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Jen’s survival kit

I saw one of my oldest friends last week, and she totally inspired me, as only a good friend can.

 

I was on my way to Palm Springs for a health conference, and Jen was driving there from her home in L.A. to bury her grandfather.

 

She was tired and feeling the stress of how her family was grieving.  See, Jen had been going out to visit her grandfather, who lived a couple hours from her home, for months.

 

She knew he was fading, but she also knew that his mind was mostly gone, he rarely recognized her, and that she had spent a lot of quality time with him recently to say goodbye.

 

But now she was on vacation, worn out from her high-pressure job producing commercials for television, and she felt she was supposed to end her break early to rush to her grandfather’s side.

 

Yet, she didn’t.

She knew he wasn’t really there anymore, and that there were tons of cousins, children, and other care givers around him.

 

Jen was tired and didn’t see the point in upending her break with her daughter and husband to go see a man who wouldn’t know she was there.

 

“Yes,” she told me, “I love my grandfather! But I’ve said my goodbyes and need to take care of my kid and myself. My mom is there with her dad, and she told me not to wear myself out – she understood. But I feel this pressure to drop my life, show up and grieve in a certain way, when really I just need to take care of me.”

 

Sweetheart, I told her, the living can really mess up a decent death.

Sometimes people think they need to look like the people in movies do – all rushing home for a dramatic end-of-life moment.

 

Not that she needed it, but since my mom died eight months ago, I gave her my older-friend-whose-mom-just-died-permission to do exactly what felt right for her:

 

“If you feel complete with Grandpa, don’t let the rest of the family guilt you into doing something that may make you feel even worse”, I said.

I hadn’t been there when  my mom died. My brother and I had been on the phone, him at Mom’s bedside, and we talked about what we thought would happen. She went so fast, after slipping into a morphine aided sleep, that we were all surprised when the cancer took her life.

Yet, how it all happened was perfect. The final conversation we all had, my brother and I were joking on speaker phone, laughing at silly memories, and Mom piped in, with her clearest voice I’d heard in days, “you two are so silly!”

That was the perfect goodbye. She knew we had each other, and that she had given us everything she could in this life.

 

I mentioned that I was coming to Palm Springs this weekend and would love to see her.

 

It had been a tough week for her, and Jen just wanted to say goodbye to her grandfather without having to upend her life. Her mom had arranged for a small, private service at the funeral home before his body was sent to Oregon, where he would be buried.

 

So Jen drove to Palm Springs and picked me up at the airport when I flew in from New York.

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We went out for Mexican food, reminisced and made each other laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. Sharing a hotel room, we told stories, asked each other advice, and went for a dip in the hot tub late that night.

 

The next morning, as we shared a plate of almost-ripe hotel fruit on the soon-to-be-blistering desert patio, Jen told me more about why life had been so exhausting and challenging lately.

 

Being in show business may seem glamorous from the outside, but Jen knows first hand what a grind it can be to organize, budget, and shoot a multi-million dollar commercial.

 

She has produced a few Super Bowl ads, and has worked one-on-one with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Handling major egos, huge budgets, endless details, and constant changes is a big job, but Jen has a secret weapon:

 

Her sense of humor.

 

One of the things I’ve always loved about Jen is how freakin’ hilarious she is – I mean, she cracks me up! Together we can be raunchy, non-politically correct, and downright lewd in the best possible way.

 

And you know what I like about funny people? How smart they are.

 

So Jen is smart, funny, generous and a hard worker.

 

She works in a job that demands tons of energy, detail oriented mental focus, the skills of a trained diplomat, hours of commuting in L.A. traffic, and she has a family that wants her time and attention too.

 

Oh, and did I mention she’s a total knock-out?

 

Ok, this might feel a bit like a love letter right now, but when you have a friend that make you feel super cool because they’re amazing and they like YOU, it’s pretty fun to share that.

 

And I learned something new from Jen this weekend.

 

I asked how she managed to handle the crazy hours, big jobs, traffic and normal marriage stuff with such grace.

 

And she turned right around and gave me some of the credit.

 

“Alex,” she said. “I’ve been in your cleanse programs and when we talk you always ask how I’m doing. Working with you helped me figure out I was celiac and that the gluten I was eating was destroying my mood and energy.”

