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Recipe: Raw Choc Almond Bites

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I'll be honest, using chocolate molds with clean/raw chocolate just isn't working out for me.  The chocolate breaks, gets stuck in the mould and it's messy.  So, to avoid the failed-chocolate-mould mess, I made these chocolate bites, or blobs.. which ever name you prefer.  They're not real pretty, but they sure did taste great.  I did actually make more, however my Dad got to them before I had a chance to photograph them! Ingredients

  • Coconut oil
  • Raw Cacao
  • Coconut Nectar
  • Almond Shaves
  • Desiccated Coconut

Method

My standard chocolate mix method (you can find a detailed description here)

Mix it all together, blob on baking paper and freezer set.

This one is extra great for the kids as its just a handful of ingredients, a bowl, spoon and baking paper.

Recipe: Raw Glow Bars

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These are soooooo good!  I needed something to cut my serious chocolate habit.  My office has a chocolate biscuit genie somewhere, because our never ending Tim Tam supply is in full force!  Come 2pm all I can think about it my next chocolate hit.  Chocolate is my drug, it's ridiculous.  So I knew I had to make something super delicious to cut this hardcore habit.  And I did!  3 days in and I am only 1 Monte Carlo down #winning. My Raw Glow Bar recipe is:

Ingredients

Large handful of Medjool Dates (soaked for a couple of hours)

1 handful of Almond shaves

1 handful of crumbled bran

Chia seeds

Raw cacao (to taste)

1 handful of Buckwheat

1 handful of crushed cashews

Method

Soak your dates for an hour or 2.

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Blitz your dates (removing the seed).

Get your hands dirty!  Using your hands, mix and combine thoroughly.   Gradually add dry ingredients until your mix is even consistency.  You don't want it too dry or wet.

Set in a container in the fridge or freezer.  Then use a pizza cutter to cut into your bars.

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MONDAY MEDITATION | How to Create What You Want

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Ever wondered how the successful folk acheive their goals and dreams?  They believed that they were possible!  All it takes is for us to become the energy of that which we desire, for the outside world to shift around us. Going from "I wish I could write that book" to "I am going to write that book" instantly opens us up to the possibility of it happening and allows opportunities and people to come into our lives to help us on that journey.

In what area of your life could you start to change your energy to bridge the gap between where you are and where you'd like to be?

xSx

https://youtu.be/iqT6aPwpFPk

How to Stay Positive in Negative Times

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These days we seem to be living amongst information overload.  We have negative news updates now creeping into our social media feeds, terrorism fears, constant internal comparisons to instagram accounts with stacks of followers, we're seeing the current gun violence in the US, we have financial fears.. the list goes on.  We cannot deny the times that we find ourselves living in, but we can take control of how we, as individuals and as a community, respond to them. The truth is, shit happens and its going to happen.  Once upon a time we all knew this, but our current world plasters perfection everywhere and its as if we've lost sight of the real world (this absolutely does not condone violence or hatred of any kind, and it never will.  Those kind of acts must be dealt with effectively.)  Life will always be an ebb and flow, just like the seasons, circumstances will always come and go.  Once we learn to let go and allow nature to take it's course (allow the negative circumstance to naturally subside), we are reminded that everything is only ever temporary and there is always a lesson to be learned, and a greater outcome awaiting us.

With all of that in mind, here are my tips for 'weathering the negative storms' and keeping a positive mind:

