St. Johns Boosters Wellness

Spring Recipe: Raw Nut Energy Balls

Do you ever have those moments in your day where you need a little pick me up, but don’t have time to eat a meal? Enter the Raw Nut Ball…

Allison Kirley, NTP, LMT of Delicious Life Wellness

These little balls of goodness are a great little source of fats for fuel on the go. And best of all, they are made of real food. Have you ever really looked at the ingredients in the protein and energy bars out there? It’s a bit terrifying. They are full of sugars and grains which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar balance. The protein sources added are often less than desirable and certainly don’t fall into the REAL FOOD category. (Soy protein isolate? What the heck is that?) Somebody needs to invent a better bar and get it on the market ASAP. In the meantime, we have these puppies to satisfy our hunger and energy needs.

This version is loosely based on one I found in the book Primal Body-Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT. One word. Butter. Ok, another word. YUM.

Raw Nut Balls

Raw raw nut balls!

1/2 cup Walnuts, preferably soaked overnight
3 tbsps Almond Butter (raw or roasted, no additives)
2 tbsps butter or ghee (grass-fed, organic if possible)
2 tbsps Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Sea Salt


1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until lightly chopped.

2. Add almond butter, ghee and pulse until mixed with walnuts. Walnuts can still be a bit chunky or you can process until smooth.

3. Add spices and coconut flakes and pulse for a few seconds until all mixed in.

4. Form dough into 1″ balls.

5. Enjoy one ball anytime you need a quick boost of energy! Store in the refrigerator, so they don’t become too soft.

Get Creative

Feel free to add anything that tickles your fancy to the nut balls! Some of my favorites are cardamom, raw cocoa nibs, gogi berries, and  unsweetened cocoa powder. For more protein, add a good quality protein powder. (I like Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.) Add a tablespoon of raw honey or maple syrup for a sweeter treat. If you want to go dairy free, substitute two tablespoons of coconut oil for the butter or ghee. No walnuts? Try brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, or cashews. The sky is the limit here, just make sure you don’t over process the “dough” to a batter.  I’ve made that mistake and adding a couple tablespoons of raw gluten free oats seemed to hold everything together.  I prefer to go grain free with these though.

Do yourself a favor and whip up a batch of these raw nut energy balls to have on hand for your next energy emergency!



Fermented Foods 101

Bacteria are everywhere. They cover every surface and live on every object and being, inside and out. 

These wee beasties were one of the first life forms on Earth and there are more individual bacteria than any other sort of organism on the planet.  They outnumber the cells in the human body ten trillion to one, so for every one human cell there are ten trillion bacteria! There are both helpful and harmful bacteria and most importantly, bacteria are essential for life on Earth.

When we ferment foods, we create conditions where these organisms thrive and proliferate. Fermentation preserves food by producing alcohol, lactic acid and acetic acid, breaks down nutrients in food into more digestible form, and creates new nutrients as a by-product of the bacteria. By eating fermented foods, we populate our gut with the beneficial bacteria that are necessary for good health. These bacteria are also known as probiotics. The process is actually called lacto-fermentation because the starches and sugars in the veggies are broken down by a group of bacteria called Lactobacilli. These healthy bacteria produce B vitamins and vitamin K. They kill bad bacteria in your gut, which helps eliminate yeast and decrease sugar cravings. They increase the biodiversity of the gut, which means increasing the variety of species, which is a good thing for your body!

Delicious and nutritious homemade fermented veggies

History of Fermentation

Fermentation has been happening since before writing and cultivation of soil. Every culture traditionally made a fermented food, mainly to preserve the food before refrigeration existed. Europeans have sauerkraut, Japanese eat miso, soy and pickled vegetables, Koreans love their kimchee, and Americans traditionally used fermented ketchup and cucumber relish.  What served as a natural means of preservation also offered protection from harmful pathogens and increase in health!


Are all fermented foods good sources of probiotics?

All are not created equal. Fermentation gives us many foods that we know and love, for example: bread, cheese, wine and coffee. Sadly, they all do not contain probiotics.

A yeast ferment and baked. No probiotics. SORRY!

