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The Most Popular Health Trend of 2017…Plus, A Sweet Opportunity

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For years, the Paleo diet has been one of the most popular diets. However, as of December 3, 2016, more people Googled the Ketogenic diet (aka “keto”) than for the Paleo diet. The popularity of keto is only growing.

In this post, you'll read why the keto diet has become so popular and the many benefits you can get.

This post is a combination of writing by the folks over at The Keto Bundle (which you'll read about below), and my own writing.

The Basics of Keto

A ketogenic diet focuses on using “ketones” and fat as fuel for your body – rather than glucose (sugar).

Whenever your body doesn't have much glucose, it naturally produces more ketones by breaking down fats. This is how your body adapts to periods when sugary and starchy foods aren't available.

A ketogenic diet causes your body to rely more on ketones – and it does this primarily by limiting the amount of sugars and starches you eat.

The result is that your body burns fats rather than sugars (carbohydrates), you feel full more of the time, and you gain greater energy and mental clarity.

Explaining that further assuming that the words “ketones” and “ketosis” are meaningless to you:

WebMD says, “Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones….when you cut way back on your calories or carbs, your body will switch to ketosis for energy.”

Ketone bodies are produced by the liver during fasting, carb-restricted diets, prolonged periods of intense exercise and starvation.

Is a Keto Diet Effective?

The main reason why the ketogenic diet has gotten so popular is because it works for so many people.

In fact, for quick weight loss and increased energy, a keto diet is often better than any other diet. This is particularly true for folks with high blood sugar or with a lot of weight to lose.

But it's also true for anyone seeking more productivity and higher energy levels.

keto diet bundle

While keto is a great tool for fast and effective weight loss, many people like it so much, they end it doing it for years at time.

And it's not just weight loss and mental clarity that people rave about. Keto diets also tend to give you better moods as well as better sleep.

Plus, there's growing research suggesting that a ketogenic diet can help prevent (and even treat) cancer as well as neurological diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. And historically, keto has been used with great success to treat epilepsy in children.

You can read more about the ketogenic diet on my friend Fawn's website and check out her page of epilepsy resources. Some might call the change in her daughter Jade's health “miraculous”. It didn't happen overnight, it took years, but it did happen.

What Do You Eat on a Keto diet?

For the most part, a ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate version of a Paleo diet.

You eat real foods but avoid the really starchy or sugary ones like many fruits (think pineapples and bananas), tubers (like sweet potatoes and parsnips), and sugars (like honey or maple syrup).

Instead, you eat lots of healthy fats (like coconut oil, ghee, tallow, lard, olive oil, avocado oil) and non-starchy vegetables, along with berries, nuts, seeds, meats, fish, and other seafood.

How does the ketogenic diet differ from similar diets? 

Other diets don't focus on being in a state of ketosis. Keto is similar to paleo, except that paleo is based on the belief of what our ancestors ate. Really, though, “ancestors” came from all over the world, and hunters and gathers ate different food depending on where they lived. My summary of the paleo diet: Eat real food. I often say that “paleo” created an entire industry that's way more lucrative than the “just eat real food” message. The ketogenic diet addresses medical issues.

What To Eat On Keto

A Sweet Keto Opportunity

Perhaps you've tried many diets before and you know that it can get expensive to buy new foods, new books, and new cookbooks.

That's why I want to tell you about the 2017 Keto Diet Bundle. It's only available for 5 days this year – February 7th to 11th, 2017.

This event includes pretty much everything you need to get amazing results on a keto diet…

keto diet bundle

There are over 84+ weeks of meal plans and 11+ Keto cookbooks (from awesome experts like Maria Emmerich, Mellissa Sevigny, Martina Slajerova, Leanne Vogel, Patricia Daly, Tasteaholics, and Vivica Menegaz). That's hundreds and hundreds of delicious recipes to keep you going.

There's also a ketogenic ecourse as well as beginner keto ebooks explaining step-by-step what you'll need to focus on.

There are even discounts on various keto foods – including discounts to Fatworks, Keto Krate, Keto Kookie, and even a free 16.9 oz carton of bone broth from Kettle & Fire. And if you need help with sleep or fitness, there are ebooks to help you with those aspects too.

Plus, the first 500 US-based purchasers will get a free sample of Perfect Keto's ketone supplement (with free shipping). Not being US-based myself, I feel like I'm missing out.

If you're on a keto diet (or are thinking about trying it), then please check this event out before it's too late.

You won't regret it, and you'll save countless hours and hundreds of dollars.

golden milk ingredients
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My current “thing”: Golden Milk

Just as I recently jumped on the smoothie bowl (with gelatin to make it mousse-like) train, I've also recently jumped on the Golden Milk train. As a wellness nerd, I've been a dabbler in Ayurvedic medicine for years. I can't spell “Ayurvedic” and “Ayurveda” (I always want to swap the first y & u) but I have a good foundation of knowledge in it. I took my first workshop in Ayurveda about a decade ago, and 3 or so years ago I treated myself to a day at a Ayurvedic spa for my birthday. So, Golden Milk fascinates me and I feel like I should drink more of it because it's good for me.

What is Golden Milk?

It's milk with turmeric and other spices. Turmeric makes it golden color.

Why Golden Milk?

Golden Milk has been used in India and China for centuries. It's a staple in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine for its health benefits.

Curcumin, one of the bio-active ingredients in turmeric, has over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity, as shown by research studies. Some studies have concluded that curcumin is effective in treating arthritis.  Turmeric can be used to treat wounds, cuts, rashes, bruises, insect bites, and swelling. One study shows that it helps wounds heal faster.

Golden milk has lots of fantastic ingredients. Here's a basic recipe that I recently posted to Instagram:

I've since changed the recipe a bit, adding a few more ingredients. I've made Golden Milk with almond milk, coconut milk and dairy (cow) milk. I didn't like it with almond milk at all. Coconut was my favourite. I made one cup with my favourite greens powder, but it tasted so bad that I threw it out. I've made it with cardamom, even though I'm not a fan of cardamon.

