Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cinnamon-Sunflower Truffles

If you are following the elimination diet then you're in for a real treat today! I created this raw truffle recipe a few days ago in order to have a quick and nutritious snack ready in the fridge. Just one or two and I am good to go for a few more hours. I have also found that they are a perfect after school snack for my children!

For those of you following me on the Elimination Diet, how are you feeling? Energetic, sick, tired, achy, wonderful? Sometimes during the very beginning of the diet there is a feeling of un-wellness. Don't worry, your body is going through many changes. For one, you are detoxing and you may be experiencing a die-off of unfriendly bacteria in the gut. This is a great time to be consuming plenty of raw sauerkraut. This will help to replenish healthy bacteria in the gut. I have many lacto-fermented recipes in the Get Cultured! chapter of my Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook or you can purchase raw sauerkraut at your local health food store. The truly raw sauerkraut will be found in the refrigerated section.

Raw Cinnamon-Sunflower Truffles

You'll need a food processor to make these. If you are not following the elimination diet then try using different nuts or seeds. I bet pecans, almonds, or cashews would be delicious. I found that these truffles are even better on the second day; if they last that long!

2 cups raw sunflower seeds (preferably soaked and dehydrated)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted medjool dates
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup*

unsweetened shredded coconut

Place the sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and sea salt into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade. Process until seeds are very finely ground. It only takes a minute or so.

Then add the pitted dates and olive oil. Process again until combined and sticky. Only add the maple syrup if need be. Your dates may be moist enough and you might not need extra sweetener. Check to see if you can form a truffle by rolling some of the mixture in your hands. If it falls apart then add the sweetener and process again.

Scoop out the sunflower mixture by the large spoonful and roll into balls. Then roll in shredded coconut. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days. Source:

If you have any other elimination snack ideas please share. I would love to hear your ideas and recipes. Thanks! :)

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Can you use coconut oil in this recipe instead of olive oil and still be okay for elimination diet?

  2. Wow, how terrific are those! Elimination diet or not. I definitely want to try those, Ali.


  3. Those look wonderful! I'll have to try them.

    I've been doing the elimination diet for 6 days now and I am still experiencing intense stomach cramping and diarrhea. (I had this even before I started the diet, which is why I'm doing it: )

    The only thing new that I've added to my diet is quinoa. I've been eating it every morning for breakfast. Is it possible that I am allergic or have a sensitivity to quinoa? Thanks for any advice!! I'm getting rather desperate here . . .

  4. Thank you so much for all the work you do & information you do on your site for others!!
    Being just found out I am celiac I am overwhelmed!! Just doing one day at a time & one recipe at a time, I keep coming back to your site.
    I was wondering if your book is available in Canada(British Columbia)?
    Also looking for a eating plan for a day, what to eat & how much, if you are able to guide me to such.
    I am gluten free, dairy free, & egg free also no almonds, or nutritional yeast.
    Thank you again!!

  5. I always love new healthful recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth, and these look tasty. Have you tried them with pre-soaked seeds? Better for digestion but I'm wondering how it will affect the texture.

  6. where do you find medjool dates?

    1. Costco sometimes has big packages of dates - "healthy" stores like Sprouts, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc are also likely to carry them.

  7. I want to reach through the computer and grab one! Love, Kelly

  8. to Anonymous - re cook book
    I live in Calgary and purchased it thru Ali & Tom's website. She just mailed it to me and I received it really fast. (thanks Ali)
    I could not get it at any of our stores unless they special ordered it.

  9. Those look really good. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. I'm with Shirley - elimination diet or not I want to give this a try. Yum!!

  11. I often make date balls, but have never tried them with sunflower seeds before. Sounds delish. :)

  12. The sunflower truffles look great! I didn't realize we could use dried coconut for phase 1. I have been watching symptoms come and go on this diet. I notice when I eat garlic that my nose runs. Is this a sensitivity symptom or does that usually happen when you eat garlic? Also, if I drink lemon juice and have phlegm right away in the back of my throat is that normal for lemon juice or is it a sensitivity? Thanks, Wendy

  13. I just made the truffles, mmmm delicious! I was waiting for a sweet snack recipe to eat on the elimination diet, and this hit the spot. Thanks!

  14. Wow! Ali, those look more than fantastic! I love the flavours, the ease, everything! Great recipe =D.

  15. Loads of great stuff here! Thank you for providing such an interesting post on nutrition - it’s very informative & helpful! I found your blog on Google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google Reader. Keep up the good work! - Shane

  16. I made a half batch of these last night with what we had on hand -- I used dried cherries instead of dates and they were so delicious!!!! Thanks!

  17. I pretty much love anything with cinnamon. Yum!


  18. We made half a batch and my daughter kept on going back for more. Thank you for this great treat!

  19. I love you, guys!!! what a great way to start the new year!! already brimming with GREAT food ideas that will make us sing from day ONE in the year 2010!


    GONNA try the those truffles today!

