These vegan cookie dough bars are the perfect healthy snack or dessert when you’re craving a spoonful of cookie dough, but don’t want the sugar rush
Growing up, not gonna lie, I was a moody little kid. In fact, there is a lot of photographic evidence to point to the “Georgie face” which is pretty much the OG of resting bitch faces. For better or worse, I wear my emotions pretty clearly on my face. And for better or worse, I tend to feel a lot of feels. Quick to laugh and quick to cry.
Since graduating college, I’ve really tried to focus on building my emotional intelligence and self awareness. It’s meant learning how to be mindful of how I’m feeling, how it affects my behavior and how I it affects my interactions with other people.
All of this thought and practice has certainly been put to the test this summer. July and August, as I’ve mentioned before, are really intense on Nantucket. It’s a seasonal tourist destination where the population increases almost six fold in the summer. That means endless traffic, hotter temperatures, higher tempers, longer lines, and general air of craziness (the good and the bad.)
I closely escaped death riding my bike home from work the other day, but the cherry on top was the disgusted face of the woman who almost ran me over. An all too familiar cocktail of fear and rage swelled up simultaneously.
As I got back on my bike, I almost let the anger get the best of me. It sparked at a time when I had been slowly fuming on something that I should have gotten over the night before.
But as I peddled down my road I gave myself a second to breathe slowly. Anger, for me, is toxic. I remembered how hard I’ve worked to try to be mindful of it then diffuse it.
So I thought I’d share how I’ve learned to deal with frustrating situations in a healthy way.
First I try to stop and acknowledge what’s happening and how I’m feeling, instead of shoving the feeling away or letting it fester.
In stressful situations, people are typically have a “fight or flight” response. For me, fleeing is the first response to confrontation or emotion. However, while natural, this response has done nothing but make things worse.
Now, I try to give myself permission to feel whatever I’m feeling.
I’m learning to let myself have that moment of anger, frustration, sadness or whatever my body is trying to tell me. It’s totally natural and trying to flee from it certainly won’t work in the long run. (trust me, I’ve tried it)
After I’ve acknowledged it, I ask myself why? Then usually I ask that same question two more times.
Before I let it get too far, I try to slow down and ask. “Ok so I’m feeling this way, why is that?” Usually the answer on the surface is obvious. Like the woman literally almost killed me with her car, so naturally I was scared and pissed. But after asking myself “why?” a few more times I realized that I was really upset that she didn’t seem sorry at all and looked like she was blaming me. But there was also a part of me that felt shame (which festers as anger) because I wasn’t 100% it was clearly her fault or mine. What I would have loved to happen is we both acknowledge that we might have messed up. Instead, I told myself a story about how she felt, based on her attitude, her car and where her license plate was from. No Bueno.
During this process I try to let go of any guilt or shame. Humans are humans. We make mistakes. Shame certainly doesn’t help with anything.
Then I ask, “what am I learning right now?”
Once I’ve let myself feel the feels then get to the bottom of why I’m feeling that way, I try to ask “what can I learn from this.” Another way I phrase it sometimes is “this is good because…”
For example, after almost being plowed over by a SUV on my bike, I said “this is good because I’ll know to watch more carefully for cars on this intersection and this was my not-so-friendly reminder to buy a damn helmet”
Another example is a couple days ago, I was frustrated that one of my friends couldn’t go out with me, and instead of moving on I kept checking my phone all night, making myself more upset. However, from this, I realized it was a great lesson to turn off your phone if you’re upset. Next time that happens I’ll know to focus on what’s happening in the present instead of what could have been.
For me, finding lessons even in the little upsets can help me feel like they had value or meaning.
Once I have that little takeaway I try to cheer myself up.
My favorite ways to cheer myself up
- A Great Workout – I especially love rollerblading
- Music – bonus points for loud sing alongs
- Making myself coffee or tea
- Texting a friend I haven’t talked to in a while
- Going out of my way to do something nice for someone
- A healthy treat (that usually involves chocolate)
These healthy vegan cookie dough bars certainly fall into that last category of pick-me-ups
Another important lesson I’ve learned about being self aware is nothing good comes from being hangry. Having delicious healthy snacks on deck for times when you feel your mood dipping and your hunger rising is absolutely clutch. In fact, I go so far as to pack extra snacks incase someone I’m with gets hangry, because no wants the hangries.
Vegan Cookie Dough Bars
- 10 Pitted Dates, Soaked
- 1 Cup of Roasted Cashews
- ¼ Cup of Coconut Flour
- ¼ Cup of Almond Butter, Natural
- ¼ tsp of Salt
- ⅓ Cup of Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chunks
- Pit and soak dates for at least 15 minutes in warm water
- In a food processor, blend cashews, coconut flour and salt until they form a flour consistency together
- Add soaked dates and almond butter and blend until a dough forms
- By hand, mix in chocolate chunks
- In an 8" square pan roll out dough
- Allow to cool in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before slicing into 16 squares
Save this recipe for later, scroll over to pin
- What are your go-to tricks for cheering yourself up after you’ve been mad or upset?