 

Looking up from our almost-tasty fruit, Jen said “I used to have pretty bad habits at work, and now I know exactly how to set up my shoots so that the catering truck and editing rooms have what I need to eat to stay healthy! I keep the right foods around because you taught me that I had to prepare to succeed.”

 

Wow… that felt pretty awesome.

 

She went on to tell me how the confidence she feels in knowing her body so well allows her to speak out and ask for what she needs – she doesn’t let her energy, willpower and patience get depleted like she used to.

 

Instead, she made sure she had hard-boiled eggs, veggies, waters, and other snacks on hand for a busy afternoon.

 

She called it her survival kit.

 

Jen knows her body so well, she takes better care of herself, even when it might not be what other people think she should do…

 

Even when she gets nasty comments from her extended family because they think she should act differently, Jen stands her ground and preserves her energy…

 

Even when people at work make fun of her for ordering sautéed spinach when everyone else is eating hot dogs, Jen does what’s right for her…

 

When she orders green protein smoothies (atta girl!) for the entire office for breakfast so that she doesn’t stick out as the weirdo who won’t eat the pastries, Jen is preserving her willpower for the rest of the day.

 

When I think about all the little ways that Jen preserves her energy, strength, spirit, and beautiful soul through her tiny habits, I realize that Jen isn’t just in survival mode…

 

Jen is thriving.

CRAVE WORTHY LIFE CHALLENGE

 

  1. What are the two biggest pain points in your day? When do you get triggered to crave something you know isn’t good for you? Write that down…
  2. What would you like to feel instead of that pain? I call this your Big MODE (big motivating desire –the way you WANT to feel)
  3. What else can you do in that moment to achieve your Big MODE?
  4. Write down at least 2 other things you can do to prepare so that when those pain points arise, you have your survival kit of ideas and healthy food ready (or should we call it a thrive kit?)

  

Creating a life worth craving begins with this kind of awareness.

And it takes guts.

It’s time to be brave and strong and do what’s true for you, sweetheart.

 

It’s time to thrive, not just survive.

 

Xo,

Alex

Creamy Avocado Soup - Cravings Cleanse

Soup For Fatty Dairy Lovers: Creamy dairy-free Avocado Soup Recipe

I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend.

Last week I went to a memorial service for a dear friend. It was so beautiful to see all of our shared friends, but while at the party I ate a ton of soy and refined flour - foods I haven’t eaten much of in the last six months.

The next day, I woke up feeling puffy and tired. And that lasted for three days!

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On Sunday I remembered this amazing soup I once ate, filled with green vegetables, which was blended, cooling, and alkalinizing.

Yet the lemon and avocado blended together to taste rich and fatty, zingy and tasty, like a dairy-filled soup would. Dairy is an acidic food, and makes inflammation worse for most people.

 

The celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley, and Romaine were all anti-inflammatory and when blended together, the mild flavors soothed my body and energy.

avo soup ingredients

So I got the ingredients together and tried my hand at recreating this soup, to see if I could calm this puffy inflammation I was feeling.

I blended the ingredients together until the veggies were smooth and creamy, added a pinch of salt, and tasted. It was heavenly.

I ate the entire recipe in a few hours – about 6 cups worth.

Ingredients: 

1 lemon, rind removed

1.5 cups cucumber

1 stalk celery

6 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1.5-2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

avo soup

The next day, I woke up feeling refreshed, calm, and my eyes were no longer puffy, and my skin was clear.

This is just the kind of easy recipe I love to share – food that heals and tastes good.

It’s the kind of recipe I’ll be sharing in my Cravings Cleanse, which kicks off next week with a free 3-video series all about cravings, how to change your food habits to grow your energy, and how you can turn willpower into wellpower.

I hope you like the recipe, and I hope you’ll watch the videos when they go live next week!

xo,

Alex

CNN & Martha got it wrong. Eat THIS food to cleanse & trim your gut!

How did CNN and Martha Stewart get this SO WRONG!?

real-gut-cnn

Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong – REAL food to eat to cleanse & heal your gut



I just saw a piece on CNN from Martha Stewart, and sadly, the big gurus are giving bad advice.
In fact, the food they tell you to eat could HARM your gut, not heal it.
I give you the low-down and tell you the #1 food you SHOULD eat to cleanse and heal your gut!