Commercially made may contain a few strains, but only if added after pasteurization. Often loaded with sugars, this is not your best option. Also, dairy can cause inflammation in many people, so this defeats the purpose.

The fruit is fermented off the beans to give us the delicious flavors, but unfortunately, no probies!

Yes, it contains probies! This can add more biodiversity to your gut. Not meant to be consumed in large amounts (like 12-16 oz bottles) due to toxic overload on the liver. Not good for people with candida issues because it still contains sugars.

Contains probiotics only if aged 6 months or more, unpasteurized and not heated too high.

Only gives us probies if it raw and unpasteurized and says on the label that it contains live cultures. OR you make it yourself

Allison Kirley, NTP, LMT of Delicious Life Wellness

If you want to learn more about fermented foods and how to make your own sauerkraut, I will be collaborating with The St. Johns Clay Collective on March 23rd for a workshop that combines food AND art: Fermentation and Crocks. I will do a demonstration on how to make a simple kraut recipe, then you will paint a cool crock to take home! There will be tasting samples and lots of fun to be had, so sign up today at St. Johns Clay Collective or contact me at Delicious Life Wellness.

Art Education Wellness

Add Some Clay To Your Health Regimen

st. johns clay studio practice ceramics for well being
Healthy clay: getting your hands dirty is good for you!


So we’re two months into the new year.  You’ve held true to your healthy resolutions; whirled up and consumed gallons of kale and acai berry smoothies, done hours of meditation, started crossfit to shake things up, but you’re still feeling slightly flat.

Maybe it’s time to incorporate some clay into your routine? Not into your diet (that’s another article) but between your hands!

Use ceramics for well-being. You can pound clay, shape it, throw it on a wheel let it slip through your hands, then shift it into something that didn’t exist before.  Its meditation, stress relief, and neuron building. It’s magic!

Creative Arts Impact Well Being

Evidence strongly points out that participating in creative arts can positively impact our health to the same degree as nutrition or exercise.

We’ve been doing art as long as we’ve been human. It’s an intrinsic component of what we are. We’re driven to create; to express ourselves. Children do it intuitively, but unfortunately, our culture holds the misconception that doing art is a luxury allowed to only the young. As adults we run from one responsibility to another, leaving no time for our own personal creative enrichment. Many of us don’t even realize that we are missing it.

Being in the Moment

We all need quiet moments when we can transcend into the act of making. Really, any material, medium or venue, are good, but the all-consuming tactile experience you get from playing with clay is incredibly powerful. There is a deeply primal satisfaction in the act of creating something  from what is literally earth and water; pushing it, pulling it and getting dirty. Asking the clay to go where we want it to go while compromising with the clay body’s limits. It’s an exercise in patience, but also profoundly rewarding.

St.Johns Clay handbuilding and using ceramics for well being
“Doing clay has helped me feel more grounded in my life.” – SJCC Student

Building Brains

We now know that we can continue to create new neurons well into our eighties. Brain research shows that making new brain cells, neurogenesis, happens by doing something new, exciting and energizing. The cement that holds these new neurons into permanence is physical activity.  That makes clay arts a perfect brain builder; concentration, exploration with lots of full body muscle engagement. Furthermore, art enrichment programs demonstrate that active participation in the arts delays aging disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and can improve brain function and mood in those already impacted by neuropsychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety.

Go for Process, Not Product

Sometimes in the process of neuron-building we might simultaneously build a cup, or a bowl, or even a ceremonial teapot, but the true health value is in the process of making, long before the vessel comes off the wheel. If a bowl materializes from your pinch-pot or a cup does come off the wheel, it’s a secondary bonus to all that you’ve already gained. This act of doing is specifically about each of us as a do-er, and not as a consumer of someone else’s doing. Yes, by all means attend the concert, museum, and be a patron of the arts. Artists of every level need our support, but take time for self-care and create some creativity-time for yourself.

St. Johns Clay Collective

Come by the studio in North Portland’s Cathedral Park Place and put your hands to work. We offer classes, lessons, and private events. [button link=””]St. Johns Clay Collective[/button]

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