  20. Anonymous, I crossed the border and bought a copy of the book at Terra Organica in Bellingham. Worth the trip!

    Re this recipe - it's delicious and so easy to make! I am not on the elimination diet but I am being careful about food sensitivities. This was a recipe that I could make.

    Funny story - I misread the recipe as 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds... I had that... so I made up the difference (upon reading the recipe again) with 1.5 cups of Macademia nuts that I had bought at Trader Joes. And did not add additional sea salt, as the nuts already had salt on them

    the result is *delicious*. I am not sure there will be any left by Monday, but I will try...

  21. Wow, it sounds like this recipe was a hit. So glad to hear so many of you have been enjoying it. I have been super busy lately and not had time to respond. So I'm just going to get to the questions that need answering here.

    Michelle - yes I think coconut oil would be fine as long as you melt it first.

    Anon - Have you seen your health care practitioner about this? Occasionally we see some people who react to foods on our phase 1 safe list. It is possible that you are not tolerating quinoa at this time. But it might be best to look at the bigger picture. I can't really be of more help on the blog but you could set up a phone consult with Tom. That info is on our website. :)

    Anon - Yes our book is available in BC. There are many health care practitioners that sell it in their offices. You might just call around to find out who has it. As far as the eating guide....I find nourishing ourselves to be such an intuitive process. I have a hard time telling people how much to eat and what. However, our book does offer a "food pyramid" and general eating guide that you might find helpful. I also offer a 7 day meal plan that is gluten, dairy, and egg-free. Hope this helps. :)

    Karen - I thought about using soaked sunflower seeds but then realized they would be too mushy unless the seeds were dehydrated. I like to make eating healthy simple. I know soaking and dehydrating doesn't usually fit into most folk's schedules. Good idea though! :)

    nessabean - I buy my medjool dates in the produce section of my co-op or health food store. They are in bulk so I can buy as many or as few as I want. they need to be stored in the refrigerator.

    Wendy - It is common for noses to run when eating garlic, however your issue with lemon might be a reaction. Tom's motto is "When in doubt, Leave it out" ~ you might try waiting 2 months and then reintroduce lemons again to see if you get the same reaction.

    Thanks for all of the great feedback everyone, so glad you are enjoying this recipe! :)

  22. Didn't have any dates, so I made them with unsulphered apricots - yummmmm!

  23. These are great! We are on day 7 and were in need of some new snacks - perfect timing. I threw some brown rice cakes in the food processor and added those as well - a bit like rice krispy treats if you will.

    Would love to know what others are snacking on? Here are ours:

    Brown rice cakes topped with sunflower seed butter (SO good!) and grated apples

    Dried fruit

    Pumpkin and sunflower seeds roasted with olive oil and maple syrup

    Celery & sunflower seed butter

  24. I just made these and found them to be a little too sweet for us, with the maple syrup added. We are used to homemade lara bars that have only dates and nuts in them. I think next time I will add water to get the right texture. Other than that they are great!

    Thankyou for your help!

  25. I tried making the cultured vegetables from your book. I thought they would taste fermented, instead they tasted more, well, composted if you get my drift. The only thing I did differently was to use bottled Santa Cruz organic lemon juice instead of freshly squeezed. I let the mix sit for 6 days and everything was followed to the letter. I don't think I can eat anymore of the batch. Maybe using garlic in the mix was a mistake? Wendy

  26. Day 15 for me, have been feeling deprived and a little protein deficient last few days, as opposed to feeling energentic last week. I was hoping to stick it out for the entire 28 days, but I feel I need to listen to my body, that I am past a point of unhealthfully craving foods, so ate 2 eggs this morning along with my brown rice and wakame and a fruit/seed smoothie. Is there any problem to rearranging the testing order for re-introducing foods? I can still test things one at a time but I would like to test high protein foods first. Wendy

  27. Hi Ali,

    I made these for a work party last Friday. Used pecans and walnuts and no oil. The nuts seemed to have enough oil. Fantastic!

    I referred my brother and two co-workers to the elimination diet here. All three are following you religiously. What a gift you are giving. Thanks

  28. Hi Ali,
    I made these on Sunday for my birthday! We all loved them, I took extras to work to share with my colleagues - they were a hit!!

  29. My little girls loved these "candies". I split the dates into two bowls and added sunflower seeds+ cinnamon to one half and pumpkin seed+ cardamom to the other half.

  30. I just finished making a batch of the Cinnamon-Sunflower Truffles; these are yummy and may keep me from going off my eating plan. I've been on a very restricted diet for about 6 months and have lately felt like giving up. I really miss crunchy, salty and chewy, sweet! Thanks for the ongoing inspiration!

  31. I made them to battle the craving for something sweet and chocolatey during the Elimination diet and now I can hardly stop myself, they are so delicious!
    I've taken them with me on the road along with an apple when I wasn't quite sure how long the errands etc. would take and they have been perfect bridge the time between meals. Fabulous!

  32. I made these with pecans. Fantastic!! From my 21 month old grandson to my husband..they couldn't get enough. I will make them again today with walnuts as they are the only nuts in the house. I love all of your recipes. I am wheat free and my children are vegetarian.

