Delicious Chocolates and a New Path

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re not living the life you’re supposed to be living? And, when you get this feeling, is it so uncomfortable that you try to push it down and ignore it until it goes away? That’s what I do but, this time, it didn’t go away.

A bunch of bad things have happened to me recently. It started with my dog getting really, really sick (see here), then I had some dental work that went sideways and kept me in chronic pain for about a month until it was resolved. Then water started dripping out of my bedroom ceiling at an alarming rate on Jan. 30th (my upsatirs neighbor’s washer in her closet had sprung a leak), necessitating a couple of big, ugly, noisy blowers in my bedroom, my track lighting being trashed and my ceiling dotted with drilled holes and water stains. Oh, and then I broke up with my boyfriend the next day. You’d think that would be enough, right? But, no, about a week later a bunch of binders fell off a top shelf at work and the sharp edges hit me in the face, causing angry, red, stripy cuts across my nose. And that’s when I hit rock bottom emotionally. I was sad, angry, resentful, in grief over my relationship, in fear over my dog’s health and underneath it all was that niggling feeling that I wasn’t living the life I was suppose to be living.

chocolateAt the same time I cut my nose, I was hit with the flu so had to take a couple of days off of work. I was in healing/hideout mode so all I wanted to do was put on oversize sunglasses and walk along a secluded beach with my dog and think about all of these unpleasant things that have been happening and also think about that little voice telling me to change the path of my life. As, I thought about the future, the expression “It hit me in the face” kept going through my mind. Then I thought how maybe that feeling of the past few months, that I haven’t been living my best life, finally hit me in the face, both literally and metaphorically. This led me to think about my passions – psychology and nutrition. The ones I’ve been pretty much either ignoring or downplaying. Now, I love psych but I also know that I don’t have what it takes to be a full-time counsellor. I love nutrition just as much, especially raw food nutrition and I’m always making raw goodies and coming up with eating plans for people who want to lose weight or get healthier. The brambles cleared (both metaphorically and physically) and I started to see a path.

Not one to waste time when something feels right, I quickly walked home, found a local raw food nutrition institute and signed myself up. So I am now on my way to becoming a Raw Food Educator and then continuing with more nutrition and wellness courses.

To get myself in the swing of things, I made these little goodies last night. The healthiest, and maybe most delicious, chocolate you’ll ever taste.

Raw Dark Chocolates

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup organic raw cacao
  • 4 T pure maple syrup

raw-chocolatePlace all ingredients in saucepan over low heat. Stir together until melted, place in empty ice cube trays. Freeze.

These are total people pleasers. They’re a hit with healthy folks and junk food junkies too.

 

 

TruMarine Collagen

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably know that I’m on a quest to age as happily and gracefully as possible. This journey was moving along reasonably well until a few months ago when I had a bad bout of food poisoning. A bug called campylobacter invaded my system and totally messed with my digestive tract. It just didn’t go away on its own so, after a couple of months of trying to cure it with probiotics, I had to take uber strong antibiotics to finally kill it. Although I was happy to have it gone, the antibiotics (along with the bacteria) irritated the lining of my stomach and I ended up with bouts of nausea a few times a day. On top of this, after doing my usual yoga class, my joints felt sore and creaky. Let’s just say I wasn’t feeling too happy or like someone who was aging all that gracefully anymore.

beach yoga
I’ve had a lifetime of quickly and easily bouncing back from things so the fact that I wasn’t bouncing back from my stomach issue combined with feeling a million years old after working out, was bringing me down. Was this how I was going to feel from now on? Unhealthy, sad and tired? Is this why everyone is so afraid of aging? I felt like my body was breaking down and this made me feel vulnerable.
But, as fate would have it, I found my solution at lunch one day. Walking into one of my fave spots, Fresh Café, I saw a company called TruMarine doing a demo of their collagen product. I didn’t know a lot about collagen other than its anti-aging effect on skin but I was about to find out all that it can do. Tami, the owner of the company, filled me in on how our bodies usually have trouble keeping up collagen production starting in our late 40’s. She listed the ways collagen keeps us healthy and beautiful:
· Coats digestive tract

· Keeps joints healthy

· Keeps skin young

· Strengthens hair

· Strengthens nails

Tami also told me that people usually start seeing results in about a month. One exception was a friend of hers who is a hard core athlete. Her friend had severe joint pain and found relief for the pain within a month. Then, two months later she started noticing that her hair and skin looked healthier and more vibrant. The collagen goes to the part of the body that needs it the most first and then moves on to improve other areas. Okay, I was sold. I bought a package and drank a dose down immediately. Now, two weeks later, my nausea is completely gone, after haunting me for three months. And my joint pain is almost non-existant, letting me do my yoga thing about three times a week with no problem. I’m not sure about skin, hair and nails but I took a “before” photo a month ago and will take another at the end of next month, so we can see the results together.

When a product is this good, I have to share.

When Life Gives You Lemons

 

freelemonsLemons. I love fresh, summery, citrusy lemons. I love squeezing lemon in my water, on fish, I adore lemony baked goods and I even like smelling like lemons. That particular obsession started with Love’s Lemon Fresh spray and cleanser when I was a teenager. So for the last four years of the 70’s I walked around smelling like a big lemon.