  1. Have compassion.  Compassion or those communities effected, compassion for your co-workers, compassion for your neighbour driving you nuts, compassion for the driver who just cut you off on the road.  We must expand our awareness to the fact that, in one way or another, we're all struggling.  That neighbour who is driving you nuts; may be about to lose a parent, that driver who just cut you off; may have just lost their job and may not know how they will pay their rent this month.  No one is rude, angry or hurtful to another when they are genuinely happy in their own life.  Once we understand this, it makes it a lot easier to deal with negative/unhappy people.
  2. Only concern yourself with what you can control.  This one can be a hard idea to grasp, but once we do, it's very freeing.  It doesn't change the circumstance, but it changes your reaction to it.  It's not about sitting back helplessly, it's simply the act of letting outside circumstances be managed by those who have the power to make the change.  Stress and worry wreak havoc on our nervous system, so when we stress that our train is delayed and we are now late for work, we're asking for a morning of chaos; unnecessary anxiety, stress & worry.  Stressing while sitting on the train wont make it go any faster and you cant get out and push it!  So this is where you accept that you're going to be late, let those who need to know, know and enjoy the extra 20 mins you get out of the office!  Relax, your co-workers wont even be thinking anything of it anyway, they're busy reading their emails or trawling news.com.au.
  3. Appreciation for everything.  Even when times are tough, there is always something to be grateful for.  Be thankful for the person who held the train door for you, be grateful for the lovely meal you ate, appreciate your income every month, thankful for the roof over your head, grateful for your loving partner or family.  As much as there are endless negative things we could think about, there are endless positive things.  The more you turn your attention to the good things in your life, the more they will show up.  It is law!
  4. Acceptance of the circumstances.  Accept that crappy things happen, accept that you will move through it and accept that the sun will break and you will find yourself on the other side, wiser, stronger, smarter and with a fresh outlook.

All it takes is one small positive action towards another to have a positive ripple effect.  You may be the reason that person smiled this morning, they may then hold the door for another, that person may then buy their co-worker a coffee.  All of these small action pay it forward for more optimism and positivity throughout us all.

How can you pay it forward today?

xSx

Recipe: Delicious Infused Water

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We all know the 8-glasses-of-water-a-day drill, but how boring can water be though, seriously.   While there are some days where 8 glasses of water is enough, there are other times where we should be aiming for 3 litres.  It is important to be consistently drinking water, especially when we know that our bodies (us!) are around 70% water! I have created a delicious infused water blend to keep me reaching for water over sweeter drinks throughout the day:

  • Mint leaves
  • Half a Lime
  • Half a Lemon
  • 2 Litres of water

Not only is it delicious, but it helps flush nasty toxins from the body and assists to alkaline the system.

Mix up a jug of it and keep it in the fridge or get a glass bottle (or BPA free plastic bottle) and keep on your desk to drink throughout the work day.

Soda water also goes great with this mix.  Think Vodka, Lime and Soda...sans Vodka and more flavour, super refreshing.

Infused water is a great alternative over cordial for the kids!  Just chop up their favourite fruits and add them to the jug.

I would love to hear your favourite infused water blends in the comment section below.

xSx

 

My jug at home

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Better than Coffee!

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We all can struggle to wake up in the morning, but for those that are caffeine dependant, you could be doing more harm than you realise. Caffeine in small doses is generally fine for consumption, but your daily coffee, whether you're a 3 cups a day or just one cup a day coffee drinker, could be causing chaos to your nervous system, especially if you find that you are particularly stressed. Taking a caffeine detox every so often will do wonders for your system! Here are my tips for healthier wake-up substitutes.

Lemon Water I drink lemon water every day, I love it! In summer I have a jug of water in the fridge with half a lemon, half a lime and around 5 mint leaves. It's delicious, refreshing and aids the liver with detoxification. I even have mint and lemon in my water bottle on my desk a few times a week. The only caution with this one is to try and use a straw to limit the acidity on your teeth.

Morning exercise Put your work-out gear on and walk part of the way to work. I know the days that I walk half an hour to the next train station in my gym gear, are the days where I feel the most energised when I arrive to the office. Even if the walk wasn't strenuous, I still feel like I have moved my body and done something physical, especially before I spend many hours at a desk with little movement. If you drive to work, make an effort to get a 20 minute walk in before you leave (walk the dog, snoop on neighbours..) or even arrive at work early and take a walk around the block. You will certainly feel more awake after it.

Fresh air and sunlight Our bodies have a natural cycle called the circadian rhythm. We are naturally designed to wake up to light and wind down from dusk. When you wake, open the curtains and your windows. This will activate your body into wake mode.

Get out of bed when your alarm first goes off If you wake before your alarm, get up then. When we fall back asleep or take our time getting up, we are creating a sluggish state which can set the tone for the day ahead. You will also benefit from being able to take your time getting ready, rather than rushing.

Get enough sleep If you find that you are still tired when your alarm goes off (we have all been there..) make an effort to get to bed earlier. Just add 30 mins every week or so until you find the right amount of sleep for you. You will know that you are getting enough sleep when you wake up feeling refreshed. That mythical morning fresh feeling does exist and you will definitely be less likely to reach for coffee when you feel this great in the morning!