  33. Hi,
    I love your recipes. I've been struggling with yeast problems for a very long time, although I didn't know that's what it was until about 4 months ago. I'm always excited to see new recipes that fit into my diet. Thank you!

    I'm sure you've done a lot of reading on a lot of health topics. I'm not able to consume agave nectar on my diet, but in all my reading I've come across a lot of ill carma regarding it's commercialization and advertizing and the fact that it's really not that good for you. It's fructose levels are very high, unnaturally high. Xylitol however, and stevia have seem to have a much better reputation. In any case, just thought I'd share.

    Good luck in all your cooking adventures! I'm on one every day!

  34. I am really loving your website with all its fast, easy and healthy dishes. Just decided to make this for a talk I am giving about how herbs can be used alongside conventional treatments. :)

  35. Hi Ali,

    I'm on day 4 and I feel okay for the most part, just a bit sluggish. Do you have another alternative to the raw sauerkraut(yuck)?

    This truffles on the other hand look delicious. I am going to make them today. I'm a beginner cook so I'll take all the recipes I can get as I go through the diet.


  36. This looks fantastic. The recipe asks for a food processor. Could I do the truffles (and other recipes that call for a food processor) with a Vitamix instead?

  37. Simone - No, these would need to be made in a food processor. This goes for all recipes specifying a food processor. I have both and use each machines for different types of recipes. :)

  38. My 2-yr-old son calls these candy balls. I'm in day 6 of the elimination diet and these assuaged my sweet tooth. I didn't start the diet specifically for weight loss but the scale shows me down 6 pounds. Even if it's all water weight, that's a lot. I am not ever hungry and every recipe I've tried has been fantastic.

  39. I made these for my son's 1st birthday as his special treat. He loved it :)

    I pressed some of the mixture into a small ramekin to give the shape of a small "cake," removed it from the ramekin, coated it with shredded coconut, then drizzled it with fresh mango puree and strawberries. With one little candle on top, it was the cutest little "cake."

    Our picnic party also consisted of many recipes from your book. Thanks for making his birthday special with your healthy recipes!

  40. I made these this weekend and absolutely loved them! I am in Phase 1 of the elimination diet, so these have been a real treat. I do find, however, that my body is having a hard time with so much fiber. I am now experiencing diarrhea, which I think is due to such a high fiber and water intake. Is this normal and is there anything I can do to help myself?

  41. Dana, your symptoms could be a result of a few different issues. For example, it could be a fructose intolerance, a disaccharidase insufficiency, or a number of other things. At this point it would be best to consult with a health care practitioner to modify the diet to your body. Tom is available for phone consultations if you are interested. He customizes the elimination diet for many people weekly to achieve optimal results. Info is here:

    Hope this helps! -Ali :)

  42. Hi Ali!

    These truffles are wonderful!! I am wondering.. do you think I could freeze them??

    Your cookbook is # 1 with me by far! When will you do a second!!?


  43. Laura, these truffles are not freezable but you can keep them in the fridge for a few weeks if need be. There is a second book in the works! It should be available this summer if I can get it finished. ;-)

  44. We are on an elimination diet prescribed by our doctor, but we are allowed tree nuts. I made a half batch with pecans and cinnamon and another half batch with pecans and carob powder. What a treat! Next I am going to try hazelnuts with the carob.

  45. Just bought your book...on day 9 of the diet! Question, is cinnamon allowed in phase one? Thank you.

  46. Yes, cinnamon is allowed for phase 1, enjoy! :)

  47. What is the asterisk for on the agave/syrup?

  48. Stacey,

    The answer to your question is in the second paragraph of the directions. Enjoy!

  49. I make these with pumpkin seeds all the time since D. cannot have sunflower seeds. They turn out great, in case anyone wants a variation. Yum!

  50. I just want say I love you! I started the elimination diet July 6 and am now feeling better than ever, am off the Prilosec and have lost 26 lbs. Your recipes are delicious and I have tried foods I have never even heard of. Who would have guessed I could be so satisfied without meat, dairy or gluten. Best of all I finally kicked my lifelong sugar addiction. This diet has changed my health and my life and I can't thank you enough for all the thought you put into your work.

  51. Absolutely delicious, just as the recipe is written. Have made several batches over the past 3 weeks of the elimination diet (stretching it out over 2 months), and find they are perfect as a snack when it's not quite time for a meal, or as a perfect little dessert. Fair warning: they're so good, it's sometimes hard to have just one! Look forward to trying different nuts and perhaps other dried fruits, like cherries or apricots with cardamom, cloves, or perhaps a dash of anise.

    Questions about the diet: when can the following be added: amaranth, sesame seeds, vinegar, wild game meat?

    Since the majority of the foods in the diet are ones we already enjoy, we have been LOVING the flavors of nearly every meal we've tried! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and kitchen creativity!

  52. How many does this make??

  53. My friend taught me to make something like this, only hers is just sunflower seeds and dates - they stay together fine, so I don't think olive oil is really necessary, but will try adding cinnamon next time - yum!


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