The Mind Body Connection

pexels-photo-325520.jpeg

Self-worth, as defined in the English dictionary, is the sense of one’s own value, or worth as a person; self-esteem; self respect.

Recently, I have come to realize that I have relied on other people to determine my self-worth throughout my entire life. In order to feel confident, happy, and content, I have needed family, friends, and even strangers to affirm all of my accomplishments, big or small, and justify all of the things that do not go as planned. It has been my security blanket and protection from any form of discomfort.

I also have a history of people pleasing. I put the preferences of others ahead of my own and disregard my feelings entirely to avoid upsetting anyone else. Since my self-worth depends on everyone thinking highly of me, I avoid confrontation like the plague.

I never fully felt the effects of this until I became a mom. Suddenly, the attention shifted away from me and onto my children, and it also became harder and harder to please everyone since I was no longer the only person in the equation. I often felt alone, isolated, and that I had lost my identity. I slowly felt my anxiety increasing as time went on, and then I was introduced to the true meaning of depression.

This experience led me to discover that health is not only about the foods that we eat and whether or not we exercise. I eat a very nourishing diet and move my body every day, but while I was feeling mentally defeated, stressed out, and just sub par, it took a toll on my physical health as well.

As a person who suffers from food sensitivities, I noticed that when I was feeling my worst, my symptoms also worsened and new ones developed. My feelings on the inside were directly reflected on the outside. I was having break outs, digestive problems, facial flushing, fatigue, joint pain, weakness, and much more.

Depression effects many people and it can display itself in a variety of ways. Aside from extreme sadness and withdrawal, a person may also experience chronic pain, weight gain, a short temper, skin issues, a loss of focus, feelings of apathy, and may be more inclined to rely on drugs and alcohol.

If you are starting on a path to live a happy and healthier life, I encourage you to take a look at all factors that contribute to your well-being. This may include your job, your relationships, your sleep habits, and physical activity just to name a few. We need to treat our mind, body, and soul as one if we truly want to live abundantly healthful lives.

 

Diet Changes Everything.

It seems that at one point or another, everyone has tried some sort of diet out there. There are so many to choose from – Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, Vegan, Vegetarian, Keto, Gluten Free, The Blood Type Diet, Weight Watchers…the list goes on and on.

The problem with traditional “dieting” is that we are all uniquely different. This concept is referred to as bio-individuality. While one person may thrive on a particular diet, another person may feel sick, have low energy, and experience a host of other issues directly correlated to the foods they are consuming.

We all want to look and feel our best, but it can be challenging and very confusing to determine what dietary lifestyle to follow when so many of the popular diets out there contradict each other.

The best diet for you will depend on many factors. Your age, gender, ancestry, activity level, food sensitivities or allergies, and your specific DNA make up all play a role in determining what should be on your plate.

First, determine why you want to change your diet. Do you want to lose weight? Do you suspect food sensitivities? Are you often tired or run down? Are you experiencing break outs and/or other skin issues? These questions will help determine a starting point. For instance, I find that eliminating dairy dramatically improved my skin, and the elimination of gluten put a stop to my bloat and stomach discomfort.

To figure out what lifestyle will best suit your individual needs, experiment with different ways of eating. In the beginning, it may be helpful to simply eat more vegetables and fruits, less meat, dairy, and sugar, and limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

Remember, these things take time. Be patient with your body, and listen closely to what it is telling you. No one knows you like you do. You are your own best advocate for feeling well and living your best life.

Superfood Chocolate Elixir

You know when midday hits and caffeine and/or a snack is calling your name? Well, for me, this delicious concoction satisfies both.

It’s warm, indulgent, filling, and gives an all natural boost. And it doesn’t come from a packet that you shake into a mug. This is the real deal. The secret to it’s benefits lies in the ingredients: the superfoods. Cacao and maca.

Cacao is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. The list of wonderful things it can do for your health goes on and on, but here are just some of the reasons to add it to your regular diet:

  • Increases mood
  • Reduces hunger
  • Creates energy
  • Prevents heart disease

I don’t need reasons to eat chocolate, but this information definitely encourages me even more.

Keep in mind, to get these benefits it must be in its raw, naturally fermented state, not chocolate with sugar, milk, and other ingredients added. When milk is added, the dairy actually blocks the absorption of the antioxidants.

Maca powder is an ingredient that I love to add to my smoothies and baked goods, especially ones containing chocolate because I love the combination.

Like cacao, the benefits for consuming maca is extensive, but here is the short list:

  • Increases libido
  • Improves mental and physical energy
  • Helps skin health
  • Balances mood and hormones

This food is highly nutritious, but consume it in small amounts. Starting at just 1/2 teaspoon and working your way up to about a tablespoon per day is recommended.

Now for the recipe!

Serves 2.

In a small pot:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • About 1 tbsp cacao butter
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • Sweetener of your choice (I used stevia, but honey would also be a great natural option.)

