No-Bake Chocolate Walnut Brownie Recipe

By April 6, 2017 Recipes, Sweet Treats
No Bake Paleo Brownie Recipe

Hello friend! I hope you’re having a fabulous week. The sun has finally shown her beautiful face here in Saskatoon and this week I had my first nap in my sunroom on my chaise lounge and the amount of people I’ve told about it is a little embarrassing.

But seriously, it made me feel like Spring is here and with that comes my desire for less hearty foods and less inclination to turn on my stove. These brownies fit the bill perfectly!

I’ve made these brownies as the welcome treat for my Warrior Women’s Wellness Weekend (already half sold out for September!!!) and the Yoga at the Ridge Retreat and they have always been a huge hit. I always get requests for the recipe and finally decided to publish it here for everyone’s enjoyment 😀

They are completely sugar free, getting all their perfect sweetness from delicious dates, which are packed with fibre and beneficial anti-oxidants. And even though they are sweet, they may help with blood sugar balance in diabetics. Adding a little pinch of sea salt to the recipe helps bring out the inherent sweetness in the fruit without having to add more sweetener. It’s a great trick to use in desserts!

Walnuts and nut butter are a great source of plant-based protein, anti-oxidants, and some beneficial omega fats (when eaten in moderation). That means these little sweeties aren’t going to have as much of an impact on your blood sugar thanks to the great blend of protein, fat, and fibre!

I don’t think I need to convince you of chocolate’s health benefits, but just in case you needed convincing, it’s a great source of magnesium, anti-oxidants, and deliciousness.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe!

Sugar-Free Chocolate Walnut Brownies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup raw cacao or organic cocoa
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup dates, soaked for at least 1 hour in hot water
  • ¼ cup nut and/or seed butter (I like cashew or almond)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor pulse together walnuts, cacao, and sea salt until desired texture is achieved. I like to leave a few chunks. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Remove dates from soaking liquid.
  4. Add dates, nut butter, and vanilla to food processor and blend until relatively smooth. You will likely have a few date chunks left. If they are not soft enough pour in a small amount of the soaking liquid (about 1 tbsp.) or add a little extra nut butter.
  5. Combine date puree and ground walnut mixture together then press flat onto baking sheet. Put into freezer for a couple of hours until solid. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Well friend, that’s the super delicious, ridiculously easy, guilt-free brownie recipe for today! If you’re looking to take your smoothie game to the next level this spring then make sure you download my FREE Sensational Smoothies E-Book right here.

Have a beautiful weekend 😀

Cait xo

No Bake Paleo Vegan Walnut Brownie Recipe

You Might Also Like

Cait’s Reviews: Jennifer’s Way: My Journey With Celiac Disease by Jennifer Esposito

By March 21, 2017 Book Reviews
Best Jennifer's Way by Jennifer Esposito Book Review

Hi friend! I hope you’re having a beautiful week. Today I want to share a review of a book I read last week by Jennifer Esposito called Jennifer’s Way: My Journey With Celiac Disease—What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You & How You Can Learn to Live Again.

While the title is quite the mouthful, the book was absolutely incredible. If you have celiac disease, are struggling with your physical or mental health, or you love someone with Celiac disease I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

As some of you may know, I have several family members with Celiac disease and I have been gluten-free myself for almost 6 years. I thought I knew a lot about how the disease can manifest physically, emotionally, and psychologically in the body. However, after reading this powerful book by Jennifer Esposito I have a whole new appreciation and empathy for what my friends and clients with celiac disease live with on a daily basis.

Part One of the book is written in the style of a memoir and tells the story of Jennifer’s life-long struggles with health issues and how it impacted her career and relationships. Her writing is raw, brutally honest, and vulnerable.

There were several times throughout the book where I was brought to tears by her struggle to be heard by her family and doctors to find out what was wrong with her, when she was told for so long that essentially it was all in her head.

Even once she was diagnosed she highlights how she didn’t see improvements in her symptoms because she had spent so long not absorbing or assimilating her food that her deficiencies were stalling her recovery process.

In Part Two she highlights some of the diet, career, and lifestyle changes she made that supported her during her recovery. She gives practical advice about where gluten is often hidden and how to eat out at restaurants.

She also highlights some steps that can be taken by those who are newly diagnosed and by those who are a bit further along in their journey. Finally, the last part of the book contains really delicious, simple recipes that can help make the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle a bit easier.

Throughout the book she stresses that these were the strategies that worked best for her and that they can provide a starting point, but ultimately it’s important to listen to your body and find out what works best for your situation.

I love that she encourages you to be your own advocate and your own scientist to figure out what kinds of foods are going to support your health and what kinds of changes you need to make to your lifestyle in order to find your new normal.