More information about health benefits follows the recipe:

So, this is my basic recipe for Golden Milk

Golden Milk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Golden Milk
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 2 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cup
Instructions
  1. Simmer it all together, then blend in a blender.
Share this Recipe
 

Serve in your favorite mug, like I do.

My favourite mug is a Peet's coffee mug that my aunt bought me when I was visiting her in Berkeley a few years ago.

golden milk ingredients

Other Golden Milk ingredient benefits

I was hesitant to add pepper for awhile because I didn't want my golden milk too “spicy”, but now I add a few grinds because I was reminded that piperine, the alkaloid compound responsible for the pungency of black pepper, increases the bio-availability of curcumin. This means that it maximizes the benefits of curcumin. With a recent review of the scientific research showing that turmeric and curcumin might NOT be as beneficial as several studies suggest, I especially want it to be as bio-available as possible.

Coconut oil: This is one of my favourite ingredients ever. Coconut oil is one of my “deserted island” items. It's anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory. If you want to learn more about coconut oil from me, you can subscribe to my newsletter and get my “5 superfoods” e-course. Or, you can buy the full e-book for $9.

Cinnamon: It's heavy in polyphenols (anti-oxidants). It's anti-inflammatory. It helps lower blood sugar levels. Like coconut oil, it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. There's been some research done that shows that cinnamon can prevent and treat cancer. It's got vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A half teaspoon can have positive health affects.

Ginger: Ginger is part of the same plant family as turmeric. According to Ayurvedic medicine, it's an immune-booster. It's good for digestion and can help nutrients absorb better. It's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.

Honey: Honey has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antioxidants properties and high nutrient value. It's another one you can read about in “5 superfoods”. (I've just given you 2 of 5.)

So there you go. Golden Milk. I've been adding turmeric to other things too, such as rice and oatmeal. I'm on a turmeric kick. It might be helping me recover from soreness from daily yoga sessions and when I work on my feet for several hours.

Enjoy.

Further Ayurveda resources:

To avoid overwhelming you, here are just a few that I reference most often:

-Yogahealer.com/Cate Stillman: I enjoy the website, the mailing list and the podcast. You can listen straight from the website. I listen to the podcast while walking the dog but then read the show notes on my computer. Look for it in iTunes, Stitcher or whatever other podcast app your phone uses. (I use Stitcher for Android.)

The Chopra Center

Everyday Ayurveda

Meditation-Techniques-Course-700
a new brain

Spirit Tuesday – Meditation update

Hi friends!

I wanted to update you on my meditation journey and also provide you with more tools for your practice.

Insight Timer's 365 Challenge is going great! In an audio recording that Insight's leader posted to the app on Friday, he said that the app was about to hit 1.5 meditators and gave these numbers abut the collective experience:

  • 3 million minutes of meditation in 24 hours, which is
  • just under 50,00 hours of meditation, which is the equivalent to
  • 5 1/2-6 years of meditation.

Collectively. In one day. Those are great numbers to take to potential Insight Timer app investors. I can envision them in a spreadsheet on a PowerPoint or Prezzi presentation.

My meditation practice

I meditate at least once a day, often twice. It's the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do before I sleep. At the start of the month I downloaded a habit tracker called Fabulous and this one has actually stuck. Now, my mornings look like this:

  • Open my eyes
  • Say a couple of short Hebrew prayers if I remember to (yes, this bacon-eating Jew has restarted this practice – I like the ritual)
  • Go to the living room and lie or sit down on the couch and meditate for 10-20 minutes.
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Walk the dog
  • Do 20-40 minutes of yoga
  • Make a cup tea, take my supplements.
  • Make and eat some breakfast.

I've meditated for 37 consecutive days since December 19.

About my practice & inspiration for yours

-My current favourite guided meditation is called A Kabbalistic “Good Morning Soul” Meditation, lead by Alison Serour, a teacher at the Kabbalah Centre in LA. I'd never done a kabbalistic meditation before, but had participated in some kabbalistic prayers during synagogue-ish services. I wasn't/am not particularly connected to Kabbalah (do you – personally – pronounce it so that the “a”s sound like “up” or like “ka-bawl-uh”? I use the former.).

Insight Timer has two versions of Good Morning Soul: The short one that's nearly 8 minutes, and the long one that's 21 minutes. I like them both. They speak to me. They feel good. Sometimes they inspire me. They make me ask questions of myself and so facilitate some self-learning and personal growth. The longer one includes a prayer in Hebrew, which might or might not work for you. That said, there are meditations for everyone. If you are 100% atheist and don't believe in anything you can't see and anything that science hasn't proven, do breathing meditations. Science has proven those work. Do what works for you. Forge your own path. (That's this website's tagline.)

New meditations daily for 365 Days

-With the 365 challenge, new meditations are being added daily to a specified playlist that participants can use if they choose. I didn't do the first set of guided meditations because it was a series  that started at 1 minute and built to 20. Great for some people, but not I. This week I've been following along more, but also doing some other ones too. It really depends on what I need. The mediation added to the playlist today was Alison's “A Kabbalistic Awaken Heart Opening Meditation”, created based on a Hebrew prayer called “Patach Eliyahu“, Prophet Elijah's prayer-meditation from the Zohar. It was nice. A large section of it resonated with me and made me feel empowered. It reminded me of the saying that things happen for you, not to you.

If you want to join the 365 Day Meditation Challenge, download the Insight Timer app from your device's app store and do it.

Meditation for beginners

In another post I'll discuss styles of meditation because there are so many. Some focus on the breath. Others take you on journeys through your imagination. Some have you craft your ideal day or life. Others take you to past lives. Some use mantras. Even if you don't believe in some of those things (past lives, for example), I think they're worth experiencing. There is so much that we as humans don't know and understand and we tend to disbelieve what seems impossible.

