against me.
When you're young and trying to figure out who you are, that's the last thing anyone needs.
Fast forward to when Alex was born.
Alex and me at the WGN News studio after our cooking demonstration.
BECOMING A MOTHER MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT LIFE IN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAY
Being pregnant didn't take a toll on my self-esteem, it boosted it. I loved being pregnant and watching my body change. I give so much credit to my husband for that because he was enamored with the growth of my belly.
As I got further and further into my pregnancy I started to think about how I wanted to raise the sweet baby girl who was growing inside of me. There were a few things that I knew for sure.
- She would find her voice and not be afraid to speak up when necessary.
- She would know that with hard work and dedication that she could do whatever she set her mind to.
- She would be raised with manners and know that respect and kindness were important qualities for a good life.
- She would know that women were strong, independent, fierce and capable.
- I would never project my insecurities onto her.
Overall, I think that I achieved those goals, because she's an incredibly strong, independent, kind, and loving person.
And, focusing on raising my kids to be productive adults who would give back and make the world a better place really helped me love myself.
Ninety-nice percent of the time over the past twenty-six years I liked who I saw in the mirror. I was healthy, fit, and because I took good care of myself, I was happy with the way my face looked. I didn't think I needed to go the route of injections or a major face lift. I was usually happy with how I looked.
Until I allowed certain people to poke me with their sharp words or gazing looks. Looks that I had seen in the past and knew exactly what they meant. Looks and words that cut me so deep, by people who should have been supportive and loving. Every time I was with them I lost my balance and felt myself losing ground.
What's worse, those same people, unbeknownst to me, did the same thing to Alex. She confided in me a few years ago and told me about what was said to her as a child and teenager. I saw red. Literally saw red.
I had to let it go.
After a lot of thought, prayers and meditation, I realized that those mean words and actions weren't about me or Alex, they were about how those people felt about themselves.
It wasn't my problem, it was theirs.
Sadly, decades of negative feelings can't be washed away completely, and admittedly when I'm with the people who hurt me, the floodgates open and my self-esteem plummets. You'd think at the age of 54 I'd get a grip. I wish I could, I try so hard.
I need some chocolate.
SOCIETY IDOLIZES YOUTH AND PERFECTION IS BORING
It wouldn't be fair to put all of the blame on a few people, society certainly plays its roll in making women feel less than perfect. And by the way, perfection is boring. That I've come to know.
It's impossible to avoid the impact that the media and Hollywood has toward how women feel about themselves. Photoshop, soft lighting, botox, fillers, plastic surgery, hair extensions, makeup contouring, when and where does it end?
For example, my friends and I went to see the movie, Book Club, with Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Jane Fonda. Mary is 65, Diane and Candice are 72 and Jane is 80.
When the movie was over all of my friends couldn't stop raving about how AMAZING Jane looked at age 80. It annoyed the hell out of me.
Yes, her body looks incredible, and that's all on her. BRAVO!!! But, she has clearly had a face lift and probably more. Of course she looks good. A good plastic surgeon can do wonders. And that's great if it makes her feel good. No judgment from me.
What burns my hide is the fact that my friends, all in their 50s and 60s, didn't give credit to Diane and Candice for how freaking great they look. Candice may have had a little work done, Diane doesn't seem to have had anything done, and they're gorgeous. Mary too, she has wrinkles and her skin is sagging, but she's still hot at 65. However, Jane was the one who received all of the accolades. SO DISAPPOINTING and frustrating.
When, if ever, will women get credit for aging gracefully and beautifully? Hearing my friends perpetuate the lies of Hollywood and media makes me think that it will be a long time coming. I'm rooting for Maye Musk to turn the tides.
You guys, perfection is boring.
We all have flaws and we all get older. Maybe we should start looking at "flaws" as strengths and character, and aging as wisdom and experience. Like really start thinking this way!
If everyone had a perfectly straight nose, big eyes, super model bodies, thick hair and whatever else is perceived as desirable in our twisted world, life would be boring.
Unique features are good. Getting older and wiser is good. Taking care of our bodies and being as healthy as we can be is good. Being kind is good. Being strong and independent is good. Being determined and always learning is good. Striving for perfection is not good.
This chocolate energy bite recipe is good!
TRYING TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I WONT CHANGE
Okay, so I'm swinging back to where this post began. Stress. The stress of our first television appearance to be exact.
Because we wanted to look our best, we had our hair and makeup done. This may sound hypocritical based on what I've written above, but I don't think so. I believe in good grooming and a little makeup to accentuate your features. It's not deceptive in my mind.
I knew that I'd be harsh on myself when I watched the interview. Hiring my hair stylist to dry my hair so I didn't have a million fly away pieces, and having a professional make sure that I didn't have clown cheeks, was something that would ease my worries. It wasn't intended to change my appearance. I still looked like me. Besides, I was so shaky that there was no way that I could have put my eyeliner on straight. Lol!
So, Alex and I did our five and a half minute segment and felt really good about it. She rocked it and I didn't feel horrible. High fives all around!!
Then we watched the segment.
In Alex's words, "My apartment has never been this silent."
All of the good feelings I had had about my appearance came crashing down.
I hated my nose, I hated the lines under my eyes, I hated the way the sides of my mouth was aging. I hated......
The only thing I did love was my hair. It looked great. And, thank goodness I had my makeup done or my criticisms would have been exponentially harsher.
What's crazy about the whole thing is that I had promised myself that I would smile the whole time, and I thought I was. I wasn't.
Why wasn't I smiling? I thought I was smiling!
My theory is that I know that when I smile I get crunchy wrinkles around my eyes, and when certain people saw those lines I'd be judged and they'd talk about me behind my back. Then the next time I was with them I'd feel even more self-conscious than I usually do, and the cycle just never stops.
Then there was my nose. Oh my gosh, is it really that big?!! The answer is no. Certain cameras narrow your face and pull anything that sticks out even further. Knowing that makes me feel slightly better, but not everyone knows that, and I know that there are people who will dwell on that as well, and it has created so much anxiety for me.
All of the progress that I have made over the years was wiped out in a little over five minutes.
I wanted a face lift and a nose job. I wanted to punch myself in the face for thinking that. I wanted to scream and yell and stomp my feet like a child for allowing myself to even go there. Instead, I withdrew. I cried in the bathroom. I commented to my friends that I looked so awkward and awful. I was so mean to myself.
My friends and my kids wouldn't hear it. They reached out and told me how beautiful and poised I was. They loved me for me and it was overwhelming. There was a part of me that that didn't believe them. Two days later, I'm still struggling, and to be honest, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or says. My feelings and thoughts about myself are holding me hostage and not allowing me to enjoy the incredible opportunity that was given me.
So why don't I have work done if it bothers me so much?
There are several reasons.
- What if the new is worse than the original?
- Have you watched, Botched?
- Are you really fooling anyone when you try to look younger, or do you just look like someone your age who's had work done? I think it's the latter.
- The risks of surgery or injections can be severe.
- My husband loves me just the way I am
If I won't do something about it, then why even talk about it?
Because I know that I'm not alone. We women are so hard on ourselves and we're hard on each other.
We're hard on ourselves because we're constantly being told that we need to look a certain way Thinner. Younger. More refined. Less refined. A bigger butt. A smaller butt. Bigger boobs. Smaller boobs. Big lips. Small lips. The list goes on and on and it keeps changing.
We're hard on each other because we're not happy with ourselves.
Life is so short. We spend so much of it trying to change the things that make us uniquely us. Things that we should embrace and love and celebrate.
The last few days have been exhausting and tear filled. To be honest, many of the tears have come because I'm ashamed of my feelings.
Instead of celebrating the fact that I run marathons, created a business, wrote two cookbooks, am a great wife, mother and friend, rescue puppies, and went vegan, I dwell on superficial things that shouldn't matter. But they do. For some stupid reason I have a hard time making them not matter.
