Long before I was writing and teaching about raw food and leading yoga classes for a living, I used to work in this little industry that some of you may have heard of: live TV. Yes, for over a decade I filled my days working with a crew of folk with a common goal in mind; get the show to air, with minimal mistakes, and optimal entertainment factor. For years I bounced around from TV station to TV station, holding positions with music video programs, the 6'oclock news, a children's talent reality show, and even an internet-streamed financial reporting channel. But the majority of my career in the media was spent waking up in the wee hours of the night and heading to work for a 4am start with all four of the major morning shows in Toronto. I think in all, I spent close to six years setting my alarm clock for 3:30am. And the side effects of keeping those odd hours are a plenty; chronic fatigue, strange meal times, and a dampened social calendar (hello self-imposed 8pm curfew!) to say the least. Waking up long before the crack of dawn is a bizarre schedule indeed, and certainly can lead to a twisted body clock. And it didn't take me long to realize that I needed reliable sources of fuel to get me going before the shows go "live" at 6 a.m.
I found that tall glass of "green juice" and a few nutrient dense snacks tossed in my bag each morning did just the trick. Here, I am going to share one of my go-to recipes for a yummy breakfast bar that at the time, I frequently provided to two of my most important clients.
Rocking Raw Lemon Bars [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 1 1/4 Cup natural almonds
- 1 1/2 Cup soft dates*
- 1 Tbsp all natural vanilla extract
- Zest from 1 organic lemon**
- 2 Tbsp juice from above lemon
- 1 1/4 Cup dried coconut (shredded or flakes)
- 1/4 Cup goji berries or dried cranberries
- 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp sea salt
* TIP: If your dates are hard, simply soak for 5-10 minutes in warm water and then discard the liquid
** TIP: You can use a lemon zester OR simply peel the zest using a good quality veggie peeler!
- Process almonds in food processor until they resemble a gritty flour.
- To the processor, add the dates, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process on low for about 30 seconds to start the breakdown of the dates. Continue to process on HIGH until VERY well combined — the mixture should stick together well, and be sticky to the touch.
- In a separate bowl, combine coconut, goji berries and salt. Add the date and lemon mixture. Combine with your hands, until well mixed and the coconut is distributed evenly throughout.
- Dump the mix into a parchment lined pan and press firmly into the pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula (the parchment will aid in removing the filling when it comes time to cut them up!)
- If you can resist diving in for a taste straight away, try refrigerating the finish product for an hour or two before you cut them into bars — the colder they are the easier they are to divide up!