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By Nadia Marshall
I am a cookie monster. Always have been, always will be. When 3pm comes around, the 'desire for cookies' seed goes off in my mind and it must be satiated at all costs.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, this is not a big deal. Ayurveda actually encourages the consumption of sweet food in the afternoons. 3pm is a Vata time of day and the Sweet taste pacifies Vata.
Indeed, the sweet taste is considered the most important taste of all, to be eaten in the largest quantity. Why? Because it promotes the mental qualities of happiness, contentment, calmness, cheerfulness, satisfaction and.... LOVE!
But before you start stocking up on choccy bars in order to be more loving (and don't we all do this!), by 'sweet taste', Ayurveda means naturally, subtly sweet foods like milk, basmati rice, wheat, other grains, legumes, sweet fruits, dates, jaggery and honey. It does not mean highly processed sugar.
So, the main problem with my cookie habit is I don't cook my own cookies often enough. I usually resort to supermarket cookies. And, although I buy shortbreads with 3 familiar ingredients (flour, butter and sugar) rather than a list of 30 unfamiliar ingredients, these ingredients are still highly processed. The flour is as white as it comes and the sugar is probably of the castor kind! This is not so Ayurvedically friendly! It is bad for my liver, my blood sugar, my agni, my bones, my teeth and my mind.
So, I could make more cookies (and if I did, Stephen Galpin's Vata Cookies would be my choice - like homemade Ayurvedic shortbreads). But I don't have an oven so that is a problem. I also still view cookie baking as a bit of a 'special occasion' activity, not an everyday thing. I like to save it for when I'm really stressed.... baking chills me out.
So, for my afternoon sweet fix, I'm going to make and eat more Ayurvedically-friendly balls instead! I'm talking Ladu balls or Bindi balls.... sweet, delicious treats made from moong flour, besan flour, jaggery, dried fruit, nuts and ghee. They are easy to make, easy to digest and are also slow to release their energy (from a glycemic index perspective)... so you only need to eat one to feel satisfied, rather than three biccies!
But my favourite balls of all are Date & Coconut Balls. They are really delicious but even better... they are incredibly easy to make. You can whip them together in less than 10 mins flat! And when you eat them, you stop craving all other sugar. No chocolate required.
If you'd like to make some too.... and join me in eating more balls (and less cookies or chocolate), here is Stephen Galpin's recipe. Thank you Stephenji!!
Date and Coconut Balls
- 1 cup pitted dates (organic tastes better)
- 1 cup desiccated coconut (organic tastes better)
- 1 tbsp ghee (home-made tastes better)
Finely chop your dates. Pop them in a bowl and soak them in boiled water for about 30 seconds, then drain. Add them to a mixing bowl then add the coconut and ghee. Gently knead into a dough, being careful not to burn yourself on the hot dates! Now, simply roll the ‘dough’ into small balls the size of a walnut. Roll each ball in some dried coconut then when you’re done, pop them in the fridge to harden. Makes about 16 balls. (See video on your right).
Let me know if you love them as much as I do! xx