Sundays in autumn are usually a kitchen, food prep day for me. I had a wonderful summer but am looking forward to the time of year that allows me to roast, toast, and broil!
After a long Sunday morning run and some home-time yoga, I was ready for a little breakfast treat. Pancakes have always been my favourite food. Growing up we celebrated holidays with either pancakes or waffles, topped with maple syrup, fruit, and moms special huckleberry sauce. This morning I was able to recreate my favourite meal and think back on some my fondest memories.
You can alter the following recipe to adapt to your own favourite flavours. I'm assuming some of you will be creating some pumpkin spice pancakes soon!
1 Tbsp grass fed butter
1 ripe mashed banana
2 Tbsp collagen powder
1 Tbsp almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Pre heat oven 150 F.
Pre heat a fry pan on medium heat (I used a small cast iron). If using cast iron, make sure you allow lots of time for the pan to get heat up. Heat a tsp of the butter in pan.
Mash the banana and whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Add the banana to eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining ingredients (minus the butter) and mix until a batter forms. Depending on the size of your eggs you may need to add a bit more flour if batter is too runny.
Ladle a small amount of batter into pan and be patient. Allow the pancake to grab hold of its form, about 3 minutes, then flip. Once done, keep warm in oven. Add more butter to pan after each pancake to decrease any sticking.
I topped mine with plum butter, a little sprinkle of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg.
You may use 1/2 cup mashed yam, sweet potato, or squash of choice instead of banana.
Enjoy, and happy autumn.
"When you do something beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps."
Happy St. Patricks Day!
Lately life has been busy. (Just like everyone) Work, exercise, prepping to teach, and planning a trip takes up most of my time. Don't get me wrong, I love being a busy bee but sometimes it's hard to find the time to do all my meal prepping. In order to keep plugging along I make sure I have my grab and go smoothie in case of an afternoon crash.
I'm not one for protein powders. I don't like idea of hidden ingredients, which are mainly sugars. Instead of buying a protein powder I make my own. I love knowing exactly what's in my fuel. The following are my go to smoothie add ins:
A small shrub native to India and North Africa. It's a strong adaptogen which aids in the bodies management of stress by lowering cortisol levels. The herb has been shown to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. It does this through the management of insulin levels.
Ginger is known for being great for digestion. It does this by relaxing the smooth muscle that lines the gut and helps move food through the system. Ginger has anti inflammatory properties, enhances insulin sensitivity, decreases pain, and boosts immunity.
Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate:
Collagen Hydrolysate has high amounts of glycine, lysine, and proline, these are found in lower amounts in other protein supplements. Glycine helps form collagen and gelatin which build connective tissues in the body. Lysine plays an essential role in cartnitine production which is responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and lowering cholesterol. Proline helps cushion and heal joints. Hydrolyzed collagen is easily digested and absorbed within 30 minutes.
2 tbsp: 11 g of protein
Has been called Peruvian Ginseng. Maca is very rich in nutrients and has a nutty earthy flavour. Some benefits include, hormone balance, increased immune function, energy, sexual function and memory. Maca is a powerful source of amino acids, vitamins, and phytonutrients. Maca even has a higher calcium level than milk. My favourite adaptogen.
1 oz: 4 g of protein
Mushroom Powder Blend:
Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Coriolus, Lion's Mane, Maitake
Multiple health benefits include, immune function, fatigue, and weakness.
A blue green algae that is a fresh water plant. Used for metabolism, heart function, diabetes, anxiety, and stress. Spirulina is a strong antioxidant which helps athletes recover from exercise induced oxidative stress that contributes to muscle fatigue.
1 tbsp: 4 g protein
Fresh turmeric root has large anti inflammatory, anti flatulent, and anti microbial properties. Helps lower LDL "bad" cholesterol levels due to high amounts of vitamins and curcumin.
My Go To Green Smoothie:
1 Cup Water
3 Cups Spinach
1 Cup Kale
1 Rib of Celery
1 Inch Ginger Root
1 Slice Turmeric Root
2 Tbsp Collagen Powder
2 Tsp Maca
2 Tsp Ashwaganda
1 Tsp Mushroom Powder
1 Tsp Spirulina
Half a tray of ice
Either half a Medjool date or sprinkle of cacao nibs
Blend and Enjoy!
Other common add ins:
Cinnamon, Chlorella, Hemp Hearts, Avocado, Cacao Powder, Cashew Butter.
Yes 2016 had its list of negatives, but without focusing on them let's manifest as much positivity and hope for the upcoming year. Let this manifestation begin with ourselves and from this energy, together we can build a strong, beautiful community, a community that, when times get tough we come together to support one another.
