Top Reviews for Women, Food, And Desire! Goop, FitBottomedGirls.com, Bustle.com!

5 books to love yourself

FitBottomedGirls.com named Women, Food, And Desire 1 of 5 books to Love Yourself Healthy – see the full list here:

http://fitbottomedgirls.com/2015/02/5-books-to-love-yourself-healthy/
GOOP

Goop.com, otherwise known as Gwenyth Paltrow’s health and lifestyle website, named Women, Food, And Desire their top non-fiction winter read for 2015!

See the whole thing here: http://goop.com/late-winter-reading/

bustle header divorce

Bustle.com names Women, Food, And Desire 1 of 12 books to help you get through your divorce easier:

See the whole list here: http://www.bustle.com/articles/61076-12-books-to-read-thatll-make-your-divorce-a-little-bit-easier

 Get your copy of Women, Food, And Desire here! xo, Alex

Amazon
Powells
IndieBound
Barnes & Noble

Healing Rituals: Tea Rituals | How to create healing rituals

I’ve learned that  you can learn to be happier just like you can learn to play ukulele or teach yourself Spanish.

One daily aspect of consciously learning happiness is to create healing + grounding rituals.

Rituals are any symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful event.

And they’re really everywhere in human culture:

 

Healing Rituals - Tea As Ritual

Healing Rituals – Tea As Ritual

  • Rituals are used by athletes, before and during games and contests, and studies show it helps to maintain or increase focus and performance
  • Rituals are used before meaningful events like weddings or ceremonies, and are used to help focus the energy and attention of large groups of people
  • Rituals are used to mark the passing of a loved one with funerals, and help people manage their grief and release the pain of loss

Our personal rituals matter much more than we realize. Recent studies have proved that our actions and thoughts are 40% habit – that means almost ½ of what we do and think is repetitive and happens without us thinking about it.

Sometimes life feels like a runaway train—it can seem like we don’t get to choose what’s going on in our daily lives.

When that happens, we can remind ourselves that we have the power to choose the way we live our lives, and the “personal brand” that we put on things.

I’ve been drinking tea since I was a kid with my mom, but now I set aside a little time and attention to make tea a ritual for rest, remembering good times, introspection, and creation.

One way to do this is through creating rituals in our lives that support and nourish us. Rituals and nurturing routines provide us with structure that grounds us and connects us to others.

They can connect us to the energy of the earth and seasons, our past, family, and community as well as help us to create the kind of environment where we’ll function best.

They also create a sense of predictability that can help us feel safe, and reduce the stress of uncertainty.
Rituals are rhythmic; they put us in sync with nature in a nurturing way.

They help us cope with the shifts and transitions we face daily, weekly, seasonally, and throughout our lives.

By creating structure in the form of a daily or weekly ritual, our minds can relax, and this frees up a lot of energy so that we can create the life we desire.

And they work.

Rituals help us manifest what we truly crave in life, by placing our energy where we want it most. CLICK TO TWEET + SHARE THIS!

Here’s what scientists are finding about our use of ritual:
performing rituals with the intention of producing a specific result appears to be enough for that result to come true.

  • One of my intentions was to bring more awareness to our family meals even at the end of hectic days. We set the table with cloth napkins and light a candle with every meal we eat at home. I’m teaching my 8-year old son how to light a candle, and how to set the table, so we has a ritual with calm, loving eating as well.
  • Another intention was to feel in control of my finances, so my partner and I created monthly “money dates.” You could call them cash rituals.
  • I also wanted to wake up my body after a long, cold winter, and created a morning yoga ritual – every morning, for 10 minutes, I stretch and then make my tea.
  • Music is a big deal in my family of musicians, and I want to pass that love of music to my son. Now when I give him a bath, I bring in my ukulele and we sing together as I learn a new song. (AND we put our instruments up on the wall in the living room, so we see them and take them down more frequently – a great way to trigger yourself into doing your rituals!
Ritualize your creativity by putting your art in full view.

Ritualize your creativity by putting your art in full view.

If you’re here you’re interested in healing and growing. That’s what my “clan of the crave bears” is all about. Healing the body, healing relationships, and growing a crave-worthy life.

