Awaiting Summer Smoothie

We are enjoying beautiful spring weather here on the West Coast of British Columbia.

This morning I decided I would make a true “Awaiting Summer Smoothie” – because to be honest with you, I crave summer like crazy!

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

 

I had some deliciously ripe mangos (juicy and sweet)

some fresh pineapple,

and a cute pear with red cheeks.

Pear with red cheeks

Pear with red cheeks

Some fresh mint, freshly squeezed juice of lime and some cool coconut water.

Mint & Lime

Mint & Lime

Sweet Mango

Sweet mango

For 4 people:

1/2 pineapple

1 pear

1 big mango

1-2 lime

2 sprigs of fresh mint

2 cups of coconut water

Put it all in the blender along with some ice to cool it down. Blend into a fabulous nutritious and delicious drink.

Enjoy!

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer – Albert Camus

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Stop Shame-attacks

Shame is brutal  – it robs us of life and happiness. It undermines our health, self esteem and overall well-being.

While we are feeling shameful, it’s impossible to enjoy life. We bombard ourselves with hurtful self-defeating messages. Messages like; I am not good enough, I am hopeless, I can’t believe I am so stupid, I am a total failure………………..

It’ s like drinking poison for the soul.

IMG_3255

 

When we are feeling shame, we feel awful. We feel there is no hope for us. It’s like a never ending spiral of self-loathing and self-reprisal.

In psychodynamic therapy, shame is considered as a defense mechanism. A defense against emotions. Whenever we feel shame, there are emotions of anger, guilt and grief underneath.

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression and low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes” William Gibson.

I use shame as an indicator, when I feel shame coming on, when I start to blame myself or be hard on myself. I know something is going on underneath and I remind myself to look deeper and ask questions like:

  • Was there something someone said or did that hurt me?
  • Was there something someone did or said that reminded me of something painful?
  • Is there a need I have not acknowledged and or expressed?
  • Are there feelings I have not acknowledged and or expressed?

 Shame is like turning anger inwards and we end up blaming ourselves with no mercy.

This causes tremendous stress and pain in the body. When we feel shame, we are much more likely to make unhealthy choices that undermine our health and even feeds the shame.

We don’t talk about it, we keep it to ourselves and bottle it up.

We may drink, take drugs, binge, over -work, or sit in front of the computer to numb out the painful feelings of shame. We are caught in a spiral of shame.

What we really need most of all when we are caught in shame is:

  • First of all notice what is going on and that shame is at play.

Then we need:

  • Empathy and compassion
  • Self-compassion
  • To share it with someone we trust. Someone who will listen with compassion and without judgement.

Dr Brene Brown is a researcher of vulnerability and shame. She is an author of 3 wonderful books. I recommend them all!

1. The Gifts of Imperfection

2. I thought it was just me

3. Daring Greatly

Her messages about shame and vulnerability are profoundly important.

The last 2 Sundays she has been interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

Watch the first episode here

and the second episode here

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Hate Exercising?

Do you hate exercising? Or do you find it impossible to find time for exercising? And do you fail again and again getting into the routine?

Then this Ted talk is for you!

Danish professor Bente Klarlund has researched the benefits of exercise and the results have been so convincing that she, who loathes exercise herself, have convinced herself to exercise.

Get the old bike out

Get the old bike out

 

“Those who think they do not have time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Edward Stanley

Professor Klarlund says “people don’t ask me, when do I excercise too much, they ask how little can I get away with?”

The great news is that a little exercise goes a long way, a very long way! A little exercise makes a big difference!

Research shows that exercise protects against 35 disorders and diseases, type 2 diabetes heart disease, cancer and dementia, to name a few. There is even evidence that exercise can be used as treatment for these chronic diseases!

As little as 30 min walking a day will cut your chances of getting sick with 30% – 1 hours walk per day by half! And by running it is even better!

If you really hate exercising Professor Klarlund suggests

  • skipping the elevator
  • using walk and talk meetings at work
  • biking to work
  • walking to the baker for your daily bread

Even presumably insignificant changes can have a significant positive impact on your health. 

Check out her fantastic Ted Talk and find out more – it is very reassuring!

I wrote about Professor Klarlund in an earlier post “muscles reward exercise”

Zucchini Fettuccine – with fresh tomato sauce and caper berries

I love the feeling that I have after enjoying a raw food meal. A kick of energy from a meal packed with live nutrients – which leaves me wonderfully vibrant, satisfied and energized for hours!

The satisfaction that you get from a raw food meal is quite a different feeling than you get after eating a typical lunch. A typical meat-based meal will often leave you feeling tired and heavy afterwards – ready for a nap. But the last thing you think about after a raw food meal, is taking a nap 🙂

 Zucchini Fettuccine served w/ fresh tomato sauce and caper berries 

This dish is perfect on it’s own, but it fits wonderfully well with a piece of grilled salmon.

Yesterday, we had it for lunch, with slices of avocado and fresh crispy baby spinach.

Raw Food Fettuccine

Raw Food Fettuccine

 

It is simple and delicious, refreshing and so easy to make. All you need is:

1 Zucchini

4 Ripe tomatoes

1/2 red pepper

Italian parsley

1 clove of garlic

1/2 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Caper berries

1 avocado

A bunch of baby spinach

First you make the sauce – you chop the tomatoes, peel the garlic, cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds.