See, I know that dairy is one of the biggest cravings for you, and I know that while you may crave it, eating milk, cheese and ice cream can cause havoc in your body (and skin…and mood… and hormones!)

So when Martha Stewart & CNN got it wrong and told people to eat the wrong kind of dairy, and totally misses that fermented vegetables are SO HUGE and growing in popularity, it makes me wonder what else they’re getting wrong!>
Hope you found this helpful! 
If you crave sugar or dairy, you may need more raw fermented foods like sauerkraut in  your diet!
And if you want to really understand what your cravings mean, be sure to take my Cravings Type Quiz.
Xo,
Alex 
P.S. If you like the video or quiz, please share it with your friends on Facebook or YouTube! xo

Gluten-Free Summer Crepes with Berries: July 4th Dessert Recipe

The perfect July 4th brunch for every cravings type!

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Gluten-Free Crepe Recipe for Summer – every cravings type can enjoy!

Eating right for your type

is helpful for keeping your energy, focus on health on track. But what if you have a couple of friends coming over, or there are two types in your house living under the same roof?


(Take the Cravings Type Quiz here to find out your type!) 

Luckily, I’ve learned how to adjust one recipe for all the types – and this summer crepe recipe is great for everyone with a couple of minor changes depending on who’s coming to brunch! Not only is it gluten-free, but you can easily make these crepes dairy-free by using coconut cream (you know, the thick stuff at the top of the can?) instead of whipped cream.
 
With cooling summer berries, these crepes use high-protein amaranth and quinoa flour, which help the light-headed featherweight feel grounded and strong.

Firebrands and Featherweights can choose between organic whipped cream or coconut cream as a topping, while Earth Mama types should avoid the topping and just enjoy the crepe and fruit as too much dairy and coconut can make an Earth Mama (or Papa) feel heavy and muddy.

 

Gluten-Free Crepes with Summer Berries

Serves 4

For the crepes:

1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup amaranth flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup water
1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil for cooking the crepes

For the filling:

2 cups mixed organic berries
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

1 cup organic whipped cream or unsweetened coconut cream

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours in a blender with the water, milk and maple syrup. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
  2. While the crepe batter is resting, prepare the fruit. Wash and dry the berries and toss with remaining maple syrup and cinnamon. Allow to marinate at room temperature.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil on a crepe pan or other non-toxic non-stick pan over medium heat. Stir the batter and ladle a scoop into the middle of the pan. Spread out the batter thinly in a circle. Cook the crepe until the bottom has browned, about 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the crepe and cook until the other side is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the crepe from the pan and place on a plate or clean baking dish and cover with a lid to allow it to cool, but not lose too much moisture.
  6. Keep making crepes until all the batter is gone.
  7. Serve each crepe with a scoop of berries in the middle, and roll it up around them. Top with whipped cream or coconut cream and a nice little sprig of mint, if it’s handy.

Sugar-Free Summer: My favorite drinks to help beat the heat

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sugar-free iced tea recipes to beat the summer heat

Here comes summer!

I couldn’t be happier that the summer solstice is just around the corner.

But all that summer outdoor play-time makes a girl thirsty! Rather than overload my body and brain with sugary sweet frappuccino (aka “adult milkshakes”) drinks, I’m making my own SWEET-ISH summer drinks with herbal teas and spices.

If you have sugar cravings like I do, you can help your taste buds get the sweet flavor they love without the sugar by keeping iced herbal teas on hand.

In this picture you see a rooibos with vanilla, chamomile, and mint teas all chilling in the window.

 

I boil a big pot of water, then steep my favorite flavored teas of the day for a few minutes before pouring them into glass jars.

After the tea cools to room temperature, I’ll put lids on and child them in the fridge for a while before drinking.

My FAVORITE recipe is the Vanilla Rooibos:

Caffeine free, antioxidant rich, and rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron, this red tea is slightly honey flavored without being sweetened.

Steep 1 tablespoon rooibos tea in 2-3 cups hot water. Once the tea is steeped, pour over a freshly cracked vanilla bean and allow the vanilla to flavor the tea. I leave the bean in until I’ve drunk every drop. Vanilla is so strong, you can use the same bean again for tomorrow’s batch!

Vanilla beans can get expensive, but I get them CHEAP in the bulk section of my co-op. For less than $3 I can get 2-4 beans, which is pretty good for the real stuff.

