These bliss balls are easy to make and allergy friendly, their point of difference is they use carrots.
Carrot seems to be the one vegetable most children are happy to eat, which is great due to the beta-carotene they contain. Beta-carotene (a type of carotenoid) is supportive of many functions within the body, it is a precursor to Vitamin A, meaning it converts to vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, a strong immune system, for healthy skin and mucous membranes, plus much more.
Interestingly there have been a couple of studies done on the benefits of carotenoids (beta -carotene is one) and the role they play in food allergies. It was found that carotenoids inhibit IgE production, and the associated chemical mediators from the mast cells. Ok so basically what they are saying is vitamin A plays a role in reducing the allergic response, this does not mean dosing up on vitamin A is going to stop an allergic reaction, it’s more about showing how certain nutrients can play a role in the body’s response to an allergen.
Now these studies have mostly been done with mice and, well, our kids are not mice in a controlled environment, but this does give a little insight into one of the many factors that play a role in food allergies. One thing that is consistent throughout the research is the importance of eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and getting enough protein. Ensuring your child’s body has all the nutrients it needs will help the body with all its processes, including food allergy reaction. To optimise the absorption of beta-carotene have it with fat, such as the nut or seed butter in this recipe, this is because it’s a fat soluble nutrient.
If you are interested in optimising your child’s health and want support navigating their food allergies, I am launching the Kids Food Allergy Hub in February 23, you can join the waitlist here.
If you wish to go down the ‘rabbit hole’ of carotenoids, there are a few articles to start with at the end of this post, have fun :)
This recipe is a way to keep even treats within a wholefood diet, giving our children with food allergies ongoing healthy nutrition, to help their body hopefully create balance and reduce their food allergies.
Carrot Bliss Balls
200g carrots, roughly chopped
2x cups dried shredded coconut, see note
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup rolled oats (this is optional, see note)
2x tbsp nut/seed butter
1x tsp cinnamon, powdered
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
pinch of salt
3/4 cup hulled hemp seeds for rolling (alternatives - desiccated coconut, sesame seeds, crushed nuts)
Throw all ingredients into food processor and blitz until mixture comes together. Then scoop out and roll into balls, we like them around golf ball size. Roll them in hemp seeds and store some in the fridge (4-5 days) and the rest in the freezer for school lunch boxes.
If you can’t use coconut, swap for rolled oats or rolled quinoa, then leave the additional 1/2 cup oats out.
I find the oats help absorb some of the carrot juices, obviously this is dependent on the moisture content of this carrots. If they are particularly juicy and you don’t want to add oats, grate the carrots and let sit in sieve over bowl for 20 mins then squeeze out and use.
Sato Y, Akiyama H, Matsuoka H, Sakata K, Nakamura R, Ishikawa S, Inakuma T, Totsuka M, Sugita-Konishi Y, Ebisawa M, Teshima R. Dietary carotenoids inhibit oral sensitization and the development of food allergy. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 23;58(12):7180-6. doi: 10.1021/jf100519x. PMID: 20455559.
Akiyama, H. (2017) ‘The role of carotenoid intake in food allergy prevention.’, CABI Reviews. CABI International. doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR201712009.
Hufnagl K, Jensen-Jarolim E. Does a carrot a day keep the allergy away? Immunol Lett. 2019 Feb;206:54-58. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2018.10.009. Epub 2018 Oct 16. PMID: 30339818.
Noval Rivas M, Chatila TA. Regulatory T cells in allergic diseases. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Sep;138(3):639-652. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.06.003. PMID: 27596705; PMCID: PMC5023156.