Beach Yoga & Energy Balls

 

The feeling of freedom I get from doing yoga and meditating in nature keeps me balanced, happy and somewhat sane.

I practice yoga in a studio over the winter but when spring hits and I can do a few Sun Salutions gazing at the Pacific Ocean and the mountain range behind it, well nothing indoors can really compare to that. Going barefoot in the sand and letting my feet, usually imprisoned in some sort of high heel, sink into the cool, grains of dark sand feels better than the most luxurious spa treatment. And if you believe in earthing, it is better than the most luxurious foot treatment.

The beautiful ocean air, the sweet sound of the waves lapping the shore and my own little yoga practice on a deserted beach is my recipe for re-balancing and relaxation.

Then I like to go home, chilled out and stress free, to work on some other recipes.

This week I have a raw energy ball recipe that’s full of nutritious ingredients and easy to pack in your bag when you’re in the run. Clean eating approved and delicious, here it is:

Almond Oatmeal Energy Balls

 

  • One cup oatmeal
  • One cup almond butter
  • 1 T honey or maple syrup
  • 1 T flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Form into balls. Refrigerate.

 

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Healthy Happy Hiking Snacks

The Grind is taking up a fair amount of my spare time right now so it’s going to be the subject of another blog post. This one to be exact.

The stairmaster-esque climb, the intense sweating, the checking of the heart rate every few minutes and the unbelievably long time it takes to get to the first quarter mark can make this hike feel like a special form of torture. But, that said, it’s the best and quickest way for me to achieve my summer fitness goals. And, for this reason, in spite of all of my complaining, I kinda love it.

The Grouse GrindHowever, my fitness level is at a point where I definitely have to sit and take a break part way up. I stare into space for a while, gulp down some water and text a few friends the exact same message “I’m in actual hell right now”. Then I usually hear my stomach grumble angrily. The last time this happened I devoured a sugary granola bar but…no more. I’m eating clean and sugar free now. So for my grumbly, half way up the mountain hunger pains I’ve made a yummy, no-sugar alternative. I tried these snacks for the first time a few days ago and my verdict is YUM.

Disclaimer: this recipe is only delicious after you’ve been sugar free for a while and have reset your taste buds.

Here’s my easy as (sugar free) pie recipe:

Workout Cookies

2 ripe, mashed bananas
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
a dash of cinnamon
Mix all ingredients, drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

sugar free cookies

There you have it. Take these on your next trek into the woods and your body with thank you.

What Do You Really Want?

For dinner?

And breakfast and lunch. 

These are my burning questions lately. What do I really want to eat? And it’s been a rollercoaster ride finding out exactly what will nourish my body and my soul.

Here’s a perfect example. Last night all I wanted was ice cream. Ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, my brain was feverishly obsessing about the sweet, fatty deliciousness of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream in particular. So, off I ran to the local ice cream parlour, bought a perfect pint of my longed for vanilla and turned it into a salted caramel sundae. Then I was craving a chicken and cheese sandwich. I went to the kitchen and made two big, thick chicken, cheese, caramelized onion and arugula sandwiches (that I sort of shared with my dog). I tried my best to eat slowly and mindfully but it’s a learned art, let me tell you. And then I passed out on the couch, snoring a little no doubt.

This morning I woke up to puffy eyes, alarmingly red, blotchy skin and a really upset stomach. Oh no, I thought, I’m gluten sensitive after all! Or is it dairy? Or….is it me not being quite able to regulate my appetite and going overboard with too much of a good thing? I’m not sure. My first alarmed and anxious instinct (after many, many years of dieting and weird eating plans) was to hop on the gluten free, dairy free bandwagon yet again. Until I fell off, of course, yet again.

So, I guess this is where the intuitive part comes in. Eventually my body will let me know just what the hell is going on. Either I will keep feeling ill after eating wheat and dairy or I don’t. And, if I don’t, then I know that I was just a glutton last night. Plain and simple. No gluten free eating plan required. And if I am a wee bit gluten or dairy sensitive after all, then I am beginning to trust that I will figure out what to do on my own by listening closely to my body’s messages. That I’ll start eating food I love and that the food I love will love me back. No expensive diet books required.

And, how could I end this post without a photo of last night’s indulgence. Vanilla ice cream, bananas, walnuts and salted caramel sauce. Definite Foodporn.

Ice cream sundae

 

Magic Mushrooms

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If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. – Cheshire Cat

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But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.

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The Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, ‘One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.’

‘One side of what? The other side of what?’ thought Alice to herself.

‘Of the mushroom,’ said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud.

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Hearty Autumn Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onions, diced
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 1/2 cup of good quality white wine
  • 1 -2 garlic cloves, minced    
  • cup veggie stock 
  • 1 cup light cream 
  • pinch of thyme 
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Quick Tip – Never use a wine for cooking that you wouldn’t want to drink.

Instructions

In a soup pot, melt olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 5 minutes or until translucent. Add assorted mushrooms and sauté for 10-15 minutes until browned and juices are mostly evaporated. Add wine and simmer.

Reserve half of the mushrooms and onions and place into a blender. Add cream and blend until smooth. Add pureed mushrooms and 1 cup stock into pot. Add more stock if soup is too thick for your liking. Season soup with thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Simmer soup over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Serve.

oyster mushroom

The Wellness Show & Chocolate Quinoa Cake

I woke up on the opening day of The Wellness Show craving a hamburger. Hmmm, not really in keeping with the vibe of the wellness theme but when I’m craving food that strongly, I’ve got to listen. So I ended up on a bar stool at the Cactus Club, right beside the Convention Centre, chowing down on a cheeseburger and watching all of the healthy, gluten-free people walk out of The Wellness Show with their large, orange swag bags in tow.

Have I mentioned how much I love animals and how badly I want to be a vegetarian? I have tried over and over again. And each time I try a little harder; consulting nutritionists, taking a plethora of supplements and iron tonics. And the longest I’ve lasted is three months. It gives me a lot of angst but I get to a point of craving red meat so badly that I feel like I could jump the fence, run into a pasture and take down a cow myself. Not good. Anyway, I digress. This post is all about Vancouver’s Wellness Show, not my dietary struggles.

The Wellness Show is the yin to my cheeseburger’s yang. Imagine a huge room filled with everything from power drinks to vegan cupcakes to reflexology to bio mats filled with crystals. I entered the room like a slightly ADD kid in a candy store, eyes frantically darting left and right, taking in all of the goodies.

By late afternoon I had stuffed myself with raw vegan goodness, gotten reflexology, a shiatsu massage, was covered in yummy smelling aromatherapy oils and had my bio-rthyms read (my hypothalamus is under-active, in case you were wondering). I was a happy girl. I ended my Wellness experience by plopping myself down in front of the cooking stage to see the talented and entertaining Chef, Craig of Italian Kitchen, make a chocolate quinoa cake.

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I was intrigued by this cake and had been thinking about it for days. Quinoa in a cake? I was dying to see how, and if, it would turn out.

To make a long story short, it tasted fabulous. Rich, chocolatey and you couldn’t taste the quinoa at all. Chef also made a raspberry sauce to go on top and all was sugar-free, sweetened with agave. I had to try to re-create this masterpiece at home in cupcake form.

 Chocolate Quinoa Cake (or Cupcakes)

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup flax oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Mix all ingredients in blender, then bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for half an hour.

Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 pint raspberries
  • splash agave
  • splash water

Simmer on stove top. Pour over finished cake or cupcakes.

Okay, you’ve gotta love a recipe that’s delicious and healthy, and everything is just thrown in a blender and then tossed in the oven. No muss, no fuss. I highly recommend this recipe.

Bon Apetit!