Sunday, December 18, 2016

What About Your Treat?

So many people ask me how I "treat" myself.  For about 3-4 years I didn't have a single dessert, and I still haven't touched anything with white/refined sugar for almost six years...(most of that time not so much as a piece of fruit or starchy vegetable either)!  People are blown-away, shocked really, when they find out.  "How do you do it?!" they ask, marveling at my willpower.  I tell them that they are giving me way too much's less about willpower and more about fear.  Fear is a very powerful thing.  Fear kept me locked into very black and white thinking about food...there were foods that hurt and foods that healed (feeding the Lyme, Candida, & "bad" bacteria, or starving it), and I didn't want to take any chances in setting myself back.  Dropping the gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, etc. seemed to be a major factor in my getting better and then managing my symptoms as I went forward on my healing journey.  That was good enough for me!

In the last year or two I have experimented a little bit more with breaking out of my core diet staples...not a lot, but I have found ways to "indulge" on my own terms.  It is key to flip your thinking upside-down, and instead of wasting energy focusing on what you "can't" have/do get creative with what you "can" have/do.  You would be surprised what you can come up with!  It is also an amazing turning point when you stop feeling like you are missing out and realize that you love yourself enough to provide your body with only the very best fuel.  It is extremely empowering!

The other important thing to realize is that emotions are tied to eating...BIG TIME...and not just for those with true eating disorders.  I associated treats with good times.  Growing up we weren't allowed to have junk food or many sweets (if we did have them they were homemade).  These foods were reserved for special occasions, so my brain associated those foods with happy memories.  Then when I was old enough to make my own food choices I overindulged in sweets, to the point that I was addicted (we now know sugar is more addictive than cocaine).  If I couldn't get my hands on something sugary I would literally go to the pantry and stick a spoon in the bag of sugar and eat it straight.  As an adult I would reward myself with food after college exams, or a hard day of work...comfort myself with food when I had to do something stressful or if I was upset about something...and of course celebrate anything and everything I could come up with (cupcakes were my #1 obsession).  It's not a sin by any means, but it is something really worth exploring more through journaling, therapy, or just mindful awareness and curiosity.  That is how we can loosen the old tethers and make positive habit changes for ourselves.

Now on to the good part!  MY go-to treats!  First, I have ALWAYS LOVED chocolate.  Unfortunately many varieties are low-quality and loaded with refined sugar and other toxic ingredients.  Healthy cocoa/cacao crops (organic, non-GMO, etc.) that are processed in a pure/clean way can actually be very good for you!  On the other hand, heavily sprayed or modified versions, processed with chemicals and stored in a way that accumulates molds can actually be detrimental to your health.

That's where "Not Your Sugar Mamas" comes to the rescue!  One day while investigating the extensive chocolate section at my local health food store I did what I always do...scan for unfamiliar labels and immediately flip over any new finds to study their ingredient list.  Usually there is SOMETHING that makes me have to put them back in their cute little display box.  This time I was pleasantly surprised..."Organic raw cacao powder, organic raw cacao butter, organic grade B maple syrup, organic Madagascar vanilla bean."  (Hello...maple syrup?!  The healing properties of that liquid gold alone merits its own blog post!)  I did a little happy dance right then and there before I grabbed a couple bars and checked out.  I couldn't wait to get home to savor my newly found treasure in peace.  It did NOT disappoint!  I broke off a square and let it melt in my mouth...then the next one I bit off and chewed.  There is just something so rich and satisfying about this chocolate!  The fact that it is high quality is obvious, but there is something else that is so special about it that I can't quite put into words.

My "Not Your Sugar Mamas - Pure & Simple" minis are not only cute but portable, too! 
When I went to the "Not Your Sugar Mamas" website it became clear.  Their ingredients, their story, their philosophy...they had me at "everything is energy."  These are my peeps, my tribe, speaking my language!  The founders, Bennett & Ky, are a couple of super cool yoga chicks who really get it...spreading "health, happiness, and love" in their own special way.  Now THAT is how to really rock life!  And they are doing it all from Martha's Vineyard, so they are also local (for me).  It doesn't get better than that!  I look forward to supporting this company foreva-eva...and hopefully getting to their  yummy "Organic Cafe" in the very near future!  Who wants to come along?  Start by trying their products ASAP (my son also LOVES their cookies!), and you will be hooked like me!

Not sure how many times I will feature "tea" in my "Favorite Things" blog series, but you can bet it will probably be quite a bit since tea is one of my very favorite things in life (and the health benefits are longer than any Christmas list).  You can also imagine that my discovery of chocolate tea was one of the best things that has ever happened to my tastebuds!  Seriously, though, this one will really put you in the holiday spirit.  "The Republic of Tea" totally nailed it when they created their "Peppermint Bark" flavor.  It is organic and caffeine-free, which are musts for me.  The flavor is so refreshing, soothing, and slightly sweet to satisfying your cravings.  It is a great after-meal treat.  It is just so smooth and comforting, all while rushing in the joy of the holiday season.  I love to curl up with a mug full and my favorite Christmas special, or sip it while doing my holiday baking.  It is only available for a limited time (seasonally), so try it now while you can...and if you love it, stock up so you can enjoy it all year long!

This mug tells the truth, and this tea really delivers!
I hope this blog will help even those who are the most sensitive or feel very restricted find a little more bliss for their senses.  Believe me, I get it.  There really are solutions and joy bombs out there for's just a matter of finding yours.  Directions: savor mindfully!

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