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Yael Cohen's Holiday Ingredient Swaps and Clean Brownies


Yael travels a lot but plane/car time is no excuse. Tabata interval training and running are her on the road workout musts. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Lauren)

Yael Cohen, CEO of FCancer and proclaimed “Chief Cancer Effer,” is on a mission to educate about early detection—90 percent of cancers are curable in stage one. Part of her initiative, besides using humor to promote self exams (check out their hilarious video contest!), is to promote awareness that “everything you put into, onto and do with your body affects your health.” According to Yael, having a happy, healthy holiday season does exist by reverting back to the basics. “Eat clean, whole foods. Eat stuff that you know what it used to be. If you can’t tell what plant or animal it came from, try to avoid it. If it’s wrapped in tin foil or plastic, try to avoid it. If it doesn’t spoil, be scared,” she joked. Interested in baking lighter versions of your festive favorites? Try swapping out butter for coconut oil and use crushed dates or agave nectar over processed sugar. Chocolate lovers, embrace baking with carob for a low-fat, naturally sweet and caffeine-free alternative. Speaking of chocolate, we scored Yael's famous brownie recipe sealed with a sweet tooth’s approval. Santa has nothing on this!

Clean Brownies


  • 3/4 cup coconut nectar (or raw honey)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder OR unsweetened cocoa powder OR carob
  • 2 cups almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the 4 ounces of dark chocolate until just barely melted, stir occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl put the cacao powder in first, then add coconut nectar, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, baking soda and sea salt. Mix well.
  4. Add the melted chocolate and combine.
  5. Pour the batter into greases 9X12 baking pan, spread until even.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Set a timer for 20 minutes and turn the pan 180 degrees and set the timer again for another 10 minutes. TIP: They may be done or they may need another 10 minutes, it varies depending on many factors, typical of baking gluten-free. The brownie edges should be browned and firm but not too dark. Let cool, cut and serve!

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