Sugar free teas can’t be beat!

If sugar cravings are totally annoying you,

learn what your cravings type is -

take my Cravings Quiz and get the free 30 page report! www.cravingsquiz.com

xo,

Alex

Summer Soups for your Cravings Types

We all know we’re supposed to eat more veggies – but the call of creamy, fatty dairy may be stronger than the whisper of greens!

If you know dairy doesn’t help you feel light, makes you congested, or worsens your adult acne, but you still crave the creamy texture, and want to up your fiber and phyto-nutrient intake, try my new summer soup recipes!

I’ve created them especially for the different Cravings Types (read: Ayurvedic doshas) – and if you don’t know your type yet, take the quiz here and find out if you’re a Featherweight, Firebrand or Earth mama/Earth papa!

Slurp up your soups!

 

Avocado Soup with Cucumber: Serves 2

Firebrand and Featherweight Approved

(not good for Earth Mama/Papa – too heavy with the oils and avocado)

 

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!

Gluten-free Dairy-free creamy Curry Carrot & Avocado Soup!



Light and fresh, this summer soup is easy and requires no cooking – no hot stoves for those summer meals! Featherweights can add freshly ground black pepper to warm them up from the inside. Firebrands can chill in the refrigerator while resting the soup after the first blending. This soup has too much oil in it for heavy feeling Earth Mamas and Papas. Find your Cravings type here!

 YOU’LL NEED: 

1 tablespoon organic, cold-pressed olive oil

1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cup fresh carrot juice

1 cup water

½ cup cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon ground corander

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh fennel leaves

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, about ½ an orange

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ cup freshly grated zucchini

 

  1. Combine all ingredients, except zucchini, in a blender. Blend until smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  2. Blend once more for 15 seconds, pour into bowls and top with grated zucchini.

 

 

Summer Pea & Zucchini Soup: Serves 2

Good for all 3 types, especially

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Creamed Minty Pea & Zucchini Soup: Gluten-free and Dairy-free soups for summer!


Fresh peas are vibrant and flavorful. This creamy green soup really delivers satisfying slurps for the heavy-feeling Earth Mama or Earth Papa. Firebrands will love this too, just allow it to cool to room temperature before serving. Featherweights can enjoy with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper! (Don’t know your Craving Type yet? Take the quick quiz here! www.cravingsquiz.com)

 YOU’LL NEED

2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

1 tablespoon chickpea flour (thickener)

½ cup zucchini, sliced

1 cup freshly shelled peas

2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

 

  1. Add 1-cup stock to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the chickpea flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining stock, zucchini, peas and mint in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk in the chickpea mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Simmering the chickpea flour thickens the soup and removes the bitter flavor from the flour.
  3. Ladle into a blender and blend with salt and lemon juice until smooth.
  4. Featherweights can add a drizzle of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

 Like these soups? 

In the comments below, I’d love to know what you thought of the recipes, and what other ideas you have for us!

(P.S. these recipes are just an example of what you’ll enjoy in my upcoming Cravings Cleanse 8-week program – can’t wait to share it!!) 

Why I care about resilience & you should too (and how to grow it)

Ever go through one of those stretches of time when life seems to be giving you about as much as you can possibly handle, if not more?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

This has been a roller coaster of a year for me, and I’ve been hearing from some of you that your lives have felt out-of-control or more than you can handle.

 

Often it feels like it comes all at once.

 

Just to give you some details:

 

-       I got my next book deal from a major publisher (good)

-       My mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (bad)

-       My partner published his own book (good)

-       My son was diagnosed with extreme dyslexia (bad)

-       My mom died (horrible)

-       My dear friend and mentor got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer (WTF? Horrible)

-       My son learned to swim and ride a bike (amazing)

-       My friend died from cancer, and two more friends were diagnosed (tears & breakdown)

 

So, yes. Life is a roller coaster, and the ups and downs, “awful” and “awesome” are unknowable and unpredictable.

 

The truth is, we can’t control a lot of what happens in life, yet we do have the power to react to it in ways that move us forward, strengthen us, and bring us closer to those we love.

 

I know that resilience, the ability to bend without breaking, to stay strong and make it through the storm even though the winds toss your hair and make you feel scared, is a skill you can learn, a strength you can practice.

