Hey there! Last week in my list of "Healthy Tweaks", I mentioned making your own muesli bars or energy balls instead of buying them.
They are super easy to make, and this allows you to control the quality of ingredients and the amount of sugar that goes into them.
I have 3 recipes to share with you today. These 3 are ones I have made several times and they always turn out well! And my daughter and her friends love them. I hope you do too!
They all take no more than 30 minutes to make. Enjoy!
1. Easy Granola Bars By Brown Thumb Mama
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 cups add-ins ( mini choc chips, nuts & seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit)
Lightly butter a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 325F.
Combine butter and honey in a large bowl and mix well. Add all other ingredients except add-ins and mix well. Stir add-ins in by hand.
Press the mixture into the pan. The mixture will be sticky, so it can help to dampen your hands a little. Take the time to press firmly and evenly. Bake them for 15-20 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins. They will cook and set a bit more as they cool.
Cut into bars and store either at room temp (they keep for about a week) or freeze.
2. Almond Oatmeal Protein Bars (GF) By Jenny Sugar
1 cup almond butter
3 oz vegan or whey protein powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
Lightly grease a 9x11 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to beat first 3 ingredients together. Then beat in eggs. Stir in oats, coconut, and baking soda by hand to mix well.
Take the time to firmly and evenly press dough into the pan. Dough will be stiff, so you can use the back of a spoon or dampen your hands.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool COMPLETELY and cut into bars. Store at room temp (they keep for about a week) or freeze.
3. Yummy Chocolate Balls by Adrian Nowland
6-7 large Medjool dates
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse on high until smooth. It will be like a thick paste, you don't want any chunks in it. Sometimes I find I have to add 1-2 Tbsp water if it's too thick and won't process well enough. Roll into balls. Makes 15-20.
There you go, 3 recipes of delicousness. Hope you enjoy.
Next week I'm going to talk about Morning Rituals. Specifically, why they are important and how to create your own with as little as 5 minutes to spare. I will share the 5 steps to ensure you start your day feeling centered, calm, and clear.
Stay tuned and until then... be well!
Hey there! I don't know about you, but the start of the school year brings both a welcome shift back to a routine AND a bit of melancholy as summer comes to a close. Here in Seattle, we already feel autumn is in the air, with cold mornings and shorter days.
One of the things I DON'T look forward to is having to make my kid's lunch every day. My daughter's school doesn't have a cafeteria, it's more like a "Quick Mart", a small counter window complete with unhealthy food options. So packing a lunch is essential. Getting my child to eat healthfully is a continual challenge, one I'm sure many others can relate to! I have a few tricks up my sleeve for preparing healthier snacks that I thought you might enjoy. Here goes...
8 Healthy Tweaks to Kids' Snacks
1. Use plain Greek yogurt and add a teaspoon of their favorite jam. You'll cut their sugar intake by 75% and they won't know the difference!
2. Make your own nut butter or cheese-filled cracker sandwiches. No yucky additives and less packaging- better for them and for the planet!
3. If buying chips, choose the plain varieties over flavored. I'm not saying chips are healthy, but the flavored ones have added colors and flavor enhancers, so it's choosing the lesser of two evils.
4. To encourage kids to eat their raw veggies, give them a dip they like in their lunchbox. Hummus, ranch, salsa, cheese spread, tofu spread, nut butter, etc... they're bound to like one!
5. Make your own muesli bars or energy balls. There are a ton of easy recipes (check Pinterest) that take less than 30 minutes. If you do this over the weekend, freeze them and you'll have them on hand for the week ahead.
6. If you are buying packaged muesli bars, choose one that has less than 6g of sugar per bar, and a short ingredient list.
7. Use their favorite deli meat and roll up with cheese or dip. A great high protein/low sugar snack!
8. Make your own trail mix. Let your kids choose their own ingredients and make a batch in a jar. Grab a couple of handfuls to put in their lunchbox.
