Sally Burgess, who was featured last November in a post on Women Owned Businesses, wears many hats (like most women, when you think about it). She is the owner of Studio Gaia in Edwardsville, IL, a local sanctuary that offers everything from traditional Hatha Yoga classes, to Gong Healing to meditation workshops and Yoga teacher certification. Studio Gaia is an oasis of wellbeing for my community, and we are lucky it’s here.

Sally is also an environmental activist—a member of my new group of comrades, the Confluence Climate Collaborative, and a student working quickly toward her MS in Environmental Policy Communication. But today, she’s somebody else: Today, Sally is the Green Gal guest chef for March and has developed a delicious Protein Recovery Ball, using the featured New Hope Influencer product Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer.

“I’ve been committed to good nutrition my entire adult life, but that has included relying on the advice of the day,” Sally explained. “At one point that [advice] was to eat plenty of complex carbs in the form of pasta and bagels! We were also advised to keep fat consumption as low as possible, which we know now was not in our best interest.

“Fortunately, I have always believed that eating mostly vegetables and some fruit is important and have long steered clear of junk food. My routine these days includes farm-fresh eggs nearly every day (thanks to the hens roaming in the backyard), raw goat milk (Yes, we have our own dairy goat!), lots of veggies, occasional chicken, beef, turkey, and very rarely fish (due to overfishing and toxins).”

And beyond good nutrition that is based on exclusively real food, Sally incorporates her environmental activism into her food plan: “Since the way we eat has a significant impact on the environment, I view our daily choices as a way of sending a message. There is power in buying from local farmers rather than corporate farms and purchasing organic vegetables instead of those that are chemically grown,” She said. “And,” she added, “improved health!” Well, you can’t argue with any of that, in my opinion.

Now I know CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer sounds like a complicated mouthful, but it’s incredibly simple to work into your nutrition plan, whether you just mix this extremely mild-tasting powder into water after a workout or, as Sally did, get creative and make a super-powered recovery treat. You can read more about this Natural Factors product after the recipe. But for now, let’s eat!

Sally’s Protein Recovery Balls

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 8-10 balls

Serving Size: 1 ball

Sally’s Protein Recovery Balls


  • One cup rolled oats
  • One tablespoon chia seeds
  • Two scoops Natural Factors Muscle Recovery & Growth Curcumizer
  • One pinch unsweetened coconut flakes
  • One tablespoon mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • One-quarter teaspoon chai spice
  • One-eighth teaspoon sea salt
  • One-quarter cup pumpkin seed butter
  • One-quarter cup sunflower seed butter
  • One-quarter teaspoon vanilla
  • One tablespoon honey


  1. Mix dry ingredients well in a medium size bowl. Often nut butter recipes suggest you use your hands to mix in the rest of the ingredients; I prefer using two forks and moving slowly.
  2. Drizzle in the vanilla and then one of the butters. Using two forks, work the butter into the oats, scraping one fork against the other and then drizzle in the second butter. Again, work the butter into the oat mixture, scraping the powdery stuff up from the bottom to make sure it is integrated. The last step is to drizzle in the honey. Keep the two forks moving, stirring, integrating, until you feel you have the honey well distributed.
  3. NOW use your hands. Get them wet and shake off the excess. Gather up a handful of the oat mixture and form it into a ball. You can give these a pretty good squeeze to get the ingredients packed together. You might need to add water to your fingers after every couple of balls—be sure to shake off the excess.
  4. Once the balls are formed, place them in the freezer for 20-minutes to set up. After that you can store them in a container in the fridge for about a week.


Note that prep time refers to the entire process, including the 20 minutes needed to set the balls. No cook time required!

According to Sally, pumpkin seed butter is very strong on its own, much like tahini, but it blends nicely with sunflower seed butter. She encourages you to feel free to experiment with other butters as well. She once used a combo of crunchy peanut butter, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed, and the recipe turned out great.

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Okay…. YUM. And so easy! I have been sold on Natural Factors products and the company’s quality and ethics for years now. It’s great to be able to recommend their products in healthy creative ways, as Sally has done here. My sincere thanks to Sally for taking on the culinary challenge. I hope her recipe encourages you to try Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer because it combines high-absorption Theracurmin with a micronized form of the amino acid L-glutamine.

And that means????? Yeah, kinda jargony, huh? Well, here’s the bottom line:

There are many studies available now that prove the effectiveness of curcumin—that bright yellow pigment in turmeric that stains your hands–for all kinds of health-related issues, from muscle recovery, to pain relief from arthritis to keeping the body’s unhealthy response of chronic inflammation at bay. However, curcumin is difficult for the body to absorb without help.
Enter theracurmin,  a natural curcumin preparation that utilizes advanced techniques to reduce curcumin’s particle size, dramatically increasing its solubility and bioavailability. Detailed absorption studies have proven that Theracurmin is the best-absorbed form of curcumin on the market, and Natural Factors has it down.

Together, Theracurmin and L-glutamine work to support the body’s recovery from physical stress by exerting powerful antioxidant activity and supporting a healthy inflammatory response. It encourages muscle cell repair and growth, especially following strenuous exercise, and supports immune and digestive system health to help protect against infections following prolonged or intense exercise.

And if you are looking for more great Natural Factors’ products and uses, be sure to revisit the blog post From-Scratch Power Bars for my recipe using Natural Factors’ Whole Earth and Sea 100% Fermented Organic Greens to make Green Machine Energy Squares.

As my friend Sally has proven here–you can prepare simple, healthy food that tastes great as you support companies, food producers and local businesses that make positive impacts on communities and the entire planet—all rolled up in a neat little ball.

Hungry for more real food snacks that you can make yourself? Of course, amazing Delicious Living Magazine is here for you with a new set of recipes they call Portable Power Snacks. Check out great recipes like—Sweet Potato Oat Energy Bites, Chocolate Hummus Stuffed Dates and PB& Mocha Crepe Rolls!

What real foods are powering your workouts these days?

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