Chocolate Nut Date Bars

July 23, 2013

Chocolate Nut Date Bars

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Matt and I were in the middle of our first Whole 30, and that I’d let you know how it went once it was over. Well, this is how it went:

The Bad:
  • I was low energy, and dealing with sugar withdrawals, but emotionally psyched for the first 4-5 days.
  • I was super low energy, and super emotional and irritable on days 6-15.
  • By day 16 or 17, my energy shot right up, and my cravings for snacks and sugars drastically decreased.
  • On days 21-24, we both started experiencing some nasty food-poisoning-like symptoms due to the lining in our stomach and intestines repairing themselves. It was awful. We felt awful. We weren’t hungry at all, and the idea of eating more protein made us both nauseous, so we stuck to mostly eating fruits and vegetables to get by.
  • On day 24, we finally gave in out of desperation and bought some Whole 30-approved digestive enzymes. We started feeling better instantly.
  • On day 28, we went on a weekend beach trip with some friends, and decided to cut our Whole 30 short by a couple days so we could indulge.
  • On day 30, I was suffering from our indulgences. It didn’t feel good, and I wished I’d never done it.

The Good:
  • We both lost around 15 pounds (and still losing).
  • I’ve had a chronically achy and swollen ankle for years due to multiple sprains and fractures, and the swelling and pain is gone.
  • I had my first pain-free menstrual cycle, ever.
  • I’ve got tons and tons of energy.
  • I sleep deeply.
  • I now think of vegetables as a main component of my diet rather than just a side.

So here’s the thing. The Whole 30 program was supposed to be an experiment, and if it went well, it would be a launching point for switching over to a paleo diet. I wasn’t totally sold on the idea at first, but I can’t deny that the results, despite initial unpleasantries, have been worth giving up some of my favorite foods.

I’m not saying I’m going to be 100% paleo for the rest of my life, but for now, that’s the goal. The way I feel when I eat this way is drastically superior to the way I feel when I eat grains, dairy, and especially foods high in sugar. I can actually feel the way foods make me feel now that my body is starting to heal itself. For instance, I experimented with dairy a week ago with a little ice cream, and felt a terrible sugar crash 30 minutes later. That’s something I probably wouldn’t have noticed before.

So, for now, the types of recipes I share here will be paleo-friendly. Recipes like these Chocolate Date Nut Bars, which are somewhat inspired by Larabars, and definitely inspired by my intense love of chocolate & peanut butter. Unfortunately, peanuts are an off-limits food for me right now, so I’ve been playing around with a combination of roasted almonds and cashews, and it is just as rich and delicious. These truly satisfy my chocolate-nut cravings, but I’ll definitely have to give them up the next time I do another Whole 30 because, although they're technically compliant, they feel like dessert.

Chocolate Nut Date Bars
1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
2/3 cup raw unsalted almonds
1 cup dried dates
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt, to taste

Chocolate Nut Date BarsChocolate Nut Date Bars
Chocolate Nut Date Bars

Pour your nuts into a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool for ten minutes.

Pour your nuts into the bowl of a food processor, and process until they have formed a paste. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and pulse until mixture is uniformly crumbly.

Chocolate Nut Date Bars

Line a small baking dish with parchment or freezer paper, and press the mixture into the pan so that it's even in thickness throughout. Cover and place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Remove from freezer, and using the edges of the parchment or freezer paper, remove from baking dish. Cut into evenly sized bars using a knife and set aside.

Chocolate Nut Date Bars

Cut the parchment or freezer paper into strips, and wrap your bars. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two months.


  1. Ooooh, these look and sound so indulgent! I know I should be eating differently..more like you are, because I do feel not so great when I eat sugar and the such.

    Thanks for sharing how it went and congrats on the great weight loss. xo

    1. @Sherri: Thank you! I was really surprised, being someone who tends to favor salty foods over sweets, how incredibly addicted to sugar I was/am, and how much was slipping in under the radar on a daily basis. My body definitely feels better now that it has learned to exist without it all the time.

  2. You've definitely got me curious about the whole30/paleo thing especially for managing my horrid menstrual cycle. I think if I could choose between taking birth control or changing my diet, I would definitely choose the diet change....

    1. @Rach: I think it would definitely be worth it for you to try. My experience with birth control is that it's pretty awful. When my doctors put me on it, I just felt like they were dumping more hormones into my already unbalanced system. I felt like a zombie. I think if there's any other way, especially something as simple as eating differently, it's worth a shot.

  3. My daughter-in-law Leah has done this before....and wants to get back on, I have been waiting to read your thoughts and results...
    I'm on board so August week from tomorrow....I start Whole 30....I will be blogging as I go along...wish me luck...Leah will be doing this with me and since she's staying with us it will be an "in house" support group...thank you for sharing the recipe...I'm sure I'll be giving it a try!!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience, that sounds interesting and quite drastic! I'm not sure I could do it but I think working towards living and eating healthier is a goal we all have.
    And those Nut bars sound delicious, I'll have to give them a try (as soon as this baking heat goes away and I can use my oven again :) )