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Raw Date And Nut Squares

The following information is for education only and is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness.

Got a sweet tooth? Then this recipe is definitely for you. Why? Because dates are one of the best natural sources of sugar you can possibly find. While they are calorie rich, they're also packed full of a huge list nutrients, and hence, the health benefits of this little fruit with a pip is gigantic! When you eat dates, you know for a fact that you fill your body with goodness - vitamin A and beta-carotene for eyes and mucus membranes, vitamin K for your skin and bone metabolism, antioxidants known as 'tannins' for anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties, lots of iron to increase the oxygen carrying capacities of your red blood cells (and to assist with anemia!), and potassium to regulate body fluids and control blood pressure. Not only that, but dates are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium (essential for bones and teeth, muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulses), manganese (nerve and brain functions), copper (red blood cell production) and magnesium (bone growth). Because it's also a good source of dietary fiber, it flushes out chemicals in the gut, creating bulk and therefore works as a laxative. The upside to this is also that it reduces the absorption of LDL cholesterol.

Catch your breath - the list of goodness here goes on! Dates are also rich in the vitamin-B complex group of nutrients, as well as niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. The best thing about this incredible list of vitamins is that together, they all act as cofactors that help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is no wonder then that dates - whether fresh or dried - are an essential component in a vegan diet. The simple sugars it contains, like fructose and dextrose, replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly. And that's why this recipe makes a wonderful morning treat - the huge quantity of dates not only satisfies the sweet tooth, but also packs you full of energy when you need that get-up-and-go.

The beauty of these chewy bars is that they also contain a good variety of nuts - which means proteins and essential oils galore. While nuts of all types, just like dates, are calorie dense, their virtues definitely outnumber their vices. Researchers found that people who eat nuts regularly have lower risks of heart disease. They are rich in fiber (no more constipation), vitamin E and selenium, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega), all of which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. How incredible!

This recipe is fairly easy to make. The squares can last up to a month in an air-tight container in the fridge - and freezing them makes them chewier yet, without diminishing any of their nutrient properties. They make the perfect treat next to a cup of tea or for breakfast, and are excellent for growing kids, or adults with an energy-low.

Equipment Needed: Crust Ingredients: Filling Ingredients:
  • 35 to 40 dry dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water

1. In the food processor, place almonds, cashews, pistachios.

2. Blend the nuts together. Add oil of choice, then oats, and blend well until soft and crumbly. Squeeze between your fingers - the mince should stick together. If it is too dry, add a little more oil.

3. Set aside 1/3 of the mixture. In a tinfoil tray, drop the 2/3 of the mixture and firmly press it into the bottom with either a spoon or your hands. Press hard, to create a large tablet crust at the bottom of the tray.

4. In the food processor, pit and chop 35 to 40 dry dates, and add half the amount of water.

5. Blend until pulpy and soft - add water gradually until a paste forms, neither too runny, nor too thick.

6. Place the date paste onto the crust in the tinfoil tray. Spread evenly over the crust with the back of a spoon.

7. Over the date paste layer, add the 1/3 of the nut mixture that was set aside earlier. Spread it evenly over the layer of paste, and carefully press into the tray.

8. With a sharp knife or spatula, carefully divide the tray into squares or bars. Refrigerate immediately and leave overnight (or for 6 to 8 hours).

9. Retrace the lines with a knife and carefully pry out each square with a spatula. Serve and enjoy!

10. Keep the rest refrigerated in an air-tight container.

Want to use this recipe on your website, newsletter, ezine or other publication? Feel free, but be sure to include the following notation: Recipe and photos by Magda Elsehrawi for http://rawfoodhealthwatch.com/.

The above information is for education only and is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. It is valuable to seek the advice of an alternative health care professional before making any changes. The statements above have not been evaluated by the FDA (or your country's equivalent). Any products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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