Joy

There is no desire that anyone holds for any other reason than that they believe they will feel better in the achievement of it.

Whether it is a material object, a physical state of being, a relationship, a condition, or a circumstance ~ at the heart of every desire is the desire to feel good.

And so, the standard of success in life is not the things or the money – the standard of success is absolutely the amount of joy you feel.

All quotes by Abraham ~ Hicks

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The Summery Scent of Coconut

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?

The sweet, sexy scent of coconut tanning oil slathered on beach bodies is my signal that summer has arrived. Could there be anything better? Every time a whiff of delicious coconut oil wafts through the air, I feel like I’ve been magically transported to an exotic spot with swaying palm trees, sweet ocean waves and fruit-filled cocktails…

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Since we’re discussing coconuts, how could I not list the beautiful health benefits of coconut water, milk and meat? Here they are:

  • Coconut meat helps prevent obesity by being high in fiber
  • All coconut products improve heart health
  • Coconut has a subtle sweetness with a low glycemic index
  • All coconut products help reduce a craving for sweetness
  • Milk, oil and water help improve digestion
  • Helps give a quick energy boost
  • Coconut oil is a smooth, sexy, natural massage oil
  • Coconut fat is good for you.
  • Coconut oil can be used on skin and hair to soften and moisturize
  • Coconut oil is proven to be antiviral, antifungal and anti-bacterial (and possibly anti-aging too!)
  • All coconut products give a boost to the immune system

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Bitchin’ Bananas

It’s Throwback Thursday and I’m California dreaming again…about frozen bananas.

photo (6)The first time I tasted a frozen banana was in Balboa Island, Orange County about four years ago. I was a little obsessed with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” at that time (yes, embarrassing but true), so visiting Orange County (the home of my dysfunctional, slightly alcoholic, drama queen housewives) was super exciting for me.  I loved being in their neighborhood and secretly hoped my friend Tammy and I would run into one as we toured around the OC.

But, I digress. I’m supposed to be writing about bananas, not housewives….

The astonishingly delicious frozen banana I had on Balboa Island was dipped in a sweet, milk chocolate and covered in fluourescently bright candy and chopped walnuts. It was sublime. “How do we not have these in Canada?”, I thought as I chowed down on my banana while soaking up the California sun.

Lately frozen bananas have been dancing in my mind again and I’ve been experimenting with a healthy, clean, vegan version of the treat I discovered in Southern California.

So, below is the recipe I concocted to duplicate all of the frozen banana yumminess but without all of the bad stuff:

 Laurel’s Bitchin’ Bananas

  • two large bananas
  • raw cashew butter
  • a hunk of 80% dark chocolate

Slice the bananas into .5 inch little circles, put a dollop of cashew butter in between two slices, like an oreo cookie and place in freezer.

While the banana chunks are freezing, heat the dark chocolate on a double boiler and when it starts to lightly bubble, dip the cashew banana chunks in the hot chocolate. Place back in freezer.

bitchin bananas

Serve frozen, just out of the freezer.

Bet you can’t eat just one.

Sweet Summertime Yoga

I’m kicking this post off with some of my favourite photos from last summer’s idyllic Sunday night beach yoga class. 2

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Practicing under a big, beautiful tree, overlooking the Pacific is a happy place to be and I was there like clockwork every Sunday evening.

Since summer is still a few months away and I’m gazing out the window at a grey, drizzly, springtime in Vancouver day, I’ve had to come up with a strategy to revive my lagging yoga practice. I’ve gone to the studio a handful of times over the winter and, although the studio is okay, it just ain’t the beach. And when my schedule gets hectic, the yoga studio seems to be the first thing to go. So, my strategy to bring yoga back into my life is short sessions twice a day, every day, in my comfy little livingroom. Also, as a sidenote, did you know that yoga alkalinizes the body? Yep, it does. I find this amazing as I thought only food was capable of doing this, but yoga actually removes stress so powerfully that it has an alkaline effect on our systems. The flexibility and alkaline factor make yoga a super healthy, anti-aging thing to do and, since I am on a quest for both of these qualities, below is the routine I’m adding to my world via mini sessions at home. The Routine

  1. Put on your favourite music
  2. Three Sun Salutations (include walking the dog and one legged downward dog)
  3. Two Wild Things (an amazing, full body stretch)
  4.  Triangle pose one both sides (as a side-note, whenever I do this pose, my back does a gentle, chiropractor-like crack. A really good thing, I think)
  5. Dancers Pose
  6. Bridge or Wheel
  7.  Shoulder Stand (Super anti-aging and re-balancing. I definitely recommend this for everyone.)

Instantaneously I felt the benefits of my little routine, especially in the evening. After a long day at the office and a sardine can-esque ride home on local transit, I’m ready for a shift from frazzled stress ball to laid-back yogini. And my mini yoga session always delivers.

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Until summer returns…