By making these tweaks, you are helping your child eat healthier every day. When making changes to your kids' diets, it's best to do so in gradual steps so they go largely unnoticed! When the body receives healthy food, it starts to crave healthy food. This will help to "program" your child's cells and encourage them to make healthy food choices throughout their life.
These snack tweaks also help the environment by reducing packaging and waste. I feel this is important, because this is the Earth our children will grow up in and live in, so we owe it to them to do our part in being stewards for the planet. I hope you see it that way too!
Stay tuned as I will share a few of my favorite homemade muesli bar and energy ball recipes soon!
I recently finished this book called The Power of Pause, by Terry Hershey. I picked it up at the library one day when I took my daughter in to get some books for summer reading. I wasn't looking for anything myself, as I seem to have a continual pile of unfinished reading material at my bedside. Nonetheless, while I was browsing, this book title caught my eye. In seeing it, I was immediately reminded of a particular teaching one of my teachers/mentors had shared with me: "The Power of the Pause".
The "Pause" she refers to relates to allowing space and time before taking any action- whether it be a response to a request, a decision to be made, or steps taken toward a desired outcome. In taking "pause", we give space and time for consultation of our own intuition and higher wisdom. This helps us to take "right action" on a more regular basis. "Right action" is action that is supportive of our Highest Good. This helps us to stay in alignment with our higher purpose in life. But I digress...
In Terry's book, the "pause" he refers to relates more to slowing down the pace of our lives and creating space for "being" instead of "doing". The "pause" is an invitation to rest, renew, refill. One of the chapters was about the Shadow. The "Shadow" is simply the part(s) of ourselves that we tend to hide or turn away from. We do this because thinking about it or facing it makes us feel uncomfortable, ashamed, embarrassed, fearful, or angry. We judge our Shadow and we'd rather it just went away so we could forget about it and pretend it didn't exist. The "Shadow" part(s) could be a particular behavior or habit, an event or experience, or thoughts and feelings.
At the end of this chapter, Terry suggests taking some time to sit under the shade of a tree to consider our Shadow(s). To spend time with it. And then ask yourself, "What has my Shadow given me? What blessings? What desired outcomes? What has this part of my Shadow taught me in life?"
When I PAUSED to consider my own Shadow, my struggle with anxiety was the first thing that came to my mind. It is the side of myself that I have allowed very few people to see. It is messy, dark, and difficult. It is the part of me that has been the most difficult to accept. To accept that I have a problem that often feels too big for me, a problem with my mental health, a problem that no one can physically see so others may question its significance or even its validity. My struggle with anxiety has created alienation and isolation from others. I compared myself. I battled with it incessantly, determined to win the war. I wracked my already-stressed-out brain for answers in a state where answers are nowhere to be found.
All of this is what made me so very unaccepting of my anxiety. I despised it. It gave me nothing but pain and I wanted to be rid of it. Little did I know that in denying this "Shadow" side of me, I was feeding it. I was giving strength and power to that which imprisoned me.
And so, as I paused to consider the anxiety in the shadows, it suddenly dawned on me that my anxiety problem was in fact one of the greatest gifts of my life. In that moment, under the shade of the tree, I saw the blessing that it had become. But how can this be?
Because my struggle with anxiety sent me on a long quest in the search for solutions to my problem. It prompted me to work with therapists and counsellors, where I learned so much about myself. I visited healers and delved deeper into learning about the energy body and vibrational healing. I worked with naturopaths, biochemists, and Ayurvedic practitioners to adjust my diet and lifestyle practices. My spiritual life opened and deepened as I learned to trust in the Divine. Every time I was anxious (which was A LOT) I had an opportunity to try new health, wellness, and lifestyle habits to see what helped me. And what made me feel the same or worse. The wisdom and insight I have gained has been exponentially greater due to having an anxiety disorder. I became my own detective, my own advocate, my own friend and coach.
To be sure, I have had a lot of help along the road to healing. But ultimately, the habits, practices, and changes- the WORK- all of this was up to me if I was to heal. And heal I did.
