Monday, September 27, 2010

What's your image of you?

This photo I saw on someone's computer, and aside from the weapons, I said that this photo reminds me of me. Now of course the day wouldn't involve waking up late, rolling out of bed, chasing after my kids to get them dressed and off to school. This woman looks like she is ready to take on the world! So how would I visualize the physical version of who it is I am? Well, first of all I would have to go into the details that makes me who I am.

Appreciating your attributes

At times we may forget if we have even considered it all, but we should express to ourselves gratitude and appreciation. What makes me unique? What is beautiful about who I am? What wonderful things have I done and contributed to the lives of others? If you have trouble doing this for yourself, try starting out with appreciating those around you, out loud. That's right, let others know what is wonderful about them and your gift of encouragement may very well come back to you.

If you give, you must also receive

If after you have given a compliment or expressed gratitude or appreciation that you receive a compliment in return, don't turn it down, say 'Thank you'. Receiving from the gifts that you give doesn't always happen in the way that we think and being willing to receive the gift opens you up for receiving more. Not just in compliments, but in everything. It will also open up your awareness of who you are as you get feedback from what you are giving. So make it good! If you want to receive good gifts, you should be giving good gifts (golden rule applies here). And I'm not talking about the latest electronic gadget (although I know an HD flat screen 52" TV comes in mind for some), I'm talking about the stuff that lasts; encouragement, gratitude, positivity, helping others in need, that kind of stuff.

Go into detail.

So now that you have a level of appreciation about you (both in giving and receiving), what does your image of you have? A big heart? Loving and hard working hands? A beautiful smile? It reminds me of when I was single and I sat down with my cousin and we mapped out the attributes of our perfect man haha. We drew on a piece of paper a male figure (could have been a stick man, it didn't matter) and we added to the image like a diagram....strong arms, good dancer, nice smile (straight teeth), ambitious and compassionate....the list went on. But have I ever really done that for me? I don't think so. It would be a fun project to sit down with my kids and do (I guess I will be doing it soon then...) Maybe I could sit down with some of my friends and do that too. But in the end it's the image of who you see yourself to be and it should encourage you.

Well, I have work to do, but I must say that I do see myself as a knight, a defender of what is good and loving in this world and I will continue my crusade for a more positive, loving and helpful me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Allergies Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk

Do you have allergies? How do you deal with the symptoms? The information in this article discusses the benefits of having allergic symptoms and how they play a role in protecting the body and whether or not we should be suppressing them.

Allergies Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zucchini Banana Spice Bread

This is my gluten-free, egg-free recipe for zucchini bread which was modified from a recipe I got from, Zucchini Spice bread. We had a really successful year in our garden with growing zucchini, so it was awesome to be able to "experiment" with different combinations of ingredients to find a recipe I was happy with. All the "try-outs" tasted really good, however, I enjoy this recipe the best. Due to the food allergies and intolerances in our family, I swapped out the flour for a combination of flours from other grains, added hemp protein powder, and used bananas in place of the eggs. I know my friends and family really enjoy this recipe and I hope you will too.

1 large zucchini (about 2 cups grated zucchini)
1/3 cup blue agave syrup
2/3 cup olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chickpea or garbanzo flour
1 cup bajra flour or 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup millet flour
1/8 cup hemp protein powder
1/8 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (in honour of my grandmother)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with a little oil or cooking spray, and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside. Mash the bananas in a small bowl (or break into pieces and blend with an immersion wand hand blender) and set aside. Grate zucchini (yields about 2 cups to use for the recipe. If you have a huge zucchini, just cut some off ); set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together agave syrup, oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Into a separate small bowl, whisk together flours, hemp powder, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt. Add the dry mixture to wet mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in grated zucchini, making sure the zucchini is well coated.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let rest in pan 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

I tend not to sweeten with refined sugars. And as a result, my palette for sweet foods has become more sensitive. If you would prefer a sweeter version, you can add 1/2 honey instead of the the agave syrup and some stevia to the flour mixture (I do this when I bake the bread for functions, about 1 tbsp which is equivalent to 1/2 cup of sugar).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Living and loving with allergies

How do I cope with allergies? "It must be so hard to have allergies." Well, to tell you the truth, I haven't always been allergic in the way I am now and it isn't all that hard depending on how you look at it.

As a child, I wasn't aware of what allergies I had, I just knew certain foods I really liked and other foods would make me feel ill and so I ate them less. It was my mom that I watched struggle with her allergies, most of which she acquired after the births of my siblings. She instilled in me to enjoy the food I like while I can, because I never know when I can't eat it the same way again. And I did! BOY, did I ever fully enjoy eating my favorite foods. Two foods in particular were my favorite, eggs and peanuts. I have eaten eggs every possible way that I can remember and I ate it in some of the finest places (nothing like home gourmet cooking hehe). I can still remember enjoying a soft-boiled egg with a dash of salt on a cold morning before school. I LOVED eggs. And peanut butter is a Saturday morning cartoon memory of me sitting down with a jar of peanut butter, a bear of honey (squeeze bottle) and a big tablespoon to scoop out the best from the bottom of the jar. My favorite chocolate bars were the ones with peanuts in them. I did as my mom told me, I enjoyed it to the fullest.

So when the day came when I could no longer eat eggs or peanuts I was definitely sad, but not heart-broken and devastated. I had my time and now it was time to move other options of food were waiting for me to enjoy. When I discovered that gluten was no longer a benefit to me, I threw a party with my favorite pizza, spinach, chicken and feta, and after that, I moved on. I LOVE food and the food I loved was no longer loving me was time to share my love with other foods and to be nourished in return :).

And I am so grateful for what my allergies prepared me for, to provide the best of enjoying food and good nutrition for my sons. They have allergies to foods, and I was the perfect mom to help them through their transition and help their bodies and culinary experiences to grow in a positive way. I am also living at a higher awareness of what the food I eat is really doing to body and the way that I want to live. I have the experience and now the knowledge and wisdom that I can share with others and help them to live and love a life with good food too.

Over the next few posts, I will be going into more information about foods and allergies and how to make the most of living with them.