I received a lot of support over last week’s post. I am so glad the message was received in the spirit it was written…with love and compassion. Thank you to everyone who reached out and shared their experience or their feelings about it.
I appreciate it more than you know. I was afraid to put it out there, but I am so glad I did. It started a lot of great conversations; ones I will continue as we journey forward.
But this week, I want to keep it a little lighter. I want to share my experience over Easter. I want to share an awesome Ted Talk that I hope serves you, no matter what area of your life you might need a little help with. I want to invite you to join us on another Squat Challenge, and I share a delicious recipe that helped me get through Easter sugar-free (video included!).
So let’s get started!
This past weekend, we celebrated Easter. It has always been one of my favourite religious holidays, but I also love the time of year that it falls.
It’s a time to put the coziness and weight of Winter behind us and allow the lightness and newness of Spring to take its place.
It feels like such a re-awakening!
I also love seeing the mounds of melting snow make way for the grass to show through, and I start to think about the farmers and the soil they will toil in preparation for planting.
In preparation for the growing season.
I also really enjoyed this Easter because I am still in the Re-Integration Phase of the Kick The Sugar Challenge, and I found myself more grounded than I was at the beginning; more deeply rooted in my foundation and stronger in my resolve.
It felt so much easier to pass up the chocolate and treats this weekend, opting instead to choose foods that serve me and support my health goals.
At the family gathering we attended, we even took our own fresh berries and herbal tea, and I am so happy to share with you my recipe for Coconut Whipped Cream. It is the PERFECT topper for fresh berries! All the indulgence and no sugar spike or feeling crummy afterwards. You’re going to LOVE me for it. 😉 Seriously, I hope you try it (video recipe at the bottom of this post).
It feels good to be in control of food; not the other way around.
I know this is a feeling that eludes so many of us.
We can feel like we are slaves to our cravings.
The feeling of being in control can come and go for me, too. There are times in my life where I start to let my cravings take hold. When this happens, I know I have to regain control before they have a chance to become too comfortable and overshadow my better judgment.
This is exactly why “kedges”, or short-term goals, like the Sugar Challenge help keep me on track. They reel me in and remind me of what I REALLY want.
Which is to live in a healthy body. A body that I love and respect. A body that I SHOW love and respect for.
One of the Challengers shared this Ted Talk, and I highly recommend it. It is only 9 minutes long and reminds us that we can be the observer of our feelings rather than simply acting on them each time they come up.
Practicing mindfulness is incredibly powerful.
Practicing mindfulness changes the way we behave in our lives and it changes our experience of the world around us.
Our Body As A Garden
So, in the spirit of Springtime, let’s think of our bodies as a garden.
What happens to a garden when we feed it nutrient-rich soil? When we consistently water it? When we ensure it gets the right amount of energy from the sun? When we prune it and tend to it and make sure it has what it needs?
It thrives! It is strong and healthy and free of disease.
Now, what happens when we take care of our bodies by hydrating them with fresh, clean, life-giving water, by giving them the energy they need by moving them the way they were designed to move and by tending to them and caring for them in loving ways? What happens when we nourish them with foods they know how to use? We BECOME the food we eat!!!! It is SO hard to wrap our heads around that, but IT IS TRUE!!
So, what happens when we treat our bodies well? We thrive!
THIS is what it is to show ourselves LOVE.
We can SAY we love ourselves, but saying we love ourselves and then treating our bodies—the vessels that carry us through our lives–disrespectfully, is akin to the abuser who says “I love you” after an attack.
It is hard for our bodies to trust that we love them when we feed them toxic foods, when we rarely hydrate them, when we stress them and limit their sleep, when we think negative thoughts about them and when we never move them.
It sends a very mixed message…to you AND your body.
And the body doesn’t lie.
At its most basic, like a manufacturing plant, our health is simply a product of the inputs we start with (food, water, oxygen), the transformation that occurs (energy either used or stored), and the outputs that are created (our physical body, our health and well-being).
Let’s truly show our bodies the love and respect that they deserve.
Because this, in my opinion, is the path to TRUE happiness, a REAL relationship with ourselves and a sustainable way of life that we can enjoy for years to come.
Imagine you neglected a friend or family member for years…or decades.
Imagine if every time you thought about them you felt hatred, anger, disgust, embarrassment.
How would that relationship look?
Would it be vibrant, healthy, happy, successful and rewarding?
Or would it be toxic, negative, difficult and a source of deep shame?
Here is an exercise I had the Challengers do on Day 11. I encourage you to do it, too.
