almond

Healthy Dessert Time

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I just got back from an inspiring yoga retreat in Costa Rica! It felt so good to take the time to practice yoga and meditation with a group of amazing women while soaking up the sun and local culture. Now that I’m back in chilly Boston, with yet another storm snowing me in, I’m enjoying spending a couple of days cooking, cleaning and grounding myself.

We were particularly blessed on this journey to have an amazing team of personal chefs who kept us cleaning our plates with a healthy and creative diet. My hands-down favorite this trip was a dessert of avocado pudding on an almond crust. I immediately had to recreate it at home. If you have never had avocado pudding before you are missing out!! It’s all the joy and flavor of eating a rich chocolate pudding and it’s healthy!

Avocado pudding

Now, there are many ways to make avocado pudding. I went the simple and delicious route using minimal ingredients. This turned out beautifully and was made in less than 10 minutes, including cleanup!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1.5 cups walnuts, almonds or pecans (I used a mix of walnuts and pecans because that’s what I had at home)
  • 2 tbsp Grade B/Dark Amber maple syrup (Fancy will do if you can’t find Dark Amber)
  • A pinch of sea salt

Pudding:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 4 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp raw cocoa powder (regular cocoa powder works fine too and might be more mellow if you’re not used to raw cocoa)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add nuts to your food processor and grind until they break into rice-sized chunks.
  2. Gradually add the maple syrup and sea salt and combine until ingredients stick together. Be careful not to over-process. It’s nice when there’s a good texture to the nut-combination.
  3. Press mixture into the vessel of your choice. I used an 8″ square pyrex dish. Individual ramekins also work well.
  4. Wipe your food processor clean, then add in all of the pudding ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  5. Top the crust with the avocado pudding.
  6. For best cutting results (and the best favor in my opinion) chill for at least 30 minutes before serving. Tip: If you chill the avocados before making the pudding that will cut down on the chilling time…and make licking the spoon more enjoyable. 😉

It should be noted this is not just a dessert. It’s an excellent source of rich omega 3’s, antioxidants and protein and I’m just as happy to eat it for breakfast as I am to eat it as an afternoon snack or dessert. Om nom nom!

36 Days, 3240 Burpees, 16 Miles, and Bargaining with Yourself

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Are you the type of person who has an inner monologue that you make bargains with?  “If I run a mile I can eat a slice of pizza.”  “If I get home before 5 I’ll do my workout, otherwise I’m just cooking dinner.”  Chances are the answer is “yes”, because you’re human (or you’re a dog who learned how to read, good job).  We all make little bargains with ourselves and while I’m using exercise and diet as examples, bargaining can creep into any part of your life.

The other day while driving through a snowstorm in Vermont, I listened to an episode of Radiolab (one of my favorite shows) called “Help!“.  They discussed bargaining and told a story of a long-term smoker who made a deal with herself to finally help her quit cold-turkey.  She had always tried to use the bargains of “it could kill me”, “it causes cancer”, “it makes my kids fear for me”, but all of those were easy to ignore because they’re in the future.  She needed something in the NOW.  The deal she made with herself was that if she ever smoked another cigarette she had to give $5k to the Ku Klux Klan, and her best friend had to keep her good to that promise.  Now, that might sound ridiculous but after a life of fighting for civil rights it was high enough stakes to make her quit.  I highly recommend listening to the whole episode to hear more.

I mentioned my weight woes the other day and I decided to make a high-stakes bargain with myself.  If I don’t lose 20lbs in three months I’m buying $500 in Monsanto seeds and gifting them to a local farm.  I can’t tell you how sick that idea makes me.  Not just the fact that I’d be giving $500 to Monsanto, but that I’d then have to do the walk of shame to present these to a local farmer and if the farmer doesn’t care that they’re from Monsanto I could potentially be polluting my local soil with GMO seeds.  Aaaaggghhhh!!

I’ve got to say, so far it’s working.  It’s gotten me to hot yoga, it’s got me running faster, and it has me picking up healthy snacks and tracking my calories with a fine-tooth comb.  After months of exercise and not seeing my weight drop, I’m FINALLY seeing the pounds start to go.  I’m on a fairly strict diet now of two-green smoothies a day, a healthy snack and then a healthy dinner, plus lots of water.  No food within a few hours of bed, no gluten, no dairy, no caffeine, no processed foods, no sugar.  These are rules I try to live by anyway but I’m not nearly as strict as I have been in the past week.  Wish me luck, because believe me the alternative is NOT HAPPENING!!

I also made my tastiest smoothie yet and I have to share the recipe with you!

ImageAlmond Green Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond Milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder (I used Fat Flush Body Protein)
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/4 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tsp flax seed oil
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flake

So. Friggin’. Good!!  It’s fruity and nutty and vitamin-packed!  Plus it’s only 394 calories and has a whopping 25g of protein!  This made me a very happy woman, I hope you love it!