Inner Compassing (and Grapefruit Brunchie Salad)

How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Now is about the time where we start to slip back into old patterns and habits, and try to override the little voice of shame that says we’ve failed because of it. We might cling to our all-or-nothing  thinking (“No sugar!”) or try to devise a new set of “rules” for ourselves to live by (“No eating past 8 pm!”), or maybe even we have a date that we will resume our desired behaviour (“starting tomorrow I will…”). Any of these sound familiar?

The thing about changing behaviour is that real, lasting change occurs with how we connect to ourselves. When we place change in our circumstances or our outward behaviours, we immediately stop being responsive to what’s happening on the inside for us. Staying responsive to our internal needs, moods, and intuition abolishes all-or-nothing and rule-based thinking and replaces it with self care and intentionality based on inner feedback. For example, do I want to eat that caramel covered popcorn at 9 pm after I’ve had a nice dinner and feel full? Rather than “shoulding” myself with various rules and declaring refined sugar the devil, I might check in with myself. How am I feeling? How do I want to feel? What part of me is wanting this popcorn? Is there something else that would meet that need for that part of me?

Instead of trying to think our way through our patterns, we can bring consciousness to our internal state in each moment as a starting place, and let that information guide our actions. You may still have the popcorn, but you will likely have less than you would have had you approached it as a rebellious and “bad” thing to do. As well it will not be accompanied by the usual shame and guilt we might feel for choosing to have it because you checked in with your wise self first.

This year, let change be guided moment by moment by your inside compass. It’s a kinder, more conscious, and more responsive approach—and a shift that could very well produce change in your life in ways you had not previously imagined.

Grapefruit Kale Brunchie Salad

grapefruit

Healthy Kale!

This recipe is for those times when you are hosting a brunch and doing so means giving up your green kale smoothie! I always try to have a salad at breakfast when smoothies aren’t available to me. It may not please those with a strong dislike for kale, but it hits the key breakfast notes without being overly sweet–and really, who are we kidding–this salad is for you anyway! You can find liquefied cold pressed coconut oil at Superstore or you could substitute with a neutral cold pressed oil like avocado oil.

  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups kale, sliced into strips
  • 1 tbsp liquefied coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • shredded coconut to garnish

Prepare grapefruit. Massage kale with oil in a large bowl and let sit for ten minutes. Place grapefruit overtop and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve and enjoy!

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Sneaky Scripts (and chewy gooey vegan rice krispies!)

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I’ve come to the conclusion that we may never fully be in the clear from old ED scripts coming back to nag at us or feelings from moments of despair that suddenly resurrect themselves in the present. Usually these scripts resurface throughout our recovery. These old scripts are sneaky as can be, and if our defenses are down we might easily confuse them for truths about the present. So how can we know if the way we are feeling is a sneaky old script or if it’s actually grounded in reality? That one’s easy! If it makes you feel like crap by calling into question your worth, your lovability, and either of these in relation to your weight, it’s probably a sneaky old script!

So you’ve identified the script is present. Now what? This is the challenging part, but I know you can do it. You need to ride it out. That means acknowledging it for what it is, and then spending some time with it in a compassionate way (I love doing guided meditations and body scans to really sit with it). It can be helpful to keep checking in with the feeling or inner dialogue and remind yourself it will pass. And of course, there’s always good ol’ distraction! When I know I’m being confronted with my sneaky script, I willfully distract myself with a good book or movie. I’ve come to discover that the more I resist the feeling or script from the past, no matter how untrue and unfounded I know it to be, the more intense it seems to get. My experience has shown me that when I allow it to be and at the same time know that it will pass, it actually does—all by itself. Allowing it to be gives you enough space from it so that it doesn’t get the better of you. Remember, these cognitions and feelings may have had power over you at one time, but this time around you are the one in charge.

Some of the best recipes come from cravings. Take, for example, these vegan rice krispie squares. I often lament that rice krispie squares are not vegetarian-friendly, especially when my husband would indulge in large, soft and chewy looking oversized squares at a local coffee shop—you know the ones I mean—and I’d be left staring longingly. When I saw the sign for a vegan bake sale happening the other day I happily packed up my reusable bags to cash in on the vegan version of this treat! We walked into the store only to discover I’d gotten the date wrong! It left me no other choice but to craft these at home—and boy am I glad I did. This recipe is inspired by a marshmallow-free version of Dreena Burton’s (found here) that uses macadamia nut butter in place of marshmallows. I’ve made rice krispie squares using Dandies vegan marshmallows in the past, but found these a bit on the crunchy side so I thought I’d try a blend of marshmallows and macadamia nut butter. Macadamia nut butter has been impossible to find over the last year but I happen to have some raw whole macadamia nuts and I promptly ground them into a butter using my food processor. I think these are the best batch of vegetarian-friendly rice krispie treats I’ve made to date!