Continue to stir over medium heat with a whisk until all ingredients are incorporated together. Pour into mugs and enjoy!

Xo. Brittany

Double Chocolate Nutter Butter Muffins

I love chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. It’s the one treat that I crave practically everyday. And with so many health benefits, I am happy to give my body what it wants.

These muffins are filled with nutritious ingredients that’ll leave your belly full and your face smiling. Chocolate, peanut butter, bananas…I’m already drooling.

 

Ingredients you’ll need:

2 ripe bananas

1 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar .

1/2 cup cacao

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax, 5 tbsp water, let sit for 5 min)

3/4 cup almond yogurt (I used @kitehillfoods plain)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp maca powder

1/2 cup cacao chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender, except for chocolate chips.

Add chips to blender and stir with a spoon.

Spoon batter into a 12 cup muffin tin (lined or greased).

Bake for 20 minutes.

Eat, enjoy, repeat 🙂

img_1274

*I crumbled mine on some banana ice cream for an extra special snack. (ripe bananas in an ice cream/sorbet maker for 20 minutes)

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

My kids love sweets – especially anything with chocolate – so I am constantly trying to make recipes that get them excited to eat, while not sabotaging their health. By taking a plant based approach to baking, swapping conventional flours for more easily digestible whole grains, and adding in power packed superfoods, commonly unhealthy options can transform in to nutrient rich meals!

As a mom, I also have limited time and energy. I want quick and simple recipes that do not require a ton of clean up. This recipe requires one appliance – a high powered blender. Once you’re done, simply add a little soap and water and blend your blender clean. It’s that easy!

These muffins are a crowd pleaser at my house – we eat them for breakfast and also enjoy them as snacks. Batches are gone within a few days, so I find myself making them over and over again! They are also great for play dates 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • A blender
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (dairy yogurt could also be substituted)
  • 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal, or steel cut oats for heartier muffins (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 vegan “eggs” (I currently use Namaste foods egg replacer, but you could also use flax eggs – 1 tbsp flax to 2.5 tbsp water per egg – let sit 5 mins)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp Maca Powder (the secret superfood ingredient – optional, but gives a unique nutty flavor, while also packing a nutritious punch)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 6-8 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (for highest nutritional benefit be sure chocolate doesnot contain milk, as milk interferes with the absorption of the great antioxidants found in cocoa)

Place all ingredients in blender, exceptthechocolate chips. Add those last and incorporate into batter with spoon.

Fill a 12 cup muffin tin and bake at 375° for 18 minutes.

These are so delicious as is, but sometimes I like to mix it up.

Some things I’ve tried:

  • top them with a nut butter you love
  • break them apart and throw in a smoothie or yogurt bowl
  • Cut in 1/2 and top with bananas or another favorite fruit

I hope that you enjoy!!

xo Brittany

Avocado + Herb Toasts

There is something so comforting about toast. And it is so versatile – it can be topped with literally anything to suit your cravings and needs, while also being perfectly suitable for any time of day!

Lately, I’m all about herbs. Herbs have so many health benefits, and there are many ways we can incorporate herbs into our daily lives. And it is highly encouraged since herbs are, in fact, small doses of medicine! They have disease preventing and health promoting properties, and can help with a variety of ailments and issues from fighting germs to relieving symptoms of inflammation. Mother nature is pretty flipping amazing!

Today I made two kinds of avocado + herb toasts because my body wants what is wants and I listen. These toasts are colorful, flavorful, loaded with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats, and combine many textures to completely satisfy those taste buds.

Here’s a list of all the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 slices of gluten free bread (you could also try a sprouted bread, sourdough, or another personal favorite)
  • Handful of arugula
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • Red onion (to taste preference)
  • A couple slices of mango, diced
  • Fresh curley parsley
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander)

Method:

  1. Toast your bread to your preference (I like mine crisp + crunchy)
  2. Place ingredients on top of your bread in any order that you choose.
  3. Eat and thoroughly enjoy every bite 😉

It’s that easy! Now get toastin’!

Much love,

Brittany

Pecan Pumpkin Pudding

This is so thick & creamy, and packed with so many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Pumpkin is a powerhouse fruit. It is high in vitamins A, C, + E, rich in minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, and contains lots of fiber and antioxidants.

This recipe is so delicious, but feel free to play around with it and add different ingredients and superfoods that you like. Some that come to mind are maca, chia seeds, and greens! There are so many possibilities, and experimentation is how great recipes are born! Have fun and enjoy!

Method:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender

  • 1 frozen banana

• 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

• tsp honey

• 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

• 3 medjool dates

• A dash of pumpkin pie spice

• 1 tbsp pecans

• 1/2 cup almond milk (more or less depending on how thick you want it)

I topped mine with apples. Enjoy!!!