It is ONE question and TWO Exercises. Grab your journal. Ready?
Here it is:
1. What do you love MOST about your amazing body?
Allow the pen to move freely on the page if many thoughts come up. If it is hard, that’s ok, too. But you MUST write at least ONE thing that you love about your body.
2. And then, go to the mirror and look yourself in the eyes. And say “I love you”. Repeat it as many times as you need to until it softens…until it doesn’t feel awkward.
3. Treat your body in a loving way. For example, you might body brush; or rub some kind of moisturizer on it and connect with your skin, your curves, your muscles. Maybe you’ll take a bath and use a luxurious soap to lather yourself. Whichever way you want to connect with your body is up to you, but it has to be loving and it has to feel kind.
Because, like a garden, no relationship survives, let alone thrives, without love and kindness. We must nourish the one relationship that matters the most, and in doing so, we are able to enjoy many more rewarding relationships across the course of our lifetimes.
When we treat our bodies and ourselves with love and respect, we are able to live healthy and well, making choices that serve us rather than harm us.
We are able to feel joy in our lives and infuse this positive energy into the world.
We are able to be mindful so that instead of acting on urges, we become curious and make choices that lead us closer to our goals.
It all starts with YOU.
It all starts with LOVE.
Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.
It’s a little difficult to see what to do, so here is a video where I show you how to do the various exercises and I offer modifications if it is too advanced. 🙂 We’d love to have you join us!
P.P.S. To sign up for the next round of the Kick The Sugar Challenge, click here and join the Wait List! The next round starts in a few weeks. 🙂
P.P.S.S. Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. 🙂 Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you should! That way, you won’t miss anything. For joining, you get my personal meal plan, shopping list, and a week’s worth of easy, tasty recipes! http://sarahtalksfood.com/
P.P.P.S.S. Here is the recipe for Coconut Whipped Cream. Make it now and thank me later! 😉
Coconut Whipped Cream with Fresh Berries
•1 can full fat coconut milk
•1/4 vanilla bean (I buy them at Bulk Barn)
•1/4 cup almond milk (vanilla or plain)
•Fresh berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries…)
1. Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight (or longer).
2. Turn the can over and open it from the bottom. Drain out the coconut water. (Thanks, Tracy, for this tip!)
3. Using a spoon, scoop out the “coconut cream” directly into a mini food processor.
NOTES: The coconut cream is what forms on the top 1/2 of the can once chilled.
Don’t throw away the coconut water! Use it in tomorrow’s smoothie or in another dish.
4. Cut off 1/4 of the vanilla bean and store the rest in an air right container away from heat (at Bulk Barn, they are sold in glass vials. 2 vanilla beans for $5.89).
5. Using a cutting board, carefully slice your piece of vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle and peel it open it so you see the vanilla seeds.
6. Using the dull side of your knife, scrape from where your fingers are holding the vanilla bean down against the board all the way down the bean so your knife is holding the seeds.
7. Scrape the seeds into the food processor and add the almond milk.
8. Pulse the food processor several times to incorporate the ingredients and then process the cream until it is light and fluffy. This won’t take long.
9. Using a spatula, scoop the whipped coconut cream into a bowl. If desired, place it in the fridge for a few minutes if you want a stiffer consistency.
Place a dollop over berries and enjoy!
NOTES: I have not tried this with an immersion blender or beaters, but I think it would work. Use a tall container if using an immersion blender and a cold metal bowl if using beaters.
Did you know:
- Vanilla beans are so expensive (about $3 each) because they are the fruit of particular kinds of orchids, and they require special growing conditions to thrive. Once harvested, the pods also have to be dried, cured and aged.
- Look for vanilla beans that are dark and glossy and appear to be supple. These ones are fresh. If they look pale or dry, don’t buy them.
- It’s ok that you only get two per container, because they are best used within a few weeks of buying them.
- 1 vanilla bean is the equivalent of about 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, so you can usually get a few recipes out of one pod.
- You can use the scraped out pod to infuse some almond milk to make mild tasting vanilla almond milk.
- You can also infuse Himalayan salt to make Vanilla Salt. Simply place used pods in a small jar of salt!
- I really dislike the taste of vanilla extract as it is almost always made with alcohol, and it is just too strong for me. I have even tried the $10 Madagascar kind!! I much prefer the rich, real vanilla bean flavour in recipes.
- If you can’t find vanilla beans, you can use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract in this recipe.
I really hope you treat yourself to this decadent dessert. It really is a taste of heaven! xo