I am still learning. And that's ok with me. Because now I see the true gift of anxiety. I see all that it has taught me and given to me. And so when anxiety comes, I now accept and embrace it. "Hey there, old friend," I say, "what are you here to teach me right now?". Anxiety has become an awareness tool that I can use to tell me where there is imbalance in my life and what I need at any given time. This is freeing me from what for so long felt like a prison.
So thanks Terry, for writing a little gem of a book.
And I am reminded of something my first spiritual teacher once said:
"Your greatest suffering can be your greatest teacher".
And so it is.
Good Morning! So after my complaints about Seattle weather yesterday, I woke up to this.....
Ok, so I didn't actually take this photo, but it is the perfect illustration for what today looks like here in the Northwest. Yay! Definitely having some outside time today.
As promised, today I am continuing my essential oil posts by sharing 4 of my favorite and simple ways you can use essential oils on the body to calm and soothe. Let's get straight into it.....
1. Calm Nervous System/Adrenal Exhaustion Bath Blend
Mix together the following in your bath and soak for 15-30 mins:
10 drops vetiver
10 drops roman chamomile
1 cup Epsom salts
OR you can also blend 20 drops lavender with 1 cup Epsom salts for similar effect
2. Calming Massage Oil
Blend together the following in a dark glass bottle:
12 drops lavender
12 drops bergamot or orange
3 drops sweet marjoram
2 drops clary sage
1 drop vetiver
¼ cup carrier oil (such as fractionated coconut, sweet almond, jojoba, or avocado oil)
3. Sore Muscle Soother
Blend together the following in a dark glass bottle:
½ cup fractionated coconut oil
¼ cup beeswax
2 tsp cayenne pepper
15 drops peppermint
15 drops lavender
Blend together the following in a dark glass spritzer bottle:
3 drops peppermint
3 drops lavender
100 ml water
I hope you’ll try a few of my suggestions and see how you like them! Please let me know if you do, or if you have any of your own favorite recipes using essential oils! I’d love to hear them.
P.S. Next week I am going to be on the Aspire Natural Health podcast talking about how to calm an anxious mind. I will be sharing some of my story, along with some tips to help you if you suffer from anxiety or simply need to reduce your stress levels. The podcast will air live on Thursday June 29th at 1pm PST. Here is the link: aspirenaturalhealth.com/podcast/
Hope you can tune in and listen!
P.P.S. For those who live in the Seattle area, I will be offering an 8 week course on How To Calm An Anxious Mind starting in early September! I will be sharing my unique Life Model that I created to help me overcome anxiety and live each day feeling calm, centered, and balanced. I will teach you how to apply it in your own life to help you reduce anxiety and feel more calm in body and mind. Stay tuned for more details!
Today I’m following up from last week’s post on my favorite essential oils for calming anxiety (you can find it by scrolling down). This week I’m sharing some of my favorite blends and recipes using essential oils. While the spectrum of properties and uses of essential oils is enormous, what I’m sharing today is focused on calming and soothing the mind, body, and nervous system.
In my struggle with anxiety, essential oils have been one of a handful of effective tools that I use every day to help invoke a sense of calm and balance for myself. I find them to be a wonderful support. I only recommend using high quality oils (I use Doterra, but Young Living and Eden’s Garden are two others which are also worth consideration). This ensures you are getting the purest, safest product.
So, let’s get right to it! Firstly, blending essential oils for use in a diffuser. Here are 2 diffusers which I own and both are super easy to use and also lovely to look at :-)
amzn.to/2sQSmxW and amzn.to/2sqXHLV.
Here are a few of my favorite blends for calming anxiety and soothing the nervous system:
Diffuser Blends for Calming Anxiety:
COMING IN SEPTEMBER: THE "HOW TO CALM AN ANXIOUS MIND" 8 WEEK COURSE
I am a wellness educator and trainer who is passionate about helping others to look, feel, and be their best in body, mind, and heart. Thanks for visiting my blog!