Happy Weekend!

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We are a culture that has become obsessed with “happy”. Commercials, adds, all feature smiling people and promise you that their product will make you happier. Social media, too highlights this phenomenon as everyone posts pictures of their fun trips, smiling family and successes. Social media was called a “hall of flattering mirrors” in something I read once, and it’s true, but what you see on the commercials, and on Facebook pages is not the truth. Everyone suffers. Everyone feels sad, has doubts, feels envious of others’ “perfect” lives. This is what unites us. We must not fight our sadness. It’s natural to have low days, sad days, bad moods. Just like the rain, a good cry can cleanse our minds and bodies. Of course, it’s not healthy to feel sad ALL the time, but every now and again is completely normal, and healthy. It’s a sign that you are human, that you are alive and experiencing life. Next time you feel sad, don’t judge it, just notice it and let yourself feel whatever it is you feel. Happy Weekend!

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Raw, Vegan Fudge Brownies With Cashew Cream Frosting!!

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I’ve recently been trolling the raw cooking youtube channels and came across this dessert. One thing that I love about raw desserts is that they are most likely gluten free, and quick/easy because there’s no baking involved! The brownie dough tastes like real brownie dough. I was shocked! And those medjool dates are a game changer when it comes to raw desserts. I am so surprised how sweet they are. They are like a treat all alone.

Also, the cashew cream frosting is sooooo delicious and this dessert feels, looks,  and tastes so decadent but has no added sugar, is all natural, vegan and gluten free. Try this recipe and be amazed! I could post the recipe here but the youtube video is so much better to watch and below it the recipe is written out for you. Also, check out this raw cooking channel. It’s filled with wonderful, easy recipes and the mother daughter duo is super cute : )

P.S. I bought my cacao powder here. It’s the best deal that I’ve found and you can add it to smoothies as well as using it for baking/raw dessert making.

 

Happy Weekend!

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Eastern philosophers always speak of water because of its unique qualities. Water is soft and flexible. It always chooses the path of least resistance, and yet, it carves paths through rocks, creates canyons, and holds up ships. A ripple in water, effects every other water molecule associated with that body of water, regardless of distance. Water soothes and heals. It washes and renews. Water can slip through fingers, but hold up ships. In your life, try to be more like water. Flexible, soft, but strong. It can be done. Happy Weekend!

Happy Weekend!

ImageThis quote is quite fitting for the weekend, as the weekend is a time when most of us can get still again. This past week was particularly busy for me, and waking up this morning to stillness and and open day has made all the difference. When I am too busy, my mind can’t open. I have to get still, to find peace and clarity. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try creating stillness, either by taking a day off, or going to a remote place to be alone. Hope you are able to see this weekend by creating space : ) Happy Weekend!

The Benefits of Buckwheat

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With a name like buckwheat it’s hard not to think that this product is related to wheat. But in truth,  it has no relation at all. Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, who’s closest relative is rhubarb and sorrel….who would have thought? Lately we have been making buckwheat pancakes,  and just kind of assumed that they were healthier than regular wheat pancakes. Until we did some research, we didn’t realize how beneficial this food really is. There really are quite a few benefits of buckwheat but I’m just going to list several that stood out for me.

It’s gluten free! There is so much hype lately about benefits of going gluten free. Both of us tried going gluten free and discovered that, for us, the hype was true. We both felt lighter, healthier, less bloated, and just overall better.  So in our search to find healthier gluten free alternatives (especially for pancakes) buckwheat is king. There are many ways to incorporate it into your diet, but our favorite option is in pancake form!

Low glycemic index. Recent studies have shown that buckwheat may aid in helping manage diabetes. After reading the book “Wheat Belly” I was blown away to find out that a couple pieces of wheat bread can spike your blood sugar as much, or more than a snickers bar!? Buckwheat has a low GI and is a better alternative to bring those blood sugar levels down to normal.

Mood enhancer. Buckwheat contains tryptophan, which has been shown to improve your mood. Thus, making you a little bit happier. Who doesn’t want to eat something that is not also healthy but can lift your spirits as well!?

Its Chemical free!! Buckwheat grows so fast that farmers don’t have to use pesticides or herbicides. It can grow in very poor soil while also enhancing the soil quality.

Buckwheat sounds like a win win option for everyone, not just individuals who are trying to lead a gluten free lifestyle.

Top 5 Reasons to Juice!

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1.    It’s and easy way to get your greens. It is commonly known that most Americans do not meet their daily intake of vegetables and juicing is an easy way to meet those needs without all of the laborious work of cooking. Just throw a healthy amount of kale or spinach into your juice and you’re set for the day!

2.    Your skin will be GLOWING! Give it a little time but after you’ve consistently juiced for several weeks, your friends are going to be complimenting your skin and asking what’s your secret to looking great.

3.    It extends your life expediency. Studies have shown that nutrients in juice help keep your cells from dying ahead of their time, which, in return, allows them to benefit you a little bit longer.

4.    It helps restore pH balance! There has been an overwhelming amount of research lately that shows an acidic pH can lead to cancer. Normalizing your pH can help stop cancer in it’s tracks. Leafy greens and low sugary veggies will help balance your pH so if you still aren’t ready to completely change your diet yet at least you can start with incorporating a healthy juice to assist your body in that pH fight.