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Vegan Ooey Gooey Rice Krispie Squares 

  • 1.5-2 cups of brown rice crisp cereal
  • 1 bag of Dandies vegan marshmallows
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup macadamia nut butter*
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

In a medium-sized thick bottomed saucepan, melt the Dandies over low heat until they start to lose their shape, about five minutes. Add the vanilla, salt and macadamia nut butter and stir to combine.* The next part gets a little tricky. If you’re lucky and have a mixer, transfer mixture to mixing bowl and add rice crisps. Mix until well combined. If you don’t have a mixer, stir mixture into a large bowl and add rice crisps. Mix to combine and once cool enough, use your hands to knead the marshmallow mixture into the squares evenly (it takes a bit of effort). Line a small 7×7 pan with parchment and press mixture into the pan. Let sit at room temperature to set or start eating immediately for a gooey treat.

*Note: Dandies don’t breakdown the same way gelatin-based marshmallows do so you’ll really have to work at it (unless you have a mixer).

** Note: making your own macadamia nut butter is easy so don’t be dissuaded! Macadamia nuts are so full of fat that it doesn’t take long for the oils to release and a nice creamy butter to form. I used about 1 cup of whole nuts to make 2/3 cup butter. Add to your food processor and run about 3-4 minutes until smooth.

H’angry Heart (and Sick n’ H’angry Soup)

h'angry soup

Are you feeding your soul? It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy and to forget to check in with yourself to see if your heart is feeling fulfilled. We can be in our routines and doing our thing only to realize that we feel exhausted–the trouble then becomes that we feel too tired to do the things that bring us joy. Instead, we settle for brain-sedating activities like watching television or surfing the internet that are possibly accompanied by food or alcohol to further numb us. Everything else feels like too much effort!

The irony about this is that both activities that energize us and those that deplete us set us up for more of the same. The more we do the things that bring us joy, the more energy we have to do those very things. Same goes for late nights spent watching TV. The more tired we get from all those late nights, the less we actually want to do anything that involves getting up or using our bodies or brains. Our so-called “down time” actually brings us down! Not only that, but even our range of perceived possible activities can shrink. We had that experience the other week when we made it out to the mountains the other day. We caught ourselves saying, “why aren’t we doing this every week!?” We were too caught in our so-called busy routine to see the forest through the trees….LITERALLY! If you are caught in the second vicious cycle, there are ways to break free!

Go to the tried and true. Most of us have a pretty good idea of the things that feed our souls. Revisit your list. Sometimes we need to check in with our inner self to see if those things are still the things that bring us joy or if we have stopped doing them because we no longer enjoy them. Once you’ve updated your list with things that represent you now, make a commitment to do one thing off of that list in the next week and do it!

Try something new! This can be an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. Go to a drumming circle, a dance class, or a poetry reading. Or do what we did and go for a drive to some place new in nature. Inject fresh energy into your sphere of being.

Recall joy. This means thinking of a time when you felt completely at peace with yourself and at one with the world, a moment in time when you experienced complete and utter bliss. Journal about that time. What were you doing? What was special about that time? What would you need to re-create that feeling again? Reflecting on this can produce good clues about the things that are important to you–the things you need when your soul gets hungry.

Check in. Where are you at with this? Is there room for a little more soul food in your life? Don’t make your soul or heart h’angry–h’angry is no fun for anyone!

Speaking of no fun, I was recently sick with a very bad cold and I could do nothing more than dream about soup. And so I made some! It didn’t quite turn out the way I’d envisioned (I was going for more of a potato leek kind of deal) but it was soul satisfying beyond my expectations! Now what exactly did I put in there again….

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Sick N’ H’angry Soup

  • 2 leeks
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yam (about the size of a russet potato)
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 5 cups veggie stock
  • can of white navy beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute leeks and garlic with some olive oil over med-low heat in a heavy pot, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 10-30 minutes. Puree soup in batches (go slow by pulsing. Soup will be hot and has been known to explore in blenders! Always let a little air out as you blend). Garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika and parsley if you have it. I didn’t. Clearly.