I'm not one to make New Year's Resolutions but this week something hit me. I had phone dates with my most special friends and it felt so great to connect. I realized that these connections, although beautiful, are with people who aren't close in proximity. If we lived in the same city we would do anything for one another but when the going gets tough here, it can be lonely.
Moving back to Nelson was as I've mentioned over again, great. Although this has come with its challenges, one being: making friends. Making friends as an adult is hard. I miss the days when you're thrown into a classroom with all sorts of kids and you're told to play nice. I've had a friend for 22 years because of this. Nowadays it's awkward. When do you take the same coffee shop small talk to "the next level?" Putting yourself out there and asking a potential new friend to spend time together is intimidating. It's much easier to keep the small talk alive and head home to sweat pants and Netflix.
So with this said, 2017 is the year I've dedicated to finding my "tribe." I've met all sorts of people over the past 16 months and understand we've had the best intentions of getting together. It's easy to say, "Text me when you're free." It's my responsibility to build these friendships but it's also a two way street. So I'm saying this now, ladies and gents lets make a communal effort to be in one another's lives. If you want to get together, let me know because I'm here and I'm ready to make this town more of a home.
"Be with those who help your being."
For as long as I can remember I've wanted to visit New York City, alone, in the fall, while single. Three weeks ago I did just that. I went with a romantic idea that I would go to New York, fall in love, and become a wild version of my regular, serious self. The trip didn't exactly unfold that way.
Day one looked very similar to the next six. I stuck in the routine of waking up early, practice at a local yoga studio, make breakfast and strap on my walking shoes to get exploring the most incredible city. I wanted to immerse myself as much as possible and be a "New Yorker" for a week. Turns out that is easy to do since New Yorkers are some of the nicest and most accepting people. Yes, there are many neighbourhoods that have significant "class", but as a whole people are real.
New York is known for its food. Everywhere you go there are restaurants, markets, and street vendors. Traveling in the past has given me anxiety. I would wonder how I would get to a grocery store? If I had to eat out, what would I have? What could I prepare in advance and bring on my trip? Luckily that was then. I am in the now. I was able to go with the flow and eat on the go. I didn't 100% take advantage of the abundance of food, not because I didn't want to, but because I didn't want to slow down and put exploring on hold. That week I most likely ate more apples and bananas than I have in my lifetime, fruit carts are abundant and it's easy to keep a steady pace with an apple in hand. My most memorable sit down meal was in Brooklyn.
Some of you know that I love to ferment everything. This passion for fermentation has led me down the sourdough path. I previously would only eat bread I prepared. Bien Cuit broke me. Small batch baking with slow fermentation allows these award winning bakers more control over each individual loaf. I ate real bread, that I did not prepare, and it was perfect. I didn't bloat, get sick, or stress. I mindfully ate with love. My previous negative thoughts with a meal would be the reason I would "feel" poorly. Mindful eating is one tool I use daily and recommend.
While out for a walk with a friend, I mentioned how I lived simply while in NYC. He mentioned sometimes you need to go away, to come back with an assurance you are who you are. My simple, daily life of doing the things I love is exactly why I'm living in Nelson. Living here has given me the tools to prioritize. I'm simple, serious, and happy. I'm 100% Alex and don't want to be anyone else. Going away has confirmed I'm exactly where I need to be.
"Above all, be the heroine of your own life, not the victim."
Today marks the one-year anniversary of me moving back to Nelson. The last year has been exactly what the doctor ordered. Thank you to the people who have welcomed me back to the community with open arms. I'm feeling settled and am excited to see what the future brings!
Even though Nelson has transformed in the past 8 years, it still has its' nourishing energy. It's something I can't fully explain; you have to be here to experience it. Yesterday as I walked through one of my favourite spots the following mantras were going through my head.
These mantras change depending on what I need. What mantras do you use? How do you stay grounded? Autumn is the time of year to reflect and transition into more yin (resting) energy. Allow yourself to slow down. Be open to change. I look forward to hearing how your autumn goes!
"Autumn killed the summer with the softest kiss."
One of my favourite spots.
First I'd like to thank everyone for the comments and support from the last post. The more we discuss and bring awareness, the more we create a supportive community where one can feel safe expressing their own stories. Discussions over the past few weeks have allowed me to put some pieces of my puzzle together.
I mentioned that orthorexia has been part of my life in the last two and half years, but it began much earlier. Examples include, in elementary school instead of eating lunch I would bring it home and hide it, in junior high I introduced myself to meal replacement shakes and in high school I took diet pills.
My entire school career I wanted people to like me. Controlling food was fuelled by me not able to control peoples' opinions. My insecurities were at a point where I would constantly question my friendships. Self doubt and the manifestation of negative thoughts was my daily ritual. Thankfully my ah-ha moment, has allowed me to recognize my obsession with food wasn't normal. I wasn't the healthiest I've ever been and I needed help.
