Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars

Time is a fickle bitch and I swear every week I end up with less and less of it.

I know I kind of fell of the face of the planet for a couple months but I’m back, I swear. Sometimes it feels like managing my disease is a full time job on top of my full time job. Sitting down to write about it some days is just too much. But after a handful of appointments and some readjusting Im back in the swing of things and my symptoms are starting to subside once again. Which leaves me a little more energetic, enthusiastic and able to focus on other things I love, like writing.

Moving forward I hope to write a little more about all the different topics related to living with endometriosis and focus a little less on the clean, yummy food I shove down my face every day : ) Although, I promise there will still be plenty of food related posts and new recipes starting with tonight’s recipe for the week: home made Dark Chocolate Coconut LARABARS!!! YAY!!! 

These freaking things have become my life raft, I swear. I know so many fitness nerds and clean eaters who get to satisfy their sweet tooth here and there with their guilty pleasure of choice but the whole no-gluten, no dairy, no soy thing really puts a damper on ones ability to satiate cravings easily. Larabars are my guilty pleasure of choice, primarily the coconut crème pie or the chocolate peanut butter. I always have some on hand at the office or at home in case I have a killer craving.  

So the other night I was sitting here thinking “I wish they had a Dark Chocolate Coconut Crème bar”. As it turns out, they do! But I cant find anywhere for the life of me. Not to mention the damn things are so expensive. You look at the package for larabars and its simple ingredients I have in my house. So I got to thinking it was time to start making my own, experimenting with different flavors and save a little money to boot. 

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Prep Time: 15 mins

What You Need:

1 Cup packed pitted soft whole dates (Fred Meyer now sells large boxes at a pretty inexpensive rate! I paid $2.99 for a box that has about 2 cups in it)

1 Cup Warm Water

1 Cup Raw Cashews (I get mine at Tacoma Boys but you can find them at nearly any grocery store in the bulk isle)

1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes ( I suggest Bob’s Red Mill)

3 Tablespoons Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips ( I prefer to use these because they are gluten, dairy and soy free. But if you don’t have sensitivities any brand will do just fine)

1 Tablespoon  Baking Cocoa (I use Equal Exchange brand which can be found at Marlene’s or any local health food store)

Start by removing pits from dates and place in a small bowl. Cover with warm/hot water and let sit 5-10 minutes. Dates are pretty soft to begin with but you want them a little more maliable for blending.

In the mean time, put cashews in food  processor and pulse for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients one by one except for chocolate chips.

When dates are finished soaking, drain and try off lightly with a paper towel. Add dates to food processor and pulse until well blended. The mixture should be thick like chocolate chip cookie dough. Once blended, remove dough from the food processor and place in a small bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.

Cover the bottom of an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Press dough into pan evenly and cover. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Once set, remove the mix from pan and section off into desired portions using a smooth knife.

I like to wrap each one individually in suran  wrap for easy grab and go snacking.

The bars will last:

3 days out of the fridge

3 weeks in the fridge

6 months in the freezer (if you choose to freeze, store them individually wrapped and inside an airtight container. Make sure to remove from freezer at least 1 hour before you eat them) 

Voila!!! You now have home made Larabars. I would love love love to start making different versions of these so if you have any suggestions or requests feel  free to leave me a comment : )

  

Breathe In, Breathe Out

It started early Monday morning. 530 am, not even a mile in to my run I felt suffocated by my own lungs. What should have been a very successful 5 mile run turned out to be a taxing 4 miles while I struggled to breathe. It made absolutely no sense to me. Since I quit smoking 5 months ago my lungs have slowly but steadily improved making my runs that inch more enjoyable. When I reached my apartment I stretched and found a comfortable breathe again praying my struggle hasn’t been the beginning of an anxiety filled week.

Ever since I can remember I’ve struggled with anxiety issues. Over the past 6 years I’ve learned to take care of myself and monitor my symptoms and behaviors to ward off panic attacks but sometimes, like this week, they feel unstoppable. I have very little reason to be anxious. In fact, I’ve had an extremely productive and inspiring week. But that’s quite possibly the worst part of my anxiety, it’s ability to undermine any relevant happiness or joy I’m experiencing.
As the week progressed my runs got worse and by last night I struggled to breathe even while sitting still. Simple tasks like getting my purse out of the car made me anxious. As I fumbled with the strap caught on the seatbelt my heart rate quickens and I lose all ability to breathe normally. In fact I’ve taken very few full breathes since this morning. Trying everything from increased exercise to edition to simple breathing exercises, I’m now at a loss. Feeling borderline panic attack for absolutely no reason. Terrifying. It’s been about a year since this last happened and most days I thank heaven it doesn’t happen more often but I don’t know what to do. So I thought perhaps writing might help. Seeing as I’ve entirely neglected this blog for the past month, this might be a win/win??? I promise to write more positive things this weekend…. For now I’m going to go back to breathing….. Or maybe make some paleo berry pie!?!?!