So this week, focus on creating a ritual to heal an area of your life, or intentionally place your positive energy in a direction or on a project you want to create:

HOW TO CREATE RITUALS FOR A CRAVE-WORTHY LIFE:

Get specific about your intention + the actions the ritual will embody:

  • Why – you intention for the ritual (loving – no voodoo, framed in the positive)
  • When – at what time are you going to do the activity? Morning? After dinner? Spring or Winter? Sundays?
  • Where – is it portable or does it depend on a place?

Examples of Healing Rituals

  • Walking Ritual: at your favorite time of day, dawn, dusk, or after lunch – not for “exercise” but for feeling your body in nature
  • Learning Ritual: memorize a poem, playing a song, or some other new skill once a week or every evening
  • Friend Ritual: thursday night dinner with a friend, Sunday tea with a friend at a bookstore cafe
  • Gratitude Writing Ritual: For 1 week, write down 3 things that you’re grateful for at the end of dinner.

One of my Facebook friends created an “I Hate Mondays” playlist of uplifting songs and motivating music to help perk her up when she was having Monday Blues -

IDEAS FOR NEW FOOD RITUALS:

  • setting the table with napkins, forks, lit candles, flowers
  • Simply lighting a candle before you eat anything, and sitting down to acknowledge your desire to digest and enjoy
  • 5 deep breaths before you begin eating
  • 8-12 ounces warm lemon water upon waking to wake up your liver and hydrate your brain
  • saying a gratitude out loud at the end of the meal: that was delicious! I feel perfectly full and satisfied!

As you build rituals into your life, you build a lifestyle that supports your healthiest self.

I want to hear your favorite rituals!

In the comments below, share your favorite ritual, or tell us what you’re going to try first!

xo,

Alex

 

Chocolate IS love…Raw Cacao Valentines Recipes

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

Cacao contains a delicious mix of natural chemicals that make us feel darned close to giddy in love:

Phenylethylamine is often called the “love drug,” that has heightening physiological effects… fatty acids called cannabinoids (yes, relatives of those found in pot), 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

A BRIEF 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.

We 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 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’ve 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!

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

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.

 Raw Cacao Goddess Truffles: Raw Cacao Truffles Recipes

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, 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.

If you’re wondering, here are some health benefits of 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.

 

Here 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.

These and other Toxic 6-Free chocolate delights are all Cravings Cleanse approved!

Join me for an 8-week exploration & healing journey to get your cravings, taste-buds, hormones, and waistline back in alignment.

Click here to register – we start 2/12: 

Xo,

Alex

Winter Green Smoothie Recipes

Get Clean With Winter Smoothies + Stay Warm + Happy!

I’ve used green smoothies with added protein to help me and thousands of clients heal  - on many levels.

I love them! Smoothies are an easy, yummy way to nourish your body, feel satisfied, and start new food habits without feeling deprived.

Winter Green Smoothie Recipes

Winter Green Smoothie Recipes

Since calorie restriction is NOT part of my program for getting clean, happy, and in touch with my body, I’m a fan of adding good quality fat to my smoothies, especially in winter.

See, a lot of green smoothie recipes don’t help us feel warm and cozy, because they use frozen, out-of-season fruit, and don’t include protein and fat.

In order to feel good, enjoy and feel satisfied with your smoothies in winter, you must add warming fats, protein, and even some spices.

The danger of not adding fats and protein to your winter smoothies is that you’ll feel hungry, cold, and uncomfortable sensations in your tummy.

Here are 2 simple Winter Smoothie recipes, which are part of my Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover program – we start 2/12 and you can join here!

Winter Green + Clean Protein Smoothie

2 leaves curly kale, washed
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄2 banana
1⁄4 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
1 – 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened almond or hemp milk

15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)

1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon (warming spice that balanced blood sugar) 

Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away! 

Glow Green Smoothie

2 cups water
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄4 of a bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed

 

15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)

 

1⁄4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1 large Medjool date, pitted 

Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away! 

 

Did you know you’ll get over 50+ recipes like this when you join the Cravings Cleanse?

We start 2/12 and you can get over $300 in bonus resources when you join now!

xo,

Alex

1 of 12 books that’ll make your divorce easier…

I’m on the verge of tears…

Women, Food, And Desire was just named 1 of 12 books to read that’ll help your divorce be a little easier.

bustle header divorce

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that'll help you get through your divorce a little easier - Bustle.com

Women, Food, And Desire named 1 of 12 books that’ll help you get through your divorce a little easier – Bustle.com

I had to write this book.

