Snack ahoy! I have a good one for you. A snack that requires good amounts of chewing, is sweet enough but not too sickly and provides the added energy support you need from only good quality calories is a naturopath's kind of snack. A snack that tastes good, looks good and can be lathered in nut butter is anyone's kind of snack. This snack suits both.
Lately, the subject of blood sugar has been popping up all over the place. In the clinic, in the news, on documentaries and even coming soon to a cinema near you. One of the biggest take home messages from all the information out there is fibre. Fibre slows the rate in which food enters the blood stream and increases the speed in which it leaves your body. What does that have to do with blood sugar control? Well, if food enters the blood stream more slowly then so does the glucose contained in that food. A steady stream of glucose entering the blood means a steady level of the hormone, insulin to counterbalance that glucose. End result? A good and constant level of energy for you and a happier body overall.
Excess glucose and constant increased insulin responses can lead to insulin resistance - a pre-diabetic disease state which leads to or is part of metabolic syndromes such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Insulin resistance is when your body becomes desensitised to the action of insulin due to it being constantly exposed to the hormone, a common issue caused by the Western diet. Tell-tale signs of insulin resistance include:
- Weight gain around your middle
- Frequent hunger
- High blood pressure
However, it can also be asymptomatic meaning you might not even know you have it. This is why regular blood tests are important to make sure everything is in check. If you would like any more assistance with anything I have mentioned or you have some questions you would like answered, please get in contact.
So, what am I getting at? Well this cake makes the ultimate snack for those watching their blood sugar levels (and for anyone who turns into cranky lady/man mid-afternoon) because it contains around 6 grams of fibre per slice! That's a quarter of your daily fibre needs. This cake can help regulate your blood glucose levels and give insulin a well-earned break from it's duties. Plus, it also contains the bonus of healthy fats and a serving of protein to keep you going for longer. Frequently snacking on high sugar, fibre devoid foods such as cakes, biscuits, lollies and even dried fruit can have a negative impact on your body without you noticing in the short-term. You need to consider this when you're choosing what you put in your mouth when 'hanger' strikes down.
In all honesty, I made this cake long before I knew how good it was for me. I ate it because it's delicious and satisfying but now it's got all these added bonuses. It's so simple to make and lasts well in the pantry if you're intending to keep it around for a while. It also works well covered in things like almond butter and banana. You will notice the recipe is all done in grams rather than in cups - this is because I love doing this recipe with my bowl set on the scales for me to just throw everything in, mix it all up and voila! No fuss.
225g pitted dates (dried)
250g mixed nuts (chopped roughly if desired)
100g mixed seeds (pumpkin and chia are great!)
100g coconut flakes
175g wholemeal spelt flour (or gluten free flour)
1 tbsp cacao powder
3 tspn baking powder
1 tspn cinnamon
Rind of one orange or lemon
4 tbsp orange or lemon juice
40g almond meal
1. preheat the oven to 160 degrees and line a loaf tine with baking paper or dust with flour
2. Put the dates and water into a small saucepan and heat gently on the stove until the dates are soft. Remove from the heat and mash the dates into a paste
3. In a mixing bowl, add the nuts, coconut, flour, cacao, baking powder, spices, rind, juice and and almond meal and mix until well combined
4. Add the date paste to the mixing bowl and combine until the mixture has come together (this takes a little bit of effort, the mix is quite dense)
5. Put the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and spread it out evenly. Coat the top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and bake in the oven for around 1.5 hours.
6. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, turn out of the tin and leave to cool entirely on a wire rack.
- If you have a variety of nuts and seeds and dried fruit left in your cupboard that you want to get rid of, feel free to use these instead of the nuts and coconut. Just make sure you add a total of about 450g to the mix to keep your cake nice and chunky.
- UPDATE: whole dried figs through this cake is where it's at. Chop 4-5 dried figs into large chunks and work through the cake mixture. This can replace or be an addition to the 450g nut/seed/fruit mix. Dried figs are extremely high in iron and can also provide an extra boost of fibre.
- Some crystallised ginger added to the mix takes this cake to the next level. That is if you are an avid ginger fan like me.
- Watch the cake between 1 hour and 1.5 hours. Every oven varies and as this cake has virtually no rise and no tell-tale signs of being done, you will want to make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn't come out too dry.
- Once cool, you can slice the cake and wrap it up to freeze or set out individual portions to have on hand as snacks. Or leave the cake whole and serve it for afternoon tea!
Did you make this? Upload your image to Instagram and #naturomedico to show me your creations