Ultimately, I think this book is so incredibly powerful because she gives a voice to the many diagnosed (and undiagnosed!) celiac sufferers who have spent years struggling with misdiagnoses, being ignored by doctors, and just generally feeling scared, alone, and struggling to adjust to their new normal.

She is honest, she is empathetic, and she understands how frustrating, scary, and sometimes downright sh*tty it can be to have to be so careful about what you put in and on your body. I think it is this passion and honesty that resonates most as you read.

I could not put this book down and I think having read it, I will be a better, more compassionated practitioner, friend, sister, and niece to the people in my life who live with a “silent” disease on a daily basis.

I stress again that if you have celiac disease, if you struggle with undiagnosed health issues, or you love someone with celiac disease then reading this book could cause a huge shift in your perspective or offer some clarity to your confusion. You can check it out on Amazon and read some reviews right here.

As always, thanks for reading friend! Have a beautiful day!

Cait xo

Best Jennifer's Way by Jennifer Esposito Book Review

You Might Also Like

My Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health: Part 2

By March 14, 2017 Healthy Habits Guides, Healthy Living Guides
Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health

Hi friend! I hope you’re having a beautiful week. I took the weekend to totally hibernate and relax, taking lots of epsom salt baths (see below!), reading books, and generally recharging after a pretty busy couple of months.

As promised, today I am sharing Part 2 of My Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can hop on over right here. Don’t worry, I’ll wait 😉

Like I mentioned in Part 1, your level of health equates to the things you do the most often and consistently in your life. These don’t necessarily need to be huge habit changes that require a ton of time, but consistency is definitely key here. Check out the rest of my favourite habits below!

11. Fell in love with yoga and developed a daily meditation practice

I’m a firm believer that a great foundation for lasting health comes from the food you put in your body. However, it’s only a starting place. In order for me to feel calm and happy, I need to put a lot of effort into maintaining my emotional and mental health as well.

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’ve struggled mightily with anxiety in the past and committing to a physical yoga practice and the self-study that grows from that practice has been instrumental in giving me the tools to manage my anxiety from a whole different perspective.

I’m not saying you have to run out and buy a mat, but I would absolutely suggest you find some space for mindfulness in your daily life. If you’re super busy, try Soul Seconds as a great spot for guided meditations that are 5 minutes or less!

12. Made time for regular nature walks

Connecting with nature, breathing in fresh air, and just generally giving myself a change of scenery does wonders for my mental and physical health. Even if I don’t have the time for a huge walk, I try to get in at least 10 minutes of fresh air to reboot my creativity and disconnect from my phone and computer.

13. Pushed outside my comfort zone

Over the last few years I’ve been really trying to push myself out of my comfort zone by trying new things like pilates, yoga, HIIT, new foods, different travel destinations, and even living in new cities. I think being able to be comfortable with discomfort (a lesson I learned on my yoga mat!) can help you learn to stay calmer in stressful situations and may lead you to discover a new hobby that you absolutely love!

14. Epsom salt baths

If I had a little table that I could set up in my tub I think I would do ALL my work there from here on out. Seriously, epsom salt baths are just the best at helping calm my nervous system and flood my body full of relaxing magnesium.

I’ve been reading a lot about the chronic magnesium deficiencies in many North Americans thanks to nutrient deficient soils and changes in diet. So if you struggle with twitchy muscles, nervousness or anxiety, or have a hard time falling asleep, I would suggest drawing yourself a big tub with at least two cups of epsom salts (and maybe your favourite essential oil!) and relaxing in there for at least 20 minutes. The tub allows your muscles to absorb the magnesium, which can relax your body and mind.

15. Invested in a diffuser and quality oils

I’ve been obsessed with my essential oil diffuser for the last several months not only because it makes my house smell like magic, but because certain oils can help calm my brain, give me a bit of a boost when I’m feeling low, or even help soothe my lungs during cold & flu season.

The thing you want to keep in mind with essential oils is that they are very powerful plant medicine and so you want to make sure you are using the highest quality oil you can afford. My teacher, Meghan Telpner, has a great resource on how to source the best oils right here and you can find beautiful diffusers everywhere now. You want to make sure you don’t heat the oils, which is why I love ultrasonic/humidifying diffusers. You can order them online or check out your local health food store or Winners!

16. Invested in myself

When you start your own business the first few years can be inconsistent when it comes to income and so it’s really easy to be afraid to spend money on yourself. I’ve always set aside a small budget every year for personal/professional development in order to keep my mind open and continue to learn new things about myself and the field I work in.