No time? No problem

Don't have the patience to meditate? No problem. Meditation increases your ability to keep focused in spite of distractions but you only need to start for a few seconds at a time. You can start with 5 minutes a day. If you add just 1 minute per week, you'll be up to an hour in a year (if you want to be). Just sit down and start. Don't overthink it. Read the following, and follow the instructions:

Stop reading right now. Close your eyes. Breath in for 4 counts, out for 8. Open your eyes.

There, you've meditated.

Tips for beginners

Some people find it challenging to build a daily habit. Maybe it's lack of time, discipline, motivation, etc. Here are some tips to create a strong meditation practice:

  1. Start small. It's better to start really small, so there is absolutely no excuse for you to skip your practice. Again, starting with just 5 minutes a day can hep.
  2. Recommit. At the end of every session, commit to show up for your practice the following day.
  3. Never zero. This means that every day you will practice, even if only 5 minutes. Make it a non-negotiable part of your life. This is how I treat my yoga practice and why I've been able to practice daily.
  4. No expectations. Nothing kills motivation quicker than unmet expectations. Most of the benefits from meditation come only after months or years of daily practice. So letting go of expectations sounds like a smart strategy to me. Go easy on yourself! There's no “failing” in meditation. It's not a test or a competition. “No expectations” also means that you don't need to meditate on a cushion on the floor. In my recent post that announced the 365 Day Challenge I gave the Dr. Seuss version of examples of where you can meditate.
  5. Be prepared. Sometimes you will feel tired, busy, or “not in the mood”. Be mentally prepared to meet those challenges with the “never zero” idea, and do the practice no matter what.
  6. Joyful attitude. Meditation is not a task, but a precious moment to go deep inside yourself. Enjoy the practice, and it will be easy to keep it up.

Master Your Mind

If you're a beginner,  I recommend a meditation course called Master Your Mind. It's a 5 week program with lessons and guided meditations that helps build the habit. You're provided with 35 short daily lessons, organized by week – each with its own unique themes, goals and insights. The program is self-paced, and the techniques are presented in a way that both secular and spiritually minded people can connect to. No particular belief or worldview is required for following the lessons.

Full disclosure: I signed up as an affiliate, after I'd read the associated website, Live and Dare and tried some of the lessons. This is NOT why I chose to post today, it simply integrates well.

Master Your Mind will help you:

  • Develop the habit of meditating daily. You will start with sessions as short as 2 minutes, and increase gradually, up to 15-20 minutes. It's built in a way you cannot fail.
  • Find the ideal technique for you. Each week you'll be introduced to a new practice, such as mantra meditation, breathing awareness, chakra meditation, etc. By the end of the course you will be well equipped to choose the technique that best suits your needs.
  • Have an optimal attitude towards meditation, so that you can enjoy the process as well as the result, and keep meditation as a lifetime habit.
  • Deepen your meditation and enhance your mind.
  • Integrate mindfulness into your daily life, through reminders, exercises, and daily challenges.

Here's how the course goes:

Master Your Meditation schedule

When you sign up you get lifetime access with 5 weeks of daily lessons (audio and PDF), mediation cheat cheat, private forum, 60 days of email support, and free updates for life. There's a one time fee. It's not a membership site.

Snippets of testimonials:

“The course was easy to follow, and every day I had a small taste of success, step after step. The entire approach matched my understanding of best practices for establishing a habit.”

“…it helped me learn to forgive myself and accept my limitations. I also learned to have some compassion for myself and others.”

…gave me skills to deal with negative emotions.

I found a calmness within me that I didn’t know existed. There is a sense of peace seems to follow me through the day. My anxiety also calmed down. Now I can’t imagine not doing it every morning.

With your course I could successfully build the habit, one small step at a time. You were asking “less” from me which made it non-negotiable and doable, while others always asked “more” from me which left me feeling inadequate in my practices.

Learn more and get it here.

Quick yoga update

In 17 days I've missed just one day of yoga. Sometimes I run out of time but before bed I take 10 minutes to do some stretching and breathing. It counts. It's the “never zero” rule above. I also created a video today to append to last week's post about yoga so watch for that. I didn't end it with “namaste” because I thought that was too cliche, but sometimes I end my own yoga or meditation practices with a silent, “Namaste, motherf****r!”, 'cause I'm quirky like that and sometimes I'm moved to.

Be well and feel free to comment if you've got something to share.

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The Autoimmune Revolution

Free Virtual Event Roundup, January 23

1) Winter of Wellness

On now through February 11

winter of wellness

During Winter of Wellness, you’ll discover leading-edge solutions to your personal health objectives — with esteemed teachers, doctors and practitioners sharing their proven methods that address YOU as an integrative, interconnected WHOLE.

Attend

2)Vitamin Mastery

Ends Wednesday January 25

Vitamin Mastery

An extension of That Vitamin Movie, with more content. It's a 7-day free online event that brings together the unedited interviews that were used to make That Vitamin Movie AND the full interviews from That Vitamin Summit AND a brand new course from Andrew Saul, all being streamed free of charge for seven days.

Some of these experts had never agreed to be interviewed for anything like this before. They will  share their tips and strategies for using vitamins and supplements to put your health journey back on the right path.

Attend

3) Autoimmune Revolution Summit

January 30-February 6 (Monday to Monday)

The Autoimmune Revolution

The average lifespan of someone with an autoimmune disease is 10 years shorter than a healthy person. It’s time to achieve greater health and improved happiness so you can break the cycle of pain and start living again! Join  The Autoimmune Revolution, online and free from January 30 – February 6, 2017!

Attend

If you want to buy the series to add to your resource library, it's the least expensive before the summit starts. Here's the price schedule.

The Autoimmune Revolution Price

I almost always recommend buying summits  – at the lowest price if you get there in time – because many of the lifetime access packages such as this one include transcripts (for those who learn best through reading, and perhaps want to highlight and annotate), along with bonuses that are sometimes worth in the $100's of dollars. The bonuses in the Autoimmune Revolution bundle are worth over $600!