When I was divorcing my ex, I became totally disconnected from my body. I allowed the shame and hurt of the infidelity to separate me from my own self-worth, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I had to write this book – because this culture, our shame, and the Diet Industrial Complex, are keeping us from having the love, worth, and health that we deserve.

If you have a friend going through a divorce or break up right now, and you think Women, Food, And Desire would help, please send them a copy.

And give them hugs. Lots of hugs:

Here’s a link to the original article:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/61076-12-books-to-read-thatll-make-your-divorce-a-little-bit-easier

P.S. It is an incredible honor to be featured alongside one of my favorite books of all time, Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Jaw. Dropped.

The Power Of Touch: Mindset Makeover Day 7

It’s the final day of the #MindsetMakeover + I’m sharing my favorite tool from Positive Psychology.

The power of touch.

IMG_0558

Touch is our 1st sense, and a HUGE ally in creating a healthy, flourishing life + strong relationships.

In our modern culture we are TOUCH STARVED and often get very little physical interaction or affection. But we need it to feel well, whole, and connected.

Baby animals that are removed from their mama or siblings don’t thrive + develop emotional trouble later. It’s the same for people. “Kangaroo care” is now used for preemie babies – skin to skin contact on an adult chest for hours a day helps tiny babies thrive + put on weight.

We give lots of love and hugs, pats, and hand holding affection to our kids, because we know they need it to feel loved. But for adults it’s harder to ask for touch, massage, hugs, or physical intimacy.

But we think as adults we don’t need as much love + touch. WE DO!

When we get enough touch, hugs + physical intimacy in our day, we are healthier, happy, and less likely to emotionally binge. Hug someone today! CLICK TO TWEET THIS!

Today I’m going to challenge you to get 8 hugs of at least 5 seconds each. A hug has the power to calm your nervous system, reduce blood pressure, and reduce emotional food cravings!

Thank you for taking part in this peek into 7-days of #positivepsychology with me. I’ll be using MORE tools from this science based approach in my next 8-Week Cravings Cleanse, which opens for registration Friday!

#healthyeah #mindset #positivepsychology #fun #friends #hugs #health #inspiration #instagram #instagood #healing #touch #love #cravings #cravecast #crave #desire

Show us your strengths! Mindset Makeover Day 6

Day 6 of the #MindsetMakeover – Share Your Strengths!

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths...A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

Show us your strengths! A great tool from positive psychology to get us out of negativity bias? Build + broaden your strengths…A wonderful remedy for emotional eating.

The human brain is wired for “negativity bias” – we look for things that have gone wrong, or COULD go wrong, so that we don’t do them and maybe die.

And when our brains are stuck in a negative thought loop, emotional eating for comfort and relaxation come one like wildfire.

Research from Positive Psychology suggests that the most successful (and happy) people start with a strong talent + then add skills, knowledge + practice into the mix.

We’ll be healthier + happier if we build on our authentic selves–who we already are–starting with our strengths. CLICK TO TWEET THIS! 

BUT a lot of people are usually unaware of their own strengths. I have seen this truth confirmed time + again in my work with clients at various stages of their healing journey.

So here is a simple way to discover one of your top strengths:

FILL IN THE BLANK — “I LOVE ME WHEN…”

One of my strengths is humor.

Other strengths that might resonate with you include leadership, gratitude, love, love of learning, spirituality, curiosity, creativity…make up your own!

Share your strengths below, take a picture of yourself with a sign like mine and post on Instagram or Facebook!

Tomorrow is the last day of this #mindsetmakeover – then I’ve got a BIG announcement to share with you!!

Write it, Don’t Eat it: Gratitude Adjustment

Day 4 of the Mindset Makeover!

I’m sharing some of the best Positive Psychology tools for 7-days to help you experience your greatness, and to feel that  you are worthy of the self-care, life, and vitality that you dream about – because, honey, you are!

IMG_5180

Write a gratitude letter, and enjoy a cozy moment for yourself to thank a great person in your life. I like to write with tea, green juice, lots of pens, and of course my cat, The Boy Named Sue, AKA Kitty Sue.

Write a “gratitude letter,” a kind of belated thank-you note to someone who has had a big impact on your life.

Detail the kindnesses, lessons, or support that person offered you and what it enabled in your life.

They can be alive or dead, and you can send it to them, read it to them in person or over the phone after it’s done, or just write it and experience the good vibes of gratitude as they flow.