I know that it's so shallow of me to think the way I've been thinking. I know that the reaction that I had about our TV appearance was not appropriate, and I was not the role model that I've tried to be for my daughter. That guts me.
But you know what, I'm human, and that means that I'm flawed. I'm allowed to have a bad moment, and at the same time, be the person I pride myself on being,learn from it and move on.
LEARNING TO LOVE YOURSELF CAN TAKE A LIFETIME
If you've learned to love yourself for who you are, your'e my hero. Write a book and share how you did that with the rest of us. I'll buy it
I'm a work in progress.
There have been a lot more steps forward than backwards over the last few decades, but occasionally, something triggers a landslide and it takes everything I have to climb back to the top. But I do it, and every step makes me stronger and wiser.
My hope in sharing this experience with you is twofold.
- I hope that you can take a look in the mirror and start loving the things that make you, you. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are worthy.
- Don't allow others to drag you down. It's hard, I know. Remind yourself that when people say or do mean things, it's their problem, not yours. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are worthy.
GETTING OLDER DOESN'T HAVE TO MEAN GETTING OLD
I've said this to my kids a million times. Now it's time to listen to my advice.
Yes, I'm getting wrinkles and my skin is beginning to sag. That's life. The wonderful life I've lived this far is leaving its mark on my face. The wrinkles around my eyes are symbols of the laughter and joy that I've experienced. Instead of being ashamed of them, I'm teaching myself to love them. From this day forward, I'm going to walk around with a smile on my face instead of being afraid of making more lines. It will take some practice and some growing pains, but I will do it.
Additionally, I'm going to say it out loud and right here so that I never have to acknowledge it again, and so that I can hopefully release myself from the negative feelings and fear of being in the company of those who make me self-conscious. I am NOT getting a nose job. It may not be small, or straight, or refined, but it is part of what makes me beautiful and interesting and unique. Done.
Our blog is about being compassionate, kind, non-judgmental, helpful and honest.
We want this to be a safe place for you to come and discover healthy plant-based recipes that will help you feed your body and soul, share a meal with those you love, and learn about health and fitness. We want you to know that we're real people, with real feelings. We're not perfect and we have issues just like everyone does.
Most of our readers are women, and I hope that if this post resonates with you, it will also help you look at yourself in a different way. A kinder and more loving way. And, if you're a man, I hope that it gives you some perspective on how difficult it can be to be a woman in a world that celebrates youth and perfection.
Now, back to these cacao energy bites.
CHOCOLATE MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Who knew that these chocolate energy balls with dates would come in so handy before and after our television appearance?
They were the perfect energizer when I was running in fifty different directions, trying to prepare four recipes and props the day before the segment. And then, they comforted me after when I was feeling overwhelmed with self doubt.
Oh chocolate, you magical gift of nature.
These energy balls are pretty much a guilt-free snack. They're made with rolled oats, cacao powder (read this to learn why we use it over cocoa powder), dates, hemp seeds, chia seeds, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.
They are full of antioxidants, protein, omegas and vitamins. They are free from refined sugar, oil and gluten (if you use certified gluten-free oats).
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS
First - Add the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like this.
Second - Roll them into bite size balls.
Super easy and delicious! Just store them in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to a week.
Make this and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
Let’s connect! Hop on over to our Facebook page and give it a like, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and follow us and share this and other Veganosity recipes on Pinterest. We'd be so grateful if you did. If you like this recipe and can't wait to see what we're going to share next, subscribe to Veganosity. Just fill in the subscription box above our picture in the top right corner of the page. And, Alex and I love hearing from you, please leave a comment and let us know what you think of our recipes.
PRODUCTS WE LOVE AND USE
Healthy Chocolate Energy Balls
- 1 cup rolled oats use gluten-free if desired
- 3 tablespoon cacao or cocoa powder
- 3 dates pitted
- 2 tablespoon hulled hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract we use Nielsen-Massey brand
- Pinch of salt
- 3 to 4 tablespoon water
- Put the ingredients in a food processor and start processing. Add one tablespoon of water at a time until it becomes a sticky solid ball.
- Roll into bite sized pieces and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.