Put it in the blender, squeeze the 1/2 lemon, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend into a deliciously fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh tomato sauce

Fresh tomato sauce

You make the zucchini fettuccine by using a potato peeler and length wise cutting thin strips like this…

Zucchini fettuccine

Zucchini fettuccine

Serve it with leaves of crispy baby spinach some avocado, drizzled with plenty of fresh tomato sauce, leaves of Italian parsley and caper berries and a glass of fresh cool water

Cool fresh lemon water

Cool fresh lemon water

Fresh and delicious

Fresh and delicious

Unplug

Last week it was “National day of Unplugging ” did you know?

It went by without me having the slightest clue even of its brilliant existence. Probably while I was myself plugged in and most likely busy working online, tweeting, blogging, updating Facebook,   Unplugging Day came and passed me by!

Hmm, I asked my two gorgeous teenagers – “did you know it was National Unplugging Day, a few days ago?” No reaction – and not surprising – they didn’t know either.

But when talking about health and well-being, unplugging is crucial! We need to unplug and create space to slow down, be quiet and simply just be.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

 

We need this quiet time to listen and tune in to our needs. Even though, the body is amazing, the perfect GPS, always reliable; it has to have the space to tell us what we need. It can tell us if we are happy and content, if we are stressed and out of tune. So often we look outside ourselves for the answers, but the best answers come from within. The body never lies it always tells the truth. But, it needs to be “unplugged” from the outer influences and given time to relay its messages.

Our happiness and health rely on us taking that time to tune in.

I remember when I trained to become a psychotherapist, part of my training was going through intense therapy sessions and I remember how difficult and humbling it was for me to try to answer the simple question “How do you feel?” – How did I feel? Really feel? I didn’t know!

The honest truth was, I was so used to, when asked that question, to say “fine” without ever actually feeling my body responses. It was a new experience to me to connect to myself, to listen to my body and then be able to answer honestly how I felt. An even worse question was “What do you need?” – Again, I honestly had no clue. That was painful!

It took time and practice to learn and relearn. We are born with the ability to feel and know what we need, but early on we learn to suppress those feelings – in order to fit in.

I am a great believer in creating unplugging moments, every day. But how do we do that in a world that is so plugged in all the time?

I have devised a set of unplugging strategies, that works for me:

  • Getting up 1/2-1 hr before everyone else to meditate, sip tea, write my journal (with a pencil), run, jog, or just sit.
  • Unplug over the weekend just giving myself time to hang out with the family, read good books, wear my gumboots and do gardening, hike, walk, feed the hummingbirds and generally just be.
  • Before bed some quite time for a hot bath, a good book, some journalling, a lit candle, some gentle music, an evening meditation.
  • Sitting still with a hand on my heart, closing my eyes, while asking my heart (not my mind) the questions “how do I feel'” – ” what do I need” and quitely wait for the answers.

How do you unplug?

Presence

Presence

Here are some great links to inspire you further:

http://www.expresswhoyouare.com/

http://zenhabits.net/

 

Almond Cake with Tangy Citrus and Raspberry

The weekend is just around the corner, but before I head out in the world, I just want to share this extremely delicious cake with you. It is guaranteed the worlds easiest cake to make and is incredibly moist with intense flavors.

My friend who is allergic to gluten made this for me a while ago and I have been craving another bite of it ever since! Luckily she gave me the recipe and permission to share it with you.

I remember my mom making an orange cake with orange glaze and zest on top when I was little which was absolutely divine, and I decided to enhance the flavors even more by adding this to the cake – sweet memories!

Almond Cake with citrus

Almond Cake


Almond Cake 

4-5 organic clementines, sweet lime, lemons or oranges – I used 3 Meyer lemons and 2 oranges

6 eggs

150 g raw sugar

250g of freshly ground almonds

1 large teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 vanilla pod

a pinch of salt

Oranges and Meyer Lemons

Oranges and Meyer lemons

Boil the fruit 1 -2 hours till they are completely soft. Let them cool, cut into quarters and remove the pips.

Finely grind the almonds in the blender. Add the citrus (including the skin), the sugar, the eggs, half the vanilla and scrape out the beans, a pinch of salt, baking powder  – blend it all till it’s smooth.  Pour into a greased spring form and bake in a 375F preheated oven for about 35 min till it feels firm in the center, cover with foil if you can tell it is getting too brown towards the end.

Ready for the orange glaze

Ready for the orange glaze

Orange glaze

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange

70 g raw sugar

Freshly grated orange zest

In a small saucepan, cook the fresh juice and the sugar slowly till it reduces into an intense and flavorful glaze, add the freshly grated zest.

Pour over the cake and serve on its own or with a raspberry sauce.

–Last summer I went out and picked raspberries – the biggest and most beautiful raspberries I have ever seen and I filled my freezer with them–

The sauce is made with some frozen berries and some raw sugar, just gently simmered on the stove.

Enjoy

Enjoy

Gluten-free, butter-free and you would never even know!

Happy weekend!