Choose Your Package

Hot Chocolate Smoothie Bowl Pudding Bites
Chocolate Smoothie Bites
Hot Chocolate Smoothie Bowl2
Hot Chocolate Smoothie pot
hot chocolate smoothie bowl ingredients-labeled

Hot Chocolate Smoothie Bowl Pudding Bites

When I posted this a little over a week ago, I didn't know that my second version of smoothie bowl would provide me with two types of treats in one bowl.

I'll keep this introduction brief, because when I find a recipe on someone's blog via Google I don't want to read through their entire narrative, I just want the recipe.

As I said in that Instagram post on Tuesday of last week, I craved a warm smoothie after a snowy dog walk. I usually cringe at the idea of a “smoothie bowl”. It's a trend that I don't understand. Why put a smoothie in a bowl when you can drink it from a nice glass and a glass straw, like the ones from Strawesome? (I own around 4.) I prefer my smoothies more liquid than thick. I don't want to eat smoothies with a spoon. That's like soup.

And yet, rather than a regular hot chocolate smoothie, I wanted to try something new and be adventurous. I also wanted to use “superfood powders” that I've had in my cupboard for years, because I don't use them anymore and don't want to throw them out. For many years I was a hoarder of superfood powders. Now I'm over it.
(If you subscribe to my newsletter you might get a free ebook called, “5 Superfoods That You Might Already Have in Your Kitchen” and if you don't, email me. I'm working on updating the book with updated links and don't know if it's automatically sending with newsletter subscription confirmations anymore. Updates to the book and such are on my to do list.)

Brief explanations about the superfoods used follows the recipe.

Two days after making the first hot chocolate smoothie bowl I made another one that was even better because I included the ingredients that I'd forgotten in the first round.

Using my favourite Genuine Health products

This smoothie bowl also uses two of my favourite products from Genuine Health: Greens + Extra Energy (cappuccino flavour) and fermented Greek yogurt proteins+.

No one from Genuine Health knows I'm posting this. They haven't sponsored it. I'm not being obsequious. I haven't been to a GH promotional event in a long time. However, it was around this time last year that I was introduced to Greens + Extra Energy (as I posted one year ago yesterday- with my introduction to fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ being five months later). This recipe finally killed my big container of greens.

Something cool about this recipe which I discovered after (as you'll read below): It contains many mood-boosting ingredients! I could call it “The Anti-Anxiety Hot Chocolate Almond Smoothie” or “The Mood-Boosting Hot Chocolate Almond Smoothie” or, if you consume it in its “after” stage, “Mood-Boosting Chocolate Almond Smoothie Bites”.

As a smoothie, it will be thin liquid at first but with the gelatin, it will thicken as it cools and no longer be “hot chocolate”. (More on that below the recipe.)  If you want it thicker, add the suggested oats.


Yield: 1 serving

It's gluten-free, sugar free and can be made with or without dairy.

Hot Chocolate Almond Smoothie

(A prettier, printable version with less detail follows.)

Ingredients

1 C milk of your choice (dairy, almond, rice, etc.)
2 Tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder (I like the Organic Traditions brand)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp grass fed gelatin powder (I use the one by Great Lakes)
1/2 Tsp vanilla powder (also Organic Traditions) or a drop of vanilla extract.
Optional: 1/4 C rolled oats

2 Tbsp almond butter
1 Tbsp Genuine Health Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+ (or other vanilla protein powder of your choice).
1 Tsp chaga mushroom powder
1/2 Tsp gelatinized maca
1/4 Tsp slippery elm powder
1 scoop of Greens + Extra Energy, cappuccino flavour
1/2 banana
3 pitted dates (for sweetness)

Toppings:
Banana (definitely), cocoa nibs, hemp seeds – if you want/have.

Directions

Option 1

  1. Add the gelatin powder to your measuring cup where you pour the milk. Stir and let sit for one minute. It will be smooth.
  2. In a small pot, combine milk-gelatin powder mixture with chocolate powder, coconut oil,   vanilla, and oats (if using). Whisk as you bring it to a boil.
  3. Transfer to a blender (I use a Vitamix) and add the almond butter, protein powder, chaga mushroom, maca and slippery elm. Put the lid on tight. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  4. Pour into a bowl and top with banana, hemp seeds and cocoa nibs, or pour it in a nice glass and drink it.
    (Brands of hemp seeds I prefer are Manitoba Harvest and Ruth's Hemp. I'm not too brand loyal with cocoa nibs but am currently enjoying a big bag of Giddy YoYo.)

Option 2

Instead of heating the milk/gelatin in a pot you could heat it in the microwave alone and then transfer it to a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend. I suspect that using a stick blender in the pot would work too instead of a whisk + blender.

Notes

  • Instead of gelatin powder you could use Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate, which is cold water soluble.
  • Please don't go out and buy all of those powders, unless you want to, and unless you're going to use them again. Use what you've got. You can omit them all if you'd like. I recommend always having vanilla powder, cacao (obviously), coconut oil (my favourite head-to-toe oil) and almond butter around, but save your money and don't buy the rest just for this. I do always like to have the Collagen Hydrolysate on hand, but that's because I use it to make my own Bulletproof-inspired coffee.
  • Don't worry if you get globs of gelatin in the pot. The blender will break it up.
  • A brief description of the superfood powders used is located at the bottom of this post.
hot chocolate smoothie bowl ingredients-labeled
After initially posting this I made it again & took this photo. A few pinches of ginger made it in this time. Click to see it bigger.

IMPORTANT: IF YOU HAVE LEFTOVERS…

Put the bowl in the fridge (or transfer to a container). When you remove it, the gelatin will have transformed the smoothie from liquid to solid snack that's between a pudding and a Jello – a creamy Jello.

