Our bodies are smart. There are constantly giving us messages on what we need to maintain wellness and balance (aka. “homeostasis”). Sometimes these messages are in the forms of symptoms and illness, and sometimes they’re subtler, like a craving for a certain type of food. Now, the thing is, while our bodies ARE amazing and super intelligent, sometimes we confuse the messages they’re giving us. Sometimes our body is under a lot of stress so it’s telling us we need sugary-carby foods for quick fuel (our body basically thinks we’re needing to run or fight for our lives, and therefore needs a serious hit of fast-burning energy). However, the chronic stress that so many of us experience in our day-to-day lives, as well as the onslaught of toxins we come into contact with, and the abundance of “stressful” foods we so commonly eat, are only made worse by the sugar hit we mistakenly think we need. So in general, when my clients are telling me about their food cravings, we often go a few steps deeper and uncover the route causes of those cravings and find more healthful substitutions when necessary.
Speaking of which…so many people tell me that the main thing they crave is a sweet and salty snack. And in all honesty, I’m not totally surprised. In nature, more savoury foods like meat have have a longer burning energy source (ie. the fat), while sweet foods as we know, spike blood sugar more quickly, which can potentially be damaging to our body if uncontrolled. It makes sense then that our body would want something a bit fattier to help slow the absorption of the glucose from the sweeter foods into our bloodstream. Not only that, but our taste buds are designed to enjoy diverse and opposing flavours for optimal nutrient variety. Something that doesn’t really suite as well these days with the plethora of tastes we have at our fingertips, but nonetheless, another “smart” survival technique engrained in our cells.
*For more on this topic I highly recommend reading Robb Wolf’s book, “Wired to Eat.”
But before your reward your brilliant bod and “give in” to it’s apparent primal desires with a Snickers, think again! That sweet and salty bar of disease is riddled with refined sugar, fructose, preservatives, chemicals, and other toxins.
Fortunately, I have something here that in my humble opinion is even better. A cluster of nuts and some nitrate-free bacon provide a satisfying protein and fat hit, there’s some more healthy fat in the coconut oil, and you have that smooth sweetness of the goji berries and more nutrient-rich unrefined sweeteners of raw honey, pure maple syrup and organic molasses. And then of course there’s the chocolate. Because when you’re talking about cravings, you have to talk about chocolate!
*Fun fact: Chocolate cravings are often linked to magnesium deficiency, and magnesium and seriously depleted by chronic stress…and excessive sugar consumption. Something to think about…
So wile I certainly don’t recommend you mow down on these rich treats every day, they are a good thing to have on hand when that craving strikes and you’re steps away from making a mad-dash to the closest convenience store for your usual “emergency” candy bar.
Sweet + Salty Craving Clusters (paleo)
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup almond sticks/slivers
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cap pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup goji berries
- 2 strips of pastured bacon
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ - 1 tsp coarse sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
- ¼ cup raw honey
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp pure blackstrap molasses
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 200g dark chocolate
- Nut or seed butter for topping (I used almond-hazelnut)
- Shredded coconut (unsweetened) for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Cut bacon into thin slices and fry in pan on medium-high until just starting to get crispy on edges.
- Transfer to paper-towel to cool.
- Meanwhile, combine nuts, seeds and goji berries in a large bowl with honey, maple syrup, molasses, coconut oil, sea salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, then fold in bacon bits.
- Spoon 12-15 round clusters of nut mix onto baking sheet, with about ½ inch to 1 inch in between each cluster.
- Bake in oven for about 15 minutes.
- Remove and set aside to cool completely (you can also put it in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process).
- Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, or in a normal pan on very low.
- Once clusters have cooled, spoon about a tbsp amount of dark chocolate over top of each clusters, followed by about a tsp of nut/seed butter.
- Then sprinkle with sea salt and coconut and place in fridge to cool once more (about 30min-1hr).
- Store in fridge or freezer.
*Tip: Don’t to bacon? Just leave it out!