 

To grow and protect your well-being, you need the ability to bounce back.

To get through trauma and drama without breaking, you need to practice.

To live through major challenges and thrive, not just survive, requires health, support, community, and hope.

 

And it isn’t just something you need for major tests in life, we need resilience to get through every day.

 

If you’re in stress mode all day long, it depletes your willpower, hope, and  patience. Multi-tasking, social media addiction, sugar binges, and a lack of relaxing, pleasurable movement keep us far from resilient.

 

And when we don’t feed our bodies and support our health with the foods we need, our capacity for resilience is diminished.

 

That’s why I teach my clients about skilled resilience:

 

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties (toughness), while performing well with training, experience and knowledge.

 

Skilled resilience means eating the right foods (most of the time), moving my body so she stays strong and flexible, finding pleasure and joy every day, staying connected with the friends and family who support me, staying open to the wonders in life that keep me hopeful and excited to be alive.

 

I couldn’t have weathered this storm of grief in the last year without the skilled resilience I’ve learned and honed over the past decade.

 

And my clients tell me that the training they learn through my cleanse programs gives them the experience and knowledge to give their bodies exactly what they need to maintain their center, their balance, their truth.

 

My client Sandi experienced a rough patch and needed support to get back to feeling good in her body:

 

-       her dad died

-       her boyfriend left

-       her job got super stressful

-       her commute got longer

-       she wanted sugar, fat and salt all day long and was feeling exhausted and impatient

 

When I started working with Sandi, we started with the most important guiding question I can ask anyone:

 

How do you want to feel?

 

Once we defined that Sandi wanted to feel calm, free, and strong, we were able to look at her food choices in a new way. It wasn’t about “eat this – it has fewer calories” – she could look at a menu and choose a food because it would help her feel calm, free and strong. Once she understood her cravings type, she could make the perfect food choices based on how she was feeling and how she wanted to feel later.

 

This was a totally new way of choosing food, and it began her on her journey to a body she loves, with energy to spare.

 

Learning to tune into her body’s needs, her soul-filled desires for calm and strength, allowed Sandi to listen to her body in a new way.

 

This is one of the most powerful aspects of skilled resilience.

 

It’s a practice of awareness, a daily inquiry into what will help you feel the way you want to feel, while honoring what’s true without judging what you see.

 

It may seem simple, but it isn’t always easy.

 

In the coming weeks I’ll be talking more about cravings, what they can teach you, and how to develop your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I’ll also be announcing my next group program soon (It’s called the Cravings Cleanse) – and it will draw together all of my best lessons, experiments, tools, resources, and community to help you act and move towards building your own resiliency with grace and strength.

 

I want to hear from you: In the comments below, tell me what skills you know you already have that help you stay resilient. You may not have thought you had the tools, but I’ll bet if you really look, you could tell a tale of how you’ve weathered storms and come out stronger in the end.

You could also share what ONE thing you know you could be doing differently to help grow your resilience:

 

 

Chocolate IS Love… Vegan Valentine Recipes with Raw Cacao

Chocolate is Love.

At least that’s what our brains think.

See, when we eat chocolate, a whole cascade of happy chemicals and hormones get triggered, making us feel a bit high, happy, relaxed and excited all at the same time.

 

Kinda like love.

Raw Cacao Truffle Recipe

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” a unique caffeine with stimulating physiological effects, fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), which make you feel relaxed and intoxicated, and all of this leads to a release of the pleasure-producing hormones dopamine and serotonin.

 

Top it all off with a dose of sugar normally found in our cocoa treats, and you’ve got a world-class super drug.

 

With all of these happy high chemicals coming in legal, cheap, bite-sized nuggets, it’s amazing we aren’t all on the streets collecting pop bottles and turning tricks to get another fix! (Too much? Ok, maybe just collecting pop bottles…)

 

Luckily, the amounts of these mind-altering chemicals found in chocolate are relatively small compared with other drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, and morphine. Our modern brains are used to the amounts and effects of the pleasure-inducing chemicals released by our coffee, tea, cocoa, and energy drinks, and we can only produce so much dopamine. When we eat a ton of chocolate and release a bunch of dopamine, our bodies immediately seek balance by shutting down the hormone production. This leads to desensitization to both dopamine and chocolate’s effects over time.

