Runners Repair Cookies

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on February 3, 2011

Something you don’t know about me…

I was once training to become a body builder.

It was a shortly lived dream though. The man I was seeing at the time didn’t like the muscles I was growing, so at his request, I stopped.

Lesson: never stop pursuing your dreams for someone else, especially over something as silly as the ‘man muscles’ I was growing.

Looking back, my time as an aspiring body builder brought on so many changes in my life:

  • I found my passion for nutrition [albeit not the healthiest at the time]
  • I learned that my body could be pushed so much farther than I ever thought possible
  • I began a fantastic relationship with Repair cookies [Splenda, nut butter, and eggs]

A quick note on alternative sweeteners

You’ll see them branded as Sweet’N Low, Aspartame, NutraSweet, Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, or Sucralose [I'm sure I'm missing some].

Claims to be the perfect sugar substitute: as sweet as sugar, but no calories, no surge in insulin, no side effects or long-term health damage.

Sucralose was stumbled upon in the late 70’s when British scientists were looking for a new pesticide formulation. :|

Why I choose not to eat it:

  • It’s not a whole food, whatsoever. It’s completely man made, and has no nutritional benefits at all.
  • Having worked with many diabetics and hypoglycemics I’m convinced that it does impact blood sugar levels.
  • Studies have shown that the affects of sucralose can range from shrunken thymus glands, enlarged livers, kidney disorders, and a decrease in healthy gut bacteria.
  • There have been no long-term studies conducted on humans… ever.
  • Is able to cross the blood-brain barrier*

*The blood-brain barrier is designed to protect the brain from the invasion of harmful chemicals.  The barrier allows our own neurotransmitters to cross, helping the functioning of our nerve cells. But, alternative sweeteners act like neurotransmitters in the body, so they’re given access through this barrier. Excessive consumption can cause poisoning and lead to brain and spinal cord nerve cell death.

On with the eats…

I had completely forgotten about my love for the repair cookie.

With all the training I’ve been doing lately, it was just a matter of time until my love returned.

Healthier, Splenda free, and tastier than ever.

Runners Repair Cookies

Gluten free, Dairy free

A soft banana flavor infuses each bite of these deliciously easy, high protein cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp powder [I used pro fiber]
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 dried apricots, diced
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • almond slivers for sprinkling [so they look a bit more appetizing]

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine banana, dates, and eggs. Pulse until dates are broken up, then pour into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir until mixed. The dough will be very sticky, but don’t worry!
  4. Drop cookies onto cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes [mine were perfect at 15 minutes].
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes 12 cookies.

I don’t normally post the nutrition facts of my recipes, but at the request of a couple of you, I will for these cookies. I struggled with an obsession over calorie counting for years and have seen so many of my clients, friends, and family  get consumed by it as well. Remember that calories are just a number, everyone’s body is different and requires a different amount of nutrients based on various factors. Balance and understanding what food best fuels your body is key!

Per cookie:

Have you ever given up on a dream because others didn’t approve or support you? What did you learn from this experience?

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanna

These look great. I’m with you on the splenda = bad thing. I bet these would work with flax egg as well, for the vegans in the crowd. (Lower protein, but still good stuff.)

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Elise

Leanne, what about stevia as a alternative sweetener? Is it better to avoid it to? (I don’t like the taste of stevia anyway). Should I stick with agave nectar? I read in the “4-hour-body” book that “All-natural sweeteners (like agave) are, based on the role of fructose in metabolic disorders, arguably worse for you than even high-fructose corn syrup”.

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Leanne

Stevia is a great alternative sweetener. Stevia is naturally green, so the stevia you buy should have a green color to it. If it’s white, it’s been processed and isn’t as healthful. It is tough to bake with remember that a little goes a very, very, very long way.

First off, high fructose corn syrup can be upwards of 95% fructose. Agave nectar has come into some controversy as of late. Some of the accusations are completely warranted. It can be challenging to know what to follow. If you find a good quality, 100% unprocessed agave, it will be better than high fructose corn syrup, or white sugar. The problem with agave is when it is processed [similar to what corn syrup goes through]. Processing concentrates the sugars and removes the nutrients needed to properly digest the food, making it similar to corn syrup.

Honey is another great alternative, and in my opinion and experience, much better than agave. Unpasteurized, raw honey has natural antiviral, antibacterial properties and has been known to balance blood sugar [when paired with fibers such as flax seed for example], increase athlete endurance, and aid in weight loss.