I'm lucky that I have come to a place of recognition; this isn't the case for everyone. Slowly releasing the rules and restrictions opened the door to food freedom. My daily mantras have changed to love and acceptance and I'm able to nourish my body and mind. Thank you for continued support. Feel free to message me with any questions, or topics you would like to explore in future posts.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
Orthorexia: an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food. The term is derived utilizing the Greek “orthos,” which means, “right,” or “correct,” and is intended as a parallel with anorexia nervosa. (Source: orthorexia.com)
How did food become something that controlled my every thought? I grew up with food being a daily nourishing ritual. Food was shared with family in a way of meals without the thought of carbohydrate, fat, and protein ratios. I have to admit that the past few years have been challenging when it comes to nourishing my body. Even today I can still put an unhealthy amount of thought into what I consume. Over time, days of irrational thoughts are getting less and there are weeks I feel great. I practice daily mantras of healing and acceptance. I trust with time I will relinquish my need to control my every calorie and simply just be.
Over the past few months here in Nelson BC, I've been reconnecting with myself. I say reconnect because two and a half years ago I failed to see what I found important in my life. Living in Victoria BC, I had this constant search for something greater. I wasn't sure what this was so I began to put all my focus into my health. Health was something I could control rather than admit feeling lost.
In 2014 after being gluten free and dairy free for a couple of years and playing with the newest nutrition trends I still had digestion issues. Little did I know, these issues came from stress, and were more mental than physical. The effects of stress on the digestive system is an entire blog post to itself. I didn't think stress was the issue. I'm a Massage Therapist; I see first hand what stress can do to our bodies. My symptoms included constipation, bloating, indigestion, mood swings, and just an over all sense of malaise. There had been periods when I wouldn't have a bowel movement for anywhere from 7-14 days. I started asking questions and seeking answers. My naturopath at the time suggested colon hydrotherapy. At this point I was happy to try anything.
Walking into my first colon hydrotherapy appointment I felt welcomed and at ease. The comforting glow of the salt lamp and calming music made it seem more like a spa experience rather than a medical treatment. The process isn't as scary as one would think but still very humbling. The professionalism I received was incredible and after learning people use this therapy for a variety of reasons I began to feel hope. Treatments became intense quickly. I had 13 sessions in a span of 8 weeks and bowel movements still weren't easy.
Still on the hunt, to feeI healthy I turned to The Body Ecology Diet. In a nutshell this diet strips you of most foods with strict restrictions. With this diet and an increase of fermented foods I began to see my symptoms improve. Though taxing, bowel movements were happening. The purpose of the diet is to improve digestion and then slowly add certain foods back in. My diet consisted of most non-starchy vegetables, meat, eggs, and fermented foods. Zero, starchy vegetables, grains, nuts, sugar, fruit, dairy, and alcohol. Fear controlled my thoughts and without adding food back in, I stayed with these limitations for months.
For a while I was feeling strong and happy. A combination of low calories and increased exercise was my daily routine. Naturally, I lost weight and fast. People began asking if I was alright since I lost 40 pounds within three months. I swore I was the healthiest I've ever been and secretly loved how people noticed. I played the victim, complaining about how scary it had been losing weight. Isolation quickly became my new normal. I didn't socialize with others for meals, mood swings were strong, and I prioritized the gym over my friends. This isolation tarnished my relationship with one the most important people in my life. Having the need to prove to others I was okay, I thought education and becoming a nutritional coach through Precision Nutrition was the next step. How could I be sick if I gave others advice?
Working out, poor nutrition, digestion anxiety and the obsessive fear about bad food got taxing, physically and mentally. Reality of my health began to surface with a visit home to Nelson for Thanksgiving. Sitting with my family at the dinner table, was the first time in months I enjoyed food. I clearly needed this reality check before the orthorexia became too dangerous. It wasn't an over night switch and I don't think that will ever be the case. Time truly does heal and with this time I've started to relax. Socializing is easier and I've slowly increased my list of food. I can be honest and say, I do feel strong and my health has improved greatly. The last two and half years have been a trip and I'm so lucky I'm healthy today to be able to talk about it.
Writing a blog is part of my own healing. Writing down the truth solidifies the work I still need to do. As I said this is still a part of my life and for anyone who has struggled, or is currently struggling with any type of eating disorder there is support and a good place to start is http://nedic.ca/. I hope opening up about my own struggles can bring understanding for yourself or others in your life. This isn't a woe is me blog. This is just the beginning to personal experiences, recipes, research and the odd animal meme.
I'm so thankful and lucky my friends and family are understanding and supportive. Without them I wouldn't have had the courage to take a look and connect with myself once again.
"The universe will configure around your best efforts."