Sometimes that’s a $150 e-course on How to be Healthy at Home or a more expensive investment such as a yoga teacher training. You can find so many free or affordable e-courses online nowadays that it’s a great way to keep your brain healthy and push yourself out of your comfort zone learning about new things.

17. Gave myself a full day off every week

This one is still hard for me, but I’ve been getting better at it! Whether you’re self-employed, working from home or office, or a fierce mama-bear, it’s so important to take some time for yourself to stay mentally and emotionally balanced.

Depending on your circumstances, it may not be an entire day off, but could you take a couple of hours to go to yoga/the gym and have a nice epsom salt bath after? Or maybe spend the day outside with the family, without worrying about running to appointments, sports, school, or other engagements. Just enjoy being in the present moment and remember that your work responsibilities are rarely so important that they can’t wait a few hours for your attention.

18. Made time for friends

I have a tendency to hermit myself away since my work requires me to be engaging with my amazing community regularly. I love my work, but as an introvert I need some quiet time to recharge.

Finding the balance of too much hermitting and not enough friend time took some work, but I feel so much better when I create space and time to honour the most wonderful people in my life. Even if it’s just an hour together once a week, it helps to ground me and recharge my spirit!

19. Learned to listen to and love my body

If you’ve been here before, you know that in addition to anxiety I struggled for quite some time with disordered eating through binging and purging and highly restrictive “healthy” eating.

Learning to listen to my body, to be ok with her gaining weight as I re-established a healthy relationship with food was f*&%ing hard. Looking in the mirror and seeing a body I wasn’t used to seeing definitely pushed me to my limits when it came to self-love and acceptance. But finding the freedom from restrictive and damaging relationships with food was absolutely worth every second of struggle and every pound gained.

And through a lot of self-work and self-study (thank you yoga and meditation!) I was able to come to a place where I really, truly, and completely loved my body, just as she is.

I’ve only recently come to a place where I can exercise without it turning into punishment or experiment with elimination diets without it being an exercise in restriction with weight loss as the final and only outcome.

So if you’re struggling here, it’s ok. Find someone trained to support you with this level of healing (I can put you in touch with some great folks!) and follow the body positive movement. Your body, mind, soul, and spirit will thank you.

20. Learned to honour what my body says

Though this may seem the same as above, it’s actually quite different. It can be very easy to hear what your body tells you once you know how to listen. Actually doing something about it can be a whole different ball game.

How often have you been exhausted, but still went out because you felt guilty cancelling plans? Or do you notice that certain foods make you feel like sh*t, but you continue eating them anyway because to change your diet would be hard?

Yeah, I’ve been there. And it is hard. Hard to say no. Hard to change the way you eat. Hard to create a new life. It’s hard, but not impossible. You have to be willing to hear what your body is telling you and you have to be ready to make some changes. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s never a linear process, but it can be done!

With patience, compassion, love, support, and persistence you can make habit changes to support your health long-term. If you would like some support in making that happen, then feel free to check out my coaching packages to see if we would be a good fit. I’m here to guide you in any way that I can.

Thank you so much for your love and support.

Have a beautiful week!

Cait xo

 

My top 20 habit changes for lasting health

You Might Also Like

My Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health

By March 7, 2017 Healthy Habits Guides, Healthy Living Guides
Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health

 

Hi friend! I hope you’re having a beautiful week! I’ve been spending the last few weeks really focusing on taking my health to the next level by participating in a 30 Day Yoga Challenge, doing a second round of the Whole 30 elimination style protocol, diffusing essential oils non-stop, and investing in regular massage therapy.

Something about this move back to my hometown has me wanting to get all my ducks in a row, health-wise, before starting my next adventure. I’ve been looking back over all the changes I’ve made over the last few years and thought I would share some of the ones I made that have had the biggest impact on my health.

Not all of these are going to be applicable or necessary for your journey, but you may find something that piques your fancy, so keep an open mind. Now without further ado, here are

My Top 20 Habit Changes for Lasting Health  

1. Quit smoking

I don’t think this one really needs much explanation, but suffice it to say my skin is nicer, I can breathe easier, and I don’t smell (well, usually). This habit change is always an ongoing process so be gentle with yourself if you have any slips. Just trust that the fact that you are actively working to make the change is such a good place to start!

2. Gave up grains

This habit change is relatively new in the last few months. While I did go strict Paleo when I first came to the healthy living world, over time I began reintroducing a lot of GF grains. In October I was having some bad sciatic pain and decided to try a grain, dairy, and sugar-free cleanse and well, I felt so damn good, my skin was so clear, and my digestion was so on point that it’s been about 6 months since grains have had any regular place in my diet. You can read a bit more about why I eliminated them here. 