5.    You’ll feel much better. Who here doesn’t know that vegetables are good for you? The antioxidants and nutrients found in vegetables will have your body functioning better, you will wake up feeling more energized and your body will thank you for it. Everyone seems to want to consume more veggies and you’ll never have any regrets incorporating them into your diet!

Simple Pleasure-Doing Nothing

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Sunday was a rainy day, a lazy day. Matt and I spent the entire day inside, reading, browsing the internet, and watching our favorite movie “Garden State” for the millionth time. We had to resist the urge to go out and “do something”. I’ve noticed that if I don’t do something each day, I feel a bit worthless and unproductive (even on my weekend days). In “Eat Pray Love” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the Italian attitude towards a lazy day.

“Il bel far niente means ‘the beauty of doing nothing’… [it] has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement. You don’t necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert quoted from the book “Eat Pray Love”

I’ve also been re-reading “The Geography of Bliss”, as it’s been a few years since I read the book for the first time. Eric Weiner writes about this “beauty of doing nothing” as a concept in happiness studies. He highlights this idea most beautifully through the concept of the café. Cafés, Weiner explains, are a place where Europeans can spend an entire day, people watching and socializing without an ounce of guilt. The most delicious part of this pastime is that it costs very little money, if any, but can provide you with a tremendous amount of joy, peace, relaxation, and reconnection.

I don’t think I’m the only one who feels guilty spending an entire day doing nothing. So why is that? What is it about our culture that has made us feel as though we have to do “something” everyday? Why do we feel guilty spending an entire day in our pajamas, reading, drinking tea, and laying around? And, if you say “but I am too busy to take a day off” should this be so? Our culture has glorified the concept of busy, and I know I have days where I’m rushing constantly from one thing to the next. It doesn’t feel good to be too busy, to have obligations, a planned and packed schedule. In fact, when I get too busy, I begin to feel as though I’m not in control of my life. I miss the option of spontaneity. There is something freeing about having the option to do whatever you feel like doing, in that moment, for an entire day. This is such a simple pleasure; one that anybody can enjoy regardless of economic status. I’ve written about the importance of creating space in order to feel mindful, connected, or creative, in the past and the concept of doing nothing is connected to the concept of creating space. How would people’s lives change if everyone in our country took one day off a week to enjoy the beauty of doing nothing? Try this sometime and allow yourself to really enjoy the day.

Happy Weekend!

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When love is your religion, every person, every heart is an opportunity to offer gratitude, prayer, homage. Every person you come into contact with is an opportunity to spread love. It may be as simple as a smile, but remember that every interaction with another being exchanges some energy. You get to choose what type of energy you want to share. Happy Weekend.

The Importance of Setting Intention

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I was in final savasana the other day at yoga, laying on the floor, legs and arms resting, palms up to receive, when the teacher discussed setting your goals for class. He explained that not everyone will have the same goal, and that our goals can change from class to class. Some people come to yoga to get in shape, some to relax, some to connect their mind and their body, some come to heal physically and/or emotionally. Of course, yoga will give you gifts that you may have never hoped for, but it is always good to have an intention, or a goal, and remember what that goal is so that you don’t get discouraged when comparing yourself with others. You may have a different goal than the person next to you.

Matt and I have also recently gotten into the show Scandal, for those of you who don’t know this show, it is basically about a group of lawyers, working for the main character (who is also a lawyer) Olivia Pope. They call themselves gladiators in suits, and “fix” problems that need fixing (mainly hired by politicians and other power players that reside in Washington. Olivia always asks her clients what their “end game” is, meaning, what are their goals. What is best-case scenario for the end result of their work together? What Olivia is really doing is setting an intention and a goal to shoot for.

This concept of goal and intention setting is so important for life as well. What is your end-game for your day, or your job, or your yoga class, or your conversation with your husband? Setting your intentions can be such a powerful step to take prior to entering into an experience, because it gives you something to aim for. This simple step of setting your intention/goal, can also prevent you from becoming side-tracked, or disappointed with the end results. For example, I recently competed in the Yoga Asana Regional Championship, and my goals while training were focused on my postures. My intention for the competition was to provide a graceful, strong demonstration of the postures that I could perform. It was to perform my postures to the best of my abilities. There was no strategizing to score points, or maximize my overall score. However, when I checked the results of the points, I found myself disappointed with my overall point score, and feeling discouraged as I compared myself to all the other amazing yogis’ points. Timeout. My postures were awesome, and I had left the competition feeling inspired, proud, and as if I had conquered something major. My “end-game”, my intentions and goals revolved around my postures, and I had reached my goal. Reminding myself of my original goal, helped to re-frame the entire experience for me, and reminded me of what a powerful tool intention-setting can be.

Remember this very simple concept before you begin something (even something as simple as a yoga class). Some days, my goal for yoga class is to really push myself, to conquer the monkey mind that tells me “I can’t do anymore”. Some days my goal for yoga class is to have compassion for myself because I am prone to believe that I have to do everything perfectly. I often put a lot of pressure on myself in life, a byproduct of which is pain and suffering, so some days, allowing myself to sit down and rest for a posture is my goal. Some days, when my life is crazy or I’ve had a particularly negative thought process for the day, my goal is simply to be in the moment, and to connect my body with my mind. The point is, that your goals can change, and simply by setting an intention prior to beginning, gives you a purpose.