If you've ever made Jello or cooked with gelatin you know that  it dissolves in hot water and sets to a gel when it cools. I wasn't thinking about that when I put my smoothie in the fridge. I knew it would thicken, and it certainly thickened as I ate (I eat slowly), but I didn't anticipate how thick it would be after refrigeration. How thick? It went from this:

Hot Chocolate Smoothie cooking

To this…

 

Hot Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

To this… Ta da! I present to you Chocolate Almond Energy Pudding Bites:

Chocolate Smoothie Bites
I like how the banana looks. Imagine if I'd transferred the smoothie to a container, and then either sliced into squares or used a cookie cutter.

Yes, I should choose a name and stick with it.

If you want a chocolate-almond butter pudding-like snack…

…make the recipe above, immediately put it into a container and chill.

I will use a 1/2 Tbsp of gelatin next time and report back.

Disclaimer:

If you use Greens+ Extra Energy, and you're affected by caffeine, don't consume later in the day. You could use another greens powder but I think that here, cappuccino flavour was key. I've had to remind myself not to sneak bites later in the day. It looks like dessert. The next time I make this I probably will omit the Extra Energy for this reason.

A cool observation:

On Monday morning my mental state was in rough shape. I was having an existential meltdown after finding an old journal/workbook that, upon reading some of it, upset me and made me question my life. After eating a few squares of this I felt so much better. It was like I'd taken an anti-depressant. It could be coincidence, but here's my theory:

  • Chocolate is mood-boosting. Cocoa boosts the brain neurotransmitter serotonin, which affects mood, anxiety and happiness. Further research lead me to a CNN article with this information: “According to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in May 2013, those who drank a chocolate drink once daily (the equivalent of 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate) reported feeling calmer and more content than those who didn't.” Here's the study.
  • Some of the ingredients in the Greens+ Extra Energy are mood boosting/balancing. I went to have a look at the ingredients to check that theory and found a lot of mood-boosting ingredients in there, including:
    • Ginseng, a powerful adaptogen that helps your body cope with stress. A study published in Human psychopharmacology in August 2010 found that 200 milligrams of ginseng for eight days slowed the fall in mood. The 400 milligram dose improved calmness. This wouldn't have affected me after a few bites, but it's worth noting.
    • Rhodiola, another adaptogen, which I sometimes take as a supplement to help with depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies have shown Rhodiola to significantly reduce symptoms in patients with mild to moderate depression
    • L-Tyrosine, an amino acid used to produce dopamine. Tyrosine improves mood and stress response and supports energy and motivation. According to WebMD, People take tyrosine for depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other issues.
  • A little bit of research told me that one banana contains up to 10 milligrams of neurotransmitter dopamine.

…Now, I'm not sure that small amount I ate would affect my mood, but there is an indication that it could have.

A brief explanation of the superfoods used

Chaga mushroom powder
Among chaga's potential heath benefits: Supports the immune system and balances it, has high antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, could help protect your cells

Maca
Maca is rich in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. According to various studies, maca helps balance hormones in both women and men, is beneficial for libido (female and male) and fertility. Black maca has positive effects on sperm production. In addition to that, and related to it, maca has a positive affect on mood (as does increased libido), energy and stamina. Yes, sexual stamina too. People call it the “sexy root”.

Slippery elm
Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes mucous membranes  in the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines while also absorbing toxins that can cause intestinal imbalances. It soothes inflammation in the stomach and small intestine.

So, go on and make this mood boosting drink/pudding-like snack.

Tell me: What would YOU call the smoothie and the chilled version?

Click here for a prettier & printer-friendly version of the recipe
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Spirit Tuesday: My New Favorite Online Yoga Instructor

First off, I've gone and done something out of character for me:

I've created… wait for it… a blog content calendar. It's true. After blogging for about 20 years, since before blogging was called that, I've finally done it.  I'd been hearing about content calendars for years and even had a related WordPress plugin for awhile that I didn't use. After reading a couple of articles on Problogger, I decided to give it a try. It's a work in progress spreadsheet. Every day has a theme and I might or might not blog daily Monday to Friday.

Yesterday I gave you Promotion Monday, what's coming up in summits, webinars and other events. Today I give you Spirit Tuesday  – posts related to yoga and meditation.

On to today's share….

My yoga journey

I'm no beginner to yoga.

I've been practicing yoga on and off for a long time. On and off.

In 2010 on my old blog I had a blog series about the 40 day yoga challenge I was doing at a local hot yoga studio (and other studios). The way I remember it,  I'd get up before dawn, wait for a streetcar and go to a 6:30 a.m. class before work. Coincidentally, 6 years ago today I was on day 3, as I discovered when I jumped over to my old blog while writing this post. Before that I regularly attended classes at another hot yoga studio near where  lived.

I attend The Toronto Yoga Conference & Show almost every year. I own multiple yoga mats (one specifically for hot yoga), a yoga block, a yoga towel for my hot yoga mat, and a yoga bag.

I haven't had a consistent yoga practice in a few years, though.

Recently, with my commitment to meditate every day for a year, I decided to throw yoga into it. Classes at a local studio (and there are many local studios) aren't in my budget right now so I turned to home practice. Home practice also has the benefit of being time efficient. I do yoga right before or right after I meditate, or I meditate, walk dog, yoga, and I meditate twice a day. In the last 10 days I've only missed one day of yoga.

At first I was doing my own routine, going with the flow, so to speak. Doing what moved me (pun unintended there, too), letting memory and intuition guide me. Then I got curious and went down the rabbit hole of Google, which took me to the website Greatist, where I found Brett Larkin and then went down the rabbit hole of her YouTube channel. I've watched a fraction of her videos. There are so many. (More on that below.)

I was familiar with other prolific yoga teachers – the yoga celebrities – and had some of their DVDs back when I used to use DVD, but Brett is new to me and I think I get what she's doing overall as a yoga business, because I've been watching the online business world for years. I've been on the periphery of it with blogging, content marketing, social media, working with startups and staying connected to the tech world.

Into yoga? Want to start a home practice?…

Why you should check out Brett

There's a lot I like about her. For example:

Yoga in bed.