3. Went dairy free

Again, this elimination happened fairly recently but upon reintroduction I realized that dairy was giving me pretty bad tummy pains & bloating and making my skin look like I was back in grade 7. A lot of my clients, especially the ladies, feel so much better dairy-free due to the high sugar and hormone content that can interfere with their cycles and hormone balance. It’s worth testing out if hormone imbalance and skin issues are one of your major concerns.

4. Started eating healthy fat

If you’ve been around my site or to any of my cooking classes, you know I am a huge fan of healthy fats. Through some trial and error I’ve discovered that I do much better on a higher fat, lower carb style of diet, so I’ve made a ton of room in my life for high fat delights like Matchaga Elixirs, Golden Milk, Spicy Hot Chocolate, and Stress-Busting Lattes. 

Since making the change my energy and weight are way more stable and I literally never get hangry. You can read more about why I love fat right here!

5. Learned to cook and eat vegetables 

If you ask any of my room mates from my undergraduate degree they will tell you that I subsisted on a diet of pizza, garlic fingers, rice, microwaved cheese, and meat, with nary a vegetable in sight. I slowly learned to enjoy things like spinach, sweet potato, and avocado, but the real change came when I moved to Toronto and I taught myself how to like different veggie flavours and textures.

I started with lots of pureed soups and slowly left them more and more chunky until I learned to like raw veggies too. I learned how to roast them, turn them into dips, make pakoras, create biscuits, and of course my favourite salads and soups!

It was a process, but now I crave vegetables and I love the different textures and crunches they bring to dishes. So if you hate vegetables, stop letting that be your excuse not to eat healthy and teach yourself how to cook and enjoy them by checking out some of the recipes I linked to above.

6. Learned how to ferment

I don’t think any one thing has had as much of an impact on my health than taking care of my microbiome. Learning how to create fermented veggies, salsas, sauerkrauts, kombucha, and switchel has helped me create healthy balance in my gut bacteria.

Keeping your microbiome healthy and robust can play a huge role in the development of inflammatory conditions, preventing weight gain, aiding in the digestive process, and supporting your mental health. You can read more about the role of probiotic bacteria in health and disease right here. 

7. Bone Broth!

I am obsessed with bone broth. In fact I am eating a bone-broth infused soup as I write this post. Broth, whether you kick it veggie style or omnivore, is packed full of highly absorbable nutrients that help nourish your digestive tract and build healthy cells and joints.

This habit is seriously one of the easiest, cheapest, most delicious, and beneficial on this list. You can find my recipe and tips about bone broth right here or if you kick it veggie-style try this fabulous vegan “bone” broth. 

8. Invested in an eye mask and black out curtains

So the first 7 habit changes I shared above were all food-related because I truly think that starting with sustainable diet changes can give you the energy and focus to want to make changes elsewhere in your life. After food, I think creating healthy sleep habits can be absolutely life-changing.

One of the big things to focus on is ensuring that you are sleeping in total darkness so that your pineal gland can get the message that it’s time to release melatonin, a hormone that’s required in order to fall asleep and get the rest you need. Investing in a cozy eye-mask, curtains that block out ambient light from outdoors, and making sure there are no lights from electronics blinking in your room can set you up for the best sleep of your life!

Read some more about the importance of healthy sleep right here.

9. Made my bedroom a laptop free zone

In addition to making my bedroom a dark cozy cavern, I also keep my laptop out of my room and do all my show watching in the living room. Creating the habit of watching shows or browsing the internet in a space that should be designated for sleeping and other horizontal activities can make it harder for your body to get the message that it’s time for bed. So find somewhere else to binge your current favourite Netflix show and let your bed be reserved for electronic-free delights.

10. Started putting my phone and kindle on airplane mode in my room

This habit change is another recent one that has changed the way I wake up in the morning. While I’ve always put my phone on silent when I go to bed, because who do I really need to hear from at 3am, I would always wake up to a million messages and emails.

Now I put my phone on airplane mode and I don’t turn it back on until after I’ve done my morning meditation (more on that later!) so that I start my day feeling calm, focused, and ready to tackle my inbox without activating that fight or flight response first thing in the morning.

Well friend, this is starting to get a little bit long so I’m going to save the next 10 Habit Changes for next week. If you only take one thing from this list I hope it’s the empowering knowledge that lots of small changes made over time can really help you find YOUR best version of health.

And if you want to learn the basics of fermentation make sure you download my FREE Fantastic Fermentables E-Book right here. 

As always, thank you for your love and support!

Cait xo

My top 20 habit changes for lasting health

 

You Might Also Like