Monthly Archives: September 2015

No really, just breathe.

“For you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

It’s so easy to take the magic of the body for granted. It is, after all, designed to function without too much work from us. Our hearts beat thousands of times each day, our eyes blink, our lungs fill and empty. All these things will happen whether you pay attention or not. And good thing, because it might be hard to get anything else done if we had to focus on all that! But what happens when we bring awareness, joy and gratitude to this moment-to-moment magic that is a intrinsic part of our physical life?

As a doula, I am blessed to witness the power of our intuitive selves as people bring babies into the world. I trust birth, and I trust the body and spirit to be up to the task. But it is hard, demanding, sometimes exhausting work. And often the tool that can see a woman through is careful attention to her breath. As she tunes in to her inhales and exhales, she can ride the waves of the surges of labour without being overwhelmed by them. The breath keeps her anchored in the moment and gives her strength. I can’t recommend a prenatal yoga practice┬áheartily enough to expectant families- it can be truly instrumental in a happy and satisfying birth experience.

If the breath can see us through these challenging and transformative experiences, then of course in our daily lives it can also bring about a change in the way we see things. Taking a few moments, especially in the midst of difficulty, to focus on this simple process, can help us to see a situation in a new light and to approach it more calmly.

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Take a moment, wherever you re, to close your eyes and observe, without judgement or change, your breath. Where is it happening in the body? Is it rapid or slow, deep or shallow? Then begin to deepen your breath, feeling the belly soften and move forward as it fills with breath, the rib cage inflating all the way to the collarbones. Then release the breath, feeling the shoulders relax, the natural tone of the abdomen as you press all the air out of the lungs. Repeat this ten times, in stillness, feeling that each breath out removes obstacles, releases tension, clears out physical and emotional stress; each breath in invites brightness, goodness and newness into your body and your life. As you move through all the events of your day, the hard and the easy, try to bring some awareness to this essential process that we often don’t give the attention it deserves. See how things might change when you take the time to nourish yourself with mindful breath.

#shityogiseat: An Energy Bar Recipe

You know when you are racing around all day and you’re so hungry you can’t think but you don’t want to eat crappy food?

This is a recipe for those times. Infinitely variable, I make this with whatever is in my pantry or whatever was on sale at the bulk foods store. They are like Larabars, but much cheaper and in an infinite variety of flavours!

A note on dates: you can use either the super-delicious but slightly expensive Medjool variety, in which case you only need to pit them, or the dried variety more widely available (and cheaper). If you opt for the second choice, soak them for fifteen minutes with enough boiling water to cover, then strain off and reserve the soaking liquid. If the mixture seems to dry, you can moisten it with a little of the liquid, added one tablespoonful at a time. Use this step as well for any other dried fruits you add.

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(Not the most beautiful food on earth, but they are delicious)

Energy bars deluxe

2 cups (loosely packed) dates, or 1 1/2 c dates and 1/2 c candied ginger or dried apple or apricots

2 c of any of the following, or a combination: sunflower seeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds, coconut or cashews

A pinch of sea salt

Optional flavorings/ nutrition boosters:

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp hemp hearts,

1tbsp flax seeds

2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment and brush it with coconut oil. Set aside. Prepare your dates according to the directions above and place them in the bowl of your food processor. Add all other ingredients and pulse a few times to combine, then run to motor until you have a thick batter. A few chunks are fine. If it’s too thick, add either a little of the date soaking liquid, or one or two more Medjool dates. If it’s too runny, throw in a few more nuts or seeds. This is a casual recipe. We take it easy. Roll with it. When the batter is thick but pliable, use a rubber spatula to scrape it onto the baking sheet (taste test here) and smooth the top to make a uniform thickness- if the batter sticks, moisten your spatula with a little water.

Place the baking sheet in the fridge from an hour, then cut the bars int your desired shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and take them with you whenever you’re looking at a long and hungry day ahead! I keep a stash of these in my car’s glove box. Very handy. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about their shelf life because they never last long.

Try these fabulous combinations:
Dates, peanuts, coconut, cocoa powder

Dates, dried apple, pecans, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg

Dates, walnuts, cocoa powder

Dates, apricots, cashews, cinnamon

Dates, candied ginger, sunflower seeds, almonds, turmeric, cinnamon

What other varieties do you like?