Yes, she has videos in which she does yoga in bed. Morning yoga, bedtime yoga. In bed.

Yoga for everyone, all levels

I appreciate that a lot of her videos are suited to all levels because I might be a “level 1” in some poses but more advanced in others. I'm familiar with the poses, but my body is pretty tight and inflexible so I need modifications. Some days I feel like the tin man. I've almost been tight and inflexible so I can't blame age, but generally after doing yoga for awhile I see improvement.

She has videos specifically for beginners, that are accessible and welcoming.

The variety

Over 30 playlists on YouTube. 22 videos under the “Morning Yoga Classes ” alone. 50 videos under the playlist “15 Minutes or Less (Yoga for Busy People)”. 9 videos under the playlist “Free 20 Minute Yoga Classes”, including a video called, “Yoga for Constipation Relief, Cramps and Fatigue”. Playlist “Yoga for Beginners” includes a video “How to Modify Common Yoga Poses (Yoga Modifications)”There's a video called How to Do Yoga in the Car, which is great for road trips. In other words, it appears that she has a yoga routine for every conceivable situation.

Brett Larkin Yoga – YouTube.

Ones I've done include yoga/meditation combinations that last under 20 minutes. That's efficient.

Brett Larkin YouTube playlists
18 of 32 playlists

Facebook group

Brett Larkin's Facebook group seems fairly engaged. I've posted/commented a few times already today and the community was helpful.

Group challenges.

In September and October she had the Chakra Challenge. Currently she's doing Yoga Sculpt. Her challenges include emails with yoga classes, meditations and podcasts.

The Instruction

I've done about 5 of Brett's videos and enjoy her instruction a lot. I feel challenged when I want to be and I feel safe because the instruction is thorough. She takes time without feeling slow. Her cues make a lot of sense. Her metaphors have metaphors and alternative metaphors. Sometimes instructor metaphors can be a turn off, like the instructor who once told the class, in a breathy voice, to make the pose feel “delicious”, causing me to consider my exit strategy from the small room.

Knowledge

She's got the knowledge, like and trust value. She creates high quality, valuable content. Her knowledge seems to extend beyond yoga into the areas related to yoga.

It's not just yoga instruction either. She answers fundamental questions such as, what to wear under your yoga pants.

Monthly membership

A true online entrepreneur, she also has a monthly membership, which is really smart, and the price is low, which is also smart.

At $12.95 paid monthly, or $129 for the year (save 15% and get 2 months free), It's WAY cheaper than visiting a yoga studio and more convenient. You can't even attend a single class at a studio for $13. At least, not in my city.
I'm considering joining despite my moratorium on spending money on American products because of the exchange rate. (Sorry, Americans, but this Canadian is on a budget.)

Monthly membership includes

  • Unlimited Downloads
  • Member-Only Training Guides & Challenges
  • Personalized Feedback
  • Early Access to Content
  • VIP Discounts on her specialty courses and more.

I've learned a lot about online marketing in the last few years and I can imagine what technology she uses for each part of her business. Her landing pages (Lead Pages), her sales funnels (ConvertKit?) her shopping cart (WooCommerce), etc. She's an amazing content marketer – or has an amazing team that does it.

Another reason she's a great content marketer:  I feel that she gives so much away for free that you have to give her money for stuff out of the goodness of your heart. The exchange and knowing how much goes into each video. That's an excellent example of content marketing.

There's a distinct evolution of quality in her videos, from an empty studio with minimal equipment to professionally-looking shoots in her home. I like that. This is how it's done, people. And, being the content marketing nerd I am, I find myself wondering if she batched all her videos – recorded them in a short amount of time – or did it over a longer period.

Yay, technology

The other thing that makes it convenient isn't really related to Brett: It's our home theatre set up with the Roku. The living room is my yoga/meditation space in the mornings and his man cave/entertainment room in the evenings. In the recent old days, I'd put a YouTube video on my laptop. When I started this current yoga practice I was watching YouTube videos on my phone in the living room – until this morning when I remembered that Roku has YouTube and now I can watch the YouTube videos on our big-ass projection screen.

Brett Larkin Chakra series
My day-after-posting attempt to get a better photo than the one originally posted, possibly to be replaced tomorrow (again).

I'll report back when I've done more.

P.S. This was my breakfast after, because I was craving a green (pink) smoothie with frozen greens and frozen berries and Genuine Health Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+.

pink smoothie

*To be clear, I am not affiliated with Brett and I'm not being compensated in any way. I found her videos on my own and am telling you about them because one of my missions is to connect people with quality stuff.

Update: I create a YouTube video to go with this post:

That Vitamin Movie
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Upcoming Events for January

Hi everyone,

I want to make sure that you don't miss out on these.

1) Winter of Wellness

On now through February 11

During Winter of Wellness, you’ll discover leading-edge solutions to your personal health objectives — with esteemed teachers, doctors and practitioners sharing their proven methods that address YOU as an integrative, interconnected WHOLE.

Attend for Free

2) The Vitamin Movie

On now through Wednesday

That Vitamin Movie

The free online screening of The Vitamin Movie has been extended until January 18! You have until this Wednesday to watch it if you haven't yet.

Attend for Free

3)Vitamin Mastery

Thursday January 19-Wednesday January 25

Vitamin Mastery

This is basically an extension of That Vitamin Movie, with more content. It's a 7-day free online event that brings together the unedited interviews that were used to make That Vitamin Movie AND the full interviews from That Vitamin Summit AND a brand new course from Andrew Saul, all being streamed free of charge for seven days.

Some of these experts had never agreed to be interviewed for anything like this before. They will  share their tips and strategies for using vitamins and supplements to put your health journey back on the right path.

Attend for Free

4.  Autoimmune Revolution Summit

January 30-February 6 (Monday to Monday)
The Autoimmune Revolution
The average lifespan of someone with an autoimmune disease is 10 years shorter than a healthy person! It’s time to achieve greater health and improved happiness so you can break the cycle of pain and start living again! Join me at The Autoimmune Revolution, online and free from January 30 – February 6, 2017!