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Fighting for The Life I Wanted: My 10 Goals for 2014

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I hit a milestone Friday that cannot go unaddressed. So I am forgoing my meal prep Sunday post to brag about my accomplishment but more importantly about the goals I set for myself this year. This is my year!

Friday, 3/21,was officially my 90 day Tobacco Free mark! For those of you who have never met me, this is huge. I started smoking just before my 18th birthday nearly 9 years ago. Over the years I have tried to quite several times. Some times it was semi successful but it never lasted. I would cut out smoking on the weekdays, or just smoke 1 cig a day. But these patterns just lead back in to heavy smoking after a couple months. I can honestly say that over the last 8+ years I have smoked on average 1-2 packs a day. For the last year I did pretty well to not smoke too much. I would smoke 1 or 2 at night but mostly just a few/ a pack on the weekend. That was, until this last summer. Going into summer 2013 I was in good health and extremely active, burning the candle at both ends with my job and social calendar. The crazier my schedule got, the more I smoked until I was back to half a pack a day. When my boss left on maternity leave in October, all hell broke loose. By December, with a world of stomach problems, crazy anxiety and my unhealthy habits rearing their ugly heads I decided it was time once and for all to live the life I wanted. It was time to make some necessary sacrifices and put in the  time to live the life I deserved. I set goals for myself and made a list of the things I wanted to learn/accomplish in the hopes of being a happier version if myself.

1. Quit Smoking For Good! (I know now that I can never be that person who just has 1 cigarette. I told myself “this is it. Never again will you touch a cigarette”. What is the point of putting in the hardwork to reward yourself with one in a month? Your probably saying “Why was 90 days such an accomplishment?”. Before I found my current job, there were a lot of jobs I wanted to apply for but never did because they required a tobacco test be done. This meant you had to be 90 days tobacco free or they wouldn’t hire you. This thought was inconceivable to me. There was no way I was going ot make it that long. So I walked away from a couple of jobs that I really wanted because I didn’t believe I could do it. I don’t ever want smoking to stand in my way again.)

2. Learn To Say “No” Without Excuses. (Have you ever noticed how people have a tendancy to say “NO” and then list all of the reasons why they are too busy to help? Why, as a society, do we feel so defensive about saying no to something? Why do we expect a reason from someone when they say no to us? If someone tells you no, it means no! You don’t have the right to ask me why and I shouldn’t feel the need to tell you if I don’t want to.)

3. Stop Apologizing For The Life I Live. (It’s my life and I’m going to live it how I want so that I can be as happy as possible. If I wrong someone, I have no problem apologizing. But if you’re offended by my lifestyle, if you are offended that your needs are not my priority above my own, I will not apologize for that any more. This goes hand in hand with learning to say no)

4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (In the past, I have had a tendency to get defensive when I feel  someone does not respect my hardwork or effort. While I love my job, I often felt belittled by my co-workers. I felt that while my job was extremely important, they saw me as a 26 year old girl they could push around and walk all over. I took their childish response to emails and lack of concern about gravity of some of their situations as a personal attack. Why didn’t they respect me?!!! The truth is, not every one is going to respect you. There were battles worth fighting but most of them  were not worth it. A couple months ago I started telling myself “I don’t mind the little things” when I found myself getting upset by these behaviors and let me tell you, its sounds simple, but it really works. People say unkind words, they will tell you how you “should” live your life without you ever asking for their opinion. They will cut you down or belittle your words but that doesn’t mean to have to take theirs to heart. Its wasted energy. My mind has been so much clearer ever since I started saying those simple little words.

