Since the start of spring I have been consistently running 2 to 3 times a week in the mornings.
Being this consistent with running is a very big deal to me. Up until this summer I have absolutely despised running! I mean, I really, really HATED running! The only reason I ever ran was because someone else told me I had to, such as my gym teacher in school, or my swim coach in high school. Then it was the workout I would do when I didn’t have access to a pool. Running always felt so forced.
Whenever I did run I would mostly pretend run. I would start at one tree, run to the next tree a few feet away, and then walk for about five minutes. I would run-walk-run-walk for maybe 15 minutes. Although this isn’t a totally bad approach, this was all I ever did when I ran. I rarely set out to run a half a mile, or 1 mile without stopping at all. If I did push myself to do that all I could think about the entire time was why the H*&% am I doing this to myself? And can someone please just get me a pool to swim laps in already?!?! I literally felt like a fish out of water when I ran.
Until this summer. Now, running is something I crave, both mentally and physically. This is a place where I have always longed to be, but I never thought I could be. Well, guess what! I am there! I am currently running 2.5 miles without stopping! I feel incredibly accomplished, empowered, physically and mentally healthier, and proud.
I don’t normally boast about myself to very many people, let alone in a public space for the world to read about. Guess what, here it is! I am PROUD of myself for conquering a big hurdle and I wanted to share it with you!
I never, ever once thought that I would actually enjoy running. I may not always enjoy the running part, but I always enjoy the reward: how good I feel afterwards and for the rest of the day. That is enough to keep me going, putting one foot in front of the other.
There are a few things that I have learned this summer about running: 1) it is more mental than it is physical. Tell yourself you can do it and you will! 2) Get yourself a good quality pair of running shoes that work for your foot. Go to a running store and have them fit you and watch you run on a treadmill. It makes all the difference! 3) Nourish your body, eat a healthy meal (we’ll get there in a minute, I promise!) 4) Persistence is a key. Don’t stop, don’t give up. The more you stick with something the easier it will get.
Beside the fact that I am proud of myself for becoming a runner and wanting to share that with you, there’s more to this running thing. You see, I started this blog over a year ago. I made a commitment to not give up, to be consistent and to show up, even on the days I didn’t feel like it. You know what, not only have I learned a lot from blogging, but I have found that the mentality it takes to hold yourself accountable helps in every area of your life. Such as, yes, you guessed it, running! The same positive attitude I tell myself about this blog carries over into my running! I guess I am saying I am really thankful for this wild, amazing journey I am on.
And you, yes, YOU can do it too! Whatever it is that you want to conquer! Put your mind to it, be committed, and stay positive and you can do anything!
Also, there’s this pretty cool person (that’s you Paul) in my life who supports and encourages me every single day both with running and with blogging. Okay, yes, I get him out of bed in the morning, but he pushes me to run farther! We make a pretty good team.
Okay! Enough with the running and the mushy husband stuff and onto the recipe! This is a food blog, after all.
So, these Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Balls are the one thing I always make sure I have hanging out in the fridge. I like to get my run done in the morning, before breakfast. This ensures nothing gets in the way of my workout. One thing I learned quickly from my swim team days in high school is that I need food right after an intense workout, and I need it NNNOOOOWWW!
Raw energy balls are the way to go. I can grab one right out of the fridge, pop it into my mouth and chow it down while I cook up some eggs for the rest of my breakfast. These Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Balls help to keep my blood sugar level from crashing too quickly right after an intense workout.
They are packed with omega 3s, protein, fiber, and just the right amount of sugar that is perfect to help refuel after a run, or any type of intense workout.
Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Balls are simple to make. No food processor is required; just mix the ingredients up in a bowl, chill, and scoop into balls.
Cashew butter lends the perfect background to the complex chai spices. However, peanut butter would be just as tasty. BTW have you ever tried cashew butter? It’s pretty awesome!
My favorite part about these Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Balls is that they are sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, yet healthy enough to keep you guilt-free! Sometimes I snag a Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Ball for dessert rather than that chocolate bar that keeps staring me in the face.
Friends, if you made it to the end of this long-winded post (I didn’t know I had so much to say about running), thank you for sticking around! If you give these Chai-Spiced Raw Energy Balls a try let me know how they turn out.
- FOR THE CHAI SPICE MIXTURE:
- (Make this in the quantity you desire and keep on hand for spicing tea or for other recipes; you will only use 2 teaspoons of the mixture for this recipe).
- 4 parts ground cinnamon
- 2 parts ground ginger
- 2 parts freshly ground cardamom (Freshly ground is best, but pre-ground works too).
- 1 part ground cloves
- 1 part ground coriander
- 1 part finely ground black pepper
- FOR THE ENERGY BALLS:
- ½ cup flaxseed meal
- ⅔ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1 cup steel cut oats (Use gluten-free certified for gluten-free eaters)
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs
- 2 teaspoons chai spice mixture
- ½ cup cashew butter (or sub in peanut butter)*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup honey or agave nectar
- In a large bowl mix together the flaxseed, shredded coconut, chia seeds, oats, chocolate chips, and spice mixture. Add the cashew butter, honey and vanilla. Stir until well combined (this may take a little bit of elbow grease).
- Cover the bowl and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Don’t skip this step; it helps to prevent your hands from getting sticky when forming the balls.
- Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. Using your hands roll the chilled dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Place them on the cookie sheet and place them back into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Eat the balls immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Chai spice mixture adapted from The Domestic Geek
Energy ball recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven