RECIPE: Cinnamon Coconut “Walnut Butter”

maple syrup

 

Ok guys.  I am eating this at the moment.  Couldn’t resist sharing.  This is a treat.  A healthy treat definitely.  Pretty high in healthy fat if your into that type of thing.  Here goes Cinnamon Coconut “Walnut Butter.”

-2 Cups raw dehydrated walnuts

-3 tablespoons raw coconut oil

-2 tablespoons organic maple syrup (more or less to taste)

-dash salt

-dash cinnamon

Blend in a nutribullet or similar food processor until consistent texture is achieved. 

What comes out is a delicious, easily digestible (hopefully) mix of AWESOMENESS.  Is that a word?  Spell check thinks it is =)  It’s the weekend and I am eating this with some gluten-free mexican chocolate snicker-doodle cookies.  HEAVAN.

-Joe

Advertisements

Benefits of the “Pre-Morning”

English: Sunrise through morning mist

 

What is the “Pre-Morning?”

It is a small window of time early in the morning where we have time and space to collect ourselves before we start the “morning.”  This time window usually only occurs if we go to bed early the night before and have enough time to rest and wake up early naturally.  It provides a type of quiet-time that we miss out on if we sleep in until the world begins.  Let’s look at some of the benefits.

PLANNING:  We can plan our day stress-free here.  Make some lists, think about the day, etc.  Think about the food you may want to consume throughout the day.  Think about what you want to accomplish.

WORK-IN:  This is the perfect time to do energy accumulation exercises such as qigong, tai-chi, yoga, deep breathing, etc.  This is excellent for your health and also puts you in a very relaxed mood with which to start your day stress-free.

QUIET:  There is not so much interference at this time of day.  The dogs aren’t barking.  The neighbors aren’t taking their kids to the bus.  The lawn care squad isn’t mowing.  Things are just quieter.

 There is a period of time for energy and activity and a time for stillness.  The pre-morning is definitely a period of stillness.  Of quiet contemplation.  Try it a few times and you may get a little addicted =)

-Joe

“Paleo” my Ass

1 and a half russet potato with sprouts. Slice...

 

Sorry guys.  Venting a little here.  I am tired of this paleo this and that.  I understand that eating large amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, parsnips, etc may not be the best for some people but what about the cultures that have used these foods as the basis of healthy diets for thousands of years?  Native Americans ate a load of corn.  Not the same corn, no, but corn.  Tortillas?  What about Irish people eating potatoes?  Now I’m not insisting that these are always “ideal” foods, etc.  But people just do not need to be freaking out over having some baked potatoes every now and then.  Tonight, we made an amazing Irish dish called “Colcannon”.  We use Yukon gold potatoes, steamed kale/leaks, chopped garlic, and top it off with some raw grass-fed butter.  

Is it so bad?  I know that the information age is helpful but MAN it seems like us humans can take it too far sometimes?  There are so many good meaning people out there that are afraid to eat a sweet potato or potato because it’s not “paleo.”  Are our guidelines too strict?  I can’t help but think about people living thousands of years ago.  They had no science or vitamin/mineral data.  They just ate intuitively and they did a good job at it most of the time.  I remember an article from Chris Kresser called the Paleo Template.  He just talked about using things more as a guideline instead of an absolute rule.  If you are eating organic, local food that is prepared sensibly then trusting your taste buds is usually a good guide.  Some of us need more meat.  Some of us need more fruit.  Other people feel good with a lot of carbohydrates in the forms of potatoes, sweet potatoes, root crops, fruit, etc.  So which is it?  Let’s tune into our own inner wisdom a bit more.  As someone who got sucked into that world for a while it is refreshing to get out =)  Thanks for tuning in.

-Joe

WHY we eat so much?

Nutrition

 

Why do we eat so much?  Or rather so much bad stuff.  Are we compensating for something?  Maybe feeding something other than our physical body?  This is not really a post on weight loss although it could be targeted that way as well.  Obviously junk food tastes pretty good or we wouldn’t touch the stuff to begin with.  However it is “artificially tasty.”  People add addictive chemicals, sugars, crappy fats, and other things to trick our taste buds that we are eating something very nourishing.  It is normal for animals in the wild to eat things high in calories.  It is part of our normal eating process.  However, I think we eat for other reasons as well.  

EMOTIONS:  We “Feed” our emotions.  The human brain burns a lot of calories.  We burn more when we are stressed out.  If we have chronically suppressed emotional conflicts or anything of that nature we burn more.  The human body is a sensitive machine.  If we are using up all of our energy to digest a giant meal of junk-food than the higher-level functioning of the emotional/spiritual self is usually shut down.  This is why we go for that pizza or ice-cream after a hard break-up.

NUTRITION:  You will always be hungry if you are malnourished.  And by malnourishment I mean a few things.  Most people are malnourished when it comes to nutrition.  We don’t eat the right types and quality foods that will give our bodies everything they need to run at peak condition.  If you are missing some vital nutrients then you will always be hungry.  What happened when you needed some nutrition a long time ago?  You ate more food.  However, with our nutrient depleted, dead foods; this doesn’t get people anywhere.  Nutrition could also be referred to as “elemental nutrition”.  These are things that we take for granted sometimes such as clean air, fresh water, sunlight, and grounding.  These are all inputs into the human system that we have evolved with for a long time.  These are not supposed to be “optional” things.  They are essential to our healthy growth.  Nutrition could even go farther and deal with positive emotional nutrition.  Things like feeling loved, accepted, passionate, etc. We all need these things coming in on a regular basis or there forms a “nutrition gap.”  This gap needs to be filled by something.  It really wants to be filled by the “GOOD STUFF” but it will settle for something else until we can find that stuff.

So basically I believe that we usually are eating because we are lacking in some form of “nutrition.”  This could be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc.  The ways to beat this are simple yet complex.  We just need to listen more.  Listen to what we are truly hungry for.  Is it really that pizza or does your emotions need looking at?  Do you overeat constantly?  Maybe your body needs something other than what you are feeding it.  Feed the mind.  Feed the body.  We have so many forms of nourishment in this world and yet we have learned to focus on ONE!  This is somewhat silly I think =)  Let’s take the time to figure out where we have these nutrition gaps and start filling in the cracks.

-Joe

HAPPINESS Health Series Conclusion: PASSION

 

happy kid from Iran

I could keep thinking of small topics here and there but these are the main ones.  Laughter, joy, smiling, slack, etc.  I have saved probably the most important one for last.  That is PASSION.  What is it?

 

With Passion we can do almost anything.  Without it, we struggle by in life and wonder where we went wrong.  The unfortunate reality is that most of us get stuck somewhere along the way with fears or insecurities.  We give up on our passions and dreams bit by bit until they are nothing but a distant memory.  This is terrible for our sense of happiness.  What can we do about it?

 

FIND YOU:  Take some time to really find out who you are.  A lot of people are following the dream of their family or of society at large and are not really sure what they want to do or who they are.  Using some techniques for finding out who you are unique from everyone else is a huge step in finding your passions.  Start paying attention to your dreams, discharge any past emotional baggage.  You may find out that who YOU are has just been covered up by a lot of who you are NOT!

 

GOALS:  Set aside time to write down your goals.  This can be something very small or something very big.  Maybe you want to cut soda out of your life so that you can lose weight.  Maybe you want to survive your illness so that you can help the world.  There is no right or wrong answer here.  The point is to put something down on paper things that you wish to accomplish that will help fuel your passions.

 

EVOLVE:  Finding and living your passions is an evolutionary process.  It does not happen over night.  It requires constant dedication, drive, courage, and love.  We need to nurture our “creations” so that they take fruit in the long-run.  We need to be in it for the long-haul.  

 

Passion is a long-term project.  It requires us to allow the fullness of our being to come into contact with the world.  This is not an easy task.

 

Refer to other tips on happiness.  When following your passions the going gets tough.  You WILL come up against obstacles.  You WILL come up against your own fears as well as others fears.  These are just bumps in the road that we must overcome if we want to truly live with passion.  But what could be more worthwhile?  Hope everyone enjoyed the series =) Smile.

 

-Joe

 

HAPPINESS Health Series: Laughter

The Laughter of Carthage

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ivX8kjlCfc

 

Enough said.  I know there is a ton of science on the biological, mental, and physiological benefits of laughter but I couldn’t tell you what that science is.  What I do know is that it is hard NOT to feel better when you are laughing.  It eases the tension.  It relaxes the mind.  It can easily bring one to a state of contentment, peace, and joy.  It shows you that maybe it is ok after all to have a little fun now and again.  Funny movies and tv shows, books, etc. are all good here.  What makes you laugh?

-Joe

HAPPINESS Health Series: Peak Experiences

Peak Experience

 

What is a peak experience?  I would define it as a high-point in life.  A moment you don’t easily forget.  This could be the moment you catch a big fish.  The moment you reach the top of a mountain.  A first kiss.  Playing in the rain.  Whatever it is.  The things that make us nervous yet excited at the same time.  These are the moments we feel the most alive.  They are also the moments we often avoid because we are afraid of things.  Afraid of what others think.  Afraid of how we will feel about ourselves.  Afraid of failing maybe or getting rejected?  These are obstacles that can be overcome.  Obviously taking certain measures of safety when it comes to physical things is wise =)  So how do we have these “peak experiences?”

CREATE TIME:  We need to create time for them.  Most of these things do not happen sitting at home on the couch.  They don’t happen daily although they could.  This doesn’t have to be some elaborate vacation or anything like that.  Got someone special in your life?  Plan a romantic night just for them.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It really is the creativity that makes the night.  Go on a big hike somewhere in your area.  Anything you really feel like doing.  

HOBBIES:  Pick up a new hobby.  Hobbies are often a key to peak experiences.  Learning a new instrument is exhilarating (when you get it right).  But anything works here.  Gardening, hiking, fitness, art, music, photography, working on cars, collecting, etc.  There is no end to the number of hobbies a person may have.  I find it wise to focus on a few at a time as to not overwhelm yourself =)

DROP FEAR:  This is the obstacle.  Everyone WANTS to have peak experiences.  They are what we live for.  The moments that refresh us with a newfound zest for life again.  But the fear usually gets in the way.  And usually it isn’t fear for physical safety but fear of emotional or mental safety.  So what are we most protective of?  I would say most people are more concerned for their emotional “perceived safety” than for their physical safety.  We just don’t have a very good program for healing emotional wounds in America so I guess this makes sense.  If there is no way to heal from it then you better be damn sure that you don’t get hurt in the first place.  The problem is that this means avoiding and missing out on a lot of good things in life =)

So what do we do with all this?  Ultimately we need to learn about fear and how to beat it.  I believe that everybody deep down yearns for these types of experiences.  Nobody wants to sit on a couch or in a “mind-box” their whole lives.  The fear just usually wins out.  So we need to learn how to take emotional risks without the fear of not being able to fix them if they go wrong.  Maybe I get rejected by a girl I like.  Maybe I go try to learn how to dance and I’m terrible at it.  Maybe I’m really good at it?  We connect to the OUTCOME far too much and put less emphasis on the experience.  A book I read a while back titled “Don’t Miss your life” talks about the performance identity.  We need to let go of the results and “how we look” or if we “fail or succeed.”  Sometimes the point really is just to LIVE and be HAPPY =)

-Joe