Right now I have a beautiful bowl of bright yellow lemons sitting in my kitchen. And when I find I have a plethora of lemons in the house, I definitely make lemonade, but I also do this:

  • Use lemons as a blackhead treatment. It may sound too good to be true, but because lemons are antibacterial, they can help treat acne and blackheads. Just slice a lemon, and squeeze the juice on your face. Those annoying blackheads will start to fade before you know it.
  • Use in cleansing wipes. Mix a couple drops of lemon and tea tree essential oil in about 6 ounces of distilled water. Put in a spray bottle to use as a toner or the mixture can be applied with cotton pads as a cleansing wipe for problematic skin.
  • Lemons can also be used to lighten hair. Score dye-free DIY highlights with lemon juice. Apply it before you expose your hair to sunlight to give your locks a natural, sun-kissed color. Lemon juice can also help treat a dry scalp and dandruff, an added bonus.
  • Strengthen Your Nails. Soaking nails into lemon juice for about 10 minutes and rinsing them with warm water once a week will not only help them to grow but will also help whiten them.

And there you have it. Lusciously lemony, all natural, chemical free, cruelty free and budget friendly (whew, that was a mouthful) beauty treatments that will have your hair shining, your skin glowing and your nails bright and beautiful.

And now, the lemonade…

raspberries

 

Raspberry Lemonade

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water and agave over medium heat until the agave has dissolved, about 1 minute. Add raspberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, until raspberries have broken down, about 5 minutes.
  • Blend raspberry/agave until smooth, about one minute.
  • In a large pitcher, whisk together blended raspberries, lemon juice and 5 cups water. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  • Serve over ice or frozen raspberries

lemonade

 

The Love Experiment

Several years ago a friend told me the story of a woman who was dying of cancer.

Chemotherapy was not helping, the cancer was advancing and in a last ditch attempt to save her life it dawned on her one morning that she may be losing the battle because of the hatred she felt for certain parts of her body. She had never liked, accepted or been particularly nice to these parts of her body and she decided that day to embark on a radical journey to self-love. She decided that she would pick a hated body part and stare at it in the mirror, meditate on it, dig up any old buried pain from the past surrounding it, and keep thinking about this body part until she loved and accepted it. Then she would move onto the next body part and repeat the process.

And, after months of doing this, guess what? Her cancer went into remission. Now, I’m not suggesting that this will happen for everyone suffering from cancer but the fact that it happened to this woman amazes me and is a big reminder of how powerful our thoughts are. All beings on this earth respond to energy. We all thrive when given positive energy and we all suffer if too much negative energy comes our way, so think about what us hating ourselves or even a part of ourselves will do to us over time.

After remembering this story, I decided that it is time. Time to start walking the walk as well as talking the talk. It’s easy to proclaim that you accept and love yourself and have embraced the aging process. But I personally am still horrified at certain things I see in the mirror and it’s time for me to really dig deep into the experience of deep love and acceptance of myself. A number of things I don’t like or love about myself quickly pop into my mind as I write this. My rather large hands with really prominent veins, my expanding wrinkles around my eyes, how my face is hollowing (and drooping a bit) as I age, the list goes on. I definitely have a few issues to work through to get where I want to be. And none of these issues will be resolved by changing how I look. No botox, fillers, breast implants or lipo will help. Changing my perspective about my perceived problems is the only thing that will heal what needs to be healed. love experiment So, a couple of days ago I was shopping in the neighborhood and stopped by my local Shopper’s Drug Mart to pick up some toiletries when I noticed an Oprah magazine as I was at the till. I stared at the large font on the cover, How To Love The Skin You’re In, then turned away and paid for my purchases. As I walked out the front door, I felt compelled to turn and look at the magazine again. How to love the skin you’re in. How can I not buy this mag, I thought as I walked back in and scooped up a copy.

Next on my shopping list was something for dinner from Whole Foods. My mind went over all of the healthy items I could buy and, after considering them all, I realized that I didn’t want any of them. Not a one. I feel like I’ve been so extreme with my no-gluten, no-dairy, no-sugar regime and, although I do feel better and my skin looks better, I needed to forget it all for awhile. My inner child was desperate for some fun food. She wanted to eat something extremely delicious. She wanted chocolate.

So, I went home and read this… Oprah And ate this… chocolate And then fell into a deep peaceful sleep on the sofa about half an hour later.

Well, it looks like it’s time for “The Love Experiment” to begin. I am going to start with one hated body part and focus on it until I have transformed the way I think about it. Then I’ll move onto the next one and so on and so on until there is nothing left. I’ll write upcoming posts about this whenever I have something share-worthy. I’m excited to start this next journey and if any of this resonates with you, please come with me.

cute dog 1

Mmmmm, looks good mom!

cute dog 2

So, where’s mine?

Dove’s Beauty Patch

One of my favourite bloggers, Nancy of My Year of Sweat, wrote a beautiful post today that included this video:

As I watched the video, I found my eyes starting to water. And then the watering eyes turned into a full on, good, deep cry. Why was I crying? So many reasons. This video was a big reminder of how successful our society is at setting up women to never be satisfied with how we look. The ages, weight ranges and body shapes that are deemed acceptable are very, very narrow and, for a lot of us, unattainable. How deeply, heartbreakingly sad.

And, because I’m 51, one of the most moving moments for me was when a woman asked why aging is so bad? Why can’t it be seen as a good thing? Why indeed?

Can you imagine a world where aging was seen as a positive? Where we celebrated our wisdom and our wrinkles? The billion dollar plastic surgery industry would collapse. There would be no more botox or fillers or freakish “trout pout” collagen lips. A world where women were proud of their age instead of ashamed. Can you even imagine?

I think it’s time to start a revolution ladies. Time to create a new reality where the word “beautiful” encompasses a wide variety of body types, ethnicities and ages. Because the real truth, which I hope we all know deep down, is that we are all perfectly beautiful just as we are.

Read Nancy’s post here.