Cypress Mountain & Nice Cream 

A few photos and quotes from last week’s hike on Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver:

Birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. – Stephen King

In quietness are all things answered. – A Course in Miracles

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive. – Gilda Radner

Spending time in the forest has always been my yin to the yang of the corporate world. Nothing for me is more soothing and rejuvenating than spending an afternoon surrounded by sweet scented, mossy green trees.

And after working up an appetite on a hike I like to head home to whip up a tasty, sugar-free treat. This recipe is a post hike favourite. It’s vegan, naturally sweetened and uber-healthy with nut butter, dairy free milk and lots of anti-oxidant fruit.

Peanut Butter Banana Nice Cream

  • 5 bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 3 T. peanut butter (or almond butter if you prefer)

Blend together and store in freezer until frozen. Top with your favourite fruit. This one has banana, mango, strawberries and unsweetened coconut. The recipe tastes a lot like ice cream but is so very good for you.

Hope you enjoy it.

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Sugar free is the way to be

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a raw food eatery in Calgary with my ex-boyfriend, his daughter and his son-in-law, celebrating father’s day. Don’t ask how this happened. It’s a long story.

The cool thing about this luncheon, though, was that the daughter and son-in-law had been sugar-free for a few months and they were singing the praises of this lifestyle like the truly converted.

They had more energy and more even energy throughout the day, balanced moods, their skin looked better and had both, effortlessly, lost weight, they said. And their eyes lit up when they talked about their new eating plan and how much it had improved their lives.

As they talked, I remembered feeling that way too when I gave up sugar. The only thing is that it’s hard and, invariably, I slink down the slippery slope that leads to sugar mountain.

But, what the heck, I’m feeling ready to take on the sugar demon one more time.

I’ll chronicle my experience (and recipes) here and start the journey with one of my sugar-free life savers. This pudding is rich, creamy and bursting with a deep, dark chocolate flavour. Here it is:

The Chocolate Avocado Raspberry Pudding

  • four bananas
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • splash unsweetened coconut or almond milk
  • 2 T raw cacao

Blend, garnish with fresh raspberries & unsweetened coconut and serve.

Nice Cream

I’m loving the raw food recipes I’ve been sampling as I continue with my nutrition course.

You can’t be perfect though, and sometimes I just want to leave the uber-healthy green smoothies behind and indulge in a messy, gooey, rich and delicious dessert. But a dessert that won’t make me feel unhealthy and bloated and give me a sugar rush. Well, The raw food recipes I’ve been experimenting with have got that covered too.

Let me introduce you to Nice Cream.

Nice Cream

  • 3 frozen bananas cubed
  • Splash of maple syrup
  • One T coconut cream
  • Two T raw cacao for chocolate (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc. for other flavours)

Blend all ingredients together and indulge in this rich, delicious ice cream-like dessert that is actually good for you!

Chocolate & Blueberry Chia Pudding a Deux

chia puddingAre you looking for something sweet, dark and delicious to serve your Valentine in a few days?

How about a delicious chia pudding to share?

This easy parfait consists of the following two recipes layered with frozen blueberries and a little dusting of coconut flakes to top things off. It’s a yummy, healthy and energizing dish. Perfect for Valentines. 

Blueberry Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup organic nut butter
  • 3 T raw cacao

chia pudding

Here’s to a happy, healthy Valentine’s Day xo

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.

 

 

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Okay, here’s my second post about the wonders of chia and with another yummy recipe.

Did you know that chia can actually help you regulate your hormones? Pretty impressive for such a little seed.

Insulin, the stress hormone that your pancreas produces, can be slowed down by eating chia daily. How you’re wondering? By regulating the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream. Another byproduct of having less stress hormones floating around in your body? An increase in the amount of testosterone in your system. Something that’s good for both males and females. See here.

Chia can also help with the interconnectivity of brain functioning, which means that it can actually help seratonin do its thing. And increased seratonin improves your mood and makes you more focused!

More reasons to eat chia every day and here’s a delicious recipe to help you do just that:

Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • One banana
  • 1/4 cup cacao
  • 5 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Blend all ingredients together. Let sit overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Layer the pudding with fresh, slices of fruit or top with coconut and chocolate shavings. Serve and enjoy.

Superfood Chia – Why you should be eating it every day

chia puddingAfter doing a little digging on the internet, I found so many benefits from eating chia that I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen to whip up a batch of yummy chia pudding.

I have a feeling that these awesome little seeds – also used for the iconic chia pets of the 70’s – are going to be a major player in my anti-aging journey.

I’m also excited to share a few of their health benefits, and a delicious recipe, with you.

Here they are:

  1. Chia keeps your skin clear

Chia seeds have a natural antioxidant concentration that stops up to 70% of free radical activity. Chia seeds are one of nature’s riches antioxidants and antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems, as well as preventing any further damage.

  1. Chia keeps your digestion flowing

Chia is super-high in fiber, providing nearly 11 grams per ounce. One serving provides your recommended fiber intake for the day. Amazing and so easy! Chia seeds also create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds. This works as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut. How awesome is that? Prebiotics and all the fiber you need in one shot!

  1.  Chia loves your heart

Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it a friend of your <3. Also, because of this, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re eating chia seeds daily.

  1. It boosts your energy & metabolism

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning says chia seeds improve exercise performance for workouts in the same way a sugary sports drink would. But…without all the sugar. Yes!

  1. Last but not least – It gives you a rockin’ bod

Chia seeds are also one of the top plant based sources of protein. This is another reason this superfood is amazing to consume for those trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat, and balance blood sugar levels.

Chia seeds pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help replace some of those nutrients lost when exercising. They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc (very anti-aging), iron and niacin.

One of the qualities that makes chia so incredible is that it can absorb up to 10 times its own weight in water.  Because of this, chia seeds can help keep you hydrated and increase absorption of electrolytes. This also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer reducing those sabotaging fast food cravings.

Can you see why I’m in love with these awesome little seeds? And I’ve found a delicious way to incorporate them into my diet every day with a serving of chia pudding. Here is one of my fave recipes:

Strawberries n Cream Chia Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • A handful of fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Blend all ingredients together. Let sit overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Serve.