Studies show that writing these letters give long-lasting mood boosts to the writer.

Traumatic experiences and negative memories tend to fade into the background for people who try these positive psychology techniques.

And when we feel better about our lives, strengths, and our relationships, emotionally charged binge eating tends to diminish, and we treat ourselves better with self-care and food choices. CLICK TO TWEET!

ONE THOUGHT: don’t do it if you don’t really feel it.

Forcing yourself to feel gratitude, when it’s not there, doesn’t make you feel any better. In fact, it can make you feel worse. If the gratitude juice isn’t flowing in you today, try writing about an experience that meant a lot to you, or about a time when you used your strengths and felt really strong in yourself. This will reconnect you with your innate gifts and feel just as good.

#healthyeah #WomenFoodAndDesire #gratitude #love #instagood #inspiration #writing #inspirational #fun #friends #PositivePsychology

I want to know how this was for you! Share your experience in the comments below. xo, Alex

Do your friends help your health + body goals? 8 traits to look for

My marriage didn’t support me in being healthy or feeling safe. The people in my “dietary community” weren’t thrilled when my diet changed – and I lost a few good friends when I was honest with them that I was no longer vegan. 

When you’re trying to transform your lifestyle or diet, or doing your best to avoid certain foods that you have a complicated relationship with, there is one thing that can help you get through to your goal of health and well-being.

Relationships.

Me & Mom. Mom taught me everything I know about organic food. How are your relationships helping you in your health and body goals?

Me & Mom. Mom taught me everything I know about organic food. How are your relationships helping you in your health and body goals?

Not just any old acquaintance will do:
we need FLOURISHING relationships where we can share our wins + celebrations as well as our troubles.

There’s a popular theory that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with.

If we’re the average of the 5 people we hang with most, how are your relationships supporting your health goals? CLICK TO TWEET!

Positive Psychology backs this up by explaining our “mirror neurons,” or neurons that fire when we witness behavior in other animals, as though the observer itself was acting.

We are programed to act like the people around us, which helps us stay connected to them.

This idea is a bit scary when you think about the family you grew up with who you may not feel good around…

Or the partner who has sabotaged your health and wellness goals in the past, either knowingly, or subconsciously…

Or the co-workers who are obsessed with birthday cake, after-work drinks, and gossip parties.

What makes a relationship really healthy?

FLOURISHING RELATIONSHIPS HAVE/ARE:
* EMPATHY – you feel each other
* BELONGING – you feel like family
* ATTUNEMENT – to be on the same wavelength
* VULNERABILITY – you can be yourself
* TRUST – you’re each reliable + honest
* APPRECIATION – you enjoy good qualities of each other
* AUTHENTICITY – faithful + genuine
* LOVE – a deep love is shared

In the past I had people in my life who didn’t help me flourish, weren’t honest with me, or I didn’t feel like I could really be myself around them. Today, my close circle of friends feels much different. And I’m more honest with my family about what I need and who I am.

So even if you feel like you don’t have these flourishing traits in the 5 people closest to you, don’t give up – there are loads of awesome folks around who are looking for someone like you:

curious about real connection…

looking for fun, true, authentic friends…

empathic, thrill-seeking, life-loving pals.

I want to hear from you in the comments below:

What relationships in your life are “flourishing” or help you with your goals? What else do you see about your relationships in this context?

Get more AWE some: 3 ways to add more AWE

AWE is a powerful state

I used to use food as an escape from boredom, stress + life.

Who hasn’t? Instead of falling into those thinking traps, I now look for ways to step into “AWE” more often.

From Positive Psychology, I’ve learned that we crave meaning, connection, and purpose as much as food. AWE brings us into those powerful, inspirational moments.

AWE is a feeling of reverential respect + wonder, and is similar to transcendence.
Here are 3 ways to bring more AWE into your life, which bring up your energy, mood + make food not so important - #MindsetMakeover:

1. Take the scenic route: nature, new cities, let the scenery take your breath away
2. Immerse yourself in a crowd: concerts, political rally, running a marathon, outdoor movies
3. Go outside: being in nature helps us stop trying to control things, we are more accepting in that moment.

Share this with a friend who could use some more AWE-someness in their life!

3 ways to bring more AWE into your life – bring up your energy, mood + make food cravings loosen their hold on you! Click To Tweet!

xo, Alex