Sleep with your phone in your living room We all know the "roll over, grab phone, alarm off, click email, scroll Facebook, roll out of bed" routine. Set an old-school alarm and have your phone in another room. This will force you to get out of bed earlier to check your phone and will also create a more peaceful sleeping environment.

Cooler than normal shower Whether this shower is at your workplace after your morning exercise or right after you get out of bed, a cooler than normal shower has calming effects on our nervous system, strengthens vagal tone and wakes your senses up and leaves you feeling extra fresh!

Let me know which healthier routine options work for you and if you have any other tips that work for you, leave a comment below - I would love to hear them!

xSx

COMMUNICATION - The "3 Step Success" Series

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Effective communication 1: Listen to hear, not to reply 2: Be empathetic 3: Have open body language

🔷 More often then not, when we are in conversation, we are preparing our next response while the other is talking or we even speak over them. When we truly listen to what the other person is saying, we are able to connect on a deeper level and fully take in what is being said. This allows for the listener to pick up on non-verbal cues and therefore give a more meaningful reply.

🔷 The best way to be an empathetic listener is to put yourself in the other person's shoes, rather than making assumptions or passing judgement on what is being said. Empathetic listening allows you to be much more understanding to the speaker's situation and feelings, and therefore allowing you to give more constructive feedback.

🔷 You may not be aware, but 55% of your communication is transmitted through your body language. This makes body language vital for effective communication. We've all had a time when someone isn't listening to us, their eyes are looking elsewhere, legs might be crossed and they're hardly acknowledging what is being said. Therefore, you want to be sure that your body language is open and attentive with your body facing the speaker, arms uncrossed and maintaining eye contact.

We All Have The Abilty to Help Change The World

Last week Marie Forleo posted an interview with Adam Braun, the founder of Pencils of Promise, a "for-purpose" (not-for-profit) organisation that builds schools for children in developing countries.  I was so moved by this video that I had to share it with everyone I know.  Pencils of Promise has built over 170 schools in 6 years and has no plans of stopping yet.  It is quite a remarkable story, yet anyone of us can do it.  Adam started by placing $25 into a bank account in the name of Pencils of Promise and 6 years later he is helping improve the future of all of the students who are lucky enough to attend his schools, and subsequently their respective countries.

While the purpose of the interview was to promote Adam's new book "The Promise of a Pencil", the underlying message throughout is that every single one of us has the power and the ability to make a change.  If you feel strongly enough about something and are passionate about it, you will have the drive to do it.  When you are in-sync with the universe and are making a positive impact, you will find that you won't be acting alone for long.  Positivity breeds positivity.  This is how to start a movement.

A link to Marie's interview with Adam is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pG53tqz3jNY

The whole idea of one person making an incredible impact on society initially seems limited, restricted and foreign to us, but when you really look at it, we are surrounded daily by global trailblazers, who too, started with little to no backing and changed our world for the better.  The likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther-King and Oprah.

This has me believing in my own ability and the ability of every person reading this blog, to have an impact on the world.  As the famous quite of Pauline Kael goes:

"Where there is a will, there is a way"

We must trust that we will be guided and supported and that we will attract the right people to help spread our message.  We also have a little thing called the internet, and with this tool, amazing things can be accomplished.  We are able to connect to people on the other side of the world within seconds, allowing people from all walks of life to come together.  While there is only so much we can physically do as an individual in the world, when we come together and share a vision, the possibilities are endless.

This instantly got me thinking about my strengths and the goodness that I can help bring to the world. I am very passionate about animal welfare, and my organisation of choice is The Orangutan Project. TOP are an Australian based foundation working locally in Borneo to acquire land to safely re-habilitate and re-home orang-utans. While I have been donating to the foundation for a number of years, I realised there is a lot more I could be doing. So, since hearing about Adam's story, I have pledged to visit the TOP sanctuary as part of their volunteer program in 2015. Within my home we have also labelled our money tins with TOP's logo and will be donating all of our loose change to Borneo. I hope to expand on these small charitable efforts in the next couple of years.

If you would like to see what The Orangutan Project is currently up to, visit their website here: http://www.orangutan.org.au/

And remember, every smile is contagious, so go spread the good stuff.