 

Which makes me think we should all be living slightly cleaner lives with less caffeine, sugar and other “happy drugs” so that we can really enjoy the effects of chocolate more!

Cacao pod, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao pod

HISTORY OF CACAO

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Cacao flowers, Costa Rica

Humans weren’t the first culinary smarties to figure out that cacao seeds were edible. They learned it from watching monkeys. Found in pods growing in South American rain forests, cacao seeds are covered with a slimy, slightly-sweet gel, sort of like leechee fruit.

 

Monkeys and people first cracked open the pods, sucked on the fruit and spat out the seeds. The raw seeds inside were bitter and pretty gross, so few animals or humans ate them, even though they were high in fat.

 

Carrying these seeds along their migrations caused the cacao trees to spread throughout South America and Central America.

 

But what happened next in chocolate’s history took a stroke of luck: someone realized that when you fermented and then roasted those seeds before eating them, the bitter flavor diminished and the ambrosia-like aroma of chocolate began to tickle their noses.

 

Once fermented and roasted, those bitter cacao beans begin to smell like melting chocolate. Grind the seeds, add some sugar, cinnamon, and chili pepper, and you’ve got a Water of the Gods, or cacao agua.

 

I recently visited a rainforest cacao plantation in Costa Rica and watched the traditional methods for making cacao agua, as well as tasting the fruits, and learning about the lifecycle of this magical food.

Raw Cacao Fruit, Costa Rica, Alex Jamieson, raw cacao recipes

Raw Cacao Fruit

 

Until you can get yourself down to Central America to experience this for yourself, I’ve created a few healthy, delicious cacao (raw cocoa bean) recipes to enjoy with your Valentine, or any time!

 

Hot Chocolate of the Gods

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine's Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate of the Gods: Vegan Valentine’s Hot Cocoa | Raw Cacao Hot Chocolate

I know, that’s a bold statement – really, Alex? Chocolate of the Gods? That’s quite a boast for a cup of hot cocoa. I’m telling you! I first drank something like this recipe in Costa Rica on a chocolate plantation in the jungle, and had my first out-of-body experience. In short, I think I saw God. At least I saw chocolate, and for me, that’s pretty good.

2 pitted Medjool dates

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup water

1/8 tsp cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

pinch sea salt

*1/8 tsp cayenne powder (optional – this is how the ancients did it)

* ¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional – don’t combine if using cayenne)

Directions:

Combine all in a blender and blend until super smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until heated through.  Pour into mugs, cozy up under a blanket, turn on Cousins, Diva, or Downton Abbey (or any other romantic movie) and enjoy!

Date Night: Cacao Nibs in Dates

Date Night: Raw Cacao and Medjool Dates, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Date Night: Raw Cacao, Almond Butter and Medjool Dates

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Medjool Dates, Date Night, Raw Cacao Recipe

 

4 Medjool dates, pitted and halved

1 tablespoon cacao nibs

1 tablespoon almond butter

Directions:

Scoop ½ teaspoon into each half of the pitted dates. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and gently press in with your finger so the nibs stick. Serve to your loved one on Date Night!

Goddess Truffles

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

Whether you’re serving them to a Goddess, or you ARE a goddess, these raw cacao truffles are super easy, delicious, and won’t tax your culinary skills. In short, you can show off in the kitchen without trying too hard.

 

2 cups raw nuts (I used 1 cup each almonds and cashews)

½ cup pitted Medjool dates

pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

optional: coconut flour, cacao powder, cinnamon for rolling truffles

 

 

Directions:

Combine all (except optional coconut flour, etc) in a food processor. Pulse until the nuts are well ground and mixed with the dates.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scooper, scoop the mixture into your hand and form into truffle balls.

You can now roll in coconut flour or other decorations, or eat raw.

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe, Alex Jamieson, Valentine's Day Recipe, Vegan Valentine

Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Recipe

 

 

Serve as is, on top of ice cream, or crumbled on banana slices.

 

 

WHY I USE RAW CACAO

As you may have noticed, these recipes call for raw cacao, which is different from baking chocolate, chocolate chips, and all products made with dutched or processed chocolate. The health benefits of raw cacao are pretty awesome, and you can make a lot of easy treats with it.

 

And for me, healthy + delicious = perfect.

