By Gail Sauer

On Sunday, Dr. Vaishna and I cheered on the runners at the Angus Glen 10 Miler race here in Markham.  We had the pleasure of supporting competitive and recreational athletes alike with protein shakes, electrolyte solution and my homemade Black Bean (Vegan) Protein Balls – these are so rich and truffle-like that athletes came back for second helpings (and, in some cases, third). I’m sharing the recipe below.

From attending events over the years,  as both a naturopath and an athlete myself, I have noticed that often athletes are not aware of how naturopathic medicine can support their overall health and their athletic endeavours. There is so much we can offer! Here is just a brief overview of treatments that may help and how.

IV Therapy for Athletes:  

IVs offered to athletes typically contains high doses of vitamin C.  Vitamin C is a precursor to collagen, which is needed in all tissue regenerative processes.  As athletes, we break down tissues every time we train.  Consequently, we require collagen for regeneration on a regular basis.  As we age, collagen production naturally decreases leaving impairing recovery and increasing the risk of injury.  Vitamin C boosts collagen production, helps hydration, reduces free radical damage, support immunity and gives athletes the boost of energy they desire!

Herbal Medicine for Athletes:

 Athletes often get sick with viruses when training hard. Although being active is good for us, hard training can put a strain on both your immune system and your adrenal glands. Because the health of the immune system and adrenal glands are fundamental to successful training, specific herbs prescribed at the right time can assist in your continued vitality.

Nutritional Support for Athletes:

It can be hard to know what to eat and how to fuel your body for regular exercise and more intense training, especially if losing a little weight is part of your goal. Eating enough and eating the right foods will support weight management, optimize performance, and help you reach your goals with ease.

Acupuncture, Massage Therapy & Craniosacral Therapy for Athletes: 

Myofacial release acupuncture coupled with massage therapy loosens muscles, maximizes recovery and prevents injury.  Cranial Sacral therapy (offered by our registered massage therapist) works on the adrenal and neurological system. The more stressed the adrenals and neurological system become from intense training, the more inflamed we can become!  Rebalancing and supporting these systems decreases inflammation, reduces the risk of injury, and decreases lactic acid buildup which results in less pain and stiffness. 

And now, for the recipe. 

Black Bean (Vegan) Protein Truffles:


  • 15oz BPA free can of black beans (Eden Organics are good), rinsed, drained and relatively dry
  • 1 scoop vegan chocolate protein powder (I used Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Protein)
  • 1 ½ tbsp extra virgin coconut oil + 1 tsp coconut oil for the chocolate dip
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 5 tbsp Camino unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 3.5 oz vegan chocolate, chopped (Giddy YoYo or Camino)


Place the drained and dried black beans with 1 ½ tbsp. coconut oil and maple syrup in a large bowl or food processor.  Use the food processor or a hand blender and process until smooth. Slowly add in the cocoa powder and chocolate protein powder. Mix thoroughly. Add almond milk to adjust texture if necessary; batter should be soft and sticky enough to roll into balls.

Place batter in the fridge for 20 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Roll the batter into balls and place in the baking sheet. Place the cookie sheet back in the fridge while you make the chocolate coating.

Place 3.5 oz organic vegan chocolate and 1 tsp of coconut oil into a small saucepan on low. Stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. Remove from heat. Using toothpicks, dip each ball in chocolate to coat. Place back on the parchment paper and put back into the fridge for 10 minutes to set.

Make 12-25 balls depending on the size you prefer.