Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)

Quinoa Energy Balls (V)(GF)

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I have been seriously struggling with a sweet tooth lately and have had a craving I cannot seem to satisfy with dates and nut butters alone. So if I cannot eat a big piece of chocolate cake at 3:00 pm everyday, I think these little snack nuggets will suffice.

You can whip these together in 10 minutes and enjoy them when you need your daily pick me up. I added chocolate chips to my balls but you can definitely omit them if you wish. I used the mini chips by Enjoy Life.

To make these you will need…

¼ Cup Organic Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)

1 Cup of Cooked Quinoa

2 teaspoons of Honey (Agave or Maple Syrup will work)

1 teaspoon of Molasses

1 teaspoon of Cinnamon

Optional: ¼ Cup mini dairy free chocolate chips

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl until well combine. Be sure to let the quinoa cool before you add everything else. Roll tablespoon size lumps into pretty little balls. You can put these in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to make them set or you can just put them in the fridge and allow them to harden slowly. I gobbled up all the bits that didn’t make it into a neat ball and clean up was a breeze with just one pot to clean. Store them in the refrigerator.

My balls have about 2 grams of protein and 50 calories each, incase you are counting.

I am about to go have one now with a big chai :0)

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Why Should You Learn About the Psoas Today?

The Psoas muscle is often left tight and shortened after a post workout stretch. My goal today is to change that. And even if you don’t have a formal exercise routine, you are going to want to listen up because chances are you have a tight Psoas too.

The Psoas, pronounced “So-Az” is located in the pelvic region. It connects your lower back to your upper thigh (femur). It is responsible to hip flexion. Running, walking, stairs, and sitting all shorten the Psoas. Anyone from an endurance runner to the most sedentary couch potato can suffer from overly tight Psoas muscles. A tight Psoas can cause lower back pain, hip pain, leg pain and IT issues. A strong and lengthened Psoas promotes good posture and allows for a strong core.

Most americans spend a lot of their day in the seated position. In this position your Psoas is shortened and weakens overtime. A muscular tightness or weakness of the Psoas can cause an overarching of the lumbar spine, unhealthy anterior pelvic tilt (think Steve Urkle) as well has hunching of the shoulders.

If you spend a lot of the day sitting at work or driving in the car, stand up and stretch regularly. Try and break up your sedentary sessions. If possible, work from a standing desk. If you are a runner you need length to create power. When the Psoas is very short, it is unable to lengthen to then contract during your stride. This lengthening and shortening is what creates power. If you do in fact have a short Psoas muscle avoid hills for a while and engage in Psoas stretches daily.

So how do you know if you have a shortened Psoas? Lay on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Draw your right knee into your chest pulling it towards you, if your left hip is lifting up off the ground your right Psoas is tight and vice versa.

If you failed the test, do not fret, there is hope! First, take my tips above about avoiding extended periods of sitting and lay off hill work while running. In addition, ditch the crunches. When we do sit ups and crunches we almost always engage our Psoas and Hip Flexors. This goes for many other abdominal exercises that are done in the supine position. Just pay attention to your body and if you feel engagement in the pelvic region, lay off temporarily.

Start with these stretches:

Supine Bridge with Pelvic Tilt: Lay on your back with your feet on the floor hip distance apart. You want your heels to be in hands reach while your hands lay by your sides. Lift your hips off the floor while tucking your pelvis. Squeeze your Glutes together and continue pushing the hips high. You want your Glutes to be contracted. You may also feel a stretch in the low back (bonus!).

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Low Crescent Lunge with Pelvic Tilt: From a kneeling position bring your right foot up between your hands to create a right angle with your right knee. Lift the chest up creating a neutral posture. Tuck the pelvis under, tilting your hip bones toward the ceiling. If your Psoas is really tight you will feel a stretch here in the front of the left leg. If you need a little more stretch you can shift some weight into the front foot while maintaining the pelvic tilt. Switch Sides!

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Chocolate for Breakfast (V)(GF)

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1 Banana (the riper the better)
¾ cup peanut or almond butter
¼ cup flax ground
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ cup cacoa powder (cocoa will work)
Splash of almond milk
Drizzle of agave

Combine in blender

Bake on 400 for 15+ minutes. Keep an eye on them because it may very depending on your oven and cookware

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These are rich yet light and totally satisfying. Enjoy with organic local coffee 🙂

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