When Boynton Beach resident Natalie Sager became pregnant with her first child, certain dietary restrictions forced her to give up foods that each of us would bemoan the loss of in ordinary circumstances: specifically, gluten and dairy.
What to do when your favorite foods are suddenly banned? Create a delicious snack that would make you forget all about them. Especially one that would have a long shelf life and be easy to eat on the go.
Today, Sager is the proud owner and chef behind "Make Raw Not War," her health-conscious raw food snack company. The gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free snacks aren't just for raw vegans and the gluten, dairy-free crowd, however. They're also perfect for those following a paleo or kosher diet.
"People turn to processed foods as a matter of convenience," Sager told Clean Plate Charlie during a recent interview. "My goal with Make Raw Not War was to create a delicious, healthy snack that was easy to eat on the go."
Sager has created four recipes that offer a mix of healthy, raw ingredients. The inspiration, she said, comes from charoset, the sweet, dark-colored paste made of fruits and nuts. The word "charoset" comes from the Hebrew word cheres -- or "clay" -- and is one of the symbolic foods served on the Jewish Passover Seder Plate.
For Sager, the traditional food eaten on holiday became the basis for several energies -- her word for the unique flavors she's given funky names -- all of them a tribute to the ingredients in each ball-shaped edible.
Take "Bringing Flaxy Back," which uses organic dried Turkish apricots, dried cranberries, raw walnuts, and organic flax seed for a extra kick of flavor and nutrients.
Although it's not a traditional protein bar, the "Chocolate Protini" features organic cacao powder, dates, almond, cranberries, and organic Celtic sea salt to create a "low-protein" ball that offers the same nutritional benefits, without all the unnecessary excess protein found in standard protein bars, said Sager.
There's also the "Skinny Elvis," named for Elvis' alleged favorite snack, the peanut butter and banana sandwich. Made with organic dried banana chips, raisins, raw peanuts, and organic coconut flour, they're a bite-sized taste of the actual sandwich.
Our personal favorite: the "Healthy Chia-ter," Sager's take on healthy "cheat" eating -- her version of a rewarding snack that isn't bad for you, a combination of organic dried plums, raw almonds, cold-pressed coconut oil, organic goji berries, and chia seeds.
"No matter which one you choose, they're all great. I wanted each one to be different, but the ingredient base is the same -- a mix of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit," said Sager. "Now people on the go don't have to settle. They can just pop it in their mouth and feel satisfied they're eating something that's also good for them."
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.