Attend for Free

If you want to buy the series to add to your resource library, it's the least expensive before the summit starts. Here's the price schedule.

The Autoimmune Revolution Price

I almost always recommend buying summits  – at the lowest price if you get there in time – because many of the lifetime access packages such as this one include transcripts (for those who learn best through reading, and perhaps want to highlight and annotate), along with bonuses that are sometimes worth in the $100's of dollars. The bonuses in the Autoimmune Revolution bundle are worth over $600!

Choose Your Package

5. Create Your Shining Year

Create Your Shining Year by Leonie Dawson

And if you missed my post on Friday, there's a huge sale on Create Your Shining Year Biz & Life workbooks and other related products in that line.

Note that I get a commission if you choose to buy anything via this page. See my Affiliate code of Conduct (which I created on my own, at my own initiative in August 2015) for more information.

Massive Clearance
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Massive Discount on Your Shining Year Products

Create Your Shining Year

In a recent post, I mentioned that I tend to buy productivity planners and abandon them. It's just my way. I bought some recently, though, and I couldn't keep this to myself when my mission is to connect you with cool shit.

Leonie Dawson is having a HUGE clearance sale on her Create Your Shining Year Biz & Life workbooks. I've bought these ones numerous times and they're great.  Leonie has thousands of satisfied customers.

In Leonie's words:

So – I made a fairly large ordering mistake this year… and ordered WAY too much printed stock! We've still sold more than we did last year… we've continued growing which is SUCH a beautiful thing… but I have so much stock leftover… and I don't want it sitting around in warehouses when it could be out there helping people now!

So for the first time in history… I am having a HUGE STOCK CLEARANCE SALE!

You'll score a WHOPPING 50% off EVERYTHING – printed workbooks + planners, bundles and digital products.

The day she released the offer to her email list, it crashed her server for hours. (A good lesson for people having a big product launch.)

Here's why I think you should buy it:

  1. If you're like me and have a habit of buying planners and abandoning them, then it's less of a financial commitment.
  2. For my fellow Canadians, the 50% makes the U.S.-Canada exchange rate much more tolerable.
  3. If you buy the digital products, like I did, you don't have to pay for shipping. That's great for Americans, extra great for Canadians.
  4. Leonie's products really are awesome. Don't take my failure to use the tool as an indication that they're not. For one, they're GORGEOUS.  I'm in awe of her graphic design skills. Secondly, they're comprehensive. Third, they're inspiring.

Testimonials about the Shining Year products:

I love these workbooks and have used them for years for my life and business. Whatever I write in there ends up happening. I highly recommend them.

-Nathalie Lussier, founder of software startup AmbitionAlly.

I’ve been using the workbooks for a few years now. They’ve allowed me to achieve some really crazy goals I’ve set for myself. I’m a huge fan. They are a must-have if you want to create an amazing year. Make sure you grab them.

-Denise Duffield-Thomas, author of Lucky Bitch.

I follow both of those women online. You'll find more testimonials here.

With this amazng sale, the highest price is $32.50, for the Your Shining Year Biz Bundle. This includes both print + digital versions of her Biz Goals Workbook, Life Goals Workbook & 2017 Weekly Diary/Planner + 2 print copies of the 2017 Wall Planner (one for your office + one for your home).

I bought the digital versions for the 2017 Shining Year Workbooks bundle with the 2017 Life Goals Workbook, the 2017 Biz Goals Workbook, and the 2017 Dairy/Planner. That bundle costs $10.95 in U.S. dollars, the default for most online purchases.
Together, it all cost me less than $15 Canadian. The exchange rate has been brutal for Canadians for a long time but sales like this make it palatable.

The three books contain nearly 600 pages combined.

Three potential ways I envision interacting with the digital versions:

  1. Visit a local printing store to have all three books printed and bound.
  2. Visit a local printing store to have all three books printed on 3-hole punched paper, and add them to a binder myself.
  3. Fill it all in online.

With options 1 & 2 if I mess up any pages when I'm filling them in, I can print them out myself. The paper quality might not be as good, but I'm okay with that.

With option #3 I could always print out pages as needed.

I do recommend buying the hard copies, though, on their original quality paper. You won't regret it.

I do want to remind you that as well reviewed as these books are, your mileage may vary. The best product for you is the one you'll use.

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Night-Sky-Park

My New Favourite Part of the Day

I wrote this in my journal at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday night (Sunday morning) with the note, “Blog this”. What's here is a slightly edited version with a context note at the bottom:

I've discovered the joy and beauty of late night dog park visits.

Late at night it's dark. No one is there. It's silent.

Between throws of the ball (for a game of fetch) I stand and listen. I hear people walking past the park at the top of the hill, speaking on their cell phones or to their companions. I hear cars drive past and the occasional dog bark in the distance.*

For now when I look down I see a glossy sheet of ice. In a few days it will all melt. I look up at the sky and see moon and stars.

I stay present in the moment.

This is mindfulness. 

During the day I prefer to find people there so that both my dog and I can be social. Late at night I like the solitude. Two of my four Core Desired Feelings for 2017 are joy(ful) and peace(ful). This embodies both. It's calming and energizing. It's reaffirming. It's reassuring.  It's so freakin' beautiful that I stand motionless even when I'm freezing in the sub-zero (celcius) temperatures with the windchill of -20°C/-4°F. I don't leave until my body insists that it's time. My mind protests as long as it can. I want to stay in the moment. My dog is happy staying or going. She likes the cold much more than I do and can go for hours.

Night Sky, Toronto park
Taken at my park at 5:30 p.m today, not late night, but it's similar – slightly brighter, on a cloudy evening.

*The park is essentially a bowl or a pit, downhill, with an alley on one side and a school between the park and a major street to the north. My “night time” visits have been between 11 p.m. and midnight. I did it Friday and Saturday and it will become routine as long as I can stay awake but I imagine that as early as 10 p.m. will suffice.