5. Learn To View Food As Fuel. (This is huge for me because I am truly an emotional eater. My body is not a trash can and I will not continue to treat it as such. I’m not on a diet, I’m not trying to loose weight. I’m trying to FINALLY treat my body like something I respect and cherish. Like something I want to keep strong)

6. Finish a P90X Program (This has been on my bucket list for years and after a little set back with my “runners knee” I am almost able to cross it off)

7. Run A Half Marathon (Scheduled for September)

8. Be Able to Do A Pushup Without Effort and Without Using Me Knees (This goal has been adjusted. Thanks to P90X I was able to check this one off in 30 days. I can now do several pushups on my feet without effort. My goal now is to do a pull up without kipping and 100 push-ups without stopping. Ultimately the point of this goal is to set goals that make me stronger and give me a sense of accomplishment)

9. Read 1 Book a Month (When I was a lit major I read multiple books a week but have struggled since graduation. Some days I feel like I have abandoned something that feeds more soul more than anything else. I want that back. I have a phenomenal book collection some of which I’ve never read. My goal is to check off at least 12 this year)

10. Learn How to Be Vulnerable (Anyone who has dated me knows this is going to be the most difficult of all of these goals for me this year. I am well guarded in a relationship, in my friendships and sometimes even with my family. But mostly in relationships. I have been  told I have intimacy issues and I know that it has cost me dearly in the past. This summer will mark 5 years of being single. I have dated in the past 5 years but have not been in a committed relationship since my Junior year of college. Writing this blog and starting my facebook page has helped me open up a little bit more and, while its been several years since I have been in a committed relationship, I hope that by the years end, the thought of being with someone is not the scariest feeling in the world. I truly think you have to know yourself  and love yourself before you can truly love someone else. I’m working on me for now.)

How to Survive Your First Colonscopy

Unlike most of my posts, this one is not all too appetizing. I mean really, who wants to read about colon health? Id much prefer writing about making my first paleo Shepard’s Pie tonight but that’s not the reality of my life right now so here we go. (Don’t worry, the Shepard’s Pie post is coming soon!)

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 there will be an estimated 96,830 new cases of colon cancer reported, 40,000 new cases of rectal cancer and roughly 50,310 deaths from colorectal cancer. The statistical odds of developing colon cancer during a lifetime is 1 in 20…. 1 in 20!!!! Its the third leading cause of cancer related death in Americans each year. Is that not insane?

We grow up hearing that early detection saves lives. But when it comes to maters of the bowels, Americans remain hesitant to discuss the issue…. Well not this American!

After struggling with stomach and intestinal issues for the last 20+ years, my symptoms reached a more than typically disturbing level of intensity a few months ago. After a string of visits to my doctor in December, she determined it was time to take our relationship to that next level. Time for my first colonoscopy.

In the weeks leading up to this procedure I goggled any information I could get my hands on.  I figured what better time to blog about “surviving” it than when I’m in the throws of preparation (supposedly the hardest part).

If you’re reading this  and preparing for your own  colonoscopy my best advice to start with is to make sure you take the day before and the day after off of work. Its not necessary so much as helpful.

In the week leading up to the procedure, pick up your prep day feast (see picture below) and your prescription.  Your doctor will give you a list of allowed/ recommended food to eat on prep day. My saving grace was Pedialyte popsicles. Funny I know, but it’s sooooo nice to have something solid to munch on when you’re hours in to a liquid diet day. I suggest Pedialyte popsicles over any other popsicle as it contains electrolytes your body needs to prepare for the cleanse.

Other items I found super helpful, Jello and beef broth. Never in my life have I enjoyed beef broth so much. If you are vegetarian, vegetable broth works just as well. You can also find meatless broth in the organic section at your local grocer.

colonscopyprepfood

My Shopping List:

Pedialyte Popsicles

Pedialyte ( I like mixed fruit)

Organic Beef Broth

Organic Chicken Broth

Gatorade (nothing red or orange)

Jello (I bought peach, it had the least coloring)

Coconut Water

I also bought all the ingredients to make my favorite Green Juice (see recipie) I left out the Kale because it would make the juice too green. It was comforting in the morning to have something hearty and filled with nutrients. The doctor suggested apple juice but since I started making my own juice 6 months ago, I don’t trust a damn ounce of juice you get out of a bottle at the store. When you’ve had homade juice, nothing compares. It is super easy to make and delicious. I recommend trying it.

So now what? Just prepping for that nasty juice drink. My landlord just showed up mid posting and asked if he could work on my pipes. (anyone whose visited me in the last year knows they leak like Niagra Falls) Flush faced I had to explain to him that I was 5 minutes from starting my colonoscopy prep so now was clearly not a good time. Yikes. He agreed and decided to come back next week.

