Hazelnut and date raw Energy bites, recipe, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan

Nearly 3 years ago I went to a Kinesiologist called Caoibhe Bailie who literally fixed me. I had boughts of unexplained tiredness that completely wiped me out for hours and I was just about to start working on a certain TV show with 12-hour days so I needed help.

Facts about me

I have a bovine allergy – I can’t eat or touch anything from a cow. No dairy, no beef, no beef gelatin and no cow’s leather. The gelatin issue was much easier when I was younger because of the Mad Cow Disease situation but beef gelatin as crept back into all the good jelly sweets these days. Needless to say I am Lactose Intolerant.

I got issues!

I also have wheat issues, yeast issues and sugar issues. The sugar and yeast together are a particular joy. These are intolerances. They won’t kill me. So yeah, every now and again I have pizza – life’s too short not to! Beef, however, could kill me. But it’s pretty easy to avoid big lumps of dark brown meat when you don’t eat any dark brown meat – so in the bigger picture it’s all good.

Sugar was not my friend…

When I went to see Caoibhe I had no idea it was my bestest pal sugar that was the bad apple in the fruit bowl. My previous blog was called Sugahfix.com and I was 100% addicted to sugar in any shape or form. My high sugar intake caused Candida overgrowth and it was everywhere – causing the tiredness, foggy brain and exacerbating my other food intolerances.   I went on an extreme diet to cut out sugar for 6 weeks to starve the candida. No sweets, no chocolate, no fruit. What would I eat? At the time I would have polished off a large bag of Drumstick Squashies, washed down with a chilled can of Appetizer while writing my Sugahfix.com blog posts and revelled in the buzz of it all. This was going to take major mental strength.

I lived! Switching banana in my porridge for cinnamon, the sugar-loaded Freddo bars for 2 squares of 70% Cocoa and adding almonds, avocado and salmon to my daily intake. I actually ate more (of the good stuff) and went from a generous size 12 to a slim size 10 without very much effort. This was not my aim but an interesting side effect. My ‘square hips’ and tummy podge melted away each day and suddenly I had a waist! And I was as bright as a button. No tiredness. Result!

Out damned spot!

And another interesting side effect was that my skin was a clear as a glass. My obsession with skincare started as a reaction to my teenage acne, which stayed with me consistently. I had major flare ups along with lesser breakouts but even in my 30s I had at least one spot arriving or leaving on a daily basis. I was like a short stay pimple hotel. “Just for the weekend? Ah no – you’ll be here for the week. Great. great.” Not great. For the first time since I hit my teens I had a full week with no new arrivals. And then another week, and another week. On that 4th week of the month I was prepared for coach trip of little red dots to check in. While there were a couple – it was nothing compared to the usual onslaught. For people who know me, you’ll all be thinking, “I never noticed Katrina always had spots!” Please let me remind you that I am a beauty expert, and 20 years ago I was trained by Pamela Smyth how to conceal spots and create a flawless base that looked invisible. I got skillz.

After the 6 weeks I went back to Caoimhe who was delighted that the Candida was gone and that I would start reintroducing fruit into my diet – but only once a day and the refined sugar? That was banned for good – or the Candida would be back along with other the other side effect that went with it.

“For good? Seriously? But I’m Sugahgal? My blog is Sugahfix!”

It seems I like my skin and my energy more than I like sweets. Although I still look longingly at those Drumstick Squashies hanging in the sweetie aisle in the 24hr garage looking so chirpy and bright. Step away Katrina, step away.

And so I found my unrefined alternatives! This is where the fun really begins.

Based on Deliciously Ella’s Energy Bites, where she uses Almonds, Dates and Chia seeds, the chia seeds add a little girt so I switched to Pumpkin seeds and blitzed to a powder. Hazelnuts are a game changer for anyone who uses Almonds or Walnuts. They’re just so much more ‘nutty’.

This is my tweak. You can add to, take away, switch up the nuts or the dried fruit, add spices, soak the nuts for a smoother texture – the variations are endless.   The raw cacao gives al the yumminess of your favourite chocolate bar but with added mood boosting benefits.

Hazelnut & Date Raw Cacao Bites

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Needless to say these contain nuts! #justsayin

1 cup of Hazelnuts

2 table spoons of Pumpkin seeds

1 cup of dates

Teaspoon on vanilla extract or paste

Teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Pinch of Himalayan salt

4 table spoons of Raw Cacao Powder

2 table spoons of coconut flour (optional – gives a more cakey texture)

3 table spoons of coconut oil – melted and cooled

Around 4 tablespoons of unsweetend nut milk


Optional extra for coconut lovers! Add ½ cup of toasted coconut to the mix and keep the texture chunky. As in the image above.



You will need a food processor for this one. Add the nuts and seeds and blitz. If you prefer a chunky texture – pulse until you get the texture you require – otherwise blitz until it looks like sand.

Add dates (and toasted coconut here is using) and blitz.

Melt coconut oil.

Add remainder of ingredients and pour coconut oil in gradually using the food shoot.

Add nut milk gradually until the texture forms a ball.


You can roll these into balls and roll in more raw cacao, coconut or nuts. Or you can make raw brownies. Pop some clingfilm into a loaf tin and press the mixture into the base. Smooth out and cover with the clingfilm and place in the fridge. When firm – cut into squares. This option is much quicker but not quite so pretty but they still taste great. Enjoy!

Caoibhe works At One in Portview Trade Centre on the Newtownards Road in Belfast. Click here for more details.