 

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Vaccines Revealed: The docu-series

vaccines revealed
I've put this up in this website's event calendar but wanted to editorialize a little. I didn't change much of the copy that was provided to me. Both suggested promotional emails are alarmist and look like propaganda, and yet, I always feel like the truth is somewhere in the middle. You might agree or disagree. Either way is okay, as long as it's respectful.

Enough with the labels, already

I am NOT an anti-vaxxer. The term makes me cringe. The term “pro-vaxxer” also makes me cringe. They're awful labels, thrown around like knives to hurt, discredit and condescend. I hate that the world is divided into “pro-vaxx”and “anti-vaxx”. When you divide like that, you create disharmony and it's harder for people to open their minds in either direction. If anything, I consider myself a “conscious vaxxer”, which does put me at odds with some people close to me who are on one side or the other. I don't believe that all vaccinations are necessary as directed by medical experts. Take the flu shot, for example,

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that flu vaccine will protect a person from flu illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the flu viruses the flu vaccine is designed to protect against and the flu viruses spreading in the community. During years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating viruses, it’s possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed.

I know someone who claimed to have gotten sick from the flu shot and years later strongly denied it, because he tricked himself into thinking that it couldn't be true.

Furthermore, a study done three years ago reported that the flu vaccine had no impact on healthcare workers who care for people aged 60 or older living in long-term care institutions.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation,

A 1978 survey of 30 states showed that more than half of all children who contracted measles had been fully vaccinated. Sweden abandoned its whooping cough vaccine after it examined 5,140 cases of whooping cough in 1978 and found that 84 percent had been vaccinated three times. A 1990 Journal of American Medicine Association article stated that “Although more than 95 percent of school-aged children in the US are vaccinated against measles, large measles outbreaks continue to occur in schools and most cases. . . occur among previously vaccinated children.” The medical literature is filled with example after example of the failure of vaccination to furnish protection against common childhood diseases.

They also say,

…publications and statistics from the past two hundred years reveals that infectious diseases declined 90 percent before mass vaccination was ever introduced.

Experts attribute the cessation of epidemic diseases not to mass vaccination, but to a major sanitation reform movement that swept Europe during the 1800s. These reforms included moving human waste out of streets via plumbing systems; regularly cleaning streets and stables of horse manure and human waste; improving roads so that meats, vegetables and raw milk could be distributed in cities while still fresh; and upgrading water distribution systems to prevent bacterial contamination.

However, that was written over 11 years ago. There are certain correlations that I can't deny. The correlation between fewer parents vaccinating their children and increased outbreak of certain diseases is compelling, but it's not complete.  We're also living in a world that in many ways is more toxic & polluted than previous generations. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the way food is grown. Increased incidents of allergies, sensitivities, mental illness, physical illness. I've heard people claim that there's no such things as “toxins” or “detoxing”, but that's like Trump's statement that there's no such thing as global warming, and that it's a conspiracy theory.

We're living longer than before, but at what cost? Are we playing god? These are things that I don't think about often because doing so is a burden. I hope you know what I mean by that. It's not quite “blissful ignorance” but it's choosing to see the light instead of what could go wrong.

There are so many factors involved in wellness approaches and it's not up to me to say what's right and what's wrong. In the end, I hope, we do the research, taking account conflicting information rather than only seeking confirmation of what we think we know, and make what we feel are informed decisions for the best of us and our children.

I believe that the area of vaccination is a complicated issue that the public ISN'T hearing all of it.

Vaccines Revealed

That's why I think that films such as Vaccines Revealed  are important and why I'm promoting it.

There is so much information online. So quality, some less so. Some researchers event compared the quality of pro- and anti-vaccination online information. They sampled 514 webpages in favor of vaccination, 471 against, and 108 neutral.

“Vaccines Revealed” is broadcasting their exclusive docu-series event for 9 days only. From Tuesday, January 10th through the 18th. And you can watch the whole thing for free.

Here's some other promotional copy I received:

This is powerful – – If you want the latest, real information you will not want to miss this.

It's time to expose the truth and take back our health care system.

With an award-winning film crew, we flew all over the world and got exclusive access to whistleblowers, former drug reps and university scientists.

As you probably know already…

The drug and vaccine industry is a multi-BILLION dollar enterprise… focused more on profits than human lives.

I was not ready to see things like…

Drug and vaccine companies blatantly falsifying documents…

Whistleblowers getting completely BURIED…

Our Government looking the other way…

Bribery…

And that's not even to mention the tragic human cost of families ruined by vaccine injuries, endless medical bills… ruined marriages… and a rapid rise in chronic disease (especially in children).

It took months and months of care, attention and energy to edit each part of this stunning series. And now it's finally ready for the world to see.

Featuring exclusive interviews with the world's most acclaimed experts in research, medicine, holistic care and natural health.

“Vaccines Revealed” tells the hidden story behind the vaccine industry.

It starts out alarmist to get your attention. “real information”. “expose the truth”. I have no doubt that some truths will be exposed and that some people – whether they watch or choose to judge without watching – will claim that it's all bullshit. I might or might not believe everything I hear, but look forward to seeing the evidence. I also have no doubt that the drug and vaccine industry is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and that there's more money in treating sick people than in keeping people healthy. Falsifying documents? I believe that, only because it's been proven in other cases.

Research suggests that most anti-vaccine sites use emotion-based persuasion, such as pictures and stories (source), but so much of science starts with a hypothesis based on anecdotal evidence, and I always say that I believe anecdotal evidence because people don’t exist in labs. I say that people should read all they can about controversial topics and analysis it critically.

I read and watch with interest, an open mind and a dose of skepticism. Whichever side you're on, or whether you fall in the middle, check it out.

When you register, you'll receive a 5 minute trailer. It might be all you want to watch, or you might want to watch further. Up to you.

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