I could not be more excited to chug this baby!

I could not be more excited to chug this baby!

I’m all prepared in sweats, have movies lined up, the heater on  in my bathroom and everything ready for the morning. I think it’s almost go  time.

As I prepare to start drinking that highly feared solution I’ve heard so much about, all I can think is “this is all going to be worth it”. At the end of this tunnel is answers. Answers to questions I have had my whole life. Answers that will hopefully help me improve my quality of living from here on out.   Whether its chrones, colitis, celiac or IBS, it will be a blessing to finally know for sure. And that, my friends, makes it all worth it!

Eat Lift Sleep

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Eat right! Eat right! Eat right!

I wasted so many years working out and eating whatever I wanted wondering why I couldn’t kick those last 10lbs. I thought because I ran 4 miles a day that I could eat anything I wanted. Wasn’t this why people did things like “run” anyways?
I honestly thought “dieting” was something prissy girls did to be skinny.

But when I was diagnosed, eating right stopped being an option. I was either going to eat right or continue down a long and excoriating lay painful road.

You don’t wanna loose weight? Eat right anyway! For 30 days and see how it changes you. It will change you. In the last year since I started eating better I have gone through different phases and levels of clean eating and all each has shown different levels of improvements in my over all quality if life.

Lecture over. Stop reading and go grab some veggies and a glass of water already!

On Worrying

Excuse me while I rant for a minute (lets be real. the entire post is a rant, masquerading as contemplation). Its 4:30am on a very very important Saturday morning. Important for me? Not so much. More of an exterior importance. Those things that you hold dear to our heart. The little importance’s that stop us from going crazy. Unless of course your up at 4:30 worrying about how important it is that you be asleep. Its enought to make a woman mad! But I digress….

1) The Seahawks play today. One a SATURDAY! AGAINTS THE SAINTS! and its a mighty big game. One I don’t wish to be falling asleep in my chicken wings during. ( this  is minor worry. that thought in your head when you wake from a bad dream, telling you “you only have 90 minutes until you alarm goes  off”)

2) My baby sister leaves for Encounter this morning! And even more important she has requested that I be the one to take here there : ) Hence the even greater frustration with the 3:30am wake up. (I can hear the minutes left in what was once my possible rem cycle taunting me)

So now I am wide awake, after already an hour trying to fall back asleep. Why wont my mind shut off?! You cannot tell me the 5 hours of sleep was sufficient, not while I have a head ache and am yawning like a mad man. The common school of thought is this insomniatic behavior stems from some sort of inner struggle. Fuck modern medical thought….Lets consult Joan….

Joan Didion writes:
“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.”

Words that I cannot ever seem to get out of my head. Is this what’s happening here? Have I neglected some necessary part of my past in all this change recently? I find this theory as an answer to tonight’s problem disconcerting considering I am the text book definition of over analytical. Or at least I used to be? Am still sometimes? I don’t know, let me analyze it a little (humpf). And yet Joan’s words kept popping into my head  as I lay there in silence listening to the clock tick. Have I abandoned my old self while establishing a new one? What part did I throw overboard and conveniently decide to erase from my memory?

Is it the past that’s keeping me awake? Or the present?

“Who is going to make amends?”

Did my worry cause me to wake at 3:30? or am I thinking about worry because I woke up at 3:30? Why is this even something I am thinking about at now 5:30 am? WHY AM I AWAKE RIGHT NOW!!!! I am so tired!

And now I leave to pick up Madison. It’s gunna be quite a day.

Challenge Group

Challance Group

Today was day 8 of the P90X3 challenge. As far as I can tell I am still alive….  I’m not gunna lie, there were a couple of days when I couldn’t feel my ass but these girls help out a lot.

I have a hundred partial reasons but some days I don’t know how I ended up in this program. Im happy I am here but I have to wonder:

What makes someone move out of their comfort zone on purpose?

Week 1: Crushed it!. Week 2: Bring it on!!!

Oh, this blank slate

To say that I am inept when it comes to technology is an understatement. If it weren’t for my overwhelming desire to write, I would never embark on this journey for the daunting fear of simply designing a blog spot!! Nonetheless here we go!

My blog essentially looks like a word document. (no joke. its white white white) but I have faith it will come along in time. Until then, bare with me.