As with anything, you’re best off to go with natural, whole food sweeteners like apples, dates, bananas, that have all the nutrients in tact so your body can digest it properly.

Hope that helps, Elise.

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Elise

Leanne, thank you so much for your clear and detailed answer! I’ll go for fruits and honey then. Good choice for my wallet too because agave is a bit expensive in my country!

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Heather (Where's the Beach)

Oh wow those sound fantastic. Do you by any chance have the nutritional stats? I have only used the dates a few times for “bars” and need to keep them on hand for more goodies like this.

I did give up my dreams to go to a different college for dance. But I didn’t give up dance entirely for someone else thankfully. I am very happy that my husband actually supports the fact that I lift heavy – even likes my manly muscles ;-) My family does think I’m nuts for getting into running, but they still encourage me at least.

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Heather (Where's the Beach)

Sorry – another question – to make these vegan, do you think the flax egg sub would work?

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Leanne

I just posted the nutrition stats on the post for you. I’m not sure if chia seed or flax seed egg would work. I’m sure I’ll give it a try in a couple weeks and can let you know. I’ve never had a problem replacing eggs with chia or flax in any recipe, just takes a little tweaking.

It’s great that you have so much support and love in your life!

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Elise

I don’t think you were growing ‘man muscles’ (unless you were taking hormones), good choice to have ditched that guy! In my experience, guys don’t mind women looking muscular and fit, as long as the woman in question doesn’t look bigger than them.

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Leanne

haha your comment made me giggle. I could see why men wouldn’t want their partner being larger than them!

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Kristina @ spabettie

these look fabulous – I must try! I am so with you on the artificial sweeteners – I learned a bit about the blood brain barrier when working with a terrific naturopath – he came up with an amino acid protocol that deals with neurotransmitters. Fascinating stuff, and scary what chemicals can do!

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Brittany

So glad you are discussing the truth behind artificial sweetners. Oftentimes they are making us sick because our bodies cannot break the chemicals down. The cruel irony is that many diet programs put them in their foods, making their dieters even more bloated and miserable.

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Leanne

I couldn’t agree with you more, Brittany!

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Jess@atasteofconfidence

Ah artificial sweeteners really gross me out- especially aspartame.
Didn’t know you wanted to be a body builder!

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Leanne

Many, many years ago!

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kate@ahealthypassion

LOVE the post, totally agree with everything you said you are amazing! So glad I found your blog.

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Leanne

Thank you, Kate! I’m glad you like my blog!

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Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

Hey Leanne.
Thanks for the request on Foodbuzz. I really like your blog!
These cookies sound great, and so healthy. Thanks for providing the down low on sugar alternatives. I used to love splenda. I’d put it on everything! Now, I understand that good ol’ sugar, honey, maple syrup, and agave are always going to be healthier.
I’m blessed to have always had people supporting my dreams. It makes it so much easier to believe in myself when I know I’ve got cheerleaders on my side. I’m so grateful : )
I wonder how they’d take it if I wanted to be a body builder. Now that’s a lot of hard work!

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Leanne

Good for you for switching over to natural sweeteners! It’s so great to hear that you have so much support and love behind you, it makes a world of difference in your self confidence. Yes, body building is a lot of work!

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fooddreamer

As a diabetic, I completely agree with you on the splenda/sucralose. I just don’t like it! I use it sparingly sometimes because there are a few baked goods I make that taste better with it, but it’s my last-resort sweetener. I use more erythritol and stevia, but both are used sparingly. It may sound very chemical, but erythritol IS a naturally-occuring substance in fruits and fermented foods. And it really does have little to no effect on my blood sugars, which continually amazes me. I go sparingly on it more because of expense than anything else.
Your cookies look great. Because of all the dried fruit and such, they’d still be pretty high-carb for me, but would be a good snack after a half-marathon when my sugar stores are depleted!

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Happy When Not Hungry

These cookies look great! I def love that you left the Splenda out too :-)

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Tracy @ Commit to Fit

Body building training takes a lot of work! Good for you, would you ever consider training again? My dream: I wanted to be an actor. I think I got in my way more than anything else, but I don’t have any regrets :)

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Leanne

I never say never! Who knows what I’ll be interested in a couple of years down the road. Great of you to live with no regrets. Life has a way of just working out, doesn’t it!