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

Why Raw Cacao is the best Chocolate

 

BUT, you have to buy the right kind of cacao to get the most benefits and avoid the toxins found in conventional cacao production. Certified Organic Raw Cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants. It it’s NOT Certified Organic Raw Cacao, then you are also eating a lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

All of my recipes use organic raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs.

In case you’re wondering, here are some of the health benefits of using raw cacao:

 

Magnesium: Cacao beans are a great source of this mineral (270 milligrams per 100 grams), which is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies, including muscle and nerve function, and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness.

Sulphur: Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps grow strong nails and hair.

 

Fiber: A chocolate bar doesn’t offer any fiber, but if you eat raw cacao, you’ll get 9 grams per ounce!

 

Iron: An ounce of the raw cacao beans or nibs (crushed beans) contains six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.

 

Antioxidants: Raw cocoa powder tops the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries. But be careful! You may be sensitive to the caffeine effects on your nervous system, so take it easy on this stimulant.

 

Now there are 2 compounds in cacao that you might want to be careful of:

 

Theobromine, which makes up 1-2% of the cacao bean and, like caffeine, is a nervous system stimulant that dilates the blood vessels — much like caffeine. This is what makes chocolate unsafe for dogs, and causes uncomfortable sensations for sensitive humans.

 

Phenylethylamine (PEA): While our bodies also produce PEA (an adrenal-related chemical) when we’re excited, it causes our pulse to quicken. While this makes some of us feel alert and excited, it can have an uncomfortable effect on people who are sensitive and wanting to lower their heart rate.

 

With all this in mind, choose the healthiest chocolate for you and your loved ones, and enjoy the natural high of the food of the gods.

 

I want to hear from you! Share your pictures of favorite chocolate recipes, or your version of these recipes here!

Post your pictures to my Facebook or Pinterest page, and leave a comment below about your chocolate discoveries!

Xo,

Alex

Winter Salads: Waste Not Want Not, Cauliflower Leaves

Don’t throw out those cauliflower leaves!

You know those leaves that frame the white, pillowy florets we love eating?

They’re edible, too!


Just peel them off the florets, wash them, dry them, and thinly slice them.

“You mean I’ve been throwing away good greens all these years?!” you ask…

YES! The vitamins are just as high in the leaf as in the head,

and 1/2 cup of cauliflower (leaves or white florets) contains half of your daily Vitamin C and are super high in fiber.

AND cauliflower is part of the cancer-fighting cruciferous family, so hit your antioxidant quota with this simple trick.

Here’s what I did this week while I was steaming the florets:

Slice the leaves up thinly and toss with freshly shredded carrot.

Drizzle with olive oil, a little lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar, and sprinkle with good sea salt.

Toss. Eat. Done.

shredded cauliflower salad Alex Jamieson

Cold & Flu Season Busters: Cinnamon Tea Recipe (good for sugar cravings too!)

Cold & Flu Season? Stock up and protect yourself and your family!

Cinnamon Tea Recipe

Cinnamon Tea fights colds, flu and & cravings

Don’t wait until the shiver, shakes and fever stick you in bed for a week.

Be sure to stock your kitchen ‘medicine cabinet’ with these natural wonders:

Ginger root and ginger tea to help eliminate toxins
Raw garlic is anti-viral and has antibacterial properties
Dried shiitake mushrooms in broth, tea or food soothe inflammation
Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of immune boosting zinc
Cinnamon to help relieve congestion
Lemon (freshly squeezed) in water or on salads or veggies, or in soup can help fight infection

 

 

Although many people like to simply sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal drinking cinnamon in tea is another  great option, especially in winter. Warming, used for treating diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, flu, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and candidiasis, the smell relieves tension and helps steady the nerves. Cinnamon also balances blood sugar levels! Make your own easy Cinnamon Tea at home to help reduce sugar cravings, warm up, and keep colds and flu at bay.

Cinnamon Tea

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cinnamon stick (1-3 inches)
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 decaf green, black or herbal tea (rooibos or honeybush are favorites)
  • 1-2 drops of Stevia for sweetening (optional)

Preparation:

1. Place the cinnamon stick in a cup.

2. Add the boiling water and steep covered for 10 minutes.

3. Add the teabag. Steep for one to three minutes.

4. Sweeten to taste, if desired.