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Lori

Thank you for the tip on Steevia! I have been using a Steevia based sweetner in my daily tea called “Krisda”, as it was on sale. It is white and not greenish as you said. I still like it better than splenda though. Aspartame seems to just mess with my arthritis though so I steer clear of anything with that sort of stuff in it! I do love my 3kg pail of honey I bought at the farmers’ market at the end of the season though too!!
These cookies look like they would definitely satisfy my sweet tooth…what if a couple of carob or chocolate chips happened to fall into the batter…..

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Baking Serendipity

My first day of track season is Monday…perfect timing to find these cookies!

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Tiffany

These seem like they would be a great boost after a run! Thanks for sharing!

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Kate @ Diethood.com

Wow these sound really good – I like that you add dates and other fruits to them.

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Nicole @ Of Cookies & Carrots

These look amazing! I love that you didnt’ use artificial sweeteners… I have to admit that I’ve been too much of an artificial sweetener addict for years but I’m really trying to cut back… Diet soda has been the hardest to quit :/

i love your blog!

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Leanne

Thanks, Nicole! Have you ever tried mixing mineral water with some fruit juice as a replacement for diet soda? If you’re interested, start off with a one to one ratio of juice to mineral water, then slowly reduce the juice over time. You could even try mineral water with lemon and a bit of honey [dilute the honey in the lemon before adding to the water]. I’ve had a lot of clients [including myself] that are very, very dependent on diet drinks and have found this replacement works for a lot of them!

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Lindsey

Thanks for these! They will be perfect for MY training (which I can get back to after my surgery recovery this week) as well! I’m not sure where I’m going to be able to track down hemp powder where I live but I’ll work on it…

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Leanne

You can use another form of protein powder. I’ve done these with rice protein and they’ve worked out well. If you’re not dairy free, you could try a whey protein. I like to suggest organic whey protein in that case… just cleaner for you!

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Brie

thank you so much for explaining how dangerous splenda is, and why agave nectar can have unhealthy fructose levels as well. as an organic food blogger, i am working constantly to undo what greedy companies have done to confuse consumers over these dangerous artificial sweeteners. splenda is a chlorocarbon – the only one ever approved for human consumption. the other most famous chlorocarbon is mustard gas. these substances cannot break down in nature, so there’s no telling what it’s doing to people’s bodies. tasty recipe for a repair cookie – great job!

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Leanne

Thanks, Brie! The more of us that share the message the better! It sure is scary stuff.

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Jen

Hi – I think I’m going to try to make these tonight. Would protein powder work instead of Hemp powder?

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

It should, as long as the flavor isn’t too strong!

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Miss Meghan @ scratch-made wife

Hey, Leanne,
Has anyone told you yet today how great your space is? No? Alright, let me. I’m loving your posts. Your filled with valuable information, and I just know I’m going to be spending a lot of time here! And as much as I think these cookies look awful (I’m sorry, but the color is kinda gross, don’t you think?) I want to make them very soon! They sound tasty – and healthy. Thanks!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

hahaha the color is awful. I’ll be the first one to say it. I’m SO happy I put crushed almonds on top to offset a bit. They are tasty though!

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Melissa

I’m loving your site and the knowledge you’re bringing to the table. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

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Meagan

Where did you learn that artificial sweeteners can pass the BBB? I’d be interested in reading that for myself. These cookies look great. I’d have to sub out the flax so I am not baking and damaging their Omega-3′s.

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I believe you can find some information about artificial sweeteners and the BBB in the books: “excitotoxins: the taste that kills” and “defense against alzheimer’s disease” both by Dr. H.J. Roberts. There are also some studies you can read if you’re interested in that sort of thing: http://www.jbc.org/content/261/14/6536.short

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Nikki @ Resistant Nikki

Just came across this recipe…been trying to find a “cookie” recipe that uses natural sweeteners. Is hemp powder simply ground hemp seed?

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I believe that’s how they make the powder. Ground hemp seed should work just the same!

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Stephanie

Leanne, congrats on your run:) I am doing my first ever run tmw….. just a little 4 ks but it is the beginning. Anyway i was wondering with these cookies, do you have any suggestions to maintain the protein level without using protein powder? would almond meal suffice
Cheers Steph

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I used hemp protein powder in here, so you could try ground nuts/seeds of your choice. Almond flour or even chickpea flour would work awesome! Hope you had a good run :)

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katie

Hey Leanne,

Thanks for this fantastic recipe! Going to make them today and use them as post-run snacks and in place of Luna bars. Any idea how long they last or if they are freezable?

Thanks,
Katie

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hey Katie – they will last in the fridge for a couple of days and yep, you can freeze them for up to a month! Enjoy :)

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